by Michael Surbrook with Nestor Rodriguez

Can you feel it, see it, hear it today?
If you can't, then it doesn't matter anyway
You'll never understand it cuz it happens too fast
And it feels so good, it's like walking on glass

As Mr. Johnsons went, he wasn't too bad looking. A little tall maybe, but well built, with long dark hair that was tied back into a fashionable ponytail. Nice beard too. The kind of man that Kitten would have fancied, back when she was made of flesh and not steel. Kitten noted with some amusement that the Mr. Johnson was giving her the same sort of appraisal. She found herself liking this man immediately.

Mr. Johnson gave her a slight smile and a nod, "You are the courier?"

Kitten nodded in return, "Yes sir. I am here on behalf of Ms. Tendo."

She reached into a breast pocket, removing a small flat case scarcely larger than a pack of cigarettes. "I have been asked to deliver this," she said, handing the case over.

Mr. Johnson snapped the case open and glanced briefly inside. He then closed the case and set it down on his desk. Resting his elbows on the desktop, he laced his hands together and regarded Kitten over them. "Excellent, please tell Nabiki Tendo that I appreciate such prompt and efficient service."

It's so cool, it's so hip, it's alright
It's so groovy, it's outta sight

A long time ago, a rather well known comedian had once remarked that there was very little to do on an elevator, but "not look at the other guy". Which certainly seemed to be the case here. Kitten's fellow traveler had given her the usual once over and was now staring intently at the wall, as if trying to pretend she wasn't there. Kitten smiled inwardly, she'd found that the introverted sarariman wasn't as much of a stereotype as people would like to think. Pulling her PDA out of a coat pocket, she checked the time. With luck, she'd be done with her next appointment while it was still early and have the rest of the day to do as she pleased.

You can touch it, smell it, taste it so sweet
But it makes no difference cuz it knocks you off your feet
You want it all but you can't have it

Mikado Sanzien stared intently at Kitten's retreating back as she left the elevator. He thought he'd left that damned gaijin back in Mega-Tokyo. What was she doing here, in Neo York? Not looking for him, that was certain. She'd obviously hadn't recognized him when she'd gotten on the elevator. A mistake that was going to cost her dearly.

Mikado glanced down at his left hand, marred by the absence of a finger. The oyabun had been greatly displeased with him over his capture. Which explained why he'd been sent to this gaijin hell. Well, no matter. Now that he knew she was here, he would have his revenge. Smiling at the thought, Mikado moved through the lobby at a rapid pace, he had things to do before he could act upon his desires.

It's cryin', bleedin', lying on the floor
So you lay down on it and do it some more

"Jagger? Kitten."

"No, no, I'm in Neo York."

"Yeah, but only till tomorrow, then I'm escorting a perp back to Mega-Tokyo."

"No, nothing serious, real milkrun."

"Well, I'm not doing anything tonight and..."

"You are? Oh, that's too bad. I was ... well, you know..."

"Yeah, ok. Take care, hunh? And try and come back with everything you started with."


You've got to share it, so you dare it
Then you bare it and you tear it

"And how was your dinner?"

Kitten smiled and handed over her SINcard "Oh, domo arigato, it was excellent. This is the best steakhouse I've been in outside of Mega-Tokyo."

The waiter smiled in return, "You are too kind."

You want it all but you can't have it It's in your face but you can't grab it

Kitten exited the Glass Onion and glanced about, taking in the Neo York street scene with an air of casual indifference. The view reminded her a bit of the Ginza, only not as crowded and with far less neon. Turning north, she began to walk back to her hotel room, since calling for a Neo York taxi was usually a waste of time and money.

**<Mikado-san, she's left the building.>**

**<Excellent, Kirin. You and Azusa go arm yourselves, we have her now.>**

It's alive, afraid, a lie, a sin
It's magic, it's tragic, it's a loss, it's a win

Kitten consulted her PDA again, bringing up the streetmap program; one of these alleys should be a shortcut back to her hotel, but she'd be damned if she could figure out which one it was. Checking the map against a local streetsign, she found what seemed to be the right connection. Dropping the computer back into her pocket, Kitten continued on, she'd forgotten how much she disliked Neo York.

Mikado sat in a parked delivery van and watched as Kitten entered a side street. Pulling a stubby grenade launcher from the case in the seat beside him, he slapped a fresh magazine into the weapon. The magazine was loaded just for her, for in it were six anti-cyborg EMP rounds, what Kirin liked to call "boomer busters". Tucking the weapon under his coat, Mikado exited the truck and quickly crossed the street.

Stopping just inside the alley's mouth, Mikado braced himself against a wall and took careful aim. His target was maybe thirty yards in front of him and walking slowly. Have to much to drink? he thought, Too bad... Sighting in on Kitten's back, he fired once, twice, a third time, the hollow thump of the weapon seemingly inappropriate for it's size.

