February 15, 2019 at 7:29 am #15930
Al had been trotting right alongside the module, having just popped the panel to give the poor girl some air, but still he had underestimated how fast Rick could bring his demon online – Rick and Isaint were already on and the almost zipped away right out from under him. His hand reached out reflexively – fortunately a carrying handle provided a convenient grip – and the momentum of the thing literally pulled him off his feet. He was flying along, his arm about to come out of its socket and the toes of his boots only occasionally skidding on the ground. Finally, Rick had to make the module jink and adjust course to avoid an obstacle, and Al took advantage of the moment to get most of his small body onto the thing.
His resulting position found him face-to-face through the plexiglass plate with their prize. She looked like she’d been a nice girl in life. Now, here expression was hard to read, but it was certainly neither happy nor calm.February 17, 2019 at 1:23 am #15958
Thursday November 5th, 2076; EVO Research Park, North of Downtown, Seattle Metroplex
One of Robyn’s deployed drones picks up the team as it exits the building into the open. It also relays to her the approach of the roto-drones. she receives near-simultaneous commands from Isaint to Rick to put up his barriers to slow down the drones and block their weapons fire. She knows that she can help a little and grins as she slides back into VR. >>You are close and the vehicle awaits. I am back in VR and will do what I can to help until you are at my location.<< With the speed of thought, she sends date spikes through the matrix and first one, then a second drone falls to the ground, bricked and useless. It may be just a flea bite to the number of drones, but it will reduce the opposing fire a bit and she keeps at it, willing more drones out of the air while her agent is monitoring her OS.
85February 18, 2019 at 12:27 pm #15974
[Thursday November 5th, 2076; EVO Research Park, North of Downtown, Seattle Metroplex]
Although at another time the team might have considered trying to take down the Reaping fuckers with their toxic weaponry with the Valkyrie module in tow there isn’t the time to indulge in thoughts of revenge…that might have to come later. There are at least six different possible locations that they might be sniping from but thankfully the team drop over the last wall and out of Evo territory…that’s not to say they are going to shake pursuit as easily but at least they are, however briefly, out of the direct line of fire simply by being close to the hard boundary of the complex. Robyn steams up and the team bundle in…now it is time for some more clever tricks to avoid pursuit…but the team excel at that!
#42February 18, 2019 at 2:54 pm #15977
Isaint hit the ground inside the car, panting hard. By now the pain had subsided somewhat, although he still felt tender around the nether regions.
The little movement boost had given them a few seconds where the enemy was forced to adjust, but now they were a bunch of nano-contaminated runners about to get blasted again with depleted uranium rounds.
“Robyn, to the harbor, statt. We need to sink this vehicle and give us all a salty bath asap. Those nano-bastards are sure to give away our position as long as we don’t wash them off and let them corrode by salt water. Not to mention it will scramble the matrix signal. We should all have enough air in our tanks to walk under water until we reach the boathouse.
Al, take the wheel. I need Robyn to direct connect to the VM and open it safely. No sense in blowing us all up with an anti tamper device.
Rick, I know I’ve taxed you a lot today, but we still need some more magic concealment. Get your water elemental on the job and give the Harbor a real nasty rainstorm, so we can conceal where we get out of the water.”
Meanwhile, Isaint had recovered a gasmask from his case and shoved it inside the hole in the VM. “You’ll need that before long.”
That done, he assembled the hunting rifle he had bought, readying to open fire on the soon to arrive pursuers.”February 18, 2019 at 4:41 pm #15980
Thursday November 5th, 2076; EVO Research Park, North of Downtown, Seattle Metroplex
Robyn is already sliding from the driver’s seat when the team approaches the vehicle. She nods to Isaint as she assists getting the VM in and then pulls a cable from a port on her neck to make the direct connection to the module. She spends a few seconds making sure that there are no anti-tamper devices engaged then opens the module.
86February 18, 2019 at 6:42 pm #15984
Rifle up as the others clambered aboard, Al was last in the car. His foot was on the accelerator before his butt was on the seat, the momentum of their immediate acceleration shutting the driver’s side door for him.
