By Alex Fauth

Kaelyn wrapped her arms around her newfound friend, drawing him closer to her and kissing him deeply. He returned the kiss, his own arms holding her close to him. She felt one hand snaking up her back, reaching up and taking hold of the base of her top, ready to yank it up. Kissing him again, she planted a hand on is -

A loud ringing noise form her hip pocket suddenly grabbed her attention. She broke off the kiss, letting go of her friend for a moment. "What?" he began. "What's this?"

"Sorry love." She replied, hastily. "This is important."


"Hold it for a sec." She continued. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a small mobile phone and answered it. "Kaelyn here. What's up?" She began.

Dejected, her friend glanced at the bed, then back at her. She shook her head for a moment. "You've got a job for me?" She asked, casually brushing a strand of red hair back behind her pointed ear with her free hand. "And for how much?" She turned around, glancing at the wall.

He walked up behind her, putting his arms around her waist. One hand found the top of her pants, casually toying with the top button. "When is it?" She asked, shaking her head and waving her free hand as if to dismiss him. "Right now?"

Letting her go again, he sat on the edge of the bed, a dejected look on his face. Kaelyn glanced at him for a moment before turning back to the wall. "Sure, I could. No, it's nothing important. I'll got to it as soon as I can. And thanks."

Closing the phone, she stuck it back in her pocket and turned back to her friend. "Sorry about this, love." She began. "But I've got to go to work."


She opened up her wardrobe and pulled out a flack vest, combat harness and spare holsters. "It's a bit of a bugger, I'll admit. But something's come up and, well, you know how work is." She began as she put the vest on. "Feel free to raid the fridge if you need a bite to eat." She continued as she opened up a large metal locker next to the cupboard.

Kaelyn scanned through the locker, looking over the collection of firearms stashed within. "Hmmm..." She began to herself. "Low-intensity close-quarters action with big burly men who like heavy blunt objects..." After a few moments, she picked out a pair of pistols. "Perfect."

"Um, what are you doing?" Her friend asked, a surprised tone in his voice.

"Like I said, going to work." She casually replied. "Unfortunately, I can't say how long I'll be. Feel free to have a kip here if you want."

"Uh... thanks."

She turned back and leant down to him. "See ya later, love." She finished, kissing him on the forehead. Then, with a wink, she turned around and stepped out the door.

"Anyone who takes a job from a megacorp and justifies it by saying 'by striking another corp I'm actually fighting the corporate system' is either delusional or a hypocrite, or probably both. You don't do this sort of job for a cause or any sort of grand crusade. You do it for the money."

One of the many, many differences that Kaelyn had found between London and Hong Kong was the drinking establishments, specifically those where men go to get liquored up and make shady deals. London had pubs, big, cheery places with lots of wood-paneled furniture, quaint anachronistic names and a bunch of blokes gathered around the TV arguing over the soccer scores. Hong Kong, by comparison sported dingy bars that were ill-lit, cheaply furnished and featured beady-eyed people hunched over their drinks. It was a noticeable difference, but one she didn't mind.

After all, that's what her new lifestyle was all about, the differences. She loved the different culture of Hong Kong, and reveled in how different it was form her old home.

She walked into the bar, taking a seat in a distant corner booth that was already occupied. She knew that the man there wouldn't mind; he was the main reason she was here and why she had walked out on her date (and from her own house too!). She only hoped that he wasn't too upset; hopefully they could meet again and pick up where they left off.

"Jonny." She began. "Good to see you again. Lovely weather, huh?"

"Indeed." her contact replied. A sharp featured Asian man, he was dressed in the sort of suit and sunglasses combination that so many seedy criminal types preferred. At least it meant that he was honest about his line of work, which to Kaelyn was always a good start. She'd tried to figure a way to make hers a bit more... obvious, simply because it was such a conversation killer when it came up.

"So what's so urgent that you needed me straight away?" She asked. "I mean its bleeding well... early, actually." She checked her watch.

He passed her a photo of a shabby, middle-aged man sporting a goatee beard and weathered features. Kaelyn took the picture and studied it as he spoke. "This man is Hamish McDougal, a criminal from your country." She raised an eyebrow at the comment. "He is in Hong Kong tonight making a deal with some local criminals."

