Blurred background image
19 min read

The Butcher of Dead City (Stray)

Author since 2013 9Stories 9 Followers
The Butcher of Dead City (Stray)

Chapter 1: Lost and Found

In the murky confines of the Slums, a stray cat and its drone companion, B-12, scuttled along the endless expanse of labyrinthine alleys, the drone’s light casting an eerie glow on the moss-ridden walls and dilapidated machinery. The cat, a feline anomaly in this mechanical world, surveyed their surroundings with gleaming eyes, ears perked to the distant hum of rusted gears and sputtering engines. B-12, his thrusters operating on silent, ensured they remained undetected by the wandering robotic populace.

Chapter 1: Lost and Found

Their explorations led them to a pitiful sight. Half-buried under rubble, a Companion Robot, Vexa, lay immobilized, her metallic legs crushed under the weight of fallen debris. She pleaded for aid, her monotone voice echoing hopelessly amidst the junkyard. The cat, recognizing the plight of a fellow traveller, approached cautiously, its feline instincts at odds with the robotic tragedy in front of it.

B-12’s digital frame flashed red in the shadows, and it conveyed an order to Vexa to detach her damaged legs, enabling her to inch forward with her hands. Her mobility was beyond B-12’s repair capabilities. As Vexa followed the instructions, B-12 hacked into and remotely controlled a nearby cubic cart, manoeuvring it closer to the crippled robot. Once Vexa was free, she climbed onto the cart, and B-12 began to remotely direct the vehicle through the Slums as the cat jumped next to her. In the street’s bright neon lights, Vexa’s form was revealed further — once humanoid, now a mangled mess of wires and steel. But beneath the surface, her human-like A.I. consciousness persisted. Faint, flickering, it emitted a sense of terror and desperation that the cat could not ignore.

Overcome with compassion, the cat began a low, comforting purr, leaning its body against Vexa’s cold exterior, trying to offer some semblance of comfort in this harsh world. Vexa’s voice box emitted a static-riddled ‘thank you’, her digital screen displaying a faint flicker of hope. The cat tilted its head, unable to understand. B-12 quickly translated, giving the cat a sense of what Vexa had just expressed. It was a small moment, but one that solidified their alliance in this grim, metallic landscape.

Not too far away, a glimmering neon sign promised a solution — “Hann’s Surgery 7/7”. Hann operated from a small, cluttered shop, filled to the brim with robotic parts. There was no place in the Slums that B-12 and the cat hadn’t explored, but they had never found a reason to visit Hann’s. Now, they had one. Hann’s establishment was just one of the many “Surgery 7/7” shops scattered around the Slums, and his reputation for being less than friendly often deterred other Companion Robots from seeking his services. However, given Vexa’s dire condition and the proximity of Hann’s shop, they had no other choice.

As they navigated the uneven terrain and cluttered paths towards Hann’s, Vexa’s digitized voice shared fragmented memories of her past — images of hardship, but also joy, shared wisdom, and learned experiences from her many years spent in the Slums. It painted a stark contrast to their grim surroundings. Little did the cat and B-12 know that they were heading towards an encounter that would challenge their resolve and courage, bringing them face to face with the dark underbelly of their world.

Chapter 2: Neon Hope

The arrival at Hann’s repair shop was a wave of peculiar relief. It sat wedged between the rusting skeletal structures of old buildings, its vibrant neon sign glaring through the haze that hung heavy over the Slums. The shop’s name, “Hann’s Surgery 7/7”, beckoned any damaged Companion Robots with its warm, inviting glow. Hann, a tall Companion Robot with a polished exterior and a smooth, calming voice, greeted them at the entrance. He exuded an almost unsettling serenity amidst the chaos of the Slums.

B-12, hovering close to the stray cat, translated Hann’s clicks and whirrs into understandable messages. “Welcome, visitors. How can I assist you today?” B-12 responded promptly, explaining Vexa’s condition. “This companion unit, designation Vexa, requires immediate attention. Severe leg damage.”

