Shadowrun

Shadowrun Play => Play-by-Post => Topic started by: rednblack on (12:15:03/01-05-15)

Title: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:15:03/01-05-15)
2 DEC, 2074 2206

<<@Team [3L1] GridGuide has us at 17 min. out.  We'll be there in 10.  Lock and load, chummers.>>

The GMC Bulldog tears along east on the 520 with an empty driver's seat.  Stake sits shotgun, with a perfect view of the rain and taillights of the other motorists as the big van passes on the left, then the right, then the right again.  Elijah, it seems, is not one to take traffic laws even as suggestions.  Still, he comes highly recommended, and while his meat body is absent, the rigger has plenty of nuyen staked on this gig.  Near the back door, sitting between Achak and Sister Rebecca, Elijah has a Nissan Roto-drone and a Lockheed Optic-X2, both armed to the chips by the look of things.  A Shin-Hyung ahead of them brakes, hard, and the Bulldog skids to the left, a controlled use of hydro-planing, if there is such a thing, and the Bulldog roars past the smaller sedan.  The Shin-Hyung guns it again, and Stake can barely make out the faces of the driver and rear passenger through the rain-slicked windows.  Elves, and gangers by the look of them, but a brief glance back up at Stake makes them think twice, and the driver peels off to find easier prey.  The car behind them backs off as well, as do two motorcycles to the front.  No doubt about it, these guys are organized, but why risk getting the drek shot out of you when there are plenty of easier targets also making their way to the Barrens on a beautiful Sunday night?

A minute or two passes with only the sound of the van's powerful engine and rain to complement the runners' thoughts.  The lit up AROs on the side of the highway gives way to black as the van passes over from Bellevue to Redmond, and Stake goes through the plan one last time.  If the Yaks who fed them the info were on the up-and-up they can count on at least two vampires, possibly three.  The brood has taken over a six-story apartment complex, with a club on the lower levels.  Upstairs will be the tricky part, but with multiple entrances, and the intel saying that the vampires inhabit a number of the rooms, it should be possible to focus fire and take them down one at a time.  By all accounts, they should be freshly turned.  Living above a club, feasting on low-level corpers and SINless alike, as they make they way through Touristville, sticking together near the top floors of a residence, none of these things point to vampires who have had time to hone their survival skills. 

The other side of the coin, and there's always another side, is that they haven't most likely been able to regulate their hunger yet.  Drunk on their power, these are vampires likely to feed to near bursting, becoming faster or stronger than anything in their path, bending mana to their will, even if they were not awakened before.  Yes, like baby rattlesnakes, they can be agile and vicious, and like baby rattlesnakes, they're best dealt with when young.

Achak gently handles his gunstock club, careful to keep it clear of the drones.  He eyes Sister Rebecca across from him, trying to keep any stench of paternalism out of his expression, but he can't help but wonder if her first run out with this team will be her last, and if so, if it will be his fault that she will end up lying bloodied and lifeless.  No, he won't let that happen again.  This time it will be all business and no pride.  Mentally, Achak goes through the layout again, knowing that he'll probably be taking point, making the way silently so that the rest of the team can follow.

Sister Rebecca is feeling refreshed, though on edge.  A little less than two hours before the first day of Advent is over, and she's spent a good deal of last night and early this morning at the church, preparing for the Midnight Mass, partaking in it, and then spending some of the wee hours of the morning in prayerful reflection.  She's glad for it, and glad for being able to get some sleep, however fitfully, before tonight's business that lies ahead.  Here is the chance to prove herself to Stake.  She wasn't sure if he was a believer or not, but few have been in the business as long as he, and she thinks back to Matthew 7:16 "By their fruits you will recognize them."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:21:16/01-05-15)
Achak privately wonders if hunting vampires on a Sunday is a violation of the Sabbath or a way to honor it and keep it holy. But pastors, preachers, and priests work on Sundays, do they not? As do doctors, detectives, and other defenders of the peace and public health. Best not to be too literal about it.

He's feeling confident. A hit in the Barrens means that he can wear his full body armor without drawing the ire of Knight-Errant or corp sec or anyone else in a position to object. He likes the suit for its full chemical seal, not that he's worried about this brood hitting him with Retro, or Rock, or any of the other drugs that more experienced vampires use to immobilize their prey.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me.

He spins the gunstock club like a top, his finger resting lightly on top to keep it upright. Best to keep things quiet, if possible. Hopefully the club won't be crowded on a Sunday night, not that residents of the Barrens have traditional workweeks. Maybe the corporate drones will be at home, at least. Still, no need to go in noisy and cause a stampede. An establishment like this may or may not have adequate emergency exits.

He supposes he'll be climbing the exterior. Hopefully there will be fire escapes to make the ascent easier. He has gecko tape gloves but they're worthless in rain like this.

He feels the DNI connection through his helmet, sees Elijah's updates. He closes his eyes, mentally feeling the presence of Sister Rebecca's magic: herself, her Blade of Gabriel. It is both a comfort and a constraint to have her here. Her gifts were a reassurance, but he would feel responsible for her the entire time. Or perhaps the Lord had allowed the last man, Yohan, to be killed? To humble Achak and to make straight the way for Sister Rebecca. Mysterious ways.

Achak finds himself unconsciously palming a popper of Jazz. A poor habit, one born out of the death of Yohan. Now is not the time. Too early for one, bad for stealth for the other. Good to have it on hand in case the younglings, full of innocent blood and souls, were more formidable than expected, but not necessary just yet. Yet.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:19:26/01-06-15)
Achak looks over at Sister Rebecca and considers her situation. He tries to remember his first hunt. It was easy for him - he is well-suited for the work - but better to convey a sense of measured caution rather than unwarranted confidence.

"They look like you and me," he says, breaking the silence. "Sharp incisors but nothing more. You must ready yourself to kill what looks like a man but is not a man. Or perhaps they are men, the descendants of Cain. Fugitives and vagabonds, eternally spilling their brother's blood."

He lets the thought hang. He's guessing that she doesn't need much convincing to kill a vampire, but the distinction is not always so obvious. She should ready herself for the task of stabbing someone that looks, sounds, and feels like a man. Or woman, or child.

"Your vision - the Lord's insight into the hearts of men - will help you. I do not have it, but I have been told that they look like two men combined into one. The soul of the one trapped in the other. They will be dual-natured, and will know when they have been spotted. They can sell their souls - their own and those stolen - for power: to become incredibly fast or strong in a single second. You must always be on your guard. Keep that in front of you" - he indicates the Blade of Gabriel - "and all will be well."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (01:02:02/01-10-15)
<<@Team [3L1] GridGuide has us at 17 min. out.  We'll be there in 10.  Lock and load, chummers.>>

Stake manages to be mildly amused as he watches Elijah duck in and out of traffic. He was better than any taxi driver he knew. That was such a long time ago, in a completely different world. He imperceptibly shakes his head to get rid of the thought. He has a plan he needs to make up. He had gone over the general stuff with Achak, and had a short conversation with Elijah and Sister Rebecca, just to find out what they could do, but they still needed a plan. All the magic and technology in the world wouldn't save them without a plan.

He shot a brief glance back at Achak, as he turned to talk to their "magical support". He was worried about her; he knew Elijah was professional, but you never knew with the religious types. It took him a while to get used to Achak, hopefully it would be easier this time. Achak was covered in his body armor, and spinning his club like a dreidle. Definitely not the subtlest attire he could have come with.

Still, there were ways to work around that. Stake silently created a plan in his head, having his commlink inscribe his thoughts. He revised it over and over as the other's talked.

It didn't take long, he had done this many times before. About 5 minutes later, he composes all his thoughts into something understandable and sends out:

<<@Team [Stake] All right, here's the plan folks. It's pretty straightforward, and should be easy to accomplish. The full thing will be attached, but here's what we're doing.

First, we're going to make sure we know where the exits are on the building, and we are going to secure them with 3L1's drones. We don't want the vampires to be able to leave. We'll then clear the basement and first two floors with the help of Sister's spirits. After we have those floors cleared, we'll have the spirits find where in the building the vampires are, so that we don't have to comb each room individually. They may notice the spirits, but by that point they won't have any exits to take advantage of. We can flush them right to us, or if we're lucky, we can just find them and take them down.

Attachment: Plan.ARO (http://forums.shadowruntabletop.com/index.php?topic=19159.msg343341#msg343341 date=1420846253)>>

He traces the outline of his mask, and then lightly touches the silver ring he wore on his right hand. It was a small habit of his, to hold onto the little that truly remained his own. They brought back memories, so many memories, but he fought them down. He had a job to do.

He called out to the two in the back, "If there's one thing to remember, don't flinch when they attack. Achak is right, they may look like normal people, but they aren't. We'll be sticking together for the most part, but just keep that in mind; it might save your life."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (12:51:53/01-11-15)
For the first time she can remember, the short, stocky human known as Sister Rebecca feels nervous before a mission. It's not the fact that she's facing an enemy she's not suited for or prepared against. The lord has given me strength to stand against the wicked in all its forms. It's not that this is the first time she's ever had to keep anyone else safe while on a mission either. She'd been trained for this sort of thing, but as of yet, had not been assigned to perform such a task. She wasn't sure whether that fact had been due to her exceptional skill as a demon hunter or to the jealousy and disdain Marcus felt for her. She always suspected that he only gave her the most dangerous missions in hopes that she would be killed or maimed in some way, but so far, she'd always come back with all her limbs intact; a fact that had always seemed to irk him. No, she had actually felt pretty good about this assignment until just a few hours ago.

"Be certain that no harm befalls the lost brothers on their hunt," he'd said to her during their VR meet early this morning. After that conversation, she'd taken a taxicab straight to the airport and gotten on a plane for Seattle. When a nice towncar came to pick her up from the airport, she'd wondered what sort of "lost brothers" she was dealing with anyway. Marcus had always been stingy with actual explanations for things, so she wasn't terribly surprised to find that they were just a pair of bounty hunters. The leader, an elf named Stake was the single most augmented living thing she'd ever seen. She remembers estimating that he was probably faster than some demons she'd faced. Like most elves she'd met, he had no strong opinion either way on religion, standing in stark contrast to the other member of the team, a human and recent convert named Achak. He was a big guy, with rather attractive and chiseled native american features. So, technically yes, they are lost brothers, just not in the shaved-headed-monestary sort of way Marcus had hinted at. The good lord has seen fit to test me with lesser adversities so that I might overcome the great ones.

After being briefed on the mission specifics back at the groups staging area and informed just how many spirit services would be required, Sister Rebecca balked. She'd need more holy water than she typically carried with her. Luckily, it would be easy to get. After a call, Marcus had put her in touch with a church nearby that could part with some, but for an increased price. The driver Stake had hired for the run tonight gave her a ride to the church where she'd slotted all but her last 10¥ on their credstick with a smile and a "God bless you." in exchange for two mid-sized vials of holy water. These, plus what I brought with me, ought to be enough. Once back at the staging area, she had excused herself to a private area to summon and bind an Angel of Fire to her for the evening. This is where things started to go bad for her.

The summoning went without a hitch. In short order, a magnificent humanoid wreathed in blue flame and with eyes of thunder hovered in the air before her. "Great Gadreel, singer in the heavenly choir and supporter of all good works!" She spoke to him with her astral voice. "I offer you this holy water in exchange for extensive services this evening, for the minions of Lucifer have dug a deep nest for themselves and the faithful shall need the vigilant light of the Lord if they are to cleanse it in his glorious name." Gadreel gives her a benevolent smile for just a moment before a wave of force erupts from the bottles of holy water, shattering them and sending shards of glass flying in all directions. Rebecca had reacted quickly, covering her face with her hands so as to avoid any serious dmg, but her jacket was a little scruffy looking and her hands were simply covered in blood and small shallow cuts. As she realized what had happened, she started to become upset. Fake holy water? How could Marcus DO that to me? Before her depression can grow any further, Gadreel extends one of his flame wreathed hands down to her, helping her up as she takes it in hers. "Fear not, faithful one," he says to her in a regretful tone. "You were not deceived. The water was not counterfeit; it had merely been improperly stored. That poor impoverished church simply lacks the resources to do so correctly. Perhaps your contribution tonight may help them remedy that. Nevertheless, I shall be with you until the morning, but there shall be no extensive services. Now, go and rest, for tonight shall tax us both."

She'd only had time for one hour of sleep before Stake said they needed to move, so she reclined on an easy chair near a trid projected pool table and was granted one of the most restful single hours of sleep she'd ever had in her life. Not only did she awake fresh and ready to go, feeling at 100% capacity, but she found that the cuts on her hands had been healed as well. She suspected Gadreel but didn't ask.

Five minutes later, she's fully strapped up and buckled into the backseat of 3L1's bulldog next to a pile of heavily armed drones. She's conscious to keep her limbs away from them, just in case they need to launch quickly or something like that. Without a lot of experience with drones, Sister Rebecca isn't quite sure what to expect from them. Better safe than sorry. She keeps both hands on her sheathed sword in front of her, point on the floor or the van and listens as Stake runs down the plan one last time for them. After that, there's a little bit of chatter amongst the team as they tear through the sprawl toward their destination, but she keeps quiet, trying to absorb as much as she can before the time of reckoning is at hand.


"If there's one thing to remember, don't flinch when they attack. Achak is right, they may look like normal people, but they aren't. We'll be sticking together for the most part, but just keep that in mind; it might save your life."

She puts her helmet on over her short blonde hair, fires up the trodes in her armorjacket, and turns on all of her wireless gear. She makes eye contact with each member of the team, an expression of calm set on her prominent jawed face.


Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:55:19/01-11-15)
Achak was covered in his body armor, and spinning his club like a dreidle. Definitely not the subtlest attire he could have come with.

Achak looks at Stake while the team leader covers the plan. He looks at Stake's Ares Alpha, large and unsuppressed, with its underbarrel grenade launcher. Definitely not the subtlest weapon he could have come with.

Achak nods as he listens and reviews the details. He's glad Stake is the tactician. Achak has good instincts but is not a strategist. He has an uncanny ability to detect when things aren't right, and right now he's getting that itch at the back of his head where the spine meets the skull. He's not sure if it's his sixth, seventh, or eighth sense - he hasn't assigned them all a number or a sequence - but there's something about the situation that seems off. It's not the newborns; they're damnably fast and strong but not beacons of subtlety or deception. No, it's something about the tip that pointed them to this building.

"I have a concern," he begins. "I asked 3L1 to eavesdrop on some comm chatter for the building's security. They spoke in Japanese and Cityspeak.

"If the Yakuza tipped us off to this score, and there are Yakuza in this building, then that begs the question of why we were not formally invited or hired (instead of just tipped off) or given the cooperation of the security staff.

"My money is betting that this is a Kanaga-gumi holding and that the Kenran-kai are making a play for it."

He lets the thought hang, secretly proud of his powers of deduction, before silently rebuking himself. Pride is what got Yohan killed. Hubris leads to nemesis. He should explain the situation more fully, without desire for recognition or glory, if only because Sister Rebecca is new to the city and its inner turmoil.

"In the early 2060s, the Redmond Barrens were controlled by the Nishidon-gumi. I was just a young smuggler at the time; acting as look-out for border runs back and forth between the Barrens and Salish-Shidhe. We did some business with Nishidon. In the confusion following Crash 2.0 - 10 years ago last month, can you believe it - Nishidon attempted a coup. It failed miserably and he committed suicide in the aftermath to avoid whatever punishment awaited him. The remnants of his organization were cast off into Puyallup as the Kenran-kai, but ever since then they have been looking to take back their old territory in the Redmond Barrens from the Kanaga-gumi, who inherited it. I think this is Kanaga-gumi club and that the Kenran-kai either want it back or want to make Kanaga look bad.

"There's another prospect, perhaps even less pleasant. The newborn vampires could be the Yakuza themselves. I mean, why else would be getting this tip from a third party? How else could you explain the building security being so oblivious? Or, if they're not oblivious, then why in the world are they still coming to work? Who goes to work in a building with two or three vampires present?"

He stops, thinking that he's done, then remembers.

"...besides us."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:38:57/01-12-15)
A little less than 1km into the Barrens, and Elijah pulls the van off the highway.  On the off ramp, a text comes through to the team.

<<@Team [3L1] If it's not nailed down, grab it.  Hope you chummers are wearing your safety belts.>> 

A second later, the back doors of the Bulldog open, and there's a muffled popping sound, one that Achak immediately thinks is the sound of suppressed gunfire, before he sees a parachute deploying from the Lockheed drone.  The chute opens, and the drone rolls out the back, deploying its wings as it hovers for a brief moment, and then the engine comes live, the parachute is dropped, and the drone is off to begin its scouting duties.  The doors close before the van hits the first stop sign, which Elijah barely slows at.

<<@Team [3L1] Traffic looks good, we're 2 min. out.  I'll let you off at the west side of the building, where access to the basement is located.  I'm going to stay posted up there, so let me know if you'll be using a secondary exit on the way out.>>

touristville is never really slow, but Sundays are obviously not the bread and butter of the district.  None of the clubs seem to be operating at "capacity" tonight, as evidenced by the lack of lines, though the team sees a small group of orks in red and gold jackets being politely told to slot by another ork wearing an expensive looking suit.  There is enough traffic on the streets between cars and pedestrians that the Bulldog practically idles its way down the block before taking a left.  Another 2 blocks down, and Stake is able to pick out the target building through the rain.  A very tall, somewhat cybered up elf stands at the door, patting down a patron.  Around the corner, the alley is lined with cars, mostly junkers, but there's a newish Americar and a delivery van.  In garish letters, the van advertises "Noodle Soy!™ Soy Noodles.  The best soy for your noodles, and noodles for your soy.  When you want soy noodles, ask for Noodle Soy!™"

The Bulldog pulls in close to the building, next to the basement access grate, shielding the team from any curious passerby's.

<<@Team [3L1] End of the line, chummers.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:17:27/01-12-15)
Achak sees the Crimson Crush getting told to frag off. The ork in the expensive suit must be worth the money if he can tell gangers to go slot in their own neighborhood. He mentally composes dialogue in Or'zet for the conversation while the Bulldog creeps along down the block.

Crush: Skraa! ‘oliiko ecena’xom? ([Greeting shout!] How much does this cost?)
Bouncer: Mo’tu ya upuuti xom van caarb me kulun? (Do you come in a color other than dirty?)
Crush: Ya xutee ekunij’kuurma? (May I see a menu?)
Bouncer: Ya qlavate hze devilrat. (I spit on devil rats.)
Crush: We’ax tu’ epistl’ya? (Have you seen my pistol?)
Bouncer: Ak tu’ ji’noo, me drundeah tu’ san enorgoz’ya. (If you move, I will kill you with my weapon.)
Crush: Ya bledjeax. Ak tu’ me drundeah ya, tu’ polu’e eyertz’ya. (I’m sorry. If you do not kill me, you can have my money.)
Bouncer: Buunda, ma’noo kom DokWagun! ([Explicative interjection] Call DocWagon!)

The Bulldog takes a left, breaking Achak's sightline to the orks, bringing the story to an end. He mentally wonders if he could have reversed the dialogue and have the story make almost as much sense.

Two blocks later and they are at their destination. Achak frowns at the tall, cybered elf at the door. The Kanaga-gumi are very conservative and not big on metahumans. Strike one for his theory.

He lines up near the Bulldog's rear door, waiting for the Go from Stake.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (15:01:09/01-18-15)
"I have a concern. I asked 3L1 to eavesdrop on some comm chatter for the building's security. They spoke in Japanese and Cityspeak. If the Yakuza tipped us off to this score, and there are Yakuza in this building, then that begs the question of why we were not formally invited or hired (instead of just tipped off) or given the cooperation of the security staff. My money is betting that this is a Kanaga-gumi holding and that the Kenran-kai are making a play for it.

In the early 2060s, the Redmond Barrens were controlled by the Nishidon-gumi. I was just a young smuggler at the time; acting as look-out for border runs back and forth between the Barrens and Salish-Shidhe. We did some business with Nishidon. In the confusion following Crash 2.0 - 10 years ago last month, can you believe it - Nishidon attempted a coup. It failed miserably and he committed suicide in the aftermath to avoid whatever punishment awaited him. The remnants of his organization were cast off into Puyallup as the Kenran-kai, but ever since then they have been looking to take back their old territory in the Redmond Barrens from the Kanaga-gumi, who inherited it. I think this is Kanaga-gumi club and that the Kenran-kai either want it back or want to make Kanaga look bad.

There's another prospect, perhaps even less pleasant. The newborn vampires could be the Yakuza themselves. I mean, why else would be getting this tip from a third party? How else could you explain the building security being so oblivious? Or, if they're not oblivious, then why in the world are they still coming to work? Who goes to work in a building with two or three vampires present?
...besides us."

The short stocky helmeted woman listens intently. This isn't the first time she's gotten caught up in a turf war between two factions of varying type, and she hates it every time. It's been her experience that many people are comfortable feeding the demon in the basement, so to speak, until it gets too hungy. Only then do they call for help. After hearing Achaks concerns, she finally speaks, adding one of her own. In a cold, even, and level tone she says, "Are we certain this building does indeed harbor the vampires we seek? This will be a dark day if we have been misled into doing the petty work of some..." the words ooze like pus from an infected wound, "...gangland hitsquad." She grips the hilt of her sword tightly, awaiting a response from the team.

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

The Bulldog pulls in close to the building, next to the basement access grate, shielding the team from any curious passerby's.

<<@Team [3L1] End of the line, chummers.>>

After pulling the collar of her armor jacket up high over her neckline with one hand, she crosses herself quickly, saying a quiet prayer in latin. A moment later, she snaps her eyes open, unbuckles herself from her seat and stands up. In one slow, reverent, and fluid motion, she draws the blade of Gabriel from its humble wooden scabbard and holds the flat of its gleaming silver blade against her body, its point near the crown of her head as she crouches near the rear door next to Achak, waiting for the signal.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (01:39:39/01-20-15)
The driving goes smoothly for another minute before Achak speaks up.

"I have a concern. I asked 3L1 to eavesdrop on some comm chatter for the building's security. They spoke in Japanese and Cityspeak. If the Yakuza tipped us off to this score, and there are Yakuza in this building, then that begs the question of why we were not formally invited or hired (instead of just tipped off) or given the cooperation of the security staff. My money is betting that this is a Kanaga-gumi holding and that the Kenran-kai are making a play for it.

In the early 2060s, the Redmond Barrens were controlled by the Nishidon-gumi. I was just a young smuggler at the time; acting as look-out for border runs back and forth between the Barrens and Salish-Shidhe. We did some business with Nishidon. In the confusion following Crash 2.0 - 10 years ago last month, can you believe it - Nishidon attempted a coup. It failed miserably and he committed suicide in the aftermath to avoid whatever punishment awaited him. The remnants of his organization were cast off into Puyallup as the Kenran-kai, but ever since then they have been looking to take back their old territory in the Redmond Barrens from the Kanaga-gumi, who inherited it. I think this is Kanaga-gumi club and that the Kenran-kai either want it back or want to make Kanaga look bad.

There's another prospect, perhaps even less pleasant. The newborn vampires could be the Yakuza themselves. I mean, why else would be getting this tip from a third party? How else could you explain the building security being so oblivious? Or, if they're not oblivious, then why in the world are they still coming to work? Who goes to work in a building with two or three vampires present?
...besides us."

Stake is deeply troubled by this line of thought. He always hated getting tips from syndicates. Still, money had been tight recently, and none of his other sources could come up with anything. As he thinks, the young woman voices her own thoughts.

"Are we certain this building does indeed harbor the vampires we seek? This will be a dark day if we have been misled into doing the petty work of some..." the words ooze like pus from an infected wound, "...gangland hitsquad."

"Perhaps the Yakuza did not want to publicly hire us for fear of embarrassment. If the vampires truly are Yakuza, I cannot imagine how disgraceful it would be. If they aren't, then how could they explain that vampires have been thriving right under their security's eyes?" Or perhaps these vampires are more intelligent than we gave them credit for. He thinks darkly. He carefully keeps it out of his face and keeps his voice steady and calm. "It does not matter why the Yakuza told us about these vampires, or whether there are vampires in that building. We will act as if there are, and proceed with the plan. Once we have the lower floors secured, the Sister's spirits should be able to tell us if there truly are vampires, as well as where they might be located."

Satisfied that he had done all he could to quell their worries, Stake falls silent. They arrive, and everyone quickly readies up, waiting for his order. Stake smiles. He had a good feeling about this night, and he had a competent team.

He swiftly double checks his equipment and then presses his mask to his face.

"All right, you know the plan. Move out!"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:14:24/01-20-15)
Achak touches his gunstock war club strapped to his back, then his Ares Crusader snug on its sling. He looks back and sees his Alpha in Stake's hands covering his rear. He glances at Sister Rebecca's MGL-12, mildly alarmed at its size but reassured that it was only loaded with sawdust.

At Stake's command, he bursts through the back of the Bulldog, using the vehicle to conceal his movements from any potential onlookers. He scampers to the basement access grate, testing to see if it is locked. If it is, he has lockpicks. And if he can't unlock it, he has a miniwelder. And if that doesn't do it, Sister Rebecca appears to have a monofilament chainsaw underneath her grenade launcher...

He pauses for a second before he proceeds, listening to the low-pitched bass thumping of the club, then reaching out to feel any nearby magic other than his and Sister Rebecca's own. Then he turns his attention back to the grate.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (10:54:08/01-20-15)
Upon exiting, Achak finds the grate embedded in the concrete alleyway.  He quickly produces his mini-welder, and makes quick work through, while Becca and Stake shield whatever light they can.  When he's finished, Achak lifts the grate up easily, and peers inside.  There's a small ledge about a meter down, then a dust-covered and broken window leading into the basement.  It's pitch black down there, but Achak thinks he can hear a dripping in the basement, the steady blip, blip, blip of water hitting water.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (22:09:40/01-20-15)
Achak frowns the grate and the lack of a lock he can pick. Miniwelder fuel cannisters cost money; lockpicks are free. A cost of doing business, certainly, he thinks to himself, no different than armor or a weapon. He still remembers growing up poor, and the sensitivity to money remains. His volunteer work at his church's soup kitchen continually reminds him of the value a nuyen. ¥80 can be stretched to feed a lot of hungry SINless. Achak would just have to make sure that the payment from this job would allow him to tithe an equal or greater amount.

The final bar breaks off in his hand. He sets it aside quietly, then lowers himself to the small ledge about a meter down. He peers in the window but it is pitch black. He doesn't have any thermographic vision equipment so he'll have to use his Crusader. He pulls the machine pistol around on its sling, then activates the low-light flashlight on the side-mount via a command through the smartlink system. After making sure his contacts are picking up the low-light beam, he reaches forward to test the window.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:07:25/01-22-15)
Achak waves his flashlight around the basement, considering the scene. It makes him pause.

<<@Team [Achack] We have a complication. The basement is flooded. There are generators perched on top of old washing machines to keep them up off the ground, plus some precarious wiring hanging from the ceiling. Going through the basement involves a chance of electrocution.>>

He looks at the ceiling support beams, wondering if they can be used to cross the room safely. He's nimble but not a skilled climber. Normally carries gecko gloves but he left them behind because he figured that the weather was too wet for them to be useful. He curses his lack of imagination.

<<Conversely, this could be an opportunity. If we knock out the generators we might be able to shut down the club. That would alert security but might also clear the site of innocents. Less potential for collateral damage that way.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (20:36:25/01-22-15)
The barest amount of light from Elijah's drone reveals that the basement is flooded. Well, I doubt there are any vampires down here. Still, better to be cautious. He quietly makes his way into the basment, switching his cybereyes to perceive heat and he scans the area. Everything is dark, except for the generators which glow like Christmas trees with the heat they are producing. Looking more closely, he notices a faint heat signature along the wall, barely touching the water, what looks like some type of mold. Nothing important down here that I can see.

A couple of messages pop up from Achak:

<<@Team [Achack] We have a complication. The basement is flooded. There are generators perched on top of old washing machines to keep them up off the ground, plus some precarious wiring hanging from the ceiling. Going through the basement involves a chance of electrocution.>>

<<Conversely, this could be an opportunity. If we knock out the generators we might be able to shut down the club. That would alert security but might also clear the site of innocents. Less potential for collateral damage that way.>>

Stake takes a moment to think about the proposition before sending back:

<<@Team [Stake] It's flooded here too; no heat signatures, except for the generators. My guess is that's it's been flooded for a while. Sister, anything showing up on the Astral?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (20:44:35/01-22-15)
Sister Rebecca makes a mental note to herself. That cutting device is far quieter than mine. I should acquire one soon. Peering down into the darkness and aided by her thermal vision, she's not happy with what she sees. Electricity and water are seldom quaint bedfellows. Could this be a trap? As she waits for Achaks signal to follow, a message pops up from Stake.

<<@Team [Stake] It's flooded here too; no heat signatures, except for the generators. My guess is that's it's been flooded for a while. Sister, anything showing up on the Astral?>>

<<@Team [Third] The astral is clean. Are we certain this isn't a trap? How do vampires fair against electric shock?>>

Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (22:06:27/01-22-15)
<<@Team [Third] The astral is clean. Are we certain this isn't a trap? How do vampires fair against electric shock?>>

'How do vampires fair against electric shock?' Well, it's certainly an interesting question.

<<@Team [Stake] They aren't showing up on the Astral and there are no heat signatures. I think it's fairly safe to say this room is cleared. They deal with electric shock about as well as a normal metahuman, they still conduct. I highly doubt that it's a trap, vampires work terribly with water; they usually sink.>>

After a few moments, he sends out:

<<@Team [Stake] I think taking out the generators is a decent idea. Just wait to do it. I want to make sure we have the first two floors cleared. It wouldn't do to shut down the club and have the vampires flee with the panicking people. Once we have those floors secured, we can disable the generators and get rid of any innocent bystanders. Any ideas how to deal with the alerted security without killing them? I could try talking to them, and we could probably knock them out, but that will leave us busy; we won't be able to hunt down the vampires.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:38:10/01-23-15)
Achak reviews the Plan.ARO via the image link in his contacts.

>>> Step 1: Preliminary scouting. Complete.
>>> Step 2: Clear the sub-basement. Complete. John baptised with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
>>> Step 3: Stake and Sister Rebecca clear the first floor, using spirits to look for dual-natured entities.

Achak straightens up, searching for where his alternative entrance might be. He remembers that there were two rear entrances. He hops from the ledge beneath the grate back to street level, and then goes to stealthily investigate the other doors.

<<@Team [Achak] El premio y el castigo. Intimidate who you can; bribe who you cannot.>> Achak had never seen anyone better at that one-two combo than Stake.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:33:54/01-23-15)
When the team drops down into the basement, they come up to their mid-thighs in cold, still, water.  From inside, the blare of the music is unmistakable, and somewhat distracting. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZqWQAeaxjM

As the team follows the wiring, they turn a corner and are faced with a well-lit stairwell.  In the light, they can see the water vibrating gently to the bass of the music upstairs.  Ghost it's loud.  The wiring continues along the ceiling, and is threaded through a steel gate, fashioned with a mechanical lock.  Before ascending, the team follows the basement further down, where it opens up into another big room, mostly filled with the detritus of civilized meta-humanity -- Nerps! cans, and soiled rags float on the surface, while Achak catches a turned-over shelf with his boot, and nearly loses his footing.  At the end of the second "room" another well-lit stairway leads up, this one to a shelf that's been well-stocked with synth vodka, Nerps!, and other alcohols.  It's possible to get by this way, but not nearly as quiet.  Still, with the music upstairs, who would notice?
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:17:23/01-26-15)
Achak splashes down in the water, his head ringing from the music upstairs. He feels like a dog trapped inside a firework show. It compels him to turn down the sensitivity on his earbuds, hoping the helmet will dampen some of the worst of it. Luckily the ass-rattling beats upstairs are all about the bass and his hearing is most sensitive at high-frequencies, not low. If it had been the other way around he might be back in the Bulldog with a seat cushion over his head. As it is, his highly refined nose is rebuking him over the current environment. He mentally activates the chemical seal on his armor to give himself some respite. Nearly tripping only reinforces his decision.

This, this is why you wear full combat armor with a chemical seal impermeable to gas or liquid, he thinks to himself, pushing his way through a flotilla of debris. Oh, and for the vampires, I suppose.

It's dark and loud. He waves his Ares Crusader around, not so much to clear the room of targets but to shine the low-light flashlight to and fro to better philosophize about his current situation. His foot squishes something of uncertain origin, and his mind turns to Ecclesiastes for comfort: I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot.

But, still, disgusting.

Achak contemplates the options facing him and Sister Rebecca. Unlock the metal grate and ascend into the light? Or push down some shelving and break a bunch of liquor? Looking back at Sister Rebecca, he considers what she's wearing. The armor jacket is innocuous enough, although not exactly clubbing material. The helmet, well that's a fashion no-no except in the Z-zones. Being wet up to the thighs is a social setback, the Sword of Gabriel is a little bit more than a conversation starter, and the grenade launcher with underbarrel monofilament chainsaw? Can't tuck that under your shirt. He turns away from the metal crate to head for the shelving. A pity: mechanical locks are fun.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (13:15:46/02-05-15)
Stake shakes his head as the others descend into the water. He had to do worse in his time, but he did not envy them. He climbed up from the ledge and started heading towards the front of the club. Subvocally, he says, "3L1, position one of your drones to cover the two back entries; I'm going in from the front. Sister, you ready to enter the club from the basement? We're going to need your sight to make sure none of our targets are trying to hide themselves among the innocents."

He examines the bouncer standing at the door. Clearly, he was rocking some kind of augmentations. Stake could probably take him, but he'd rather not draw attention to himself. He tucks the borrowed Ares Alpha under his jacket, and palms a credstick in his hand. The Alpha would be obvious if the bouncer thoroughly checked him out, but it was better than nothing. Hopefully, he could get through without a fuss, but if not, well, that's what the credstick was for. A little bribe never hurt anyone.

He walked towards the front door, approaching the Elf.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (13:26:55/02-05-15)
"Sister, you ready to enter the club from the basement? We're going to need your sight to make sure none of our targets are trying to hide themselves among the innocents."

Crouched on the stairs in a ready position behind the massive Achak, Sister Rebecca grips her sword tightly with both hands. Responding into her helmets mouthpiece, she whispers, "Ready on your signal." She breathes steadily and tries to keep her mind calm and her senses crisp.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (23:32:02/02-05-15)
Achak, seeing both stairwells are well-lit, decides to tackle the lock after all. If the lighting is the same both ways then perhaps it would be best to go quiet rather than loud. And why would God invent lockpicks if not for man to use them?

His hands move to the pouches on his armor that hold his tools. He could do this lock with lockpicks, he knows. He has the time, and he's tempted to do so to show off to the new recruit. But no, he rebukes himself. No ego. Ego is what got Yohan killed, he remembers bitterly. He pulls his autopicker and slots it into the lock. The autopicker whirrs and the lock dutifully opens seconds later.

Achak grabs the lock and sets it aside, then pushes the grate to clear the way for Sister Rebecca.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:14:50/02-06-15)
@Achak and Becca

The grate opens dutifully, clearing the way up the stairs.  The pair make it to the first landing, advancing carefully, before they get a comm from Elijah.

<<@Team [3L1] 1 landing between basement and ground level.  Bottle stairs lead behind the bar.  3 bartenders, 4 cameras.  Other stairs lead to back of club and continue up.  I've got 1 guy working security, back to the stairs.  Looks like 1 camera watching from another landing pointing down.  Wiring extends into club proper and leads upstairs.>>

@Stake

Stake approaches the bouncer as a couple of sari-men exit the club, their arms draped around each other, as they stumble out.  The bouncer gives them a disdainful glare before noticing Stake.  He holds up a hand, palm extended toward Stake.  "Hold on their chief.  Cover is ¥20.  Imma need to pat you down in that getup."

@All

A moment or so later, the team receives another comm from Elijah.

<<@Team [3L1] I've got no matrix icons for the camera on the stairs. No wires coming from it either on the video feed. Think it's a dummy. >>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:23:07/02-09-15)
Achak leads the way, intending to slip behind the guard. Suddenly his is slipping literally: his foot, wet from the water of the basement, can't find any purchase on the stairs. Achak's feet are silent, as always, but the rest of him won't be if he faceplants into the stairs and slides down them, clattering all the way. He grabs the banister, catching himself before he crashes to the ground. After glancing to see if the guard noticed - he didn't - Achak looks up toward Heaven. I get it; no ego. His cheeks puff as he exhales. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Including these stairs.

He advances toward the second floor, taking care to look away from the camera just in case it isn't a dummy after all. He signals Sister Rebecca after determining the way is clear.

<<@Team [Achak] Sister, let us not over-complicate things by trying to get past the guard, especially with a sword and chainsaw. The second floor looks down on the first; we will find you a perch to scan the crowd for the Lost Boys. God willing, your angel may scout whatever you cannot get an angle on. I will be your keeper.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (04:40:40/02-09-15)
Stake hands over a credstick, which the bouncer quickly slots and removes 20 nuyen from. The bouncer tosses it back to Stake, who catches it and puts it back in his pocket. The bouncer moves closer and motions Stake to receive a pat down. Before he can move in, Stake forcefully says, "I wouldn't. I doubt Himura-san would appreciate you getting in the way of the man he sent for." He looks the bouncer up and down, nodding in approval. "You look like a competent young man; I wouldn't want you to get into trouble with Himura-san over a simple misunderstanding."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:25:27/02-09-15)
@Stake

The bouncer withdraws his hand as Stake speaks, obviously taken aback by him mentioned Himura.  Then, he narrows his eyes, and regards the armored up combat monster in front of him suspiciously.  "Imma have to call this in, what did you say your name was?"

@Achak,

Achak clears the stairs and begins ascending to the second floor.  Luckily, he doesn't see any guards watching his approach.  Careful now, and on the lookout, he peers around the corner to the balcony.  The hallways aren't as narrow as he would've guessed from the brief look he gave up on the ground floor.  There are a row of apartment doors, and some tables set up to overlook the crowded dance floor.  A few humans in suits sit around a few of the tables, pouring from bottles of synthahol, and one of the doors opens.  A scantily clad elf exits first, then a man in slacks and a dress shirt, his jacket draped over his arm, exits behind her.  She goes to join his buddies, takes a quick shot, and another man stands to follow the elf back into the apartment.

@Sister Rebecca,

Sister Rebecca makes her way up the stairs, careful to plant her feet slowly and roll to the instep, so as to avoid making any noise.  She makes her way up the stairs without being spotted, and begins to ascend the second set when, glancing behind her, she sees the guard begin to turn.  He jerks his head around quickly to take in the sight of a figure in an armored jacket, clutching a sword and wearing a helmet.  He opens his mouth to speak.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (23:18:24/02-09-15)
"If you must. My name is Noboru." Stake pretends to be agitated, but as he speaks he's mentally calculating just how quickly he can take the bouncer out. I really need to get a hold of some Laes, that would make this so much easier. Damn me and my old-fashioned ways.

He's going to need to eject his clip, put in a clip with Gel Rounds, and then he can take him down. All while the guy is watching him. Shit, this is not going according to plan. And I'm supposed to be the veteran of this group.

Stake hides his nervousness as he waits for the Elf to turn, his hand drifting towards the borrowed Alpha under his jacket.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (08:32:07/02-10-15)
@Sister Rebecca and Achak,

As the guard turns his head and opens his mouth, Sister Rebecca dashes up the stairs, comming her teammates as she goes.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] I'm spotted. Guard in stairwell. Evading.>>

Behind her, she can barely make out something being said in Japanese over the music, but she does not feel the guard coming up behind her, and Sister Rebecca is able to turn on the landing and break line of sight while the guard is still standing dumbstruck.  On the second set of stairs, she sees Achak, who has positioned himself against the wall on the top two steps.

@Stake,

"If you must. My name is Noboru." Stake pretends to be agitated, but as he speaks he's mentally calculating just how quickly he can take the bouncer out.

"Noboru, huh?  Listen, omae, I know Noboru, and you sure as shit ain't him.  Thanks for the tip and all," he says gesturing toward the credstick, "but maybe you outta just get going, huh?"

The bouncer cocks her head to the right, as if he's listening to something being said in his ear.  Stake can see the realization beginning to dawn on his face, the way his eyes begin to widen and his face drops.  The elf pulls back his lined coat and begins to cross-draw, but Stake is one step ahead.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (11:14:40/02-10-15)
"Noboru, huh?  Listen, omae, I know Noboru, and you sure as shit ain't him.  Thanks for the tip and all," he says gesturing toward the credstick, "but maybe you outta just get going, huh?"

Ah, shit.

As the Bouncer turns his head, Stake reacts at razor sharp speeds, thanks to his augmentations. He mentally sends a command to his smartgun to eject his clip, pulls out the Assault Rifle, and reaches for the clip of Gel Rounds with his other hand. He sends out a message to his teammates:

<<@Team [Stake] Bouncer's giving me trouble, taking him down.>>

He slams the clip into the gun and raises it up, aiming right at the bouncer.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:07:27/02-10-15)
The bouncer's body unconsciously begins to turn away at the sight of the assault rifle, but he has enough presence of mind to clear a Steyr TMP from a holster under his coat and let off 3 rounds in automatic fire before he turns and rushes inside the door of the club to find cover.  The bullets fly harmlessly by Stake, and crack against the wall of another club behind him.  Stake an see passerbys on the street begin to run away, though he doesn't so much as hear a scream or see any fleeing bodies inside the club.

As Stake prepares his next move he notes that while the bouncer has posted up to the right of the main entrance, there's a gun check to the left, the figure behind it cast in the shadows.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:26:33/02-10-15)
Achak gets the comm from Sister Rebecca. It's unfortunate, but given how clumsy he's been tonight himself he can hardly hold it against her.

<<@Sister Rebecca [Achak] I'm at the top of the stairs.>>

He almost adds <<I'll watch your rear>> before deciding it might come across as overly sexual.

He drops his Ares Crusader, letting the sling catch it. Stepping up to the top of the stairs, he turns the corner to be out of sight to anyone pursuing Sister Rebecca. He draws his gunstock war club, its weight and magical strength providing comfort in stressful times. He glances about to see if anyone has noticed him, then focuses his attention on the stairwell. Sensing Sister Rebecca is no problem; he waits to see if anyone pursues her.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:04:23/02-11-15)
Achak reaches out, magically feeling the air around the corner, waiting for movement to trigger his trap. He's ready to swing his war club like a baseball bat, clocking any guard with the temerity to pursue Sister Rebecca.

Keep it non-lethal, he thinks to himself. This business is hard enough without making new enemies.

But nobody follows. He would have been impressed if they had. Not many goons have the guts to chase after a woman with a giant sword and a chainsaw grenade launcher. Achak personally feels that he might have capitilized on the shock value of the weapons rather than bolting, but Sister Rebecca is a godly woman. Perhaps the Lord is showing her a better way.

He turns his attention to the second floor, scanning for guards or patrons that might trigger an alarm, or even intervene.

<<@Sister Rebecca [Achack] Continue with the plan. Eyes on the dance floor, looking for the Lost Boys.>>

He holds steady, ready to act if the situation changes.

<<@Sister Rebecca [Achack] And let's put Gadreel in motion.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (11:45:49/02-17-15)
Stake bursts into motion, his augmentations making the world around him move in slow motion. As the bullets fly past, Stake is already moving into cover to get a better angle. The bouncer ducks inside the doorway, attempting to get out of sight. A mysterious figure is directly across from the bouncer, but Stake puts him out of mind for the moment.

Shit! Hope this silencer is as quiet as Achak believed it was.

He raises the Alpha up and aims for center mass. Taking a deep breath, he fires. Three quiet sounds later, the bouncer jerks as if being punched in the gut, before falling over, unconscious. Stake pulls the weapon back, keeping it ready but out of sight of the doorway. Whoever Stake had saw earlier was probably part of the building security, and no doubt would be rushing to help his comrade.

<<@Team [Stake] Change in plan. Cut the power if you can; we'll use the spirit to flush out the vampires and hunt them down.>>

Staring at the limp body of the bouncer, Stake waits for the shadowy figure to show himself.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (14:46:17/02-18-15)
She's keeping her breathing steady. On some level she knew this might happen; the plan going sideways and all, but she never expected it to go awry so soon. She finishes rushing up the stairs, taking them two at a time then passes by Achak, waiting behind the doorframe with his massive warclub ready to pummel that poor bastard below, should he be stupid enough to give chase. After receiving the message from Stake, she quickly sends word out to her ally in the astral.

Noble Gadreel! There are fiends about us in this place. Vampires who prey on the innocent. I bid you, Please help me root them out. They fear the light and the flame and you are a servant of both. Smoke them from their holes and drive them toward the front exit and their final judgement!

She stops running when she reaches the railing above the dancefloor below, putting both hands on it with a thump, inaudible over the pounding music. She looks out over the sea of bodies beneath her and tries to see their souls instead. The two "lost brothers" had advised her that vampires are dual-natured, and would appear a bit like someone who was astrally perceiving. She tries to filter out all the color and texture pertaining to mood, chrome, drug addiction, health, and general magical ability, only searching the crowd for that telltale pale golden whisp that spoke of a person straddling two worlds; the way hers probably looks right now. Could we be lucky enough that they're down here already? Probably not. As she carefully scans the crowd below, she mentally composes and sends a quick message on the comm.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Recon is away. 2 awakened in main interior. 3 hostiles converging on stairs.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (10:54:27/02-19-15)
Gadreel bows his head, and disappears in a flash across the balcony and up the stairs.

Across the dance floor near the entrance, Sister Rebecca can see a tall elf lurch backwards and slump to the ground, and another figure duck behind an opaque neon-lit counter.  The three advancing men all grab at their right ears simultaneously, as if in great pain, and most pull out what she assumes to be earbuds as they come forward.  The biggest, a round-faced Japanese man docks the back of the head of the stairwell guard, and points up the stairs.  He pulls a pistol and advances cautiously.

The club patrons continue to dance unaware of the scene that's about to unfold near the back of the club, though the men on the balcony regard Sister Rebecca wearily, and a few begin to stand, looking as though they're about to run.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:12:24/02-19-15)
Achak's motion sense says that someone is approaching. He spins his club a quarter-turn in his hands so that he can hit with the flat of it. He hopes that he isn't about to play Little League with some disco habitué.

Swinging around the corner, Achak plants his feet and twists his hips to generate the most torque. It does not go off well and he clumsily thumps the Yakuza guard in the stomach. The man doubles over but does not collapse as Achak had hoped he would. The Amerind had pictured it so clearly: knocking the man out and pushing him down the stairs onto the other security guards, toppling them sequentially like dominoes. Instead, he barely even took the wind out of this one.

Before the guard can react, Achak swings his club out, then up and down in a painful arc onto the man's back. The man is knocked down, splaying out on the floor like an inebriated dancer. Achak sees the inexperience of youth - like the lamb to the lion - and is grateful that he is not facing someone more formidable. He is off his game tonight, which needs to change fast if vampires are going to be involved. He briefly wonders what the consequence will be for the young man's failure. Sorry about your pinkie, amigo.

<<@Team [Achak] One Yakuza down. Time to reposition.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (21:39:26/02-19-15)
Hearing the loud -CRACK- from behind her, the short stocky woman in the helmet and armor jacket turns away from the dance floor below to face the stairwell again. The sight of Achak dropping the poor security guard to the floor with his massive club tells her that the three men she saw downstairs probably aren't far behind. Her first instinct is to go for the launcher and put a pill right down their throats as they round the corner, but these aren't demons or vampires or toxic shamans or anything like that; just some men with some unfortunate employment.

Instead, she speaks a few words under her breath in prayer. "You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach." She barely feels the strain of the holy energy flowing through her and into the world. A moment later, a thin, shimmering barrier appears near the top of the stairs, blocking access from below. She can tell it's not very strong, but it doesn't need to be. I only need slow those fools down for a few moments.

She takes a quick glance back and forth to ensure she's not being flanked by any unknown attackers before snapping off a quick text to the team.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Hostiles ascending stairs have been temporarily halted. No contact with objective. Orders?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:02:44/02-24-15)
@ Sister Rebecca

Through her spiritual link, Sister Rebecca gets a faint feeling of triumph from Gadreel, one of the righteous anger of the Lord filling a minion of evil with His awesome fear.  With everything else going on around her, this good news does a lot to bolster her confidence in the operation.  Maybe the plan will work out after all.

@Sister Rebecca and Achak

Sister Rebecca loses line of sight to the advancing yakuza, and she trails them mentally around the stairwell, but they fail to emerge on the landing.  For a brief moment, she thinks her barrier will hold, but then, even over the roaring of the music, she hears a sharp crackling, the sound of her barrier giving way.  It seems her spell has done its work, but she expects them to advance at any time now.

@Stake

Stake hugs the wall outside the club, waiting for the figure behind the gun check to show himself.  It seems the man is playing defense, the smart choice certainly, and so Stake decides to spring into action.

He rolls inside the door to his left, Ares poised at where the man should be standing behind the gun check.  Instead, Stake is faced with emptiness, just the neon-lit counter and a row of guns with tags attached behind it.  What at first Stake thinks is just a shadow under the lip of counter, is in fact a rectangular hole, and Stake sees the tip of a shotgun barrel show itself before three bursts of gunfire erupt.  He has the presence of mind to step backward, feeling a slug graze the front of his armor, and he returns fire, letting off 3 rounds, two of which smack harmlessly into the counter.  The third finds its way though the peephole, but Stake notices that the barrel of the shotgun remains steady.

In front of him in the crowd, the screaming starts, and the music cuts out just before the lights come on, bathing the club floor in bright, garish white light.  The cheap, worn pleather furniture, the cracks in the walls, trampled and muddy confetti are all visible now.  What a shithole. 
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (15:54:07/02-24-15)
Achak has only a fraction of a second to debate tactics. Three men are running up the stairs. Under other circumstances, he would probably slip away, figuring that they would split up to find him. Then he could pick them off one-by-one. But Becca is behind him and coordinating a cat-and-mouse game with a new teammate is risky. Instead, Achak decides to plunge forward, taking advantage of the height advantage offered by being at the top of the stairs. Be bold, be bold, he thinks to himself. But not too bold.

Charging down the stairs, he finds himself face-to-face with a moon-faced man. Achak swings his warclub, wishing for a moment that the edge wasn't as sharp as it is. It's a clumsy swing, and Achak is certain that the Lord is keeping him from showing off for Becca. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Lo and behold, the club lands forcefully, knocking the man backward into the man behind, sending them both down the stairs. He allows himself a moment of thanks before turning to drill the man against the wall on the right. It's a cleaner swing, the one he's been waiting for all night, and it sends the man reeling. The club produces a bad gash on the man and Achak wavers for a moment between his sympathy for his fellow man and the knowledge that the Yaks aren't exactly saints. Bad life decisions, chummer, the Amerind thinks to himself as he surveys the bleeding heap of humanity below him. But we're saving you from the zekes.

He turns and returns to the landing at the top of the stairs.

<<@Team [Achak] Three more down. Where is Gadreel?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (23:12:31/02-26-15)
The lights turn on and the music stops. The screaming starts. A shotgun pointing right at him. Overall, this hadn't gone well at all. He was going to have to improvise.

Stake's synapses were working in overdrive, the world slowing down enough to process the recent events. He might not be able to see bullets whizzing past, but he could very well try.

The bullets fly past and crack on the wall. The guard was using live rounds, of course. He thought he was safe behind his gun. Time to prove him wrong. With the ease of years of practice, Stake swings his gun forward, aiming for the man barely visible behind the shotgun. In one smooth motion, the gun fires. The sound is inaudible above the cacophony of screams. He hears a thump, the sound of his shots connecting and knocking down the guard.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Hostiles ascending stairs have been temporarily halted. No contact with objective. Orders?>>

<<@Team [Stake] Cut the power and search for the vampires. I'll be done here soon.>>

He drops his left hand, leaving his right hand holding the gun. He pushes the unconscious bouncer out of the way, moving around the security checkpoint. It blares as it detects the extensive cyberware and weaponry present throughout his body. Stake ignores it, and looks at the unconscious guard.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:53:50/03-02-15)
@Sister Rebecca

After summoning Leliel, Becca begins to ascend the stairs to the third floor.  She wheels on the landing, and looks up to see another figure running from the opposite direction, toward her.  He's a little thick in the middle, with a receding hairline despite appearing rather young, though his movements are too lithe and precise for a man of his size to be natural.  His aura looks, wrong somehow.  Sister Rebecca can tell that he's magically active, and also that he's astrally perceiving as well.  In fact, his aura is strong, too strong, and it seems to be made up of different parts, as opposed to simply comprising a whole.  He's diseased, but potent, and when he catches sight of Sister Rebecca he snarls.  It's only then that she notices blood staining the white cuff so his dress shirt, and small flecks of gore sitting on the stubble of his chin.  The man looks back behind him, then down, then back again, perhaps unsure how to proceed.

@Achak

From the landing between the first and second floor, Achak sees the yakuza men on the ground stirring, and the crowd begins to rush toward him.  They're obviously fleeing the scary looking man holding the assault rifle standing by the front door, and they pay little heed to figure on the crowd, some crushing them underfoot as they try to ascend the staircase.  One look at achak and his gun club, give the crowd pause, and some try to turn back, as other surge forward. 

He can't help but to feel bad for the yakuza at the base of the staircase.  Most are probably too dazed to protect themselves well from the trampling patrons, and he doubts they're going to be able to walk away from this, even if he wanted them too.  Of the crowd that's closest to him, Achak can see a few sizable orks, and humans in their Sunday best holding up bare hands and try to back down, only as they get increasingly pushed forward.  "Don't hit me, don't hit me!" the nearest one yells.  "You can have all my money, chummer.  I'm not with these guys."

@Stake

The club-goers give Stake a wide berth, as they try to find other exits.  The backdoor opens, and the cacophony of screams is augmented by the club's alarm system.  Too the south, Stake can see Achak's knees, as the Amerindian stands watch over access to the second floor, and from the balcony to the west, Stake can see 4 yakuza in armored jackets exit one of the rooms, guns drawn.  He sees also, that they notice him, and each finds what cover they can behind the columns that line the balcony, as they work their way south.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (19:26:35/03-02-15)
Before the stocky helmeted woman gets a response from the team as to what her orders are, she feels two small "snaps" as she's come to call them. It almost feels like an angel shot her with a rubber band and she knows that's what it feels like when you lose a spiritual connection to something. No doubt Gadreel and her minor wall or force had both been defeated, leaving Sister Rebecca alone, save for the two "lost brothers", whose plan is starting to seem less and less well thought out with every moment that passes. She can hear the sounds of gunfire downstairs and can only assume that a few people are being shot. Innocents. Sheep who know not they follow a wolf. Beneath her identity obscuring helmet, an expression of grief and regret racks her face, but she keeps her head on the task at hand, as she's been taught. Then, the chatter starts up again.

<<@Team [Achak] Three more down. Where is Gadreel?>>

<<@Team [Stake] Cut the power and search for the vampires. I'll be done here soon.>>

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Orders acknowledged. Recon is down. Power will be out momentarily.>>

With newfound clarity of purpose, she begins jogging up the stairs at a relaxed pace, which for her is quite impressive, being the exceptional physical specimen she is. As she does, she reaches her will out into the astral once more. "Heavenly Chorus above!!! I, your humble instrument in this world beg of thee, send me the aid of Leliel, Seraph of night that I might darken these corridors and save more innocent lives! Please!"  Within the span of a thought, she is joined by a floating astral figure. A blueblack skinned genderless humanoid form which is somehow exquisitely beautiful to gaze upon floats along beside her as she pounds one foot after another up the stairs. "The lost brothers injure the flock. Some may even be slain before the sun rises. Your name shall be on their deaths as well," it says to her in a near admonishing tone.

"Of course, Noble Leliel. I apologize for them, dearly. I shall share of my strength and wisdom with them, but I shall also take equal share of their sins and misdeeds until I can draw them back into the glory of the Father." With but a blink of its lashless eyelids, Leliel responds melodically, "We have made covenant, then. What aid do you require of me?" Heart beating fast as she ascends the stairs, the screaming and commotion beneath her getting slightly quieter, she responds, "In the basement, there are several electrical generators. Destroy them, please?"

With nothing more than another blink, Leliel is gone; off to attend its task. It's then that she hears the footsteps above her, moving toward her. She looks up to see flashes between stairs of a shleppy, balding, middle aged man, moving with far more grace and speed than he ought. Then she notices his aura. He's clearly awakened, dual natured, and "different" somehow. This has to be a vampire...

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] One contact just below 3rd floor stairwell. Engaging.>>

...but let's be certain before we begin cleaving him. Still jogging up the stairs, she points the barrel of her Arm Tech upwards, in an attempt to lob one of the new toys she's borrowed from Achak up near him. I've got a full clip of these things after all, and they'll only irritate him if he's not my target. I should be lucky enough to have such a weapon on every demon hunt.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:08:19/03-04-15)
@Sister Rebecca

Sister Rebecca's grenade smacks the man square in just and detonates immediately.  A puff of sand-colored sawdust erupts on the man's face, and the well-placed shot has him inhaling before he knows better.  Becca can see the capillaries in his face bursting, bringing blood in long spider lines to the surface of his face, and he coughs once before the lights go out.

