Twin Cities Sprawl Short Stories

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Lethal Joke

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« on: <04-25-14/0141:32> »
Cold and Grey

It was snowing. That was no surprise. This was the St. Paul-Minneapolis sprawl in late October. In a state that often skipped fall and spring in equal measure, the light flurry was even considered mild. Nobody bothered to shift the snow in this corner of the sprawl. The slums were far from the golden lights and high towers of the city’s center. The waste heat from the huge cityscape just turned it to a dirty, grey slop. The color of the rich section of the Twin Cities sprawl was long since leeched out of this area – if ever there was any color.

It used to be a little warmer here, according to the musings of old men like my grandfather. Guess we have that ‘Great Ghost Dance’ to blame for this. Like it wasn’t cold enough before…

The corporate negotiator walked down the slush-covered sidewalk in a fashion that suggested disgust for the very pavement beneath him, dodging the piles of refuse, pollution and other offal in his way. His dark blue business suit, gold-rimmed sunglasses, and tan overcoat put him at odds with the rag-covered homeless that somehow managed to cling to life in spite of the sheer inhospitable nature of the sprawl. The employed elite who walked among them did not begrudge them their survival in the flat, colorless black-and-white landscape. They were resources, whether they would be used by him or not.

That did not make him at all happy to be here.

Note to self: no matter how comfortable it makes your hires; do not allow them to choose the location of the first meeting. My car would be eaten alive by the roads if not some gang of thugs, there are smelly vagrants begging for a handout I wouldn’t give to my mother…

A pair of shadows detached themselves from an alley behind him, looking better dressed (if only just) than those around them. One clearly held a crowbar in his hands, the other a butcher’s knife.

…and last but never least, gangers looking at for a quick ‘score.’

The company man was hardly there alone, but he subtly waved off the security forces watching him from afar. Not because of any desire to end things peacefully so much as a need to make a point that he was not one to be trifled with so lightly.

The two figures moved forward, resolving themselves into a pair of skinny humans – a man and a woman with tattoos of scars and seeping wounds. Those details and the orange pumpkin patch marked them as Halloweeners. Their ghoul-like makeup turned the look of disgust on the negotiator’s face into a sneer of contempt for an instant.

But only for an instant.

His face quickly dropped into a convincing mask of terror as he dug into his overcoat for – it seemed by his words – his wallet. “Please, kind sirs. I’m just lost. I don’t need trouble. I’ll pay! I’ll pay you! Just leave me alone…”

The corporate employee let his words trail off into a sob. The woman snickered and jabbed the finger from the hand not holding the knife at this pathetic-looking figure and mouthed a question at her compatriot.

The man – he had a tattoo of a scar on his cheek to imply a lack of a cheek – shook his head no. “Nah. We can take his stuff from his corpse. Stinkin’ wageslave. Fragging idiot should’ve stayed in his damned cubicle-farm.”

Halloweener number two just shrugged and felt the edge of her preferred weapon.

Typical, really.

As they stepped up onto the section of sidewalk their apparent victim was on, said victim’s hand finally found what he was looking for. He took several quick steps backward as he pulled it out.

The Steyr TMP in the man’s right hand softly belted out a silenced fully-automatic burst that drained a full two-thirds of its clip of ammunition. The man was caught thrice in the torso and spun into the polluted, half-melted snow as his companion gaped at this sudden turn of fortune.

To the corporate man’s amazement, the woman lunged at him with the butcher knife. That amazement meant that she managed to connect with his left shoulder – though it was stopped on the subtle armor the three-piece suit truly was.

That’ll still leave a bruise.

As the ganger lifted her weapon for another blow, he turned his gun slightly and squeezed the trigger, the point-blank fire perforating the woman’s neck and upper torso. She gurgled and fell over, dying before the body hit the damp pavement.

A shuffling sound announced the surprising survival of the other ganger. He turned to point his TMP at the Halloweener who was stumble-running away. A click announced he was out of ammo.

C’est la vie. I have other resources.

