Topic: Flesh & Blood - A Night City Adventure
Edgerunner Enclave | Night City Integrate | Midcity | UrbanZone - March 8th, Day 2 (Saturday), 11:05 PM PST
Weather Conditions: High City (Thunderstorms, 15mph winds from the NE.) | Midcity (Rain, 10mph winds from the NE.) | Undercity (Fog and Rain, no winds.)
Air Quality Index: High City = 25 | Midcity = 42 | Undercity = 75 (masks required)
******************** Luther’s Evening *********************
“You know, choomba, that there other encraves in city, right?” the Asian vendor explains with a grimy grin.
“Awhhh yeah, but this is the only one that I know about,” Luther responds congenially.
“Is so? You need get out more. You find encraves each wide variety of services”, the vendor instructs, still eyeballing the finely dressed fixer as though he’s a sideshow oddity.
“But I’m looking for a more personal service, if you know what I mean.” Luther says as he looked through the various wares that the vendor is showcasing in cracked and filthy wheeled display cases.
“Awhhhh, stuffit, jam, hook up, input,” nodding, the skinny little man turns his head to yell behind him. “Feng, call Hui Yin. Hurry! Man in need.”
Luther is a grown man, but when the man shouts out that he wants to buy “flesh,” he looks about to see many faces turn his way accompanied by knowing grins and more than a few giggles from females in proximity.
“Awhh…no, no, I’m not like that!” Luther exclaims.
“OH! You want boy then?! Feng,” grit-covered hands motion towards a young man in a green and orange Oriental robe lounging on the parameter of a monstrous olive green army tent. Almond-shaped eyes scope out the fixer with appreciation and he starts towards them. At the same time, heavy canvas flaps part and a petite middle-aged Asian woman with her hair done up tightly in a bun wearing a bright red gown emerges.
“No, wait a sec…” Cred-Stick Charlie shakes his head causing rainwater to flip from the brim of his hat, “I’m just looking for some information about a boy.”
Ms. or Mrs. Feng arrives at the vendor’s side. She looks Luther up and down from her vantage point behind the counter. She stands on the seller’s platform, a faux-wood structure that places both the male vendor and now here, three-feet higher than the slippery, mud-covered, courtyard ground. Over her cybernetic glasses—then though them—she asks in a no-nonsense tone, “Why you no want gir’, Hui Yin—joygirl—good genes, smart and cheap... she love on you rong time; you no want boy whore, I get you nice gir’ instead.” Hui Yin reaches out a delicate hand clutching her agent to interface with Luther's and seal the transaction.
“I’m looking for some information about where I can find a missing child.”
“Oh! Why you not say so, ShÇŽzi (foolish)? You need post over by monitors,” the man exclaims pointing across the sprawl of human traffic to a tall light post upon which a number of flatscreen monitors have been hung displaying various new channels. “You find I-N-F-O B-R-O-K-E-R.” He speaks slowly to Luther as though the Native American is touched by God or something.
“You still want girl, yes?” Ms. Feng asks bluntly. Luther smiles and politely declines with a shake of his head. “Are you lazy American? You have no money? Why you dress nice when you have no work?” she quizzes.
“Yes, I work... well I was a teacher at one time, but now I...” Luther attempts to explain his current line of work but is abruptly cut off by the woman.
“You teacher?” She smiles broadly showing crooked yellow teeth. “You meet Hui Yin. You help her with study, make her smart like you, yes?”
Mr. Feng breaks into his native Chinese language and the two started to bicker in front of Luther. Attempting to take advantage of the opportunity, the fixer turns to walk towards the monitors but is stalled when he hears Feng call out to him again.
“Hey Mr. Fancy-Pants, you come back.” Now, more than a few onlookers have gathered.
“Are you real teacher? You dress too fine. Make too much credit to be real teacher,” Mr. Feng gazes at him with a critical eye. “Feng think that you a erementary schoo’ teacher but I say no way. You too pretty. Is right?” Luther walks back over and places his hands on the wet counter and says, “No, I’m sorry that isn’t correct.”
Mr. Feng immediately breaks back into Cantonese again, addressing Mrs. Feng and shaking his finger in her face while she dismisses him with what sounds to the fixer as not so nice language.
“I was a high school teacher, actually.” Luther loudly interrupts them. Both Chinese vendors stop their argument and turn to gaze down upon him once again.
