Author Topic: [5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]  (Read 229 times)

Aria

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[5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]
« on: (08:07:59/04-12-17) »
[spoiler]This thread is a capture of a post by email experiment between myself, Adamu and Mercy Merchant[/spoiler]

[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

---------------

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

----------

“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

----------

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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Aria

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Re: [5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]
« Reply #3 on: (08:37:34/05-04-17) »
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

---------------

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

----------

“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

----------

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 finally settled on levitation, and paying the requisite fee downloaded the formulae…

#12

----------
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Aria

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Re: [5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]
« Reply #4 on: (08:38:42/05-04-17) »
[Thursday December 10th, 2076; Bodmin Jail, Bodmin, Cornwall, UK]
 
Al watched the druid work his ‘link with a tremendous sense of self-satisfaction not atypical to himself. He had long surmised that, given a few hundred years of natural selection, the hippies of the world would quickly devolve into small, mindless creatures of mischief, adopting ridiculous physical traits to match their degenerate behavior. And here before his eyes he saw that his prophecy had already come true, their hippy sponsor swarmed with tiny creatures that gave new meaning to the term ‘flower child’.
 
Shaking his head, he returned to his own efforts. Finding out that the security measures had been upgraded meant the seed of a plan that had germinated in his mind was likely stillborn - he wouldn’t know until Alyce came back with the specs - but he’d likely have to come up with something else after he saw them. And he needed to think not only of ways in, but also a handy exit or two, useful whether they broke or talked their way in. Without the internal specs to hand, he busied himself searching out details of the infrastructural elements of the posh neighbourhood surrounding the target….
 
#15
 
----------------
 
Alyce slips back into Hot SIM VR to go look at the security arrangements for the building.  She uses her agent to give her an assist as she slides through the layers of security, picking apart one layer at a time to finally break into the base file storage.  Knowing that time is not her friend, Alyce quickly locates the file that she is looking for, removes the data bomb on it, and copies the entire file, diagrams and comments included.  She notes a couple of interesting side facts and takes a short time to look for two additional files, finding them next to the first one and copies them as well.  Satisfied, she cleans up as best she can and pulls away, going back to her body.
 
Looking around the room, she sees both Al and Dream doing something on their ‘links and smiles at them.  “You ready for the download, Al?  I can send it to your ‘link or I can create a holo image of the setup here for you.  I have everything that was done in the last upgrade and a bonus.  The good news is that the security company managed to convince the neighbors to have the same system installed in their mansions and I copied those files as well.  The better news is that the tenant in the house to the east of our target died four months ago and his relatives were too cheap to want to pay the exorbitant fees for the system maintenance and monitoring and the system has been shut off, pending a court settlement for back fees owed.  The best news is that the house is vacant because the owner’s heirs decided to take a year’s holiday cruise around the world on the inheritance they received.”
 
#15
 
----------------
 
 
“Now that is some eminently righteous info, toots.” Al walked slowly around the 3D projection she’d provided. “Course these limey row houses - even the posh ones - share common walls from gables ta gutters. So we make the vacant one ours, we can use it ta watch an’ eavesdrop on Chez Bressington. We do the book thing, we could have charges on the other side o’ the wall in a spot or three - ready-made exits. We go in quiet, well, pretty hard ta cut through a brick wall without wakin’ the neighbors, but it’d sure make a rooftop or maybe window-ta-window route easier. All good ta chew on. Here’s something’ else - these latest specs show a sub-basement addition, below the original basement. This new one’s reinforced cement an’ lead lined. Whatcha guess she’s warded, too. Builders an’ sec company prob’ly assumed she’s a vault or some sorta safe room. My guess is the latter - as in, a nice place ta while the day away undisturbed by the sun. Even if we can’t git ol’ Bressy ta leave within the next ten days, we go in durin’ the day, he’ll likely be holed up down there. Good fer us…less’n the mirror’s down there with ‘im. We got any idea where exactly inna house it’s kept?”
 
#16
 
----------------
 
Alyce "looks" at the 3D image she has created and nods.  "I see where you are referring to about the walls.  I think it is eminently possible for us to use the vacant building.  As long as we go in quiet and are careful, no on should even know we are there.  There is a new laser cutting torch that the hospital uses for surgeries.  I am sending you the specs, so look at it and see if you think it could help us cut into the wall between the buildings and if you do, I could see about picking one up for us.  I am sure that one of my Below contacts can help me with that.  I did note the extra room and I agree with you on its probable purpose.  My gut tells me that this mirror may be down there as well if it is so fragging bloody valuable."
 
She looks up at Dream, waiting to hear what his answer to Al's question is.
 
#16
 
----------------
 
Dream started to answer but was distracted by a small creature with wings and claws jumping on his head and trying to tickle his ear.
 
