Saturday, January 9, 2010

Industry's Downfall - (Installation 2)

  The assassin moved faster than Coyote could have predicted, and the widening of Coyote's gray eyes was the only sign of surprise.  She barely managed to void a blow to her jaw.  Coyote's attacker moved with stunning speed, and the blow most likely had enough power behind it to knock Coyote to the ground.  

  "Oh come on, give us a real kiss," The anarchist mocked as she dodged another blow from the white-haired assassin.  They seemed on equal ground, unable to land a blow on the other.  It was a flurry of motion atop the roof.

  Everything seemed to slow as Coyote tried to size up this assassin, certainly a very stunning and intimidating woman.  The darkness of her eyes was something Coyote wasn't expecting to see.  The white flash of her hair as she moved, yet she let out not a sound.  She was eerie in that she looked so delicate yet her blows delivered power that only Coyote herself had ever possessed before.

  And she was good with a knife, as before Coyote realized, her arm was gashed open and bleeding, when she'd not even seen the flash of a blade.  This alone made her grit her teeth in anger and start to lose focus.  Just like the assassin had wanted.

  One second of lost focus was all the assassin needed.  Coyote was struck hard in the jaw and knocked flat on her back.  Just as she felt the assassin climb on top of her and unsheathe some twine from her belt to tie Coyote's hands, a flash bomb elicited painful cries from them both.

  Jason came flying, a marvelous little blond ghost of gladiator, and landed right on top of the assassin.  He held a knife to her throat, his dirty little face twisted in a grimace.  "Get off of her now!"  

  Coyote wasn't sure if she should be angry that Jason had disobeyed her, or relieved that he had probably just saved her life.  The assassin wasn't expecting the ambush, and the surprise was clear on her face.  

  She lost focus, giving Coyote opportunity to overtake her and knock Jason to the roof.  In a few short deliberate moves, the anarchist had the assassin bound and disarmed.  "It's too bad, I like playing tag.  The game is over too soon," Coyote crooned softly against the assassin's ear, pulling back the white curtain of hair that surrounded the young face.  

  "Argonaut!" Coyote growled at Jason as he was scrambling to stand on the steel roof.  "I told you!"  The assassin struggled meanwhile in Coyote's grip, and the only thing that stilled her was Coyote jerking her backward, the assassin gagging and scowling as Coyote lead her down the network of steel pipes that lead downward to the ground.

  Jason responded with equal force, "Just because you told me it doesn't mean I'm gonna listen!  If it weren't for me you would have been gutted by this girl!"  He spit in the direction of the assassin and received a hard kick to his rump, sending him flying to the ground.

 "Go back to the ironworks, now, Argonaut!"

  His silhouette disappeared against the greenish night, headed toward the ironworks, shoulders hunched and fists balled up tightly.

  "So assassin," Coyote glanced around at the damp surroundings as it began to pour slightly acidic rain.  "You weren't going to kill me, just capture me?"

   The sky above them hung dark, sickly green, and all around pipes and iron constituted the cityscape, an industrial paradise.  No building seemed fully solid.  Panels of steel served as walls for most buildings, and some buildings were even a little lopsided in their structure.  Above, an airship passed over, steam puffing steadily from the base, wings made of iron and leather jerking up and down slowly to propel the ship forward.  Lights scanned the ground below.

  "Curfew ship," the assassin spat, fighting against her restraints.  Judging from her voice Coyote guessed her to be about the same age, yet her face was somehow serene and if this person had not tried to injure, kill, or capture her, Coyote would have thought she was quite beautiful.  She looked of an elegance that was rare in this wasteland of a city.

  The airship sirens sounded, loudly, and following were answering sirens from the streets.  Steam and spring motorized vehicles created to patrol the city and make sure that no citizen of World City was out prowling past curfew.  This heavily regulated city was dangerous at night, for normal citizens.  Ever Present knew that he was in danger not from normal citizens, but from the night prowlers, the factions of rebels hidden in abandoned factories and dilapidated buildings.  So, in an effort to stall or eliminate said opposition, he used what resources he had.  Steam-driven, wing-bearing airships hovered quietly in the sky and cars motorized with springs propelled their way through the streets to catch any rebels.

