Category Archives: 1 – Killing Time OST

Killing Time OST in a Blurb!

As a prelude to the Strings of Retaliation marathon and continuation, I am posting a summary of Killing Time OST, the first serialized novel of the Nightshade Assassin series.

Since this summary contains all the highlights, it is chock-full of spoilers.

Let me say that again to be sure.


So if you have any intention to read Killing Time OST and enjoy the action-packed, emotion-filled, music-included, cyberpunk experience of Lorelei’s first debacles, I strongly recommend you stop reading this and head over there.

The Strings of Retaliation marathon will start next Tuesday so you have a whole five days catch up on what you missed out on.

For the rest f the awesome new readers (and the old ones too), here’s last season’s summary. 😉

* * *

Lorelei Beyer is most renowned as the Nightshade Assassin, the criminal scaling superscrappers and the Most Wanted list alike. Sporting a fake face and a turn-of-the-millennium Desert Eagle, she targets bosses of the tech industry and executes them while a carefully chosen soundtrack plays in her head. During an attack on Merrilyn Technologies, the biggest company out there, she recruited Vexx a hacker, tech-surgeon and former tech-addict. He now lives in her basement and helps her complete her self-appointed missions while he waits for his new identity to come in the mail.

Fresh off another assassination, Lorelei has a close call with FBI Special Agent Gabriel Walker. She escapes by Tasing them both. As a result of that and Vexx’s constant hacking of her music chip, Lorelei starts suffering from migraines. However, she has such strong nightmares about technology that she refuses to let anyone, especially Vexx, further fiddle in her brain.

Her death threats fail to stop the hacker.

Vexx’s forced brain scan reveals the existence of a myriad of nanobots in Lorelei’s head. Most likely injected in her embryo, the nanobots control her on a chemical level, triggering pleasure hormones when she exerts violence, encouraging muscle development, dampening the pain receptors…

Everything a human body needs to be a perfect assassin.

Refusing to live with the tech, Lorelei orders Vexx to extract the nanobots. After being insane for a few months while her body learns to regulate its own hormonal production, Lorelei makes a deal with Gabriel: in exchange for a pardon for the crimes she was programmed to commit, she will help the FBI make a dent in Merrilyn Technologies, the creators of the nanobots.

Against her nature, Lorelei gets a crazy amount of temporary tech-enhancements to storm Merrilyn Technologies and kill the man at its helm, the father she loved for years.

The sour taste of victory almost sends her over the edge, but Vexx convinces her not to jump.

