- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Ryan Garan (pt.4a)
Apologies, that last transmission was cut short. See, after 5 years of scrounging for food and living amongst the shadows, Carl called me.
“I have a lead.”
“Bout #$@%*$@ time!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“What do you think?!”
“Excuse me, grumpy pants.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot that people are generally cheerful after 5 years of living off of bread crumbs and river water.”
“I never said that.”
“Then what are you saying, Carl? That you’ve been working sooo haarrdd? Awww, I’m sowwy wittle baby, come to mommy. Man up, Carl!”
“Me?! Why the hell haven’t you done squat?!”
“Because our only chance at landing a hit on Deroga is if he thinks I’m dead! Now I’d love to go take a stroll down memory lane and grab an ice cream, but I can’t. Even if I could, do you even know what it’s like out there? You’re stuck behind those Raven Corp walls day and day out, but I see it in the night. I see every little impact that Deroga has literally dropped on Culda, and it’s not pretty. I can’t find an ice cream store.”
“You have no idea.”
“All 5 years?”
“Unless you count ice cream sandwiches, which you shouldn’t.”
“You and your theories…”
“If you have to lick chocolate crap off your fingers, it’s not ice cream. Plain old spoon and bowl for this guy.”
“Haha… so we good?”
“Ummm… no. What the hell took you 5 YEARS? I asked you to just find out the next bombing! People (and ice cream stores) are being demolished out there!”
“Well I’m the only person aside from the CEO that Deroga trusts now. It takes a while, man. You have no idea.”
“What’d you have to do that takes you that long, though?”
“Well not only did I have to learn how to fly a plane,”
“Wait you can fly now? Sweet!”
“…I had to dispose of Deroga’s last pilot and be the guy that the corpse is sent to so that all the evidence is cleared.”
“What’s that guy called again?”
“Coroner. Don’t EVER be one, trust me.”
“So you became coroner, which means…?”
“Which means I had to become a first class pilot and one heck of an amazing coroner so that when I slipped some poison to the pilot, he would go to me and I could trash him.”
“’Oh’ is right. That’s tough $#@%!”
“So whatcha got for me?”
“Deroga’s next attack is on New Year’s Eve.”
“Do you know where?”
“Power District; in Rigob. There’s a mall near the middle of the city…”
“Oh god, a mall? Out of all the places in Rigob, he has to pick the one with the most innocence!”
“And I haven’t even finished, he’s planning on sending it all to the ground.”
“Yeah I got that originally with the bomb part.”
“No, you’re not listening to me! He’s planning on sending it ALL to the ground, the entire city.”
“In one blast?!? What makes that possible?”
“The right bomb and a $#*%load of Raven Corp funding.”
“That just means we can’t let this slip by. It’s our time, we have to stop this path of destruction. When did you say it was again?”
“New Years Eve; in a 4 days”
“If you can come pick me up then we have a few days to plan and prepare before it goes off.”
“That’s exactly what Deroga and I are doing between now and then.”
“D@#*%$ CARL! How the %@#$ am I supposed to save everyone when you only tell me about this Now?!”
“Dude, I haven’t been given a phone until now. I know that we have millions of lives riding on this, but in all the chaos going on will it really make that much of an impact?”
“Of course it makes an impact, Carl! The tree in the forest still makes a sound! Listen, we give it our best shot and work with what happens.”
“You think you can get there in time?”
“Yeah I think I can make it.”
“Where are you now?”
“Alright, alright, I won’t ask.”
If he had I don’t think I would’ve told him. I was crouching in the shadow of mountains. 5 years ago this was the tallest mountain in the Babel District. But for those 5 years it’s been cut in half, a mountain without a peak. There’s no more rubble, its smooth, like the mountain’s already started replacing what used to be there.
“I’ll call you after the bombing, if there is one.”
“Okay, I guess you’re more of the action guy.”
And that was that. I stood up slowly and stretched my arms. The air was clear and pure, as it always is in the Babel District. I stretched my legs and took a couple of hops. Then, without hesitation I sprinted for the cliff in front of me. I swan dove off the edge, spreading my arms and summoning up hang glider wings from within me. Air from under me lifted me up and I soared.
There used to be a time when I couldn’t see the sun, 5 years, in fact. But now, now I could do whatever I wanted (except get some ice cream). I had gone through so many stages. I’d gone from an unimportant city boy, to a special operative, a lover and then a super soldier; then to a survivor and a loner. I’d found Carl, for or better or worse, and he was my only tie to the real world. I’d dropped off Raven Corp’s radar, due to the fact that they thought I was dead. Now I was ready to get back on that radar.
The wind took me about 10 miles, where I found a trolley car to land on. Tired beyond belief, I lied down for the night and slept on the moving car.
I woke up in a station. It was filled with other trolleys and trains. The place was pretty big, about 3 football fields side to side and filled to the brim with other cars. And I mean filled, like I could easily jump from one to another.
