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Neurothought Issue 0

Issue 0

Shanghai, China. Beautiful city during both day and night, but what's under the city is the part they'd prefer to keep hidden. Drug runners, human trafficking, every crime you could possibly think of. There's petty crime, sure, but what's that compared to the stuff I'm contracted to do. Knocking off kingpins, executing cops threatening to tell. It's a wonder I can still sleep at night. I guess I've just gotten used to it.

Marcus Grimm sits on the edge of a rooftop overlooking a building across the street. Atop that building is a glass penthouse. A penthouse that belongs to one of the most influential crime bosses in all of Shanghai.

Two guards watching each door. Guards walking balconies, catwalks, and other walks outside the building. Each loaded with military grade weaponry. I guess that's how influential he is.

Marcus stands up on the edge of the roof he's sitting upon. He reaches down to his belt and removes a helmet. He places it on his head, snaps it closed, and presses a button on the side.

Thermal imaging. Never ceases to amaze me. More guards watching the back and the roof. Maybe more masking their thermal imprint. I'll need to be careful. But then again, this isn't the hardest I've gone up against.

Marcus flips his hood over the mask and raises his wrist. A grappling hook shoots out of his gauntlet, attaches to the building across the street, and pulls Marcus off the side of the building. He lands on the side of the building and grabs onto the edge of the roof. The grappling hook recedes back into his gauntlet and Marcus climbs up onto the roof. He crouches down, and moves quietly across the roof, sticking to the shadows.

I am so glad this roof isn't covered in gravel.

Marcus stops behind an A/C unit. He presses against his mask, and the thermal imaging reappears.

One guard coming around the corner, no guard here. I have to make this fast.

Marcus runs over to a rail, jumps up on it, jumps onto the next rail, then onto the catwalk. He jumps onto the roof of the penthouse and waits for the guard to move closer. Marcus presses another button on his mask.

Great. No heart rate monitors, no cameras on person. I can make my move.

The guard nears Marcus. The guard stops next to the window. Marcus unsheathes a knife from his belt, leaps off the roof, and plunges the knife in the guard's chest. Marcus grabs the guard's keycard and follows his path down the catwalk. The next guard approaches. Marcus hides in the shadows. The guard crosses him, and turns the corner. He stops when he sees his partner's dead body. Marcus comes up behind him and slits the guard's throat, catching him before he hits the ground. Marcus continues down the catwalk, and he comes across the side door to the penthouse. There are two guards standing in front of the door. Marcus removes a shuriken from his belt, launching it at the guards, it slices through one guard's neck and sticks in the next. Marcus runs over and catches the bodies, making sure they did not make a noise to attract any guards.

Marcus uses the keycard to open the door leading into the penthouse. The lock clicks and the door opens, leading Marcus into a small greenhouse. He presses against the side of his mask.

No cameras. Perfect.

Marcus sneaks to the door on the other side of the greenhouse and turns the knob. The door is unlocked. Marcus opens the door slowly, making sure there are no guards walking down the hallway.

No guards. This turned out easier than I thought.

Marcus slides out of the greenhouse into the hallway of the penthouse.

"I don't care what we have to pay, just pay it!" shouted a man in the next room. "We have to find this traitor before they can do anything about it!"

Marcus sneaks over to the end of the hallway. He peaks his head around the corner and sees a thin man in a white suit yelling into his cell-phone. An old man steps off of the elevator with two guards on either side of him.

"Mister Lao. I see you haven't taken care of that... turncoat problem?" said the man. He had a thick Russian accent. All Marcus could see was his thin gray hair.

"Not yet, Mister –" Lao begins.

"Ah ah ah, Mister Lao. Call me by my real name," says the man.

"My apologies, Russian. I haven't taken care of the problem," Lao explains.

"That is most unfortunate. I'd hate to see your organization fall apart." The Russian explained, "I'll leave my guards with you for protection. I feel a... presence here in the house." The Russian turns to leave, keeping his head down. All Marcus could make out was a scar going down the side of his face. It looked new, like it had happened just recently.

"You two can just go. I have guards standing watch at every entrance," Lao commands.

"We'll sweep the hallways, and report back to you if you need any assistance. We will stay on the premises just in case," says one of the guards.

"Fine. Just stay out of my way," Lao orders. The guards salute and turn towards the hallway in the back of the penthouse. Lao sits down on the couch and looks down at his phone. Marcus sneaks into the living room. He stands up and walks over to Lao.

"Shang Lao, you have met your end," Marcus says.

"What the? How the hell did you get in here?!" Lao asks. One of the guards enters the living room with his gun pointed up.

"What's wrong, Mr. Lao?" asked the guard.

"Can't you see him?! He's standing right there!" Lao shouts at the guard. The guard lowers his gun.

"Sir, there's nobody there," the guard explains. Lao turns back to Marcus.

"How does he not see you?" he asks.

"The perks of being a telepath. I can make people see what they want to see. Or what I want them to see," Marcus explains. Suddenly, the guard starts shrieking.

"The spiders! Get them off me! AAH!"

Lao turns back to Marcus, who is stepping towards him. Marcus grabs Lao by the neck and throws him onto the couch.

"You see, Lao. I'm an honorable assassin. That's why I'd like to tell you who sold you out to me. It was Han. Yahui Han," Marcus begins. Lao's face goes red with anger. "Oh, I take it you know him?"

"Yahui Han is my second in command. The highest ranking official in this organization below me. If I were to die, he'd get my position and become the new head of the organization," Lao explains.

"And I'd have one of the largest Chinese militias on my side and I'd be making a buttload of cash. So it works out for all of us. Well, except you... since you're about to die," Marcus chuckles.

"If I am going to die, at least tell me your name," Lao pleads.

Marcus unsheathes his sword from his back.

"I'm Neurothought."


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