Judas Kiss

Shopping for a Helicopter
from: Frost
reply-to: Do Not Reply
to: Shotgun Susie, Charlie, Zog, Styles, Chorizo, Ojo, Nine
date: Thu, Dec 17, 2071 at 6:23 PM
subject: Tir Tangire Run
mailed-by: b.e.lonestar.com

Greetings chummers,

I met with Julio San Critoabal Chaquita Consuelo Napoleon Bonaparte Rodriguez de Saravia and he offered us another gig. Recovering more Oriculum from spear-chucking orks in the Tir. On my way to the meet, guess who I got a call from???

Oho.

The Job only allots for 72 hours. It would take a couple of weeks to procure a vehicle to get us into and out of the Tir in that amount of time with minimal interference, so Oho and I procured transportation. You have roughly 5 and half hours from the time of this message to pack your shit and get to Puyallup.

Hit Nine on a secure line for the pickup location and time.

Oh yeah, here’s the news report:

Kiro7

Lonestar in Seattle says a search is on for a helicopter stolen from the grounds of a KIRO7 satellite station in Puyallup.

Shortly after the 6 p.m. today, two heavily armed individuals hi-jacked the helicopter just as the crew was preparing to respond to a report. The perpetrators gained accessed by impersonating facility ground crew. News reporter Holly Madison thought it was unusual as the individuals approached, but was unable to raise an alarm before assaulted and forced to the ground at gunpoint. Shots were fired, but fortunately no one was seriously injured.

The stolen aircraft is described as a late model Airstar 2050 having red seats and blue tail rudder, with an open-cockpit design and 20-foot rotor span.The Kiro7 logo is emblazoned on the side of the helicopter.

The perpetrators fled into the Puyallup lava flats where they have, so far, been able to avoid capture. If you have any information, Kiro7 is offering a 10,000¥ reward for information that leads to the capture and undamaged return of the helicopter.

Kiro7

KIRO7 just released this exchange between their control station and one of the helicopter assailants.

Control: Was that a gun shot? What’s going on up there?
Assailant: Uh, everything’s under control. Situation normal.
Control: What happened?
Assailant: Uh, we had a slight technical malfunction, but uh… everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine.
Control: We’re sending security up.
Assailant: Uh, uh… negative, negative. We have a jet fuel fire. Give us a few minutes to put it out. Large fire, very dangerous.
Control: Who is this? What’s your company ID number?
Assailant: Uh… [static]

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Worried about a Meeting...and More...
Screwed

The darkness faded into a purple that was akin to the color of a large and painful bruise. Its deep, rich hue changing into a lighter blue that paled as the sunlight began to flare up above the tree line. It was dawn and Saturday morning, April the 18th began to look more cheery as daylight found scant clouds in the sky. However, as cheerful as a sunlit day would seem to the denizens of the Metroplex, in actuality the day was much more cloudy in prospect for the nascent Shadowrunning team known as Charlie’s Foxtrot. Over the last forty-eight hours the team has suffered calamity and change. The team’s name sake, neither Charlie the Archer nor the team’s wheelman, Frost, be reached via commcode number and the remaining team members find themselves in an awkward situation as they must meet with Ms. Johnson later tonight. The team is expected to give a full accounting of what they have found out about the two First Nations gang lieutenants that they had been hired to tail. Ms. Johnson, even though she appears to be nothing more than Korean beauty who strips at Ticker’s Night Club, she is the Johnson. The place is favorite of the blue collar and union set downtown and as an independent strip club it distinguishes itself by bringing in an ethnic and racial mix of performers. Hence, ….Ms. Johnson.

