Sunday, January 5, 2014

City of Kaiju: Rika's Delivery Service 4

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"Wait a nano."  Rika tried to collect herself, uncertain of what exactly to do.  "You are that Jezebel?  Like, the Oracle Jezebel?"

Jezebel smiled.  "I don't think you have that much time.  The Screamers will stall them for some time, but if you want to talk instead of-"

"Right, sorry."  Rika shook her head.  "I've been having a pretty bad day."

"Please follow me, Rika.  I'll show you a way out to the nearest Weaveway.  Maybe something that won't attract the attention of Uriel's thugs, eh?"

Jezebel started to walk in one direction.  Compelled by Jezebel, Rika followed.  She didn't even hesitate.  Rika tried to figure out what about the rogue Angel seemed to make her obedient without question.

"I'm sorry for reading your thoughts without asking,"  Jezebel told her as she led them down a trail that overlooked a valley of Kaiju and forest.  Off in the distance one could see the outlines of the largest structures in Noah.  Ezekiel's Square with its massive cube shape and the many spires of Cherub Heights glittered, outlined against the dark blue water being held back by the Blue Dome forcefields.  "It seemed quicker to just get in there and find a way to keep you from panicking."

Rika blinked.  "Um, that's going to be ok I guess... I didn't really feel anything..."

Jezebel paused for a moment to crawl over one log, offering Rika a helping hand over as well.  "Still, it wasn't quite correct, and need to apologize.  Is there anyone who you know will help you?  Any sort of vehicle of any kind?"

"Don't you have anything like that I could borrow?"  Rika ask, sheepishly.  She felt guilty asking her for anything like that.  "I mean... I've heard the stories about what you and your people do out here."

Jezebel shook her head.  "We avoid being dependent on such technology.  Here we go."

Jezebel whistled.  Rika didn't see what she had seen or was whistling at.  A moment later, however, a blue-skinned creature slithered around a nearby tree, sliding down beside them.  The huge Kaiju serpent coiled around Jezebel, pausing long enough to give her a playful rub.  It had a feline head and a pair of apelike claws coming from its chest.  The Cat-serpent must've been thirty or forty hundred feet long.

Jezebel grabbed Rika's hand.  "You go up first."

Rika climbed up the Cat-serpent's back.  Jezebel then leaped up onto the Cat-Serpent, floating down in front of Rika behind its large head.  Jezebel scratched behind one ear, and then the giant Kaiju slithered forward, taking up a much faster speed than Rika had thought possible for such a large creature.

"Wow.  Okay, I never thought Kaiju got this big."

"They choose to pretend they don't exist, those who control the City."  Jezebel looked back at Rika, her wild deathhawk hair in front of half of her face.  "You were lucky I found you.  Cling on tight, though.  I don't want you to fall off."

"What do mean hold on-" Rika nearly screamed as the Cat-serpent then wrapped itself around a tree, and started to leap from massive treetop to tree top, going even faster than before.

"Again," Jezebel continued, undeterred by the Cat-serpent's tree-jumping and Rika's clinging to her back.  "Do you have anyone who can pick you up at the Weaveway?"

"Uh, yeah.  I've got someone I can call."  Rika answered.  "Thanks again-"

Rika tried to quell the nausea in her stomach as the Cat-Serpent leaped again between treetops.

Jezebel laughed.  "No need, child.  I do what I do because the People all need help.  Babylon and the others have forgotten what we are supposed to be doing.  We need to fix our world, not exploit it."

Rika decided to keep her eyes closed.

"You didn't need to-"

"Tell me, what are you delivering?"  Jezebel asked.  "Couldn't you have just given it to them?"

"They would've killed me either way," Rika answered.  "And... and I was going to, to be honest.  I didn't want to be alive anymore by that point."

Jezebel didn't answer right away.  "That doesn't seem like why you were doing what you were doing."