Shrugging, he put the gun away and turned his Transys Avalon commlink on briefly. His escort dared not chastise their charge for his recklessness. Two bullets whizzed in from separate directions, killing the man just in time to put his corpse face-first into a pile of discolored snow.

The chief negotiator was already walking towards his meeting with some “deniable assets.” He didn’t pause or turn around at the sound of the man falling dead.

About ten minutes later, he had reached the seedy dive bar in which his five new, temporary, and unofficial employees waited for him in a large booth in the back. They were all rough and hard-looking. An average-sized ork with a Humanis logo burn scar covered by a cancel symbol stood to greet him, with a military stiffness that the corporate employee knew from his briefing was no act.

The ork growled a questioning phrase. “Mr. Johnson?”

The only man in a seedy dive bar wearing an expensive-looking three piece suit. No, I’m Lofwyr, you idiot.

The snide thought did not in any way change the look on his face.

“Yes. Shall we sit and discuss business?” Frederick Goldsworthy, chief negotiator for the Minnesota branch of Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries, asked politely and precisely as he sat in the broken, musty old booth.
« Last Edit: <01-02-15/0233:51> by Lethal Joke »

Lethal Joke

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« Reply #1 on: <04-25-14/0142:48> »
Short story I wrote one lazy evening. It's probably nothing to be too excited about, but I decided to just leave it here, see how laughable it is.

EDIT: I seem to do this on occasion. So I'll just turn this into a sort of one-shot anthology series.
« Last Edit: <01-02-15/0231:07> by Lethal Joke »

Lethal Joke

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« Reply #2 on: <01-02-15/0235:52> »
Some Rumbling Feelings

Steven Leach whistled as he walked up to the door to his modest little house. The happy dwarf set down his full bag of groceries on a tacky wire-frame miniature bench – the ceramic figures that went with it were long broken – and he pulled out an old fashioned key. The key unlocked the deadbolt on the heavy metal door.

It also opened a small palm-reader to the side of the doorknob. He placed his left hand on it – the right was covered in a glove – as he put his right eye to what appeared to be a peephole (set a little closer to the ground.) They were rapidly scanned and approved. The door fully unlocked. Steve picked up his groceries, started to mumble the song he had stuck in his head, and calmly walked through his door, cautiously stepping around his big red BMW Blitzen motorcycle. His stomach growling, he put the bag on the kitchen counter as he walked to his bedroom to change into more comfortable clothing.

The dwarf pulled off the industrial armor that marked him as an Ares explosives manufacturing expert – the removal of the glove on the right arm revealed the forearm to be a standardized cybernetic arm – and pulled on some comfy slacks and a t-shirt proclaiming his love of the local rock band ‘Ghost Kings,’ the people who made the song he was humming along to. Once dressed – with the addition of a fluffy pair of slippers – Steve moved back to his bag of groceries and started to unload them onto the counter.

Oh, yeah. It’s time for a great sandwich!

As the pleased Steve was reaching for the start – pre-sliced dark pumpernickel bread – his Transys Avalon commlink chirped that he was getting a call. The ringtone was a different song by the Ghost Kings, Leach’s favorite, and he bobbed his head along for a few moments before he actually answered.

“Speak your piece and speak it quick. You’re interrupting my dinner. Sandwich time is very important to me, you know.” Steve stated to the caller, shown on the screen that popped up on his contacts’ HUD. He then pulled out three slices of the bread and laid them out.

The dwarf on the screen had on a Hollingway-brand chameleon suit and was holding a Colt M23 assault rifle. Obvious cybereyes glinted, as did a datajack, giving his face an off, lopsided look. “You stupid ass! We hit the trigger and the place didn’t explode! Boomer, why would you betray us?”

Because you’re kind of a jerk.

“Well Johnny, obviously your team didn’t follow my instructions. I don’t screw up and I will never break a deal.” Leach replied simply as he spread hot brown mustard on the upturned side of one of the bread slices, matching the smear of mayo on another and salad dressing on the last.

Johnny Knox – the Decker better known by his handle “100T” – snorted. “Oh come on. The plunger should have been all we needed to do. Succor is injured, and Bruise Meister is almost out of ammo.”

