The Den Games Network Forum RPG
Page 3

Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce, Nyerguds


(BlueThunder)

Tami sat alone at the small table, sipping at the bottled beer imported from the CAS, or "Weak shit" as Grind-Storm had called it. She didn't realise a man in a long black coat, with a rimmed hat covering most of his face was staring at her.

Eventually the man walked over. Throwing a brief case on the table, smiling at the Goblin.

"What do you want?" She asked him.
"Your aid." The man replied, his toothy grin getting bigger. "Word on the street is, yer one of those Demo gals."
"What if I am?"
"I might have a job for yer... If you're willing to take it." a few unmarked CredStick's "Slipped" out of the sleeve of his pocket.
"Go on." Tami said with much more interest.
"I'm an... Investor of this place, and make no mistake, business is bad. I don't like bad business." He looked around his shoulder, making sure no one was watching. "There's a bar just up from here, Elf Only Bar it's called. It's a snotty place, hardly worth the title of bar in my opinion, but we're losing out to it! I'd pay handsomely if you'd make it... "Unsafe"."

The man's grin vanished as he waited for an answer.

***

Charlie had opted to stay put. Just in case Highness happened to "wander" past. He was nervous, he couldn't believe he'd lost her. He sat, watching the crowds of mall crawlers, hoping to spot the young woman.

It was a while before he noticed a small Goblin pulling on his trousers. She was dressed like a mime, looking up at the ex-BritGuard as if she had something important to say.

"looking for someone?" She asked.
"Yes!" Charlie instantly answered. "A young Woman, about this tall..."
"Bears a striking resemblance to the Queen. I know." Interrupted the Goblin. "My name is Pip... well, my real name is Mole. I can take you too your friend, but at a price..."
"Yes, anything." Charlie said desperately, putting his mouth in gear before his mind.
"Excellent... you and me are going to get a long just fine!" The Gobbo smirked, she had a plan.

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

"My Mummy was at the decker thing, I think. She met a nice boy. And they walked into a lift." The little girl told Wirecat.

***

Bulldog, still watching Pierre go, started at a harsh female voice behind him.

"Well well, a fragging gobbo."

He recognised the voice - Upper-Arc brat, slumming it down here at the malls. A robogoth, if he wasn't mistaken.

"Duh, hey, maybe he's one of them terrorist fraggers, Elenia." Said a Male voice, a moron by the sound of it.

"Who?" The girl said.

"The terrorist group. Who's that guy, Zaid... Maybe we can grab him and trade with security for Belinda"

"Never heard of him, but I fancy a game anyway."

Bulldog sat, bemused, ready to start walking away.

"Get him, my loyal drones." Elenia smiled.

Two of the Robogothbois closed in on Bulldog, drawing knives...

***

Reptilian Bitch twelve 'o' Clock Lupus warned. Sing me the song of BURNING!

No, not yet. I don't want to start a fight here yet. Chance told his spirit guide.

"You seem pretty friendly. Who are you, and what brings you to a dump like this?" Ash asked.

***

Overmind pondered the strange new character on his screen.

"Overmind, I am disappointed in you. I thought you would be a good talking partner. Maybe this will teach you a few things. But understand: It was either me or the security goons."

The screen blanked, abruptly Overmind smelled burning.

"What the WHAT THE FRAG?!?!"

Smoke was pouring from his ancient laptop. He stripped off the casing hurriedly.

The CPU board was burnt. Completely fused.

Luckily his program chips were retrievable.

***

The security rounded the corner on Crystal, Raven and Jessica.

"IDs you lot. NOW!" He barked, flanked by two more silver-shirts. They weren't the elite Blackwatch, but they liked to pretend they were.

"Here." Said Crystal, handing over her standard fake ID.

"Here." Raven said. Not adding the string of curse words formulating in his head.

"Up against the wall, fraggers." Said the guard, having slotted the credsticks and checked them.

The three were submitted to MAD and Chem scans by the three stooges. They were perhaps a bit rough. Their hands wandered on Crystal and Jessica.

"Fragging muties." The Sergeant said.

"I take it we're free to go?" Said Raven. "Good," He said, not getting an answer. "You goons can frag off now!"

A few minutes later, Crystal, Raven and Jessica went back to the air duct the drone had left open - Where they had thrown their weapons.

"Time we got to the bar, I think." Raven said.

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

"Well... I was pretty bored. My boyfriend had to leave for a few hours. And I was left with some cash and nothing interesting to do..."
She blinked at the runners. Her eyes, although a bit reptilian, were still cute.
"I find you people pretty amusing. May i go with you?"
Chance and Ash looked eachother.
"I invite you to a few rounds of beer. What do you think?"
She showed a credstick.

***

"Argh. You are a smart brat of ICE." Said Overmind, still staring at the laptop. Well. It was better the laptop than his brain, though.
He would find other of those for cheap at a junkyard or something else.
He grabbed his deck instead.
"It is too risky..."
He put it back in its case.
But problems werenŽt alone.
The pizza-faced boy, Again.

