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Another Bug Hunt

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Wolfboy

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« on: (19:28:39/02-26-12) »
alright folks this is something i've been working on for years, had it on my myspace as a journal style entry, but heres the first part in total.....

Another Bug Hunt
Prologue: All Good Things.....
The silence was clean and deep as i loaded what little gear i had left on my motorcycle. The Aurora was in storage with another member of the team and i had two magazines of insecticide capsule rounds for each of my pistols stored in the saddlebags of the big Harley. The majority of my pistols were also stored in my saddlebags, with the one legitimate in an open holster on my side, a Salvette Guardian with a clip of regular rounds in the extra magazine holder and a clip of flechette loaded in it. Dressed once more in worn and stained street clothes and an old oilskin armored duster, I climbed onto the Scorpion and started it. The deep throb of the engine was slightly soothing as i remembered the dream from the night before and the aftermath.
In the dream I found myself once more in her apartment, it was wrecked like i had found it when the Alamos 20K goons had taken her to blackmail me. I could feel the anger at the events that had kept us apart, that had taken her from me fill me with an incandescent rage. As i stood there though, out of the bedroom stepped Wolf, he padded toward me with his head hung low. Into my mind he spoke to me, as he had the few times i had gone on a spirit quest. "Hello again, my child," said Wolf. "I know why you are here. You seek to hunt down those who destroyed the one you love. This I understand, for I too enjoy a good hunt, and I do not doubt your loyalty, but there is something more important to hunt. Somewhere in this world, the ones responsible for this carnage will greatly expand on what has happened here, and locating the one person responsible will not stop what is meant to be." As the wolf seemingly finished i wanted to argue, to point out that vengeance was needed for this wrong doing. But the wolf continued, "I have touched the spirit of Morrigan, and know that she loves you unconditionally." As he spoke, another shape appeared beside him and my heart jumped into my throat.
It was her, Morrigan, and she seemed to be so real, so life like that i had to reach out to her, finding nothing but apparition as she reached out to me as well. Finally she spoke to me in the same way wolf had. "Wolfgar, it is so good to see you one last time. I know that it is your desire to destroy all who had a hand in my murder, and I love you for your loyalty to what we had, or could have had, however, I too would love for you to venture out into the world in pursuit of this quest for those that seek to destroy life as we know it. Know that I will live on in your memory, and will always be with you in your dreams. I know that your heart would rather be hunting down and destroying those that so brutally took me from you, but I also know that you love me, and will honor both Wolf and myself in undertaking this ultimate hunt."
After this there was no tear jerking goodbyes or even gentle farewells, i simply awoke to find that only half an hour had passed since i had fitfully fallen asleep in my own doss. Questions tumbled through my mind as i looked around the room. Had that really been her ghost, had Wolf given me a vision quest to complete, and I knew deep down there was no way i could defy either of them in this. As i sat up i noticed a large water bug crawling across the floor of the apartment. As i watched it wondering how it had gotten in the room, the bug turned its head towards me and pointed a leg at me. Drawing the combat knife from my boot beside the bed, i threw it at the bug, pinning it to an old atlas laying open on the floor.
 When i retrieved the knife i found the book open to the great lakes region of the UCAS, the bug cut in half across what was listed as lake Michigan. Could this have been a message of where to go, I asked myself as i got dressed once more. “Only one way to be sure.” i murmured to myself as i started calling my remaining contacts and team mates. Seattle is disappearing behind me now as i head towards the rising sun. Out there somewhere, someone is going to pay for her death, Not just hers either, there is something larger growing in the wind, and i will find it and even if i cant stop it, i will blunt it as best as i can, even if it costs me my life.
 
“Is this gonna be a stand up fight sir, or just another bug hunt.”.....Cpl. Hudson “Aliens”
Chapter 1
The words as well as the entire scene from the movie played back through my head in the heartbeat that i spent standing there in shock. The original guesstimate of the area around lake Michigan was confirmed after several hundred miles of searching and wandering had led me here to the heart of old Chicago. Once in Chicago i was even able to find out where everything was secreted. This town had been the home of 2 major league baseball teams, a football team and even an urban brawl team, but it wasn't to Wriggly or Soldier fields that i followed them to. No, it was the basement of one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Sears Tower. A tunnel went out and down before me, halfway rough hewn, but not rough enough to be called natural looking. The tunnel was big enough to run two monorails side by side through, the stone was undressed and rough cut so that the striations were visible and plenty of hiding spots existed along the walls as the tunnel went down and away towards the lake. Down that tunnel would be the queen of this hive, or at least the shaman that was bringing across all these flesh forms and bug spirits. It was going to be a dangerous trip down there, and suddenly another line ran through my head from the same movie, “Take off, and nuke the site from orbit.” Well for the movie it might have been the best idea, and tonight it would definitely take the lead running for anyone else, I, however, was going in.
Down through the network of tunnels I traveled, hiding myself whenever my adrenaline heightened hearing brought the chittering sounds of insects ahead of me. Soon enough however, the tunnel opened up into a large chamber somewhere deep beneath the city. Staying low and in the shadows i watched as six flesh form workers brought a woman in and laid her upon an altar. Softly, the man that followed chittered to the workers who then filed out the tunnel on the other end of the room. After the workers had left, he turned to the woman on the bier and with his back to me raised his hands and started chittering loudly. Opening my eyes to the astral plane i could see this person glowing on the astral. This made him either an insect shaman or a mage of some sort being inhabited by a large insect spirit. Strike that, he had to be the shaman, i had fought enough of these things to know that if he had been inhabited, his astral image would be that of a giant ant. I was not however, going to allow him to transform another person into one of these alien ants for this farm. I slid my left hand into my jacket pocket and the ring within it. The ring was a focus for a shield spell, activated by a single word and went with the torque around my neck and its armor spell. As i slowly drew my sword from its sheath i touched the chain around my neck and softly said the word “Asgaroth” activating the spells laid in both. Silently i made my way toward the gesticulating shaman in front of me, but as i raised my arm to strike him down from behind, he turned and made a throwing gesture at me. My astral vision was still on, and i saw a spear of inky blackness form in the shaman's hand and fly towards me.

Raising the shield on my left hand, i deflected the spell and continued to close on the shaman. Just as i reached the shaman, he put his hands in front of him in made a ripping gesture and i saw a tear form in the astral. Even seeing the hole opening, and worse, widening, i continued my strike, and the shaman's head seemed to almost float to the ground in one direction as his body toppled like a forest giant in the other. It wasn't the shaman that i was concerned about now though, my thoughts were for the poor girl that had been brought in by the flesh forms. The only time insect shamans did this was when they felt they had a “proper recipient” for their hive's queen spirit to inhabit, and from the flesh forms i knew what i would be facing, but i wasn't letting this poor girl get turned into a giant ant.
Sheathing my sword, i grabbed the girl and threw her over my shoulder and ran back the way i had come. She would have a bruise in the morning, and i might have dislocated her shoulder, but either was better than being inhabited by the spirit of a large, militant insect. As i got back up to the Lobby level i felt the woman start to stir, so i slipped us into the supply room where i had hidden my firearms earlier. Lowering her to the floor, i noticed that the “woman” was little more than a girl really, no more than 15 or 16 years old. Not only was she younger than my youngest sister, but she was also naked as the day she was born for all intents and purposes. I reached down and felt her pulse and suddenly she grabbed the pressure point at my wrist and looked up. I don't know what she saw in my face, but she calmed down almost immediately.
 Maybe it was that i wasn't the shaman, but just as soon as she realized that i was there to rescue her and not doom her, she started to blush and cover herself. Not wanting to have to deal with a stripped teenager or the attention it would bring, i pulled the long coat i had in my bag out and tossed it to her with a gruffly whispered, “Cover up with this.” As she wrapped herself up in the long coat, which actually proved only just slightly to large for her, i sat and thought. My motorcycle sat in the alley outside, and it would be a good idea to get the kid as far away from any bugs as soon as possible. The problem with this was that i still had my mission, self appointed true and paying nothing, but i also couldn't let a bunch of bug spirits run loose, nor get away with what they had done in Seattle. Looking over at the girl however, i knew that if i didn't see to her safety Wolf would have my hide for certain. Touching the ring to the necklace once more i muttered the word to shut off the spells locked into the foci and started shoving my gear back into the bags at my feet. As i loaded the bags i talked softly to the girl beside me, “Alright kid, heres how things are, my name is Wolfgar and I'm gonna get you out of here and to a safe house i have set aside. When we get there your gonna give me a way to contact your parents. You look to well fed to be a street kid, and though some or most of that form is probably from soy, I'm still gonna get you home.”



