Fan Fiction: Cyberpunk 2052 - Chapter 1

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July 30, 2020

Cyberpunk 2052

by Hugo Klopp

Chapter One

Lucas Mahoe


         He and his men left base early in the morning in a black flying transport, an AV4. They sat next to small windows, the hum of the engines below them, their legs vibrating softly as they rode through the red and black morning sky. A few stars were fading away, and Lucas Mahoe could not lift his eyes from them. His back was heavily bent, as he was too tall to sit normally in the cramped space, and a Militech assault rifle hung from his neck. In the curved window, his distorted reflection was looking at him. Four men were sitting across from him, whispering among themselves. They had been under Lucas’ command for a week or so, but they had only been sent on routine patrols and small-scale missions. Their beards were soft and scarce, and they gripped their weapons with shaking hands.

Why’d they send me alone, Lucas thought, and give me regular infantry. Fuck.

Their objective was to find and eliminate an important guerrilla leader who was hiding in a rusty village north of San Cristóbal. Lucas often came back alone from missions like this one. That’s why he was now a Lieutenant in the army of the United States; he had a gift for killing and, more importantly, for staying alive. The AV slowed down as they approached the village, then landed a few hundred meters from it, under the cover of a rocky hill and tall trees. The stars were gone, and the sky was pale and blue. The men left the AV  and walked towards the village, weapons in hand. They entered the main street as their transport rose and flew away. The thirty-or-so houses were old and dirty, their inhabitants had dark, burned faces.They eyed the Americans slowly.

“¿Dónde está Louis Soto?” said Lucas in a heavy American accent.

The villagers remained silent. An old man tried to look into Lucas’ eyes through the tinted glass of his Militech helmet, with small, tired eyes. But he could not find Lucas’ face. 

“Necesitamos a… encontrar… a hallar Louis Soto. Está muy más fácil para vosotros de… cooperar…”

Lucas heard one of his men chuckle nervously. Yeah, you laugh. Pricks got Spanish plugged into their brains two weeks ago. He gave the order to search the houses on a secure, squad-exclusive channel, but only static answered. 


He opened the front of his helmet slightly, eyeing the villagers. His face was still covered, but he felt sunlight on his chin.

“They’ve got a scrambler and maybe readers so don’t use the comms,” he said before closing the glass visor.

Lucas gestured towards two of his men, and they started to open doors and bring people out. Some of them sat down in their homes to resist, but Lucas lifted them softly and took them outside. Once, when a middle-aged man tried to escape him, Lucas strengthened his grip. As he was laying the man down, a bullet hit one of his men. Weapons that were wrapped in cloth a few moments earlier started to spit fire. The AV4 would not come back for pickup for another 40 minutes.

Two Americans fell in the first few seconds, and many more civilians, both those who were armed and those who were running. Lucas quickly took cover. With a slight sigh, he checked if his assault rifle was loaded with incendiary ammo; protocol. He shot a dozen bullets then quickly lowered his head and waited for the enemy to reload. He heard screams and smelled burning flesh as wisps of smoke rose from the other side of the street. Hearing someone bark orders in Spanish, Lucas allowed himself a quick glance at his last two men, who were kneeling behind a broken wall ahead of him. A few Molotov cocktails were thrown towards them, but only one hit its mark. In heavy armor, the two soldiers feared little from natural fire, but they spent some time tapping on each other’s back and torso to take the fire out. As they did, Lucas noticed a figure running towards them with incredible speed. He got up to shoot, but was met with a volley of bullets from the other end of the street. A few hit his head, and a crack appeared on the right side of his visor. He quickly dispatched the man who had shot at him and shifted his attention back to his men. As his head turned, the wall behind which the two soldiers had been standing was blown to pieces. In the dust, the figure he had seen earlier leapt forward, a metallic shoulder visible from under torn cloth, still shaking from its impact with the wall. This shoulder met the first soldier’s head and drove his helmet deeply into his brain. As the corpse flew ten feet backwards, what Lucas had now identified as a cyber-enhanced woman shot down the other soldier with a handmade shotgun. 

That’s what happens when you give me fucking infantry for a Snake job.

Lucas reloaded his weapon with EMP bullets and aimed at the woman’s head. He pulled the trigger, mechanically shooting two bursts of five bullets each as the woman turned towards him and started running. Her blood splattered on the ground, and her run came to an abrupt halt. Once deactivated, the powerful cybernetics that had allowed her immense speed became useless hunks of metal. Her back, torn between her momentum and the weight of her enhancements, broke in half; she stood there, her body contorted in an impossible position, until her two cyberlegs slowly fell sideways with a heavy, metallic sound. That’s it?

