The lights flickered on and off. The feeling of electricity filled the air, prickling Zento’s skin. He kept his head low, and crossbow at his side. The quiver on his back was filled with specially made bolts. The broadheads were soaked in fire oil, a solution that caused anything struck to instantly combust. Zento veered to the right as footsteps became more evident to his left.
A sizzling sound could be heard, but the cause could not be seen. Zento lay prone with his crossbow in hand and waited. He knew that something was in here, the small lump of platinum in the inside pocket of his steel-aramid vest was proof of that. New security drones had made his line of work far less common, but Zento did his job for the thrill and not for the money. He inherited a large sum of money from his father, who had died fighting as a Grand-General in the Verion Army. The crossbow was also part of his father’s Will, constructed by the Muriis several parsecs to the east and virtually unbreakable. It was made of a native material called yirthal, a metalloid thirteen times stronger than steel made of elements previously unrecorded. Yirthal was a hot commodity on Earth. Only the most prestigious and wealthy possessed anything with even a trace.
The sound deepened to a piercing whistle. The atmosphere turned hot and the taste of static filled Zento’s mouth as he took a deep breath and steadied himself. Sparking brass cords could be seen several feet ahead dragging along the ground flanking two legs made of greyish metal. Zento lifted his crossbow to his right shoulder, loaded a bolt with the automatic mechanism, and fired. The rogue android burst into white flames, searing off Zento’s eyebrows.
Zento stood and peered down at the lump of steel on the tile floor in front of him. His mission was accomplished. It was time to cash in.