Sky in the Stars, Part 20

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Skylar finds a new partner in a series of exciting hits and heists.

23 October 2933

East Cove Hotel

Terra III

 

After a long night of booze, ladies, and gambling, Mr. Corvet thought it a good idea to return back to his hotel suite and sleep late into the next morning. He fumbled with his room card before pressing it to the door sensor. The lock clicked and the light on the panel turned green before sliding open. He kicked off his shoes and then stumbled over through the kitchen and to the living room.

“Light’s on.” Corvet said aloud. The room slowly lit up with a dim ambience revealing another figure in the suite. It was a young blue-eyed asian woman known only as Calamity Tsukino. She had short black haircut in angular bob; her bare legs were complemented by the long blue cocktail dress she wore. Calamity stared at Corvet, her red lips curved in a smirk while she held a glass of wine in hand.

“Hello, Mr. Corvet.” She greeted.

“W-who are you?!” Corvet jumped. “How did you get in here?!”

“Now that is a good question! How did I break into one of the most secure hotels in the sector?” Calamity finished her wine. She stood up and smoothed out her tight black dress before walking over to the kitchen and setting down her glass. “Would you be surprised if I told you it wasn’t difficult?” She gave a small chuckle after seeing Corvet’s still surprised face. Calamity popped open the wine bottle left on the kitchen counter and began pouring herself another glass. “Did you know your suite was bugged?” Corvet didn’t know how to respond aside from a furrowed brow. “Don’t worry, I took care of it for you. I know who did it too. Silly Gray Hunter infiltrators still have a lot to learn. Still, they know you’re here. Won’t be long before they show up.”

“What do you want from me?” Corvet asked, still frozen from fear.

“Oh, I’m sure you know exactly why I’m here.” Calamity sipped her wine. “Those investors at Corel IV? How about the Geddon system?” Finally it clicked. Corvet’s eyes widened now more frightened than ever.  “Ah, you remember. They were simply wondering where their money is, Mr. Corvet. But…” Calamity looked around the frivolous suite. “…I can see I already have my answer. You can imagine they aren’t very happy.”

“Please! It was simple business! Whatever they’re paying you, I’ll double it.” Corvet pleaded.

Calamity went to take another sip, the glass resting at her lips. She lowered the glass and stared at Corvet. “I don’t like bribes, Mr. Corvet. It’s an insult to my job.”

“I’ll pay them back!” Corvet started to lose the strength in his legs. “P-please!”

Calamity looked embarrassed as the situation became awkward. Corvet was trembling and crying from fear. “This is hard to watch, Mr. Corvet. For God’s sake, have some dignity man!” She reached to her inner thigh and pulled out a small pistol. Calamity spun the gun on her dainty finger before pointing it at Corvet. “No hard feelings, Mr. Corvet. It’s just business.” With two quick and silenced shots to the head, Corvet fell to the ground. Calamity finished her wine before holstering her pistol and leaning back on the counter. She filled another glass, and glanced at the clock before sipping her drink again.  It was only a few minutes before the side windows overlooking the city shattered. Through the broken glass came Skylar, suited in black minimal armor and a helmet visor that she often took to missions. She tucked and rolled into the hotel room with a rifle in hand, aiming around to find her target.

At Skylar’s feet rested Mr. Corvet. First she thought that she may have killed him on entry, but found the bullet hole in his head.  She took off her helmet and stared down at the corpse, confused.

“Quite the entrance.” Calamity remarked from the kitchen. Skylar whipped her rifle toward the woman. “Gray Hunter was always known for their…theatricality, if not for their sloppy work.”

“Who are you?” Skylar asked. Calamity put down her wine and approached the young hunter.

“Calamity Tsukino, at your service.”  She answered. “Now this is an interesting situation. Seems I’ve stolen your kill… and I’ve done so with far less gear.” Calamity looked over Skylar’s body. “So strong… perhaps a dress wouldn’t suit you after all.”

Skylar narrowed her eyes, clearly insulted. “I wasn’t aware someone else was after Corvet.”

“Ha, you think we’re the only two?” Calamity chuckled. “You’re cute. So young… so naïve. You have a lot to learn, kid.”

“Well I guess it doesn’t matter if he’s dead. I need his files more than anything.”

Calamity frowned. “Well that is unfortunate. I need them too… and I don’t get paid otherwise. Would you be a dear and honor a killer’s good work. I did get here first after all.”

“What am I supposed to tell my employer?” Skylar asked.

“Exactly what happened. I beat you to it, that’s all. They can’t fault you for that.” Calamity said before turning away to the door. “Don’t worry kid, you’ll learn this happens more often than you know the higher up the chain you are. You’ve got to be on Gray Hunter’s list of favorites to be assigned hits like this. Men like Corvet are some of the worst.”

“What do you mean?” Skylar relaxed her shoulders.

“Oh you don’t know? Best you don’t get yourself involved. In the words of my employer… ‘this is some deep shit.’ Just do what you’re told… don’t ask questions. That’s what we do as assassins. Once we start asking questions… that’s when we get in trouble.” Calamity opened the door before starting to head out. “I’d say you have two minutes before authorities and hotel security arrive… I’d make your escape were I you. Bye bye now.”

