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Introduction to Maze’s function (Chapter 1.0)

A grim and tired Mr End watches the sun rise in a dusty red haze as the contours of the city of Maze appear. The black silhouettes of the skyscrapers and towers are outlined with a gold rim as the sun rises over the ocean and onto the harbour, glistening as Mr End strides back and forth in the orange glow. Billows of smoke float over the city as a house fire from the night before dies out, whilst he watches Mr End waits impatiently for the Oilies to arrive. It is deadly quiet; much like it always is in the morning. Few residents are awake in the gritty concrete city, even in the city centre with all its apartments, nobody stirs.
As the sun rises the city ages before the eyes of anyone who is awake, at first the city looks large and impressive with huge blocky buildings sharply shaping the sky, yet as the light seeps into the city the shapes become less monumental as the years of neglect and harsh times are revealed. Maze is a decaying city, every building is stained, streaked and adorned with filth, pollution, and graffiti, every street is pothole filled and lined with couches and other worn out relics of good times.
Near the city centre is Beginning Park, a small stretch of trees and grass which still holds some of the former glory of Maze. This is where the children play and escape the repetitiveness of school. The school itself is an old yellow building, heavily battered from the rowdy children of Maze. It is on the fringe of the city centre, allowing the children to easily slip away into the safety of the park or in the case of the “Oilies” (of whom this story is mainly concerned) the tar desert that is the truck depot.
Long ago the manufacturing prowess of maze collapsed as business moved over seas to the cheaper nations of Asia. Revival came a few years later as Maze started producing the chips and boards for computers, which at this time were taking over the world. Yet this soon dried up as the many companies who began the revival were plagued by poor management and an inability to compete against larger producers; Thus the city slipped into decay.
The city should have died long ago, yet Maze became insignificantly important. Trade routes in the district were changed, forcing trucks and other trade vehicles to travel through the city. Lucky for Maze the city was halfway between the larger cities in the east and the shipping harbours in the south with a vast expanse of nothing in between. The city became a stopping place for the many trucks and vehicles that were transporting goods to be shipped all around the world. Maze was turned into one large depot were drivers could park their trucks, rest and then go on their way. To accommodate this new purpose the city (or its investors) had a huge expanse of tarmac built to the east of the city, much like an airport, but larger and lined with shops, motels, gas stations and adult services. These stores and facilities are like islands in a black sea that stretches for kilometres upon kilometres. Mr End likes to think he is in control of the legal and underground operations of Maze
You see the town doesn’t just get a few trucks, but thousands every day, bringing in money and work for most of Maze’s residents. Yet, like always, never enough money to change the circumstance of Maze, a city doomed to be lost in decay forever.

The sun finally reaches above the buildings and the town is bathed in light for the day and as if it was all planned the city starts up, the trucks roll in and Mr End begins business. The silence is cut by the roaring splutter of truck engines and the clank of metal container doors being hurriedly shut and opened.

At this time the Oilies, the only truly powerful gang in maze, return to Mr End’s fuel shop grunting with the spoils of a hard nights work. As they pass over the dusty tarmac full of angular fuel hubs they enter Mr End’s office, lugging the last goods on their back wit. They are greeted warmly, yet this is to be expected as the Oilies are making Mr End very rich. As the Oilies remove their bulky glasses, ominously reflecting the cold light of the office, and there grim face masks they change from creatures of the night back into the kids of 14-16 that they are.
Now the Oilies are not your typical gang, after all Maze has its fair share of drug gangs, fighting gangs and mugging gangs, they are unique and posses a power that is little understood by the wider community. These other gangs are unorganised, small time and overly clichéd.
The Oilies are creative and as such are profiting heavily from their own unique industry. They make money off the trucks that come in to the city. Yet they don’t steal the cargo and they don’t steal the trucks, they steal the lucrative liquid that is fuel. You see the Oilies go out at night, steal the fuel from the thousands of trucks along the tar desert and then sell it, at a reduced price, to Mr End who then sells it back to the trucks. The best thing about this is that the truck drivers and their respective companies will never find out, whilst inventory is checked and can be found once sold, fuel is always overlooked and cannot be traced, after all it’s always black. This may sound ridiculous, but with thousands of trucks and 12 hours of darkness this gang, of exactly 101 members (they are very specific in everything they do), can steal thousands of litres a night. They go out in groups of 10, hit a couple of trucks and then return to Mr End’s fuel station.
Mr End now owns every fuel station along the tar desert so he and the Oilies make a fortune off all the trucks needing fuel, and as Mr End rarely has to buy any new stock the profit margin is high. Mr End can charge whatever he likes, holding a 100% monopoly, yet the Oilies keep him in check. This is an intrinsic aspect of their operations, after all Mr End is greedy and spineless, making him easy to control.
The Oilies do not simply suck the fuel out with a tube and carry it around in milk bottles; they have vast stores of complex and ingenious devices to devote to their cause. On each raid an Oiley carries with them a backpack equipped with a pump that can quietly and quickly suck up litres upon litres of fuel, special knifes for cutting locked tanks and face masks that protect the eyes and lungs from the at times harmful fumes.
The Oilies always take their loot back to Mr End’s office, were it is stored in a large shed and then trucked all around the tar desert.
Exactly 1/4 of all profits are invested back into the gang for equipment and the general running of the organisation (communications and the monitoring of members). The rest is divided amongst the members, the individuals involved in the hit receive the largest portion and then all the other members have the remaining split up amongst them evenly. There is only one individual who never has to be involved in a job (or slick as the Oilies call it) to earn his fair share and that is the recruiter, he is involved in the running of membership and the distribution of money. He is usually the youngest member (so as he can be kept in line) and as such can work on getting new members from the school kids of maze.
Of course it is every kid’s ambition in maze to join the Oilies as they are powerful, influential and make a lot of money for its members. The children of Maze are usually very poor and such a gang can improve a Childs circumstance tenfold. There is also another appeal of the Oilies, they are very easy to admire in such a crime infested town as Maze, being part of the gang requires no violence, no sinister activities like drug dealing and there is a general acceptance of there activities. Well only the children of Maze know about the gang. Here lies another genius of there practices, by only letting themselves be seen as a gang by children they can use a child’s loyalty to his peers to insure no one unacceptable finds out.

