Sour Milk - A Tale of Revenge

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« on: <08-30-19/1518:29> »
Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet - General James Mattis

**A cloudy Seattle Friday night, on the outskirts of the business district**

A soft click resonated in her ear as the safety on her rifle was switched off with a casual flick of her thumb.  Her eyes, the best money could buy, followed the figures even through the walls.  The decker she had hired for the job was as good as advertised; between the internal security and various bugs planted in the location, she knew where all of them were in relation to herself.

**Four days ago**

The elven woman had woken with a start, lifting her hand to her head as she calmed herself.  A cool breeze of filtered air reminded her that she was, in fact, still in her bedroom and not the night she relived in her dreams.  "Soon..." she whispered to herself, before rolling out of bed.  Her bronze skin and black hair, clear indications of her Native American heritage, were marked by occasional scars and a large nanotattoo of a dragon, one only partially scaled, that coiled from her back and down her right leg.  Her hair was a mess of tangles from her tossing and turning, but she seemed to pay it no heed as she crawled out of bed.  "Might as well get a start on the day," she muttered to herself, despite the fact that the sun was not yet peeking out from the horizon.

Her path took her into the living room, where trophies from previous runs were displayed.  A large sword, clearly decorative, hung over the fireplace, with what appeared to be a gold-plated older pistol on a stand on the mantle.  In a glass case rested a scroll that appeared ancient, and on another wall hung an elaborately ornate bow, much too large for her frame.  The most obvious thing, however, was a life-sized plush dragon that was the spitting image of the dragon that resides in Neo Tokyo.  None of these drew her attention, however, as she continued along her path.

The next room, clearly some kind of storage, lit up as she wandered through.  Weapons and armor of various types, ammo and gear, all organized neatly.  One stood out, in that it clearly had never been used... a brand new Barrett model 122.  Soon the only sound that echoed in the quiet room was her voice whispering the familiar word, even as she traced her finger across the barrel of the weapon.  "Soon..."

"Hey Mena?" came a soft voice from outside the room.  The elven woman turned to face her best friend and fellow runner, Lena.  Friends for a long time, Lena was the best covert ops specialist she had ever met, and the fact that their names rhymed had, on more than one occasion, lent itself to people underestimating them, assuming they were more of a gimmick.  "I've got that info you wanted."  She held out a datastick, even as one of her cats... awakened felines really... rubbed itself against her leg and purred.  "You're not going to do anything stupid with this, are you?"

Mena took the stick from her friend, and rolled it over her fingers.  She contemplated the woman's question for a good moment or two, chuckling softly as she did so.  "Stupid?  No.  Foolish, perhaps.  Dangerous, most assuredly... but there is nothing stupid about justice, Lena."

"One day you'll have to explain all this to me, okay?  Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen you this scary... even when that troll crawled away from you and hid the entire day, you weren't this frightening."  Lena didn't appeared scared in the slightest, at least of Mena hurting her, but rather the note of concern resonated in Mena doing something to get herself in trouble.

"I know Lena... I know.  Trust me, when this is all over, I'll explain it."

**Friday Night, across the street from an angel of death**

"Look, I'm tellin' you man, the money is good," the orc blustered to the coolly dressed human man standing in front of him.  The orc, dressed in ganger clothing and carrying more brutish weaponry along with his two buddies, stood in stark contrast to the human wearing a solid black suit, flanked by a huge troll wearing similar attire, and a human female whose business attire was accented with various shamanistic accents.  "We need those guns, or we're gonna get pushed out of our turf.  You gotta hook us up!"

"I assure you, James, that we have to do no such thing.  You see, it isn't a matter of money alone," he said, pausing to light a cigarette... the real thing, flaunting his wealth and prestige in a simple but effective manner... then continued.  "You got sloppy, James.  You let those weapons get picked up law enforcement.  Do you think we want to explain why pathetic gangers are running around with military grade hardware?  You're a test subject, a guinea pig.  A proof of concept, if you were.  Two years we kept you equipped because you did me a favor, but my good will has run its course.  I'm not here to give you more guns, but to insist you return them."

"That's BULLSH**!  There's no way we're givin' up our..."

A silenced APDS round fired from a Barrett 122 is a horrifying thing, really.  Sitting behind a wall, your targets never expect the danger to come from outside, and when they can't hear it coming...
But they can hear the head in front of them explode in shards of flesh and bone.  It takes a brain, even an augmented one, a few moments to process the extreme danger the first shot conveys.  A few precious moments, moments that a trained killer will take full advantage of.

James' head was no longer attached to the body that now slumped forward; indeed, his head no longer existed in any way that could be recognizable as what it used to be.  In those precious few moments the bodyguards began to pull out their weapons and started to call out on their commlinks, but only received static.  The decker, one Mena had specifically hired for this one mission, continued to prove their skill.  She was sure that, given time, her prey could figure out a way around these obstacles. 

She had no intention of giving them the time.