  Not wanting to get caught by Ever Present's storm troopers, as a light passed over and began to come near, Coyote shoved the assassin against one of the upward-shooting pipes beside the nearest building, the soft 'clang' of the assassin's clothing hitting the tin the only sound.  And a soft hiss under the assassin's breath gave away her displeasure as Coyote pressed in close behind, a pressing blade at the back of her neck her only warning to be quiet.

  Coyote's breath rose in the air as she breathed softly, face pressed close behind the assassin, one hand still tightly clasping the assassin's restraints.  Idly, she recognized the scent on the assassin's skin -- a little bit soft and musky -- was almost vanilla.

  They remained in close quarters for a few moments as the sirens passed.  Coyote felt the assassin cease struggling as one of the spring-powered cars noisily clamored through a nearby street.  

  "Listen," Coyote murmured against the assassin's curtain of hair, "I won't hurt you and I will eventually let you go back to wherever you came from if you're honest with me."  Her fingers replaced the blade at the back of the assassin's neck, gripping a pressure point softly, the assassin's muscles tensing.  "I just want to get back to the ironworks safely and find out who you are.  I'm not into fighting with people who want the same things I do." Coyote's voice was like silk that fell through the air in soft curtains, and in the humid, damp, and polluted air, it was a reminder of what a pure, soft breeze felt like.  She felt the assassin relent, softly, and the weight of her body relax slightly forward.

  Coyote awaited the assassin's response as nearby siren-cars passed, lights scanning.  
  The assassin nodded simply in agreement and slackened her wrists.  

  "Come on." 

  The two figures clamored up atop some iron frame-work, passing from rooftop to pipeline.  The soft 'clang, clang' of their nearly-silent footsteps echoed among the now silent streets.  One magnificent woman, long, flowing, white hair, followed a shorter woman who by all means gave no signs of her identity by her silhouette.  Dylan, known as Coyote by everyone else, stood a few inches shorter than the beauty behind her.  Dylan's short, messy, black hair, contrasted the assassin's elegant white hair.  Army boots to the knee contrasted the assassin's soft black shoe.

  Though the assassin was being led, and they contrasted each other in all ways, they seemed equals in the moment of passing through the streets atop pipelines and rooftops.  Cooperative in some way.

  Coyote lead her detainee to the ironworks, untying her hands and motioning for her to drop through the slat in the roof.  "Don't give me any trouble, assassin," she murmured softly after the white-haired rebel had dropped through the slat.  Coyote followed quickly behind, pressing her fingers to the assassin's lower back to guide her through the complicated pipework which lead them into the main room in the ironworks.  

  "First, how about a name?" Coyote inquired carefully, pressing the assassin onward.


   "That's a start," Coyote responded.  This woman looked like a Leo.  She was dangerous yet somehow seemed the type of person that unless she wanted you to notice her, she could slip below anyone's radar.  Leo had a hidden fire, a subtle danger and sharpness in her eyes.  "Here," Coyote nudged the captured assassin off the end of the pipe into the abandoned ironworks main room.

  The grey-eyed Coyote lead Leo by the wrist into the old steam room, a smaller room.  Not according to size, but the sheer volume of machinery in the room.  Steam had made the room humid and it seemed much more claustrophobic than most would expect.  The only way to get into the open part of the room, was to squeeze through a complicated network of piping.  Coyote's small stature allowed her more space but Leo had to duck a few times.

  Coyote sighed softly as she heard small footsteps behind them.  It was Jason.

  "Argonaut," Coyote's voice jumped off the metal and echoed through the claustrophobic room.  "Get out of here."

  "I was just--"

  The boy huffed, balled his fists up, but didn't protest as his footsteps receded and he left the room, slamming the large iron door shut, not without a loud, ear-piercing noise from the rusty hinges.  