She immediately figured that the 'local criminals' in question were a different variety to the one who was making this offer. Some days, keeping track of the city's underworld was an impossible task. "So what's up? Do you need him to have a bit of an accident?"

"Sort of." The man continued. "We'd like him caught alive for... various reasons."

"Okay if he gets roughed up a bit if he doesn't cooperate?"

"As long as he can still talk, certainly."

She nodded. "Sounds good. So where is this man?"

"He's been working out of a rented office on the waterfront." Her contact continued. "The address is on the back."

Kaelyn flipped the photo over. "So it is. You seem to have thought of everything." She flashed him a quick smile. "So how much?"

"Your usual, plus, say fifty percent since it is in a hurry."

"Any reason?"

"He flies out tonight."

"Rush job then." She nodded. "Not a problem. I'll let you know when I'm done."

She stood and headed out of the bar, whistling to herself as she stepped out into the night. Even though it was past midnight, the streets were still teeming with life while neon signs blinked overhead. "Good start to the evening." She began. "So let's get to work."

"In amongst many gunfighters, you'll see people try some pretty outrageous things. Some will try to wield a huge pistol in each hand, firing both at once and hoping to hit something. Others will fire their guns while holding them sideways or even upside down. Some will try to boost the capabilities of a cheap gun with expensive ammo. And some believe that full auto is the only rate of fire.

Those people are all idiots. And most of them are dead idiots."

Following the information she was given, Kaelyn found herself in a warehouse district along the waterfront. From what she'd gathered, the 'office' that her target was lurking in was in fact a warehouse with a small office inside it. More to the point, it meant that his men could cover the rest of the warehouse so that she'd have to get through them to get to him. And, if there was anything else in there, they'd have a home-ground advantage of knowing the layout and the best cover.

Which she didn't mind. It sounded like a challenge, and she did like a challenge.

The building itself was just one of dozens like it; it was wholly missable and she could have easily passed it if she wasn't paying attention. The external security was wholly under-imposing; a simple chain-mesh fence that was easily bypassed. The issue would be getting into the warehouse itself while remaining undetected. Keeping low, she quietly stole across the concrete forecourt, checking over the building for some sort of entrance.

A quick inspection of the building told her that it was anything but good news. There were only two entrances that she could easily use; a back door near the office itself and a side door off the main door. She figured that both would be watched and guarded. The question was then, which one was the better choice.

Which means that they're probably watching the back door more, as it's a better quick escape route for the boss. She considered. In fact, they're probably considering evacuating him as their first move if something happens. A plan began to form in her mind. Okay, I can work with this...

She snuck towards the front door, keeping low and moving quietly as to try and avoid giving away her position. Confident that she'd remained undetected, she gently tested the handle to see if the door was open. To her surprise, it was. Good, that means I'm on track. So, if this door is open then...

Reaching up, she pulled on the handle, slowly and gently opening the door while trying not to make a sound. A quiet clunk confirmed that the door had unlocked, Kaelyn slowly pulling it open. The door creaked open, for a moment hanging silently on its frame.

"Hey! There's someone at the bloody door!" Someone called out form within, a northern English accent colouring their words.

"Bloody hell!" Another voice added, which meant that Kaelyn's plan was coming off perfectly.

Without stopping to actually take aim, she stuck her arm around the edge of the door and fired several shots into the darkness. The idea was simple; don't aim to hit anyone (although if she did it wouldn't be a bad thing) but certainly aim to keep them down and, more to the point, think that someone was coming in through the front door. She pulled back as someone inside opened up, one round shooting by while another one clipped the far side of the door frame.

She fired again, once again sending rounds into the darkness before puling back, ducking away form the door while listening to the goings on inside. "There's someone here!" A voice called out. "They're out the front!"

Just what she wanted to hear. Kaelyn fired off another couple of rounds and then broke into a run, heading away from the front door. Inside, people were shouting at each other and firing random shots at the door. She figured that would occupy them for a few seconds, which should be more then enough for her to get what she needed done.

Kaelyn belted around the back of the warehouse, reaching the back door just as she heard more shouting coming from the front. Flattening herself against the wall, she reached over to the door and carefully opened it, pausing as she expected the worse. Instead, there was silence. Grinning to herself, she ducked into the warehouse.

