• The Harkonen Gun
    Vladimir has some understanding of swords. He knew they were works of art in themselves. Often, the same smiths wold build his gun parts along fine blades.
    What he held was much less a blade and more a long spike. He had it made by the same smith who made his repeater. In the crowded sewers, he had no choice but to rely on his spike.
    "Not that it matters." He thought. How many of these people were already dead? The only ones he could tell were alive were huffing from jars and rags. The smell of the chemicals was not as strong as the smell of waste and death.
    Some were drinking or smoking whatever they could find. Through the light of random, small fires and candles, Vladimir spotted a trembling man covered in sores. Vladimir lost himself in this scene of despair. The trembling man struggled to place a cartridge in a syringe.
    The world around Vladimir disappeared as he found himself standing over the man, watching as he fidgeted with a tourniquet. The man shook as his syringe hovered over a sore on a rotting arm.
    "He's already dead," Vladimir thought. "I would only be exorcising a tormented ghost." He thought about placing his spike through the man's heart; maybe under the skull behind the neck.
    As if he heard, the man suddenly looked up and spoke in a begging, demanding voice. "You've got the wrong person. I'm still alive!" He began to gurgle before hacking and coughing, looking more defiant at Vladimir.
    "You're right." Vladimir said. "You're still alive," and walked away, stepping over bodies. He could hear people scurrying away in the darkness.
    "This city is not worth saving." Vladimir imagined several armored zeppelins carpet bombing the city. He could feel the cleansing fire showering him as the filth peeled away with his skin. He was going to pay extra and hire a Healer if he survived.
    As he trudged along, he heard crying, coughing and he heard the standard prayer. He started to tune it out. What perverted mind could think god existed after dwelling in this hell?
    As he made his way through the sewers, he heard several gunshots fired at once. Several minutes later as he traveled, he heard the same cluster of gunshots. He noticed he was near the source of the gunshots and went to investigate.
    Vladimir peered through a sewer grate to see men and women swinging bodies onto a cart. As they followed the cart, armed men stopped the people and diverted them against a bloody and chewed up wall.
    The people's dreary expressions turned to panic and fear as they realized what was happening. Vladimir heard whimpering and pleading as a clean cut officer stepped forward and spoke: "You, the people, are found guilty of dissidence and collaboration with the enemy. I hereby sentence you to death."
    Vladimir blurred out the scene as he focused on the man delivering the order. Anfried, was a political figurehead governing the occupied city of Davina. He was to administer fear to the population. Vladimir and his team were hired to return the terror in spades, starting with this man.
    During the initial briefing, Vladimir was put off by the way he was to assassinate Anfried. After witnessing the indifference and even mild amusement in his voice, Vladimir felt compelled to finish this job. He felt compelled to finish his contract, throw his weapons down and walk away in the opposite direction until he fell off the world.
    He traveled further until he came to the drainage ditch under a bridge. He exhaled into the fresh night air and smelled the sewer on his breath. Looking out around him, he saw a silhouette standing in the distance. Behind him he heard slow footsteps in the grass. To his left he saw another person that he could feel was watching him.