When I stood up I took a look out the window. We were at the shore of the Babel District which meant I had three forms of transportation to choose from. I remembered this particular station from my few lessons with the White Ops. They had said that this station was like an international airport, but with more than just planes. I’d just taken a trolley and I saw plenty of trains, but there were cruise ships, yachts, schooners, and planes of all sizes somewhere around there. I remembered the Chief having said that the best form of transport was the one that’s least likely to be searched, shoving planes out of the list unless in dire need of time. So sneaking onto a small boat departing from the dock, I made my way for the Power District, for home. I guess I still do have some White Op in me.
I have no idea what happened when we docked, because unfortunately I had to deal with the group of 7 workers that came down and roused me from the boiler room. I generally don’t like killing innocent people, but I couldn’t take any chances. My happy wake up call was a nice smack in the head with a night stick. I absorbed it into my skull as I started to stand up. These 2 guards were freaking out and almost wetting themselves so they called over not 1, not 2, but 5 other guards to “check this out”. I had enough time to stand up and stretch fully before catching their attention with a whistle. They all looked over at me; that’s when I got my morning exercise. I charged and beat the first one over the head with a metal reinforced elbow while finger shooting another square between the eyes with a silenced pistol. Everyone else snapped out of their trances and rushed back at me, night sticks in hand. I jumped up, kicking a guy in the face and grabbing another’s neck and snapping it. The next guy came at me with his night stick and I slid under his swing. I slipped his feet out from under him, came up to a standing position, and swung his body into the last 2 guards, who hit their necks pretty hard on a pole. There was one guy who apparently didn’t read the memo that he was supposed to be dead, so I went over and curb stomped him. All said and done I waltzed out singing “Safety Dance” under my breath and moving to the beat.
I slipped into the crowd and easily made my way into the town. From the looks of it, mainly the “Welcome to Exadry” signs, I was in Exadry. Exadry is a nice town, it’s sort of like a city on the beach if that makes any sense. Definitely not a polluting city, more of a city on the wayside, where you can see the beach from the sky scrapers, but not from the highway. Anyway, it’s beautiful and I remembered a couple summers when my parents and I went down there to check out the attractions.
But then the bad new set in, I realized that Exadry is almost 2,000 miles from Rigob. I had a lot of ground to cover, and in only 3 days. But I decided to stick to the same rule, choose the transportation that won’t search you. Besides, I was almost out of money and dirty as hell, if hell ever gets dirty. I don’t know, it might, I mean you get fire, you get sinners, and you get forced labor, there’s bound to be a lot of sweat. But that’s not really dirty; it’s just kind of disgusting. Of course the sweat might put out some of the flames so who knows. Back on my train of thought, I chose to take a bus. I had just enough money to get a one way ticket to New Ancook, where I was hoping to grab another bus to Rigob.
The ride was nice, there was a lot of scenery and they played some good movies on the TVs. I made friends with the guy sitting to my left, but I stayed sure not to get too friendly. My name became Fred and I had been homeless ever since I dropped out of school. That’s when my dad had beaten me to a pulp and taken all my stuff. I’d been saving enough money to get a ride home to Rigob. By the time I’d finished my tall tale, I wished it was true, in comparison to what the truth was. The guy, Jeff, made a big deal about it. He said he was a minister for a church and would do anything to help me out a little, including standing up in front of everybody, telling them my story, and asking for everybody to “reach into their hearts and find something, anything, that could get (me) that much closer to the life (I’d) lost”. That particular line caught me by surprise, making me think that I had let slip the true story of my life. It felt true, especially the part about “the life (I’d) lost”. Anyway Jeff helped me rake in 150 big ones to “support my cause”. And the look on that guy’s face, well, I felt kind of bad for lying to him.
When I got off in New Ancook, the bus was practically flooded with tears of joy as I “made my way into the world”. Jeff even stopped my hurried leaving to lead us all in prayer. And then I bolted out of there, if I had stayed any longer I think I would’ve let something slip eventually.
The 150 was enough for me to buy a transferring ticket to Rigob and feed me a substantial lunch. Then I waited for an hour or so for my next bus. In the time it took the bus to arrive, I was able to… “con” is such a nasty word… deceive another bystander into believing the same story I had told Jeff. And she did the same thing, asked random people she didn’t know for donations to my cause. That little experiment made me 217 dollars richer.
When I did get on my bus I thought I might be able to go for the turkey. You know, like when you’re bowling and you get 3 strikes in a row; a turkey. So I started chatting it up with a couple sitting in front of me. They were nice, Rube and Juliet, and so I spun my web of deception and went for broke on the touchy parts. They bought it hook line and cur-plunk. Pretty soon Juliet was talking with the women in front of her, and Rube was asking 3 other rows if they had some extra cash for me. I played dumb, just to sell it, and told them that I was fine, and I had already gotten enough money for my trip to Rigob and a couple days of food. But they insisted, so I took one out of John Racter’s playbook and decided it was best to not decline offers. Instead, I took all I was given.