“Hey.” Skylar stopped her. Calamity raised an eyebrow. “I look great in a dress, thank you very much.”  Calamity laughed and headed out the door. There Skylar was left alone in the hotel room, wind tossing the curtains around. Nothing was left for her to do. She turned around and left the way she came, up the rope outside the window.

~

 

24 October 2933

Gray Hunter Station 74

Rushars Prime Orbit

 

Skylar hopped out of her shower before dressing in her sleepwear and sitting on her bed, accessing her tablet. She typed up a few things before a face popped up on screen. There, the Chairman stared at Skylar, looking at her with the same ever-present faint smile on his lips, and his demeanor as courteous as always.

“Good to hear from you, Skylar. I trust everything went well.” He asked.

Skylar scratched the back of her head nervously. “Not quite, sir.”

“Oh? You’ve been good about your missions… what made this so different?” The Chairman didn’t seem the least disappointed.

“Well, sir… someone kinda beat me to it.” Skylar said, looking away. “When I infiltrated Corvet’s hotel room I found the body already dead and any information on him was gone.”

“That’s a real shame, Skylar. I’m sorry to hear that. On a brighter note, that’s not your fault. In fact, this isn’t unusual in the case of Mr. Corvet. His dealings warranted many contracts against him I’m sure. Luckily this won’t reflect badly on Gray Hunter. We simply won’t get paid, and that’s something we always take into account in our financial department. We’ll just have to do better next time.”

“I will sir.” Skylar nodded.

“We’ll keep you posted on your next assignment, Skylar.”

“Thank you, sir. I’ll be asleep until 0800. Leave a message if it’s urgent.”

The Chairman nodded. “As always. Good night, Skylar.” The transmission ended.

Skylar sighed, wrapping herself in blankets before staring off into nothing. She hummed a thought before accessing her tablet again. She stared at the bright screen for a moment before typing a few keywords: Calamity Tsukino. She expected nothing. Why on earth would a contract assassin like her have any information publicly accessible? But there had to be something… a news article or something of the sort. To Skylar’s surprise there was more than just an article. Her entire career profile was just… out in the open, publicly accessible by anyone. She even had social media profiles with frequent updates, just like the picture she posted a few minutes ago posing with her dog.

“Does she just not care?” Skylar asked herself. Then she had to wonder if an assassin really did have something to fear. People were scared of her. After all, what would anyone have against an assassin? They were doing their jobs. No one destroys the gun for a murder. Still, Skylar thought, it seemed a bit overconfident. In Calamity’s case, Skylar believed it. Skylar had been on Corvet’s case for weeks now, and the only way she could think to get the job done was brute force. Calamity had done so without so much as showing a bit of leg and clever acts of subterfuge.

Skylar continued snooping on Calamity’s profile. “Earth-born like me…” Skylar muttered to herself as she continued to read the profile aloud.  “Japanese descent... Age 35... Eyes, blue. Height 5’6”. Huh… thought she was taller. Must’ve been the heels. Hair, black. Hips 33”. Waist 24”. Bust size B35?” Skylar narrowed her eyes before looking down her own shirt with a frown. “Well ok…” After a few more minutes of needless browsing, Skylar shut off her tablet and laid back into bed before falling asleep.

Skylar woke up to a few unread messages on her tablet. Still sleepy with eyes half open she read her messages. Most were routine updates from Gray Hunter, but another was a target, her next mission. From there, it was business as usual. Suit up and fly out.

~

 

25 October 2933

Amari Metropolitan Area

Terra III

 

Your target is a man by the name of John-Marc Calvillo. Age 39. Caucasian. Blonde. Minor scar on left cheek. He’s a long time investor in several businesses both public and private. We’ve recently been informed by our cyber-division of several transactions involving Mr. Calvillo and the purchase of several illegal assets. Under investigation we’ve identified these assets as highly illegal and dangerous chemical substances. Your previous target, Mr. Corvet, was a former associate of Calvillo and worked alongside him to divert any unwarranted attention from repeated purchase transactions. Please refer to the dossier for his home address, place of business, and vehicle identification.

A side-note, Calvillo has two bodyguards. One remains at his side at all times, the other keeps a distance and operates incognito. Approach with caution. This will not be as simple as Corvet. Calvillo’s guards have prevented two assassinations with lethal results. Objectives are as follows: Assassinate Mr. Calvillo by any means necessary. Bug his network. Return to base.

Skylar spent the next week spying on Calvillo, following his patterns and studying the mannerisms of his bodyguards. It took a longer time to figure out who the covert guard was. He impressively blended into the background and remained inconspicuous as far as anyone else was concerned. It was only after careful observance did Skylar notice a familiar face around Calvillo’s presence that was far too frequent to be just coincidence. The next part would be figuring out how to get to Calvillo without drawing attention. Skylar thought to learn from a more skilled assassin and reach the target with a more delicate approach.

She spent a few hours at the nearest shopping center picking out a selection of professional yet flattering clothes. The rest of the day was spent pampering herself with manicures and pedicures, and getting the most expensive haircut possible. All this in the hopes that she could look the part of a young secretary looking for work. With her ensemble of expensive clothes, cosmetics, and a new purse, Skylar was ready to get her job done. She applied for a position at Calvillo’s business headquarters, and with a falsified resume and records, she was hired in an instant. They had her perform menial duties at her desk which was carried out remotely by Gray Hunter’s cyber division. Her work appeared flawless and efficient and she quickly moved up, making sure to keep an eye on her target.

