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> Umbrae Europae [IC] (part 3) - Mist of Nycthemeron, A third installment of the Umbrae Europae Campaing (started elsewhere)
Romain Pelisse
post Jun 15 2017, 09:01 AM
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Tuesday 9th March 2077, Köln on the Rhine river...

After a few days in an improvised safe house, nearby the SOX, Rex and Waywalker found their way back to RRMP and opted to bunk together on the decker's own safe house, a large barge, parked in Köln, that he somehow secured in a recent run. Fortunately for both, few people in the shadows are aware of Waywalker's new digs, which turns out to be a relief as the heat from their runs, took weeks to die off. During the few days back in the megaplex, both Rex and his partner heard by their trusted contacts, that several runners team were actively looking for them. To this day, almost a month after the event, it seems different factions in S-K are still very intent on getting a hold on the both of them...

However, as Waywalker starts his day, by jumping into the matrix, he almost immediately run into the persona of one of his agent, that he tasked to a simple, but important daily check. Indeed, a few weeks back, when Waywalker partner with a french decker ghoul named Frank, two hackers did not parted ways without means to communicate, discreetly. The ghoul indeed gave him permanent MARKs on a half forgotten host, deep into the matrix. Indeed, Frank uses this as a dead drop, to leave message without establishing communication through the matrix, which can sometime be easily snoop on. So since Rex and Waywalker have been hiding in their safe house, waiting for the heat about their recent S-K run to dial down, Waywalker have also tasked its agent to check out the dead drop on a regular basis.

And today, the agent came back with indeed a message from the ghoul:

>>> Waywalker, last time we spoke, a few weeks ago, you mentioned partnering up with a mage, right? The guy who has sort of a fetish for dogs or something. Anyhow, I may have something for you and your partner, then. It's... unconventional, as a run, but you guys seems to have the perfect skill for it. I can't really dwell much on it. It's a bit "hush, hush". Anyway, the meet with the,err, Johnson will be in Paris.

>>> I guess you'll need a few days to get there, but that is no issue. As any job, it's time sensitive, but it can wait for a few days. The Johnson is hiring you daily rate - yes, he expects this to last for a while, but, on the bright side, he already double what you generally charge, so I don't see any reason for you to not, at least, agree to the meet.

>>> Drop me a message here when you got my message, and an other one when you will have reach Paris. Oh,btw, you really need your partner - this run has some serious magical mojo stuff to it apparently... Well, let me know...

Outside the barge, the day is slowly ending, and, through a red mist, the sun light is slowly decaying to leave place a chilly night..

[ Spoiler ]
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Jack_Spade
post Jun 16 2017, 02:55 PM
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Rex had used the time to patch the holes in his repertoire - the last run had showed him painfully where his own limits were.
One of the nicer Kami had helped him to find and learn the formula he needed and also accompanied him to find and buy the necessary foci.

He had just managed to reliably levitate himself under the ceiling when he received the forwarded mail from Waywalker. Immediately he was fully focused on the details:
<<Hey Waywalker, that sounds really interesting. I've never been to Paris before - at least not that I can remember.
Do you trust that guy? In any case I like the idea of leaving the Plex for a few days.>>
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Haywire
post Jun 16 2017, 10:10 PM
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Waywalker spent the time waiting for the heat between the recovery for the surgery needed for his new augmentation and the calls and favors needed to acquire them.
One night the agent he sent monitoring the dead drop host he and Franck decided to set up for communications returned with news: a meeting for a job in Paris.

"Yeah, leaving the Plex seems a rather good idea right now. Let me check a few maps - I've never been to Paris before."

[ Spoiler ]


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Jack_Spade
post Jun 17 2017, 12:09 PM
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Rex had taken the form of a chimpanzee to be better able to handle his new focus - a rather large tooth of some predator - while he examined it with his magical senses. It wasn't the most powerful of power foci - actually it was close to the bottom - but his new spell had given him already many insights into the use of mundane objects he never before even considered to understand.
<<Good idea - maybe we can throw in some sight seeing while we are there.>> he replied distractedly.

Well, it certainly was worth a try and the focus would likely have only a relatively weak resistance against the detection magic.

