A Gunslinger Girl fanfic by deckman1063

This story was written purely for entertainment purposes, and I own none of rights to the Gunslinger Girl characters or backstory. I do claim rights to the characters that I created for this story.

If anyone wants to contact me about this story please leave a review (if the site you are on supports it) or email me at deckman1063at signattdot thingynet

The weather was cold and clear, a typical January day in the Alps, as the pair crossed over the Swiss border in their rental car. "Henrietta, we will arrive at the hotel in Locarno in four hours, and we will be meeting our contact at dinner. You will recognize him?"

"Yes. I studied the file you gave me."

"Good. We are meeting the target tomorrow at his villa. Have you memorized the extraction routes and the backup plans?"

"Uh huh. Guiseppe, the file said that our target has a daughter living in the villa, and the plan is to kill everyone, correct?"

"No-one can be left who could remember us, you know that. Orders are orders"
sighed Guiseppe as he guided the small two-seater coupe along the winding road down out of the pass. The gray van carrying the support team was only sometimes visible ahead of them as they navigated the highway north into Switzerland. "At the hotel tonight, leave your violin case in the room while we are at dinner. Meanwhile, relax, and watch the scenery until we reach the hotel. You will need to go over the plans and equipment before bed," the agent paused for a few moments. "If there is time before dinner, would you like to go shopping for some gifts for the others?"

"Oh! Yes, I would like that very much! I hope we do have time, I know just what to get!" The small redheaded girl turned to look at the passing countryside, her smile visible in the reflection from the window.

"If only she could always be this happy," thought the dark haired SISDE agent,
glancing at his cyborg partner. As they drove on, he could not help but think that his profession sometimes left a bad taste in his mouth.

"Guiseppe, can I get this for Rico?" asked Henrietta, quietly pointing at a small crystal cat in the display case in front of her.

"That is very nice," he replied carefully, knowing that even a small joke about the price would be enough to make her drop the whole subject. The unquestioning loyalty of the cyborgs to their handlers that the conditioning caused often took him by surprise. Even after many attempts to get her to act 'normal,' Henrietta's constant desire for his approval and devotion to his safety always took precedence. "If you think Rico will like it, we'll get it."

"I'm sure she'll like it, Jean never buys her things like this." Henrietta paused, as Guiseppe motioned for the store clerk to wrap the present up and checked his watch. "Guiseppe, will Jean let Rico keep it, do you think?" she asked in a worried tone.

"Don't worry so much, my brother is only a bear sometimes. Besides, I'll talk to him if there is any trouble. It is my money, after all," he reassured the girl, chuckling at the last part. "Now, hurry and pick out some things for the others. We only have forty-five minutes until our dinner appointment."

"Thank you, I will hurry," she nearly whispered as she stood and began looking into the rest of the display cases with subdued enthusiasm.

"Ah. Guiseppe, how are you? Come, sit down, and tell me what you have been doing since we saw each other last!" The arms dealer Giovanni Roma filled the secluded corner of the hotel dining room by himself. "And please introduce me to this beautiful flower of Italian maidenhood!" The man's enthusiasm grated on the agent's ears as he knelt and reached for the cyborg girl's hand to kiss.

"Henrietta, it's fine," interrupted Guiseppe, as he realized the girl had gone defensive, stepping between the two men and reaching into her coat for her pistol. "Giovanni, you saw me last week in Milan," responded the agent,
louder, as he reached out to shake hands with the now slightly confused Roma.
"Giovanni, this is my niece, Henrietta. Henrietta, this is Signor Roma, a business associate of mine."

The cyborg girl curtseyed slightly, "Signor Roma," still keeping a close eye on their contact.

The three took seats at the table and began looking at the menus. "I am sorry if I startled you, Henrietta. Can you forgive a romantic old man?" smiled the arms dealer pleadingly, as he put down his menu.

"Please, the fault was mine, I should not have been startled," blushed the girl as she glanced quickly to her handler then back to the other man.

"Giovanni, remember the story I told you about last week? Henrietta is still a bit skittish, sadly." Roma was unaware of the cyborg program, so a cover story had been put together to explain Henrietta's actions if needed. It went that she had been in a car accident the year before, and her parents had been killed. She was now living with her only relative, her "uncle" Guiseppe.

"Yes, I remember now. A terrible thing to happen to one so young," the portly,
middle-aged gun runner mused, turning back to his menu. "And now we must discuss our business tomorrow. You are not taking her with us to meet Signor Cross, are you?"

"She has not left my side since she came to me, Giovanni. It will not be an issue, I have heard that Cross has a daughter her age, she can go with her while we do our business. Besides, Cross will be less suspicious of a man traveling with his niece, don't you think so?"

