June 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm #269
Tuesday, 26 November, 1150; storage unit under Alaska Way viaduct, Downtown, Seattle Metroplex #194
John shrugged, pulled down his pants and with a little snap revealed two large smuggling compartments filled with tools and an extensive medkit
”A canister with compressed gas in each leg should do the trick… and I get to moon the triads”June 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm #275
Al held a hand over his eyes as if trying to block out the sun. ”Damn, Johnny boy, put that thing away. Shee-it, son, that’s takin’ anatomically correct a mite far, don’t ya think? Anyhoo, that sure does look like a groovy way ta git the shit in, but don’t answer my question how yer gon’ keep from slaughterin’ a few dozen workin’ folk….”June 2, 2017 at 2:57 am #280
Tuesday, 26 November, 1151; storage unit under Alaska Way viaduct, Downtown, Seattle Metroplex #195
John pulled his trousers back up and shrugged:
”I’ll take the same precautions that the rebels did to protect the civilian personal before they blew up the deathstar. I mean, you guys wanted to blow up the whole place – I’ll just gas the dining area. When all is said and done, I can maybe save a few more of the staff. Quick cuts and a straw to keep them breathing. I’m quite good at these.”
John extended one of his climbing claws that didn’t look particularly sharp or clean.
”Or maybe I’ll use a steak knife, just to be sure.
Still, first order is to get Ving Sung at his apartment – and his car, after all we have to finance this party somehow. Anyone interested to learn where you can get chemicals on the cheap?”June 2, 2017 at 6:29 am #283
”Whoa whoa whoa, slow down a tick there, Luke. One single-mother waitress don’t go home to her kids, the Force ain’t gon’ be with ya. An’ I never said blow it up, I said tell ’em we was gon’ blow it up. Listen, all them servin’ staff, big place that, they gotta be coordinatin’ with the kitchen by AR or at least audio comms, right? It’ll be a relatively low security network. Whyn’t we jist break into that, have ’em all called ta the kitchen when yer ready ta unleash yer little pepperpocalypse? Could be one or two stragglers, but then I’ll trust ya ta trach ’em as advertised, though if it’s jist a couple then the epipen might be nicer.”June 2, 2017 at 8:19 am #285
Tuesday, 26 November, 1151; storage unit under Alaska Way viaduct, Downtown, Seattle Metroplex #196
”Fine by me. If you can tell them to close and lock the doors and windows too, it will be even more effektive.”June 2, 2017 at 12:09 pm #288
”Doors an’ windows, check. But it won’t be me tellin’ ’em. Ol’ Al ain’t the decker in this here confederation. Hell, I thought you was. An’ if you ain’t, then who the hell is our decker?” Al asked, glancing about at the three others in the storage space.June 2, 2017 at 4:21 pm #296
Tuesday, 26 November, 1151; storage unit under Alaska Way viaduct, Downtown, Seattle Metroplex #197
”You know that’s pretty racist – just because I’m an AI I have to be good at hacking…
If I need shit like that done, I call my contact. She’s a natural in that regard – her tastes not withstanding – but gets expensive pretty fast.”June 2, 2017 at 4:38 pm #299
”Expensive is as expensive does. I’m sure you’ll work a good deal for us. Main thing is she gits the job done.” Al shrugged, but the look he gave John was far from his usual insouciant demeanor. ”Only folks we’s here ta kill is Tongs.”
The skinny little man blew smoke at the ceiling. ”So since you’s the man with the plan, where ya want us an’ when? We headin’ out ta git yer Plan A car trap ready, or we gon’ sit here drinkin’ an’ flirtin’ all the damned day long?”June 3, 2017 at 10:26 am #314
Tuesday, 26 November, 1151; storage unit under Alaska Way viaduct, Downtown, Seattle Metroplex #197
”Jeez, no need to get on my case about that. And I’m making this shit up as I go along. Right now I offered you to show you where I get my chemical stuff. It’s a Russian arms dealer, you’ll like him. Just don’t mention that I have a full body prosthetic. He’s well connected but not exactly trustworthy beyond the immediate deal.
