Midnight sat in his apartment pondering what to do with his life. The battle for Volgondia had netted him more wealth than the mercenary how to spend. By all accounts he should retire and live the easy life. Somehow this thought brought him no peace, despite its appeal. Something compelled him to search out action, a thrill, a challenge to test himself against. His new powers were developing fantastically, and he knew that the magical powers of his amulet would soon make him a match for any infiltrator, even the famed Indigo himself.
Yet he was not satisfied. Some part of himself still yearned for satisfaction. Midnight was a creature of logic, not allowing his emotion any reign over his being. This blinded him from the truth, that his shame and guilt at his failure in the infiltrators was what haunted him, even till this day.
His comlink had been strangely empty, not a single mission since his trip to Volgondia. He was in top physical condition, and was quickly reaching the peak of what training could net him. With no prospects for employment, and no real drive to go searching for it, the Mercenary was forced into the uncomfortable position of having to analyze his own life.
“How can I make things right?” he wondered. Midnight was certainly not the philosophical type, and this inaction did not suit him. He thought back over his time as a mercenary, nothing popped out at him, no easy out. Then the thought struck him, back on the Guardians tower, right before the group had left for Volgondia. The two warrior’s had used those orbs, and summoned an enormous dragon, one who had granted them two wishes. Those warriors had wasted their wishes, but if he had them, his powers would be nearly limitless! That was it, he could finally set things right and reclaim his righteous place of honor in Juin. After all, wasn’t it losing the dragon orb that was the disgrace to Indigo in the first place? Surely retrieving another such orb for his nation would earn him his spot back amongst the nations finest!
The mercenary, Midnight sat alone in a booth in the crowed bar. He was devoid of his usual armor, which left him filling naked amongst the denizens of the smoke filled lounge. The warrior opted instead for a disguise, colored contacts giving his brown eyes a green tint. Similarly, he had a wig with a popular, if a bit messy style of hair, with messy blond spikes. He similarly wore a synth-flesh mask that obscured his major physical features. The mercenary was a cautious one and never allowed himself to be identified in public, both to increase the mystery surrounding his name and to help him avoid being tracked down by the Juins. He knew if they discovered he was alive he would be tracked down and killed or captured. “How different it once was,” he thought. “But I will be whole again, I'll track down these orbs and present them to the King of Juin. That will put things right again.”
His almost neurotic musings were interrupted when his contact appeared. Midnight picked out the man as he walked through the door, the one not at ease with his surroundings, not used to meeting in such a shady environment. The other was just a little to clean, just a little to unsure to show up in a dive like this on his own. “Damn amateur,” the mercenary thought to himself. It was Midnight who had picked their palce of meeting. He had wanted to remain inconspicuous, to alert no one of the reasons for this meeting.
Unfortunately the new arrival was attracting more than his share of attention. Instead of walking with purpose, the nervous man met the stares of the bar patrons, a mistake, a sign of weakness. “Damn him,” Midnight thought again. The man never made it to his intended destination. One of the many drinkers at the bar had already risen from his seat and moved purposefully through the crowd to intercept Midnight's contact. The drinker looked tough, tattoo and muscle and little else. He growled out, “Come have a drink with me,” to the nervous man trying to evade him. Midnight's contact stuttered, “uh uh uh...I'm meeting someone...”
A mistake, the other man pressured on, “So my company aint good enough for you? You think you got somewhere better to be? I think you should sit down and have a drink...pal.” the man emphasized the last word. Midnight could read the violence in his form from his seat in the booth. The man was boozed up and looking for a fight, and his contact was doing nothing but encouraging it. “Well,” the drunk kept saying, tauntingly, “If you think your to good for me, maybe I can show you towards the door,”
The look on the contacts face was pure terror now, all pretenses of cool forgotten. The big man smiled the drunken smile of a predator, knowing he had gotten what he wanted. The bar's bouncers stood by the door, this sort of thing happened all the time, it wasn't their place to get involved unless the bar itself was threatened.