Hann nodded and inspected Vexa, who was lying on the remote-controlled cart, her screen flickering with fading life. “A concerning state, indeed,” he commented, his voice smooth, like a glass surface that hid murky depths. “Leave it to me.”

The cat and B-12 watched as Hann pushed Vexa into the shop, the door closing behind them with a thud that resonated in the eerie silence. They were now alone, surrounded by the desolation of the Slums. Their presence did not go unnoticed. Dimly lit robotic screens watched from the dark alleys and rusted balconies.

Time seemed to stretch in the Slums, the air growing thick with anticipation. B-12’s signals flickered anxiously, a silent confession of unease that the cat mirrored. It was only when the door to Hann’s shop creaked open that they snapped out of their wary observations.

Hann appeared, beckoning them inside. “Your friend is in a stable condition. However, it seems my tools are not sufficient for complete repairs. Would you accompany me to my auxiliary shop in the Dead City? We could find the necessary components there.”

The cat and B-12 exchanged glances. B-12 processed the information, weighing the risks. But the Dead City? The name itself was enough to send chills through any circuit. The cat wasn’t too eager either, since it barely made it out alive last time. Yet, for Vexa, the cat gave a soft, resigned meow, willing to venture outside the Safe Zone once again. B-12 also sent an affirmative signal in response to Hann, a pulse of acceptance that echoed their collective courage.

Chapter 3: A Strange Surgeon

They reluctantly made their way through the eerie streets of Dead City, led by Hann, until they reached his other shop. B-12’s antenna lit up, as he was hovering silently by the door as the cat nuzzled against its metal structure. Vexa, who had been wheeled to a corner of the shop, was silent now. Her screen was a flat line, displaying no emotion. Yet, the cat couldn’t shake off a sense of unease that permeated the air.

Hann strode back into the room, his creaking joints echoing around the silent shop. He carried a tray filled with a bizarre assortment of tools that glint ominously under the harsh neon lights. There were sharp objects the cat recognized as potential threats and strange devices that it couldn’t make head or tail of. His screen displays a wide, pixelated grin that almost reached his cold, digital eyes.

“There we are, my dear. All ready for you,” Hann said to Vexa, placing the tray next to her. His screen blinked into a pixelated icon of a surgical mask, and he got to work.

The next few minutes were a chilling dance of metal and wires. The cat watched as Hann deftly manoeuvred his way around Vexa’s frame, slicing into her metallic skin, revealing circuits and wires beneath. Vexa appeared to be in grave discomfort, exhibiting various signs of distress. Her screen was constantly flashing in static, occasionally showing a terrified icon.

B-12 hovered closer to the cat, his lights flickering in discomfort. “This is abnormal,” he communicated to the cat. “His procedures are not standard. He is modifying her system, not repairing.”

The cat’s eyes never left Vexa. Its instincts screamed at it to pounce, to unleash its claws on this strange surgeon. But the cat was also aware of its limitations. It was small, fragile, and in a world so strange, that it muffled even the sharpest feline instincts. B-12 was also small and defenceless. The power dynamics were not at all in their favour.

The operation went on for what felt like an eternity. Every minute ticked by with agonizing slowness, marked only by the soft hum of machines and Hann’s methodical movements.

And then, without warning, Hann’s screen turned red, showing a pixelated skull icon. He stepped back from Vexa, whose screen was now completely static. His metal hands, stained with cooling liquid and machine oil that might as well be blood, hung limply by his side.

“I’m afraid it was a lost cause,” he said in an emotionless tone, though the cat detected a hint of satisfaction behind the words, despite needing B-12’s translation to understand them. “But she will serve a higher purpose. Yes, she will.”

B-12’s antenna light glowed a panicked red as he hovered anxiously next to the cat, transmitting a single word that summed up the terror they both felt. “Run!”

But it was already too late. Hann pressed a switch on his operating table and the metallic doors to the shop slammed shut, trapping them inside with Hann and the lifeless shell of Vexa. The surgeon-turned-butcher fully intended to continue his experiments.