[ Spoiler ]

Sustaining the spell, Rex became aware of a multitude of things surrounding the focus - for example there was a small flaw in one of the desiccated root canals that hampered the mana flow somewhat. Drawing power around the flaw increased the efficiency. Emboldened by that test, Rex dropped the spell and concentrated again, for he was sure there was even more to know about his new instrument

[ Spoiler ]


He could see it now - a half dozen or so other flaws, stopping the flow of mana, each one influencing the others channels and creating turbulence within the small object. Rex also became aware how to avoid the whole cascade - by drawing power in a specific way the throughput increased fourfold.
Still, the focus was small and of low force. Any major astral turbulence like in the SOX would shut down the whole focus instantly. Still, for work in his shrine it was an amazing tool.

Just to see if he could, he looked outside the barge to the parked van. He estimated it to weigh around 1.2 tons. Using his new found power he gave it a serious mental push.
[ Spoiler ]

The car rose half a meter into the air before he decided to carefully drop it again. Rex had to suppress the urge to jump up and down and climb along the ceiling that his current form urged him to.

<<Hey Waywalker, guess who just hacked his power focus for extra juice. If you want I can try to give you later a deeper understanding for your gear too. There is a lot of potential there.>>
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Haywire
post Jun 18 2017, 08:43 PM
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Waywalker switched from VR to AR for a brief moment, letting his Agents take care of the search for a while.
"Wow, this spell could save our life next time we're on the run! Just for my information, Rex, do you speak French? I don't, and now regret that I didn't take the offer for a discounted skilljack... I hope my English or German are good enough."
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Jack_Spade
post Jun 19 2017, 06:41 AM
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Rex laughed: <<I'm lucky that I even remember how to speak English. We'll have to rely on translator soft to get by. The only other option is that I learn to use telepathy in a hurry.>>
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Haywire
post Jun 20 2017, 08:16 PM
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"Don't waste your magical power on something we maybe do not need... we'll find a way, translator soft or not.
By the way, do you have preference on the vehicle we use to go to Paris? I'd take my van and you know my drive, but we could arrange a flight if you think we'll be more discreet."
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Jack_Spade
post Jun 20 2017, 08:52 PM
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<<I'd rather not have a security mage take a closer look at me. Also, I love roadtrips - as long as they don't take us through the SOX. Also how would you get all your toys over there otherwise?>>
Rex replied
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Romain Pelisse
post Jun 22 2017, 06:51 PM
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While chatting with the now monkey-shaped mage, Waywalker manipulates several AROs to sum up his finding regarding a way to smuggle the two runners into France. At the end, it basically boiled down to more/less three options - well, only three options if on excludes going through the SOX, but somehow Waywalker felt there was indeed no way the mage will agree to do that again.

First option was mostly off road : going through the Vosges forest, from Karlsruhe. Since the Awakenings, the forest, like many others, have taken a life of its own, and, on top of unexpected growth, has also filled itself with para critters and other danger, that have led the border control to stop actively patrolling inside it. Some drones are flying on top of it, scanning for incoming vehicle, but a decent signature masking coupled with the foliage certainly staying, well under the radar. Obviously, some smugglers reports "wilderness nastiness" - but most critter stays away from a large vehicle going through the trees...

Second option is actually the most obvious - just cross the border at a checkpoint and hope your Fake SIN will not trigger any wanted attention. At first it may seem like a gamble, but with the NEEC regulations and the general "laissez faire" of the french Police, only one SIN over ten is carefully checked, and even if the cops do stop you, there is often the option to bribe them to ignore you. Not all are corruptible, but enough are to make this route a sound options.

The last option consist more/less and tossing nuyens at the problem. Indeed, in his research Waywalker came across the name of several smuggler - or rather "coyote" in this case, who specialized in helping people cross the border in one direction or the other...
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Jack_Spade
post Jun 23 2017, 08:51 AM
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Presented with those options, Rex scratched his head:
<<Wilderness sounds lovely - but I'm also open to just try our luck at the border. I'll leave the decision to you.>>

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Haywire
post Jun 24 2017, 05:47 PM
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Waywalker replied to Rex:
"The second last thing I want is a trip to the SOX, the first being a bullet in the head. I'm sure you're on the same page."
Waywalker closed a few pages in AR to focus on the meatworld:
"I'm open to either solution, but I think that we should try our luck in the border, between my deck and your mojo should be a breeze. Do you have a SIN Aand a license for your magical stuff? I do not want to present you as my pet and get my ass busted by a security mage..."

