The Den Games Network Forum RPG
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce, Nyerguds
Damocles sat in the convergent chamber, surrounded by pieces of machine. The shell of the cleaning droid - devoid of all it's electronic innards, sat facing him, immobile. He had taken it almost completely apart - aside from the small, fist-sized bundle of wires and circuits he was holding, and taking apart.
Damocles had never encountered a robot before. He could tell the difference between, say, the tilt-wing, and a metahuman, but this half-way point baffled him. As a bio-assassin, his primary function was machinelike, and only the newfound freedom of the dissapearance of his master allowed his full artistic potential to be released.
Amoung the chaos of torn wires and broken circuitboards, Damocles was arranging the pieces in a simple pattern. To the untrained eye, it was a random construct, something like a human figure, but grotesquely distorted.
To Damocles, it was Dark Sorrow.
Maintenance Control 4A was having a bad day. They'd had to replace seven droids in the last week, from 'accidental' damage, in the prison cells. Now one more had broken down - of all places - in the most inacessable point in the maintenance vents.
"Shit, Joe. There goes another one."
"What? Fraggin' droids. We need to get someone up there to fix it."
"Ok. I'm gonna check the live feed now- Oh My God!"
"There's something in the vents"
"Well, I think it is because your policy, elf" Varos replied. She had appeared from the rear of the fight.
Eva whispered to Crystal.
"Heh. I saw that lady just chanting out like if she were a mage. Who is she?"
What did not know Eva was that Varos was lifting a bullet lock.
She came closer to the elf... She could taste the fear. Fear of a dragon. Fear of her.
"Calm down, guy. We just needed to defend ourselves."
Varos grabbed the shotgun and made the elf aim at her face.
That was too risky. Not even the bullet lock would save her from that.
"You really want to shoot?"
She asked. The elf was shaking with fear.
"No. I don´t think you want to shoot. And you would wish you had not pulled that shotgun off after this."
She started to chant a healing son in draconian.
The "para-elfs" and runners wounds started to heal. But for safety, Varos kept an eye on the now partially restored gangers.
"There. Your customers. Now pull that gun off." she finally said.
Maybe that dragon girl could be useful anyhow, thought Crystal.
The smell of the Matrix had changed. Thought Veronica for a while.
At least her connection was efficient. Being a Transys Software staff allowed her to have some benefits from Transys server, and even more than average datajacks.
User QUEEN OF HEARTS Logged in.
The message was displayed.
"Now, to find out what is wrong. Maybe, if I am lucky, i will not need my real alias nor my skills anymore. They gave little benefit, after all."
"Hey, if it is Queen of Hearts!, the software developer!"
A decker ranted out. Frag it. She was famous amongs the deckers by being one of the programmers of Cube, a massive Matrix interactive game.
"Well, let´s see... what I have been looking for? oh yes! clues!"
She whispered to herself ignoring the drooling n00bs they were harassing her with questions. She remembered the key phrase to triumph in the Matrix world.
"In the world of Information, Knowledge is the best weapon!"
And she carefully put an alias change on standby order, to quickly switch her cyber-weapons on if they were needed. As Queen of Hearts, she was practically harmless.
Whenever Overmind was, he could be smiling. His most deadly weapon had been activated.
A real life trojan. Vega. Nobody could suspect she could be his pupil. And nobody cared about her since she dissapeared from the net 3 years ago, because she found a job.
Besides, she was not using Vega nick anymore. And furthermore, she was extremely shy about her abilities, narrowing the path of those who wanted to track her down.
Crystal was about to thank Varos for diffusing the situation so professionally, when a shadow fell across the doorway. Two Blackwatch guardsmen, cybered limbs glistening in the bar lights, stood in the doorway. Both were in full riot gear, with technological knife-edge stunrifles, astral-shielded helmets, and of course kilts.
"Wha-what do you want you non elf scu... officers", stammered Lord Elfric, sweat running down his elven face.
Ever professional, the Elite Transys Guard spoke with scottish brogue, one arm keeping his weapon steady.
"We're had reports of ah magical disturbance in this area. As ye know, by entering the Arcology building, ye enter Transys space. And in Transys space, yer not allowed ta use magic without permit. And someone here has."
All eyes turned to Varos. She blushed.
"Mr... officer. I didn't realise that using magic to heal was against some kind of corp-law I didn't know existed."
"Not ma problem, maam. You've broke the rules, and you gotta come with us now." He held up a printout. "This is the transys warrant for yer arrest, for breeching the peace"
"But... THEY WERE USING GUNS!" Varos began to rant. "Arrest them!"
"No can do maam. As it happens, we don't have a gun-detector yet, but we do have a nice mage by tha name of Andrews who can pick out other mages using magic. Now are ya gonna come with us, or are we gonna have to call for backup?"
A panel clanked behind Damocles. He didn't notice. The shadowy figure of a guard, dressed all in black, began to lever himself out of the corridor below into the shaft, all the while taking care not to make a sound. In one hand he carried a stun baton, set to immobilise.
Damocles continued taking the droid apart, dropping tiny screws one by one by his side.
The guards below heaved, propelling their comrade into the tunnel. His heat-detecting cybereyes showed him the squat form of the intruder a few metres ahead of him down the tunnel. Slowly, he began to edge foreward, lifting his stun baton to strike a best as possible - using a gun up here could rupture a pressurised fuel, water, or even antiquated gas pipe, and cause your own suicide.
Damocles could hear something. He began to turn, swivelling his head very slowly, and immediately noticing the increased light levels caused by the removal of the floor/celing panel. His enhanced vision picked out the figure creeping towards him.
The figure raised it's weapon, almost ready to strike. Damocles rolled sideways, turning as he dodged the blow of the stun baton, which connected with the floor panelling, inflicting a shock to it's user. Quick as lightning, he had the shell of the droid between him and his assailant, and, in the blink of both sets of eyelids, he had picked it up with augmented muscles, and sent it crashing into the guard. In the enclosed enviroment, it smashed against the guard's arm and unprotected face with a sickening sound as his nose broke.
Damocles didn't take a moment to watch this happen - he was away as fast as he could along the tunnel.
"Gentlemen... we've been discovered." the grim voice of Loopo said over head radio. "We must leave and we must leave now. Jolly, Groove Joggerz, leave out the back, myself and Dipsy will leave out the front. We'll meet by the shiftavators. Any questions? No, good. Now go!"
Both group's of Mimes ran off in different direction's, But it wasn't long before Loopo heard the ear piecing scream of Joggerz.
"FRAG!" Dipsy Yelled
"Just make for the door!" But the two had a nasty surprise when they reached it. One Blackwatch and one normal security guard. Both had nasty grins on their faces. Dipsy fainted into the Guard's arms.
"Heh, These mimes ain't so tooth are dey laddie?" The Blackwatch commented.
"Nah, not rea... OOOOOOOOOFOWWWWW!" He began, but was rudely interrupted by Dipsy's knee making contact with his nuts. She took the opportunity to kick the Blackwatch in the shin, Giving Loopo enough time to bite him, while she ran her long, sharp nail along the Guard's thougt, kicking the near-dead body to the floor.
"RUN" Loopo frantically yelled as they burst onto the streets of Transys. "We need a hostage... hmm, IN THERE!" he pointed to a small coffee shop, where an attractive young woman with a cyberdeck was sitting. But on the other side of the Mime hide-out, thing's weren't going as well.
