Currently on hiatus. Will resume in July, or sooner.

Current story updates:

Current story interludes/Side stories:
Every other Saturday

Other pieces:
Every other Saturday (Saturdays I don't run the Interludes/Side Stories)

During certain periods updates may come more often; at other times updates may come less often. This schedule is my hoped-for goal.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Chapter 23

Five left.

Chapter 23: Hey look, another coincidence. Or is it?

As the Agent walked down the corridors of the ship everyone was getting ready for the battle that they were about to emerge into. Guns were loaded, fighters prepped, everything made ready for the coming storm of death.
The Agent had his own preparations to make.
He walked into the armoury, and began to belt on his weapons.
Dragon pistols, full body armour, a shotgun, flame thrower, ten grenades, grenade launcher, gas mask…
He had not carried this many weapons since that day so long ago when he escaped Callion for the first time. It was fitting that he was remembering it now, for the first time in years, the day that he would finally be free of Callion for the last time, or die trying.

Jor stood at the edge of the balcony looking down. Below he could see the shadows fading away. He could see things out there moving, hovercars, gliders, groundcars, monorails. Below he could see his past in the darkness, in the furtive movements of the, from here antlike, monsters that were really just people. Below he could see his future if he failed to escape Callion in the shallow graves, the rotting bodies, the darkness, the long descent into evil.
Below he could see both past and future, chance and fate, infinity and everything that was finite. He could see nothing and yet he could see everything there.
He needed to kill something lest this bleak mood drag him down, make him unable to do what he needed to do.
But right now he couldn’t kill anything, couldn’t draw attention to himself lest Callion find him and discover his plan before it was too late to do anything about it.
If Callion caught him now Jor was sure that he would kill himself. He could not live like this anymore. He had to get away from Callion lest he be driven into madness.
Not that he wasn’t sure that he wasn’t already mad. There was something in him that was dark, that much he knew. Something that refused to let him go, refused to let him out, refused to let him live.
He stared down into the darkness that had opened his eyes. He had to use every trick that he had left now in order to beat this man who was a king in his own right. He had to get away, or else he would truly die.
For his time was up. He had been given a mission, told to kill a man.
And that man yet lived. If Callion found him now he would be doubly punished; once for failing his mission and once for running.
He had to get going. But still he stood and stared down into the chasm, into the darkness, into the rent, the tear in the fabric of Earth’s surface, that chasm that opened into a realm that most would rather deny existed, that most said didn;t have any place, that most would rather cleanse with fire.
Too late for that, he thought wryly. The Undercity is as much a part of Earth and Earth itself. There is no getting rid of it, not as long as the people on the surface live the same lives that they lived before.
He shook his head. It was too late to go back now anyways. Too late, so he had to go forwards.
Slinging his backpack over his shoulder he took a running leap and launched himself over the edge.
The air rushed past him, over him, invigorating him, caressing him as he fell. Then his rope caught and he swung around to safety, landing on the balcony lower down.
Now he was away from Callion’s quarters. Now he could run.
And so he ran. Through the corridors, through the alleys, across the bridges, down the roads, through the halls, he ran and ran until he reached his destination.
Checking his watch he stepped into the spaceport. Callion would be expecting him to check back in ten minutes.
Then it would take him at least three hours to stop the flights. He had time. His flight left in two hours.
Jor walked through customs easily enough. He had left his weapons behind. He would be able to get new ones on Mars after all.
Stepping into the terminal he watched the shuttles being loaded. Soon that one would take him to the Daylight Cruiser and from there, to Mars.
But first he had to go to the bathroom. He stepped in, and closed the door of the stall behind him.
He was washing his hand when two men stepped into the bathroom and locked the door behind them.
They wore the uniforms of spaceport employees, but Jor recognized them.
“Jor…watcha doin’ boy? You know that Callion don’t take well to betrayal”
Tall and thin Retcher looked like the kind of man who spent his life stealing from his family and cheating his friends. By comparison the entirely average looking Cleng was entirely forgettable, a combination that the two had often used to their advantage.
“I’m leaving Retcher. You can try and stop me and die, or you can let me go and tell Callion that you didn’t catch up to me in time”
