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It's a cloudy damp day in 'the plex' as the tail end of a coastal storm has deposited its moisture further inland than previously expected. At least this is nothing like the wind damage caused along the Outer Banks, laying waste to many of the small fishing towns up and down the East Coast. You are willing to bet your left arm this will drive up the price of fresh fish in the foreseeable future. The rain pounds down heavily for a few minutes turning to small bits of hail just long enough to trigger the alarms of several unprotected vehicles out on the street. Casey Carelson of WSOC News says this weather should hold out until evening tomorrow when a gentle warm front makes its way through the area scattering the remainder of the showers, turning to sunshine for Saturday morning.

Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 (08:06:11) : Artemis's Lair, Quail Hollow Country Club

It was just another dreary early spring day in 'the plex' as Artemis laid in the massive canopy bed with real silk sheets wondering what his plan was going to be for the day. He could smell the fresh brewing coffee from half way across the house. Without a care in the world he slipped out of bed standing naked as the day he was born in front of a full wall sized mirror.

“Perhaps we start the day off with a few laps around the pool.” He says out loud more to himself since he was alone in the mansion with nobody to hear him anyway.

Donning his robe as he exits the pool, Artemis heads for the kitchen where he pours himself a cup of the most perfect tasting coffee he's ever had. None of that soycaf crap will do for this man. He looks around at the luxuries at his fingertips and wonders how ever he would live without all the niceties. A soft beep from his commlink snaps Artemis out of his reverie.

<<Encrypted Message Downloaded>>
<<Decryption Initiated...>>
<<Stage 1... Complete>>
<<Stage 2... Complete>>
<<Message Decryption Complete>>

<<@Artemis:[Burn-out]: Can you hear that? It's the sound of a few extra Yen in your proverbial pocket. Maybe even enough to get some of the goons off your back. Meet me at the R&R BBQ Pit at 19:30 tonight. 803 Ebenezer Rd, Kannapolis. Dinners on me Chummer. Bring your appetite.>>

The prospect of paying off his debt had merit. Perhaps even be on the plus sometime soon. Maybe even one day having those militant Bratva drekbags owing him would be nice.

Sage “Egg” Summers : Thursday April 7, 2072 (12:22:19) : Sage's Apartment, Mint Hill

She laid on her couch reading the newest AR publication of 'Llewellyn Worldwide'. The article about empowering circle magic with scents of nature was just fascinating. Her cat sat lazily on the windowsill watching the rain pour down. Occasionally a stray drop of rain or a bit of hail would rap against the glass causing the cat to perk to attention with its tail moving in agitation. Caught up in the articles of the occult publication, Sage completely lost track of time. Its a good thing her cat instinctively knew when it was time for the Troll to feed it.

The feline pounced from the floor to Sage's legs jarring her attention away from the AR display. She glanced at the time and seeing it shortly after noon decided now was just as good a time as any to grab some lunch.

“Well you are right little one, I guess it is time to eat.”

A shallow “Meow” is the only response to be had from the creature.

Clearing the dishes from the meal, Sage returns to the couch to finish reading when her commlink buzz's notifying her to an incoming message. Not many people had this commcode which made the vibration startling. Checking the message she sees one of the few people she trusted with her contact info has some encrypted info sent to her.

<<Encrypted Message Downloaded>>
<<Decryption Initiated...>>
<<Stage 1... Complete>>
<<Stage 2... Complete>>
<<Message Decryption Complete>>

<<@Sage:[Burn-out]: Can you hear that? It's the sound of you being one step closer to freedom. Meet me at the R&R BBQ Pit at 19:30 tonight. 803 Ebenezer Rd, Kannapolis. Dinners on me Chummer. Bring your appetite.>>

Tyler “Lobo” Savage : Thursday April 7, 2072 (13:18:22) : Lobo's Apartment, Concord

The sound of the rain pounding on the antiquated shaker style siding of his apartment building combined with the hangover effects of his five round bout with a case of brew the evening before have caused Lobo to sleep in today. Vivid nightmares flash through his mind as he watches the shining smile of a little Bavarian girl as she puts the next piece of her puzzle in place. Her look turns to confusion when she holds up her bloody hands. Lobo reaches down in a panic to see what happened when he notices blood beginning to run down her face...

In a cold sweat he is startled awake nearly falling out of his bed. The soft rhythmic sound of the rain turns to a sharp hard clatter against the window of his bedroom and the faint sound of his elderly neighbor Mrs. Honeywell yelling at someone draws his attention to the present.


Lobo nearly knocks the lamp off his nightstand as he swings around wildly half mistaking the sound for sound suppressed gun fire. A small red blinking light on the display of his commlink alerts him to a saved text message. He gingerly stretches across his bed grabbing the link to check his messages.

<<Encrypted Message Downloaded>>
<<Decryption Initiated...>>
<<Stage 1... Complete>>
<<Stage 2... Complete>>
<<Message Decryption Complete>>

<<@Lobo:[Burn-out]: Can you hear that? It's the sound of your rent being paid and food in your belly. Meet me at the R&R BBQ Pit at 19:30 tonight. 803 Ebenezer Rd, Kannapolis. Dinners on me Chummer. Bring your appetite.>>

Perhaps things are finally turning around...

Matt : Thursday April 7, 2072 (13:22:16) : GEAR, Near the Speedway

Matt stands at the front of the Lotus Evora working the overhead winch controls as wisps of sports scores from the previous nights games race across his mind. This thing was a blast from the past being over thirty years old and one of only 116 remaining of the last production run of the Evora line in 2038. Mean Gene had asked the young man to pull the motor in the antique vehicle so that it could get the power upgrade the owner wanted installed. The winch cable pulled tight and Matt gave the engine compartment a quick once over making sure all the cables and hoses were tucked back out of the way as to not get caught on anything.

A few more taps on the 'UP' button caused the motor to begin lifting off the motor mounts and easing the weight on the suspension of the vehicle. Thinking everything was all clear Matt holds down the button causing the motor to slowly climb out of the engine compartment. His attention is caught for a split second as a weather alert passes through his minds eye. It looks like this lousy weather is supposed to last all day.

“WHOOOAA there kid... give that motor a little slack!” An obviously agitated voice calls out from across the shop.

Matt snaps back his full attention to reality as he realizes the front tires of the Lotus ever so slightly lifting off the ground. It looks like he had missed pulling the pin on one of the motor mounts. With his face getting red and warm from embarrassment he switches the winch to reverse and lowers it back down until the cable barely shows any slack.

“Sorry boss. Won't happen again.”

The burly gear-head owner of the shop meanders over to Matt while wiping his hands on a shop rag. His face shows absolutely no sign of anger, rather if he had to guess Matt figured he was about to get some 'friendly advice' from the older mechanic. Gene walks up from the rear of the vehicle stopping for a moment to wipe a small smudge off the spoiler before making his way up to the front of the car. He leans in and watches as Matt reaches down and pulls the pin from the last motor mount.

“Everything under control over here kid?” The gentle ork asks his young protege. “I put you on this project because I know you have the skills to do the job. You just need to learn to turn off all that other garbage while you're working.”

The owner pats the kid on the shoulder as he turns and walks away. Such a stupid little mistake like that could have been so much worse if the boss-man wasn't watching. Matt felt small in that moment but he took control of the situation and turned it into a learning experience. Starting over again he begins to gentle pull the slack from the winch cable and this time the motor rises up unhindered. As he begins to walk forward with the motor, setting it up to bolt on to the motor stand, the mechanical chime in his mind alerts him to an incoming message.

<<Encrypted Message Downloaded>>
<<Decryption Initiated...>>
<<Stage 1... Complete>>
<<Stage 2... Complete>>
<<Message Decryption Complete>>

<<@Matt:[Burn-out]: Can you hear that? No I'm not talking about that resonance drek you are always going off about. It's the sound of your rent being paid and food in your belly. Meet me at the R&R BBQ Pit at 19:30 tonight. 803 Ebenezer Rd, Kannapolis. Dinners on me Chummer. Bring your appetite.>>
Tyler “Lobo” Savage : Thursday April 7, 2072: Lobo's Apartment, Concord

Sighing and slowly straightening up on the bed, Lobo gives a long, slow stretch, and then stands up. Immediately regretting that decision, he sits back down again, dropping his head into his hands. After a minute, he gets up again, slower this time, moves to the fridge and pulls out his breakfast, a mixture of stuffers and high protein drinks to wash them down with.