If I get to accompany Tanya… well that we’ll know once we have the car with Ving Sung in it, or not. “June 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm #315
Tuesday, 26 November, 1246; Fu Shing’s Penthouse Suite, Bright Path Casino, Chinatown, Seattle Metroplex
The soft ping lets Ai know that she has arrived at the penthouse. As the doors glide open, she sees the first security man standing opposite, protected by good body armor and a large shield and pointing a nasty-looking grenade launcher in the direction of the open elevator car. A second, similarly armored and armed security man is standing off to the right, just out of direct sight of anyone in the elevator. The man in front of her respectfully asks that she step out of the car but that she remain within the first two feet of the door. Curious, Song Ai complies and watches as a third armored security guard approaches with his weapon slung on his shoulder by a sling and holding a hand held bio scanner and does a quick check of her against their records. The man’s movements appear to be polite, but he has placed himself directly in the path she would need to take to get to the main living area while not blocking the sight of either of his companions. While waiting for the scan to confirm her identity, Ai hears Fu Shing’s raised voice as he argues with Han Sin.
The scanner beeps and the guard nods and steps back. “Welcome back, Song Ai.”
Ai nods and proceeds past the guards, who do not seem to relax their readiness status even as their eyes follow her progress. Han Sin and Fu Shing are in the main living area of the suite when Song Ai arrives. She sees David Han standing off to one side and nods to him as she approaches the pair of arguing men. Or, rather, one arguing man and the other simply taking the verbal punishment.
“I do not care what your instructions are. You work for me and I am not leaving, so take your polite words and go stuff them where no one will ever see them.”
Song Ai interrupts the conversation as she approaches. “Actually, Fu Shing, Han Sin technically works for me and I gave him instructions to have you taken back to the hospital.”
Han Sin bows low to Ai and withdraws a few steps as she moves closer. Fu Shing, his face almost purple from the exertion of yelling, turns to her and scowls. “I do not appreciate being ordered about. And by the way, where were you when all of this was happening? We will talk later about where you have been, Song Ai. But you can forget any idea of having me run and hide from this blatant attempt by Ving Sung and Rick Wu to kick me out of my own place.”
Ai remains calm as she approaches to stand within a couple feet of her boss. She waits for the tirade to calm down then nods, her voice soft and calm. Ignoring the question of her whereabouts for the time being, she focuses on the real issue. “Very well, Fu Shing. You are, of course, right and I was wrong.” She turns to where Han Sin is looking at her with his mouth partially open. “Han Sin, please cancel the trip to the hospital. Fu Shing has decided to attend the meeting with Ving Sung this evening. I would appreciate it if you would let everyone know. And please let Chien Lo know that I will be downstairs for my meeting with him in twenty minutes.”
To his credit, Han Sin recovers quickly and bows to Ai. “Of course, Song Ai, it will be as you have directed.” The man departs, but the other three security men remain.
Fu Shing, a bit surprised at his victory, sags just a bit then straightens up. “I will be in my room, getting ready for the meeting.”
Ai nods and bows, watching him leave with narrowed eyes. Her attention is brought to David Han, who waits until his friend is in his bedroom before softly clapping and moving closer to Ai. “Nicely managed, Song Ai. It strikes me that if I were to contact the hospital, would I find any record that arrangements have been made to receive Fu Shing this afternoon.”
Ai does not respond but lowers her head a bit then raises it back to look David in the eye as the man nods. “I thought not. It is a very dangerous game you are playing, Song Ai.”
“Yes it is, David. But it gives me the best chance to have Fu Shing live and emerge as a strong contender.”
The man looks a bit puzzled. “Contender? Contender for what?” After a moment of silence, his eyes widen a bit and he continues. “What have you done, Song Ai?”
“Changes are needed, David. Fu Shing can provide the best direction.”
David Han nods. “With your help?”
Ai nods back. “I hope so, yes. Now, please excuse me.”
