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Author Topic: [5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]  (Read 32 times)

Aria

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[5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]
« on: (08:07:59/04-12-17) »
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[Thursday December 10th, 2076; Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, UK]

The full moon bathed the circle in a nacreous gleam that cast stark shadows across the sward.  Twelve hooded figures waited inside the circle like the Ringwraiths of fiction…some were there in the flesh, but others were projected there in holo and AR form from discrete devices placed on the ground for that purpose.  Finally their thirteenth and newest member joined them, as was only proper, her cloaked form merging with the circle, her unreality betrayed by the fronds of grass swaying through the projection’s feet.

Dream felt the familiar thrill as in unison the Choir spoke their ritual greeting “The Song endures” as he moved around to each of the protagonists in turn touching fingertips, or simulacrum of finger tips as may be.  Now that their number was complete he turned to the standing stones and ignited the magic in them with a touch, the runes carved in to their weathered forms igniting to his other sight, locking them away from the outside world.

Despite the viciously cold winter wind sweeping across the heath, inside the circle it was comfortably warm…what was the point in magic anyway if it couldn’t make life a little more comfortable?  Turning to their First he bowed “We are ready, the runners should be here shortly, as is seen”

The Old One bowed in turn, the voice from his astral projection echoing in their minds ~Very good!  It is time that we all viewed these creatures that will be so central to our futures~

***

Dream mentally paced around the circle…everything was so close now, his visions nearly at fruition.  It would all be complete by the winter solstice, one way or the other, a mere ten days from now… He reached out to his ally and Petal appeared beside him dressed in sensible hiking gear, the hood pulled over her face in a brash imitation of the cloaked figures around them

~Petal, can you go out and guide our guest here please?  They may have some difficulties in this fog~

~You could just make the fog go away you know!~ she retorted

~Of course, but that would spoil the mystery~ and he could feel her mirth in the back of his mind as she disappeared to look for the two runners…

#01

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Al cursed in frustration behind the wheel of his new Tata Hotspur. They not only had the coordinates, but he was an excellent navigator. Hell, he knew exactly where the damned meet was. But the bogs that dotted the moor, including its roads, were constantly shifting and, invisible to satellite, not charted on any map. For the third time now he’d had to backtrack and find another way toward a spot he knew was only a lousy klick-and-a-half distant. He’d even had to use the winch once, tying it to a rotten tree stump to haul the bright purple truck out of the mud.

And the damned fog wasn’t helping any.

Beside him sat Alyce. And behind him on the gun rack were his Remingtons - a 990 and a 950 - each for its own purpose, nestled safely in reach but out of sight of the world behind darkly tinted windows.

Alyce had offered to send one of her cute little drones ahead, but Al had disdained such a cheat. Now, however, he was getting frustrated.

Hell, he was supposed to be chilling and smoking and drinking at Alyce’s new house, but he’d barely wiped his feet on the mat when they’d gotten a call about a job from Silk. What the hell? had basically been their conclusion, and here they were - late.

“Ya want a crack at ‘er?” Al asked, indicating the wheel. In this fog, blind didn’t mean much.

#01

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Alyce smiles and laughs as Al stops the truck once more.  "Sure, let the blind girl drive the car.  That way it's my fault when we end up in a bog.  Only, I think I will cheat a bit."  As she steps out of the vehicle, Alyce keeps a hand on the side of it to walk around to the driver's side.  At the same time, she sends two of her small Fly-Spy drones out a few feet in advance of the truck to help give her an idea of the track they are following.

She loves the moors and has been hiking on them ever since she moved down to the old manor house she had bought back in August.  The fog was usually not something to worry about, as long as one is careful and can cheat like Alyce can.  Her ultrasound sensors and her drones have been able to keep her and her Hell Hound guide dog safe on their walks and she is confident that she can drive the vehicle along the narrow road, or what passed for a road out here.  Getting in, she smiles grimly and turns to face her companion.  "OK, this is going to be slow.  Kiss me before we start, just in case."

#01

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Always one excuse or another. But Al didn’t mind too much. He leaned over and found her mouth with a kiss that told her how deeply he cared about her - however complicated things were or whatever hijinks she got up to - it was an easier way to express his feelings than a bunch of woman talk aimed at an impenetrable wall of female illogic.

Then he settled back into the passenger seat, lit a smoke, and said, “And that’s the last o’ that. We’s workin’ now. Drive on, Jeeves.”

