“Officially you’ll be providing security for the labs so you’ll need to get acquainted with what goes on in them.” The Hades Inc. executive explained as the team read over the contracts. The jobs that had recently received from Hades had turned out to be a front for a sort of job interview. The team had been approached to do things that would test the effectiveness of the private security firm that had recently been hired to do security for the labs and high value personnel.

A month after the payment had appeared in their accounts a man in a suit had arrived at their doorways to tell them about a meeting for a job opportunity. The whole team had expected for it to be a standard power play, where the company showed how much they didn’t fear reprisal by bringing in known free agents, but had been surprised when the executive who met with them handed them contracts and said that they would want the team to be their private agents. There would be a salary and bonuses based on jobs completed. All things considered it would have been a good deal if it wasn’t for one little clause “The signer can take no payment for jobs done for other companies or entities.” John read aloud interrupting the executive.

“That’s a standard clause and…” John wordlessly pushed the contract across the desk and got up “Take some time to think about…”

John held up a hand to silence the man “I’m a free agent. I will take any contract that I believe I can complete.”

“If you turn down this opportunity you could be blacklisted. You’ll be losing out on all those contracts.” The executive’s tone was warning with just a hint of threat.

“You won’t blacklist me.” John stated with certainty and just a hint of threat.

“And why won’t I?” the executive mocked

“I kill people. I killed the mayor, his aide, and his cabinet. I killed an executive about as far up the ladder as you are now when I was just fourteen. I personally purged my block of any gangs. I killed the security guard on the way in here because a concerned parent payed me to. And those are just the ones I remember. You aren’t going to blacklist me because then no one has to pay me for you. You will spend the rest of your few days looking over your shoulder wondering if today is the day.” John popped the eye he had recently had to have replaced and continued “You will wonder if every new face you see is really just me” John manually changed the eye color and reinserted the eye “coming to kill you.”

John walked out of the office before the executive could come up with a retort but was stopped by another man in suit clapping “Lovely speech I especially liked the part about potentially being anyone” the man pulled his eye out to reveal it was similar to John’s, John was familiar with the kind of eye that the man had and it was remarkably more expensive.

It also wasn’t supposed to sit as far back in the socket as he had put it “I would say thank you but I take offence to the fact you thought I would be tricked a by a simple synthetic face” one of the upgrades in John’s new eye was a zoom in function and it had been easy to fine the seam where the fake face met the original when zoomed in at 5x magnification. “Would I be right in assuming that you are Mr. Takeshi, the current CEO of Hades.”

“What gave it away?” The man removed the false face to reveal a much older face that had been marred by the many assassination attempts made on his life.

“My eye isn’t as nice as yours but it is quite good at magnifying things” John paused as a readout came up in his vision “It also has a basic particulate scanning function. Why is there blood in your breath?”

Takeshi began to cough and John’s eye registered more blood on the handkerchief he put to his face. When he finished coughing he answered “Last assassin did better than he thought. I’ll be naming a successor soon.”

“Let’s go grab a drink. I don’t want the team to just walk out here and see you like this.” John said softly as he placed a hand on the old CEO’s shoulder.

Takeshi directed John to help him to his office and had an assistant pour them drinks before she left for lunch. “I want you to protect my successor.” He stated flatly.

John shook his head “You know that can’t be done. Not only am I an assassin but I won’t take jobs that I know are impossible. Besides why are you so concerned about your successor, it’s not like he’s your…” John paused for a minute.

“Illegitimate but yes.” Takeshi answered the unspoken question. “Are you sure you can’t do something?”

“That’s why you’re hiring free agents as security.” John exclaimed as he figured it out “You want people who are used to the life to protect him.” John shook his head “It doesn’t change that I can’t protect him but maybe there is something I could do. Get me a list of the top assassins.” Takeshi only had to hit one button on his computer to bring up the list “Now give me a contract to kill them all.”

“What should be the payment?” Takeshi asked with contentment obvious in his voice.

“I want a good deal of money, a full wipe of my past, a new identity and you will supply me what I need for each hit. Do that and I will wipe the slate of everyone good enough to have a chance of succeeding.”

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