Al took advantage of the pause to talk to Alyce. “Yeah, this thing’ll cut the brick. Made fer flesh, but I could tweak ‘er. The cuttin’d be good an’ quiet too. Trick is, yer goin’ through two layers o’ high-end masonry - that’s a couple hunnerd kilos o’ wall ain’t gon’ shift itself. Ya make the cuts, it’s jist gon’ sit there till someone comes along an’ beats it down. High-end tricks ain’t gon’ make a brick wall disappear nice an’ discreet - that’s jist physics. Other hand, this here laser doohickey’d come in real handy we find ourselves needin’ ta crack that basement room, so git ‘er if ya can - long as it’s not on ol’ Al’s budget.”
 
“Fer gittin’ in I’m thinkin’ balcony ta balcony.” He pointed at the model. They got real nice doors an’ locks onna first two floors, but as is typical they scrimped onna upper floors. I can crack this top floor balcony door an’ spoof the contact sensor faster’n ya can say Lilliputian lumberjack.”
 
Dream seemed to have extricated himself from the affections of the fae critter that had accosted him, and Al hoped he had good news on the exact location of the mirror.
 
#17
 
----------------
 
“Sadly, no, I don’t know precisely where the artefact is, although no doubt your guesses are good.  I am hoping that once we are inside Petal and I will be able to do an astral reconnaissance to determine where there are additional internal wards as it is likely to be separately concealed.  I am reluctant to alert his lordship by testing his defences ahead of time.
 
I agree with Al that the balcony may be our best way in.  Since a spate of terrorist actions there are seismic sensors dotted around some of the more affluent parts of London that would sniff out any major explosive force disturbingly quickly and we do not want to be on the receiving end of an SO19 breaching unit if we kick the beehive too hard!  So, what more do we need to do or is it time to relocate to London?”
 
#13
 
————————
“Hell, no time like the present, kemo sabe. Ain’t doin’ nothin’ in this here hidey hole but smellin’ the food downstairs an’ gittin’ wood lookin’ at this one. All o’ this damn borin’ stuff can jist as easily be done on the drive back ta the Smoke. Reckon we hit the road, decide the next move onna way. Whaddaya say, toots?”

#18

Alyce gives Al a grin, "You always know the sweetest things to say, Al.  One of these days you are going to have make good on all this wood you keep talking about.  I am all for leaving for London.  Are we stopping at the cottage to get some things or driving straight in?  In any case, I have dibs on shotgun."  As they are all getting ready to leave, Alyce says, "I got the part about the balcony thing, but I was wondering a bit more about the laser.  Maybe there is some sort of winch device to pull the blocks of stone from the wall..............perhaps a drone of some kind?"

#17
--------------

As they headed down the the Tata, Al said, “Sure, toots, yer married to it, reckon it can be done. Jist however ya slice it she’ll make more noise than jist poppin’ the balcony lock, an’ won’t have ta schlep a shitload o’ gear in with us, brace it ta the floor, an’ so forth. An’ if they really got seismics scattered ‘round like Dreamy here says, then that’s another extra somethin’ ta worry ‘bout. But hey, I’m jist here ta have fun. Ya wanna go through a double brick wall instead of a door, hell, we make it a project. All good ta me, an’ I like bein’ able ta say yes to ya once in a while.” He popped the locks on the bright purple Hotspur and turned to the druid. “Cold ride all the way back ta London, an’ even a hippy won’t wanna ride bitch inna cab. Reckon we stop by this one’s ‘cottage’ an’ grab a ride with more seats. Ya got anything good inna garage there, toots?"

#19

-------------

On the way down to the vehicle, Alyce gives Al a grin.  "No, I am not tied to it.  Just playing out the options.  You have some good reasons for not using the torch and I will admit they make sense.  So let's focus on the balconies and try to make it work.  Are you planning on doing this thing mechanically or can I assist you in any way by slipping into the security system via the matrix?"

Once in the truck, Alyce smiles broadly.  "Got two you might like, but only one that would really suit our purposes.  Have you ever heard of an old, old Triumph TR6?  I found one in an old garage near here.  Poor thing was gathering dust but it seems to be well cared for.  There is a sort of ping noise, though, that I was hoping you might have time to look at, which is why I asked you down in the first place.  The other is the new bird in the shed.  Took delivery just a week ago.  The thing seats eight in luxury and will get us to London by air and avoiding all that bloody traffic.  I have been learning to pilot the thing, but I am willing to sit co-pilot if you want to do the honors.  I can tie into the sensor suite and sort of become the helicopter.  Sort of neat for a blind girl, eh?"

#18
--------------

“Woman, near as I can tell from long experience an’ association, yer ‘bout as blind as I am. Ya wanna fly, fly. I ain’t gon’ stop ya. Now let’s go git the ping outta this sweet-soundin’ ride o’ yours, refresh the beer stores, and git ourselves back ta civ'lization.”  The three of them found semi-comfortable spots in the cab of the Hotspur and Al floored it all the way to Alyce’s place.

#20
-------------

Alyce jumps into the cab of the truck and straps in.  "I got the route back memorized so will call the course changes.  Get us home, Al."  She calls up her internal map of the way in and calls out the changes Al has to make as he drives, giddily screaming in joy as Al risks all of their lives with his insane driving.  By the time the truck hits truly solid ground, it is splattered in mud and the adrenaline level is high all around.  Al floors the vehicle and heads down the road to Alyce's house while she calls ahead to have refreshments ready and the lights on in the garage so Al can look at the Triumph TR6 when they arrive. 