"I told you to leave!" he said.
"Listen, you pimp. I am sick of you. Get outta my way."
The elf yelled with his annoying high pitch.
"IŽll call security!"
"You are not calling security." Overmind said, and flashed a blue card
"Matrix Supervisor no 4523! Overmind/Black Ace!"
The elf gasped.
He, trembling like a decrepit grandpa, held the card, and scanned it in the computer.
"CERTIFIED."
It displayed.
It was true. The snotty gobbo was a suppervisor. And therefore, had rights to a free acess to the Matrix.
"I am sorry, sir...WonŽt happen again."
Overmind nodded. The elf talked again.
"We are needed of a supervisor. These deckers over there need an authority."
A good thing of being a supervisor was to have free acess. The bad thing is the Supervisor title was anything but stealthy.

He handed a transys booth. And pointed a laptop.
"I want that one."
"Sir, that one is a mere junk. It is an atrezzo to simulate a deck."
"Does it work?"
"Of course! But sir, would not want our newest datajack."
"I already have one of that. From over six months. I want the laptop. How much is it?"

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

Bulldog nearly laughed, they'd have to be quicker then that! The Gobbo lifted himself onto the bar, one of the male drones went flying past him. The other felt the full force of a bottle being smashed over his head. He drew his pistol from the compartment in his cyber-leg and held it at the Robogoths.

"Now, you think we can talk in a civil manner, or will I have to get nasty?" The Goblin had a feeling that this wasn't over.

***

Nixie ducked out of the corner, running quickly into another. The heat had died down a bit, but they still couldn't be seen around CKWAGE. She'd already seen one or two Goblin's hauled away.

"They are coming to help us? Right?" Squeaky asked her, eyes full of hope.
"I 'ope so, I 'ope so." The wolf shaman shaman responded. Not holding much hope."

***

Pierre ran into the shiftavator. He needed to get to CKWAGE as fast as possible, couldn't let the wolf bitch be taken in now could he? Another Goblin walked in with him.

"An' where daya think yer goin' laddie?" Asked Grind-Storm.
"Save ze laddies of courze." The assassin replied smoothly.
"Well, Yer might need the back-up." Pierre would have protested, but the shiftavator was already moving.

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

"What the frag is this? Some kinda toy?" Said the Sergeant, holding up the mangled remains of Holmer's solar gun. The thing had passed the MAD and Chem detectors. Frustrated, the Sergeant had given the dwarf a pat-down. Still nothing.

The the guards had virtually taken the golf cart apart - Finding the hammer ('Licenced ceremonial implement') and the remains of the gun.

The Neo-SU fan Dwarf, had passed as clean, however.

***

Crash stepped out onto the crowded floor.

"Well?" Said the young man, to his even younger accomplice.

"Th3r3 h3 is." Said Chr0m3ball. He pointed to where an irritated-looking goblin was yelling about being 'Black Ace'. An idiot - Telling everyone you are one of the best Deckers in the world. A sure way to attract the wrong kind of attention.

"We have to get him before security do."

The two deckers - The new, strident, authoritative Crash and his understudy, approached the gobbo, looking around the junk second-hand obsolescent computer section - Obviously a manifestation of senility in the 50 year old goblin.

He was busy arguing wth a sales assistant - A decrepit old man, a loser, who chose to side with the useless un-cybercapable computers.

Techno-Cowards. Deckers hated them.

"Yo, Ace!"

"What NOW!?!?" Screamed Overmind.

Crash's cyberarm caught him on the jaw, fracturing it into pieces. The Goblin was thrown six feet, landing in a heap on the floor.

"OI!" Screamed an Ork minder.

"Check this." Crash replied, nasally. He handed the Ork his credstick.

The Ork slotted the credstick in his wristphone, to check in with central data. Crash's superirors had planted a tag identifying him as 'security operative: Plainclothes', long before this operation had started.

The Ork grunted and slunk off.

"Well now." Crash told the unconsious gobbo, as the stunned onlookers started walking away. "Should have been a bit discreet about your self, old man. Or should I call you 'ACE'?"

Both deckers roared with laughter, as they dragged the unconscious gobbo, now bound woth thermocuffs, to the nearest shiftavator, and took him up-tower.

***

The robogoth who'd been bottled, dragging himself to his oversized booted feet. When he saw the gun he slumped back to the floor again in terror.

The second Robogoth backed away.

"Elenia!" He shouted.

"Frag almighty." Their new leader sighed. Bulldog blinked, a drop of sweat rolling down his noduled face. His eyes were only closed for a split-second. When they were open again, Elenia had a gun out too:

An OCU Dingo 9mm.

"Elenia! He's gotta gun!" Said the floored robogoth.

Elenia sighed again.

What's she gonna do? Bulldog wondered. She looked close to the edge. Her reactions were lightning... Artificial.

He aimed his gun at her, finger squeezing imperceptiby on the trigger. He was about to re-iterate his command when

BLAM!

The Girl's pistol went off.

But Bulldog wasn't the one who was shot: The floored Robogoth was. Elenia had Aimed, fired, fired again, and aimed again at Bulldog in about 1/8 of a second, with pinpoint (smartlinked) accuracy.

"Can't get the staff these days. So, whatcha gonna do, Gobbo?" She said, winking one blue cybereye at him.

The Floored robogoth groaned, and fell silent, as did every other customer in the club. The difference was, they weren't dead.

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

Somewhere on level 273, a man cursed.
"What's wrong?" his colleague asked.
"Look at this..."
On the screen before them, a spot appeared on a map. It was a big, flying object, travelling right towards them.

"Is that...?"
"A dragon. Movement analysers identified it."
"Frag... we already got some trouble with dragons. There were two of them in the mall!"
"I know. I'll contact the mages, to see if this is the same dragon that just left."

