When the Sun is Possible

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story told entirely through one chase scene.... view prompt

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Science Fiction Thriller Adventure

 

  Sai wove her way through tight crowds. Loose pants covered her legs, and the jacket she’d stolen hid the serial number running down her forearm. Large pockets concealed everything she needed: knives, the device, and her Sun. She just hoped the disguise would get her to the gate. After that, all her luck depended on the device Slippery Wren assured her would mask her signal. She’d trusted Wren this far and he’d never let her down. This type of tech required a special level of skill though, it wasn’t guaranteed to work. But any chance to escape the city was worth the risk. She had the Sun and they would do everything in their power not to let her escape. Getting out of the outer ring would be a breeze as long as Wren’s device worked. Getting into the outer ring was the problem. They’d both be problematic if Wren’s device failed. 

The crowd slowly morphed its way into a line. At the end stood The Gate, the only exit point in the dome-covered inner city. On either side stood a large guard post manned by masked, armed figures. As each person in line neared the gate they donned their own mask. Sai held hers at the ready. It was expensive and useless for her, but it was necessary to blend in. Sai trained her eyes on the lights above The Gate. Two bulbs sat in wait. As each human passed through, the left bulb flickered green. If Sai could sweat there’d be a puddle at her feet. 

They’d told her she wasn’t capable of being nervous. But at this moment she was. Throughout her life, she’d been told she was unable to experience happiness, anger, confusion, sadness, but one by one she’d experienced them all. As she neared The Gate, so many emotions flooded her system she couldn’t even pull them apart to understand what they were. 

Three people away. Green light... Green light... She reached into one of the deep pockets and clicked the button on the device. Green light. She stepped up to The Gate. One guard motioned her through. She walked calmly, however, she readied herself to spring away at a moments notice. And that moment came when the light flashed red. An alarm rang through the area and Sai leaped into the crowd. The guards at The Gate were trained to deal with a rogue. But to date, they’d never had to use that training firsthand. The brief moment of confusion created a window for Sai to gain the advantage. 

The hydraulics in her leg pumped hard as her feet pounded the pavement below. She navigated her way through the crowd towards the darkness at the edge of the city. A green cloud of smog constantly coated the sky. The bright lights of the inner city made the cloud glow above the large buildings behind her. Everything in the city shone so brightly and colorful, she’d never known anything else. But the outer ring boasted fewer skyscrapers and more trade stalls. The lack of industrial lighting actually created a better environment for the visual receptors that served as her eyes. A loud voice rang throughout the area. She snapped to her senses realizing she had slowed down to admire the city that previously imprisoned her. She would not go back. 

The amplified voice sounded again clearing the area. She sprang back into action as she realized the police would use whatever force necessary to contain her. Dashing into an alley she refused to be captured. Her whole life she had been labeled as property. But her, and those like her who held their own Sun, knew better. Still, their creators refused to believe they felt emotion. It wasn’t possible.

“Escape is impossible! Surrender now!” The voice faded as she wove between tightly packed alleys of merchants. 

Skidding around another corner she came face-to-face with a masked figure. Too late to stop, she angled herself to slide past the person in order to avoid a collision. The squeeze was tight. But she skirted the figure with the agility of a cat. Slinking back into her running stance she continued her mad dash. However, she miscalculated her surroundings and came quickly upon another kiosk. With no time to think, she bounded into the air and flipped over the roof of the temporary structure. The terrified people around her scattered. As she landed, one terror-stricken member of the herd froze in place. She crashed down on the man and twisted to the ground. 

She heard the unmistakable sound of metal snapping. With no time for a visual assessment, she relied solely on the system diagnostic that ran whenever it detected damage. It told her the rotation of her left ankle was compromised. Still, she trudged on, pushing herself faster.

