Driving through the city took hours. He drove towards the Mississippi River through the slum that made up most of the right side of Hazard City. Every street held a drug dealer on at least one corner, and a group of whores patrolling the sidewalks all looking for customers. The only streets that didn't, held large buildings with lots of neon lights.
Liza's vacant stare hung in Dylan's mind. She'll be another body to those cops. She'll be cleaned off the sidewalk, and they'll be off to the next shooting. It was all the cops of Hazard City were good for.
Dylan tried to ignore the underside of most cities he traveled through. Tonight, he couldn't. Every whore looked like Liza to him, every gangbanger her killer. He'd lost brothers, civilians, before, but none like this. The coldness in her killer's eyes, the pointlessness of Liza's execution. Nothing sat right, and he couldn't leave.
He arrived at the waterfront and looked for the bridge that connected the slums of Hazard City to its richer half. Between them sat an island. The island belonged to a shell company that belonged to half a hundred other shell companies all to hide a private military group, Talon.
Getting to the island isn't difficult. Go to the bridge that connects the two halves of Hazard City. An exit near the center will take you to the island. Go any other way and the inhabitant will know.
Any boat that gets close sends its data and communications through the island. An invisible barrier of sensors watches for movement in the water. Cameras linked to a small AI track boats incoming and watch their course, heat signatures, every piece of metric they can gather. In the few years, Dylan worked for Talon no one ever came to the island unannounced.
Dylan parked the stolen car on the island. Of the over a thousand acres on the island, most of it is covered in walls of metal shipping containers stacked at least three containers high. The inside is a maze of dead ends circles and miles of roads through. A crane moves some boxes around changing the layout every so often.
Only the yellow boxes don't move. They stand in scattered locations all over the island all with cameras somewhere on them. Dylan snuck past the cameras. He stopped in front of a red door, knocked three times, and waited.
A few moments passed, a click sound came from the door and Dylan opened it. He stepped through a plastic curtain into a long metal hall. An old man with short red and gray hair and beard sat in a motorized wheelchair. He stared at Dylan his arms crossed.
"Cameras caught you walking up to the containers. Good job staying off all the others. I guess knowing where they are has its advantages. What are you doing here? Your plane will be leaving anytime."
Dylan shook his head at his boss Zeek. "Can't go."
"Why?" Zeek scowled, the wrinkles on his face grew deeper.
Dylan pulled out Liza's license. "This girl died."
"So? People dying isn't unusual here."
"She was under my care. I want to know why."
"No." Zeek shook his head. "If Legion finds out you're in the States, they will come in guns first. There's a job in the Ghana Republic. Go there, do the job, and I'll see what I can find out."
"Got to stay. Send Angel or Spencer."
"I can't give it to them. Angel isn't experienced enough to go alone. Spencer is a sniper, he can hit anything from a mile but falls apart when the enemy is in the same room. This job requires both. The client needs the best, you, or they'll have to contract to Legion."
Legion is the largest private military in the world. They have contracts to protect most of Europe and the Americas. Their public knows little of their dealings with the Middle East, or about the massacres they committed.
Dylan scowled at the name. The years Dylan worked for them were the worst years of his life. The images of burning bodies and dead civilians all go back to men dressed in white armor and carrying their golden eagle. Three years after his departure, he still couldn't sleep.
He turned and grabbed the handle of the door but stopped. Liza's locket hung around his wrist. Her vacant stare popped back into his head, along with the smiling face of the man in white.
"I need to stay. Something's off about this, I think I need to be here. If you want to drag me to that plane, you're more than welcome." Dylan turned back to Zeek.
"Ah hell." Zeek took a deep breath and shook his head. "I didn't like the client anyway." Zeek turned his chair around and opened another metal door. Dylan followed.
Dylan entered Zeek's hideout. Zeek put together six containers knocked down the walls to make his first floor. To Dylan's right, six monitors stood, and a supercomputer more powerful than any on the planet. In front, stood two ramps that led to the second floor where Zeek lived. Dylan walked to the left through a metal doorway and into a long room with dozens of gray pegs in the walls. "Where are the weapons?"
"Overseas. We were breaking down, remember?" Zeek stopped at a long steel table and pulled out two plastic cases. "These are the only weapons I have left. I was going to give you one of these when we got to Ghana, but now..." He opened the case and pushed it towards Dylan. Inside two Ruger SR1911, forty-five caliber pistols sat inside two black holsters.
"Thought I could use something a little stronger?" Dylan picked up one of the guns.
"Yeah, I made some upgrades. I replaced the hammer, slide stop, sear, and included a few spare magazines. They are also weighted for your style, and the grips customized to your hand." Zeek pushed the other case forward and opened it. "Standard throwing knives. Other than this, I don't think I can be any more help equipment-wise. Everything else is afloat, and I won't be able to get it for a few months."
"I'll make do. Besides, not like I'm going to war. I just want to know why one woman died."
"Sometimes asking a simple question can get you killed."
Dylan took the two-gun holsters and strapped one to his right hip, and the other on the back of his waist. He picked up a few of the knives and put them inside his coat.
"Where are you going?"
"There is an address on the license. Might as well figure out who this girl was. Can you look into her?"
Dylan handed Zeek the license. He nodded. "I'll call you if I find anything."
"Your car is still here." Zeek rolled towards his computer.
Dylan left the hideout. He walked until he stood in front of a blue-colored container. Dylan unlocked the container door with a small key. The door swung open.
Inside, a car lay under a tan sheet. Dylan grabbed the sheet and pulled. A black Ford Mustang from twenty-fourteen, one of the last cars Ford made, lay under the cover. He got into the car and turned the key. The engine roared, and he left the island.