Ms. Feng’s face screws up, “Then why you no speak good Engrish?” she snaps sourly.
Luther is shocked at Ms. Feng’s retort and then finds himself wanting to laugh, but refrains. “I’m Native American, but the high school thought that I speak and teach English well enough.”
“You might be smart but you have no... no... MÇ”qÄ«n de zhìhuì,” Mr. Feng shoots back.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not sure what that means,” Cred-Stick Charlie apologizes.
“Mother’s wit... street smarts.” a new voice calls from behind him causing Luther to glance over his shoulder where a few people around him listening in on his conversation are pressing inward, interested in the discussion. Looking for a way to escape from the crowd, Charlie begins to feel a bit of anxiety building inside of him. A crowd focused solely on him can turn south fast. He’s outnumbered and in a very ethnic part of the enclave, so now is a good time to leave the area and quickly.
Striking his most charismatic smile, he began to excuse himself, “Nice to meet everyone but I need to go. Thank you for the information.” Tipping his fedora he takes a few steps towards the innermost people. (OOC: Persuasion & Fast-Talking to make a smooth exit: Exploding 10 = 32.)
“Hey! Hold on a sec,” someone in the crowd shouts out the plea. Luther hopes that this is going to be a quick fight and that he will be able to get a few before he falls.
“Teacher! Teach our people?” another voice calls from behind him and to the right.
Luther stops his attempt to retreat and turns to find the speakers. A multitude of hopeful, dirty Asian faces peer back at him and not one of them is threatening. They haven’t even made any further attempt to converge upon him. Instead, they appear to be looking to him for his reply with both respect and admiration.
“Our kids—our people—need a good teacher, but we can’t pay a lot of money.” Standing at five-foot-six, the woman who steps forward is wearing grungy brown overalls. Her face is finely chiseled with high cheekbones and a high forehead. Grease is smeared across her pointy chin and left cheek and a light tattoo peaks out from the collar of her outfit with a faint red glow. Those around her appear to defer to her as their representative.
“I really don’t teach anymore,“ Luther explains apologetically.
“But can you teach?” a voice from the crowd asks.
“Why me?” Luther answers in question.
“Our people are in need of a teacher... for basic language skill and overall, just general knowledge, in your American schools.” the woman offers. “We, as a people, don’t work for any of the Neo-Corps. Some of us are doctors, some scientist, and others are very skilled at their trade, but we aren’t accepted in the schools because we aren’t affiliated. So,” she looks around and spreads her hands wide. “This is what we have. Most here can’t even speak English.”
“Well that's nice, but I need to find a kid that is missing, so, I’m sorry that you're having some problems but—”
“Maybe,” she interrupts, “we can help each other?”
Looking her over, Luther strikes upon an idea, “Can you help with a broken transmission, finding a child and paying my bills?”
“We find you man-boys you like,” Feng calls back grinning.
“Why does everyone think that I want a man-boy? Damn...”
“Because you ask for personal service, Mr. Fancy-Pants!” Mr. Feng shouts back and laughs as though that’s the funniest thing he’s ever heard.
“Look,” the woman in the coveralls tries to draw the fixer’s attention back to her. “Ignore him. Can you teach English well enough to help?”
“Mr. Feng,” Luther responds using the name on the neon sign hanging over the man’s head. “I ask inquired about a missing child.”
“I’m Boa. My Sister Feng, I no Mr. Feng, just Boa,” Boa responds with his face all screwed up as though he’s offended that the fixer didn’t know that.
Luther lifts his hands in the air. “See... this isn’t going to work, I’m sorry.”
“What type of car do you need help with?” The women presses hurriedly as he starts to walk away. She drifts up beside him and leads Luther to a shop with a small but firm hand on Luther’s arm.
“You know anything about a 2025 Shiltron, twin cab SLT pick-up truck by Spinelli Autotech?” Charlie asks as he looked about at the parting crowd.
“I... might know a guy” the woman answers cocking her head to the side as she continues to lead Luther down one of the many vendor isles.
“Well, I need tires, new, or an R&R, transmission, my radiator leaks, oh! And the power steering is dead. And I have—”
“So…” she stops and looks up at him, her brown eyes meeting his. “We can make a deal? You teach and proctor the tests at the state level and I’ll compensate you by finding a way to fix your truck?”
Luther pauses and considers her question. “So…how much are you talking about?”
