“Okay, Jack, give it to me.”
Buildings speed past the tinted windows at a dizzying pace, great brooding sentinels covered in flashing lights and shifting holograms. The view out the window was the only indication that the hover car was moving; the sensation of momentum felt in the pit of the stomach went unnoticed in the small antigrav car as it shot through the cheap neighborhoods of the city autonomously. Jack’s rough voice began the briefing over the small speaker in the dashboard.
“Your target is a scientist, Gavin Watkins.” A small figure popped up on the holographic suite. “He’s forty-six, no military training, but he’s employed a cadre of guards, veterans armed with the latest market-grade tech.” I study the face. The target has gaunt, angular cheekbones, the kind of pale skin that never sees the light of day, and greasy, graying hair. Shouldn’t be too hard to tell from the average brawny security guards.
“The Union’s current estimate is twenty-odd guards, including at least two VIGIL-class security bots.” I whistle. Those couldn’t have come cheap. Designed by Global Armaments, the VIGIL-class is considered the finest security bot money can buy, standing at two meters and over five hundred kilos
of armor and anti-personnel weaponry. The hologram switches to schematics of Watkins’s home, a blue matrix of lines with red sections at potential entrances.
“The Union doesn’t care about ancillary fatalities, so long as the job gets done. There is a time window, though. They’ve told me that they plan to raid West Point’s prime research facility tonight, hoping to sabotage Ursa’s war effort. Watkins is their chief researcher. If he walks away, the attack will be pointless. You have--” A small voice interrupts, the hover car’s automated nav computer giving a report.
“Three minutes until destination,” the cheerful voice coming from the tiny speaker at odds with the atmosphere in the car, all matte-black surfaces and glowing blue readout panels. I tap a button on the dash, the weapons locker in the car unlocking.
“You have until 2200 tonight for him to be dead. The Union is planning their assault at 2230. They apparently want a comfortable time frame. If the target isn’t down by 22, they won’t send forces, plain and simple.”
I reach into the locker, grabbing a small pistol. Plasma guns. Sure, they’re a bit expensive and the shots are bright, but other than the sound flesh makes when it’s flash-fried, whisper silent. Even better, plasma weapons pack a punch, practically boil armor, and don’t require much barrel length, like gauss rifles or old-fashioned chemical propellants.
“These guards probably have anti-ECM and motion detectors active, so you probably won’t go silent for too long. You should probably swap your suit’s ECM and stealth suites for the assault variant. Going against VIGILs, you should probably pack some EMP grenades, too.” I grab various weapons and harness them, hands moving quickly from years of practice. Tapping a button on my helmet, I both feel and hear the click of a computer chip in the neural slot of my combat suit ejecting. Containing everything from active camouflage to radar jammers, the V063 stealth chip gives the suit excellent covert capabilities. I palm the chip and deposit it with the rest of my collection. For this operation, I’ll need something heavier. I grab an olive-green chip and slam it home.
“One minute until destination,” chirps the little voice on the dash. I ponder for a moment. They aren’t going to just let me stroll in the front door and take an elevator.
“Computer, change course. Pass directly over the destination at two thousand meters above sea level. Ready the SIV and release directly over the destination. After drop, head to hanger four.”
The computer confirmed with a pleasant ding. In the car, a thin metal sheath enveloped the cockpit, forming an airtight seal. The Stealth Insertion Vehicle, or drop pod, offered a nearly undetectable method of entry. When the car passes over the building, the pod will fall unnoticed, the car continuing on, following the rest of the traffic.
“SIV prepared for launch, fifteen seconds.”
“Ten seconds… Five seconds… 3…2…1… launch.”
As the drop pod plunged, the darkened visor of my helmet sealed.
Time to go to work.