April 12, 2019 at 2:10 am #17652
Rebbeca says “>> I am no decker, I have a rudimentary knowledge of the craft and the best agent money can buy. What I usually do is led the agent lead, and help it with what I can to increase its effectiveness. I can reliably hack devices with direct connection, but to reliably doing so without being detected is another thing.
Let’s start with a tour then, try and perhaps plant some devices of our own to get eyes inside? Monday is good, no need to rush.
Let’s not be overly eager, first we map the devices and then we get some eyes on the devices see which one is easiest to approach without being detected. I’ll do some reading, and perhaps Weaver can also help my agent do the direct hacking. He is the professional after all, and there is good matrix reception.”
Indeed Becky did some reading and studying about matrix protocols and successfully assisted her Agent, but she was uncomfortable in being treated as the professional decker.
She says to Tanya ”I guess it is a slumber party at your place then.”April 12, 2019 at 2:43 am #17655
Ichante stands and readies to leave. ”I get the top bunk,” she announces. ”I’ll just swing by home and get my jammies.” It’s unclear if she’s joking.
A thought occurs to her. She turns to Tanya.
”Woah, this isn’t the penthouse, is it? This is your personal place, like underwater?” Her eyes have a bit of a wild, alarmed look to them.
Her mind seems to be going a hundred kilometers per hour, trying to figure out how she’s going to deal with this. ”You sleep there every night, right? Yes, of course, except when you’re off doing… other things… Do you have protection? I mean, SCUBA gear under each bed, anything like that? No?” She bites her lip, trying to stay brave. She drums her fingers on her thing.
”Are there many water spirits in Puget Sound?” she asks uncertainly. ”I mean, of course there are. I mean, do they come near the hotel at all? Water spirits and I have this… thing.”
She huffs and she puffs a few times, maybe figuring that she can get her hyperventilating done in advance. ”Wiz, right, let’s do this.” She claps her hands together. ”Yes, I’ll take first watch. You all can sleep; I’ll stay on the lookout… for cracks and leaks and things…”April 12, 2019 at 3:47 am #17656
Batshit pedalled furiously to keep pace with the traffic, while not rush hour density it was enough to make till a challenge. She weaved and dodged in and out of the cars. Constantly scanning her route ahead her natural situational awareness keeping her from under cars.
She could not remember at what stage she had given into the urge and just gone for it. The adrenaline surging through her veins she was riding batshit crazy and loving it.
She crowed with delight as she pedal ground her way under a truck at. She shot through The junction into Downtown propper and what felt like the speed of light.
Using her map soft she was able To cut her route through back streets and parkway.
She rounded the end of the street to Tanya’s apparment and pulled an outrageous skid up to curb, and flubbed it.
Having deposited herself in an inglorious perspiring pile on the sidewalk, she found herself looking up at a serious faced doorman
“herrow, well THAT was fun!” she declared with a beaming grin and shining eyes
“can I help you young lady?” the doorman asked in serious and slightly exasperated voice.
“here to see Tanya, lady Tanya?”
“ah, I see, well I am afraid she is not in at the moment”
Batshit took the proffered hand and hauled herself upright
“it’s OK. She’s expecting me I’ll just go…”
“err, no I’m afraid not”
“young lady, with some kind of invitation the best can do fir you is to wait in the lobby” she looked batshit up and down “might be an idea to get some newspapers for you to sit on”
“oh it’s no bother I’ll just wait out here. Look the stars are coming out, it’s a nice night, I’ll just sit on the side walk and wait, can you watch my bike?” she said as she locked up the cycle
“erm well errr. Young lady” but it was too late she was gone only to return five minutes later with two coffees. She offer the lady one.
“here it real. It used to work for them. So I know the password to get the real shit”
“we’ll I really shouldn’t” she said as she opened the door to let an old lady out of the building and raised a hand for a taxi “but…”
Two things happened at the same time, Tanya’s bike rounded the corner and batshit clocked the street tough eye balling the old lady.
“take these NOW!”
boosted beyond belief, batshit moved fast but the geometry was not in her favour and the tough got there first. He flat plamed the lady to the floor while he held onto the bag she carried. He started to run.
Now boosted the the strength of a gym bound orc Batshit lifted him with one punch. Tanya arrived at the scene to find a pumped up snarling Batshit advancing on the sprawled figure bellowing death threats and promises of dismemberment.April 12, 2019 at 9:12 am #17661
<<Neither am I>> Ulrich replied to Becky <<But I can gain the necessary skills quite rapidly – provided you entrust to me the use of your deck. But you are right, we haven’t yet mapped all the angles.
