Jef had disposed of the murder weapon and ninja combat suit, and had changed back into a set of civilian clothes.

There were many police drones scanning the streets above, so he lay low for a while at a Collagen bar, in the lower levels of the Layered City.

A peculiar alien approached and stood there with him at the bar, without ordering anything.

Sealed within a bulky, rubber suit, he squeaked noisily as he moved his arms and legs.

From behind a black plastic mask, a muffled voice said something unhearable towards Jef.

Jef glanced at the rubber suit by moving his eyes only.

He remained still, but prepared himself internally; sensing a certain volatility building in the strange being.

Abruptly, the alien shoved one of its gloved hands into a pocket fold in the rubber garment- grasping for a concealed weapon.

The alien’s hand emerged shrieking- the high pitched whine of a charging energy cell.

It’s discharge created an explosion that was confined to a tight beam.
It narrowly missed Jef as he vaulted, swiftly, to the other side of the countertop.

The alien scrambled to get off another shot at him, but missed again- Jef escaped through a side door and into a passageway that led between the closely arranged buildings of the lower levels.

Bulkily, the alien lurched over the counter top and followed him through the wafts of acrid smoke. Sticky, burning plastic hissed where the laser had hit in blackened arcs across the surfaces of the ruined kitchen.

Crazy bastard!’ Jef exclaimed to himself as he sprinted down the narrow gangway.

Jef paused in the shadow of an enclave, his mind was racing: ‘Who would try to kill me?’
Many possibilities began to enter his mind.

He could hear, faintly, the sound of the assassin’s footsteps echoing in the quiet gloom of the corridor.
‘He’s faster than he looks!’

Jef held in his breath and made himself small against the wall of the shadowy hiding place.

The footstep sounds became less frequent as the alien’s pace slowed to a cautious trudge.

The glossy-black shapes of its bulk squelched past the enclave, unable to see Jef waiting there. He maintained a heinous, insect-like secrecy.

Slowly and Soundlessly, he emerged, creeping up to a few paces behind the would-be hit-man, who was oblivious to his presence.

Jef raised his hand, preparing for a deadly neck-chop to his victim, when seemingly out of nowhere, a bright light flooded the space.

He turned to see an adolescent boy in a white uniform- standing there in the threshold of an open doorway. Behind him, the sounds of a busy restaurant kitchen bustled.

The boy had started to swing a trash-bag out into the alley, but had looked up and froze upon seeing them there. There was a look of shock on his oily, pink face. He said:

‘What the-?’

The alien whirled around and fired his weapon without hesitation.

As the laser weapon detonated, so did Jef’s body shield activate.
A blocking force field formed around him, scattering the exploding energy of the gun into the narrow space of the alley.

The barrier around him faded and Jef stood there blinking, trying to see properly after the sudden blast of light.

Both the boy and the alien had been savaged by the explosion. His eyes scanned over the boy’s wounds, they were fatal.

Quickly he moved off.

Jef made his way further down the alley towards what sounded like air traffic and open city, while behind him, the boy and the alien squirmed in pain, dying from their horrendous injuries.

‘This is a lot of heat for one day!’

He followed his fingers along the wall of the passage and staggered out into a bright and open space.

Dead ahead of him, the sleek red body of a Katekuro Sprint-Master glinted, promising speed and escape.

He grabbed the Wireshark roughly from his jacket pocket and slammed the device onto the luxurious bodywork of the vehicle, thinking desperately: ‘Please work!’

He could hear shouts and voices coming from the alley-People from the restaurant kitchen investigating the explosion had followed his path.

The Sprint-Master powered up miraculously- it’s side door opened itself, inviting Jef to enter with a low chime and a dim blue illumination of the interior. He clambered in, and took off.