Epilogue Leah stared blankly into the night sky, there wasn’t any stars to see of course, those where all blotted out by the massive wall of light projecting off from Night city. It didn’t help that she was standing on a cramped alleyway, just wide enough to drive her truck through. All her time living outside of the city and seeing the stars and yet, the loss of them didn’t take long to get used to; she had already forgotten about the night sky in the six months she had been in the city. In fact, Leah was only staring at the sky for a particular reason. “See anything yet?” A tall long-haired man stood behind her, leaning against the alleyway’s walls. He was wearing a leather jacket and torn blue jeans, he was an animateur hired gun, and he looked the part. Leah took a deep breath, slowly inhaling the chilled night air. She looked away from the sky briefly and turned her head to face the guy standing behind her. “No, and probably won’t for a while. By the way what’s your name again?” she replied, a tinge of irritation in her voice “Johnny” The man looked up to meet her gaze, his expression was tense, like he was one step from running away. “Sorry if I’m nagging, I just want to get this done and delta the fuck outta here” Leah turned her attention back to the sky “Well Johnny, one thing you’ll learn in this line of work, if you live long enough; is the value of patience; no point in worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet” She paused briefly, “This your first gig?” “I’ve worked for fixers before, but only small stuff, stealing cars, eddies, whatever. Not like this though, not for Dexter Deshawn.” Johnny said, as he began to fidget with his piece, a silver revolver that had seen better days for sure. Dex, this was Leah’s first job with him as well; he was well known in the city’s underground and respected by mostly every other fixer in the city. So of course, when Leah was offered this job, she had to accept, the pay was just too high to ignore. Now she was stuck babysitting an amateur. Leah turned her back and faced Johnny again “Show won’t start for another few minutes, let’s go over the plan again, should kill some time.” Johnny nodded in agreement, he slowly got up and leaned on the hood of Leah’s truck as she walked to the bed of the truck and grabbed a long plastic case out of the back and leaned it next to Johnny “Well, it’s not much but this is what intel we were given.” Johnny stated as he reached into his pocket. He placed a small data shard in Leah’s hand. Leah hated data shards, she wasn’t quite sure why; maybe it was the way it fucked with her vision when she slotted them in, or maybe it was the clicking sound it made when she inserted them into her skull. Either way, an unpleasant experience. She may have gotten used to the city, but she was still learning how to deal with her new cyberwear. Leah had been completely organic before she arrived in night city, refused to let anyone cut into her; but she quickly came to the realization on how helpless a merc was without it. Leah inserted the chip snugly into her shard slot and an uncomfortable flash of light filled her vision. Leah winced and squinted her eyes, it quickly dissipated, and the image sharpened into a rendering of the alley way and surrounding buildings. The area surrounding Leah and Johnny was the massive urban jungle of the Heywood district. An amalgamation of cement and steel, eating up anyone that dare enter it. Even in the late hours vehicles lined the streets, the headlights making them feel alive. The alleyway was in between two mega-buildings which reached into the sky, as if trying to touch it. The rendering had Leah’s truck marked by a red pip, snugly fit between the tight alley. “This is us” Johnny pointed out. “And this AV is our target” The simulation began to play out; and a line appeared in the sky in front of Leah’s position, indicating the path of the personnel transporter. A quad jet engine aircraft not too different in function to a helicopter. Leah knelt down and opened the case still resting beside Johnny. Lying in it a rocket launcher and a single disassembled rocket. “We’ll be the one’s shooting it down” Johnny continued. “That’s why Dex picked this alley, it’ll give us the best sight line possible. Once that AV comes into view, we’ll have approximately a fifteen second window to shoot it down before it leaves our sight. Since this is a Militech AV, we’ll have another team of two with a jammer. Should jam their comms and missile defense systems temporarily.” Johnny stopped briefly and paused the simulation. It had been playing out the transport’s movements on its course, it was at this point the AV would cross the alley and be seen by Leah and Johnny. “At eleven thirty-seven, the AV should be in our sightline, we need to be ready before then.” Leah had finished assembling the small rocket, she stood up and placed the launcher and rocket in the bed of the truck. “Almost sounds like a hit job.” Leah stated her thoughts aloud. “The client must not care about the condition of the cargo if they’re ok with us shooting it down like this.” “Apparently, the client told Dex to acquire whatever is on that AV by any means necessary, even if that means damaging it” Johnny replied “at least that’s what I heard” Johnny scratched his face and continued “Once we hit the AV, there are