|1704 Hours, August 12th, 2529
Reuven Complex Apartment 92, New Alexandria, Reach
The doorbell rang. That was the first thing that set Tobias on edge.
That was the second thing. Who the hell actually called out their service? Not to mention the fact that every goddamn delivery boy in the last two years had missed the bell, preferring to bang on the door until he opened up. Then again, maybe it was just old habits keeping him paranoid.
"Yeah, I'm coming, hold on!"
Tobias lifted himself from the sofa, scratching his unshaven chin as he did so. He'd been watching some trashy GlobeWar movie, wondering why his food was taking so long. Normally the whiny bastards were here as soon as possible, looking for tips. He quickly put on a pair of sweatpants, and grabbed a slightly stained shirt to wear over his vest. The bell rang twice more as he headed for the door.
"Hold yer horses, I'm here, dammnit," he muttered. Looking through the peephole, it was, indeed, a pizza boy. Young, fresh-faced, and with a surprisingly immaculate uniform. Tobias unlocked the first two latches, and bent over to pick up the money from a nearby coffee table when the top half of his door burst inwards.
Several more shots impacted on the door before it was kicked in. A tall man stood there, hefting a large, slightly smoking, shotgun. Tobias wasn't in the hall, lying in a pool of his own blood. That was bad. There was a rush of movement from the other side of the apartment as a middle aged, dark-skinned and overweight man tumbled over the sofa and out of sight. There were a few more shotgun blasts, smashing the television and a nearby chair, before the man stopped to reload.
Tobias leant against a counter, breathing heavily. Those bastards. I knew they'd come, I knew it. His ears pricked up as he heard the telltale sound of a weapon being reloaded. M90 Shotgun. 12 shots. Misriah Armoury. Things began to flood into his mind as he reached for a nearby cabinet. He wasn't going down like some innie punk. Slowly, he reached into a cabinet he hadn't opened in a long time.
"Hey, get out here!" shouted the man standing in the hallway, still reloading. "You're just gonna make this harder for yourself!"
Silence. Maybe the old geezer had gone down already. He walked forward, weapon raised. A blur of movement from one side of the room caught his eye, and earned a trio of shotgun blasts. In the split second the man noticed that it had been a small cushion he'd perforated, Tobias' head popped up over the counter, along with a pair of pistols.
Twenty-four rounds impacted his torso, sending him staggering backwards, each hit going through bone and flesh and blood as the bullets found their mark. The man, who definitely wasn't a delivery boy, collapsed to the floor. Tobias breathed a sigh of relief, and stepped out from cover, reloading one of his M6C pistols. While he technically wasn't allowed to buy guns any more, signing up for Reach's militia a few months back had given him plenty of opportunities to grab what he could. He strode over to the corpse, ignoring the slight twinge of pain from his left leg, which was playing up again.
"What?!" he shouted, kicking the body. "You think that one boy can take one of us down? Pathetic."
Now he was pissed off. Tobias might be washed up, out of shape, and a number of other words pertaining to a retired killer such as himself, but if he was getting fucked over, he'd appreciate someone with a little talent. Seriously, these idiots need to-
The rest of his train of thought was interrupted by a crash, as a figure dropped in through his window, dressed all in black gear. Dropping to avoid a hail of gunfire, Tobias couldn't help but feel a little pleased that they were making an effort to take him out. The moment the fire stopped, he raised his pistol and peeked over the counter, only to see a boot heading right for his face. He moved back, a little too slowly, and was knocked over by the second assassin.
Rolling over, Tobias scrabbled to his feet, snatching a kitchen knife just in time to see another blade whistle past his head. He took a step back, taking a good look at his foe. This one was in lightweight black armour, a balaclava hiding his features. Both men immediately settled into combat stances, knives raised.
"Hey, you sure you're up for this?" sneered Tobias. It didn't matter if he had his face covered, the guy had young, inexperienced eyes. They sent another goddamn boy after me.
There was no response. Instead, his foe darted forward, knife slashing and cutting through the air, clashing with the older man's one as they move across the room. Tobias' confident smile began to fade, a look of intense concentration settling on his features. With a sudden swing, both weapons clashed, flipping from their user's hands in an instant. The assassin launched himself at Tobias, pushing him back with every blow traded, not seeming to tire. Eventually, a kick sent the man back onto his coffee table, smashing the glass.
Trying to ignore the numerous cuts over his body, Tobias picked himself up. "Well, you ain't bad," he grunted as his foe watched him. Strange. The man waited for him to get up before launching another offensive, clearly beginning to gain an advantage as he pummelled the older man, who was able to finally gain a grip, flinging his opponent against a wall before kicking him to the ground. To his credit, his foe only let out a short grunt of pain before leaping to his feet and continuing the fight. Ducking under a punch, he grabbed Tobias' left arm. A second later, there was a snap and a groan of agony from the man, who was promptly thrown over the counter.
"Shit, shit, shit..." He wasn't going to win this one. Thirty years ago, when he'd been at the top of his game, the other guy would've been dead meat. Not now. His left arm was pretty much screwed for the time being, and the only exits were the front door, blocked by his enemy, and the window, which he wasn't taking. Tobias lifted himself up, and, gritting his teeth, went in for the kill. He couldn't feel the pain so much any more, fighting desperately with one arm against the younger, better foe. I'll take the bastard with me.
Dodging another blow, he dashed forward and opened a second cabinet, grabbing a box he had drunkenly labelled 'Fuck it all'. Funny, seeing as he was actually going to use it for it's purpose. Before the assassin could reach him, Tobias pulled out a grenade belt, and slipped his finger through one of the pins. The man stopped in his tracks.
"Yeah, that's it, shithead. You bastards think I didn't have a plan for this?"
He hadn't planned for this. The man stood there, observing his target as he edged towards the door. He sighed, and held his hand out.
"Give those to me, now," he said in a low, but clear voice.
"So you can shoot me? Nope."
Before Tobias could take another step, the man flicked his wrist and, quick as a flash, a small pistol extended from within his sleeve, the first few shots severing the wounded man's fingers, causing him to drop the grenade belt while others struck his torso and lower chest. He dropped like a sack of bricks; the grenades were snatched away before they hit the floor.
"Well, shit," muttered Tobias, looking down in disbelief at his wounds. "Shit." His eyes rolled upwards into his head. The man looked down on him for a few seconds, and fired twice more into his skull, just in case. Then, he walked out without a second glance at the corpse.
"This is 32. Tobias Crowley has been eliminated. Agent 38 is dead."
"Copy that, 32. Any issues?"
"He had a supply of weapons around his house. Pistols, grenades and the like. Got him with the snapshot."
"Double tap to the head. You can recall the others."
"Doing that now. Excellent work, 32. Glad to see you're as efficient as ever. We're recalling our second and third teams now, proceed to extraction ASAP."
"Understood. Crowley's paid for Heimdall. Out."
32 stood in Tobias Crowley's cluttered bedroom, looking round as the various holo-stills, books, and even photographs he had collected. All of them were dated as at last thirty years old, showing a much younger, fitter man standing alongside his comrades. In the wardrobe an old dress uniform still hung there, a ragged, slightly bloodstained headwrap on the hanger next to it. It obviously had some significance to the man. Still, it was all to be burned. Nothing would exist of this man, aside from a few footnotes in classified files and old rosters. He took the headwrap, and stowed it in his pocket. That would be all that remained of Tobias Crowley. Besides, he hadn't been alive for the last thirty years; he'd been rotting in prison. Tobias had been on borrowed time, and if there was one thing that ONI hated, it was lending time to the dead. 32 exited the apartment. Mission over.