I am working on a roleplaying game based on my graphic novel Memories of Retrocity (Published in French in 2011), I decided to make the original texts available for you, revised and translated into English.
I will drop them here while I go through the translation process.
Those are "pre-translations". They need to be proofread and modified before any official release. Hopefully, you can enjoy the raw material!
Welcome to Retrocity.
Jan 15, 2004
I saw an android cry.
Nightfall. I was dragging my feet in one of those empty neighborhoods on the northern outskirts, trying to find my way through this maze of ruins and silence.
Focused on the sound of my soles on the ground. My thoughts for only company.
And then I almost died.
A carved wooden chair crashed in front of me, hitting the floor with an ominous crunch. A strange opaque mist escaped from the carcass of the smashed piece of furniture. Like a last breath.
A faint light was passing through an open window in the middle of the building's blackened facade, a few floors above me. The chair came from there.
Boredom, curiosity, death wish? No matter what, I decided to go and check.
The stairs were covered with dust and debris of all kinds. Broken steps and crooked structure.
On the seventh floor, a long hallway, green carpet, moldings on the ceiling, and a row of doors. The pale light I had seen from the outside was glowing under one of them.
I found this woman curled up on the floor in a state of shock, away from the lamp that caught my attention. She was holding back her sobs. Her skin was torn in places, revealing a mosaic of circuits and gears.
Inside the room, everything had shattered.
I stared at the window, wide open,, through which she had just thrown the chair!
"He tried to bite me!" she whispered.
Then, facing the violence of the moment and the loneliness to come, she let herself cry. The tears came, black and thick. Heavy as tar sliding smoothly over porcelain skin.
Jan 22, 2004
I had been wandering aimlessly for a while, my mind elsewhere. How did things come to this? Why do I find myself sitting on a bench in a forgotten park decorated with remains of slides and swings? I can almost hear the ghostly voices of kids playing. And I'm thinking about this woman I met at the bar. I don't know her name. Why do I even feel the need to type all this in my diary, like teenage kids do in movies?
The truth is that I struggle with myself, and I feel lonely. Now as I type. And earlier in the park. Smoking that stuff the Corporation calls "tobacco". Who knows what it really is and where it comes from.
I was just sitting there.
That's when things got worse.
A terrible and inhuman cry. Coming from a filthy alley at the edge of the green area. I jumped up and almost tripped. I hesitated for an instant. Listening to the suspicious silence. And then again, curiosity took over, and I decided to go and check.
I find myself smiling as I type right now. The irony. How boring would my diary be if I was not some kind of professional at throwing myself deep into terrible situations, especially when it's uncalled for? Anyway.
From the alley, a covered walkway led to a private garage, obviously derelict. Like the rest of the neighborhood. The garage was closed, and nobody around. A lazy light bulb barely illuminating the scene. How come there's still electricity around is beyond me. All I find are odd tracks in the dust. Against the wall, a splash of blue-green liquid flowing down to the ground near a shattered syringe containing a bit of the same liquid.
And then the world exploded.
A blow straight to the jaw. I don't know where it came from. I haven't seen or heard anything. I just found myself on the asphalt, eating dust and spitting blood. I tried to come to my senses, but I couldn't see shit. And with all these nights of insomnia, my body was ready to give up. I was going to take the opportunity, stay down, and nap right there. But I wasn't given the chance. A hand grabbed me by the collar, picked me up, and slammed me hard against the wall. My feet no longer touching the ground. My head hit the wall and, more out of fatigue than provocation, I let out a "Hey! Alright now! I got the idea!".
He hit me again. This time I stayed quiet.
I couldn't reach for my gun, so I tried to push him away with my feet, hitting his face with my fists, but the bastard was resisting effortlessly. He was not even caring about what I was doing.
As my watery eyes were washing away the burning blood and dust, I could finally see. I saw him clearly for the first time. I immediately regretted having regained my sight.
I've seen my share of monsters. I'm a cop! Between the streets and the colleagues, you quickly get used to ugliness.
But damn ... I don't even know what adjective to use.
This "thing" was almost two meters tall and was staring at me, his face two inches from mine. His skin looked like a pile of leather scraps hastily sewn on metal bones. As if that weren't enough, the whole thing was covered with a network of scars. His right eye was gone. The left one was a mechanical prosthesis flashing at me with a green pulsing glow. His long greasy hair standing up on its own as if the guy was in a perpetual state of electrocution.
So he stood there, looking at me. Silent. Threatening. And I was petrified. I don't know what it's like in your reality, but in mine, when a guy kicks your ass in an alley and doesn't pick your pockets, that's when you have a serious reason to worry.
To confirm my fears, the guy started sniffing me. Yeah. Downright. He moved even closer and seemed to feast on my scent. For a short eternity. Then he looked at me again with his dead eye and bared his teeth in a weird smile. Behind his cracked lips gleamed several rows of metal fangs. Paralyzed by fear, my body was no longer responding, and I felt that my immediate future wasn't going to improve. No more mechanical women and no more tobacco. But death was not coming, and instead, the monster decided to talk.
" It's you", he said.
That's it. Just that.
Then a kind of jerky friction noise made me realize with horror that this bastard was laughing. I wasn't in the mood to answer and tell him that "no, it was most likely not me... and he could go fuck himself".
His hand reassured his grip around my neck, and before I could react, I was flying again. Landing against the garage door.
As I was passing out, I heard him continue to laugh with his hoarse asthmatic breath.
" It's you. »
Hours later, the rain woke me up. I was hurting everywhere, and I couldn't even dare to imagine what my face looked like. My shirt covered in blood.
I dragged myself to my apartment, a wet cigarette in my mouth, telling myself that this city and I were definitely not going to get along.
03 Feb 2004
The sun is rising. I slept three hours.
Burnt orange sky, dark, which will obviously remain so until nightfall. I hear thunder in the distance. I cracked the window open to let the wind in. I like this hour. When the morning gusts and the rain try, once again, to clean the putrid streets.
As if nature was attempting to purge itself. To pass the broom over this unhealthy stain that the city is.
In a few moments, everything will become calm again, silent.
The wind will drop, and the rain will turn to mist. And when everything dissipates, the inhabitants will wake up. Again.
They will go about their business. They will go to work in the office.
I'll burn another one, and I'll try to sleep again.