January 20, 2019 at 5:16 am #14144
Bobby had taken position under the flap of the faux leather cover of the socius seat. As the bike started to move, he got ready to take care of Chung…January 20, 2019 at 12:43 pm #14441
<<Good work, Gins. I’m on his trail. Leapfrog me and wait at the other exit. Jawsey, hold position for a tic.>>
Mato keeps his head down and he strides purposefully toward the bathroom, his stiff-legged walk being immediately recognizable as someone who needs the restroom. He enters the bathroom and, as luck would have it, finds Chau waiting in line.
The nice thing about committing crimes in bathrooms is that they generally lack cameras. If you’re on corporate property then their security might trump any privacy concerns, but in semi-public places like this mall there’s still an expectation that some goon in a security booth isn’t leering over your every move. The other nice thing is that there are multiple built-in distractions: not only are the people in there distracted by a pressing biological need, but there’s also an almost-sacred etiquette that demands that they not pay too much (or any) attention to their fellow bathroom patrons. Nobody is paying the least attention to Mato as he snakes his cyberhand forward and nimbly nicks an envelope out of Chau’s pocket.
Mato is almost surprised by his success, as his experience with pickpocketing is limited, and his first inclination is to turn and flee. Better senses take over and tell him that would be more suspicious than staying to use the facilities, so he does so, trying to buy Chau some time to leave before him.
<<Package acquired!>> Mato announces. <<Jawsey, I’m headed back your way to put some distance between me and Chau.>>
Mato leaves the bathroom. He looks down, trying to keep his face out of any security cameras. Chau might actually have the resources to hack into them and start identifying suspects. Mato does his best to look as natural as possible, maybe like a corper distracted by his commlink.
<<We need to let Bobby know, which might be hard if he’s a bug. Jawsey, can you send your spirit to communicate with him astrally? Ginsburg, as backup why don’t you go to the exit where we expect Chau to get on his bike. Maybe feign like you’re calling out to a missing child. “Bobby, where are you? Bobby, it’s time to go home!” Something like that.>>
<<I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet. Keep your eyes open for interference. Where should we rendezvous, the alley behind Taco Temple?>>January 20, 2019 at 10:15 pm #14832
@Mato – Shortly after you acquire the card you feel changed. Some voice inside you whispers “Ginsburg cannot be trusted, none of them can… they want it for themselves. Run! Hide… Don’t let them take it away from you.”Spoiler:
Ginsburg texts >> Alright, on my way to the exit.
Chau exits the toilets and is unaware of the theft for a short while, allowing Mato to disappear from sight. Chau is suddenly calculated and walks without attracting attention to himself. He moves fluidly through the crowd, and seems to be either assensing or watching matrix feeds as he progresses. Near the exit he feels his pocket and notices that the envelope is gone. He quickly checks the other pocket and every other place he might have put it. Crying “No… no… no this can’t be happening…” At his desperation he points at Ginsburg and says “Theif!” running toward him in outrage “Give it back to me!” he cries. The two guards respond and orders Ginsburg to stop. “what is the matter?” they ask.
“I did nothing to him he says” Chau continues “He did something to me. Search him!” Ginsburg continues “I did nothing, I never met him. I came here for dinner.” The guards do not seem impressed by the allegation, “Sir perhaps you lost the card? It might be a good reason to retrace your actions. There is the lost and found department…” Ginsburg slips past the mall as they talk to Chau.
>> Dodged a bullet there…
In a meanwhile, the bike stops at the exit to the mall. Mr. Chau walks back to the toilets cursing, furious with anger and frustration. The unordered bike, stands in the front. Delaying the traffic, which angers the other drivers. Ginsburg takes out his link and fakes a call. “Bobby… come home… We got Taco’s.” he pauses and replies to an imaginary response “Young man, must you drive that awful bike of yours? It is unsafe.” He looks like a bitter grandpa when he physically holds his phone and talks. Most do it with earbuds, or even by texting nowadays. He is loud, and might be heard by Bobby over all the commotion in the street.Spoiler:
January 21, 2019 at 12:33 am #14837
- This reply was modified 7 months ago by Gilga.
Mato winces as the card starts talking drek about his friends. If the card had just limited its dulcet undertones to rantings about Ginsburg then Mato might believe them, but he’s been working with the others long enough to trust them. I mean, I’ve seen Bobby naked. A lot. Like, every day. Usually twice. Bobby’s a bit of an exhibitionist; he certainly doesn’t seem to have anything to hide.
