Gang Wars – A New Jump
Theme Song: Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice
This time, the world did go dark and when consciousness returned once more, I found myself on a cot in my new Warehouse with a Linoone sleeping on my chest and a note that said “Your New World Awaits, Princess.” I shuddered at that, hoping I wouldn’t find myself in Super Mario Land taking Peach or Daisy’s place, but when I found the Wheels of Fortune (plunked down in the middle of the open space of the warehouse, looking like they’d been made by a local PTA, complete with plastic punch bowl full of 50 Choice Chits and a single nametag that said “Hello, My Name is” with nothing beneath) they said nothing related to the Mushroom Kingdom. Instead, they had cities that were in the US… Well, 5 of the 7 were. The other two I recognized almost instantly. Empire City and New Marais… Those were from Infamous. I cursed, then, briefly considered paying not to spin, but I did. Random is better, right?
LA. A pamphlet fell out of the wheel, telling me that LA was a hotbed of Conduit crime, with the military being brought in to battle the growing gangs but while crime was fairly high, the public opinion of Conduits was mixed. I smirked at that, wondering how bad it was in other cities and what Karmic choices Cole and… what’s his face from Second Son… Delsin… had made. Ah… it says “The Worldstate assumes Good Karma Endings for all Games”. Well, that’s nice and the mention of the DUP said this was after the events of all three games. Interesting. I spun for my age, getting 21… so I’d just missed out on a 3rd coming of drinking age party, losing 5 years or so in the process. Once again, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having someone else’s memories in my head, so I went with Drifter. It was free.
The Conduit Powers were next, as I’d known they would be. I quickly discounted Cole’s Electricity… I like water… and the same for Concrete and Smoke, for similar reasons. Neon and Video called to the inner geek in me, but in the end I went with Cryokinesis. No more would winters mean bundling up in something utterly unsexy. I would become the Ice Queen. Plus, cool drinks whenever I wanted! Bonus!
The Additional Powers section of buyer’s guide nearly made me giddy. As a Drifter, I got Strength free… Strength enough to Bench Press a damned Car! I could already feel my muscles growing denser, but grinned as they gained only a small degree of definition. I quickly snatched up Durability (You can take a bullet or ten, but enough damage will still kill you) and Regen (Healing Factor! You heal from most non-lethal wounds in seconds.) for 100 each  because becoming a living bullet sponge may not be my idea of a good time, but I was damned if I was going down without a fight ever again. After some consideration, I picked up Stamina (Start running, keep running, you can stay moving for most of a day) for another . Sure, why not take the whole package. I noticed that Drifters got a discount on Toggle, the ability to turn Conduit Powers on and off at will, and decided, yeah… that sounds good. There went another  and guaranteed I could get some snuggles in without frosting my buddies or pets. And a nice warm shower from time to time.
Gear and Supplies were next on the list, and as a Drifter, I got my Safehouse free of charge, which was nice, even though I could always retreat to my Warehouse if things got really hairy. I considered plunking down 300 for a Sniper Rifle so I could take advantage of the marksmanship I’d picked up in the last world, then remembered I was jumping into LA in post Conduit America. I could buy one. I did pick up a Rebreather  since none of my pokemon were great divers besides RayRay and there were places she just couldn’t go… and the tech to make a mouthpiece sized breather that could function everywhere besides vacuum just didn’t exist… at least not in this setting. A Hypervisor  (HUD glasses that display tactical data, minimap, etc and allow for 60 seconds of see-through-walls-vision every 5 minutes) added to my spy kit. I also considered buying the Parachute and Wingsuit set. Skydiving off the back of a Skydragon? Yes please… except I could buy both… probably even easier than the Rifle… but this was LA we were talking about
I considered Setbacks, waffling back and forth. Did I feel like making life difficult for myself? Or would it be more exciting that way? This was a pretty messed up world I was dropping into… but if I took things too easy, I’d get bored. Wasn’t like there were Legendary Pokemon to hunt… and I’d grown to like the Hunt. With that in mind, and before I could talk myself out of it, I selected Leak (It gave me a slow but steady power drain), figuring that cold water wouldn’t be that hard to find at least once a day, and Greenlit, making myself instantly the enemy of one of LA’s new and improved gangs. If you aren’t marked for death, you aren’t trying, right? Suddenly I found myself 400 Choice richer… which sent me back into the shopping lists… Power or toys? I settled on Focus and Analytics for  each, allowing me to slow… speed up… whatever, experience the world as if it had slowed to 10% of its normal rate of flow for up to 60 seconds and an improvement on situational awareness & perception… enough to keep track of everything while in a fight. If that wouldn’t be useful, I dunno what would be. I plunked down another  for a high tech tracking system complete with schematics for more tracker dos… I figured I’d need them to keep tabs on my special new gang friends… and introduce them to 1 ton of flying psychic steel being ridden by a vengeful Ice Queen.
