The Den Games Network Forum RPG
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce, Nyerguds
"looks like we aren't the only ones that seek control of the lifts."
Red pointed at the pale red emergency light.
"One of the lifts is Re-Wired."
Eva examined the situation: Get out safely, or find more about.
If she get out, she would never be sure of what happened, nor help more people.... But remaining would be quite dangerous.
But she lived for danger.
She finally said, hand leaning in her heart.
"I am staying... no matter of what will happen. I will not leave until i help everyone who worths to me. And, I need to find more about this."
The last recorded entry in Vega's cyberdeck was confusing, to say the least.
One moment, Vega was decking a sundry terminal from a Cafe - When chaos broke out. Some kind of gangers had come in. Mimes, they'd looked like, she'd had noted down. Vega had been trying to write some kind of note to security, when an unidentified figure - 'The Shade' had apparently used her deck to type something.
There was nothing after that, but Overmind guessed security must have become involved - Otherwise how else did Mercandlen get Vega's deck?
He wished he could speak to the dead psycho guard. For better or for worse, the Scotsman was now messily dead, having fallen all the way from this floor to mall floor 1, into the water, and unabled to swim.
Mimes, eh?. Overmind thought. He was no expert on gangs, but he was sure there were some mimes in Belinda's mob.
Once they had finished, Belinda and Varos left the private room. Belinda adjusted her hair, ignoring the looks she was being given. She took a drink off Illydrian, who was about to say something, but a sharp look from his new leader stopped him.
Belinda drank, then dropped the plastiglass. It bounced from the red floor panelling.
"Here's what we're gonna do," She told her new second-in-command. "We got guns. We need members. Take some of our lads and lasses and start on floor one. Get anyone with guns, and if you see any blue-eyed fraggers, grab them too."
"Yeah." He said. "Okay."
Belinda noted the disgruntlement in his voice as he got up from his battered couch, grabbed his Elf-Posers and left the club.
Belinda called over the hulking Indian, who had been busy doing some kind of excercise.
"I want you to follow that fragger. If he does anything funny, kill him."
"Frag you. " The Indian replied. "I'm a Sioux fragging Wildcat. I don't work for free."
Belinda fluttered her eyelashes, gave a coy smile, then told him her plan.
Redwing considered, then said, after a moment:
"Fine. I play along. But if you frag me, I'll kill you.. Deal?"
"Deal." She replied.
Finally she called Overmind over.
"I want you to Deck in and get me a shift working."
Raven stepped back into his van. He came out half dragging Tank's assault cannon. Raven grinned.
"Let's see them blue eyes stand up to this puppy!"
Raven lefted the weapon in his four arms. He commented to noone in particular.
"Ya know, having an extra pair of arms is pretty useful. I can actually hold this thing fairly steady..."
Raven's eyes glazed over as he daydreamed about firing the massive weapon, destroying all of the drones and saving the day (of course, not without a kiss from his fair maiden!). Chance interrupted his thoughts by snorting.
"You look ridiculous. Let's get it back to its rightful owner, Tank."
Raven snapped out of his fantasy with a start and muttered under his breath.
"I could use it if I needed to...."
None of the runners yet knew what fate had befallen Tank and the others.....
Jessica watched the ceiling impatiently as she waited for something to happen. Surely they would open the emergency hatch and pull her out of here? All the while she kept worrying, What if that crazy bitch comes back? What if she wants to take ME next? Jessica realised the answer was in her hands.
Sure, it was out of ammo but did the green eyed doctor know that? Jessica could probably hold her up for a solid few minutes if worst came to worst. Maybe incapicatate her long enough to get away. Jessica looked at Mary, who was intently watching her wristphone.
"Silvia, who's going to do the decking?"
Peter slung his newly acquired assault rifle into a more comfortable position. He used the smartlink to examine the chasm in front of him. Peter didn't like the prospect of crossing on those flimsy cables and support struts, even if he could make it what chance did the children and less than fit adults have of getting across? Peter just stared at the void, hoping inspiration would strike him......
"I have no idea!" Silvia replied to the woman on the wristphone display. "I mean... Red's a rigger, but I don't know if she can deck anything... are rigger jacks and datajacks even compatible? And I... well I got no datajack of any kind..."
"There is a way of doing it without plugging in, using a screen, but that'll make it even harder, since you can't coordinate that well..."
"All right. Let's see wot I can do 'ere."
Alanya took some cables out of a compartiment inside the 'deck and plugged one of them into the control computer and the other one in the datajack behind her ear.
"I'll be back ASAP." she said. "Wotch out for me while I'm in dere, will ya?"
"I already HAD a shift working, with all security measures disabled." Overmind said.
"But that fraggin' elf poser spoiled it. He unjammed the lift and hell knows where it has gone. About the decking... I have no problem in that, except the fact that I have to work again to regain control of a lift... if we skip the security control matter."
Belinda stared at the decker. He didnīt looked scared, nor panicking, not even nervous. Odd. Most deckers were complete pimps who would have a crisis in these kind of situation. But this one... was no new to handling tough guys and hard situations.
Meanwhile, Varos had gone on a trip outside the bar, seeking for new clothes. Scattered from several places and stores she found suitable garments. She now did not look like before, was far different.