#02

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Alyce laughs.  "Yessir, Cap'n Al.  Last kiss until we're done.  I do hope that the kind Cap'n will as allow the first mate to repeat the action if she happens to drive off into a bog and we're going to die."

Alyce puts the truck in gear and heads off slowly.  She trusts the sensors on the small drones out in front of her, but trusts her ultrasound more in this fog and that makes the going slow.  And a bit stressful.  Still, it is progress and she closes in on the GPS coordinates that Al had programmed into the dash and her 'link.  Without turning from her task, she asks, "Light me one of those, will you, please?"

#02

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Al used the tip of his smoke to light one for Alyce, reached over, and put it in her mouth. She was a pretty good driver. A few false starts and she started making good, if circuitous progress toward the coordinates. Not really knowing what they’d find there, Al unlimbered the shotgun hanging behind him. They were only about three hundred meters away, with visibility less than a tenth that, when Alyce’s drone marked boggy ground dead ahead. Cursing, she was about to send the drone to look for the best way around, when a cute young woman in hiking gear appeared in front of the Hotspur waving them down. “Pull up so she’s on my side,” Al directed. The girl looked harmless, but…he put down the window as they came alongside her. She said, “Hi, I’m Petal. Steer to your two o’clock - the bog’s shallow there and you’ll be through. Then just follow me a short distance and we’re there.” And without waiting for a reply, she started walking away from them in the direction indicated.

#03

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Alyce had already seen the girl as she approached the truck and was reaching over to alert Al when he sees her.  She does as he requests and listens to the girl talk.  After she is gone, Alyce faces, Al.  "Trust her, Al?  I have scanned that part of the way ahead and there is solid ground just below the surface where she indicates it ought to be.  Unless you stop me, I will go that direction."

She gets the truck back in gear and turns the wheel, giving Al a chance to say something first.  "Hmmm.  Drones and sensors are picking up something solid in the near distance in that direction."

#03

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“Well, wouldn’t say I trust ‘er trust ‘er, but I trust ‘er ta git us ta this spot we’d goin’, since whoever we’s meetin’ likely wants us there. After that…” Alyce guided the car forward carefully behind the walking girl. A few minutes later, ghostly vertical forms began to emerge from the fog, and momentarily they found themselves at what appeared to be an ancient stone circle.

#04

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Alyce stops the truck and lets her sensors get an idea of what is going on here.  "A bit of matrix activity here, Al.  Several specific locations, almost like project.........yes, holos.  We got some holo projectors in the area of those stones.  A couple of AR things as well."  She opens the door on her side and climbs out, lighting another fag as she does.  "Well, I guess we need to go see what is up, eh?"

#04

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Petal gestures impatiently for the two runners to hurry up…to Alyce’s hyper senses there is something just a little off about the girl, although nothing that’s easy to get a handle on…she certainly isn’t armed, but in these days of mages and adepts that’s hardly something to be reassured about.

With a grin the girl waves Al and Alyce in to the circle and immediately the damp cloying fog is gone, held back by an invisible will.  The stars shine overhead, only dimmed by the fitful moonlight sweeping across the stones that leave deep shadows of the stones to mask the hooded figures.

There are thirteen forms, all hooded bar one, their faces invisible in the depths of their cowls.  The unmasked one is an elf, with just a tinge of age around his eyes and he nods to the girl before opening his arms in welcome…

The whole place prickles with magic, not just the obvious holding back of the mist but other signs subtle and not so subtle.  Curious sprites flit about, peering and poking at the newcomers until Petal shoos them away with a clap of her hands and a bright laugh “Don’t let them bother you, they are just excited”

The elf then speaks, his voice cool but still musical “Welcome, thank you for joining us.  Silk said that she knew of some reliable runners in the area who might be able to assist me…” and one of the holo projections reaches up and lowers its hood to reveal Silk’s smiling face “and as our newest member it is a test of her foresight as much as it is your skills.”

#02

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Alyce steps into the circle and gathers her drones to give her a 360 view as feeds to her 'link.  She nods to the Elf, recognizing that he must be old as she has never seen age effects on one of her kind before.  The conclusion is that this one must be pre-UGE.  She remembers stories of Elves that have existed well into the past, called Watchers by those that know little about them.  Alyce also nods to Silk.  "Good evening, Mistress Silk.  It seems that what we did with you had a good effect, then."