The Oilies are always into expanding there enterprise in order to build up there infamy and profits. One such other scheme they have in place function as such; whilst stealing fuel the Oilies intentionally do some damage to the trucks, this usually includes scratching, slashing and smashing various parts of the trucks. This creates great fear in the truck companies who think it is kids trying to steal there expensive cargo. The Oilies then sell protection from the enigma they themselves created. The Oilies never have had any intention of stealing the cargo but they create fear and the truck companies pay them to stop these “other” gangs. The Oilies therefore leave those trucks alone in exchange for money, whilst the truckers think they are in fact protecting them.

As is clear, every kid in Maze has ambitions of being an Oiley, but none so like James. James is 14, intelligent and extremely determined. Under his short black hair his face has a clam yet reactive quality, probably because of his smooth features and intense green eyes that blaze with focus whenever he is grabbed by an idea or situation of interest.
He has been trying to join the Oilies for some time now as they hold the answers to his problems. No, his life is not so clichéd that his mum is dying of a rare brain disease that needs expensive surgery, James simply wants to rise above the confusion of maze with influence, power and money. James does not want his ambitions to become lost to the city of Maze like so many others. James does not want to be part of a brutal blood thirsty gang that reputation is built on the spilling of life or the ruining of lives; he wants the power but not the guilty conscience so naturally the Oilies has a real appeal. James may seem awfully power hungry for only 14, but maze is the sort of city where even kid’s need real power to survive.

The barrel isn’t full……. (Chapter 2.0)

James had been working very hard to work his way into the tightly nit group that is the Oilies, the process is rife with difficulties as the Oilies are not very charitable when handing out positions. The Oilies will only have 101 members at any given time, the only way to get in is if one member leaves or is denounced from the gang and you make it through the application period to become an Oiley.
James has been deeply studying the ways of the Oilies for quite some time, trying to find out how to get in and how the gang functions.
When James caught wind of an opening, he was eager to make himself a contender for the spot.
Like everything to do with the Oilies James heard about the opening at school from the “whippers”, or middle rank Oilies who cannot always be involved in slicks. These members go about revealing the happenings of the Oilies, they don’t go out and blatantly reveal what’s going on in the legendary collective but instead they give hints which the kids understand.
So when James heard the message from a rather high profile whipper that the “barrel isn’t full” he quickly set about preparing everything for his application.
The very next day James set about finding the recruiter, an easy task for those well informed individuals.
The school halls, shaped like a huge cross lined with light grey doors and brown lockers, made the perfect environment for the Oiley recruiter to hide out amongst the many groups. The halls are always full of kids talking, fighting, smoking, laughing, doing business and occasionally moving through the doors into class. As James hurriedly searched the halls for the recruiter, trying to get there before the message spread abroad to his competition he noticed the tension and excitement in the air, the rumour machine that is youth churned out the information for the day, top story “the drum ain’t full” (or the barrel isn’t empty in its unaltered state). As James methodically searched the corridors of the school he saw what he sought, the Oilies recruiter Moss. Few people actually know exactly who the recruiter is. They know of him and desperately try to seek him out as he is the key to joining the Oilies.
James has slowly studied the Oilies, seeing how they work and has found out many things, especially about how to join and whom to talk to too do so.
Moss sat against the wall on a low stool in the gap between 3 missing lockers, the wall full of graffiti, in along a confronting line. The poorly lit section of the corridor cast a thick shadow onto the otherwise happy looking figure. His large round glasses and strangely large headphones covered his head and braided hair in a way that shadowed his maturity. He seemed young, only 12, yet he held the power to make James an Oiley.
Next to Moss there was small table, on which a black laptop lay covered with symbols and images. As a breeze blew down the corridor the sign hanging from the table reading “Baseball signup” blew in a lazy fashion.
James has known about this important figure and there cover for gang membership signup for close to a year now.
He had never approached him knowing if there are no positions then he would simply ruin any chance he had by confronting him. Kid’s who do not know about Moss usually hand there applications to whippers who pass them on for a price, yet these applications are considered B-grade, the Oilies only really want members who have been smart enough to work out there front.
Of course the Oilies handle the signup process professionally, each applicant must submit a from detailing everything from appearance to skills, this is another way in which the Oilies find the best of the best by seeing whom is the most creative with their applications.
As James approached Moss he could clearly see his broad smile and hear the bass from his silver headphones. James slowly approached him, pulling up a near by stool. The music from Moss’s headphone instantly stopped as he looked up at the applicant. In a strangely deep voice moss spoke saying” hello, what can I do for a brooding character such as yourself
James, lightening his expression replied “I would like to talk about the open position, no doubt you know I mean about the Oilies ’.
Moss lent forward and in s whisper replies “Not so loud my friend, not everyone needs to hear you…because you’re here on more serious issues then baseball I will need your name...”
James felt more tense at Moss’s secretive tone, slowly leaning over he whispered “ My name is James….” Moss quickly asked “ James who” James then with a smile replied “it Just James, I have no last name”
Moss with a smile said “fair enough then”
He quickly typed something into his computer with the chatter of well worn keys and surveyed the results. He then glanced at James, the shallow light of the computer lighting up the hall, in a searching way.
Moss then proceeded saying “Well James… Your record seems fine, have you brought anything” James quickly retrieved his application from the pocket of his black pants. He handed over the small red book to the dark hands of Moss whom then placed it in a bag setting behind his stool. In an almost bored tone moss replied, still smiling “meet me next week at Beginning park under the old tree at noon, you can find out then”. Moss, looking more bored then before then reached into his pocket and hit the play button, James then left for class at the sound of the thick bass in Moss’s headphones and the shrill ring of the school bell.

