AD The year it began. When
the world devoured itself with the nuclear weapons of World War III. America
split into three warring factions as the rest of Earth began a hideous death
toil in a bid for world domination; the Hitler Clone paving the road. The
world was destroyed in the first twenty-four hours.
June 18 of the same year the Neo-Nazis
launched the first of their almost limitless supply of Xenon Bombs upon New
York and London.
July 4 was the day the snow started; death
and radiation sickness dominating the world.
On November 26 the remaining countries gave
up hope of the snow and carnage ever stopping.
AD Present day ASA. The
land had become a tundra of snow and death. Hypothermia and frostbite replaced
Heart Attacks as the leading killer, and both were more frequent than the
common cold. But, with World War
III over, the scattered governments met mutual agreements of survival. Instead
of the Land of the Free, it became the Land of the Freezing.....
bit his lip to get the blood moving again. He could feel the frost on his eyes
gather a little closer to his body for the warm, rich heat, tugging them down
in their effort. His thick coat glimmered with the light of the sun, with the
dark brown fur and wool fused together from the cold of so many years.
His eyes wandered from the small, brittle
houses made from the remnants of tall buildings, pouring out the smoke of the
rustic fuel called gasoline. All of the precious resource was used for one
purpose. Heat; to warm the blood of the ever wary being that longed for it.
He could imagine the exquisite feeling of
this great lover. Caressing his entire body as he soaked it all up, making
sure nothing could escape him. Heat... only once in Xander's life had he
really felt it.
That was from the last body warmth of his
mother. The night she had held him as close as she could and slipped away.
"Hey, dipshit, where the hell you
going?" A rough gloved hand grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him
back. "I'm still waiting for my shit, boy."
"I got it right here, Vac.... just lemme
have the stuff."
"I'll give it to you, all right. Let's
see it." Xander stared at the brown beard running across the scruffy face
of Vac Nomaro. With the top of his head covered by his usual hunting hat, and
the rest by his parka, Xander could only make out Vac's face an eggshaped
thing that clutched the beady eyes to the sharp creases spread horizontally.
Xander reached down and pulled out the small
lithium rod in its protective shielding. The green light of its core was like
a small sun, pulsing and sending the waves of heat out that couldn't escape.
Only last Tuesday had he stolen it from the Monti Clair Corporation. At the
current economy of the Allied States of America, the little rod in his hand
was worth more than a quarter of California, yet with the amount of crooked
fences floating around, all Xander could get out of it was a month's worth of
cash and a bag of snuff. "Here, Vac," he said holding his shaky hand
out and pulling back when Vac reached for it. "Now, where's mine?"
Vac shoved the young thief into the wall of
the house they stood in front of. "You'll get it when I've seen the
lithium, you stupid punk."
A close inspection of the green crystal
brought a smile to Vac's face. The dark beard that hung close to his face
wrinkled up and the creases around his eyes doubled. "Oh, yes, this will
do...." He turned back to Xander.
"Here. I have your next job." Vac
tossed a wad of cash and a bag of white powder attached to a folded yellow
paper at Xander's feet and walked away.
stared at the note while he bit into the sandwich. Or at least, that's what
they called it in Maine in the rest of America they called it a Shitwich.
Just two slices of moldy bread with anything edible found in the remote area.
He sat in a small bar. Brown, red and
plastered white splotches covering the radiation holes greased the walls.
Waiters in recycled clothing wiped the tables with yellow rags, spitting
instead of using water during a wipe-down. And across a longer wall was a huge
poster with the words: "Stop the Greenhouse Effect!", put up after
the end of WWIII as an irony for present day America. Most of the tables
around him were occupied with scraggly people barely getting by on whatever
"Vlacner Mansion?" the young thief
questioned quietly. "How the hell am I supposed to get into Vlacner
Mansion?" He shook his head.
The huge palace the people of Maine called
Vlacner Mansion was the largest place in all of the state. Probably every
humanoid in the surrounding areas knew about Vlacner or at least knew of
how goddamn rich the place was.
He had seen the creepy old mansion a few
times, the vision of the black house was practically burned into his memory.
Of how it was barely visible through the snow as it sits there, every window
boarded up and every wall and door protected with metallic frames. It looked
more like a metal mountain than a house.
And the most prominent feature ญญญญ
the energy shield. Projected almost twenty-five meters away from the actual
house, the translucent blue bubble surrounds it from every which way. Not a
single soul has been known to go in or out.
The yellow paper of the note was crumpled to
almost a fine crease, but Xander read it again. The blueprints of the house
was right in his hands. He had to get in, get out, and take a portable psi-generator.
A portable psi-generator!
He shook his head. A psi-generator was worth
an entire state because of its rarity. Only a year before the war had broken
out had the model been made. Very few were in existence at that time, and once
the war had started, the generator had been put into decommission but
because the generator could turn anything possessing even a remote amount of
metallic structure, even bodily waste, into pure energy capable of powering a
revo-factory for years, people were in desperate demand for it.
He thumped money onto the table and walked
out chewing on the last pieces of his Shitwich.
sixteen year old thief sat on a dune of snow, basking in the white light of
the sun. No one knew why the sun actually had that color. Some say the
radiation from the Xenon Bombs had affected the ozone, turning the yellow
beams of heat from the great ball of fire the moment it hit the atmosphere to
the icy waves of chills that ever so frequently passed through the people of
the renamed: New Earth. Still, the color fit the white planet. Every country
inside and out of ASA was covered with snow. Tropical countries were blasted
with storms of snow and hail, and once snowy areas bombarded twice as much.
