For all tourists – if these people still existed somewhere-, the eastern part of Berlin looked the same. At least in the night. And at least from the lights. The long Unter den Linden still showed nice facades glowing in the endless parade of lampposts, shining their orange light into the crowns of the trees in the middle of the street. And yet, even the first and maybe second impression of the normality of this street could not stop the slow and weird fading of those impressions. That was the reason, Viktor did not walk this street. It was a honeypot, bright, colorful, almost dry.
Hopefully, everyone in Berlin knew the names of the street. It was „The trap“ and it was a trap. Dozens of human eyes stared in the light, unmoving, waiting. And there it was. A young girl running along the street, her long hair flattering in the wind, screaming in panic. She was 14, maybe 15 years old. Her clothes looked torn, but Viktor imagined, that they had been expensive, maybe a heritage from her mother or grandmother.
The trap was humming.
And something else too.
A car shot out of the dark, left the side street, left the dark, entered the light. A couple of gang members, maybe younger than the girl itself, hung on the open windows of the old car, yelling obscenities, wearing gang outfits, Viktor could not remember. They were wearing clubs and knives in their hands, and one of them was not fully human anymore. Maybe their boss or some guest from another gang.
They were racing along the street, maybe 20 meters behind the girl. The yelling became louder.
And then it stopped. People screamed. A dozen bollards were staring in the sky, their upper ends filed or cut into sharp pyramids. The car, screaming like a whale harpooned by the old whale-hunters, started to burn. Its motor and half of the car were hanging in the air, while the guys with the gang-signs lay maybe 10 feet behind it, thrown away by the car in the attack like an angry ass.
And now the street became alive. Behind the old windows of the older houses, faces appeared. The grass beneath the trees also moved, lifted itself up, presented bodies with weapons.
The girl had stopped. She turned around and went to the burning car. Her face looked fierce, her hand held a knife, maybe a machete.
When she reached the car, she didn’t care about the fire. She opened the drivers door and stook the knife in the darkness. Someone screamed, but only shortly. A dead body dropped from the inside of the car to the street. A dozen gang members ran towards the dead.
Who was not dead.
After maybe 10 minutes the action ended. The girl had personally stabbed all the guys from the car. And the rest of the gang had finished them.
Viktor moved through the shadows, left doors and windows, where they were, he didn’t enter any inviting building. Often he had to turn back and take another route, because he had seen shadows moving. Old parking spots were the same. Even if they had cars, those cars were probably just traps.
The gangs of East Berlin were sometimes organized and led by a strong boss, but many of them were just day-by-day-gangs. Most people just wanted to survive and the gangs just wanted this too. So it was a win-win for most of the people.
But there were unspoken rules. And the dead guys from the car had broken the first rule: the territory is the kingdom and the king kills invaders. Or the queen. Or machine. Or boss.
Viktor knew it and everyone else probably knew it too, but most of the citizens in West Berlin never left their areas. And they were ignorant, but it was understandable. Why should someone try to get a better life? At this point of humanity, the planet was fucked beyond repair and Berlin was a symbol of that.
On the left, he saw the old Berliner Dom, the old church, the one with the secret tunnel to the walled and secure part of Berlin, where Tamburian probably preached every day. Tamburian was never in danger, Viktor thought. People still loved prophets and the worse they were, the bigger there gatherin would be.
The Spree was a problem, because it had, as we all knew, poison and evil creatures dwelling in it, so Viktor moved north and reached the old bridge from the S-Bahn. He probably could remember having used those trains in his youth, but now, no train would ever move again. People already had torn out the rails and had sold them for food or booze or drugs. Now, the hole bridge looked like a jungle.
When Viktor walked through the shadows of the old buildings, the old museums, he felt a slight burning in his heart. After all, behind the walls of the buildings of the museum-island, treasures had been collected and they would have given people hope, some hope for some future, because in the end, bad situations or times were only as temporary as good times but for the last decades, the good times had stopped and the art inside those buildings had been sold and moved to some dungeon in the alps or the himalayas in the lairs of some extremely rich people. Art did not exist anymore for normal people.
And even the gangs were normal people, just looking for families.
The old bridge was thankfully really old now and the bricks and mortar quite loose, so Viktor was able to stick itself on the side of it, on a wall. The bushes and half-grown trees stared at him with content, with the basic knowledge, that Viktors species had fucked itself over and nature would prevail – in peace.
Whenever Viktor heard sounds, he stopped. His hand and feet burned, while gripping the holes in the walls, gripping the old rotten steel braces, feeling the rust burning forgotten names in his palms.
The bridge was not empty, but the people, who „owned“ them were not nice. They were rats and they didn’t deserve the knowledge. Their existence depended on one thing: Inform the Swabs. And by all forgotten gods, Viktor wanted to stay of of their path. Yet, the Lassiter Girl would probably land in their territory.
