Thursday, November 3, 2022

Immersion 15 Flex, a Man of Many Colours

Flex was a tall slender man. He was born in the zones from 'agitator' parents who had both escaped the Midcast Projects from the official policing body there known as the Protector Force. The PF ensured observance and compliance of government rules and regulations and took punitive action against perpetrators of crime.

They were theoretically a civil force of the state, only responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the maintenance of public order. However, they were entirely funded and maintained by the Metacoms Corp who were in control of the most stable internet system and the creation of home standard androids. Certain sections of society, named rebels and agitators, had complained about the apparent monopoly and obvious security risks. Activists who were imprisoned, even if on a single night, were chipped and criminalised.

Flex had never really known another home apart from the zones. He had been orphaned and survived there without the care of his parents who had died in a violent attack shortly after their arrival.
He had had to fend for himself. But he was clever, streetwise, and always kept his wits about him. He was not a pretty child and this had been to great advantage. He had a squint, a lazy eye, and generous ears. He had tattoos that disabled the face-recogs who passed overhead at regular intervals and he wore earrings in both ears.

He wore bright coloured clothes and a coat in patchwork and applique made of fabric that he had found on the landfill site. He and other orphans had called the site home for all the years he grew up there.

And so Flex was highly decorated with jewels and beads, metal trinkets and wire filigree. He loved to search and find things that he could attach to his coat. Inside there were deep pockets that housed everything a nomadic man could need. He had a pop-up tent, flasks, pouches that were waterproof and airtight where he kept food.

He had a pocket for nibs. He made a lot of money selling nibs. He had another pocket for his cash and others for things he might be able to sell on the streets.

There was nothing that happened in the zones that Flex did not know about

He knew the tunnels like the back of his hand and could make money as a guide.

But Flex was a kind man despite his difficult upbringing. He had a strong moral compass from the first few years with his parents who had imposed upon him positive human traits like loyalty and kindness and the search for human enlightenment.

He had been lucky to be tall. Flex was six foot five and when he had reached puberty his height proved already to be an advantage. A tall man in the zones was beneficial.
There were several reasons for this. Very few droids were made tall. This was a design element, which made them more manageable for households.

It also meant that they were not a threat to women and children as much as a tall droid would be. Often the on-off switch for a droid would be at the back of the skull and this meant that human beings needed to have easy access to it. A consequence of this is that most droids were not built above five foot five. Of Course, military and PF droids were the exceptions.

But there were other things that were an advantage to Flex. He was bright and quick thinking. He had a photographic memory.

He watched and learned.... everything and everybody.

By the age of twenty-four, Flex had seen loss, gain. good, evil, and most of all, hope, because although the zones were dangerous, they were home.

There had been love too, and family, but it had been brief.

Flex had fallen in love at eighteen with a young woman who he had impregnated. Being pregnant and living in the zones was difficult. Babies of the human variety were highly prized and there were networks of traffickers and thieves. Slavery crime rings were highly lucrative and there was no standard policing to curb their activities.

Flex regretted that he had not taken his true love to the safe haven beyond the zones. There were villages beyond where human families had set up camps in caves and tunnels.

Most were underground and highly protected. Flex had not organised a suitable home in time before his true love went into labour suddenly and unexpectedly before her due date.

She was taken by one of the gangs who cut her open and stole her baby, throwing her onto the street. It was too late. She bled to death in the gutters of the zones.

Flex was aware of the gang that had done this and so he decided to stay in the zones. One day he would seek revenge and he would free the people, the babies and children that they had stolen and trafficked. And then he would torture and kill them to avenge the deaths of the meek. The slaves to the wealthy who had not understood their fate would be freed. One day, this would come to pass.

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