“That big dumb troll out of ammo? A freaking street samurai? Impossible!” Boomer exclaimed as he started stacking turkey, ham, and roast beef with assorted cheeses on top of the mustard-smeared piece of bread.

Lookin’ good. It’s almost sandwich time!

100T was practically growling at the man through the screen. “We were counting on those explosives turning them into thin red paste. We have them corralled in the area. How do we make the bombs go off, Boomer? How?”

“I told you. Pull the fire alarm. Five minutes later, it goes boom. Also, get off the floor you targeted. When I hear ‘big, but not big enough to take down the building’ I take it seriously.” Steve had been in the middle of buttering the other side of the second slice of bread – now on top of the stack – but to underline his seriousness, he stared straight into the shadowrunner’s eyes across the call.

I almost hope he doesn’t listen. Jerk.

Knox gritted his teeth and waved at someone out of view of the screen. “Fine. But I’m gonna kick your ass next time I see you, Boomer.”

Leach, looking over big salami, flicked out his hand blade and sliced several pieces with a small smile on his face. “Yeah. Sure you will, ‘Loot.’ Now hang up before some clever Spider traces the call back to me.”

The dwarf shadowrunner 100T, in an uncharacteristic show of obedience, dropped the call.

I’ll be darned. He listened.

Boomer smirked and played the Ghost Kings song he’d been humming, “Chummer Betrays Omae,” as he quickly finished his huge sandwich.

Steve Leach walked over to the window, spotting his lovely neighbor Stacy getting into bed through her ever-open drapes. He’d asked her if it was intentional. She had said yes.

It’s why she wanted to learn how to use a rapier from me, too.

Steven “Boomer” Leach picked up his massive sandwich, took a big bite, and smiled at the small flash he saw from one of the big towers. A slight vibration beneath his feet told him he had done his job well.

A bomb and then a sandwich.  Overall, I would call that a good day.
« Last Edit: <01-05-15/1645:44> by Lethal Joke »


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« Reply #3 on: <01-10-15/0706:45> »
nice and good post

Lethal Joke

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« Reply #4 on: <03-18-15/0203:13> »
Okay. Here we go again. What can I say. I was bored. C'est la vie.

A Little Cold Mercy

The hard-bottomed flat shoes on the feet of the beautiful elf woman with platinum blonde hair clicked harshly on the tile floor underneath. Her outfit was expensive, but conservatively cut, and almost covered by a standard doctor’s white coat. The badge read her name, followed by a bevy of things she was qualified to do – trauma surgery, cybernetic and bioware installation, limb cloning, plastic surgery…about the only things not on there were dentist and chiropractor.

The name on the tag was Doctor Mercy Wyte. The cold blue eyes framed perfectly by her face showed none of the trait for which she was named.

Hallways such as the one she was striding along were often found in medical facilities. This particular one belonged to her – The Wyte Clinic. It had all kinds of state-of-the-art facilities (not all of which were strictly legal) within its two-story structure with nearly two dozen employees to keep it and its clients functional. Mercy’s little medical empire in South City Central, only a few blocks away from her high-class condo.

Dr. Wyte stopped near one of the rooms nearby, downloading the recent developments to an ARO on her high-tech contacts.  Esmeralda Tatarikov, in for a knife injury inflicted by a now-deceased client of hers.

Gathering information by lying about being clairvoyant can lead to resentment when discovered. Medicine is a more secure avenue for gaining capital.

The woman sitting on the edge of the bed had black hair, brown eyes, and olive skin. Her ears were pointed as if she was an elf, but those were false. Mercy would know. She had done the plastic surgery that had given the information broker the fake points. The woman’s arm was wrapped in bandages.

That Mafia client was good with a knife. Luckily Tatarikov knows a few combat spells to complement all that illusion and detection magic.

The woman known in the shadows as Delphi smiled at her physician. “Well. I take it I can leave?”