several teams at estimated crash points to collect whatever’s left of this package. So, all we have to do is shoot, run and get our eddies.” The simulation ended with the AV getting hit by the rocket and crashing to the ground. Leah yanked the chip out of her head. Johnny got up and grabbed the rocket launcher and began walking it to the shooting point a few feet in front of the truck. Leah couldn’t help but wonder what was so important about this cargo. Why where so many people involved in this one gig? What could be possibly so important about the contents of one AV? She didn’t know and didn’t really care enough to ask either. With nearly thirty thousand easy eddies in this for her she wasn’t going to ask too many questions. All she had to do was point aim and squeeze and the rest would be up to the group of mercs in charge of recovery. “and... all done.” Johnny said, seemingly satisfied with his work. The rocket launcher was mounted and ready for Leah, and Johnny’s only other purpose was to watch her back until the job was done. Leah looked down at the watch she wore on her right arm. Eleven thirty-three, five minutes until show time. Everything was already set, now all they had to do was wait for a call from the jammer team and wait. Leah pulled out her burner holo from her pocket, the call was coming any second now. Moments later Leah’s holo rang, an unknown number. Seems the jammer team had finished setting up. There was an uncomfortable silence, and then finally. “Hello.” A raspy whisper of a man’s voice introduced itself. “You can call me Turner, ill be working with you today.” “Hello.” Leah replied. She was leaning her head as far as she could into the earpiece of the small device. “You must be Leah; my partner and I are quite thorough you see. We’ve decided something stronger than merely jamming is in order for this target. We intend to hack through their ICE and eliminate their defenses.” Turner explained. “My partner is going to patch you through to the recovery team now. That AV should be here any minute so get ready.” The voice cut out after that. Leah kneeled and held the rocket launcher on its mount and began to start adjusting the sight. She looked down at her watch again, eleven thirty-five, two minutes until the show begins. The holo buzzed to life again, this time it was the recovery team “Hey there, just letting you know we’re ready and waiting.” Thankfully this voice was far easier to recognize, and almost sounded energetic. “We’re locked and loaded here.” Leah responded. Johnny had gotten noticeably tenser; the time was coming up closer and closer and it was weighing on him. Johnny looked down at the time on his watch, eleven thirty-six. Any second now that AV would pass into view, Leah would shoot, and they could go on their merry way. Eleven thirty-seven. Leah tensed and placed the crosshair of the rocket launcher where she expected the AV to come from. Johnny stood up straight and checked the alley behind them. The holo channel was still open with both the jamming squad and the recovery team, but it was completely quiet in anticipation. Leah thought it was strange. The AV was supposed to cross this point nearly at eleven thirty-seven on the dot., yet she couldn’t hear the engines and she didn’t see anything. Eleven thirty-eight. Nothing. Leah could have heard a pin drop. This tardiness was starting to worry her. What was taking so long? Did the AV take an unexpected route? If that was the case, then that would mean all the time Leah had spent on this gig would have been wasted. All she could do now was hope for the best. Eleven thirty-nine Still nothing. Not even a peep over the hollow channel. Forty Forty-one The holo silence is broken by a sneeze over on another end. Whether or not it was the guy with the jammer or one of the recovery team mercenaries, Leah didn’t know. Another two minutes pass, still nothing. This was starting to get concerning. Leah glanced behind her for a second to see Johnny pacing back and forth nervously. She turned her head back and stared at the concrete jungle of night city. It truly was beautiful at night; every building was kind of like a giant steel Christmas tree. The cars on the streets below blended into a constant stream of white light that flows through the city. The holo silence is broken again this time by the jammer team. “Anyone seen it yet?” Turner’s raspy voice asked. Before anyone could answer Leah heard it, the unmistakable sound of an AV flying in the air. No, it was too loud for just one, there had to be more. It was Leah’s turn to speak over the holo. “Hey that doesn’t sound like just one AV, this wasn’t part of th-.” She was cut off by the recovery group. “SHIT!” One of them yelled. “It’s fucking Militech!” Gunshots echoed through the holo. It cut out a few seconds after that, only leaving the jamming team and Leah on the channel. “Oh shit!” Johnny exclaimed; his voice gave away his panic. “what’s going on?” Suddenly Leah could see them, three large Militech AVs flying in a tight formation. One of them in front and two trailing behind it. This wasn’t part of the plan; something had gone wrong. “Theres three!” Johnny yelled in confusion. “Why is there three? What do we do?” He was barely keeping himself under control. “Shut up!” Leah barked at Johnny. “I need you to cover my ass while I figure this out!” The