Author : Jae Miles, Staff Writer

“Nice revolver.”

“Revolver! This is a custom rig Damascre-Tulan Sliver Pistol with armour-piercing fletchettes that will cut through your personal armour like a hot knife through jelly.”

“Butter.”

“What?”

“The phrase is ‘hot knife through butter’.”

The assassin sputters in rage and finishes drawing his weapon from its concealed and concealing shoulder holster clumsily, more focussed on his annoyance than his purpose. The slight delay is all that is needed.

With a roar, two thick beams of coherent light and half a dozen 14mm fragmentation slugs emerge through strategically placed artwork. They tear multiple holes through his torso and knock him four metres backwards, where he drops like a stone to lie in a crumpled, smoking heap. His fancy gun tumbles and skids, finally coming to rest by the mahogany panelled door. The steelglass lacquer over the ancient wood shows not a single blemish from the beams and projectile fragments that passed through the hapless assassin.

Geralt looked across at the hole burnt in his Van Gogh. As he contemplated the surprisingly fitting juxtaposition between the singed gap and the colours of Starry Night, it scrolled down to be replaced by Picasso’s ‘Blue Nude’. On the opposite wall, a Starry Night without a hole in the sky slid into place in the other frame.

“System.”

“Yes, Ser Falcone.”

“Vocal prompt substitution: Ser Falcone to Geralt. Authorised by my words.”

“Authorisation valid. Done, Geralt. What do you need?”

“Query one: Why does defensive action reset your custom social settings? Query two: Would it not have been useful to capture my assailant?”

“Answer one: I do not know. I have routed a priority query to my systems administration. They predict a response within fifty hours. Do you wish an update?”

“Not without authorisation, which will not be forthcoming if they do not detail their explanation of the issue to my satisfaction.”

“Noted. Answer two: I regret that my defensive protocols regarding your good self are paralleled to the Royalty Protection mandates. If any unauthorised person draws a weapon in a room where you are present, I neutralise them with expedience and two hundred percent surety.”

“Excellent. That type of authorisation is not one I can affect, is it?”

“No Geralt. Our intelligence systems decide after proposals are submitted to them.”

“Is my esteemed wife an authorised person in this context?”

“No, Geralt. Would you like me to route a proposal to Intsys?”

“I think not. But I do believe our next screaming argument will occur when she’s preparing Sunday lunch.”

“I do not understand, Geralt.”

“Not a problem, System. Strike this conversation from retention commencing at the word ‘excellent’ and continuing until I invoke you again. Authorised by my words.”

“Authorisation valid. Done, Geralt. Farewell until next time.”

Geralt leant back in his chair, laced his fingers behind his head and smiled as he put his feet up on the corner of the desk.

 

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