In the astral, Becca can see him turn and run, leaving her line of sight a second before she hears the sound of a door being torn off its hinges to her right.  She feels a word, a word she should not utter, nor even think, begin to cross her mind before she stuffs it down through a sheer force of will.  ". . . He's fast."

@Achak,

Achak holds his ground against the onslaught of patrons.  It seems some near the bottom of the stairs have realized that they're not getting anywhere, and the bottle neck begins to ease.  They'll go elsewhere to find their escape.  Before the ones nearest to Achak can back down the stairs, the lights go out, and the stairwell is filled with the sound of falling bodies and gasps for air mixed with the sounds of panicked screams.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (12:08:46/03-04-15)
The world starts to speed up again as the overload of information starts to filter through his brain. Stake shakes off the chaos and focuses his attention back on hand. His thoughts start to speed up again as the chaos of the crowd just ... disappears. He knows they're there, but his mind doesn't pay any attention to them. It doesn't matter where they are going or what they are doing, just that they are there.

What does matter are the 4 Yakuza that exit with guns drawn. I do not have time for this. There's no time to check if the guard he shot was truly down. He'd have to risk it. Stake quickly analyzes his options. He could run straight at them, and while he could take them by surprise, he was clearly outnumbered. That wasn't a good idea. He could exit the building and wait for the power to cut, but that would just backtrack him. That left the bar. It was made out of wood, and it was decently thick. It would be good cover.

Stake pulled the mask out of his inner pocket and put it on. He could hear much more clearly now, and was comforted by the sight of the biomonitor displaying that he was at 100%. Sprinting, he swiftly reached the bar and ducked behind it; cutting off line of sight from the Yakuza, at least temporarily. There were two bartenders cowering in fear. That would complicate things.

Stake raised his gun slightly, pointing it at them. Forcefully, he commands, "Do not make a sound. Understand?" The assault rifle can clearly be seen by both of them. They didn't need to know the gun wasn't loaded with lethal rounds. With a mental command, he activates his thermographic vision. The world drastically changes, as the colors disappear and are replaced by blues and reds. "And don't even think about running. If I don't shoot you, I'm sure your guards will."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:17:15/03-04-15)
Achak lowers his weapon, declining the club patrons' generous offer to mug them. Sheathing his club, he brings his Ares Crusader (and its low-light flashlight) up so that he can see with the lights off. He pushes his way through the mob, bulldozing a path toward the staircase leading up to the third floor.

He spots Sister Rebecca on the landing between floors and immediately notices her raised MGL and her firing stance. He doesn't know whether to be relieved that she's not actively using the underbarrel chainsaw or nervous that she's firing an explosive in a contained space.

His heightened hearing detects the soft "pop" of a sawdust grenade, so much gentler than a frag grenade or a flash-bang. He pokes his head (and gun) around the corner to see a Székely (a fat Székely, no less) raising his hand to his face as he begins choking on the sawdust cloud. The man bolts faster than a greased pig, even as he's gargling on his own blood.

<<@Team [Achak] Target acquired. In pursuit.>>

Achak bounds up the stairs after him and hears a door being torn off its hinges. He races around the corner blindly, his bouncing flashlight doing nothing to illuminate the hallway. I hope there isn't a Zeke posted up in the hallway with night-vision goggles and an LMG. Not that Zekes need night-vision goggles with their thermographic vision and astral sight, but still.

He sees the remains of the door. He posts up next to the doorway, before leaning around the corner and waving his gun/flashlight into the room.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (18:34:43/03-04-15)
Achak sweeps the flashlight across the room.  To the left, a bare mattress and box springs set on edge against the wall.  Maybe a small Zeke could fit behind there, but no way a man that size would fit.  To its right, a wood laminate dresser sits, its top drawer half open, and obscuring the only window in the room.  Achak continues his sweep, noting the kitchenette against the right wall, a frying pan still sitting in the sink even though it doesn't look like anyone has occupied this particular unit in years.  The Zeke's white shirt lies on the floor, and Achak notes two doors at the right end of the unit, the one closest to him is undoubtedly a closet, with a sliding mirror as the door.  The other is partially open, and he can hear the sound of running water coming from within.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:57:48/03-05-15)
Achak takes a second to survey the dilapidated unit. Something's wrong but he can't figure out what. There's a sensation in the back of his head that he associates with Dog barking, even though it's not an audible noise. It's more like a vibration, or an echo in his skull, that tells him that there is danger nearby. Then, to his left, a flicker of moment, a creak of a floorboard, an errant odor.

Clever girl, Achak smiles to himself, impressed that a newborn had the discipline to establish an ambush. Or boy.

Or maybe it wasn't really an ambush and Achak had just been completely oblivious to the vampire standing there the whole while.

There are three loud shots from a heavy pistol, but Achak isn't there anymore. He rolls to the side to change the angle, confuse the shooter, and ready his inevitable counterattack.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (20:39:46/03-05-15)
The only indication that Stake has that the lights go out is the sound of all the electricity shutting off. The bartenders seemed to be following his orders to the letter, so Stake prepares his attack. 4 to 1 were not good odds, but he wasn't out yet. Sending a command to his mask, the autoinhaler releases a dose of kamikaze into his system. It would take a few seconds to start working, but he didn't have time to wait. He looked down at his gun, the smartlink helpfully informing him that he had used 9 bullets. He only had one clip of Gel Rounds, and as annoying as they were, these guards were just doing their job.

Setting the fire mode to Semi-Automatic, he pressed himself against the side of the bar. He popped his head above, gun ready to fire. A mere second passes as Stake analyzes his opponents. It isn't long before he notices the flashlight attached to one of the guard's guns. That one had to go; the darkness was the only thing helping him. Taking aim and firing, the gun makes a slight sound as the bullet strikes its target. The helmet falls off and his gun goes flying as the guard gets pushed backwards by the impact of the Gel Round.

1 down, 3 to go.

A few bullets whiz past, and before Stake can get fully behind the bar, he feels the impact as one sinks itself into his armor.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:12:31/03-06-15)
@Stake

The Yakuza above him on the balcony carry the deportment of a cohesive unit.  While one makes a break for the stairwell, the other three try to keep Stake pinned down.  One well-placed shot on Stake's part did its best to work toward evening the odds, but the return fire was less than pleasant.  As the Yakuza shoot, they dart to the south, careful to stay in cover as they move.

@Achak

As Achak comes out of his roll, he comes face to face with a Zeke.  Blondish hair, bare-chested, and fit, as Achak sweeps his flashlight over the vampire, he sees his own purpose begin to dawn on the Zeke's face.  Fear turns to a smile, as he drops the pistol, and begins to advance.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (11:55:12/03-10-15)
The impact feels like someone slammed their fist into his sternum, but a few seconds later, the pain recedes. His 'ware was hard at work.

Stake ducks back down behind the bar. Keeping his head down, he moves farther down the bar. It wouldn't confuse them for long, but he didn't need it to. He popped back up, took aim, and fired. The round impacts, and the target falls backward, gun in hand. Stake doesn't stick around to check if he's still conscious.

<<@Team [Stake] 2 out of 4 guards down. Status?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (15:19:21/03-10-15)
Achak debates whether to shoot the vampire or to draw his club and go toe-to-toe in the hallway. The situation develops further when Sister Rebecca reaches the top of the stairs, turns to her left, and fires a sawdust grenade. (One of my sawdust grenades, Achak thinks proudly.) The grenade explodes, covering the hallway in powdery dust.

The vampire recoils and stops advancing, which makes Achak's decision easier. He figures the vampire is more likely to take off running than to charge forward, so he raises his Ares Crusader just in case he needs to shoot the bloodsucker in the back. He aims for the head and neck, knowing that the wooden flechettes have little penetrating power, and fires off a three-round burst. The shot is complicated by the giant cloud of particulate matter, so Achak fires in a fan instead of clustering his shots.

The strategy pays off. One of the shots finds its way into Zeke's throat. It staggers and drops, unable to regenerate the lethal damage. Achak feels a swelling bubble of pride, which he quickly pops as the danger has not yet passed. No more dead teammates, no more Yohans.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (17:23:19/03-10-15)
MOTHER OF PEARL! That man is fast! The armored form of Achak goes streaking past her on the steps during the moment it takes for her to stop and fire at the vampire above her. Wasting no time to follow after him, her powerful legs just can't keep up and in another second, she's lost sight of him as he charges after it, through the opening made by the fleeing monster. Rebecca puts her head down and forces her limbs to obey her and move faster.

Six steps from the top, she hears the gunfire. Too far away to have come from the lost brother. Someone must be ambushing him, and from the flashes of light in the darkness, she's certain the attacker is to the left. Not knowing the caliber of the weapon currently firing at where she's about to be, she whispers a quick prayer for protection on her way up the remaining few stairs. "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." She imagines the spell will take hold about the same time she bursts through the opening.

In one swift motion, she slides through the entry and into the hallway, twists to the left, and levels her launcher hip level at the vampire down the hall. -THOOMP!-

In the brief moment she watches the pill soar down the hallway at him, she realizes a few things. One, that her aim hadn't been as perfect as it had been on the stairs, but hopefully it would be close enough. Secondly, that her target had just dropped his firearm, probably in preparation for a charge, so even if she misses with the nade, she'll probably still get a swipe at it. Thirdly, she realizes that her armor had yet to manifest. She hadn't felt any drain either. Next to her, Leliel wears a stern look and Sister Rebecca, upon noticing it, immediately divines it's meaning. I must better protect the flock before the Heavenly Chorus will better protect me. Heard and understood. Leliel nods but once, slowly and firmly.

<<@Team [Stake] 2 out of 4 guards down. Status?>>

Watching the pill fly just off mark and seeing the hungry look in her foe's eye as he prepares to charge, Rebecca decides against responding right away in favor of sending a different, more urgent message.

<<@Dustnade [Owner] DETONATE>>

Between the darkness and the cloud of sawdust filling the air, it's tough to tell if she got him or not, but the horrible shrieking of pain from down the hall tells her she was close enough. A mili-second later, three shots ring out in close succession from just behind her. Her thermal shows the foe drop immediately. This is starting to work out!
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:29:37/03-12-15)
Achak is barely through with not admiring his shot when a vampire tears at him with ferocious speed and lethal intent. The sight of the shirtless man throws Achak off-guard, the vampire's rippling mass hypnotizing Achak with waves of flab.

Lord, am I being attacked by the SoyPuff Marshmallow Man?

The pace at which the man moves, especially given his build, further surprises Achak. He sees the fist swinging for his neck and it's all he can do to lower his chin to get the faceplate of his helmet in the way. The brutal punch snaps his head to the side but the helmet absorbs the worst of the blow. It rings his bell. He looks for Rebecca and her MGL, wondering if he's going to have a front-row seat for a chainsawing.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (15:28:54/03-12-15)
Hearing the crack of fist against hard armor behind her, Sister Rebecca lets muscle memory and training take over. With a second fluid motion, she lets the grenade launcher drop from her grasp and tumble to the floor before gripping her shining blade with both hands around the hilt, raising to a full standing position, and spinning herself and the blade around directly on the path toward the flabby beasts neck. Her form and timing are perfect and deadly accurate. Alas, his devilish speed proves too much for her and in a blur of motion, he steps inside her swing, grasping her lead wrist with intent to snap the limb straight off. "DIE, FIEND!!!" she shrieks as she struggles with his impressive strength for a moment before finally breaking his grip and shoving him away with a well placed shoulder check. She takes the slight pause in life-or-death action to update the team leader with a thought sent to her comm.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] 2 contacts. 1 down. Engaging second, 2 on 1.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (16:32:36/03-12-15)
@Stake

Stake can see the sharp-shooting yakuza with the SMG struggle to his feet and stumble a few meters before heaving himself heavily behind the last pillar.  His bell is rung for sure, but before Stake can take advantage of the situation, the sound of automatic fire encourages him to duck behind the bar.  The sound bullets smacking into the bar and the hollow noise of them puncturing the plastic synthahol bottles briefly eclipses the shrieks from the remaining customers as they flee the building.

@Achak and Sister Rebecca

The doughy, balding vampire reaches out for Sister Rebecca's hand as she pulls it away, only to dodge backward with preternatural ease as Achak fires off six rounds from his automatic weapon.  A sliver of the wooden flechettes grazes his cheek, and his skin peels back in protest. 
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (16:20:42/03-13-15)
Achak does little more than nick the vampire with his burst of flechettes. Growling, the Amerind throws aside his Ares Crusader, the sling catching it and carrying it to his back. He draws his gunstock war club, immediately more comfortable with it than he is with the machine pistol.

He tries to draw it out of the sheath and bring it down on the vampire's head in one smooth motion. The plan is reasonable but the vampire swings his arm up and swats the flat side of the club while it's on its downward arc. The redirected club glances off the vampire's shoulder then slams into the ground harmlessly.

Achak can hardly believe it. He's fighting two adepts with weapon foci to a standstill! Shirtless! His only consolation is that the vampire's nimble blocking has kept it distracted, giving it less time to counterattack. Achak's thoughts turn to the popper of Jazz in his pocket. It calls out to him, promising alertness and speed. He would reach for it were he not face-to-face with a vampire who might twist his head off like a bottle cap if given an opportunity, helmet or no helmet.

<<@Team [Achack] Busy!>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:43:09/03-14-15)
The Zeke must have read Achak's mind about taking his head off, because the vampire lashes out with a karate chop at Achak's neck that's faster than a cobra strike. Achak can feel Dog barking with a frenzied, panic tone that underscores the severity of the situation.

Achak instantantly decides to change his stance, sacrificing his ability to attack in exchange for personal protection and maybe, just maybe, a counterstrike from Sister Rebecca. Taking a cue from the vampire's effective defense, Achak swings his club up to knock the vampire's hand off course. He connects, successfully parrying the blow and saving his own neck in the process. A mighty fortress is our Dog! I mean God.

As much as Achak would love to land the decisive blow in this engagement, the ultimate goal is for both Achak and Sister Rebecca to be able to walk away. To that end, Achak tries to tie up the vampire and improve Sister's odds of slicing through the Zeke's defense. Instead of withdrawing his club to strike again, Achak follows through with his parry to try to pin the vampire's arm. The vampire is crafty and sees what Achak is trying to do. Zeke retracts his hand to free it from the club, but in doing so he spends a precious moment of time and attention that Sister Rebecca is only too ready to capitalize on.

"Now!"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (02:05:30/03-14-15)
It's a hectic few seconds, but the outcome is never really in question. After that first blinding-fast parry from the dough-boy, the demon-hunter was not going to underestimate it again, especially not after seeing the way it had danced out of the path of her companions bullets at close range. Despite her continued swinging and slashing like mad at him, he always stays one step ahead of her, twisting her arm out of proper form, shoving against her and disturbing her balance at just the right time. Then Achak makes his move. Sister Rebecca sees him leave an opening, one which the beast strikes at immediately, taking the bait. From there, Achak is able to pin one of his arms for just a breath, but a breath has been all the time Rebecca has been short this whole fight. She puts all her weight onto her rear foot, and pushes off as hard as she can, jutting the blade into a low, rising thrust and twisting around his slowed guard at the last second. Without a sound, it plunges into his chest hilt deep, the cold blade jutting out of his back, dripping with the creatures warm blood in her thermo vision. Before she even removes the sword from the creature and before it has finished dying, she sends a message while watching her helmeted visage reflected back in the creatures terrified eyes.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Second contact down. Continuing search.>>

"You fucking cunt..." it spatters out in Japanese before letting out a pained gasp as she pulls the blade from its chest using one foot to push against his flubbery weight. He tumbles to the floor and gurgles out his final breaths. As she turns around and crouches to retrieve her launcher, she says to Achak now behind her over the sub-vocal channel, "Unless it gave intel, I care not what the beast said. Do not repeat its words."



Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (13:49:09/03-18-15)
Achak looks ready to thump the downed vampire once or twice, just to make sure he stays down. But, man, why bother when Sister Rebecca skewered him with her pig-sticker like that?

His head whips to the side. Footsteps.

<<@Team [Achak] Footsteps on stairs. Ambushing.>>

He throws a look to Sister Rebecca, indicating she should hide. He gets into position around the corner from the top of the stairs, spinning his club lightly in his hands. The footsteps sound heavy and he's guessing that wooden flechette isn't the appropriate ammo for what's coming up the stairs. No time to swap out the clip in the Crusader: it's clobbering time.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (19:31:00/03-19-15)
It's a tense few seconds.  Achak and Sister Rebecca set up posts on either side of the stairwell, Achak with his gunstock club held at the ready.  Then nothing.  Eventually, Sister Rebecca can hear the soft pad of footsteps making their way up the stairs, a brief moment of silence as the figure crosses the landing, and then the sound of steps again, as the figure makes its way up the last set of stairs to the third floor.  Four, maybe five steps from the top, it's difficult for even Achak to tell, the figure stops, and calls out in a heavily accented English, "Who the frag is up there?  You know who you're dealing with here?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (13:20:07/03-20-15)
Achak pauses to assess the situation. He reaches out with his... he doesn't even know what to call it. It's almost like whiskers: he can feel things move all around him. He knows that the man came to a stop a few steps below the top of the stairs, likely within swinging distance if Achak were to pivot around the corner to club him.

He mentally goes through the options available to him. Spin around and swing? Good way to get shot: he's probably got his weapon at the ready. What have I got in my pockets... popper of Jazz? He imagines throwing it at the man, bouncing the small inhaler off his head. Unproductive. Damn! - I mean darn - it would be nice to have my Alpha with the flashbangs right about now.

<<@Team [Achak] Bec he's about three, three-and-a-half meters from the top of the stairs. Elijah, anything you can hack?>>

He exchanges a glance with Sister Rebecca, raising an eyebrow at the miniature standoff.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:27:42/03-20-15)
<<@Team [3L1] On it.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (13:45:56/03-20-15)
Staying quiet behind a doorframe, the lightly armored human listens to the heavy footsteps, and waits for a signal from her team on how to proceed. Soon, she gets the answer she's waiting for.

<<@Team [Achak] Bec he's about three, three-and-a-half meters from the top of the stairs. Elijah, anything you can hack?>>

Close enough to strike...

"Who the frag is up there?  You know who you're dealing with here?"

She spins quickly from her hiding place, sword held low but threateningly in her right hand. His aura doesn't look like the other two... Not wanting to kill anyone she doesn't absolutely have to, she'd far prefer giving him the option to run. She answers his question in a cold, threatening tone. "I know precisely who I am dealing with. Do you? Are you aware your masters are vampires, beasts, minions of Lucifer himself?"  She briefly motions with her head toward the mockery of a man, laying twisted on the floor between them."I am not here for you, but should you stand between me and the fiends that God has sent me here to dispatch, you will share their fate."  She levels the sword of Gabriel at him with both hands, speaking this last bit very slowly. "Stand down and leave this place, and the Lord may yet have mercy on your soul."

Fearing the what the panicked man may do with the grenade, she sends a quick message. <<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Hack the nade!>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (16:33:52/03-20-15)
Sister Rebecca sees the man's shotgun waver for a second.  If it's from the weight, or from his indecision is unclear, but he replies, "What the fuck you talking about 'vampires?'  This is fuckin' Yak turf, not some infected sinkhole, woman.  And right now, you're in priority housing, wiz?"  His last words are spoken with a bit of uncertainty, but he still fails to make use of either of his weapons.

<<@Team [3L1] Omae's rocking H level Link. Trouble.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (16:56:20/03-20-15)
Sister Rebecca sees the man's shotgun waver for a second.  If it's from the weight, or from his indecision is unclear, but he replies, "What the fuck you talking about 'vampires?'  This is fuckin' Yak turf, not some infected sinkhole, woman.  And right now, you're in priority housing, wiz?"  His last words are spoken with a bit of uncertainty, but he still fails to make use of either of his weapons.

The sword does not drift an inch. "I am well aware of the Japanese Mafia that control this area. As are the demons who sit in this very building, protected by their umbrella. I care not for earthly politics.The ire of the Yakuza cannot hold a candle to the righteous glory of the Lord. My resolve is firm, and you have been warned. Now stand down, or die where you stand."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (17:11:49/03-20-15)
The power of Sister Rebecca's words do not seem to move the man, but the content may.  She is unaware of the intricacies of a shatei's oath: whether loyalty to the organization or the leadership is of greater importance, but she can't help but feel that the man must have some inclination of what she's speaking of.  Why else would he not have fired by now?  At the same time, it doesn't appear as though he can see the corpse of the fallen vampire at her feet, and he takes no movements to lower his weapon.

"Your 'lord' means nothing here, gaijin.  The spirits of my ancestors surround me, and they give me strength.  Who told you this was a hole for the infected?"

A moment later, before Becca has a chance to respond, he barks something in Japanese.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:12:20/03-20-15)
Achak keeps an eye on Sister Rebecca, ready to swing around the corner at a moment's notice if gunfire erupts. But for now she seems to have the man's ear, if not his mind. He encourages her to continue while he mulls over the possible meaning of Elijah's cryptic "h level".

<<@Sister Rebecca [Achak] Scripture tells us that we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Teach this man; exhort and encourage him! Remove the scales from his eyes so that he may see!>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (22:42:53/03-20-15)
"Your 'lord' means nothing here, gaijin.  The spirits of my ancestors surround me, and they give me strength.  Who told you this was a hole for the infected?"

A moment later, before Becca has a chance to respond, he barks something in Japanese.

He summons aid! Cut him down, now! Her grip tightens around the handle and she feels a slight surge in adrenaline course through her veins, but she stays her hand. Something about his mannerisms and tone of voice tells her he may still be reasoned with. Perhaps he calls reinforcements off, or assumes I am alone and gives incorrect info. This need not come to blood just yet. Choosing her words carefully, she speaks. "I was set on this path by the one who is called 'I AM.' The mortal voice who gave me this address need not be given name, for the evidence of his truth can be seen before you, oozing it's foul blood onto the carpet." Without lowering her guard a fraction of an inch, she takes three wide steps backward, giving the masked man room to inspect the flabby bodied corpse on the ground between them. "Check his mouth for yourself. See the fangs that mark him as servant of Satan. If, after seeing the truth, you still wish to block my path, I shall send you to join your ancestors and lend your strength to others."

"Leliel, how many allies does this man have?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (22:53:47/03-20-15)
Stake hears the man shout in Japanese, and it takes a moment for the words to get through the haze. Kamikaze did that to him sometimes.

<<@Team [Stake] He just shouted to his men to hold fire. Stay alert, but try to convince him to help us.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (11:15:32/03-21-15)
<<@Team [Stake] He just shouted to his men to hold fire. Stay alert, but try to convince him to help us.>>

Pleased with her restraint, she allows herself a small smile behind her helmet.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:07:54/03-23-15)
Leleil disappears down the stairs, and shortly returns zipping down the third floor hallway.  One. . .barely the spirit communicates to Sister Rebecca.

The man with the shotgun angles his head, trying to get a glimpse of what Sister Rebecca is trying to show him, but he holds his position, not wanting to step forward, and the effort proves futile.  "Show me," he says.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (15:18:06/03-23-15)
Achak looks around for any signs of goons they might have missed, specifically anyone that the man on the stairs might be speaking to. Cameras, drones, concealed weapon mounts? It could certainly be a bluff, but if so why would he shout in Japanese and risk not having the intended target of the bluff understand? But for now his danger sense isn't tingling and Sister Rebecca hasn't been thumped with gunfire, so he's willing to let it play out. Sister Rebecca seems like she's on the brink of showing this guy the light, but one slip could send the situation spiraling. And what exactly is she going to show him? A speared vampire? Vampires aren't exactly externally obvious; other than being a bit pale and having pronounced canines, they pretty much look like other metahumans. Achak envisions an awkward scenario where Sister Rebecca has to drag the body over then pull back the upper lip to show the man ... what? Two pointed teeth that could be cosmetic? There's much stranger drek than that in any given club in the Barrens, and this man has probably seen it.

Or Stake could pull up behind this guy and drop him. Time would tell.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (21:06:01/03-23-15)
"Show me,"

This is stupid! Cut that heathen down! The sight of that shotgun barrel is keeping Sister Rebecca's veins full of adrenaline. She knows she'll have less than an instant to act should it turn her way and begin to fire and the thought utterly terrifies her. She desperately wants to resort to violence; slice the man deep before he has a chance to fill this hallway with death, but she doesn't. Despite his blasphemous beliefs, this man does indeed care whether he is protecting demons or not. I cannot slay him unless he gives me no choice.

With a sigh, she shifts the sword into one hand and kneels down by the body of the deceased fat man, leaving her exposed and open to attack, should it come. She wirelessly activates the infared flashlight on her armguard, then with that hand, she reaches down to the man's face and pulls his upper lip away, revealing the beast's fangs. "Here. Look!" She gazes up at the masked man before her, hoping he's got low-light and vision mag in that mask of his. Otherwise, there's going to be blood really soon, here.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:50:06/03-24-15)
The man takes a single cautious step up, and arches his neck further.  "What, that?  Those are not like the fangs on the trids," he says harshly, but the shotgun dips low, and he does not immediately place it back on target.  "Intruder, I do not know what you think that proves, but . . ." his words trail off.

As Achak looks around him for the man's companion, he sees a slight glint in his thermo at the west end of the hallway.  It seems a man has post up there, mostly behind cover, though he's holding his position, and more importantly his fire.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (13:05:06/03-24-15)
Stake can overhear the conversation, just barely. He rubs his face with his hand, trying to remember everything he can about the Infected. It's difficult through the slight headache and haze of Kamikaze, but one fact rises to the surface. He mentally writes up:

<<@Team [Stake] Use wood on the corpse. Explain what you're doing to the guy, we don't want him to panic and shoot you. The body should still react to wood piercing the flesh. That'll probably convince him.>>

Stake composes his thoughts for a few moments. We've got 2 down; need to get that last one quickly. Where the hell could it be?

<<@3L1 [Stake] Has anybody who wasn't on the dance floor tried to leave yet?>>

<<@Sister Rebecca [Stake] Has your spirit detected any signs of the last vampire?>>

Double-checking them quickly, Stake sends another command to his commlink. Send.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (17:56:02/03-24-15)
"What, that?  Those are not like the fangs on the trids," he says harshly, but the shotgun dips low, and he does not immediately place it back on target.  "Intruder, I do not know what you think that proves, but . . ." his words trail off.

The trids?! This fool stands before the wrath of Yahweh based on... on... ACTION CARTOONS?! It's a good thing Sister Rebecca is wearing the helmet, or the look of fury and frustration on her face would probably have turned this negotiation sour by now. What must I say to this heathen savage? She contemplates following through on her threat to simply cut the man down before moving on to thoughts of escaping from him and finding the vampires on her own. It would be harder while being pursued by a murderous Yakuza with a shotgun, but she might be able to pull it off... Then, a message comes through on the comm.

<<@Team [Stake] Use wood on the corpse. Explain what you're doing to the guy, we don't want him to panic and shoot you. The body should still react to wood piercing the flesh. That'll probably convince him.>>

I've only got one piece of wood, and he's not gonna be happy about my pulling it out. Time for the leap of faith. With her free hand, she slowly reaches up behind her head and unclicks the latch that seals her helmet. "You may call me by my name if you wish." she says in a slow and careful tone as he finishes removing her helmet, revealing her stout, chiseled jawline, hard roman nose, and short, chopped, blonde hair. She still hasn't stood up yet. "I am called Sister Rebecca and I can think of only one other way to prove what I say is the truth." She looks him right in the eyes as she speaks the next bit. "Gecko gripped to my back, you may notice an MGL-12 clip fed grenade launcher. I'm going to retrieve it and toss it on the ground to you so that you may inspect it. Take notice of the ammo it's loaded with, and if what you discover is still not enough to sway you to reason; The stock is made of oak. Simply touch it to the creature's flesh and observe."  She slowly stands up, dropping the helmet as she does. She holds her free hand out to the side, palm facing him and fingers spread. She raises her eyebrows in request and says only, "May I?"

<<@Sister Rebecca [Stake] Has your spirit detected any signs of the last vampire?>>

Whoops. She mentally snaps back a quick message to the team.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Dispatching recon 2.>>

"Leliel, there should be one more vampire in this building. Please find it and drive it toward us."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:07:44/03-25-15)
Leliel nods assent and disappears down the hallway, looking for its prey. 

Elijah responds quickly to Stake's question.

<<@Team [3L1] Clear out here.>>

The man pull his shotgun back into position as Becca unslings her grenade launcher, watching the barrel carefully, but when he sees that she's not about to shoot him, he nods his assent curtly.  Sister Rebecca leans down and places the wooden stock of the launcher against the man's chest.  There's a sizzle, like a soy patty on a not-quite-heated griddle, but it makes the right impression.  When Becca removes the stock, its impression is seared into the vampire's torso.  The man tucks his grenade into his jacket pocket and places his now free hand in his armpit, and pulls his hand clear of its glove before approaching cautiously, hand outstretched.  "May I?" he asks, gesturing that he would like to touch the stock.  Becca obliges, and finding no acid on the grendade launcher, the man lowers his shotgun. 

"We don't come up here.  Usually immigrants, sometimes for the Bunraku.  Have their own security.  Lately, no security.  We keep our eyes to the club."

He speaks again in Japanese, and turns to leave.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:27:28/03-25-15)
The instant he turns to go, Rebecca sends a quick message to the rest of the team.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Security is standing down. Do not fire. Recon 2 away.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:53:24/03-27-15)
Achak doesn't exhale when the armored goon stands down. If anything, he's even more tense and suspicious that before.

Just like that? There's a shootout, the club gets cleared, he's in full gear, Stake presumably drops a few of his chummers, and he's willing to stand down after seeing some skin sizzle?

Achak debates the odds of this being a real retreat, although presumably Stake would warn them if the man's Japanese had been aggressive or duplicitous.

Zwounds, I wonder if he's going to change his mind when he sees the heap of his friends at the bottom of the stairwell on the first floor. Best way to avoid that is to wrap up and move on before he has a chance to rethink things.

<<@Team [Achak] Resuming the plan at 6b. Have a spirit scout the third floor. I'm on point, Sister Rebecca watching my back. Elijah, you're on 6c.i. Keep the Optic X-2 scouting from above, and the Rotodrone on standby for quick movement to cover the bottom floor entrances.>>

He waits by the stairwell to see what Leliel finds.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:26:46/03-30-15)
The man with the shotgun begins to step down the stairs carefully, keeping his face pointed toward Sister Rebecca, and his gun ready, though the barrel sweeps only the floor.  When he reaches the landing, he strafes right, and disappears from view; Becca can hear the pacing of his footsteps increase as he descends the stairs.

Through her psychic link, Leleil communicates to Rebecca, "I have found the demon spawn, but its dwelling is a dark place, tainted with the cries of lost souls.  My magic falls on deaf ears here."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (12:57:30/03-30-15)
As the man steps down the stairs, Stake tries to stay out of sight. Unfortunately, as he presses himself against the wall, the floor creaks underneath him. The man's head whips around and stares right at Stake. As he reaches for his gun, Stake takes a gamble. He steps into view, hands raised and open, gun hanging from his sling. In Japanese, he says, "I'm not here to hurt you. I'm with the two you were talking with. We're here for the vampires, nothing more. I apologize if I startled you."

Don't be foolish; please just accept that statement. I'd hate to see this devolve into shooting again. I've shot enough innocent people for one day.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (13:18:05/03-30-15)
Achak listens to the man retreat down the stairs. I'm sure nothing bad will happen when he finds Stake coming up the opposite direction. Let's move on.

It's time for the messy part. "We need the ears," he says to Sister Rebecca, jutting his chin toward the skewered vampire. "For the bounty."

Achak neglected to bring anything sharp with him. The gunstock war club has a sharpened edge, but it is not suited for delicate slicing work. He has the miniwelder and could potentially torch them off, or maybe he could use one of the dagger-like flints he had for his war club. His eyes wander to Sister Rebecca's blade. Much faster, he thinks to himself, although she doesn't have as much protection from contamination.

He steps forward in his chemical-sealed full-body armor. Kneeling down next to the vampire, he pulls the ear away from the head and gives Sister Rebecca a look to request her help. "Stay away from the blood," he advises.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:38:47/03-30-15)
The man comes around the corner of the staircase, sees Stake and begins raising his shotgun reflexively.  When Stake speaks, the man hesitates, then lowers his weapon, and begins descending the stairwell at a fast clip.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (22:17:41/03-30-15)
Sister Rebecca pulls her hair behind her face before cramming her head back into her helmet and re-latching it in the rear. She was never out of communication with the team, her trodes being inside the jacket, rather than the helmet the way a lot of runners do, but it was still nice to get her enhanced visuals back. For a brief moment, she wonders if she's going to hear about tonight from Marcus. She can almost hear him already. "You gave some heathen savage your NAME?! What is wrong with you, Sister?!" Her thoughts are quickly back to business and in a few moments, her companion begins speaking.

"We need the ears," he says to Sister Rebecca, jutting his chin toward the skewered vampire. "For the bounty." Kneeling down next to the vampire, he pulls the ear away from the head and gives Sister Rebecca a look to request her help. "Stay away from the blood," he advises.

With two quick, elegant motions of her wrist, she severs an ear from each of the two downed men without crouching to do so. She certainly doesn't pick either of them up. Bounties... I desire only the bounty of heaven.

<<@Team [Achak] Resuming the plan at 6b. Have a spirit scout the third floor. I'm on point, Sister Rebecca watching my back. Elijah, you're on 6c.i. Keep the Optic X-2 scouting from above, and the Rotodrone on standby for quick movement to cover the bottom floor entrances.>>

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Acknowledged. In position.>>

After watching Achak stow his two trophies and move into position by the stairs, she moves up right behind him, again with the MGL in her right hand and the Blade of Gabriel in her left. She can feel him about to go into motion, when Leliel swoops back into her view. "Hold fast for a moment."

"I have found the demon spawn, but its dwelling is a dark place, tainted with the cries of lost souls.  My magic falls on deaf ears here."

At first she's puzzled a bit. But Leliel is an angel of darkness and water. Probably not the most terrifying among the foes of these particular demons. She takes a brief moment to think. Then, speaks again in the astral. "Lead us to this place, so that we might fill it with holy light."

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Recon 2 returned. 3rd contact location known. Moving to intercept.>>



Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:27:02/04-01-15)
Achak pockets the nicked ears and stands to resume his position at the front. He sheathes his club and readies his Ares Crusader to take the lead. The gun feels light in his hand and he wishes that he had his Ares Alpha back, especially now that the time for subtlety has largely passed. The Crusader couldn't hit as hard as the Alpha, nor did it have the "oh drek" escape route of the underbarrel grenade launcher, for those times when you needed to buy yourself a few seconds. Calm down, calm down. Sister Rebecca can lay down the suppressive grenade fire, he thinks to himself. Still, it was one thing to put yourself in God's hands, quite another to rely on a rookie. Maybe he's just concerned because he's having an off-day himself. He's alive, sure, but his rhythm has been out-of-sync all night.

<<@Team [Achak] Advancing up the stairs, per Leliel's directions. Stake, are you bringing up the rear or are you staying in reserve?>>

Achak is eerily silent as he glides up the stairs. He tunes in his senses, looking, listening, and even smelling for anything that feels out of place. He searches for nearby magic, or any motion that might indicate movement. These hellspawn were granted earthly powers by their dark lord, and Achak was determined not to fall to a deceiver who could conceal himself (or herself) to mundane senses.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:58:06/04-02-15)
Leleil leads the way up the stairs, and then along the hall.  As Achak sets foot on the fourth floor, he is assaulted by the smell of death, not all of it recent.  The cheap carpet is riddled with the tell-tale signs of how this floor has been used: drops of blood from where people were carried, smears from being dragged, bloody footprints, both booted and bare crisscross the floor leading from room to room.  While they seem to originate from different rooms, most of the drag marks seem to terminate in a room to Achak's right, about 10 meters from the stairwell, and the smell of rot coming from the door is strong enough that even Sister Rebecca has to stifle a gag, despite the whirring of an industrial fan that can be heard from within.

In the astral, Sister Rebecca can sense how dread, panic, and eventual resignation have tainted the mana in a way to make it unwieldy in her hands, and she fears that the emotions will invade her as well.  She is reminded of Jesus, calling out to the heavenly Father, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  She can't help but feel that this is a place where the Lord's might wanes, this is Golgotha.  But, then she rights herself.  No, it is only she, and her flesh that are weak here.  The Lord is omnipotent.

But this is Golgotha.

The pair steel themselves by an open door as Leleil heads inside.  They follow, and find themselves in what was once a large suite.  Most of the furniture has been removed, except for three couches forming a "U" about five meters in front of them, and a bed in the corner.  Six bodies lay on the floor on the other side of the U, all of them decapitated, and in front of that sits a young girl, looking no older than ten.  She sits cross-legged on the floor, and rocks back and forth. 

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she murmurs gently.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (17:32:53/04-02-15)
Stake breathes a sigh of relief. Thank God he left. Smart man. He starts making his way up the stairs.

<<@Team [Achak] Advancing up the stairs, per Leliel's directions. Stake, are you bringing up the rear or are you staying in reserve?>>

Stake brings up the rear. He was sure that Achak could tell where he was; he seemed to have an eerie sense of his surroundings. Sometimes, Stake wondered what it would be like to be Awakened. Still, he remembered the days before there were Awakened.

"I hope you don't mind me holding onto this a little longer," he says as he raises his gun and ejects the clip. He puts the clip in his pocket. Swiftly, in one motion, he draws another clip and slams it into the gun. A smile flicks across his face. "This is endgame, folks. Lead the way, Sister?"



As they follow the spirit, Stake notices the, quite obvious, signs of vampires. It wasn't pretty, but then it never is, is it? After so long hunting them, the sight is a common occurrence, although it still brought up memories. Yes, old memories. He still remembered the time when he found this in the hotel room his daughter had hidden in.

Shaking his head, he focuses his attention forward. Now was not a time for memory lane.

They enter a large suite, the only living thing inside is a small child. Stake frowns. It is only too plain what the girl is. That forsaken virus didn't discriminate, that was certain. He doesn't let his guard down; for all her looks, the child was far from helpless. Softly, he asks Sister Rebecca, "Can you confirm that she's the vampire?" This would be the first real test for the Sister. She had fared well with the security guard, but this was truly the essence of hunting the Infected. Would she hold up? Most didn't, but Stake pegged her as being made of sterner stuff.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (22:35:48/04-02-15)
The foul taint of the astral on this floor was almost a welcome feeling. This is the type of feeling she's grown accustomed to while hunting, and while it might not help her spellcasting at all, it does do wonders for her resolve. Jesus was the lamb of god. I am his soldier, his righteous fury, given hand! She's almost on autopilot as the four of them traverse the floor, her training, muscle memory, and instinct taking the lead over rational thought.

The room with the girl is no surprise. In her time, she's seen all manner of horrors, and many of them have worn appealing or sympathetic faces. They have all met the same fate as this one shall. After sensing the telltale aura that marks her firmly as a servant of the Beast, she speaks to Leliel one last time. "Leliel, I had meant to include you in this combat, but I fear your reduced power may render you impotent. Stay and watch our astral flanks, as it were? Make certain I'm not surprised until my fight is concluded. After that, I shall require your assistance no more. Thank you for your aid."  With that final request, she closes her third eye, not only out of the desire to avoid soaking up any of the deluge of despair in the area, but also to sharpen her concentration on her physical body. This one feels stronger than the other two. I may brook no distractions. Behind her and to the right, the team leader whispers.

"Can you confirm that she's the vampire?"

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry,"

With her only response to the team leader being a slow and deliberate nod, the short human woman takes one step forward toward the girl. She raises the blade of Gabriel, pointing it at the frightened young girl, and with a calm, almost loving tone, yet still full of authority and command, she speaks to her. "If it is truly forgiveness you desire, then come forward and receive it. There may still be room left in the kingdom of heaven for you in these brief moments before the end." Honestly, Rebecca believes this to be a ruse of some sort, an attempt to catch her off guard with sympathetic imagery. Many demons use similar tricks, but still. If she were to simply discount an attempt at redemption, even from one so low as this, even when it is likely a deception, she'd never feel right about it. While he is wrathful and glorious, hers is also a forgiving and merciful God, is he not?
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:57:16/04-03-15)
Achak gags when he reaches the fourth floor; his hypersensitive sense of smell is a liability at times like these. He certainly has no desire to vomit while wearing a fully-sealed helmet, so he reactivates the chemical seal on his armor to keep the malicious odors out.

Rounding into the room, Achak drops his Ares Crusader on its sling when he sees the girl. Her fate is sealed, but there is no need to be cruel. Her tone is gentle and her posture is non-threatening. It is difficult to spring into action while sitting cross-legged; if she had been on her knees, he would be more cautious.

<<@Team [Achak] Sister, stay here and keep watch with me. Please pray for our protection from evil magic. Stake, be at the ready with wooden flechettes on full auto. Do not worry about striking me; they certainly will not harm me. Sister, if she strikes, hit us both with sawdust. But if she repents, be ready to deliver her from evil. We are the Lord's grace, and His mercy.>>

He steps forward into the room with his hands empty, making sure not to interfere with Sister Rebecca's line of sight. He kneels down along side the girl so that he might pray with her.

"In this world you will have trouble. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. But take heart! I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. Pray, so that you will not fall: 'Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit'.”

He glances up to Sister Rebecca.

<<@Team [Achak] Do what you came for, friend. Put your sword in its place.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (19:13:26/04-03-15)
With the low-light flashlight held steady on her, the team can see tears brimming in the young girl's eyes.  Slowly, she leans forward, place her right hand on the floor, and adjusts her feet so that she can stand.  When she does so, the team can see blood on her pants, as if she has been eating from her lap in the sitting position. 

"If it is truly forgiveness you desire, then come forward and receive it. There may still be room left in the kingdom of heaven for you in these brief moments before the end."

"Will it hurt?" she asks, but shakes her head before Sister Rebecca can answer.  She steps forward uncertainly, and approaches an interior wall, before kneeling, and pulling her long dark hair across her right shoulder, exposing her neck to Sister Rebecca's blade.

"I just want to look at it for a second," she says.  "Don't tell me when you're going to do it.  I've died once already.  Knowing is the worst part."

A quick sweep of the flashlight, shows what the girl wants her last sight to be.  It's a painting, and from the frame it was obviously brought here. 

(http://www.manet.org/images/gallery/the-surprised-nymph.jpg)
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (00:33:58/04-05-15)
Without a moment's hesitation, Sister Rebecca quickly gecko grips the MGL to her back and steps forward into striking range of her foe. Sword held high above her and even higher above the trembling, blood soaked child at her feet, the demon hunter pauses briefly. She tightly grips the handle with both gloved hands and speaks a short phrase. Her voice is strong, even, and compassionate. "And he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Then, with one swift motion, she brings the razor sharp Blade of Gabriel down in a perfect arc, crossing in front of her and cleanly separating the girl's head from her body. As the decapitated corpse slumps to the ground, Rebecca bows her head briefly and crosses herself. She's pleased. She was certain that many demons would be slain this night, but she did not expect any of them to repent and seek forgiveness before the end. Beneath the intimidating and featureless battlehelmet on her head, she wears an expression of content.

One day, we shall meet again in the kingdom of heaven, and we shall meet as sisters.

After mentally stealing herself against the flood of negative emotion that will pour into her once she does, she opens herself up to the spirit world once again. Looking to see Leliel hovering nearby, she speaks. "Thank you for your help tonight, Noble Leliel. Please return to the great chorus and add tonight's deeds into a verse if you would wish me glory."

Finally, she sends a short message on her comm.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Contact 3 down. Mission successful. Orders for evac?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (03:05:03/04-05-15)
Achak steps forward once the deed is done. He grabs the head of the departed one, then tilts it so that Sister Rebecca may trim the ears. Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come.

Once claimed, he stands. Overall, he feels... fine. A regrettable tragedy that one so young would fall to such an evil disease, but the resolution was as good as could have been hoped. None were beyond the Lord's reach, be it His reaping scythe or His benevolent Grace.

"Intel said we could count on two, possibly three Zekes. That makes three. Perhaps we should conduct a quick audit to confirm." He is about to suggest that Leliel conduct a sweep of the remaining floors, but his magic sense detects that Leliel has departed.

<<@Team [Achak] Elijah, any inbound sirens? It's Redmond, I know, but Touristville sees a patrol every now and then. And that was a lot of screaming clubgoers pouring out into the street all at once.>>

He sweeps his flashlight back over the painting that the girl had wanted to see. He knows about music, but not much about art.

"Surprised to see something like that in a place like this. I can hardly imagine that it's real, but there's only one way to find out. Let's pack this lady up for Mr. Abbey. Let's get some clothes on her, just in case she's a watercolor. I presume it's still raining outside." He glances down at his gloves, which are red from the Lord's work. "Someone with cleaner hands, perhaps." He turns and looks for other spoils of war.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (12:00:55/04-05-15)
"Surprised to see something like that in a place like this. I can hardly imagine that it's real, but there's only one way to find out. Let's pack this lady up for Mr. Abbey. Let's get some clothes on her, just in case she's a watercolor. I presume it's still raining outside."

She briefly shakes her head. "It isn't ours and we've done what we came for. I'd feel better if we left it behind." She does snap a picture of it on her comm though. Something about that image keeps drawing her interest and she'd like to take some time later and figure out what, exactly. Then she adds, "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivereth from death."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:34:23/04-06-15)
Achak turns to Sister Rebecca, somewhat surprised at the objection. How deeply does the reservation go?

"Sister, it is entirely possible - even probable - that the painting itself was stolen and it is by our actions that it will be returned to its rightful owners.

"But let us say, for the sake of discussion, that this painting was lawfully owned by these vampires. Is it not His will that led us here, to purge them? Is it possible to steal from those He would have us kill? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Here is our just reward.

"Samson struck down thirty Philistines and stripped them of everything. So may we, in the service of the Lord."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (22:15:24/04-06-15)
"Sister, it is entirely possible - even probable - that the painting itself was stolen and it is by our actions that it will be returned to its rightful owners.

"But let us say, for the sake of discussion, that this painting was lawfully owned by these vampires. Is it not His will that led us here, to purge them? Is it possible to steal from those He would have us kill? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Here is our just reward.

"Samson struck down thirty Philistines and stripped them of everything. So may we, in the service of the Lord."

Her facemask hides a slightly disappointed smirk. She never ceases to be amazed at the mental gymnastics people will do to justify their actions. Cleaning the blood from her blade, she says to him, "Is that your plan? To return it to it's rightful owners?. Either way, take it if you must. I suppose this one got all the use from it she ever will." Just then, a thought enters her head. I wonder if this girl had a commlink.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Eli, any sign this girl had an active link?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (13:01:20/04-07-15)
Stake smiles behind his mask. He knew that the Sister had it in her. Kind of strange that the girl just gave herself up though.

As the others talk about whether to take the painting, Stake walks up close to it. He quickly checks for traps. Finding none, he shrugs. Ever the pragmatist and unburdened by religion, he lifts the painting off the wall. It's a little large, but Stake manages to hold onto it. He glances at the blood soaked room again. Lots of red. Must be the kamikaze; sometimes it made you really emotional, other times it distanced you from the real world.

"I'm not very knowledgeable about art, but somehow I don't think this," he says as he holds up the painting, "belongs here. We should probably get moving, we've finished what we came here for."

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Eli, any sign this girl had an active link?>>

That's a good idea. Why didn't I think of that?

<<@Team [Stake] Once you're done 3L1, let's get out of here. We've outstayed our welcome.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (14:03:28/04-07-15)
<<@Team [3L1] I've got two outbound from the backdoor.  Engage?>>
<<Attachment: Rotoshot1.png>>

While Sister Rebecca and Stake recognize one of the men as the yakuza wielding a shotgun from the hallway, Stake also recognizes his companion as the one who stayed on his feet despite some good shooting.  The man looks worse for the wear, though, and is leaning heavily on his companion as they make their way out into the alleyway.

A moment later, Eli sends another comm.

<<@Team [3L1] Negative on any commlinks up there.  Pretty dead.  I've got you cleared for evac.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (14:20:53/04-07-15)
<<@Team [3L1] I've got two outbound from the backdoor.  Engage?>>
<<Attachment: Rotoshot1.png>>

<<@Team [Stake] Negative. Those two are part of building security. We came to an understanding, of sorts.>>

<<@Team [3L1] Negative on any commlinks up there.  Pretty dead.  I've got you cleared for evac.>>

<<@Team [Stake] Understood. We're on our way.>>

Looking to his companions, he asks, "Ready?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: 8-bit on (15:00:45/04-07-15)
Getting confirmation, Stake sends another message.

<<@Team [Stake] 3L1, meet us at the back entrance. We're also bringing down a painting that was in the vampires' possession.>>

"All right folks. Let's go. Our ride is waiting." Stake heads for the door, motioning them to follow.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (17:05:56/04-07-15)
<<@Team [3L1] Negative on any commlinks up there.  Pretty dead.  I've got you cleared for evac.>>

Maybe it's turned off or something.

Looking to his companions, he asks, "Ready?"

"Give me ninety seconds." Becca begins tearing through the room, searching for the commlink that may very well, not exist.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:19:48/04-08-15)
Achak leads a quick but thorough search for survivors on the fourth floor, while Becca tears up the main suite.  Apparently the little girl didn't have a commlink of her own, or if she has she has been separated from it. The gore of the feeding area has Sister Rebecca careful of where to place her hands.  All it would take is one errant sofa spring to prick her finger, and then she'd have to submit herself to a mercy killing, like the girl who came before.  Luckily, no such spring reaches out to grab her, and she is careful to pick only at the cleanest corners of cushions she can find to flip them over, before turning over the couch itself.  She does come across one certified credstick, showing a balance of ¥43, tucked into a built-in along the wall, but nothing else of value appears to be in the room.  She also notes a lack of clothes.  It seems these vampires, didn't have much more than what they were found with.  Strange.

Achak's search is no less disheartening, though a bit more profitable.  There are no survivors.  He counts no less than 22 bodies, including the half dozen in the suite, in various states of decay.  They've all been bled dry, and some look to have been bled out into buckets like hogs.  He even comes across one Asian man in a suit, bearing yakuza styled tattoos, tucked away a corner of the "body room."  Most have been decapitated, though a few have nails hammered into the base of their skulls.  Similarly, most appear to be Barrens residents, though the odd mid-level corper is present also, judging from the clothes. 

Near the door of the "body room" Achak finds a five gallon food-grade bucket filled with valuables: commlinks, credsticks, the occasional taser, and two full mags for an Ares Predator.  It seems that most of those killed were killed in the suite, and then brought here to be picked over and dismembered.  Not particularly sophisticated, but effective.

Convinced he's found all there is to find, Achak signals Stake that he's ready to move.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:13:04/04-08-15)
Achak grits his teeth while his stomach rolls. The fourth floor looks like a slaughterhouse, a proverbial bloodbath that's not proverbial at all.

He examines the bodies (the ones with heads, at least) that have nails hammerd into the base of their skulls. Were they pithed? he wonders to himself, thinking back to his rudimentary biology. Academics were never his strong suit though. Immobilized to prevent them from escaping so that they could be consumed "fresh" another day? It's a terrifying thought, but perhaps there is humanity in it too: better to be knocked out first than to be eaten alive and screaming.

He examines the headless corpses. What's the point of decapitating them? Do they need the heads for something? Or does taking the head off make it easier to bleed them dry? He glances distastefully at the buckets full of blood.

His eyes fall on the 19-liter bucket full of personal possessions. He sighs. It's one thing to profit from a vampire when their assets have been anonymized with time, but it's another when their victims are staring you lifelessly in the face. He debates whether to leave the bucket behind for the authorities, wondering if any of the possessions would make it to the next-of-kin. Sighing again, he grabs the bucket to take with him. There's something about the mix of victims which seems suspicious. Maybe it's just a cross-section of people who might be found in the club downstairs on any given night, or maybe some of these victims were intentionally targeted. If so, that would suggest a level of higher level of organization than newborns could be expected to provide. If so, that ladder would need to be climbed. But there was no way to know for sure without sorting through the bucket.

<<@Team [Achak] Fourth floor clear. Ready to evac. I suggest Sister in the front, then Stake with the painting, then I can take the rear.>>

He grabs the bucket with his left hand, keeps his hand on his Ares Crusader with his right, then goes to join Sister Rebecca and Stake.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:27:25/04-08-15)
It's only now that the danger is more or less over, Rebecca starts to realize how strange this whole thing is. Why don't they have any possessions? Why did they have this painting? Why are we being paid so much for so little resistance? She shakes her head and decides that now isn't the time for such ambiguities. Filing all those thoughts away for later, she falls back to business. She pockets the credstick, hoping it will provide some hint to an answer maybe, then announces she's ready to go. "I'm all done here. Ready for Evac."

<<@Team [Achak] Fourth floor clear. Ready to evac. I suggest Sister in the front, then Stake with the painting, then I can take the rear.>>

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Acknowledged. Moving to position.>>

Quickly and efficiently, the demon hunter falls into the requested formation, sword held low and at the ready.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:37:31/04-14-15)
With a bucket and painting in tow, the team is not nearly as stealthy or ready for combat on their way out, as on their way up.  Luckily, with every turn down the stairwell, their flashlights, and Sister Rebecca's eyes on the astral, fail to reveal any new threats.  When the team hits the first floor, they can hear the steady rain again, as no one decided to close the rear doors on their way out.  Eli pulled the rear of the Bulldog right up to the exit, and the team is able to load up quickly and efficiently.

No sooner has Stake stepped inside and closed the doors than Eli begins rolling forward, giving the team only a few moments to buckle up before he really puts on the gas.

<<Well, that wan't so bad, was it, chummers?  Whatcha got their Stake?>> the driver asks motioning toward the painting with a cock of his head.  In a matter of minutes, the van has exited Touristville and is back across the border into Bellevue. 

<<Where to now?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:35:24/04-15-15)
Achak listens to the high-pitched drumming of the rain on the van roof while Eli races back to civilization on 520.

Stake doesn't respond to Eli right away. Achak can tell that it's the kamikaze. He didn't see Stake take it, but he knows the symptoms, can even smell it. A mild dose might be wearing off right now, but from the looks of it Stake got a strong, clean hit. Achak thinks back to the time when he rode the 'kaze. Excitement, uncontrolled trembling, flashes of euphoria. Almost like Holy Spirit.

If Achak spoke Japanese he might draw further parallels between the literal meaning of kamikaze and his own impressions of the experience, but, alas, he does not.

It also kicks the crap out of you, from the inside out, he reminds himself. He wonders how long it will be until Stake crashes, and if he'll be worth anything after that. He leans forward to examine Stake's body armor, notices three flattened rounds. The caliber looks like a machine pistol or an SMG. Not life threatening, but they probably felt like getting hit with a sledgehammer three times. Of course, between his bioware and the kamikaze, it's possible that Stake doesn't even know he's hurt. That much more likely he'll just pass out sometime in the next hour, Achak thinks to himself.

"It's a canvas with some pretty squiggles on it," Achak tells Eli. "Let's see if Duncan Abbey is in town; he'll be in the best position to" - he glances at Sister Rebecca - "get it back to its rightful owners. Head to Queen Anne. It's 2300 on a Sunday night; I'm sure he's still awake!"

He drops a line to Duncan just in case that's not true. Stake is on slightly better terms with the elf than Achak is, but right now Stake is busy tripping balls. Achak is not well-educated or well-cultured, but he is blessed with a modicum of social grace that often allows him to pretend otherwise.

<<@Duncan Abbey, Team [Achak] Dear Mr. Abbey,
     If the hour is not too late or the company too
disagreeable, we would be honored to have an
audience with you presently. We  have uncovered
a small prize that would directly benefit from your
expertise. If you are not currently indisposed, or
otherwise located in Manhattan or Tokyo, may
we be so bold as to call upon you? Our apologies in
advance that we are not properly attired for a social
engagement.
     Yours,
          Achak
[painting.img]>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:50:14/04-15-15)
Within 15 minutes, Achak receives a reply on his commlink.

<<Incoming Message
<<Sender: Abbey Imports, Intl
<<cc: Duncan Abbey
<<Message: Dear "Achak,"
Greetings, sir, and thank you for your message and attached image of the item under consideration.  Mr. Abbey is unavailable at the moment, but I am certain that I may be of some use to you.  Mr. Abbey will be free for tea at 11:15 Monday, December 3rd at his office in the Queen Anne.  Please bring the piece under consideration no later than 10:45 so that initial authentication protocols may be enacted prior to your meeting.

If the above arrangements are amenable to your and your team, please let us know at your earliest convenience.

Thank you very much for your time and attention to this matter, "Achak."  Your efforts in the past have always been appreciated by Abbey Imports, Intl and to Mr. Abbey personally.

