NEON & CONCRETE — Story #03

Double Brutal

The laser scans my retina, and the thick concrete door with dozens of blast marks from deals gone bad slowly starts to pull itself open.

I sniff the air, the gun oil smell revealing itself as I walk into the holding room and take a seat to wait for the old man. The light’s a purple-turquoise mix and flickers overhead as I hear Bob next door chatting up some customer. “Listen, few things in this life perform as well as a TEC-9 repeater modified by yours truly. This stock’s retro, but it’s fucking solid. They don’t build shit like this anymore, and with the latest additions I’ll add, you’re left with a formidable weapon — ”

He goes on and on, and I light a cigarette and try to spy the cameras in the gaps in the wall. No doubt, Old Bob has a dozen or so trained on me, but he knows me, he knows my line of work, and most importantly, he knows my credit is good. That’s all he really cares about. Shit, I could be part of a neo-cult or a fucking crypto-cop for all he cares. He’ll sell anyone any shit they desire if their credit is good.

“Ah, Mr Rawstone,” he says, walking into the holding area with the slight limp he picked up back in some old war fought with actual people. That’s how old this motherfucker is, and somehow, he still manages to keep going. Held together with synth-implants and duct-tape, he’s still got some fight left in him yet. I’ll give him that. Put it this way, I wouldn’t want to be the one that pissed him off. Sure, there’s mould growing on the ancient concrete walls down here, but they’re alive with the highest-grade kit money can buy. He’ll have pinned down my embedded defence protocols and had his military level AI draw up every manoeuvre I could take within a nano-second of me entering the room.

Yeah, this old room, I stand and run my hand against the concrete, five feet thick, an old relic nuclear weapons silo that used to be out in the country-side, when such a thing existed, now just another part of the metropolis known as Major Prime. The beast, stretching from coast-to-coast, four billion people squeezed into northern America. Neon and concrete for two and a half thousand miles, and all the filth and horror that goes along with it.

“Old Bob,” I say back, flicking my cigarette away and walking up to shake his hand.

A moment of tension and a raise of his eyebrow and he’s hacked my STEM before I can even blink. “Looks like someone has been up to some fun,” he says with a wry grin.

“Bob, now, now, you steer clear of that; business is business,” I reply and point to the weapons room.

“You’re right, you’re right, Mr Rawstone,” he says, walking away from me.

“Just Jack.”

He turns to me as we enter the weapons room and nods. “Sure thing, Mr Rawstone.”

The bare concrete has turned into polished steel, and the cold of the outer layer of the silo is now hermetically sealed away, and temperature controlled as the previous customer shuffles out quickly, and the door hisses shut behind me.

“Some shopping list you got there, Mr Rawstone,” he says, rubbing an old hand over his scar-ridden face.

“Can you make it or what?” I say, light another cigarette, and tense my jaw at the prospect of what’s to come.

“Listen, I can make it; just depends on whether or not you can handle it.” He pushes out a lop-sided grin from the side of his mouth that’s working best.

“Now, you listen old man.” I walk up to him, a good two feet taller and probably just as much wider. I’m no powerhouse, but I’ve had enough mods and implants to make me good at what I do. “I can handle it. You ever known me to flake out on you, kill any civilians or get you reported?”

“Calm down, Mr Rawstone.” Still holding that grin, both of us knowing he could vaporise me in an instant. “Look, we’ve got you covered. You know, at Old Bob’s Metal ’n’ Bones, we’ve got all the latest wares and the facility to install on site. Like you said, we know the score.” He flips a switch, and half the rounded wall shoots up to reveal racks and racks of weapons. “Now let’s see. What have we got here?” He’s licking his lips, looking me up and down, reading my ‘shopping list’.

“Razorback Panpsychic Terror Inducers? Jesus, Rawstone? I wouldn’t like to be the one that pissed you off. Quantum daisy-cutters as well?” He laughs. “I didn’t think anyone was still into that sort of thing. They’ll melt you into the floor and leave half your brain wriggling for someone to put a bullet in it to end the misery,” looking at me with a furrowed brow as I stay mute. “Yeah, right, well, that seems to be the main ingredients, and don’t worry, we’ve got all the other kit that we can load you up with as standard. The Terror Inducers will need a deep grind. That’ll take a little longer. You got the time?”

“Just load me up.”

“Sure thing, Rawstone.” He comes around as I sit in the induction chair, the light shining down from above, the small plant he keeps in the middle of the room at my feet. I guess the nostalgia comes with being that old.

The chair’s claws fold into me, bed deep into my forearms, and he’s pushing some buttons on an old computer at the side and swigging on Popskull whiskey. The whole room starts flickering with UV light, hues reflecting off the steel walls, highlighting the specks of blood from previous clients in an incandescent green.

“Big job?” he asks.

“Same as usual,” I say as the feeds of the weapon systems dig their way into my synth-implants and rewire themselves to fit.

“Ah, neo-cults?”

My jaw is pulsing and my teeth are grinding against the pain. “You know the drill, Bob.”

“Yeah, yeah, they pay well enough; that’s for sure,” he replies, finalising the drill bit for the Terror Inducers and driving it deep into my spine.

“Yeah, right.”

I growl and close my eyes and try to look for her, somewhere in the depths of my wired, re-wired brain, written and re-written mind. She’s somewhere in there, the vision of her. I could bring up thousands of hours of recorded memories, but there’s nothing quite like the real thing, however much harder it is to try to see it. An actual memory. It’s one thing that helps with the pain, especially when he goes deep like this. A billion flickering moments and there she comes, out of the fog and into my mind’s eye. Those hips, that smile, the long golden hair, the stare of those blue eyes. All I ever wanted was to be able to wake up next to a woman and be able to say to her, ‘Morning, beautiful,’ and for her to say to me, ‘Morning handsome,’ and for us both to be telling the truth. And she’s there, and I say those words, and she says those words, and I know there’s no lie.

“All done.” Bob pats my face as he pulls out the plug from my spine and clicks the button on the chair to raise me back upright.

I straighten myself out. “Never gets any easier, that shit,” I say, pulling an arm around and rubbing the throb on the back of my head as I stand up and my systems reboot. Millions of colours flash in my peripheral vision as the new implants take hold.

“Ah, you’re tough enough.” He walks away, pulling off his plastic gloves and flicking them across the room. “As per, everything’s immediately ready to rock, but Jack, waiting a few days for things to feel right wouldn’t hurt either. Credit has cleared; you’re good to go.”

