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Running Scared

This Page written by: Patrick Meaney

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Alley, A Lie

Thorne shut the briefcase, and tossed a fiver on the table. It was double the price of his sushi, but with the money he was about to make, the extra expense wouldn't be a problem. He walked toward the door, but stopped at a public vidphone booth. The anonymity of the booth would be preferable to his easily traceable home phone.

He walked in, propping the briefcase against the side, and pulled out his list of contacts. He took off his brown leather jacket, and placed it over the camera lens. He dialed a number, and an automated answering system picked up. "Enter your party's extension now." He entered a three-digit number, and heard another automated message, "Enter your access code." Thorne entered a ten-digit number. He finally heard a human's voice, "Mr. Holden? Is something wrong with your lens?" It was a twenty-year-old man, probably an intern, working as a secretary for the LAPD.

Thorne looked at his false identity: Dave Holden, thirty-year-old Blade Runner. "Yeah, I'm at a public vidphone, and it's busted. I'm looking for some files, I wonder if you can patch me through to the ESPER."

"Sure thing. Just a minute." Thorne sat waiting in silence for a minute. After a bit, the man asked, "What are you looking for Mr. Holden, if you don't mind me asking."

It couldn't hurt telling him, "I'm looking for some information on some potential replicants at the Tyrell Corporation, just want to see if we have anything."

"You hear about the guy there, just committed suicide because he thought he was a rep."

Thorne suddenly took notice. "Who was it?"

He saw the man look to the side, checking a console. "Uh, Michael Lee, name mean anything to you."

"Thanks," Thorne said, "Don't worry about the esper." He disconnected. Thorne put on his coat, picked up the briefcase and walked out of the booth.

He needed a spinner, needed to get to the Tyrell building, before the police started to cover it up. One of his targets was already dead, and the other two were probably at the death scene. There was already too much publicity surrounding one of the deaths, but he could finish the other two quickly, then collect the pay, and be finished.

Thorne paid the spinner taxi driver, then walked toward the cordoned off area where Lee had jumped to his death. A small crowd had gathered around, and two police officers struggled to keep them outside the ring of caution tape. Thorne nonchalantly stepped under the tape, but was stopped short by the police.

"Sir, this is a restricted area."

Thorne reached into his pocket and pulled out a fake FBI ID, praying they wouldn't examine it closely. The officer stared at it for a moment, prompting Thorne to ask, "You have a problem with this? Do I need to get the Deputy Director on the phone." His mix of sarcasm and complete disillusionment with the world created the character of Alan Thorne, twenty-year FBI man.

"Oh no, sorry sir," he said apologetically. "Captain Stiles is right next to the building."

"Thanks," Thorne said walking away, an edge on his voice. No tactic had worked better for getting into areas that should have been restricted than sounding annoyed. Thorne checked behind him, and saw the guards were otherwise occupied. He walked toward a Blade Runner, who was questioning someone. Glenn Mironova judging from the picture Omni had given him.

Thorne had an air of authority about him that made it easy to stand unnoticed, and observe the proceedings. "That's when you arrived there, isn't it Mr. Mironova?"

"Yeah, I saw Mike about to jump, and I tried to stop him, but he was gone. He had made up his mind. Once he wasn't sure he was human, that was when he died. This was just finishing it?"

"But you don't think he's a replicant? Was a replicant I mean." The Blade Runner stared into Glenn's eyes, hoping to catch a hint of the blush response, a preliminary VK test.

"No, I've known him for twenty years, and he's been a human the whole time. Do you think Tyrell would let replicants run his corporation? Besides, the four years would have been up long ago."

Memory implants. Thorne knew it.

The Blade Runner thanked him and walked away. Thorne walked to Mironova, and flashed his FBI ID. "I just gave a statement," Mironova said, growing annoyed.

"I'm going to need to get a brief recording from you." He did not look happy. "For the federal record, I'm sorry, but it'll just take a minute."

Reluctantly he followed Thorne away from the crime scene. "My car's on the other side of the street, we can cut through here," he said pointing to an alley. Halfway in, Thorne pulled his gun and fired four bullets. Mironova was dead before the third bullet hit him. His body slumped against the wall bleeding.

Easy money, Thorne thought. He didn't even bother to cover the scene, only dropped a locator beacon onto the corpse. Omni would take care of cleanup. One to go.

He walked forward, out of the alley. As he exited the alley, someone shouted to him, "You shouldn't have taken the job, Thorne." He turned and saw Byron Joseph standing there, pointing a gun at him. He wore a long coat, and was put together neatly.

Thorne reached for his gun, but was too slow. He barely felt the bullet, only a stinging in his stomach. When he looked down at his hand it was covered with his blood.

Joseph stared at him. "My two best friends died today, one committed suicide, and you killed the other. I'm not going to get revenge for Michael, but Glenn would have wanted me to do this." Joseph pushed the gun to Thorne's head, and Thorne prepared for death. Every hitman eventually winds up on the wrong end of a gun, he thought. If only he had gotten to Joseph earlier.

"I should have been done..."

"You are done," Joseph said, his finger slowly tensing on the trigger.

"Please..." Thorne pleaded.

"No," Joseph said, but immediately after Thorne heard a shotgun fire, and Joseph's head exploded in a cloud of blood. Joseph's dead body fell to his knees, revealing Glenn Mironova and Byron Joseph. Mironova held a smoking shotgun in his hand.

"But you're dead?" Thorne questioned, trying to remain conscious as his blood loss increased. His head fell back and hit the ground, and he saw only black.




Option 1 - Thorne's Dead Body

Option 2 - Thorne Wakes Up

Option 3 - Joseph and Mironova

Pages in white continue the story. Pages in yellow are yet to be written. Note that the unwritten options are just suggestions for how the story might continue - you can add something completely different if you like.

Each page in the story ends in a five letter code. If you want to return to this page in the future, make a note of the page code and you will then be able to change your URL to take you straight back to that page.

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Date: 2002-07-02 22:30