Nathaniel looked over the bottles of exotic spirits arranged across the back of the bar, the pulsing LEDs of the clubs VIP room increasing his nausea. He could feel the sweat beading on his forehead and quickly checked that his disguise wasn’t slipping and that his make-up wasn’t staining his suit in the bars chromed surface. With a sigh he pulled up an image of his family on his retinal heads up display, his wife and two daughters, and took a long look at them, at there faces. How long would it be before he could see them?
“What would you like sir?” asked the Xyllid, looking up from the stained glass he’d been furiously polishing.
“… A mixed fruit juice,” he asked reluctantly.
Nathaniel still hadn’t quite got used to the aliens. Xyllid, despite lacking the terrifying claws still reminded him of a man sized preying mantis, and with good reason. Watching them crawl up the walls gave him the creeps.
A turquoise liquid arrived in front of him just as Archie put two of his four arms around his shoulders.
“C’mon Nate, lets just get this done so we can get out of here,”
“On his way, he’ll be here in five,” Archie led them both toward their seats, a booth in between two dancers monotonously shaking their stuff.
Archie was a 7ft beast of a man, although ‘Man’ was a loose term since the amount of augmentation he’d had since arriving in the future. It’d been weeks since Nathaniel had seen him outside the armoured environmental suit he wore. But he knew what was behind that faceless visor, and he knew why Archie wanted it hidden.
“Downstairs with some floozy. When do you want to move?”
“I’ll go down now, remember, we want him comfortable, so no pressuring him,”
“Me, pressure? Never.”
Nathaniel imagined Archie smiling behind the polished helmet, and then put it out of his mind, he still felt a little sick.
They made their way down the neon stairway into the main lounge. More pulsing lights here, and a holographic display with swirling patterns swimming in time to the bass heavy, electronic music.
“There he is, the greaser looking guy. Why’d you think he’s dressed like that? D’you think he’s ever seen a greaser?”
“Dunno, each to their own and all that,” Nate sighed into his com.
In one of the booths a sweaty middle aged man in what looked like a biker jacket was kissing the neck of a blonde woman in a sequin dress. She tittered and gestured toward the back of the lounge, where the bathrooms where.
Archie piped up, “Hey, they’re going for a bit of hows your father,”
Nathaniel watched them for a second and recognised from experience the shifty way they looked around the club before heading through the bathroom door.
“No they’re not. They’re going for something else… I’ll be right back. Remember, you’re my security,”
“Yeah, yeah, mouth shut,”
Nathaniel followed the pair into the bathroom and caught a last glimpse of them as they closed a cubical door behind them and made his way into the cubical next door.
“Shhh, hold on, I’ve got it,” He could hear the man whispering.
“Hurry up,” The woman complained.
Nathaniel gave them a minute before gently knocking on the cubical wall and poking his head over the top.
“Hey guys,” He said to the tops of their heads.
They quickly pocketed the inhalers they were holding before looking up.
“What?” Barked the greaser.
“You got any more of that? My nights going a bit stale here man,”
“No, no more, so piss off,” Trilled the blonde, who’s dress was quite indecent from this angle.
“Hey! Don’t you know who I am?” Asked Nate “John Stock, from the movie. You know, Flight of the Co-ordinator?”
“From the movies?” Cheeped the woman, changing her tone in a heart beat.
“Yeah. Hey, sort me out and I’ll get you into the VIP lounge, how about that?”
“Oh Terrance, pu-lease?” She begged jumping from one foot to the other. Nate averted his eyes.
Terrance shrugged and nodded, “Yeah, cool,”
Nathaniel dropped down from the cubical wall and mumbled into his com, “We’re on,”
Archie’s voice came back in his earpiece, “Nice, Connors is outside,”
A few hours of pretending to drink over priced drinks and inhale noxious chemicals and Terrance and his escort who turned out to be called Tracy were sufficiently catatonic to be half carried out of the club to the limo outside. Connors watched them collapse on the faux leather sofas in the vehicles luxurious interior and gave them a moment to settle back into unconsciousness before speaking.
“Good night?” He asked.
“Meh, they enjoyed it,” Nathaniel opened up his coms to the driver “Riley?”
“You can take off now,”
The crew felt the limo ascend away from the clubs private landing platform and watched the neon lights fade away into the smog of Margin City.
Connors reached into his inside pocket and pulled out a few fiddly looking tools then unclipped Terrance’s holodek from his belt. The holographic screen blinked into life and illuminated the limo walls with a washed out blue. He glanced over at the sleeping pair.
