The world stood still for a few seconds in total confusion.
The Sniper still had his finger on the trigger. That shot hadn’t been his. By the time this thought had fully processed, a second shot rang out and the bullet buried itself in his right shoulder, throwing him back into the room. Almost instantly a third shot shattered the window, the bullet ending its flight in the ceiling. A tense few seconds of calm passed as plaster dust rained down upon the hotel room, then the Englishman let into action. In an instant he was back at the window side, pulling the sniper out of the field of view. Taking his life in his hands, he risked a glance out the window, into the street. Behind the Omnihaul stood a man, not the skinny, fake-tanned datashark they were both expecting, but a tall, blonde man in a long brown leather jacket, staring directly at the balcony. More significantly, he had in his right hand the distinctive bulk of a Garreffa heavy revolver. The newcomer caught sight of further movement in the hotel room and methodically took another shot with the Italian pistol, the bullet ricocheting off of the window frame back into the night’s sky. As soon as the Sniper was clear of the window the Englishman unholstered his twin pistols and fired blindly into the street, desperately trying to keep the flimsy outer wall of the hotel between him and any return fire.
Several seconds of frantic gunfire gave way to a tense silence as the world tried to catch up with the rapid progression of events. The room was covered in a thick mix of plaster dust, blood and rain water, leaving a horrific scene of devastation. Now sure the danger had ended, at least momentarily, the Englishman leapt into action and dragged the downed sniper away from the window, eliciting an agonised groan. Down in the street the sound of squealing tyres heralded their targets escape, but neither men cared anymore, now the priorities had shifted to escaping alive. Without saying a word, the Englishman helped the Sniper to his feet, the shoulder wound still bleeding heavily, and started for the door. Both knew hesitating now would spell disaster, an alarm was already audible from the opposite building, soon the whole area would be swarming with both police and corporate security desperate to find who had dared to challenge their territory.
The light carbon-composite door departed it’s hinges with a swift kick, coming to a rest on the opposite side of the deserted corridor. Most of the cheap hotel’s other patrons were wisely staying in their rooms, it had long ago become engrained on Atlantia’s collective consciousness that investigating gunfire was a free ticket to an early grave. The two hitmen slowly left the wrecked room, the sniper being supported by his colleague as he tried to keep pressure on the bullet wound in his shoulder. Blood was already caking his body armour, but it didn’t seem enough for the size of the bullet wound he’d suffered. The other man wore an expression of serious concentration, he still had his pistol drawn and was leading them on with it. As they advanced towards the elevator there was a faint noise from behind them signifying the worn out electric lock on a room door had been activated. In one swift fluid movement the Englishman turned around, levelled his pistol and threw the sniper behind him, eliciting an agonised groan. The door slowly opened and a black haired woman poked her head into the corridor, straight into the muzzle of the twelve millimetre semi auto.
“Lady, you picked a bad day to develop a sense of curiosity” growled the hitman. Unable to form coherent response, she made a noise halfway between a scream and a cough, rigid with fear as the two men backed into the waiting elevator. As the doors closed, she started screaming something at them, her voice managing to echo in the lift shaft.
As the elevator opened on to the car park level the sound of police sirens could be heard out in the street. The Englishman edged cautiously out until he could stop the doors re-closing, sweeping his pistol across his field of view in case someone had got the drop on them. Immediately opposite sat the unassuming angular bulk of a black ‘30s Yoshima-Honda slabster, a vehicle deliberately chosen for it’s totally unfashionable mass-market appearance. Satisfied they were alone, he dragged the sniper out of the elevator and gestured at him to wait. Returning to the elevator, the Englishman searched out the controls and delivered a swift hit with his pistol grip, shattering the touch panel and ensuring no one would be following them that way any time soon. Certain that their backs were secure, he returned to the sniper and dragged him across the asphalt towards the waiting vehicle and depositing him in the rear seats.
The advancing sirens were now closer than ever, and it was a fair bet that the private security were probably a step ahead of them, if not already in the building. The Englishman sat in the driver’s seat and slowly swiped an ID chip on the ignition. After a tense second the fuel cell engine shuddered into life and the car lurched out of the bay. The little dashboard display blinked into life and started to read out a preloaded set of directions out in a tinny, heavily accented voice. As he turned onto the exit ramp, the Englishman caught sight of a squat semi-armoured transport bearing the navy blue Overlander General Security logo proudly on its side attempting to block access under the careful eye of two heavily armoured but totally bored looking security operatives. Stopping the car at the top of the ramp he turned back to the Sniper.
“Hold on to something, this ride is gonna get awful bumpy,” then without checking for an answer he floored the accelerator, clipping the transport as the car thundered past, scattering the security. As they escaped into the street, gunfire could be heard as the Overlander troops attempted to stop them. Without slowing down, they reached a junction and skidded onto another street, the polymer tyres barely gripping the soaked road, leaving behind the botched job as they escaped into the night.
The Century23 setting, names, characters and associated imagery is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. (CC)2015 Dom Barlow, Some Rights Reserved.