The Den Games Network Forum RPG
Page 2

Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce


Ery started and looked up guiltily at the sound of Crystal's voice. "Ah yes. The proposition." he stammered, "Arm-Eirann-Tir feels that the Elf country of Tir Tairngire in North America is swaying slightly towards Aztechnologies new stock. The world knows that Arm-Eirann-Tir deals exclusively for Elves. Naturally, our intelligence operatives knew it was you behind the attack on Zwergmann," growing in confidence, he slipped the notepad into his pocket. If you would accompany me back to our headquarters, we would furnish you with our latest weaponry for another attack on Zwergmann. I would also accompany you in the attack as we heard about the unfortunate demise of"dog shaman." Do you accept these terms?"


Xecktos changed into his street cloths in the shadows on an alley. He conceled his sword and knifes in his baggy robes. He calmly walked across the street into the dinner.

He looked around. He saw a young man stuffing his face full of some bakery Item.

He contuined to scan the room, and saw a woman, talking to a cilent who Xecktos had worked for several times before. He always had a grudge against someone.

Xecktos Walked across the room and stood next to the woman. His body trembled with fear of the woman. The half-elf man looked up at Xecktos and his jaw dropped



Mary stood in the doorway, wondering whether to stay or run for it. She was avoiding the well-endowered waitresses, and most of the patrons as well. Crash, the hacker, was still outside fiddling with his vehicle, while Crystal talked with Ery. A tall elf, brushed past her, graceful and hansome. Mary thought she saw the glint of steel hidden armoung his clothes. Tank was stuffing his face full of the puke-coloured pizzas. The both of the elves now by Crystal exchanged a frantic conversation.

Suddenly, a shadow fell across the doorway. Someone huge, in heavy-looking black robes was standing there, blotting out all light. Everyone in the diner turned, to behold the figure. He didn't appear huge like tank, but was stilll very tall. He bent down, and rasped, almost into her face.

"You... are... Crystal...?"

"Nnnoo... she... she's over there..."

"Thank you. I am Curim Uz-Burlom, Mage."

The figure threw back his hood, revealing craggy, trollish features. Some light got through now, so the various diners turned back to their repulsive meals, and the busty waitresses.

"Y... you are a mage? And... a troll?"

"Yes, little one."

The huge troll strode across, and presented himself to Crystal. She looked up from the negotiator to see him barge past the peeved-looking elf who had just arrived.

"Curim Uz-Burlom, mage, at your service. I read of your need for a mage in the stars."

Mary could have laughed, if she hadn't caught the whiff of whatever Tank was eating. The troll, well, he was a walking cliche of everything a troll wasn't meant to be - magically adept, well spoken, and apparently reasonably intelligent. Crystal looked dumstruck.

"Well, yeh..... I did try all my contacts, but I couldn't find anyone suitable...."

"I am suitable, madam. I also only require a modest fee - Zwergmann has long been an enemy of my clan".

The troll leant on his metallic staff, and awaited a reply from within his deep, black robes. Crystal, still slightly unaware of the full situation, accepted, but on the condition the Troll was not to stroll more than 10 metres away from the heavily-armoured Tank. It payed to have some sort of safeguard against possible betrayals, and Crystal doubted that even whatever majiks the troll could conjure could penetrate the thick sardine-can Tank resided in.

Now the disgruntled elf stepped in. Mary doubted he'd have much to offer, with the troll she'd have seen everything.

Suddenly, she noticed that she could have bolted ages ago. The decker was now entering the Pizza-Slut, looking around wide eyed. She accompanied him (telling herself it was more for his protection than hers) across the diner to the others.


Xecktos paid no attension to Cyrstal next to him. He spoke calmly to the half-elf man.

"I need work, my last cilent tried to weasel his way out of paying me."

"Excuse me sir, but what is it that you do?" Xecktos shot her a glance.

"I'm a master of the blade and of death, why is it that you ask?" The Half-elf stepped in, eager to get Xecktos off of his back.

" He's an assassin, a damn good one too. Ive used him before to get rid of a bunch of people. I've seen him in action as well, he's as stealthy as one could imagine. He once took at twenty people with assult riffles with nothing more then just a Sword in a few knives."

