“Sending a message is dangerous,” Sgt. Slam warned me. He’s right. That’s why I don’t usually do it. It gives someone a chance to get away or to hunt you down, all while you make a statement that may not go the way you intend. It was ingrained into me as an assassin that my job was just to kill. So when I told Slam I was going to send a message, I acknowledged his reminder. I didn’t tell him specifics, though.
All I said when I grabbed my grocery bags and left was, “Don’t call unless it’s an emergency. Or until it’s an emergency.”
ICE set up in city hall. Why not? The old mayor wasn’t using the place and the interim mayor had fewer guns. Some of ICE’s were now getting prepped for the nightly protest, with Icers giving already gone through much of the nonlethal stuff they brought. I don’t think they truly grasped the lack of fucks those glorious protesting bastards have for their own health in the face of injustice. The humans are impressing me.
I’d put a lot of surveillance into this. A lot of spying on phones. A pinch of searching disciplinary records. A suit of armor in case I fuck up. It also gives the these guys their first clue something’s up. Mysterious hot women walking up to them with a backpack and a pair of big bags should probably be viewed suspiciously. Not a lot of people are happy to see ICE around here. But plenty of ICE agents eager to see a blonde in a tank top and tight, tight, tight jeans.
Some of the Icers approached, guns drawn and aimed at me. “Relax, guys,” I said. “I just brought some frosty cold beer for those tough ICE Agents. Yuengling? Goose Island?” Funny how that works, me having their favorites. Each one took a six pack of bottles and let me keep going on through. Another pair of guards challenged me at the lobby. I just so happened to have a beautiful jeweled necklace in case one of them needed it for anything. That one remembered he had an anniversary that night. The other guy took my invitation to take whatever he want and grabbed this toy his daughter had been bugging him about getting for her birthday.
As I left them, I winked up at the cameras and showed off this antique pocketwatch. That was a weird one, but the guy they seem to stick with monitor duty likes the old clockwork stuff. I stopped by the security office and let him have it. Nothing tricky. Didn’t kill him or loop the tapes, none of that.
I had something for everyone I met, though only a couple more guards paid any attention to me. They were posted outside the Colonel’s door. Colonel Rattix. He’d already had a nameplate made. “Woops!” I said, pretending to nearly drop my bags. The one to the right of the door grabbed hold of me to steady me. The other ended up catching a butt plug with a fox tail on it. “Sorry about that. I grabbed a bunch of random stuff for my big, handsome soldiers here, it’s so much to carry. If you see anything you like, feel free to take it.”
The guy with the butt plug slid it into his pocket, only a little of the fox tail showing. The other one saw a Doomguy helmet in the bag and took it. “Awesome! Thanks.”
“I’m just going to go in and give the Colonel something, is that alright?” I pushed forward as I asked.
“Who the hell are you?” he asked as I entered, dropped the bags, and locked the door behind me.
“I’m here to give someone a wonderful gift,” I said.
Rattix looked me over. As I said, hot woman. “Is that so?” he asked. He reached for the desk landline. “I’ll have you know I’m a happily married man, so…” He pressed the button to mute the ringer. “You’d better be discrete.”
I giggled. “I promise, I’ll be so discrete.” I put some extra sway into my hips as I approached the desk, leaning over it so he could get a good look at holographically-projected cleavage. “So discrete, I walked right in here and nobody stopped me.”
“What?” he asked. The Colonel had been undoing his tie, but he stopped, a skeptical expression crossing his face. I grabbed the tie and slammed his head against the desk once, twice, three times a lady.
From the Colonel’s reaction, this probably wasn’t even the first time the guards outside heard a hard banging on the desk followed by their boss going, “Oh god, oh god!” I don’t know how fast he is, but it didn’t take long to reach the climax of his life and leave his smashed half of a head laying on his desk. I grabbed his head and squeezed, feeling and hearing the pop and squelch of his skull bursting and spreading bloody grey matter around.
I walked out a few minutes later, sans bags, putting on a show of adjusting my top and skirt. The guards looked at me, then at each other with knowing smirks. “That was a short visit,” one of them noted, the one with the Doom Slayer’s helmet.
“I know,” I said, turning to grin. “Once I got my hands on him, he didn’t last long at all.”
“If you’re still hungry, I have seconds for you,” he said.
I turned and gave a “oh go on,” wave. “Honey, I don’t think you’d survive me. I’m positively mind-blowing.” I winked and began walking away as they laughed.
I made it out of the building and faded into the civilians passing nearby the building before anyone could raise an alarm. See, it’s best to just kill the enemy and get it over with. This message is for the rest. The superiors and the underlings alike can both see a regular person walk in. The cameras will show my little bribes of beer, toys, and sex toys as I made may way through the place. Their men can be bought and subverted, some of them at as low a cost as a six-pack. That’s all it takes to gain access.
Whoever comes after him in ICE will try to change it, but I think they’ll realize you can’t stop these guys in this kind of urban environment. Hell, you can’t stop them out in the middle of nowhere. Beer’s everywhere and so is online shopping. I wanted them to see me coming and to think I was just a regular person.