Jolly watched in horror as Joggerz body hit the floor. He threw himself behind one of the well placed corners of the building, smoke grenade in hand. Groove did the same, he nodded to the elf as more fragging Guard's poured in. Poor Joggorz, he'd been to slow, one of the guards had nailed him.
He threw the smoke grenade with great force, it actually hit one of the Guards in the stomach... bonus points for him! He secured his gas mask as the room filled with smoke. Jumping out with his 'Belt Fed IWS 7.62mm GPMG' machine gun and mowing Guards down like flies.
The next few moments were a blur, smoke and gun fire filled the air. Eventually the seemingly endless number of guards killed Groove. And soon after, Jolly... or so they thought.
"No, no... watch me again. Like THIS." Spectre was now in it's "disguise", lifting a cup of coffee to it's mouth while Highness watched patiently. "Now you try."
Highness grabbed hold of the cup, her hands shaking. She slowly lifted it to her mouth, but it slipped from her grasp, cold coffee covering her clothes. Spectre sighed, time to try again. But unfortunately, that time never came.
Two Mime's burst into the small coffee shop, tipping over tables and blocking the doorway. The female one, Dipsy as she was called. walked over to a table where a young woman was sat, an evil glare in her eyes.
Veronica logged off the Matrix and slammed the deck shut, hoping to flee from the approaching Mime. She was too late. The sickly young woman wrapped one arm around her neck, pressing a long, pointed nail against it. She grabbed a note pad off the table and started writing.
"READ THIS OR DIE!" were the first words that were written, Veronica gulped.
"Dear citizens of Transys and tourists a like." She read. "Your coffee house has been infested with Mimes, anyone makes one wrong move... well, this pretty young woman is..." She gulped again. "Terminated... Have a nice day, your beloved hosts. The Incredible Loopo and The Spontaneous Dipsy."
"STOP NOW... WELL DONE MY PET, CARRY ON LIKE THIS AND NOBODY GET'S HURT..." A sick smile appeared on the mime's face. At least she'd be safe, even if her dumb big brother wasn't.
"Alert! This just got serious!" Buzzed the Radio in Blackwatch Sergeant Mercandlen's head. "One of those mime fraggers just opened up with aye fraggin heavy machinegun! Our guy cannae take it! We're taking casualties!"
Mercandlen, on a routing patrol, snapped an order to his men, relaying what he'd just heard.
"Tch, Come on laddies, we got a weapons violation. Head for the armoury."
Mercandlen and his security patrol jogged, battering through crowds of stunned shoppers and tourists. In seconds they had reached one of the scattered secuirty posts. Mercandlen flashed his ID credstick to the station Officer.
"Break oot the guns, laddie." He ordered the man.
Seconds later, the patrol, in their customary kilts and black armour, were barreling along. Now they could hear the devastating roar of a heavy machine gun.
How the frag ha' tey got one of those in here? Och! The former military man said, in his head, again and again.
"Alert! Hostage situation in progress!" Said control. "Let the Blackwatch men handle this. Transys guards, fall back."
Damn right. Our Blackwatch laddies can handle this.
"Get ready, laddies." Mercandlen said. Two dozen Blackwatch had already sealed off the area, bolstered by the Silver and Blues who had wisely fallen back, after losing some men.
The armoured, elite secuity men took positions - And chambered the first rounds of the drums of their Daisaka Autoshotguns - Much more fearsome weapons than the Heavy pistols and IWS SMG70's the regular guards carried.
"Two of my loyal gothbois are dead." Elenia spat. "You should have ran when you got the chance, gobbo scum."
Her pistol bucked and roared. She put two rounds into each of the gobbos, until they weren't moving.
She looked at herself.
Bleeding. The little bastard stabbed her.
She was going to put some more tounds in the bastards, when her surviving Robogoths grabbed her.
"Take her gun!!!"
She only had one gun.
"Frag off, Morons! Kill the gobbos..."
And then she stopped resisting her comrades. The robogoths dragged her off.
Moments later, a paramedic electricart appeared, alongide some hurrying silver and blues.
"Three male goblins, gunshot wounds. Unconsious." The lead paramedic, a dwarf said.
"Depoy automeds. Jimbob, check in the bar!" said the ambulance-rigger
"Roger." The Dwarf said. behind him, two wheeled drones painted white with red crosses trndled from the cart, deploying porbes on the gobbo casualties.
The three seriously injured goblins were taken to the hospital on the 50th floor. But the two robogothbois were dead already.
An alert was issued on the robogoth leader, Elenia.
Down down down.
Into the murky depths he descended - it was far too dangerous now to stay. He must return some other time.
Damocles clambered down the lift shaft.
Gah. What was it to get some regular pins around here?
Sophie Isekke was annoyed. To her few friends, this would have been more annoyed than normal. She'd had a hell of a job getting in here, with all her stuff intact - wrapping seven delicate drones in plastic, fitting them all inside basic camera drone shells, and getting a licence to wear the bloody spikes in here - when a group of robogoths on the other side of the security barrier had clearly more dangerous items of clothing. Eventually, with the help of a generous bribe, she'd managed to get through, and was already late for her meeting. She didn't look like the kind of person who'd care about such a petty thing as time, but it was one of her many peculiarities. And she had to find the fraggin' pins first.
Pins, of course, were the ammunition to her particular - and esoteric weapondry. Hand built - as any respectable rigger's gear should be, from parts of old OCU camera drones, rotors from some kind of children's toy, micro pin-launchers, and packed full of exposives, these drones were her pride and joy, and favourite toys. Unfortunately, she'd almost run out of pins on her last 'run, and, in today's manufactured society, such things were hard to come by. She only had a couple of thousand left. You'd have thought that in Transys Arcology you'd be able to find them somewhere.
Crystal had told her to meet her at the "Elf Only Bar" - probably one of the cruel tricks her old friend was apt to play. Hopefully she'd managed to gather a better team than on the last 'run they'd done together, when her mentor - an older rigger known as Cyan - and seven other runners had met their match. Way over the expected death toll on the 'friendly' side, and not something she'd want to be involved in again.
She glared from purple-shadowed eyes at the lack of pins on the shelves of this particular shop, and moved on.
Sergeant Mercandlen's men had surrounded the two sites - The building where the Fragger with the machinegun had been was now quiet - Too quiet.
But the hostage situation was another thing entirely.
Mercandlen had called up control for a Drone, as per SOP.
And in minutes, one came. Transported by an electricart, the Transys Janus ground-combat drone rolled off the ramp on its rubber tracks, so as not to scratch the marble-effect floor tiles.
About four feet long and 2.5 wide, with a turret/body that came up to half-human height, the Transys Janus was a Transys Neuronet success story par excellence. The tracked, armoured drones were in service all over the world - Even with rival corporations. Armed forces used them as perimeter patrols, or up-armoured versions for storming strongpoints.
Transys used them for hostage situations.
This particular Janus was painted chrome and blue, like the guards. mounted with a riot shield on one its 'arms' and an autoshotgun (loaded with stun rounds - Combination Tactical dispersion gas/beanbags) on the other side of its almost humanoid torso. It had no 'head' - Just a plexiglass-encased optics pod in the chest.
"Take your fragging time." Dipsy radioed, to no-one in particular. She expected the Kilies to send a negotiator any minute now.
It would be fun watching him try and communicate with a mute mime!
Veronica was nervously looking around for a way out.
Then she saw nothing, but the light streaming in from outside. They had cut the power.