As for going in: An awakened who knows that he will lose his eyesight soon might work too. A mere consultation shouldn’t cause them to give you a full blown medical scan.>>
He took a moment to compose his next text:
<<In any case, we have been here together for too long already. Let’s regroup.>>April 12, 2019 at 10:38 am #17664
Saturday, June 4th, 2078, Zero’s Bar, Near the Puyallup Barrens, Seattle
Tanya chuckles before sending a response. >>I know some of the words you guys are throwing about, but I confess to being in the dark about most of it, which is why I usually use experts to help me with that sort of thing. It is good to be working with professionals who know their way around Thank you. Now, I do agree that we should split up and return to the hotel. I can take Ichante with me and am sending you the address and access codes to get into the car park. A nice man at the entrance will give you directions to my section and you will find adequate space to park your bikes. After parking, go to the elevator and announce yourself and someone will be along to bring you to the suite. Now, Ichante, yes it is the one below water, but I have asked Monique to make sure that the heavy drapes are pulled closed for you. And I do have a couple of sets of SCUBA gear and can have one placed in your bedroom. The only water spirits allowed close to the hotel are those provided by the hotel for security. I have lived in the suite for about sixteen years and I have never once heard of any sort of leakage issue. Will you trust me and come? We can stop by your place, first, if you need to pick something up,<<
47April 12, 2019 at 2:31 pm #17676
Rebbeca texts > >No problem really, if you can juju your way into mastery of the matrix skill than you are better than me. I’ll share the deck, it is hundred thousand nuyen deck so don’t drop it or anything.
She stands up and asks ”Anybody is coming with me? I think I am going to take a drive before going to the hotel. It helps me think.April 12, 2019 at 3:02 pm #17677
Saturday, June 4th, 2078, Zero’s Bar, Near the Puyallup Barrens, Seattle
Tanya nods and motions for Ichante to come with her. ”I like to do the same thing. There is a stretch of 405 where I can get the bike up over 100 easily. I just need to watch for an occasional go-ganger, but they usually do not try much. We should make that ride together some time. That should work out just fine, actually. It ought to let us get to Ichante’s place and then over to mine.” She looks around at the other two and nods again. ”It has been nice to spend some time together like this. Thank you for doing it. See you all in a bit. Oh, don’t worry about coming in late if you feel a need to do something else, first. The space is available.”
48April 12, 2019 at 5:02 pm #17680
Rebecca replies ”Its a date.” her grin widens as she visualizes taking her Morgan for a spin.April 12, 2019 at 8:19 pm #17685
Ichante goes with Tanya, momentarily placated by her assurances that the room is only one floor below water, and that there’s SCUBA gear readily available. Ichante vows not to fall asleep unless the air regulator is clasped firmly in her hand. Maybe she can set a spirit on watch too.
Ichante starts to have second thoughts when she sees Tanya’s Harley-Davidson Nightmare. It’s big enough for two, certainly, and it’s not that Ichante is even that large, but it does involve a certain lack of walls or even a roll cage. Plus Ichante left her armored jacket in Becky’s Thundercloud Morgan, so she’s not even dressed for a slide.
I’ll just jump off, levitate away, she assures herself. I have the reflexes for that, right? Right.
Tanya mounts the bike and Ichante climbs behind her.
”Drive to Lordstrung’s. My squat’s a short walk from there.”
It’s a short drive, maybe 5 kilometers, which cuts through the industrial district just south of downtown. They pass by the city’s sports stadiums, where the Seattle Mariners are finishing up a night game versus their Coastal Division rivals, the Portland Lords. Seattle is unexpectedly in first place in the division, but they’re only two months into a six month season. There’s lot of ball still to play, but for tonight the weather is pleasant, the stadium is full, the Mariners have the lead, and there’s a happy vibe to the area’s mana. The Mariners’ beloved slugger, Ken Martinez, belts a home run and a cheer goes up that’s audible for a kilometer around. Ichante almost immediately feels the spike of emotion radiating out of the stadium like the heat from a warm fire.