Xander looked past the tiny snowflakes floating gently down to the ground as
he stared at the bare outline of Maine City's sky scrapers. Like tall standing
light houses, the buildings reflected the white light of sun into a glare that
was almost unbearable. They stood in the white frigid ground, surrounded by
the smoking infant buildings, crammed full of tenants who were overcharged and
poor. Xander sighed when he thought of how sad the white town of Maine looked
to the naked eye. He thought of how sad the people of Maine looked, and how
nothing would ever change during his lifetime. He looked down and flexed his
fingers, feeling a bit of pity for the insignificant people dying from the
ideals of prejudice assholes, oppressing and killing everything because of
belief. He shook it off and turned back to the Mansion.
Out of the entire operation for the portable
psi-generator, this was the hardest. If Xander was even a split-second too
late, he wouldn't make it past the energy shield, and most likely be left with
one half of his body on one side of the shield, and the other half on other
side. Not the greatest of feelings he could imagine.
Although the portable psi-generator was
sending enough energy to produce the shield, the generators for the shield
itself were actually about three hundred meters under the ground, hidden so
that anyone foolish enough to try to assault the Vlacner Mansion above ground
would not be able to destroy the outside shielding.
Xander craned his head to see the far distant
landscape. His chronometer told him time was short until his chance, so he
stood up and tensed his muscles. Then he saw it: an icy blue wave of friction
and energy closing across the Maine snow lands.
Once a month, energy from Maine's revo-factory
had to be released because of capacity problems. When that happened, the
energy from their conduit store box let out a blue ribbon of pure electro-magnicity
shoot out across the countryside until its energy protons had been dispersed
across the land. The electro-magnicity contained in the energy ribbon was
unbelievably powerful. When the ribbon hit an electrically powered object, it
would temporarily short circuit, and, with any luck for him, Xander could leap
past the shields just as they automatically shut off for the ribbons passing.
Of course, Xander would also be helped by the large heave from the air buffer
accumulated across the front of the ribbon, trapped there because it had no
time to escape and the speed of the wave didn't let it.
The small thief shot a glance backwards at
the wave of blue sparkling energy gliding across Maine. Sparks and bright
light shimmered around the ribbon, the wind sending objects not tied down
catapulting into the sky as it passed. The nylon rope wrapped around his hand
burned when he tightened it. The trick was, since the ribbon was coming
towards his back, to hold onto the rope until the shield went down, then let
the wave carry him past the shield and towards the house with luck not too
He could feel the strong push of the air
buffer sliding him forwards. His legs started to slip underneath him, leaving
only the rope tied to a buried tree stump to keep him anchored. The energy
ribbon was only fifty meters behind him and closing when the shield started to
flash with colors. As the ion particles preceding the energy ribbon touched
the barrier, the shield started to spider web into cracks like a pane of
glass, fluttering in and out of reality.
Xander let go and hoped the wind didn't carry
him to far as the shield shut down. The heat from the energy wave warmed his
back as he shot into the air, arms and legs flailing in a vein effort to stop
His body hit the ground in a burst of
powdered snow, face first with the white substance covering his entire body.
For the first time in his life, the young thief was actually happy that it was
there. The energy ribbon passed overhead, whipping the snow across his body
and burying him underneath it. He rolled over and, while groaning, wiped it
off. "What I do for a lousy hundred grand......"
small flash lamp tied across Xander's inside palm sent an array of light to
the exact location he chose. The palm lamp was actually one of the thief's
best tools, as you directly control where you want light, and can close your
hand to shut off the light instead of fumbling with switches. Only when
carrying an object does it become a bother, and at that point use of the chest
lamp strapped to him would be needed.
"Basement... basement.... where's the
The thief looked around with a creepy feeling
tugging inside him. The walls decorating the room he was inside reminded him
of hunting trophies; with tall heads of rare animals covered in strange
writing, and long painted spears. Each of the pious objects were bathed with
shadows. A picture of a furry blur moving across the snow grabbed Xander's
attention and brought him closer. The blur had startling red eyes that seemed
to quiver in the motionless picture. He shivered and moved onto the next room.
locks, electric door jams, everything that could stop Xander didn't.
Xander had spent more than half his life collecting anything needed to pick
and destroy each one, and although these models were very tough, he managed to
get past every single one. He had spent so much time inside the house that he
was sure it was dark outside.
What the thief thought strange was that the
entire house was covered with spider webs. It was like no one actually lived
inside, and coupled with the fact that only a small amount of spiders still
remained in existence, it meant that whoever did own the house, hadn't used it
But, no matter. Xander had reached the
basement. The entire house was controlled from here. Lights, electronics, even
cameras although they had no use as it seemed no one was watching the
monitors were spread everywhere when Xander entered the basement. Only a
few dim lights lit the large room, but enough light filled the inside to see
the enormous stacks of computers and security gear. It was like a maze of
electronics and generators, the middle crisscrossed with computers and almost
every part of the walls lined with them. It was painfully obvious no one had
expected anyone to gain entrance to such a protected area.
He lifted his gloved hand and touched the
metal electronics that lined the walls. Cobwebs drifted off with his touch,
sticking to his hand and leaving an open hole where one piece had split from
Then he stopped. A rectangular, electronic
remote with two slits on one side and three pegs on the other was clicked into
the wall. Switches and panels reflected light from the remote, and its silver
exterior had an odd gleam. He reached for the psi-generator attached into the
wall and pulled it out. Here it was, the reason for his entire mission. Here
was a hundred grand in his hand. He quickly took a sling pack off his belt and
There was an audible click followed by a
hoarse whisper. His arm shot down and pushed the generator into the pack while
he whipped his head over to find where the sound had come from.