Chapter 3:

A Riot...?

[NO LONGER UPDATING] Ceres's Chaos: A Tragic Space Opera

Completing the hologram sign, Ceres angled the backpack slightly such that the sign would be facing the riot zone.

The neon hologram sign gave off a glint of brightness that would have immediately alarmed anyone that decided to give a quick glance to one of the only two alleyways that led into the riot zone.

Of course, with the 'rioters' engaged in a brutal conflict filled with teeth, shouts, and the occasional cheers, it was almost impossible for anyone to give even a moment's worth to glance at the corner, especially those with their backs facing him.


The fight was rough, and Taren wasn’t feeling too good after taking a punch directly to his guts, causing him to move backwards as his allies took his position. As he doubled over, he started to question why he was even fighting. But before he could question himself more, he slapped himself in the face and stood back up stronger than ever.

“Don’t be stupid Taren, you got paid more than double your annual salary to simply solve this dispute! Does it really matter that they are fighting over a logo infringement issue? As long as we get paid, I don’t care who we represent!” Taren thought to himself.

To him, riots were no longer about actually having a real riot, but it was more like a free-for-all for two sides to solve a legal dispute. In fact, his enemies were doing the exact same thing!

It was two paid ‘riot’ groups who were clashing at the behest of their clients who could not solve their legal dispute in the courts and had to settle it by trial of combat. It was merely business for both sides, so they had no hard feelings between each other, only hard punches.

Taren took a quick glance at the corner behind his back while his 'sworn brother' on his left, Niu, took a yellow metallic punch directly to the face. His heart lightened upon seeing the tinge of Ceres’s sign, and he bellowed across to the fellow 'rioters' on his side in a resolute tone:

"Crimson Mining Group! Charge!"

A mixture of sighs and cheers came from the opposition and his allies, as though the secret code passage had been leaked to both parties way beforehand. Leading the Crimson Mining Group, Taren led a morale-strengthened push of pure body mass, mining exosuits and willpower.

The team that Ceres was behind seem to possess a new surge of strength, bolstering their charge!

Despite these changes, the opposing side held strong, unwavering in their defence and formation, not even letting a single Crimson mining exosuit or worker in. Suffering wounds that seem to border on life-threatening, a consistent swapping of warriors with construction suits helped to abate the pressure.

They clearly seemed to be waiting for something or someone to appear on their side as well!

Noticing the defensive stance of his enemies, Taren started to attack aggressively alongside his allies which were following his lead. It seemed as though a sure-fire victory for the Crimson Mining Group was imminent.

However, Taren never let down his guard, and continued observing the supposed enemy leader for any slight movements.

He couldn’t be rash and suffer a fatal counterattack!


Ceres watched the battle using a wireless camera ball which he attached to the corner, acting something like a periscope. He seems to be watching for specific reactions among the opposition, hoping that what he truly feared never happens.

His hand was clutching his thigh as he squatted next to his deployed backpack, expecting the worst. Despite the brutality of the battle, no one was actually dying, with injured people being pulled to the side or thrown.

No lethal attacks were made either, it seemed as simple as a pub brawl, except it was with overpower mechanical suits that augmented each punch, causing bones to break and handsome faces to be hurt.

It was a simple trial by combat, which many of the inners saw to be a crude way of settling disputes. However, the current judicial system was flooded with plenty of disputes from all over the city, hence the emergence of such ‘riot groups’.

Even when the New Saint’s city administration got more money, they never bothered, simply letting nature take its course, hence the current situation.

"Crimson Construction Group! Charge!"

That line caused Ceres to immediately stand up and take stock of his 'maintenance shop' inventory, ensuring that he had enough to cover the job.

He relaxed his hands while rubbing the fingernail marks away from his thigh, all the while calculating in his head how much he could potentially earn from this riot now that the magic line has been said.

His face held a wide grin as he double-checked all his backpack’s functionality, making sure the 3D printer was functional and hooked up to the right metal filament, albeit an unknown un-labelled one.

Squatting down to unzip a hidden pocket of the extended backpack panels, three seemingly mechanical insects like dragonflies flew out and hovered around Ceres' head.

Wearing a bracelet on his left hand, they began acknowledging the quick flick of three fingers given by him, the three insects then started to hover around the neon hologram sign.

Ceres test-fired the dragonflies on the ground for a bit, doing a quick hand motion. The three dragonflies formed a triangle around his hand and fired a short laser, melting the ground in a straight line. “Good, all functional!”

The three metallic dragonflies were originally scrapped toys, but they were now his pride and joy, the culmination of years of modification and independent research. Ceres, satisfied with the sign, sat in front of his 'shop' and waited.

He wasn’t worried at all or anxious to get customers, he knew for a fact that they would come.

A thunderous thud announced the arrival of the first customer just beyond the corner, laying in a damaged mining exosuit and slightly bleeding from his waist.

Ceres leaped upwards and walked impatiently towards the helpless man trapped in his unmoving exosuit.

"Oh dear, my good sir, you have been grievously wounded and your equipment damaged by the enemy! Lucky for you, I am an expert in repair and medical wounds and was walking by whe..."

"Cut the crap and fix my exosuit! I got my own medical foam so I won't be buying any of your jacked up shit."

"Of course sir, but it will cost extra to.."

"Yes I'll pay, now get me out of the exosuit AND repair it!"

Ceres quickly dismantled the burnt parts of the exosuit and disengaged the user lock, which caused the suit to open up from the front, allowing his customer to flop out onto the floor. A deformed rusted wrench was tossed to the customer, which the customer dashed back into the fray with, hoping to crack some ‘eggs’ with it.

