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One Sunny Day on Persephone

Posted on Sun Jan 14th, 2018 @ 9:43am by

Location: Persephone, Fostertown
Timeline: Five or so Years ago.

She was walking down one of the more uncivilized areas of Persephone. The mission was simple. Go to some bar, take out a former browncoat the alliance wanted dead, order a beer. Anyway, it never was personal.

Never was personal.

She entered the bar and the target was right there. It seemed too easy, there was always some kind of challenge involved with her missions, but her target just being there. It made her suspicious, so she decided to do it differently this time; she walked to the bar and ordered a beer.

In simple garb in another corner of the bar, a woman sat with a river of dry-black hair draped over he shoulder. She looked for all the world to be a nobody, nursing the days troubles over a generous double of whiskey. Or at least what was being sold as whiskey. Seeing the blonde woman enter she tapped her earring stud twice and watched with gathering anticipation...

Meanwhile, on top of a nearby roof, nestled between a water-recycling unit and some discarded tarp, Sergeant Mengyao Zhu lay prone with a high velocity state-of-the-art Alliance issued sniper rifle trained at the rear exit of the Bar. The target's actions had been calculated and anticipated. The two short chirps came through on his comm and he refocused his sights and calmly tented to controlling his breathing, prepping for the fallout.

...but there was no commotion. Zhu waited. The black-haired woman in the bar Corporal Roberts- continued to watch but not drink.

Sara took a draw from her beer and then lit a cigarette. "You know, you need to be far more discreet activating that wire. Damn Alliance always gives the expendable ones shitty tech. You're a greenhorn; miss, and you got a choice commin up. You can finish that watered down whiskey, get up, and walk out with your honor intact, or you can die today. I do not want to kill you." Her hand moved over to the steak knife that an elderly man was using to eat his meal.

Roberts looked meekly around before sitting upright and asking with wide, innocent eyes, "You talking to me?!"

In his nest outside Mengyao adjusted his scope, flipping it to a quasi x-ray mode that enabled some vision through walls. There were a lot of people in the bar, but he knew where Roberts had placed herself. He observed, a silent panic beginning to rise.

Roberts had clocked their target's acknowledgement of the knife and when her fingers touched the handle she moved, ducking to the side whilst throwing her tumbler directly at the Blonde. Hitting the floor shoulder first, she rolled and came back to her feet with her sidearm now firmly in hand...

Sara had flipped over the bar and drew her handgun. Four shots pierced Roberts' chest and then she fell to the ground. Damn greenhorn, distraction and roll. The problem was that Sara was trained and this girl was just another girl the Alliance grabbed for their shit. She moved over quietly keeping in cover and pointed her handgun at the clientele. "Against the walls, Now!!!" She yelled. The clientelle did as she asked, for fear of ending up like Roberts. Sara picked up the earring and held it up. "You know, the Alliance could have just sent me a gorram pink slip and told me to get lost. What did they brief you on. I'm betting you got the lowdown on a ruthless Slaver or Pirate? I'm betting your a recon specialist?" She opened a microwave oven and grabbed some tin foil. She then took a power cell out of the nearby fridge. "If only you knew the fucked up machine we're working for."

The blood was roaring through Mengyao's ears as he watched, through the enhanced view provided by his scope, his partner fall. He could barely hear the ravings of his target as his indignation took over and he lined up a shot. Whatever it was the bitch had grabbed did something to the readout, blowing out the visual information. He pulled the trigger anyway, but his instincts knew it wouldn't make it's mark.

In the bar the side wall exploded from the impact of the sniper's high-powered round, sending bits of brick and dust bursting into the room. It shot passed the target's head by a few centimetres and dashed into the floor. The occupants who had been under the Blonde's spell, pressing themselves against the walls, panicked and began to flee.

Sara took cover in the kitchen, this man was totally insane,and began to improvise, making sure she kept cover near the kitchen appliances.The next items ere some type of aluminum foil, vodka and a glass. She put pieces of foil in the glass followed by some of the vodka. It was dangerous on its own to breach a hydrogen power cell, it would create a very small nuclear blast the size of the bar, but it was the EMP she needed to fry his scope and rifle. Stuffing the cell into the glass, she threw it into the microwave and started it for thirty seconds. The interference would be enough to blind his scope until the power cell detonated. She dove out of one of the windows and began to run like hell. Several shots ricocheted near her and finally a brilliant flash erupted from the bar which produced EMP in an isolated area, and even more chaos from a Hydrogen Cell Breach.

