X00032:8.Y00001:12.Z00054:5, On the Mean Streets | Night City Integrate | Undercity | UrbanZone - March 9th, Day 3 (Sunday), 9:47 AM PST
Weather Conditions: High City (Thunderstorms, 15 mph 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)
“Excuse me, asshole?” Casino loudly snarls, “Did you just say I should try to get paid to go look for and help my best friend and partner?”
Cred Stick Charlie mentally activates his recording app.
“Whoa! Everyone chill,” Bloodbank orders. “There’s a right thing to do here and there’s a wrong thing. First of all, why the hell are you speaking to Rya in Spanish when she said she speaks English?” he looks across the vehicle to Charlie. “You came into this run late presenting us with credentials from Starlight with news that a second team was breathing down our necks… we all just met a couple of nights ago and our wallets aren’t really full of trust credits as it stands.
“Sure, you’ve been helpful, but what’s with all this Spanish? What are you playing at?”
Mr. Charlie replies to the one called Bloodbank, “Because I didn’t know if her English was her first or second language and to me it’s now obviously her primary language. I need to ask some questions before continuing my task at hand.”
“That doesn’t fly, Charlie,” Bloodbank argues. “She said that she speaks English and you continued your conversation in Spanish.”
“We have already met the team that was intended to take the quarry away, I hope there will not be another from Saint Nick before the drop off. Hopefully, Starlight will keep me informed if another will be sent. As for the drop, everyone can take a breather for a few hours, When I get the coords and the time hack... I’ll pass it on to you guys.”
“You’re attempting to change the subject, Choombatta,” the medtech presses. “You know what? Screw it. It’ll all come to light soon enough.” Cole can’t help but feel anger. His whole purpose in life has been to save lives and just a few minutes ago, he had been forced to take a life to save the lives of his teammates. The guilt is eating at him and he realizes he’s allowing it to manifest as anger towards the well-dressed fixer.
“Information…,” Charlie explains. “I needed to verify for the employer and record proof of contract. I just need to tie up a few loose ends so that we all get paid in a timely matter. Everyone remembers who is responsible and how they are to be handled right?” Cred Stick Charlie stops a recording app then and taps a few keys on his agent with his right hand while his left sticks to the controls. Including the recording in his message, the fixer sends his own to Starlight. ** Message sent ** (( Burden of proof - Starlight )) “Anyway... Where do you heroes want to be dropped off now? I would suggest a hotel or motel till I get the time hack and coords.”
“London bridges falling down, falling down, falling down,” Blossom’s singing voice is really rather pretty but it doesn’t last long. Cheerfully addressing the boy, she declares, “Look at all us big, bad edgerunners, Jase. Professionals to the core, right? Silly bunch of posers. Quite the team, eh?”
Jase buries himself further in Rya’s shoulder while the Hispanic woman closes her eyes against the chaos and starts to softly sing a lullaby in Spanish into his hair. Bloodbank looks across the AirJeep at the fixer with a furrowed brow hidden behind his mask. What does he mean, everyone remembers who’s responsible and how they are to be handled? Is he suggesting that we kill Rya?
"You shouldn't get paid for finding your friend or you wouldn't be much of a friend,” Ghlahn states flatly, his face turned to the passing urban landscape, further defending his position. “But, he's not my friend and I don't do charity work. Figure some of the others might agree. If you want to hire me, that's fine, or you can make some calls and see who else might finance the search. Either way, there needs to be a plan."
As Casino starts to reply, Charlie, perhaps trying to calm everyone down, interjects himself into the conversation.
In the driver’s seat, Cred Stick Charlie mentally reactivates his voice recording app and prepares another message. ** Contacts - Blossom - email. **
“Rya... so who was the shirt? (low level employee) And what neocorp are they from?" Charlie turns his head for a sec and then asks, "Wait a sec... you're saying that this shirt paid for your nice apartment in Upper City and you were receiving a large pension. Lady, that ain't no suit (Low level employee) nor shirt... That's a corpse (corporate exec).”
“I’m not familiar enough with the way things are set up to tell you one way or another if it was a corpse, shirt, or suit,” the woman answers, a slight tremor in her voice. “Everything was handled through a lawyer. A fellow by the name of Mr. Smith. And that was ten years ago.”
“So why Bogata if you're from Mexico?” Charlie asks, apparently satisfied with her answer.
“Because they won’t look for us in Bogata.” Rya answers fiercely.
“Why didn't the collargirl just simply buy another surrogate? It sounds like she has lots of credits,” the fixer muses out loud. Then, changing tactics, he asks Jase, “Jase... what makes you so special? Is it your blood, you super good at math and science? Did you ever hear your non-biological mom talk about why you are so important? Are you learning about corporations at that Bartholomew School.”