***

"There it is... Scotland."
"I think I can see the tower!" Silvia shouted.
"Really? Heh. You got something elvish in your eyes after all then. I don't see them. But I know where it is... I checked some maps before I left."

Sleg... I even forgot a map. Silvia thought. Good thing he came after me.

***

In the Security control room, the man was talking to one of the mages on the phone.
"Hmm... that's weird."
The other man looked up from his work. "Something else wrong?"

The man ignored his colleague and continued the phone conversation. "Well I only see one object..."
He nodded.
"Yeah. We'll see. Bye."

"So, what did he say?" his colleague inquired.
"It's weird. The signature was somewhat 'dual'. Like it was two signatures for one being, or two very similar signatures very close to eachother. They said the distance made it hard to see without going astral. They did confirm that it wasn't the dragon that just left."
The other man man sighed. "Oh great... another one."

***

Vorug slowed down when he saw the arcology towers in the distance.
"I won't go all the way there... I know a lot of corps don't like dragons."

He landed in a nearby field. Luckily this area wasn't densely populated, since most of the people lived in the arcology.

Silvia spread her wings and flew to the ground.
Vorug lowered his head. Silvia put her arms around the front of the huge snout to give him a hug. It looked a bit like someone hugging an airplane, but that didn't matter to her.
"Thanks dad. I'll phone you when I need a ride back, OK?"

***

The spot on the air radar disappeared.
"It landed." the security guy remarked.
"Really? You mean it wasn't heading for the Arcology?"
"I don't know. Maybe it'll come here in human form, like the other two."
"Well it's better than if it landed in the airport. They're not fit for dragons... and neither should they be. Fragging lizards..."

***

"Wait." the dragon said. "You'll need this."
Slowly, he began the shapeshift. After about five minutes he had completed the human form, and his clothes appeared quickly.
He put his hand in his pocket and took his credstick out of it.

"Oh, right." Silvia made her clothes appear and took her own credstick out of the small compartiment in her belt. Vorug took a small device with a numeric pad on it, plugged his credstick into it and pressed some buttons.
"Just in case I don't have time to come back here. This should be enough for a plane ticket." He pulled his credstick out of the transfer box.
Silvia put her own credstick into the port, and saw 3000 nuyen appear on the display.
"Woah.. that's a lot of money!"
"I know. Don't waste it."
"I won't."

"Well... this is it, then. Bye."
Silvia gave her father a hug, and walked back. She knew he needed space for the shapeshift.
"Bye!"

Five minutes later, the green dragon flapped his mighty wings and lifted off. He looked at the small figure on the ground for a last time, and flew away, back to Terganon.

Silvia smiled. "And now... on to the Arcology."

***

"That's weird. Look!"
The men both looked at the air radar display, and saw the spot had reappeared. But this time, it was flying away from them.
The guy behind the radar screen took his phone, and called the mages again.
"Yeah, it just took off again. So do you stil see that double sig?... Oh. I see. Thanks anyway."
He turned to his colleague.
"They said it's too far to see. I don't understand why they aren't allowed to go astral outside the facility."
"I dunno. One of them said something about 'dangerous alien spirits' to me once."
"Oh well. The lizard's gone."



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

"Well, here we are. Let's not enter all at the same time. I'll go in first, as I can pass for an elf as long as noone looks too hard. If I think it's OK to go in I'll order a drink, you see me at the bar with a mug you come in, if I'm sitting down at a table you walk away and meet me over at that store in ten minutes. Got me?"

Raven nodded, after so much time spent with Crystal he was used to these kinds of plans. Jessica Hayes, however, wasn't entirely confident with the plan, but she didn't say anything. Crystal was amused when Jessica almost saluted, it was a hard habit to break. Crystal strode into the bar, Raven turned to Jessica and asked.

"So, what brings you to the Transys Arcology today?"

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

Chance and Ash looked at each other, trying to argue just by expression, weighing up whether or not they should take this... dragon... with them.

Then they realised that she may be reading their thoughts.

"We need to find someone." Chance began.

Just then Ash's gaze was drawn by a new customer entering the bar.

"Crystal!"

"Ash!"

The two women hugged, Crystal careful not to touch Ash with bare skin.

"Hey Chance. Who the frag's she?" She said, jabbing a thumb at Varos.

"Welcome Dear Elf!" Beamed Lord Elfric. " May I suggest - ERK!"

Crystal shot the bartender a withering glare, and brushed aside a lock of her cobalt blue, revealing rounded ears.

The Elf-Posers were looking too, no doubt eyeing up the new 'Elf-Babe'. As one, they spat out their drinks.

"Not an Elf? In the Elf-Only Bar?"

"Disgusting!"

Ignoring them, and the equally disgusted Lord Elfric, Crystal asked the question.

"Where's Tank?"

"Ahh," Chance said. And he told her.

"Well, will you take me?" Varos demanded.

"Uh, sure." Ash said, and described Crash, in whispered tones.

Crystal whipped up her wristphone, and dialled Mary.

"Mary. Crystal here. Where are you?"

Chance didn't like the looks on the faces of the Elf Posers.

The eight assorted denim-clad goons got up, and walked to the bar.

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

Jessica smiled weakly and answered Raven's question.

"Looking for a job as it were actually. What about you?"

Raven gave the young woman a once over before replying.

"You know, Transys Arco is so impressive Crystal and I just had to come see it. Find a nice to place to nest and raise a family and so forth."

