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« on: <10-12-16/1949:46> »
Oliver Quinton stepped out of the rear of his custom Mercedes and into the light snow after Curtis, his driver/bodyguard had checked the vicinity. The Mercedes wasn’t quite a limo, more of an oversized sedan, but Oliver was sure that would change soon. The chip in his pocket would insure that.
Oliver was dreaming of his imminent promotion when Curtis grabbed his shoulder and flung him back towards the car. Oliver stumbled backwards with the momentum of Curtis’ vat grown muscle and knocked his head against the armored door of the Mercedes. Dazed, Oliver heard a rapid series of pops. He focused first on Curtis, lying on the sidewalk and bleeding profusely. Then he focused on the dark shape standing over him, a pistol in one hand, and the other extended.
“The chip, please.” said the figure.
Oliver managed to pull his eyes away from the muzzle of the pistol and look at the person holding it as he fished the chip holder from his jacket. His assailant was some kind of street bum, wearing a poncho made from an old Army blanket and threadbare work gloves. Graying hair under the blanket hood framed the face. But the face didn’t belong on the street. It had neon green eyes with the Hai-Tech logo in the iris. Oliver knew he would never get that promotion now.

Chance took the chip holder from the cowering suit. “Thanks.” He said, then shot him in the throat. The blanket coat was sprayed with blood as the flechettes shredded the soft tissue, but Chance ignored it. He dropped the cheap Mexican pistol into the suit’s lap and walked quickly into the alley that led to the 5th street tube entrance.
In the alley, Chance underwent a transformation. He ditched the work gloves and blanket, then poured a liter of water over his hair to rinse out the graying powder. He dried his hair the best he could on the clean inside of the blanket, the combed it back with his fingers. Finally, he stripped off the baggy sweat pants and pulled a pair of electric mirror shades from the faded jeans he had on under the sweats. He slid the mirror shades into place and exited the alley on to 5th street. Down the stairs and into the train, and he was gone before the police were anywhere near the crime scene.

Later, Chance nursed a beer at the bar in a dive called Sam’s Place. Sam was an overweight, scummy looking elf, which Chance thought was very amusing. After all, elves were supposed to be thin and beautiful. The battered old jukebox in the corner droned out some half-remembered tune from a few years and a couple lifetimes ago. Chance looked around, found an empty booth, took his beer and strolled over to have a seat. His eyes scanned the crowd, his light amps kicking in to give everything a greenish tint. Most of the patrons had their heads down, trying to drown out another day of corporate slavery. There were three guys in another booth, apparently celebrating something. They were wrapped up in their own business, and ignoring Chance, so Chance decided it was a good place for a meet. He pulled out his phone, punched in a number, and waited for an answer.
The connection rang once, and was answered with a simple, “Yeah?”
“I got it. Sam’s Place. Ballentine and Westcott. Now.” Then he cut the connection.
Forty-five minutes and 2 beers later, Chance’s contact walked in. He was a bit too nicely dressed in a gray shirt and black cardigan under a leather trench coat, but no one seemed to pay any attention. The contact stepped to the bar, got a large mixed drink, and then joined Chance in the booth.
“Mr. Johnson. Nice to see you again. I hope you had a pleasant day.” Chance said as the contact took his seat.
“Let’s just get on with our business, Chance.” Mr. Johnson pulled a manila envelope from his coat and handed it to Chance. “BGI Incorporated, worth fifteen thousand at the close of business today.”
Chance thumbed through the stock certificates, then flipped the chip case across the table. “Nice doing business with you.” He scooted to the outside of the booth.
“One quick question, Chance.” Johnson looked up into the synthetic eyes. “What does it take to shoot a helpless man in the throat?”
“Steady hands and a good sight picture.” Chance said in a matter of fact tone, then finished his beer.
“You don’t have any morals at all do you?” Johnson asked as Chance walked away.
Chance looked back and said, “Lemme tell you something, Johnson. Morals are for fairy tales. This is reality.” Then he was out the door and in ankle deep snow the color of ash.