“That” Cleng said, pulling out his knife to pick his nails with “Does not sound like a good idea. You see, if we fail, Callion will likely kill us anyways. While you” he gestures towards Jor with the knife “He will only punish. So you see, we stand to lose everything, while you still have a chance at a solid job, three meals a day, and a peaceful life”
“A peaceful life? Hah. I murder people for a living Cleng. That has started to weigh even on my conscience” It was a lie, for Jor had no conscience that he knew of, but it was believable enough.
“Don’t matter boy. What you signed up for was not having a conscience. And a cold killer like you? I doubt you have one anyways” Retcher put in “Besides, your threat rings hollow. You had to ditch all your weapons to get through security. But we” he smiled as they both drew pistols from their belts and pointed them at Jor “Walked right in”
Jor looked at the two. They were not going to let him through. So he would do this the hard way then.
“You cannot stop me” he took a step towards them and they brought the guns up. He sighed as he fell back onto his left heel, his right foot still extended ahead of him “Are we really going to do this the hard way?”
By the time he was at “really” he had adjusted his body weight just enough to be ready. As he said “this” his hand was sliding the pen out of his sleeve into his hand.
And by the time he said “way” it was all over.
His weight shifted enough he lunged forwards towards them. As they fired he swung his right foot back behind him, turning his momentum into a forwards roll under their shots. As he rolled he uncapped the pen, and clenched it tight in his right hand.
As the two tracked him with their guns he kicked down with his left leg changing the direction of the roll to out Cleng between himself and Retcher. As he leapt back to his feet his right hand came up and around, stabbing it up under Cleng’s jaw as he grabbed the man around the neck with the other arm and swung him over.
Just as he pulled his arm and hand back Retcher shot. Cleng jerked as he caught the bullets with his chest, and then Jor flung him into Retcher. As the two goons went down Jor jumped up, bounced off the wall with his hands, and brought his feet down on the back of Cleng’s neck, hard.
The pen, the shots, and the snap of his neck cracking convinced Jor that Cleng would no longer be a problem. As he bled off his forwards momentum with another somersault he came back to his feet and turned to find Retcher’s gun trained on him.
“You know Jor, Callion wanted you alive, but you just killed Cleng. I liked Cleng a lot more than I’ve ever liked you”
“So you’ll kill me now?”
Jor did not wait for Retcher’s answer. He flicked his foot up, and the knife that he had grabbed from Cleng’s belt as he threw him, that he had used the roll to cover placing on his foot, flew up into the Retcher’s face.
It was a bad shot. It was after all, thrown by a foot. But it managed to distract Retcher long enough for Jor to step forwards, bring his knee up into the man’s elbow, breaking his arms.
As the gun fell from Retcher’s fingers Jor caught it and put two rounds into Retcher’s forehead.
The man fell still, dead. Jor looked at them for a moment, then calmly dragged them into one stall each, tossed the gun in the garbage, smashed his nose against the wall to get some blood flowing, then grabbed a wad of paper toil to hold there.
He stepped back out into the waiting room moaning slightly about his nose and took a seat.
“Now boarding shuttle Dawn for the Daylight Cruiser. Repeat, the shuttle Dawn off of Dayling Cruiser is now boarding. All passengers should board now”
Jor smiled as he stood up and checked his ticket.
Yes, he decided it would be. This was the dawn of his new life. A new life away from Callion, where he could kill whoever he liked, whenever he liked. He smiled as he stepped onto the shuttle.

He pushed the earbud into place and was just reaching for his gloves when the earbud crackled and buzzed, then came clear.
“Sir, your presence has been requested on the observation deck of the Annihilator as soon as we get into the system”
The Agent stared ahead for a moment. This was even better than they had planned. It was too good almost. Did Callion know what was going to happen? Did he know what they were planning? Because if he did, then it would end before it even started.
But if he didn’t then they still stood a chance.
The Agent decided that he would just have to worry about it when they got there. He pulled his gloves on, made sure that his coat was hanging off his shoulders properly, straightened the lapels, checked to make sure the safeties were on on all the guns, then turned and swept out down the corridor towards the hangar.

The Artist sat in the cell. They had given her a respite from the torture stating that she ‘needed time to see the error in her refusals’.
She was just happy to be able to take a break from screaming. It was getting tedious fooling Callion like that.
But it was necessary if she wanted to stay a captive long enough for Lian and the Sniper to come free her. It was necessary, and part of the greatest art piece she had ever made, so it was worth it.

It would all be worth it when they were all dead.

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