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Runner Noir

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Wolfboy

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« on: (17:31:43/10-07-10) »
Alright people, comments WANTED, let me know what you think.

Runner Noir

Chapter 1

I hate yankee winters! I thought as I walked across the quad of MIT&T my duster flapping in the wind as snow piled in corners of the quad between the buildings. I was here for the spring term as a guest lecturer and teacher for both modern history and dealing with hostile spirits as a physical adept. So as a lean bodied southern elf I found myself putting up with it. There was five minutes until my class started and I wasn’t going to be late for the second class of the term, so walking into the building where my class was to take place I took off the long coat and settled my book bag in my arms. I was still digging in the bag for his AR glasses as I entered the classroom and stepped up to the desk.

Looking around the room at the assembled class, I noted the missing, both physically and mentally and called the mentally to heel. “Miss Jones, if I catch you messaging in my class again you will be penalized.” This caused the young lady in the fourth row of the lecture hall to blush as her augmented reality display dropped too nothing more than the virtual representation of the same book that some of her classmates physically possessed.  “Now class pull up your Word document programs or open the books that I see some of you have, to page one of section four and be prepared to advance both for your notes and your pages. I see Mr. Nakamura has decided not to join us today, do any of you happen to know why?”

A leggy brunette that I had seen walking around with the missing young man after classes raised her hand so I pointed to her causing her to rise and speak. “Mr. Bostwick, Yuji hasn’t been in any of his classes the last couple of days, nor has he been answering his phone. I’m actually starting to get a little worried about him.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it Miss O’Leary,” I said trying to calm her down. “Things like this happen all the time, he might be sick, or else he might be having issues at home that is taking up his time. “ As she sat down clearly still worried but happy that an instructor had taken note finally of the young man’s absence, I addressed the rest of the class. “Whatever problem Mr. Nakamura happens to have however, this doesn’t absolve the rest of you from learning the material. Your end of the class quiz last week shows that you are woefully under taught about the happenings of the last hundred years.  That however is my job to rectify, now,” at this point the earpiece to my phone buzzed in my ear and out of instinct I slapped it keying it to life with one hand while holding up a single finger for silence from my students. “I’m in the middle of class so this better be life or death important.” I grumbled almost sub-vocalizing as I had done for tactical radios for many years.

“I see you are not exactly a morning person Mr. Bostwick,” The voice on the other end of the call said in a slightly clipped voice. “Still, it is that important and I will not waste your time either. No doubt one of your electronic friends is searching for me as we speak. I have your student in my possession and if you wish him back unharmed you will cooperate with me in this. Now, you have one hour to reach the east end of Longfellow Bridge and await further contact. Be sure to be there alone or else the student will start coming back to you in small pieces.”

Apparently finished speaking, the voice went silent and the buzz of the ringtone signaled the end of the call. The person on the other end had been right about a couple of things, someone was trying to track them, something to be more accurate. Somewhere along my adventures of the years before I had managed to pick up a feral artificial intelligence that lived on my digital trash and took up residence in my commlink node.  It made hacking my node an attempt in stupidity as well as futile. The thing had taken the appearance of a Wolf, so I didn’t have the heart to kick it out, or more accurately, just trash the commlink, and even as I looked the wolf form AI returned from where it had tried to track the previous caller. 

I turned my attention back to the class in front of me, “Ladies and gentlemen, it seems there is a small emergency that I have to go deal with.” I told them. “I want you to read chapters four through six in your book and I will see you next week. Good day to you all.” That said I bolted back out the door and across the quad. The voice on the other end of the phone was niggling at my memory and I couldn’t place where or when the voice came from.

Forty-five minutes later I was standing at the required crossing waiting. I had changed clothes so that I was better protected since this was obviously something to do with the shadows, but at the same time not be too obvious about it. The jeans I had been wearing had stayed, as had the boots. The button down shirt that I had worn for class however was gone in favor of an armored polo shirt and my leather armored jacket. The jacket covered the one firearm that I had brought for this meet, my Salvette Guardian, and its spare magazines. If things went so far south that I needed more firepower than it, I was in the wrong place. Frankly I looked like I wanted to behind my mirrored shades, a motorcyclist or punk of some kind, waiting for someone to show up and finally, after waiting thirty minutes my phone buzzed again, so I answered it.