Dragging the dismantled mining exosuit components back nearer to the shop, Ceres quickly identified the rugged exosuit as one of his old favourites, the Bee Strathon Mining ExoSuit VI.

The structure of the exosuit followed the general pattern that humans across the entire known galaxy all used now to augment their everyday work, allowing them to lift or punch harder, which was very helpful especially in hazardous environments.

A simple exosuit design looked very much like armour, except the key elements were the ‘bones’ or frame of the suit, which served as a support or enhancer, forming an exoskeleton around the human body – hence the term ‘exosuit’.

Ancient humans would’ve related it to something called an ‘iron man’ but it was more like an ‘iron skeleton’. It could have no plates or armour at all if necessary, and could be mounted with weapons for combat!

The most basic of exosuits only had the essentials, sometimes not even including a helmet or neck brace to withstand the turning force of the exosuit.

The exosuit when worn, would wrap around the pilot from behind, as long as his body aligned with it, however variations in the setup procedures existed,

The mechanical structure of an exosuit varies with design, but it commonly follows the outline of a human, running mini hydraulic suspensions on the arms and legs to help withstand loads or jump higher.

The electrical system would be powered from a battery pack, which was generally placed at the back of the exosuit, in-between the shoulder blades like a backpack, where wires would run alongside the frame, enabling the user to control suit through electrical signals.

The key component was the processor, which was attached to the nape of the neck, where many humans now had a nerval jack. It was essentially a hole into which a cable could be attached, allowing the user to control the suit as though it was an extension of their body.

The spine of the exoskeleton usually is the main component that allows the user to control the rest of the exosuit, which was a delicate piece that is usually encased protectively, and stretches all the way from the neck down to the hips.

This allowed any human with a nerval jack to control or use any exosuit, as well as other devices that would benefit from faster operating capacity.

Most modern devices now had a nerval jack to allow for faster interaction! Not having one would be tantamount to not being a human even in modern society.

Designed for use in mining tunnels, the Bee Strathon Mining Suit VI boasted a high degree of life support systems as well as providing enhancing strength and defence at the cost of flexibility and reaction speed.

The mining suit could allow a miner to survive cavern collapses and be self-sufficient for up to 12 days with an air filter installed. Even impacts could be reduced by its single-layered defensive plate which was sturdy enough.

It featured a single power pack the size of a small shoebox that sat snuggly in the lower back, right below the shoulder blades of the exosuit, allowing the exosuit to run at minimal operations for twelve days, barring any heavy lifting.

A coolant system was also continuously flowed through the power reactor to prevent the waste heat from searing the back of the user.

This particular exosuit however, had all its life support systems and coolant pipes ripped out of its back slot between where the shoulder blades of the user would be.

Instead, a simplified mini heat generator connected to the power pack along with two liquid canisters piped into a pressure chamber were attached in an extremely unsafe manner, acting as a crude hydraulic system to boost acceleration to the arms frame by 5%!

This was close to the limit, beyond which the user would have dislocated his shoulder immediately, if the frame had any defensive panels left to serve as inertia.

It seemed as though it was a stripped down 'steampunk' suit from Ancient Earth centuries ago!

Retrieving the memories he had of the structural designs and past modifications that he made in prior riots on the same exosuit, Ceres worked quickly on producing new components with his backpack using the inbuilt 3D printer.

A few old components were also retrieved from the backpack as he mentally made a list of components necessary for repairing the damage to the exosuit.

The damage to the exosuit wasn’t extensive, hence the repair was to be short and speedy. Ceres quickly dissembled parts of the exosuit that were too damaged or broken to be used, replacing them with either newly 3D printed components or spares that he had brought.

He estimated that the damage was only about less than 10% of the exosuit in actual component numbers, the sole reason why the exosuit not being able to move was due to joint melting and metal dents that choked up the system.

Despite how sturdy an exosuit was, the design always had critical points of failure that could be easily identified, especially when Ceres had spent most of his life looking at such exosuits. "This should be an easy job, I know this exosuit design that the 'rioters' are using like the back of my hand!”.

With his deft fingers, he quickly reassembled the exosuit while replacing the burnt off parts with new 'precious' metal parts and making sure that the inbuilt processor chip and nerval plugs near the neck was still in working condition.

Using a separate modified multi, he plugged a short cable into the processor's interface and initiated a quick system test of the suit.

The mini heat generator on the back of the frame sputtered to life, providing enough heat to instantly boil the remaining liquid within the chamber.

High pressured gas started to burst out of the seams where leaks occurred, prompting the three metallic dragonflies to hover around the suit and weld them shut.

The dragonflies flitted back and forth, welding with lasers any holes or further leaks throughout the test.

Each of the gears on the joints tested their nominal rotation and flexed their high-pressure valves designed to release excess gas where not necessary anymore to prevent overstraining of the exosuit.

Ceres placed his hand on the cooling pad that was the only thing remaining of the coolant system attached to the generator to ensure that the temperature was 'reasonable'.

After further movements and actuations, the suit headlights flashed green thrice, indicating that all connections tested fine, no pressure drops and it was fit for at least a minimum of 90% functionality.

It wasn't much different from how it arrived, but at least it wasn't burnt. As long as the safety tests were passed, Ceres considered it a completed job.

"Fuck me, I took 5 minutes 49 seconds to fix this one". His multi automatically logged the completion and timing, while Ceres set the suit aside away from the view of the riot zone. The battle seemed to be completely tied, with both sides managing their stamina and strength well.

Giving a quick glance over to the other alleyway that was the only other entry point into the riot zone, he recognized the color of the neon hologram sign’s edge there too even though he was not able to make out the words.

“Looks like we’re rolling in the money tonight!”

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