The following is my own fanfic spinoff of the New Zealand soap opera The Tribe. The Tribe takes place in a city, after a virus has wiped out all adults, leaving the kids and teenagers to form tribes and wage war on each other. I’ve only seen the first couple of episodes so far, but it’s totally awesome. I don’t own The Tribe in any way.
Abel peered out of the alley that he was hiding in, out onto the street. The coast was clear. He quickly darted through the overturned vendors and spilled trash cans, looking for something that might have Vitamin D in it. The Players hadn’t had much citrus this week, and scurvy was threatening some of the younger members. Abel couldn’t believe it. Two months ago, the Players had been at the top of their game: one of NYC’s best tribes, with no fear and almost unlimited resources. Now what? They were just another group of kids and teens, struggling to survive in what was left of New York, after the Virus had knocked off everyone over eighteen. Luckily, they still had a really good territory-the enormous Toys R’ Us near Times Square. That place could hold every tribe in Central Park, and there would still be plenty of room left over. Abel was just thinking about how much he missed his parents-everybody did-when blazing sirens knocked him back to reality. He ducked back into the alley just before a hijacked NYPD police car drove by. Cyberpunks on patrol, no doubt. They pretty much ruled the city. But they were headed somewhere different-Broadway.
Abel quietly followed from a distance, until the police car parked in front of the Gershwin Theater. The Wicked poster was faded, torn, and tattered, but still held some magic. A person riding on the hood jumped off, and Abel stifled a gasp. It was Krios, leader of the Cyberpunks. Obviously, he had business here. But nobody lived in the theater, it was too close to too many other tribes, and there weren’t enough resources to keep a group going. So what did the Cyberpunks, Krios especially, want here? Unless… the Gershwin must have been a prison. Abel had heard of such things, where some large tribes kept captives, and either tortured or killed them. Not a very sunny place. Abel knew a stealthy way in, and within ten minutes, had ducked behind one of the mezzanine seats that looked out over the stage. Krios and a couple of his bodyguards quickly marched through the orchestra section, carrying-what was that? A burlap sack? No, that “sack” was moving. It was a prisoner.
The bodyguards climbed up onstage, and dumped the prisoner on the still-glossy wood. The person was bound hand and foot, and was gagged, but Abel couldn’t tell whether it was a boy or a girl. Three more Cyberpunks appeared from the darkness of the set, and stood guard over the prisoner. Yeah, like the guy was going anywhere. That’s when Abel noticed something. The prisoner was writhing around, and moaning, as if injured. No, wait. Not injured…
“Oh, God.” Abel muttered under his breath. He dashed out of the theater, and back to the Players’ territory. As soon as he was through the automatic doors that led to toy paradise, he grabbed his walkie-talkie (mandatory for all food scouts) and radioed Sham, the leader of the Players. Two guards led Abel to Sham’s office, which was actually the Jurassic Park section of the store. Sham was standing at the JP-themed gate. He wasn’t much older than fifteen, but his extreme intellect and diplomatic attitude had quickly shot him to the top of Player government. The kid was tall, Asian, and wore little makeup, which was odd for a tribe leader. He was wearing a worn gray sweatshirt, and black jeans. “What do you want?” he said, his voice cold and stern. Abel grimaced. He had never been very fond of Sham, but he was the boss.
“The Cyberpunks have someone imprisoned in the Gershwin. And she’s in labor.”
That woke Sham up. But he still kept that calm leader attitude that Abel wished he had.
“What does this have to do with us? I can’t be sending security squads off to save every prisoner in the city, you know.”
“You have a point there, but too many have already died because of the Cyberpunks. Besides, she’s about to give birth, and we-the Players, that is-actually want someone with a heart to be our leader.”
Sham considered this for a second. It would be the proper thing for a leader to do. Nobody liked a cold-hearted dictator.
“I agree, I should have a heart, but here’s the problem: a raid on Cyberpunk territory would undoubtedly put us at war with them. Tensions are already rising between us and the Irons, and we don’t need another diplomatic incident.”