Staying silent the girl was first slightly excited and then just as suddenly slightly horrified. I thought that maybe she thought i was going to try and ransom her back to her parents, another thing Wolf wouldn't like the idea of. Then the idea hit me that maybe her parents might be in with the bugs, so i made a mental note to get her entire story before i decided what to do with her. “First things first though,” i said pulling on the bomber jacket and zipping up the cargo bag with my weapons in it. “First we have to get out of the lobby without drawing to much attention to us, so stay close to me and stay silent, we're going out the fire exit door at the end of this hallway.” Standing up i slung the duffel's strap over my shoulder and popped open the door to the storage room and peeked out. No one seemed to be looking around or in our direction, so i motioned for the girl to follow me and we slipped down the hallway across from the storage room's door.
Once out the fire door i put the bike's only helmet on the girl and sat her astride the backseat of the bike firing it up as i climbed on. I needed to get out of there fast before the alarm was raised. Twisting the throttle slightly, i put the bike into gear and accelerated away down the alley and out onto the main street. Traffic was light as we pulled out onto the highway and headed north. Working our way through the city streets i watched carefully for tails both physical and astral, but we were surprisingly clean. After awhile i pulled the bike to a stop in front of a modest little 2 story brownstone and killed the engine. This was a decaying neighborhood, to the south was the project housing with the poor, both those with SINs and the SINless. To the north was the shadowy bars and strip clubs, seedy and dark joints that the dock workers stopped into on their way to their homes at night, and where starting runners plied their trade along with the hookers and drug dealers.
 Haltingly the girl slid off the bike, obviously unsure of her situation, after she was clear i climbed off myself spinning the key ring of the motorcycle to the key to the house's door. Together we walked up to the door of the building and using the key i unlocked the outer door and let us through into the first floor hallway. The owner had converted the old house into a 5 room apartment building, I had managed to rent the basement apartment and it was to this that i led the girl. Of course this meant that i either had to be extremely quiet, or i would have to run the gauntlet of the 3 ground floor renters at 3o'clock in the morning. Thankfully we were both quiet enough to get to my apartment door and inside without waking anyone else up.
Easing shut the apartment door i locked the it and tossed the bag of hardware onto the easy chair i had inherited from the previous tenant I knew that the next day would be long and that there would be plenty of time to take care of the weapons later. First things first however, i needed to get the young lady clothed in something other than my long coat before shock finally wore off on her and hormones set in on me. Digging into the old sea bag in the closet i came out with a pair of sweat pants and an old squadron shirt from a herky bird unit that i had passed through during my days in the CAS Marines. Handing these to her i shoved her into the bathroom, shut the door behind her, and waited until i heard the water running in the shower before i went away. From there i went to the kitchenette and started rummaging. I didn't have much left in the fridge or the cabinets, just a few bottles left in a 6 pack of soda and 2 slices of pizza, cold in the fridge and nothing but half a case of MRE's in the cabinets. This of course meant that i would have to go shopping the next day, something i already figured with my new guest, so i grabbed one of the MRE's at random and plopped down on the futon that usually served double duty as both my couch and my bed to eat.
About time i was finishing the MRE, the door to the bathroom opened up and the girl stuck her head out through the doorway nervously. I could tell that the shower had finally pulled her out of the state of shock she had been in while in the insect hive, but now a cautiousness and paranoia had set in. In this day and age people didn't help others just out of the goodness of their hearts anymore, it was a morally devoid world that let people be killed not 20 feet away without even raising a yell for assistance because they had no official identity. I gathered up the trash from the food pack and carried it to the trash can at the corner of the kitchen island, and after dumping it showed her empty hands. “Sit child, i wont harm you.” i said to her as i gestured to the futon. I took a seat on the floor and sat on my hands to show her i meant what i said, it wasn't much as far as gestures went but it seemed to be enough to coax her out of the bathroom and to the couch in front of me. “Tell me what happened to you and how you came to be in that place, and i swear before all that is good and holy that i will see you safe one way or another.” Gods, nobody talked like that outside of bad historical fiction trids, but it seemed to calm the girl a bit more and she finally sat down and started to tell me what had happened to her. Almost as soon as she started her story however, the tears i had been expecting came, and i moved over to her side to try and comfort her.
As I sat there stroking her head trying to comfort her as she told her story to me, her parents had been lured in by the brotherhood's promise of aid to the homeless and the needy, soon however, they were no longer themselves. They had been inhabited by the ant spirits of the hive, and that night was supposed to be the night that she was “initiated” into the “brotherhood” or so her parents had said, and it was that ceremony that i had disrupted She really didn't understand what was going on, the brotherhood representative had made her drink a strange liquid before they stripped her down, telling her that she would enter her new world like she had entered this one and when she described the man to me i knew it wasn't the shaman that i had killed over her comatose form. Once her story was finished I laid the futon down into its bed configuration and tucked her into it, taking only a blanket and a pillow for myself. I shut out the lights knowing it was only a few hours at the most until daybreak.
 
