Gaslamp

The street was unlit but the orange haze from light pollution on the low smog gave the same impression that the gaslamps would have done. The street was peppered with them: no carefully planned avenue like the Victorians did with trees, but ranging forth from the ground like the earth's tuber had started to sprout. Intricate, twisted things. Ugly, purposeless things, thought Chase Profit.

;Here's the place, all right.' He tugged at his Armani suit. The ride on Jacob's cycle had twisted at the arm and Chase sneered at the damage his tailor would do to the credscore. Company account: red tape.

Jacob grunted. She wasn't much of a talker, which suited Chase fine. He'd have had to ask the polite question as to whether Jacob was her first- or surname. Jacob unholstered a shiny new railgun and used it to point to the end of the road.

It was hard to make out in the dimness, but it looked like one figure stood in the middle of the road. Chase's eyes flashed blue as he adjusted the magnification. 10x. 25x.

A single figure, rail-track mohawk and no visible augments, leant on a shotgun - as if it was a cane and this was a more civilised time.

;One guy. Looks like Sid. King punk must be feeling lucky - hasn't brought no backup.'

Jacob cleared her throat.

;Not that you can see.'

;Hey! These eyes are expensive.' Chase adjusted the filter and threw up a heatmap. Orange-red Sid bathed in a pool of darkness. Tiny pinpricks where the gaslamps were: old filament maybe.

Chase flipped his vision back to standard and started walking towards Sid. Half a step behind him, Jacob followed suit. Both flinched as Sid swung the shotgun up, were taken aback as he levelled the gun at the nearest gaslamp instead.

A crack of the shotgun, the tinkling of glass falling to earth, the unmistakable whomf of electromagnetic pulse - each one triggering the containment at the next gaslamp.

Chase's vision plunged into inky blackness. Beside him, Jacob jutted frantically at the trigger but her railgun had gone offline too. A second crack from the shotgun and a sickening squelch of Jacob crumpling to the floor beside him. From the sputtering, sounded like the slug had hit her in the lungs.

Chase could feel the weight of his pistol against his leg. He didn't have time to draw it, let alone knew the precise direction to fire in. Even as Sid walked closer, heavy Doc Martens echoing across the cobbles, Chase hung still. Not so much rooted in fear, more hanging in disappointment.

Sid stopped in front of Chase. Scrape of metal on cobbles suggests he again leaned on the shotgun.

;Well, well, well, boy. Looks like I'm going to turn me some Profit.'

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Gaslamp

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