The Den Games Network Forum RPG
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Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce, Nyerguds


RPG Chapter 4:Ice & Deceptions
"The humming of electric engines, tracked and wheeled drones. People running and screaming. Whirring saw bladez and drills."


(Wesforce)

G3N NewSnap!

Grexon Unveils the Next Generation of SimSense

"Today, Grexon scientists at the El Diablo Low-Earth Orbit laboratory complex created the first in a revolutionary new line of SimSense record/playback mediums - The BioChip.
Ten-Fifty times more efficient than a standard optical chip, with less of the 'EmotionFuzz' that surrounds conventional sims, the Bio chip is sure to increase Grexon Market Share exponentially. Co-incidentally, the Corporation's Stock prices rose in leaps and bounds once the stock markets opened across the Zurich-Orbital net.

The news comes despite BioNational's claims that 'A Shadowrun Team stole the prototype chip from them' for Grexon's gain. Grexon spokesmen didn't even dignify BioNational's claim with an answer."

Big D Remains Unseen - Fans Despair.

Cut to shots of thousands of fans holding a vigil outside Dunkelzahn's windswept Prince Edward Island home

"Concern is growing over the fate of the Greater Dragon Dunkelzahn, still not seen in public since the accident that led to his hospitalization. Rumours that he is in fact dead, or vanished to some distant astral metaplane, have been denied."

MUNDI Funds Cut Again

Cut to MUNDI General Secretary Grothesk, facing a barrage of questions like 'why did MUNDI frag up so badly?' at a news conference

"MUNDI has suffered its second budget cut in a month when this week, in a move supported by Grexon and lesser Companies, the Corporate Court voted to slash the organisation's military funding by a third. MUNDI Secretary Grothesk and Field-Marshal Heikkinen Declined to comment on the situation. Both also denied the rumours of their lesbian affair as 'cheap Grexon-spouted trash reporting'. We take that as confirmation of our story." (cross-reference file attached)

Giant Scottish Eyesore hosts 'Decker' Gathering

Cut to shots of the Transys Arcology's Three Tower structure, cast in a bad light and overcast sky. Dozens of protestors milling around the base of the building look to have been duplicated digitally. Then cut to shots of the glittering, holo-splattered, multi-coloured shopping centre interior

"The doomed Transys Neuronet arcology in Scotsprawl, perhaps in an attempt to extend it's already shortening lifespan, this week holds the Computer-Killers-Worldwide Annual Gathering & Editorial (CKWAGE). The quasi-illegal cyber-terminal users group, or 'Decker Society' is a surprise choice to host at the Transys Neuronet Arcology. Perhaps they are desperate for publicity? Perhaps CEO Sir Wallace McAndrews is getting soft in the head in his 113 years of age?. There have been other rumours of course - That the whole event was organised as a result of computer error, and that it was originally scheduled to be a Launch Party for Transys' New 'Deckslam670' series. Others believe the event is an elaborate sting operation by various Corporate and national security agencies to catch certain deckers in person - Which brings up another question - Why not simply hold the conference on the Matrix itself?
At the risk of editorialising, this reporter believes that maybe these questions will finally be answered once Transys Neuronet is made bankrupt and its private records known."

"This is Gellinghamn Voight L'Moinceux, for G3N."

*Grins*

***

Crystal had no idea that the 'run she, Chance, Ash, Raven, Mist Lotus and Eva had performed would benefit Grexon. The Johnson had been just another Johnson to her. If she had known, she would probably have still done it, anyway.

And yes, Eva was with her.

It would have been unbelievable to think that she would have partnered with the female BWG just a month before - She had tried to kill her, for example, and her friends.

Were it not for Wolf's intervention, the two would have tried to kill each other. Eva had turned up at the warehouse where the semi-clone Highness was being kept, and where Wolf oversaw the comatose Dragon. Luckily, Crystal hadn't been there at the time. But when she did arrive, Wolf was quick to cool them both down, explaining that she was here to help Dragon.

Dragon... Crystal still had misgivings about him too - She had a long memory, that burned with the thought of when he had sold her our at the Aztech pyramid in Geneva - Dead Geneva. She didn't particularly care whether Dragon pulled through or not. Wolf seemed to, though.

What swung it was that Eva was willing to lend her skills for the good of the others, and join some 'runs. Crystal felt practical, and needed to do some 'runs to get money, and so... It was working. For now.
Around this time, Wolf disappeared. He left a message on Crystal's wrist-phone that he was going to Scotsprawl to work for some gengineering firm, and that Illidia would stay to look after Dragon. He would send money via Matrix to sustain her.

His choice. Crystal had thought.

Chance had also gone on the 'run, but he was losing patience. He did the job only to keep himself and Ash supported and in ammo - APDU for his old rifle was expensive, and rare. But what he really wanted to do was get on the trail of his missing buddies - Of all the missing MUNDI men and women. It had now been a month since Geneva, and he and Ash had so far remained unfound by the MUNDI men who had to be looking for them. Every time he mentioned it, Crystal told him that 'Crash' would be able to help them out.
This Crash was supposedly some 17-year old kid with hyper-decking powers, that didn't even need a deck. Chance was sceptical, but decided to give Crystal the benefit of the doubt because of their previous comradeship. His patience didn't brook Crystal's evasiveness. Eventually, he managed to pin her down to get her on Crash's trail.

She had replied that Crash was always going on about the Transys Neuronet Arcology - And that there was supposed to be some kind of Decker convention there.

It was decided then, that they would go along to this in the hope of finding Crash in a building of 100,000 people, or if not, finding another Decker good enough

Raven had driven them up to Scotsprawl, his van given a long-needed overhaul with the money he'd made under Crystal's leadership. His four arms were now fully-developed, though he kept them by his side as much as he could - They were 'off-arms', and he found them awkward. Crystal had gotten him some vision-correction goggles for his eyes, and in return he'd used his contacts to re-supply everyone - Bullets and Grenades for Crystal, APDU for Chance, Napalm for Ash, A replacement Cyberarm for Hero and guns, ammo and armour for everyone else.

Crystal stroked his hand reassuringly on the long drive up.

Again, the van was crammed to capacity - Though Overmind had gone, Tank, Eva, Highness, Mist Lotus Ash, Chance, and Charlie were quite enough to fill it, the latter two striking up a friendship through their military experiences. Highness had insisted on coming to see the Transys Arcology - The NewsNets all said it was something special. Hero, her de facto bodyguard, had naturally tagged along to keep her company.
Crystal reminded them all that they were here on business, and not to screw around. Highness stuck her tongue out behind her back.

***

'Deadeye' Stephenson lay on his bed, utterly spent and exhausted. Beside him three naked elven women, each with various neon-shades of hair, delicately made-over and unspeakably beautiful, slept gently, only partially covered by the bed's secureform™ gold-effect smart sheets. He'd spent, as far as he could tell, the last month doing nothing but making love, mixing with the most beautiful women in the world.

Buy Transys Neuronet, for all your electronic needs!

But then there had been that time he'd stepped out of his plush apartment building to go to eat at the exclusive Gordon LaFraiche Restaurant. A Shadowrun team had crossed his path on the way to loot the Transys Neuronet offices. Luckily, Deadeye, despite his near-blindness, had managed to wrong foot all of them, putting the ten bloodthirsty criminals out cold with his dazzling martial arts.

"Buy Transys Neuronet, for all your electronic needs!" Giggled the pretty young executive, grateful for being saved, as she took Deadeye back to his apartment.

Deadeye was grateful to be led along - and another night of luxurious lovemaking.