Inside was mostly dark; a few yellowed lamps hung form the ceiling provided some illumination. Glancing around, Kaelyn could see a lot of boxes stacked haphazardly across the warehouse floor, ones that could make any firefight into a nightmarish game of cat and mouse. Of course, she wasn't aiming to go through there. Instead, she headed towards the office. Separated from the rest of the warehouse by wood and glass walls, it was in sense a smaller building inside the main one.

And that's where he's going to be, she thought. Let's go.

She ran to the front of the office, ducking inside the front door. "Hey, what's going on out-" a voice began the instant she was inside the door. "Bloody hell!"

Kaelyn recovered first, opening fire on the man at point blank range before he could react. A pair of shots struck the man in the chest, sending him sprawling backwards onto the floor, killing him instantly. It also happily served to alert everyone in the office that she was out there. "Bloody hell." She muttered as she glanced around, looking for some sign of the guy she was after.

"Over there!" A voice yelled as they stepped out of a doorway at the end of the hall. "Get her!"

Kaelyn ducked into an office as another thug, this one sporting the stylish combination of a shaved head and a submachine gun, stepped out and opened fire on her. Shots tore into the wall behind where she had been standing, shredding the cheap plasterboard interior and raining debris down on her. There was a momentary pause in his fire, which was all the chance she needed.

She lunged around the corner of the ravaged doorframe, staying low as she opened fire on her attacker. The man suddenly staggered and collapsed, crumpling up into a small ball on the floor as Kaelyn picked herself up. Seeing that he was still alive but at the same time going nowhere, she kicked the gun away, leaping over his prone form.

So he should be just up ahead, she thought as she advanced down the hallway, guns in hands. Right about... She stepped into an office, both guns up. "Hold it right there, you- Hell!"

"Fook ye, ye bitch!" Hamish shouted back as he leveled a shotgun at her. She twisted out of the way as he opened fire, trying to avoid the blast. There was a sharp, stinging sensation in her left arm as she twisted, accompanied by a sound of ripping fabric and splintering wood as the blast shredded the door behind her.

She broke into a fire as Hamish pumped the gun and fired again, the shot this time going well wide of her and instead blasting the wall right behind her. Chunks of wood and plasterboard sprayed across the hallway, decorating the walls and carpet. Well, at the least I've ruined his damage deposit... she thought as she jumped over the still-incapacitated mook and back into an office. Okay, this is bad. I need him alive and he's armed. What do I do?

Another chunk of wall exploded, debris raining down on her back. "Damn it, this bugger's determined!" She called out. Okay, think... think... what would she do here? Kaelyn asked herself. Probably run out, get shot, swear and kill him. Not a good start.

Time to improvise.

"Come on ye fookin' bitch." Hamish snarled. "Come out here and fookin get yours!"

Which means that he's in the hallway... She thought. So then...

Hamish seemed to be more interested in stalking and less interested in shotgunning bits of the wall, which was definitely a good thing. She waited patently, pressed up against the back of the wall behind the door, listening carefully for any sign of her approaching attacker. There was a creak of two different floor sections moving as he stepped into the office.


She kicked the ruined door, swinging it back shut. There was a loud crash as the door slammed into Hamish's shotgun, snapping it back and smashing both door and rifle into his face. He staggered back, dropping the gun. "Me nose!" He shouted out. "You broke me fookin' nose! Ye fookin-"

Before he could finish his statement, she leaped out at him, barging again into the door. There was a loud crack as he staggered back, then slammed into the wall behind him. Kaelyn surged forwards, smashing the butt of her pistol into his forehead with a satisfying cracking noise. As he staggered she swung the pistol around and leveled it at his face. "Okay Mister McDougall. You're coming with me."

"Da hebl I ab." He managed to splutter out. "Book you, bdth."

She glared at him. "I don't think that's an option, is it?" She continued, stepping around him. "Because in a second, all your buddies are going to come charging in, gunning for me. Except you'll be in their way, which is probably not where you want to be, innit?" She finished with a smile, trying to ignore the stinging pain in her arm.