And then, the Janus entered the room, trundling in, its Shotgun levelled menacingly.
"You are all under arrest!" Boomed the amplified voice of the remote rigger - Safely dozens of floors up in control, rigging via real-time data link. "Throw down your weapons and release your hostages or WE WILL FIRE!"
Frag... They're gonna KILL ME! Veronica realised...
Mercanlen studied the returns from the drone's cameras and sensors, going back and forth between the thermal and optic inputs.
Odd he thought, looking at one particular seated guy.
He showed on thermal, but the optic input was unclear.
He paid no attention, focusing on the whereabouts of the Gang fraggers.
Six Blackwatch men cleared the building where the firefight had taken place.
"Three guards down, tae fraggin' idiots. Two bastiches down, the other must've gaen oot. Grab the shooters." Said the senior Blackwatch man, sweeping the room with his smartlinked autoshotgun.
The guards kicked the fallen mime's guns away, (taking away the hefty GPMG the Troll had carried) then prodded the corpses to make sure they were dead. They kept their smartlinked guns handy - You can never tell with these damn mimes.
Varos was taken out of the Elf-Only bar, as the 'Runners stood by, unable to do anything.
Varos tried to turn to look at her new companions -
"Och! Face forward, ye scaly bitch!" Snapped the Chief Blackwatch man, though Varos appeared not the least scaly to his (cyber)eyes.
He kept his Smartlinked Ultra-Power on her at all times, and one of the six-strong Blackwatch team had an Autoshotgun on her. The hefty weapon could turn her human form into a pile of bloody rags in a second if she wasn't shielded - And she wasn't.
A Transys Guard in the more familiar Chrome and Blue uniform didn't have a gun. Varos could sense The Power in her - Security Mage. She had the far-out look in her eyes that humans often did when using astral perception.
"Shes a dragon all right." Said the woman. Then she reached into her pack for an object the like Varos hadn't seen before.
It was a rubber hood with a mouth tube, thick eye covering and odd-looking earpieces.
"This it what ye call a Magemask." She said, as if explaining to a child. "It stops anyone using the magic when its on. Let me show you..."
And before Varos could react, the Blackwatch men had grabbed her arms roughly and sealed on some thermocuffs. The woman shoved the foul-smelling rubber high-tech gimp mask on her.
Magic users have to be able to see what they want to cast a spell on. The hood blinded Varos.
She struggled, but they pushed the plastic-tube that was the mouthpiece into her mouth, cutting her lip - It allowed her to breath, but not speak - Many spells required the speaking of long, complicated incantations.
Lastly, they fitted the ear pieces on, and switched them on. Loud, almost deafening, undulatiing and disorientating static blasted into her ears. It was painful. She thought she was going to be deafened - There was no way she'd be able to concentrate enough to use astral projection or perception with this on.
She tried to scream. A hiss of air from the tube was all she heard, as the mask was securely heat-sealed on - Onto her skin. If it wasn't taken off using the special solvent, it would tear her face off too, now.
"Heh heh, good work laddies. How long d'ya reckon before the noise drives her mad?" The Men chortled as the led Varos stumbling blind to their little electricart.
"Brutal... Fragging bastards." Jessica muttered, disbelieving.
"Its standard practice for captured magic users now." Ash told her. "Ever since all that comet crap... People are ultra-paranoid of magic. And this is the result. They don't like mutants either, or Dragons. They saw what those bastards did to Aztechnology in Geneva."
All the 'runners nodded.
"Where'll they take her?" Crystal demanded of the stunned Barkeep.
"They'll put her in a shifty. It'll take her to the prison processing level in the basement. Are you sure you aren't an Elf?"
Crystal sighed, and clipped the fool around the ear.
The Elf-Posers had vanished, scattering into the Mall levels, no doubt regrouping. Even the one who'd been stabbed.
"Well, I guess we should lay low, and wait for the others." Crystal said, dialling Mary and Charlie simultaneously via vidconference mode.
"Nay, Tae fraggin' Trogg is definatly oot." The Black watch stated. "Stiff as anethin'."
"An' tae Elves?" Asked another, leaning over the bodies.
"Aye. Our work is dun laddie."
The kilted fraggers turned their backs on the body of the troll, big mistake. Jolly rolled, grabbing Groove's medium pistol and shooting three of the scotsmen in their unarmoured legs, his auto-reflexes throwing him out of the way of the other's gun fire.
"WE NEED BACK UP 'ERE... ARGH!" Yelled one of the Blackwatch, as Jolly rolled, picking up a Smoke Grenade casing and throwing it into the Kiltie's stomach.
The two others started shooting wildly, Jolly roared in pain and anger as the bullets hit his Troll body. He ran full speed to the exit Loopo and Dipsy had ran out of, running down one last Blackwatch.
Once outside, he grabbed one of the drones as a shield from fire, it didn't protect his back and sides though. He was bleeding from bullet holes in almost every part of his body, but he knew if slowed his pace... he died. One of the normal Transys guards grabbed onto his head radio as he passed, jumping onto his back and ripping it from his skull, his comrades gunned him down.
Jolly eyed the Hostage situation at the coffee shop, he thought the same thing as Loopo. Turning towards the place, in one last bout of energy he gathered speed. He was going to make a way in!
Or die trying...
Dipsy pressed her nail into the skin on Veronica's neck, making her bleed ever so slightly. Hoping the guards got the message. They didn't.
The drone used it's targeting systems, making out friend from foe. The drone rose it's shot gun, targeting Dipsy's head. A stun round was fired... right into Dipsy's forehead.
She lost her grip of the woman, sinking to the floor. Blood trickled from the wound... she was dead.
Loopo had no time to react, he only just saw the figure of Jolly running up to the small cafe in a bull like fashion. Loopo ducked for cover as the bulky Troll dived though the large glass window, luckily for him the drone took most of the impact.
As the Troll stood up, Loopo could see shards of glass sticking out of his body, his back was also riddled with bullet holes. He didn't stand for long, he randomly grabbed two young women, one of which Dipsy was holding hostage. Before she was killed. He held them tight by the neck in one of his large troll arms, holding Groove's pistol to their heads.
"'ERES WOTS GUNNA 'APPEN!" He roared in rage, looking the dumbstruck Transys security in the eyes. They could have taken him down, if it wasn't for the women. "Yer gonna lemme walk outta this buildin', openin' the Shiftovator doors. Ah'm gunna let go of dese pretty women 'ere, yer gunna lemme leave an' yer gunna forget about me."
"And if we refuse?" Asked a senior Blackwatchman.
"Ah'm gunna put ma last once of strength inta killin' as many people as possible... Da press wun't like mass deth of Civvies would dey?" The Troll grinned as the Janus was moved from his path. He backed out the doorway.
This was the last thing Loopo saw, as Transys officers gunned him down before he could cause any trouble.
"Gud..." Jolly said outside, dropping Highness and Veronica outside the open Shiftovator shaft. The Guards levelled their guns, but he'd disappeared down the shaft.
"Can we get him?" Asked a transys guard, looking down the shaft.
"Tae fall will probably kill 'im. Jus' watch yer back... fraggin' mimes."
Nixie rested in the decker's arm. She was completely exhausted. They'd ducked into some public toilets, hoping the Goth's wouldn't find them. Squeaky was lightly stroking her head, she hadn't asked for it, but was enjoying it.
"What now" the decker whispered. Nixie sat up.
