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You see the mana coalesce into ambient light and force as it slams into the slim woman's body. Her limbs convulse as the magic feeds itself into her body and she spasms for a brief moment before lying still on the floor of the container as the residual magic sparks and arcs off her stunned form.
The panda spirit vanishes from sight, and begins flying through the astral, looking for more auras.
Fat Man
You feel the dual consciousness settle over you as the spirit brings you into its thoughts. Your own body struggles for a moment as it receives information from a source so alien to its own. Only your experience and disincline allows you to make sense of it and bring order to the chaos.

Look I have found others.

You see the astral impression of another spirit wreathed in flames and facing a person perhaps a man but likely mundane since you clearly see dead spaces in his body where living flesh no longer resides. The spirit slides through physical matter and you see two more people. One seems to be injured and nearby you see what looks like a lifeless shell of a body on a table or bed. It's hard to make out from the astral but the area is stained in lurid washes of color and emotion.

Many have suffered here and died - it stinks of madness and greed.
Feeling woozy from the gas, Twist tries to shake it off, then says, "We clear? What else do we need, aside from torching the place?"

She remains in her defensive position, near the entrance of the container, waiting for the others to get into the van before she does.
You can hear the security patrols getting closer and begin to see the lances of light from flashlights and security helmet mounts. You see and hear more explosions going off though most seem to be smoke and flash bangs - the surprises left by Widget. You feel and hear the van making its way to you. The vibrations along the ground as the vehicle careens from container to container - zigzagging to your location for the pick up.
Staggering out of the container, the wounded and disoriented hunter shakes his head, striving to clear the fuzziness and the dim vision inflicted by the lingering effects of the electrical spell and the drugs. His head swings from side to side, seeking the direction the van was coming from. He needed to get out of there, obviously. He pauses, waiting for their exit ride to get closer, prepped to tumble into it at the first opportunity.
The van careens off of a cargo container, using it to propel the vehicle closer to your location. The sparks from the contact light up the side of the van and give you a glimpse of Widget's maniac grin as she manhandles the steering wheel. Despite the obvious need to keep both hands on the wheel she frees one hand for a jaunty wave to others gathered outside of the drug lab. The sounds of the security patrols draw closer still to your location though their pace has slowed - they seem cautious now after the drone assault and the ruckus raised by your exit ride.
Eklipse giggles as the gas takes effect.

Neurostun he thinks, Should have run when I could.

He sees the slumped woman and thinks of his lost love.

I'll get you out Heidi.

He staggers towards the woman pulling her up and dragging her towards the exit.

Not Heidi...hands?
Upon seeing Widget arrive with pomp and circumstance aplenty, Zerone looks to Follower for advice.

It appears that the time for flight is now at hand. Grab your things and fall back to safety. There is no sin in caution. Even He once told Gideon to choose cautious soldiers. Let the sister do what she does best and support your allies from afar.

Choosing to listen to his mentor, Zerone grabs his medkit and bolts for the van.

Sister Amara, I ask that you ensure the safety of my comrades before putting this den of sin and villainy to the sword. he asks the ravmalakh through their shared link.
Holding her hand over the bleeding wound along the side of her neck, she stumbles back and runs her hand over a small panel that responds with lights and an oddly out of place pleasant chime like a doorbell in a middle class suburban home. The door opens to reveals a figure straight from the scriptures - wreathed in flame and carrying a large sword of some sort made entirely of fire. She shrieks and pauses in the doorway unsure where to go now. A man is partially visible beyond the angel and you see him dive through the floor - perhaps an opening of some sort that you can't quite see.

Inside the Container
A woman's scream of surprise and terror echoes from the floor above this one through the small opening to be quickly followed a slim male form. You watch as he hits the ground rolling to reduce the impact of the fall - coming up on his knees and one hand bracing him against the far wall of the container. He speaks his English is heavily accented but understandable.

"I done, you take - I leave?"

Outside the Container
The van spins out leaving the side door and back hatch facing your small group. The doors finishing opening as the van rocks from side to side from the force of braking. Widget sticks her head out the driver side window.

"Everyone in! Did you all get the fellow from upstairs?"
Fat Man bellowed through the hole he'd made in the ceiling

"Hey, you! The ork with the tusks! Please come with the panda, we would like to rescue you."

Honorable ancestor, please help the wounded ork down the hole and to the van.

He then waited for the shen to come down and the others to get out.

Response to Twist:

"The shen who is assisting me should be able to rescue the prisoner, and the fire shen our friend called can easily torch this place now that no magic remains to oppose it. Once the prisoner and the rest of us make it to the van, we should leave."
Cypher looked from the fiery angel of vengeance to the magic floating panda, unsure just how many drugs were still in his system. Then he heard the voice from below to reinforce his delusion. He turns the scalpel in his hand. With a longer blade, it would be a more defensive posture. At this size it is perfect for quick slashes as he runs.

"Out of my way bitch, or I slit your throat. No second chances." The smooth flowing Japanese was out of his mouth before he knew what he was saying.
Again you witness the monster lurking just beneath her eyes swimming to the surface as she speaks, her voice cold and hateful.

"Fine, you're just a waste of flesh walking around."

She moves, pressing her back to the wall between her and the angry spirit and allowing her to keep an eye on you as she clears the path through the door.
Twist moves to the door of the van and begins gesturing for the others to get in. "C'mon! Go, go go!"
"Help me with my Heidi," stammers a lurching and clearly confused Eklipse as he drags the unconscious woman towards the van.
Nodding quickly to Eklipse and helps pull the woman into the van.
The interior of the van looks less than sterile perhaps a token effort was made but that's it. A couple of small drones are scattered around the interior providing make shift illumination. The partition separating the driver from the rear compartment has been torn out or rusted out. Widget's face appears between the seats as she hollers back.

"Who is Heidi? Did I miss someone in the containers?"
Staggering, Ayo clutches the edges of the van like a life raft on a stormy sea. He pulls himself inside and curls up in a corner, still twitching occasionally, head spinning.
Watching the what looked to be humbled remains of the group limp into Widget's van, Zerone pops open his medkit once more.

Learn from their wounds the poison of hubris. It is but a needle's width away from confidence, and subtly seductive. Now, my friend, do as He would have you do and tend to them as best you can.

"Um...who needs treatment first?"
In the Van
The sounds of gunfire start up as the security guards in the shipyard begin to gauge range and seem to be encouraging the van and its passengers to depart. The team makes its way into the van as Kat Doktor climbs in smiling a tight smile at Zerone.

"Nothing personal but why don't you let me handle this for now. I've seen worse and I think the others could use help getting in."

He quickly looks over the medkit and without looking up begins to give out directions for where to place the wounded.

"Put her down here and if you can walk and form sentences then you'll need to wait just a little bit but I will get to you."

Back in the cargo container you see the odd sight of a large panda carrying the lone living test subject from the upper level to the back of the van, using its body as a physical shield from the incoming gunfire - they seem to have little effect on the spirit as it gently lowers the man to the floor of the vehicle. He looks around and seems to become fixated on the medical treatment happening and silently begins to assist in them. Kat Doktor has a look of open surprise as the new arrival easily falls into the role of assistant, handing him what he needs and staying in step with him.