Avs had already been in her field of vision for about three seconds. Meaning Leah had twelve seconds to decide whether to take the shot or not, and which AV to hit. “Hu-! “A sound of surprise as another gunshot ran through the holo. Unlike the recovery team, there wasn’t a fight. Leah’s mind raced, what could she do? Firstly, there are two more targets than before, and the jamming team just got zeroed. Even if Leah fired the rocket, there’s no guarantee that the AV defense systems got jammed in time. Secondly the cargo could be in any one of those Avs so even if she landed the rocket, there’s two thirds chance it would be the wrong one. Leah also and no clue about the condition of the recovery team. The holo cut off when they started fighting Militech. There was no guarantee that any of the mercs in that group would survive to get the package. That was even if Leah was somehow able to shoot the right AV down. Johnny noticed something off about the flying convoy. He had his head turned towards the spectacle in the sky. “Are those sparks?” He asked aloud. “Fuck Johnny!” Leah yelled back. “Cover the alley so we don’t get zeroed damnit!” Johnny was right though, sparks where flying off all three Avs. A telltale indicator that they had been hacked into. That means the missile defense system would be down, all Leah would have to worry about now was aiming. “They did it.” Leah muttered to herself. “Turner, was it? I’ll remember you.” Leah had guessed her target was the AV in the center. The jamming had worked, Despite the loss of communication and Militech’s attack, things had still somewhat lined up properly. Less than two seconds now to decide, there’s no more time to think. “Fuck it.” Leah exclaimed. She took a breath and held it and stiffened her entire body to stabilize the launcher on her shoulder. Leah pulled the trigger. The rocket hammered its way out of the barrel releasing a dazzling white light. It flies true, in a perfect straight line towards the center aircraft. Now all that needs to happen is a miracle. The rocket flies closer and closer, its trail bright and easy to make out in the sky. Yet still no defense system intercepts it. Leah held her breath, the moment of truth was upon her. She closed her eyes and prayed that the rocket would hit its mark. Thirty thousand eddies depended on it. Impact. The effect on the AV was catastrophic and instantaneous. The rocket had hit the back right engine of the aircraft and had sent it spiraling down to the ground. A giant ball of fire appeared in the air at the impact point. Debris rained down like confetti at a kid’s birthday party. Sparks flew everywhere as the ball of white-hot light dissipated. Black smoke billowed from the rapidly descending personnel transport. The other two AVs felt the impact as well, as shrapnel slammed into them. They evaded it as best they could, and then suddenly both dove down to meet the crashing AV. “Yes!” Leah nearly jumped up in excitement. “We did it Johnny we fucking got the bastards!” Johnny didn’t respond, instead Leah could only hear his revolver going off, the sound it made in the tight alley was deafening. It seems Militech had caught up with Leah and Johnny as well. Two men wearing black head to toe body armor and night vision entered the alleyway behind Leah’s truck. Luckily Johnny had noticed them and took cover. Automatic rifle fire rung out as the two Militech agents sprayed the alley with a hail of bullets. Leah dived down to the ground and started to crawl towards the front of the truck where Johnny was kneeling. She could see it in Johnny’s face, the sheer panic. Despite that though, he still was able to dive for cover, maybe he wasn’t too useless after all. Leah had managed to reach the truck and got up to her knees keeping her head below the truck’s hood. The maelstrom of bullets paused for a brief second, enough time for Leah to stick her head out and quickly dive back down again. The situation wasn’t good, two fully geared up Militech agents with automatic rifles as opposed to Leah and Johnny with a single revolver between them. The Truck was the only reason that the two were alive. It was parked so snugly in the alley it made it difficult to walk around it. The corpo bastards would have to climb the truck to get to them properly. Leah knew they didn’t have much time either, the Militech agents were slowly inching forward, and it wouldn’t be long before they would be right on top of them. Leah had to try and even the odds. She grabbed Johnny’s shoulder to get his attention. “Ok listen Johnny!” Leah yelled over the near deafening sound of gunfire. “Those Militech bastards are gonna have to reload any second now, I’m going for my shotgun on my passenger side, I need you to cover me. Can you do that!?” Johnny said nothing, his eyes where wide with panic, he was hyperventilating, and covered head to toe in sweat. Despite all that, he still managed to nod in agreement, and Leah could feel a small wave of relief flow through her. The flurry of bullets stopped a second time. “Now!” Leah yelled to Johnny. Johnny jumped up and opened fire at the two attackers, the sound of the high caliber bullets from his revolver exploding out of the barrel made Leah’s ears ring. Leah flung her passenger door open and reached for the shotgun located on a mount under the glovebox. By a stroke of