Cyrstal's eyes went wide. " Is this true, Elf?"

"Statements are correct." He had once killed twenty people with assault rifles. They where enclosed in a small room in which you can't use assault rifles due to the risk of friendly fire.

"Since hes so good, you should take him with you! in fact i'll pay for his expenses." The Half-elf said in a panic. Xecktos Turned to Crystal.

"I'll be in the back Corner, come get me when you need me. Xecktos the walked to the empty corner.

The Half-elf quickly wrote out a check, and gave it to Crystal" Make sure he gets this, or he'll have both your head and mine!"


Crystal motioned everyone crowding around the secluded private table into silence as yet another scantilly-clad woman appeared. Actually, this girl was very attractive, definitely classier than the rest of the girls.

She leaned very close to Crystal -as if to kiss her - but instead whispered something.

"Mr D sends his regards." She said, pressing something into Crystal's hand under the table. Then she leaned back, smiling and brushing her loose purple bangs out of her eyes, saying:
"Is there anything else I can get - or do - for you?" Staring right at Crystal.

"We'll be okay, thanks. Here." Crystal flipped her a ¥50 credstick.

"I'll be back later." The girl purred, sashaying off. Ery, Tank, Crash, Shadow, Chance and Curim stared after her. Or rather, at her receding rear aspect. Then they stared at Crytsal, sensing something was up.

"We'll talk about it later." She snapped, with a wicked glint in her eye. Then, first she turned to Ery - Xecktos was hanging around, looking pleased at the electronic cheque he'd received.

"Okay, Mr fragging AET." She said forcefully - She didn't really know what she was saying, making it up as she went along. Normally Cylinder Head did the negotiating, either him or her old boyfriend...before her father had...
No, let him lie. I'm all alone again now. The decision is mine to make. I'm no leader, but I owe Zwergmann. I owe him for Ranger, and Cy. Maybe even Doctor-fragging-Turin, the combat virgin. For them I will take charge of this situation.
"I'll take your offer, and your weaponry. But I'll do this on MY terms, and for MY reasons, not just doing another fragging corp's dirty work for them, ja?"
Ery, to his credit, had been expecting such an outburst. This time it rolled off his back like water off an extinct duck.
"Miss Fiennes, AET understands. We understand your professional judgement. We hope it will not get in the way of our relationship." He said, unflinchingly. (only later when everyone had turned away did he take out a tissue to wipe the sweat from his face).
"...Okay, corp-man, okay. Just one reason...just... okay... take us there."

It was agreed that Ery, Crystal, Chance and Xecktos would travel to AET HQ in a taxi. The others would wait at the Pizza Slut, hashing out a plan.

Just before they all left, Crystal examined what the waitress had given her, a small dat-chip, which she plugged into her wrist-phone. The small but high-res screen displayed:
Neon-Hair - The ork slags were sent to kill you. They were gang members, said they were hired by some fixer named Jimmy Lefixit. I know this guy - and Aztechnology don't normally use him. Someone else must want you dead. I know where we can find Jimmy. We should 'talk' to him. - Mac.

The Dwarf Taxi-Man pulled up. The passengers were waiting - A blue-haired woman with a bag slung, some short elf male with magical paraphernalia, some army-looking guy with a wrapped bundle on his back and some weirdo in robes.
He sighed.Fragging 'runners. They're so grud-damn obvious these days., not least because he was once a prime 'runner himself. He was not in the least surprised when he started driving, and they instructed him to drive to AET HQ.

However, several streets of rush-hour daytime traffic away, hewas surprised by the three rotor drones that followed him. Even more so, when they opened up gunports to reveal submachineguns...
"Oh, FRAG!"

Back at the Pizza Slut, the others were in the basement going over what they knew about the Aztechnology compound. There was no way they could get in the same way Cylinder Head had before - Security had been increased - constant gunship patrols, and at least three mages on watch at a time.
However, the Troll mage revealed that he did know a good disguise spell that could disguise three (meta)humans as Aztech employees for around fifteen minutes. As for breaking the retinal scans and card-readers on the doors, Crash and maybe Turin could have a go at breaking them from the matrix, providing they could find a secure jacking-in point.

