Chapter 07 - Café Take Two.
I look in the mirror. Standard issue militia urban combats, black with a neat waist length jacket , topped off with a captains cap. I've chosen the orange piping and insignia of a captain in the local militia for the last couple of days. A sparse selection of weapons, mostly knives and hand guns will do. I don't want to draw too much attention to myself, it's meant to be a covert op until uncle has had chance to hire him.
After two years of wearing hi-tech combat make-up it's a joy to only have to apply a little cosmetic. Blusher and lipstick. I had to have a weeks reconstruction on my face and hands after the last tour of duty, just to get their youthful glow back again.
I've been following him for days now, “Good practice for you!” Uncle said.
The Café Venue for dinner every day. Just to sit and sulk there over a couple of beers as he dribbles over the refurb. He's probably been like this for weeks now, old spacers get a bit station sick if they're lock bound for too long.
The tells in his corridor squeak and the vid feed kicks in. I check the clock on my mesh. “Right on time Ramadan, my friend.” predictable as usual.
He's cautious but not as clever as he thinks he is. I see him scan the corridor, like he knows I'm watching, but can't work out where the tells are. It makes me grin. I can get to the lobby a minute or two before he hits the ground floor. I wait surreptitiously reading a mesh page or two on pad whilst waiting for him in the lobby by the concession stands. The lift chimes and out he walks. Off down the corridor towards the recreation deck and his favourite table in Café Venue. I could almost set my mesh chronometer by him.
Tipping the wink to the concierge, a man in the families pay for many years now, I follow at a discreet distance trying not to get noticed, slipping in and out of doorways until the street becomes more populated, and I can walk in the middle of the crowd, hidden in plain view.
He stops at the usual vendors. The news stand for any new off station publications he may have missed. The postal box he maintains on the station just in case any documents have arrived or other ancient flotsam his intelligent agents may have dug up, and purchased , for him has arrived whilst he's been away. Then into the dark seedy interior of the café.
I wait a minute or so, so as not to be obvious, then sneak in and take my position at the bar. Easy observation of the one set of stairs to the upper level of the bar. He'll settle for an hour or two and I can wait him out. I've taken a couple of suppressors so I can easily sit and drink without any danger of it impairing my effectiveness.
Time passes slowly. I keep myself to myself, just reading and drinking, waiting for him to move on. Playing the off duty militia the best I can.
“Hello darling.” One of a couple of Ruffs I notice crawling in earlier has decided to try his luck.
“Not interested brother.” I reply, as politely as I can.
Trying not to shudder at the thought of him getting any nearer than he is now.
“Ah come on lady don't be like that. We've been running long shift for three months now and just thought you would want to party. We've just been paid so no expense spared. How about it?”
“I said I wasn't interested brother, take a hint and back off before I have to hurt you.”
I'd forgotten, unfortunately the mods I'm carrying are special ops grade so don't really show to the untrained eye, or general issue mesh.
Their laughter rings hard and harsh throughout the bar. I see a couple of individuals skip out before things get nasty.
The nearest Ruff moves in and tries to grab me by the arm.
Just as I step back to get a decent distance to hit him hard, I look up to see Ramadan stepping out of the door. “Bollocks!”
I flick my eye up to the mesh icon to activate combat stims. Endomorphines and adrenalin pumps into my system with an audible roar. The Ruff is looking somewhat confused as his helpless hand hangs in the air where I had been standing. I push it away step into his personal space and grab him warmly by the balls. He misinterprets this gesture for a millisecond and begins to smile. I twist and push down and the smile becomes still born on his lips. The scream could be heard three blocks down, He crashes to the floor in an unconscious lump. The Barman reaches for his coms and punches the panic icon. The Ruff, his friend has raised from the chair. I leap over the prone body and land a foot squarely into the others face. His features slide sideways painfully as I bring the other foot round in a closed twisting motion. His neck vertebrae pop and he collapses to the floor.
The local militia surge through the door mob handed with weapons drawn. Unfortunately too many of them for me to take on at once. They come to a halt just inside as the site of the two ruffs and the broken furniture processes.
“Hands behind your head!” The Sargent yells with a slight quiver in his voice.
I comply, gently and slowly raising my hands, palm towards them so they can see I have no weapons. “Cuff her!” He squeaks at one of the subordinates.
Fifteen officers all standing there guns drawn pointed at little me.
“Well is one of you brave enough to step up?” I taunt
“Shut up! Shut up. When I want your opinion I will ask for it” He looks left and then quickly back to me. The barman is whispering in his ear obviously describing the events that have just passed.
“Davis, front and centre. Get those cuffs on her, and careful, she's not what she seems, from all accounts.” He nods in the direction of the barman, then towards the two lumps of unconscious Ruffs.
Davis slowly edges forward. Still pointing his gun at me. He waves down with it, so I drop to my knees. Gingerly he takes one hand and twists it down behind my back. The cuff seals itself around my wrist as he twists the other arm round and down the other cuff moulds itself to my wrist, then binds with its companion.
Another officer sneaks forward and holds my head back as Davis holds the retinal scanner to my eye.
Davis squeaks again and passes the hand-held unit to the Sargent, who in turn turns very pale and bows slightly.
His com pings, and he begins to stutter. “Mr Smith, our apologies, a thousand fold, no-one had told us she was here!”
“No, no sir, covert ops I see, no problem we will release her instantly.” He gestures with his free hand to the others in my direction.
Davis pulls a small canister from his belt and sprays the cuffs. They dissolve. Another officer hands me a rag. I wipe the residue from my hands and reapply the mono-layer nano polymer cover to them. “thank you ladies and gentlemen!” I rise with some assistance and step to the to door. The Sargent salutes and I walk out.