She turns back to the elder Elf and nods again.  "My name is Robyn Lysander or Alyce Krait, depending on which circles you travel in.  I suppose that there are a number of people who use different names for me, most of them not repeatable in pleasant company."

At that moment, she feels a familiar itch on her face and back as the various hydras on her body begin to move more than they usually do.  She turns her face to the cowled figure that must represent someone very high in the Duke's House.  Whoever it is must desire to remain unknown so she does not indicate that she is aware and brings her face back to the Keeb's.

#05

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Al laid his shotgun lazily back across his shoulder at the sight of someone he actually trusted. “Well met, Silky baby. Real nice ta see ya here, since apparently ever’one else here is hippies. So what’s the rumpus?”

#05

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Silk’s holographic image projection bowed towards the elf that had greeted the runners

“Dream will outline what this is all about, suffice it to say that the Pattern is weaving around you once again Master Guthrie and your unique talents are requested to be employed to further the  goals of these hippies…” and she gestured for Dream to continue, smilingly indicating with a raised eyebrow an ‘I told you so’ for Al’s nature…

“Al, Alyce, as I said, thank you for joining us.  It is unusual for the Choir to meet employees but I think you understand that you have become far more than that, first with your assistance in Seattle, then on Silk’s jaunt in Tonga… you are valuable to us and I do not doubt that your fee will reflect that value.  That is assuming you consent to assist me?”

He carried on before either of the runners could get a word in … “there is an artefact in the possession of another, one I would like your help to acquire.  This member is a powerful member of the Ordo Maximus and we believe that the artefact, a mirror, is in their London residence…”

#03

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Al shrugged. “Well, we was jist settlin’ in fer some quiet time out here. But what the hell. Sure, pervided it ain’t got no weird diseases on it, an’ long as this one’s got no objections,” he said, nodding to Robyn.  “Tell us what she looks like, give us the address, be back with it tomorrow. What’s an Ordo Maximus? Some kinda club fer Roman buffs. Wear togas, put leaves in they hair? Puke theyselves after they eat too much?”

#06

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Alyce smiles.  "I am in, if he is, although I am a bit familiar with the term and have some questions.  Isn't Ordo Maximus some sort of mage club, primarily made up of Europeans?  If that is so are we going to have some mojo support or are we the entire team?"

#06

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“Satanists? Shee-it. An’ Euro-Satanists, ya say? Double-shit. Worst kind. But course we got the mojo covered, cuz less’n I miss my guess, Dream here” - he said the name as if he was repeating some sort of inside joke - “He’s comin’ ‘long fer the ride. Am I wrong, Dreamy baby?”

#07

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“No Master Guthrie, you are not wrong… I may not be a runner like yourselves but Petal and I will cover the mojo side of things.  I have seen more than my share of conflict over the last sixty years and I promise not to faint or run away at the first sign of trouble.  The four of us should be able to slip in to London…a bigger group may draw more attention to us.

There are all sorts of rumours about the Ordo, not least of which is that they are a cabal of vampires.  Lord Bressington has not been seen out and about in daylight for some years so it is entirely possible that he is one of their kind… or there may be another reason entirely.  Either way I hope to approach his property when he is far from home…”

#04

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"Alrighty then,  Satanist couple on board: check. Load more wooden slugs: check. Add garlic an' holy water ta shoppin' list: check.  Wait fer Bressy baby ta go out: check. When ya reckon that'll be anyhoo, cuz I got trid ta catch up on.  Speakin' o' which,  don't even answer that till we's onna road. Like she says inna Good Book, time's money. Ya got yer own wheels, or ya gon' bounce around inna back of my fancy new truck here? "

#08

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“I assure you Master Guthrie, my gods are far older than Satan!  But that’s not relevant to our current expedition so I don’t think we’ll dwell on it.  Petal will make her own way to our destination but I would be happy to ride in your truck, despite the colour…” with a smile to take away any sting…

“I have discrete lodgings nearby where we could discuss our approach strategy, or we could go to a place of your choosing…?”

#05

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Older than...!?!? Al shook his head and let the blasphemy pass. He reckoned he knew the sort he was dealing with now.

Alyce's place was nearby and doubtless more comfortable,  but he didn't know if she wanted work brought home. He said, "Your place. Jist the one o' ya, you can squeeze inna cab 'longside this one."