Al follows the road to an imposing edifice of stone that rises up from the ground near the moor.  The house is a very large manor and a number of the windows are lit up as people wait for them to arrive.  Al parks the truck in the large paved parking area and the three leave the vehicle to go to the open doorway where they are met by a couple of women and a man.  Alyce motions to an oriental woman as she says, "Dream, this is Mae.  She will show you to where you can rest for a bit while Al looks at my auto.  Mae, can we have someone pack some food in a bin to put in the helicopter?  I am taking these gentlemen to London and I they will need to eat on the way.  Oh, and don't forget some of Al's fav beer."  She turns to one end of the manor and motions for the others at the door to come with her.  "Stephanie, dear, I will be heading to London as soon as Al gets an idea about what he can do to fix my auto.  Please pack me some clothes for a few days.  I may stop in at the shop to see how things are going there.  Let me know if you need to go to London for anything and you can hitch a ride in with us."

The pretty PA nods without saying anything and turns to return to the house.  Alyce and Al continue on to where a garage door is open to the night air and Al gets his first glance at the car Alyce has mentioned.  A low-slung roadster in a dark forest green colour sits in one of the bays of the garage.  It is sparkling clean, as if it has just been washed.  A quick look lets Al know that the tyres are new, as is the leather and wood interior and that the dash has some indicators that he is not completely used to.  Alyce waves her hand at the auto and her voice cannot hide her excitement.  "I have had her out a few times and she is a dream on the road.  Except for that annoying bloody ping that seems to hit when I get her up to over 80.  I have had some special sensors added to allow me to drive and I can jack into the frame to allow me to see as I drive.  I have been told that the motor seems to be old but is probably not original, but I could not guarantee that for myself.  It has standard 4-speed with overdrive and the optional electric radiator fan.  The papers on this indicate it is a 1969 TR6."

Alyce turns her face to Al.  "Do we have time for you to take her for a spin down to the village and back so you can at least hear the noise?  If we do, the keys are in the ignition and the unlock code is the six digit number of the date I first saw you."

#19
——————

Al suppressed a wisecrack as his mind clicked on the possibility of a riddle. He would never forget the day in Cambodia nearly a decade earlier when he had first met her, but he hadn’t even known the date then, and if he had he wouldn’t remember it. But she knew him well enough to know that. So he punched in the date of their recent visit to Hippie Island - the day she’d first seen him with (the metaplanar illusion of) regular sight. Sure enough, the doors popped. He already knew what was wrong with her car, but he couldn’t resist taking it for a spin, nor the prospect of a quiet evening drive with her. The flower child could take care of himself for a few hours.

Remembering his manners, he opened the passenger door for her.

#21
------------------

Alyce smiles to herself when the door locks pop.  She feels a need to tightly grip the doorframe as he leans past her and opens her door and it takes a tremendous effort to not move into him.  The scent of the man still drives her crazy and her heart is pounding so loudly in her chest that he must hear it.  She had sat next to him in his truck and that had been bad enough, but being this close to him is almost enough to drive her mad.  He steps aside and touches her elbow to guide her into the auto and she feels an electric pulse move through her body, causing her to gasp slightly as her body reacts in a predictable manner.  God, she loves this man so much and being so close to him without being able to say anything is some of the worst torture she has ever been through, much worse than any time she has to spend away from him.  She is so fucked and she knows it, because it is fairly apparent that he will never want to settle down with her or even allow her to traipse the world at his side.

Shaking her head, she lets Al shut her door and move around the auto to the driver's seat as she melts into the plush interior and straps in.  "Most of the dials and instruments on the dash were added so that I can use the various sensors I had added.  Now, the village is only a few miles down the road.  It is mostly straight so you should be able to get some speed out of her if you want.  It is not quite last call at the local if you want to stop in for a pint.  Up to you."

***

As for Dream, he is being treated well back at the manor.  The wide, broad stone stairs rise several feet to the main entrance and he enters the Great Hall.  Polished wood floors reflect the light from candelabra hanging from the ceiling two floors above.  A wide staircase rises from the center of the Hall to give access to the floors above.  The elegance of the furnishings is understated but clearly evident to people who have an eye for such things.  Dream is escorted through the front door by the oriental woman he had been introduced to as Mae, where he is met by a servant drone who says his name is Wilfred and offers to take his hat and coat.  Mae tells the drone to escort Mister Dream into the lounge and to see to his comfort.  She tells the Elf that she will have some food sent in, but that Wilfred can see to any drinks he may want.  The lounge is uncluttered, but the furnishings and artwork here are as nice as what he saw in the Great Hall.  Wilfred joins him soon after he enters the room and asks how he may be of service.

