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IC Story: A Game of Bones!

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Xzylvador

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« on: <02-22-13/1813:29> »
This is the write out of a PvP game played here through PMs.
I greatly underestimated the kind of work it'd take to run this kind of game, but even more underestimated the amount of effort it'd take to go back through all those messages and rolls, trying to sync them so the times would align somewhat and then write them down in a manner that'd be, well, at least somewhat readable.
I have to admit I think I failed at doing that, but I feel I at least owe it to the players to post this regardless of how badly it's written or how much too late it's posted.
I would very much appreciate feedback, even from people who weren't in the game. It's the only way I'll learn from this experience and maybe that way make it a bit less of a failure.
So if anyone wants to share thoughts or ask questions, please do so here.

Apologies for very bad writing.


Ladieees aaaaand gentlemeeeeeen!
Welcome to an all new episode of The Game of Bones!

In last month’s episode, we witnessed how newcomer Kraziac surprised everyone by taking out both Fiery Fox and Legionnaire in the first minute of the game but keeping both his victims alive, using them as bait in a trap for the then-reigning-champion Brutuz!
We’ll never forget the look on Brutuz’s face the moment he realised he’d walked into an ambush when he lost his arm to Kraziac’s surprise attack. But even more memorable was how the big german defended his title: detonating the 3.5 kilograms of plastic explosives in his backpack before Kraziac could finish the job, taking all three opponents with him in the biggest blast and the first instant hat-trick in The Game of Bones, forever earning his place in the Game of Bones top rankings!

With no surviving contestants from previous month, we begin today’s game with an all new line-up that is sure to give fireworks!

First, we’ve got Joe ‘Shortcut’ Hey. Pierced, tattooed and bearded, you’d be quick to judge him your average dwarf but nothing could be further from the truth! Despite his build, Shortcut moves with the grace of a great cat and is just as quick tempered too. Don’t be fooled by his chromed limbs either, this little man is just as familiar with combat magic than he is with a machine gun. Simply spoken, Shortcut is carnage in a compact package, a mixed flavor of meat, magic and machine. Let’s see if that package contains what’s needed to come out on top!

Our second combatant is called Eddie Arcade. Without combat magic or augmentations, this small, unathletic human in plain industrial clothing doesn’t seem to stand a chance in straight-up combat versus his opponents. But what he lacks in physical capabilities, Arcade more than makes up for with his expert skill in mechanics , electronics, hardware and software. Can he use toys and almost inhuman knack for technology to tip the scales in his favor?

The third contestant is Moe ‘Radical’ Hawk, an athletic and muscular dwarf who looks like he’s built for sport and combat. Rumored to be connected to the Yakuza, this adrenaline junkie doesn’t seem to get enough excitement fighting the mafia on the streets and signed up to the game. Will his skill with stealth and heavy weapons prove to be what it takes to stay alive long enough to kill his opponents?

And last but certainly not least we’ve got Laura Grey, a changeling from Seattle who was rumored to be an enforcer for the Triads before striking out as a freelancer. Don't be fooled by her striking gothic look, or her petite frame.  She is rumored to be extensively augmented, brutal, ruthless, and remorseless.  Not someone to mess with if even some of the nasty rumors about her are true. She's sneaky, she's fast, and she's a crack shot.  But how will she deal with people toting heavy ordinance, or when the fighting gets up close and personal?

We’ve already  told you about this month’s location but for those who skipped that part, here’s the quick recap.
The battle will take place in the Puyallup North Shopping & Entertainment Center, a mafia-run mall close to gang territory. This, of course, means that our contestants will not have to worry too much about law-enforcement. If they mess up and draw too much attention, mobsters or gangers will probably have them taken care of long before the knights arrive to clean up the pieces. Of course, gang presence and the lack of real law enforcement means that many of the cameras and other security measures in the mall aren’t really in the best condition.

Alright then, let’s have a look at how this months combatants start the game!

Starting on ground floor in the east of the mall, 2 clothing stores to his right and a shoe store and soy-cream parlor on his left, Shortcut has arrived through the entrance like any other visitor, albeit a bit better dressed. Vashon Island’s Synergist business outfit is a little out of the price range for the people who frequent this place. Of course, most of the locals will just believe it to be cheap african copies so he shouldn’t draw too much attention. Smart choice in weapon too! Sound suppressed and capable of firing out of a special briefcase housing, the Ares Executive Protector is a marketed as the ideal weapon for people working undercover or bodyguards. That submachine gun is excellent in a situation such as this. It’s hard to see on camera, but our astral watchers report that Shortcut is in the process of spellcasting. The spells seem to boost his alertness, reflexes and reaction speed, giving him a serious edge over mundane opponents and putting him on-par with the rest of the combatants.

The difference with Radical, starting in the emergency exit on the second floor west in the shopping mall (next to 225), couldn’t be bigger! Not only has the athletic dwarf brought in an Ingram White Knight -that’s a real machine gun, people!-, he’s got a Ford LEBD1 law-enforcement drone hovering next to him, too! How does he hope to keep these things hidden from the public -or his enemies- long enough to use them?

But will you look at that?! If you thought the dwarf’s going to have a hard time keeping his weapons hidden, maybe he can just hide behind Arcade! This, dear subscribers, in case you couldn’t believe what you are seeing, is what happens when you give a standard Chrysler-Nissan Patrol car to a person with insane technical skills and tell him he’s going to be fighting to the death. This thing could compete in mech-wars and come out without a scratch! Walker-mode, full armor plating and not one but two machine guns, this tank called Mek will be almost impossible to take out with the kind of weapons Arcade’s opponents have with them. To make things worse, the man himself seems to be sitting nice and cozy inside a rigger cocoon, making it impossible to simply take out the driver. He’s entered through the Stuffer Shack’s loading bay (3) and the security camera’s there were bursted long ago by unskilled forklift drivers, but there’s simply no way this won’t raise alarms the moment it enters the public areas. What tactic will Arcade use? Will he set a trap here, waiting for or baiting his opponents into the line of fire of the mech or will he go for an all-out assault, shooting anyone and everyone standing in his way to victory?

And far to the south, Grey finds herself standing in a small corridor between 240-241 and 242 on the first floor of the mall, surrounded by walls covered in graffiti. Next to her there’s a small cabinet, normally containing containing an emergency medkit, but it’s been smashed open and looted. The two guys and the girl lying on the floor with their backs against the wall seem to be completely zoned out, they don’t seem to notice her presence. Grey immediately decides this a mall isn’t a good place to be carrying around her rifle and hides it in the cabinet, instead choosing to rely on her easy to conceal pistol and her skills in melee combat.

We've equipped all four players with the trademarked Game of Bones armband and planted sensors and backdoors in all of their belongings. The armbands are stuffed with technology which allows us to watch, guide or otherwise communicate with them. Or simply to administer the players electroshocks, poisons, combat drugs or whatever else we saw fit to put in today. *coughnanitescough*
At the moment, the armband is showing them in which direction their opponents started. This locator function will be updated in three minutes.