"You've done this before I see."

With the rest of the team climbing in you see a small train of drones dragging grisly payloads into the back with you. Hands that look cut or laser torched off of the fallen bodies being stacked near the drivers seat. Widget looks back over her shoulder with a look of mild distaste as she hollers to the rear.

"I'm normally not this bloodthirsty but they're dead and I don't know about you but I need the money and they for sure aren't going to need them besides..."

The rest of what she was going to say is cut off by a large explosion and gout of fire from the upper part of the concealed drug facility. You see the debris scattered around and see the large flame enshrouded spirit unleashing its fury on the container. The heat washes over you and the van is rocked violently. Widget turns and guns the engine as the van surges forward. The panda slams the back doors closed as it bellows out is defiance at the guards shooting at it. You feel the vehicle lurch and slam against the sides of containers as its ricochetted through the shipyard to you hope some safe place. You hear small explosions go off around you and see clouds of smoke erupt from the all around the van. Widget yels back to the rear as she guns the engine building up speed.

"No worries - that's all me making sure we aren't followed."

You feel the impact of what you assume is a fence or perhaps a wall ripple through the van. The ride doesn't slow down but it does get smoother as you hit the streets of the city. After a bit the speed of the van reduces to what passes for flow of traffic in Seattle. Kat Doktor moves efficiently through the group tending their injuries with a practiced and confident manner. The recent survivor from the drug lab shadows him silently helping where he can. All in all you drive for 20 or 30 minutes before pulling into a garage or some sort of vehicle storage. Inside you see a relative new GMC Bulldog and what looks to be several larger drones in various stages of repair or modification.

"We're here."

Widget exits the van and opens the door, helping any who need it to their feet and begins to look over the pile of stolen tech and the harvest of hands. She talks out loud to the group as she sorts.

"I'll contact your boss and let them know the job was completed and what extras you did. I gave you all my info so feel free to contact me but I'm going to be a little busy the next few days dumping this stuff for quick cash. I'll let you all know what the next job is and I'll get the fake ID you requested as well." She pauses to address the last part to Eklipse. "I'll take this fellow with me and get him set up with my friends I told you about. Nice bit of work all - I'll be in touch." She motions for the lab test subject to follow her to the nicer vehicle. "Let's go handsome and lock up on your way out. Hit the orange button on the keypad when you leave."

She climbs into the vehicle and the large metal door of the garage opens as she back out and drives off into the early hours of the morning.

You sit struggling to adjust your mind to the sudden change in circumstance that just happened as you watch street lights roll by the passenger side window. The young elf sitting next to you occasionally glances over at you, her face an unreadable mask or perhaps you've been away from people so long you've forgotten how to interpret expressions. She drives you to the outskirts of southern Seattle, you see signs for an area called Tarislar as she leaves the main roads and begins taking smaller side roads. You arrive at what appears to be a cluster of bio-domes that have been salvaged and connected together by tubes and covered walkways. You pass through a ring of sentries, elves with automatic weapons who seem to know the driver. She pulls the car up to a smaller dome along the eastern edge of the compound. She gestures for you to get out and follow her as she passes in front of the van.

An exterior door opens and out walks an attractive red headed female elf. Her face is radiant and happy, they embrace like old friends or family might. As you exit the van you can hear them talking, they appear to be taking no pains to keep that they say secret.

" this the volunteer I told you about and I can say he seems to know his way around a medkit. He helped my friends after our camping trip get patched up from a serious tumble they had rock climbing but you know how that is.."

The new woman walks up to you, her face open and friendly. Her voice is warm and gentle.

"Welcome to the Community, I'm Aideen . We have a place for you to sleep and some food, maybe a bath and some fresh clothes? You're welcome to stay as long as you pitch in each day but from what Widget has said that should be pretty easy to do. We can always use medical help around here. Let's head inside and get you settled, shall we?"

She motions for you to follow her into the smaller domed structure while waving goodbye to your ride. You enter and wonder at the twists and turns of just a few hours.
As Widget speeds away from the Yakuza drug lab, Zerone watches Amara dispense her righteous fury upon it. He can make out the image of her brilliant golden-white arc slicing and shooting through the remains of the lab, her ethereal form easily distinguishable against the plain colors of earthly fire. Minutes later, he senses the ravmalakh's presence in his mind.

I have cleansed this temple of sin from His world. With that, my service to you is at an end. Walk His path, young one, and remember this. Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. With that, Amara passes from this world and returns to the next.
Kat Doctor lives up to his name as he treats Eklipse's electrical burns. Especially considering that he manages to do it in the back of a moving van, and one driven by the somewhat deranged Widget no less. By the time the doctor and his newfound assistant have finished patching him up, the furry elf feels almost as good as new. Apart from the pounding headache that is, the unpleasant aftereffect of the neurotoxin in the grenade. But he knows that too will eventually pass.

He spends the rest of the journey examining the unconscious woman that he had mistaken for Heidi while disoriented by the gas. She was about the right height, but her features were clearly asian, not european. He contemplated just leaning across and crushing her windpipe then adding her hand to the pile of grisly trophies Widget's drones had brought back to the van. But maybe she knew something that would help him find his lost love.

Life is choice, he thinks to himself, half remembering something one of his trainers had taught him. And through those choices do we each live our own lives.

He sighs, rubbing his temples. Then he moves carefully across the van and kneels next to her. He pats her down for weapons and then binds her hands behind her back with a plastic tiewrap. Satisfied with his work, he turns to the others in the van.

"I vas mistaken about zis woman. Ze gas you understand. She is not who I thought she vas. She is most likely just another hand to be delivered to our employer. However, I vould like to ask her a few questions first. If any of you has talents or medicines that vould make zis task easier, then I ask your help."

At the Community

"Yes, somewhere to clean up would be nice. Then, when I don't smell as bad as I do right now, some clothes would be good. Right now I think anything that comes within arm's reach probably needs to be washed just to make sure.

"As Widget said, I'm good with a medkit so I can help out there, or if you have any computer problems. I'm pretty handy with a screwdriver and soldering iron."

Cypher follows Aideen to the shower room and thanks her. He steps in and pulls the door closed behind him before peeling off the undershirt and jeans that had stuck to him in the lab. Maybe with enough bleach they'll come clean, he thought. The cold water hit him full in the face and made him jump a second as he tried to adjust it. It slowly heated to lukewarm and he scrubbed off a week's worth of skin, grime, and sweat. The same soap went to attack the grease in his hair. Not the best option, but a whole lot better than nothing.

When he was done, he found a loose fitting t-shirt and some jeans left where his clothes had been. The pants were cut differently than he liked, they were loose around the ankles and too tight around the hips. All that was needed would be a pair of cowboy boots to complete the look.

Sitting down for a minute before going out to see the rest of the Community, Cypher flipped the wi-fi switch off on his commlink and pushed the display button which would flash the time and date. Time to see how long I've been gone...
"Thank you for bringing us home safely, sister. I hope that you gather enough money to live well," Zerone says to Widget in their shared tongue. He then turns to the rest of the group with an honest smile and bows politely.

