And it ends...

I don't look around, first rule in a situation where you're not sure what superiority your opponent has over you is make sure that you can take him before you move on him. Patience is always the first virtue of a good agent.

"Geno." I keep my voice light.

"Funny how things work out isn't it?" he says, a note of irony in his voice. I don't know what to say now, this isn't something I was prepared for. After a second or so, I hear the door to Pats office close behind me.

"I imagine you're asking why right now." I can hear the smile.

"Something like that." my tone is level, but my mind is racing.

"Easy enough really, I'm tired of the racism in SLA industries, decided it was time to take things into my own hands."

"Eh?" it's about the best thing I can think of at the moment, another footfall sounds as Geno moves around, he's probably going to want to look in my eyes before he kills me. Attempts to kill me, that's what I've got to think at the moment, attempts. It's all too easy to fall into the path of fatalism when you're in a situation like this, important not to though.

"Well" it sounds as if I'm in for a long explanation "If Pat goes down, you get the head position, if you go down, your second gets the job, so somehow, all three have to go down before I get the position, simple enough so far, yes?"

"Yes." So far.........

"Couldn't just walk in and off the three of you, so I had to concoct a way to make it look like one large plot that tragically took the lives of our best and brightest."

"Right..........." I relax my gun hand and slowly lower it towards the floor, keeping it looking, from the back, as if I've still got the gun raised.

"Anyway, got that old book, looked through and figured that there was mileage in it, knew that the first one would get you to call me so it looked like you were the one calling me on to the case and not the other way around, gave the book to Mina, you know how she loved a good book, and the rest I left to you."

He's right, the request is logged from me from day one, and given the circumstances of the kill, no one in their right mind would suspect an ebon, as geno himself pointed out at the site of the first killing.

"What about the rest?" it's stalling for time, I'm now using the exact same tactics as pat was just minutes ago, I've got to keep him busy while I manage something else.

"Well, the big frothing idiot was fine until someone took away all his senses, after that it was childs play."

"The chemicals?"

He laughs. It's a short, brutal bark totally devoid of humour "I'm an ebon, of course I don't have any other skills, racism works both ways, they'd never suspect an ebon of having an imagination."

There's a soft creak as he sits in the chair directly behind me and leans back, good, he's getting comfortable, there's a good chance I can pull this one off.

"And the others?" got to keep him talking.

He sighs, the noise deafening in the silence of the office "Disobedience was easy, just drop them into the machine and give the workers a little loose change to report it, corpulence was fun, took a while, but it was worth it." He pauses again, a sarcastic tone creeping into his voice "You didn't actually think that the glyph on her bits told me where to find that box do you?" He laughs quietly to drive the point home "People don't look for answers if they already have them, that's what I've been doing since day one."

I grit my teeth, feeling my grip tighten involuntarily on the handle of my gun, he's right, but he's been playing on the trust of people that he's built friendships with, how were we to suspect?

"Eve" he goes on "Eve didn't know what hit her, of course she didn't suspect me, I just told her that Pat had sent me instead. I took her to one of the DownTown bars that serve live food and got her to eat a bowlful of carn worms, you see, they don't become active until they're inside the body, she thought she was eating biscuits, kept complimenting the cook on the fine food. I've got you to thank for that, if you hadn't taken her down to bubbles, she'd never have gone with me."

I shudder with the image, but he's not finished.

"Funny thing, she called me when the maggots started eating her out, she figured that I might know something about what was happening to her. Smart girl, shame really." He sounds almost wistful about the whole thing, as if he was describing a bad school report.

"But she was found downtown, by Argent."

"Ah yes" I can hear the smile again "Argent, one of mine, calling in favours from a Shiver captain, what a ridiculous excuse. Of course you found her DownTown, couldn't have you turning up at her apartment to find it overrun with maggots and my fingerprints all over the place could I? But that will be solved by the time IAB get around to looking."

He's beginning to enjoy himself here, sounds like he's wanted to bring all this out into the open for a long time.

"What about Mina? What did she ever do to you?" my voice breaks a little as I say the words.

There's a momentary pause, and his voice is a little softer when he speaks "aye, it was a shame that I had to do her."

"Why's that?" I spit.

"Well, simple logic, if I could have left her alive, then I could have been there to console her when you died couldn't I............."

I shake my head and look down briefly "She took you in off the streets when you first came into the service, she was there for you when you needed a friend." I'm trembling now, the adrenalin working full speed in preparation for what I'll have to do here in a second.

"She was, yes, so no, it wasn't fair, but hey, newsflash for you boy, life isn't fair, you should know that by now."

Oh yes, how familiar I am with how unfair life is, this only leaves two killings though, and I'm nearly ready to make my move, just a little more time.

"So how did you figure on getting away with this then?"

"Simplicity dear boy" I hear the chair creak as he stands back up again. "I got a call from pat this morning asking me to come in for a second as he was a little concerned about you. He'd reviewed the reports of what had happened with Mina and figured you might put two and two together to get fifty seven."

I hear him move around to directly behind me, I don't have long left now.

"Anyway" Geno continues, unconcernedly "I figured that you'd come in here and do him, then I'd do you, and then you've got the two killings. Treachery, you betrayed Pat, who'd done nothing wrong, and then, joy of joys, I turn up with the truth about what's happened and put you down in self defence."

"But what about the camera's in here, they'd record what'd happened."

"Not if someone" - My own bloody SCL card floats gently past my eyes, held in the air by his TK - "turned off the camera's using a stolen override key that he wasn't supposed to have."

"So what about the killings, I wouldn't have had a motive for any of them" I know what he's going to say now, all I need are mere seconds. He snorts contemptuously.

"Perfect cover for the killer don't you think?" He raises his voice a little to an imitation of a woman from an average B movie. "Oh officer, how could you think it was me, they were my friends." He sneers "Then you got an attack of conscience and listened to him instead of just walking in and killing him, so I had to take matters into my own hands."

I've heard enough, the gun's in my hand and I'm ready "One last thing Geno..........."

"What's that, dude?"

"Couldn't you have just asked for the job?"

He laughs hale and heartily at that and as he starts laughing, I spin and drop down, bringing my gun to bear as I do so. He stops laughing instantly and brings his gun back down to sight on my head, our eyes meet and in that instant, we both know who's won the game.