Shattered Empire - Secession Studios

Chapter Twenty-Eight

July 29th, 2077

Night City, Northern California

Monroe Street, Japantown

A Spartan and a Nomad, loitering on a roof, staking out a complex filled with psychopathic gangers.

There had to be a joke somewhere in that sentence.

The Tyger Claw clan meeting was set to begin in two days and every measure needed to be taken to weaken the security around the district.

Communication networks were hacked, total personnel numbers were acquired, and floor plans were set out for the Mox strike team to scheme a ferocious assault. The plan was set in stone and not even the 'Parasite' could snake her way through it.

Maiko Maeda attempted to flex her position inside Clouds to Susie Q, but the Mox leader was having none of it. Her reputation inside the club amongst the working girls was less than ideal, and Q wasn't willing to listen to her venomous words.

She was sidelined in Lizzie's bar until further notice.

Cyrus was unwilling to let the woman interfere in their already uncertain scheme to takeover clouds.

Judy put up some stick, but in the end, she conceded to the plan set out by V and Susie Q. If Cyrus had his way, Maeda's head would be decorating the club's pristine walls along with the rest of her ilk.

Cyrus didn't care about the club's function in the slightest.

The Mox could have the establishment for all its worth.

His only desire was removing the TC's powerbase from Night City, and Clouds was the sequential foundation the gang was built upon.

Remove the foundation, and the whole rotting structure would collapse in on itself.

The TC's reputation was soiled, sixty percent of their illegal operations were decimated, and even their ties to Arasaka were fractured.

The Corporation could not assist the gang after its Black Element forces were banned from Japantown by the Night City Council pending an investigation into their smoldering firebase.

Rumors were abound that Yorinobu Arasaka was furious at the Tyger Claw leadership for its incompetence, pointedly ignoring the fact that his own mercenaries were amongst the corpses Cyrus left in his wake.

The Tyger Claws were on life support, and he was eager to put them out of their misery.

He kept his attention on the assortment of connected structures recently acquired by the Tyger Claw, even as Panam chowed down a bowl of Chinese food.

Cyrus paid his colleague no mind and continued counting off the total number of gangers patrolling the city streets. His count fluctuated between seventy to eighty tangos, and he was enticed to test his Nekomata on the irritating ganger guarding the complex entrance.

The moron was harassing a trio of civilians attempting to enter their apartment complex and declined his advances. A passing NCPD patrol car curtailed his advances and allowed the civies to escape unmolested.

He would die first.

With V and Judy coordinating the Clouds take over and all its details, it fell on the shoulders of Cyrus and Panam to handle the final pieces outside Megabuilding H8.

Chamber suggested shaving off as much of the TC's available manpower as possible before initiating the Clouds Takeover. The Mox were decent fighters, but they lack the numbers to facedown the Tyger Claws in open battle.

Consequently, their first objective was to clear out a Tyger Claw holdout housing around eighty of their best fighters. Chamber manipulated the TC comms and inserted a false all-clear signal into the network.

This would give Cyrus and Panam the necessary cover to eliminate every Tyger Claw ganger on Monroe Street without their leadership finding out.

Panam's task was to set up a nest in the adjacent building and provide sniper support with his Nekomata. She initially wanted to accompany Cyrus inside the complex, but he axed the idea when it became clear he'd be walking into a meat grinder.

He didn't want to spend his time looking over his shoulder in such tight conditions, and secretly Cyrus wanted to cut loose on these gangers. The stress of the last few days was only temporarily relieved by his escapade with V, and honestly, his go-to respite was hunting the degenerates of Night City.

That didn't mean Cyrus didn't enjoy her company.

Being in V's presence was enough to keep his nerves docile, but he couldn't be around her every day of the week. That and well, things were still awkward around between the two of them.

Cyrus met up with V and Panam at Lizzie's bar a few hours after his assassination of Nathaniel Green.