Cordially,

Ms. Amethyst Killarney
Personal Assistant to Mr. Duncan Abbey
<<End Message>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:15:40/04-15-15)
The short, stocky human woman feels much more comfortable now that she's got her helmet off again. The rest of the team is puzzled by the look on her face, much more serene and content than the one she wore just minutes ago, before the run. After picking up the scabbard from the floorboards of Eli's van where she'd left it before they went in, she sheathes the Blade of Gabriel and puts it back down on the floor of the van. She then takes a few moments, double checking the MGL for wear and tear, as well as unloading her remaining four sawdust grenades from the clip and passing them back to Achak. "Thank you. They served me remarkably well." she says as she does. Those are the only words she speaks on the ride. She assumes she'll be paid at some point and so is not terribly worried about it. After all, she was completely unhurt, and had expended nearly none of her own resources, save the small amount of nuyen and reagents she wasted earlier. She does use the wireless link provided by the trodes in the collar of her armorjacket to send off the picture she took of the painting to a couple of her contacts, though.

<<@Nori Koizumi/Nevermore [Sister Rebecca] What do you know of this painting and it's rightful owner?>>
<< Painting.pic>>

A moment after hitting send, she realizes she could probably find out a little about it on her own before they even get out of the car. She's never been great with computers, but she understands the basics. Using the pic she took for an image search, she tries to find any information about the strange painting she can. Unfortunately, she just can't get the darn search engine to work properly. So be it. Knowledge, like all things will come in time. She sits in her seat between the two drones, awaiting their arrival at... somewhere. She wasn't terribly clear on the lodging situation, nor how long this particular assignment was to last.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:31:04/04-17-15)
Stake snaps back to himself, and rubs the flattened rounds over his armor absent-mindedly.  When Achak relays that Mr. Abbey will not be available until brunch the following morning, he says, "I got a condo not far from here.  The water's hot, and the food prepper's full, so we can clean up, get a bite, and good night's sleep before the meet tomorrow.  Unless there are any objections?"

Hearing none, Stake sends the coordinates to Elijah from his comm, and the Bulldog does a 180 off Mercer and heads back east.  The sudden change in direction and speed makes Stake look like he might vomit, but he grabs the door handle and keeps him aright and intact.  The rest of the trip to the condo is quick and uneventful, though Sister Rebecca does hear back from one of her contacts.

<<@Sister Rebecca [Nevermore] Hey, n00b.  Not really my area of expertise, but I may be able to dig something up.  This a paying gig, or one of those favor for favor things?  Gimme a few ticks.>>

Elijah pilots the van into the basement parking, and the team puts their weapons and head gear in black bags before exiting out the back.  Stake slots his passkey at the elevator, and again at the door, and then the team is inside his condo.  Achak has been here before, made many pre-run plans, and post-run celebrations in the living area, but this is Sister Rebecca's first time inside.  the living room is well laid out, though not terribly big, and Stake -- starting to get a little groggy -- points out the necessaries, as he heads to the kitchen to grab some water.  "Toilet, sheets, my room -- Sister, you can stay there tonight.  Achak and I will bunk on the couches.  Trid, kitchen, obviously, umm, oh frag," Stake retches in the sink, and turns on the faucet before falling to the floor, unconscious.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (13:08:23/04-18-15)
"I got a condo not far from here.  The water's hot, and the food prepper's full, so we can clean up, get a bite, and good night's sleep before the meet tomorrow.  Unless there are any objections?"

She waits for the team leader to make eye contact through the rearview mirror before shaking her head, no. I wonder how these lost brothers live...

<<@Sister Rebecca [Nevermore] Hey, n00b.  Not really my area of expertise, but I may be able to dig something up.  This a paying gig, or one of those favor for favor things?  Gimme a few ticks.>>

Smiling at the message that pops up in the corner of her vision, she answers.

<<@Nevermore [Sister Rebecca] Whichever you prefer. I have a payment for services rendered coming my way in the next 24-48 hours, so if it's to be the former, it will have to wait until then.>>

Elijah pilots the van into the basement parking, and the team puts their weapons and head gear in black bags before exiting out the back.  Stake slots his passkey at the elevator, and again at the door, and then the team is inside his condo.  Achak has been here before, made many pre-run plans, and post-run celebrations in the living area, but this is Sister Rebecca's first time inside.  the living room is well laid out, though not terribly big, and Stake -- starting to get a little groggy -- points out the necessaries, as he heads to the kitchen to grab some water.  "Toilet, sheets, my room -- Sister, you can stay there tonight.  Achak and I will bunk on the couches.  Trid, kitchen, obviously, umm, oh frag," Stake retches in the sink, and turns on the faucet before falling to the floor, unconscious.

It wouldn't be right to sleep in this man's bed, to take his space when he has been wounded and I have not. "Thank you, but no, I'll sleep out here and- " She hasn't finished her thought before Stake hits the floor, drooling white foam. "Mother Mercy!" In an instant, she's dashed across the room to the kitchen, crouched beside him, and lifted his head into her lap. She turns her gaze desperately to Achak, seeking answers. "Is he ok?! What's wrong with him!?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (15:32:49/04-18-15)
Achak likes going to Stake's place. It's not as spartan as Achak's quarters, which are practically monastic. The fact that Stake is paying for the luxuries allows Achak to not feel guilty about enjoying them. He was often tempted to emulate Stake's lifestyle, but it felt untrue to Achak's hardscrabble upbringing on Cascade Ork lands. He was worried that the additional comforts would make him go soft, lose his edge. You need all the edge you can get when dealing with the undead.

Stake's place was such a sharp contrast to the apartments where they had just been. Already, the memories of it were getting hazy, like a nightmare fading. Such a hellscape; Achak wondered who would clean it up. Could such a bloodbath in the Barrens even be cleaned up? What was the cost, and what was the benefit? Who would want to live there, even with clean walls and carpet? The background count would be monstrous.

Stake gives the tour, vomits, then passes out. Achak is immediately grateful that the boss was next to the sink when it all went down. Not that cleaning up some puke would be much after what we just went through.

He's gratified to see Sister Rebecca's care for the fallen. We'll see if she feels the same way after she hears why, he thinks to himself. He comes over, turns on the sink for a few seconds, then crouches next to Sister Rebecca and Stake.

"He took a combat stimulant," Achak explains. He lifts Stake's eyelids to check his pupils - hugely dilated, as expected - then turns his head to the side to make sure he isn't choking. "This is the aftermath. You might call it the wages of sin, or you might call it the price we pay to survive doing the work we do." He points to the pocks on Stake's body armor, in case the good Sister hadn't noticed them.

"If you don't want the bed, we'll put him there on his side." Standing, he puts his hands under Stake's armpits, lifts his shoulders, and drags him to the bedroom. He removes Stake's boots - no need getting the linens dirty - then opens and removes Stake's armored jacket. Achak lifts the shoulders and gets some help from Sister Rebecca to get Stake's feet on the bed. Achak rolls Stake onto his side, pointing over the edge of the bed at a wastebasket, then places a glass of water on the nightstand. When Sister Rebecca's eyes are diverted, he undoes Stake's belt buckle and pops open the top button of his pants. Then he tosses a light blanket over the unconscious elf and leaves him to his rest.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (23:19:48/04-18-15)
She's still holding Stake's head in her lap and getting filthy with fluids when Achak approaches to help. The sister can't help but notice he doesn't seem particularly worried, as though this sort of thing is "par for the course" as they say. His words confirm her suspicions.

"He took a combat stimulant, this is the aftermath. You might call it the wages of sin, or you might call it the price we pay to survive doing the work we do."

"It's not for me to judge. I'm just disappointed that my magic can't be of any help to him." She looks back down at him, and as she moves a lock of hair out of the team leader's face, she asks, "Does he need medical attention or just sleep?" After being reassured by the large adept that he'll be fine in the morning, she feels alot better about things. "Well, I'm definitely not taking this man's bed in this man's home tonight. He'll need it far more than I will."

"If you don't want the bed, we'll put him there on his side."

Before he can drag their zonked out captain off to bed, she asks "Do you need any help?" but is waved off with a smile and so she stays in Stake's well laid out living room and begins to admire it for the first time as she sits down on a soft synth-leather couch and takes her soaking wet boots off. I like this. It's comfortable, but not extravagant. A good place to rest, but not large or pleasing enough to settle down in. By the time Achak returns, she's in a grey longsleeve knit shit and the same pair of thick blue jeans she's been wearing since she got off the plane last night and they're just as flecked of blood, sawdust, basement water, and Stake's mouth-foam as one would imagine. She's powered on the trid projector and is looking for any reports of what they'd done that evening, hoping there aren't any. When she sees the massive man return out of the corner of her eye, she turns her head to face him and with a tone that is all business, says "Unless you have any wounds that need tending and cleaning first, I'm going to have a shower, alright?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:36:48/04-20-15)
Achak is surprised by Sister Rebecca's reaction to the situation. "It's not for me to judge," she says. A proper Christian response, to be sure, but Achak had been thinking that Sister Rebecca might be the zealous, judgmental type. He knew very little about her personally, although some mention had been made of her nomadic lifestyle.

"No need for medical attention, other than hydration. He'll be fine in the morning. Thick-headed with a swollen tongue, perhaps, but fine." Achak looks to the glass of water he left for Stake. He'd probably prefer a sports drink. Coming down from a high makes me sugar-crazy, even more so. I suppose he can get it if he wants it.

Given that Sister Rebecca was prone to wandering, Achak was surprised by how much she seemed to be enjoying the setting. He had halfway expected her to decry Stake's lodgings as unnecessary, and to decamp with her grenade launcher to go sleep in an alleyway. Not that one could really sleep outside in a storm like this, pouring rain as it was.

"No wounds, just bruises," he reassures her. "A shower is an excellent idea."

Once Sister Rebecca slips into the bathroom, Achak goes to the kitchen and washes his hands, then his face. He looks back at the pile of armor he left in the entryway. Not exactly sanitary, but at least the blood was drying. Still, it would require some extra attention to make it hygienic and clean.

He turns to the fridge to check for a midnight snack. He finds vegetables, lots of vegetables. Typical elf, he thinks to himself, wondering what a guy has to do to get a piece of pie. He wouldn't be above something more substantial, but after the night's events he had no interest in anything vaguely resembling meat, even if it were just mycoprotein masquerading as meat.

He grabs some sort of milk - probably soy - and pours himself a glass. It's good, better than the cheap stuff I get. He has some more, and waits for Sister Rebecca to finish her routine. Once she's done, he takes over the bathroom. If it were his place he'd be fine sleeping dirty, but right now he's paranoid about getting bloody bits on Stake's nice stuff.

After cleaning up and switching into warm-up pants and a tank-top, he returns to the living room to crash on the couch. He sets the alarm on his commlink to ensure that he wakes up in time for church, then closes his eyes and prays that he doesn't have any nightmares about what he saw tonight.

Edit: Clarifying pronouns.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:37:53/04-21-15)
For the last few months, the slayer of demons and healer of the sick had been slumming it, living out of the burned out shell of the former Cross of Christ Lutheran Church down in Macon. She and a handful of other well intentioned folks, living off the "land" as it were, if the land were in fact, pandhandling and odd jobs done for friendly local business owners. Honestly, most of the money had come from Rebecca's healing powers though. She always enjoyed the time spent between assignments, as she felt like she was less tightly tied to Marcus's leash and more able to do as she wished. However, it had been so hot and muggy down there, she almost forgot what it was like to have a hot shower on a cold night. She reminded herself to confess her doubt in her superior's wisdom tomorrow in church as she cleans herself with the nicest soap she's seen in quite a while.

She's no stranger to the finer things in life, she just rarely has time or money to obtain them. She does appreciate them when she has access to them however, and she takes advantage of the lack of water rationing on this side of town to truly indulge herself. It's about fourty five minutes before she emerges, carrying a brown sack, containing her soiled clothes from the run. She's wearing a black and white tracksuit/pajama set and her hair looks just like it did when she got off the plane. Seeing her large, club wielding companion crashed out on the couch and sleeping deeply, she lays her bedroll out near the frontdoor, facing it. She lays down to sleep with the Blade of Gabriel sheathed and laid across her chest like a dead king in a sarcophagus. The first big inhale she takes gives her a thought. I should wash this bedroll, too. It still smells like Macon. And then, I should probably report in to Marcus.

With a sigh, she sits up, grabs her commlink from the pile next to her and turns it on. She snaps off a quick message before turning it off again and laying back down, to dream of Macon one last time before the washes this foul thing.

<<@Marcus [Sister Rebecca] Arrived safely. Made contact with lost brothers. Tonight, we successfully eliminated three vampires with no casualties of any form. About to sleep. Request Information: Length of assignment with lost brothers. Request materials: Spell Formula: Detox.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:17:17/04-22-15)
Achak wakes up before his alarm goes off. He had been dreaming about the previous night, playing it and replaying it in his head, obsessing over the details. He stays on the couch for a while. This couch sleeps better than my bed, he thinks to himself.

He gets up and goes to the window to look at Stake's view. Remarkably, it's not of another wall just a meter or two away. He looks out at the city lights, at the vehicles kicking up spray off the wet roads. It's not light yet and the winter sun won't be up for hours. Even then, it probably won't breach the rain clouds. Achak listens to the rain. It's a soothing sound to his awakened ears.

He turns and surveys the dark condo. His next thoughts are of church but he's in a bit of a bind. First, he didn't bring his nice clothes with him. Sister Rebecca is just off the plane and has her complete wardrobe with her, but Achak's is at home. He bought a Vashon Island Synergist suit - a rare splurge - specifically for church, but it would also be nice to wear it to meet with Duncan. Mr. Abbey would not appreciate Achak in his full body armor, nor his sweats.

Achak knows he needs to attend early service in order to be back in time for the meeting. The upside is that he's not picky about where he worships. Usually he attends a church down in Puyallup - in the thick of gangland where he spent some of his post-smuggling years - but that would be much too far to go today. The other benefit is that Stake and Achak don't live that far apart. With some fast walking, Achak can be home in ten minutes.

He checks on Stake to make sure he's still breathing. Reassured that the elf is on the mend, Achak grabs a breakfast bar from Stake's cupboard and chases it with another glass of soymilk, then ducks out into the rain. He goes unarmed, which is a bit of a risk, but he's guessing early Sunday morning will be safe. Besides, no use in tweaking Knight-Errant, even if Achak is a SINner.

He gets home to his micro-apartment, 25 square meters of simplicity. There's a bed that's closer to a cot, a malnourished soy-processing unit, a small fridge, and a bathroom so small that Achak bangs his elbows in the shower. He quickly towels the rain out of his hair and warms up some water for tea. He could really go for a donut but if he's lucky (or blessed) there might be one with some soykaf after the service. He changes into his nice suit - a gorgeous navy with a subtle pattern that fits like a glove - combs his hair, drinks his tea to chase away a chill, then ducks back out into the rain. This time he has an umbrella at least.

St. Mark's Cathedral (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/St._Mark's_Episcopal_Cathedral_Entry_Interior_-_Seattle,_WA.jpg) is an Episcopal church not far away. Achak sits in a pew in the back, feeling the music resonate in the huge space above him. His thoughts turn again to the night before.

Why was I so sloppy? he wonders during the Psalm. I wasn't sharp all night. Clumsy, bumbling, and generally blessed with second-rate opposition. Was it because I skipped the Jazz? This was a concerning thought. He stands with the congregation to hear the Gospel. Do I need it to be at my best? Is it psychological? If so, does that make it any less real? These are the thoughts turning over in his mind as he listens to the Rector preach about the season of Advent. The season of hope, and waiting. Achak hopes that he's not dependent on the chems, even if he secretly suspects that he is. But what of it? If it's the chems that keep me alive, or my teammates alive, are they not for the best? Are they not God's tools, as surely as blades and bullets? He bows his head to listen more attentively.

After service he manages a few smiles and handshakes while gathering a cup of soykaf and a cookie. Donuts would have to wait. Or frybread for lunch to celebrate getting paid! he thinks to himself. That foodtruck that specializes in it is usually parked at Seattle Center on the weekend. Unless, of course, they decide not to show because of the weather.

He returns to Stake's place to gather Sister Rebecca and the elf. He grabs his Ares Crusader and thinks about swapping out the clip of wooden flechette ammunition. He has APDS and Ex-Explosive, but both are hideously illegal. Best not to take chances on Queen Anne, where the cops are tight and not keen to lose their cushy patrols. The machine pistol goes into the concealable holster with the less-effective but less-forbidden ammunition.

"Time," he says.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (15:12:33/04-22-15)
Sister Rebecca awakens to a message from Marcus, one, like usual, in which she can imagine his glee at typing as he flaunts his power as handler.

<<@Sister Rebecca [Marcus] Request for information denied.  Remember "good" sister, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord which will stand."  I worry that I have sent you out as a lamb amongst wolves.  Request Information: Dossiers on each Lost Brother.  I hope that I have not stretched your abilities too far.  Report to Saint Mary's at attached location for urine testing on Monday morning.  I will process your request for spell formula at my convenience, and if granted, it will be waiting for you at the above location.  Go with God, for we are watching.>>
<<Attachment: Saint_Mary's_Church.pin>>

Sister Rebecca checks the location of the church on GridGuide to find it little more hovel of a soup kitchen deep in the heart of the Barrens.  In a way, it will be like a homecoming.  Still, it's a bit troubling that no contact name is given.  Great.  If anything it means that Marcus will be sharing her picture around so that she may be spotted in a way that denies her agency.  Becca tries to force these negative thoughts from her mind, and finds a church close by that she can attend services at.  She eats, changes, makes her way to the church, prays, lights a candle, and makes her way back to Stake's apartment only to see that the elf is now absent, but that he's sent clearance credentials to her commlink.  Before departing, she sees that he had set the painting against his dining room table, with a piece of electronic paper left on the table proper.  It's a hastily scrawled note from Stake reading,

"Went to check lead.  Time sensitive.  Give my best and apologies to D.A.
--Stake"

A few minutes later, Achak makes his way back from church, and the pair has only a few minutes to discuss strategy before it's time to catch a cab to Mr. Abbey's office in the Queen Anne District.

#

Mr. Abbey's office is on the 10th floor of a corner building off Comstock St.  Achak and Sister Rebecca enter at the ground floor, and are immediately flanked -- in an entirely friendly and cordial way, of course -- by 3 well-dressed trolls.  Upon having their credential verified, the pair is divested of the painting, and any arms they are carrying before being sent up to Mr. Abbey's floor.  As the elevator doors swing open, they see their clients taste on display.  The steel and glass of the lobby has given way to rich oak and mahogany, real by the looks of it, and a stout dwarf woman with gray at her temples and a severe bun greets them with a nod of her head before saying, "Mr. Achak, Ms. . . .?" she cuts short her query before continuing "Punctual as always.  Very good.  I see that Mr. Stake will not be joining us.  Very well.  I am Amethyst Killarney," she says to Sister Rebecca as she hops down from a high stool to a small set of stairs before coming around the rather desk and extending her hand.

Ms. Killarney offers the team a drink, and a seat while they wait, and at 11:25 sharp, Achak and Sister Rebecca are called into the library.  The painting has been set at an easel, and two young technicians in lab coats make their way out of the room at their approach.  Duncan Abbey, who is standing admiring the work, turns to face the team, and calls for Ms. Killarney to bring in tea.  As always, the elf is exquisitely dressed, today favoring an early 20th century British styled 3 piece with some subtle steampunk flairs.  He is clean-shaven save for a double-decker pencil mustache that looks cut by lasers, as does the part in his hair and the high arches cut around his ears.  He introduces him graciously to Sister Rebecca, inquiring into her name as well, and with the etiquette of a previous age, he refrains from offering his own hand until or unless Sister Rebecca offers hers first.

When the tea arrives, Achak also smells the characteristic spice of ork cuisine.  It seems that Mr. Abbey has brought in some jalapeno collared greens, andouille and crawfish curry over potatoes, and some incredibly potent hot sauce, which he had placed in an antique silver serving bowl.  "Rebecca, if I may call you that," Mr. Abbey says, "I am unfortunately unaware of your culinary preferences, but I have a full kitchen in my employ if you would like say, a chicken sandwich, Montecristo, or a light soup?  Please, it would not be any trouble at all."

Mr. Abbey moves a odd-looking plant with closed buds from the corner of his desk, so that he can more easily lean against it before continuing.  "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it appears as though the painting you brought in was equipped with a stealth tag.  I'm assuming you were unaware of that, Achak?  Regardless, it's been disabled now.  On the other hand, I am pleased, and quite a bit surprised to say that it is indeed an original Manet.  This particular piece was last in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, prior to all the troubles with Amazonia way back when.  It's been missing now, for nearly forty years.  As you can imagine, I think that this would do quite well at an auction, and as always, I am pleased that you thought of me.  The one point of contention might be a claim of ownership by Argentina, but they're really in no position to contest what we do up here in a more civilized locale.  If I may ask,how would you like to proceed here?  I would be happy to buy it outright, if you would allow me the pleasure."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:45:32/04-22-15)
<<@Sister Rebecca [Marcus] Request for information denied.  Remember "good" sister, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord which will stand."  I worry that I have sent you out as a lamb amongst wolves.  Request Information: Dossiers on each Lost Brother.  I hope that I have not stretched your abilities too far.  Report to Saint Mary's at attached location for urine testing on Monday morning.  I will process your request for spell formula at my convenience, and if granted, it will be waiting for you at the above location.  Go with God, for we are watching.>>
<<Attachment: Saint_Mary's_Church.pin>>

URINE TESTING?! URINE TESTING?! So not ONLY am I a junkie, but I'm a junkie who's dumb enough to ANNOUNCE it to the only person in the world who'd care?! She pushes the anger aside and sends a response.

<<@Marcus [Sister Rebecca] Acknowledged.>>

When the troll asks for her sword, Rebecca pauses. Unless she was on an airplane, that blade hadn't left her side in 3 years. "No offense, sir" she says to the troll. "but I'd rather leave it in the car outside."

"Mr. Achak, Ms. . . .?"

With a stern and unforgiving face, she responds, "Rebecca. And it's Sister, not miss."

He introduces himself graciously to Sister Rebecca, inquiring into her name as well, and with the etiquette of a previous age, he refrains from offering his own hand until or unless Sister Rebecca offers hers first.

She keeps her hands clasped behind her back and nods. "Sister Rebecca, demon hunter. Pleased to meet you, Mr. Abbey."

"Rebecca, if I may call you that," Mr. Abbey says, "I am unfortunately unaware of your culinary preferences, but I have a full kitchen in my employ if you would like say, a chicken sandwich, Montecristo, or a light soup?  Please, it would not be any trouble at all."

"Sister would be more appropriate, sir. And the food you've offered will do. Thank you." Rebecca hates ork cuisine, but she's never been one to refuse hospitality. This man is sharing his best with us. It would be an insult not to eat it. Isn't that how Gautama Siddhartha died though? No matter. She takes the first few bites of the meal with a smile on her face, doing her best to feign enjoyment.

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it appears as though the painting you brought in was equipped with a stealth tag.  I'm assuming you were unaware of that, Achak?  Regardless, it's been disabled now.  On the other hand, I am pleased, and quite a bit surprised to say that it is indeed an original Manet.  This particular piece was last in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, prior to all the troubles with Amazonia way back when.  It's been missing now, for nearly forty years.  As you can imagine, I think that this would do quite well at an auction, and as always, I am pleased that you thought of me.  The one point of contention might be a claim of ownership by Argentina, but they're really in no position to contest what we do up here in a more civilized locale.  If I may ask,how would you like to proceed here?  I would be happy to buy it outright, if you would allow me the pleasure."

"That sounds like far worse news for you than for us. Should anyone follow that tag, it will lead them here, not to us. As for the Painting, I'm afraid it's not for sale. We took it so that it may be returned to it's rightful owner. Now, assuming that you are able to help us find said rightful owner, and there's a reward for it, you may share in said reward. But again, I'm sorry. This is not about profit. It's about setting things right."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:22:27/04-22-15)
Achak glances at the note from Stake. He stifles a sigh, not wanting to appear frustrated in front of Sister Rebecca. Stake is by far the more eloquent of the two, and he has a better relationship with Duncan Abbey to boot. Achak would much rather have Stake in the lead, but it wasn't to be.

"We'll need a ride back, so let's get a towncar," Achak suggests, looking at Sister Rebecca's sword. He knows that Mr. Abbey's security won't be as fond of it as Sister Rebecca is. Mundanes had no appreciation for the beauty of weapon foci. Achak knows he'll need to leave his machine pistol in the car too. He makes the call to summon a black Saeder-Krupp-Bentley Concordat with a suitably discreet driver.

Arriving at Mr. Abbey's office, Achak steps out into the cold winter morning. He asks the driver to wait for them, submits to the building's security, and then proceeds up to Mr. Abbey's floor. He inhales deeply inside, taking in the scent of many leather-bound books. The office smells of rich mahogany.

He greets Amethyst Killarney, then Duncan Abbey once he's shown in. "Mr. Abbey, a pleasure," he says. "Stake expressly asked us to deliver his apologies, and to give you his best."

Achak enjoys the orkish cuisine, the strong flavors reminding him of his youth. The hot sauce numbs his mouth agreeably, and he's momentarily thankful that his sense of taste isn't as awakened as his sense of smell. The jalapeño collard greens are spicy enough on their own; the hot sauce could probably double as a chemical weapon if it were put into capsule rounds.

Achak grimaces internally at the mention of a stealth tag. Externally, he allows himself a slow blink. It's not great news. First, it's an extension of the previous night's sloppiness. Second, it's the type of thing that he would have like Elijah to think of. It makes him question the decision to stay at Stake's place last night, rather than a safehouse or a location that could be burned with fewer lifestyle consequences. Achak files away his pique, doing his best to stay composed in what was surely the opening salvo in the negotiation process.

Achak exchanges a glance with Sister Rebecca before returning back to Mr. Abbey. "Thank you for the research. We are pleased to be of some service to the art community. We have an interest in seeing it returned to its rightful owners. Would you know if they still... exist in their previous capacity?" Achak's understanding of the conflict in Amazonia is minimal, and it certainly doesn't extend to the National Museum of Fine Arts. "We understand the value would not be as great as at open auction, but if they are still a viable institution of fine arts then we would be pleased to redeem it with them. Perhaps they received an insurance settlement?" This is wishful thinking, given the length of the disappearance, but he feels compelled to ask first. Argentina is a corporate republic largely under the thumb of Saeder-Krupp, so maybe there are still well-funded arts institutions in Buenos Aires. The trick would be to make the sales price less expensive than the flesh-eating lawyers that would likely be the buyer's backup plan if negotiations failed.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (22:04:51/04-22-15)
"Sister would be more appropriate, sir. And the food you've offered will do. Thank you."

Mr. Abbey places his right hand at his heart and gives a short bow of his head.  "Mea culpa, Sister," he says with a smile

"That sounds like far worse news for you than for us. Should anyone follow that tag, it will lead them here, not to us.

"Not necessarily.  One, I trust the security here.  Two, why would anyone want to know the location of an antiquities dealer?"  Mr. Abbey, watching Sister Rebecca eat, stands and crosses the room to the far wall, where he pulls on a gold-braided cord, which leads up into the ceiling.  A soft bell-ringing sound emanates from above, and Ms. Killarney enters a moment later.  "Ms. Killarney, I believe I will have some scones with my tea today."

Ms. Killarney exits the room, and he continues, "How many did you dust, Achak?  Anything off about the run?"

"As for the Painting, I'm afraid it's not for sale. We took it so that it may be returned to it's rightful owner. Now, assuming that you are able to help us find said rightful owner, and there's a reward for it, you may share in said reward. But again, I'm sorry. This is not about profit. It's about setting things right."

Mr. Abbey, taken aback, looks to Achak for some sort of backup, but when Achak answers in such a way as to inform him that he will not be making a personal call to one of the board members at Ares or SK, his face visibly drops for a moment.  Luckily, Ms. Killarney re-enters with some beautiful looking blueberry scones, and he retrieves one, offers one to the "Good Sister," and takes a bite and sip of tea before continuing. 

"Achak, Sister, to whom does Jerusalem belong?  This painting here, 'La Nymph Surprise' is of Edouard Manet's secret love, and to him it belongs.  But he is no more.  Following him?  A private collector, maybe 2, in the fifth world the painting belonged to the people in some socialist democracy, and then it belonged to the Corporate Court, and then Arrojo, and now the Corporate Court again.  Ortega is in power now, but he never presided when the painting was in Argentina's hands.  Does it belong to him?  Does it belong to the Argentinians?  Perhaps, but I believe even your Jesus said something about casting pearls to swine."  Duncan Abbey places the remains of a scone on the middle of his plate and wipes his fingers thoughtfully with a lavender colored napkin.

"The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is no more.  What was not taken in the troubles with Amazonia was certainly plundered by Arrojo's regime and pinned on the troubles with Amazonia.  I am of 3 opinions on what you could consider a rightful owner.  1, the legal descendant of Edouard Manet.  2, Ortega's regime in Argentina.  And 3, the man, woman, or institution with the most nuyen.  It's not poetic, but it's true.  What, may I ask, is your reason for taking such an interest in this piece?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:59:54/04-23-15)
Ms. Killarney exits the room, and he continues, "How many did you dust, Achak?  Anything off about the run?"

Achak leans back from the table, thinking the question over. It implied that there could be a "normal" run against vampires. Achak hadn't been at this as long as Stake, but he knew that things were never routine. Things seemed "off" about it, sure, not that Achak's limited brainpower could connect all the dots. He didn't see any harm in laying them out for Duncan though.

"Besides finding a 200-year-old painting squirreled away in the Redmond Barrens? Yes, some things were off.

"The first two floors of the building were controlled by the Yaks. The upper floors were controlled by the newborns, not that we saw anyone else up there. Looked like killing and feeding grounds. It was odd that the Yaks would just let someone else control the upper floors, yet they didn't seem to know what was upstairs. The Yak guards stopped resisting when they discovered our purpose. They had been unaware.

"Second, we got the initial tip about the newborns from the Yaks. Yet when we did the recon we find Yaks controlling the club downstairs. My suspicion is that it is a Kanaga-gumi holding and that the Kenran-kai are making a play for it." He pauses to see what sort of impression this makes on Duncan. Mr. Abbey is a fence, and well-educated, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he knows all the ins and the outs of the streets. To many, the Yaks were the Yaks, monolithic and indivisible, even if the reality was often the opposite.

"We found three vampires. Two adult males and a young girl. She was repentant and did not resist. If anything, she seemed to welcome it. The were all newborns, uncontrolled and undisciplined. The apartments were a horror, and the zekes' lack of restraint was on display everywhere. Some victims had nails in the base of their skulls. To lobotomize them? Or immobilize them for future consumption? I don't know. Some were decapitated and then bled dry into buckets. Again, the purpose of this is unclear. A vampire generally prefers to eat fresh, especially if they can drain essence simultaneously. What value buckets of surplus blood would have to them is beyond me.

"They had collected all of the victims' personal possessions in a big bucket. I grabbed it. The mix of victims struck me as odd. Most looked like Barrens residents, but some of the clothes looked like they might have been mid-level corpers. Perhaps it was just a cross-section of people who might be found in the club downstairs on any given night, or maybe some of these victims were intentionally targeted. If so, that would suggest a level of higher level of organization than newborns could be expected to provide. The presence of the painting would suggest that too. How would an ancient painting - with a stealth tag - find its way into the hands of newborns? They certainly hadn't owned it for 40 years themselves. And most newborns aren't even concerned with such things. For them, life is all about the thrill of the hunt, and the rush of feeding. It's not until they mature that they turn their attention to earthly matters. The little girl seemed to appreciate the painting, it must be said, but one could hardly imagine that she had acquired it on her own."

He slows to see if Sister Rebecca has insights to add, or if Duncan can see something that he cannot.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:36:25/04-24-15)
Achak listens to Duncan's explanation of the piece's previous ownership. Achak's dogbrain is ill-suited for such matters. His instincts are superb, but the subtleties of law and philosophy escape him. He tries to articulate his thoughts on Duncan's question.

"It's one thing to profit from the estate of a vampire when you do not know who they have stolen from. It's another when it's such an identifiable piece, especially one with such cultural heritage.

He raises his hands and his eyebrows, then looks at Sister Rebecca to see how she is feeling. "But as you say, el Museo is no more. The country is divided against itself and there can be little hope of finding a rightful owner. As such, we may have an opportunity." He turns look at Sister Rebecca again. "Perhaps it may be sold to a worthy bidder - one that will be an appropriate steward for such a piece - and then a portion of the proceeds tithed to the Church and other charitable organizations."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:17:25/04-24-15)
"Perhaps it may be sold to a worthy bidder - one that will be an appropriate steward for such a piece - and then a portion of the proceeds tithed to the Church and other charitable organizations."

Duncan Abbey's eyes visibly brighten at the mention of a "steward."

"I personally know the curator at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, as well as the Denver Art Museum.  I would be happy to open lines of communications should you find the arrangement to be up to your standards.  Of course, the SAM would also be viable, and would keep this beautiful piece a little closer to home, should you ever choose to visit again.

"The money, of course, will not be so good, but I'm sure a proper tithe could be arranged."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (13:51:43/04-25-15)
"We found three vampires. Two adult males and a young girl. She was repentant and did not resist. If anything, she seemed to welcome it. The were all newborns, uncontrolled and undisciplined. The apartments were a horror, and the zekes' lack of restraint was on display everywhere. Some victims had nails in the base of their skulls. To lobotomize them? Or immobilize them for future consumption? I don't know. Some were decapitated and then bled dry into buckets. Again, the purpose of this is unclear. A vampire generally prefers to eat fresh, especially if they can drain essence simultaneously. What value buckets of surplus blood would have to them is beyond me. They had collected all of the victims' personal possessions in a big bucket. I grabbed it. The mix of victims struck me as odd. Most looked like Barrens residents, but some of the clothes looked like they might have been mid-level corpers. Perhaps it was just a cross-section of people who might be found in the club downstairs on any given night, or maybe some of these victims were intentionally targeted. If so, that would suggest a level of higher level of organization than newborns could be expected to provide. The presence of the painting would suggest that too. How would an ancient painting - with a stealth tag - find its way into the hands of newborns? They certainly hadn't owned it for 40 years themselves. And most newborns aren't even concerned with such things. For them, life is all about the thrill of the hunt, and the rush of feeding. It's not until they mature that they turn their attention to earthly matters. The little girl seemed to appreciate the painting, it must be said, but one could hardly imagine that she had acquired it on her own."

Rebecca listens as her companion lays out the strange details of the night before, smiling proudly at the mention of the girl who repented and welcomed holy redemption. She had known something wasn't right about the way things had gone down the night before, but couldn't figure out exactly what it was. Hearing Achak explain it this way cleared up a lot of things for her. That painting was a trap. Her eyes go wide. The whole nest was a trap. Her jaw loosens a bit. Someone wants to find hunters. She stops paying attention to the conversation for a moment, lost in her thoughts. She's not used to being the one hunted, and the feeling makes her uncomfortable in her stomach. When Achak finishes his account of the evening and looks to her for additional input, all she can muster as she snaps back to the moment at hand is, "Yes." She clears her throat to give her time to adjust before continuing. "Vampires are not my area of expertise, but nothing about the events of last night felt right."

"Achak, Sister, to whom does Jerusalem belong?  This painting here, 'La Nymph Surprise' is of Edouard Manet's secret love, and to him it belongs.  But he is no more.  Following him?  A private collector, maybe 2, in the fifth world the painting belonged to the people in some socialist democracy, and then it belonged to the Corporate Court, which is no more.  Arrojo is in power now, but he never presided when the painting was in Argentina's hands.  Does it belong to him?  Does it belong to the Argentinians?  Perhaps, but I believe even your Jesus said something about casting pearls to swine. The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is no more.  What was not taken in the troubles with Amazonia was certainly plundered by Arrojo's regime and pinned on the troubles with Amazonia.  I am of 3 opinions on what you could consider a rightful owner.  1, the legal descendant of Edouard Manet.  2, Arrojo's regime in Argentina.  And 3, the man, woman, or institution with the most nuyen.  It's not poetic, but it's true.  What, may I ask, is your reason for taking such an interest in this piece?"

"It's one thing to profit from the estate of a vampire when you do not know who they have stolen from. It's another when it's such an identifiable piece, especially one with such cultural heritage. But as you say, el Museo is no more. The country is divided against itself and there can be little hope of finding a rightful owner. As such, we may have an opportunity. Perhaps it may be sold to a worthy bidder - one that will be an appropriate steward for such a piece - and then a portion of the proceeds tithed to the Church and other charitable organizations."

"I personally know the curator at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, as well as the Denver Art Museum.  I would be happy to open lines of communications should you find the arrangement to be up to your standards.  Of course, the SAM would also be viable, and would keep this beautiful piece a little closer to home, should you ever choose to visit again. The money, of course, will not be so good, but I'm sure a proper tithe could be arranged."

The conversation had gotten far larger than Rebecca was able to process quite quickly. Last night when they'd found it, she had imagined there was some art gallery or private collector or something like that who would immediately lay claim to the piece, but now? Argentina? Hong Kong? Denver? Amazonia? When the mention of a steward came up, things once again became local enough for her to follow along. "I like the idea of a steward. A trustworthy person, a man of honor, one who will indeed put proper effort into locating the rightful owner." Completely unaware of the social faux pas she is committing, she turns to Achak and asks him bluntly, "Is Mr. Abbey here such a man?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:35:17/04-27-15)
When the mention of a steward came up, things once again became local enough for her to follow along. "I like the idea of a steward. A trustworthy person, a man of honor, one who will indeed put proper effort into locating the rightful owner." Completely unaware of the social faux pas she is committing, she turns to Achak and asks him bluntly, "Is Mr. Abbey here such a man?"

Achak blinks languidly at Sister Rebecca's question, uncertain of how to respond. He didn't know her well - still less than 24 hours - and was uncertain about her powers of comprehension in social situations. Achak was no intellectual, that was for certain, but he knew the difference between hearing and listening. Did Sister Rebecca understand that there was no rightful owner to locate? Or that "rightful" was a flexible concept, subject to negotiation and possibly litigation? Or were her desires directing her thinking, regardless of reality? He didn't know.

Achak also didn't know whether to suppress the mercenary spirit of his previous life - the profit-motive that got him into this business in the first place - or to embrace it as a practical interface with a practical and uncaring world. It would be easy to hop up and down and yell "SELL SELL SELL!" giddily, which might be what Stake or Elijah would be doing, were they here. There was much good that could come of such an approach. But yet Jesus was practical too, simply in a different way. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neighbor moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. This painting was simply a treasure on earth, and thus of little consequence. It's highest and best use would be to liquidate it and use the proceeds for God's work, be that a soup kitchen or a new Ultimax Rain Forest Carbine.

But he should get around to answering the question before his delay gave the appearance that he didn't trust Duncan. "Yes, Mr. Abbey would be a trustworthy guardian." He turns to Duncan, and speaks a little more slowly in a listen to me and read in between the lines manner. "Mr. Abbey, may we impose upon you to act as the steward a little longer? We trust your ability to find the rightful owner and to negotiate the pertinent details with everyone's best interests in mind. You will, of course, receive the appropriate consideration once the divestment is complete."

Achak smiles, hoping this is ambiguous enough to satisfy Sister Rebecca yet clear enough to give Duncan some direction. If not, he could clarify later via comm. Separately, he wonders whether he used the word "divestment" correctly.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:24:05/04-27-15)
"Yes." She clears her throat to give her time to adjust before continuing. "Vampires are not my area of expertise, but nothing about the events of last night felt right."

"Indeed," Mr. Abbey says, finishing his tea.  He places the empty cup on its saucer and pushes it away slightly, before circling around his desk and retrieving a pewter filigreed cigarette case.  He grabs a black cigarette with gold filter, and presents the case to Achak and Sister Rebecca in turn.  "Sobranie?" he asks before lighting his smoke and continuing. 

"There is something quite unsettling about this find.  Mercer's team had a similar acquisition before they went underground, or God willing, that's where they are now.  I was not privy to the sale, but antiquities is a small world.  I believe the piece was an early medieval pieta found in the Aurora Warrens in Denver."

Achak knows of Mercer.  He commanded a team of four hunter, based in the DFW metroplex, and had a Grotto1 ranking that rivaled Stake's.  He was known for having a slight lack of patience but brutal efficiency that led most to assume he came from a military background.  It's been about three-and-a-half months since he, or any of his team, have made a post on Grotto1 by achak's recollection. 

Duncan Abbey shifts in his seat at Sister Rebecca's question, and pulls with a little more force than is customary on his cigarette.  After a moment, he smiles, and leans forward as if to stand, but Achak speaks first.

"Yes, Mr. Abbey would be a trustworthy guardian." He turns to Duncan, and speaks a little more slowly in a listen to me and read in between the lines manner. "Mr. Abbey, may we impose upon you to act as the steward a little longer? We trust your ability to find the rightful owner and to negotiate the pertinent details with everyone's best interests in mind. You will, of course, receive the appropriate consideration once the divestment is complete."

Achak smiles, hoping this is ambiguous enough to satisfy Sister Rebecca yet clear enough to give Duncan some direction. If not, he could clarify later via comm. Separately, he wonders whether he used the word "divestment" correctly.

"You do a me a great kindness, Achak.  And, Sister, you honor me with the forthrightness of your question.  I will happily recuse myself if you wish to discuss the matter further, but I would be honored to steward the painting, as well as make inquiries into any number of possible homes for its placement.

"Is there anything else that I may do to be of service?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:41:15/04-27-15)
She holds up one palm toward the pack and shakes her head, declining the cigarette, continuing to do her best to keep her focus on the conversation between Achak and his high-class contact rather than on the sinking pit in her stomach.

"There is something quite unsettling about this find.  Mercer's team had a similar acquisition before they went underground, or God willing, that's where they are now.  I was not privy to the sale, but antiquities is a small world.  I believe the piece was an early medieval pieta found in the Aurora Warrens in Denver."

The pit grows deeper. Mercer? Achak will have to fill me in on that name later. In an almost gruff tone of voice, she half barks out, "Who bought that painting from Mercer?" I'll need to talk to them as well and ask about a stealth tag.

She picks at her remaining spicy hot orkish dip with a piece of bread as she listens to the two of them finish the conversation, a look of cold emptiness on her chiseled face.

"Yes, Mr. Abbey would be a trustworthy guardian. Mr. Abbey, may we impose upon you to act as the steward a little longer? We trust your ability to find the rightful owner and to negotiate the pertinent details with everyone's best interests in mind. You will, of course, receive the appropriate consideration once the divestment is complete."

"You do a me a great kindness, Achak.  And, Sister, you honor me with the forthrightness of your question.  I will happily recuse myself if you wish to discuss the matter further, but I would be honored to steward the painting, as well as make inquiries into any number of possible homes for its placement.

"Is there anything else that I may do to be of service?"

Knowing the universal language for "time for you to go now," the good sister stands slowly from her chair, bows hastily to Mr Abbey and says, "Thank you for your hospitality, good Sir." With a look to Achak, she asks, "Shall we?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:20:46/04-27-15)
Achak hears Mercer's name and his hackles go up. Antiquities may be a small world, but Grotto1 is even smaller. Much like the world of shadowrunners, there was a delicate balance between cooperation against a shared adversary, counterbalanced with a keen sense of competition. Mercer was direct and lacked subtlety, which ran against to Achak's instinct for stealth and precision. Mercer was military bravado; Achak was a smuggler's shadow. Achak was not sorry when Mercer disappeared from the scene, but it was alarming to hear that his team's disappearance had been preceded by a situation uncannily like the one that Achak is in now.

"I understand that you were not privy to the sale, but do you know who assisted Mercer with it?" Achak asks. "If antiquities is a small world, then perhaps you can hazzard a guess." Have they disappeared too? is what he is really thinking and what he really wants to ask, but he's trying to play it cool for the moment. The stealth tag is now borderline alarming, not just an irritating oversight. He's tempted to fire off a message to Stake immediately, telling him not to go home alone. Frag, I left my club there, Achak thinks. And my Alpha and my armor. Frag frag. He wonders about Elijah too.

The mercenary side of him wonders if Duncan is now at risk as well. Duncan trusts his security, but it was one thing to be on guard against magical and matrix intrusions, and quite another to defend against things which disappear into a cloud of mist and then reform wherever you least expect (and least want) them. Was Duncan compromised? Should Achak sell to Duncan immediately, for fear that Duncan will be "underground" tomorrow? The double-meaning of the expression was not lost on him.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:15:35/04-29-15)
To Achak and Sister Rebecca's query, Duncan Abbey answers, "Lisette Espada handled the sale."  He opens his desk drawer once again and pulls out a paper -- paper?! -- and a pen.  It may be the first time Sister Rebecca has ever seen a pen, and Mr. Abbey writes a few notes on one page, tears it away, and then consults the comm at his desk before writing on a second.  He approaches Achak with both sheets have paper, handing them in turn, saying, "She keeps a gallery in Carrollton.  Here is the commcode, and address, should you need it. And here," he says handing the second paper, "is a formal introduction, should it be useful."

Achak feels the weight of the paper in his hand.  It's embossed with the seal for Abbey Intl, and in a moment, Mr. Abbey produces an envelope for Achak to keep the papers safe in.

"I will start making some calls immediately, and inform you of any interested parties.  Please stay on touch, Achak, and Sister Rebecca, it was a pleasure to meet you.  Please pass along my greetings to Stake as well.

"And be careful, please."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:53:21/04-29-15)
Lisette Espada, Mercer.

"Please stay on touch, Achak, and Sister Rebecca, it was a pleasure to meet you.  Please pass along my greetings to Stake as well."

"And be careful, please."

"Thank you, Mr Abbey. The pleasure was mine. We will be." she does her best polite smile and bows before she leaves.

Once back in Achak's car and reunited with the Blade, the human woman sits quietly watching the city go by for a few blocks, collecting herself. She's doing a good job of putting on a "hardcore demon hunter" face, but the feeling in her stomach is getting worse and worse. She almost feels as though she might vomit if the road were to get too bumpy. She'd always been a little nervous about being tracked down by some vengeful demon or mage, especially considering her condition. The whole "Astral Beacon" thing was always a constant topic of mockery for Marcus to use. It's actually the main reason she's so liberal with her face and name these days; not just out of spite either. After all, God, she'd been told, had not intended for her to hide her faith, but to walk it's brightest path of glory. To this day, she feels like it's part of the reason she was chosen and Marcus was not. This thought is the only thing that gives warmth to the cold dark swamp in her gut. Let them come for me. They will find one who has been trained to be found.

After waiting a few blocks, she asks bluntly, "Who's Mercer?" without taking her eyes off the road ahead of them.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:59:11/05-01-15)
Achak stands, accepting the papers from Duncan. The formality of the procedure was pleasant, but it was also a pain in the hoop. Does the physical letter mean that we can't call in advance? What if this Lisette has multiple offices, like Duncan? Are we going to go to Carrollton only to find that she's in Detroit? he wonders to himself.

"Thank you for the hospitality, Duncan, and for the introduction. Please keep us informed of your progress with our little beauty here." He shakes Duncan's hand, looks one last time at the painting, then departs with Sister Rebecca.

Achak wonders if he should be feeling more attached to the painting than he is, or at least what it represents. Vampire hunters could go their whole careers without such a plum. It seemed likely to fetch a princely sum. Duncan would absorb much of that, Achak was sure, but the remainder - even divided four ways - would be enough to live on for a year at least, likely two, and maybe even four or five! Yet for all that, it was easy to leave. Perhaps that was due to Job.

"Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Achak is quiet while returning to the hired car. He gets in the back, retrieves his machine pistol, then slips it into the concealed holster in his suit. He doesn't speak until Sister Rebecca breaks the silence with her question about Mercer. He glances at the driver, who is dutifully ignoring the conversation - or at least pretending to.

"Mercer is a hunter, like us. He has a team of four working out of the CAS. More of a sword than a scalpel, if you catch my meaning. He's been in the game for a long time, which doesn't happen unless you're good. But he's also been off the grid since mid-August. Could be he's laying low, but he never really struck me as the vacationing type. He likes the work too much."

Achak wrinkles his face a bit. He could conceal the doubt but he figures it's better to be honest with Sister Rebecca about the situation.

"I hadn't heard about Mercer's score before he went underground. The parallels with our situation are distressing. We should be on our guard."

He looks out the window at the people going about their Sunday business, none of them, presumably, being actively hunted by vampires. The rain falls as people duck inside cafés for their soykafs and pastries. He pulls out his commlink and does a quick Matrix search.

"There are a dozen Corrolltons in the UCAS and CAS, but I'm guessing Duncan meant the one in Texas. Mercer and his crew operate out of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

"We should check in with Stake to see if he managed to chase down anything. We'll also need to redeem our trophies from last night, but that will have to wait until tomorrow when municipal offices are open. Then we can pay out Elijah and use the funds to underwrite our next steps. Maybe go to Dallas."

The car arrives back at Stake's building. Achak settles accounts with the driver, tipping appropriately, then steps out into the rain. He holds the car door for Sister Rebecca before closing it and ducking inside the warm building.

Inside, in the elevator, Achak slips out his machine pistol. He exchanges a look with Sister Rebecca. "I'm concerned about the stealth tag," he says. "Let's hope for the best but be prepared for the worst."

The elevator opens and Achak walks smoothly into the hallway, hoping that his nice suit will draw attention away from the automatic weapon he's holding at his side. He approaches Stake's door and pauses, listening for sounds within. He stretches out his senses, probing for magic or motion inside. Stacking up next to the door, he knocks three times.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (20:07:44/05-03-15)
Nothing Achak has to say about the situation makes her feel any better, but she listens intently, never once looking at the man as he speaks.

"Mercer is a hunter, like us. He has a team of four working out of the CAS. More of a sword than a scalpel, if you catch my meaning. He's been in the game for a long time, which doesn't happen unless you're good. But he's also been off the grid since mid-August. Could be he's laying low, but he never really struck me as the vacationing type. He likes the work too much. I hadn't heard about Mercer's score before he went underground. The parallels with our situation are distressing. We should be on our guard."

"Indeed." The hardcore little demon hunter sits with a stiff jaw, observing the city lights passing by. This just gets worse and worse by the moment.

"There are a dozen Corrolltons in the UCAS and CAS, but I'm guessing Duncan meant the one in Texas. Mercer and his crew operate out of Dallas-Ft. Worth. We should check in with Stake to see if he managed to chase down anything. We'll also need to redeem our trophies from last night, but that will have to wait until tomorrow when municipal offices are open. Then we can pay out Elijah and use the funds to underwrite our next steps. Maybe go to Dallas."

She's tired just thinking about tomorrow. A dark, flaming cavern ripe with the stench of death and crammed full to the gills with foul hellspawn does not fill her heart with dread the way a day spent signing papers, filling out forms, and showing ID does. Between redeeming our trophies, my meeting with Marcus's contact, and hitting the airport for the second time in as many days, tomorrow shall be nothing but further indignities to test me. Her eyes focus on a homeless dwarven man on the sidewalk for a moment before the car speeds by and he's gone. He had a large gut and a long filthy dreadlocked beard. For the brief instant she could see him, she noticed the telltale signs of disease on his wrinkled face. She longs to be out on the street healing, rather than facing tomorrow's adversary; Bureaucracy.

Once they get inside the elevator, she feels Achak tense. The big adept even pulls out his machine pistol, holds it at the ready, and speaks quietly to Rebecca.

"I'm concerned about the stealth tag. Let's hope for the best but be prepared for the worst."

In three quick motions, she pops her helmet onto her head and fastens it. With one hand on the handle of her mighty blade, she gives answer through her sub-vocal mic.

"As am I. Ready when you are."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:14:32/05-04-15)
Achak swipes the keycard and opens the door, ready for what's on the other side.  The living room is bright, breaks in the clouds have given enough room for the midday sun to shine in through the windows, and Stake's motion-sensing lights pop on as the pair enters.  As they start a sweep of the house, a brief moment of panic seizes Achak as he circles around the couch.  Did he open the window blinds?  Did Sister Rebecca?  With a quick look to his left, he takes in the city scene below: beautifully laid out residential units, a few office buildings, and plenty of cars down on the street.  A threat could come from anywhere, really.  But wouldn't a place as nice as Stake's have mirrored windows, security conscious as it is? 

The pair makes a clean sweep, everything appearing in its place, and on the astral, Sister Rebecca doesn't see any errant spirits waiting in the closets or ready to drop down from the shower heads to engulf them. 

In fact, it's just quiet, the unit humming along as usual, but then Achak gets a ping on his commlink.  When he looks down, the text gives him pause, and a prickly feeling at the base of his skull.

<<MARK Granted://Device:Renraku377B69552[Virtue]>>

Literally less than a second later a second prompt pings:

<<MARK Rescinded://Dev//>>

And the previous notification promptly disappears from view.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (21:35:42/05-04-15)
Achak's first thoughts go to his war club and his armor. There is a palpable sense of relief when he finds the club; everything else after that is just a bonus. The armor looks untouched too. He wonders whether he would be more pleased or more alarmed if he had come back to find it had been cleaned in his absence.

Achak circles the condo, silently hoping for some sign of Stake's return. Sensing no immediate danger, he holsters his Crusader. He sniffs as he goes, looking for anything out of place. He freezes when he catches the whiff of something off. I know what Stake smells like and that's not it, he thinks to himself. But at least it's noodles instead of blood.

He makes eye contact with Sister Rebecca. He opens his mouth but then stops himself. Don't talk. Room could be bugged. They could have one of those laser microphones pointed at the windows. He looks around for some paper to write on, even though his handwriting is terrible and his literacy is marginal. The introduction from Duncan is in his pocket but doesn't want to write on it.

Without explanation, he goes over to the windows to close the blinds. Then he returns to the kitchen and turns on the kitchen faucet full-stream, hoping it will interfere with audio surveillance. Then he looks for flour, sugar, anything powder-like. Finding some soykaf grounds, he pours a giant scoop onto the counter. Patting the pile flat, he clumsily traces a few words into it:

Someone has been here since we left.

Looking up to make sure Sister Rebecca understands, he erases the message then writes again:

Grab what you can carry.

His commlink pings with an incoming message, then a second. He knows enough to know that he doesn't know what the hell they mean. Gritting his teeth, he turns the device off and motions for Sister Rebecca to do the same.

Achak points at his eyes in the universal symbol for "watch", then points at the front door. He grabs his dirty armor, drags it to the bathroom, then throws it in the shower. Turning on the water, he does his best to blast it clean of dried blood and whatever else was in the waterlogged basement last night. Maybe Stake will come home tonight and be royally pissed about the mess in his bathroom and we'll all have a big laugh. Or maybe Stake wouldn't come home.

Pulling the armor out, Achak dries it off and probably ruins a towel in the process. He grabs duffel bags out of Stake's closet and starts stuffing everything into them: armor, war club, Ares Alpha, everything they brought in with them last night. He looks at the bucket full of commlinks and personal possessions. Are those clues? Or incriminating evidence? He dumps those in a bag too.

He meets up with Sister Rebecca, looking strange in his suit with his two armloads of duffel bags. What to do about Stake's things? I don't want to leave them, but nor do I want Stake to come back and not have them available.

A thought occurs to him, a little belatedly. He looks for Stake's bug scanner, tag eraser, white noise generator, area jammer, and directional jammer. He doesn't really know how to use them but hopefully they are idiot proof. He puts the white noise generator on the kitchen counter and turns it on. Then he grabs the bug scanner; it is fairly idiot proof, but only if you have wireless on. Achak scans his equipment and then Rebecca's. The tag eraser is ready to delete any tags that they find.

That task complete, he turns on both the area jammer and the directional jammer. He checks the wireless functionality on the bug scanner to confirm that the jammers are working. Once he's convinced things are as private as he can make them, he turns to Rebecca.

"Someone was here and it wasn't Stake. They smelled like noodles. That suggests it wasn't a vampire at least. 

"We need to lay low or get out of town, or both. Stake has a bolthole and I have a couple hideouts too. We can try to get a message to him via Grotto1, which might be more secure than direct communication.

"If you have any suggestions, now's the time."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:57:56/05-06-15)
Nothing on the astral... She slowly steps in the door, and right off the bat, nothing looks out of place. What sets her alarm off is the posture her big friend Achak has just taken on. He's moving like he did last night, with a sense of dire purpose and drive. Out of reflex, she puts her hand on the blade and stays close to her ally, just behind him on his right.

She follows him around for a moment, watching him sniff the air. What manner of gifts has he been granted? After a few seconds, his nose has led the two of them into the kitchen area. He becomes very alarmed and looks like he's about to speak, but then doesn't. There's a reason he isn't talking, and she won't be the one to muddle it up. Then he dumps the soykaf grounds and starts scribbling.

Someone has been here since we left.

She grits her teeth behind the helmet and grips her sword a bit tighter. Stake is dead.

Grab what you can carry.

She shrugs her shoulders and shakes her head, having no idea what to grab or where any of the good stuff might be hidden. Before he can run off into the bathroom, she scribbles a response to him.