"I guess ve need to vind de men."
"I'll handle that..." Squeaky started her cyberdeck, hoping to analyze the Transys floor plans to find out where the others would be.
Silvia landed on the VTOL platform, and looked around.
Frag. Where is the exit?
She walked on, and saw a door open. Two guards came out. Silvia jumped away behind one of the VTOL planes in the open hangar, but she was to late.
"Hey! Who's there?" one of the guards shouted at her."
Silvia sighed, and slowly walked towards the men.
The guards frowned.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Silvia." Silvia smiled.
"Right. What are you doing here?"
"Gimme a break guys. I just arrived here, OK? I'm here on invitation of Dr. Mary Turin. She works here, somewhere on level 72... wait, what was it again? Umm... 'xenotic research and development' I think."
"So how did you get here?"
"I flew. How else do you get here?"
The guard sighed. He was obviously not going to get a decent answer out of her.
"Okay... I'll check on that Dr. Turin. Will, can you get her checked?"
The other guard nodded. "Sure thing. Come on, young lady."
He opened a door and went through. Silvia folowed.
"So... where are we going?"
"To the security mage. Everyone that enters is checked anyway."
Sleg. Then they'll find out I'm a half-dragon. Oh well... doesn't really matter. After all, Mary can confirm that too.
"Don't worry, he won't hurt you." Will smiled.
"I know. But I just wished I had some more privacy."
"Sorry 'bout that. There's no such thing at Transys. So... what do you have to hide?"
"I'm a half-dragon. I flew up there myself."
"No kidding. Really? We were told to keep our eyes open for Dragons. Apparently some fraggers in the Security control room had reason to believe a dragon might atack the Arcology."
"ATTACK?! Why the sleg would any dragon attack this place?!"
"Well some dragon just left this place after being picked up by the kilties... But the fragger was carrying a huge sword! I mean, if that isn't asking for trouble I don't know what is."
Silvia frowned. A sword?
Will continued. "And after that they saw a dragon heading straight at the Arco."
"Oh... well that was my dad. He dropped me off."
"I see. Well that sorts it all out then."
They continued walking through the building. Then, the guard stopped and opened a door.
"Here you go, lady."
He turned to the young elvish security mage sitting behind his desk.
"This is Silvia. She's a half-dragon, apparently. Don't know what else you can tell about her. Anyway, I'm off to the platform again."
He smiled at Silvia, and left.
The mage looked at Silvia. "So... a half-dragon?"
"Well yeah... but I don't wanna get any trouble around here... I just came to visit a friend."
Yes... they informed me. Amazing... Never actually seen a half-dragon before. You look just like an elf... but your astral signature doesn't lie, of course.
"You want proof?" Silvia grinned, and shifted her skin to green scales."
The mage smiled. "Hmm... Shapeshifter eh?"
"It's in my blood, sir. Half-dragons are natural shapeshifters. I can switch between my dragon and elven form."
"I see. But I have to know what I'm dealing with here. Do a full shift."
"Aw man... then I gotta store my clothes."
"Can't you just keep them on?"
"Nope. I got no T-shirts that are fit for wings."
"Well do it anyway."
Silvia sighed, and shapeshifted to dragon form, without the wings or tail. Then, she removed the clothes with a quick storage spell and completed the shapeshift.
"Satisfied?" she asked.
"Yes... dangerous claws you got there."
"They're only dangerous if they have to be. I mean, without them I'm pretty much defenseless."
"Well... you can shift back now. I'll report your presence to Security; if you stay out of trouble there shouldn't be any problems. Someone will pick you up and bring you to that doctor you were visiting."
"One more thing... what's your full name?"
"Silvia Ulane-Serthedal, sir."
The mage quickly typed the name into the simple computer on his desk.
"Ulane? Hmm..." He looked up. "Okay. You may go. Bye."
Silvia left the mage's office and looked around in the corridor.
The same man that had accompanied him to the mage was walking towards her.
"All right. They told me to bring you to Dr. Turin's appartment. Apparently she already informed them about your arrival a few days ago. The guys at the Housing levels told us she isn't home right now, but since we have access to the appartments I can let you wait at her place."
Silvia smiled. "Sounds great!"
Mist Lotus came running up the escalator toward the balcony where the Dingy Elf-Only Bar looked over the mall level below.
Inside, the bar emptied from all hut the 'Runners (Lord Elfric was in the back somehwhere, without his shotgun. His 'phone had been confiscated too) helped themselves to Soykaf and 'traditional Elven beer'.
"Frag on a stick, you can almost taste the urine-resyk." Raven mumbled, throwing a plastiglass of the 'beer' back over the bar.
Jessica, Chance and Ash tried their soykafs, while Crystal nursed her cut hand and bruising midesction.
"Overmind's gone! I lost him!" Mist Lotus panted.
"FRAG! Where?" Eva demanded.
"His signal went up tower 3. It passed floor 150... Then disappeared."
"You didn't go after him?" Asked Eva.
"Elevators... Sorry, 'shiftavators(tm)' are all voice-activated. If your voice isn't recognised as having clearance for the level you want, it doesn't move for you." Crystal interrupted.
"So... How do we get up?"
Crystal had some ideas:
"Either by getting somene with clearance and making them talk for us - Probably have to do it peacefully though - They may have voice stress analysers, to tell if you are under duress. Alternatively, I can have a go at rewiring the panel. But then they'd see me on camera. Unless there was a distraction..."
Just then, Mary, Chance and Tank arrived.
Varos was being disorientated by the horrible mask. All she felt was the stumbling of her legs as the guards manhandled her. She walked a good long while, before being pulled through a door. Then the ground moved - She guessed she was in some kind of Elevator, still blind, still unable to talk. She began to cry. The noise in her sensitive Elven-shaped ears was deafening.
"Malcom's" Vid-Phone bleeped. He was walking away from Elf Only Bar, back out to the Mall Levels. He opened it, a picture of a woman with clod black cyber-eyes appeared on screen. Her face was half covered in metal.
"Ah, Mage... Is it done?" She asked, in a slightly mechanical voice
"Yes my lady." Malcom's cold voice replied.
"The Elf-scum bar is no more?"
"The Goblin is working on it. my Lady."
"Excellent. That will teach that fragger Lord Elfric for crossing me. And that slime ball malcom?"
"Good, You have done well. But you are not devoid of errors slave, leave and report back to me for further... Improvements."
Her face disappeared as the call ended, Malcom, or whoever he was, started to make his way to the exit. He wouldn't be seeing the fireworks.
"Oh Sleg... I gotta do something!" said Lady Varos.
Then she remembered the organic knife attached to her leg, under her skirt. But she discarded the option.
"These guys would kill me in no time."
She thought for a while. But she needed to do something with the disturbing noise. She shook her head, an eventually, part of the hair lowered the noise. A bit of relief.
"Maybe I can roast every single guy in there with my fire breath. This mask is not fire-proof precisely."
But she decided to play along.
Veronica left the place, still in panic.
"Geez. I need to calm down."
She stared. Maybe she could talk a bit with Lord Elfric...
And she decided to head Elf Only bar.
"Hmm..." Eva stared at her feet, thinking about the current situation. Mist Lotus stared at her.
She finally spoke, regardless of the newcomers that just arrived the bar.
"I know. Overmind was heading a top level."
"Do not worry. I shall eventually come along."
She slammed the hand.
"Aha!" Eva had just an idea. They could use a recorded speech, too.
