by Peter John Dean
Edited by Michael Surbrook

It had been two days since the Tony Wang incident, and I was getting a little anxious. I knew who, or at least what, Ms. Li was professionally. If Tony Wang's boys had put a beating on one of my old fixers like they had on Ling Ling, I would have had only one recourse. First, kill Tony and his boys (check) and second... eliminate the fixer.

All fixers talk in that sort of situation. It's what they have to do. If they're good, they will give up good, but not the best, info they have. If not, they spill it all. Either way, Ms. Li hadn't known anything about us so we should have never come up in any 'discussions'. So I put in a call to Styles and asked him to find out if Genom had anything new cooking in the area over the last 3 or 4 days.

*I'll check into it and get back to you in forty-eight. Can't keep your hand out of the fire can you, Lucky? *

"I guess not, ami. Jus' worry 'bout you own hide an' find out what I need to know."

*Lahdna, Lahdna. Same old black bastard, Lucky.*


I knew Styles would come through, but I didn't know if I could wait two more days. I had to go and see Ms. Li tonight.

I always found it ironic that the easiest place to zero someone was in a hospital. You didn't have to smuggle any equipment in with you; drugs and sharp objects are everywhere. And in most cases, your target wasn't in the best situation for putting up much of a fight. This was the case with Ms. Li. Her back was so badly flayed that she was forced to lay on her front or side all the time. A position that made it very hard to view the entire room, something I could take advantage of if needed. "Ms. Li? I am a friend of Ms. Nys. I was just stoppin' by to see if you was don' bettah'.

"Yes..." Ms. Li sounded, and looked tired. "I am feeling much better, considering. Marta told me that she's had some help in getting me out of Dai Lo Wang's house, and I thank you for that."

"I also needed to ask you a few t'ings, if you don' mind?" The conversation that followed was pretty much what I had expected. Ms. Li claimed to know little about our involvement with Ms. Nys. She knew Marta planned on rescuing her sister, but did not know how we were involved. What else was she to say? That she knew it all and that she had told Mr. Wang's boys all about it? No. And talking to Marta would be no better. Marta had strong feelings for this woman and would not give her up to me any more than she would have given her up to Mr. Wang.

"Well, I should check back and make sure everyting's okay at de hotel. Good bye, Ms. Li."

I left the room knowing I should come back later and make sure that Ms. Li did not leave the hospital. If she hadn't spoken, she would be found later by Genom and they would get the information they needed. I noted the security in the area, but I could get past it anytime I wanted. I noted where the medical supplies were kept and the best ways to get to them. I knew I could make this look like an inside job done by someone in the hospital, so Marta would be chasing shadows and not coming for me, or the rest of Kazei 5. But...

'I can't do dis agin' I thought to myself. For the last two years I had been out of the 'business'. I had been running a bar in Neo York with a man I had 'extracted' from a corp. I swore I'd never go back, but here I was. I had joined Kazei 5 because they were different, they were not ruthless killers and corporate assassins; but here I was, back to the same old tricks.

'She could cost me my life if I let her live'

That I might die because of Ms. Li wasn't the point anymore; that I wouldn't pull the trigger on someone who had helped them was. I ended up sitting in the hospital waiting room for a few hours not knowing where to go. What do you do when you're not tying up loose ends for a mission? What do you do when you're not in charge of the raid? What do you do when you're one of 'the good guys'?

I realized that I didn't know, but, I had to find out.

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