”So. In addition to raising and disbursing charitable monies, you steal things,” Ichante subvocalizes to Tanya’s cyberears as they wait for a stop light to change.April 12, 2019 at 9:42 pm #17686
Saturday, June 4th, 2078, Zero’s Bar, Near the Puyallup Barrens, Seattle
Tanya chuckles into her mouthpiece. ”That is very close, yes. My lifestyle is hard enough to maintain on the rather pitiful income I get from my trust fund. Remind me to talk to you about crafty, sly, and crooked cousins who happen to be in control of your finances simply due to an accident at birth and some truly outdated inheritance laws. But if you do, it could take a while to get me off my soapbox. Suffice it to say that I usually steal things to sell for a nice sum. I also steal things on commission, for which I usually get a very nice sum. Not to put too fine a point on it, I am quite good and Monique and I make a bloody good team, along with various other friends and contacts who can provide technical or other support when needed.”
She turns her head sideways a bit then back to the road. ”Sounds like the Mariners are doing well, again. It would be nice to see them go all the way. So, I can’t imagine that that is the only question you have. Ask away and I promise to tell you what I can. If it gets too close to someone else’s secret, I will let you know that I cannot go there.”
49April 13, 2019 at 1:16 am #17687
Ichante nods. ”I guess the question is ‘how’? You’re like those advertisements for the Cross Point: Daedalus trideo trilogy: ‘Ace Holt, the world’s most famous secret agent!’ It just seems like the most ridiculous oxymoron. But I guess it’s possible to hide in plain sight after all.”
They race north on First Avenue. Once they pass the stadiums, they’re forced to jog east on King Street to navigate around the ACHE. Bumping over to 6th Ave, the shoot up the east side of the ACHE and have a straight shot – passing Dante’s Inferno on their left – until they reach Lordstrung’s at Sixth and Pine.
”I’ll be back in ten minutes,” Ichante says, disappearing down the escalators that head to the Ork Underground. From there it’s a three minute walk to her place, a rapidly gentrifying section of the Underground that caters to dwarves. She stuffs a backpack with her gear, then puts on her favorite cashmere sweater, one of her prize possessions and an indulgent splurge that she’s never had the strength of character to regret. If I’m going to drown, at least I’ll look good doing it. She feels badly about wadding up her business suit to stuff it in the bag, but unwrinkling things is a snap for her. Shoes are a tougher call; she picks a pair of sensible flats that can pass for both business and casual. She’ll miss the extra eight centimeters she might get from heels, but sacrifices must be made.
Four minutes later, she is out of the house with the maglock locked behind her. Three minutes after that, she’s back at the bike, right at the ten minute mark. She rejoins Tanya and together they head to the hotel.
”I guess I’m in it for the money,” she volunteers while they drive. ”I’ve got a drek-hot, long-suffering financial adviser who’s watched me piss away every nuyen like water through my fingers. I swear the only reason he hasn’t fired me is because he thinks shadowrunners are exciting. Oh, and I do his suits. He tells me I can retire once I have seven figures in the bank. Seems like a mountain, when any ¥10K run can kill you, and every ¥100K run is sure to try.”
It goes unsaid that their current job seems to be the latter.April 13, 2019 at 4:20 am #17689
Ulrich took off on his own, being happy to find his car where he left it and in the same condition too. Letting the car do the driving for the moment without the help of grid guide, he concentrated on filling out the map with all the surveillance equipment he had spotted. Only now it became clear, that the place was more like a fortress than anything else. If he considered the possibility that a bunch of other sensors at houses facing the Institute were lilkely also part of their system, going in there became truly daunting.
By now he had dismissed the personality splinter, having used up it’s potential thoroughly and feeling the drain again. He would have to shore up his mental resistances before trying that again.
He reached the hotel parking lot and took the time to change numberplate and registration as well as reshape his visage and hairstyle as well as the color of his suite. No sense in making it easy for the pattern recognition software all around.
<<Thanks for the invitation, I’ll go on up already if you don’t mind.>>April 13, 2019 at 5:34 am #17691
Saturday, June 4th, 2078, On the Way to the Gates Undersound Hotel, Downtown, Seattle
Tanya chuckles again. ”Yes, I hide in plain sight. If you like, you can scan just about any media, whether print, audio, or trid, and find a plethora of articles about Lady Tanya Marisart. Some of the articles might hold some truth, but very few are completely factual. I have several reporters, some of them quite respectable, on my payroll and some are lovers and can be subtlety encouraged to slant certain newsy items. There are plenty of the social elite that expect to see some advantage in bedding me and then try to blackmail me or just sell the stories. I long ago made it a habit to never really deny nor confirm any such rumors, so these people have no hold on me and the stories just add to the Marisart mystique. The title I have is absolutely genuine and has got me a lot of high, socially elite, friends and contacts, many of whom are prepared to add snippets to the fire or defend me in public. My uncle is a very nice man, and he also has the controlling interest in a very large international media empire and he has no problem whatsoever in tossing out news bits that just serve to keep everyone guessing. I have put lots of effort into this and I dare say that there is so much mystery about me that only a couple of people know the truth, and they are so close to me that there is no chance of them clearing things up for the rest of the world.”