Back to the game, it looks like Radical is trying to conceal his drone and machine gun by activating the chameleon coating he had installed in them both. What is this dwarf hoping to achieve? Chameleon camo can be very efficient, but it won't be enough to stop people or security in close proximity from noticing a dwarf running around with military gear or an armed drone.
Now look at that! He's not trying to cloak his weapons, he's giving them bright colors! White, dayglo orange and yellow... what's that logo? NERF! That's amazing, he's programmed in sound and everything. The robot is blurting out "The new NERF Blitzkrieg lets you blow away the competition!". Passing over his White Knight to the drones mechanical arm, this just might be enough to convince the public. Unfortunately for Radical, handing over his weapon means he'll be unarmed and will have to rely on the drone to quickly bring him his weapon when he's in need of it.
But it seems the dwarf's got even more tricks up his sleeve. Holowear, the latest fashion trend in high society, seems to have gained popularity in the shadows also. With a simple thought, Radical has loaded an image to alter his appearance to the outside world. A female, blonde and, well, very big chested dwarf is standing where the dark haired male dwarven athlete was standing just a second ago. We might never know where he bought the template for this projection, but I'm willing to bet it had 'Parental Advisory, 18+' warning banners all over the site.

Meanwhile on the other side of the mall, Shortcut is just walking past a bar where three guards are enjoying a soycaf break and the dwarf's armored clothing and lethal briefcase doesn't seem to raise any alarms. He’s just swallowed a gerilixir pill -better known as G3- and is chewing betel gum, two stimulants which will make him more alert and energetic.
Further west of him, Grey's remarkable appearance draws some looks from the public while she’s heading east towards the blue hall. It's not often you see an almost anorexic female with a monochromatic grey look -including greyscale hair and marble-like skin- walk by. She seems to emit such a nasty vibe that just her proximity is enough to send a shiver down some people's spines, making people quickly avert their eyes and go on with their own business in the hopes of escaping her attention. But that's not much unlike the way they'd act around the average ork in gang outfit, so she just might fit right in. About 15 meters ahead of her, three guards slowly walk their patrol round, quietly chatting amongst each other about their private lives.

In the north, fitting in seems to be the very last thing on Arcade's mind, having opened the rolling shutters of the loading bay and driving, or should I say stomping, his tank Mek onto the corridor. Meanwhile, he’s ordered the agent on his commlink to start scanning and then hack into the mall’s security system.
Mek has got its chameleon coating activated but it doesn’t appear to be doing much good. People have started yelling and pointing since the moment the mech’s first steps landed on the red, black and white tiles of the mall. It looks a bit silly, a robot with stone tiles and the image of a clothing store display windows all over it. It won't take long for security to take notice... We'll soon find out how they respond!
Let's close in on the patrol that's just around the corner.

Meet Macha, 'call me Joey' Jonathan , Vincent and their trusty -or should I say rusty- Nissan Doberman drone. Normally Joey and Macha patrol the hallways in the company of their drone but Vincent's a new guy, hired only yesterday after he was kicked out of Knight Errand for taking bribes from the Mafia. Looks like this will be a first week to remember. Just a couple more steps... They've already noticed from the crowd's reaction that something's going on and are increasing their pace. Hah, look at their faces when they notice the odd-looking mech walking straight in their direction!
Macha and Joey have enough experience to understand this isn't the time for bravery, immediately moving for cover behind the thick support pillars. But Vincent... poor Vincent's apparently still got the whole "I'm a cop and I've got loads of authority and backup" mindset from his days with the knights. Still he seems to realise that this situation isn't really ideal, his raised hand and his voice were obviously trembling when he tried to hold the tank by shouting "Stop. Vehicles are not allowed here! Please step out of your... tank?". He's got his hand on his pistol and the doggy drone right next to him, but will Arcade be impressed by a mall guard and a drone his own mech can crush by stepping on it? We'll soon find out, after we have a look at how the rest is doing!
« Last Edit: <02-22-13/1859:44> by Xzylvador »

Xzylvador

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« Reply #1 on: <02-22-13/1815:19> »
Nope, nothing much to report here. Shortcut and Grey are still casually walking through the mall. Looking over the railing, the odd-looking woman just saw another guard on the floor below her and picked up a drone and another person walking along with him, they didn’t notice her and were walking the opposite direction.
Radical's disguise seems to work brilliantly, no one seems to really look at him -or should I say her right now? When he entered the public area, he spotted a number of latino gang members in the southwest of the ‘orange’ hall and two guards walking in the southeast, headed into the hallway. He decided to act casual and avoids both of them, instead staying on his side of the walkway and is now making fast progress, going northeast in the ‘orange corridor’ on his roller skates.
His drone draws some attention but I suppose that's the entire purpose of an advertisement drone. No one seems to notice that the newest NERF gun is an actual machine gun loaded with explosive ammunition. Man, what does that say about the toys we let our kids play with nowadays?
That they're pretty damned awesome, that's what!

So, back to Arcade versus NPCC. You can’t see it on your displays, but our sensors tell us that Mek’s radar system has suffered a minor glitch. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a simple reboot and the targeting systems will work just fine with the vehicle’s other sensors, but it’ll the rigger will have a hard time detecting incoming reinforcements on the upper floor while the radar is down.
Now let’s find the answer to the age old question: “What effect does raising a hand and shouting ‘Halt’ have against a shadowrunner on a kill mission and driving a tank?”
Arcade, putting the computer in charge of one turret while taking control of the second one himself, gives us the answer: “A bloody one.”
With a first full-auto burst, Arcade’s machine gun spits out a hail of bullets towards the pillar Joey is using for cover. These are strong, concrete pillars. But these are also a lot of explosive rounds. Let’s slow this down to see what happens: Most of the bullets slam into the concrete and explode, sending pieces of tile and concrete flying like shrapnel in the opposite direction. But their combined damage is enough to dig a hole deep enough for the last couple of bullets to cause damage on the other side of the column, hurling pieces of stone towards the unfortunate guard standing behind it. His armor seems to prevent most of the damage to his chest but his arms and face have no such protection. And then last round flies through the hole and slams straight into him, causing Joey to collapse on the floor, slumped against the pillar, unconscious and bleeding from wounds in his face and arms. Joey won’t be getting up anytime soon.
Still, he’s better off than NPCC-guard-in-training Vincent. Completely without cover, poor Vince has got no chance of surviving the burst from the pilot-controlled machine gun. It takes far less than nine Ex-Ex rounds to explode a person’s chest. Luckily there’s video footage of all of this, otherwise his wife would have to wait for DNA-results to confirm that this pile of red goo is her late husband.
With her two colleagues down in a matter of seconds, Macha decides to flee back to where she came from, running back into the western corridor while radioing for backup. The drone, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have survival instincts programmed into it and opens fire on its ten times larger, better armed and armored counterpart. Its shotgun however has no chance against Mek’s armor, the flechettes harmlessly bouncing off of it. In response, Mek fires another salvo towards the drone and reduces it to scrap.
The rigger scans the area with the vehicle’s cameras. The remaining guard seems to be on the run and outside line of fire. Most of the shoppers have run into the nearest stores for cover, on the first floor there’s a small number of people who aren’t running away but are trying to watch what’s going on from behind cover, but they don’t seem to show signs of hostility.
A message from Arcade’s agent suddenly pops up, reporting it has managed to locate NPCC’s security node but tripped an alarm while trying to hack into it and now asking whether it should continue its task. With a sigh, he orders the agent to cancel to hacking attempt.
With no enemies in his immediate vicinity, Arcade decides to head towards Nature-Taste, steering Mek towards the eastern corridor.

