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D. T.


© D. T. Hannah, 1996
The Hit
D. T. Hannah

Ore shifted slightly. Relaxing back muscles and the weight distribution on his
buttocks and thighs he put his eye to the view and oriented himself. A door, next to a
public chair, up, a sign proclaiming cheap food, Bills, closed until peak operating hours.
Ore knew where he was pointing and moved across three doors to the "Hot Spot" a
meeting place for the young and exclusively rich, on this block that meant filthy rich. Five
more hours and the mark would arrive.

A warning flashed at the bottom of the screen, Ore had not moved a muscle since
he had set down, the only way to escape from the authorities' regular scan was to be
perfectly still and since peak hours did not allow the privacy to set up, a man in Ore's
position was required to endure several hours of doing nothing or finding another way to
do the job. As a result of this peak hours were considered safe to everyone, unless there
was a high price involved, and Ore.
The electronic bug that had been attached to the mark's vehicle had been destroyed
indicating that the vehicle was on the move. All non standard tracking devices picked up
by the authorities would be found on a craft entering block 5X and could be traced to Ore,
this was one way he could escape detection and still know generally when the mark was
Almost twenty five minutes crawled by without a sign, Ore remained tensed
without moving still, although involuntary reactions he could not control with any
reliability, the quickening of the pulse, the increase of adrenaline in his system and the
dilating of the pupils (although that was good in the low light).
The secondary warnings came up, the robot monitors had identified the mark's
vehicle on approach to the block 5X entrance. It passed through the barriers and checks
with ease which almost advertised it's human cargo. The mark was most definitely on
board. As slow as possible, Ore began to power up the equipment.
Stopping to drool over the latest private vessels, the latest personal weaponry, body
guards, foods from blocks all over the arc and even the older colony planets, pausing to
buy the latest stories from new colonies and watch the best street jesters. The streets from
the entrance to the Hot Spot were crammed with every variety of delight to blow daddy's
hard earned cash on. The walk could be anywhere from a straight two minutes to a
meandering hour or two. Ore braced himself for the shot, the mark could come at any
second and there would only be a few seconds for the shot. The mark knew he was danger,
it was part of his inheritance. He could take any route to the Hot Spot but out the front of
the social club would be where a potential danger would lurk. The mark had no reason to
worry though, there was no way his enemies could know about his appointment with a
young lady here at the Hot Spot at 10:30. No Way. But you could never tell, marks
sometimes get skittish and run for the entrances to places just to be sure. Ore wouldn't
know, he only met marks once.
Five minutes flittered past. After the first few boring hours, the street opens up.
Time passes quickly, first foot traffic increases and one by one the stores open up. Owners
clean the front for the new day, set up the jesters that would leap out at passers by perform
amazing tricks (for a holo) and invite everyone inside to share in the bargains. The first
customers would arrive sometimes strangers from other arcs and even planets, sometimes
regulars to be given a cheery hello and the best deals. Some would stay all day, some
never left, the shops and food halls of block 5X were home to some. As the day continued
the traffic increased as did competition. Jesters would hold mock battles, fights filled with
yelling, joking, little jigs while the other was down, ganging up, backstabbing and silly
amounts of blood. To the victor going the biggest plug for it's employing store. But the
street entertainment, the flow of people, the throb of life that block 5X 'exuberated'
(advertising words only) came to nothing as far as Ore's opinion went in comparison to the
smells. Food from all over the known universe was being cooked here and the smells that
wafted over to where Ore was hiding told stories with such vigor and truth that no "total
experience" film could hope to replicate, smells that made him swoon... the mark came
into sight.
Ore mentally shook himself out of reminiscence. Stupid.
It was as expected, once near the Hot Spot the mark payed no attention to the street
entertainment and walked smartly towards the entrance, he was not running but would be
in safety in fifteen seconds. His friend trailed along hesitantly it seemed, Ore had studied
on the mark's potential accompaniments in preparation of today, this one was known to
him, Rastas Hogan, a friend of seven months and having a dubious background.