I light a cigarette as the hermetic door hisses open and stretch my neck out as I flick Old Bob a wave from behind and head out of the silo and back up into the city.

Beeple_Crap: ALGORITHM WORSHIP

This place, this metropolis, four billion people jammed in-between all this neon and concrete and everything that goes along with it. We’ve got two and a half thousand miles of the future here, and I’ve managed to cut myself out a tiny little piece.

The streets are busy; they’re always busy. Three AM standard time and the place is heaving underneath dark skies, rain pouring that sparkles with the light of a million shining neon billboards. The skytanks thrusting down their bright white beams, Crypto-cops sweeping the bowels where this display of humanity sweeps before me. Civilians, gangs, neo-cults, drones, androids, and the eye in the sky watching us all. They’re supposed to be there to help protect the innocents, not that they care, not that there are many innocents left now. Some people do manage to have a half-normal life in this gigantic mess, even with the neo-cults creeping into every corner of every habitat. Shit, those bastards are even muscling the gangs out of some of the smaller Quarters.

Yeah, the neo-cults held up in their giga-cathedrals and worming their way into everything. The UV face tattoos, the scarification, the flashy AI clothing, the implants, synth-psychedelics, and bizarre rituals, and everything in-between. They’re recruiting from the gangs now; they’re getting big.

Used to be the gangs I would get 90% of my work from, running protection, enforcement, the odd raid here and there, only on military lockdowns and other gangs, no civilians. But it’s the neo-cults these days. They pay well enough I’ve even been able to afford a few extra upgrades lately, and they tend not to kill the people they hire, rather than just not pay them.

The elevator judders and the strip lighting flickers on my way up to my apartment. That little bit I’ve managed to cut out of this chaos. Graffiti and gang signs on the walls, the incandescent markings of the neo-cults. The block is run down and largely full of T>O<X addicts, but they know to leave me alone, and I can stay anonymous enough. No one bothers me, and my apartment is secure, fully upgraded and safe for her. Liberty Falls, not many reasons to carry on pushing through in this fucked up world, but she’s one of them.

Recordings of us together playback on my retina implant and mix with the memories buried deep somewhere in my twisted mind. I’m tempted to let half a smile creep out the side of my mouth at the prospect of getting back to her before a weapon proximity alert flashes red in my peripheral vision and my defence wiring kicks in.

Bing, the elevator doors open, and I take two steps down the battered hallway before I hear “Rawstone!” shouted with a thick Asian accent from the inside of my apartment.

I take two steps closer and brace against the wall as I realise the door’s blown clean off.

Fuck.

Sliding up the hallway against the wall, my defence protocols prepping weapons implants, I make it to just by the door before I spy the detonation marks along the doorframe. Precise, good work, this is no T>O<X addict gone haywire.

Shit’s rushing through my mind; Lizard Gang? I thought I cleared up everything with those fuckers, and this isn’t their style. Too clean.

Rawstone! Get your ass in here right-fucking-now and take it easy. We know your reputation. You activate your steel, you’re going to be in big fuckin trouble. You hear me? We’ve got her, right?” I hear them laughing, and one of the security camera feeds inside the apartment clears and jacks into my retina, and I see them wrestling with her.

“I’m coming in. Defence protocols are down.” I edge through the doorway, hands raised in the air, and there she is. The fuckers there holding her, the neo-cult that had hired me for an enforcer gig, the reason I was getting my upgrades, the Robot Lords of Neo-Tokyo.

Beeple_Crap: DREAM WAR

Two of them, both with their signature white shirts and black ties and their headsets wrapped around their eyes, both with the cult’s logo streaming across it from right to left. Some bullshit retro-tech, their trademark, makes them look like something out of the 21st, but behind the façade, they’re packing the latest gear fresh out of the Neo-Tokyo underground.

“Stay right fucking there, Rawstone,” one of them says as the other holds her still, an arm wrapped around her neck, a gun held to her head. Her eyes well with tears, sheet-white fear across her face, hands trembling, heart practically jumping out of her chest. She’s strong, and she knows the drill, not her first rodeo. She’ll hold on and do what’s needed, and with a bit of luck, we’ll get out of this.

“You motherfuckers,” I growl through my teeth and take a step forward, fingers at my side twitching, ready for that steel.

“Take it easy, big man. Take it easy. We’ve hacked your STEM, and your implants are down. Just take it easy.” He steps forward, the display on the front of his head-set flashing with his thought outputs, warning signs, guns and knives. “Look, we’ve got someone that wants to talk to you.” He throws out a holo-pebble that slides across the floor, and as it comes to a halt, the projection of the cult’s leader beams up and out of it.

Galaxy Widow.

“Jack,” she opens, the flicker of her projection coming into focus. No headset on her, just the latest tech housing, two bright red orbs in front of her eyes, some code laser etched into her forehead underneath a shaved skull and above a too masculine jawline. “Listen, we know what you’ve been up to. We know what you’ve done. We know everything. The idea that you thought you could do this, and on your first job with us? Jack, we had heard much better things about you.”

“Wh — What the fuck are you talking about?”

And before I can get my head unscrambled, she’s talking again. “Jack, you know we can’t let this go unpunished. We’re on the rise, Jack. The Robot Lords are ON-THE-RISE!” she shouts, and the hologram flickers and she peels the orbs off her face, revealing two deep black voids where her eyes used to be. “So, today? The girl dies, and you get stripped to the core. We’re going to leave you in the gutter, Jack, and that’s that. You’ll be lucky to scrape a life together with the mutants after we’re done with you. The only way, Jack. Have to send a message.” The hologram flickers out, and the fucker holding Liberty is cackling.

“Now, guys, come on,” I plead to buy a few seconds. There’s only one way this is going to go down.

“Rawstone, you-dumb-fuck,” he says slowly, rolling his head backwards. “You thought you could cross the Robot-Lords of Neo-Tokyo?!” He pulls his steel from his holster as I hold my hands out.

“Steady boys, steady now,” I click the lid off a tooth at the back of my mouth that holds an analogue STIM pack for exactly this type of situation. Old-school, nearly always fatal, but it’ll wire me right, all dials up to eleven.

“You thought you could cross the Galaxy Widow!?” the other shouts as I bite down hard on the tiny pill that rushes a couple of hundred million nano-bots into my bloodstream. Military grade.

“You’re gonna pay, Rawstone. We’re gonna strip you down and take you apart, piece by piece.” He’s still cackling, his headset flashing with bomb explosions and blood and guts, and I feel the bots rushing through my blood. “But first?” he says. “The bitch dies.”

