March 3, 2019 at 1:16 am #16186
Becky shrugs slightly disappointed of her lack-of-competency, though such mockery is a positive indication. She is happy to receive the credstick and says to Al ”If you took it, I take it this Damon guy is one of the good guys. Thanks a lot. “ She is even more satisfied when she checks the credit balance on her credstick. She asks Al ”I feel like buying a stupid fast car, or perhaps even a bike. Do you have a good contact for that?”March 3, 2019 at 1:41 pm #16192
Al didn’t have to go far to find already faintly smelling corpse of coyote.
Suddenly the steel door opened and Maria looked out: “I saw you on the camera. Is it over?”March 3, 2019 at 9:03 pm #16199
Ichante’s mood improves – or maybe “becomes less sour” is more accurate – when she trades the orb for the credstick. She arches her eyebrows with a “trust, but verify” expression as she pulls out her commlink and taps the credstick to the reader to confirm the value. The money is there, and the ebony credstick is an added bonus. They’re expensive and hard to get in the shadows, so having one adds an extra bit of style when dressing to impress. Of course, it also makes you a target, but such is life in the shadows.
Ichante even cracks a smile at the three squirrels sitting on top of each other. It’s a cute parlor trick, one she might want to learn one day when she has more time than she knows what to do with. Until then, she has bills to pay and expensive habits to feed. Psyche doesn’t grow on trees, not that that’s an indicator of anything. Coffee grows on trees and is still expensive as drek.
Ichante pockets the business card, touches her brow in a small salute to her employer(s), and heads back to the surface.March 4, 2019 at 12:52 pm #16200
On the surface, the storm had gone away and only a few large clouds were still in the process of getting blown away. Debris had been thrown around everywhere, but no particular bad damage had occured to the structures or the team’s parked cars.March 4, 2019 at 5:38 pm #16201
* Gamma: Delivery is made to our Johnson, pay is received. Job is done.
* Coleman: Time to get out of here before repercussions come down
* Oleg: Cleaning up and protecting the farm is not what we were hired for. Although the money was good
* Eliza: I may work with these people in the future, I should at least make sure to leave on good terms, maybe keep contact.
<<Could someone give me a ride back into town? My car is still hanging out near the garage. Or if everyone has other destinations I can just call it out here, but I admit I’d like to vacate the premises sooner rather than later.>>
Preston tracked down Al, and asked “Should we take Sam in to a hospital? Or see if we can hire a nurse for her? I feel like just dropping her on Maria is a bit rough. If nothing else, the shadows are small sometimes, any of us could meet her again.”
And finally he tracked down Maria, thanking her for the hospitality earlier and scribbling down a matrix contact code, just in case she needs future support.March 4, 2019 at 5:47 pm #16203
“Sheee-it, woman, ya think ol’ Al’d be back here if’n the job warn’t done?” Al had answered Maria, helping her out of her safe room with a scar-mottled hand. “Not only is all the hocus pocus devilry in yer field gon’ be sealed away fer good, but I done pulled some strings an’ arranged fer this place ta stay yours in perpetuity, with no more hassles from north nor south. Plus the undead assholes offed the doc done got theirs. Threepio here’s gon’ clear out this carcass right after he gives me my Remington back, at which point reckon we’ll be out’n yer hair.”
He took the woman up to her kitchen, where she started making coffee. Probably more to settle her nerves than anything else. Al was thirsty for something a bit higher octane and wandered out the front door into the sunshine and mud. Heading back to the oil rig would be a bit anticlimactic, which meant that here and now at this moment he had no plans and no place to be. No place to be at all.
It was about all a man could hope for.
He got Preston’s message. <<Plenty o’ seats inna Gaz, Presto baby.>> He met Preston at the truck. Listened to him. He made sense as always. “Yeah, we’ll take her into town, set somethin’ up. With the dracs un-undead, the freaks sealed away, an’ purple-eyes on clean-up, don’t reckon there’ll be much fallout ta hide her from.” Al extended his hand. “Ya done real good in there. Don’t reckon there’s any way you could be addicted ta child porn.”
