Bah………….. that was long…………………………i doubt imma be able to get to ten chapters by Friday……….. seems impossible….
I always felt the most important aspect of any confrontation or combat was adaptation. It was a rule I lived by, strength wasn’t infallible and weakness doesn’t always inspire victory, but the ability to adapt to any situation would always lead you to an advantage. It was the truth that led my designers to include a large portion of Fujealian DNA into my genetic map, my body was made up almost entirely of omni-cells and bio-nanites. I could recover from near fatal injures easily, and theoretically my body could with enough time replicate any damaged or lost organ including my brain. It would even keep my synaptic network the same, meaning that I would never lose memories or my personality. That is, as long as I wasn’t dead.
My instincts were also made to reflect this adaptive design, and my first priority would always be to best adapt myself to an unexpected situation before reacting on some other instinct.
Even my choices of equipment reflect this. I have countless weapons for any situation that may occur with me at all times when in the field, and due to the implanted D-storages in my wrists that my nanites have come to recognize as parts of my innate biology, even outside of the field I am always heavily armed.
My attire of choice for every situation or setting is a variety of outfits made from reinforced combat fibers. Usually I wear a jacket with concealed inner pockets over a plain solid color lose collared shirt and cargo or multi pocketed jean pants, all in black. Now our Company’s logo is imprinted on the back of most of my jackets though, a recommendation of 6’s. The combat fibers aren’t nearly as strong or resilient as many of the other armors that are used, but they are far more flexible and allow for infiltration and anonymity as they appear to be normal clothes. They are also fairly puncture resistant and non-energy conductive, a real plus over the energy conductive power armors. Completing the set is a pair of reinforced and nano-Zantix plate lined combat boots. They have a functioning shock and impact reduction system that rivals the best of power armors, and also have a high traction tread that with enough momentum even allows for small time wall adhesion. Due to the space and energy taken up by the abortion and reduction system, however, that is all they are able to contain.
All of my weapons are either self-made or heavily customized, often times both. My go to are normally guns or blades, but I am proficient in almost all forms of weaponry. That said, though I have a variety of almost countless weapons, I usually only ever need to use a few. Those few have quickly become my favorites as well.
The custom Dragon Z7 long range rifle, I made this weapon from the basic Dragon Z7 design. Rounding out all the sharp edges the weapon usually had into a sleek curving design and incorporating a high level recoil reduction coil, my Z7 is almost unrecognizable compared to its original design and four times as heavy. Incorporating the teleporting round magazine system, as well as rewriting its original programming and incorporating multi-dual, multi-energy type and multi-ballistic, internals have made the weapon capable of firing almost anything without the need to even replace mags to reload. The modified scope that is attached also allows for multiple forms of sights, a high definition zoom feature, and five different forms of scanning. The gun can be powered by everything from solar energy to energy batteries, and even without power it can still function as a classic ballistic rifle. This weapon is my normal go to for sniping and mid to long range one off firefights.
The Lupine-33, a tactical assault rifle of my own creation, is designed for mid to short range combat and has a smooth, sleek, and elegant triangular look. With a built in sturdy and reflexive scope, a teleportation thirty three round magazine, as well as the multi-dual internals that I use for most of my guns, this weapon is capable of both fast and accurate rapid fire, as well as precise and controlled single or burst shots. My Lupine is practically in its own league, and is my weapon of choice against multiple units or in unknown situations, as it is the embodiment of the deadliness of adaptation.
The custom twin 960-Tempest pistols, heavily customized from the original design, I made these two sleek long barreled hand guns into devastating weapons on par with the average heavy rifle. Also made with the multi-dual internals, my Tempests are capable of firing up to 95 caliber ballistics as well as almost every non-heavy explosive energy round known to date. Each are equipped with a morpher quick swap clip that causes the clips instead of the rounds to teleport and replace themselves inside of the weapons. The Tempests are good for almost any occasion and are capable of short to even slightly mid-range firefights. They also work perfectly with my gun-kata and other forms of close combat. They are my side-arm of choice in any situation.
