Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Tangled Currents - Rocky
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Welcome to the Shadows
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1609; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

The Skeleton was in Redmond.

But it was in Touristville.

But it was still in Redmond.

It was just a little north of the southern edge of Touristville.

Do neighborhoods have edges?

Sure. Could be where one municipal authority hands off infratructure maintenance to another. Could be where you cross a street and the property values go down. Could be that all the residents on one side of the street speak a different language from the others.

The southern edge of Touristville was all these things. Sort of.

It was where the municipal authority handed off infrastructure maintenance one. It was where there were decent property values and then suddenly there weren't eny values at all, because all the titles had been lost in the first Crash. It was a street you crossed and speaking any dialect of English unbastardized by CitySpeak could get you dead.

But mostly the edge of Touristville was the limit of Knight-Errant's patrols. It was a limit invisible but well known to the denizens of both sides of the line.

The Skeleton was in Touristville. So it could conduct business, and people with cred would come there. But it was close enough to be a beacon of light to all manner of, well, people from south of that invisible edge.

And there in that intersection of civilized commerce and hopeless anarchy was where Rocky fit in these days. The place had money, and so it could pay him. Enough to live on the right side of the line. And Knight-Errant or not, the element to the south meant it would always need him. Or someone like him.

They were a nightclub. A hot one, with a long reputation as the place to see new acts. They employed a competent, professional security well versed in the handling of drunks with too much privilege and too little sense. But not many of that team could bring the presence Rocky could to a confrontation. And when booze or pride had robbed the troublemakers of their last senses of self-preservation, well, then Rocky had a lot more than his presence to call upon.

But now it was only four o'clock. Or so. Hours until the lasers and ear-splitting sound systems and throngs of eager young flesh and posing gangers from the nowhere to the south. Some days Rocky liked to come in early, while it was still peaceful, get his head right for the evening.

As if his head was ever right these days.

Most of the place was closed, getting cleaned, stages set up, booze and food shipments getting laid away. But the front bar was open. Mostly only the locals knew about it. It was a nice place to drink. Dim, clean, polished, stylish, plush. Expensive. Expensive enough to keep out the riff raff, at least until the music and drugs came along with the night.

Rocky walked in. Well enough before his shift that he could sit down. The waitress, her name was Trixie - maybe - brought him some soykaf. There were maybe a dozen people here. All human. The skeleton had a thing about metas. The thing was it didn't like them. A few got in. And of course a troll like Rocky had specific uses, so he was here. But he was the exception that proved the rule. Some salesmen from the car WeaponsWorld across the street. Joygirls chilling before their own shift started, blowing what little money their pimps had left them on an hour of feeling human. Daphne was there. He liked her. She always came in alone, never knew when. Sometimes every day, sometimes not for a month. But she always had a smile for everyone on the staff. Rocky had no idea what she did, but apparently she had money - she dressed very well, had the money to stay looking young even though he was pretty sure she wasn't, and she was a good tipper. Soon something would happen to her.

But for now she was just walking to the powder room, and on her way she slowed down and said, "Hey Rocky. How's tricks?"
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1609; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

Rocky sipped at his soykaf contemplating his once again complicated life going over in his head the list he had put together as he sat in the back of the taxi on the way back to his doss from the cemetery. In someways it surprised him how easy it had been for him to decide to step back in to the shadows after his mother was killed. But trying to live on the light side hadn't done his mom any good and someone needed to pay for her murder and he knew he was the one that was going to collect the debt, but first things had to be made ready.

People to contact…
Silk - Done
Sledge -
Rascal - Done

Things to do…
Clean & oil Warhawk - Done
Replace Respirator Filter Cartridge - Done
Get better ID's - Cash Needed

The list went on but most of it was insignificant or things he already did on a daily basis.

He was hoping for a call from one of the Fixers he had reached out to sooner than later, since he wasn't going to be able to take care of the business that was dragging him back in until he had some nuyen in hand.

He saw Daphne and nodded to her as she was approaching, but was a little surprised when she slowed down.

"Hey Rocky. How's tricks?"

Rocky put his cup down on the table as he answered, "Good, just getting ready for another evening of spoiled rich kids and wage slaves wanting to spend a night living on the edge in the barrens. You?"
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1609; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

"Me? Well, you ever have one of those days when no matter how hard you try, nothing comes out right?" She sighed through a tired smile - not looking for sympathy, but maybe a moment's understanding. "So I ducked in for a quiet drink, but what can you do but keep going at it?"

She seemed on the edge of walking away, but her heart didn't look quite in it, and she looked back at the muscular troll. "Could I sit with you for a few minutes?"
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1610; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

"Oh yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I've had weeks where I don't know what to do when things go right because so much shit has gone wrong." Rocky laughs inwardly and smiles thinking about some of the crazy shit he had done when he was running and that he was willingly walking back in to it.

"Could I sit with you for a few minutes?"

Rocky used his foot to slide the chair across from him out a little as he responded, "Sure, grab a seat. I never turn down sharing a table with a pretty lady."

