Novel Snippet




They say that man’s basic nature changed as he evolved and moved further out into space; that his urge for violence against other members of humanity faded. In my opinion, that’s a crock of shit but that’s neither here nor there.

One thing about being in my line of work, you always get to see the true nature of mankind, and it isn’t pretty. Someone is always lying to another person, or committing a crime and getting away with it or even trying to steal from other criminals. Either way, it’s enough of a shit soup to shoot down that optimistic garbage right out of the sky.

I watch the people entering and exiting the subway, staying ever vigilant that someone might sneak up on me again like on Earth. That’d been a close call when that woman made her move and frankly I’m surprised I’m even here to write this.

Believe it or not, the safest place to sit on the train is a window seat. No matter how you cut it, no person can see behind them; it’s physically impossible, but there is a way to cheat. Most people don’t notice it but every once and a while but a window, especially at night, reflects what’s within its field of vision. And in this case it acts like a mirror and allows me to see what’s going on behind me.

At this time it’s just a mother and child who are on their way home from a shopping trip. They’re about as non-threatening as vanilla ice cream but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep an eye on them. Anyone can be a hazard for a person like me so I remain vigilant.

What’s funny is despite all this internal vigilance, anyone looking at me from the outside would just see a brown haired seventeen year old girl wearing a blue-black cloak and gloves. Given that it’s the winter and the temps are low, there’s nothing out of place about it. And that’s how I like it.

Despite my best efforts, the gentle rocking and the wheels’ sounds start to lull me towards sleep. It’ll take a good hour more to reach where I need to be, so I keep on eye open while dozing. No one with any brains will try to make a move in such a contained area without any means of escape, which allows me to relax just a bit.

A holographic image of a blonde woman is talking as she starts to inform people of the news of the day. It seems that a trial of a gangster didn’t go well and he managed to walk without being found guilty. That isn’t surprising given how much power organized crime has here on Achernar Nine and its ability to shape both the courts and businesses.

Around me people grumble over how the man managed to escape justice once again and how the system needed to change. While I can understand their dislike of things, I don’t want it to change. To do so would put someone like me out of work and that’s not a Good Thing, so let them wish it all they want.

The train slows for the station and I’m instantly wide awake and alert. This is the most dangerous time for me during this part of my travels. With dozens of people entering and leaving the car it is almost impossible to keep track of them all, so I have to stay alert and conscious of anyone wanting to make a move at me.

Christ, I hate taking the subway to get where I need to go. It reminds me too much of the kills I made for Tom, but there really isn’t much other choice. Despite looking like any other teen, I’ll stick out if I take taxis or busses too much. So, despite my desire otherwise, here I am.

A couple minutes later the train pulls away from the station and I start to think about the task ahead. Today’s mark would be difficult to get to, and it would stretch my skills to the limit. The amount of security he kept around himself would make the Alliance President jealous and that’s saying something.

If there is one place I hate trying to get into, it’s a residential compound. While there’s plenty of places for me to hide, security’s thicker, they know the area and the chances of detection are higher. In some ways, I wonder if I’m a fool for taking this one, but then, how else can I make a good name for myself if I don’t take on the hard jobs?

“Next stop, Brentwood Hills,” the computer announces.

The Hills are another area similar to Brandenburg Circle back on Earth. It’s a very affluent area, where the business elites rubbed elbows with the Mafia Dons and politicians. All behind their own fenced walls and protected by lots of security, of course.

I join several people over by the door as the train slows to a stop. Here comes to hard part: the look normal and not let anyone suspect there’s a laser pistol under my cloak. For the people around me, it won’t be hard to fool, but the cops and the security floating around the neighborhood? That’ll be the challenge of a lifetime.

A pair of transit cops were stationed at the base of the escalator that lead the surface. They look me over close as I pass and I ignore them as I pass. Neither even bother to stop their conversation to watch a mere teenaged girl pass by.

The light from the streetlights is soft and almost diffuse, which allowed the shadows to encroach upon them. Once again the rich seemed to prefer the romantic ideal over what proved safer and it’d come back to bite them in the ass. Why they’d never learn that this kind of shit helps someone like me I’ll never know.

Overhead the low clouds rush past and a cold, biting wind strikes me in the face. The weather people called for snow either tonight or tomorrow and judging from the moist smell in the air, I’d say they’re right. That puts a premium on making sure tonight’s job is done or I’ll have to wait a couple days and that won’t make the client happy.