He took a shower, though his body hadn't accumulated any filth, grime or sweat any time in the last month.

He looked at his body - He'd lost weight. His figure was fantastic, and his biceps had grown exponentially.

"Must have been working out!" He told himself.

He got out, drying in seconds, and looked in the mirror.

Parker's face looked back.

"Time to wake up, buddy boy!" He sneered.

Deadeye screamed.

***

There was a smell of burning. Deadeye writhed and screamed in pain. His back arching, joints screaming like they hadn't been used in a month. The smell of a filthy, unwashed body, and human waste assailed his nostrils doubly. He rolled over on the cheap foam mattress, vomiting onto the floor.

The Better-Than-Life chip had been crudely jacked-in through Deadeye's smartlink ports. Designed for datajack induction, the narcotic chip's effects would have been far greater had it been done so. Now, in a terminal feedback loop, the chip spontaneously combusted.

Once again back in the real world, Stephenson struggled to come to terms with his newfound senses, like he'd never used them before.

Touch, Smell, Hearing, The taste of the vomit... And sight.

He could see again. Only in black and white, and in two dimensions, but it was sight. And from what he saw, he wasn't sure he wanted it back.

His fingers went to his eye sockets - The skin was raw, inflamed and cheaply laser-sealed, the aftermath of an operation. Some fragger had implanted cybereyes. Cheap ones.

His mind raced with questions, few of which he had the answers too.

The room was small, and filthy. Everything was covered with a layer of dust. He was hungry. So hungry, he believed he was going to die...

The vid-phone bleeped into life, no doubt on a motion-sensitive switch.

A familiar face appeared.

"Hello Stephenson, bastard. No doubt my little dream-chip has run its course," Parker's Black and white 2D image sneered mockingly. "Wake-up call fragger. You've been out for a month. I put you out and wired you up to keep you quiet. It was for your own good - I had to keep you away from those MUNDI bitches. I've gotten you a nice little room to keep you safe until I need you - You're my bargaining chip, buddy. And you can leave the room, but not the building. You've got a screamer chip that'll immobilise you if you do. No go and get cleaned up, you probably stink. Get some food and a job too, because Transys don't want layabouts in their new little corporate paradise. You can thank me for this crap later. Ahh, I love living in an uncluttered mind. Ha ha ha!"

Stephenson's head hurt, the new eyes particularly. They were cheap and not designed for permanent use - he thought they could fail after a minor shock.

He looked at himself in a mirror - Shockingly thin and frail, pale from staying in this darkened, filth-encrusted room.

He had no idea how he could have survived a month without food, unmoving.

What's more, he wanted the BTL chip back. He began to understand what drove the jerky-limbed BTL junkies that were all-too-common in the streets.

But first, he must find Parker. AND KILL HIM!

***

The van drove smoothly on the newly completed skyroad.

The three spires of the Transys Arcology rose 300 storeys into the sky, absolutely dwarfing the vast city of Scotsprawl all around it.

It was truly an amazing structure. Even Crystal's cynicism was crushed once she saw it.

The building was vast, yet didn't block out any light. All the sunlight catching one side was trapped and 'fed through' to the other side by photo-reactive mirrors, sparing anyone on the other side of the building living in perpetual gloom. Its glazed surface looked untouchable. Her eyes were drawn to the glittering Transys logos picked out in neon colours on each tower, just above the names.

Traffic fed into it from three directions. Tilt-Wings and helicopters came in to land high up on the mid-level airpads. One side of the building's base housed a sea port, while the others had ground traffic terminals.

"We're going in!" Raven announced.
The van moved into the miles-long stream of vehicles driving smoothly towards the entry gates.

The traffic moved at a pretty good pace, and soon the van drove through the vast gates, a tiny black dot against the vast curved base of Rab C Nesbitt tower. On the way in, several vehicles had been stopped dead by Transys security men and taken away.

Inside the spacious, well-lit multi storey sub-car park - Next to the road-train terminals, rows upon rows of cars waited lined up. Freight lifts silently moved vehicles up to pigeonhole-style spaces high up in the walls, which were sealed, their owners having already left and unloaded their cars.

The sheer size of the place, and the efficiency of the system was astonishing.

"Right, lets go everyone. Leave the heavy stuff here - The malls will be well protected by security, so take pistols only. They'll have weapon detection gear for anything above the mall floors too." Raven told them all. A fixer for years, he knew a few tricks about concealing weaponry. Everyone else's gear, stashed in the van, was concealed under the hidden floor-panels. Lots of metal junk helped fool Magnetic detection, and hermetic sealing around ammo and Crystal's explosives kept chem.-sniffers at bay. Or so he hoped...

Crystal had her Browning Ultra-Power under her jacked. Under her jacked, under her t shirt, she kept a couple of well-hidden airfoil and frag grenades, sealed in plastic.

She just couldn't bear to be without them.

***

Crystal, Raven, Tank, Eva, Highness, Mist Lotus, Ash, Chance and Charlie, even though they kept their weaponry (Pistols, mainly, maybe a knife too) and armour as well-hidden as possible, were still enough of a sight for the average civilian chancing across them. And there were floods of them coming and going.

They quickly decided to split into pairs, and meet up at a bar on the 3rd Level of the mall, on the Rab C Nesbitt tower side - The 'Elf-Only Bar'.

Crystal went with Raven, Chance with Ash, Charlie with Highness, Eva with Mist Lotus, while Tank was conspicuous enough on his own.

"Remember, keep in touch with the wrist phones. Keep a lookout for Crash, though there'll be thousands of deckers here. We want to talk to him, not kill him." Crystal reminded them.

***

There were many of the notorious 'shiftavator' lifts up from the car-parking levels, each one voice-activated. Non-Transys personnel weren't allowed by the voice recognition to go to any level above 5, or below ground, whereas Transys employees were only allowed onto habitat or work floors they were cleared for.

"Welcome to the Transys Arcology." A smooth female voice in the lift said, while Crystal marvelled at the engraved chrome tiling on the walls. Each tile depicted a famous Scottish or Transys figure. The particular one she could see showed Nesbitt, the great 20th century philosopher this tower was named for. The beer-bellied, string-vested figure was depicted in a heroic pose, beer can in one hand, scratching himself with the other. Crystal wanted to throw up.

***

Tank found himself in the same lift as Charlie and Highness - Keeping her face partially concealed with a veil. A boy with two parent shared the lift, crowding scared into the corner.

"Mummy," Said the little Scottish boy. "That Lady looks like the Queen!"

His parents said nothing, petrified of the massive Ork, and the big ex-soldier, no matter how polite he tried to be.

***

And they reached the mall.

Five levels, with a mag-lev roller coaster twisting through large parts of them. Dozens of shops lined the terraces and balconies, laid out in aesthetically pleasing fashion. Large escalators and glass lifts provided transport between the open floors. Huge 3DTV screens filled the gaps between them, advertising Transys products and services in blinding neon, or showing Transys Execs or the Arcology director boasting about the achievements that had made building this place possible.

Just once, Crystal had the thought of congratulating him on it. Once.

It was certainly impressive. A whole city in one building - And she was still only on the ground floor.

Giggling school kids ran in groups - On some kind of in-arcology school trip or something. They headed for the entertainment floors. Soft-faced Transys Mall security milled around in their beige uniforms. Off-duty office boys congealed in the corp-sponsored bars.

Pale, sickly youths of all races, in wild neo-fashions, slunk around, in the nervous gait that many deckers seemed to have when faced with the real, physical world. Crystal noticed datajacks on many of them - Chrome ports on their temples, necks or foreheads, cyberdecks slung in bags underarm.