Jessica smiled at the obvious sarcasm and surmised.

"I guess you can't tell me why you're here then. I, also, have a few skeletons in my closet. A few Daemons to as it were."

Raven, the masterful fitter that he was, was able to conceal his surprise at hearing such a reference. He had heard the rumours, wondered why Geneva was suddenly off limits and had concocted his own theory... but to hear someone admit to seeing Daemons was a real shock! Raven used to live in Geneva, he wanted to know what had happened there in the past few months. Raven was going to keep his eye on this girl! Raven rubbed his temple and asked.

"Jessica dear, would you like to tell me whether Crystal is at the bar or sitting down?"

Jessica took a few steps toward the bar and gasped.

"She's standing alright, but she's talking to a group of angry looking elves...at least..they look like elves.."

Raven cursed his poor eyesight and ventured closer to get his own view of the bar. He heard rather than saw Ash and Chance and waved to Jessica.

"Oh it's alright, those two are friends of ours. Come on in!"

Jessica followed Raven inside, she hesitated to mention the eight other people surrounding Crystal thinking Raven had seen them and sized them up already. Raven was blissfully unaware as he strode into the bar waving at what he thought were his old comrades...

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

The guards head's turned. Nixie watched them all run off, surrounding two more Goblins.

"Ve Run, but ve stay close to the wall." Whispered Nixie to the decker as she took off in the direction of the shiftavator. She didn't need to see what was going on, she could smell Pierre from a mile off.

As they passed Pierre and Grind-Storm, facing a "Shake down" by the guards, the French Goblin winked at her. She didn't have time to react, but she was truly flattered by the gesture.

The two Goblins reached the shiftavator in no time at all, soon they'd be able to serve the Revolution and show these damned Scottish freaks for trapping them like animals.

***

A picture of the woman was placed in Loopo's hand. Yes, she looked helpless enough. He stuck it to the note he had made, this baby was going to Transys Security HQ. If they didn't belive it was the queen, they'd still think it was a double.

"Groove" He said, handing the letter, now with an address on the back, to one of the elves. "Make sure this gets somewhere where it can be noticed."
The Elf did a mock salute and rode off on an "Invisible" bicycle.

Loopo then turned his attention to the woman tied and gagged on the floor. No fear showed in her emotionless eyes, almost as if something had told her there was nowhere to run... .nowhere to hide.

"Well now that's over..." He broadcasted to the other Mime's minds. Edging closer to the woman and leaning over her. "I think we deserve something for our efforts." He could hear the frantic laughter of the other Mimes, Jolly and Dipsy in particular. Surely, they were blessed!

***

"FRAG IT!" Yelled the small Goblin, as her and Charlie crowded around a small door. "They've moved! I'm... sorry, but theres nothing more I can do for you."
Charlie sank to the floor, his head in his hands. He'd failed. And now, a bunch of Mimes had the Queen.
"Do you have a Vid-Phone?" He asked the Goblin.
"Sure" She took a vid-phone out of her pocket and handed it to him. "Keep it if you like. I have to go report to my superiors. Bye, soldier!"

And she was gone. Charlie tried to contact Crystal on the Vid-phone... but it was engaged.

***

It wasn't long before Pierre and Grind-Strom had caught up with the Gobbo women. They were walking at a slower pace, obviously tired. Now was the time to make his move.

"Does madam need ze lift?" He asked, picking up the Wolf Shaman. She was nearly dead on her feet. Panting, whimpering, her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth... Disgusting!

He carried her to the door of Deep Red, Grind Storm and the decker were there before him. He dropped the German just outside the door.

"Vielen Dank" she whispered to him, he forced a smile. Just the sight of this woman disgusted him. The two were interrupted by Grind-Storm's shouting as he opened the door.

"Fraggin' 'ell Bulldog! What yer gone and done THIS time!"

***

Holmer stumbled into WindWhisper's Hall. After his "shake-down", he'd found the decker a chair, returned the shop keeper cat from near doom, had to find the cat some fish, go see why the shipment of fish hadn't been delivered AND fix a guy's engine. But he'd eventually got back to the Neo-SU fanatics, they promised they'd leave WindWhisper's alone.

"Yer back!" James said as he emerged from the Kitchen.
"Aye" Holmer stated, taking a seat.
"Yer sorted out those deckers then?" He asked.
"Aye."
"Excellent." He made his way back to the kitchen.

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

"Unbelievable."
Mist Lotus stared at her wrist Mission Manager.
"What happened?"
"Say that Overmind was here. In the convention. The locator chip in his crest tips so."
Eva gave an angry look. Idiot. Surely Overmind had dragged the attention too much and was in a detention room
"OK. Plan B. I will split from your runners group and try to find out what is wrong." said the elf.
"Will you rescue him?" asked Eva.
"For good or bad, he is a Six Stalker. If someone finds it out... It would be a shame."
"Just do not make the same mistake." Eva pointed out.
Both runners were there, anyway. Outside the bar.
Eva saluted the Elf when she left.
Shame... would be one of the few elves of the bar...
She laughed with the hilarity of it. But one thing was for sure. Mist Lotus wasnŽt bad at spionage.

***

Seconds before getting knocked off, Overmind had decided to go to the end. And he had chosen the quick way. Drawing the attention so that phantom and hazy shadow would reveal itself.
Oh, yes. The little gobbo was smarter than everyone thought of.
But the drawback of this caught off guarded. HeŽd never expected Crash Override popping out the way. A hinderance.

