No Place like Home

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  • Maxim 13 - Do unto others.
« on: <10-09-14/0012:07> »
No Place like Home

Chapter One: The Meet

Jasper sat demurely in the luxury suite of the Wuxing Towers waiting for the handsome Johnson with the Russian accent and dashing vintage suit to spit out exactly what he needed. Her features revealed that she was of Amerind descent, and her way of speaking reflected a living connection to her tribal ancestry, yet her mannerisms were decidedly urban and modern. Her attire was a unique ensemble: A dark green leather jacket tinged with faux furs, knee high designer boots, jade fetishes around both wrists, black leather mini-skirt, an armored vest, and a single eagle feather in her long, raven hair. The young, verile woman was a study in contradictions, and she loved the delicate balance of wills that marked the first meeting with a Johnson.

The Johnson sat deliberating with himself, trying to discern if he was in the presence of a skilled and audacious Shadowrunner, or the victim of a most untimely practical joke. His body guard surveyed the scene with the coldness of a shark from behind his designer shades. If given the order, he would coldly open fire on each of the runners, summoning the remaining detachment of soldiers waiting in the next room, to finish what he had begun. Given that her own team was now unarmed, Jasper did her best to avoid that outcome, while still pushing the dangerous edge that lead to a successful negotiation.

The team waited patiently in the spacious hotel room, savoring the unfamiliar scent of wealth, and steam cleaned carpets, seated on fine mahogany chairs, in an semi-circle around their elected spokeswoman. They trusted Jasper both as a leader and as their face.

Her astral assessing of the two men revealed extensive, high grade bioware and cybernetics. They were both experienced killers. The primary difference between the two men, Jasper finally decided, was that one was built for giving orders, and the other for acting on them.

An incoming text signaled that Wingman, the team's Decker, had the dossier on the Johnson ready for viewing. The pretty faced Shaman with the raven hair, let go of her spirit sight, and switched perspectives to read the AR datafile coming up over her field of vision via her contact lenses.

<<The Johnson, is Mr. Viktor Ivankov, age 54, a high ranking enforcer of the Vory v Zakone, AKA the Russian Mafia.>> Jasper began to scroll down the extensive list of crimes, rumors, urban legends attributed to the man sitting right across from her. Jubal wasn't kidding when he said these guys were heavy hitters. What have we gotten ourselves into?

Jasper: "What can we do for you, Mr. Johnson?"

Ivankov: "You already know who I am, if you're as good as Jubal boasts."

Jasper: "Fair enough. What can we do for you, Mr. Ivankov?"

Ivankov: "Better. I have need of an assassination.”

The young Shaman distinctly felt Wingman's tension sharply increase.

Jasper: “With respect, sir, we simply don’t do that kind of work.”

Ivankov: “Yes. Yes. Your Fixer explained this to me. I am bringing in a professional to conduct the hit.”

Jasper: “So then what do you need us for?”

Ivankov: “He has never been to Seattle, and he does not speak very good English.”

Diesel, the team's Orc Street Sam joked: “Then get a translator.”

Ivankov: “Nyet. I need a capable team, to take our foreign guest to a secure location. Then, to do the legwork for him. Gathering the intel and materials he needs to accomplish his mission.”

Jasper: “Who’s the target?”

Ivankov: “You will be given a dossier on a specific location and time to establish the attack, if you choose to accept this job.”

Jasper: “But not the name of the target?”

Ivankov: “It is safer for all involved that you do not know any more than absolutely necessary.”

Fergie, the team’s lady Orc and Maiden of destruction, feeling slighted, asked: “Who’s the hitter?”

Ivankov: “He is a very dangerous and experienced Dwarf. Your job is to help him to maintain the lowest possible profile.”

Jasper: “From who exactly?”

Ivankov: “From everyone. Secrecy is essential. If his presence in Seattle is discovered, your mission has failed.”

Jasper: “Everyone leaves a trail in the matrix.”

Ivankov: [slamming his fist down]
“Not if you do your damn job! Do you understand?!”

There was a long and uncomfortable silence. Jasper realized, for the first time, just how much pressure the Johnson was under. Jubal, their fixer had said that the Johnson was looking for a team with 100% discretion and experience staying “off the grid”. She was about to say something, anything, when the Decker cleared his throat.