In case you’re wondering, the person I’m to kill is a doctor with ties to organized crime. I don’t know what he’s done to be worthy of death, nor do I care, provided my fee is in my hands before taking on the job. He’s done something wrong and my client wants him to disappear. And that, my friends, is something I’m good at.

See, if having the laser pistol didn’t give it away, I’m not a normal teenager. While I am only seventeen, I’m an assassin and have over forty kills to my name already. Back  on Earth the police tagged me with the name Mareth, which is now my name. Very few people know my real name and that’s how I want it, because the more that know it, greater the chance of being caught by the police.

Unlike the Circle, there is no vehicular traffic allowed in the Hills. Air cars are the only transportation, other than the subway, that the locals use, which seems utterly snobbish and overbearing to me. But then, I’ve never had much use for all the money I’ve made except when I left Earth.

A gate on the right blocks the entrance to the driveway that leads to the target’s house and a white, brick wall ran parallel to the road for several hundred yards before angling to the right. Trees, too many to count, stood between the entrance and the house, blocking any view of it. Two guards, each armed with laser rifles, covered the entrance and God only knew how many more were inside.

I’d call it a piece of cake, but that’d be the biggest lie of my life. No, this would be a bitch of a job but one that would cement me as one of the top assassins on the market; especially being that two others have failed at killing the doctor already.

Unlike the previous two assassins, I have one big card in my favor that I can use that they didn’t. And that’s the combination of my age and the fact that I’m a girl. No one expects a girl to be a killer, so it’ll put the guards at ease when I approach them. How things go from there will be totally up to me and my skill.

Another cold gust of wind hit me in the face as I approached the gates. Here goes nothing.

“Excuse me!” I say. “Is anyone here?”

“What do you want?” One of the guards asks as the second approaches.

“I’m afraid I’m lost and don’t know where I’m at. Can you help?”

“Do I look like a street map?” He asks as he stops and looks at me through the railing.

“No,” I say sweetly. “You look dead.”

In a move I’ve practiced so much that its second nature, I pull out the pistol and fire. The bolt strikes the guard in the forehead, burning a hole through his head, and then he fell backwards to land on his back. By this time the second guard is starting to gather himself from the shock of my action and is starting to raise his rifle to fire.

The laser feels warm in my gloved hand as I fired a second time and then beam burns through the man’s suit jacket and then through the skin and bones of his chest. A pair of laser beams passes close enough that they warm my skin and I don’t even blink as the man pulled the trigger. Less than a second later he fell to his knees and dropped the rifle before toppling over to land face first on the ground.

I hustle over to the outer control for the gate and plug a handheld computer into the security system. Time to override the system and plant a fake feed into it before someone inside discovers the guards are dead. The seconds tick past, each one drawing me closer to detection, while I work.

“There!” I said. “Gotcha!”

With that done, I use the computer to open the gate and then enter the compound before shutting it again. Time to clean up the bodies to make sure no one passing by on the street thinks anything is out of the ordinary.

Sweat is pouring down my face and I’m breathing hard as I step away from the corpses. Christ, what did the doctor feed them? An entire side of beef? I mean, I’ve dealt with large men before but these two took it to another level!

I pull the ninja mask over the bottom half of my face and then make sure the hood of my cloak is in place. Now the hard work would begin and judging from the way the clouds were thickening and the speed of the wind, I don’t have long before the weather goes south.

The trees cut off the worst of the wind as I make my way deeper into the grove. Ahead another guard is moving towards me as he follows a footpath that ran beside the wall. Making sure not to make any noise, I slip into the darkness behind a shrub and exchange my laser for the knife on my belt. Yes, I know the laser would be faster and kill from a longer distance, but it also made noise, possibly alerting additional guards to my presence.

He walks on the path and then stops to light a cigarette. Here is my chance, so I sneak up on him, throw a hand over his mouth and then ram my knife into his back, rupturing the artery leading to his legs. The guard yelps once, the sound muffled by my gloved hand, and then went limp in my arms.

I pull him into the shrubs, taking care not to get his blood on my cloak, and then gently set him down. If the Doctor responded to the previous attempts at his life, he’d’ve tripled the number of security around his property. However, I learned a long time ago that people don’t always to the ‘right’ thing, which always gave someone like me room to operate.



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