The Den Games Network Forum RPG
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce
Silvia saw the three giants coming closer towards her.
"Oh sleg... "
What have I done? I should have known I'm no match for a Troll...
She tried to move, but she couldn't. It hurt too much.
Then the felt something really strange. she saw a kind of blue aura appear around her and then disappear, and then she started floating.
Hurricane pulled the girl towards the van with the levitation spell, and carefully put her on the ground.
The last thing Silvia heard before losing conciousness was Hurricane:
"So... you call me a showoff... Silvia?"
"Hey, Do i know you?" Behemoth finally said to the other orc.
The other ork simply groaned. An stranger was trying to rescue his friend, and that was no good.
Meanwhile Eva reached the AA machinegun button. Two heavy gattlings appeared from the aircraft. But it was too late, the three metahumans were so close that she would hit all of them.
The snap of the machineguns alerted the metahumans and precipitated the battle.
Tank was the one who attacked first. He dashed into the trolls body, hoping that he would trip and fall, but Tank was the one who had fallen. Behemoth, simply dodged the rampant ork, as he had seen his intentions. Being smarter than regular orks was a good thing.
The troll furously attempted to smash the battered tank, but the ork simply dissapeared. In a quick move, Behemoth had put the ork in a safe position.
"Protect the girl, comrade. I know that is what you want." said Behemoth.
But Behemoth had dropped his guard, and the troll saw it.
Soon the proud ork was flying backwards and landing on the pavement. But, instead of getting injuried, he arose with anger.
The neck snapped, and his eyes, that were shut, opened widely. He was going to attack.
The troll groaned again. "I will kill YOU!".
But it wasn't enough to scare Behemoth. Swinging his sword, then seizing it like a ninja, the metahuman ran towards the big rival. In a rapid sucession, two high kicks desequilibrated the troll, not damaging him too much, but dropping his guard and making him trip. The perfect ocassion.
In a 180º spin, the sword got stuck in the Troll's chest, with such intensity, that it broke. The troll spat a pool of blood. He had been badly injuried, but his life was not on danger.
"You have two options. Surrender and retreat, or die under my hands. Hope you will be wise and don't let my hands get dirty of blood." proudly said the ork.
The troll stood apart, with a face of pain and confusion, and he did remembered where he had seen that guy. He was rumoured to be a member of the Six Stalkers.
Tank watched the beaten biker Troll surrender to the other Ork. The dwarf was still chattering in the background, and he could see Mary bandaging Badjimmy's bandaged arm, the Binman looking on. Hurricane was applying some kind of herbal balm to Silvia, while Dorodo crouched over her, his little face twisted into tears.
Tank, however, was too angry to care at the moment. The other Ork, he didn't know his name, had taken his kill. His kill from him. In solely Ork societies, that would have been an offence punishable by death, unless Tank had asked for help, which he hadn't. That lousy drek-head wasn't fit to be called a fragging Ork!
Tank roared in anger, and smashed his fist into the side of the van, which crumpled slightly under the impact.
Raven was suddenly beside him. His human hand caught Tank's arm before he struck again, despite the fact that, in reality, there would be little he could do against Tank's strength. He wasn't angry about the damage to his van just yet - he knew something had seriously messed with Tank.
"Whoa! Buddy! What's wrong! We all escaped with our lives, didn't we? What's gotcha?"
Tank roared again, and saw the figure alighting into the flyer again. He was leaving. Good fragging riddance.
Tank turned to his friend.
"Dat fraggin Elf-luvver robbed me of mon kill! He's not worth to be a fraggin Ork! He's a fraggin traitor!"
Raven couldn't answer - he knew the rules of Orks, and couldn't argue with Tank over this. Both beings knew that the newcomer had stepped dangerously out of line - it was all Tank could do to prevent himself turning his guns on the rival.
The Ork now climbed into the flyer, which was actually on fire - although it didn't seem to be damaging much. Both could see that he did not walk with the characteristic Orkish stoop, or in the characteristic Orkish gait, nor talk in the characteristic Orkish way. He was also insane, by the looks of things - as the flyer began to move away, there was a strong chance that it might explode.
"You know Tank......" said Raven doubtfully, "I don't think he's an Ork at all."
Following the melee, Mary knew no-one would die from their wounds. Silvia and Sarah were back to silently bitching about each other, and Dorodo had been calmed down, enough to allow Mary to follow up the call she had cancelled, and switched her phone off. A rather anxious Chance was at the other end.
"Mary! Are you ok! What happened over there, you just went dead"
"Sorry, I didn't have much choice. Badjimmy has hurt, quite bad, and I knew I was the only one that stood a chance of helping him"
"No problem - I had a bit of trouble keeping Ash calm and non-flammable, though. What happened?"
"Some bikers - I think - attacked us, and we got in a fight. Silvia got pretty beat up, but we're all in one peice. THis woman, a shaman, Sarah's her name, who's travelling with us gave us a hand. Tank's damn angry, though, apparently this other guy that turned up - and Ork - in a corp flyer as well - stole his kill or something. Tank seems to think that he was some kind of imposter Ork. I dunno"
"Imposter? What do you mean? - and are you sure that no-ones injured bad?"
