October 17, 2018 at 6:43 am #9921
As soon as shovel hands was out the front door, Preston headed out the back.
* Monkey: that is one ‘beer’ that i don’t mind leaving behind.
As he cleared the doorway he offered “Anyone need a ride? My car should be pulling up in a moment.”October 17, 2018 at 7:11 am #9922
“Yup, Unseen Forces, sure as tusks on a trog,” Al muttered almost inaudibly to himself. There were a couple of ways the big guy might have responded to Becky, but running out the door hadn’t been one of them. Someone had defused the situaion, and a minimum of fanfare. Al’s hat was off to whichever of them it had been.
Then, remembering his manners, he addressed young Jazz with his usual rawhide rasp: “Looks like this party’s headed out the back. Assumin’ that’s what yer here for, would ya care ta accompany ol’ Al?”
He had a ride of his own out front, but figured he’d at least follow the J out the back to see whether this powwow was staying local or going mobile. Passing Becky on the way toward the back door, and with the Johnson out of the room, Al greeted his erstwhile teammate. “Precious, darlin’, as I live an’ breathe. Been a month o’ Sundays an’ then some, though ya appear to have sidestepped the ravages o’ time. How ya been keepin’?”October 17, 2018 at 7:27 am #9923
Becky waves her hand cutely at Niko and then joins the Jhonson and the rest. Her emotion ranges between irritation that the new Jhonson seems to be an asshole, amusement at the exchange with Niko, and perhaps slight disappointment that she did not get to throw anyone across the bar. Though she was generally satisfied that she provided a distraction and nobody was hurt. “Everyone is amused. It is a good outcome… ” She thought.
Mr. J now owed her a favor, which means she would make sure they get paid extra for her services. She may go a long way for her employers and even do favors and give them credit to establish the relationship, but nothing is free.
She responds to Al with a grin ” Honestly, I am surprised that you are still alive… Good surprised. I’ve been traveling a lot, I carry plenty of baggage and have a face which is difficult to forget – so I try not to stick around for too long in one place. Besides… it is difficult to insult people once I get attuned to their rhythms. Too much slotting empathy.
What have you been up to? You look better.”October 17, 2018 at 9:05 am #9929
“Empathy. Heh heh. Havin’ any at all’s way too much in this perfession. But I s’pose it ain’t fer me ta criticize, bein’ probably the most compassionate an’ charitable individual in this business.” Al paused a moment to silently congratulate himself on his freedom from false modesty. “An’ yeah, feel a mite better too. Truth be told, was comin’ off a nasty virus when last we met. But anyhoo,” he added quietly, “what say I make some trouble about the job, threaten ta queer the deal, then you rein me in, take charge. Establish yer alpha bona fides an’ maybe jimmy up the price tag a notch or two….?”October 17, 2018 at 1:59 pm #9930
The Johnson seems to count heads as you file out into the alley. He nodds at Preston’s offer:
“Wouldn’t mind a quick ride to my place. Parked my car there and the rest of your lot’s advancement.
And sorry for the little show in there, but these oil-field workers are a rough bunch and after payday they tend to get a bit over exited. The most important lesson in gambling is to know when you can’t affort to keep playing. But after I bluffed them the first three times they wouldn’t believe it when I actually got two good hands. Those guys just don’t know how to read people.
Speaking of which, nice to meet you all. You can call me Johnny and I hope you like cash.”October 17, 2018 at 2:17 pm #9931
Becky nods at Al, ”You know the drill… let’s do it.” Then she looks at the others… ”I have two spare seats, if you can handle the speed.” she said gesturing at her mainly off road modified Morgan.October 17, 2018 at 2:18 pm #9932
Monkey: SHE is a shadowrunner! If we don’t have enough space in the car she can sit on my lap
Coleman: As I know from Tanya and Monique, being attractive doesn’t mean not being dangerous and effective. Better assume that she is both.
Oleg: How did the old drunk stumble out here with us? He can’t be a runner.