luck, she felt her fingers touch the metallic grip and she instantly began to pull it out. Time was up, and another hail of bullets sprayed at Johnny and Leah. Johnny dove back behind the truck; Leah was just barely able to pull the shotgun out. She dived back under as well, but she must have been too slow. A sharp piercing pain made itself known in the right side of Leah’s abdomen. “Ugh...Fuck!” Leah cried out in pain. A trickle of blood quickly formed from under her shirt, turning its blue color to red. Leah looked down at the wound. Too small to be a whole bullet, it was likely just a ricochet off the alley wall that got her. Still, it would need to be addressed sooner than later. “Now what!?” It was Johnny’s turn to speak up. He had begun to reload his revolver, his hands where a little shaky as he loaded the bullets in one by one. “Those corpo assholes have to come over my truck to get to us! They’re inching up on us now as we speak and that makes them predictable!” Leah shouted a response. “Those two bastards are probably on a high payroll. I’m sure they have never looked down to see the poverty at their feet!” Johnny took a second to think about what Leah had said. “Now is not the time to reflect on human nature!” He yelled back to her. “No, you don’t understand!” Leah exclaimed. Another pause in the bullet rain occurred giving Johnny enough time to peak his head out again. The firing resumed and Johnny ducked his head back down. “They’re about twenty seconds away from being on top of us!” He told Leah. “Good!” She replied. She then started to go under the truck with her shotgun. Leah turned around to face Johnny. “Listen, I need you to stay there, once they get on the bed of the truck try and draw their attention for a second!” She paused. “Just trust me on this ok!?” After that Leah turned back around and continued crawling under the bullet ridden truck. Slowly she was inching her way to the back. The pain in her abdomen was excruciating, and crawling was making it much worse, it took everything in her to continue to move forward. Inch by inch, just keep moving. That was something Leah had learned in Night City. If you stop moving, even for an instant, the city will eat you up. Leah had seen plenty of other mercs she had worked with meet the wrong end of a gun because of their complacency. Better to do the mugging than to get mugged was how Leah thought of it, and the best way to do that is to never stop. This was the thought process she took everywhere she went. It was the very reason she had taken this stupid gig in the first place. Now, she was probably going to die here, in a random Heywood back alley with no one to mourn her passing, and an empty bank account to show for it. “No.” Leah muttered to herself as she continued crawling. She wasn’t going to die here, she absolutely refused to let herself die here. She was going to kill these corpo bastards and leave, with both her and her partner alive. Once again, the bullets stopped, this time however, the Militech agents held their fire. They had finally gotten close enough to climb over the truck and reach Johnny. Not good, Leah still had about a foot to crawl. “Shit.” She whispered. Leah frantically began to crawl the rest of the way. She could see two sets of boots at the back of her truck. Then the two men climbed up onto the bed of the vehicle, and the boots disappeared. The entire truck shook as the Militech agents began to stand up in the bed. It was a matter of seconds before they would see Johnny Leah rushed as fast as she could, scrambling, crawling like an animal. She had nearly gotten out from under the truck. Both agents saw Johnny, both raised their guns up at him. Johnny instantly opened fire, hitting one of the men in the chest, staggering him back, and making him drop his rifle. The other one took aim at Johnny’s head and pulled the trigger. Too late. Leah had gotten out from under the truck and fired her shotgun at the second agent, knocking the gun from his hands and knocking him onto the truck bed. The fight was far from over, however. Both men had state of the art bulletproof vests on, both men got up quickly. The first one jumped off the truck bed where Leah was while the second man leapt over the truck and pummeled Johnny. Leah aimed to take another shot but before she could fire the man punched her to the ground. “Hk- “The air had been knocked out of Leah’s lungs. The guy had been three feet away on a truck bed less than a second ago and now he had knocked her to the ground. “Godamn military implants.” Leah cursed. The guy hadn’t picked up the gun he lost in the truck bed. Instead, he pulled out a serrated knife and swung at Leah who was still on the ground. She frantically rolled to the side and dodged, and then quickly jumped up to her feet. Leah’s shotgun had fallen to the alleyway wall when she fell, not too far to reach. She just would have to grab it before the Militech bastard got to it. The man swung again, aiming for Leah’s neck. Leah dove low, very narrowly missing the knife swing. She aimed her dive to grab the shotgun when she landed. This didn’t happen, however. In the blink of an eye, the Militech agent was on her again, kicking Leah out of her dive and sending her tumbling to the ground past her gun. This time however, the man held his hand on his abdomen where he’d been hit a few