Crystal spotted a gang. They reminded her of her gang days, not that she wanted a reminder of them.
Robogoths - Marked by their black and purple clothes, the sickly-white plastic sheen of their skin, flowing clothes, long-coats and heavy boots. Most of them were women, the men in the gang taking a subservient role.

Several of the girls had prominent cyberware - Mostly cybereyes, and arms being visible mods, though Crystal knew full-well that just because Cyber ware wasn't visible didn't mean it didn't exist.

The gang picked on a fat security guard, taunting him. He yelled at them in Scottish and they only laughed at him, waving a stun baton, which produced laughter.

"So, wanna take a look around?" Crystal asked Raven.

***

Chance had seen a couple of gangs around here. As usual, they pissed him off no end. He kept on his guard - If anyone tried anything with him, he'd be ready.

All the way here just to look for a bloody decker. He thought. Better hope it's worth it...

Ash tugged his arm. He caught her eye - She pointed a distance behind him. He looked and - Oh frag, not again - Two Transys guards in heavy armour and Kilts - The Infamous Blackwatch security - Were leading Tank away, stunrods in their hands, pistols holstered.

Maybe they just didn't like the look of Orks around here. It was nothing new - A big Corp like Transys wouldn't like the idea of a 'filthy' metahuman 'dirtying up' their achievement, and would be taking him to the holding cells.

Tank didn't seem to be resisting - Maybe the guards had told him they wanted him for a chat or something, but from they way they held themselves, Chance could tell the Blackwatch men would be ready to kick arse...

***

Charlie busied himself acting like a bodyguard to Highness - Who had immediately managed to find a terrace of ladies' fashion stores. Having no credstick of her own, she was constantly pointing and asking Chance to buy things for her - She became entranced by the luxurious and elegant dresses on offer, having seen nothing like them before. Likewise she often gazed in wonder at the holograms in the air, at the rollercoaster whizzing by and at the aquarium a few floors above. Naturally, like a kid, she wanted to go on all of them.

Charlie sighed, moving highness out of the way of the mobs of mall-goers. He had a feeling his credstick would soon be taxed to limit.

He turned to look at a loose mob of skinny young teens wearing nondescript jeans and t-shirts. They looked like typical deckers... Except they moved in a trance, in formation. They were linked together by Fibre-optic cables to their datajacks. Zombiefied, like BTL addicts, yet in formation.

"Weird..." He shook his head. But then Highness had wandered off again.

***

Eva and Mist Lotus had little desire to go and look at the sights - They saw anyone coming near them as a potential target. Eva stared down hapless mallgoers that came near her.

She saw a couple of the Blackwatch men, stun-batons and heavy handguns hanging down by their kilts.

Nothing special. I could take them... She told herself, though she had to admit... They looked pretty tough.

The two men were deep in discussion about something.

"When did you get the cybereyes Rob? You didn't say nothin' 'bout getting cybereyes."

"Aye. Got 'em as part of some new training scheme I did." Rob said, his solid blue eyes catching the light. They didn't look like any commercial cybereyes Eva had seen, though she wasn't an expert.

"Training scheme? I didn't hear that. But I keep seeing civvies with those too. Kids, even..."

And then they were out of earshot.

***

Badjimmy left the sim-booth in the adult quarter on the higher levels of the mall.

Although the sex had been but simulated, he still felt sore in all the right places. Wiping the sweat from his face with something which had been in his overcoat pocket - Actually a pair of woman's panties - He got back onto his assigned task - Keeping an eye on the CKWAGE gathering which was now going into full-swing.

He was allowed breaks like this. But he was to keep to his tasks at all costs - If not, the boss got annoyed. Very annoyed.

He tapped one of his solid-black Cybereyes. A time indicator popped up in his vision. 10:46:08am

Whistling a jaunty tune, he started walking, and hitched a lift on the mall-monorail.

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

Papers, papers, more papers. Such was floor 72.

Designated "xenotic research and development", this was where Mary had been for the last two months. Working in the chaos of Robot the Bruce Tower , and living twenty-two levels up in the mid-class flat given to her by Transys on floor 94. And waiting for Max, of course, who was meant to be here weeks ago, and kept delaying, sending e-mails, explaining why he hadn't arrived yet. Hopefully he'd be here by the middle of next week, or so he'd promised.

It wasn't even like she was doing what she was meant to be here, anyway. She was meant to be working on some top-secret xenotics project, but, until Max arrived to vouch for her or something, she was little more than a glorified secretary. The few hours she had spent in the lab-rooms on this floor in her time here had been simply recording a simple test on various skin samples from orks - possibly the most pointless thing she'd ever done, something that would have been staple food for her mid-Baccalaureate.

At least Naomi was here, as a small pleasure, instead of being alone in this anonymous tower. She'd known her since her university days, and were quite good friends, strengthened by their time here. She'd been one of Dr. Hackle's charges as well. And she was meant to be meeting Crystal, and some of her other 'runner friends from her hectic trip across Europe and around Geneva, as they met up here soon. She was hopefully going to meet them this evening, in the Elf Only Bar, somewhere in the huge, sprawling Mall level she'd only been to two or three times so far.

Another roar filled the room, as some kind of airoplane came into land on the mid-ring. That was a reason, to close the window, then, which she did, standing up, and picking up the papers that had fallen onto the floor.

Mary stood up, brushed a lock of wavy hair out of her eyes, and headed for the shifter. She had taken the afternoon off (one of the ten non-weekends off she was allowed in the year by Transys), to relax and get changed, before going down and probably spend hours finding that bar. She logged off the cyberdeck with a keyboard shortcut, and said goodbye to her friend, working opposite, her mousy-brown hair visible over the short potted plant between the cyberdecks.

***

Tank let the skirt-wearing soldiers lead him away. He'd been specifically told not to get into any fights just yet, and was trying to live by Crystal's instructions. He knew that most police officers had a bias against orks - their reputation proceeded them - and hopefully wasn't carrying anything too illegal, most of his weapondry being back in the van.

The blackwatch lead him into a small security building, leading off into the space behind two large clothing stores. Inside, there were several other metahumans - trolls, more orks, two gobbos, and what looked like an ogre.

Tank was briskly told to take a seat,and three more blackwatch appeared, guns held ready. The lead man, with coarse dark hair, took in the fifteen-or-so faces, and began to speak, with an almost patronising ork-tinted accent.

"... here at Transys we have been recently plagued by a spate of metahuman sabotages. We are looking for information, and think those of your... persuasion... hur-hur, are the best to ask, hur-hur.."

Tank didn't take most of this in, wondering if he should get up and leave. However, some instinct told him that he should stay, and he knew at least Chance or Ash would have seen him being lead away. The man was still speaking, looking around the room, flitting from ork, to ogre, watching a scarred, cybered-up goblin with a grimace for a little longer than usual. He looked like a troublemaker.

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

Highness, as Charlie had called her, scratched at the clothing she was wearing. The fabrics were uncomfortable on her skin, especially the veil. Charlie had to stop her from pulling it off several times. Although the lab coat that Polt had given her allowed her wings a little freedom, this did not. The wings were pressed tightly to her back, she'd have been in pain, if she wasn't so amazed and scared. The bright lights and dazzling things in Transys were absolutely amazing to her eyes, but it was also full of people, she still cowered from the Others and had a distrust of Charlie, let a lone to hundreds and hundreds of people in Transys.

So scared she was, she didn't see the heavily armoured Ork in front of her. She collided with him, falling on to the floor. Charlie went to challenge the red skinned Ork as he bend down to pick Highness up, he just grunted and ignored the human.