May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

7.62 Russian, when it absolutely has to be done under budget

Wolfboy

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« Reply #1 on: (19:34:26/02-26-12) »
Chapter 2
Daybreak however, was delayed that day by cloud cover, and when i woke about noon, i found that the girl had gotten down from the futon and crawled under my blanket with me, tucking herself in where my arms had wrapped around her. I carefully disentangled myself from her and slipped into the bathroom for my own shower, I had to think, and the best place i could do that at the moment was under the scalding hot water of the shower. “Oh-kay, critical thinking time.” i muttered to myself as the water thundered down on my head. “What do i need to provide for this girl and why should i do it.” The why was simple if two fold, first of all i had sworn myself to her protection, not only her protection, but also to avenge that which had been lost to her. That, quite simply, was something of Wolf's nature showing itself through me, that nature being the second thing. What was needed however was a different matter, she would need clothes, food, and shelter, all the things everyone else needed. She also would have to be kept safe however, I hadn't bothered to check and see if she was magically active, and really anything less than that would be useless against the bug spirits. Even if she wasn't however, i could at least provide her the basics and teach her how to protect herself against more mundane enemies. As i stood there in the shower mulling over these decisions to be made, i realized one thing, she had never told me her name. I mean it was a simple oversight, but one i needed to rectify soonest. I could keep calling her kid and child and the like, but i also knew that it would do nothing but irritate her to no end. As i finished fastening my belt i opened the bathroom door to find the futon already set back upright in its couch form and the blankets and pillows all neatly folded and stacked on one end of it. I found her in the kitchenette reheating the pizza slices with two of the soda's already pulled out of the fridge.
“I didn't know if you ever ate breakfast or anything so i thought reheating the pizza would be at least something to put on your stomach before you downed one of those sugar and caffeine monsters of a soda.” Her voice was light and chipper, seeming to go with the mood she was showing as she pulled the slices out of the microwave and slid one onto a separate paper plate than what they had been warmed on. “I know this isn't very healthy, but at least its something to fill the void right?” she quipped as she started munching on her slice. Turning she saw the apparent shock on my face and she faltered, “I'm sorry,” she said, “I just did something rude again without thinking.” her face hung low like she was about to start crying like she had last night and that i wouldn't stand for.
“No child, make yourself at home.” i said trying to comfort her, “It just took me as kind of a shock to find you already awake and in such a good mood already. I mean i had a terrible time a couple of weeks ago that brought me out here. But enough wool gathering, you told me last night what took you to that nasty little place, now tell me your name and a bit about you, and here in a little while after we've eaten a bit and drank these soda's down, we'll go get some more food and some clothes for you.” This made her perk up a bit, and she proceeded to tell me how her family had not always been homeless. Her name was Joanna and from what she said her father had worked at the docks as a mid level manager until around three months ago. About that time someone broke into the independent warehouse that he managed and burned it down in the middle of the night. Since this had been the company's only warehouse, they had to lay everyone off and declare bankruptcy. Since then the family had ended up selling practically everything they owned to survive, and had gone to the brotherhood's outreach program as the last of the money had run out. Rummaging in the closet as i listened to her tale i found a pair of running shoes that though exceedingly overlarge, would protect her feet long enough for us to go find her some real clothes.
After she was shod, and the food and drink consumed we walked back out to the bike, her still in the sweats and T-shirt, following me like a little sister, myself in my usual BDU pants and polo shirt. After mounting and starting the bike we went south toward the area strip mall where we proceeded to get all the necessities for a young woman of 17. Clothing her was a surprise in that she didn't want anything expensive or really anything that the strip mall had. Though she had been raised to be as she put it, a girly girl, the last few months had broken her of wanting the newest and sharpest fad clothing.
 What got me was that she wanted her own set of clothes like mine, simple, practical, and armored. Sighing to myself i went over to a pay phone and called up an outfitter i had found in the area. Louie was a rat, or at least a rat shaman, but as far as being able to lay hands on military surplus, he couldn't be beat. The tel com terminal lit up as a person on the other end answered.
“Lucky Louie's Military Surplus, what can we get for you today?” The answer was rote for Rhonda, Louie's only cashier and main squeeze.
“Rhonda babe, hows business?” I replied to her as if we were old old friends.
“Well hello Mister Smith, its good to hear from you again. ” Rhonda had one of those high pitched voices and coupled with her New Jersey accent, it had a tendency to drive people crazy. “Last thing you said to Louie was for him to total everything up so that you didn't leave town owing him anything. I take it your still in town?”
“Yeah Rhonda, something came up and i didn't have to take that trip after all. But now however, i do have a need to outfit a young woman i know. Some BDUs and other necessities of rough living, you know what i mean. Now i know you are the folks to do it out here so you cut me a good deal and I'll see about sending you some more business other than myself.”
“Well unless you can get the Maraca brother's crew to come over and shop here, there ain't much more business that you could send us that ain't cops and such.” Rhonda's voice was starting to grate, so i told her we would be by shortly and cut the connection. North again, this time with full saddlebags we stopped at the apartment long enough to unload what we had already gotten and then were right back out again and now heading west.
 