First thing I need to do is buy better food. Thinking back over his debts, he amends that thought. Fifth thing I need to do is buy better food. Grimacing, he forces down the last of the stuffers, a particularly vile product that proclaims, "Guaranteed to taste like Processed Meat Product ™" and then finishes the energy drinks.

With a shudder, Lobo strips off his clothes, and begins his normal workout routine, a series of calisthenics and cardio that manages to sweat out the alcohol and the nightmares from the night before. After his workout, he moves to the shower, an extremely unpleasant experience. Lack of proper maintenance in the building meant his hot water lasted less than 30 seconds, and the stall wasn't big enough to for him to fit comfortably in. The upshot was that his daily ablution was more akin to being sprayed with a fire hose full of icy water while standing in a cage than what most people would consider a shower.

Toweling off, he ironed his suit, making sure that he looked as if he still belonged in the world he was so callously ejected from. He got dressed went next door to check on Mrs. Honeywell.

"Everything okay ma'am?"

"Oh yes dear, your friend fixed the stove wonderfully. Thank you again."

"My pleasure." Lobo gives a rare smile, then turns to go back to his room. After flipping through the channels on the Trid for a while, he decides to get to the BBQ Pit a little early. Grabbing the Savalette from the nightstand, he puts it in the holster inside his Vashon Island coat, slipped his ear buds in, grabs his commlink and heads out the door.

Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 : Maison D' Artemis's, Quail Hollow Country Club

The monogrammed robe thrown around him snugly ..Who are you DW ?.. Artemis muses whimsically,
He doesn't really care, yet another face to smile politely at and forget. Remnants of DW's time here still remain, but not many, whoever they were, left in a bit more of a hurry than most folks when they vacate the premises.

Stepping out of the covered pool area, the pristine glass overhead makes it seem that rain drops and streams of water flow over him in an arid bubble of warmth,
protected from the elements, he feels invincible.

Picking up his breakfast, a freshly masticated juice of fresh fruit and vegetables, the purple beet colors it, making it almost look to be a jug of crimson arterial blood,
he necks it anyway.
"Yeeaaauuurgh!" he spits the foul tasting concoction into the sink and swills it away "If THAT Drek is what all the 'Hip and Trendy' are eating, no wonder they look half dead... ack!"
The glass jug is discarded without care with the remainder of last nights crystal goblets and, grabbing some stuffers he picked up a while ago, he wanders back to the master bedroom to dress.

Every room he passes, and there are many of them, brightens with his presence and darkens as he leaves.
It was comical the first few days here, he'd run into rooms and halt half in, half out of the room trying to catch the sensors off-guard "Aaah HAH!" he'd yell at the slightest hint of a delay.
But now the novelty had worn off, as it had with the swarms of drones that crept from charging stations to clean and remove garbage as soon as he departed.

Opening the double doors to the walk-in wardrobe,
well, not physically opening, they too sense his coming like an ancient race sensing their Emperor-God-King approach and the doors swing out grandiosely, the lights fade up to blinding to illuminate
thirty two revolving shelves, seventeen racks, six pose-able mannequins and a descending pillar of mirrors and augmented reality viewing devices.
All of which bear two faded but freshly laundered suits, four ties and three pairs of shoes, Artemis sighs as he dresses, visualising the day that this is filled to the brim with his attire
"Does my arse look big in this one? or should I go with the beige ?" He asks out loud, camp as a field of tents.

"You look Spectacular Sir, will there be anything else Sir?" The butler of the house drawls as he materializes in his AR and beams at him, before being dismissed with a wave.

Fully dressed and ready for the day, Artemis strides into the den and retrieves his 'ware', runs basic checks on his Comm-link security and programs
<<No Updates Found>> the subscription to 'War3z-Haus' still live an up to date, he'd rather go hungry than lose access to that!

He files the re-encrypted message from Burn-Out on his personal server and locks it away, checks the comm for other more 'Mundane' messages
<< -5- messages received, review messages?>> He waves at the accept icon and listens to three spam messages from 'wrong numbers' one from @AutoWired, he files it for later
and one from UNKNOWN "Merde" he swears in french, he thinks it makes him sound more .. cosmopolitan
<@AF [your friends] : You haven't forgotten have you Mister Fowler? Would you like a reminder?> the message is plain text, but he reads it with the associated Russian accent!
..Remind THIS.. he mutters, hitting the delete icon.

he picks up his pace to the front door and stops, hand on the door handle, for some reason, this one thing is not automated... he pauses, comm in hand, turns and slumps down in a lounge chair.
"Just one hand before I split" sitting comfortably he pulls up huge encompassing AR views of a game in progress, he seats his avatar at the table and it sips a bourbon with ice
<New Player [The Real Deal] has joined the game, Blinds are at 500 & 1000, please enjoy>

The hours slip by in a blur, not that he had anything important to do,

but one day, he'll get past the door, one day he won't need this !
Tyler “Lobo” Savage : Thursday April 7, 2072: Lobo's Apartment, Concord

Lobo takes the stairs down to the first floor of his apartment building. As he rounds the last set of steps he sees a young Ork punk standing in the stairwell doorway trying to act casual but missing the act entirely. Their eyes lock for just a moment and the punk coughs disingenuously. Lobo nearly rolls his eyes at the poor attempt at acting. When he makes the final step on to the landing the young Ork lowers his head and moves out of the doorway giving Lobo plenty of room to pass by.

Clearing the stairwell doorway he can see two more Orks standing at the door to apartment 1C. The occupant of the apartment, a cute young human woman maybe in her early twenties, is trying to close the door as the two Orks are fooling around harassing her.

“Come on baby girl, you know you want some real meat.” One of the Orks chides the woman.

“Frankie will be home soon. I told you he will have the rent when he gets home.” The girl struggles trying to push their hands out of the way so she can close the door.

“You know we can give you way more than that drekhead Frankie ever could.” The other Ork playfully adds keeping his foot propped against the door preventing it from closing.

Lobo is about half way between the stairwell and the 1C apartment when he hears the scuffle of the young Ork behind him take up his original place in the doorway. Even at roughly seven meters away he clearly hears...

“The only thing you could give me is a bad case of the clap.” The woman whispers in her futile attempts to close her door.

This comment visibly angers the Orks who have changed their playful attitude and now shoulder the door open with full intentions of making themselves feel at home. The woman gasps as the door gives in sending her sprawling backwards into the apartment. The taller of the two Orks at the door begins to take a step inward as the other one looks over at Lobo.

“What the frag are you lookin at old-timer? Just keep movin an we won't kneecap you too.” The smaller Ork waves the club he holds in his hand to make the point.
Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 (16:33:07) : Maison D' Artemis's, Quail Hollow Country Club

Every hour blends into the one before it and before he even realized it, a good portion of the day had escaped him. The 'legal reminder' flashes on the AR display showing that he has currently been logged in and playing for six hours! It's less than three hours until the meet and traffic from this side of town to Kannapolis would take about thirty minutes. That leaves just under three hours to make his move...
Sage “Egg” Summers : Thursday April 7, 2072 (12:25:53) : Sage's Apartment, Mint Hill

Sage taps her fingers on the side of her comm, thinking. 'Burn-out', what a name. He was apparently someone relatively reliable, though. And she did have to make money somehow; even the meager rent on her modest apartment has to be paid, and her current fake SIN wouldn't pass the background check it would take to get hired somewhere her talents could be of more legal use. Think of it as an exercise in sociology. I ought to take notes. Besides, she was really in no place to judge the man's choice of moniker -- what kind of street name is 'Egg'?

@Burn-out:[Egg]: Thank you for the invitation. I'll be there. No harm in being polite, even in the shadows.

When she stands and stretches, her fingers nearly hit the ceiling. After living in modern corp buildings purpose-built for metahumans of all sizes her entire life, her first one-size-fits-all apartment came as something of a disappointment. It's been retrofitted for trolls, so at least the furniture is the right size, but the cabinets are below eye level and she has to duck to get into the shower. Still, it's quiet, orderly, and even had a spacious side room where she can draw summoning circles. She couldn't have asked for much better on such short notice.

Sage stares out the single window at the rain. Now what? Her life has left her completely unprepared for this sort of thing. Picking up her commlink, she searches for the R&R BBQ Pit, her comm automatically finding the quickest public transportation route. Even allowing for late buses, she has hours before it's time to leave.

Mephistopheles chirps, and she stoops down to pet his jet-black head, frowning. There was that other thing... Going into her rather cramped bedroom, she forces the closet door open and roots around in the very back of it. Stashed inside a suitcase is a small duffel bag, which she retrieves and opens, inspecting the contents critically. A gun. An Ares Light Fire 70, apparently, although that meant approximately nothing at all to its present owner. She picks it up gingerly and sets it on her bed along with the accompanying clip. Sasha the smuggler had included it as a freebie, apparently for occasions such as this. And I'm supposed to... what, shoot people? Ridiculous. She didn't even know how to load the damn thing. She leaves it on her bed as she leaves the room, shutting the door firmly behind her.

There was something else she could do to prepare, though. The box-like room on the other side of the hall was apparently intended for storage; Sage is using it as a makeshift lodge until a proper one can be acquired. There's a summoning circle already drawn in chalk on the cinderblock floor. Sage takes a moment to check it for breaks before entering the middle, closing her eyes as she centers herself and reaches out to the Metaplanes.

Spirit, I call you!

[ Spoiler ]
Sage “Egg” Summers : Thursday April 7, 2072 : Sage's Apartment, Mint Hill

Sage's quick search on R&R BBQ Pit:
[ Spoiler ]

Sage's thoughts transcend the real world into the Astral and then beyond into a realm most people simply can't comprehend. She calls out to the beings of this place summoning their presence in a manifested form. A faded ghostly image coalesces from the vapors of the metaplane. As it draws closer its features become more defined making it appear much like a person of flesh and blood in her minds eye. The spirit manifests in the Astral and appears before Sage in a whispy form in the real world.

Feeling the success of her summoning, Sage opens her eyes seeing the spirit before her. You have called 'us' to your service, creature of the living world. What is it that you would ask of 'us'?
Sage “Egg” Summers : Thursday April 7, 2072 : Sage's Apartment, Mint Hill

Sage nods in satisfaction. "Return to your home until I call on you again," she instructs the wispy troll-form, dismissing it back to its native plane. It's now ready on standby should she need it in a hurry.

Somewhat to Sage's surprise, she feels completely fine -- not even a little tired. Shrugging, she scoops up Mephistopheles and goes back to the couch, calling up her new Llewellyn Worldwide and diving into a long, involved article about the psychology of spirit appearances until it's time to go.
Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 (16:33:07) : Maison D' Artemis', Quail Hollow Country Club

"It has been a pleasure Madamme et Monsieur, another time, and I promise to take that money back, bon chance! Adieu!"

Closing the AR down, Artemis waits for the comm to confirm the session is terminated before releasing his frustration.

"Frag, fragging fraggity FRAAAG!" an espresso cup he doesn't remember collecting is hurled across the room, smashing against the real stone fireplace, the broken remnants hardly have time to stop spinning before tiny robotic creatures emerge to collect and clean up.

After todays game he started so well, and was damned lucky to break even before the auto time-outs kicked in.

He looks at his comm for the time and with a disgusted look in the mirror to check his apparel, adjusts the concealed 'Room-Sweeper' and heads for the door.
In his experience, he has never been accused of being a 'dead-shot' with weaponry, so he relies on something that has... Spread!

"Time for a bite to eat before heading to the pit!" vowing to get out of this annoying habit of talking to himself, he steps into the "City run-around" as he explains the second hand vehicle to any enquiring neighbours
And sets off downtown, looking for something that serves food without the word "PIT" in the title.
Tyler “Lobo” Savage : Thursday April 7, 2072: Lobo's Apartment, Concord

Lobo stops, glances at the ARO of the clock in his image link, and sees he has about two hours before he has to be at the Pit.

Stay out of it, she should have kept her mouth shut.

He recalls the image of the young woman's desperate face as she tries to hold the door against the much larger orks.

None of my business. I have a job to do.

The face of the young woman begins to change, hair growing lighter, face slimmer, younger.

If I start something with these idiots, I'm going to have to deal with the whole gang.

The image finishes its transformation, and Lisbeth looks at him, a frown on her face. Sie konnten mich nicht retten. Sie können sie retten.

By the time I get past the one at the top of the stairs, I won't be able to reach her in time. I can't do it.

Lisbeth's face becomes sterner, and the image expands, showing her standing toe to to with Lobo, a tiny David to his Goliath. Sie können es tun. Helfen Sie ihr. Jetzt!

Shit. Lobo turns and walks back up the stairs toward the punk with the club. He puts his hand into his pocket and thumbs a bullet out of the magazine he keeps there. With a deft motion, he flicks it at the ork's chest.

"Pal, you've got about 3 seconds to get you and your friends out of here, or the next one's coming a lot faster."
@Autowired (Matt) : Thursday April 7, 2072, 13:22 : GEAR

Matt was embarrassed to let his daydreaming interfere with his work - it was things like this that gave him pause. Things were moving fast, maybe too fast. A short year or two ago he was a lowly wrench monkey. Then after Gene got wind of what he could he was working part time, running the shadows the rest of the time. His abilities...they scared him a little. Not that he was going to stop using them, doing runs and the whole gig. He could certainly use the extra nuyen, plus it was hard not to admit he enjoyed the thrill he got during a run. Artemis was always saying he was a natural...yeah, Artemis was always saying a lot of things.

The ping of the incoming message pulled him out of his reverie. He mentally scanned the message, somehow accessing the network MSP and retrieving the information using only his mind. Wiz stuff, for sure. Ok, R&R BBQ Pit at 19:30. He knew of the place, they supposedly had pretty good grub. A quick mental command got him the menu and reviews. If he could work it right, maybe he could get Burnout to pay for a meal. If not, maybe he could hack the restaurant system, set him up with a tab or something. Matt was still finding new ways to use his abilities. Sometimes he was a little overwhelmed at the scope of what he could do.

He got off of work at 18:00. That gave him time to get cleaned up, put on some street clothes...maybe check the place's system out before he got there. He'd learned that for shadowrunning stuff, records of any involvement were bad. If this place had any cameras, Matt figured he could arrange some privacy for the meet. He picked the socket wrench back up and got back to work, whistling tunelessly under his breath as his mind raced with possibilities.
@Autowired (Matt) : Thursday April 7, 2072, 17:00 : GEAR

Humming quietly to himself, Matt loosed the last bolt holding the brake in place. Models like this were always trouble, instead of the simpler disc brakes they had those old-fashioned drums that were a real pain to pull loose. Guess this was was Bert gave him this job, such an old model wasn't something some of the other techs here could handle. But Matt had that small edge, the schematics for the '45 Jackrabbit glowing in full detail in his mind's eye. No need to search out-dated Chilton's nodes for the data, it was all there for Matt as soon as he decided he needed it. This was another of his skills, that thing that made him different than most other people. The other techs just thought he was brilliant, some kind of child prodigy or something, but Gene knew his secret...maybe Bert too. It didn't matter though. They didn't treat him differently because of what he could do.

The weather report from Casey Carelson scrolled across his mind, letting him know that the weather would clear in time for him to leave work. Things were looking up.
Tyler “Lobo” Savage : Thursday April 7, 2072: Lobo's Apartment, Concord

The club wielding Ork reaches out to grab the object tossed in his direction. It hits his open hand but bounces back hitting him in the chest and eventually falling to the floor before he could even close his hand around it. Lobo's words enter one ear and out the other without a moment of understanding until the smaller Ork's eyes focus on just what exactly is on the ground in front of him. A priceless look of puzzlement crosses the gangers face when he looks back up at Lobo trying to quickly assess the reality of this situation. He looks into the apartment towards his ganger friend.

“Hey Goat, lets get outta here man, she don't have nuthin for us.”

The Ork looks back at Lobo.

“Yo pops, we aint't doin nuffin. Jus playin with the dancer girl here. Maybe tryin to get some lap ridin for my chums. It's cool old-timer, we got no probs here.”

Goat comes walking out of the apartment with a small visible set of fresh claw marks on the side of his face. He looks at his buddy at Lobo and then back at his buddy at the door before blurting out...

“The whore smells like armpits and assholes anyway, frag her.”

The door to apartment 1C slams closed and the sound of bolt action locks can be heard being activated from the inside. Goat looks passed Lobo at the scrawny lookout.

“Come on Skag, lets go get some stuffers.” He turns around and faces the door as he walks backwards into the open parking lot.

“Tell Frankie we will be back to collect that rent he owes us.” Goat continues a few steps walking backwards until the gentle sprinkles of rain start falling on his head. He then turns around and crosses the parking lot stopping for a moment to admire the scratch across his cheek in the mirrored side window of one of the tenants vehicles. Apparently not satisfied with the scratch he punches the window making what Lobo clearly notices is NOT FLESH hitting the glass. The window spiderwebs while Goat and his two cronies keep walking.
@Autowired (Matt) : Thursday April 7, 2072 : GEAR

While doing the menial work of bolting the engine up to the engine-stand, @Autowired figured he could spare a moment to do a quick mental recon on the location of the meet tonight. A trix search brings up very outdated information about the restaurant. Considering its location in Kannapolis its not surprising the place is not sate of the art but its rather surprising that there seems to honestly be no central node for the place. The only information to be found tells a little about the founding of the restaurant in 2037 and some information on the menu which looks as though it hasn't changed since the place opened.

The four large bolts holding the engine to the stand go in easy enough. The kid looks over at the opened packages sitting on his work station. The forced-air intake and supercharger kits are all set to be installed. He was just waiting on new gaskets for the water-pump and radiator return line clips. With a blink of his eyes the kid pulls up a full AR schematic of this particular car, systematically waving parts of the car away until he is left with an exploded view of the engine alone. The job looks easy enough. Should have it stripped down and ready for for an acid bath before his shift was done today.
Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 (16:33:07) : Maison D' Artemis', Quail Hollow Country Club

Pulling up the driveway in his Jackrabbit, Artemis has to sit and wait for a moment as one of his neighbors takes her sweet time walking passed with the little French Bulldog dressed in a bright yellow rain suit. For the love of all that's good in this world, the damn dog is wearing a rain suit! The woman gives Artemis a scowl as she walks by. If she is not careful she could drown in this rain with that attitude. Eventually the way is clear and he pulls the vehicle out onto the street completely unaware of the black Mercedes that pulls out from down the street behind him.

From his brief time staying at this mansion shack, Artemis has become familiar with several quick snack shops in the area. There are three Stuffer Shacks alone within two kilometers and for a step up there is even an old-style Jack in the Box burger joint not far away.
Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 : Maison D' Artemis', Quail Hollow Country Club

Taking a moment to compose himself, Artemis visualises his 'Power Animal' in his mind

"I am one with everything! I am at peace.... if that monstrosity and offence to fashion craps in my yard again, I'm going to set the robots on it !"

He opens one eye and Mrs. Kowalski is STILL glaring at him as she hobbles after Sergeant Major, across the slippery road in front of him,

"right! .. That's it .. Mystery Meat is back on the menu at the next BBQ!"
he bangs on the steering column with both fists and imagines serving Jamaican jerked canine, to her, with a hollandaise sauce and dressed in a little yellow jacket.

All the teachings of Guru Gandhi Gupta vanish as the temper tantrum flares, another fad of the rich and famous, everyone has a Guru these days!

He rams the accelerator, out in front of the black mercedes, it doesn't even cross his mind that, that might be important!
Fantasies of canine cuisine fog his thoughts as he drives, pulling up the HUD of his comm, he waves at the icon for contacts and grabs at @AutoWired

the call goes to voice-box as usual, "Is he screening my calls again?" He muses, laughing as his mood lightens

<< @AutoWired [Arty] : Hey kid, going for Jack-in-the-box, ping me if you're in! but I can't stay long, got a big meet tonite and can't get you a sitter.. see ya there?" >>

the message left he sets course for downtown
Tyler “Lobo” Savage : Thursday April 7, 2072: Lobo's Apartment, Concord

Lobo stands at the top of the stairs for another minute, tracking the orks with his eyes as they move out of sight. He files their images away for future use, and then moves back inside the building.

Gently knocking on the door to 1C, he says in a quiet voice, "Ma'am, they are gone now."

The door opens a crack, and the young woman peeks out. "Thanks, but I can take care of myself."
Lobo nods, tipping his hat back a bit on his head. "I'm sure you can ma'am, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, so ka?"

His eyes scan the room behind her, noting the worn curtains, the dripping faucet, torn carpet, all the signs that the couple are doing poorly even compared to most of the tenants in the building.

"Keep the door closed and locked until Frankie gets home, and here, take this." He pushes the last of his corporate script into her hands, the 100 nuyen.gif bill marked with the profile of Lofwyr showing on its face. She tries to push it back at him, but only for a moment, then it disappears back behind the door.

"Thank you" she half-whispers, and then closes the door. Lobo hears the lock click, and slowly turns back toward the stairwell. That door wouldn't hold the Tuskers if they made a determined effort to get in, but it would at least keep her out of their sight, and hopefully out of mind until Frankie could get back.

Moving down the stairs and then outside, he inspects the crack in the window. Putting his finger to the center of the impact point, he calculates the force of the impact. This "Goat" is fairly strong, will need to keep an eye on him if we cross paths again.

Turning his collar up against the light drizzle, he moves into the parking structure, sending a brief message to the nearest taxi service. Don't want to take the bike today, it wouldn't do to arrive with my suit soaking wet. He pats at his jacket's pockets until he finds his pack of cigarettes, pops one out of the pack and lights up. Hopefully the cab won't take too long to get here...
Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 : Jack in the Box; Sharon Rd., Charlotte

Artemis pulls into the local Jack in the Box parking lot quickly deciding that the drive-thru will be faster than going inside. The full AR menu of assorted flavored soy burgers and toppings flashes and blinks their attention grabbing parade for him to read. So many choices for what realistically boiled down to just another artificially flavored soy product. He checks off his order on the AR display picking something filling but not to heavy as to sow him down.

Getting slightly annoyed at the fact it's taking more than instantaneous to get his food he considers for a moment parking and going inside. The only thing that would really accomplish would be to satisfy that immediate desire to make the people around understand just how frustrated he was. It really wouldn't make his food get there any faster and would more than likely encourage one of the worthless pieces of plant-life that worked behind the counter to spit, or worse, on his food.

Deciding to stay in the drive-thru, a glint of movement in his passenger side mirror catches his attention. He notices that a man steps out of the black Mercedes that pulled up behind him. From his vantage point he can not make out the persons face but its obviously a slender male in a finely tailored black suit with red trim. The man begins moving towards Artemis's vehicle pulling a very menacing looking pistol from a shoulder holster.
Tyler “Lobo” Savage : Thursday April 7, 2072: Outside Kensington Apartments, Concord

Judging by the size of the crack in the car window its fairly safe for Lobo to assume Goat has a cybernetic hand at least and most likely an entire arm. The trio of Orks crosses the parking lot to an old beat to hell Bulldog step-van. They all glance Lobo's way as they screech out of the parking lot.

Surprisingly the taxi gets to Lobo's location in under ten minutes which is exceedingly fast given its position on the outskirts of the city. A fairly short middle aged man with bronze skin and short cropped black hair drives the cab.

“Where ya be headin tonight Mr.?” The driver asks in a pleasant manner, but lacking much in the way of tact.

“803 Ebenezer Rd in Kannapolis. Place is called...” Lobo begins to tell the driver.

“The BBQ Pit.” The driver finishes Lobo's sentence for him. “Good choice if you don't mind me sayin. One of those rare places you can still get real food fer less than the cost of yer first born. And they brew their own beer.”

The taxi pulls out of the apartment complex en route to tonight’s meet.
Thursday April 7, 2072 (18:00:06) : Charlotte, NC

At precisely 18:00 the rain dies down from droplets to a gentle mist and within moments nothing at all. The sky remains ominously overcast but it seems, for now at least, the rain has subsided. Most of the streets are covered in a thin layer of flowing water showing gradient slopes in the landscape where the water flows into the sewers.

A plex wide news alert goes out to all registered commcodes. A man suspected of several acts of arson leading to the deaths of over a dozen meta-humans in the Huntersville area was arrested early this afternoon at his home in the village of Cornelius. Lone Star officers on the scene have confirmed the identity of the man as one James Earlson, a known supporter of 'The Human Nation'. Earlson was taken into custody after a twenty minute armed stand-off that ended with SWAT using tear gas and tranq-darts to subdue him. Two officers suffered minor wounds in the stand-off but doctors say none of the injuries appear to be life threatening nor should prevent the officers from returning to work in the future.

What the hell is this world coming to?
The news about Earlson is the last straw. Sage is already restless, nervous, and bored; as she reads the alert in her AR glasses, she suddenly can't stand to sit calmly in her apartment any more. She's an hour early, but she decides to go to the R&R anyway. It might even be good to get there early, check out the... security, or something.

Her commlink has already found the bus route she needs to take. Sage gathers up her backpack, jacket, earbuds, and comm. After a moment's thought, she goes into her bedroom and retrieves the gun, adding it and its clip to the backpack as well. She spends the bus ride watching the news coverage about James Earlson's arrest in AR.

The bus drops her conveniently close, just across the street from her destination. Sage takes a deep breath, wipes a stray raindrop off her horns, and heads inside.
Tyler “Lobo” Savage : Thursday April 7, 2072: In transit to the BBQ Pit, Kannapolis

Lobo puts the Tuskers from his mind for the moment, starting to prepare for the upcoming meet. He looks out the window of the cab at the passing scenery, while his AR feed keeps chirping news updates at him in his field of vision.

"Glad to hear that about the food, it will be a nice change from stuffers."

When the latest update bout Earlson comes across his feed, Lobo pauses the feed to read it. About time they caught the punk behind those fires. Now we'll have to see whether or not the DA has any balls. He shakes his head imperceptibly. Hopefully now the media can stop hovering over the families of the victims like the vultures they are.

After a short cab ride, they arrive at the BBQ Pit, and Lobo steps out of the cab, mentally shuffling payment and a decent tip to the cab driver.

"Thanks, pal. See you around." With a pat on the top of the cab, Lobo turns toward the Pit and begins to walk to the door, falling back into his old routines.

Possible threat, one o'clock, 20 meters, concealed pistol. Head on a swivel, always looking for another way out, Lobo makes his way to meet Burnout.

Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Turning off Route 29 onto Ebenezer Rd. it becomes apparent that this is most certainly not one of the nicer parts of the plex. The structures that pass for homes in this area should probably have been condemned years ago. You ride over a narrow bridge which crosses a muddy creek and watch as half naked children jump into the water swinging from a rope tied to a branch of a massive oak tree along the bank.

The road comes to a 'Y' and following the Grid Guide route you veer to the right. A short distance ahead on the left a massive sign standing at least twelve meters in the air supported by two enormous steel I-beams painted bright red catches your attention. This has got to be the place. A fat pig standing up straight on its back legs dressed in a chef's hat and an apron while holding a three tined fork in one hand and a spatula in the other dominates the sign. Across the top, sprawled out in flowing script spelled out in old-fashioned red neon lights, are the words “R&R BBQ Pit”. As you pull into the parking lot you notice that the pig on the sign pivots at the waist and its upper body rocks back and forth slowly.

The main building is nothing to marvel at but is certainly in better shape than the homes you saw on your way here. To the right and behind the main building is an open pavilion built around what appears to be a giant stone fire pit. Two gangly looking bearded humans appear to be tending to the pit cooking large quantities of food. Around the pit rests several dozen tall tables, each filled with an amazing assortment of people from the obvious ganger to suit wearing wage slaves. None of them seem to care that they would rarely intermingle anywhere else in the plex.

A steady stream of dark smoke rises from the pit and out an oddly fashioned chimney on the roof of the pavilion. As you approach the main door to the building you get your first scent of the cooking food. What you were expecting to be heinous is nothing like that at all. The scent is so strong you can almost taste the BBQ sauce in the air. Completely out of instinct your mouth begins to water. The pleasant surprise to your nose makes you look back at the fire pit and you can see that there isn't one dissatisfied face in the crowd sitting under the pavilion. You scan the crowd of people but your fixer friend Burn-out is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he is inside the building.

Approaching the main doors you can hear some soft country music coming from inside. You open the screen door and are immediately taken in by an antiquated bar extending over ten meters to your right (back of the building) and four meters to your left (front of the building) which opens into a dining area. The walls of the dining area are lined with booths and two rows of tables fill the middle. Currently there are three couples sitting at the bar which pay you no attention as you enter. In the far right of the dining area sits Burn-out at one of the larger round booths He motions to you to join him. You make your way over to him and barely have time to take your seat before a scantly clad curvy woman greets you with a pleasant smile.

“What will ya have ta drink sweetheart?” The waitress types the order into a digital pad, the first sign of modern technology you have seen since you have been here. She shuffles off only to return moments later with your drink.

“I have taken the liberty of ordering a buffet for this evening. It should be ready momentarily.” Burn-out informs you as you take a sip of your drink. He passes you a plate of what appears to be crumbly looking faded orange bread. “You have got to try their corn bread. Its do die for.”

Burn-out makes small talk with the group waiting for the rest of the runners to arrive.
Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 : Jack in the Box; Sharon Rd, Charlotte.

a man steps out of the black Mercedes that pulled up behind him, a slender male in a finely tailored black suit with red trim. The man begins moving towards Artemis' vehicle pulling a very menacing looking pistol from a shoulder holster.

"Drek, No!.. It's next week!" he curses and checks the date at the bottom of his HUD, the week has already passed,

"Hold it together Fowler, like a leaf on the mutha fraggin' wind!" He quotes the Guru and tries to centre himself by conjuring thoughts of his inner weasel, the power animal of the discerning gentleman.

Clutching the wheel, knuckles white he stares ahead and prays for the guy in the car in front
to stop arguing over whether the burger he ordered should come with mustard or mayo and
"MOVE! Damn you... Maybe it's not me... Maybe the big russian gangster is after a totally different debtor and I'm worrying over nothing!"

He mutters a silent prayer to 'The Lady' and waits, the cold sweat begins to trickle down his spine, fingers itch to grab the pistol and start blasting! But that would be very very bad!
Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 (17:10:05) : Jack in the Box; Sharon Rd., Charlotte

The man in the suit walks up to the passenger side of the vehicle standing at the rear edge of the door. He gently raps the barrel of an HK Urban Fighter against the window to get the drivers attention and then reaches down to grab the vehicles door handle with the other hand hinting that the driver should unlock the door.

Hearing the door unlock, the man in the suit opens the passenger door and slides into the seat. A feeling of dread washes over Artemis when he glimpses the mans face for the first time. Semion had a reputation for being harsh when dealing with people that had outstanding debts and Artemis was very familiar with his reputation.

“You have an outstanding debt with us Mr. Fowler. Seventy-five hundred currently. I'm just here to remind you that you have three weeks to make good with your arrears.” Semion pauses to let his words sink in. “If you try to run, I WILL find you.”

Semion opens the door and exits the vehicle. Before he closes the door he reminds Artemis the terms of the agreement.

“Ten points on the first. If you pay at least the Juice, we wont have a problem. Come up short... well... lets just hope for your sake that doesn't happen.”

He closes the door and walks back to the Mercedes. Artemis watches as the man tucks the heavy pistol back into the hidden shoulder harness before getting into the Mercedes and pulling away.
Artemis Fowler : Thursday April 7, 2072 (17:10:05) : Jack in the Box; Sharon Rd., Charlotte

Suddenly not feeling particularly hungry, Artemis pulls out of the drive-Thru and pulls into a parking bay, nipping in front of a minivan full of screaming kids and a red faced couple who seem to thrive on screaming at the kids, each other and now a complete stranger in a parking lot.

He pries his fingers from the wheel and massages some feeling back into them, after all this time, he thought he'd be more accustomed to these visitations, thought he'd have some witty come-back or remark to get the guy off guard and buy himself more time.

"Like trying to convince a wall that it's a butterfly!"
he admonishes himself, feeling slightly less shaken now, he pulls out of the parking,
just as the minivan finishes a seventeen point manouvre onto the sidewalk,
the driver bestows upon him another beetroot red tirade of silent curses as Artemis joins the traffic and follows the directions to the 'Pit'.

Killing the engine he sits and watches the patrons come and go for a few moments,
Taking the measure of the various types of customer before selecting some at random for their more.. Local.. Appeal.

Turning the rear mirror towards himself he focuses and begins the process of arranging his facial features,
Larger ears, crooked nose and tighter lips, he turns the volume of his voice to something more 'gritty' and rolls some phrases around his new features.

Satisfied he steps out, locking the vehicle and striding confidently into the building with minutes to spare.

"I need a drink!"
@Autowired : Thursday April 7, 2072 (18:00:00) : GEAR

With ten minutes left until the end of his shift Matt begins putting his tools away and getting cleaned up. He had finished exactly what he had expected to today. The parts were all packed and would be sent out in the morning to be cleaned and prepped for rebuilding in a few days.As soon as the rest of the parts arrived he could begin the process of installing the aftermarket modifications. He stops by Gene's office and gives him an update on the Lotus. The Ork appears to be very pleased with the kids work lately. He still had some things to learn but he was definitely a gifted mechanic.

“I'll give you a call when the rest of those parts come in for your job. I can't imagine it should be any later than Monday.” Gene gives the kid a smile as he watches him head out for the evening.

As if it had been planned all along, the rains stops moments after he steps out of the garage. It takes only a couple minutes to get to his home where he gets cleaned up and changed into something slightly more presentable. Matt takes a few minutes to double check his gear. Burn-out's message this morning didn't make it seem like this was going to be an emergency run requiring things to be finished tonight so he packed only the basics for the meet.

The directions to meet were fairly straight forward and didn't appear it would be too difficult to find. The heavy rains from earlier could be a small problem so he takes it easy on the ride over. As he pulls into the parking lot he's certain that he sees his friend Artemis's Jackrabbit sitting in the parking lot. According to his internal clock, Matt still had plenty of time before the meet but it wouldn't hurt to get a look around the place first.

This far out from the heart of the city Matt can feel the decreasing strength of the matrix in his mind. It's still partially there and he can still connect his mind to it but its definitely not as strong as he would like. Doing a quick preliminary scan for other nodes he finds almost one hundred of them in various modes, mostly active or passive with a few localized hidden as well. From his best guess there appears to be no security cameras on the premises, at least none tied to any sort of centralized node. The entire restaurant seems to be old-school with no wireless connection accessible from the parking lot.
Tyler "Lobo" Savage Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Scanning the outside of the eatery, Lobo does not see anyone he recognizes. With a few quick strides, he reaches the front door and pokes his head in. He spots Burnout right away, frowning as he sees that Burnout has chosen a booth. I never fit in one of those things. So I either have to jam myself in there, or pull up a chair and put my back to the room.

Seeking to put that off as long as possible, Lobo wanders around the outside of the Pit, grabbing a beer from one of the waitresses. Despite the praise of the cabbie, he is still pleasantly surprised at how good it is, knocking it back in two or three swallows. Dropping off the bottle in one of the receptacles, he moves to join a group of patrons at one of the buffet tables. Lobo spends about 45 minutes there, listening to the conversations around him and relaxing.

Most of the talk centers around the arrest, with a few heated discussions over whether or not Human Nation was linked to the Humanis Policlub, and whether or not that organization, having shown its "kindler, gentler side" since the 60's as simply being "pro-human" and for "traditional family values" instead of the hate speech of the Human Nation. Sighing, draining another bottle of beer, Lobo reflects that it didn't matter. Humanity, and more recently metahumanity, had found ways to single out those who were different, whether they be Jewish, or black, or gay, or an ork or troll. Some idiot whose life sucks will always be willing to listen to some other idiot tell him that it isn't his fault, the problem is 'this other group over here.'

Around 19:15, Lobo walks back into the main building, and moves over toward Burnout. Snagging a chair from the bar, he brings it over to the booth. "Hey pal, its been a long time. Hopefully you've got something good this time around, I can use the 'yen."

“Good to see you too, my friend. I have taken the liberty of ordering a buffet for this evening. It should be ready momentarily.” He passes you a plate of what appears to be crumbly looking faded orange bread. “You have got to try their corn bread. Its do die for.”

"Don't mind if I do." Lobo takes a piece, and then tries to shift his chair so that he can see the entrance and Burnout at the same time, not an easy proposition. As he twists around, he catches a glimpse of a young fomor walking in. Clearly she is looking for someone, and just as clearly it is Burnout - given the way she reacts when she sets eyes on him.

"Seems like another of our party is here. How many are coming altogether?"

Burnout gives a quick wave to her, and says, "There will be four of you in total this evening, let us wait until they all arrive before we discuss business, however."

"Yeah, no problem." Lobo stands up as she approaches, moving his chair and his bulk out of the way so that the fomor can get into the booth. Seeing how she is even taller than he is by a couple of inches, he offers her his chair as well. "Ma'am" he says with a slight tip of his hat.
Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:17:03) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

The corner booth is big enough around to accommodate at least a half dozen stocky humans comfortably so there is plenty of elbow room, but do to their larger stature the belly and chest space is a little cramped for Lobo and Sage. The waitress is quick to come take your drink orders and Burn-out is just as quick to make sure that gets put on his tab for the evening. When the waitress returns she brings a new glass of tea for Burn-out, another beer or Lobo and a drink for the Fomori.

“Your buffet should be ready in a couple minutes cutie.” The waitress winks at your fixer before heading back to the kitchen.
Sage 'Egg' Summers : Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Sage walks cautiously into the restaurant proper, looking around for her contact. Compared to most of the patrons here, she's suddenly feeling somewhat overdressed. The click of her modestly heeled boots is lost among the sounds of people eating and talking. Glancing nervously at a particularly loud group of human factory workers, Sage scans the room until she finds Burnout and makes for his booth.

For a moment, she's actually confused by the presence of other people. Of course; one didn't hire just a single mage for this sort of thing, presumably, even one of her caliber. Sage looks the ork who stood at her approach up and down, eyebrows raising slightly. Goodness, he's almost as tall as I am. "Thank you, Mr... ah, Mister." She accepts the offered chair, realizing belatedly that given the circumstances it might not be appropriate to ask for a name.

"Orange juice, please," she tells the busty waitress politely. Sage didn't drink, as a rule; she tended to find it interfered with her magic, although for someone her size, a drink or two didn't really have an effect. She observes the others silently, trying not to look nervous. They look more professional than Burnout, which is reassuring.
@Autowired : Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:30) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

The warm, appetizing smell of roasting BBQ hits Matt before he even gets off his bike, and his mouth starts to water immediately. He hadn't eaten lunch that day, something his stomach reminded him of with a loud rumble. Just too much to do, too much work to take care of and oh hey, the Rangers won again last night according to the sportsfeed, looks like it was a no-hitter, the second for Kimatsu in his career. Good for him, Matt liked his style, although his batting average could use some help...

Matt nearly bumped into the waitress as he entered the 'pit. She gave him a slightly appraising up-n-down look before smiling and nodding towards the booth where Burnout and the others were seated. Have a seat kid, your party's waiting. What can I get you to drink? It took Matt a moment to snap back to the here and now, and with only a slight glazed look responded Beer, whatever you've got that's good. With a nod the waitress continued on her way.

Making his way to the table, Matt saw Burnout sitting with a troll and an orc. Sliding into the booth, they both get polite nods before Matt turns to Burnout and says Business is gonna hafta wait until I've eaten. I'm starving! Realizing there's no AR menu of any kind here gives the kid a strange feeling deep in the pit of his stomach. He hesitantly raises his hand to flag down the waitress...he thinks this is the right way to do things.

It's just at that moment that he notices Artemis sitting in the booth as well, that sarcastic, bemused smile on his face. Suddenly those messages from his friend clicked. Hey Artemis! Didn't know you were here on this too! Did you catch the Rangers game? Kimatsu threw his second no-hitter!
Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:27:03) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

The curvy waitress returns to the table with a large circular tray filled with mix-matched plates and platters of at least a dozen different meals. The scent of all these dishes combined is just a fascinating testament to the chef's skill. Plates of pulled-pork, beef tips, BBQ baked beans, collard greens, charred BBQ chicken, more corn bread, garlic fried crayfish and several other authentic southern dishes adorn the table. More importantly, none of them look like soy products!