"Badjimmy lost four fingers..."
Chance made a sympathetic noise,
".. and Silvia's pretty beat up. We'll live though."
"Good for you... and what about that Ork?"
"He left, in a flyer going east. Tank said something about him not acting, or looking like an Ork, and knowing nothing of Ork combat etiquette. He was also an extraordinary fighter - although Tank was prepated to take him on for his honour afterwards"
"Hmmm", the ex-soldier replied. "That sounds awfully like one Dragon, in a way", and Mary agreed. "I don't know why, but there's probably alot more to that encounter than meets the eye. Keep an eye out for him again - and try and get a good picture of him next time - this last one we can only see his back - and all I can see is that he holds himself like a human."
Mary agreed, and said she could hear Silvia calling. She had to go. Wishing the best, she rang off.
Chance turned the vidphone off, and Ash smiled at him full of love and warmth, relieved. Chance thought again that she was a hell lot more beautiful than the - given stunning - Elf woman in the photos, this Sarah. It looked like things were hotting up back in Europe again.
Just then, there was a knock on the door.
Barry had been a Guard at Cairo's History Museum for 10 years now. It was decent pay, enough to get a long and support his family, and he was very proud of his lastest job, to guard the mummified corpse of Magen Ra, believed to be a powerful figure back then. This was the biggest job he had had within the museum and security was tight. All seemed in order, everything was going fine......on the surface. If only Barry would have known he was being watched, if only he had known that less then a metre away from him, back against the wall, stood the Necromancer and illusionist Dark Sorrow. Covered by his power of illusion, Dark Sorrow had been watching Barry all day. Pathetic fool he thought to himself I almost feel sorry for him.
Barry was on night watch tonight, after all his friends left, saying their usual "Night Baz! Don't let the mummies bite" joke, Barry did feel a slight chill in the air. As if he was finally aware he was being watched. He turned looking for the source, to find that the source was looking back at him. Dark Sorrow had revealed himself and was slowly walking towards the guard.
Barry was paralyzed for a brief second, then reached for his gun, he pointed it at this man and just managed to say
"W-what do you w-w-want" before fear took over him, he didn't know what it was about this man, or if it was the surrounding museum, full of ancient artifacts and faces that lept out at you and mummies and all kinds of terrible things! It was as if this man had amplified all this and it was driving Barry insane, he heard his gun fall to the floor and went to ran. But he couldn't. It was as if the museum was closing in on him. He was struggling for breath......that was when Dark Sorrow knew he had him,
"Water is coming in, it's everywhere! It's rising, surrounding you and leaving you no way out! You can't breathe, it's all too much.....your drowning....you can't concentrate......" he said in a hushed tone, and even though it wasn't happening, Barry was feeling all of it. He could SEE the water, he WAS trapped by wave, upon wave of blue ocean, there WAS no way out.....he WAS dying. He couldn't breathe......this was the end........How is this happening! Where is it coming from! WHY ME! WHY!WHERE!HOW! and with these insane thoughts, Barry finally gave up hope and all was black.....
Dark Sorrow stood over the corpse "Weak minded fool" he muttered before walking over to his main prize, the Magen Ra exhibit, he broke the glass surrounding it and took out some of the remains of the once powerful figure. He put them in a small container and walked away.......Now to Orkstonia he thought.
The sea-chopper touched down on the brand new Transys/Jadal Biotech runway. This was probably the biggest undamaged area of clean tarmac in the country, Damocles thought, as it touched down with an undetectable jolt. He's been suprised to find that the 'chopper that collected him had not had a living pilot - a complex Transys machine ran the thing, by the looks of it. It didn't look like that either corp wanted to risk detection by sending any more than the minimum personel on the mission - and of course, the minimum personel was Damocles himself.
One of his employers was waiting for him, flanked by two Jadal Elite Cadre guards - gen-engineered, fanatically loyal fighting machines, holding long force-pikes, and three Transys Neuronet Bodyguard Drones, hovering a foot above the ground, and bristling with electronics.
The employer, of course, was Crispin Polt.
Damocles moved towards him, and silently opened his mouth, the only sound being a low pop as the seal came loose. He removed the vial of tissue, and handed it to the scientist, and resumed normal breathing.
The two living guards stared dircectly forewards, highly disciplined and trained. The drones hovered still, scanning the area constantly with tiny sensors.
Slowly, the scientist, eyes like vacant pits, smiled, grim and deathlike, his face resembling a skull. His white labcoat and thinning, almost bald hair gave him a strange aura- kind of like a negative photo of the Grim Reaper. In place of his left arm was a high-tech, VERY expensive insustrial issue cyberarm - not a crude street version, the real thing - seven fingered, and engineered for prescision work. Each of the needle-lie fingers was sharp as monowire, and each contained a tiny tube, down which anesthetics - or for that matter poisons - could be passed into a wound.
"Excellent,", the man said, before turning. Damocles followed - at last he could rest, and recharge his ailing body in the bio-vats below the facility.