"Please, be more careful." Charlie said to her as the Ork walked off, but she didn't understand. All she understood was that this whole place was crawling with threatening people, Instinct told her to just run into the nearest corner and cower, but she was also afraid of what the the man might do to her if she did.

***

Barkah turned to look at the woman he'd mindlessly knocked over, she had an odd smell about her. Human, but there was something not human there too. He shrugged it off. He'd meant to have been serving as Body Guard to a Matthew Zizzler, a wing glider or something. But so far he hadn't shown up, nothing had been heard from him for about a month now, assumed dead in London. But still, Barkah took advantage of the free stay that Zizz's aides had paid for, even if it was Scotland!

He took in the sights of his surrounding, a grotty techsprawl to his eyes, soft music played from the over head loud speakers as he walked past bars, shops, restaurants, they had everything here... except nature. He looked ahead, an old stuntie came out of a shady looking shop in the corner. He was wearing a long brown trench coat, tucking something that looked like a magazine into one of the inside pockets. He got into a small thing that looked like a golf cart, a pedal powered one. Barkah smiled, at least someone in this place cared about nature as much as he did.

***

Holmer climbed into his small, yet quite comfortable golf cart. He couldn't find a public vid-phone anywhere in this damned place, and his had been robbed. He wanted to check the progress of Miss Shah, but had been unable to do so. But nevermind, he tucked his newly acquired goods in his coat pocket and pedalled off, he didn't know where too, the place was so damned big! But, at least it wasn't the Geneva battle fields!

***

Bulldog watched the Ork scum as he sat, he was looking at the Goblin in an odd way. Did he suspect? Who knew. Maybe he should taunt the fool, but he was already in enough trouble. He looked at the time, they'd held him for about ten hours now, he refused to speak a word.

"Listen you fragging Kiltie." He didn't have time for these skirt wearing fools. "You've held me for ten damn hours now and what have you found, nothing! Now if you don't mind, I'd like to leave!"

"I don't think yer get it lad, yer not on a holiday in here! Yer can't just walk out when yer please. Now speak or we'll really get nasty with yer!" The Scot disgusted him, Corp scum, the lot of them. He reached down for the compartment on his cyber-leg, if he couldn't get out of here alive, he'd at least die with a few of these fraggers.
But he was cut short by another skirt wearing scum.
"We've kept him on no charges for ten hours, Unfortunately it would be against Meta-Human right's laws if we kept I'm in." The Scotsman spat in the Gobbo's direction. "Yer free to go, but we're watching you!"

Bulldog rose from the seat, he took one last look at the Ork, he smiled an intimidating smile at him as he left, he would have loved to fight the Ork, but he had an appointment with destiny... he'd show these Scot's who really pulled the strings around here!

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

Hackle... What the hell did he have mind?
"Bah. Maybe it is a lunatic researcher." Nick said to himself. Hackle, the professor who he had met in the University of Oxford, was keeping their meetings delayed and delayed. Maybe he wanted to charge all the work on him, he thought.
"Ah, bugger it. I am going to see the assistants of Hackle, work is needed to be done."
He carefully unfolded the paper.
Dr Mary Turin
Floor 72


"What kind of Joke is this?" He thought. That was indeed a weird thing. How would he expect that the girl that he knocked off in Geneva was an assistant of Hackle?

"Oh, well hope she does not remember me." He said to himself, while entering the lift to reach the desired floor. He urged to bang the metal case with no reason.
"Damn it. I still have after-effects. This aggresivity is not normal"
And he contained his nonsense rage.

***

"Look Varos, you bought that dress. If it itches it is your problem"
Draco harsly answered. That Varos looked like a whelp. As she had not seen the human world before. But Draco had to put up with her. This was a touristic visit.
But something did not fit in. The life auras of the place were really drained. There had been a massive technology replacement.
"Oh, well, calm down. It is normal in a place like this" said to himself.

Then he noticed a woman being knocked off by an ork. And the man, who Draco assumed to be his tutor/bodyguard, helped her get up.
Varos also noticed that the girl was feeling uncomfortable with the dress.
"Hey look, I am not the only with that problem"
And she approached the couple. Draco shrugged. What a childish attitude of her. But he could not complain: He had been like her in the past. So he followed her instead.

***

"Hehehehehe, now the red wire, and the blue wire, and then, then the hotwire!" Overmind smiled. He was doing illegal things again JUST BECAUSE he was bored.
"Ah, nothing like a nonsense hacker attack to entertain myself" He had everything planned. He would hide in the backstage of CKWAGE with that backstage pass he had cooked up, while he made some of his "jokes" throughout.

***

The lift moved towards floor 72 .
"Did someone call the shift from there?" Nick asked. But the answer was obvious.

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

Mary entered her apartment, swiping her keystick through the scanner. The door opened on to the main room, pristine and clean from the service-droids that maintained it while she was at work. One scuttled back into it's acess tunnel, as she entered, disturbing it's normal work.

She sat down on the bed, flicking off her shoes, and flicking on the 3DTV. The news was mostly boring - Terganon investigations continue to no avail, MUNDI still faffing about in Geneva, and DragonsPaw corporation in chaos after the dissapearance of it's mysterious CEO. She turned it off, and checked the vidphone for messages, of which there were none.

It was now 2.30 pm. Four and a half hours until she would meet Crystal and the other runners in the mall. Leaving time for shift-jams and finding the place itself, she should only really spend an hour or two here and then spend some leasurely time in the mall locating the Elf Only Bar.

She dug into the chest of drawers, sorted by the maintenance droids, and found a change of more casual clothes.

***

Tank was hustled as he was evicted back into the mall by the guards. They hadn't achieved anything, but he'd lost the others. And he couldn't remember what the place they were meeting at was called.

He ambled out into the main walkway, knocking over a potplant by some benches, and looked out over the balcony, to the lower mall levels below, stretching downwards. He could see something, which might have been where he was meant to go. It was called "Gristler's Eaterie, and looked like a troll bar. He remembered the word bar somewhere, and decided this was the most likely candidate, so he headed for the shifter to go down.

***

On the airport level two, the small private tilt-wing had just landed, air whistling from it's outtake vents. A group of security guards were sent out in fully magnetised climategear onto the platform, the automised docking arms not being able to connect with this small and unique craft. After it had sidled behind a larger aircraft, the guards manauvered a lift-ladder to it's side, and it connected, the door opening with the hiss of compressed air. Inside, two figures emerged, dragging a third with them between their arms. This third man was obviously old and frail, but, despite the large pressure suits all three were wearing, was somehow protesting violently. Guards swore, but managed to manauver him inside to a high-security shift elevator, and they plunged into the heights of Transys Arcology.

The remaining guards were about to mag-lock the tilt-wing to the support pylon while it was not being used, and seal it off until later use, when a figure dropped from the underside of the left wing. It hunched somewhat, and in the windy cold of the airport-level, none could tell it's species. The thirst of the three guards approached it, but - faster than he could blink- the creature had launched itself at him, knocking him over and sliding off-balance under the aircraft. The second and third brought up their weapons, gasping at the thing's lack of protection. Two magwebs were launched, opening and clanging onto the airport level floor (conventional weapons were not allowed on this level, due to the potential damage to dangerous aircraft), but the creature was too quick, darting into the shifterlift tunnel and dissapearing into the darkness.

"Whoa. What was that?" the first man said, getting to his feet painfully and difficultly in his suit. "And how the frag did it survive outside of the plane?"