  With more roughness than was probably necessary, she shoved Leo against the back wall and the look in her eyes commanded that Leo not move a muscle.  The tattooed anarchist disappeared for a moment, foot-falls echoing, and returned with chains.  

  "You don't have to use those," Leo's voice protested softly.  "If I was going to kill you then I would have.  I was only supposed to capture you and find out what you knew," the confession came quickly though did no good as the chains were secured around her wrists and ankles, though loosely.

  Coyote shook her head, grey eyes focused on the chains as she secured the last one with a small hook.  Around the room, springs and machinery huffed and puffed, and the room was anything but quiet.  Yet that's what Coyote needed.  None of the "Anarchy Boys" as she called them sometimes privately, needed to hear any of this yet.  

  "Precaution.  You're still an assassin, from the way you're dressed.  And you were watching me.  Makes sense that you were only supposed to capture me but you're still someone I can't trust and know nothing about."  Coyote's voice had lost some of its edge.  She didn't absolutely detest Leo, yet.  But the anarchist leader couldn't trust her either.  "So tell me what you know and I'll let you go with certain conditions."

  Leo's lip furled in discontent as she yanked on a chain, "This is stupid."  

  "Tell me what you know," Coyote left no room for argument, reaching around behind Leo and grabbing her last remaining one-handed blade, flipping it out and pressing it against Leo's neck.  "You don't have any room to argue with me right now."

  "We know Ever Present is mobilizing his storm troopers for something.  He's got intelligence units constantly seeking out every faction and is looking for all of us, you anarchists included."  Leo spoke calmly despite the metal pressed against her neck.  "I don't know what he knows."  

  "The airships are out every night now, for hours," Coyote stated the fact carefully.  "It makes sense.  Why were you supposed to track and capture me?"

  Leo's eyes spoke of much confliction; to speak and reveal these things was a betrayal no matter what faction you belonged to, "Because we wanted to learn your techniques and learn what you knew about Ever Present.  So far you're the only person to get into Ever Present's headquarters.  Even our best assassins can't get in there."

   "My techniques are something your kind can't understand," the tattooed anarchist arched an eyebrow.  "We're about distraction, noise, ambush tactics.  You're all about stealth, silence, observation."

   Leo nodded in agreement, "That's why we needed you."

   "Oh what, to hold me hostage until I divulged everything we know?  Everything I know about engineering?  Not gonna happen, assassin."


   Coyote narrowed her eyes, "You don't seem like the type to assassinate anyone.  You're soft." The knife in Coyote's hand clicked as the blade withdrew, and she poked Leo's shoulder hard.  "Maybe that's your trick."

   Leo grinned very softly, "Maybe."

   No doubt about it, Coyote imagined this woman's lethal beauty being her best weapon.  She clicked the knife open and shut thoughtfully.  "I'm not letting you go for a while.  Perhaps we can work out some negotiations.  The Anarchists can't do this alone and neither can any of you."

   Leo's lack of reaction seemed more like a sign of neutrality.  

   Coyote knelt before Leo, undoing the chains around her ankles and sliding them noisily across the floor.  She left the assassin's hands bound still, "You're going to have to get used to being around me until I'm done with you." 

   The white-haired Leo merely remained silent and obedient, and as the chains around her wrists were tugged, she followed Coyote out of the complicated and crowded network of pipes.  "You're kinda short."  She spoke as the door edged open.

   Coyote raised an eyebrow, chain gripped tightly in her hand, and as she tugged Leo roughly out of the room, she smiled.

   "Smoke," Henry smiled in greeting to his friend and clapped the boy on the back.  "We've got a lot of work today.  I think Coyote said we need to take out one of the patrol cars later tonight.  Let Ever Present know that he's under threat."