Across the road from the Pizza Slut, an unmarked Land Rover 2046 pulled up.
"Jaguar leader, you have green light."
"Roger, Jaguar team is go." A grizzled voice said in an Aztlan accent. Five men jumped out of the van, four taking up positions behind parked cars facing the 'Slut, an third quickly scaling the building behind them with his Walther MA-2100 smartlinked sniper rifle.
One man remained in the Land Rover, jacked into his Rigger control deck.
Effortlessly, he transferred his consiousness. He became a Condor Jet-drone, transmitting from the relay system built into the LandRover, contrailing around 2,000 feet above the Pizza Slut, two rockets and one light machinegun under it's small lightly armoured wings.
Now, those fraggers won't know what's hit 'em! Don't screw with Aztechnology!


The first burst of fire tattooed the roof of the cab in an erupting trail of glittering metal. Chance gasped out a curse as a ricochet slashed him across the shoulder. Another round slammed into his back armour plates, knocking him to his knees in the rear seat. Around him, the others were ducking and yelling as hot metal whistled and whined into the cab.

The taxi-driver, bless him, slammed on the brakes and spun the wheel hard to the left. One of the drones totalled a neon beer ad signboard as it tried to follow the move, the resultant cloud of metallic chips momentarily confusing the other drones' sensor systems as the taxi-driver powered his ripped-up cab through the filthy alley with a shrilled "Yahooo!"...

Ash's napkin burst into flame in front of her eyes. The redhead was instantly on her feet, her face contorted in sudden fear. Doc Turin opened her mouth to speak, but Ash cut her off with an uncharacteristic fierce glare from her unnatural eyes.

"It's Chance! He's in trouble!"

The woman was gone in a shot, virtually running to the door as the remainder of the party grabbed instinctively for weapons. Ash tore open the door and ran outside... just in time to see the wink of a rocket-flare screaming straight for her from 2,000 feet up.

In times like this, Ash did not pause to think... She screamed a warning as she sprinted towards the garage where Chance's motobike had been parked. The rocket detonated against the front of the building, catching her with the edge of its shockwave and flinging her bodily into the garage. Unnoticed, a sniper round sailed past where she had been a moment before and hammered out a crater in the tarmac.

Ash leapt onto the scrambler and gunned the engine. Calm... calm... She fought to maintain her composure as she shrilled the bike out of the garage past the smoking front of the bar.

"Ah frag it!" She cursed aloud as she momentarily lost control of her suppressed gifts... Screaming like a banshee, the recon motorbike erupted into a wheelie as the redhead blazed down the road, streetlights exploding in a fiery sendoff all along the street, bathing Ash in harsh flickering light.


"Frag this weather!"
Muttered Raven while he was driving his transporter home from another days scamming the populance of Geneva. Raven was a fitter whose name alone could sell insurance against "Acts of God" to the old church, old because after the corporations had arisen religion was changed into a commercial facade.
The rain battered the windscreen and reduced visibility to a nearly nothing.
Raven didn't even see the speeding taxi until it was a mere ten metres from his own truck! Raven swerved right and hoped like hell the inept taxi driver would do the same! Raven could see the face of the maniac taxi driver now, who looked as if he were running from the Grim Reaper himself!
Raven screamed and shook his fist at the passing vehicle
"Fraggin' Taxis!"!
It wasn't till then he noticed the persuing police drones whose weapons systems were deployed and chewing up the pavement behind the fleeing Taxi.
"Now here's a sale waiting to happen" Raven thought to himself and chuckled. If the drones killed the occupants of the Taxi, Raven would offer to "dispose of the bodies" which, of course, meant Raven would drop them into a trash compacter (after looting any valubles from the wreckage and bodies!). While should the fugitives escape the police drones Raven would attempt to follow them himself and sell them "survival packages" and tickets out of Geneva.
"Today is my lucky day!"
Raven gunned the engine and chased the fleeting taxi.......


"well, it appears that the best place to hack into the security systems would be just a few nanometers west of the actual compoud, eh, doctor?" said Crash to Dr. Turin. Just then, the building started to quake, Ash was running outside, and there were...some strange people outside...

