Chrome Is The New Gold

Step Into My Parlor

Ray Hatchet

Friday May 14th 2088

Team Spectres Secret Hideout

New Detroit

9:45 PM

After Yata opened the door to our secret hideout, he simply lounged on the couch. Despite his lack of professionalism for our line of work, I knew I could trust him to save the teams bacon anytime we needed a computer whiz. I just wished he could show a little more work ethic instead of heading to Genjis noodle cart every night. The worst thing a mercenary can do is become a creature of habit. That was what Ive been trying to teach Yata since we first met. But even I must admit that Old Man Genji served the best noodles in town.

I looked inside the hideout, and Delores was parked there looking as beautiful as ever. I loved that old hummer, but I had to modify her to run on electrical power after the gasoline ban of 2051. I was just a teenager back then, but I hated the fact that cars could no longer legally use gas to power them anymore. Thinking back to that time made me realize how old I really was. I was so attached to Delores that I was the only one allowed to drive her. Her black paint job blended in with some of the other cars that stayed on the road, unlike the new hover cars. Hover cars were a luxury that most people took out loans of credits to buy, and I could see why they were popular. However, I was afraid that one malfunction was all it took to turn a luxurious ride into a plummeting coffin. And I had Delores since my sixteenth birthday.

”Im gonna jack in while we wait for Quince and Dragon, ” Yata said. ”I wanna see whats new in the data havens. ”

Yata made very good use of his cyberdeck implant. Unlike the computer whiz, I couldn tell the difference between ICE and processes. I walked towards the briefing room. It was a place where the team gathered when Mr Johnson had a message to relay to us. Mr Johnson was mercenary code for client. Anytime a client had a job that needed to be done, we would talk to them there and discuss things like payment and planning. There was a client who wanted to speak with us tonight, but Quince and Dragon were running late from other errands job. If memory served me correct, they were hired for a shakedown by a loan shark. Dragon loved shakedowns, but Quince hated them. As of an hour ago, they already completed the shakedown. Quince went to the gun shop to pick up some munitions for the teams firearms while Dragon was most likely taking the scenic route through town. There were certain details about this new Mr Johnson that I wasn sure of, and I had a bad feeling about this job. However, I had a feeling the pay would be generous. I saw a flash drive on the table. The table itself doubled as a computer and the center of it used holographic technology. One of the few perks of my early retirement from Remus Security a few decades ago allowed me to call in favors from my former co workers. The table in the briefing room was probably the best investment I ever made.

”Ray, ” I heard a female voice say. ”We
e all here and ready. ”

It was Quince. She wore a black and white striped shirt with a gray vest over it. Her gray pants looked like they might be of the latest in fashion and her leather boots looked brand new. Then again, I wasn one to follow that sort of thing as I always wore power armor. My entire body was cybernetically augmented to fit the demanding nature of my work. Quince, on the other hand, was a blue eyed blonde who stood at a mere five foot four inches and only had a basic cyber brain. Her cyber brain didn even have a targeting system, but she was the most accurate shot I have ever met. Quince was no slouch in close quarters combat either as she knew exactly where to strike for the most damage.

Dragon entered the room next. He was an Asian man who wore a red hoodie with red track pants and matching sneakers. He even dyed his hair the same shade of red as his clothes. His handle was Dragon because he was a master of many forms of Kung Fu. He was the type of man who could bring a knife to a gun fight and win. He was also slightly taller than Yata and much better built. Yata revealed last year that Dragon had his arms and legs replaced with cybernetic ones to further improve his prowess. He was a man of few words who preferred to let his fists do the talking.

”Lets get this show on the road, ” Yata said. ”Im dying to know what our next jobs gonna be! ”

Yata finally walked into the room. He was excited to know what the next job was, but the part he loved most was earning credits. All four of us sat around the briefing room table. The table lit up and displayed a hologram of a bald head. This was a call from tonights Mr Johnson. The head started speaking.

”Ray, ” Mr Johnson said. ”Im sure your team is wondering about the details of this job. Let me start by saying that this job isn exactly a milk run, but the credits should be more than worth the task. ”

”What exactly is this job? ” I asked.

”Your job is to hijack a Libra Industries convoy containing a secret package, ” Mr Johnson replied. ”I am not at liberty to discuss what it is, but my employer really wants this particular item. You will know it when you see it because it will be marked. ”

”How do you know about this secret package? ” Yata asked.

”My employer has his ear to the ground, so to speak. ” Mr. Johnson responded. ”My employer believes that this delivery is essential in expanding their business. ”

”Delivery interception. Got it. ” Quince said.

I already had a bad feeling about this job, and Mr Johnsons lack of intention of revealing what we are trying to get our hands on just made things worse. It also didn help that we would be hijacking a Libra Industries convoy, which meant that we would be exchanging gunfire with Remus Security. So far, Mr Johnson was raising red flags in my head. They wanted us to fight Remus Security to get our hands on something without being told what it was. If anything, Mr Johnson probably thought of us as expendable, witless minions.

”You will be rewarded handsomely if you take this job, ” Mr Johnson said. ”Since this task will require you to go toe to toe with Remus Security, I will offer an up front payment of five hundred grand. ”

”Are you high on BTLs?? ” Dragon exclaimed. ”You
e asking us to risk getting ourselves killed. ”

”Take it or leave it. If we can hire your team, we can always get another team to work for us. ”

The sound of five hundred grand was very tempting. Quince seemed to be getting proverbial dollar signs in her eyes. However, the rest of us weren exactly keen on fighting the security company that owned New Detroit with an iron fist. I didn want to burn the bridges I worked so hard to build in my career. Dragon was the most displeased with this job as the risk of being branded this citys most wanted didn seem to be worth the package. Yatas cybernetic eyes looked unamused as he was probably weighing his options mentally.

”Make it seven fifty and we have ourselves a deal, ” I said. ”Id rather we be paid handsomely if we
e going up against the most reputable security force on the east coast of North America. Not to mention, I know a few people who work for them. ”

”Im glad you
e beginning to see things our way, ” Mr Johnson replied. ”Also, the final payment will be four million credits. ”

We collectively gave Mr Johnson a weird look. Either he was some crazy multimillionaire or this convoy was carrying something very important. Regardless, Dragon didn seem to want in on this job. Yata looked amused by Mr Johnsons offer and probably thought this client was an idiot.

”Shall we file this job under an ID-10T? ” Yata asked. ”Or are we taking this job? ”

”I don like the job, ” Dragon added. ”But four million credits must mean you REALLY want whatever it is you
e hiring us to steal. Im not liking our odds, but this object must be very important. Im a little concerned, but Im not gonna walk out if you guys take this job. ”

”Im already in, ” Quince said. ”Nothing this team needs comes cheap. ”

”Looks like we
e all on board. ” I said.

”Good. The convoy will cross New Detroits Downtown area on the 22nd of May. Your job is to take the marked package from the convoy at this point. ”

Mr Johnson showed us a map of the Downtown area near Gibson Square. The hologram showed the convoy passing the square and was marked at May 22nd 2088. Fortunately, Mr Johnson seemed to prefer to use a three dimensional map of the area. I pushed a button on the table to download the map onto its system. The approximate time on the map was around midnight. A perfect time for a convoy to pass as Gibson Square wasn going to be crowded on that day.

”Heres seven fifty. ”

Mr Johnson had sent seven hundred and fifty thousand credits to the teams account. I wasn sure of their motives, but a price that high made it obvious they really wanted whatever Libra Industries had. Our team had a week to prepare, and I didn want to leave anything to chance.

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