What happens when you write a high-functioning, socially adept sufferer of multiple-personality disorder into a post-infection Detroit? Janus.
One cloud of cold breath floated out of his mouth as they moved along the street. The capture-cards had filled up three hours ago, they only had static shots left, but at this point they were determined to get material, recorded or just experienced. His readers were hungry for any information about Sector 5, the “Dead Zone”, and the mysterious ‘Sancus Fides’, though he was growing to hate that pseudonym, had to deliver. Between the three of them they were sure he’d remember whatever they missed on camera.
This sector had been hit with the ‘Blood Dust’, cleansing salts dropped from huge cargo planes across the streets of the city to try and curb the airborne infection, and it was hit harder than most. His boots crunched through the thick layer of rust-hued, snow-like powder as they trekked along a roofed sidewalk. They were walking down what would have been part of Main Street, a huge intersection just ahead of him dwarfing their small incursion into the untouched ruins of a silent city-scape frozen in time. The roads were completely clogged with abandoned vehicles, doors left hanging open like trapeze-artists stuck mid-swing where there was room between them and the next car over, and the sidewalks were no less rammed. Janus couldn’t move for either the discarded medical equipment from the attempts to save those that first got infected, or the rotting flesh from that inevitable failure. Alpha shivered at the sight of it, forcing the impulse on him and Omega. ”Wait till the people see this… this place is deadly, but it’s kind of beautiful.” She murmured to herself.
“They’ll never know what he risked to get here though,” remarked Omega, walking through an upturned surgery table covered in black blood, his voice thick with faux-sincerity. “Long live Sancus Fides, the only honest man in Detroit!”
“God, please, don’t,” muttered Janus, the gas mask over his mouth and nose muffling and warping his voice into a tinny, metallic drone. “Reminding me I get no credit is surprisingly unhelpful.” He shifted the weight of his pack on his shoulders, the early October cold having forced him into thicker clothing than he would’ve liked and thus the unfortunate chafing of unprepared skin. “It’s your faults anyway – God forbid anyone knew about you both.”
“You’re always welcome J” replied Alpha, her voice clear as she turned to face him with a half-hearted smirk. Her vest and leggings were so thin compared to the full-faced mask she wore that it seemed to weigh on her neck like a prison-chain on a convict’s ankle, but she held her head up with the same attentive, frenetic strength as always, unaffected by the cold much to her amusement and Janus’ dismay.
“Why do you insist on wearing those things, they freak me out.” Janus nodded to the gas masks on both of their faces. “You should be happy you don’t need them, not mocking me for mine.”
“It’s not mockery,” Alpha hung on the final sound for a second or two, dripping with sarcasm as her mask unclipped itself and fell away. “We love you really Big-J!”
“Or we’re just stuck with you.” Omega’s voice was just as unaffected by his mask, a slightly restricted male baritone resonating close to Janus’ own voice when not modulated through a mask. “At some point I’d like to get out of here and ‘till Janus is happy I’m stuck.” He paused, then said pointedly “So get happy, ‘Big-J’.”
“Ha. You’re hilarious… but you do have a point. Where’re we heading?” Janus was standing on the corner of the intersection with gloved hands resting inside his deep pockets, marveling at the silence of the open air. Monolithic skyscrapers boxed them in on all sides, one huge banking-building rising up behind them and equally imposing buildings of glass and stone meeting it on the other three corners.
“Y’know, that’s literally always your choice.” Alpha smirked again as she jumped onto the roof of an old hatchback, silently landing on her shoeless, soft-skinned feet and looking up at the roof of the building directly across from them. “That roof looks like a beautiful spot for aerial shots though.”
Omega agreed silently with a slow nod and Janus started towards the huge structure, climbing over the wrecked vehicles as he crossed the intersection diagonally. Omega chuckled quietly as he and Alpha glided through them behind Janus, and she shot him a disapproving glare as he did.
“What? It’s about the only enjoyment I can get, watching him struggle like that.”
“But it’s unkind! I know you’re his logic, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a dick.”
“Actually, to be fair,” Janus cut in, panting on top of a four-by-four as he turned back to look at them, “it kind of does. That’s how this all works.”
“I’m not sure I’m comfortable sharing a brain with such a man!” replied Alpha, raising a hand to her mouth in fake shock.
“I’m not sure any of us have a choice, A.” Janus turned and squinted at the setting sun reflecting off the glass windows flanking the huge office complex. “Let’s get up to the roof before the light goes completely, or the Twitchers wake up. Or both.”
He set off again over the next vehicle, jumping across them where he could and exerting his aging body to climb across the rest. Omega and Alpha exchanged a look of shared amusement as he groaned, Janus shouting “Laugh it up, bastards” as they returned to his side.