Wingman: “Ahem, sir, when is this, um, secret weapon coming into town?”

Ivankov: “He arrives in less than 48 hours.”

Wingman: “How long do we have to prepare for the, um, action?”

Ivankov: “The window of operation will open in four days. It is a brief window, a matter of hours.”

Wingman: “What tools does the hitter specialize in?”

There was a long pause.
Finally, the Johnson said quietly: “Explosives.”

Jasper: “Sir, what you are asking for, it is simply not possible.”

Ivankov: “100,000 nuyen says that it is.”

Jasper: “I don’t think you understand-”

Ivankov: “100,000 nuyen for each of you.”

Jasper did her best to maintain her composure. It took but a fraction of a moment, and Ivankov savored every morsel of it.

Jasper: “Sir, I appreciate that this job is important to you. For the amount of Nuyen you are offering-”

Ivankov: [his expression suddenly soured] “Money is nothing. I have plenty of money! I need results. Bah. This is becoming a waste of time.” He started to get up.

Realizing that she was in danger of loosing the hardened gangster's respect, Jasper summoned all of her considerable force of personality and shouted directly at the Johnson: “SIT DOWN and LISTEN!”

The room was stunned into silence. The bodyguard, his cyber eyes burning like glowering red coals behind his designer shades, had reflexively placed his hand on his concealed holster.

Ivankov looked at the pretty human face, reassessing his assumptions. He sat down and motioned for her to continue.

Jasper: “You came to us because you need something done that you personally think is impossible. You need a team that knows how to stay out of sight, yet is daring enough to infiltrate a secure, high profile location, and sophisticated enough to pull the whole operation off without bringing down any heat on you. Do I understand your needs correctly, or have we both had our time wasted?”

Ivankov began to laugh: “Jubal was right about you, you do have guts. And beauty.”

Jasper: “Come on team. Let’s go.” She abruptly started to rise. The rest of the team rose at once and began to file behind the Shaman. They have seen this performance go down many times before. It was like watching a scene from a favorite opera. When it worked, nuyen flowed in abundance. When it didn't, well, it was better to be alive and broke, than rich and dead.

Ivankov: “You want more money, is that it?”

Jasper turned around with such a fury that the red eyed guard fully drew his custom modified Ares II Predator, got the small space between her eyebrows locked in his smart link sight, and took a protective position in front of his boss, all in one smooth lighting fast motion.

Jasper ignored the gun aimed at her head: “Not even with all the Nuyen in Seattle, could my team pull this off. We simply don’t have the connections to get explosives in this time frame. Not the kind that you can trust on a mission like this. You read me, Omae? And anyone who tells you otherwise is not worth their street cred.”

Ivankov: “OK. OK. Sit down. Please.”

The Johnson was clearly impressed with the display. He seemed to relax a bit, which in turn relaxed the team. Jasper sat back down, seeming to struggle with the intensity of passion held with in her slender, yet sumptuous frame.

Ivankov: “I have already prepared for you a personal introduction with a master arms dealer. He will provide the assassin with everything he needs to accomplish the task. These expenses will paid for by me.”

Jasper: “And what of my team’s expenses?”

Ivankov, “If the Dwarf deems it necessary to the mission, within reason, I will cover that expense as well.”

Jasper did the math in her head. The truth is, the team needed the work. They were on a hot streak, but hadn’t really broke anything big. They were still chasing down the low level jobs for small time fixers, busting down upstart gangs, smuggling restricted goods, stealing data files. They needed nuyen to get geared up to play in the big leagues. Jubal had given the team a shot at this run because there was literally no one else he knew that was both desperate enough and skilled enough even consider it. One thing was certain, this mission would either make or break them as professional runners.

Jasper: "Security on the location?"

Ivankov: "It is very high. State of the art. I am told this is your team's specialty."

Jasper: "Yes, Mr. Ivankov, it is."

Ivankov: "Will you take the job or not?"

The Amerind Urban Shaman looked to her team.

