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X Faction Soldiers

The drive back is rapid, but well executed. Randian seems to keep the accelerator down for the entire journey, despite this, the car remains glued to the road, hugging the corners tightly without losing speed or skidding. Brass spends the entire journey concentrating sharply on the road ahead, keeping his eye out for cameras and police cars, occasionally pointing out a road to avoid. Randian seems to predict which roads would lead to one of Brass’ party balloons, and his route was entirely devoid of cameras.
After about twenty minutes of driving, we arrive at what appears to be an old shunting yard; A graveyard for old train carriages waiting to be scrapped. Everybody climbs out of the car except for Brass, who shuffles across into the driver’s seat.

“Where can I ditch this Rand?” He asks looking up through the window.
“There’s a lake about a mile down the road” He tells him, “Wind down all the windows, and put a rock on the accelerator, it will sink like a stone.”
“Alright, take this” He says, handing Randian the case he recovered from the van earlier.
“What is it?” Randian asks, “Are you sure it doesn’t have a tracer on it?”
“It’s the thing Zero has been looking for”
“But what is it?”
“I don’t know exactly” Brass nods, “A piece of new money tracking technology to stop money laundering or some shit. Snowden something”
“Right” Randian nods curiously.
I step towards Brass, “Are we bringing our new friend?”
“Yeah, get him out of the back, take him back to the squat and get him nice and comfortable.”
I grin wickedly as Brass pops the boot.
Holding Indy up, I peer on as Pogo excitedly flings the boot open and grips the bloodied semi-conscious Bootman with both hands, dragging him out roughly like the carcass of a hunted animal.
The squat itself is different to what I am used to. There are numerous carriages for sleeping in, as well as an underground work basement and a few engine sheds. There is a mixture of old, rusting freight trains, and a number of passenger carriages too, scattered in no discernible order. The rate of oxidisation suggests that the carriages had been shunted here sometime between the third and fourth world wars, during the ill-fated public transport reformations. The decision whether to scrap or repair these old carriages was probably tied up in red tape somewhere, a meeting on the horizon, constantly being pushed back to accommodate for more pressing priorities.
We set ourselves up in a string of carriages in the centre of a group of others. The light of the Petroline candles wouldn’t be visible here, and nobody would be able to hear us for miles. Some of the more cautious Grimesters had taken to inhabiting the engine sheds or the work basement underground; I suppose they weren’t keen on the idea of being exposed from every side. I could see the advantages of an underground squat, but having thought it through, I realised that the carriages were actually safer; they had a wider field of vision, and multiple escape routes. If they were raided, you’d see it coming, in the work basement you’d be trapped. That being said, it was Indy that really swayed my decision in the end; The work basement was bound to be damp and dirty, and his wound would almost certainly get infected. Also, there were only two Chemist’s in this squat, and both of them slept in the carriages.

The carriages we settled in were designed for passengers. Tables were in place between the seats throughout most of the carriage. Cannisters had been set up on some of them functioning as improvised kitchens, others had been completely smashed out, replaced with mattresses and blankets. Petroline candles of every different colour were scattered about the carriages, all except for the carriages at the front and the back.

Indy had been quickly taken to the back carriage, where I was told a Chemist had a bed he could stay in. That lead me to deduce that the front carriage was for small arms, bombs and munitions.

There were five carriages in total, the three central carriages were divided into what looked like a sleeping room, covered in mattresses and blankets, a kitchen and what one might call a ‘common room’. It was here we’d brought our resident Bootman.
“Big Boots! Big Bollocks! Big burly butterfly bollocks!” Pogo sings, skipping around the Bootman excitedly.
“Big bad boots! Big sick city! Burned down his house to make the sky look pretty!”
He kicks him sharply in the ribs, as the Bootman rolls across the floor moaning in protest.
He lies there, in his piss-stained underwear, hogtied with rope and gagged with electrical tape.

