It was three in the morning, on Friday, December 19th and the Redmond Morgue was quiet, save for Frost who had found his way there after his tangle with the 162‘s, a gang of ghoul errand boys working for Tamanous, the international organlegging ring. The ghouls basically hunt in packs in the Barrens, picking off loners or small groups and since Frost, with Nine hitching a ride via an authorized subscription to Frost’s commlink, he looked like an easy mark- he wasn’t but he still took his lumps in the process. Frost was attempting to make himself comfortable on an overstuffed, yet, slightly threadbare love seat in one of the darkened viewing rooms of the facility. After the fight with the ghouls, it took Frost a little over half-an-hour to get to the Redmond morgue that he uses as a refuge when needed. In the process Frost had called for assistance to patch him up and it took Charlie and Shorty less than forty-five minutes to meet him at morgue where they helped attend to his injuries. In the process they began to discuss the Nabo concert at the “Partyzone” later that night,
“Everything we have found out leads to the concert tonight”, Charlie states to both Shorty and Frost.
“I agree”, responds a quiet and diminutive voice that belongs to Shorty, the small, yet, very capable gnome magician.
“Well, maybe I can score tickets or some shit that will entice that guy Jagger to look the other way”, suggested Frost as he grimaced feeling bruised and in pain.
“I think some of my friends can help with that. I’m gonna place a few calls and see what I can do. Besides, it is late and you need to rest up,” Charlie said in response.
“Yeah, I think I will head to my doss and crash for a bit”, Frost said with a wave as he started to walk to the street.
“Thanks for coming to patch my ass up”
“No worries”, as both Shorty and Charlie began to head out in another direction.
* * * *
During the day, Charlie was able to score some tickets to the venue from a contact and Shorty charmed a female elf with his smile, a few lies and a lot of wit, who also possessed, conveniently, a back-stage pass to the concert. Frost, meanwhile, scored an intricate corn-row weave after sleeping for over nine hours straight.
* * * *
Frost picked up Charlie and Shorty just after 8pm in his black 2068 model GMC Bulldog Step Van and drove to the club. Frost fills the transporter role for their new team and his vehicle certainly facilitates his role. The team was down a couple of members by this time as earlier in the day Nine had communicated that he has to ‘go down’ for routine maintenance and can’t support the team until after midnight. Hot Fat got stopped by Lone Star for a traffic violation during a lunch run to a Jimbo’s. He called Frost a couple of hours ago and stated that he ‘thinks’ he is scheduled to be released sometime later in the night. However, Frost, Charlie and Shorty, in an earlier conference call, figured that they could do the intended snatch-and-grab themselves. Upon arriving in the area where the warehouse was located, Frost parked and secured his GMC Bulldog. They exited and began walking up the street and merged into a throng of concert goers seeking entrance into the event.
Heeding Charlie’s advice about the ‘goblin-rock’ event, Frost wore a holo-hood and gloves which slightly altered his appearance to be a hobgoblin- although he is not middle-eastern in descent- his thick Russian accent appears to assuage any doubt of his ‘goblinesque’. Charlie wore gaudy grunge punk orc fashions cobbled together at the last minute. Charlie certainly appeared that he had absolutely no fashion sense- which, incidentally, Frost noted – actually worked here. Shorty, on the other hand, was attired as dwarf wearing upscale clothing yet, sporting an intense two-foot orange flame Mohawk. Visible upon his face, neck and hands were detailed, yet, faint tribal tattoos. Shorty accented his look with several small piercings. They rounded a corner and began to feel the bass-line from the music being played within the warehouse which was now only a short distance away.
Frost turned to Charlie.
“You ready to do this?”
“Yeah, I’m ready”
“As ready as we can be under the circumstances”, Shorty stated as he was mentally reviewing various spell selections.
* * * *
The tableau of the scene, upon the team’s admittance to the venue, was one where the crowd was a tattered display of near violent metahumanity- all awash in a swirl of color, the stench of sweat, sex and synthahol. The light within the warehouse was dark but for the stage lights which stabbed the smoke filled interior space in time to the guitar riffs and drum beats of the band. Frost let his eyes dance around and he spied the security detail. They were comprised of Nabo’s old gang, the Black Fangs, and they were glaring menacingly from strategic positions at the entrance and exits. The team saw that Nabo’s crew had erected a makeshift stage at one end of the warehouse and also set up a large bar that only sold soy beer and soft drinks on other side. For restrooms, a huge line of plus-size portapotties has been set up outside, adding their distinctive odor to the already unpleasant smell of the area. From the AR map that Nine had been able to provide the team, they were aware of the large black curtain which, as they could now see, hung from the ceiling far above and presumably divided the stairway and the offices from the stage. Lastly all three immediately noted the line of Black Fang members that stretched out across the front of the stage to keep the crowds from getting too close. That, and the fact there were no seats visible —the whole area promised to become one giant mosh pit when the main event started. Charlie was able to further ID several more of the Black Fangs as they stalked throughout the milling crowd.
