“Hey, you’re not supposed to be in here!”
The security guard unholstered his sidearm, leveling the holosights squarely over center-mass of the figure currently hunched over a server, hands buried in the meshspace interface that made up the front panel.
Neither moved for a moment.
“…Control, I’ve got an intruder on level sixty-“
The guard didn’t finish his statement as the crouched figure whirled around, palm outstretched just enough to slap the sidearm out of his grasp. Stunned, the guard made a grab for them as they slipped by to the right, connecting for just a moment with the fabric of their nanoweave jacket before they made it into the hallway, steering a hard right towards the elevators.
“Lock down the damn lifts!” The guard practically screamed into his mic, grabbing his gun from the floor and hurrying after. “Get a team up here, we’ve got a data breach!”
Cai, to their credit, was no stranger to running. They’d spent years as a data courier, time as a merc working out on the backwater worlds of the shallows, seen things fellow spacers would dismiss off-hand.
…but, even they had to admit, this job had them doing things they’d never have dreamed of otherwise.
The rabbit skidded to a stop in front of the elevator just as it dinged – the doors sliding open to reveal a heavily armed GSyn tac-team who filled the spot they’d occupied a few moments before with enough particle beam fire to light up the night sky.
“Guess I’ll take the stairs!” Cai shouted, ducking and weaving as the shouts of the team spilling out of the lift fell behind.
The hallway they were running down skirted the outside of the Ganso Syndicate’s headquarters on Sanibel – a towering obsidian edifice that stood stark against the rest of the glittering skyline. The glow of the vast city beyond the glass cast the bunny in sharp relief as they ducked mid-run, a particle beam searing overhead as the team started to catch up.
Up ahead the hallway took a sharp right turn to run along more offices and board rooms, following the contours of the building. Shouts could be heard around the corner – apparently a second team was trying to box them in.
Cai sighed – and readied their last resort.
Being a posthuman, the rabbit’s frame wasn’t… strictly baseline. They’d had it modified over the years with various enhancements and reinforcements, and as the two teams drew their weapons and shouted for the bunny to freeze, they threw their plan into action. Adrenaline flooded their system as injector implants did their jobs, slowing their surroundings to a crawl. Cai blurred as their own sidearm was pulled from the holster, two shots leaving the barrel in rapid succession.
One hit the window ahead at the bottom, sending cracks spider-webbing across it – and the second shattered it, wind sucking the shattered glass up and away as the sweltering Sanibel night spilled in through the breach.
Crossing the distance in four steps the bunny catapulted through the halo of shattered glass still falling from the wounded frame, a beam catching their jacket alight from a near miss – and plummeted into the dark, leaving the two tacteams staring after as they dropped away into the glittering night sprawl.
Luckily it wasn’t as far a fall as it might have been – they only dropped three stories, smashing through the polarized glass ceiling of a neighboring penthouse and leaving a sizable amount of damage on the various expensive bits of furniture scattered about inside.
They lay there for a moment, vision spinning as their internal diagnostics returned a solid “yellow” and protested against being thrown out of a building, before standing up and picking their pistol back up.
Tugging the little transponder their contact had given them before the op out of their jacket lining, Cai clicked it – and it turned a soft, cool blue.
Their comm clicked.
“…About goddamn time,” They huffed, sliding it into their ear and checking their pistol. Four rounds, two spare mags.
“I trust you retrieved what I needed?” The voice on the other end intoned, curiosity peaking around the edges of their voice.
“Yeah, yeah,” Cai shrugged, bringing their pistol up as the penthouse’s occupant – a portly baseline in a red robe, gawking at his ceiling and shattered furniture – threw open the door, quickly getting out of the way as they gestured to the side. Rushing down the hallway they slammed a fist into the elevator button, sighing as the doors finally slid shut and the elevator began to rumble downwards.
“You’re pushing my silicon pretty far, you know. Almost an exabyte of data is a pretty substantial chunk of my frame’s storage.”
“You’ll be well compensated.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Cai sighed, ducking to the side as the doors finally opened.
The lobby was empty – unsurprising, as it was just past four in the morning on Sanibel.
Sirens filled the night air, a pair of security skimmers swooping past as the Syndicate began sweeping the surrounding blocks for them.
“There’s a meshdiver bar three blocks north. Offload the data there into my private nexus. Sending you the access key now.”
A soft ding sounded as the message arrived – and the AR overlay map their hud implant highlighted the bar in question, outside of the Syndicate’s sweeper zones.
“…On my way,” Cai sighed, closing the channel.
The bar was more of a rundown meshspace cafe than a proper dive, with a lowered room with a bar lining the back wall and a pair of hallways stretching out to either side lined with mixed-reality immersion rooms. It gave the place a roughly T-shaped design, and as the bunny took their seat in their rented room and felt their surroundings melt away, they called forth the general directory for Sanibel.
“Gold zero-zero-sigma.” They calmly stated aloud, watching the dawn-hued fog around them ripple with their every word. “Waves upon beaches, tides upon shores.”
The fog parted – gone was the drab peeling walls of Jandy’s, this was a richly furnished office atop a Sanibel high-rise.
A desk sat across the room – with a figure seated behind it, soft cigar smoke drifting into the evening air.
“Ah. You must be the courier.”
“Kellen.” Cai said simply. Taking a seat wasn’t needed – the transfer request had already arrived and been approved, as the exabyte of stolen data was siphoned away into the client’s reception buffer.
“Very well done,” The figure behind the desk stated, amusement tugging at the edges of their tone.
“I aim to please.”
“You came highly recommended on Sanibel, my friend. I see our efforts were not… wasted.”
The figure crossed their arms, revealed to be the gunmetal grey of a synthframe. “Payment has been processed. You may leave.”
It wasn’t a suggestion. The office faded away as the fog rolled in, the familiar brief discomfort of returning to their mesh-bridge causing Cai to shake their head. This was the third contract in a row since their arrival on this world that they’d been in the dark on – and it was starting to worry them.
The payment window for their brief time at Jandy’s resolved from the fog, along with a canned “thank you for your business” video file – both of which were dealt with with a quick swipe of a palm, draining two hundred credits from their luckily just-replenished funds as they made their way back into the busy streets of the city.
Oh, well. Ten hours to kill before their next job.