Wasn’t that something! Barely half a minute into the game and already a drone and a guard blown to pieces with another one slowly bleeding to death. Let’s see how the rest of the mall is responding to this situation.

Guards everywhere are responding to Macha’s distress call. The two patrols nearest to Arcade, patrolling on the upper floor east and west of his location, are running towards him but I doubt their pea-shooters will be of much use against a tank. Other guards all over the mall are getting up and heading towards the nearest security post in the hopes of finding out just what is going on and coordinating a response. But will the increased alert provide problems for the other contestants?

Grey was still casually walking east towards the blue hall when the gunfire reached her ears. The rest of the public, lacking the high-level auditory enhancers, continues minding their own business, subtly trying avoid her proximity or making eye contact. She pauses for a moment and notices the guards, who have now reached the blue hall and are waiting for the elevator, are suddenly alarmed by a message from their commlinks. They seem unsure what to do for a few seconds, then two of them draw their weapons and start running north while the third runs southeast towards the hall’s security post.

Meanwhile, Shortcut has progressed into the eastern ‘purple’ hall and has started climbing the stairs towards first floor when the three guards sitting in the bar suddenly leap up from their table and start sprinting in his direction, drawing their sidearms as they run. Not having heard any gunfire and his body fueled by different kinds of energy-boosting magic and drugs, the dwarf can’t helped being alarmed and suspicious. He tries to stay calm but aims the briefcase/SMG towards the guards and asks "Is something wrong, gentlemen?" in his low, harsh voice. Luckily for him, the guard running in front shouts "Just get the hell out of our way, dwarf!" as they reach the foot of the stairs and start running up. Shortcut sidesteps and presses himself against the railing to make room for the guards. They almost knock him over the railing as they rush past, running up the stairs two or three steps at a time. Shortcut follows them from a short distance. Reaching the top of the stairs, a fourth guard rapidly approaches from the security desk across the hall and beckons her colleagues to follow into the northern hallway while shouting “Did she say tank?!”. The civilians in the area seem a bit puzzled about the behavior of the guards but noticing no immediate danger simply shrug their shoulders and continue shopping.

Radical, rollerskating through the western ‘orange’ hallway with his drone flying behind him, has just passed the guards on the other side of the hallway when one of them exclaims “What the drek!” and their slow walk turns into a sprint. The direction and speed they’re all headed, it looks like they’ll be on top of each other at the intersection. Since no one’s called out to him, Radical stays calm and cuts across the hallway, watching the guards from the corner of his eyes. He notices they’re alarmed by something, a suspicion that’s only confirmed, spotting two more guards on the floor below also running northeast, weapons drawn.  "The game is already on and I'm missing it! I need to get into the action!", the dwarf mumbles under his breath. For a moment he seems to want to follow them but then decides against it, instead heading into the eastbound corridor towards the central ‘blue’ hall in the hopes of using his faster movement on roller skates to cut them off.

On the other side of the mall, Shortcut’s decided not to run behind the alerted guards into the northern hallway, instead preferring to head west towards, you guessed it, the ‘blue’ hall.

So we have contestants running straight towards each other... wait, the central blue hall, isn’t that the same place where Grey is at this very moment? What else is there to see at that location?
The turret on the ceiling is still inactive, its weapon hidden behind its closed dome shaped armor. Being the largest and central hall of the shopping complex, this is also where the largest security station is located, behind the information and security desks on both stories. Grey’s already noticed a large number of guards have gathered at the desks on both floors and are apparently very busy watching footage and discussing tactics. There’s little to be gained from watching the guards in their stations and one of her targets might not be far away so the slender woman decides to follow the two guards headed north.
Running after them, Grey no doubt overhears one of them say “It’s headed east towards the Real’s turf.” and notices they slow down upon reaching the ‘pink’ corridor leading north. Is it just me or do the guards seem a little nervous?
This area is obviously gang turf and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which gang this is. Large green graffiti ‘A’ signs and words in a strange-looking language cover every surface and a small group of elves wearing black and green clothes are gathered around a bench or leaning against the nearby railings and display windows. Having guards passing through their area seems to be a bit unusual to them but they seem to be content just shouting at them. Many words are in a strange language but are mixed with English insults. In between their insults, some of the elves seem to be encouraging the guards to pass through their areas and ‘run towards your deaths’. There are even more Ancients the northern end of the hallway, they seem to be leaning over the railings and looking at something on ground floor while cheering and shouting.

To find out what they’re looking at, let’s head back to the walking tank of death and see how many more have been riddled with bullets by Arcade’s machine guns. By now the radar sensor on Mek has been reset and the rigger has no doubt noticed the numerous guards that are almost on top of him, but he doesn’t seem to care. Armored and armed as he is, why would he? It’s doubtful they’ve got anything that could put so much as a dent in his mech.
But I’ve got a gut feeling that Arcade’s invulnerability will soon be put through an entirely different test. A few moments ago he set course east, entering the ‘green’ corridor. As the cocooned criminal can no doubt see through his sensors, the hallway has been abandoned. The corridor has been largely abandoned, everyone has fled in the opposite direction or ran into stores looking for cover. Everyone but the half dozen figures gathered on and around two benches a little further than halfway in the hallway. They’re obviously a gang, all flashing gold as their gang color, mixed with chrome, often in the form of heavily ‘pimped’ cyberlimbs. Their ‘turf’ has no physical markings but the AR around them is lit like a christmas tree. All of them are looking in the mech’s direction, seemingly well aware of what’s coming their way but completely unafraid and unimpressed. If anything, they seem to be mocking it.
Now I’m willing to bet my job as this show’s presenter that this would be an excellent time to see what’s happening in the matrix. Looks like you’re stuck with me for a little longer, a message just arrived on Arcade’s commlink -didn’t he put it in hidden mode?- and it doesn’t seem very friendly: “We ain’t having no scriptkids here, n00b. Y don’t U & UR toy mech turn round and go play elsewhere.”.
Arcade’s knowledge of Seattle gangs may be lacking a bit, but mine isn’t. Gold and Chrome are the colors of one of the smallest gangs in Puyallup called ‘The Reality Hackers’. Gangs their size don’t usually last long in an area with this much gang violence, but these guys aren’t just left alone by the much larger groups in the area, they actively mess with them. Since they usually just play with their ‘victims’ instead of killing them, their ability to hack into cyberlimbs, vehicles and law enforcement databases among other things seems to be enough to make other gangs look elsewhere for a way to vent their anger. Hackers don’t have a lot of respect for people relying on agents to do their dirty work, though, and the botched attempt to hack the security node probably didn’t buy him much credit neither. Is Mek’s virtual armor as tough as his physical one? If its driver doesn’t turn around and choose another route, it’ll be put to the test quickly.
An no, Arcade doesn’t feel threatened by the Reality Hackers, sending back a message saying only “Blap Blap Blap” and increasing his vehicle’s speed. If the hackers don’t do something soon, they better get out of the way or be run over by Mek. While physically they don’t seem to be doing anything -a few of them even seem to lean their backs against the benches and close their eyes- the activity on the matrix suddenly went through the roof.
Just to be clear about what we’re seeing here, this is the VR overlay of Arcade’s personal network; his reality filter makes it look like the cockpit of a spaceship. Sitting firmly in the captain’s seat is his virtual persona and through the windows you can see the mall as perceived through the vehicle’s sensors. And we can see something his own sensors haven’t picked up yet: a giant cyborg smashing what appears to be a monkey wrench against a small window on the left. For every second passing in the real world, a lot can happen here; Mek’s barely taken a few steps in the mall but in the virtual reality the cyborg’s already managed to get some small cracks in the window.
An alarm sounds in the cockpit, the firewall has picked up the attempt to break into Arcade’s system. He could try to fight them off but he hasn’t loaded the right programs yet and from the looks of it, in the time it would take to load them his system will already be compromised and the hackers could take over control of everything. How is he going to...
« Last Edit: <02-22-13/1900:15> by Xzylvador »

