June 5, 2017 at 5:00 pm #329
[Early Evening, Saturday August 1st, 2071; Basil’s Faulty Bar, Westgate Boulevard & Pearl St, Tacoma, Seattle Metroplex]
Torrent hated shit holes like this one, well like Tacoma in general. He felt much more at home with the locations preferred by a certain type of individual in Downtown. But for reasons of his own the boss wanted the kind of dregs this place attracted, ones that either couldn’t hack it in the more up market shadows or who hadn’t yet earnt the rep to move in those circles.
His grimy reflection looked back at him from what passed for a mirror over the bar. A well-dressed orc in street casual…except the ticket price of his threads would probably allow him to drink for a couple of years in this joint. The lightly concealed shoulder holster with the big Predator was informative rather than threatening and his team had been asked to wait outside so that he didn’t spook anyone too badly.
He’d assessed the early evening crowd, with some additional astral assistance to mark out those with the Talent, and there were several likely prospects. He flagged them with AROs and waited for the first of them to approach the bar
“Excuse me, can I buy you a drink? I have a business proposition for you…”
#01June 16, 2017 at 3:34 pm #564
For Becky, it was yet another night of looking for work. She managed to somehow support her debt by doing odd jobs for her contacts but these also grew tired for the shadowrunner wannabe and waited for her to get out of her ‘phase’. Regardless, they had other more reliable options so Becky had no chance to get much more from them. She needed a real job quickly, and was beginning to question the wisdom in breaking free from the Mafia. She arrived at Basil’s only lightly armed. A tiny crossbow folded up on one her thighs and a knife on the other. She would not leave home any less armed – and if she could she would have brought in the katana as well.
Becky smiled at the orc and said “A buissness proposition…” she took a sip from her beer, and seemed distracted for a moment as she assensed the orc. Becky was actually trying to decide if by ‘buissness proposition’ he meant sex or perhaps (as unlikely as it sounded given her success in the last months) if he actually had a paying job for her. Regardless of her success in reading the man, she said “You got my ear” she looked at his eyes and clicked her beer with his drink. Politely refusing to be be bought a drink.Spoiler:June 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm #567
Al had been dozing in a corner when blondie walked in. The sight of her took him from barely half awake to at least three-quarters.
He’d been thrown out of joint after joint over the course of his four-day bar-crawl, and he had a huge shiner and a hastily-taped nose fracture to show for it. Damned federal inspectors had been camped out at the docks for a week now, and that meant no off-the-books work. Hun Sen and the dislocated Khmer tribe he crewed up with at the docks had responded the way they always did when this happened – battened down the hatches and tightened their belts to wait out the dry spell, keeping busy with one or another of Hun’s crazy-ass get-rich-quick live-the-American-damned-dream schemes. Looked like they were starting some sort of door-to-door laundry service this time. Well, Al had done a hell of a lot of jobs in his life, but he drew the line at woman’s work. He hadn’t been too worried; besides his MIB account, he’d had over five hundred nuyen in his boot when the work dried up. Naturally he figured the most prudent thing to do with it would be to pour it down his throat.
Might have been a good idea a couple of years ago. But a lot had changed since then. The past half-week had taken his life bar from a yellow thirty-percent-ish to a flashing red borderline zero, and he was all out of extra lives. If life didn’t toss him a power-up icon in a moment or so, he wasn’t sure he could even remember his way back to his place in Downtown’s International District, much less get there under his own steam.
The obvious answer was to wave the baggy-eyed waitress down and order another beer. He still had over two hundred nuyen left, and he was determined not to let himself lapse into an alcohol-poisoned coma until he’d drank the last of it. And that was another thing different about a couple of years ago. Back then….way way way back then, it felt like….he’d have ordered one for blondie too. Lordy she was a looker. Way too hot to be working, and too much intelligence in her eyes to be a dancer, voodoo gods only knew what she was doing in this place. Couple of years ago, he’d have privileged her with his company and found out. Now….it wasn’t because his pulse rate was dropping precipitously – fuck that, he’d rather go out with his boots on and everything else off, and she’d do for that – and it wasn’t because he was completely and horribly and hopelessly inebriated – hell, that made him more irresistable to the more useful sex than ever. No – it was because – he touched the slip of paper fraying in the pocket of his overlarge brown leather RAF jacket – it was just because….