She was wearing a pair of loose jeans, who barely let a peek on her underwear at the height of the waist. The upper part of the dress had been replaced by a short silvery grey top, who let her waist and belly button uncovered, and wrapping her chest firmly, making no room for imagination. A belt too big for her and a pair of running shoes completed the garments.
But also, due to the danger of having long hair in close combat, she had cutted it drastically, to the point that it merely reached the ears by now. The ribbon she had was used as a bandana right now.
"Whoa. Nice nip...er clothes." Overmind drooled when she saw the dragon fading back in.
The men stopped outside the diving shop, where they waited, wordlessly. They could see into the back - With the racks all stacked up like that, something was definitely up...
The two at the front stood guard, while the other two blue-eyes went around the side.
Wirecat tried to see where they were going, but his limited form of astral perception couldn't penetrate the walls, unless the owner of the aura was right next to it.
He did know what was happening though.
They're flanking us...
He was about to give Tami the nudge to detonate her bomb, when a loud voice amplified his thoughts.
"You have one of our Comrades in there. Bring him out, now. This is your last warning."
The sentence was punctuated by the sound of two weapons being charged.
Alanya snaked the fibre optice cable from her cyberdeck out, and clicked it into place in the datajack in the side of her skull - Chance winced when he saw that. Cyberware, even a simple Datajack, still disagreed with him on a base level.
Alanya then took the other cable from her datajack and plugged it into the standard dataport on the surface of the console.
Her body went limp and lay on the ground.
"Well, I guess we get to play the waiting game then." Crystal said, lying against a wall.
Chance held up a hand - The gesture for silence.
Then everyone heard it.
Gunfire - Outside. Riflefire and machinegunfire. The whoosh of a rocket, the devastating chatter of a 30mm Cannon.
"Frag! It must be the army! They must be trying to break in!" Raven said.
"Either that or they're probing for weaknesses..." Eve said, rubbing her chin.
"It could be our 'friend' upstairs breaking out..." Crystal reminded them.
Alanya materialised on a golden, revolving, floating platform - The same gold, in fact, that the Elevator switches had been painted.
Off the edge of the platform, she could see an infinite space scuplted to resemble a mist-shrouded Scottish Highlands, with Neon Cactuses sprouting here and there.
A 7-foot tall Celtic Warrior with a Neon Broadsword and a Kilt the exact same type as worm by the Transys Blackwatch guards appeared in front of her, blocking her path - She could see an elevator icon behind him.
Must be an ICE. She realised, accurately. System programmers, she found, always thought along certain lines.
"State y' Destination, dearie, and give me ye Access protocol, Aye." The ICE said.
"Whuh? I mean... Huh?"
The darkly-skinned girl smiled sweetly. Unfortunately Deadeye wasn't able to see that smile.
"I bet I those thing's could hanlde my weight. Plus I'm quick, too."
Deadeye was having misgivings, when the girl squeezed past him and took a running jump.
"No! Wait!" He yelled. Too late.
The lithe girl sprang forward, and landed on the first platform. Immediately it fell several inches. The girl stumbled by held on using the cable. She ran for the next jump.
Deadeye was silently praying for her to make it across, when a loud hissing sound from the corners of the room became apparent...
Highness fetched up against a shift-shaft door, out of breath. The woman clawed at the doors fitfully.
Eventually she gained some purchase on the slipepry metal, and was able to pull the doors open.
The area the topless woman crawled out into resembled nothing it's human architects had ever conceived of.
She was standing in a room, all finished in standard Transys Chrome and Blue. She didn't realise it, but this had once been one of the office floors.
Now it was full of people - Men woman and children, in filthy clothes, standing very, very still, with blank looks on their faces.
All were connected by datajacks, through cables which ran up through the ceiling.
All but one.
A young man, black trousers, white shirt, blue tie, a Transys Logo on his shoulder. He was slumped in a corner, nothing plugged into his red-rimmed datajack. Red with blood. His spiky green hair flopped back and forth as he said:
"I must be dreaming."
She was no longer Alanya. Right here she was DINA5. A small, white piece of paper. She saw the kilted guard, and frowned. Not that her persona actually showed any of this... the piece of paper floated gracefully towards the ICE for closer inspection.
Oh mah goodness. An arrogant Scottish ICE. Wot ar' dey gonna think of next?
But 'dis thing is fraggin' strong... not yer casual ICE guard. Ah gotta be careful.
"Al' right... deception program crowd-18."
For a split second, she disconnected. Then, the crowd program was activated, and she went back in. The guard was flooded with fake users without authorisation trying to log in, and she wasn't the first user on his process list anymore. Millions of users appeared, with the weirdest personas. DINA5 had made a program that saved all persona's she encountered, to make the crowd program look more real. The ICE would not immediately see the similarities between two fake users if they had different personas.
"An' now da tricky part... Blend-18"
Her persona shimmered, and took the properties of one of the fake persona's close to it. As she went on through the crowd, her persona kept changing, so that the ICE couldn't identify it.
"Oh frag... the persona saver is still active."
She quickly deactivated the program. But it was too late... between the crowd, two or three kilted celtic warriors appeared.