As the dawn continued to brighten into a bright and balmy spring day for the Metroplex, Razor Eddy lay in his bed at his lower class apartment in a dirty neighborhood in Kirkland near the border with Redmond’s Touristville. Eddy was worried. He had never really been an active player in a meeting and he was trying to piece together the events of the past week and link them into a coherent storyline that can be presented to Ms. Johnson. Eddy, somewhat of a coffee snob, reached over and checked his French Press.
Another minute or so….
Eddy had recently acquired about a pound of coffee beens that originated out of the Sumatran Alliance. Pretty pricey stuff and after all that had happened recently…a morning reward well worth it.
This team had been making no small amount of noise during the late winter and early spring of 2071 and Razor Eddy had figured that this was the team to latch on to to gain some good street cred. However, as he and other rookie ‘runners knew, sometimes its the street that decides which team makes it and which team becomes quickly forgotten.
As winter turned to spring Charlie’s Foxtrot had suffered some loss, first a razor guy by the name of Hot Phat was killed in action at the Coda bar. Then almost simultaneously, the team’s hacker, a nebulous individual, who appeared for all intents to be living a Full Immersion lifestyle with his meat body somewhere secret, went offline and nobody has heard from him for sometime. The team’s mage, Shorty, seemed to drop off the grid soon after the first attempt working for Ms. Johnson trailing Littletree and Firebird.
How the hell did we get a second crack at working for her? Charlie must’ve bought a ton of lap dances….
Eddy let that thought trail off into a dark recess of his mind. Now over twenty-four hours after fighting Caine and the Ragers, both Charlie and Frost have not been answering their comms. The last communications that Eddy had with either of them was as they were individually conducting legwork during the afternoon of Thursday the 16th. Charlie had said that he would contact Eddy before midnight.
Of course, that call never came, mused Eddy as he pushed the plunger down on the ‘press.
As he poured the expensive brew a rich, deep aroma filled his room wafting pleasantly over and obscuring, if even briefly, the ever present dank and cloying scent of decades old mold.
Okay, I need to think, Eddy refocused his thoughts as he sipped the hot, dark liquid.
Gotta call Chorizo and Frost’s buddy Styles. If the team is screwed at least I can do the right thing and see this job to its conclusion.
Chorizo replaced the absent Shorty in the role of magical support and while Eddy had not seen him pop off a spell, at least Chorizo was handy with that grenade launcher. Styles was a bit of an enigma and more than a bit cocky.
Why the hell did he tempt fate with that stunt walking along the edge of the dock. That security could have shot him all to pieces?
Well, Chorizo and Styles were all that Eddy had at the moment and he sure needed their help in putting together the pieces of this First Nations riddle and telling it to Ms. Johnson.
Maybe, Styles will wanna talk to her….maybe he can act the Face….

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The Tail

Apr 2, 2071 – Went in for Cyberware surgery, Delta grade Wired Reflexes and Attention co-processor. Took almost Doc’s entire shift. Rushed me out on a gurney while I was still under. Constance took me back to my place.

Apr 3-10, 2071 – Been laid up at my place after the surgery. Doc stopped by a couple of times to make sure I was healing ok. New warez don’t feel right, but I can’t seem to find anything wrong. It’s smoother, faster… yet there’s something like a twinge in the back of my neck. Doc says it’ll just take some getting used to.

Apr 11, 2071 – Had a meet at Tickler’s Strip Club. The Johnson was a working girl, Asian, Hot. Wanted us to follow a couple Injuns. Alec Littletree and Xa Firebird.

Apr 15, 2071 – Charlie and Eddie followed Littletree while Charizo and I followed Firebird. Firebird did all of about nothing until today where he met with one Carla Mathews for a tryst at the sleaze motel Harrington.

Apr 16, 2071 – Met up with Charlie and Eddie at some dive bar in Tacoma. Littletree had deal with a ganger name Caine. Followed Caine to another meet to test the drugs he got. I assume it’s that new drug Tempo that’s hitting the street. Must have been made cause the Ragers forced us off the road. Popped a grenade in one of the cars and opened up on the second before they took off like rats.

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Concert in Blood
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.
“He’s on!”
“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.

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The Meeting at Infinity
Infinity

It was the night of the 18th of December, cold and the city was suffering from intermittent sleet. Charlie did not agree with the weather or rather the weather did not agree with him. Charlie new the weather was part of the deal as Seattle was the place to break into ‘running…but he certainly would rather be in a warmer locale. Infinity was not too far from The Alabaster Maiden. It’s across the street from Elliot Park and sits right in the heart of downtown Seattle Center, at least I’ll be close to the park for a nice stroll in the warm summer air glaring at the falling sleet.

Charlie, one of the new team’s muscle, was dressed for the occasion -Infinity is Infinity after all. His face was always covered any time he entered the city, as his paranoia forces him to take extreme precautions when others would not be so inclined. Charlie arrived in the area on foot and as he neared the Seattle Center, he slowed down to remove his black velvet face mask and straighten out his trendy clothing.

