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Anna Hassan

The Brains

0 · 498 views · located in Digital Shorts

a character in “Digital Shorts”, as played by Bosch

Description

Name- Anna Hassan

Age- 28

Appearance- Anna is 5’6 with olive skin with brown hair and is quite fit although she has no physical augmentations so she is quite weak compared to someone that has been physically augmented. She normally dresses well for the office and is fashion conscious.

Augmentations- Anna has several neural augments that allow her to access and manipulate the Net, store data and interact with devices remotely. Like most people she has a communications augment. Her vision is augmented to full augment her in the net.

History- Anna was born on Mars in 2074. She was born in Endeavour to wealthy parents who worked for Applied Information Models. Anna attended the University of Cangwu where she studied computer science despite it being one of the most oversubscribed courses at the university. At University she developed a reputation as someone who enjoyed a party and her grades suffered somewhat. She’s a typical case of an underachiever however her skill at information analysis could not faulted. After graduating with a good, not great, qualification at 22 Anna’s parents began to pressure her to take Jobs they had selected for her. Anna applied and was accepted to one such position.

The job bored her and she always kept her ear to the ground for something better although she didn’t know what that was. One evening she was out with friends and happened to see Frank Decker apprehending a bounty inside a nightclub. Anna used her skills in computing to track Decker down and applied for a job at RSI. Decker her took her on as a Technical Support for himself as Jenks had been trying to fill the role but it was a little beyond him. This made Anna the second employee at RSI.

She is the complete opposite of Decker as Anna is out going, personable and detail orientated. She believes this is what makes them an effective. Decker is big picture while she focuses on Nuts and Bolts. She views Decker as and RSI as a surrogate family after an arguement with her own about her career choice.

So begins...

Anna Hassan's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Hassan Character Portrait: Alex Hanzo Character Portrait: Frank Decker Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Bosch
Mars

Endeavour.

BC Industries Plaza.

53rd Floor


Jason Scammell quickly answered the call and a worried looking face was projected onto the large screen that dominated the far side of the wall of his office.

“Well?” He asked as he stubbed a cigarette out in an already brimming ash tray.

“We can’t find it. We think it made it off the island.”

“Impossible! We built it. Surely it must be covered in Goddamn trackers!

“It was, but they’ve all been deactivated.”

“Christ! This cannot be happening.” Scammell said as he sat down in the large chair behind his large desk. “If the board finds out...”

“They won’t. Pearce is hunting it as we speak. Besides this is Earth, Alaska no less. Where’s it going to go?.”

“I’m sorry Doctor but I’m not exactly filled with hope. How many men did it kill when escaping? How do you even know it’s still in Alaska? Siberia is closer. Are you sure it’s off the island?”

The large face looked ashen.

“Keep me posted. I can divert more resources to finding it but for now we keep this in house. Understand? This project must not leak.” Scammell continued.

“Yes, Director Scammell.”

The feed ended and was replaced by the Bauer Chenmo logo. Scammell sunk lower in his chair and lit another cigarette.

“Fuck.” He muttered.

#

Earth

Siberia

Gulf of Anadyr

Anadyr Estuary


The two raiders cautiously approached the still form lying in the sandy no man’s land between the Bearing Sea and the snow bank up the beach. He was dressed strangely in a dirty white smock and matching trousers lying face down in the sand.

“What do you think he is?” Milo asked.

“Cold.” Pavel answered simply.

They approached with their AN-94s raised and cautiously. Pavel kept scanning the horizon for any sign this might be a trap.

Milo finally poked the prone man with his rifle and the man didn’t move. He then kicked the body over and inspected him.

“I don’t think he’s from around here.” Milo said as he looked at the man’s features.

“Who knows could have died at sea and floated across the straight from China?”

“Wouldn’t he be more, you know, rotten?” Milo asked.

“Yeah he can’t have been dead long. Maybe the cold water stopped the decomposition process?” Pavel offered happy that the body wasn’t a trap.

Suddenly the body exploded into motion. A leg swept Pavel off his feet and he landed with a thud. Milo, failing to react quickly enough, caught a fist to groin followed by a rock to the face. Pavel was gathering his senses when his attacker leapt on him and pushed Milo’s cold Grach pistol under his chin.

The man spoke gibberish.

“I don’t understand!” Pavel cried.

“Where am I?” The man barked in perfect unaccented Russian.

“Anadyr.”

“How many are you?”

“Many they will kill you if you don’t let us go.”

The man lowered the pistol and fired once into Pavel’s shoulder.

“I can tell when you lie. How many are you?”

“Just me and him.” Pavel said nodding his head toward the unconscious Milo.

“Where is the nearest town? I need transport.”

“Around twenty miles west.”

Milo groaned. The man lifted the pistol and fired a round into the wounded man. He didn’t groan again.

“Twenty miles. Is it populated? Where is the nearest Port? I need to get to the M-Gates.

“Snakeheads run Anadyr if you have money they can get you out.”

“Thank you.” The man said simply before firing the pistol again this time ending Pavel’s life.

He stood and rooted through the men’s equipment before taking their clothes as his own. He then set off West.

#


Mars

Kaiser

RSI


Frank Decker rubbed some of the sleep out of his Blue Polaris model eyes and yawned loudly before opening the door to the ground floor of RSI. The place wasn’t exactly a hive of activity. The range didn’t seem to be in use but the quarter master, Jenks, was in his corner working on what looked like an Akita Assault rifle. He was about to go speak to Jenks when Rob appeared.

“Good Morning, Mr Decker.” The Synth said with an awkward smile while holding a tray containing cup of coffee and a slice of toast.

Decker kept walking towards Jenks while the Synth followed alongside.

“Morning Rob.”

“You coffee is ready sir.” Rob said in his odd accent that made him sound like a folk singer.

“I know, first, I’m going to speak Jenks.”

“That’s fine Mr Decker. It’s just your coffee is currently at optimal temperature and I am concerned that any delay will result in it becoming unpleasant to...”

“I understand Rob, I’ll take it in a minute.”

“Do so at your own risk, Mr Decker.”

Decker shook his head at the Synth, Rob was a Jeeves model Synth. Although attempts had been made to make the Synth less of a pain it was impossible to fix the core programming of the unit which was to do a good job for it’s owner.

“That butt kiss hassling you boss?” Jenks asked from the corner as he pointed the rifle at the Synth. “Just say the word.”

“He’s fine Jenks.” Decker said as he exaggerated the act of taking the coffee from the tray. “Thank you Rob.”

The Synth flashed another awkward smile before leaving the two men.

“You know they make ones now that don’t smile like serial killers?” Jenks said simply.

“I know but I’m nostalgic and he’s a great coffee maker.” Decker said taking a swig.

“So what brings a suit over to my office?” Jenks said setting the assault rifle down.

“It’s the Bulldog. Sights are screwed up.” Decker said as he produced a grey revolver from the holster beneath his jacket.

“Jesus you are nostalgic. I ain’t seen one of these in years.”

Jenks played with the sights for a moment.

“I don’t see a problem.” He said finally.

“No I meant the motion tracking.”

“No way you paid to have this wired with Motion?” Jenks said with disbelief on his face.

“It’s a good gun, lot of stopping power.”

“When you can hit what you aim for. Right to the range.”

The two men walked over to the range. Jenks set the Bulldog Revolver on the table and produced a dirty red tablet. He strung a wire from the tablet to the port behind Decker’s ear.

“Right. Select a moving target sequence.”

Decker played with the console on the range table then picked up his revolver.

The sequence started and Decker opened fire. All six shots hit.

“Ok so that was without tracking. You still got it. Engage tracking and increase speed.”

The targets flashed a lot faster this time and Decker only managed to hit two.

“Yeah it’s pulling to the left. You been fucking around with this?”

“I was learning.” Decker said simply.

“You should stick to easy stuff, leave the thinking to people like me.”

Jenks tinkered with his tablet.

“Ok go now.”

Decker rebooted the sequence, this time he hit six out of six.

