Author : Duncan Shields

It’s Sao Paolo all over again. I’ve got three bullets left in the low-tech and half a charge left in the high. I have six pencil holes straight through me that are cauterized from the setting on the sniper’s gun. They want this to be extreme cat and mouse. They want to me to suffer and experience fear.

So far they’re doing a great job.

The thing about being shot with a plaser? You don’t feel a thing. You’ll be brushing your teeth that night and notice in the mirror that there’s light shining through a collection of holes that have turned your kidney area into a sponge.

Of course that doesn’t work if they hit your heart or head or anything vital like that. They have to aim carefully. Perhaps sever a tendon. Freak out the pancreas a little by punching a hole through it.

My left arm is useless and my suit is a ragged mess of torn tuxedo and smeared mud. I’m missing a shoe. I look like a time traveler in this poverty stricken suburb.

I was kidnapped from the party and set loose here. It’s been non-stop fun ever since they kicked me out of the van fifteen minutes ago.

I’ve had my cover blown before but this is the first time I’ve thought that I might not make it.

If I can get to a public webstation, I can alert my handlers and glaze the area, maybe get airlifted or even downloaded. In the parts of town with money, webstations are as common as McStarKings. Here’s they’re as rare as clock radios.

I prime myself for the dash across the alley necessary to put me into the flood of foot traffic on the main ramblas I can see through the crack in the buildings. I have no concern about body counts anymore. You can smooth out ruffled feathers if the collateral damage is poor.

I hold my breath and push forward like a frog across the orange dust of the alley.

I hate Mars.

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