I ran out of Bey’s Casino with the closest thing to fear I’ve had since my childhood. Whatever this was, I knew it damn sure wasn’t anything like coincidence. Wilson was dead. He had to have been. I made his throat smile red myself!
I ran as fast as I could possibly go. I had to catch up to the urchin, or at least make it to my current hideout. It didn’t take long for me to just cut the idea of catching Stick’s kid, and return to my hideout to bunker down. If Wilson was coming for me, he’d have to get through an abandoned hospital lined to the corner with traps and explosives.
I rushed around corners, knocked over streetwalkers, punched out a dumbass mugger, and trampled a street performer in my rush to my hideout. In hindsight, all of that running only made me a prime target. I had compromised my hideout in my attempt to hide. Foolish, but I was in a hurry.
I slipped in through the west window of the hospital, the original plywood that had covered it had been replaced with an enormously overgrown bush hiding the most transversible route into my little home.
After I was in I took a right, then continued down the mildew smelling hallway, took a left, and took some care to ensure that I didn’t engage the tripwire to the EMP/Claymore rigging that I had stuck to the ceiling of that hallway. I took another right through the door to a janitorial closet that stank of stagnate bleach and ammonia. It was in there that I had busted a wall to the create an entrance to what must have been an ER suite that had been sealed off from the rest of the hospital, due the collapse of the upper floor.
I stepped into the entrance to see exactly what I didn’t want to see.
Sergeant Wilson: in the flesh and ware, looking like he had not bathed, smelling like he had not bathed, and staring at me with an intensity that made me want to scrub off the filth that I couldn’t help but feel like he was infecting me with.
“You’re not the first or the last, but you’re possibly the prettiest.” He spoke with cool certainty. That phrase was a little code in my squad, to ensure that no one made the attempt to impersonate us.
“Speaking in irony, or do you actually want to talk to me?” I asked with some trepidation.
I was met with a wall of force, pain, stars and video static as he slugged me good in the face. I tumbled backwards into the entrance, before he planted another punch to my stomach, taking the wind out of me and crumpling me into fetal position.
“It’s the closest thing I’m givin’ ya to a warnin’, that’s for damn sure.” He growled in my face, as he yanked me up as easily as someone yanking up a backpack.
“I ain’t killin’ ya yet, boy. I want to talk first. Then I might see if I can find it in me to not mount your goddamned head on my mantle back home.” He growled into my face, his awful breath scorching my face like bad tomatoes in the midday sun. He dropped me on the ground and took a couple of steps back.
I carefully sat up and tried to stand before he gave me a look that told me that he would kick me down if I did.
“Start talkin’, fuck-tard.” He grated, darkly. He crossed his arms, the menacing whir of military grade cyber ware buzzing as his arms fold over one another.
I winced at the vicious knot growing in my forehead, as I reached in my jacket for my smokes. I pulled out a flattened cigarette box that was my pack. I chuckled a little at them as I threw them to my right and fished out my next pack from the other side of my jacket.
“Want one?” I asked, figuring it would help my chances of keeping me out of a very one sided fight.
Wilson blinked, before his infamous smirk crossed his face. “Fuck it. Why not.” He grunted as he plucked it from my fingers. He lit it with a lighter he produced from his tactical vest and exhaled slowly. “You smoke some true shit, boy. I figured you would’ve wised up after Philip Morris bought out RJReynolds, that Camels had gone to shit. And what’s with the fuckin’ menthol?”
" I like ‘em. Isn’t that enough?" I said after lighting one for myself.
" Funny. Just because I like you, don’ mean I’m gonna spare you. I don’t know what dumbass shit you were readin’ when you though it was a smart thing to kill your brothers ‘n arms, try to kill me, then think you can run to Night City and not expect me to find you and teach you a lesson myself. Believe me, I’d love to find out so I can kill him, too." He growled, that filthy look came back to fix itself on me.
“You want honesty?” I replied, no longer in the mindset to stall him. Not like that lasted long anyway.
He nodded, his gaze didn’t move from me, but the grin had widened to a smile.
“You are, to be perfectly honest, a dirty fuckin’ rotten bastard, a man with more issues than I can count on all my hands and feet. You rape, you pillage, you burn. The world would be so much better off with you dead. I could not, being raped, pillaged, and burned as a child, let you and the rest of your bastards keep the cycle goin’!” I said, my speach growing in intensity as my answer grew into a shouted tirade before turning into a roared declaration of contempt.
To my surprise, he laughed like I had told him the single funniest anecdote at a barbecue.
“You think you’re any better than me? I have pulled up your own military profile on my display. Would you like to hear it?”
Before I could answer, he began rattling off pieces of my file, my military history.
“Shot a child through the chest in Tiajuana, to get to the insurgent with the detonator… Participated in the ransacking of a sweatshop, killed two children in collateral… Opened fire on a crowd of protesters for quote-unquote ‘shouting about shit they didn’t understand’… Impatient, ill-tempered, proven to resort to drastic over-reaction over rational reaction, works well with the team but doesn’t hold his tongue when it would be better suited.” He paused to puff off his cigarette before finishing off airing out the dirty laundry of my military career. “Now tell me something, you hypocritical piece of shit, does that sound like the knight in shining armor that you think you are? What, do you think you’re fuckin’ Batman for slitting the throats of your comrades in their sleep?” He exclaimed, punctuating it with a hideous sounding laugh.
“I have the decency to know the fuckin’ difference between accidents and poor judgement during war time, but you don’t apparently! You do it because you enjoy it! You do it because you enjoy dominating people for your own amusement!” I roared back at him, rushing to my feet in the process.