Three months passed. She had already bugged their servers after gaining access to their server room. Now Skylar, after careful planning, decided it was time. She was already carrying documents and the like to Calvillo, it was just a matter of when. Day after day she snuck pieces of a pistol in her purse in order to pass security without trouble. With each piece she brought, she could finally assemble the entire weapon at her desk. When she was asked to bring something to Calvillo, she decided it was time. Skylar walked through the halls and up the elevator before reaching the long hallway to Calvillo’s office. Skylar kept her gaze down as she walked passed a secretary heading the other way and approached the office door with a sigh. Her pistol was hidden in her purse and she was ready to draw it at a second’s notice.

Skylar opened the door to the office and faced… nothing. She looked to the left. There sat Calvillo’s bodyguard, unconscious. Calvillo was at his desk, his body limp over the table. Skylar approached him slowly, keeping an eye on the bodyguard before lifting Calvillo’s body. There, right between the eyes was a bullet wound, just like---Skylar’s eyes widened. Her previous target was killed in the same fashion.

“Calamity.” She said to herself, gasping as she recalled passing a secretary on the way in. “No way…” The alarms sounded causing Skylar to panic. She headed out the door and further down, but the double doors at the end of the hallway burst open as Calvillo’s covert guard and several security guards burst through with weapons drawn. Skylar played the dumb role and screamed while pretending to be scared of the weapons and cowered to her knees.

The covert guard rushed into the room finding the scene of the crime. The other guard was still unconscious and couldn’t be bothered to wake. After a few moments the covert guard ordered for Skylar’s arrest.

~

 

2 January 2934

Amari Metropolitan Area, Sector Detention Facility

Terra III

 

It had been 2 weeks since Calvillo’s death and Skylar had been detained and imprisoned. She was on trial for the murder of Jean-Marc, but as hard as the investigators tried, there was no real hard evidence against her. Her appointed lawyer entered her cell with a smile.

“Hello Miss Connor.” the lawyer greeted. Skylar only nodded, her face as somber as ever. “Given the last trial, and the investigations ongoing, it doesn’t seem like you’ll be in here much longer. Though the company is still trying very hard against you. Evidence shows that the bullets extracted from Mr. Calvillo’s head did not match the caliber of your pistol. Further investigation shows your gun was fully loaded with no evidence of it ever being fired. So that’s a good thing.” Skylar nodded in agreement. “However… the guard in Calvillo’s office recalls a secretary wearing the exact same dress as you, same hairstyle. What was left of the camera footage was the back of the suspect's body which… well it looks like you. The camera feed cut out shortly after the suspect entered. The evidence is inconclusive but they aren’t ruling it out. Another issue is the fact that you were armed in a weapons free zone. While you had a permit on record, it was still unlawful to be carrying in the facility. The company may very well have you charged for those crimes alone.”

Skylar sighed, still remaining silent.

The lawyer stood up and headed to the cell door. “Don’t worry, Miss Connor. I’ll do my best.”

~

 

4 February 2934

Amari Metropolitan Area, Sector Detention Facility

Terra III

 

Skylar hadn’t heard from him for a month. It was later reported that he had been murdered. Now there was no one to defend her. She assumed Calvillo’s company had something to do with his death in order to hasten Skylar’s judgement. She understood that Gray Hunter couldn’t get involved, which was a risk she took for this job. With all hope lost, Skylar let out a deep sigh and began pondering what was to come.

Her cell door slid open and there stood a police officer. He looked at Skylar with an annoyed look and gestured behind him. “You’re free to go.” He said flatly.

“What?” Skylar questioned.

“...you’re welcome to stay in here, missy. Get your shit… and get out. Your ride is waiting out front.”

“My ride?” Skylar tilted her head.

The officer crossed his arms and pointed a thumb behind him. “Cars outside.”

Skylar gathered her spare clothes into a messy ball before heading out the door. She walked down the white halls of the station, keeping her head down to avoid eye contact with the officers. Before long she was out of the facility she was locked in for three months. She had forgotten what it was like outside in the city.  She looked around the busy pedestrian traffic, only to be startled by the beep of a car horn. At the base of the stairs in front of the station was a very sleek and sporty red car with heavily tinted windows. She approached the vehicle as the passenger door slowly opened on its own. She couldn’t make out the driver, from a distance but once she was close enough she found her chauffeur. Calamity Tsukino.

“Hey there!” She said with a smile. Calamity was dressed as fashionably as ever with big bug-eyed sunglasses and precisely done cosmetics. She might as well have labeled herself a diva. How could she so casually just greet Skylar like this? What nerve did she have? It was her fault Skylar was imprisoned to begin with. Skylar was unsure whether she should get in. But it seemed Calamity was the only reason she was freed to begin with. “Don’t be shy.”

Skylar’s nostrils flared as she got into the car with a huff. “I’m hungry.”  She said.

“Got you covered.” Calamity said, reaching to the back seat and pulling out a bag of fast food. “It’s your favorite.” To Skylar surprise, it was, even the soft drink. “I kinda did some research on your purchase transactions. Sorry.”  Skylar immediately began munching on her food as Calamity continued to talk. “Now, you might be a little upset. Truth be told, I didn’t mean for you to get imprisoned that long.”

“Everything in my body tells me to punch you right now.” Skylar growled.