Between there and the CDC, my disguise changed a little bit. When I walked through those doors heading for Dr. Strode’s office, I looked like a redhead in a short skirt and a long lab coat, with heels that don’t go with lab work and legs that go for days.
Dr. Strode wasn’t in his office, but you know what was? A computer. I went ahead and gave it a dive, starting to copy the files. Stuff like Alice Liddle, age 21, cause of death: suffocation. I smelled smoke and felt something. Alice Liddle, age 21, cause of death: suffocation. I broke the connection and fell back into Strode’s chair. Alice Liddle, age 21, cause of death: suffocation. The files I’d gotten so far were replicating. Alice Liddle, age 21, cause of death: suffocation.
I quarantined Alice Liddle, age 21, cause of death: suffocation. Boom. God my faculties back. Time started running at a normal rate. With that taken care of, I wiped out all but one of the copies in case it was a useful file. Then I killed the original, Alice Liddle, age 21, cause of death: suffocation. Alice Liddle, age 21, cause of death: suffocation. Ugh, a human computer virus that actually caused a minor problem. It distracted me long enough to keep me from salvaging more from the computer before it ended up a pile of burnt scrap in the office.
I shook it off with a growl and figured, hey, let’s go kill a guy. Oh, look, my disguise slipped off. I rushed to the morgue nearby. I pulled the door open to see Dr. Strode there on the other side, a new Hawaiian shirt under his coat. Faster than I expected, he turned and pulled an open corpse on a cart at me, ducking around. I grabbed the cart and pushed it aside, then walked in. In the meantime, he’d reached another corpse and slapped it. Its chest stitches popped open and a rifle bounced up. He grabbed it and turned it toward me, opening fire. I was on him, slapping the gun away and grabbing him by the lapel. I tossed him over onto another of his gurneys and strapped him down. I gave him an elbow to the belly that knocked the air out of him and started checking him over.
“How are you doing, Doctor?” I asked.
He smiled and spoke as if we were old friends. “Uh, I could be better. I wish I knew you were bulletproof. You’re strong but pretty. You work out?”
“Something like that. How are you getting the subjects?” I walked back over to the door and locked it. Of course my armor showed him trying to throw his body around and roll the gurney, as if that would help. I caught him and pulled him over near a table with some of his tools on it. Scalpels and bonesaws and spreaders, oh my!
“If I tell you, will you let me go?” Strode asked.
“I’ll think about it,” I answered.
He frowned. “That means no. Damn. CDC clinical trials. We stick people with stuff all the time. I grab someone who doesn’t have much time, give them the treatment, and set them loose. They get brought back here once they’re dead, so I can do whatever I want to the records. One time, I used one guy’s file to write the first draft of my Tindr profile. Yeah, got in trouble when I left it in. How’s the thinking going?”
I pretended to ponder, letting one hand slip over to a scalpel that I pretended to scratch my projected head with. “I’m trying to, but I keep wondering who else is left of DIE. You don’t seem like you’d do it alone.”
Strode laughed. “I give cash to homeless people. I met a nice bunch near the strip club I like going to. They help me out. The only other one I know is Senator McConnell.”
That got my interest. “McConnell?”
Strode nodded. “He’s the majority shareholder in DIE. The entire thing was his idea. Coordination with ICE, too.”
“You got any proof of that?” I asked.
He gestured with his head. “On my computer.”
“Yeah, about that… the computer’s not looking so hot,” I informed him.
His smile didn’t leave his face. Instead, he gestured over toward the rollout shelves on the wall. “Check number twelve. I made hardcopies I rolled up and stuffed into the intestines.”
I pulled open that door and pulled out a shelf with a dwarf. I figured, if this is real, I might actually let him go. He’s been really cooperative. If I’m shoving my hand up a dwarf’s ass for no reason, then I’m shoving his face up it next and suffocating him that way. Like Alice Liddle, age 21.
Wouldn’t you know it, he was telling the truth. He had a condom stuffed with rolled-up emails and documents. I got a good look at some before the flashbang hidden in them went off.
My eyes adjusted quickly, but I still found the gurney empty and the papers I’d held in my hand were on fire. Fast little bugger. I dropped the papers and stomped the fire out. Rushing out the door, I grabbed something a good throwing size, and saw Strode huffing his way down the hallway. I threw what turned out to be a heart, smacking him right in the back of the head. Knocked him down like he’d tried to roll. I was on him in no time, reaching down to the back of his pants.
“At least buy me a drink first,” he joked before I tore through the seat of his pants. Then he wondered, “Hey, what are you doing with that? That’s my sphincter! No, now that’s my colon!”
I pulled his intestines out and tied them around his neck, choking him out. Just to be sure, I picked up his passed-out form and bashed it against the walls a bunch of times until he was nothing but a bloody and stinky mess.
I hope Monroe can work with the remains of what he had and the images I captured before the flashbang.
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