"I agreed to arrange this meeting for a specific purpose. Is it wise to bring a child? What are you thinking?"

"I have my mission to accomplish, Henrietta won't be a problem," Guiseppe assured the man as the waiter came over to take their orders.

"Guiseppe, may I ask you a question?"

"What is it?" replied the girl's handler.

"Signor Roma is not aware of all of the details of our mission tomorrow, is he?"

"No, his is not aware of your abilities, nor has he been told what our true purpose is."

"Is Signor Roma included on the kill order?"

"He is. The Director believes his elimination is also necessary."

"That will make the job easier, if we do not have to worry about his safety and extraction." The silence between the two extended. "I am sorry about the incident before dinner. Signor Roma caught me off guard."

"You must not let your mind wander tomorrow, the stakes are much higher. You must concentrate and do exactly as I tell you, exactly as we have planned it.
I know you must protect me, but you must also trust me. Everything will work out, and we will be back at the agency so you can give the others their gifts before you know it. Now get some rest. We will be up early tomorrow to go over the details one last time before the mission, OK?"

"I will do my best." The cyborg girl watched the agent with unblinking eyes as he left her room so that she could get ready for bed. She stared at the door for several minutes before she turned to gather her things for the bath.

The support team had left the hotel half an hour earlier to cover the extraction and backup routes and prepare for cleanup. The pair waited in the lobby for their contact. "Did you sleep well, Henrietta?"

"I will be able to perform my duties," hedged the girl. Thoughts of the American arms dealer's daughter had occupied her for much of the night. The young cyborg had lain awake for several hours before drifting into an uneasy sleep.

The older agent was quite aware that his partner had not answered his question,
"Is there something bothering you?"

"I could not sleep right away, the target's daughter- I will perform my duty!"

"I had a word with Ferro this morning before you got up. Don't worry," he reassured the girl as he thought back to the early morning exchange with the leader of their support group.

Ferro had been unhappy, telling him "This is on your head, Guiseppe! I'll do it, but if the Director asks, he will hear the truth."

He had replied "I would expect nothing else. I owe you one." The young woman had told him she would put it on his tab, "like everything else," then asked him to dinner.

Henrietta's quiet voice brought him back to the present, however, "I remember Rico telling me about the boy at the hotel in Rome."

"Unless she is an obvious threat, leave the girl to Ferro and the cleanup detail."

"You think of everything, don't you, Guiseppe?"

"I do my best."

The villa looked south out over Lake Maggiore, a modest sized main house with a large patio facing the water. Several small boats could be seen, and some larger fishing boats almost lost to the morning mist farther away. A stone stair led down from the patio to a small landing at which an expensive motorboat was docked. A bored looking guard sat on a folding chair in a small booth on the dock, and stared out at the water. Above in the house the American, Cross, was finishing up the short tour of the place he had given his guests. "Guiseppe, Giovanni tells me that you need something he can't get? I find that hard to believe."

"Cross, I only deal in guns. I have no desire to branch out. We all have our specialties."

"Mr. Cross, Signor Roma will be getting a reasonable broker's fee for directing me to a reliable source."

"I suppose," replied the American, "but before we get down to business, I admit that I am surprised at you, bringing your niece with you on a business trip.
Not that my little Melissa will mind the company, but still," Cross trailed off as the men seated themselves around a low table in Cross's office. His secretary, a young blond woman in her mid twenties, brought in a tray with coffee and muffins, then sat in the corner with her notepad. The only other person in the room was the tall, broad shouldered bodyguard, watching warily from his post by the door.

"Henrietta hates to be far from me, especially when we travel. We were going to do some touring after our meeting. I apologize if this is an inconvenience."

"Oh, it's no trouble. The girls will have a good time, if they can understand each other."

"I'm sure they will," concluded the agent. He leaned back on his chair and the men began their discussion in earnest.

Henrietta was in the sunroom next to the office, watching the young American girl in the wheelchair show off her collection of dolls and listening to the men's conversation in the other room with her enhanced hearing. She was also listening through her radio implant for the signal that the support team was in position at the dock, the signal to begin her part of the operation. "Pardon?
What is the name of this doll, again?" she asked her hostess in passable English.

"Her name is Kirsten, she's an American Girl doll, she's one of my favorites.
Do you have any dolls?"

"No, but a friend has many stuffed bears, she named them after the seven dwarves," the cyborg girl answered, thinking of Triela and all the bears her handler, Hillshire, got for her.

"No dolls?" Melissa turned to the other girl, astonished. "What do you play with, then?"

