Death and Taxes 15
"Did you see the look on his face?" Dee giggled as she dragged us through the astral plane. "Jedi Bayts was so mad!"
After the first week of running circles around the Jedi and Zeltron intelligence services, the local Watchman called for reinforcements. Of the half dozen Jedi who arrived, Soon Bayts was the most fun since he took things entirely too seriously. Come on dude, you're on Zeltros, lighten up. Our game stayed civilized though; I even stuck to stunning spells instead of falling back on pepper spray and tasers. It was all in good fun, so I'd have felt bad about actually hurting anyone. It did get a little dicey near the end though, I may have pushed Soon a little too far.
"Do you think the autograph was too much?" I asked innocently, waving the piece of paper I tricked him into signing for me. Turns out, you can tune a Notice-Me-Not to affect ESP as well as the regular five senses. I almost got away with it, but a handshake let him power through the spell.
Death's laugh turned into a snort as we landed in her apartment. "I think you've got a death wish," she chided me. "Just can't stop poking the bear, can you?"
"Of course I've got a death wish," I said, slapping her butt. "I'ma wish this ass alright."
She sort of hop-skipped away, rubbing her bum. "Hey, quit it, you're back on the clock," she said, giving a mock scowl as she scolded me.
I groaned dramatically and retrieved Emtoo from my luggage. "Already? Such a slave driver; you're just gonna work me to death, aren't you? I'll bet that's my destined demise, ain't it?"
"Oh something will be your demise if you don't get back to work," she snarked back at me, making one of her manilla folders appear out of thin air.
Reverting the shrinking charms on my luggage, I sent Emtoo into my workshop. "Get your charging station assembled; I'll come hook it up to the mains in a bit," I told him before turning back to my boss and taking the folder. "Where- oh… well that sucks," I commented, skimming the dossier.
"It shouldn't be too difficult, she's not anything special. And with his death, the area should actually be pretty calm," Death pointed out. "In fact, I want you to use this as practice; the local planar conditions make astral travel relatively easy, so you're handling your own insertion."
"Gee, thanks for the confidence," I said drily. "I'd just hate to inconvenience you with my travel needs." Taking a seat at the kitchen table, I gave the dossier my full attention for a minute before glancing back up. Death had begun puttering around the kitchen, starting the coffeemaker and pulling ingredients out for baking. "Hey, mind if I take some personal time afterwards?" I asked, getting her attention. "Since I'm handling my travel on this one."
She arched an eyebrow at me. "The same kind of personal time that had you sending Yoda a copy of your Star Wars novels?" she asked with a note of amusement.
I grimaced slightly. Busted. "You saw that, huh?"
"Just because I'm not omniscient doesn't mean I'm blind," she pointed out. "There's only so many reasons for you to hook your Kindle up to Emtoo."
"That a problem?" I asked hesitantly.
"Do I look like Destiny to you? You're still mortal, go nuts."
This was actually the first time I'd returned to Chicago since I'd started working for Death. Can't say it's improved much; still number two on my most hated US cities list. At least while the architecture wasn't going to be improved by my work here, the city itself would benefit tremendously. After things stopped exploding, of course.
The surveillance on this one didn't take long. The target was a public figure, a businesswoman. She had to be out and about, even if only at night. Her bodyguards varied the routes, but there was still only one street that went past the front of her house. It was a clear December evening when I set up shop on a roof with clear sightlines. Bianca St. Claire's town car pulled out at 7pm as she left and I fired my borrowed SMAW into its back window.
The explosion was rather pretty, flame and smoke billowing everywhere as the windows blew out, spreading bits of vampire and enthralled bodyguard out the windshield. Of course, Bianca herself wasn't going to go down to just a rocket. I dropped the launcher and hefted my rifle, drawing a bead on her as she forced her way out of the burning vehicle. With her flesh mask burned to cinders, she was a horror of black flesh and fangs wearing the smoking remains of an evening gown. Then a 7.62mm round entered the side of her head and she wasn't anything at all.
I apparated down to the scene to put out the fire and collect a trophy. The shattered remains of her head would do nicely with a preservation charm. Returning to the roof, I collected my gear and was gone before her minions had even left the mansion.
The next stake-out was gonna be more difficult, I wonder if Mac would make steak sandwiches to go…
The problem with Château Raith was that the White Vampires had very sensibly built it far enough away from the road that I couldn't see the house. Also, they apparently had someone on payroll with enough talent to set up detection wards. Sure, I could break them, but then I'd be up to my asshole in mortal and vampire security. Nothnx. Worse, Lord Raith didn't even stay at the Chicago estate all the time, so if he left town, I'd have to track him down and redo all this work.
Raith was also more reclusive, not gallivanting all over town every evening. Instead, he had people come to him. About a week in, I was actually considering a trojan horse ploy when I finally got lucky. The camera droids I'd infiltrated over the wall pinged me with an alert; Raith was departing in his limousine.
I had to scramble a bit to get to my car and missed any opportunity to try a rocket again. Fortunately, a white stretch limo isn't exactly inconspicuous, so I picked it up as they headed out of the neighborhood. Tailing was a bit tricky, especially since I only had one vehicle. Would have been a lot easier if I had a team, but I had to make do with magic and technology from the future. When we hit the freeway, I just pulled over and apparated to the next exit. Then I waited under a Notice-Me-Not until they drove past and stuck a tracking device to the car with banishing and sticking charms. After that, it was a matter of following them on my datapad.
It turned out Lord Raith was leaving town. When they got off 294 and headed for Chicago Executive Airport, I knew I had to take the shot. The trick was finding the right… oh. As I apparated to the roof of the airport, I realized that the white and gold Learjet taxiing out of the hangar was probably his. That gave me enough time to throw up a hide and get settled.
I only waited a few minutes before the limo arrived. The bodyguards got out first, a pair of identical twins, and they scanned the surroundings before giving the all clear. Raith's eldest daughter, Lara, exited next. I had to admit, she was pretty hot, even if not quite my type. I also had footage of her getting boned by her dad, which was pretty gross. Especially since he couldn't actually feed on her, so it was just pure sadism. There was a reason I was making her father a personal project.
Then Lord Raith himself got out. He was tall, dark-haired like his daughter, fairly good looking. Really not my type though. He genially offered his arm to Lara, who took it obediently. I exhaled as they turned towards the plane, then, as he stepped past the bodyguard, squeezed the trigger.
It wasn't exactly a perfect shot. I was an excellent marksman, but not elite tier and there hadn't been time to check the wind or distance. It didn't matter though, Lord Raith was less than 300 yards distant and walking away. The bullet was aimed straight at his stupid vampire skull and the white court was by far the most fragile species of vampire. And none of that mattered, since he turned and caught the bullet in his bare hand. Our eyes met as he stared straight through my concealment charm, a faint smirk quirking his lips.