She didn't waste any time trying to disable them. She just went on, as fast as she could, hoping the ICE wouldn't notice them before she managed to pass them.
The ICE suddenly stopped scanning the fake users.
"User Overflow! Out ye go, lads an' lasses!"
DINA5 quickly slipped past the guard. Just in time... a split second later, all users, fake or real, were disconnected.
"I could try", said Red, looking at the control panels. "But I don't think my rigger jack is compatible. The best we could do is hook it up to one of the screens in here, and do everything manually via one of these whatchemacallits..."
She pointed at the archaic instuments that were placed neatly next to each terminal.
"Keyboards, I think", said Silvia. "I've seen them in the human museum on Terganon. They were used until the invention of the datajack and the matrix revolution."
"I know," said Red, grinning at her. "You're smart about tech, for a Dragon, I thought the bigguns hated the stuff."
"I'm not actually a Dragon," replied Silvia. "My mum's an elf, dad's the scaly one. I have some benefits of both races, and according to the mage-doctors on Terganon, my auras are pretty screwed up accordingly. Anyhow, Dragons do use tech, they just aren't particularly partial to weapons or decking. Terganon's possibly the most high-tech place on earth, you know."
"Never been there myself, although I'd love to. Right now, though, we best concentrate on getting outta here alive."
"Uh huh...", said Silvia, but was cut off by Bulldog.
"You ladies finished yer mothers meeting, and are yer planning on actually doin' sumthing about the shifts?"
"Um, yeah", mumbled Silvia. She'd wanted to talk to Red more, the woman seemed... odd somehow, stragely confident, and hadn't questioned her dragon-ness at all until now. Most people would run a mile if they knew there was a dragon nearby, or hide behind some stupid superstitious nonsense, like silver bullets or magical swords.
"Ok," said Red, pulling out one of the keyboards and kicking the terminal on. "At least this won't fry me, right?"
Silvia steeped forewards, and aimed the wristphone at the screen, giving Mary as good a view as possible. She was wondering, at the same time, why on earth a high-tech corporation like Transys would keep keyboards instead of equipping their lift control users with datajacks.
She had a strange feeling they might find out.
"The waiting game, huh?" said Mary, looking across at Jessica and Barkah. "Hopefully the lift controls are simple, the more complicated they make them, the harder it would be to do with those key-board things they've got. And it's normally a good idea to make sure it's easy to control your transport, as it's vital in a building this big." She smiled. "We'll be moving and with Silvia soon."
"Who is this Silvia?", Jessica asked. Mary hadn't explained everything.
"She's an... uh... half-elf, (Mary decided not to mention the dragon-part in case it alarmed either of her comrades), and she has some other survivors with her. We might be able to get out of this with their help and the shiftavator controls.
"Phew", said Jessica, but then looked around, at the door behind her. "What's that noise?"
"Frag," whispered Mary. "There's someone outside. If it's that nurse-lady, we need to keep her here, and stop her stopping the instructions getting to Silvia."
Barkah, looking around, decided on a plan. Without telling the others, he hoisted himself up, through the hole, to the roof of the shiftavator. The doors slid open, as his feet dissapeared through.
The doors slid open, revealing the grinning visage of the woman who had taken Tank away.
"Hello again my pretties. Wait....where's the big one?"
Her green eyes scoured the faces of Jessica and Mary for any telltale hints.
"Where. Is. He?"
Each word was punctuated with barely concealed anger. The woman stepped forward, intending to grab Mary and shake her. Barkah dropped from the ceiling onto her shoulders. The two fell onto the floor in a heap. Barkah quickly recovered and hopped to one side, wielding his sword threateningly. Jessica pulled her assault rifle out of her duffel bag and pointed it at the woman. Mary kept her distance, her connection with Sylvia still in place.
The green eyed woman started to rise, Barkah slammed a foot into her face and told her to stay down. The woman chuckled menacingly before speaking.
"What makes you think you can keep me down? That puny sword? You amuse me, a primitive weapon like that?"
"Sure, but have you seen my weapon?"
The doctor turned her head and hissed when she saw the assault rifle.
"Clever, clever girl. Where'd you get that then?"
Jessica didn't answer.
Peter spun around, listening intently to the hissing noise that had so suddenly invaded the bay. By now the other people in the holding bay began to register the sound. They were beginning to get anxious, Peter unslung his assault rifle again and inconspicuously pointed it at the source of the noise. He couldn't see anything and yet the noise persisted. Peter suddenly realised what it was.
Nerve gas, tear gas, laughing gas. What was VOES pumping into the holding bay? Peter didn't want to find out, but what could he do? First things first Peter, get the girl far away from here. Peter yelled at her.
"Go! Don't look back just go!"
Her first reaction was to, in fact, look back but she checked herself before turning and making her way to the next platform. Peter turned and watched the other civillians in the room. The gas hadn't affected any of them yet, it was yet to diffuse throughout the entire bay. Peter suspected that a containment crew of blue eyed guards would shortly make an appearance, preying upon the weakened civillians. Peter held up his weapon, pointing it at the most obvious entry point. He whispered harshly to noone in particular.
"Let them come."