“Here me out, girl.” Calamity calmed, keeping her eye on the road. “First thing’s first. This was nothing personal. We both had the same target, and naturally there was competition. Except you didn’t know I was in on it. After our little meet up I kept an eye on you. I’m actually proud of you for trying so hard. I mean, three months of set up? Seems like you learned something from me. Even dolled up. You looked fabulous, by the way. I pitted you for the super tomboy merc that I’ve seen again and again but you girlified it up all right.”

“I used to be a med student.” Skylar chimed in.

“Huh, pretty university girl. All right, I can see that.” Calamity nodded. “Anyway… you see I was already on this guy, like, two months before you. I couldn’t have you wrecking all my hard work so… I kinda… well…”

“Used me?”

“Well, when you put it like that.”

“I saw the footage.” Skylar added. “Same dress, same shoes, hairstyle. You were copying me.”

“I had to… two suspects would’ve made some trouble. Besides, I got you that lawyer. Shame what happened to him though.”

“Wait… my lawyer was paid off by you to get me out?” Skylar asked, finishing her sandwich.

“Oh yeah, yeah. Like I said, it was nothing personal. I didn’t want you in jail too long. I paid off a good lawyer to get you out. Apparently Calvillo’s firm reaaaally wanted you in jail and had him killed off. I had to get some old cyber buddies to pull some strings so I could get you out today. When I say I couldn’t come sooner, I mean it.”

“Whatever… I’m just glad to be out of there. Food was shit. Bed was shit. Showers? Shit.” Skylar complained.

“I see that. I’m taking you back to my suite. You can take a proper shower and get out of those jail rags of yours. I bought you some clothes to wear so you don’t look like a total loser.” Calamity said, gesturing to the back seat. Skylar reached for a bag filled with clothes and a two pairs of shoes. It all looked very expensive, and strangely, all to Skylar’s measurements.

“This is all my size…” Skylar said, checking every clothing tag. “How did you---”

“Oh, I took your measurements while you were asleep a few months ago.” Calamity said casually.

“You what?!”

Calamity shrugged. “What? I had to check up on the competition, see if they had any insight on my target. Once I knew what you were up to, I had to plan ahead. You need to work on your squats, girl.”

Skylar looked defeated. “You’re unbelievable.”

“I am pretty awesome, aren’t I?” Calamity smiled before making a few more turns. Soon enough they arrived at the hotel. There was no expense spared at this luxurious place. Calamity had expensive tastes, or simply had the money to spend. They took the elevator to the near top of the building before making their way to Calamity’s suite.

It was far better than anything Skylar had lived in, especially in comparison to her minimalistic dormitory on the space station. Everything about the suite screamed frivolity, all of it made of rare woods and clothes. It wasn’t exactly an assassin’s hideaway, Skylar thought.

“Make yourself at home.” Calamity said, dropping off her purse on the kitchen table before reaching into the refrigerator. “Shower’s in the bedroom, toward the back right wall.”

Skylar navigated the pathway to what would turn out to be a more pleasant bathing experience she had expected. The bathroom had a vaulted dome-like ceiling; not only was there a standing shower, but also a deep garden bathtub. Nearly all of it was a combination of glass and white marble. It was a bit bright for Skylar who was used to her dimly lit quarters, and lack of any real sunlight.

It didn’t matter now. Skylar quickly disrobed and took a hot steaming shower, using all of the shampoos and soaps available. Then, she stepped into the hot tub, which conveniently had started filling up when she stepped into the shower. Once slowly making her way down into the tub, the lights began to dim, and ambient sounds of a rainforest began to play. Skylar sank into the tub dozing off almost instantly. She was stirred awake minutes later by the sound of moving water, and upon opening her eyes she saw Calamity’s face staring right in front of her. Skylar nearly jumped out of the tub, unaware that anyone had even entered the bathroom, let alone stepped into the tub.

“Wow.” Calamity laughed. “At first I thought you just had a rough day when I snuck into your apartment, but man you are just one heavy sleeper.”

“How did yo---” Skylar was cut off.

“What? Get in here? You think you can lock the doors in my own suite?” Calamity smirked.

Skylar realized that there was another naked woman inside the bathtub and immediately turned red and looked away. “W-what are you doing in here?”

“Oh… aren’t we shy? We’re both girls, aren’t we?” Calamity shrugged. Skylar took one glance at the assassin’s chest. Her public profile was true after all. Skylar crossed her arms and kept her gaze down. “Besides… in my culture public baths are still just as popular as they have been for centuries.” Skylar remembered this fact… perhaps this was nothing out of the ordinary for Calamity.

Again, Skylar glanced at Calamity’s chest. “Are those real?”

The assassin looked down and chuckled. “Augmented. Best weapon in my arsenal. Still work like a charm. Why? You want some?”

“N-no!”

“‘Cause I know a guy.”

“I’m fine.” Skylar pouted.

Calamity leaned back, sinking into the water and resting on the other side of the tub. “You’re an interesting girl, Skylar. You aren’t like the others I’ve met.” Finally Skylar was able to look at Calamity. “I bet you’ve got quite the story.” Skylar looked down in thought. Her story… yes she had one. She lived day to day not really thinking back on how everything led her to where she is now. “Been awhile since you’ve been home, huh?”

Skylar looked up. “What?”