"Not our concern," responded the officer. "Call control, get them to track the 'lift it's on, and grab it when it gets off"

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Fiddling with the back of the huge telecom exchanges set up in the conference room, Overmind was too engrossed in what he was doing to notice the thin figure coming up behind him.

"Just what the frag d'ya think you're doing, gobbo scum!" Said the nasally-voced young man.

Gobbo turned - A acne-ridden Elf, with a loose-fitting T-shirt and a pale complexion. Pale that is, under the pizza of his face.

'Juniour supervisor' it said, on the card swinging on a chain around his neck.

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

"Look Youngster, I have no time to waste with you. The crap of those telecom engineers bursted out and now I have to fix the com lines to provide the nerds of the convention a better service. CRAP, THESE LINES ARE ALL CRAP!"
The youngster, puzzled and thrilled, left Overmind alone when the angry gobbo showed the "maintenance" sign.
Idiot. He thought, while continuing with his work. Punks like these could spoils so much fun of decking.

***

"Hmm... I do see the desktop, but not the person who I am seeking" Ranted out Wolf. Well, maybe another time he would explain the weirdness of all the stuff.
Nick leaned in the nearby desk, and asked the woman on it.
"Do you know where I can find Doctor Mary Turin?"

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

Holmer pedalled along the seemingly never ending road like corridors of Transys. So many places and not a fragging vid-phone in sight! Typical Scotland. All this pedalling was making him thirsty, and he hadn't eaten in awhile. He stopped and unfolded the Transys map, God knows how many trees they cut down to make it!

"Well, accordin' to this 'ere map, there's a restaurant called the Whispers Hall jus about... THERE!" The dwarf thought a loud. He'd heard could things about this place. Hopefully they would have a Vid-Phone too. He pedalled up outside, locked down his card and walked in.

The Elfish waitress looked at the Stuntie with a smile on her face.

"Good Afternoon sir! How may I help you!" She had a very sweet, cheery voice. Holmer was liking this place already.
"Ah'd like to inquire about a public Vid-Phone if yer please."
"Right over there sir." The waitress pointed in the corner.
Holmer thanked the elf and walked over. He inserted his cred stick and dialled the number.

"Hello, This is Holmer Thurman, representative of Grexon corp, inqurin' about a Miss Rayi Shah who is being treated in your wards. Yeah, that's the one! Uh huh... thats good to hear... well Ah never expected quick results... Golden Man? Yeah, Ah saw 'im? ...Bloody hell! Are yer sure lad? Doesn't sound like summat he'd do. Ah well, thank yer for yer time!" Holmer pulled his cred stick from the phone, slightly disoriented by the news he had heard.

He took a seat at on of the tables and waited for the Elf to take his order.

***


Barkah looked on a head, mobile Kilties with portable Metal detectors. Trying to catch out Metal Humans and gangers. He prayed that this didn't turn to violence and walked on.

"HALT!" The man with a long shaggy beard and strong Scottish accent said to him. "You've been chosen for inspection laddie!" The Ork grunted. Arms stretched out as the Kiltie scanned him. Needless to say it bleeped like crazy.

"Ark!" The scot yelled. "'Ow much metal are yer carrying lad?"

He removed his casual clothing to reveal the heavy armour, sword and bow and Arrow's he'd hidden.

"What the frag...?" Asked one of the security officers. barkah flashed his "Zizz' personal body guard" tag. He stared down the Humie for awhile and continued to walk along, eventually coming to the "Gristler's Eaterie", looked pretty grubby, but food was food.

***

Bulldog ran flat out to the meeting point, in this case a bar called Deep Red. It was an odd place, very public! They'd have to leave as soon as he arrived. He knocked over one of the Mall Gangers as he ran, the bar wasn't that far off now. The ganger cursed him, but he was gone by the time he was on his feet.

Bulldog slowed his pace as he entered the bar, calmly walking up to another Goblin, a drone that looked remarkably human at his back. A drunken woman gave Bulldog an evil glare as he passed her, he took no notice, fraggin' drunks.

"Grindey!" Bulldog yelled, holding out his cyber arm for Grind-Storm to clearly see. A grin was plastered over Bulldog's face as Grindey took notice of it.
"Yer fraggin' show off!" The Scottish goblin commented. "Where yer bin!"
"I'll explain later, as for now, we must leave!" Grind Storm didn't ask why, he just sent the drone to get the others from the back room. "We can't be seen all together, leave individually, or in pairs." he quietly instructed the others as they passed. Slipping a piece of paper with instructions on to each of them. A Goblin woman slipped her arm into his.

"Thank god for that Richard! I thought you'd stood me up!" Her accent sounded like it was from CAS, she must be the demolitions expert.
"I'm sorry Kate, the fragging Kilties held me up!" Bulldog said to her, playing a long. It was best they thought the two were a couple.
"Well, now your here. Let's go paint this dump red!" The Goblin dragged him out of the bar, both were off to the new location Bulldog had set.

***

Highness saw a woman running up to her, as always she followed instinct and did the first thing that came to mind... Ran! Not even Charlie saw it coming, she ran as fast as she could, dodging the confused mall goers. She ran until she couldn't run any more, right into a corner with Charlie and the new to people cutting off any exit. She scratched frantically at the walls, before realising there was nowhere to go and curling up into a ball on the floor.

"W-what did I do?" Asked Varos in shock. She's only wanted to ask her about the clothes... why did she run? She heard Draco's voice in her mind.

"Your attracting too much attention, just leave the human alone and go."

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

"Who are you? What do you want? How did you get in here without security getting you?"

Wolf looked at her, and flashed his pass, answering her first question. The green-eyed woman looked back questioningly, and Wolf continued.
"I am Dr. Nicholas Alexeiv. I am looking for a Mary Turin, regarding a Dr. Max Hackle."

The woman leapt to her feet almost immediately, standing shocked.

"The Nicholas Alexeiv?"
"Yes. One and the same"
"Gosh... double perfect diplomas. Wow" Naomi was gobsmacked. "What would you want with us?"

Nick looked back, the woman seemed to be in the know. "I need to find Mary Turin, regarding Dr. Max Hackle."
"Mary's... gone home, she's taken the afternoon off to meet someone in the mall. She won't tell me who, but I think it's some guy she met in Geneva while she was there. I dunno why Max would be contactable by her specifically, though, I have his vidphone number and email right here. We could go up to her apartment and look for her, if you want..."

Wolf regarded the fairly attractive woman, and wondered about her proposition.

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

"Wait... Do not tell me... Dr Naomi Castle I suppose?"
"How do you know that?"
Wolf chuckled.
"Because it is written on your desk."
Naomi also laughed.
"Anyway, Dr Castle, I need to find Dr Turin now. It is important. And once we find her, I need to speak with both of you."

---------------------------------------------
(Nyerguds)

"Aah. It's great weather for flying."

Silvia smiled. Terganon was so much fun when you could fly. The collar still annoyed her, but she got used to it. Her parents had contacted a number of experts to try to remove it, but none of them had seen anything like it. And because they knew the collar would explode when tampered with they didn't even want to take the risk of scanning it. Silvia considered herself lucky Polt didn't just blow it up when his team didn't return.

But that's not important now... my MP5 player is. I hope Mary replies on my virtua-mail soon... she's the only lead I have.

Silvia flapped her wings, and flew to the higher levels of the city. There were elevators to reach them, but this was more fun. And she needed to practice her wings. She could go pretty fast now; even though she was more than ten times smaller than the big dragons she was almost able to keep up with her dad. And she was much more agile because of her size.

