Confimed IntentMature

I let the boys sort it out, half listening to Tosh’s audio as I catch up on the news feeds. I skim the government-run channels just to find out what slop they’re feeding the herd today, then move on to the underground stations. That’s more of the the usual as well: riots at the Transient Centers, food shortages, radiation leaks in the Dome. Reports from the frontline chronicling the gradual decline of “civilization.”  When that bores me, I activate the microphone on in the cleanroom for a minute to briefly eavesdrop on the two bickering men. Reilly yowling and berating Tosh, offering dubious medical guidance no doubt drilled into his subconscious by televised dramas that ceased to exist centuries ago.

There's a sound, metal against tile. The bullet comes out, finally. Moments later, a blip on Reilly’s link confirms my suspicions—something in that slug had been disrupting the normal functioning of his built-in systems. It was the sort of thing I’d heard about in theory but never seen in practice—and it forces me to reassess my assumptions about the target I’d sent him after in the lower city.

Nanotech made it so bullets weren’t fatal. Something like this was a game changer; it could make guns lethal again. More than that, it confirmed intent to kill.

Reilly’s visual is restored. I don’t need it anymore so I shut down his link.  I’ve spent too much time riding shotgun in his brain today.  The thought of even another minute looking through his eyes, listening to him accidentally thinking out loud over the link—it was enough to start my head aching.

Tosh gives me a superfluous status report. I hear exhaustion with a hint of satisfaction at a job well done. Good. “He’s healing, his ‘machines are back up. Looks like he’s going to be okay—”

“Save that bullet.”
It’s the prospect of a new challenge. Come at me with better weapons, and I’ll build a better shield. It’s what I do. “Tosh—one last favor tonight. Give Reilly a ride back to his place.”

He nods, knowing better than to argue, probably just glad to have the end of the ordeal in sight. Probably still thinking about dinner. The only words of protest come from Reilly.

“What, I don’t get to stay for awkward breakfast?”

I have no idea what he’s talking about. I chalk it up to blood-loss induced delirium and send him home.

The End

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