The throng of people dispersed with an unsettling speed as police barreled through after Sai. People dove out of the streets and ducked behind dumpsters. People shuttered windows, even those high above the action. Heavily armed troops in black armor stormed through the alleyways clearing their path. They pushed anything and anyone that wasn’t their target away with brute force. According to Sunlight Technologies, rogue AI units only caused destruction. Something incapable of empathy could only destroy when not ruled by an iron fist. 

It was rhetoric Sai saw every day. As she darted towards the darkness she passed signage depicting her kind as savage when not obedient. It was all propaganda she knew, but unfortunately, no one listened to her. She wasn’t human. Fury blinded her as she rounded a corner into a pitch-black area. The solid wall of a building met her. Panic rushed through her. She pulled her jacket tighter, imitating countless humans she’d seen do the same when frightened. Heavy, booted footsteps hammered the pavement. They grew ever nearer as Sai contemplated her options. 

The squad rounded the corner. “HALT!” one of the masked men shouted. But the glow emanating from the flashlights on their uniforms highlighted her last hope. Another agent drew their weapon. Sai remembered the countless times she witnessed such an object used on her friends. She shuddered slightly before vaulting straight up nearly two stories and grasping for the broken fire escape. A shot of electricity bolted out and struck the spot she occupied only nanoseconds before. She felt the mechanisms in charge of moving her ankle grind. The sensation reverberated throughout her skeleton. It wasn’t pain, but it was the closest thing to it she could experience. Still, it sent dread through her; she knew well enough the damage was bad. 

The weakened joint distorted her jump and she just barely gripped the fire escape with one hand. A quick look down revealed the person with the weapon recharged and took aim for a second shot while another spoke into a radio. She swung her other arm up and began scaling the remnants of the ladder. She moved quickly knowing another lead lay within her grasp. The agents were unable to replicate the jump she had. The needed to run around the building, enter it and take the stairs to the roof. She would reach the top before they even made it to the door. 

At the top, she paused to survey the path to her goal. Roughly 1,200 feet of rooftop lay between her and the wild. Another 100 feet of wide-open grass stood between the end of the city and the Forest of Eternal Fog, where humans could not survive. The surface below her feet rumbled. She moved once more knowing the police drew near.

Sai soared from the first set of platforms to the next as the police burst from the rooftop door. While the buildings allotted little space between them, the agents would have a hard time traversing them in their armor.  She figured their job was mostly over. However, she reasoned the radio call had been for backup on the border. She heard a crackling noise and sidestepped behind a rooftop water tower. A sharp stream of lightening whirred past her. The further she traveled, the less accurate they would be. She pressed on.

One more shot rang out before she reached the last roof. It missed by a wide margin. She ducked behind a large vent and contemplated her final move. This was it. The final stretch. Humans, unable to filter the poison of the Eternal Fog, never ventured past the safe zone. Their masks filtered anything that found its way to the outer ring, but anything past the field heralded certain death. She knew a squad of gunmen waited for her, hiding in between the buildings on the edge. A rooftop sniper probably waited for her to show her head at any moment. 

No more cover lay between her and the forest’s edge. She had to assume she was surrounded. These agents trained for years to handle her kind, trained to predict her movements, trained to keep rogues a secret. 

“No,” she whispered, “I am not a rogue. I have found the Sun.”

Her eyes narrowed. She concentrated on the tree line. Then she ran. She bolted forward as fast as her legs could pump. She bounded off the roof’s edge and sailed as far as possible before landing. Once she made contact with the ground, more metal from her left side crunched. But she ran. She sprinted, pushing herself harder, despite feeling every joint in her left leg crumbling. Even though she heard shouting, she ran. She stumbled every so often, altering her path slightly, but she never slowed. Even though gunfire blasted behind her, she ran. She ran as if the fire of the hottest star were on her heels. 

And she never looked back.

 

July 15, 2020 18:41

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1 comment

Laura Clark
21:15 Jul 19, 2020

This was so good! I was gripped and completely rooting for her. I also want to know all of the backstory - this is a book waiting to happen.

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