Rifles For Plaening

A science fiction story in Jeremy Hunter by Gary Bloom

Characters: Kro

"Are you wearing head gear? Night vision goggles or something?" The Corral Snakes founder was uncomfortable in the darkened warehouse, but far from nervous. His voice held steady. "You know, I like to see the whites of a man's eyes, son."

"That's a problem when my eyes don't have whites."

Kro stepped out from the shadows. As he moved towards the center of the room, dim light from across the room glinted off his jet black eyes. Over his back, the mercenary carried a long, gray canvas bag.

"Are those my new guns?"

Instead of answering, Kro slung the bag down from his shoulder. Placing one end on the floor, he pressed a release stud on the other. Slowly and quietly the polymer seal loosened and the mouth of the bag widened. As it expanded, he pulled out one of the rifles and handed it to Plaening. The rifle was Ares Elite grade, designed specifically for the Olympus Union's super soldiers.

"Very nice," Plaening said, hefting the weapon and checking the site. "Three more just like it in there, right?"

"Don't doubt me, Marshall," Kro answered with only the trace of a smile. "You should know better than that."

"Fair enough, son, fair enough." He handed the gun back to the black-eyed man. Kro returned it to the bag. "Where did you get these four anyway?"

"It shouldn't matter, just as long as your money's good."

Marshall Plaening nodded understanding. Pulling out a small, thin device he tapped two of the buttons and squeezed one on the side. The tiny screen lit up and a blue line ran across the display. When it had traveled fully from the left to the right side, a faint beep sounded from the back.

"Money has been transferred to the designated account, on delivery, as promised."

"Thanks." Kro lifted the bag with one gloved hand, extending it over to the Corral Snake. "What'd you have planned for these things anyway?"

"Much as you said, if my money is good, it shouldn't really matter, right? Still, I'm of the benevolent sort. Let's just say that we have an irritant to exterminate, and leave it at that. Sound fair to you?"

"You're the customer," Kro grinned. "It's always fair."

"Excellent, thank you my boy. Now, the more important question is if you can get me any more of these guns. Quickly. Once I introduce the rifles to my compatriots, four simply won't be enough."

"People never seem to catch on," Kro shook his head. "I'll play it straight for you, Marshall, no jokes. You see, if you can come up with money, I can come up with guns, no problem. I'll take that as an official request and get back to you when I have what you need. We'll be in touch."

As the mercenary slipped back into the shadows, Marshall Plaening let a sadistic grin spread his lips. Jeremy Hunter had yet to stand on the wrong side of the Ares Elite. The time would be coming soon, though. Soon indeed.