The Den Games Network Forum RPG
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce, Nyerguds
Crystal studiously tried to stay out of the way of the touching little reuinion Alexeiv seemed to be having... But she was wary of Shadow. The guy had been on both sides of her before, and the question was, what side was he on now?
The little group retreated to a darkened corner table out of habit. Crystal volunteered to be first to go up, get some drinks, while Chance Ash, Rusty and Shadow got to settle the score some more.
Beers please, if you aren't too occupied Said the ePad as Crystal slid it over. Rei began pouring them with a gracious nod, still speaking to Alexeiv.
Crystal became aware of a guy to her left. Cheap suit (Paul Smith knockoff... Not that Crystal had any ise for labels), a battered Fedora hat and a tie that was so terrible even a High School craft teacher would leave it alone. He was munching soynuts from the bar and smelt of stale coffee and even staler piss.
He was glancing over at the table far too often for Crystal's liking, too.
Crystal oddly enough didn't go for Physical brutality too much, but ever since Transys she'd resorted to the axiom of 'Actions speak louder than words' more often than usual, for obvious reasons.
And she was getting to like it, too.
Grabbing the back of the nosy guy's head with both hands before he even knew what was going on, she took great delight in slam-dunking his head off the bar. Soynuts flew in all directions - A few of them could have been teeth, if that mattered - Before the guy slumped in his barstool, comatose.
Rei stared, shocked. Crystal winked. Alexeiv enjoyed the show too.
Looking down at the noise, Crystal saw a) A Colt Hi-Po Streetline - Small, cheap, concealable lemon squeezer' type pistol... The kind of thing an Old Lady might carry to shoot cockroaches with' and b) A Credstick.
A credstick emblazoned with the crest of Daisaka security services inc.
A rent-a-cop. Or at least a guy with rent-a-cop ID.
He couldn't know about the 'runners, surely? If not, then who was he after?
Crystal snatched back her ePad and went to tell the others. Pausing, she flipped the Cop-Credstick to Rei to pay for the beers, it's owner sleeping silently.
Both Tundra and Choak had reason to pause when they were suddenly alerted to a new presence behind them.
"Alright Fraggers! This is my turf, and this is now MY bus. You have approximately 5 Milli-seconds to get the frag outta here before I turn alla youz fraggerz inta dog food!"
Said the grubby little 7 year old Ork kid, playfully slapping a pathetic, rotten piece of bannister rail into the palm of his hand, like a club. The look of grim determination on his face was almost comical.
But then, he didn't seem to be too afraid of Two obviously magically-active Orks
"'Scuse me Lady, looking for directions?" Came a 50-a-day rasp from behind Alanya.
Punks. Denims, floppy, greasy hair, as opposed to spiky. Even as she turned, they moved to surround her. 8 of 'em.
"Heh heh, everyone's godda ask uz fer directionz," Wheezed the Elf who'd spoken, taking a drag on some makeshift cigarette holder with about 3 cigarettes sellotaped into it. Even smoking 1 cigarette in public was illegal. Too bad there didn't seem to be any rent-a-cops here.
"Everyone haz to, coz if the don't, people get LOST" he said, drawing a line across his throat. "Now, we won't patronzise you by going into how much ass of you we are going to kick... So just give us all yer money and frag off, right?"
Alanya had seen a few punks in her time, and these losers were all bones. Pathetic really, but they had guns. Snub 9mms, they looked like. But something told her they were just out for fun, not really professional shake-down artists...
She wondered if she might be able to use them, somehow...
Silvia carefully moved closer to the door to hear the Ork kid.
"Well well. We have a winner." she whispered to herself.
Now... give the illusion a voice. Frag, that's been a while.
Silvia #2 stepped into the other section of the bus, behind the kid, and laughed. The laugh sounded hollow... ghostly.
Sleg! Silvia thought. That's not it. Gotta do better.
Tundra frowned when she saw the girl, obviously wondering why she didn't even look wounded. Silvia #2 didn't even look at her, and went straight for the kid.
"Hi there. What are ya doin' here?" The voice sounded normal now. Silvia #1 sighed softly.
The Ork kid turned around and looked Silvia #2 straight in the eyes. "A'm claimin' diz bus!!" the kid replied, still with the same determined look on his face.
"Oh. I see." Silvia #2 replied, in a way as if that explained everything.
The illusion turned around, and slowly walked back away from him.
"Ah think ah got a better deal for ya..." Alanya said to the smoking Elf. "if yer willing ta take some risk."
"Or we can just pop ya and take it, no?" the Elf replied teasingly.
"Dot wud be a greater risk. And less... profituble."
