Continuation of Day 191.
I call my own car, not trusting what Goon #2 drove in, punching in the address he gives me. The backseat is expansive, enough room for him to huddle in a corner while I watch him, waiting for him to try and strike. I made one mistake that let him find me. I won’t make another.
“My name. It’s Alex.”
“Why are you telling me?”
“Dunno. I figure if you know my name, you might be less inclined to kill me.”
“Never stopped me before.”
He looks out the window, watching the lights fly by as we race towards his boss.
“Tell me about him, Alex.”
“Your boss. What’s his name?”
He sighs, looking over at me. “I don’t know what name he wants with you.”
“What name does he use with you?”
I snort. “You people and your nicknames.”
“You don’t have one?”
“I’m sure I have several. I don’t use them. My name is my reputation. It carries weight in the right circles.”
“It makes it easier to find you.”
“You saw how well finding me turns out.”
He’s quiet for a minute, turning back to the window.
“Why’d you kill Andy?”
“Situation like that… it’s me or him. One of us was going down, and it wasn’t going to be me. You can’t take a shot at an assassin and expect to live, Alex.”
“Glad I didn’t shoot,” he says, smiling weakly.
We pass the rest of the ride in silence.
Mr. Iron’s office is on the third floor of a dingy high-rise. I keep Alex in front of me, one hand gripping his back with the other on the trigger of a blaster. There are a couple guards, the kind that look familiar with killing. This could get messy. I brandish Alex at them.
“Brought my entrance ticket.”
The man on the left knocks on the door twice, keeping his eyes on me.
He smirks and nods to the other guard, each holstering their weapons and flicking the safety lock on. Slightly reassuring. Now it’ll take another 5 seconds for them to kill me. I sigh and dock my blaster.
“Gun stays here. You two go in.”
I nod, nudging Alex forward, walking through the door slowly. They shut it behind me, leaving the two of us in the dimly-lit office of one Mr. Iron.
Mr. Iron, as it turns out, is one of the guys on my list of scumbags, a broker I’ve used once or twice in the past. Except he wasn’t Mr. Iron to me. No, that’s too hard a metal for a two-bit drive jockey like Coil. I smile, tossing Alex into the open chair.
“Coil. I might have guessed.”
“Davis. I see you don’t think much of cooperating.”
I shrug. “Not when there are shotguns involved.”
“Probably scaring the maid back in my hotel room. You shouldn’t have come after me like this, Coil. You know better.”
“Would you have come if I asked?”
“Maybe. Depends on why you want me here.”
“Your current contract. I want in.”
“I work alone.”
“Oh? So Rex wasn’t in your hotel room?”
I roll my eyes. “He’s on retainer, asshole. What’s this investigation to you?”
“Me? Nothing. My employer? Quite a lot of money.”
“Someone was stupid enough to hire you?”
“My employer,” he says, breezing past my bait, “would like you to give the recovered information to him instead.”
“I don’t change terms mid-contract, Coil. That’s bad for my rep.”
“He would make it worth your while.”
“Who is this employer?”
“A man with a lot of wealth and power. That’s all you need to know.”
“I’ll determine what I need to know. Give me a name or I walk.”
“You know I can’t give you a name.”
I purse my lips and nod. “Guess we’re done here. Thanks for the social call, Coil. We should catch up sometime.”
“Davis, don’t be stupid. This guy could have half the city after you.”
“And my contract owner couldn’t?”
“I can’t let you walk out that door without agreeing.”
“You got the muscle to back that threat up?”
On cue, two bruisers step out from the room behind. They’re big with matching overgrown vat muscles. My lucky day, it would seem.
“Don’t do this, Coil. This is your last chance. Don’t burn this bridge.”
He gestures to the two bruisers and their blasters. “I don’t think you have the power to negotiate in this situation.”
I sigh, bringing a hand up and rubbing my forehead, using the motion to disguise my scan of the room. Another heat signature in the back room. Guns are unlocked and ready. Body suggests these two are carbon dummies, cheap guards. Odds say I can take them, but Coil and that other signature…
“What about my rep, Coil? You know I can’t take this deal.”
“When he pays you for this information, you won’t need to work again, Davis.”
I sigh again, tensing my legs and getting ready. I hate this part.
I slice the first bruiser’s leg, diving behind him as he falls, his chest taking the blast meant for my head. I tense and jump at the other bruiser’s chest before he can fire again. My hand slips into his chest, blood splattering my face as a shot from Coil burns through my side. I grunt and grab the blaster, using my momentum to continue into the room holding the last heat signature. I press against the wall as another shot from Coil whizzes past me.
There’s a man here, a netrunner that’s jacked in. Should be safe for another few minutes.
“Didn’t have to go this way, Davis!”
“Fuck you, Coil.”
“You could have signed, saved us both the blood.”
I wince and hold my side, the suit slowly sealing around the wound to stop bleeding. Deep breaths hurt, but I take one anyway, throwing the blaster against the far wall as I pull out a knife. His eyes follow the blaster, looking back at the doorway too late, my knife buried deep in his throat. He gurgles and falls, eyes locking with mine as they go cold.
I pull the knife off, Alex staring at me with wide eyes.
“You killed him!”
He sits there and sweats, still tied up. I take care of the runner and grab all the drives I can find, throwing them into an oversized duffel. I drop it on the table next to Alex, holding my side.
“You coming or staying?”
“You can stay here and get killed by the bruisers that come through that door or carry this bag for me in exchange for your life.”
He gulps, nodding and standing.
I slice the bindings and he picks up the duffel, moving towards the back door. Smart boy.
There’s a car out back, probably Coil’s ride. I torch it and call one for a few blocks away, using an alias in case Coil’s employer is watching. We stop, waiting on the car. I eye Alex suspiciously.
“You had better not be staying with me as a way to track me.”
I grit my teeth as the car pulls up, the pain in my side growing.
“If you’re lying, I will kill you,” I tell him, getting into the back seat. “Let’s move.”