“It’s easy when you know how.” Jenks said when he was done.

“Who’s upstairs.”

“You got one Keyboard Cowboy already here.”

“Anna?”

“You know it.”

Decker shook his head.

“We’ll have work today, make sure the equipment is good to go.”

#

Decker climbed the stairs to the Second floor of the RSI building. He passed a few offices that the Tech Support staff used and made his way to the end of the corridor to his own office. He stepped through and into the Office of Anna Hassan.

“Anna I thought you were taking the morning off?”

“Good morning to you to Frank.”

“A kid like you should be nursing a hangover on a Saturday morning not writing up Bounty reports. I can do that.”

She lifted a plastic bottle with a label that read Overhangover.

“Bah, Modern science confounding the traditions of the past. How do you know you had a good night if you don’t feel like crap the next day?”

Anna shrugged. “The pictures on the Net?”

Decker shook his head. “Ok what we got today?”

“Three new bounties.” She said as she used the motion controls on her desk to throw the screen she was looking at in her augmented eyes onto the screen behind Decker.

Anna walked around her desk and leaned on it beside Decker.

“We got Jessica Waylon, a cracker who is wanted DoA.” The screen was filled with an attractive looking woman who had minimal augmentation. “She’s actually pushing sixty.”

“Good Surgeon.” Decker said.

“Yeah I guess but you can see when they screwed up her... Never mind. Up next...”

She swiped her hand in front of her and the screen changed to the next Bounty.

“Joseph Khan. This one is for the MSS. He’s been implicated in the production of illegal drugs.”

“Illegal Drugs? Jesus they must be bad if the MSS is taking down a dealer.”

“Yeah you know Cangwu Slim?”

“Yeah the yuppies love it. Say all the stars use it.”

“Yeah well Kahn has been producing it on the cheap. A lot of wannabes are winding up dead.”

“I’m sure this has more to do with the actual producers getting pissed someone is ruining their brand than wannabes becoming neverweres.”

“Probably but Cangwu Slim is legal. Cangwrong Slim isn’t.”

“They want him alive?”

“Yeah, they reckon he’s part of a larger network.”

“Ok next.”

She motioned again and the screen came to the last job.

“Two for one?” Decker said as two images filled the screen.

“Yep. The Ramirez Brothers, couple of Ex Snakeheads off earth who decided to retire out on Mars and start hitting stores in Hades Kitchen.”

“Another one in Kaiser?”

“Yep it’s an MSS collar so don’t except too much green and they want one alive to face justice.”

“Or to be paraded in front of cameras.”

“Yeah like I said justice.” Anna said simply.

“Anyone else taking these bounties?”

“Dynamo are almost certainly but I don’t think Interceptor is going for it. Word has it they got something big going down.”

“Would be like Alex to play her cards close to her chest.” Decker said thoughtfully.

“Well you’d know all about being close to her chest.” Anna said with a smirk.

Decker shook his head. “You know Anna this isn’t a very professional working environment.”

“When was it?” Anna said as she returned to her seat.

Decker walked through the door opposite the one he entered through and entered his own office.

“Prep the reports and get them out to the teams.” He said before closing the door.

#

Bounties.

Keep Young and Beautiful if you want to be loved.

Target- Jessica Waylon.

Location- Iazu

Information- Don’t let the appearance fool you this woman is actually pushing sixty and not half as dumb as the blonde hair and ridiculous figure would have you believe. As you can probably tell this old lady is addicted to the knife and to finance all the work she sold out her employer Openwave. They’re based out of Iazu and are a small company that specialises in creating pieces of system architecture for larger companies. They are basically sub contractors. You know they build a little piece which is added to a lot of other little pieces by the client.

Anyway Waylon has been selling small System exploits for years to pay for her surgeries but she’s got her eye on retirement now so she went for one last big push. She over stretched though and got busted by Openwave security. They’re a small company so she was long gone before they could nab her. Whatever she made off with Openwave do not want getting out.

She seems to be selling on the black market so that might be a way to track her if you can find where she’s auctioning. It also looks like she had this plan in place for some time, it’s possible there’s a digital trail. In either case Openwave don’t really care about Waylon they just want you to recover the data. She may have stored it on the Net, on external storage or an internal Aug. I hope it’s not an internal Aug. That’ll get messy.

She shouldn’t pose much of a threat but she may have hired up a Merc. Her buyers are likely to be Keyboard Cowboys but just be aware the deal may go down in meat space. We have no reason to believe she has left Iazu but who knows where the investigation will take you.

The Bounty is to be returned to Openwave in Iazu.

Counterfeit.

Target- Joseph “Joe” Kahn.

Location- Kaiser, Juno Apartment building.

Information- Joe is scumbag operating out of the basement of the Juno Apartment Building in Kaiser. You’ve probably heard of the Juno it’s in the middle of the Q. Total dive and pretty much in the hands of the gangs now. A lot of scumbags lie low in there.

Joe is a chemist and he has hit on a formula that makes something similar to Cangwu Slim. The only difference with Joe’s product is it’s very likely to kill you, as is happening all across Kaiser. I guess people here like to pretend they’re just like the rich and famous in Cangwu. The MSS has put out a Bounty on him that has been inflated by the makers of Cangwu Slim who don’t like their name being linked to this illegal drug.
They want Joe alive but are offering a reduced reward if he dies. They also want the flow of drugs stopped. That means deleting the process for making the stuff and destroying his operation. Khan is linked to the Juno Raiders the group that controls the Building. Their main trade is offering rooms to criminals laying low. They are unlikely to welcome Recovery Agents in the area and a firefight would most likely result in death. For this reason subterfuge is the way to go.
Khan is a gang member so expect him to be augmented and well armed as will be every gang member in the place. He is also aware he is wanted on a murder ticket which means he’s going to ride the lightening if he’s taken, that means he’s not going to come along willingly. The trick here is to eliminate or retrieve Khan, delete his files and destroy the lab all without being detected.

The Bounty is to be taken to MSS central processing.

Brotherly Love.

Targets- Dingo Ramirez and Badger Ramirez.

Location- Hades Kitchen, Kaiser

Information- Colourful names eh? The Ramirez brothers are from Earth and are a pair of Ex snakeheads. They left the gang during one delivery and made Mars their home. They have worked for numerous gangs during their stay here acting in various roles. They’ve since branched out though and have been pulling armed robberies in Hades Kitchen. The MSS is facing heavy criticism from locals who want something done about it. So they issued a bounty for their arrest. Be aware these guys are heavily armed and used to violence. They will not hesitate to shoot their way out.

The Bounty only requires one alive which is a bit easier but these guys won’t go easily so you’ll need to be smart about capturing them.

Hades Kitchen is pretty deprived but it’s an honest enough area of the city. Just poor folks trying to make living, so try to avoid collateral damage.

The Target is to be delivered to the MSS central processing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marcus Sun Character Portrait: Sami Rouvelle Character Portrait: Anna Hassan Character Portrait: Mr. Eckhard Character Portrait: Graham Case Character Portrait:
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Counterfeit

Mars

Kaiser

RSI


Marcus had a sore neck as it was aching from the previous night. He knew he didn’t have a comfortable sleep as he was apparently out cold and he slept on his neck in an awkward position. He thought it would do some good if he slapped a chill patch on his neck to cool it down for a bit.

He stumbled through the door and into the ground floor at the office, struggling to roll up his arm sleeves, while his lips were sealed tightly on a cig to keep it from falling out of his mouth. His eyes were half awake, and his ruffled hair needed a comb. Jenks was there along with the Jeeves model synth.

“Good morning, Mr. Sun,” Rob buzzed.

Marcus rolled his sleepy eyes and exhaled a cloud of smoke, “Mr. Sun was my dad.”

It was the morning tango, every morning Rob would come across and say the greeting, and Marcus would respond in kind.

“Jenks,” Marcus nodded to the operative as he was approaching the stairs.

“Marcus,” Jenks replied with a terse nod as well before he went back to cleaning his rifle.

