Chapter 1


        There are three things that any Messenger worth their salt will tell you. The first, of course, being that transportation is key. Movement is an art, your vessel the brush, and the path a divine canvas to show everyone exactly what it is that makes you You. A novice will worry about time, use expensive equipment to protect their package, sometimes even pack heat; Veterans always have one pair of reliable wheels, something long known they can trust and depend. Something they rely on as a partner, an extra appendage.

        The love of my life has two wheels, and his name is Never-ever. This is short for Never ever ever ever gonna let you down, and he never does. Can you believe I found him abandoned in an alleyway behind a stack of crates and a trash barrel? My diamond in the rough. We’ve been together for 8 years now with no regrets. Even if he had rearview mirrors (lost many moons ago), there would be no need. It’s always straightforward with us, no time to look back. We also don’t have the time for mistakes. Or bullshit. Or talking in general really. It’s kind of the perfect relationship.

        The second thing you need to know about a talented Messenger is that we are always on the job. You plan the route when you fry breakfast in the morning over a makeshift stove. Point A to point B. Then B to C, then C to D, etc. No stops. You keep moving at all times until you’re done, then you eat dinner; Same makeshift stove, more often than not same pre-packaged food. This is followed by glorious, glorious sleep; After which you repeat it all over again the next day. Your life becomes a series of segmented lines, dispersed with debris and tricky elevation changes. Your job becomes to connect the dots, always faster than the time before. A fraction of a second better than the previous. A hair off the friction on a turn.

        You do that consistently, then one day you’re not even there any more. We call it the Peak, and from its heights can be seen a vision like no other. The majority of the flock quits before they get there, few understand. Those that do have the telltale gleam in eyes always peripheral with the horizon (Messenger dogma, but it does sound pretty).

        The Third worth mentioning is that Messengers are like the Sith, there are always two of them; A master and an apprentice. The relationship between teacher and trainee is a strange one albeit necessary for both parties. Very little actual communication ever goes on between them, like I said we’re an industrious people who often aren’t able to spare the few extra seconds most civvies take for granted in casual chit chat. There’s no forms or anything to start Messaging, you simply find a master running his trail without a follower. If you can keep up, you’re theirs for the next 5 years in exchange for them not intentionally giving you the slip. That’s it, no actual mentoring or advice. No words of wisdom or late night tutoring. An apprentice merely watches. Watches and learns, and tries not to fall behind or die in a decrepit alley stories below after misjudging a step.

        My proverbial bushy eyed sensei never once told me his name, if that’s any indication of the camaraderie shown among our kind. I dubbed him Darkcloak after months passed and it became apparent nods were the most I’d get on one of his talkative days. The name comes from his signature style, of which the aforementioned article of clothing covers ninety percent of his body, and because I think it sounds incredibly badass. Because it does.

        I call him Dar for short.

        I would say that Messengers are especially deep sleepers, but pretty much everyone in the city can doze through just about anything. We have the world’s best timepiece whether we want it or not. Every hour the legs move with a monstrous grinding noise, halting the general populace in their tracks for a few seconds until it finishes.

        You see, the entirety of our village: miles and miles of farms, living quarters, educational facilities, you name it, all lies inside a dome on a suspended metal platform being carried across the Basin Wastes by these giant, mechanical spider-like legs. They say centuries ago it was constructed by the greatest engineers of the time after the war in their final attempt to ward off the constant threat of barbarians. Using the pre-war technology embedded in the ruins of an old city, they’d constructed their mecca. Eventually, in their infinite kindness and through great amount of prostration, the Engineers invited the starving desert nomads to live with them and help build their city. The Messengers became the lifeblood of their creation, the most skilled of them believed to be direct descendants of those that built the ground we walk on.

        The younger adepts, such as myself, work the veins running along the inner sanctums. The Capillaries of the Arm, Hand, Legs and Feet. The unexplored ruins crevassing between the hubs on the platform can be deadly for the untrained to pass through, so even something as simple as a message to meet for dinner requires a familiarity with the terrain and a deft set of limbs.

        That’s the city of New Salvage for you, or as I’ve come to call it, home.