He figured Alyce would let them know if she disagreed with either the destination or the seating arrangements.

#09

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Alyce shrugs.  "My home is not too far away, but I do not mind going to yours as long as I can have access to the matrix from there.  And Al is right about the cab.  Riding up front is much better than in the bed of the truck.  I think that you and I are both skinny enough that we can fit and still allow Al to drive.  Do we have aught else to do here?"

#08
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Aria

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Re: [5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]
« Reply #1 on: (08:09:31/04-12-17) »
[Thursday December 10th, 2076; Bodmin Jail, Bodmin, Cornwall, UK]

The hesitation on the runner’s faces had been clear when Dream had asked them to make for Bodmin Jail of all places…but it had long since ceased to be anything but a tourist attraction for the few aristos that could afford such things.  Movement around the UK was heavily restricted unless you could broadcast the right SIN and it looked like all three of them had sufficient clearance, despite Al’s appearance to the contrary.  If there was anyone that belonged to the great unwashed it was Al.

Dream instructed Al to pull in to the courtyard behind the restaurant kitchen and assured him that the truck would be more inconspicuous off the road and behind the high stone walls of the prison.  At this time of night the tourists were gone and the kitchens were winding down so there was nobody to see them slip in to one of the fire escape doors that Petal held open for them

“Don’t worry, I have an understanding with the establishment, nobody will see us coming or going…”

Dream led them to the top floor and to an apartment almost as Spartan as the prison cells might once have been.

“It’s not exactly comfortable but it will do for this evening…so, we have much to discuss…”

#06

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Alyce shrugs and chuckles.  “It is palatial compared to some of the places I have had to work from or sleep in.  I have already assigned my agent the task of digging up any information about this organization that it can find.  I can take what I get back and dig deeper into what seems to be important to us.  I have also sent out information requests on this Lord Bressington.  I can go into VR to dig deeper on anything you would like me to.  Do you have a place to start?”

#09

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Listening to the other two talk, Al cursed under his breath as he realized he'd let himself be lured into a trap. He'd relaxed his guard, and now found himself in the most dangerous, excruciating, and pointless part of these sorts of jobs: the planning session.

And no Isaint here to do it all for him.

Sweat of the brow, just like in the Good Book. He lit a cigarette and braced himself for the ordeal ahead.  His two companions were both keebs, one a hippie anti-Satanist and the other a woman - he couldn't exactly leave it to them.

"Alrighty, tell us ever'thin' ya can."

#10

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While waiting for Dream to answer their questions or give some instruction, Alyce fishes a cigarette from a pack she pulls from a pocket.  She brings out her lighter then looks at it in her hand before putting it away and leaning over to light her cigarette from Al's.  After a good couple of smoke rings, she, too, looks at Dream in anticipation of words of wisdom.

#10

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“Well I’m hoping you will be able to tell me the information you need to achieve a successful heist…this is a little outside my normal scope of expertise.  I can tell you a few things of course… Silk has provided me from floor plans from the last time the property was sold at the turn of the century, it’s in Grosvenor Gardens, within spitting distance of the Palace.  I have a report from a security firm that did some upgrades in the late sixties, although no doubt there will be improvements since then.  A cursory astral sweep has confirmed that the place is warded and I didn’t want to test those until nearer the time.  Silk hasn’t been able to secure an itinerary for Lord Bressington unfortunately but perhaps you will have better luck with contacts closer to home?”

#07

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Alyce looks thoughtful for a moment then says, "Families like that are often in the market for a rare book or three to fill out a collection.  I can search the matrix and see if Lord Bressington is and then see if I can procure it.  I have a lot of contacts that can get me books.  That could get me an invite.   Is it well known that he is involved with the Ordo Maximus?  I can do some looking to see if there are any books out there that might be rare enough to be interesting to the organization and procure it.  I could then either approach him if his involvement is public knowledge or simply advertise that I have the tome and see if that gets me an invite.  I will also take your report from the security company and try to find out if there have been any security upgrades although may I ask why you assume that there have been upgrades to the security system?  Most people I know are hesitant to go through the expense and labour involved in getting upgrades and it has been less than ten years since the last one.  He might fall into the category of once done is well enough done.  It pays to assume the worst, of course, but we may get lucky."