After a brief pause, she continues. ”I also have an almost infinite supply of very good disguises and it is easy for me to craft false IDs and SINs to support them. Given enough time, I can do a more than passable switch with someone, down to mannerisms, voice, fingerprints, eyes, basically the whole bloody thing. It does take time to learn some of these things, but it can be well worth it. Some of the disguises are simple enough and generic enough that they will pass for a few minutes or a bit longer, which is often enough to effect a quick getaway or insertion.”
She parks the bike at Ichante’s description, telling her that she will wait the ten minutes before coming to look for her. She waves the young woman off and waits, using the time to go over some of the data from Silk and sends a note off to Monique. >>Cher, I think that the final tally will be four guests tonight, one of them male. It is likely that they will be arriving at different times. I have appended the names and descriptions of them. Not too sure if snacks and drinks will be needed, so put something out that will not go bad. Merci, cher.<<
Tanya is counting down the time when Ichante shows back up and she smiles at the designer. ”Darn, it was getting close and I was all ready to go down there. Oh well, you can show off your place another time, perhaps.” With a laugh, she mounts the bike and waits for Ichante to climb on behind her and grab hold. ”In it for the money is a good enough reason. I am sure that there are plenty of places where someone could retire from this business with a seven-figure portfolio, especially if they have good skills like you have. Just remember that jobs that pay this good are rare. But if you keep on Silk’s good side, you may get more of them. Perhaps more than you really want.”
She gets the message from Ex-Gladius as she is making the final turn onto the street that runs in front of her hotel. >>Ex-Gladius, that is fine with me, but I am afraid that the hotel would not see it that way. Anyone going to the underwater suites has to be escorted by hotel security and someone familiar with the person, preferably someone from the suite. In this case my maid, Monique, would be the person from the suite or, if you can wait a few minutes, I can be there to act as the escort. In my case, I can get you into the suite without a hotel escort. Another benefit of waiting is that you do not need to provide a picture and ID, as you would if you wanted to go the route with Monique and hotel security. I will warn you that summoning spirits without prior notice can get a lot of people very excited. The hotel takes a lot of pride in the security of the people that can afford to live in those underwater suites. Please let me know how you prefer to do this.<<
As Tanya prepares to go into the car park, she notices a disturbance near the front entrance. A quick glance through her drone feeds lets her know that Bronwean has tackled someone to the ground, so she changes direction, arriving at the entrance just as several uniformed security men approach the fight. Although it does not seem like much of a fight from Tanya’s viewpoint, as Bronwean seems to have control of the other person. It truly does not take long to sort out what has happened and Tanya ensures that the would-be robber is to be turned over to the authorities while clearing her young friend of any wrongdoing. The woman who had been the target, seems quite grateful to Bronwean, offering her a 100 nuyen note for her assistance.
When all is said and done, Tanya sends the bike to the car park on its own and escorts both Ichante and Bronwean into the lobby and to the elevators. The three enter the car and descend to the parking level, where they meet up with Ex-Gladius.
50April 13, 2019 at 6:00 am #17694
Rebbeca considers the hotel room, but the security arrangement seem excessive for her, and she does not trust Tanya enough to enter a place where she cannot come and leave as she pleases. Needing escort for going was one thing, but needing a similar guard for moving was the final straw. That place is not for her, not if she is to keep a clear mind – she needs the freedom of movement. After realizing that she cannot just leave the perimeter without an escort, she silently packs her bag and sighs with regret at the comfortable locale. She then asks the maid that got her in, to take her out – after a security guard insists.
All in all, it was a remarkable hotel room, but unsuitable as a base of operation, too secure and too clumsy. The Brothel would have to do, or she can return home. Or perhaps just rent a standard room without all that insane security that feels all wrong as if they are some government agents. Once she finally gets out of that mousetrap, she hops on her Morgan.