Chapter 3
The neighborhood that Louie's was in was even worse than the one just north of the apartment. This was the kind of area that the cops went into only when they absolutely had to and then in squad strength or better and with swat backup besides. Louie's shop looked like a mix between the old pawn shop that the building had been, and your typical military surplus. As with most pawn shops there were the three gold balls over the door, however not many pawn shops, even in the worse neighborhoods, had an old 20mm cannon sitting in the front walk covering the door. Once you stepped inside on the other hand, you saw that it was almost all military surplus. Looking around i saw Rhonda sitting behind the counter fiddling with her nails as usual, but Louie was nowhere in sight. Walking up to the front with Joanna in tow i stepped quite deliberately into Rhonda's line of vision. “Where's Louie Rhonda?” I didn't expect there to be much of a chance that someone would try to ambush me in Louie's place, but if i didn't get Rhonda's attention focused right off then things were going to ramble until i got her attention centered again.
“Louie's in his office with mister Marcone, they should be almost finished though. You think i should check and see?”
“Nah Rhonda,” I replied “mister Marcone wouldn't like that, and then he would take it out on Louie, and Louie would take it out on you and me. Not to mention i don't want to be on mister Marcone's bad side neither. We'll just eyeball stuff till their done.” No drek Marcone wouldn't like it, this was his best fencing business, as well as his best intel source. Everyone bought from Louie, and most gossiped as much as they shopped. Each rack had a unobtrusive microphone that fed a digital recorder over in Louie's office. That digital recorder fed into a pretty hefty table unit that had one hell of a word recognition program running in it that picked out all sorts of information. I had paid enough to Louie, and to Marcone, to not be hassled for the rest of this month by anything they found in the transcripts. Of course also knowing meant that i kept my bloody mouth shut about sensitive information in Louie's shop anyway.
Wondering down the aisles we found some armored clothing to fit her and a duster in her size. While we were looking at web harnesses i heard the door to Louie's office open and watched as a pair of orcs followed by a dwarf walked through the store and out to the parking lot. Not long after they left, the office door opened again and a gnome stepped out wiping the sweat from his brow with a handkerchief. “Who was that?” Joanna asked softly from beside me. She had taken cover behind me when the office door opened and was now peeking around at the gnome that was talking with Rhonda. “That my girl, was mini Mickey Marcone, also known as Don Marcone to those who either fear him or work for him, or as 3M on the streets. The gnome over there is who we came here to see.” It was about that time that Rhonda pointed us out to Louie and he started walking over. “Whatever you do Jo, don't say anything except that your my new apprentice.” Her nod was sufficient and in time for me to turn back to Louie as he stepped up to us.
“Mister Smith,” Louie somewhat intoned as he stepped up to us, “Rhonda tells me your here to outfit the young lady here. Its a funny though, she doesn't strike me as one who.” The gnomes sentence was cut short as Joanna launched and connected with a vicious snap kick to the gnome's ribs. I barely stopped the follow on upper cut that would have rendered the store owner unconscious. “Now now,” I told her as she backed down and gave me a wink, “We cant go and kill Louie here, if we did we would have to deal with mister M and his two friends.” Turning back to Louie i squatted down to where he and I were eye level with each other before speaking. “Louie, this is my apprentice and she isn't exactly the kind of person to let someone take liberties with her honor in any way. Now as things go you and i both know that looks are not everything, so why don't we cut the drek and get busy getting her outfitted oh-kay.”
Holding what was surely at least one broken rib, Louie took us to the molding room and had Joanna strip down to her skivvies so that she could lay in the mold for her body armor. Form fit body armor was not something you just bought off the shelf, it was also not exactly cheap. It was however a good idea, and i ordered a set of half body and a set of full body for Joanna. Added to our “shopping cart” was a soft air rifle, pistol, real rifle and pistol, a rucksack, and a fresh set of fake identification as well. This plus the armored clothing we had picked out earlier was going to cost a pretty penny, but it was a basic load for life on the streets, a life i hoped wasn't in store for her.
After I paid the bill for the equipment and setup a pickup date of 3 days later for the armor and the identification, we then packed the rucksack with the other gear and headed back toward the apartment. It was to be 3 days of intense training and pure hell for both of us, i thought as I planned out the hours of the next few days in my head. All of a sudden Joanna let out a scream and i chanced a glance in the direction she had been looking. Just as luck would have it, here came the ant's air support. Three large wasp looking creatures were starting to bank in on us from an alley that we had just passed and i knew that there was little chance of this old hog outrunning them. Cranking the throttle wide open i started weaving through the little traffic that was on the street, and thinking of a way i could deal with them. My sword was at home, but i still had the armor and shield spell foci on me. No, while it would protect me it wouldn't do Joanna any good, and that had to be who they were after. All the weaving had turned me back west and i decided to make a flat out run for the city limits. Once out there i could at least open fire on the flesh forms without endangering innocents. I felt Joanna shift behind me on the bike, and suddenly there was a large backwash of mana. It felt as if someone had set off a fuel air explosive, only one of mana.
Looking back over my shoulder i could see the crashing husks of the flesh forms sliding across the pavement behind us, and i stopped the bike in a skid, looking for the mage that had set off that large of a mana ball. I saw no one, but i heard Joanna  chuckle slightly and then felt her collapse against me. “Baka” i mumbled as set the kickstand of the motorcycle.
Getting off was a pain due to Joanna's unconscious form, but finally i found myself laying her on the sidewalk, her head propped on the tool pouch of the bike. Opening my astral vision i saw a weird aura around her that i could recognize but not quite place. Then suddenly it hit me, this was why the bugs were after her, the girl was a physical mage. Part of her magical ability was like me, channeled through her to enhance her physical capabilities, but part of it was also thrust into the ability to spell cast I needed to get her home, the drain from her spell had knocked her clean out though so she couldn't ride like she should have been, and when she woke after awhile she wouldn't be in any condition to ride then either, the headache she would be dealing with would preclude that or any other really loud noise. Suddenly an idea struck me and i dove into one of the saddlebags on the bike. After digging for a few minutes i managed to come up with what i wanted, a pair of bungee cords. One of the cords i put around her chest right below her armpits, after which i pulled her up onto my back. Throwing both of our legs over the saddle of the bike, i set her feet on the passenger pegs and locked them in. Months of carrying the groups mage back in Seattle had made me get this modification to the bike. Running the loop of bungee cord over the sissy bar, i took the second cord and hooked it into the first. After running the second around myself and testing to make sure the tilt didn't loose her we started back to the apartment.
Half an hour later she was starting to come around. Somehow i managed to get her and the gear inside without the neighbors seeing us and hopefully in the morning i would be able to teach her some of the basics. She groaned slightly as awareness finally took hold of her. She looked around and tried to sit up, only to find herself collapsing back down onto the bed. “Oh my head” she murmured pressing her fingers to her temples. “Did you happen to get the number of that City master that ran over my head.”
Chuckling i set a bottle of water and a pair of motrin pills down within her reach. “No, but you sure tore up the three wasps that decided to come pay a visit.” She looked at me with confusion all over her face. So I sat on the floor next to the bed and asked what the last thing she remembered was.
“I remember, leaving the supply store,” She answered, her brow furrowed in thought. “We had gone maybe 4 blocks when i looked down an alley and then nothing, complete blank.” So sitting there i filled her in on what had happened, and what i had figured out about her.
“Now,” i said after the pizza I had ordered arrived and Joanna had been filled in on what had happened. “After we eat, your gonna go back to sleep.” Her mouth opened to argue but i held up a finger and she closed her mouth with a clop. “Don't argue, that spell you cast took more out of you than your willing to admit, and once were finished eating sleep is probably the second thing your gonna want to do. Your training can wait until morning, and I'm gonna spend part of the night on the phone talking to some old friends about getting you away from here.” Again her mouth opened to protest, but shut with the raising of my finger. “It is important that the bugs not get you, they intended you as a host for one of their own, and the fact that they are still after you means that they really want you for some reason. My guess, would be that they want you for a queen to come through and inhabit. Another thing is, for all your desire to do this, your still woefully under-trained. I have friends that can see to your training, both in your magical abilities and more mundane things like tech, combat and interaction with others in the world. Some of them can get you contacts that i cant, others can get you other things you will need.”
After i had finished explaining why i was sending her away, she still wanted to stay and fight. On the other hand however, she recognized that she wasn't going to win an argument so she let it drop. Once the pizza was gone, she did doze off and i tucked her back into the bed once more and started making phone calls, leaving messages all over with my old team in Seattle and Germany as well as with one of my few surviving contacts. As an FBI agent, Suarez was all aware of the bug spirits, in fact he was the one that had sent our team into camp hope to roust them out. What happened was more like kicking a fire ant mound, flesh forms poured out of the barracks and tunnels beneath the complex and we had to retreat under fire. We had survived, and gotten the data that Suarez wanted, but in doing so had made an enemy of these spirits that had ended up coming back to haunt us.
Calls made and messages left I sat in the corner of the apartment and started to meditate. As the strains of a century old lost group named “Pink Floyd” washed over me, I sought the green grass and towering trees of the forests of Wolf. Thankfully, it ended up i didn't have to go to him, because he came to me, or maybe i should say us. Feeling a presence before me i opened my eyes expecting Joanna to be curled up before my feet, instead, i found Wolf sitting there eying me. “What do you seek from me tonight my child.” The thought came clearly into my mind and i responded in kind to the old spirit.
“What is it about this child old one?” i asked, “She is like me yet not, and the not is an ability to manipulate the mana outside her body. What am i to do with her?”
Wolf looked at me with an obvious grin on his face, “Keep her with you young one, keep her safe, for as you said she is like you, but also, she is like me. She is one that follows our path, and will need your training in it over the next few years.”
This puzzled me and i sat to think about it for a minute, and Wolf came and sat in front of me where he continued the conversation. “You have followed my path for years young one, and never have you taken an apprentice in your art. It is time you did, and she is the one you shall take. This was one of the reasons fate has sent you here. You have also found the others you sought, and the time approaches fast that you shall have your revenge. Be careful though my child, for though you may be the victor against these that you have found, i have not seen your survival a definite matter. Now stay safe, and sleep well.” With that the spirit vanished back to its home plane and i was left their to ponder the situation. Mumbling through my fatigue addled wits, once again i curled myself up on the floor to sleep. Blade would probably be the first to call me. Germany was in a time zone hours ahead of us, but he wouldn't call until he was sure i was awake which meant i probably had till about noonish before the telcom rang for anything. As i dozed off i felt the warmth of another body snuggle into mine, and then nothingness of sleep overtook me.
 