Then he started stowing his gear. Noir was in Jazz’s ride. It was a lot better suited for transporting the injured. “Yo Jazz girl, ya wanna meet us in town jist long enough fer us ta git Noir settled?”
March 5, 2019 at 5:19 am #16208
- This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by adamu.
[Morning, Thursday February 3rd, 2078; Maria’s Farm, Near San Angelo, CAS]
Jazz shrugged “Sure, I’ll come in to town, I have a few things to wrap up there before I head back to Seattle and I’ll help you get Noir sorted before I go. I wish I could say it’s been fun but I’m not sure I’m going to sleep easily for a long time to come. I definitely prefer dealing with the vultures in the Crime Mall and the rest of the Puyallup criminal fraternity than world ending toddlers and Shedim kebabs. I’ll try and stick to what I know in the future and leave world saving to someone more qualified. The Mechanicals have enough troubles without seeking out more and with the greatest respect to you Al, trouble seems to dog your footsteps. We might even dub you Storm Crow…”
#57March 5, 2019 at 6:04 am #16209
Becky replies to Preston ”I suggest leaving her with Maria. I don’t associate with mentally imbalanced women with magical powers. Also, the hospital may not be such a wiz idea considering that plenty of her DNA is a puddle at a crime scene. If I was out, I’d totally understand to be left at the mercy of an autodoc somewhere off the grid.” About the ride she says ”Sure, I need to pick up my Morgan anyhow before I return to my hotel.”
Looking at the rest she says ”If anyone is up for a drink, I am buying after I take a shower and switch into something less armored. I am tired, but it’ll take some time to process the events of the last hours. “March 5, 2019 at 7:05 am #16210
“Well snowballs in hell, Jazz girl, I am cut ta the quick. Sayin’ ol’ Al attracts trouble is like sayin’ guns kill people. It’s these folks pay us comes up with the trouble. Ol’ Al jist kindly takes they cred ta sort they shit out. Reckon that makes me more of a Snakehandler than a Storm Crow. Anyhoo, thanks fer standin’ tall through all this. On account o’ you did, million of others won’t have to, an’ that there is the meanin’ o’ Christian service.”
He lit the cigarette that had materialized between his lips and answered Becky. “I ain’t one ta turn down a free drink. Or a spot in that shower. As fer Noir…Yer way. Presto’s way. Both got merit. S’pose it’s up ta Maria. Anyone feel like goin’ in there, askin’ her if she wants ta play nursemaid to a shedim-dealin’ hothead with an Everest-sized chip on her shoulder?”March 5, 2019 at 8:35 am #16211
Preston shrugs, and heads in to talk to Maria.
* Coleman: Whatever it takes to get out of here more quickly
* Oleg: Fair to let the lady decide, and no need to lean on her one way or the other
He finds the farmer sitting in her living room, cup of coffee clenched in her hands, apparently staring out into space. Although it is possible she is just communicating with her drones.
Preston clears his throat to get her attention, and then explains “A question has come up with regards to Sam’s care. She did some heavy magic, over-in-there. We don’t really know if she just needs some rest or if she did more serious stress to her system. We could take her in to town, leave her at a hospital, but we don’t know how she feels about such places. We could leave her here, but we don’t know how you feel about that. Since one option directly involves you, and as she was working for you — as she was frequently at pains to point out — we figured that you should have a say in this. If you need a few minutes to think about it that is OK, but either way we want to get on the road soon, so please only a few minutes.“March 5, 2019 at 2:37 pm #16216
Ichante listens to some of the chatter around her. It seems like many of the group have connections to Seattle, even though she had never met them there. Seattle is such a shadowrunning hub that perhaps it’s not surprising that it would export some talent to some backwater CAS city on the southern border, where the homegrown talent is gangers and some drone tinkerer. Of course, that talent took a hit in the recent operation, as Becky kicked the head off one and Noir scythed the heads off some others.
