Love Thy Ministers
You tug the line tied to your harness. It's tight. Towers of concrete
and glass glow against the night, making a nice view. Too bad the air's
thin and total crap up here. It's nothing your military-grade
respiratory system can't handle but not everyone has those… Well, about
to start fixing that problem.
You scan your comms-net: some background noise but just within
tolerance. The progress meter in your vision extends to 97%; it doesn't
hurt to upgrade your neural shields whilst waiting for the go-code. You
focus on the two drones circling high above and—
fired," you hear through your comms-net.
You don't bother asking details, the location pinging from the 151st
floor. Target must have spotted your inside man. You unholster your
handgun, leap over the edge and dive. The air slams against your face
as you count the floors, the hotel guests oblivious of your presence:
265, 245, 215…
"Objective still in suite on floor one-five-three?" you ask.
No answer. Not even static.
Switching to thermal vision and spearing toward the 153rd floor, you
only have a moment to identify the Resources Minister and take him out.
A moment is all you need.
Except the bastard's gone. The suite's dark. And just as you're about
to curl to crash through the glass two floors below, your neck cramps
and a screech blares through your comms-net. You grit your teeth, force
your body into position and hope for the best…
You miss. Instead, you plough into the 134th floor. Straight into the
coffee table. Oh look, a replay of Resources Minister Pressburg's speech on TV.
of air due to increasing maintenance costs of atmospheric processors.
Relocation of residents in sub-standard sectors is
facilitated by the government with the aid of various private corporations if…>>
Yeah right, apart from the money trail between him and the private
You wince and drag yourself up. At least you still have your weapon.
Damn neural hack. Must have encrypted the virus in the background noise—
You hear padding behind you and spin around. Unblinking eyes and a
paring knife staggers toward you. Great, probably hacked all occupants
in the building.
The guy drools. "You. Shall. Love. Our. Ministers."
You ignore him and dash into the hallway. The air's way better indoors.
A glassy-eyed maid lurches at you so you elbow pass her. Then a man in
a fancy suit stumbles around the corner and hurls himself at you as
well. Now you know what happened to your inside man. You pistol whip
him in the face and bolt for the staircase. You look up. No one. You
connect to the drones: no signal.
"Send in reserve drones to cover the roof," you say.
Your comms-net screeches. "You. Shall. Love. Our. Ministers."
Dammit. Spotting your inside man is one thing, hacking the whole team
You connect to building management: the target and his security are in
the elevator, going down. You holster your handgun and jump over the
handrails, dropping landing to landing. Quickly breaching their
temporary shields for building management to cause their elevator to
fail is practically impossible but they're devoting much bandwidth to
the building-wide neural hack…
You smirk, finding a pinhole in their personal neural defences. You
still can't hack their neural cores but you can access building
management through their own connection and cut the hotel's air supply.
The prick won't expect that. Hotel guests and staff will be fine but he'll have to
stop for air given his enclosed space… 74, 73, 72—
The elevator stops. You sprint into the hallway of the 72nd floor.
Ding. The elevator doors slide open with a hiss. There they are: four
bodyguards and Minister Pressburg gasping for air. You put a bullet in
the head of each bodyguard when the minister's eyes bulge.
"Wait! I've done everything Northcliffe Corporation asked," he rasps, wheezing. Then he frowns. "You're black ops…"
As much as you want him to breathe through the barrel of your gun, you lower your weapon slightly and nod.
Minister Pressburg takes a breath. "Def… Defence Minister Lockwood agreed that…"
if Lockwood is in on all this, then that explains Pressburg's ability
to neural hack the military. But you smile anyway and raise your
weapon. "Thanks for the intel. I actually work for Franz, the Vice
Minister of Defence and you shall love your vice ministers."
Joey wasn't interested in
writing when he was young. However, he was always the creative type,
enjoying visual arts. In recent years, he developed a penchant for
creative writing, partly to amuse himself. One day, he was told his
writing "wasn't that bad" and so he submitted his work. Website:
story in the Aphelion
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