At first, Jase doesn’t respond but with a little coaxing from Rya, he says in a voice barely discernible above the fan noise, “Corporate Structure and Law is a required class. I don’t know why Mo—she—paid for me.”
Switching again to Rya, Charlie asks, “Was the doctor his Dad and is he still around, working for the same neocorp?”
Struggling to avoid conversational whiplash, Rya hesitates, a fire flashing in her eyes. “No. It was artificial insemination. I’m Catholic.”
Things are beginning to add up for the fixer, but with no sum so far he wonders if he’s missing something? Looking over to Blossom, he asks, “Are you in the mood to find some info about this person?”
“You want me to start looking into our probably benefactor?” The small Asian woman pulls her heart-shaped sunglasses down her nose a little so the driver can see her expression. “There’s all sorts of ways that could go sideways. Edgers don’t research their Saint Nicks. That’s just trouble with a capital STUPID underscored by professional suicide if caught.”
“Does that mean you’re gonna help us?” Rya asks hopefully.
“Rya,” Charlie addresses her without answering or acknowledging Blossom’s concerns. “Anything that you can tell us about that woman you were carrying a child for besides her corp?”
Multitasking, Charlie begins mentally typing out a question.
“No,” Rya responds. “I never met her. Like I said, it was all handled by Mr. Smith.”
“That’s a fake name if I ever heard one,” Bloodbank announces sourly.
sends a mass text to the group posing this question.
** skill used (Leadership)
Group text - sent!.
“Look everyone, this is almost over and I can help us get to the finish line but we would need to be a more cohesive group to accomplish this. The Employer wanted this low key and its been anything but that. How does everyone feel about laying low till the drop-off. We don’t need anymore slips, mess up, etc. So I'm suggesting that the group lay low, drop the kid and if those that wish to make plans on rescuing someone... I would suggest negotiating to see if he is still alive and find out what they want in return for his life intact”.
Does anyone remember what the people who are responsible are to be dealt with? If so.... are you still on board with the employer's wishes?
End of msg...
(OOC: Each of the characters will receive that message on their agents. Those who have optic splices will be notified of the message and be able to display it on your visual HUD. Everyone else will need to actually pull out your agents and read it over. You can also insert your answers at this point in the tale.)
Charlie asks Metal Cee “ You obviously know alot about machines.... I have a vehicle that needs repair can you and will you trade for Giri to repair as part of your next contract?”
"Let me take a look at it,” Ghlahn replies, “and see what kind of work it will require before I agree. Might be something I can handle, might not be."
It was at this moment—seeing how totally blind Ghlahn really is to the actual situation—that Casino starts derisively laughing.
“You really don’t get it do you, Ghlahn?” the big solo says from underneath Echo. “It’s not just about Vegas and I, it’s about everyone in this f***ing cramped jeep, except maybe Charlie. Do none of you remember the words of the voice on Vegas’ walkie? How he wanted to take us out in revenge for his seven men that were killed earlier? How, if he could not kill ten of us he’d go after friends and family?” A short pause to catch his breath and the blonde solo continues.
“And who of us did that killing? Who do you think took out those seven men? As a gambling addict I’d go all in on you Ghlahn, and that little firefight you had at that parking garage. After-all, Vegas was taken hostage on his way to meet YOU at that SAME parking garage Metal Boy. All Vegas is right now is bait to get us to go try and save him and that right there is a damn good reason for these assholes to keep him alive as the lure. Kill him, they have to spend time hunting us. Keep him alive, they know at least one of us—me—will try to save him.”
A nasty smile appears on Casino’s face, behind his newly acquired battle mask.
“So go ahead and walk away. I could give a f*** less. Live and die on your own. Hopefully those here that decide to come with me after we get the kid handed off are enough to take out these, so nice new friends of yours Ghlahn, and get Vegas back.” Turning his head back to look out the window at the street as it passes by, he puts all but Echo out of his mind, the brief relaxed feeling once more history.
Ghlahn looks over to Casino, "Yeah, I killed those seven men. I killed them myself since you and the others were doing your own thing and I was watching your back. It was my life on the line there and I took care of the situation. I could have just let them find all of you and kill you. That was their plan, I believe. I have no family so nothing there for me to lose. As for friends, I have very few of those. Just a fact of my life. If you want to run off on your own that is your choice. You won't come back if you do. The folks who have Vegas are packing serious firepower and have deep pockets. I was lucky to escape that sec team; you would have died in that garage. I never said I wouldn't help find your friend but I am not going to run off half-cocked looking for death. As for the threats, you can just tone it down. We are on the same team right now."
“You mean to tell us that you’ve known this whole time that your the reason Vegas got nabbed and this guy wants us all dead?” Echo is on fire. “That you killed his seven in self-defense is one thing, but not telling us that it was you after you rejoined us and were updated on Vegas, to me, is the most asinine, childish, and unprofessional act that has yet shown its ugly head. Then you have the nerve right here, right now, to tell Casino to try and get paid to rescue his friend, that you’ll help only if you get paid, when for whatever reason this whole thing is actually your fault?”