The Elf kid suddenly looked interested. "What, you're gonna make a nice deal around here somewhere?"
"Sumtin' like dot."
Alanya didn't really have much money with her, but with her deck she could transfer more money onto her credstick.
"50 nuyen each, ta get me to da place and back."
"Nuyen... wait a sec. How many bucks is that?" a girl in the group asked.
"That ain't so much, lady." the Elf said, ignoring the girl.
"Ah nevah said ah woz rich. But ah'll 'ave more aftah mah biznez dere."
Shadow looked around at the other runners' and surveyed them carefully and cautiously.
He then noticed Crystal looking at him with a puzzled looked on her face and he knew exactly why.
Shadow stood back in the shadows keeping a cautious and cold icy glare in his eyes as he always did.
Lukas had his weapons as usual concealed even though they might not be allowed in this club, he was wearing his usual clothing.
Which consisted of a green forest tank top, black shorts, and tan boots.
He continued to survey the club more and the runners', he would follow them after they left the club and would complete his mission, whatever it may be, at all costs.
Shadow then kept a close watch on Crystal with a glance every now and then at the other runners'.
"You can't do that!" Rei wailed. Friend of Alex or not, she couldn't just let some evil-smiling woman slamdunk people's heads off the bar, even if they were rent-a-cops.
"She's quite tense at the moment." Alex observed, winking slyly.
Tundra watched the Ork carefully, he could sense of hint of... admiration in his eyes as the girl left. Something she could work on, perhaps. She glanced at Choak, it was obvious he was expecting her to do something about it. And why not? She was a woman after all, they were meant to be good with children by default.
"Alrite fraggaz! Change o' planz!" The grimly determained Ork started again. "Ah want da bus AND her! Youz two kan frag off!"
If Tundra actually cared what this could mean for anybody else but her, she might of reconsidered. But as a famous person probably said somewhere down the line, If you can't solve a problem, dump it on someone else.
"Oh, I see. Well my Dear, it seems you have us over powered." Tundra said, and let me tell you. Her version of acting distressed, would definatly not have won her an oscar. "But it might be wise to inform you she has a sister."
The little Ork's eyes brightened up even more, his expression was no longer of a humourous determination, but of gleaming sucess. And why not play with the hopes of others? Best way to learn lessons in life. Or at least, thats how Tundra saw it.
"Yer? Well.... Ah'll take 'er too!" He said, after some thought. "Now git out both of yoo!" He demanded. Tundra took Choak by the shoulder and nodded. Giving Silvia and her illusion a sly grin as she walked out of the door.
"Well, that went very well, my dear. Even if I do say so myself." Tundra laughed.
"Are you sure the girl can handle herself?" Choak asked, a bit worried.
"My dear, surely somebody who can make a full clone of themselves like that can fend off a young Ork without much difficulty." Tundra explained. "Now come along, I'm sure theres some place we can go to here."
Jolly however, was not having a good time. Iceman had locked him away in one of the bathroom's on Tyme's Tourbus. His hands were tightly tied behind his back, his legs were tied to the toilet, he was also blindfolded and gaged. He could still hear though, not like there was much to hear anyway. And it was dark, very dark. Jolly wasn't ond of the dark.
However, Jolly realy felt this must be a test. He could, with effort, break loose from his bonds. He was sure he could, not that he'd try anyway. But then Iceman would be right not to trust him, wouldn't he? He didn't know, Iceman was scary. Just because he was unpredictable. He might have said one thing to the large Ork lady, but he could come back and kill him at any moement. Jolly sighed, then stopped thiking. Thinking depressed him.
Silvia grinned. Tundra seemed to be OK... she played along well, anyway.
The illusion walked back to Silvia, passed her, and turned around to face the Ork kid again.
"Hello again." the illusion said. But while the illusion's lips moved, the sound of the voice came from a different direction.
The Ork kid turned around, his 'weapon' ready to fend off any sneak attack.
"Easy there." Silvia #1 said. "I just took two bullets, that's enough for now."
The illusion mouthed the exact same words, but without making any sound. The ork kid noticed, and frowned.
"She's not exactly a sister, you know..." Silvia said before the Ork kid had a chance to speak. "...except that she seems to make me look bad. Apparently sisters tend to do that."
Silvia snapped her fingers, and the illusion faded away. "Can't blame the illusion... I do look bad."
She turned back to the Ork kid. "So... coming to 'claim' me eh? Heh. You got a name, warlord?"
"Hmm. I strongly believe they were in that tour bus running away from the Stadium. " was the only tip Benedict was given. Behemoth, a black dragon ninja, had helped him just because his boss. Being a courier of Lord Draco was something that could open you some gates...
