Karma Katastrophe

She reached into the machine with a practiced motion to retrieve the cup, only to find that it had stuck half way out of the slot. She furrowed her brow, and removed her eyes from the tablet to pay attention to the harder than it should be action of retrieving coffee, only for the cup to drop, hit the surface of the machine, and spray fresh coffee over her hand.

"Ow, fuck. stupid machine." she cursed, and then a blue screen appeared on her tablet, with an unhappy face to go along with the sad face and error message.

“Fuck” Cass hurriedly wiped the hot coffee off her hand and then swung a kick at the defective vending machine "Piece of fucking shit" her heavy boot splintered a crack in it’s plastic fascia, the sound making a few people turn to stare as they hurried past on the Promenade.

“There’s no... No... N-n-n-n” the machine stuttered, it’s chirpy voice slurring down an octave before something popped inside it and a cloud of smoke belched from the vending hatch.

“Fuck’s sake” Cass sighed. Coffee would have to wait. First she needed something to soothe a scalded hand. She turned to leave.

The machine, however, had other ideas and with a revolting gurgle, it vomited cold chicken soup out of the vending hatch and all over Cass.

“Argh. Bastard... I... Fuck...” for a moment Cass was lost for words. The soup was distressingly viscose and as it oozed into her clothes, they clung to her in cold, clammy sheets “Gurgh” she shivered in disgust. The scalded hand could wait. First she needed a bloody good shower and a change of clothes.

Backing warily away from the vending machine in case it decided to follow up with something even more revolting, she collided with a grubby-looking engineer with his bag of tools, on the way to some grease-related emergency.

“Watch where you’re going” he snapped and elbowed her out of the way. Clearly he wasn’t entirely happy with his work; the new Chief Engineer was probably to blame.

As she was jostled, Cass’s terminal slipped from her soup slicked hands and clattered to the floor, skittering away under the feet of the engineer. He stepped on it, slipped and landed flat on his back, his bag of tools flying high in the air as he fell, disgorging it’s contents in a wide arc.

One of the tools, a powerdriver, sailed through the air to smack a man on the back of the head, who was arguing with his girlfriend. She laughed, earning her a black look from him as he rubbed his sore head, and a rivet in her shoulder, accidentally fired from the engineers gas gun as it hit the floor.

The woman screamed in pain and fell to her knees, a hand clutching at the blood, bubbling from the wound. Their argument forgotten, her boyfriend crouched down next to her in concern, just in time to avoid being hit by a malfunctioning holo-ad projector, which spiralled through the air overhead, propelled by it’s faltering grav-projector, and crashed through the blacked out window of Friskies, one of the sleazy red light clubs, perennially popular in this area of the Promenade.

“Bastard” the engineer struggled angrily up from the floor, just in time to be blown off his feet again by the explosion that erupted out of Friskies.

Miraculously unscathed and appalled at the scene of devastation surrounding her, Cass hurried forward to see if there was anyone inside the club in need of help, fortuitously moving just in time to avoid being hit by a burning shopping trolley that crashed down from the mezzanine above “Fuck” she span in shock and surprise, to regard the twisted mass of metal and gro-bags, that occupied the space where she had just been standing “What the fuck?”

Another explosion erupted out of one of the other red light clubs, further down the strip, making Cass flinch and look wildly around her. Smoke and dust filled the air and the ground was covered with shards of glass, metal and plaster. People were slowly picking themselves, dazedly, up from the ground, while others were running to help.

The Promenade, Cass realised, was a terrible place to be if some lunatic had taken it on themselves to target the cubs down here, but then what had happened in Friskies had just been an accident... hadn’t it?

Screams interrupted her train of though and she turned again to see the crowd fleeing Friskies, led by a wildly shrieking man, in a burning gimp suit. Acting more on instinct than with any coherent plan, Cass swept a foot out and tripped him up as he flailed past her and shrugged her way out of her clammy suit jacket, to use it to smother the flames.

The smell of burnt rubber and chicken soup rose from the whimpering man to assault her nose, and make her feel more than just a little nauseous. A little to her left, as if to reward her good deed, Cassandra’s terminal winked back on and the previously faulty vending machine whirred and dispensed a superbly prepared coffee.

“What?” Cass frowned in confusion “Hey, hey. Don't struggle” she told the man “We’ll get you help”

“Jesus” the engineer breathed behind her, adding “Sorry Reverend” when she looked around at him “That poor guy”

Another onlooker, a woman next to him, scowled and shook her head “The dirty little pervert got exactly what he...”

A potted plant interrupted her by falling from above and shattering across the back of her head, knocking her unconscious. Cass and the engineer exchanged glances.

“Sometimes, karma’s a bitch” the man nodded in satisfaction as Cass looked up towards the scene of chaos, raging on the mezzanine above them. A major incident of some sort seemed to be occurring in a garden centre.

“Call through to control and get Security and a Med team down here” Cass instructed the engineer “You’ll need your lot as well, to check structural integrity where we’ve had those explosions and to isolate any faulty circuits”

The man nodded “Makes sense. Sure thing, Reverend”

Scooping her up her battered terminal, Cass stood as the starfield beyond the glassteel dome, covering the Promenade, suddenly illuminated with a hellish orange light as the nearest of the neodymium asteroids detonated in a destructive chain reaction.

“Fuck” Cassandra’s mouth fell open.

“You got that right”

More screams filled the brief, but amazed silence that followed. Cass looked upward at the mezzanine again. Something was very wrong.

“You look after these two” she instructed the engineer “I’m going to head up there and see what’s going on”

“I... Uh... Yeah” he flustered, unused to receiving orders from clergy.

“Good man”

Pausing only to grab the delicious smelling coffee from the vending machine, Cass hurried towards the nearest set of stairs, trying hard to ignore the revolting sensation of her soup-sodden trousers, clinging to her skin.

It's nice to be back

We need security, medics and engineers up on the Promenade, plus anyone else in the area who fancies joining in :)

The red light district got hit pretty hard by the karma field, but what could possibly be going on in a garden centre that could be so wrong as to necessitate the karmic chain reaction that currently appears to be going on?

Get as creative and humorous as you like :)

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