Challenge: Papaya #19 - I've Still Got A Few More Tricks Up My Sleeve
Word Count: 770
Summary: Zero has some work to do, but enjoys a little window-shopping too.
Notes: This was supposed to be something to help me figure out a bit more about Zero, one of the secondary characters of my NaNo. Zero now is my NaNo, apparently. Joy.
Yes, it's also rather atrocious. My inability to write reaches new levels - I couldn't even remember the word 'pedestrian'.
Hands shoved deeply into his jacket pockets, Zero couldn't resist glancing now and again into the shop windows he passed, allowing his mismatched gaze to flicker appreciatively over the items laid out for the delectation of wandering shoppers. If all went well, he might even have a little time to-
A movement at the corner of his eye caused him to jerk to attention, then let out a stream of curses that startled the other pedestrians as he tried to locate his quarry. No good.
The bastard had vanished.
Quickening his pace, Zero's hand slid under his jacket just long enough to feel the cold, reassuring touch of metal against his fingertips, all the while scanning his surroundings. He couldn't have gone far, he was just there a second ago. Scrubbing one hand through short hair, he tried as nonchalantly as possible to glance at the faces of passers-by, trusting the facial recognition software to pick up his mark. In such a short time there was no way he could have changed his defining features, even in as bland a face his.
Doubts he usually kept so tightly in check tried to spill through into his conscious thoughts. There was a myriad of ways he could evade even sophisticated software, but-
He shook his head. No way he could get his hands on the tech necessary even for a simple facial projection and he very definitely hadn't been carrying any with him, scientist or not. But the fact remained, he had evaded Zero and that was bad enough.
Even as he bit his lip and glowered at nothing in particular, a short and insistent beep echoed through his skull and, unable to help it, he caught himself grinning. The red triangle panning across his right eye formed an angular aura around a head barely visible through an austere shop window. Gotcha. Fingers pressing against the metal beneath his jacket again, for luck, he slipped through the door.
If his mark was aware Zero was there he did a remarkable job of hiding it; the man continued to peruse the handmade - and no doubt exorbitant - shoes arranged on the shelves, his back turned to the bigger man. No one paid the new customer any attention as he strode across the room and sat on a low stool, only a few feet from his target. No reaction, no sudden movement. Could it be that he hadn't been trying to evade him - that he had really just wanted to look at shoes? He glanced down at his own battered boots and smiled slightly. Better get it done with now, before the mark managed to escape again by developing an interest in tailored suits; he rose and quickly covered the ground between them.
"Bang, you're dead," he murmured, and pressed two fingers into the small of the scientist's back.
The fabric of his shirt ground against Zero's fingers as the man flinched, but to his amusement he neither looked around, or broke and ran. "I've been expecting you."
He couldn't stop the smile. "Obviously. That's why you never noticed me, right?"
"You can't do anything here." His voice was low, but the tremor was still noticeable. "There's no silencer that could muffle a shot in here. People would know what you've done. You'll never get away with it."
"You know," Zero sighed, "how much like a bad movie that sounds?" He didn't lower his fingers. "Why do you think I'm going to shoot you? You think I'm an idiot?"
"N- No, but-"
"Anyway," he continued, reaching into his pocket with one hand and pulling out a tiny square, "anything could happen to you in a place like this. You could be stung by a wasp, bitten by a gnat, and who knows what they might be carrying?" He grinned and flicked part of the shape away with one thumbnail.
"But there aren't any-"
He pressed the shape to the nape of the man's neck; a droplet of blood welled up from the little wound. Only Zero heard the short gasp. Leaning forward, he whispered, "there's more than one way to deal with a problem, you know." With a gentle pat on the shoulder, he turned away.
His only answer was a short gasp. Stock still, the paralysis drug working its magic even as the targeted, gene-tailored drug introduced just enough poison to bring about sudden and acute anaphylactic death, it was all the scientist was capable of.
Zero glanced with renewed interest at the shoes as he left the shop.
Maybe once the cash came through, he could treat himself.