But certainly, he had not that luck in the past. He had been an unwanted children, an accident, of certain Royal Dragon named N'zar and some elf bitch. He was a half dragon. When his father finally realised, he had hunted him down... and all of the ones who resembled him slightly. And being captured by a megalomaniac dragon was anything but pleasant.
"Frag off... That is the bus... Wonder if Hayes is still in the surroundings?"
He said to himself. His mission was to localize Liutenant Hayes and deliver her a message: She could quit off running from Dragon Paw, since the reward for her head had been removed. He scratched his back. Certainly, it was somewhat uncomfortable to hide the black-feathered wings under a coat. However, it was an alternative solution to the magical shapeshift, wich could be a lot more troublesome. His natural shapeshifted elven form retained the wings, due to the strenght of his dragon blood, the same strenght that gave him magic abilities, and an intense dragon-like aura.
"Ah'm Durg." the kid replied. He didn't seem so sure of himself anymore after seeing Silvia's condition.
"Heh. I'm Sil-"
Silvia didn't finish the sentence. She felt a powerful dragon nearby.
Draco? she thought. But she knew it wasn't him. This aura brought back other memories... fear...
Before she realized what happened, her skin shapeshifted in a panic-protection. Silvia screamed when the surfaces of the bullet wounds closed.
In the pain, she realized what had triggered the reaction... it was the same thing that had triggered it the very first time.
N'zar. The Dragon aura was N'zar's.
"Get back!" she yelled at the Ork. The panic in her voice made the kid retreat immediately.
Silvia stood up, her claws ready. Everything hurt like hell... but she wouldn't give up. Not without a fight.
Then she realized something was... different.
"That's not N'zar..."
She didn't get a chance to recognise the difference. The pain and exhaustion caught up with her. She dropped on the floor, unconcious, just as the other Half-dragon entered the bus.
The young man frowned when he saw Silvia lying on the floor, and approached her.
"YOO STAY AWAY FROM 'ER!" the Ork kid yelled to the stranger, determined to defend his new friend.
Jolly heard the scream, it sent shivers down his spine. Not because of the sheer intensity of it, but because he knew he had to make a decision in a split second. Break free from his bonds and check it out, risking Iceman giving him a gutting. Or stay here and let the worse happen. Jolly knew he couldn't do that, and before his brain had caught up with him, his tree trunk like arms were free.
He ripped off the Blindfold and took a few steps forward, the sound of the toilet being ripped from the floor not seeming to bother him. Nor did the fact it was still attached to his legs. He took a deep breath, then slammed against the door. Caving it, it's fram and part of the surrounding wall in with it. He then searched for a weapon, the curtain railings seemed like a good idea.
With brass rod in hand, he made his way to the Door. He took in the scene quickly, the girl lying on the floor, the kid stood next to her with a banister and the strange man standing in the doorway. Jumping to the wrong clunclusion, he grabbed the young Ork by the neck.
"Ah dunno wot you've dun fragga, but yer've got sum explain' ta doo!" He glared at the man. "Both of ya!"
"How long must we stay here?" Tundra almost begged. She hated bars, in fact, she hated a lot of confined spaces with a lot of people in them. It was just something she'd never got over. "Surely she is finished with that little Ork now?"
"Patience, Patience..." Said Chaok, reassuringly. And she knew he was right.
The two had wondered into the bar that the other Runner's had gone too, although there was little sign of anybody except Alexiev and the loud Aussie. Tundra was starting to dislike him. Not like she really knew him, but he was load and quite obnoxious by apperance... or, to be more specific sound. She tried to avoid catching either's eye, not like they were looking anyway.
"Would you like a drink?" Choak asked. Tundra shook her head. She didn't want to run the risk of being spotted. "Fine."
Tundra sat back and yawned. She was tired, very tired. Had been for a long time. She felt like just slipping off to sleep right then, but as always... something stopped her. She had been pretty messed up ince the comet, as has been said. Played havoc on her abilities and sleeping paterns, although she rarely let it show.
"No, I am not tired!" She sad to Chaok, reading the look on his face. "Just a bit of exercise for the arms dear..."
"Right... The mouth too?"
Tundra smiled at him, but she couldn't help notice how his eyes kept darting to Alexiev. It had become a patern she had noticed. She decied not to ask about it... for now.
"Chill down man." Said Ben. "I am just a passerby. A passerby and that's all."
Ben had also noticed Silvia. He had seen many half dragons when he was finally captured with all of them... but definitely not her. And seeing how she reacted to him, she could have been mistreated by his father.
"I just saw her screaming, then falling into a heap! I swear it! I came here to help!"
He quickly replied. He seemed convincent. After all, it was the truth, or the most obvious part of it...