Xzylvador

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« Reply #2 on: <02-22-13/1815:42> »
Back to reality! It seems we’ve lost connection to the commlink, which can only mean the rigger has decided to shut it down and let Mek’s autosofts take over. Wow, that’s a very risky move he just took there! For any shadowrunner shutting down your entire system like that means a serious setback, losing important assets like smartlinks, communication and sensory enhancements. But for Arcade, sitting inside a rigger cocoon, the entire world just went dark and quiet. All the protection his cocoon grants him means that without his commlink and a connection to sensors he can’t see, hear or do anything to find out what’s happening on the outside. And he’s stuck inside until he turns it back on and reconnects with his vehicle’s node. Mek’s system does have the right programs loaded to fight off intrusion, but if it turns out to be insufficient to fight off the hackers, will there be anything left for Arcade to reconnect with?

Before we answer that question, let’s have a look at the others! Both Shortcut and Radical are still on their way towards the central hall which Grey is about to exit, following the two guards cautiously headed north... walking straight into the Ancient’s territory.
Grey has really got her looks against her with her very distinctive and hostile appearance and while the majority of the elves are still north of the corridor looking down at what Mek is doing, there are still half a dozen of them on her side, impossible to avoid.
Still, she might be in luck, the elves know about the two guards being gunned down and probably realise that this isn’t the best of times to further annoy NPCC, things could turn ugly very quickly. But that doesn’t mean they won’t taunt her though. My Sperethiel isn’t very good but I’m certain those things they’re shouting at her aren’t very friendly. There’s some English in between all the Elven gibberish, it seems to come down to “Get the **** out of here you ugly freak!” and various other insults about the way she looks.
Grey’s attempt at intimidating them while she defiantly walks deeper into their turf, while very scary-looking and no doubt serious about the pain she could cause, only makes the elves more annoyed, their confidence boosted by their far superior numbers and the presence of one of the gang’s smaller lieutenants. They can’t just allow a person to defy them on their own ground and get away with it, it would seriously damage their reputation. They’re still mindful of the nearby guards, but with them occupied elsewhere and their backs turned to them, the elves stand up and flash their weapons, one of them saying “You better beg us to forgive you, Makkanagee morkhan.”. I’m not even going to bother looking up a translation for those last words, I don’t need to know the language to know it’ll set off my auto-censor.
Look at Grey’s expression! Instead of being frightened of the elves who outnumber her six to one, she looks angry and vindictive. Slowly taking back a few steps, she even challenges them by asking “Or what?”.
At the other far end of the hallway, the guards have reached the railing where they can watch down on the carnage caused by Arcade’s vehicle. One of them exclaims “Holy crap, the thing's coming back this way!” and both draw their pistols, aiming down over the railing. But it looks like Grey’s got other things to focus on now as one of the elves draws a sword and barks a command. All of them respond immediately and charge the woman.
Wow! Wow! Did you see what I just saw? How can anyone move this fast? We’ll have to watch the slowmotion to see what just happened. With a snap of her fingers and the flick of her wrist, Grey opened a small compartment in her fingertip and sent a razor sharp wire flying towards the head of the elf closest to her, drawing a thin red line across his forehead. A second later the elven maiden drops on her knees, the top of her skull slides off her head and she collapses on top of it. There’s a fine demonstration of why monofilament whips are banned in nearly every country in the world.
The speed and ease with which the shadowrunner just took down one of their friends looks to be enough to make two of the others want to turn and run but a shout from their leader is enough to make them snap out of their panic and get some payback.
A fight like this is something you won’t see very often. Most five versus one fights don’t last very long but so far, Grey hasn’t even been touched! And these aren’t just some pushover beetlehead punks trying to rob someone, some of these elves look like they’ve had some combat implants and weapon training. Sure, it looks like she got lucky with some of those dodges but you simply cannot avoid this many attacks without being a complete master of martial arts.
Unfortunately for her, constantly having to blocking incoming blows and ducking under daggers and swords means she can’t focus too much on her own attacks. There’s just no way the fight can keep going on like this, one of the elves is bound to get lucky eventually and if that happens while surrounded by enemies, things will be over for Laura very quickly. More dodges, more swings, more lashes... but it looks like the elves finally managed to find a hole in the runners defenses! The fastest and strongest-looking of them manages to block Grey’s whip with the spurs on one of his hands and lands his other straight in her stomach. That blow would have no doubt put anyone else in the hospital but it looks like the woman took the beating without much, if any, harm. Armored clothing, those things may be expensive, but how much would you be willing to spend to survive being stabbed in the stomach by three foot-long blades?
She may have gotten out of that unharmed but it looks like the blow brought her back to reality and aware of her dire situation. Het Luck can’t last forever and these elves have more friends that just became aware of the fighting. But Grey is not leaving without a parting present. Even as she’s looking for a way out, she send her whip across the chest of the ganger who just punched her, tearing open not only his leather jacket but also parts of the rib cage below. While he’s crumbling to the floor, screaming of pain, she taunts “Tag, you’re it!” and none of the elves seem capable of stopping her as she bolts back in the direction she came from.

Just before all this fighting started, however, we heard one of the guards running towards Mek shout that “it’s coming back”. Didn’t  Arcade log out after sending the tank’s autopilot to Nature’s Taste in the east? What’s been happening on the matrix?
Understand that the vehicle’s autosoft itself obviously doesn’t need a user interface or reality filter to represent what’s happening. But since we do need one, we’re using a copy of Arcade’s commlink overlay to show you what’s happened inside Mek’s ‘cockpit’.
The green robot sitting in the captain’s chair is the drone’s autosoft, now steering the vehicle. Through the windows of the cockpit we see the familiar images of the shopping center and the equally familiar image of the cyborg trying to smash the spaceship’s windows. Once again an alarm is raised before the hackers’ cyborg can break through. The cockpit turns red, alarm signs light up everywhere and the ship fires its countermeasures, its electronic warfare programs attacking the hacking program by using an electronic pulse on the outside of the ship to fry the cyborg’s electronics but to no avail. The jolt doesn’t seem to affect the cyborg and it smashes the window into pieces. Another green robot, armed with a laser rifle, runs into the cockpit and fires at the intruder. This attack hits and seems to hurt, knocking off its right arm. But the hackers are relentless and now they’ve breached the system know they’re close to victory. The cyborg send a message to the armed robot ‘10110110011100113’, a crash program hoping to shut down the tank’s defense systems, but it manages to filter out the malicious code and opens fire again. This time however, the cyborg dodges the shot and the hackers once again attempt to crash the IC. This time the attempt succeeds and the armed robot falls into pieces. Turning to a control panel, the cyborg has little problems shutting down the alarm and starts reprogramming the ship’s systems. The Reality Hackers now have total control of Mek and have turned it around. But what are they going to do with the rigger that’s stuck inside and what will -or can- Arcade do when he finds out what happened?