May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

7.62 Russian, when it absolutely has to be done under budget

Wolfboy

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« Reply #2 on: (19:35:18/02-26-12) »
Chapter 4
The next morning, I started with my usual exercise regime. Joanna joined in and after the run and cool down we tested her self defense and hand to hand combat abilities. Her skills were actually not that bad, and we proceeded into use of some blades of limited size as the morning progressed. Just as i had figured, about 11:30 or so in the morning, Blade called while i was teaching Jo about weapons maintenance. Tapping the accept button on the headset, i set the cleaning brush down on the camp table between us and picked up the upper part of the pistol i had been cleaning. “Talk to me B” i said as as i slid the pieces together with a click.
“Hey man, you called me, I'm just returning the call.” That was blade, about as blunt as the front of a semi truck.
“Yeah man, i got a small, alright a big situation going on in Chicago. You remember what i told you happened in Seattle right?”
“Yeah” he replied, sobered a bit, “and I'm sorry about Morrigan. Is this what your calling about though, to cry on my shoulder at this late a date?”
“No,” i replied, “In fact I've come to the end of the trail concerning that. Its a camp Hope situation all over again omae. I came out of the initial recon heavy though, and i need help training the newby.”
Blade grunted at that information, “Project Hope huh.” he mumbled. “I'll see what i can scare up. As for the newby, whats his gig?” he asked.
“HER thing,” i replied stressing the pronoun. “Is that they got her parents and was about to change her. She's got power like you or I do, but also like Morpheus does as well. The old furrball says she's to be my new apprentice, and to teach her, so I'm getting her started in the basics and then was thinking of sending her off to either you or Morph next.”
“Is that the only thing your teaching her?” he asked. I could hear the eyebrows bouncing in his tone and I knew what he was implying. It made me want to reach through the phone and knock him upside his head.
“No you perv,” I snapped instead, “Its not like that and you bloody well know it. So, can you help us or are we on our own with the chitinous challenge.”
“Nah chummer, I'm on my way right now. I just need an address to ship my gear to.”
After that i gave him the address to the apartment and hung up. Turning back to Joanna, i watched as her hands disassembled and reassembled the pistol for a couple of minutes. She was a natural, and I knew that if she picked up half the stuff we had to teach her, she would be a force to be feared in the near future.
Just as i started to disassemble the rifle and show her how to take care of it, the phone rang again. Checking the number i saw that it was Suarez, this was likely to be a short conversation. Tapping the answer button on my headset, i continued to demonstrate the disassembly of the rifle as i spoke to the FBI agent.
“Alright Wolfgar, you said this was urgent so talk to me, your on the timer!” Suarez was even blunter than Blade, and with less wiggle room where i was concerned.
“Well morning to you to Agent Suarez, to much blood in your caffeine system this morning i see.” The grumbled snap of a response told me my shot had hit the mark. “Well listen close while you drink that first mug of liquid crack. The reason you don't have me on your scopes there in Seattle is that I'm no longer in that particular metroplex. I'm in Chicago, and the infestation here is bigger than camp hope ever thought of being.” The splutter of coffee and the hacking wheeze on the other end of the line let me know that he had heard every word of it clearly. The question was now, what was he going to do about it.
“You have anything approaching a count?” he asked once he got his breath back. I was pretty sure he had shot hot coffee out his nose, his voice was raw as he asked.
“No,” i responded, “but i do know that its big, and that they're still short their queen. I managed to pull the recipient for that little procedure out of their hole before she could be infested.”
“Good job,” was his muttered reply. “Get me a count and I'll start beating the grass for an assault team, though that will probably be your group from Seattle.”
“No way Suarez, leave them out.” I came across hard and unyielding “They have enough to deal with themselves, they don't need to be traipsing halfway across the bloody continent to do your dirty work. Get me some UCAS spec ops people and maybe some heavy support from Ares and I'll lead them in myself. Otherwise all you get is some initial recon and a hot reception for any bug that sticks its head up in my sights, you dig.”
“I gotcha,” he snapped. He didn't like a low level piece of gutter scum like me dictating terms to him. But he also knew that if he didn't listen to me and at least pretend to play along, then i would pull out and he'd be stuck high and dry without even the location of the hive in this area. Information traded i broke the connection and continued to walk Joanna through the weapons. That day we stopped only to eat a couple of the stuffers we had bought the day before for lunch and to do another work out and sparring match before getting cleaned up as day faded into night. All day we had been going at things, but night was the time of movement for people like me and once we were both clean and dressed in clothes that didn't smell of gun oil and sweat we went out.
 
Chapter 5
“Stealth is equal parts art, observation and instinct.” I told her as we made our way downtown. “The ability to blend in, to disappear in a crowd, is something that truly takes time, effort, and skill. Part of it is what you wear, for instance. What we have on now, would do if we were going to slide through the streets in general, or for a bar crawl through a slightly seedier part of town. If we were going to try and schmooze our way through the bar at the Crowne Plaza or the Hilton Hyatt however we would be under dressed just as much as we would for a bar in the docks. The level of under or over dressed is in what your trying to do and where that is. You don't wear a death-metal band t-shirt to meet with a corp exec and you don't wear a tux to meet with a ganger.”
We parked the bike in a general use garage and after locking it up, rode the elevator down to the street level. “One thing you need to realize is that in Trying, not to be noticed, you draw more attention to yourself. Now stop for a few minutes and tell me what you see up and down this street.”
Pausing in the middle of the sidewalk, Joanna did a slow 360 degree turn. Turning back to me she started listing some of the obvious. The couple walking from the theater across the street hand in hand, the gangers hanging out at the mouth of the alleyway a little way down from us, watching the bodega at the corner. “Now,” I said, stopping her list with an upturned palm. “Do you see the clothes they are wearing, the shadows that the hooker just drew her john into or the nelson waiting amongst them to roll the john so that he and the hooker get more for nothing? The city is not just the people, the buildings and he cars. Its not the people and things in it, its a feeling, a spirit that only a city has, and each city has its own individual spirit.” Continuing on down the street we stopped outside one of the old style Starbucks coffee houses. “How would you observe someone who had just entered this place?” I asked her.
Instead of just jumping out with an answer that would have probably been wrong, Joanna stopped a moment to think. A moment later she finally answered. “I would go in behind him, and order something, if he immediately turned around and walked out i would have to drop tailing him and hand off to someone else though because chasing him out would blow my cover.”
“Very good,” I replied. “Thats exactly what you would have to do, hopefully though you would have your subject's schedule down well enough to pick him up at a later time. The point of this is, that while its best to remain unnoticed, sometimes thats not an option. In moments like those you have to do something most people find very odd, you hide in plain sight.” As i lectured Joanna's eyes took a thoughtful cast as she digested the information i was giving her. We continued down the street, my instructions on how to hide oneself in plain sight proceeding with the pace of our walk.

Occasionally Joanna would ask a question of me about a particular point and i would explain in more detail using certain of my escapades that fit the needs of the moment. Not all of the anecdotes were my own and as we proceeded back toward the bike on the opposite side of the street i asked her once again, what she saw on the street. This time she let her eyes go unfocused as she gazed down the street taking in everything that was ahead of her before answering.
“I see the bleeding body of the city laid out before me, its spirit crying in pain as it is devoured by the darkness of an evil below it. I see the death and desolation that inhabits every alleyway, and the sorrow of the homeless as they wander the night for lack of warmth.” she replied, her voice almost trance like. She turned to me with a hopeless desire to help plastered on her face. “What can i do master, the entire city is in pain, and it is so big, yet i am so small.”
“Do my child.” I answered her, pulling her close into me. “All we can really do my child is survive and protect those that are of our pack. That is all wolf has ever asked of us, and is likely for now to be all he ever does.” Together we finished walking back to the bike and returned home. That night, there was no pretenses of separation, for we climbed into the bed together and i held her till we both fell asleep.