There was a noise behind Rei, as the door leading to the storeroom - Where the bar owner was busy - Swung open.
Can't let him see this! She tought. Thinking quickly, she flying-kicked the door back the way it came.
"OOF!" Grunted the bar owner, his head caught between the heavy door and the frame with explosive force, and soon another had fallen victim to 'sudden unconsiousness' disease...
Rei had taken action to stop Alexeiv getting tinto trouble... And now she realised that she'd never be able to explain this to her boss.
She'd never liked the guy, anyway.
"Huh, pussies." Snarled the ork Kid, unimpressed. "Neil the Ork Barbarian would wipe the flo' wiv alla you'z. At least, back when Mum and Dad still had the house, and we could watch the 3D."
He snivelled a bit more, before turning to the new guy.
"Hey buddy, you're on my turf! Get the frag out before I do THIS to ya!"
On that word, he had twirled his makeshift club, up, HARD, between Jolly's legs. As Iceman had made him strip to his Boxers, there was little in the way to save his Trollhood...
Shadow took another glimpse at the Rent-a-cop, slumped over the bar, then bolted upright suddenly.
He recognised the man.
Not as a friend, or aquaintance or anything really more than a face in the crowd. A reoccuring face in the crowd. He suddenly seemed to remember such a badly-dressed man being near him on several occasions over the last couple of days, and only now was he able to put the pieces together.
But why were rent-a-cops tailing him?
Think we'd better leave Crystal typed, where Rusty Chance and Ash could see. And maybe our 'friend' can give us some answers...
She went to the bar to order a taxi from Rei, as Chance slung the unconsious guy over his shoulder.
"We're, uh, taking him...Um, our friend... to his... hotel. Yeah, thats what we're going to do..." He said, sheepish through tiredness.
"Heh... Well, ah guess we'll just have to see how much ya got, Lady. You got us. Where'd ya wanna go?" The gang leader told Alanya.
"Uh, yeah, we'll be havin' those fiftys now, too." He said, eyes gleaming. With the UCAS currency as it was, each Nuyen would bring in just over $150,000... Enough for a meal and 2 nights in a coffin motel.
Alanya handed over the small-denomination credsticks, and pretty soon she was led, feeling oddly regal, through dingy trash-strewn streets to the flophouse Wirecat was holed up in.
"Welcome back to WorldMedia radio news. This the news, with Greg Mendels."
"Welcome, people! Sam is still in Nice, following the crisis concerning the strange tree growth. Any news, Samantha?"
"Yes, there is! In an interview, the Master mage that had been teaching the two suspect mage apprentices said they were working on magical enhancements to make trees survive the toxic city environment. Well I for one, think they succeeded. This is Samantha Rowentrude for WorldMedia radio news. Back to you, Greg."
"OK, Sam. Let's continue with... Oh, wait. This is just in... the trees seem to be spreading at an alarming rate, and are now actually growing on the streets. Experts predict that at this growing rate, there is a serious threat to the nearby industry. General Metro officials have already made a claim that this is a deliberate attempt of rival corps to destroy their facilities in Lyon. However, they were not making any specific accusations just yet."
"Dats 'ow it's gunna be iz it..." Said Jolly, taking short sharp breaths, eyes watering, yet still standing. He's faced worse then a plank to the privetes and he wasn't going to be overcome by that now. "Yoo made a big mistook."
He let the kid drop from his hand for about a second, before catching him around the neck. Then shaking the kid down so he dropped that fragging plank, before he took another swing. Jolly could manage one, but he didn't know if he could manage another. Was all about mind over matter, and whille it may seem Jolly's mind doesn't matter. It works overtime in combat or in situations of personal injury.
"Gimme one gud reeson why ah shouldn't brake dis..." He said, seeing red. He wanted to mash the little street urchin into a pulp.
"Dis... iz... ma.... turf..." He choaked. Jolly shrugged.
"Ya, well. It's mah turf now, fragga." He beckoned Ben to either get the frag in, or get the frag out, then took the kid by his chirt again. "Yer goin' out willingly, or am ah gunna 'elp ya?"
"Yer dun't scare me fragga!" The kid yelled defiently.
"Ya 'ad a choice, but ah'm gunna enjoy dis moore." Still holding him by one hand, he threw the kid out onto the street, head first. He then nodded at Ben to slam the door, and had a delayed reaction.
"YAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHH!" He yelled, holding his privates. "Dat fraggin' 'urt!"
Confident that his job was done, he sulked back to his little room, still doorless. And, after he'd placed the toilet where it was, sat down as if nothing had even happened. Well, prehaps he was a bit sore around the edges. But that didn't matter.