It was an awkward affair, especially with both V and Panam walking on eggshells around him, and he wasn't entirely sure how to break the tension at first. Thankfully, in the end, a conversation sparked up, and all parties involved opted to start anew.

A notion that Cyrus was more than willing to abide by.

After leaving V at Lizzie's bar to tie up any loose ends with Judy, Cyrus and Panam made their way to their designated overwatch point via a quick trip on his Phantom. The Aldecaldo kept shooting him a worried glance every time she thought he wasn't paying attention, but he noticed it all the same.

Their stakeout lasted well into the early morning hours of July 29th, and neither talked very much about anything but the current task at hand.

That notion didn't last very long.

"Sooooo," the Nomad dragged out. "How was it?"

"Elaborate." She rolled her eyes at Cyrus's deflecting tone, throwing a half-eaten fortune cookie at his armored shoulder. The slow-moving object bypassed his energy shields and broke on impact; the physical damage was catastrophic only to his calming nerves.

"Don't play stupid," she remarked snidely. "It's not attractive, and it's beneath even your sour personality."

"I'd like to think I'm anything but stupid," Cyrus grumbled. Taking his eye off the street below and turning towards Panam.

"Yeah, whatever you say, cupcake," she promptly shrugged off his response. "Now spill the detes."

Cyrus re-braced his Nekomata's stock against his shoulder. "What exactly are you looking for?"

Panam wheezed out a hearty laugh, barely avoiding a piece of teriyaki chicken rolling down the wrong pipe. However, once it became clear that Cyrus wasn't, in fact, fucking with her and was indeed asking a genuine question, did her expression change into one of pure disbelief.

"You're serious, aren't you?"

"What do you think?"

"The date, you dumbass!" Another fortune cookie was thrown at him. "How did it go? Did ya get all touchy-feely, or did you end with a home run?"

The confusing look at her euphemism only aggravated her further.

"Homerun?" The Nomad heaved an exhale made of pure irritation before pinching the bridge of her nose. "We didn't play baseball, Panam."

"Ya know two-person push-ups, feed the kitty, bumping uglies?" Her demeanor paled considerably. "For the love of God. Please tell me you've had the 'talk'?"

Chamber, who had been occupied monitoring the TC radio network, answered for a suspiciously quiet Cyrus.

"He has a military education on procreation," the AI's mirthful tone came through his helmets, external speakers. "And as you can see, it has left much to be desired."

"No shit," Panam replied with a bit of amusement in her voice.

"Are you asking about sex?" His response ignited Panam's internal frustrations, and Chamber only looked on in mild amusement. People tend to forget that Spartans are theoretically emotionally and physically suppressed by their military upbringing.

This entire conversation was a giant popcorn fest for Chamber, and it wouldn't be the last time social cues were utterly lost on Cyrus.

"Yes!" Panam exclaimed in a barely hushed yell. "What the hell did you think I was talking about?"

"When it comes to you, Panam, it could be an assortment of idiotic subjects-"

"Did he just call me an idiot?"

"-that being said. Yes, I understand the concept of reproduction and its liberal use by modern society." Chamber quietly took a picture of the dumbfounded look crossing Panam's features.

Panam blinked incredulously. Slowly, her left hand pinched the sides of her head, trying in vain to rub the growing migraine from her pulsing skull. Wanting to talk to Cyrus on subjects that pertained to his personal life was similar to pulling teeth.

He either said nothing on the topic or spoke in half-truths with very subtle insults.

Why did she even bother with this conversation again?

After a moment of silence, Panam took a deep calming breath and turned her attention away from that rather scathing comment towards her initial inquiry.

"Did. You. Have. SEX?"

"No," Cyrus replied. "We did not have 'relations' in any way shape or form. We went hunting."

Panam paused and considered his final word carefully. She didn't believe for a second that V would even entertain the thought of bringing Cyrus to a diner of all places. He certainly wasn't the type of guy you brought home to the folks, let alone out on the town.