<<Full disclosure: the card is talking to me. It’s not saying very nice things about the rest of you. It’s telling me to run and hide. I told it to get fragged but if I lose my drek and start sprinting through the mall at 100kph, that’s why. Try to wrangle me with a spirit of that happens. If Bobby tries to tackle me as a naked silverback gorilla, I might punch him in the nuts.>>
Mato tries to get back to Taco Temple quickly, hoping that Jawsey can keep an eye on him, maybe even counter some of the card’s brain-bending effects.January 21, 2019 at 12:49 am #14839
Being a bug changed perception quite a bit, but luckily Bobby did have the presence of mind to notice the warning and identify Ginsburg.
At once he let himself drop from the bike and crawled to the old man, climbing up his trouser leg over his coat and on to the surface of the commlink.
There he tried to walk in the form of OK, but had trouble with the K, so it looked more like OY.January 21, 2019 at 1:23 am #14843
Ginsburg makes a revolted face but keeps his composure. He texts >> I have Bobby… Either that or one of you has made a really impressive practical joke on me. Let’s get out of here, and have a look at this card, perhaps we can turn it off somehow.January 21, 2019 at 1:49 pm #14856
Bobby took the opportunity to slip into Ginsburg’s pocket, where he transformed into a starling, one of the few animals who could reproduce human voices.
It was a bit scratchy and parroty, but recognizable speech: “What’s going on? Polly wants Crack!”January 21, 2019 at 8:21 pm #15292
Mato fights the urge to run. Think about tacos, think about burritos, he thinks to himself, trying to quiet the alternate voices in his head.
He rejoins Jawsey and finds him lamentably devoid of an Aztlan cuisine of any sort. He sends commands to the car to pick up GInsburg and Bobby, then instructions to pick up Jawsey and Mato a few blocks away just to complicate the security cameras. If Chau does indeed go to the effort of piecing together the camera footage, Mato wants to make it as difficult as possible.
Once they’ve rendezvous’ed in the car, Mato pulls out the envelope and holds it up for the others to see. He gently opens it and delicately lifts out the card.
”Don’t touch,” he advises. ”Maybe it has a harder time bossing me around because I’m more machine than meat. What’s it look like on the astral?
”Jawsey, Gao is your contact. Let him know we’re on our way, neh?”January 21, 2019 at 11:13 pm #15294
Once you take the card out, it is the same as the card in the picture. The only change is that the woman is now an orc rather than a human, and her face now reminds you of Mato. In the astral, the card is currently dual natured and is apparently active, a keen observer may be able to spot the magical link that it formed with Mato as a thin tendril of mana.Spoiler:January 22, 2019 at 1:59 am #15296Spoiler:
Bobby had taken his human form again and peered interested at the card: “Seems like the thing likes you a bit to much. Let me try something.”
Bobby pressed his thumb behind Mato’s ear, looking for a pressure point. The pained hiss told him that he had missed the spot somewhat. Undeterred by the discomfort of his colleague he tried again and this time there was a faint popping noise and the card’s picture changed again.
“There, now put it away. The little fragger is a needy bitch. Had to degauss your aura to shake it off you.”
January 22, 2019 at 1:47 pm #15320
- This reply was modified 7 months ago by Jack_Spade.
When Mato had pulled out the card, Jawsey had been fighting with the burner link that Gao had provided He wanted to take a good look at the valuable card, but the first priority was getting passed all the spam that had hit the link, so he could contact the buyer. Finally he found the right option to ignore the spam for now, and sent the message <<We have a delivery to make for you, at the room ending in ’18.’ Could you please confirm that you will be ready to accept delivery? >>January 22, 2019 at 2:01 pm #15323
“Time to bring this baby to the buyer and cash in the big creds.” Bobby said while looking at his chummers: “One of you talkers should do the transaction – you are less likely to commit some kind of Faux Pas, unlike us nuckle draggers.”January 22, 2019 at 10:26 pm #15338
@Bobby Once the connection is broken and the card returns to normal, it also loses the dual nature status. Yet, it presents in the astral is not completely gone, there are still tendrils of mana that move like a small octopus- blindly moving around trying to chance on an aura. They are about 10 centimeters long. There is still the question of transferring the card without having it attached to one of you.
@Jawsi The response message takes less than a second and contains a thumbs up icon, a pizza, and a car.
@All The new Hilton is a five-star hotel, with a 20 story building, it seems very lucrative – especially the 20’th floor. Though it is in a bad neighborhood, and the only good place about the location is its proximity to the airport. Ginsburg points out ”A good hotel in this kind of neighborhood would have some reasonable security. It would not let a bunch of punks to get past the lobby and molest its clientele.” Regarding arrival times, it is about 15 minutes without traffic, but slightly over an hour in the current traffic.
