AN- Okay, I am really, really, REALLY sorry it took so long to get this chapter out. No doubt that most of my readers will have to go back and reread the story. I really am sorry about that. I had the worst writer's block for this story, and had to leave it alone for a while.

However, I finally got my act together and got this written. Hopefully those that read it will enjoy it and hopefully they'll review. I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't just because you are so annoyed with me. I apologize again. Note: this chapter, excluding the AN, is exactly one thousand words long. Hmm...

Read, enjoy, and please review!


Tristan finished sending the virus designed solely for the shorting out the security system of the bank he was about to rob. He sat back, ready for the activation signal to come, while another wave of doubt descended upon him. Well, the people I'm stealing from aren't nice people. In fact, they are criminals. And I did say that we were mercenaries willing to do any job. A double chirp broke him out of his thoughts, and he touched the radio transmitter in his ear. "Shadow, begin insertion. Burns, remain in the back-up position. Sniper, you got overwatch?"

"Yes," came the monotonous reply. Tristan picked up his Talon Mk. II, a submachine gun he had developed that was highly accurized, and extremely silenced…its barrel was a silencer. Plus, it had a 5x scope mounted on it, and a laser so that it would be easier to 'run-n-gun'. Though it was only 5.6mm and a submachine gun, it was about as powerful as a carbine, or maybe even a rifle. Both he and Shadow carried one this eve.

Shadow's POV:

"Shadow, begin insertion." The young man stood, and walked away from the bench he had been occupying. He had been enjoying the sounds of the night, but now it was time for work.

He was a short fellow, he had to admit He generally came up to shoulder-height of most normal human beings. Not that he cared. He was agile, and strong, and people underestimated him. He entered the building. "I've entered room Papa One. Heading for Papa Two." He took a left, and was soon in a large and comfortably decorated room, with couches and coffee tables with magazines. The waiting room. Breathing and heartbeat is regular, movements are smooth.

"Entering Papa Three, preparing to engage." He calmly walked up to the four men sitting at the reception desk. The one on the far left, he has a pistol, maybe 9mm. The one at his side has a submachine-gun, probably under the desk. The last two are either unarmed or only armed with light blades.

"May I help you?" the submachine-gun man asked politely. In response, Shadow raised his Talon Mk. II, and put a round cleanly through the man's head. The man collapsed, and the others scrambled for their weapons. But they never got the chance to use them. Each man received a single bullet either to his chest or his head. "Sir, this is Shadow. Building clear."

Two hours later:

Tristan leant back in the captain's chair in the mess room. They had stolen nearly five million wongs, and even though half of that went to their client, the rest was theirs. At least now they could continue on to Heifong and hopefully no authorities would decide to follow them. After all, it was part of the mission to destroy the bank after robbing it. Bombing the gas-line had been his idea. And damn, did it work great.

Now his ship was flying through ether space, and would make Heifong in a little over twenty-three hours. Now he had to figure out what to do with his spare time. It wasn't just him on the ship, and the rest of the crew had nearly all the duties covered. He, for the first time in many years, pretty much had nothing to do.

Well, you could visit Ula, a lecherous part of his mind volunteered. He quickly overrode that thought. She was still annoyed that he hadn't let her take part in the bank robbery, so visiting her would probably be dangerous for his health.

He sighed and closed out of his bank accounts. He'd figure out how to pay his crew when he felt like it. It's not like the money or his crew was going anywhere. He stood slowly, focusing on how his muscles reacted. Maybe he should exercise again. He hadn't in a while.

Thirty minutes later found him in the exercise room, doing push-ups with his left arm while his entire body was perpendicular to the deck, with extra weights strapped on his chest, arms, and legs. He probably weighed a total of three hundred pounds now, twice his usual weight. "Nine hundred ninety-eight," he hissed, pushing up hard enough that the sweat fell off his body like little drops of rain. "Nine hundred ninety-nine. One thousand!" He held his position for a short while, and then flipped so he landed neatly on his feet. He had already done one thousand with his right arm.

Before even taking a break, he immediately began katas for his favored style of hand-to-hand fighting, tae-kwon-do. He went on for a good ten minutes before he noticed them. Spinning in a tight circle for one of the more complicated blocks, he blinked as he saw his crew assembled, all watching him. He froze in mid stance, and then stood straight.

"Anyone want to take me?" he gasped, sweat dribbling down his face. None stepped forward. "Ula, not even you?" he asked once he noticed her way in the back of the small crowd.

"Thanks Captain, but we've already sparred." His heart gave an odd twinge when she didn't even call him by name. "I want to see how the rest of them can fight."

He shrugged, and looked over the group. "Fine, you can all come at once. Just remember, it's full contact." He watched amusedly as the men and women looked at each other. Then, at some invisible signal, most of them, all the combatants at least, charged forward with a roar. He quickly looked them over, making a strategy before they even reached him. It was Ace, Burns, Randgrior, Sparky, Shadow, Sniper, and Hendee all against him.

Just as the first came within his striking distance, he leapt into action, thinking all the while: This ought to be fun! He was not wrong, nor alone, in thinking that. The spar would last a full half hour before he came out on top, as the winner.