Killing Time OST – 5a – Shopping

<< 4c – Scouting

For every measure, a countermeasure existed. I was pretty sure the world would spin out of balance if that law was ever broken. The trick lay in finding said countermeasure and use it properly. Ill-used countermeasures did squat to stop the measure; the police was criminals’ countermeasure and yet I kept killing. Edouardo’s system might be a complex little beast but if I didn’t trigger it, it wouldn’t counter me either. But I would have efficiently countered it.
Egg or chicken?
Vexx spent the night cracking the encryption within the alarm’s mainframe. By morning, he handed me a list of traps, triggers and where each was used in exchange for a cup of coffee.
“I cross-checked my translation with the observation you made when you scouted the place. They match. Unless Blode is smarter than I think.”
I layered the information over the primary security system. With that intel, I concluded that both the house and the office were death traps. However, I knew the trap precisely for the office while there were holes in my knowledge of the house.
The office was my Mister Right.
I spent breakfast standing in front of the holographic reconstitution of the Subcutaneous Wonders. The first plan I came up with was so simple it was laughable. Unfortunately, it turned out to be probably riskier than a more conventional approach. It still inspired me to theme this assassination with a cartoon song. It would simply be unreasonable to play a Spanish man without Bugs Bunny’s La Corrida as a soundtrack – or should I say “as a pun” since a 45 seconds jingle hardly constituted a soundtrack.
I circled around the holograph a few times before I chose a point of entry. The front door would kill me in less than a minute. The cargo bay tripled that but the floor was still a deadly place to be. The ceiling, however, had a lot of potential, provided I had the proper climbing equipment. If Subcut-W was in an old building, I could have gone directly from there to the air ducts. Unfortunately, the release of small conduit-maintenance robots and super powerful filtration systems reduced the size of ducts in every building less than ten years old. My target was one of those.
The hallways weren’t patrolled which sounded like a good thing. However, the shitload of gadgets for highly paranoid rich men turned the corridors into literal death rows. The art lay in avoiding each and every trigger. Again, this was doable provided I geared myself with the proper countermeasures.
Daredevil or not, in the end, I decided to use a variation of my initial plan.
Amazingly enough, some of the best alarm distraction materials were found within your average mall, requiring little to no post-purchase assembly. Once the plan shaped itself into a shopping list, I asked Julia to print me her grocery list and went on a mission to burn a lot of cash and fill my car with stuff. This shopping spree was every woman’s idea of a dream day – though some ladies might be repelled by the fact most of my purchase would play a key role in someone’s murder.
I parked my car at the mall and, like a minority of people, I walked inside the complex. I might grab myself one of those personal transporters if my purchases turned out to be too cumbersome but I hated using them by default. Yes, it rolled faster than I walked. Yes, it limited the physical effort necessary to move around the place – as if escalators and elevators weren’t enough. Yes, it was specifically designed with a trunk.
For me, nothing should come free; I paid hours of compulsive spending with a little workout. Apparently, that was one of those things that made me a nutjob by most people’s standards. Another one of said things was my aversion for automated clerks. No matter how lifelike the robots were, they sucked the joy right out of my experience.
I slalomed through the traffic of fat shoppers on wheels – the ones who either didn’t have the money or didn’t want to be indebted for metabolism increasers – and rolling techno slim dolls. Eventually, my opinions of their lifestyle choices shut up; I always needed a bit of acclimation time when I interacted with crowds.
I entered a construction store first. I missed one of my all-time favorite assassination partners: duct tape. Vintage by design and no longer used for anything close to its original purpose, machines tried to replace duct tape but never managed to produce something as popular. Anything able to best the machines had my eternal love and devotion.
I grabbed ten rolls of “Made in your local Robotic District” goodness. That was another thing I winced at. People used to complain that everything was “Made in China” – or so I was told. In the 21st century, they had this ‘eco-friendly’ fad and began buying locally to spare the planet. The movement didn’t really take off until locals produced as many things as China and at the same price, which they achieved with new and improved machines in lieu of workers. Hence the birth of Robotic Districts in each city to satisfy the demand.
Here came the joke part; the districts polluted a lot more than the old import-export business. Not only did this scheme not help the planet, it caused an economic crash in China. Thousands of people lost their jobs, the economy crumbled and Chinese companies found themselves without funds to match the development of technology in America. Thousands of years of a great culture were now swallowed by slums.
But the publicities were right; technology was good.
I grabbed some parts Vexx required to fix the various projects lying around his workspace. Thank God he wrote me a detailed list because I didn’t know much about the entrails of automated gadgets. And I certainly didn’t want to ask one of them for assistance.
Next on my list came a bunch of chemicals widely available for machine maintenance. They could also be mixed and matched to craft a variety of illegal bombs and security system distracters. Not that I ever used them that way, of course. Not this time anyway. That was the problem when you used house products to blow up stuff; you never had any handy when you actually needed it for its intended purpose.
Finally, I grabbed a set of pulleys and a lot of rope.
I stuffed everything into my backpack once the clerk beeped my ID and green lit me for exit. The next stop on my list was the outdoor equipment store; one of the most deserted place in the whole mall even during the holiday frenzy. I suspected it would soon close and I would have to resort to ordering all my stuff on the web from the only company still making what I needed. Predictably, the price matched the rarity.
All I wanted was a new harness but, out of pity for the human salesperson, I spent a lot of time chatting with him. I even twirled a strand of hair to sell the illusion I had no clue what I was looking for and needed everything explained to me slowly. Unfortunately, the guy seemed to know less than me about his products so I ended up steering him more or less subtly towards the product I had my eyes on.
I smiled, giggled, cashed out and exited with an unrequested private phone number.
Now onto the fun part.

5b – Shopping >>

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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