Monday, February 2, 2009

Some Fiction for lack of real content.

For lack of real content right now... I dug this piece of fiction out of my old files today. Its the 'opening gambit' off a story called 'Blood and Water' that I wrote as an exemplar for an writing site that never got off the ground - but I like it, so I'll share.

I hope you enjoy. Some folks will recognize the main character's name.

-Jon

Blood and Water - Opening Gambit.

Darkness was always an ally, he’d been taught, years before, but never a friend – because it gave the same advantages to both sides – if they knew how to use them. At the moment it was a mixed blessing, as he continued his attempt to pick the lock of the rooftop entrance to the building. He’d never been particularly adept at the skill, but then, the locks in this city were seldom all that good, either. Good locks cost money, and that was always in short supply.

However – today, this particular lock was beginning to frustrate him. His concentration was suddenly broken by a voice in his ear, “Boss, I’ve seen you pop a lock a hell of a lot faster. You take much more time; you’re going to grow roots.”
The pick he was using snapped and he growled, “Would you like to come down here and do it kid?”

“Um, I’ll pass.” She recognized the edge in his voice, and there was no point twisting the knife.

“Good. Keep the channel clear.” Rising from his crouch he drew his pistol. It was a .45 caliber semi automatic – and as he partner who was across the way would tell you, it was his baby.

From behind her binoculars Silver swore under her breath. The job was supposed to be a silent run – but they hadn’t had enough cred to put together the proper tools, and it was about to get rather loud and personal. The boss, as she often called him though she though of him as more then that, when he wasn’t around – occasionally made rash decisions when he was frustrated. If they were lucky though, they could still pull this off. All he had to do was screw on a silencer…

Aiming at the wood around the door’s bolt, Devin fired three shots in quick succession, waited a moment, and then fired three more. The shots echoed through the night. He hadn’t brought the silencer. It wasn’t that he wanted to be loud; it was that he had no choice. He’d snapped his last good pick in the lock, and now even with a key, he wouldn’t be getting through the door. And – well good quality silencers were hard to find if you didn’t build them into the weapon itself, and Devin hadn’t been able to score any recently with their shortage of cred.

You see, a good silencer for a pistol like a .45 isn't cheap, overly effective, or last very long in many cases. You could make a good one that would last for a good long while to be used with something like a .22, and it wouldn’t make more then a pop for noise if machined correctly. But a big caliber is a different beast. Even if he did have one, it wouldn’t make the gun whisper silent. Though, it would be a far improvement to the noise he was currently making – he simply didn’t have a choice.

Rearing back his foot he slammed it into the door once, then twice, and the third kick, the bolt blew free of the weakened wood frame and the door slammed open. “I’m going in. Watch the street for me.”

“Affirmative,” was all he got in response. Which was just fine, there wasn’t much the girl could do to help him at this point anyway – if they didn’t complete this job, they were going to be in for a hard time. Their intel indicated the building had between five and ten occupants at any one time – three of them were muscle. One was a scientist, and the others were there to see to the scientist’s needs as he worked on… whatever it was he did. The contact hadn’t been overly specific.

Devin’s job was to grab the scientist, make an exit, and deliver him to the welcome arms of a rival gang. In this case the Suits.

In all honesty, Devin hated working for the Suits more than anyone else, even Guiken, but they had cred, and a job – and Devin needed the pay. In all truth, he didn’t really care who ran what, or what gang war was going on. His services, for the most part – went to the highest bidder – and well, if that meant that this week he was shooting the same people he’d helped last week… that was the way the world worked.

That didn’t mean he didn’t have principles, it just meant when a man needed to be paid – sometimes those principles got forgotten…

The first of the goons was at the bottom of the stairway, carrying what looked like a 9mm sub machine gun, one of Guiken’s latest models. Devin didn’t pause a second as he pulled the trigger twice, emptying the last two rounds in the clip into the man’s center mass. The force of the shots slammed the goon up against the back wall of the landing, causing him to lose his grip on his subgun. For half a second, it looked like the man was down. But he started to struggle back up again.

Devin swore, the man was wearing body armour, and he needed to reload. Stupid, he should have popped a fresh mag at the top of the stairs. Now there wasn’t time. Stepping forward he leaped off the top of the landing, his black trench coat fanning out behind him as he drove both feet into the goon’s chest just before he got to his feet, driving the air out of the man’s lungs and slamming him back into the ground. As the man hit the floor, Devin rolled to the side instinctively, and bounced back to his feet, snapped his right wrist and caught the retracted combat baton there with practice ease. Snapping the baton open he brought it down smartly on the goon’s head. He wouldn’t be getting back up, possibly ever.

Pausing before heading down the next flight of stairs, Devin retracted the baton, and slid it back into his sleeve. He only had a few seconds – but what he did with them was going to make all the difference in the world at this point. The building had three stories, but only the ground floor was supposedly occupied. It was where the package did his work for the Syndicate. Chances were that they’d already called in their go card when he’d fired the first shots. That meant he’d have to move quick. But they’d planned for this, more or less.

Flicking the release on his .45 he ejected the spent mag, caught it, and tucked it in his trench pocket in a motion that spoke of long practice, retrieved a fresh one from the magazine bag on his hip, slid it into the weapon with a firm slap of his palm, and then hit the slide release. Sliding the pistol back into his shoulder holster he picked up the fallen goon’s gun, “Silver, talk to me. What have we got?”

“SUV just pulled up in front, standard Syndicate issue. Four goons, package is still inside though. How you want to play it?” Silver answered from her perch

“Kill the truck, clean up any loose ends then get to the van. I’m out in 90 seconds. Don’t be late.” Devin took the stairs down two at a time, subgun up, and ready.