She bows low to David and goes to the master bedroom. She opens the door and goes inside, the drone hiding in the fabric of her collar leaving her completely aware of the look David Han is giving her. Inside, she sees Fu Shing sitting on the edge of the bed and goes to stand in front of him. He looks up at her and shakes his head, his words a bit stern and reproving. “I would have thought that you, most of all, should know that I would never hide from these people while someone else did my………………….” He stops talking and Ai can almost see his mind working through what had happened then Fu Shing reaches out and puts his arms around her, pulling her close so that his head rests against her chest. “Thank you, Song Ai. I claim to you that my wounds kept me from realizing sooner that you have made me look stronger in front of the men. What would I do without you?”
“You are already strong, Shing. But it would be understood by anyone that the attempted assassination might have rattled even a strong man. It is important just now, especially just now, that our soldiers and staff see you as strong and not willing to lie down and take what Ving Sung and Rick Wu are trying to do.”
Fu Shing nods. “Yes. I would like to say that I would never just allow this to happen, but I have to confess to you that there have been a moment or two of weakness where I thought of just doing as you had directed and go to the hospital.”
Ai shakes her head. “No, that is just tiredness talking, Shing. You would never have done that.”
He looks up at her face. “How can you be sure, Ai? I have never faced death that closely. The experience has been a bit unsettling.”
Ai smiles and bends her face to his. “Because I know you better than you know yourself, Shing. Now, I want to talk to you about something very important. May I?” Fu Shing frowns a bit but nods and Ai continues. “You are a better man than Rick Wu, and more qualified to lead the 88s into a new age. Will you let me help you get there? Will you be the man you can be and guide the Triad with honor?”
The man nods. “So that is your plan, Ai? Very well. I do not know that I am truly the best man to lead the 88s, but I feel that I can be if you are at my side.” He puts a hand up to the back of her head and pulls her down for a kiss while his other hand fondles her breast. He breaks it after a few seconds to add, “Of course, if this goes all wrong we might both die tonight, which means that this could be our last chance to…………..”
Ai laughs and pushes away from him. “You are far too randy for your condition, Shing. It is probably dangerous to have that much blood rush from one head to the other right now. Besides, I have arranged a meeting in a few minutes with Chien Lo, Han Sin, and the heads of security and operations for the casino as well as the chief of your soldiers. We will discuss how to open the casino and protect it. Do you wish to attend the meeting with me?”
Fu Shing chuckles as he stands. “Of course, doubtless you are right about the sex, but I will expect a different response later. I will attend this meeting with you, if for no other purpose than to let people know that I am not dead yet. Nor do I intend to let you make all of my decisions for me.” He looks around then back to her. “Now, what should I wear?”
The two look at each other for a quiet moment then both erupt in laughter. Ai moves back into his arms and they embrace. “Shing, you are your own man, but there is nothing wrong with working together with another that shares your dreams. The two of us together can give each other the best chance to succeed. I will do my very best to keep us both alive tonight, but I will need your help.”
He nods. “Tell me what you need me to do.”
She looks at him and begins talking………………………..June 3, 2017 at 7:31 pm #316
”Russkies is cool, baby.” Al turned off the depressing Urban Brawl match and hopped to his feet. ”Who’s drivin’? Got my truck, but cab git a mite tight. Less’n o’ course the lady here was riding bi…erm, inna middle…..”
Lucky Strike dangling from his mouth and an open can of beer in his left hand, Al squatted down, reached under his cot, and fished out a rather active bag. Unknotting the twine tying it shut, he dumped out a trio Western Pacific rattlers. The air was suddenly aquiver as three tales vibrated their annoyance at so abrupt an awakening.
Tossing the bag onto his cot, Al stepped out from amongst his pets/security system and headed for the door. He wasn’t sure if everyone was going with him and John to see the Russian, but either way he figured everyone had things to go take care of.June 4, 2017 at 10:14 am #318
Tuesday, 26 November, 1152; storage unit under Alaska Way viaduct, Downtown, Seattle Metroplex #198
”I don’t mind tight” , John winked, ”but we might need transport capability. I’ve send you the address. It doesn’t hurt to show a bit of numbers with the Russians – makes price discussions a lot easier when they don’t think they can bully.”