“I know that look. Part of you wants to go back.” Calamity said softly. “It’s a lot of bullshit is what it is.” Skylar looked up in question. “You people are so dramatic with your angsty dark pasts and hearts filled with regret. This isn’t some fucking movie. This is life. Make the most of it.”

“Is that why--”

“Why what? I do what I do? Why I stay in expensive suites and drive nice cars, wear nice clothes? Socialize on the net? Fuck yeah it is. Our line of work is so goddamned dangerous, Skylar.” Calamity brushed some water onto her dry arms. “You could be gone tomorrow for all you know. Count how many instances you should have died and tell me that everytime that happened you didn’t wish you could have done something you never got a chance to. Go on. Tell me.” Calamity only waited a moment before continuing. “We do jobs no one else will, not just because it pays well… or because people don’t want to get their hands dirty. No. It’s because it's risky. And everyday you don’t enjoy life before going out on a possibly suicide-mission, you’re only cheating yourself. I’m not saying party like a rock-star and be stupid. I’m saying… treat yourself. Whether or not you think so, you deserve it. Try a new bar, eat a new food. Take dancing lessons. Go to a ship race. Anything.”

“That’s why you’re so nice to me.” Skylar remarked.

“I’m nice because that’s who I am. I have nothing against you… and given our line of work, we don’t have time for friends, or even a hug. God, I can’t even remember the last time I had an actual chat with someone. You’re not a bad person, and I enjoy your company so I’ll take it when I can.”

“Ha… yeah…” Skylar laughed nervously.

“When’s the last time you had some recreation time?” Calamity asked.

“I go to the gy--”

“No working out. That’s training. Recreation, bitch. You know… having fun.” Calamity furrowed her brows when Skylar took more than a moment to answer. “Oh you’re lame. You’re just lame…” Calamity shook her head and walked out of the bath. “Come on now. Can’t stay in there forever. I’ll fix you a drink and get you a connection to your boss.” Upon walking out, a body dryer let out a gust of warm air, drying Calamity instantly. Skylar followed suit and did the same, but just as she was through the door, Calamity spun around, planting a hand on the door frame, and  bumped into Skylar’s body. “You know, you look like you could release some tension. I could help you out with that if you want.”

Skylar instantly blushed, and wasn’t sure if she should be upset, or shocked at the question. “AHH… WHAT?!”

Calamity rolled her eyes. “Hey, I was just asking! You seem frustrated, and stressed out. You could let loose a little. And like I said, Carpe diem.”

“How do you even ask that so casually?!”

“Offer still stands. You sure?” Calamity asked, waving her hand toward the wall. An invisible wardrobe slid from the wall. She began to get dressed in her fashionable casual wear.

“I-I don’t… I don’t think so.” Skylar said.

“All right. Suit yourself. Got any bad sex stories?” Skylar looked away, holding her arm. Calamity stopped picking out her clothes. “Hold on. Don’t tell me!” She turned around, half dressed. “You’re not a virgin are you?” Skylar’s eyes couldn’t deny the truth. “Holy shit! I knew you had a lot of quirks but… man! I’ll just go get you that drink now. Your clothes are on the bed.” She headed out the kitchen after finishing her ensemble. “If you blush any more you’re going to pass out.”

Skylar rummaged through the shopping bag of clothes and donned on a short black pencil skirt and simple white button-up blouse.  Oddly enough there was a pair of heels, something Skylar hadn’t worn in ages. She at first stumbled to walk for the first few steps but the heel-wearing college student awoke in her and she was just fine. She looked at herself in the mirror. Calamity knew how to pick an outfit for sure, but Skylar’s face needed attention in order to match. She tended to her cosmetics, using Calamity’s pricey wares. Before long she was in ‘I’m a corporate front-desk secretary’ condition.

Skylar walked into the kitchen where Calamity was preparing a smoothie of some kind. The assassin merely gestured to a bar-stool by the marble kitchen island while continuing to blend. Skylar took her seat and sat in front of a holocom. Communication was already being set up with Gray Hunter, to her surprise. It was an encrypted network, but Calamity was always full of surprises. She waited until the blender was done grinding whatever ingredients Calamity was mixing before making contact. There on the screen was the Chairman.

“Skylar!” He stated, surprised. “It’s been a while. Thought we’d lost you. You look great, by the way.”

“Uh… thanks.” Skylar said, rubbing the back of her neck.

“I heard what happened. Sorry we couldn’t help, you know the protocol.”

“Yeah I know…”

“Doesn’t mean we haven’t been keeping tabs. How on earth did you manage to get out? I heard your lawyer was murdered.”

Calamity jumped in behind Skylar and waved toward the camera. “Hi Mr. Chairman sir!”

The Chairman narrowed his eyes. “Is that? Yes… it is. Tsukino Chikasa. Now everything makes sense.” For once, the Chairman’s calm disposition turned to displeasure. “Miss Tsukino, once again you’ve proven a resourceful asset in aiding Gray Hunter. But I can’t help but assume that you were the root of this problem to begin with.”

Calamity chuckled. “Oh Chairman, whatever do you mean?”

“Miss Tsukino…”

“Yes?”

The Chairman paused for a moment with a stare. “Never mind. Miss Tsukino, if you would be so kind as to take care of Miss Connor. We will compensate you on expenses. She is a valuable asset to Gray Hunter. Skylar, please turn in your report when you have the chance to.”

