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From: Rand Ratinac docwagon101@*****.com
Subject: Sweet Oblivion
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 21:33:54 -0700 (PDT)
Here we go - the second installment of my short story...

Btw, without the facility of italics, - symbols are used to indicate


Shannon glanced up as she swung her Dynamit into the crumbling parking
lot. Teacher Trading Company, the sign on the equally decrepit
warehouse next-door read. -This is the place.- She parked the electric
blue SAAB in the far corner of the ground floor, out of sight of anyone
in the street and under a part of the roof that didnít seem inclined to
collapse within the next five minutes. The 2060 model was only a few
months old, so she was normally rather protective of it. Unfortunately,
this was really the best she could hope to do under the circumstances.
She hated it when her Johnsons picked places like this to meet. Quite
apart from the fact that it was almost impossible to find a decent
parking space, it was terribly pretentious and clichéd.
Setting the security system with a touch of a button on her key ring,
Shannon walked away unconcernedly. An absolutely state of the art
model, the Dynamit would send a high voltage shock through the body of
anyone touching it before it was deactivated. A second attempt to break
into the vehicle within ten minutes would result in the offender
receiving a lethal dose of electricity. After ten minutes the system
would reset, returning to delivering merely a stunning charge once
again. As far as she knew, no one had hung around for a second dose
since sheíd bought the car Ė at least, she hadnít found any charred
bodies scattered around the vehicle.
As she neared the Teacher warehouse, Shannon slowed her pace, casting
her gaze around, searching for anything out of place enough to indicate
that something was wrong. She half-closed her eyes, ignoring her sense
of sight for now in favour of her preternaturally sharp hearing. She
knew that any potential ambushers would be well hidden and were more
likely to betray their presence with an accidental sound than by moving
into her field of vision. She heard nothing, which was, in itself,
rather odd. Even in the concrete nightmare that was Seattle, vermin of
all kinds, both two- and more-legged, thrived. It was almost
inconceivable that no living beings would be present in any particular
corner of the sprawl, yet that seemed the case here. Shannonís lips
quirked into a wry smile. Chances were that her Johnsonís people had
just cleared the area very effectively and that she was just being
Stopping outside the gaping doors of the warehouse, Shannon cast one
last glance around before stepping inside. With a grating clang, the
doors slammed shut behind her. Shannon just managed to avoid jumping
and waited calmly for the reception committee.
The interior of the warehouse was black as night Ė or so it initially
seemed. Enough light seeped in through gaps in the walls to paint a
dim, but accurate picture for her. The warehouse floor was bare. Dust
and grime covered all she could see, but numerous, recent footprints
overlaid the dirt. She couldnít see much beyond a thirty-metre radius,
but her augmented hearing picked out the sound of a number of people
moving around her quite stealthily. In a combat situation, she would
have activated her thermographic vision rather than her low-light, but
expressions, postures and attitudes all melted away in the infrared
spectrum and those were the things she would need to know in order to
successfully negotiate the contract.
To her left, three men suddenly stepped out of the gloom and walked
towards her. Shannon looked around blindly, pretending that she could
neither hear nor see them. It wouldnít do to reveal her edge this early
in the game. As the men stopped before her, Shannon jumped and gazed up
at them with what could only be described as an innocent expression.
The three men could have been clones. Even in the darkness of the unlit
warehouse, all three wore wraparound mirrorshades. Tight, black suits
displayed deep, muscular chests and broad shoulders. All somewhat over
six feet in height, they glared down at her with almost identical
sneers of contempt.
Shannon knew what they were, so she knew why they held her in such low
regard. None of them believed a woman could perform her difficult job
successfully. Each one was sure her street rep was nothing but hot air.
She also knew that her appearance decidedly enhanced their perception
of her as nothing but a weak woman. Above average height for a woman,
Shannon was still at least six inches smaller than the shortest of
them. Her billowing hair was a silky honey-blond. If they could have
made out her eyes, they would have seen that they were a brilliant
sapphire blue. Her features were slim, but gently fleshed rather than
hard and angular. She was, in short, gorgeous.
Shannon realised this and she made the most of it. Staring up at the
goons in a girlish fashion, she fluttered her eyelashes. She knew that
such a coy expression would have put anyone else on their guard, but to
these men it only made her appear weaker. She was counting on that.
After a long, almost interminable wait, the lead man spoke. "Weapons."
Shannon barked a harsh laugh. "What are you, defective? You really
think Iím going to surrender my weapons in a place like this? Take me
to Johnson or get out of my way."
The razorboyís frown deepened. "I donít know who you think you are,
but no one sees the boss while theyíre packing."
Shannonís smile twisted. "Donít give me that. You know who I am, or
none of us would be here."
The razorboy conceded the point with a grudging nod. "True Ė but
thatís just another reason why you donít go any further until you give
me your weapons."
Shannon just grinned. "Give it a rest, meathead."
"I donít think so," the goon growled. "Either give me your weapons or
Iíll take them myself."
Shannon snarled and dropped into a rather wobbly combat stance. "Just
try it, big boy."
The razor smiled and swung a roundhouse right at her that would have
smashed a bone or two had it connected. Shannon dropped beneath the arc
of the blow rather clumsily and thumped an ineffective jab into the
goonís side. The big man just laughed and, clenching his fists
together, slammed a hammerblow into the base of her neck. Shannon rode
the force of the strike into the ground, where she gasped and rolled
away. She staggered to her feet and assumed her combat stance again.
Laughing in a low, throaty voice, the razorboy was advancing on her
once again when a voice cracked out through the darkness. "Enough!" The
big manís head snapped around like a whip as the speaker continued.
"Frankie! Stop jerking around and bring her over here!"
The razor frowned, but did as he was bidden. Stalking across to where
Shannon was straightening up, he leaned down and growled, "Iím
surprised my boss would even give you the time of day. Youíre nothing,
slitch! Youíre just lucky I was going easy on you. If Iíd really been
trying, you wouldnít even be breathing now." He gestured curtly towards
the rear of the warehouse. "Follow me."
Shannon dusted off her clothes and followed Frankie as he led her
deeper into the warehouse.
(aka Mr. Freaky Big, Super-Dynamic Troll of Tomorrow)

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From docwagon101@*****.com Tue, 20 Apr 1999 22:29:22 -0700


These messages were posted a long time ago on a mailing list far, far away. The copyright to their contents probably lies with the original authors of the individual messages, but since they were published in an electronic forum that anyone could subscribe to, and the logs were available to subscribers and most likely non-subscribers as well, it's felt that re-publishing them here is a kind of public service.