At the back of Panam's mind, she vaguely recalled a scavenger gang going missing in the Kabuki Favella. She wouldn't put it past either of them to find common ground in their hatred of Scavers.

It would make a helluva first date impression, though.

"Why are you so invested in this?" Cyrus deflected.

"Because I give a shit, CY. I care about you and V more than I have any right to, and I'll be damned before I lose either of you to something like this."

Drama was as much a friendship killer as tragedy, and Panam didn't want to lose that precious bond with V and Cyrus. It amazed her that despite knowing both of them for barely a month, she couldn't think of a life without them.

And she would do anything to keep that bond.

Cyrus didn't feel the need to fill the silence that now hung over them. Their conversation had turned uncomfortably stale, and only the sound of passing vehicles echoed through his ears.

"Eyes up," Chamber called out. "Our target is here."

Panam kicked off her seat and pushed towards the edge of the rooftop, binocs in hand. She was ready to start kicking in some teeth and dropping some ganger corpses, and Cyrus was no doubt just as eager as she was.

A four-car convoy of overly souped-up Tyger Claw Quadras rolled into the courtyard adjacent to their building. Their target was a TC captain called Taki Kenmochi, she used to run a pachinko parlor in Watson, but she was promoted after her boss suffered a brutal demise at Cyrus's hand.

Now she was in charge of every Tyger Claw gangster in Northern Japantown, second only to her regional boss Marcus Ichida. Kenmochi's death, along with all of her subordinates, would ensure their strike team wouldn't have to deal with as much security.

Divide and Conquer is the name of the game tonight.

"Target acquired." Cyrus's visor zoomed on the fair-skinned oriental. "We have a positive id on Taki Kenmochi. Chamber, start the clock."

Panam struggled to keep the childish grin off her face as he tossed the Nekomata into her arms.

"Don't break it," Cyrus lightly warned the Nomad.

"Come on, CY, have a little faith?" Panam's beaming smile encompassed his vision as he gathered the last of his equipment. "You all set?"

"Always." He magnetized a modified M-179E Achilles to his back, looking up to see her smile grow.

"Good, we have gonks to kill," Panam said with a wave of her hand. "I'd tell you to put your game face on, but you got that well in hand."

Cyrus tossed her an eyepiece that would allow Chamber to call out targets for Panam. The tech rifle in her hands had the unique ability to punch through concrete with a charged shot, and should the Spartan run into more than he could handle, the Nomad had the means to remove the issue.

"Wait for my signal and follow Chamber's directions to the letter. She has better eyes than you and I could ever have."

"Yeah, yeah, you big cupcake." Panam waved him off. "Get going. I want to be back at Lizzie's for a drink after this. Lord knows I need a drink to loosen me up."

Cyrus stepped off the roof and landed feet first in an adjacent decrepit alleyway. His one-ton frame smashed into the floor below, kicking up garbage and chunks of concrete before he disappeared into the night.

It was time to hunt.

A passing thunderstorm subdued Night City's bright skyline, caking the urban landscape in a blanket of water and darkness. Cyrus could hear Panam's cursing; her hair didn't particular enjoy being rained on.

"I'm displacing," Panam informed over the radio. "You're going to be without sniper support for sixty seconds.


A crack of thunder disguised Cyrus's brutal retribution on a poor TC standing guard outside the courtyard's entrance. He dumped the bloodied corpse into a nearby dumpster and advanced on the iron gates.

An old street market used to make up the entirety of the courtyard, but the Tyger Claws commandeered it for their own means. Market stands that used to sell food products now played storage to an insane amount of firearms and munitions.

The courtyard was surrounded by five apartment buildings, three stories high and filled to the brim with Tyger Claws. Each structure sheltered around twenty to twenty-five gangsters, and Cyrus needed to clean out all five. Panam's secondary objective was to ensure no one escaped out the front door, and Chamber would lockdown all back exits.

One way in, one way out.