“You could leave before. You just wanted to exploit my clinic’s status as neutral ground in case the Cabrini Cartel wanted to make an issue of it. I charge extra for that, by the way.” Dr. Wyte’s face remained in her usual ice cold, neutral expression.

Delphi’s smile only widened. “Such bedside manner! I don’t suppose I could swap your usual fee – plus that extra – for some information? Information that might be…critical to you personally?”

Mercy’s eyes narrowed. “A discount only. A small one.”

“Stubborn. Fine, then. Knight-Errant is going to raid this place. Given how many of your customers are disreputable in a way that makes Colonel Cooper lick his proverbial chops.” The fake elf smirked at her own description of the corporate security chief’s reaction.

Well, the Hanged Man is overly fond of taking down those of his former profession. Still, one would think he would be more willing to overlook those who have saved his life.

Mercy nodded curtly at Delphi. “I appreciate the information. Two percent discount.”

The pale-haired elf turned away from the information broker and strode out of the room before Tatarikov could attempt to negotiate. The medical genius was already thinking of the many favors owed her and how she could leverage them to save her business.

First thing’s first…

Dr. Wyte called Jedidiah Cooper on her Fairlight commlink. It didn’t take long for the security officer to answer, taking the place of the patient report in her contact-using HUD.

The shadowrunner-turned-corporate-security-boss had lost none of his intimidating features. A glowing tattoo of a rope burn – actually a Mystic Armor Qi Tattoo – circled a thick neck. Pinpoint green eyes under a heavy browline and a scowl outlined by a thick salt-and-pepper beard completed the hardened look the Hanged Man had always possessed. This was all punctuated by a black-colored Knight-Errant Colonel’s uniform.

It’s all deliberately chosen to declare his personal war on the inhabitants of the shadows.

Per her usual style, Mercy cut to the chase. “I understand you intend to raid my clinic looking for illegal individuals. If I assured you there were none present, could I avoid this eventuality?”

Jed Cooper’s eyes remained angry, but his mouth twisted into a parody of a smile. “There is nothin’ you can do to avoid me raiding that little criminal haven you’ve set up.”

“Watch it. I could sue you for slander.” The elf doctor replied with a semblance of mildness.

The Hanged Man choked out a raspy laugh. “Maybe after a thorough investigation, which we both know will turn up enough dirt that Lofwyr might show up in person to kill you. But first, you and your clientele will rot in a Knight-Errant maximum-security prison.”

I avoid dragons, actually. As well as anybody can avoid them, at any rate.

Dr. Wyte just dropped the call, trying to think of which of her many powerful clients to call. She could call any of the criminal syndicates, any number of shadowrunners, government officials, Lone Star, or even several corporate bigwigs of both larger and smaller reach and influence. With irony not being big on her list and wanting to keep her clinic the first two options were rapidly dismissed. The government wasn’t really powerful enough to stop the obsessed Colonel with any sort of reliability or promptness.

Using Lone Star Security had potential, given their rivalry with Knight-Errant in the city. That said, South City Central was not LSSS jurisdiction, and of the two forces the Ares-backed one was by far the more powerful and militant.

Which leaves me with corporate bigwigs. I have plenty in the wings, but official action by them could cause enough trouble to make them refuse, so…

The first thing Mercy did was summon her aide. “Cancel all appointments for the next hour or so. And prepare surgery suite 1-A.”

The peon knew better than to question his ice-cold employer. More than one had been fired for less offenses – and a bad review by the elf medical genius could easily kill a career in the Twin Cities. The boss says jump, you ask her how high.

“Call Mr. Masamune. Tell him there’s a surprise opening for that surgery he wants for his grandchild.” The aide – himself a competent medic doing the job of both secretary and nurse just to gain the credentials of working at The Wyte Clinic – nodded and went to make the call.

…one hour later…

Colonel Jedidiah Cooper’s hand brushed his heavily customized Ruger Super Warhawk as he exited his Ferrari Diabolus. A grin spread across his face as he saw the small army that had gathered to raid the clinic with the shady clientele.

I hope I recognize some of those inside. And that they resist arrest. I like a little vengeance with my justice.