“Anyone here yet besides you?” Marcus puffed, the ember intensified at the tip of his cig.

Jenks looked up at Marcus with a raised eyebrow, “Uh…everybody?”

Marcus stopped mid puff, “Making me feel bad much?”

“Overslept?”

“Somethin’ like that. I got some neck pain,” he began to rub the chill patch.

“I can take care of that,” Jenks smiled and cracked his knuckles.

“Uh, you know what…I think it’s…better now,” Marcus smiled.

Jenks laughed.

Marcus found Merek checking his equipment locker as he walked by. Marcus stopped in front of the Spectre as his callsign was known. There was a moment of silence between the two, Merek looked at him, somewhat lost. Marcus stared into the Eileens before he instantly switched on the schemes of his Gemini implants, which danced all over the color spectrum.

“Woo, woo, woo, woo,” Marcus jested with a smile, his head bobbing, and his eyes blinking variations of colors afforded by the Gemini model.

“Comon’ man, why so serious?” he lightly jabbed the older man in the shoulder with his fist before he continued on walking and puffing.

“What happened to the smoke free environment?” a familiar voice called out.

“If you don’t like it, go get some lung augs,” Marcus turned to see a familiar face, “Oh it’s you blondie.”

Sami appeared as she shut her locker. She rolled her eyes slightly annoyed, “I have a name you know, and boss doesn’t like the smoke.”

“So turn on the filters.”

Sami looked to Merek to say something; the man just replied with a shrug.

“Put it out, we have some new jobs posted, and I want to finish them quickly,” Sami stated.

“Alright, calm down newbie; just give me some time to wake up.” Marcus puffed a last one, suffocated the embers with his shoe, and headed for the stairs.

“I’ll be waiting,” she said in a sarcastic sing-song voice.

Marcus could tell the girl was excited. This would make it her third or fourth job going solo in the field; he couldn’t remember.

-

Marcus continued along the second floor and reached the lunch room; the coffee maker was already finished with its brew. He shuffled over, poured himself a mug, and proceeded to take a sip.

The sip was followed by him spitting into the disposal drain, “Augh, shit. Okay who the fuck did the brew today?”

Graham stepped in with his mug; he was drinking casually, “Jeeves, boss likes his brews.”

“I don’t,” Marcus paused for a moment.

He glanced toward the vending machine, a thought crept in.

He approached the vending machine and slid his currency card across the scanner before selecting a bottle of M9 on the haptic pad. M9 was a premier brand of soft drink that started its life with medical purposes in mind. The refreshing effects turned the drink into a popular beverage, spawning a series composing a variety of flavors. The drink slid out before him, strawberry, freshly chilled and probably carbonated. He pressed the stay tab which was followed by a soft pop. Then he poured the carbonated sweet drink into his coffee. The two liquids mixed, the reaction was evident in the fizzing.

“What are you doing?” Graham asked as Marcus tossed the empty beverage can into a waste receptacle.

“Waking up,” then he quaffed the drink down.

He paused for a moment to let the drink settle, and then he shook his head in one full rotation like a wild dog.

“Let’s go to work,” Marcus said in a calm tone with relaxed demeanor.

He accessed the net and remotely activated his music player.

“Feelin’ Alright” by Joe Cocker started playing on full volume from his desk space, blasted so everyone down the hall could hear. Marcus had modified the file so that the fading out at the conclusion of the song was altered to allow for a continuous loop. It was an oldie, but definitely a goodie that Marcus had started to enjoy.

He grooved down the hall to his desk while Graham shook his head as he followed behind.

Just as Marcus was about to sit down he saw the boss lady step out of her office. Her head was cocked to the side with a certain look on her face. She said something that was not audible, not because of the music, but because she was mouthing the words. Marcus immediately dropped the music by fifteen decibels, a point where the music was only heard in his area. The boss lady sighed, shook her head, and went back inside.

Anna had started petitioning Decker for permission to soundproof her room ever since Marcus started working at RSI. The boss man didn't care much for his antics, as far as Marcus knew; he might have even welcomed it. Decker had said that she could do so, but had added that he felt no harm to having some music being played once in a while.

Or rather, every day.

“By the way, who is Merek’s techie?”

Graham peered from his area, “Hmm?”

“I asked ‘who is Merek’s techie?’ The guy’s been around for about a year now, and we haven’t seen his support person. Does he even have one?”

“Yeah, he does. His name’s Ryia. He doesn’t hang out here due to a chronic infectious disease that relapses from time to time. At least that’s what Anna said.”

“Really?”

“Mmhm. He stays plugged into the Net 24/7, I hear he’s going to go full-on.”

“That’s…wow,” Marcus was speechless for a brief moment before he refocused himself at his work.

It was a time for work not idle chatter and gossip.

“Okay what do we have today?”

His face glistened with the cyan glow of the holograms. He darted from panel to panel on the screen with his eyes until he reached the board that he wanted.

[From Anna Hassan]

The file was labeled ‘Counterfeit.’

He accessed the file and began reading, “Joseph Kahn, Juno Apartment Building, in the middle of the Q…”

“Anything?” a somewhat annoying voice interrupted his thoughts; it was Sami.

“I’m still doing some digging,” he replied.

“What’s the job?”

“We need to take down some guy named Joe Kahn. He’s been making bootleg Cangwu Slim. DoA, but you know the rules, dead is reduced. You’ll find him in the Juno Apartment Building, middle of the Q. We also gotta waste his files so that some other dope head won’t come along and try cooking. Oh, and trash the place.”

“Sounds like the usual, alright I’m on it.”

Marcus raised an eyebrow as if Sami was there in person beside him, “What would you know about the usual? Newbie?”

“Uh, a bit more than you. I’m a recovery agent.”

Marcus couldn’t really say anything.

”You know, I think that Graham guy is kinda cute.”

“What am I? Your girlfriend? I think you just said that on the main channel by the way," his eyes zipped to Graham, who was busy at his own console.

“Oh my god! What? Are you serious? Why didn’t you say something?”

“How was I supposed to know what you were going to say?” Marcus nonchalantly continued tapping away on the haptic interface, he knew Sami couldn't see him smiling.

He imagined her cheeks reddening as he tried suppressing his urge to laugh.

“Oh my god! Hey…wait a minute…oh you’re an asshole.

Marcus burst out laughing, “Consider that a warning. Next time you spill your beans, be sure you check your channel.”

”Fuck you.”

He stopped laughing and exhaled contentedly, “Let me access some feeds to find you a stakeout point.”

A map of the complexes was overlaid by blue markers that identified rooftop positions closest to the target’s apartment. He immediately tagged the file to Sami.

“Alright, take a look at those. The place is run by Juno Raiders. They’ll probably welcome you with guns.”

”Guns?”

Marcus sighed, he had been with her for a couple of months, and he learned that she had never used a firearm before. And situations that involved guns were not her strong suit, as it went against her personal philosophy which prohibited killing.

“Relax alright, I’m not gonna throw you in there. You’re gonna need to go spy mode on the guy. Can you do that blondie?”

”And how am I supposed to do that?”

Marcus shrugged, “Find something sexy.”

There was no response.

“His apartment is on the top floor, the twelfth,” Marcus had entered the apartment’s records.

“Can’t find any MSS drones in the area that I can proxy link into…” Marcus mumbled, “Looks like I’m going blind.”

At the same time he was inside the MSS database, which gave access to all contractor services like RSI, Interceptor, and so forth. He then shifted to a query for a ‘Joseph Kahn’ inside the archive. The name came up with a bounty sign blinking across his face in red, along with a full profile. The physical details were probably updated weeks ago. They managed to get a lead recently on his location. He had a number of aliases...Khan, Kahn, Papa Joe, Smokin' Joe, Iosef, Yusef.

“Kahn or Khan…really no difference…”

”Anything of relevance…please?”