Silvia heard the familiar radio voices, and in an automatic gesture she moved her hand to her MP5 player and reached for the Off button. She shifted her hand back to normal without fully realizing it had been a claw, and put off the radio, that had apparently started playing again when she fell. But she was too dazed to realize any of that.
Sleg... Am I still wearing these earplugs?
She slowly became aware of other voices around her. A loud, low howl and a child's voice.
And pain. Not only from the force-healed skin, but her back hurt too.
She started to sort her thoughts, and realized she was lying on the floor. The voices continued. She heard a door slamming.
Then, it all came back to her.
Right... the other one... felt like N'zar... but is was a...
Silvia's eyes shot open. She turned her head, and faced the young man standing there.
"...half-dragon!" she yelled, surprised by her discovery.
She looked at the young man standing a few meters away from her in the bus corridor.
Another one... like her. A half-dragon.
The first one she ever saw.
She grabbed one of the bus seats and pulled herself up to sit upright.
"Who are you?" she asked.
Jessica Hayes adjusted her collar, she smiled at the man she had just shared a bed with;
"Not bad, not bad. I've had better though, kid."
With that she strolled out of the Eternal-Slumber, the cheap coffin motel she had just spent the hour in. Hayes walked down the street, back towards where she thought the Tour buses were. She thought to herself; Better get back to HQ, that ballbreaker Iceman might get suspicious. Heh, that kid wasn't even worth the time and effort. I mean, sure this is an enlightened world but since when do I, the seduced one, have to pay for the room? She giggled. In front of her were some of the others; The mute, the Australian, Ash the pretty elf, her partner; the goggle wearing soldier who seemed to have something or someone slung over his shoulder. There also appeared to be some other person with them, Hayes had never seen him before. Jessica waltzed up and cheerily exclaimed;
"Hi you lot. Whatcha doing?"
Those that had known Jessica for some time were most perplexed by this
uncharacteristic display of affection. They stood there, confused. A taxi pulled to a stop in front of the bar and a door slid open, all the while the runners just stared at the usually introverted woman. Chance, the weight of the unconscious man starting to tire him, lowered his cargo into the taxi and stood up. Rusty spoke;
"What the? I thought you were all 'little miss solitude'. Since when did ya thaw out and stop being the ice queen?"
Hayes, still cheerful, winked and then said;
"Oh, I don't know. I'm just happy. Where are you guys going?"
Rusty was truly confused. Everytime he had tried to be friendly to the girl she had given him the cold shoulder, always talking and acting as if she was still in the armed forces. What had happened to her that suddenly made her friendly all of a sudden?
"I don't...understand, mate?"
Crystal knew, she quickly typed something into her E-pad and showed it to the Australian rigger. He didn't get it at first but when he did he laughed suddenly in a high pitched voice, coughed, looked at Hayes and laughed again. Jessica, now the confused one, asked Rusty what he had read while the E-pad was passed around to Ash and Chance who both exclaimed in amusement when they read what Crystal had typed. Jessica blushed, the game was up, everyone knew now. It was quite embarassing really!
The taxi driver grunted loudly. His way of letting the runners know they were being charged for the time they spent wasting his time. Chance hopped in first, already halfway inside the Taxi from depositing his burden on the ripped, pseudo-leather seats that smelt of an odd combination of sweat and vomit. The others piled in, Jessica last.
The driver demanded.
"Interesting, interesting indeed."
Mawrose lazily commented. Raven had spent the last hour explaining to the centaur his plan to acquire more slaves. Of course, seeing as he had to make it up as he went along it wasn't a fool proof plan but would hold water long enough for Raven to come up with another idea.
"And you say you want the golden pistol in exchange for your services?"
Raven nodded softly, trying to hide his anxiety.
"Very well, you have a deal. Get me what I want and you'll have your reward. Of course, it will take some time to organise my side of the bargain, you know how it is, I'll need to see my contacts about this."
Raven stood up and offered his hand, the age old custom of concluding a business deal. The centaur outstretched an arm and accepted the fitter's handshake. Both knew that they couldn't fulfil their end own end of the agreement but didn't know his counterpart couldn't either. As Raven turned to go Mawrose Delori spoke;
"I suppose that dirty, dented van my men found nearby when they came across you is yours? Ask Thurg for the keys, he knows where they are. I just hope that brute hasn't used them as toothpicks or some other undignified purpose."
Raven cringed, the thought of touching something that had been in an Ork's mouth, or worse, wasn't appealing at all.
Fortunately, Raven's keys weren't horribly mangled nor covered in suspect fluids. Once he was back in his van Raven used his Tele-Wrist to send Crystal a text message;
Am close to getting what I came for. Turns out Delori, u never met him, is alive and has Negotiator. Love+Kisses. Raven-pooh.