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Jack_Spade
post Jun 24 2017, 07:21 PM
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Rex winced in his ape form:
<<I do have an ID, but its rather rudimentary and only for necessary shopping. I still am on the run from whoever abducted me and inflicted... this on me. Posing as a pet is somewhat necessary, although I can take a smaller form like a snake or a cat. I am sufficiently hidden on the astral - especially if I hide in a compartment where my aura won't be seen from outside. If necessary I can have a Kami inside me influencing the border guard.>>
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Haywire
post Jun 24 2017, 08:51 PM
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#5

"I see your point. My van has all the compartments you'd like to use, and if you friends from the astral can help us, all the better. A wilderness trip is something I'd avoid as my first choice. We were lucky in the SOX, I don't think we should stretch that luck too thin."
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Romain Pelisse
post Jun 24 2017, 09:28 PM
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Agreeing to take their chance at crossing the border, the two shadowrunners pack their stuff in Waywalker's vehicle, after digging up a sort of box for the mage animal form. After locking the safehouse, they start driving toward the French border. Köln is not far away, and thus the van arrives quickly to the border.

If Shadowrunning brings it lot of surprise, action and twist, Rex and Waywalker were certainly not expecting this one : traffic jam. As soon as they arrive a few kilometer from the border crossing, the runners vehicle suddenly gets swamped by other hauler, van and a large assortments of cars. Apparently, going to France for holidays or whatever reason is - even in 2076, still a thing... Shadowrunner are generally good at many thing, but standing idle, in a queue of cars, not acting suspicious, is not their most common traits.

A few car ahead from the duo, a couple of large, bulky drone are hovering over the long queue of cars, scanning, for several minutes, each vehicle, before passing to the next one. The runners can see that the drones are the ones doing a first "triage", selecting which vehicle, and their passengers, will be elected for a more "deeper" examination by the border control. As the drone gets closer, Rex and Waywalker hope that the rigger Fake SIN will not trigger any unwanted attention, neither will the content of their vehicle and that nobody will notice the strangely awakened "thing" in the box.

Slowly, the drone hoover in the direction of their vehicle. Waywalker tries to acts as natural as he can, while the drone is scanning its Fake SIN and the content of the vehicle - which lead the rigger to suddenly make a mental list of how much illegal material is in it.

[ Spoiler ]
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Jack_Spade
post Jun 24 2017, 09:46 PM
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[ Spoiler ]


Rex had decided to take the form of a cat. A snake might have provided less heat signature, but was more exotic and therefore likelier to draw scrutiny.
Now he lay curled up into a small ball of fur inside a cardboard box. Since he couldn't wear his trodes in this form he also couldn't communicate except by manifesting - which he had done two times already during the trip. Now, to avoid attention from patrolling spirits, he had returned to his body and relied on the false image that his manascape spell provided, should a watcher happen to pass through their car and by chance through his box on the astral.
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Haywire
post Jun 27 2017, 06:47 PM
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#6

Waywalker was on the verge of sleep, if the AR feedbacks did not keep him awake.
"I'm used to drive like the Devil himself is on my heels, and now I'm stuck here... I wonder if Hell looks like this."
He wasn't sure Rex could hear his words from the smuggling compartment.
In the while, the big and bulky drones were scanning vehicles ahead of them.
"Let's hope we fall through the cracks of the system..."

[ Spoiler ]
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Jack_Spade
post Jun 27 2017, 08:50 PM
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Rex heard only muffled sounds from Waywalker - which probably meant he wasn't explicitly talking to him. It was warm inside the compartment and he really wished the border guards would get a move on...
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Romain Pelisse
post Jun 28 2017, 07:17 AM
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The large drone hoovers for an instant over the Waywalker's van. The decker can see his fake SIN being accessed remotely and thoroughly check...