Gamma: He’s probably in disguise — he must be even better at it than I am.
Eliza: I should make with the talking, people tend to like that.
As Preston led the way towards his car he offered “Call me Preston, nice to meet you and your cash, Johnny. Heh, ‘Johnny Cash’; that would make a good nickname if you were a flashy Synth Wiz or something.” Looking over the group he comments “We should move out quickly, unless someone wants to do violence to Nicolo — you’d think that finding out his truck isn’t actually getting repossessed would improve a man’s mood, but somehow in his case I doubt it.”
October 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm #9935
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by Beta.
Ichante follows the team out the back and seems pleased by the prospect of a ride. She’s also happy to be back outside in the warm, antiseptic sun. She had been in Arm’s Saloon for five minutes, which was four minutes too long.
”Ichante,” she says simply as a matter of introduction. She doesn’t bother with the “nice to meet you” pleasantries because the jury was still out on that. High-stakes gambling doesn’t make any sense to her; if everyone is just going to assume you cheated, and the loser is going to be so angry that he pulls a knife on you, then why not just steal the money and give yourself a chance of avoiding confrontation altogether?
(She had once asked the same question to an old Face she once partnered with, Duke, who was happily defrauding the government out of small business loans intended for underrepresented metatypes. “Point of pride,” he answered. “I always operate within the system.” She thought on that, concluding that everyone had their own way of interacting with The Game they all played.)
Judging by their conversation, Supermodel and Cigarette know each other. Ichante is not entirely delighted to be paired on a job with Supermodel, as the woman’s mouth might write credsticks that her body couldn’t cash.
This Preston fellow looks average in every way, although he has a synthetic cyberarm that’s discreet in the meat but sticks out like a sore thumb on the astral. But he has a car, so yay for that. ”I’ll take a ride,” she says, more toward Preston as she warily eyes Supermodel’s ATV. It’s a good off-road vehicle for chasing juggernauts, but right now Ichante doesn’t feel like roughing it. Actually, Ichante never feels like roughing it, but that still precludes “right now”.October 17, 2018 at 4:54 pm #9936
Now that you are out in the light, you can see that Johnny is actually quite handsome – not surprisingly with an elf – with a charming smile. Definitely someone who could be a people person. His whole body language speaks of confidence and a non-threatening personality right now.
“I’m holed up at the Sleep Eazy Motel, room no. 7. We’ll meet up there and I can give you the sordid details of why I need your services.”October 17, 2018 at 4:55 pm #9937
Becky replies ”I am Becky.” She uncermonously enters the off road, bolts herself to it, and follows the rest to the meetup.October 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm #9938AriaParticipant
[Lunchtime, Wednesday February 2nd, 2078; Arms’ Saloon, San Angelo, CAS]
Jazz sighed inwardly, glad that the confrontation hadn’t ended with bloodshed. She’d been poised to launch Rock and Roll in to the air and was happy she didn’t have to… they would have been damn effective in quelling a bar fight but she hated being close by when their strobe and siren combo went off. At Al’s offer of company she’d tried, mostly successfully to keep the hero worship out of her reply, a non-committal shrug, but then he’d promptly forgotten about her as the woman, Becky… had come past. Jazz was hardly surprised and the embarrassment faded fast as she studied the gorgeous elf. It wasn’t jealousy, those looks must get her in as much trouble as her mouth, no, it really wasn’t jealousy. Jazz mentally shook off the distractions and followed the others outside.
With the others all seeming to have wheels, apart from the dwarf, Ichante who’d tagged a lift, she wasn’t forced to offer her spare seat. Most people got uncomfortable squeezed in next to Mowgli anyway.
“See you there. And I’m Jazz…” she said belatedly to Becky’s retreating rear…
#02October 17, 2018 at 5:38 pm #9942
“Nice to meet you, Ichante, looks like shotgun’s all yours. Sorry that I don’t have extra-adjustable seats.”