“Will do, sir.” Skylar nodded.

“Actually…” The Chairman raised a finger. “I might have something for you. I’ll send you information into your inbox. Miss Tsukino, in order to prevent any more… mishaps with your involvement in my agent’s missions, I’m posting up a contract for you. Should you accept, I want you to work together with Skylar. If not… stay out of her way.”

“Ooh! A partner mission?!” Calamity slapped Skylar’s shoulder repeatedly in excitement. “We’re gonna be partners!”

“Indeed…” The Chairman said sternly. “Check your inbox. This mission is time sensitive, so please reply if you’re going to accept. Goodbye.” The communication ended.   

“God, the Chairman hasn’t changed at all!” Calamity laughed. “Still a fucking suit. Handsome though. He’s aged well.”

“You know the Chairman?” Skylar asked.

Calamity placed the smoothie in front of Skylar. “I used to work for Gray Hunter few years back. Things don’t seem to have changed much. Still don’t know the Chairman’s real name, and believe me I tried.”

“What happened?” Skylar said, taking a sip from her glass.

“Bunch of things.” Calamity lowered her tone. “They say it was due to my erratic behavior and inability to obey mission protocols. I got the fucking job done. What does it matter how I do it?” She scoffed and went on to clean the blender. “Anyway, I left before they could officially fire me. I had a feeling that being fired meant being killed. So I left on the status I had which I guess was enough for them to not follow me or bug every place I lived. Not like I was gonna rat them out to anyone. Just forget it. What did the boss man send you?”

Skylar shrugged and logged into her inbox to find the message. It was a mission to eliminate a target, who apparently had connections with Calvillo and Corvet. There was also the need to retrieve information from a few servers, and also the investigation of a supply warehouse. All of this was located inside a casino not far from Calamity’s suite.

“Interesting…” Calamity said, reading over Skylar’s shoulder. “A casino huh? You know what that means.”

“I don’t, actually.” Skylar replied.

“It means we gotta be classy! None of your soldier bullshit. That right there is the Biggs Hotel and Casino. Big place. Lots of tourism. Foods not bad.”

“I’m guessing you’ve been there.” Skylar asked.

“Well, duh! Did some work for the boss, Mr. Biggs. Problem is, this place has some pretty tight security. If we’re gonna do this, we have to do it my way.”

“What’s your way?”

~

 

12 February 2934

Amari Commercial District, Biggs Hotel and Casino.

Terra III

 

On a warm evening, Calamity and Skylar both arrived in front of the Biggs Hotel and Casino in her sporty luxury vehicle. Just their appearance alone was enough to turn the heads of those waiting on the curb. But for two lovely ladies to exit the car was enough to drop jaws. Skylar and Calamity alike had both been wearing tasteful yet alluring dresses, black and red respectively. Their hair was flawless and their make-up incomparable. The valet was awe-struck for a moment before Calamity pressed the keys to his chest and waking him from his stupor.

“Not a scratch, darling.” Calamity smirked walking away with Skylar in tow. The two lovely ladies entered the massive casino floor, immediately greeted by the guards and then two women that were supposed to help guide newcomers to their desired locations. The two assassins walked right by them with a polite nod before heading to the chips booth. The ladies bought enough chips to last them the night and resumed their exaggerated struts to the gambling tables where they spent the next 2 hours doing nothing that no ordinary patron wouldn’t have. The night was prosperous in their bets, thanks to Calamity’s intuition and Skylar’s knack for logic.  Before long they were no longer being monitored by security who had kept a sharp eye on the two women, eventually suspecting nothing from them.

“Seems we’re off the hook.” Calamity mentioned to Skylar.

“They really watch you here, huh?” Skylar replied.

Calamity nodded, and then smiled at the dealer. “I think we’re gonna cash in for now, and move to the slots.” And they did just that. With the money earned, they proceeded to the slot machines where Calamity pulled out a small holophone and began entering lines of code as fast as her fingers would allow her.

“This will work?” Skylar asked.

“Like I said, their network is restricted to this building. Our car should be underground in the garage, closest to their server room. The computer in the trunk should be already connected. And one of the bugged chips we cashed in should tap their computer from inside. All that’s left to do is break in…”

“That’s clever… setting up multiple proxies?”

“Yeah, with every god damn computer and MobiGlas in this building. Even if they pin the signal to the car, no one will know unless they check every single vehicle in the garage… and I already have a plan for that too.”

Suddenly a waiter showed up at the two conspicuously secretive women, holding a tray of cocktails. “Ladies?”

“Oh, thank you.” Calamity took both of them, handing one to Skylar and watching the waiter walk away. “The network stuff would be easy… it’s the target that’s going to be the problem.”

“We don’t know where he is.” Skylar said.

“Exactly… so we’re going to have to rely on Gray Hunter’s software. Once we get all the information we can off the servers we can start using their security to ping any instance of his face on the cameras, or if he uses a security access point like a safe door, or his suite.”

“So what do we do until then?”

“Play slots. See a show. Gotta kill an hour.”

The two women killed time as best they could with a musical performance show, a few drinks and smooth talking a few idiot men. Calamity was impressed with Skylar’s ability to coerce a few people, man or woman. She watched from afar with amusement as she finished a drink and headed over to Skylar.  She pulled her from the conversations Skylar was having and sat her down at another table. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Just blending in, I guess… creating an alibi.” Skylar answered.

