Buying In

Sweat. Profuse. Dripping.

The scent of man pervaded the air.

Adrenal gland secretions.

He had used a Stim-kit™. He had his back against the wall. Nowhere to run? Or was something else going on?

Fear. Co-mingled with defiance.

This one would be difficult. The scared, desperate ones weren't usually a problem... unless they felt they were innocent. Those were always the worst.

The Patchwork bio-enhanced soldier, also known as PBES-172, sniffed the warm air surrounding his deployment location. He was still a fair distance away from the target, but one could never walk into this kind of situation unprepared.

He unsheathed his hunting knife, testing the edge against a thumb. Dark blood welled at to the surface — the last vestige of my humanity, he considered. The blade would do. He was equipped with the latest in nanotech and armed to the teeth, but his hunter instincts still preferred a more personal killing technique. The visceral thrill of killing at close range always made him feel more alive than anything else could even come close to.

Before becoming a Patchwork, he had been a regular soldier. Heavy infantry, 401st Division, deployed for three years in the former East European Conglomerate. He had been recruited young, still in his early twenties, and had excelled at his given task: killing. He had a taste for it; that was what made for the best Patchworks, they had told him. A taste for blood. Five years of black ops for the Corporacracy as a military assassin, before taking on his new assignment as a Patchwork.

Now, he had shed the bulk of his humanity. To become a Patchwork, one had to buy in — literally and figuratively. In addition to years of dedicated service to the Corporacracy, one had to give up all of one's personal possessions and wealth. No connections to family or friends could remain.

To become a Patchwork, one needed to be reborn, to shed one's former life entirely.

He'd amassed a fortune as an assassin, but he was more than willing to give it up for the opportunity afforded him. This was the Corporacracy's assurance that Patchworks were dedicated to the task at hand; they gave up everything to become the ultimate killing machine. In return, they were granted absolute power: a mandate to kill, and the ability to do so without regard for the well-being of others. To the sociopathic mindset of most applicants, this was a dream come true.

The Patchwork stood alert, his gaze directed to the south of his current position. Bio-enhanced senses probed ahead, up to a two-mile radius. It appeared that his target had stopped running. He was there, standing his ground. Two warm bodies were approaching him, armed, moving erratically.

PBES-172 smiled.

They don't know what they're walking into, the poor saps.

He started walking.

The End

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