She looks about and nods at one corner of the room.  "If I relax over there, can you watch out for my body?  I can do so much better in Hot VR."

#11

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"Sure, toots, I'll watch yer body all right," Al teased. " Hell, reckon that's one o' the many things ol' Al's best at."

He grinned lustily, ignoring the presence of the hippie.

"But riddle me this, afore ya slip off ta la-la land - we shootin' fer tree-keeb's  plan o' waitin' fer Count Hum-Vee ta be away from the crypt? Or we usin' a book ta git inna door? The one's likely quieter, I'll allow, but then we wouldn’t git ta kill it. Ol' Al ain't never burned no Dracula afore. ...or is that off limits?" he asked,  turning to Dream.

#11

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Alyce smiles at the innuendo and strikes a particularly sensuous pose for Al.  "You can look all you want, Al, and it's not like you haven't seen all I have to offer.  But about the book?  I don't know, but it could be another approach, especially if we find out that he is not planning on leaving his palace soon.  We're just looking at options, now, right?"  She walks to the corner and sits down, resting her back against the wall.  Turning to Dream, she says, "Unless you do not want me to pursue that path?"

#12

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Dream responded to Alyce first, “The Ordo is a secretive organisation…there are plenty of rumours swirling about of course, but little that would point directly to individual members.  You are welcome to try the book angle if you think it might help but this all needs to be resolved by the Solstice or our efforts could be for nought.  Ten days ought to be sufficient time shouldn’t it?  If you are going to be some time in VR I will ask Petal to make something more comfortable for you to recline on…” and at his nod Petal begins to work her mojo…the weathered timber flooring suddenly humping upwards with a mildly alarming creak as the boards shift and warp, almost growing, in to a contoured seat of burnished wood

“Thank you my dear.  Now, Al, I didn’t say Bressington was a vampire, only that he might be…and that we should be prepared.  There are bound to be ramifications for confronting him directly, politically as well as physically but it certainly isn’t off limits if he really is one of those benighted souls…”

#08

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“Ten days, huh. What say we try fer three, or I’ll never git caught up on my trid? An’ when it comes ta bloodsuckers, reckon I’ll jist assume infected till proven otherwise. Anyhoo, nothin’ ta plan till we see what that one digs up. She moves pretty fast in there, less’n she runs across a virtual shagfest or some such nonsense, so we should hear back from ‘er quick. S’pose I’ll jist busy myself with these here out-o’-date plans ya rustled up for us.”

#12

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Alyce smiles as she sits on the comfortable recliner.  "Always knew mojo was good for something.  I am not sure what I can do, but the book angle is just another chance to do our thing.  I will also look into the security company and see if there has been an additional upgrade on the property in the past decade.  Anyway, I will be out on the matrix so if you need to contact me, send a text to my 'link."  With that, Alyce settles back and is off into another world, a world of different dimensions and she travels the distance from Cornwall to London at the speed of thought.  She tasks her agent to research the security company while she goes first to research her own list of "special" clients to see if Lord Bressington or the Oro Maximus has put in for any special book.  If nothing there, she will go out to the lists from other rare book providers for the same information.

#13

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While the runners did their thing…or at least Alyce did something, Al didn’t appear particularly busy, Dream began his own preparations, sketching out a circle in the front half of the room.  It had been years since he’d bothered to learn a spell, but he was painfully aware that his limited repertoire could be a problem in the coming days if he didn’t do something about it…

“Al, in your dealings with fellow Satanists is there anything, any spell, that seemed to be especially useful in your line of work?  We have a little time to spare while Alyce does her own research and I would put it to good use…besides, the brain gets flabby as the muscles if it isn’t challenged once in a while…”

He placed a small carved pebble at the final cardinal point and then rose to fling open the large windows at the end of the room to let in the night air…Petal joined him at the window, her natural curiosity piqued by the workings that she hadn’t often witnessed.  The circle was subtly different from the divinatory ones he usually used…in fact he preferred working those out on the heath…

“It’s like standing next to a radiator” she whispered to him, nodding in the direction of Al, “and he doesn’t even seem to realise it…?”