“We now have security tagged in our fields of vision”, intoned Charlie via commlink connection to his two teammates, after he instructed his commlink with a few quick commands.
“Good”, replied Frost.
All communication would now be conducted via subvocals and transmitted out to each team member’s commlink.
“Guys, I’m gonna duck into the crowd and loose myself, invisibly in a few minutes or so, so try not to start shooting the place up. I don’t like errant metal zinging about”, Shorty warned as he started to put some distance between him and the others as he headed out into the crowd.
“Right”, Frost and Charlie answered as they continued to scan the crowd of concert goers and guards.
A moment later a crescendo of sound engulfed the warehouse as Nabo took to the stage. The crowd moved forward like a drunken amorphous organism and pressed towards the stage. It was at this point that Frost subvocaled to his companions.
“I am now hidden from sight. My female friend has taken no notice of me. She is intent on getting backstage. When she does I will slip in behind her entrance. I will contact you both when I am in”, Shorty quickly stated as he focused on not being knocked about by those who were unaware of his now invisible status, thanks to his quick incantation.
“I am back by the bar in overwatch mode and will call out situationals as I see them”, Charlie said as he walked to a corner of soy beer bar.
“Okay, I am also gonna try to get behind the stage and I will subvocal when I do”, Frost added as he eyes Shorty’s female ‘friend’ who moves to the left of the stage.
Frost notes her final position and then heads off to the right of the stage in order to maximize the chance that either he and/or Shorty is able to get behind the black curtain.
Charlie scanned the bar area and took notice of several concert goers he thought could be potential trouble. Then he assigned an icon to Frost so that he can better overwatch Frost’s actions. A few moments later he lost sight of Frost and assumed that Frost had successfully ducked into the back part of the stage beyond the black curtain. Frost was, indeed, successful in getting backstage into the service area behind the stage and quickly hid from view as he almost encountered a technician who was tending to electronics backstage. He quickly noted a metal stairway which led up to a catwalk, where three doors became visible. Each door led to an office with a large window overlooking the warehouse door. Frost notes that the one in the middle has its window covered by another curtain. A moment later he spies a single Black Fang security member- an ork, who sat on a rickety wooden chair, bopping away to the music and smoking a cigarette. Yet, ultimately, fails to get close to the catwalk, having mistakenly bribed a guard with some of the novacoke- that he secured in order to bribe Jagger- the guard was not interested. Stymied, Frost loitered backstage in the southeast corner of the warehouse.
Simultaneously, Shorty’s new friend, the pretty female elf Nabo fan, on the other-hand was allowed into the backstage area in anticipation of an after-party without question from several leering Black Fangs that guarded the entrance, i.e., black curtain area to the right of the stage. She was escorted through the service area, up the few stairs and onto the catwalk. Shorty, invisible via his sustained Invisibility spell, was able to follow closely behind his ‘friend’.
As the elf was granted entrance to what must have been Nabo’s dressing room, Shorty made sure to eye the Black Fang guard who escorted the girl in. The guard left and exited the catwalk, presumably to go back to his station back into the other side of the curtain. With the guard now departed, Shorty was able to quickly glance about his new surroundings. The dressing room appeared as a combination of abandoned office and star’s hideaway. The desk and office chairs had been hastily pushed against the wall to make room for a comfortable-looking and oversized couch. Shorty saw a table holding a wide array of liquor, and a portable wardrobe with mirror. A bathroom with a small shower stall was visible through an open door. The only window was the curtained one looking over the warehouse. Shorty and the elf girl were greeted by two scantily-dressed ork girls who were lounging with an ork male on the couch. One of the girls stood up and commented to the elf to shut the door. Shorty was able to quickly and quietly dart in and find a corner which allowed him to remain out of the way. With the door closed, he found that the sound from down below faded to something which allowed the ork and the three women- the elf and the two nearly nude ork girls- present the ability to talk loudly without the music drowning out their voices.