Before the man could swing Midnight was on his feet and moving over. “Why don't you have a drink on me?” the mercenary said, voice so low the others would have to strain to hear it. The effect was immediate. The drunk spun and said, “This aint your affair. I'ma gonna teach this punk a lesson. You better get the hell out of the way before I have to put you next on the list.”
The mercenary was grumbling inside. He hated to make a scene but he needed this contact badly and he was unwilling to let some drunk in a seedy bar derail his grand scheme. “No I insist,” the mercenary retorted, cold violence behind every word, “Why don't you just sit down.”
“To hell with the both of you!” the patron shouted, reeling back and sending a powerful hook punch at Midnight's head. The mercenary faded to the side and slipped the strike so fast the man barely had time to register surprise. Then there was a resounding “SNAP” as the mercenary trapped his arm with one hand and punched his elbow with the palm of his other hand, pushing his arm to a sickening elbow and sending a torrent of pain through the former bully's frame. The mercenary allowed just a hint of the pain to seep through the to the man's alcohol addled brain, then he counter-punched. There was a dull, smack, like hitting a side of beef with a sledgehammer and the man dropped flat on the floor, a line of dark blood coming from the corner of his mouth. “Why don't you just lay there and bleed a while,” Midnight growled and turned. He cinched down on his contact's arm with a vice like grip and shoved the other man toward the door of the bar, giving the pair of bouncers at the door a hard look that told them to stay out of it. No one else in the bar moved, they all looked back to their drinks, wanting no part in that kind of action.
Midnight said two words, “Follow me,” and then took off at a fast walk. His contact, too scared to argue trotted behind him, unable to match the more athletic man's pace. Midnight led him through the city, winding and twisting and turning down street after street, from alleyway to alleyway until the man was gasping for air. “Please, lets stop, I can't breeeath,” the man wheezed, “I have asthma, I can't keep this up,”
“You should have thought about that before you acted like an idiot at the bar,” was Midnight's only response. He had no tolerance for weaklings unable to bother to keep themselves in shape. Still, he made a final turn and slowed as they entered a lonely, off street park. The gate was rusting away, barely hanging on the hinges. Midnight pushed it aside and walked in purposefully, walking away from the entrance to somewhere they could speak in privacy. “I am told you are a trafficker and collector in, rare items.” The mercenary spoke first and to the point.
“I..won't....” the man wheezed puffing on an inhaler, “I won't say...anything until you give me the money,” the man stammered out. Midnight looked at him threateningly, then reached into the pocket of his dark pants, pulling out a wallet. He grabbed a silver wafer, roughly the size of a credit card. He thumbed his print to it and tittered a quick series of keystrokes on the things flat surface. Then he spoke, “I have authorized the transfer of @70,000 into the discussed escrow account. Now, tell me about the orb,”
“Alright, alright,” the man said, obviously used to customers who treated him with more respect. Midnight didn't give a damn, he didn't need this man, this man would only make his search simpler. The other went on, “I don't actually have possession of the artifact you're looking for. Its very difficult to get a hold of. Lots of people with...unusual talents have a knack for taking these things before any of us can get them. This time though, I've managed to figure out the location of when of them. My contacts can tell you the localized area of where it was last seen. That's the best I can do. I'll give you the name and information on the man you need to contact. His name is Emanuel Martinez, He's in New Hamburg, in Hamnland. I'm sure you can find your own way there.”
The mercenary nodded, exactly what he'd wanted to hear. “So after your asking price, that's the best you can give me?” Midnight asked.
“That's what I have, and its better than you'll get from anyone else!” the man retorted shortly.
Midnight nodded and tapped a few more keystrokes into the card before he tucked it away. “The remaining balance has been transferred into your account” he concluded. “Can't say its been nice doing business with you, try not to get yourself killed.” Midnight walked away, that is, until he heard the distinct click of the safety dropping on a semiautomatic weapon. He turned.
