Editor: Jason McDonald
The Underground Revised Proudly
"You want this? Don't you?" My partner's voice (I use both words loosely) was an unconvincing jittery slur. "Think of the profit to be made... imagine being the only two people to bring a fully-converted Maglev that isn't already parts. Oh the cred we are gonna get!" Traverge glared at me. His eyes began shifting left and right, appearing to chase some invisible entity. I canít help but wonder if I would even be here, if circumstances were different.
I swear the beads of sweat forming on my face must have been a bright neon green color. Traverge startled me when he spoke up again. "Come on,Wylder, don't ya got the stones, or what?" The car was cherry red... not top of the line, but alot better then the death heaps we had available downtown. The gloves on my hands seemed to crinkle loudly as I flexed my fingers mulling over my current decision... steal the ride, or hear it from the crew when Traverge sent word? "Shock it! The ancient cow probably deserves this... she gets her eats with a 70 percent nutricious value... she gets more than enough that she don't have'ta scrounge for, and she gluts like that."
I nodded, the roof of my mouth was dry... the air was
so crisp Uptown. You felt healthier just watching the
footage passing the ten year old flickering holo-ads.
Much less stepping foot in and breathing the actual
air. I gathered my courage, and linked to the locking
system... no automatic teleportation tampering system.
That was a relief... rumor had it that when people
transported to prison, parts didn't always end up
where they started. "This is hilarious", I spoke up,
trying to mask the fact I was scared out of my mind. "She
protects the car with a letter and number passcode. I
bet you 40 cred that it's her birthday." Traverge
glanced at me with a vacant look. "Today?"
Traverge had assured me that gloves were a classic touch to make sure we did not
get caught. Right now, I was doubting that, along with anything else he had ever said. "What about the Public Eye..." I peered at the sky now, as if on cue the enforcers of the law would come down and ask for me by name. "I wouldn't worry about them." I looked behind me... but Traverge was farther away then the mysterious answer... and he appeared to be wriggling madly on the wall. I don't know why but I had to walk over to him; I should have ran away I guess. My hand pressed slowly against the substance, it was warm and sticky and almost a shiny pool of gray. Without warning something snagged my other hand. "What the sho--"
He was statuesque atop the not quite stolen property
when I caught my first glimpse. Spider-Man. He used
to be a hero. Now he was a sell-out, I wanted so
badly to spit in his face. "You don't know." I stated coldly terrified,
"I am better than you. You want to send me away for
attempting this?" I don't know where the courage came from,
maybe finally realizing I had earned the right to
fight hard... living the way I had to. Or maybe, I
just had too much adrenaline to notice the urine down
my leg. "I need this... I am not sending her to
another doc in a box. Andie don't need that kind of
noose around her neck. If you can't pay the price, if you aren't sitting high in Babylon Towers, then you may as well kiss your cure goodbye. Waiting to find her on the street, or brought in for the organs. Hope stays away from Downtown... of course
you would know all about that... you deserted the
people that needed you."
He walked up to me now, and with each step closer, I
closed my eyes a half a second longer... it was all I
could do not to cringe. He picked me up... as if I
were nothing. Insignificant. And then, finally, he spoke, "I did as much as I
knew to do. And just because I am not downtown...
doesn't mean I am not trying to do more." And with
that his fist was a blur...
I awoke slowly... my mouth tasted coppery now. Damn
it all, the prison was brighter than I imagined.
Getting up was not easy at all, "Oh, Wylder..." After
I had rubbed my eyes, she came into focus... her auburn hair
was a comfort against the seemingly bright white
surroundings. "Andie-girl? Where the am I?" She
only smiled... I had not seen that smile in so long. "The
hospital." I instantly felt at my coat. "Son of a
bitch, not only am I going to prison... a nurse took
off with my wallet." Andie ran her hand through my
hair, and seemed to be inspecting my face. "No, I
have it... how else was Spider-Man going to find me
and let me know about this?"
She handed the wallet to me. But I did not grab at it right away. Instead my eyes fell on a shiny blue patch on her wrist. "That? How did you get med assist? Does this mean that you can get the sweep to wipe out the melanoma?" She opened her mouth a bit, and the words came out in shudders. "Not only that, but this ... oh this miracle Wylder. They are going to make sure it doesn't spread. And well, we are both going to be ok." If her words were a shudder, then her tears were the floodgates. I opened my wallet slowly. A note fell out into my lap. I
peeled away at it... finally unfolding it:
Dear Mr. Almost A. Criminal,
Andie is a nice girl, you picked well. I hauled your
for possession of Rapture (nasty stuff).
This is your second chance, and I like to think
it is mine as well. When you are well enough to do
so... go to Alchemax. There is a guy there...
who needs someone with your insight.
Your Friendly Neighborhood S-Man
PS: You won the bet. Spend the 40 cred wisely.
Hey, what d'you know? 2099UGR Unlimited has its own letters column after all. You'd think we'd have instituted this earlier as a more efficient way of gauging fan reaction to the stories we tell and the characters we introduce in this series, but honestly, we're not too bright.
Though I suppose another reason is that we haven't recieved much fan mail directed toward Unlimited, but leave it to Rena, our rambunctious regular reader, to fix that. Sure, she was more specifically responding to our recent "Outta My Head" editorials, but Unlimited seemed like the best place to post her e-mail, since it deals with aspects of the world of 2099 at large:
I agree about the need for mixing in humor with drama, that
contrasts are integral, just like what you've accomplished
in your Blade story. With him killing his kid and everything,
without the right dash of lightheartedness the whole thing
could've been so depressing/intense and so much less enjoyable
for it. I loved the little touches of fun and cleverness, eg.
