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Sideways

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Hephaestus

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« on: (21:25:34/06-20-19) »
Some backstory I wrote up for my current Rigger character.

Sideways

The beat-up GMC Universe sped down the highway, casually shifting lanes to avoid traffic while maintaining speed. Had anyone been in the driver’s seat, they would have been able to view a beautiful sunset over downtown Tokyo, but Blackjack didn’t need to be sitting up front to be jumped in. Through the van’s sensors, he was able to see plenty of people flip him off as he cut through traffic. Even though he was physically unconscious, the corners of his mouth twitched into a slight grin as he saw them shaking their fists or swearing through their windshields.

“Are we sure about this one?” Liberty asked, mulling over the classified report, “This lead seems even thinner than the last few sites.”

“It just means Ares is getting more paranoid about their operations,” said Badger. The dwarf always seemed to have an answer for everything. No one was never sure if it was because he was clairvoyant, or just overconfident, but his sentiments rang true more often than not, “I guess they’re worried the Redeemers will stalk out of the shadows and steal all their little kiddies.”

Well, only one way to find out. Blackjack’s voice echoed through their commlinks. We stick to the plan. You two get the doors open, and keep security off us. The rest of us get to the cargo elevator, get down to the labs, snag the assets, and get the frag out there before we have all of the security in the building on our hoops. So let’s get focused and get this done.

If this had been a milk run, there would have been a lot more chatter. But this wasn’t just another run. This was the big time, a chance to kick Ares right in the balls. As Blackjack looked over the team, he knew each of them had a personal stake in freeing the test subjects in the lab below. They had all come from similar labs, and not one of them was going to let Ares Corp keep doing the same kind of sick experiments that they had lived through.

Behemoth sat in a trance, the troll focusing all his mojo through himself to make him a whirlwind of destruction when the time came. Across from him sat Mustang. She was the yin to Behemoth’s yang. An ork with a full set of wired reflexes, a love of guns, and an unpredictable temper. The two of them had been friends stuck in the same facility, and then a couple soon after being liberated from the lab. They tried their best to hide that fact, and the team was more than happy to oblige their fantasy.

About a mile from the facility, Blackjack pulled the truck over and let Phantom out. The elf was a master infiltrator, and didn’t need any help getting anywhere he wanted to go. A quick nod let the team know he had all he needed. Then in the blink of an eye, he vanished into crowded sprawl. Blackjack moved the van on towards the complex. The team had “borrowed” an Ares supply van and rigged it up for him to use with his RCC. Liberty and Badger had rewritten the transponder passcodes to get them through security, so the only real hard part of the mission should be getting to the elevator entrance undetected.

They had done this countless times before. Infiltration and extraction had become the team’s bread and butter in the years following their escapes. But as they drew near the facility, Blackjack couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off about this… but he couldn’t dwell on those feelings. They had a job to do, and doubting things wouldn’t make it any easier.



The van slid right through the automated security system in the outer lot, and the team debarked near a service entrance. The fake SINs had been gleaned from a sister site’s maintenance crew, and they were waived though security without a second glance. Beyond the door check, there had just been a couple of foot patrols lazily moving on the ground floor, and easily avoided. They had expected more of a fight to get in, any fight really. Blackjack thought that either Liberty and Badger were doing exceedingly well at their jobs, or something was up. They boarded the elevator with their cart of tools, and punched in the security code that should take them to the sub-basement. The elevator lurched into motion, and everyone sank slightly as it began moving… upward.

“What in the fragging hell is this?!” said Mustang, “The lab was supposed to be in the basement. Why are we going up?” She hit the emergency stop, but the elevator kept moving.

“Someone set us up,” said Blackjack. He pulled up an AR display, looking to see anything that would give him a clue as to where they were headed. As he looked through the facility icons, the feed started to fill with static.

Where the hell are you idiots going? The schem… owed you need… go dow… et out of there, you moro….. After that, the feed from Badger went dead.

“We lost our link to Liberty and Badger,” he said, his face taciturn, “We’re getting jammed. Wherever this thing stops, expect a fight.”

“Already was,” said Behemoth. The air tingled as he charged himself with as much magical energy as he could muster, “This is going to be one hell of a show.”