Club Infinity is of the bright new stars of Seattle nightlife. The club features state-of-the-art holographic and sonic projection systems which are known for its spectacular light shows, images, and music. The club’s design is meant to enhance its appeal, with plenty of gentle curves, and cunning use of dark glass and mirrors to give it’s patrons the feel of near-infinite space, even with the biggest crowds. Charlie can hear the bustle of nightlife and the booming bass of Infinity as he nears to within a hundred feet. The chaos of foot traffic, the voices of hundreds of club goers, the movement of vehicular traffic, and the revving of modified engines the many various vehicles waiting on Infinity’s valet services, all add to a palpable electric feeing of human interaction. Charlie met up with the others, Hot Fat -the other muscle guy, Shorty, the mysterious gnome who provides arcane fire support and lastly but not least, Frost, the guy who specializes in transportation issues. The team had a new guy, well sort of, the had acquired the services of ‘Nine’, a hacker, and they new of him as he was the entity that helped provide matrix security for the Alabaster Maiden. ‘Entity’ as a word was best used to describe Nine as he has never been met in the meat -physically met. It was rumored amongst the Alabaster Maiden’s staff that Nine was some messed up dude stuck in some hospital bed somewhere or that he was one of those guys who sucked so bad dealing with reality that he preferred to always be in the matrix. But the team recently accepted him and he was present via an authorized link up to Hot Fat’s PAN, from whence Nine was able to see through the image link and speak via the team’s commlinks routed through Hot Fat.
They all give each other a short greeting.
“We ready?, asks Frost
Everybody nods in agreement as they enter the line of patrons waiting to be checked by security.
Charlie knew the routine, he stepped through the scanner the walked three steps and turning sideways, opens his coat. The troll manning the MAD scanner, quickly grinned and then shook his head. Charlie was waved through, then Hot Fat and and so on.

The pulsating music reverberated deep inside the bodies of the team, so much so that they could feel it in their bones. The team found themselves awash within hundreds of lost souls milling about, dancing, drinking and cavorting. Some looking to be found and quite a few seeking to get lost. The lost souls, or rather the patrons, were lost within the music, lost within the fog of real alcohol or some digital and/or chemical mind bender. Charlie noted the wage slaves trapped within the reality of their existence and wanting to escape through drugs and sex or just by being able to dance off their corporate angst. The team took it all in. Here and there a goddess walked amongst the revelers. The crowd would open up to let them pass in a hazy form of reverence. The team, not there to party found that the press of the crowd was disturbing and the strobe lights a bit dazzling. This was the night of their first actual job, if not including the thing they pulled off for the Sagittarius Dwarf. Charlie looked to his right and noted at a distance of several meters stood a chiseled Athenian god, dressed in expensive club chic. He had an entourage, which took no notice of the team. Yet the, chiseled god managed, in an instant to look up and sneer at Charlie, as saying, ‘I own this place’.
Charlie met his stare, returning the threat and then the crowd of patrons washed over the team as if it were a large wave. The god and his minions are gone replaced by a blur of pretty people who meant nothing, nothing at all. The music spiked within Charlie’s consciousness and he realized that they were here, here in this place not to worship at the alter of psychic escape, but for a job, they have things to do and nuyen to earn. The luster of Infinity became dull as Charlie began to wonder if this ‘paycheck’ will be his last.

As they swam through the crowd, Charlie yells to the rest of the team that they needed to subscribe to the club’s site. He then reiterates that via subvocals on his commlink to everybody. Frost was hesitant and decided to put his PAN on ‘hidden’ mode. He would rely on the team to guide him where the meet was to take place. The team then subscribed their PAN’s to the club’s network, and things got even more chaotic; Dozens of messages and signs flashed across their AR vision, everything from mundane AROs, such directions to the restrooms and a list of the bar specials, to private messages from clubbers who wanted to get to know them better. They adjust their commlink’s settings to filter out unwanted information. Charlie’s glad that the team can use their links to communicate, since he’s sure they aren’t going to hear anything audibly over the music. Charlie and the team then moved to find the bartender who could facilitate their meeting with the ‘Johnson’. As they moved Charlie continually scanned the setting being far more concerned with several members of a gang situated in the corner than with any supposed voluptuous elf behind the bar. Frost spots the elf bartender your fixer mentioned as she’s the only woman back there, and Charlie is forced to concede that she is a beauty.

Frost moves up to where the elven bartender was working and in a few moments they have the passcode and the directions to one of the private meeting rooms of which, Infinity is famous for, or rather, according to Lone Star, infamous for. The team adjusts their perception of where they are in reference to the AR map feeding into their image links in their cybereyes or to their glasses, as in the case of Shorty. Hot Fat, with Nine along for the ride virtually speaking, led the way, following the green ARO’s, within their AR visualizations, directing the team to follow them all to the back room where the finely dressed troll Mr. Johnson awaited.

