Oh, what I wouldn’t give to live way out here on Pluto. Everything about the colony was lovely. The trees were massive and beautiful, the ground was softer than anything I could have imagined, and best of all it was peaceful. There are so few members of Chronos, the organization I work for, here. The people out here are almost entirely independent from the troubles of Earth. This job is about to change everything for this colony, and not in a good way.
“Colt,” the pilot of the ship that had brought me here, and my handler for this job, nudged my shoulder as she said my name to get my attention, “this is the place. Let’s get this over with so we can go home.”
“Will do, Cap’n,” I responded as I sarcastically saluted her then stepped away, towards the café she had pointed out, “go back to the ship, I need to do this part on my own. Get the package out and prepped, I’ll be back soon.”
She glared at me then left, muttering something about always getting stuck with THESE jobs and having to deal with people like THAT boy, heading back to the landing zone where we had left the ship. I entered the small building and went to a table in the back left corner of the dining area. As I sat down in the seat facing the doors I had just come through I tapped my C-Watch and the digital display appeared in front of me, I opened the notes app and glanced around the room, taking note of my surroundings.
A counter ran along the wall on the same side as my table, there was a door leading into what I guessed was a kitchen behind it, leading into a room that was right next to me. A display like my C-Watch’s was hovering above a C-Tech computer at the end of the counter farthest from me with an older, friendly-looking woman behind it ready to take customers’ orders. The barista, a guy with olive colored skin and dark brown, shoulder-length hair who looked to be around my age, stood behind the counter making drinks. A young couple sat together on some bar stools at the counter holding hands and chatting quietly as they waited for their drinks. Three other people, a man with a goatee, a lady who was watching videos of cats, and a businessman sat throughout the dining area minding their own business and paying attention to their C-Watch displays and drinking their coffee. The rest of this room was empty. Through the wall behind me I could hear several voices of people I assumed were chefs in the kitchen. The double-doored entrance was directly across from me with a large window next to it. Three similar windows made up the wall across from the counter.
Barista, cashier, lovebirds, goatee guy, cat lady, Mr. Business, at least a couple chefs… looks like I’ve got a minimum of nine people here that aren’t my target. As for exits I’ve got the main entrance, any of the four windows, and potentially the kitchen.
As I made my notes, I began formulating different plans in case things started to get messy before I could finish the job. None of the plans seemed perfect, but they were good enough and would cause the least collateral damage possible if things went wrong.
Suddenly the front doors swung open and three people walked in. A small, thin man in a red silk suit and black-rimmed glasses was in the middle and a little in front of the other two with him. He was almost as pale as the tile floor of the room we were in with nicely cropped black hair and piercing blue eyes. He was clearly the one in charge of the small group. On the leader’s left was a bulky and well-built man who was white, but not nearly as pale as the leader, in a black suit and jet-black aviator glasses. I noticed a gun hidden under his suit jacket immediately. The final member of the group was a woman with ebony skin who looked much more dangerous than the two men. She was tall and had the body of an athlete, she wore simple jeans and a pink blouse with white flowers on it. Several knives and what appeared to be a scimitar hung from her waist and an assault rifle of some kind hung on her back. She immediately looked around the room with her dark eyes and took in the situation quickly.
“Um… you can’t have those in here ma’am,” the barista said as he nervously glanced between each of the weapons that made up the woman’s arsenal.
“Ah… wait outside darling,” Red Suit said as if just registering the fact that his companion had entered a public building with all these weapons, “Norm and I can handle the meeting, it should be quick.”
The barista and the cashier stared nervously as the woman left the building, then went back to their tasks after staring at the men for a moment longer. The other three people had barely taken notice of the new arrivals before they were distracted by their C-Watch displays again. I noticed the cashier had her hand underneath the counter, likely getting ready to press the emergency button if something started so that the authorities would be notified and be able to come help. I turned my display off and patiently waited for the two men to come over to me.
The two men went up to the counter and ordered themselves drinks, waited for the barista to make them, then walked straight over to me. Red Suit sat in the chair across from me and Norm the bodyguard stood next to him with his hand settled on the grip of his gun.
“So, Maria doesn’t even come here herself when she needs my help,” Red Suit said matter-of-factly before sipping his coffee, “that’s not a good way to start doing business together.”
“Maria is very busy on Earth right now. She sent me instead, I’m Aidan.”
“Well, Aidan, this meeting will be even shorter than I expected. I needed to talk to Maria directly to finish our business.”
“It’s too late,” I pulled my display back up and glanced at the info I had been given about my target, “Orion, Maria found your demands unreasonable… and unacceptable. So, she’s decided that it’s time for you to be replaced with someone… more agreeable.”
The small amount of color that was in Orion’s skin immediately drained from his face at my words. He quietly glanced between me, Norm, and the front doors, as if he was weighing all his options. Apparently, he decided any attempt to leave was not going to work because he spoke again, much more desperately this time.
“Now, now… that won’t be necessary, I have already done most of my part for Maria’s cause, very well I might add, I just want a little more for my efforts… a little more for what she wants me to do in the future.”
“Like I said… it’s too late, Orion,” I pulled the small but deadly device from my pocket as I stared at him calmly, “your replacement is already here, and I have my orders. Goodbye.”