Gamma: Just one passenger? This is awkward, nobody else to carry the conversation.
Monkey: She isn’t half bad looking, and she did offer to ride with me. Maybe we could stop by the motel
Coleman: No, not with a team-mate
Oleg: No, that is crude and disgusting
Eliza: No, that is being an anti-social predator
Gamma: Best to start talking about more neutral subjects
They pulled away from the bar at a much more sedate pace than did the Morgan, and Preston sent an apologetic look to his passenger “I prefer not to draw attention if I don’t have to. Not that this thing has all that much speed anyway, but it has done well by me so I’m not complaining.”
Taking a left turn down a side street, he continues “I didn’t figure on taking a straight line to the Johnson’s motel, just to be on the safe side. You have any gear to pick up, or need to make any stops? If you don’t, I might stop to pick up caff and donuts — I’d go for real coffee and something a little higher tone if I thought we could get it around here. I know its the Johnson’s job to supply the food at the meet, but I figure even bad caff and donuts is probably better than anything he’d find around the ‘Sleep Eazy Motel.’ And after we got him out of there peacefully, he can wait for us for a few minutes.”
* Eliza: at this point I’m verging on babbling. I should ask her questions.
Preston suddenly falls silent, glances over at the dwarf, then asks “So, do you like caff? Any food allergies to worry about?”October 17, 2018 at 5:45 pm #9944
Al returned the dwelf’s greeting with “Enchantez, Ichante,” throwing in a peace sign and congratulating himself on his clever wordsmithing. He grinned at her like a wolf, his eyes mostly on her chest, his Lucky Strike dead-center in his mouth clamped between yellow teeth. His cheeks were sunken, his stubbly chin prominent, his brow moderately heavy and overhanging bright, deep-set blue eyes that looked pretty real but weren’t. His nose had obviously been broken more times than he could count on his fingers, which, like his hands and wrists, were so mottled with burn scars they looked like freshly melted plastic. The left was wrapped in what looked like fresh bandages.
His hair was bushy and sandy colored, worn short; looked as though it was kept that way with random hacks of a knife. He wore an ancient brown leather aviation jacket about two sizes too big for his skinny frame, and under it a yellowing wifebeater. His ragged, faded-white button-fly jeans were likewise too loose, cinched tight with a moldering leather belt. He was shod with scuffed black Docs.
San Angelo wasn’t the sort of town you walked much in, and all but one of them seemed to have their own ride. Excepting the Johnson himself. Al shrugged and climbed into his Gaz. The Massacre fan called Preston headed in an off-route direction, which Al appreciated, no point in advertising their business by looking like a line of trunk-to-tail circus elephants. Al knew where the Sleep Eazy was and took a roundabout path of his own, making up for distance with speed to reach the hotel at roughly the same time as the others.October 18, 2018 at 1:05 am #9947
Cigarette acknowledges Ichante but doesn’t go so far as to actually introduce himself, leaving her at a loss at how to respond. She stares up at the man as the man stares down at her. From her low angle she mostly notices the prominent chin. Behind it she can see a nose that has some zig-and-zag to it, which is appropriate because it probably means that the man zigged when he should have zagged. She looks over his outfit and is filled with a sense of deep longing. She yearns to resize his jacket, to bleach his wifebeater, to shrink his jeans, to repair his belt, and polish his Docs. The man is a wounded fawn, sartorially-speaking, that Ichante desperately wants to nurse back to health before releasing into the wild. She settles for a muffled sigh before turning to join Preston.
Preston has at least given his name, which is a start. As he drives, Ichante studies his aura. It’s a odd merry-go-round, as Preston seems to cycle between different impressions and emotional states in rapid sequence. More weirdness, another player using different rules, a new philosophy to learn.
”Oh yes, I quite agree,” Ichante says to Preston’s preference to not draw attention. ”The blonde can have it. Flashy will get you killed. The goal is to get rich, not gaudy.”