"This is the plan. I eventually act as silly bimbo and ask about how the shift-a-vator works to a guard. I record the speech, carefully. I assure that she says floor 150 for example"
"Och, fraggin' traffic. Ah cannae be dealin' wi this."
Stuart Moses had been muttering the same thing, over and over again. The streams of traffic going itno the Transys Arcology were never ending, stretching for miles back into Scotsprawl itself. He had literally been driving (well, his autonav had) all day, and only now was his 8-Wheel GM Hauler in site of the giant tri-tower.
At last now, things were moving.
"Och, by jeez, ah cannae see teh top o' it." He muttered, taking a drag of his narco-stick and trying to see to the cloud-shrouded top of the buildings.
Less than five minutes later, to his surprise he was about to go through the loading gates, into the huge vehicle park at the base of the tower.
Up in a glassed-in control booth, Transys Guards used their MAD sensors and Chem-Sniffers to check for large amounts of weapons or explosives that ight be in his hauler. the scan came back negative. The security Rigger controlling the gate displayed the 'proceed' symbol on the giant 3DTV screen, allowing Stuart to travel in.
"Ta very much!" Staurt said, applying pressure to the accelerator.
The van crawled forward. Then stopped.
The engine powered down. The inbuilt-computer switched off entirely.
"What teh frag?"
Hundreds of cars and vans behind him started bibbing their horns at the hold up. They were anxiuso to get in before the acid-rain got worse.
"Frag! Teh fraggers have killed me engine!"
Stuart jumped down, out of his van, and shouted up at the control booth.
"What teh frag are ye doin ya bunch of skinny bastiches!?!? Ah in' carrying anaething!"
Security Guard Rob Spring, in the booth with the Rigger, also wondered what was going on.
"Will, what's going on? Why'd he stop?"
Will turned to look at him. His dazzling blue cyebereyes flashed.
There was a huge rending roar. metal creaked and screamed.
Stuart Moses had just time to look up, and see the gigantic loading bay blast-covers start to descend.
His van was parked directly underneath them. He had no time to scream, as the 12-foot-thick and 100ft wide doors crushed him and his van, as well as several other too-slow cars, flat.
Just five vehicles back in the queue, Lady Zero sat in the van withy the rest of her band.
It had been a fragging rotten couple of weeks - One setback after another. Shelved by the fragging company, gigs cancelled, poor albums sales.
Finally, they'd gotten a gig to go to. A pretty high-class one too, at the Brand-fragging-new Transys Arcology. It would net some cash, even if it did mean pandering to the Transys Suits.
Problem: They were late. Traffic had been crazy, and Traci's battered van had broken down.
But at least now they were about to finally enter the arcology...
"Frag. You lot, look at this!" Traci yelled.
Dex and Lady Zero crammed to the front of the bandvan, looking over their drummer's shoulder.
"Vhat?" Dex snarled.
"Umm, looks bad." Said Lady. From out of the blue, the huge fragging blast-doors had slammed down, crushing some poor fool's van.
I hope he got away, Thought Lady Zero.
Then dozens of sets of anti-vehicle spikes started popping up, all over the roadway, in some cases directly under vehicles, flipping, impaling them or smashing their battery cells.
"What? Some kind of security breach?"
Lady Zero went astral. She left her body, floating up, out pf and away from the van.
The dogged, claustrophobic feeling of vehicles in traffic wafted up around her. Now there was anxiety and fear from the damaged vehicles, and some apprehension from the security booth.
The Arc itself was warded. She shouldn't have felt anything from inside.
But she did - Hatred, anger. The most intense feelings of sentient beings under repression.
Feelings of carnage about to be committed.
"YE GODS! Traci, get us away from here!" She screamed.
A second later, pods opened up and down the height of the nearest tower. The sparkling fireflies of muzzle flashes marked where machine guns opened up on the trapped cars. Traci gunned the van into reverse, mashing into a saloon vehicle behind them. Then she swerved away, with some other quick-reacting cars, escaping the scene. Machinegun rounds tore into the traffic-jam and people running from their cars behind them.
"What the frag is happening?" Traci yelled, drving and smoking.
"Whatever it is, we're safe now. Looks like the fragging gig is cancelled, though." Dex said, depressed all of a sudden.
Then the Van hit a newly-appeared set of electrispikes on the leaving road, flipping off the raised approachway.
Air-Traffic controller Marko Lobisk lay back and yawned. The shift was slow, and dragging on.
Here at the high-level Airpad, they didn't have the excitement of the lower-level pad.
Dragons, eh? He thought. I wouldn't have minded seeing that.
"Arc high-level control, this is TransAir 0523. Gimme teh approach vector, laddie. Over."
Lobisk snapped up his headset, spotting 0523 on his radar display.
"Roger 0523, steer onto 045, over. Oh, and please use proper radio procedure."
There was no answer.
He waited for one, then checked the radar again.
Odd. Can't seem to find 0523. Wonder where he went?
"DOG JESUS FRAG DID YOU SEE THAT CONTROL?" Someone screamed, so loud it hurt Lobisk's ear drums like a Darwin's Bastards Troll-Thrash. It was a different voice, not 0523.
"Calm down. Identify yourself. See what? Over." Lobisk replied, annoyed.
"Sorry control. Transair 0546 here. Just saw a TiltWing go down. Lost an engine. Over. FRAG!!!"
Lobisk located him on the radr two. He was just about to reply, when the blip disappeared. There was no way he could have descended to below radar height. What happened?
Then another blip disappeared. And another.
He had that sinking feeling - When he knew he was in for a fragging.
The door opened behind him - The Chief Air-Traffic control supervisor walked in.
"Chief! Ah cannae believe it, I-"
He froze. The chief didn't have gun last time he was here...
The Chief fired.
On the top of Robot The Bruce Tower, camouflaged by the nearby Ornamental gardens, the IWS Sunspot Mk 88 Directed Energy Air Defence Weapon (DEAWs) swivelled round on it's target.
Newly installed, at great secrecy and expense, the weapon was shipped in via a high-level deal with IWS. One of the most advanced Anti-Aircraft weapons in the world, an Air-defence laser was known to be a surefire defence against any airborne target. It had a range of over 300 miles on a clear day, could burn though smoke, fog and cloud in harsh conditions. Modern target computers allowed 98% accuracy on a single, dodging target via combined Thermal, Optical, Radar and Lidar imaging, with enough power to down any aircraft - Including Dragons.
The weapon mercilessly picked off every aircraft on an approach course with the arcology, one by one. Then its set about eliminating the considerable traffic over Scotsprawl, too.
Deadeye had had some food. He didn't feel like he was starving to death anymore.
He sat in his room watching the 3DTV. Neil the Ork Barbarian was on.
He heard a noise: Gunfire, from down the corridor.
And something else - Something metallic, scurrying...
Emmanuette eyed her cellmate with apprehension.
The girl was a robogoth bitch., White hair, white face, black corset and underwear with a transparent gown over, with long sythleather boots. She was dressed more for a whorehouse than a prison. She said she'd been a leader - Leader of the FrozenBladez gang. She'd had her cyberarm taken, and restraining clamps put around her to disable the rest of her cyberware - including her eyes, making her blind, and a datajack stopper to seal her datajack.
Emmie had been blind too - They'd put one of those fragging magemask things on her, to stop her seeing, speaking and concentrating.
But the girl had apparently taken the mask off her for her, though she was blind and one-armed.