#20
---------------
Al had already been accelerating even as she spoke. It made the ping louder, which was annoying, but at this speed they’d be there in a minute or so anyway. “Hell, yer offerin’ ol’ Al a pint, ya reckon they’s any question in it? Course we’s gittin’ a pint.” The countryside whizzed by and before the conversation could go further the restored Triumph as crunching into the lot surrounding the old public house. Before going inside, he popped the hood. Pointed to a couple of spots on the engine. “Ya got carbon buildup in yer engine an’ the fuel intake. We git back, I’ll disassemble yer engine jist enough ta find an’ pull out the offendin’ components, leave ‘em ta soak in a solvent. By the time we git back from our little vampire hunt, won’t take but a few minutes ta git ‘em all cleaned up an’ put back together.” He closed the hood. “Now all that talkin’s done made me thirsty.”

#22
---------------




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Re: [5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]
« Reply #5 on: (07:53:43/05-18-17) »
[Thursday December 10th, 2076; Alyce’s Manor, Cornwall, UK]
 
Dream enjoyed Robyn’s hospitality very much, settling in to an comfortable armchair by the fire with a book and a hefty slug of apple brandy.  Petal perched near him, gazing at the flames
 
“These runners live better than we do!” she observed wryly
 
“Money certainly buys all this, but is it worth so very much?  Although the book is nice and doesn’t seem to draw those pesky imps like me ‘link would do!  It’s comfortable no doubt for an evening, but I would rather be out on the moors I think”
 
Petal snorted, easily seeing the lie, and Dream smiled as he had known she would
 
“So, you like Al, and what do you think of Miss Robyn?”
 
“Well she’s infatuated with him, for all the good it seems to be doing.  She has too much cyber to make me comfortable and she has a distressing liking for those foul cigarettes they both smoke, not to mention the drink and other things that I see swirling in her aura.  But her heart is a good one and she is true to her word… I’m looking forward to a helicopter ride, I don’t think you’ve ever taken me in one?”
 
“They are loud and overrated but I’m sure you will enjoy it” he replied with a smile…
 
#14
 
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Alyce waits for Al to shut the hood and slips an arm through one of his so that he can escort her to the pub.  Due to the hour, it is a bit quiet inside, although there are still a number of patrons present.  The waitress comes over to the pair as they enter.  "Good evening, Miss Lysander.  A special occasion?"
 
Alyce laughs and pats Al's hand.  "Good evening, Sandra.  I know it's not my normal night, but any time I get to spend with this bloke is a special occasion.  I thought I would bring him down to the local and show him off."
 
Sandra leads them to a small table and a pack of Lucky Strikes shows up as if by magic.  Alyce thanks her as she takes a seat and places her order for a pint then Sandra turns to Al to get his order.  Alyce opens the pack of fags and pulls two out for Al to light.  She barely gets two of her smoke rings off when the drinks appear on the table, along with a tin of Jammie Dodgers.  Alyce smiles as she removes the lid from the tin and digs a few of the biscuits out.  "You have to promise not to tell Stephanie.  She is always worried that I eat too many of these."  After creating a small pile in front of her, she offers the tin to Al and raises her glass.  "To adventures, Al."  After a sip or two, she puts the glass on the table and starts on her pile of biscuits.  "Thank you for agreeing to look at the auto.  I know she is not one of your hot models, but what do you think of her?"
 
#21
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“What do I think? Reckon she’s a peach, o’ course,” answered Al, wiping lager foam from his lips. It wasn’t American, and it didn’t come in a can, but it would do. “Righteous ride. Real pleasure ta drive. Hell, only reason I go fer the posh spaghetti jobs is performance - only way those sweet wheels can hold they own against one o’ my babies, well, hafta not only replace the engine, but you’d need to mod the chassis, shocks, what have ya. Hell, only thing left’d be the exterior panels, an’ that jist’d seem like cheatin’, not ta mention an affront ta the artistes done designed ‘er. Don’t git me wrong, they did brilliantly back then with what they had, jist a matter o’ tolerances - materials tech’s come a helluva long way, last hunnerd years or so.”
 
They talked like that for an hour or so. It was hard for him. Not in a loud sort of way that would get his heart rate up or anything - he was careful with that, knowing how nosy she was with all of her sensors, not to mention her tendency to jump to crazy conclusions whenever his vitals did spike for whatever reason. But it was hard in a quiet way. Hard keeping things simple, when parts of him wanted so much more. And hard knowing he wasn’t giving her what she wanted. Which was all why he should never have come down here. Better for him and for her if he just saw a lot less of her. Selfish indulgence was what this visit was.
 
But then Al was a master at selfish indulgences. 
 
Well, most of them anyway.
 
#23
 
---------------
Alyce is really enjoying the time spent with Al and does not feel that she needs to bring up anything that might just reinforce to him how silly she is.  She has learned a bit about the auto while in the process of purchasing it and talks the specifics with Al while they sit and just enjoy each other's company and the atmosphere of the pub.  A number of people come up to say hello to the lady of the manor and it seems that Alyce knows most of the people in the village by now.  Of course, never forgetting a name is a big help in that.  After an hour of just talk, she knows that it is time to move on and she puts the lid on the biscuit tin before calling the waitress over.  "Sandra, I guess I have had enough of these for tonight.  Thank you for stocking them.  You may ring the bell as I leave, please."
 
