Bryce looked up at the glaring fluorescent lights above his head. He imagined a small space twenty floors above him that was pressed between two offices. The gap was three feet wide, tapered away from a window to where a pair of air ducts converged. At least, he hoped the gap was there. The blueprints of the building weren’t complete or easy to get a hold of, but Janos, his very influential and well-connected client, had made what there was of them available to him.
Getting himself into the heart of the counter-terrorist unit of the national police headquarters was another matter altogether. After considerable internal conflict, he decided that what he needed to do was be taken prisoner. Common thievery would not suffice, either. Being thrown into a menial cell with the other riff-raff would never do. He needed to get the attention of just the right people. The kind that loved trying to solve a mystery. Sprinkle in a dash of heroic pride and just enough national secrets to exclude himself from being transferred for fear of a high level government leak, and he’d be getting somewhere. Exactly where he was, in fact.
So it was that Bryce found himself in a small plain-looking conference room shackled to a rather stiff chair. A security camera watched him in silence from the ceiling in the corner of the room. The windows on either side of the door were frosted glass, and the door was covered with an electrostatic shield that only gave him muddled views of indistinct shapes moving back and forth in the hallway. He felt a strong stab of pride at the amount of discord he’d managed to create in such a short amount of time within these hallowed halls.
A pair of hardened-looking men entered the room, and for a moment, Bryce could hear the jagged sounds of tense voices and ringing phones before the door closed behind them. Bryce stared down at the rolled-up duffle in one of the men’s hands. Both men wore identical charcoal grey suits with dark ties. He could tell the neckties were a clip-on style. Neither man looked stupid enough to have a strangulation hazard wrapped conveniently around their necks. The first man noticed Bryce stare at the duffle as it was set on the table.
“You recognize that,” he said. It wasn’t a question.
“No.” Bryce lied. He’d left in a locker at the Hub. The only way they would have found it was after they’d discovered the key he’d hidden in the ship’s hold. Of course, that meant they’d found the skiff he’d hidden in the remote shipyard near the Hub’s southern edge. Bryce pursed his lips for a moment. He thought he’d done a better job of hiding it. They’d had to have found a few other breadcrumbs as well, otherwise they wouldn’t be here talking to him yet. He could see it in the way they stared at him. Like time was nothing. He was a swath of wet paint to them, and they were there to watch him dry.
“Where are the other three?” The second man finally found his voice.
“What other three?” Bryce said, following the script they set out for him. In truth, there wasn’t anyone else. In the hidden compartment of the ship were three sets of alias documents waiting for a bio-imprint to claim them. Bryce’s own documents were already filled out, marking him as ‘Wyland McDermont’. It wasn’t like he had any intention of ever using them. It was all window dressing for the stage. Granted, each set had cost him four grand and if his plan went sideways, that sum alone would keep him hot for a few years in a shielded detention cell.
“And how did you come across this?” the first man pulled a small card out of his pocket and laid it face up on the table. He tapped the edge with his fingertip, and a holographic file started to play back. It began with a few random news files about the city and then transitioned into an expose on the Hub’s newest high-security VIP terminal. After that, it launched into a frenzy of schematics and blueprint diagrams. Bryce knew the back-trace was clean, so he shrugged at them. It was show time.
“I found it in the street, laying next to a picture of your wife.”
If the man’s eyes got any colder, the room was going to get uncomfortable real quick. The second man opened the case and unrolled it across the table in a way that would have been dramatic if Bryce didn’t already know what was in it. It consisted of exactly half of an arsenal. The frames of two pistols, half of a submachine gun, the stock of a high-end sniper rifle, the hilts of two swords, two stilettos, and a small pouch of plain silver disks that looked like poker chips. No barrels, bullets, or blades.
“I think you were the runner delivering a few components before going back to keep the engines running on that heap we found in the southern yard. Let’s try this again. Where were you going. Who was your target. And who are the others.”
They watched him like a specimen in a jar, gauging his reactions. It was true that they wanted him to answer, but they weren’t expecting it right now. They were looking to establish a pattern to his physical behavior. They wanted to be able to see what he looked like when he was lying. Bryce cleared his throat lightly and sat up a little straighter in the hard chair. The chains holding his hands and feet to the anchor in the floor rattled a little. He looked over at the first man with the cold eyes. “I was going to your house. My target was your wife’s pale sweet ass, but the others were already there taking turns.”
The first man’s fists clenched and Bryce looked over at his partner. “And you’re just wrong.” He smiled and leaned back. “Don’t I get a vid call or something? I mean, I’d like to call his wife and tell her not to wait up for me tonight.”
The first man looked over to the second and nodded before he turned toward the door and twisted the deadbolt. “No, son. No calls. I think we need to establish some ground rules here.”
Bryce’s eye twitched at the moniker. ‘Son’? Really? “Yeah, your wife said that after she rimmed me for an hour.”
“That’s fine, Son. Keep talking,” he said while he walked to the corner of the room and stopped under the camera. He reached up and pulled the power feed from the wall, and Bryce watched the little red transmission light darken.