Raven felt a tingle run down his spine as he flinched when a explosion rocked a nearby bulkhead. He gripped Tank's assault cannon tighter with his four arms.
"It's getting closer."
The decker, Alanya, remained blissfully unaware of the rifle fire and that of heavier weapons. She remained limp and unresponsive. Chance, still grimacing from the sight of her datajack, crouched over her and said.
"Should we wake her up somehow? What do we do if we need to move fast and she's comatose, jacked in and all?"
He lifted a hand, as if to lightly slap her face, thought about it and then dropped his arm. You couldn't shake a decker out of the Matrix, they had to come out in their own good time otherwise they could be seriously mentally damaged.
Now, even though the woman was trying to kill him and all. Barkah felt it was only right to offer up a plea of forgiveness for the sins he had just committed. Barkah hated using physical force, but the woman was too cocky for her own good. To say an Ork couldn't hurt an unarmed human woman in any case was like saying a Troll couldn't topple a house of cards. Although, going by the Troll's Barkah had met, they probably wouldn't know where to start.
"Now, your going to be a good little doctor and help us get out of here." He heard Jessica say to the figure.
"It'z a funni ole life yer know...." Jolly said to no one in particular. "One minute yer havin' a bit o' fun with yer mates, da next BOOM! It all goes spinnin' off outta yer reach. And lands yer in a shiftavator shaft."
He continued his slow climb, and it was very slow. He still felt terrible from the the battles he'd had, it would take him months to recover. But, he kept on. I blind hope that there would be a way out of this one, without him having to fight a mass of drones that magically appear in the shaft. He sighed and shook his head. He'd also remembered he was very hungry, he hadn't eaten for, erm.....Well it was more then the fingers he had available on one hand so it had to be a lot.
He heard the faint sound of a moving shift above him. He looked up or a moment, he was sure he could see what looked like the bottom of it.
"Might as well try ta follow it ah guess....."
Pierre sat , glaring at the civves in the Shift. The other Goblin and the Dwarf were tending the body of Nixie, although what good it would do her he didn't know. He heard people cursing him under their breath, just how he liked it. He got up with a grin on his face.
"Well, Madam's and monsieur's, We should be reaching our stop zoon, non? I will bid you all a very noble retreat, and I will zee you all in hell!"
He waited for the shift to stop. He watched floor after floor go by, it HAD to open on one of them. But it didn't. The realisation soon dawned on Pierre, The Master wasn't letting him off.
"You don't look like any Ork I've ever seen." Bulldog said to Damocles, who was standing nearby. The Ork just grunted, he wasn't very talkative.
He watched the events unfold, the women work, the vid-phone conversations go by, and he had an odd feeling of uselessness really. There wasn't much a legless Goblin could do. He sat back and wondered about the rest of his team. Were they dead? Being experimented on? Escaped maybe? Did Pierre get out the hospital alright? Bulldog never saw him, at all. He hoped for the best, but the evidence pointed to the worst. He shook his head. This was one mission well and truly failed.
"I must be dreaming"
Highness stopped trying to rip off the torn up arms of the dress she had been wearing, her head snapped to the source of the noise. It was quite a dark room, so her eyes had automatically gone Night Vision. She didn't know it, but this was an advantage when dealing with people, as her eyes stayed fixed in a dark green colour. She would have stepped toward the man, but she realised she had to make herself bigger, more threatening. It was a natural instinct, like almost everything she did. She unfolded her wings, the loomed above her like shadows.
Although the man didn't seem to notice. This was probably down to two reasons, neither of them Highness really realised. The man was too sick and it was too dark to notice a small thing like a pair of wings sticking out of a woman's back, or he had a very fixed eyeline. The second seemed to be very much true.The mans mouth hung open, a trickle of blood from it ran down his chin.
"I always imagined heaven to be different." He tried to laugh, but it just turned into a weak cough. Highness was as unmoved as the people with datajacks. She just stood over him and watched, ready to retreat if she needed to.
"Hang on...", said Mary. "As long as we have her hostage, we don't need to deck the shiftavator". She looked at the woman, who snarled. "We can use her voice to operate to voice recognition stuff."
"You'll never get anything from us, puny human!", barked the green-eyed nurse. Mary smiled back.
"It's a pity, then, we'll have to do it the long way, and Barkah doesn't like waiting, do you Barkah? - Things could get unpleasant."
Silvia looked on through the vidphone.
The deck booted up, and Red watched the variety of commands scroll past. Bulldog watched over her shoulder, he might know something she didn't, and having two minds here would be better than one - unless one of them was a decker.
"Hang on," said Silvia. "Mary's managed to get hold of some Transys woman, and they're trying to make her work the shift for them."
"I'll carry on", replied Red, "we might need this anyway, and the quicker we get out, the better." She quickly selected an avatar from the drop down list - a rabbit with two large floppy ears and pink fur - and entered the Matrix.
The rabbit hopped forewards, across the misty landscape. Red found the 2-dimensional controls much harder than the one time she'd used the matrix with a neural interface headset at school. This might be tricky.
Ahead of her, a tall, monolithic tower rose into an azure sky. A large neon sign, perced atop it's craggy peak, read 'SHIFT CONTROL 9A'.