Slow-motion, brain wired for a minute or two of ultra-violence, the sort of do or die shit they needed in the 21st when the last human soldiers went up against the abominations the Chinese neo-evolutionists kicked out.

Fucking ripped, head to toe, everything firing all at once, every neuron in my brain exploding at one thousand times the rate, every muscle in my body kicking out fifty times the strength.

I’m on them before they can blink. The one with the gun to Liberty’s head gets a shot off before I make it the ten-feet across the apartment, but as soon as I do, my fist meets his face, which implodes inwards, and he flies back, embedding himself in the apartment’s cheap walling.

The blood mist of the gunman’s face is still in the air as I turn and rip the jaw off the other fucker, trying to pull his steel from his hip-holster.

He’s falling and screaming and gurgling blood as micro-drones filter out of his headset. I uppercut where his jaw used to be and put my fist straight up through his skull until his head is wrapped around my forearm.

The micro-drones start their thing, but with these two dead, my defence protocols come back online. I have my firewalls to take care of that sort of shit as three more Robot-Lords boom into the apartment, steel blazing.

I have one more dodge and parry left in me, and I’m straight on them. Ram my fist through the stomach of one, grabbing his steel, spinning, two shots and the heads come clean off the other two before they know what’s hit them.

The nano-bots burn themselves out, and I collapse on the floor, the mist of blood and fog of gunfire smoke mixing and creeping up my nose as my muscles sear with pain and my mind reels.

“Liberty!” I scream in the haze, crawling over to her, through the spilt guts and bits of rubble. “Liberty.” I pull her onto my lap, clearing the blood and soot from my eyes, trying to get them to focus against the flickering light.

She looks asleep, so peaceful, head on my lap, not a twitch, not a stir, pale-white and serene. I’m rocking her gently and calling her name, trying to focus my eyes when I feel the warm liquid spilling on my lap.

I roll her slightly. The back half of her head is missing. Her brains are spilling out into my hands, and I scream. I scream as I’ve never screamed before as my defence protocols kick back in and red flashes across my vision.

> Crypto Police Proximity Alert <
> Squad car launch detected <
> En-route <
> T-minus six minutes <

I lean over and kiss her cold lips, lift her off my lap, and run my fingers over her eyes to close them. Standing, there’s a moment when I think about changing my clothes, but not tonight. There’s a moment when I think about washing her blood off my hands, but not tonight. Only one thing runs through my mind now.

“Tonight, everybody dies.” Staring down at her, flickering memories overriding the pain of my burnt-out muscles and neurons. “Tonight, everybody dies.”

Out of the apartment, out of the block, out of the habitat, back into the street, back into that anonymous night. Billions of souls all mixing in this one homogenous, pulsating mass of filth and degradation. No space for peace in a place like this, no space for a love like ours in a place like this.

I’m stumbling and trying to think. First, someone’s double-crossed me. Second, I need repairing, and third, tonight, everybody dies.

The laser scans, the door creeks open, the blue and turquoise of the holding room to Old Bob’s flickers, but there’s something up; something’s different. Defence protocols kick in again as I edge through.

The door to the weapons room is unlocked, but pushing it open takes some going, and as I edge my way through the gap, I know why. There’s about a dozen Robot-Lord bodies piled against it and a dozen or so more spread around the room missing various body parts.

Old Bob’s in his induction chair, the claws embedded into his forearms, blood smeared across his face, his eyelids missing, his teeth pulled out. I scan him, and there’s a pulse, but only just. Scrambling, I grab a jet-injector from an old med-kit hanging off the wall and stab it into what’s left of his skinned neck.

His lop-sided grin comes alive and twitches out the side of his mouth. “Rawstone didn’t fancy I’d see you back. Looks like you’ve been through some shit.”

“You’re not exactly looking too hot yourself, old man.”

“It’s her, Galaxy Widow. She’s clearing up the Quarter to take total control. Saw the feeds coming in not long after you left. Tried pinging you, but you were already offline; thought they’d got to you. Pre-emptive strike, all gangs, all enforcers, all dealers, and everyone in-between not willing to bow to her. This is no war — ” He coughs and splutters. “Scorched earth policy, and she’ll win too.”

“Not tonight.”

“Reckon you’ve still got some kick left in you?”

“They killed her. They killed Liberty.”

He starts shaking violently and lifts a hand with the finger-nails removed, pointing to a keypad on the wall. “Give me that over.” I grab it and pass it to him. He jabs in some numbers and blows on it.

> ID — Recognised <
> War Room Access <
> GRANTED <

“Take what you need.”

“Bob, you can make it out of this too. You’ll be alright.”

“Alright’s not a town I’ve visited in a long time, Rawstone. No trips planned there now.”

“Fuck this shit.”

“Kit yourself out. War room’s got intel on every neo-cult in the Quarter. Get yourself over to their cathedral. Do what you gotta do.” He coughs and lets out a long breath and shivers violently in the chair before his head rolls away from me, and that’s that.

By this point, I’m guessing a few things have gone down. Galaxy Widow has made her move. She’s taken out the gangs, and any that were prepared to capitulate are now on her team. Same with enforcers, dealers, and any other neo-cults in the Quarter. No doubt she also has the crypto-cops in her pocket. This means they’ve gone to my place and told her they didn’t find a body. Not my body anyway. So, she knows that one’s got away and that I’m coming for her.

I load up in the war room, and I’m stacked. Armed to the teeth. Always outnumbered, never out-gunned. Just the way I like it. I’ve turbo-enhanced the lot, everything, and got a few carry-along, retro-pieces too, just the sort of thing Old Bob loved.

Beeple_Crap: PURPLE NAPALM

Out of the silo and into the streets. Weird calm all around, any civilians that have made it this far are holding up in their apartments, no doubt. All the gangs, the neo-cults, the crypto-cops cleared out, surrendered or killed or paid off. So, it’s just me and the neon and the concrete. The rain pours down, and I let myself close my eyes for just a second, let it wash over my face, my hands, my clothes. Let her blood run off me, let the rain renew me, let a flickering memory of her rise for just a second, let myself know what this is for, all this, for that moment I always wished for.

“Morning, beautiful,” I’d say to her.

“Morning, handsome,” she’d say to me.

Flash of red, defence protocols up, it’s here; it’s now. I’m at their cathedral, bazooka loaded. No school like the old-school.

About fifty of them come pouring out of the entrance, their headsets blazing white, all in their pretty little uniforms, white shirts pressed so neatly, funny little hats on their heads, crisp black trousers.