Looking to the front seat where Bloodbank and Blossom are, then across Rya and Jase to Fixer, the nomad tries to catch their eyes with her own. Unsuccessful, she turns back to the Capore Steel.
“This is what’s going to happen once Jase and his mother are handed over. You're going to tell all of us exactly what happened when you killed these seven men. If they had uniforms, what, if anything, they were driving, the weapons they were carrying, any goddamn detail you can remember. Then you're going with us when we try to save Vegas and if you ask for payment, gods help me, I’ll kill you myself Cee-Metal. Oh, and one more thing. If you think you're not going with us, that’s fine. I’ll just let these people know it was you that did the killing. And so help me, if that does not work and those of us that go with Casino die, I’ll leave a little message with my tribe, the Rolling State, to make sure you don’t last the week.”
“They say,” Charlie glances sideways at Blossom and smiles his winning smile, “Desnai is the happiest place on earth. Well, apparently, no one has ever been sitting next to you,” Mr. Charlie compliments Blossom as the chatter increases.
“What the f***?” Blossom frowns. “Are you high?”
Shrugging off the netrunner’s response, Cred Stick Charlie attempts to put an end to the arguments. “Alright you posers, listen up!
“It’s clear that everyone is having trust issues, but it’s not about trust... it’s about US instead. So, remember that.
“M'haru Ghlahn is just a machine. No sense in yelling at an inanimate object in front of the company.” Charlie glances back to the man he had just insulted to ask yet another question. “Unit Ghlahn, query. Requesting any and all information in a salute ( size, activity, location, unit, time, and equipment) format on hostile forces encountered and neutralized via digital format, please.
“Blossom, find us a place to hold up for a few hours, please. Anyone here have money, credits, or any form of tender that is used for transactions for their accommodations?” He asks the team aloud.
Ghlahn turns to Charlie and states in a monotone, "Line Sierra: small group less than 10. Line Alpha: bickering. Line Lima: Right here. Line Uniform: uncertain. Line Tango: Right now. Line Echo: mixed small arms and a hover Jeep."
“You know what, Charlie,” Casino pipes up. “That’s probably the most truthful thing you have ever said. You’re right. Cyberboy is just a machine, a broken one. Echo’s right, Ghlahn. You holding this from all of us was completely stupid and you may have cost all of us our lives. So, if you think ignoring Echo now is going to get you off the hook, you might want to f***ing reboot and get a better operating system."
Looking over Echo’s shoulder to stare at the back of Charlie's head, Casino continues. "As to finding somewhere to hold up, Charlie, Starlight put you in charge so she must of thought highly enough of you to be able deal with us, so you deal with it."
"Which of us is not a machine of some sort?” Ghlahn defends. “I am biomechanical and the rest of you are biological machines. My form of machine just happens to be superior in every way. If it makes you feel more self-important to blame others and act macho to cover your inferior abilities Casino, that is your choice. I have done nothing but agree that we need to pause, make a plan and then find your friend, yet you continue to be confrontational. I suggest you reevaluate the manner in which you seek to convince others to assist you."
Ghlahn leans forward and taps Blossom on the shoulder. "Got some info you might be able to use to help locate Vegas. It's not much. When I took out that sec team I didn’t get a chance to see what uniform insignias they were wearing but they all arrived in an APC and it’s markings were for the Falcone Security Company." He knows for sure that the team will be going after Vegas in the end and maybe Blossom can find something to increase their chance of survival.
“Now that’s something I can work with,” Blossom acknowledges. “Combined with the address for that parking garage, and the address they gave Casino for the meet, it might just give us a chance of finding Vegas. After we finish this run, of course.”
Once again Charlie mentally constructs a statement and sends it off to Ghlahn via direct message: Shiltron, Spinelli Autotech... There's a major transmission issue right now that makes it really dangerous to drive as it slips gears, the radiator leaks, the power steering pump needs to be replaced, and there's a crack in the rear axle.... the windshield is cracked in two places, and the tires need to be replaced. The body is faded in places but is otherwise in decent repair. The interior is a dark gray cloth, and it is also in good condition. The latter isn’t as important as the first part. If I could get this beast back to life... then this team would have wheels to use instead of taking public transportation. Also, I'm willing to be a go-between for Cee Metal and would like to request Alt Tags of the enclave to do business. I have been working on my cyberpsychologist.”