Little over 50 meters south, a sharp featured woman clad in grey clothes is running into the mall’s central hall, 4 very angry looking elves on her heels but losing ground to the freakishly fast woman. Also arriving in the hall is a dwarf on skates, hiding his true appearance behind the projections of his of holowear.
Just a few moments ago Radical stopped just before entering the hall in order to give his drone a couple of new orders. Its standing orders were already a bit complicated: pretending to be a NERF advertisement drone, following its owner without appearing to be following, watching out for opponents, sounding ‘Go full auto with NERF!’ when it noticed an imminent attack and, when it or its owner comes under attack, returning fire and bringing the machine gun in its mechanical arm to its owner as quickly as possible. Seemingly logical instructions but already a bit complex to combine for the drone’s limited processing power. The new orders further complicate things by having it search the second floor for the other combatants by itself while Radical searches below and adding a combat priority list in addition to the orders it already had. In his eagerness to find an enemy, the dwarf continued into the hall, failing to notice that the drone’s software glitched while trying to process and prioritize all the instructions and isn’t responding.
Grey and Radical arrive in the hall at the same moment, the blood spattered woman with a number of angry elves in tow entering from the north and the dwarf heading towards the stairs in the southwest of the hall.
Radical’s attention is drawn north by the elves’ angry shouting, it’s just impossible for him not to notice the Grey. His adversary, on the other hand, sees only the image projected by the dwarf’s holowear. It’s hard to say if she’s noticed the appearance is a projection and if she did, whether she suspects it’s one of her opponents hiding behind it. But the lethal woman does appear to be subtly changing direction and starts heading towards the projection of the blond female dwarf. My money’s on her preferring to err on the side of caution... which in this case means it’s safer to kill an innocent bystander than risk being attacked by an enemy in disguise. Radical, too, has changed direction, skating towards his opponent and trying to engage in combat within line of sight of his drone so it can provide backup, completely unaware of the fact that it’s stuck processing its commands and won’t be quick to respond.
Grey’s uncanny speed, no doubt a result of some kind of mutation, has already caused the Ancients to fall behind. She yells “Lady, get out of the way! They’re killers!”, a ruse to trick the dwarf into believing his hologram has fooled her, while behind her back she’s preparing her monofilament whip for attack, but if she believes this will make the combat-ready dwarf drop his guard, she’s wrong. His shock gloves are powering up.
And there you go! Radical was ready to slam his fist into Grey’’s stomach, but once again she shows how fast she is by attacking first, sending her whip flying towards her adversary’s head, who manages to parry the attack and responds in kind with his electronic fists. But his attack is easily dodged by the quick and agile woman.
As the fight continues, shoppers are getting out of the way while on the other side of the hall the guards at their desk are still too distracted by the video feeds of Mek’s rampage and their discussions on how to deal with this threat to notice -or care about- a melee fight.
Both combatants manage to dodge or parry each other's attacks but it’s painfully obvious that when it comes to melee combat the dwarf is seriously outclassed by the grey woman’s skill with her whip. The dwarf seems to be aware of this too and he has no doubt noticed that the backup he was expecting from his drone isn’t coming neither. He’s in trouble and he knows it.
But despite her obvious advantage in combat, Grey’s not entirely happy with the situation either. She must be getting frustrated that she hasn’t managed to land a blow yet and has to realize that her superior skill may not be enough to survive when the Ancients catch up with her, their arrival might turn the tables heavily in her rival’s favor.
Neither of them happy with the situation, they’re both fighting while trying to head deeper into the western corridor, away from the incoming elves and closer to the machine gun and combat drone disguised as Nerf toy advertisement.
And things might get even more exciting soon! Shortcut is just entering the hall from the east. How is he going to react to the fighting going on on the other side?

But let’s not forget we still have a fourth player in this contest. Less than a minute ago Arcade decided to fend off a matrix attack by shutting down his commlink while inside a rigger cocoon, effectively turning himself deaf and blind to the outside world. Little does he know that this maneuver, while protecting his own ‘link from the Reality Hackers’ intrusion, gave them the opportunity to hack directly into Mek. The Reality Hackers managed to gain total control over the tank... including Arcade’s armored cocoon. Let’s have a look at what appears on the rigger’s VR now that his commlink is booting up.
After a short POST, his VR displays the cockpit view again, Arcade sitting in the captain’s chair. The windows start out dark, but that’s normal. His commlink prioritizes loading the programs required for its own defense and then those to command the tank. Just for your information, what appears to take a couple of seconds really takes place in but a fraction of the time. It’s been slowed down to better visualize what’s going on.

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« Reply #3 on: <02-22-13/1816:25> »
Critical programs loaded, Arcade’s commlink starts reconnecting to the vehicle he’s inside of. Oh, this can’t look right to the driver. He is getting sensor info, camera and radar footage showing on his screen. But last he checked, he sent the tank on a path through the northeastern corridor of the mall. Instead of in front of the entrance to Nature’s Taste, the screens show him standing in hall where he first gunned down the security guards. The vehicle is in motion, but doesn’t appear to be really going anywhere. On the radar enhanced screen, two guards can be seen on the first floor straight above and firing their pistols at Mek. Not far from them a small group of people wearing similar fashioned black and green clothing are watching the events without taking action. Everyone else has fled the area, although radar shows a group of 3 approaching from the western corridor on ground floor, heading from cover to cover, and another two groups of two drawing near from the east and west on the first floor.
Other than this basic sensor information, Arcade’s account is completely locked out of the system. He can’t control any of Mek’s setting or systems, not even his own... Oh wait, a message just popped up on his screen: “Lulz. PWND |\|00|3!   |2 |-|  R 733+ one1eleven”, together with a red blinking “Opening Cocoon in 10...9...” countdown.

That armored cocoons can’t be forced to open with your bare hands becomes quickly apparent as Arcade’s attempt to do so while shouting "You're not taking my baby." has no effect whatsoever. With only a few seconds left before the cocoon will stop protecting him from the outside world, the rigger orders his matrix agent to try hacking back into Mek’s system while he himself prepared by popping a dose of cram -an amphetamine based energizer drug designed to give the user an energy boost- and chewing a betel gum. He checks the gun he’s got jammed in his holster, the rapid firing Ingram SuperMach, and takes a grenade in his hand. A pop-up from his agent reports its its hacking attempt has failed and its connection to Mek’s node has been cut. But there’s no time to come up with new orders for the matrix agent, the real world is only a second away.

