This is pretty much the first time I've actually had to go in and cut out a lot for one of these. Here you are:
Deep Cover, 1099 words
It was a good day for a drug deal- or so Maks had been told. He didn’t believe it. Number one, there was never a good day in the underhive, and two, there was never a good day when one was an Inquisition plant in this crowd.
A lho-stick dangled loosely from his mouth- he no longer really smoked them, but it was somewhat of a nervous habit. Scratching at the stubble growing in at his chin, he glanced around at the rest of the people in here. A fair few, all armed- his supposed compatriots, here to keep the deal civil.
It was cold down here. An abandoned manufactorum was the venue for today’s business, the heavy machinery gone, cannibalized by the tech-adepts and put to use elsewhere. Debris from the ancient ceiling littered the floor; glass from the lights lay on the conveyors and crunched underfoot. He brushed some of it off the nearest conveyor and sat down, drawing his nickel-plated stub revolver from its holster beneath his left arm. It was a big gun, chambering thumb-sized rounds in a massive cylinder. The barrel was short, pugnacious; Maks looked it over, swinging out the cylinder and making sure it was loaded.
He surveyed the situation. There were a lot of ‘em, but not too many. He knew most of them- he’d spent several months setting this all up. Luckily, pretty much all of these bastards could be written off as just gene-sculpted muscle. That, and guns. And the odd chainfist. Itching to kill, soaring high as an uphive spire on incredible amounts of drugs.
That wouldn’t be an issue, mainly because the buyers in this deal were a kill-team. Arbites, mostly, but headed by Inquisitor Verne, Maks’ boss. It was a sting, the climax to nearly a year of investigation over several planets. It’d be a hell of a thing. Lots of blood, likely.
The primary target: a man, standing over by the crates of stims and surrounded by three bodyguards. Draped in finery, a master-crafted sabre hanging at his side, he appeared young- but according to Inquisitorial records, he was nearing his first century. Juvenat procedures had helped a lot. The man was Jonn Rausten, a star trader, and he’d somehow managed to get a ton of dark eldar drugs- hence why the Ordo Xenos was getting in on this. Rausten had been doing this for several years, and he’d been fairly elusive; when they did get close, his following wasn’t just large, but also hopped up on eldar stims. It had made it hard- it had made it necessary to plant an inside man.
Next to Rausten paced a stick-thin man in a floor-length groxhide coat, snapping his fingers restlessly. That was Caisse, an epsilon-level psyker, and straight up the creepiest bastard Maks had ever been around. Secondary target, likely the reason Rausten had escaped justice thus far. Maks had gone through a hell of an ordeal just to make sure this guy wouldn’t figure him out- a psychic identity-graft, among other things. Incredibly painful- but Maks would get his vengeance for that at some point.
Maks didn’t let himself smile at the thought. Instead he stood, letting his pistol dangle from his hand. People were starting to look restless. He checked the chrono sewn onto the back of his glove- Verne ought to be here any second. Rausten was livening up, and Caisse had even stopped pacing. Rausten’s bodyguards were readying their weaponry.
Seconds ticked by. The men at the entrances had stopped talking. Caisse had stopped snapping. Minutes trickled past. Everyone looked confused.
Everyone but Caisse and Rausten.
Maks suddenly had a very bad feeling. Verne was supposed to be here. These bastards ought to be flat on their backs in pools of their own blood by now. Where was the team?
He cocked his revolver as slowly as possible, so as not to stand out in the silence.
Sound, from the distance- laughing. It got closer, and closer; the sound of a riot gun echoed loudly through the manufactorum as the guards at the entrance readied themselves. Maks brought his revolver halfway up. Whatever this was, it didn’t sound like a kill-team should.
Finally, the doors of the main entrance slammed open. In burst several men, spattered with blood, laughing and joking; Maks recognized them as some of the more trusted killers in Rausten’s pay. They bore suppressed autoguns- must have ambushed the team.
The last man in the group was dragging three others by cords, hands bound. Maks had to suppress a reaction at seeing them- one was Verne. Bloodied, beaten, but unmistakably Verne. The two behind him he didn’t recognize, but they were clad in Arbites armor.
Shit. How had they been found out?
Laughter and cheering broke out, as one of the new arrivals whooped, proudly holding up Verne’s rosette. Maks looked over- Rausten was grinning, and Caisse even had a little smile on his gaunt face.
He had to keep his cover. Couldn’t give it up now. Now they’d need him more than ever. Almost as if in a trance, Maks joined the rest of the thugs cheering the killers.
The first couple brushed past him, wide smiles splitting their blood and soot-stained faces. Maks turned his head to watch them as they jogged over to Rausten. The last one bumped into him; Maks glanced back around, only to find the prisoners’ leads slapped into his hand. The man grinned and slapped him on the shoulder, following his comrades.
“Hey.” Maks started, jolted out of his trance. He looked back around- and it was Rausten. “Hey, you.”
He motioned to himself slightly with the barrel of his revolver, and Rausten nodded. “Yeah. You. Kill them. We’re done here.”
Maks wheeled around once more, coming face to face with his boss. Verne was a short man, not especially remarkable in appearance- except for his eyes, which stood out in a bright emerald. Those eyes were looking straight at him, almost pleading.
The investigation was screwed. They’d have to start over practically from scratch. It’d be much easier if Maks stayed embedded in Rausten’s organization. And it wasn’t like he could save them…. it was either these three died, or Maks died with them.
So- a setback. But less of one if…
Maks pressed his revolver to Verne’s head. The inquisitor didn’t say anything, but he didn’t want to die. Maks could see the emotion in his eyes- but there was no room for emotion here.
He pulled the trigger and spattered all of those emotions across the manufactorum floor.
"You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honorable man."
Last edited by HonorableMan; 11-01-15 at 05:50 AM.