The Hanged Man switched to astral vision, noting the large concentration of people in the lobby as opposed to a few in assorted rooms. The surgical suite seemed especially busy.

“Move in.” The order was given. A round dozen regular officers, led by one Lieutenant Pyle, marched into the building. Two High Threat Response teams were waiting near their armored vans in case of heavy resistance.

It could be my birthda…what the hell?

The officers were leaving the building far faster than they had entered. They were followed by fifteen men in heavy armor.

In armor that looked like quite a bit like a samurai’s. With dashes of red paint.

No way in hell did Mercy Wyte manage it. She can’t be that connected.

The Hanged Man marched up to the furthest forward of the heavily-armored men. “Who are you and why are you interfering with a sanctioned law enforcement action? I’m about ten seconds away from having the whole lot of you arrested for obstruction!”

The team of “samurai” laughed, parting ways for a Japanese man in a suit and the cold, beautiful elven doctor herself.

What did she do?

Suit-guy (as he was already nicknamed mentally by Jed Cooper) waved a hand. An ARO popped up on his contacts. It was an order to leave The Wyte Clinic alone, signed by Mayor Oniawah Olafson, Deputy Mayor Robert Kahler, and Counselor Isa Gonsalves.

“For the duration of Mr. Masamune’s stay my clinic is inviolate. Security, so graciously provided by Renraku’s famous Red Samurai for as long as their CEO is inside, is here to prevent any illegal action for that time.” The tall blonde elf looked down her nose at the Knight-Errant chief. He was sure that if Dr. Wyte ever smiled, she would be grinning smugly ear to pointy ear at the shadowrunner-turned-cop.

By the time that old man is out of there – if he ever is – the illegal stuff and the people I want to catch in there will be long gone.

Colonel Cooper chuckled, darkly. “Well played, Mercy. Well played.”

The cold elf merely turned on her flat heel and strode back into the building, only pausing to crisply give an order to one of the Red Samurai.

Five of the fifteen red-clad elite security troopers started to encourage his people to stop blocking the entrance to The Wyte Clinic. The rest marched back inside.

Of course. I’m still cutting into her bottom line.

The Hanged Man was halfway to his Ferrari before he managed to choke out his order. “Fall back and get back to your original job.”

…two hours later…

Mercy Wyte sat at her large granite-topped desk – blue pearl, not local and not cheap – finishing her paperwork before lunch.

As long as I’m thinking about it…

She buzzed for her aide, who entered with haste. “Yes, Dr. Wyte?”

The elven woman didn’t even look up. “Send someone for lunch. The Black Forest Inn – it’s been awhile since I had schnitzel.”

“Of course.” The experienced medic started to leave, but hesitated before actually exiting.

Now what?

Mercy looked up at her aide expectantly.

“Why did the CEO for Renraku’s entire Midwest division come here for medical help? They have their own, right?”

…and that’s why I keep serving shadowrunners. It keeps my mind suspicious and sharp.

The hard-eyed doctor shrugged. “One; I’m a better doctor than any they have. Two; he gets to humiliate Ares – or at least Knight-Errant – and make them look stupid. Three; there are certain operations that are considered embarrassing for someone of his stature.”

“He’d have been fired for brain surgery?” Her aide was stunned.

“Only when it’s to remove a cortex bomb installed by a rival when he should have been on vacation. Now get to ordering my lunch.” Dr. Wyte returned to work before even finishing her directive. “And if you get curious again, I’ll fire you.”

The aide hurried to obey. Doctor Mercy Wyte was many things. A criminal, a medical genius, a bioware supplier, drop-dead gorgeous…

…but she would never, ever be friendly.

Lethal Joke

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« Reply #5 on: <01-07-16/1712:25> »
Long time, no post. But I ended up with an idea and some free time, so I wrote this. I'll leave it here.

The Unseen

Duluth, Minnesota, UCAS

The Amateru Restaurant in Duluth was buzzing with people eating the authentic Japanese cuisine. It was late into the night, meaning those that gathered were mostly upper-middle class families looking for good, genuine food in a quaint – if minimalist – restaurant that they did not need to make themselves. The public dining places within the two-floor restaurant hummed with conversation, the kitchen thrummed with activity. There was only one truly quiet spot in the entire restaurant.