Shorty was instantly able to surmise that all three of the orks that were in the room previous to his arrive did indeed appear drunk and/or high. He noticed with a keen eye that none of them were armed, though the male ork did have the butt of a heavy pistol obviously protruding from the pocket of his synthleather jacket, which was tossed over the back of the couch. The male ork had definitely been enjoying sexual favors from his female companions and they were, to Shorty’s amusement, not averse to allowing the female elf to join in. This she did readily in exchange for a line of novacoke which the male motioned to a small end table near one end of the couch. With the party continuing, Shorty was able locate and grab Nabo’s commlink, which he presumed had been knocked to the floor next to the couch after the orks had sat down and got comfortable prior to the entrance of Shorty and the elf.
“Gentlemen, I have the commlink”, Shorty triumphantly subvocaled to Frost and Charlie.
“Good, now get back out here as something is….”, Charlie quickly began but then left his words hanging, his thought unfinished.
“I see something happening out there, Charlie…”, Frost cuts in.
“Shorty, I think we need to go!”, Frost quickly subvocaled.
* * * *
Out in the bar, two rival gangs, members of the Cutters and the Rusted Stilettos had begun to trash-talk one another. Everyone on the street knew that the Partyzone was gang neutral territory, yet, gangs often like to strut in front of each other. Charlie had observed the posturing by the Cutters and the Rusted Stilettos but nothing had dangerous had transpired until Charlie decided to act, which was about three seconds prior to Short’s call. Charlie for some reason had decided to test the situation and covertly provoked one of the Cutters to action. Consequently, a human Cutter with the street name of Lewd Dawg took a wild swing, with a quickly drawn club, at an ork Rusted Stiletto with the nom de guerre of Dizzy ‘D’. Charlie, realizing that his clandestine provocation had worked attempted to catch the club in mid-swing. He managed to get his hand on the club but he could not prevent the sheer ferocity of the attack. At Charlie’s vocals over the commlink, Frost looked for an opportunity to get back to where he could support the others. The ork guard, the same one who had rebuffed Frost’s offer of novacoke began to act alert and nervous as he had received an alert on his commlink of the confrontation in the main concert area. The orc, finally alert and realizing that perhaps Frost was not supposed to actually be backstage moved to in a threatening manner in order to eject Frost from backstage. Frost sensed that something bad was afoot, lethally dispatched the orc with his quickly drawn and silenced weapon. He then ran over to an area near the back edge of the stage. This vantage point gave Frost- once he adjusted his cybereyes- good visibility over the crowd, which was still focused on Nabo and unaware of any commotion.
Back over in front of the bar, Charlie, a few seconds later, witnessed Dizzy ‘D’ respond to the attack by pulling out a gun and then, very loudly, shot Lewd Dawg who, though hit, still remained standing. At the same time, Shorty, adroitly escaped the orc sexcapades at the other end of the warehouse and scooted over to the bathroom at the other end of the catwalk. Then, with a little technical expertise, began to ghost Nabo’s commlink to a clean Renraku Sensei.
* * * *
Frost, from his vantage point and from his enabled subscription to Charlie’s image link, was able to see the action as it began to unfold in the Partyzone main floor space. He aimed his weapon, an Ares Predator IV with EX-Explosive ammo that he had procured off a dead vory bag man- known as Voroshilov- several days ago, and shoots the one of the Stiletto’s- an offensive ork by the name of Wye-Lee, that he actually knew- in the groin. Wye-Lee was front center of the stage and Frost’s round severed his femoral artery which produces a four foot fountain of blood that sprayed on nearby patrons. A second round from Frost catches the another orc Stiletto by the name of Irontusk square in the chest which caused him to immediately crumple to the ground. Nabo and his band obviously witnessed this and Nabo stopped singing and the music started to lull and then it stopped all together. The concert ground to a halt with the crowd mulling around in confusion. Back near the bar, Charlie pulled out a baton and with a lightning touch, contacted Dizzy ‘D’s arm. The resulting jolt caused the ganger’s muscles to contract, thereby forcing him to involuntarily pull the trigger on his pistol, shooting his opponent Lewd Dawg. Both gangers went down. Frost then realized that he needed to get some cover as his fire support actions may attract reactions from any threats he had not seen backstage. Therefore, Frost withdraws to the catwalk and then up into the other dressing room which gave him overwatch of the south and east part of the warehouse through the open stage.