She looks over at Jazz. ”You driving your Bobcat back to Seattle? My squat’s in the Ork Underground. I was in Denver on a shopping trip when the call for this gig came through. I bought a one-way ticket. Guess I could fly back…”
She trails off, not really sure what to do next. A part of her wants to be home and have things back to normal immediately, but the other part of her thinks that maybe that a quick transition might be too jarring, that maybe it would be better to process some of this. That would take some meditation, maybe even a spirit quest.
Speaking of spirits, Ichante feels better to be reunited with her guardian spirit on the surface. His presence is comforting, like a heavy blanket. With him on watch, she’ll be able to get some deep, restful sleep, provided of course that she’s not riddled with nightmares for the rest of the month.March 5, 2019 at 3:43 pm #16218
Maria smiled faintly at Preston’s words: “Leave her with me. I’ve still got some negotiation to do with the two gentleman you left behind. I’m sure she’ll be ok when she wakes up. I have a good medkit and a drone with the right skill soft to take care of her.
Thank you for whatever you did to make all this stop.”March 5, 2019 at 3:51 pm #16220
Becky seems surprised ”So a bunch of Seattle originated runners meet at Texas? Not the strangest thing that happened tonight.”
She replies to Preston as he leaves ”I can handle Sam through my underworld connections, my only concern is to lose face to her temper.”March 5, 2019 at 7:20 pm #16225
That was when Preston waved them in, so Al said, “Don’t reckon you’ll be losin’ face ta nothin’….Looks like Maria’s gon’ take her in.”
Al helped move Noir inside. Leaving the improvised recovery room, he tipped his imaginary hat to Maria and then walked to his truck. There was no one else here he needed to say goodbye to.
Not an hour earlier he’d been on some other world caging some apparently unkillable unearthly unwaking monstrosity within a fence of eternally tortured demons. He would probably always wonder what would have happened if he’d just put a plus-P copper jacketed hollow point into its soft little skull. Something awful, he had no doubt. But he’d always wonder, just the same. For now, though, he was in the middle of Texas, which was a damned fine place to be. He congratulated himself on saving it.
“All aboard that’s comin’ aboard.”March 5, 2019 at 8:02 pm #16226
“Two minutes to pull all my gear into one fragging spot, and Im with you Al.”
<<If you could avoid tossing these contact numbers for a few hours, I still think getting together for some dinner — or whatever fragging meal it is time for — would be good for everyone. I know we aren’t all staying at the same place, but we should get together after showering and maybe a nap. I’ve been through rough situations and tried to make like it was no big deal, and it took its toll. So for my sake if not yours, some food, a couple drinks, and I’ll let you go.”March 6, 2019 at 6:59 am #16227
>> sure thing… it won’t be that long.
Knowing that Sam is cared for and that nobody seems to need a ride she drives away in her Armadillo, stopping at her hotel room to shower and dress. Becky likes the steaming hot shower and then rubs her body with lotion to keep that skin texture she likes. She then gets herself into leather pants, a warm shirt, and a matching leather jacket. Her cosmetics are kept casual street style, little purples to bring out her eyes, and green contacts because she likes that color. She set her hair in a bun which while casual, brings the attention to her face. Becky exits the room without a hint of her real profession. No weapon, and a large purse containing the bare necessities to keep up her appearance. While she still turns heads, she tries to be perceived as a normative part of society.
>> I am ready to drink, and chat. There is a nice Pool dive if any of you can play. Let’s drink there unless you have a better suggestion.March 6, 2019 at 8:07 am #16230
Al didn’t speak much on the drive back to San Angelo. Wondered a little what Alyce might be up to right about now, but then forced the thought out of his mind. He dropped Preston off at his car, then drove straight to the first bar that was open. Had two beers with a Jack chaser, then went next door to a conveniently located greasy spoon and downed steak, eggs, and home fries before falling asleep in the booth. That got him thrown out.
