Waltz of the Macabre

Down Time
Lets go clubbing

The troupe head to the drop off delivering the case before Bo heads off to Deep Dive to drop off the Lieutenant insignas and have her drink with Steel. He compliments her on a job well done, she sips at her Rum and retires for the evening sending the bonuses off to the team.

Before parting ways with Bo, Thanatos lets her know he’s going to see his ‘med guy’ about the drugs if she wanted the Ice Mist checked out. She tosses him a couple and she bikes off while Thanatos sets up a meet with Silence “That’ll be 50 for the call out”.. It takes Thanatos awhile to get to the docs but once there he shows him the different items he’s procured.

‘That yellow stuff is CRAM, military stuff will make you stronger for a price’, he eyes Thanatos then back at the Ice Mist “Now this shit, this is bad. Extremely addictive and just gives you a short lived euphoria”. Eyeing Thanatos again “I can clean and fix up those wounds, for a price call it another 50 for a round 100?”

Just before heading out Silence asks “Any chance i can buy one of those Ice Mists off you? got a few cases of extreme addiction and wouldn’t mind trying to find a way to ease it”

After a couple of successful runs the group spend some down time training, paying off (or hacking) their rent, and enjoying spending some well earned nuyen.

Feeling like his smaller guns are not quite big enough Blank decides its time to exercise his fixer Quick Finger to help him get a Battle rifle and the gear for it, no questions asked.

It takes some time but Quick Finger pulls through, calling up Blank for the drop off. While handing over the rather large case “You’re starting to seem capable, I have someone who’d like to talk to you at the Icarus club tonight. Interested?”.

ping Bo replies “I know of the place, not our usual dive bar. Elf club, be ready to be scanned”

Lets go Clubbing!

Bo swings by Thanatos’ at Redmond while Blank and the The Gentle man take the party van.

Thanatos heads to the club first, for the first time he is swordless, but still in is street gear and leather duster. A quick eyeing up by the bounces and he’s let in. Icarus has a central atrium is dominated by a large crystalline structure. In its centre lies a 2000 era DJ spinning really disks. A bar at the back serves elaborate drinks to patrons sitting on crystal stools. Studded around the edge of the atrium are small alcoves offering shelter from the cacophony of sound, sporting small tables and chairs. The floor above overlooks the atrium, with small pods dotting the edge allowing more private views. A private staircase flanked by two well dressed elven guards offers access to the VIP area, a dark purple velvet corridor with private booths for more discrete conversations. (Read more in link)

Making his way around the upper level Thanatos grabs a drink (10 freakin Nuyen!!) and settles to a spot upstairs where he can best see the movement of other people. The drink comes in a beautifully intricate glass, a long stemmed martini glass but where the stem should be there is a dragon curling around giving the entire thing a much more expensive look and feel.

After the all clear from Thanatos, Bo heads over to the club a few seconds of checking ID’s and quick check shes not packing and shes in, her concealed holster working like a charm she doesn’t like to be without protection. Blank is just behind her scans and checks and he’s also let through, “He’s waiting for you, VIP rooms in an hour” the bouncer says as he walks past.

Meanwhile the Gentleman is not feeling so confident and he wants to be so much more than those plebs, time to get onto the VIP list. Plugging in the Top hatted and Monocled avatar begins his misdeeds:

Icarus has a public network, easy access for the start, no need to physical connections.

Fire and lava, the public network looks somewhat like the Icarus atrium but with more flowing lava and much more fire you certainly start to get a feeling off this place.

Searching round The Gentleman finds a spot to try for Admin access, such a level of access will allow him almost free roam of the system at least for the public network options.


After a couple of attempts the local security or admin become very aware of this Top hatted avatar, and slowly being to move towards him, with malicious intent. Time to unplug.


“Good look, I like it”, Thanatos turns around to see another male elf, wearing an outfit that is reminiscent of old pirate pictures, although he’s not convinced he got the outfit quite right surely they wouldn’t have left the shit half undone! “Thanks you, you look good to”. The elf raises an eyebrow and leaves, obviously Thanatos is not in the same crowd as him.

The hour passes, watching the place small cliques can be seen to gather, with intermixing on the dance floor. Bo and Blank seem t just be waiting slightly impatiently and Thanatos nurses his drink making sure to get the full 10 Nuyens worth and debating keeping the glass for himself, or a nice present for Chloe.

Bo and Blank approach the VIP section, “No chance, this area is not for you”. A second bouncer leans over a whispers into the first ear.. “Fine, up the stairs third door on the left, he’s waiting”.

Its Business Time

“What took you so long!” exclaims the man in the room, “we were told to wait” Bo quickly replies.

“I have a job i need you to do, and i need it done quick. Data retrieval”, This seems like a simple enough task, “40,000 Nuyen”, maybe not so simple.

40k for a data extraction is a heafty offer, there must be more to this. Getting the name of the company Prismatic, and the building the Gentleman does a fast search on it. Prismatic 15-17th floor of a Seadur-Krupp run building will have good security and fast response times from the local Lone Wolf law enforcement.

“We need the data quickly, couple of days max that’s why we’re offering a higher than normal price. I need a yes or no”, Bo turns on her hard bargain “60k and we have a deal, we’re looking at a heavily secured building, in a high risk zone for runs with only a day to plan we need extra hazard pay”… Mulling this over for a few seconds “Deal, here is the data search program it’ll find the files we need. Oh and anything else you find in their servers you can keep for yourselves”.

The trio make their way out of the club, it’s late around midnight best to get a feel for the building the next morning.

Eat, Sleep, Run, Repeat

Start of the morning Bo drives by during the rush hour traffic, good chance to go slowly without being too obvious;

The buildings shared, that much the Gentleman could easily find out a few lesser financial corps, nothing of note.

The atrium of the building takes up the first two floors, big open and clean a desk with a one guard to the side no obvious big security features and most people seem to walk in and straight to the lifts behind ascending to their jobs.

It may be possible for Bo to talk herself in, but we need to insert the Gentleman into Prismatics server room the subtlety of his Top hat and Monocle however would not go unnoticed perhaps a more unseen approach would be best.

It’s time for the Firefly, The Gentleman and Blank take the party van out and drive around near the building while the firefly scans the building. As it ascends it can see that the first 14 floors has clear glass but the prismatic floors are tinted making it harder to see. Switching to thermal the firefly can see the blurry shapes of people walking around on the 15th and 16th floor but when it gets to the 17th the heat levels rise and just above it there is a lot of heat.

// Best laid plans

Destination Detonation
Knock, Knock Part 2

On hearing no answer, they strained their ears for movement inside.

“If you hear screaming, that’s your cue,” she jokes to Blank, a little nervousness creeping into her voice.

Deciding that a lack of bravado would certainly be worse than rudeness in their current environment, Bo firmly pushes the door open and strides in. The pair are met by a small corridor, with a door to their left slightly ajar.

Peering through, they can see that there are several guards, as many as seven, patrolling the downstairs lobby. They decide to try the only other door, at the end of the hall, only to find it locked. Bo pulls her autopicker from her pack and gently inserts the device into the lock. There’s a series of whirring noises as it works before an ominous grinding sound begins to emanate from the lock. Her eyes widen and she twists the picker to try and disengage it before it breaks. Sheer luck grants her an unbroken picker. The duo stay motionless, breathing quickly as they wait to see if they’ve been heard.

No immediate sounds of movement reach them, so Bo inspects the picker and, finding it fit for purpose, attempts the lock again. This time a small snap is heard almost immediately. She stands back, holding her arm out in invitation for Thanatos to proceed. He lays his hand gently on the handle.

“Clear?” Thanatos whispers, hand pressed to his commlink.

“I’m not getting any readings. You’re good to move,” replies the voice of the Gentleman.

Thanatos only pulls open the door a fraction to peer through and assess the situation. Again there is only one other door which according to their plans should lead back to the same foyer on the left. In the room there is a single low table, a few chairs and a safe. His eyes light up as he pulls it open the rest of the way and ushers Bo through, closing it behind them. They begin searching the room somewhat but it’s not long before they hear the urgent voice of the Gentleman.

“Three bad guys, heading your way.”

Bo quietly exits immediately, back into the hall. Thanatos glances at the ceiling and for a split second considers his gecko gloves. Choosing not to push his luck he swiftly follows his companion and pushes the door almost all the way closed. This time he leaves a sliver of a gap, his eye locked on the other door as Bo retreats to observe the foyer.

Three burly men carrying AK assault rifles enter the room with the safe. They mutter something about the boss being unfair and not receiving a decent cut, but nothing of use is mentioned. Thanatos watches as they each drop a small red credstick on the table, grumble, and shuffle out of the room. He waves behind him to get Bo’s attention and whispers to her to grab them. He quickly pulls the door open again once they’re out of sight and Bo darts in, grabs the sticks and is back out by Thanatos in a flash. He pushes the door carefully closed again, and it shuts again silently.