“Never seen you talk this much.”

Skylar frowned. “If it’s part of the job, I’ll do what I have to.”

Just then, Calamity’s phone started to beep. “It’s done. We’re in.” she said.

“Good… because I think I know where our target is.”

“Oh?”

“Mr. Biggs is in a meeting right now, upstairs in the hotel but should be arriving on the main floor soon for some casino fun time. From what I hear, he’s got guards all over the goddamn place.”

“Mr. Biggs is a very rich man. What else do you expect?” Calamity retorted. A few guards seemed bothered, chatting over their coms before hustling to the elevator. “Looks like our little hack sent off some bad signals. They think someone’s actually in the server room. It’ll only be a matter of time before they start looking elsewhere. We don’t have a lot of time, Skylar.”

“Then get on that camera feed, we’re still on a proxy.” Skylar said, standing up. “I’m gonna go chat some more. Maybe I can find something out with the VIP’s.”

Calamity nodded and headed the other way. “I’ll be in the restroom.”

Another hour passed before Mr. Biggs arrived on the main floor with his entourage of beautiful women and armed guards distant around him. Of course Skylar was well warned thanks to Calamity’s notice. Skylar waited for a bit, waiting for Biggs to start playing poker before Calamity came out of the bathroom. The two of them joined on the table, Skylar sitting down with Calamity uninvitedly sitting in her lap.

“Don’t mind if we play, do you?” Calamity asked. Mr. Biggs leaned back, a grin growing on his grey-bearded chubby face. If it weren’t for the deep vertical scar across his right eye Skylar would have made him out to be a candidate for Santa Claus, but even then his gaze was nothing but bad news.

Mr. Biggs took a sip of his whiskey, handing it off to one of the women. “Miss Tsukino. How nice to see you again. Please, by all means.” He gestured to the dealer who complied. “It’s been quite a while. The last I saw you, you brought me the hand of that bastard Scipio.” Everyone around him gave worried looks. Biggs only laughed. “It was prosthetic…” Then everyone seemed more relieved. “You’ll have to introduce me to your new friend. A lover, perhaps?”

Calamity raised her brows and then grinned. “Oh yes… we’ve only recently met but…” She looked alluringly into Skylar’s eyes. “I think things are going well.” Skylar uncomfortably played along and smiled at Mr. Biggs.

“That’s good to hear.” Biggs took another swig of whiskey. “A woman of your age should take the time to settle down with one she cares about. Though… she looks a bit young for you.”

“Age is just a number.” Calamity smirked. The cards began being dealt and a few rounds passed with bets carefully placed and won. So far, however, Calamity was in the lead with Skylar. “So… business has been well, I assume.”

“Bah, same old… same old. Nothing bad, however. I’ve been looking into a new deal. Prospects should show up very soon.” Biggs said, folding on his cards. The game continued on. More and more players left the game. A few guards came to Biggs and kept their talk to a lull.  “What! I thought you all had this settled! I hire the best techs in the sector and you can’t even trace the intruder?! What do you mean it's coming from the parking lot? Find the car! Every car’s alarm is going off?! Grr… I want this resolved now!”

“Something wrong?” Calamity asked, trying to keep a straight face.

“It seems someone has broken into my database. But that’s impossible. It should only be accessible from inside this building.” Biggs grunted. “Though… I find it strange that in the midst of all these problems, you show up, Miss Tsukino. It’s almost as if you were involved.”

“Me?” Calamity chuckled. “I’ve been doing nothing but enjoying my night at your lovely casino. If I wanted to make trouble for you I wouldn’t be at this table.”

“Indeed… so you know nothing of why Calvillo is dead… and Corvet.” Biggs narrowed his eyes.

Calamity shrugged. “I might know something…”

Biggs leaned forward. “I want to know who contracted you to kill them. And who contracted you to kill me. That is why you’re here… is it not? Don’t worry, I won’t kill you if you tell me.”

Calamity pursed her lips. “You know I can’t do that, Mr. Biggs. I have rules to follow just like everyone else.” Skylar looked around at the guards, growing increasingly uncomfortable. Biggs waved to his guards who drew on their pistols, keeping them hidden under their jackets. The threat was real enough.

“Oh… rules are made to be broken every once in awhile. It’s the only way we survive, is it not?” Biggs smirked.

Calamity weakly smiled. They were clearly outnumbered. “Ah… heh… um...well you’ve made your point, Mr. Biggs. But you know as soon as I tell you, I’m going to be hunted down like a dog.”

“Well, you either die now for sure… or possibly die later. You’re in no position to negotiate.” Biggs suggested.

Skylar’s eyes shifted back and forth as the guards grew increasingly impatient. With a nervous sigh she reached into Calamity’s dress to her inner thigh and slipped the pistol that was concealed at her garter.

“All right, fine. God…” Calamity sighed, lowering her head. She then whispered low enough for only Skylar to hear. “Go right.”