“It is good to see you can follow directions Mr. Bostwick,” the same voice said in my ear. “Now, three blocks to the north on the east side of the street is a bar called O’Malley’s. Tell the bartender that you need to see Walt.” Again as the speaker finished the call ended. The wolf form of the AI in my phone slinked back in dejectedly and lay down. It had tried once again to tag the person calling and failed.

Ten minutes later I stepped through the door of O’Malley’s Bar. It was a dive of a place to be generous, a neighborhood bar stuck at the bottom of  a rotting set of concrete stairs in the basement of what could, with a little help, be called a tenement. As with most dives it was a small dark affair, the actual bar against the back wall with a door allowing patrons back to the restrooms and maybe a meeting area beside it. Along the right wall stood booths including the back corner which was an overlarge affair for the local wise guys, to the left was open tables along with a stage slash dance area and a pool table with the requisite ripped felt. Behind the bar a seedy looking orc male talked quietly with an equally seedy looking elf waitress the woman droning  on with her story as the orc  looked past her at me walking in. “What’ll it be bub?” the bartender asked, his Boston accent and tusks mangling the question almost beyond comprehension and his question causing the tired looking elf woman to turn around.

“Need to see Walt.” I said walking over towards the bar and letting the duster flap slightly. It was a play at being ominous, but honestly I don’t think I impressed either of them. Even as I walked forward I was assensing the room, the elf was a low level magic user, her body shot through with the blackness of a long time BTL user, if she could pierce my masking it would be a miracle. The orc was mundane but one of his arms was cyber, maybe some hardware there, all in all no problem.

“I’ll get him,” the elf woman replied leaving her tray at the bar and walking toward the back door. “Just have a seat and he’ll be right with you I’m sure.” She smiled in that way that was meant to entice men, I just gave her the same cold face that I had been using since I got the phone call, I wasn’t in a mood to be patronized.

I nodded and sat down at the edge of the corner booth, the back door opened into a hallway that sure enough showed two signs for restrooms over the elf’s left shoulder, and a sign that read “Private” over her right. After a couple of minutes the door opened again admitting three new figures to the room. The first two looked like gorillas stuffed into cheap suits, the typical mob muscle, gotten more for their mass and loyalty than for their intelligence. Their job was simple, in fact, if someone could have convinced a gorilla to do it, they probably would have, but convincing a gorilla to protect a person who was just as likely to sell them to the zoo as to a corner meat vender isn’t likely to happen. That was especially true with the person that walked out in front of the waitress but behind the gorillas, Johnny Valentine.

I remembered that mission, almost twenty years before I was just getting started in the shadows when I was called in by my fixer for a job that had two priciples. One was the local Yakuza boss who wanted his daughter returned to him and the other was this guy, a local mafia strong arm by the name of Johnny Valentine. Johnny was at the time your typical young wise guy, a few connections thanks to his late father and enough pull that he was going to eventually move up the syndicate’s power structure so long as he survived, he was also a brash jackass with a overweening sense of self importance. He and the Yakuza boss, an older gentleman by the name of Nakamura wanted Nakamura’s daughter and Johnny’s brother returned to them and separated. Each was willing to “lose” the other’s loved one but while Nakamura was only ambivalent to James Valentine’s fate, Johnny wanted the girl to disappear if at all possible. “And if you can’t bring yourself to see to it just get me my brother and I’ll see to the rest.” He told us, “No way some yak slitch is going to steal my family.”

Well, my companions and I found the two lovebirds held up in some sleazebag hotel in the Redmond barrens planning their escape. When we confronted them we managed to convince them to come with us and they convinced at least most of us to help them talk to their respective families. All it seemed to take for her father was for James to vow never to join the mafia, something I had learned that he was dead set against anyway, Johnny on the other had wasn’t having any of it and almost started an honor war right on the spot by insulting Nakamura’s daughter. I managed to keep it from starting by laying his dumb ass out on the floor of the diner where we were meeting. Nakamura became a good source of information and work for the Yakuza from that point until I left the shadows and Johnny swore revenge on me and never delivered, until maybe now.

Stepping up the booth where I sat the mobster started to talk. “Ah Mr. Bostwick, so good of you to join us.” The mobster sleazed out, “Your student has now been returned to the bosom of his family and will not be harmed. I apologize for using him to grab your attention. Now that I have it however, I have some work that I need you to see to.” The mobster had seated himself opposite me while he had been speaking, his two body guards taking up positions at the end of the booth’s U.