Killing Time OST – Finale C – Release

<< Finale B – Release

Gabriel wrestled the guard to the ground as soon as he confirmed that Lorelei was here. He could have flashed his badge but that would have involved a lengthy explanation of why the hell the FBI had an interest in Lorelei.
“Good thing you were right,” Gabriel said. “Go!”
I didn’t need to hear it twice. Holding the envelope against my chest, I ran toward the peak of the hill. I prayed I would get there in time.
That she wanted to kill herself wasn’t really a surprise. She had stormed Merrilyn Tech with a song that had “erase myself” as part of the chorus. I didn’t think she’d go straight from killing her father to jumping off the cliff. I thought I would have time to tell her I could revert the surgical procedure, that I still had the pieces of her I had to take out to put in the tech. That I could make her whole again.
I had been wrong. Or maybe, I just didn’t want to believe it, choosing to listen to Gabriel and his WWND stats instead of my guts. According to his team of scientists, Lorelei’s survival instinct was too strong for her to commit suicide. Every time I brought up my concerns, he said he expected depressive moods but that she would never let it win because it meant that her father won in the end too.
He didn’t factor in that living meant bowing to the task force’s will or going on the run.
By the lord of micro-circuits, is this hill ever going to end?
The wind carried an acapella version of Don’t Fear the Reaper to me. I sighed in relief because she was still alive. A tear also trickled down my cheek; she would go through with this.
I arrived at the top and she had already turned to face me – super hearing be damned. At least she didn’t hurry the jump to avoid me.
“How dare you?”  I waved the envelope she had hidden in the bottom drawer of the medical room’s dresser. I would never have found it in time if I hadn’t been foraging through my stuff to set up things up for her tech detox.
“I’m setting both of us free.”
I chuckled. “Yes, forging my signature of a fake prenupt so I’ll inherit the company that ruined my life is all about freedom.”
I threw the envelope to her face. She caught it between two fingers, unabashed by my anger. Her hair and girly dress floated on a gush of wind. In other circumstances, this place would be perfect.
“What better vengeance is there than to take control of your enemy?”
“Coming from someone who’s sick of people robbing her of choices, it’s quite funny.”
That point hit her hard – not that it really showed on her face but I recognized the almost invisible pursing of the lips.
“Please,” I said. I would drop to my knees if I had to. “Please come back with me. We preserved your muscles. I can turn you back to fully human.”
She shook her head. “It’s a nice thought, Vexx. But was never human.”
“Who said that?”
“I can be measured. Predicted. Like the weather. Or a program.” She carefully put the envelope on the ground, placing a rock on top of it so the wind wouldn’t blow it away.
“WWND was wrong.”
She looked up at me, blinking fast as if she was afraid the hope swimming behind her iris would overtake her bleak vision of the world. “But you’re here.”
“Gabriel didn’t think you’d try to kill yourself. He couldn’t figure out where and how you would do it. But I know you. Like I should my good human friend.”
Her shoulder dropped and soon, her body followed as she abruptly sat on the ground. The leaden weight was still there, despite today’s victory, despite her calm.
“I don’t know how to do this.”
I cautiously walked toward her, watching to make sure she was okay with it. She didn’t move and I took it as an invitation to sit by her side.
“Most people just cry and ask for help.”
She hesitated but, finally, she did what she should have three months ago. I wrapped my arms around her as she wept in silence. Then I smelled the tech by-product; her tears were tainted with it.
The convulsion started a second later.
“Shit!” I pulled her up and she barely held herself. Gabriel arrived in his car just as I secured Lorelei in hers. “We have to take her back to the base. Now!”
Gabriel veered and I followed him. When we hit the freeway, he started his sirens to clear the way. Ben waited for us with a gurney when we arrived and everyone else was out of sight to preserve Lorelei’s identity.
I was going to lose her now.
Since all my equipment was prepped, I sighed in relief as soon as she was plugged into the dialysis machine. An analysis revealed that the implants closer to the reboot chip had suffered a bit; nothing a proper reset couldn’t fix. She soon fell asleep while her blood was being filtered back to clarity.
“You’re not taking out the tech?” Gabriel asked once I exited the operating room. Lorelei slept the intoxication off.
“Not yet. She might never heal if I go back in before the nanobots erase all the scars from the first operation.”
“Think she’ll try again?”
Gabriel caught me when I wavered. I thought I had my lack of sleep in check.
“Go to bed. I’ll watch her.”
He had barely slept more than me in the past week but my body forced me to listen to his order. My mind didn’t like it though.
And it didn’t like it in the morning either.
I woke up to see Gabriel in his bed next to mine in the dormitory. Lorelei’s was empty with Frogster idling on the pillow. I punched Gabriel’s stomach. Or would have if he hadn’t caught my fist.
“You let her go?”
“I didn’t hold her back.” Somehow, it sounded like an accusation. “I would have if I didn’t believe she would uphold her end of the contract.”
Her contract? I was so pissed at Gabriel I couldn’t find the word. I didn’t think she would try to commit suicide anymore, but that didn’t mean she should be alone!
I grabbed Frogster. Maybe she left something, a hint so I could track her down.
“She’ll be back before the expiration date of her preserved muscles.” Gabriel sat in his bed. “She made a copy of some files. Test subject Alpha.”
I stared at Gabriel. So maybe he wasn’t completely useless. “Alpha is her.” I shouldn’t have spent my insomnia sorting these folders out; she would never have found that so fast. “It contains information about her mother.”
Frogster came to life in the palm of my hands and sprouted Lorelei’s good bye message.
A song.

THE END (for now)