She hopped forewards. The sound of footsteps, echoing across the bleak landscape, stopped her.
"Bloody Hell", whispered Bulldog. "An ICE!"
"Give me the controls, girl, said Bulldog, pulling himself up into the chair next to Red. "I have a little training, I'll take over - shame about the avvie, though. An ICE is a semi-sentinent progr - oh shit!"
As they watched, the lupine form of a fox, with neon-yellow fur, collassally proportioned and wearing a tartan kilt, appeared from the mists infront of them.
Tank woke up in a very white room. It smelt vaguely clinical, and was also very empty, apart from what appeared to be the bed he had been lying on, and a large glass screen infront of it, almost blocking acess to the rest of the room.
He felt cramped around his back and shoulders, and heavier, as if he was very tired. He struggled to his feet, and looked around.
There was nothing in here, except a large hatchway door at the far end of the room, which was about 4 metres wide. The room itself was much bigger, and rectangular. He sat up, and felt the scrape of metal against the wall ring out in his ears. He had something metal on his back, but, when feeling, could not reach it. It was the source of the heaviness, as it extended down his back from his shoulders.
He wondered, primally, what is was, as the door scraped open.
Two drones entered. They rumbled towards him menacingly - they looked like the octopus model they had seen earlier.
Tank looked around for a weapon, and found he didn't have one.
One of the drones extended a weapon, and moved foreward. A spray of bullets pattered into the glass, which was obviously reinforced.
Tank knew they were after him, and didn't recognise why. He tried to pull the bed off the wall, to try and use it as a shield, but it was too firmly bolted.
He looked back, as the drones still trundled foreward, across almost-white lines on the floor he hadn't noticed before. What were they for?
They had numbers on them - probably measuring, in metres. The drones were at the 20 metre line now, and contined coming, firing as they went. As soon as they could round the glass shield, they would have him.
At the 10 metre line, something else happened. The drones stopped, exactly in pace, and began to fire, almost randomly, sprays of bullets not hitting tank, but each other...
"Ah, I'll outfox the little bugger!" Bulldog grinned, he wasn't a master at the Matrix, but it couldn't be too hard, could it?
"I hope for your sake that was a pun." Red shook her head.
On the screen, the fox approached, Bulldog got his bunny ready to jump. He had a plan!
"Why the frag did you pick a rabbit anyway? Did you think it looked cute and cuddly or something?"
"Don't push your luck Goblin!" Red spat.
The slobbering form of the tartan fox came closer, and closer, and closer....fragging hell, Bulldog was dying from the suspense. He waited till it was almost on them, then like a flea when your just about to catch him, sprang off. It hopped circles around the fox, who didn't know which way to turn.
"HAHA! Ph33r /\/\y 1337n355 fr4gg3r!!!!" Yelled Bulldog as the bunny hoped around, expertly dodging the slow, gaping jaws.
"Erm, Bulldog?" Red tried to interupt.
"Yeah, yeah, not now. I'm on a roll. HA! Take that ya n00b!"
Red pointed her gun at the Gobboz head.
"The shiftavator?" She grinned at him.
"The wha....Oh yeah, I'm all over it!" Red patted him on the head.
"Theres a good ikcle Goblin."
Barkah tried to look mean and threatening, but he could see he wasn't getting the effect he wanted by the woman's face, so he just give up. He kept one eye firmly on the woman, while trying to watch Mary. He felt he had an odd connection with this woman, although he wasn't sure what it was. Maybe it was because they both seemed to want to lead normal lives and be as pacifist as possible, but seem to have been dragged into a situation that smashed their morales to bits.
"Arm tired yet, trogg?" The woman taunted. She probably saw another grunt who'll attack anything if provoked, which to be fair Barkah did look like. That's the problem with the world, people too often judged people by first glance. And that made Barkah deeply sad, it just into his soul everytime it happened.
He shook his head, wondering if they could gag the woman at all. She was getting quite annoying.
Highness suddenly had a great urge to do something. She didn't know what, but something was bugging her. She looked around, the man was still ranting something about "angels" and "death", she ignored him. She soon found that it was the people that were bothing her. She hadn't realised at first glance (Or indeed second, third or forth.), but these people were oddly lifeless. They had things sticking out of them, what they were she didn't know. But seeing as they were somewhat lifeless anyway, it couldn't hurt to do explore.
She serched amoung them until she found a young woman, in apperance she must have been a bit younger then her. Although Highness didn't take much notice to this fact, she just had pretty hair.
Highness touched her with one trembling hand, then sprang away. Nothing had happed. She gathered up courage and stepped forward again, placing her palm on the young woman's face. She felt soft, warm.....alive. Highness put another hand on the other side of her face, still nothing. It was confusing for one who has little thought. She felt alive, yet acted dead.
Highness took the hands away from her and sat on the floor beside her. She wasn't thinking as such, more waiting for her brain to catch up with what she was seeing and for all parts of her brain to make up thier mind about the next course of action. Instinct kept telling her to run, yet it had been for awhile so she ignored it. The other parts of her brain, while weaker then instinct, seemed to be focusing on the thing attached to the woman. After a few minutes, She plucked up the courage to try again, this time fixing a hand onto the cord.