Darting a cautious eye about, she tugs at his arm and leads him into a food tent with the aroma of Ramen noodles hanging heavy in the humid air. Seating them at a table, she glances over the fixer’s shoulder where the chinese crowd had followed.
“We will get to that soon enough. Please sit and drink with me,” she glances over her left shoulder and catches the eye of the proprietor, holding up two fingers.
“Why would you need someone like me, can’t you get someone, like—”
“Like ourselves? Chinese?” the woman shakes her head with a ghost of a smile (OOC: Luther’s Human Perception check = 13). “Our own people charge us more to educate our kids and to assistance. We know how to get here but I.D.s are hard to come by.” Her voice lowers. “The Tong have a stranglehold on everything Chinese.”
Two tea cups of white and blue are placed in front of them on a dingy silver tray with a small pot that matches the cups. Cred-Stick Charlie catches the faint beep of the woman’s agent being charged for their libations. Thinking about what she has shared with him, Luther watches as she ceremoniously pours the tea. He waits quietly, still contemplating the information she’s shared with him, until the tea is prepared. Drinking hot tea is very nice and calming.
“Shoes, huh? I might know a guy,” He smiles back at the woman. “Maybe we could help one another, after all.” Luther nods with his infectious smile. He wonders if the Koreans are pressing these chinese? Are they going to sell his passports (Shoes) to these people? Luther ponders before continuing, “I have a need and want list if you want to wheel and deal.”
The odor of something fantastic is in the air making it difficult for him to stay focused. Luther hadn’t eaten at the restaurant earlier and the odor is making his stomach growl.
Eyeing her table companion, the woman produces her agent. Allowing her gaze to linger on his face for a moment longer, she looks down at her screen, presses, then swipes and slides the device across the table in front of the fixer.
“You got information already about Upstairs/Downstairs and the kid?” Luther queries with unfeigned surprise.
“Can you answer these questions without using your agent?” she glosses over his question with her own as he looks down at the screen. Picking it up, Charlie stares at the series of questions before him.
A twelfth-grade general education test for students takes up the whole of the available screen real estate. Luther lays his agent on the table and powers it down to show that he isn’t cheating through his neural link.
(OOC: Espatier’s General Education Roll 10+12 (mod) = 22, rolling 1d10 (10) = 10 (another exploding 10) +12 mod + another 1d10 for the exploding 10 = 31.)
Luther answers the questions in about 3 minutes, then passes the agent back to the woman. Awaiting her assessment, he smiles.
Picking up her agent, she tapped the screen twice and then holds up the device to show the crowd the results. “We can deal,” she sets her agent back on the table amidst the muttering from the crowd and leans in to ask this stranger his name.
“Cred-Stick Charlie, or just plain ol’ Charlie, Ms...” Luther leans in as well.
“Mo Yimu, but you can just call me Mo,” she replies.
(OOC: Espatier Rolls for Persuasion & Fast-Talking: 28.)
“Help me find that missing kid I posted about on the Giri board, pay rent to my current level of comfort in a place ‘round here, help fix my vehicle and in return, I’ll teach twelve students during the day for eight hours of instruction at 0700 to 1500. During my breaks, I will stay and take care of my own private business.”
“So you’ll stay the whole day? Five days a week?” Mo clarifies.
“At times, I will need to make runs—”
“Not acceptable,” Mo interrupts. “You’re asking us to fund your life for forty hours a week and you want to be able to run off on whatever fool mission you’ve arranged whenever you want? It’s not going to work, Charlie.”
“Look, I’ll run a night school for anyone from time to time, but I need sleep, good money and this job might sound more interesting if it had a good benefits package.”
“Seven days a week morning till noon. And any day that you miss will need to be made up before your benefits come into play,” Mo changes the offer.
“Five days, morning till noon, or I’ll take my chances with the Giri board and other people helping me.” Luther counters again. “And I pick what the days are. Deal?” he quickly adds.
“We pay your rent in one of our areas—” Mo narrows her already narrow eyes and tilts her head to the right just a bit.
“In this enclave? Thanks, but no thanks. Your right, I’m American and you guys have places that are way too small. Besides, most round-eyes are not welcome in certain areas with your many booster gangs.”
“We don’t have cash lying around to cover your expenses,” she shakes her head in disbelief. “That’s why I offered to work on your vehicle. You’re talkin’ a few thousand to fix that truck of yours and a class to teach basic English shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks. You want to work for four hours a day, five days a week, and demanding more than the Tongs. I’ll get your transmission fixed, find some tires, and your power steering, but that’s it.”