“Those slots have no idea what’s coming,” Mustang chirped, pulling her shotgun out of the work bag. She had already donned her pistol harness, sporting a pair of Predator Vs and a number of extra clips, “Too bad you didn’t bring any of your big toys, Blackjack. We could use the fire support.”

“It’s not the size that matters, my dear Mustang. It’s a numbers game,” he said, as the side of the work cart opened and a swarm of Fly-Spies emerged. Though a couple were unarmed, having been loaded with sensors, most of them had been retrofitted with pistols or even single-shot grenade launchers.

“Do you always bring a fragging drone army with you, and just not tell us?” sneered Mustang.
“Yup,” Grinned Blackjack, “but to be fair, you never did ask.”

As the elevator began to slow, the trio readied themselves. Behemoth got out in front, followed by Mustang, Blackjack in the rear. This was going to be one hell of a fight…



The upper floors of the building had become a war zone. The walls were riddled with bullet holes, scorch marks, and blood. Fires raged where grenades had detonated, and alarms blared as the sprinklers attempted to douse the flames. A few guards who had gotten to close to Behemoth found themselves embedded in the walls, or in the case of one particularly poor bastard, the ceiling. Drone fragments littered the floor along with hundreds of spent bullet casings.

The team had eventually found themselves in an open reception area, and the Ares security had used the space to surround them. Behemoth lay on the floor behind the overturned cart, while Mustang tried to stop him from bleeding out. Blackjack clutched his side as he dropped to a knee, the bullet wound more painful than mortal. He looked to Mustang, and they shared a last glance as they readied to meet their end. But before the guards could fire, a familiar voice rang out.

“Ceasefire! I want these pathetic slots all to myself.” From behind the armored security, a tall, well-built man strode forward. His spiked, bleached-white hair and glowing orange cybereyes were a dead giveaway, “Besides, they don’t have any fight left in them.”

“Titan?! What in the fragging hell are you doing here?” Mustang yelled.

“I thought you went down in Vladivostok last year,” said Blackjack, “I’m going to have to have a talk with Templar about not following up.”

“Well, technically you did lose me,” Titan said glibly, “I got pinched by Ares, and you miserable assholes left me for dead. I really did think they were going to kill me for a while, but they had better plans…”

“We didn’t want to leave you, but you know going back would have been suicide,” said Blackjack, “And I thought you would have understood that. We had to get the kids ou-“

“The fragging kids!” Titan laughed, “Always with the kids! They are priority one, and the rest of us are just expendable, right? How many people have you lost for those ungrateful little runts? Well, I’m not going to be a casualty for some outdated concept of nobility.”

“I thought you Sams had a code of honor?” said Mustang, “Death before dishonor and all that? What a piece of garbage.”

“I do have a code, you Trog. I honor my employer, and unfortunately for you, that is now Ares. And speaking of garbage…” titan levelled his pistol at Behemoth and fired two shots into his head, “We’ll need an extra-large bag for this heap.”

Mustang roared and collapsed over Behemoth, lost to rage and grief. Blackjack winced and looked away. Titan advanced with the security detail closing in around them all.

“So this is the plan?” Blackjack said, “You get to live so long as you kill us off?”

“Well, I’ll get to live long past that. Ares put me on payroll to exterminate you vermin, then I get to oversee lab security for the project. I get to make sure no mistakes like you ever happen again. Annnd, I get paid a ton of nuyen to do all of this. It really is a dream job. Oh, and we found Phantom sneaking through the vents,” Titan went on, as he pulled a severed elf ear out of his pocket, “I took this as a trophy before I kicked him out of the building… through a ventilation fan.”

Blackjack’s heart sank. They were outgunned, surrounded, and had no chance of support. He looked up at Titan, and saw the shadow of a friend. The man had his mind set on vengeance, and once again Blackjack felt the end creeping up on him.

“Which eye was it, old buddy?” Titan asked, holding out his hand, “Don’t make me rip them both out to find that little drone.”

“Another trophy, you sick fuck?” growled Blackjack.

“No, well… yes. And I seem to remember you had a copy of the Redeemer’s operators list on that little thing. Now give it,” Titan said, drawing a combat knife, “don’t make me go digging…”

Blackjack surveyed the encroaching security, and looked back at Titan, “Well, since you asked so nicely, how can I refuse?” He cocked his head back, and released the locks on his ocular drone. As it floated up, Titan snatched it into his hand, holding it out in front him.