“Go frag yourself with a light pole!” I told him standing up and leaning over the table. My movement caused the gorillas to reach for the weapons inside their jackets but he held up a hand stopping them in mid turn. “I remember you from all those years ago and if you’re to dumb to recognize me, maybe laying you out again will jog your memory. I swear, you must be the luckiest son of a slitch in the mob, because the stupidity you demonstrated that night was epic. I mean, what were you thinking or were you even. You insulted a Yakuza princess not only in front of her future husband, who was also your own brother, but in front of her father, and then you declare vengeance on the one person who helped you keep your head. Maybe I should have let…..” My sentence shut down as the door to the hallway jerked open and a regal looking Japanese woman walked out flanked by two young but deadly looking men. A quick look at the three showed the family resemblance between them, but after a minute I realized that the two young men also resembled the mobster in front of me slightly, enough so that I figured I knew who they were. “Hello Yukino” I sputtered out in Japanese.
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 #1 on: (23:13:53/10-11-10) »
Looks good so far.  Interesting character, good development, nice twist at the end, even if it only had minimal setup.  I'm looking forward to chapter 2

Angelone

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« Reply #2 on: (12:20:01/10-17-10) »
Small world huh? Are you going to continue the story?
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Wolfboy

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« Reply #3 on: (21:48:27/10-17-10) »
yes, chapter two is forthcoming, i just have to finish getting it typed 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

Angelone

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« Reply #4 on: (23:43:13/10-17-10) »
Glad to hear that. I'm eagerly awaiting it.
REJOICE! For bad things are about to happen.
la vida no vale nada

Wolfboy

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« Reply #5 on: (15:28:20/10-25-10) »
here the next installment, its a little short but its a lead in and gives you a little more of Wolfgar's story.

Chapter 2
“Hello James,” Yukino Nakamura said stepping over to the booth, “it’s been some time hasn’t it.” As she walked over to the booth I remembered the scared Yakuza princess from almost twenty years before, I could still see that girl in Yukino’s eyes, but it was a small bit of the whole.

Honestly I was surprised to see them, and I couldn’t accuse Valentine of lying because with the three of them standing together the family resemblance was distinct. “Yes it has Yuki, ten years in fact, I see that little Yuji has grown quite a bit. I’m surprised that he’s in my class.”

“You should come see us more often,” She said, “I don’t even know why you stopped. But that is as you used to say neither here nor there, we need you.”

“What’s wrong Yuki, and where’s James?” I asked. She stiffened, and then her head hung down as I slid over in the booth allowing her and the boys room to sit down.

“He went missing three days ago,” she replied softly, “since then both Johnny and myself have both received demands for us to cede territory in order for his safe return. The problem is that I don’t have any say in the yakuza and Johnny doesn’t have the power to cede territory in Boston, he’s here simply for some internal housekeeping.”

“Who do they want to get the territory?” I asked, always follow the money I said in my lectures and if the territory was to go to someone in particular, odds were they had James.

“That’s the odd thing,” Johnny said, “the territory simply doesn’t go to anyone, it just opens a rather large buffer between the two groups, it’s to simply remain empty of either syndicate’s people.” A minute later he managed with Yuji’s help to bring his battered commlink up and showed a projection of the city map with the syndicate territories outlined and color coded. “We’ve tried to talk to the other families but no one will speak with us, I don’t know if they are being blackmailed as well or if they’ve simply decided that we didn’t have enough power to matter, but they won’t talk.”

I nodded because it didn’t surprise me. “I’ll find him folks, I promise you I will.” I said hugging Yuki with my head down to her, my head rose and a fierce grin split my face. “And those that took him won’t exist afterwards.”

It took me another half an hour to get out of the bar, getting details about when and where exactly Jimmy had gone missing. When I left Yuji walked out with me leaving his younger brother to sit with his mother and uncle. “Alright Yuji,” I said as we reached the old Harley scorpion that I rode as my primary mode of transportation. “I’ve got two things to tell you, call it advice to give, and then I’ll be on my way. First of all, let me focus on your dad. You’re here on a scholarship and can’t afford to miss your classes if you intend to keep it.” Yuji gave me a mule headed look that spoke volumes about how he felt about that but I continued right over his unvoiced objections. “I know money isn’t the issue, but not having to pay the tuition at MIT&T is both a blessing and a weight off your parent’s shoulders. The second thing is to get off the fence about Miss O’Leary.” The look of shock that hit his face was priceless as well as the blush that followed. Smiling I continued, “I call them as I see them lad, and I’ve seen the two of you both together and apart. She’s worried about you, so call her and take her to dinner, treat her like a lady and for Wolf’s sake, be ready to introduce her to your parents as soon as I spring your dad. Hades, you might want to introduce her to your mom sooner, but I’ll leave that decision up to you.”