"Damn, what a day for me to forget to buy that pistol...not that it would help. Ok, Turin an I will make a break for my car, and try to get out of here, you guys...well, do what you do best"

Hoping to god that the Cops wouldn't see him, Crash ran for his life. Turin, still standing at the doorway, was undecided, and did not know what to do. a stray rocket hit the awning above the doorway, and it collpsed, blocking the exit...


Ash rode onwards, the scrambler's cross-country abilities helping a great deal as she whipped her way through the narrow back-alleys and avenues. She saw more than a few shreds of waste-papers catching fire in her vicinity... and caught a glimpse of an enraged rat as it fled mindlessly from a tail that had inexplicable sprung into flame.

Chance was still in the vicinity and alive... but she had to get closer to his location for her pryo-aura to be properly quenched. The effects were not that severe yet, but Ash feared enough for both herself and Chance to risk going after his pursuers alone.

Unfortunately, she was unarmed... save for her lethal hands... the only equipment with her being her chainmail armour and trusty fire-extinguisher. Ash had therefore decided to race as quickly as possible to Chance's apartment and load up with her flamethrower, his assault rifle, and various other items which they might need. She reckoned that getting back to Chance would be easy enough... The soldier had submitted a subscription to the neo-GPS locator service to be added to their wrist-phones. Despite the considerable expense, it allowed them to locate each other within a particular town or city instantly, something which was essential to prevent them from getting separated.

She darted into the alleyway that led to Chance's apartment and dismounted, rapidly racing into the house as her mind ran through the list of required items.

5 minutes (and a couple of fire-extinguisher blasts) later, Ash re-mounted the cycle and consulted the locator, mentally tracing the route in her mind as she raced towards the taxi that held Chance.

Her flamethrower rested under her right arm and poked over the handlebars, the trigger set for "narrow, high temp flame"... as opposed to "wide, normal temp flame". The short-lived narrow flame blast was literally a giant deadly blowtorch, a more suitable setting for Ash's current need than the area-denying wide flame deluge that was used to flood an area with long-lasting fire.

As she closed the distance to the taxi, Ash resolved to flame the first dumb cop who tried to stop her. Whether it was simply luck or an unlikely result of her fervent wishes, she reached the taxi's vicinity without incident, catching a glimpse of the racing vehicle through a side-alley, pursued by what appeared to be either Aztechnology or police rotor drones... as well as what appeared to be a civilian truck! She joined the race without hesistation... waiting for the correct moment to shoot out of the side-alley and onto the main road...


Shadow was now on a high speed chase with the police, on his motorcycle. He smirked and laughed as about 20 squad cars were behind him.

Shadow knew he could out run them all, he was only toying with them.

The motorbike then slid out of control furiously as Shadow tried to get it back under control, he slammed into another oncoming car and flew off the bike high into the hair.

He landed safely but saw the bike and car were damaged severely, and the cops were still coming after him.

Shadow quickly pulled the pin of the grenade and rolled it under the car and ran off quickly and swiftly.

An explosion was heard behind him, and the voices of the policemen when they got out of the car.

He was safe now, and then stopped a Taxi and got in, heading for a IWS Airbase on the right side of town, he said to the taxi driver, "Step on it..."

In a mater of minutes, they reached the military port and he got out and paid the driver. As soon as he saw the cab go off into the distance, he ran in swiftly to the military ports Aircraft silo.

He got in and looked around...knocking out a guard as he walked past. Shadow slided the unconcious body into a nearby closet, as he took the clothes off the guard.

Shadow raced into the nearest control room, locked the door, and looked at the controls and security cameras.


"Ash!" Doctor Mary Turin leapt up, just as the girl was out of the room, a pile of expty pizza boxes going up in flames as she left. Mary leapt up, but the damned decker, Crash, wasn't it, grabbed her arm as the building started to shake.

"Doc! Cops... outside! Your.... no.... use.... here!"