The I-76 tactical grenade, customized by me for both lethal and non-lethal explosions. It is a small telepathically primed orb capable of plasma, energy, antimatter, ballistic, flash, and smoke explosions. It uses the five second priming sequence to create the chemical compounds needed for the desired explosion with its internal one-use replication and production device. These little things are always useful and are usually my grenade of choice.
And lastly the mixed energy, plasma, and dark matter blades of my own creation, the D blades-33. These are also equipped with Telepathic priming, only this time one that responds only to my unique synaptic map. Normally just smooth dark handle/hilt grips, when given a telepathic signal from me the can activate into one of the nine predetermined weapon forms in either a safe to touch mode, or the deadly lethal mode. Made to form as either a sword, hand scythe, axe, knife, dagger, whip, crescent blade, katana, or a serrated chakram these weapons are my melee weapons of choice.
I was made to be adaptive, and adaption has become the creed I live by. I am always prepared to adapt to the unexpected, and I always bring an entire arsenal on a mission, even a supposedly easy one. This mission was no different.
There she is, white hair and tail, pointed ears, and sharp focused silver eyes. The target for this job, and the one I’m going to kill.
As I looked through the enhanced scope of my custom recoilless Dragon-Z7 rifle, with its current energized high impact one hundred and fifty caliber ballistic rounds and a custom teleportation thirteen round magazine, I wondered if I should just take the shot now. Reapers could be dangerous and unpredictable if they know that they are being hunted, and if I were to end this one’s life before she found out, it would save me a lot of work.
Though it might be a lot less interesting……. I guess that’s fine though, not every job can be interesting…….
Tightening my grip on the smooth long rifle I tapped my right ear to turn on the transceiver.
“6, I have a visual on the target, is the feed from my scope being transmitted to you clearly?” (33)
“Yeah 33, I see her too. So how are you gonna do this, wait for to wonder away from the crowd? Do you have some plan to lure her into some quiet deserted alleyway?” (6)
I kept my sights on the Auxer woman as she walked through the crowded street. Even from this long distance my scope showed her in digitally rendered and cleaned, crystal clear focus. I could probably make a clear shot from fifty miles away with this thing and still see the target like it was only fifty meters out. Not to mention all the other little features I added to it over the years…
“I was actually thinking of just taking her out now, one shot to the head and she’s dead. No need to risk a closed and private confrontation that way either…” (33)
“33 from your current sights, if you fired you would hit that man walking with her……” (6)
I tracked the target as she turned onto a less busy street, it looked like she was luring her prey to a less populated area so she could go in for the kill.
“Its fine, the client said to only kill the target right? I’ll just aim for his shoulder, the shot should pass through him and kill the target. With a few months of bio-stims and therapy he should be fine, a non-fatal wound should adhere to the agreed upon contract right?” (33)
I heard 6 sigh through the transceiver.
“33, the contract said that the client wanted this done quietly, as well as up close and personally. She specifically said to make ‘That thieving murderous cat suffer a painful death, and to tell her who she should thank for her death right before she dies.’” (6)
I ran a scan on the target through my Z7’s scope, then sent the results to the tracking feed feature of my HUD filtered glasses. After I could see the targets position and bio data in innocuous sun glasses 6 had designed for me to use, I got up from my position on a high tower building’s roof top.
“I didn’t hear about that, are there any other special points stipulated in this jobs contract 6?” (33)
Recall. Dragon Z7.
I telepathically activated the dimensional storage unit on my belt, one of the set of three I had on at all times while out in the field. The one at my waist was for heavy equipment, medical supplies, and rifles or other larger small arms. The ones implanted sub-dermally on the underside of both my wrists however contained only my pistols and melee weaponry. This configuration allowed me easy access to any weapons I have stored, and helped earn me the names Black Solace and Black Arsenal.
As my weapon flashed into the D-storage with a purple light, I heard 6 respond.