It was a Headhunters dream scenario to dictate the flow of combat, especially since it was hard to take complete control when facing down the Covenant. They had a tendency to orbital strike every detailed plan he made back home; it was a luxury they could afford.

Cyrus breached the structure to his left, crushing the security pad and drawing a Kukri and Unity in each hand. He wasn't entirely sure how many gangoons he could quietly remove before switching to his Achilles.

Chamber put a bet on twenty, and Panam called her count to thirty. Cyrus had no idea how to feel about two of his comrades betting on his kill count, but he wasn't too concerned about it.

His first set of kills a quartet of Tyger Claw gangers sleeping the night away, a single slice to their throats ensured they never woke again. Two TC grunts, a male and female, stumbled into the hallway hanging off one another with liquor bottles in hand.

Their slurred speech prevented any screaming when Cyrus slashed the male's throat out and dumped two suppressed rounds into the woman's eyes.

"Six." Cyrus shot Chamber's avatar a glance at her erratic statement, and she shrugged her shoulder in response.

"What. I'm keeping count here."

It took a little more than five minutes to clear out the first structure of all thermal signatures.

"Twelve," Chamber added before Panam ultimately played cheerleader.

"Come on, CY. I believe in you."

He really hated people sometimes.

The second structure was an oversized garage located at the northeast end of the complex. It currently housed the convoy that had just rolled in with their target in tow.

Kenmochi exited the garage with a pair of Bloodhounds flanking her and a further six-man security detail following in her wake. Cyrus waited until she and her entourage departed before evaluating the number of gangers inside.

A total of fifteen tangos were spread out through the garage. Six were enjoying a late dinner on a foldout table while the rest performed maintenance on their vehicles.

The closest ganger cursed up a storm regarding a shotty engine block for one of their recently decommissioned Quadra's. Cyrus removed the man's troubles by firmly grasping his throat from behind and breaking his neck. His corpse was quietly placed into the Quadra's trunk.

"Thirteen," Cyrus growled at his AI's ignorant statement. "Sorry."

With his companion's irritating nature curtailed, Cyrus ambushed five more Tyger Claws while utilizing his active camouflage. Those gangers that managed to glance in his direction were momentarily confused by the slight shimmer before their lives came to a swift and often brutalizing end.

Seconds later, corpses littered the garage floor, all of which were hidden from plain sight. The only remaining TC for Cyrus to handle were in the midst of relishing a large platter of Chinese food.

He hoped their last meal was worthwhile.

Cyrus took shelter behind a Quadra Type-66 when a flash of lightning caught his attention. The storm outside had picked up in intensity, and the high winds were starting to echo inside the garage.

An idea immediately came to mind, and Cyrus palmed a pair of flash grenades from his waist and kept one eye on the garage skylights. He needed to correctly time his toss with the lightning strike, too early or too late, and he might wake the entire complex.

The skyline lit up in a sparkle of blue, and Cyrus threw both flash grenades on cue. Each object bounced on top of the foldout table, catching his soon-to-be victims entirely off guard.

Cyrus charged at breakneck speed, shoving his Unity into the back of on TC ganger and firing a shot through his skull. The fragmented round pierced flesh and brain matter before embedding itself in the esophagus of a thug sitting a mere few feet away from their now dead comrade.

A Kukri found a new home in the mouth of a ganger before they could scream out in terror. The surviving TC were barely out of their seats before three puffs from Cyrus's Unity ended their wretched existence.

Six dead in four seconds flat.

Cyrus considered his performance adequate. He needed to be faster.

"Structure clear," Cyrus muttered to himself. "No alarms triggered, were still in the green. Panam any activity on your end?"

"Negative, no one's entered or left since you went in. Streets are clear of civilians for now, and I got a few gangers keeping watch in the southeast building. If I start shooting, then my position is going to be compromised."

"Understood. I'm repositioning now."

Cyrus planted a pair of C9 explosives on each end of the garage, ensuring no TC would escape the complex from the vehicles in storage. He exited the garage through its southern entrance leading towards the courtyard, where there was significantly more activity.