That was when she'd explained to her who she was.
Emmie didn't entirely trust her, but she had her to thank for taking the mask off - The damn thing with it's white noise was driving her insane.
"Now, if you please," The Girl said, "Take off these fragging restraining bolts, and tell me where we are."
Emmanuette looked around - They were on the underground prison level still. In a cell made of hardened Plexiglas bars - They'd need a fragging panzer to break out.
The door was locked with a maglock, with a numeric keypad.
She could see out - A Transys guard was slumped against the far side of the cell corridor wall, not moving. He'd been shot four or five times in the chest, through his armour vest. He was definitely dead.
Sergeant Mercandlen walked through the chaos of the ruined Café. The Janus had done its job. It had done a good job. He kicked the corpse of the Girl who'd taken hostages - Messily dead from a shotgun stun round to the head.
He spotted the girl she had taken hostage - She was shaken, and trying to run away from the scene.
"Och, come back here lassie! We got some questions for you!"
"Who, me?" Veronica said.
"Ya. Is this your Cyberdeck?" He said, snatching it from the table and holding itnup for her.
It was hers.
"Umm..." She said.
"I should hope not, eh!" Mercandlen joked. "Because this one has some illegal chips loaded. Ah ken see ‘em plain as the nose on ma face!"
"Ah..." Said Veronica.
"Ah take it this was the bad girl's deck. No worries, I'll impound it for ye." And he tucked the deck into his back pack, zipping it tight.
Then something odd happened to him. He doubled over in pain, clutching his head, screaming.
"IT IS TIME!"
"Are you okay?" Veronica gasped. The big, black armoured man fell to his knees.
But there was no help. Around half of the Transys guards and the Kilt-Wearing Blackwatch men were also suffering the same way. All had the same solid-blue cybereyes.
A few civilians among the gathered crowd were in pain too, but they had green cybereyes.
And then, seconds later, all of them recovered. A bit shaken, but fine.
"Are you okay?" Veronica asked Mercandlen.
"IT IS TIME." He said. He pushed Veronica roughly - She went flying back, and fell to the floor.
Then the big man whipped around his massive autoshotgun.
Veronica screamed - She saw her life flashing before her eyes.
But he didn't shoot her.
He turned to the nearest Blackwatch man. His back was to Mercandlen.
A three-round shotgun burst blew his head apart. The corpse crumpled to the floor. People started screaming. Then Mercandlen turned his Autocockgun on the crowd, opening up on autofire. Men, women and teenagers were gunned down in a hail of devastating shot. All of the blue-eyed men, Transys guards and Blackwatch - Started firing too, with shotguns, submachineguns and pistols. They massacred all of the normal eyed guards, and then turned on the civilians, mainly to get them to flee. The nearby Transys Janus drone seemed to be on their side too.
At last the firing died down.
No, it didn't Veronica thought. It had stopped here, allowing the gunsmoke to waft over the bodies of the dead. But it was spreading - Now she could hear gunfire from what sounded like all over the mall levels.
The Sadistic, grinning Mercandlen towered over her.
"Ten." He said.
"Nine..." He aimed his autoshotgun... His men formed up behind him, a Phalanx of blue-eyed killers.
The moment the gunfire started, everyone in the Elf-Only Bar jumped, then got ready for the worst.
They all pulled out their pistols, apart from Jessica, who had her assault rifle. Crystal readied her two grenades.
"Frag almighty, it sounds like World War Four just broke out!" Raven yelled to be heard.
Screaming civilians, employees and tourists started running all around, crazy, in all directions, bumping ito each other, getting trampled. It'd be suicide to try and run against the crowd.
"What is this?" Chance said. "A Shadowrun gone wrong? A Terrorist attack?"
But they could tell it was much bigger. From the bar, they could see diamond-hard plexiglass panels shut down over all the exits to the car parks, though not the shiftavators.
Almost all of them, anyway.
Down on the ground floor, a huge freight elevator door opened onto the ground mall level.
"What is THAT?" Eva asked. "Looks like a swarm of fraggin' insects."
"Not insects." Jessica corrected her. "DRONES!"
And they were. At least a hundred of them - Stock model Transys Drones - Slow Janus, fast, wheeled Tyrs, and more they had never seen before.
Crystal recognised the strange drone she Raven and Jessica had seen go into an air duct. It looked like a metal octopus on wheels.
One wheel, she corrected. They had 4-8 arms, each ending in a blade or drill or circular saw - And they started going after the civilians, and heading up the escalators. Towards them.
That was when the lights failed, blinding anyone without thermographic vision implements.
Varos' mask was ripped off, suddenly, and she fell to the floor.
A door closed nehind her, cutting off all light to wherever she was.
Complete pitch darkness.
Complete silence too.
Oh...Oh my... Has my hearing been destroyed too?
But after a while she could tell it hadn't. She looked behind her - She couldn't see the door, but then again she couldn't see her hand in front of her face, either.
She felt with her hands - Just completely solid, seamless metal.
The floor was metal, too, a grill. Wind whistled through it.
"Where am I?" She wondered out loud.
She reached for her organic knife. But it was little comfort to her at the moment.
Silvia and her guard had just gotten into the shiftavator when the lights cut out.
But unlike the mall, here in the shifatavator they turned back on, only a lot dimmer.
"Uh, probably just a glitch ma'am. We'll be okay." The guard said, nervous. Silvia didn't know if it was she the guard was nervous of, or the power.
Just then - WHAM!
Something was on top of the shiftavator.
Jessica was the first to fire, she had lost her nerve. Like in Geneva there was a horde of seemingly invincible foes all making their way towards her with malicious intent. Her BAR-15SE kicked furiously as she pulled the trigger. She squealed as the recoil took her by surprise. Unfortunately, her fire proved ineffectual, as only one drone was toppled by the spray of bullets. The rest continued to crawl forward.
Raven, SMG in hand, prayed that the grey blotches about 20 metres in front of him were foes and not allies. He fired into the group of robots. A series of pings and thumps met Raven's ear. He couldn't tell whether he had dropped any of them. He leant over to Crystal and asked.
"Did I get any?"
Crystal replied in the negative, at least Raven thought he saw her shaking her head.
"Dammit! I woulda' got 'em all if I had my Negotiator with me."
Raven briefly remembered the shiny, golden pistol he had cherished over the past few years. It was one of the few things he would have never sold, no matter the price. He had lost it in that god forsaken orcish country when he had been perforated by a crowd control walker. Raven shook off the daydream and continued firing.
By now everybody was letting rip with their weapons, except for Crystal who stood stoically still, grenades in hand, waiting for the drones to get a little closer...
Jessica had to reload her assault rifle, her hands trembled as she slid her only remaining magazine into the catch and yanked the bolt action in order to chamber a round. The metallic monsters were closer now, Jessica's fear was rising rapidly. She had never in her life expected to be up close and personal with her opponents, her career as a navigation officer aboard the Red Dawn had distanced her from the grimy reality of close combat.
Jessica began crying, sobbing heavily she wildly fired into the mob of drones. She was truly terrified now, her wide eyed gaze moved from each of her allies to another as she prayed for a miracle, the groups light pistols couldn't hope to keep the drones at bay for much longer...
That was when her eyes met Crystal's, Crystal was still holding those two grenades she had primed at the very start of the firefight...
"AAAIIIIEEEE" The decker screamed suddenly "It... hurts..."