moments earlier by Johnny’s revolver. A mask covered most of the man’s face except for his mouth, which was twitching in pain. Leah jumped up on her feet for a second time. “what’s wrong there Militech?” Leah asked mockingly. “All that state-of-the-art gear you got on and one little bullet did that much damage to you?” The man said nothing in response and merely poised to make another blow at Leah. He went for her again with the knife, this time making a stabbing motion towards Leah’s chest. Leah jumped back narrowly missing his jab and grabbed the man’s arm holding the knife with her left hand. He may have been stronger, but Leah only needed a second diversion. She elbowed him with all her might squarely in the face right at his nose. It was instantly apparent she had broken it by the quiet crunching sound it made upon impact. “FUCK!” the Militech agent finally broke his silence. He stumbled back, reeling in pain, as blood gushed from his crooked nose. Leah ignored him and ran to her shotgun. The man saw her do this, and attempted to dash again at her, instead he winced in pain and stumbled back again. Leah held the shotgun up at the man’s head. “I’m sorry about this” she said apologetically. “But I’m getting out of this alive, and you being alive ruins my odds.” The Militech agent dropped the knife in his right hand. He opened his mouth to say something “Wa-!” Leah didn’t hesitate, she pulled the trigger, and the man’s head splattered all over the alleyway walls. Leah took a step back and paused, her gun still aimed at where the man’s head had once been. As if he might get up again. Her ears rung intensely, to the point where she couldn’t hear nothing else. The world seemingly slowed down around her, the sounds of Johnny struggling with the other agent were muffled beyond recognition. “Another one.” Leah said in barely a whisper. “Help me damnit!” Leah finally snapped back to reality at the loud call of Johnny’s voice. She turned away from the dead man in front of her. The momentary phase of shock was seemingly over. Leah ran towards the front of the truck jumping onto the bed. She looked over to see Johnny and the agent still fighting on the ground, rolling around like animals. Luckily Johnny was nearly as strong as the Militech agents and could hold his own. Leah jumped down to the front of her truck and charged the man, knocking him off Johnny. The man stumbled to the ground and Johnny grabbed his revolver. It had been knocked out of his hands and had fallen on the hood of Leah’s truck. Johnny aimed the gun at the man’s head. “Don’t make me do this.” Johnny blurted out almost pleading. “Just stay down… please.” Of course, there was only one possible way this could play out. Leah and Johnny both knew they couldn’t keep this Militech agent alive if they wanted to walk away from this. The man rushed towards Leah; his arms were reaching for her shotgun. The man didn’t stand a chance. Johnny fired one shot from his revolver, instantly hitting the Militech hit man in the head. His body slumped onto Leah with what momentum it had left knocking her into the front bumper of her truck. Leah instantly pushed the body aside and it slumped to the ground next to her, motionless. Johnny and Leah stayed in their spots for a several seconds, both panting like dogs, and completely exhausted. Finally, Leah spoke up “See what I mean? Those bastards never looked down at me, they didn’t see me coming. They don’t expect tricks like that from us stupid gonks, see how that turned out for them” Johnny let out a dry chuckle and looked down at the alley floor. “I guess you’re right” Leah got up on her feet “Lets see if the truck will still run.” She said facing Johnny. The truck was a bullet ridden hunk of metal. All the windows had been shot out, leaving glass shards all over the seats. Bullets holes could be seen everywhere Leah and Johnny looked. Leah tossed Johnny the keys “Johnny you’re driving.” Leah said as she squeezed through the passenger side door. Johnny said nothing in reply and walked over to the driver side, scooting the glass shards off the seat. After Johnny was satisfied that the seat was somewhat safe to sit in, he got in and placed the key in the ignition “Here goes nothing.” Johnny said as he turned the key. The engine instantly purred to life, like nothing had happened at all. Relief Washed over the pair as the trucks systems booted to life. Most of the viewscreen panels had been destroyed, but the truck would still run and drive. “that’s the thing about these good ol’ Thorton trucks.” Leah commented, her face loosened up after hearing the engine run. Now all they had to do was go home and await payment. “What about the recovery team?” Johnny blurted out randomly. “What about them?” Leah face turned into a frown, she responded with another question. “Militech found them, if they weren’t able to fend them off…” Johnny’s voice trailed off, but Leah could see where he was going with it. If the recovery team can’t acquire the package, Dexter Deshawn can’t deliver it to the client and if he can’t do that, no one gets paid. The adrenaline high was beginning to fall off for Leah, and the wound on her abdomen was making itself more known. She winced in pain and grabbed her side. “What’s wrong?” Johnny asked her. “Just a graze.” Leah replied, she wanted to change the subject as she was