She flew higher, to the complete top of the city, and landed on the maitenance platform of the Aerial Communications Center. A strong, cold wind was constantly blowing at this altitude.
She knew she was not allowed to come here, but she didn't care. Since the sensors were mean to detect airplanes and big dragons she was sure the scanners would mistake her for a bird.

She grabbed one of the long antennas to make sure the wind wouldn't blow her away.


Silvia came here often. She loved this spot. The strong, cold wind made her feel alive.

***

Wirecat stopped the motorcycle. He was amazed by the size of the arcology.
"Holy frag... that thing is huge!"
"It shur is." Alanya replied. "But you gotta remember... dere's an entire city in dere."
"True. Are you sure you're comfortable back there? This thing wasn't made to carry three people."
"I'z all right." the female Ork replied. "Ah won't fall off. Now le'z get goin'."

Wirecat looked at the Orkish decker. She was part of the UCAS MUNDI Civil Negotiations team Wirecat had worked in. Thanks to the ID scan in Geneva she had been able to track him down, and get Sarah and him on an airplane to the UCAS before the MUNDI MP's found them. She even got his old bike and his handgun out of the storage room of the UCAS MUNDI HQ without being detected. And now she helped them out again...

She's brilliant... fragging brilliant. She gets permission to come to the decker meeting to 'monitor suspicious deckers', and takes us with her to get us out of MUNDI's reach.

David knew MUNDI had no power at all in the Transys Arcology. It was officially Private Property because it was owned by Transys, so national and even international police had no business there.

"Come on..." Sarah said. She was sitting right behind him. "Let's get going."
"OK. Everybody ready?"
"Sure." Sarah replied. "You know I don't mind sitting a bit closer to you."
She grinned.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Overmind got back to his hacking, shaking his head.

A shadow fell over him.

"Now fraggin' what-"

He froze - Two huge Orks towered over him. Greasy plastic jeans and t-shirts, with 'equipment mover' written on them. Ork roadies.

And the Elf technician who'd been ehre earlier was there at their side, snivelling.

"Exuze me, surrr. Our kolleague 'ere sez yoo wuz meen to him."

The Elf burst out with:

"He said the lines were screwed up. I checked on the mainframe! He lied! And he swore at me too!" His voice was so high-pitched it threatened to burst overmind's ear drums. but not the Orks'...

They moved.

Moments later, Overmind was dumped unceremoniously outside the conference hall, his 'pass' confiscated, while the Techs had a good look at what he'd been messing around with.

"Plan B, then." He told himself.

---------------------------------------------
(LeFire)

Chance had seen Tank being taken away earlier... But unwilling to cause a scene, and not sure of the Blackwatch guards willingness to hear what he might cook up as an excuse for Tank, the soldier and his wife had been forced to follow at a distance.

It was a comparatively easy track... everytime he lost sight of the trio, Chance simply paused, pretended to look at the shops, and "felt" ahead to seek his friend's familiar mind-signature out, his limited astral projection skills the result of weeks of nagging by Lupus. He was unable to read minds, of course, but his limited ability was capable of keeping up with simple things such as identifying which were his friends from their mind-signatures. Ash kept pace with him, watching out for any real-world threats that Chance might miss with his constant stops and starts.

Until he felt a slight twinge at the back of his head and a prickle on his neck... There were security mages around. Bad news... Chance had no chance in hell trying to fool around with one of those. Hurriedly ejecting himself back into the real-world too quickly for his acolyte-level mind to cope, he lost track of where they had taken Tank.

Therefore when Tank was released a while later, Chance hesistated a moment before Ash dragged him after the Ork, the soldier still a little red-faced over how he had managed... even as a fully-trained recon and acolyte shaman... to lose track of his targets totally.

---------------------------------------------
(The_Alpha_Gibbon)

The wind blew fiercely over the ornamental gardens atop the Transys Arcology rooftop. Perennial stood there, among the Gardens of the wealthy, close to the plants. She hated being in the city, the artificiality of all the buildings cramped her and she felt weak. Standing on the roof, with the breeze in her hair and surrounded by plants was the closest she could get to being back in nature. The presence of the plants replenished her strength and she descended into the Arcology once more. Back into the squalid home of Deckers...

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

"Another beer!!!"The woman shouted. The waiter gave her what she had asked.
"Damn it." She spoke at the beer glass."Fighting Daemons in Geneva to end like this."
And she continued to drink.

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

Holmer sipped at his orange juice, soaking into the dark restaurant. It wasn't busy - a couple of humies at the bar, and three elves kicking a simball machine were the only other occupants.

The door to the kitchen opened, and a dwarf in a white chef's uniform came out. He carried a large plate with something smelling delicious on it towards Holmer. He deposited it infront of him.

"What? Ah didn't order nothing 'cept this orange!"
"On the house, mate. First proper dwarf that's been in the fragging place for ages. 've been getting lonely."

The chef took the other seat, and Holmer looked on bewilderedly.
"Ah you serious? This is free?"
"Aye. Enjoy."
Holmer looked greedily at the roasted squighound infront of him. The other dwarf looked on, and smiled.

" 'been ages since I've been able to have a chat with someone other than the damn poncies or humies here. Dunno why no proper dwarves come in here any more."

Holmer looked around, and wondered if the elvish waitress kept them away. The other dwarf contined.

" anyway, Ahm Therles. Ah own this place."
"Good ta meet ya."
"You too. Hope ya enjoy your meal."

Minutes passed, and Holmer ate, before the other dwarf continued.

"Enjoy?"
"Yah"
"Wanna 'nother?"
"Not right now, but maybe some oth..". Therles cut him off.
"Want it, and you need to do a job for me. Get the fragging deckers who keep coming in here to eat somewhere else! I don't need custom from people who order one drink and beat each other up around the fragging simball! They trash the bathrooms, too! I need you to go down to whatever the fragging convention is, and keep them away from here!"

Holmer stared increduously at the other dwarf.

***

Mary entered the elevator, having changed into lighter and less formal clothes. She entered the 'shifter, and pressed the button for the centre of the mall. It was a long way down, and would pick up more people, but wouldn't take long.

***

Tank entered Gristler's Eaterie, and could smell the charred flesh. A the huge leg of some kind of colossal beast roasted over roaring flames at the back of the restaurant, and orkish waitresses hauled slabs of meat, dripping in fat, to the entirely ork-and-troll inhabitants of the room. From the walls hung huge trophy-racks, with various slain beasts mounted on them, glaring down into the room. The light was red and dim, and flickered with the fire.

Tank grinned. This was what you called a restaurant.

***

The two door guards on level 215a, were high up on the transys ladder. This level was so secret that many of the lesser administrators could not reach it, and was only acessable by special card plugged into the 'shifter.

They watched silently, as two more gaurds exited the shift doors, dragging an unconcious figure between them. Such sights were not common, but both had seen this enough not to be shocked. The majority of this hidden floor was prisons, anyhow, it's (illegal) occupants the 'guests' of some higher power in the upper echelons of transys. An incredibly variety of people passed through here - human, elf, orc, troll, - but it was certain that none were your average transys employee.

CLUNK.

Both guards spun around, looking back into the shift elevator. A small screw was lying in the middle of the carpetted floor.

"Weird. I though they had 'bots to fix these."

The shorter, elvish guard stepped into the elevator, and looked around.

"I guess it's fine. I'll call maintenance, and log this thing's serial. "

CLUNK.

A second screw hit the armoured shoulder of the guard.

"Frag. Marco - call maintenance now!"
"Ok". Marco fumbled with his vidphone walkie-talkie.

CLUNK.

Three of the four screws holding in the emergency exit panel in the roof were now free. A grating sound followed.