The waitress nods and gives Alyce a smile she knows the woman cannot see.  Many of the local patrons actually seem glad to know Alyce and those present wish her and Al a good night as they depart.  As the two cross the threshold, Al can hear the ringing of the bell that signifies that someone is buying a round for those still inside.  Al escorts Alyce back to the auto and puts it in gear after helping her in and climbing in himself.  He competently guides the auto back to the manor, noting that some bright lights have been turned on off to the side of the large house, illuminating a rather big helicopter on its pad.  Alyce turns her face to the man next to her.  "Now THAT is my real baby right now.  It has been modified from the original specs and I think it will do us proud as a transport and utility left machine.  And I don't mean just getting us to London tonight.  Our experience with the plane brought me to thinking that we can support ourselves on some of our missions.  Go ahead and rip the engine of the Triumph apart then come and look the bird over."
 
#22
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“Missions. Makes it sound like we’s savin’ the world or somethin’. Reckon some of us jist earnin’ our daily bread. An’ don’t reckon we’ll ever git paid enough ta make any profit buyin’ toys like that. And yet…I do like the ol’ Snakehandler. Jist goes ta show what I’ve always said - no rhyme nor reason ta anythin’ anyone does in this so-called business. Guess I’ll go see ta yer wheels.”
Al did just that, making short work of identifying and removing the offending components. Once they were soaking in the solvent, he thought of washing up before going to check out the helicopter but decided it would be boring. He did, however, take the time to hunt out the hippie. Found him in front of a fire with his familiar or whatever she was. Easy to look at, he had to admit. Made him wonder…but he pushed that thought aside…too damned many unnatural notions came into his head on these sorts of jobs. “Lookin’ mighty comfy there, kemo sabe,” he said, speaking directly to the human and paying no further more mind to that spirit than had it been a lamp. “Gon’ go check out the lady’s whirlybird, ya got a mind ta come with.”
#24
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The men find Alyce outside at the helipad, looking over her Hughes Stallion WK-4 helicopter.  She and a man are walking around the outside of the large rotary aircraft, doing some sort of pre-flight inspection.  Alyce turns to face Al as he comes up, excitement on her face.  "Hey there, boys.  Come to see my new baby?  She's a beaut, isn't she?"  She motions to the man standing next to her.  Al has met him before at the restaurant next door to Alyce's book shop in London, but then he was the maitre d' there.  Alyce nods at Dream and Al as she says, "Al, you remember Richard?  He is Stephanie's fiancee and I brought him out to be my estate manager and general odds body.  Dream, meet Richard.  Al, Richard is my usual co-pilot but tonight he is giving that slot to you if you want it.  He will come along with Stephanie so they can do some errands in London.  You guys want to look around?  I can give you the five nuyen tour if you like."
 
Alyce leads the men onto the aircraft and motions with an arm.  The pilot and co-pilot seats are visible through an open door to the flight deck, while the main cabin can seat six in contoured leather seats that swivel from front to any direction and there is enough separation between seats to allow them to tip back nearly horizontal.  The loo and a small food preparation area are forward between the main cabin and the flight deck.  A bulkhead door is aft and is currently slid aside to reveal a cargo space.  Alyce points out some of the features.  "Posh seating for all of us.  This seat is set for an Elf and I have one that can convert to fit an Ork.  Plenty of entertainment options at your fingertips.  The fridge up front has cooled beverages. Al, you will find a case of your fav canned UCAS beers ready to drink and there are two more cases from which to swap out warm ones for cold.  Dream, I prefer wines and vodka so that is what else is available, but I can swap out for anything you prefer as I will be piloting this thing and not drinking.  Snacks, coffee, tea, and even some roast duck are available for the low low fee of a smile.  And don't worry about the blind girl flying.  I have been taking lessons and have my license already.  The sensor suite upgrades make it easy for me to get us to London all safe and secure.  If the worst happens and we lose rotor power, the glider feature will auto-rotate us safely to the ground.  So, I guess the big question is whether we are flying out tonight or getting some rest and leaving sometime after we wake up in the morning?  If we are staying, I can show Al the work I am having done on the boat house and sea dock."
 
23
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“Reckon I’m as firm a believer inna mañana principle as anyone,” Al answered, “but this bein’ a payin’ gig, well, Good Book says a man lives by the sweat of his brow. It also says ta kill vampires. Reckon my vote’s fer leavin’ post haste. Dreamy here’s the boss, though….”
#25
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Alyce nods at Al's comments and turns to Dream and Petal.  "I pretty much know what Al likes to eat and I have a couple of steaks thawing and a roast duck, but do either of you have any special likes or dislikes for food and drink that I should be aware of?  There is still time to lay in something if I do not already have it aboard, especially if we are not leaving right away.  Try out one of the seats, Petal, and let me know if it is comfortable enough for you."
 