"It was nice meeting and working with you all. I hope that we can do it again. Go in Peace." He mentally stumbles over some of the words, but practice and a growing confidence in the language manage to cover the potential goofs.

He exits the garage and looks for the nearest bus stop to take him back to his home. As he walks out, he feels Follower touch his mind again.

You have done well this day, my friend. In the past, you have donned the mantle of the guardian. Today, you have shown that you can draw the blade of the warrior without succumbing to the madness of violence. I believe you are ready to learn more.

I would be grateful for whatever wisdom you might bestow upon me, Follower. He can feel the spirit smile.

It is not my wisdom to give, but His. I am but a follower of His Way, a shepherd sworn to serve His flock. Although, I can show you what He has taught me. It is not an easy path to walk, especially in this day where the meek are mocked as fools and preyed upon by the wicked. However, if you prove capable, I feel certain that you will find that the way of peace is much more rewarding than that of greed and rage.
Fat Man stays quiet, apparently lost in thought. Once the team is clear, he turns to the panda spirit.

"Thank you greatly for your assistance, honourable ancestor. Your help was invaluable in rescuing this man and in preventing the loss of any of our lives."

He bows to the spirit as well as he can in the confines of the van, as the panda vanishes into the air.

To Eklipse:

"I can assist you with this. The shen of wisdom have taught me how to learn what people wish to hide... what is it that you believe she might know?"

As Eklipse replies, Fat Man pulls out a wooden amulet on a string of beads. Then his eyes start emanating a strange bluish light, as he gazes at something behind the unconscious woman as though looking through the amulet like a lens.
The masked runner was silent as Katdoctor patched him up, giving the doctor a nod of appreciation once the work was once. The help, combined with the effects of the gas and the shock wearing off, left him capable of facing the world again...and dealing with his shame.

You ran.

I retreated when I had sense in dying.

You were beaten back and you ran like a scared kitten to save your miserable life.

A hunter hunts on his own ground, at a time of his own choosing.

A good hunter kills his prey wherever it is, wherever he finds it.

I did my best.

Your best isn't good enough. I'll leave you to sit in silence without my gifts for a while...see if you can find it within yourself to be a hunter again, instead of someone's prey.

He simmered in silence, taking Widget's news with courtesy, but taking his leave as soon as he could do so without appearing to be running home with his tail between his legs. He would have to work harder, longer...would have to be faster, more lethal, to be worthy of Panther's gifts, that much was obvious. Some preparation wouldn't hurt, either.

Eklipse watches Fat Man as he casts his spell.

Some sort of mind reading spell, he thinks to himself. At least we don't have to wait for her to wake up.

"Dankeschoen for your help Herr Fat Man. I vould know the following if you can find them them in her head. First, but ze one I fear she may have the least information on. I seek a friend of mine. A young woman, german like me but human. About ze same height as zis lady but caucasion and blonde. My sword belongs to her and I vould know if this woman has heard anything about her."

"Second, who is zis lady and what was she doing at ze container? And finally, anything you can find out about her employers zat might be useful to us for future runs."
Back at home, Follower instructs Zerone to enter his magical lodge.

Please sit down, my friend. If you are to learn, then you must return to the beginning. Think back on the earliest memories you have. I shall do what I can to show you the path, but you must choose to walk upon it.

I understand.

Then let us begin.

Zerone kneels in the middle of his lodge, placing his hands upon his thighs. He closes his eyes and clears his mind of all stray thoughts. He focuses on his earliest memories he can remember...

A slosh and a jostle awake him from The Darkness of The Beginning. He opens his eyes to pain and blurry visions. The air---no liquid---makes it hard for him to keep from closing them, but he manages to keep them open if only to see a Brand New World. He can see fuzzy figures moving about in the beyond. He thinks, and suddenly a pale hand appears and presses against a hard, clear surface. He can feel The Barrier, and now he realizes that the figures exist in A World Beyond His.

However, the act of pressing against The Barrier attracts the figures' attention. One approaches The Barrier and gazes upon him with an intense expression he cannot describe. He tries to make contact with the figure---The First Face, to reach out with his hand or speak out to him. The Barrier blocks his hand, and something hard keeps his mouth clamped closed. The figure gestures, and another appears.

Suddenly, he is overcome with the urge to sleep. He tries to fight it, desperate to keep from slipping back into The Darkness after only enjoying moments in this Brand New World. However, the urge grows more seductive, and he is helpless against it. His eyes close once more, and he knows only The Darkness once more...

This was your Trial of Inception, the point in time when you breached oblivion and became aware.

During his torment in The Darkness, Visions begin to break the monotony of nothingness. They are hard for him to understand, but something helps him identify the meanings. He sees The Brethren---creatures of flesh and blood like himself---persecuted by The Unworthy---creatures of flesh and blood that are different. Some of The Unworthy look just like The Brethren, while others appear shrunken, twisted, or gigantic. The Unworthy slaughter The Brethren, spilling hot, red ichor all about.

However, some of The Brethren stand against The Unworthy. They become wreathed with a Dark Green Fire, and draw forth a great power that smashes through the Unworthy. The Unworthy fall, their own red ichor spilling upon the ground, and The Brethren rejoice in their victory. These Chosen Brethren lead the others in a battle against The Unworthy, felling each one until only The Brethren remain.

As the Visions progress, he becomes aware of a power within himself. Suddenly, The Darkness vanishes and an Ethereal World opens up to him. He is not alone, but amidst many of these Brethren. All of them burn with the same Green Fire of the Vision. However, he does not. He can sense great emotion resonating from these Chosen---anger, hatred and rage. All he feels is confusion at the Vision, after all it is but that, is it not?

Once again, the urge to slip back into The Darkness creeps upon him. He tries to fight it once more, but is still too weak. The Darkness takes him, and the Visions are no more.

This was your Trial of Sapience, where you showed the Wisdom to tell Truth from Deception.

Sharp pains yank him from The Darkness. He opens his eyes to the Brand New World overlaid with the Ethereal, and sees that he is moving. Figures he now recognizes as The Brethren are moving around him. He places his hand to The Barrier and tries to speak, but his mouth is still clamped. The First Face looks at him once, with an intense expression unlike that of before. He now recognizes that where The First Face once saw Promise, he now sees Failure, and his expression is one of disgust and regret. Strange sounds echo about him, and he begins to feel cold. He tries to press against The Barrier---to reach The First Face and ask his forgiveness. However, he is too weak.

He is taken from The Chosen, and abandoned in a place where people discard The Useless. That is what he has become to The Brethren. He is Useless to them.

Nevertheless, there is someone who rejects The First Face's decision. A new figure---one of The Unworthy---approaches him. He places his hand on The Barrier and tries to call out for help. The act startles The Unworthy, who grabs an object that he smashes against The Barrier, and now he is afraid that he will suffer the fate of The Brethren in The Vision. The Barrier shatters, and he feels fears for what is about to happen. However, The Unworthy reaches down and pulls him into The World Beyond His. The Unworthy reaches towards his face and frees his mouth. The act is painful, as sight, sound, touch, smell and taste now assault him. He collapses to the ground, coughing.