January 23, 2019 at 12:17 am #15341
- This reply was modified 7 months ago by Gilga.
”Anybody have any tongs?” Mato asks, holding the card away from him while trying not to let it get its tentacles on anyone else.
”I have a suit and a decent SIN, so I can pose as a bodyguard, maybe escorting Jawsey. I doubt they hotel would turn away a handsome motherfragger like Jawsey; he’s exactly the type of patron they want to see on their premises. Maybe Bobby can turn into a pigeon and fly to the balcony once we confirm the floor for the meet. Ginsburg, you just got out of prison and it shows. Maybe you can stay with the car and be backup in case we need a diversion.”January 23, 2019 at 1:57 am #15342
Ginsburg agrees ”About the artifact… would chopsticks help?… I can stay in the car no problem.”January 23, 2019 at 2:52 pm #15354
“I got a response that I think suggests we are on for the meet. Possibly that we should also bring pizza? I suppose that could be cover for going up — if the front desk calls up to confirm a delivery, presumably they would confirm it. I suppose we could pick up some pizza — even some extra to make up for the tacos we never got. That would be the alternative, I suppose, to trying to talk our way in.”
While they discuss the merits of plans for getting into the building, Jawsey rummages through their ‘surviving a stake-out’ supplies and does come up with a pair of disposable chopsticks. Moving to astral perception he suggests “How about we put this into the smuggling compartment for now, where it should be safe should anything happen on the way. If you don’t mind I’ll handle it with these, to try to avoid imprinting onto it.
It takes some shuffling around, but eventually they manage to hide the card away, leaving only the burning question of ‘Pizza plan, or no?“January 23, 2019 at 4:44 pm #15359
Bobby shrugged: “Drop it for now in the glove compartment. Putting it in a pizza box could work, although I’d prefer to see it inside a brief case.
And I’m not sure if a five star hotel will allow pizza deliveries. Security is only a problem if we carry anything illegal and aren’t expected. Both problems can be remedied if Mato poses as bodyguard and Jawsey as the courier. I can either hide myself on one of you or fly up as a pidgeon, once we know the room for the meet.”January 24, 2019 at 2:17 am #15366
”I’m not dressed like a pizza deliveryman, and neither is Jawsey. We can bring a pizza if we’re trying to be cute but it’s not a plausible cover story. Besides, a place like this is going to have room service, which will be better than anything you can get this close to the airport.
”I agree a briefcase would be a better approach, given our look. But we’re overthinking this: corpers have guests. Hell, that’s half the reason to stay in a place like this: showing off to your peers. Hotels are made for meetings; they’re neutral turf. If you get a bunch of Aztechnology suits in one place, they’re just going to meet at the Pyramid. But if they want to meet with a third party, then they do it offsite so the attendees aren’t getting uppity about extraterritoriality and whether security has their best interests in mind.
”Nah, let’s just tell the buyer we’re here and they’ll pull the necessary strings to get us up the elevators. We have what they want, after all. The biggest risk is that the hotel will give me interference for being an ork. That’s a problem at the Downtown Hilton but hopefully won’t be here. If it is, Jawsey can us out of it, right Jawsey?”January 24, 2019 at 3:23 pm #15389
“Yeah, but don’t forget that the buyer could try to frag us over as well. Better to keep an ace up your sleeve. And since it worked well the first time around, I’d say Ginsburg keeps the wheels ready, Jawsey does the talking, Mato does the scaring and I do the hiding, ready to do a surprise bear mauling.”
Bobby replied.January 24, 2019 at 3:47 pm #15392
Jawsey nods along to what the others are saying, but his words aren’t exactly agreeing “Even out by the airport, the customer may want additional deniability. Having pizza ordered in would be easy enough to explain away, even if considered a little eccentric when the room service is good. Having people in nice clothes show up, carrying a briefcase, would tip off anyone monitoring that something was being delivered. Now, I’ll admit that I may be reading a bit too much into the response, but I’m assuming that those icons were not chosen randomly.”
“Another thing to consider is that just in case the last holder of the card somehow figures out where it is going, on a bike he may well be able to get to the hotel before us, what with weaving through traffic and all. So there is some chance that we’ll have a reception committee when we get there, which we should be ready for no matter which way we go in. When we get close I’ll do an astral sweep of the area near the doors, but I won’t try provoking their security by going inside.“
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