“You’re kidding right?” Luther looks over the crowd.
Ms. Feng, who is standing just inside the tent, shakes her bun, “We no kid, Mr. Charlie, E-V-E-R.”
“Can’t you just pay the rent where I’m at right now and fix my truck?” presses the fixer.
“ NO! Too high! You ask pay too much, no good,” Feng snaps. Mo settles back in her chair and spreads her hands.
“Perhaps, we can renegotiate after we see that your flowers have blossomed,” she raises her eyebrows and folds her arms across her chest.
(OOC: Espatier’s Streetdeal Roll: 32.)
“Look,” Luther turns the tea cup about on its saucer and peers thoughtfully into the swirling cream-colored liquid. “Teaching is a time-consuming job. I got out of it because it didn’t pay enough. You want me to dedicate hours a week I could be putting towards my own business so there’s a price to pay.”
“We don’t have a lot,” Mo stares him down, “but we will keep you safe when you’re here, our families will bring you good food and you’ll earn Giri with passing grades from our children. They’re our future, and we take that very seriously.”
Charlie listened but remains stoic.
“To house you here, we’d have to displace a family, and like you said… it’d be small. You don’t want that.” Mo shrugs. “I’d be willing to bet that you’ve got a decent cube right now. Why walk away from that for less than stellar accommodation?”
“Augh... I don’t know if this is going to work guys and I’m sorry if I wasted your time.” Luther moves to get up.
“Please... wait...” Mo looks over his shoulder and speaks in Cantonese after which Ms Feng leaves through the crowd with haste. “Please sit and drink some more tea. Please,” she gestures again for Luther to sit.
He makes a show of returning slowly to the chair.
“You have spirit?” the grease-smeared woman enigmatically asks.
“What?” Luther looks confused.
“Do you have spirit...umm...Religion...a belief in, like...Jesus or Buddha?”
“Somewhat but—” Luther answers.
“Then listen to your heart and your spirit...do what’s right and help a woman and her community.”
“Look. I need credits, Giri or something to make this work me…” Charlie frankly answers his hostess. “Priority one right now is that I need information and then I might be willing to start teaching the kids for you and help to assimilate your community better into Night city. I’ll even help you find someone that will get you new shoes and other items that you might need from time to time.”
“I don’t know if I can help you with the missing child, Charlie,” Mo shakes her head again, her shoulder-length black hair drifting wet and languid about her elegant neck. “But, you put this time in and you’ll be helping people achieve a better life. I’m not naive enough to believe that’s going to take the place of credits, but I’m also offering to help get your truck back on the road and that’s something. Not to mention the food you’ll receive when teaching and the Giri from this community. That’s no small thing.”
“The deal is this, Mo. I get info to pass to my teammates, I have a need—not a want—a need to pay my rent. But, if you can find me a place that is to my standard American living conditions and find someone that can get my vehicle up and running in a safe fashion—then yes, I could start teaching when you want me to start.”
Mo smiles politely, stands up and refills Charlie’s tea before setting the pot back on the platter and turning to the patiently waiting crowd. Speaking in Cantonese once again, she addresses them. It seems to Luther that it’s something like a town hall meeting with various people asking questions. Some shaking their heads no, but a mostly, it was some form of debate and finger pointing.
(OOC: Espatier’s Human Perception Roll: 16.)
Minutes pass as Mo and the crowd debate. As is common with such things, irrational emotion rises from time to time. Ms Feng arrives with a woman wearing a bright yellow dress. The woman is very pretty with doe-eyes and a pale complexion. Her long, black hair is slicked back with rainwater and the dress clings to her petite frame.
Feng pauses at the mouth of the tent but the girl continues forward. Luther follows her progress with unabashed interest as she passes him. She makes her way to the kitchen area and gracefully serves up a bowl of noodles. Carrying the bowl of soup, she gracefully glides back to Cred-Stick Charlie’s side and places the bowl in front of him—and it smells like real food, which is rare.
“Please eat,” the girl in the yellow dress instructs with a melodic voice.
Luther smiles and offers a, “thank you.” She returns the smile and introduced herself as, “Hui Yin.”
“I’m told that you’re the one that is going to help teach us this year so we can send others to the American universities, yes?”