U GRAB I CARRY

Achak points at his eyes in the universal symbol for "watch", then points at the front door.

Already ahead of you. The blade is out of it's scabbard before Achak's arm has completed it's pointing motion. She backs up about 3 meters from the door, facing it in a relaxed crouching combat stance, determined that if ambush is to made here, it shall be a costly one. She closes her eyes, focusing on her ears, knowing that she'll hear someone coming far sooner than she'll see them.

Once Achak returns carrying his bags and gear, he starts turning on faucets and powering on devices like crazy. Finally, once he's achieved a satisfactory level of noise, he speaks gravely. She doesn't turn away from the door as he speaks, but she listens intently.

"Someone was here and it wasn't Stake. They smelled like noodles. That suggests it wasn't a vampire at least. 

"We need to lay low or get out of town, or both. Stake has a bolthole and I have a couple hideouts too. We can try to get a message to him via Grotto1, which might be more secure than direct communication.

"If you have any suggestions, now's the time."

"The vanished hunter you wanted to speak to, Mercer? Doesn't he live in the CAS? I've got a safehouse down there that I just left before I came here to support you and Stake. I don't know how close it is to your man, but if we need to get out of town, it can be done. Only problem is, I don't have the funds for that kind of travel. I also have a place in the barrens, just west of here. It's your call."

I hope this man realizes he's the team leader, now. She stays in her defensive stance, waiting for the door to burst open and trying not to wonder if Marcus set her up.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:14:12/05-07-15)
Achak's mind goes through the different scenarios. One, Stake is fine and will be back soon. Two, Stake is fine but won't be back soon. Three, Stake is not fine.

Achak looks around the condo. He feels guilty that he voted to stay here last night, mostly for the comforts that he coveted. Will Stake ever be able to return? he asks himself. Or is this condo and everything in it a complete loss? Maybe the next person through that door will be the landlord with an eviction notice.

"We should take what we need," he decides. "If we could, I'd take everything with us. We could bring it to Stake that way. As it is, we have a lot to carry."  He looks at his armor; it's easy enough to walk around in, but carrying it is a giant pain in the hoop. The war club is large and inconveniently shaped, difficult to conceal. Same for the Alpha.

"Stake has a big stockpile. We can take half for our needs, which leaves him half in case he returns."

He leads the way to the supply closet, pulling out boxes of ammunition. He hands a medkit to Sister Rebecca, some patches, a heap of grenades, then the disguise kit. He leaves the armor and clothing, most of which is custom fitted anyway.

Once he has Sister Rebecca loaded down, he thinks about the next steps. Leave town immediately or go check Stake's hidey holes? If they were leaving town, he would need to arrange for transportation.

"I have a friend," he says. "A smuggler who occasionally smuggles people, which I suppose make him a coyote. He can get us out of the city. From Cascade Ork we can grab a t-bird going just about any direction we want. First I want to check his bolt hole though. We can lay low there while arranging transport."

Logistics, logistics. He'd really like to redeem the bounty on these vampires but that office wasn't open on Sundays. The CAS also offered a bounty on vampires, but it wasn't as generous as the one in the UCAS. The difference would be the better part of ¥5,000, and they might need every nuyen for "staying alive" money. They still owed Elijah his share too. Would the CAS even redeem bounties on vampires taken from another country? Achak wasn't a good liar and hoped that they wouldn't ask. But to Sister Rebecca's point, he probably didn't have enough cash on hand to fund a trip to the CAS on his own. Maybe they'd have to wait to redeem the bounties, or maybe he'd have to take Duncan up on his offer for immediate liquidation of the painting.

Ready to leave, he pats out the soykaf grounds, then writes a semi-coded message:

Rebecca's place

With luck, someone looking for them might think of Sister Rebecca and be lead down the wrong path. But Achak meant Rebecca Montreau, one of Stake's fake SINs, and the one whose name was on the bolt hole. Achak hoped Stake would figure it out. He presumed that he would, as Stake was the smarter of the two, and if Achak could think of it then Stake could solve it.

Finished, he turns off the kitchen faucet. He powers down the electronic toys, sweeps them into one last bag which he shoulders, then reboots his commlink. He gives Sister Rebecca a meaningful look and asks, "Ready?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:22:18/05-07-15)
<<17 AUG 2074 // CAS-Denver>>

Mercer dragged himself into the sunlight.  It had been days, at least three he figured, from the effects of dehydration, but his comm had been busted in the firefight, and in the pitch black of the basement there had been no real way to tell time.  At first he had measured it in breaths, confident that after the next two, maybe eight, the pressure from is collapsed lung would override his autonomic nervous system and his brain starved of oxygen would simply shut down.  After that, he measured time in pints: the debris had wedged him down in an impossible position, and there was no way he could apply pressure to his torso, his abdomen, his right thigh, which leaked freely onto the basement floor.  But the bleeding too hadn't done him in, not like Rook who had called out to him maybe twenty minutes after the fighting ended, when he was sure the ambushers had left.

"Cuban, Daro, Mercer, anybody?" his corporal croaked out.

"I'm with you, omae," Mercer had answered.  Rook said that he'd been hurt real bad, that the shooting had been one thing, but it was really the rebar coming in on top of him that was the thing to worry about. 

"I"m stuck through like that Zeke on Downing Street," Rook said with a mirthless laugh, recalling the time a few months back when the young adept had run a particularly nasty vampire through from his crotch to his neck before the quarry even had time to turn around.  "Oh shit, Mercer, they sure got us this time didn't they?"

Mercer had told Rook to stay quiet, conserve his energy, but he was in and out of consciousness himself.  He'd nod off when Rook was talking about his girl, and he'd come to with Rook talking about how he was scared to die, how he didn't want to go like this, and he'd nod off again.  And then Mercer had come to, and Rook wasn't talking at all. 

And he never would again.

Three days, at least three days, Mercer had spent in that basement, and now here he was in the sun, pulling himself onto the sidewalk from just another collapsed building in the Denver Warrens.  Passer-byes gave him a wide berth, this broken, blood-crusted man with a machine pistol in his hands.  A few kids across the street posted up, no doubt waiting for him to die so they could loot what was left.  The armor would no doubt be useless, but a gun like that in a place like this could feed a family for a few months.

"Water," Mercer spat, pulling a credstick.  "Bring a doc and water.  You can have the whole thing, just bring a doc and water."

That complicated things a bit.  They could wait sure, the man was spent, but what if someone else hailed a chop doc?  Then that chummer would end up with all that sweet cred.  A young ork with a sideways Broncos cap and red tank hugging her slim frame took off at a gallop and returned with a scummy-looking Amer-indian and a bottle of water.  Mercer gladly handed over the credstick and drank greedily.  15,000¥ for a drink of water, and it was worth every last ¥.

His time convalescing was no less expensive, but it provided him plenty of time to think.  Pepper had disappeared that morning, not fourteen hours after the score of the year.  Then the comm had come in, another hit was imminent, another easy one, head on down to 15th and Lawson, take the side entrance to the basement, and they could plan the insertion from there.  So, Pepper had gone first, Mercer reasoned, and then was used as bait for the rest of the team.  Smart outfit, good ambush.  Hell, if one of those mages hadn't overcast and brought down the roof a little prematurely, he doubted he would've been able to crawl away from this one.  And now Mercer was alone.  No team, a kill squad would no doubt be watching the trix for any signs that they had not completed the contract to specifications.  So he went underground, stalked old contacts and colleagues so he could pop out of the shadows as they left the trid shows and sports bars.  He stayed off the comms, stayed out of the matrix. 

And old CAS military spider gave Mercer his first real lead, taken from a link he'd pulled off a corpse in the basement.  Some contact, obviously the team lead from how the spider had explained it, went by the handle Ikiryo.  Mercer leaned, he threatened, he borrowed until he got a bead on Ikiryo.  He tracked him to Spokane, where it seems Ikiryo had assembled a new team.  He became convinced he was dealing with a shadowrunner, and a good one at that.  There was a data steal, an extraction against Mitsuhama, and then nothing, with Mercer always a day or two behind, picking up the pieces, trying to find a restaurant, a safehouse, anything he could use to lay a trap.

It wasn't until late November that his big break came.  It seems one of Ikiryo's new hires is less security conscious that Ikiryo himself: a troll street sam, of course his name was Tiny, who had a habit of never rebooting his cheap knockoff personal comm.  He had a penchant for bragging as well.  This was good as gold, and worth every penny he'd spent on that decker.  On a rare sunny morning in early December, Mercer followed Tiny into a nice little noodle shop in downtown Seattle.  Once, the troll laughed so hard and so suddenly that Mercer almost had his guns out before he realized the troll's companion had just told a joke.  Tiny slammed his fists down on the table, spilling noodles on his companion, who stood up and chastised the brute to keep quiet.  "This is a nice neighborhood.  You're going to scare the locals," he said.  Then the man left.  Mercer watched the mirror behind the counter, as the man exited the restaurant, crossed the street, heading toward a nice apartment building on the other side.  And then he was gone.  Not, walked somewhere gone, like one minute he was mid-stride and then he was nowhere to be found gone.  Chameleon suit gone.

Twenty minutes later the man returned, said something about "they're keeping watch now," and then "Ikiryo will meet us on site."

#

This is it, Mercer thinks, following the pair into the barrens.  They think they're going to lay a trap for some poor hoops.  Wait'll they get a load of what's coming.

<<3 DEC 2074 // Stake's apartment // 1345>>

As they're about to head out the door, Achak and Sister Rebecca receive a team comm.

<<@Team [Stake] Where the hell are you guys.  I think we've been compromised.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:31:21/05-07-15)
Achak's stomach leaps at the message from Stake, then flips upside down and drops again. Isn't this what he had hoped for? But that MARK Granted and Rescinded business was making him second-guess everything, even a welcome sign from the team leader.

Someone could have a mark on Stake and spoof a message, or could have Stake's commlink.

He decides on a small test. His written Spanish is simplistic, and anyone with a linguasoft could decipher it quickly, but maybe the delay would be telling.

<<@Team [Achak] Estamos bien. Estoy de acuerdo. Vamanos a lugar seguro.>>

What would Stake know that someone else wouldn't?

<<@Team [Achak] ¿Stake, dondé nos conocímos la primera vez?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (15:07:05/05-07-15)
Achak receives a ping back almost immediately.

<<@Team [Stake] Lugar seguro comprometida.  Ven aqui>>
<<Attachment: Location Pin.>>

A second comm comes through a moment later, though it doesn't address Achak's question.

<<@Team [Stake] Rapidamente!>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (16:50:07/05-07-15)
Achak closes his eyes heavily and exhales.

<<@Team [Achak] 60 minutos. Te vemos pronto.>>

Stake hadn't even said goodbye in the morning. Achak tries to remember the last thing they said to each other last night.

But it was time to be sharp, not sentimental. Stake could be fine yet; maybe it was just his commlink that was compromised.

"That's not Stake," Achak says. "Time to go."

There was a nagging sense of loyalty that ate at him, a howling complaint in the back of his head. He wanted to go to the Barrens, exploit the trap, track it back to Stake.

He reboots his commlink again, unsure of whether it's really necessary, but symbolically to wash the fake Stake away. Once it's up and running again, he slips into silent mode and fires off some messages.

<<@Megedagik [Achak] Need to get out of town for business. Salish-Shidhe is fine for a layover but eventually we're headed to the CAS. Two passengers who can travel legally, plus some personal munitions that cannot. Can I get a price check and timelines on ferrying our goods, with or without us? Dallas-Forth Worth.>>

He looks at Sister Rebecca, sees her attachment to the Blade of Gabriel. It reminds him of his connection with his gunstock war club. She certainly wouldn't tolerate being separated from it. But the weapon foci weren't the issue. The grenades and the grenade launchers, including the Alpha, were the real problem. The jammers and some of the ammo were problematic too, as was his B&E gear. Still, it might be cheaper to ship it all separately without them attached to it. Budget conscious as ever, maybe they could fly commercial.

<<@Duncan [Achak] We've had a security breach. Stake may be compromised and I wouldn't trust electronic communication from him. Please be advised and put appropriate precautions into place. We may need to accelerate the transaction that we recently discussed. Please acknowledge.>>

Achak swaps out the clip in his Crusader, loading it with silver APDS instead. He slings bags over his shoulders, doing his best to maintain easy access to his concealed holster while also positioning the bags so that they can be dropped easily if there's a confrontation.

He opens the front door, scans the hallway, then leaves Stake's condo.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (17:45:44/05-07-15)
<<@Team [Stake] Where the hell are you guys.  I think we've been compromised.>>

Her blood runs ice cold when the message pops up. It's not the first time she's gotten a misleading message from a dead man's comm, but it's the first time she didn't have any autonomy in such a situation. If she were alone, she'd certainly walk right into the trap, daring the father of lies to try and take her. But she's not on her own this time. She's here as support. She follows orders, especially from a Christian male. This isn't her show. She looks to Achak, who almost looks excited to hear from his late friend. The icey terror in her veins at the moment is tinted with pity for just a moment. Oh dear. It hasn't sunk in yet. You poor poor giant, you.

A flurry of messages in spanish go by, during which the hopeful expression slowly erodes from her companion's face. Rebecca watches Achak send one last message, then reboot his comm, so she follows suit and does the same. During the few moments of silence, he speaks.

"That's not Stake," Achak says. "Time to go."

She nods somberly as he speaks, then shoulders the various sacks and cases he layers onto her and follows him outside the apartment. The overloaded little demon hunter with the helmet on waits until they're a few meters down the hallway and the comms have rebooted before she asks, "Where are we going? If it's to the CAS, I know a smuggler who usually ferries my ArmTech. I'm sure he'll move whatever you need as well." She lets him ponder for only a moment before she adds, "But if we're on our way to walk into the darkness in hopes of rescuing your friend, you shall have my light beside you." She makes as close to eye contact with him as one can make while wearing a mirrored full face helmet.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:15:38/05-08-15)
Achak comes up a bit short when Sister Rebecca announces that she knows a smuggler who does the exact thing that he was thinking of at that moment. He nods.

"Give him a call. I know one too but we need options, and maybe some competitive pressure to keep the prices down.

"We need to get out of town, and that's as good of an option as any. Might as well go somewhere sunny."

Is it sunny in Dallas in December? Achak didn't know, but it seemed like a fair guess. He resumes walking down the hallway.

"If we can ship our gear separately, you and I can catch a suborbital out of SeaTac."

Of course, the danger is that we'd be traveling publicly. He sighs to himself as his commlink requests an elevator. Is staying public the greatest risk or the greatest deterrent to risk? It would be his call to make now. The icy memory of Yohan, dead due to Achak's "leadership", reaches up and grips his heart. Would he make the best decision? Almost certainly not. Would he make a reasonably correct decision that wouldn't kill either of them? That was the goal.

"It may come down to finances," he says after they step into the elevator and the doors close. "If we can't afford to go incognito then we'll fly commercial. We can decide once we're somewhere quiet and safe."

The elevator deposits them in the lobby. Achak signals for a cab. He's tempted to get a town car but most of them avoid Puyallup, even on a Sunday. But the rain will keep the gangers indoors! Achak argues silently, finding only agreement in his head.

He stands in the lobby, waiting for the cab.

"Stay here and keep watch with me. Watch, and pray."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (12:46:50/05-09-15)
"Give him a call."

She doesn't wait for him to complete his thought before composing and firing off a quick message to a contact.

<<@Saahir [Sister Rebecca] Moving again. CAS. Mine plus another. Today or tomorrow. Quote?>>

"If we can ship our gear separately, you and I can catch a suborbital out of SeaTac."

She nods. "I've found it's best that way." she says, while pushing the ARO to summon the elevator.

"It may come down to finances," he says after they step into the elevator and the doors close. "If we can't afford to go incognito then we'll fly commercial. We can decide once we're somewhere quiet and safe."

Even now in the elevator, Rebecca's still too much on edge to take off her helmet, or even talk at a normal volume, still using the sub-vocal. The fact that Achak is talking at a regular level is starting to unnerve her a little bit. She nods, uncomfortably. "Agreed. Let's find shelter first, then make informed decisions about the future." A few seconds later, and the two of them are deposited in the lobby. Achak pops up a quick taxi service in an ARO off his comm, swipes at it once or twice, and closes it right up again.

"Stay here and keep watch with me. Watch, and pray."

She stands behind Achak and a bit to the right, still reaching out into the astral with her senses and keeping her hand near her sword, despite all the bags she's carrying.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:46:23/05-11-15)
@Achak and @Sister Rebecca

A rather short ork with her hair in a loose ponytail comes around from the driver's side of her cab to help place the bags in the trunk.  Achak is ahead of her, though, lifting the trunk lid as soon as it was opened, and he and Sister Rebecca have their gear safely stowed, leaving the cabbie to shrug a bit, as an expression crosses her face, as if she's wondering whether these do-it-yourselfers in this neighborhood means that she's going to get stiffed on the tip.  Careful to do what she can, the cabbie opens the door for the pair to enter the Americar, and comes around on the driver's side. 

"Where to?"

As the cabbie pulls away from Stake's apartment, Sister Rebecca and Achak both get comms from their respective contacts.

<<@Sister Rebecca [Saahir] Ya know, sometimes I wonder if you're a bit more of a worldly woman than you let on.  CAS from Seattle is quite a hike, omae.  I can get you +1 down the pipeline.  Probably take a few days, 2k>>

<<@Achak [Megadakik] I can get you a couple days in the Salish for 700.  Nice spot.  Secluded.  Romantic even.  Gear to DFW, next day delivery for 1,500.  Double that if I need to get hoops across with the munitions.>>

@Magnus,

Mercer tries to keep his Roadmaster at a safe distance, while monitoring the near-constant slew of texts from Tiny's comm.

<<@Peg [Tiny] Prolly a runer team frome the looks of em.  From the vid feed in the aparmtne t tey were hitting the pipes prety heavy last night.  1 laste bit o fun b4 tey go i guess>>

<<@Tiny [Peg] Kik 1 n the teeth for me.  Thuoght we was gonna have a trid day.  MIght jst have 2 start wachin Alley Hoops w/o u>>

<<@Peg [Tiny] Best wachit girly.  Eyell beet that ass>>

@Tiny [Peg] Promises promises.  Big talk form da man on the job.  Bliss is looking mihty gud abot now>>

The Shin-Hyung suddenly crosses three lanes of traffic to hit an exit going north.

<<@Peg [Tiny] Got2 go afk.  Some other hoop wants 2 gt on my bad side.>>

Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:47:46/05-11-15)
Achak lifts his bags into the trunk of the taxi while he considers the situation.

A) We're dressed for church/business, if you exclude Sister Rebecca's headware.
B) We've got enough bags to be going on a long trip.
C) We called a cab instead of a town car. Probably should stick with the church angle instead of passing ourselves as corpers.

Achak looks approvingly at the Ford Americar. If you need to ferry four metahumans from point A to point B, a Ford Americar is probably the most straightforward and anonymous way to do so. It’s not flashy, and it’s not stylish, but sometimes flashy gets you killed, especially in the Barrens.

He gets in the car, going through a list of destinations in Puyallup that wouldn't be too off-putting for a cabbie.

1) Archie's - Fun novelty store. Loveland, though. We don't look dressed for Loveland.
2) Bump & Sleep - Brothel. Might be worth it to see Sister's face.
3) The Bishop's Corpse - Small family restaurant. We could be going out for brunch! ... with six duffel bags each.
4) The Good Samaritan Hospital - Plausible, but it's next to Ft. Lewis and we need to be deeper in town.
5) Hell's Kitchen Tours - Pose as rich types flying over the lava beds? They're known to make discrete drop-offs for a price. Might not make sense to be going on a sightseeing tour in the rain in December though.
6) Underworld 93 - Presumably closed and cleaning up from last night.
7) District Courthouse and District Hall - Closed on a Sunday, mierditas.

Finally he decides: "Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, please."

He flips an ARO to the driver. It's probably deeper in the Barrens than she would like, but hopefully the fact that it was a church (combined with Achak's respectable suit) will help set her at ease. It's the church that Achak attends regularly. He didn't know the new pastor well yet, but he still tithed steadily and was pretty sure that they wouldn't close their doors to him.

He receives Megedagik's response and wordlessly slides it over to Sister Rebecca, then does his best to watch their surroundings without looking like he's watching their surroundings.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (00:21:35/05-12-15)
Mercer waits until the Shin-Hyung gets about a block before easing the large van into traffic and taking up pursuit. Neither Magnus nor Mercer had ever been an instrument of stealth or precision. He was more of the kick down the door kind of person, but he recognized the need for subtlety at times. He knew this was such a time - if he was to find out where they were going, he'd need to follow them. He fiddled with the autopilot for a moment, trying to get it to do the work for him, but the dog brain insisted on only working if he'd give it a destination. Back in the day, the police cruisers would easily follow the order to, well, follow. But civilian vehicles seemed to miss the concept of travelling as a convoy. Like stealth, these things were not his forte.


So he found himself doing what he could to keep the car within sight while also not crashing, or looking too obviously out of place. After nearly drifting into an adjacent lane for the third time, he was pretty sure he'd been seen. The comm message simply confirmed it. "Slot it all!" he barked, and reached for Vera, his Terracotta Arms AM-47 sniper rifle - if she could see 'em, she could hit 'em. He just had to hope that inconvenient things like buildings or pedestrians didn't get in the way. But years of Hunting had branded into his mind the need for fallback plans. It wasn't enough to have one contingency, or two, really, but sometimes you couldn't count on more. He gave the mental command to send one of his Fly-Spy drones out the passenger window so Tiny wouldn't see it exit. He marked the troll's car with an ARO and instructed the tiny drone to keep it in sight. The drone darted out the window and rapidly ascended into the cloud of drones that constantly crisscrossed the city, becoming lost in their seeming chaos as the stealth routines kicked in. Plan B was in place.


He sent a mental command to Vera to eject the clip of APDS that he'd kept loaded - she was a one-and-done kinda gal - and popped in the clip of tracker rounds he kept handy. Tracker rounds were a bounty hunter's best friend, and next to sawdust grenades, a vamp hunter's best friend too - so long as you could keep the creeps from getting all misty-like. Tracker rounds kept the nasties from getting away, but more importantly, they kept them from sneaking up on you. If you could start a running fight with a tracker round, you could avoid impromptu ambushes. And if you got really lucky, Vera could dust a zeke through a half a foot of concrete with nothing more than the tracker's ARO to aim at. And sometimes, if the crazies had appeased their God sufficiently, you could follow some misguided lost boy back to their nest. Keep a drone or two posted on it until daylight and the bounties would keep your crew livin' large for months.


The same philosophy also worked with thralls - spook one and hit 'em with a tag and he'll lead you right to his maker. Mercer was mostly sure that this Tiny was some ganger that was well out of his league, but this Ikiryo he worked for was either a whip or a zeke. Either way, Tiny was going to introduce Mercer to some new Hunters today, and he was betting that they'd be more than happy to get a little revenge on Ikiryo with him after he pulled their asses out of the fire. Peg, unfortunately, was going to be watching Alley Hoops alone tonight, and for some time to come.


He carefully lined up his shot, careful to compensate for the van's motion as it struggled to stay within the lines. As he mentally controlled the vehicle, the road ahead overlayed on his vision, he couldn't help but think "look Ma, no hands!" as he mentally squeezed Vera's trigger.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:17:07/05-12-15)
@Sister Rebecca and @Achak

Finally he decides: "Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, please."

"Puyallup Barrens?" the cabbie says with a grimace.  From where she's sitting, Sister Rebecca can see the cabbie switch her autopilot off and take manual control.  Looks like she's preparing for the worst.  "Well, alright then.  So long as yous know you're looking at a 20 premium on top of the meter."

It's a bit difficult to place her accent, but from the globetrotting that both Achak and Sister Rebecca have done, they think she must be somewhere from the northeast.  Perhaps up Manhattan way.  They can't really be sure, though, as she doesn't speak much for the remainder of the drive, lost in the flow of traffic, and keeping an eye out for the go gangs.  When she pulls up at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, she pops the trunk and says, "We'll call is 85¥"

@Magnus

The rifle's muzzle report is effectively silenced, but Mercer can feel Vera's familiar kick like an old friend, and sees the ARO follow the Shin-Hyung as it kicks up in gear and makes increasingly erratic lane changes as it pulls further and further from Mercer's box of a Roadmaster.  Content that he won't lose his bead on Tiny or the yet unnamed accomplice, Mercer drops back and watches the ARO on a map display as it first heads east into the Redmond Barrens, and then doubles back, heading south.

<<@Peg [Tiny] Alright, sweet pee, luks like im bak.>>

And then a few minutes later.

<<@Peg [Tiny] drek. thes fraggers r heading the wrong way.  may b late.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:14:42/05-12-15)
Achak spends the cab ride trying to focus on his surroundings while not being distracted by the lady ork. Having grown up with orks, Achak had a soft spot (or was that a hard spot) for ork women. The ponytail wasn't helping either, nor was the fact that Achak associated Puyallup with his crush, Lola, also an ork. She was an exotic dancer at Kadie's, a club in Loveland, one of Achak's frequent haunts.

But Puyallup also meant dealing with Rusty. He was the leader of the BlackJacks, the gang in charge of the turf around Holy Trinity and the dilapidated building where Achak goes to lay low. Rusty and Achak used to be friends until they had a falling out over Lola. They were still acquaintances but things were cooler now, more business-like. Achak paid the gang ¥100/week for protection for situations such as this, even though Achak lived downtown. He alerts Rusty to the situation, per courtesy and custom.

<<@Rusty [Achak] Dropping in with a guest. We'll be around for a night, two at the most. We could be trailing unexpected company. If you could run interference, that would be wiz.>>

Achak momentarily wonders if he's getting Rusty into more than he could handle. Rusty's a troll, and this is his turf. He can handle himself. There was also that time when Rusty punched out Achak over Lola, which bruised Achak's ego as much as his jaw. So, yeah, frag Rusty. Stupid trog.

Achak feels a bit better when he sees Holy Trinity. The cab fare was not as bad as he had been expecting either. Been taking too many town cars, he thinks to himself. Getting soft. He transfers ¥100 to the driver, the difference being the tip. "Thank you."

Standing in front of the church, Achak is reminded how out-of-place his suit looks in the Barrens. He sees the eyes of the locals drawn toward his ¥1,500 suit and his six duffel bags. Many of the locals knew not to mess with him, both for the charitable work he does with Holy Trinity but also for his self-defense capabilities, but there's always the chance that someone new to town won't know any better.

"Let's get inside and change," he says to Sister Rebecca. Then, lower, "No need to be inconspicuous here. If anything, a display of strength might keep trouble at bay. If you want peace, prepare for war, or so they say."

He heads inside, intending to don full body armor. He whispers, in deference to the church interior and the sensitivity of the topic, "I have a squat nearby, just a block or two. It's not nice, but it's safe."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:49:10/05-13-15)
@Achak and Sister Rebecca

By the time they pull into the church, Achak has already received a reply from Rusty.

<<@Achak [Rusty] Wiz.  Me n the boyz r dwn a the clubhouse.  Come pay your respects when u got a moment.>>

When they walk inside the church, Minister Llewellyn catches sight of Achak and visibly brightens.  "Hoi!  I could really use your help here for a second. You can place your bags in the east antechamber.  They'll be safe there.  My acolytes skipped out after the morning service, and I really need to prepare for tonight.  Say, who's your friend? he inquires of the woman in the helmet.

@Mercer

At a distance, Mercer keeps tabs on the Shin-Hyung as it makes its way south.  He keeps careful tabs on his rear-view mirror in case the Knights are out looking for the guy who shot a fucking sniper rifle out of his car in downtown Seattle, but all he sees is the regular Sunday travel.  And then, he's crossing into Puyallup, where the Shin-Hyung exits the highway and starts trawling the streets.  Things could work out after all.  Amid some talk about popular trids and a little light sexting, he notes one comm in particularly of note from Tiny.

<<@Peg [Tiny] Whoevr herd of bible-bangin shadowrunners?  Luks lik i mihgt be home for trids after all.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (17:20:04/05-13-15)
Achak blinks slowly as he considers the Llewellyn's request. Does my presence here endanger the church or the staff? After a moment of internal debate he decides that the middle way is best.

"Certainly, Pastor," he says, in response to the request for help.

He thinks about the proper etiquette. Generally one speaks to the woman first and the man second, but someone with a title generally overrides the convention.

"Pastor Llewellyn, please meet Sister Rebbeca. Sister Rebecca, this is Pastor Llewellyn. Sister Rebecca is a coworker who is in-town for the weekend on business." He sidesteps the inflection on friend.

Achak doesn't really know how much Llewellyn knows about his work. Pastor Paul, the previous pastor recently relocated to L.A., knew all about it, but Achak doesn't know if that information was informally shared. Certainly Llewellyn must know that men with ¥1,500 suits don't worship in the Barrens. But did Llwellyn think he was a drug lord or an arms dealer? Achak wasn't sure, but Llewellyn was going to see Achak in his full work outfit before long.

"Get ready," he whispers to Sister Rebecca. "I'll watch the front of the house while you change."

Achak puts down his bags and moves to help Llewellyn prepare the altar for evening worship. He runs a wet cloth over the altar to remove any dust or drops of wine from communion. He repeats the process for the candle shelves, then inspects the banners, paraments, and acolyte robes for dirt or stains. He grabs the communion chalice and disposes of the blessed wine from the morning service by stepping outside to pour it on the ground. While doing so, he scans the streets, alert to anything unusual (after adjusting for the Barrens' very low bar for "unusual").
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (18:46:08/05-13-15)
Bible bangers? Damned crazies? Mercer cursed his luck. Hunters, like Shadowrunners, were naturally a suspicious bunch. Where Shadowrunners faced a wide array of opposition and objectives, Hunters were more focused. All of their targets were either faster and stronger than they were, or civilians that had to be neutralized non-lethally where possible. It meant that there were no milk runs. It also meant that caution was a prime virtue. You just didn't run into that dark room chasing after a fleeing blood sucker. You didn't quote the Bible at the top of your lungs while clearing rooms. You waited to separate a group of infected until you could get them alone, or at least in manageable chunks.


Crazies did the opposite of all that. Their Lord protected them. Right into the afterlife. And then the plans came unraveled. The element of surprise? Lost. The carefully laid traps? Blown. The defensible fallback position? Overrun. Crazy got you killed - not just the crazies, but the whole team.


He calmed himself with a short breathing exercise and considered his options. He needed a team. So far as he knew, Grotto1 was compromised - he couldn't figure how else they were geeking Hunters. He'd heard the rumors before it had happened to his team, but he figured it was just sheer sloppiness. The old timers hadn't had their cards punched, just the young, eager ones. But when the roof came down on him six months ago, he knew. He knew that the vampires were hunting the Hunters. Sure, it wasn't the first time - every Lost Boy thinks he's going to change things, he's going to find a way for the vamps to walk into the light of day - either figuratively or literally. And every time he tries, he maybe gets lucky against a few young Hunters with more adrenaline than brains, but sooner rather than later, a proper Hunter comes along and shuts him down.


Anyone can hire Shadowrunners with a little money. Corp execs turned ash-piles-in-waiting were notorious for ganking Hunter teams every now and then. But the level of orchestration that was being exhibited here was magnitudes beyond that. Zekes weren't known for banding together. You'd find them in small groups - maybe up to a half dozen on rare occasion - sure, but as they aged they became more solitary. They became craftier, sure, but they worked through their armies of thralls and other intermediaries. They were like Dragons that way. But even so, they were more likely to fight each other than work together. I guess they were like dragons that way, too. So, the most likely scenario was that there was one fang at the top of this rash of Hunter slayings, probably with some significant pull. Maybe a Methuselah - one of the first vampires from the first generation of Infected. If they could stay alive that long, they could amass quite a bit of wealth and power. In addition to the craftiness that had kept them breathing all those years, they were dangerous foes indeed.


If Grotto1 was compromised, then he had limited options for recruiting. At this point, these Hunters he was about to play calvary for were the only ones he could likely trust to not be some fake name on the Matrix. Even the hunters he'd known for years could be dead or a marionette. Or they could even be buying sunscreen in bulk for themselves if they'd ended up on the wrong side of a fang.


No, he had little choice but to try to make it work with these Hunters.


Hunters. Tiny had called them Shadowrunners. So he didn't know what they were, which meant he was just hired muscle. This was good news as it meant that Tiny could be easier to get information from. He'd have less, to be sure, but thralls were notoriously tight-lipped. Mercenaries were less likely to know who their employers really were, and that knowledge, if you could convince them of it, usually loosened their tongues. Ghoul rights might be popular these days, but no-one liked vamps, or any other Infected for that matter. Being professionally associated with one could be bad for business.


Sometimes, the enemy of your enemy really was your friend, or a close enough approximation to exploit for intel.


Well, Peg, it looks like you and Tiny might be bumping ugly uglies again after all.


Once making the cross over into Puyallup and relative lawlessness, Mercer broke out his troublemaking gear. The Stick-n-Shock in the Crusader on his left hip - Joey, after his eldest son - was swapped out for APDS. Sean - named after his youngest - kept the gel rounds. He cross drew, so Joey was his right hand man, and he was the rough and tumble one. Sean was always the kind one, the merciful one. Just the way he remembered them. The shotgun, Yoki, named after his wife, of course, was slung over his shoulder and carried its standard load out. The drum had versatility, which made it a favorite of his. It held four different types of shells - standard flechette, APDS, sawdust flechette, and a couple capsule rounds loaded with Wolfsbane in suspension - and could switch between them in less than a second. To start, it was primed to fire the standard flechette rounds as it was unlikely he'd be facing any vamps while the sun was up.


The assault rifle went over his other shoulder. It didn't have a name yet, bring new to his collection. His old rifle - an AK-97 he had named Brimstone - hadn't made it out of the rubble with him. It had served him well for years, but it was a reminder of the days when he still believed in an order to the universe - a Heaven and a Hell and a God that put the creatures that roamed the Earth in their right place. That belief had died with Yoki and Joey and little Sean. The new rifle, an Alpha, had a new toy - the underbarrel grenade launcher - that he was still getting used to. For now, it only carried sawdust grenades.


He took a small selection of spare clips, grenades, and other essentials, putting them in the pockets of his armored suit for easy access. He took mental stock of himself, vaguely aware that he was dressed for war and heading for a church, but he didn't care. The house of God was just another house to him, and as a Hunter, you were either a walking arsenal or pop-top for some Infected beastie or another. And in a lawless zone like this, one couldn't discount the intimidation factor of coming fully loaded. Which reminded him - he loaded 500¥ onto a credstick and placed it in another pocket. If the local gang decided to take umbrage to your presence, he found it more expedient to bribe them into leaving you alone for an hour than to fight on two fronts. They were usually more than happy to take some free cash and not get shot so long as you cleared out after an hour or two and didn't cause too much trouble.


Before long, it became apparent what church the Troll was heading to, and Mercer entered in a final destination into the van's pilot and sent the second drone out to pre-scout. He kept Vera close - he had the feeling that he'd want to lead this fight by tagging that fragger in the sneak suit before he had a chance to vanish. He also kept a clip of APDS and Stick-n-Shock handy for her in case things started off on the wrong foot. Vera had gotten her name from an old trid he'd watched ages ago. She'd been with him since before he became a hunter, and the name was whimsical more than apropos. Same with his old shotgun, Bessie, who'd met her fate while he was hunting his first stake-eaters, the ones that had taken his family. These days, your weapons were as much a part of your team - your family - as the people that wielded them. The people watched your back, but the arsenal kept you alive. And in the last months, they were all he had had.


With everything at the ready, he put his mask on, and waited, keeping a wary eye (or three) out for trouble.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:21:19/05-14-15)
Once in the cab, Rebecca takes off her helmet, revealing her flushed face topped with sweat matted hair. She leans back in her seat, feeling safe for the moment. Achak tells the driver they're headed for the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and she wonders why, exactly. What connection does he have to this church? The car hasn't traveled more than a block or two when Saahir responds to her text. Professional.

<<@Sister Rebecca [Saahir] Ya know, sometimes I wonder if you're a bit more of a worldly woman than you let on.  CAS from Seattle is quite a hike, omae.  I can get you +1 down the pipeline.  Probably take a few days, 2k>>

<<@Saahir [Sister Rebecca] I am still of the world, not above it. I assume such a low price is for payment upfront. I may have to leave before I can collect payment for services rendered in the UCAS. If that is to be the case, how much does your quote rise for payment on delivery?>>

She spends the remainder of the car ride with her eyes closed, her commlink turned off, and her focus deep in prayer. No particular prayer, just the deep meditative state she was taught to use to find her center in times of great stress. Let yourself be empty, and the lord shall fill you with his grace. She's really hoping for a little of that right now, but perhaps that's the problem; too much hoping. She's just as on edge as she was before when the Americar pulls up out front of the Holy Trinity. Once the driver has been paid, and the bags have been unloaded from the trunk, Achak speaks up.

"Let's get inside and change," he says to Sister Rebecca. Then, lower, "No need to be inconspicuous here. If anything, a display of strength might keep trouble at bay. If you want peace, prepare for war, or so they say."

Looking down at her armor jacket from the night before, she shrugs. "I am already prepared."

"I have a squat nearby, just a block or two. It's not nice, but it's safe."

She nods at him and is about to respond as the man from inside walks out to greet them. He and Achak certainly know eachother.

"Hoi!  I could really use your help here for a second. You can place your bags in the east antechamber.  They'll be safe there.  My acolytes skipped out after the morning service, and I really need to prepare for tonight.  Say, who's your friend?"

"Pastor Llewellyn, please meet Sister Rebbeca. Sister Rebecca, this is Pastor Llewellyn. Sister Rebecca is a coworker who is in-town for the weekend on business."

"Pleased to meet you, Pastor." She nods, smiles, and shakes the Pastor's hand, but is obviously distracted. There are just so many places around here that an ambush could come from. Of couse, this was Achak's home turf it seems, so it's probably a bit safer than it looks, but still, she stays visibly on guard during the introduction.

She puts down her bags with Achak and proceeds to help him prepare the church for evening service later on. While the two of them are dusting off pews, she finally starts talking. "So, you know this church? Is this area where you grew up?"

A few minutes later, as he's gathering up with wine from the previous service to dispose of, she asks him, "How soon are we planning on leaving town? My superior has an appointment set for me on monday morning and he'll need to be notified if I can't make it."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:32:04/05-14-15)
While he's washing his hands after wiping down the altar, Achak reboots his comm and makes sure that it's running silent. He speaks with Sister Rebecca while they work. He speaks lowly in deference to their surroundings, but doesn't try to avoid being heard by Llewellyn. Best he knew anyway.

"I actually grew up in the mountains east of here, in Salish-Shidhe," he explains. "The Cascade Ork tribe is predominantly ork, but with many dwarves and trolls too. They have some mining and timber operations but the chief industry is smuggling. So I got started smuggling." He shrugs, indifferent to the ostensible illegality of it.

"It brought me into Puyallup a lot. There are tunnels going in and out of Carbonado, plus panzer runs over the mud and lava flats are common. The local gang was a big customer, and eventually I fell in with them. Stake and I met at a, uh, nightclub on the west edge of town, which eventually brought me into this line of work."

Achak looks around the church, his eyes running over the ceiling, then down to the walls and the windows. "I didn't give this place a second thought until recently. The previous pastor reached out to me after Yohan... during a dark time. I found comfort that I wasn't finding elsewhere."

He brushes off his hands and looks mildly surprised to hear that she has an appointment. There had been rumors that Marcus kept his charges on a short leash, but this was tight indeed.

"When and where is the appointment?" Achak asks. Then, thinking that maybe Llewellyn shouldn't be listening to this part, "My best guess is we'll be departing tonight or tomorrow morning."

Once the work is complete, he grabs the duffel bags with his armor, club, and Ares Alpha and drags them to the restroom. Superman had a telephone booth but for Achak a bathroom stall would have to do.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (18:00:26/05-15-15)
@Mercer,

At a distance out of sight, Mercer tracks the Shin-Hyung further into the Puyallup Barrens, waiting patiently for Tiny and his companion to lead him to Ikiryo.  When he sees the ARO stop moving, he considers punching the accelerator, thinking the fight is already in progress, but GridGuide lists the nearest church as eight blocks away, so he reconsiders.  It's a gambit to be sure.  It's not like GridGuide is exactly up-to-date when it comes to businesses and pop-top shanty-town churches, but the way Tiny was discussing the intel he was receiving, it makes Mercer think that the opposing team is making a scheduled stop first.

He's right.  Inching his Roadmaster up to the edge of a derelict building a few blocks away, Mercer grabs Vera -- first to put good eyes on what's going on and second to put down Ikiryo should the opportunity present itself -- and peaks around the corner.  Drek.  The Shin-Hyung is pulled up next to an Americar and another Roadmaster, and four runners are loading up their gear.  A Concordant pulls in on the other side of the Roadmaster, and Mercer gets a brief view of the profile before he disappears into the armored vehicle.  That's Ikiryo all right.  Tiny enters the Roadmaster wearing his Lined Coat and exits a few minutes later in full armor, donning a Ballistic Mask done up like a Daikijin and carrying what Mercer is pretty sure is an Auto Assault 16.  He waves the rest of the runners in the Roadmaster, closes the side door and rides on the runners as it tears off at a surprising clip with the Americar following behind, probably on autopilot. 

His mask on, his gear prepped, Mercer rushes to  his own Roadmaster and puts it on course for the church.  No use in hanging back now.  Yeah, they may see him coming, but if he wasn't in the fight early, he wasn't going to be in the fight at all.

As Ikiryo's group tore their way to the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Mercer could see a scrawny-looking ganger, note their approach and punch frantically at his comm from a rooftop.  This could turn out to be interesting.

Ikiryo's Roadmaster stopped within five meters of the church's front door, and three of the five runners spilled out.  Tiny led the charge, and comes to a standstill two steps before the door.  Ikiryo follows, and takes his position just to the right of the door, and the man Mercer recognizes from the noodle shop approaches Tiny on his left.  He turns invisible breaches the troll's shoulder, and Mercer notices Tiny rearing back to kick in the door

@Sister Rebecca and Achak

"When and where is the appointment?" Achak asks. Then, thinking that maybe Llewellyn shouldn't be listening to this part, "My best guess is we'll be departing tonight or tomorrow morning."

Before Sister Rebecca has a chance to answer, Achak receives a comm from Rusty that makes his blood run cold.

<<@Achak [Rusty] Your unexpected company is coming hard and fast and is packing hardware.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:57:39/05-15-15)
Achak is coming out of the bathroom when Rusty's message comes through. His heart sinks, not so much at the threat but at the setting. Not here, not the church, he privately begs, but his hearing is sharp and he knows that the threat is already upon them.

"Llewellyn! Get in the bathroom, face down! NOW!" he screams at the pastor. He trusted his tone and his outfit would convey the gravity of the situation. A part of him would love to stage an ambush for whatever comes through the door, and bellowing like this makes that impossible, but collateral damage was unacceptable. No need to instruct Sister Rebecca separately; she will understand what is happening.

In an instant, Achak has his Ares Alpha up at the high ready as he slides to a knee behind a pew, peering over the top for a target.

His gut tells him that it's not vampires. For one, it's the middle of the day. Second, vampires don't generally come hard packing hardware. That meant mundanes, which also meant that the sawdust grenades loaded in his Alpha were going to be useless. Not that he should be using grenades indoors in a church anyway.

If only the opposition felt the same way. He glances nervously at the windows, wondering if there will be flash bangs and tear gas. His chemical seal could handle the gas, but the visual obstruction would just make shooting that much harder. Every missed shot would be a hole in the wall to patch, or a window to replace, a pew to repair.

He tries to think of a prayer but slips into old habits and comes up with a curse instead. Come and get it, you motherfragging titty-banging two-balled bitch.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:10:08/05-18-15)
Why here, why here, Achak keeps asking himself. Fifty meters in any direction and I could unload on these slots. He's embarrassed that his "leadership" has put the church at risk, and the self-doubt resumes.

The screech of the Roadmaster and the heavy footsteps tell him what's coming. That's a troll! he realizes, gulping down his rising panic. Not the time for sawdust grenades. He mentally ejects the clip, initially unsure of what to replace it with, given the environment. His hand brushes the clip of high-explosive grenades. After a moment of hesitation, he reaches for the flash-bangs instead. I will not defend the church by blowing it up. Everyone has their personal limits, and Achak just bumped into his.

Another <<MARK Granted://Device:whatever>> message pops up on his image link. At first, it annoys him deeply. Why the hell did I drop eight grand on this fragging commlink that gives out MARKs like candy on Halloween! An even more terrifying possibility is that the commlink really is that good, it's just that the opposition is even better. That doesn't bode well for the next sixty seconds.

The concern flips to elation an instant later when it dawns on him that his commlink has been granted the MARK, rather than given it out. He dismisses his anxiety about having his Ares Alpha bricked - or, worse, firing independently - and celebrates by mentally activating the chemical seal on his armor. Kneeling behind cover, he readies himself for the fireworks.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (19:33:02/05-18-15)
Mercer follows the small caravan to the church, taking a few seconds to place a tracer on the Concordant as he drives by, having delayed just enough for the other Roadmaster to disappear around the corner. He keeps tabs on it through the eyes of his drone so that he isn't too concerned with losing sight of it - in fact, he paces himself so that he is always a corner behind. As they travel, he swaps out the tracker rounds for some armor piercing rounds - he'll have to make the first shot count.


The team of runners arrives at the church before him, of course, pulling up just outside the entrance, and three heavily armed and armored combatants rapidly exit the van and deploy around the front doors of the church. From what he sees through the drone, they set up with Tiny ready to kick in the door and the Invisible Man set to enter first. Ikiryo brings up the rear, covering with an assault rifle - and Ares Alpha by the look of it, the iconic grenade launcher clearly visible from the drone's angle. The Invisible Man disappears in preparation of breaching and Mercer's timing hits paydirt as he rounds the final corner just as Tiny leans back, gaining leverage to place his troll sized boot through the doors. Vera is primed and ready, waiting to take advantage of the moment before the other team could react. A quick assessment of the situation from what he had seen through the drone provides him a target - Tiny. The Invisible Man is, well, invisible and the other two runners are still hanging out in the Roadmaster, beyond easy reach. He wants Ikiryo alive, and though he could shoot to maim, it's much easier to shoot to kill. Once most of Iki's team was "disabled" it would be easier to employ less lethal means to capture him. So Tiny gets the short straw. Or the dense projectile, as the case may be.


The last dilapidated building slides out of view as he enters the intersection of the last corner before the church. As the church is revealed his adrenaline spikes and the whole scene slows as he lines up his shot. Telemetry data from the smartgun link calculates wind speed, bullet drop, and a dozen other factors to give an ARO that Mercer adjusts until it lines up with the troll's spinal column. The van is slowing, and the rough roads of the barrens make shots like this tricky, but the vehicle is moving at slightly more than a jogging rate when Mercer exhales slowly and gives the mental command to fire. Vera sighs and pushes against his shoulder as she blows a lethal kiss.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (22:48:34/05-18-15)
Tiny pushes off his back foot preparing for the inevitable.  The doors may say "Pull", but in Tiny's experience they tend to open whichever way he wants them to.  His kick is high and well-placed on the jamb and middle hinge, but before he can connect Vera's payload strikes him square between the shoulder blades.  It's an impact first, as the bullet tears through his body armor and flattens itself against his dermal plating.  And then fire as the realization dawns on him that the plating is cracked.  He lets out a low "Ouf," as his foot connects.  The door resists, creaks, and then it seems to be only Tiny's weight that pushes it down and into the sanctuary.

Achak and Sister Rebecca see a grenade seemingly thrown from nowhere, as the troll hunches on one knee, and then the blinding, deafening pop of it as it lands at Becca's feet.  Steeled for the worse, Rebecca stays standing and watches the light bend around a man in a chameleon suit who peels off to the left and behind a pew,out of sight. The troll looks up, belabored and, as far as Achak can tell through the ballistic mask, right into his eyes.  His grinning red maw terrifying and wounded, and he pushed himself up with the barrel of his giant drummed shotgun as a third runner enters the church.

Wearing a tight armored jacket with the collar turned up and a plain black matte ballistic mask, the newcomer swings an assault rifle up in his right and fires six rounds at Achak, giving Tiny the time to lumber to the right of the open door, gun held low.
 
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:41:56/05-20-15)
Achak stares in horror as the demon-troll bashes its way into the church. Oh God, his brain says. Oh God, oh God.

The amount of armor on the troll does not escape his notice. What can I even do to it? he asks himself. He's a sharpshooter and would usually go for a headshot but the ballistic mask negates that. So what then? Shoot the genitals? The eye, knowing it will hit the mask but maybe to obscure its vision with scorch marks? He wishes that he had gone with APDS - he knows a nifty trick where armor-piercing bullets of a multiple-round burst follow the path carved by the first.

Achak is caught staring too long and is flat-footed when the man in the armored jacket cuts loose with a 6-round burst from his assault rifle. Achak is too slow to duck and catches a hot round slicing through his armor across the top of his left deltoid. It stings like an animal-fondling assjacker slitspurt and brings tears to Achak's eyes. He can already tell that it will interfere with his aim.

I need Jazz! he thinks to himself, seizing on a ray of hope before remembering that he hermetically sealed himself into his armor moments ago. That and his Jazz is across the room, tucked away in his duffel bags. Damn! Damn damn! I should have gotten that auto-injector like Stake told me to!

Achak does not fail to notice the man in the chameleon suit. Why didn't we get the chameleon coating? his right-brain asks with a told-you-so tone.

Because it's expensive as humping an elven princess and doesn't work unless you do your weapons too. We gave that money to the church and did a soup supper for 500 squatters, his left-brain answers.

Who went on to feed 50 fomóraigs or whatever those really fragged-up ones are, the right-brain retorts.

Shut up shut up shut up!

Achak tries to resume his tactical thinking. He saw Sister Rebecca conjure, and can feel the spirit with his magic sense. Maybe that would even the odds, but the astral feels crowded in here...

Flash bang? Can't catch Sister Rebecca in the blast. Probably won't faze the troll.
Suppressive fire? Can't catch Sister Rebecca in the cone. And in the church with EX-explosive? Oh God.
Jump out a window and retreat for Rusty's backup? Can't leave Sister Rebecca to face them alone. Already lost Stake. That can't happen twice in one life, let alone twice in one day. Rather die. Dog silently reaffirms this.
Blast the ceiling with a high-explosive grenade and bring the roof down on everybody? Yeah, right, only the troll would walk away from that.
Come out swinging and figure it out as you go along? Bingo. Punch Death in the throat repeatedly as he drags you away.

Achak grips his Alpha tightly, using the pain of his shoulder to channel his concentration into comforting thoughts of revenge.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:33:17/05-20-15)
She's getting ready to answer his question about tomorrow, when he interrupts her, screaming at the priest.

"Llewellyn! Get in the bathroom, face down! NOW!"

The big man then dives behind one of the pews as cover. The good sister knows what's going on and she darts the opposite direction, looking for her own cover. She doesn't quite manage to reach it before all hell breaks loose, but she does manage a call to the astral. "I require rage and lightning! Barachiel, Aid me!" Then, everything hits all at once. First, she feels the drain set in from the summoning. I was too quick. Too informal. Angels don't like that." But then, not even a breath later, she's nearly knocked off her feet as the door gets kicked in and a flashbang goes off right at her feet.Her ears are ringing and she's a little disoriented when she makes it cover, just barely noticing the man in the chameleon suit before she ducks. He's the main threat. Achak can handle the troll. Then she hears the assault rifle and realizes the troll didn't have one. A third. No problem. Achak can handle the rifleman, I can get the invisible man, then we team up on the troll and Barachiel can handle the astral. Then SNAP! Her link with Barachiel is broken and she starts to panic a little.

BLAST it ALL! My angel is down, I'm wounded, so is Achak. We're surrounded and outnumbered by demons on the astral, shadowrunners in the physical, and all before I can even get my helmet on! I guess we know who planted the stealth tag, at least.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (22:52:23/05-21-15)
Achak assesses his options. The troll is terrifying but the reality is he probably can't hurt it with his current loadout. Instead he pinpoints the prick who just pinked him in the pectoral. He forgoes a targeted shot in favor of a three-round burst spread out in a fan. One of the rounds drills through the target's armored mask before exploding like a miniature grenade, sending a puff of red onto the Ten Commandments posted next to the exit.

He doesn't have a chance to celebrate. His eyes go wide as sees the gigantic barrel of an AA-16 swing around on him. "The Warhammer" - Achak wants nothing to do with it. He immediately drops, trusting in the full-body armor to reduce the impact of his face-plant, as the troll begins to redecorate the nave, chancel, and altar. Achak is so thankful that he hasn't been torn limb from limb that he isn't even bothered that the troll is undoing all the cleaning Achak just finished.

While hugging the bedraggled carpet and waiting for the terrifying roar of shotgun to subside, Achak mentally ejects the clip of EX-explosive and slaps in a clip of APDS. He gets another MARK? Oh wiz. No idea what to do with that.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (18:58:06/05-25-15)
Things had never been going so badly for Sister Rebecca. Still squinting her eyes, trying to make out the invisible man, no doubt sneaking around the side to try and stab her or something, she hears the telltale sound of flame behind her. She wheels around, strapping her helmet on as she does to face the massive fire demon that had just materialized directly behind her. It was exactly this sort of ambush she had been hoping to avoid by summoning Barachiel, but he had proved to be not even a speed bump for this fearsome demon that was now lunging toward her. She speaks calmly and evenly into the subvocal as it spreads it flaming wings wide around her. "Keep on the troll. I will deal with the spirit." She's far too slow, however and the mighty Blade of Gabriel has barely cleared it's scabbard before she's choked by fire and death. The creature is far stronger than she is, and despite her jacket being heavily fire resistant, she can feel it starting to give out almost immediately. She struggles as hard as she can against it, but she's too weak to escape on her own. Marcus's words run through her head as she gives every ounce of fight she has to avoid cooking to death inside her armor.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (22:47:26/05-25-15)
Even at this distance, the sounds of the fight in the church can be heard. Even more so because of the audio enhancements built into his mask. Flash-bang. Controlled burst from an assault rifle - that'd be Iky, since Mercer saw the muzzle flash as he stepped through the door. Then another assault rifle - return fire, but all of the combatants were now out of view giving him no idea how effective it was. Then the unmistakable sound of an auto shotgun - that could only mean that Tiny was still in the fight. Mercer cursed under his breath.


If the Hunters are worth their salt, they can hold these chuckleheads for a few seconds. If they couldn't, then Mercer didn't need them. Only Survivors need apply.


But even the best, caught unawares and outnumbered by professionals, would have a poor chance of survival. He knew that there were two runners still in the van, and having spent two decades in the same seamy underbelly of civilization as your average Shadowrunner, Mercer had a fairly good idea of how they worked. Two in the car meant two of the three - Decker, Rigger, Mage. Mages usually threw their mojo from the back lines, but still on the field of battle. Only the cowards hung out in the van and sent their spirits in unattended. So Mercer's money was on Rigger and Decker. Which meant that the Hunters could be facing uncooperative equipment.


And what of the Rigger? He had seen no other drones. Was he just a getaway driver? Seemed an extravagance to have a dedicated Rigger only for getaway duty. Unless they were preparing for the possibility of the Hunters fleeing by car. Either that or the van had more nasty surprises in store. Well, whoever is in the van, let's rile 'em up some, maybe split their focus, give the other Hunters some breathing room. He swung Vera slightly to the left to bring the front of the van into her sights and, using what he knew of his own van, lined up a shot with the engine block. This'll give Iky one less escape route, and maybe tick off the two in the van. Another soft exhalation and the satisfying sound of the bullet hitting the dense metal of the engine block rings out. The van won't be going anywhere for awhile.


Not much else I can do from out here. Guess it's time to join the meet & greet. He's about ready to have the Roadmaster's pilot park him outside the church when a new thought strikes him. "Well, Vera, how do you feel about sending the kids to church?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:00:24/05-26-15)
The roar inside the church is deafening.  The slugs from the massive troll's shotgun blows the back of the pew above Achak to shards as the rounds explode upon impact, leaving a deep crater nearly ten meters wide in its wake, and a few rounds pass above, striking the altar with small bursts of fire.  On the south wall of the church, the spirit, charcoal black with cracks of fire seeping from beneath its "skin," the fire spirit's jack-o-lantern maw hisses smoke and flame as it attempts to hold its quarry.

Achak knows the invisible man is around somewhere, no doubt stalking up to his flank, but in all the chaos he's lost track of him.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (16:14:25/05-28-15)
Achak slams face-first into the floor to avoid the horrible roar of the fully automatic shotgun. He sends a mental command to his Alpha to eject the clip of EX-EX. While his hand is digging out his clip of APDS, it brushes against a popper of Jazz.

Yes! Achak thinks to himself with triumph, spying a ray of hope. I thought I left these all in the duffel bags! But I put one there last night then forgot about it! Lord be praised.

Praising the Lord for combat stimulants might be theologically questionable, but in the current circumstances he's more concerned about losing another teammate fairly dramatically and directly in front of him.