   Smoke nodded, "Yeah, I've started engineering this new thing," he removed the protective golden goggles from his eyes.  "It's a spring-powered gun."  In his hands he had what looked like a heavy springed-crossbow.  Made of tin, iron, and springs, on the end was a tightly coiled rope and a carefully molded yet light-weighing arrow.

   "I don't know what you'd call it.  It's like a crossbow only when you trigger this," Smoke pressed a small latch in the back, "It withdraws right away.  It'll be effective for penetrating the panels that protect the storm troopers in their vehicles.  Plus if you land it right," the thing made a loud 'clack' as it fired and landed on a target perhaps five feet away, "you can use it to pull yourself along with it.  And you guys would be able to ambush the vehicle and stay with it.  With the rollers," Smoke motioned to the rollers they used often when traveling quickly around town, "You'd be able to tail it long enough to launch a parasite bomb on the side of the vehicle, or even find a way to get up onto one of the airships."

   The room they were in was full of gadgetry.  A lot of twisted and rusted metal had become effectively engineered weapons, bombs, and other various items that came in handy in their ambush tactics.  They were all stacked on top of one another, enough weapons to supply more than three times their number.  Smoke was the resident engineer.  He knew more about this industrial technology, steam and spring-powered machinery, and chemistry, than anyone else that lived in the ironworks.

   Smoke was quite the unique fellow.  He was not much older than 11, but somehow was a mad genius of sorts.  Only he and Coyote wore golden goggles resembling that of an airship captain.  They protected their eyes from several things, but for Smoke they were less of an accessory.  Often Coyote wore hers just above her brow, instead of over her eyes.  Smoke wore them always over his eyes, working with chemicals and springs, his eyes had to remain protected.

   Henry toyed with the unusual gun Smoke had created, and jumped back a little in shock when the secondary latch triggered the rope and arrow's return.  The gun jerked in his hand, and he blinked in surprise.  

   "Yeah," Smoke chuckled, dimples on his tanned and dirty cheeks, "the backlash is a little rough.  It's a prototype, really."

   Henry nodded, "Yeah, this should definitely come in handy tonight.  Can I try it out tonight?"

   "Just let me know if it malfunctions, I know the springs I used are a little rusted and might be losing a bit of their kinetic energy."

  "Sure thing.  Thanks," Henry clapped Smoke on the back lightly and held the springed gun in one hand, and gathered a few more items in the other, before he determinedly strode out of the lab.


   Jason paced in front of the rest of the group.  They were all eager to leave.  Attacking one of the patrol cars would be fun, for sure, and a great relief from being trapped in the ironworks. 

   As Henry returned with a small arsenal of weapons, he handed them all out and the frantic Jason appeared soothed. 

   "Alright, the game plan is to wait a few blocks down.  If we can get our hands on one of the steam-cars we can at least make Ever Present aware that we aren't going to sit back anymore.  One steam-car down would make him nervous."  Henry spoke authoritatively and paused in front of the group.  "We'll all take rollers, and ambush the steam-car as it comes by.  I want to blind them first with flares, take them by surprise.  Then we'll use these," he held up an inconspicuous item shaped somewhat like half of a ball, "parasite bombs.  Latch them onto the steam car."

  One of the boys pumped his fist in the air, "Finally, some explosions," he grinned happily.

  "Yeah, that's the point.  Cause a distraction, and get out of there in time to escape and make them wonder who'd be bold enough to attack.  We'll ransack whatever they have in the vehicle to hopefully dig up some more information.  We have to be quick, agile, and wild enough to frighten them."

  A few boys hooted, hollered.  

  "Everyone get the basic idea?"

  "Give them hell!" Jason leaped upward and smacked one of the others on the back.  "Let's go!"

  Henry grinned genially and nodded, "Let's go boys."

  "And girl!"  Iris, the only other female in the Anarchy Boys besides Coyote, piped in as she shoved against Henry's leg to remind him.  