The night before… (Chapter 2.1)

The moon completely covered by the thick clouds in the sky hid the last group of Oilies as they set out on a different sort of mission, seek and destroy.
In order to maintain the protection business, which accounts for 40% of the Oilies revenue, the gang has to instil great fear in the truckers, so as they will pay for Oiliey protection. Now apart from the usual small damage done by the Oilies, of which the larger companies are not concerned, there is a time once a year in which they must inflict total destruction of a few trucks in order to get business from these larger companies. The Oilies have no issues destroying these trucks, since they are owned by monstrous companies who technically own Maze and promote the cities cheap poverty.
Two masked figures slowly weave around many trucks, working towards there intended target; a large and expensive truck, supposedly carrying bananas. The plan was very simple, to ignite the fuel tank and destroy the truck. Only two were needed for such an operation, all they carried was a lighter, a length of fuse and small bag of weak explosive. A near by lamp cast a sickly orange light onto the truck and its surrounding area, setting the scene for the Oilies to complete there mission. It was the sort of light that did nothing for visibility and simply gave the wet asphalt a ugly dullness.
Without a word they proceeded to the yellow truck, removed the large fuel cap, placed in the fuse and explosives and lead the wire away from the truck. The two boys crouched near another vehicle, two away from the one they had just set up for destruction. As they crouched there feet slushed in the pool in which they stood. One of the boys pulled from his thick cloak a silver lighter, intricately engraved with the symbol of the Oilies, a figure wearing a gas mask. As he struck the flint with a satisfying click the flame flickered and danced in the light breeze. The large glass eye holes of there gas masks swallowed the small light, the boys appeared as grim skeletons with deep eyes and bent postures, waiting in the night
Away in the distance the boys heard the voice of a driver in the distance, stumbling form a long night at the pub. They now had to work quickly in order to destroy the truck and get away before the driver could see them. In the confusion and noise of the shouting drunk they ignored the dripping sound from the truck behind them. The larger boy, fumbling his silver lighter lowered it preparing to light the fuse noticed in the pale something odd. The pool of dark fluid in which they were standing was glowing with a rainbow of sickly colours, they were standing in fuel. Of course it was too late and the pool lit up in red flames, the boys gave a cry as they began to run, except one whom dripped and fell face first into the pool of fuel. As he got up, as if in slow motion he saw the flames hovering above the fuel hungrily consuming the vapours as they moved along the contours of the pool. Firstly the flames travelled into the fuel tank of the truck they had been crouching behind, and with a concussive explosion the boy was consumed by the metal and flames of the exploding tuck. To bad for him it was carrying a load of old dusty wheat that only needed a spark to explode in its dangerously exact proportions. The Figure, still stumbling stood in awe as the wheat truck burst in a glorious ball of flame, glass and steal, closely followed by the smaller yet still impressive explosion of the banana truck. The two fires licked the sides of the neighbouring trucks, blackening them in fury

As the other boy ran her heard the explosions and the childish scream of the unlucky boy, he watched as his shadow grew and then shrunk as the light from explosion was consumed by the night.
Thus ended the career of one Oiley and in the usual logic of the Oilies left an important position open, one which James was determined to fill.