|Subject:||Joe Schmuck: Chapter 1 - 05/07|
|Date:||Wed, 17 May 2000 08:18:34 GMT|
Staying up on current events and news is important in particular lines of work.
It's often very beneficial to know what's going on. Knowing who is causing
trouble, what's going wrong, or even which new products are being promoted can
tell you a lot about the motivations of people you are dealing with. Knowing
their motivations gives you a strong edge in negotiations, and sometimes that
knowledge can save you from taking on a bad contract. Hell, even the weather
is important, helping you dress right for the occasion. All useful
information, but normally you have to filter through a lot of different crap
that you just didn't want to see.
For a few days she was constantly reminded. She didn't need to be reminded as
she relived the moment several times a night in her sleep. It was just bad
luck that one particular crime got a lot of airtime. It was hard to listen to
the reports of a crime she could - should have stopped. Some Joe Schmuck had
gone up against a hardened criminal to stop the rape of that woman. He was
instantly a celebrity, and she couldn't escape his face. "It's no big deal,
anyone else would do the same" he said. One sound bite repeated over and over
in primers for the segments later in the show. What a gimp. She hated that
Now it was time to go back. It was a week later and she was retrieving the
device she'd planted last time she was here. It would have completed its
various tasks, collecting a week's worth of dialog and leeching data streams.
A week in the life of a money launderer. The data was worth more if nobody
knew that she had it. This carried the added bonus that nobody would be hunting
her for it. Completing the task, trying to stay focused on the work at hand,
she was sneaking out again, inching along the wire, when the trouble started.
The street-rats noticed it first and when she noticed their activity she knew
something was up. Homeless people don't just grab what they can carry and run
unless they have something to run from. Down where the alley meets the street
she saw a group - six people, two of which were dragging a body, then a seventh
left lurking on guard. She almost missed that one, hiding in the shadows near
the mouth of the alley.
They carried a variety of weapons, with a strong bias for large pistols, easy
enough to conceal, big enough for intimidating. They wore similar clothing,
but not identical, gang colors presumably, it was difficult to see from this
vantagepoint. Oh, there it was. They wore the smirking clown face of the
Laughing Jack logo. They were Jackers, local thugs unworthy of serious
attention, but here they were again. They were beginning to be a hassle.
"Here. Right here" commanded one of the group, motioning with his left hand.
That was clearly the guy in charge. "On his knees, clear that tape. I want to
hear him beg for a bit first."
The others with him fanned out into a half circle while the tall guy and the
short guy that dragged him down the alley dropped him roughly into a shallow
puddle of water. The shorter muscle freak ripped the tape from his mouth,
grabbing him by his hair and jerking his face up to do so. She could see him
now, underneath the blood and the bruising she recognized the man. Joe Hero,
screaming in pain as his finger was snapped back over the back of his hand.
"Coldcut!" the guy in charge was pissed. "Cut that shit until I say,
wasn't a request. Pointing at Joe he continued, "Bruiser cut this cock-sucker
a Laughing Jack." Coldcut glared as the boss-man stopped to light a cigarette.
Coldcut hesitated, considering defiance before handing his knife to the
biggest ganger - presumably Bruiser.
Above she braced herself. Legs wrapped around the wire as she let the climbing
harness and safety line take more of her weight - freeing her hands. Carefully
she removed her firearm from its home on her hip. Taking it in both hands she
extended her arms out, down towards the ground as she hung upside down.
Bruiser had cut the shirt off Joe's back and began to slice - the cries of pain
were making it hard to concentrate.
Seven targets, one friendly and the highly unusual angle were all stretching
the limits of her targeting software. Her optics weren't up to spec for this
sort of stuff either, the image overlay was having trouble refreshing and
tracking the movements of all the vital points and keeping them highlighted.
It'd get worse when recoil had the gun kicking in her hands.
She had a magazine capacity of fifteen rounds, plus one in the chamber, and the
optical display overlay confirmed she was fully loaded with 10mm Advanced
Energy Transfer rounds. Two rounds for each ganger, with two spares. If some
of them were armored it wouldn't be enough unless she was extremely precise.
She'd need to reload. This was stupid. He's just getting what he deserves for
interfering with someone else's business. She should simply pack up and go
home. "Anyone else would do the same."