With that I clicked the button on the device in my hands and felt the long needle extend instantly, stabbing into the man’s thigh. He whimpered in pain then turned ghostly pale as the quick-acting poison entered his bloodstream. As his head slumped onto the table and Norm drew his gun, I launched myself out of my seat and into the bodyguard, tackling him to the ground and stabbing my concealed blade into his throat, slicing through his carotid artery. People screamed all around me, the couple who had been at the counter practically fell from their stools and ran for the doors. The barista jumped over the counter and ran after them while the cashier went for the kitchen door. The three people who hadn’t been paying attention before jumped from their seats, spilling their coffees and went for the main entrance as well. I grabbed the gun from Norm’s hand as blood seeped from his neck and covered the floor around his head then followed the people who had gone out the front doors.
Before we were even all the way outside, assault rifle fire sounded, I jumped behind a car and watched as the barista fell, holding his side and crying out in pain. Cat video lady ducked back inside the building, narrowly avoiding the bullets. Goatee guy and Mr. Business both went down with bleeding holes in their chests, neither moved after falling to the ground. The couple was luckier and got away from the gunfire by falling to the ground and crawling behind a mailbox on the side of the road. People who had been outside on the streets or sidewalks ran away screaming, cars swerved and either crashed into buildings, things or people or managed to turn around swiftly without incident and drove away at high speeds. More gunfire sounded and I heard bullets slamming into the other side of my cover.
“You’ll pay for those murders!” A woman’s voice, which I assumed belonged to the woman who had been with Orion and Norm, shouted at me from the other side of the street. “The Plutoan Mob won’t forgive you for this!”
I checked the ammo in Norm’s pistol then pulled my own small handgun out of my boot where it had been concealed. With a gun in each hand, I stood up and aimed across the street in the direction I’d heard her voice. She was hidden behind a column of the Plutoan Central Bank. I saw two bank security officers dead on the stairs leading to the entrance. I fired a couple shots, hitting the column and making her move slightly away from the edge where she had been standing to easily duck in and out of cover. Suddenly I felt someone grab my foot and I instantly aimed down, pointing my guns into the barista’s face, I lowered the weapons and crouched behind my cover once again.
“Help me,” he begged as tears of pain and fear fell from his hazel eyes, “p-please… I d-don’t wanna d-die.”
Guilt momentarily filled my mind as I looked at the young guy on the ground next to me, dying because of a situation I had caused. The feeling of guilt was swept under the rug when more gunfire sounded, and bullets slammed into the car. I could hear sirens approaching from both directions.
No time for guilt… not now, not ever.
“Put pressure on it,” I instructed sternly, “if you’re still breathing in a few minutes, I’ll see what I can do.”
Once again, I stood up, the woman was still aiming at the car so I fired instantly, making her duck back into cover before she could fire at me. I moved over to a different car that would give me a better angle on her and fired again, blood sprayed from her thigh as one of my bullets hit while she moved to the other side of the column. I slowly moved towards the column with my weapons up, ready to fire and end this woman’s life so I could leave. I reached the column and could hear the woman’s pained breathing on the opposite side from me. I put the guns in my pockets and drew a knife from a sheath concealed by my coat and moved around the column. She aimed her rifle at me, but I knocked it to the side since I was in close quarters with her now. She dropped the weapon and ducked under a swing of my knife, drawing her scimitar to fight me.
“The whole of Chronos will know the wrath of the Plutoan Mob, boy,” she said as she swung and jabbed at me, “Maria Kaplan has made a new enemy today, and your whole organization will pay for it.”
I easily dodged or parried her strikes and jabs and tried to get in close enough to end the fight with my knife. When she swung at me next, I rolled to the left then swiped my knife up, cutting into her wrist and making her drop her sword. She grunted in pain and grabbed one of her knives with her good hand, slicing across my stomach, the point of the blade leaving a very shallow cut across my skin. I yanked my knife free from her arm and knocked her blade away before jabbing the blade of my weapon up into her stomach and twisting it. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head, and she collapsed, dead on the ground.
The sirens were wailing so loudly now I knew that the authorities would be here in seconds, a minute at best, I picked the knife that had cut me up and tucked it into my pocket so that I wouldn’t leave any DNA behind to be found, searched her pockets for an ID but didn’t find one, next I ran over to the dead security officers, checked their pockets for their wallets and took their IDs. Once I had collected those, I ran over to Goatee Guy and Mr. Business and did the same. Finally, I went back to the barista. He was barely conscious, but still alive. I opened the back door of the car and as gently as possible moved him from the sidewalk to the back seat of the car, he moaned in pain at the movement. Then I climbed in the driver’s seat and quickly hotwired the car then sped off down a sideroad, away from the scene.
The docking ramp of the ship was already down, and the ship was running, ready to leave as soon as I boarded. Instead of leaving the car, and the dying barista, behind I drove straight up the ramp and parked in the cargo bay. One of the crewmen of the ship quickly used the controls to close the ship off and the pilot ascended as the cargo ramp sealed us in.
Mission complete… although picking up a new passenger hadn’t been part of the plan.