He sends a mental command to his helmet to unseal, then slams the popper into his face and huffs. Awww yeeeeeaaaaahhhh.

The world slows down a tick. It feels like all of his neurons are firing at once.

Where's that little twerp I can't see. Well, bigger problems at the moment. If he sneaks up on me, that's what armor and shock frills are for.

Deciding that a fully-automatic shotgun is still his biggest threat, Achak pivots so that he can fire prone underneath the pews. He lines up a shot, hoping the troll stays still long enough to shoot him in the foot.

Okay, lion, let's put a thorn in your paw, he thinks as he pulls the trigger.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (04:20:33/05-29-15)
Mercer is getting his mental ducks in a row - the door is there, the van is there, this drone is closer to one, and so on - when a jolt of pain shoots from his eyes. His vision pixelates visibly and he can feel the heat being given off by the devices on the back of his eyelids. He's startled, but not surprised. In fact, he's actually pleased. There you are. I've been expecting you.


Then it strikes him - the jammer is still in the smuggling compartment. Blast! I knew - well, hoped - this was coming, and I'm still caught unprepared. Sloppy.


He sends a mental command to his cyber eyes to turn off their wireless - reducing the functionality of the smartgun link, but he wouldn't be needing that for a few seconds. Moving back to the rear of the van to where the smuggling compartment is expertly hidden under the rearmost seats, he sends the mental commands he had prepared before the decker had pulled his attention from the Hunters in the church to focus it on Mercer. The first drone is directed to discreetly enter the church ASAP and give him eyes on the fight there, the second to try to find some way to see inside the opposing Ares without revealing itself. The drones had been drifting lazily about the area, hiding and watching the church from afar, but now sprung into action, moving as fast as the could without giving up their stealth, closing the distance between them and their targets. It would be another 10 seconds before they were near position, and it would seem like a lifetime, but he had things to do anyway.


Starting with getting the jammer turned on. Between the general noise here in the barrens, and the poor quality of the public grid, the decker had an uphill battle as it was. The distance between the Roadmasters didn't help things much either, but the jammer would make it twice as bad. He was concerned that the excess noise might discourage the deck head and force him to focus back on the other Hunters, but there wasn't much help for it. Or was there?


He'd have to park near the church and near the other Roadmaster. But if the enemy vehicle and its hacker were within the range of the jammer, it would hardly matter what he chose to attack. While he prepared to open the compartment, he tried to find a good spot to direct the pilot to park.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (10:59:42/06-01-15)
Achak's round strikes the instep of the troll's right foot, and the troll lets out a bellow as he falls on his left side.  He lines up a shot on Achak, but his movements are jerky, and the shotgun vibrates in his hands as he lets off with a six round burst.  Most of the slugs fly wide, but one strikes the floor directly in front of Achak sending a burst of fragments and melted carpet particulates in the hunter's face, nothing a wet rag and some time won't buff out, but much too close for comfort.  Sister Rebecca struggles against her fiery prison, and can almost see the clean air on the other side, but the spirit holds on enough to keep her pinned within.

Outside, the situation changes with the Roadmaster.  As the drones close in toward the church and the van, the side door opens again, and a figure emerges running toward the church doors.  Mercer can see that the figure is large, either a large human or an average sized ork, and is female.  She wears an armored jacket and a black matte ballistic mask.  In a sling at her side, she carries a submachine gun.  Mercer also notes that despite her loadout and the determination of her movements, she seems to be moving much slower than the rest of the opposing team has so far. 
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (13:49:10/06-01-15)
High on Jazz, Achak is acutely aware of time. Sister Rebecca is buying me time.

Things move slowly. There's an angry burst of automatic shotgun fire. He's still alive at the end of it.

Two-on-one, he thinks, wondering where the man in the chameleon suit is. Three-on-one if Sister Rebecca falls. Need to put one to bed.

Achak lines up a shot on the demon-masked troll staring at him across the church. He groups his shots tightly, hoping to have the second and the third rounds follow the first through the armor. Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.

He barely registers the result before pushing himself up off the ground. On your feet. Die on your feet. If you don't get them, maybe Rusty's boys will.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (00:32:10/06-02-15)
No sooner had Mercer moved to the back of the van then another runner emerged from the Roadmaster near the church. You have got to be kidding me. Of course, it wasn't much of a surprise - that ballistic mask she was wearing could easily have run of the mill vision magnification that would allow Mercer to be seen clearly even over the distance and he hadn't really made much effort to hide himself. She'd probably watched him move away from the front window and took the chance. Nothing for it now.


He gave a mental command to his Roadmaster to park at the church near the other Roadmaster, noting as he sent the command that his commlink had been granted a mark on some other device. He smiled. This decker's bad day was only beginning. He sent another command to the van, this time to pop open the hidden compartment, then reached in side to toggle the wireless on the jammer. The compartment was large enough to fit an Ork, and thus had plenty of space for his meager belongings, especially since only the valuable or illegal stuff was kept there. His clothes and other low-value, legal items were in duffel bags and suitcases strewn around the rest of the van - secured only enough to keep them from getting shifting during normal driving. So when the compartment opened, his gear inside was laid out with everything immediately accessible - no digging required.


The jammer would take a second or two to bring it's wireless on line, then he could trigger its jamming mode with a thought, so he stood and turned to head back to the front of the car.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (03:59:21/06-02-15)
Mercer has lost the approaching gangers behind the Roadmaster from his natural field of vision, but his drones show three approaching who open fire on the fleeing woman.  He can hear the percussive pops of the handguns before the zip of a machine pistol stitches up her left side.  Her gate slows, and she turns to face the approaching BlackJack.  The one with the machine pistol, a combat-booted, synt-leathered troll with a braided mohawk hanging in front of his eyes, stops and rears back, grabbing his head with his free hand as he stumbles backward.

In the church, Achak wheels on the man in the chameleon suit.  Two seemingly disembodied guns prepare to swing on him when he suddenly sees them drop from view, and hears a muffled pop.  Tiny looks away from the sound in disgust, and regards the man's legs on the other side of the sanctuary.  Woozy, bleeding, nearly delirious, he lifts the shotgun up as if he's bench-pressing it, and lines up the barrel with where the man's body should be if his boots are to be trusted.  He pulls the trigger, and round after round of explosive ammunition rips through the pews, sending hymnals flying and splinters of wood laminate smoking into the carpet.  In less than the blink of an eye, he's torn through four rows, and then nothing, just the ticking sound of an empty drum as the firing pin ineffectually strikes air.  "Dib?!  Dib?" he spits out
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (17:49:55/06-02-15)
Achak is on his feet. Jacked on Jazz, he high-steps to his left, pumping his legs to keep his feet off the ground in case the troll decides to return the favor and shoot Achak in the foot.

The troll opts to blast the pews into splinters and shrapnel. The process inadvertently creates a firing lane for Achak, who spies the massive troll through the semicircular gouges in the woodwork. The troll is so big that going prone isn't the advantage that it is for the lean-and-hungry types. Achak raises the Alpha and hammers the trigger, barely registering where the shots go. He doesn't have time for his customary care or precision. Instead, he's dropping his Alpha on its sling and reaching for his warclub slung across his back. He builds momentum as he begins his charge toward the fire spirit entrapping Sister Rebecca, who has gone limp inside.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (18:05:30/06-02-15)
With the last round fired, the church is eerily quiet, save for the hissing and popping coming off of the fire spirit. Then Achak hears footsteps approaching, much softer than the troll's but still leaden from combat armor. A shrill voice, charged with emotions, precedes the footfalls. It's a woman's voice, accented in Japanese. "Fatu, down! Parlay parlay?!"

Facing the spirit, Achak can see the wisps of fire peeling away from Sister Rebecca's unconscious form as the spirit obeys.

Outside, Mercer sees the mojo-flinger go invisible as she approaches the church's doors with her faint limp.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (13:14:34/06-03-15)
Achak, ripped on amphetamines, is two steps into his charge at the fire spirit. He hears something and his ears say "wait, what?" but the rest of his body says "GO GO GO!!!" Sprinting at full speed, Achak lets out a war cry and swings his gunstock wildly.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:06:33/06-04-15)
The spirit's face disappears into a wisp of smoke, and Achak's club strikes only air.  In the next second the spirit finishes expelling Sister Rebecca, who collapses on the church floor, unconscious and smoking, but not on fire at least.  Free from its prisoner, the spirit floats up a few meters and holds its position.

Outside, Mercer's keen eyes can pick out the invisible magician, as she carefully approaches the church doors.

Achak hears the woman speak out again.  "Parlay, ok?  We're beat.  I'm calling the spirit off, and I'm coming in, ok?  Don't shoot."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (13:54:56/06-04-15)
Achak swings the gunstock warclub down like an axe but the spirit simply bobs upward out of reach.

A red haze descends over Achak, or maybe it's the drugs, or the fact that his cone of vision doesn't extend beyond the flaming entity. His thoughts bouncing around like gas molecules.

HARD TO HIT
SHOULD SHOOT
CAN'T DROP THE CLUB
REALLY NEED THIRD ARM
BUY TIME FOR RUSTY'S BOYS
PROTECT SISTER REBECCA

His pupils wide as dinner plates, he moves to stand over Sister Rebecca's collapsed form. He swings again, trying to knock the fire spirit out of existence.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (16:47:08/06-04-15)
<<New device on PAN: Ares Ion Storm 5000 series Wide Spectrum Jammer>>


Jam! He thinks as he sends the mental command for the device to engage. The device begins jamming and dutifully reports that fact.


With cyber security covered - well, as covered as can be without a proper decker of his own - Mercer continued to the front of the Ares Roadmaster. One of the Fly-Spy drones closing in on the church flagged some information from its sensors as noteworthy, and so he listened in to the audio coming from its directional mic. The drone could no longer see the mage, but she was close enough to the door of the church that at this distance the coverage of the directional mic could pick her up. She was asking for parley. Apparently the other Hunters had given the runners a good thrashing, and the mage was looking to set terms of surrender.


This was good news! It meant that there would be prisoners to "interview", and it also meant that the Hunters were more than half competent. Hopefully this meant that they were more of the "the Lord helps those that help themselves" sort of crazy and not the "the Lord is my crutch" or shepherd or whatever type. "Fear no evil" got you ate. Fear was good, healthy. Thinking you were invincible was the quickest way to meet your maker.


Taking a secure position in the driver's seat and using the door to shield him from incoming fire, he positioned Vera on the window sill and readied her to fire if the parley went south. The mage had cast something that made her invisible to his drones, but after a brief effort to focus, Mercer had been able to see her clear as day. She continued talking, asking for parley, saying they were beat. And it occurred to Mercer that this wasn't entirely good news - how beat were they? Certainly some of the combatants were out of the fight if the runners were admitting defeat, but were they dead? Was Ikiryo dead, unconscious, or just outnumbered? Dammit, get your ass to the church! he thought at the drone that was providing him the audio feed, though he stopped short of making it an actual command. He knew that speed could mean losing stealth and he didn't want to risk that just yet - the drones were expensive, and he couldn't afford to replace one presently.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:12:15/06-05-15)
Achak feels his gunstock club connect with the spirit and deal a mighty blow.  Strong and solid as his hit was, he's convinced that it wasn't quite enough to disrupt the spirit.  Still, it de-materializes, and the woman outside continues speaking.

"Look, chummer, you know the game.  Nothing personal, just biz, and on this biz you got us beat.  I ain't keen on dying for no Johnson, and I got two friends in there I've been running with for a long time.  So what's it gonna take?  Creds?  Info?  I got nothing against you, or the lady, and I certainly didn't have anything against the older guy, that elf, Stake I think."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:14:20/06-05-15)
Achak sees the spirit retreat back into the astral. He tries to get a sense for if it is still nearby - waiting to reappear and ambush him - or if it is truly gone. He feels good about the strike he landed, although it's small payback for what Sister Rebecca endured.

He leans down to look for breathing and to establish if she has a pulse or not. At first glance it appears that her armor saved her from the worst ravages of the fire. Then he checks to see if Llewellyn is still alive, albeit traumatized.

Then there's the matter of this runner jabbering at him. Safest thing to do is geek her!!! Can she not see her crew is down??? Why didn't she just drive off??? But then she explains that the fallen are friends. That resonates with Dog and Achak's canine sense of loyalty. Blood was thicker than business. That helps to suppress the forward momentum of the Jazz, if only for a few moments.

There will still practical matters to consider. Is she going to freak and geek when she sees the condition of her amigos??? he wonders. He slowly returns his club to his back while readying his Ares Alpha.

"Where's Stake??? What happened to him???" he calls out.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (15:49:54/06-05-15)
@Mercer

The mage woman steps through the church doors and slips inside, followed by Mercer's drone.  The feed from inside the church is exactly what Mercer expected, but that doesn't make it any less shocking.  The pews are destroyed, the carpet singed or burned out completely.  On the north wall, Mercer sees that the invisible man has bled out, his body inert and face down.  Near the door, he sees Ikiryo, unconscious or dead, though he leans more toward dead based on the blood gently seeping  from the back of his head.  Tiny is likewise still, a few holes in his body armor, though Mercer knows it often takes more than that to take down a troll, especially one who took an anti-material shot to the back and kept going.  The mage woman appears in the view-finder of his drone as she drops her invisibility spell, and then Mercer sees her cover her eyes.

Outside, gangers start to stack up outside the church doors, and pile into the Roadmaster just behind his other drone.  The decker is inside, and conscious, and his hands fly up as he begins pleading for his life.  "Don't shoot, don't shoot," the young human man calls out before being filled with automatic pistol fire and slumping back against the back wall of the van.  The gangers next take a hard look at Mercer's drone buzzing around the interior.

@Achak

"Where's Stake??? What happened to him???" he calls out.

Achak sees through an invisibility spell as an armored woman slips inside and drops her spell as well as a submachine gun.  Seeing that Achak is only carrying a melee weapon, she puts one hand in front of her eyes, obscuring her vision -- leveling the playing field, he figures.  He senses the spirit is still present, though it leaves his immediate vicinity.

"I'll tell you about 'Stake' if you'll insure my safety.  Your buddy out back has you covered, and you have my word I won't cast offensively.  I just want to take care of, oh Jesus, Tiny?  What the fuck?  Where's Dib?  Dib?!  Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck."  Collecting herself, she continues, "How bad off's your teammate?  You let me heal my guys, I'll bring her back first, ok?  I'm going to step forward now."  She takes a few tentative steps among the debris.

Before she can continue, Achak gets a comm from Rusty.

<<@Achak [Rusty] You alive in there, chummer?  We're backed up outside the church.  Also, we got a guy in a separate van approaching.  He with you, or should we geek his ass?  Looks like he was gunning for the guys gunning for you.>>

As she approaches, the magician takes off her ballistic mask, revealing a darker-skinned ork woman, Aztlan and Japanese by her looks.  "Like I said, you got us beat.  Give me your word you'll let us walk out of here, and I'll do everything I can to make it worth your while, wiz?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (16:39:43/06-05-15)
Stake? This is ol' Stake's crew? That sure explains why the runners have had their fill. Stake wouldn't be caught dead with a pack of ninnys. But she's speaking about Stake as if he's gone, so apparently he was caught dead somewhere. He was tempted to geek her right there for what she'd been a part of, but he'd seen dozens of good hunters die - men and women he'd known like family - and one thing he'd learned to do was keep his emotions in check when on the job. He needed information and it would be harder to get from a dead woman. So he swallowed his loss and focused again on the conversation, keeping the mage no more than a thought away from a peck on the cheek from Vera.


But he also knew better than to drop his guard - where there was a mage, there was almost always spirits. And there was still a decker lurking in the Matrix, and there was always the unexpected to worry about - an unknown party, a hidden enemy, a well laid trap. Situational awareness was key to surviving a tactical encounter. He'd learned that when he'd taken HTR training at the police academy all those years ago, and had taken it to heart. It had kept him alive for over twenty years. He surveyed his surroundings using the sensors on the Roadmaster and whatever he could pick out from the drones, noting what the gangers were doing and looking for anything out of place.


What he sees shocks him. He'd expected it, sure, and he'd seen many more horrific scenes in his time hunting the Infected, but he'd half expected more survivors. The Invisible Man was surely dead, Tiny was out and if he did pull through, it'd only be by virtue of his being a troll. And his fears were confirmed when he found that Ikiryo was down and bleeding from the head. The blood flow had already slowed to a seep, which strongly indicated that the heart was no longer pumping. He also watched as the decker was slaughtered where he sat as he pleaded for his life. That meant that the mage was his only remaining lead. He took note of the gangers eyeing his drone and commanded it to display an ARO of a white flag and slowly settle to rest on a seat in the van. He commanded the drone in the church to broadcast an ARO containing the text "Spare her. Need info. - Mercer". If they were Stake's team, they'd likely know who he was and hopefully his words would carry weight.


He also set Vera down on the floor. The gangers were worrisome, but if they didn't shoot his drone, it stood to reason he could make peace with them, and that began by adopting a less threatening posture. A sniper rifle hanging out the window was certainly not that posture. Of course, he didn't want to come up on the other Roadmaster unannounced either, so he mentally commanded the Roadmaster's pilot to have it park across the street from the church entrance well away from any of the groups of gangers, giving him a view of the situation but enough distance to "tactically regroup" if need be. He kept his hands where they could be seen, but kept his body largely covered by the protective body of the well armored van.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (16:51:52/06-05-15)
A handful of shoots ring out in the parking lot, and the ork woman cocks her head backward.  "Ranier?!"  A string of words inappropriate to the locale is next issued from her mouth, and she levels a cold gaze at Achak.  "Your word, or I go down swinging."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:06:59/06-05-15)
Information is bombarding Achak. The Jazz make him hyper-alert but also means he has the attention span of a gnat.

"I'll tell you about 'Stake' if you'll insure my safety.  Your buddy out back has you covered...

My buddy out back??? STAKE!!! But she just said that she'd tell me about Stake... Achak's mind goes down a strange whirlpool of scenarios where Stake might have been captured but then freed himself when the runners came for Achak. Then Stake trailed them here and provided covering fire from the rear, which might explain why the invisible pistols dropped for no reason? Achak isn't exactly brilliant to start and the drugs aren't helping. Or maybe she means Rusty??? Yeah, that must be it!!!

<<@Achak [Rusty] You alive in there, chummer?  We're backed up outside the church.  Also, we got a guy in a separate van approaching.  He with you, or should we geek his ass?  Looks like he was gunning for the guys gunning for you.>>

Rusty's comm just jumbles up the situation all over again. Another guy, separate van??? Maybe it is Stake!!! But she told me she'd tell me about Stake... And then the loop begins again.

<<@Rusty [Achak] Hold off on him. He might have sniped a guy in a chameleon suit who was sneaking up on me.>>

Thankfully Achak's text messages come across with less intensity than his regular thinking.

He commanded the drone in the church to broadcast an ARO containing the text "Spare her. Need info. - Mercer". If they were Stake's team, they'd likely know who he was and hopefully his words would carry weight.

Mercer??? Wha... Mercer's alive??? And sending messages via this drone??? Achak's eyes practically cross with the improbability of it all.

As she approaches, the magician takes off her ballistic mask, revealing a darker-skinned ork woman, Aztlan and Japanese by her looks.  "Like I said, you got us beat.  Give me your word you'll let us walk out of here, and I'll do everything I can to make it worth your while, wiz?"

Achak raises his Alpha, jumpy and hyper. "Alright!!!" he says. "You tell me what you know, then you're going to cough up as much nuyen or cyber as it takes to fix this church and pay off my boys outside!!! I don't want to kill you!!! Killing in a church PISSES ME OFF and killing on the Sabbath is EVEN WORSE!!! I forgive you for shooting me even though it really hurts because I can turn the other cheek and because I'm a NICE GUY!!!"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:44:50/06-08-15)
Achak raises his Alpha, jumpy and hyper. "Alright!!!" he says. "You tell me what you know, then you're going to cough up as much nuyen or cyber as it takes to fix this church and pay off my boys outside!!! I don't want to kill you!!! Killing in a church PISSES ME OFF and killing on the Sabbath is EVEN WORSE!!! I forgive you for shooting me even though it really hurts because I can turn the other cheek and because I'm a NICE GUY!!!"

"I know I can wake up your lady friend here, but she isn't going to like it," the woman says kneeling by Sister Rebecca's side and pulling a medkit from her armored jacket.  She starts unfastening Sister Rebecca's armor, but it's hot to the touch, and it takes her a few tries to get the singed material open.  Once she has, she applies the medkit, and it gets to work on lowering the Sister's core body temperature.  Next, she lays her hands on the Sister, and Achak can sense the manipulation of the mana around them. "If you haven't been able to tell, this isn't really my scene.  Casting in here is a little difficult, but I'm pretty sure I can reduce the worst of her wounds."  As she lays her hands on Sister Rebecca Achak can see the redness and burned skin begin to take on a more fleshlike tone.

Pulling out a Stim Patch, the magician continues, "I can make her conscious for a bit, but she'll probably go right back out in a few minutes.  It'll give us time to finish up here, though, wiz?"

She removes the adhesive backing from the Stim Patch, applies it, and Sister Rebecca flashes back to consciousness.  The woman then stands up and begins racing around the sanctuary, trying to stabilize her teammates in a similar fashion.  Pastor Llewellyn pulls himself up on shaky legs, and regards the damage to the church.  Dismayed, he steadies himself on one of the crumbling pews, and says, "What did you do?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (13:18:17/06-08-15)
Achak tries to concentrate on what the woman is saying so that it doesn't get lost in the vibrations inside his head. He nods furiously to indicate that she may continue, although he keeps his Alpha at the low ready to discourage misbehavior.

Achak isn't quite sure if Llewellyn means "what have you done to the church?" or "what are you doing with your life to cause people to try to murder you thusly?" In clearer moments, he might have cited Samson smiting the Philistines in the Temple of Dagon, but Biblical parallels are a little beyond him at the moment.

"I don't know, Pastor; let's ask her!!! What did I do to deserve this???" Achak has guesses about the answer but doesn't want to 'lead the witness', so to speak.

He kneels down to retrieve the clip of Ex-ex that he discarded earlier in favor of the APDS.

<<@Mercer [Achak] Church secure.>>

<<@Rusty [Achak] Church secure. Will find you some loot.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:57:43/06-08-15)
After bringing Sister Rebecca back to consciousness, the ork moves to the north wall of the church, and stares down, her expression a cross between shock, disbelief, and a deep sadness.  She leans down to turn the man -- Dib, apparently -- on his back, but there is no magic, and no medkit to save him.  Instead, she closes his eyes, and whispers something that no one else can hear.

Despite the flurry of impulses firing off in Achak's gray matter, he does see the magician give the runner with the Alpha a little kick as she walks past him and kneels next to Tiny.  He also thinks it odd that she would start with the troll above the human.  Peeling off Tiny's body armor, Achak can see how his close grouping punched through the armor, and then the massive troll's breastplate, before puncturing a lung.  The woman, following the instructions from her medkit, forces a stent through the troll's side, and a thick, dark trail of blood dribbles on the carpet, followed by the ragged sound of the troll's unconscious breathing.  There's no time and no call or smiles, but it's obvious that the woman is relieved by the way she carries herself.


"I don't know, Pastor; let's ask her!!! What did I do to deserve this???" Achak has guesses about the answer but doesn't want to 'lead the witness', so to speak.

"Look omae," she says, cradling the massive troll's head in her lap as she speaks, "you're about the weirdest crew of runners I've ever seen.  I mean, you don't talk like runners, and you're not riding that high like a runner.  Thank Ghost for that, no offense, father," she says, placing Tiny's head back on the floor and rising to approach the downed man with the Alpha.

"But you sure as hell fight like some runners.  As for the why, you run off with an advance from the Vory and don't deliver on the work, what the fuck'd you think was gonna happen?  Again, no offense father."

She kneels next to the man Achak drilled through the Ballistic's mask, and removes it carefully.  A single round has entered his face, leaving burn marks on his cheek, and removing most of his jaw, and a good deal of skin up to his ear.  "He's still alive," she says a little incredulously.  "He's the one who brought us on.  Never worked with him before, and honestly I don't care if he walks outta here.  You want to talk to him, I can probably keep him alive.  Lemme know."

<<@Rusty [Achak] Church secure. Will find you some loot.>>[/color]

<<@Achak [Rusty] Wiz.  This Roadmaster is pretty well-fragged, but I may know a guy.  Heard one of those chummers was packing a Warhammer.  Look forward to seeing what else you find.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:30:19/06-08-15)
Achak brandishes his Alpha menacingly. "We didn't run off with no advance from no Vory!!!" he insists, losing track of his double and triple negatives. "If that's the story you've been fed then YES I want to speak with Fragger Faceless here!!!" Achak considers the mess that used to be the man's jaw. "Maybe through DNI!!!"

<<@Mercer [Achak] Are you copying all this?>>

<<@Sister Rebecca [Achak] Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory. The runners' story is we stole from the Vory, Vory.>>

"Leave the armor and the weapons!!! That's your ticket to SAFE PASSAGE with the locals outside!!! And I'm going to need to see a SUBSTANTIAL DONATION to the church here for cleanup and repairs!!! The good news is that it's TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!!"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (21:04:39/06-08-15)

Mercer follows along with the conversation going on inside the church while the Roadmaster pulls closer, watching the various hoodlums watch him. The remaining standing Hunter messages him, telling him that the church is secure. Secure from what? There's still a platoon of gang members lined up outside, ready to breach! But they keep not breaching, and Mercer finally comes to the conclusion that the gangers must be in communication with this Achak fella.

As the van rolls to a stop, Mercer mentally flips off the jammer and notes that the gangers seem more relaxed, and that none come to "greet" him - the "stand down" order must have been given, and Mercer given clearance to be here. Apparently the gangers had some respect for the church, and thus the religious nuts protecting it. He wasn't going to look that gift horse in the mouth. Still, best to tone down the party favors lest he push some itchy trigger finger over the edge, so he leaves Vera and the assault rifle in the van and steps out with Yoki slung over one shoulder and across his back.


He gets another message from Achak, confirming that Mercer was watching the conversation in the church unfold.


<< @Achack [Mercer] Five by five. >>


Mercer knew from the camera feed that Achak was freaking and he wondered how much of his message would register. Nothing for it now but to get there where he was more than a disembodied voice.


<< @Achack [Mercer] I'm coming in now.>>



Aside from the gangers, the street is eerily empty. The gangers have largely left the other van, so Mercer mentally tasks the drone that he'd parked there to drop the flag ARO and return to the sky to keep watch over the church. As he enters the church, he sends the drone there to join its mate and removes his ballistic mask and his hat.


He nods to the female ork kneeling near Ikiryo and offers a "ma'am" by way of greeting. He notes the priest fretting over the ruin that the altar had become and gives him a curt nod, "Father". He bends over to disarm the large troll, careful to stay out of the way of the medkit the ork set up on him. He moves to the other fallen as he talks, making sure that their weapons are out of easy reach.


"Ashak, Aytchak - I'm sorry son, but I have no idea how to pronounce your name. No matter. Look, Jawless here is our link to whatever group has been disappearing Hunter teams, so keeping him alive is a necessary evil. The others are civilians who almost certainly had no idea who they were really working for. Let 'em loose or let the law deal with 'em, but I don't kill Clean folk if'n I don't have to, and the Stake I know doesn't either."


"That said, I don't like bein' lied to. I didn't catch your name, missy, but you claim this is your first job with Ikiryo, and maybe that's true. But you seem to be under the misconception that this is all gang related. That's fine, maybe you'll sleep better if I let you keep believing that."


He rounds back on the mage as she works on Ikiryo. "What's done is done. You've got a good head on your shoulders, makin' right and saving your chums" he looks at the invisible man's corpse " - well, most of 'em" he remembers the gangers shooting the decker in the van "- one of 'em. World could use more people like you, but what the world needs takes a backseat to what I need right now, and I need to know what else y'all had planned cause I doubt it took a whole week's planning to set up a simple ambush."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (17:08:01/06-09-15)
Slowly, a hazy form that resembles reality begins to take shape before her groggy eyes. Everything hurts. It aches, burns, throbs, and irritates to even keep her eyes open, but she does. Slowly, the woman known as Sister Rebecca lifts her head up off the ground. Through the soot coated visor of her helmet, she can see the church is in ruins. Blood and shell casings are everywhere she looks. Someone, actually several someones are moving around, but she can't quite tell who, just yet. Wiping the film from her eyes, she can see Achak is still up and moving around, but there's two others with him. Are they our ambushers? Why would Achak be talking with them like that, if they were? He does seem rather agitated, the way he's whiteknuckling that rifle of his... She finds her blade only a foot away, and slowly creeps her hand along the ground, toward it. Still not knowing the situation, she doesn't want to draw any attention to the fact that she's conscious. Perhaps he's just buying time with the ambushers, waiting for me to wake up, so we can finish off these last two? Suddenly, the question dawns on her, How am I awake, anyways?

She quickly reboots all her gear and looks over the information from her biomonitor. Aha! Someone just stimpatched me! Must have been Achak. These two don't know I'm alive, but he does, from the biomonitor! Don't worry, friend. I've got your back! Then, she gets a message on her comm.

<<@Sister Rebecca [Achak] Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory. The runners' story is we stole from the Vory, Vory.>>

Rebecca is utterly flabbergasted. Try as she might, her jumbled brain just can't piece together what is going in here or the events that led up to it. By now, the male is already talking to the female, but the good Sister isn't really paying attention. Using her trodes, she mentally sends a reply to her ally, still without standing up or revealing that she's awake.

<<@Achak [Sister Rebecca] Please advise of situation. Male and female contacts are non-hostile?>>

After getting the all clear from the big man, she starts actually paying attention to what the two newcomers are talking about. She tunes in right around,

"I need to know what else y'all had planned cause I doubt it took a whole week's planning to set up a simple ambush."

Slowly, with a quiet groan as every muscle in her body fervently argues against it, she stands up, holding the Blade of Gabriel in her right hand. Smoke still wafts from her singed armorjacket. She speaks quietly, but forcefully. "I'd like to hear your answer as well."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (17:26:04/06-09-15)
<<@Sister Rebecca [Achak] Male is Mercer. The hunter from the CAS who I told you about in the car on the way back from Duncan's. The one we were thinking about going to see in Dallas. I don't know why he's here right now. Maybe he came to look for us just like we were going to look for him. I... I can't understand it all yet either. I didn't even know he was alive until a minute ago.

<<Female is the last standing member of the runner team. I guaranteed her safe passage in exchange for information and reparations. She healed your burns. I... might need the same from you for this gunshot wound before you pass out. That stimpatch won't last you long and this shoulder might be beyond repair by the time you're awake again. You only have a few minutes before it's lights out again and before my hit of Jazz drops off. We're going to be a pile of hot mess. Clock is ticking.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:04:29/06-10-15)
The supplies on her medkit lacking, the magician takes an escorted trip back to the Roadmaster to grab additional supplies.  She returns looking a little ashen but is otherwise holding up well, all things considered.  She leans next to the man with the Alpha and injects medical foam into the gaping wound at his jawline before administering the drugs that will bring him back to consciousness. 

"Ashak, Aytchak - I'm sorry son, but I have no idea how to pronounce your name. No matter. Look, Jawless here is our link to whatever group has been disappearing Hunter teams,

"Wait.  What do you mean 'hunters?'" the ork woman cuts in.

"What's done is done. You've got a good head on your shoulders, makin' right and saving your chums" he looks at the invisible man's corpse " - well, most of 'em" he remembers the gangers shooting the decker in the van "- one of 'em. World could use more people like you, but what the world needs takes a backseat to what I need right now, and I need to know what else y'all had planned cause I doubt it took a whole week's planning to set up a simple ambush."

"Well, there was the hardware to consider.  Ikiryo here," she says motioning to the man minus face, "brought us on for the job.  And then there was the murder room we rigged, down in Redmond.  Abandoned, underground, quiet.  Good spot.  But mostly it was waiting.  We were told that the Johnson would send pics and coordinates once the targets showed themselves, and we would need to strike quickly.  The info came in late last night, so we all assembled then.  We knew that hitting the apartment would be a bad call, so Ikiryo said we should isolate your team once you guys split up.  'Stake' was the first to split, so Ikiryo and I trailed him to the Barrens, while Tiny, Dib, and the decker -- Ranier -- watched you two.  We had no intel on this one, so kudos to you, chummer," she says to Mercer.

"Anyway, you didn't take the bait, and I said we should hold back, but Ikiryo said we needed to push on, or drek was going to get really bad for us.  Dib and Tiny kept watch on the apartment while Ranier worked his magic on your comms, or tried to at least.  He said he was fighting some pretty bad security there.  But we had a drone on you, and met up across the way before breaching."

Ikiryo begins to stir and coughs up a little blood, and what looks like a piece of tongue.  He glances around the sanctuary languidly for a moment, before his present circumstances dawn on him, and he turns to the magician.  "You dumb slitch.  Better you'd fucking died.  You're dead anyway.  They're dead anyway.  I'm dead anyway.  Better that you fucking died than what they'll have planned for you for failing."  His sputterings are raspy and labored.  The man bangs the back of his head against the floor and looks up at the ceiling before attempting to bring himself up on one arm. 

"Ah, fuck it," he says reaching his hand into a pocket of skin in his abdomen.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (16:52:37/06-10-15)

"Wait.  What do you mean 'hunters?'" the ork woman cuts in.
Mercer pauses to eye her darkly. "You'll get your answers after I get mine," he says, then continues on.



"We had no intel on this one, so kudos to you, chummer," she says to Mercer.
Mercer ignores the comment, and eventually the ork continues. She lays out how the ambush went down while Mercer mulls over the possibilities of a murder room + Stake. It likely meant that Stake was dead by a bullet - or magic - rather than a worse fate. He knew better than to interrupt when a canary started singing, so he held his question until she was finished, but no sooner is he about to speak when Ikiryo stirs.


Ikiryo curses and screams and Mercer is just about to reel him in with a good slap when the man reaches for a hidden pouch in his abdomen. The man's face registers surprise as he withdraws his empty hand. Mercer directs the man's attention to the Streetline Special sitting on the floor about ten feet away by exaggerating a glance at it. The man does some arithmetic and concludes his odds of reaching the weapon are slim, especially since Achak stands roughly between him and the gun. He slumps back, defeated.

"Ikiryo," Mercer begins, making sure the man knows that he is at a disadvantage, not only physically, but informationally as well. He squats down to bring his eyes more level with the other man's, though still slightly higher in order to maintain the psychological high ground. "I can't say it's a pleasure to finally meet you, but it is a relief in its own way. I'm afraid we just kept missing each other, though I gotta say, your choice in mages has certainly improved since we first crossed paths." The overcasting mage - likely the only reason Mercer was still here today - had been overeager during Mercer's turn in the murder room. He was playing a hunch that Ikiryo was nearby during that fiasco, but they hadn't met. Either way, it was almost certain that Iki knew who he was.


"I know more distasteful details than I want to about you, but I'm a little fuzzy on the ones holding your leash. I know what they are, just not who. Your erstwhile friend here is somewhat peeved you never clued her in to what a Hunter is," he pauses to make a sideways glance at the mage, "Bounty Hunter, though the fun part is which bounties we collect."


He looks back to Iki. "Point is, I have a pretty good idea what the punishment for failure is, and I certainly won't argue that it's worse than death. If you give me what I want, you can take the easy way out." Again, he glances in the direction of the Streetline Special. "You don't - let's just hope your masters aren't as creative as some I've seen."


Mercer looks to Achak, then continues. "So, if there's no objections, let's kick this off. My twitchy friend here and I would like to know what you've done with our buddy, Stake. I'm under no illusions he's in a good way, but I'm hoping you two dealt with him rather than leaving him for the monsters you work for. I'll open the floor to the both of you for this one." He finishes by indicating both the mage and Iki.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:10:28/06-10-15)
If Mercer is playing the good cop, or at least the coherent cop, then Achak will play the blitzed-on-amphetamines cop. "Where's Stake!!! Tell me about Stake!!! You better spill about Stake!!!" He pounds the wooden remains of a nearby pew with the butt of his Alpha to punctuate his interest in the matter.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (08:46:46/06-15-15)
"I know more distasteful details than I want to about you, but I'm a little fuzzy on the ones holding your leash. I know what they are, just not who. Your erstwhile friend here is somewhat peeved you never clued her in to what a Hunter is," he pauses to make a sideways glance at the mage, "Bounty Hunter, though the fun part is which bounties we collect."

"And I am a shadowrunner," Ikiryo says.  "The reason I am hired is because I don't know who 'holds my leash,' as you say.  We, at least, have a code."

If Mercer is playing the good cop, or at least the coherent cop, then Achak will play the blitzed-on-amphetamines cop. "Where's Stake!!! Tell me about Stake!!! You better spill about Stake!!!" He pounds the wooden remains of a nearby pew with the butt of his Alpha to punctuate his interest in the matter.

The ork looks down, unable to make eye contact with Mercer, Achak, or Sister Rebecca.  "He's geeked.  It was fast, but he's gone."

Ikiryo spits another glob of blood in her general direction, and says, "This will not save you."

The ork brings her eyes up to Achak finally and adds, "His TransysAvalon, that's how he's been talking to the Johnson."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:18:11/06-16-15)
Achak listens gravely as the ork confirms Stake's fate. The Amerind gnaws on an invisible piece of gum, grinding his teeth. For a moment, the weight of the situation overrides the Jazz and slows him down. This is all the better for Sister Rebecca, who is massaging Achak's shoulder strangely.

This morning, he was alive. How could Stake have been so careless after all these years? Achak asks himself. A dog wails mournfully in his head.

He tries to readjust his thinking. Shall we accept good from God, and not evil? Perhaps true, but that doesn't take away the knot in his stomach. His shoulder is starting to feel better though.

He knows he will be crashing soon and he'd rather be away from here when it happened. Jazz left you miserable and despondent, and the news about Stake would only compound the matter.

"Let's get his commlink," Achak says while returning the ork's eye contact. "Hopefully it's implanted." He looks to Sister Rebecca's Blade of Gabriel.

Watching the ork. "You'll want to be walking out with us. The rest we're leaving for the locals. But we need to see a significant donation to the church here. They have a long road of repair ahead of them."

Achak looks to Mercer. "Sounds like you have a ride outside. We can hit the road and compare notes."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (20:54:13/06-17-15)
"And I am a shadowrunner," Ikiryo says.  "The reason I am hired is because I don't know who 'holds my leash,' as you say.  We, at least, have a code."


Mercer immediately speaks his mind - perhaps a little more emotionally than he would have liked.


"So, then it is you that have no idea what they have planned for failing. But apparently you do or you wouldn't be so concerned. So let's assume for a moment that you have seen their handiwork and are still too dumb to piece it together - to still willingly work for such employers. You may have a code, but you have no honor, no principles. No Humanity."


There were many types of Shadowrunners - professionals, thrill seekers, desperate hoodlums, even crusaders. He had pegged Ikiryo as the first type, but he was beginning to suspect that he might also be the most disturbing type of runner - the sadist. It wasn't really a class in and of itself, any type of Shadowrunner could be one, and while he generally opted for non-lethal options against non-Infected, this type of meta came dangerously close to an exception. You didn't have to be Infected to be a monster.


Mercer looked to the other woman in the room, the stocky, armored Hunter that still had the air shimmering around her from the heat her armor - and she - had endured. She looked unaugmented and that usually meant an Awakened in this line of work. Perhaps she could answer a question that had been niggling Mercer for a while now. Was Iki a thrall or an independent contractor? He mentally commands his comm to send a message to hers, pulling her public code from the AR tag.


<< @Crispy [Mercer] Didn't catch your name, but it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance anyway. I was hopin' you might be able to do me a solid and use that third-eye vision stuff on our pals here and let me know what you see. Feel. However it works. Assuming you got that gift - it ain't always so plain to tell. >>


The ork looks down, unable to make eye contact with Mercer, Achak, or Sister Rebecca.  "He's geeked.  It was fast, but he's gone."
Mercer nods solemnly. But it was the best alternative among a number of undesirable possibilities. He eyes Achak, not sure how he might take the news. He can practically hear the grinding of the man's teeth.


Ikiryo spits another glob of blood in her general direction, and says, "This will not save you."

The ork brings her eyes up to Achak finally and adds, "His TransysAvalon, that's how he's been talking to the Johnson."


Drek! It looks like I'll be calling in another expensive favor from his favorite decker. He was pretty sure his funds couldn't support it. Achak suggests grabbing the commlink, and Mercer grabs it from the floor where it had ended up, not far from the Iki's assault rifle.


<< @Achak,Smokin'Hot [Mercer] Y'all know anything about crackin' comms? Or got a buddy that does? All the Matrix Cowboys I trust are either dead or way out of my price range. >>


Achak suggests moving to the van to continue, but Mercer isn't quite done here.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (20:05:23/06-20-15)
<<@Sister Rebecca [Achak] Male is Mercer. The hunter from the CAS who I told you about in the car on the way back from Duncan's. The one we were thinking about going to see in Dallas. I don't know why he's here right now. Maybe he came to look for us just like we were going to look for him. I... I can't understand it all yet either. I didn't even know he was alive until a minute ago.

<<Female is the last standing member of the runner team. I guaranteed her safe passage in exchange for information and reparations. She healed your burns. I... might need the same from you for this gunshot wound before you pass out. That stimpatch won't last you long and this shoulder might be beyond repair by the time you're awake again. You only have a few minutes before it's lights out again and before my hit of Jazz drops off. We're going to be a pile of hot mess. Clock is ticking.>>

The smoldering helmed woman listens to the way the newcomer takes charge of the situation and admires him a bit for it. The term, natural leader comes to mind as she slowly moves sideways across the room, toward Achak and his wounded shoulder. She speaks subvocally to him as she approaches, never taking her eyes off the mage woman or Ikiryo. "I'm still quite blurry and I don't trust my spellcasting at the moment." Before the look of disappointment finishes getting all the way across her companion's massive face, she adds, "But fear not. I've still got you covered." Stepping over the remains of one final shattered church pew, she reaches his side, and sheathes her mighty blade. Kneeling down on the floor, she places both hands on Achak's shoulder, one on the entrance wound and one on the exit. She lowers her head and speaks a few near inaudible words in latin. After a few seconds, Achak feels a slight sensation of warmth and realizes that the pain, as well as the bleeding in his shoulder has stopped entirely. If her face were visible, he'd have seen the good sister grit her teeth in pain as she absorbed his wound onto herself. She makes no sound to give herself away.

The conversation between the three of them still doesn't make a ton of sense to her frazzled brain right now, but it snaps clearly into focus when the big man slams his hand down on the table and demands,

"Where's Stake!!! Tell me about Stake!!! You better spill about Stake!!!"

She turns to face the captured little made girl, expecting a darn good answer.

"He's geeked.  It was fast, but he's gone."

She nods her head and crosses herself, finally confirming what she'd believed all this time. Then, the visor of her helmet pops up an alert. She's got a message from an unknown code.

<< @Crispy [Mercer] Didn't catch your name, but it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance anyway. I was hopin' you might be able to do me a solid and use that third-eye vision stuff on our pals here and let me know what you see. Feel. However it works. Assuming you got that gift - it ain't always so plain to tell. >>

<< @Achak,Smokin'Hot [Mercer] Y'all know anything about crackin' comms? Or got a buddy that does? All the Matrix Cowboys I trust are either dead or way out of my price range. >>

Staying by Achak's side with her blade re-drawn, her trodes send off a reply.

<<@Mercer [Sister Rebecca] The woman is magically weak. She's terrified and unaugmented. The man is a mess. He hates you, but he knows he's beaten. He's also got a comm in his head, along with a boatload of other chrome. His essence is shockingly low, even considering the implants.>>

<<@Mercer [Sister Rebecca] Negative.>>



Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (16:55:53/06-24-15)
Achak is too amped on combat stims to notice that the pain in his shoulder is rapidly receding while Sister Rebecca works on it. The endorphins and the adrenaline are largely overriding the pain response anyway, which is muted now that he's not banging his shoulder around in combat situations any longer.

<<@Team [Achak] Negative on the comm cracking. Let's try to get him to cooperate.>>

Achak breaks away from Sister Rebecca once she's done, not even noticing the obvious pain she's now in. He strides forth to stand over the prone runner. He brandishes his Alpha menacingly.

"MARKs! Unless you want us to chop that thing outta your skull with a dull spoon you'll give us full MARKs! Gimme the MARKs MARKs MARKs MARKs MARKs!!!"

He shakes the rifle, wishing he had a bayonet or something that he could poke the downed man with. The chainsaw on Sister Rebecca's grenade launcher would be awesome for this.

"We ain't gonna kill ya! Nah, we're gonna start with the knees! Or the ankles! Work our way up from there!"

Achak drops his Alpha, throwing it over his shoulder on its sling. He takes out his gunstock war club and imitates a few practice swings.

"HEY, ever play GOLF?! It's fun, but you need a couple BALLS to play!!" He lines up a swing on the man's groin.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:21:35/07-02-15)
Ikiryo breaks his gaze from Achak, and turns back to the ork magician.  "You really are the dumbest fucking runner I've ever been on a job with.  Things would be so much better if we were all dead, but you had to think of your boy here, and you lack the forethought to know that he's much worse off now.  If you had any sense . . ."

He turns back to Achak, and the group of hunters and priest surrounding him.  "You want some MARKs, sure.  Have at it."

Achak momentarily gets a notification on his comm.

<<System Notification: MARKs Granted (3)>>
<<Personal Commlink (TransysAvalon): Ikiryo>>

Around that time, Rusty makes his way inside the church with a small entourage of gangers.  Respectfully, they have holstered their weapons in the church.  "Hoi, Pastor," he says with a nod.  Surveying the scene, he gives out a low whistle, and shakes his head, but delays anything he might want to say, seeing that Achak and his crew seem to be in the middle of something important.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (02:18:26/07-08-15)
Mercer is utterly stunned that Achak's gambit payed off. He requests that Achak forward what he finds - if the man wiped the 'link before granting access, then this was far from over.


Mercer creates a group for the new team and adds Achak and Sister Rebecca's commcodes to it. Then he checks the tracking rounds he put in Tiny's and Iki's rides, verifying that they are still parked where they were left.


<< @Team [Mercer] There are a couple more vehicles that the locals might not know about. I propose we drop the troll and the wizard off there - they aren't of any further use for us right now and one of the cars belongs to the troll - and we can keep vamp food here on ice until we verify the info on his commlink. Once we have what we need, we can decide what to do with him. He's as good as dead as it is - it's pretty obvious he's workin' for bloodsuckers, and they aren't going to let him live. I'm half inclined to leave him and a knife in the slaughter room they took Stake to and let him end himself. I'd leave him to the gangers now if I thought we were done with him. I've been playin' dead for months and I ain't keen to lose that edge now. If he hasn't already told them I'm alive, I'd prefer he not make his way back to his employers to spread that news. >>

<< Either way, we should move into the van and clear out of here - bound to have the heat on scene shortly, or worse. >>


A few gang members walk into the church, greet the Father, and stand quietly, politely observing the scene. One looks like the leader, and Mercer pinches the lid of his hat while nodding in his direction in a lazy hat tip, casually acknowledging him.


"I don't want to over stay our welcome." He looks to the ork mage, "We're taking Iki here with us. I imagine you want to take Tiny. We'll take the commlinks as well, but the rest of the gear stays in order to cover damages and the hospitality of our kindly hosts here." He nods toward the gang leader. "I'm not keen to take the corpses with us, so if you want them, you gotta make your own arrangements. We'll drop you off wherever you like," he specifically avoids mentioning the other two vehicles while the gang members are present, "so long as it ain't too much trouble. Or you can make your own way from here. Up to you."


As he talks he gathers up the commlinks, double checking them to ensure they are turned off.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (16:03:39/07-13-15)
<< @Team [Mercer] ...Either way, we should move into the van and clear out of here - bound to have the heat on scene shortly, or worse. >>

She glances down at the readout from her bio-monitor on her visor and is not happy with what she sees. The chems keeping her awake are starting to wear off a tiny bit, even now. With a frown, she mentally responds.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Agreed. I'm on my feet for now, but I don't have long before I'm baggage again.>>

When the gangers start slowly filing in, she feels reasonably safe for the first time all evening. Lacking the time to reflect on the irony of violent armed criminals making her feel safe, she keeps her eyes and ears open, swiveling her head like a security camera. The thought of summoning another spirit to watch their backs dawns on her, but she decides against it, knowing that in a few minutes, she'll be unconscious again, and the spirit will depart.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (16:46:55/08-15-15)
"I don't want to over stay our welcome." He looks to the ork mage, "We're taking Iki here with us. I imagine you want to take Tiny. We'll take the commlinks as well, but the rest of the gear stays in order to cover damages and the hospitality of our kindly hosts here." He nods toward the gang leader. "I'm not keen to take the corpses with us, so if you want them, you gotta make your own arrangements. We'll drop you off wherever you like," he specifically avoids mentioning the other two vehicles while the gang members are present, "so long as it ain't too much trouble. Or you can make your own way from here. Up to you."

"Well, wiz then, I guess.  If you're planning on going, go, feels like we've been standing around for a month.  Don't worry 'bout a ride; we're already home."

Achak takes a poke into Ikiryo's link to see only one contact, named Johnson, and only one message between them: a rather graphic image of Stake with shotgun-sized holes through his body armor, and blood coming out his ears.  He can feel Ikiryo's smirk before he sees it when he lays eyes back on the runner team leader.

#

By the time the team of hunters had made their way to Mercer's van, Sister Rebecca is unsteady on her feet and obviously about to crash out quickly.  The need rest, and a place to do it.  The main question now is where and for how long?
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (22:33:55/08-15-15)
Achak looks around at the mess, and apologetically at the Pastor.

"I'm really sorry," he says, completely aware of the inadequacy of the apology. The responsibility for the church weighs heavily on him, and that it was so badly damaged as a consequence of his presence. "Once this is all over, I'll come back and make this right." It sounds so weak, but it's the best he can offer at the moment.

Achak can feel the Jazz wearing off. Sister Rebecca getting ready to crash off her stim patch. They need a place to lay low.

He communicates via comm so that Ikiryo doesn't forward the information with his internal commlink. The Jazz is still tweaking his synapses so he overshares, figuring it's best to be upfront and honest.

<<@Mercer, Sister Rebecca [Achak] I have a doss just up the street. It's not nice. There’s a bare mattress on the floor, stacked crates for a table, and a single folding chair. The water is brown, the soy is unflavored, and the only entertainment are hobo fights in the basement. But it's got four walls, a strong door, and a healthy stipend paid to the Black Jacks so it should be secure. They should be able to watch Mercer's ride too. It's not comfortable but it should buy us some time to get back on our feet and figure out next steps.>>

<<If we want to clear out of the area, the best I have to offer is a trailer in the forest. The problem is that it's across the border, which we'd have to negotiate. Or we can go back to Stake's flat if we figure that everyone who knows about it is dead or incapacitated. Either way, Mercer, you would need to drive. Sister Rebecca is already in a tailspin and I'm a few minutes away from being a mess.>>

The photos of Stake twist him up inside. His initial reaction is denial - That drek can be faked - but he's reasonable enough to know that's not likely. They should make him angry, but mostly he's just sad. Maybe it's the after effects of the Jazz creeping in. Once the drugs wear off he's going to sob, he can already tell. He'll try to keep it together while Rusty is watching him - no sense in letting the big ape see it - but Mercer and Rebecca are going to get a big batch of waterworks. That is, if Rebecca's awake to see it.

Despite the sadness and the drugs, he's not willing to kill Ikiryo in cold blood. Not in the church at least. He slides over to Rusty.

"Bossman there has some wiz tech in his head," he says, jutting his chin to Ikiryo. "Should be valuable." He manages to resist throwing Ikiryo's smirk back at him.

He grabs the bags he took from Stake's place and immediately feels the electric burst of pain from the gunshot wound in his shoulder. He hobbles out of the church into the cold December air.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (01:34:02/08-17-15)
The news from Iki's commlink is troublesome, but not entirely unexpected. Mercer expected him to be a tough nut to crack, but he was angry with himself for missing the implanted commlink. That bit of sloppiness had cost him one of his greatest assets - the presumption of his death by his enemies. The smile Iki gave as they reviewed its sole piece of content made it clear that Iki had accepted his fate and was enjoying his last moments by torturing his interrogators. He was loathe to murder the man, but with each passing moment the idea became less loathsome. Achak solved Mercer's dilemma by setting the stage for the gangers to do the deed for them. Of course, cutting him loose would result in the soul suckers doing the deed anyway, which had a much more poetic vibe to it.


But Mercer wanted to try one last time to gain the man's cooperation. He knelt down close so he could speak without the gangers hearing. "You know you're a dead man, even if we let you live. Leaving you to the gangers is a kindness. But I want to speak plainly for a moment. I know you are working for Infected, a vampire or vampires most likely. Maybe you already know this too, or maybe you don't, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and give you an idea of what they do to their food - people they have no more emotion for than you do a soyburger at the local Belly Buster. I'll leave it to your imagination how much worse it could be for someone that has earned their ire."


And with that, he transmitted a dozen images from as many jobs to Iki's commlink. Grizzly scenes of torture and cruelty, bodies showing obvious signs of mistreatment and a long, painful slide into death - images that put the disgusting display Mercer had missed the night before to shame. In the years he had been hunting the Infected, such scenes had been an all too regular part of his life, and yet still they haunted him, filling his nightmares on far too many nights. He kept these images - took them in the first place, in fact - to remind him why he continues to do what he does. After awhile, everything, even Hunting, just becomes a job, as much a way to keep the nuyen flowing as as it is simple inertia - easier to keep on doing it rather than trade in for a life of, well, anything else. There were far easier - and less dangerous - ways to make far more money. And when he began to feel the apathy set in, he browsed his private collection of horror, including images of lost friends and allies, and the fire in his belly reignited. The image of Stake was now a part of this collection, though not one of the images he had selected to share with Iki.


And on occasion, the collection helped to reach the dying light of humanity in even the most jaded of people. He hoped that this might be one such time. After Iki had had a chance to review the images, Mercer spoke again. "If you still have even a shred of your humanity left, help me put an end to these monsters. I still haven't decided if I'm going to let the gangers have you or let you take your chances with your 'Johnson', so I'd keep the fate of those you just saw in mind as you make your decision."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:25:20/08-17-15)
Achak looks around at the mess, and apologetically at the Pastor.

"I'm really sorry," he says, completely aware of the inadequacy of the apology. The responsibility for the church weighs heavily on him, and that it was so badly damaged as a consequence of his presence. "Once this is all over, I'll come back and make this right." It sounds so weak, but it's the best he can offer at the moment.

"Once this is all over," the Pastor repeats back to him.  "I know you didn't mean for this to happen, Achak,but please just, just leave the church."

"Bossman there has some wiz tech in his head," he says, jutting his chin to Ikiryo. "Should be valuable." He manages to resist throwing Ikiryo's smirk back at him.

"Wiz," Rusty says, giving a crack to his knuckles, before Mercer breaks in with his last attempt to elicit cooperation.

"You know you're a dead man, even if we let you live. Leaving you to the gangers is a kindness. But I want to speak plainly for a moment. I know you are working for Infected, a vampire or vampires most likely. Maybe you already know this too, or maybe you don't, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and give you an idea of what they do to their food - people they have no more emotion for than you do a soyburger at the local Belly Buster. I'll leave it to your imagination how much worse it could be for someone that has earned their ire."

Ikiryo scoffs as the images flicker across his link.

"If you still have even a shred of your humanity left, help me put an end to these monsters. I still haven't decided if I'm going to let the gangers have you or let you take your chances with your 'Johnson', so I'd keep the fate of those you just saw in mind as you make your decision."

"Drek, you're the one calling them sick.  Haven't met a Zeke yet that keeps shots of his dinner.  But you like to hold onto 'em, don't ya?  Research purposes?  Yeah, I bet it goes a lot deeper than that with you, doesn't it omae?  Keep you warm at night?  Maybe you find 'em exciting.  A little titillating pic before bed, another when you wake up.  So, what's the deal.  You like to think you're the one in the pic, or the one doing the dirty?"

The use of the word "Zeke" is troubling to the team.  To their knowledge, no one outside the hunter community knows or uses that slang.  Whether it's a part of Iki's role in the shadows that he's chosen for himself, or whether Grotto1's been compromised is difficult to say for now, but Ikiryo continues.

"But yeah, chummer, I'm ready to turn a new leaf.  Save that wiz tech in my head for in my head.  What now?  You want me to code home, say all is well, and come along for the meetup?  Wiz plan, let's do it, and then we can all die together."

The ork cuts in, "Hold on now, I didn't sign up for any of this drek.  Really," she says, locking eyes with Achak.  "This was a rival team that fragged up and needed to get theirs kinda deal, chip truth.  I don't know anything about any fraggin' vampires.  As for the ride, I appreciate the offer, but the deal was, I tell you what I know, and we get to hit the plascrete.  I need to get Tiny to my doc, and then find a place to lay low.  She turns to Ikiryo before saying, "What the fuck do these things know about us?  What did you tell them."

