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The Hitman

(by Michael R. Ault ) A story with a twist, shaken, not stirred. It was dark, so Ross Franklin punched the sensor that activated the the cheap sleep cubicals lighting elements. With a practiced movement he reached over behind his left shoulder and pressed the release switch. Giving an audible squeek the entry hatch slowly swung open. Slowly, painfully, he climbed out of the coffin sized cubical, every move wrenching his stocky frame with nerve shattering pain - a reminder of last night.

Last night he arrived on Delta Prime as a sleeper with all the havoc that raised with a human metabolism. He rubbed his right forearm, it still throbbed as a painful reminder of the fight with the Saurian tail that had followed him from the space port, a fight that nearly cost him his life. Even with the injection of neutralizer from his emergancy pack, the nerve poison from the creatures final bite was only just beginning to dissipate. As the hatch to the cubical began to swing shut he grabbed his only luggage, a hand tooled, real earth, leather case that was half as tall as he was, though very slender, and a rumpled, pale blue, denim duffle bag.

Painfully he limped into the dirty communal restroom and the automatic circuitry switched on the glaring white light panals that lined the ceiling. The face reflected in the restroom mirror was badly in need of a shave. Just below the receding hairline, an ugly, unhealed gash spread across his upper forehead. On his well muscled right forearm, the bite was red and puffy looking. Absentmindedly he searched through the blue denim bag for the dull straight razor and, finding it, started the slow, painful business of shaving. It was times like this he bitterly resented his allergy to the dipilitory enzymes.

After he had succeeded in adding a few nicks to his already ragged face, he walked back into the hallway. Rummaging through the pockets of the threadbare single suit he was wearing, he produced a single credit disk. Sliding it into the slot at a heavily armored door, which screeched open, he entered the privacy room of the cheap motel. The door screeched shut behind him. The early morning sun was just beginning to shine through the mirror surfaced, polarized view windows. Ross, forcing stiff muscles to obey, walked across the room to the instant beverage dispenser, he pushed the button marked "BLACK CAFF" and then sat down to await the inevitable scorched, evil tasting brew that would result.

"Might as well have a rag", he qrumbled through torn lips as he reached into his single suit pocket.

"Damn!" He swore mildly as he withdrew the smashed, broken smokes. He contemptuously tossed them into the disposal unit in the corner of the room. They vaporized in a flash of blue plasma.

"Two points" He said.

A small red light flashed into view and signaled the brew ready. Ross picked up the steaming caff and blew on it to cool it. The effect was only to remind him of his split lips and strained ribs.

"Damn" He said again.

Cautiously he tested the temperature of the caff, and, finding it cool enough to drink, drank greedily. The stimulants in the caff sped the awakening process and soon Ross felt alive enough to make it through another day. He tossed the now empty cup toward the disposal unit, this time it missed.

"Earth blood showing again." He mumbled.

Placing the tooled leather case on the privacy rooms table, he smoothly unpacked the megawatt blaster he used in his work. He checked the microfusion chamber, discharge tube and lazer point sight, found all to be in their usual excellent condition. He then took a silicon cloth from the case and carefully, lovingly wiped the acids that were left from his fingers from the gleaming surface of the deadly device. Next, he placed the glittering implement of death affectionately back into its protective case and stood the case in the dirty corner of the room, grimacing at the spots that the filthy floor would put on the leather.

Tripping the sensor that opened the door he carefully looked up and down the empty corridor. It would be just his luck if the Saurian had been blood tied to a hunting pack. He had heard of a pack hunting down the victor of a fight nearly five solar years later. What they had done to the unfortunate winner hadn't been pretty.

Glancing at his worn chonometer Ross decided it was time. Lovingly picking up the leather case and then tossing the duffle over his shoulder, he walked slowly to where his stolen speeder was parked. His pain was forgotten in his anticipation of what was going to happen. With a grinding roar and a belch of black smoke he started the old speeder, with a visible shudder the power plant turbine caught and grudgingly began to spin up.

He carefully loaded wicked looking blunt nose energizer shells into the blaster as the decrepit old vehicle warmed up. Holding up one of the energizers he again marveled at how so small a package could produce the immense bolt of killing energy that the blaster delivered. He then placed the loaded blaster beside him on the front seat of the vehicle and expectantly revved the turbine of the vehicle. He watched the bellow of black smoke in the rear viewer and smiled. He slammed the lifters into the up position and with a drunken lurch, the vehicle lifted, and then grudgingly moved out of the third tier parking slot and into the early morning traffic.

Tunelessly whistling to himself, he sped to the home of the contract victim. In a plush looking neighborhood he lowered the aging speeder into an ornamental hedge near the entrance of the address he had been given. Reaching above the visor he pulled out his reserve pack of smokes. With a practiced flick of his finger he ignited one of their tips. After a few drags on the slightly narcotic smoke he snubbed it out on the worn control panal and dropped the butt to the floor of the speeder. With a callous grin he opened the greasy envelope that was on the seat beside him and pulled a cheap grade holophoto from it. His grin was even wider when he saw the contract was an upper grade Saurian. That explained his dancing partner of the night before.

He slowly, luxuriously, puffed on another smoke until the smooth hum of a well tuned turbine drive reached his ears. He glanced at the holo once more and then dropped it to the seat beside him.

"Alright buddy, it's your turn" He said to the blaster as he grabbed it and got out of the speeder.

He stepped out into the entrance of the private air garage and aimed at the oncoming luxury speeder. With the drivers face full in the lazer sight, the red dot of the coherent beam centered above a pair of startled looking lizard eyes and positive ID established, he pushed gently on the firing button, smoothly and with no jerk. With a frenzed attempt to escape the driver hit full lift and the vehical attempted to stand on its tail, but it was too late. The driver's head blew apart in a shower of blood and brains as
the beam of energy converted nearly half of the creatures brain mass to vapor.

"Good job" Ross said to himself, "two points".

He lowered the blaster and felt the almost sexual excitement of the kill slowly leak out of him. He walked back to the speeder, got in, and with a belch of dark smoke and the roar of an out-of-balence turbine, flew off.

The only witness could later remember few things....

"Oh ya, I remember one thing", the waste disposal hovercraft operator leaned towards the detectives, feeling nervous and somehow important.

The planetary police detectives leaned forward expectantly, giving their full attention to the marsupial
life form.

"His single suit was missing the lower section of the legs, he had strange fabric tubes and odd coverings on his feet." He pointed to his own webbed feet.

"You mean socks and shoes?"

"Yes, those are the words." The creature smiled with dull, yellow, flat herbivores teeth. " and ..."

The detectives leaned closer, close enough to smell the odor of refuse that clung to the creature

"These "socks" didn't match."

story Information

Upload Date: 31/12/1969

Downloads: 2574

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