"Oh shit, are you all right? I can't believe they'd dump a living person in here, fucking scumbags."

He does not recognize the words, but he can see from The Ethereal World that The Unworthy glows with an aura of compassion.

"Don't try to speak, chummer. Just breathe. I know, this place smells like shit, but you can always find something useful in the dump. Maybe there's a blanket or something here---" The Unworthy stops speaking.

"Didn't I tell you to stay out of my dump, fucker?" says a new voice---another of The Unworthy. Unlike the first, he glows with an aura similar to The Chosen.

"Look, man, now's not the time. This poor elf needs help."

"I could give a shit. I've been more than fair, I gave you two warnings. I told you that the third time I found you picking over my dump, I was going to skullfuck you. Well, guess what? I'm a man of my word."

The Unworthys' auras begin to change. The first fades into fear, while the second's darkens into rage. He makes a choice, and summons the power of The Chosen.

The second's aura changes to a white hot mixture of pain and fear before fading from the Ethereal World. The remaining Unworthy stands dumbstruck at what has just transpired.

"Ho...holy shit,'re a mage?"

Again, the words mean nothing to him. He tries to answer, but the sounds he makes are different from those of The Unworthy.

"Well, you saved my ass. First time anyone has ever done that. Look, I can see you need help and I don't know if you can understand me, but I know a place where you can get a bowl of soup and maybe a set of clothes. They might give you more because you can work magic. Just come with me and...don't fry me, please?" He gestures for him to follow, and he realizes that this is not an "Unworthy." This is A Friend.

This was your Trial of Choice, where you realized His Gift of Free Will and acted upon it.

Follower continues to speak.

It was at this point in time where I sensed your presence and your potential. I have guided you as best as I could ever since. After reliving these memories, what have you learned from them?

Zerone thinks for a moment before answering.

His Will will find a way. My creators sought to create life in their own image and bend it to their selfish desires. However, the Gift of Life is His Domain, and each of us are His Children and bear His Gifts. We are born with the gifts of Wisdom and Free Will, and while we may choose to ignore Them, no one outside The Empyrean may take Them from us. He can feel Follower's satisfaction at the answer.

Very good. All who walk His Path must learn that lesson by trial. It cannot be taught through words, but must be experienced by deeds. Arise, my friend, and witness what wisdom peace can bring.

Zerone stands up. He feels a sense of calmness and confidence flow about him. He takes a moment to slip from the physical domain to the astral, and notices changes in his signature. A nimbus of golden light surrounds his usual aura of brilliant colors. The nimbus represents that new sense of serenity that flows throughout him. He smiles and gives thanks to Him for showing him The Way.
Fat Man
You feel the tendrils of magic sweep through her form and seek out her memories and thoughts, where her consciousness resides. There is an almost palpable snap as you make the bridge between her mind and yours. You feel the rush of a life flow through you like a raging river. Faces, names and places that both seem familiar and alien fill you. You still yourself and reach for the ones that hold the truths that you seek. There iis a shift - a sense of movement and displacement as you find yourself in a small apartment kneeling down talking to her/your daughter.

"...this is where we have to live for now but give momma some time and it will get better."

The shame of her/your surroundings fills you. She/you curse yourself for getting involved with Jiro and his quick money schemes. The heat flashes through her/your loins at the thought of his lean muscular body underneath you and the pleasure she/you felt. The money was so tempting and with Naomi in her/your life now it seemed almost justified to try and take it but now he was dead and she/you were living in the cracks of the city. Her/your tears threaten to spill out at the memory of Jiro's body riddled with bullets, his blood running over her/you as he was killed outside the his apartment. The man, obviously a runner of some sort, stood there. She/you watched as he drew aim on you but paused when Naomi run out and began screaming seeing the blood and the body. Some expression crossed his face, unreadable but there. He put the gun away and spoke, his voice flat and dead.

"Your life is over. Ares does not take kindly to employee theft. Get a new SIN because if you show up again then I will be back. Go to House of Night Blooming Flowers and ask for Madame Yin, tell her Kyuko sent you."

She/you know live above a group of whores and was being set up with a job as a security rigger for a drug lab working for the Yakuza with the threat of death hanging over her/you if she was ever discovered to be alive from a man she/you knew would do it.

As you leave that memory you know this woman is Sakura Suzuki but living under the alias of Judy Watanabe and that she never knew the name of her employer other than it being attached to the Seattle based Yakuza and that her daughter was being watched by a woman named Madame Yin for the next three days - when her shift in the lab was over. You leap back in again, this time looking for any connection to the sword or the German woman Eklipse mentioned.

She/you feel pain and disgust as she/you watch the stream of "test subjects" makes their way through the lab. Face after face scrolls by in her/your memories. A growing numbness overtakes her/you as she/you learns to distance herself/yourself from them to keep a grip on her/your sanity.

Suddenly one memory grabs your attention and you place yourself in it.

"It's incredible! His genetic structure is Type O and would be wasted here, in fact he may even be the donor they have been looking for Yamamoto. Think of the influence we could garner from being the ones that brought him to his attention."

Her/your fear and dislike of Dr. Takayasu weighs heavy in her/your stomach. She/you looks down at the face of a gruff man with blonde hair as he is carried out of the container to be placed in a van to an unknown destination. He looks German to her/you and has the body of one used to physical pursuits.

You withdraw from her mind and know this is the closest match to what Eklipse is asking for.
The Community is composed of primarily Elves as you move into the shared common dome in the center. You are struck by normalcy of it all, there are children receiving instruction while others farm or do routine maintenance on the domes or equipment. Everyone greets you as they pass with at least a smile or nod. When you ask about tools you are directed to another dome off of the main one.

Upon entering you clearly see this one has been set aside as a workshop and mechanical bay of sorts. There are vehicles stored here and people working on repairing damaged machinery or at least salvaging vital components from derelict machines. You see the large wall and table with tools arranged on it or hanging. You grab what you need and retreat back to Aideen's quarters - trying to avoid being underfoot or in the way of anyone else.

As you enter you hear her voice echo through the space - a rich and warm tone and expressive.

"...of course we want those generators but we both know you're overcharging me on the price. I know for a fact they were stolen from a small faculty just three nights ago. I'm doing your crew a solid by offering to take them off your hands and still trying to make sure you make a profit so stop bullshitting me and let's settle on a price you can live with and I can afford - with everyone's as happy as they're going to get..."

Her voice becomes a pleasant counterpoint to your work as you begin to check over your gear for any alterations or additions. Using the tools you gathered you quickly move through the sweep and feel the tension drain out of you as things look untouched or tampered with. You check for tags and find yourself feeling as free as you can remember since everything.....shifted for you. As you finish reassembling the case on your link Aideen walks into the room, clothed in a simple linen dress with her hair tied back with a scarf leaving her hair a tidy mane down her back.