Unfortunately, that left me with 100 unspent and pretty much nothing I really needed. Sure, I could have returned Leak… but naw… I could use it for the wingsuit & parachute… or for a laptop or cellphone… but I decided I might as well grab the cheapest gun… just in case. the Glock 17 was  and came with a box of 500 rounds. Gun good. Untraceable gun better.
As soon as I hit enter, a hole opened under me and I dropped out of the ceiling, landing on a dingy bed in a dingy condo in the hollywood hills. On the desk near me was my new gear. I studied it for a few minutes, flipping through the documents on the desk: deed, birth certificate, driver’s license… all for Sidney Jasko. I studied the picture, a young, attractive half-african american woman, deciding it could be me, then loaded up my Pokebag of Holding with the new gear, smirking as I discovered it had a special pouch for Ammo that I hadn’t noticed over the last decade. With that in mind, I headed into the city… or tried to. LA is fucking huge! And I had no car. Crap. And No cash. Double Crap. Good thing I had food on tap back in my Warehouse. I sighed. I didn’t dare summon Rayray for a skyride this far inside a city that might be crawling with military and crazed conduits. So Running it was. Weeeee.
I spent the next three months exploring the city, waiting for someone to take a shot at me and working odd jobs, trying to keep my head down and earn a living. I got a job as an extreme sports trainer, it seemed reasonable given my set of skills, and at the outrageous prices personal trainers can charge in LA, I was able to buy myself a VW bug-like thing pretty quick… as well as a couple wingsuits & parachutes… and a sniper rifle… plus a few lessons in gun maintenance. My pokegear seamlessly integrated into the wifi nets of the city, but I needed a cellphone quick since the pokegear couldn’t receive incoming calls, something I gained by the simple expedient of heading to rodeo drive and stealing a rich young jackass’s wallet for the cash. I wasn’t proud of myself, but I gave the cards to a couple of bums so they could buy themselves some hooch before they got cancelled to make up for it.
Getting shot sucks. The drivebuy proved that to me. I was staggered by just how much half a dozen MAC-10 rounds thudding into you at near point blank range hurts. I was also seriously freaked out by all the blood, not all of it mine. A little girl had been shot once in the thigh, but Ziggy (who I claimed was a Long-Haired Weimar Terrier) had knocked her out of the way and taken most of the rounds. I watched as he shimmered, breathing hard, then he fainted and returned to his ball before the ball winked out of reality. I scooped up the girl, still groaning at the pain of being shot and rolled under a parked car, dropping into my warehouse. I got her to the medbay with ease. It patched her up in minutes while I changed into less bullet-riddled clothing, and I rolled us back out of the portal, leaving the dazed girl lying on the sidewalk as I vanished into the alleys of the area, shaking my head in annoyance. I had no idea who’d shot at me.
Finding out, however, wasn’t hard. Seems if one gang hates you, another gang that hates them can tell you a lot. I had no idea what I’d done to get the Aryan Nation pissed at me, besides being Jewish and African-American, but there were plenty of other Jews in LA and I hadn’t done anything overtly Conduit-like in public yet. I had practiced making a helmet and gauntlets of ice for myself to protect my identity and fists, but only in the privacy of my own space or out in the middle of nowhere.
Still, if they wanted to summon trouble, I’d be happy to deliver. A teleporting, flying, armor plated delivery of pain. And they were financing my operations with every take down. Turns out gangs have a lot of money. Enough money to buy a pair of fancy ass Bus-sized RVs, a couple of those mini-houses and a lot of car batteries (shelves and shelves of them.). Got an electrician come in and wire them all up safely. Even bought a bunch of tools at Lowes and some books on what to do with them. Never read em.
Within the year I began to stack up the bodies in freezer units lining the wall of my warehouse. It’s astounding how easy it is to dispose of a body when you can just focus on it and it falls through into another world. Their weapons, drugs, and guns joined them as I worked my way through the gang, layer by layer. Yet, like the gangs of the games, for everyone I eliminated, another always seemed to spring up in their place. I found myself having to work harder to get information as they factionalized the city, the military growing more and more aggressive as time passed, focusing on eliminating the Conduits who sided with the Troublemaker Gangs while giving free reign to the Protect Our Neighborhood Gangs and their Conduits.