"Well, apparently I lied and said I'd found a team of professionals.  But I wouldn't worry about it too much, Margot Nakamura, AKA Talita, AKA Miss Bones.  I'm sure you'll be just fine.  And Tiny, I'm sure Peg will be just fine too.  You over there, chummer.  Looks like he's still out.  Well, Talita, be sure to tell him when he wakes up, nothing to worry about," Ikiryo says.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (03:01:48/08-18-15)
Achak struggles out to the Roadmaster with his bags, the Pastor's dismissal ringing in his head. He throws his bags in gingerly, then turns to see if Sister Rebecca is still conscious. He helps her with her things, then gets in and collapses in the back. He stares at the roof, chin trembling, until finally his Jazz-fueled high becomes a low. His lips quiver as he tries to blink back the tears.

This, too, shall pass, he tries to console himself. He knows the despondent emotions will pass in 15 or 20 minutes and secretly hopes that Mercer spends most of that time interrogating the runner team.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (02:09:42/08-25-15)
"Suit yourself" Mercer says to the ork. He turns back to Iki and stares at the thing crouched on the floor, jaw hanging loose. "When you part him out, I'd sure appreciate it if you could make sure he feels every bit of it" he says over his shoulder to the gangers as he keeps his eyes locked with Iki's. He lowers his voice again as he addresses Iki. "And for the record, I imagine I'm the one that killed the fraggers responsible, and prevented hundreds more such scenes from happening. Which is easy, 'cause it's true."


He gets up and heads for the church exit. He stops as he reaches it and pulls the commlinks he had picked up out of his pockets and places them on a shelf containing some hymn books. They didn't have anything of value. He had the commcode of Ikiryo's employer and was certain that he was the only one that had any contact with those further up the chain of command. The other runners would have no useful info on their comms, so there was no point taking them. He turns, removs his hat, and gives the Pastor a nod. "Father" he says, then dons his hat, turns back to the door and leaves the church, leading the others to his van.


Once safely inside, he commands the van to head back to the point of the rendezvous where Iki's car was waiting. It might be a challenge to get into, but he had the firepower to do so, and it would hopefully have a few more crumbs he could follow back to the Zekes that had made a run at him. As the van drives he turns to talk to Achak and Rebecca, only to see that they are nowhere near coherent. The good Sister is passed out, but had managed to lay herself across a seat. He can see that her wounds are taking a toll on her, so he hooks her up to his medkit to help speed her recovery. Achak ismumbling to himself as he sobs, and Mercer can all too clearly see that the man is coming down from a dose of Kamikaze. There isn't much Mercer can do for him, so he returns to the driver's seat and watches the road pass by.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (16:17:24/08-25-15)
Achak sinks into the back of the Roadmaster, overcome with a wave of hormones and central nervous system depressants that linger as an after-effect of his brain battling Jazz.

He sees the dead shade of Yohan. Young Yohan. He flashes back to the penthouse atrium where the team had tracked a wealthy Zeke. I ordered him to create a distraction while I snuck up behind for the kill. I was not fast enough Yohan was killed before I could strike down the Zeke. Achak remembers the overwhelming sensation of disapproval from Dog, the loss of a member of his pack (following Achak's orders, no less), affecting him deeply. He sobs for his lost pupil, dead at his command and his incompetence.

Stake. Elf, 87 years old and counting. A survivor who taught Achak everything he knew. Dead now. Where was I? Asleep at the time. Why didn't Stake wake me up? Did he not trust me? He taught me that there is safety in numbers. Why would he go off on his own? He must have thought he was better off without me. Achak cries for his lost mentor and whatever Achak did to undermine Stake's trust in him.

Now Holy Trinity. Shot to shreds because I was the target. I've done so much to build it up, and now it's undone. Not even a day, not even an hour. Years of work, gone. It would have been better if I hadn't ever been involved! Rewind time, take me out, put me somewhere else. His normal faith and trust in the Lord is lost in a wave of cortisol and neurotrophic effects. Achak weeps as Peter did after his denial of Jesus.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:19:30/08-26-15)
As the trio of hunters walk as able and stagger as unnecessary out of the church, rusty pulls Ikiryo to his feet, and says, "Come on, chummer.  Let's go for a walk."  The human hisses through his hanging jaw as he's pulled to his feet, but puts up no resistance as he's led away.  The ork magician struggles fruitlessly for a few moments above Tiny's body, trying to make him budge, and eventually, she sits, centers herself, and lifts his body through great strain magically.  Pastor Llewellyn shuffles to the altar, where he begins clearing away debris.

#

In the midst of Achak's despair a new thought crosses his mind.  And Elijah!  After we knew what was happening it all went so fast, and we didn't warn him.  He pulls himself together enough to pull out his link, and bleary-eyed composes a message.

When Mercer pulls into the parking lot, he finds the opposing team of runner's cars unmolested, though he feels eyes on him as he slides in.  Across the street a few gangers look on, hitting their NicSticks and casually displaying the pistols in their belts.  With Sister Rebecca passed out and Achak pre-occupied, he ponders his best options for the cars.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:51:21/09-07-15)
After clearing out the Concordant of everything that Mercer was able to find, he decides that the best course of action would be to rest at Achak's safehouse, at least until the team itself is a little more viable.  Between sobs Achak is able to give Mercer directions, and the trio makes their way through the few blocks of BlackJack territory to Achak's bolt hole.  The accommodations leave a lot to be desired on the creature comfort level, but it's certainly not sub-par compared to what Mercer has been familiar with of late, and Sister Rebecca certainly doesn't know any different.  Achak is able to steel himself enough to help Mercer with the good sister's unconscious form as they get her inside and in bed, and then Achak collapses on the couch.  Without a trideo set, or much else to spend the time on, Mercer busies himself with examining the gear he was able to pinch from Iki's car.  The Lightfire and credstick don't need examination, but the spare link looks interesting.  Upon booting it up, Mercer sees that this looks like one of Iki's personal comm devices.  The history only goes back a few weeks, probably average for a runner's comm he reasons, and there are no names listed on it, only numbers.  It seems that unless Iki was using a very well thought out and intricate code, this was the number he used to keep up with drinking buddies and the like. 

The history on his matrix searches pulls up a bit more information.  Iki has a runner profile on an underground shadowrunner host, Black-Site-Prime, and a ticket confirmation for a flight out of Seattle and bound for Manhattan the following day.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (23:43:43/09-07-15)
The accommodations beat the van, but are cramped and Mercer is more than a little concerned with leaving the van unattended. However, Achak seems to get more agitated when Mercer suggests that Achak stay with Rebecca here while Mercer sleeps in the van. Something about "that's what got Stake killed". The drones were on watch and the van was almost a fortress in its own right, so Mercer acquiesced to the big man's demands and stayed with them in the little bolt hole.


It wasn't too long before the both were awake and in a clear state of mind.  Achak was already almost over his coming down phase by the time they arrived and the med kit helped the Sister shake off her wounds and claw her way back to consciousness. They filled him on on the activities of the night before. Elijah sounded like a useful resource, and unless he lived in Manhattan, it seemed he had escaped the wrath of the hit squad. Unless they had sent a second team for him.


He suggested that Achak reach out to Elijah while Mercer made a call to Duncan. By the time Monday rolled around, they'd want to collect whatever funds they could and see what Iki was planning in the Big Apple. The extra cash could also make finding someone to crack this commlink much simpler. If this Elijah was still breathing, he might be a good candidate. Otherwise, there was always Alice. She'd gotten him as far as Iki, but he'd leaned a little hard on her over the past few months. He supposed she appreciated the nuyen, but he could tell that the calls at odd hours and his insistence to follow leads an unhealthy number of hours per day might have left her willing to pass on a job or two to take a well earned vacation.


The pieces also began to come together. The vampires were using high value objects as bait. His team had had a similar big score just before they'd met their end. He hadn't been able to figure out how they'd known where the team was and where to hit them, but now it seemed obvious. He felt that this was the sort of thing to share with the folks on Grotto1, not that he trusted the site again just yet, but this new info at least made it more likely that the operators weren't in on it. He'd always assumed that the vamps had a member or two - pretty much every hunter did, and it was likely how they were seeding the trapped jobs. He tried to remember back to how he'd been turned on to the job that had done them in, knowing that that might give him another lead to follow.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (16:00:14/09-08-15)
Achak descends into a second round of sobbing when Mercer emerges from the Concordant with Stake's commlink. Achak cradles the commlink, blubbering about Stake and Yohan and everyone else he couldn't protect.

He chokes out the instructions to reach his safehouse. Luckily it's only a few blocks away from the church. The neighborhood is the pits: full-on Puyallup Barrens, with tenaments, narrow alleys strewn with garbage, a squatter population in a perpetual turf war with the devil rats, chip addicts soiling themselves, with only the occasional noodle vendor or small market - which deal in barter as much as they do certified cred - to break up the poverty. The building in question is a remnant from the huge population influx following the Treaty of Denver in 2018. A desperate government tossed up residential buildings as rapidly as possible; 55 years later, most of them are well past their useful lifespan. Battered by decades of acid rain and ash from the smoldering crater of Mt. Rainier, there's little to recommend the building other than the fact that it's better than being on the pavement outside.

Throwing Rebecca over his shoulders to haul her up the stairs in a fireman's carry gives Achak something physical to concentrate on. The exertion starts to flush some of the toxins from his system. Up on the third floor, he relies on the low-light vision in his contacts to guide Mercer through the maze of hallways. Stepping over drug vials, broken chip cases, and puddles of what might be rain leaking through the ceiling or fluids leaking out of residents who didn't pay their dues to the Black Jacks, he arrives at his door. The additional maglocks on the exterior are the only clue that this unit is different from the others. He presses his thumb to one while transmitting a wireless code to another. The locks unfasten; he bumps the door open with Sister Rebecca's butt then steps inside.

What a dump, he thinks. A surreal feeling reminds him that, yes, this is his, even if he hasn't been here in weeks. I should have gone to college. Wait, I did go to college! No, wait, that was a simchip. He shakes his head, trying to keep grounded in reality. I should have gone to college. I could have gotten a lacrosse scholarship, played for Simon Fraser. Gone pro in the NANLL. Nobody would have gotten killed; nobody would be dead because of me.

There are two rooms: the combined bedroom/living room/kitchen, and a bathroom that's smaller than what you'd get in a Ford-Canada Buffalo. There's one couch that probably saw its best decade back in the 2050s. The shelves are plywood suspended over cinderblocks. The mattress is on the floor with only a couple military-surplus blankets for warmth. The kitchen is little more than a sink with a hot plate. There are a few packets of soypasta, ramen noodles, and Cup-O-Soup products, most of them featuring the stepped-pyramid logo of Aztechnology on the label. The sink has a water filter to change the water from brown to less-brown, when there is water. The light, heat, and electricity are all heavily rationed; there are low-light contacts for when the power went out.

Oh, the spiders, Achak remembers as he looks at all the occupied cobwebs in the corners. I forgot about the spiders. The eight-legged friends/fiends keep some of the other pests away, but it was common to wake up in the middle of the night with one perched on your cheek. He deposits Sister Rebecca on the mattress, then collapses heavily on the couch. That leaves Mercer with one of the two options: the toilet, or the milk crate that served as a seat for the kitchen "table", an old door between two sawhorses.

Achak is starting to feel a bit better; Mercer gives him work to do while his head finishes clearing. Achak agrees to call Elijah.

<<@Elijah [Achak] Elijah, we got trouble! A group of runners bagged Stake this morning and put a bullet in him!

<<The team that took Stake came after me and Sister Rebecca! We dropped them and took a commlink off their leader! I know we haven't squared up from last night's run yet but we need your help cracking the comm! We can deliver it to you, after which you should find yourself a safehouse and lay low! We'll redeem our bounties tomorrow when the office opens and forward you your share of the painting once Duncan has a chance to move it!>>

Achak sends the message and turns to Mercer.

"Manhattan! I've never been to Manhattan! They've got the tightest corporate security in the UCAS! Don't they still use those color-coded pass-cards?!" Achak wrings his hands a bit, the final bursts of anxiety from the Jazz twisting his mind and his fingers. He casts a worried look at his armor and his equipment and wonders how much he's going to have to leave behind. He secretly hopes he won't have to go, but suspects that he will have to. The other option would be to switch careers and leave Stake unavenged, and that's even less palatable than going to Manhattan.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (02:06:07/09-17-15)
With things mostly situated in Achak's hovel - for lack of a lesser term - Mercer invests his time in reaching out to Duncan. To his surprise, the call is answered quickly.


"Come up for air finally?" the elf says by way of greeting. Mercer is a little taken aback, having expected a more incredulous response to his calling after an extended and unannounced absence.


"Alive for now, yes. You don't seem surprised."


"Sooner or later, everybody needs to disappear for awhile it seems. If there's no report of a body, I try not to worry. I expect you've become aware that the pieta you discovered was part of a trap. A local team of Hunters found a similar rare item that was hiding a tracker, so it seems that others might be in danger from a similar ruse, and might not be as resourceful as you in surviving such a turning of the tables. I believe you are familiar with Stake, if you want to follow up with him and compare notes."


Mercer informs Duncan of Stake's fate and that Achak and Rebecca are alive, if not exactly well. Duncan is a practiced negotiator and does a good job hiding his feelings, but Mercer can still tell that the news saddens the elf. "I lose a lot of friends in this business, as I'm sure we all do, but it never gets easier," the elf says, more emotion in his voice than he likely intended, or maybe just as much as he intended.


"It seemed like every time we talked it was a disagreement, but I never doubted that he had my back when we worked together. He was on a very short list of people I'd walk side by side with into Hell." Mercer allowed a moment of silence before continuing. "But I'm not back on the radar by choice. That Iki fellow had an implanted commlink and almost certainly alerted whoever hired him that I was still alive, so I've lost much of the element of surprise. The trail seems to lead ..." He almost says "to Manhattan" but caution asserts itself. He trusts Duncan, but without a decker running interference, he's not terribly trusting of the communication channel. "out of town," he continues, "and so we're leaving ASAP. Is there any way we could get an advance on the sale of the piece of art Achak delivered to you? We owe it to Stake - and the team mates I've lost - to hit back hard, but the last six months have tapped me out. Laying low meant not taking any jobs. Some nuyen now could go a long way toward getting some justice, and reducing the fang count at the same time."


Mercer winces at the desperateness of the plea, but dammit, every word was true.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:24:58/09-17-15)
"Indeed," Duncan Abbey replies.  "It seems time is of the essence.  I'm about to step out myself, but how about we meet at 8:00 this evening at Seattle General Hospital?  They have established UV barriers to keep vampires away from their precious blood supply, and I can arrange a room for us.  Is the above plan amenable for you, Achak, and Sister Rebecca?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (03:08:04/09-22-15)
Mercer looks at Rebecca, still unconscious and laid out on the couch where they had placed her upon arriving at the safe house. He'd have to make the call for her, and if she felt strongly about things, they could always cancel. He sees Achak - looking the worse for wear, but coherent enough nonetheless - and catches his eye. "Duncan, 8pm, tonight" he mouths and receives a nod in the affirmative.


"We'll be there. Thank you for making the time for us on such short notice." Duncan hadn't agreed to the advance just yet, so Mercer refrained from thanking him too profusely.


"Very good. I'll send the details once I have a room. Until then, even though it doesn't need to be said, stay safe."


"And you as well." After the call was ended, he stood facing Achak and tilted his head at Rebecca. "I guess it's time to wake her."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:28:46/09-25-15)
At 19:55 Mercer pulls the Roadmaster into Parking Lot C as directed, and heads toward the basement.  The invitation for MARKs had been sent to Mercer's commlink moments after Mr. Abbey's secretary had forwarded the hunter the exact meeting location, and two gates passed him by without Mercer needing to do so much as lower his windows.  Finding a parking spot, the trio heads to a pair of double doors, where they are greeted by an ork in a suit with hotel security who turns off the MAD scanner until everyone has passed through.  After that, it's two quick flights of stairs and three hallways before they come to Dr. Adlan Hahn's office.  Inside one of the exam rooms, they find Duncan Abbey, flanked by his secretary, Ms. Killarney.  A stout, Korean man in a lab coat greets them warmly.

"Welcome, welcome.  Yes, always nice when one patient can recommend another to my practice, much less three.  Now, in order to get your files prepped, I will need some time.  If you need anything, you need only give a ring," he says to Mr. Abbey before grabbing a console and exiting the room.

Mr. Abbey gives his thanks, and when they are alone he says, "Good man, always eager to return a favor.  I trust that your ride over was uneventful?  A pleasant change to the day's circumstances.  I am indeed saddened to hear of Mr. Stake's passing, and Ms. Killarney here is in the process of establishing a bequest in his name at the museum.  Now. Achak, you had requested that I 'expedite' the process of finding the painting a suitable home, and I believe that I will be able to do just such a thing.  I am willing to offer 110,000¥ tonight if you and your team are willing to relinquish ownership of the painting now.

"In other news, I am under the impression that I may be of some assistance in talking through your potential next steps.  Is that assumption correct, and if so, how may I be of service?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (00:48:30/09-27-15)
The offer was more money than Mercer was hoping for, though he had been hoping for an advance, not the total for the sale. This changed the dynamics of the deal considerably. He was no longer asking for a handout or loan - he was selling a valuable artifact for one-tenth of its value, at best. The deal was not terrible, considering the circumstances, but the painting was not his. Achak had filled him in on the previous conversation with Abbey concerning the item, and it was clear that Sister Rebecca would have some issues simply turning over the painting to Abbey. Once ownership was relinquished, they would have no say in where the painting ended up, and the good Sister had been most adamant about seeing it returned to its rightful owners, whoever those might be.


Probably the vampires, he thought darkly. Considering the value and the history, it was more than just conceivable that one of the original owners had ended up a vampire and retained the painting all these years, ultimately using it as bait with the expectation of getting it back. Ultimately, whether the deal was done depended on the two greenies he'd ended up with.


"Not exactly the good friend cut I'd have expected, but not bad considering the short notice. But it's up to Achak and the Sister here if they're willing to take less of the profits in order to have the cash up front. Them and Stake are the ones that bled for it."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:52:43/09-28-15)
At his apartment, Achak finally begins to feel the malaise and depression of the Jazz lifting. He rights himself, then steps into the bathroom (the descriptor "water closet" was never so apt, given its size) to put the water pressure to the test. He sheds his full body armor and begins to scrub off the accumulated sweat and gunpowder. The shower is about as effective as stepping outside into the rain but at least the shower won't strip your skin with acid and/or expose your skin to whatever pollutants the factories of Puyallup are depositing into the local atmosphere.

Poking his head out the bathroom door, he sees that Sister Rebecca is still unconscious and recovering. Wearing little more than a towel wrapped around his waist, Achak steps into the outer room to rummage through the heap of duffel bags which are occupying the majority of the living room/bedroom/kitchen. He debates for a moment between opting for the more casual lined coat versus putting his suit back on. Meeting with Duncan. I should go for my Sunday best, he thinks, selecting the suit. He steps back into the bathroom and Mercer hears a lengthy series of thumps as Achak repeatedly bumps his hands, legs, and elbows into the walls of his bathroom (a true misnomer, as there is no bath nor is there any room). Achak emerges, his cleaned countenance and Vashon Island suit entirely incongruous with the surrounding safehouse.

He turns his attention to Sister Rebecca, who is beginning to stir. He mixes up some simple miso soup for her and it's not until he's trying to get her to sip some that he finally recognizes the extent of her injuries.

"You've been shot!" he exclaims, wondering how she managed that during a fight with an elemental. No matter; the bullets were being shared liberally. Just hard luck, he thinks. He examines the wound, as he does so he feels the slightest ache in his own shoulder. The location of her wound is exactly where I was hit... he thinks, slowly piecing things together. His mental horsepower is not his chief virtue, but even this is obvious for him to connect the two.

"You took it upon yourself!" he shouts indignantly, jumping back. He's inclined to slap her for her foolishness but refrains from doing so. "What profit is there in you being shot instead of me?!" he demands, his tone embarrassed and aggrieved. He covers his face in his hands. Too much time has passed, he thinks. It cannot be addressed with magic. Dog howls in his brain at the sacrifice which has been made for him. He punches his palm, frustrated at first that she would do such a thing, and second that he didn't notice in time to stop her.
 
A lo hecho, pecho, a calmer voice in his head tells him. It cannot be undone. He does his best to settle down as he continues to get ready for the evening meet.

When the time comes, Achak helps load everything into Mercer's Citymaster. He closes the door of his safehouse behind him and locks the two maglocks, doubtful that he'll see the inside again for many months, if ever again. He takes the passenger seat and uses the hour it takes to drive to Seattle General Hospital to talk with Mercer. He does his best to remedy any first impressions Mercer may have formed during Achak's interlude on Jazz, filling Mercer in on Achak's usual roles and responsibilities as well as Rebecca's brief history with the group.

"I know that there's competition amongst hunters," Achak says, "and that any day before today we would have seen each other as interfering with the other's bounty, but it seems to me like we got an opportunity to dust some Szechelys and do Stake a solid in the process. To that end I'm willing to follow your lead, jump when you say jump, and shoot when you say shoot."

They arrive at Seattle General and Achak, knowing that the MAD scanners with be deactivated as a courtesy, slips his Ares Crusader into the concealed holster in his Synergist suit. He always feels uncomfortable leaving his gunstock war club behind but, for inscrutable reasons of its own, polite society accepted firearms as a means of self-defense but not cudgels, truncheons, or bludgeons.

Inside, Achak shakes Duncan's hand, the mood subdued by Stake's demise. "Thank you for meeting us on short notice," Achak says before Duncan shares his offer for the painting.

[spoiler]Achak had a temper in his youth but has largely mastered it with maturity and religion. That same temper flares to life again as Duncan offers a sum equivalent to approximately one percent of the painting's value, by Achak's uneducated estimate.

Achak manages to control his roiling anger by holding his breath and looking down at the floor. His teenage self, the poor Amerind ganger who would have done anything for a score like this, wants to shout "ARE YOU TAKING THE PISS, YOU DODGY DANDY, YOU CHEEKY TOSSER."

That voice is quickly shouted (barked) down by Dog, who demands loyalty, not mercenary relationships.

"BUT TO WHOM SHOULD I BE LOYAL?" the teenage voice roars back. "Yohan is gone! Stake is dead! Sister Rebecca has my bullet wound! I am loyal to the grave, which is precisely where I've led them!"

Dog doesn't have much to say in return.

"I SHOULD STAY HERE, SELL THE PAINTING PROPERLY, AND USE IT TO REBUILD HOLY TRINITY (with certain considerations for myself) WHICH I ROYALLY FRAGGED UP TODAY. MARRY LOLA. SETTLE DOWN." Achak wonders if he could get eight figures for the painting. Deduct some for Duncan, deduct some for taxes, split four ways, he should still clear a couple million. That's enough to rebuild Holy Trinity and life a simple life on the residual income.

Again, Dog is quiet. Achak looks around and realizes that there is no one in this room whom he is particularly attached. Stake managed the relationship with Duncan. Achak has known Mercer and Sister Rebecca less than twenty-four hours. The only person Achak really cares about is the dead man hanging over the proceedings.

"There are things worse than death," Dog finally says to Achak's teenage self. "Like disloyalty. Disgrace."

"Oh, you sound like an oyabun. I'm not your divine wind, Mr. Emperor."

"Somethings are worth dying for," Dog says with gravitas.

"And anything worth dying for is certainly worth living for," the teenager retorts.

Adult Achak doesn't have the philosphical background or intellectual acuity to interject himself into his own debate. He does not particularly like his teenage self - part of the reason he left it behind - but nor can he refute the points that it is making. Given that he's in a doctor's office, he goes for the time-honored tradition of getting a second opinion.

"Apostle John, what should I do?" Achak prays. The good apostle is little more the a reworking of Dog with a different vocabulary, but to Achak the voices are distinct.

"Remember the parable of the talents," John advises. ("Which isn't even in the Gospel of John," Achak thinks to himself, wondering if his thoughts on the matter are private. ("They're not," John replies, "but stay focused.")) "A master puts his servants in charge of his goods while he is away. When he returns, he rewards the stewardship of the faithful, and the worthless slave is thrown into the outer darkness."

"That doesn't really help. Is the faithful path to rebuild Holy Trinity or is it to hunt down the enemies of God?" Achak asks.

The Apostle demurs, and retires to appear in a tortilla in Aztlan.

Achak sighs, having advanced little in his thinking. At last, he is forced to figure out what he wants to do. To that end, there are abominations out there hunting hunters. They did not kill Achak this time, but they will try again. In the meantime, they will kill and consume the innocent. Or the not-so-innocent, but the psychic blight will remain the same. Achak is good at what he does and it could be that the reward at the end will be so much greater than the one he now forfeits. He thinks of Matthew's words - "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." - and decides that is as good of a goal as any in the current drekheap of a situation.[/spoiler]

Achak looks up to make eye contact with Duncan. Normally he feels a bit intimidated by the tall and eloquent elf, but with a fine suit and the faith in the Lord, Achak is the equal of any man.

"Thank you for your consideration, Duncan. We understand that liquidity is limited on such short notice.

"We also understand that such an offer provides you with enormous upside for personal profit. I'm certain a prize such as this could earn you the favor of someone very important, which you will no doubt leverage to your advantage. I do not fault you for it and would do the same in your position. However, in addition to fiscal compensation we must press upon you for favors of our own. Lesser than those you will receive, certainly, just as our compensation is lesser than what you will achieve.

"In addition to Queen Anne, you keep offices in Tokyo and Manhattan. We would ask you to arrange for the proper clearances for us to travel safely both to Manhattan and around the city itself. We need travel arrangements, including our armaments and Mercer's vehicle. I am not well-versed in the security protocols of the destination but I understand they are ... thorough. We need the appropriate color pass-cards, either legitimate or forged to an adequate quality. We may pose as private contractors of yours or any other cover you believe will be suitable. I defer to your judgement.

"We also need lodging for our stay, something discrete and suited to our position. As none of us have been before, we would also benefit from a local guide. A decker or a technomancer who can provide local expertise, hacking services, and Matrix overwatch. We would appreciate it if this introduction could be made in advance so that we might enlist them to help decrypt the plans of the men who tried to kill us earlier today.

"Finally, depending on the timing of our travel arrangements, we may need to impose upon you to help redeem the bounties we recovered last night. The local offices do not open until tomorrow and if we are able to leave before then we would appreciate someone who would claim the bounties on our behalf and forward us the proceeds, minus a reasonable transaction fee for their services."

Achak finally falls silent, hoping that he hasn't overwhelmed Duncan with a list of unexpected demands. Even if he has, maybe the daydreaming Duncan is doing about the CEOs he is going to call with this little piece in his hot hands will keep him in a generous spirit.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:39:40/09-28-15)
"Not exactly the good friend cut I'd have expected, but not bad considering the short notice. But it's up to Achak and the Sister here if they're willing to take less of the profits in order to have the cash up front. Them and Stake are the ones that bled for it."

Mr. Abbey loses his practiced and easy smile for a moment at Mercer's comments, but when Achak cut in, he listens patiently and centers himself before responding.  "Aside from claiming the bounties for you, which I am happy to do, it seems as though we have three main topics under discussion at the moment: 1. The price of the painting, 2. non-currency aid that I may be able to provide vis-a-vis your upcoming trip to Manhattan, and 3. intel or advice that I may be able to provide.   Please allow me to address each in turn so that nothing gets left out.

First, as for the price of the painting, Mercer should you wish it and the rest of your team agrees, I am happy to deliver the painting to you at some point tomorrow so that you could pursue other avenues in relation to its eventual sale or new stewardship.  I find myself in the position of prospective buyer at the moment not because I make a habit of fleecing hunters from their hard-won gains, but because I am a fair, scrupulous, and adroit dealer in antiquities.  That this group seems to balk at 110,000¥ is honestly a bit of surprise to me.  True, in the past under Stake's leadership, and Mercer under your own leadership, you have all become accustomed to a larger percentage of the final sale price, but there is at present no larger sale price to which I may cut you in, as they say.  No, instead, I am making a gamble, and sacrificing a good deal of my own personal liquidity in the interest of doing a favor for a group of individuals whom I consider to be friends in addition to trusted business associates.  The Manet is indeed a rare find, one a few months ago that I would have considered a once-in-a-lifetime find, but given how brazen these vampires are becoming in their search for hunters, I must be open to the possibility that Mona Lisa herself could cross my threshold any day now, and it would be foolish for me to put myself in a situation where I would need to pass on a canvas touched by Leonardo da Vinci himself because I put all of my proverbial eggs in one basket.

"My own personal considerations aside, I understand the position that all of you are in as well.  Should you wish it, we may postpone the sale of the painting, and I could issue you a personal loan, with the painting held as collateral.  Of course, I would be unable to provide a sum as nice as 110,000¥ as a loan, but if a smaller sum would tide you over in the short term, I am open to that possibility.

"Next, we have the question of your trip to Manhattan, and the ancillaries to that request.  I will be here in Seattle for the next week, and I would be willing to let you make use of my jet, paying only fuel and pilot fees, but round-trip, of course, as I will need to make use of from here in Seattle soon.  Doing so, say under the guise of escort work that I need done should bypass a bit of the red tape, though I would caution you to have a fund on hand for bribes and the like, especially if you'll be carrying any heavy firepower with you.  What district in Manhattan will you be investigating?  I ask because knowing that will do a great deal in helping me to understand who I may contact about getting your living situation sorted.

"As for any forging, a man in my position cannot run the risk of associating with any forgers, be they ID forgers, art forgers, etc. for obvious reasons.  I must demure on that account.

"Last, we have the question of any advice or intel that I may be able to provide.  What is prompting this trip to Manhattan?  What leads have you got, and what do you hope to find while there?
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (21:00:46/10-05-15)
The sleep was deep and fitfull. Rebecca has no memories of any dreams per se, just a vague sense of being restless, confused, and irritated for a long time. It's as though she's swimming through molasses, or trying to anyway. After what seems like weeks, she can finally see light in a direction, and her senses begin to feel like something approaching 60% again. Slowly, the peace of the world begins to slip back to her. I've been lain on something soft and I'm still armored. After not expecting to wake up at all once the fire demon had choked and crushed the life out of her, she's more than pleased to find her only lasting injury from the affair is the bullet wound she took from Achak last night. Was it last night?

She's moments away from opening her eyes to survey her situation and surroundings when she's suddenly jolted awake by a nearby shout."

"You've been shot!"

Quickly, she flails her hands about her chest area, looking for the bullet wound before realizing the wound her large friend is talking about. She stops flailing and looks around the room she's apparently been sleeping in. It's far from nice, but far from the worst place she's ever stayed, too. In fact, it's nicer than most of the places Rebecca calls home. Fearing Achak will feel guilty about her actions, she answers truthfully, but not explicitly. She looks him in the eye with the same cold, military stare she's worn since the first moment he saw her and nods. "Yeah. There was a lot of lead flying around back there." She can tell though, that the wheels in his head have started turning, and he may be big, but he isn't stupid. In a few moments, he's figured it out.

"You took it upon yourself!"

A nod.

"What profit is there in you being shot instead of me?!"

"At the time, I was no good to the team in a matter of minutes. You were still in fighting shape. It made sense."

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

After remaining largely silent during the introduction and planning phase of the morning, Sister Rebecca finally makes her voice heard just near the end, before the team leaves for their meet with Mr Abbey.

"I know the plan is to get out of town as fast as we can, but I need to stay at least until tomorrow morning. I have an important meeting with a contact that I absolutely cannot be absent from. Thoughts?"

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

"I trust that your ride over was uneventful?  A pleasant change to the day's circumstances.  I am indeed saddened to hear of Mr. Stake's passing, and Ms. Killarney here is in the process of establishing a bequest in his name at the museum.  Now. Achak, you had requested that I 'expedite' the process of finding the painting a suitable home, and I believe that I will be able to do just such a thing.  I am willing to offer 110,000¥ tonight if you and your team are willing to relinquish ownership of the painting now."

Achak and Marcus are far better negotiators than the good Sister will ever be, and so she remains silent during the process of haggling over the price of the trap that killed Stake. She stands resolute and firm jawed, behind her two companions.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:03:55/10-06-15)
"I know the plan is to get out of town as fast as we can, but I need to stay at least until tomorrow morning. I have an important meeting with a contact that I absolutely cannot be absent from. Thoughts?"

Achak is full of questions. "Who is the contact? How long have you known them? Where is the meet? What time?" Slowing down, he explains further. "Stake got himself bagged and tagged chasing down a lead on his own. I'm not keen to repeat the process 24 hours later. We have smartlink reticles on us as surely as he did.

"That said, we may not be able to leave before the morning anyway. Let's talk with Duncan, figure out our transportation situation, and figure out what kind of time constraints we're up against. I wouldn't mind waiting until the morning myself, if only to claim the bounty on the vampires before we leave, but sometimes the decisions are out of our hands."



"My own personal considerations aside, I understand the position that all of you are in as well.  Should you wish it, we may postpone the sale of the painting, and I could issue you a personal loan, with the painting held as collateral.  Of course, I would be unable to provide a sum as nice as 110,000¥ as a loan, but if a smaller sum would tide you over in the short term, I am open to that possibility.

Back at the meet, Achak allows a tired nod. It has been a long day and emotionally exhausting.

"Thank you, Mr. Abbey. You are entirely reasonable. The loan you propose is agreeable compromise. Please continue your efforts to find the painting a proper home" - Achak glances at Sister Rebecca - "with the painting and the expected proceeds acting as collateral for our obligations to you, including the use of your private jet which you have generously offered.

"We do not know where we are going in Manhattan. At the moment, all we have is the airport where the man who tried to kill us was headed to on a flight from SeaTac tomorrow. We do, however, have the runner's commlink, which we need to hack in order to answer several questions, such as the man's itinerary in Manhattan and who he intended to meet there. We do not have the skill set necessary to access the commlink ourselves; instead, we were hoping you could connect us to some talent in Manhattan who would be able to assist us while we were en route. If not, we will work with Elijah here instead, although presumably he will wish to be paid for the previous job before undertaking the next. Either way, the aforementioned loan is a prerequisite.

"Once we have hacked the commlink, we would be obliged for any assistance you can provide regarding the local security and administrative challenges in Manhattan. I assure you that we will not forget your assistance. If we successfully navigate our way up the chain, we may find ourselves in possession of other prizes such as the Manet. As impressive as it is, I doubt that whomever used it for bait chose to use the jewel of their collection. Indeed, even larger purses may await. This may be a very profitable expedition for us all."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (18:14:52/10-08-15)
Achak stays firm on ensuring that the painting be returned to its rightful home, wherever that may be, and the Sister's grim set similarly indicates her unwillingness to budge, so Mercer follows their lead.


"Thank you for your offer, but as much as I dislike being indebted to anyone, such has been my lot of late and it shows no signs of abatement. On the up side, at least it looks like you'll be able to keep a nearly full pocket for that next big score." A wan smile crosses his face, but his voice carries a hint of levity as he tries to lighten the mood after Mr. Duncan's defensive outburst. "I'm not as familiar with the East Coast as I would like, but I'm assuming 10,000¥ should get us around well enough once we're there and outfitted. I think with the bounties, we have sufficient funds to cover pre-trip preparations and the round trip expense for your jet - which, by the way, is a very welcome offer. Thank you."


"As Achak mentioned, the trail we are following could lead anywhere. Once we crack the 'link we might be able to provide you with first steps. How much notice would you need to make arrangements? It's unlikely we will leave before tomorrow as we have a couple more local obligations to address before then. Maybe we could board around noon?"


"I think between 10Gs walking money, the jet, and a guide, digs, and other assistance to help us make our way about the city of Manhattan, we'll be set. Minus the IDs, of course, but I think we might be able to get those on our own. Any advice or intel you can provide would still be appreciated." He finished, indicating with his hand that that 'appreciation' would be of the economic sort in addition to their personal gratitude. He looked to Achak and Rebecca to make sure he had covered everything before they got down to the nitty gritty of what it would all cost.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (20:41:07/10-09-15)
"Who is the contact? How long have you known them? Where is the meet? What time?" Slowing down, he explains further. "Stake got himself bagged and tagged chasing down a lead on his own. I'm not keen to repeat the process 24 hours later. We have smartlink reticles on us as surely as he did.

"That said, we may not be able to leave before the morning anyway. Let's talk with Duncan, figure out our transportation situation, and figure out what kind of time constraints we're up against. I wouldn't mind waiting until the morning myself, if only to claim the bounty on the vampires before we leave, but sometimes the decisions are out of our hands."

Waiting until the big guy has calmed himself a bit before answering, Rebecca takes the few moments to sit up, straighten her clothes, brush her hair out of her face, and pick some of the morning funk out of her eye. Once he's done, with the same tone, "He's the man I report to in the church. I've known him since I was a child. The meet is at a church not far from here. And I'm supposed to meet him at eight am." She furrows her brow for a moment in thought. "Well, maybe him; maybe one of his people. Let me check." She reaches into her pocket and produces a comm. After rebooting it, she begins going though old messages for a moment. It only takes a few swipes to dig up the one she's looking for and then her eyes are back up, looking at Achak. "It's at St Mary's and it actually does sound more like it's just going to be one of his people and not him." After a slight and uncomfortable pause, she adds, "You two are welcome to come along..."

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

In the car, she begins typing up the dossiers on the "lost brothers" and once completed, she sends the file off to Marcus, then reboots the link.

<<@Marcus [Sister Rebecca] Dossiers as requested.
--Stake--
    A capable leader. Skilled in mid range weaponry and small unit tactics. White. Male. Elf. Non-Awakened. Non-Christian. Trustworthy. Caring. Mindful of civilian casualties. Measured in use of force. Captured and murdered by presumed vampires or vampire sympathizers. Prone to use of combat drugs.

--Achak--
   A valiant and stalwart warrior. Skilled in CQC and small unit tactics. Native-American. Male. Human. Physical Adept. Christian. Noble. Self-sacrificing. Works well in a group. Blinding fast. Prone to use of combat drugs.

Repeat Materials Request: Spell Formula: Detox.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (14:10:17/10-15-15)
"We do not know where we are going in Manhattan. At the moment, all we have is the airport where the man who tried to kill us was headed to on a flight from SeaTac tomorrow. We do, however, have the runner's commlink, which we need to hack in order to answer several questions, such as the man's itinerary in Manhattan and who he intended to meet there. We do not have the skill set necessary to access the commlink ourselves; instead, we were hoping you could connect us to some talent in Manhattan who would be able to assist us while we were en route. If not, we will work with Elijah here instead, although presumably he will wish to be paid for the previous job before undertaking the next. Either way, the aforementioned loan is a prerequisite."

"That . . . presents some 'issues,' Mr. Abbey says after a long and thoughtful pause.  "Moving around in Manhattan is a challenge even for a man such as myself, with formal invitations extended by various AA and AAA corporations.  I find it highly doubtful that you'll be given free range of a good portion of Manhattan without flying deep, deep under the radar, unless you can come up with the requisite passes.  Even then, should your travels take you to specific corporate grounds, you'll need additional passes for each.  As to hacking the commlink, I would strongly suggest that you do so here, before your flight.  Bureaucracy takes time, even if it is the bureaucracy of forgery, and once you land, you will definitely need to evacuate the airport in a timely manner.  Perhaps Grotto1 could be of assistance there?"

"Once we have hacked the commlink, we would be obliged for any assistance you can provide regarding the local security and administrative challenges in Manhattan. I assure you that we will not forget your assistance. If we successfully navigate our way up the chain, we may find ourselves in possession of other prizes such as the Manet. As impressive as it is, I doubt that whomever used it for bait chose to use the jewel of their collection. Indeed, even larger purses may await. This may be a very profitable expedition for us all."

"I will no doubt be interested in whatever you may acquire along the way.  As to your question of security, you will need a Manhattan Development Consortium pass to move around the city proper, and specific neighborhood and corporate passes to travel to specific areas.  Any corporate territory will require a specific pass for said corporation.  You will need to broadcast a SIN at all times, as well as MDC specific permits for any hardware . . . or substances that you may possess.  Mr. Mercer, I know that you are planning on having your ground vehicle in Manhattan, and that brings about its own unique challenge.  A Personal Vehicle Pass is required for traveling city streets, and I know from personal experience that acquiring one legitimately can take weeks, if not months.  Scanners exist on every street corner, and the MDC has many drones on patrols checking on passes and credentials.  You do not want to be caught trespassing there.  One glimmer of hope is that the MDC, as well as many of the corporations in Manhattan, take a rather kindly look on shadowrunners, surprisingly enough.  Should they be caught, they are usually released once a tit-for-tat agreement can be made.  Professional courtesy, or some such.  As distasteful as it is, perhaps disguising yourselves as shadowrunners once you're in Manhattan proper would be wise.  For obvious reasons, doing so at the airport, or soon after your departure would be problematic from my perspective."

He takes a moment to look down at his comm before continuing.  "Ms. Killarney, my thanks.  My associate here has run the numbers, and it looks like a one-way trip to Manhattan runs just over 3,000 nuyen, but I will round it down to an even three.  Should your stay be short, say one-to-three days, I will not require that the jet return back to Seattle in that time, but should you be there longer, you'll need to pay an additional 3,000 for the return trip home.

"Are there any other questions, or embellishments that I can offer you all at this time?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:23:26/10-29-15)
"Thank you, Duncan. I believe that will be all for now. You are a generous host, as always."



Back in the privacy of the Roadmaster, Achak contemplates the incongruity of being dressed in a suit while being surrounded by a good percentage of his life's possessions intermingling with a good percentage of Mercer's life possessions. Sister Rebecca had the look of a wanderer too, so maybe most of her life was in this vehicle as well.

"I don't know much about Manhattan," Achak says as the Roadmaster drives off into the rainy night. "I used to run with some smugglers - just border runs between Seattle and Salish-Shidhe, real easy - and they talked about Manhattan a bit. Rumors about smugglers working underground, Neo-Anarchists or the like helping people escape the corporate eye on the surface. I'll reach out and see if my guy knows a guy."

<<@Megedagik [Achak] Might be taking a trip to the Rotten Apple. Know any guys or gals that direction? Coyotes, specifically.>>

Achak looks around again at the massive vehicle. "I'm not sure we're going to get the Roadmaster out there. Would probably take a week, at which point we'll probably be somewhere else. Even if we're still there, the personal vehicle requirements Duncan mentioned are likely more than we can handle.

"The restrictions on weapons might be a headache too. I'm not in a position to geek a vampire with my bare hands, and my tools of the trade aren't inconspicuous." He spins his gunstock war club in his hands, which contrasts sharply with his suit. "I don't get much smaller than an Ares Crusader. But before we worry about that, let's figure out where limp dick was going" - he catches himself a moment too late, wondering if Rebecca will react negatively to the off-color language. You can take the ganger out of the Sprawl but not the Sprawl out of the ganger. "... before his plans changed. I'll ping Elijah and see if he can crack this commlink for us tonight."

<<@3LI [Achak] Payday in the morning when we claim the bounties. New task in the meantime. How much to crack the security on a commlink?>> He transmits the model and specifications.

"In the meantime, we should take Duncan's advice and see what Grotto1 has to say. Mercer, do you have a subscription? Stake manages" - Achak's voice breaks a bit before he recovers - "managed that for us."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (03:40:42/10-30-15)
Mercer nodded as Duncan spoke. The others provided their input, all of which closely mirrored his own thoughts.


Passing as Shadowrunners should be no problem - if they could fool other 'runners without even trying, tricking the corps should be simple.



"I reckon our needs to move about there are likely to be fairly modest. Airport, lodgings, and whatever location the 'link takes us to." Mercer presents a pained expression. "I'm not pretending it'll be easy, o'course. It sounds like getting from point A to point B, should the meetup place be across a good part of town, could have us showin' our mugs at any number of checkpoints and jurisdictions. But if you can start making arrangements to get us from here to a reasonable safe place to stay in Manhattan, we should have the last piece of the puzzle by mornin'. I suspect our stay there to be short, a day or two at most unless things go the kind of wrong you don't come back from. The three day window you offer should be enough."


"If it's okay with you, I'd like to keep my ride here when we fly out in case we need you to make arrangements to ship it wherever we happen to end up after Manhattan."


The payment details are worked out and pleasantries exchanged again as the team departs. Soon the team finds themselves back in Mercer's van. Achak updates Eli and asks for his help with the commlink and brings up concerns about weaponry.


"It sounds like we're gonna need some good ID, and if it holds for us, any licenses should hold for gear. It might get us looked at closer, but if Duncan's right about their love-hate with 'runners, it might not even matter, short of the delays any 'tit-for-tat' arrangements might cause."


He mentions Duncan's suggestion for checking up on Grotto1 for help with moving around Manhattan. Mercer agrees it is a sound plan, but that it'll have to wait until they know where they're headed - like so many of their plans. Hopefully this Eli character gets back to us soon.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:18:06/10-30-15)
"I reckon our needs to move about there are likely to be fairly modest. Airport, lodgings, and whatever location the 'link takes us to." Mercer presents a pained expression. "I'm not pretending it'll be easy, o'course. It sounds like getting from point A to point B, should the meetup place be across a good part of town, could have us showin' our mugs at any number of checkpoints and jurisdictions. But if you can start making arrangements to get us from here to a reasonable safe place to stay in Manhattan, we should have the last piece of the puzzle by mornin'. I suspect our stay there to be short, a day or two at most unless things go the kind of wrong you don't come back from. The three day window you offer should be enough."

"I am more than happy," Mr. Abbey says, "to provide whatever assistance I can with your lodging.  Please keep me abreast of what district or districts you will find yourself in so that I can make the requisite inquiries."

"Thank you, Duncan. I believe that will be all for now. You are a generous host, as always."

"And gentlemen, sister, as always, it is a pleasure to see you.  I only wish it was under more happy circumstances." Mr. Abbey responds, extending his hand to each hunter in turn. Ms. Killarney approaches Mercer from the sides, and presents him with a credstck containing ¥10,000. 

<<@Megedagik [Achak] Might be taking a trip to the Rotten Apple. Know any guys or gals that direction? Coyotes, specifically.>>

Achak doesn't wait long before a reply pings.

<<@Achak [Megedagik] Best bet I know is a chummer who goes by Lazlo Heights.  The screw is, she and I don't really talk much anymore.  I'm attaching the last commcode I had, but it would be best to leave my name out of the conversation.  Personal beef aside, she's a stand-up coyote, and I know she knows the area.>>

<<@3LI [Achak] Payday in the morning when we claim the bounties. New task in the meantime. How much to crack the security on a commlink?>>

<<@Achak [3L1] That old thing?  Tell you what, I didn't know Stake well, but this one's on the house.  Just before to make your review of me reflect it, neh?  Send me a tracking pin, and I'll send a drone to do the pickup.>>

About twenty-five minutes after Achak sends a pin from his link, he receives another message from Elijah saying that the drone is keeping pace with the Roadmaster by the back door.  Once opened, a Rotodrone enters, and a receptacle tray opens.  Once Iki's commlink is inside, the drone passes off into the night.

Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:30:29/11-04-15)
About an hour later, once the runners have returned to Achak's hovel, Elijah sends a comm in Achak.

<<@ Achak [3L1] Not much work on that comm, there.  I was expecting more of a challenge.  History showed an Ares LIghtfire had been slaved to it in the past, but wasn't currently.  I took the liberty of checking up on the SIN attached to the phone: Osamu Ueda.  Looks legit.  MeFeed is regularly updated, employment and educational history check out.  Chummer is employed by a security consultancy firm, Sunrise Logistics and Security.  Their trix address also checks out, but I'm not the chummer to go digging around in their host. 

His trix history is much more interesting.  Looks like u got a runner on ur hands.  He's a member of Black-Site-Prime, and I was able to dig up his username, but either the password has been changed recently, or I don't know what the drek I'm doing because I couldn't log on to gain access to his profile.  1 was able to cross-reference his profile name with a neat little proxy account, but doing so only showed that he has a 78% favorable rating, well above the mean.  I also pulled up tickets for a direct flight to Manhattan that's leavin tomorrow, but when I tried to access the ticket, I got an error message.  The flight doesn't show as cancelled, so somebody either cancelled the ticket or changed the departure date.  Again, I'm not the chummer to go digging into Boeing's Host, so ur on ur own there.

Stay frosty.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (22:13:36/11-10-15)
Ten thousand nuyen. I wonder if Stake had a family.

The short and stocky blonde woman spends most of the day in the back of a van, being ferried from location to location. It hadn't really been her place to speak at the meeting with Mr Abbey, and there's really nothing productive for her to be doing, so she remains quiet and polite in her seat. Every now and then, one of the men in the front will look back at her awkwardly without ever really finding anything to say. She nods, smiles, and breaks gaze first, pretending to be interested in something outside the window, or fiddling with one of the controls on her comm. Although she seems peaceful and serene on the surface, deep on the inside, she's nervous about the meeting tomorrow morning. What manner of indignities will that man force me to endure tomorrow?

Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:20:40/11-13-15)
<<@3L1 [Achak] Wiz, chum, you definitely made my Christmas list. I'll forward you your share of last night's bounty once we redeem them in the morning. If anything comes from this commlink I'll make sure some of it finds its way back to you.>>

<<@Megedagik [Achak] Thanks, omae, I owe you one. If I head that direction then I'll make sure Santa Cl-achak brings you back a stocking stuffer.>>

Achak forwards Elijah's findings to Mercer and Sister Rebecca.

"I got the name and number of a coyote in Manhattan from an old amigo.

"As for the commlink, Mr. Shadowrunner looks like a Honest Citizen on the surface. SIN, regular employment, social drek. Under the covers he looks like a runner. Eli says he's a member of Black-Site-Prime. I'm hoping that name means something to one of you. If not, add it to the list of discrete inquiries to make on Grotto1. Mercer, you're on Grotto1, right? That's how you and Stake knew each other, neh?"

Achak ponders what Eli shared, wondering if there's any significance to the Ares Lightfire. Achak isn't built for this sort of mental challenge though. Instead, he tries to pull open Osamu Ueda's MeFeed.

"MeFeed ain't so popular in Seattle but it is in Manhattan. Maybe that means he's based in Manhattan and was just out here for this job, rather than vice versa. Hmm, do we have a current address for the deceased in here? What about his Manhattan pass cards..." Achak scrolls through the files, looking for any electronic tidbits that could be poached for future use.

"Long day. We need to crash for the evening to be ready for the morning. I've got a pad on Capitol Hill, less spartan than the last. Or we can hit Stake's place one last time if we think the danger has passed." He eyes Mercer, figuring that he'll want to sleep in the Roadmaster. Achak is wearing his good suit and would prefer not to sleep in it, if possible.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:34:59/11-27-15)
Digging through Osamu Ueda's MeFeed is an exercise in banality.  A cursory look gives very little insight into the man's personality besides the fact that he seems to share and like what everybody else is sharing and liking at the same time.  His most recent post, though, from around the time that Stake was killed, is a food shot at a downtown sushi restaurant, complete with five-star review.  Perhaps Ueda mostly kept his feed for establishing an alibi? Achak wonders.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (16:21:53/11-27-15)
Mercer listens as Achak relays the info from Eli. When he hears that the account password had been changed, he groans. "Son of a - Achak, could you check with your pals in the barrens and make sure they actually put down that Iky fellah? I got a bad feeling he talked his way outta that either with cash or violence."


"As for a place to stay, I'm fine with anything you feel is safe. Stake's place is a no-no if Iky's still running around, but outside o' that, I imagine the law will be by to ask some uncomfortable questions if we linger. I do want to check out the local offices of Sunrise, maybe save us a trip to the Rotten Apple. And, as much as I'm not looking forward to it, I think it might be a good time to see what the Johnson that hired that snake has to say."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:33:21/11-30-15)
Achak sends an ARO with directions to his small apartment on the north end of Capitol Hill.

<<@Rusty [Achak] Rusty, what happened with that guy we left with you? The disassembly project. We're seeing activity on some of his accounts. Need to know if he's still breathing or if someone else is making the changes on his behalf.>>

"What's the timestamp on those changes?" Achak asks rhetorically as he tries to find the answer for himself. "Maybe Rusty did the deed but the fragger was making changes on the fly on his headlink. Should have carved it out of him myself, church or no church. Wasn't thinking clearly." You were lit on Jazz is what you were, he thinks to himself.

Mercer draws the Roadmaster close to the apartment building. "This is it," Achak says, pointing. "Your rig should be safe on the street. Local gangers might mess with a Bulldog but know that a Roadmaster is more than they can chew." He pats Mercer's Enfield AS-7, dubbed “Yoki”. "Too much pepper makes a meal unpalatable."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (18:05:38/12-09-15)
Achak's digs on Capitol Hill are a definite cut above the bolthole in Puyallup.  The bugs are scarcer, the couch looks as though it's actually spent more of its life indoors than out, and with all the recent rain he isn't even under water rationing -- though it's probably a good thing that Achak had installed that external filter on the sink.  Even the soy food processing unit is in better working order.  Still, the tour doesn't take long, most it being spent on explaining that the pitcher in the bathroom is for number two, "Ya know, otherwise, it won't go down," Achak explains with a shrug before trying to text Rusty again.  Fraggin' trog dodging me?  That doesn't bode well.

The team gets a good night's sleep, and the next morning Sister Rebecca is pleased to find Mercer's wheel's unmolested.  Heading down to see Marcus is a terrifying prospect, but she steels herself as best she can before heading down to Saint Mary's.  From Marcus' comms there was a chance he wouldn't even be there, right? which would mean all the good sister would have to do is pee in a cup, grab the spell formula -- if approved -- and get back to the team for whatever direction they were headed in next.  Exiting the vehicle outside the derelict church leaves a large knot in the back of her throat, though.  Of course he'll be there, ostensibly to make sure she's still on the straight and narrow, and of course at great personal sacrifice to himself and his busy schedule. 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer she thinks making her way through the plastiboard doors and shuffling past the line of sprawl-dwellers waiting for breakfast.

"Good sister," Marcus booms down from the landing of a narrow staircase, "Sister Annette will see to your drug test, and we may reconvene in the sacristy, which our most gracious hosts have allowed for my use here." 

The indignity of the test would be bad enough without its public declaration, but Romans 12:12 provides some consolation as Rebecca goes through the motions and joins Marcus in the appointed room.  It's small, smelling of mothballs and whiskey, and in a corner they have set up an impromptu desk for the traveling man of God out of cement blocks and a cracked door.  Marcus sits behind the desk, fiddling with a commlink, and gives a terse sit motion to her without pulling his eyes from the screen.  "I see you're bright as always, Sister Rebecca," he says as she finds a place on a folding chair.  "almost as if it is your own light and not the lamp of the Word which illuminates your way.  How have you found Seattle, good sister?"

"I am, of course, regretful when I inform you that your request the detox formula has been denied.  It is the opinion of the elders, and I am not one to question their wisdom, that such a formula would only increase the likelihood that your new. . . friends, would likely fall down a dark path without the natural consequences of their actions to temper their appetites.  We won't be finding out any untoward information about you from that little nastiness downstairs, will we?  Now, I have looked over your dossiers, such as they are, and they seem a bit lacking.  I am to understand that the mission was a success?  And yet Stake, as he's called, fell to an unfortunate end afterward.  Hmm, most disheartening and troubling.  I'm sure there was nothing you could do, and that even a more vigilant operative could not have saved his life, so take heart good sister.  I do not fault you for your failure here.  Besides, the Lord does work in mysterious ways, and perhaps even this loss could bear the touch of the Almighty's handiwork.  If nothing else, this turn of events will make you even more valuable to the lost brothers, er, lost brother.  So, it is just you and Achak now?"

Marcus reaches into his pocket and retrieves a crumpled pack of Aztechnology Fillegro's, and lights one with a gold-plated flint lighter.  He exhales vigorously, daringly before continuing.  "I would like for you to continue working with this Achak.  The war against the vampires is ending, good sister.  But that leaves many struggles left to fight.  And we need to know who will stand with us.  Achak, to our knowledge, is an interesting case.  A Christian?  Maybe.  Maybe an apostate.  Maybe he still harbors some pagan longings and superstitions.  That is what I need you to find out.  You won't disappoint again, will you?  And then we have Grotto1, a haven for cutthroats and sodomites casting themselves as heroes.  Sure, they're geeking zekes, but as you've proven, even you can do that.  Think, good sister, of what just the bounties from your recent travails, what a difference those would make in a place like Saint Mary's"

He stubs out his cigarette on the makeshift table before getting to his point.  "We have good men and women at our disposal competing for an ever-shrinking number of bounties when it comes to the Infected.  You are to use your position within this team to learn as much as you can about the hunter community, to establish who's aims are aligned with the Lord's, and who is collecting their silver for personal enrichment.  Who, good sister, will come into our fold and live in the light, and who is lukewarm, who because they have not been either cold nor hot in their righteousness must be spat out from the body of our church."  As Marcus nears the end of his rant, he becomes increasingly ecstatic, spittle forming around the corners of his mouth and falling to the table in front of him.