“There's one more thing,” the dealer said, “You see, I can't really let you get that orb, its far too valuable for the likes of you. But, I need the money to help recover it so you understand my dilemma.” The man gave an evil grin. “I suppose you won't mind me taking whatever else is in your account once you're dead and buried.”
Midnight looked back at him, “You better put that gun away before you end up dead,” he said, deadpan. He had seen this coming, after all, the man had a half million dollar mark on him from an international crime syndicate. He had been willing to let go without taking the bounty, seeing as the man was doing business with him, but now.
“I wouldn't talk so bravely if I weren't the one holding the weapon you rich twit,” the man said. He brought the .45 caliber weapon up and squeezed the trigger. The weapon reported, bam, bam, bam, and the shell jackets tinkled gently against the concrete. The dealer's face was frozen into a permanent expression of shock when he saw Midnight face to face with him. He trembled in pain, then signed.
The mercenary kicked him once and the man fell back, revealing the green blade that had pierced through the center of the man's chest. A pool of gore oozed from beneath him as the man lay dead on the sidewalk. The mercenary heaved the body even as he heard the sirens blaring in the background. He left the pistol where it lay and grabbed the man's carcass, fading into nothingness.
The Port City and Capital of Hamland was full of hustle and bustle. The port city never slept and there were always ships in the dock. Emanuel Martinez wandered picked his way through the streets. Unlike the other citizens out at this time of night he wasn't out to make an honest living. Shady dealings and circumventing procedure were a matter of course for him and tonight would be no different. The massive amount of materials moving in and out through the many ports. They provided an almost infinite capacity to sneak illicit goods past the all too sharp gazes of the local authorities. He fancied himself a connoisseur of sorts, having risen past simple drug or gun running and moving up into even more dangerous games.
The man walked down the dirty alleyways of the dock complex, the stench of sweat, oil and alcohol seeming to be a fixture of this part of town. The man pulled a key from his pocket and opened a faded wooden door. He stepped inside and pulled the door shut behind him. Time to get some business done. He pulled the chain on a single light bulb and thought with some irritation that his 'customer' hadn't shown up in time for the meeting.
The man startled when a body fell to the floor in front of him, his 'customer' tumbled to the floor, surely and obviously dead. [glow=maroon,2,500]”If you turn, you're dead,”[/glow] a distorted mechanical voice spit out, from somewhere behind him, [glow=white,2,500]”I don't usually take bounties for less than @250,000 but if you try me, I'll make an exception.”[/glow]
Emanuel, though scared, was not stupid. He responded, [glow=orange,2,500]”Well then, what is it I can do for you? Perhaps you're interested in one of the many....rare...items I can deliver?”[/glow]
[glow=maroon,2,500]”Information,”[/glow] spoke the voice, [glow=maroon,2,500]”I have been informed that you might know the location of a certain orb, one that would be extremely valuable to me. Assuming you give me the information I can ensure that you will be well compensated for your efforts.”[/glow]
[glow=orange,2,500]”Yeah, well I don't much care for dealing with people who I can't see,”[/glow] he retorted, still irritated at essentially being held hostage, and for this man wrecking his deal. [glow=orange,2,500]”You'll have to pay extra, seeing as how you killed one of my regular customers,”[/glow].
