I've finished the first draft. Only problem is that it's currently 200 words over the limit. Yikes! Gonna have to edit and cut this down a bit.
What do you think? Do you like it thus far? Feedback appreciated!
(Had to cut Vayne from the story for the sake of time and making it streamlined.)
Vi gazed at the mangled corpse at the end of the room. She wrinkled her nose when a sickly scent engulfed her. What disgusted her wasn’t the smell of the body, but rather, the lack thereof. The sickly-sweet, all too strong stench of roses and eucalyptus immediately signaled who was behind this.
Tapping an armored finger to her headset, Vi scanned the office. Little holographic popups complete with lines of text and photos appeared in various spots, the greatest conglomeration of them being near the body, which was atop of the former CEO’s desk.
It was well into the night at this point, long, dark shadows retreating from the holographic lighting set up on the body. The corpse itself was frozen in a flamboyant pose, his hands topped with completely broken fingers reaching for the sky as his head bowed forward and he kneeled as if in prayer. A long gash starting at his chin and ending at the base of his stomach was propped open by a set of four roses sculpted from metal. The sight that sent Vi’s stomach churning, however, was the long, thick trail of blood that started from the wound and then floated upwards, held in place by glowing red hard-light constructs. The blood eventually took the shape of a phoenix above the corpse’s head. Holographic words in cursive script flanked the man on both sides, reading: “As a phoenix rises when freed from his mortal cage, so to does the hunter ascend when his precious work is complete.”
Vi growled, her metal-clad hands forming into tight fists. She activated her comlink. “HQ, it’s Vi. The culprit-”
A haughty, annoyed voice crackled back to Vi through her headset. “PROJECT 6, keep in mind your codename. This channel is not currently secure due to interference from an unidentified rogue PROJECT. Start again, please.”
“Fine, Cupcake,” Vi said through gritted teeth. “HQ, it’s PROJECT 6. The culprit is Jhin, no question. He’s up to his sick shit again.”
“Let’s keep it professional, PROJECT 6.”
Vi rolled her eyes and silently cursed. “Sending you a full scan of the crime scene. There’s some hard-light constructs involved again, so I’ll have to rescan with HLCS settings adjusted to--”
“What’s that, PROJECT 6? Your connection cut off.”
Vi’s gaze burned into the building just across the skylane outside. “Cupcake. He’s here. Skyscraper window exactly on my level, approximately 26.5 meters away.” Vi’s stomach dropped when she saw the clearly lifeless woman the serial killer was currently posing to his liking. The red light constructs he generated reflected off of the skyscraper’s windows, their glow intermittently visible to Vi as hover-cars rushed past outside. She streamed the image to HQ.
The other side of the comlink remained in a shocked silence a moment before responding. “Pursue. Quietly... as much as you can manage, anyway. Sending backup now. ETA five minutes.”
Quietly? Vi smirked. She wasn’t letting this bastard get away.
The thousands of wires snaking through her body pulsed with energy. She powered up the hard-light constructs on her thick metal gauntlets, the familiar quiet humming of PROJECT cybernetics reaching her ears. She narrowed her eyes, visor flashing. Jhin looked like he was almost done with his twisted creation. His finger waved arrogantly in the air as he wrote elegant holographic letters. Vi pulled back her fist. Electricity arced between her metal fingers. She crouched low, her legs tensing. And then, in a burst of light, her fist collided with the windowpane, shattering it as her body flew over the gap between buildings. Air rushed past her visor. The chasm below spanned hundreds of meters deep, layers of hover-cars bustling to and fro. Several drivers gaped at the sight of the PROJECT officer leaping overhead.
With a deafening crash, Vi smashed through the opposite skyscraper’s window. Pieces of shattered glass clinked against her visor. Continuing forward, she aimed her open hand at Jhin’s neck.
The killer whipped around, sidestepping Vi just in time for her fist to miss its intended target and catch against his arm instead. A sickening crack and series of electrical pops indicated the damage done. The arm hung loosely from Jhin’s shoulders as a glowing red skull on his visor rose to meet Vi’s gaze.
“Ah, it seems I’ve been caught. I will take the liberty to excuse your intrusion if you would kindly let me finish my work,” Jhin said in a lilting, condescending tone. The eucalyptus-rose scent wafted from him like light from a holo-construct.
Vi responded to his comment by lunging toward him, gauntlet at the ready. Jhin ducked, pulling a pistol from his holster and dashing under her looming fist before firing a shot at her and quickly exiting the room. The bolt struck Vi on her pauldron armor, the blast cutting a deep hole in the thick metal. Vi stumbled back in shock before pursuing. She turned a corner just in time to see the killer strike a smug pose before elevator doors closed before him. Mouth curled into a sneer, Vi ran up to the elevator and jammed her fingers through the seam between the doors. Metal curled and bent around her hands. With a final pull, the doors peeled apart with ease. Vi discarded them behind her. Looking below, she could see the hover-elevator rushing downward. Now was her chance.
Feet launching her off of the edge, Vi dove into the elevator shaft. Her stark white ponytail whipping behind her, she prepared for the inevitable impact. Slabs of thick steel bent and almost collapsed against the sheer force of her collision. The hover-elevator shook violently. Waves of holo-energy burst from where her fist had hit the carriage’s roof. All at once, gravity took hold again. Vi and the carriage free-fell hundreds of feet as the hover-elevator stopped working. She tried to catch her balance, grasping hold of the corner of the roof. Her fingers punctured the metal, peeling off the top of the elevator. She stared inside, readying herself for an encounter with Jhin inside.
He wasn’t there. Instead, a yawning hole in the bottom of the carriage was the only remainder. Vi blinked in surprise, her breath catching in her throat. The carriage screeched and screamed when it slammed against the side of the shaft, sparks flying as metal slid against metal. The piercing sounds filled Vi’s ears, and it wasn’t until too late that she noticed Jhin climbing up the side of the carriage behind her. She twisted her head to see the barrel of a pistol shoved before her visor.
“You’re a special one, aren’t you?” Jhin said, his voice indicating a grin. “I look forward to killing you with the rapturous style you deserve someday. For now, let’s see how you fair against the concrete.” And with that, he cocked his gun and shot her straight through the elbows of both arms. Vi watched in horror as her metal gauntlets were blasted off of her body, anything that remained to attach them soon being ripped off by the air gushing up from below. Jhin gave a pleased laugh before sheathing his gun and leaping upward, his good arm catching the landing of a floor above and pulling himself up. He waved at Vi, watching her fall ever downward into the depths below.
Vi gritted her teeth and braced for impact. Her augments would likely keep her alive, but just barely. It wasn’t going to be painless, that was for sure.
“Shit,” she said, watching the ground rush up to meet her. That was it. Jhin was definitely on her “punch into smithereens” list now. An explosion of pain blossomed through her body like the sickly rose scent that filled her nostrils, and her vision snapped to black.