So now that Her Legginess had woken him up, he sipped his beer in the shadows and watched as the tusker in the fancy duds and jackass harness made his play for him. Unseen by anyone but the everpresent ghosts of good Chinamen, Al tipped his glass at the guy. “May yer night be long, sweaty, an’ clap-free, buddy,” he muttered under his breath as his eyelids grew heavy again.June 16, 2017 at 11:50 pm #571
Forty, Early Evening, Saturday August 1st, 2071; Basil’s Faulty Bar
Forty almost wanted someone to hassle her. Her sister had taken forever to shut the frag up about some new BTL she wanted. Never mind that Forty had taken a bunch of the money she’d made recently and equipped the shrine with candles and prayer slips and all that crap, the addiction had been way stronger than any gratitude tonight. In the end Forty had prepared a couple of will prayers for her to use, and by some miracle she’d been able to get to sleep with their help.
If she wasn’t already late getting to Basil’s to look for work she might have poked into an alley or abandoned lot, just to see if she could have found some trouble to take her frustrations out on. But straight to the bar it was. She needed to land another job, and it wasn’t easy after she’d pissed off that Shiawase Johnson. How had she been supposed to know that even if he’d dressed ‘street’ he expected to be talked to like Corp? Fragging ass, and now people seemed to think she was some sort of loose cannon or something. She should have tracked him down and showed him what REAL disrespect felt like.
Arriving at Basil’s didn’t help her mood any. There was some fancy looking elf, and everyone was busy either looking at her or not looking at her.
Forty felt an immediate urge to tear her down a bit, but the fancy piece was probably better at word games, and the bar didn’t allow anything more substantial than that. Looking around she found the waitress she’d been working on –Roxie — but the short human woman just gave Forty an eye-roll. Forty didn’t know what her problem was — probably judging her for showing up late or something stupid drek like that. Still, Roxie knew Forty would give her a decent tip, even better for news on anyone recruiting, so she’d come by eventually.
Until then, Forty looked around, found a corner only occupied by a couple of boys who probably thought they were deckers. She sauntered over, stood way too close to them, and waited for them to start shifting uncomfortably. When they did she looked at the pudgy one and gave a predatory smile. Shortly after she had the corner to herself, the way she liked it.June 17, 2017 at 2:37 am #582
“Does that trog bothers you?” said what Becky summarized as Jackass , racist scum.
“Eham… We are kind of in the middle of something, so buzz off. ”
She said without letting her negative feelings get to the tone of her voice. It was not said as an insult.
It was said as a correct manner of putting the man back to his place, to be assertive without being aggressive. Not that she expected much from the ‘proposition’… Still, Becky wanted to hear the proposal, act offended that it was sexual, spill the drink at the orc’s fancy suit and buzz off to drive and cool off.
It was apparent for her from the moment she entered that Basil’s was not the place for a serious runner. It was yet another ‘wannabe’ place for people that watched too many trids… Heck, they do not even let people bring in the iconic Katana. How can the Johnson even recognize a proper runner like that? Yes, definitely a poorly invested tip. Still, she had to hear that wiseass for herself before she triggered.June 17, 2017 at 9:29 am #587
It had to be the rain. Seattle, the emerald they call it. But the only green in this place is the corroded copper bloomings. The air is filled with fumes from burning rubbish and the great fire mountain adds its ash to the melange. Waste and refuse and scum trails in little streams across the plastcrete. About the only good thing in this place – and that stretches the word almost to it’s limits – is the rich hunting. Rats, big as cats, sometimes even close to your own size make sure your belly is never completely empty, though their taste is vile and they smell of death. And it is by no means as fulfilling as hunting a healthy hare across the wide fields of the north. Already you yearn for the simpler place, but there is no turning back. He has spoken to you and he is the leader of the pack. Who would dare to defy him? Certainly not you. Go and find him. Bring him back from the brink.
Easy said but much harder done. You have learned much in the last years – even to use technology. The human whelps just know so much and they don’t mind telling you what they know. In turn you showed them how to survive on the street. You even thought that this might be enough. Czerno had after all found a pack of his own. A strong pack with teeth of iron and fire, prepared to hunt and protect their own. Cerno has not forgotten your help and gave you all those wonderful gifts so that the glass on the ground no longer breaks your skin and the iron knifes no longer cut you. But most important is the collar and the net. You now can see all the electric ghosts that help the humans find their way through the streets and you can call them from anywhere without your voice hurting after or having to rely on the call of the mangy creatures around you.