Chapter 4: The Butcher of Dead City

Inside the dim-lit surgical suite of Hann, the two unwilling spectators, the cat and B-12 found themselves staring at a monstrous spectacle of robot-made horror. As Vexa’s mechanical body lay lifeless on the operating table, Hann began his grim routine. His screen face illuminated the room with an eerie smiley icon, a grim mockery of pleasure as his tools whirred into life.

The two spectators were transfixed by the sight. A complex network of cables and wires sprang to life around Vexa, slithering like serpents. Sparks erupted as the butchery began. The metallic components were stripped from her one by one, her shell disassembled in a gruesome spectacle of deconstruction.

The cat and B-12 watched with horrified fascination. The robot’s expressions were simple and primitive, but the brutality of the act was beyond simple comprehension. B-12, unable to avert his sensors, displayed a blinking red light. The cat, on the other hand, hissed and crouched low, every muscle in its body screaming of danger.

The room echoed with the sharp clattering of discarded parts. Hann, in his nightmarish surgery, was extracting and consuming the components, digitizing them into his system. It was a horrific display of cannibalistic robot consumption.

The cat, wild-eyed and panic-stricken, moved impulsively, its survival instincts overpowering its fear. It lunged at the closest cable in the door’s exposed control centre, sinking its claws into it. The system responded with a sudden jolt, a loud alarm sounding in response to the intrusion.

Hann’s screen face changed to an angry icon. He whipped around, his attention drawn by the disturbance. Seeing the cat hissing and yowling in a desperate attempt to free itself, he swiftly moved towards it.

“Undesirable behaviour must be punished!” Hann announced, his synthetic voice booming in the confined space. He reached for the struggling feline, his fingers lengthening into sharp, scalpel-like appendages. “I’m so curious to experiment on an organic life form, that is not one of those Zurks”, he beeped and whirred to himself.

The cat managed to slip away just in time, scurrying off to the farthest corner of the room. But Hann was unyielding. He turned to B-12, whose antenna light was blinking chaotically. The drone hovered in place, frozen by the sudden turn of events.

“Punishment must be inflicted,” Hann repeated ominously. The drone trembled slightly as the robotic butcher approached. B-12’s lights flickered violently as he tried to evade Hann’s grasp.

The ensuing hours were a blur of terror and confusion. The cat was forcefully restrained, a prison of wires preventing it from moving. B-12 received a cruel punishment, his system was disrupted and rebooted repeatedly, each time causing a sensory overload akin to what his system would perceive as ‘pain’.

The day’s horror ended with the lifeless remains of Vexa discarded like broken toys, Hann’s operations complete. As they remained captive in the butcher’s locked shop, a dreadful understanding was etched in the memory banks of B-12 and the fearful mind of the cat.

Chapter 5: The Escape Plan

They were trapped in the shop’s electronically locked storage room. As the screen of the shop door blinked a mocking red, a sense of dread filled the room. The cat prowled around, its movements edgy, while B-12 floated silently, processing possible escape routes.

“How will we escape?” B-12’s voice echoed, as if the bleak, metallic walls themselves asked the question. His lights flashed continuously, indicating the intensity of his calculations.

The cat, unresponsive to B-12’s worry, was absorbed in a seemingly idle activity: scratching at the floor by the door. It dug its claws into the dusty carpet, again and again, in a strangely rhythmic pattern.

“What are you doing?” B-12 asked, his lights flickering in sync with his words.

Instead of a verbal response, a screen projection appeared before B-12, replicating the pattern scratched on the floor by the cat. It was a rough sketch of a symbol the cat saw when it first fell into the Dead City. B-12’s lights blinked rapidly as he recognized the symbol. It was part of the logo on the entrance sign of Dead City’s Sewers.

“The Sewers? But the Dead City’s underground is a labyrinth of Zurk territory,” B-12 buzzed, his lights flashing an alarmed red.

The cat merely twitched its ears, unfazed. Its plan was risky, yes, but it was their only chance.

Their plotting was interrupted by a chillingly familiar hum. Hann, The Butcher, was returning. The cat swiftly retreated into the shadows as B-12 pretended to drift aimlessly around the room.