-

Food Production Quarter

The quarter was marked by skyscrapers that stood in the ranges of ten to twenty stories high with plexi-glass windows. Most of the quarter looked like a slum hive with the exception of the middle of the quarter where most of the towers and hydro-farms were located.

The hydro-farms were incredible feats of engineering and agriculture, being only one sixth the size of the entire quarter, the farms practically fed the population of an area twelve times its size. The crops in the hydro-farms were bathed in nutrient rich compounds. They sat directly within chambers that received the right amount of the sun’s photons to allow them to grow.

The middle of the quarter was also marked off by holo-boards that were still advertising, unlike the other rundown panels that nobody bothered to repair. The sky of the dome was set to what would have been a normal sunny day on Earth before the place turned into a toxic hole covered by a blood orange sky that was the result of burning fossil fuels, or peak oil.

Sami made her way to the top of a tower that stood in the middle of the apartment complexes. It was probably among the tallest, standing at about fifteen stories. She perched from above and rolled the ocular goggles resting on her head down to her eyes, zooming in toward the Juno building that was diagonally across from the building she was on.

“You said twelfth floor right?” she tapped her communique.

“Yep. You’re lookin’ for a guy standing five feet eleven, maybe six feet. He’s got tear drop tats falling from his left eye; apparently, they’re glow in the dark.”

”He’s got dark brown skin and a mustache. He looks like he’s been packing some pounds, probably stuffing his face on Kaiser Wieners. His augments are both of his arms. You brought a pulse gun like I told you right?”

“What else would I bring?”

”Good point. And the ‘bug’?”

“That too.”

”Alright. His room is on the south west side of the building, last one down the hall. See it?”

“I think so. He’s got some plants baking in the sun…”

”Probably some Cangwrong cookin’ there too. See any openings?”

“Nope…nothing.”

”Give me a moment.”

Silence followed on the comm. Sami felt a gently breeze brush her face.

About five minutes later, she noticed some movement from where Kahn’s dwelling was. The balcony door slid open, and a man stepped out, apparently winded. The agent zoomed in to see the man wipe sweat from his head and exhale.

The man had dark skin as well as the mustache, spot on. He did pack on couple of pounds as compared to his profile mug shots.

”What about now?”

“Yeah. Target identified. What did you do?”

Sami saw Kahn fanning himself with his bionic hand, as he leaned against the railing, letting the air take him.

”Thermostat control. Call me your guardian angel.”

“Alright, I’m goin’ for it. Closing comm.”

She knew like Marcus knew that whenever she was doing her thing, she needed complete focus. Because on one occasion Marcus had chimed in unexpectedly, jarring her thoughts that almost sent her plummeting to a space in between two buildings as she was trying to track a perp. She had been lucky enough to catch herself in time. The scolding that followed ensured that Marcus would not interrupt her when she said ‘closing comm.’

Sami zoomed out of her goggles and looked for a way to reach the building. She searched for a feasible pass. Each of the apartment buildings were built fairly close to one another, which was expected when it came to urban development on Mars. Tightly packed and going up were the buzz words for buildings in order to spare as much land as possible for other uses. And it was very likely that the corporations had a hand in the planning of residential spaces for the masses.

Sami began to run toward the building on her right.

She vaulted across the gap between two buildings; the distance was short, as she landed on both feet in a crouched position on the roof.

A single exhale.

Tracing a path before her in her mind, she continued darting across the roof of the same building. In moments like these, it was just her and the world around her. No one else.

She felt in complete control of her body. Her breaths were the only thing she heard as she maintained focus.

She took a single breath just as she bridged a gap larger than the one before. Her feet landed on the vertical surface below, while her hands gripped a ledge above her.

Her right foot almost slipped. She gasped, realizing that she needed to act or she would lose momentum. In one smooth motion, she swung herself over the ledge, exerting the full strength of her arms.

She paused to exhale and reassess her momentary, and she would add literal, slip. At times like these, Sami was glad that she opted out of a heeled suit.

Her view returned to her destination, the balcony with the open door.

Two buildings closer now, she thought.

She slid down the roof that angled from the balcony she stood on. The smooth plexiglass panels provided little to no friction against her suit.

She landed on an uncovered balcony as her toes crawled along the walkway just several windows away from Kahn’s little condo in the slums.

Then she leapt down from the platform, landing directly on a pair of industrial pipes silently against the swift swoosh of the nearby maglev train that signaled the morning commute.

From there she tip toed along the pipe before she was a quarter of the distance from the building in front of her. She leapt, propelled by one foot, as the other grappled onto the ledge while her hands gripped the rail. Then she vaulted over, pivoting with one hand gripping the rail.

She was careful to avoid disturbing the residents by accidentally knocking something over.

She maintained firm control of herself as she faced Kahn’s balcony from the one she stood at.

In one quick motion, she crouched on the ledge of the balcony and sprung forward toward Kahn’s balcony. She jumped, her feet kicking nothing but the air below, trying to push her forward. Following a somersault, she landed on both of her feet as she craned her neck into the interior of the target’s apartment.

The place looked like a self-contained and independent operation; at least it appeared to be the case to the new recruit. There were caches of pills everywhere; the guy even had several chemical set ups with beakers and burners.

A couple of assault weapons, contraband, were littered on the floor. The MSS had placed a ban on high powered weapons in civilian hands. The only entities that were reserved the right to own and use such weapons were private military contractors, and the MSS. The term ‘private military contractors’ was a loose one, but corporations, mercenaries and bounty hunters were technically covered.

Corporations had private armies and security guards who were allowed to use such armaments. And although mercenaries worked defensively like corporation guards, they weren’t exclusive to any one corporation. Bounty hunters pretty much did the dirty work for the MSS.

Any other groups outside the umbrella were technically civilians in possession of these weapons, and therefore were breaking the law. Of course, bounty hunters could only be in so many places at one time to track criminals down.

Since you don’t have any perception augs, always turn on your goggles before you enter a place. HRV will keep newbies like you from getting roasted.

Sami remembered those words by Alessa. The older woman was an experienced fighter, and did well in the business. She was very much an informal mentor as Merek was. Both dropped advice every now and then outside of the range and practice zone.

She did not want to get roasted. The hyper reality vision was very much like an X-ray view of the entire apartment. The view went through entire walls, but only for a limited distance.

She gave the area one quick run through, sweeping through it with her HRV before she identified the target on her goggles as the one, and only, giant white blob in the middle of the digital violet render of the world before her.

The man was inside what appeared to be the lavatory. He was sitting on the toilet, taking his time with what appeared to be a magazine. She turned off the HRV.

The pulse gun was unholstered with a click, as she stepped through the bedraggled quarters that her quarry had chosen as his place of rest.

“Alright I’m in,” she whispered as she re-activated the comm.

Marcus buzzed over, ”Okay, lock the door. You don’t want any of his buddies to come help when he starts screaming for it. They’re all pretty good neighbors from what I hear.”

Sami nodded, as it made sense, walking past the bags filled with blue and yellow pills to the only exit in the cramped apartment.

Just as she was about to reach the door, she heard the sound of a flush and another door sliding open to her left.

She was startled to see Kahn’s face, tripping on a misplaced bottle. Up close she could see in detail the tear drop tattoos and mustache were definitely on his dark skin, if the word thug had an image, he would be it.

“What the…” Kahn opened his mouth as Sami fell backward.

Kahn tried to cover himself with his arms as the blue pulse washed over him in rippling waves that were visible to the naked eye for about five seconds.

His augments suddenly felt like they were giant bricks attached to his shoulders, and he flopped to the ground as his augs dragged him.

“Agh shit!” he landed on his stomach with a metallic thud as his arms clanged roughly against the floor like deadweight next to Sami, who breathed a sigh of relief.

“Hey who the fuck are you? Help! Help!” Kahn strained his neck as he tried pull himself up, but his shoulders were pretty much locked to the ground.

Sami searched frantically around the run down place until she found a bag of pills and gagged his mouth with it to temporarily silence him.

His muffled cries were met by a “Shut up.”

That didn’t stop him.