“You didn’t know, because you didn’t listen to the entire deal, 33. Our client wanted a very specific hit to be made…” (6)
I got on the retrofitted military grade RS-930 plasma cycle parked on the roof, and powered it back up. If I went in for a quiet approach with its stealth mode on, I should be able to get to the target in less than a minute.
“She talked too much, it was boring and I knew you would give me any information I needed to do the job right, 6. Be ready to take over the controls for the bike ok, I’m going to do a drop and I don’t want a repeat of what happened during our second job. We can’t afford to hack into any more financial systems to syphon money, your already on too many watch lists now as it is…” (33)
“Yeah, yeah, I know 33. Don’t forget to remote control the bike so it doesn’t crash, and don’t cause a government or cartel to investigate us cuz it’s bad for business. I do learn from my mistakes 33, and this is only our eighth job. I still have time to find all the things I need to learn and improve on…” (6)
I lifted of the roof top, and eased into the nearest skyway and began moving to the position where the tracker showed the targets bio-signs to be. The target shouldn’t realize anything is wrong, that is until I’m right on top of her.
“You’ve been doing fine 6. Just remember to adapt to any situation as it unfolds, always do that instead of overreacting to the unexpected. No plan survives contact with the enemy, remember? Now is there anything else I need to know about the target? Her preferred method of killing, or if she is adapt at a particular form of combat?” (33)
6 was growing into her role as my new partner nicely, but at times she still let her lack of confidence show. That was dangerous in this type of work, even for someone who isn’t directly in the field. That lack of confidence in herself could lead a lesser person to hesitate due to her, or question the information and support she provides and result in them making mistakes. For me however, I have never relied on my support so fully as that, as long as 6 could keep me updated on information and could handle the decisions about the contracts I could overlook any other failing she made. 6 was still young, she hadn’t even stopped aging yet, so I understand how she can be like this now. If I give her time, I know she’ll grow to meet my expectations.
“Just that she is a feline Auxer, and that she prefers to kill her targets after luring them in with sex or a relationship. She seems to be a typical black widow, with no real talents besides poisoning and seduction. That said she is an Auxer and a Reaper, so she should be fast and have some serious senses…” (6)
“Just that? There’s nothing to worry about on my end then. Also 6, you have to remember to keep your confidence up, be assured that we will succeed, but be ready to embrace the unexpected as well. That is where you need the most improvement currently.” (33)
Maybe she’ll even surpass 22 in a way, I’ve never had a solely dedicated support Number as an operator before… it might make the technical and delicate informational aspects of jobs easier, and her remote hacking and piloting skills have already shown themselves to be incredibly useful…
As I angled off towards the less crowded area my target was in now, I heard 6 sigh again.
“I know 33, it’s just…. Have you given more thought to the possibility we might need more people in Black Lavender Company? As it stands right now, you are all alone in the field, and you got seriously injured on that last job while I couldn’t do a thing to help you…. Maybe it’s time to consider expanding our personnel, you know?” (6)
She is still upset about that? Why? None of my injuries were life threatening and she was able to treat them all adequately…… 22 used to be like that too, sometimes…….. Maybe it’s some sort of deeper emotional thing? It seems counterproductive to being efficient with this line of work. Though, I suppose having more skilled individuals in our Company would be beneficial now…. Perhaps it is worth looking into between jobs?
“6, I told you not to worry about the last job, it was a fully packed Reaper guild building. My injuries were not nearly as severe as they might have been, and I have made a full recovery with the help of your careful medical attention. The job was as successful as we could’ve hoped, and the pay we got from the Silarrae Empire more than made up for my minor injuries. Though your thoughts about expanding our Company’s forces may have merit now, I think we should discuss it further after this job is over.” (33)
I heard her gasp slightly through my transceiver.