#24
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Petal bounced up into the seat like a little kid with a delighted grin on her face, whilst Dream followed at a more sedate pace with a wry smile on his features
 
“Thank you, but I follow our kind’s leanings towards vegetarianism.  I’m sure I will survive the short hop to London…”
 
“I’ll have a beer” Petal piped up and Dream laughed, “I’m not sure you’ll like it much more than the cider you tried last week but you are welcome to try.” And turning back to Robyn “We haven’t had much excitement in the last few years, please excuse my companion’s exuberance, I assure you that when it comes down to it she will be a valuable part of the team…”
 
To which Petal stuck out her tongue at him and broke into a peal of little girl giggles and a look of disgust at the beer as she took a swig…
 
#15
 
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Alyce laughs and nods her head in sympathy with Petal.  "Yeah, I don't much like the stuff, either.  Like I said, I am more a wine and vodka girl."  She turns to Dream with a smile.  "I never really was a vegetarian.  Too much meat in my diet as I grew up, I guess.  I was one of the first UGE kids and my parents were completely unsure how to treat me.  In the end, they decided to treat me like any other kid.  Well, taking the fact that I lived in an EVO compound and was guarded 24/7 by Vory soldiers, I guess my life wasn't exactly typical.  Still, I don't think I turned out too bad?  I do have some nice salads in the fridge here so help yourself if you get hungry."
 
She walks to the door and looks over her shoulder.  "As it appears we are leaving tonight, I have some additional last minute checks to make.  I will be back in a few minutes so please make yourselves comfortable.  Alyce disappears out the door but is indeed back inside the helicopter within ten minutes, accompanied by Stephanie, Richard, and a huge black hound.  Alyce puts a hand on the hound's head.  "This is Alfie.  He takes care of me sometimes.  I usually just let him wander the estate but I thought that I would bring him along to London.  I think the plan is that he will go around to the shop and stay there until we are ready to come back home.  Please allow him to sniff you as I tell him that you are friends."  She faces Dream and Petal.  "I am sure that you can tell by his dual nature that Alfie is not just a normal service animal.  Nor is he just a pet.  I advise caution around him."
 
After having the Hell Hound sniff the hands and auras of both of the strangers, Alyce makes some clicking sounds and the hound goes to a vacant spot on the floor and lies down.  Alyce turns and walks to the flight deck of the helicopter and takes a seat in the pilot's chair.  Richard motions to Al.  "Would you care to sit co-pilot?"
 
#25
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“Heh. Reckon I always figured co-pilots was fer pussies. But I’m happy ta set up here with ya. An’ you,” Al scolded, swivelling his seat around to face Petal, “Ya ain’t gon’ finish that, give ‘er here. Ya don’t wanna eat meat, that’s on you, but one thing ol’ Al can’t abide, it’s a beer-waster.”
#26
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Richard steps aside as Al grabs the beer from Petal, who is still making an odd face over the taste of the beer.  She hands it off to Al with a smile.  "Sure, here you go.  Thank you for taking it."
 
Al walks up to the cockpit and takes the seat next to Alyce, who is strapping into the safety harness.  As he sits, she turns to face him and smiles broadly.  When she speaks, her words come over the intercom.  Please try to have your seat belts fastened while we are moving, just in case we hit unexpected turbulence.  We will be departing in a couple of minutes.  I will be out in the cabin in about an hour but if you need to speak to me before that, please use the matrix as I will not be able to respond otherwise.  There is no stewardess on this flight so the kitchen and bar are self service.  Anyone who wants to give Alfie a treat may do so; there is a bag of beef bones in the kitchen.  He loves them and it is a good way to make friends."
 
She points to the advanced control panel screens, dials, and gauges as she explains their purpose to Al "just in case".  Stephanie brings a briefcase into the cockpit and snaps it into a bracket on the floor and returns to the main cabin to take her seat.  Alyce reaches down and quickly types some sort of code on a number pad in the top of the case before placing her hand on a green plate that swings out from the case's side.  As the plate retracts, Alyce takes a cord from the side of the case and plugs it into a receptacle in the control panel.  She blows Al a kiss and says, "See you in a bit, Al.  I am off to lala land."  Reaching up to her neck, she slides a piece of skin open and grabs the lead of a long cable that she plugs into the case, immediately collapsing in her seat, the safety harness keeping her from falling out of her seat.  The timbre of the engines changes as the rotors begin spinning faster, eventually lifting the helicopter off the pad and into the air. 
 
Al gets a message on his 'link.  >>God, I love this, Al.  I am really living as part of the machine.  Better, I can jump to any of my drones or anything else tied into my network from here.  it is almost as much fun as roaming the matrix.  I am still a bit new at it, though, so no laughing unless I am laughing, too.<<
 
The large helicopter turns over the manor, flying above the village and heading off towards London.
 
#26
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Al voice-texted back <<Well, like she says inna Good Book, ta each his own. Better you than me, toots.>> He had pretended to listen politely as she explained the console, amused that she trusted him to be her co-pilot but didn’t think he knew how to use the instruments. Well, at least she was courteous enough to even have manual controls, since she clearly wasn’t going to use them herself. For all polite listening, however, he seemed to have missed the part about strapping in.
 
So he looked out the windows for a while, glad to be up front with the most beautiful woman in the world instead of in the cabin where the ghost-girl was tittering and giggling over the creature Alyce called a companion. To each his own.
 