Ten seconds until he was inside. Ore touched the safety of the rifle and it began to
charge. Only Ore, with his cheekbone pressed to the view of the weapon would be able to
feel the slight vibration of charge, but the power build up would be detected by the
authorities and a patrol would arrive in seventeen seconds, by then it was too late.
Nine seconds left, the rifle took three seconds to charge, theoretically time to get a
second shot off but never in Ore's book. One shot or none. Ore stopped breathing.
Eight. The mark and his pal were approaching a crowd waiting in line to get into
the Hot Spot, the mark did not have to wait but would walk behind the crowd until he was
right at the door.
Seven. A red light appeared at the bottom of the view indicating that the rifle was
charged but now the mark was behind the crowd and the shot was not good.
Six. Ore kept the sight on the mark's trace as he walked behind the crowd, the rifle
shot could of course go through the crowd (and the wall behind) but it would not be a
confirmed kill.
Five. A trickle of sweat made it's way down Ore's face, The coolant spray was not
working properly. A slight crackle sound indicated that the plasma shot would have to be
released soon.
Four. He had an estimated two second window, he would not talk to the armored
bouncers. Ore's finger hovered over the trigger.
Three. He was in the open. His name was Crea Ty. He was the Prime Minister's
son. Ore focused his aim on the mark's head. His finger dropped onto the touch sensitive
plate. The iris opened. The plasma was released.

The shot was not good. Ore knew as soon as he felt the shudder beneath the trigger
plate. Rastas Hogan was hit, shaped to a cigar shape by magnets, the plasma hurled out of
the rifle barrel with a tremendous speed, it hit the mark's friend full in the face, the youth's
head almost exploding under the intense heat and pressure, he dropped to his knees and
onto his front amid chunks of burnt skull and flesh.
The mark had long since dived inside. Ore prepared to leave. what had gone
wrong? Most likely a mis-aligned mirror, a fault easy to repair but difficult to discover, the
authorities would know soon enough because he was leaving everything here, the escape
plan would not change.
The street had transformed, panicky people ran for cover, jesters by law changed to
ordinary people and directed everyone to safely while becoming easier targets to shoot at.
Ore emerged from the air duct he was hiding in for the last five hours, he had about six
seconds before the authorities descended upon him. The metal clad bouncers saw him. A
man emerging from an air duct after a shooting was to be apprehended at all costs but they
didn't see what the man held in his right hand. A grenade.
Ore rolled the grenade the few metres to the bouncers, it went off and an
electromagnetic pulse passed through everything within 500 metres. Advertising lights
went out, the jesters flickered out in mid sentence and the bouncer's inexpensive
exoskeletons immediately locked up, trapping the operators inside.
Ore ducked and yelled out and joined the screaming throng of bystanders as the
electromagnetically shielded police arrived. Some of the other people would have seen
him crawl from the duct or attack the bouncers and so he pulled his hood up and knelt
down. Pretending to he panic stricken he carefully tore at the layer of artificial skin that
covered his face, meanwhile his clothes were subtlety changing colour.
An amplified voice was talking to them, the police began to herd the bystanders
into groups for questioning and records. Inside large sleeves, Ore peeled the skin from his
hands, placed that, the mask and the identification of his recently removed persona into a
small bag which immediately turned it's contents into an untraceable slush. The fully
covered policeman herded them into a van which had just arrived and they were
questioned one by one, their id's checked and their being there recorded. Ore's new
persona passed easily, his story fit everyone else's, he had never been at any (serious)
crime scene before and he did not fit the description given by others as the man seen
crawling from out of the duct.
He was released seven minutes after the attack.

Back at the private cubicle he had rented under the second name, Ore wasted no
time peeling free the second layer of skin, this one having to undergo scrutiny from police
was a full body and had to be removed with chemicals. Once truly naked he applied a new
skin and new identification, destroying the last and the machine that he used to apply the
The police would take several days to piece together what had happened but Ore
was not worried about them, there were other people who had better ways of knowing who
and where he was, his employers for a start. A botched job begged no forgiveness from the
gangster syndicate Link, only death.