“Look at that!” Exclaimed Titan, “Honestly, I kind of wanted to dig it out your skull, but I’ll take it. I never knew just how finely you crafted this little thing. All the intricate surface work. Those little etched line and patterns. Almost like…”

“A shaped charge?” snickered blackjack. With a thought, he detonated the drone. A ring of fire and shrapnel ripped into the surrounding group. Titan turned to dodge, but the explosion ripped his arm apart, and tore into his chest and face.

“Run!” yelled Blackjack, and he and Mustang took off for different hallways.


The floor was a labyrinth. Hallways leading into hallways, but no exits in sight. Blackjack ran, trying to keep ahead of the shouting behind him. He ran along a row of windows, cursing in his head that he was so close to the outside, yet so far. As he rounded the corner, he was met with a dead end. He sighed, feeling utterly defeated. He looked back at the windows. One last view of the city skyline… and the dead guard on the ground. As the sounds of the guards grew closer, an idea popped into his head. A really, really bad idea, but at this point the end result would probably still be the same as getting caught. He grabbed the grenades off the guard’s vest and filled the hallway with smoke. The guards were close now…

“Kill that piece of shit!” Titan’s voice rang out, garbled from his injuries, “I want him dead!”

As soon as Blackjack could see shadows in the smoke, he threw the armed grenade bandolier at their feet and ducked for cover. The explosion blasted the smoke, and the security, out of the hallway, but more importantly it blew out the wall. A rush of matrix traffic flowed in, and Blackjack got to his feet and ran as fast as he could towards the hole. As he passed the guards, he saw Titan leaning against wall, clearly staggered from the blast.

“That’s twice now, you fragging traitor!” Blackjack yelled as he jumped out the hole.

The cold night air rushed past as he fell, biting into his skin as the ground came closer. He reached out to his RCC, trying desperately to connect. Like a bolt of lightning, the link flooded his brain with information. He only had one drone in the van that could pull this off. He jumped into the old Roto-Drone and pushed it into overdrive. He used its grenade launcher to blast the doors off the van and take off towards his unconscious self. It was a strange feeling, seeing himself fall to his death. Almost like and out-of-body experience…

But no time to think like that, he thought as he brought the drone to match his pace. He brought the drone in sideways, and in a flash switched it back to remote control. He grabbed at the body of the drone, finding a hold on the grenade launcher. With the clearest command he ever sent, he told the drone to pull up. He could hear the drive motor struggling to compensate for the weight, as they continued towards the ground.

“C’mon, you bitch, get us through this!”

He reached into the drones controls and disabled every safety he could. The motor roared, and their descent slowed. Blackjack breathed a sigh of relief as he directed the drone out into the city. As he drifted lower, he flew low over a parking garage. All those cars, there just had to one he could jump into…

The trail of ionized air flashed before his eyes, just before he realized he was again falling. As he fell, he looked up to see the Roto explode into pieces. He had only a moment to ponder what the hell that was before his fall was broken by the roof of a car. He lay there, stunned by the impact, the world swirling in his one remaining eye.

He forced himself to roll off the car, and felt the concrete greet him as a second shot ripped the crushed car out of its parking place. He crawled down the line of cars, keeping as low to the floor as he could. More shots rang out, sending cars flying across the aisle. The car in front of him flipped into the aisle, a flaming wreck. He waited for the smoke to fill the air, then pushed himself up and ran for the nearest stairwell. Shots impacted around him, sending cars flying. He couldn’t know for sure, but it had to be Titan. Blackjack slammed into the stairwell door and fell onto the landing.

“Man, I don’t know what the hell that was, but I want one,” Blackjack said as he stumbled down the stairs, “And I’m gonna shove it straight up Titan’s ass…”

Horsemen

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« Reply #1 on: (00:39:06/07-04-19) »
How long ago did this incident happen in Blackjack's history?
Agent #191 Catalyst Demo Team

Hephaestus

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« Reply #2 on: (21:35:48/07-29-19) »
How long ago did this incident happen in Blackjack's history?

I put it about 3-4 years before the campaign I'm currently in. Time enough to let all the characters develop in their own ways, but not so long that they wouldn't be relevant to the game should the GM want to use them.
« Last Edit: (13:44:57/08-08-19) by Hephaestus »