[ Spoiler ]

... but after few instant, the drone suddenly leaves and goes to the next vehicle. A few seconds later, several AROs pops up in Waywalker and a virtual, goofy looking policeman (or rather a "gendarme") directs his van to the fast lane out of border control. Still, it takes fifteen, stressful minutes for the vehicle to clear the border control, and finally get to the freeway leading to Paris.

In AR, the freeway is almost strangled by a large amount of AROs, all advertising either sites or local food to try by stopping to the next exit. Between pictures or video of Roman churches, cloister and some flying cheese or "paté", it is almost like an sensory overload. Waywalker would love to both filter those and control his vehicle, but the French government does not allow access to the freeway without autogrid. For a country pretending to be the birth place of freedom and democracy, it does not seems to be keen on letting its people roam free...

The trip to Paris is rather quick, only a couple of hours after crossing the border, the large urban sprawl appears on the horizon. Topped by a large amount of reddish to purple clouds. As official AROs are pointing out, it is highly recommended to use a gas mask today, as the pollution level in the capital city is quite high today. The city being downhill, the two runners have an impressive view over the "city of light".

In the middle, barely visible and surrounded by rainy cloud, stands the infamous Effeil Tower. Still the highest building in the city, out of respect more than anything else, the tower firm grip over Paris skyline is only challenges by the nearby Renraku Pyramid, which sadly too often remind to people the fall of its larger sister building in Seattle. Except for a few building like the pyramid, Most of the center of the city, with its famous 20 districts, has been preserved as much as possible, giving it now an odd look, a rather weird mix of a previous centuries, blended with outrageous feature of modern sprawl -like the three huge tubes running over the city and providing high speed common transportation to its citizen.

Before reaching the urban sprawl, Waywalker notified Frank of their approach. As the runners van arrives in the suburb of Paris, the ghoul replies just by sending a location inside the fourteen district - south of Paris, a few kilometers away from the famous Tower of Montparnasse - which now looks as old as the Eiffel tower. The location matches on the map, a rather seedy looking hotel, nearby the place of Denfert Rochereau, known for the large statue of the Lion, a few steps away from one of the few (official) access point to the Catacombs.

As the Waywalker's van leaves the freeway, it starts raining, and only a few seconds later, all the streets of Paris, battered by the cold drops, are filled up with several centimeters of water, and again, Paris AutoGrid forces his van to slow down, without even bothering asking the rigger for its approval. Fortunately, the van is already on the Avenue Général Leclerc, around Alésia, so only a few hundreds meters from their target. Frustrated and tired, the runners are eager to arrive, as the light dims, and darkness slowly takes over the "city of lights".

It is almost 22:00 when the van stops in front of an ancient building, typical of the Haussman's renovation era, but quite used. The walls are not covered with graffiti, but they are littered with spams AROs in AR. The building is slowly being eaten away by the frequent acid rains, and even if the owners appears to be putting some money into it on a regular basis, it does look like a losing battle. The Hotel doubles into a café - which would look pretty much like a cliché picture of a "parisian café, where all the attendees are on the (covered) terrace, drinking coffee, smoking and talking loudly, if it were not for the "diversity" of the crowds.

Indeed, if France is not the worst country to be a metahuman, it is not by any standard a place free of racism, so seeing two trolls, a bunch of orks, and even a dwarf - all packed into a small place, all trying to be as close as humanly possible to the heating unit, is a surprising site. Waywalker and Rex almost immediately knows this hotel and its café must have a feet, if not an all leg, into the Shadows...

[ Spoiler ]

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Jack_Spade
post Jun 28 2017, 08:20 AM
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Rex resumed his favored dog form - or rather wolf form - not least because it allowed him to wear the custom respirator and chemical protection armor which currently displayed "Service Dog - Chien Utilisé". Filtered, the smell of Paris became almost bearable. A quick scan of the astral showed a lot of emotional history of this old city - and of its denizens.

[ Spoiler ]

Very carefully, he looked around...

#9
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Romain Pelisse
post Jun 28 2017, 10:12 AM
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Shaped into a wolf, and geared up with his mask, Rex keeps focusing on his acute, and now enhanced, senses. Smells, like vision, is obviously hindered by the respirator, but still plenty of information to get out of those. First and foremost, Paris might be still lovely to look at, but it definitely stinks nowadays. If most of the city is now a walking only zone - Waywalker had to park a couple of blocks away because of that, there is still enough bus and taxi to poison whatever is left of the air and makes the stench of gasoline omnipresent.