“It’s not diplomatic-it’s human. And if you don’t want to save a girl who would die otherwise, then I’ll do it myself. Your choice, Sham. Not mine.”
Sham scowled, then conceded. Abel would get a team of five Players, and nothing more. He and the group hijacked a random car off the streets and snuck into the Gershwin. Hidden in the balcony, Abel motioned for the other kids to look at the stage. The prisoner was still there, but now she was thrashing and screaming. It was clear-if they didn’t get her out of there soon, she would die in labor. One of the guards suddenly looked up, and before any of the Players could move, he had seen them. He shouted out to his partners, and they grabbed some weapons-makeshift spears that were hidden in the shadows. They aimed at Abel, and threw them. They had good aim, but the targets managed to duck. That wouldn’t matter. Behind him, Abel heard the clapping of hands, and a cheery, yet frightening voice.
“Well, well. What do we have here? Players, aren’t you? Planning on liberating our prisoner? We’ve been so kind to you, and this is the reward?”
Abel gritted his teeth. He knew who this was.
“Shooting at company, Krios? Not very friendly, are you?”
A muscular arm grabbed Abel by the collar and turned him around to face Krios, the de facto leader of NYC. He was probably around seventeen, with jet-black hair that stood up in spikes, and had rectangles of blue and white lining his nose, forehead, and cheeks. Krios was definitely a scary-looking person, who led only on the concepts that power came from terror and chaos. Nobody wanted a leader like like that, but everyone wanted to see another day, so they kept their mouths shut. Krios grinned at Abel, then sneered at the rest of the invaders.
“You’ve got some nerve coming here, kid. I like that. Join the Cyberpunks, and you’ll probably live. Keep your loyalties to those pathetic parasites, and you’ll find yourself in a situation similar to Charie’s here-dead.”
Abel looked down. The girl-Charie-was still moving, but she seemed to be giving up hope.
“Now, make your decision. I’ll give you five seconds. One… two…”
Then, a voice came from somewhere. Sham’s voice.
“Three… four… five. Well, Abel, got a decision? Okay, then, I’ll take that as a I’ll-stay-with-the-Players. Now, then. Get’m, guys!”
From above the stage descended a glittering diamond globe. In it were Sham, and a half dozen other Player security guys, each one of them brandishing javelins. When the Players were about two feet from the stage, they jumped off, and charged the Cyberpunk guards. It didn’t take long. Seven against three: not much of a challenge. The guards were sprawled on the floor, bleeding or worse. Sham motioned at the catwalks above the stage, and an enormous painting of a goat slid down. Gripping it was a girl in turquoise clothes, clearly a medic. She picked up Charie with surprising strength, and brought her back up. Krios growled, and slapped Abel upside the head. Abel returned with a quick succession of punches that almost knocked Krios off his feet. Two of the leader’s henchmen sprang at Abel, but the others blocked them. That was just enough time for Abel to go after Krios, who had retreated to the escalators.
Sham, gasping for breath after the fight, saw Abel, and ordered his soldiers to follow him. They got back on the globe and were raised back into the catwalks. Meanwhile, Abel had caught up to Krios in the lobby. The king of the city leered underneath a replica of some weird mechanical clock, topped by a red-eyed robot dragon. “Nowhere to go,” said Abel. “How sad that the dictator of New York meets his end at the hands of a commoner. We’ve all wanted you dead, Krios. It doesn’t take a detective to figure that out.” Krios just grinned wickedly. He really was insane. Krios snapped his fingers, and Abel felt a sharp pain go through his back, followed by the distinct pressure that a human being had just leaped on him. Abel brought his fist up to knock his assailant out, but when he looked around for Krios, he had vanished. The only sign that he had ever been there was some graffiti on the door of the theater. Sham and his guard leaped from the escalator to meet Abel. The leader looked at the door, and shook his head. Three words, painted in neon green, stretched across the double doors: THIS IS WAR.