If you’re trying to keep the guy alive, but he’s annoying the crap out of you well, do this.

Merek’s words.

But that was pretty obvious in itself. The image went through her head of his demonstration.

Sami proceeded to smack the guy across the face with a swift kick that knocked him out. After she holstered the pulse gun, she exhaled and stood there, unsure of how to proceed.

“Okay, the guy’s pretty much out of it. Now what?”

”Good. Look for a tablet or something. He’s probably got the formula tucked away somewhere either on a personal file or on the Net.”

“Wait, if it’s on the Net, then how I supposed to find it?” she wandered through the apartment, rummaging for a device.

”Which is precisely the reason why I’m the brains…and you’re…whatever you are.”

“Get on with it,” Sami said, slightly annoyed, as she entered the bedroom.

She found the thin transparent tablet lying on top of the guy’s dresser along with his socks and a porno magazine. It seemed as though he had memorized the formula by heart and did not need it anymore for the actual cooking. Sami, for her part, was disgusted by the mag. He was probably reading the same filth while on the toilet when she turned on the HRV.

”The bug. Place it on top of a screen on the device. I’ll take care of the rest. Can you say ‘what would I ever do without you?’”

Sami sighed, “Ugh, you are so vain.”

She produced the ‘bug’ from one of her pockets. It was a small black device about the size of a fingertip. Despite its size, Marcus prided himself on the little toy; it was probably one of the most sophisticated weapons in his hacking arsenal.

She placed the bug on top of the tablet’s screen, “Alright. Bug planted.”

Perfectly straight lines of green immediately began to spread from the ‘bug’. The lines glowed as they spread, but stopped expanding after they reached about five centimeters in length. The glow continued and pervaded the transparent panel to bathe her hand in the eerie light.

“Whoa what-”

”Relax.”

Sami stood there, watching the bug glow. She had no idea, or no complete idea, as to what was going on. Then she remembered she had to trash the place. Damn, she thought, as she returned to the living room. She stared into the face of the mess, piles and piles of drugs in plastic bags and other containers.

”Alright all of the data and files have been wiped clean, but just in case...”

Sami understood. She retrieved the bug and placed it back into one of her pockets before flinging the tablet against a wall, the flat transparent device smashed to bits. It was probably one of the less durable models.

”’Atta girl.” Marcus had heard the glass shattering over the comm.

“How do I get rid of the rest?”

”Flush it down the toilet. I don’t know, go to town on the place. Maybe he has a vac somewhere.”

“A guy like this? He probably doesn’t even wash his clothes, let alone have a vac,” she stepped over Kahn’s body, grabbing several bags before entering the restroom.

She tore them open and let them pour into the toilet; the pills were buoyed by the water. It took several trips before every single plastic bag, container, and box was emptied of the stuff. She took one of the assault weapons and proceeded to smash apart the chemistry set up with the weapon’s stock, shards of glass shattered and fell to the ground in disparate shards. Liquids that were already in the beakers stained the carpet when they spilled.

She only made the mess worse, but she did her job. That’s all that mattered.

“Well, it’s the best I could do. Now what?”

”Alright, now take the guy to MSS Central Processing.”

“What?!”

There was silence on the other end before Marcus finally spoke, ”What?”

“You didn’t tell me that?”

”I thought you already knew… ‘Sides, I sent you the whole notice.”

“Well how the hell am I supposed to carry this fatass?”

”Oh.”

“Shit. Forgot about logistics.”


Sami could hear him chuckle on the other end.

”Well you could always…you know…kill him? And then get out.”

“No. Absolutely not. I haven’t killed anyone, and I’m not gonna start now. Damn it. You didn’t tell me that. If I knew, I probably would have…god I don’t even know how I would have gotten him out.”

”Well there’s nothing I can do now. Bounty’s DoA. Comon’ just get rid of him and get out, you did your job.”

Sami remained silent as she stared at the unconscious man. She had never killed anyone before. She stared at his back, as he was flopped on the floor. Was this going to be her first victim?

”What? You want to start a gunfight in the apartments? ‘Cause that’s what’s gonna happen if I call the MSS to show up on gang turf. Weigh it. One man dies…or twenty. Your call.”

Sami was silent still. She exhaled, somewhat torn. If she had to kill a man, give her a gun at least; it was a quicker way of handling things. She paced about, unsure what to do. She felt as though she had to get out of there, but she hadn’t finished the job.

She heard a sigh over the comm, ”I’m just fuckin’ with you blondie. I radioed the MSS to send a pick up team. That’s your ticket out. Bring the guy up to the roof; there should be an access way right outside his room.”

Sami closed her eyes as relief washed over her. She looked at the guy; he was probably heavy without the augmentations alone.

“Don’t ever do that again,” she opened the door and peered down the hallway to make sure no one was around.

Druggies and raiders usually operated in the night. They spent the day cooking or sleeping. She had to be sure though, in case she was caught off guard by a raider.

“You know, sooner or later you’re gonna have to kill. It’s a kill or be killed world out there. I’m just lookin’ out for you.”

“Have you ever killed someone before?”

She knew he had not, and she was not expecting an answer from him.

”Just get him onto the roof.”

She sighed, and proceeded to grab the guy by his bionic arms. Even though she was physically weaker in comparison to the other recovery agents, her muscle suit partially made up for the disparity.

Sami dragged the unconscious man out the door, pulling him toward the stairs. At times like these she would have preferred a lift. Unfortunately, in older run-down apartment complexes, the only lifts were the ones in the middle of the building for easy access by residents.

Meanwhile, obscure roof entrances were taken care of by stairs. Perhaps that was a safety measure, one of the oldest of its kind, as even lifts might accidentally malfunction for any number of reasons during an emergency situation.

In fact, that proved true as months ago, an apartment fire broke out on the sixth floor of an eight story, new model apartment, killing all the residents on the top three floors as they tried to exit the building via the lifts. The lifts failed to work, trapping residents in the suffocating smoke. Thirty three souls perished according to the investigators; they added that the lifts failed to work due to the power source being cut off and the machines therefore jammed.

Sami proceeded to pull the man up the stairs, but his weight and the steps resisted her efforts. She finally reached the roof entrance, where the door was locked via keypad.

“Another snag. The roof is locked.”

”The bug, put it on a screen.”

Sami retrieved the bug from her pocket and did as he told. Again the green lines formed on the keypad’s screen, sort of like branches or vines growing on a tree.

Within seconds, the red light that signaled a locked entrance switched into a lime green. Sami took the bug, and pressed the open key on the pad, the door hissed open.

The door then sealed shut behind them as Sami’s shadow loomed over the unconscious man on the roof. She looked around for any transport coming toward her amid all the other personal civilian transports buzzing about in the skyways.

Then she spotted one larger than the others, and it came toward her. She noted the dark grey coat and the large initials MSS painted on the side. The MSS agents waved at her from the open cabin doors, and she waved back.

The VTOL patrol unit’s nacelles turned vertical just above her, and it proceeded to descend with a hushed drone. The transport kept a position about one or two feet from the roof, hovering quietly.

The two officers stepped down and checked the unconscious man. One of the two officers pulled out a palm device and identified his face.

“Yep. That’s him.”

He pressed his ear communicator piece, “We got him. We got papa Joe-”

He turned to Sami who replied, “RSI.”

“Thanks to RSI,” he smiled.

The two officers helped Sami lug the guy aboard. She climbed in after them and took a seat, latching herself in with a U-shaped restraint bar.

“You tucked in tight miss?” said the pilot from the cockpit.

“Yeah,” she nodded, as the ocular goggles retracted above her hairline.

The transport dusted off, the thrusters whipping the wind as it ascended.

”Status newbie?”

“I’m hitching a ride with these guys. I’ll probably take a cab once I’m out of MSS Processing.”

”Copy that. All in a good day’s work, blondie. Over and out.”