> Nano-Drone <
> LAUNCH DETECTED <

I fire off the bazooka, and it hits the cloud of drones, flaring them up in a chain reaction that lights up the entire street. I grab the phase-plasma pulse rifle from off my back and let it rip. Gigantic beams of blue light tear through the last of the drone cloud and into the charging Robot-Lords, gutting them, cutting them up like a hot knife through butter.

The heavy bass hum of the plasma rifle gets lower and lower, the beam getting thicker, body pieces flying and dropping and burning up, and they’re just about close enough now for the screams to be heard.

I pick off the last couple with the modified TEC-9s, slipping, sliding on the guts of their fallen brothers before I reload the bazooka and launch a tactical nuke at the cathedral.

Military grade nuke-boots simultaneously, fire grounding bolts into the concrete beneath my feet, and my shield flips out as the nuke hits and the blast wave comes hurtling back towards me. Half a minute of dead silence before the shield and grounding bolts retract, revealing the cathedral half in ruins.

I start marching toward it, dropping the spent plasma rifle, the bazooka out of commission, hiking up and over the rubble, pulling on my remote gloves as another stream of Robot-Lords come running out screaming, steel blazing.

Crouching behind a huge piece of rubble, small clouds of concrete puffing out of it as the hail of bullets hit. I grin, time to get mean.

> Razorback Panpsychic Terror Inducers <
> ENGAGED <

I stand up as the gunfire quickly drops off and, in place of it, only the sounds of horrific screaming. Walking through the Robot-Lords, some have taken to killing themselves in more eccentric ways than others. Most are just blowing their brains out as I pass by; others are tearing their faces off, gouging out their own eyes; one seems to be caving his head in with a big piece of rubble; another’s forcing his fist down his own throat to pull out his own heart I can only assume.

The Terror Inducers are spent as I make it inside their cathedral, pacing through the endless corridors and tunnels. Old Bob had a vague and probably too old map of the labyrinth, but it’s the best I have to go on.

Robot-Lords are coming at me periodically, implants running lower and lower on power. Inching my way through the tunnels, gangs that surrendered coming at me; other enforcers, other dealers, throwing everything they have, everything they’ve got, but none of them are a patch on what Old Bob had to offer. None of them are a patch on me.

Heads get torn off, guts get spilt, bodies are broken with swollen fists, rage and rage upon rage, distilled into pure fury. I stack their bodies like sandbags and let another wave come into a little room, throwing whatever they can muster at me until they think I’m dead, and I set off a nail bomb I’d been keeping especially, pinning them against the walls, and I walk through the gurgling screams.

I’m worn out, worn down, war-torn, gasping for breath in the deep conclaves of their grand cathedral and limping over bodies, stapling parts of me back together when I reach the door, her door, Galaxy Widow.

It swings open, and she’s sitting there on a black and gold throne, shining and flickering with the light of a million candles burning all around. Shouldn’t be this easy, I think to myself.

“And you’re right to think that, Jack,” she says, the glowing red orbs in front of her eyes like the fires of a techno-hell.

Beeple_Crap: PRODUCT ZERO

“What the fuck would you know?”

“Come now, come now, Jack. Come inside. You’ll have to take my word for it. It’s quite safe in here.”

Against my better judgement, I step through and up to her. Dozens of thick cables enter her body at random points. Those red orbs for eyes. Her skin like porcelain wrapped in black leather, she lifts a slender hand and points. “There’s been enough bloodshed for one day.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Jack, I know why you’re here. I know why you’ve done what you’ve done.”

“You don’t know shit, lady. You’re just as fucked as the rest. Now, how quickly do you want to die?”

“You found her, Jack. Didn’t you? You found her, and we took her away from you, and my hoodlums botched the job, and now, you’re here.”

“And now I’m here.” I take a step closer. “And now, all your followers are dead, and now, you’re going to join them.”

“There’ll be plenty more where they came from, Jack. What would you say if I told you we could bring her back? If I could bring her back?” She opens her mouth and tilts her head back to the ceiling, drawing a deep breath.

“I call bullshit.”

“Now, Jack, think about it. Our rise to power, the Robot Lords of Neo-Tokyo. I got something, Jack. I tapped into something, something beyond the STEM and our techno ways. We are the first true neo-cult. We are beyond that. I can draw power from between the planes, from the multitude, from the righteous path — “

“Yeah, and you reckon you can fucking draw power from this, you crazy old fuck.”

> Quantum Daisy-cutters <
> ENGAGED <

My quantum-shades pull themselves down over my eyes just as the blinding light kicks up. All the candles go out, start rising off the ground, floating, and she is too, up out of her thrown, held down only by the thick cables attached to her, her mouth wide open, orbs shining brighter and brighter, arms raised by her sides. The second flash kicks, and in the blink of an eye, everything’s melted together.

My shades slide back, and in the pitch black of the conclave, I pull my Zippo out and flick it alight. Shuddering screams come rattling through, and I kneel and see her head jutting out of the concrete floor, mixed with bits of tech and viscera and anything and everything else that was in the room when the daisy-cutters went off, all folded into one quantum mess.

Standing back up, I spit and kick at the head, keep kicking until it’s just mush on the end of my boot and turn and walk out. Through the cathedral, through the bodies, out into the night, the rain pouring, the neon shining, the city coming back to life, only this time, one less neo-cult hanging on, one less set of crazies to prey on the innocents.

No doubt, she was right. There’ll be more to come along; there always is. This is Major Prime, a few billion-people squeezed between all the neon and concrete, and everything that goes along with it, but I’ll never forget what happened tonight, and I’ll always remember you, Liberty Falls.

Beeple_Crap: ASTRONOMICAL

Artist: Beeple_Crap AKA Mike Winkelmann

Artist Bio: A graphic designer from Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. His short films have screened at onedotzero, Prix Ars Electronica, the Sydney Biennale, Ann Arbor Film Festival and many others. He has also released a series of Creative Commons live visuals that have been used by electronic acts such as deadmau5, Skrillex, Avicii, Zedd, Taio Cruz, Tiësto, Amon Tobin, Wolfgang Gartner, and Flying Lotus and many others. He currently releases work on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint.

Artist Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beeple_crap/

Artist website: http://beeple-crap.com

Writer: Richard Galbraith

Writer Bio: A science-fiction writer with a penchant for cyberpunk, neo-noir and existentialism, Richard hails from the UK and currently lives in Denmark working for LEGO while hammering away at short stories and his latest sci-fi manuscript.