The private, soundproof, eastern room on the second floor of Amateru was reserved for “special guests.” That term referred only to the Yakuza who privately owned the city’s premier Asian eatery. A room with excellent security – a Faraday cage, one-way glass it would take a cruise missile to reliably pierce, and built-in white noise generators – packed into a room comparable to a fairly sizable boardroom. And for the syndicate, the room was only for the elite.

The elite were what waited there, in the room that looked mostly like it could have come out of feudal Japan. Mostly was only because the top man tonight, Hayate Maki – COO of Mitsuhama Midwest and oyabun of all Yakuza in Minnesota – was far too old to kneel on a tatami mat. His saiko-komon, chief administrator, knelt without discomfort beside him, eyes on the far wall. Daiki Iori’s neutral expression could have been carved in stone, and his greying hair showed him to be not far behind in age to the silver-maned Yakuza overboss. At windows that were not windows from the outside, the shateigashira Jackson Tanai paced impatiently. The dwarf underboss in charge of the syndicate’s operations in Duluth was imposing for his metatype’s height due to the high-grade but obvious cyberware he sported.

The only other presence in the room was the elf Sayomi, adopted daughter of Daiki Iori. Clad in a conservative kimono, she knelt facing the opposite wall, waiting for guests to arrive as the others did. A traditional Japanese tea-service sat before her on a low table whose legs resembled sword-holders, and held what appeared to be mock-ups of katana.

Sayomi could see none of it. The Osaka-born elf was born blind. It was why she was adopted – her parents likely had taken her lack of sight as reinforcement to anti-metahuman fervor as a reason to cast her out to die in the cold. Iori found her and raised her, though early on, he had no money to correct her vision. Later, Sayomi had refused any repair to her sight the Yakuza could find.

Jackson Tanai – the only one present actually born outside of Japan – sneered out the window. “Are we sure the Irish have the balls to show up?”

Iori answered for him, his accent clear but his English easily understood. “Franklin Halloran himself will not. But he will send a lieutenant along to speak with us. To do otherwise would be to anger the Cabrini Cartel for risking the underworld treaty. The Irish will come. Be patient.”

The dwarf snorted, but remained otherwise silent. The shateigashira was not known for his patience – loyalty, skill, and pride, but certainly not his patience.

A beautiful, but otherwise nondescript Asian woman in a waitress’ garb came in and bowed low to occupant of the one chair in the room. “A Thomas Cleary and two guests are here to see you. Should I send them in, Maki-sama?”

“Do so.” The two words were reedy, but full of command nonetheless, coming from the oyabun’s mouth. The waitress bowed low once again before she left to obey.

Hayate Maki turned his head a fraction to his subordinates, though his eyes never came close. “What do we know of Thomas Cleary?”

“He’s a bastard lieutenant of the Halloran mob. Doesn’t like non-humans, magic, or technomancers, but adores augmentation. Cleary also really hates having to play nice. Most of the problems we’ve been having with our BTL distribution in Duluth can be traced to him. And probably Halloran, who he’s as loyal as a trained monkey to.” Jackson Tanai nearly spat his description of his opposite number in the Irish mob.

Sayomi’s mouth twitched up from her neutral expression for a split second. Maki’s yakuza was odd in that it was not a biased one. Simply put, their overboss valued talent – measured by results – over everything else. As a result, though their syndicate was small it was filled with skilled people from anywhere other yakuza groups couldn’t stomach working with an ork, elf, dwarf, or troll. Thanks to the oyabun’s high place in the regional MCT offices, most of them had a legitimate SIN as well.

A knock on the door interrupted any reply the other occupants of the room may have had to the crass dwarf’s analysis. Hayate nodded, and Daiki beckoned for them to enter.

