I entered the fleet marines when I was seventeen. The first three years were in a combat line unit. After that I went into special operations and stayed for seventeen years. I spent another ten doing special operation planning as a sergeant major. I retired from fleet after thirty years and joined the constables.
Five years on special violent response teams and another five as a lieutenant with several teams. Fifteen more as a captain and then as a district commander running organized crime units. What I got for that was a dead wife and two dead children. I had a real hatred for organized gangs but at seventy two I was forced to retire.
That was when I woke in the middle of the night to intruders and found royal guards and the emperor. He looked at the pistol in my hand and smiled as his guards shifted nervously, “Mr Angel I have a job for you.”
I frowned as I looked at him and then the guards. I moved into the kitchen and set the pistol on the counter and started heating water. According to the doctor I was not supposed to drink coffee but late night visits like this ... I added a couple of types of blends and poured a cup and looked at him.
The emperor smiled, “black.”
I snorted as I poured a second cup, “is there any other way to drink it?”
He grinned as I carried the cups to the table and sat. He took a sip and sighed, “this is off the record.”
I sipped my coffee, “I would hope so since you woke me up.”
He nodded and turned to accept a comp screen. He switched the comp screen on and pushed it across the table, “this is a classified report.”
I picked it up and began to read and looked at him, “you are kidding?”
He shook his head, “what makes it worse is these bastards are using our laws to protect them. Right now we are tracking more than two dozen organized criminal gangs operating in three empires, two kingdoms, three federations and two republics.”
I sipped my coffee as I thought, “and what do you want me to do?”
He smiled, “I want you to put together a black operation team from all the involved governments. We can not officially acknowledge you but we can support you.”
I laughed and shook my head, “I am seventy two.”
He smiled, “there are ways. Clones and mind transfers and...”
I shook my head as I stood to pace, “I like my own body.”
He opened his mouth but I held up a hand, “wait.”
I had a thousand and one things very few people knew about. I picked up the comp screen and looked at each government. I grinned and looked at the guards, “step out and cover your ears.”
They looked at the emperor who nodded and they did as I asked. I bent and whispered and he listened and nodded and then grinned and sat back, “give me a day and I will have your answer. If it is yes?”
I looked at the men in the other room, “I need the files I told you I would want and the ship, equipment and everything else.”
Twenty hours later I was taking a shuttle up to the system merchant station. I took a room in a hostel and accepted a courier package a few hours after that. I spent the first week reading classified files from ten different governments. I began to pick people and used the unlisted comp in the package.
A week later a huge yacht docked and the crew walked away. I checked out and carried my bag to the boarding lounge and walked aboard. I put my things in the owner’s cabin and over the next week I began accepting supplies. It was another week before people started to show up and they were all old and retired.
Finally a week and they were all here and I walked into the huge common area. I held up my hand and everyone went quiet. I nodded, “your government and mine has asked for your help. They want us to search out organized criminal gangs operating across our governments. This is a black operation so if anyone has a problem speak now.”
I waited as they looked around and one cleared his throat, “just how much do they think a bunch of old people can do?”
I grinned, “you can all still pull a trigger but your question of age was my next topic. How many of you know about Oceania and essence?”
They all raised their hands and I nodded, “and how many know about artificial perpetual essence?”
They looked at each other and I started my speech. An hour and they were all hooked and ready to start. First there were the shifts to move the ship out of the system. I began the therapy in groups of five. Each got two liters of blood removed and three liters of artificial perpetual essence put back in.
There was one shift where everyone connected neural nets and used an AI interface to access a super comp game world. It covered and taught unarmed fighting, weapons training and new comp skills. Finally there was training with the constable response armored suit from New Sidney, that had not been easy to get.
First we picked the largest known organization and began to follow the credits as far as we could. We had a dozen systems where Merchant ships picked up a full cargo hold of credits. The credit trail ended with them but they all went to Morph which was a grey world. Since we were not able to get into the banking system, the ship headed to Morph.
Beside the crew shifts we were split into five teams of five. All the Merchant ships arrived or departed on the same day each month. By the time we arrived in Morph we were in shape and looked like we were just out of our teens. I put one team on surveillance at the port and two for backup wearing the response suits.