On top of this rather potent smell, smokes, sweat and of course (bad) fast foods also dominate the scene. Guiding his nose in the direction of the hotel, Rex tries to pick up on what is happening there. Reading the body language of the crowd at the café, Rex first impression is confirmed: those people are not acting shady per say, but they are definitely keep an eye for "the man". And are certainly right to do so, as some have spot, just like Rex, that some security drones - with "Police" written on it, are driving by, less casually.

Switching to the astral, Rex is quickly submerges by a wide range of emotion. Gosh, Paris is an old city - and emotional scars, dating back to the first, and infamous, French Revolution, can be felt in the astral. Try to focus on the here and now, Rex zooms in on the café and its immediate surrounding. He is glad to see that there appears to have nothing lurking from the astral - no spirit, nor astral form. Taking a quick reading at the people at the terrace, he also quickly confirms that none are awakenings, or at least not significantly enough. Some have clearly endure essence loss, whether by augmentation or other means. Nobody that can be seen appears to have suspicious emotion - whether it would be fear, aggression or duplicity.
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Jack_Spade
post Jun 28 2017, 12:09 PM
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Rex sent a message to Waywalker: <<No threats on the astral side as far as I can see. Let's go inside before anyone starts to wonder what we are doing here.>>

Keeping pace with the Rigger, Rex entered the building.
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Haywire
post Jun 28 2017, 09:53 PM
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#7

Waywalker sighed in relief when the drones overlooked his van. "That was close... let's thank Lady Luck for this one."
The trip to Paris was a pain in the rear. Autogrid was required and the rigger wanted to draw as little attention as possible.
The city itself was like a puzzle of times, from the medieval churches to the Renraku pyramid.
The place of the meet seemed a shady bar, almost a clichč. Waywalker put his gas mask on before letting one of the Fly-Spy fly to the hotel
"I'm sending a drone to check the surroundings. Never trust a clichč. For that matter, never trust anyone."

[ Spoiler ]
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Romain Pelisse
post Jun 29 2017, 07:42 AM
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Deploying his drones in multiples direction, Waywalker starts observing the hotel perimeter. One of his drone flies almost vertically, in front of the building, but all windows of the rooms are either closed by light metallic shutter or have the drapes pulled - which is no surprise giving the clearly dubious nature of the location. An other one gets closer to the café terrace, and the little crowd of metahumans pile together nearby the two heating system.

One of them, a dwarf with a light, reddish beard, an used fedora and a drenched trench-coat is desperately trying to light up a cigarette. Apparently, he got caught by surprise by the rain, and his smoke end up taking water. Just behind him, a troll is standing, immobile, with a hazy stare toward the street. Waywalker wonders an instant if the large meta may have spot us or just noticed something, but he quickly realizes, the man is just day dreaming...

The other drones are deployed up and down the street, looking for potential people hidden, ready to jump them. After a few minutes of thorough inspection, Waywalker is happy to find none. There is an armoured vehicle, clearly belonging to the Police, with two Gendarmes, protected from the acid rain by their light armor, but they are clearly not paying attention to either them or the hotel. On the other side, packed under an awning, a small group of teenagers appears to be "up for no good". The band clearly shares some colors and look, hinting at a possible gang affiliation, but there again, they appear to not be either interesting or monitoring the hotel and its café.

In AR, it is a far more complex and longer job to sort out the huge amount of icons popping up on his deck. No surprise, like in any, large and modern sprawl, there is over dozen of hundreds of nearby device or any kind. Focusing on what matters - camera, weapons and powerful augmentation, Waywalker quickly confirms there is no apparent treats here. Most icons are simple commlink, he did not spot a lot of camera, and given the position of their icon, none are in the vicinity of the hotel.

Weapon and augmentation are also quite rare. There is some - mostly coming from the same direction as the gendarmes up the street - which is confirmed, by the very official "Police" label on the associated ARO. A couple of SMGs, along with low grade wired reflexes. The french Police is not the most lethal forces in the world, but they do not appears to be joking either.