As she does, they hear a deep thudding. Peering back through to the foyer they watch as a pair of heavy boots descend the staircase in view. An orc emerges, the arm of his biker jacket adorned with a patch symbolising his authority within the Halloweeners. The newcomer marches straight to the rear room.

“Is this a fucking joke?” he bellows. The three that had been there before look at each other perplexed. The orc enters the foyer once more, his features beginning to contort in rage. “Are you lot deaf as well as stupid? Where’s the money?”

“I-It’s right in there, boss,” one stutters, his eyes wides.

“We just dropped them off. They’re on the table,” another rushes to support his friend.

“So it’s me that’s fucking stupid, is it? Table’s empty, and you are taking the piss now,” he shouts, pointing at the trio.

Another set of heavy footsteps and the minions almost squeak, retreating to the far side and out of sight of the door. The latest gang member must come down the other staircase as the two inside are unable to see him.

“I don’t know who this guy is but there’s something strange about him. His heat signature is very unusual. He -”

The Gentleman is cut off by a cry for help. Blank glances worriedly through the back door but Bo signals to him that they’re fine. The room is filled by the horrible sounds of dull thudding as flesh is pounded into mincemeat.

“Would you like to try lying to me again?” Asks a deep voice, his accent heavily Mexican.

There is some babbling attempt at an explanation before another series of blows are rained down on the members of the group. Bo winces, a hand going to her stomach as it roils at the smell of blood and the gurgling noises coming from the next room. A moment of silence follows before the leader instructs the remaining group.

“Take them away, search them.” He demands. He snaps his fingers at the commander and the still fuming orc follow dutifully back up the stairs.

The last four members of the guard glance at each other nervously and grab the boots of their fallen comrades. They drag the bodies into the room with the safe.

“It looks like they’re searching them for the credsticks. The room to your left as you go in looks empty, but stick to the wall,” suggests the Gentleman.

Bo and Thanatos take a moment to check that the coast is clear before slipping through the door and into the foyer. They are now able to easily see the two ruined staircases reaching up to the first floor landing. Shadows pass over them as the patrol above moves in front of the meagre lights. To the front of the building they can see the door they tried initially, the heavy steel sealed shut by a metal bar across it.

Blood smears the floor where the bodies have been dragged, and there are dents in the walls where the first man went down. Again, Bo fights down the nausea and focuses on the task at hand.

There are three other doors from here – one to their far right, at the rear and behind the further staircase, one straight ahead, and one to their left. Taking his advice, they slip through the first door.

The room was once painted white but the walls have long since yellowed with age and smoke. The ceiling is a dark grey, and the single couch is ratty and stained. A single window allows some light into the room, but this is also completely boarded. A small unit sits in the corner, adorned with several vials of yellow liquid. An odd vapour seems to settle above it, beneath the cork sealing the solution inside. Neither Bo nor Thanatos recognise this, but it’s relatively safe to assume the substance is less than legal. Thanatos picks up a vial and puts it inside his jacket.

Near the unit is a large cardboard box containing several pieces of hardware.

“Any good to you, Gentleman?” Bo asks, knowing he can see through her contacts.

“Why yes, several of those pieces should be very helpful. That which is not, should sell for a reasonable price to the right people.”

Bo nods. “Okay, we come back for it later. Where to next?”

“They’ve not left the back room yet. You should be able to make it to that door on your far left. The one next to you is lit up like Christmas.”

Thanatos takes the lead, pushing the door open and moving around the wall.

“Blank, you can catch up. Get inside and wait for my mark.”

Blank moves silently forward and pauses by the same ajar door as before, whilst Thanatos and Bo reach the door. Unfortunately, to their dismay, they find it locked. Bo quickly pulls out her autopicker as Thanatos turns to watch their surroundings. Luckily the wall, balcony and staircase are offering good cover from all current patrols.

“They’re leaving! Blank move to the room on the left and get ready. This may be about to go loud. You two have to get inside, now,” he urges.

Blank hurries through and into the room they had vacated, ensuring to close the doors behind him. He readies his guns, ensuring he has full clips in each.

Thankfully the picker makes short work of the lock and Bo and Thanatos are able to get through and shut it as the sound of voices reach their ears. Taking a moment to collect themselves, they look around the new room. There is nothing in here except for a large, iron banded wooden chest with a robust looking lock. Bo cracks her fingers and gets to work. The lid is soon open and they find a large array of guns and grenades. The weapons have seen better days but they take advantage of their position, each swinging a rifle over the backs and taking several clips.

“Blank, do you know what these are?” Bo asks, examining the grenades carefully. As she picks one up she sees a grey bar below it that looks like a malleable plastic.

His voice crackles over the commlink, “The green one is definitely a frag grenade, but I don’t recognise the others. I would hazard a guess at being flashbangs or something. That bar will be a kind of explosive, I reckon.”

Thanatos shrugs and grabs it from her as her jaw falls open a little. “Don’t worry about being careful around the explosives,” she mocks, keeping her voice low. He just continues to add the other grenades and the bar to various pockets in his leather duster. Bo shakes her head in disbelief and looks back to the chest. She frowns as something odd catches her attention – there are scratch marks in the concrete beneath the chest, as if something extremely heavy had been dragged across it repeatedly. Her head snaps to the door as she hears a noise outside.

“They’re heading right to you,” a worried voice calls over. “Blank, are you set?”

“Affirmative,” replies the gunman, his hands tightening around the grips of his faithful guns and shifting his weight, feeling his muscles tense with adrenaline.

Bo casts another frightened glance over her shoulder before getting behind the chest and bracing her feet against the wall nearby. Seeing what she is doing, Thanatos joins her, and together they are able to shift the chest forward, the corners grating loudly through the grooves previously made. Not having time to think about it, Thanatos jumps down. He lands solidly, and although he makes barely a sound, it was not a soft one. A rocky corridor stretches out in front of him, with a large steel door at one end, not far away. Before that is a left turn, where a lot of light is streaming through.

Thanatos steps forward and Bo drops down behind him. He steps forward, holding his hand up to signal her to wait. He peers around the corner, seeing a small round table and five large men playing poker in the small space. As he does, a large troll looks his way and they lock eyes. A loud scrape echoes through the small cavern as he throws his chair back. Thanatos winces and pulls back, pressing himself to the stone wall as he tries to think of what to do.

“Who the fuck are you?” he growls, stepping forward and rounding the corner. His head almost grazes the ceiling of this underground passage, and the bulk of him nearly fills the width.

Thanatos puts a hand to his pocket and doesn’t give himself time to overthink his gut instinct. He pulls out the one Blank identified as a frag grenade, pulls the pin, and steps up to throw it around to his left. Fortune was smiling down as the projectile makes it around the troll, hits the wall and bounces into the middle of the table. There is a moment of stunned silence before all hell breaks loose.

Thanatos backs straight up, nearly bumping into Bo, as two more stooges exit the cavern and raise their guns. They open fire, the bullets barely missing. The small area causes a bottleneck, with the ones behind unable to move beyond those in front. Bo’s eyes widen and she immediately turns to scramble back up the ladder. She pulls herself out as another crack of a gun sounds and a grunt of pain follows. Thanatos rapidly climbs the ladder and Bo offers him her hand. His hand is pressed to his side, blood pooling between his fingers. She squeaks as the angry face of the troll appears below her and she tries to heave the chest back over the hole. It shifts slightly, but otherwise stubbornly refuses to move.

Thanatos heaves against it as well, but he is unable to gain purchase and in his weakened state is only able to get it most of the way over the top. He rolls to his knees and shields Bo as a deep boom sounds from the ground beneath them. The floor shakes, dust and debris falling from the ceiling. The hole covered by the chest has significantly widened, and it starts to slide, it’s corner already vanishing below. Not wanting the way to be blocked, Bo frantically grabs at it and is able to stop it’s descent.

“I do not know what you did, but they definitely heard that.”

Bo reaches for her pistol as Thanatos unsheathes his katana and they move into a defensive position. As they do that, they hear a sudden commotion outside.

Upon seeing the guards appearing to resume their patrol, the Gentleman racks his brain for a way to help. Then it comes to him. What they need, is a distraction. He puts a call through to the number the orc on duty outside had tried to contact. A gruff voice answers.

“¿Qué deseas?” he answers.

“We’re bein’ attacked!” he exclaims, imitating a more roguish accent.

“Where?” he barks.

“Out on the road!”

The Gentleman listens as he hears the lieutenant grumble and start issuing orders. Watching the monitors from his drones he sees a few of them start to move toward the front of the building. A wave of energy pulses under the ground suddenly, and everyone turns away.

He ends the call and connects to the team network. “I do not know what you did, but they definitely heard that.”

Quickly, he engages his lynx and sends the drone toward the building. It covers the distance in record speed. A few tricks, and the lynx opens fire, targeting the beast of a machine parked outside. He watches as again all the heat sources rush to the front of the building to peer out of the windows. The bullets of the drone tear through the chrome plating, and eventually rip through the fuel tank. The unexpected but inevitable explosion caused a wave of heat to expand outwards as the Trollhammer is engulfed in flames.

