Act One

          When I was younger there was an airbike model that caused a lot of trouble. Well it wasn’t the bikes fault really. It was an Airjet 25R, R cuz it was the racing inspired model, though unlike most racing inspired models these days, it could run circles around professional rides. The Airjet 25R didn’t resemble any of the older boring “teardrop” looking models that were designed by committee. The 25 R looked like it was designed to cut into the air, not slip through it. The 25 R was a cross between an early 21st century fighter jet and motorcycle. It looked like a fire breathing demon that you jumped on the back of, grabbed by the scruff of the neck and hoped you knew what you were getting yourself into. An airbike is an anti-gravity vehicle. A natural progression over the years from the 19’th century steam driven motorcycles.

          The advent of the anti-grav engine is what catapulted the human race into the stars. When it was first developed, earth’s population had ballooned to near 10 billion. Needless to say it was getting crowded, people left the planet in droves with no promise of finding habitable exo-planets. Most people now are still living on the space ships their parents and grand parents emigrated on, it was only a matter of time before they started modifying those ships into current day stations. Some are so large now they can’t make planet-dock.

          My home has been the space station named Epsilon 001 for most of my life. It’s also home to one of the biggest Airbike Racing courses in all the 4 quadrants. The track wraps around the station like that giant octopus from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. With it’s tubular track design and no discernible up or down it’s the fastest, most intense track built so far. These tracks allow the bikes to be driven in a multi-dimensional sense, upside down and above have become normal terms in racing.

          My name is Kelvin and for a time I left Epsilon 001 to live with my aunt, uncle and parents but after a while I found myself back there again buying a living module and having it installed on the station. It’s great, when I’m not hunting I can take my custom airbike to the track. Say… let me tell you about the first time I rode an airbike and how that and the Young Beasts changed my life. What’s a Young Beast you ask? Well the easy answer for now would be a genetic anomaly that awakens mostly in teenagers, though some people who were normal teens gain attributes, even if for a short time. The gene probably activated when we started to settle among the stars, no one’s sure yet.

          The best of anti-gravity racing, the Airjet 25R was outlawed in 2115, as well as any other airbike that followed it’s design philosophy. Back then a gang of Young Beasts got a hold of the first shipment to our station and had a joyride all over every inch of it. They terrorized us for a week with those awesome machines before they were caught. Epsilon 001 was the first purpose built station, designed mainly to replace the Epsilon ship that the original colonists came out here in. Epsilon 001 was the first station built to be a city in space… meaning it had lots of open space inside to run about in. Two of those teenage psychos ran a bike into the CO2 scrubber module section and the bikes power-plant detonated, we had to leave the station for weeks. All 500 thousand plus of us were stuck on some nearby freezer unit of a moon, Antarctica II, I got into a bit of trouble there but that’s another story. Of course the Young Beasts were fine… freaks of nature. It took 5 days to find the last one after the module blew… 5 days in space, commonly known as the vacuum. Some of the Young Beasts can exist perfectly fine out there though. The worst this kid got was frost bite on his right foot and hypothermia.

          If you were to listen to one of the many vocal scientists on the matter, they’re the next step in human evolution, the Young Beasts that is, I call fecal on that. Why do most Young Beasts lose their abilities when they become adults? Isn’t evolution supposed to make permanent changes? I was a normal kid. Well ok, maybe a little smarter with reflexes that were faster than expected but pretty much normal. It seemed though, that being smart didn’t stop me from trying to get my hands on one of those Airjet 25R’s. I’ll admit, back then I thought the Young Beasts were cool… childish stupidity. Since then I’ve realized the threat they can pose and I hunt them down for a living. We can kill them, they aren’t immortal… but that isn’t the goal of hunting them. We’re paid to capture the dangerous ones and invite the level headed kids to the high school, that’s the job. The high school I work for was one of the first to start the Young Beast Prison Project, a project that, without the Airjet 25R incident, would have probably never started.

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