Thomas Cleary entered, followed by two obviously vatjob Irish toughs and the waitress who had announced them, who stayed near the door. There was a look of disgust on the mob lieutenant’s face, particularly when it lingered over Sayomi and Jackson.

Sayomi did not react in a way any in the room could follow. She switched to astral sight – the reason she had not turned to the fairly crude methods the yakuza could employ, or even the more advanced methods her ‘security specialist’ role at MCT granted. Sayomi – known on the streets as Tsukuri – did not want to risk any of her talent to the vanity of being able to see the world as the mundane could.

The three Irish mafia goons were not awakened, that was certain. The dark smudges that made their otherwise colorful astral forms feel slightly…empty to her did show they were augmented. Even the mundane could see Cleary’s obvious high-grade cyberarm – likely a Hollingway Viking from its resting state, as if holding a sword or an axe.

Only Cleary himself knelt on a tatami mat, close to the halfway point of the room. His bodyguards stayed standing a few paces back from him, keeping a sharp eye on Jackson Tanai – who they knew to be dangerous.

But apart from a few glances at what little her outfit – a traditional kimono – showed of her pretty elven features, they ignored Tsukuri. Those who saw her as only a blind, pretty elf often did. Those who were prepared with one who could see into the astral rarely did. Cleary’s distrust and disgust towards magic had blinded him to a threat.

The Irish mob underboss spoke without preamble. “Franklin Halloran sent me to assure you that his family has done nothing to harm your organization’s interests.”

Tanai snorted loudly at the bald-faced lie. Tom Cleary glowered at him for a millisecond before continuing. “If associates of his acted without permission, my boss will see them censured.”

The saiko-komon, as he often did, spoke in lieu of his superior. “We know Franklin ‘The Boss’ Halloran. If he were displeased with his…associates he would do far more than censure them. Please do not speak as if we are fools.”

The mob lieutenant scowled. “You slitch yaks. We’ve been taking it easy on you. I think it’s a mistake, but my boss doesn’t think you’re worth the trouble. So I’m here to wave an olive branch under your fool noses. You’ll take it, if you know what’s good for you.”

Iori narrowed his eyes, looking almost as if they were closed. “You will stop ruining our profits, if you know what is good for you, Mr. Cleary. The treaty of the Syndicates War is on our side of this, and we both know the Hallorans answer to the Cabrinis and the LaGuardias. They do not wish more war, not with Yakuza.”

“Just because those meatball-eatin’ upstarts got so many extra hands when Chicago fell doesn’t mean they can ignore good Irish stock. We ruled Minnesota’s underground before the first Italian even thought it was worth a damn! We’ll get back on top. Then we’ll go back doin’ things old school. Killin’ meddlers like you.” Thomas had risen – easily – off his tatami as his voice rose. “Halfers, we’ll cut into quarters. As for the dandelion eaters, we may keep a few of the prettier women – have to fill the demand for whores somehow. Your tiny mixed bag of freaks won’t stand a chance.”

Kyodai Sayomi Iori – Tsukuri – had lowered her head, leaning slightly forward over the low table, hands still at her sides. Violence was brewing. The way Cleary was ranting away, it would erupt very soon.

To the amazement of all present, oyabun Hayate Maki started to laugh. The awakened elf almost turned to look at her leader. Everyone else certainly had – except for Daiki Iori, still staring straight ahead.

When the old yakuza boss finally stopped chuckling, he spoke louder than he had in many years. “As much as I do not believe Franklin Halloran’s assertions that he had nothing to do with the attacks, I now know why he sent you here Mr. Cleary. You are his scapegoat. In one decisive move, he satisfies both our need for vengeance and the need for closure of those he answers to. I will call him afterwards to praise his quick thinking.”

Daiki Iori caught the smile from his boss. “Daughter. Kill them.”

Before either of the Irish guards could show their bewilderment, Tsukuri had pulled her katana, a strong weapon focus, from the decorative leg of the low table. She vaulted it so quickly after it was a blur, coming up standing before the rightmost mafia tough. That tough’s head was quickly removed from its body.