[glow=maroon,2,500]”It is, of course, your decision,”[/glow] the mechanical voice returned, [glow=maroon,2,500]”Just remember that I could have taken the information from you my way and then turned in your carcass for the bounty.”[/glow]
[glow=orange,2,500]”Now that you mention it, you're probably right,”[/glow] Emanuel cooed, ever the salesman. He decided to go for broke, [glow=orange,2,500]”But it's going to cost you, @10,000,000 plus any expenses I might suffer during your retrieval of said item.”[/glow]
[glow=maroon,2,500]”I'll give you @1,000,000 and I'll pay you whatever you would have made from this transaction,”[/glow] the voice countered, [glow=maroon,2,500]”I recommend you give my offer serious consideration. It isn't up for negotiation.”[/glow]
“I'll have his head,” Emanuel thought. A murderous rage was building inside him, but what could he do, “He's got a weapon in my back and I don't even know where he is!” [glow=orange,2,500]”Alright, we'll call it a deal. I have the information on my portable, how are you planning on taking it?[/glow]
[glow=maroon,2,500]”Load it on this,”[/glow] the voice droned, and a small crystal disk jingled as it bounced in front of the man's feet. [glow=maroon,2,500]”Then get up, walk straight forward past him, and put your hands above your head, face against the wall.”[/glow]
Emanuel did as he was told, already plotting how to get even for this outrage. He stepped forward as instructed. There was the tinkling of broken glass as the single light bulb shattered. Unable to contain himself anymore he spun and drew his 9mm handgun, opening fire into the corner he guessed the voice had come from. The bullets punched into the thin walls of the storage compound, but hit nothing but air. Whoever his attacker had been was gone, as was the key and the body.
It didn't matter, he'd have his revenge soon. Probably sooner than his attacker would ever expect.
“Well at least the information seems accurate,” Midnight thought to himself. He was sitting in a shaded alcove listening to the water crash against the rocky shores of Hamland. With his thumb he scrolled through the information he'd purchased. “Worth ever penny,” he thought further.
Despite his mercenary employ, Midnight truly had very little care for money. Money bought him tools, equipment, and sometimes helped him to finish his missions, but avarice did not live in his heart. That space was reserved for rage and guilt, emotions which he knew deeply, so deeply that they remained buried beneath the cool exterior of a practiced killer.
He eyed the map on the screen. The orb was a solid 15 mile jaunt out in the open water by the map given. The man, Emanuel, had collected hundreds of accounts from people who'd witness the events following the last use of the orbs, the streaks of fire in the sky, and he'd cataloged them well into a coherent account of where the orb had flown. A few thousand later, with some good trajectory information the man had managed to reduce the search area to less than two square miles, something Midnight could do in his sleep, were it not deep underwater.
As it was, he had beside him a large sled containing two oxygen tanks. They'd cost him a fortune on the black market, he didn't really want to have to explain his intention for the tanks, nor did he have the certification to justify his purchase. He floated off the ground, a harness securely tied to his armor as his energies lifted the extra bulk.
Dark clouds gathered on the horizon and Midnight was flying straight towards them. The sea beneath him began to church and froth as the waves rose higher and higher. He was flying low to avoid detection, unable to travel even semi obscured at altitude due to the mass of the tanks dangling below him. The salt water spray splashed about and he was thankful that all of his gear was thoroughly waterproof. As it was, he'd have to spend several hours cleaning away the salt spray to prevent corrosion of the metallic parts of his gear.
A short flight later Midnight plunged into the ocean with a splash. He began has decent into the watery depths and even as he fell, connected the hoses on the tanks to the port on his suit. More than likely his suit would have enough air to see him through this journey, but he was not one to take unnecessary risks. Better to drag the extra weight around than to have to break his search in half, or risk losing the orb to some other interested party.
Feeling the weight of the tanks dragging him down, Midnight thought ruefully to himself, “It's probably time I invest in a portable rebreather,” The small device would have made this trip much easier, but he was in a hurry and not willing to spend days foraging the unreliable back street markets to pick up the added component.
He found the ocean disturbingly full of life, power signals everywhere, even though they were all weak. Even Midnight's impressive array of senses were overtaxed with the effort of tracking all the life around him. Fish swam everywhere, darting here and their in search of their next meal. Larger beasts stayed back, the power of the man's presence setting off their electrical sensors and keeping them from getting too interested in the mercenary.
The silence of the ocean pushed over him like a tomb, and he felt the pressure building outside. As he sank deeper and deeper, the grey light from above began to die off, and the waters calmed, the storm above not reaching this depth. He was several hundred meters and dropping, and no where near the ocean floor. He wondered how deep he would have to go to recover the orb, when he saw the ocean floor rushing up to meet him.