A roar of pain and rage fills the night as brickwork explodes outward from the first floor, a chrome fist now jutting through it. A heave and a chunk of the wall falls away as the leader jumps out of the building and lands crouched in the gravel. The dancing fire of his precious vehicle light the fury in his eyes as he turns a vengeful gaze upon the lynx. A surprised Gentleman snaps back to his senses and instructs the lynx to start running.

A hail of bullets fall from the windows as those still inside attempt to slay the attacker which has dared anger their boss. Another primal roar shatters the night and the cybered orc charges after the drone and vanishes into the plains to the south.

Thanatos and Bo stare at each other expressionless at the sounds around them. A loud explosion, crackling flame, splintering brick and furious cries.

Using the cover of the shots being fired from the front of the building, Thanatos and Blank burst from their positions simultaneously and start laying down fire. Thanatos’ blade shimmers in the moonlight as he slashes at his opponents, the bullets from Blank’s gun ripping holes through them. The four are barely able to get a single shot off in Blank’s direction before all of them fall.

Thanatos nods to the first staircase and Blank nods, raising his guns to cover the stairs as the elf advances upwards.

Bo watches them go and glance at the door on her right. Given the number of signatures the Gentleman had informed them of, it seemed unusual that no one had reacted, but she decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth. A quick look upstairs shows them effectively taking care of the gang members above them. What use would she be in combat anyway right?

Another glance between the door ahead and her team and she switches off her image link. Crouching low, she runs to the door leading to the first room she and Thanatos entered. She edges around the three bodies on the floor and bends to inspect the safe. A relatively simple thing. She cracks on, doing what she does best, and soon the door of the safe clicks open. Five red sticks lay inside. Eagerly, she snatches them up and heads back out. No one is in the foyer, and sounds of combat are still heavy upstairs. She switches on her image link again and scans the sight of the two fighters. They see to be handling themselves okay, but she places a foot on the stairs to lend a hand.

Until she remembers the deal. Her eyes flick to the door now on her left, thinking on the patch she saw on the troll’s arm. And the glint of steel she’d seen beyond him in the brief glance she’d gotten before having to retreat again. Instead, she heads back there and heaves the chest right out of the way. She carefully descends the ladder, glad she is wearing gloves. He stomach threatens to overturn this time at the sight of the blood dripping from the stone. Parts of different gang members are strewn around the corridor and the cavern was a mess of splintered bone, flesh, brain matter, and burnt clothing and wood. She covers her mouth and nose with one hand as she scans the area. Near the base of the ladder is a chunk of shoulder and part of an arm, the black jacket viciously torn and burnt. It’s a little scuffed, but the badge is luckily still mostly in tact. She grips the edges and tugs, able to rip it off, and places it in her pocket.

Moving onward, she finds that the steel door is one to some sort of vault, the big wheel a more difficult locking mechanism to crack. But not impossible. As blood is shed in the upper floors, Bo presses her ear to the vault door and listens to the symphony of tumblers. A few minutes pass and the door hisses quietly as it slides open. She rubs her hand in anticipation as with a great heave it slowly swings open. Her grin fades and she rolls her eyes when she sees that inside is another safe, much smaller than the first, behind a metal grate. Two more locks later and she is crouching before the cracked safe, revealing a small silver briefcase.

She gently takes the case out, holding the edges, and rests it on her lap. Checking the locks, she sees that it has been left open. Apparently they thought the locked door, hidden entry, band of thugs, two safes and barred gate would be enough. She flips the fastenings and carefully lifts the lid. Inside is an odd cylindrical object, a dark metallic grey. As she leans over to get a better look she notices her necklace straining toward it. A dull ache starts to throb in her ears and she slams the lid shut. She shakes her head to clear her mind and refastens the clips.

“I’ve got it,” she says, activating her commlink and alerting the others.

Generic fight scene!

Thanatos probably taking the commader’s entire arm in order to get his patch.

They turn as the hear hurried footsteps ascending the stair case, both raising their weapons. Bo immediately raises one hand, the other tightly gripping the handle of the briefcase.

“The ‘gift’?” asks Thanatos, and she nods with a smile. He returns it and stalks off into one of the other rooms. Seeing what he’s doing, she heads the opposite way and opens the first door on the right.

Bo finds a rather small bedroom; a short bed with rumpled sheets and belongings tipped everywhere. This room probably belonged to one of the late Halloweeners, and had clearly been searched. She gives it a cursory once over but unsurprisingly finds nothing.

Behind door number one, Thanatos finds some sort of storage room full of dusty cardboard boxes. Nothing interesting there. Moving swiftly, knowing their time was limited, he kicks open the door to the next room. A foul stench fills the hallway, and he covers his face with his arm. Peering over the leather he sees a chair in the middle of the room with metal straps. A table to the right is covering with various bloodstained instruments. Manacles hang from the centre of the ceiling, and dirt and old blood covers a lot of the surfaces. And soiled tarp is currently surrounding the chair but has done little to protect the aged floor. Hearing a door open behind him indicating Bo has moved on, he closes the door firmly and continues his search.

Can’t remember what was in the bottom left room.

Bo pushes open the second door on the right. This bedroom is a lot more grand in comparison. A large double bed fills most of the space, with a dresser and wardrobe tucked tightly in. She quickly starts rifling through the drawers, and in the top one, hidden under a fake panel, is a credstick and a very specialised pistol. Securing her gloves, she gingerly takes both. The credstick is straight in her pocket, whilst she takes a moment to admire the weapon.

Much like it’s owner, it is extravagant and plated in chrome. A small insignia is engraved on the side; a fist, apparently encased in metal. It’s fully loaded, and she tucks it into a holster at her hip.

“We do not have much more time. He is starting to grow bored of the drone, I fear.”

All three members pick up the pace, arriving at the final door at the same time. They push it open and come to a sudden stop. The room is full of people. They are wearing masks and lab coats, and are hunched over various tables as they go about their tasks. Blank, Thanatos and Bo hold their breath for a second before they realise no one is going to move. Bo approaches the nearest person and peers at their face.

The workers’ faces are expressionless, their eyes showing no sign of spark. The seem to shuffle between stations, completely unaware of even their most immediate surroundings.

“He’s on his way back!”

Bo grabs a few of the vials on a table at the back and catches sight of the bunsen burners. “We have to burn the place,” she points out.

“Optional extra,” Blank replies logically.

“But – " Bo tries to argue, thinking of the bonus nuyen.

He sighs and ushers her forwards. “The sheets will not be enough to catch this place. None of the walls are flammable, they would be difficult to catch.” She pouts a little but keep jogging. “Maybe plastic will do, though,” he offers.

Her eyes widen in shock. “There are still people in here!”

As they reach the foyer, Blank holds his hand out for the bar of explosive that Thanatos has, who hands it over readily, seeming relieved to be rid of it. “I’ll put it at the front so that only that part is destroyed. That plus the fun our hacker had with the bike should be enough to score us the extra bounty. Now, get back,” the gunman orders. Bo and Thanatos don’t need telling twice, although the elf does take a slight detour to grab the box of hardware.

They run into the road and sprint toward where the van is parked. It’s not long before they hear the Gentleman’s voice inform them that the lieutenant is about to enter the building. Seconds later, debris explodes from the right corner of the building, parts of the building crumbling inward until most of the structure has been destroyed.

Blank stills himself, remembering his training, as a hulking form rounds the corner. He sticks close to the wall, taking advantage of the heavy shadows around him. He sees now that the lieutenant is a huge orc, bald, with large tusks, dressed in the classic Halloween getup but with bare arms. One arm is obviously completely cybered and polished to a shiny chrome finish. The muscles on his other arm don’t look too weak either though, sporting a bold tattoo with a emblem of a fist encased in steel and the fist of that arm also shining in the low light. As it catches on his shoulder, Blank sees that an embossed copy of the same emblem also adorns his chromatic arm.

He stealthily shifts forward as the orc enters the building, waiting for him to see the chaos wreaked inside. He hears more guttural cries, and lines up his shot. He squeezes off one electrical round, and turns to run like hell. He covers his head, the sound deafening, and the force of the explosion nearly knocking him off his feet.

A grin curls his lips as he reaches the road and sees the ruin of the former hideout. He did like to cause devastation.

Blank appears from the rear of the building and together the three of them retreat to the Party Van.

Knock Knock..

“Let have that drink, ey?”

A simple enough message. It took Bo a second to realised this must be the bar tender from the Deep Dive. With the hopes that this would lead to more work she messages the troops, all responding quickly and informing her that they’ll be nearby..

As Bo arrives at the Deep Dive, she’s glad to notice the signs “I” is still alive and flicking leisurely to its own pattern. She pushes open the door and takes her first step inside. The place really does continue to live up to its name and hasn’t changed much; memory seems to clean it up a bit actually. The floor is still an odd mix of damp and sticky.

