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Short Story

 By James Galloway

This short story is set in the same universe as my Monday night GURPS Monster Hunters/Cyberpunk campaign, a dark future where the lowlifes and mega-corporations aren’t the only dangers lurking in the shadows. Here a group of freelance corporate espionage agents find out that the simple job they thought they were taking on wasn’t so easy after all…

Cross checked over his pistol manually, just to be sure. The cybernetic linkup through his palm should notify him of any problems, but it never hurt to take a second look. Not that he was expecting tonight to be troublesome; he and his associates had been hired to appropriate a Eurere Biotech transport truck and drop it off on the outskirts of St Louis, a relatively simple snatch and grab.

Cross wasn’t certain who was actually paying for this job, but then it wasn’t healthy to ask too many questions. Still, with Eurere being responsible for several breakthroughs in their field, there was no shortage of their rivals wanting a peek at what they were up to.

“Target acquired. Approaching on schedule.” Orson was two blocks away, on top of the billboard strewn roof of the Metro-6 motel, covering the entire area with the telescopic scope on his SCAR rifle. Down the street from Cross, Keller started the engine of the stolen garbage truck and began to move towards the intersection.

Keller’s timing was perfect – plotted on his neural HUD from the mini-cameras that they’d set up earlier in the day. He struck the unmarked sedan driving escort in front of the truck with a solid broadside, smashing it to the side of the road. At the same time one of Orson’s SCAR rounds entered the tail escort’s fuel tank, punching through the thin case before detonating. The fireball consumed the car, but Cross didn’t wait to watch; the plan required perfect timing.

Already he was running from his place of concealment to where the transport was coming to a halt in front of Keller’s garbage truck. He gave silent thanks to the army for his boosted leg muscles as he covered the space and bounded up to the door. Two ten millimetre rounds from his pistol shattered the driver’s skull before he had a chance to react.

Immediately Cross dropped back to the ground and headed to the back of the truck. Keller was already approaching the cab, ready to drive to the drop off point. Cross broke the seal on the rear doors and swung them open, gracefully jumping up. Reacting to the deeper darkness inside the truck his eyes amped up what light was available, turning the world shades of green and grey, with orange and red tinges indicating only a few faint heat sources. He glanced around. “Clear, no one in the back.” Cautiously he approached the large white container secured in the middle of the truck. “What have we here?”

Shifting his pistol to his other hand he reached down and released the catches. With a hiss and cloud of cold vapour the cover slid up. Cross lifted it open and involuntarily took a half step back. “Jeez, they got a dead body back here…” With an unconscious impulse his eyes shifted further to infrared, reassuring him the body was indeed cold as death. Cross let the lid fall back, neglecting to secure it, and turned his attention to the other equipment in the truck. He didn’t notice the lid being lifted from inside, or the cold, dead body get to its feet behind him, didn’t notice anything wrong in fact until the fangs entered his neck.

At that point, it was already too late.

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