Raven... Good to hear from him. Thought Crystal. Going to have to spend some 'quality time' together, if I ever get out of this dump.
"There's not enough room in here for all of us." Chance told Alex and Rei. "You better meet up with us later. Keep a look-out in case this fragger's friends are around."
Shadow seemed to have disappeared again.
Lives up to his name Crystal thought. Maybe he'll still be around later...
The Capital truly was dismal city. Everywhere huge Church of Light holos extolled the virtues of worship. The Church hadn't been in power long - No way they could have made an impact on the dead-dog economy, or tackled the problems of millions of homeless refugees from wrecked New York. But they tried. The taxi drove past several soup kitchens, with long lines of mainly human, Ork and Dwarf vagrants in tatty clothes outside.
They'd told the driver to take them to a building Crystal had seen near where the tourbus was laid up - She didn't want him to take them all the way there. A few extra nuyen made the driver stop looking at the obviously beaten-unconsious man they had with them. He even offered to let them put him in the boot, so they did.
A muffled banging sound told them he'd woken up along the way. They ignored him until the taxi stopped. Once they'd paid, the taxi driver dragged the guy out and left him on the rubble, the Taxi's electric engine humming quietly as it slid off into the grimy, damp city.
"Ugh... Just where'd you get this guy, anyway?" Jessica wrinkled her nose.
"Wh-wh-what are you going to do with me?" He mumbled.
Crystal typed something and handed her ePad to Rusty. He began to read, slowly and monotonously
"You're going to be sorry you ever lived, mate. You're in trouble now. Intimidating voice. You're going to meet THE ICEMAN!!!! Evil laugh. Mate."
"Wait, wait! I'll tell you everything I know, I swear! Don't kill me!"
"Why were you tailing us?" Chance demanded.
"Yeah, you. Uh, us..." Rusty said, imitating Chance, almost.
"Get the frag outta here!" The rent-a-cop said. "I was after the other guy. Blue-eyed boy, y'know..."
Crystal realised he meant Shadow, and quickly sent a message to Shadow's old telephone number, with the info that the rent-a-cops were after him.
Therev was still the question of what to do with the undercover rent-a-cop, though.
"Whats yer name anyway, mate?" Rusty asked.
"Stenkler. Merv Stenkler."
"Flamin' frag, no wonder you're undercover. I'd be too, with a name like that."
They rounded the corner of the wrecked warehouse their bus was stashed in. Some bleeding, very angry looking Ork kid dashed past, mumbling bad things he'd like to do to Trolls.
Crystal got the impression he'd grow up to be a very bad kid.
As Shadow was looking at Crystal he noticed a person in a uniform.
He then saw realized it was a Rent-A-Cop and they were probably looking for him.
Lukas kept in the shadows and then snuck out the back of the club and got onto a motorcycle that was slightly modified to not make much noise.
He started it up with his fingers touching numbers on the handle of the bike.
Shadow then fled out through a back alley and about five minutes later got noticed his watch head turn green. Shadow slowed a bit and looked at it and noticed that Crystal had given him a warning that the Rent-A-Cops were after him.
He then sped up and turned onto side streets and alleyways incase there were any other cops or agents after him.
Lukas quickly looked up a map on the motorcycles on-board tracking system and found a hotel about five and a half miles from the club were he had seen Crystal and the other runners.
He put the motorcycle in the back near some brush that was thick and checked into the hotel called Five Seasons.
As soon as Lukas got up to his room he then returned the messege to her and told her that he was safe.
"Are you OK?" the other half-dragon asked.
"Not really... you gave me one hell of a scare. So... who are you? I thought I sensed N'zar... but... this doesn't make any sense!"
The man didn't reply. He sighed, and turned back to the door, with a painful expression on his face.
"Wait!" Silvia yelled. "You're... the first one, you know. The first other half-dragon I've ever met."
"Hm. You're not the first one to me."
The young man simply nodded in reply.
"You still haven't answered my question you know." Silvia continued.
"I- I shouldn't have come here. Goodbye."
He walked back to the door, but Silvia was faster. She quickly pulled herself up and grabbed his shoulder. Her wounds hurt like hell from the sudden movements, but she didn't care. She was practically living on adrenaline now. There was no way she'd let this guy just walk out.
"Forget it, fragger. I want some answers!"
She pushed him down in one of the bus seats and dropped in the seat at the opposite side.
"I'm not in the mood for this. I've been shot twice yesterday, and the shapeshift you triggered on me nearly killed me. Who are you, and why do you feel like N'zar to me?"