Her hands were shaking madly, she got ready to run away if she needed too, this didn't feel right.
The world stood still for a while, at first nothing happened, apart from the man yelling "NOOOO! What have you done!". Then, the woman's eyes strarted to open, she slowly got up, she was dazed and confused. Then she looked around at Highness.
"By the heavens! An angel, sent down from God to save me! Thank you oh blessed one! I am forever in your debt." The woman threw her arms around Highness, who was slightly confused. But it seemed to have turned out ok. This fueled her to walk over to another person, still a woman, but she was a little older ten the last. This one had pretty eyes instead. She carefully reached out for the cable, the man and woman looked on. She pulled.
"AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!" Screamed the woman, falling to the floor in a heap with her head in her hands. She never got up.
Highness got down on her knees and felt the body. Dead. She cried. She'd done wrong again. Yet some part of her brain stored an important lesson.
Highness unplugged person after person - A middle-aged oriental man, a teenage fashion victim with colour shifting-hair, a Black woman in a high-fashion Orange jumpsuit. By now the people she had already freed were recovering, dazed on the floor.
The spiky-haired young man gazed in astonishment at the newly-freed people, wondering how he could approach the amazingly beautiful - and Topless woman.
Soon everyone in the small room was freed - A round 50 people, who had no connection to each other apart from their recent state. Many were Transys employees, some were shoppers snatched from the mall. Some were high-level execs, some were the lowest of data-jerks.
Now they lolled around, dazed, missing something in their lives - Like BTL addicts denied their fix, although Highness, new to this world, had never met a BTL addict.
"I felt... My God... My pet Talis Cat... Where is he?"
"Pain... The screaming..."
"Head... hurts. Too much input. TOO MUCH!"
Around five people simply dropped dead, like the older woman. But from what Highness could tell, it was better they die than live in torment like that.
The subdued, tired crowd regarded Highness oddly, unsure what to make of her.
The spiky-headed kid was the first to notice.
"The Queen... ITS THE QUEEN!"
Highness was hit by a sudden wave of worship, the people crowded around her, hugging her like a saviour. In an act of kindness, the oriental, olderman had wrapped his tatty jacket around highness to swathe her ample breasts.
Examining her surroundings, Highness looked up at the celing as the hands enveloped her.
The Fibreoptice cables retracted swiftly into the ceiling. There appeared to be a circular impression in the high ceiling - A patch of darkness leading up - The only exit to the room she could see apart from the shift she had entered from.
Something told her this layout had not been designed for the comfort of humans.
She heard something else - The high-pitched whine of an aircraft engine powering up...
Peter waited - No-one appeared.
Then the people in the room started dropping one by one.
There was a sudden surge towards the small hole that the girl had gone through. Peter tried to stop the screaming crowd pushing him through, but it was no good. There were too many of them. A man was squeezed through as Peter tried to hold him back. He didn't quite make it to the first platform - He tumbled down, end over end, hitting the floor far below with a sickly thump. Peter was being pushed in, too.
Meanwhile, the girl was making progress. The line of platforms swining wildly as she jumped from one to the other. She risked a glance over her shoulder back at Peter, saw the surging crowd threaten to push him in.
"Jump!" She screamed. "While you still an!"
Alanya found herself in a glowing cylindrical, yet spacious area. An exact representation of the inside of the executive shift. Only the pixellation of its surface when examined up close told her it wasn't real.
She opened the access port on the voice-rec panel. A List of commands - 3D Words seemingly floating on air moved out and expanded in front of her, presenting her with a list of options.
1) Summon executive class shiftavator
2) Edit user access list
3) Lock out shiftavator to all users
4) Set shiftavator to emergency status
5) Set shiftavator to maintenance status.
She selected option 2.
1) Add new user
2) Delete user
Now she selected option 1.
In the tense environment of the Parking control room, a voice issued from the Voice panel of the shiftavator. A blank, characterless electronic voice - The standard female voice of the shiftavator system.
"This is Alanya. Listen to me. We need to register someone's voice in the database to use theis thing."
The people in the room looked first at Alanya, then at her inert form.
Crystal spoke into the voice panel.
"Okay. But we don't have much time! There's a fragging war kicking off here!"
"Fine then." The shiftavator said, not betraying Alanya's frustration. "Repeat after me: Zaibatsu suck a Dragon's dick"
"What?" Crystal recoiled.
"Humour me. Its the standard voice-rec phrase. Bloody Transys computer techs."
Glancing at Chance, who shrugged, then at Raven, who grinned, Crystal repeated the phrase into the voicerec panel.
"Voice imprint recognised. Welcome Mrs President. Which floor would you like to go to today?"
"Grab her." Crystal jerked a thumb at Alanya. Raven unplugged her, and everyone crowded into the shiny golden shiftavator.
"Mall level four." She told it.
Peter launched himself away from the crowd with an ungainly lurch as they continued to push towards the exit, like cattle they trampled one another in a desperate attempt to escape the mysterious gas. A single hand reached out and grabbed Peter's leg as he flew through the air, his trajectory was interrupted when the arm and his leg ran out of slack. Peter fell roughly onto the platform. Metal screamed as struts were strained, the entire platform shifted as the stuts started to warp under the pressure. Peter pulled himself onto his feet and glanced over at the crowd. The sudden noise the platform had made had caught their attention, they realised they couldn't escape the holding bay through the platform anymore. They stood there, silently watching Peter as he balanced on the swinging platform. Peter felt bad, he could escape but they couldn't. He yelled over at them.