John tried to pet one of the snakes, but pulled his arm away before the snake could strike – not because he feared it’s bite but because he didn’t want it to break a tooth.
That done, he led the way to the Tacoma docks. The warehouse Ivan Solchet operated from, appeared to be in slight disrepair, but as John knew, this impression wasn’t correct where security was concerned. At all times at least three drones circled around the building, appearing in the matrix as inconspicuous transport drones.
<<Aye, Ivan. It’s John. I’ve got friends with me, we need to purchase some spices.>>
<<John, my friend. How fortunate of you to visit. Come in, the fence is deactivated. I am in the show room. >>
John parked his car just outside a small staircase leading up to a loading bay. Once you moved through the small door to its side, you were greeted with a small and very smelly office where the small windows were blind with nicotine and even the dead plants had a yellow sheen. The computer was a real antique terminal and John doubted that it even was compatible with the current matrix.
Of course this was nothing but a decoy for any visitors not in the know.
Confidently, John led the way through another door, past an even smellier toilet (this was no decoy, but merely a sign that Solchet had pretty disgusting hygiene habits) into a large warehouse with high, free standing shelves full of boxes and containers. In the middle was a display that at first sight looked like some kind of war movie set: An honest to god hover tank was surrounded by a vast assortment of guns and rifles, seemingly polished to a sheen. John knew that this too was a decoy, based on a very expensive set of holo projectors.
The real goodies lay inside a spacious vault, but it was easier for Ivan to display his inventory like this without risking anyone desperate trying to rob him.
Ivan Solchet couldn’t be called a shaved bear in a suit – mainly because that would have implied that Solchet shaved. The man was large enough that he could look down on most trolls and brought enough muscles to the table that he probably would have a chance in a fist fight too.
With arms spread wide he came towards John: ”Ah, my friend. How nice to see you. What can Ivan do for you today?”
Quickly, before he could envelop him in a bear hug, John introduced his companions and said: ”I was wondering if you still had those surplus pepperpunch canisters? Also, I need a bit of DMSO and Narcoject.”
”Are you going out on a date?” the Russian asked with a smile.
“As a matter of fact, yes – but that’s not what I need the Narcoject for.”June 5, 2017 at 8:39 am #320
Tuesday, 26 November, 11:55; Storage unit under Alaska Way viaduct, Downtown, Seattle Metroplex
“Let me know where and when you’ll need me, I’ve got my own contacts for resources without stepping on your toes. I’m going to take a look at the casino from the outside, I prefer to corroborate with my own senses rather than rely on drone feeds and matrix images alone. I won’t do anything rash or to draw attention to myself…”
#32June 5, 2017 at 9:56 am #322
Tuesday, 26 November, 1155; storage unit under Alaska Way viaduct, Downtown, Seattle Metroplex
Jan sat beside Al in the truck as they made their way to John’s supplier. He sniggered lightly to himself when recalling the exchange between the two. He could easily forget what a softie Al was…
”I don’t get it” he struck up after a while. ”Maybe I missed something. Why are we looking to hijack this Ving dude if he’s gonna be at the meeting later? Isn’t that just extra work? And it might draw more attention to us. Wouldn’t want to risk them not attending. They’d miss the show.”June 5, 2017 at 4:25 pm #326
Tuesday, 26 November, 1301; Tacoma docks, Seattle Metroplex
Al grinned wolfishly at his friend as he maneuvered through the maze of logistics centers and container yards behind John’s Morgan.
”Shee-it, Janster baby, was you brought the feller along. I’m jist a simple mountain boy. How the hell’m I supposed ta know how his kind thinks. Reckon the workin’s o’ the digital mind’re second only ta those of a womern in terms of inscrutability an’ irrationality. But maybe he’s calculatin’, say, twenny-seven moves ahead based on Big Data assimilation. I was jist so tired o’ circlin’ back an’ forth onna plan, I was ready ta go along with jist about anythin’, long as it din’t stain the job with innocent blood. Anyhoo, ol’ Ving-a-ling sends a flunkie ta check the car, well, we warn’t doin’ nothin’ today anyway, an’ like Johnny says, even a flunkie might have more first-hand knowledge o’ that she/he from the Triads than we do, which wouldn’t hurt us a bit ta have. No, not one damn bit. An’ if’n we do grab the right guy, well, see above, only better.”