“Alright uncle James.” The young man said, still blushing as red as a fire engine. “In fact I’ll call her right now.”

I nodded as I through my leg over the motorcycle and started the engine. When I looked back at the boy, his eyes were unfocused, using his commlink and augmented reality lenses to call the girl, causing me to smile. Ah young love, I remember his parents being that way. What was worse was that I remembered being that way, twice.
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

Angelone

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« Reply #6 on: (09:34:22/10-27-10) »
 ;D :) REJOICE! For bad things are about to happen.
REJOICE! For bad things are about to happen.
la vida no vale nada

Wolfboy

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« Reply #7 on: (11:32:25/11-07-10) »
not to begin with but that is also coming soon

Chapter 3
As I pulled away from the curb in front of the bar, Yuki’s comment about me disappearing from their lives echoed through my mind bringing back the memories. I had a reason at the time, but it wasn’t exactly a good one, in fact it was one of those things that usually cause people to pull together. Ten years ago I lost what I thought was the love of my life, and five years before that I had lost another. The reason I disappeared and went into semi-retirement to open a training facility in the Gulf Coast Metroplex was that I had lost someone very special to me. She had been so special I was just about to propose to her, and then she died a needless and bloody death. And I had felt it was at my hands.

The team I was running with had encountered the creatures called insect spirits twice at this point in our lives. First it had been for a UCAS FBI agent who had us look into the whole camp hope situation. It blew up in our faces but by the time it was over Suarez had enough evidence to shut the whole Universal Brotherhood operation down. Later we had been hired to kidnap a sim starlet by the name of Euphoria and keep her from doing some commercial spots for something called “Amber Gel”.

We succeeded in the mission, or so we thought, and returned the starlet after the shoots had passed. In doing the mission however, we found out that the “Amber Gel” was actually insect spirit royal jelly and passed that tidbit of information onto Suarez as well. So at that point we were in our down time, relaxing until the next operation came up and I had just moved in with my main fixer and girlfriend, an elf woman nicknamed Morrigan when the bugs attacked. They started off by hitting our contacts, killing them in splashy violence, or else kidnapping them, including our latest target, Euphoria. Morrigan was killed and drug away, her body never to be seen again and driving me into such a rage that I ended up going on what I thought would be a suicide mission in Chicago before the Cermak blast occurred.

Apparently death wasn’t in the cards for me that year, while I was working my way deep into the nest, hoping to find and eliminate the queen bug of the hive and as many of the workers as possible, I caught the shaman trying to bring another insect spirit across. Killing the shaman and rescuing the girl made my suicide mission a bust, but it was the right thing to do, so I pulled her out and took her back to my rental. That was how I met Joanna.

Joanna was a spitfire from the word go, it went with her fire red hair I guess. Seventeen, human and burned by the corps as well as society she was perfect runner material, and was dropped right in my lap. Joanna didn’t hate everyone, she just disliked how society didn’t care that things were not her father’s fault nor that they had been left out in the cold by the corps and then set upon by the predators of the city. Jo’s parents had taken her and gone to the brotherhood when they were kicked out of there home by the corp bank that held the note on their house. Her father had been a warehouse manager at a small independent operation that when the warehouse went up in flames, there hadn’t been enough to cover the loss cost and rebuild, causing the business to go belly up. This and a lack of work in the general area for warehouse workers caused the family to have to sell all they owned for what cash they could get before the bank took their house. After that they set out to one of the Brotherhood’s outreach programs in Chicago.