Diesel was a bad ass Warrior born and raised an Orc in the Barrens and was the bed rock of the team. His two cyber arms, like their owner, were strong and reliable, but somewhat outdated. He was skilled with his katana, and in hand to hand combat, but he needed to update his wired reflexes and skillsofts if he was going to be worthy of the title Street Sam. Jasper had ran with Diesel for years, ever since he saved her from a vicious assault from the Wyld Chyld Go-Gangers. Since that fateful meeting, the two runners have taken turns saving each others lives. Diesel loved the way of Urban Bushido, the thrill of honorable combat. When not slicing his adversaries to pieces and boxing faces in with chromed fists, he served as the team’s mechanic and driver.

Jasper smiled at him, with genuine affection. He smiled back at her, and nodded his head ever so slightly. Good. His buy in meant Fergie was in too.

Fergie was once a lovely social butterfly, blissful in the sheltered life of suburban teenager, until she began to change. Her beauty was still there. But there was now so much anger and pain in her Orc features, darkening her lightness of being. She was the only member of the team who was born into a SIN. She took pride in her refusal to "buy in" to the man, a rebel through and though. Her first run was at 14 years of age, just as her new goblinized body was finished settling in. Once she began life in the shadows, she never looked back. A Razor much like Diesel, except Fergie went in for the bioware. Bone density, increased metabolism, vat grown muscles. She was a terror in a fight, wielding heavy weapons, and a war axe, as well as gunning from the top of their armored van. Fergie was an experienced tracker and skillful interrogator. Ever the social butterfly even in the Shadows, Fergie's contacts in the Orc Underground had often proven invaluable for resources, information, and disappearing when things got too hot above ground.

Fergie was smiling around her tusks. She smelled the blood in the air, and a chance to hit hard at someone important. Jasper sensed a growing space of intimacy between the two Orcs on the team. Diesel never brought it up, and Jasper respected their privacy.

Two in, one to go, Jasper thought, as she looked at Wingman.

The teenage human Decker was dressed in a battered lined coat covered in mismatched Kevlar patches. The vintage gear that once belonged to the father he barely remembered. Born into a family of shadowrunners, Wingman was hacking comlinks and bricking surveillance drones before most children were toilet trained. He delighted in the matrix, loved every line of code he wrote, and described it as a form of living poetry too beautiful for words. One day dad went on a run. And never came back. Mom carried on as best as she could. But Wingman never really recovered. The meat world had suddenly become too real, too dangerous. He retreated into the matrix with all of his being. Seeking safety, acceptance, and the freedom to create. He was easily the most talented Decker that anyone on the team had ever personally met.

Wingman ran the shadows not for the nuyen, but because he was hopelessly smitten with Jasper. It was sweet, but, a Decker and a Shaman just wasn’t going to work. Their worlds were simply far too different for that type of intimacy.  Wingman usually served as their prime researcher, security bypass genius, and matrix over-watch.

Jasper knew that he detested wetwork and organized crime on principle. What he created with beauty and code in the Matrix, these criminals trashed and burned with their chromed and brutish minds in the meatworld. She waited quietly as the codeslinger sifted through a sea of information in his own private world.

The introverted Decker was staring at the meat body of the Russian warlord before him, while lines of data danced in the space before his mind's eye. The more he learned about the man, the less he liked everything about the present circumstance. The small voice inside him told him to run from this man, to run and not look back. What ever mysterious dark force of entropy devoured the lives of runners that glitched their luck in the shadows, this man worships it. He revels in that darkness.

Wingman shuddered visibly when he noticed that all eyes were focused on him.

He turned sheepishly to look into the stormy sea eyes of their trusted leader. If Jasper ordered him to, he would simply obey. But she was giving him the space to reach his own decision. He savored the quiet moment of being needed. Winger gave a long sigh, what ever concerns he had evaporated under her deep seeing gaze. He nodded.

Ok. For better of for worse, the team's all in. Time to negotiate.

Jasper leaned forward, the demure Shaman girl routine over. Replaced by a ruthless and methodical all-business attitude, “Alright, Mr. Johnson. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty details...”


« Last Edit: <10-09-14/0025:06> by Ravensong »
Brad: We're gonna be bodyguards for teen rock-stars.
Schlock: Wouldn't the cause of freedom be better served if we killed them instead?


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« Reply #1 on: <10-12-14/2034:44> »
I like this. I'm curious though, as your writing style was a bit confusing. At some parts, it seemed a normal third person perspective type story, but at others it seemed you were writing it as a script. Was this intentional?