Light streamed through a set of venetian blinds, slicing through dimmed shadows like a knife through the mob snitch.

Trace reached into his pocket, removing a pack of cigarettes. With some hesitation, he began to remove one, but this movement gradually flowed into one of conviction. Another moment, and it was lit. Gradually, the tobacco's scent covered the previously musky air.

Life is short... learn to die a little was his justification. A cynical mantra, but one he dedicated himself steadfastly to.

Inhaling the smoke, he turned to his laptop.


Scarce seconds passed before a familiar voice expelled in a whisper from his PET. "...who're we torturing today, old man?"

Even weeks off-duty can't disarm his bite, Trace mused with a grunt. "Just you."


Trace removed the cigarette from the corner of his mouth for a moment, blowing out the life reaping smoke before continuing.

"I've heard intelligence about a high profile gathering on NetSquare... you know protocol."


Syncopating his talk with another pause, Trace stood up, and detached his PET from the laptop. "I hope being comatose hasn't made you any slower on the draw."

With another gesture, he dispatched Triggerman from his PET.

Now alone, he walked over the venetian blinds shielding the windows. Spying through the crevices between them, he witnessed the progress of a bleak day. The clouds hung like false saints.

A perfect day to do some dying.