The other two teams set up surveillance on the banks in the city. It was not easy getting eyes and ears inside the banks but we did it. When the first Merchant ship arrived, large lorries were waiting. Ten hours and two dozen more ships were landing beside the first. The lorries were loaded and began making trips through the city.
That was when we almost lost them. They did not go to a bank but a large warehouse. There were hundreds of sheet deposit machines running while men fed the sheets and pads into them. One of the bugs in a bank picked up a few words and we got an account. A little hacking and we had a name and a location.
Once all the credits were deposited I brought everyone in and we began to plan. First we cut off the head and get any and all names they were paying. If we needed to we would make a few house calls on local gang leaders. First we used sats for the estate we were going to hit. One team was support and the other four went in.
The suits made us invisible and I moved smoothly as I jumped and swung over the wall. I dropped and started walking and checked the holographic display. It showed the others spread out to my right. I moved towards the front door and the two guards beside it. I checked the other teams before I aimed and fired.
This was rehearsed and the man on the left spun and fell as gore exploded out the back of his head. The other man was also falling as I let my rifle hang. I opened the door and walked in as I lifted my rifle, “Dark Angel one in.”
Each of the others reported as we began to search. We had timed it so that all four teams entered the house at the same time. So far a dozen men were dead and they did not know we were here. I headed for the master bedroom as the others spilt up to search the two dozen other suites and rooms.
I let the rifle hang and pulled my pistol and shot a guard walking in the hall. I caught him before he could fall and lowered him to the floor. I felt the master bedroom door and used the suit augmentation to break the lock. I pushed the door open and stepped into a small sitting area. A huge dog rushed across the room and I shot it in the head.
I moved to the other door and opened it and walked in. There were two women in the bed and a man who was sitting up holding a pistol. I crossed the room as he lifted the weapon and kept pointing it at the door. I bent over the bed and one hand caught the hand with the weapon and the other closed on his throat.
I yanked and straightened and he struggled as I turned and lifted him. I walked out with him dangling from my hand. He had already dropped the weapon and both hands were grasping the suit arm. In the study I dropped him and shut the suit camo off. I aimed the pistol, “you will tell me what I want to know.”
He glared, “you are dead.”
I bent to grab a foot and lifted. I slammed it against the wall and aimed and shot one toe off. He screamed as I put the pistol away and pulled a micro plasma torch. I seared what was left of his toe which only made him scream louder. I dropped the foot and yanked him to his feet, “you will tell me what I want to know.”
He did eventually and not only did we get his entire operation and all the people they had paid off, we also got all the accounts and the credits. I shot him between the eyes before we left and headed back to the ship. His organization spanned six governments and we sent each one a list of people that had been paid or were working for them.
We showered and changed and headed into the city the next morning. We would be leaving that night and with all the credits we had made everyone wanted a little time off. We split up after leaving the port and I went to see a vid. I decided to walk and stretch my legs. Several blocks and I was passing a large window with two teenage girls in it.
They were naked and waving and kept looking back at a man holding a short whip. I hesitated before turning and walking into the shop. One look at the walls and I knew this was a black market slave and bond shop. I was tempted to shoot the two men in the shop but held my temper. I gestured to the girls, “how much?”
One of the men snorted, “if you have to ask...”
I drew my weapon and aimed and he froze as the other man shifted. I glanced at him, “I will ask again. How much?”
The man licked his lips, “ten thousand each.”
I nodded and gestured to the store comp, “list both.”
He moved slowly, “we have protection.”
I snorted, “protection will not help you if you are already dead.”
I looked at the other man, “give the whip to the girls and move to the wall.”
He tossed the whip and turned and crossed to the wall. I pulled my comp and entered the credits and reached out to touch the shop comp. When it beeped I put my comp away and gestured to the girls, “time to go.”
I looked at the two men, “you should be more polite to customers before one shoots you.”
I backed to the door and turned and pushed the girls out. I put the pistol away and kept them moving down the street. People turned to look since the girls were naked and I finally turned in at a clothing store. I had the girls measured and then bought them dresses. When we came out I glanced back at the slave shop before turning the other way.
I looked at the girls, “hungry?”