"Vot is vong?" asked Nixie as the decker fell into her arms, holding her head.
"A disturbance... In the Matrix... we must leave... NOW!"
"Hold on, I'll get u..." The wolf shaman began, but Squeak stopped her.
"We can't go outside, we'll be killed." She paused. Gasping for breath. "We need to get to floor 50, Bulldog and Pierre should be there."
Nixie said nothing, she started to concentrate, she had no idea where she was going. So they could turn up anywhere.
"IT IS TIME!" Yelled a BlackWatch, bursting into the ladies toilets.
"HURRY!" Urged the decker, as the kiltie let lose, firing his gun randomly. He heard a scream in one of the cubicles.
*Ah 'ave yer now Kiltie!" He kicked the locked door open, unleashed rounds, upon rounds of gunfire into the confined space... Nothing. They were gone.
Veronica was done for...
DOOMED! She'd never see the sweet, sweet country of the outdoors, never experience the non-stop adrenalin rush of illegal decking, never again be able to get drunk and sexx0r people... Why did it have to end like THIS!
Veronica's hope was gone, she'd been lucky twice... but not this time, she was doomed to die.
The volley of fire was unleashed upon her, she closed her eyes and screamed, expecting to die. Then she realised, she was moving.
"HELLO!" Yelled a voice out of nowhere, an angel dragging her to heaven perhaps? If so, he could be a little gentler.
"What... happened? W-who, or what are you?" She asked nervously. She noticed the woman who she'd been held hostage with was also being dragged along.
"Tick-tock, Tick-Tock, There is no face on this clock. For I can not be seen but can be heard, unless you have Astral... but that's absurd!" Was the only reply she got, she decided to leave it at that, they weren't out of trouble yet!
"'ello? 'ELLO?" Dead... just the sound of "beep, beep, beep". Holmer was trying to phone the hospital to check on Rayi again, but nothing. The line just went dead. No matter. He pulled out his cred-stick and went back to his table, sipping his orange juice.
It had been pretty calm since he'd arrived, James had popped out to see if all was well a few times, so he didn't expect the chaos that was about to take place. Two Goblins, one frantically screaming, landed on top of his table. One, that looked like a WOLF, collapsed in a heap, while the other yelled and screamed at Holmer.
"Okay, Okay, calm down. Whaddya want?" Holmer was completely dumbstruck, Goblins appearing from nowhere... that was something you didn't see every day.
"We... we... WE GOTTA GO NOW! Guards, all gone mad! JUST RUN!" Yelled Squeaky, Nixie's teleportation spell had worked in a way, but this looked nothing like a hospital to her. But her warnings came too late. A transys guard walked in, blue cyber-eye staring out over the bar.
"IT IS TIME!" He yelled, before raising his gun and shooting the poor Elven waitress in the chest. Squeaky in blind panic knocked the Dwarf on the floor as the guard shot a just about anything, especially that what moved.
Eventually, he stood over the dwarf and goblins, gun levelled at them. He was just about to pull the trigger. They all gulped and preyed to whatever being that they lived though this.
"IT IS... UGH!" The guard was cut short, he fell to the floor. Gun in hand. A cleaver sticking out the back of his skull.
"JAMES!" Yelled Holmer. "We gotta get outta 'ere... To the Golf Cart!"
James and Squeaky lifted the exhausted Nixie off the floor, still recovering from the complex spell. They loaded her in the back of Holmer's cart, Squeaky sat with her. Holmer and James in the front.
One of Bulldog's eyes opened. He was still disorientated, his vision blurred. He could make out a green walled room, many pieces of strange apparatus around it. He was lying on a bed with thin green sheets covering him, about as thin as the vile hospital robe he was wearing.
There were two other people lying on beds next to him, one hooked up to a machine, and three more on the opposite side of the room. He was in a hospital.
Mary, Tank and Barkah dashed inside the bar, as chaos broke loose outside. Gunfire rattled, scouring great bites out of the synthmarble flooring.
"Crystal!" Mary ducked, at bits of masonry dropped from the celing. "What the frag is going on!"
"I don't know but... *duck* ... I'm sure it's trying to hurt us somehow!" Jessica's gunfire rang out again, and Tank, Barkah helping him, flipped over a table to rest the huge assault cannon he'd pulled out of his trousers.
Mary moved behind it too, pulling out the antique weapon she still carried in her pocket.
Gah. I hoped I wouldn't have to use this, as well
Red was in the middle of the crowd, when the Transys guards opened fire. Luckily, a fat, balding man was infront of her, and took the spray of bullets. She would have laughed, if this hadn't been real life, as once again someone else took the flak for her.
The crowd screamed - almost in unison, and turned, fleeing in a tide as the blue-eyed guards sprayed bullets, haphazardly, clanging off chairs, and neon billboards, as much as people. They obviously weren't intending the massacre, then, just get everyone to run. Odd.
The crowd swept partially down an elevator, suddenly halting as they found the same chaos on the level below. There were drones here, almost herding the people into a cargo shiftavator. The guards at their back seemed to be doing the same as well, forcing them down here.
Time to get of the ride, then
Agiley, she flipped over the elevator rail, and dropped into a large bed of plants, landing catlike on her feet. She opened her black duffel bag, and pulled out a drone.
Might need this baby soon. Pity to waste it, though.
Damocles crouched in the alcove, as another shiftavator sped past. This was at least the third one. What was happening?
He better get out of here, to make sure he could stay alive to complete the mission. Opposite him, ten metres across the shaft, was a doorway, and a ledge, obviously the way out to this level.
He could have edged around the shaft with his suckers, if it hadn't had the two electrified strips, which powered the shiftavators.
One thing for it then. Jump.
He eased himself up the shaft, until he was about ten metres above the door, on the opposite side, and jumped.
Chance had his silenced pistol out in front of him and was about to commence firing double-handed into the mob of drones when he suddenly realised something that his fellow runners hadn't.
Wheels and stairs didn't mix.
Upruptly switching his aim, he focused in on the elevator "Emergency Stop" kick-button on the nearest escalator. His multi-purpose military goggles (provided by Wangfei before she was captured) kicked into action, shifting into night-vision and magnifying his vision automatically. Long experience with firearms did the rest... a single perfect pistol shot impacting with the 1-inch-wide red button.
The effect on the drones had had patiently wheeled onto the escalators was immediate... The moving stairs lurched to a stop, gyrostablisers struggling to hold the drones upright.
Chance's next shot bonked into the first drone in line... and it lost its balance.
With a mighty series of crashes, the entire row of drones on the escalators went down like dominos, their contact weapons drilling wildly into each other as the bots went tumbling back down to the bottom.
Another thought suddenly occured to him...
Its only those guards with blue cybereyes that are doing the shooting... and the drones. Their mages don't have cyberware. Maybe they are not affected by this sudden madness?
Eva´s bright eyes turned out in a frightening hair shade.
"This is just brilliant... HA HA HA HA!!!!" She laughed with madness. "I will quite enjoy this run!"
Now it was time to unleash the chained beast of her heart... And no one, mechanical or organic would stop her path of destruction.
She grabbed two Blazer guns. The ones from Dragon. And closed her eyes. In that darkness, the sight didn´t matter. Her sharp ears differenced the metallic sounds of the foes...
And the muzzle of the weapons revealed a cruel smile while drones fell off, neutralised.
"Frag it... They are too many... I need to SEE their number."
She spinned one of the Blazers, and attached it to her waist.