"Ok, I'm not sure this thing is saf..."

Collosal strength ripped the exit panel off, and the elvish guard was left staring up into the caverns of the elevator shaft. Cables ran upwards, and he could see the silhouettes of doorways above.

"What the frag? Marco, I guess one of the 'bots has done haywire. I'm gonna chec..."

The elven guard put one hand up, ready to attempt to haul himself out through the hole. Something caught his hand. It felt soft and organic.

"Wha?"

The thing on the elevator hauled the elf upwards, his head jarring against the roof of the elevator with a sickening thud. Marco, the human guard, dropped the vidphone in shock, and grabbed his gun.

"Sid! What the frags happen...!"

The elven body dropped back, whatever had been hauling it hand been unable to pull it through the hole.

The human guard could see a human-esque silhouette on the roof of the elevator. It was sitting, calm and silent, and watching him.

There was something about it's gaze that kept him locked, transfixed.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Frag it. Get out of here Chance Wolf snarled. This place has no nature. No soul, no life. Lupus was saying.

A couple of Kilt-Wearing Blackwatch men walked by, the neon lights glinting off the blue cybereyes that he'd seen on several such guards, making their cold gazes even colder. Chance could tell they were just waiting for an excise to pull him to one side and start beating the crap out of him.

They had the pale, unhealthy look of the razorguy; someone with more Cyberware than they could healthily support. Ex-military.

Yet he didn't feel any kind of comradeship with them.

Damn it, even these goons feel soulless. Worse than usual.

But Chance knew he had to be here, and meet Crystal for this supposedly good Decker they were looking for.

Ash pointed out Gristler's Eaterie. Human mall-goers wrinkeld their noses and sped up as they walked past due to the noxious clouds of some kind of roasting meat emanating. In its Neo-Ork decor and the Ork youths hanging around outside, lobbing green globs of phlegm over the balcony, it looked to a human about as inviting as a head-first dive down a waste-reclaimation chute.

But then he glanced across the floor - And spotted Raven. He seemed to be in a spot of bother.

***

The drunk woman was starting to rant about something. Something like 'Daemons' and 'Geneva'.

Now's my chance, thought Steve 'StudKnife' Saunders, known in the 3rd Admin division as the Shark of Sales. His reputation as a womaniser far outstripped his reputaion as a salesman, and as such he was exiled here every scheduled break.

And By ye Gods, this ones a hottie, aye! He thought, slurring even his mental speech.

"Another narcobeer for me and the lady, barkkep, ye greet big pile 'o'shite" He said, walking unsteadily. The half-deaf Ork barman only got the part of that he wanted to hear, and took the credstick from Steve's hand. he downloaded ¥7 for the beers and twice that for himself.

Emmanuette was startled by the suited man nuzzling up to her.

"Ah've bin lookin' fer a gel like you all me life, gel." He mumbled. Emmie was about to protest, when the two beers appeared under her nose.

CASHBACK!, Steve thought, thinking up a little victory dance, as the woman was now putty in his arms. Minutes later, they were in a shiftavator, heading up to his hab-level - Floor 115, Tower 2,'Emmie', as she called herself, cuddling up to him, reeking of the many beers she'd had.

***

"Wait here a bit, Raven" Crystal said, spotting a hair-salon nearby. She'd seen someone - Could have been Crash, might not have.

She walked off, leaving Raven alone.

Thanks, he thought at her receding rear aspect.

He took a quick glance around. A wall-size bank of 3DTV monitors showing Lei-Fang O'Jones caught his eye. He moved towards it.

A small metallic grapple shot past his eyes, embedding into the metal stanchion just to his left. The grapple unlatched, and withdres on the line it had been shot from.

He followed it back...

A gang of robogoths stood a few metres away.

"Hey four-arms," The leader said, a smile creeping along her white-gloss face. She wore big heavy boots and a transparent spiders-web gown with a corset and underwear underneath. Her left arm was a cyberarm with a diamond-tipped grapple launcher. Under her (lack of) clothing Raven could make out several surgical scars. She looked at him with plain black gloss cybereyes.

"Uh, hi." He said.

The others in the gang (There were around eight of them, four girls four 'boi's) walked slowly to fan out around him. Shocked bystanders and kids turned a blind eye to the little exclusion zone and walked the other way. They mostly wore black synthleathers, the same boots, and had wildly styled hair, almost always neon colours, and down over one eye. They moved with precise, controllde motions. Either they had some sort of stability cyberware, or acted that way because they thought it looked cool.

"Just wondering," The leader began, "You can't be needing all those arms. Our dear boi Spider could use one..."

She indicated a shocked-looking guy with vertical pink spiked hair. He had no cyberware, and looked younger than all the others. His black leather jacket's left arm ended just high of the elbow.

A girl to the left of Spider flicked out a pair of extendable wrist-spikes, and shook her purple hair, while the others had Curved, engraved knives.

"Hey, Belinda, lets get the freak. He's got four arms. Evens the odds, aye!" Her blue-solid eyes sparkled joyfully.

---------------------------------------------
(red_Dawn)

Jessica Hayes was the epitomy of sorrow. She had returned to her old home to find a pair of N'Zar's thugs walking out of her front door dusting their hands with a grim aura of finality about them. After they were long gone she had inspected her home. It had been trashed by the thugs, every item of value lay mutilated on the floor. She tiptoed over the mess to examine her other rooms. They, also, were incoherent messes. Jessica sifted through the mess to salvage whatever she could. The thugs had been efficient, there wasn't much left unmolested. She found the framed picture of her graduation from the academy, its glass case had been maliciously stamped upon, singled out by a cold hearted monster. A tear rolled down Jessica's cheek, she realised her life would never be the same again. Never would she again sit on the bridge of an airbourne carrier, not even that of a lowly tugboat. She stood, turned and stalked out of her home, out of her old life, into a new one...

That was a week ago. Things hadn't been going well for Jessica, she couldn't get any job that would allow N'Zar's thugs to track her down so she was forced to take low paying, one off jobs of unsavoury demeanor. Her pride and bashfulness prevented her from taking up a job at Pizza Slut, which was probably a good thing she reflected. Jessica found herself inside the Transys Arco, strolling through the giant structure, marvelling at the sights and asking for a job at some stores. While her intelligence and resume impressed the shopkeeps her dishevelled looks and dirty clothes didn't. Jessica remained unemployed and homeless. Her assault rifle bundled up in her duffel bag she continued to make her way around and through the Arcology, looking for anything she could capitalise on. That was when she saw them, they were a group of people who looked... interesting. There was a blue haired woman standing next to a man with white hair and a limp, Jessica suspected there were more but she couldn't see them. Jessica's training had taught her to recognise things like that. She carefully watched the blue haired woman, the woman kept looking around her as if watching for something or someone. The white haired man just scowled and rubbed his shoulder. Jessica decided to follow them at a discrete distance, they might be 'runners, her best chance at surviving in the underworld away from N'Zar's goons...

***

Raven was having a slight ache in his wounded shoulder. He massaged the point where he had been shot those weeks ago. He winced as he touched a sore spot. Crystal nudged him and whispered.

"Raven, you see the plain and humble girl over there? She's looking right at me. Reckon she likes what she sees?"

Raven glanced quickly at the woman. Maybe I should have a talk to her, see what she wants. Raven put his most charming smile on his face and began strolling over to the woman as he pulled off his goggles in order to reveal his disarmingly attractive violet coloured eyes.