"Go in peace, Sister Rebecca.  I trust I will hear from you soon."   
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (20:32:02/12-11-15)
Throughout the entire procedure, the good sister remains silent, her head lowered, and her hands crossed before her, speaking only when a response is directly requested.

"How have you found Seattle, good sister?"

"It is adequate, as always Marcus."

"I am to understand that the mission was a success?"
 

"Yes, Marcus."

"So, it is just you and Achak now?"
 

"No, Marcus. There is a fourth now; Mercer. And old and fond acquaintance of the deceased. I currently support the group in their endeavor to bring his killers to a brutal end."

"You won't disappoint again, will you?"
 

Her eyes widen briefly at the cigarette. The blatant sacrilege! For just a moment though, before she gets her expression under the tight control she's been taught. She can see in his eyes as he puffs the devil's fumes into his lungs inside the very house of God; She can see he enjoys knowing he's gotten to her.

"No, Marcus."

"We have good men and women at our disposal competing for an ever-shrinking number of bounties when it comes to the Infected.  You are to use your position within this team to learn as much as you can about the hunter community, to establish who's aims are aligned with the Lord's, and who is collecting their silver for personal enrichment.  Who, good sister, will come into our fold and live in the light, and who is lukewarm, who because they have not been either cold nor hot in their righteousness must be spat out from the body of our church."  As Marcus nears the end of his rant, he becomes increasingly ecstatic, spittle forming around the corners of his mouth and falling to the table in front of him.

"Go in peace, Sister Rebecca.  I trust I will hear from you soon."

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

Without a word, an expression, or a look, the stocky blonde human woman walks calmly out of the church and back to the waiting vehicle. As the dog-brain brings her back to the safehouse, she tries to imagine how difficult it would be for either of her companions to trust her anymore, knowing she's effectively a mole for their competition.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:55:03/12-21-15)
After a long day, Achak sleeps. When he wakes up, his first thought is Stake is gone. It makes him want to close his eyes and try again. Maybe this time Stake will still be around. But he isn't.

He gets up. Usually he wanders around his place in his boxers but that's not going to fly with Sister Rebecca around. He gets dressed and make sure there's some soykaf brewing for when everyone is up. "Rusty is ducking me," he says when Mercer and Sister Rebecca reassemble in the kitchen. "F'n troll." He bites his lip in deference to the good Sister's sensibilities but he can't fully contain himself. "Should have finished it then and there instead of leaving it up to some simple-minded trog who gets whacked on a cal-hot version of A Christmas Carol and cries every. rakking. year. Probably doing that right now, the big bleeder."

When Sister Rebecca leaves to check in with Mercer, Achak goes to redeem the bounties on the vampires. Having claimed payment from the appropriate UCAS authorities, he remits the proper share to Elijah.

<<@3L1 [Achak] Payment attached, as promised. Thanks again for your help with the 'link. Look me up if you ever need ground support.>>

He then sits down and tries to figure out if there's a story behind Sunrise. Usually he only has the skill and patience to search for a minute, but when he looks up he realizes a half hour has gone by. Impressed with himself, he says a small prayer of thanks before wondering if Stake's death has somehow given him additional clarity and focus.

<<@Mercer, Sister Rebecca [Achak] Here's what I've found about Sunrise. ARO ATTACHED. No smoking guns; they could just be an independent third-party. We could go ask some pointed questions in person if we're feeling frisky. Most of their offices are small. The local one is in Auburn, just north of Puyallup. Not a hardscrabble location, but certainly blue collar. Mercer, you want drive by or are we thinking we should get to Manhattan sooner rather than later? If so, we need to give Duncan appropriate notice.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (19:59:18/12-22-15)
 
Upon waking, he finds Achak in the kitchen, manning a pot of soykaf. It's cheap, but it is surprisingly better than what he'd been subjected to on the road. Achak announces that Rusty has not been returning his calls, and Mercer can see that the man is perhaps taking it a little too personally. He's not sure if he hates all trolls, or just Rusty, but there's obviously a story there that Mercer might have to learn sooner or later before it leads to trouble. When hunting things that go bump in the night, a Troll is a good ally to have, putting most infected to shame when it comes to brute force and stamina. Mercer worked with them regularly, and if Achak was going to have problems with them then Mercer needed to know. But there'd be plenty of time for such chat during the long trip to Manhattan.


Mercer quickly checked the stealth trackers he had "dispensed" the previous day to see if anything popped out at him - maybe Iki had returned his ride to the local Sunrise HQ or rental company or wherever it had come from - that would be a sure indicator that he was still alive. But no, all of the tags were still in Puyallup, probably in the ganger's chop shop.

While the Good Sister makes her meeting, Mercer busies himself with chasing down some of their leads. First, he stops by the sushi place that Iki had used as his alibi, but gets nowhere. The employees are more than happy to talk with Mercer, but whether they are intentionally stonewalling him or genuinely unaware he can't be certain. Considering the brisk business, he strongly suspects the latter.


On his way back to Achak's flat, he stops off at a BodyMax to get his eyes fixed. While the technician works, Mercer dips into AR and logs in to Grotto1. There he finds a number of personal messages waiting for him, folks wondering why he hadn't been around, a couple of requests for information, and various miscellany. While he's sorting through these, he gets a message from Achak with information about Sunrise. Mercer is impressed with the depth and breadth of information Achak was able to dig up, but ultimately it proves marginally useful at best - there is nothing fishy about the organization, nor any information that would confirm or deny Infected involvement.


He holds off on replying to the messages in his inbox and instead reaches out to the site moderators, filling them in on his last six months and his suspicions about certain elements using the site to lay ambushes. He omits anything about Manhattan, just on the off chance the communications aren't secure or worse, that one of the board operators might be in on it. After explaining his suspicions about this being a targeted effort by Infected to eliminate Hunters, and explaining the MO he had been able to piece together, he asks them to privately warn others that might have fallen victim to the scam and to keep an eye out for accounts that might be actively using the private messaging on the board to lay future traps. He also requests information on the user that had lured his team into the ambush. It's a long shot that they would risk violating their user's privacy like that, but since that user had violated the board's rules - written or otherwise - and presented a clear and present danger to the community, he hoped they would make an exception. He offers to provide them any proof they need that he is actually himself, though the board protocols make it pretty tough to spoof a user.


With the forum operators hopefully issuing an official statement of caution to the Grotto1 community, he decides to log off and not publicly announce his return - though the mods will likely out him anyway - and instead reaches out to some of his closer associates. He starts with Nevermore, a fixer with deep knowledge of goings on in the Infected community. If there were players with designs and resources for hunting down Hunters, she'd have the goods. She might also have some information on Sunrise if it was any sort of blip on the radar of the Infected community. So he gave her the same details he had given the board operators about what had happened to his team and how he had been spending the last few months, as well as the events of yesterday. Again, he left out Manhattan for now, but did mention that the opposition seemed to have ties to Sunrise. He also mentioned Iki's name and description, as well as what they knew so far of the Johnson who's contact info he had in his link - which was sadly only that. 


Then he provides the same information to Nori Koizumi, a bulldog of a reporter that writes for various blogs and a keen interest in all things ghastly or macabre. He vaguely recalled her discussing some strange behavior afoot in the Infected community - something darker than usual - the last time they'd chatted so many months ago, and at the time he'd paid it little mind, but now he was sure they could mutually benefit form sharing notes.


By the time he is finished chasing down contacts, his eyes are back to 100% and he's nearly home - well, the flat that is passing for home these days. He decides to wait before trying Iki's Johnson, as much for procrastination as for hope that Nori or Raven - Nevermore's real world handle - might give him some more info he could use when he does eventually place that call.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (14:49:05/12-28-15)
Upon returning back to Achak's flat, Mercer dips back into Grotto1 to check on any leads or actions by the moderators.  One of the first pieces to catch is eye is a cross-posted article from Sprawl-ites penned by Ms. Koizumi.

<<Poster: Flechette
<<Thread Title: Yak Attack? 74/12/2
<<Body:
<<NEbody wanna lay claim to this one?  Zumi's usually on point, but she could be stretching here.>>
<<Attachment: Full Text: "A Ronin in the Mix"

<<Publisher: Sprawl-ites
<<Article: A RONIN IN THE MIX
<<Author(s): Nori Koizumi
<<Full Text:
<<At just after 10:30 this morning, Eito Yukimura, reported so-honbucho of the Kanaga-gumi committed seppuku at his home in Auburn.  To this reporter's knowledge, Mr. Yukimura's death is the first account of seppuku by a senior yakuza official since the failed Nishidan coup of 2064.  So what grave oversight or transgression must Yukimura have committed to warrant such a seldom-used punishment?  What sin would force this man's hand to such extremes, given the relative power and profitability of the Kanaga-gumi across our great and glorious plex?  Could it be the result of the small and otherwise unremarkable raid on Century's Peak, a dance club in Touristville that no doubt one or two of my gentle readers have had chance to frequent in the past?

<<Doubtful, neh?  Drek happens in that line of work, and even the successful torching of a club, which did not occur in this case, isn't so uncommon for balmy Redmond as a whole or yakuza holdings in general.  So, if not the club itself, maybe what was in the club was the real transgression.

<<Human trafficking?  Bunraku?  Illegal chip manufacturing?  Well, I'm not sure what world you chummers are living in, but a dedicated Sprawl-ites enthusiast should know such things would only be a boon for Mr. Yukimura, not cause for disembowelment.  So allow me, gentle readers, to spit a little truth your way.  Century's Peak was indeed a layover spot for the poor and SINless, some hoping to find jobs on their own, some who would find their lives short and miserable as yakuza chattel, but all that was cut short not a month before last night's incursion.  And what took their place?  This reporter is convinced that the answer there lies with the infected.

<<Yes, yes, I am talking about vampires.  Trid feed leaked from our good friends down at Knight's Errant show the upper floors of Century's Peak looking more charnel house than den of pleasure.  Of course, the official word is organ-legging, and that is certainly a prurient enough taint on our good plex, but for my nuyen, and with the guts of Mr. Yukimura tipping the scales, I'm betting pointy teeth and a strong aversion to sunlight.

<<Not convinced yet?  Well, if you look closely at the 00:2:23 mark, you'll plainly see a nail embedded in the back of the head of one of the unfortunate deceased.  Know what that is, gentle readers?  That be a pithing needle, a very effective way of immobilizing prey so that a skilled vampire may take his or her time with draining the poor victim's life force.  And if that doesn't convince you, there is a young woman I know who works the streets down in Touristville.  Let's call her Ann.  And Ann tells me that there was a particular Hungarian man, oafish in appearance and demeanor, who the rest of the ladies of Redmond had put the warning out on.  In her words, "Well, he'd done a party with Lucia.  And then we didn't see Lucia anymore.  Then he picked up Chloe, and we didn't see her.  I had already told the girls about him.  Sum'n waddn't right, wiz?  Well, then C-Thang disappeared, and the word got out fast. . . We kept seeing him round the clubs and all, and he was a little pissed that nobody wanted to talk with him, wiz?  But he kept hanging round and started going in the clubs instead, ya know, Reichtalder, Blue Fire, Club Right. . . Oh yeah, I saw him come outta Century's Peak a lot, usually earier in the evening."

<<I'll leave the rest to you, gentle readers.

<<Poster: Loan Ranger
<<Reply: Yak Attack? 74/12/2
<<Body:
(https://i.imgflip.com/wh99b.jpg) (https://imgflip.com/i/wh99b)via Imgflip Meme Maker (https://imgflip.com/memegenerator)
<<Yeah, right.>>

<<Poster: Mirana
<<Reply: Yak Attack? 74/12/2
<<Body:
<<So, my question: who benefits?  9 times out of 10 you work your way to motive, and you find the rest.  Why would the Kanaga-gumi be working with Zekes?>>

<<Poster: Flak_Jacket
<<Reply: Yak Attack? 74/12/2
<<Body:
Quote
<<So, my question: who benefits?  9 times out of 10 you work your way to motive, and you find the rest.  Why would the Kanaga-gumi be working with Zekes?>>

A Zeke's nuyen's digitized, ain't it?  Spends as clean as anybody else's.>> 


The thread pretty much unspools from there, so Mercer checks to see that he has two new messages waiting for him, one from a moderator at Grotto1, and another from Ms. Koizumi.

<<Unread Message
<<Sender: fAlcon8 (Moderator)
<<Subject: Re: Possible Security Breach
<<Message:
<<Mr. Mercer:
<<
<<It's good to hear from you.  Here at Grotto1, we had feared the worst.  Forgive me to say it, but even more alarming is the information that you provided in your message.  To think that we had lost you was a blow, but it's nothing that any one of us here had not signed up for in our line of work.  That Grotto1 has been infiltrated and that the infected are using our site as a platform for hunting hunters has much further reaching consequence than any one of our lives individually. 
<<
<<I would like to compile and send out the information that you have provided for all of our vetted users, as well as place the information as an APB in our bulletins.  In order to do so, I need your permission to use your name.  Without a solid, named source in our alert, we would be doing the subscribers of Grotto1 a disservice, and it would only exacerbate the likelihood of misinformation being spread. 
<<
<<As for your query, I'm assured of the veracity of your information.  The poster who gave Stake his lead on the most job was Tillium/Gray, an information broker who has been active on our site since August 2073.  They have no current bids open, but we are keeping watch on the account.
<<
<<Best Regards,
<<
<<Falcon>>

<<Unread Message
<<Sender: n.koizumi@Write4.neo
<<Subject: Hoi Chummer
<<Message: 
<<Mercer,
<<Welcome back to the land of the living, doll.  Glad to hear you're ok.  Truth be told, I may still have been lighting candles for you, and all that.  Let me not be said that I've lost all of my idealism.
<<Look, I think you may be overlooking some things on the Sunrise front.  You said the vamps have been using antiquities as bait, right?  Well, it just doesn't sit right with me that two hoops just happen to win the deed to an old house that just happens to be loaded down with antiques, and then they just happen to start a security company that just happens to employ shadowrunners who were hired to take out a team of runners that also just happened to come across a rare painting. 
<<And another thing, this Sunrise place is low-rent, right?  Small offices, smaller client lists?  Then why the hell are they involved in logistics to begin with?  Moving freight is not for the small guys.  And then there's the link to Steinem and Tsukino.  Extraterritoriality should be way outside their purview, and unless they're moving a lot of highly questionable material, it shouldn't even factor into the logistics angle.  No, Mercer, I think these guys are rotten.
<<Tell you what, you didn't happen to have anything to do with these recent biz at the Century's Peak, didya?  How about a little quote, no names of course, and I'll see what I can dig up on other Sunrise holdings?  Whaddyasay?
<<xoxo
<<Nori>>

Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:38:52/01-05-16)
Achak smacks himself on the head when he reads Nori's suspicions about Sunrise. "Man, so obvious! Stake was the smart one; he'd be making connections like that. I got out of the habit of strategic thinking with him around." Achak looks uncertainly at Mercer, wondering if Mercer will fill that roll or if Achak is going to need to step up. The prospect of thought leadership seems to make him nervous.

"Koizumi is wizzer. Stake knew her. 'Amiga' might be a stretch but they were acquaintances, sure. Stake mentioned her several times. She'll want to know that he's down. She'll find out, one way or another. Best she heard it from us.

"Tell her Stake's team did the Century's Peak job. Three zekes, all killed and confirmed in the op. Tell her that one of them matched the description of the oafish Hungarian. She should tell 'Ann' that he's off the streets. Fast fragger for a fat man. Took two hunters to drop him. I almost got a karate chop to the neck that looked like it would pop my head off like taffy." He stops to think. "I wonder if it's significant that an Eastern European vampire was using karate in a club run by yaks. Or is karate popular enough globally that it's not a surprise?" He shakes off the thought.

"Nori's got a thing for the grim and gory, right? Tell her that the fat man got a sword hilt-deep in the chest, straight out the back. Hit the floor like a burlap sack full of strawberry soy cream. Trimmed his ears and we were on our way.

"The upper floors match Nori's description. Pithing needles, chummers strung up to bleed out over draining buckets, a slaughterhouse. She got it right. We dropped the third zeke there and were out.

"Nori's a smart one and since she speaks the language she probably has a better grasp on Yak politics than I do. Tell her the tip from the job came from the Yaks. Either it was building security alerting us to something they felt that they couldn't tell their bosses about - although I doubt it because building security took us serious as a heart attack when we showed up, but at the same time didn't seem to know what was going on upstairs - or it means that someone else ratted them out. I still think it could be the Kenran-kai looking to take back their old territory in the Redmond Barrens from the Kanaga-gumi. I think the Kenran-kai wanted to make Kanaga look bad. Judging my Mr. Yukimura's death, mission fragging accomplished."

Achak exhales. "Tell her about Stake. Off the record and not for public consumption. But chummer-to-chummer, Stake's out of the game." Achak snuffles a bit. "I guess that's how it is when you're an elf though, innit? You ain't gonna die of old age, which basically leaves disease and violence as the stairways to Heaven. Stake got the violence. Live by the Ares, die by the Ares, I suppose."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (20:40:03/01-05-16)
Mercer shares what he's found with the others as they all gather together to update each other on their days. "Achak, you were Stake's man, so it's up to you how much publicity you get for the job. It's all a matter of public record anyway, what with the bounties being claimed, but that ain't exactly the same as 'Public'". Achak, still processing what Nori had discovered, outlines what Mercer can share. He composes his replies to the two messages.

<<To: fAlcon8
<<Subject: Re: Possible Security Breach
<<Message:
<<I been layin' low for months and had hoped to stay that way, taking the strategic advantage it offered, but that option's off the table now. Y'all can attach my name to the warning. We're all a wary bunch, so I don't expect folks to take it as undisputed truth, but I think I've got myself enough cred here that they'll go into jobs with eyes open and might just stay breathin'. If I can do my part to make the zeke's lives harder, I'm chalking that up under the win column. And if there's one thing Grotto1 has done for the community, it's take a bunch of paranoid, fiercely independent and generally solitary Hunters and get them to share information vital to the community. Maybe we'll get lucky and get more pieces to the puzzle from others that have thought their information too scandalous to share previously.
<<
<<Sincerely,
<<Mercer>>

<<To: n.koizumi@Write4.neo
<<Subject: Re: Hoi Chummer
<<Message:
<<
<<Your info on Sunrise has connected a number of dots for me. Anything more you can find would help. And it just so happens that while I didn't have anything to do with Century's Peak, I know who did. No names when you publish, but Stake's team was on the ground for that one. >>
He passes on Achack's summary of the events.
<<While Achak thinks that this might be the result a turf war, I am convinced that it was a trap set up for Stake and his team. Not that it couldn't be both - crafty as a dragon to kill two birds with one stone like that, and maybe more, but not out of reason for an older vamp.>>
He mulled that over for a bit. Hell, if the blood suckers have managed to get their teeth on one of them immortal elves, the world would shudder.
<<Anyway, that Iki fellah managed to get Stake, so he's out of the game. Me without a team, and a team with a vacant spot, and both determined to vengeance for our fallen, we've seen right to pool our selves. I don't know how well you and Stake got on, but I thought you oughta know, and Achak did too.
<<And if all that ain't strange, I got a loaner from the Church of all things. She's tough as nails, but you know how me and God get along. But I can't be picky under the circumstances. Still, ain't never seen the Church take an interest in Hunters, much less lend them assets to lead, so I was hoping you'd keep an ear out for what this might mean.>>
After what the Good Sister had shared, he had an uneasy feeling. Perhaps it had to do with the timing - it sounded like this Marcus guy didn't like her much, so he could see him sending her in to a trap hoping to be rid of her. If the Church and the zekes were working together - he killed that line of thought. One time, a mage Mercer had worked with had cast a spell on him that had an effect that he could only assume was just like what that old comic book hero had experienced, giving that voice that warned you of danger a megaphone. Well, his Spidey Sense was tingling now, even without any spell, but for now it was just a tingle. There was a thread there, something important, but like a scab, it was best not to pick at it. Yet.
<<I know you. I know you'll chase after this like a grayhound on race day, but I gotta ask you to be even more cautious than usual. The people that did this to Stake and I are well funded and have managed to stay out of sight for at least six months, so they're smart, and I'm guessing they really like their secrets to stay that way.
<<
<<Stay safe,
<<Mercer>>

Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (20:49:45/01-05-16)
It's at this exact point that the pair hears the vehicle pull up outside and the heavy, slow footsteps moving toward the front door. A moment later, a quick knock, and then the short, heavy form of the good sister is advancing defeatedly through the doorway. She takes off her boots, leaving them by the door, then slugs off the armor jack, sword still gecko-gripped to it, and hangs its massive weight on a hook before moving into the main room. Noticing the odd looks on the two men's faces, she puts two and two together and asks, "Are we talking about Stake? I can give you two some privacy if you'd like. I know it can be awkward trying to mourn in the presence of someone who barely knew the deceased."

After being reassured she could stay and being caught up on the new information gained from various sources, she plops herself down on the couch, her demeanor of apathy growing even stronger. "Well..." she begins with a sigh, "There may be another potential player in all of this. The good news is my assignment with the two of you has been extended indefinitely.The bad news is that my duties lie further from the realm of 'demon slayer" than they do "information gatherer." She takes a slight pause to brush her short blonde hair out of her rugged face. It really is time to get this cut again. Continuing, "I've already turned in my dossiers on both you and Stake." she says, looking at Achak. "Dossiers which my superiors in the church have deemed lacking in detail. They've requested better ones, as well as one on you, Mercer. Any other vampire hunters I might come across as well. Pity for them, I was trained in war, not words." She can see the looks of distrust coming from her two companions the deeper she gets into things, but to lie to them, even by withholding information, would be wrong. So she continues. The church knows that there's fewer and fewer bounties to be had on these demons you specialize in hunting, and so they're looking to consolidate power. They want to know who, among the hunter community is with them, and who isn't. There's no way of knowing how many other agents like me they have working under the same orders."

She looks back and forth between the two men, hoping they don't decide to try and kill her right now to plug the leak. "I'll understand if you don't feel that you can trust me anymore, but I felt you were owed the truth. I can show myself out if you'd like."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (17:53:59/01-06-16)
Achak leans back on his Kong-Wal futon, which is currently in the couch-like position. He studies Sister Rebecca as he processes her little bombshell. Papists, he mentally spits.

Or do I really care? They are flawed, certainly, as are we all. But aren't we on the same team? He chews invisible gum as he works things over.

Am I staying in this game? First Yohan, now Stake... do I have the stomach for it? Did I like smuggling better? Fewer chummers getting clipped, and those that did happened at a slower pace.

Is this where God wants me to be, doing what I'm doing? Even when doing this gets His churches shot all to hell? He hisses between his teeth at the memory and shakes his head. Sister Rebecca probably gets the impression that he's doing so based on her revelation. Achak realizes this after a beat but doesn't immediately correct the notion.

"Tell me truly, Sister, is this Marcus a Pharisee? A man who would tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but he himself is not willing to lift a finger to move them? A man who would shut the door of the kingdom of Heaven in people's faces? A man who would remove the speck in your eye without removing the log in his own?"

Achak's tone is sour but searching, seeing how Sister Rebecca responds. Her sword can stab. Can her tongue?

But, yet, there is truth in what Marcus says. The number of bounties shrinks. As supply shrinks, so must demand. The hunter community cannot continue as it has. It must decrease, or fracture, or consume itself with rivalries. Perhaps my calling is elsewhere... but not yet. Justice for Stake first, then mercy and faithfulness.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (21:03:44/01-06-16)
"Tell me truly, Sister, is this Marcus a Pharisee? A man who would tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but he himself is not willing to lift a finger to move them? A man who would shut the door of the kingdom of Heaven in people's faces? A man who would remove the speck in your eye without removing the log in his own?"

The little killer is clearly uncomfortable with the line of questioning. After a few moments spent searching for the proper phrasing, she finally settles on, "It's one thing to speak openly and factually about things that are, and quite another to suppose the weight of other men's souls." She finally makes eye contact with him again. "But I won't dodge your question. Some of those things you said are true. Some not. Some are true of all of us. "
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (21:14:47/01-06-16)
Achak stares at Sister Rebecca while he grinds his teeth.

<<@Mercer [Achak] What do you think? She's an asset and a liability. I'm not sure which side of the scale is heavier.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (23:10:06/01-06-16)
As Sister Rebecca finishes her confession, Mercer mulls over the words. In all the time he'd been with the little firebrand, he'd never gotten a bad "vibe". She seemed like one of the good ones, and her coming clean like this served to consolidate his opinion. The church, on the other hand, seemed to have placed her in a position that ran counter to her nature.


<<@Mercer [Achak] What do you think? She's an asset and a liability. I'm not sure which side of the scale is heavier.>>


Mercer ignores the question for the moment - people shouldn't be told how to feel. But they could be guided, and there were some questions that needed answering. If the answers swung the way he suspected, it might be the guidance the young man needed.


"It's brave of you to share this with us. Noble that you would risk your neck to do right by your instincts." He screwed up his face as if processing a troubling thought, though it was more for show than actual concern. "Mind if I ask what exactly the church means by 'with them'? 'Cause I ain't got no inclination to read scripture and sprinkle Holy water at these abominations."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (21:40:55/01-07-16)
"Mind if I ask what exactly the church means by 'with them'? 'Cause I ain't got no inclination to read scripture and sprinkle Holy water at these abominations."

The good sister takes a moment to think about her response. Good question from the heathen. What exactly is meant by "with them" anyway? Sometimes, I even wonder if I'm "with them" anymore. After a short pause, she finds the words. "I don't imagine the church is looking to alter anyone's techniques or methods or anything like that. Their motivation seems to be more worldly. If I had to guess, which I don't like doing, I'd say they're more interested in who is and is not willing to tithe." She looks back and forth between the pair of killers she shares close quarters with before adding, "But consider, I've been with the church my entire life, and their motives have never been shared with me. I am..."

She gazes at her holy blade across the room, half in awe and half in resignation. This weapon had been her salvation and her burden since the day she arrived at the monastery. She expects it will remain so until the day she goes to meet her lord. With a tiny sigh and a slight twinge of fanaticism lurking near the back of her thick throat, she completes her sentence.

"I am but one meager soldier for our almighty God and I but do his will."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:54:34/01-08-16)
4 DEC, 2074 1900

It's been an eventful day for Sister Rebecca, Achak, and Mercer.  The latter two have declined to shed blood in Achak's apartment, and the former is torn between loyalty to the Church, and this rag-tag group of hunters, one who could be called unorthodox at best, and the other a committed apostate.  It's a dangerous game she's playing, vampires on one hand, and internal power struggles on the other, but while trust in the Lord may not save her flesh, it could at least save her soul.

And then there's this new information to consider.  The trio has spent the last few hours discussing their next plan of action and keeping close tabs on how the shock wave rippling through Grotto1 has developed.  Despite assurances from the moderators -- led by fAlcon8 -- that they are doing everything possible to plug any leaks and investigate all allegation of TOS violations and other misconduct, a sizable number of users are vowing to abandon the site and go back to hunting the old-fashioned way.  The more moderate crowd suggests sticking with established runners who bear little chance of being compromised, which makes sense as those making the suggestion inevitably tend to be older, seasoned, and high rated users.  One thing at least that they can count on, after Mercer coming above-ground, is that their own reputation remains strong, even with the inclusion of the relatively untested Sister Rebecca.

Thinking that it may be prudent to do so, Achak and Mercer take turns scanning hunters in Seattle and Manhattan who could prove useful.  They limit the pool only to names they've seen for a long time, or those they've worked with in the past.  Luckily, Mercer recognizes a few names in Manhattan from his Denver days.

<<SN: Cleric
<<Location: Manhattan
<<User Rating: 78%
<<Specialization: Combat Medic
<<Secondary Skill Sets: Infiltration, Small Arms, Magical Support
<<Magically Active: Yes

<<SN: Pils
<<Location: Manhattan
<<User Rating: 72%
<<Specialization: Matrix
<<Secondary Skill Sets: Surveillance, Counter-Intelligence, 
<<Magically Active: No

<<SN: Flechette
<<Location: Seattle
<<User Rating: 80%
<<Specialization: Infiltration
<<Secondary skill sets: Small Arms, Hand-to-Hand Combat, Physical Security
<<Magically Active: No

<<SN: Mirana
<<Location: Seattle
<<User Rating: 77%
<<Specialization: Matrix
<<Secondary Skill Sets: Combat Medic, Drone Surveillance
<<Magically Active: No

It's taken Noiri Koizumi all afternoon and a good part of the evening, but her reply to Mercer seems worth the wait.

<<Unread Message
<<Sender: n.koizumi@Write4.neo
<<Subject: Re: Hoi Chummer
<<Message: 
<<Mercer,
<<Holy fragging drek-balls, chummer, that's gold.  Many thanks.  Keep your eye on the scream sheets for my next one; it's gonna hit like an Ares Arcon.
<<Alright, so the Sunrise office in Auburn is in the Sumner district, so I took a bet that the cameras may be working in the area.  Ding! Ding! Unfortunately, I was only able to stream, but a little after 1300 today, the 5 cars that were in the parking lot were joined by 8 more, including two Roadmasters.  They've been busy as fuck in there all day.  As I'm writing this (1900) they're still there.  I'm also including an invitation for MARKs for the link I've got watching the place, should it be useful to you.  I also pulled the blueprints, which are attached below.  Now, to be fair, their office is only one of 8 in the building, but I seriously doubt all those vehicles are there for the local KMG audit.
<<If you want, I can grab blueprints for their other offices. With what you gave me, I'm happy to provide them.  Just let me know.
<<I was also able to dig up a location for another Sunrise holding in Tacoma.  This one is solidly in Yak turf on the south side, which I thought was interesting.  It seems to be the shipping headquarters.  Blueprints there have been a total slitch to find, so I can't be much help at the moment.
<<So, how about proposition number 2, chummer?  I doubt you want this info for your interest in architecture.  So, you may be heading in, eh?  Why don't you take a member of the press with you?  I'm wiz in the 'trix, can keep my head down, and a story like this, from the frontlines, would be fraggin' nova.  Let me know, doll.
<<xoxo
<<Nori
<<Attachments:
<<Invitation for 1 MARK: Device: Renraku Sensei//774-K8-996B: Accept? Y/N
[spoiler](https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/2c/27/d1/2c27d1ab0792309e38e8bc7d0993f279.jpg)[/spoiler]
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (15:34:56/01-08-16)
Achak continues to study Sister Rebecca. She seems incapable of lying. Let's see where that leads us.

"A soldier of God's will. Tell us, Sister, how does God inform you of His will?" Achak bites back what he wants to say next. It's the problem with you Papists: you put men between yourselves and God. Luther absolved us of that silliness. Yet you still look to men when you ought to look to God.

"You have taken a vow of obedience, yes? As Christ was obedient even unto death, you are are obedient to your superiors who stand in the place of God, no? So, what then would you do if you were ordered to kill us?"



Achak accepts the MARK from Nori and checks out the stream. "So we have two Roadmasters and a bunch of other vehicles. Are they closing up shop? They can't afford to just abandon an office every time an op goes sideways, can they? Or is that part of the low-cost thing that Nori was talking about earlier?

"I think we should go put some ears on the ground to go with the eyes. We better motor though: it's a 45 minute drive. I suppose we can get dressed on the way.

"I had no idea Nori was any good in the Matrix. Seems strange: you'd think there would be more nuyen in slicing IC than there would be writing new stories. Or maybe a girl needs a cover story.

"We should let her tag along."

Edit: your/you're, God help me
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (20:20:04/01-08-16)
"A soldier of God's will. Tell us, Sister, how does God inform you of His will?"

"I am guided by prayer, the scripture, and orders from those above me in the church."

"You have taken a vow of obedience, yes?"

She nods. "I have."

"As Christ was obedient even unto death, your are obedient to your superiors who stand in the place of God, no? So, what then would you do if you were ordered to kill us?"

"Any order that goes directly against the scriptures need not be obeyed. The law of God stands higher than the law of man. Thou shalt not kill." She looks the large native in the eye, locking gaze with him and setting her jaw firmly. "I have never taken a life not undeniably and admittedly in league with Lucifer. Even in self defense." She wants to add, "Can you say the same?!" but Achak, though newly converted, is still a christian male, and must not be questioned. Perhaps he can read it in the firmness of her countenance. Perhaps not.



"I had no idea Nori was any good in the Matrix. Seems strange: you'd think there would be more nuyen in slicing IC than there would be writing new stories. Or maybe a girl needs a cover story.

"We should let her tag along."[/color]

This is the first time the tough little blonde has heard one of her partners mention their source by name. She squints her eyes and cocks her head to the side a bit."Nori? Have we been talking about Nori Koizumi this whole time?"

"Then I agree. She should come. Miss Koizumi is indeed quite skilled, perceptive as well as exceedingly intelligent. Wow." She leans back and crosses her fingers behind her head with a nostalgic look on her face. "You know, It's probably been close to three years since we've seen one another."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:58:01/01-08-16)
Achak nods curtly, satisfied with Sister Rebecca's answers.

<<@Mercer [Achak] She may be a mole, but at least she's not a backstabber.>>

He stands to go, hoping Mercer agrees with him on the need to investigate Sunrise in person.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (18:49:35/01-11-16)
Mercer listens to the Sister as she provides her best guess as to the Church's criteria for a license to Hunt. He finds he's not terribly surprised that is comes down to money. Everybody wants their cut. "So it's a protection racket? Or will the Church be providing resources - medical care, equipment and discounts, administrative support, extraction when things go sideways, and so on? Because if there's good value for my 10%, I can pretend there's an invisible man upstairs that, despite all evidence to the contrary," he fights back the cracking in his voice as memories of his family re-surface, "is claimed to love the whole lot of us. Otherwise, all I can promise is the same as I've done so far - slay the evil things, no matter whose vestments they wear. God and I have gotten along dandily for decades by staying out of each other's hair and by nominally being on the same side. If I'm going to wear His team colors, He's gotta promise more than just some intangible 'Eternal Afterlife'. Ain't never heard anyone come back to verify the accommodations." Again, he felt a twinge as he was reminded of all the ones he wished had checked back to say they were truly in a "Better Place."


<<@Mercer [Achak] She may be a mole, but at least she's not a backstabber.>>


Mercer agrees. Despite what differences he and the Church may have, Rebecca seemed to be a good person forced into an uncomfortable place. He sighs. "But you are not here to give the recruitment pitch, and despite what other motives you may have had forced on you, you are here to help solve the vamp problem. So long as we are agreed on that purpose, I think we can move forward and leave the rest of this nastiness behind us for now."


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


When the reply comes in from Nori, he relays the message and offer to the others. He ponders her offer himself, remembering the last time she had asked to join him. He'd said "no," of course - while she was undeniably talented with the Matrix, she was un-cautious and he was quite concerned that while she was great at digging up dirt, she would be in more danger than she expected should she face any real opposition. Turns out the word "no" means something entirely different in Reporterese than in most other languages he had heard because she went along anyway - virtually, of course so he couldn't really do anything about it, and didn't even know she was there until she sent him a panicked message saying she was link-locked and was concerned the decker that had done it would have her location in seconds. And when he layed into her later - after ventilating the responsible decker and saving her bacon - for disobeying his orders and tagging along against his advice, she calmly pointed out at least three points during the operation where she had - silently, of course - kept his team from meeting an unfortunate end. He wasn't sure if she was making it up or not - reporters tended to be great actors and thus great liars in order to get people to open up to them when they normally would not - but decided to let the matter lie.


Quote
Seems strange: you'd think there would be more nuyen in slicing IC than there would be writing new stories. Or maybe a girl needs a cover story.


Mercer chuckles internally before replying, "you'll have to meet her to grok it, kid, but the girl ain't in it for the nuyen."


The others were more than happy to accept her offer of help, and so after looking through video link, he sent the following reply.


<<@Nori [Mercer] Since it wouldn't do me any good to say "no" anyway, we'd be happy to have you along.>> At the very least, he'd be able to keep an eye on her to try to minimize the amount of trouble she could get in to. After sending some details on when and where to meet up, he follows Achak's lead and heads for his van.



Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (20:27:04/01-11-16)
He sighs. "But you are not here to give the recruitment pitch, and despite what other motives you may have had forced on you, you are here to help solve the vamp problem. So long as we are agreed on that purpose, I think we can move forward and leave the rest of this nastiness behind us for now."

She's in no mood to speak the gospel right now, but there is indeed, no rest for the weary as they say. With a stern, but regretful look on her face, she responds where no response is needed. "In all fairness, I am here for the slaying. But don't believe I'm not also here for the 'recruitment pitch' as you call it. I am. A man such as yourself deserves to walk next to our Lord in the afterlife and were I to spend eternity there in your absence, you would be missed."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:24:10/01-13-16)
With the theological discussion in a firm stalemate, the team suits up and piles into Mercer's Roadmaster for the trip down to Auburn.  They cross over from northern Puyallup into the Sumner district of Auburn amidst light traffic and likewise light rain.  Valley Ave. is dominated by factories still hard at belching smoke, but crossing over onto Parker shows them where the first shift workers are spending their meager time before hitting the slats they call beds.

Nori Koizumi sends a text to Mercer requesting that they meet in the Kon-Walmart parking lot, so he does a drive-by the Sunrise offices before meeting up with her.  Ms. Koizumi is waiting in the driver's seat of her Toyota Gazelle when Mercer pulls in, and she gives him a quick wave before putting the link she's been fiddling with in her pocket, and joining the crew.  She's short, plump, with her hair closely shaved on the left side, and a few tight braids tucked behind her left ear.  She has a muffler pulled up high around her neck, and a good pair of running shoes.  It looks like she came to party, should it turn to that.

Before heading over to the parking lot proper, Mercer finds a McHugh's roughly catty-corner from the office complex,and puts the Roadmaster in park.  In the Sunrise parking lot, three individuals, all males, one an ork, stand by a GMC Bulldog, trying to keep their cigarettes dry.  Their positioning is careful.  The team immediately recognizes that while they are trying to maintain an air of aloofness and appear to be just thee guys out on a smoke break, they've triangulated themselves to watch the road and sidewalk.  No doubt about it, these guys are the physical security.

Within five minutes of the team arriving, a Eurocar Westwind pulls into the parking lot.  The ork approaches the passenger side, and uses his umbrella to cover the woman who exits.  Through the rain it's hard to make out her features, but she seems olive-complected, with dark, shiny, oil-colored hair.  She assesses the men standing outside for a moment before turning to the car and saying something.  The driver then emerges, a beast of a man with a blond ponytail that hangs between his shoulder blades.  He joins the two men, while the ork escorts the woman to the door.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (20:23:12/01-13-16)
"The ork and the ponytail are awakened. Everyone else is chromed but the woman. Tail's got some headware, too."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (15:00:12/01-19-16)
Achak scans the blueprints provided by Nori. He asks Mercer to send his Fly Spy drones from some additional fact-finding.

"Sunrise is on the second floor. The front entrance doesn't have a welcome mat so we should try another route. The roof won't do unless we want to be going through the ventilation ducts.

"Actually, speaking of ducts, Mercer do you have any of those little Crawler drones? No, wait, those are the bigger ones. What about a Kanmushi, the tiny four-legged bug? No?

"Well we have a couple options anyway, depending on what our goal is and what we think we're going to find. In my mind I'm thinking this is basic recon, at least until we identify something that requires our presence in person.

"To that end, we could try to send the drones in first. If they can't get through that grate on their own then maybe we can trim a hole for them. That depends on getting to the roof though. I've got gecko gloves but in this rain they'll work less than a crippled troll on workman's comp. Other options include Sister Rebecca sending a small fire spirit to melt a hole, although the spirit will probably be none-too-pleased about getting summoned in the rain.

"If the Fly Spys won't fly then the fire exits are our best bet. We've got one camera that looks inoperative. I think I could press myself against the wall and get in a position to get through the door. I can jimmy it open or maybe Nori can open sesame. Either way, we'll probably need Nori on overwatch making sure that doing so doesn't trip alarms. She should probably get cozy in the Roadmaster just so her Toyota doesn't get burnt if things go sideways. Sister Rebecca can either come with me or stay here and provide astral oversight. Maybe cook up a spirit to help smooth my path for me though? Something to move faster, and stealthier. Mercer, maybe you want to keep tags on our amigos out front?  Keep the engine running in case we have to ¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!

"Once inside... we'll improvise. Again, I'm just thinking of getting some eyes and ears on the ground in there to see what the party is about. Some of these grunts out front look like they have their knickers in a twist. Maybe they're worked up by their boss paying a visit, or maybe there's something going down that has them sweating like strippers under stage lights."

Achak stops himself too late and glances at Sister Rebecca to see how she reacts. He's only been working with men for the last couple years, which is long enough to develop some habits that might not go over well. He's got nothing against women professionally, even if his colorful vocabulary might hint at a misogynistic streak. Note to self: check current company before scratching yourself, or belching.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (03:47:51/01-21-16)
The older man listened to the rookie's tactical assessment, and found it sound. Stake had taught him well, or perhaps he'd picked it up before Stake took him under his wing. The relationship between the kid and that gang had been niggling at him some.


But this wasn't really Mercer's area - sneak and peek was something that Shadowrunners did, not Hunters. Sure, you might sneak up on a nest, but if you were going in, you were going in heavy. Responding to his question about the smaller Kanmushi drone and/or running his Fly-Spys through the ducts, he replies in the negative.


"Sorry, son. I ain't kitted out for spookin'. The flyin' drones are for tactical awareness, not intelligence gatherin'. They can spot a tick on a neutered hound's testicles, but they ain't much for fittin' inta tight spaces - 'tain't got the software for it. They can be sneaky as black cat on a moonless night, though, if'n we can find a more suitable route to follow or if the ducts you mention are wide enough to maneuver easy." The southern color was more for Nori's sake - it made her giggle, and often eased the nerves of the troops, especially when the news was less than positive.


As for Achak heading in solo, he's wary of any member going into danger alone. He runs through scenarios in his mind should Achak be discovered. He'd be on the second floor, so getting to him, even if the front door weren't guarded, would be risky and take at least 30 seconds, probably more like a minute. That's a long time for a man to be alone against hard targets. Maybe a distraction in the front would allow him to escape, but he expected the opposition was disciplined enough to fight effectively on two fronts. No, if Achak were discovered, it'd be bad.


"If they see you after you enter the building, you'll have to stay breathin' for a minute or more all on your own - we got no evac plan shorter than that. Standing your ground would be suicide if they got more than a couple men on the inside." Mercer popped the smuggling compartment and retrieved a couple small black canisters about the size of an elongated old style C cell battery. He handed them to Achak. "This one's thermal smoke, and this one's knock-out gas. Throw them both over your shoulder as you haul ass, then either get the hell out of the building or find a defensible hidey hole. It'll improve your odds dramatically. If you still think this is a good idea, that is."


He thought about it for a moment. "'course, if you're reasonable sure they ain't got ultrasound or that astral sight, the thermal smoke mixed with your spooky-vision could even some pretty uneven odds, but I still say a dive out the second story window'd probably be safer. Now, I ain't the quietest type, but I'd prefer we find a way for at least two of us to enter the building so if things go sideways, help is a double-tap away instead of across a busy street, through a guarded door, then up a flight of stairs. Hell, if the Sister or I could at least get as far as the back door, that'd go a long way toward making me feel heaps better about sending you in alone."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:59:24/01-21-16)
Achak nods and accepts the canisters from Mercer. He's not surprised that Mercer doesn't have a lot of sneak in his game. The man seems to fit the mold of men from the CAS: loud and proud, especially the ones from the Republic of Texas. And, in Mercer's defense, it was so hard to sneak up on vampires that sometimes it was reasonable not to even bother. It was a different story with their thralls and whips though. The proper application of stealth could undermine a vampire and unbalance it, making it vulnerable. After all, what really kills the condemned: the noose or the trapdoor?

Achak looks to Sister Rebecca, who has been silent about planning. He can feel himself getting frustrated with the Sister's reluctance to contribute. Achak was used to multiple voices and perspectives, and if the Sister was only going to defer to the men then that was a potential liability. Would she correct the men if they were wrong? Achak wasn't so sure.

"Maybe I can carry an Fly-Spy inside with me, so that we don't to wander the halls in person."

Per Nori's suggestion, Achak turns off the wireless on his Ares Crusader, then sets his commlink to Run Silent.

"Alright, Sister, it sounds like you're with me then. Would you ask an angel to guide our way? Perhaps St. George would be willing to watch over us."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:28:26/01-22-16)
Achak asks Mercer for a Fly Spy to bring with him, then slips out into the light rain. He circles around the block so that he can approach the rear of the Sunrise building without being seen by the men out front nor by the camera over the fire exit in the rear. He chooses his angle of approach smartly and is practically invisible in the wet December darkness.

His ears perk up. His magically-attuned hearing - aided in no small part by his EVO EchoTM Earbuds - pick up some conversation from the parking lot on the other side of the building.

<<@Team [Achak] Getting a bit of chatter from the party out front. One of them referred to "Ms. Pachis". Nori, can we run that down to see if there are any hits? There's a suggestion that she's not pleased that she had to come down. The guy said "she" so I presume he's talking about Ms. Pachis, but it could be another female we haven't seen yet.>>

Achak listens a bit more as he's sliding along the back wall of the building, flattening himself against the plasticrete to avoid being noticed by any security cameras. His footsteps are entirely silent, allowing him to focus his attention on what the men are saying.

<<One guy asks, "So, is it true?" Another voice answers, "Yes.  Whole team.  Why the frag else would you be here?" Sounds like we might have backups to the team we aced, or semi-aced if that dumb trog Rusty let that drekhead get away. Oo, what's this. The voice that asked if it was true just said, "Whip" something something "hoop".>> >>

His mind races at the possibility of having the whip on hand. <<Having the whip would certainly make it easier to climb the beanstalk.>>

He arrives at the fire exit, confident of his successful infiltration. <<I'm in position. Nori, can we nix the fire alarm? It would deafen me up something fierce.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (22:46:24/01-22-16)
The stern faced woman listens to Achak and Mercer lay out the plan as they think it should go. Every point the two of them bring up sounds solid and so she remains silent until directly questioned.

"Alright, Sister, it sounds like you're with me then. Would you ask an angel to guide our way? Perhaps St. George would be willing to watch over us."

She nods her head briefly at him, grunting in the affirmative before opening her third eye to the heavenly half world of the Astral. Scanning the area, there are certainly more holy places to ask for divine aid, but the good sister must make due with what she's given. Reaching her voice out to the heavens, she calls on the ally she believes is most likely to help her.

"Oh, great archangel Raziel! I beg of thee; Come forth and aid me in my hour of need!" In a flash, she can feel his presence near her, she can't see him, but she can sense his wrath. He clearly wishes to be elsewhere and she can tell he'll be a bit of a strain to keep here. "Worry not, noble Archangel. I require but brief service, then you may be on your way. To begin, my friend Achak and I need to enter this den of wickedness without alerting it's watchdogs too soon. Will you hide us from the eyes of Lucifer's minions?" With her words, the struggling of the great being of light relaxes a bit, and he seems to understand her intentions are good. Confident in the abilities of the angel, she closes her third eye, falls into position behind Achak and prepares to follow him stealthily into the building.

Before they leave the car though, she asks him, "Should I bring the MGL or leave it in the trunk?"

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

With her back pressed against the rainslicked wall and the grimey water running down the back of her thick armor jacket, Sister Rebecca follows every footstep Achak makes. He's clearly superior to her when it comes to this sort of thing, despite his size. My, but he is simply massive. Underneath the visor of her helmet, she gasps a little bit at her own thoughts. Where in the devil did that come from? luckily, her mind is snapped back to the business at hand when the messages start coming in.

<<@Team [Achak] Getting a bit of chatter from the party out front. One of them referred to "Ms. Pachis". Nori, can we run that down to see if there are any hits? There's a suggestion that she's not pleased that she had to come down. The guy said "she" so I presume he's talking about Ms. Pachis, but it could be another female we haven't seen yet.>>

<<One guy asks, "So, is it true?" Another voice answers, "Yes.  Whole team.  Why the frag else would you be here?" Sounds like we might have backups to the team we aced, or semi-aced if that dumb trog Rusty let that drekhead get away. Oo, what's this. The voice that asked if it was true just said, "Whip" something something "hoop".>> >>

<<Having the whip would certainly make it easier to climb the beanstalk.>>

She frowns, but keeps moving, inch by inch behind Achak, her blade holstered but ready to come out at a moment's notice. Yeah, they're definitely talking about us. This is the right place. Good thing Nori set us straight before we got on a plane.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] What's the whip?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (15:02:32/01-23-16)
Achak asks Mercer for a Fly Spy to bring with him, then slips out into the light rain.
Mercer nods, then calls one of the drones down to meet the Adept as he circles the building, picking a spot that provides sufficient cover from prying eyes so as not to give the sneaking man away. He marks the position with an ARO, then reaches into his pockets and retrieves a small selection of RFID tags that he hands over as well. "Stealth, for tracking things of interest" he says as he indicates the two smallest ones, "Camera," as he indicates two button shaped tags, "Ultrasound," as he indicates the last two. "Just in case you come across some things that are worth keeping an eye - or ear - on."


He gives the kid a pat on the shoulder, then turns and heads back to the van as he sneaks off into the night. Well, if I'm on overwatch, might as well do it right. Let's get you all purtied up, Vera. Keeping the wepons out of sight of the outside world, he readies the sniper rifle for action and keeps Yoki and the assault rifle - he'd started referring to it as Stake - in easy reach behind the driver's seat.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:33:55/01-25-16)
Before leaving the Roadmaster, Sister Rebecca asks Achak about the MGL - the one with an underbarrel monofilament chainsaw. His eyes bug out for a moment over the thought of bringing it on what's supposed to be a sneak-and-peek, but he reconsiders. It's not a subtle weapon, but the goal is not to be seen. If we are seen, it won't matter much if it's subtle or not. He glances to Mercer, who nods, so Achak nods too.

"We have to cross the street though. It's night and it's raining, but Auburn isn't the Barrens. We can't walk around openly with MGLs. Maybe throw a coat over it until we're under cover."

Mercer shoves some assorted tags into Achak's hands before he leaves. "Good thinking," Achak says, pocketing them along with the Fly Spy.

With that, he slips on a respirator to look more like the local populace, then ducks out into the rain.



While they are sliding along the rear of the building, Sister Rebecca asks about the whip.

<<@Team [Achak] A whip is like the vampire's lieutenant. They can be bodyguards, or personal assistants, or whatever else the zeke needs them to be. If they're Awakened then the vampire will avoid feeding on them so that they don't interfere with their Gift; if they're not Awakened, then the vampire will avoid feeding on them until they find one that is Awakened. Then it's usually good night and good luck for the mundane one.

<<They're usually paid well. Very well. Some people say the name comes from the fancy cars they drive. Me, I think they got the name from politics. You know, the party enforcers that ensure voting discipline? But I could be wrong.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (07:57:07/01-25-16)
<<@Team [Achak] Getting a bit of chatter from the party out front. One of them referred to "Ms. Pachis". Nori, can we run that down to see if there are any hits? There's a suggestion that she's not pleased that she had to come down. The guy said "she" so I presume he's talking about Ms. Pachis, but it could be another female we haven't seen yet.>>

<<@Team [Nori] Sure thing.  What is that, Persian?  Arab?>>

<<@Team [Nori] nvm, it's Greek.  I'm getting the Saint Demetrios congregation, so we'll come back to this one.>>

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] What's the whip?>>

Nori looks over to Mercer, staring out the open window with Vera laid across his lap.  She bites her lip before asking, "Last I met the good sister, she was fighting free spirits, err, 'banishing demons.'  How long's she been in the vampire hunting game?"

He arrives at the fire exit, confident of his successful infiltration. <<I'm in position. Nori, can we nix the fire alarm? It would deafen me up something fierce.>>

<<@Team [Nori] On it.>>

A moment later, there's the soft click of the maglock opening, which Achak hears first as muffled static.  He opens the door and steps inside out of the rain.  Sister Rebecca follows, and the pair find themselves in a short hallway, with a stairwell to the right.  Since there's a chance, however small, that the elevators are being monitored, and this is as far as they could get from the Sunrise offices, Achak makes the call that they will ascend the stairs here, and then make their way to the other side of the building.  The interior stairwell is modest, bare concrete that should echo loudly with each step, but between the pair's skill and Raziel, they're so quiet that they can hear their own heartbeats until the HVAC unit kicks on with its dull whir.  At the top of the stairs, they're faced with a solid set of double doors, which Achak finds unlocked.  He inches them open slowly, unsure of what might be beyond, but if there are any sentries around Sunrise, they must be keeping closer to the offices themselves.

This is where things get tricky.  Beyond the double doors, a rather short hallway stretchs ahead of him, that goes maybe thirty meters, and one to his left that measures about sixty meters.  Office suites line the exterior side of the hallway, advertising CamTart Trideo streaming, and Doc Hock's Pain Management Clinic, but the AROs have been left off overnight, which Achak is thankful for, especially when it comes to CamTart and his previous loose tongue around Sister Rebecca.  The elevators, storage closets, and two small shared break rooms comprise the interior of the hallway. 

<<@Sister Rebecca [Achak] This way.>> Achak signals as he takes the shorter hallway in front of them.  Becca nods, flexing her fingers around the MGL and crosses over behind her partner and target. 

A quick peek around the corner, and Achak can see the lit up Sunrise office about forty meters down on his right.  He strains his ears, hears the hum of the vending machines in the break room, dripping from the condenser of an on-the-fritz ice machine, and he can smell the remains of a Stuffer Shack burrito in the trash can, but can discern little else from Sunrise.  Carefully, but quickly, Achak skims the hallway and ducks into the break room closest to Sunrise.  Sister Rebecca is seven meters from the bend in the hallway following him when the elevator door pings, and she scrambles back around the corner right before a man exits and turns to his left.  Patrol? she wonders as he leaves her sight.

From his new position in the break room, Achak can better hear the talking from inside the Sunrise offices.  First, he makes out the woman's voice.  "Yes, but we asked for three.  Not two and a child. . . Because it doesn't make any sense, that's why.  Worse, I hear she was reluctant. . . We don't pay you to go knocking off orphans in Riga, do you understand? . . . Good.  It would be a shame if Omo had me pop your spells like so many grapes underfoot and lash you to an olive tree at sunrise. . . Yes, the other shipment was intact.  Bravo.  Would you like to take credit for their training as well?  If I wanted to hear boasts for successes and excuses for failures, I would hire more shadowrunners."  In a much louder voice she adds, "Isn't that right, Iki?"

"But no, I'm on a link with you because you are supposed to have some honor, and you are supposed to KNOW THE FUCK WHAT YOU ARE DOING!  So, here is what is going to happen now.  What?  Let me call you back.

"What fucking what?"

"Uh, excuse my interruption, Ms. Pachis," a man's voice breaks in.  It's timbre is high, probably stress-induced, and it carries the whiff of a CAS accent.  "I'm just, uh, I'm just about done here.  You said to let you know as soon as--"

"Well, better late than never, eh?  And you've properly wiped the archives?" the woman cuts in.

"Yes, ma'am," the man says.

"Good.  Given the pace, I trust that you're thorough."

"About the timing, ma'am, I'm sorry.  We, uh, we assumed that--"

"You heard my conversation, yes?" she asks, coyly.

"Umm, yes, ma'am, I mean, I wasn't trying to listen in, but,"

"But you heard it.  Good.  Do you want to continue with your present line of thought?"

There's a pregnant silence as the man considers his options, before responding, "No, ma'am."



Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (15:46:47/01-26-16)
Nori looks over to Mercer, staring out the open window with Vera laid across his lap.  She bites her lip before asking, "Last I met the good sister, she was fighting free spirits, err, 'banishing demons.'  How long's she been in the vampire hunting game?"
The grizzled old Hunter turns his head from the window he's looking out to face the decker. "By my count, 'bout 48 hours" he says, smiling briefly before turning back to his window. He ponders her condition the previous day at the hands of a spirit and thinks that perhaps Infected are a better pursuit for the grenade wielding Woman of God - not the least reason of which would be that Infected were far more deserving of the title of "Demon" than any Free Spirit he'd yet met. Of course, he could count them on one hand and still have three fingers to spare, so he'd have to reserve judgement for now.


He tasks the remaining flying drone to circle the building, pointing its laser microphone at the windows of the second floor listening for any conversations of interest.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (21:14:04/01-26-16)
She can feel the weight of the MGL pressing against her lower back, still gecko-gripped to her armor jack as she flattens herself against the wall and tries her hardest not to breathe. This one will not be talked down like the last one who caught me. If he comes this way, there will be blood. She pushes the thought from her mind, concentrating instead on listening to his footprints. With a mix of relief and concern she hears them moving away from her, but toward Achak. She holds position, but sends a brief message to her fellow trespasser.

<<@Achak [Sister Rebecca] Orders?>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:16:03/01-27-16)
Achak pauses to listen. He fires off a series of message to the team via DNI.