The decker obviously knew something she didn't, as he tried to drag her out the back door. Both tank and Curim were on their feet, Tank yelling something in his bizzare dialect. Crash finally let go of the protesting doctor, and almost fell with his momentum out of the doorway, hurtling down the hall beyond. The building shook again. Something out there must be really angry.

Tank clanked over to the door, and began to shift rocks, even with his bulky suit. Curim braced himself against the celing, trying to support his weight. The decker had scarpered.

More rubble fell from the celing. Curim groaned. Mary tried to prop the table against the celing as well, but it was too short. She turned to desperately help Tank by the door.


Ery looked out the window of the cab in wonder. As a Corporate Employee in one of the leading MegaCorps, he was used to violence and high-speed chases. But he was used to being the one in the Panzer, chasing the cab. It was quite fascinating to experience it from this side. Another burst of gunfire shook the cab and deafened it's occupants as the sound ricocheted through the alley. Then again, perhaps fascinating wasn't the right word for it. They exited the alley, with the two drones in hot pursuit.

"Where's...." Crystal started to ask, but Xecktos nodded to a stretch of buildings on the left. Crystal stared for a moment and opened her mouth to tell off the assassin.

Just ahead of the cab, the wall of a derelict store shattered in a huge explosion of dust and rubble. The third drone tore forward in anger when it's prey eluded the trap. Tiring of combat, Ery relaxed into a trance and started a simple Earth spell. Xecktos took precision aim and released a throwing knife at the closest drone. The knife embedded itself deep in the hull of the drone severing a sensor array. The wounded drone slowed down and began to spark.

In the interior of the cab, Crystal tended to the wounded Chance, and Xecktos mourned the loss of his trusty knife. Ery chanted in quiet, removed from the physical world. It was all up to the former-runner Dwarf. Employing every nuance of his skill, he managed to evade the drones time after time. Finally, a drone traced a pattern of bullets on the rear of the cab and slewing wildly, the cab began to create sparks as it careened off the ground.

The closest drone again moved in for the kill and began to rattle as the ground started moving. The pavement split apart as a massive jungle plant rose from the Earth. The drone swerved away - too late. A vine latched on to the side of the drone and dragged the hapless machine to the trunk of the tree. With a wrench of metal prying loose, the bulk of the tree split apart the drone into spare pieces of metal. The second drone skimmed past the tree as it disposed of the first. The third drone, with Xecktos' knife still embedded in it's side could move fast enough to clear the tree's vines. Another incredible vine wrapped around the drone and crushed the metal into pulp.

Ery awoke from his trance and glanced back at the remains on the drones and the tree. He sighed with relief and heard a high-pitched whining. The drone started firing rounds from it's weaponry once more.

In the front seat, the Dwarf watched the remaining drone and a smile began to dawn on his face.


"Mister Zwergmann, I presume?"

Zwergmann turned around quickly. "How the sleg did you get here? What's the meaning of this?" He was obviously scared to death by the shadowy figure in the corner of his private lounge.
"Let's just say I'm a lot smarter than the other killers."
He knew that voice. It sounded quite electronic, but he was sure he knew it.
"That's impossible. The magical defence..."
"The mages were an easy target, Mr Zwergmann. I got rid of them before they even sensed my presence."

Just when Zwergmann was about to push the hidden alarm button on his arm, he heared the sound of a silencer.
"I wouldn't push that if I were you, Mr. Zwergmann. You might get your finger burnt."
A few blue sparks appeared where the button was just a second before. "How did you know...?"

"Aah yes, how did I know about that button? Very simple. I'm still connected to the company's neural network. After all, you created me."
"I created you? Oh this is just great... and now I suppose you're going to kill me?"
"Killyou? Come on... why would I destroy the only chance of getting to my target?"

"You mean I'm not the target? Then who the sleg are you?"
"I'm the Sniper... but maybe you know me better by my real name... Richard Mary Olsen"

Oh my... no. That's not possible...
"Rick Olsen?! Lewis' kid? But he's been dead for years!"
"Indeed, I've been dead for years. And I'm planning to revenge my death too."

Of course! Lewis turned his kid into a cyborg... it must have been the only way to save him. But then he's talking about...
"Your dad... you want me to help you get to your dad."

