Fish and Finger
Hou Hui Kitty's XP
“Please, don’t kill me. I don’t know what you want, I don’t know anything. Just let me go, let me go. Oh please.”
He’s on his knees, hands cuffed behind his back. Just looking at him makes you feel sick to the stomach. The chemically-induced adrenalin rush is fading, making you feel sluggish, thick witted. The pistol weighs heavily in your hand, wavering slightly as you point it at the man in front of you.
Me: Ai, get me more juice.
Ai An: Glands are dry, boss.
You turn back to the fucker in front of you. Self-titled smuggler and libertarian, terrorist and murderer.
“Where did you get it?” Your voice is hoarse, not like your usual dulcet tones. Months of smoking before this body came to you, and smoke inhalation from chemical fires after.
“Get what? I don’t know what you’re talking abou-”
The gun in your hand flashes and kicks, you almost drop it. One side of his face caves in. You feel tired. Stack… get his stack. Then get out of this shithole and the beat up sack you’re sleeved in, back to civilisation. You drop the pistol, it was empty anyway.
Ai An: Knife’s on your thigh, boss.
His neck is thick and rubbery, resisting the knife.
Ai An: Bioweave. Try 3cm right, 6cm down, there should be a gap.
The knife slides in, making entire slabs of his skin move. Blood gushes over your fingers.
Ai An: Boss.
The vertebrae are slippery under your fingers.
Ai An: Boss.
No stack, you must have missed it. You try again.
Ai An: Boss.
Me: Fuck’s sake, what?
Ai An: _Nanite warning. I’ve activated the nanophages, but if it’s what we think it is, they won’t hold long. Stack is secondary now. _
Me: Fuck. Fuck!
Ai An: Left breast pocket. It’s primed for five seconds.
You take the brushed metal cylinder from the pocket, thumbing the tactile controls on one end. Months of work: trawling the networks for leads, working through dead-end after dead-end until finally tracking this fucker down to a sphere in the rim, fighting and sneaking past his drug-fiend groupies. And for what? No stack, no data.
Ai An: We slowed him down, boss. That’s good enough.
Me: Yeah. See you on the other side.
His flesh starts moving, fingers clutching spasmodically, extruding superthin filaments. You jam your thumb down.
Ai An: Hey boss. You’re back up.
Me: How long?
Ai An: 14 days. High priority, but high sensitivity too. They left you nearly everything.
Me: And the sphere?
Ai An: Gone. Not a trace left. But there’s another lead, out near Jupiter.
Me: Yeah. Back to work, then.