Ore emerged from his cubicle a new man, the skin had barely enough time to set, if
he rubbed his face the finish could be damaged and facial flaws were not that common on
block 5X. He looked around, permanent and semi permanent residents lounged around the
common area. Any one of them could be Link agents or simply on the take, if so, and he
was recognized he would know soon enough. Perhaps before reaching his craft. Briefly he
had considered calling Mother, the agent who assigned hit's. They were friends and
Mother should be warned but he knew that their friendship ended when the plasma blast
blew Rastas' head off. Mother knew about hit's when they happened and would not support
him after what he had done, in fact she would clamp down on the communication line and
relay Ore's location to the Link. She was a professional and had been in her position for a
long time for a good reason.
The entrance to block 5X was flooded with people, more than usual. People afraid
of not being able to leave due to an assassination attempt tried to leave before any curfews
set in. This simply clogged up the transport system making it easier for Ore to escape and
the likelihood of curfew being necessary. Ore did not join the throng of fearful tourists,
irritated businessmen and huddled families as he would normally, he left for the private
docks where he had been keeping a small craft unbeknownst to the Link. He hoped.
He walked along a cylindrical hallway, this deck contained docking station's at
every ten metres set up for small regalian craft, the type used by the rich and those
escaping arc wide gangsters. He ran until he reached dock 703 and climbed down the
ladder of the smaller sub-passage to the door, here he had to enter a seventeen digit access
code which he had memorized, luckily down in the sub-passage he was out of sight.
The code worked and the door noisily unlocked, straining in the small space he
turned the wheel and pulled the door up. The machinery at these docks were old, so too
was the organization. Ore punched in the startup procedure for the small craft and
requested permission to exit. Permission was granted.
The laser wire seized control of the regalian and led it out to the exit, the entire
entrance complex was closed for protection from stray meteors, two doors opened
according to traffic, they were now wide open but Ore was still forced to wait behind a
general transport, as far as he could tell there was no one following, the only vehicle that
left the dock after he was an expensive looking cruise ship usually used by the wealthy.
Maybe Ore had in fact slipped from the clutches of the Link, no, they would find him.
Maybe he wasn't as important as he thought, Ore wasn't about to make the mistake of
underestimating anyone, there was never too much caution. It wasn't just that he as an
assassin had failed his mission, but had demonstrated the Link's incompetence to someone
of whom Link wanted to be extremely afraid.
For at least fifty years, the arc government had existed with gangsters of the Link
caliber or similar. The structure of society had been built around some loss to organized
crime and always will be, except for very recently. The newly elected Prime Minister
Ralef Ty had promised a safer more prosperous place to live and he was delivering. Ty's
secret to success was never to let up and an iron fist over the rest of the government, as a
result, leaning on the lesser ministers was doing no good and the men behind Link decided
to take a drastic measure. The Prime Minister had three children, all under protection of
some sort, the eldest, Crea, was the most protected of all. Crea was a young man in his
early twenties who had an interest in politics. He was intelligent, likable and as cunning as
his father. He was also as untouchable, no one knew where or when he would go out, and
he never went anywhere dangerous without a body shield.
The Link decided to assassinate Crea Ty as a show of the awesome power of the
Link but first they needed information about his movements, a spy. Only one spy was able
to penetrate Crea's system. His name was Rastas Hogan.

The general transport had started to move and Ore's regalian also began to move.
Soon he would be out the doors, under manual control and lost among the asteroids, there
he would hide for a few weeks, pretending to be a fossicker. When the smoke clears he
may return, but to a new life, the position of assassin was now permanently closed.
The small craft shuddered, it was no longer under the control of the laser wire, Ore
eased the ship to it's optimum cruising speed, heading for a group of asteroids that had
recently been declared safe from unmapped meteors for three months. It would not be
picked clean from the commercial miners in that time and so was considered open for
Ore realized that he was acting suspicious by not putting out his hydrogen sails
straight away, the sails collected fuel in the form of hydrogen but made maneuverability
almost impossible. Ore decided to check for any possible pursuit before committing to the
sails. A quick scan of the sky revealed only one craft in the area, following the same route:
the cruiser that had left right after he had. This was not good.