It was an underwater plateau, covered in ridges and valleys. The mercenary dropped into the mud, sending up a plume of dirt and clouding the water around him. It was near total darkness, the storm above dimming the already dull light. His thought a mental command and his vision was returned, alternated sweeps of red and a bluish tint as his ultrasonic and infrared sensors kicked in to replace the low light conditions.
Pulling the sledge behind him, Midnight trudged off along the ocean floor. “This may be more difficult than I expected,” The mercenary thought. He had expected to simply search out an area that looked as if it had been disturbed with the past year, and to simply grab the orb, but the darkness was killing his ability to do this. He thought about activating the lighting on his suit, or tossing up a ki orb but he realized that he wouldn't be able to light enough to find the orb that way.
Instead he went by feel, sending out tendrils of mental energy and searching for some clue to lead him to the orb. For an hour he drifted slowly, hand extended, going by feel alone. Sweeping the area where he knew the orb would be located. His frustration began to grow after a while, surely there must be a more efficient way to find this orb than to wander around under the water for hours.
Ten frustrating minutes later, Midnight's senses spiked, although not in the way he would have expected. He felt motion, and he moved closer, knowing his own armor's stealth capabilities render him nearly invisible. These were not the signals of some ocean creature, these were human signals. He crept through the darkness and was soon rewarded. A mechanical submarine lay alongside a ridge line, bright spotlights turned inward, so bright that even from the distance, Midnight could make out the forms of pressure suited humans scrambling about on the ocean bottom.
He crept forward slowly, not wanting to reveal himself. A floating power drill was near them, and the water was cloudy from where they had clearly been working for some time. “A strange coincidence,” he thought grimly. He knew it was no such thing, and that much was revealed when the men began to hurry even more frantically.
Midnight was still moving forward now, not so worried about detection, and he saw the men sifting through the sand with large strainers. A gloved hand came up with something, too far away to be made out, but definitely crystalline. The suited men tossed it in a capsule and bounded away, a small rocket motor blasting towards the surface, sending the water churning. The man retreived another crystalline object from his own pockets and tossed it down into the sand, half obscuring it, but giving the impression that it had been their for some time.
The Mercenary's rage burst through him. He'd been double crossed! While his method of extracting the information was less than admirable, Midnight had paid a fair price for the information. His contact, however, had left him to stumble about in the darkness for several hours while his own men made the switch. Caught in the lights of the spotlight, the other crew instantly recognized Midnight's presence as they turned to return to their shuttle. They didn't hesitate, pulling up a rocket powered spear gun each and taking aim.
Midnight moved forward sluggishly through the water, this was not his ideal environment. The first dart flew at him, and the man threw out a hand, a telekinetic push to redirect the dart to the side. It pierced the hose connecting him to the oxygen tanks, and he quickly jerked the connection loose, giving him more room to maneuver.
His range was a tangible thing now, and the mercenary raised his right arm. Bolts of pure darkness shot out and caught his adversaries straight in the chest, sending them down writhing in pain. Even their metallic pressure suits offered no protection against the magical transformation of his rage. The mercenary grabbed them both telekinetically and sent them flying through the water, slamming them into their own submersible with a reverberating smash that echoed through the water. He knew that both were finished then, bones crushed beyond repair and most likely internal damage.
“This is what you get for double crossing me!” the Mercenary thought. Of course, their boss would be next. He would reclaim the orb and send that fool to his death. The mercenary calmly retrieved his tanks, watching without pity as the men struggled to rise from the ocean floor. They could see death coming now, an unstoppable force manifest in this figure of black. He send the tanks gliding into their vessel, knowing his suit had plenty of oxygen to get him back to the surface.
He floated away as they reached towards him, trying to get up, to get out. Midnight shook his head slightly, as if to chide a naughty child. He raised a gloved hand and pointed at the tanks, three thin darts of ki exploding forth to collide with his pressured oxygen tanks. Promptly, they exploded, setting of the sub, and leaving the entire area leveled as the shockwaves flew outward through the water.