To the side in one of the seating areas she spots the peak of a tophat, so the Gentleman is already here. As she walks towards the bar, the bartender places a clean glass on the counter and fills it with a liquid that looks like it hasn’t already been through someone. Picking up the glass she goes to drink it, subtly sniffing the clear liquid as it gets close to her mouth; she breathes in the sweet, strong smell of decent rum. With a satisfied smile, she knocks it back in one. Feeling the burn through her chest, she allows herself a short laugh. “That is the good stuff,” she says, giving him an appreciative look.

The bartender grins, but he’s quickly down to business. He fixes eyes with Bo, and begins, his tone low and serious.

“I need you to teach some gentlemen a lesson. They borrowed something of mine. A gift that was for my friend”, his voice is gruff, as one would expect of an ork, but he is surprisingly well spoken.

“Really?” She asks. “You’ve peaked my curiosity, certainly. Can you tell me what we’re looking for?”

He chuckles, giving her a knowing look. He repeats that a ‘gift’ was stolen on its way to a ‘friend’; the way both those words are said tells Bo that it’s not a ribbon tied cake and his friend isn’t likely to be a drinking buddy. Deciding it better not to press further, she focuses on the deal at hand.

“How will we know what you want?”

“Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it,” he replies, grin broadening. “I need it done in the next 24 hours though, but I hear you’ve got good turn around.”

“That we do, friend,” she confirms confidently. “We can get your gift back. Any particular requests about the lesson in question?”

The bartender considers her for a moment before a dark yet gleeful expression transforms his features. “If I see smoke on the horizon, then there could certainly be a bonus it it for you.”

She returns his look with a dark smile of her own. “Fire. Well, some do like it hot,” she replies. “Who is it?”

‘Those Halloweeners. Idiots think they own this place. I can tell you where their hideout is. There should be two lieutenants there as well, although I can’t say who it would be tonight.’

Bo recalls them to be the same gang who shot up the rent a van place, followed swiftly by those unfortunate members being filled with lead, or joining the sub-four-limb club courtesy of her Japanese colleague.

“If you could get their badges, I could throw in a fair sum for those as well,” he adds. “They’d be very nice trophies.”

Bo considers his offer; the pay is fair and will keep them all in decent living for another month. It’ll be a tidy sum to put away with her earning from the last job. It really wouldn’t be bad work for a matter of a fortnight. Cheekily, she decides to press her luck. “Throw in a bottle of this rum, and you got a deal.”

He laughs whole heartedly. “No way. But tell you what, get this done and come and see me, I’ll have another glass for you.”

She’s silent a moment, wondering to cut in her team with the bonus, but instead agrees with the condition that he join her. She sends off the information she has so far and lets him know they’ll take the job. Talk turns away from business for a while. Later, as she stands from her stool, his voice stops her.

“What’s your group called?”, he asks.

“We don’t have one yet, actually,” Bo replies thoughtfully. She pings a quick message to the team but her commlink is suddenly full of many poor name suggestions. At her wince, the bartender chuckles.

“How about you work on that one and tell me later?” he offers.

“And what might I call you?”

‘The names Steel’.

A cursory search reveals a basic satellite image and map of the area; a dead end somewhat off the main road. Looking at the images it’s possible to see that most of the buildings have either collapsed, or are halfway there. At the end of the road stands a solitary building, still intact, and identified as the target. The satellite image doesn’t give much away about the building other than it still has four walls and a roof.

Along the road there is another building, only in a state of disrepair, something that they know they should be wary of. Against the comparable ruins around, this would be an ideal spot for a sniper or lookout guarding the approach to the Halloweener hideout. At the root of the road is a partially intact building, which raises some suspicions. Further searching leads to knowing that the other building is set to collapse at anytime, and isn’t likely to contain anyone. Not even the most desperate of squatters would reside here with the Halloweeners so nearby.


Thanatos announces, “I go disguise and sneak in.”

The team turn to look at him, eyebrows raised, simultaneously wondering if that actual the first successful English sentence he’d uttered. He gets up and starts to leave, and Bo quickly joins him, feeling her skills at blending in may also help with a more subtle approach.

She herself dons a short, bubblegum pink wig, carefully tucking her long dark hair beneath it and ensuring it’s fixed firmly. She raid’s her roomate’s closet and her own in order to find as many leather pieces as possible, and ends up looking reasonably like a Halloweener. With her assistance, Thanatos selects a bald cap and books an appointment at a salon. A short time later, the bald cap hides most of his thick dark hair. A slit down the middle allows for some to be styled into a large mohawk, temporarily dyed a shocking shade of neon green. Thanatos is ready for a night out with the Halloweeners, minus a biker jacket. His appearance is also not as thuggish as one would expect from a member of this gang, but that’s something that would be worked on once they had acquired the right gear from a straggler.

All four meet again a short time later; Bo on her bike with Thanatos, Blank and the Gentleman in the Party Van. The Gentlemen sets his drones to good use, scanning the local buildings with the enhance vision sensors. A long range thermal scan shows some heat signatures in the building near the entrance to the road, and a lot of heat from the target building. Switching the drone to capture regular visuals, it is possible for him to discern that the half collapsed building seems to have two people sat on the third floor. Their dark shapes are barely lit against the darkening sky, but their hulking forms identify them to most likely be an ork and a troll.

On confirmation of the individuals, Thanatos speaks abruptly.

“I go see what we have there,” he says as he skirts off into the night. As he moves he pulls out a mask. This mask looks like a quick job to convert a simple gas mask into a full face disguise; a simple filter mask that covers nose and mouth with slits all along it, and a wire mesh followed by filters is attached to some cheap material the covers the rest of the face. Two straps, one originally for the mouth and nose filter, the other attached to the rest of the mask. The entire thing was sprayed black, then a low quality skull stencil has been sprayed on it in white, but the image is slightly smudged as if the mask was moved too early and some of the paint has dripped down. The white spray is thin, giving it more of a grey look. Overall though, the lower quality of the paint work creates a haunting image.

After a successful silent run to the building Thanatos pulls on a pair of gecko gloves, and begins climbing to the top of the building. As he crests the top, he notices a couple of messages on his commlink.

WTF are you doing?”
“Message if you need help”

Moving to the edge of the broken roof he stares down, confirming what they thought – two guards stand watch. Both guards appear to have at least two weapons; some form of pistol and an assault rifle. Unfortunately Thanatos’ knowledge of guns is worse than his knowledge of English, so further identification of these firearms is unlikely. Neither guard seems overly attentive to their surroundings, but still pose a challenge to Thanatos alone. At least without causing a disturbance. He instead quietly pulls back, signalling for help.

Grabbing a small piece of rubble, he moves back to the edge of the roof, watching the guards. His grip tightens on the small projectile, readying a distraction for if they notice Bo and Blank progressing across the open plain. A sharp noise sounds, and both guards get up to look out towards where Bo and Blank probably are. They seem confused though, and show no sign of spotting anything untoward. Both the guards shift their weight though, and are clearly unsettled.

Bo’s voice sounds softly in his ear. “We’re here, got a plan?”

Thanatos replies “Bo – stairs. Stay out of sight. Blank – catch, climb to edge”.

He shifts to the edge of the roof and drops his gloves down to Blank as they both move into position. Blank quickly scales the wall and positions himself directly under the ledge where the guards are standing.

“What now?”

“Kill them, quietly.”

“We’ll need a distraction.”

“That I can do,” Bo says, heading up the stairs. “Block their comms, Gentleman?”

“Ring when he see her,” Thanatos instructs the Gentleman.

“Knock, knock,” Bo says, striding forwards. Muzzles are instantly lifted to level with her chest. “Woah! Guys, calm down. I saw your light,” she says, raising her hands. They move a little closer.

“What the fuck are you doin’ up here?” the troll growls aggressively.

“I just wanted a light,” she says timidly, her voice shaking a little with nerves.

“There’s nothin’ around, not like you were strollin’ past!”

“Get the fuck out,” chimes in his friend, nearly close enough to nudge her with the barrel of his rifle.

The tense, hostile air is broken with the chirping of a comm-link. The troll looks down, bewildered, and patting his pockets looking for a phone. Blank takes that as his cue, levering himself up onto the ledge behind the guards and readying his gun. At the same time, Bo quickly reaches out and places a slap patch on the ork’s arm.

Thunkthump the troll drops heavily on the floor, Blank’s pistol smoking slightly. The ork shakes off the stun and angrily grabs Bo’s arm. In her panic, her protective instincts kick in and her skin becomes electrified. Another thump and he hits the ground hard next to his companion. Thanatos eases his grip and drops silently from the roof.

The Gentleman crackles over the comms links. “They tried to get a message out, but I blocked it.”

Thanatos is straight onto the bodies. A quick search reveals a pack of cigarettes and lighter, each has the same guns. Thanatos releases the clips and takes the spare ammo passing it to Blank but grabbing the guns to try and flog later himself. He tosses one of the packs of cigarettes at Bo. She catches them and deftly slips them into her pocket.