"Don't worry people, I'll be back for every single one of you. I'm going to get reinforcements!"
Peter could see that it helped calm the people but they still looked miserable as he prepared to jump onto the next platform.
Sally had made her way onto the last platform and waited for Peter there. Peter made his way to the next platform. He risked another look at the crowd, the outskirts were beginning to succumb to the gas. Peter yelled over the chasm to them.
"Get away from the edge, the gas is coming."
They collectively took a few steps back, eyes still intently watching their 'hero'. Peter turned and made his way to the final platform where the girl was waiting.
"Took yer' time ye did!"
Peter ignored the comment and used his smartlinked scope to examine the area around him, where to go from here?
Raven, Alanya slung over his shoulder, dragged Tank's assault cannon into the shift-a-vator. It was a tight squeeze with the enormous weapon in there. Crystal commanded the shiftavator.
"Mall level four"
It replied curtly.
"Yes, Mrs President."
Everybody felt an odd light headed sensation as the shiftavator accelerated.
The green eyed butcher wasn't giving them anything. Jessica was growing frustrated with the woman's refusal to submit and activate the system.
"Listen here, you realise that if you don't do what I say right here right now I'm going to blow your ugly face across the wall right?"
The woman hissed in reply but otherwise remained silent.
Samuel Parker hadn't spent the last few hours sitting about, twiddling his thumbs. No, after communication with that swine Stephenson had been lost he had been busy. Parker had informed his superiors of the 'situation' in the Transys Arco, they had conferred for an hour before coming back to him.
[Begin operation Wilco-Epsilon-Sigma, take whatever resoures required.]
Parker smiled, he had read the mission parameters of operation W-E-S and had liked what he read.
The gold-plated shift filled itself with bland music just the irritating side of soothing, cutting out the approaching sounds of gunfire and chaos.
"Well, we got away from that... Whatever the frag that was."
"Stay sharp." Chance reminded them. "We aren't out of it yet. We need to find out where the frag they took our people."
"We need to talk to our green-eyed friend." Crystal said, at which point she redirected the shift by barking "Level 2. NOW!"
"Certainly Mrs President.".
"Mrs President?" Crystal eyed Alanya inquisitively.
The doors opened. Stinking water seeped in over the thick carpet. The executive shift had arrived at one of the regular shift-ports on Mall level two as per instructions - Conveniently close to the diving shop.
Someone was shouting something over in that direction.
Silently, Chance flicked his hand three times in that direction. He rounded on Ash and made the gesture for Stay put. She nodded.
Pieces of glass and assorted junk crunched under the heavy footfalls as the two men stomped into the room.
Wirecat nudged Tami. She twisted the trigger lever.
The men trudged closer.
Frantically she twisted the lever again.
The room rocked with the explosion below. Before Wirecat and Tami had recovered from the ringing in their ears, Wirecat was bludgeoned into the ground, knocked completely unconsious by a massive weight from above. He fell down in a heap - Down into the shop below, the massive Ork who'd fallen on top of him, concussing him - had clambered up to the vents like Jolly had minutes before, and gotten the jump on the Cat-man.
Tami stared amazed after him. The snarling Ork grinned and looked up at her, flashing his blue eyes. He was joined by a Blackwatch man, half his face burnt-off and peppered with Shrapnel.
The man aimed his Autoshotgun up into her hidey-hole, and opened fire.
At the sound of the explosion, Chance Raven Crystal and Alanya broke into a headlong run. Three of them charged down the escalator towards the plaze where the diving shop smoked from yet another explosion, while Crystal hopped over the barrier and dropped down ten feet, landing heavily and winding herself.
Across the way, the Dwarf Blue-eye in Transys Guard colours whipped out his IWS Mankiller Heavy Pistol. He was fragging fast - He'd been going around to the back of the diving shop for some reason. Now he blazed away at Crystal whilst running full-tilt on his stubby legs.
Crystal hit the floor, pulling the pin on an aerofoil grenade she ripped from her jacket.
"HEE HEE HAR! LETS SET OUR HAIR ON FIRE!" Giggled the cyber dwarf.
"Eat this!" Screamed Raven, letting rip his two Submachineguns from the balcony while Alanya and Chance raced down. By now someone was firing a heavy autoshotgun from inside the diving shop.
Bullets kicked up all around the Dwarf. One impacted on his thick forehead, leaving a nasty-looking chunk gouged out. The halfer yelled as one of his ears were removed, and then three or four rounds thudded into his vest-clad torso.
Cursing he changed direction to run away - Just in time for Crystal's arcing disc grenade to land between his legs.
The Blackwatch man had enough trouble firing his Autoshotgun. Chance neatly double-tapped him in the back of his head from the shop entrance. Though his head was devatstated, the brain-case emptied explosively, the Stocky man turned around to look at his killers and give them a mean stare.
Chance fired again and naild both the blue eyes.