Midnight was already gone, speeding to the surface, hellbent on revenge. He was going to have that orb, and those who tried to take it from him would pay....oh would they pay.
There was barely a ripple in the water when Midnight broke the surface into the roiling storm. Lighting crashed and danced, and the waves rose up in angry walls, sloshing about. The mercenary cruised only inches above the water, his black armor blending perfectly into the dark green of the turbid sea.
The wind howled in his ears, and the water sprayed the mercenary’s armor as he closed in on his target. He could see the ship, weathering the storm, plowing through waves with its blunted nose. It was a large cargo vessel, containers stacked high, most likely as cover for its illegal underwater operation. Midnight could not determine it’s original color in the darkness, but the ship was covered in rust from years of hard use. It was the perfect sleeper vessel, and undoubtedly had carried more than it’s fair share of illicit cargo.
Within moments he was on the ship. Midnight disregarded the ladder and floated up the side of the ship. He didn’t bother reading the ship’s name, he just didn’t care. “I’m going to kill them all,” he thought.
He set himself to his dark task, landing lightly on the catwalk that ringed the ship, and padding his way into the maze of containers. With his thermal scanners active the guard’s signatures were as bright as day. They clung to their submachine guns and attempted to make their inspection rounds, despite the howling gale around them. “Time to finish this,” Midnight thought.
He caught the first lookout at an intersection, waiting patiently for the man to walk past. The mercenary faded out of stealth and brought up his light-lance, cutting a lazy arc through the air and neatly lopping off the arm that the man across which the man had slung his weapon.
His opponent let out a scream of pain and Midnight laughed inside, “Weakling, you don’t deserve to die at my hand.” The mercenary found silence to be far more intimidating to his targets than bosting, however, so to his victim he remained silent.
Before the man could even turn to see his assailant, Midnight grabbed his good arm and wretched it around his back, twisting it so hard the man wailed again. Midnight shoved his captive in front of him, the mercenary’s hand reaching to cauterize the man’s wound with a blast of energy. A third time the man let out a scream, and Midnight remained silent.
He shoved the man out into the open deck between the two sections of containers waiting patiently for the other guard to round the bend. The storm still blew around the two, captive and captor, buffeting both with powerful wind and sea spray.
To his credit, when the second guard rounded the corner, he immediately snapped his weapon to aim, centering it on Midnight, who casually stood behind his captive. Before the man could speak the mercenary activated one side of his green blade and swept it up, placing it within an inch of the first guard’s throat.
[glow=maroon,4,500]”Get Emmanuel now,” [/glow] the mercenary’s mechanically shaded voice boomed out against the raging storm, [glow=maroon,4,500]”Or his head will be separated from what remains of his pathetic form,”[/glow].
The hired gun flinched for a minute in indecision and then scrambled down through a nearby hatch to carry out his command. Midnight waited patiently, eyes scanning everywhere for signs of other life. He found none.
Quickly, Emanuel made his way to the surface, preceded by two more goons and the guard Midnight had sent to retrieve him. Emmanuel’s face was contorted into a mask of rage, but he kept his cool and spoke before Midnight could, [glow=gold,4,500]” So, you made it after all Mercenary. Why don’t you release that man and surrender before you get hurt?[/glow]
[glow=maroon,4,500]”I make the threats here you sniveling little power broker,”[/glow] the mercenary snapped back, [glow=maroon,4,500]”The only reason I haven’t killed you yet is I consider myself a fair man. You didn’t seem to have a problem accepting my money, more than triple what anyone else offered you,”[/glow].
[glow=gold,4,500]”Maybe, but you should have thought about who you were dealing with before you tried to extort my information at gunpoint,”[/glow] Emmanuel countered. The man made a single hand gesture, and a flash went off behind Midnight.