Luther is quiet, a spoonful of soup halfway to his lips as he smiles. “Perhaps...it depends on what is going on right now.” This comment results in more finger pointing, hand gestures, and argumentative words flying around. Mo watches his face with disconcerting interest from across the table, having returned to her seat.
“You want to teach Hui Yin to get smarter, yes?”
“No. No. its—”
“Joygirl, Hui Yin, will teach you, clean your room, wash your clothes and shop with your agent as needed, yes?”
Luther stops eating. He doesn’t want to, but the implications behind her comment are holding him fast.
“No one shops with my agent but me,” his voice grows cold. “We are talking things over and working things out still.”
“Hui Yin will sit and wait with you, yes?”
Charlie returns to slurping more noodles and nods, trapped by her insistence. After a few minutes, Mo leans forward to address the fixer.
“Charlie, here’s the final offer,” she looks to Hui Yin for a moment and then swallows with a faint downturn of her lips. “I’ll work on your truck’s transmission, power steering, and tire situation. Hui Yin will accompany you to your domicile, where she will… be yours… for the duration of your class. You’ll receive food while you’re teaching—that’s at least two meals a day—and you’ll teach for a minimum of twenty-hours per week for a total of one hundred and twenty hours. That’s six weeks. You’ll earn some definite Giri if your students proved decently proficient in basic English during that time. Should it all work out, we’ll look at renewing the contract for a second block of one hundred and twenty hours. By the end of the third block, your students should be fluent if everything I’ve read about these courses is correct.
“This is a generous offer from a people who don’t have much,” Mo’s eyes flick to Hui Yin and then back to the fixer. “And quite the commitment. Take the offer, Charlie.”
Luther considers her words while enjoying the flavor of the soy sauce laden broth and then nods, “So...maybe we can start as soon as—”
Mo passes her agent across the table once again.
“No more tests, please, Mo,” Charlie shakes his head tiredly.
“That’s not a test, Charlie,” she replies and Luther slides the device into his hands only to have Mo’s rough fingers cup about the top of his hand.
“We ask that you honor our customs and, this is not negotiable, Charlie. While you are teaching, you will be our guest. Will you agree to these terms?”
“Terms? Like what?” Luther asks while glancing at the contract on the agent.
Mo looks to Hui Yin.
Luther shakes his head, “I don’t need a babysitter. Besides, her English isn’t the best and it's just going to interfere with—”
“So, if I spoke better English, the very smart American teacher would be able to save all of the poor Chinese people?” Hui interjects in flawless English without even a hint at the accent she’d been affecting previously.
“You speak perfect English!” Exclaims the fixer, surprise written all over his face.
“Yes. I can speak it better than you, and several other dialects as well, but all you Americans ever want is some cute, weak Chinese girl that needs to be rescued. Forget it! the deal is off.”
She rises from the table still poised and elegant but spewing angry Cantonese words. “I don’t need, nor want, your help!”
Hui Yun turns to leave in haste. Elders from the crowd speak harshly to her in their native tongue and fingers start to fly yet again. Hui pouts before seating herself again.
“I apologize for the outburst,” she states sullenly to Mo, but turns her body away from Cred-Stick Charlie. Hui falls quiet but it is blatantly obvious to the fixer that she remains mad about this whole deal.
“I didn’t mean to offend you, Ms. Yun. I came in here to get some information about a kid that I really need to find fast, before I got tangled up with your mom and dad.”
Hui peers over her shoulder towards the crowd, “They are my surrogate family that I owe because they bought my debt for the fees incurred to get me over here to the states. So, I make my money anyway that I can. Don’t take the offer, don’t eat our food, and continue to judge me by my work. I don’t need to be pitied.”
Hui stands and takes the bowl right from under Luther’s mouth leaving him dangling a dripping spoon over the table and even more Cantonese words fly again before she stops and sits back down again, slopping the bowl back in front of the well-dressed man.
Luther speaks, “Okay, let’s try to make this work without anymore yelling or raised voices. So, tell me why you need a outsider if Hui, here, can speak so fluently?”
“The schools here will not recognize my degree from China. In China, I’m a professor, not a joygirl. I have to do that here—I survive, okay? But, my sin card doesn’t work and I need a new one to work a legitimate job, but everyone knows me now, so even if I get a new sin it wouldn’t matter. I’m likely stuck working as a joygirl until I’m used up, and then what is there for me?”