“You’re not going to blow me, are you? ‘Cause I don’t think I could get it up for you.”
Bryce didn’t notice that the second man had moved behind him until he snaked his arms under his own and held him in place. The fist man strode over slowly and leaned back before putting his full weight into a punch that felt like wrecking ball slammed into his face. The world spun in front of his eyes as the man lifted Bryce’s chin to square another blow. Bryce only laughed through the split in his lower lip.
“What’s so damn funny?” the second man hissed next to his ear.
“It’s just that…this is going to hurt you a lot more than it hurts me.”
The first man leaned back and came in full force again, but just as he was about to connect with the side of Bryce’s head, Bryce de-materialized like a flash of shadowed smoke. The second man was suddenly holding empty air and fell forward into the other man’s swing just in time to be struck sideways and knocked to his knees. The first man spun around at the sound of Bryce’s shackles hitting the floor. The last traces of smoke solidified calmly on the other side of the table. The first man reached for his gun as the second staggered to his feet. In the same moment, Bryce reached for one of the small silver poker chips and pressed his thumb over the center. As the gun was clearing the holster, Bryce dropped the blinking micro-explosive and swept the duffle closed while turning his back to the two men. The second man’s eyes widened on the falling bomb and reached for the first man’s shoulder and the edge of the table. He barely managed to pull it over and drag the first man down behind it.
The instant the disk kissed the floor, it burst into a firestorm of light, heat, and thunder. The blast slammed into the table and punched the men behind it against the wall. The explosion shattered the windows and tore the door off its hinges. From out of the smoke and the fire, Bryce’s phantom shape joined the chaos and shot down the hallway toward the elevator shaft as the sprinklers began dousing the flames.
He glided through the doors and into the darkness beyond. He stretched like ink in a glass of water for an instant before he turned skyward and rose the twenty floors he needed. He bled through the cracks under the doors and shifted between every shadow until he reached the end of the hall. He found the offices at the end of the corridor and managed to slip under the first’s door to float along the edge of the wall until he found an electrical outlet. He pooled himself around the screws to penetrate the wall. Once he was inside, he listened for the sound of the air ducts and wasn’t disappointed. An unwashed pane of pale glass dominated the wall before him, and it looked out at the fading midday light. His body materialized again, and he focused intently to solidify his bag.
Once he felt the full weight of it again, he set it under the window and took a deep breath. He smiled. Flatliners were so predictable. He never would have gotten through the energy shields protecting the building on his own. Instead, they walked him through the front door and had the decency to carry his luggage.
If he had tried to ghost past their exterior defenses, every electronic eye in the city would have trained on him within minutes. His bio-scan would have been posted everywhere. He felt the stiffness in his jaw start to set and snorted. The hit was definitely returned ten-fold. Bryce looked out the window, tilted his head toward his shoulders and heard his neck pop.
The building across from him was nearly two full city blocks away and at this distance, its surface was like a polished mirror. He unrolled his bag and picked up the stock of the rifle. As he raised it to his shoulder, the air blowing past him in the ducts condensed around him. The air got thicker as the temperature dropped low enough that he could see his breath. In the fog of his exhalations, a barrel began to form in the empty stock. The dense air crystallized into the shapes of his missing components. He felt the full weight of the bullets manifest in the magazine, and then bent his head as the scope appeared before his waiting eye. The power of the scope was near-supernatural, making the gap between himself and the building instantly vanish.
Like most of this world’s political Flatliners, they had luxury apartments in the city financed by taxpayer money. The soon-to-be late Senator Barrister was no exception to that rule. But unlike the good Senator’s more narcoleptic colleagues, Barrister didn’t do much sleeping there. The file Bryce had been given was very keen to point that out.
As he toyed with his optics, he found a setting that allowed him to see through the mirrored glass more easily. When his vision corrected, he found himself looking into the Senator’s bedroom, tastefully decorated in a luxury hotel kind of way. Nothing was unique, and there were no personal items anywhere. Rather, it all looked easily replaced with off the shelf items. Granted, they were pretty high shelves. He smiled behind his rifle. When humans flatlined, it tended to get messy, which meant someone was gong to need some long arms before the day was done.
Bryce moved the lens across the room from the bedroom door to the pillow on the bed. He checked the closets and the nightstands. A door along the room’s back wall was closed, and he noticed a light that crept out under the door. He trained his eye toward the top of the door and waited. When the door opened, his fingertip tensed, ready to fire.
It wasn’t Senator Barrister. The woman who appeared was unexpected. She wore a towel around her body and had another in her hands to dry her hair. He watched her move to the edge of the bed and drew in a slow breath. She was beautiful. She was tall, dark-haired and pregnant. Bryce cursed softly. This could get emotionally tricky. The file he had on Barrister mentioned that he had a mistress, but didn’t mention she lived at the apartment, or that she was with child.
From where and how she sat on the bed, he could tell she was pretty far along, maybe thirty weeks. Her breasts looked full under the cloth. She was curvy too, and not just around the unborn child. She had curves in places that made men and women jealous. She finished with her hair and set the towel aside and glanced at the bedside clock. She seemed to be lost in her thoughts for a moment before she reached under the bed and pulled out a folded photograph of a man who looked like he was in a detention cell.