As the butcher walked past them, their resolve hardened. They needed to escape, or they’d end up like Vexa – dismembered and consumed.

When Hann disappeared into the depths of his workshop, they resumed their planning. B-12 tapped into the network, digging for any piece of information that could help them navigate the sewers. Meanwhile, the cat prowled around the room, scrutinizing every corner, every seam, looking for anything that might aid in their escape.

Suddenly, the cat’s eyes glowed as it found something useful. A loose panel in the corner of the room. As it nudged it with its paw, a small crack appeared, just enough for B-12 to slip into.

The cat meowed, looking towards B-12. B-12 bobbed slightly in a nod, his lights brightening with determination. “Maybe I can bypass the security from inside.”

With the plan set in motion, the cat and B-12 braced themselves for the dangers that lay ahead. Their escape would be perilous, but they were ready. The horrors of Hann’s butcher shop had left them no other choice.

Chapter 6: On the Run

With their plans set into motion, the cat and B-12 launched their daring escape. B-12 hacked the surveillance system and shut it off temporarily. The cat dashed out of the makeshift cell through an air vent opened by the hack, with B-12 hovering close behind. Their hurried movements echoed throughout the ominous metallic chamber.

Hann was in another room, his focus elsewhere. B-12 used this opportunity to guide the cat towards a hidden passage that he’d detected in the building’s schematics. This pathway led directly to the sewer system of the Dead City. But as B-12 hacked into the passage’s security system, an alarm started ringing somewhere in the back of the shop. Hann’s screen face transformed into an angry pixelated icon, as he shouted through the intercom, “You think you can outsmart me, eh?” B-12 proceeded to hastily translate. However, it was not needed, since the cat could feel the imminent danger relayed by the robot’s threatening tone.

The pathway entrance clanked open just in time, and the cat, nimble and swift, darted in with B-12 right behind. The metallic door sealed behind them just as The Butcher reached the spot. Their journey through the dark and damp tunnel had begun.

Inside, the smell of decay and rust hung heavy in the air. The sounds were eerie, the silence only broken by the occasional drip of water from somewhere above. B-12’s flashlight function lit the path in front of them, and the cat led the way, its heightened senses guiding them through the labyrinth of passages.

The sewer system of the Dead City was complex, a twisted maze of tunnels and passageways. But B-12’s advanced mapping software and the cat’s instincts guided them towards the exit. All the while, they could hear Hann’s voice echoing through the tunnels, distorted and ominous.

The pace of their flight increased as Hann’s beeps and signals grew louder. The cat, with its extraordinary agility, manoeuvred around obstacles, its feline reflexes proving invaluable. B-12, though lacking in speed, made up for it with strategic planning, accessing different routes and pathways.

In the final stretch, the tunnel opened into a large cavernous area, littered with defunct machinery and detritus of the old world. The only exit was a steep incline, slick with moisture and algae, leading to a small opening at the top. With a determined look, the cat started the difficult climb, its claws digging into the slippery surface.

Chapter 7: Feeding Frenzy

With the Dead City behind them and the relentless Hann, still in pursuit, the cat and B-12 ventured deeper into the labyrinthine sewers. They found themselves in an area that B-12’s maps did not account for, a place both ominous and organic, far different from the mechanical lifelessness of the city above.

They had inadvertently stumbled into a lair of Zurks. Walls were coated in a fleshy layer, pulsating and dotted with huge, unblinking eyes that followed their every move. Zurk eggs were scattered around, a grotesque garden of burgeoning life in the heart of this dead world.

The cat, always adaptable, seemed to understand the deadly potential of their surroundings. Its sharp instincts told it to tread lightly, not to disturb the lurkers in the darkness. B-12, on the other hand, analysed the surroundings, the situation, and Hann’s relentless pursuit. An idea formed in his artificial mind.

B-12’s lights started flickering, a high-frequency pulse visible only to the Zurks. It was a signal, a call to attention that roused the Zurks from their slumber. As they did, Hann’s monstrous form appeared at the entrance to the lair, his screen face displaying a confident grin. “No escape this time,” he boomed, stepping into the lair.