“The Tong won’t let her teach,” Mo explains further as Hui sniffs away her emotion. “And, there are some pretty traditional people here who look at her as soiled. They don’t want her teaching their children.”
“Stay underground for about a year maybe, and then reapply. People change jobs or transfer all of the time. Apply for your teacher license under your new sin...simple,” Luther offers a solution.
“Yeah? Simple for you, maybe, but your corporations are different here.” Hui Yun counters.
“IF I help—not saying that I will—can we all get along here at the enclave?”
Hui eyes him suspiciously before relaxing her face back into softness, “Yes. My intent has always been to help the enclave. You finish eating, I’ll get my things, and then we will go to your home and begin.”
“With me?” Charlie asks incredulously.
“Yes,” she gazes at him with slightly parted red lips and wide eyes. “That’s the agreement, no?”
“What? No. That will not work.”
“Fine,” the joygirl sighs. “I will stay with you until you’re ready to leave, then.”
“No. I don’t need you to babysit me, but thank you.”
Hui throws a look Feng’s way and says, “Your right. He wants a man-boy instead still.”
“Just because I say NO to you does mean that I like man-boys, okay?”
“Okay. But I’m ready to leave after your done talking,” Hui replies.
“So... do we have a deal?” Mo interrupts with an exhausted expression on her face.
“Wait, no…” Luther stalls them. “Wait...this is all going too fast and I need time to think things over for a bit.”
“Charlie, there’s no time, right? Aren’t you searching for a missing child? We’ve offered extremely favorable terms. Hui is not a problem, she’ll be a big help to you.”
Luther looked hard and long at the agent in front of him, then turns to Hui and stands up. He holds out his hand invitingly. Hui adopts a quizzical expression but finally places her delicate hand in his and stands.
“I need a minute to confer with my new...partner about somethings in private, please.”
Mo nods approval and the two step deeper to the side the restaurant tent.
“Look...you don’t want me around and I don’t want you either. So, how can we work this out then?” Luther asks, not trying to be mean but needing to make sure his position is fully explained as quickly and succinctly as possible.
“I want to stop working as a joygirl, got that?”
“So you help me and I’ll help you, OK?” Hui proposes.
“What's in it for me?” Luther shares his infectious smile.
“That’s already been explained. Maybe you aren’t as smart as you think,” Hui smirks.
“I could always cut a new deal...leaving you out in the cold and back at work as a joygirl.”
“Yeah? I’m no dummy. I’ve got skills. I’m working for you once you agree to that contract—” she stares right into his eyes, “but no sex.”
“Fine with me,” rolling his eyes in a mocking fashion after Hui’s many such demonstrations, he ends it with a shake of his head.
“You’re really are not into Chinese girls are you?”
“Nope...36-24-36 only means something if she is five-foot-five-inches. I like them thick and not a stick!”
Hui giggles and smiles for the first time at Luther, “Okay, can you help me get my teaching license and a new SIN...maybe help some of the other girls too?”
“Help the other girls?” Luther asks. “We will see what types of contacts and friends that you have, later on, then I’ll see what I can do, Okay?”
Both return to the table. Chinese words were spoken from Hui as she addresses Mo and the crowd begins to murmur again. Then, Hui steps to Charlie’s side and, with her head down, stands in silence.
Luther watches the submissive behavior, then turns to Mo, “Help provide info when I need it as you can, pimp out my truck as you’ve stated, food when I’m teaching, one hundred and twenty hours at twenty hours per week taught in the morning, Hui Lin, and Giri—” Hui elbows Luther “within Chinese culture.”
Mo continues to listen as Charlie dots the I’s and crosses the T’s.
“I teach no more than twelve kids 0700-1200, no restrictions, and Hui will work with me helping at your school. And she stays with her family.”
Hui Lin coughs politely into her closed fist.
“I mean,” the fixer glances up at her with a little annoyance written on his face. “She stays with me in my Americanized apartment.”
Mo makes Charlie wait for an answer and it seems to the Native American like an eternity before she speaks in response.
“Agreed,” Mo looks pointedly at the agent still resting on the table in front of him. “The contract awaits your signature.” Hushed exclamations of various levels of excitement rush through the gathered crowd.
“You start tomorrow morning, Charlie,” Mo offers him a look of finality as he puts his digital signature to the contract and returns the agent to its owner.
“I might be late...”
Mo begins to frown.
“My vehicle isn’t working and I’m already on a gig.”