>> I’ll try my luck somewhere else Tanya. I could never live in such a place. It seems great and everything, but it feels too much like a golden cage.April 13, 2019 at 7:17 am #17698
<<Thanks for the warning, I’ll wait for you then – and do my “summoning” ahead of time.>>
Ulrich smiled. There still was this notion that magic existed. Stage magicians – well of course they existed. He liked illusionists like the next man, but if you looked at all the different traditions and thought about it, you had to realize that not all believes could be true at the same time. Unified magic theory was the latest trend and went in the right direction, but still clung to the idea that magic was some external thing. What those mages didn’t realize was, that their believe an therefore their unconscious mind was what actually brought forth all those effects. Consciousness was the real factor here. The collective force of mind and will that resonated through the world.
Why else would the bug spirits look like insects and be so radically different than other animal spirits? Because the encompassing subconcsiousness thought of insects as alien creatures. That was why bee spirits were among the more harmless ones, because people accociated good things with them despite their danger.
No, all this different flavors of magic only made sense when you realized that it could all just come from inside people’s heads.
Well, to each their own way to find happyness.
He concentrated on his abilities to gain another magnification of a mind shard…Spoiler:
The first attempt worked, but the resistance was too strong, so Ulrich dismissed the faulty shard again, feeling the feedback doing damage to his own pattern.
The second attempt was more successful and he decided to keep it. He let his generated mind shard improve his reaction time but was not particularly pleased by the result. It would have to do for the moment.
Still hidden from view on the hyper conscious level, Ulrich waited for Tanya and the rest of the crew to turn up.April 13, 2019 at 3:09 pm #17708
The security arrived before batshit. Amid bellows of “stay down, stay down!” the two security guards secured the theif.
The consierge strode out “young lady please calm down, we’ll will take it from here” the note of command in his voice cut of her flow. As he continued to offer low key instructions in a measured, unhurried tone, Bronwean turned to the lady on the floor.
“are you OK lady.” she asked the semi-prone lady
“yes my dear, nothing that won’t heal” she replied “you are very good at your judo, your parents must be very proud” she tried to get up
“maybe you should let the doc wagon guys check you over?”
“oh nonsense my dear I have endured far worse” she scoffed “now stop your dithering and help me up!”
“thank you my dear, now be a love and pass me my bag”
Batshit obliged. The old lady fished in her purse.
“thank you so much my dear child, now please let me give you some for your trouble, a thank you”
Batshit backed off “erm please don’t, it is just bread on the water, save it for someone flat on their ass”
“oh well if you’re sure. That’s a very self effacing attitude, bread upon the water I like that. I think the consierge would like a word”
As she move of at beckoning of the tall man
“Lady Tanya has asked that we show you to her apartments, are you OK for me to tell the police you left the scene of the incident or to just mention our security”
“erm you what?”
“do you want me to keep your name out of all this?”
“oh can you? Won’t you get in to trouble?”
“this is another world, you’re on the other side of restruant window here little miss now let us get you out of harms way upstairs”April 13, 2019 at 7:03 pm #17719
With the witching hour a good forty minutes in his rear view, Al didn’t see much need to hurry. All he needed to do tonight was get into position before daybreak. So he drove north to his old workplace, Terminal 46. Or. more precisely, to the disused jetty about half a klick south, at the teetering tip of which perched Humpty’s Dump.
It was a slow night, only two cars parked outside the makeshift collection of abandoned plywood and scrapped aluminum siding held together by baling wire and bad intentions. Neither ride was anything like what the Italians drove, so Al parked the Gov nose out by a stack of old loading crates. He had her all black, the spoof chip and morph plate sporting randomly generated variants of legal designators. Even before he got out he could hear Maria Mercurial wailing her way through another pop travesty from yesterdecade. It must be a slow night if the drinkers were letting Mordecai wax nostalgic.
Even in summer, it was chilly out here on the Sound when the wind came in off the Olympic Peninsula. Al still got the occasional rattle in his chest when he was cold. Or maybe it was just a sense memory of the years he’d spent hanging in this place between off-the-books shifts. Walking across ancient wood planking, he could hear the tide lapping beneath his feet, splashes of salt water occasionally seeping up through the cracks. He knew it would be no different inside.