Writer medium: https://medium.com/@ricgalbraith

Musical Inspiration:

NEON & CONCRETE — Story #03

Double Brutal

The laser scans my retina, and the thick concrete door with dozens of blast marks from deals gone bad slowly starts to pull itself open.

I sniff the air, the gun oil smell revealing itself as I walk into the holding room and take a seat to wait for the old man. The light’s a purple-turquoise mix and flickers overhead as I hear Bob next door chatting up some customer. “Listen, few things in this life perform as well as a TEC-9 repeater modified by yours truly. This stock’s retro, but it’s fucking solid. They don’t build shit like this anymore, and with the latest additions I’ll add, you’re left with a formidable weapon — ”

He goes on and on, and I light a cigarette and try to spy the cameras in the gaps in the wall. No doubt, Old Bob has a dozen or so trained on me, but he knows me, he knows my line of work, and most importantly, he knows my credit is good. That’s all he really cares about. Shit, I could be part of a neo-cult or a fucking crypto-cop for all he cares. He’ll sell anyone any shit they desire if their credit is good.

“Ah, Mr Rawstone,” he says, walking into the holding area with the slight limp he picked up back in some old war fought with actual people. That’s how old this motherfucker is, and somehow, he still manages to keep going. Held together with synth-implants and duct-tape, he’s still got some fight left in him yet. I’ll give him that. Put it this way, I wouldn’t want to be the one that pissed him off. Sure, there’s mould growing on the ancient concrete walls down here, but they’re alive with the highest-grade kit money can buy. He’ll have pinned down my embedded defence protocols and had his military level AI draw up every manoeuvre I could take within a nano-second of me entering the room.

Yeah, this old room, I stand and run my hand against the concrete, five feet thick, an old relic nuclear weapons silo that used to be out in the country-side, when such a thing existed, now just another part of the metropolis known as Major Prime. The beast, stretching from coast-to-coast, four billion people squeezed into northern America. Neon and concrete for two and a half thousand miles, and all the filth and horror that goes along with it.

“Old Bob,” I say back, flicking my cigarette away and walking up to shake his hand.

A moment of tension and a raise of his eyebrow and he’s hacked my STEM before I can even blink. “Looks like someone has been up to some fun,” he says with a wry grin.

“Bob, now, now, you steer clear of that; business is business,” I reply and point to the weapons room.

“You’re right, you’re right, Mr Rawstone,” he says, walking away from me.

“Just Jack.”

He turns to me as we enter the weapons room and nods. “Sure thing, Mr Rawstone.”

The bare concrete has turned into polished steel, and the cold of the outer layer of the silo is now hermetically sealed away, and temperature controlled as the previous customer shuffles out quickly, and the door hisses shut behind me.

“Some shopping list you got there, Mr Rawstone,” he says, rubbing an old hand over his scar-ridden face.

“Can you make it or what?” I say, light another cigarette, and tense my jaw at the prospect of what’s to come.

“Listen, I can make it; just depends on whether or not you can handle it.” He pushes out a lop-sided grin from the side of his mouth that’s working best.

“Now, you listen old man.” I walk up to him, a good two feet taller and probably just as much wider. I’m no powerhouse, but I’ve had enough mods and implants to make me good at what I do. “I can handle it. You ever known me to flake out on you, kill any civilians or get you reported?”

“Calm down, Mr Rawstone.” Still holding that grin, both of us knowing he could vaporise me in an instant. “Look, we’ve got you covered. You know, at Old Bob’s Metal ’n’ Bones, we’ve got all the latest wares and the facility to install on site. Like you said, we know the score.” He flips a switch, and half the rounded wall shoots up to reveal racks and racks of weapons. “Now let’s see. What have we got here?” He’s licking his lips, looking me up and down, reading my ‘shopping list’.

“Razorback Panpsychic Terror Inducers? Jesus, Rawstone? I wouldn’t like to be the one that pissed you off. Quantum daisy-cutters as well?” He laughs. “I didn’t think anyone was still into that sort of thing. They’ll melt you into the floor and leave half your brain wriggling for someone to put a bullet in it to end the misery,” looking at me with a furrowed brow as I stay mute. “Yeah, right, well, that seems to be the main ingredients, and don’t worry, we’ve got all the other kit that we can load you up with as standard. The Terror Inducers will need a deep grind. That’ll take a little longer. You got the time?”

“Just load me up.”

“Sure thing, Rawstone.” He comes around as I sit in the induction chair, the light shining down from above, the small plant he keeps in the middle of the room at my feet. I guess the nostalgia comes with being that old.

The chair’s claws fold into me, bed deep into my forearms, and he’s pushing some buttons on an old computer at the side and swigging on Popskull whiskey. The whole room starts flickering with UV light, hues reflecting off the steel walls, highlighting the specks of blood from previous clients in an incandescent green.

“Big job?” he asks.

“Same as usual,” I say as the feeds of the weapon systems dig their way into my synth-implants and rewire themselves to fit.

“Ah, neo-cults?”

My jaw is pulsing and my teeth are grinding against the pain. “You know the drill, Bob.”

“Yeah, yeah, they pay well enough; that’s for sure,” he replies, finalising the drill bit for the Terror Inducers and driving it deep into my spine.

“Yeah, right.”

I growl and close my eyes and try to look for her, somewhere in the depths of my wired, re-wired brain, written and re-written mind. She’s somewhere in there, the vision of her. I could bring up thousands of hours of recorded memories, but there’s nothing quite like the real thing, however much harder it is to try to see it. An actual memory. It’s one thing that helps with the pain, especially when he goes deep like this. A billion flickering moments and there she comes, out of the fog and into my mind’s eye. Those hips, that smile, the long golden hair, the stare of those blue eyes. All I ever wanted was to be able to wake up next to a woman and be able to say to her, ‘Morning, beautiful,’ and for her to say to me, ‘Morning handsome,’ and for us both to be telling the truth. And she’s there, and I say those words, and she says those words, and I know there’s no lie.

“All done.” Bob pats my face as he pulls out the plug from my spine and clicks the button on the chair to raise me back upright.

I straighten myself out. “Never gets any easier, that shit,” I say, pulling an arm around and rubbing the throb on the back of my head as I stand up and my systems reboot. Millions of colours flash in my peripheral vision as the new implants take hold.

“Ah, you’re tough enough.” He walks away, pulling off his plastic gloves and flicking them across the room. “As per, everything’s immediately ready to rock, but Jack, waiting a few days for things to feel right wouldn’t hurt either. Credit has cleared; you’re good to go.”