  Henry ruffled her hair, "And girl." He winked at the younger girl and their silhouettes left a dark mass on the floor as they headed out of the ironworks and into the humid, damp evening, ready for battle.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Industry's Downfall - (Installation 1)

   Coyote ran as fast as her legs would carry, bounded over rising plumes of smoke, steel pipes, her steel-toed boots barely scraping the edge of an iron frame as she leaped from one building to another.  The alley beneath her feet blurred by and she landed, tumbled hard onto the roof.  She felt her shoulder smash against the hard steel surface and hissed in pain.  Recovering, she scrambled with some agility and pressed onward across rooftops, the polluted iron and steel city-scape a mockery of the industrial age.

  This figure, a short-haired, androgynous, ageless female, was not imposing by all means.  Her stature only rose about shoulder-height to any average male, but she was not someone to cross.  Coyote's real name was Dylan, but her personality resembled the tricky and reckless animal that had long ago fallen extinct.  Her ability to survive in this industrial mockery of steam-powered engines and factories had given her the wiley nature she now possessed, and it had placed her right at the head of a small band of anarchists.

   Some of these anarchists were as young as nine years old, and Coyote at the age of 22 was the oldest among them.  They used smoke bombs, intimidation, and low-blow tactics to get what they wanted -- freedom from the oppressive rule of the Reich, a federation of militant and tyrannical egomaniacs who were attempting to blot out the individualism of the world.  The leader, a man simply known as Ever Present, was an invisible hand that suffocated the population of the over-polluted world in which Coyote lived.

  The Reich's base of operations remained in World City, the town in which Coyote and her band of anarchists lived.  The most industrialized city in the world, it was also the most polluted.  The skies were a haze of green and gray during the day, and during the nights there was only the alien glow of the iron street-lights.  Darkness had followed the Reich's overtaking of world government, and the founding of World City was the beginning of the end.

  Coyote spotted the warehouse, the place in which she and her fellow anarchists lived, plotted, and created their weapons.  It was an old ironworks factory, abandoned by the Reich to upgrade to a bigger and better factory.  The slat in the roof was large enough for her figure to leap down, and after miles of rooftoops and iron pipes, she threw herself through the slat and landed quietly on the loose framework and pipes.

  Out of breath, she descended along a twisting pipe into the main room, where seven young boys and one young girl huddled around a fire, dirty faces and hardened eyes all turning in her direction.  She was their leader, but in this world no one could trust anyone.  She removed her goggles, slipping them around her neck, and adjusted her belt (equipped with smoke bombs, a dagger, and various other weapons of the trade).  Coyote cleared her throat and knelt between the young girl and a boy named Henry.

   Her bright gray eyes darted to Henry.  They clasped wrists in greeting, "Coyote," his pubescent voice added as he nodded.  Henry was her second in-command and the eldest of the boys.  He had brought up many of these boys to learn spy tactics, though they were little more than thieves and wanderers.  The boys had come in handy during Coyote's intelligence-gathering.

   "I think I'm being followed," Coyote announced as she settled on the floor.  "I don't know why.  The Reich hasn't marked us yet, since we've managed to stay out of their sight so far."

   "Well, we have," Henry acknowledged carefully and gave a small, sardonic smile, his dirty face matching the look on the others around them, "but you haven't, Coyote.  I mean, you did drop right into Ever Present's building and attempt to assassinate his executives."

   Coyote chuckled and ran a gloved hand through her unkempt black hair.  "Okay, so I could be marked but I made sure to lose whoever it was in the process of coming back here today."

   Another boy, Jason with his golden-blond hair, spoke up next, gruffly, "Why'd you leave anyway?  You haven't let us leave the ironworks at all this week."

   "I had to see if I could find another way into Ever Present's offices."

   Henry cleared his throat, bumped one of the boys in the back of the head for trying to steal scraps from another boy, and stood up, "I propose getting some sleep tonight," he stated and received a nod in response from Coyote.  "We have important things to do tomorrow.  Smoke, you finished making the new flash bombs right?  We'll need them."