“Hush my dear, Silk highly recommends him, how he deals with his gifts is immaterial…”

“It just seems a shame…no, ok, I promise I won’t say anything…” she replied to Dream’s frown

“We each have our own path, Master Guthrie will walk alongside us for a while but it is still his path to walk”

“Saunter more like” she responded with a giggle…

#09

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Al hadn’t been exactly idle. He’d glanced briefly at the schematics Silk had provided, and though he didn’t have Alyce’s freakish memory, neither did he need to keep the plans right in front of him to turn them over in his mind a bit. He’d already thought of two holes in the physical security system he might be able to exploit, but he’d need some time with the product specs to confirm his initial gut feeling, and he wasn’t inclined to waste that sort of time until after Alyce confirmed whether the system had been upgraded in the past decade.

Dream spoke to him, and the first response Al made was, “Fellow Satanists? Ya best say somethin’ like that with a smile on yer kisser, bub, or this here association’s goin’ nowhere fast. But ta answer yer query, sure, occasions I paid any heed ta such nonsense, I’ll allow I seen some more or less useful witcheries. They was this one feller in Miami, Cuban-Chinese if’n I recollect his lineage correctly, that boy could make a body fart like the day is long. Clear a place out, he wanted to. An’ we had this guy on the Olamiposi, Nigerian-registered tramper I worked fer a couple years inna fifties. Called hisself Ebenezer, this cat did. Yoruba tribesman. Now he did a spell kept the ship from sinkin’. Din’t put much stock in it at first, but I’ll be damned it that vessel ever did go down, leastways not while ol’ Al was on it. So now that’s a damn useful spell, as you yerself might allow, ya’d ever been onna sinkin’ ship. Trick is, don’t sound like we’s doin’ much seafarin’ on this here job, so if yer lookin’ fer counsel on some sorta hex might come in handy, criminy kemo sabe, not as if ol’ Al exactly stays abreast o’ the latest trends in sorcery.” He contemplated the problem for a moment, puffing on his cigarette in the large, moonlit chamber. “Ha! Got it. How ‘bout Vampire Sneeze? Ya could learn ta make any bloodsucker start sneezin’ uncontrollably - help us suss the Dracs out, an’ immobilize ‘em some ta boot. Hell, ya could do a whole range o’ dweomers - Vampire Fall Down an’ Break His Nose, Vampire Do a Tap Dance, Vampire Shit Hisself, list goes on amigo. Hell, yer gon’ be busy, bud. Best hop to it.”

Al congratulated himself on his natural creativity and uncanny ability to dispense useful advice even in those rare fields he knew nothing about.

#13

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Petal laughed good naturedly “I like him, can we keep him?”

“Petal” Dream reproved, “My apologies Al, I meant to say my fellow Satanists!  I would not dream of impugning your good character with such a suggestion.  Thank you for your advice, I will consider it…now, Petal, can you pop home please and fetch the last of the things we might need?”

And with a mock pout Petal disappeared, although without any theatrical puff of smoke…

“Now, vampire sneeze, I don’t believe I’ve heard of such a spell, although that’s not to say it doesn’t exist.  It doesn’t exactly fit into my paradigm but we’ll see.  If Alyce is busy on her side perhaps I will ask Silk to look into it for me…”

#10

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Aria

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Re: [5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]
« Reply #2 on: (08:10:33/04-12-17) »
Alyce leaves her meat body and slips into the real world of the matrix.  At the speed of light she is in her office, accessing her file on special clients.  She looks first for Lord Bressington but finds no mention of him in the file.  Ordo Maximus is a different matter, however.  The sixth world has allowed mages to come into the open and there is more that one such group with some degree of visibility.  It seems that there is a market for books and tomes relating to the theory and use of magic and the older and more obscure the better.  Her shop has apparently procured several books for the group over the years and there is a list of books that they have an interest in that is updated on a semi-annual basis to indicate current interests.  She makes a note of several of the older titles and goes hunting.