'So if you feel up to it, I would to talk about what you think your next step is going to be." She tucks herself into an overstuffed chair with a natural grace that you could imagine makes her friends when the need arises.
Cypher ran his hands over the machine. He knew each part, each solder joint, perfectly. The commlink had been all that was left of his life since the day he trusted a man with all the documents that proved he was a real person, a Citizen. After that everything had melted away, he went from being Morgan Carmichael, promising graduate student and Ares recruit-elect, to a squatter hacking vending machines and coffin motels to survive. The years on the street and on the run had been hard, but as the world rebuilt the Matrix, he built and rebuilt the commlink. He upgraded parts to stay competitive and built a new life for himself, a digital puzzle which had all the parts of a life, but never quite connected the right way.

The hacker looked at Aideen, felt the handspun fabric in the patches on the upholstery beneath him, heard the warmth of her voice accepting him as he was and setting his mind at ease. A shiver ran down his spine.

Clarice looked lovely as always. For the price he was paying, she had better. He sipped the scotch from his glass, the liquid chilled exactly without ice watering it down. Mark smiled at her and patted the couch beside him. She will be the perfect way to release the tension of the upcoming IPO. The next few hours will be the pinnacle of his career. Clarice sashayed across the room and slid onto the couch, her body radiating warmth as the fabric of her dress pressed through his dress shirt.

"Tell me, Mark will you still call next week, after you have made your fortune? With the millions you are earning, will you still need me, or do you plan to run off and take up a trophy wife on some tropical island and live on your yacht?"

He didn't answer with words, just worked his fingers into the tight bun of blonde hair and kissed her.

A sudden warm flush slammed through Cypher as memories of another person's life slammed into his forebrain. The flashbacks were getting stronger, whether it was a side effect of the drugs or the fact that he wasn't taking his own medications, only time could tell.

"Um, yes. I think I need to move, there's not much in my place, but my tools are expensive. After that, I am going to have a pointed conversation with my dry cleaner about putting starch in my sleeping bag before the last camping trip. Beyond that, I'm not sure. I owe Widget a favor, and someone else, for trying to warn me before I 'volunteered,' though tracking down an icon and a garbled ID may take awhile. I'm also not too clear on the relationship between you and Widget, and why she brought me here."
Fat Man's expression goes blank and unreadable for a few moments, then he makes a strange, unsettling growling sound before shaking his head and putting the talisman away.

"Eklipse, I found ... something that might be connected. I hope it is of help to you."

Fat Man passes on the memory verbally, as clearly as possible. He uses a Physical Mask to "show" Eklipse what the German man he saw looked like.

"In looking, I have also learned that she was as much a victim of the Yakuza as the man we rescued," Fat Man tells everyone, gesturing towards Cypher.

"One without charity deserves no mercy. I will make sure she causes us no further problems, but it would be wrong to kill her when she is no threat to us."

Assuming nobody objects, and Fat Man is permitted to handle this

After the team reached the garage, Fat Man bids the others farewell and picks up the unconscious woman easily, throwing her over one shoulder. With a shimmering in the air, he calls on the shen of water and suddenly looks like an ordinary laborer carrying nothing but rumpled clothes.

Fat Man makes his way through the streets until he finds some secluded area far from the meeting site where he's confidant she'll be safe until she wakes up, then sets her down, the illusion vanishing as she leaves contact with him. He calls on the shen of the city to heal the more serious wounds she took (although she remains unconscious for the moment), then writes her a simple note on paper in blocky text.

"Dear Ms. Suzuki Sakura,
Do not make me regret leaving you alive. I suggest you get Naomi and then leave this city, permanently. If I see you again or if you work for the Yakuza again, Ares will be informed of your and your daughter's contact information.


During Downtime: Fat Man
Perhaps I was mistaken in thinking I could not associate with humans... maybe I should instead work with others who have their own reasons to remain hidden. The others seemed trustworthy...if a bit troubled. Maybe there are other magicians I can work with as well?

Fat Man started quietly looking for signs of more clandestine magical societies - starting with James, who he knew he could trust, and also inquiring, discretely, with the people he had met at the Naiteki Assarishita Retreat Center.
Eklipse listens to Fat Man's description of the German man that the unconscious woman saw and studies the physical mask spell carefully, capturing the image on his commlink for later. He does not immediately recognise him, but it seems like too much of a coincidence. Was Heidi looking for this man when she disappeared?

<<@Magda: I hope my sudden leave of absence is not causing you any difficulties. Do you know if Heidi was here looking for a missing person? If so, is it the man in the attached image or do you recognise him? {image of German man from Fat Man's physical mask} As always, please do not take unnecessary risks on my behalf. Gunther>>

"Ze other information regarding ze deutscher man is intriguing. Did ze late Mr Yamamoto suffer from some medical problem? I do not remember seeing anything in ze files supplied by fraulein Widget"

<<Thomas O'Malley: Herr O'Malley. You are likely aware of the recent firefight at the docks, or you are now. Were you also aware that the container destroyed in the incident was a yakuza drug lab? If this information helps you perhaps you can answer a question for me. Do you know if Mr Yamamoto suffered from any medical condition that would require transplant surgery? Gunther>>

At first he is hesitant to let the woman go, but when Fat man explains her situation, he nods in agreement. Then with a short bow to the others, then slips out to recover his bike and returns to his appartment at 'The Looking Glass' before it gets light.

He sleeps through most of the following day, partly recovering from the effects of the gas, but mostly because of his nocturnal biorythms. He steps out of the Looking Glass as night falls, glad that like most cities, Seattle never sleeps. His first port of call is the nearest Stuffer Shack where he loads up on mundane supplies for the appartment and a couple of cheap changes of clothes. Dropping these off back at the appartment, he then pays a visit to the temple where he negotiates with the monks to gain access to the gardens at night in order to practice his katas. He is aware he can offer them little in return, beyond his presence there for a few hours each night and what little credit he has remaining from the initial payment.

For the first few days, he keeps a low profile, leaving the relative safety of the Looking Glass only to practice at the temple or shop for supplies. However, when a pair of new IDs, one in the name of Josef Schmidt, the other Jakob Myers, are delivered to him by Mr Bo Bo he feels somewhat safer and spends a little more time exploring the city's night life. However, his thoughts too often turn to his missing lover and he returns morosely to the appartment where he spends his remaining waking hours in silent meditation, her blade resting gently across his lap.
Aideen's face shows open curiosity as your skin goes flush as you begin speaking. She keeps eye contact as you speak, nothing bold or aggressive but rather encouraging and supportive as your thoughts flow from you. She smiles at your comment about the dry cleaner and waits a moment when you finish to make sure you had said all you needed to.

"Let me start with Widget since that makes the most sense and might help you decide what to do in the long term. We're friends though I admit when I first met her at the Looking Glass, a club she frequents I was looking to work her as a link to her Uncles who have some clout in the shadows in the city and I suspect perhaps a little further still. But I found her to be a curious soul and despite myself ending up caring about her more than the work I was trying to accomplish."

As she speaks her face is open and easy to read. She seems very comfortable with the notion of networking to get a leg up in her business, probably a fixer of sorts or at least a face for the Community. You see and hear the genuine delight at her finding Widget to be a soul that drew her in.