   A young man with long black hair tied in a braid, no older than 11, nodded quietly.  "I made plenty.  If Coyote's being followed, my guess is we need to draw attention in another part of World City.  Away from where we are."

   Coyote nodded in agreement.  "I'm taking watch tonight.  Jason, can you make sure the fire gets put out?"  She was usually concerned about Jason.  He was the moodiest of the bunch, but he was most certainly the most effective against opposing factions of rebels around the city.

   Although they were a nameless anarchist group in World City, there were others like them.  They rarely crossed paths with one another despite their goal being the same: take out Ever Present.  Yet there was always the sense of competition among the other groups.  When Ever Present was gone, the Reich destroyed, who would be dominant?  It was a race to arms, and whoever won gained dominance.

  Many feuds had been sparked among the small factions of rebels, all across the industrialized and steam-fueled city, and that left each group and each leader especially marked to be killed.  Dominance.  It was a fight for control.  Only the anarchists remained peaceful, and only fought when confronted.

  Coyote waited for Jason to answer her as he finished eating what little meat ration he had left, while the rest all seemed to clear out, ready for sleep and ready for battle.  "Jason," she murmured to the small blond boy, "please?"

"I don't know why you won't let me do more." Jason grumbled as he remained at his place by the fire pit.

"You can do more, Henry just hasn't worked that much with you on how to get around the city.  He is taking you out with them tomorrow right?"

Jason huffed, nodded, "Yeah, but I wanna work with you."

Eyebrow quirked, Coyote chewed the inside of her lip, "Some other time.  I work alone, Jason.  It's dangerous for anyone to be out there with me.  Especially now if I'm being followed."

"What better time to have some protection then?" Jason rose to his feet and balled his fists up angrily.  "If you get hurt there's no one left!"  With that he threw his cup onto the fire, water splattering all over Coyote and the steel mug of water trickling onto remaining flames.

As Coyote watched the silhouette of a boy retreating in anger, the cup in the fire burned bright red from heat, like the bulb accompanying an emergency siren.


The sky was a sickly, dark green, and Coyote sat upon the height of a pipe, the connecting bridge between their factory and a smaller abandoned building.  The short-statured anarchist leader was indeed being followed.  Far in the distance, perhaps a mile down, she could just barely make out a small spot of green light glinting off a surface.  A pinprick, but nonetheless not a sight seen in this part of World City.  It was one of the faction assassins, watching Coyote just the same.

Her gray eyes focused in the darkness, the humidity causing her skin to feel damp.  She raised a tattooed arm to her forehead and wiped away traces of the humidity.  Coyote's gloved hand curled into a small fist as she stood.

In her hand, her favorite dagger.

It was time to go to work.  The assassin wouldn't come to her, so it was time to take action herself.  She let out an unearthly howl in the eerily quiet night, laughing maniacally as she leaped from the pipe, down into the alley. Coyote's call was a challenge.  A battle cry.

If this assassin was going to hover in the distance, Coyote wouldn't wait for them to come to her.  That would put her anarchists in danger and reveal their purposes.  Her feet pattered on the damp city streets as she darted through alleyways, hopped over walls, climbed ladders on the side of steel towers.  She was a blur in the dark night, moving through the cityscape like a rat.

Stopping, silently, after blocks and blocks of running, she pressed herself against the steel of a building.  On the roof, she knew the assassin was standing in wait, not unaware of Coyote's presence.

"Let's play, assassin!" Coyote called as she chucked a flash bomb (capable of blinding someone) over the roof, and swung up onto the pipework framing the building, quick and agile.  "I haven't played a good game of tag for a long time."

Standing atop the iron framework of another section of the roof, Coyote darted toward the shadow at the center of the roof, in seconds she slid across the wet steel surface, simultaneously unsheathing her dagger.

The short-statured anarchist was below this assassin's height, and before the assassin could move, Coyote pressed the dagger to the back of the assassin's neck through a curtain of long white hair.

"Let's do this."  Coyote growled under her breath.