Finished with his personal message, Mr. Charlie asks for the assistance of Blossom to help him find a place to hold up for a bit, for the group. "Ladies choice," sidewards glance to Blossom. "Make a list and I'll pay for the room... so, either something big enough or two adjoining rooms, please." Sighing, he adds to his commentary. "Once the run is over, those that wish to start looking for friends can do so. Those that are wanting to get paid, come talk to me and I'll see what I can do to help out. But if you are willing to work for me then I ask that you assist in recovering the fees that you will be incurring. If you need to buy something, please let me know and I'll do the research to see if I can get something better, ammo cheaper, or better accessories for your weapon.
"I know some of you don't like to steal, so if you have any other hang-ups, I would like to know them upfront before I hire you gun or techie types."
Turning his attention to the cracked mirror, Luther scans what’s behind searching for a tail. Not being able to determine any, he returns to following his GPS route. Blossom blinks in confusion at Charlie’s switch. Shaking her head, the netrunner mutters, “He’s gotta be on somethin’.”
“Hold me tight, sugar skull,” Blossom leans back and whispers to Bloodbank. “I’m gonna focus on finding us a place where we can cuddle proper-like.”
The MedTech is still stewing over Charlie’s insinuation that they kill Rya and grunts non-committedly as the little woman fishes out her agent.
Fixer has sat in the back of the vehicle listening as the crew implodes in front of him. This stinks. This is one of the reasons I want to work alone. Loyalty like Casino's is noble and valuable but this other crap? They might not need another crew to come along and do them in, they might just do it all themselves. Stupid.
For now, he focuses on Rya and Jace. He is inclined to believe their story but he doesn’t know if it matters. He looks at the two of them and tries his hand at getting them to open up.
"Ok, kid. Here's the deal,” the curly-haired techie begins. “You saw that gunfight? It wasn't fun. I don't like putting a bullet into someone and I damn sure don't like having people trying to put one in me. People just died. People just took shots at us. And you know why? You. You and your supposed mother—”
“I am his mother!” Rya interrupts spitting venom.
“—This run you just went on—it got people killed,” Fixer ignores the outburst. “Dead. Got it? And it might get more people killed." At this point, he begins to worry that the kid might lose it so he turns his conversation towards both of them.
"Hey. Look at me. We need to figure out what we are doing—but so do you. Your actions have consequences. Big ones." Looking right at Rya who is staring him down. "So do yours. You made a deal and you broke it. I'm not sure in that story that you are the good one. Right now you need to behave and ride along. But there has to be a lot more here than ‘the poor kid is sad' to balance out the number of corpses littering his trail. So, what's going on Jace? A few tears—not enough. You're giving up a penthouse for, what was it, Bolivia? With a broke mother? Not enough. Come on kid, spit it out. What's up? Otherwise, I may feel bad for your tears, but tears aren't worth getting people killed over."
He shakes his head a bit as he finishes. Things just don’t add up. Run from a penthouse to poverty in the Undercity? And he was happier in that tent? Or will be in Bolivia? No. What is he running from? If it was just some stupid "poor little rich kid" story then his adoptive parents need their kid back. That is the job. That is what needs to happen.
"Chill guys,” Fixer says into the silence, now addressing his companions. “Just relax. We need to find a spot to hunker down for a bit. When not packed in like this we can figure it out. Kid first, then Vegas." He looks across Rya and Jase at Casino. "We don't leave him behind. Vegas is part of this. Once we get settled somewhere we can start figuring out what to do there." He can’t help shaking his head. How the heck had this thing gone so sideways?
“Are you going to help us?” Jase suddenly pushes himself back from Rya’s embrace and looks directly at Fixer. “Are you going to help us get away?”
The child appears more composed than he has since Casino pushed in on their breakfast. Solemn eyes and a serious face observes each of the edgers in turn. “I want to go with Ry—with my mother. Alys—the woman who has been acting like my mother—has never treated me like my classmate’s family treats them. She doesn’t come to school events, I’m stuck at Bartholomew School during Christmas and other holidays… When my mother told me what had happened, I knew it was true. That’s why… That’s why Alys has always treated me like a burden; if I ever see her.”
“Holy s***, kid!” Blossom swivels uncomfortably on Bloodbank’s lap and leans over the back of the seat. “Give us a chance to breathe already. As if you two haven’t noticed the tension in this piece of junk.
“The rest of you knuckleheads need to start acting like a team or Vegas will outlive all of us. How ‘bout we all take a little break from talking to cool down. You know what? That’s not a suggestion. I’ll kick the next yahoo right in the golden globes who speaks until we get settled at the motel.
“I’ve shot the hotel address to the GPS,” she looks to Charlie as she says this. “This bucket of bolts has the security of a synth-plastic box.” Turning back to the back seat, she pulls her glasses down on her nose to drill each of the people sitting there with a fierce look. “Do not make me go all ninja on your asses.”
(OOC: March 9th, Day 3 - Sunday, Time is 10:03 AM PST - Undercity, climbing ramps, crossing intersections, and making your way to South Night City.)