I light a cigarette as the hermetic door hisses open and stretch my neck out as I flick Old Bob a wave from behind and head out of the silo and back up into the city.

Beeple_Crap: ALGORITHM WORSHIP

This place, this metropolis, four billion people jammed in-between all this neon and concrete and everything that goes along with it. We’ve got two and a half thousand miles of the future here, and I’ve managed to cut myself out a tiny little piece.

The streets are busy; they’re always busy. Three AM standard time and the place is heaving underneath dark skies, rain pouring that sparkles with the light of a million shining neon billboards. The skytanks thrusting down their bright white beams, Crypto-cops sweeping the bowels where this display of humanity sweeps before me. Civilians, gangs, neo-cults, drones, androids, and the eye in the sky watching us all. They’re supposed to be there to help protect the innocents, not that they care, not that there are many innocents left now. Some people do manage to have a half-normal life in this gigantic mess, even with the neo-cults creeping into every corner of every habitat. Shit, those bastards are even muscling the gangs out of some of the smaller Quarters.

Yeah, the neo-cults held up in their giga-cathedrals and worming their way into everything. The UV face tattoos, the scarification, the flashy AI clothing, the implants, synth-psychedelics, and bizarre rituals, and everything in-between. They’re recruiting from the gangs now; they’re getting big.

Used to be the gangs I would get 90% of my work from, running protection, enforcement, the odd raid here and there, only on military lockdowns and other gangs, no civilians. But it’s the neo-cults these days. They pay well enough I’ve even been able to afford a few extra upgrades lately, and they tend not to kill the people they hire, rather than just not pay them.

The elevator judders and the strip lighting flickers on my way up to my apartment. That little bit I’ve managed to cut out of this chaos. Graffiti and gang signs on the walls, the incandescent markings of the neo-cults. The block is run down and largely full of T>O<X addicts, but they know to leave me alone, and I can stay anonymous enough. No one bothers me, and my apartment is secure, fully upgraded and safe for her. Liberty Falls, not many reasons to carry on pushing through in this fucked up world, but she’s one of them.

Recordings of us together playback on my retina implant and mix with the memories buried deep somewhere in my twisted mind. I’m tempted to let half a smile creep out the side of my mouth at the prospect of getting back to her before a weapon proximity alert flashes red in my peripheral vision and my defence wiring kicks in.

Bing, the elevator doors open, and I take two steps down the battered hallway before I hear “Rawstone!” shouted with a thick Asian accent from the inside of my apartment.

I take two steps closer and brace against the wall as I realise the door’s blown clean off.

Fuck.

Sliding up the hallway against the wall, my defence protocols prepping weapons implants, I make it to just by the door before I spy the detonation marks along the doorframe. Precise, good work, this is no T>O<X addict gone haywire.

Shit’s rushing through my mind; Lizard Gang? I thought I cleared up everything with those fuckers, and this isn’t their style. Too clean.

Rawstone! Get your ass in here right-fucking-now and take it easy. We know your reputation. You activate your steel, you’re going to be in big fuckin trouble. You hear me? We’ve got her, right?” I hear them laughing, and one of the security camera feeds inside the apartment clears and jacks into my retina, and I see them wrestling with her.

“I’m coming in. Defence protocols are down.” I edge through the doorway, hands raised in the air, and there she is. The fuckers there holding her, the neo-cult that had hired me for an enforcer gig, the reason I was getting my upgrades, the Robot Lords of Neo-Tokyo.

Beeple_Crap: DREAM WAR

Two of them, both with their signature white shirts and black ties and their headsets wrapped around their eyes, both with the cult’s logo streaming across it from right to left. Some bullshit retro-tech, their trademark, makes them look like something out of the 21st, but behind the façade, they’re packing the latest gear fresh out of the Neo-Tokyo underground.

“Stay right fucking there, Rawstone,” one of them says as the other holds her still, an arm wrapped around her neck, a gun held to her head. Her eyes well with tears, sheet-white fear across her face, hands trembling, heart practically jumping out of her chest. She’s strong, and she knows the drill, not her first rodeo. She’ll hold on and do what’s needed, and with a bit of luck, we’ll get out of this.

“You motherfuckers,” I growl through my teeth and take a step forward, fingers at my side twitching, ready for that steel.

“Take it easy, big man. Take it easy. We’ve hacked your STEM, and your implants are down. Just take it easy.” He steps forward, the display on the front of his head-set flashing with his thought outputs, warning signs, guns and knives. “Look, we’ve got someone that wants to talk to you.” He throws out a holo-pebble that slides across the floor, and as it comes to a halt, the projection of the cult’s leader beams up and out of it.

Galaxy Widow.

“Jack,” she opens, the flicker of her projection coming into focus. No headset on her, just the latest tech housing, two bright red orbs in front of her eyes, some code laser etched into her forehead underneath a shaved skull and above a too masculine jawline. “Listen, we know what you’ve been up to. We know what you’ve done. We know everything. The idea that you thought you could do this, and on your first job with us? Jack, we had heard much better things about you.”

“Wh — What the fuck are you talking about?”

And before I can get my head unscrambled, she’s talking again. “Jack, you know we can’t let this go unpunished. We’re on the rise, Jack. The Robot Lords are ON-THE-RISE!” she shouts, and the hologram flickers and she peels the orbs off her face, revealing two deep black voids where her eyes used to be. “So, today? The girl dies, and you get stripped to the core. We’re going to leave you in the gutter, Jack, and that’s that. You’ll be lucky to scrape a life together with the mutants after we’re done with you. The only way, Jack. Have to send a message.” The hologram flickers out, and the fucker holding Liberty is cackling.

“Now, guys, come on,” I plead to buy a few seconds. There’s only one way this is going to go down.

“Rawstone, you-dumb-fuck,” he says slowly, rolling his head backwards. “You thought you could cross the Robot-Lords of Neo-Tokyo?!” He pulls his steel from his holster as I hold my hands out.

“Steady boys, steady now,” I click the lid off a tooth at the back of my mouth that holds an analogue STIM pack for exactly this type of situation. Old-school, nearly always fatal, but it’ll wire me right, all dials up to eleven.

“You thought you could cross the Galaxy Widow!?” the other shouts as I bite down hard on the tiny pill that rushes a couple of hundred million nano-bots into my bloodstream. Military grade.

“You’re gonna pay, Rawstone. We’re gonna strip you down and take you apart, piece by piece.” He’s still cackling, his headset flashing with bomb explosions and blood and guts, and I feel the bots rushing through my blood. “But first?” he says. “The bitch dies.”

