15 July, 2018
Annyeong is a short story a part of Cybermania, and serves as the prelude to the upcoming web series of the same name, to be released in 2020.
Tesla is sent to Paris in search of Conficker, but after havoc is unleashed in the City of Lights, he realises too late that this conflict will be much greater than he will ever expect.
- Tesla Hunt (main protagonist)
- Ji-Hun Song (main antagonist)
- Maghiel Meziane (protagonist)
- Citrus de Lasaux (neutral, cameo)
It was one of the few cities in Europe that still had some sort of historical value, even after the onset of the Cyber Revolution over 50 years ago. The Cyber Revolution took place when science struck gold-- at that point, technology advanced so fast that there were at least two new discoveries a week. Now we had self-driving cars, robot pets, and even bases on the Moon. Heck, the UAE is even going to build their own vacation spot on Mars for the wealthy. Most importantly though, was the rapid improvement in medical technology. It got so advanced to the point that anyone born today could live for well over 150 years. Reports came out about people suddenly being born with superpowers, straight out of that one anime about a high school of superheroes-- we call them "supers". People who lost their limbs before could get them replaced with cybernetic ones-- there's a term we use for them called, "cyborgs". It's short for "cybernetic organism", and recently there's been... a ton of gripe with them.
Cyborgs don't get along well with supers, sadly. The reason why? Supers think they've "cheated" their way into getting their abilities. Sounds dumb, doesn't it? It's actually gotten a bit worse over the years. Some countries like India and Switzerland began banning cybernetics, and exiling cyborgs and supers from their homes; others like Venezuela and Nigeria are at outright wars with themselves to see which is the better race. I mean hey, maybe it won't be long until we all go into World War III.
Act 1: Ignition
I was sent here as part of a mission to track down a hacker-- not just any hacker though. He was working with Von Nix-- the group that killed me. If it hadn't been for my dad, I would've stayed dead. Of course it sadly came with the cost of my organic body; it was modified with cybernetics to keep it alive, like some sort of mobile life support. I'm a cyborg now, but I couldn't care less now about the war going on between us and supers; I just want us to get along and forget about this sh-
"Tesla," the professor, Maghiel Meziane, said as he so rudely interrupted my thoughts. At least he kept me from getting this fanfiction rated T for Teen. He helped my dad design the artificial organs for me, and now he's working as part of the recon crew in the Guardian Units-- basically the eye in the sky, but he's using the video footage recorded on my goggles.
I responded: "Toothpaste? What is it?" He had cyan fur with a huge quiff, which reminded me of toothpaste for some reason. My friends and I gave him that nickname and he doesn't seem to mind.
"The police scanner's saying something's happening at Saint-Jacques Boutique. This might be your guy." I smirked as he said that, ready to confront my killer face-to-face and capture him. The stripes all over my body began to glow, and I charged forward as fast as I could from Champ de Mars, on route to the jewellery store on the other side of the city.
I blazed past the responding police cars-- hopefully, they didn't see what I looked like-- and arrived close to the destination, hiding behind a van. The goggles I'm wearing just can't seem to stay on, but they're designed to record and... basically let Toothpaste and the others see exactly what I see.
It smelled... horrible. It was almost like tear gas was thrown inside the shop to knock everyone out. It didn't take long for the alarm to sound off, indicating a robbery. If this is the guy I'm looking for, why would he break into a store like this? What would he possibly need out of it?
The next thing I knew, something much louder than the alarm broke through the windows.
Act 2: Chase
It was a guy in a black coat and a mask, riding a glowing motorcycle out of the shop, and what an exit he made-- before the police even arrived as well. That has to be him, no denying that now!
"You! No way you're getting away this time, not even on wheels!" I smirked as my stripes glowed once more, ready to give him the old rusty cell he deserves.