Lucas reloaded with incendiary ammo, and listened. The village was now silent; he activated his infrared ocular enhancements and counted nine people left alive, excluding those hiding among corpses which he could not distinguish from the freshly killed. He took a few deep breaths. His pulse slow and his aim steady, he got out of cover and walked swiftly towards the old men and women shooting frenetically. The few bullets that went through his armor could not penetrate his reinforced skin, and they broke or twisted. As his pain editor enhancement cut him away from any physical sensation, he did not feel his muscles tearing under his skin. Drop your weapons, drop your weapons and beg, he thought while firing a few warning shots. That was the only way he could justify not killing them to Command. But they kept shooting, and so he started answering, aiming at whatever was out of cover. A quick glance to the left and he saw a shadow standing in a darkened alley. He finished eliminating a heavily armed, bearded man, then turned towards it.

There was a child in front of him. An old world weapon in their hands, reflecting light from the bloodstained street in which Lucas held his breath. Probably a Kalashnikov, but it was hard to see. Lucas stood still. Bullets flew over his head, into his right shoulder. But they moved slowly; time had stopped. He pictured it, death. He would lower his weapon and meet the first burst of bullets with his eyes open. The reinforced plastic in front of his face would crack and break his nose, then the second burst would get through, at this range, and his hardened skin would start to bleed. The child would reload and he would stand there waiting. He would get shot again and not die quite yet. Maybe someone would come behind him and break a Molotov cocktail against his neck. He would not kill a child. 

The shot rang out.

The small body fell in the dark alley in front of him, burning and screaming, fire from incendiary ammo bathing its young eyes in bright orange. In those eyes boiled a hatred that weighed on Lucas’s shoulders and stomach but underneath that hatred, deep underneath, Lucas saw a fear he had seen too many times. From Lucas’ canon rose a soft smoke. But I did not shoot. His body moved quickly towards the remaining men and women, burning their heads inside out with well placed shots, walking over corpses, breaking doors and windows. He found the man he had been sent to eliminate and dropped his weapon. The metallic sound echoed through the dimly lit room as the revolutionary leader took out his gun and shot Lucas’ face at point blank three times. The plastic visor cracked and squealed, the bursts from the gun lit the yellowish walls and the grey, smoky air. Lucas broke the man’s wrist, his elbow and his shoulder in one movement, then threw him towards a dark corner of the room. He took his own helmet off and used it to break the bearded head until it felt juicy and wet. He could not see what he had done; the room was dark, and his eyes were crying tears of anger. I didn’t fucking shoot.

Lucas Mahoe woke up sweaty, his heart beating and his mouth dry. It was the same dream every time, but he had gotten used to it. He did not wake up screaming and banging on everything close to him as he had for a few weeks in Venezuela when it had all started. He could even sleep in public, as he had just done. He took a few deep, silent breaths and opened his eyes. The countryside, if it could still be called that, moved by outside the window of the train. A single, gigantic agricultural complex stretched towards the horizon. Once in a while, Lucas would see a worker in bright yellow overalls appearing and disappearing quickly among the dark grey and brown structures. The sky was unified, grey and stark; he could clearly see his reflection in the glass, his disproportionate face. What can you ask for when you’re 7.9? The anti-grav train passed an immense Arasaka billboard: WELCOME TO NIGHT CITY/ Stay safe on the streets / Hire muscle only from Arasaka! The bright blue letters stood out on the white background, but not as much as the red NIGHT CITY DOESN’T WANT YOU FUCKING CORPOS that had probably been painted over it during the night. Lucas smiled when men and women around him started gasping and whispering among themselves. He was coming home at last, after four years in New York and eight years in hell. The corporate official next to him was plugged from his wrists into his seat, and he was running a pleasant virtual reality program. Lucas had seen to many people get their brains fried in the net, so he did not see virtual realities as “relaxing”. Any netrunner could get to you as long as they tried hard enough; he preferred a long, boring voyage. An attendant snatched him away from his thoughts. 

“Sir, would you like the Night City News? Brought to you by Network 54!”

She was a young Asian woman dressed in white and blue, her eyes were deep and her smile too perfect to be comforting.

“Yes, thank you,” answered Lucas as softly as his deep and powerful voice allowed him to.

She gave him a transparent plastic rectangle on which images and words appeared quickly. He read the main titles.

Network 54 Daily News

A Night with the Trauma Team™

Yakuza Raid on Arasaka Facilities

New Breakthrough in Organic Modifications! Doctor Malborn Disappears…

Ian Burton claims another bombing in Chicago

And so it went. Lucas figured there was little to be learned from these articles, and he quickly stopped reading, crossed his arms and went back to looking outside. In the distance he saw the West coast and the immense buildings of the City Center, whose neon lights and holograms illuminated the sky even now, a few hours after daybreak. He also glanced at the Combat Zone, the most dangerous part of town, home to scavengers and criminals who had nothing left to lose (or so the news would have you believe); that’s where he had lived for fourteen years with his parents before their deaths. The anti-grav train stopped, and people around him rose and stretched in the hallways; there were corporates, of course, but also policemen, soldiers and wealthy civilians. He waited for most of them to leave the train before standing up, his head bent against the ceiling. He grabbed his black, paramilitary bag and went to the rear of the train, where a dozen people were waiting in line in front of two security men. They wore impeccable white corporate armors with black visors and black text that read Arasaka on their foreheads. Arasaka was the biggest security megacorporation in the world, having spread fairly quickly from Japan in the past few decades. They were known for their inhumane discipline and their almost all-Japanese management. The two Arasaka men at the back of the train were giving armed passengers their weapons back, as those were not allowed during the voyage. Lucas got his assault rifle, his pistol and his two techblades back, put them in his bag along with his old military armor and stepped off the train into the grey-lit suburbs of Night City.

