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  • Pair of Jacks

     adamu updated 9 months, 2 weeks ago 2 Members · 46 Posts
  • beta

    May 2, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Rage flashed in Bub’s eyes, but it seemed that Bozo’s cries still reached him. With a snarl of “Stay right there!” he went to try and pull his friend out of trouble.

    * Monkey: No-no-no, no stopping the trouble! Let’s see …

    Preston bowled his bottle of beer toward the orcs, and watched in satisfaction as beer started pouring out onto the scuffed linoleum floor. One of the orcs kicked it without even seeing it, putting it into a spin that left a puddle in the area. Preston took his eye off the scuffle for a moment to snatch up the unused pool queue from their table.

    * Coleman: Hardly a deadly weapon, but it is a weapon and it gives me the reach to stay a bit safer.

    A glance suggested that nobody had slipped in the beer yet, but a couple more young human men were brave, stupid, or drunk enough that they’d joined the tussle to extract Bozo from the Orcs. Good, but it wasn’t spreading as quickly as he wanted. He’d have to do more to spread it.

    * Gamma: I’m not a very good actor
    * Coleman: Good thing that nobody is going to be watching me too closely at first.

    He trotted toward the group, then threw himself back, staggered back a step to hit the pool table, then lurched, sweeping his cyberarms across the table ‘for balance’ — but actually to sweep the racked up balls, managing to whip several of them off the table in an arc, hitting one person, sending several rolling across the floor underfoot, and by some stroke of luck having one land on another table and mess up the game that was in process.

    Voices raised, people started converging on the area.

    * Monkey: this is more like it
    * Coleman: chaos is a very dangerous state, strategically speaking.

    As if to emphasize that thought, Preston felt himself grabbed by the back of his shirt and a sour voice growled “You ruined my shot, you owe me the 500 nuyen I was about to win.”

    * Gamma: That went downhill quickly.

  • adamu

    May 2, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    And downhill was one place were Alouicious Harlan Guthrie felt right at home.

    The place was instantly embroiled in a full-scale brawl, with no one really sure who they were supposed to be fighting. Some genius turned up the music and switched it over to industrial strength bugstomp, and it was every man and woman for themself.

    Al had his rules. He liked to keep things friendly. He never swung without an invitation, and he didn’t hit women. Not as a rule, anyway. He was careful not to break any major bones or otherwise do anything life-changing. Easy enough to avoid, as long as the fight wasn’t desperate, and there didn’t seem to be anyone here that was about to make it desperate for Al.

    He tried to stay near Preston, just in case, but no one in here was in the decker’s league, either.

    One beefy guy with a rubber band on his beard and a gecko inked on his face forced Al to duck a swinging chair, a favor Al was going to return until the fellow’s girlfriend jumped in the way and said something about taking the guy home. But Gecko-face pushed her aside and Al clocked the much larger man with a haymaker that would have broken his knuckles if they weren’t made of mixed-rigidity smart materials. A troll doorman appeared out of nowhere and grabbed Al’s jacket and jerked him hard enough to dislodge the Lucky Strike from his mouth. By the time Al had thrown a boot into the bouncer’s balls and caught the guy’s nose on a waiting forehead as he doubled over, Gecko-face was back, blood trickling from his lip, and Al had to belt the poor guy with his other fist. During which time Al’s cigarette butt had found a pool of something strong enough to flame up just enough to catch on a table leg. And something hit Al hard in the right ass cheek. Whirling, he saw the girlfriend, a self-satisfied smirk on her lipstick-smeared mouth. Stepping toward her hurt, a sharp twinge, and Al reached back to pull…what? A damned nail file with an inch of blood on it out through a hole that had pierced clean through denim and skin. “Dammit, woman….” And she screamed, at which point Al congratulated himself on how menacing he was until he realized she was pointing behind him and the table was fully ablaze, the flames reacting with chemicals in the cheap synthwood, sending sparks flying around the room probing for anything else combustible.

  • beta

    May 7, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    It had taken some flailing around behind his head with the pool cue to get the man to let go of him, but from there it had been easy to trip him up and daze him a bit. But then he’d had to throw himself sideways to avoid a hurtling beer bottle, and then two wrestling women careened into him, and after that it was a struggle just to work his way to a wall without losing the pool cue.