"Flares. A luck I had brought some."
And she lighted one of them.
She exclaimed, closing a hand to her EMP grenade.
"Trouble." Nick coldly answered to the already stressed out Naomi.
The entire Arc seemed to go mad.
"Stay to my side, Dr Castle." He continued. His coldness... was not normal. He had somehow been already in this kind of situations, as he apparently knew what to do.
A kiltie appeared in an ornamental alcove. Naomi´s instinctive reaction was to run towards him, in search for safety.
But Wolf had noticed something else.
He tripped Naomi, as a burst of bullets flew past her. They came from the guard's weapon.
Without giving him a second chance, Wolf withdrew a gun and shot.
The guard dropped unconscius to the ground. He had a dart in one of his legs.
The female doctor looked up and saw what she had expected to be a scientist nerd, holding a tranquilizer gun with the coldness of an assasin.
"Are you OK, Naomi?" he asked.
"Ye... yes..." She was still trembling of fear.
"We gotta move. This madness is general." He answered.
Wolf and Naomi scrambled down the corridor. They ran past an office full of Data jerks, staring at one of their colleauges - He was jacked into the Internal Transys Matrix and seemed to be suffering some kind of seizure.
"Relax, be calm everyone." Their supervisor said, green eyes glinting in the gloom. "He'll be fine, trust me."
No time to go in there, they carried on running. They barreled into an oblivious young data-jerk in the corridor, spilling a box of chips he'd been carrying.
"Ooh, sorry!" Naomi tried to say, but Wolf was dragging her on.
They made it to a shift-a-vator.
"Get us the frag out of here!" Wolf yelled.
"Please insert destination." Replied the lift. "You are authorisd for this floor, your habitation floor and the mall and hospital levels only, Dr Nicholas Alexeiv."
"Dr Nicholas Alexeiv! We mean you no harm!" Boomed the voice of a man down the darkened corridor - It was impossible to see in the gloom.
"This is Transys security. Come out. Dangerous terrorists have attacked the arcology! We believe they are after you!"
The mall was pitched into darkness. Everywhere people were screaming, pushing and shoving, trying to get to some kind of safety.
"Stop!" Ash screamed at those who were firing. "You're hitting the civilians!!!"
In the pitch gloom, it was impossible for those with no vision enhancements to make out what was going on - Down below, on the lower mall levels, huge screaming crowds of the mall-goers were streaming in all directions. The motley drones were buzzing around, herding the people.
Crystal took out her thermographic goggles and put them on. What she saw was a chaotix mix and mash of orange and blue. She immediately notoces the odd-looking drones seemed to be putting out next to no heat at all compared to the regular transys Drones.
Chance's timely action had stopped some of the drones coming up to this mall level - The rest of the drones seemed to be pre-occupied with the mallgoers on the promenades, herding them into elevators or the buildings. Shop shutters were coming down, turning them into prisons.
Eva had moved out to the front of the bar, firing wildly down below - Then she dropped an EMP grenade down. There was brief crackle of blue from far down. Crystal noticed a few of the drones below had stopped moving.
"You got a few!" She yelled to Eva, who was tossing flares around.
Something spanged off the wall next to Eva's head.
"Get down!!!" Mist lotus screamed, sensing something a bit quicker than Eva would have, were she not going trigger-happy.
And then Eva was hit, a split-second before Mist Lotus flying-slammed into her to knock her down.
The sniper-rifle round tore through Eva's clothes and armour - It clipped her shoulder, sending her spinning as she fell to the ground. One of the precious Blazer's fell to the ground and skittered across the walkway.
More sniper rounds whizzed overhead.
They're drawn to the flares! She realised. She tried her arm - Still good, though the high-powered rifle round had tron clean through the shoulder. An ordinary human would have lost all use of that arm...
Eva could still use it for now, but it would need medical attention.
But then she saw Mist Lotus - She wasn't moving, and had taken a round in the back.
"There! Walkway, one level below!" Crystal screamed to Raven. Raven hosed the area with his little SMG - Buning half a clip of ammo. But he only had three on him. There was more stuff back in the van...
The sniper fire stopped for the time being, ans the low-calibre bullets spanged around in the blackened distance. Crystal saw the heat signatures of the men - Bulky, aroured -They looked like Elite Guards. They went to ground under the innefectual barrage, and slunk out of sight into a another shop.
"Are we just gonna stay here and let them hem us in?" Chance yelled, not quite sure who 'they' were.
"You people are NUTS!" Lord Elfric screamed. "I'm calling security!!!"
Before anyone could stop him, he had slammed the PANICBUTTON behind his bar, though it looked like most of the power was off.
But PANICBUTTONS were emergency alarms - There would be backups for them. Maybe. Crystal didn't know.
Then some of the hordes of screaming civilians ran past the front of the bar, obscuing the view, Roughly a dozen of them were pushed into the bar by the crush - Men, women, children.
"Help! Save us!" Cried a man with two sobbing children, splashed with blood.
"We're all gonna die!" Yelped a green-haired Elven secretary, wiping tears from her matching green cybereyes, the letters 'IWS' Holo-embossed on her forehead.
The new comers crowded into the bar, ostensibly seeking shelter.
A moment later, Another unexpected voice heralded from the darkness - From the sussration of far off gun fire, screaming and metallic noises.
"Don't shoot! How many of you are in there?" Shouted An Angliscised Scottish voice.
"Why don't you take a flying frag, oomie!" Tank yelled.
A figure stepped into the light from the dying flares - Briefly.
"Don't shoot, please!"
A Transys Chrome and Blue, armed with a submachinegun, as well as his three colleagues. They walked into the bar, weapons levelled...
Raven really couldn't see the four men as they cautiously walked into the bar. All he could hear was the cacophony of civillians screaming mixed with the muffled 'thump thump' of high calibre weapons herding them into easily managed prisons.
He didn't like this one bit. With no effective sense of sight, his goggles left smashed on the floor, and his hearing useless Raven was getting somewhat disturbed. One of his free hands tightly gripping Crystal's shoulder he asked her what was going on. Crystal harshly whispered back.
"Just point your gun at the door, when I say so just spray and pray that you hit one of the fraggers in front of us."
Jessica had half a clip of Meat Grinder ammo left. Still traumatised by the wave of drones she leaned against a wall and watched the four newcomers very carefully. The temporary respite allowed her to gain some composure back, enough to contemplate how best to effectively shoot and kill the men in front of her should the need arise. She looked them up and down, light body armour around the chest and abdomen, MG rounds couldn't do squat against that. She noticed they lacked helmets, either they had neglected to put them on, were caught with their pants down when the alarm went off or had them knocked off recently. Jessica Hayes decided to aim for the head of the man closest to her if they started firing. With that decision made she began to look at the civillians who had streamed into the bar so suddenly. A group of about a dozen, some children were there also. Jessica felt an urge to protect them, they were innocent and had the rest of their lives to live. She motioned the man who was with them to her side. The man and his two children wandered over, wary of her large and imposing assault rifle. Jessica whispered.
"Hide behind the bar, things could get ugly in a second or two. If the firing starts, don't move, don't make a noise and play dead if someone finds you."
The man stammered to her about how grateful he was and scuttled around the bar out of sight, his two children following closely. Jessica felt better now and turned her attention back to the four Chrome and Blues who still had their weapons trained at the occupants of the bar. The leader, holding a SMG, opened his mouth as if to speak...
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