Robyn’s next stop is her favourite Data Haven, where she scans the lists of older books to see if anyone has written anything about the ones on her short list.  Finding nothing but vague references that do not lead her anywhere, she flits to various mainstream sites that offer books for sale.  After much perusing, she is again disappointed, but her solace is that if it was easy, not only could anyone do it but it would already have been done.  Over the years, she has collected the names of hundreds of small, off the map book stores and collectors all around the world and now goes to those.  It is painstaking work and but no altogether fruitless.  She finds several books that are on her main “must have” list for other customers and sends orders to buy them, but her short list of books that Ordo Maximus is interested in seems………………….bingo.  A collector in Johannesburg, S.A. claims to have a copy of “The collected Works of Sh’in Lao Mung, Vol 3” available.  The write up indicates that he picked this up from an estate sale of a recluse that died in a mysterious fire.  The listing says there is a bit of charring on the outer covers but that the inner pages are intact.  The asking price is 250000 Nuyen.  It is a thought and Robyn is in the host of the seller and putting the money in escrow based on receipt of the book in the described condition.  As she is digitally signing the necessary import documents, three other buyers zip in behind her.  Many times dealings such as this are determined by mere seconds and this is no exception and the disappointed buyers quickly leave, continuing their own searches elsewhere.  Robyn makes arrangements to have the book delivered to her shop in London, where she can examine it.  She will have two days to look it over and authorize the transfer of funds or the tome will be returned.  Delivery will be by courier, who should arrive in London in two days time.

Her agent has had some luck looking into the security company and its open records include testimonials from various clients as a means of indicating the effectiveness of their service and, sure enough, there is one from Bressington House that touts the system upgrades that had just been installed.  A check on the date of the testimonial indicates the upgrades were put in place four years ago.  Having accomplished what it came to do, the agent leaves the public host and reports its findings to Robyn.

The body on the wooden bench stirs as Robyn carefully returns to it and wakes up.  She sits on the edge of the bench and lights a cigarette as she gets her thoughts in order then says, “Alright, I do have progress to report.  It seems that the security system was upgraded four years ago.  I recommend that I try to get into the host for the security company and try to ferret out what the upgrades mean for us.  Secondly, I have found a book that the Ordo Maximus will be interested in.  The tome is on its way to my shop in London and will there in two days.  I have another two days after that to appraise it and authorize final transfer of the agreed-on price.  This tome is volume three of a six volume set and has been on their wanted list for some time.  I think we can use it to get an interview with Lord Bressington or at least into the house.”

“Comments or ideas?”

#14

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Al sighed. “Sure, I’ll chime in.”

Where was Isaint when he needed him?

“Yes, git the latest sec specs. As fer the book thing, good idear, but let’s not make it a two-step process. Meanin’ don’t put yerself on his radar an’ then give ‘im any time ta look any closer at ya afore we make our move. Ya meet ‘im, then that’s the moment we do the heist. Trick there is, yer inna door but yer also guaranteein’ he’s home. Howsabout settin’ the viewin’ up off site, git ‘im outta the house, lift the dingus while he’s gone? But then that exposes you, he gits wind an’ then gits pissed. Reckon however ya slice it, better if like Dreamy says we wait till he’s outta town. But since Dreamy’s onna deadline, we might not have the luxury ta wait fer that, so then we use the book. One way or t’other.

“An’ shiftin’ gears, Dreamy baby, afore we can git any more nuts an’ boltsy, ya still ain’t told us squat ‘bout what yer wantin’ ta liberate. Ol’ Al’s experience, these sorts o’ gewgaws come with they own hazards an’ pitfalls. So start talkin’ ‘bout yer prize, an’ don’t spare the particulars.”

#14

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“The artefact in question is a mirror, although whether it is glass or polished metal is unclear from accounts. It is approximately half a meter in diameter and likely to be heavy whatever its construction. We should anticipate magical, physical and technological protections to counter our larcenous intents. As an absolute last resort we should be prepared to deny its use to our target, but obviously it would be preferable to abscond with it undamaged…”

#11

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Al and Robyn returned to their respective researches and Dream scrutinised the circle once more…it would do for what he had in mind…now the really hard bit, accessing the matrix for long enough to download some useful spell formulae…it wasn’t that he was a technophobe, in fact he quite liked the endless panoramas of the matrix, it was that in his case he was plagued by gremlins, very real ones, who were as fascinated by it all as he was, but without the capabilities to understand what it was all about. 

The hobs and pixies and other minor spirits were always there, wherever he went, drawn to him like moths to the moon, but when, sighing, he reached for his ‘link they manifested around him in a small chattering horde

“Sorry about this, I could shoo them away but it would probably cause more upset in the long run…”

The AR interface stuttered as it struggled to cope with the multitude of small hands fluttering over it, but eventually Dream was able to access the relevant sites…now, what spell?  Vampire sneeze notwithstanding the choice was a little overwhelming… but given their goal he finaly settled on levitation, and paying the requisite fee downloaded the formulae…

#12
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