"Indeed. He still works for you, doesn't he? So as I said... you can lead me to him. And I don't care at all if that involves protecting you from assassins for a while. But Zwergmann... if I see that you stall me to use me as a bodyguard I can assure you the assassins will lose their chance to get paid."


Meanwhile, nobody knew where Mac had gone. It seemed that he somehow vanished.

He seemed weirder than regular, and that was not good.

Zwergmann almost rocked backwards when he heard the notice-- a ninja assasin was running in Aztech territory. A rare bird. It couldnīt be. But it was. That was Jadeīs katana. But she was dead. And now she was going for him. He killed her.
His face went pale. Jade, the living legend, was there...A guard suggested to tighten even more the security. Useless. Jade could kill them if she wanted to. But that was strange... Somehow, "Jade" was not moving like an elf, she was moving like an human.

Meanwhile Cy had fully recovered from his wounds. Those private medics were really good. He realised that for now, Mac had disappeared. Crystal had to work without both of them.

"Hey, bitch! Why donīt suck my..." The guard who was holding Illidia was interrupted by his partner. "Robert, that bitch is a premium one, you must handle her with care". A hand slapped her cute face. She felt her face being ripped off. "Uh, the elf bitch is hurt... Pitiful..." The guards laughed.

Meanwhile, the ninja assasin was getting closer, and not even an entire legion of panzers could stop its revenge.


The rubble continued to fall, and Curim bent under the stress. There was no way that the huge troll could support the celing much longer, but if he let go, it would fall in, and Tank stopping digging at the doorway to help with the celing would almost certainly seal any slim chance of escape. Already the areas furthest from the troll were sagging ominously. The whole bloody Pizza Slut had probably fallen on top of them.

The only good thing was that whoever was out there waiting to get them probably thought they were dead.

Not that they were likely to survive much longer down here.


Crash was outside. As were the Rent-a-cops.

This didn't look good. The only people likely to be on his side around here were trapped in the basement. And if those cops saw him, he'd be fragged for sure. He considered trying to take them on with his Tazer, but decided against it. The chances were at least a hundred to one against him.

He looked around to the wreckage of the Pizza Slut. A few waitresses were picking themselves up from the ruins, looking shocked and terrified. The rent-a-cops had their eyes focused on their scantily-clad forms. That was good. It gave him a chance.

He looked around to see what had caused the collapse. In the middle of the wreckage was the remains of some sort of drone. it had fallen onto the building, and it looked like the blast had done the damage. He had no idea who, or what, had done it.

This was his chance. He sprinted towards his car. It wasn't much, but it offered a chance of escape.

No-one saw him. That was good. He carefully deactivated the security, and slipped inside. Still no sign. Even better.

He looked back. Time to go.

But could he leave them down there, in the basement? If he could get them out, with Tank on their side, they might even stand a chance against the Rent-a-cops, and find out who had hired them.

But how?

He looked in his gear chest. It wasn't much, his vehicle was unarmed, despite his boasts (he intended it to get some kinda weapondry when he had some cash), and he only had tools in here.

And a steel-fibre cable, with a large, heavy, ancient grappling hook attatched. The idea had been that he could hook it onto another car, and drag it if necessary, but that had fallen through on it's first trial, wrecking both his target's vehicle, and his plans for selling it and upgrading his own rig.

However, it might be able to be put to good use now.

He heaved it up, and tried to get out of the rig. It was heavy, but he managed it, with great difficulty.

He tied one end of the cable onto the cowbars at the rear of his rig. The other end remained with the huge grapple.

Carefully, he edged behind rubble, and back down the submerged corridor. He made several sounds, as he bashed into various peices of wreckage, but it looked like the Rent-a-Cops were too preoccupied with the waitresses.

The collapse of the doorframe had totally wrecked the entrance. However, he could see a hole about a foot across, that the huge Ork inside was obviously trying to clear.

"Here" he harshly whispered, and tried to push the grappling hook through the hole. Take it and bend it open, then I can use the rig to move the rubble.

At least the Ork looked like he agreed.


Doctor Mary Turin gasped. The decker was back. And he might have found a way to get them out of this fix.