Over the last few months first her parents had changed and now the shaman had gone after her, and like a lot of others she wanted revenge, so I got us out of there I taught her. First I taught her to fight, firearms, melee weapons, hand to hand, and how to maintain the tools of her trade. Then I taught her how to observe, the ins and outs of the street, always testing her, always looking for new ways for her to learn what I knew. She was starting out on the road to being a runner with a leg up on the competition, my contacts, my money buying her equipment, me training her and setting up for the rest of my team to take over her training later. I found out almost to late that she was an aspected mage when we were jumped coming back from ordering her gear, But the two true form wasp spirits ended up on the worse end of that exchange when she let off a mana ball behind my bike that even I felt the wash of. The downside was that it left her unconscious afterwards and with a hellacious migraine after she woke up from the drain shock hours later. The short of it was we went back into the hive with a scratch built team of locals and put partially paid to the deaths of our loved ones, showing Suarez and the support he had brought in where the openings of their hive system were. I lost her five years later.

The year of the comet was an interesting year for me and my new team, we had been on so many adventures and missions we were rolling in dough. I still had my old team mate eddy watching and handling my finances  but I was working my way toward the fixer side of things planning on going into semi-retirement and proposing to Joanna, it wasn’t meant to be however. Months before Ghostwalker had burst through the rift in DC and then laid waste to the Azzie sector of Denver, my team and I were working the clean up of that sector, finding and eliminating the hold outs. I still think we were working for my home nation of the CAS, or maybe for the old dragon through them, but that is neither here nor there, what was important was that the building we were working was clear as we reached the roof, and spread out. I never knew where the shot came from, didn’t see a flash, never heard the report of the round, but suddenly Joanna was clutching her chest and falling backwards over the edge of the roof, and I screamed.
When we reached the alley behind the building we found her shaking her body, like she was getting all the nasty stuff from the dumpster off of her, (or as it later came out, a spirit getting used to a body.) When I checked her over I found the bullet wound, a through and through that passed through the upper left chest and had imparted enough energy to knock her from the rooftop. I had thought at the time that it was a miracle that the round hand missed her heart, it hadn’t. Days later, as I was dismembering and burning her corpse, I would remember that instant and curse myself for not getting her to a hospital and finding out then.

 Hours after leaving the bar and torturing myself on a trip down memory lane, I slid on my AR glasses and entered the matrix. It was time to call in some support, people who I could trust at my back with a gun or a spell. My mind was in a bad place and I needed to talk with some old and fairly new friends.
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

Angelone

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« Reply #8 on: (15:45:23/11-08-10) »
Yeah bugs and shedim can lead to mental trauma. Project Hope(Missing Blood? I didn't run it I played) was a messed up adventure.

Can't wait for the next installment.
REJOICE! For bad things are about to happen.
la vida no vale nada

Wolfboy

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« Reply #9 on: (14:12:23/12-15-10) »
Chapter 4
The trode rig snugged to my head I triggered my commlink and had it autodial a number. Tank Girl, my regular rigger, (I still called them riggers no matter what they called themselves) was a good friend and she would be able to get to Boston first if she wasn’t in the middle of a run, and she must have been waiting for work, because the damn line didn’t even ring once before a door materialized and opened in front of me and her avatar appeared before me. “Hey boss!” she squealed and threw her arms around me. “You back in Seattle already?”

“No, not yet.” I answered and pushed her back slightly to take another look at her. Her figure was literally straight out of a century old anime called “Ghost in the Shell” but I don’t believe the author ever considered that someone would make his main character, one Motoko Kusanagi, into an elf, (though after watching the movie and one of the multiple follow on series with Tank Girl, I felt that the character definitely could have been an elf.) “Actually, I have some work for you if you feel up to it. I’m putting together a team for an extraction of at least one friendly hostage from hostiles and could use your driving skills and possibly some close air support.

Tank Girl looked at me and grimaced, “You’re still in Boston huh,” I nodded in response. “It’s going to take at least two, probably three days for me to get there. The problem is that I can’t just ship myself there in a crate, and you know they won’t let me fly commercial. Even if they did, that old manservant has about had it. Blasted thing is about to fall apart around me and I don’t trust it. Jimmy Wong is supposed to be getting me a couple of gigs to put me over the top buying that otomo I’ve had my eyes on, but he hasn’t come through and damn if rent ain’t gonna put me back some more next week.” The expression on her face was nothing but sadness, Tank Girl liked working with me, I gave her all kind of cool new toys for her to play with, and this time was no exception though she didn’t know it yet.