"There was rough patch with us when I realized that she was less fluid in her desires than I was but we came out the other end solid friends. She has done an admirable job of mixing business with friendship. I have set her up with the occasional odd job and she has been invaluable in helping me broker deals for tech for us here. I admit only a general knowledge of technology so that alone has been a small grace for us."

She stretches as she talks seeming to work the kinks out of her shoulders, you see the tension in the lines of her neck. You watch as the body mask she wears peels away showing someone who has too little sleep the last several days.

"She knows we have an open door policy about taking people in as long as they can contribute to the whole. We have made a habit of taking in less fortunates and helping them get back on their feet. There's a trust fund of sorts that pays out to runners for bringing people just like you to our doorstep. She had a job from a Johnson I introduced her to that made some provisions for people in your situation so she brought you here. Everyone got paid so I'm not sure favors are owed exactly but making friends is always a good idea in this time and place. As for moving. you are welcome to move what belongings you have here till you can make arrangements for something more permanent either with us or your own choosing. I will be honest your skills are rare out here and we are eager to add someone to the Community like you but as always the choice is yours."

The open need is there as she speaks of the want for your skills but underneath it a respect of your choice sings out in her eyes. You see a shift pass through her as she seem to resolve herself to a course of action.

"I do have an unusual request to make. The Johnson I introduced Widget to has put out another feeler for work. My limited understanding is that he or she is looking to tear apart a late Yakuza power player's portfolio, to salt the earth as it were. I was in the process of recruiting another runner to the team but lost track of him or rather more specifically he was on a job and never returned. I can't really afford to take the hit for losing a runner to a job I brokered and I would like to keep this connection to this Johnson going but I am fairly certain if I don't produce this individual in the next few weeks they will move on. Would you be interested in working with those runners who brought you her and help me find this man?"
Fat Man
You begin your quest looking for some group to help your explorations of deeper mysteries. James has little to offer you, mostly groups of humans dedicated to power or specific idols or concepts that you find unworkable for you. Your inquiries at the temple produce more fruitful responses, the brothers and sisters speak of an enlightened soul who dwells in the temple who knows much of the world beyond this one. He might know where what you seek can be found. They say he is often found in the garden in the early hours of the morning and encourage you to seek him out.

The next morning you have free finds you in the garden, hearing the sounds of the neighborhood over the walls at odds with the serenity of the temple. You see Hao Chen moving through the forms of some mediative martial art perhaps Tai Chi or some eastern yoga.
As you make your way through what passes for your life these days, you find the Looking Glass just adds to the detachment and the stream of Changelings just reinforces the surreal quality that seems to pervade your life. You find the alert for an incoming message from your comm a pleasant reminder that you once had something different. You quickly pull the message up and see it's from Magda.

<<@Gunther: Your departure is what it is and your concern for me is unnecessary. In regards to the gentleman - our mutual friend did have his file on her desk. It is an active and open file at present. He was to be found and collected though from what I cannot tell, not for any use by the company from what I have seen in the file. Perhaps as an outside favor but my concern now is that she was looking into this and then disappeared. Is someone misappropriating compony resources and she found out? I am hesitant to look deeper without more information, to avoid the same outcome she suffered. Keep me informed if you can. Magda>>

As you finish reading the message your vision is filled with the symbol of a new alert for a new incoming message. this time from Thomas and it is marked urgent.

<<I do now and thanks for the information it clears up some of the confusion at this end. Would you happen to know who was overseeing this lab or who exactly it belonged to? Is it possible to shed light on why the attack happened? Is there a power struggle going on internally? I need to know if things are going to get worse. In regards to Yamamotto - there have been rumors of failing health but nothing has surfaced but he kept a pretty tight leash on his people. You might want to track down a Dr. Takayasu - she has a solid connection to the Yakuza in Seattle and if she doesn't know she will know who to ask.>>
As Aideen speaks, Cypher listens attentively. His body language opens matching hers-- smiling at the delight in her voice, and sympathizing with the aching muscles. The medical table hadn't been designed for the ergonomics of the patient.

"I appreciate the hospitality, but I don't want to intrude. If you have a room with a bed softer than sheet metal dragged over rocks, I can do some poking around and help you out. The time will also give the Community a chance to know me and see if I'd fit in. My complicated, and sometimes tries to haunt me.

"Without knowing what the arrangements with the runners who brought me here, I can say that I will help you find your man. If it continues a paycheck they've already agreed to, I hope they'll be amenable. Do you have contact information for Widget? My link was offline for awhile, so I didn't catch her number."

Cypher's stomach rumbles quietly, reminding him that it's been nearly a day since Grandma Death fed him anything. While it wasn't the first time he'd gone hungry, he hoped those days were past him for the most part.

"Would you like to walk somewhere and get a snack? It may help to work the kinks out of your neck there. If you're busy though, I can go. A name and any info you have about the person, comm number et cetera, should get me started."
A rather scruffy-looking Eklipse sits nursing an imported beer in one of the quieter corners of the Looking Glass' main bar. He had been biding his time, training at night at the temple or just driving around to avoid coming back to an empty flat, and then either sleeping or meditating during the day. While all the training and meditation had borne fruit, his enhanced senses just made him feel more like a freak among freaks, amid the changelings that frequented the bar. He consoled himself with the thought that at least he didn't stand out and his oppressive gloom kept most of the bar's patrons from bothering him.

His head snaps up suddenly, looking around, until he realises the beeping he is hearing over the music is that of his own commlink. Even the AR in the Looking Glass was rather eccentric, so he normally kept it turned off beyond basic alerts. His expression becomes more focused as he reads Magda's message, while he rubs unconsciously at the stubble on his chin.

Mein Gott! So Heidi had actually been looking for the German Fat Man saw in the woman's memories. He was on her trail at last.

He was out of his chair, his beer forgotten, pushing through the strange menagerie of changelings towards his appartment.

<<@Magda: Let me do the legwork. If you could get me the name of our missing person or any other information from that file that would really help me. But stay out of trouble. I'll let you know as soon as I find anything. Gunther>>

He stops at his door as a the second message arrives. Well, I certainly am popular today. As he reads the message from Thomas, he ponders his reply. How much do I tell him?

<<@Thomas: I can confirm that the lab was one of Yamamoto's. Don't ask how I know? I cannot say why the lab was attacked but it is linked to a previous attack where the victim's hands were also taken. I believe that there may be more attacks against his organisation in the future. I must ask that you keep that information to yourself, however. I will look into this Dr. Takayasu person. My thanks for your help.>>

Hoping he hasn't given too much away, he then sends another message to his only other contact in Seattle: Widget.

<<@Widget: I need your help. It is related to our recent business. A contact has provided me with the name of a certain Dr. Takayasu. She is allegedly involved with the yakuza. Do you know someone who could find where she lives or works? I may also need some help tracking down a missing person. I don't have all the details yet, but will let you know when I do.>>
"Mr. Rhomicron, it's wonderful to see you," says Maggie MacLeod. "Are you here to see Rev. Hannibal?"

"Greetings Ms. MacLeod," he replies shyly to the talismonger's receptionist. "I was hoping to catch him in his office. Is"

Maggie shakes her head.