May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

7.62 Russian, when it absolutely has to be done under budget

Wolfboy

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« Reply #3 on: (19:37:09/02-26-12) »
Chapter 6
The next two days passed in a blur of exercise, training and tests. Surprisingly, Joanna turned out to be quite innately skilled in many of the things she needed to know, and the others she was such a quick study that i soon found myself out of my league in training her in certain aspects. Finally though the third morning after i had found her dawned and after we finished our workout i called to make sure her gear was ready.
“Lucky Louie's Military Surplus, what can we get for you today?” As always Rhonda answered the phone.
“Rhonda, its Mr. Smith, is my special order ready?” I asked,
“Sure Mista Smith,” Rhonda answered. “Louie's in the back packaging it up right now. Are you going to come get it soon?”
Yeah Rhonda, I'll be by about lunch time or so to pick it up. I have to ask, was the registration i asked for available?”
“Yes it was, its sitting with the rest of your equipment.”
“Alright then I'll see you later.” Hanging up i turned from the telcom to find Joanne standing behind me wrapped in a towel and still wet from the shower. “Your gear is ready to be picked up,” I mentioned as i turned away again and started walking toward the shower. “We'll go get it after I get a shower and we go get brunch.” As i went to step through the bathroom door i felt her familiar shape press against my back and her arms wrap around me.
“Is there something wrong with me, something about me that disgusts you?”  she asked in a soft almost childlike voice, her forehead pressed against my back. “Did i do something that keeps you from loving me.”
The question itself sent a jolt of hormones into my system and shock down my spinal column. Flat, honest, earnest questions about emotional baggage that i didn't want to delve into. It was time though, I had to deal with it now. “Child,” i started, “Nothing about you keeps me from wanting you. Nothing in your looks, words, emotions or actions could make me care for you one bit less. The problems are that first of all I'm your teacher, and as such there can be no relationship between us but teacher and student. The instant that i start looking at you as other than my pupil i start doing you a great disservice. If you are not taught the hard facts of this world in the best way i can, so that you can stare down the world unflinching, i will have brought you harm. Therefore, because i care for you so, I must maintain this as simply student and teacher.” I sighed deeply as i started to lightly beat my head against the door jamb. “Another reason is that i cannot let my hormones get the better of me, its an oath i took long ago, to make sure the person i was with was the one i wanted to spend my eternity with.”
Turning around to her now naked form i stopped the inevitable vascular reaction through shear will power and brushed the wet hair from her face. “You will find as you get older that whomever you bed, you will walk away with a touch of their aura stuck to you. To many people share your bed, and your aura will look like a badly made collage, bits and pieces everywhere. I will tell you this however, if in a year, you still feel this way toward me, and if you have proceeded to the point that it is time for you to become someone else's student, then we will consider it.” Her reaction was not one of being particularly happy with the situation, but she nodded her head in acceptance and reached down to pick up the towel she had dropped around her feet. I went to turn back to the bathroom when she called my name to get my attention. Turning back to her, i found myself faced with a scorching kiss, followed by a finger in my chest.
Stepping back to full arms reach she started her response. “I will give into your requirements simply because i know that i require your teaching right now more than anything else. But hear this now, do not try to break this agreement through separation or death. Neither will keep you from this promise, even if i have to chase you into Wolf's hall to do so.” and with so blunt a declaration she turned and went to get dressed and i stepped into the bathroom to take a cold shower, not sure who had come out on top of the conversation.

 
Chapter 7
The trip to Louie's was a quiet one, neither said a word to the other as the bike eased through the streets. I  could feel her body molded against my back, the edge of her aura intermingling with mine and it was distracting. I knew i needed to stick to everything i had said earlier, it was the only way to keep both of us alive through what was on the horizon. Yet when we pulled into Louie's i felt a pang as she dismounted from behind me, it was something i had never expected to feel again, especially anytime soon.
After i had lost Morrigan, i had expected my life to end in a furious blast of gunfire, ripped apart by some massive bug spirit or blown to bits by my own ammo because some fire elemental got ticked off at me. Yet this i knew was a matter of despondency and depression. I was going out looking for the chop, and sure enough, had i continued looking for it, i would have found it. I would have taken some stupid chance, or just gone into a situation not caring whether i came out or not and it would have cost me my life. Now though, things were different. Now i had someone that i was responsible for, no not just responsible for, but cared about.
Walking into Louie's i suddenly felt something was out of place. Quickly i stepped to the side out of the doorway's illumination, dragging Joanna through and shoving her past me into the first aisle. “Something isn't right here.” i said to her as i followed pushing her further down the aisle. When we stopped halfway down, we were both already in a crouch and pulling our pistols from their holsters. Her eyes were slightly glazed as she looked around and i knew then that she was picking up her training faster than i could teach. The look in her eyes was straight up professional, it was something i hadn't expected to see for a long time. This was someone who wasn't going to be taken again, someone who would go out taking her enemy with her. I wondered if my team mates had seen the same look in my eyes before, then i shook off my amazement and got down to business.
Popping my head above the racks i looked about, it was then that i noticed what it was. Rhonda wasn't in her usual spot and Louie hadn't come out into the store himself. They never left the storefront uncovered and open ever, something was definitely wrong here. Signaling Joanna to follow me, we slid down the aisle to the edge where Louie's office was. Stepping behind the counter to get to the door i found Rhonda. Looking at her body though i didn't even bother to check for a pulse. Its kinda irrelevant when the back of a persons head is gone. Waving Joanna past me i gestured for her to grab the door to Louie's office then started to count down on my fingers. When the door opened i swept through, my eyes automatically adjusting to the light level of the inner office. Looking about i couldn't see Louie at first, at least not until i got behind his desk. As i kicked the chair out of the way of me sweeping behind and under the desk i found him. He was curled into a ball, hiding under his desk. Finally i waved Joanna in and squatted down to get Louie out from his hiding spot.
“Louie,” i called to him softly, not quite a whisper, but still softly. “Louie, its Smith, come on Louie, we need to gather up your drek and ours and get the frag out of here.” I ended up repeating this a couple of times before he finally looked up, when he did though, the look on his face was one of surprise and wonder.
“Smith, what are you doing here?” his voice was full of fear and wonder as he pulled himself from his hiding space.
“I came to pick up my order.” i said in response,  “I called earlier, and Rhonda told me it was ready to pick up. Tell me its ready Louie, please tell me its ready.” Now i was starting to worry, Rhonda had died from a gunshot to the head, a heavy pistol round, single shot. This meant that the person was either very good or got real close before he opened up and it probably meant that whomever had done it was waiting for us all to walk out of the store into his line of fire.
“Yeah its ready,” he answered finally getting his brain back into gear, “Its laid out in the back because Rhonda figured your “apprentice” would want to get right into the full body suit.”
Reaching back under his desk Louie hit the button that opened the hidden door from his office to the back room and i quickly swept the area. “Joanna, back here.” I called out to her, just as Louie had said, the full body suit of form fit armor was laid out on the table next to the dressing room along with the rest of the stuff that had to either be ordered or custom made. As Joanna slid past me i gripped her shoulder for a moment to get her attention, “Get changed quickly, we may not have much time before who ever it was shows up, Whats more I'm calling 3M, he needs to be brought in on this regardless, but he might want this looked at legitimately.” Her short nod told me she had heard me then she rushed over picking up the gear and retreating to the dressing room.
Turning back toward the office door i flipped open the cell phone and pulled up Marcone's from its memory. I knew he wasn't going to be happy about this and i hated to be the one to break it to him. He had a history of killing the bringers of bad news. Finally finding the number i highlighted it and punched the send button.
“Mr. Marcone's office, how may i direct your call?” the female voice on the other end answered, i didn't recognize it so 3M must have gotten a new bimbo to do his phones.
“This is Mr. Smith, i need to speak to Mr Marcone on a secure line immediately. Tell him I'm at Louie's.” I answered her, my military training was coming back into the fore so my answers were starting to get very brusque.
“Alright sir,” she answered, “I hope this is important, Mr Marcone doesn't like to be disturbed.” she hung up after she finished and a couple of minutes later the phone in the locked bottom drawer of Louie's desk began to ring.
“This better be fraggin important or someones a dead man.” Marcone answered as i picked up the phone.
“Oh its important Marcone,” i replied, “Someone just came in not 15 minutes ago and shot up Louie's place. Rhonda's dead and his situation may be compromised.”
“Louie being compromised isn't my concern Smith, its his.” Marcone said in response to the news. “But his safety is my concern, thats what he pays me for. Have you called the cops yet?” he asked.
Yeah right like i would call the cops before checking with him, the only family man left in Chicago. “Not yet we haven't, we wanted to check with you first.”
“Good man,” he answered, “good man. Go ahead and call the cops on a regular line, i can deflect most questions that might come my way, but their gonna ask a lot of questions if they don't get a call soon, and the last thing anyone wants is the Star to look to closely into their business.” with that said he hung up.
 