Zizz had been going in and out of conciousness for a few hours, he seemed to remember telling Crystal and the other two about what happened in between the blacknesses in his memory. It was evening when he fully came out of it, in a room of some sort, he didn't take much notice.
There was a knock at the door.
"Who's that gonna be?" He asked, looking around for Crystal,
"I'm not expecting anyone" Chance replied, edging towards the door.
"Nah dude, I'll get that" Zizz smiled, shuffling over, he opened the door and looked into the face of a woman he, at first didn't recognise.
"Do.. I.. know you?" he said, searching his memory. Zizz looked the woman up and down. She was bulky and tall, mildly green hair down to her shou..
"Shit!" he yelled, diving out of the way as 'Bitch' pulled a pistol on him. Zizz' fingers fumbled around the holster he kept his gun in.
"I think it's important that you come with me" she smiled, then looked around, and saw Chance with an assault rifle aimed directly at her chest. Chance grinned.
"I think you know what to do" he barked
"You shoot for me, I shoot him" she gulped
"And you die" Ash said, walking towards the mysterious woman,
"Now, give me the gun, before this turns nasty"
"Frag you" 'Bitch' yelled, pulling the trigger twice.
"Frag!" Zizz yelled, collapsing into a heap on the floor. Bitch jumped backwards and set off at a sprint.
Raven pulled a small fire-extinguisher from his seat. The minature device made short work of the fire on the roof of his van - Luckily most of the petrol had fallen off or burnt away by now. The fire hadn't really taken hold. Satisfiled, he moved to collect all the machinepistols and submachineguns the gangers had discarded. They'd be worth something. The wrecked bikes wouldn't.
However, the Nightwraith Eva had flown in on was a different story entirely.
The Ruthenium polymers that coated the hull - which afforded the optic camouflage capability - Caught fier like petrol doused in wood. Flames licked all over the aircraft in a matter of seconds.
"Behemoth! Jump ship!" Eva screamed. She popped her canopy - With flames already blackening and melting the transparent plastic. She pulled herself out - scorching her hands on the already blazing hot hull.
Fire spread to the exposed ammo feeds of the miniguns Eva had exposed. Rounsd began cheerily cooking off left and roght.
Eva fell down to the ground, rolling to put out a fire on her back. She noticed Behemoth hadn't moved yet.
"BEHEMOTH! GET OUT, IT'S GOING TO-"
The explosion of the explosive ammuntion caused a lethal flashback to the aircraft's fuel tanks. The whole thing erupted in a deafening, blinding ball of blazing jet-fuel. Splinters of the ¥80 Million aircraft mushroomed up into the sky, falling over hundreds of feet away.
Eva was blown back by the blast, leaving a huge dent in the side of the van. She collapsed weakly to the floor, heavily injured.
A shower of wreckage cacaded over the van. Most of the 'runners had been hiding behind or inside it - But Silvia was further injured by a wheel spar which impaled her wing. Tank suffered an eye-wound from shrapnel.
All of the injured 501 Hellhounds were set ablaze by the fuel - And so was Raven, who had been hungrily collecting fallen guns.
The fixer flailed his arms madly as the fire spread from his back to his arms...
"Stand back, sister!" Hurrican roared, stridently. She moved from the cover of the van.
Holding her arms aloft, she began chanting, facing up to the sky.
The chanting got heavier, faster, louder.
The wind picked up.
Raven still tried in vain to put his fire out...
Clouds in the sky wheeled...
A few drops of rain began falling.
The crack of thunder reverberated over the roadway.
"LET US QUENCH THE FIRES OF HELL!" Hurricane screamed towards the sky, Throwing her hands down savagely.
A minature whirlwind had picked up. The rain suddenly erupted into a localised storm.
Great clouds of steam rose from the burnt-out hulk of the destroyed aircraft- Raven was batted around by the force of the wind, and soaked - His fire extinguished.
Mary had to shut her eyes against the wind - It was almost strong enough to lift her off her feet. Nearby Raven's van shook heavily on it's suspension. Rain hammered off it's hull...
And then it died down again, as quickly as it had appeared.
Hurricane sagged, visilby drained by the effort. The mini-tornado rose back into the darkened sky, which began to lighten.
"No trouble...sister." She wheezed. "you know...now...that natures spirits...are not to be...trifled with. This...was a mere spirit of the sky..."
Raven had suffered burns to his back and both his arms. They weren't life-threatening, but they needed attention, and he would still be able to drive.
In London, all hell broke loose at the apartment.
Chance gave chase. His Heavy sidearm leapt into his hand and he sprinted after the girl - Who moved off impossibly fast. She had to have some kind of cyberware, like wired reflexes. Either that or she'd been given magical enhancement.
Both things Chance detested. He spat, and holstered his weapon, unwilling to use it in this crowded area.
Ash carried on sprinting.
"Ash! ASH!" He yelled - But she didn't listen, she carried on running, down the corridor and out of sight.
Chance ran laboriously after her.
Zizz looked bad. He bled from two gut-shots and wasn't moving.
Crash looked at him, and at Crystal, gibbering.
"What'll we do?"
"Drag him into the kitchen!"
