Day 60: 30 Sep 2010
Got an email from Phil this morning. Phil's my handler -- the guy who's responsible for me, I suppose. He got the job because he's not completely terrified of me.
My last handler was better -- a guy named Kevin. Strange person. Missing both of his hands, though he never told me how that happened. He vanished from the Syndicate about a year ago. I liked him. Knew him for a few weeks before the slug took up residence. He didn't seem afraid of me in the least. He was a shit driver, though.
Anyway, the email from Phil. He'd had some of the Syndicate's ghouls out looking for Cassie Chow at my request. He didn't ask why. At 5:22 this morning, his message popped up in my inbox -- they'd tracked her to an auto shop near the Stratosphere, North Strip.
I don't usually drive myself. The bosses like to keep an eye on me -- that's where Phil comes in. They don't trust me on my own. And that's smart, but it's not like I need their permission to do anything -- I just feel compelled to do what they tell me. No one told me not to go out to that garage today, so I did.
The place was locked up tight, but that wasn't a problem for me. A Master Lock and a chain -- I can break those with one hand.
The place looked empty inside, and all the lights were off. I knew it wasn't empty, though. I could hear someone breathing, twenty paces into the darkness. Smell someone sweating.
"Cassie Chow," I said. I did my best to control the screechy-factor of my voice -- it came out sounding merely raspy, like I'd been a smoker for 50 years.
"I know you're here. I'm not here to hurt you," I continued. "I'm Jared Sykes. Travis' brother."
The lights flickered on. Cassie stood in the doorway of a small office, pointing an assault rifle dead-center at my chest -- an M16A4, unless I miss my guess.
"Don't move," she said slowly.
"We both know that won't do much, but keep it pointed at me if it makes you feel better. I'm here to talk about Travis," I said.
"Travis is gone. He's like you now. He can't be saved -- he said so," Cassie told me.
"He is like me -- but there's something we can do about it. If you're willing to help me," I told her. My voice was less raspy now. I've been working on it.
"Bullshit. If it could be reversed, I doubt you'd be like you are."
"Not bullshit. There's a way. I know it's hard to trust me, but if you care about Travis -- and I can tell you do -- you'll have to."
She lowered her weapon.
"Fine. Let's talk. But I'll warn you -- I can blow this entire place up if I need to. Doubt you could walk away from that."
I knew I could walk away from such an explosion, but I didn't feel the need to mention it as I followed her into the office.