Despite being well into the evening and the less than stellar weather, the gangsters were still milling about in the courtyard. A makeshift tarp kept the torrential storm from caking their firearms in liquid.

Cyrus needed to cross the courtyard undetected and clear out the TC overlooking Panam's position. If he failed, then he'd be knee-deep in gangoons without sniper support, and he didn't like playing on an even field.

"Cut the tarp," Chamber supplied. "It's being held down by rope on each end of the complex. Use your suppressed Unity and try not to miss, will ya."

As Cyrus scaled to the western structure's roof, Chamber marked each rope's exact location. Since he eliminated its previous inhabitants at will, no one had entered the building and discovered the mess of corpses. He fired two clean shots with his Unity and dislodged the tarps bindings triggering its complete collapse.

The gangers below fell into a mass panic as the torrential downpour coated their weaponry and themselves in liquid. A single TC exited the southeast structure to figure out what all the commotion was for, but a Cyrus ambushed the ganger before he could blink.

The Spartan chopped at the man's throat, sending him sprawling back with a shattered esophagus. Cyrus caught his limp body and gently laid it against the far wall before firing a single shot to the temple.

"I'm in," he called out to Panam. "Give me their location."

"Three targets in total, two on balconies located on the second floor and the last is milling about on the top floor. I can handle number three just need to time my shot with the thunder. You handle the other two gonks."

"Understood, standby." Cyrus ascended the stairs to the second floor, snapping a gangoons right arm and putting two ballistic shells into his chest.

Cyrus ducked to the left when his motion tracker picked up a red blimp. A half-dressed TC thug stumbled out of an apartment room with his hands scrambling to fasten his pants. He wrapped his arm around the man's neck and stabbed his Kukri just below their jaw.

The ganger's feet kicked out in a terrifying frenzy, smacking against cans of beer before the blood loss finally took its toll.

"Takata?" A female voice called out from the room where the dead man came from. "Where are you?"

Just as the half-naked ganger entered the hallway, Cyrus dragged the corpse behind a far wall. After taking two long strides forward, the TC grunt stepped into a puddle of liquid. Confusion ripped through her cyberware as she raised her foot high enough to see a familiar red fluid.

"What the-" A chain reaction of blood and bone spurted from her cranium when Cyrus struck his fist directly through her skull. The woman's death was near-instantaneous; as far as her last thoughts went, everything just suddenly went dark.

Cyrus dumped the corpse in the dimly limp hallways and went about clearing the rest of the floor. He approached a loitering gangoon smoking a cigarette and snatched him into the apartment room. The Spartan was utterly unfazed as he curb-stepped the ganger's face into oblivion.

"One down," Cyrus called out. "Where's number two?"

"Two rooms down from your current location," Panam said.

"Roger, I'm clearing out the rest of the floor standby to engage rooftop sniper." Cyrus keyed off the radio and reloaded his pistol. On his motion tracker, an additional six contacts popped up on the second floor, and four were confined to a single room.

Cyrus shoulder-checked the door open and drew his suppressed sidearm in a fluid motion. The startled cries went initially ignored until he managed to fix a good look on his soon-to-be victims.

They weren't Tyger Claws but instead victims of their human trafficking rings. The occupants inside were comprised of four females, all of who were chained to a wall while sitting in their own waste.

Cyrus didn't doubt the smell inside was a hazard to most human beings, and it was a miracle they hadn't died from exposure alone. Among the captives, three were unconscious while the fourth was barely conscious, her eyes widening with fright at his looming form.

"How long do you think they've been here." Chamber surmised as he approached the conscious woman.

"Too long."

The raven-haired woman recoiled instinctively when Cyrus snapped her restraints with his bare hands and moved on to free the rest of her companions.

"Thank-" Cyrus raised his hand, stopping the bruised woman's praise in their tracks.

"Name?" He demanded sternly.

