Before you begin

“Before you start taking jobs and making money there are a few things you should do. First, move to the second floor of an apartment building. Pick one with an outside facing wall. When counter agents want to attack you, this will limit their sight lines and make it hard for them to get at you by other means. Being on the ground floor would be preferable only if there is enough stuff in between your apartment and the street to stop a speeding cargo truck filled with explosives. It will happen to someone you know if you are in the game for any great length of time. Second, get a gun. You would think it would go without saying but lately I’ve seen young punks with fancy swords and no firearms going around and getting themselves killed. Third, get a car. Something that can take a punch and keep going, you will be upgrading it periodically as you take jobs. Fourth, Kevlar is cheaper than surgery, scavenged Kevlar is even cheaper.

Finally, don’t take any job from any of the Big Three unless you are sure you can complete it to their specifications. They will kill you. They will kill anyone who ever knew you. You can’t beat them.”

John had been around long enough to know that he should send the Prometheus CEO an email telling him what was going on. So, he drafted it up and sent it off while they drove to the meeting site. “That what I think it was?” My driver asked as I dismissed the holographic computer screen.

“Yeah, sent it to Promy. Just glad I remembered it before we got underway. Also, figured I would warn him that I might be stopping by to kill one of his heads of research.” John popped his pistols out and checked them over. The containment unit looked good and the generator were new so they should have been fine but there was no reason not to check.

“If it was anyone else I would say they were insane. But you’ve done that, before, haven’t you?” He was referring to the time John took out that think tank. John was certain he was going to die after that but The Big Three had forgiven him because he had told them he was coming. It had lead to some lucrative contracts a few years later but it was still a scary time.

“To be fair that was after the whole dying thing so I was a little pissed off. That was how the security tester jobs got started though so I guess some good came out of it.”

“I got one of those in a few months. Got any pointers?”

“Aim for the chest and use heavy stunners. Also, go in the front, loud and proud. Most guys go for the stealthy approach but if you do something unique they will bring you back for more jobs.” John passed him a beer from the cooler in the back. “So is that the plan? Do those as a semi-retirement?”

He took the beer and took a swig. “Yeah, a few of us older guys are going to follow your lead but we don’t want to get rusty. We figured we would start up a business just doing those. Hire on some of the new blood when we feel like we can’t do it anymore. Reap the benefits of their work and live out our twilight years in peace and quiet. Speaking of which can I make my room at The Bunker a permanent one.”

“Sure, just tell me when you go into full retirement and normal rules apply until then. Do you want to move to a specific room or are you fine where you are?”

“I like my current room but was wondering if I could get a place to store my gear.”

John pulled back up the holo-screen and sent him the code for his room’s backroom. “When you get back there should be a code on your computer. Put the code in the access pad and it will give open the back room. It’s modeled after mine so it should be able to hold your personal gear. I own those warehouses you guys use all the time so you can keep your stuff there.”

“This where we’re meeting them?” He asked when we got to the coordinates of the meetup. John nodded. “Ugh, kids. Why do they choose these places?”

The location of the meeting was a nightclub downtown. It was one of those trendy places that people like John and the driver didn’t bother with anymore. Sure, it gave you the anonymity of no one being able to overhear you but it was also too easy to sneak up on someone in there and a well-placed bug could still hear the conversation. Most old agents went to one of the dive bars in the upper crust areas. No one asked questions there and everyone ignored anything they heard. Plus once the job was underway the whole team could get a little liquid courage if they needed it, and not pay an arm and a leg. But newbies always wanted to meet at these places so here they were.

John hopped out while the driver found a safe place to park. The outside was plain except for the bright neon sight on the front and the line of people trying to get in. There camera security was laughable and it didn’t take him long to get a live feed on his holo-screen. It was standard nightclub fair. A bunch of sweaty people dancing in one big group on the central dance floor. The group they were looking for was in one of the booths off to the side. It was the best booth for them to be honest. It had a clear line on the front and back doors and they were obviously keeping an eye on them. A sweep of the building with the scanners in his eyes found signals coming from where each booth was. They were all transmitting to the office that oversaw the dance floor. Some enterprising manager must have decided that they should listen in on their clients’ conversations.

John waited for the driver to get there and brought him up to speed. Together they stepped across the street and walked in the front door. The bouncer had a list of priors that he got sent to his phone right as they got there. A pointed stare told him all he needed to know about where it came from and he stepped aside.

As expected the music was overtly loud and the two veteran agents were thankful that they could tune it out. Together they walked to the booth that the group was sitting at. John flipped the table they were sitting at over and destroyed the bug in the center leg.  “Now that we can talk freely I’m Mr. John Doe and this is Mr. Reynolds. We will be going along at the behest of your employer. What we say goes. Any questions?”

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