This was far too big a coincidence for Ore he decided to assume that it was Link.
The small regalian craft he was piloting had only sufficient weaponry to ward off stray
meteors no bigger than itself, the shields were a joke. By it's size, the cruiser would have to
stand and fight any pirate attack and so would have appropriate guns and shields, if
however it is being used by the Link, any luxury would be sacrificed for faster engines,
bigger shields and more powerful weapons. One on one, Ore would lose. Running, Ore
would lose.
If Ore could perhaps make it to one of the nearby asteroids, he could outmaneuver
the cruiser, maybe if he had more food than the other, he could stay among the asteroids
and wait for them to go home. No, there would be others. There was only one option left to
Ore, he would turn to the group of asteroids and, if the cruiser did in fact follow, he would
use the regalian's superior maneuverability to battle the cruiser. A home turf advantage of
sorts. Ore wheeled the regalian towards the group of asteroids, at full power he
accelerated. No matter who the cruiser belonged to, they would know that something was
amiss, they might even call the police over such suspicious activity. They didn't however...
The cruise ship turned to follow.

The scan returned a definite build up of energy, the cruiser was arming. Ore knew a
fight out in the open would only have one outcome so he put all power including reserves
to the engines. The cruiser followed, fully armed and shielded it still had more than
enough power to move faster than Ore's regalian. Slowly it was catching up.
Ore veered again behind a small rock, under a second, he was out of the sun and in
perfect darkness, over a third and back into the sun. The cruiser traced the perimeter, too
large to follow at such speed, all it needed was Ore out in the open for a few seconds. All
Ore needed was to stay under cover until he made it to the main bulk of the asteroid group,
there he could afford some choice of direction. There would also be a lot more shade to
hide within. The cruiser skimmed in and out of view, taking a confusing corkscrew path,
traveling on the outside. Was Ore as difficult to find as the cruiser was to him? could he
get away without a fight? would the bank of tightly knit asteroids continue on until the
main group?
Suddenly Ore pulled the regalian to a stop. He drifted at near zero speed until he
bumped into an asteroid about twice as big as the cruiser. The mining hooks automatically
locked on and he was one with the rock. The cruiser stopped, it had lost visual. Ore
couldn't see it properly as the asteroid slowly spun around on some random axis. The sun
peeked over the uneven horizon, arced overhead and disappeared in a matter of a few
minutes. The cruiser turned back, somehow it knew that Ore could not have gone on any
further, but how? The asteroid turned lazily over and fleetingly, the cruiser came into
view. It was heading this way. Ore's hiding place would be spotted soon enough. If only
the cruiser had continued on, thinking Ore had also.
Another day dawned. Ore prayed that the turning of the asteroid would place him
facing the other way when the cruiser passed by, he shouldn't have taken one so close to
the edge of the bank. It was no use, the cruiser would pass by right when Ore's hiding
place is the most exposed. He prepared himself for a fight. The sun set.
Minutes passed. There was no false dawn of atmosphere planets on this rock, the
sunlight made it's way down to the anchored regalian ship and Ore was suddenly plunged
into light. Directly above, the cruiser passed overhead, it fired reverse jets. It had seen him.
Ore released the rock hooks and put full power to the main jets, so close to the rock
surface the jets ricocheted and knocked the small ship forward even faster but out of
control. The regalian fishtailed for a few seconds before Ore had it back under control, he
was heading straight at the cruiser. Too close and it could not shoot him without
endangering itself, he directed his tiny craft straight at the ship. It did not shoot and he flew
past within metres of the larger ship's hull. Now he was directly behind and it had to turn
to attack. Briefly he considered powering up the regalian's guns and trying to take out the
cruiser's engines, but there was no time. The cruiser was turning already and Ore only had
a few seconds to reach the bank of asteroids. Then Ore saw why the cruiser knew he could
not have gone on concealed, the bank of asteroids ended abruptly. The bank continued
after a short gap of open space, the gap could have been to the next galaxy for all the good
it would do.
