Chapter 1

    Darius Walker rode into town looking for short term labor or construction work, as the bills in his wallet were depressingly low. The rumor was that Lander's HCP had a disturbingly energetic bunch of young supers and anywhere energetic, young, and super collided things were bound to need fixing. But first things first he had to find a place to park his baby. It was cafe style racer, with a titanium frame built around Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa power plant, with a stage two turbo upgrade. The only thing that spoiled the look was that the rear tire was wider than the classic cafe racer to deal with the extra horse power. The fuel tank was hammered stainless steel in the shape of dragon scales with the Walker family coat of arms hammered into the side a sort of giving the metaphorical finger to the old man, that he'd done himself back a couple of years ago when he had a job in a machine shop. His bike was literally the only thing besides his guitar that was worth a damn, including himself.


    He found the second cheapest motel in town on the edges of where one would expect the respectable future of the nation to be hanging out. The only reason he was at the second cheapest instead of the cheapest was the cheapest didn't have a car port to park his bike under. No way was he not finding her respectable cover. As he walked up the the office behind the suitable thick bullet resistant glass with the obligatory harsh buzzing metallic intercom he negotiated a weeks rent with a balding women in early third or late second millennium. He couldn't make out any more details about the land lady because the little box she sat in was so filled with cigarette smoke that he expected to hear she died of cancer yesterday and she just hadn't gotten the tweet about it yet.


    So with guitar case over one shoulder and saddle bag across the other Darius unlocked the door to his palace. It was everything he expected for eighty-five dollars a week. Rust red carpet, faux dark wood paneling, and genuine 1980's color TV. Hell he'd be willing to bet it even had the foul smelling rusty brown water he'd come to expect of home. Darius settled in for the night flicking the analogue alarm clock radio on low and tuning it to a talk radio station. The voices would keep Darius from slipping into too deep a sleep, it was just one of the tips he'd learned while traveling to avoid being surprised in new places.




    Darius rolled through town looking for help wanted signs, construction sites. Basically anything, he was down to his last thirty-five bucks plus whatever loose change was in his pockets. There were of course the bars, collage towns equal bar business. Diners, family restaurants, hot looking women nearly all of them his age or with in one or two years plus or minus, and a slice of the American pie that ran the gambit from wholesome to down right scary. He was just grading on looks, he knew all to well that Aunt Bee could be the hatchet wielding harridan, and the guy with the tatt'd up skull and the bone through his nose the most reliable volunteer down at the local animal shelter, the safe bet was keep your head down, your nose clean, do a job till the place starts to stink too much like home, and move on before something grows on you. Nothing good ever came of sentiment.


    He rolled up on a crew doing road work but it was just a minor scorch mark and some busted up asphalt, the three guys they had on it was more than enough. No lead there. He  sped on down the road making a loop around the far side of town, comic book shops, electronic/computer repair and sales. No luck Darius didn't know his bottom from a black hole about computers. Time to check the campus, there was bound to be something that needed doing on that waste of land that the collage kids didn't wanna trouble themselves with.   


    He rolled through a parking-lot just in time to see a group of hyped up weirdos, Supers he was sure, pile into a mixed assortment of vehicles every thing from beaters to hopped up imports to daddy's luxury sedans in the oddest convoy he'd ever seen. Just as he rolled through a muscled up cat on a hog shot passed him like someone told him there was beer flavored boobs at journey's end. Must be some sort of club, probably the Super-Glee club or something.


    Darius, found post with various types of adds and took time to look it over. Various offers for instruction in various tasks, offers in tutoring in foreign languages, One guy selling a loving used.. yeah not something that should be shared. Here it was, Help wanted; needed grounds maintenance various tasks including small repair, and beautification projects. Contact.. Darius pulled the flier off the post and stuffed it in his pocket. He realized most of his job would entail picking up trash and doing small repair work on things drunken douches screwed up. But one thing Darius's life had taught him was that he wasn't proud.


    Later that night he sat in a dirty little dive. It was the kind of place that stuff happened at the kind of stuff smart people didn't talk about, and smarter people didn't see. He asked the man in charge if he could play for tips tonight, and after a short audition to make sure Darius didn't completely suck the man agreed he could play. Darius had been at it for most of the night, the tips were decent and a couple of the more appreciative patrons scent drinks whiskey neat, it was bottom barrel rot gut but it was free and Darius never bitched about free. He played, the more whiskey that came the more truth he played. It was just the way of the blues. By the end of the night, sweat and truth got him sixty-seven dollars and forty-five cents. He'd nearly tripled his money and staved off hunger another day, it was good day.


    Darius woke the next morning with the taste akin to a three day dead cat in his mouth. The cheap stuff will do it every time. It wasn't a pleasant sensation but it was familiar, he went into his room's bathroom opened up his toiletry kit and rinsed, and brushed showered but put his same clothes back on. He pulled the crumpled flier out of his pocket and called the number on it.