One of the crates near the stop had burst away, and the mercenaries ultrasonics detected another individual, undoubtedly armed. “Damn shielded containers,” he thought.
Emmanuel’s tone switched to a gloat now, [glow=gold,4,500]”Now, perhaps you’ll release that man before I have to force Mr. Robinson to prove to you that I only hire the best.”[/glow]
The mercenary held his blade away, as if to capitulate. [glow=maroon,4,500]”So be it,”[/glow] he answered, beginning to lower his weapon. Then, in one invisible motion, he delivered a powerful front snap kick to his former captives back, sending him pitching to the deck.
From the container, shots rang out in rapid succession as the scoped machinegun fired into the empty air that had been the mercenary’s body. The face of the man who Midnight had disarmed was fixed in death with the shocked look of betrayal as the bullets intended for the mercenary completed the work Midnight had started.
The man in the tower faired little better, he managed to squeeze out 5 rounds before Midnight was on him, both blades flashing. The first sliced the barrel off the man’s weapon, rending it useless. The other man jumped back and whipped a bowie knife at his assailant, the blade spinning in the air. Midnight caught it without breaking stride, and jammed it into it’s owners stomach, causing the other solider to gasp in pain.
The man wasn’t finished, however, and reached out to grab Midnight and slam him to the deck. The mercenary slipped out of his grasp, moving in close and delivering a powerful headbutt that broke the man’s nose and sent his head straight back. Without pausing, Midnight completed a powerful shoulder throw and send the man tumbling down 6 stories to the deck, where he landed with a sickening crack.
Emmanuel was backing towards the hatch that was to be his salvation, but it was to no avail. His two guards fired their submachine guns ineffectually in the air, not even able to track Midnight’s movements. They both went down to a hail of ki darts, failing with death gurgles to the deck as their blood joined the growing cloud of red mixing with the rainwater.
Midnight was on Emmanuel in an instant, slamming the man hard into the ship’s wall hard enough that he bounced. Emmanuel somehow managed to come up with a small pistol, but before he cold get the trigger pulled the gun, and his hand, were flying through the air, courtesy of another flash of green light.
Midnight swept the man’s feet an smashed him to the deck, nearly rendering him unconscious from the force of the impact. [glow=maroon,4,500]”Now, we were discussing that orb,”[/glow] the mercenary calmly through the soulless mechanical filters.
The other man blubbered and clutched the stump of his right arm, unsure of which hurt he should grab, [glow=gold,4,500]”Alright, alright, please, just let me live. The orb is right here. He dug into his pockets, retrieving the sphere. Please take it, please, just don’t kill me,”[/glow]
[glow=maroon,4,500]”How am I to know that this isn’t just another fake?”[/glow] the mercenary asked, snatching the orb away.
[glow=gold,4,500]”No, no, it’s not a fake I swear. I keep all the originals with me, I don’t trust anyone else. No man, it’s the real thing,”[/glow]
[glow=maroon,4,500]”Fine,”[/glow] Midnight turned and began to walk away, heading toward the edge of the ship. The information broker struggled to his feet, amazed to be alive. He stared at his stump, as if to verify that the events had actually just occurred.
He never completed the thought. There was a flash of green again, and the sound of vaporizing water, and the man thought no more, his head rolling slowly across the deck as his body slumped to join the others on the wet steel. [glow=maroon,4,500]”Traitors don’t get to live,”[/glow] Midnight said.
The mercenary lifted slowly off the deck and flew to altitude. He would have to take a risk here, hoping the storm would cover the explosion he was about to create. He concentrated for a moment, gathering ki energy into his hands. It was unusual for someone of his line of work to need to make such a large attack; he generally preferred a more subtle approach. The energy blast descended slowly from his hand, incinerating the ship and eliminating the evidence of what had transpired. Secondary explosions engulfed anything that remained, leaving only an oily slick in the wake of the blast.
Midnight turned and disappeared into stealth, just as a precaution. Now, onward to the Great Continent East. He had another orb to recover.