“I feel it necessary to talk about organized crime. When I started, there were three crime families that ran everything that the Governor and his council thought should be illegal. They never tried to muscle in on the Big Three but they were powers in their own right. Naturally they didn’t get along and a war erupted. Historians call this the Chicago War and it was bloody. Free agents were hired on all sides of the conflict and multiple security forces were ground into dust trying to stop the fighting.

I bring this up because every few years someone with a passing relationship to one of the families tries to start up their family again. Kill them, for all our sakes”

It had only taken a week for the sound of machine gun fire to become like white noise to John. It was constant near the bombed-out apartment complex his team and few dozen other teams were using as a base of operations. “Russians just gave us the contract to take out the western blockade. Going to hit it in about six hours.” One of the random team leaders called out to the other teams. With so many free agent teams operating in the city the families had started being able to choose who took contracts. Every day the families would push to take the area outside of the apartment complex. The apartment complex itself had been deemed neutral ground since the free agents were such valuable assets but the area around the complex was a hell scape where family soldiers fought to get a representative into the complex to give out contracts.

John and his team shouldered their rifles and strapped on their masks as they stood. The free agents had been telling each other when they got a contract as a point of professional courtesy but for John’s team it also served to tell them when they had work to do. Prometheus had hired his team, for a sum that could be used to buy whole parts of the city, to keep the fighting going. If the western blockade was falling, then the eastern and southern ones had to as well. It was dangerous work, while free agents were valuable no one agent or team of agents was worth losing anything in the eyes of the families. Worse still was that they had to go against two families for every contract that seriously affected the outcome of the war.

It wasn’t hard to move into position near the eastern blockade, the Russians had numbers but their soldiers were mostly just drug addicts who owed money to the family. The twitchers, as the twitchy grunts of the Russians had been named, freaked out when gunfire came from the buildings around them. Each agent had a targeting system installed in their eyes so the shots were as precise as sniper fire without any of the wait time for lining up a new shot. One of the twitchers primed a grenade and a round took his hand off, he didn’t even realize. The blockade fell quickly after that as grenades chained together and leveled the thing.

The southern barricade would have been much harder to take if not for the fact that the Yakuza had manned it with their elite guards, all of them claimed to be descended from shinobi and had one fatal flaw. A few inebriation grenades, grenades that made people who breathed in their fumes drunk, launched at the barricade and the team challenging them with only melee weapons out and the elite guards would drop their guns and pull their ceremonial swords, basic blades with no enhancements. Meanwhile the team, except for John, would use machetes that used sonic vibrations to help cut through hard materials like their opponent’s swords. John would use a scythe that had been made for him and modified by Hades inc. and Finger of God Weaponry. The blade of the scythe had the same vibrations as the machete but the companies had seen fit to outfit with what they called a laser sheath that coated the blade in a high-powered cutting laser, a Taser charge that flowed constantly through the metal parts and was strong enough to stop a heart, and a thruster that could be triggered to speed up swings.

The elite guards fell for the plan as the grenades dulled their senses and heightened their confidence. They didn’t even balk when the first guy tried to parry a scythe slash and got eviscerated for his trouble. By the end of the fight, if it could even be called that, John wondered if their obsession with archaic weaponry was capable of being transformed into a desire to learn to use blades like his team did. His team set the blockade on fire while he thought about it.

A few hours later the western blockade fell but the team who took the contract never came back to base camp.

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