Sami shook her head, her light scoff melted into a smile as the comm terminated.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Hassan Character Portrait: Alex Hanzo Character Portrait: Frank Decker Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Bosch
Earth

England

Birmingham


The Snakehead called Mr Singh looked the man up and down before spitting out the chewing tobacco. He the leaned over his desk and attempted to interlace his augmented fingers. With a bit of effort he finally did so. The man standing in front of Singh knew this signified that wherever the Snakehead had received the augmentations was of poor quality. Every Snakehead wanted strength but when it came to fine motor skills their Augmentations often fell short.

“Mister Vincent you look well!” Mr Singh said as the pale man entered his cluttered office.

“Thank you, your surgeon was very capable.” Vincent said as he sat down in the chair opposite Singh.

“Now we can discuss the rest of the payment?”

Vincent lifted the duffle bag he had brought into the room and set it on the Snakehead’s desk. The bag was full of augmentations, weapons and tech salvaged from Anadyr. After killing Milo and Pavel he had travelled to Anadyr and finished off the rest of the raiders. He killed most of them stealthily and by the time they realised he was there he’d already killed most of the group. When he had finished he picked up a wood axe and claimed their augs and weapons as his own. He then took a VTOL and got out of Siberia.

“I trust this should cover it?”

Mr Singh was smiling wide and showing his blackened teeth as he inspected the equipment.

“Yes this should do well... as a first payment.”

“No. This is all you get Singh.”

“That’s not how...”

“I killed the people who owned those augmentations. I am not the normal desperate person trying to get off earth. You are paid.”

He’d travelled to Birmingham as it was a Snakehead operated port where he could change his face and get an identity. He’d chosen the name Vincent Mishin on a whim when the Snakehead, Mr Singh, has requested a name for his new identity.

“I see but my bosses...”

“I don’t care Singh. What I want to know is when you sold me out?”

“I don’t know what you’re...”

Vincent moved rapidly and threw the large table aside, sending the duffle bag and its contents clattering to the floor, before grabbing Singh by the neck and thrusting him against the wall. He produced a silenced pistol and pressed it against Singh’s nose.

“Don’t bother trying to ping outside for help. Your men are dead as is the surgeon. When did you contact BC?”

“I don’t know what you’re...”

Vincent shook his head and lowered the weapon. He fired twice striking Singh in the leg.

The man cried in pain and Vincent let him drop.

“You’re lying. I need to know how long I have to prepare.”

“I called about three hours ago. They are coming here now. You were supposed to still be under, nobody would have gotten hurt.”

“I underwent the surgery without anaesthesia.”

“How?” Singh said.

“Did you bother to create new records for me?” Vincent continued ignoring Singh’s question.

“Yes of course!”

“More lies.” Vincent said sadly as he raised the Pistol and fired again this time striking Singh’s gut. “I always know.”

“No I didn’t, no point.” Singh groaned through gritted teeth.

“Alright I need the password for your system.”

“Flatlander Woman.” Singh said and Vincent knew he wasn’t lying.

“Thank you.”

Vincent raised the pistol and shot Singh in the head.

He then accessed the console.

#

Mars

Endeavour.

BC Industries Plaza.

53rd Floor


Jason Scammell stared at the large screen displayed on his wall watching static. Until a few moments ago it had been a direct feed to BC security operative Hani Pearce’s ocular augmentations. Pearce had been deployed along with a team of twenty contractors. Now all had either been killed or incapacitated. They had failed to recover the escapee and Scammell’s best lead was now cold.

Scammell knew the operation was blown as soon as the team entered Singh’s office. The place was empty but the bomb didn’t detonate until the team got to the back office and found the bodies. The escapee knew they would be watching.

“Tell me we got something off the net.” Scammell said finally.

“We’re going through Singh’s Net activity but it’s too well obscured. Near as we can tell he spent just over an hour looking at news wires. However over that hour Singh became an expert on hiding hacks. The News wire stuff is just placeholders we have no idea what he was actually doing.” Was the response from the team on St Lawrence Island, the facility the escape had happened at.

“He was giving himself an identity. Do we have an image of him after the surgery?”

“No, the surgeon and Singh were both dead. Augs tore out of anyone who would have seen him.”

“Great. I need all your files on this, we’ll run this from Mars. I also want the project ended, burn the subjects. If one can escape the rest can too. I also want a full report on the positive findings of the research, I going to need something good to tell the board.”
“All files on Project Blue Jay are now on your server.” The Tech at St Lawrence informed him.

Scammell sighed and ended the conversation.

Scammell then closed the feed from the team, they were of no use now, and opened the files he had received on Project Blue Jay. He went to the files about Subject 47, the escapee. The file photo showed a man of Asian descent and Scammell couldn’t help but wonder what he looked like now and what he had planned for BC.

#

Mars

Kaiser

RSI


Anna Hassan smiled as she pinged the last report on to Decker. Decker was more of a bottom line kind of guy and would just be happy that expenses didn’t exceed profit. She remembered how angry he’d been after one job when the repairs to a VTOL had totalled more than the bounty. When reading reports he was content to just read Anna’s brief synopsis but on this occasion she has requested he read the report in full as she knew the strangeness of it would appeal to him.

Hassan then closed her system and cricked her neck. It had been a slow but long week, The team had done well but Interceptor and Dynamo had become embroiled in an extended gun fight in Endeavour over a bounty. She had taken a pass on the contract as she knew it would be trouble. The money was too good and would attract too much competition. She’d heard through the Grapevine that Interceptor had made the capture but Dynamo had bounced them. One gunfight later and the bounty was dead along with both SI agents and three from Dynamo. Decker had called it a draw considering Dynamo outnumbered them.

Anna however had raised the more obvious concern a war was brewing and RSI would eventually be forced to get involved. Anna believed it would be most prudent for RSI to get involved early so they could manage things on their own terms. Decker still wanted to remain out of it but he could see he had little choice and that Anna was correct.

That was why Decker was meeting with Alex Hanzo, owner of Interceptor Solutions. Anna knew there was some history there but now the relationship was purely business. It didn’t stop Anna giving Decker a hard time though. She packed away her things from her desk and made her way out of the office.

#

Mars

Iazu

Adeyemi’s Bar


When Decker arrived Alex was already sitting at a table with a thin glass of wine sitting in front of her. Decker pushed open the door to Adeyemi’s and made his way towards her table.

“Just a second Frank.” A voice said behind him and Decker slowly turned to see a burly looking man sitting in the corner by the door. It was a good position that allowed him to see everyone who entered the bar before they saw him.

“Hauser. Didn’t know Alex was bringing you out on a walk.”

“Funny stuff. You packing?”

“Yep.” Frank said with a shrug.

“Gonna have to ask you to...”

“Don’t bother. It’s not gonna happen.”

“Then you best just turn yourself around and fuck off.”

“Witty as always, I can tell you spent a while coming up with that one.”

Decker was aware their conversation was gathering some attention which was exactly what Alex would want to avoid. Decker had worked with Hauser back when both had worked at Interceptor. Hauser had always been a brute force player, no finesse. That’s why Decker had never invited him to RSI. The two had always had a rivalry that stemmed from Decker’s being from Earth.

“He’s fine Arnold.” Alex said from her spot at the bar.

Hauser coldly eyed Decker who let a smile play across his face. “Down boy.” He mouthed before stepping past the larger man and approaching Alex’s table.

“Evening.” Decker said as he sat down opposite her. “You eating?”

“No.” Alex said icily.

“I’m getting some Potjiekos.”

“I though you wanted to talk business.”

Decker nodded as he pressed on the screen embedded in the table and placed his order. The small candle sitting between them flickered as he moved. “I do, I just don’t think we should do that on an empty stomach. What are you drinking ?”

“Mariner. Don’t bother, we won’t be talking long.”

“I’m getting a beer.”

Alex sighed and Frank stopped pressing the console.

“Look Alex, I’m not messing with you. I haven’t eaten. I want to talk about Dynamo. I heard about the job and we both know that was bullshit. We don’t work that way, I want to help.”

“So you’ve finally taken your head out of your ass?”