***

Varos gazed the runners.
"So, are you waiting for more people to come? Eva, Mist Lotus, Mary and Charlie?"
She giggled. Those lesser races were mostly like an open book for her when it came to mind reading. It was getting interesting by moments.
And then she turned back, and stared at the elf posers.
"What is wrong with you, gentlemen?"
A hand landed flat in her face.
She fell to the ground, more surprised than actually damaged.

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

Mary was carefully making her way across to Tank's table, trying not to tread in the various disgusting, sticky substances on the floor. The place was a mess. The walls were strained with just about everything, blood included. You could shovel the dirt and grim off the tables, and as for the food. It was more grease then anything else.

"Hey der babe." One troll said to her, a grease covered hand, with long nails grabbing her T-Shirt as she passed. "'ow aboot a kizz, eh?"

Luckily, Tank had seen her by then. He dropped whatever passed as food in this place, his eyes were wide and a grin was clear on his face.

"MARY!!!!" The Ork yelled across the bar, running up and throwing his grubby hands around her. She could hardly breathe. "I mized yer sooooo much! Wher yer bin 'idin'?"

The Ork released his grip on her, she almost fell to the floor. Tank's grubby hand prints were all over her T-shirt now.

"Tank..." She said inbetween gasps of air. "What are you doing here?"
"Waitin' fur da rezt. Dey ain't showin' up yet." Mary just shook her head in disbelief.
"Tank, Your in the WRONG bar."
"Ah... well, da food iz good. Yer want sum?" He took a leg of Squighound off the Troll's plate and thrust it in Mary's face, she felt like she was going to be sick.

"Let's just leave. We wouldn't want to keep the others waiting." Tank put the leg back on the plate, the Troll gave him a disgusted look.
"Kan I bring me mate wit me?" The Ork asked, pointing at Barkah.
"Sure... I don't know how the others will take it. though."
"Wot? Barkah won't cause any trable. 'e'z a good Ork 'e iz!" Tank turned. "Eh, Barkah, git yerself ova 'ere an' meet me friend!"

With the red skin in tow, who Mary found to be quite pleasant... for an Ork, they left the grotty hole and walked out on to the mall, getting strange looks from passers by. She couldn't blame them, it wasn't every day two Ork's were walking with a respectable looking young woman. The hand prints on Mary's T-shirt must have made it look like something it wasn't too.

"CHARLIE!" Tank yelled out of the blue. Mary looked around. He was right, a man in Brit-Guard uniform was wandering around the mall, as if looking for something. He didn't seem to even notice the Ork calling out to him.

Mary put on her best "Exaggerated smile" and walked over.

"Hi Charlie. It's nice to see you again." It was actually more then nice, she was over joyed.
"Oh, hello mam... I apologise but now is a bad time."
"Say..." Tank butted in. "Where'z da queen woman?" Charlie just looked down in shame.
"Queen woman? Tank, what are you talking about?" Mary asked him.
"Da Queen Woman, dat woman oo looked like da Queen." Tank did his best to explain.
"I... lost her." Charlie raised his head to look at the Ork. "I closed my eyes for a few minutes and... she was gone."
"Don't worry" Mary tried to reassure him, putting an arm around him as she spoke. "We'll sort it out with Crystal when we get to Elf Only Bar."

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

Damocles squeezed into a maintenance vent. As this was on the concealed prison level, the vents lacked the standard alarm systems of the rest of the building - there were no entrances to them from the cells, so it was pointless wasting money on something that would never have any use. It was a tight fit, but just about manageable. He had dealt with the two guards, and now had to finish his improptu mission.

Every now and then, he let a sonar pulse ricochet down the tunnel. Without enhanced eyesight, this gave him the second best view of the tunnel possible.

Alongside him, smaller tunnels ran off into the darkness. He couldn't fit down them, so there was no point in trying.

Ahead of him, he heard a clacking. He stopped, and peered into the darkness, spitting out another echo.

Something was sliding up the tunnel towards him. Damocles growled, low and feral, and rose to his haunches, taking advantage of the larger connection chamber between passages.

Out of the darkness, came a cleaning droid, about the size of a human torso, and covered in appendages. If Damocles had known better, he would have taken it for harmless.

As it was, he didn't.

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

Tami frowned.
"Elf only bar? Ya think anyone would waste explosives on fraggin' elves?"
"Well no... if it were just elves it wouldn't be so much of a problem. The bar is usually filled with humans pretending to be elves. Their racism towards other races is really getting out of hand... some of these hypocritical bastards even attacked other humans!"
"So it's a bar full of hypocritical bastards." Tami grinned. "Well that sounds better already."

***

Wirecat sighed. This wasn't going to be easy.
"So... is your mom a decker?"
"Yeah."
"What did that boy look like?"

***

Alanya looked at Zaid. "So... yu'r here too. Doesn't really surprise me."
"You know me?!"
"I do. Yu'r de Scarlet Dreamer, right?"
Zaid stared at his feet. "Yeah. But... please don't tell anyone I'm not female."
Alanya grinned. "I'll try."

***

"Transys Arcology, here I come!", Silvia said while shifting her skin.
She quickly stored her clothes, spread her wings and took off.

***

At the same time, in the security control room on the middle ring of the Arcology, a man got a phone call from a security mage telling him he spotted an odd kind of dragon signature nearby. The man was confused when he couldn't find anything on his control screen.