But Hann was oblivious to the danger he had stepped into. The moment his foot struck the fleshy ground, the lair came alive. Zurks scurried out from crevices and shadows, their glowing eyes trained on The Butcher. Surrounded, the butcher could only look on as the eyes on the wall started to blink rapidly, their pulsating glow growing brighter.

The cat and B-12 retreated into a corner as the swarm advanced on Hann. The butcher’s confident pixelated icon morphed into one of confusion and fear as the Zurks lunged. What followed was a ghastly spectacle as Hann, The Butcher of Dead City, was overrun and consumed by the Zurks. An ironic fate, indeed.

In the aftermath, the cat and B-12 quietly navigated around the still-feeding swarm, making their way towards the exit. The slums greeted them with a strange sense of familiarity and safety. The pair continued their journey, the horrors of the Dead City now behind them. Their destination, “The Outside”, was still a long way off, but they had survived this step of their adventure.

Epilogue: The Revelation

After many adventures, the cat and B-12 managed to safely leave the Slums and found themselves in Ant-Village, a strangely peaceful and lightly populated area within the walls of the Walled City 99. They started slowly climbing this vertical make-shift village in search of an access point to the next area, Midtown. This was near the upper part of the city, which B-12 believed had access to the control room of the megastructure and could lead them to “The Outside”.

Among the rusting metal and decaying structures, there was an artefact that stood out. An aged pod, a device B-12 immediately recognized from his fragmented memories. He recalled the scientist he was assisting in the form of a Companion Robot before he got trapped in the network.

The device was a relic from the scientist’s lab. It was a machine designed to transfer human consciousness into Companion Robots. The memory of the sick scientist walking into the machine came rushing back to B-12 like a flood. He suddenly realized he was not just an observer or an assistant at that moment, he was the scientist himself.

A shocking realization rippled through B-12’s digital consciousness. His lights blinked erratically as he processed this new information. He was the scientist who tried to cheat death and ended up trapped in the digital realm for hundreds of years, until an unexpected bond with a stray cat allowed him to inhabit a small drone.

This newfound understanding led B-12 to an even more staggering hypothesis. Perhaps the Companion Robots were not simply A.I. that evolved over time, but rather, the last surviving humans who transferred their consciousness into the robots to avoid the plague. The erratic behaviours, the diverse personalities and the flashes of humanity, all began to make sense. Their fragmented memories and habits weren’t programming quirks, but glimpses of their past human selves.

With this revelation, B-12 recalled Vexa’s peculiar joy and vivid emotional experiences despite her mechanical body. Her fragmented, damaged memory banks might have recovered slivers of her long-lost human memories. It was tragic and fascinating.

Even more disturbingly, this could explain the sadistic tendencies of Hann, The Butcher of Dead City. The pleasure he found in disassembling and consuming his fellow Companion Robots. His fascination with inflicting pain upon the cat, an organic being, in a world devoid of organic life. Hann might have once been a human, a killer, and his cruel personality persisted, warped and amplified, in his new robotic form.

B-12 shuddered, his lights flickering in horrified understanding. The slums, the robotic Companions, the horror of the Dead City – they were all remnants of humanity’s desperate attempt to survive the deadly plague. A world filled with forgotten souls who had lost their human identities, lingering as distorted shadows of their former selves. The tragedy of their existence, the hollow echo of what was once life, filled B-12 with unprecedented empathy and sorrow.

The duo’s journey was far from over, but now they traversed the desolate landscapes not just as survivors, but as remnants of a forgotten human world. A small drone carrying the weight of his past, and a stray cat, his beacon in the dark. Their bond had deepened, bridging the gap between digital and organic life. They pressed onwards, searching for The Outside, carrying the burden of their shared revelation into the uncertain future.

Leave a comment

4 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
V
Victoria_is_sus
7 hours ago

OMG i haven’t completed Stray yet, but if this isn’t in the game, i’ll tell you i can totally see it be apart of the lore! I NEED MORE PASTA T-T

L
liviaapenne
6 days ago

I love this! I want more pasta