Decker smiled lightly. “You’re started to sound like Anna.”

“She was obviously a good hire then.”

“So is that why Hauser on guard duty?”

“They know I won’t stand for my people getting murdered while doing their jobs. It’s Dynamo’s style to go for the pre-emptive strike.”

Decker glanced back at Hauser shrugged before returning his attention to Alex. So what’s your plan? How can RSI help?”

“Well it would be nice if your people started putting assholes in body bags.”

“We’re not that kind of outfit Alex. My people decide how they want to do it, They’re not assassins.”

“Rich coming from you.”

Decker shrugged again. “It is how it is.”

“How Zen of you. You told that to the purpose built assassin you employ?”

“Eckhard?” Frank said trying to hide his surprise. “Everybody chooses their own path Alex, what we were doesn’t always dictate what we are.”
A Synth waiter approached the table and placed a beer and a glass of wine on the table. Alex and Decker fell silent while it went about its work. It nodded and returned to its position behind the bar.
“And keep your crackers outta my personnel files.” Decker said with more of a pout than he had intended.

“If you keep yours outta mine.” Alex said as she lifted the glass to her lips.

“Alright, enough dancing around. What do you need?”

“Hopefully nothing. Interceptor is handling the situation. All I need to know is if I have your trust to do what needs to be done. RSI, Dynamo and Interceptor are the three operating at this level. The smaller companies will like what I tell them to like and the bigger ones couldn’t care less.”

“Ok so what you’re saying is you just want to make sure the other big fish in our rather small pond are ok with you making a move on another fish.”

“Jesus, you still love over extending metaphors.”

Decker ignored the jab. “Yeah RSI won’t have any problems with that. I can’t say we’ll start capping Dynamo operatives in the street but we can throw a few spanners in the works.”

“Do it. I’ll have my people talk to your people.”

The Synth returned with Decker’s Potjiekos and placed it on the table next to him. It then placed a spoon beside the plate.

“Is that everything sir?”

Decker didn’t have a chance to finish because the glass window in the front of the building smashed as small black cylinders flew into the restaurant. Decker’s augmented eyes were able to detect two percussion grenades and a disruptor grenade. They adapted their settings to deal with the sudden change in circumstances before Decker was even fully conscious of what was happening.

A red warning message flashed across his field of view warning him that a Disruptor grenade was about to detonate. Although Decker had invested heavily in countermeasures Disruptors where something he truly feared. With his right hand he flipped the table and pulled Alex as close to him as possible while with his other he reached out, grabbed the Synth waiter and dragged it between himself and the grenade.

It detonated and Decker’s eyes flickered for a second before returning to normal. The Synth went gone limp in Decker’s grasp and he dropped it before pulling out his Bulldog Revolver and getting into a crouch.

He looked over at Hauser who was nowhere to be seen.

“Fuck.” He muttered. “Behind the bar.”

He stood and grabbed Alex by her black blazer and half dragged her across the room. He turned and saw two men in black combat suits enter through the broken window. Decker fired twice forcing the men to duck but they quickly returned fire with their automatic weapons.

Decker quickly sent out and emergency ping to RSI and hoped someone was at least close enough to the office to be in a position to help.

Thinking quickly he grabbed a bottle from behind the bar and poked his head above the bar. He spied a lit candle sitting at a table near where one of the men was in cover before ducking down behind the bar again before another salvo came. Using the motion tracking software Decker lobbed the bottle over the bar and it landed with a smash beside the candle.

Decker heard a whump noise as the booze caught fire, It was swiftly followed by a scream. He then poked out the side of the bar and saw one of his attackers was on fire thrashing wildly in the middle of the restaurant having abandoned his cover. Decker fired two rounds and both found the man’s skull. He couldn’t take credit however he was fully trusting his augmentations now.

“Decker move!” Anna said via the communication augmentation. While Decker had been occupied she’d synched them. He turned around and saw she’d opened a door to the kitchen.

Decker scrambled towards the door that Alex was holding open and the pair crashed into the kitchen. Decker kicked the door closed and quickly got to his feet. He couldn’t see a way to defend the space so he turned and looked for another exit. Anna was standing by a gas cooker which she was toying with.

“Gotta be a back exit!” Decker said as he moved towards a door in the rear of the kitchen. He was about to kick the door open when Alex stopped him.

“Two on the other side.” She said before marking the targets and sending them to Decker. He saw two silhouettes added to his HUD. Alex was sharing what her Augs could see with him. Neither form was moving which meant the lag wouldn’t be an issue. Decker raised his revolver and fired two more rounds through the wall and into the heads of the waiting assassins.

He then kicked open the door and stepped into the alleyway behind the restaurant. A man and woman lay in puddles of blood. Unlike the other two they were dressed casually. The man was reaching for a pistol but Decker fired his last round into the man’s chest. He then produced a speed loader and reloaded his weapon.

“Decker it’s Anna what the hell is going on your heart rate is...”

“ I’m with Hanzo we’re being attacked. No idea how many, I need an exit.”

“Damn. We don’t have any air assets in Iazu.” Anna answered.

“Just find an exit!”

“On it.”

“Frank my people are telling me to go this way.” Alex said as she pointed down the alley.

“Fine.” Decker said as he followed Alex down the alley.

A few seconds later a loud explosion came from the restaurant as the kitchen erupted out into the alley.

“So predictable.” Alex muttered. Then Decker understood why she had been messing with the cooker, she knew the remaining Dynamo operative would toss a flash bang before entering the kitchen. She had used the gas to create the bomb the agent then detonated himself.

“Smart.” Decker muuttered

“What was that?” Anna asked via the communications augment.

“Explosion. Get us out of here.”

“Wait stop moving!” Anna cried.

“What?”

“They’ve set up a kill zone at the end of the alley. You’re moving straight towards it.”

“What, Alex’s people are telling her... fuck.” Decker said as he realised what Anna was telling him meant.

“Yep.” Anna said as Decker ran forward and grabbed Alex by the arm.

“We gotta go this way.” Decker said but Alex pulled against him.

“But Mags is...”

“Trying to kill you. Where’s Hauser?”

Alex looked like she was considering something for a long moment before nodding and following Decker in the opposite direction.

“Ok good Frank keep going. Dyanmo have a drone in the air tracking you, so they know you’ve turned ar... aaaand their VTOL has just taken off from the kill zone.” Anna informed

“Can you stop them?” Frank said as his augmented legs propelled him forward.

“Yeah just a second.”

Decker could hear the VTOL somewhere above them. No doubt something nasty was taking aim at them.

He saw glint in the sky in front of him which quickly grew into a dynamo drone as it approached at great speed. It screeched overhead before impacting the VTOL. Decker didn’t look back he just kept running.

“Direct hit to one engine. From the chatter it sounds like they’re going down.”

An explosion erupted somewhere behind Decker. “Think they landed. You got an exit?” He said.

“Monorail station one block north.”

#

Mars

Kaiser

RSI


Anna Hassan had never actually met Alex Hanzo but she had spent so long hacking Interceptor files she felt she had some kind of bond with the woman. At least Hanzo had been nice, Anna had never seen Decker as furious as when she stalked into his office.

He had recalled the entire team as he believed Dynamo could try again.

“You got a serious friggin problem on your end Alex. Hauser was always a dick but switching teams?” Decker said after he had finally calmed down. He was standing in his office with Anna Hassan and Alex Hanzo.

“I’ve alerted Interceptor personnel they’ve got Mags in custody and they are actively hunting for Hauser. It was only a those two in on it.”

“Can you be sure of that?” Frank asked.

“Of course.”

“Next time you might want to do a bit more vetting on who you choose for bodyguards.”

“Frank this changes nothing. Interceptor is still going to take care of Dynamo. If we need you we’ll get in touch.” She stopped talking and her eyes went slack for a second, she was receiving some kind of message.
“My people are here to get me. They need clearance to land on the roof.”

