Catherine considered that she was perhaps a bit too “aggressive” in how she presented herself, but she had faith in the fact that these criminals wouldn’t be too perturbed with a bit of bloodshed.
Still, when she looked back, a few were at least noticeably flustered. That was unsatisfactory for this operation, but Catherine had expected for minor discrepancies in the plan such as this. Indeed, this was a rather satisfactory outcome given the circumstances of her arrival. Regardless, she tried to maintain a calm composure as her group filed into the aircraft.
After everyone had entered, the pilot had closed the back door and slowly began to lift the machine off the ground. Catherine knew that this flight would take some time, so she had to keep the group occupied for the duration.
”I must say, Catherine, I don’t think most of us feel as if we would gain much from joining you at this point. Perhaps you should explain why we shouldn’t turn around and get back in our cars?”
"I'm gonna have to agree. Security for this shindig was a bit of a shit-show, yeah?"
"Merely a name is insufficient, I'll need more to go on than 'Catherine.' Who do you work for? Who did they work for?" She gestured at the dead suits."Where is this ride taking us?"
This was the sort of hostility and wariness she had expected. She had assumed this would come as a shock to most, given how they were under the assumption of some steady-state world in which they would get their assignment from the men in black and that would be that. Their brains had already filled in the gaps based on some assumption that this job would be easy and straightforward.
— When you assume, you make an ass of u and me —
“Listen . . . I’m as much in the dark of all this as you guys are. The fact of the matter is that our location was compromised. Those guys back there were some unsavory characters who were out to do all of us some harm,” Catherine sighed, “I’m from Biotechnica. I’m here to help you on what you guys were hired to do. You can trust me . . . because you sure can’t trust those two anymore,”
"Takes more than a couple pellet guns to blow this kid away," he said with a grin, "But for real, they knew who we were and how to contact us. Does Biotechnica know who these guys were with?"
“You’re sadly mistaken if you think they contacted you all. Regardless, I don't know who they really were . . . but hopefully the road will soon be illuminated,”
The aircraft gave a faint hum as it moved swiftly through the air. The vibrations gave a feeling of security, a sort of white noise that could slow things down and drown out the troubled of the world, if only for a little while.
A phone rang within an auto shop.
No one answered.
It rang again.
No one answered.
It rang again.
A bald headed man with a goatee went to pick it up. He wore dirty cargo pants and an old leather jacket, beneath that was a graphic tee with some esoteric vector cube design. He looked perturbed. His smoking session with his buddies had been interrupted. He spoke in a groggy and hostile tone, as if he were just woken up.
“Yeah, Jim’s Chop-shop, you need sumthin’?”
“Zinc Bison Twenty-two three”
The bald man’s tone changed immediately. It became dull and lifeless, almost mechanic. Like one of those old text-to-speech programs.
“Mobilize your gang. Information will be sent via neural uplink”
The caller hung up. The man put the phone down and silently walked back to his friends.
“Right boys. We got a job to do,”
Three SUVs sped down the street as fast as they could, ignoring all stop lights, their tires squealing at every turn. They were unmarked, yet clean, their windows were tinted very dark, to an extent where it was impossible to see into the car from any angle.
The bald man had a small laptop, on it was open an application of Google Maps, however it was clear that the program wasn’t tracking his car, but another machine, something that could fly.
After a second the car lurched in a sharp left turn, the centripetal force shifting all passengers to their right.
The man kept his eyes glued to the windshield. After a few seconds of driving, he saw what he was looking for.
The rocket shot off towards its target.
The aircraft violently shook, and within less than a second, a feeling of downward motion seemed everpresent. Catherine looked at the pilot, who himself tried desperately to pull the aircraft up from it’s descent into the earth, but the movements of his yoke were little more than death throes as his aircraft clipped the edge of a building and plummeted onto the streets of Night City.
She braced for impact.
Their target crashed right in front of them. A sitting duck, and all they had to do was wait. They had a perfect sightline of anyone trying to crawl out of the wreckage.
“EASY MONEY, BOYS!” he yelled out of his car as he motioned for his convoy to halt, “3 K for each body! Post up here!”
His men got out of their vehicles, creating a barrier from which they could shoot from. They each held rather sophisticated weaponry: rifles and shotguns, each holding enough power to rip a large chunk of flesh out of their target should their handler’s aim be true. They tried to keep calm, but their excitement could be easily gleaned from their fidgeting and darting pupils.
A few men used some of the fire escapes to get onto the roofs of the overlooking buildings, creating multiple nests from which they could see both the front and back of the now burning wreckage.
They were ready for a fight.
It wasn’t long before Catherine had regained her composure to a point where she could focus well enough. Her head ached a bit, but she was otherwise unharmed and unaffected. She wasn’t sure about the others, though. A cursory glanced confirmed the worst.
The pilot’s section of the aircraft had been completely crushed during the impact. The aircraft had gone vertical, it’s front end bearing the full brunt of the force before tipping into its normal position.
That brothel owner, the one with the brown hair and weird eyes, Damian, seemed to have gotten the worst of it. He was sprawled out on the floor, his head right up against the wall of the cabin. His neck was hyperextended, to a point where it was clearly evident that his spinal chord had been snapped, most likely as a result of being flung across as the aircraft crashed into the ground.
The Israeli girl, Gabriella, had likely suffered as worse a fate. While she had sat comfortably in her chair, the force of the impact had warped some of the metal frame behind her, which, combined with the irregular and powerful whiplash of the crash, had caused this chunk of metal to embed deep into her abdomen. The death was probably quick, as it had likely impacted vital parts of her circulatory system.
The next casualty had been the Chinese decker, Chiue. She lay face up on the floor of the cabin, a single shard of glass protruding from her jugular, her blood spraying profusely onto the floor. It seemed that the pressure of the explosion had shattered the glass on the windows of the cabin, and the weight and shape of the glass was enough to puncture her neck as the aircraft came to a sudden halt at the bottom of its descent.
“Well, this is bad,” Catherine thought for a moment.
“Wait here, I’ll be back. Don’t die.”
Catherine slipped out of the wreckage, dodging the rain of bullets by ducking behind the hood of a car. She slipped into one of the alleyways and ran as fast as she could.
She had a job to do.