Killing Time OST – Finale B – Release

<< Finale A – Release

I cut off my chute as soon as my feet touched the ground. It sufficed to keep my immediate surroundings busy as people frantically attempted to free themselves from the fabric. Amidst the panic, I had no problem grabbing a loose jacket off someone’s back and a hat off another one’s head. A pair of sunglasses fell to my feet with an impeccable timing.
The general chaos of the crowd running out of the parking garage – to avoid me who now looked like one of them if you forwent my Kevlar legs – allowed me to make my way to a quiet alleyway where a loosened manhole cover waited for my escape. I slipped in the abandoned sewer unnoticed and started my run out of the city. I shed my cheap costume under the neighborhood before I ran back towards my house.
The sewer entrance and the lab were untouched. No booby traps, no misplaced items. The door leading to the house was still closed. I enjoyed the fact that my secret sanctuary hadn’t been found; the recent event left so few pieces of me undisturbed, even Vexx’s overloaded shelves appeased me.
The house, however, was full of traps easily identifiable for anyone who didn’t walk in through the front door. Did they actually think I would be that stupid?
Julia rolled to me. “Your last grocery was thrown in last week’s garbage. Please refill the refrigerator to improve your meal choices.”
I stuck my Taser under her jaw. She wiggled, and then powered down.
Annoying machines.
Realizing I still wore all my Nightshade stuff, I backtracked and threw my face and my Kevlar suit down the stairs before closing the secret door. Naked, I headed upstairs. My bedroom had been turned upside down, like the rest of the house. My bottle of scotch lied on its side, empty.
The bastards.
I plucked my pink dress with white polka dots out of the wreckage and slid it on. I tied my hair and dabbed a little make-up on – which required a bit of digging to find. My pair of favorite sandals yearned to be reunited; I grabbed the left foot in the bathtub and the right under the bed.
I headed back out of the house with my purse, deactivating all the traps along the way to the front door. They were so primitive I preferred to think they didn’t really want to kill me. The blown up bed fragments had been cleaned from the driveway so the authority wouldn’t investigate my house. I shrugged to myself and checked the car to make sure it was safe. Two blocks of C4 later, it was.
I drove to the hill where my father and I had so many picnics. The guard didn’t require much explanation to let me in. He chatted me up about the recent attack on Merrilyn Tech. He didn’t know my father was dead. Or that he had been the head of Merrilyn. I leveraged his disgust at the attack, pretending that I needed a reminder the world wasn’t all violence and death. He let me in without question.
I rolled to the top of the world – a backdrop I always cherished – and sat at our usual spot. I closed my eyes, allowing my breath and the smell of grass to fill me slowly. There were a few flowers under the cover of the nearby trees and their perfume erased all souvenirs of the polluted city. The breeze brushed my skin.
I sighed.
Tech by-products ran through my veins, redoubling in mind-altering effects since I slowed down; my resting metabolism didn’t burn them as fast. Reality was stuck in a cloud, just out of my reach, just as it ought to be now; its distance left room for calm, for the peace I felt when I put a bullet through my father’s head to persist a little longer.
All the relief I felt today only existed because the end was near, of course.
The end was here. Finally.
No more second guessing. No more skills I never wished for. No more acts I might have never condoned. No more power plays. No more tech.
No more people robbing me of my choices.
There were loopholes in my contract with the secret task force. Some of them insignificant, others vital. One clause stipulated that following the event of my untimely death, Vexx’s situation would be dicey. A special tribunal would judge him based on his help and how far I fulfilled my contract.
Nothing kept me from bequeathing the house and Merrilyn Tech – which I would soon inherit from my dad – to him in order to secure his usefulness for the task force. He would complain and doubt at first but I hoped someday it would see it as the gift it was.
Freedom and chance to change the company that hurt him.
My way of saying sorry I ever doubted him.
He would do a great job heading Merrilyn Tech. The inventions he would come up with would save hundreds.
Removing myself from the equation was better for everyone. And essential for me.
All our time have come,
Here, but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain.
As I sang to myself – because I didn’t want to turn my music chip back on –, I walked to the edge of our picnic spot. It would be a respectable fall to the ground. High enough to stop this nightmare.
This was my choice. At last.
The machines in my body didn’t fear the reaper and I could be like they were. I wanted it.
I swayed with the breeze as I sang the whole Blue Oyster Cult song.
It was such a perfect day.