But no, the leader of the pack is not content. It was only a small life, a young life you helped along. Inktomi must hate your guts to give you false hope like that and then pull the rug away under your feet. No, you have to find him. So you go on your trail, looking out for him but the concrete valleys are full of dirt, hunger and greed and anyway how are you supposed to know how to find him and if you do how to recognize him? The first time you did you were sure you had the right one and then he wasn’t. You have enough. It’s too hot outside and you haven’t dared to drink from the puddles. This is a food and drink house and it doesn’t explicitly forbid you from entering, but still you think it might be best if you do so on two legs. You find the back alley and with some help from Izumi you remove the nice garments and slip into the smelly wool and cotton ones. For some reason one of the sandals is missing. You can’t remember losing it. How ironic, now that you walk on two feet you no longer have enough shoes left to cover against the glass. Still the thirst is greater.
You can’t smell as well in this form, but it’s still interesting enough that you pause for a moment to sample the aromas. Drink for sure – both fresh and once imbibed and excreted again permeate the air. You haven’t used your human tongue in some days, so you only dare to speak quiet to the man behind the bar: “Fresh water and a beer.” You remember to use the electric ghost and have it give the man’s ghost a few of the numbers all men seem to crave so much.
You perceive the female that seems to be ready to go in heat, the strong male that wants a pack but does not want to be off the pack, the female that loves the electric ghosts and…
You stop and groan. ’Really? Inktomi you bastard. May your balls get eaten by the snapping turtle.’
Very carefully you grip the two bottles, taking a long drink – first from the water then from the beer – before moving past the strong one. Your bundle brushes against him because you have your hands full and are careless. Your bare feet step into something squishy and leave prints on the ground as you walk towards the place next to the small man. He smells. He looks sick. Inktomi is testing you for sure. But you do not defy the master, the leader of the pack. If he says you protect, you protect.
You empty your drink and walk to the place where they foul the water. No-one has to know and you can think clearer down to earth. Izumi comes and helps you putting the garments on again and vanishes. You will need Izumi’s guidance soon again, but for the moment Izumi has done enough. Slowly you trot out and curl up on the ground next to the man. His shoes smell even worse than the rest of him. You wait.June 17, 2017 at 6:44 pm #600
Something made Al slit his eyelids and look down. He was surprised to find a large, shaggy gray wolfhound on the floor next to him. Dogs had always liked him, but he had never met one in a bar before. It looked up at him.
“Name’s Al,” he said. The animal was not a stray – the ballistic protection it wore marked it as someone’s, but looking around he didn’t see anyone paying them any attention. “What the hell, I been drinkin’ alone four days now, might as well have some comp’ny. Let’s see here…yup, thought I might still have this….” He pulled half an old soyrito from his jacket pocket, now mushed to paste in the original microwaveable wrapper. With unsteady hands, he squeezed it out onto the floor in front of the dog. “There ya go, amigo.” Then he had a violent coughing fit, after which he emptied his overflowing ashtray out onto the table, poured some of his beer into it, and set it down in front of the big animal. Leaning down, he nearly fell out of his chair. “Bottoms up, Fido. Yer buyin’ the next round.”June 18, 2017 at 7:25 am #608
After winning her place in the corner, Forty realized that in her rush to finally get here she’d come unprepared. With a shrug she set about correcting that.
She tore an abandoned empty plastic glass into strips, but then discovered that the stub of pencil she had with her wouldn’t write on the plastic. She checked her pockets again, only to confirm that she hadn’t remembered to bring a marker either. She did, however, find a folded up piece of paper.
Flattening it out on a dry spot on the shelf running along the wall, she read her own scrawl ‘remem preps for Basil’s, and knife+marker+chips’. She stared at it for a moment, then remembered writing that reminder hours earlier when she’d been under a logic preparation.
She snorted then muttered “Nice try Forty.”. Then she flipped the paper over¦ tore it and half and, with tongue between her teeth in concentration, carefully drew a few familiar kanji characters on first one strip and then the other. She focused on inviting the kami to empower the prayers. She didn’t ask for great power, as she’d found that getting too clever was rather unsettling, and besides which it took too long.
The first preparation didn’t take. She scowled at the paper, quietly muttered a prayer to the kami, and managed to achieve a more humble state of mind briefly. In another few minutes she sat back, satisfied that this time she’d put together a solid preparation. She’d rather have had two ready, but she was out of paper for the moment.
That was when she finally noticed that there was a large dog in the bar, apparently there with a disheveled man she didn’t recognize. She almost pulled one of the enhance logic preparations out to puzzle that through, but decided it was better to save them for now.June 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm #614
You look up at the drunk man’s face and grin, wagging your tail. His gesture is kind and you appreciate the food. The beer smells of ashes now, but you are still thirsty and you have drunk worse.
While you drink you keep an eye on the strong male. He keeps looking around, searching.