Standing in the middle of an open area and over half a dozen more approaching from different directions, Arcade’s got little choice but to try and make a break for it by running into the southern hallway. He sends the grenade flying into the western corridor. It’s only a flashbang but it might be enough to make the 3 guards dive for cover and stay back for a couple more valuable seconds. But there are two guards already firing in his direction from above. Witnessing the walking tank dancing -that’s what Mek appears to be doing- right on top of their dead or dying colleagues, they’re after blood. And after seeing numerous bullets bounce harmlessly off of the giant killer machine’s thick armor, the small and much less armored person jumping out of it and sprinting straight below them looks like a very interesting target.
The left guard’s quick to fire, sending two bullets flying towards the fleeing rigger. Both shots are well aimed and hit their target. The first hits Arcade’s chest and pierces the armor, creating a painful, bleeding wound. The second bullet hits the man’s thigh but while SecureTech’s PPP leg protection manage to avoid it from doing heavy damage, the impact is enough to cause the runner to fall to the ground.
He manages to turn the fall into a roll, reaching the cover behind a concrete garbage can while drawing his machine pistol. But his cover isn’t enough. The second guard opens fire, his first bullet chips off a piece of concrete but with an amazingly lucky shot, the second shot hits his target straight in the neck.
Collapsing next to a dumpster, drowning in his own blood only a few steps away from the armored cocoon inside his walking tank, it’s game over and lights out for Arcade before even having seen any of his opponents.

But there’ll be plenty of time for the replay later, folks! One player down, three combatants left and all of them are in the same place!
On the western side of the blue hall, Grey and Radical are trading blows -or should I say dodging, since neither has managed to hit- while trying to head further west, towards the dwarf’s disguised combat drone and machine gun and away from the gang of angry elves chasing the woman.
And far across on the eastern side of the hall Shortcut’s looking at his opponents running away from him. In his hands a briefcase that’s actually a submachinegun but just a few meters away from him there’s a desk with 4 NPCC guards who are too occupied with what’s going on with the robot in the north to notice the melee brawl going on in the area.

Things are going fast now! Grey’s target, the short bearded guy still hidden behind a holographic appearance, appears to be trying to sprint away from her but she doesn’t even have to put in an effort to keep up with him and continues attacking. Despite her continuing assault and amazing speed though, she hasn’t managed to score a hit. They’re both in front of store #307 now, a discount clothing store in front of which the Nerf toy-slash-combat drone is hovering and Grey sends her whip towards her enemy again. With an amazingly acrobatic move for a person of his build, Radical avoids the whip by leaping towards the drone hovering in front of him, grabs the “toy” gun and spins around mid-flight. Landing on his back, he fires a full-auto burst towards the surprised woman who suddenly finds herself facing the business end of a machine-gun instead of the behind of a dwarf.
But you don’t get very far in this business if a little surprise is all that’s needed to take you down. With lightning quick reflexes, Grey ducks and rolls below the rifle’s fire, its bullets slamming into the mall’s ceiling behind her, raining down pieces of stone and mortar on the pursuing elves.
This must be a great moment for Radical, the tables have turned and now he’s on the offense and Grey’s on the receiving end. He ignores the elves who are now running for cover and once again aims his rifle towards the woman who barely managed to evade his first attack.

BAM, BAM, BAM... Wait a minute, that’s not how Radical’s machine gun sounds. He hasn’t even pulled the trigger yet! One bullet after another slams into the dwarf’s chest, two well aimed short bursts fired out of a briefcase! First blood goes to Shortcut, whose expert marksmanship with his Ares Executive Protector sent six bullets straight into his target all the way from the other side of the hall. This attack would have easily killed most opponents, but thanks to several layers of armor and the dwarves’ fabled sturdiness Radical’s still alive -albeit heavily wounded- and rolls into the store, out of Shortcut’s line of fire.

Suddenly made very much aware that she brought a whip to a gunfight, Grey decides to take her chances with the wounded enemy close-by over those against a healthy expert marksman at a distance and hurries into the same store just in time to avoid two bursts fired from a new enemy: Radical’s “advertisement” drone just finished processing and has decided to engage the target nearest to it.

The armbands worn by the contestants vibrates to indicate an update, if they’d have the time to check the information the players would notice that the green “blip” indicating Arcade has vanished.

What a tough break for both dwarves!
After being forced into defense by the -when it comes down to melee combat- far superior Grey, Radical finally managed to get the upper hand, only to be shot by a third player right before he could pump her full of lead.
And although Shortcut’s attack was successful, he must’ve expected a clean kill, but his target survived being hit by six bullets and now both his opponents are far away and out of sight.

But his opponents in this Game of Bones aren’t what Shortcut should be worrying about right now. Maybe he should have considered his situation a bit better before taking that shot.
Did the excitement of finding a target and the chance of getting a clear shot make him forget that he was standing just a few steps away from a security desk and at the entrance of a hallway with an automated turret?
A few seconds ago the guards were still too distracted by the robot killing their colleagues to notice a melee brawl from a distance. But a gunfight is hard to miss, especially if one of the guns is fired right in front of you.
The turret hanging from the ceiling opens it shields, lowers and rotates simultaneously, slightly shaking and squeaking in what would have been a single smooth movement had anyone bothered to give it proper maintenance. Now that it's opened, it reveals a heavy machine gun. Its autosofts -automatically triggered by Radical’s gunfire- first target was to its west but since it can’t get a line of fire towards that target, it’s already rotating to target Shortcut instead but its wrong initial orientation might buy him a few valuable seconds.
Behind the desk, two guards dive to the ground while two others draw their guns. Their doberman drone autosoft doesn’t need to waste time with any such actions and opens fire, its shotgun firing a Stick-and-Shock round which grazes the dwarfs arm but does no damage.
Subterfuge no longer an option, Shortcut drops the casing from his Ares Executive and carries it like an automatic weapon should be carried. Much more comfortable to shoot with, especially since he just switched it to full auto. And once again in these series, we’re demonstrated the usefulness of a smartgun. Two actions done with a simple thought, leaving his other hand free to pull what looks like a flash-bang grenade out of one of his pockets.
Time for the short guy to make haste! Both of his adversaries are now inside a store across the dome and it’s simply impossible for him to get them back in his sights without crossing this suddenly very hostile space. He’s moving cover to cover as quickly as possible, dodging, sprinting, leaping and rolling but all his rapid movement simply isn’t enough to avoid being hit by the rain of bullets sent his way. Several bullets from the turret’s automatic fire slam into his body armor along with one of the shock rounds from the doberman drone. The tough little man keeps standing and running, but there’s no doubt he felt that! He’ll have to reach the elevator shaft to find cover from the mall’s security force.

Meanwhile, inside a small outlet clothing store, another dwarf is also feeling the sting of bullets. Flat on his back, woozy and heavily injured Radical focuses his pain and anger towards the one thing he can see, an opponent who’s ducked into the same store. Grey manages to dodge the incoming bursts from both the dwarf and his drone and decides it’s time to respond in kind, abandoning her whip, drawing her pistol and putting two Ex-Ex rounds into the chest of her already wounded enemy.
Whatever the dwarf’s armor cost, it was worth it! Radical is still standing... Well, he’s lying down and bleeding heavily, but still breathing and conscious!