"I... I couldn't just give people a package I've promised to deliver.  That's what I make my name on, really.  I own my own business, and from time to time I have to confront people like that," Rika started to ramble.  She got mad at herself, tears streaming down her face.  She couldn't stop herself, even though she didn't want to talk about it.  "My boyfriend always said I was too stubborn to just find safe work, but... I have skills that excel at delivery and..."

"And what?"  Jezebel asked.

"He's dead.  Arn's dead.  Oh yabai.  Arn's dead and I want to be with him."  Rika shook her head.  "I'm sorry, you don't want to hear me-"

"Go on," Jezebel said.  "They killed him then?"

"No... my bike exploded and... and I was so angry with him.  Oh, I didn't want to see him after last night.  Its stupid, he just pissed me off so much...  And I told the idiot I didn't to talk to him and..."

"He died saving you, is what you are saying."  Jezebel's voice lost part of its softness, growing hard as stone.

Rika opened her eyes.  Jezebel locked her gaze with Rika's.  Rika didn't know what to expect at that point.

She had, indeed, known Jezebel's reputation in Noah.  She led a band of Anarchists and Ecoterrorists who thought technology and civilization had been responsible for destroying the surface world.  They were opposed to Babylon.  They didn't like anything they thought had been exploitation of nature.  Sometimes they took hostages.  Other times someone claimed they were fulfilling Jezebel's wishes when something exploded or had been destroyed.  Car bombs were done in her name.

To some people Jezebel's name was synonymous with the violence in the Blue Dome.  Monster attacks.  Threats against the Weaveway.  Other things.

Rika wondered if that was the person who she'd been spilling her guts to.  Rika closed her mouth and tried to look away, feeling more nausea as she looked at the feral lands of the Blue Dome around her.

"I wish I could do more for you," Jezebel said, her eyes glowing verdant, "but I have so many things I have to be responsible for.  I see the pain that is going to come for you, child.  And I see what you've been hiding from almost all of us.  You are clever, aren't you?"

Rika didn't answer.  She wiped tears away from her cheeks.

Jezebel chuckled.  "I'll take solace in the fact that Uriel doesn't know about you and your clever trick.  I'm more surprised you haven't used it.  I can see it, though, in my Visions.  Clever."

"I don't like using it.  It... Its embarrassing."

Jezebel laughed.  "More embarrassing than having a rat tail?"

The rat-tailed demon girl shrugged.  "I'm better off than most, I think."

"True.  Very true."

* * * * *

By the time Jezebel's Cat-Serpent had arrived at the Weaveway, Rika had managed to get a call to Yaime.  Jezebel left her at the Weaveway, and Rika found herself nervously waiting for Yaime to come and pick her up.

"C'mon Yaime," Rika muttered.  The streets that were atop that part of the Weaveway were covered in shops and hovels, the narrow streets slowed by the groups of people who either walked and shopped on the top of the weaveway, or milled about everything that had been built into the side of the Weaveway, all the way down to the floor of the Blue Dome.

Most people knew it as the Doghead Market, one of a dozen tiny markets that most people went to eat and shop between the larger neighborhoods in Noah.  Boutiques were next to tiny cafes.  A pair of people sold fresh Kaiju meat from a stall.  A bit further down, Rika snagged a kaiju kabob for herself.  A few people recognized her, nodding in her direction.

It didn't help her paranoia.  Rika clutched tightly to the package under one arm.  "C'mon."

The wait must've been ten minutes, but Yaime did appear.  His silvery, yet rusty hover car paused next to her.  Her handsome Dispatcher stopped.  Click, and a door opened.  Rika dived in, buckling her seatbelt.

"Took you long enough!"  Rika tried not to shout, but it came out that way anyhow.  "You know how horrible a day I've been having?"

Yaime turned to her.  "Your welcome too, Rika.  Nice to see you too.  Been a while.  Yes, I have been having a good day."

Rika punched him in the shoulder.  "Stop being sarcatic.  Arn's dead-"

"What?"  Yaime stared at her.

"Drive, doofus, and I'll explain as we go, ok?"