Finale C – Release >>

Killing Time OST – Finale A – Release

<< 25c – Blast

I cocked my Desert Eagle, now full of bullets, and sighed.
Going radio silent.
I switched off my communications and my music chip. I didn’t want Vexx or Gabriel to talk to me. I wanted to bask in the peace, the accomplishment. The end.
“Lorelei –”
I shot a warning two inches off my father’s feet. He fumbled backward but after a life of deceit, he likely had an ace up his sleeve. I didn’t know if it was my instinct or the skewed perception caused by the tech by-products poisoning my senses, but he seemed to pulse with threat though he slowly took steps away from me.
I would leave him one chance to win. I needed this to be a duel, not a scything. He had wound me into an anger-driven killing machine; I couldn’t kill him in a burst of fury.
“You’re not leading anything anymore.” I had tried to find calm for years and had never achieved it before this moment. “Not your empire. Not your life. Not this conversation. How does it feel?”
He swallowed hard and took another step back. I shot an inch from his ear. He cowered.
“Your ears work just fine, Andrew. Please answer the question.”
He straightened himself, pulling his jacket to an ordered flatness and squaring his jaw. I cocked an eyebrow; the brave face didn’t bear any weight after all the cowering.
“It feels wrong. I’m –”
“– Too little, too late. I’ll have issues for the rest of my life.” I sat on top of a protruding ventilation unit. The air coming out of it blew softly around my ankles. It tickled. In the streets below, the authorities were arriving.
“You’re only sorry you got caught.”
The light played beautifully on the body of my gun. This was a perfect summer day, blissfully smog-free. He didn’t deserve such a good day to die.
“What do you hope to get out of this conversation exactly?” Andrew’s anger was fueled by annoyance and helplessness. Nothing like the one I bore since childhood.
“Nothing, really. The past weeks significantly lowered my expectations toward you.”
There was one question I wanted to ask but I wouldn’t believe his answer, no matter what he said. And one way or another, I would be an orphan.
“How many of you thought I could pull this off?” I waved at the cadavers.
“Wow! Underestimating your creations much?” I chuckled. “I bet you’ll get your ghostly ass spanked for not listening.”
The thumping sound announced the two guards way before they reached the roof access door. I shut two sparkies and was done with them.
“Why are you doing this?”
I shot a real bullet through the extra fabric around the ankle of my father’s pants.
“That’s the second question you ask. Are you trying to take back this conversation? Bad prisoner.” I clicked my tongue. “I want to leave you a chance to fail your escape. But since that team seems completely incompetent, I’ll have to kill you without quashing your hopes.”
A faint shushing sound entered my hearing range. My identification chip pulled the file of the associated vehicle: a super silent helicopter covered in high tech plasma screens that partnered with cameras to act like a chameleon skin. Virtually undetectable except for the obscenely enhanced like me.
I aimed at Andrew’s head. “How many others are there?” He shook his head no. I smiled and pulled a first detonator out of my vest. “It doesn’t matter, you know.”
I pressed the button. Somewhere in the middle of the jungle far away, a building blew up.
“Your research facility’s destroyed.”
I flicked my wrist, letting the detonator spiral to his feet. In the belly of this building, the mainframe reacted to the attack by saving a copy of all its content to a set of super secret remote servers. All its content. Vexx’s virus tagged along for the ride to make sure that the only server left with Merrilyn Tech’s information would be our own. By dinner time, the remote servers would be wiped clean of any back up files they might have contained.
I theatrically pulled another detonator out of my vest – the complete upload from the mainframe to the servers required ten seconds.
“I’m also commandeering all your data.” I pressed the button. The explosion was loud enough for Andrew to hear it. The roof shook a bit too. I threw the second detonator to his feet. “I’ll know how many prototypes are out there soon.” Vexx, Gabriel and I hadn’t gotten around to those files yet.
The soft shushing of the helicopter was growing closer. Thirty seconds tops.
“This doesn’t change anything for you.” Andrew said.
“So now you have fatherly advice, don’t you?” I chuckled again. “Think it’ll be good enough to save your skin?”
“You’ll still hate who you are. Maybe even more so.”
As if that would suffice to destabilize me, Andrew chose that moment to turn and run for the invisible helicopter. I placed a bullet between his eyes as soon as his left foot initiated the turn. Seeing its boss down, the helicopter started shooting. I rolled behind the ventilation unit. It did one pass over my head. I vaulted over the unit and broke into a sprint towards the body of the man I used to call Dad.
I stuck a Nightshade signature sticker on his chest. A puff of his cologne caught me by surprise and I stopped dead in my tracks. Though his nanobots weren’t in me anymore, they had burnt an unforgettable path. My body yearned to wrap my arms around him and cry in the curve of his neck.
The return of the helicopter snapped me out of my tech-induced trance. I sprinted to the edge of the building and swan dived. A few plasma bullet burst on the roof. By the time the helicopter turned around so it could shoot at me again, I would be out of range.
I opened the parachute folded in the back of my suit and angled myself to land in the parking next door. The crowd of buzzards parted for me.

