The Collar Wars
I laughed through the first rounds of the games, the so called competition was pretty one sided. Unfortunately, I also knew that a few collars had been blown and most of the infantry had been fried, right now it was fear that was motivating the best these guys had. Still it wasn’t enough though for them to stand any real chance against a well-trained unit. You can’t expect a cram session of over the top PT to beat out six months of steady hard work. My sniper teams had no competition of any sort. In teams their best competition could barely hit a target at a kilometer let alone trick shot over three. I could see the fact that my fellow officers were beyond livid. They had given me orders to have my unit take a dive. I had laid some massive wagers on my unit to make it look good for the other officers so they would know that I willing to take a large financial hit when my team took a dive. Joke was on them. Between the colonists, General Lynn, and myself they were going to go to the poor house.
I knew I was in for serious pain as they were probably throw a bag over my head and beat the ever-loving crap out of me. It would be a hilarious joke when I showed up the next morning without a scratch on me. I’d just have to pretend to be dead for a while which wouldn’t be a problem. I could drop into a near death state for around a week without any issues. On top of that any DNA evidence of me being injured would disappear. My blood would literally burn away, leaving no trace that it had ever been there. Just one more biohack that made me a better killer. I was tempted to leave a few of them nursing some severe injuries when they grabbed me. Depending on how many there were I’d definitely give all of them at least a couple broken bones.
The General had made it known that all bets had to be backed up a head of time so that no one could go into the negatives. Still most of the officers had bet nearly all their money against me. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if some of them had put down illegal bets with some of the bookies that had set up shop. No matter where you go organized crime will always set up shop. This colony wasn’t specifically a penal colony like the ancient country of Australia. Still it’s a common practice for criminals to escape the long arm of the law by jumping aboard first arrival colony ships, so criminal activity sets up quick. There are also criminals who are hiding from former gang affiliations. Oftentimes being tracked down by your former crime family leads to a more painful death. There have always been many ways to get yourself killed and many of them have been classics for thousands of years.
I happened to know that there were several representatives from at least four crime families on the colony. There had been multiple murders among the colonists that bore the marks of hits by various syndicates. It also meant that there were bookies that would be more than happy to take the money off the officers without setting the money to the side. If things operated the way on this colony the way they had on other colonies military hardware was going to go missing as a way for officers to pay off losses instead of getting their knees broken. This hardware would then be smuggled back to other colonies and settled planets where it would be used by family hitters. I had used a lot of smuggled hardware in my days as a hitter which made it easier for me to train when I had joined the marines.
At the end of the games it was a pretty bleak finish. Seventeen blown collars among the infantry between the various units. Almost every Hybrid that wasn’t under my command had serious electrical burns around their necks from having been fried. Those were going to cause severe pain for a long time as the collars rubbed against the burns. That was one of the reason you weren’t supposed to fry a Hybrid for more than ten seconds at a time. A Hybrid in constant pain from the collar rubbing up against the burns has a harder time performing at optimal potential.
My soldiers knew that they were the best and had performed at that level. I had made a ton of money of them and was time share the wealth. “Okay boys let’s round up. I just made a small fortune off you guys, so I have a couple treats instore for you. First of all, everyone gets an extra visit to the brothel this week. Second I’m making you a real dinner, not that rubbish you guys usually eat. I have won several grilling championships on several planets so you’ll be in for a real treat, especially as I’m going to use real meat.” There was a loud cheer from my unit. With the cost of real meat being as high as it is anything that came from an animal was a real treat, especially for Hybrids who have only ever had the lab grown garbage. To tell the truth, I had never won any sort of competition but I’m still pretty good with a grill. Plus they weren’t going to complain anyway since I was their Lewy. They knew that I was going to provide the best I could because they deserved the best.
It was the night after the games and the night before my promised grill out with my unit that I got sacked. The lights blacked out and I heard multiple people closing in on me. I couldn’t tell how many there were but there were enough that they would be able to beat me to death if I was a normal person. A bag was thrown over my head and was blackjacked. I wasn’t knocked out but I had to fake it for the time being. I was tied up and dragged off base probably a couple kliks before they shook me awake, as if I was unconscious anyway.
“You were ordered to take a dive you fucking shit.” And with that the first kick came, or at least tried to. I was back on me feet and kick blocked the attack. I didn’t need enhanced hearing to know where these guys were and where they were coming from. I just relied on years of training. The kick block found it’s mark and I heard an officer scream as his knee shattered. I heard another officer coming from behind me and mule kicked him square in the chest and heard ribs break, as the man went down screaming. After that I lost track of the fight. After about a ten-minute fight I finally took a dive. I let myself have the crap kicked out of me for another twenty minutes. Eventually I let myself drop into a false death, as I was pouring blood from various injuries that would kill just about anyone else. I was so going to piss them off in the morning when they saw me taking my unit out for its normal run.