Dizzy D’s gunshot was audible, since Nabo had stopped singing and his band had stopped playing. For a moment it seemed to Charlie that the sound of the weapon discharging reverberated into an empty room, then very abruptly panic erupted as everybody in the ‘zone realized that a gun fight had broken out. Mere seconds later a general rush for the exits began, including a rush towards the stage. It was then that the panicked human Cutter, Grist, who happened to be backstage, decided to ‘hole-up’ in the dark empty dressing back with the door slightly ajar. As he sprinted for the room, an EX-Explosive slug tore through his right leg sending him sprawling. Grist looked up in time to see the silhouette of the figure in the room that killed him as the second shot tore his left shoulder from the clavicle.
Back out in the warehouse proper, two human Cutters beat the ork Stiletto unconsciousness while chaos spread all around the bar area. In a panic and without clear orders, the Black Fang security personnel began to open fire with machine pistols, hitting gangers a patrons alike. Frost saw a dwarf technician go down in the cross fire. In front of the bar, Charlie witnessed several concert goers, two men and woman, drop as rounds peppered nearby. Behind the curtain, again, and up the catwalk in the darkened bathroom, Shorty, despite the sound of gun fire and frantic shouting, patiently waited for the commlink to copy over, secure in the fact that Frost, who is nearby, would prevent anyone from interrupting him. Or, a Frost, enjoyed a brief passing thought, perhaps, Shorty wasn’t concerned in the least. With that, Frost stepped out of the dressing room, spied a Black Fang near the back stage door which led out to an adjoining alleyway and aims and shots him down. Frost has now secured, for the moment, an egress out the back of the venue. Back to the action near the bar, Charlie reaches out at another Stiletto close to him and he goes down in a heap. Charlie then looked up and saw several Black Fangs move to secure the stage and begin to hold back the throng of panicked punkers. Meanwhile, on the other side Frost moved down to the fallen Black Fang that he had shot and quickly took his victim’s personal belongings. In the warehouse proper, the rest of the gangers, Stilettos and Cutters, alike, realized the fight is getting highly dangerous and begin to break contact and head for the various exits along with the fleeing patrons.
In the darkened bathroom Shorty, impatient with the time it is taking to ghost the commlink mentally toggles his commlink.
“Fucking Nine, what the hell is he good for and why is magical support ghosting this damn ‘link? Somebody please tell me!!!!!”
Both Charlie and Frost were too busy to respond.
* * * *
Charlie sensed that the bar area was getting to hectic for comfort sprinted for the stage. He used his considerable acrobatic skill as he subsequently somersaulted with a full twist over the crowd- all the while able to drop a slip-spray grenade into their midst. He then landed on the stage with his back towards Nabo and quickly assumed a defensive stance in order to protect the fledgling nova star, since Nabo had no true part in this caper of theirs. A Black Fang recognizing that Charlie was not one of their detail, and wasn’t supposed to be there. The Fanger moved to intercept Charlie and attempted to push him off the stage. Charlie used the Fanger’s momentum against him and attempted to throw the ork ganger over the crowd, perhaps in order to prevent the ganger from becoming entangled in the slippery mess. Unfortunately, without the crowd to break the fall, the ganger security member landed hard on the concrete and snapped his neck in the process. A split second later, Frost as he was finished rifling through the dead guard’s possessions looked up to find several panicked patrons rushing towards him. Almost without thinking he held up his hand up to one of his ear-buds.
“Roger that, this one is dead”, he stated loudly in clear English.
The fearful patrons rushed by, stopped at the back stage door and attempted to left it. Finding it locked they fled off to the right and back to the curtain area from whence they came. Back on the stage, Charlie helped Jagger up, and tried to direct Nabo’s extraction. Jagger, however, mistook Charlie for corporate security personnel and refused to comply and ordered him to back down. Charlie played into the persona by asking for an extraction point. At the same time, coincidentally, Frost shot the lock on the back stage door and opened it.
“Back stage door is open, we need to go now!”
“Ghosted the comm, I am on my way!”, yelled a relieved Shorty as his frustration with the delay disappeared into action.
Charlie argued with Jagger all the way to the rear exit until he is forced to acquiesce before something bad happens, like Frost getting impatient and deciding to just shoot Jagger.
* * * *
As they are getting ready to leave the warehouse area, Frost gave Charlie the keys to his truck and proceeded back into the club. He rolled the remaining ganger and then double tapped each of the unconscious Stilettos. Frost then removed the silencer, magazine, and the round in the chamber and then Frost Voroshilov’s pistol under the stage. As he begins to exit, he noticed a surveillance drone that may have been recording the concert. Frost alerted the others to this breach of their own security. In the end Shorty used his considerable magical talent to capture the drones, but not before Frost was able to shoot one to prevent it from escaping the warehouse. After this, the team heard sirens in the distance and decided to vacate the area immediately.