The three rounds caught Kitten in the small of the back, pitching her forward slightly and sending a rippling surge of electromagnetic energy through her body. There was a faint smell of ozone and it felt as if her whole body was on fire. The agony was almost unbearable and Kitten could feel herself beginning to black out. Through the haze of pain, Kitten was dimly aware of two figures that had stepped into the alley in front of her. Figures that had unlimbered heavy combat shotguns. There was a oily *chack* as the duo jacked the first round into the chamber of their weapons. Desperately, she tried to will her unresponsive limbs into motion, to get her pistol out, to move, to do anything.

Kirin slapped his 990 up to his shoulder and began to rapid fire as fast as possible, working the pump action like a man possessed. Azusa simply braced her SPAS-22 against her hip and set the selector to full auto, spraying her target with a continuous stream of 10 gauge projectiles.

The first blast of Magnum 00 buckshot shredded Kitten's jacket, shirt and breasts, exposing the chromium carbide underneath. The second vaporized her midsection, leaving it a shattered ruin of blood and fragmented metal. A third round impacted between her shoulder blades, causing her to vomit forth a thick gout of blood. Another removed her left hand at the wrist, while a fifth shot slammed into her right thigh, neatly severing the connecting cables, lubricant spraying in a thick stream. She was hit again in the back, the slug punching through her cybergraft plating with ease, fracturing two ribs, before embedding itself in the metal that sheathed her front. Slowly Kitten began to fall, as her right leg collapsed under her. She was hit several more times as she went down, the blasts disintegrating clothing, synthflesh and metal equally.

His ears still ringing with the din of the attack, Mikado flipped his launcher up across his shoulder and walked over to where the woman's body lay. Amazingly enough, her face had been untouched by the assault, while the rest of her was hardly recognizable as anything human. Grinning, he bent and wiped the slowly bubbling blood from her mouth. "Saranoya, munko," he said as he kissed her gently.

Azusa watched this display with a scarcely concealed look of revulsion. She turned to Kirin, "Mikado's one sick fuck, ne?"

Kirin simply smiled. Turning to Mikado he gestured to the far end of the alley, "Hoi, bossman, we should be leaving, Nypdink's bound to come running."

It's dark it's moist, it's a bitter pain
It's sad it's happened and it's a shame

Officer Albrecht, NYPD Inc, approached the sprawled form lying in a thick pool of blood and hydraulic fluid with caution. He didn't know what had happened here, but he certainly didn't want to get the same treatment. Reaching the body, he glanced down, it looked to be a woman, but who ever it was was so badly shot up he couldn't be sure. Crouching down, Albrecht tried to turn the prone figure over on it's back. No luck. Who ever this was, they weighed a ton. As Albrecht stood and took a step back, something crunched under his foot. Looking down he found he had stepped on a fragment of cybergraft plate. That explained it, Jane Doe here was a cyborg and that meant she might still be alive. Quickly, he reached for his comlink.

"Dispatch? Albrecht here. Yeah, I'm at the scene of that 621. One body, hit real bad. Call in a medtech and tell 'em the victim's a 'borg."

You want it all but you can't have it
It's in your face but you can't grab it

Jagger strode out of the elevator into the ICU lobby, Doc following more sedately behind. He reached the nurse's station and without preamble, whipped out a leather wallet with a badge and card inside.

"Special Agent Jagger. You have a recently-admitted patient by the name of Katherine Ramis. Which room is she in?"

The nurse on duty looked archly at the displayed ID and then said with clipped tones, "Visiting hours are over, sir. You'll have to wait until tomorrow."

"Or I could shoot you now and charge you with obstruction of justice later." There was no humor or levity in Jagger's voice.

The nurse studied Jagger's face and blanched slightly. She turned to Doc but saw no succor there. "I - I'll have to inform the doctor on duty. You can't just barge in."

Jagger ignored her as he stared at the duty chart on the whiteboard behind her. There were only four patients listed, and only one "Ramis". "You go right ahead. I'll be in her room."

"But sir..." The nurse's voice faded as Jagger continued down the corridor. Doc shrugged at the nurse with a small measure of sympathy and followed the retreating boomer's back.

At the private ward's door, Jagger hesitated. Doc was astute enough to recognize the cause of his hesitation, and chose not to comment on it.

Finally, the ex-cop turned the knob and stepped into the room, stopping just beyond the threshold.

The hospital room was silent, except for the hiss of the respirator and the monotonous beep of the monitors. Kitten lay motionless, her ashen face obscured by an oxygen mask. Most of her body was mercifully hidden by the bedsheet, but what little was exposed was covered with bandages and tubes.

Jagger stood at the foot of the bed, motionless except for his hands unconsciously curling and uncurling into fists. Doc was behind him, saying nothing, knowing that in a situation like this, there was little one could say.

Finally, Jagger broke the silence. With a voice stripped of all humanity, he spoke through clenched teeth.

"Son of a bitch must pay."

What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it

Faith No More

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