“So friend, iz this your first time in Germany?”
“Planning on staying long?”
The moustached clerk maintained a warm smile and nodded as if he and the blonde haired man were old friends catching up with one another. It had always struck Voyt as odd how friendly the German people seemed to be, the business owners anyway, perhaps it was just a way to maintain a consumer base. Voyt still didn’t like it. Nobody was that happy.
“Can I use your bathroom?” Voyt asked with the same terse tone he’d maintained since he came in, the clerk didn’t seem to notice as he chuckled for no apparent reason and made a joke about oral hygiene before pointing to a thick wood door next to a row of energy drinks.
Voyt beelined for the door as the clerk laughed on behind him, quickly putting down the lock and breathing a small sigh of relief to himself. He relaxed himself and walked towards the mirror, taking off his bag and letting it thud to the floor as he did so. Voyt stared at his reflection, his dirty blonde hair really being the only indicating factor of who he was, had you seen him before, the cowboy ensemble gone, for now, and the dark paint around his eyes washed off.
Considering the climate wasn’t exactly suited to Voyt’s usual attire he didn’t complain much, though he felt naked without his mask, but if he wanted to distance himself fully from his usual appearance then he’d need to go a little further. Voyt took out a pair of scissors from his bag and draped his head over the sink,carefully snipping away the length from his hair, a process that went slow but Voyt’s typical steady hand and presence of mind made it relatively painless.
Voyt turned on the sink and let the water wash away the flecks of hair he’d left behind as he looked back up at his reflection, his hair now short and neat at the back, he wasn’t one for elaborate styles so Voyt parted the front of his hair to the side and left it at that. He bent down and pulled on his green bomber jacket and black gloves as he prepared to once again go out into the cold, but not before taking out his twin SAA’s and allowing himself a moment to enjoy holding them once more. He placed his guns into the specially fitted holsters in his coat and exited the bathroom,
Voyt braced himself as the clerk lit up upon seeing him again, a quip about Voyt’s new haircut began escaping from his lips but the gunslinger immediately tuned him out as he turned his attention to a TV mounted on the corner.
"This is Molly Schuler, and tragedy has struck at the Brazilian Fighting cup in Rio!" Molly started off. "Right when the first match begun, a horde of machines, descended upon the stadium, and caused a massacre. Destroying a majority of the stadium, along with the death of many civilians."
Molly cleared her throat as she continued.
"Brave MAVERICK soldiers fought bravely to ensure the contestants, and survivors get to safety, but it seems an explosive went off in the building." Molly started off. "Authorities are still looking for survivors."
She centered herself.
"MAVERICK is still investigating who is behind this attack, but it is believed to be either the work of the dreaded ZODIAC group..." Molly trailed off, as she pressed her earpiece, and turned to the side. "... We have received word that the two terrorists, Justin Haggar, and a woman who refers to herself as Seven, are the two behind the attack."
"These two are responsible for the destruction of MAVERICK headquarters, currently with a bounty of a trillion dollars," Molly started off. "Said bounty has doubled to two trillion dollars each. Seven is wanted strictly alive..."
It was a repeat, even though it had been about two weeks since Rio the incident was fresh on everybody’s minds, a bounty like that would be publically broadcasted on it’s own but the trouble at the arena had people from all over the world honing in on it. Anti-Nomad activists using the incident to further their campaigns, conspiracy theorists debating the presence and nature of the robots that attacked the place, a mass of voices crying over each other to make a point about something they never really understood. Voyt hadn’t been altogether pleased they’d essentially broadcasted his bounty for the rest of the world but then he wasn’t exactly their exclusive hitman, their way of reminding him he was a hired gun he supposed.
Voyt stared intently at the footage on screen, the fire raging across the arena as the remnants of that massive machine stood broken in the centre. It bothered him, he understood that, but he had more trouble comprehending why. He didn’t exactly order those robots to attack nor did he even aid them. Pushing the thought from his mind as quickly as it entered the gunslinger took a step outside, the polite farewell from the store clerk barely registering behind him.
Voyt was much more concerned with the metallic abomination blotting out the sky above him.
The clerk rushed out of his store and stood beside the cowboy, whereas Voyt’s typical indifference gave way to a slight frown the clerk’s jovial disposition changed to a mixture of awe and fear, he continued to gaze up at the beast while addressing Voyt, a touch of weariness undercutting his words.
“They never stop, they attack relentlessly and without warning… We have had no luck in stopping them.”
Voyt turned to face the man, he opened his coat slightly, enough to show the clerk the revolvers they concealed. Though unfamiliar with the concept, Voyt spoke with assurance, however vague it might have been.
“If I were you, I’d get outta here while you have the chance. Don’t look back and don’t stop for anyone but the people you care the most about. This, all of this. It’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets better. With the bounty out, there’ll be nomads coming from all over to break apart these things, just wait it out somewhere safe.”
The clerk looked at Voyt hesitantly before gazing once more up at the dragon, now seeming to carry a blot on the side of its wing as its roar pierced the landscape below. He stared back at voyt and gave a slight nod before walking in the opposite direction down the street, slowly breaking out into a jog and then a run.
Unholstering his revolvers, Voyt began walking down the street as several of the village’s denizens fled in terror from the scene. The gunslinger didn’t expect to find his targets among the ones fighting the dragon but perhaps he could find someone to point him in the right direction, besides, he hadn’t done undercover work in some time.