Slow-motion, brain wired for a minute or two of ultra-violence, the sort of do or die shit they needed in the 21st when the last human soldiers went up against the abominations the Chinese neo-evolutionists kicked out.

Fucking ripped, head to toe, everything firing all at once, every neuron in my brain exploding at one thousand times the rate, every muscle in my body kicking out fifty times the strength.

I’m on them before they can blink. The one with the gun to Liberty’s head gets a shot off before I make it the ten-feet across the apartment, but as soon as I do, my fist meets his face, which implodes inwards, and he flies back, embedding himself in the apartment’s cheap walling.

The blood mist of the gunman’s face is still in the air as I turn and rip the jaw off the other fucker, trying to pull his steel from his hip-holster.

He’s falling and screaming and gurgling blood as micro-drones filter out of his headset. I uppercut where his jaw used to be and put my fist straight up through his skull until his head is wrapped around my forearm.

The micro-drones start their thing, but with these two dead, my defence protocols come back online. I have my firewalls to take care of that sort of shit as three more Robot-Lords boom into the apartment, steel blazing.

I have one more dodge and parry left in me, and I’m straight on them. Ram my fist through the stomach of one, grabbing his steel, spinning, two shots and the heads come clean off the other two before they know what’s hit them.

The nano-bots burn themselves out, and I collapse on the floor, the mist of blood and fog of gunfire smoke mixing and creeping up my nose as my muscles sear with pain and my mind reels.

“Liberty!” I scream in the haze, crawling over to her, through the spilt guts and bits of rubble. “Liberty.” I pull her onto my lap, clearing the blood and soot from my eyes, trying to get them to focus against the flickering light.

She looks asleep, so peaceful, head on my lap, not a twitch, not a stir, pale-white and serene. I’m rocking her gently and calling her name, trying to focus my eyes when I feel the warm liquid spilling on my lap.

I roll her slightly. The back half of her head is missing. Her brains are spilling out into my hands, and I scream. I scream as I’ve never screamed before as my defence protocols kick back in and red flashes across my vision.

> Crypto Police Proximity Alert <
> Squad car launch detected <
> En-route <
> T-minus six minutes <

I lean over and kiss her cold lips, lift her off my lap, and run my fingers over her eyes to close them. Standing, there’s a moment when I think about changing my clothes, but not tonight. There’s a moment when I think about washing her blood off my hands, but not tonight. Only one thing runs through my mind now.

“Tonight, everybody dies.” Staring down at her, flickering memories overriding the pain of my burnt-out muscles and neurons. “Tonight, everybody dies.”

Out of the apartment, out of the block, out of the habitat, back into the street, back into that anonymous night. Billions of souls all mixing in this one homogenous, pulsating mass of filth and degradation. No space for peace in a place like this, no space for a love like ours in a place like this.

I’m stumbling and trying to think. First, someone’s double-crossed me. Second, I need repairing, and third, tonight, everybody dies.

The laser scans, the door creeks open, the blue and turquoise of the holding room to Old Bob’s flickers, but there’s something up; something’s different. Defence protocols kick in again as I edge through.

The door to the weapons room is unlocked, but pushing it open takes some going, and as I edge my way through the gap, I know why. There’s about a dozen Robot-Lord bodies piled against it and a dozen or so more spread around the room missing various body parts.

Old Bob’s in his induction chair, the claws embedded into his forearms, blood smeared across his face, his eyelids missing, his teeth pulled out. I scan him, and there’s a pulse, but only just. Scrambling, I grab a jet-injector from an old med-kit hanging off the wall and stab it into what’s left of his skinned neck.

His lop-sided grin comes alive and twitches out the side of his mouth. “Rawstone didn’t fancy I’d see you back. Looks like you’ve been through some shit.”

“You’re not exactly looking too hot yourself, old man.”

“It’s her, Galaxy Widow. She’s clearing up the Quarter to take total control. Saw the feeds coming in not long after you left. Tried pinging you, but you were already offline; thought they’d got to you. Pre-emptive strike, all gangs, all enforcers, all dealers, and everyone in-between not willing to bow to her. This is no war — ” He coughs and splutters. “Scorched earth policy, and she’ll win too.”

“Not tonight.”

“Reckon you’ve still got some kick left in you?”

“They killed her. They killed Liberty.”

He starts shaking violently and lifts a hand with the finger-nails removed, pointing to a keypad on the wall. “Give me that over.” I grab it and pass it to him. He jabs in some numbers and blows on it.

> ID — Recognised <
> War Room Access <
> GRANTED <

“Take what you need.”

“Bob, you can make it out of this too. You’ll be alright.”

“Alright’s not a town I’ve visited in a long time, Rawstone. No trips planned there now.”

“Fuck this shit.”

“Kit yourself out. War room’s got intel on every neo-cult in the Quarter. Get yourself over to their cathedral. Do what you gotta do.” He coughs and lets out a long breath and shivers violently in the chair before his head rolls away from me, and that’s that.

By this point, I’m guessing a few things have gone down. Galaxy Widow has made her move. She’s taken out the gangs, and any that were prepared to capitulate are now on her team. Same with enforcers, dealers, and any other neo-cults in the Quarter. No doubt she also has the crypto-cops in her pocket. This means they’ve gone to my place and told her they didn’t find a body. Not my body anyway. So, she knows that one’s got away and that I’m coming for her.

I load up in the war room, and I’m stacked. Armed to the teeth. Always outnumbered, never out-gunned. Just the way I like it. I’ve turbo-enhanced the lot, everything, and got a few carry-along, retro-pieces too, just the sort of thing Old Bob loved.

Beeple_Crap: PURPLE NAPALM

Out of the silo and into the streets. Weird calm all around, any civilians that have made it this far are holding up in their apartments, no doubt. All the gangs, the neo-cults, the crypto-cops cleared out, surrendered or killed or paid off. So, it’s just me and the neon and the concrete. The rain pours down, and I let myself close my eyes for just a second, let it wash over my face, my hands, my clothes. Let her blood run off me, let the rain renew me, let a flickering memory of her rise for just a second, let myself know what this is for, all this, for that moment I always wished for.

“Morning, beautiful,” I’d say to her.

“Morning, handsome,” she’d say to me.

Flash of red, defence protocols up, it’s here; it’s now. I’m at their cathedral, bazooka loaded. No school like the old-school.

About fifty of them come pouring out of the entrance, their headsets blazing white, all in their pretty little uniforms, white shirts pressed so neatly, funny little hats on their heads, crisp black trousers.

