She was waiting at my door when I came up from the bar, shoes worth more than most of the cars parked in my neighborhood. She had a good handshake, and if she was loathe to touch the hand of someone as down-caste as I was from her she did a good job of hiding it. Being desparate has a way of smoothing away the sharpest edges.
She was too worried to notice how charming I was, so I let things stay on the straight road. Her brother, a certified ass-kicker from the sound of it, had disappeared. Seemed like this was a bit of a habit for him, since he was as much a chip-head as he was a bad man. More than likely, he was plugged in and strung out somewhere on the East side.
There’s always a but…
The deeper I looked into the landscape down Fraser way, the more complicated the story got. Some bigshot Capitan was throwing his weight around, pushing the Nova Purple gang out of long-held territory, and taking all the business that went with it. A man with a nasty BTL habit and a resume full of finely-honed wetwork skills was just too valuable to think he’d go under the radar.
This was going to be messy.
Oh, I almost forgot. This particular Johnson is high enough up the ladder at Ares that anything other than hitting this one out of the park could make life take a left turn down shit alley.
The payoff from the last job was decent enough. As with any business, a good part of the profits goes back into the company; new gas vent systems for his two big guns, and a few hundred rounds of armor piercing ammo to spread around. Jack had just picked up his order when the call came in from Redcap. It looked like it was going to be another contingency job, but money was money.
It seemed simple enough. Another ex-merc disappearing down the BTL rabbit hole. Jack had seen enough of that back in California; people who couldn’t hack it mentally or ones who had just outlived their usefulness found it difficult to cope with reality, and were easy marks for whatever poison-pusher found them first. Figuring he had just found some drug den to waste away in, Jack wanted to get a rundown of all the nearest dealers to where the man had last been seen. But in this case, it seemed like his first instinct was wrong. Or at least partially so.
A new gang had appeared on the north-side, aggressively muscling out the established gang there. It was just the market augmented muscle with a chip habit needed, and after some investigation, Redcap and Link figured it was the safest bet that the target had gotten mixed up in that. Casing the area in question would take a lot of boots on the ground, though; more than they had the the moment. Bereft of any other ideas, Jack had to call in to the one man he knew who could help, a gutter-level rigger going by the handle Liquid Ferret. As usual, it was an unpleasant gouging dealing with him, but at least the client was willing to pick up the fee. After a day’s surveillance, Liquid called back. Hopefully with good news.