currently more worried about not getting the eddies she was promised. “I’ll be fine, let’s see if we can reach the recovery team over the holo.” “Ok.” Johnny said as he began to put the truck in reverse. The shot up Thorton slowly began to roll backwards. Leah’s call to the recovery team was not met with a response. Leah frowned; this can’t be good. Either they are making off with the cargo to sell it themselves or they’re all dead. “Shit! Leah, drone!” Johnny cried out. Leah looked up from her holo to see a black drone with a massive red eye in the center. It began to rise towards herself and Johnny. It was an unmistakably a Militech army drone. Covered in sensors and guns it was arguably more lethal than the Militech agents they had just fought. “Floor it Johnny!” Leah yelled as she reached for his revolver. Johnny slammed his foot on the gas and the truck roared as it catapulted itself backwards. On it’s way back the truck rolled over the agent Leah had killed bumping over his now crushed legs. “What was that!?” Johnny shouted, alarmed. “Better if you didn’t know!” Leah replied. She had managed to get her hands on Johnny’s gun and started taking shots at the drone. Finally, the truck pulled out of the alley and onto a four-lane road bustling with traffic. Cars honked as they swerved to avoid Johnny and Leah. Johnny slammed the car into forward and floored it again. Leah pulled out her holo in one hand and started giving Johnny directions, while shooting at the drone in the other. “Up here take a left!” She yelled at Johnny. “Where are we going!?” He asked her. “Where else, the crash site, the recovery team didn’t respond we have to get whatever this package is to get paid!” She yelled back at Johnny with a matter-of-factly tone in her voice. The drone had trouble spraying rounds at the truck, apparently Militech didn’t want too big of a legal spectacle, so driving on the crowded roads was safer. Still the drone would have time to put in short bursts. Johnny swerved back in fourth on the road, swinging in between the cars and other vehicles on the road. Johnny got up to an intersection and made a hard left turn where Leah had told him to. “This is suicide!” Johnny angrily yelled at Leah. “Militech will only keep sending drones and people after us!” Leah yelled back at him. “If we have their precious cargo, we might have some leverage ever think of that!?” Johnny knew Leah was right. Militech knew where they where and what they where driving, they wouldn’t escape unless they at the very least changed rides, or better yet had some leverage. “This has all gone to shit!” Johnny stated blankly. “Yea, be thankful, we’re the ones still alive!” Leah replied as she reloaded Johnny’s gun. “Also make a right here!” Leah had struck the drone several times, but the bullets had only been hitting the armor plates. She was trying to aim for the red sensor at the center of the drone, maybe if she took that out it might just disable it. The right they were about to take put them on a straight road to the wreckage. Thankfully the overextended Night city police department still hadn’t set up any roadblocks yet. Most cars had already left the area because of the crash, in fact there was only Leahs truck and the drone tailing them that where present. “Johnny, without other people that drone is gonna open up on us!” Leah explained. “I need you to hold the truck steady, if I can hit that thing in the right spot, I can take it out!” “I hope you know what you’re doing!” he yelled back. Leah had already gotten this far; she wasn’t going to let some gonk drone end it now. Johnny did what Leah asked and swerved to the right. The Tall buildings of Heywood gave way to massive water tanks on either side of the road. On both the left and right of Johnny and Leah. Johnny held the truck in a straight line and floored it giving Leah the best chance possible to hit the thing. Leah inhaled, keeping the sight on the moving red dot was all that mattered to her in the moment. Leah pulls the trigger. The drone moved slightly to the left, likely to line up a better shot on Leah’s truck. The bullet bounces off its armor plate on the side. Bullets begin flying into the truck as the drone sprayed its front guns. Tearing and ripping the roof to shreds, bullets whizzed past Johnny and Leah’s heads. Then suddenly the rain of bullets stopped. Leah’s second shot wasn’t as unfortunate, the eye of the drone had been completely destroyed. Instantly it stopped in its tracks, leaving Leah and Johnny alone. Leah’s heart pounded, if she had missed the second shot She and Johnny would have been zeroed. The loudness and action of the past few minutes had overwhelmed the two occupants of Leah’s truck. Now a sudden calmness fell over the both of them. Johnny could easily see the smoke of the crash from where they were, he could tell they were less than two minutes away from the crash site. “It’s gone?” Johnny broke the silence. “Yeah.” Leah replied. “I’m sure.” She had slumped into the back of the cloth seat. A look of exhaustion shaped her face. The rest of the ride was in silence. The two were too tired to make idle conversation. The crash site happened closer to the outskirts of Heywood. Most of the buildings where quite small and the area was quite flat. Besides the water treatment plant, the only other building of note was a single