> Nano-Drone <
> LAUNCH DETECTED <

I fire off the bazooka, and it hits the cloud of drones, flaring them up in a chain reaction that lights up the entire street. I grab the phase-plasma pulse rifle from off my back and let it rip. Gigantic beams of blue light tear through the last of the drone cloud and into the charging Robot-Lords, gutting them, cutting them up like a hot knife through butter.

The heavy bass hum of the plasma rifle gets lower and lower, the beam getting thicker, body pieces flying and dropping and burning up, and they’re just about close enough now for the screams to be heard.

I pick off the last couple with the modified TEC-9s, slipping, sliding on the guts of their fallen brothers before I reload the bazooka and launch a tactical nuke at the cathedral.

Military grade nuke-boots simultaneously, fire grounding bolts into the concrete beneath my feet, and my shield flips out as the nuke hits and the blast wave comes hurtling back towards me. Half a minute of dead silence before the shield and grounding bolts retract, revealing the cathedral half in ruins.

I start marching toward it, dropping the spent plasma rifle, the bazooka out of commission, hiking up and over the rubble, pulling on my remote gloves as another stream of Robot-Lords come running out screaming, steel blazing.

Crouching behind a huge piece of rubble, small clouds of concrete puffing out of it as the hail of bullets hit. I grin, time to get mean.

> Razorback Panpsychic Terror Inducers <
> ENGAGED <

I stand up as the gunfire quickly drops off and, in place of it, only the sounds of horrific screaming. Walking through the Robot-Lords, some have taken to killing themselves in more eccentric ways than others. Most are just blowing their brains out as I pass by; others are tearing their faces off, gouging out their own eyes; one seems to be caving his head in with a big piece of rubble; another’s forcing his fist down his own throat to pull out his own heart I can only assume.

The Terror Inducers are spent as I make it inside their cathedral, pacing through the endless corridors and tunnels. Old Bob had a vague and probably too old map of the labyrinth, but it’s the best I have to go on.

Robot-Lords are coming at me periodically, implants running lower and lower on power. Inching my way through the tunnels, gangs that surrendered coming at me; other enforcers, other dealers, throwing everything they have, everything they’ve got, but none of them are a patch on what Old Bob had to offer. None of them are a patch on me.

Heads get torn off, guts get spilt, bodies are broken with swollen fists, rage and rage upon rage, distilled into pure fury. I stack their bodies like sandbags and let another wave come into a little room, throwing whatever they can muster at me until they think I’m dead, and I set off a nail bomb I’d been keeping especially, pinning them against the walls, and I walk through the gurgling screams.

I’m worn out, worn down, war-torn, gasping for breath in the deep conclaves of their grand cathedral and limping over bodies, stapling parts of me back together when I reach the door, her door, Galaxy Widow.

It swings open, and she’s sitting there on a black and gold throne, shining and flickering with the light of a million candles burning all around. Shouldn’t be this easy, I think to myself.

“And you’re right to think that, Jack,” she says, the glowing red orbs in front of her eyes like the fires of a techno-hell.

Beeple_Crap: PRODUCT ZERO

“What the fuck would you know?”

“Come now, come now, Jack. Come inside. You’ll have to take my word for it. It’s quite safe in here.”

Against my better judgement, I step through and up to her. Dozens of thick cables enter her body at random points. Those red orbs for eyes. Her skin like porcelain wrapped in black leather, she lifts a slender hand and points. “There’s been enough bloodshed for one day.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Jack, I know why you’re here. I know why you’ve done what you’ve done.”

“You don’t know shit, lady. You’re just as fucked as the rest. Now, how quickly do you want to die?”

“You found her, Jack. Didn’t you? You found her, and we took her away from you, and my hoodlums botched the job, and now, you’re here.”

“And now I’m here.” I take a step closer. “And now, all your followers are dead, and now, you’re going to join them.”

“There’ll be plenty more where they came from, Jack. What would you say if I told you we could bring her back? If I could bring her back?” She opens her mouth and tilts her head back to the ceiling, drawing a deep breath.

“I call bullshit.”

“Now, Jack, think about it. Our rise to power, the Robot Lords of Neo-Tokyo. I got something, Jack. I tapped into something, something beyond the STEM and our techno ways. We are the first true neo-cult. We are beyond that. I can draw power from between the planes, from the multitude, from the righteous path — “

“Yeah, and you reckon you can fucking draw power from this, you crazy old fuck.”

> Quantum Daisy-cutters <
> ENGAGED <

My quantum-shades pull themselves down over my eyes just as the blinding light kicks up. All the candles go out, start rising off the ground, floating, and she is too, up out of her thrown, held down only by the thick cables attached to her, her mouth wide open, orbs shining brighter and brighter, arms raised by her sides. The second flash kicks, and in the blink of an eye, everything’s melted together.

My shades slide back, and in the pitch black of the conclave, I pull my Zippo out and flick it alight. Shuddering screams come rattling through, and I kneel and see her head jutting out of the concrete floor, mixed with bits of tech and viscera and anything and everything else that was in the room when the daisy-cutters went off, all folded into one quantum mess.

Standing back up, I spit and kick at the head, keep kicking until it’s just mush on the end of my boot and turn and walk out. Through the cathedral, through the bodies, out into the night, the rain pouring, the neon shining, the city coming back to life, only this time, one less neo-cult hanging on, one less set of crazies to prey on the innocents.

No doubt, she was right. There’ll be more to come along; there always is. This is Major Prime, a few billion-people squeezed between all the neon and concrete, and everything that goes along with it, but I’ll never forget what happened tonight, and I’ll always remember you, Liberty Falls.

Beeple_Crap: ASTRONOMICAL

Artist: Beeple_Crap AKA Mike Winkelmann

Artist Bio: A graphic designer from Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. His short films have screened at onedotzero, Prix Ars Electronica, the Sydney Biennale, Ann Arbor Film Festival and many others. He has also released a series of Creative Commons live visuals that have been used by electronic acts such as deadmau5, Skrillex, Avicii, Zedd, Taio Cruz, Tiësto, Amon Tobin, Wolfgang Gartner, and Flying Lotus and many others. He currently releases work on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint.

Artist Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beeple_crap/

Artist website: http://beeple-crap.com

Writer: Richard Galbraith

Writer Bio: A science-fiction writer with a penchant for cyberpunk, neo-noir and existentialism, Richard hails from the UK and currently lives in Denmark working for LEGO while hammering away at short stories and his latest sci-fi manuscript.

Writer medium: https://medium.com/@ricgalbraith

Musical Inspiration: