Bright lights. Big city. Huge ass fucking buildings. Like the Mortimer building. I know I talk about Empyreal City getting blown up on a regular basis, but that’s a little bit of hyperbole, otherwise why would anyone stay here? Case in point, I had a building full of rich fuckers below me yesterday. It was 10 or so, something like that.
If you’re wondering why the building was under me, it’s because I was on top of it. If you’re wondering why I was on top of a building, it’s because that’s where I landed when I let go of the plane. What plane? A commercial airliner that has some frozen suction cups stuck to the underside of it, that’s what plane. And stop asking so many questions.
I was there, freezing my ass off I might add, for a job. Not begging a bunch of rich assholes who’ve never had to work for a living for a job, of course not. I didn’t burn that bridge at Kingscrow because I didn’t like Forcelight. I’m just not a regular job kind of person. Which works out well, because I was hired to kill someone.
It’s also a good way to spin your wheels and wait for information. Also, money. Everybody wants somebody dead, but most of the people who pay for that pleasure are the types with a little cash under their belt.
This time, as far as I can tell, it’s some trust fund relative of old money aristocracy. Lucky asshole. Genetic jackpot right there. Because of whose nutsack squirted into whose vagina that they then popped out of, there are people who don’t have to work a day in their lives or who get elected to Congress. Which is just two different ways of saying they don’t work a day in their lives. There, in those magnificent, gleaming, privileged balls are your future rulers, people.
First thing’s first, how to get down a building. There’s the obvious way, jump, but I couldn’t very well crash the charity ball with a leg bone sticking through my suit. I prepared for this sort of thing. I brought mittens. And hot cocoa in a thermos. Also, a rappel line, which might be of use.
I traversed the side of the building heading steadily downward until I got over the balcony where our little party was taking place. I could tell because of the two stone-faced guys with earpieces in stated on opposite sides of the balcony door. Yeah, they were annoyed. I’d bet you money they were annoyed.
The guy under me was even more annoyed when he was splashed by hot cocoa. Then he looked up and didn’t see anything, which made it all the stranger. Meanwhile, his buddy on the other side would have been even more annoyed. He got a whole person landing on him! I was fine, though. He broke my fall and a few of his bones. The other guy reached into his coat for a gun. Without a lot of options, I threw the only thing I could at the guy. Myself.
I tackled the son of a bitch and we fell against the railing. The gun came out, I tried to toss it over the railing. We struggled. I realized I still had the thermos in one hand, so I started hitting his hand with it. When that didn’t work, I bit him on the cheek. The gun dropped, and he instinctively tried to catch it. With me pushing, that sent him over the edge. He pulled at me as he went, causing me to lean over the ledge, but I was otherwise fine. He had caught on the bottom of the balcony with one hand. I lowered my hand with the thermos and told him, “Grab on, I’ll pull you up!”
When he gripped the thermos tight in his other hand, I let go and he fell.
I propped the other guard up to look like he was sleeping on the job. Dude wears his sunglasses at night. So did I. I fixed my suit before walking inside. Was all snazzed up, but needed to keep my snazz snazzy. Snazzeasy being snazzy.
As I walked in, a waiter stopped by and held out a tray for me. “Would you care for some, sir?” With my nanites back, I had rearranged my face. Print all the wanted posters you want.
I waved him away, “No thanks, I just had a bite.”
Insert fucking James Bond theme there, baby.
“Pardon me, but can you see alright, sir?” the waiter asked.
“Perfectly fine. Just a bit of a hangover from earlier, I’m afraid,” I said as I whipped off my sunglasses, folded them up, and deposited them in my pocket. My eyes, normally whited out cybernetic prosthetics, appeared quite normal. They were set to blend in, but they never manage that perfectly anyway. I just don’t care about having normal-looking eyes most of the time. The attentive would realize they were too white around the edges. None of the little veins you normally see. Most wouldn’t think about it.
Eyes are, after all, one of those things people take for granted. Get someone taking something for granted and you can trick them all kinds of different ways using that.
I perused the waiter’s tray real quick before I decided there was nothing I wanted and left him a few hundred dollars as a tip from the wallet of the man who had stood with his backside too close to mine.
Now inside, it was time for me to stalk my prey.
A room full of rich assholes. For once, I couldn’t be sure I had the highest kill count of anyone here. I have to get my hands dirty or build bombs. These motherfuckers make a deal with pens and millions die around the world.
Seriously, these panty-wads do that? They just walk around ending livelihoods so casually without a malice, without a thought beyond profit, without even pulling a trigger themselves?
I had to practically lock my body up to keep from jumping on the nearest man in a suit and yanking his eyeballs out.
I made it, though. Reminded me too much of the General there. I used to be a pawn for people like this. Worst decision ever for the General when he decided to disavow me. Good news is, the job didn’t say that other people at this shindig had to survive the assassination of the target.
I won’t bother with more speechifying. I’m here to make things exciting, not bore people with the same old topic over and over again. Instead, let’s focus on me trying to kill someone again. That’s a topic that never gets old. It dies prematurely.
Onto the mission! I even implemented a HUD checklist to help me out, videogame style. I hear lists are important like that. Like with surgeons. Turns out a surgery checklist dramatically decreases mistakes like an accidental scalpel transplant. My checklist went as follows:
Hide under plane, check.
Land on building, check.
Person from Czechoslovakia, Czech.