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

"Looks like we arrived a bit late, dr Castle." Wolf pointed at the locked door. Nobody was home.
"Call me Naomi."
She pointed.
"Whatever. Hey look! A Note."
He picked up the note.
Away. Went to Mall
"Hmm... No more explanation is needed. Naomi. We're going to the mall!"
He cheered.

***

"Christy. I can barely believe you got cyber eyes!" Veronica pointed out. She was having a boring time, now that she was substituting on the stand one of her friends. But she was a programmer, not a saleswoman.

A message received beep. The Lapdeck invention.

"Excuse me, Chris. I have something to deal with"

She faded away.
The display showed
"THE ACE IS DOWN. GOD BLESS THE QUEEN."
She noticed the sender. BA.
"So... It finally happened." She messed her hair, and took off the glasses. The past. The hidden past now was claiming her.

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

"I knew you'd come 'round... all you Gobbo terrorists are the same." The man leaned back on his chair, Tami stared at him wide eyed. "Yeah, that's right girl. I know all about you and your little operation. Don't worry though, your secret is safe with me."
He put a finger to his lips.
"Right... what does this operation involve?"
"Of, a few small explosives here, a few small explosives there... Bar is claimed as"unsafe", Bar is shut down, in come the profits. Out go the racists. " The man had a sly grin on his face, almost positive the Goblin would accept. "The name's Malcom by the way, You don't need to know my full name."

***

Mike Rivers and fellow Transys Guard's treaded carefully into the dark room. They'd received a tip off from a Miss "MasterMind" that there were Mimes holed up here. He turned on his flash light, using it to quickly scan the area. A group of Mimes, a Human, Troll and two Elves, were lying on the floor... dead. Next to them was some slashed up ropes and what looked like a piece of white cloth, a dark veil could also be seen.

"Everything looks clear" Mike stated. "Let's head..." He turned as one of his companions screamed. The dwarf was lying on the floor, bleeding from where teeth had punctured his neck.

"Larry? You Ok?" Even as he said it, another scream. This time his best friend Barry. He looked like he had been kicked in the head. Mike Scratched his long green hair and gulped, something wasn't right here... it was too quiet. He heard a foot step behind him, he went to turn, but it was too late. A Troll had delivered a lethal blow with a blunt object. Like the Mimes, Mike was dead... only he wasn't pretending.

***

Loopo spat out the light red Dwarven blood as the rest of his gang rose to their feet.

"DAMN IT!" Jolly yelled. We lost the queen bitch before we could have any fun!"
"No matter." Loopo held the everloped letter that the elf had never gotten to deliver, it was actually pure luck he spotted the guards. "We can still make a pretty penny with this."

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

Silvia was excited. She would see Mary again soon.
She noticed the way the building was built, and remembered what Mary had written in her mail.

Mary's flat was on level 94. Silvia carefully examined the building, but it was just too high to start counting floors... she had no idea where it could be.
But she knew the airport was on the middle ring... and that was level 150 or something. So it would be closer from there than if she went throught the ground floor entrance.

She flapped her wings to gain height, and glided towards the middle ring.

***

"OK... Malcom." Tami replied. "But if I do it I need a lot of info on the place. Plans, info on air ducts, you know. And you get me the explosives; I don't want to use anything that can be traced back to me."
She looked straight in Malcom's eyes.
"And don't call me a 'gobbo terrorist'. I'm only in that because they provide me with explosives, and I know they won't notice the difference when I keep some of the stuff for myself."

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

Grind-Storm stared at the frozen tableau - One dead pale-face on the floor, one backing off from Bulldog. The barkeep was gone - Probably hiding. Bulldog had his gun levelled at what appeared to be a very edgey robogothbitch, with two bois and a girl behind her.

"Fraggin' 'ell Bulldog! What yer gone and done THIS time!"
It was the last thing he saw before it all went black...

***

Elenia put two rounds into the Scottish gobbo's face with pixel-perfect accuracy as he broke the standoff, flinging him back out of Deep Red, his companions recoiling in horror.
Bulldog, thinking the shots were for him, but somehow miraculously missed, returned fire with his Lucile Arms Corp 'Kneecapper 25'. It was only a medium pistol - A 9mm, not the heaviest gun around, but it fired when he pulled the trigger.

But Elenia was fast. She diodged sideways, back and forth. Bulldog fored twice, missing. Then he shot the nearest gothboi instead, spinning him to the floor.

He ran for the entrance...

***

"Please, come with me!" Wailed the little girl. "I'm lost, and I want to FIND MY MUMM-EEE!!!"

If anything, Wirecat felt his ears would blow if he left her here like this...

***

Emmanuette had walked down the corridor from StudKnife's flat, and taken the nearest shiftavator. Her speech was slurred, and as the shiftavators had no buttons, just a voice-activation panel, she had to repeat her destination several times. As a non-arc resident, it only let her go back down to the Mall levels anyway.

The doors opened.

She wasn't on the mall. This was the prison level.

Two Silver-and-Blues stood in her way, waving stun-batons..

"Well Miss. You've been bad, haven'tcha?"

"Muh?" She murmured, still incredibly drunk.

"Get a mage-mask on her. She's pissed, and wouldn't be able to do magic. But just in case."

"Right." Said a guard behind the two in front of her.