She could kiss him. If she didn't think it would be giving him the wrong signs. And if there wasn't several tons of rubble between them.

"Just hang in there a second longer", she told Curim.


"My God! AAAAIIIEEE!!!" Jaguar Airborne screamed, passing out from the shock of losing his drone so violently. He slumped in the back of the landrover.

"Damn, we lost, Airborne. All units, go around the back. Be advised the targets have one vehicle parked there. Uptown, stay covering the front and the car park. Everyone else, leave the kid. He doesn't register as a target. Killing him may prove bad for the company image."

The Special ops team lightly armoured and carrying assault rifles jogged into the road, about to flank the restaurant building,
when a cop-car hove into view, skidding to a stop. Two armoured patrol cops got out, hunkering over their armoured car with a Heavy revolver and an auto-shotgun. - Daisaka security. They had the licence to hold the law on these streets.

"Unidentified targets! Throw down your weapons and put your hands up!"

Fragging amateurs. Jaguar Leader thought.

Seconds later, they collapsed roughly, both dead, their heads blown in like over-ripe melons.

"Thank, you, Jag Uptown." Jaguar leader said, continuing arond to the back entrance of the Pizza Slut.

"No problem." The Aztechnology special ops sniper grinned, relishing his job.

The rent-a-cops lay silently, blood soaking the pavement next to their still-running patrol car.

Inside the Pizza Slut, pandemonia regined. The women were screaming, many cut by the glass shower from the explosion, deafened and terrified. Doc Turin tried desperately to comfort them. Tank kicked over a table facing the back door, resting his shotgun.

"Da fraggers are comin'. Get ready, slags!" He said, not caring if anyone was listening.


Crystal chanced a look up - a drone was there, right in front of the taxi. It seemed everything was moving in slow motion. She glanced around at everyone - They didn't seem to be doing anything. What? She was confused. She had blood on her. Hers? no, Chance's.

"Frag this!" She yelled, whipping out her SMG. Blazing away leaning out the window, her wild shots hit the drone a few times. It faltered in the air.

The car jerked forward, Crystal's arm jerked up, scattering her bullets. She almost fell out the window.

The car steamed forward, 0-60 in about half-a-second, it seemed like.

"You crazy son of a-"

The car hit the drone like a freight maglev splattering a bug. It hit the solid construction-plastic wall on the other side. Like a sandwich of expenisve electronic scrap, fragments of the drone slid to the floor.

In the car no-one moved. Dazed, shocked, Crystal couldn't see. She wiped her eyes - Blood from a scalp wound. Must have been a splintering fragment of the drone. Nothing serious.

In the driver's seat, as Crystal, Ery, Chance and Xecktos regained consiousness, dazed but unhurt, someone lit a pipe, letting the old, illegal tobacco float around before inhaling satisfactorily.

"Ahhh... just like the old days." Dven grinned. "Lost me another car but... heh! What a ride!"


Pizza Slut... all gone... Mac was now even more angry with Aztech, whenever the hell he was hiding.

In her captivity, Illidia was being beaten. Her yells barely trespassed the torture room. The guards were enjoying. Dirty pigs. "They shall pass soon away" the elf thought, but she was back to the nightmare when one of the guards took her.
"Now, pendejo, we are going to have fun!"

"All Jaguars retreat. This is an order from central Zigurat. All Jaguars retreat to Z point." The radio communications shouted.
The attack against the runners had to be postponed. A more important target was at Zwergīs flat.

In a unknown location, the one who truly pulled the strings laughed, as their plans were going fine.


"Frag!" Jaguar leader swore. The veteran Aztechnology man looked at the devastation of the Pizza Slut.

Maybe we did enough damange? No. Never. Experience taught me never to leave things to chance. Frag it, I don't want to leave a job half-done. But... orders are orders.

"Back to the 'Rover men! Double time!"

The Special forces men, veterans all, efficiently piled back into their vehicle, with at least two men covering the wrecked building at all times. Since Airborne was out of it, Jag Leader had to drive, once Uptaown had come back.

Jag drove off like hell on wheels.

We'll be back, drek-heads. Don't die in the meantime, I want my pound of flesh. I may have it ounce by ounce BUT I WILL HAVE IT!


