Foreman's first mission takes place on a star ship in the Garrian Star System. It's really a cruise ship, shuttling tourists to the water world of Riana, where the ship settles into the water and becomes a full resort, complete with a sandy beach with steady, lapping waves and a marina for ancient sailboats.
It's easy enough to slip in, dressed like any other passengers. He smiles politely at the receptionist, and he doesn't reach for his knives, the ones strapped at his wrist, his ankles. He allows himself to blend into the crowd, keeping his expression pleasant, contented. His target is on deck 52, VIP section. Foreman knows a little about him, the kind of information that can be gained from scouring the nets. Owns a small shipping company. Has a wife and three kids. His smile is awkward and uncomfortable to look at. Foreman would wonder why someone wants him dead, but he's determined not to pass judgment on his targets, for good or for bad. House-lao-si would probably sneer at him and tell him that he was making judgments every moment of every day. It's what keeps you alive enough to tell me all your asinine ideas, he would say.
Foreman doesn't mind. He has other things to worry about. Most ships like this are big enough to rely on turbolifts to ferry passengers between their floors, and even the crew will have their own set to get them to the cooking and maintenance and engineering levels. But per fire regulations, there are tubes that allow maintenance crew to climb their way between the decks. Foreman changes into a nondescript crew uniform before he makes his ascent. Just in case someone asks, he has a story about a missing passcard and his job watching the engines.
While the rooms where the passengers wander are lavish, showing off wealth and polish, the tubes are dank and unlit, and the metal feels cheap underneath Foreman's hands.
He finds deck 52 easily enough. He keeps an extra light stashed in his pockets, and he holds it between his teeth and he crawls through another set of vents until he can find the right room. His pad is hooked up to the ship's systems, and he uses it to track his position as he moves.
Once, House-lao-shi, made him practice his stealth by sneaking into Wilson-lao-shi's rooms and slipping him something in his drink. Neither Cuddy-lao-shi nor Wilson-lao-shi were particularly happy with this turn of events, and Foreman was put on kitchen duty for a week. Still, he learned quite a bit from that lesson, when to run and when to wait, how to keep his body still and his breathing quiet.
It comes in useful now, as he peeks through his vents to watch his target. The target is speaking on the vid phone to a business partner in the other room, lost in his conversation. Foreman removes the grating as silently as he can and drops down onto the floor below.
Too loud. The carpeting isn't thick enough to absorb the sound of Foreman's landing.
The man turns. "Hey!" he says, mouth pulled into an angry sneer. "What are you doing in here?"
Foreman reacts fast. He runs forward, sliding an arm around the man's neck, twisting his body so that he can force the momentum down. It knocks the air out of the man, his eyes startled, stunned as they look at the ceiling. Uses his knees to pin the man to the floor. Another punch to knock him out completely. Foreman doesn't need to think. His body knows this. He's practiced and practiced and practiced it until his body knows nothing but this.
He pulls a knife out of his boot. Slits the throat, watches as the blood runs red onto the ugly beige carpet.
It's the first time he's seen someone die before, watched the light fade out of their eyes. It feels mundane and momentous all at once. Cuddy-lao-shi would tell him to respect the moment, the defeated foe. Foreman closes his eyes, breathes in, breathes out.
He opens his eyes again and nods once. It's over. He leaves out the front door.
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