outlier megabuilding. The crash occurred right beside the megabuilding, in a parking lot nearby. Yet oddly enough no police had intervened yet, not even a single NCPD patrol car or ambulance was on scene. Johnny pulled the truck on the opposite side of the building from the crash. “We’ll have to go on foot from here.” He stated, Militech is going to be on site.” He paused “Ah fuck this was a bad idea.” Johnny and Leah got out of the truck, and slowly started making their way up to the megabuilding. Leah had left her shotgun in the car to look less conspicuous, thought it was likely Militech knew what her truck looked like because of the drone. The two mercs walked up the front stairs of the building. There was an eerie silence. No Militech personnel awaited them. In fact, no one was outside the megabuilding complex at all. “that’s strange.” Johnny remarked. “Yeah, I don’t like this.” Leah agreed. “Stay sharp, keep your hand on that gun.” The two continued on and walked around the side of the megabuilding. Slowly they made their way towards the crash site. Already Leah could make out several Militech vehicles, yet no one was inside them, and she still hadn’t seen any Militech personnel. The smell of burning fuel was now apparent as Johnny and Leah approached the last corner, they would have to go around to reach the crash. That was when Johnny caught eye on the first body. A merc, probably in his early twenties, shot through the head. Likely by a Militech agent. “Well, this doesn’t bode well for us.” Leah said aloud. “We’re already here Johnny, lets just round the bend and see what’s on the other side.” Johnny nodded his head in agreement and pulled out is revolver. The two met eyes again, if this was how Leah was going to go out, at least she’d take some Militech assholes with her. No way she’d go down easy. With that, Leah and Johnny rounded the corner. Instantly the smell of burning AV fuel invaded the lungs of Leah. The black billowing smoke that blanketed the ground was no help as it forced both Johnny and Leah into a coughing fit. Neither of them could see anything as they stumbled close to the wrecked AV. Beside the wreck the other two AVs sat parked with the doors open, likely holding several troops. Where the hell was Militech? Wasn’t this their cargo? Leah and Johnny walked to the center of the wreck. Leah could feel her shoes standing in oil, the AV must have lost all of it upon impact. A gust of wind hit then, and the smoke began to clear up enough that the two could see their surroundings. Johnny noticed it first. The bodies strewn about. They weren’t stepping in oil; they were stepping in blood. “Ok…! ohh...” Leah yelled; she was in utter shock. “What the fuck!?” Her mind spiraled. Yes, the AV crash would have likely resulted in some of the crew dying, but this was nothing like that. More than forty bodies lay strewn across the wreckage site. Johnny seemed less fazed, but still shocked. He looked around his mouth gaping at the carnage before him. Most of them Militech, a few where mercs. Their bodies strewn about in various states. Most of them were mangled beyond recognition. Ripped apart like tissue paper. That explains why there was no welcoming party for Leah and Johnny earlier, they were all too busy being dead. Leah regained a small amount of composure. “What... what could have done this…?” she asked aloud not expecting an answer. “We can’t stay here Leah; we need to leave.” Johnny said, he had recovered quicker than Leah and had stated this with a surprising amount of conviction. “Fuck the package, we need to go. Right. Now.” Leah was still trembling, but she nodded her head in agreement. They needed to get out of there as soon as possible. There was no guarantee that whatever did this had left, not to mention Militech was bound to arrive with a bigger force soon. Leah looked around again at the nightmare in front of her. This time she saw something strange, no, out of place was a better word. “Johnny… wait.” She called out to him. Johnny turned around and faced her. “Why wait? We need to go now!” he yelled back at Leah. It was useless, she had already walked off into the smoke. Johnny reluctantly turned around and followed in after her. Johnny wanted to know what was so important. The two were in way over their heads, no cargo was worth this level of carnage. Johnny saw the back of Leah. it was clear she was staring at something. He stepped closer to see what it was. A girl no older than twenty, stood perfectly straight, despite being passed out. She was probably quite pretty, though it was hard to tell based on her condition. Her clothes, where torn to shreds, blood covered her entire body from head to toe. Her hair was knotted and caked with drying blood and her body was covered in welts. Though as to what caused them neither Leah nor Johnny could guess. The girl stood as the only other being alive besides the two mercs. “Shit.” Johnny muttered aloud. “We can’t leave her here.” Leah turned and faced Johnny. “We gotta take her with us. Help me take her to the truck.” Johnny became exacerbated. “Leah we can’t. we have to go now.” “Johnny we are the ones who shot down that AV.” Leah stared at him angrily. “Its our fault this happened to her, we owe i-“ “We don’t owe anyone shit!” Johnny yelled at Leah. “It was a botched gig. We didn’t mean for any of this to