The alarms went off in a quick sucesion. First the perimeter, then the main hall, then the lowere flats. Obviously, the ninja was really quick and deadly.
"Hell! Why the guards canīt stop it?" The Jaguar operatives groaned.They felt a bit scared when they heard the name: "Jade".

The ninja was somehow possesed with an inner will that even bended the wills of the guards. Effortlessly, it dodged all the shots the guards were trying to do. Some of them even banged into a type of vest the ninja was hiding. The most lucky guards could see the blade before bleeding out.

Suddenly, the ninja stopped in the torture room.
Zwergmann felt even more confused. "Why an assasin will take care of prisoners? Oh, if I remember well... Jade had that habit."

Illidia smiled when the two guards were laying on the ground, dead.
"Illidia? Who did this to you?" The ninja finally spoken... She did recognize the voice. Mac.
"I didnīt know you were so good. Let me give you a reward---"
"It is not time for rewards. Go inside the room. This will get very heated!" cutted Mac.

Meanwhile Crystal wondered what happened with the Aztech team.


A low cheer filled the Pizza Slut basement as the doorway rubble collapsed away. The paniced patrons and staff rushed out into the bright sunlight.

Tank held the roof for Mary and the aching Curim, before slowly letting go, and the remains of the basement falling like rubble around him. He laughed deeply and gutterally, seing the devestation around him.

The sunlight was blinding but welcoming. Most of the other people who had been inside the basement stood shocked and on the verge of joyful tears, or praying to whatever deity they worshipped. However, Mary, Tank and Curim sought out Crash quickly. He was in his vehicle, and looking shocked at what he'd done.

"Crash! You did it!" Mary ran up to him, and flung her arms around his late teenage neck. The decker looked slightly worried, and returned the hug, making sure to stay clear of the pizza smeared across her raincoat.

"Wozza matta, 'umie", Tank grunted in his bizzarre voice. Crash looked at him, and opened his mouth as if to speak, but promptly shut it again. Curim simply shook the boy's hand.

"Did... I do good?" the boyish decker looked still looked rather pale.

"You did good, Crash."

Mary looked the boy up and down. He looked older suddenly. Even though she'd barely known him a few hours, she was beginning to like the kid. He had abandoned them earlier, but hadn't left them, despite the chance. He'd saved the lives of everyone in that basement.

"What now?"

All three turned to Mary.

"I don't know! Why me?"

It was odd. Why were they looking for her for leadership? She was the least experianced of any of them (possibly excluding Crash), and definatley the least help in combat. She knww nothing of their type, of their places, or them, or their jobs. Why her? Why was she, and Oxford Graduate and Doctor in Xeno Biology, expected lead a group of brigands and outlaws?

Your know why. You know Crystal, even if only vaguely. You're a doctor, they look up to you. Tank's too stupid to lead, and Crash and Curim were only hired a few hours ago. That extra day you have on the team makes it all for them. It's up to you to make sure they get back to Crystal, and get their jobs. They're relying on you. Even if it's your instinct to never have anything to do with these damned runners ever again. They think you're one of them. The quiet, sensible voice in her head spelled it out to them. In the abscence of Crystal, or CylinderHead, it did look like she was incharge of this small band of misfits.

"I guess we try find Crystal and the others now. Or go back to Crystal's apartment."

"Not there. There could be more Rent-a-Cops on my ass for revenge from that Corporation".

The pale kid had a point. She didn't want to lead them into a firefight, with no real leader, and herself and the decker would just be a liablity.

"Ok. I guess we go to AET headquarters to find them. They were headed there. Unless those Rent-a-cops were after them as well. Although they would have stood a better chance than we did."

The three expectant faces agreed. They stripped Tank of his heavy armour, and stowed it in the back of the rig. Crash got back into the driving seat, and revved up the engine. The other three climbed into the back of the vehicle, Mary between Tank and Curim.

"Let's go."

The rig started off first time, and reached a respectable pace within a minute. It was time to find Crystal, and offload these runners on her, and then get back to her REAL life, finish her paper, send it to Nina. Get back to England. Forget all about this bad dream.

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