Crash didn't argue, though he realised moving a gunshot victim was a potentially unwise thing to do. They struggled with him. Firearm and Cylinder Head entered the room.
"Fragging hell!" Cy said first. "IT'S MATTHEW 'ZIZZ' ZIZLER!"
Firearm said nothing, taking a swig of a bottle of Tsimshian-NAN Elven champagne Mary's parents had sent her in advance for her (hopefully) successful course graduation.
"Find something to stop the bleeding!" Crystal ordered Crash. They both started ransacking the kitchen. Crash found some acetate glue and some kitchen rolls.
"Perfect! Stuff the kitchen rolls into the wound!"
Crash complied, the paper towels turning red with blood instantly. Blood squidged out from between his fingers.
"Okay." Crystal said. "Move away."
Crystal snapped the cap off the glue - Strong fumes mixed with the smell of Zizz's blood in the blood-strewn kitchen. Applying the glue liberally, Crystal sealed the bulletholes in Zizz' tanned stomach together.
"Okay, we've stopped the bleeding." Crystal said, wiping her brow. Crash didn't tell her she'd just smeared blood over her forehead.
"Hey... what's this?" Crash pointed to a small bracelet Zizz was wearing. It said 'DocWagon' on it.
"That is... oh-oh..."
They listened. A low beeping could be heard.
Seven minutes and thirty second later, two men in security armour emblazoned with the DocWagon logo battered through the door - One with a submachinegun and a medikit, the other with a Daisaka Automatic shotgun. They pushed past everyone in their way roughly, pointing their guns at them.
"Matthew Zizler! Where is he, scum?" The first armed and heavily armoured man demanded.
"Kitchen." Crash squeaked.
Once they knew that no-one would oppose them, the two combat-paramedics broke open their tools.
"Two gunshot wounds to lower stomach. Some clumsy troll's tried to stop the bleeding." The menacing mirrored visor glowered at Crystal and Crash, who looked on guiltily. "Jim, get a trauma-patch and we'll get him to the 'chopper."
"Right." Jim said. He opened a pouch, pulled out a large sticky patch and ripped off the backing paper. He applied this carefully over Zizz' wounds, while his comrade ran back up the corridor.
Seconds later, the first Docwagon man came back with something the size of a briefcase. He unfolded it in two simple moves into a robust stretcher, which the two efficiently placed Zizz on. They jogged off with their charge, heading for the rooftop heliport.
"Hey!" Crystal called after them. "Where are you taking him? How can we get in touch?"
Jim shouted over his shoulder: "DocWagon central! Don't call us, we'll call you!"
I want one of those bracelets. Crash realized.
Fifteen minutes later, Chance and Ash had returned, apparently having traced the 'Bitch' to a waiting Celebrian Avenger - A common commuter car. They had noted the numberplate, and also gotten a holopix of the woman from a passing tourist.
They wondered what to do next.
"Anyone hungry?" Crystal ventured.
Keeping their thoughts about the badly injured Zizz well hidden,
Crystal, Chance, Ash and Crash had taken a mini-tour of the West-end. They couldn't do anything for him now, but they knew DocWagon to be reliable. They had already shown their professionalism.
They'd been around the shops - picking up rebreather masks and acid-drapes for their clothes. They'd aslo been to the extensive West-End underplex - A virtual underground city here at the heart of London.
Starting out as an extension of London's Victorian underground train-system, extensive corporate funding had established a small shopping centre to complement the tubes. In the 2030's, Construction had begun of a revolutionary vacuum-assisted maglev deep-tube system - A huge undertaking, and at the time, the first of its kind in the world (being succeeded by the Imperial Japanese National Sub-rails ten years later).
Again came the Corporate investment, eventually creating not just shops, but offices, small factories, research installations and worker housing.
By 2061, the West-End Underplex was truly and underplex, a virtual city in its own right. It boasted its own monorail system - Notorious for its occasional malfunctions, dragging the odd granny to their deaths - And five floors of the best Restaurants, Clubs, Pubs, Shops and Entertainment that Brit-sprawl had to offer - All away from the ever-present London Acid-rain.
The group walked under the sub-Oxford Street section of sub-level one. This huge square had a transparent ceiling. High up, at ground-level, passers-by were treated to views of bored kids mooning and pressing their faces against the ceiling window.
Orange-suited security goons prowled around, trying to intimidate teenage orks with their stun-rods. One of them gave the group a sour look.
"Don't bother with these losers." Crystal told Chance. "But watch out, at the deeper levels, there are weapons detectors, and there are armed police on patrol too, not to mention the constant surveillance. Chance nodded, thankful he'd brought only his pistol with him.
They ended up in a restaurant, called the 'Toadslab'. Chance was larmed when he realised that it was an Ork restaurant, but heeded Crystal's recommendation.
The place served one thing only - Toad in the Hole.
"Are we gonna survive this?" Crash whispered.
"Its better than it looks." Crystal promised, as they sat down at the cheap plastic tables.
"Heads up, breeders!" An Ork shouted, kicking open the grotty door into the even-grottier kitchen, which appeared to have mud - hopefully mud streaked along the walls. Ahuge-muscled greenish arm lobbed something that appeared to be a paving slab at the table. Crystal was lightning quick, catching the huge slab of batter-with-sausages with her cracked plate.