happen! If we carry her with us, it’ll slow us down! Whatever the fuck did this to everyone might come back and kill us too!” “But it is our fault!” Leah snapped back. “We shot that AV down, whatever the fuck that was in there did this. Can’t you see? It got out because of us! Now you suggest we leave an innocent girl to the same fate as these Militech bastards!?” Johnny contemplated a second on Leah’s words and hesitatingly he approached the girl. He turned back to Leah, took a deep breath and sighed. “Aw, fuck. If we die because of this, just so you know, I will beat your ass in hell choom.” Johnny was clearly upset, but at least he agreed to help her. A massive wave of relief washed over Leah’s face. “Since when did we become chooms?” she asked. Johnny didn’t respond, instead he laid his hand on the standing girl’s shoulder. Hard to the touch, like steel. This surprised Johnny, what kind of person has steel hard skin? Suddenly the girl crumpled to the ground. Johnny’s contact had caused her to release all the tension in her muscles like an Uncompressing spring. “Jesus Johnny be careful!” Leah yelled instinctively. “All I did was touch her. Her cyberwear must be malfunctioning.” Johnny knelt down and picked the girl up. “Leah, take my gun and cover for me while we get to the truck.” Leah nodded in agreement and the two began to make their way out of the wreckage. Slowly, the two made it back to the megabuilding, leaving the burning wreck and the bodies behind them. Luckily for them, no additional Militech units had arrived, but they could hear police sirens heading their way. Leah and Johnny make back to the truck without incident. Leah opens the back door so Johnny can set the girl down. Ever since Johnny had touched the girl, her body had completely loosed up and her breath became raspy and labored. “What now?” asks Johnny. “The girl seems to have some serious cyberwear problems we gotta take her to a ripperdoc and see what’s going on.” Leah replied. “I live near one we should go there, lay low. Let this cool off, what do you say? You with me?” Somehow, this life and death experience had put in some sort of bond in between Leah and Johnny. Johanny also had nowhere to go they would help him lay low. This was a win in his book. Leah hopped into the driver’s seat of the truck and waited for Jhonny to jump in. “First thing we do when we get close to my place is ditch the truck, ill need you to carry the girl more after that.” Leah stated. Johnny sighed “fine, fine” Leah turned to Johnny “You know what choom? You’re not so bad.” After that, the two drove out of the megabuilding parking and drove back towards night city. “Do you have conformation that she’s the one?” a deep voice of a man questioned over the holo. “Yes.” A voice of a young woman responded. “They just pulled away in a red Thorton Mackinaw” She had been watching Leah and Johnny the whole time from a distance, in fact she had been near the site in a hotel room well before the two mercs had arrived. The spy in question had been watching from one of the mega building’s windows. Her eyes had been replaced by artificial ones that could hack through security feeds, she had seen Johnny and Leah from the time they came in, till the time they left. The girl closed her fist and glared; her bright blue eyes were filled with rage. “You know.” The girl stated. “I could just go after these mercs now and take her back, they don’t even stand a chance really.” “No, we’re already near a full-scale war with Militech, any move we make to reacquire that girl must be made by someone outside the company. Not to mention the girl is unstable, any violent attempt to take her back would likely result in the same level of damage you saw today” The deep voiced man replied. “Emi, I understand she is your sister, but you must learn patience, we will get her back in due time. I’ll keep in touch.” The holo call ended. “FUCK!” Emi yelled in frustration. “These bastards know where she is, and yet they’ll do nothing!” Emi sat back down on the bed in her room. “You better call back quick, Bruce Ivern.” She uttered under her breath. “Don’t worry sister, Arasaka will claim what rightfully belongs to it.”
willowthefox: Hewwo! I'm new to this place, and I just wanted to say Hi! My name is Willow, and I am a new artist thinking about taking up freelance art as a job, and I'm also really into the Changed and furry fandoms. I can't wait to meet you all! :3
Sept 10, 2022 21:29:49 GMT
illirica: Hello! Shoutbox is pretty quiet a lot of the time, but I think if you scroll up a little there's a link to our discord server there if you want to join!
Sept 10, 2022 22:47:13 GMT
willowthefox: Oh, I would join if I could but Discord is blocked on my school laptop and on my phone, so I can't use it.
Sept 11, 2022 0:05:38 GMT
willowthefox: And sorry for the late response, I've been working on some drawings.
Sept 11, 2022 0:06:28 GMT
paperwork: Have you tried punching the internet until the block is broken?
Sept 11, 2022 1:24:50 GMT
paperwork: It says "meatball" on my end?
Sept 13, 2022 6:37:36 GMT
paperwork: Willow, of course I know how website blocks work. The website puts up its arms into a blocking position, which stops you from getting close to it. To break through the block, you have to exhaust its stamina bar, ideally by punching it. It's easy.
Sept 13, 2022 6:38:43 GMT