#

After a tense goodbye that saw armed RSI Personnel staring across the VTOL pad on top of the building at armed SI Personnel. Decker and Anna returned to her office.

“I want to know everything that’s going on with Dynamo and Interceptor. Go through their files and find out what the hell is going on here.” Decker asked Anna.

“I wouldn’t be so sure that was Dynamo.” Anna said after a breath.

“What?” Frank asked.

“The MSS feed is stating all those involved with the hit where independents. None of them where ever employed by Dynamo or Interceptor.”

“Except Hauser.” Frank said “Besides that’s the MSS they could find their ass the dark with six augmented hands.”

“You don’t know he was involved Frank. You’re taking his absence as guilt. For all you know he could have been abducted. I’ve reviewed the recording from your Augs. When the shooting started you weren’t too worried about his safety, it’s inconclusive what happened to him.”

“I...”

“It’s fine Frank, you chose the person you like, Hauser just wasn’t that person.”

“Fuck you really think Hauser was pinched by Dynamo or these contractors?” Frank said before shaking his head. “The man was a prick but nobody... We need answers.”

“You know I wanted to get involved in this thing and strengthen our position but I don’t think things are as cut and dry.” Anna said with a frown.

“I know. I want to speak to Mags.”

“Mags?”

“Mags is Alex Hanzo’s you. She was the one who lead us towards the kill zone.”

“So she’s a PA?”

“I don’t need a PA. You’re not a PA.”

“Sure Frank.” Anna said rolling her eyes. “So what’s the plan? You want to snatch this Mags person from wherever Interceptor have her held?”

“Yeah, but it’s gonna have to be black. I mean like the night, Alex cannot know it was us.”

“Oh intrigue! Joy.” Anna deadpanned.

“What other jobs we got this week?”

Anna used the motion controls to display a BOLO on the large wall screen. A picture of a very handsome man filled the top right corner. The name read Charlie Lewis.

“So what’s pretty boy’s story?”

“He’s a Cat burglar who specialises in Casinos.” Anna said reading off her notes.

“What could he steal from a casino?”

“I know I was shocked too. Everything is digital however the stuff people wear to go to the classier establishments is not. Jewels, fancy tech you know.”

“So he steals from the patrons of the casinos?”

“Bingo, although I have it on good authority he has plumbed a few Digital Vaults in his time.”

“I guess the Casinos want to keep that quiet.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Ok who’s next?” Frank said.

“You’re not going to like this one.”

“Try me.”

Anna used the motion controls to display another bounty.

A heavily augmented strong looking woman filled the screen. Her name read Carla Reynolds.

“She’s an Arms dealer who primarily trades in disruptors. The MSS contacted us directly with this one.”

“Always happy to help the local constabulary. Hate disruptors though.”

“Reynolds is attending a very small arms fair where she is going to be selling her goods. The MSS have no interest in getting in the way of the fair. Doubt they could afford the bounties if that became open season. They want Reynolds because she’s selling Disruptors. Apparently one of her cripple makers was involved in the murder of an MSS officer. The cops are crying out for blood and their brass wants someone to take the fall. The Arms Dealer is as good as it gets.”

“So what’s the catch?”

“The Arms Fair is taking place of the surface. Outside of an Atmo ring.”

“Ah I remember that. A few years back, when they still did these things in cities some gang steam rolled one of ‘em and made off with a ton of loot.”

“Yep not a great day to be an Arms Dealer.”

“Ok sounds good. Prepare the briefs and keep me informed.” Decker said as he walked out of Anna’s office and into his own.

Anna turned to her own console and began to prepare the mission briefs.

Jobs.

High Roller.


Target- Charlie Lewis

Location- Golden Mile, Cangwu.

Information- This is Mr Charlie Lewis and Mr Charlie Lewis is a Cat Burglar who specialises in Hot Prowls. For those not in the know a Hot Prowl is a robbery that takes place while people are about. They’re often asleep at the time. What makes Mr Lewis notorious is he does this in casinos. High class casinos. He steals whatever he can get his hands on but more often than not he does one big score and then goes quiet for sometimes years at a time.

He is currently believed to be active in Cangwu’s Golden Mile. The Golden Mile is a strip of the finest Casinos the city has to offer. It’s very exclusive and entry doesn’t come cheap. Most of the Casinos have agreed to allow Bounty Hunters into their casinos but you’ll need ID and the security goons will most likely blow your cover before you get started. You know how rent a cops are, all has beens and never wheres.

All seems pretty cool, sip a few cocktails and bust a pretty boy. Trouble is the picture above is around two years old and Lewis changes his appearance for each cycle of robbery. The only reason Casino security knows that’s him is they lifted DNA from one of his robberies. So he could be anyone at this point.

While Charlie does steal physical objects he’s also been known to pocket Creds by accessing the digital Vaults of casinos. The Digital Vaults are kept separate from the Net are normally just a simple storage device. Charlie is able to access the devices by bypassing physical security and connects the digital vault to the net. He then strips the Vault of just enough so as not to arouse suspicion or trigger any alarms. By the time the first casino realises they’ve been hit he’s done three more.

This guy almost certainly has outside help and may even be part of a gang so be aware. He’s very professional and is very slippery. He may not fight but he will do his best to get away.

Charlie and accomplices are to be brought to the Rising Sun Casino and handed over a security officer called Mr Graves. It’s a Red Dragon owned place so don’t hang around. You will then receive payment.

The Bazaar

Target- Carla Reynolds


Location- Aeolis Mons, 5.08°S 137.85°E


Information- Arms Fairs, Hard Suits and Disruptors. What’s there not to like?

Carla Reynolds is wanted by the MSS because one of the disruptors she sells was involved in the murder of MSS Detective Rico Thompson. Det. Thompson was hit with a disruptor before being murdered by an unknown assailant. The MSS predictably had a shit fit, this is first cop to die in the line of duty in almost ten years, that’s because people like you take the actual risks. Nevertheless they want someone to pay for this. The disruptor used has been traced back Carla which means she’s in the noose for this one. MSS are paying big money for her too.

So Carla is an Arms Trader who trades primarily in disruptors. Apparently she is something of a savant when it comes to bypassing shielding. Speak to Jenks I think he some examples of her work. Before she discovered this skill Carla was a Gang Girl. I don’t mean this in moll kind of way, she’s got rap sheet with career highlights such as armed robbery, assault and dealing of prohibited biological agents. She knows her way around the underworld.

Carla is attending an arms fair near Aeolis Mons, so there’s no Atmo Ring, that means Hardsuits. They hold these Fair’s out here to avoid attracting gang attention. There was an incident a few years ago where a few Gangs teamed up and hit one of these things. They made off like bandits, which is what I guess they were, you know what I mean. Well the Red Dragons did the best though. It was their plan and they pulled a Judas on their allies and became the best armed gang on Mars.

We only need Reynolds but the other arms dealers will not like one of their own getting pinched so when you move make it quick or make it stealthy. You don’t want a fire fight out there either a hole in your hard suit you’re done.

Just the facts Ma’am.

Target- Margaret “Mags” Borodzicz


Location- Interceptor Solutions holding area, Iazu.


Information- For a kick off I don’t know if the location is accurate, this one is kind of last minute thing. As you probably know Frank and Alex Hanzo, CEO of Interceptor Solutions, narrowly avoided being assassinated yesterday evening. It’s why RSI is on full alert today.

Frank knows that Mags was involved and wants to speak to her about the attack. He also believes that a SI operative called Arnold Hauser was involved with the betrayal but there’s no evidence of that. Frank doesn’t believe the SI is secure and wants to move Mags into our custody. As you can imagine SI would never go for that.

Which is how we arrive at this mission. Your team is to locate Mags and bring her to an apartment Frank has rented in Endeavour. There are to be no fatalities on this mission, violence to SI personnel is to be minimised and all connection to RSI is to be minimised. That means you cannot be captured or killed, back off if it gets too hot.

SI personnel will not hesitate to gun you down and they are as well trained and armed as we are so keep you head on a swivel.