Preston’s mention of real coffee shoots her forward in her seat so fast that the seatbelt catches her. She strains against it, craning her head to look around.
”Real coffee? Here?” she asks dubiously as she looks around San Angelo. ”But we are close to Aztlan aren’t we?” She immediately feels more hopeful, thinking of lush, forested hillsides of Central America growing shaded beans that sip morning mountain mists. Her fingers leap up to comb through her hair, an involuntary reflex when she’s excited, only to find that her hair isn’t its usual sleek self but rather this frizzy halo that Ichante thought would blend in better in Texas. Her fingers paw the air fruitlessly, like a cat kneading nothing.
”Would it be arabica or robusta? What water would they be using to make it? How much would it cost? ¥50 a cup? Doesn’t matter! Yes, let’s stop!” She looks like she might shake Preston to make sure she’s getting her point across.October 18, 2018 at 2:30 pm #9954
Coffee – it seems – is a lot easier to come by in a town that does have direct connections to it’s production origins. Despite costing about 10 times what soycaf would be, you’d be hard pressed to say that it wasn’t worth it.
After that little distraction, reaching the motel shows you the full glory of a run down, 40 year old, no-frills-except-bed-bugs accomodations.
Number 7 is unsurprisingly on the ground floor.
Once the whole crew is inside, Johnny closes the curtains and activates an old fashioned trid projector. After a bit of rumbling that makes you wonder if the thing is powered by a lawnmower motor, it starts projecting the fuzzy image of what appears to be a stone globe.
It takes a few moments of Johnny fiddling with the controls until the picture stabilizes, gains in sharpness and starts to rotate slowly around it’s own axis.
Johnny smiles as he stands up and dusts off his hands.
“Sorry about that, but I’m a bit old fashioned where tech is concerned. Never got the hang of AROs and the like.
Right, you probably wonder by now what the hell this asshole gringo wants from you, is this worth my time and will I get sick if I touch this moldy polyester blanket.
The answers to that my friends are: This, yes and probably, better wash your hands just to be safe.
You see, San Angeles on the one side and San Antonio on the other side of the border are a connected through a pretty harmonious bond of mutual smuggling. Cops on both sides are pretty open to bribes and all in all, the people of the annexed territories like to keep in touch with their brethren on the other side of the once great state of Texas.
This thing…” He points at the projection, “is called a sigillum mundi or world seal. And since it doesn’t look like one of those cute water loving mamals you can guess it’s the other kind of seal. And it’s magical – an artifact to be precise.
Long story short, I want to have it, a bunch of Jaguars want it to. There masters want the thing destroyed, I want it kept intact to pay a debt.
My sources tell me that the thing has recently been unearthed this side of the border and it’s very likely you’ll have to move fast to stop it from falling into the hands of a certain group of blood mages.
Any questions so far?”
He stops talking long enough to pull out a cigarette (real tobacco) and light it up.October 18, 2018 at 4:02 pm #9956
”How big is it?” Ichante asks, pointing at the image of the stone globe. ”Bigger than a breadbox? And how heavy? Can one person carry it?
“Did your sources tell you where it was unearthed, or – more importantly – where it is now, or do we have to find that out?”
Ichante racks her brains for what she knows about world seals, but only finds dust and cobwebs. Her magic is of a personal, intuitive nature, which means that she feels it more than she understands it. That, in turn, means that she knows frag-all about magical theory, including artifacts.
”Is it fragile? When the Azzies find it, are they just going to open up on full-auto with HE grenades, or do they need to destroy it in one of their bloody rituals?”October 18, 2018 at 4:58 pm #9957
“Good questions. This basketball sized representation is 1:1, made of solid obsidian, so heavy enough to be a burden but not heavy enough to not be portable by a fit person.
It was dug up at a river bank close to Fort McKavett about a month ago. People first thought it was a cannon ball – until an aware achaeologist came by and noticed the aura. He stole it and hid it somewhere. When he tried to sell it to my source they were interrupted by a bunch of vampires. In the ensuing firefight the thieving archaeologist passed away without being able to tell anyone where he hid the thing.