“You mean that 33? Whenever I brought up expanding before, you always said it was unnecessary or that it wasn’t the right time. Does this mean you think we’re ready for the big time? No more petty hacking side jobs? No more solo suicide missions?” (6)
As I pulled up over the empty corner alley that the target and her prey had just turned into I felt mild excitement go through me. This was it, the one thing I felt the strongest emotion for. It was the hunt, and more importantly the struggle and the kill.
“Yes 6, we can discuss the details of the Company’s future later. Take over the controls, I’m about to make contact with the target and I’m initiating communication silence.” (33)
“Happy hunting 33, I’ll be watching from the stealth omni-cams as always!” (6)
I tapped my right ear and powered down the transceiver, until 6 worked out a system to protect it from being fried by an EMP or emitting deafening white noise when hacked, I would keep it off while in combat.
Its time…… I wonder if this cat will prove to be any sort of challenge…. I do hope so, I could use some fun playing with an angry cat……
I dropped from the bike and fell the three stories down to the streets below. It was time for the hunt to begin.
This alley was dirty, cramped, and perfectly isolated from the main streets. It was a place that no normal person would ever go for anything remotely legal, and it was also the perfect place to bring someone you planned to kill, without having their death causing a scene.
I walked up to the Auxer woman and her prey while calmly examining them. Something didn’t seem right, the well-dressed grey haired human man who was with the Reaper seemed too still.
“Why hello there, I had thought someone was watching me… I guess that was you right, handsome? Well here we are, I even went into this nice secluded Alley so we could talk, so talk to me.” (Reaper)
I looked this woman up and down, she didn’t appear to be armed, but as I myself proved, that meant nothing really. The man on the other hand seemed to have a small energy pistol in the inside of his suit coat pocket.
I stepped forward slowly. It was time for me to test the waters, Reapers were never this simple or defenseless, at least not the good ones. I had a feeling this Auxer was at the least good at what she did. Reapers usually always were.
“What’s wrong with your friend there? He doesn’t seem to even be breathing…” (33)
The Reaper smiled at me and draped herself onto the man’s side and began drawing circles on his chest with her finger.
“You like it? I killed this big guy three days ago and he still passes for a living person! Nano-tech and chemical preservatives are sooooo useful don’t you think?” (Reaper)
I settled into a neutral and unassuming stance just outside of the man’s reach, it seemed this was going to be a two on one fight. That was fine, if the man was dead all I had to do was destroy whatever internal tech was allowing him to move. I would disable the moving corpse and then move on to the cat. Simple.
“So you repurpose your victims into puppets for your use. Clever, but I believe that society at large would call that sick or perhaps disturbed, Reaper. It must be very difficult to get work if your methods are well known and viewed this way, or are you perhaps the type to just not sell your talents?” (33)
The woman’s smile grew until it was a twisted mask of joy, the insanity that touched so many Reapers also started to show in her eyes.
“Oh, handsome and knowledgeable… Your right you know, I don’t typically sell any of the Lives I pick up. I like to think of killing people as a game or hobby and not as a job, making something so fun into work just never sat well with me you know?” (Reaper)
Arm. Dual 960-Tempests.
I felt the guns materialize in both of my hands, and mentally switched off their safeties. I kept my hands and the guns in them concealed in my jackets long roomy sleeves.
When it happened, it would happen fast and I needed to see how this corpse moved up close to estimate where I would need to hit it to disable it for good. I didn’t want to try for the Reaper herself with this corpse as an unknown right next to her. Reapers could at least die and feel some muted form of pain, but I doubted those things would much affect the corpse of an already dead man.
This is going to happen soon, I can feel it. She needs to make the first move though, this little conversation is probably just to distract me while she sizes me up. She’ll probably lead with her corpse puppet, or at least use it as a shield, which means the real thing will start when she pulls back from the body….