The room the team enters, after using the appropriate authorization code, is obviously a conference room, with an oval table made of genuine wood and several chairs. Mr. Johnson was waiting for them, sipping a drink and tapping something into his commlink. Charlie immediately notices a mushroom shaped white-noise generator located prominently in the middle of the table.

The team is curiously greeted by a troll of medium height, no longer young but not quite middle-aged. He appears handsome in a rugged sort of way, and wore a purple and chartreuse suit in the latest style which somehow managed to stay on the tasteful side.
“Welcome,” he says, smiling.
“Please sit down. I’m Mr. Johnson, and I trust that Noggin sent you. Can I get you anything”?
Hot Fat orders a beer.
“Who speaks for your team”?, Mr. Johnson asks.
“I do”, Charlie quickly said.
“Shall we get down to business, then?
The team nods in agreement.
Mr Johnson begins.
“Someone has stolen an object from the people I represent. We would like to get it back quickly, as we have reason to believe that this person is trying to sell it. What you’re looking for is some music-related data that’s important to my employer’s business. I don’t know who stole it—my employer’s home was broken into a couple of days ago, and the disk was taken along with some other items in which we have no particular interest. Your best bet is probably to keep your ears open to whatever channels you think might be appropriate—if the thief is going to sell it, word will have to get out that it’s available. The object storing the data is an old-style optical disk. We want both disk and data returned, in the eventuality that the one no longer resides on the other. In case it’s not clear, my employers don’t want the disk’s data getting into the hands of anyone but themselves, so if the data gets out, we expect you to track down and eliminate any copies”.
Charlie wasn’t focused on what in detail Mr. Johnson was saying as he was more concerned with getting double-crossed and was covertly looking for the ambush. He was aware they were talking something about a disc, and music. Charlie was paying attention, however, when Nine did indicate over Hot Fat’s commlink that the Johnson’s a heavyweight in the music industry. But Charlie was sure the story can’t be the real deal, it never was, according to the trids.
Mr. Johnson continued.
“Once you’ve located it, the second part of the job is to track down the person who’s offering it for sale—probably not the same person who’s offering the information, since the thief will probably be working through intermediaries—and get the disk back. You can do this in whatever way you see fit: if you can get it back by making an offer for it, my employers can cover the arrangement and take care of getting my money back later. If you’d prefer something a little more larcenous, that’s fine too. Just do it as quickly as possible and make sure the disk is not harmed.”
Mr. Johnson paused and then said, “I’m authorized to offer your team ¥10,000 for the job, half up front and half upon the return of the disk to me. Do we have a deal?”

Charlie caught the tone of the ending conversation and started paying attention.
He thought that if anyone else wanted to step up and take the reins they were more than welcome. Shorty at this point was sustaining a spell that made Charlie much more glamorous than he really was in real life. Charlie was beginning to feel that he had a golden opportunity. Charlie began to affect a charismatic air. The rest of the team immediately knew that Charlie was up to something, however, Mr. Johnson did not. Charlie entered into negotiations with an effective flair that by the end of the next few minutes the deal had risen to ¥13,000 in total with ¥5,000 up front.
“That sounds like a fair and equitable offer, we therefore, certainly accept,” concluded Charlie.

The meeting concluded and the team was again out in the general area of Infinity, where the music was booming and the crowd ebbing and flowing in an inebriated and drug fueled dance.

Until, that is Frost got a message on his PAN from some Eastern European types. Frost then got stopped those who sent him the message. Charlie noted they were hassling him and went into action. There were shots fired, the fire alarm went off, panicked patrons started heading out the back emergency exits while security was attempting to move forward. Charlie ran north and the headed west back to Puget Sound. He knew the team would talk later. He put his mask back on and kept running.


An hour later, part of Infinity was on fire and the Seattle Center in chaos. Lone Star was on the scene but the team had escaped in different directions. Each member seeing to his own safety with the intent on rallying later on the next day. Individually, each member also attempted to initiate leg work as they tried to find out about the disk and the Johnson who is paying for its return.

Frost made it to his bike and rode east looking to access Highway 90 on his way home. He then changed the mode of his PAN so that it was not ‘hidden’ and allowed Nine to virtually hitch a ride.

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A Quick Job Offered
Just Who IS this Guy...?