I waited another forty minutes, give or take, before I sat up, slipped out of bindings, and got the bag off my head. At this point all the cuts and abrasions had begun to heal up and were no longer bleeding. The blood that was on the ground was already burning away. Not all of my various fractures had healed up yet though. I had four broken ribs, my right arm was broken, and both legs were broken. It would be awhile before I could get up and head back to the base under my own power. My uniform was a total lose but that was fine. I was fairly certain I had multiple broken vertebrae as well, so I was in severe pain but nothing a few hours wouldn’t heal. My eyes were both offline as well from having my head stomped on repeatedly I may just have to replace those since the micro-bots that did repairs on those cybernetics might take more time then I had to make a grand entrance. So there was no way I could make it back to the base without a pick up.
My main com was fractured, but that’s why I had two redundant ones. I called Drake. “Sir. What can I do for you sir?”
“Hey asshole can you come pick me up. I had a rather nasty spill and can’t get back to the base right now?”
“Where are you sir?” He wasn’t going to question me over the radio so I knew he was going to make this quiet.
“Not sure. I can’t see anything because my eyes are offline.”
“What happened?” Drake sounded incredibly worried which I didn’t blame him for in the least.
“I tell you when you pick me up. Right now find me and we’ll talk more when you get me back to the barracks.”
“Should I have anyone with me.”
“Just you I don’t want anyone going off half-cocked and getting themselves killed.”
“Just come get me Sergeant.”
“Sir. Yes sir.”
By the time I heard the sound of a transport coming my way both legs had healed enough to stand on, and my back was mostly healed. Though I was still in extreme pain. I was even able to see a little. Though it was still barely.
“Hey Drake. I need a hand here.”
“Wow you had the shit kicked out of you.” Drake walked over put his arm around my waist and helped me limp over to the transport.
“That’s what happens Humans don’t follow orders that are given illegally.”
“The Human equivalent of being fried?”
“You going to be okay? Do you need me to take you to the infirmary?”
“Drake what I’m going to tell you right now is between you and me, and is completely off the record, under no circumstances are you to repeat this to anyone. If people were to learn what I am about to tell you I’d be at the very least arrested and quite possibly vivisected.”
“What the hell are you going to tell me?”
“I’m not entirely Human? In fact I’m not far off from being a full Hybrid.”
“Come again?” Drake turned to look at me.
“Keep your eyes focused on your driving Sergeant.”
“Sorry. So what do you mean you’re borderline Hybrid?”
“Basically I am full of bionetic hacks because of a severe injury when I was younger. In order to safe my life my parents first used cybernetics but eventually they switched to bionetics when I showed great potential as a good hitman. Cybernetics show up too easily on scans. Bionetics though are almost impossible to find after a couple years. The only thing that’s still cybernetic on me are my eyes, and that’s simply because most peoples are so no one would notice those. So my injuries are already healing up nicely. Before you found me I had multiple broken bones that are already starting to heal up.”
“Is that why you can handle nine runs on the obstacle course in full jarhead gear?”
“Yes, I’m far tougher than any Human, almost as strong and as durable as a full Hybrid. I just started out as Human, so I can’t go all the way, but I’m still tough.”
“Damn straight you’re tough. So now what. Are you going to back off on keeping up with us on our training for a couple days?”
“You’re kidding me right? I’m running you just as hard as before and I’m going to keep it up. My pain editors should keep me going and as long as I’m careful I won’t reinjure myself. I plan on making those assholes who did this to me sweat it out.”
“With all die respect sir, you’re nuts.” Drake smiled, at least I think he did, my eyes were still a mess of busted up circuits and diodes.
“I think most Humans would agree with you. Now as I said, what I just told you is between the two of us. I don’t care who they are, no one and I repeat ‘No One’ is to know what I just told you. I don’t care who they are, even the rest of the unit is not to know. Am I clear? If you don’t keep this under wraps you will learn a new definition of pain.”
I was fairly sure that my sergeant nodded. “Don’t worry sir, I’ve already forgotten what you said.”
“Good boy. Now let’s get back to base. I need to rest and get something to eat. That’s the one problem with some of my hacks, they require a ton of food to replace lost mass, and I lost a fair amount of blood tonight.” I sat back an winced a couple times as we hit a couple sudden dips in the road. I kicked in the pain editors, and simply relaxed.