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

Mist Lotus flicked the display of her wristphone. A custom-chip allowed the display of standard-grade Transy Arc map chips - Sold to tourists and the like. But also she was able to display the co-ordinates of Overmind via the tracking device.

It showed him going up - Travelling rapidly up the Robot The Bruce Tower. 11th floor. 125th floor. 150th floor...

The signal disappeared.

"Frag... Not good."

She had arrived at a shift-avator. Ignoring the puzzled looks of two suits who emerged, she went in and closed the door.

As usual - All the shift-a-vators were voice-activated.

"Floor 150, Robot the Bruce Tower." She told it.

"Voice not recognised. Please try again. If you are not authorised for that floor, please hand yourself into the nearest security station, thank you."

She had a look at the Voice-panel. If she had a screwdriver, she might be able to take the plate off, and get in behind it... But she would need an electronics specialist to re-wire it. Someone good with wires, any way.

***

Crystal faced off against the Elf-Poser gang, Chance, Ash, Jessica and Raven by her sides as Varos was helped to her feet.

"Fragging non-elves and Human-lovers. You are NOT WELCOME!" The Elf poser leader spat - A lanky goon with a patchy mohican and transparent plastic trousers with his denim jacket.

The eight gangers drew knives.

Crystal looked around at her allies. Chance and Ash were good fighters. Jessica was Corp military. Raven might be good if he were actually facing the enemy. And that girl/dragon...

"Heh. I was in a gang once." Crystal told them. Chance frowned. He HATED gangers, but like Crystal.
"Our gang - The Rotorheads - would have had you limp-dicks for breakfast."

She was just thinking that Cylinder Head should have been here, when the leader lungerd for her. He didn't make it. Chance reached forward, grabbed the fragger and spun him around, smacking into the bar with his sternum. The other Elfposers moved in - Ash punched one with a flaming fist. His face flew back in a shower of sparks, scorched, his hair alight.

Two gangers flew at Crystal, ramming her back into the bar. The first one punched her in the stomach, winding her. Then both Jessica and Raven piled in - All five fell to the floor in a heap at the foot of the bar, Crystal underneath, being crushed.

A knife glittered. Crystal's hand slid around it. Blood flowed. She turned the knife around, under the press of bodies. The owner let out a choking gurgle as his own weight impaled him in the thrashing heap. Raven was battering someone on top of Crystal, screaming gleefully as he did so. He seemed to have a savage side Crystal hadn't seen before. Jessica had gotten up from the heap now, and fired a volley of punches at another Elfposer, but he was blocking her.

An arm reached down and dragged Crystal up from the heap - Two unconsious or Dead Elfposers - one who Crystal had stabbed. Raven was finishing them off.

"Frag! You okay?" Chance shouted.

Crystal glanced at her hand. A superficial cut.

"Yeah. Watch out!"

The three other ElfPosers were ganging up on Varos. Nice of them to pick on someone their own size, Crystal thought. Then she realised that the girl was supposed to be a dragon...

Two gangers lunged with their shiny 'elven mithril' blades that actually looked more like cheap street-level steel. Varos backed off - What she knew magic-wise wouldn't be much use this close in, and she had barely even met humans before, let alone practiced bare-knuckle fighting them.

A red line appeared across her hand.

"The bitch bleeds!" The three gangers yelled.

A blurred figure shot in from the front door. A woman lashed out with a well-timed roundhouse sweep, sending two gangers to the floor, before exploding into an uppercut that destroyed the face of number three, who had been licking the blood from his knife blade.

Eva stood back in a combat stane, looking over her three victims. One moved slightly. She stomped him between the legs.

Crystal kicked one of the downed Elfposers.

"I'm gonna CUT YOU, FRAG-BITCH!" Screamed the boss Elf-Poser, hysterically.

Crystal froze, a knife jutting at her face.

My hand hurts She thought, for some reason.

She watched in slow motion as soft hands appeared either side of the elf-wannabe's head. Female, ungloved hands, from behind him. They each rested on a side of the dumbstruck leader's face. Smoke rose instantaneously. Then came the roasting-pig smell of burning human flesh.

"AAAIIIEEE!!!" The man screamed, his face smouldering. He dropped to the floor, tow hand-prints burnt forever into his face. He lay, sobbing. A puddle spread around him, sokaing the clothes of his nearby unconsious friends.

Everyone stepped back.

*Click-Clack!*

The sound of an ancient pump-action shotgun being pumped.

Tsk. When are people gonna learn and go AUTOMATIC? Chance wondered.

The old, rusting weapon was in the hands of the gibbering, terrified 'Lord Elfric'. He pressed it to the side of Crystal's face.

"I don't know WHO THE FRAG YOU FRAGGERS ARE, but you just FRAGGED UP MY ONLY FRAGGING CUSTOMERS!!!"

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

Malcom opened his brief case, he pulled a folder marked "Elf Only Plans" out of it and handed it to the demowoman.

"All the structural information that I could gather on the bar. Study this, then meet me at Door C of the bar, you will be given your explosives... and when the job is done to my satisfaction, you will be paid." he closed the brief case and stood. "Please meet me as soon as possible... oh, and your friends seem to be leaving without you."
"What?" Tami stood up and looked around, sure enough Bulldog was being chased out of the bar by angry Robogoth's, she couldn't see the others. She'd heard the gunshots and all, but she'd took it for an Orkish bar brawl.

"See you again soon, do not fail me!"