There were eight men in the place and one woman. Seven of the men were drinking. They’d come in the cars together, maybe. Or some had just walked over from the Terminal, more likely. Al didn’t know them, which was no wonder since two of them had Local 57 caps on and their ears were mostly round. Paying taxes and dues and the bosses and still taking home more than he ever had. The woman was still Darla. Half grown in moustache notwithstanding, she’d had three kids by as many fathers as of Al’s last visit, and by the look of her now that was about to be four. Assuming she’d taken a year off. The eigth man was Mordecai Sparks.
Mordecai was a really tall guy and he’d built the bar counter so he wouldn’t have to lean over much. So the stools were high too. Not so much that it was a problem for most of the dockworkers that drank their pay in here, but Al had to either step on the cross-strut between the legs like a ladder step, or else put his hands on the seat behind him and boost himself up. The latter was marginally cooler, so that’s what he did. It had been a while. The stool toppled, sending him to the floor in a heap of denim, leather, and curses. The other patrons barely looked up, and Mordecai just kept polishing a clean plastic stein with a dirty rag. He was missing more than one tooth in front, and probably a few more in the back. His face was framed by salt-and-pepper mutton chops crawling down from a balding pate and he wore a faded Concrete Dreams T-shirt. A good Southern boy that had hit the Emerald City back in ’56 as a roadie for some no-name opening act. Band had folded and he’d stayed.
“Month of Sundays, Al. Or, more precisely, three years. Beginning to think you don’t really love me.”
“Bullshit. Called ya last year.”
“Commcall. To borrow my boathouse. Again.”
“Well, guess what, usin’ ‘er again. Let myself in. Not like ya got a boat. Or ever use it.”
“I have feelings, you know. Beginning to think you don’t respect me.”
“Heh heh. Ol’ Al’s heart is yours an’ yours alone. Hell, if ya had tits on yer back I’d….”
“That’s more than I think I want to hear, Al.” The scarecrow said, showing his black hole of a smile and popping a beer for his friend. “Just saying, don’t be a stranger.”
“Aw shit, Mordecai, ya know I got my reasons. Fer me an’ fer you.”
“But you’re here now. And it does put me in a bind.”
Al eyes shifted in the direction of the union guys. “Probably,” Mordecai answered. “The wise guys gave up coming around in person six months back, which is saying something they kept at it that long. And they haven’t forgotten. Not those guys. It was my eyes or a promise to call them if I saw you.” He spit on the floor behind the bar. “But of course fuck that.”
“No no no. Don’t fuck that. I minded bein’ seen, I’d not’ve come. Hell, you should git some pix o’ me here. An’ my ride too. They’ll know sooner’n later, an’ no point you takin’ it inna teeth.”
Mordecai shrugged his acquiescence. Al kept talking. “Jist me they’s lookin’ for?”
“Nah, some guy called Thorn or something. But I got no connection.”
“Know if they ever caught up to him?”
“No idea. So I’m trying to conjure up a reason in my mind you came here.”
“Wanted ta see ya. An’ before ya go gittin’ a hard on, I got business with ya too. An’ these assholes don’t git ta decide who I see or what I do.”
“Fair enough. What?”
“Ya got paper on that shack ya call a boathouse?”
“Yeah. You got ten million nuyen and a dirty pair of Sukie Redflower’s panties?”
“Fuck you. An’ Redflower’s gotta be pushin’ sixty by now.”
“How old do you think i am, genius?”
“Twenty thousand. And that you do keep ta yerself.”
“More than fair. They already know about it anyway.”
“Course they do. But they’ll never look there.”
“No. They won’t.”
The touched their beer bottles together and Al transferred the cred.
“Well aren’t you the high-speed financier, nowadays….”
“Gotta roll. Git the pictures on my way out, like I don’t know yer takin’ ’em.”April 13, 2019 at 9:00 pm #17721
Saturday, June 4th, 2078, Suite U3A, Gates Undersound Hotel, Downtown, Seattle
Tanya gathers up Ex-Gladius at the elevator to the car park and takes im, along with Ichante and Bronwean, to her suite, three levels down. The elevator attendant greets Tanya by name and the two talk about his family during the descent to level U3. Once off the elevator, Tanya leads the way to Suite A, where a brunette-haired woman of about 5’5″ is standing near the open door. She is wearing a light blue dress and comfortable flats. She greets Tanya in French then changes to English for the others. ”Echante, Mademoiselles et Monsieur. Good evening and pleased to meet you all, ladies and gentleman. My name is Monique Chevalier and I am proud to serve as Lady Marisart’s personal maid, personal assistant, and general slave labor. Please come in and be welcome to our home. I have taken the liberty of preparing a light snack and there is a full bar, to include several choices of fruit beverages and a wide array of harder drinks. Please let me know if you need something that is not here and I can make it appear for you.”