"Julia." She replied meekly.

"Ok, Julia. I need you to stay here for the time being." He nodded towards the three unconscious women. "If they wake up, keep them calm, and no matter what happens outside, STAY IN THIS ROOM. Understand?"

Julia couldn't find her voice and nodded timidly. Cyrus didn't wait to exchange more words, exiting the room and shutting the door behind him.

"Great bedside manner Cyrus," Panam said sarcastically. "I could practically feel the tranquil tone in your voice."

"Focus on the rooftop sniper, not on my bedside manner." Cyrus eliminated the final Tyger Claw on the second floor with a ballistic shell through the skull. "Balconies clear, take out our watcher."

"Way ahead of you." A flash of lightning later, Cyrus's enhanced hearing could pick up the Nekomata's charge firing in sync with the booming thunder. "Watcher's down. I'm going to start picking off these patrols outside the complex."

"Understood, I'm clearing the rest of the building. Chamber, where is our target located?"

"Northeast structure, it's the two-story building with a large atrium at its center. She coordinates their activities from a command center overlooking the atrium. The only way in is through the courtyard entrance unless you feel like digging. We going loud?"

Cyrus shook the thought in his head for a few moments. "Yes, start coordinating with Panam. Clear out the patrols and then get her into the southeast structure. I'm going to occupy the gangers inside the courtyard and crack some skulls in the process."

"Good luck, you two."

"Won't need it."

The Spartan brutalized the remaining Tyger Claws that momentarily escaped his wrath, ignoring Panam's whooping cry when Chamber confirmed his kill count at thirty. He didn't particularly care about her prize, nor did he focus on anything but the task at hand.

Cyrus palmed the detonator linked to the C9 charges and unleashed hell upon the misbegotten fools. The Tyger Claws were arrogant children whose cowardice was masked by a mass of human filth.

Their spirit breaks tonight.


Chaos reigned across the complex; gallons of precious fuel ignited into a fireball of colossal size. A concussive wave shattered glass for miles and shook the very foundation of Japantown's Monroe district.

The Tyger Claws loitering in the courtyard deteriorated into an unorganized mass. Shrapnel pierced their flesh, and the kinetic force catapulted those unfortunate enough to be near the epicenter. Those few civilians milling about in the streets scattered into the buildings closest to them for shelter.

"Well," Chamber mused. "Think we got their attention now."

Thick black smoke choked out the compounds Northern section, enveloping Cyrus's massive frame from sight as he went about executing the survivors.

Mercy wasn't his strong suit, and he wouldn't start handing it out now. Cyrus kicked down the door and was immediately greeted with hot lead. A squad size of TC gangers reinforced the entranceway and hid behind columns of stone.

"Panam, how's the perimeter?" On cue, the familiar shriek of a charged Nekomata blessed his hearing.

"Shot down a few leakers, but other than that, we're clean. The TC comms are going haywire, and a few outlying patrols are returning to the complex." She answered.

"Can you handle the perimeter?"

Panam scoffed in offense. "You handle your job, and I can handle mine. Besides, Chamber's got my back, right?"

"Course I do."

Cyrus's lip twitched in mild annoyance as he leaned back, avoiding a burst of .50 caliber to the skull. "As you say, once your clear head into the southeast structure and watch my back. I won't be long."

"On it."

He holstered his Kukri and demagnetized the Achilles from his back, firing off two charged shots down the corridor. Two unfortunate TC soldiers had their heads taken clean off, forcing the rest of their comrades to dive for cover.

"Kill the Fuck!" A Tyger Claw lieutenant dressed in a gaudy amount of colors attempted to rally his comrades only to receive an electromagnetic shell to the jugular.

Cyrus charged into the hallway, dual-wielding both his Unity and Achilles in each hand. His energy shields bounced off scores of ballistic shells, and each impact was met with equal retaliation.

