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Century23: Ricochet by Ndro (critique requested)

       “It’s midnight on Thursday, August eighth, 2244; here are today’s headlines from INN Atlantia…” The Holovision squawked away to itself in its corner as Gerhard Weißmann stood on the balcony of his Columbia Sector apartment, looking out on the dark ruins of Capitol Hill. “…terrorist group The North-Am Unionists have claimed responsibility for the car bomb outside the President’s Richmond Sector home this afternoon, still no word from…” A Police skimmer thundered overhead, searchlight scanning the streets. Losing interest with the view, he made his way indoors, and sat before the Holo. “…activists across the globe are condemning Santiago-Lansing’s use of Thermobaric weapons to clear industrial ruins in the North American Development Zone. The European Federal State has claimed that the usage of low-yield Stun Grenades by National Police on a pro-Bavarian Independence demonstration yesterday in Berlin was justified given the circumstances…”  Catching movement out of the corner of his eye, Weißmann flicked the Holo off, and smiled a wry smile. He waited.
      Out on the balcony, a shady figure dragged herself up and over the railings. The ground lay twenty four and a half floors below her, but her climb up the side of the apartment block had attracted little attention. Even in the relatively opulent Columbia Sector, you never asked why someone was climbing up your apartment block. She heaved the satchel containing her tools of the trade over the railing behind her. She looked up and froze. The door to the apartment was still open. Shit. Worse still, she could see the target, even if he did have his back to her. She remained still in the shadows for a few moments until she was convinced the target hadn’t seen her.
      Weißmann moved through the apartment to the kitchen, still smiling like a Cheshire cat. Time for a celebration, he thought to himself, as he grabbed a bottle of champagne out of the fridge. Fully expecting company tonight, he added a pair of glasses before returning to the living space. Sitting back down in front of the inactive Holo, he began to wait. After a while he started grinning again. There was that movement out the corner of his eye again.
“I fully expect your here to attempt to kill me, correct?” Weißmann declared to the room.

      Shit. This had thrown her. The target was supposed to be unaware that a contract was out on his life. The intel had said… Damn. No time to worry, not anymore. She pulled out here Pistol, and drew the firing hammer back. She had a job to do, and professional pride didn’t allow for momentary setbacks or stage fright interfering with the job.
“Yep. Now I want you to know this isn’t anything personal, just business…” She said flatly. There wasn’t any point in saying it, but it put here mind at rest, just like all the other times.
“I can imagine. There must be hundreds of people who want Gerhard Weißmann dead…” Despite his calm monotone, there was the slightest hint of annoyance. Not fear, though. This worried her.
“Quite a few, yes.” She said, trying to retain her composure as she started to squeeze the trigger. There was a faint noise somewhere behind her, but she ignored it.
“Say goodbye Mr. Weißmann.”
      There was the distinctive sound of a Blake’s Striker 12-Special being cocked behind her. Every instinct inside her wanted to turn around, but she knew nothing good would come of it.
“Like you said, nothing personal.” Came a new voice from behind her, thick with an English accent. The muzzle of a gun was pressed hard into the back of her head. “Now I’ve met some dumb Jacks in my time, but it’s been a hell of a long time since I met one stupid enough to take a hit on Gerhard Weißmann. How much they paying you? Can’t nearly enough.”
“Fifty Mill, Atlantian.” She closed here eyes, realised what was about to happen. Every Jack in the city knew what would happen when they screwed up a job, she was no exception.
“Heh, just fifty? I guess the demands starting to fall” Replied the voice, with a sarcastic tone that dripped with contempt. Weißmann simply laughed, he hadn’t moved since the gun was pressed against his head. “Now, stand up and drop the gun.” She did as told, still not opening her eyes.
“Back out onto the balcony” Came the voice again, and she obeyed. She stopped when she hit the railing. She didn’t even hear the trigger being pulled.
      The body of the assassin tumbled backwards over the railing and disappeared into the murky darkness between the balcony and the street. The man in the suit blew the smoke away from the gun, wiped a fleck of blood off of his tie and turned back to his employer.
“You. You were late.” Weißmann dropped the calm monotone and made his displeasure known to his bodyguard.
“Your not dead though, Mr. Weißmann.” The man picked up a glass of champagne and eyed it carefully as he spoke.
“No. But I do hate to leave such things to chance.” Weißmann flicked on the Holo again, his mood calming slightly. “As much as having the best hired gun in the city on my payroll provides security, it would help if he acted like a professional occasionally.”

      Twenty-five stories below, the body of a woman ended its journey by hitting a slabster parked by the kerbside and caving in its metal roof. The various nocturnal passers by totally ignored it.

Century23: Ricochet (critique requested)


1 November 2012 at 12:05:27 MDT

A short flavour piece to start off a series of ongoing stories set in a cyberpunk world of my own design. This piece was intended as a quick introduction to the nameless main character and give groundwork for what he does and the universe around him, which I will expand upon in the future.

The second, much longer, Century23 story "...But It Pours" is currently in development and should be up here soon.

C&C More than welcome.

Century23, the setting and related characters are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. (CC)2012 Dom Barlow, Some Rights Reserved.

Submission Information

Literary / Story