She steps aside to let everyone into the suite. She pauses to take anyone’s outerwear, if they wish to have it hung up, then motions ahead to the expansive living area. Immediately to the right of the entryway is an opening leading to a large, well apportioned kitchen and a small dining nook. To the left is is a larger, formal dining room, The table there is wood and large enough to seat twelve comfortably, along with a long sideboard and china hutch. There is a fresh arrangement of flowers as a centerpiece. The living is quite large, with three seating areas for small groups and three large sofas arranged artfully in front of a large fireplace. The long coffee table in front of the center sofa has several platters of snack foods on it. The far wall is covered in heavy floor to ceiling drapes. A large door in the left hand wall is shut, as is a smaller door in the right wall. This door looks to be secured by a sophisticated maglock and a panel that might open to expose some sort of bio reader. Also in the right wall is a hallway extending off to some rooms to its left side.
As Monique points out the bar, she is informed about the arrival of another guest. She looks over at Tanya and some sort of unspoken question and answer is passed between them. Monique turns to the others and nods. ”Pardon, pardon me, but I must see to our last arrival. Please excuse me and feel comfortable enough to help yourself to something. I will return shortly.
Tanya waits for Monique to leave and turns to the others. ”Some might think that she is not appropriate enough to be a good maid, but she is the best. I was 18 and she was 15 when I caught her trying to pock my pocket. She was quite accomplished, but I was just a bit better. I was going through a very bad time in my life, filled with nightmares and flashbacks of being exploded out of the family auto and needing several months of surgeries and rehabilitation. I had gone through several caretakers, all of whom left due to my extreme emotional outbursts. I hired her on the spot to be my next one and she managed to stay through everything I gave her. Twenty years later and she is still with me. Still my maid, and still my partner in crime.” She turns as Monique ushers Rebecca into the suite. ”Ah, here she is. Monique will show you to your rooms, where you can stash anything that you want to. I assure you that the place is quite secure, but feel free to discuss any other measures that you think will help you here. Afterwards, please join me back here so we can discuss the immediate future and I can show you the planning room.
All of the large guest rooms are located on the left side of the hallway, ensuring that each has access to its own floor to ceiling windows to the ocean outside. Ichante’s has heavy drapes closed across the windows and a complete set of SCUBA gear next to the bed. Each room has a queen-sized bed, a dressing table with vanity mirror, and a large table with four chairs. There is also a gas fireplace in each room with either a comfortable sofa or two large easy chairs. Doors in the walls give access to a large, walk-in closet and a very nice bathroom, complete with a big claw-foot tub and a shower, along with the usual toilet, bidet, and dressing table with mirrors. Monique shows each guest how to control the drapes with the use of a remote control device.
When Monique and the others return, Tanya smiles at them and motions to the food trays and the bar. ”Please make yourselves at home. Now, I would like to explain part of my daily routine. I usually wake at about 0530 for exercise. Every other day that is a run outside and on the other days I alternate between using the racquetball courts here or the large climbing wall. Tomorrow is a climbing day. I am allowed to bring guests, so please let me know if anyone is interested in coming with me. We will return here at about 0730 to clean up and dress for the day before eating a breakfast. If you have any special dietary concerns or special menu items that you want, please let Monique know and she will do her best to get what you want. We can begin discussing ideas and plans at breakfast, then move to the planning room to try to get at least the initial phase planned out. I will invite Al and Zag to attend breakfast and the planning session. I think that all of us have been receiving data updates and have read at least part of what Silk provided to us. It should be enough to at least get some ideas on the table. She pauses and looks around. ”Oh, I forgot to mention that the first room off the hallway contains a large sauna and hot tub. I intend to make use of it in a few minutes and any of you are welcome to share it with me. I have a large store of bathing suits and robes available in case you did not bring anything of the sort. So, any questions?”
On the way to her room to change into her own bathing suit, Tanya sends off identical messages to both Al and Zag, inviting them to the hotel for breakfast at 0800, to be followed by a planning session. She gives each of them a code to get into the car park and lets them know of the security arrangements to get onto the private elevator. She closes by telling them that she can meet them at the elevator if they let her know when they will arrive, allowing them to bypass the other security measures.