"Whuh?" Crash said, looking at the thing. The next second he was knocked senseless by the next serving lobbed from the kitchen.
"Haha, you got battered!" Ash joked, feebly.
Everyone stopped laughing. Ash muttered under her breath.
She picked a two-pronged Orkish fork up with her insulated hand, and hacked off a bit of the slab with the meat-cleaver - Orkish cutlery at its finest. A puddle of fatty grease dribbled out of the food as she bit into it.
"Hey, this is good!" She exclaimed.
They all tucked in, declining in no uncertain terms when the chef offered side-orders of worms, maggots and tripe.
"Damn, I hope Mary's okay." Crystal said. No-one disagreed, but no more was said. Instead, conversation turned to Zizz - or more imortantly, his attacker.
"That Bitch...We have to find her." Firearm slurred, drunkenly. Again, no-one disagreed.
"If I had a Deck, I could trace her car." Crash noted.
"But you don't have a deck."
"We could show the pic of her around, see if anyone' seen her. I know a few 'runner hangouts we could go..." Crystal was saying.
Chance's mind was wandering, not really listening. He could hardly believe he was eating in an ork restaurant. It seemed kind of unreal to him.
Maybe Orks can be civil after all? He thought. Too-soon, as it turned out.
A black Ork came wandering up from his table, he wore a smart-suit. For an Ork, that meant only the average level of grime. It had tears at the kneecaps. The Ork even wore a trilby hat. He looked around 19 - Equivalent of human 37.
"Hur hur hur hur hur," He laughed. He flicked a toothpick at Chance...
Damocles stepped into the damp vat-rooms. It smelt vaguely of organics - flesh and blood. Everything in here was shades of green and yellow, strange, organic shapes. The metal vats themselves - 10 by 5 foot coffins, were so festooned with the overgrowth of the slime and primitive plants that they appeared to be a shade of yellow-green in the half-light.
A single watch-eye blinked lazily from the corner of the chamber. Like all Jadal creations, it was primed for what it did - in this case, keeping surveillance of the room - it's only sense was sight, and it's small body was engineered for purely the storage of information. The small creature was infact, more like a plant - it could not move, and it's only source of energy was digesting the tiny flies that flittered around the vat rooms, from a long, sickly smelling tube extending from it, that the flies seemed to love.
Everything that Jadal Biotechnology owned and used was Biotech. Being a smaller corporation, it wasn't expected to have a large armed forces, but the Jadal force was incredibly small in terms of actual sentinent guards. Only the Elite Cadre guarded Jadal facilities, and, numbering less than a thousand, they were only augmented by large numbers of inferior 'soldiers' - barely-thinking watch-eyes, spit-leafs, and shadowhounds to name a few, all genetically manipulated, and for the best part, cloned. The Elite Cadre, however, were elite. Highly-tuned muscles, enhanced senses, a rudimentary Hive Mind and, sonar vision made even a small amount of Elite Cadre a force to be reckoned with - it was a testiment to this fact that only about 35 of these guards were present in war-torn Orkslavia, protecting this top secret project. Many larger corps would have killed to obtain Elite Cadre as their own guards.
Those that had been sent to try had died themselves.
Damocles opened the metallic lid of the vat. The gloop inside smelt like yeast, and was warm to the touch. Slowly, he lowered himself in, feeling the nourishing bacteria close around him with a wet smack. It felt good.
Such a 'vat bath' was necessary for all clones. The security watch-eyes and other small creations could reproduce by simple spawning and cell division, but the larger creations needed this to survive - in the six days since his last, Damocles had began to pale and his flesh to appear dried-out - ideally, this would be participated in every four or five days. Anything longer than a week and a half would probably kill him - and a dip in the toxic English channel hadn't exactly slowed this process down - instead, much the opposite. Damocles needed this.
He was now almost compeletely suspended in the slime. He opened his gills, and began to breathe, pulling the lid shut over him.
Damocles closed his eyes, and fell into sleep, his body beginning the regeneration process.
The plane from Cairo to Orkstonia had been traveling for an hour now. It would still be a while before Dark Shadow got there, but if what was promised was true... it would be worth all this effort. Dark Sorrow had never been on a plane before, as it would have been hell for him to get though customs. But his new "friends" sorted that for him. He stared out of the window, pretty much the same old clouds and sea but it was more interesting then the boring movies and terrible music that was on this flight. How could these foolish people stand this? He sat next to a businessman in a black suit with a briefcase. He was asleep, Dark Sorrow really couldn't blame the fool, flying was oh so boring after all.
"Would you like something off the snack cart sir?" said a young Stewardess, Dark Sorrow just stared at her, intimidating her, causing fear and panic... he saw the uncertainty on the young woman's face and smiled to himself.
"Er... I guess not, er have a nice flight... " she walked off.
Dark Sorrow turned his attention back to the window, boring as flying may be, the thought of his job kept him from falling to sleep. Soon he thought to himself. Soon my time will come, power WILL be upon me again...
