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 Brush with the Law

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Number of posts : 9
Registration date : 2006-08-29

PostSubject: Brush with the Law   Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:47 am

The sun was already setting when Jim materialised on the of Titan Station. The surrounding buildings, caked in the dust whipped up by the desolate winds of this lonely planet, took on a crimson hue when bathed in the orange light of the sunset.

"They all look like they are drenched in blood," thought Jim as he bought himself an escape ticket, "Not a good omen for today."

Patting the pocket he kept his Zanathid in, Jim swung about to the and set off at a gentle jogging pace. He knew he was risking a brush with the law by carrying an unlicensed pistol, but he didn't intend to use it unless really necessary, at which point the prospect of a few more PP would be irrelevant.

As he scrambled over the densely packed rock towards the rendezvous point, he ran over the details of the meeting in his head. He wanted to arrange for himself a backup plan, a crew who would be able to come and extract him for any situation that might develop. The
trouble with that is that he'd have to put himself into such a situation if he wanted to recruit the right crew. A real catch 22 situation.

“Well, as long as I’m prepared to hold onto my morals, I’m always going to have this problem” pondered Jim. “It’s one thing to take a man’s money, it’s another to take his life. Money can be given back afterwards.”

It was just as he surmounted this ethical dilemma that a pair of figures came into view on the horizon. Dropping down low, James pulled out a pair of cheap binoculars and peered through. A man and a woman, both mercenaries if the markings on their clothing were anything to go by. Both armoured up, both carrying Tar’s, a most deadly assault rifle.

Jim lay motionless, staring at them. These were the two he’d contacted, he was sure. The trouble was, dealing with mercenaries was always so problematic. First you had to find a mercenary that
was trustworthy, almost a contradiction in terms. Then, once you found such a merc, you had to convince them that you could be trusted, before any face to face meeting could be set up.

Of course, at any point during the contract you would risk having your hired mercenary turn on you, as most mercs are loyal to the pay check, not the employer. The simple way round this was to find a mercenary whose ‘buy-out’ cost was so high that no-one would consider it cost effective to bribe them.

After spreading a few feelers, Jim found a pair of suitable mercs. Not the best at what they did, such mercenaries really charged for their services, but good enough that they could get the job done and that their buyout price was high. A few minutes on one of the public terminals in Manhattan meant a coded message was sent to them, outlining the plan and offering payment. A few days later, a reply arrived, asking for a place to meet.

So here there were, in the twilight of the Titan sun, a few hundred metres away from each other. But despite the plan seemingly coming together, Jim just lay there.

“Something’s not right” thought Jim. “They look as if they are expecting something big and not just a new contract.” He’d heard a few mercenaries had recently taken a contract on a high ranking
soldier. The FDC hadn’t taken to this too well and had declared a blanket KoS on all mercenaries. “I guess they are just a little nervous, considering.”

Pulling himself up, he pushed a button on his belt, which sent out a coded radio message. Even in the twilight he could see one of them twitch as the receiver on his belt picked up the signal. The return transmission came back quickly, and matched the predefined signal they’d both agreed on beforehand.

With initial identifications out of the way, both parties started a cautious walk towards each other. They’d agreed to meet on the middle of a bridge, near the landing pads. The wide open space would reduce the possibility of an ambush and the basic simplicity of the bridge would rule out fancy listening devices. As he stepped from the rock onto the metal of the bridge supports, Jim could see them reach the other side of the bridge, then pause. After a moments discussion, them male mercenary continued on while the woman stayed at the foot of the bridge, presumably to act as lookout.

Once they grew nearer to each other, Jim could make out the features of the merc. He was .

They both stood silent for a moment, each sizing the other up, almost daring the other to be the first to speak.

"Are you wet?" asked the merc.

"No, I'm slippery" replied Jim.

"You'd best find a towel then" came the reply.

"All the towels are wet!"

"Was that all really necessary?" asked the merc. "I know you want confidentiality but secret passwords and shit? Not normally my thing."

James opened his mouth to reply but before he could utter a sound, a burst of gunfire raked across the bridge towards them. Reflexes kicking in, Jim threw himself towards the minimal cover that the vertical struts on the bridge provided. More and more bullets seems to fly his way as he scrabbled to fit as closely as possible to the two foot wide metal beam.

"You set us up!" screamed the mercenary, flinching as bullets ricocheted off the box he was using as cover.

"Oh yeah, right!" Jim muttered back. "That's why they are shooting at me too, yeah?" But the mercenary showed no signs of hearing him and he shuffled into a position to return fire.

Bullets were flying back and forth now, with the second mercenary doing her best to stop some of the covering fire slanting down at the bridge. Despite this, the battle looked to be very short lived, with more and more figures in green and blue appearing on the horizon to join the fight.

Realising his options were becoming more and more restricted with every second that passed, Jim dug into his bag and pulled out a handful of grenades. Priming them all at once, he threw them out in a rough circle around him. As soon as they were in the air, he bent over and grabbed the edge of the bridge with both hands.

As soon as the grenades went off, Jim swung himself under the bridge, using the little cover that his nades gave to mask his exit. Hand over hand, he tried to work himself towards the middle of the bridge to where a vertical support stood. He'd made it nearly halfway when a bullet, ricocheting off the bridge above him, went straight through his right bicep.

His arm now hanging uselessly at his side, James tried to secure his grip. The attacking forces however, in response to his little diversion, had thrown a number of fragmentation grenades through the air towards his position. As they went off, he felt the shock wave wash through the bridge structure. He struggled in vain to maintain his grip, the pain from his right arm threatening to make him pass out.

For what seemed like an eternity, he hung there, before finally his muscles could not take it any more. Finally, his fingers slipped and for a moment he hung in mid air, before gravity caught up with him and he started to fall.
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