A one-sided massacre broke out, the TC grunts were ill-equipped to deal with a rampaging Spartan, and their morale broke once the leader went down. When he was finished, Cyrus left behind a dozen brutalized corpses and proceeded towards the atrium.

His augmented hearing picked up a growing commotion on the other side of the steel doors. The Tyger Claws inside were scrambling into defensive positions, tables were being tossed on their sides, and heavy weaponry moved into firing positions.

The motion tracker was ablaze with activity, and Cyrus could only deduce a massive blob of red.

"Chamber, give me a headcount." He retrieved the last vestiges of C9 from his belt and lined out the steel doors as a makeshift breaching charge.

"Security cameras are down," Chamber replied. "They cut the hardlines as soon as the garage imploded. Seems they're starting to catch onto our tactics."

Cyrus snorted in amusement. "Would that stop you?"

"Hardly. The monkeys have only made the task marginally more time-consuming. I'll have eyes inside the atrium momentarily."

It wasn't hard to imagine that even gangers were capable of adapting to his basic tactics. Eventually, someone would catch onto Chamber tinkering with their security networks during the numerous raids he conducted in Night City.

Their efforts to curtail his efficiency were misplaced at best and useless at worst.

"I'm in." A small camera feed materialized on his HUD. "Twenty TC soldiers setting up firing positions just outside the doors. I can make out four heavy gun emplacements and a Bloodhound coordinating from an overhead scaffolding."

"And Kenmochi?" While victory today was based on casualties inflicted, removing a TC Captain would be another nail in the coffin to the gang's crumbling command structure.

"She's barricaded inside the monitoring station with the rest of her men. The technicians are trying to get a message out to their pals outside the complex, but their comms are receiving nothing but static."

"Understood," Cyrus keyed on his transmitter. "Panam, I'm breaching the atrium now."

"Copy that. I'm already inside the southeast building setting up a nest. A couple of TC gangoons shot up a whole block to the west, and NCPD is engaging them. I give it five minutes before we're swimming knee-deep in MAXTAC."

"We'll be out in three." Cyrus shouldered his Achilles and peered down the holographic sight. "Ready?"

"Let's start the party."


The steel doors went flying off their hinges, smashing through a trio of TC gangers before finally crushing a single gangoon cowering in the rear. The entire room lit up in a storm of ballistic shells all centered around the atrium doorway. After seconds of relentless gunfire, the TC Bloodhound fell from the rafters and took charge.

"Hold your fire!" All but one TC ganger ceased, and the irate Bloodhound snatched the offender by the scruff of his shirt. "Hold your fucking fire!"

The terrified gangoon didn't have time to reply before a thick white smoke rolled into the atrium blinding the occupants inside.

"Miyoshi, Uehara." The TC Elite called out. "Check out the smoke!"

The unfortunate pair's hesitation only furthered the Bloodhound's wrath.


Miyoshi stumbled through the colorless cloud without direction, losing sight of his fellows behind him in a matter of seconds. The thunderstorm outside did little to settle his nerves, and the grip on his Ajax loosened with each crack of thunder.

"Can you see him?" Uehara, who was wielding a Carnage, inquired off to his right.

"I can't see-UrgKK." A hand seized Miyoshi's skull and dragged him into the smoke. Uehara panicked and fired two consecutive shots before he too was taken by the darkness.

A pair of thunder cracks signified the passing of two wretched lives.

"Chamber," Cyrus dropped Miyoshi's crushed skull and removed his Kukri from his compatriot's throat. "It's too bright."

The AI grinned devilishly.

"Time to go dark."

Wanted to squeeze out a chapter for you guys before the week was out so the quality might be a little bit on the downside. I've been incredibly busy for some odd reason even though school is out until mid-June, that being said I may delay next week's chapter to give myself time to catch up on writing. But not to worry the TC arc will be extended by an extra chapter to compensate before we delve into NC conspiracies.

As always I hope you enjoyed this iteration, and remember to review to your heart's content.

Next Chapter: May 17th or 24th latest.