Personally I think he was too greedy and contacted a lot more people about his find than was strictly good for him.
Hid body is currently in the local city morgue – with all his belongings.
No, not as far as I know: It’s made from solid stone and magical to boot. It would take some very serious effort to turn it to dust.
Now, you have the advantage of not having to wait for dusk to go out and about, but since it’s fairly early in the year, that’s not all that much of an advantage.”
Johnny replies.October 18, 2018 at 5:43 pm #9958
Preston is still savoring the last of the coffee as their Johnson started to talk, so he stays quiet for a bit and starts running some careful matrix searches on “sigillum mundi” and “world seal” and the latest local news and who runs the local morgue and who provides law enforcement to the territories around here.Spoiler:
* Monkey: we should get more of this coffee!
* Coleman: We might need a headquarters space of some sort. Putting it near a coffee shop might help keep us sharp.
After carefully tapping out the last few drops of the lovely elixir, Preston looks around the room and notes “Any of you might be stronger than you look, but I sure wouldn’t be up to carrying something that heavy for far. Vampires might take off with it like it was a football, but we may need to plan on getting close with vehicles, or a large drone or if the terrain is rough enough even a fragging wheelbarrow.”
After a moment he added “Although if any of you are magicians, perhaps you could just float it away or something.” He doesn’t sound especially pleased at the prospect.
“In the shorter term, we need to hit up the morgue. We could bust in, try to sneak in without being noticed, or run a cover story about being a special investigative unit of some sort, or family, or whatever. I’m not a super pro at digital credentials but I can probably make something that at least gives reasonable back up to the con if any of you are good at selling such a thing.”October 18, 2018 at 5:48 pm #9959
Ichante nods silently, secretly pleased to be praised for good questions, which is not a compliment she commonly receives. She immediately gives credit to the coffee.
She nurses her coffee cup gingerly, spending as much time breathing it in as actually sipping it. Her elbows are a little higher than they need to be as she unconsciously defends the cup from anyone who might get funny ideas about her willingness to share.
She takes her soykaf with milk and, truth be told, would almost certainly prefer her coffee with it too. Yet she can’t bring herself to add milk to a ¥50 cup of coffee, even if it is borderline bitter without it. But maybe if I could find ¥50 milk! she thinks to herself hopefully, resolving to find some once the job is over.
”The morgue, eh…” she says under her breath, privately wondering why the call of duty never summons her anywhere fun, like Gravity Bar, Icarus Descending, or somewhere else that she could conceivably wear her Ace of Coins without strange looks. On the other hand, he Ace of Coins is back home in Seattle, so it’s just as well that the occasion doesn’t call for it now.
She’s about to ask for an ARO with the arcanoarchaeologist’s details, but the buzzing projector reminds her of the Johnson’s lack of tech savvy. ”What’s his name?” she asks. ”And how long ago did he expire?”October 18, 2018 at 10:53 pm #9960
Becky was quietly, and listend to the exchange, idly playing with a small knife as she did. To Peterson’s question she answered ”I’ll can carry it… “ the ageless dryad was naturally as strong as her genetics allowed, and then was further augmented by qi magic. All in all, she was as strong as a troll. The only hint of that might were her impressive biceps that were slightly visible behind her lose shirt.
Looking hesitant she asks ”So you want us to start with the mourge… and try to carry on from there. Any other pieces of knowledge about your ball of obsidain? Does it interact with its environment? Any sideeffects to approaching or lifting the thing?
Would my normal masking techniques work for it? I can mask foci, but I never tried occult balls of obsidain before. If we have no way to mask it then the entire operation becomes a lot more difficult.
Oh… and before we talk payment for this gig, I am still waiting for a bunch of creds for bailling you out of the gambling den. Just toss me a few of these credsticks, before we start figuring out how expensive this black ball is going to be for you. “
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