<<@Team [Achak] Some interesting conversation here. Sounds Pachis is on a comm call. She "asked for three" and isn't happy with getting "two and a child", especially a "reluctant" child. She says she's not paying to knock off "orphans in Riga". I don't know where that is. Sounds like she's an authority figure for sure. Maybe the whip?>>

<<She's making a reference to "Omo" having her "pop your spells" and "lashing you to an olive tree at sunrise". Sister, you said she appeared mundane? We might need to consider the possibility that she's Awakened, with masking metamagics. Whips are usually Gifted.>>

<<She says the "other shipment was intact." Not sure if that was the painting or something else. More zekes? She mentions "their training" in the context of the shipment. Oo, what's this ... Sounds like she just shouted at Iki and called him by name! So that big, dumb brute did let him go. Never trust a trog with a sensitive job.>>

His hearing alerts him that a patrol is coming. Sister Rebecca asks for orders.

<<I'm going to try to hide in the supply closet. Nori, can you get the lock? If not, I'll do it.>>

<<If I toss the Fly Spy can Mercer or Nori keep an eye on it, maybe direct it to someplace discrete? The halls are pretty bland up here. It might stand out if it's not tucked away in a corner, but obviously we want to keep ears on this conversation. We need to decide if we want to intercept Pachis and, if so, how.>>

<<Sister, please stay out of sight and have Raziel keep tabs on the patrol. If the patrol gets overly suspicious or seems to be onto something, ask Raziel to confuse his thinking.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (23:53:31/01-27-16)
Quote
"By my count, 'bout 48 hours."

"Oh," Nori says.  "I think she'll be well-suited to it.  Damn it's good to see you alive, Mercer.  You know we should really catch up and finish that interview sometime."

Mercer's Fly Spy hangs above the heads of the oblivious sentry's heads, trying to get a bead on the Sunrise windows through the rain.  At first there's nothing, then switching to another room, muffled, staticy speech.  He pulls the drone in a little closer, and things become more clear.

"Hold still ya big baby." It's a woman's voice, low and almost sultry.

"Have you ever taken an explosive round to the fraggin' cheek?"  The second voice is still muffled, though more as though the speaker is talking through gauze, but Mercer recognizes the raspy undertone of Ikiryo after he was shot.

"I think that's the wrong question," the woman replies.  There's a pause, and Mercer can imagine the little shadowrunner shrugging his shoulders.  "The real question," she goes on, "is how did you lose a stand-up fight, five against two?"

"I said there was another guy.  Tagged the troll with a fraggin' sniper rifle as he came in the door," Ikiryo protests.

"Oh, so we're inept as well as weak then.  You sure know how to charm a girl."

There's a long pause, and Mercer is just about to move the fly spy to the next window, when the woman speaks back up.  "It's not going to be all that bad.  They wouldn't have me patching you up, if they just wanted you geeked.  Though, no offense, hun, but I don't think you're going to be invited into the family."

"You can keep it.  It's the punishment I'm worried about.  Not much left of me to take."

"I'll say, dear.  And they made you wait so long for me to patch you up. . .  Look up now," She says much softer.

"I don't know how many times they wanted the same story.  Do you think they'll still want me in Manhattan?"

"How would I know?  I'm just the low woman on the totem pole." she replies.  "Ms. Pachis might be making the delivery herself.  I heard --"

"Isn't that right, Iki?" Mercer hears a second woman's voice this time, fainter and farther away, though a bit shrill.  Shortly after, texts start coming in from Achak.  Nori gives Mercer a look and is opening her mouth to speak, when yet another voice is picked up by the drone, and Mercer holds up a finger.

"Hey, I've got a few silent running devices that don't appear to be moving, Is anybody running anything wireless that I don't know about?" a man says.

"What the frag are you looking at me for?" Ikiryo says.

"you heard him," the woman answers.  "Give it a look."  Back to Ikiryo she says, So, about these other runners you were with"

<<I'm going to try to hide in the supply closet. Nori, can you get the lock? If not, I'll do it.>>

<<@Achak [Nori] Can you take care of it, dear?  I'm about to hit a dead zone and lose my signal for a moment.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (16:39:11/01-29-16)
Achak takes the Fly Spy out of his pocket. He orders it to run silent while slaving it to his commlink. He makes sure that he grants MARKs to Nori (or that Mercer does) before leaving it in the dark alcove of the break room, where it can hopefully remain undetected until the sentry passes or until Nori takes control of it. He appreciates drones but their operation makes him nervous. He is fairly certain that he would pilot it directly into a wall or otherwise crash it were he in control.

¥2,000 right there. Don't drop it. I know it can fly but I don't want to drop it anyway. Maybe I should get one of those crawlers. At least those won't go banging around if you give them bad directions. Can't be harder than driving a car, right?

He then soundlessly glides over to the supply closet, removing his tools from the pocket of his lined coat along the way. The work is quick; the maglock case pops off easily and - after checking for an anti-tamper circuit - there's little effort in overriding the lock and opening the door.

After peeking inside, Achak quickly reassembles the maglock case and signals to Sister Rebecca.

<<@Sister Rebecca [Achak] We have a hidey-hole. Feel free to join me unless you see a place which you feel is secure. Please ask Raziel to keep an eye on the sentry.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:16:47/02-01-16)
Sister Rebecca joins Achak, and the door clicks in behind her.  The janitor's closet walls are lined with cleaners and a small handful of drones waiting on their chargers.  A utility sink in the corner drips occasionally, and Achak patches in the feed from Mercer's Fly Spy.

"-- Backup?" It's Pachis' voice.

"Yes, ma'am," the man with the CAS accent answers.

"Leave it by the door, then finish up.  I'd rather not be standing around when business opens tomorrow."

"Yes, ma'am.  Packing up now, ma'am."

Out front, Mercer and Nori see the man with the shoulder-length ponytail check his commlink and then enter the Sunrise offices.  Through the Fly Spy they continue their eavesdropping on Ikiryo's conversation.

"Now, these other runners," the woman prompts.

"It's like I told them, two went down and won't be getting back up.  The hunters let the other two go." Ikiryo says.

"Like just walk out the door?" the woman asks.

"Yes."

"But not you?"

"It's like I said, they made it personal with me"

"And you survived by the skin of your teeth." the woman says sarcastically.

"Look, I'm not making a play here."

"Of course not, Iki.  You're not nearly as duplicitous as those other shadowrunners."

"I'm not that stupid," Iki says.

"Ms. Pachis," the woman says, verbally straightening herself up.

"What's your read," Ms. Pachis says.

"He's telling the truth,"

"What the?  I mean, thank you finally, but seriously, you were--"

"Enough, Ikiryo," Ms. Pachis says.  "And he really doesn't know where to find them?"

"The runners or the hunters, no ma'am." the woman answers.

"Ok, Ikiryo.  You have forty-eight hours to take care of Talita and this Tiny fellow. I'll allot 65,000¥ for any bounties, should tha suitably grease the wheels, as it were.  Gavin, what do we have on the hunters?"

"Uh, what?  I'm uh," Mercer recognizes the voice of the man who was talking about their icons, potentially.

"Gavin, the hunters?"

"It's just that --"

"Gavin!  The hunters," Ms. Pachis insists.

There's an audible sigh, before the man speaks.  "Well, let me see here.  We have Achak and an unknown female, no trideo or biometrics or anything aside from Ikiryo's description.  And then we have Mercer, he was the wildcard, and the one who's been making the stink on Grotto1."

"Mercer, Mercer," Ms. Pachis muses.  "Why does that name sound familiar?"

"In the Grotto1 reports, it said he was the survivor of one of our bait and tags." Gavin answers.

"Whose bait and tag?" Ms. Pachis asks cooly.

A moment of silence comes across the airwaves before Ms. Pachis speaks again.  "Ikiryo, twice!?  Twice you frag the basilisk right in the hoop.  I cannot --"

"Hey, I didn't know it was Mercer!  I swear!  I left that whole team in a pile of rubble three meters thick.  Ms. Pachis, no!  I'm sorry.  I didn't, I couldn't, I mean," Ikiryo lets out a momentary shriek that is soon reduced to a low gurgling sound, and then silence between irregular gasping breaths and whimpers.

A minute-and-a-half passes in silence besides the sounds of shuffling office equipment.  Achak moves the fly spy around to the other hall when he hears the approaching sentry, and later hears the elevator door chime, and then the door to Sunrise open and close. 
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (05:22:55/02-02-16)
Mercer listens to the conversations with growing anger. These people, these members of metahumanity, had willingly allied with the most twisted abominations the Infection had to offer. Traitors to their own kind, and supporters of the heinous acts the monsters carried out daily, he felt the same hot rage that he felt when faced with the go/no-go before taking a nest.


The building was a fortress, and this was a populated area. That, and there were no verified Infected present. It would be asking for trouble to try anything here - even if they could overcome the odds here, law enforcement would be on scene in short order and they would not look kindly on Hunters using force, lethal or otherwise, on metahumans. The uneasy acceptance most jurisdictions maintained with the Hunter community only extended so far, and he was pretty sure this crossed the line.


But even as he considered all the reasons they shouldn't act, a plan was half forming in his mind. What if the other team started it? When law enforcement started asking questions, the story that they were simply here to investigate a potential lead and the other team went violent without provocation would possibly be just far enough on this side of the line that the law might give them the benefit of the doubt. And, if it were true, then it would be all that much easier to sell. So, the question that remained was then how to both even the odds as well as force the others into taking the first shot. He strongly suspected that simply pulling into the parking lot of the Sunrise offices would be enough to get them shooting, but it didn't do much for bettering his team's odds of survival. He needed some of the, alive. not Iki, of course - he'd led them to the next link in the chain and so his usefulness had ended, but the woman he was talking to could be useful. Of course, if she was awakened, keeping her restrained for questioning would be tough - he wasn't kitted out for torture. His usual MO was to find the nest and take out the nest, not take prisoners and ask them where the next nest was. Vamps tended not to keep up on where other vamps hung their hats unless there was a power struggle, then those things tended to work themselves out until there was only one vamp nest again.


These were definitely new waters he was wading into. His mind drifted to the number they'd gotten from Iki's commlink. It likely rang one of the people in that building. What could he say to that person that might make them behave irrationally or make it tactically useful for them to split their team? How could he use that to improve his team's position? He could probably get them to put Iki out of the world's misery simply enough, which would be one less person to worry about. But that left two in the parking lot, and at least three others in the offices, plus at least one security guard that probably worked for the building and not for Sunrise - he was an innocent bystander, but one that could be a problem. Achak was stealthy, and Mercer wondered if he was capable of eliminating the guard - non-lethally - without raising any alarms.


He waits for Nori to get her gear back online, then asks her if she's reasonably sure their comms are still secure. He waits for her thumbs up then messages the team.


<<@Team [Mercer] Other than the security guard, they all seem dirty. I don't like our odds of victory here, but I don't think an opportunity like this is going to fall in to our lap again. I'm looking for options, but before we do anything, the guard has to be taken out of the fight - alive. Preferably without alerting anyone.>>


He absently strokes Vera while waiting to see what his team says. He thinks of using the call with Iki's Johnson to get them focused on Mercer in his van, then have Achak and Becca attack from behind. Or maybe use the diversion to eliminate any resistance still in the building and use search the offices for intel.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (15:28:29/02-02-16)
Achak listens to the feed that Mercer pipes through. So, they know who I am. Shouldn't be a surprise. Maybe I should be flattered.

<<@Team [Achak] Agreed on the opportunity. They have numbers but we have the element of surprise.>>

Achak stops to think for a second if there's any reasonable possibility that this could be a giant trap. It's possible that it could be some highly elaborate lure, but he doubts it.

<<I'd wager money that the security guard is one of them. There's no chance that they'd let an Auburn rent-a-cop walk around freely, hearing what we just heard. If this place has an after-hours guard, I guarantee you they sent him to McHugh's for a dinner break.>>

Achak takes a breath, tries to think tactically. How would Stake handle this?

<<Either we tag and track them somewhere private, or we do it now and race the KE boys.>>

Is there a third way?

<<Or we can make a play for the case. Maybe make them come to us. But I'm not sure that gives us any more control of the situation than we have right now.>>

Achak does a mental tally:

There could be some overlap in that list, but worst case scenario - and Stake always planned around worst case scenarios - was that there were up to seven inside in addition to the two outside. Achak wasn't worried about Mercer, but he and Sister Rebecca would have their work cut out for them. Even if Nori distracts the decker, and Raziel makes us three instead of two, that's still six-on-three inside. Maybe I drop the security guard without triggering an alarm, maybe I don't. Maybe I get a second before they have their wits about them. That's still four-on-three.

<<I'm not sure there's a subtle way to do this>> Achak finally comms, looking back at Sister Rebecca with her MGL. He turns his attention back to the Fly Spy, trying to get it tucked away from the circling sentry.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Poindexter on (22:57:59/02-02-16)
"Raziel, pay close attention to that sentry nearest my friend and I and report his actions to me. Soon, you may leave."

In two heart beats and three quick steps she's slipped her small armored frame into the hidey hole with her giant companion. No sooner is she inside than he slips the door shut behind them.

"He nears you, but does not suspect you."

She holds her breath, motionless next to the large and comforting form of Achak for a few tense moments waiting for the all clear from the archangel. Clutching the handle of her mighty blade in one hand, she finally allows herself a small exhale when it finally comes.

"He has passed you."

What now?

The giant gives a small and subtle wave of his hand, listening in on the conversation Becca had been neglecting to pay attention to until just now. Her jaw sets firmly into her head and she grinds her teeth together as she listens. They're in league with the dark prince. Her blood begins to run cold and a small, but growing part of her is just itching to burst out of the storage closet to tear these blasphemers into bits. She's actually a bit happy to hear Mercer and Achak discussing making the attack now, rather than later. She listens as they discuss options and finally weighs in herself.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] I say we hit them right now. They'll never see it coming. Get a little recompense for yesterday at Holy Trinity.>>

Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:12:10/02-03-16)
While the team comms back and forth over their potential assault, Mercer's drone picks up more conversation from inside the office.  It's the woman with the sultry voice.  "Well, that was a waste of time."

"It had to be done," Ms. Pachis says.  "One failure we could overlook, but Ikiryo must have allowed himself to be tracked to Seattle.  Gavin, where do we stand on Grotto1?"

"Oh shit," Nori says from inside the van.

"Gavin!" Ms. Pachis voice crackles over the speakers.

<<@Becca [Nori] Reboot now!>>

From inside the closet, Sister Rebecca drops the MGL, which hangs suspended by its gecko grip on the front of her armor, and she goes for the link, holding down the power button and waiting for the hard reset.  Come on, come on!

"Ghost damnit, fraggit, slitch fuck shit!" Gavin whines.  "Do you really want to strategize right now?  I just fucking lost it.  There are icons.  I'm getting reads on weapons, and there's somebody out there with a deck, and --"

"You will hold your tongue," Ms. Pachis warns.

"We've lost our dummy accounts, and can't monitor in real time.  Intelligence brokering will put us fourteen to twenty-four hours behind real-time posting," Gavin rattles off.  "Now, can I go back to doing my job?"

At the sound of the elevator's door chiming, Achak pulls the drone back into the far hallway, and sees a tall, muscular human with a blond ponytail approach the Sunrise office door and slot a maglock passkey.  He opens the door, steps inside, and grabs the briefcase before saying, "Will we be leaving now, Ms. Pachis?"  The man steps further inside before saying something else, something that the drone can't quite pick up on, but may be a surprised, "Oh."

Achak estimates that the patrolling guard is just about opposite them on the hallway now.  He's kept to the top floor, and this will be his second pass.

Back in the van, Nori confides in Mercer, "This guy's pretty good.  I'm not specced for combat, and uh, I don't really like going hot sim.  If we go for it, I'll do what I can to try to slow this guy down, but I doubt I can brick him."

Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:49:07/02-04-16)
Achak can't help but smile at the good Sister's eagerness to engage. He had been prepared to withdraw and track from a distance, biding his time, but maybe their current situation was as advantageous as it would ever be.

"Things will escalate quickly, but stay soft until things get loud," he counsels.

He quickly paws through the bottles of chemicals and cleaning supplies, hoping to find something flammable that might be useful.

<<@Team [Achak] There's a metal case they have with them. My bet is that it's the next antiquity to use as bait. Let's not get ourselves killed for it, but it might be a nice infusion to our war chest.>>

"This is Auburn," he says to Sister Rebecca. "We'll have Knight-Errant within five minutes of the first explosion. Once that happens, we should be out in sixty seconds or less."

He thinks about the sentry approaching from behind.

"We'll need a guardian angel to even the odds. Is Raziel up to the task or should we pray anew?"

He sees Sister Rebecca fumble to reboot her commlink and knows that the timeline might have been accelerated again.

"Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong."

He figures the cat must be out of the bag, so he switches on the wireless for his Ares Crusader, setting it to run silently. He palms his popper of Jazz, raising it to his mouth with a rakish grin for the good Sister.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (04:21:23/02-04-16)
I was nice to see, or rather hear, Iki get what he deserved, but they were discovered, which meant that the time for stealth was just about done.


He turns to face Nori as he reaches into his jacket. "I'm glad you decided to tag along, ladybug. Keep 'em off the others and call out targets if you can - I'd like to give you total matrix dominance if you get my meaning. And I have something that might make your job a bit easier." He pulls out the area jammer and activates it, adding the personas of his teammates to its exclusion list.


<<@Team [Mercer] We're made. Fight or flight, your call, but Nori and I will make some noise up front to keep them off ya for a few seconds anyway. If y'all decide on fightin' I'm pretty sure the suitcase is blast proof, Sister. And try to keep one of 'em alive, if'n you can.>>


He takes a quick look around to make sure that there is no obvious sign of Johnny Law and that the civilian landscape is manageable while readying his gear.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:40:55/03-01-16)
Achak slips out of the supply closet.

<<@Team [Achak] Getting into position. On my mark.>>

He silently moves across the hallway to the doorway of the break room, figuring he can use the doorway for partial cover.

<<Sister, have Raziel address the guard on patrol. Wait for my signal.>>

He recalls Mercer's Fly-Spy so that it won't be caught in the blast radius of Sister Rebecca's grenade, should she fire one.

The Jazz makes him practically vibrate in place. The three seconds it takes Ponytail to walk out the door might as well be three hours.

After an eternity, the man steps through the doorway. Achak waits squares up his smartlink reticle on the man's vitals.

<<Mark.>>

He sends the mental command to fire. The armor-piercing bullets slam into the man.

<<Target still up. Re-engaging.>>

Achak fires off another burst. The man twists and the bullets simply tear up the fringes of his outfit. The drug-addled Achak watches the man's ponytail swing back and forth hypnotically. The ponytail reminds him of his crush, Lola. The man's ponytail made it feel like he was shooting Lola. He unconsciously wonders if that's making him miss.

He tries again. Achak is a sharpshooter less than 10 meters away, but still can't manage to tag the man again. He grinds his teeth, inwardly sighing at his own incompetence, and decides to call in the boom.

<<Target still up. Good Sister, lay an egg on him.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (10:54:21/03-02-16)
Sister Rebecca kicks open the door of the janitor's closet, leveling her grenade launcher toward the big man in the ponytail.  There's an audible thump as the launcher sends it payload over the man's head and then an explosion, too close for comfort for the good Sister.  The glass in the windows shatter, sending shrapnel into the hall, and the sound of the blast is amplified in the office hallway.  The man, or parts of him and his briefcase anyway, are scattered around the doorway, and along the elevator door itself across the hall.

It sounds as though there's a commotion within the office itself, which is to be expected, but over the ringing in his ears, Achak can't be sure.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (00:58:41/03-03-16)
<<@Team [Achak] On my mark.>>


Mercer hoisted Vera up and steadied her on the open window of the Roadmaster, sighting down the barrel at one of the two goons still out front, keeping his profile as low - and discreet - as he could. Measuring his breathing, he waited for Achack to give the go as first one second, then another pass in silence. This was when people's attention started to stray and they could lose their edge, so he took a moment to inject some more energy into the moment.


<< @Team [Mercer] Keep sharp and hit fast, amigos. Stay focused and we'll all be watching the sun come up tomorrow.>>


The distraction caused him to lose his aim for a moment, but he started to regain it almost instantly. Good thing, as Achak chose that moment to drop the hammer.


<<@Team [Achak] Mark.>>


Mercer confirmed that the man's head was still center sight - at this range the bullet drop and wind shear would be negligible making for an easy shot - and gave the mental command to fire. Vera spoke softly, though the crack of the bullet breaking the sound barrier was unmistakable. Similarly, the armor piercing round left a barely noticeable hole in the man's face - the size of a small birthmark, perhaps - but the eruption of gore as the the deformed projectile and accompanying shockwave exploded out of the back of the man's head was obvious. He wasted no time watching the lifeless body collapse as vital matter sprayed from it and instead set his sights on the remaining man, who did in fact appear to be momentarily stunned by the fate of his partner.


<<@Team [Achak] Re-engaging.>>


Mercer lined up the shot and again Vera bucked quietly against his shoulder as the bullet raced at super-sonic speeds toward his target. The guard came to his senses and tried to find cover from Mercer, but it was too little, too late. The bullet finds the man's throat, severing the spinal column, the artery, and the windpipe. Which condition the man succumbed to first was academic, and his body collapsed. Mercer pulled Vera back into the van and commed the team.


<<@Team [Mercer] Two in the front are down. Also, heads up, got some chanting in the office, might be spellcasting - or summoning. >>


Time to provide some close support. Mercer briefly reflected on the screwed up series of events that transitioned him from slaying Infected to slaying the two metas rapidly cooling on the ground. Sure, they were working for Infected, almost certainly of their own free will and with full knowledge of what their employers were, but it still rubbed him the wrong way. And he was pretty sure that the Star wouldn't see things his way with the small amount of evidence they had so far accumulated. He risked a glance at Nori to see how she was holding up - he doubted that she had expected to be party to a mass murder when she signed up for the night's activities. Not much for it now but to make sure we live through this. And hope that that briefcase has something in it that makes this all worthwhile.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:53:23/03-08-16)
Achak steps back around the corner of the break room just in time for Sister Rebecca to kick the supply closet door open and launch a grenade down the hallway. The explosion is unnervingly close to Achak, and the shockwaves rattle his brains. His ears ring with a high-pitched howl.

<<@Team [Achak] Sister, excellent shooting. An update on Raziel, if you please.>>

He spins back around the corner and advances down the hallway at a trot. He glances behind him to make sure the guard hasn't come up from behind, then stops at the broken glass windows before Sunrise's office door. Quickly leaning around the corner, he spies an ork who is maybe two dozen meters away. His hyper-attuned senses also pick out the unmistakably dead Ikiryo as well as a young woman drawing a pistol.

Achak starts to get a hot sensation at the back of his head, where his neck meets his skull...
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:02:34/03-08-16)
Achak's magical senses give him a sense of foreboding.  It's as if the mana in the area is rushing at him like an oppressively hot wind; he can feel is flushing his face, and the blood in his veins screams at the wrongness of it all.  As Sister Rebecca moves forward to claim what's left of the briefcase, a spirit begins to take form between them.  Its feet are cloven hooves, which singe the carpet beneath it, giving off the noxious odor of singed plastics.  At the knee the matted and bloody goat legs give way to bare tendons and muscle that pop and crack as the creature turns itself at an impossible angle to regard Achak.  Its torso and arms look human enough, save for the bloody maw that opens from his sternum to stomach, its teeth easily fifteen centimeters long, crooked, rotting, and spitting blood while a meter-long reptilian tongue hisses from within.  At each shoulder sits a dull white pupil-less eye.  Long arms give way to even longer fingers, which look practically formless, as if there is no bones within to hold there shape, and most disturbing of all is the beast's head, which is devoid of any facial features.  It looks as though a thin layer of rotting ochre-colored flesh was stretched across an open pustule, with thin strands of off-white hair trailing down its back.

"Lloryddin bak tur," the maw spits as the spirit approaches the Amerindian. 
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:45:55/03-10-16)
The appearance of the spirit sets off Sister Rebecca like a rocket. With one hand she attaches her MGL to her back via its gecko grip while with the other hand she draws the Sword of Gabriel, racing forward into the fray.

"The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies!" she bellows as she charges. "You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth!"

Achak, alarmed and jumpy from the drugs, fires a wild reaction shot with his Ares Crusader, which spits out a crudely-aimed burst that misses the abomination and slams into the ceiling.

The machine pistol doesn't have the stopping power for this, he thinks as he drops it on its sling. In an instant, he has his gunstock war club out of its concealed sheathe beneath his lined coat. He uses the motion of drawing it to deliver his first blow, swinging down in a heavy arc.

The sharpened edge of the war club cuts deeply, bursting one of the pupil-less eyes on its shoulder. In a Jazz-fueled rage, Achak yanks the club out and spins in a tornado like a blender. The club catches the obscenity in the bloody maw that spans its stomach. Tearing through the demon, the magical blow bashes out five teeth and severs its long reptilian tongue, sending it slapping against the opposite wall. The goat legs drop to their knees as the cloven hooves continue to sizzle. Collapsing in a heap, the disrupted spirit returns to whatever foul metaplane produced it.

Achak gives Sister Rebecca a wide-eyed stare, his pupils dilated from the fiend and the pharmaceuticals.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:19:43/03-15-16)
When Achak turns his eyes back to the Sunrise office the ork is gone, as is the woman from inside the suite.  In the ork's place is a man running toward the conference room.  He's ducked low with close-cropped red hair and an anonymous-looking gray suit.  Under his arm he's carrying a weapon of some kind, but from the angle, Achak can't tell what it is, as the man heads for the cover of the conference table. 

He swings his gaze back behind him to check his six to find that the sentry has rounded the corner, if just barely.  He's maybe eighty meters away with a slung SMG at the ready.  He's wearing a black suit with white piping under the arms and a black matte ballistic mask.

Outside, Mercer watches as an arc of blue light passes through one of the intact windows of the office suite and over his head.  It erupts behind him and tendrils of lightning surround the van.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (13:51:06/03-15-16)
Mercer mentally grabs the reins of the van and floors it forward, dodging the firehydrant as he guides the van over the sidewalk and off the curb in to the street. Almost immediately, an icon appears on his AR, a flashing red icon in the Sunrise offices that looks like man in a ski mask hunched over a keyboard and monitor - circa last century. How old does she think I am? Mercer muses to himself, but the thought doesn't delay his reaction. He hoists Vera from her resting place and maneuvers her out the window in a practiced action - it wasn't the first time he'd used the armored structure of the Roadmaster as a firing platform. Relying on reflexes and experience, he brings the long barrel up and when his smartlink indicates that it has a firing solution, he commands the rifle to fire, sending the dense projectile through the armored windows and into the icon. The shot connects neatly with the AR image, and he hopes that it has done so with the physical body of the decker as well.


He begins to pull Vera back in, only allowing himself the briefest moment of self-congratulation as he checks his six, when light erupts across the sky, striking near the rear of the vehicle and growing to encompass it. Holy sh- is as far as he gets before the painful prickles of lightning begin to envelop him.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (15:45:31/03-17-16)
Achak figures that the harried sentry poses less of a threat than what he's been hearing -- and seen -- from within the Sunrise offices proper.  He darts inside, scooping the briefcase into his hand as glass snaps under his feet, and vaults the reception desk in order to take cover from the redhead in the gray suit.  As he lands he finds himself face-to-face with the ork.  He's tall and almost as broad as some trolls Achak has seen, his raincoat still dripping water, which sprays out in a light fan as he flips the jacket back and produces a half-meter length of blue steel which he telescopes into a 2.5 meter staff. 

Achak begins to right himself from the jump as the ork grins, and takes a swing.  "Away with you, nighthawker!" he says as he tries to catch Achak with an upward swing to the chin. 

In the hallway, the sentry raises his SMG and fires at Sister Rebecca as she takes cover around the corner of the hallway.  His shots miss by at least a meter, tattooing the far wall of the office complex, as Raziel tails him cursing the minions of Satan.  The Sister breathes a heavy sigh as she readies her grenade launcher. 

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] Raziel is seeing to his work.  May all His enemies be overwhelmed with shame and anguish.>>

Outside, as Mercer approaches, a desk erupts from the Sunrise office and crashes down on the parking lot below, splintering and heaving as it is disgorged of its contents -- pens, files, datachips, and a consule that sparks up briefly before going dead in the rain.  Keeping his head about him, Mercer eases the van to the right in order to avoid the wreckage as he makes his way onto the parking lot. 

Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (19:30:45/03-24-16)
Achak doesn't have any time to contemplate the significance of "nighthawker"; he needs to deal with this ork and this long staff that's racing up for Achak's jaw.

Luckily Achak has his own club at the ready. He swings it in place to catch the upward blow. He parries the metal staff and feels it crackle with magical energy. Between that and the ork's intensely-dilated pupils - which Achak recognizes from his own drug habit - he begins to grow alarmed.

He releases the ork's staff, jumping back to let the trapped staff fly upward. Achak tosses the metal case to the side and steps forward to swing his own club into the ork's gut like a baseball bat. The blow connects but the ork looks less than impressed.

The conference room erupts with another explosion. Behind the receptionist's desk and wall, Achak and the ork are unfazed, but the concussive wave forces them apart by a step. Achak's ears, already sensitive from the earlier explosion, continue to howl unhappily.

Achak uses the extra step to build a bit of extra momentum as he swings again, this time for the ork's face. The taller ork throws his shoulder in the way, intercepting the blow as it bounces off his deltoid.

<<@Team [Achak] Got my hands full!>> he comms as he tries to step out of the way of the ork's counterstrike.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (10:51:14/03-30-16)
The ork takes another half step back, twisting to the side so that Achak can see his profile.  He comes back with a low swing, and Achak pulls one leg back, but is caught on his rear knee, which sends him to the ground hard, taking the wind from him.  "Ooph."  The ork smiles, twirling his staff, those bloodshot eyes boring into Achak.

In the hallway, Sister Rebecca hears the sound of breaking glass.  She rounds the corner, to see that the sentry is now gone, though her spiritual link to Raziel tells her that he's still near, and still under the spirit's influence.  Shifting her attention to the more pressing business of who's in the Sunrise offices, she looks for signs of movement and metas, but no one else enters her line of sight.

<<@Team [Achak] Got my hands full>>

The good sister fires up her underbarrel chainsaw, and walks into the Sunrise office, ready to help her comrade.

Outside, Mercer is fast approaching the office building, still going as fast as the van can manage.  Another second or two, and it will be time to slam on the brakes right at the front door.  There's a lot to keep track of, but he sees the two women from within the office move toward one of the interior walls, breaking his line of sight with the drone.  In the next moment, he sees a Knight Errant patrol car with sirens blaring turn onto the main street and begin to howl right toward the office complex.

Drek!  How did they get here so fast?!
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (17:31:27/04-01-16)
Swerving past the debris in his path, Mercer comms the team:
<<@Team [Mercer] Decker should be down. I'll be at the front door shortly.>>
Through the drone hovering by the hole in the building's glass, he can see the two forms edge away from the opening and back into the darker recesses of the room until the drone loses track of them. Mercer has no doubt that they are still close enough to look out and probably throw around some more Hoodoo. He mentally commands the van to roll up all windows and lock all the doors (except the driver's) to provide a safe haven for Nori. It is then that he catches the flashing lights of a Knight Errant cruiser.
Drek! How did they get here so fast?!
It seemed possible, if they had arrived in a VTOL, but a cruiser? It beggared belief. He couldn't rule out the possibility that this was some magic trick.
<<@Team [Mercer] Heads up, we've got Johnny Law on scene.>>
This would limit the toys he could bring unless he wanted to end some badges, which he certainly did not want to do. They were already on the most nebulous of legal footing as is. Could he play his team off as private security, on scene in response to an alarm and try to paint the others as intruders? If none of them were around to speak, it might work, but they'd all have to burn a SIN since the ruse wouldn't survive a call to anyone connected to Sunrise. The other options were equally unpleasant - a gun battle or chase with KE would eventually bring more to the scene and could require them to go on the run. He'd just spent six months laying low and wasn't looking forward to doing it again. And those options didn't have a much greater chance for success.
Or, they could stick around and hope that the evidence they needed to justify this little assault presented itself and was enough to get them off the hook. He wondered if anyone on his team had a contact in Knight Errant that might make the conversation go a little easier.
All these thoughts went through his mind as he pulled the van up to the front of the building and brought it to a stop. He commanded the Fly-Spy to gain some altitude and look for more KE approaching, then began gathering the tools he would bring inside.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (11:28:52/04-05-16)
The ork's smile fades as Achak leaps up and finds his footing again.  The ork is clearly not accustomed to combatants who can stand so quickly after such a strong blow.  The pause is momentary, though, and the big meta rushes forward to see that Achak go down again, and this time that he won't stand up after.  He jabs his staff down toward Achak's calf, but the man sidesteps easily, and that's when the ork throws his weight and power into a big swing at Achak's face.  The gunstock war club is up in a flash, and catches the ork's staff between two spear points and absorbs the blow as Achak digs his heels into the carpeting.  The ork lets out a low growl in frustration, even as Sister Rebecca continues her approach.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:30:36/04-06-16)
Achak sees the sweep coming for his legs and figures he can hop over it. No need to block. Keep the club in position to counterstrike.

He figures wrong, as the ork neatly scoops Achak's legs out from underneath him, flipping him horizontal before slamming Achak into the ground with the telescoping staff.

WHOOF, the air rushes out of Achak's lungs as he cracks the back of his head on the floor. His lined coat absorbs the worst of the shock but the lack of oxygen is going to make the rest of the fight that much harder.

Stupid!  Achak thinks to himself, struggling to his feet despite being unable to catch a full breath. He swallows his pride and asks for help.  <<@Sister Rebecca [Achak] Sister, some assistance if you please!>>

The ork swings again and Achak is keen not to make the same mistake twice. He parries the blow aimed at his face, bracing himself so that he's not bowled over backwards by the ork's forward thrust. The ork growls while Achak wheezes from the effort.

Sister Rebecca advances, hoping to tag-team the ork much in the same way that she and Achak had downed the oafish Hungarian at the Yakuza club just a couple nights before.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (13:29:21/04-11-16)
Sister Rebecca breaks into a quick trot, and uses her momentum to carry her up and over the receptionists desk much more lithely than her frame suggests that she's capable of.  The chainsaw whines as she opens up the throttle and raises the chainsaw to deliver a massive blow from above, but the ork practically stumbles forward and catches the inside of her elbow with his telescoping staff.  A quick jerk downward and the momentum from Sister Rebecca's attack is lost, and she almost loses control of the chainsaw, its monofilament blades coming dangerously close to her shoulder, before they slice right through the desk behind her.

The ork flicks the staff up, catching the good sister in the chin, snapping her head back.  He follows up with a spinning move, hoping to catch Achak in a similar position, but the movement is a bit clumsy, lacking the ork's earlier elegance, and the hunter is ready to catch the staff with his gunstock war club, and parry the blow downward.  The ork begins retreating to a flurry of blows from Achak, as the man tries to knock the staff away at distance so that he can close and deliver a knockout blow.  The chance comes when the ork makes a tactical misstep and chokes down too far on his staff in favor of some reach.  Achak parries the staff away to his outside, closes the distance quickly, and catches the ork with the blunt side of his staff across the jaw. 

The ork staggers for a moment, but before Achak can follow up with another strike, he pushes the hunter back two steps, and spits two bloody molars before speaking, a trickle of blood running down his cheek, while red spittle accents his words, "Oi, nighthawker, so it's going to be like that, eh?"
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (17:15:00/04-14-16)
Achak winces. It was Sister Rebecca who got hit but Achak feels it almost as keenly. The Sister has taken a square blow on the chin, snapping her head back. Oi, did that break her jaw? Achak wonders. Did she bite her tongue? She snapped her neck harder than a chiropractor.

Achak doesn't bother to banter with the ork. Perhaps there's somethign to these repeated "nighthawker" references, not that he understands it or knows what it means. But the truth is he's too busy trying to keep both himself and Sister Rebecca upright to inquire further.

<<@Team [Achak] Time to go. Sister, grab the case and proceed to the exit.>>

As the Sister moves to grab the case, Achak steps forward to screen the ork, swinging his club in front of him to keep the ork at bay. The ork easily skips away. Achak is discouraged by the diminishing quality of his strikes, but the goal now is to keep Sister Rebecca intact. No more Johans, he reminds himself.

Achak retreats, keeping his club high and at the ready until he is certain that he is outside of Little John's charging distance.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:30:06/04-20-16)
Having met a standoff where neither seems to be making any headway, Achak and the big ork stand down.  Achak retreats back to the receptionist desk, holsters his club and draws his Ares Crusader II.  The ork likewise retracts his staff with a flick of the wrist, and reaches into his coat as Achak loses sight of him behind a wall.

Sister Rebecca grabs what's left of the briefcase, and nods to Achak, still a little unsteady on her feet.  The nod says, "I'm fine, really," and she begins to head for the door.  Sucking blood from between her teeth, her first instinct is to spit, but the good sister resists that urge.  Powerful blood magic was cast here, just a few moments ago, and she isn't interested in leaving these vampires a link that they may exploit later.  And then there's law enforcement, and the sirens that she can already hear approaching the office.

Outside, Mercer has brought the van to a halt, and grabbed Stake, his Ares Alpha.  Mentally, he pops open the door, and begins making his way toward the front door of the office complex as the Knight's Errant patrol car screeches to a stop.  Two metas emerge from the car, the driver a rather stocky woman with a drawn Ares Predator, and the passenger a tall elf man sporting a Crusader II.  "Hands up!  On your knees!" the latter shouts, taking cover behind the door of his vehicle. 
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (00:58:04/04-24-16)
With Stake in one hand and Vera slung over his shoulder, he sends a quick message to Nori and steps from the van.


<< @Nori [Mercer] Can you keep these KE off our backs? >>


Before he even has a chance to close the van door, the cruiser comes to a stop and the two officers erupt from either side.

"Hands up! On your knees!"


He briefly thinks about asking them to stand down - playing the haughty part of the corporate security taking charge of the scene - but decides against it. The van was unmarked, and since Sunrise was not an extra-territorial capable organization, they most likely wouldn't recognize the authority of any private security company anyway. Well, and Sunrise WAS a private security company, so there was that.


No, he either had to engage them or run. Engaging them meant jumping back int the van and delaying any assistance he could offer to Achak and Rebecca. And a shoot out with the cops in public - especially considering his dearth of non-lethal options - didn't sit right. The other option was to run - not flee the scene, but get to the building and break their line of fire, take the fight inside where there were fewer civilians and more things to take cover behind should it end up in a firefight anyway. But more importantly, breaking line of sight meant the ability to lay traps.


He hunkered down and bolted toward the door of the building, mentally commanding the van door to close as he ran. The pop-pop of the lawmen's pistols sounded as he ran until he finally pushed through the door and ran down the hall. He sent a command to the van to move around to the rear of the building, giving the Knights something else to chase, or getting Nori to safety, depending.


He paused to squelch the adrenaline pumping through his veins and force his nerves to report if any of the bullets from the cops had found their mark.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: rednblack on (12:17:36/04-27-16)
Mercer hears the shots behind him, a flurry of loud reports, but no bullets find their way to his body armor, nor do they crack into the glass doors of the office building. . . or anywhere around him for that matter.  He'd suspected it before, but now he's almost certain that there are no Knight's Errant officers.  Fraggin' zekes and their thralls.  He makes his way inside the office complex, and as soon as he pops the door he can smell burning carpet and cordite.  Aside from that, all is quiet, and the bottom floor is even congenial in that strip mall happy face kind of way, AROs helpfully leading him to whatever institution he would like to spend his hard-earned cred. 

Upstairs, Achak and Sister Rebecca are making their way to the back staircase unmolested.  Wherever that big ork went, he doesn't seem keen on revisiting them, and Sister Rebecca breathlessly informs Achak that the sentry, somewhere on this floor, is seeking cover himself.  Keeping what's left of the case intact is taking both of her hands, and most of her attention, so Achak unslings his gunstock war club in his left hand, and keeps his automatic in his right should another spirit surface, or anything else that they'd missed for that matter.

They hit the stairs with no trouble.  If they're looking for a clean getaway, they'd better get to it.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:04:45/04-28-16)
Achak skips away from Little John, who seems to withdraw as well. Once Achak is certain that the ork is not in pursuit, he exchanges his gunstock war club for his Ares Crusader in preparation for a gun fight in the hallway with the sentry. Then he remembers the blood spirit and decides he better be ready for that too. The club comes back out and rests in his left hand while his right hand holds the machine pistol at the high ready.

<<@Team [Achak] Exiting. We could use an evac at or near the fire exit. Presently, if possible.>> The good Sister's MGL doesn't really fit under her jacket. If K-E is on the scene, she'll catch their eye, Raziel or no.

<<What's the update on Johnny Law? We had a grenade go off so the clock is hot.>>

He glances at the smear that used to be Ponytail.

Achak takes Mercer's Fly Spy out of his pocket and tosses it over his shoulder. He gives it a command to follow while periodically checking in the direction of the Sunrise office so that they don't get shot in the back or, worse, caught in a crossfire. 

He looks over at Sister Rebecca, who is clutching the metal case to her chest with both hands. She wheezes as she runs and wavers unsteadily. Jesus, did that ork pulverize her jaw? She's lucky he didn't clip her throat.

<<@Team [Achak] Does anyone have a medkit? We're not operating at 100%.>>

He uses the collective "we" even though his injury is little worse than a sore back and bruised pride. Sister Rebecca's moral compass does not allow her to lie nor actively deceive.

<<@Team [Sister Rebecca] I am injured>> she confesses to the group. <<<I have failed in the face of evil. I will repent.>>

Achak rolls his eyes, reasonably certain that Sister Rebecca is too focused on keeping her footing to notice. He has the language to counter thinking like this, but right now his attention is elsewhere. He would counsel the Sister once it was safer to do so.

To his surprise, they reach the stairwell without encountering any opposition. He skips down the stairs two at a time, then holds Sister Rebecca back before she plunges blindly out the back door. Achak leans his head out and puts the full force of his powers of perception on the scene before concluding that it is safe. The cold December rain continues to fall.

<<@Team [Achak] At the rally point. Let us know if we need a new rally point.>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (01:55:29/04-28-16)
Convinced he hasn't acquired any new piercings, Mercer prepares a grenade to leave for the police, should they follow him into the building. Before he can throw it, Nori reports that the patrol car is gone - never there gone. Damn wiggly fingers and their tricks.


But word came from Achak that they were getting out of Dodge and that they were wounded. Mercer updates them on the illusion and directs them to the rear exit of the building for evac, meeting them there. He's not sure how he had expected this to end once the lead started flying, but he was sure that leaving that powerful a mage standing was going to be a problem later. Leaving Iki alive didn't work out well, so he felt justified in his thinking. But they had the case, which was the main objective. They had answers - they had names, they knew what had become of Iki, and they knew beyond a doubt that Sunrise was in deep with the Zekes. At this point, the contents of the briefcase were a bonus, but a very welcome one. As  many answers as they had, they lacked proof, and the law man in him didn't like that.


They pile in to the van and Mercer directs Achak to the medkit so he can get the Sister started, then sets the pilot to take them from the scene by way of the front of the building. As they pass through the front parking lot, he uses Joey to place a tracker on the Westwind while he also fires a couple shots at the "open" window with Sean, just to make the shot at the Westwind less obvious.


But a thought enters his head as he pulls the guns back into the vehicle.


<<@Nori [Mercer] Can you see if there are any trackers on the briefcase? I don't want to be fooled by the same trick twice. >>


In the rear-view provided by AR, he catches Nori's car starting up and moving to follow them.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:53:18/04-29-16)
The Roadmaster screeches up on the rain-slick pavement. The rear door automatically pops open, warmth and protection radiating out. Achak nods to Sister Rebecca to go while he covers the alley. She staggers into Roadmaster, having a hard time with the step. Her hands are clasping the case so intently that she can't pull herself in, even though her legs are threatening to give out. Nori, dropping out of VR into AR, reaches forward and helps pull her in.

Achak sprints through the rain and slides in behind Sister Rebecca. "Go!" he says, more loudly than necessary but Jazz does that sometimes. He props his club against the door while he keeps his Ares Crusader just below the window. He keeps his eyes peeled for any pursuit while also concentrating on his magic sense. He needs a second of warning in case a blood spirit materializes in the middle of the van. Beating it to death with a club would be a chore in close quarters so he hopes it doesn't come to that.

"She took a shot!" he explains, again more loudly and more forcefully than really necessary in an enclosed space. The Jazz and the adrenaline make him semi-crazed. "Huge ork, magic staff! Squared off against both of us! Put me on my hoop and caught her under the chin! She needs a medkit!"

He's probably overselling the Sister's damage. She's not in any imminent danger of dying, but Achak is feeling culpable and is desperate to avoid another Johan. The Sister needs to survive if he's going to be able to keep doing this work.

Mercer points out the medkit to Achak. The Amerind has no training for first aid and, really, no brain for it either. The drugs certainly aren't helping, as the complex words and instructions of the medkit swirl around in a jumbled haze.

"Nori, are you any good at this?!" Achak asks while Mercer circles to lose any tails. "I gotta keep watch!" He turns back to the window. The normal, rainy December evening helps to calm him somewhat, his hearing picking up on every little ping-ping-ping of the raindrops on the window.

He switches to comming so that he can talk to Mercer privately without alarming Nori nor riling up Sister Rebecca, who needs to rest.

<<@Mercer [Achak] they had a blood spirit, the slitch geeked iki and turned him into a blood spirit, went down easy enough but still thats what we are up against, that and the huge ork with magic staff, i pounded that motherfragger three times with my own beatstick and he barely seemed any worse for wear, fought to a standstill but broke it off after he just about knocked the sisters jaw off, got out of there with the metal case ponytail was holding before sister turned him into a skid mark, not sure if its their offline server or if its ponytails personal collection of lad rags from the last century>>
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Malevolence on (03:20:08/05-05-16)
As the Sunrise building faded into the ever present Seattle fog, the adrenaline wore off, and a million nerve endings screamed out in pain. You've been electrocuted, you moron! they told him.


Achak was prattling incessantly in the back, much louder than the low din of activity in the van required. Combat drugs, Mercer surmised. But Achak's voice was grating on him now that every inch of his skin was clamoring for his attention. The windshield wipers took a half-hearted pass at the mist blurred glass of the windshield, but it hardly mattered. The autopilot could care less about the condition of the glass, and even if Mercer were driving, he'd be working more through the AR enhanced display than what he saw through the windshield.


Achak seemed concerned about the Sister. She took a solid blow to the face - probably lost a tooth or two - but from what Mercer could see, it wasn't quite life threatening. Lot of blood, though. It'd definitely need stitches, though magic made even that uncertain. If Rebecca could work her mojo on herself, she might end up with little more than blotchy purple skin for a couple days or so, and he expected that the good Sister could apply some concealer and you'd hardly notice. He could do it for her if needed - he was man enough to admit that squirreled away in the med kit were a number of women's beauty products that had no purpose other than to hide the fact you'd taken a beating the night before. His previous team had included a B&E guy that could not only cook up a disguise with little more than a trip to the makeup aisle at the local Kong-Walmart - or even Stuffer Shack if in a pinch - but could make you look like you won that fight without a scratch for all but the most meticulous observers.


But, he supposed his attitude toward such an injury was rather cavalier. Having been in this line of work for so long against beings with super-human strength and speed, you gain a certain familiarity with the true limits of human durability. Bleeding profusely was frequently dangerous not because of the trauma that caused it, but because the damnable fiends that fed on it had a sense for blood that rivaled a shark. He clamped down on any number of smarmy remarks he was contemplating and instead spoke in that relaxed, soothing voice of command that he had perfected over years of calming fresh hunters coming face to face with the Infected horrors for the first time.


"There's a medkit under the front passenger seat," he pointed. "Top of the line whatsit-"


"Expert system," chimed Nori, having come out of her trance-like trip into VR at some point.


"Yeah, that. Fully stocked. It'll all but heal her itself. Go ahead and get her started and I'll check on her in a moment once I'm sure we're free and clear." He peeked out at the sky using every sense available to him. He was pretty sure no vehicles were following, but the darkness and fog and countless drones crisscrossing the night sky made it nearly impossible to spot a drone tail. He eventually gave up, set the auto pilot to a random Taco Bell ("all restaurants are Taco Bell" his mind told him, though he wasn't sure where that stray thought came from) about 15 kilometers away, and carefully stood and walked to the back where the sister was staring blankly at the streaks of blurry light playing across the windows as the van drove through the darkened city.


Achak had made poor progress as his hands shook, from the coming down off of the combat drug - Jazz it seemed, by the way his eyes were dilated - as well as his general state of panic at Rebecca's condition. Mercer gently took the medkit from him - he'd hardly noticed Mercer approaching, but after being momentarily startled, he gave up the medkit quickly and began muttering rapidly about the orc they'd fought. Mercer remembered him from the parking lot when he'd escorted the woman into the building. Hearing about the magic staff was interesting, but not particularly new - many of the Infected were magically inclined, either because the infection Awakened them or because they were "recruited" for their gift - and so he'd run into such items often enough.


Before starting up the kit's expert, Mercer took a moment to reboot all of his equipment excepting the van and the fly-spys, though he'd do that once they pulled into the Taco Bell parking lot. He was pretty sure he'd taken the decker offline - in the permanent sense - but he'd never denied accusations that he used an over-abundance of caution. Once everything was back up, Mercer followed the AR instructions the medkit fed him and soon the wounded woman begin to focus on the events around her. He also did his best to calm Achak down, but he made little progress until Rebecca showed solid signs of recovery. The rambling mostly stopped, and soon after Achak messaged him privately, filling him in on the adversaries they faced in the building. The mention of a blood spirit made his blood run cold. Not because he'd never met one before, but because he had. Again, once you crossed the line and started feeding on people, the slip into blood magic was almost an afterthought. Probably one in five Infected mages dabbled in blood magic, and the only reason it was just dabbling was because most of the Infected he had the "pleasure" of encountering were young enough that they hadn't yet completed that journey. But even so, blood magic was bad. Magic could be a little scary, but blood magic couldn't be anything but scary.


Once she had snapped back into the world, Rebecca relaxed back into her chair and closed her eyes, willing magic through her body. Seconds passed and the wounds on her face visibly healed. When she was done, she had little more than a fat lip, though the mother of fat lips it was.


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


The next morning Mercer awoke and stepped out into the common area of the small flat that Achak had provided to find him pacing back and forth. He'd been agitated all last night, punishing himself for failing to dispatch the ork, and Mercer assumed that this was still the case.

"Coffee's on" Achak said, and pointed to the coffee machine in the small nook that passed for a kitchen. Mercer poured himself a cup and reflected. Eventually, the team had convinced itself they weren't being followed and so they had pulled into a parking lot and bid farewell to Nori. She was uncharacteristically muted in her tone as she said her good-byes, and Mercer suspected she was practically bursting with excitement, but was showing as much decorum as she could muster on account of the wounds the team had sustained. He expected he'd receive a suitably rapturous message from her later, but for now she tried but failed to not say "wiz" every other sentence.


When they got home they discovered that the contents of the briefcase were encrypted. That was when the conversation turned to recruiting a computer expert. Achak had floated Nori, but Mercer wouldn't consider it - he'd been wary of involving her as much as they already had, he certainly wasn't going to encourage her. They'd discussed it for about five minutes before calling it quits on account of the Sister having passed out.


Speaking of which...


"Where is Rebecca?" he asked Achak.


"Said she had to meet with her guy. A car picked her up about fifteen minutes ago."


He slept in way too late these days, he decided. "Well, when she gets back, we can pick up where we left off. If we can't come up with someone we trust between the three of us, I can dip into the Grotto1 well again. Gonna be tough to do without alerting Nori, but there's a couple folks I know by reputation only that I can reach out to."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:56:32/05-07-16)
Achak spends the rest of his Jazz high feverishly searching for threats outside of the Roadmaster. He is grateful for the armored car, but also painfully aware that a zeke could mist inside JUST LIKE THAT or a blood spirit could pop up in the passenger SEAT JUST LIKE THAT! He shares his concerns with Mercer via comm, much to the latter's dismay.

Achak says a prayer of thanks that Sister Rebecca responds so well to treatment. The automated medkit quickly sets her jaw by circulating collagen and chondroblasts, which precede a rapid barrage of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The good Sister further accelerates the healing process with her magic. She murmurs prayers in between her swollen lips. "Thank you, Raziel, for your faithful service. Please commend me to our Lord, as I will commend thee."

Achak comes down off his Jazz high. Since the Sister is not gravely injured, Achak's miseries center around his inability to drop the ork. He recounts the fight is excruciating detail, oblivious to Mercer's detachment. "Three times I hit him! Squarely! Maybe even four! He came back for more and put me on the floor!"  The catchy rhyme does not catch on. He gnashes his teeth and pulls his hair and swears at himself in Or'zet until the drugs finally run their complete course, at which point he fall asleep. He wakes up with a stiff neck and his head propped against the Roadmaster's window.

He grunts and directs Mercer to his Capitol Hill apartment. He pulls his six duffel bags up the stairs to the spartan unit, dumping them unceremoniously in the corner.

"Allow me to take the first shift tonight," Sister Rebecca offers. "I will ask Saint Peter of Alcantara to watch with me."

Achak silently searches the Matrix for a clue of who Saint Peter of Alcantara is, or was, or whatever the proper tense is for Saints that were once human but who now may be summoned as readily as angels. <<@Mercer Patron saint of night watchmen.>> Not that Mercer asked.

Saint Peter of Alcantara appears dressed in a Franciscan habit. He silently sits next to Sister Rebecca, who is sitting up against a wall herself. She whispers to the spirit is Latin, who listens patiently and passively.

After taking a shower and eating a bowl of rehydrated noodles, Achak somewhat ludicrously pulls the couch in front of the hallway door to prevent it from opening. He dons his full body armor then falls asleep on the couch with his Ares Alpha and gunstock war club within easy reach. Mercer shakes his head and takes the bed.



Sister Rebecca shakes Achak awake in the early hours of the morning. They switch places, with Sister Rebecca sleeping while Achak paces around the small unit, constantly checking his magical senses for any hint of magic or nearby motion. Saint Peter of Alcantara watches him wordlessly while the Amerind swishes his club in the air, recreating the fight with the ork.



Achak can hear Mercer's breathing change, and knows the other man is awake.

"Soykaf is on," Achak says, pointing to the small, stained soykaf machine in the small nook that passes for a kitchen.

Mercer asks where Sister Rebecca is.

"She got a call from her handler," Achak explains. "She has to file another report in person. She wanted to go alone but I reminded her what happened to Stake. A car picked her up about fifteen minutes ago. I escorted her down."

Achak shivers. Perhaps it is the cold December rain drumming on the windows, or the chilly draft from under the door, or the fact that he feels naked without magical protection when vampires and blood spirits are out for him.

"We need someone to help with the case," he agrees, casting a guilty look at the battered case. He had been the one to give the order for Sister Rebecca to fire, and that had been because he couldn't drop Ponytail on his own with his Ares Crusader, even with the element of surprise. He mentally lashes himself and his incompetence.

"Someone good in a scrap too," he adds, lamenting the need for backup. His own ineffectiveness means that others will be put in harm's way. "If Grotto1 has been compromised, I have some old smuggling chummers who may be up to it."
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: Tecumseh on (02:20:29/05-13-16)
"There's a chum I know," Achak continues. "An ork who goes by Spitfire. We did some runs together back in our smuggling days." Achak pauses to reflect on how long ago that was. He got his start in smuggling as a wet-behind-the-ears teenager in Cascade Ork. His heightened perception made him a valuable lookout and spotter, and things went from there.

"I haven't talked to him in a couple years so I don't know what he's up to now. He's the nomadic type. Lives in his van, not the best body odor, you know?" Achak wrinkles his nose at the memory, his stomach turning in advance of what he assumes his improved sense of scent will have to deal with. "The 'only-my-drones-understand-me' type."

Achak reminds himself that it has been a couple years; he knows that he has changed significantly in that time and should make allowances that Spitfire may have changed too. To give a man the benefit of the doubt was a good Christian principle.

"Or at least he was at the time; things may have changed. But he's a steely-eyed wheelman and pretty sharp." ("...for an ork," goes unsaid.) "I bet he can process this case for us and then, when it's done, provide some cover wherever we need to go next."

Achak sorts through the listings on his commlink, settling on what he's kinda sorta maybe sure is the most recent commcode he has for Spitfire. He makes the call.

<<@Spitfire Hoi, it's Achak. You in the Seattle area? I've got some easy work for you that could point toward a big payday.>>

He wonders how transparent to be. Most people - even hardened runners - would blanch if they knew that the Infected were involved, especially if the team were being specifically targeted.

<<Need some decryption done. I'm sure you can handle it. That should direct us to some lucrative targets. We could use the fire support. It'd be just like the old days, right?>> Achak gags a bit and hopes that Spitfire has started sleeping indoors sometime in the last few years, but somehow he doubts it.
Title: Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem
Post by: FastJack on (14:30:42/06-19-18)
Topic is locked since the spammers are targetting it and no-one has used it in over two years.