In the next moment, another round punched through the wall.  The shaman, who was starting to concentrate, felt the round tear through her throat and out the other side of neck.  Frantically she grasped at the wound, no longer able to speak or breathe, her eyes wide in horror as she realized her last sight would be the ceiling of the room they had selected for this meeting.

The two gangers who remained immediately bolted for the door.  Mena mentally tracked them, but they were not her prey.  She watched as the troll frantically escorted the slick looking man, though his calm demeanor was falling away.  There was no joy in seeing this, no warm sensation, just a business like manner in which she lined her next shot.

Hurrying into the stairwell, the human looked behind at his bodyguard just in time to see the bullet tear through the head of the troll.  Naturally tough, the troll's head did not suffer the same fate as the ork's, though that did not mean much for the now deceased troll.  A string of expletives came flying out of the man's mouth as he dodged out of the way of massive body that tumbled down the stairs.  His suit now ruffled and look haggard, the human man ran faster and faster to a side exit where his vehicle was waiting.  His body entered the car faster than he though possible, screaming to his driver, "GO! GO!" 

It took a moment of looking frantically out each window that there was no reply from the front seat.  In the dark it had been hard to make out, but now he saw the bullet hole in the glass, the figure of his driver slumped forward in his seat.  Panicking, the man grabbed a shotgun from within the vehicle and made his way outside, even as the crack of thunder could be heard and rain started pouring down.  Every sound the rain made, every stray animal caused him to frantically spin around.  "WHAT DO YOU WANT?" he called out... the only answer a round from an Ares Predator V tearing through his kneecap, sending him to the ground.

Mena walked up to the man, kicking the now dropped shotgun away from him.  Her face remain unseen, covered head-to-toe in her chameleon suit.  She had already holstered her pistol, her slight frame holding up the rifle that was clearly heavier than she should be logically able to carry.  Her free hand raised up, pull off the hood from her head as she knelt down in front of the man.  "Richard Franks... I've been looking for you," she offered in a calm, neutral tone... somehow even more chilling to the man in the heat of this moment.

"You crazy bit**!  I'll see you dead!" he screamed, even as she raised a finger to her mouth to indicate he should remain quiet.

"Hoping your friends will hear?  I'm afraid they've already suffered the same fate as your driver and bodyguards.  Oh, I'm sure someone is on their way... but we have a few moments.  Let's talk," she said as she slung the rifle and pulled free her pistol, slowly screwing the silencer onto it.  "Now," she said, her tone remaining neutral, "do you know why I'm going to kill you?"

"Look, look... you want money?  I can get you money!  Drugs, weapons, lovers..." with that last word he felt a hand lash out and strike him in the face, cracking his jaw.  He could feel in that moment that her strength was unnatural, and it felt more like being hit with a metal bat than a mortal fist. 

"Brock.  Binary.  Cleave.  Nitro.  I never even learned their real names," she began as she regained her calm demeanor, "two years ago.  Remember?  Hired us for what was called a 'milk run'... easy money, right?"  The dazed human started to show some form of recognition now, at least of the information if not her face.  "You set us up.  Wanted to prove the weapons could put some gangers on par with actual runners, then sell them at an inflated price.  Of course, what really got us was that our own Mr. Johnson was setting us up... and that we were new." 

"Look," he began, though every word sent sharp pains from his broken jaw, "just tell me what you want.  You Runners, you always want something, right?  Money, booze, magic... you always have a price.  Name it," he paused, looking down at his ruined knee, fear flooding his mind.

Mena stood up, pausing to check the pistol before pointing it at the man.  "My price?" she whispered, leveling the barrel between the man's eyes.

"Yes!  Name it!  Whatever you want, just name it!"

"Justice," she offered, before pulling the trigger.  Blood splattered onto the car behind the man's head, before his body fell down into the rain-soaked alley. 

"Holy sh**," came a whisper across her commlink, reminding her that the decker was patched into her feed to ensure that the bugs they had planted was relaying the data correctly to her visual link.  "Remind me to never get on your bad side."

"Noted," she said quietly as she went about the task of removing any evidence she had been there.  "We'll have to retrieve the bugs.  Can I count on you for another mission?"

"You... you got more like this?" she could hear the shakiness in his voice.  "I'm not signing on with some kind of crazed serial killer, am I?"

"Three more, and no.  This isn't sickness, this is revenge."

"Whatever lady.  You're scary, a literal Ira de Dios."

That caused a bit of a pause as Mena spoke up.  "I don't know that phrase..."

"Oh... Wrath of God."

"Huh.  I like that," she whispered, professionalism giving way to a slight moment of pride and vanity.  "Never did take a runner name before, guess I'll use that.  Wrath..."

((Thanks for reading.  I have not written anything like this in quite some time, honestly, and want to get back into it but I'm sure that those rusty edges are apparent.  Still, I want to eventually write the story of Mena's first run, which would predate her current campaign as well.))


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« Reply #1 on: <12-26-19/1637:19> »
It's a decent read. How's life in the shadows for Mena now? Any new tales to write up?
Agent #191 Catalyst Demo Team