Broken City: A Cyberpunk Story inspired by a dream

Posted: May 31, 2020 in Cyberpunk, fiction
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PROLOGUE – Introductions are in order

We were a motley crew of cypherpunks, data pirates, rogue tattoo artists of a varied degree of proficiency, hookers and whores, sluts, drunks, high clowns of an ancient order skittering through the streets like rats looking for their evening meal.

We had a politician or two, if we needed a higher power, which, some times we did.

My name is Laruto, I am a tat artist by trade.

The local pain sluts call me ‘The Master’ when it comes to ‘ownership tags’, those brands of their pimps inked into their backs, starting from the neck, winding down their back, spiraling down their spine and ending at their ass.

In a previous life, a long time ago, I was a police officer, detective 1st class, but I left the force for “personal distress”, now skirting the realm of illegal tats and surf jobs online.

I was finishing a tag job on the body of my best client, Shyna, when a man in clown makeup burst into my studio.

“Laruto?” he asked, almost crying, his make up running from the torrid rain outside.

“Yea, who wants to know?” I replied, not looking up from the intricate lines placed neatly on Shyna’s skin, the name ‘Jaded’ in the curoform of the T’allian script placed within a scroll tatted into her skin the night before.

Illegal work, I will admit, tattooing being outlawed during the last decade, after the great war of 2038 but it was my craft and I needed rent.

Shyna was not a prostitute but an assassin for the Mattau gang, my lover when she wasn’t mad at me, who fell in love with the designs of the pain sluts on the lower rungs of the city.

“I want this design!” she almost squealed with delight one day, pointing at a page of some ancient text.

I studied it and began to work, each line a hard study in ancient type of some long dead Earth language from some long dead Master, an eagle tearing at the flesh near the spine revealing the scroll and name I was now working on.

“My name is…” he began to say but then stopped, suddenly growing quiet, looking around my studio as if scanning for bugs through the mess of wired boxes and televisions littering my walls and desks. “…my name is Amuto, I represent various companies that wish to pay you a million credits to finish…well…a job.”

I had been known to be a “Data Cowboy”, pulling information from highly secured servers, one company sabotaging another, stealing their designs, blackmail, whatever.

I didn’t care what they did with the information as long as they had the credits.

“Who is sponsoring these credits?” Shyna lifted her head up as I continued to work.

I smiled.

She was looking for a job and the rat had come to her.

“Haiku Corporation, if, you must know…”

I moved my needle away from her skin, feeling her muscles tense as she began to stand up, not minding her nakedness.

“What’s the job?” she asked, slipping into a deep blue silk robe.

“The details will be sent to the person who accepts the job. We, I mean, the Company, was hoping Laruto was for hire. We have heard, he is the best at…data extraction and retrival!”

“Was the best.” Shyna smile. “Old man’s retired now, does ink and opiods now! And fucks amazingly well!!” She laughed. “But I might be interested!”

I sat there in my seat, cleaning up the station, placing my needles and pins back in their cases.

The two whispered among themselves then after awhile, shook hands and after a few goodbyes to me, slinked out the door into the rainy streets.

A week later, I was at the bar drinking my usual of piss with a side of shit water when Rat, the bartender, whispered to me, “Didja hear? I figured ja hear but…”


“Shyna’s flat lined. She’s dead. They found ‘er out by the docks, brain scrambled, deep fried!”

I felt my world ripped apart at his words. “No…gotta…be a different corpse! She….no way….she not dumb!!” I felt my words falling from my tongue.

“I’m sorry, I know youse two were a thing. My condolences, if that’s still a word!”

I felt my fist pound into the bar. I felt my heart, beating hard, ripped from my chest.

“Noooooooo!” I howled in a scream.


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