You wished you had learned that spell to cure disease since the man sounds like he could really use it.
It’s no use. With a quick glance into the ghost world you can smell that the man is dangerously close to losing consciousness. You know it’s probably futile but still you send a message to the electric ghost living in his pocket: <<You should stop drinking. Dog is worried about you.>>June 19, 2017 at 3:52 am #617
Al fished for his link, dropped it on the floor, reached for it, and fell off his chair. He managed to keep the plastic beer stein in his left hand, though about half sloshed onto his yellowing T-shirt and threadbare 501s. He looked up at the chair and decided it seemed like an unnecessary challenge, then scooted himself back a few feet to rest his back against a wall and look at his message.
Sober, he would probably have assumed the message was from the dog’s owner, and then raised a middle finger to the room at large.
Woefully intoxicated, however, he simply took the message at face value. He reached out and scratched the back of the dog’s head and said, “Thanks, canine kemo sabe. But don’t you worry ’bout ol’ Al none. The capacity ta become ineb…inebria….er…. sloppy drunk is one thing that separates us men from y’all beasts. Lifts us to a higher plane. Nice trick with the ‘link, by…the…………”June 19, 2017 at 7:10 am #621
[Early Evening, Saturday August 1st, 2071; Basil’s Faulty Bar, Westgate Boulevard & Pearl St, Tacoma, Seattle Metroplex]
Torrent assessed his mark and pitched his voice with confidence but the slightest measure of respect…everyone liked a little bit of that now and again and Gods knows the dregs in here would hear it little enough. His aura is strong and stable with the merest hint of ‘ware.
“Please, if you would join us, there…ah yes, with the small drunk man and his hound. There should be one or two more possibles in here. I am putting together a team…but more on that in a bit…”
#02June 19, 2017 at 10:57 am #625
Lying near the wall behind his table, some sixth sense prompted Al to open his eyes. There before them, swimming a little in his vision, was a pair of quality leather shoes. He tried to lift or at least turn his head to follow the long legs up to a face, but his coarse, sandy-brown hair had stuck on something on the floor, and it took a few jerks to regain his freedom, the pain of the yanked-out follicles whispering only faintly to him as if up from a deep, dark well. When he finally fixed eyes on the face of the ork ladykiller gazing down from far above him, the first thought that scrabbled its way into his poisoned prefrontal lobe – possibly sent there from his reptilian complex, which was desperately signalling how full his bladder was – was that the tusker was about to urinate on him. Never one to back down from a fight, Al frantically fumbled at his button-fly in an attempt to ready his weapon and return fire….June 19, 2017 at 1:31 pm #630
You tilt your head to the side to take a better look at the strong male. He doesn’t look like he wants to hurt the drunk, but neither does he seem to tolerate disrespect. The drunk seems to be getting ready to mark his territory. As far as you can see, this won’t improve the situation for him (enough others before him have left their marks on the ground) and you have learned that humans in general frown at the attempt.
”Woof”. You emphasize your warning by a quick snap towards his hands – you don’t touch them but you let your hot breath get close enough to be felt. Immediately you turn towards the strong male to make sure he really doesn’t try to hurt the drunk.
Next you look at the female beside him. You lick your chaps. Casually you wag your tail, turning just slightly so it slaps the drunk a bit across the face.June 19, 2017 at 2:22 pm #632
Becky said to Torrent “Perhaps we can include that one over there, she has potent magic and seem to know how to handle herself in a fight.” She said and hinted Forty that was sitting alone and it seemed that people tried to avoid accidently forming eye contact with her. Shrugging she “I take it we are not in a hurry because that drunken man with odd etiquette seem to be a drink or two from passing out. Won’t see much good from him before noon” Stopping herself she said “I am sorry sir, I tend to be bossy when I am excited, did not mean to intrude you probably know your work better than me. My name is Becky by the way.” she said and extended her hand to Torrent. Excited Becky grinned and tried to guess who are the people that torrent would pick. She greeted Al as he approached, figuring that if the Johnson selected him despite being so wasted he had to be someone of virtue.June 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm #634
Al barely had time to snatch his scarred hands back and curse “Watch it, ya flea-bitten….” when the shaggy creature’s tail shut him up with a mouthful of swishing fluff. The little man spluttered and spit as he pulled himself up to a sitting position on the floor, but the haze cleared from his mind a little. Looking back up, he saw that there were actually two people standing over him – the ork with the slick duds, who was in fact showing no inclination to relieve himself at the moment, and the leggy blond the ork had been hitting on. Al raised an unsteady hand, extended the forefinger, and let it wander back and forth between the two a few times, as if dowsing for fortune – or maybe just playing a mental game of eeny-meeny-miny-mo – and finally the wavering digit remained pointing at the woman.