Suddenly outnumbered and outgunned, the Ork who had been busy pounding Wirecat's limp form into the floor looked up with a dumb look.
"Aroo?" He gulped, looking as helpless as a puppy, while Crystal and Raven filed in behind Chance and Alanya.
"Surrender. Throw down your weapons, and lie down on the floor. DO IT NOW!" Chance ordered.
The Ork licked some of the blood dripping from one hand. Then he charged at Alanya.
The teeth flew with the shock of the hit. Right now, Eva once again.
The ork shocked his head, dazzled with the hit.
"Treat the lady with more respect!"
Crystal face to Eva.
"It was about time... Eva."
The dim light of the office described only two figure
"For how long they have been trapped?"
The coated man asked the Dragon Paw officer.
"We just don't know... sir. Besides, the Navy is having a blockade there."
The coated punk messed his hair.
Mawroth would probably get really mad at him... If he had not left her... maybe he could have helped. But there was nothing he could don now. He needed to think.
"Draco, think... You are not dumb..." He said to himself, while the officer was leaving.
Finally, the astonished Draco started up to tie things.
"Call the Colonel Rag."
And he leaned back on the coach, meditating. Thinking.
The green-eyed, green-haired nurse coldly regarded the 'prisoners' that had her prisoner now.
How different she had been, once. Usleless, petty, self-serving. Like them. She served a greater good now. She knew that for a fact - She was being told it a thousand times a second, subconsiously.
Oh look, she sneered. They're threatening to kill me. Well That changes things.
"Huh, If you kill me, you'll never get out of here."
I'm proud. Said a voice in her head. You are willing to scarifice you're own life for your brothers and sisters. Maybe when these... individuals... are added to our whole, they will thank you in turn.
"Oh, let it be so!" The woman exclaimed in delight.
"I wonder..." Thought Mary. She'd seen people talk to themselves like that - When people used headware radios and telephones, it often looked like they were speaking to themselves.
"What?" Snapped the Nurse.
"Those eyes... What other mods do you have? Who gave you them?"
"You wouldn't understand." Snarled the woman. "I've seen more with these eyes than any of you could ever see in a lifetime. With these ears, I can hear the sounds of a world in pain, crying out for relief..."
Though it was easy to dismiss her ramblings as those of a madwoman, Mary, a woman of uncommon empathy (especially compared to the street-scum lowlifes she regrettably found herself with quite often) could detect real feeling in their. Real emotion, a kind of reverrence.
It's all to do with those eyes...
Thinking quick, she tore a strip off her labcoat.
"Wh-what are you - NOOO!!"
The nurse screamed harshly as Mary tied the blindfold around her eyes. Jessica and some of the others moved quickly to clamp her mouth shut and stop her thrashing about. Mary hated putting even someone like this in distress, but it had to be done.
"Now - Where's our friend - The big Ork?"
Sobbing, the nurse told her, begging for them to take her blindfold off...
"Experimental cyberware... research... Floor 101..."
"And where are we?"
"Floor... 35... we change 'shifts here to restrict who gets up to the higher levels."
"Ok," said Mary, signalling for Barkah to tear some more bindings from his shirt, "we're going to tie up your arms and legs, and then you're going to take the 'shift up to where our friends are, before we go and get the ork, ok?"
"Good. And if you try ANYTHING, my friend..." - she glanced at Barkah - best not to use any real names - "...Ernie, here will slip the blindfold back on straight away. Is that good?"
"Good. Now take us up to the floor with the lift controls for this tower on - our friends are there."
While Bulldog lead his rabbit into the depths of the arcology control tower, Red watched another screen, with straight information on the whereabouts of the shiftavators.
"Hey! It looks like the shift docked on level 35 is moving up here!"
Silvia hurried over, and flicked back to Mary on the wristphone, talking for a moment before turning back.
"Cool. They have a Transys woman working the lift for them. You can disconnect now, Bulldog."
Bulldog spoke, still concentrating on the screen. "Hang on - I might be able to find out something useful here."
As the shift drifted upward, Jessica wondered about the situation... How desperate it was, and wgere she was going exactly. She didn't even know any of the people she was with. Apparently she was going up to rescue some Ork. She could use some ammo for her gun. She decided it was time for a chat.
"You are Mary, right?" She asked the lab-coated woman (Hey, it suits her VO )
"Call me Jessica. You look like some kind of scientist. Do you work here?"
"Um, yes... Jessica."
"Any idea what's going on here?"
Mary didn't like the direct questioning. But there was no way of avoiding it, not here in the cramped confines of the shift.
"I really don't know." She said. "As far as I can tell many of the employees here have recently been given new sets of cyberware for some reason. I thought it was just some new company scheme. But they seem to be the ones doing all this."
"And the drones?"
"The drones... They aren't company made ones. In fact, I'm no expert, but they look too advanced for any corporation to make."
"So what are we dealing with here? A cult? Renegade scientists or something? Also - What are going to do? To be honest, I don't know any of you. I just wanna get out of here."
"Well, it'd be hard getting to the doors on ground level. Last I saw, the Mall was flooding. There are two airports here, but the company had missile launchers and guns on the roof... I think."
"I could fly a plane." Jessica thought out loud.
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