He studies the two unconscious bodies. Neither jacket would be a good fit, but they had to work with what they got. Rolling over the ork, he strips him of the biker jacket and tries it on for size. As expected, it’s too big, but the best of the two options. As they go to leave, Thantos pauses before killing both the troll and ork, leaving Bo slightly shocked at the cold blooded attitude.

Shaking off her surprise, Bo carefully observes the road and nudges Thanatos.

“We should go see what we can find. Gentleman, can your drones back us up?”

An affirmative response ushers them into action and they quickly make their way down the street toward the building at the end of the cul de sac.

“There’s still a lot of heat from here. There are signatures all over the building.”

As they approach, Bo is distracted by the beast of a bike outside the house. She doesn’t hold back her admiration, although she restrains herself from reaching out to the chrome frame. It’s an impressive vehicle, clearly modded for its owner. She sees a few small tanks near the rear that she would hazard a guess at being full of nitrous. This was a BMW Trollhammer, built to take the weight of bigger metahumans, and this one had also been updated with the latest gadgets to really make her go. Bo glanced at the house. She was starting to get an idea of what type of company they might find inside.

Bo and Thanatos reach the house and are struck by how quite it is outside. The windows appear to be boarded up, and this door is a thick metal, probably steel, and clearly not meant to be opened.


“Clear around the back,” the voice of their hacker whispers.

They make their way around the building, and one last scan of the building shows that there are a lot of signatures, grouped together throughout the house. Bo sends Thanatos a nervous look, then steps forward and sharply raps her knuckle against the wooden back door.

All About the Truck
Mr(s) Johnson Part 2

At the break of dawn Thanatos is up and ready to stake out the Docks for when the cargo ship arrives. A quick ping to the group and Blank agrees to drop him off near by. Grabbing a few soy cubes Thanatos finds himself settling down in the brown fields, and with cubes to his left for snacking and binoculars in his right hand, he lay their for several hours. Just before the ship comes in two guards leave one of the buildings and switch places with the guards in the tower. Watching the ship come in, the drones lift the containers and the scurry of trucks coming and going from the docks like a bee hive.

The high end corp trucks with their shiny finish looking like they’ve never done more than a few days of work completely automated and those that look like they were dragged from the river or the local dump with typical truck drivers set festering in their seats as they follow collection orders from their bee queen.

As the activity quietens down one truck arrives and seemingly stops, no drone is active no cargo being moved. Thanatos scans the area, finally focusing on the guard tower as a man leaves walks over to a crate in the ‘suspicious zone’. He watches as it is inspected, inside and out, then as he walks back to the tower a drone lifts the cargo onto the truck before it scurries away.

A low rumble accompanies the truck as it leaves the dock with its new cargo. Thanatos observes silently, wondering how we might be able to infiltrate and retrieve a heavy container and the only conclusion that can be drawn is at least a simple one – we need a truck. But do they hack into an automated corporate one, or knock one of the drivers unconscious? Both are risky, especially as they cannot be sure if the trucks are tagged in some way. It certainly wouldn’t do to arrive claiming ownership of one container whilst the drones attempt to transport another!

The decision is made to instead try and acquire a new vehicle. Whether the idea is to rent or “borrow” is yet unclear, but the Gentleman is soon scoping the matrix and quickly finds a place that rents trucks. Together, the band of four head over in what has become ‘affectionately’ known as The Party Van. They pull up a street away but as they draw to a stop they see a trio of humanoids heading for the door. Troll, ork and dwarf. Odd companions. Cautiously, sensing something amiss, Blank steps out of the van.

Loud cracks sound through the air, flashes coming from inside the small office. Screams fill the otherwise quiet morning. Thanatos leaps from the van and it’s a long moment before Bo hesitantly follows. The Gentleman decides to use his particular skill set and a small drone flies forward and lands lightly on the glass of a barred window. It projects back the images and they are able to make out the three figures, with another two behind the desk. There is at least a single limp form in the room and the tension rises. These guys are not playing. Their style indicates toward them being more of the uncouth Halloweeners.

Blank and Thanatos flank the doorway, crouching low under the windows. Blank risks lifting slightly to peer through the bottom of the window. A growl, a crack, and a bullet tears through the glass near the spy bot, knocking it to the floor and showering Blank in shards. He nonchalantly brushes of the shards as a huge troll throws the door open. Without pause Blank lifts his semi automatic pistols and fires a long burst. The troll roars and stumble backwards, raising his own weapon, but is unable to retaliate before the dual weapons are utilised again and a few more rounds are squeezed off. 18 bullets, and he finally falls.

Thanatos glances through the open doorway to assess the situation as Bo round the front of the van, ensuring to keep cover. Inside, the dwarf is looking more than a little worried but the ork scoffs and raises his heavy shotgun. He is swiftly disarmed, literally, by Thanatos’ quick thinking. He rushed in and slashes at the offender with deadly accuracy, the sharpened blade slicing through flesh without issue and neatly dismembering the ork. The shotgun, and his right arm, drop to the floor as he screams in agony.

Bo notices the look on the dwarf’s face and knows he’s about to bolt. Blood is still oozing from beneath the large bulk of the troll, dark against the dusty concrete, and the sight of the torn limb bleeding profusely make her gut wrench. She stands up and puts her hands in the air. Mainpulating her voice to an inhuman level, she shouts for them to stop. The dwarf’s face twists, his fear more than apparent. Unfortunately the plea otherwise falls on deaf ears as the ork rushes Thanatos, who is the much more agile of the two. He neatly side steps and plunges his katana into the back of his neck. He puts a boot into the back of the now dead comrade and shoves the body off of his weapon.

Blinking against the sudden escalation of violence, Bo makes her way through the office, carefully stepping around those that were less fortunate. She pushes open the back door and picks the door on one of the trucks. Her gloved hands shake as she attempts to make quick work of the gridlink. A deep breath and she’s back in control, and she’s eventually able to disable it before picking the padlock on the rusty metal gates to the parking lot. She pulls out the panel hiding the wires for hotwiring the truck and as the engine sputters to life Thanatos jumps into the cab next to her.

“One has a DocWagon on the way,” he announces grimly. “We should hurry.”

Bo looks up to see the Party Van already tearing down the street and puts her foot on the gas. They had a truck.

Bo straightens her long blonde hair, combing it out and fluffing it around her shoulders to try and make it look more realistic. She strides forward and round the corner, confidently approaching the guard posted in the booth at the front gate. She smiles widely and bids him a good morning, which earns her a strange look.

“I’m a new recruit, I was asked to report here today?” she hedges, clasping her hands in front of her.

The guard raises an eyebrow and just points at the card reader next to a small gate in the fence where personnel access the compound. Her smile falters a little but she places her forged keycard against the device and, when the door clicks open with a buzz and he doesn’t cast so much as a second glance at her, she decides not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Looking around, she quickly orientates herself with the descriptions Thanatos gave her and heads for the rear building where the guards should be. To the left of the building, right by the quarantined containers, is a heavy steel door leading into the building.

“Luck must be with me,” she murmurs as the door swings open under her touch. The hallway is completely empty, with not so much as the whirring of machines to be heard. The first door leads to a small lounge where the guards must take breaks. Further on, there is a staircase leading upward before the corridor turns sharply left. Glancing up, she continues on for now. She steps lightly, not wanting to be caught off guard nor prematurely announce her presence.

Here there are two wooden doors to the left and a steel one to the right. A flush and the sound of running water filters through the first wooden door, answering questions about that room, but her curiosity is peaked by the final one. She approaches and tries to peer through the windows, but thick shutters have sealed out any nosy visitors so she knocks sharply on the door. When there’s no answer, she takes a moment to listen but can’t here much other than a quiet beeping. She tries the door and finds it also unlocked, and steps through. She freezes when she sees a large man in a chair, surrounded by monitors, but he doesn’t move. She holds her breath for a second but it becomes obvious he is not going to react and she edges around to see that his eyes are staring blankly forward and a small wire is plugged into a jack at his temple.

Bo wave a hand briefly in front of him but again he doesn’t even flinch. She stands back and messages the team.

“I’m in,” she whispers, activating the link to her contact lenses.

“We can see,” she hears in her head. “Looks like you found the security detail.”

“Doesn’t seem like much of a threat, but good to know where he is,” she replies, casting her eyes over the multitude of displays in front of him.

She spies a locked cabinet in the corner and moves to it, slipping her lockpick out of her pocket. A quick twist and the cheap metal lock opens up. She pulls the door open and finds varying guns and some riot gear. Sadly, nothing very shiny. Poots could pick her up something much classier quicker than she picked the lock! With a small pout she refastens the doors and leaves everything as she found it.

Back in the hallway, she makes a beeline for the stairs and jogs up them. The door immediately to the left of the stairwell opens out onto a generously size balcony area, littered with cigarette butts. There is also more wooden doors but her attention is caught by the one at the end. A large window shows several men in uniform observing many monitors and through the room she can see that this room then has a large external window too, giving good visibility across most of the compound.