He had thought about his return to Night City many times, picturing dense traffic, loudness and smoke; but he was now faced with a quiet, corporate, familial district. The train station was enormous, but it had no roof or walls whatsoever - or none visible; and Lucas’ train had arrived at the dock closest to the corporate streets. It was minimalist and clean, as depressing as an office, and he left without looking back. Once he was out in a large street full of brand new cars, he looked around. He’d had no contact whatsoever with Night City for the past twelve years, except for the regular headlines featuring the increasing rates of violence and the crazy stories that he half-believed. He only had a name and an address on a small card, an old friend of some officer Lucas had worked with. His name was Jason Abara, but most people called him “Big Man”. He lived in the Pacifica district, which was second only to the Combat Zone as a source of sensationalist headlines. There, Big Man led a group of men and women who made a living as security for the events, bars, and clubs of Pacifica’s crime lords. That’s all Lucas knew. He was just looking for work. Lay low for a few months. Lucas noticed a small information desk on the other side of the street. Everything that could be branded Arasaka was, and a bright red question mark flashed on top of the young employee’s head.

“Hello sir, how may I help you?” asked the purple-haired Asian teenager.

“Hey, how do I get to Pacifica?”

The girl’s eyes expressed surprise and curiosity, but the rest of her face stayed frozen in a predetermined smile.

“You need to get to the City Center through the metro, sir. You can choose the Petrochem subway or the Arasaka subway - the latter being the cleanest and the safest of course. Oh, they both cost the same thing, except if you’re a corporate employee. In this case, you’d have -”

“Can’t I just take a cab?”

“I am afraid that the corporate suburbs are separated by a chemically-controlled no man’s land from the rest of the city for the safety of our employees. The only way in and out of the city are the Arasaka and Petrochem’s subways. Except for the harbor, that is. Of course, the Arasaka subway is the most -”

“So I take the subway. And once I’m in the City Center? How do I get to Pacifica?”

“You need to go through the blockade that separates the corporate districts from the popular districts, sir. It’s easy to get out of the City Center, you just go to an assigned doorway and -”

“Easy to get out, hard to get in?”

“Yes sir, indeed. Would you be interested in renting an Arasaka security team to escort you to the Pacifica District?”

Lucas burst into laughter. His deep and powerful voice filled the street and the employee’s eyes widened. Lucas walked away from the stand towards the nearest subway station - an Arasaka station as it happened. His laugh hit the chromed steel walls of the staircase, then echoed on the enormous, polished platform. He could not stop laughing. Every Arasaka security man in the station had a firm grip on their weapons and they eyed him from behind the deep black glass of their visors. Once in the white metro wagons, he felt the joke had lasted long enough and stopped laughing. He activated his in-ear headphones and scrolled through his playlist to find an appropriate song on his ocular display. Johnny Silverhand lived in Night City, or so said the media; this rockerboy was the most famous anti-militaristic, anti-corporate man alive. Consequently, he was the most popular band singer in the whole US military. Lucas put on Silverhand’s third album hit song, “The Way We Live”. Let’s see how you rock this one, Johnny. 



Come on!

In Night City, one death is a just a number

So if you die, look good doing it

Chip in and relax

Nobody’s gonna care

Where you end up alive or dead

In Night City, one death is just a number

So if you die, make a good story of it

Chip in and relax

Nobody’s gonna care

Where you’re from and what you’ve done

The train wagons emerged from the tunnel to reveal a barren wasteland; unfinished hundred-storey buildings; shopping malls shrouded with graffiti and mounted with military-grade anti-aircrafts;  brothels carved into gigantic statues of naked pop icons; news helicopters trying to get a good view at some crime in the popular districts. Neon lights flashed all around the City Center, with its work offices on top of the clouds and its Network 54 Broadcasting Tower spreading the “truth” throughout both North and South America.



In Night City, scavs crawl under the streets

Hookers will choke you with steel hands and high heels

In Night City, you could end up dead

Or in bed with a chromed pair of legs

A soft acid rain had started to fall outside. This was quite common in metropolises of the United States, but Lucas had not seen anything like it during the eight years he had spent fighting in South America. He smiled discreetly as he watched the enormous holographic advertisements shudder throughout the city. 



In Night City, corpos blow you to hell

And gangers will fuck you up well

But guess what fucker?




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