Finale B – Release >>

Killing Time OST – 25c – Blast

<< 25b – Blast

Since I already cleaned the way, nothing slowed me down when I sprinted from the underground servers toward the lobby. My skin tickled and I giggled. Only to realize that made no sense at all. In fact, the world was a bit… fuzzy.
“Focus, Lorelei!” Vexx snapped.
Damned. I’m high, aren’t I?
“One of your pieces must be leaking after the Taser shot and the reboot. It’ll strengthen you if you can channel it.”
So that’s how good it feels.
“Nathan’s looking for the remote modem. Come on!” Vexx’s voice barely made it through the haze. The white walls were so bright and ‘rainbowy’.
“You’ll die a tech-loving loser.” Gabriel’s insult pierced the euphoria with a rage that snapped my mind right back in place. I doubled my speed.
What did you call me?
“If you don’t use the high to get out of there alive, I mean.”
I’ll kick your ass for this.
“As opposed to what?”
“Guys!” Vexx said. “He’s searched half the desk already.”
Can’t go any faster. Almost there.
“Too late.”
I rounded the corner and drew my gun. The door at the end of the tunnel was already sliding down full speed. I aimed at the distant form of Nathan Blode and fired – a nanosecond-long process – but my bullet ricocheted on the closed door. A door whooshed shut before the corner behind me too.
Gas hissed in the room.
Shut up!
Gas, spark, burn: fifteen seconds to cinder. I had five before the gas content became a problem if combined with any amount of heat. I set my explosive to three and threw it to the door.
I spun on my heel and closed my Kevlar suit’s hood over my hair and face.
I dived into a ball. The blast rolled me into the corner’s door. I smashed against it. The heat licked my body, only made bearable by my suit. When the fresh air from the lobby told me the flames had receded, I unfolded.
The sprinkler began raining on the fire. I was drenched before I could curse them.
“You’re crazy,” Gabriel breathed. Vexx simply sighed in relief. I pushed myself back on my feet.
How else can I get things done?
By the time I finished my thought, I was already halfway to the lobby. The smoke messed up both my normal vision and my infrared but from what I saw earlier, Blode was a stick figure of a man; getting closer didn’t bear any risk.
“You know you’re just wasting our time, don’t you?” I said.
“Stop moving.” As if the high-pitched voice wasn’t laughable enough, the fear shook it all the way through the two words. I emerged from the smoke to find him trying to aim at me with a plasma gun he picked up from a guard.
Give the geek a keyboard and he’ll be mildly menacing. Take it away –
“– Hey!” Vexx protested.
“I don’t have time for this.” I drew my tranqu gun. Blode fired when the dart hit him but the plasma bullet wouldn’t have hit me even if I didn’t have lightning fast reflexes.
“He destroyed the spider.” Vexx said. On the floor, the critter gave us spark as if trying to obey her master’s order.
Lucky I brought an extra.
I dropped the spider next to the desk and, while Vexx hacked his way back into the system – cursing all the way because of the extra wall Blode uploaded –, I grabbed a pen and paper.
“Your nemesis says: ‘Ha ha! Sucker!’” I dropped the note on Blode’s chest. Was that the silly tech-high mood again?
“Think you can punch him too?” Vexx said as the hallway’s far door finally opened. I ignored him and ran, heading straight to the employees elevators near the middle of the complex. “Going back to the servers.”
An elevator was already waiting for me – Vexx’s last magic act before he gave the monitoring of my progression back to Gabriel.
“The guards freed the executive,” Gabriel said. “They’re taking the stairs to the helipad.”
I hit the button for the top floor with a little more force than required. If a darn techie caused me to fail, I would blow a gasket.
“I’ve locked the roof access door.” It wouldn’t hold them for long but it might be enough to get me within shooting distance.
The elevator ride seemed to take forever and the ebb and flow of tech by-products in my veins didn’t help at all. Shadows moved in the corner of my eyes, cranking up my adrenaline for no reason. I paced the limited square space to channel my tension.
This was it. The last mile. Then I would be done.
“You’ll pull it off.” Gabriel’s voice caressed my mind, soft and caring.
I was already out of the elevator when the ding stopped resonating. I heard the beating east of me. By the sound, I figured the guards had already pierced a hole in the metal. I rounded to corners and started shooting sparkies.
The guards formed a plasma-shooting barrier to allow their bosses to escape through the newly busted door.
Running, I stuck a foot in the wall, creating a hole I used as a step to jump from wall to wall. When I reached the ceiling I dropped back down, never missing a beat. The plasma bullet heated my Kevlar suit and hair. By the time I reached the little group and downed the last guard, steam came off of me.
I stepped onto the helipad, switching guns as I watched my footing in the debris.
The first one to die under the blazing sun was the CFO. Then, one by one the major shareholders and big heads of Merrilyn Tech hit the ground. Their panic brushed my skin and left no mark. The only thing that wept for them was the roof itself: tears of blood streamed to the edge to trickle down the wall of windows.
At last, my father stood alone, looking like a scared old man. Dust stained his disheveled suit. Fear tousled his hair. His superb was nowhere to be seen.
I smiled and reloaded my gun.
In this very moment, all that existed was peace.

Finale A – Release >>

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