The Walther PCE dangled nonchalantly from her gloved right hand. She focused her oculars over the rubble and fallen plasticrete, toward the end of the row of warehouses. Where is he, she asked herself.
Demons hide in the oddest of places. Folklore and legend has them under beds, just around corners, under ground or in the basement. The Bakkle of Solorn is said to hide in the low hanging clouds on a rainy day. Ha! If only that were true.
Her demons, it seemed, hid in the things she carried, and on backwater moons amongst deserted and ancient warehouses. No worries, demons can be hunted and things carried discarded.
Movement. Half a klick away she saw him running. She grinned at that, the thought that he could ever run fast enough to escape her. She holstered the gun and began the chase, her long leather jacket flapped behind her, strands of black hair fell on her face before the wind pushed them back.
Two blade missiles, a gift from Ship, hovered at her right shoulder, asking to be used. But this was personal, worth the effort. The blades could wait.
She slipped on debris as she jumped a fallen building sign, nearly fell face first into the rubble but maintained her balance, barely slowing, and continued on. Her prey cut up a short flight of stairs. She redoubled her efforts. Closed fast.
She crested the stairs and saw him at the foot of the bridge that crossed a small and shallow river, the only one on the moon. She focused, oculars down now, but still saw clearly his humped shoulders and his squat, powerful legs, his oversized feet. The Consortium traitor was almost a caricature.
For two months she had tracked him across three systems to this dusty moon that was little more than a storage facility. Her mission was simple: retrieve the node implanted in his side before he could deliver it to the Telerin corporation that paid to have it stolen. Something about bio-nano circuitry that could run off of the body’s own chemical and electrical systems. A huge advance that would change the implant game forever. Whatever - get the traitor - that’s all she knew or cared about. Officially.
Unofficially, he was the last remaining member of the mercenary party that had killed her sister on Solorn just over a year before. Cale, her sister, was collateral damage in a student protest gone bad. The man she hunted, the one running across the bridge, was guilty of murder in her eyes.
To the right of the bridge a small craft descended and hovered on the opposite shore of the river, corporate mercs sent to protect the investment. Illegal, of course, but proving their intent and their connection would be near impossible.
He was halfway across the bridge as she reached its foot.
“Fire,” she told the blades, and with her oculars up she indicated the far side of the bridge for the first, then plotted the second. The missiles departed with a high-pitched whistle. They moved to her left, using the bridge as a shield in case the merc ship fired upon them, though that wasn’t likely. The blade missiles were new and would be unexpected.
The first blade came up from underneath the bridge and exploded with such force that she felt the ground rumble under her feet. She smiled. Ship's tech was nice, something that powerful in the size of a pocket knife.
Plasticrete and steel rained down. The merc craft reversed backwards and up to avoid the worst of it, banged into a warehouse before adjusting itself. No matter, the second blade had used the explosion as camouflage. It had circled around and come in from on high. It impacted the rear engines of the merc ship, killing them and throwing the ship out into the water. The river steamed with the crash of the super-heated surfaces. The ship listed and sank partway down its body and rested on the riverbed.
Her prey was thrown from the bridge into the water with the explosion, screaming out as he tumbled through the air. She ran, jumped, and braced for the impact with the water, certain she would also hit riverbed.
The water lessened the pounding of the rocks along the river bottom. She found him, barely conscious with blood coming out of a cut in his head, and dragged him to shore, then belted him in the jaw before he could regain lucidity. “That was for Cale,” she said. He moaned and went limp.
She cut the object out of his side with her laser knife, pocketed it, checked the body for anything else hidden and found nothing. She pushed a small, timed grenade and a photo of her sister into the wound she had just opened, sealed the wound with the same knife, and walked away.
Clothes wet from river water, wet hair matted to her face, she dripped as she moved along the walkway. The merc craft was on fire, no sign of the occupants, yet. She moved quickly. She would take the back alleys to be safe, the Walther Particle Charge Emitter drawn and ready.
The expected explosion came from behind her, one less demon to worry about, a little less weight to carry. And one more mission nearly complete.———
in category Fiction