by Peter John Dean

After picking up one of the ganger's long coats, tearing the sleeves off and ripping the seems so his arms could fit through the holes, he searched the house. He rummaged through all rooms, piling up any useful items that he found. This included guns, drugs, all personal valuables and two large duffel bags. He first put everything except the guns into one duffel bag, then sat down to evaluate the weapons. One by one, he picked them up in his upper right hand, held them for a moment then switched to the upper left hand.

<Weapon Does Not Match Corporate Issue Firearms. Continue Search>

At which point the weapon would be dropped into the bag and the next would be picked up. After 30 minutes, all of the guns were in the second bag.

<Hell, I can use some of those. Some are even better than what the company usually gives me-

Negative. I Must Have Company Issued Firearms

Fine. Let's go shopping>

How he knew to come here, he did not know, but someone inside could get him what he needed. When he entered the bar, what little noise there was stopped. All eyes turned towards him, but he barely noticed as he walked directly up to the bar to speak to the man he somehow knew could get him his equipment.

It had been a slow week at Louie's Bar and Grill, but tonight was the worst. It had been slow before this due to Ran's recent outburst as well as other strange events that were taking place in and around the Zone; but that combined with the rain tonight, almost no one was around. Louie thought about closing early tonight but what else did he really have going? As these thoughts ran through Louie's mind, he realized that the quite crowd in his bar had suddenly gone almost silent. He slowly raised his eyes towards the door and saw a huge cyborg walking towards him. The "man" was wearing a long coat that had the emblem of The Iron Sons, a local booster gang, on the back and blood almost everywhere else. His huge metal arms poked out from where the sleeves should have been, and two large bags hung at his sides. He was not carrying them, but rather they were hooked on something inside the coat. Instinctively, Louie reached for the large gun he kept hooked under the bar. After taking another look at this beast, he took his hand off the gun.

"If he can do that to the Iron Suns," thought Louie "This pop gun is just gonna piss him off"

It seemed as if this guy didn't even realize there was anyone in the bar except Louie. He walked straight towards the bar and stopped in front of him. He placed his hands on the bar and leaned forward towards Louie's face. Louie did everything not to turn and run.

" C-can I help you's with somethin', bud?"

"I need to procure equipment. You can help me get what I need."

"Oh yeah," Louie said, relaxing a little "I know people who can get you what you need. It may take a while, depending on what it is, but if you got the stick, I'll get your stuff. What do you need?"

"Weapons. Ammunition. I will give you this in trade."

Louie gasped as the cyborg lifted up the bags and placed them on the bar. He opened them to show Louie all of the weapons in one and all of the valuables in the other. The gasp Louie put forth was not about what was in the bags, but how the cyborg had brought them to the table. His coat had opened and he had lifted then onto the bar with the arms hidden inside the coat. His arms leaning on the bar had not moved. Louie felt that he was looking at a superimposed film, but it was live. He could not fathom what he had just seen. Finally he realized that the arms were cybernetic, as was most of this man. After looking in the bag, Louie quickly pulled them behind the counter.

"What could this guy need if he has all of these guns? There's a friggin' arsenal in here." Louie thought.

"Okay, bud what do you need?"

"Two 44 Caliber Jinsei Hoshoku automatic pistols, Franchi Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun model 15, ammunition for the weapons, as well as the ability to requisition more ammunition for these weapons."

"Easy enough. Anything else?"

"I also need ammunition like this"

The cyborg placed a small round cylinder on the bar. Louie picked it up and examined it. It appeared to be a small explosive, but not for any standard launcher he knew of. It had no markings on it and looked like something military in nature.

"And what does this thing go to?" Louie inquired

The cyborg's only answer was to raise his right arm (the one on the bar) and show Louie a ring around his wrist. It looked like some sort of launching device that held three of these cylinders around the wrist. The ring looked to spin to load the next cylinder into the firing chamber at the top.

"I only have one explosive left. I require at least five more."

"I'll do what I can with this one, but the others shouldn't be a problem. Give me 3 days and come by to get it. Who are you anyways?"

The question hung in the air for him. Looking at this "Louie" was like looking in a funhouse mirror for some reason. It was his former self, before he traded in flesh for metal. He used to be on the other side of the bar, making deals and selling information. He was tall like he is now, but not so wide. He was young and full of himself, always with a big smile and a cocky attitude. He was much too thin for his height, which was where he got his nickname. Everyone said he was just skin and

"Bones. Call me Bones. I'll be back for the pieces in a few days. If any other work comes along, let me know."

He turned and left the bar, and the crowd went back to their own private dealings. Louie looked around the bar and knew this guy could be useful to him. People always looking for some extra muscle to get things done in the Zone, and Bones was nothing but muscle.

"Work is comin' my boy, and I'll definitely let you know."

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