Mo sighs and speaks to Hui for a bit in Cantonese. As they wrap up their conversation, Hui bends and softly speaks in the fixer’s ear, “Mr. Charlie, I will need your address and for you to sign a release form so Mr. Wong can pick up your vehicle from where ever it is, please.”
“Yes...that is fine,” Luther replies.
“I EXPECT you to be on time tomorrow. We’ll start on our end of the contract right away.” Standing, Mo Yimu holds her agent up. “Pass me your contact information, please.”
Charlie nods and complies, holding his now powered-up agent so that it can send the data direct.
Hui raises her agent to Charlie’s once the other two are finished, “I need to transfer some books about our language and culture to your device. You can start to learn about our traditions as soon as possible. I’d also like your contact information.”
Luther raises his agent to make the file transfer and notifications flood his neural pathways letting him know that the books on Chinese culture and the Chinese language, Cantonese, are needing his permission to download. He gives it with a thought.
“By your leave, Mr. Charlie?” Luther looks up to Hui as she draws his attention away from Mo.
“If it pleases you, Mr. Charlie, I wish to perform some tasks so that you will be ready for a very early morning. Perhaps you would like to look over the curriculum with me later, yes?” She’s adopted her joygirl act once more.
Luther nods to Hui knowing that she’s going to make her way to his conapt and use the code he provided to access it. He’s a lot of work to do on his own and the two hours he’s been given before linking up with the rest of the crew is fast coming to a close.
******************** End Luther’s Evening *********************
“Feelin’ better?” Vegas calls as the medtech steps into the mud and strolls towards where the team is gathering.
“A little,” Looking about, Colin continues, “Anyone up for EnduroDrink? Bet we could find some shops selling the stuff nearby.”
“That stuff tastes like s***, but you can live on it,” Blossom injects with a smile as she unwraps a lollipop. “I could use the boost.”
“Fine, we’ll see about grabbing some on our way out,” Vegas concedes. “Now, where’s that fix—There he is! Charlie! What’d you find out?
Charlie appears from a crowd of people with a youngish Chinese girl that is wearing a bright yellow dress with thigh high boots. She’s very pretty and carries herself in a submissive manner. A few words are exchanged between them and the woman turns to peer at a vendor’s wares well out of earshot. After Charlie approaches he explains, “Not much, but I hope that I’ll have more information later on.” He smiles to soften the blow of his failure.
“Well, that’s that,” Vegas grumbles and looks out at the mass still milling about despite the later hour of the evening. “OK, I’ll put it to the lot of you. Should we pay the headmistress of Bartholomew School a visit at her home—a place that is likely pretty heavily secured—or do we head on over to the Upstairs Downstairs, Inc offices and see if we can’t get Blossom some alone time with a server?”
Fixer had joined the others to get some rest. Even with it, he was still tired. He hadn't realized how tired he was before—he was used to running long hours when on a job. You just kept going on adrenaline until you no longer could. But the crashes could be long and he couldn't afford that now. And he'd never been a very big fan of running extra on the juice. One type of juice could lead to another type of juice which could lead to another and, well, bad things. So, he tried to avoid it. Good old sleep was what he needed and if it was only to be 2 hours, then so be it. The kid probably didn't have a lot more, himself.
When they got out of their little coffins and the conversation turned to their next action, he stretched and looked at the others, "As I said, I'm in for checking on Mrs. White. But we want those personnel files. Names and work schedules. Plus, you've said a couple of times that only their vehicles came and went from the school. Was there any video evidence of Jace ever leaving the school? If not, is that because they don't have cameras at the exits or because he didn't leave? Those vans would be another option. Can we find plates on which vans left and when? Who was driving them? What their scheduled stops were?"
“Naw,” Blossom rolls her shoulders to stretch out the kinks from the coffin. “The vans come ‘n’ go, but the video ain’t clear ‘nuff to see any plates and they weren’t parked on camera where we could see who was in ‘em when they left. Jace was in his dorm last we can tell from the camera angles. Only Upstairs/Downstairs personnel an’ security caught on camera between him going to bed and the next morning when students are waking up.”
Charlie looks at his agent and notes the time as being 2305. “Well, it's way past oh-dark-thirty, so I think that we should consider the home office of Upstairs/Downstairs closed. Mr. Vegas, you’re right...a headmistress of a school with some worth to it would be a hard target but you still can put some 24-hour surveillance on it and see what still moves.”
