Killing Time OST – 3a – Death Row

<< 2c – Payment

I headed straight downstairs after putting the ice cream in the freezer. The auction ended at eleven thirty and I desperately wanted to know if I owned a vintage Desert Eagle in working condition. Such a beauty was so hard to find.
“How are things?” I asked when Vexx came into view. A strand of hair partially hid his profile. He flipped it out of his face as he turned towards me.
“I phoenixed the frog!” He opened up the cradle of his hands to show the mechanical creep. It croaked. Vexx smiled. I sighed and shook my head.
Gotta love dork-speak when it was said with joy and a charming grin.
“I made the headlines!” I replied in a satyr of his enthusiasm, waving my reader.
“Don’t brag. I’m sure I’d make the headline if I went topside.”
“Vexx – Story of a Phoenixed Master Hacker.” I snickered. “I was actually asking about my gun.” I cocked an eyebrow. The square line of Vexx’s jaw sharpened. “You didn’t!”
I headed for my computer at a brisk pace. I couldn’t believe he forgot. How could I possibly go on living, knowing this beautiful piece of history would gather dust behind a glass instead of performing the duty it was meant for? Tracking down who got it should be pretty easy. I didn’t want to turn into a petty thief, despite what my skill set might convey, but it still beat living without my Desert Eagle.
Maybe I could leave the money on the gun’s stand…
I navigated to the auction’s website, the gun’s page was saved into my favorites. A gigantic “Gotcha!” popped in my face along with a virtual confetti shower and victory music. Still sitting at his desk, Vexx laughed until my hand came in contact with his windpipe. Once I made my point, I slowly released my grasp.
“Do you have to react so violently?” He coughed. His face was red from the attack and the shame of being overpowered by a girl. The ironic thing was that, with his muscles and arm length; he could definitely take me if he trained properly.
“Yes. I do. My emotions are not to be trifled with.” I stared at the screen where a 3D holograph of my new gun spun onto itself.
“But you have to admit I’m getting good at it.”
When I turned around, he was bowing over the broken figure of his frog. It must have escaped his grasp when I attacked him.
“Things are bound to die around you.” Vexx picked the pieces off the floor. “I’m not sure I’m going to build myself a dog after all.”
“Speaking of deaths…”
I strutted across the lab and into the shooting area. As I stepped in front of the far right wall, a system powered up.
“Welcome to death row. Who would you rather kill today?”
Pictures, names and locations of various technology-involved big heads littered a huge map. I would have made it out of paper and pushpins but the dicks didn’t deserve an expensive treatment; a wide holographic projection was a sufficient effort. Vexx programmed it so that it retrieved obituaries from the net and updated my list accordingly. Yesterday’s target sported a red X across the face.
“Locals,” I requested. The map automatically zoomed on my city. I looked at the potential victims but none seemed particularly ripe to me. “Faces display only.” The map disappeared and the targets lined up in neat rows. I headed to the training guns cabinet.
Vexx custom-made a plasma version of each of my antique guns, calibrating the weight, recoil, bullet trajectory and all the isty-bitsy details so that firing with these guns felt like the real thing. They shot small inoffensive plasma pellets that the shooting program interpreted in real time. I trained without wasting bullets, a bonus when you had to melt your own. Training guns were also blissfully silent so I didn’t need to protect my ears.
I chose one of my throwing daggers and stood a few feet back from the center of death row. I closed my eyes and turned on myself with increasing speed. Once the world started to waver, I threw the dagger. I opened my eyes after my weapon buried its tip in the wall behind the hologram.
“You selected Edouardo Delgada, President and founder of Subcutaneous Wonders.”
The picture of the soon-to-be-dead Latino filled the screen while the program loaded all the information government agencies had on him. It served to endure an in-house hacker.
“Looks like he ran out of luck,” Vexx said.
“They’re all living on borrowed time.” I replied absent-mindedly. I pulled my dagger off the wall and returned it to the cabinet. Some shooting practice would be a good idea but I found it hard to choose which weapon suited my mood.
A new gun entered my field of view.
“Desert Eagle balancing, thought you’d like it while you wait for the real thing.”
A peace offering? Offered with a generous dose of masculine self-contentment but a peace offering nonetheless.
After planting a kiss on Vexx’s cheek, I picked up the gun. The weight of it rested comfortably against my palm. I closed my eyes to imagine how the old metal would feel and smell. The scent of burnt powder pleased me more than to the ozone of plasma. It was so grounded and rich.
“Load Edouardo Delgada in the shooting range.” I ordered to my system.
“Please select training plan.”
“Arabesque.” Vexx said to the machine. I opened my eyes in surprise.
“You programmed me a new training routine too!?” He winked.
“You might want to put on some pants before you start.” He threw me a pair of leggings.  I kicked off my sandals and quickly pulled the figure-hugging clothes under my dress. “Mind if I watch to see if it needs fine-tuning?”
“Nope.” I walked to the illuminated circle the application projected on the floor.
“Hello Lorelei. The training will begin in five, six, seven, eight.”
The rapid succession of notes opened DeBussy’s Arabesque with series of mini plasma shot to where I stood. I dodged three of them but the fourth caught my ass.
“You’re dead, Lorelei.” Though the actual wound wouldn’t be fatal, taking one bullet equaled death for me. Pursuers weren’t forgiving and I refused to have a lenient training program.
“Who said classical music didn’t pack a punch?” Vexx taunted from the door. He leaned against the frame, relaxed and confident. He loved to push me beyond my limits in training, a trait I truly appreciated – no matter the physical pain it meant.
“If that’s how you want to play it.” I stepped back to my starting position.
“Arabesque will restart in five, six…”
When the melody started, I vaulted out of the bullets way and shot the four Edouardos. I waltzed out of the next salve, falling into the training program’s beat.

 3b – Death Row >>

About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

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