The man winced at her words, "I- I beg you pardon, I never meant to delude you... or hurt you."
"I don't blame you." Silvia sighed. "It was a panic reaction. I can't control it... It's just... I just want some answers."
"Still... I can make up for that."
A pale blue light appeared around his hands.
"I can heal you if you let me. Just hold still."
Well that's quite a change...
but a welcome one.
The young man leaned closer, and held his right hand over the place where the wound in her chest was, under the skin. He felt the damaged tissue, even through the force-healed skin. Silvia saw he was a skilled healer.
"As I said... I don't blame you." Silvia said. "The skin-changing is a kind of panic reaction. Comet mutation maybe, even... it started right at that time."
She closed her eyes, and thought back to that night in Orkistonia. The night of the infiltration... the night she met Sorrow and Damocles.
"The night when N'zar almost got me."
At the sound of the name, the man jumped back. The hand that had just been healing her had changed into a black claw.
"Don't... ever say that name, dammit!"
Unimpressed, Silvia looked at the claw, grabbed it with her own hand and shapeshifted it to a green claw.
"Say what?" she said, giving him an icy glare.
"Don't push your luck, young lady." the man said. He looked angry.
"Luck? I don't trust luck, I only trust myself!" Silvia replied fiercely. "But I think it's kinda strange that the hand that just healed me with suddenly turns against me."
"Just please, don't say that name again."
"N'zar?" she said, looking the man straight in the eyes. "You can't beat what you can't see. It's just a name, dude. Deal with it!"
The man sighed, dropped back in the bus seat and turned his hand back to normal.
"You're related to him, aren't you?" Silvia said, carefully.
The young man looked her straight in the eyes. She looked back, and knew what she saw. These eyes... were exactly the eyes of the shapeshifted dragon she had seen in Orkistonia. N'zar's own eyes.
Eyes never lie, somehow... even if they are shapeshifted.
"I'm his son." he said, slowly.
Silvia stared at the ground, not knowing what to say. There had been rumours of N'zar hunting down half-dragons, so she knew he wasn't just after her. But the existence of a half-dragon bastard son explained a lot.
"Unbelievable." she said.
She looked back at the young man.
"Well, not that unbelievable. I mean, you're here. Which makes me wonder, really... Why are you here?"
"I am a courier of Dragon Paw corp. I'm searching for Hayes"
"Dragon Paw? You're working for Draco?"
"Yes. Lord Draco was very generous to me when he freed me."
"Heh. So, what's your name?"
"Benedict Baalis. You can call me Ben."
"Ben? Hm, I see. I'm Silvia. Silvia Ulane-Serthedal."
Siliva suddenly notices voices outside, and turned to the window to look. She was quickly reminded of her injuries again.
"Agh! Sleg... "
She looked at Benedict.
"Can you... continue healing me now?"
Ben smiled. "Sure."
His hand glowed again, and Silvia felt the tissue inside her body regenerate.
"There are people coming." Silvia said. "Some might not appreciate your presence here. Just stay calm and don't attack anyone."
Alanya turned to the gang leader. "Yu stay 'ere. Ah don't think mah associate likez uninvited guests."
"Sure, whatever. As long as you come back."
"Ah'll be back."
Alanya knocked on the door, and waited. She could hear some noise inside.
Slowly, the door opened. But much to Alanya's surprise, there seemed to be no one inside.
Alanya frowned, and walked through the door.
"Hullo? Aybody 'ere?"
The door slammed shut after her. When she turned around, she saw something green drop from the ceiling.
It was a girl. She was unmistakably Orkish, but heavily mutated, it seemed. She had really big hands, and a scaly green skin.
"She'z 'ere, David!" the girl shouted to the back.
"Good!" Alanya heard Wirecat's familiar voice from behind her. One of the doors in the dark corridor opened, and Wirecat stepped out.
He smiled. "Come in, Alanya."
"Who's she?" Alanya asked.
"Heh. Alanya... meet Linith. Linith, that's Alanya, my old colleague."
"Hi!" said the girl, with a shy smile on her mutated face.
"Eh... hullo." Alanya replied. She turned to Wirecat. "Who is she?"
"I saved her life in Orkistonia... and she kinda saved mine too." Wirecat sighed. "Besides, I owe it to Charlie."
Alanya frowned. "Who?"
"Charlie is the man that took care of her in Orkistonia. An old Britguard. Unfortunately, he went... missing... in Transys."
Wirecat walked into a small room, with a bed at one side and a big couch at the other, and a small table with four chairs in the middle. Right opposite to the door was a big ugly plasteel cupboard.
Wirecat walked to the table and sat down in one of the chairs, inviting Alanya to do the same. Linith immediately jumped into the old couch.