May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

7.62 Russian, when it absolutely has to be done under budget

Wolfboy

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« Reply #4 on: (19:38:23/02-26-12) »
Chapter 8
“Your absolutely certain you have no clue what went down here.” the detective asked me again as we stood outside of Louie's place.
“No detective,” I answered, sounding quite bored. “My apprentice and i came down to pick up the last of her new gear and found things like this. Its a shame really, Rhonda was a nice girl, she deserved better than to have her head opened up by a bullet.”
“Yeah,” the detective muttered jotting down a note on her pocket secretary. “and your absolutely certain that it wasn't her boyfriend here that did it.” she asked gesturing at Louie.
“Absolutely positive detective,” i answered. “First of all Louie isn't like that, he just doesn't have a violent bone in his body. Second, he was scared drekless when we found him. He had stuffed himself so far under his desk that if whomever did this looked for him, they wouldn't have seen him.”
“Alright then Mr. Smith,” the detective said perking up a touch. “Heres my telcom number in case you or Miss Riley think of anything else,” Saying the last made the detective stop in thought for a moment then continued on. “and we have your address and both your portable and apartment numbers in case we need to speak to you further.”
“Thank you officer, i take it then, that we're free to go?” i asked her as she turned to walk away.
“Oh yes,” she answered as Joanna stepped up beside me and laying her left hand on my shoulder. “Just don't leave town till we tell you otherwise.”
“Oh no problem there detective.” I answered smiling. “We have a lot of training to do before i take this one bounty hunting. Come on M.J. let's get back to your training” with that Joanna and I walked over to my bike and rode off.
“Now to go see who's really going to be investigating this hit.” I told Joanna as we got clear of the police cordon.
“What do you mean?” she asked in my ear as we gained speed  and headed back toward the lake front “and do you really think it was some kind of killing for hire?”
“Yes i do, so we're gonna go see 3M.” i answered, “He's gonna want his own investigation to go on with this, and i want to find out who he has on the job, not to mention make sure he knows it wasn't us.”
“That makes sense.” she replied, “But what will happen if he does think we did it?”
“Then I'm going to try and dissuade him from that thought,” i told her. “and if he wont be dissuaded. Well then things are gonna get very bloody very fast.”
 
Chapter 9
Mickey Marcone had a nice house. It was one of the old ones from the 1920's up by the lake front and clear of the city's influence and crime levels, and swinging the motorcycle up into the drive gave me the feeling of being extremely under dressed. “Now Joanna, when we go in there, they're gonna take our guns and we're going to let them, so don't get itchy, understood?” The nod she gave was barely there but i could tell she heard and would try to obey. Walking up to the front door i saw it open even as we gained the porch. Opening the door was one of the two orcs that Marcone kept as a body guard, “Are you Beavis, or Butthead?” i asked. The two orcs were identical twins whose parents not only had to have been fans of the old show, but struck with an extremely sick sense of humor to give their sons those names.
“Beavis” the orc grunted and gestured for us to step inside and assume the position. Searching us only took a moment each and afterwards he had taken everything but our blades and set them in boxes on the coffee table in the hallway. “Come along.” he mumbled and started walking expecting us to follow him. He was right though and follow we did, passing through the house into the back yard and the enclosed pool set there.
Stopping at the screened in room, we waited as Mickey finished the laps he was swimming in the pool and then after having pulled himself out, put on a robe and sat down. “Alright Mr. Smith, what can you really tell me?” Mickey asked us as he stretched out in the poolside deck chair. “I want to know everything you do, so start talking.”
“Alright 3M,” i said sitting down indian style on the concrete border of the pool. “In all honesty, we know nothing about what happened. I called up there to find out if my apprentice's gear was ready for pick up and afterwards we headed down there. We found things as they were when we got there, Rhonda was dead with a gunshot through her head which blasted her brains out all over the wall behind her, and Louie was hidden under his desk scared drekless.”
“No clue as to who was behind it, no clue as to the shooter.” Mickey asked pulling a cigar from the portable humidor on the low table next to him and lighting it.
“Well depending on where they find the shell casing, if they find one, will tell an interesting story.” i said in a thoughtful tone. “If the shooter took their shot from outside the store he was bloody good, she was killed by a heavy pistol round, something along the lines of a .45 or something. Something however tells me they wont find a shell casing. This seems to me to be to professional, and a pro hit wouldn't leave evidence like that around so either they will use a revolver or caseless rounds.”
“Your absolutely certain of that?” Mickey asked sitting up and jabbing the cigar as if to drive home a point. “Your certain it was a heavy pistol and not a rifle.”

“Oh yes most definitely.” I answered. “Another thing is i don't think this was done by a particularly good professional” The questioning look Mickey gave me asked volumes of questions. The main one being how did i figure that? “I could actually see by the blood spatter on the wall that the shot had come from the shooter's hip, so the shooter was undoubtedly a good shot, however, we can figure from the splatter and Rhonda's hight, where the shooter was standing when he took the shot.” Pulling out my pocket secretary i noted in it the hight of Rhonda in the 3 inch spike heels she had been wearing and the hight of the bullet hole in the wall and waited a moment while it spit out the answer. “The shooter was only about 2 meters away when he took the shot.” I said as as i slid the palmtop unit back into my pocket. “This means the shooter, was able to get close, like any other customer, probably by talking like he wanted something, then did a quick draw from a side holster and popped off a single round. Now the cops will figure this out as well, and the fact that there is money missing will probably put it down to a robbery gone bad. Whether that is the truth or not however, remains to be seen.”
Marcone sat and listened nodding as i went through my explanation, he then stood up as i finished and started to pace, his face showing him deep in thought.”
“Do you think that you could figure out who did this Mr. Smith?” 3M asked as he paced back and forth in front of the chairs.
“Not any better or any faster than Lonestar could Mr Marcone. They have more resources to call on and know both the area and the elements better than i do. Another thing they have the training as well as they have a lot more manpower to throw at this particular case. And finally, I'm not a private detective Mr. Marcone, I'm a direct action sub-contractor, so i don't even know where to start asking questions, let alone the correct questions to ask. I came to Chicago on personal business that i expected to have finished half a week ago, instead i found an apprentice to train and still have the business to attend to.”
“Are you willing to try looking into it Mr. Smith?” Marcone asked turning and looking straight at me. “I don't trust the police, they ask to many of the wrong questions and dig in the wrong directions 9 times out of 10 because they want their slice of the pie. Well they don't get to have any of my pie, but i want straight answers from them. You say your a direct action sub-contractor, well i might want to hire you to perform some direct actions and I'm sure if i did we could come to an amenable agreement.”
“That would depend on what kind of direct action we were talking about.” i replied. “The kind i tend to do doesn't tend to lend itself toward having questions answered. The only time i managed that was very messy, and i had to do some serious cleanup afterwards.” Sitting there thinking, i wondered why Marcone wanted this done so much. I mean sure he had his reputation to look after, but my gut told me it was more than just that. Something much more if i wasn't mistaken. “Alright Mr Marcone.” i said after a minute more of introspection. “I'll take the job. If,” i continued holding up a hand palm out. “If we can come to an agreeable amount for services rendered.” It was always this last that made men like Mickey clench. If they offered to low, the supposed, best team for the job, walked out disgusted and they had to settle for some other team. On the other hand if i asked to much he would find someone else and probably try to put a bullet in my brain pan besides.
3M stood for a minute thinking about what he could offer me, he also knew the risks of negotiations, but he was a master at negotiating, especially the high risk stuff that any black op turned out to be. “Fifty K, half now, half when your finished, and another 50 if you find the fragger who did it and bring him to me alive.”
“Agreed,” i answered and at a snap of Marcone's fingers one of the bodyguards, i think it was Beavis again, held out a credstick showing a maxed level of 25000 Nuyen.
“Another little treat i will add on there is another identity for your apprentice, just so she doesn't feel left out of the dealings.”3M continued. “She will get it once the job is done, and if you catch the person responsible for this, I'll give her an equal bonus as well.”
Joanna nodded to this and i answered “Agreed.” Standing up i gestured for Joanna to stand as well before continuing to speak. “Now, we have work to see to Mr. Marcone, if you will excuse us?” To this Marcone waved his hand semi-grandly and Beavis escorted us back to the front door and our weapons. As we were rearming ourselves and i was pondering why 3M would pay so much to see justice brought to a simple girl from New Jersey our escort spoke up.
“You make sure whoever did this comes back to us in one piece Smith.” grumbled the orc. “Mr Marcone has promised us some fun time with whoever killed his sister, and Butthead and i intend to make it very uncomfortable for that person before Mr. Marcone gives him a personal tour of the bottom of lake Michigan.”
“His sister?” i asked inquisitively, Beavis wasn't a mental giant, but he probably didn't realize he had let the proverbial cat out of the bag in answering one of my unvoiced questions.
“Yeah,” Beavis replied, just as simple minded as ever. “Miss Rhonda was his baby sister, she was always nice to Butthead and me whenever she came by, but Mr. Marcone, he wants blood for this. He wasn't very happy after you called earlier, and i cant tell if he's worse now or better since he knows you'll at least try to bring the person who did this to him.”
“Alright Beavis,” i said, clapping the orc on the shoulder. “don't you or Mr Marcone worry about this, I'll make sure i get the fragger.” This brought a toothy grin to the simple minded fellow's face as Joanne and i made our way back out the door and to my bike.
“Your distracting us from our real objectives master.” Joanna said to me as we climbed on the motorcycle. “I thought we were here to destroy the bugs, or at least get a good recon on them.”
“Your right Joanna,” i said answering her question as i started the bike. “but hopefully we can do both. Tonight we'll slip back into the hive and try and get a count on the numbers for Suarez. Afterwards we will see to getting information on who killed Rhonda until Suarez has put together a hit team. I hate to say this, but now knowing she was 3M's sister makes it just as likely that it was a hit just to get to him. I actually pity the poor bastitches that had it done as well, i really do. Just thinking about what Beavis and Butthead will do to them makes me shiver.”
As we pulled out of the lake district housing we swung back to the apartment to wait on Blade's gear. I would be arriving later that day hopefully, and he would be at O'Hare the next morning.
 