"Uncle Guiseppe bought me a camera, and I read a lot," Henrietta responded,
looking at all the dolls lined up on their low shelf. "Miss Melissa, which doll do you like best?"

"I can't decide, they are all fun, and they all have stories to go with them.
I make up the stories for the ones that don't come with them."

"Do you think you could tell me one, please?"

The support team was nearing the dock, their small speedboat making slow but steady progress towards it. The cover was that they were almost out of fuel,
if the guard challenged their approach before they got close enough to the dock. They had just radioed the team in the house that they were about to hit the landing. "Contact in twenty," came Ferro's voice over Henrietta's implant.
Guiseppe was alerted by the silent vibration of the cell phone in his coat pocket.

"Excuse me, where is the bathroom?" the cyborg girl asked her hostess.

"It's on the left in the hallway to the kitchen."

"Thank you," she replied, quickly gathering her violin case and going out into the short hallway. Once out of sight, she pulled her silenced 9mm pistol from her coat and ran the rest of the way to the bathroom. Shutting the door behind her, she opened the case and began assembling the larger of her two tools, a large assault rifle. Fully assembled with silencer, stock, and bayonet, the gun was almost as long as the girl was tall.

Ferro's countdown to the dock began as she pushed the magazine into the rifle and checked the sights. Barely paying attention, the cyborg assassin raced out into the hallway, rifle at the ready, towards the office where Guiseppe waited with the target. The slap of the leather soles of her shoes on the floor was louder than the pap-pap of the rifle as she killed the guard as he left the office, presumably for the boat landing. She squeezed off one more shot to be sure as she passed his body, and burst into the office. Cross and Roma looked up, startled, at the noise, but they had no time to do more than that. Four more soft coughs from the rifle did more than just startle them. The secretary screamed, rooted in horror in her chair in the corner. Henrietta touched the trigger twice more, and all was quiet again.

"There is one more guard in the house, be careful," Guiseppe warned his partner as he insured the fate of the others in the room. "The girl?"

"Not yet. The nanny is supposedly sleeping upstairs," reported the girl as Ferro strode into the room through the glass doors to the patio.

"One down on the dock. Orders?" asked the short woman, scanning the room with her rifle, alert.

"One guard, the nanny, and the girl still to go. Plan A or B?"

"A still, Nihad is on the dock with the boat."

Guiseppe started to reply, but the other guard chose that moment to burst through the door to the office, firing his pistol. The agent was knocked aside by his cyborg partner, the two of them crashing to the floor in a heap. He was certain he felt the tremor of at least one bullet hitting the girl's light frame, but she was already up and returning fire at their adversary. The guard staggered backwards through the doorway, the silenced subsonic rounds from the cyborg girl's weapon impacting on his bulletproof vest. To his credit, he managed to fire off several more rounds into the room before Henrietta could adjust her aim upwards, ending the firefight by splattering the man's head onto the wall behind him.

"Guiseppe, are you hurt?" the girl cried, turning her attention to her handler,
rushing over to him. He picked himself up off the floor slowly, he reassured his charge, "I'm unhurt. Ferro?"

"Fine, boss," replied the woman from where she had ducked behind the sofa. She kept her rifle pointed at the doorway, just in case.

"Henrietta, were you hit?" The agent looked his partner over carefully, noting the hole in the front of her coat.

"I'm still functional. I only took one bullet, and I don't think it hit anything vital."

"We'll sweep the house, then the team medic can check you. OK?" asked the man.
He knew that even if the injury were very serious, she wouldn't leave his side until she was sure that it was safe. Once more, she had willingly leapt in front of a bullet for him. "Ferro, take care of the girl, we'll sweep the house for the nanny, then head down to the landing."

"Check. She's in there?" The support team leader asked, pointing into the sunroom.

"That is where I left her," Henrietta answered.

The nanny had indeed been sleeping in the upstairs bedroom, and had been trying to dress as the pair of assassins found her. By the time the team had made it back to the office, Ferro had reported success and gone back down to the boat.
Guiseppe quickly packed up Cross' laptop and the secretary's palm pilot, "Good work, Henrietta, we are done here. Let's get going so the medic can look at you." As they walked down to the landing, the cleanup team was heading up to the house carrying a case of incendiaries.

Henrietta stepped into the boat and stopped short as she moved to the bench at the stern by the motor, staring at the bundled form already slumped there,
wrapped in the blanket from the sunroom sofa. "Guiseppe?" she turned to her handler with a surprised expression. Silent, he merely nodded, confirming her suspicion. "Thank you!" she practically beamed at him, as the boat sped south away from the dock and towards the border.