Half a block away, and six stories up, Silver acknowledged, “Rightio. One less SUV, coming right up,” she said softly as she put her eye to the sniper scope, scanned the area again, then pressed the detonator button she’d taped to the rifle’s stock. The ground beside the SUV exploded, slamming a few hundred pounds of concrete and asphalt into the bottom of the vehicle, doing its share of damage, and with enough force that the heavy vehicle toppled over. Giggling softly, Silver smiled. She’d always enjoyed blowing things up – and she had a particular knack for it.

Inwardly she blew out a sigh of relief. She’d planted the charge under the sewer grate with the last of their plastique almost a week ago. She hadn’t been too sure of the detonator then, and it had rained since. But, so far besides the door, Mr. Murphy seemed to be staying out of their way. She saw one goon from inside stick his nose out for a moment then turn back inside suddenly. None of the goons in the truck were moving. They were either dead or injured enough to put them out of the fight for the moment. And she had thirty seconds or so to get to the van. Picking up the rifle she slung it over her shoulder and hoofed it for the far edge of the building.

Inside, Devin came through the door at the base of the stairs with his purloined subgun up and caught the first goon with a burst to the face, since they were wearing body armour, he didn’t hesitate to aim higher this time around. Blood splattered and he turned taking aim at the third, and what should be final goon that was just stepping in from outside the front door. Devin didn’t have time for a precise shot and stitch him from the groin to his neck. As the man fell Devin slung the subgun over his shoulder, it was empty anyway and drew his .45. One by one he quickly cleared the rooms, there was only four, and finally came across his target. He was cowered down beside a workstation of some sort, along with his assistants. “Hello Doc. You’re coming with me – my employers have a job offer you simply cannot refuse.” Striding forward, he kept his gun trained on the three assistants, “As for you three – the contract doesn’t include you – so I would suggest you get out quick – and run for the nearest safe house, the Syndicate is likely not going to be happy with you.”

Outside Silver got to the edge of the building, grabbed a heavy black coil of rope and tossed it over to edge. Snapping the rope into the rappelling harness she already wore, she jumped head first off the building and started rappelling down. Landing on the roof of the delivery van she’d parked there earlier she hit a second detonator switch, this one clipped to her rappelling gear. Above, a small tie of detcord went off and the heavy rope slid down beside her. It wasn’t easy to get these days, and Devin wouldn’t have wanted to leave it behind. Hopping down off the van she hurried to shove the rope in the back then went around the front and hopped in the driver’s seat.

Reaching down Devin dragged the package up by his collar, “Come along Doc, I don’t want to be late. “ Swinging his gun around, he growled at the other three, “Run. NOW.”

They got the message and bolted for the door.

Pushing the package before him, Devin headed for the door. As typical, the scientist chose now to start protesting, “My work. I can’t leave… if I don’t complete the work the Syndicate will kill me, and my family.”

It was a typical sob story, and Devin wasn’t listening, “Bub the contract is for you – you want to tell my employer about your family, that’s your business. I’m just supposed to make sure your delivered reasonably unharmed, now MOVE.” The package moved, but a bit slower then Devin wanted, so he shoved harder. As they stepped into the buildings foyer they were presented with one of the assistants, who had retrieved one of the dead goon’s subguns, “I can’t let you take the doctor. His work is too important to the Syndicate to interrupt.”

Devin frowned, “I don’t have time for this – and you really don’t want to get shot. So put the gun down, and get the hell out.”

“No.”

“What are you gonna do? Shoot me?” Devin brought his pistol in line with the man’s head, “Cause chances are, you’ll hit the doctor.”

Outside, the squeal of tires could be heard.

“No. She is.”

Devin cursed and shoved the Doctor, before heading for the floor. Behind him, the second submachine gun ripped off a burst. A few of them caught him low in the back as he fired twice at the first assistant, both bullets catching him in the chest, and dropping him like a bad habit. Unlike the goons, and himself, the assistants weren’t wearing body armour. His ‘leather’ trench coat had a pair of flexible Kevlar layers built into the upper section like a vest, and he was wearing a Kevlar and ceramic vest below that. That didn’t mean it didn’t hurt like hell to get shot though.

Rolling over he aimed at the second assistant, a petite little brunette who’d already dropped the subgun in shock. “Girl, get up and get the fuck out or I will put you on a slab.”

She didn’t need to be told twice. Getting up she ran for the door. Staggering as the pain of what felt like a busted rib hit him; Devin pushed himself up, and collected both subguns, shouldering them both before moving over to the doctor, “Get up.” When the package didn’t move fast enough, Devin grabbed him by the back of his collar and yanked him upwards, “I said UP.”

“I… I’ve been shot.”

Devin glanced down, hit in the upper arm, close to the shoulder, but it didn’t seem to be bleeding too badly, “It’s a flesh wound, now MOVE.”

With a shove they headed out front. Silver already had the van waiting. She shoved open the side door from inside, “What the hell took you boss?”

“Never mind. Get him inside and cover him. He’s been shot, but I’ll see to it in a minute.“ While Silver dragged the package into the van Devin dumped his acquired toys, holstered his pistol, and grabbed a pair of grenades from the back of the van. Jogging back inside despite the pain in his back he pulled the pins on the two canister grenades and tossed them in opposite directions before jogging back out to the van, hopping in the back and slamming the door shut, “Lass, get us the hell out of Syndicate territory.”

“Way ahead of you boss.” Silver replied as she put the truck in gear and floored it.

Behind them the two white phosphorus grenades exploded, setting fire to anything and everything they touched as the sound of private security sirens and squealing tires could be heard. Still, it looked like they’d gotten away clean. Coughing with a wince of pain Devin looked at the package, “Alright Doc let me see what I can do about that arm.”

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