Is Everybody Happy?, mid 1990s (opening sequence).

I remember I wrote this while listening to Yello's The Rhythm Divine (vocal by Shirley Bassey).  Just put the track on again while re-reading this and yes, it still fits. 

I introduced the character of Vector Jones into the mix, because I needed a soundtrack of cynicism, of lost hope, of defiance roaring at the futility of life, as an overlay for the images I kept seeing of the Ultrastream going through the darkened streets of Kerav City, headlights gleaming in the night, then the scene on the bridge. He then became the night soundtrack for the city, another reason why I love the place.

Oh, and the Ultrastream, the hire-vee (a taxi), and vibros in general, are without wheels. There are a few "futuristic" touches to the stories about the Multiverse that are almost SF -- this is one of them. No wheels on th' vehicles, folks! Propulsors and revvers only, here.  Metro-Sec are the local law authority. 




So abruptly filled was the quiet night by the growl of an Ultrastream, it was like one of those ads on the public screens. All you needed was the fog, the ladies with the gorgeous forever legs, the haunting, teeth jangling music ...

Instead of the music ... all that was there was the acid of late-night Vector Jones, sounding out through the vibro's open windows as it screamed through the dark.

"Okay, so let's get off the beaten track for a bit, here. Let's talk deep an' fundamental. What's the jarking use of this 'love' thing, huh? They've been writing an' singing an' mooning for shonks over this lousy dose of chem-hormonal 'flu that gets your brain all clogged up with candy and does frak-all for your career, man!"

The Ultrastream headed for Hyarasser Bridge, cracking through a Metro-Sec sign telling all good, careful drivers to slow down as all proper cits of the 'burg should. The sign went airborne, and the front of the Ultrastream glowed hot.

"Yeah, yeah, I've been there too, man. Been one of those drekkos found the next a.m. humming freaking tunes by Cuddly Amie. Mind-sick man. Total mind-sick."

With a howl of revvers, the vibro rose up onto the bridge's sculptered incline, starting to veer toward the left. The hard left, cutting down the distance between hull and the bridge's old parapet. Toward the winking reflections dancing across the dark, murky waters of the river below.

"Just for the short term, man. For the short road before that ol' brick wall comes right up outta nowhere and smashes you t' bits, man!"

The impact was a dance of carbonite and stone. The future crashed at speed into a stoic remnant of the past, and the past refused to completely make way. The headlights of the vibro flickered out, to be replaced by the glow of overheated burners below the craft. Cracked masonry groaned and sundered. Chunks of rock toppled and splashed into the water. Bucking, heaving, the vibro continued its screeching, screaming, hindered progress, aimed to follow them down. Mechanically blind enough to do just that.

Somewhere else in this splintered night scene, a hire-vee jolted to a halt, and its driver stuck a frowning face out into the mildly warm air. Before expressing his opinion of the scene with earthy terms, and breaking at least two road rules to get his vibro to the other side of the bridge.

"So, I'm interested, gang. Is everybody happy out there? Or am I the only simple jarker who gives a frak about this? I say, tell 'em to stick their hearts an' flowers an' happy-ever-afters right where the medics charge the most to extract 'em, 'cause this crap has to stop, man! It has to stop!"

The hire-vee came with its own revvers screeching to stop athwart the width of the bridge. The driver still cursing as he ran out onto the dark stones. Panting as he slammed his hand against the Ultrastream"s door sensor. Hit it again as the vibro skewed and tore more of the parapet away, lurching forward.

The door popped open with a tired hiss, sparking. The rescuer snarled an expletive, grabbed the slumped body within by the arm, and then fell backward, dragging the other with him. Hit the surface of the bridge hard, followed by the other guy slamming down on top of him.

More of the parapet gave up the unequal fight ...

"Call me, folks. Pick yourselves up off that spew-stained floor you've made outta your life, an" tell me you agree with Vector Jones, huh? Tell me love stinks, tell me nothing works anymore, 'cause wishes are jark and hope ain't nothing but the sound of your cred-balance dwindling away as you breathe ..."

The hire-vee driver closed his eyes reflexively, turning his head away as the Ultrastream won. As, with a triumphant roar of revvers aflame, it tore through the rocky hole in the bridge. The hull scraped with a brilliant shower of sparks. The tone of the engines altered as the propulsors fired against nothing but air ...

"Come on, night children. Tell me, out there ... Is Everybody Happy?"