Chapter 10
The pallet full of boxes arrived about half an hour after we had returned to the apartment. Unfortunately it was about the same time most of the neighborhood kids were heading home. After thinking for a few minutes i offered a few of the younger teens each 10 Nuyen to help tote the boxes down into the safe house, and within a few minutes and for the cost of only 50 Nuyen, i had all boxes in the room in one trip. After thanking the kids and getting them out of the room, Joanna and I proceeded to unload the boxes and rack the weapons. What Blade thought we would need an assault cannon for i had no clue, but the fact that he had also sent 2 boxes of flechette ammo for the thing  bore some thought. Another thing that he had sent had been his 2 sword weapon foci, this got me to thinking, Joanna didn't have much in the way of bladed weapons, and she didn't have any weapon foci whatsoever. This was something i needed to see to quickly. It was Thursday late, but maybe I could find a talismonger in town that could provide a long bladed weapon foci of decent quality before Saturday evening.
Diving into the directory on my telcom i started sorting through some of the numbers i had been given earlier that day by 3M. Finally i found what i had been looking for, the one mage that Marcone dealt with, so i highlighted the number and hit the dial button. After a couple of rings the screen lit up and i was faced with a beautiful blond on the other end.
“Who are you, what do you want and were did you get this number?” the blond demanded as soon as she appeared on my screen.
Clearing my throat i answered, “Ms. Star my name is Smith, Mr Marcone gave me this number. What i need is the number to a very discreet but extremely capable talismonger. Can you help me?”
At the mention on 3M's name she stopped glaring, or at least glaring at me. It was apparent that she wasn't happy that part of her marker was being called in this way, but she also knew that this wasn't my fault and she wasn't going to poison this well so fast. “Actually Mr. Smith, I'm my own talismonger, but depending on what you need in way of foci, i might send you to someone else i know. Also, its not Ms or miss, just Star.”
At this i just grinned, “Alright then Star, call me Wolfgar. What i need is a weapon foci, I can provide the blade to be enchanted, but i need it to be set at a fairly decent level of enchantment and fast, by Friday late to be exact.”
The mage thought for a few minutes as if going over a spell formula in her head, then shook her head slightly. “I could make you one with a strong enchantment but not within your time frame. Angus on the other hand might already have something made and ready. I'm sending you his number now, but I'll tell you this, its not going to be cheap, and Angus tends to like to make short swords also, so if your not trained in them already you might have to work on training for that also.”
“Thanks Star,” i replied, “Short swords should fit right into the weapons mix with us, and I'll get the person who will be using them training on that form right away.” I watched as the blond, “Star” nodded and then disconnected as a new LTG number appeared on the bottom of my screen. Auto dialing that particular number it was answered by a very compact dwarf with the look of a trained blacksmith.
“I don't know you, so you have about 10 seconds to catch my interest or give me a good reason not to hang up.” the dwarf's gruff voice was so stereotypical that I almost burst out laughing right then and there. I had to keep him on the line though so i started to talk quickly.
“Star told me to give you a call,” i told him in the again stereotypical quick banter of my own meta type “She said you might have something already done in the way of a fairly strong bladed weapon focus.”
The hand that had been hovering near the disconnect button went back to the dwarf's side as he listened to me. “Yeah i might have something, depends on if the person needing it is worthy of it, Glamdring doesn't just go to any old soul you know.”
“Oho,” i exclaimed at the name the smith had given the blade, “Indeed biter does need to go to someone worthy of its ancient fame, but i think my apprentice is up to the task and as a disciple of Wolf, i find that particular blade almost,” i paused a moment in thought, “Almost a serendipitous choice. Shall we come by and see if the blade accepts the lass as its new mistress?”
“I guess,” the dwarf grumbled, “but it will be a long nights vigil if the blade does, be sure your apprentice is ready for such.”
“I shall, and we will see you soon.” i said then disconnected. Turning i started cataloging what we would need, mostly a brand new set of clothes for Joanna, but those we could get along the way. “Joanna,” i hollered out her name as i turned toward where our jackets hung, “Get your hoop in here we got something to go take care of.” I watched as while at a run Joanna bolted out of the bathroom still belting her pants.
“What is it master?” she asked me almost panting.
“We need to go take care of a little oversight i had.” i told her, “In fact we'll probably be gone all night, however, we have to make one stop at the shopping mall before we get to where we are going, and you don't get to make any choices in what we get there. You will go in and get a terry cloth robe, towel in white, as well as a bar of Lavender soap. Once you acquire these things you will return to the bike and we will go on to what we need them for. You will pay for them,” i told her handing her the money, “and you will not try and negotiate over any of it. Do you understand?”
“No master,” she answered, pocketing the money in her duster. “but i will obey.” With that we walked out of the apartment and to my waiting motorcycle, heading first to the mall, and then to Angus's forge.
 
May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

7.62 Russian, when it absolutely has to be done under budget

Deepeyes

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« Reply #5 on: (08:08:40/02-28-12) »
Nice stuff!!! More coming? I sure hope so! :)
« Last Edit: (18:56:47/02-28-12) by Deepeyes »

Raventrickster

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« Reply #6 on: (22:25:50/02-29-12) »
Great story so far, has the makings of a novella at least.  Hope to read more soon!

Wolfboy

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« Reply #7 on: (19:06:14/03-04-12) »
there will be more coming soon, i just have to dig up the files so i can post them
May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

7.62 Russian, when it absolutely has to be done under budget

Raventrickster

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« Reply #8 on: (06:27:58/05-06-12) »
Just gave this another read through after Angelone reminded me what the title was.  Still a great story, and I'm still looking forward to more.

Wolfboy

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« Reply #9 on: (17:31:14/05-11-12) »
there will be more i just have to fight my way into the file that has the blasted writing in it. either that or completely retype about half of it if i can find the hardcopy that i printed up and stashed somewhere
May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

7.62 Russian, when it absolutely has to be done under budget