“Tell Jimmy that I have that Otomo covered and that your locking up your place for at least two weeks, possibly more.” I said, a smirk crossing my face. “I had a friend that owed me a favor ship it out this morning and it just arrived about ten minutes ago.” She started to protest again, and I knew what it would be, that it would still take two days to mail her commlink out to me, so I reached out and opened yet another door that just materialized as my commlink dialed another number. “Got the commlink covered as well, makes the one you have look like a horse drawn wagon next to a T-bird.”

“Boss you’re the best; I take it these are mine to keep?” Again I nodded, “Super!” she squealed again. After a second of concentration a duffel bag appeared at her feet and she shut and locked the doorway between us behind her before stepping through the new doorway. Maybe I forgot to mention this, but Tank Girl, she’s an AI.

As the connection shut down so did the trode rig’s ASSIST function, allowing my body to move once more. Across the room the otomo drone body that I had mentioned before started to move as if someone was going through a remote diagnostic. First the fingers individually and then the whole hand twitched, then arms and legs moved before finally the drone sat up on the couch in my hotel suite. “Damn boss, this is nice, and your right about the difference in the comlinks, this one’s bloody lightning compared to my old one.” The drone’s head looked down at its own body and Tank Girl shrieked and jumped causing the floor to shake a little. “Oh sweet electric goddess boss,” she swore. “How long have you been cooking this one up, it looks just like me!”

“How long have I known you TG?” I asked semi rhetorically a smile crossing my face. The look she gave me spoke volumes of doubt, so I continued, my hands held up in a placating gesture.  “Seriously, I started looking into it when you came into my office in that beaten up old manservant with your avatar on overlay. Then when you told me you were an AI, well I really felt I had to take care of my people. You know how I am about that.” The drone grunted at me as she went through the features built into the drone.
“Alright, I’ll admit, I like it.” She said smiling. “Besides,” she continued, “its not like I wont earn it I’m sure. You always have the most FUBARed runs imaginable.”

“I’m glad you have such confidence in me” I said smiling, oozing out mock sarcasm.

Tank Girl smiled back, “Ok, now where’s the rest of the gear I’ll need?” she asked.

“Guns are in the footlocker at the foot of the bed in that room.” I said pointing to one of the three doors in the sitting room of my hotel suite. “The van is downstairs and the drones are down in a secure warehouse in Yak controlled turf. I have a few more calls to make before we hit the road, but with a little luck we’ll have some other heavy support on the way and here within a couple of days.”

“Cool beans” Tank Girl replied smiling. “I’m gonna go load up, and then once your done calling in favors and people why don’t we head down and check out the drones you mentioned.”

“That’s the plan.” I said as I slid on my AR glasses and she left the room. Its was easier meeting an AI in full virtual, but for the rest of the team I was going to try and put together, Artificial Reality was good enough.
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 #10 on: (13:25:38/12-30-10) »
((i'm not seeing any more comments, give them please))

Chapter 5
I spent half the rest of that night making calls and getting people headed in my direction. They would all arrive at different times the next day from different places, and they had each sent me a list of what they needed me to get to supplement what they were bringing with them. After that I slept the rest of the night, plagued by dreams of not only Morrigan, but of Joanna as well. The following morning TG and I went out looking for information and supplies while the others made their own way to the rendezvous at O’Malley’s. A quick check of the message board that I used for gathering information revealed that another old friend had possibly lost a loved one as well and might well involved so we made our way down toward the docks and the headquarters of Mikhail Karpov,  leader of the Boston Vory.

“Tovarish!” the big man said smiling and wrapping his arms around me in a customary bear hug before pushing me back to arm’s length and continuing. “When was the last time I saw you, it’s been way to long? How have you been?”

“Yes way to long my old friend.” I answered gripping the massive bull of a man by the shoulders. Karpov was huge for human standards, as big as most orcs and large enough to give some trolls pause. But the Boston born Russian had started at the bottom of his syndicate as a hell’s kitchen leg breaker at the age of 13 so that he could support his little sister when their mother had died. He had been huge even then and now 15 years later he had moved back to take the reigns on his old city and keep the violence to a minimum while increasing the Vory’s take from the Boston metroplex. “I think the last time we crossed paths you were down in Richmond for some reason.”

“Da, it was Richmond,” he said with a smile, “Your team took that group of hookers from Ukraine out from under us like they were a table cloth and we were simply the center piece on the table. A work of pure beauty it was. So what brings you to Boston my old friend and who is your lovely companion?” he finished gesturing me and Tank Girl to a pair of comfortable chairs in front of his desk.

