The roads looked like brackish water, heat shimmering in ribbons above them. A strange wail descended as the convention currents rose, driving wind through the broken high-rises - the I-Beam Banshee. Yet the torture was still not complete - there was also the fetid breath of the city - hundreds of car interiors, carpets, and other organic materials rotting from five years without cleaning or climate control.
Somehow, RATS were still seen as the lucky ones. Everyone else was confined to the air-conditioned hell of the arcology building, limited space, limited power, and no way to escape the same frustrated people day in and out. "Remote Access Technicians" got to leave, the work ants of the glass and steel hive, bringing back needed supplies from the ruined cities nearby.
Tom Smith was a fairly typical specimen. Formerly a barrister, amateur boater, and avid jogger - he was physically fit, familiar with the local geography, and a volunteer. He'd been with the group since nearly the beginning now, and none of the environments bothered him that much. The type Threes on the horizon - that was a different story.
Many citizen militias were just that - citizens with their own guns, and a local leader - but RATs received training. An obstacle course and regimen of lessons was established early on when when the need for something like the RATS became apparent. Former police officers, and occasionally - former criminals on how to fight, and how to enter buildings.
But nothing carried over from the old world prepared one to fight a Three. Not much larger than a normal human, in fact, usually looking a bit more like a healthy person than a type two or its Beta derivative - they weren't always easy to spot. Yet a second glace would tell you all you need to know - at various points, it seemed metal burst from their seems like a robot stuffed into too small of a flesh covering. Often the hands were completely gone, replaced by five fingered metal manipulators of some strange alloy. Wounds from prior encounters were silver lumps, like they bled molten metal that hardened into strange blisters. Many often carried broken pieces of steel as weapons, or wrapped rebar around body parts. It moved like a human, but punched like an encounter suit.