The cigar was a relic, like Mason. The best ones were hand-rolled from UV grown tobacco, shipped across oceans and lit with hundred credit notes. Or so the stories went. The tales were from a long time ago, and as old as Mason felt, he wasn’t that far gone.
Briskins was waiting for him as he arrived, surveying the scene at the Underground station. Any normal jumper would just be placed in a locker by the trackside until the graveyard shift. But this wasn’t your everyday business junkie who’d made one bad investment too many.
“He’s Archen,” Briskins said, by way of introduction.
Mason crouched down by the edge of the platform, looking down at the tracks and the eight foot monstrosity spread across them. The glass partitions were up, the semi-evacuated atmosphere of the tunnel temporarily sealed off. Gone were the old days of electric rails. Now you just stuck a big fan on a fancy cart and sent it through a vacuum. Hammersmith to Liverpool Street in nine minutes.
Archen were tough sons of bitches. When they first started venturing out into the cities, police were worried they’d be targeted. Attacked. Even killed. Which all proved utterly pointless as soon as you saw one fight. Unless you had a knife bigger than your arm, you weren’t gonna do them any damage. And these bastards? Mason half grunted, half laughed.
“LUCAS says the guy just appeared on the tracks. Which matches up with the platform computers. Those doors didn’t open until we arrived.”
Mason tried to make out the face of the thing, but equal parts bodily impact and the fact they were fucking hideous made that difficult. He’d been hit and then compressed as the train passed overhead. The only reason he was still in one piece was the fact the train had slowed for the bend.
“K’na t’trains gaspack?”
Mason chewed the cigar. He couldn’t light it. Not here. Not on the surface streets. His Doctor knew everytime he took a draw, the stupid tic under his skin sending back every heartbeat and misfire. One heart attack and you’re hooked up for life. The new arrivals shadow fell across Mason’s back.
“This is our case,” Mason said, without turning. “Shove off.”
“Archenin eta Archenon.”
It was hard to square up to one of them. Mason stood, grabbed his cigar and stubbed it against the breastplate of the visitor. Eight feet, knees that bent backward, inner and outer fingers and a face that even a mother could have hit with the ugly stick.
“This is my city bub.”
“This my brother.”
Mason didn’t know if they were brothers or not. And he sure as hell couldn’t compare faces, not any more and not before either.
“Start talking Archy, how’d he get here?”
Prompt originally posted by cyberdsaiyan on reddit and received 25 upvotes.