Still moving in the direction of his targets as quickly as possible, Shortcut has run into the furious Ancients, in pursuit of the freakishly grey looking woman who nearly killed one of their own. The elves are puzzled by the latest developments and unsure of how to handle the situation. They want revenge. But a melee fight is one thing, a gunfight is another situation entirely, especially with the malls security team involved in it. Still, they’ve all got a lot of anger visible on their faces and their hands on their guns.
Okay, this is unexpected. Maybe Shortcut mistook their intentions or the object of their hatred. He just tossed a grenade (it’s a flashbang, or so my sensors say) straight towards the Elven mage currently healing their fallen comrade! He’s already facing two combat experts and the mall’s entire security team -including one of their turrets- and he’s just engaged yet another group of enemies... This dwarf must have balls the size of watermelons.
Now forced to make a decision, the combat-ready elves are quick to take action. Their leader’s shouting something like “He’s with that bitch! Take him out!” One of the elves protecting their mage is smart enough to get rid of the grenade by kicking it into the lobby, over the railing and to the floor below. Four others draw their guns, their bullets joining those of the security team already on their way towards the running little Dwarf. To make matters slightly better, the turret appears to be suffering a slight mechanical malfunction due to bad maintenance and isn’t currently spitting out bullets. Maybe it’s because he’s a smaller target, but miraculously the dwarf isn’t even hit all that much. One bullet after another tears off pieces of his clothing without making real contact, a stream of metal shrapnel from one of the elves’ Slivergun and a bullet from one of the others’ bury themselves in his armor without penetrating deep enough to do any damage. And all the while, the dwarf doesn’t stop moving, Shortcut just drops the grenade in his hands and keeps running and dodging.
More bullets slam into the tiles and concrete all around him and now the turret’s back in action, joining the doberman drone in yet another spray of bullets. The drone’s targeting seems to be a little off but with the amount of bullets the turret is spraying, it’s simply impossible for it not to hit. But Dwarven endurance and toughness proves mightier than machine guns, although I’m sure the armored cyberlimbs may have something to do with it too.
This is simply amazing! These few seconds of action will be remembered as one of the most insane and deadly stunts ever performed. Against all the odds, this crazy dwarf has managed to run across the grand foyer of the mall while being shot at by half a dozen guards, a group of Elven gang members, a security robot and a turret with a machine gun!
His back pressed against the thick metal and concrete construction of the elevators, he is now out of the line of fire from the turret and the group of NPCC guards while the Ancients who were just firing at him are running away now the turret, who’s lost its target, is turning in their direction. Most of them flee back into the northbound corridor, one of them ducks into Jenny’s Delicacies, store 309 on the map.
That doesn’t mean Shortcut is safe, however. The doberman drone’s still following him, the NPCC’s already moving to re-engage and while the group of Elves in the north are reluctant to get into the turret’s line of fire, the group that followed Grey is closeby, taking cover in a store and behind pillars and not very far away now, a small drone is still firing into a small clothing store where his two most deadly enemies are still fighting out their battle.

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« Reply #4 on: <02-22-13/1816:41> »

Despite being struck by several explosive rounds already, Radical’s still moving, albeit with much less finesse and much more groaning than a couple of minutes ago. He’s trying to get back on his feet and aim his machine gun towards the quick and agile Grey, but she’s already got her gun aimed at him. Just before she can fire the killing shot, however, incoming fire from Radical’s drone forces her to jump away, giving its owner just enough time to fire first. Crawling back to his feet, the bloodied dwarf pulls the trigger. Nine Ex-Ex rounds, fired in less than a second, all seek their way towards the slender woman. It doesn’t look like she’ll be able to dodg...
Wow! How lucky can she get?! Grey almost tripped over one of the clothing racks, barely managing to keep her balance by grabbing onto it. But thanks to that strange and unexpected movement, Radical’s shot misses her by an inch and all of the explosive rounds, perfectly grouped despite all of his injuries, bury themselves in to the wall of this store... and the next.
Not wasting time on thanking whatever deity or guardian angel’s protecting her, Grey managed to dodge two more of the drones bursts and manages to fire back towards her enemy. Luckily for her, a near-dead target standing swaying in a puddle of his own blood is a much easier target to hit. One bullets strikes his chest. It doesn’t seem to do a lot of damage through his armor... but little seems to have been enough. The impact is enough to knock out the sturdy little guy. A second bullet hits the unconscious Radical between the eyes and ends this amazing battle!
Despite her enemy being dead, and being the first contestant to kill one of the others, Grey doesn’t immediately start celebrating. Outside, the gunfire seems to coming nearer and there’s still a hostile drone hovering in the entrance of the small shop. A problem she attempts to take care of by firing two more bullets. The drone manages to steer out of the way of the first bullet... by steering directly into the path of the second one.
The bullet hits the drone on a place where its armor offers little protection and seems to destroy the part of the circuitry controlling its stabilization. It starts spinning erratically and manages to fire two more bullets before it hits the ground. The bullets harmlessly slam into the ceiling and a familiar clicking sound coming from the drones gun tells Grey she no longer needs to worry about it. It’s out of ammo.
Hearing the gunfire in the mall and probably figuring that her luck must eventually run out, Grey decides to stay in the store. She tries soothing the people cowering in the back of the store and hiding behind the changing stalls, telling them to "Stay down!  One of the terrorists is dead, the other one is still out there!" but they only whimper and sob out of fear. From behind her light cover, she watches her portable radar, trying to figure out the situation outside.

Less than twenty meters away, the only other remaining contestant is trying hard to get nearer. Already having dodged almost a hundred bullets in a mad dash across the mall’s central lobby, Shortcut must be relieved he’s so close to his target. But his stunt has taken a toll, no matter how tough these people are, it’s simply impossible to take so many bullets without feeling it. And, of course, he’s first got to deal with all the people he’s pissed off on his way here. A number of elves are very near, two taking cover behind pillars in the center of the corridor and two more standing in the entrance of store 308. But a quick assessment shows two immediate threats: in front of him an elf just popped out of a nearby store (309) and started charging in his direction without discernable weapons other than metallic-looking gloves and to his left, the doberman drone with the Remington mounted on it just showed up again. Believing a drone-mounted shotgun to be the greater threat, Shortcut aims his submachine gun at it and fires. A couple of bullets are deflected by its armor but many more manage to get past, completely destroying large parts of its circuitry and causing the drone to collapse into a heap of garbage.
The elf reaches Shortcut and sends a fist towards his face. From this close by, it's clear to him the elf isn't wearing a glove but his arm is cybered, ending in a shock-fist. The balance inflicted by the hammering machine gun and the turn the dwarf make to avoid the elf chromed fist are one and the same movement, it almost appears as a dance.
A remark escapes Shortcut lips: "Dumb move, elf." Raising his SMG, he sends one burst towards the elf attacking him and another towards one standing a bit further at store 308. The elf near the store screams loudly as the bullets slam into him and she collapses to the floor, blood oozing from numerous wounds.
The chromed elf, however, turns out to be tougher than he appears, the bullets hit but their effect seems greatly reduced thanks to the his armor and cybernetics. With a primal roar, he sends his fist towards his enemies face. Failing to dodge the blow, the shock-fist hits his chin and releases a surge of electricity. He could normally take a lot worse than this, but Shortcut’s armor simply doesn’t offer sufficient protection against these kinds of attacks and his earlier stunt, amazing as it was, has already taken a serious toll on his body. He falls on the floor and loses consciousness, his mind wandering off to the land of dreams but his body falling in the hands of angry elves seeking revenge.