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

Draco was now in a definetely bad mood. Varos impulsive actions had made him to shout at her several times, but the dragon girl didnīt seem to notice.
And now THAT. A gang of bollocks was blocking the way. Goths with cyberware.
Varos whispered at his ear: "Draco, please donīt. Security will kick them out."
But it was already too late.

Draco headed towards the gangers, in search of trouble.
"Excuse me, pale faces... Yes. I am talking with all of your white bollocks. You are blocking our way".
By that time, Varos sided with the young dragon, preparing for the worse.

***

Emmie was still carried away... But she was regaining consciusness by moments. She knew she could not be dragged away, not that way, by the cheap trick the other bum did.
"Hey, excuse me. I gotta do something. Will be back in a sec."
Damnit, a good excuse to get away... if she could coordinate her moves.

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

It won't come... oh." The Goblin woman began as the airvent fell to the floor. She had scaled the side of the wall, while Bulldog was stood on the ground. "What happened?"
"The decker has been able to reroute the alarm system for a limted amount of time, hurry up and get in there!"
she hoisted her self in. She quickly bent down and lifted Bulldog and the grill up, Bulldog fixed it back into place. Well within the time limit.

"I hope the others made it..." He thought a loud, he didn't want this operation to fail apart before it had even begun.
"Which way?" The gobbo woman asked.
"Straight ahead, theres a meeting point where we can talk." She started, but turned around and looked back at him.
"Tami Randon, Demolitions." She said as she shook his hand.
"James Daniels..." He paused, "General Bulldog to you!" He took in the shocked look of Tami, it was hardly surprising. He didn't look like an authority figure.
"Well... It's a pleasure to meet you ...Sir!"

***

Pierre crawled down the vent like the dog he definitely was not! Silly fools, there was nothing wrong with the bar, as he saw it. So a few drunks might over hear, Big fragging deal! He could always pay them to keep their traps shut anyway, or get rid of them.

He was the first to reach the joining, but he hid away as best he could, hoping to evaluate the members as they came. First came the Scotsgoblin, Grind-Storm, Although a depressed old fart, he always had his eyes open... those eyes could see right though Pierre if he wasn't careful. He was a threat! Tagging along with him was the decker, Squeaky. She was weak minded, unfocused and very easy prey. Almost too easy.

Pierre readjusted himself to remain hidden from the Goblins, but still in ear shot. Soon his ears heard the loud, ear splitting voice of that damned CAS demo expert and the BritGoblin who had ordered them to come to this hellhole. Tami, She was a threat. She wouldn't fall at his feet, nor could she be bullied into anything. The best he could do was try to gain her trust, if not... she'd have to be disposed off!

Pierre's trail of thought was lost when he felt the hot breath of something down his back. A furry hand clasped onto his shoulder.

"And vot do you vink you are doing?" It was the soft voice of the German Shaman. Nixie, half wolf, half Goblin. Pierre had limited knowledge on wolves, but knew they were pack animals... she'd fall for him easily.

"Juzt coming!" The Frenchman replied, moving out in the open.

"Ah, Miss Sluszkiewicz and Mr. Laviolette I assume" Bulldog said as the two made their way towards the others. "Now, to business." Bulldog moved further into the crossroads of the vents, near enough in the centre of the ring of Goblins.

"As you all know, Transys is a big place. Now unless they don't teach maths in school's nowadays, you should also be able to see that there are six of us. Six Goblins, despite what that resourceful fool Al-Ralaf tells you, cannot make a huge difference..."
"Zo why on Le Earth, are we 'ere?" Pierre cut in.
"If Master Laviolette would let me finish, I'd explain." The Goblin paused. He looked Pierre over, he could already see he wasn't to be trusted. "The plan, as it stands, is that we try and do as much damage as possible. The best ways I see of us achieving this, are either we start to assassinate those higher up in the chain, or we could try and rig some explosives, although anything worth blowing up is out of reach! This decking convention, could also be a blessing in disguise. Both from a tactical view, and in terms of propaganda. But what is important is, that we are not alone in this. We will await reinforcements, these will consist of Ralliers and another Special Forces team... any questions?"

The Goblins fell silent, taking in this information. Squeaky feebly raised her hand.

"Can...I go to the decking convention... Sir?" she asked Bulldog.
"Your work is good, but your mind is not with the task! Your not here on a holiday, your here to help the cause!" It was the best reply Bulldog could be bothered with.
"Yeah, the "Cause". Lining yer pockets via the revolution more like with some of yers!" Even as Grind-Storm said it, Bulldog gave him an evil look.
He was about to say something, but Tami interrupted.
"And how the frag do we get out of here?"
"Same way we came in" Bulldog nodded to Squeaky. Who got to work imminently. "Remember, our lives matter not. If we must die, then we die for the cause!

***

"'Old on a second, yer want me to go down to that CKWAGE place and bash a few 'ead's in?" Holmer questioned.
"Aye."
"Consider it done!"
"That's the spirt!" The dwarf started to walk back to the kitchen. "Come see me when yer done, yeah?"
"Yer can bet on it!"

Holmer left the bar, got in his golf cart and completely shut it down so noone could see him. He removed the back pannel, there under a protective screen lay his hammer and heavy armour. Of he'd scare 'em off all right... or die trying!

***

The Goblins left the way they came.They had planned to walk around the shops in the mall area, until meeting up at Deep Red at a set time. Pierre had just got bored and went there straight away, with Grind-Storm going off to do whatever dirty dealings. The rest of the Goblins decided to split into pairs, None of them had had a good look around transys, so it made perfect tactical sense to examine it.

Bulldog had sent Nixie to keep an eye on Squeak, while he and Tami wandered around.

"Theres nothing on this level worth bothering with." Bulldog observed, all shops, restaurants, bars. Nothing that would cause a major impact. "Would set the scene for a great riot though." He could almost see, hundreds of Goblins, chanting, throwing stones at the Kilties, running around uncontrollably... It would be perfect, if he could do it.

He noticed Tami was looking up, as if she was looking for something on the ceiling.

"You don't happen to have a radio or something do you?" She asked. He showed her the small portable radio he almost always carried. She looked at it thoughtfully for a moment. "I was thinking. If we could find where this music is playing from, We could hook up the radio to the speakers and really give these Corp scum a scare!"

It was absolute genius! Not even Bulldog had thought of that. Although he had no idea what was playing this thing. It could all be run off some super computer for all he knew. He'd ask Grind-Storm about it later.

***

"Please?" The Goblin Decker continued to beg.
"Nein!" Nixie was getting pretty fed up at this point.
"But... It's the biggest gathering of Deckers in the world!" She continued to argue. "I'll be quick! I only want to look at the Data-Jack!"
Nixie groaned. She knew she'd cave in eventually. They'd only be a minute after all.
"Okay, But ve see the Data-Jack and ve leave, yes?" She felt terrible for being so weak with the decker, but the absolute look of glee in Squeakies eyes made it worth it.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Your the greatest!" She couldn't really blame the Goblin for acting like an excited child, This was probably the most important event on the decker calender.

"If ve have to pay to get in, I vill kill you!" The half-wolf warned as she followed the decker. Still trying to convince herself it was a good idea... what was the worst that could happen?

***

Barkah took a step into the bar, a rough house of trolls and Orks. The food looked big and greasy, just how any Ork liked it. Only in Transys could a place like this exist! He calmly walked in and sat on a table oposite of another Ork... with very strange hair.

"Allo!" Tank yelled at him in the middle of eating the leg of some giant animal. "Grate Place huh?"
Barkah just nodded, it was nice to be speaking to another Ork.
"Dun't talk muc eh? Ok." He continued to chomp down on the leg.




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