"You bidth." He repeated. "Ride. Leds do allrebby."

"Overkill is just a fancy word for 'making sure he's dead'."

It was a few hours later that Kaelyn found herself sitting in the surgery of one of Hong Kong's innumerable street doctors finally getting her arm seen to. She'd ignored it at the time, but the sharp stinging refused to go away. It was only when she'd found blood that she realised how serious the situation was. There was a sizeable gash on her arm, probably left there by either a stray shotgun pellet or a chunk of wood sent flying by one of the aforesaid.

"So, doctor, I want you to be honest." She began, half jokingly. "Will I live?"

"You young people." The doctor, a Chinese man well into his fourties, replied. "You get all panicky over the smallest things. That's nothing, young lady." His English was surprisingly good, and his tone and voice made him sound like somebody's irate father.

"Now I used to have a woman who would come in at all hours with all manner of injures. Each day it was a new scar or something hanging out or the like. I can't begin to say how many bullets I pulled out of her." He tapped a needle.

"Say what?" Kaelyn suddenly perked up.

"Now hold still. This should cover you against most nasties that are floating around out there." He jabbed it into her.

"Ow." She muttered. "So will I be okay?"

"You'll have a bit of a scar, but that's it really." He finished. "Certainly no loss of motor function or anything like that. You got very lucky, Ms Harrison."

"Oh, right." She finished, then sighed. She held her left hand up, admiring the scalelike pattern that began on the back of her hand. It was a part of a tattoo she'd gotten once, one that ran from the back of her hand, all the way up her arm, across her shoulder and even onto the base of her neck. And now there'd be a scar right across the middle of it. "Thanks."

"Not a problem." He finished. "Anything for a paying client."

"It doesn't matter how good your genetic upgrade is. It doesn't matter how many years you studied the martial arts. It doesn't matter what your monofilament katana can cut through. Bullets still will kill you dead."

"I'm home!" Kaelyn began as she stepped into her apartment, and instantly regretted it. She hadn't thought matters through at all; her friend may still be asleep in bed and she could have just woken him up, which could have completely ruined any chances of a nice kiss-and-make-up session.

She quietly stepped in, then shut the door behind her while making sure not to make any noise. As quietly as possible she removed her combat gear, hanging both her harness and her jacket over the back of a chair. She took put her pistols and emptied the magazines, mentally reminding herself to top them up before she next went out.

Of course, now there was the matter of what to do next. Stripping off and climbing into bed net to him might be overkill, especially after leaving it off last night. In fact, it was probably best just to leave things be and just see how he was doing. Yes, she would have admitted it was pretty rude of her to run off like that, but she'd explained that it was a job and she was sure he'd understand. In the end, Hong Kong was a city run by money; you didn't pass up a chance to make a quick buck.

She quietly slipped into the room, a nervous smile on her face in case he was awake or stirring or anything. After all, it was just dawn and the sun was beginning to filter in through the windows. However, the bed was empty, a small note left on the pillow. Curious, she sat down on the bed and picked it up.

Hey Caelin,

Sorry to run off like that. its just that, well, I didn't know what you did for a living and, well, I'm not sure if its something that I want to be involved with. You're a cool girl and a lit of fun to be around but I'm just not sure if I'm happy with a relationship with someone who uses guns in their line of work.

Maybe sometime later.

"And he didn't even spell my name right." She finished as she screwed up the note and threw it at the wall. "Ah well..."

She flopped back on the bed and stared up at the cracks in the ceiling. "So I made a pile of cash, got my tat scored and lost another boyfriend." She sighed. "Ah well. I can live." Kaelyn reached behind her and grabbed a book form a stack, and opened to a random page. It was something she always did when she was in a bad mood, as it tended to help, In many ways, this book was her bible.

"Never underestimate the ability of a sniper to be exactly where you don't want them to be exactly when you don't want them to be there." She read out. "And if the enemy also has a sniper, then its even worse."

"Huh." She commented. "I wonder what that means." Then closed it up, eyeing the cover again. Escape from Neo York, by Sandra Blackmore. An autobiography of the life and times of a real Street Sam. And an inspiration, of sorts.

"Well, hell. Let's just see what happens." She finished as she put the book down.

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