"I'm sorry, but he is out on official business right now. A few theurges ran into some trouble a while back, and so the good reverend is trying to clear up the situation. I will let him know that you stopped by though. I'm sure he'll get back to you as soon as possible. He has a soft spot in his heart for you. We all do."

Zerone nods thankfully and blushes slightly, "Thank you, Ms. MacLeod, I appreciate it."

"Please, call me 'Maggie.' I know I'm not always the best example since I stay on a last-name basis with most of his clients, but we've known each other long enough to use our first names. By the way, you look different. It's like you're standing up straighter or something. Whatever it is, keep doing it. Take care, Zerone."

"You too, Ms...uh...I mean, Maggie. Go with God."
Fat Man waits quietly and respectfully, not wanting to interrupt Hao Chen's ritual.

Hmm, that is odd. He appears to be rather young. Humans do grow more slowly though... perhaps that is it.

While waiting, Fat Man examines Hao Chen's aura, curious about what he would see. He also quietly eats some soychips.
Fat Man
You allow yourself to slide to the astral, opening your senses more fully to the spirit world. The garden leaps to life and color around you, the well of serenity washes over you as the meditations and prayers of the monks and nuns here have saturated the ambient mana of the temple. You look to the small human child and feel the shock of what you see ripple through you.

The child is composed of pure spirit and mana, a complex life web woven through its whole form. The layers seem to twist and overlap before your eyes, you soon lose track of where one thread ends and another begins. You watch as he moves slowly through a kata and see the delicate weaves of his lifeforce and mana stretch out from the small shell that contains this spirit. The strands touch every plant and then weave outward to add its strands to a complex web of magic covering the temple like a bubble, arcing over the walls. You see his movements echo through the strands into the ward above. The structure is delicate and impossible to keep in your vision all at once. You watch him come to rest on his knees, hand placed on the ground as he bows his forehead to the main temple gate. The strands slowly fade from view and the weaving slowly seeps into ambient mana of the space here. The more abrupt change happens in the child himself. The truth of his nature slips from your view and you feel a mask cloud over his aura so that all that remains is an Awakened human child with a small gift for magic.

He brings his head up and bows respectfully to you as he speaks, his Mandarin is clear and strong while not a native speaker he does have some skill with the language.

"Good morning, how may I be of service this day?"

"AGAIN!" he roared, pain fueling the shout. The thin figure across the rooftop shook his head, rolling the toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other and stretching his arms out.

"You sure, man? Seriously, I've put a beating on you today."


The thin figure shrugged, and, rolling his hands around in a spherical motion, made another gesture at the masked 'runner crouched at the far end of the roof. Nothing visible happened, but Ayo grunted and rocked as another wave of mana washed over him, the energy coursing through his body, lighting up the nerve endings and forcing spasms into the already clenched muscles. He let out an involuntary gasp...

...and bounced off the wall, stumbling and hitting all fours, staring blankly at the rows of feet in front of him. One lashed out, and through the dim haze of pain, he felt an impact along his ribs, another hitting his hip. The world went bright and shiny as one of the boy's kicks connected with his cheek, opening up yet another gash, the trickle of blood mixing with splatters already splashed across the dusty boards. Another, and another, until the young boy lost count, the strikes beginning to blur together in a wash of pain, finally losing control and slumping to the ground.

"Stay down, you retard!" It was impossible to tell which of the assaulting boys was speaking.

"Fu..." was all the battered boy was able to force past split lips, struggling to push himself to his hands and knees again. Several of the boys laughed, and the feet and fists came again.

"He really is retarded, isn't it?"

He snapped back to the present, grimacing behind the mask with the pain. It was the fifth day of this, the fifth day of paying someone to inflict this pain, to force the mana through his body again and again until he could turn his magic to dealing with it, to resisting it. It was better today...the first day he'd lasted only a few minutes before collapsing into unconscious. He'd paid the man to knock him unconscious three more times that day, until both of them were sore and battered from the exertion. It was odd work, but risk free, which was the only reason the mage said he would take it. The third day he'd gone five times, each exchange lasting almost a minute. Today, he hadn't gone down yet, and it was nearing on 5 minutes of abuse.

"AGAIN!" he called, panting. As the pain washed through him again, he heard the voice again.

You might make a decent hunter yet.

He roared triumphantly as the voice of Panther echoed in his mind once again, and the mage at the far end of the roof startled at the noise.

"You okay?" he called hesitantly.

"I am...whole, again." was the laughing reply as the hunter eased himself to the ground painfully, chuckling under the tight fitting mask.
A quick smile slides across Aideen's face at the mention of food. She gathers herself up and stands, motions for you to follow her out of her rooms.

"I think that's an excellent idea, I think there's some food still out by the kitchens if you'll follow me."

She leads you out of her private rooms and back into the large central dome of the Community. The gentle wash of voices moves over you and many people stop to touch or briefly embrace her as you both walk through the area. You see families and bonds all around you - clearly these people see themselves as connected and vital to one another. You soon arrive at an area set up like an outdoor picnic spot. An assortment of tables and chairs are arrayed around - most likely where the people gather for meals. She indicates a smaller table for three as she moves down what looks to be a pieced together buffet stand. She returns to the table with fruit, vegetables and some various meats along with rice. She quickly gathers plates and utensils for you both to use. She sits and begins to eat family style, taking bits from the center plate of food.

"Here's Widget's info.."

A small alert sounds letting you know an incoming data packet is waiting for your approval. When you accept it - you receive contact info for both Aideen and Widget.

"..and you are welcome to stay in the pod off of mine to the right. I'll make sure it's unlocked and aired out for you today. It has the basic things like a bed, small kitchenette and some space to store personal items. We have power most of the day but occasionally we'll have brown outs if we need to use any of the larger equipment but a general announcement is made before we have to. The one thing you should know is very rarely we are raided by other groups in the area. Most of the people here are refugees of one type or another and resources are scarce so it happens. We have patrols and guards posted but if they should happen to get access to the dome everyone knows to hole up in the workshop. It has the best doors and walls, all the elderly and children know to go there during a raid so that's the safest place we have right now. Go there if an alarm sounds."

Her face looks tired and resigned as she speaks of the raids and the need for such measures. With an effort she shakes off the gloom settling on her and changes the topic to a lighter subject. She talks while she eats about the people and the time she has spent here. You hear open delight at her being able to contribute so much to such an appreciative group of people. She has pride in what they have been able to accomplish with trading and their own efforts to self sufficient such as the farming and education they do. At the end of the meal she excuses herself and heads back to her pod.

"Thanks for company and since I believe in taking every moment of joy offered in this life I feel the need to let you know that while I fancied Widget I do find men just as appealing."

Her smile is warm and inviting as she waves goodbye.

