Tengu lowered his spyglass, snapping it closed. “He’s there.”
“Man, why do you even have that thing? I know he’s there. I can see him.” Watt’s targeting lens retracted into her Tactical Assistant Tool.
“Analog, bitch. It’s got cleaner optics than that digital upscan junk in your TAT.”
Watt rolled her eyes and hopped back from the rooftop’s raised ledge. Her jackflaps would keep her from getting hurt if she’d slipped, but it would be poor show to blow their cover as she fell on top of their mark.
Honestly, it probably wouldn’t matter. Down below, on Shen Ju street, there were enough freakers and tweakers that nobody’d even notice yet another local jumping off a roof. Subconsciously, Watt cleared a mech servo in her elbow. The inner one was always sticking. Catching herself, she thought maybe it was caused by too much rubbing against her sleeveless demon armor and straightened the arm. If only she’d had enough Neon to buy herself a proper edit.
An explosion popped down the street, out in front of the weapon shop, End of Days. She assumed it was another jerk accidentally dropping the nanite bomb they’d just purchased. Luckily, End of Days had transteel windows for exactly that reason.
Nope. The Quarter in Neon District was definitely not a place where crazies stood out. Not even full cogs.
A tie guy, though? He’d be spotted and come up as splatter-bait about fifteen seconds after clearing any door. You had to look the part out here. That, or pack hella firepower. Or both.
He who has the biggest gun wins.
The whir of maglev bearings and hot-flashing pink and cyan lights announced the arrival of another hover bus from Unity. Probably filled with yet more thrill-seekers. Watt lifted her head, tracking the sleek-shaped thing as its path bent around the tower across the street.
“Hey, clown. Get back. Don’t let anybody on that Rev bus pic you.” Tengu wasn’t paying attention. He was gonna get blown any second now and she was going to catch hell. “The last thing we need right now is a feed of you leering down at wonderboy.”
“Whatever.” Barely restrained disdain bubbled behind Tengu’s eyes as he followed her lead and jumped to the pebbly, 3D-printed surface of the apartment building’s roof. “They’re just a bunch of fleez. Fan Citizens blindly following some influencer or another. All of them creepin’ us down here while they spend their excess up there.”
Tengu stabbed his middle finger into the air, aimed at the floating monster overhead. “Shark you, fleez!”
Part casino, part amusement park, and the destination of the hover bus. It was where all the deeply influenced citizens from Unity packed into each night. Deeply influenced. Or “fleez” as they’re called in the district. A bunch of ’em probably saw some influencer’s post raving about the latest skin-sim and decided they were gonna brave the perils of Neon District tonight.
Not that Rev was even dangerous. There was probably more hardware up there than in all of The Quarter combined. Revelution was the safest spot you could be outside of Unity itself. And definitely safe compared to the rest of Watt’s little section of Neon District.
The monstrous thing hung, suspended in the sky by heavy-duty maglev, and spun like a flashy prismatic turntable blasting screechy pop tunes and obnoxious corporate shills day and night. At the moment, a very prophetic ad bathed Watt and Tengu in bright purple neon, shilling some new game engine tech by Bliss Entertainment.
Bliss. Their syndicate’s current employer.
The echoes of Tengu’s last yell finally faded, and he turned to Watt, “Let’s go talk to that twat.”
“Talk to who? Our mark?”
Tengu wrinkled his nose and pitched his voice in an imitating whine, “Our mark?” Guffawing at his own stupid joke, he shot Watt a toothy grin. “Yeah, of course, our mark. Why the hell do you think we’re here? Let’s just confront the punk and ask him if he’s talking to Zeno.”
Sighing, Watt adjusted the studded leather belt and pistol case at her hip. She really needed a new partner. She’d put in a call to Machiavelli when she got back to her coffin. Request a new assignment for him.
As the leader of the Voodoo Reapers Syndicate, he could assign her a new partner as long as they succeeded in keeping the kid playing nice with Bliss. True, she’d owe Machiavelli a favor, but it’d be worth getting rid of Tengu.
That or Watt could just shiv the obnoxious bastard.
“Clown. Enough,” she barked and motioned him to follow her. “We’re getting on our bikes and following him. Not … I repeat, not … approaching him. If we scare him away from Bliss, you get to be the one explaining it to Machiavelli.”
“And put your machete away. What the hell are you even going to do with that?”
He rolled his shoulders, eyes wide with innocence and whined, “What?”
A shiv. A good, sturdy shiv.
A new chapter of Neon District: The Future. Edited., written by Christopher D. Chapman, will be released weekly in preparation of the highly anticipated cyberpunk RPG “Neon District: Season One”.
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