“Well, if’n yer both seekin’ an audience, reckon I’ll start with you, precious. What’s the good word?”
He joined the dog beside him in a huge, yellow-toothed grin.June 19, 2017 at 3:35 pm #637
Ignoring the drunk for a moment Torrent smiled, an immaculately clean smile, tusks catching the limited light
“Please, call me Torrent, I’m not a sir here… pleased to meet you Becky, and indeed the young lady in the corner may be willing to join us… and one other perhaps. I would normally interview more but we seem to have the necessary mix right here. Fortune must be smiling on me this evening.”
To Al, “May we join you? If you’ll just excuse me a moment there are a couple more who might join us”
#03June 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm #640
Becky smiled back at Torrent and said “Right… Torrent” and grinned, wondering if the man was actually named Torrent or that was his street name. Probably the latter she concluded. She took some time to assense Al before he approached – wondering if she could get some insight on the man that brings a dog to a pub. Or was it that the dog came alone? No incomprehensible.
When Al introduced himself she answered “My name is Becky not precious. Torrent said that he had a job this is all I know
So I am just glad that I am on his list for tonight. He seemed pretty definitive that he wanted you, so I guess the question is if you’d rather pass out in some alley or work tonight. ” she grinnd.Spoiler:June 19, 2017 at 4:47 pm #643
Al used both hands – one on the table and other on the chair – to pull himself up off the floor. “Well, Becky darlin’, done already passed out onna floor here, so don’t see no need ta do it again in no alley.” He turned to the tusker. “An’ ol’ Al’s always up for a hard day’s work. Sweat o’ yer brow, like she says inna Good Book. Mostly I do stevedorin’, but reckon I fix whatever’s got parts. an’ drive anythin’ that moves.”
He let out an obscenely lengthy belch, and said, “Vaya con dios, Fido. Git. Go find yer master.” Somewhere in the fading recesses of his memory, he recalled something about the dog texting him, but laughed it off as a pink elephant. Once he was back in his seat and Torrent had excused himself to go fetch the other applicants, Al had time to wonder what sort of work blondie did – she didn’t look like she’d be at home behind the wheel of a forklift. Virtual inventory control, most likely. He ventured, “An’ as fer the precious thing, reckon that were a descriptor, not an’ appelation, so the mannerly thing ta say’d be thank ye.”June 19, 2017 at 9:15 pm #644
Looking around the room, Forty couldn’t spot Roxxie. Where was the woman? Weren’t waitresses supposed to be working the room all of the time? If she didn’t show up soon, Forty was going to miss out on any possible work.
What she did see as she looked around was a gathering around the dog. The fancy woman was now there, along with an equally fancy looking orc. And they were looking at her. Forty frowned and looked away, trying not to start anything. Finally she saw Roxxie, and the human met her eyes — and then glanced toward the gathering around the dog.
Forty looked back, and the orc was looking at her again. “Fine, if that is how its going to be.” She was standing by the time she finished muttering the words.
In the space of the few long strides that it took to approach the little gathering she gathered the mantle of Thunderbird around her, gathering speed, authority, and access to other skills. Reaching the group she glared at the meta-humans, then crouched down to greet the dog, offering it a hand to smell. Standing back up she gave another glare to the rest of the group, in case they’d forgotten the first one already. “The only one of you lot who looks polite is the dog. What the problem with the rest of you fraggers? I’m here looking for ‘work’ and don’t have a lot of time to sort you out. Why are you looking at me, hunh?”June 19, 2017 at 10:37 pm #645
Becky said “Well, nice to meet you Al. Although, I won’t let anyone else drive *My* car, I can appreciate a fellow driver. I always found the autopilot too predictable… and slow.” She grinned and said “and about the precious thing, you need to see my Katana if you want to appreciate true beauty. ”
“Torrent is collecting some serious mojo, which means that I am lucky to even be included. I drive, fight sneak and charm. Not in any particular order. ”
When Forty showed up Becky said with a completely serious tone and not a hint of a smile “Eggs donation, we came here to create werewolves… Interested?”. She paused and allowed it to sink, hoping to hear some laughter. It was a risk to respond an insult with a joke, but Becky tried to start out okay.
She then added:
“Seriously, Torrent, the orc gentleman, seems to be looking for mojo for his gig. Your aura got you a job for tonight – congrats. I am Becky, this gentleman is Al and I did not quite get the name of the dog. “
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