It was the 15th of December and he had been aware of them for sometime. The booth several meters away held four individuals that he had been mildly interested in as they may offer new talent opportunities in his line of work. They had been toying with the idea of running the shadows for several months and had been in conversations to that effect with each other as they shared rounds of beer at the Alabaster Maiden, his preferred establishment to enjoy moments of normalcy. He was known to those who frequent the ‘Maiden as The Sagittarius Dwarf and he was a runner. It was rumored on the streets that he hailed from somewhere in the CAS, perhaps even Texas. He was dressed in an ancient and well-worn trench coat and perhaps, stood close to a little over four feet in height and his facial features were covered by an equally ancient and well-worn fedora. Those sitting nearby would have observed that the trench coat and fedora were both of a brown color and were fashioned of leather, real leather at that, which is not easy to come by these days. The Sagittarius Dwarf wore a well groomed salt-and pepper goatee and had a very distinctive style concerning the look in his eyes. His eyes were as liquid black ink with no pupils or irises that had a faint glow, blue in tint, which was certainly evident in dim mood lighting of the ‘Maiden. It was nearing nine in the evening and the lights automatically had dimmed at the half-hour to as a signal that it was nearing the witching hour where the drinks were plenty and the air electric.

The Sagittarius Dwarf became interested in this group because they had piqued his curiosity months ago when he had inadvertently overheard snippets of an animated conversation they were having with one of his favorite bartenders, who now sits with those three individuals across the aisle two booths up from where the Sagittarius Dwarf was currently nursing a beer. As it happened this past summer those three individuals had made themselves familiar with the bartender, who calls himself Frost, which is appropriate as this Frost has pale skin, platinum blond hair worn in dreadlocks, and distinctive emerald eyes, which had originally caught the dwarf’s attention. Tonight, Frost was wearing a deep blue suit that did not seem to fit his persona, it was awkward looking at best. Frost hid his distinctive eyes beneath blue-tinted glasses framed in silver. The other members at the table Frost sat with were two large men and a small gnome, whom the Sagittarius Dwarf thought was most certainly awakened in some form or fashion, most likely a mage. One of the large men, ‘Charlie’, a Homo sapiens sapiens sub-species, or plain human, was a stout caucasian, with yet a muscular build, yellowish eyes and short cropped black hair. He wore what appeared to be the latest fashions, albeit tailored to fit his compact and muscular frame. The other was a large ork who stood over 2 meters, had an extremely muscular frame and brownish skin, perhaps was of mixed ethnicity who wore black trousers with a black long sleeve t-shirt. He was known as ‘Hot Fat’ but surely, that was not the name on the account being billed for his libations this evening. Lastly, the gnome appeared as lanky variant of Homo sapiens pumilionis, so he was racially akin to the Sagittarius Dwarf. The gnome who went by the name of “Shorty” was certainly that. He was certainly short of 1 meter in height. He had pale ashen skin, a porcelain complexion and hair a distinctive auburn color with silvered chunk stripe and red tips. He was dressed plainly yet had an interesting winter hornback gator trench coat dyed an oxblood or burgundy. They were in deep conversation when Frost looked up and made incidental eye contact with the Sagittarius Dwarf.
‘Well, that was my opening, let’s go talk the these guys’…… the Sagittarius Dwarf thought as he jumped down from the booth.