This would be fun. All this globetrotting was stimulating enough, but if he had to dodge pursuers, he’d much rather do it in a city he knew. And within that city, it was the waterfront he knew best. The monorail track and the Alaska Way viaduct would both provide some good moments of cover, not to mention a multiplicity of parking structures and substreet gallerias. Then there were hotspots in the city center where it would take a dedicated team of data sniffers to pick their signal up out of all the traffic. Of course, the Evo hippies had all of that, and eyes in the sky weren’t their only ways to watch the streets either. But relentlessly keeping as close to cover as he could would keep them guessing – every time their trackers lost them for even one second, it would take them two or three to reacquire, and little by little they’d degrade their pursuit.
And then just to keep things fun, every hundred meters Al changed course. Half the time he moved in the direction of the docks. The other half of the time…he always carried cards, and to each suit he assigned a compass point, and a random draw from his pocket was how he picked each second course change. Not even the smartest tracking program in the world could anticipate where he’d be headed from one moment to the next.
And then it was a straight stretch to the water down a pothole-ridden alley barely wide enough for their vehicle between a dilapidated seafood distribution center and a maritime machine shop. Paint scraping off both sides of their ride, they emerged from the alley in a full-speed shower of sparks and broke through the barrier, catching plenty of air on their way waterward.
He always loved it when Alyce got wet.February 18, 2019 at 11:24 pm #15989
Thursday November 5th, 2076; Racing Towards the Waterfront, Seattle Metroplex
Robyn has the hatch to the VM module open while the vehicle careens through the streets of Seattle. >>Are we getting her out of this thing or walking the module with us under the water?<<
87February 19, 2019 at 1:42 pm #15992
<<Getting her out of it. Too much traitorous tech inside. Actually, we have to get rid of her clothes as well. Just make sure the mask stays on.>>
Isaint grimaced. Staying naked underwater was a sure fire way to die from exposure. Hopefully the CFD would keep her body alive long enough to reach the boathouse…February 19, 2019 at 2:25 pm #15994
Thursday November 5th, 2076; Racing Towards the Waterfront, Seattle Metroplex
Robyn nods silently as she opens the module and helps Isaint slide the girl out of it. She tries to calm the girl even as she is stripping the clothes off of her. ”You must relax, dear. Your clothing is contaminated and we must get it off of you. We are your friends.”
88February 19, 2019 at 5:46 pm #15996
Al had kept the car on its reasonable impression of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride with one hand while reaching for an old blanket under the seat. Careful not to turn around or even glance in the rear view mirror, he tossed it in the back for the girl. They were still working on her when he broke the waterfront barrier and flew through the air. No problem – they’d have a few minutes if they needed it before the interior filled up with water.
Hitting the wate was far more jarring than it looked on the trid, enough to trigger the passenger protection system and fill the car with protective foam – or it would have been if Al hadn’t already bypassed the safety feature. It made for a rougher crash, but they’d be able to exit the vehicle as soon as they wanted.
As the interior filled with sea water and they completed the girl’s preparations, Al unlaced his Docs, took them off, and used the laces to tie his jacket into a tight bundle, which he fastened along with the boots to his body at the small of his back. Then he switched on his internal air and helped the others with the girl as best he could.February 19, 2019 at 6:30 pm #15998
Thursday November 5th, 2076; In the Water, Seattle Metroplex
Robyn’s sensors had given her precise information on when the vehicle would hit the water, yet she was still jarred around a bit at the impact. She took the blanket and got the girl wrapped up and ready to exit the vehicle. As the water filled the compartment, she laughed. ”Bloody hell, Al. You sure know how to show a couple of girls a good time. One might think that you are just trying to see what I look like with my clothes plastered to me, but I can assure you that there are easier ways to do that.”
89February 19, 2019 at 6:42 pm #16000
“Show you girls a good time? Shee-it, toots…” he had to pause to shift his face upwards to catch the last centimeters of air between the water line and the roof, “…I was tryin’ ta impress Isaint an’ Rick here. What, ya think ol’ Al’s some sorta ladies m…” and that was it. Pressure equalized, they opened the doors and exited the vehicle.