More and More, I was working with those individuals, the marginalized ethnic groups within the vast sprawl of the city, to drive the more racist and thuggish elements out of the city… and then the heatwave struck. It was the middle of my 4th year and the temperature hit 100 degrees… and stayed there. Day after day, week after week, no rain, barely any wind, and the power company was rationing energy like crazy. The city went… mad. Riots from one end of the city to the next. I had to get out. Get to someplace… colder. I dropped everything and went.
By this time I’d traded my little puttputt machine for an armored Mercedes that got lousy mileage, but I’d replaced the trunkspace with a reinforced fuel tank and I powered out of the burning city for the mountains and Taho. 80 miles outside the city, the Aryans struck. Where the hell they got Cobra Attack Helicopters, I’ll never know, but they’d have filled my car full of holes had I not driven straight into my warehouse, by way of the wall of nearby gas-station. I leapt out of my car and back into the real world, flinging up a dome of Ice as I called Rocky and RayRay and Fancy out of their naps.
Ever wondered what a MegaMetagross and a MegaAlakazam can do to military hardware? Don’t. It’s not pretty. And RayRay’s Plasma Breath absolutely tore through their own armored vehicles. But there were a lot of them and there wasn’t a cold water source in sight. I cursed myself for a fool, not daring to jump into my warehouse again to get at the cold water there because that would let Nazi Goons into my sanctum. I recalled my friends and, ducking down, had Fancy teleport us back to my safehouse. The bug out had failed.
I planned better next time. The Ocean. Again they found us, got my cruiser shot up pretty good ‘cause it’s not nearly as maneuverable. Finally I just said fuck it and had RayRay fly us up into the stratosphere in the middle of the damned night, me, naked, clinging to the back of a 7 meter flying snake. Everything I owned tucked safely inside my warehouse and out of this reality. I didn’t know how they were tracking us, but let’s see them do it at 70,000 feet. And that’s how I came to move to freaking Svalbard. I spent the next 5 and a half years swimming in the arctic water, trying to catch animals with pokeballs (turns out, works just fine. Got a Polar Bear and a Puffin and an Orca. Let the Orca go though, cause there was no way I’d be able to feed it. Thought about getting a Caribou, but if I had I know I’d have just spent half my time saying “Carribooooooo”. Did get a publisher. Turns out that Infamous World has never heard of Stephanie Meyer. Sold the rights to four books for a pretty penny, enough to pay my rent and then some, then the movie rights for a great deal more… though I did make a couple of minor changes, but if you want to know what, you’d have to buy copies.
Turns out, the way to deal with a Gang that wants you dead is by hiding from them. Lesson Learned. Also? LA, less fun than a volcanic island in the arctic circle populated only by drunk norwegians and polar bears. Vital information. Also, when you’re immune to cold and mostly immune to bullets? Clothing, even shoes… totally optional. Especially if you have your own private pebble beach miles…er… kilometers… from everyone else.
I did rent a warehouse in town, then pay some contractors quite a lot of money to build a very modern house inside it, complete with all the conveniences, showers, bathrooms, appliances. Two stories tall, rooms for nine, even a special room for Ziggy full of tunnels and ballpits. I also had them assemble several prefab storage units. In case you’re wondering where I hid all the drugs and stuff during the construction… did you know you can buy those massive shipping containers you see in all those movies. Turns out you can. They stack pretty good too.
I can safely say I did not enjoy Infamous World. I had fun, killed waaay too many people, mostly Nazis, but in the end, I spent most of my time alone, communing with Nature. I was practically bouncing off the walls as the end of my time approached and got very very drunk on Scotch Whisky the night before. I didn’t know if I’d amused the Boss enough to earn another tour, but I was eager for any change. Once more the pillars rose out of the beach and I sighed as time ground to a stop. “Well. that was… mostly naked. Not good with people, are you?” I flipped off the pillar and shrugged “They shot me first.”
The Pillars chuckled “Fair enough. Ready to go?”
“OH, god yes please.”
“New World or back home?”
“Well, if you’re offering, New World. Not sure I’m in my right state of mind to go home and deal with the family after this trip. Any more interworld bonuses this time?”
“Nope. Not yet. Maybe next time.”
“Darn. I need a Jacuzzi.”
“You have a Jacuzzi.”
“Yeah, I know, but it’s attached to the house, not the… can I take it with me?”
Next: Return of the Mon
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