"Looks like Mister Marrón's hint was worth its money", he thought while trying to bring some distance between him and his dead colleague's body. The faint glow of the tattoos on the corpse would be radiating a false impression of life for a few more minutes. By the time the body lost the last artificial shine Armand would have long been gone. Once again he was thankful that the shock drove all distracting thoughts out of his mind. There would be an appropriate time later today, maybe tomorrow to grieve over the dead and to feel guilt over the relief that someone else had died instead of him. "It could have been him" was the combination of words that was used most often when people talked about him. Many spoke those words with regret, his confidents though spoke with respect and admiration. Los Muertos, the dead, were people who had been taught that their lives didn't bear any value. Many grew up as orphans, others turned themselves into ones. As dead as a living soul could be, with no friends or family to hold a dear memory of them, they were made to live the ruthless underground life of a criminal. However, no matter how carelessly they gambled with their lives they would never have trusted someone else as a leader than one of them. They would never have trusted someone who valued his own life higher then theirs. And Armand assigned himself first to the most dangerous missions. The difference between him and all the others was that he always managed to get away. He should have been dead so many times. But he wasn't. Which made him the ghost walker among the doomed.
Leaving the corpses of his enemies and his ally behind he made is way out of the empty industrial building, keeping his captive close. Only the smallest part of his attention was on him though. The virus he had transferred to his hostage was written by Armand himself. There was no reason for him to expect any complications. As soon as he stepped out of the building the signal of his spy cams reached him. "Nobody knows the streets better than him", people said. But it wasn't luck that had kept Armand alive. A security force was approaching from three blocks south. He couldn't blame them for being slow, not this time. This place wasn't an official Haas-Bioroid outpost and was further located in a suburb known for its criminal activity. With all the shootings lately there was no reason for them to expect something other than the usual trouble. He and his obedient companion ran across the street, to the left and to the right and to the left again. They were standing at the beginning of a crowded street.
"Whaddya buyin'?" "I take a safe trip to G45", Armand said to the young girl who was sitting at the side of the street. Her hair matched the color of the neon pink sign that tried to direct attention to the ice cream place in the next building. "We have to avoid the New Atlantic district but otherwise it's safe. No special patrols tonight", she answered and stood up. "The stuff I'm leaving is an additional 500" she said with a look at all the random tech items she had spread out over a blanket. "I'd say this is more like 420, but I'll give you the extra 80 as an investment into a very successful ongoing partnership", Armand said with a grin. Without taking a look back the girl left her things and led them along the busy Main Street. She knew better than to lie her eyes on the stranger that accompanied them. Armand was quiet but calm, absorbing the lights and the sounds around him. He felt the unevenness of the pavement under his shoes. Every now and then the girl stopped to greet a person and exchanged a few words. Sometimes those words made them speed up their pace, sometimes it made them walk around the block in a circle, most times just confirming what Armand's spy cams had already told him. Anyway, you could never have enough data.
"You will receive your payment tomorrow. Now go east and don't turn around", he said to the girl after an almost hour long walk. She would have really liked to take a closer look at the other man, the one who had followed them along without any words or hesitation. But she did as Armand had ordered. As soon as she had vanished behind the corner he turned back north and went into a street that was full with bars and clubs. In front of the one that was called "The Net" he took out a cigarette and gave it to his captive before he lit one himself. "Pretend to be smoking. Makes it look way less suspicious to hang around outside a bar", he said more to himself than to the other one who didn't require a reason to obey.
After smoking half of the cigarette a man approached them.
"Noise, is it you this time?"
"If you'd prefer that then sure let's just say it's me, Armand."
"I would really rather know if I'm talking to an old friend or a stranger. However, you or one of your copies was right. So I got the tech." And lowering his voice he added: "Here is what you asked for: the only Bioroid in existence that has been built without the first directive."
story by regenschein
21 Mar 2017 igrekk
21 Mar 2017 hlynurd