“What’s that?” Biggs asked. Skylar reached to her earring and squeezed the hidden button in the gem. Within seconds the lights turned off, leaving the entire floor pitch black. Before anyone could react, there was a gunshot. The muzzle flash was fast and only revealed Skylar behind for a moment. There was a struggle to the left. Calamity subdued and disarmed a man, before firing at another guard. Bystanders screamed and fell to the floor as the strobe of muzzle flashes were the only indication of where anyone was standing. Some of the guards fired automatic weapons for prolonged light but were quickly taken out. When Skylar ran out of ammunition, she punished the guards with her melee take-downs before taking their guns and resuming the firefight. It only lasted almost 30 seconds before the lights had come on again. There were only a few more guards left and the two assassins dealt with them appropriately.

Biggs was last seen running toward a hallway door.The two women chased as fast as they could in their stilettos, Skylar took lead, running fast and was able to bust through doors with her shoulder.

“He’s pretty quick for an old man.” Skylar joked. The two of them turned and saw Biggs entering an elevator. They were so close but the door was already closing. Skylar grunted, stumbling forward to remove one of her heels and throwing it forward. In her precision, the shoe was caught in between the two sliding doors and prevented it from closing. The doors opened again, as did Biggs’ eyes when he saw Skylar draw on her pistol. The old man screamed before a bullet was put through his head. The elevator then proceeded to close, leaving the corpse of the man to be sent to his destination.

“Wow…” Calamity said. “Didn’t know you could run in heels.”

Skylar lowered her shoulders. “Really? That’s what you comment on?” Calamity chuckled before wincing in pain and falling forward to one knee. “Shit… Calamity!” She cried running over to her partner. Once holding her, Skylar noticed her dress was wet in the back and blood had been running down her leg.

“How does it look, Doc? Am I gonna make it?” Calamity asked. The guards were still in hot pursuit down the hallway.  As they turned around they saw nothing but an empty hallway. Curiously there was a blood trail leading to a door. One of the men followed the trail to a utility closet and found Calamity looking for the worse but still alive. She only smiled at the man and winked. “H-hey big boy.”

The guard tilted his head before taking aim at her head. He then heard the grunting of his men behind. Skylar ambushed them from another door, first impaling one of the men in the throat with her stiletto, and firing a round into his chest. She grabbed the next guard from behind, using him has a shield and running forward before pushing him into his comrades. She fired her last round into her recent hostage and then threw her gun at the next guard taking aim at her. Hit in the face, the guard took too long to refocus and found himself on the ground with a dislocated arm. Skylar took his weapon and fired it into his back and then to the remaining guards. Skylar caught her breath as the reverb of the gunfire died down in the empty hallway, and the ringing in her ear had stopped. She went to the closet and lifted Calamity out of the janitorial equipment.

“You okay?” Skylar asked.

Calamity looked at all the guards. “That was pretty sexy, Skylar.”

“Yeah uh… thanks. I… train a lot. And---” Skylar was interrupted as Calamity pulled herself up and gave Skylar a deep kiss. Skylar seemed more frightened than ever. “Wh-wha---”

“Thanks for saving me.” Calamity smiled. “No one’s ever risked their life for me before.”

“Y-yeah… erm… no problem.”

Calamity stared at Skylar again. “Don’t tell me that was your first kiss.” Skylar’s blushing face was enough. “Oh my God!” Before she could laugh she hissed in pain, holding her side.

“Just shut up… we should get out of here.” Skylar carried Calamity in her arms and went to another elevator to the lobby floor. The police were already on scene, along with emergency medical services. Skylar waved down one of the EMT’s. “She’s been shot, please take care of her.” The EMT looked at Skylar who had cuts and bruises all around. “Don’t worry about me. Just go…”

~

 

14 February 2934

Amari Metropolitan District, Grand Oak Medical Center

Terra III

 

Calamity awoke in her medical cot, bandaged with an IV drip and the usual treatment she expected. To her left she found Skylar, sleeping on a chair at her bedside. She was also in a hospital gown, with her wounds taken care of. Shortly after the door quietly opened and there stood the Chairman in his usual suit.

“Chikasa… how are you doing?” He asked.

“I’m fine, thanks to your little underling here.” Calamity answered. The two didn’t seem to wake Skylar.

“Well, you did less of a good job of taking care of her like I asked. But she’s alive… so that’s good enough.” The Chairman folded his hands in front of him. “I came to check up on Skylar. And to relay a message.”

“A message? What? An e-mail wouldn’t suffice?” Calamity raised a brow.

“No. This mission I sent you both on. You were never meant to succeed. Orders were to extract information from Biggs’ server and upload it to Gray Hunter. The assassination was a goal added much later to the contract. When it was added, Biggs’ had more guards hired around the casino.”

“You’re saying…”

The Chairman nodded. “Someone tipped Biggs off… someone in Gray Hunter command. The information was the only thing important to them. They already downloaded the information from your vehicle. I tapped into some of the datastreams… all of these past contracts involving Corvet, and Calvillo… they’re all connected.”

“And what’s the link?”

The Chairman became more stern than ever. “A mass trade of Bad Ice.”

Calamity sighed. “Well then… I guess this is bigger than I thought.”

The Chairman shook her head. “Gray Hunter thinks you’re both dead. I’ve done what I can to make sure no one can trace you back to this hospital. As soon as you can, you need to leave Terra III… I’ll keep in contact.” The Chairman gave a slight bow before backing out of the room. Calamity became worried, looking over to the peaceful Skylar as she slept.

Calamity frowned. “You’ve got yourself into some trouble, girl.”

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