“Wrong again!” He yelled back at me, advancing ’til his foul breath was steaming into my face again. " I do it for the simple reason that it is fun! That I have been given the tools to become a god among filthy little men, and I intended, and still intend, to assume domination over the little men! They are here for my amusement, and that is exactly why I do what I do!"
I took that moment to punch in the gut like he had done me. He buckled slightly under my punch, but he did not budge from where he was standing. “You’re stronger.” He growled. “Good.”
He punched me across the room, through the entrance hole into the hallway. I scrambled back up, hoping that the sharp pain in my chest wasn’t a fractured rib or two. He came barreling out of the darkness of the door like a raptor out of an old dinosaur movie as I drew one of my Urban Foxes to meet him. His hand clenched around the Fox, crumpling it into scrap metal and plastic bits, before he elbowed me and threw me down the hall again.
“Make no mistake, pup, killin’ is my fuckin’ job, and this moment ain’t the start of my vacation!” He roared as he slowly advanced down the hallway to my stunned prone form.
On my back and stunned, I couldn’t help but wonder why he hadn’t killed me already. He was just toying with me. That was the only real explanation that came to my head as I forced myself to stand and drew my second Urban Fox. I fired off two shots that zoomed down the dark hall. I heard one of the shots thump into a wall, but I also heard a cry that suggested that one of those shots hit him.
Just when I thought that I stood any chance against Texas’ great juggernaut of war, he did his raptor impression once again, crashing into me and pushing me into another room. His mass flattened me to the ground, pinning me to the floor with the weight of all the metal and muscle he was.
He and I locked into a grapple. A grapple that I was losing quickly, so I kneed him where ever I could reach, which was good fortune for me that it just happened to be his balls. His grip slackened quickly as he fought back the pain, and I shoved him off as I forced myself back on my feet. I pointed the Fox at him again, and made an attempt for an execution, only for him to shove my arm with a blinding motion from his own.
“You’ll need more’n that peashooter to do me in, whelp.” He growled as he stood back up. “Gotta admit, you’ve done me proud. Best soldier I’ve trained, even better than Daltan was, but that’s not going to stop me from-”
I threw a punch at him, which he caught neatly like a baseball. “Don’t interrupt me, whelp.” He growled, twisting my arm to punctuate his demand. “You forgot your manners since you’ve been gone, have ya?”
I wrestled with his grip. His hands were like industrial clamps. He twisted me around by the elbow into an arm lock, and began to push me over to the boarded window with slow methodical steps.
“You can’t win. I am better than you will ever be. If you would have stayed with us, and let me mould you, you could have surpassed me. But you’ve made me do this. There is no turning back for you.”
He punched me through the plywood, and I crashed into the gravel on the other side. At that point, I think my spirit broke. Outclassed. Dammit.
I didn’t have a problem with dying. But I didn’t want to die like this: at the hands of my deranged megalomaniacal cyber psychotic former sergeant that I had thought I had killed. But without either of my preferred weapons, not to mention cyberware with at least double the value I had, I seriously thought this was how it was going to end.
The wind picked up as I heard the unmistakeable thrumming of the motor of a V-TOL. A blinding burst from the flood lights illuminated the scene and spotlit Wilson, who then was leaping through the window to follow me. I think he forgot that we were on the ground floor like I did, ‘cause I saw the disappointment in his eyes when he saw that I wasn’t a broken heap. Well, as broken of a heap as he wanted.
" Sergeant Doug Wilson! Stand down, and await further instruction!" A megaphone boomed out from the V-TOL. The voice sounded so familiar. Or that was the possible concussion talking…
I saw Wilson give me a look, then grimace, and finally walk past me to presumably where the megaphone came from. When the sounds of the motors died down, the familiar voice confirmed itself: Detective Carlos. Shit.
“Sergeant Doug Wilson, as an officer of the Army of the Republic of Texas, you are in Night City illegally. You will be detained, and finally extradited to Texas to face trial for your actions in Night City. Will you go peacefully?” Carlos announced dryly. I tried to prepare myself for the prospect of getting arrested again, because I knew it was coming.
“Yeah. I’ll go. Shouldn’t fuck up diplomacy, Right? Gonna arrest ’im too?” Wilson said loudly. I knew it was coming. Motherf-
“I don’t see what you’re talking about, sir. Now, please, get in the vehicle before I have to assume that you are refusing to go.” Carlos announced, matter-of-factly. I wish I could’ve seen the look that must’ve been on his face. I think I heard him mumble something about “bullshit”, before I heard the V-TOL motors start up again. A thump later, and I heard the motors fade off into the distance. Just moments after, two messages appeared in my H.U.D. display, one after the other in a span of seconds.
I read the first one, which was from Carlos:
You’ve got two weeks, a month at best, before this psychopath can start hunting you down. I suggest you take that time to prepare. Be glad that if you didn’t cause such a scene in the streets while running like a bitch, we would not have been here. But now, YOU owe ME. -Carlos
The second one almost made me shit myself:
You got lucky, whelp. He talked big, but you and I both know that I’m just too important to see the inside of a jail cell. I’ll find you again. I’ll kill you when I do. But I’m a sporting man. Get your friends together. Find a nice little bunker for yourselves, and prepare. Prepare yourselves to bargain for your lives, because I’m not playing anyone’s game. Next time we meet, one of us will be dead and that is a promise. Sergeant D. Wilson
I laid there for a few seconds. I was down a Fox, I was beaten to hell, I lost my meticulously prepared bunker, I now owe Carlos more than just my ass, and I’ve got a grudge match with a man who woefully outclasses me anywhere between two weeks and a month.
As I mentally prepared myself to stand up and call Candy, I acknowledged to myself that even though I had survived that encounter with my murderous ex-sergeant, I had a lot on my now heaving plate.