Of course, Waywalker spots a few dozen of devices running silent. Not surprising, given the shady location. Taking an other look at the drone feeds, while pondering if you should try to know more about those running silent devices, the decker know sees that the drone is well positioned enough to give a look at the entrance of the hotel.

Clearly, the place has known better days, back in a distant past. Behind an used desk, that, like the rest of room, screamed for a renovation, is sitting a bored elf. The guy looks young, but one can never really tell with elf, and wears some kind of casual clothes. He stares at nothing in particular, but his links, lying in front of him on the desk, is clearly active - Waywalker is sure the guy is passing the time by watching some movies or other content in AR.

Waywalker is interrupted in his reckon by an incoming from Frank:

>>> Are you at the meet ? Your contact is arriving soon. He will have a little angel flying around in AR (or so I am told)
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Haywire
post Jun 29 2017, 07:18 PM
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#8

Waywalker forwarded Franck's message to Rex.
"It seems to be clear. I think we could enter and have a drink. I hope they serve a good pastis here..."
While walking toward the entrance he typed a message with his thoughts:
"To: Franck: We're arrived now and we are at the place of the meet. I'll wait a little before looking for our guy. "
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Romain Pelisse
post Jun 30 2017, 11:56 AM
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Franck almost immediately replies

>>> Cool, the guy should be there soon. Oh by the way, Waywalker, don't order beer, and for the menu stick to the "plat du jour". The rest is unfrozen soy shit. Especially the pasta...

Waywalker can but only smile reading the message. Despite being a ghoul, thus on a diet of raw, metahuman flesh, Frank was still french - and care about food, like no one would. It is probably the only time he got food selection advice for a meet in the Shadows.

On his side, Rex, thanks to his enhance skills, can quickly confirms, as the duo set on the terrace, the statement of Franck. The few people around having the "plat du jour", apparently a sort of home made "croque monsieur" were sitting in front of yummy, delicious smelling plates. The few other also smelled yummy, but Rex canine senses could smell the fake sauce, the soy along with a bunch of additive to make the all goo palatable...

The rigger and his "service dog" set a small table, and almost immediately, a young waitress bolt out of the kitchen to take their order. The young ork tries first to speak to him in fast, barely audible french, but almost immediately switched to English, when Waywalker fails to reply. She also glanced at the dog-like wolf sitting next to him - turns to her boss, shuffling around bottles behind the bar counter. As he fails to come out to catch her glare, she gives up and takes Waywalker order before bolting back to the kitchen. An embodiment of the art of French approach to waiting table - almost as rude as it is efficient.

Next to their table, the dwarf, bend under the heating lamp, finally managed to light up his soaked cigarette, and of course the smokes immediately goes to Waywalker face. The smoker noticed , and fake politely says:

"Désolé, mec..."

Still waiting for their order, including the drink, Waywalker notices somebody coming from Denfert Rochereau going up the street. At first, because of the rain, he mistook the guy for a strapping teenager, but soon realize, he is in fact a small ork. Quite short for his metatype, the guy face is buried beneath a red cap, probably to protect it from the rain. Sadly, the poor sod does not appears to have a respirator. But he does have a sort of little angle, flying on top of his head in AR - blissfully ignoring the rain.

The ork looks rather common, and no one would suspect him to be part of "the shadows". He sporting a working overall, on top of his red cap, giving him a "down to earth", trustworthy feel. Looking at other AROs and devices around the guy, Waywalker notes that the guy appears to have a decent commlink (not running silent), and the angel icon is in fact an agent running on the device. Apart for that, he does notice any other icon - no augmentation, no weapons. He also take the time to search for icon running silent in the ork vicinity without any success.

When the ork arrives at the terrace he quickly identifies Waywalker as his contact - even without him waving at him or anything. Clearly the ork is local, and to him, Waywalker and his "dog" stands out like a sore spot...

"Hey man ! Nice ... dog ?" says the ork with a strong french accent and a puzzled faced looking at the dog. "So what brings you here, at the Lion de Belfort ?" he continues, casually.

He seats at an other table, but less than a meter way, and, clearly waiting for Waywalker to reply, pulls out a pack of smokes of his kind...
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RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 23rd October 2017 - 05:17 PM

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