Dreaming in Digital

Garage Encounter from Kaitō's POV

Kaitō spotted the garage as he rounded the corner, just as his mapsoft said he would. He patted his hidden gun in its holster subconsciously and started off toward the single open bay in the mechanic’s shop.

“I see it,” he said over his subvocal mic. He received affirmatives from the two other members of his team, the rigger Ghost and their hacker 8-bit. This was it; their merry chase around Tacoma had come to a close as they narrowed down their quarry to this garage. Scoping out the front of the building for a few minutes, Kaitō saw no one enter or exit; the open bay in the middle of the 3-door garage was the only visible means of entrance. “I’m going in.”

“Need cover?” Ghost asked, hovering above the street in her Dragonfly, based on the visual feed Kaitō was streaming from her.

“No, I should be fine. I’m just going in to talk nicely. And if they don’t answer, maybe not-nicely.”

As he crossed the threshold of the door, he had the distinct feeling something bad was about to happen. Turning to look behind him, he was thrown across the garage by an exploding air-compressor near the door, landing hard on his shoulder and rolling before he came to a stop flat on his ass. The sound of a shotgun feeding a round into the chamber was the first sound he could identify after shaking off the shock of being thrown five meters from the door.

“Don’t move, keeb,” said the vat-job Kaitō could only assume was Ed, the man the shop was registered to, and who he’d come to find. “Take your gun out, slowly, and toss it over here.” He complied, pulling Claire out from his shoulder holster and gingerly tossing it to the vat-job, cringing at the sound of the gun clanking off the metal grating surrounding a lift. “Any more of them?”

Kaitō shook his head, praying to Kannon that Ed didn’t notice the hold-out gun up his sleeve.

He then prayed to Ghost, who had a better record of helping out. “15 seconds,” she replied.

Ed backed away, kicking Kaitō’s gun further into the garage. This also put him well within sight of the open door.

A sudden blur shot through the door, catching both their attentions, followed by a burst of gunfire as one of Ghost’s drones riddled the vat-job with stick-n-shock rounds. Ignoring the newest thread, Ed spun and cracked a shot off at his prisoner, catching him full in the chest with the blast. It was only his infiltration suit that saved Kaitō, absorbing much of the blast around his upper chest, but not all of it. He was clearly bleeding between the plates of his armor.

Fuck, that hurt. It wasn’t the first time he’d taken a shot, but he normally had more of a chance to roll with it. Centering himself, he watched as Ed lined up another shot at him, this time flipping himself backward and onto his feet, avoiding the blast by half a hand’s width. He winced at the pain, only to watch Ed take another burst to the chest, collapsing in a heap as a second assailant peppered the drone with assault-rifle fire from across the garage. Kaitō could her GlaDOS shouting encouragement to HAL as he shifted his fire from Ed to the newest attacker who was now hunkering down behind cover.

Kaitō twitched his arm, the hold-out pistol from his forearm holster sliding into his right hand. He winced as the motion shifting his bruised and battered side. Attempting to activate his cloak, he was disappointed to find his outline only partially-gone, instead also limned in a green glow as he stood over Ed’s prostrate body.

“Don’t!” the attacker with the assault rifle yelled from his covered position. “Don’t kill Ed! This shit ain’t worth any of us getting geeked over.”

Holding his aim at Ed’s head, Kaitō called back, “Where’s the cabinet?”

“We’ve got it hidden. I’ll take you to it. Just don’t kill Ed.”

Just then, a third voice broadcast over a local signal. “Shit man, what the fuck is that? I’m done here, I’m fucking done.”

Kaitō smiled to himself. “8-bit, what’d you do to their hacker?”

“Nothing, yet. Mind if I hide in your commlink? Thanks.” The immersed hacker disappeared into Kaitō’s node.



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