Bo puts her friendly smile back in place and knocks, letting herself in. Three of the occupants don’t even look up, but the rear guard turns to look at her expectantly. “Hi, I think I’m supposed to be here, right? The company sent me over to help out only I’m a little lost,” she offers with a self deprecating smirk.

He raises a sceptical eyebrow but nods her in. “Didn’t know we were getting anyone new,” he says, a hint of suspicion in his tone.

Bo frowns. “Really? I was told that you security should have got the message.”

The guard rolls his eyes. “Bloody lumox. Of course he didn’t tell us.” He shrugs and continues. “Well, there’s not really much to be done right now. It’s a slow day. But up there you can see a display of the containers that will need inspecting. Most of it runs pretty normally, it’s boring as shit.” As if to punctuate his statement, one of the other guards gives a large yawn.

“When one needs inspecting, we take a look and tag it with one of those,” he signals to a box of red RFID tags. He picks one up and Bo moves forward, peering in. Taking her opportunity, she slips a tag into the inside of her sleeve. A quick glance about and she’s sure she wasn’t spotted.

“If tagging these things is as exciting as it gets around here then, mind if I come along?”

He shrugs again. He’s clearly not paid enough to care much about what goes on here. “Whatever, it’s your life.”

He picks up a machine from the desk and presses a few buttons. “First you gotta program it with the shipping ID,” he points to the screen with the red box on it and a single string of 12 random characters and taps the tag against the screen of the hand held machine. “Then we go check it out.”

They move toward the staircase as he explains. “Truck will arrive that will be transmitting the same RFID code from under the bumper, which is how we know to let them in. The drones match what they’re here for and handle the rest. I won’t actually tag this one yet though so I’ll wipe the tag when we get back.”

Outside in the quarantine area he gives one container a curious look. “We’ve only got one on our records, wonder why that one’s still here,” he says absentmindedly before throwing open the heavy container door of the one they’ve gone to inspect. It’s just full of crates, and he lifts one up but doesn’t appear to find anything of interest. He shuffles through and peers into a few more, poking some of the miscellaneous stuff lying on the ground and exits with a disappointed look. “Always hope to find something good, like gold or something.”

Scuffing the ground with his foot he gives a disgruntled snort and heaves the door closed again.

“Well, maybe I can come down and check on this one later, just to make sure nothing fishy is going on,” she suggests.

He waves his hand in an uncommitted manner and leads Bo back to the control room and shows her to a seat at one of the terminals. She sits and observes the room for a minute and huffs out a long breath, spinning in her chair.

“I’m Alice by the way,” she offers, holding out her hand. The guard hesitantly takes it with a firm grip and introduces himself as Jeffrey. “Can you show me how to actually use that machine, Jeffrey?” she asks curiously.

He considers her for a moment then looks back out at the silent compound. “Sure. Grab one of those tags.”

Bo retrieves a single red tag and walks to his side. He hands her the machine an tells her to type in the number of the container downstairs, then place the red tag against it. She touches the tag against the top as instructed, slipping the other briefly into her hand at the same time before pushing it back into her sleeve.

“Now make sure you wipe it again,” he says, pointing at a few buttons on the device. “Just press the tag against it again. Anywhere near the scanner will do the trick.”

Bo taps the keys and presses the tag against it. “That’s all?”

“That’s all.”

She nods an tosses the tag back into the small box, replacing the device. She glances out over the yard and the lines of containers. Her eyes are drawn back to those near the building.

She paces a little, then turns to Jeffrey. “I might actually go check on that one now, give myself something to do, y’know?”

He shrugs again. “Be my guest. But let me know what you find down there, me and the lads got a pool going.” There’s a small chuckle from one of the other guards, the first interaction any of deigned to give her, and he glances over his shoulder.

“Will do, sir.”

Back at the container now, she pings the Gentleman with the code she has programmed the chip with. For show, she pulls the heavy doors open and peers inside. In the centre there is a large grey oval, shining in the sunlight filtering through the opening behind her. She steps inside and walks around it, but makes no attempt to touch it.

“Showtime, boys.”

She leaves again and pushes the door closed, shifting the tag from her sleeve to her hand and affixing it to the crate, then returning to the office.

A quick bit of work on one of his small spy drones and the Gentleman has his little worker flying underneath the truck and fixing itself behind the front bumper, transmitting an RFID signal with the matching code as sent by Bo. Now they should have no trouble getting in and retrieving the container.

Using the smart system in the older model, he navigates it forward to the front gate. There’s a small beep, then the great metal gate noisily slides open. It trundles forward into the loading bay and stills, waiting. A tense moment follows as they wait to see what happens.

“Anything good?” The main guard asks as she comes back in.

Bo wrinkles her nose and shakes her head. “Nada, I’m afraid. Just boxes of musty old clothes and some furniture that’s seen better days.”

He sighs and gives yet another signature shrug. “Damn, I had my money on organs,” he replies with a slightly sinister grin.

She laughs nervously, taking her seat again. She hears the gate creak open and looks across the compound to see a truck drive itself into the dock. This is it…

The group collectively hold their breath and, after what seems like much longer than the ten seconds it must have been, A low buzzing accompanies the sight of drones flying to one of the containers in the quarantine area. The one the have been requested to retrieve is slowly hauled into the air and placed on the bed of the truck.

Bo allows herself a small smile. “Just in time too. Although why anyone wants that junk is beyond me.”

The truck reverses back out into the road and returns to the side road a little ways away where Blank pulled the van up.

The Gentleman pings Bo a quick message. “Okay, time to get out. I’ll cover your tracks.”

The hacker is soon back in the security system of the dock and has erased all traces of the shipping container, and a chunk of the time that Bo had spent poking around the security office. Finally, he spoofed the company system and sent a message to the main guard. They shouldn’t be looking for her anytime soon.

Bo spends another twenty minutes looking over the silent screens and getting more bored by the minute. Two of the men are talking in low tones in the corner, giving her sideways glances and laughing. She fights the urge to roll her eyes. No one else has even bothered to talk to her. She stretches slowly an casually stands, making her way to the rear of the room. She quickly reviews her excuses but find none of them necessary as they don’t even glance her way.

As she makes her way toward the exit she fires off a message to Mr Johnson to let her know they had the package, and almost instantly receives a response containing simply an address. She nonchalantly strolls out of the building, across the tarmac and out of the gate. Very soon, she is back in the Party Van with the other three and on their way to the rendezvous point.

Another alert pings up on the security guard’s screen.

“Alice Higgins has been reassigned. Her efforts are required elsewhere. Apologies for the inconvenience.”

Shame, he thinks. They never seem to last long here.

They pull up near to the meeting point, finding themselves in a derelict industrial estate. Bo and Thanatos jump out of the van and head forward, asking Blank and the Gentleman to stay behind and watch the cargo. They were at a distinct disadvantage here, with no idea what they could be walking into.

Inside an old warehouse, they see their client. She seems relieved to see them and steps forward, her look quickly turning apprehensive. “Where is the cargo?”

Bo raise a hand slightly, smiling to calm the nervous woman. “We have it. We just wanted to meet first.”

The woman appears slightly affronted. “Why on earth would you… Bring it, now.” She demands.

Bo’s smile turns to a smirk, throwing up both her hands and stepping back to placate the irate female. “Okay, okay. It’s just not our first rodeo is all. Although the first to not try something,” she adds, nodding respectfully. “We appreciate that.” She sends off a message to Blank to let him know it was safe to bring the truck through to the yard outside.

They exit the warehouse to see him pull up to the doorway.

The woman looks at the container with dismay. “You brought the whole thing?”

“It was the easiest way,” Bo reassures her. “And there’s no trace, as you asked.”

“I was really rather hoping you might just bring me the cargo,” she ponders a moment. “An extra 100 nuyen each if you can get rid of this,” she waves her hand at the truck.

Bo considers the offer and looks to her team. After a moment she nods and accepts the offer. “Yeah, we can do that.”

She relaxes a little and offers her own smile. She approaches the container and pulls open the heavy door. She steps up to the grey oval and places a palm on the surface. A panel slides open and she inputs some code using the keys presented. A low hiss sounds as the top shifts off the apparently pressurised capsule.

A gasp sounds and a young woman sits up suddenly, her long dark hair tangling around her face. She takes a moment to gather herself as the group attempts to squash their surprise. “What took you so long?” she breathes, grinning at the client who holds out a hand and gently helps her out of the container.

Bo frowns a little, a faint memory tugging at her senses. She’s sure she’s seen her face somewhere but can’t quite pinpoint why she seems so familiar. The Gentleman’s voice sounds quietly in her ear. “I think she’s something to do with Renraku. I definitely recognise her face. I’ll start a search on local reports.”

“Thank you,” says the woman, drawing Bo’s attention again. The elf smiles and accepts the warm hug. Her comms ping with a direct message. If you ever need work, you let me know.

Bo smiles gratefully and nods. “And we’ll take care of that truck. Do you have the credsticks available for us now?”

The woman’s eyes widen. “Oh! Of course, of course. Here,” she says, handing Bo four small red sticks. “2100 nuyen on each, as promised.”