He pulled into the warehouse lot, then turned around to make sure he was parked nose-out.June 6, 2017 at 4:51 am #334
Tuesday, 26 November, 12:12; the Docks, Seattle Metroplex #199
Solchet laughed: ”You’ve been a naughty boy, or so I hear. The Seoulpa and the Yakuza aren’t happy – although nobody is quite sure what has happened exactly besides some explosions and an intercepted cattle delivery. I have friends who would be very interested to learn the whole story…”
John shrugged: ”I have no idea what you are talking about. Must have been someone else – you know – someone who has just the same average looking face like me.
So, about that stuff I asked for – do you have it or should I look elsewhere.”
John’s tone had cooled – he didn’t like where the conversation was heading.
”Be careful John, you are on very thin ice already. There are rumors underway that you have joined some kind of crusade.
But yes, I have it on hand. Two canisters and a pre-mixed spray.
And cash of course. There’s very little credit going around where you seem to be going.”June 6, 2017 at 11:46 am #337
Smoking and listening to the proceedings from a respectful distance, Al couldn’t help being more impressed with Johnny. Al himself had the Triads and, if they knew he was alive, the Italians after him. But here Mr. Ghost-in-a-Shell now had the whole Asian OC trifecta on his ass.
Kudos.June 7, 2017 at 2:48 am #345
Tuesday, 26 November, 1214; the Docks, Seattle Metroplex #200
John’s answer didn’t show any of his usual chipper demeanor, but was rather sober and cold:
”Cred stick is alright, I assume? I honestly would have expected a bit more trust, considering the amount of business I brought you so far.”
John fished a stick from his pocket and tossed it towards the Russian who caught it with an agile movement in complete contrast to his otherwise massive and slow demeanor.
”Nothing personal, but dead men don’t pay.”
’If you knew…’ But for once, John kept his mouth shut and instead followed the large man towards the back of the room.
With a barely audible whirring sound three turrets turned to follow them, all sporting automatic weapons.
After a long moment of silence, John returned with a small gym bag to Al and Jan:
”Seems like my name isn’t the best currency at the moment – Ivan didn’t even want to know who you are. But since we are already here, is there anything regarding weaponry or ammunition that you think we could need? Ivan’s stash is pretty impressive – and I’m not talking about that dead weasel above his lip.”June 8, 2017 at 6:28 pm #375
Al shook his head. ”Ain’t too big on toys, and the ones I do got don’t need no damned bells an’ whistles. Yer Russkie friend don’t wanna know ol’ Al, well, that’s his row ta hoe.” Plus was probably Vor-connected, and Al hated those assholes. ”Let’s git ta work on this Plan A o’ yours. Though I still got a hunnerd says Ving-a-ling sends a flunkie.”June 9, 2017 at 8:17 am #386
Tuesday, 26 November, 1230; the Docks, Seattle Metroplex #201
”You are on. Now let’s have a look around the garage and take it from there.” John had taken out two bottles made from brown glass and read the labels, opened them for a moment to take a sniff each and quickly closed them again.
”Jepp, that’s the stuff. Perfect for mischief of any kind, including boring dates.”
Walking back to his car he nodded at the two runners: “Better alter your ugly mugs a bit before we reach the target. I’ll need you to distract the guard, while I sneak in.”
Driving across town again, John found the time to go over the infos Nachthexe had delivered once again. A lone guard for a two story underground parking garage. Once he was past the gate he’d just have to keep in the shadows, avoiding the sensor cones. Piece of cake if you knew how to climb along a ceiling.
The Chinese dominated building block was easy enough to spot – as was the small closed box that housed the guard behind 5cm worth of armored glass, making sure only authorized people entered the garage.
<<I suggest you go over to the guy and inquire if he can settle a bet for you. Nachthexe’s data suggests he is a bit of a gambling fan.>>
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