But he did have his eyes on Alyce as her clothing plastered to her body.February 20, 2019 at 12:31 pm #16005
[Thursday November 5th, 2076; The Sound, off Downtown, Seattle Metroplex]
If the girl was bothered about being nude in front of the runners it was impossible to see through the gas mask but after the initial panic when she awoke she appeared to be calm and detached and simply nodded at instructions and assisted in removing the hospital style garments she’d been clad in. When they struck the water she uttered an involuntary “frag” suggesting she wasn’t quite as cold and composed as she was trying to appear…
She did manage to say to Isaint “don’t worry about any nanite contamination for me, my own nanites are already overwriting their code and incorporating them in to my own. They’ve also begun to repair the minor damage from when the module was struck…”
#43February 23, 2019 at 5:18 am #16013
“Good. Now join hands. Levitation under water is quite a lot faster than swimming.”
The water had extinguished matrix reception almost immediately and the murky Seattle waters were less than healthy at the best of times.
When he was sure, that the team had all a firm grip on each other – Isaint held Rick and Al – he concentrated again and felt the levitation take hold. The enormous force of the spell created an equally enormous pressure if he moved too fast and threatened to rip the others’ grip from each other. So it was a particularly delicate operation to keep the team together and stay on course.
Losing the car was a damn shame, but on the whole he hadn’t liked getting pelted with uranium rounds and riding in it afterwards. Cost of doing business.
A nice side effect of the fast travel underwater was that it had nearly the same effect as a thorough pressure washer.
Putting his helmet directly onto Rick’s he asked his friend: “I don’t trust matrix connections right now. Please get one of your spirits to pinpoint our position and give us directions to the boat house. We need to get away from Seattle as fast as possible, before they can effectively employ Spirit Searches for their missing guest. Which reminds me: A strong mana barrier would be in order right now that it looks like we have headed out into open waters.”February 23, 2019 at 6:04 pm #16021
Al was glad everyone was getting a nice, high-pressure saline bath. It wasn’t going to clear the robo-critters out of his system though, and he half expected some hacker to drag him back into a weird virtual host the moment they resurfaced into wifi-world.
That would be maybe twenty minutes – they had roughly a fifteen-klick course from the coast off Northgate down to the boat house on Harbor Island, a route that forced them to swing out around the West Point promontory of Discovery Park. Once there, they could do whatever magic Isaint and Alyce could cook up to rid him of this infestation. It was a good place – there were spare oxygen tanks there to replenish his internal air, and he could stay underwater within the structure while they worked. Once he was clean, he didn’t expect much trouble if they worked fast. He’d already had one of Flannery’s ringers ferry the Snakehandler down to a mooring off Alki Beach, which was a quick drive for the Gaz up Harbor Avenue through Seacrest Park. Not even three-thousand meters. He’d call Mordecai once things had cooled down, and his friend would arrange for the Mechanicals to recover his truck down to his base in Orting.
They could be floats-up five minutes out of the boathouse – even if the bad guys got a lead on them, they’d have a hell of a time getting assets to them in that span. Of course, he wouldn’t put it past those freaks to have anti-air capabilities, but they’d have to see him to shoot him….February 24, 2019 at 7:25 am #16035
With the help of Rick’s spirit and Isaint’s ability to form a large mental topological map, the team managed to reach the boathouse within half an hour. Despite his insulating FBA, Isaint felt the cold of the water. He had no idea how Al managed it. Whatever they did next, they’d have to deconaminate him – preferably with something that would heat him up again.
Finally, they were under the building and could reach the surface. The mask for the rescued host showed still 20 minutes of air remaining, so presumably Al would have similar time.
“Wait here, I’ll rigg something up for your decontamination.”
The boat house had a collection of many different pieces of scrap, replacement parts and tools.