    *Coleman: I really do need to study some unarmed martial arts, to give myself more options

    He finally had a clear moment to look around and find Al in the thick of things — and next to a growing fire. Preston glanced around and found he was lucky enough to be next to a fire alarm pull, so he quickly opened and pulled, bracing himself for hooting alarms and a shower of water.

    Nothing happened.

    * Gamma: this could rapidly become a disaster

    Preston cranked his voice modulator to its fairly impressive maximum volume and shouted “Fire! Everyone out! Stay orderly!”

    The resulting stampede toward the exits looked likely to leave several people in urgent need of DocWagon services. But at least it cleared the crowd enough for him to make it to one of the pool tables. Conveniently one of the orcs from early on in the whole fiasco was just picking himself up off the floor, and Preston checked his flight with the cue “Help me flip this table onto the fire!”

    Whether the orc was just following orders surprisingly well, or understood what Preston was looking to do, he quickly hoisted the table onto its edge and then let it fall onto the flames. The table covered the main fire, but the blast of air from its fall had puffed out flames that caught on several other areas.

    * Gamma: A fire extinguisher would be good about now. I don’t have respirator or gas mask with me, and smoke may become lethal before the exits clear.

  • adamu

    May 8, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Al had been in fires on oil rigs and arkoblocks, ironically surrounded by water but no place to run. So he knew a little bit about the way it worked. And between his internal air, his fire-resistant jacket, his flare compensation, and the simple fact that cybereyes weren’t bothered by smoke, he was in pretty good shape.

    That said, the exits were good and clogged, and the fire was speading quickly – even as he assessed the situation, the flames found some liquor behind the bar and there was a whoof and crash of exploding glass bottles. He spotted Preston, who was coughing a little but otherwise seemed okay. He pulled the decker low to the floor where the smoke was considerably thinner, for now.

    “Hack they sec system, see if they’s anyone stuck in any other rooms. How long’ll that…”

    “Done,” answered the other man.

    “Sheee-it, amigo, color me impressed. So now we exit stage left.” But the doors were still jammed, a tangled mix of people throttling each other and others trying to help those at risk of being crushed. They went straight for one of the big, blacked-out windows. “Stay low an’ way ta the side,” Al said, hefting the heaviest chair he could find. He also stood to the side and swung/threw the chair. The glass shattered and the inrush of air was instantly met by a great gout of flames shooting for the aperture. “Heh heh – that‘ll singe yer short an’ curlies,” Al grinned.

    They were out through the window before anyone else could crowd their new exit. Getting a little distance across the parking lot, they watched as the last of the pool hall’s occupants got clear of the structure even as a ruptured gas line delivered the coup de grace, turning the aging building into a fully-involved inferno.

    Standing at the edge of the lot near the Gaz, the two men could feel the heat washing over their faces even as a cool desert wind ruffled their hair. Al turned to Preston. “Too much?”

  • beta

    May 9, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    “OK, next time no triggering of chaos without a plan on how to make use of the chaos. It seems a shame to have a building burning down for no real profit from it, eh? But a good lesson in how fast things can spin out of control. Had we been trying to extract someone from there it could have worked brilliantly: hauled them out the window with us, hurry them to the Gaz, take off before they knew what was happening. But we weren’t trying to do anything other than get noticed a bit. So yah, too much.”

    He grew pensive for a bit as his voices had their say, then finally he brightened and said “Want to go do some gambling?”

  • adamu

    May 9, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    “Gamblin’ works,” Al said. “Cards i understand. Chaos plus plan? Not so much. But she’s your show, Presto baby. Your show an’ your world.”

    Al drove away from the former pool hall, but not far. Just enough to be out of the fire cordon. They were close enough to the Strip they could walk anywhere. And if they were going to plan their chaos, he figured the first part of the plan was not to get the Gaz associated with any trouble.

    “So if it’s attention yer after, ya got the big casinos. There, yeah, it’s gamblin’. As in, luck involved. Can’t git away with a blessed thing in them places. Or…they’s smaller joints, quieter games. They think they got security, but it ain’t the same. Ain’t sewn up half so tight. Lot less attention in those places, but it won’t be gamblin’ neither, cuz luck won’t be a factor. Don’t like to abuse my gifts playin’ with workin’ stiffs, but against the house? Gloves are off. So choose yer poison, kemo sabe.”

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