Sunday, June 5th, 2078, Suite U3A, Gates Undersound Hotel, Downtown, Seattle
Half-way through the night, Tanya and Monique receive the messages from Rebecca. Monique shows the reluctant guest out to the elevator to the garage. ”I am sorry, Miss, if anything I did was not to your standard. I would be happy to make changes, if that is what it will take?”
Rebecca shakes her head, trying to reassure the maid that it was not her fault. After leaving, Tanya gets the second message and responds to it. >>I am sorry that you feel that way. To me, it just feels like home and I have come to like the added security here. Does this mean that you would not be willing to return for breakfast and the planning session? If not, can you find us a secure alternative for us to use and come to you?<<
51April 13, 2019 at 9:45 pm #17723
Al was half way across Council Island heading east on Route 90 when he got Tanya’s message. He turned down the OzCat and voice-to-texted back.
<<Rain check, hon. ‘Preciate the offer though. Like I said, that jist ain’t ol’ Al’s scene right now, an’ I got somewhere else ta be right then. Anythin’ you an’ Precious agree on, ol’ Al’s gon’ be happy ta go along with. Wrap some sausages inna napkin or somethin’ for me.>>April 14, 2019 at 1:29 am #17727
Sunday, June 5th, 2078, Suite U3A, Gates Undersound Hotel, Downtown, Seattle
Tanya got the return message from Al and smiled. She had expected nothing else, actually. >>Stay safe, soyritto eating kemo-sabe. I will make a care package for you and make sure that you know what is going on. Good night.<<
Shaking her head, she again wonders what her friend sees in the man. He is effective as all bloody hell when it comes to action, but his interpersonal skills leave a lot to be desired. He is rude, crude, and treats Alyce like shit most of the time. And yet she is completely hooked on the man. She shakes her head and chuckles a bit. Who is she to talk about choices in men. She is married to the boss of part of one of the largest Triads in Seattle and loves him much more than she had thought she ever would. Drek, she is planning on giving the man children, isn’t she? Her feeling about men in general and two in particular bother her a bit and she tosses in bed for a few minutes when there is a knock on her door before it opens to admit one of only a handful of people who dare do that. Monique enters the room, a concerned look on her face. ”Cher? Is there anything wrong? The nightmares, they are returning? Do you need something to help with them?”
Tanya sits up in bed, letting the sheet fall to her waist and smiles at her maid and best friend. ”No, cher, it is not the nightmares. Those are mostly gone. They only come a few times a year now. No, I am concerned about men and how they treat the women that love them.”
Monique nods. ”Oui, I know what you speak of. But wait, are you talking about……………….?” A flash of steel comes from where it was artfully hidden and the Frenchwoman’s eyes narrow. ”Do I need to pay him a visit. Me and Carlos here?”
Tanya shakes her head. The knife thing had happened faster than the last time she had seen it; Monique must be practicing. ”Non, Monique. it is not Shing. He is treating me like a queen. I was thinking more of Al and Alyce.”
The knife disappears as fast as it was produced and Monique nods. ”Hmmm. Al? That is different. I do not think Carlos is the right tool for that man. He is too wily by far, that one. Perhaps I should call my friend with the guns to sell? He has access to a rocket launcher.”
Tanya throws up her arms and laughs. ”No, that was already tried on him and it did not work. Not any doing of mine, but something Rick Wu set in motion involving some platinum-grade mercenaries. He outwitted them all and escaped. No, I think that we should leave Al to Alyce. I know all too well that one cannot exactly choose who you fall in love with and Alyce will have to come to terms with that.”
The brunette smiles and stands from where she had been kneeling at the bed. Her words indicate that she may only have heard the first few words as she pretends to spit towards the fireplace. ”Bah! Mercenaries, even the so-called platinum are just that, mercenaries. They do not have the heart. I night succeed with the rocket where they failed. Still, it is like you said, perhaps I need to think it over more to find the perfect way to render some justice for your friend. Bon, good night, my friend. Sleep well and do not worry too much about this Al.”
After the woman leaves the room, Tanya bursts into laughter. Monique has done exactly what she needed to do. On the spur of the moment, Tanya rolls over on the bad and makes a call, switching her voice to Cantonese as if it were a natural thing. >>Hello, honorable husband. This is your naughty wife. I think I need to be spanked. Are you…..up…..for some play?<< The call lasts for just over an hour before the man on the other end of the line begs off and both go to sleep, as satisfied with each other as they have ever been, or at least as well as possible given that they are currently across the city from each other.
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