His own place was over an hour up the road in Waco, and he wasn’t going back to the bunkhouse at the oil rig. But he’d only been wearing the clothes he was in for three days anyway, and certainly didn’t need a shower. So he closed his eyes in his truck and fell asleep. Woke up about twenty-seven minutes later, sweating and screaming. Something about Baalzebaby transforming into that first Behemoth from Magical Mystery Island and eating all the meat sticks before turning its attention to Jazz and gobbling her up.
He was still rubbing his temples and hyperventilating when Becky’s call came in. <<On my way Precious. Rack ’em up.>>March 6, 2019 at 9:18 am #16231
Preston tried to stay awake on the ride back into town with Al, in case the older man wanted to talk. But Al was unusually quiet, and Preston found himself nodding into and out of sleep. It was only once he was back in his own car that he realized he’d let slip by an opportunity to thank Al for pushing them forward through that whole nightmare.
* Coleman: Duly notes, when in a nightmare situation, keep moving forward.
* Oleg: Let’s stay aware from cosmic horror nightmares going forward
* Gamma: Normal nightmares may be unavoidable after this.
It was a relief to return to his motel without worrying about being tailed by vampires or the like. in his room he looked at his Caff machine but felt too flat to even bother with that, instead he shucked his jacket and pants, set his link for 45 minutes, and collapsed across the bed to grab some sleep.
: AAAAAAAA they are out there!
Less than a minute later he got back up, turned on all the lights, checked the locks, looked through the closets, bathroom, and drawers, and even lifted the mattress to look under it. Then he lay back down.
He gritted his teeth, then flicked his internal link to take him to cold sim, and started navigating to a soothing scene.
: AAAAAAAA my body is alone and unprotected
He dropped out of cold-sim, and lay there in AR, grinding his teeth.
* Gamma: this is problematic
Eventually he got up and took a shower, first scalding hot and then freezing cold. After that he went back into AR and followed through a mellow yoga routine, to at least let his mind relax as best it could.
When he got Becky’s message he finally fired up the Caff machine, still not feeling much desire for the brew but knowing he needed the caffeine. He grabbed some take out fast food on the way to the bar, not really tasting it, feeling flat. When he walked into the bar, he felt his shoulders relax, releasing a tension he hadn’t realized he was holding.
* Oleg: people are protection, for body and soul
* Gamma: I don’t normally like people all that much
* Oleg: most people are awful, not a lot there to like. But compared to …
Preston shivered, and tried to pretend it was from stepping into the air conditioning. Then he called out “Becky, I’m not betting any money against you! Who is up for the next game?”
March 6, 2019 at 9:49 am #16233
- This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by Beta.
[Morning, Thursday February 3rd, 2078; Maria’s Farm, Near San Angelo, CAS]
Jazz nodded to Ichante… “Sure, I’m heading back to Seattle if you want a ride. Not sure about driving all the way though, too many check points. I have a contact with a zeppelin who will pick us up near the UCAS border and run us back home… saves on all sorts of paper work that way. He’s not due back along this route for three days yet so we’ve got some time to make our way north without stressing about deadlines. You joining the others for some food and debrief?”
Jazz was in two minds about re-joining the others but could see the sense in talking it through, however vaguely, with others who’d lived through the same awful experience. She was at first equally unconvinced by the locale that seemed to be the preferred meeting spot but on reflection the prosaic nature of the dump was a fitting contrast with events of the last days and would help to anchor the mind back to the mundane.
“Sure…” was all she said to Preston, and began setting up for the next game…
March 6, 2019 at 2:02 pm #16239
- This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by Aria.
Before Becky left her room, she noticed a message on her link from an unknown number. The message was short:
<<Good work with the portal. Your kindness won’t be forgotten. Though it would be best if you don’t mention me to anyone. Should you be interested in immortality or a really well paying job, give this number a shake.>>
It turned out to be a really fine day of early year Texas weather – just warm enough to be nice in the sun. No sign of trouble or any mad abominations beyond space and time. Hopefully it would stay that way…
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