As they got nearer London, he asked, <<You rent a helipad somewhere? Or maybe ya jist bought Buckingham Palace one day in between brain surgeries? Hear they got a nice lawn.>>
 
#27
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Aria

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Re: [5e IC] Mirror Dance [2076 Game Thread]
« Reply #6 on: (07:56:33/05-18-17) »
>>Yes, I rent a pad at Heathrow.  I was not aware that Buckingham Palace is for sale; do you know what they are asking for that pile of rock?  Two cars will be waiting at the heliport when we get there; one will take Stephanie, Richard, and Alfie into London and the other is a rental for us to use.  I think I will let you do the driving, if you don't mind.  Say, how are my readouts doing?  You know, those monitors and gauges I was showing you on the left of your console?  Remember, those monitor me to make sure that I am doing OK in here and not in some sort of difficulty.  Take a quickie look and see what they say.  In extremis, you would need to take over the controls and those monitors will be your first hint that I am in trouble so I would dearly appreciate it if you paid at least some attention to those screens, just in case I have a heart attack or something.  OK, putting this thing on autopilot for a bit and coming out now.<<
 
Alyce's body moves slightly and she takes a deep breath before reaching down to disconnect the cable linking her neck to the case at her side.  She shakes her head a bit and faces Al.  "Wow!  What a rush.  Are you hungry or thirsty?"
 
She stands and stretches.  "I think I need to work on the ergonomics of that seat.  I get a bit stiff after being plugged in for a while.  I was going to fix you a steak and potato if you want.  Come talk to me while I prepare the food, if you want.  Oh, wait, let me deploy the babies."  She bends over to touch the console and seems to take a long time to push two lousy buttons.  The slight scent of her jasmine perfume wafts up to Al and she is close enough that he would only need to move a hand slightly to touch her, to feel her skin beneath his hands.  Even he can tell the difference in her breathing as she leans in next to him.  A slight noise from in front of him drags his attention to a row of small monitors that have been dark until now.  The top two are marked as BB1 and BB2 and he can see feeds from what must be a couple of drones flying outside the craft.  "Those are my two Bumblebees.  These have some non-standard mods on them, but nothing that decreases their lethality.  I have them jived up to where I only need to run the big girl at just under max normal speed and the babies can keep up."  She shifts a bit to point to the six monitors below the BBs and her body position puts her almost across Al's lap, such that he can feel the soft weight of her breasts on his thighs as she continues.  "Those are for the eye drones that I can deploy to give my sensors some additional coverage by tying them into the net."  She points to another monitor just to the side of those for the drones.  "That one is currently disengaged, but I have a bloody neat autocannon that mounts under the fuselage and is controlled from here if we ever need to use this girl on a mission.  Even ISaint might like that one."
 
Alyce stands and reaches out to touch Al very gently on the shoulder.  "I am glad that you came out to see me, Al.  Thank you very much." 
 
She turns and goes off into the kitchen area and announces that she is taking orders for breakfast as there is still over two hours before the helicopter arrives in London.  She takes a tray of thawed steaks out of a small fridge and tosses one down the aisle to where Alfie grabs it out of the air and starts in on it.  "Well, that is one satisfied customer.  Orders?"
 
Stephanie and Richard come forward to assist her with passing out beverages and salads as Alyce turns to Al.  "Are you the grilling sort, Al, or should I do the honors?"
 
#27
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“I’m more the sittin’ type,” Al replied matter-of-factly as he reclined with a beer. “Honor’s all yours, toots. Ol’ Al never dream o’ standin’ betwixt a womern an’ ‘er duties.”
 
With steak on its way, Al passed on the variety of colorful gourmet salads. His mind was on the job at hand. Vampires. He hoped it was true. Damned leeches spreading their unholy rot. He’d need some things. He pulled out his commlink and directed the Porsche to the short-term parking at Heathrow.
 
#28
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A silence descends on the cabin at Al's words.  Alyce holds up her spatula and Stephanie nods and comes to take her place in the kitchen while Alyce walks back into the cockpit and sits down with Al.  She talks calmly and in a soft voice so that the conversation stays between the two of them.  "Al. I am going to say some things that might hurt or they might not, but please listen to me.  I love you like no woman has ever loved a man and for that I am willing to put up with everything you do or don't say and do to me.  But there are times when what you say is very demeaning, belittling, or even quite insulting to me and to women in general.  You say these things as if they were nature's or God's laws and maybe you were brought up to believe that.  I will hope that you at least try to be more tolerant and think about how your words might affect someone before you say them.  I seriously request that you change how you refer to women in general and my friends in specific."
 
#28
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Al’s usual wolfish grin widened, teeth clamped onto his cigarette, and both hands came up in peace symbols. He gave Alyce a broad wink with the eye that faced away from the others, then said in a voice just loud enough for all to overhear, “Guilty as charged, toots. Ol’ Al’s been out amongst the heathen for nigh on three decades now, so reckon I’m well ‘nuff acquainted with they post-modernized sensitivities.” Then he gave her another private wink and pitched his voice so that only her enhanced hearing could pick it up. “Gotcha. Ain’t never had no mind ta keep maidservants myself, much less o’ the frog persuasion, so I’ll allow I warn’t thinkin’ on yer predicament, but I sure as hell ain’t here ta queer things for ye with the help. Reckon I can play along.”
 