“I’m in Boston to teach believe it or not,” I answered. One of the marvelous things about Karpov was that he was always about business or friendship, and he never let one interfere with the other. The instance he had just mentioned had been purely business and he didn’t hold a grudge. I had made an offer on the one girl that I had actually been hired to retrieve, and he wouldn’t budge and sell her, so my team and I had been forced to take the entire shipment. Now they were all CAS Citizens, most of them around my home town. Karpov though had simply written it off as a business loss and lesson learned and gone on about his business. It wasn’t worth the cost of going after my team. The other side of the coin was that if you really fragged with him, he would hunt you to the ends of the earth. He had in turn hired my team for such a job through a known proxy of his, (I believe he wanted us to know who was hiring us) to track down a team who had taken his up front payment and then sold the material they had been hired to acquire to another buyer. Karpov was both very specific in how he wanted them handled, and believe me, it didn’t break my heart at all to literally string them up by their toes and break every bone in their bodies starting at their feet. I knew the team and despised them for the pure evil and greed that was their trade. “I’m a guest lecturer and visiting professor at MIT&T for amongst other things modern history.”

At this Karpov laughed, “Teaching ones like this about the NAN and CAS successions and the night of rage eh.” He said laughing. “But what brings you to me, surely you’re not going to entertain questions about the darker sides of your life, not bringing your shadows to the light are you?”

“Nyet,” I answered. “This is Tank Girl, and she is not one of my students. In fact she is one of my employees and was driving our getaway vehicle during that little incident two years ago you just mentioned. Unfortunate circumstances have drug me once again out of retirement and into the shadows once more.” I let that sit between us for a heartbeat before I continued. “An old friend of mine was kidnapped here in Boston and his wife, sons and brother wish him returned, and I believe that even if you can’t help me, that I can help you at the same time.”

“Help me with what?” the syndicate leader asked the paranoia that had kept him alive for so long creeping into his voice.

“Let me ask you a question first,” I temporized. “Where is Svetlana?” at this point the Russian literally turned red and started swearing in his native tongue. Svetlana was his little sister whom he doted on. Seven years younger, she was, from my intelligence, also just starting college at one of the local nursing schools when for some unknown reason one morning just had not shown up for school. Her apartment was empty and none of her friends had heard from her.  The way Karpov reacted to my question told me that my information was right on.

“Where is she Wolfgar?” The Russian growled out between clenched teeth. “If you have caused her any harm, I swear you will wish for death long before I grant you that release.”

“I don’t know where your sister is my friend,” I said holding my hands up in a gesture of surrender. “I was able to find out that she had gone missing about the same time as another friend of mine disappeared.” Looking at him I could see I was getting through to him, “Mikhail, has there been any demands?”

“Da” he answered after watching me for another minute. Getting up he poured himself a shot of whiskey and sighed. “The bastards want me to abandon some territory in the middle of my turf, from the dock to a particular point between two particular streets; they will not hear any negotiation.” Slugging down the shot Karpov went back to his desk and pulled a sheet of paper out of the pile that covered it. “Here is what they want.” He said handing me the sheet.

“That’s a decent chunk,” I replied handing the sheet to Tank Girl, “one end on the docks and the other end hit what they want to take from the Yakuza and the Mafia. Do you have any idea what they want to move in or out?”

“Nyet,” he replied, But if they stay on that street straight through they end up at the courthouse, which is where they handle all three jurisdictions in this city.”

“And it seems that you three are the only syndicates to have been hit.” Tank Girl supplied. “Boss this isn’t good, it could be a constant smuggling in, or else it could be an extraction. Do you have any clue who is coming to court soon?”

“No, but between the three syndicates we can surely find out.” I replied.
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

FastJack

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« Reply #11 on: (13:35:19/12-30-10) »
Good stuff! Didn't want to interrupt the story with compliments. ;)

Wolfboy

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« Reply #12 on: (09:04:16/12-31-10) »
i'm kinda wondering what people think about the characters
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 #13 on: (16:27:23/04-19-11) »
Characters are great! The pace is great too! Can't wait to read what's coming (if more is coming that is!)

Wolfboy

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« Reply #14 on: (19:33:46/04-21-11) »
more is coming its just real life and a few prodjects have taken over my time......you know, DDH and JPtN
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