My attention flitted between Pogo’s savage torment of the captive Bootman, and Sadie, who was marching around the carriage, wearing the Bootman’s helmet and swinging his baton about like a soldier in time to the discorded music coming from a speaker on one of the tables. I joined Sadie’s hypnotic dance, stamping my new boots, which I’d liberated from the Bootman, and swinging my arms and head around wildly.

The other punks in the carriage were smoking, drinking or snorting lines on the tables about the carriage, or lying in various states of intoxication. A couple at the far end of the carriage were under the table fucking furiously, as though their lives depended on it, spurred on no doubt by the euphoric effects of some chemical or another.

I walk across to the Bootman, raise my foot in the air and stamp down hard on his chest.
“Fucking swine fucker” I spit.
I turn back and walk down the carriage, passing Sadie as she swings the Baton around indiscriminately.
“Watch where you’re swinging that fucker” I hiss.
She ignores me completely.
I pass through into the next carriage where a Chemist leans over Indy, whose leg is raised high, and tightly bandaged.

The chemist is short and baby-faced, with tufts of unkempt sandy brown hair and an air of docility about him. Chemist’s often looked somewhat meek, or maybe they were just perceived to be this way by the rest of us, because they rarely, if ever, saw any real action. The life of a chemist was an easy one, compared to that of any other X Faction insurgent. Chemist’s were always given a bed, were well-fed and never asked to contribute food, drink or supplies to a squat in return for lodgings. Their skills alone were their bargaining chip to immediate esteem within a squat.

“How’s he doing?” I ask.
“He’s alright” He responds, “I’ve removed the bullet, cleaned the wound with some ethanol, and given him a dose of Virginia Brown for the pain.”
I nod, looking at the semi-conscious Indy, whose quasi-happy face is beginning to drool.
“He won’t be able to walk on it properly for a while, he’ll need a crutch and you’ll need to change his bandages twice a day, and keep the wound clean so it doesn’t get infected.”
I nod, dreading the thought of being impeded by Indy’s injury. I wonder if it would be better to find him a long-term secure squat for him to hole up in for a while, at least until he can walk again.
“Thank you” I say raising my thumb to the Chemist.
I quietly leave the carriage and walk down passed Sadie, and towards Randian, who sits at a laptop, hurriedly typing. I walk over, noticing that the laptop is hooked up to the thing that Brass took from the van.
“What is it Rand?” I ask, crouching down next to him.
“Well” He says, maintaining square focus on the screen, “It looks like this case contains a piece of hardware, the integral part of a machine designed to assign every existing piece of hard currency, and digital currency with a serial number and CrystalChip”
“Is that it?” I ask, wondering why we risked our lives to get it.
“That’s not just it” He continues, “It also contains part of a database for logging the exact transactions that are made with Fiat or digital currency, what was traded, where the trade was made, and by whom.”
“What’s Fiat currency?” I ask.
“Hard cash.” He responds blankly, “Latin for as it is”.
“I thought cash already had serial numbers on it.”
“It does” He replies, “But this is different” He turns his face away from the computer screen to face me.
“This means that in roughly about ten year’s time, cash-in-hand transactions will become a thing of the past, every payment made will be registered, the notes in your wallet will be officially yours to spend and save. If anybody else tries to deposit them into their bank account, they will be refused.”
“So, what? This will mean notes and coins will have to be scanned every time you buy a pack of fags?”
“Effectively yes, but it also means that you cannot give somebody money, unless you ask for authorisation from the Bank of England.”
“I don’t even have a bank account “ I mutter.
Randian turns to face the computer screen once more, typing rapidly,
“I imagine they planned to release this technology gradually, starting with digital currency only, then graduating on to notes for trades and purchases over a certain amount, and finally coins.”
I nod, “So it’s yet another method of surveillance.”
“It’s yet another system designed to tighten the stranglehold the party already has over the British public, wrapped in the guise of public service”

© JC Axe 2014

Read the rest: http://jcaxefiction.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/x-faction-soldiers-part-3/[/QUOTE]


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