Today’s post is a continuation of Day 12.
Time slows to a crawl as I slide and dive. The shot rings out in the alley, high-energy round burying itself in the brick behind where my head was a moment ago. I hit him square in the gut, my metal shoulder driving into his sternum and knocking him over. My hands wrap around his right arm, squeezing, looking for the pressure points that will short it out. I slam his arm into the ground as his left fist connects with the side of my face, sending me off him to roll across the alley.
I roll and crouch, reaching for my gun, eyes wild as they connect with Wells’. He shakes his head, finger tightening on the trigger.
“Damn,” he says, wiping blood from his lip. “I forgot how fast you are.”
I stand slowly, arms raised, praying that Bill is lining up a shot and I don’t die in this miserable alley.
“What happened, Wells?” I ask. “You’re missing for a month and now you want to kill me?”
“It’s nothing personal, Jaz. You’re a thorn in the side of some very powerful people. They need you to disappear and I need the 550,000cr they’re offering for it.”
Shit. What the hell did I do to earn a contract that high? It had to go out this morning or I’d already be in a ditch.
“Wells, whatever is going on, whatever I did, I-”
The shot rings out and I close my eyes. Death has more screaming than I thought it would.
I crack one eye open, reconciling the reality of my continuing life. Wells is on the ground, clutching the splintered remains of his right arm. Sparks fly out of the shredded liveskin, gears whirring. Bill claps me on the shoulder, walking past and pocketing Wells’ piece. My heart beats out of my chest as air rushes back into my lungs. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath.
Bill pulls the car into the alley, and we pack a sedated Wells into the back seat. I cover him with a blanket, mentally mapping the streets we need to take to avoid the infrared street cameras. Thankfully that project ran out of money; only the main drags have them.
We drive to the boonies, decaying warehouses marking our destination. I drag Wells into a condemned warehouse. Bill watches as I tie him up, securing his cybernetic leg to his remaining arm. One step and he’ll lose the arm. I look at Bill, not sure how to say what needs to be said.
“Bill, look, this is my problem. I don’t want you to get-”
“Can it, Jaz. Partners for six years and you think I’m walking out over a hit contract?”
“With the kind of money they put on me, it has to be big, Bill. Big enough to get anyone with me killed.”
He’s silent for a moment, running through the list of corps that could afford that kind of hit.
“Fuck it,” he says. “Gotta die for something.”
He walks toward the door, pausing before leaving.
“I’ll be back in a few hours. I’m going to ditch the civ car; it’s tagged. I’ll see what I can find out from my friends still in the corps. Try not to kill him without me.”
I take a moment after he leaves, swallowing my relief. If we live through this I’m buying him the nicest bottle of scotch, I think, turning to face Wells. I crack my knuckles. Time to go to work.
This post is continued on Day 17.