As Hirito walked out of the nearby Stuffer Shack™, Rin casually dropped the targeting reticule to the middle of his back. There was a small surge of satisfaction as a mental command triggered the assault rifle to cough out a burst of fire. The three explosive rounds shredded the man’s torso and flung the body onto a nearby car.
She could clearly see the look of surprise on the face. The face that was so much like Akio’s. She no longer felt the same twinge of heartache when she gazed on the visage. All she saw was the face of a murderer.
The young woman focused her attention back to the restaurant. When Hirito emerged from the Stuffer Shack™ this time, she placed the reticule just behind his left ear. With a feeling of deep satisfaction, she switched the settings on the rifle and fired again. The barrel of the gun hardly moved as it spit out a half dozen projectiles that obliterated the man’s cranial vault. The headless body hit the floor with a dull thud. Rin noticed hardly any emotional sensation this time.
“Torso shots have a lower risk of failure with an equal likelihood of lethality.”
Artemis’ reverberant voice caused the young widow to start. Rin shut down the AR trainer as she stood up. The images of Hirito dissolved, leaving a dozen unadorned target drones scattered about the firing range. She turned to the blonde girl as she placed the assault rifle in the rack.
“Heat shots are more satisfying”, she replied.
Artemis tilted her head to the side as if considering this, but changed the subject. “Everyone’s here.”
The two women walked through the facility and arrived at the conference room. Lounging on the reclining chairs and couches were the rest of the team. They all looked at her expectantly. As Artemis took her seat, Rin remained standing and stared down at the table before speaking.
“You all know what my goal was when I formed this team. We’ve done some good jobs together and I know that all of you have been satisfied with the profits.”
There were nods all around.
“Well, it’s time to move against my targets. I’ve identified the last of their team… and almost lost my focus in the process. Some of you know the story and it’s not going to happen again.”
“You also know that we’ve had a job offer from a Johnson looking to take out that same team. I’ve accepted the job because it was our goal all along. Once we’re done, you can split his payment in addition to the amount I’ve already offered.”
We’re all aware of their reputation and you know what we’re facing. It’s going to be too dangerous to ensure that I am the only one to pull the trigger. So if anyone has a shot, they have to take it no matter what. Plus, I know how some of you feel about wetwork, so anyone who wants to back out now can do so with no hard feelings."
“I should add that Shadowland’s rumors about this team appear to be true. The Johnson dropped hints that his employer wants them dead because they ran to the Feds about a job. Mezzo was able to confirm the rumors, independently through his contacts.”
“Before we go any further, I need to know from each of you if you’re in or not. I won’t whitewash this at all. It’s still wetwork, plain and simple.”
Rin looked around the room at the team. As she’d expected, Scar didn’t even hesitate. He would be getting paid for doing what he wanted to do anyway. She could see the anticipation and relish on his tattooed face. He was useful, but she was probably going to have to deal with him at some point.
Carver had continued to stare at her with puppy dog eyes through the whole speech and she knew his answer before he nodded. She was going to have to do something about his crush on her before it started causing problems.
Artemis was the next to speak up, her hollow reverberating voice still sending shivers down Rin’s spine even after months of working together. “I have other reasons for participating in this operation. I will continue to work with you.”
Mezzoberran shrugged when she looked at him. The technomancer likely wouldn’t be in the operational area, and certainly wouldn’t be the one pulling the trigger. She had expected that he would have no qualms about the job.
Manx stretched languidly, his expensive suit and cultured accent at odds with the rest of the group. “You are quite correct regarding my feelings about wetwork. However, this is a special circumstance, there has been a personal affront to a friend, and I will make an exception.”
Everyone’s eyes turned to Highball. Rin held her breath, knowing how the Aussie felt about assassination. He had almost walked out on her job offer when she mentioned her goals. She had only held his interest with the promise that she would be the one to do the killing.
The rigger stared at the floor for several minutes. The young woman was certain he was going to walk away from the team.
“You know how I feel about wetwork”, he said. Rin nodded quietly. “But blowing up buildings? Calling the Feds? Killing a Johnson after taking his job?”
When Highball looked up at the group, they could all see the anger in his eyes.
“This isn’t wetwork. This is putting down rabid dogs. When do we start?”