A few minutes later he was seated in their booth and introductions had been offered and received. He pretty much already new their basic information and knew that they were may be rather new to the game but that they did seem to have some inner qualities that measured and weighed could allow for them to become competent runners in the biz. The ‘Dwarf’s fear was that these days too many razor boys and whiz kids were diluting the professionalism of the Shadows. These four siting next to him might be prospective new ‘runners.
“Word has it that you are interested in running the shadows”, began the ‘Dwarf.
“And how do you know that?”, asked Shorty, standing on the the seat of the booth, since sitting would, unfortunately, put him at crotch level to the others.
“I know, but you don’t have to worry, my presence here is for the interview”, the ‘Dwarf responded.
They looked at each other and then back at the Sagittarius Dwarf. Hot Fat had a quizzical look on his face.
“I am here to interview your for a possible job. I am a runner. But for tonight you may consider me a ‘Mr. Johnson’. I seek to hire your services.”
They all straightened up a little upon hearing this.
“Now who speaks for your team?”, asked the ‘Dwarf.
There was a moment of silence and then Charlie spoke up.
“I guess I do.”
“Good”. responded the ‘Dwarf as he shifted in his seat to angle towards Charlie.
“I need a retrieval, something dear to me that I need recovered. I am willing to pay a lot more than the going price, certainly a lot more than green runner’s can get for their first job.”
“Okay, We, I mean, I am listening”, corrected Charlie.
The others shifted in in their seats while Shorty crossed his arms.
“I am offering forty thousand nuyen, much more, as I have said, than you will receive on subsequent jobs for quite a well. Half now and half upon delivery. And, once completed, I will forward your names and team identity, if you have one, to a fixer how goes by the name of Noggin. That should set y’all up as you start running the Shadows”, offered the ‘Dwarf.
“Okay, lemme see”
Charlie looked at his companions or rather his teammates and and they all quickly nodded.
“We’ll do it. When and where”, Charlie asked as he agreed for his new team.
“I am sending over the coordinates of the location. It is in eastern Puyallup and it is out in the sticks.”, the ‘Dwarf answered and then paused as he activated his Fairlight Caliban commlink.
“I also have a print out of the item I need retrieved from this location”, he said as he reached into a pocket and produced a folded sheet of digital paper with an image of an amulet supporting a black stone.
“This is Crysallis and it has value to me. This is the item I need retrieved. I need it pretty quick so you have three days to return it to me. I will be here at the the Alabaster Maiden for most of that time but you may contact me by using this commcode,” the ‘Dwarf directed as he transmitted his contact data to Charlie. Where is this amulet?”, asked Charlie.
“It is in a subterranean area in Puyallup. I lost it, unfortunately as I was on a run this past month”, the ‘Dwarf replied.
The Sagittarius Dwarf drained the last of his beer, looked at each individual and stroked his goatee.
“Well, I must take my leave. Contact me when you have Crysallis. I look forward to your success”.
The ‘Dwarf jumped down from the booth and made for the ‘Maiden’s exits.
‘…..three to one I have to go back and get it myself….but lets see what these young studs can do….’, mused the ‘Dwarf as he left the establishment.

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Frost

December 15, 2070
6:43 pm
Nick woke to the sound of his commlink chirping in his ears. He rolled over to acknowledge the annoying intrusion to his sleep and was greeted with the floor rushing up to meet him. The initial flailing jostled the euro-cheap particle plastic coffee table, causing last night’s bottle of Pike’s Extra Stout to spill all over Nick’s exposed back.

“Sonuvabitch!” Nick grabbed the bottle and hurled it blindly across as he stood up. He arched his back, trying to keep the cold liquid from running down the crack of his ass. He met with little success. He checked his commlink and saw the time “Son-Of-A- Bitch!”

He rushed to his room nearly tripping over Styles. The Dwarf had passed on the floor, but was smart enough to grab a blanket. The dwarf’s snoring made Nick think of a mini-Mount Rainer getting ready to erupt. Nick grabbed a t-shirt off the floor to dry off. Grabbing a second shirt, he sniffed it and tossed back on the floor. The third shirt smelt clean enough to don; it was a white hockey-type jersey that read ‘You’re Adickass’. The second word was written in a bold red ‘Adidas’ font, while the first word was in thin blue script above the ‘Adi’; it was barely noticeable if one wasn’t looking for it. Pulling on some Type 99 Oceanic Cami fatigues and combat boots, Nick was finally ready to accessorize.

He grabbed his two Savalette’s and placed them in concealable holsters in the small of his back. He then placed a slide mount on each forearm with a Cavalier Scout. These pistols were only last ditch weapons when all other ‘negotiations’ had failed. The Savalette’s were a bit bulky and the sleeves of his jersey didn’t cover the slidemounts, but when he donned his Secure Tech frock-style long coat, the weapons virtually disappeared. Hi picked up a pair of Frost blue glasses, a trade-mark of his and the reason behind his street name.

Rushing down the stairs and out the door, he blew past Reggie, the bum that normally slept on his dock of the warehouse. Nick turned and extended his arms and two fingers, “You watch my place Reggie and I’ll bring you something nice when I come back!” Frost patted is chest twice and threw the peace symbol in the air. Reggie returned a half-hearted wave. Reggie was mostly harmless, but he had grown on Nick and kept the other squatters of his docks. Nick pulled his bike out of one of the shipping bays of the old warehouse and relocked the door. It was wet out and the drive to the Maiden was about 30 minutes. Nick decided that it would be cooler to arrive on bike. And Frost was always cool.

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