A (Focused) Picture of the Universe

Focus. A sprawling Universe, immense, galaxies littered around the infinite blackness.
Focus. A single Galaxy containing ten-hundred-thousand stars, all shining brightly.
Focus. A single Star, the "center" of attention of a thousand-million human and alien beings.
Focus. A black, scarred Planet, covered by cities, wastelands and water.
Focus. The capital.
Focus. Downtown.
Focus. District 17A.
Focus. Kathrine Zycle walk.
Focus. A man, slumped on the pavement.
Focus. Blank, red eyes stare out on a cold uncaring world.
Focus. Focus. Focus. <Click>


I wake, cough, scratch and get up. Me bum's stuck to the pavement, and 'Shulps' as I stagger to my feet. The lamps are coming up, and all around Fish+Chipies, Green Grocers and Haberdasheries are beginning to turn into Night Clubs, Gang meets and Dealer spots. I check the ice-cream tub in front of the busker on the side of the road. He's already collected about 10u, so it must be almost 6.

I make my way down Freedom and General walkways hawking, sniffing and spitting a path through the rabble and scum. Shivers tail me all the way, waiting for me to make a threatening move. I watch a girl in a short skirt go past, and that's all they need. I break for it as they draw their Pacifiers, duck in an alley, and dive into an idling cab, ducking me head down below the seat. The Driver is smart enough not to hang around as the Shivers round the corner, floors it, leaving them standing dejectedly next to the bins. He takes me round the block, I slip him a packet of Feelgoods, and all is right in the world again.

I spend a good half hour scaring the subbies in the local mall, then hit the streets again. I reckon I've got at least a day or two before I'm spotted.

No such luck. 10:15 exactly, and I've got a tail. I try the taxi trick on them, and the cabbie kicks me out immediatly he realises I have no money (dumb bastard). I bribe a local gang-member with the rest of my stuff to 'Detain' them. That should throw them off the scent for a few hours. Enough time to scav a meal off someone, and I'm only strolling down the street when they step out and grab me.

Ok, lads, I say, fair do's, you got me. I'm coming quiet.
Not This Time, says the short one. You've Pushed Your Luck With The Department Once Too Often.
Come on, lads, I've got the dirt on Jasper, what more do you want? I took a little sabatical. Fer a few weeks. Biggie?
YEZ, says the larger one. DER IZ NOW A PRIZ ON YU. OV AWMOZT FIV-TEN-HONDRD YOONYS.

Should be higher, I say, grinning at the now unmistakeable shape of a 711 (or is that 714? They'll let anyone into the Department now), reaching for the MAC.
Not This Time, Friendly, says the Nec (shit, what'v I done this time). The Prince Is No Longer The Problem. You Are.

I spin in a close arc, hoping to scare them off long enough for me to run. The Chag reaches out, takes the MAC in the arm, and grabs me by the shoulder. I twist, and he wrenches me arm off!.

TU BAD, FRENDLEY. IT DIN HAV TO BEE LIKE THIZ......


The lens spins, the focus lost. The planet spins, the stars glow, and life goes on without change.

No-One Is That Important