On the wreckage-strewn roadway, Mary tended to Raven's burns as best she could, given what she had available.
The Binman kicked idly at a piece of landing gear. It skidded along the tarmac.
On the opposite side of the road to hell - It certainly lived up to its name, Mary realised - A small electric car hummed by. It was followed by a huge twelve-section road train. These huge vehicles were a common sight on major roads all over the world. Most of them didn't even have drivers. To cut costs, the corps who owned them ran them with autopilots or remote-riggers.
Of course, that made them quite accident-prone, but the corps weren't worried. Anything they maight hit wouldn't survive.
The train that passed her now had a sensor-turret over where the driver's cab would have been. But this one also had several light machinegun turrets on it's trailers.
Thats a new one.
Hurricane stood next to Mary.
"Still want to go to Orkistonia."
Mary thought. Can I really go thorugh with this? Can I really risk more death and destruction to myself and my friends? But then, she thought:
Damn it! They arent my friends! They're Shadowrunners! Mercenaries! Criminals for hire! People who would do anything for money. They don't exist in proper society. Like Crystal - She'd probably kill her own mother for ¥500. They don't want to exist in society. They probably only agreed to came with me to get their hands on some loot.
"We'll go, as soon as everyone is ready. I...I owe this to a friend." Mary said quietly.
I have principles...Unlike Shadowrunners.
Ery saw the huge fireball not far infront of his postion - And then the minature storm.
Magic...Shamanic. Someone else who knows the way of nature, eh? Should be interesting.
He started running...
Zizz looked around him, and saw that, thankfully, he was in the DocWagon centre Well, that was ¥15,000 well spent... he thought. Within a few minutes the doctor walked into the warm room.
"Well, you seem to have been shot twice in the gut, mr Zizler. You're making a full recovery, we also noticed that your legs have been fregged up seriously, if you don't mind me saying so, we've had to give you some metal implants there, good news is, that's free, better news is, your legs are now durable... The BAD news here would be that you now weigh a little more, and won't find yourself quite as fast as you probably were."
"So when will I be out of here?" he gasped, still finding it hard to breath or talk properly.
"I'd say you'll be out of here by the end of the week!"
great, that's exactly what I need
"Can I call a friend?" he asked
"Sure, I thought you might need to make a call, here's a comm" the doc smiled, handing him a comm unit. Matt dialed Crystal's number...
"Hey Crystal, I'm gonna be out for a week, can you get in contact with the IWGC for me? I'm not gonna be performing, as you'll guess"
"Yeah sure, patch the number over for me"
"Oh, and if you find out who that fregging bitch is, don't go after her unless she's an immediate danger, I think I might get her myself, cheers"
"Yeah sure, rest up Matt, you'll need it"
"Zizz out!" he grinned, then let himself be overcome by the darkness that followed.
Slowly, the runners began to fix the back doors of the van back on. One was totally ripped off it's hinges, and had to be fixed on with liberal 'DuctWrap Advance'. The other was reasonably ok, despite a large dent. Raven wasn't that pleased about this, but it wasn't as bad as it had first appeared, either.
Everyone had loaded into the van, except Raven, who had to patch up a tyre that had been punctured by a off-target bullet, and Hurricane, who was weaving a charm around the vehicle, to prevent any further attacks.
"Crazy superstitious witch", Raven muttered under his breath.
A hovercar pulled up alongside the van.
Ery began to run down the window to see - he was sure this was Raven's although..... there was no redhead in the party before....
He wound down the window as the car slowed down. He could see the huge ork in the car, and two of the women, another Ork... one of the men around the other side, paying no attention...
Holy slag! Ery gunned the engine once again, shooting away before anyone recognised him. How on earth could that have happened? What were the chances?
Hurricane saw the car pull up, and the window begin to wind down. The dark window prevented her from seing the occupants.
Only the eyes were visible. She thought she would recognise them, given a moment.
A moment was not given to her, as the car drew away. Ery was cursing - how could he have been so stupid.
"Sarah!" Mary's voice called - who was that?
"I have no idea..." the voice replied.
"Sectors 2-16 confirmed clear." Shibata's earpiece buzzed.
"Sectors 17-37 confiemed clear."
Shibata had heard the same several times now, patrolling in his Kamov gunship. He had pretty much most of Geneva clear now. Everyopne 'offoical' was confirmed dead or leaft. That just left the 'Unofficial' ones: The SINless, the homeless, ghouls, vampires, Shadowrunners...
"Heat signature detected ahead, Captain." Shibata's pilot told him.
"About fragging time! I've been aching for tonight's kill!" He roared.
He glanced at the huge, glowing ball of energy at the heart of Geneva. Getting bigger every day, they said.
We must kill...We must avenge...KiILL EVERYTHING! KILLL AS WE WERE KILLED! YOU ARE ORDERED SO! IT IS OUR WILL!
The Astral voices said. Shibata enjoyed the voices. They filled him with Joy and Sadness. They were the only true feelings he'd felt all his life, or so he thought. He dodn't care. He just heard.
"Thy will be done..." He licked his dry lips, and headed for the heat signature...