Bryce watched over her shoulder as she touched her fingers gently to the man’s face. When she turned slightly, the towel fell away from her breasts and belly. He stared at her darkened nipples and the light sheen of moisture on their tips. His cock twitched in his pants, and he had become so entranced with her nudity that he didn’t notice the stream of tears that had formed on her face.
She had pressed the photo into the side of her belly and held it there as she gently wept for a few moments. Something startled her though, and she suddenly jerked the picture away and returned it to its hiding place under the bed. She hid her face in the towel to dry her face. She just finished composing herself when Senator Barrister came into the bedroom. He walked past her and went into the bathroom. Bryce tracked him through the crosshairs and waited for his chance to take a shot. Just as he was lining up on the back of the Senators head while he peed into the toilet, the woman decided to hang her towel on the back of the door. Bryce backed his finger off of the trigger and waited.
As they came back into the bedroom, Bryce could see the Senator’s mouth moving. The woman’s head dropped a little, and her shoulders slumped. She folded her hands just above her ass. The posture pushed her stomach and her breasts out further. The effect it had on Bryce stunned him. He’d never been so attracted to a Flatliner like he had in that instant. She looked so inviting, vulnerable, and exciting in some primal way he couldn’t explain. The Senator came up behind, reached around her and cupped her heavy breasts in his hands. He started to fondle her, pressing her breasts together before letting them drop. One hand reached down and rested on her belly while he pinched her nipples. The touch made her leak, and it cast a wet sheen across her areolas. The look on her face was a mix of revulsion and a sadness that made Bryce want to risk shooting him on the spot but he was too close to her.
She looked down at the bed where the picture was hidden, and then up to the ceiling. She closed her eyes for a few moments and then as Barrister continued working her nipples, she slowly started to respond to his touch.
Her mouth opened as her nipples swelled and coated his fingertips with her wetness. He used it to trace lines down her belly toward her lips. He started kissing her neck while his fingers traced a pattern from her breasts to her belly and finally to her clit before repeating itself. He started grinding into her bare ass while he kissed her neck harder and nibbled at her ears. A light sheen was starting to show between her thighs.
She leaned back against him as he worked her body but before he let her orgasm, he spun her around and pressed her to her knees. The woman sank down easily and nearly ripped his pants open to free his straining cock. She stroked it a half dozen times before she pulled him into her mouth and swallowed him completely in one breath. She worked him in and out of her throat with a practiced skill, and he groaned, threw his head back, and her mouth attacked him. He bucked to meet her inhalations, nearing orgasm with each pump of his cock between her lips.
He gently pushed her back to the bed and turned her to stand bent over the edge. He knelt between her open legs and drove his tongue into her from behind. Her mouth opened as the tongue parted her lips, and Bryce could tell she started to moan. Each time the Senator’s tongue touched her clit, she rolled her hips back to meet him. He was working her like an instrument of pleasure and just when it looked like she was about to climax, he backed off.
He stood her up and turned her around again. She was almost panting as he forced her to her knees so she could pull off his pants. The light glean of sweat covering her only added to the eroticism. Bryce was finding it hard to concentrate. A less subtle part of him was wishing he were in the room with her instead of Barrister.
Once the Senators clothes were off, she swallowed him to the base again, and the Senator threw his head back and groaned. He moved his hips in time to her sucking, and she reached around him and pulled him by his ass. He drove deeper with every breath and rock of his hips. He was fucking her throat, and it looked like they were both enjoying every second of it.
Without warning though Barrister pulled back and slapped her hard across the face He turned her over again so she was bent over the bed again. Bryce could see the red mark on her cheek, and the tears that ran down her face. She looked so conflicted as Barrister entered her roughly from behind. The guilt and lust mixed in her features even as her breasts swayed to his rhythm under her.
The tips of her dark nipples grazed the blankets, streaking them with moisture as she started to orgasm. Her knees collapsed under her and Barrister just pressed her forward and started to take his pleasure from her shuddering womb. Bryce couldn’t hear the words, but whatever he said through his clenched teeth sent her into oblivion as he thrust into her. She started to openly sob between orgasmic spasms, and buried her face between her arms as her body betrayed her and kept thrusting back at him.
With a final loud cry, Barrister started to slap her upturned ass, and the woman started to writhe in a full body orgasm that made her collapse fully, leaving her muscles twitching under her skin. As she rolled forward and off of him he yelled and slapped her thighs but she was too far gone to respond. He climbed up on the bed and stood over her and stroked his cock until he started to orgasm all over her. It splashed into her hair, across her face, her darkened nipples, and finally onto her swollen belly.
By the time he was finished, she was awake enough to hear him yelling at her. She reacted like a whipped animal as he pointed to the bathroom. She ducked her head at his raised arm, grabbed her towel, and almost ran to the shower closing the door after her. Bryce tightened his focus, adjusted the scope for distance and wind, then squeezed more gently and with more feeling than the Senator had ever shown her.