Still dripping wet, Isaint began his work. First he liftet an old dingy from its hook and tossed it on the water, then, with the help of levitation, he moved it in such a fashion that it filled up completely with water. Lifting it out again was a serious strain on his abilities, but he managed it without spilling much of its contents. Four blocks later, he had an improvised bathtub. Next came an old battery from which he poured some of the acid into the tub. Next came a sacrifical zinc anode that normally was employed to prevend brass ship propeller to be eaten away by corrosion. As it’s counterpart, Isaint added just such a brass screw. Jumper cables and two more batteries completed the rig. From a small cabinet, Isaint also liberated an immersion heater that looked like it hadn’t been used in decades. The small thing would take forever to heat so much water. But it certainly was better than nothing.
Slight bubbling on the anode told him that the rig was already doing effective electrolysis – a perfectly deadly environment for nano-machines made of tiny amounts of metal alloys.
Isaint gave Al a sign to come up as soon as he was done.
“Sorry, that won’t be comfortable at all. We’ll have to share the tub one after the other.”February 25, 2019 at 1:31 pm #16047
Al had been cold on the way down, but at least he’d been active. Cooling his jets in the water under the boathouse, with the warmth of the cab of his Gaz literally in sight through the rippling surface of the water above, that had made for a long wait. Not to mention being unable to smoke.
Still, when he thought about the last time he’d been in this water….well, there was nothing like a little relativity to click things nicely into a much more tolerable perspective.
Plus he’d been able to occupy his mind by watching Isaint work. It was impressive stuff. When the ork finally motioned him up, Al admired the handiwork further. “Helluva set-up, bossman. This’ll do. Sure will.”
He left his clothes on – they needed the treatment too. The bath was only lukewarm, but a lot warmer than Puget Sound. But that wasn’t what got Al’s attention. He’d actually tried a denkiburo once – they’d had one at a swanky hotel he’d blown a month’s pay at in Kuala Lumpur. He hadn’t been impressed. Like when the menu said ‘fiery hot’ and you got ‘barely tangy.’ Well, this bath was the fiery hot variety, exactly as advertised. He felt like every cell was being fried. He tried to speak but couldn’t, as his jaw had locked shut. He made a mental note to get the next person something to bite down on – wasn’t that standard when they used to do this to mental patients?
After what seemed like a much longer time than he’d endured freezing in the Sound, Isaint shut off the current and he and Rick helped Al out of the tub. “So what, them things out’n me now?”February 25, 2019 at 5:01 pm #16050
“Off your skin at least. The stuff inside your head needs a different treatment. As soon as it’s safe I’ll have to make a call so we can get our hands on some Overwriter Nanites or Nanoscrub. Although the later might fry your eyes. Let’s just hope this isn’t full blown CFD.
Alright, time for the next bath guest.”
Isaint replied. By now the bath was a lot warmer, so he didn’t mind getting the host into the water.
“Keep your eyes closed, the water is slightly acidic.”February 25, 2019 at 5:15 pm #16051
Al let a string of vulgar curses slip between his lips and under his breath. “Been blind once. Wouldn’t like it again. But….” he started to pull Isaint away from the others, but broke it off after a few steps….He could drag the ork into the next block, and Alyce would still hear anything he said. So he just voiced a quick thanks and went to check the girl out.
Alyce was already checking her over, despite the girl’s protests that she was self-repairing nicely.
And Al texted Isaint. <<These things take me over, comes a point you can’t figure anything else, I’ll need you to do the right thing for me. Sorry for the big ask. But even if your’re a papist, we both at least agree I’ll go to a better place. And even if I don’t, it’s better than what those things do…better than what they’ve done to that girl there.>>February 26, 2019 at 3:43 pm #16069
“If it came to that, yes. But I’ll be damned before I let that happen. You hear me? This is nothing we can’t handle. There are ways to to this. If worst comes to worst, I’ll organize some Immortal Flower. That will push out all cyber and nanites from your body.
Don’t worry, we’ll take care of this.” Isaint replied with a conviction that seemed to be born of burning wrath. Rather against type for the otherwise icy saint…
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