We ran past the police cars that were arriving to the scene too late, and I saw them turn around, as if they're joining in on the chase. They were far too slow though, as the combination of wide streets and low traffic allowed us to raise hell in the city at over 150 miles per hour or so.
I could feel the summer breeze flowing through my fur. Suddenly everything felt cooler, as if I was the wind myself. It was like 90 degrees or so, but now it feels like 70.
"Tesla, what in the world is going on?" Toothpaste said as he noticed how crazier it got, reading the police scans and watching my footage.
"It's a rider, Toothpaste! Find out whatever bike he's using so we can track it down," I said.
"OK, I'll see what I can do. Hold tight." Toothpaste answered, beginning to find whatever he can on the suspect's vehicle. "What does it look like?"
"I'm too far away, I can't see the make," I said.
"Which street are you headed? I'll see if we can access the surveillance systems of the area."
"Pont au Double. Just before the giant old church."
"You mean Notre-Dame? That's a cathedral." Toothpaste said as he went technical on me (as usual), and went on to search for any security cameras to get a close look at the-"
I just realised that Pont au Double was a pedestrian zone. He was going to mow down anyone in his way!
We approached the bridge running past Notre-Dame de Paris. The guy was absolutely reckless as he sped through the pedestrian zone-- a crowd of people visiting the Gothic cathedral cleared his path as fast as they could; fortunately, no one seemed to be hurt, but I could see the terror on their faces. Today could've been their last, and they did nothing wrong.
After the chaos, I was inching closer and closer to the suspect. That was when Toothpaste got back to me:
"Tesla, I got bad news. All of the cameras were compromised. All I saw was static!"
How?? There must've been an accomplice. Even so, there was no way he could've jammed the cameras that fast, or even know that this guy would be at that exact place and time.
"Maybe it's his escape route. More than one person has to be involved in this. They planned this all from the very beginning," I theorised.
"That could be it, but the only way to find out is if we catch him. Just keep the pressure on him; you're right on his tail," said the professor. I acknowledged his commands and continued running after the suspect.
Suddenly he takes a sudden left turn into Rue de la Verrerie. It was a very narrow road, almost like an alleyway. That turn he made into this road looked too quick to be planned. He probably knows that I'm tailing him by now and is trying to shake me off. There were a lot of shops, apartments, and everywhere in between-- and I think I just ran past a manga store.
This street alone had a few challenges of its own. Disaster nearly struck when a car was moving out of its garage, cutting the gap between me and the rider. I reacted just in time, vaulting over its hood and springing myself upwards. It was at that moment that I knew I screwed up.
The alley crossed into a busy street. The rider blazes through it with ease, but I-- still airborne-- flew right into a tree branch neck-first, before falling down on top of a girl. She seemed to be a bear, and she had the longest blonde hair with the bluest eyes. I got up quickly, helping the female bear and making sure she was alright.
"Sorry about that! Are you alright?" I said.
The girl spoke in French and I had no idea what she said. I just replied saying "Bon revoir" before picking up my goggles and continuing my pursuit. I could tell the girl was staring at me awkwardly from behind. I probably said it wrong.
Having lost a ton of ground with the rider, I was using so much energy to catch up with him. I was sweating buckets and my legs were hurting from all the running, but all of the endurance here is worth it if it leads to his capture. He's not getting away!
Towards north of Rue Pierre Lescot and into the intersection of Rue Étienne Marcel and Rue de Turbigo, luck was now on my side. The rider turned too wide into Étienne Marcel and crashed in a parked van. When he did, I saw something weird. His bike didn't just break or deform like normal vehicles do, but it... shattered, into glowing green and purple pieces. It's as if the bike was made of some kind of glass. The rider himself was consequently thrown out of his bike, bouncing off the van and into a row of bikes, knocking them over like dominoes. The mask he wore flew off into the sky, landing somewhere else.
Act 3: Surprise
The ambiance of the whole area was drowned out by the loud alarms of the vehicles he ran into as I caught up to him. He was on the ground, facing away from me, when I saw a glowing green jewel that was on the ground-- probably the item that he stole. I picked it up and walked to the rider.
