The poison hour. It was the name the people near the surface gave to the predetermined time when all the manufacturing and power plants would vent out the gaseous waste accumulated from the previous week.
Alarms would sound, doors were sealed shut. But there were deaths every time. Some unlucky wanderer that was on too many pills. They would forget about all the warnings.
I had to be careful not to run them over. If my motorcycle was damaged I would die. It was had the filters that kept me alive while I did my job.
Despite its name, The Poison Hour lasted over a day. Things needed to be done. Odd jobs. Wiping the muck from storefronts, disposing of bodies, and one or two others.
It was ideal for illegal activities. Cameras were switched off to avoid excess wear. Streets were cleared.
My implants didn’t exactly keep me alive. They just pushed the poison into an artificial organ. It simply filtered and stored it inside me, next to my other, flesh organs. If it went into overflow, I wouldn’t last very long.
The cleaning, that was a good cover. I ran drugs. Massive quantities. I liked my job, since I didn’t have to deal with any junkies. I would go from one supplier to a dealer, and so on.
Implants were expensive, and apparently I was on the forefront of this lucrative enterprise.
Today I had a strange request. It was a doctor. I was supposed to go to his place. This guy was choice about his words, and had obviously not done too many dealings.
After I tossed the second junkie into one of the incinerators, and cleaned some storefronts I went to a large sealed door.
I slipped off my bike, hooked up the hose to my side and emptied out the toxins that I had accumulated in the short drive over.
As I went to the door and approached the intercom I felt something strange, but I couldn’t place it. My hand went to the button.
“You felt something strange stepping up to my door, right?”
My stomach churned a bit, and I felt a little light-headed.
“I have turned off your synth organs.”
I didn’t wait for him to finish before running back to the bike. I hooked up and it began pumping the toxins out. I could only do this for a couple minutes before I’d die. The bike’s filter helped, but not enough. I would be dead before getting to any help.
The intercom crackled to life.
“You’re my hands for the day. I don’t need to know your name. But here are the rules: If you’re late I remotely reverse the osmosis process in your synth organs. Do you understand?”
“What is this about? What did I do to you?”
“You didn’t do anything to me. New Rule: no more questions.”
My rage grew.
“What the fuck did I do to you?”
Suddenly my body rocked with an electrical jolt. I blacked out. It was only for a moment, but any electricity could mess with the synth. I grabbed at the interface on my bike, things checked out. But I didn’t know how many more times that could happen before a reboot.
“That was a .01 amp discharge. I could send a .02 discharge if you feel like asking more irrelevant questions. And you’re running out of time as it is.”
I stared at the intercom. This man had my life in his hands. He definitely had worked on synth organs, and there was no way this was going to be a light job.
“Good. I’m going to give you a name, and you’re going to find them and kill them. If you’re not back here in one hour I send a more powerful discharge, reverse the osmosis, and destroy the intercom. You die in the street from a synth malfunction and someone replaces you.”
“I don’t have much choice.”
“There’s always a choice, my hands. I’ve just made it easier to work for me.”
I waited, staring at the intercom. This was unacceptable. I would kill this man before the night was done. But for now, he held all the cards.
“Van Thueson, lower 3rd district.”
I felt my synth turn back on, and without a wasted movement I unhooked, mounted my bike and burned rubber to the north.