A little bit further, inside a small second-hand clothing store -or what’s left of it anyhow-, Grey hears the sound of gunfire suddenly come to an end. Her radar indicates that the figure nearest to the elevator shaft stopped moving and shows five figures quickly moving towards the store, she can hear their excited elvish language as they approach.

Her armband buzzed and "Congratulations, Grey. You are victorious Prepare for immediate extraction."

And that’s the end of today’s exciting Game of Bones! What a strange but exciting game this was!
Please join us on #AfterTheBloodGames for a review of all that’s happened. Providing analyses and commentary for this episode, as well what they thought were the highlights, smartest, bravest or dumbest actions of the contest are none other than Oakland Terminators most successful Heavy, Urban Brawl legend Dries De Kuyper; one of the stars of the latest ‘FireTeam Assault’ action sims, Jennifer Roshield and retired mercenary and renowned battlefield strategist, Ulric Johansson! And as you all know, we normally give the fourth seat to the the winner of the previous episode, but since all of them were blown up in the last session, we felt we needed to do something extra special. If this man needs any introduction, you’ve not been following the right newscasts. For one time only, we managed to hire one of the most famous, most dangerous, most wanted men in the world to join us through matrix holo-cast: ladies and gentlemen: the legendary pirate, Kane!


Many thanks to:
Glyph, playing Grey   
Netzgeist, playing Shortcut
Jackleg Rooster, starting play with Radical
Scare_Crow, continuing play with Radical
vinnmun, playing Arcade

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« Reply #5 on: <02-22-13/1902:22> »
Quote from: Description of the mall, shown to players at the start of the game.
Puyallup North
Shopping & Entertainment Center
History
Not to be confused with Puyallup's more infamous shopping center The Crime Mall, "Puyallup North Shopping & Entertainment Center" is the place where many of the people in the district that aren't directly involved in serious crime go to buy their things.
About three decades ago, several shop owners in the crime-plagued area decided to band together in a single place in the hope of decreasing the thefts and damage done to their stores by the region's gangs. Local politicians and mobsters (often one and the same person) didn't much like the idea at first, worried they might lose some of their income and influence. But once they realized that the construction and exploitation of a mall made it much easier to launder money, hide their smuggling and even offered a legitimate way of asking protection moneyrent, they decided to back the project. What started back then as little more than a bunch of local shops grouped together in some once-abandoned warehouses just south of the Puyallup neighborhood (The most northern neighborhood of the Puyallup District) has since been added on and renovated to form what now is the Puyallup North Shopping & Entertainment Center.

Current day
North Puyallup is the safest part of the Puyallup Disctrict... but that says more about how dangerous the rest of the region is than about the safety of the mall. Frequented by the middle-class citizens of the north, the Latino's and Orks from Carbonado, Tarislar Elves and Loveland's mobsters, the mall is a powder keg, the only thing stopping anyone from lighting its fuse is the fact that they all have their reasons to sometimes go shopping there.
The clothing stores sell things that was last year's fashion, last year. Electronic stores occasionally display some new hardware to lure in customers, but earn most of their money selling cheap commlinks to replace the one that just got stolen or destroyed by acid rain and sell discounted home  appliances with the glue of their DOA stickers still on them. Some stores don't make too much of a secret of it that their goods may have once belonged to someone else and may barter for other items  instead of money, caring a lot more about how much they can earn than about the origin of the goods they're purchasing.
But all in all this is a place where people can buy things for not too much money without having to worry about it breaking the next day, and in these parts that's a rare thing indeed.

Weapons, Gangs and Security
As mentioned earlier, lying on the edge of the 'safest place in Puyallup' doesn't mean the mall is a safe place by the standards of the average law-abiding wageslave.
While legally under the jurisdiction of Knight Errant, the odds of running into a KE squad inside the mall itself are low. The local crime bosses didn't really feel much for having the Knights snoop around the place where they do most of their business and got the local politicians to do something about this. Knight Errant from their side didn't much like the idea of being in charge of security in a mall everyone knows to be owned by mobsters and is visited by all kinds of different gangs.
So the mall has its private team, North Puyallup Security Services, to deal with the everyday security concerns. Knight Errant is on stand-by to assist only when called in case things really get out of hand.
NPSS has all kinds of people in its ranks; many are ex-Lonestar or ex-KE officers, fired from the force for different reasons (most often being caught accepting bribes from the mobsters running the mall) and hired by NPSS because of their experience. Others work for the mob, their job with NPSS a legal way to declare their income and a convenient way to keep an eye on the families business in the mall. And then there's discharged ex-military, a few who actually just work there because it's a job like any other and some others that really like the feeling of being in authority. Despite the many differences, NPSS personnel gets along remarkably well. Probably the result of a us-against-them feeling, they stand united against the always present threat of gang violence.
Security long ago realized that scanning for and confiscating weapons caused a lot more problems than posting a "No weapons" sign at the entrance and leaving it at that.
Over the years, different gangs have chosen different parts of the shopping center as their turf. Realizing that physically harassing every customer in the mall will get them into a fight with the NPSS and kicked out of the mall, they hang out at these places without causing much more problems than (AR) graffiti, verbal aggression and small brawls amongst each other. Visitors are strongly advised to simply ignore their actions, talking back (or any other provocative action such as flashing a weapon, flaunting wealth, showing condescension) will be seen as disrespecting and taunting the gang and their turf. The gangers will then have little choice but to prove their dominance, usually escalating in violence. Gang members know better than to enter another gang's turf, doing so is considered an insult no matter what the reason and will result in a fight.
Violence between gangs is usually solved with fists and the occasional melee weapon. Unless there's too much property damage being done, security will usually let the fight go its course and wait for the gangers to leave after they've had their share of beatings. Fighting gang members rarely reach for their guns, knowing the other side will be packing too and more importantly, that the ones left standing will be gunned down by security and tossed in a dumpster.
So for the most part the gangs take care of each other while the NPSS makes sure the building stays standing and the shop owners aren't harassed too much. It's a fragile peace, but it works most of the time.
The majority of the security cameras in the mall are probably broken, the ones inside the stores themselves tend to be in better order. A couple of drones patrol the hallways alongside the guards and a number of turrets were mounted near the entrances of the mall and at key intersections, but most are in various states of disrepair, not having seen much maintenance since they were installed after a serious three-gang-battle followed by a Yakuza attack almost a decade ago.
The guards themselves are all provided with a taser, a mace or stunbaton, a light sidearm and standard security armor. In addition to their standard 'low profile' carrying-gear, more powerful weaponry is available to the guards in secure storage. Of course, since no one really cares to regulate the guards, most choose to bring their own things to work in addition to their standard gear. Depending on how much of a gun-nut they are, this ranges from heavier pistols to military equipment.
In the event that things get too much for security to handle themselves, Knight Errant is still contractually bound to enforce law and order in the area and can be called upon to assist in restoring peace and safety.