“I can understand how you might feel that way, but I am rather fond of having my work also be the thing that makes me happiest. Then again we are very different people, so our having different views on this point is probably normal. Oh and before I forget, you are going to die here because one Jennifer Higgins has a grudge against you. Apparently on of your recent victims was a boyfriend of hers that you seduced away from her then killed, unfortunately she is also the heiress of a highly successful software company and had the credits to hire me.” (33)
The Reaper began to subtly shift back and away from the corpse. It would happen soon. Our game of death was about to begin, and unfortunately for this cat I had already seen how it would end.
“Oh, so that’s how you knew I was a Reaper? Well I must say, some people just can’t let things go…. I mean come on, I only fucked and killed this bitch’s boy-toy, it’s not like it was her husband or anything right? Sending some poor boy to his death because of that is just a grand overreaction…” (Reaper)
I put on a small smile, if she thought I was some young naïve assassin wannabe and I showed blatant overconfidence, she would be far less cautious than she should be with me.
“Do you really think you can kill me? I mean I was the one who tracked you down and also cornered you here. I know Reapers may be hard to kill, but you all aren’t invincible.” (33)
I watched her face, and I saw the subtle change I was hoping for. Her smile became less forced and more natural, and her body lost the small amount of tension it had since she had seen me. She had fallen for the bait.
There it is, now be a good kitty and just let your pride and overconfidence lead you to your death. I’ll be sure to make it just as painful as the client wanted…… You lose cat.
“You know, it’s almost a shame to kill you….. Really, you seem like you could be tons of fun kid, and your just my type too. Hell if we had met under different circumstances I’d have probably fucked your brains out, of course I’d also have killed you, but with your looks and personality you probably would’ve lasted at least a month and a few trips under the sheets…. Oh well, Markus be a dear and kill the boy would you?” (Reaper)
The Reaper had been slowly moving herself behind the corpse as she spoke. It all seemed natural, and if I were normal person or was not watching for just such actions implicitly I might not have noticed what she was doing. As it was I was both armed and ready for just this moment.
The corpse was faster than I would’ve thought, but its motions were noticeably robotic and predictable. After moving back to avoid its initial grab for me, ducking under a few punches, and blocking a hard kick I had found were all the movements began from.
One shot into the corpse’s mid-spine and it flew back into the alley wall then collapsed to the ground in a motionless heap.
Turning to the side quickly I pointed the pistol in my left hand at the Reapers head.
She was now paused right in front of me with a small syringe of some sort posed to enter my neck. She had stopped moving entirely when she felt the mussel of my Tempest press into her forehead.
Reapers are all the same…… now that she knows there is no way for her to win, she’ll beg or bargain for her life……. This was disappointing, I was hoping for better from this cat…..
“What are you? No human moves like that, or could’ve followed my actions while dealing with my toy… are you an android? Some tech enhanced freak? A Fujeal? What?” (Reaper)
I looked at the Auxer who only now had dropped her seductive facade. Her expression was now the calm neutrality I was so used to seeing in my own natural expression, the natural expression of every Reaper.
“I’m a Number, you may have heard of me, 33?” (33)
I saw her eyes jump, and felt her body tremble just slightly against my pistol’s mussel. The signs were gone as soon as they appeared, but I still registered them. She had heard of me.
“You look younger than I imagined you would be…. So, would begging get me out of this? You can use me and my body in any way you please, I don’t care as long as I come out of this alive. You can even take an arm or something to prove to that girl who hired you, that you killed me. I swear I’ll lay low for a decade until she forgets all about me. This way you get the money and a good time, and I get to keep on living… What do you say?” (Reaper)
I looked at this Auxer Reaper, she was attractive and I’m sure many assassins would’ve probably accepted her offer. I wasn’t one of them. I knew she wouldn’t try anything even if I did accept her proposal, it would pose far too much risk to her and in the end no Reaper would take that chance when they had an assured way out with just some sex and a missing arm. At least not when they were cornered by someone more skilled than they were. I believed her entirely, she would follow through with the deal she proposed to me, but I had no desire for what she offered and I had a job to complete.