The overly bright symbol of East Berlin, the Fernsehturm, still hung in the darkness and yes, it truly hung there. Years ago, a bomber had tried to get into the base of the tower, because he had looked for gold, for old east german secret rooms and weapons, but in the end, the base had been compromised and the tower itself had become a risk. Half of the people wanted to cut the tower down, put it away, put it in the memory drawer of „back in the days“, but others had decided otherwise. Shittons of money late, the tower had been fixed by several metal-rods, as thick as arms, which stuck in the top of the tower and the other side was deep in the earth. Now, the tower looked like a spaceship before its night-start, glimmering lights like in 1950s scifi-movies penetrating its hull. Or so.
In the top of the tower lived the boss of the Swabs and he (or she, Viktor was not sure, who was the winner of the last Alpha-contest) was able to look over Berlin like a goddamn god.
Therefore, Viktor was outside its reach. Or at least he hoped it.
The main crowd of the Swabes were in the old S-Bahnhof Alexanderplatz. It was a large building with a larger underground, its subway-station sitting on several railroads like an old fat spider. Others of the Swabes lived normally in homes, in houses, they were the self-created ones, the people, who still told everyone about being ecological and positive. Those were the most brutal of the Swabe-warriors, the shere madness of their attacks, especially to people, who didn’t follow their lead in moralistic questions.
And Viktor had to go there.
He still was outside of the main streets, walked from shadow to shadow, but there was a time, when he had to enter the limelight of East Berlin, the bright echoes of futures unseen. Some people said, that the old socialist vibe was still living in that part of the town, had come back after the bad weather had appeared. The kind of „socialism saves where capitalism kills“ thinking made the surviving people of East Berlin proud of their heritage, even if they had moved here only a decade ago. And the Swabes were not happy about it.
The streets became crowded, even the smaller ones. People walked by, chattering in their phones or talking to each other, wearing large bags of food or old electronical devices. Maybe the Swabes had thrown a party, maybe a new boss had been announced. People in the dark smoked cigarettes which smelled like dogs hair and old CDs. A few danced in their homes, the lights dimmed, the shadows moving in the rhythm of some unknown band of a forgotten era.
The old Fernsehturm on his right side, maby 100m ago, after the Alexanderplatz-trainstation, he was unable to keep his shadow-walk, because the houses had no gardens and the smaller streets were packed with both people and cars, steel beams and trash, as if – and Viktor was sure about it – the Swabes wanted fix the size of their territory and build new walls. Therefore, Viktor had to step into the light and enter the main street.
At least he was not dead and his body was not that different from others. He was not the only cybernetic enhanced person here. He could see different versions of himself, but most of them wore swabish symbols on the metal, colors fading in the constant rain, their faces bright, their eyes real or not, but glowing with knowledge and madness. They had weapons, but not openly, not today. There was a party, yes, and everyone was invited.
He was greeted by some drunken people, who threw cans with beer in his direction and they yelled, when he took a sip. It was warm beer, the worst kind of beer, but he emptied a can and put several others in his pocket.
He bought a Döner and chewed on it while he made his way through the crowd. Lights emanated the black clouds of the sky, throwing nightly rainbows through the dark.
Only half a kilometer to the point, maby 20 minutes to get there. He walked faster. Appointments rarely meet their times and places. The crowd thinned step by step. Mostly drunkards and druggies sat on the street or on old white plastic chairs staring in the void behind their minds. They didn’t see him, they didn’t accept anything outside their experiences.
Viktor crossed a street, almost alone. The main street ascended a little bit, as if Berlin had real hills. The houses on the street were alive, but mostly because of the televisions, which still had a few channels to show.
And there it was, the park, where the drop pod should land. It was next to a large red-brownish building, several levels high. Viktor tried to remember the old name, but it was gone now. As gone as slight buzz of the beer. Maybe in that building once have lived or worked some famous person. Nah. Viktor wasn’t big in gossip. So he waited, leaning to the old building, staring to the park.
The thunder and lightning, which he had seen in the Regierungsviertel, slowly shoved its freaking ass to the east. Lights flashed, thunder followed, a basic storm would appear, tear a few trees from the ground, the usual „climate is dead and new“ storm.
Considering this weather, Viktor was hoping, that the gushes of wind would not changed the trajectory of the pod.
He looked a this tablet. The time was already there. The weather was helpful. He also felt the knife of his former colleague and friend. It had not drawn any blood and Viktor was thankful for that.
A new flash cut the sky in two. But it did not disappear after a while, but it created a tiny echo of a blinking light, which raced through the darkness. And its path was wrong, dancing in the storm like a fish out of its element. It would land somewhere else, even nearer to the … damn Fernsehturm. Directly in the middle of the Swabes.
Another flash. The pod was hit. Thumbled. Danced. Screamed. Lost its trajectory. Left its way. And came directly at Viktor.