Burn-out waits for everyone to fill their plates and get refills on their drinks before he begins to talk business. He digs in to a mouthful of collard greens and a bite of cornbread and begins to talk with a mouth full of food.

“Our Johnson for this run is looking for some professional individuals that are reliable and quite frankly, willing to work for their pay. The job is a simple corporate grab & go with a side dish of espionage. Break in, grab some tech, trash the R&D backups and get out with the goods. Once you are out you can make a call to have the goods picked up and you will get the remainder of your pay. I'm authorized to give you each 1k up front with another 1k upon completion.”

He stops for a moment taking one of the crayfish from his plate, breaking the head off the creature and sucking the meat out of the shell. He looks at the faces around the table trying to get a feel for everyone's take on the deal so far before continuing.

“You guys know how this goes. I can't give you the details until you agree to the job.”

This is when you realize that despite there being other people in the bar / dining area with you, your group is alone in this corner. The next closest group is seven booths away and with the jukebox playing music, even at the soft level, acts much like a white noise generator. Burn-out looks around at all of you waiting or at least expecting you to have questions or talking to each other.
@Autowired : Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:27) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

His mouth stuffed with food, his fingers greasy with sauce, Matt looks up from his plate at the fixer's pitch. His head swings toward Artemis as he takes another bite of ribs, a question on his face.

Looks like there was some kinda psycho killing metas in Huntsville earlier...
Artemis, Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:27:03) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

"That's what I like about you, Burn'... Straight to business!"
Artemis' appetite hasn't returned completely but he picks up a napkin and positions it over his tie before sampling the wares.
He takes a moment to meet the gaze of Matt and shakes his head,
"No, i missed that game, I had some... Other.. Business to attend, you know how it goes, i know a guy though, i'll get us a VIP box for the next game, you can get the 'dogs!"

He delcately picks at some crayfish before addressing Burnout again.
"I must admit, my interest is piqued by your proposal,
but i have a busy schedule, can you 'hint' at the timescales involved? I have a vacation... Booked in a couple of weeks time and would hate for our schedules to conflict!"

He places the finished shell on his plate, wipes his hands and looks, interestedly at Burnout.
Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:33:03) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

"The job has a hard deadline of seventy-two hours and change from right now. Burn-out says between mouthfuls of chili-con-carn.
Artemis, Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:33:03) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Looking at the other faces around the table, Artemis tries to gauge their abilities and strengths.

@Autowired, or 'The Kid' as he calls him, he knows and trusts, for the most part, having worked a few small time jobs together
Strange that we both end up on this particular job though.. He must really be tired of wrenching and .. whatever it is he does?

The other two, well one certainly looks the part,
black suit.. check, ear piece.. check, fists that could crush my head..CHECK! cross eyed look of concentration..check!

and the girl? well, She is phenomenal,
..Hold your horses there cowboy! ... this is one to be careful around, no obvious tech or 'ware? .. ruh roh rhaggy .. Danger Danger!
but, probably....No

Turning back to Burnout he continues and starts switching on the charm almost instinctively
"Well whaddya know! something in my calendar just cleared up and I have a 72 hour window! .. and change"
The augmented grin spreads across his face as he leans across the table to whisper conspiratorially in the new gravelly and throaty purr.

"But, ya know, it IS a bit short notice and these fine folks here have traveled a fair distance for this ahh-may-zing! spread you put on"
He extends his arm to include everyone sat at the table
"And it is a beautiful spread, we thank you, yet.. and I think I speak for everyone here..."

Artemis gently removes the napkin from his collar and wiping the corners of his mouth, places it on the table
Smile appreciatively! ..
"Two Thousand?"
...throw in a look of mild concern
"Why just last week I returned a poor lost and starving puppy to it's owners after it got 'lost' ..despite it's AHH-Dorable bright yellow rain-jacket "
...pull on heart strings
"..and they had a reward of more than Two Large! .. right there .. in cash .. and easily transportable items of value"
He sits back in his chair arms held up in a placating gesture ... Give him time to consider his options ... aaaand then....

"You could go back to your boss and tell him you couldn't locate a Professional team of people to complete the task in the alloted time .."
"I'm sure He.. or She.. would be totally fine with that? ... Am-i-rite? or amirite! "
Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:33:42) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

“You know something Mr. Fowler, you have pointed way with words. True there is room to negotiate the terms of payment so I will offer you this nugget of information first. The Johnson would like to keep this little job low profile as much as possible. Specifically he doesn't want to see this story even hit the trid. If you can accommodate this he will double the total for the job paying the remainder upon delivery.” Burn-out shows a wry little smirk as he finishes with that little bit of information.

“Of course this means the job would have to be done in a Professional manner which is exactly what the Johnson is paying for.”
@Autowired : Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:33) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

..he was burning them in their homes? What kind of sick fragger would do that? I hope him and those other Human Nation assholes get what's coming to them
@Autowired : Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:33) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Delving deeper into the story while trying to enjoy the meal, Matt comes across two news clips from the first few arson incidents that are now linked to this case. These aired before the fires were confirmed to be intentionally set by James Earlson.

Dated March 16, 2072:
In other news, a family of four suffered a devastating loss earlier today when a fire broke out in their lake front home on Norman Island Drive in the otherwise quiet community of Lake Norman. Emergency medical vehicles were on scene treating mostly smoke related injuries and what he have been told were minor fire related injuries to one of the children. Law enforcement officials refuse to speculate on the cause of the fire but it appears to have began in the bedroom of the families three year old daughter. Lake Norman Baptist Church Media Representative Martha Schilling has started a collection for the family, who lost all their possessions in the fire. Donations can be made to the church on the families behalf.

Dated March 18, 2072:
In what appears to be bad luck for the water front community of Lake Norman today, another family suffered a tragic loss as not only their home on Barcica Lane was destroyed by fire, but both children were lost in the flames as well. Initial investigations by fire officials say the fire appears to have been deliberately set. Flammable chemical containers were confirmed found at the scene. Investigations are still ongoing as to how this tragedy took place but Fire Marshall Peter McMurry confirmed with News Channel 14 that the fire appears to have originated in the bedroom of the younger child. When asked if he believed this was a racially motivated incident, McMurry had no comment.
Sage 'Egg' Summers : Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Sage sits quietly during the negotiations, picking at her baked beans. Fascinating. The mohawked 'fixer', the restaurant meet, negotiating through entendre... it was just like the trids, really. The silver-haired one -- Mr. Fowler, was it? -- was certainly very persuasive. Sage finds herself nodding along in agreement; naturally, they deserve more pay. Listening to him, she is even less unsettled by the idea of tampering with a research lab, the kind of work she had been doing herself until recently. It all begins to sounds... almost reasonable.

Curious, she shifts her vision quickly to the Astral, examining each of the people at the table.
Sage 'Egg' Summers : Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

As sage slips her minds eye into the astral realm she glances around the table trying to get a feel for the group of runners she would soon be working with. The one she has come to know as Mr. Fowler has some latent magical ability but his aura is not like her own. His energies seem to emanate from directly within his aura. Burn-out on the other hand has absolutely zero magical aptitude and according to her perception not much remaining of the essence that makes him human.

She turns to view the solid Ork that offered her his seat when she approached earlier. His aura too was pock marked with blackened areas showing that he had extensive cybernetic and bio-engineered replacement body parts. Finally she turned to the last one to arrive to the table. This young human was very quiet and obviously distracted from the moment he sat down. His aura had a couple gray and black spots but he didn't appear to be overly augmented. His aura however was nothing like she had seen before. He didn't look awakened but his aura was highly charged like looking at a bright light. Small wisps of green and blue energy enveloped his body reaching out like they were grasping at the air around him.

This was the team she could potentially be working with.
Artemis, Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

With the preliminaries concluded Artemis relaxes in his seat and sips an alcohol free beer, the taste is not awful,
but he wants to be away from this place under his own steam and not driven 'home' by some taxi.

it's only in that moment that he realises the faux pas he has made

"Merde! .... pardonez moi, mademoiselle!"
sitting bolt upright he extends his hand to the lovely lady sat at their booth
"I do not know what has come over me, Forgive my rudeness"
He takes Egg's hand if offered and bows formally to plant a light kiss on her fingers at arms length as if he were a man in the presence of royalty.
"Enchante! .. My name is Artemis, My young associate here is Matt and our fabulous host we all know!"