Sarah seemed to be nicer to Silvia after the fight. Apparently she just didn't like it when people could keep things hidden from her. Now that she knew Silvia's name and the fact that she was a half-dragon she seemed satisfied.
Silvia noticed she had problems shifting back to her human form due to the injuries on her wings.
Well... then I'll just have to stay in dragon form until they're healed.
She didn't mind staying in her dragon form, but she realized it would be even more cramped in the van.
"Phew, that one was close." A voice mumbled in the surroundings.
A figure come out of the flames of the remnants of the aircraft.
"Remove the armour, remove the armour, it will make aircraft go faster." he groaned. "Overmind's is an idiot. Luckily, i could enter the security seat, and the armour protected me, but... not at all."
Everyone who was not healing wounds look surprised at the weird Ork. He had fallen in a piece of metal from a considerable height and he had only broken an arm!
Behemoth groaned, he had some burnts besides the arm wound, but nothing important compared to Eva.
Tank almost went mad. "Cum heer Elf-luver! I want zow jo to zteal kills!"
The other ork simply smiled with cruelty, and showed one of the tattoos on the arm.
"Do not think I am an ork wannabee, pal. I am a Orc Warlord, and Warlords have always the kills!"
Tank retreated. He was damn right about that. Warlords, the equivalent of Barons in the Orkish traditions, had always preference for kills over normal orks.
"Still, I want from you a favour, could you please cure her?"
He pointed at Eva.
Mary groaned. "What do you offer in exchange? I do not touch that assasin bitch without a good reason to make it."
"I can pay your services, and I can offer mine, too."
In the sterile loneliness of the DocWagon hospital, Zizz had to contend himself with the 3DTV.
"Coming next on OzNet: 'Steve Irwin takes us on a tour of the manastorms of Australia, avoiding Fire Dingoes and Behemoth-Crocs as only an 80-year-old cyber-pensioner can!"
"-On BBC3 'Military Dictators of the 21st Century - UCAS President Prinze Jr - His life and assassination"
"And I say again! We must act now before Orks dominate our inner-ci"
"You mean you slept with my Ally Spirit AND my Mum?"
"Well, we didn't have any bloody oranges left, okay?"
"Amid reports the Geneva vortex is expanding more and more every day. Experts say that it will soon encompass the entire-"
"Comet will be the subject of as many as seven seperate probe missions from rival corps: Transys-IWS, Zaibatsu, General Metro are said to have already planned their missions-"
Zizz sighed. It was going to be a LONG week...
Chance caught the toothpick between his first and second fingers, his brow furrowed in an unspoken question. The action the Ork had taken was provocative, but not neccessarily an aggressive move.
Keeping both his hands on the table, Chance offered the toothpick back with a cautiously polite "You dropped your toothpick, friend..." He had taken heed of Crystal's warning... it wouldn't do to start a firefight on their first day in London, not counting the attack on Zizz earlier that day.
Beside him, Ash had slipped one of her hands out of a glove. Crystal and Crash remained silent, sizing up this Ork that had decided to pick on them. Firearm, draped in a corner of his seat, eyed the newcomer owlishly and mumbled a drunken "Whaz a pretty lady likz u doin in a plaz lik diz?"... before his head drooped backwards in sleep.
"Hurhurhur... Mikey sees newcomers in town. Newcomers want Mikey's help? Mikey has contacts in dis place... Wise newcomers come to Mikey. Or else Kara the Hun gets to ya." The ork was surprisingly friendly. He chewed on his toothpick, his head cocked in a enquring manner.
Chance suspected that this Ork was acting dumb... his eyes didn't match his speech patterns... They looked too alert to be that of a mere tourist guide seeking newcomers to rip off. Well, two could play at acting dumb.
"Thanks for the offer Mikey, but we already have a guide among us." Chance detected a flicker in Mikey's eyes... the soldier's words stopped short of identifying who among them was a guide. Both stared at each other for a moment, mentally raising their mental evaluations of the other. Chance made the first move, pulling the holopic of "Bitch" taken earlier in the day and laying it out on the table.
"Do you know this person?" he asked.
"Hurhurhur... Mikey sees that you newcomers are already in trouble. That, soldier-boy, is who we call "Kara the Hun". She runs the second-biggest gang of runners around here, specialising in kidnap and murder. Word says that she's crazy, but Mikey thinks otherwise. Kara is big, but knows not to mess with Mikey's business, or Mikey will squish her gang like a tomatoe."
"Well, Mikey. Our friends have a little problem to sort out with Kara. Any idea where we can get to her?" Chance asked.
"Well... That depends on... things." Mikey smirked.
"Can you do us this favour, please?" Ash stepped in and grasped the ork's hand. Mikey was rather taken aback... few humans actually had the courage to touch an Ork without permission. Still, her sudden request and hand contact had touched a few heartstrings that had been buried a few years ago... when a redhead just like Ash had nursed him back to life after he had been shot and left for dead in a gutter. That woman had been a urdent believer in the goodness of living beings and such, dressed in robes and carrying strange items that he believed to be magical. She had also cured Mikey of his addiction to alcohol... seeing Firearm drunk in the corner made him wince.