Infiltrate party, check.
Find taaaaaalook at the ass on her.
I was too busy following the instructions to correct that one, at least until the woman in question, a blond with hair just to the top of her neck and a dress just barely big enough for her, walked by. She turned, saw me staring, winked, and made her way past me. I’d have left it at that, but I quickly realized she stole the wallet that I stole from the other guy. That thief!
Moving on, back to looking. I flagged down another waiter and asked him if he’d seen the guy I was looking for. Max Stanton. He didn’t know anyone by name. Ah, fuck it. I just mingled with his picture up on my HUD. I knew he was here. I’d followed him and hacked his phone myself.
Lightbulb! Camera mode on!
It was in his pocket, but at least I could pick up the sounds decent enough. I kept an ear out as I walked across this lovely marble floor and past pockets of plutocrats.
“…come over and see the new yacht!”
“…old rapscallion accused of …funds. Who doesn’t?”
“…what that animal did. An ‘F Bomb’! How crude! Just think of the…”
“This event is good for my deductions.”
“…hunky security guards…”
“Better luck next time for old Ross, huh?”
“Better luck next time for old Ross, huh?”
When I heard the echo, I knew I was close.
I found him by the ice swan. That’s swan cold bird. Max Stanton. Businessman. Family man. No clue who old Ross is. I’m just here because Stanton has been staging a management coup.
“Hey! Max, how ya doin’ man!”
He looked confused, “Hi there, pardon, but you seem to have me at a disadvantage.”
“You have no idea,” I said. I nearly burst out right there. Just choice word selection. Famous last words, all thanks to this guy’s management and executive takeover when the old boss man running the show just wanted to lighten up on his duties for a bit.
I grabbed a glass off the tray of a nearby waiter and raised it. “A toast to our dear departed friend, Max Stanton, may he be late to his own funeral!” At this point, Stanton was confused and worried, but he only backed away so far before I smashed the glass on his nose. One of your wineglasses or champagne flutes or something. Haven’t yet figured out the difference.
It shattered and he held his hands to try and cover his eyes while turning away. I hauled on his collar and threw him against the table with the icy bird. I yanked off the swan’s head and beat him over the head with it. Once, twice, three times you’re out! Wait, never mind. Fowl ball.
Once I was done giving him head, I set it down and pulled him up and gave him the 63. There was much gasping, and perhaps an old bat fainting. Who am I? I’m Old Bat-Man. Oh my lordy! Thud.
I stood him up like that and spoke in a higher pitched voice for him, “Hello there boys and girls, I’m Max the Dummy! I’m going to do a little show here with my ventriloquist friend called ‘Flight of the Vampire!’” I didn’t bother hiding my lips. This was a free show.
Without my armor with me, I grabbed his arm to help turn him and to help with swinging him around in a circle. Then I stopped that and began swinging the other way when I got an idea. It was tougher, though, as my anal had to dig in and tug. Finally I angled the anal aerobatics up higher and dropped him down right on the jagged broken neck of the swan. If anyone knows anything about Vlad Tepes, Prince of Wallachia, you may know that’s not a good position for internal organs to be on. To make sure he slid down enough. I grabbed the head again and gave one more swing, busting apart the ice head and leaving some dents in his face.
“Ta daaaa!” I said, presenting the whole thing to the audience. An old lady with hair a different color than her eyebrows sat up from the floor, saw what had happened to Stanton, and fainted again.
“Somebody, get that lady a stiff one to wake her up. And I suppose a beer would also help.”
The people around had spread out in a circle around all the happenings, but I then heard people running and voices speaking above the crowd asking people to move aside. To the egress!
I caught the first guy as he broke through the crowd, grabbing at his jaw with the dirty hand. Awfully hard to shoot me when you’re gagging.
He made a good hostage. “Let me go or the hired help gets it!” Or not, in a room full of much more valuable targets. At least I still had his gun. I fired a warning shot into the head of an older man nearby, which prompted the old fainting lady to wake up, look at his fallen body, scream, and faint once more. Other people screamed too, and the crowd commenced to do what crowds do best: panic. They all ran for it. I pistol whipped the guard across the face, dropped his limp body, and fired randomly into the crowd before joining it myself.
See? So unsatisfactory, these guns. To show how ineffective they were, as long as I was mixed in with the crowd, the guards couldn’t even shoot me. Hell, once I got jumbled in, they didn’t even know who I was.
It was easy to escape with others at that point, though of course it smelled like someone farted in the elevator. Just my hand, though.
I did notice the pickpocket looking at me in the crowded elevator on the way down. She was in the corner right next to me. I winked at her.
“That’s one way to crash a party,” she whispered.
“Not so much crashing it as wrecking it,” I said softly.
We didn’t really have much to say to each other there, and when the doors opened, I went to waving my hands over my head while yelling, “Oh my god, oh my god, it was so horrible. Oh officers, save me! Help me! The horror! The horror! Oh my god, they killed Kenny!”
Those sort of people, you don’t really get held up to be interviewed right then. I gave the cops my card “Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle, Independent Film Director, Writer, Producer, and Actor.”
They let me go with disgust, though that time I couldn’t tell if it was because of my hand, which I thoroughly disinfected before heading to Rothstein’s Sports Bar for a bottle of vodka with the other evildoers.
Hello again, Empyreal City. My name’s still Psycho Gecko.