“Don’t worry, they’re cold,” Commented Nathaniel.
Jimmy Connors jabbed franticly at the holographic display, faster than Nate or Archie could follow.
“Where’s Emerson?” Archie asked.
Jimmy didn’t look away from his work “In the lab, he wouldn’t answer coms so I figured he was busy,”
“He still working on that tranquilliser?” Asked Nate as he reclined along one of the sofas.
“Reckon so, he’s got good results so… Ah, a password,”
Nathaniel looked over, “Difficult?”
“Done,” Grinned Connors. “Right, I’ve got it, lets drop these guys off and we can figure the plan,”
After kicking Terrance and Tracy out of the limo the three crew members had gathered in Nates appartment. Beradyme had given them the whole floor to use, so they weren’t worried about prying eyes, as long as you didn’t count the security cameras that followed their every move.
“Looks good,” remarked Connors as they looked over the holographic map, “The train stops off at this platform for 10 to do a shift rotation and load up some more cargo. We can get on board there. Archie can wait ahead of the train and hit the escorts with his heavy ordnance,”
Archie sat on one of the sofas cooing over the quad loaded rocket launcher that had recently been delivered by Beradyme.
“Sounds good to me,” he said without looking away from his new baby.
Nate stood up and started ushering people towards the door.
“Let’s get some sleep then guys, we’ve got a big day tomorrow,”
The next day:
“You know, I didn’t sign up for this shit,” barked Connors over the coms, “I’m supposed to be in space man, fucking space!”
Nats glanced behind him to see Connors crawling through the mud in his tac suit.
“I know, but this is all for the ship remember… We got two guys at the base of the platform. I’ll take left,”
“Yeah, all for the ship, I’ve got right, on your mark. All for the ship baby.”
Connors repeated as he lined up the reticule that was displayed on the interior of his visor, waiting for the orange circles to display ranges and anticipated trajectory.
“Mark,” came Nates voice.
Squeezing the trigger on the compact SMG, Connors let off a six round burst, spraying the shots across the guys head. Two impacts, the PGC standard issue helmet slamming against the wall of the platforms base as the guard slumped to the ground.
At the same time the second guard fell forward onto his face.
Nate and Connors stepped out from the hedgerow they where hiding in and looked up the 100 feet of concrete and steel that was the platform for the PGC sky train.
“Look, they’re expecting us,” remarked Nate, pointing up at the suspension elevator making its way down.
“Give me a second,”
Connors pulled out his screwdriver and prized open the control panel on the platforms main door. He laughed to himself as he attached the wires from his holodek into the doors network connections, all the technology of the future and he could still open the most secure doors with a flat head screwdriver and a bit of know how. He accesses the lifts cameras and opens the security door with a few swift hand movements.
“The lift is empty… And the way is clear, lets go,”
As they made their way down the sheltered corridor and into the elevator Nate tapped into a video feed he was receiving from the cameras on the shuttle, remotely holding possition way over head.
“There’s a few guys on the platform, waiting for the train, I don’t think they heard the gunfire…”
“Good, that should make things easier.”
“Let me handle it,” said Nate.
Arriving at the summit of the platform the elevator doors open and the pair are buffeted by the heavy winds. The other people on the platform didn’t look up from preparing crates for loading, except one man in a slick suit who waved to them.
“Hey, guys, over there,” he shouts over the wind, trying his best to keep his outfit straight.
“Explains why they heard nothing,” squaked Nates voice.
“Its a gale up here, he’s pointing toward that waiting room,”
“Shiiiiit,” Nate whispered “Its Terrance… Yeah its Terrance,”
“You’re disguised under there though right?”
“Yeah of course, but you never know…”
They all entered the waiting area together. Terrance was obviously thankful for the wall of glass between him and the wind, however as soon as the wind stopped cooling him the sweat started trickling down his face.
“Hey guys, phew, where are the rest of your outfit?” He asked, straightening his suit out.
“Dunno,” replied Nate, lifting his visor up, “You got a smoke?”
“What? Oh… Uh, yeah,” he searched around his pockets, “There’s supposed to be ten of you. Here you go,”
Nate took two of the cigarettes and lit one whilst he turned his back on the fidgety man “Not my problem,”
There was a moment’s silence before the sou d of rushing wind signalled Terrance leaving the waiti g area.
“Bit risky wasn’t it? Lifting your lid up like that?”
Nate smiled “Nah, did you see the state of him? I could have told him I was here to provide entertainment for the chickens and he wouldn’t have asked questions, he just wants to go home,”