Cleary – to his credit – managed to overcome the shock quickly, raising his cyberarm and firing a shotgun from the palm, straight for Maki. It hit an impressive physical barrier, one that, if you could see the astral, also provided cover for the saiko-komon.

Again, to his credit, the lieutenant didn’t gawk, instead twisting and pulling a bowie knife from a holster in his arm to fight Tsukuri with.

The last bodyguard pulled a baton and made as if to square off with Jackson Tanai. The dwarf just smiled as several exploding bullets hit the guard from behind. The supposed waitress at the door had pulled a Browning Ultra Power out and was emptying its clip into the vatjob’s back. The impressively-augmented and armored goon stumbled forward. Into the cyberspurs the shateigashira had extended.

Thomas Cleary was wired up. That much was clear. He was keeping up with the Tsukuri’s adept-gifted speed, though not overtaking it. And his cyberarm’s tricks apparently included great armor, since he was essentially using it as a shield. The lieutenant even kept fairly close to the yakuza adept, limiting the utility of the katana’s length, and preventing the not-waitress from firing upon them with her explosive bullets.

Sayomi was fairly certain she would wear out before he would – the man’s deeply smudged aura showed he had much cyberware, and some might grant him an endurance beyond even hers. She had to change the rules before she lost.

Risking losing out to the stronger arm, she let go of her focus’ grip with her off-hand. With it, she reached into her hair, pulling on a long needle that was actually a tanto-style knife. It also loosed her meter-long hair from its traditional hairdo. Tsukuri was certain Cleary could see her do this, as his eyes were obviously high end cyberware this close, the kind that missed almost nothing.

She made as if to stab the lieutenant with the tanto. A move he triumphantly blocked with his cyberarm, sneering as if to say he was not that foolish.

The triumph left Thomas Cleary’s eyes as she levered a slice with her magically-enhanced blade that laid his guts open all over the ground. A few weak strikes later, and the mafia razorboy was on his knees, upon both the tatami mat, and his own viscera.

The Halloran lieutenant grunted. “Bested by a blind keeb, of all things.”

Many others in this position would have made a retort. Tsukuri just cut his throat. What use were words upon the dead?

Once the little light Cleary had faded from his spirit in the astral, Sayomi turned and bowed to the fake waitress. “Arigato, Mirror-san.”

Maureen Shafir, the shadowrunner known as Mirror, smiled as her skin color changed, her breast size doubled, and the Asian features faded from her face as nanites fell away. “Tsukuri, we’re a team. Of course I backed you up. Besides, I’m getting paid.”

Another human woman appeared as if from thin air and stepped out from behind the oyabun’s chair. “What. No thanks for me?”

Hayate Maki slowly rose and turned to her, smiling. “Domo arigato, Miss Rosewood. You saved my life, and that of my friend Daiki Iori. You will be well compensated.”

Susan Rosewood, the hermetic mage better known as Cyanide, smirked. “That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me. Anyone need medical attention?”

“No one we want to live, thank you.” Shateigashira Jackson Tanai had a big grin on his face. “I’ll have my group clean this mess up.”

Daiki Iori was the only one with no smile on his face. “My only concern is that we have done Franklin Halloran a favor in the long run. Cleary was loyal, but his biases likely drove useful talent away from the Irish. Now, they will be more willing to do work for that family.”

The Yakuza oyabun shrugged. “Then we will make good use of the short term. However, we should not need the services of your daughter and her friends to discuss that. They may leave now.”

The saiko-komon stood and bowed to his superior before walking to his adopted child, extending three full silver-rated credsticks in his left hand. “Their pay is here, with a matching bonus for you. You go out and celebrate a job well done.”

The elf adept took them and hugged her father. “I will see you later.”

Then Sayomi “Tsukuri” Iori led her small team through the undisturbed Amateru restaurant, out to celebrate a job well done.
« Last Edit: <01-07-16/2329:31> by Lethal Joke »


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« Reply #6 on: <01-08-16/1717:41> »
Cold and Grey

 ...In a state that often skipped fall and spring in equal measure...

Very nice turn of phrase there.  Also spot on.   :)