Bo holds out her hand, and Mr Johnson takes it. “Thank you.” She glances at the new woman. “We’ll let you get reacquainted.” Blank slams the container doors shut and Bo jumps back in the cab. With a little wave, she drives out of the compound and toward the bay, with the van containing the others following.

“We should just drive the whole lot in,” Blank says, arms crossed as he holds his position firm.

“Those people though,” Bo chews her lip thoughtfully. “It’s bad enough that those thugs attacked them. This is their livelihood.”

Thanatos just shrugs and scuffs the ground with his boot disinterestedly. The Gentleman, ever the pragmatist, speaks up. “I rather fear that I must agree with Blank. We are here and it would be easy to just heave it in.” Blank grins in triumph. “However you raise a good point. We would be unfair of us to inflict more unfortunate circumstance upon complete strangers who did nothing to bring it upon themselves.”

“We wore gloves, and I wiped it down just to be safe. That crap house didn’t have cameras either, so there’s no evidence, nothing to come back on us. It won’t hurt to give it back,” she tries to rationalise.

Blank grumbles but relents. Bo pulls off the tracking tag and, once the Gentleman confirms it has been wiped, uses a lighter to burn the edge. It doesn’t burn well, but it is small and she is able to damage it enough that trying to get any evidence off it should be unlikely. She tosses it as far as she can and then between themselves they are able to heave the container off the truck’s bed and into the ocean bay. They watch it sink quickly and, satisfied that it can’t be seen, return to their vehicles.

Within ten minutes, the truck is back outside the rental agency as if it had never been used and the four of them, credstick each in hand, go their separate ways. Mission complete.

Mr(s) Johnson
Part 1 - The Drive By

Three commlinks beep and three different eyes access the same message.

“I’ve got a job for you, if you’re interested.”

One man pings a quick, flippant reply and rolls over and returns to his disturbed sleep. Another accepts immediately with nuyen signs in his eyes, and a female elf smiles before pinging off a quick reply. Across town, the sender claps his hands together as he receives three positive responses. Chuckling, he strokes his long red beard and heads off to tell his client the good news.

The first to arrive at the designated rendezvous point is a thin, tall man with a distinguished air. His top lip raised in a sneer as he assess the pathetic bar he has found himself at.

It’s a dilapidated street, with buildings in various states of disrepair. The directions have led to a sleazy looking bar, where a bright pink neon sign hovers above the doorway, reading ‘ Deep Dive’. The ‘i’ flickers, and the poor lighting only illuminates the grimy walls and street, debris littering the pavement and road. Looking around, the general distaste in this man’s judgement is only enforced. He deploys a drone to sit in an alley nearby, lens turned to the entrance. Steeling himself against his surroundings he adjusts his monocle, the gold rim glinting in the low light, and heads down the concrete steps that lead to a broken wooden doorway.

Immediately, the stench hits him and it’s actually worse than outside. There are only a few patrons; and they are the types that you would expect to find in an establishment such as this. Quiet, greasy loner types, sullenly nursing the murky brown liquid that passes for beer here. The floor makes a noise he doesn’t want to examine too much as he makes his way to the bar. He gets a few curious glances, but no one enquires about him.

An ork bartender looks up at his approach and grins at how uncomfortable he clearly is. The man clears his throat and pulls his extravagant greatcoat tighter around himself. Ever the gentleman, he keeps his composure and confidently asked for a drink, head held high. The bartender raises an eyebrow but pours the pint and accepts the small change for payment. The glass thumped down in front of the newcomer is as filthy as the rest of the place, the contents looking as awful as possible. He tentatively picks up the pint, but doesn’t drink from it.

The ork observes him for a moment, his hands spread widely on the bar’s surface. The man keeps his cool under the silent scrutiny, and the ork nods towards a door somewhere to the left. “Out back,” he grunts, before grabbing a dirty dishtowel and swiping ineffectually at the cheap wood. The man offers a tip of his top hat and makes his way there.

In the room is a simple wooden table in the centre of the room with six chairs. He shrugs and closes the door, taking the first seat and his eyes lose focus. His cybereyes whirr quietly as he connects to his drone, just in time to see another character approach who also appears rather out of place…

Several augmentations and more than one piece of weaponry sends the sensors in the drone wild, alerting its master within to the presence of a new person. The larger fellow throws the door open and practically jogs up to the barkeep.

“Get me something hard!” he exclaims confidently in Orkish.

The ork observes him sceptically and openly laughs before shrugging. Perhaps something didn’t translate; it had been a while since he had conversed with actual orks, and it was a difficult language. Still, he thought he’d done okay.

“Alright, " the server replies in English, and pours a pint of a dark liquid with a vaguely green hue. “This is our strongest stuff.” He places the pint in front of him and holds out a hand for payment.

Transaction made, the man grabs up the drink and points to the door to the left with a curious look. The ork folds his arms, amused look still in place, and nods.

A young elf approaches the bar with a slight look of trepidation. She is not unfamiliar with neighbourhoods of less fortunate circumstances, but the reassurance of the light pistol at her back under her leather vest is comforting as she strides forwards, the intricate tattoos that flow up her right arm glowing in the darkness.

She glances around the bar as she steps through the doorway, assessing her surroundings. Doors lead to back rooms to the left and right of the bar, otherwise her only way out is the exit behind her. It’s relatively empty in here, although loud music is blaring from somewhere, the bass rocking through her body. A quick adjustment and she activates the sound filter in her cybernetic ears, reducing the noise somewhat as she approaches the bar.

A large smile for the bartender and she flicks her long dark hair back, asking brightly for a pint. She gracefully hides the grimace as a another grimy glass is thrust in front of her and politely thanks him as she hands him the payment.

“You’re wanted out back,” he growls at her.

She lifts a hand with a gasp. “You didn’t even ask my name!” she retorts mockingly, throwing him a wink and heading for the door to the left.

She enters and sees two men already sat at the table within. She offers them a nod and takes a seat close to the door she came through. As she does, the door to the rear of this room swings open and a short man walks in, instantly recognisable as a dwarf. Firey red hair surrounds a grumpy expression, frames by a beard that flows down to his midriff. His face is weathered, belying his age. He wears an ornate coat with a large red hand motif on the back, a crisp white shirt and overly large belt to pull in a bulging gut. The trousers are ornate, probably faux, leather, with a rippling pattern flowing down each leg, forming into faces and hands. His boots, seemingly overly large, finished in tan leather and the rim topped in what appears to be cat fur.

He greets them gruffly, with a thick Scottish accent. “So, ye accepted the job.” He starts, looking between them. “Problem is, this be a four man mission. No offence, lassie.”

The woman grins and waves a hand dismissively. “I might know someone,” she offers lightly. “But it would depend on what we need them for.”

“Quiet.” This is the only thing he yields.

She waits a moment before chuckling quietly. “Sure, I think I know a guy.” She goes quiet for a moment, as if contemplating something. “He’s on his way, he should be here soon.”

And indeed, it was not long before the man in the suit and top hat stiffens. “I think he has arrived.”

A long dark coat sweeps in the wake of the next entrant to the Deep Dive. Lengthy, sleek dark hair and a battered brown leather jacket, paired with the sheathed katana on his back make an intimidating figure. Careful eyes watch everything, as he enters and approaches the bartender. As his comm pings with a new message – “Back room” – the ork catches his eye and tilts his head to the nearby door. The Japanese elf offers a nod and changes direction to head straight there.

On taking a seat to be the fifth member of the group, the dwarf stands again. “I’ll let ye be and get our client now,” he says, retreating back through the rear door. Almost immediately, an older woman steps through and claims her seat, placing a small glass of clear liquid in front of herself. She is older than she initially appears, and motherly in her presence. She wrings her hands a little, unsure of how to begin.

“Gin and tonic?” the dark haired female asks, nodding at glass with a warm look.

A bewildered look and a short reply. “Rum.”

“Ah, a woman after my own heart,” she says with a grin. A pause, then, “You have a job for us?”

“Ah, yes. I have an unexpected delivery… a shipping container. I need it. The contents are important and I wish to have it within the next two days. You can do it however you want, but there cannot be any record of the container. In return, you will receive 5,000 nuyen.”

“Each?” the gruff fellow asks, arms crossed in front of him as he leans back in his chair. The woman looks at him strangely, as if waiting for him to laugh.

“Excuse my friend here, he doesn’t realise that his sarcastic voice sounds a lot like his normal one,” the female elf says, giving a charming smile. The woman returns it slightly and seems to relax. “It sounds like it could be quite a venture though,” she pauses for effect. “8,000 nuyen. That’s 2k each, a nice round amount, and everyone goes home happy.”

The woman is silent, assessing the youngest member, and taking a sip of her drink. Finally, she nods. “That’s a fair deal. I have the shipping information here,” she pushes a small card across the table. “The time it’s delivered, and the ID of the container. Message your fixer when you have possession of the container and I’ll arrange to meet you then. And please remember, discretion is the better part of valour.” She gives a tight smile and finishes her drink, then stands and leaves.