***

Pierre looked at Grind-Storm as he dropped to the floor. Dead or alive, who really knew?

"Get 'im out of l' area!" Pierre yelled at the two Gobbo women, as he crouched down in the doorway.

He drew one of the few throwing knives he carried, kissing the blade for luck. He'd need it to pull this off. The door swung open as Bulldog made a run for it, cowardly British swine!

"Any second now... " he whispered to himself, becoming more and more tense, like a wound up coil ready to strike.

The door swung open. No time to think. As Elenia burst though it, he striked. His wired reflexes, while no match for the Goth's, were more then fast enough to jam a knife right into her stomach. She fell to her knees in pain, as Bulldog spun around and took a shot at her shoulder. She recoiled backwards. Damned British pig-dog! Always stealing a French victory!

Nobody seemed to notice she still had a gun in her hand, as she roughly aimed it at Pierre, he was none the wiser... until a bullet pieced his leg. He'd have been Robo fodder for sure, If Bulldog hadn't come back to carry the Goblin.

"Look's like, it iz ze mess before we begin, Oui?" Pierre whispered to Bulldog, as he supported him on his shoulder.
"Have hope in the Revolution and never let that hope go... it's the only thing that will see you though." Was Bulldog's response.

***

"Can't you just, shut her up or something?" Zaid asked. The sound was also being to grind his patience.
"Can't you just accept your a male!" Was Wirecat's response.
"h4h4h4h4h4, 0wned Z41d!" Said a lanky kid as he walked past them, Clyde a friend of his.
"Why don't you just frag off you little nerd!" Zaid yelled at him.
"00000h, H4ndb4g5 4t d4wn!" He yelled, running off into the decker convention. Zaid just brush back his hair and continued to wonder about the child.

***

Unfortunately, Veronica's moment of pride was rudely interrupted as a vase on a table near her crashed to the floor. She instantly turned to meet the new danger, but there was nothing there.

She gulped, slightly more nervous.

"Who goes there!" She asked feebly, it was all she could think of. And her only response was a few pieces of paper being thrown off a desk, onto the floor.

"This ISN'T funny..." She yelled out into nothingness, but not a sound was heard.

She was about to walk away, when she felt a chill breeze down her back. She would have screamed, but she was rooted to the spot.

She closed her eyes, expecting the worst...but she couldn't have expected what REALLY happened.

"Warning, you are out of bounds. Please return to your permitted area. Warning, you are out of bounds. Please return to your permited area. Warning, you are out of bounds. Please return to..." the slightly mechanical voice of a woman said. Veronica heard a human scream, then something hit the floor with a thud. Where there had been nothing, there was now a flashing blue light.

Two of the nearby guard's with cyber-eyes ran towards her, Both seemed to lift something that was there.

"We apologize mam." One grunted as they took whatever it was away.

Veronica closed her Cyberdeck and started to clear the paper's, she noticed one had something scrawled on the back of in messy hand writing.

"HELP ME!!!

          The Sha..."


Was all it said, looked like whatever it was had been cut off mid-writing. She screwed it up and threw it in a near by bin, probably some school kid prank. She carried on with what she was doing, shrugging off the incident.

***

The Shade, Ghost of transys past as the fraggers called it, was back on the mall levels. Thrown in a Shiftavator by guards and sent right back down to this hellhole! It shook it's head, but nobody could see this action. Fragging guards, fragging collar, THIS WHOLE FRAGGING PLACE!

"Why must I be cursed like this, Why must I live a life of shadow?" It asked it's self, for an it, it was. Abandoning any gender, nobody could tell the difference anyway, possibly by smell. But dog's don't talk.

So it stood once more, alone in the mall. A few shops down, was a mime hide-out, he liked to spy on them. Sex, drugs, violence... it was better then the vague memories of 3DTV it had. Spectre looked out, spotting a young woman running out of the mime hide-out as transys goons had just gone in, running past Joe's handyman store, the 3DVideo Arcade and eventually...

***

Highness was knocked of her feet. It was as if she had ran into something solid, a person perhaps.

"BOO!" The sound came out of nowhere, she cowered at it. "Ooooh! What's the matter, Never seen a ghost before? Oh wait, I can't be seen can I!"

Almost instinctively, her Iris turned dark red, a sign that Thermal Vision was in use. The word was a different place, full of red's and yellow's and green's a blue's. She could pick out the form of a human, couldn't make out a gender, but it was standing over her.

"Poor little queen woman, from one trap to another. Much like Marriages with my mother!" The figure burst out laughing. It then held out it's hand. "Well, take it. It won't bite!" It insisted, making snapping motions with the hand. Highness just tried to edge herself away. The figure shook it's head, bending down and grabbing her by the waist.

"I won't hurt you..." It insisted, lifting her up. "I'm... lonely... I'm all alone, There's no one here beside meeeee..." The figure's singing enchanted Highness, she'd never heard anything like it. Even if it was in a saddened tone.

"Will you be my companion in this living hell that some call life? Or will you allow me to rot in the bitter cold of my frozen heart, never to feel the love of a true friend again?" It held a hand out to Highness, she looked at it slightly confused. She put her own hand out in a similar manner, Shade grabbed hold of it. "Oh joyous day of joy's! You are a true Goddess my lady a TRUE Goddess! Now come, there is much for us friends to do!"

The figure dragged Highness off, not so fast that it was actually dragging her of course, she didn't have a clue where they were going. And failed to understand why it mattered.




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