That was why I specifically, out of all other Numbers, am the best suited for combat against Reapers. I couldn’t be tempted with their bargains or pleading, because I simply didn’t care enough to be bothered with them. Most times I was happier if a Reaper actual surprised me by going against the norm and fighting to the end, even if they had no way to win. At least then they prolonged the struggle portion of my hunt, even if only by a few seconds.
So she turned out the same as all the others…… I almost hoped she’d act differently, maybe even try to go for the kill before I could….. Shame, she was just a subpar, common Reaper in the end after all……
“You do know I’ve heard things like that from countless others of your kind right? I’m not interested, if I ever want sex all I have to do is ask someone I might want, most times they take one look at me and agree right then and there. Besides my Company prides itself on both mission success and adherence to an accepted contract. Now if you don’t fight back, this will be far less painful for you. Do me a favor? Fight back as hard as you can….” (33)
Recall. Right Tempest.
Arm. D blade.
I watched the fear set in on the Reapers face, then there was just resignation. She wouldn’t fight back, she wanted what was to come to be as painless as it possibly could be.
“That is a real shame. You are a very disappointing target, but I guess neither of us got what we really wanted out of this confrontation did we?” (33)
“No… if I had known you were Black Solace, I would’ve abandoned everything when I sensed someone watching me and just run. Run as fast and as far as I could.” (Reaper)
“I would’ve rather liked that actually, it would’ve made the hunt more interesting. Anyway if you want to feel the least amount of pain possible, I suggest you relax your whole body now. I’ll start with the extremities and work towards the center. If you have anything to dull pain or kill yourself hidden away, now would be the time to use it.” (33)
The Reaper just shook her head.
“Nope, I wasn’t that prepared. Do me a favor? Make this quick would you, that is if your client didn’t specify my death as both painful and long….” (Reaper)
I tapped my right ear and activated the transceiver.
“6, anything about the length of the targets death in the contract?” (33)
“Nope, just that it has to be really painful….” (6)
“Alright…… Oh, are you sure you want to see stuff like this, you could look away and just let the cams record this for the client, you know?” (33)
“33 I already told you I’ll be fine, nothing could really scare me away from you or our job anymore…” (6)
“Ok. Prep the bike and contact the client, I should be home in about an hour…” (33)
I looked at the Auxer, there was no need to prolong this if there was nothing in the contract about doing so. No need for me to take any more time with this than I needed to.
“You’re in luck, this will be a quick and painful death, instead of a long and painful one.” (33)
“Thank you, I’m sure my guild will appreciate this gesture.” (Reaper)
I activated the D blade and moved all along her body before holding it above her heart. She grunted, but didn’t scream and didn’t let herself move or flinch as I worked the mixed blade of plasma, anti-mater, and energy over her skin. It caused intense and deep burns that left the Reaper unrecognizable. Like any other Reaper, she embraced death calmly and quietly once she was sure there was no escaping it. Reapers are capable of some of the most dignified deaths possible, they give you nothing and hold nothing against the one who kills them. They just accept their fate and die.
One quick stab to the heart coupled with one quick shot to the head and the Reaper was dead.
I walked back to the entrance of the alley where the bike should be waiting for me.
Recall. D blade.
I wonder what type of personnel 6 is thinking about adding to Black Lavender Company…. I might be able to think of a few people I know who might like to join up………………………….
so yeah……….. 33 is a bit……… like that…….. yeah…….
guy even respects a lot of his greatest opponents because he cant process any strong hate or fear. so what you get is a monster that kills other monsters easily, then reflects on how they die in such a nice way……. 33 is pretty much the fucking boogieman for Reapers. not even 99 scares them as badly as 33 does, mostly because 99 didn’t get sent after them that often, but still……..
anyway next chapter is also 33’s POV i’ll put that out whenever………… these A Numbers Game chapters are like 1.5 times the size of B.B.’s average chapter…. sometimes more…… that there be a lot of writing…………..
oh and if you find any major errors, help an author out and point them out in the comments section and earn an internet cookie. THANKS A BUNCH!!!!!!!