"It's been a long time. Do you remember me?" I asked, waving the jewel before him. There was something off about this item, and just by being close to it I could feel its energy... and tons of it.
The now-unmasked rider turned to look at me with his bruised face. His fur was purple, with teal eyes that matched the highlights of his hair bangs; his entire body covered in a long black trench coat. He also had a bit of a bad makeup day, because I could see his eye shadow dripping, probably from how hot it was today. He wipes the wet eye shadow, making himself look even worse as he just smeared it across his snout.
"You have no idea what you're in for," the rider said.
The next thing I saw, was my goggles' HUD totally glitching out. It took me by surprise and I had no choice but to disable it. I could still hear the professor, but it was somewhat static-y.
"Tes... what's...ing on??" the professor spoke. Although his voice was cutting in and out, I was able to understand what he meant.
"Uh... I've got the suspect, but the goggles-- they're malfunctioning," I said. After that, I couldn't understand what the professor was saying at all. As I tried to, I could see the rider pointing at me and then somewhere to the left, repeatedly. I looked to my left, and the next thing I saw was a car speeding towards me.
I was sent into the air, flipping twice before falling facefirst on the ground. The jewel I held was dropped as well. I could tell the suspect was getting a kick out of it as I got back up slowly. There, I noticed that his teal highlights were... glowing. I stared at him in shock, then to the car that just ran me over, crashing into a building. I had a quick glance at that car and there was no driver in it. At all.
Toothpaste probably still saw some footage of me getting hit by the car. "Tes... what just happ--?" The professor asked me.
"Uhh, the suspect just hit me with a car. What about you?"
"He might have powers as well, probably even cybernetic. I think he has telek-- oh no."
The suspect just disappeared before my eyes before I heard a noise behind me.
He lands a fist to the back of my head as I was sent back a little bit, before he disappears again.
"How did he..?"
I had no time to even finish the question before he reappeared beside me, throwing a kick that bounces me into another direction. He did this again and again, making me even more frustrated. I tried hitting him every chance I got, but he would only teleport somewhere else to make me miss my shot entirely.
"Who are you?!"
He reappears behind me. "Call me Conficker," he said, disappearing before I could even turn around and land a punch on him. The professor couldn't even be heard any more; my goggles were now pretty useless.
"Come on, this is cheating!" I yelled, reaching my boiling point.
"It's not fun to play fair," Conficker said, reappearing behind me again to kick me right in the back. I fell down, trying to get myself back up. I saw him, back turned, reappearing by the glowing jewel, picking it up and holding it high in his hands.
"It's funny how a Chaos Emerald ended up inside of a jewellery store. Doesn't anybody know how powerful these are?" The purple menace monologued as if this story couldn't have enough overused tropes.
"A what??" I stuttered. Now I know why he robbed that store. To find a jewel said to have powers no one can understand yet, and this might as well be true.
"My league is calling me," he said. "Remember this failure. Chaos Control!" I ran as fast as I could to him, but that was when he disappeared in a bright flash, along with the jewel. Suddenly, my goggles began working again, and I could hear the professor trying to reach me.
"Hey. I'm back."
"What happened? I couldn't even see the feed anymore!"
"The suspect.. he got away. The important thing is, I got his name. I think I know why he was after that thing he stole. I'll tell you when I get back."
The sound of police sirens got even louder the more I spoke. It was then six police cars showed up at the scene, when it was... already over. The officers quickly got out and aimed their guns at me. They were shouting something in French but I could assume that they were going to arrest me. If so... why?! I didn't even do anything!
I was outnumbered 6:1, and I had no choice but to raise my hands. The only thing I said under my breath was:
"This is not good... don't worry Tesla. We'll get you out as soon as we can," the professor said as the officers began to walk up towards me, taking me away.