Silence falls over the four strangers, slightly uncomfortably. The girl stands and says, “Well, I’m going to go and find myself some of the good stuff,” pointing at her untouched pint with a wrinkle of her nose. She heads back out to the bar and waves the bartender over.

“A little birdie told me there might be some rum around here,” she says.

“If you mean your Johnson, that’s her private stash,” he says, unfazed by her friendly demeanour.

“Aw, not even a tiny glass?”

He sighs, “Yeah, we have some. But it’s top shelf stuff, 5 nuyen a glass.”

She tries to hide a wince. “Call it 3.50 and we have a deal.”

He barks a laugh. “I buy the stuff for 3.50, love. I’m not gonna give the stuff away. Look, 5 nuyen and I’ll even clean the glass for you.”

She returns the laugh at that but shrugs. “Sorry, guess I can’t treat lil’ ole me this evening.” She swivels off the stool and turns back toward the door. “Thanks anyways!” She gives him a little wave and heads in.

As she does, the guy who seems on edge is asking the elf for his name. ‘Thanatos’, is the reply, his accent thick.

After a moment, the man who asked simply says, ‘Blank’. After a moment of stares that would suit the name, he clarifies that this is his moniker.

“C’mon boys, you can do better than that,” she encourages, leaning against the door frame and cocking her hip as he own arms fold across her chest.

Thanatos looks like he might have rolled his eyes before he replies. “Infiltration is my skill. I’m deadly with my friend here.” His arm reaches back and his fingers gently tap the black wrapped handle of his katana.

Blank twirls a gun in hand. “Firearms are more my speciality, although I’m quick on my feet.”

She nods. “Okay, so Shooty McFireson,” she says, pointing the Blank. “And Hack n’ Dash over here.” The finger moves to an unimpressed Thanatos. ‘You lovely lads can call me Bo.’ She drops her hand and turns to the silent member of the group. “What about you?”

‘You may call me simply The Gentleman.’

Bo considers this but nods. “Sure thing, G-Man,” she says with her ever present grin. She ignores his harrumph and continues, a serious look changing her features. “So, how about a plan?”

The four of them sit there in almost silence, wondering who would do the first part of the planning. Suddenly The Gentleman stirs and places his commlink down with a map of the Mitsuhama Automated Docks.

After a few minutes of studying the map, an idea of the layout was all they would gleam from it. With the sun settled for the night the four of them decided to pay the docks a visit. Bo slipped onto her bike and was gone in seconds, a red streak into the night. Thanatos, Blank and The Gentlemen were left to travel in the Party Van.

As they approach, Bo peels away to the left to weave through the industrial area. A flash of colour catches her eye as she passes a small group, bright green glinting in the light of a streetlamp. She registers it’s not unusual enough, so she continues on her ride. She slows about a block away, parking her bike in an alley out of sight. Swiftly and quietly, she makes her way north toward the docks. From the shadows, she is able to see the front of the compound, and see two tall towers illuminating the street. The lamps glare into the darkness though, and even her keen eyes are unable to discern much beyond the chain link fence surrounding the compound. Otherwise, only the blinking of small red lights are visible.

Deciding that there’s not much she can do from here, she decides she needs to get closer, and retreats back toward her bike.

Meanwhile, as the Party Van pulls up in a deserted nearby street to the west of the docks, a dark shape slips silently from the doors and into the night.

<insert />

Thanatos is able to use the darkness provided by his western approach to his advantage, keeping low. He finds himself approaching across open space, the ground covered in dead, brown grass. He skims across it without sound, even the dry brush barely crunching in the night. He finds a weathered stone wall, dubious in it’s stability, but he flexes his gloved hands and tries his grip against the wall. He finds that his modified gloves hold him steady and he is able to nimbly scale the surface like a gecko, perching on the top. He scans the compound, seeing some of the containers and the shadows of the buildings that had been visible on their map. Squinting hard, he thinks he sees movement in the tower. A quick message to the group and he too decides that a closer inspection may be worthwhile.

Bo accelerates around the east corner of the estate, the glowing docks in her sights. As she drives past, she slows slightly and, mindful of Thanatos’ message, pays particular attention to the towers. No guards are outside, the front of the compound as silent as the night around her. Within the towers she is able to pick out a person inside. Although she is not able to pick out much detail, the bland garb and glinting badges show them to be basic security. Probably the generic rent-a-cops a lot of the corporations hired to protect their assets.

Seeing no one nearby and not risking a stop, she reports her findings back to her team and continues west past the gates and turning left a block away with the intention of circling back. Another left turn and she is heading back toward the van. Not far away from them, she notices that she is coming up on a group of three men, one of whom has a rather vibrant green mohawk. Hearing her bike, one turns to look at her and she sees that they’re wearing masks and she is certain that these must have been the people she had spotted earlier. A group from the “Halloweeners”, one of the prominent Seattle gangs that she had encountered previously but never tangled with.

Bo reduced the throttle a little, slowing as she drew nearer, and saw that they all held weapons, including a rather large club. These guys were looking for serious trouble. Knowing that she was not one to actively stop them, she again accelerates toward the van hoping that the engine will be enough to draw attention of activity to those that may remain inside. As she passes, one of the men wolf whistle at her and ask her for a good time. Bo laughs and tosses a careless, “You wish!” over her shoulder. She takes the first turn after the van and shuts off her Suzuki, slowly making her way to the main road again and peering around so she can see the group.

Near the shore, the darkness is overwhelming. No light is able to reach past the stacked containers here and even with his elven eyes Thanatos himself unable to make out much. Cautiously, he makes his way along the fence, scanning the area. At the edge of the low glow of the first hints of tower lights, he notices a red light on the fence. Crouching, he scoops a small stone from the ground and tosses it past. A quiet whirr and the light seems to move ever so slightly as if tracking the movement.

He sends out a commlink message: “Red lights are cameras.”

Squinting in the meagre light, he looks over the ground. No consistently squashed grass indicating any sort of patrol route, which was good. Sticking close to the fence he steps a little closer. The camera now swivels his way, and he spins quickly, hoping that his face hasn’t been caught on film. Slipping into the shadows, he moves rapidly back to his original spot. Perhaps it was time to call it for tonight. He had learned all he could for now. Tomorrow he would return and find more.

Blank heard the guys, but what happened? I know they went on their way but did he poke his head out and growl at them or…?

On Thanatos’ return, the men decided it was time to head back and consider their strategies. Bo looked around, running her options over in her mind.

“You guys go on ahead. I’ll meet you tomorrow,” she says, swinging a leg over her bike.

“What are you thinking?” Blank asks curiously.

“I have a hunch,” she replies with a grin, fixing her helmet in place and taking off toward the highway.

Soon enough, just a mile or two out, the sight of flashing lights off the main road light up the sky. Taking the exit, Bo parks up nearby and heads inside. The Cube is a lot more inviting than the Deep Dive she frequented earlier, with a few people milling around outside. Opening the door, the deep bass that could be heard from the road suddenly pounds through her chest, filling her being. Patrons bump into her immediately, jumping to the beat of the music. She pushes her way through them, observing the types that are seeking entertainment, comfort and company. She very quickly spots who she had been hoping to find here.

As possibly the nearest bar to the docks, she had hoped to find a member of the security team that may have finished their shift recently. In the throng of people is a larger male wearing the traditional white shirt and beige trousers that denote the security uniform. His tie is loosened, and still lightly marked no doubt with the powder from the stereotypical donut. Sweat pours off him as he really goes for it, throwing shapes more energetically than any around him. People around him give him a bit of a berth, giving him the room to express himself in dance, and smiles and smirks grace the faces of his observers.

Taking the opportunity, Bo slips forward and beams as she matches his enthusiasm. He seems encouraged by the attention, and gives a little bit more. She steps forward and places a hand on his chest, leaning closely to speak in his ear. Her words are lost in the beat of the music though, and he barely seems to notice, intent instead on freezing as the beat drops before showing that he does indeed have the moves like Jagger. Bo chuckles as he spins, stopping with a hand in the air and another on his crotch in a pose that would make MJ proud.

She shakes her head, realising he is lost in his bubble, and she envies him for a moment. He is having a great time. Another spin and his keycard slips from his belt, swinging around him as he goes. Bewildered for a moment that it really could be that easy, Bo glances around her and watches him a second more. A move around him, a slight shimmy, then a wink and she’s gone, vanishing back into the crowd.

She steps outside and makes a call to the Gentleman. “Hey, think I’ve got something for you.”

The Gentleman access the weak point in the network he detected earlier and searching for the employee ID that Bo relays to him. He finds that the man at the club is an employee of the standard, well-known security firm of Seattle, and likely the ones stationed at the docks. The guy in question is no longer in the employ of the company though.

A quick configure of the file and the ID is once again active. “You’re good,” he replies back to Bo.

Satisfied, Bo returns home to work on doctoring the ID. Tomorrow she would start her first day as a new security guard hired by the corporation. It was her civic duty after all.


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