Charlie then switches his attention to Ms. Blossom, “Any chance that you can work your magic remotely so that you don’t have to physically be on site?” he queries.
“Sure… there’s a chance. But breaking through their firewall remotely will likely alert them to the attempt, especially if I fail. I’d have a much better chance of hacking their systems on site.”
“I’d rather not risk shutting down our access to data prematurely,” Bloodbank chimes in.
“If the odds are in Blossom’s favor on site, then that’s where we’ll go,” Vegas agrees.
“Damn... you all look like hell...warmed over,” Charlie muses and changes the subject as he looks over the group. “I know that we as a collective don’t have too much and we have even more questions. So, I’ll make my part quick so that you guy can figure out what your going to do.”
“I would like to recommend that if you’re going to go through all of this mess that you should get a little something more for it, right?” Charlie smiles, “And what I mean by that is, my next proposal…” (OOC: Streetdeal Check = 12)
Charlie leans into the group with hushed tones, “Make your move on Upstairs/Downstairs look like a 211, you know...a burglary, and that way if something goes awry, then the kid doesn’t get moved or hurt. Anything that you guys take from the offices, you can take your time analyzing at your leisure later and make a few credits along the way.
“This is the part where I come in again.
“Anything that you take, you drop off to me and I’ll fence everything off for you. Look...you’re going to the home office, they also have several vans and maybe a few cars too. Load one up, or two...then I’ll help you get a clean pair of tags, registration, and a new ID if you wanted one. It will beats sleeping outdoors.
“Anyways...think about it. But I’m sure that everyone here is tired of walking, am I right, yeah?”
Ghalahn listens. He is good at listening and at watching. What he hears is people hopped up to do something but with little in the way of a concrete idea of what to do. As for watching, that shows the fatigue setting in on all of them.
“I don’t mind making some extra dough, choomba,” the crooner smiles his crooked smile. “But, do we have the skills to jack a ride?” He looks directly at Fixer as he says this.
(OOC: Fixer’s reply… )
“Any objections?” Vegas looks around.
“Yeah,” Bloodbank folds his arms across his chest, his battle mask facing the two fedora wearing men. “I’m not averse to breaking the law in the course of doing good—like finding Jace—but breaking the law solely for the sake of profiting is outside of my comfort zone.”
“Cool yer jets, Goody-Two-Shoes,” Blossom grins at the medic and pats around in her leather jacket before producing a wrapped lollipop. (OOC: Blossom's Persuade Check = 16) “The man has a point. Makin’ our little B&E look like we came for some goods and not information’ll throw any bloodhounds off our trail. It’s a good’ne an’ I’m for it.”
“Think of it as an additional safety precaution for the kid,” the dapper solo adds, but the medtech is having none of it. (OOC: Vegas' Leadership Check = 20)
(OOC: Bloodbank's Human Perception Check = 20)
“No deal. If you choombas are heading to the LZ to rob innocent people—because for all we know that’s what they are—then you’re doing it without me.”
“OK, Ok,” Vegas holds up his hands. “We’re not heading into a possible hurt situation without a barber, so you win. No stealing nothin’. We good?”
“Yeah…” but the tone of Bloodbank’s voice is cautious.
“Good,” turning to the rest of the group, the crooner continues, “So, we good? Everyone on board? Fixer? Blossom? Echo? Ghlahn? Bloodbank? Casino? Charlie?” He waits to receive an affirmative from each of them before laying out the plan.
(OOC: Everyone's responses… )
“I’ve done some checking while people were taking their catnaps and it’ll take us about two and a half hours to get to the offices using public trans. Once there, we case the exterior of the joint and let those of us with experience breaching a complex—” he looks directly at Ghlahn and then to Casino, “—plan out how we’re getting this chica—” he throws a thumb in Blossom’s direction followed by a wink, “—to a hardline port, or whatever it’s called.
“Unless,” he turns to Cred-Stick Charlie, “you can get us a temporary ride, that is. If we had wheels it’d take us about an hour to get there. With an AV, we’re looking at fifteen minutes, tops. Or, what about you, darlin’?” he looks to Echo. “You’re with the Rolling State, right? Think you could pull some strings and land us a ride?”
(OOC: Charlie’s and Echo’s responses… )
(OOC: Time is 11:20 P.M. PST )
Posted on 2018-06-01 at 16:29:50.
Edited on 2018-06-01 at 16:40:57 by Bromern Sal