The cruiser was almost turned, Ore had no choice. He pointed the craft at the
nearest sign of cover and blasted. The cruiser finished turning and followed. It moved with
considerable pace and was definitely catching up, ominous, eventual, unstoppable.
"Come on." Ore found himself talking to the ship. "Come on Baby, you can do it."
The cruiser approached.
"Come on damnit! we can get there." Ore urged himself and the ship, his knuckles
tightened on the steering handle.
The cruiser neared, it was turning slightly, listening? waiting for the right moment
to strike perhaps?
"Faster! We can make it!" hissed Ore straining as if by sheer force of will he could
push his ship along.
The cruiser seemed to be reeling the regalian in.
"Faster DAMNIT!" Ore yelled as the gap between him and cover reduced at the
same time as the gap between him and the cruiser.
"No No No" Ore sensing that all was lost. He wasn't going to make it.
The cruiser was close enough, it powered up. It was ready to fire.
Ore was only a few seconds from cover but it would not be quick enough, and then
he saw something else move across his destination, what? loose asteroids? more ships?
The cruiser fired, a missile burst from out of it's left side, there was no way Ore
could avoid it once locked on. The objects ahead came into view, ships, small, light, fast,
heavily armored, no discriminating marks.
The missile veered towards Ore's craft with a finality that took hold of his throat.
And then the missile passed by it was not locked onto him but on one of the newcomers,
the missile hit the leading pirate craft and exploded with a flash. The rest of the fleet
retaliated almost simultaneously, firing everything they had at the cruiser, but something
was going wrong, nothing could hit the cruiser, photon blasts, torpedoes, anything. The
cruiser was flying around and destroying the pirates left and right. It had some sort of
scrambling technology. The whole fleet was routing at the mercy of the bulked up luxury
cruiser, and Ore was still out there.
"Ore." a voice came over the comm from one of the pirate ships, a large one that
had been shot by the cruiser and sat there lifeless, unable to escape, awaiting final
destruction. "Ore, you must help us.." the voice knew Ore's real name and Ore recognized
the voice too, it was a man that he had trained under, learned from, admired as a leader,
and now it was pleading for help, from a man who could do little. This was the voice of his
boss, now an equal.
Ore turned the tiny regalian towards the crippled pirate craft he accelerated but still
powered up his tiny weaponry.
"Ore, please.."
Ore remained on course, he had been an assassin for three terrible years, under the
rule of the Link he killed, each time the feeling of sickness welling up within him more
and more. The Link was dying, the Prime Minister had saturated the shipping routes with
counter pirate fleets, small, fast, deadly, unmarked and now it was no longer safe for a
pirate. There were more signs of the Link's fall: Ore was no more to the Link than a
talented killer, but he knew that he was more than that, he was a Rastas Hogan, a double
agent, a spy. He was working deep cover for the Prime Minister, for the Prime Minister's
son Crea Ty. He had fully intended to kill Rastas Hogan rather than Crea. The voice he
heard from inside the crippled pirate craft was no other than Crea Ty, his boss.
The fleet that was being decimated was the Minister's 'pirate' fleet and the ship that
was about to be destroyed by the cruiser held Crea Ty. Ore headed straight for the crippled
ship, would he reach it before the cruiser fires?
Nearing the pirate ship Ore veered and headed straight for the cruiser, lighting the
heavens with laser beam. He had to destroy it. Not a single laser touched the cruiser, the
scrambler was protecting it, what the lasers did do however was disguise Ore's real
A few weeks ago Ore spoke to Crea Ty, Ore asked him why he and his father were
putting their lives in so much danger for no foreseeable gain. Crea spoke about how little
one mans needs were in comparison to everyone else and that he would continue to work
for these universal needs for as long as he can. Even if it ended his own life. From that
moment, Ore knew that Crea Ty was potentially one of the most important people he had
ever met. Ore decided to adopt this self same ethos and to protect the man who could do so
much for the entire arc.
The tiny regalian ship under human control flew true, straight through the cruiser's
shields and they both disappeared in a brilliant flash.

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