#29
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Alyce's face takes on a determined look and she sits back in her seat to gather her thoughts before sliding forward.  Her words are spoken so that no one but Al can hear them.  "No, Al. You are not getting it.  I really think that your tone of voice and the words you say are demeaning and sometimes insulting to me as well as others.  What you just said is a good example of that.  You may not even realize how you are coming off to others and I do not know how to let you know other than to tell you.  Stephanie and Richard, and a number of other people work for me, but I do not consider them my servants.  To me, they are my extended family and I try to treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve.  Please try to remember that when you talk to or about them, otherwise you just come off as rude and insensitive.  I love you, Al, and sometimes you frustrate me but that is the price of being in love, I guess."
 
Alyce stands and puts out a hand to the seat to balance her, but misses the first time.  She stumbles a bit then regains her footing, laughing.  "Must be some of that turbulence.  I will let you know when your dinner is ready."  She moves back to the kitchen and takes over from Stephanie
 
#29
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The steak was really good. Al was glad Alyce had broken off the discussion before he could reply, since at the rate he was going he might have talked himself right out of this meal. Which was at least twice, maybe even three times as good as a lamb tikka soyrito. The steak made him think of stakes. And then the seasoning made him think of garlic.  It was clear his mind had been turned to bloodsuckers. And how best to slay them. He’d heard they weren’t to be taken lightly. A quick search turned up dozens of “authoritative” texts on them. Like so many things, the problem  these days wasn’t a lack of info, but a surfeit. Not a problem - a quick mail to his friend Daniel and he had a manageable list of references. Downloaded them (and some were not cheap), ran them through his favorite manga conversion, and got to work.

#30
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Alyce finishes the meals to order and takes hers and Al's into the cockpit area, handing him his, along with a cold can of beer.  She sits in her chair and pops out the table from the armrest, placing her meal tray on it and begins to eat.  Flicking some mental buttons, she has some of the more recent psychobilly tracks play softly from hidden speakers in Al's chair and some concert cello music from hers.  Her sensors show that Al seems to be working something out and not much in a mood for talking so she decides to just sit in silence as she eats.  Her internal scanners are flipping through the feeds from the helicopter sensors as well as those from the two deployed drones.  She also checks the flight time and fuel consumption and smiles at the savings she is seeing in the new and apparently more efficient multi-fuel engine she had installed. 
 
When both are finished eating, Alyce takes the trays back to the kitchen and stores them in the appropriate racks before returning to the cockpit with another beer for Al.  Sitting in the pilot's seat, she straps into her harness and accesses the intercom.  "I hope everyone enjoyed their meal.  I am going to take the helicopter off autopilot now and finish taking her into London.  At current speed and outside winds, I estimate about 103.275 minutes to touchdown.  Give or take."  Alyce again pulls the cable from the side of her neck and slots it into the case at her side.  Her body goes limp as she jumps into the machine and takes control of it.  Al notes that the monitors labeled BB1 and BB2 begin to flash and their sensors show they are closing in on the helicopter.  The process to bring the drones back on board is simple and takes little time.  As soon as the monitors go blank, the helicopter picks up speed as it dashes through the night towards London.
 
#30
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Petal chuckled quietly to herself over the byplay between Al and Alyce, so much confusion and certainty wrapped up in one place!
 
“He’s a naughty man” she whispered to Dream
 
“He is what he is.  We do not know why he or his kind have the effect that they do on events around them but the warping effect should keep the Guild from realising what we are doing until it is too late…at least that is the hope”
 
“Would you like me to go on ahead and check on the lodge?  I’m bored with this helicopter business now…”
 
“Yes please my dear, that would be helpful…we will see you soon”
 
And with a faint waft of apple blossom she was gone…
 
#16
 
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On approach to her rented pad, Alyce ties into the sensors and cameras she had installed there and on the access drive and is happy to see that the autos she had ordered are present in the car park just outside the gate to the pad.  She calls out on the intercom to have everyone strap in for the landing and brings the large helicopter in smoothly.  Glad of her newly trained skillset, she returns to her body and disconnects the cable from the case, letting it retract into her neck, then disconnecting the case from the console.  Richard already has the door open and is assisting the others onto the pad and collecting any suitcases from the cargo area.  He walks over to a waiting fuel truck and talks to the two men there then returns to the helicopter to carry Stephanie's bags to the car.  The Hellhound bounds out of the machine and immediately goes off to sniff at the grass on the edge of the pad before settling on a spot to mark as his.  When all are ready, Alyce sends a command to the gate blocking the access drive and it opens to allow the group to approach the waiting autos. 

Alyce stores a small suitcase in the boot of the rental car but places her RCC in the front on the passenger side.  She exchanges embraces with Stephanie, Richard, and Alfie as they get in their auto then looks at Dream and Al.  "I assume that Petal will be meeting us somewhere so where are we going, and who is driving?"

#31
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