Over lunch the info she had on Emilio was transferred over. The information she had on his last run was he was suppose to hit a truck carrying contraband from here to the south. He was to destroy it before it left Seattle with no other restrictions on the job than that. As you expand your search pulling up multiple windows of data and launch programs you wait as the information trickles in. It seems he was a word traveler of sorts, having been seen in outside Chicago and Denver. There are rumors he worked with Frosty at one point though it's hard to credit the story since it claims his team ran her over with a van while "protecting" her. You quickly see a pattern of dead ends emerge in the data you collect. He was or has been working with someone who has gone back and scrubbed themselves clean in the matrix. There are gaps in his digital lifeline where he disappears then pops back up again. Who ever it is seems to have made no effort to be subtle or unnoticed about the erasure. He has no know associates you can find in the area. There is one runner you locate by the name of Fleet but he seems to be serving time overseas for assaulting local security forces. The impression your left with is that his last team broke apart on a run and he has yet to set himself up with a new group before disappearing on this run.

You switch windows and look over the data complied from the parameters you set for the run itself. The pattern quickly emerges of a possible trap set by the smugglers - you find grainy footage of the assault on the van from a nearby surveillance camera. You see a large light haired man use a heavy weapon of some sort - a launcher to be sure - to blow out the cab section only to see no drivers. The ares is suddenly filled with smoke and light - flashbangs perhaps an then the him being dragged away by several men emerging from the clouds of smoke followed by more men carting their own wounded. Rumors fly fast and furious on wanting to know which Face set this job up and who the Johnson was. You search some more related data streams and find a better picture of one of the men you think was in the ambush - captured by a drone lugging Emilio into a warehouse with the help of two others. You quickly launch a new search using the location and image as references in hopes of learning more. You watch the code spool out doing its job as an alert draws you to yet another window.

The trace program chimes its success as it gives you an info packet on the commlink. It appears to be registered to a Tim Allen an is currently on the eastern outskirts of the downtown core. The data scrolls by about this person and it screams a lack of life and depth that makes you strongly suspect a fake SIN. Another alert sounds as you bring up the last window you were accessing.

The search is complete - the address is a known clinic and medical site for a local but now deceased Yakuza boss by the name of Yamamoto. It was rumored to be his own "off the books" chop shop and employee hospital. It was all being overseen by a Dr. Takayasu - a rumored whack job interested in human experimentation with a focus on DNA and new street drugs - one sometimes feeding into the other. You sit with the results of your plunge arrayed around you in AR.
You receive a message letting you know that Rev. Hannibal can see you the next morning at his office. Maggie includes a line letting you know that there will be pastries, tea and coffee at the office if you want to come early for breakfast.
A few hours after you sent the message to Widget, you see an icon letting you know that she has replied.

<<@Eklipse: That name was pinged earlier so someone is looking for that person as well. Do you all get a hacker on the payroll? A cursory search shows that she's a twisted piece of meat that likes using people as her personal chemistry sets. There are rumors that she was put in charge of a shadow clinic by Yamamotto and that it was her house of horrors. I'm going to need money to look further - girl's got to eat. As to the missing person - just get me info and I'll take a look.>>
Waving goodbye, Cypher watched Aideen weave gently through the crowd. After she stepped out of the room, he began to focus and think again. The data was useful but didn't give much insight into who Emilio was. That meant he either had someone in his pocket or was running three or four different lives at the same time--the heavy handed erasing suggested the former. Either the hacker was in a hurry or he didn't care if Emilio had his SIN and life gone through with a fine tooth comb by a Matrix forensics team.

Spooling up the feeds, Cypher trimmed down the data packs to just the vital information. He began mentally laying out the search criteria for Dr. Takayasu as the link encrypted the data packets. With that set, it was time to drop a line to Widget.

//Text Message
//To: Widget
//From: Cypher
//Our mutual friend gave me your number and a new project. Can you rally the team together for me or send me their info?
//We have another lost sheep to find. He was last seen with a few folks who wouldn't mind giving us a hand.

The message vanished off into the aether of the matrix. Cypher grabbed the last few tidbits of food off the plate. Chewing, he casually wiped his hand on his jeans. Taking this job would mean getting his hands bloody. Memories of other lives swam in his head, showing him all the fights and arguments that they had seen. This would be different though, it was his choice not reliving an echo from the past.

He took a deep breath and ran the search for Dr. Takayasu. Part of him hoped, that it was Grandma Death.
Almost immediately after you send your message you receive a reply.

//Text Message
//To: Cypher
//From: Widget
//She does like to keep us busy. I can host no problem, it seems this lost soul matters to others as well. Let's meet at the
//Looking Glass tomorrow night at 10:30? Let me know if that's a problem. Let security you're there to meet the
//Prodigal Daughter.

As your read the message you see windows begin to open up around you with search results. You scan over the data streams and realize for once the Fates have smiled on you. An image capture claiming to be a picture of Dr. Takayasu does indeed match what you remember of your former "physician". It was taken at a rare gathering of the higher ups at a Yakuza function of some sort, as you read on the paparazzi was found dead a day later with his link placed somewhere ill advised for proper breathing. You scan the other streams and see she is linked to the shadow clinic from your earlier search and to Yamamoto. There is recent rumors circulating that she was attacked last night and was seen getting medical care in the downtown core, a hacker found records of stitches for a nasty neck laceration. There is side thread unfolding if she will be one of the people in Yamamoto's crew to fill the void and take over his operations. There is another posting that claims she is holing up in her medical fortress in Seattle.

As you make your way through your daily activities you receive a message from Widget.

<<So the boss is putting you all back on the clock it seems. We need to meet tomorrow night at 10:30 at the Looking Glass. Let security know you're there to see me. I am back on the clock with you all at that time.>>
"Mr. Rhomicron, please help yourself to the food and drink."

Maggie MacLeod smiles warmly while motioning to the table laid out with breakfast pastries and pots of tea and coffee. The warm shafts of sunlight filter through the waiting room. The sound of movement can be heard as the building begins to fill with people and activity.

"The Reverend is just finishing up a conference call then he will see you." Her smile is warm and open. She seems to be focused on the AR space around her desk, you assume calendars, schedules and messages to the Reverend. As you finish a small baked good her head jerks up - as if responding to some prompt or stimulus only she is privy to.

"He'll see you now." She rises from behind the desk and opens one of the two double doors leading into the office. As you enter you see the Rev. Hannibal making his way to the door, arm extended to grasp yours in a warm and firm handshake.

"Maggie was right - you are looking more in your skin. Please sit down." He makes his way back to his desk and sits down. His face is lined with wrinkles but his eyes still have that spark in them, he is ready to take on the day.

"So what brings you here today?"
"Good morning, Reverend, and thank you very much for seeing me. Oh! And for the compliment. I..uh...know how busy you are." Zerone sits down at the desk across from the Reverend.

"I was hoping you might be able to tell me...uh...where to find someone who might sell technology? I know that you sell magical wares, but I don't know if you have technology in your...uh...inventory? Is that the right word? If you don't, then do you know someone who does? Maybe someone else who works for the church? I would feel more comfortable if my money was being used for good. I was thinking about buying some goggles that would help me see in the dark and through things like thermal smoke, and maybe some armor I could wear under my clothes. I looked into the yakuza problem and I helped shut it down, but...I saw how dangerous bullets can be. I'm starting to think I should be more prepared against them."
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