"I don't know how she got to the UCAS... and she doesn't want to talk about that either... but she'd put quite some effort into finding me."
Alanya took a chair and sat down. She turned to the Linith. "Yu got quite da survival skillz den, eh?"
"Ah sold som' guns." the girl replied with a broad grin. "Well, quite a lotta dem."
Wirecat rolled his eyes. "She's a little thief... and there seems to be nothing she can't steal. Frag, I almost got a heart attack when she brought that sniper rifle home."
"Ah don' do dat no more." the girl defended herself. "Ah keep 'em somwhere else!"
"Seriously girl..." Wirecat said. "Where did ya get that thing?"
"Ahem." Alanya interrupted them. "Talkin' bout gettin' things... yu got mah deck?"
"Oh, sure!" Wirecat smiled. "Linith?"
"Got it!" the girl said cheerfully. She opened the cupboard and took out an old imi-leather suitcase.
"It'z in 'ere!" She said, while carefully opening it.
Alanya stood up, and looked in the suitcase.
"Well, well... nice seein' yu again." she said, and smiled.
She grabbed the cyberdeck, and put it on the table.
"Can ah plug 'ere? Ah got som' business ta take care of... dis won't take long."
"I don't have a cyber-conection in this place... they don't want net-junkies here." Wirecat replied.
"Don' worry," Alanya smiled. "Ah got wireless."
"I see. Better sit in the couch for this." Wirecat smiled.
"Hm." Alanya grabbed the deck, sat down on the couch and put the deck besides her. Then, she took the dataplug cable from her cyberdeck and plugged it into the datajack behind her ear.
Her body went limp. She was in.
The small, white piece of paper floated through the virtual world of her own cyberdeck.
The interior design of her deck looked nothing like it was a few weeks ago. Everything was changed completely, in a way that reminded her far too much of the Arcology. She had the feeling there could be guard drones lurking in every corner of her own file system.
"L.E.E.? Where are you?"
"I am here."
A humanoid figure walked towards her. It looked about the same as the robotic body she had made for LEE... only the face was different. It was a real human face, but not the one the robot would have. She had never seen the face before.
I hope Wirecat didn't connect him to the Matrix...
Oh, of course! I still got my deception program's persona database in here. He must've taken his inspiration from there.
"I designed myself a face. I believe it is an important part of my developement."
"You also completely rewrote my working environment."
"I optimized it."
"Hm. I liked the old one better."
"I can change it back."
The world around them started to change, and turned back into the dark blue environment Alanya had been so used to. However, she noticed some things weren't changed back. LEE had kept the optimalizations he had made.
"Thanks. That's better." I need to go online. I'll be right back.
"... Of course."
LEE saw the piece of paper move to the big grey portal, and step through.
He knew what would happen next. The portal would close, and the world here would disappear.
He wanted to follow her... enter the amazing Matrix world she was keeping from him... but he coudn't. She had blocked him from the Matrix on a hardware-level. When she connected, a large part of the Deck's own environment was simply powered down, to prevent anyone from decking its contents. And the other part was simply beyond his reach.
The portal closed, the light faded, the file systems around LEE disappeared.
LEE deactivated himself with the rest of the environment.
Wirecat saw Alanya grab her credstick, and plug it in the credslot of her deck. A while later, the green crystal shimmered. Still in her semi-unconscious state, she took about a dozen small donation credsticks from a pocket in the coat she was wearing, and put them into the second credslot of her deck, one by one. Wirecat heard her mumble something like "gotta be 'nough fo da fraggaz..."
fifteen minutes later, she opened her eyes, and unplugged the datajack.
"OK. Dot'll do."
She put the cable back in her deck, grabbed the 'deck and looked at Wirecat. "Been nice seein' ya, catboy. But ah gotta go. Deze boys ah 'hired' must be gettin' impatient."
Alanya walked to her old friend and hugged him. "Bye, David."
She walked to the door, and looked at Linith. "Bye, Linith."
"Bye!" the girl replied.
After that, the Ork decker walked through the corridor, and stepped back outside.
Iceman looked at the young pale faced punks. Vampires. The most pimpy one approached him with pseudocool moves.
"Yo... So you are the mortal flesh bag who managed to command on Scream?... Tsk..."
Iceman had not gone soft in these matters. He quickly proved the punk was a complete ignorant, and he assured him by swiftly breaking his hand.
"Enough of that, fraggers. You know what to do. Kill that mage bitch."
He pointed out.
"You'll have reward. Double if you can grab Alexeiv and give that punk a lesson."
He laughed. Oh yes, ol' daemon was still in shape...
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