He found himself nodding, almost against his will. Chance relaxed, only him knowing that Ash had actually made a death threat at the same time that she had beseeched the ork to help... Her hands were capable of causing a steam-explosion in the metahuman's arm if she wanted to.
"Mikey's people keep tracks on Kara the Hun as she is dangerous. She's planning a visit to the DocWagon hospital this afternoon with much of her runner gang, but Mikey don't know the reason..." Mikey stopped short at the look in Chance's eyes.
"Oh frag! Zizz!"
Zizz woke up from his sleep and looked around, everything seemed fine... wait, no... the 3DTV was off. Hell, maybe the doc turned it off. he streched, yawned, and pulled himself into a sitting position, looked around for his book. Ahhh, there it was. Back to chapter 4.
"Get on the floor NOW" Cptn Reilly screamed.
"Alas captn, I do not want to"
Zizz put the book down in disgust. Damn Military-Lovestory hybrids.
The door creaked open.
"Hey doc, you got any decent books, this sucks" he called
"I'm not the doc you arrogant fool" Kara whispered, smiling a little
"And I don't think you'll be seeing him too soon either"
"Uhhh, hi... nice to see you again" he said, trying hard to smile at his uncertain death.
"Kara has entered the building." Chance whispered.
The gang had gathered in Crystal's rented SUV a couple hundred meters from the DocWagon hospital. Chance occupied the front passenger seat, observing with his binoculars, while the rest of the Shadowrunners were packed into the back. Crystal was at the driver's wheel. Beside the big vehicle, Mikey had pulled up alongside in an expensive-looking car and was watching the scene as well.
It turned out the Mikey had been trying to find an excuse to get Kara for wounding him a few years back. However, the gangs of London had a non-aggression agreement that denied him a chance at open warfare. Both Kara and him constantly exchanged waves of assassins and engaged in sabotage, but had never engaged in open war before.
Mikey now had his chance. With much of the British SAS and Templars engaged overseas assisting Dunzelkahn, Brit-sprawl's police were being overwhelmed by their workloads. Crystal had insisted that Zizz be saved from Kara, hinting at the same time that the favour would be profitable... Zizz' company was very likely to be pleased if the Shadowrunners could save him from Kara's Hunrunners. Likewise, Mikey's gang was likely to be rewarded as well, maybe up to the extent of being appointed (and paid for) as an unofficial protection force for the athlete.
Besides, by adding his assistance to the Shadowrunners in what was technically a rescue attempt, Mikey could rightfully claim to the Gangs of London Council that he had not intention of acting unilaterally and being the first to declare open war on Kara... He was merely acting to protect a client (Zizz) of his associates.
Mikey's gangers, known as Mikemen, were already positioned in their vehicles in the few kilometers around the DocWagon hospital building. The place was shaped like a fat red and gold ice-cream cone, with a massive helipad over its roof that received the emergency cases that DocWagon protected. The place was heavily guarded, but Kara had checked in as a relative of Zizz, possibly wih false ID, leaving the majority of her Hunrunners outside the walls of the building. The DocWagon personnel patrolled their ground constantly, not shy to expose their weapons and armour as they kept watch over any assassination attempt on the DocWagon patients, many of them rich Corp-people and celebrities. Their merciless-looking mirrored visors looked extremely threatening... their armour and gear fashioned to intimidate.
In the driver's seat, Crystal was setting the time fuzes for her grenades to blow after a shorter delay after the pins were pulled, readying them for "room service". She cursed the lack of communications between Zizz and herself... she hadn't managed to get a warning across to him in time to escape the Hun. Ash checked her flamethrower, wishing that they had Tank, or Dragon, or maybe even Xecktos with them... They were badly short of gun-Shadowrunners. Firearm kissed his twin Uzis and swigged his whisky, grinning and thanking the gods of war for putting him right there at the right time for battle.
A kilometer off, Cylinder Head sat ready in his cockpit, the Aerobus perched on an abandoned slum's roof. In the back, Crash manned a mounted light-machine-gun that Mikey had (reluctantly) loaned in the door. The kid was practically wetting himself with excitement... This was his dream, strapped behind the trigger of a rock-and-roll weapon with hundreds of rounds ready to go.
Man, this was so fragging radical! if only Mom could see me right now... or better still, Lady Zero!
Chance was team-commander for this particular extraction... Despite Crystal's objections that they should prevent Kara from reaching Zizz in the first place, he intended to wait for Kara to reappear with Zizz, as Mikey had assured him that the Hun was more likely to be kidnapping for ransom rather that going for murder.
His rifle had already been fitted with its silencer and had its scope adjusted... Chance hoped to snipe Kara, giving Zizz the chance to take cover as Mikemen engaged the Hunrunners. Cy would then extract the Shadowrunners before the London police could get to the scene.
Zizz was new to their party, as opposed to the veteran Shadowrunners... Chance would be damned if he risked his friends' lives storming a heavily armed building looking for one particular patient, with the two biggest gangs of London ready to duke it out outside. By waiting until the Hun re-appeared, he could effectively prevent much of the DocWagon security force from responding in time... or at least, he hoped.
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