"Right, pick any name but that" and "stop stabbing me" lol.
Even though I was up until this year uninitiated with 2099 the
2099 UGR has now fast become my fave fanfic site. Thanks! You
guys are doing an awesome job!
Thanks, Rena! I'm glad we're winning you over. And yeah, the second Blade story was a lot of fun to write, especially at the climax. Claymore Valentine turned about to be a truly funny character, which worked out well in terms of providing contrast to both Chen and to Valentine's own ruthless deeds. And hey, conning people into being interested in the 2099verse has been our goal all along.
I hate to waste your time with a bunch of dumb questions cuz
I'd rather have you busy writing, but here's a few I'll throw
out. Could Litany, the new Metalscream, become the new sorcerer
supreme? Or is Strange still around? The Ancient One lived a long
time so I guess maybe he is. Wondering about that, would his
old Greenwich mansion be in downtown? How about a cross over
with Blade? Top vampire hunter and the Sorceror Supreme
meeting up sounds like it'd naturally happen.
As it turns out, there is a Strange 2099, as established in Spider-Man 2099 (the comic) #32 and #33 -- just not Dr. Stephen Strange. This newer version in a young woman who wears the Eye of Agamotto and approaches the role of Sorcerer Surpreme with a decidedly-different attitude. Who knows, we might even see a story about her sometime later on. But Litany's still one of the top magic users in 2099 (especially now that magic is almost a forgotten concept), and the idea of Blade teaming up with the Sorcerer Surpreme is definitely an interesting one. Stay tuned.
Very much looking forward to anything you come up though, I'm
VERY interested to see Doom of course, and FF in September.
Oh and the banners were cute. With how much Marvel overuses Wolverine
I think that one was the best! It's good that turned out to
be a hologram of him with Hikaru. I'm not familiar with
X-Men 2099 but unless it's really different than regular X-Men,
like vastly so I'm not really interested in seeing them. I
like everything having a fresh spin. The new Blade I actually like
more than the original Blade, can't say the same for Moon Knight
only cuz I'm not that familiar with the original, but I gather the powers
and a lot are quite different, or at least the
origin of them.
I had such a blast coming up with the parody banners, Rena. Expect more of those from time to time in the coming months.
Speaking of X-Men, though, an X-Men 2099UGR series by John Bush is in development as we speak, and we'll hopefully start releasing issues by the end of the year. The series will feature the same characters from John Francis Moore's comic series, so if you're at all intrigued by what the X-Men are like in this future era, stay tuned for that. They're vastly different from the 20th century X-Men -- in fact, only Xavier's Dream stays the same -- and I promise Wolverine doesn't make an appearance.
*Sigh* So wish I could write. Here's a few ideas I had.
Atlantis 2099, an underwater city in which Stark-Fujikawa
helped the Atlanteans rebuild it in exchange for helping them
with deep sea mining and such. Could be a locale for a lot of
cool stories. Maybe Atlanteans are very resentful of the humans,
or there's a lot of half breeds that live there, who
might've helped the city come to be. It could be a big hub of
busy activity, or its like run down after everything has been
Actually, Atlantis 2099 has already been featured in the comics. The first glimpse of the megacorps' undersea efforts was seen in Spider-Man 2099 #8, which revealed that Alchemax was active in mining operations, and they'd been planning to genetically-engineer human workers into aquatic humanoids in order to thrive in the deep-ocean conditions. This is explained more in depth in the upcoming 2099: State of the Union, so hopefully you'll get a clearer idea of how the 2099 world works from that.
Black Widow 2099, a top corporate spy answerable to only
Hikaru. Not sure if she'd be Russian or not. Black Knight 2099,
if such a character shows up I think he ought to definitely be
of the same bloodline as the other Knights cuz they go back to
the Crusades and before. He could be a scientist like Dane
Whitman was, working for a corporation and he's got the Ebony
Blade. Maybe just keeps it hidden in the basement or something
and for some reason has to pull it out to defend himself or
something and the Black Knight 2099 is born lol. Not sure.
Although you do have a Moon Knight, and Miguel is a scientist,
right? Don't want to be too redundant, even though Marvel has
always had so many scientist characters.
Black Widow 2099 sounds like a neat idea. Black Knight 2099? As you said, there's already a Moon Knight 2099. Still, Black Knight's legacy has always been an interesting one, though at the moment I'm not sure how it could be adapted to 2099. We'll see.
Miguel is indeed a scientist, though he's currently Alchemax's CEO. Even so, he still hasn't left the life of a geneticist from time to time, and he still thinks like one. That said, I don't think there can really be too many scientists in 2099, as their projects and discoveries help drive the world economy.
What about the cosmic part of the 2099 verse? I know they're
into the Negative Zone, but what are they doing in space? Do
they trade with alien worlds or are they not that progressed?
I'm wondering if they'd be in contact with the Eternals of
Titan, if they're still around. Oh and I'm also intrigued by
the Thorites. Did Thor swear off earth at the end of the
Heroic Age or are they in the middle of a Ragnorak? Somebody
could find his hammer, but knowing you you'd want to do something
a lot less expected, which I'm glad!
We've been tossing around story involving the Thorites (and a major upheaval thereof), so that could be a possible mini-series or 2099UGR Unlimited story later -- but nothing's definite. And as for the cosmic stuff? James Stovall's upcoming Null 2099UGR series will touch on some aspects of space, though maybe not the way most would expect. Also expect the Fantastic Four 2099UGR ongoing to look into space from time to time.
--David Ellis, EiC