Marsh stood to one side as Drick stepped up to the doorway and looked into the privacy camera. Drick pressed the switch. The screen remained dark, but after a few moments a voice, feminine, spoke. â€œWhat do you want?â€
â€œHi.â€ Drick smiled. â€œWe need to talk about your former career and the reason you ended it so abruptly.â€
â€œYou have the wrong person.â€ A slight waiver in the tone.
They had checked the plans to this apartment building before coming inside. There was only one good exit to each room, and a fire exit at the end of each floor. They could try and get out of a window, but they would have to blow it open as the windows in this complex did not open below level ten. They would then have to leap twenty-five metres to the floor and there was a highway close by the building.
â€œI donâ€™t think so,â€ said Drick. â€œLook letâ€™s make this easy. I am not Justice, or Union. I certainly donâ€™t work for Volstron, or Yee On Kline. I imagine that all those people are looking for you.â€ As always Drick never revealed anything. It was the Union who had led them here. â€œBut you struck fortune as I have found you first. Open the door, or I will open the door. Donâ€™t try anything cute as it will go really bad for you. If I wanted you dead, there wouldnâ€™t be an apartment on the other side of this door right now.â€
There was a long silence of maybe thirty seconds before a voice spoke. â€œOkay,â€ there was a pause, â€œhold on.â€
Drick dropped a holoprojector onto the floor and triggered the stealth setting on the soft suit they wore. An image of Drick appeared over the top of the now hidden one and they immediately stepped out of the image to one side.
The doorway opened a crack and then there was a bright burst of purple-green energy. A short throw plasma ejector. Drick waited a second for it to discharge. The operator was clumsy, they had spent the whole ten shot cartridge on the one shot. Drick stepped back into their holographic image and then kicked hard at the door. It flew backwards into the face of the shooter.
Marsh had taken three steps backwards during the plasma firing, and now he used that distance to get a little momentum as he followed Drickâ€™s kick up with a charge into the door. He went through the doorway, sending the door crashing backwards even further, and rolled to the floor.
Drick dropped the stealth mode and deactivated the hologram. They quickly followed Marsh into the apartment. There was an organic sprawled in the room just behind the doorway. They had knocked over a small table that held a small food humidifier. Marsh had rolled to the other side next to the single bed that was just to the side of the door. Aside from the bed there was another table and chair, and a small stand up utility closet of combined toilet and shower.
Drick kicked the gun away from the organics hand in the direction of Marsh and placed a hand on the butt of their own pistol. â€œI told you not to try anything cute.â€ Drick snarled the words but didnâ€™t feel any real malice. They would have tried something themselves if the situation were reversed. â€œGet up.â€ Drick commanded.
Marsh had stood up and pulled the cartridge from the pistol. He walked over to the table which had a laptop, communicator and a spare clip for the gun. He placed the gun on the table. He turned back towards the organic. Marsh studied their ident tag. They were displaying as gender neutral with no sexual preference. Body shape seemed more feminine than masculine, but without any clearly defined biological features. They had short dark hair and rainbow coloured eyes. They looked to be grown that way, not altered or augmented by a tattoo or interface.
â€œDo you recognise me?â€ Asked Marsh.
â€œDepends,â€ they had a soft voice and there was clear fear. â€œYou look like someone, but you may not be them.â€
â€œI donâ€™t really remember you,â€ said Marsh. â€œThat was all so confused, for me. Still is. I know you busted me out so donâ€™t try to lie about it. I just wanted to ask you some questions.â€
â€œHow do you know who I am?â€ they asked.
â€œWe have the data files from Yee On Kline with your biological details, but no name. We also have the reports about you from Volstron. I notice you cut your hair, and it looks like you are bulking out a little. So you have taken body shaping meds. They would have still found you, you know that right?â€
â€œI was hoping to avoid that.â€ They said quietly.
Drick moved over and quickly scanned the drawers of the small cupboard, finding only spare jumpsuit rolls. Drick scanned the apartment and suddenly smiled. There was a loose looking panel above the doorway and below the air ducts. There would be a hollow space there. They moved the chair to the doorway and looked at the organic. â€œIf I look up there will I find some illegal contraband? New identity and funds perhaps?â€
The organic looked crestfallen â€œYes. Some medication and a few personal itemsâ€
â€œI presume you had those with you when you busted him out?â€ Drick indicated Marsh.
â€œYes. That was always part of the plan. Get him out, and get dropped off at a secure location. Then split up and never see anyone you knew previously again.â€
â€œWhere are you headed?â€ Asked Marsh
â€œBack towards the core worlds. I have skills and could easily find work. It would be at least a twenty year trip and so any heat would likely be gone. Theyâ€™d also be looking for the wrong personâ€
â€œWhat about ident tags?â€ Asked Drick, â€œthey are a little harder to change.â€
â€œHard but not impossible. I have a doctorate in genetic manipulation. Tags can be rewritten. Our contact had the appropriate funds to change any legal identification, and records for new identities that would match the new passes.â€ The organic sat down. â€œWe almost got away with it.â€
â€œFrom my perspective you did get away with it.â€ Said Marsh. â€œSit down and tell us what you know. Then we will leave and you can carry on with whatever you were doing, I promise.â€
â€œThough if I were you,â€ said Drick. â€œAfter we leave, I would move to the next location you have planned. Because we found our way here, so this location is obviously not safe enough.â€