Sara fell in and began to walk with some of the scared civilians. She was making sure he couldn't fire.

Mengyao was stunned by the ingenuity of his prey and slightly blinded the second blowout on his scope... blinking he tried to realign his weapon but came to the frustrating conclusion that his rifle had powered down. "Xià lǎozi yī tiào?! (Loosely - What the F**?!)" He spat, hastily collapsing the long rifle and stuffing into it's carry-case. He'd have to come back for that, but it was useless now. Robert's demise still clawed at him and he found himself moving away from the preordained nest and beginning a pursuit on foot. He had side arm, one less tech heavy and so unaffected by the energy blast. Problem was he needed to get eyes on and to close the distance fast.

Sliding down a ladder from the roof top, Zhu ran into a main street, blending in to the panicked crowd as debris fell from the explosion. He wore plain clothes but they didn't quite match the Army standard haircut and well-trained run-and-gun style of movement.

Suddenly a woman in rags jumped up and grabbed him, dragging him forcibly into a nearby alley. A knife was placed against his neck and she spoke. "You're green too. You need to walk like the civs, and you look like a military parade. I used to be green, then I did a whole lot of shit for the Alliance, and now they want me gone. You don't even know what they've ordered you to do, don't you? You see, when they tell you that you're defending the Alliance, you're not doing shit for the Alliance's people. They're still being slaughtered by reavers out here, and the core worlds thinks its some fairy tale. These people still live in a piss hole on the rim, and you bought right into that, huh? Read the poster, saw the uniform, signed right up, and you thought you'd look good in it huh? Didn't you bèn dàn (Stupid Egg)?"

Mengyao stared grimly back at the exceptionally brazen and clearly skilled woman as he blade pressed against the flesh of his throat. These lies were probably why she was targeted in the first place. "Don't pretend to know me." He breathed, feeling the knife's bite tighten as his adam's apple bobbed up and down. "Pàntú (traitor)."

It was at this point that the woman became aware of Zhu's side-arm pressed into her hip. They were in a bit of a stale-mate. Why he hadn't shot her already... he wasn't sure. There was a strong chance in doing so, she'd slash his throat. Part of him knew coming back from this mission with Robert's corpse but without a kill to count would mean serious dishonour, not only to him, but to his family's name.

"So." He said, chewing on the word. "What now?"

"Oh I know everything there is to know about you. Because you are me, and they'll fuck you like they did me." She noted. "How many people did you assassinate for the Alliance? Did they tell you they were terrorists and murderers? Traitors and tyrants? Why dose anyone need an assassin or a spy. Oh they've lied to you. They made you their bitch, and now you're doing what your told like a good boy."

"It's called loyalty." Zhu sneered, pressing his pistol a little harder. "But then I doubt a Bù míngyù de (Dishonourable one) would understand the concept."

"Dogs learn lots of things at obedience school." Sara mentioned.

"QUIT with the proselytising!" The sniper barked back at the woman but regretted it as he felt a warm wetness trickle down his neck. "You killing me, or not?"

Sara pulled out an Alliance encoder from her pocket and began playing it. The voice of her CO came through. "Good morning Ms. Li. Your next mission is to go to Persephone. There is a man that must be eliminated in Fostertown. He's involved with the Red Sun slave trade. You will terminate this man. As usual, the Alliance will provide you with all the intelligence necessary to complete your mission. Your target is a man named Hiram Johnson. A known Red Son Capo. He usually frequents the Old Sol tavern in Fostertown...." She turned off the briefing and stuffed the encoder into his pocket.

"You can figure out the rest, bèn dàn. Check the clearance codes on that, and don't show it to your superiors. They'll kill you." She turned and began to walk down the alleyway. "And find out about Miranda..."

Zhu had no clue as to why she just started walking away but was shocked by the evidence that she was an Alliance agent as well. He stood there, his pistol still in his hand but impotent to use it. "Who's Miranda?!" He called out.

She continued to walk. "With how good you are, you'll find out. You and I... We're the same damn pawns in the same shitty game." She walked across a nearby road and literally disappeared when a truck drove past.

Sergeant Mengyao Zhu stood in the alleyway, one hand clasping his pistol, the other holding his neck as a relatively superficial ribbon of blood welled beneath his fingers. In the turn of an evening he was going to have to re-evaluate his life. And Roberts... what to do about Roberts...

"Shit." He breathed, letting the feeling of failure wash through him.


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