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[August 2nd 2075; Eastern Puyallup]

Within half an hour the spirit returned and reported back the lack of metahuman and sentient life. It mentioned a rather large nest of devil rats with a plethora of demon rats among them, as well as the usual wild dog. Releasing the spirit back into the meta planes with his thanks Bandit starts to search the house.

By an hours' time he has finished and proceeds to break into each house in the neighborhood, jotting down on his commlink's map program which buildings he has checked as well as any notable salvage they may contain. Sadly the night sky starts to lighten and he realizes he has to make his way back with nothing but a few baubles and a cracked, hollow human femur.
Saturday 3rd August, 2075; Mechanicals compound

Al got back to the compound well after midnight, having picked up a short case and downed half of it sitting on the edge of an abandoned quarry he'd spotted on his outing earlier in the day.

Just slightly wobbly, he climbed the stairs and then stumbled back down them, having forgotten the sack.

Once in his new doss, he wasted no time in introducing his snakes to their new dosses, reaching in and hauling each one out of the sack and placing them in the terrariums he'd prepared. Activated the lighting program he'd written and there they were. Damned glass boxes took up half his room, and the critters were terrible company, but it was a nice touch of home.

Again unable to sleep, he busied himself with his cards for a few hours, then stretched out on the sofa with his book. His commlink woke him up, and he was pleased to see he had not in fact spent half his life savings on nothing. The new ID was right there, as ordered. Hopefully it was real and not just a few numbers on the screen. He did a few public record searches on the new name, and it seemed legit, though he knew that wasn't really much of a test. See what happened next time a roller stopped him. Whatever. Even if it went south, they were only cops.

He was now halfway, in his mind, to really being able to get around freely again. One more thing to get. He went out looking for food and the troll kid. Found both easily enough in the soup kitchen.

Resisted the urge to light up, just to see if the girly-boy with the pig-sticker would turn up.

Spoke to the boy-troll: "Thanks agin fer shown' me alla that stuff yesterday. Been thinkin' on that Gaz an' reckon it's time ta have a look. Think ya kin point ol' Al to the proper individual?"
Machine Ghost
[August 3rd 2075; Mechanicals Compound, Puyallup]

@Al[Clack]: “The ride is sitting over at the bus barn, if you want to do an eyes on inspection.  That was one of the shared tribal projects, that several people worked on, so it is not owned by an individual like the aquariums.  Bit will take the cred, and transfer ownership”.

Clack looks off into the distance, and does the AR finger dance for a moment.

@Al[Clack]: “Status board says he is at his office in the control centre.  You know where those buildings are, from the tour on the map yesterday”?
Saturday 3rd August, 2075; Mechanicals compound

"Shore, kid, reckon I kin find it, much obliged."

Al lingered only long enough to scarf a few powdered eggs, then headed for the barn he'd been told about. There were a few people around, some with various outlandish metal accessories and a few with old fashioned English looking clothes, but he paid them no mind. They seemed to all know he'd be coming, because no one made a fuss as he inspected the truck, including lifting the hood and crawling underneath.

Satisfied there was nothing wrong with it - at least nothing he couldn't fix - he sent a text to this Bit individual. In a place where a body wasn't even allowed to smoke, he didn't reckon he'd be welcome showing himself into any place called a "command center."

The dwarf called him back and they worked out the price over the phone. Al asked if they could set up some trick plates and a registration signal he could toggle between two IDs, and if they could do it by nightfall. He'd seen enough of these folk by now that he more than half expected they could, and he wasn't disappointed - for a price, of course. They even agreed to sell him a second MetaLink and transfer one of the IDs to that. He transferred the cred, noting how low his savings was running. This hiding from the mafia stuff was expensive business. "Pleasure doin" biz with ya there, Mr. Bit. Maybe I kin buy ya a brew sometime soon."

And with that he headed back to his room. Sleep was always worth a try, and if she played hard to get there was plenty else to be done.
Saturday 3rd August, 2075; Mechanicals compound

Al practiced The Invisible Flight for quite a while. He was getting a lot better at it. But still not perfect. Then he got out his tools and took apart the lock on his door. They weren't really the right tools for the job, and he did end up leaving the casing with some scratches and gouges. And he didn't have the gear for the reconfiguration the kid had done. Still, he looked around inside enough that he was sure he could do it if he did have the gear, and then he put the whole thing back together.

Then he did it all again with his eyes closed.

It took considerably longer, and when he was done the lock didn't work anymore. So he disassembled and reassembled again with his eyes back open, and in the end it was working fine.

Around midday he thought of going out and meeting some people - there were always plenty around - but they just weren't his sort of folk. He was starting to respect their organization and resources, but still not the sorts he'd want to have a beer with. Frizzen was okay, he reckoned, so maybe it was just a matter of getting to know them.

But he still had plenty of turkey jerky and beer, so he skipped the soup kitchen for lunch.

Dozed a bit after eating, and woke up remembering there was something he wanted. He had no doubt it was well within the capabilities of his hosts, but this was personal, very personal, and he didn't want some amateur doing it. So he took out his commlink and poked around until he found the right place. Victor's Vintage & Venlar: Vestments with Advantage. Specializing in discreet enhancement of rare, antique and designer wear for discerning but safety-minded clientele. That was the great thing about a 'plex like Seattle - they had everything. He knew that "discerning" was fancy talk for "expensive," but some things just had to be done right. Their damned host was far too fancy to navigate on the screen, so he had to grit his teeth and do it in AR. But it only took a few ticks to make an appointment for the following afternoon and give them an idea of what he wanted, and then he was out.

Then there was a honk and a buzz. The honk was from a car horn outside his window, the buzz from his 'link. But no message. And outside was his new ride. Big, black, and beautiful.

He grabbed his tools and went outside. No one was there. He spent the next three hours checking the truck from nose to tail, but they'd done good work. He hadn't been able to find any unnecessary tags, either. By the time he pulled himself out of her, the stars were shining.

Tinted windows and fresh tags: the city lights to the north beckoned.
[Friday August 2nd, 2075; Mechanical's compound]

QUOTE (Drace @ Jan 29 2014, 01:34 AM) *
@Cam <<text based message-- Sorry about the smoke chummer, didn't even think about it. You on sec patrol or your time now? And when am I gonna see you in the range with your shotgun again? I know you ain't ever gonna half as good at it as your sword work but packs a hell of a punch.>>

<<@Frizzen [Cam]: Don't worry about it! Mrs Gear was getting a bit anxcious about second hand smoke and let's face it, it doesn't smell that great around food. I'm on rounds now for a couple of hours and then I'm gonna crash. Maybe I'll swing by tomorrow, it might help one day to be able to hit a little more than a barn door! It's just got no finesse...>>

[Saturday August 3rd, 2075; Mechanical's compound]

The range sounded quiet when Cam descended into the pit the following morning. Perhaps Frizzen was out, or sleeping off that vile concoction he called a drink!

"Frizzen? You down here? Bit said you wanted to run out to the crime mall sometime soon. There's a delivery going out there tomorrow that could do with some protection. Fancy coming along? Maybe we can roust out your smoking buddy and get him to join us?"


[August 3rd 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

"Ova' here!" The orks voice echoes from the attached workshop, and he soon emerges holding the finished and functioning Defiance he had been toiling on lovingly over the last day, a fiber optic cable going from the Smartlink port into his left cyber eye.

"Love ta come chummer, be nice ta get out an' stretch ma legs too, ya know? Otha than patrols I haven't left tha area for awhile, goin a bit stir crazy. Plus be good ta scope out the prices o' drek and see what dere is ya know?"

Putting the gun down on a range booth and disengaging the cable from both his eye and the Smartlink system he sighs. "Tha took a good while ta calibrate. You got yourself a Smartlink yet? I know it can hit ya mojo up but you can get it in contacts and glasses and makes shooting a breeze..."

Eitha way, there's a trip out tomorrow? Ill see if Al if free, extra hands always help, plus he can earn his keep ya know? I know he's payin an drek but still a risk him being here, might aswell help out. I'll go hit up his room later and tell him, drop my commcode off too for him ta get back to me if he ain't dere. Do ya know if it's a supply run o' just a trip to da market? And who all is going?"

He starts to load up a full set of solid slug shells in the shotgun and initiates the smartlink's wireless functions, his fingers tracing up in AR to slave the gun to his PAN and initiate contact between his cyber eye Smartlink and the Smartlink in the gun. He then opens the range's stats ARO and logs in, the system showing his personal firing statistics with each and every weapon he has used, creating a new entry for the defiance before he sets the AR layout for the range to that of a urban wasteland.

" I really should talk to some o' da guys from Freedom about fixing dis up all nice. Maybe set up virtual targets for those with smartlink's and image links? Something more than jus' tha old score sheets and log ins. I'm also thinkin' a requiring everyone ta be public wid dere Comm or whateva the 'mancers use. Keep a log to see who is using and practicing plus so we now how much ammo and supplies are being used. Whaddya think?"

He then walks over to the range and puts out several of the solid targets, made of waste materials and cut out into shapes, some metahuman with the bullseyes on vital areas, others simple squares and circles with bullseyes in the center. "Fancy firing a few rounds?"
Saturday 3rd August, 2075; Mechanicals compound

Al pulled the Gaz into his garage - well, his overhang - a little after ten. He'd planned on really taking some time to hash out his design, but the evening had been cut short.

All the way home he'd been thinking about the dog. Awesome creature. Couldn't have been more different than Spike or the ferals he'd crossed paths with earlier in the day, but magnificent in its own way. Hell, he liked it more than the witch. She had a way of getting under his skin - he congratulated himself on the pun - that made him wonder if he needed her to ink him at all. Hundreds of good artists in the city, after all. But there was something about her, about the work he'd seen. There was a pull he couldn't deny - and he'd never been much for self-denial!

He went upstairs, popped a beer open, and sat down with his cards. Light on, but real low as usual.

And on a whim, he had the commlink stream some bossanova.

[August 3rd 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

@Clack <<Text Based Message-- Hola Clack, ya mind checking in on our new friend Al? If he is in can you give him directions to the range and my workshop, and ask him to one by when he has a moment? If he does I'll let ya fire the Colt for a few clips, try a real gun <inserted winking smilie face> And give the smoothie my commcode while ya at it, thanks chummer! >>
Saturday 3rd August; 2075; Mechanicals compound

Al hadn't been home long when he heard a knock at the door.

"Open," he barked, far too lazy to get up off the sofa.

Clack entered and immediately began talking so fast Al could barely keep up. "Dial 'er down a notch, there, li'l amigo. Somethin' 'bout Frizzen, ya say?"

"Frizzen says to tell you where his range is - he has a shop attached to it - he teaches some of us how to shoot - and you should come when you have time - but that doesn't mean right now - though I think he is there now because he just sent me to see if you were home which you are - Frizzen is really good at taking care of guns and shooting them too - and plus I am supposed to give you his commcode - so do you want to go now - because if you go there I get to fire the assault rifle - I never shot one before - " and on he went. Al let him ramble on for a few minutes, while he finished his beer, taking it all in. Then he held up a scarred hand.

"Shore kid, we kin go see if he's there. Range, huh? Jist gimme two ticks." He grabbed his shotgun, topped the magazine back up, and put his one spare slug into the right front pocket of his dilapidated jeans. Lit a fresh Lucky.

"Ready when you are, kemo sabe. Lead the way."
Taking a small swig from his flask of hurlg-esque hootch, Frizzen lines up a shot downwards the range, his Smartlink calibrating the hit ratios, speed of projectile, potential Kj of force, ammo count and trajectory as another slug is released from the barrel of the recently refurbished defiance. He had gone through about 20 shells so far, about half of the surplus the range had left in it. Each slug landed its intended target, with the stats from the software prediction and the results having well within an acceptable range, yet each round resulted in another tweak from Frizzen, wanting to make the ever elusive perfection a reality.

By now though he was satisfied, and shooting just for fun, his Colt, Predator and SSK all out as he took turns firing them and correlating his accuracy, fire spread and ammo expenditure with previous data. Also out was his drink. While he didn't allow drinking and shooting in the range among those he considered unsafe or inexperienced with guns, if he was there and an experienced tribemate wanted to blow some steam he was always free for some rounds and to share his drink.

Cases and shells littered the ground, waiting to be collected in the morning and sifted through for recycling purposes.
Saturday 3rd August, 2075; Mechanicals compound

The young troll led Al down into an impressive array of tunnels and basements, and basements under basements. The closer they got to the underground range, the more apparent it became that Frizzen was indeed still there. And apparently having a hell of a time.

Reaching what Clack indicated was the entrance, Al was careful to knock loudly during a lull in the firing. "Yo Frizzen, ya in there buddy? Troll kid here says he gits a go at Clara if'n ol' Al makes an appearance. Well, hate ta let the boy down."


[August 3rd 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

"Hola Al! Wanna let off a few rounds while something is run by ya?" Is the reply that comes through the open doorway.

Inside the range itself, a good number of shells and cartridges litter the floor. An array of automatic ad semi automatic weaponry as well as multiple magazines, individual bullets & shells along with a repurposed 4 Litre water jug filled with a thick brown liquid are on a large bench style table.

Frizzen comes out of one of the semi secluded booths and waves to both Al and Clack.

"Glad ya could make it, feel like having a go? Got a wide range of drek ta have some fun wid if ya don wanna use your own. Though tha Colt is for Clack first, did promise tha guy."

With that he ejects the magazine currently inside the assault rifle, removes the bullet currently chambered and hands over the rifle along with 2 clips of ammunition, each with a blue paint strip facing the shooter.

Watching as the troll inserts and loads the magazines, he nods his approval as Clack goes towards the range and starts to fire short bursts.

"Just rememba those be Gel rounds, only got those two clips for tha next little bit so enjoy!"

After making sure the Troll is set up for a few moments he walks over to Al and offers him a cup for the drink. "We got a trip to tha mall tomorraw, wanna tag along? I know ya was talkin' bout gettin some rounds and tha like and we got room ta spare for ya."

While waiting for the mans answer, he picks up his new defiance and toggles the wireless in the Smartlink, pump loading a shell into the chamber and starts to join the young troll in trying to reduce all the targets into powdery slag.
Saturday 3rd August, 2075; Mechanicals compound

As the two goblins prepared to shoot, Al instinctively reached toward a pair of ear protectors, and then remembered he didn't need those any more. Sitting down in a rickety chair, he sipped appreciatively at the home brew while watching the man and boy shoot. Kid had promise, and the tusker, he had it down to a science. Al himself hadn't shot just for the sake of shooting since practicing on cans with his first .22 when he was seven. Hadn't had much call to, squirrels and the like being plentiful. But the two goblins made it look like a good time, and though he was miles and decades away from his own boyhood, it brought back memories.

But then he remembered he had but six slugs left to his name. Clearly from the amount of lead they were throwing downrange, Frizzen had access to a reliable supply, but the ork hadn't said anything in response to Al's feelers back in the kitchen, so he'd leave well enough alone. Couldn't blame a body for being cautious, especially with a newcomer.

But a trip to the "mall"? These tribals would never go to a real mall (and neither would he, not being a woman), so he reckoned they were talking about the crime mall, since Frizzen had mentioned buying ammo there - he'd heard about the place, never been (and had never thought he would be, not being a criminal), but knew it was nearby, and a look-see could be just what the doctor ordered.

He waited for a quiet moment when they were both reloading, then said: "Thank ye kindly fer the invite. Be delighted ta join yer little party. Give the place a gander. Jist give a ring when yer leavin'." Then he settled back in his seat and continued watching the show.

[August 3rd 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

With a nod towards the human, Frizzen walks over to Clack and starts to give the young troll more advice concerning his shooting and how to reduce his spread, establish a stronger firing arc and better gun control with such a heavier automatic than he had been shown previously.

As he walks back towards the table and grabs himself a refill, he accesses the Smartlink and data storage on the rifle, uploading all the data to his Commlink and running a quick program to compare the results between his gel round prototypes compared to his general basic rounds.

With the first few bursts discarded due to them being obvious and expected outlier statistical data, he quickly sees the performance results are right on track and more than satisfactory.

Smiling, he takes a long pull from his cup and sighs happily. "There's nuttin betta den tha smell, ya know? Even ova the ash outside, the crap in the air and the stench from the rain, the smell of a freshly fired gun is as nice and powerful as a strong clean breeze."

He takes a seat and begins to clean down the shotgun with a rag, checking for any sort of debris or damage before putting it gently on the table and taking another drink.

"Not sure when da run will be, but shouldn't be too early. Could be a good place for you to get drek fo' ya self as well as tha pad ya gettin set up. And who noes, maybe some nice work for ya new bike too. Was curious though, if ya'z don't mind me asking, how long ya thinkin a' stayin wid us here? I don't mean nuttin by asking, just curious an drek, bored mostly."
Saturday, 3rd August, 2075; Mechanicals compound

"Fair 'nuff question. Fair 'nuff indeedy." The voice was like a glass bottle being put into a blender. The unshaven human was dwarfed by the hefty ork sitting across the table. He was starting to get used to all the movement in Frizzen's eyes. To each his own, he reckoned, to each his own.

For the ork's part, sitting there face to face, he could now see that he wasn't the only one with ocular implants, though Al's were "naturals," designed to be undetectable to casual observation.

Al scratched contemplatively at a sideburn. The fingernail was almost brown with tobacco stains, and the scarring enveloping the hands and wrists was so bad the skin looked almost liquid, like melted plastic oozing over the bones. Cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, he continued: "Come ta think of it, I ain't hardly thought about it. Don't matter much though, inna grander scheme o' things, since ol' Al's off south fer Tinseltown any day now. Any day. Gon' do what I want an' I'm gonna git paid."


[August 3rd 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

"Tinseltown? Neva heard if it. It in tha sprawl? Or NANer land?"

Frizzen takes a seat across from all and looks back at Clack. "Oi! Smalla bursts! Keep doin tha long pulls and ya'z gonna be clicking dry like a busta holding ya sack. And ya wouldn't have hit drek.".

Chuckling to himself he takes a finishes off the last dregs from his glass, and turns away to give a large belch.

"So Otha than driving fancy mafia vehicles inta tha soup wha' else ya do fo work?"
Saturday 3rd August, 2075; Mechanicals compound

"Purt' near whatever pays. Reckon a feller's gotta work fer a livin'. Leastways that's what it says inna Good Book, an' that's the iight ol' Al steers his course by." He drained his cup and set it on the table hopefully, close enough to suggest a refill, but not so close as to be pushy. "Reckon I spent some time on oil rigs here an' there, arkoblock or three. Little gator wrasslin', fair 'mount o' caravan work. Sailorin', o' course. Man's gotta keep movin'. Rollin' stone an' all that."
[Early afternoon, Sunday 4th August, 2075; Mechanicals compound]

Cam climbed up into the 2050s model Rover, the suspension on the heavy beast barely noticing. He slid his scabarded sword into the footwell and eased out the ornate pistol and put it in easy reach in the door. He wasn't expecting trouble particularly but a trip to the Crime Mall could always turn interesting. He smiled over at Kettle who was loading her wares into the back. The pretty young elf looked out of place as ever in the grime of this world but he had no real worries, her sharp tongue usually seemed to be protection enough and she was considerably tougher than she looked. Mrs Gear, or Ma, levered herself up into the driver's seat puffing and blowing and their final compliment of traders, Steamer, hefted his gear in next to Kettle.

"Got some of Sprogget's finest work in here. Shame he couldn't join us but I'm sure I can get a good price for 'im"

"We'll just wait for Frizzen and see if anyone else is joining us and then we're good to go..."
Cam replied...

[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

With a quick splash of tepid water on his face, Frizzen walks himself from the sink in his shop to his small drawer of clothes. Finding his armoured BDU pants, and a cleanish tank top he throws them on. After putting his hidden arm slide containing his taser on, he puts on and leaves unzipped his armoured jacket. He then grabs his quick draw holster, putting it on the belt loop near his hip along with his predator, his mono machete, and slings his smg over his shoulder. While he would prefer to carry his Colt, it was too big, too bulky and too obvious. Better to carry something smaller with the same rate of fire and accuracy. He grabs his armoured motorcycle style helmet, a duffel bag by the door and runs up the stairwells leading to the street above, a bandana tied over his mouth to keep the worst of the ash from his mouth and nostrils.

@Al<<Text based message-- Hey chummer we are saddling up, meet me here <comm map point inserted> >>

Running towards the Rover, Frizzen waves at the rest of the people present.

Sup, sorry if I'm a bit late, was messagin' tha new visitor ta let him know we was leavin'.

The large ork quickly gets to helping load up the last of the wares before throwing in the large duffel bag of repaired weapons and parts he had finished and looks around.

I really need ta look inta gettin' myself a new truck. Maybe see if any Gophers or Fords are up fo' grabs. That way we can fit more supplies and not be so cramped all the time. Not tha' I don't like ya all o' nuttin, just I'm a bit 'bigger' than you is all.

With that he gives a quick laugh and looks around.

I think Al should be here soon, we all that is goin'? and with that, hops in to the back, grabbing himself a seat and trying his best to get comfortable.
Sunday 4th August, 2075; Mechanicals compound

After his drinking session with Frizzen, Al had spent the night fashioning one of the bones he'd found in Hell's Kitchen into an appropriate fetish for his new digs. Using his knife, he'd carved the femur of a devil rat according to the dictates of the voodoo gods. Once done, he had no idea what the shape signified, but as long as they were happy, then so was he. After fastening it to the leather arm band along with his other magical totems, he fell asleep.

Once he got Frizzen's comm message he headed straight for the door, throwing his shotgun behind the seat of his new truck.

Pulling up beside the Rover, he rolled down a window and said, "Y'all look a mite cramped in there. 'Nother set 'o wheels can't hurt."

[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

With a quick chuckle Frizzen nods over towards Al and his truck, Ya I may join ya. Itsa little tight in here, ya know?".

Getting himself out of the rover with only getting in the way of everyone in the cramped vehicle, Frizzen does a dramatic stretch, joints cracking and popping before walking over to Al's truck and hopping in, leaving his gear sans personal weapons in the rover."Hope ya gots adjustable seats chummer, dese legs are a bit long."
Sunday 4th August, 2075; Puyallup Barrens

"Hell, ain't had no passengers yet, so wouldn't rightly know. But muh own seat came forwerd jist fine, reckon yer's'll slide back. Reg'lar diversity-mobile is whut we got here, yessiree."

Al pulled out behind the lead vehicle, careful not to cluster. "Looks like yer loaded fer bear, baby. This Crime Mall, rough place is she?"

[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

"Nah ain't tha' bad chumma. Just a precaution ya know? We carry goods to an from da mall and any trip is potentially a risk unless ya pack somethin' hot. Personally I take tha protection detail work a bit seriouse like bu' tha's part a ma job. If I was worried about tha place I woulda brought my AR and some 'nades. Though don't walk down dark alleys in tha mall and don't go to tha secluded areas lonesome, you'd be surprised how many of dose dere are."

He fiddles around under the seat for a few moments until finding the seat slide and after spending a ridiculous amount of time moving back and forth he finally settles in, and puts his smg to rest on the door.

@Cam/CC-PANS>0.3meters <<Text Based Message-- Hey, we will follow you lot behind nice and close. Let us know about any obstruction and the like along the way, don't want the tourist hurting himself, or more importantly, me. Oh and that whole don't get shot thing, don't forget that too wink.gif >>

[Early Morning August 4th 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

With a strong sigh Bandit shrugs off his coat and throws it into the small pile of clothes he keeps in the corner. The spirit he summoned, while not strong, would last the day doing rounds, coming to him incase of any danger, or responding to any attacks made with the appropriate response.

'Perhaps I should ask Oyl if a bound spirit would be of use, either a beast or air. Could be good for patrols or detecting anyone sneaking around..' He thinks to himself as he gets out a pinch of his zen from one of many CrashCart RediUse Detox containers littering the lodge and sets a small brazier alight with paper and scraps.

'Just a small pinch, will be long worn off before my shift...' And in goes the zen, the fumes rising from the flames as being wafted into Bandits face, the room slowly taking on new colours and senses as he tastes the smells as feels the sights. Sweet release is all he feels, each caress of his clothes and movement exquisite yet curious.

The drugs will wear off soon after he is asleep, his sweat soaked body smiling as he writhes on the floor, cackling and whispering to himself and the visions he sees dancing around his vision telling him the sweetest things.
Sunday 4th August, 2075; Puyallup Barrens

Al noted the ork's advice on staying safe in the Crime Mall. The Crime Mall. What in blazes was the world coming to?

It was an easy drive, compared to the day before - no need to navigate as he followed the Rover, and the occasional thrown brick or bottle was nothing to worry about now that he was off the bike and into his new truck.

He stayed silent for a while, studying the people he saw as they passed. Just as he had the previous day, he focused on the little ones. A few times he was tempted to just stop and see if there were any, maybe just one, he might be able to give some help to. Just a little cred, or something from his medkit. But each time he remembered that he wasn't on his own here. Seemed they were supposed to be providing protection, and he could hardly do that if he was dismounted on the sidewalk, giving little kids money to buy drugs with.

It wasn't too long before they could see their destination a ways off in the distance.

"So how long ya been with the Mechanicals?"
[Sunday 4th August, 2075; Puyallup Barrens]

Cam was watching the trio of Gold Dragon gangers that were paying an undue amount of attention to their little convoy when Mrs Gear suddenly slammed on the brakes, pushing him painfully into the seat restraints. Looking through the windshield with some disbelief he sees the cackling form of what the hell is he doing out here? The gaunt figure gestured imperiously towards an alleyway off to the left and disappeared into it...disappeared completely in fact...

<<@Convoy [Cam]: I've just seen a manifestation of Spindle heading into that alley. Seems like he wants us to investigate. As he took the trouble to manifest I guess we should check it out! Stay alert, there are Gold Dragon gangers lurking too... >>
Sunday, 4th August, 2075; Puyallup Barrens, Gold Dragon turf

Al slowed the Gaz to a crawl when the lead vehicle thirty meters ahead ground to a stop. He didn't know what a Spindle was, but he knew the girlie-dressing smoke-free patrol was calling the shots on this outing, so he swung the truck around to face the mouth of the alley and flipped on his brights.

Climbing down from the cab, he pulled out his Defiance, strap over one shoulder, and pumped in a round loud enough for the Gold Dragon punks to get the point.

Then he took a good hard look down the alley while lighting up a fresh Lucky and waiting for Frizzen or Cam to call the play.
Sunday, 4th August, 2075; Puyallup Barrens, en route to the Mechanicals base

Sketch Doe was in trouble.

She leaned against the side of a building, eyes closing for a moment. It hurt to walk. It hurt to breathe. And worst of all, there seemed to have been some kind of restructuring in the days since she'd gone to ground -- this block, which should have been relatively abandoned, was suddenly crawling with Gold Dragons. If she wasn't careful, they'd catch her and take her stuff, and then she'd have no way to bargain for treatment. If she were really unlucky, they'd recognize her. Who knew that lieutenant would be so touchy about one measly credstick?

With a sigh, Sketch pushed herself off the wall and edged closer to the mouth of her alleyway. She was already dangerously close to the main road, which would definitely contain people she did not want to meet with her arm all twisted and wrong. The Dragons' presence had forced her much nearer than she'd meant to come, and now she was stuck, a rat-girl in a trap. The thought made panic rise in her throat. Every inch of her wanted to turn tail and make for her dark safe warm little den, but even if she made it that far again, the food cache had run out two days ago.

And then this morning, her coughs had started bringing up blood, and she'd known she couldn't wait any longer. She could stay in her hole and die, or get caught by Dragons and probably die, or make it to the Mechanicals compound and only maybe die. They had food and medicine, everyone knew it. Magic, even. And she had a little bit of money, plus the suit, all hidden in a cache where no one but her would ever find it. If she died, they got nothing. Maybe that would be enough. Rat, if you ever had a trick stashed away for a rainy day, now would be the time...

The watchful eyes on the back of her neck itched and prickled. Sketch looked frantically around the alley, eyes wide. There were vehicles silhouetted against the mouth of the alleyway, people getting out of them. Sketch's breathing came fast and shallow. She couldn't go back the way she'd come -- there were Gold Dragons that way. There were too many people to run through, three or four, and she couldn't run anyway. The alley was empty, with nowhere to hide. Stuck. Cornered. How had she not noticed she was walking right into a trap?

Sketch drew her pistol slowly with her clumsy right hand. She backed herself against the closest wall, as though that would do any good. They couldn't have known she was there. Maybe they wouldn't see her. Maybe they'd just go away.

Shakily, she pointed the muzzle of the gun towards the alley entrance, trying to calm her breathing.
Sunday, 4th August, 2075; Puyallup Barrens, Gold Dragon turf

The alley was mostly empty, and with the truck's high-beams sweeping away the shadows, Al didn't have much trouble spotting the lone girl pointing a handgun in his general direction.

He dropped the muzzle of his shotgun toward the ground - he'd be damned if he was going to shoot one of these scared street kids, and she was pretty near too small a target to hit anyway. He toggled his eyes onto wireless and routed a picture of her through his comm as a reply back to the group Cam had just signalled them on.

Wary of the three gangers on their six, he kept his right hand on the grip of his lowered weapon. Taking a single step forward, he pinched his cigarette between his left thumb and forefinger - feeling Mrs. Gear's scornful gaze - and pulled deeply. Blew the smoke out his nose.

"Li'l missy, ya best put away yer firearm. No point in tryin' ta shoot ol' Al…hell don't want me, an' heaven is full. So why'n'cha step out here - yer lookin' a mite the worse fer wear."

[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Puyallup]

@Cam <<Text Based Message-- Spindle? Your sure? Either way I'll investigate with Al, let us know if any Dragons come by and look like they will start trouble. When did they move this close to our compound, their turf use to end a few blocks from here?>>

Getting out of the truck behind Al, Frizzen cycles his sight to thermographic and back, taking in the heat registering of the young woman infront of him and Al. He starts the image link and sends it as a direct feed to Cam back in the Rover.

@Cam <<Audio-Got an injured lil' waif here omae, she looks familiar ish... May have seen her on a patrol near tha border of tha compounds area. She ain't lookin' too sheen. Also noticed mo' dragons at the other side of the Alley. Nothin'so far bu' takin safeties off.>>

The smartlink in his sights goes on, set to have Al and the injured girl as friendlies, their shapes outlined in green to limit chances of friendly fire as he puts the bangers on the other side on as targets, the safety on his smg clicking off as he holds the weapon and prepares for any drek to hit the air rotor.

Hey Al, maybe we should get tha chica in tha truck? May be a bi' safa. We ain't got no beef wid tha dragons right now but we ain't on no real good terms ya know?

He then looks at the injured girl in the alley, lowering his smg slightly as he gestures towards her, his augmented eyes whirling and his body having a slight twitchiness to it as his wired reflexes come on-line.

Chica, na sure who ya are bu' a seem ta be in a drek shape ya know? We on tha way to tha mall, bu' if ya wanna ride wid us dere we can bring ya back to our place, we got a soup kitchen and a clinic where ya can grab a bite an' get checked out. Wadya say? Ya might wanna say quick now too, cause while da' mechanicals don't have problem wid your mates down tha street, they may no' like us lingerin here.

[Afternoon, August 4th 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

Waking from a cold sweat, Bandit quickly dresses, giving his face and body a quick wipe down from a wet tag before redoing his face paint with the ashes left from the wood, paper and zen residue in the brazier.

Quickly dressing, he climbs his way up to the top entrance for his den, opening up the hatch door into the vehicle workshop above. After securing the latch and lock on it, he quickly scurries towards the kitchen.

Making himself a quick breakfast, lunch really, he sits by himself, mumbling and talking to the air around him, all the while keeping an eye in the others in the room, looking for any comical reaction to his momentary faux insanity.

Once done his meal he makes his way to the clinic and after quickly washing his hands and insuring his hat is properly secured, he gets to work helping out, providing first aid treatment followed by magical healing for more recent injuries, and doing triage for those with older or more serious conditions.
[Sunday 4th August, 2075; Puyallup Barrens]

Cam looked back at their woebegone passenger. He did vaguely recognise her underneath the blood, she must have been hanging around the perimeter for a bit. They'd filled her full of pain killers and she would be able to rest in the Rover while they checked out the mall. With their security active Cam had no trouble leaving her inside, she wouldn't be able to abscond with their transport without the codes.

<<@Convoy [Cam]: Nearly there everyone, we'll park to the south and pay whoever owns that bit of turf today to watch the wheels while we're inside... >>

[Sunday 4th August, 2075; Puyallup Barrens]

Al pulled in next to the Rover and together with One-Ork-Arsenal-Frizzen dismounted in the south lot. Glanced in at the girl they'd picked up, and something about her sorry state reminded him he as going to miss his appointment at Victor's Vintage & Venlar. Only took him a minute to reset it for the next day.

Keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings as girlie-boy negotiated with some local banditos for the safety of their rides, he noted a lot of traffic in and out and around the place. Various vendors operating outside the place from makeshift stalls or the backs of cars. And a whole lot of guns around. With no pawns to play nanny-state, men were left to be men, stand up for themselves, see to their own justice. Reminded him of Lagos, and he liked it.

But it meant staying sharp. Wouldn't want his good friend Mrs. Gear to end up snatched and sold for ghoul-chow. Nope, couldn't have that, he chuckled to himself as he lit up a fresh Lucky in front of her.

He took up the rear as the group made their way through the exterior market - he saw a lot of food and handicrafts, various scavenged goods, but nothing he was here for. Reckoned the good stuff was all inside, and that all this secondary commerce made an excellent screen to any sort of raids by the man.

As they made their way into the building proper, his senses tingled, and the voodoo gods started whispering to him of danger around every corner. A whole damned world of thieves and murderers - a wonder there was any sort of order to it at all. One eye on his charges and one peeled for some decent ammo, he followed his new hippie friends deeper inside.

[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

After Ensuring the smoothie was alive for his own sake, Frizzen moves to point for the group, smg drawn and his hand on the grip, but held in a non threatening way. Just happens to be a way that still shows he is packing heavy and ready to use it if needed.

As they entered the mall proper, he set his PAN from silent to active, opening his ARO program folder and quickly putting his advertisement for gun repair, maintenance and modification up into the shops AR space as well as a neon and chrome text bubble beside him.

"Guess it's time we get ta work? We gettin' a table set up and sell tha drek first o' we gonna do some shopping o' a bit a both? Have a table set up win summa uz dere and tha rest out shoppin' cause wouldn' mind settin' up fo a bit ya wait for chummer a and cholos ta pick there hardware up?" he asks the others of the tribe near him.

While waiting for a response and walking through the crowded mall he sets his commlink's browse to search for AROs with set criterias; Motorcycles, guns, explosives, cyber
[Sunday 4th August, 2075; Crime Mall]

As the little group clustered to listen to Frizzen and decide how to proceed, Al sat down on the fake-marble edge of what had once been a decorative fountain but was now drained and housed a tent with a sign advertising various exotic pharmaceuticals. He could see the whole group, which he reckoned was what he was supposed to be doing.

Once they'd decided what to do, he called out, "Yo, Friz baby, this is a right cavernous ol' place. An' I don't see no infermation counter. Ya think ya could see yer way to pointin' ol' Al to the ammo department?"

[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Crime mall, Puyallup]

"Course chummer. Got a gun runna I know tha' works outta here sometimes. Imma meetin' him lata but I can give ya the skinny on him null sheen. Jus' tell him I sent ya. He goes by Mule."

Frizzen then quickly goes and starts to flick his fingers in the air a moment.

@Al<<Data message sent-- Contents: ARO - Mules "bang-bang" supplies. Location attached for ARO origination point>>

He then quickly flicks his own ARO searches too the side minimized, keeping several interesting ones for perusing later.
[Early afternoon, Sunday 4th August, 2075; The Crime Mall]

The place is electric, humming with commerce in a hundred different languages, dialects and hand gestures. Three stories of commercial heaven, if what you are looking for is shadier than Lofwyr’s secrets, apart from the food that is (well some of that is probably shady too). Smells assault the senses, fragrant meats, exotic spices, oh, and the smell of too much unwashed humanity. Gangers are rubbing shoulders with mobsters, shadowrunners, corp slummers, everyone is equal here and it is neutral ground where colours might buy you trouble but shouldn’t buy you a knife between the shoulder blades.

The Mechanicals stake their claim and begin to peddle their wares. The steampunk tinkering flying off the shelves, clearly known for its quality.

Cam yelled across at Frizzen and Al “We’ve got this here if you want to go and do your own thing for a bit…see you back here in an hour or so?”

Kettle was in fine form with Steamer beside her. Mrs Gear sloped off to look for whatever she was after on their little jaunt. Cam settled back behind their impromptu stall, sword and pistol readily visible, and relaxed, as much as he intended to in this place anyway...

[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Crime mall, Puyallup]

Nodding towards Cam, Frizzen looks over to Al and smiles, "I'll take ya too him how abouts? Got ta drop somma his drek off I was working on, a few of his toys got a fragged up by some slitch smuggla who couldn't drive ta save his life. Meet ya all back here in an hour den, if drek happens jus' shoot a message soka?".

With that he leads off towards more of the center of the mall, taking a flight of stairs that had once been a working escalator up to the second floor. "Ta answa ya question I been wid tha Mechanicals fo' round a year. Maybe mo' or less. Na too sure really. Use ta do my own thing as hired muscle before Rollin' wid dem after they saw what I could do to a gun. And befo' tha' was in tha Crush. Bu' tha drek was a different life ya kno? Got tha hell outta Redmond befo' I ended up like tha rest of my family and crew.".

Quickly scanning the crowd, Frizzen spots his contact a few meters da way, past a few repurposed stores and in the middle of a walkway spanning two distant sides of the mall. "Mule's da smoothie between tha two orks and tha troll dere, the one wearin' tha Beret and smokin tha cigar. Good enough guy, pays good for work to be sure tho, and honest. Well as honest as a gun runna and deala can be."
[Sunday 4th August, 2075; The Crime Mall]

Al watched in silent dismay as the ork did the finger dance. Al hated the finger dance. It was everything wrong with the world since he’d gotten back. But Friz was good people, and he thanked him with a smile, a nod, and a thumbs up as he pulled out his commlink and routed the info to his screen. The data wasn’t really designed to be read flat, but Al figured it would be enough to get him from point A to B.

Then girlie boy relieved them of security duty and Frizzen offered to make an introduction. Sometimes you got lucky. Things would go a hell of a lot better with a face-to-face recommendation than just a “Hey my guy said to be nice to me.”

On the way there, he listened to some of the ork’s story. Good stuff, making smart choices, pulling yourself up by the bootstraps. The hefty armorer went up a notch in the little human’s eyes.

Introductions made, Al addressed the cigar-smoking gun dealer. “Alouicious Harlan Guthrie, an’ very pleased ta make yer acquaintance, I’m sure. Reckon I’m runnin’ a tad low on ammo fer this baby” - indicating his Defiance - “along with her little sister Remmie Nine-Fifty back home. An’ ol’ Al couldn’t help thinkin’, long as I’m stockin’ up, why not go fer the good stuff, and Friz here sez you are the man ta see. Lookin’ fer armor piercin’ an’ ‘splodin’ types fer both, if’n ya got em, ‘long with standard buckshot.”
[Sunday 4th August, 2075; The Crime Mall]

Mule more than matched all that Frizzen had said of him, and soon Al had purchased enough small boxes of shells he had to beg a bag from the man, which earned him a "whaddaya think I am, a supermarket?" look.

But Al didn't notice. As he'd been inspecting wares, asking Frizzen for opinions, and haggling prices, he'd been gradually noticing that not everyone in this place was street trash, nor even wearing street fashion. There were plenty in nicer attire. Some even in suits. And most of those with bulges under them. And some of those were worn by hard-looking men with a distinct Mediterranean cast to their complexions.

And as he slotted his cred, he reflected on the idea that, neutral ground or not, this whole place was surrounded by a world of not-neutral ground, and that perhaps it was time to skedaddle.

And if he wanted a safe place to go home to, perhaps he'd best not skedaddle in the company of his hosts.

Not looking directly at his ork friend, Al said, "It occurs that, this bein' the Crime Mall an' all, an' the good ol' cosa nostra bein', well, a crime sorta family, that there might be some o' that family here sometimes. They might even be here today. In fact, purty shore they are. Whatcha reckon, ol' Al take off separate-like while y'all finish yer shoppin', make shore I'm not followed back to the compound?"

[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Crime mall, Puyallup]

"Ya no worries Holmes. Ya take care of ya self on tha ride back and ya be fine. Catch ya lata", Frizzen says before he starts to unload several SMGs, shotguns and handguns from his dufflebag and leaving them on "Mule"'s table and receiving a dufflebag in return. Knowing he can trust Mule to have not screwed him over, he slings it over his shoulder before receiving a few more guns for the Gun Runner for repairs and modification. "S'a pleasa doin box wid ya chumma, keep ya self safe now.".

He quickly walks further into the mall stopping every so often to look around at different stalls until he sees one of the shops he had tagged earlier. Walking inside he smiles and sees a list of cyber and bioware for sale. "Whatcha got doc?"
[Sunday 4th August, 2075; The Crime Mall]

Avoiding the cluster of suits on the vestibule to his left, Al took the first opportunity to go down a level and then headed for an exit on a course that took him nowhere near where the Mechanicals had set up shop. He made his way through the mongrel crowds using every bit of tradecraft he'd learned through his careful study of trid action shows, ascertaining beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was not being tailed.

Once outside, he hiked around the building to where the rides were. Still intact, presumably under the watchful eyes of whatever punks girlie-boy had paid for protection. Climbing into the Gaz and tossing his bag of shells onto the passenger seat, he was careful not to even glance into the Rover at the girl they'd picked up. And off he went.

Although he was positive no one was following him, he figured the best way to make sure it didn't even matter would be to simply not go back for a few days. He'd changed the water bowls and let some rats loose into the terrariums that morning - they'd be fine for weeks if need be. Again choosing a route that took him nowhere near the compound, he headed north into the city.

[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Crime mall, Puyallup]

Frizzen had spent longer than he would have liked talking with Dr. Oversturn. Not that she wasn't pleasant to talk to, or even more so to look at, but he did want to look at some more things before he was supposed to get back. Though he doubted he had the nuyen for much more. He had settled for some very, very slick ware.

Alpha-ware aluminum bone lacing. Hell all his drek was fraggin' used. This was the primo stuff right here. Cost him all of his savings almost too, just to get the stuff reserved for him to get it installed tomorrow. But damn would it be worth it. Who knows maybe he would upgrade his eyes someday, the occasional twitch was finally starting to bother him. Just replace the eyes themselves, the insides were mostly transferable.

He stopped along the way back to Cam and the others to chit chat with a few Crush he recognized, catching up on news from Redmond and people he once knew, picking up the odd weapon to fix or attach drek too pro bono. He may not roll with them anymore but he knew they were once family and he still had the odd twinge of loyalty.

As he got back to the rest of the Mechanicals he couldn't keep his drek-eating grin off his face. "Hola chummers, biz good?
[Early afternoon, Sunday 4th August, 2075; The Crime Mall]

Cam nodded at Frizzen "Looks like we're about done here. Mrs Gear has done a roaring trade. Kettle and Steamer are off getting some bits and pieces and then we can go and check on the waif we picked up on the way in..."

He stood, stretched the kinks out of his back and settled the sabre on his hip just as Kettle stumbled back into the group. At first she appeared drunk but the hair falling in her eyes didn’t conceal the growing bruise across the side of her face or the matted blood over her ear.

"Kettle? Where’s Steamer? What happened…?”

“Someone jumped us on the mid level. I managed to get away but they grabbed Steamer. I didn’t get a good look at them but someone up there will have…”
she trailed off as she tried to stifle sobs…

"Shit! Frizzen, stay with Kettle, I’ll get Mrs Gear back to the vehicles and shut her in, then we’ll go up there and find out what the hell is going on. Where’d that ugly bastard Al get to? He was with you wasn’t he? ”


[Early Afternoon August 4th 2075; Crime mall, Puyallup]

Having quickly filled his bag and then another with weapons needing repair and modification, as well as different armoured jackets, vests and clothing, he hands the bags and the rest of the gear going with Cam to the ride.

"He saw some "family" men chillin and doing dere shoppin and decided to skidaddle befo dey recognized 'im. Or associated 'im wid us. Take care on ya way dere chumma, we don' know drek tha' this bout. I'll stay frosty here wid Kettle."

With that Frizzen sits the girl down and the sound of the safeties on the assorted weapons can be barely heard as he palms one of his Jazz poppers.

"Drek you k? And Wha' exactly happened to Steamer n youz?"

[Afternoon, August 4th 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

Bandit sighs as he lifts his heads. Two broken ribs on the street teen sitting infront of him. An infected devil rat bite on the left arm of an elderly lady earlier. Today was being as tedious as usual, though atleast the dwarf teen had a good story about the ribs.

Diving in a dumpster with some of the others of his "crew", essentially a congregation of teenagers and kids from the streets squating in a broken down duplex just a bit past the compound. They had been doing their best for a few weeks to bring in any useable garbage and salvage, essentially taking everything not nailed down, then coming back for the nailed down items, and then a third time for the nails, and trading it to the tribe. Most of it became scrap metal or used by members for pet projects, but the odd gem showed up. H-Jack, one of the industrial gear heads who worked on the different systems had found a near functioning industrial diesel engine and some solar cells he was able to rig up and fix. Generally though, the teens brought in just enough to have the nuyen to keep themselves afloat in cheap booze and chips.

It seems though that the industrial dumpster outside an abandoned chemical waste facility had flipped and partly pinned the youth. Thankfully he wasn't fully crushed, but from what Bandit could tell, there was definitely several cracked ribs and a flail segment on the left side giving him paradoxical breathing.

After bandaging and pressuring the flail chest segment, the shaman gave two pain killers and moved on to the next patient, taking care of all the serious matters before he could go back and check up on previous patients.

[Afternoon, August 4th 2075; Tribal Compound, Puyallup]

Deck Settings (Attack: 3 Sleaze: 6(7) Firewall: 5 Data Processing: 5)
Programs running: VM, Exploit, Baby Monitor, Sneak, stealth

It had been 3 days now that Revenant had been coming by the compound, bumming rides off of truckers and transients passing through the motel he was flopped at.

This time though he had packed up a bag with all of his gear, and decided that it was time to secure lodging closer to the compound if he was to try and get to know these Tribals and discover the matrix tribe in their midst and why his old mentor gave him their name.

He had set up a doss in an abandoned office just a few buildings down the street from the "compound" proper, claiming a former executive office with attached private bathroom, essentially just a toilet and a broken sink, and a supply closet.

The closet he had turned into a bedroom, unfurling a bedroll that took up most of the floorspace, his belongings fitting into the empty shelves above for when he slept, otherwise everything he owned he carried upon himself. The office proper he had started to convert into a living space and hopefully soon, a workshop. A desk still say in the room, all the metal stripped off for scrap and pushed to one edge with a semi stable office chair, while a faux leather sectional couch that had definitely seen better days was in the room, facing the center where previous residents had presumably had some sort of entertainment system, be it a paid "dancer", chip station or simple a table long gone to hold their synth-ahol and paint thinners.

The neighbors were friendly, the other three offices on his floor had their walls removed and were being used by an extended family of orks, while the other 4 floors were filled with other squatters, mentally unstable people and others just trying to make it by.

Packing his gear up Revenant left the "office" as he had taken to calling it and made his way down the stairs to the ground floor and eventually to the kitchen. Having a full meal quick, he soon made his way past a few faces he was starting to get to know and into the clinic.

Waiting in queue for a a good hour, Revenant finally had a chance to talk to one of the two staff there, the ork woman who also happened to be one of the leaders of the tribe from what he had discerned.

[color="#00FFFF"]"Excuse me Oyl, I was wondering if you had anymore antibiotics? My infection should pass within the week but I am going to run out before then, just need two more days worth.

As well, you wouldn't happen to know anyone who would be able to procure me certain programs for this would you?" [color]

Deciding it was best to be blunt, he takes the Cyberdeck out of its case to quickly show her.
[1354, August 4th, 2075; Crime Mall, Puyallup]


The slight elf was pulling at the big ork's arm, but it was clear she had no idea even what direction she was coaxing him in, probably couldn't even see properly, with the swelling under one eye and tears filling both. He didn't move and in a few moments she'd exhausted herself and collapsed to the ground.

Poor kids, they hadn't had a chance. Steamer was a big ork, but not really hard. Like her, he was an artsy type. Her, she hadn't even had her friend's size to fall back on, just a reedy flower of a steampunkette, all velvet and lace, the bits of metal flash all for show with no go. She'd always just laughed amusedly whenever Friz had invited her to weapons practice.

Now a member of their tribe had been taken, and she was their only lead.

Slowly - precious seconds ticking by - her breathing slowed. Without having to be prompted, she realized she'd have to slow down and be as helpful as she could.

"We were just walking along on the mid-level. Both of us had our hands full with hot bowls of ramen. And then right out of the shadows something big appeared and pulled a black bag over Steamie's head. He tried to struggle, but two more guys appeared and got hold of him. I threw my ramen into the face of one of them as they tried to get away with him and then I started yelling for the cops." She made a sound then, and it was hard to tell if it was laughing or sobbing. "Can you believe that, I tried calling a cop…here in the fucking crime mall. Well once the guy - they were all smoothies, I think - once he wiped the soup out of his face he came over and gave me this" - she pointed at the swelling on her face - "and i fell down. Things went black, and when I got back up - got back up by myself, there were dozens of people all around, but they didn't even stop their biz - when I got back up I could see them working him through the crowd. I started to go after them, and then someone hit me hard in the head. When I woke up, my 'link and all my cred were gone. And so was he."

Then she reached into her bodice and pulled out a long brass chain with something heavy at the end. "I found this, though. You know he always wore it. Frizzen, he's one of us. I don't think I was out for very long. He could still be here somewhere, fighting for his life. We have to go after him. We have to go right now!"

[1354, August 4th, 2075; Crime Mall, Puyallup]

<<@Frizzen [Cam]: The waif we picked up earlier is slowly turning blue! I've got to get her back to Oyl before we have a corpse on our hands. Stick with Kettle and see what you can find out about Steamer. I'll send help your way as soon as I can but it would be worth looking out for friendlies in the crowd, there are some around here who owe us! I'm sorry to have to bail but I can't leave Mrs Gear to drive her home. Briar is running matrix overwatch at the moment, she can spare some time to look over your shoulders if you need tech support. Talk to you soon. Luck!>>
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