With the lady of the group addressed he offers a welcome to the taller Ork as well.
"Bravo! well met you all, a toast then, to our enterprise and our continued ability to breathe unaided! .. Salut!"
He raises his bottle in a toast and sits back, awaiting the answers from the remainder of the group to Burn-Out.
Sage 'Egg' Summers : Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Sage blinks at Artemis, nonplussed. "Charmed, I'm sure," she responds automatically, letting her hand be seized. For a moment her mind goes blank with panic: which name to give him? Sasha told her to adopt a moniker, but she can't actually introduce herself as 'Egg', can she? "...Althea," she says after an awkward moment, giving the name on her new fake SIN. And then, belatedly, "Egg." She tries not to be charmed, not entirely successfully, recognizing the aura of an adept.

She raises her orange juice in a toast and turns back to Burnout, eager to get past her social stumble. "We are all professionals, I'm sure," she says, looking doubtfully at the quiet young human Matt. Goodness, he looks like he should be in high school. And what's that aura? "These terms sound acceptable to me, Mr. Burnout."
Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

The fixer nods at Artemis and the lovely 'Egg' using his fork as if he were checking off an AR list. He faces Lobo.

"How about you Mr. Savage? Are you in?"

Looking at Lobo, Burn-out can see that Matt appears to be off in his own little world. Quietly the man just keeps eating while the people at the table have a conversation around him. The fixer turns to face Matt directly and snaps his fingers a few centimeters in front of his face.

"You in there kid? You plan on joining the grown ups in this conversation?"
Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Lobo massages his temples with his hands. Not a good sign. Pompadour Man has been here about five minutes and I already have a headache. Still, I've had to bodyguard some pretty obnoxious corporate brats in my day, just have to grin and bear it.

Looking at Burnout, he responds. "I'm interested, at least enough to hear you out. I've got a lot of questions, but hopefully you'll answer them in your sales pitch."

Looks like I'll be the "smash" in the "smash and grab" - unless Hair Boy is concealing an assault cannon in his coif. In a pinch I suppose he could talk the guards to death.

"Egg" seems as fragile as her name - given Burnout hired her, and the lack of tech, I have to assume Mage, so at the very least she can offer support.

The last member of the team seems distracted, although "narcoleptic" might be a better word.

Too many questions on the team, we'll need to get them hashed out before we go anywhere.

Lobo continues his meal, waiting for the newcomer to respond to Burnout.
Lobo : Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Taken aback slightly by the use of his given name, Lobo squirms slightly in agitation wondering just how that was possible. Nobody at this table should know that name. Its a thing of the past... left behind... discarded like an ill fitting suit. Seeing the fixer play with the metal fork Lobo's attention is drawn to the mans hands where he notices that Burn-out is missing the last knuckle of his right pinky. On that hand as well Lobo notices plain black tattoos around the base joint of Burn-outs middle, ring and pinky fingers. The symbols are familiar but their meaning is unknown. That is when it dawns on him that the symbols are Cyrillic letters. Burn-out had some connection to the Bratva!

Lobo's eyes widen slightly going unnoticed by everyone at the table except the fixer who in response gives the burly Ork a cool smirk before leaning closer to the meta...

"Looks like we have other friends in common."
Artemis, Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

"Take it easy on 'The Kid' Burn' my friend"

Artemis can't help but interject on his friends behalf.
Quickly and deftly he motions with fingers in AR, practiced over time, refined to be very subtle hand gestures
that for a mere mortal would be wide sweeping movements in the air, and distilled into their almost purest form of synaptic impulse.
..I should have been born a technomagician.. he sighs resolutely.

<<@AutoWired [Arty] : Dude, you're up ! ... 'f anyone asks, you are covering our tracks and checking we haven't bought any bugs with us, Old Burnt out should appreciate us doin' background to save him the hassle 'kay ? >>

"He'll be around shortly Chummer, we thought it prudent to make sure that all our tracks were covered physically, Astrally and Matrixically ...
yup .. I made that word up .. Ya like it ? you can have that one for free!"

Another beaming smile ..Should have been born a politician AND a techno-freakin-mage... sheesh!
Lobo : Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Lobo is unsure which revelation is more startling: the fact that Burnout has some relation to the Bratva, or that the Bratva somehow know his real name.

I don't understand, by the time I got mixed up with Lola and the Bratva, I had already stopped using my real name. How on earth could they know who I am?

Lobo attempts to hide his discomfort and puzzlement behind several swallows of his beer. His mind starts spinning, his Mnemonic Enhancer kicking in as he wracks his brain as to how the Bratva could have known.

Outwardly, he puts on a bland expression, and seconds Artemis' statement. "I'd start without him, we can catch him up."

If Bouffant Boy lets us get a word in edgewise, that is.

Lobo : Thursday April 7, 2072 : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

Lobo takes a pair of long swigs from his beer finishing the pint with ease. The wheat base of the brew gives it a robust and powerful kick as a small amount of natural sediment forms at the bottom of the glass. Allowing the flavor of the real beer to temporarily wash away the memories of cheap soy based protein drinks, Lobo uses the distraction of motioning the waitress for another drink to think about his quandary.

[ Spoiler ]
Thursday April 7, 2072 (19:38:07) : The R&R BBQ Pit; 803 Ebenezer Rd., Kannapolis

It caught in everyone's mind how the fixer used words to make the job seem like it would be easy. Nothing was ever just simple! Burn-out waits until everyone at the booth has expressed their thoughts and finally agrees to the job before he continues with the details. Burn-out knew the kid had talents, and that those talents revolved around technology but he always just assumed from his appearance that he was some sort of rigger, perhaps with an implanted commlink. He never really gave it much thought as the kid and Artemis usually worked as a unit. Burn-out turns back to address Artemis.

“I suppose since you are taking the job, The Kid will follow you into the Gates of Hell. That's a good enough an agreement for me.”

With a smirk at Artemis, Burn-out takes a long swig of his iced tea leaving only a trace in the bottom of the glass. He swirls the ice around for a moment before setting the glass down with an audible approval he begins talking.

“The target is a local chip manufacturer known as ABER Technologies. Don't worry, its not even a subsidiary to a larger Corp. It's just an independently owned company that designs and builds processing chips for several types of devices. What you are looking for here is an experimental Response chip that has been given the designation 'x3'. I honestly don't know anything about this project other than the companies media propaganda about 'bringing the next generation of advanced processors to your fingertips'. It would seem they are keeping a tight lid on this project until its release.”

Burn-out takes a big mound of pulled-pork, piling it on a piece of cornbread, and stuffs half of it in his mouth before immediately finishing the rest of his iced tea to help wash it down. It seemed like he barely had enough time to chew his food before continuing

“The Johnson knows that there are nine 'x3' chips that are being stress tested over the next couple days. Provided they meet the designers expectations most likely they will see full production in a couple of weeks and hit the open market in less than a month. This would be very bad for the Johnson. The job requires the recovery and delivery of all nine 'x3' chips. Furthermore the Johnson wants all data on the project destroyed including any backup copies that may exist.”

Burn-out pulls a small folded slip of paper from a concealed pocket in the seam of his shirt. He slides it across the table to Artemis as he continues with the details...

“Once you are out and safe, call that comm and arrange for a secure pickup. When the package is delivered the remainder of your payment will be deposited in your accounts. Like I said before the Johnson is more concerned with the job getting done than how you do it, BUT the lower the profile the better. If this can stay out of the media spotlight altogether that would be best.”

He stops speaking for a moment as he takes a big scoop out of a bowl that looks like its filled with hot road tar sprinkled with little green flakes. As he plops the spoon down on the plate you can see that they are very dark beans in what appears to be a thick gravy. An earthy yet not unpleasant scent washes over the table at the disturbance of the bowl of black beans. Burn-out scoops a fork full of beans in his mouth. He closes his eyes and just sits there for a moment letting his taste buds savor the dish.

“As I said earlier, that commcode is only good for the next seventy-two hours so you have until that time to finish this job.” He accents the statement using his fork pointing at the piece of paper.

Burn-out works a little AR magic with his fingers flicking the air in front of him and each of your bank accounts registers your up front payment of one thousand nuyen for this job.
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