riot.jpgPC name:

Brandon Westland
Location:
Marie Curie Steam Reactor

Date and time:

Tuesday, January 4, 1921





Prompt

In a street filled with fists held high and the unintelligible speech of the irritated, a shatter of glass is followed by the crunch and thud of a hollow metal shell falling against concrete. And as heads turned, eyes caught sight of what was now one overturned car. And with this pedestal of steel erected, hooded orators in black cloaks took to the stage, and from high on top of their unsteady mountain they further stirred the irrational crowd surrounding them. But before these persuasive speakers could get across their message, steel met skin and shattered bone. The fear of unity drove a reaction from the surrounding law enforcement, and without much need for the orators’ rhetoric the masses reacted. And what was once thought to be the stage for action was now clearly the front row to the rippling of hysteria and violence overwhelming the crowd.

What began as a quiet morning out, a breath of fresh air for the solitary Brandon Westland and affluent William Becker, became a visualization of the worlds these two friends had found themselves segregated into. For as Becker was apprehended by police, he put forth no resistance knowing his passive behavior would only compliment his wealth and status, so as to dissuade the notion of any association with the protesters turned rioters. While Westland, an indentured accomplice to crime and a man of non-existent standing used what strength he had to break free from the firm grasp of his apprehending officers.

It was in this instant of struggle, where despite police all around, with their batons drawn and their guns aimed, both friends managed to locked eyes. Silently sharing a moment of acceptance, understanding that they knew they would not be leaving this affair as they arrived, and that this may be goodbye for some time. And as Becker disappeared behind police lines, Westland now standing between two stunned officers, nodded towards the fading shadow of his friend and dashed forward into the abyss and swirling chaos of the crowd.

And like that, the torrent had swallowed him whole. He soon found himself dazed, deafened by shouts of all manners of experienced oppression, overcome with a familiar feeling, that of one floating, drifting in the waves. With the push and shove of rioters headed towards the front-line drawing him further into the back of the crowd like a riptide he quickly found himself near the gates of the origin of the event, a reactor north of the city’s center. And from the other side, as his eyes desperately searched for information to create a plan, he recognized a face. A friend of a friend, a Mr. William Tenerly, the organizer of the event’s planned proceedings. Westland desperately shouted out to Tenerly for assistance. And, if not for the suspicion and paranoia of Tenerly’s associate, a man Westland only recognized from the article Becker had shown him about the event, a Mr. George McHugo, Westland’s story on this day may have been less foreboding. Perhaps the semblance of a plan he had before today would not have fallen apart. But, as Westland’s luck has never found itself to be an attribute of benefit, Tenerly and McHugo quickly disappeared behind plated doors, and Westland hope dimmed.

However, now a clear path existed along the fence and behind the crowd, and though there was a risk of being cornered by law enforcement at the end of the line, Westland darted down the open strip. Only to come face to face with his initial fear, officers approach from across the intersection, cutting off the rioters on the lone peninsula they unknowingly stood on. But, by what he thought to be a twisted coincidence Westland recognized one of the moment’s coordinators, a hooded orator from what seemed like the nose-bleed section now, dashing across his vision. Presuming conspirators to always have a plan should things turn awry Westland followed. Not knowing that the riot was an intended consequence of the silhouetted figure’s meddling at the time.

It was not soon enough that Westland came to understand that his decision to follow may have in fact been the worst decision. Now finding himself behind the fence around the establishment, following a figure with which he has no concept of intention. Where law enforcement officers were indiscriminately shooting anyone within the area, Westland’s heart raced beating against his sternum, pounding, begging to explode from his chest in fear. But he could only react, weaving between administrative buildings, attempting to find any unlocked door, Westland was oblivious to the leading figure’s obliviousness to him.

But upon the figure finding one such open door in one such alley, Westland witnessed it greeted with the familiar ringing of a shotgun, and watched at it was blown across into a neighboring wall. And as Westland took cover behind a dumpster, he watched the figure stumble up from the point blank blast and eviscerate the unfortunate officer behind the door. The officer’s bowels spilled onto the ground, and the smell of his slashed organs permeated the alley. It was nauseating, and the sight was no better. Now slumped over the orator, he was quickly thrown aside down the alley, with his upper half fully splitting from his lower at some point mid-air and falling face down next to Westland. A hand covered Westland’s mouth as a gag was faintly heard followed by the sound of compulsive vomiting. Regaining his composure, and avoiding eye contact with the remains of the disemboweled man stretched across the pavement, Westland spotted the hooded figure now laying on its back, limbs stretched out.

Assuming the man had expired from blood loss due to his wounds, Westland went to examine him, as now his only ticket to get safely out of this mess was probably lost with him. But to his amazement, upon removing the hood, he found not a man but a skeletal automaton. And though he watched it move as a man does, from its gait to its sprint, and though he watched as it expressed all the fine motor skills associated with the complex anatomy of man, he stared at an array of metal and steam all throughout. He could not see a shred of organic material. And before Westland could investigate any closer, an even greater surprise suspended his investigation and brought about a cold sweat on his brow and a tremble in his hands. As he reached towards the automaton’s belt he found himself to be holding on of his own inventions. A vial, half filled, of Morrigan’s Grunge. Now understanding full well of the orator’s intentions, and realizing his own involvement is not simply cut as a bad choice in facility tour guides he found shaking, his thoughts racing, the idea of what is next could not penetrate his mind, only questions of why and where this vial of shimmering blue powder came from could. And even before he could rationalize or calm his shaking hands, he found himself surrounded on both ends of the now gruesome alley. As police lined each exit and the building in front of him, as a human-inspired automaton laid in front of the open door with gears wheezing, and the brutally murdered corpse of an officer covered more than a short sprint’s distance between its toes to head. Westland could not attribute any shred of innocence to his name. So without much thought as to the consequences, Westland threw the vial against the ground. A flash and shock wave ruptured the sights and ears of all around. As a cloud of brilliant blue smoke filled the alley and plumed into the air. As the falling of concrete walls and crumbling steel beams roared through the area and drowned the noise of the riot taking place all around, driving it to silence. Eyes turned in awe of the mysterious plume. But Brandon could not see it, no he was blinded and laying underneath it, only able to hear the rumbles and creaks of the earth around him with the occasional splash of concrete falling into water. For by some stroke of luck, possibly the only stroke today, the blast had opened a hole into the sewers beneath the reactor. And soon, with one hand on the rounded wall, Brandon began a long walk towards in hope of an exit. No fear of the dark or getting lost, he stumbled down the tube, slowly cutting himself off further his senses, only moving towards what he hoped was the river on fear of being caught.