Rocky holds up his cup so Stan can see he's in need of a refill and figures Daphne may want something as well.

As Daphne takes the offered seat Rocky checks the time on his comm and then sets it face down on the table so he doesn't get distracted by it while talking.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1610; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

She smiled at the compliment. It was a friendly, open smile, with only a little of the awkwardness that always came with a troll telling a human woman she looked nice.

She also signalled the barkeep. "I really should be about my business. But some days it's just really a shit parade, you know? Hard to get off the barstool and back into the saddle. How long have you been working here, anyway, Rocky?"
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1610; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

"How long have you been working here, anyway, Rocky?"

Rocky nodded in ascent to Daphne's first question and then used taking a sip from his cup of soycaf to hide the pain that creeped up as he thought about the answer to her second question. Having composed himself he sat the empty cup down and answered the question as lightly as he could, trying to keep the pain out of his voice. "It's been a little over six months now. Been a decent gig, low stress most nights and management treats me ok considering their outlook on metas."

He stopped talking as Stan came over with the pot of soycaf and a drink for Daphne, apparently knowing what she would want without asking. And that’s just one of the things that makes Stan so good at his job. Along with knowing when and when not to keep his mouth shut.

As Stan left Rocky tried to carefully inquire in to exactly what had gone so poorly for Daphne as of late, "So, anything or anyone in particular making things difficult, or just more of the same old drek?"
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1610; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

"Both - same very, very old drek, but something quite particular." A shrug. "I can't really talk about it....but it's nice to be asked. Hey, you know, for my day job I do readings. Would you let me look at your palm?"
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1611; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

Rocky nods and smiles as Daphne explains that she's not interested in sharing her problems with him, which was null sheen to him. One less thing for me to worry about.

Rocky seems surprised by the request to look at his palm. Not what I would have guessed she spent her time doing, but everyone's gotta make a living and probably a better way to do it than most.

Rocky sets down his cup and lays his large hand out palm up on the table for her to look at. "Sure, though it will mostly be bad choices and bad luck is my guess."
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1614; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

Daphne sipped her drink. Cocked her head to look at Rocky. "That's a pretty horrible combination," she smiled. She took his hand in both of hers. Together they weren't as large as his. She ran a finger across his palm, slowly, pausing from time to time. As her nail neared the end of its journey along the troll's life line, a tear rolled down her right cheek. She quickly brushed it aside and looked up at him apologetically. "Don't worry. Not yet anyway. The tear was for your past, and you don't need me to tell you about that. Next I'll look at the present, and maybe catch a glimpse of the future."

Her hands gripped the edges of his harder, and after a moment she looked up at him, her eyes wide. But the left corner of her mouth also curled up in a mischievous half-grin he wouldn't have expected to see on her.

"Rocky, it seems our paths did not cross by accident. How would you like to help me with something? It's pro bono, and will likely carry a high personal price. Possibly the ultimate price. But it will set your karmic scales straight, and then some."
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1615; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

Rocky wasn't sure how to take Daphne's tear, but realized she was getting at least some view of what his life had been like for the last six years. "Like I said, bad choices and bad luck."

She continued her examination of his hand and then her eyes went wide and she started to grin at him in a way he knew would be interesting.

"Rocky, it seems our paths did not cross by accident. How would you like to help me with something? It's pro bono, and will likely carry a high personal price. Possibly the ultimate price. But it will set your karmic scales straight, and then some."

Rocky just sat looking at her for a good minute as he thought about her offer. So some higher power may be at work? Rocky wasn't sure if he believed in higher powers, other than dragons of course. He did however believe in karma and knew that if he wasn't already on the negative side he would be there by the time he got done with the gangers that had killed his mom. So doing something to offset that ahead of time wouldn't be a bad idea. It had already been four days since he had reached out to Silk and the few other fixers he knew, still hadn't heard anything and was starting to get antsy.

Looking Daphne in the eye he finally said something, though it wasn't much, "I'm in."
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1618; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

"Aces. I have a good feeling about this. Now listen, I have to go right now but flash me your code and I'll be in touch sooner than later. And watch your back - you've been seen talking to me and that can be dangerous."

Daphne downed her drink and once she had Rocky's commcode she was out the door.

She hadn't been gone thirty seconds when Rocky heard terrified screams from outside and metallic crashing noises.

Rushing out, Rocky saw passersby rushing about in no particular direction as a heavy, rustbound dumpster swooped down from the sky, crashed into two armed Asian men, and rushed back skyward dripping with their blood. Daphne stood in the middle of the street, red silk blouse whipping in the light breeze, calves below her pencil skirt taut above black pumps. A van screeched toward her. She threw out a hand and the vehicle slammed to a halt, its front grill wrapped grotesquely around a pillar of nothing, as if it had crashed into an invisible street light. But the side door open and a couple more Asian men staggered out, while another van slammed on the brakes to her rear and disgorged a second complement of men.

Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1618; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

Rocky was a little confused when Daphne got up and said she had to run so quickly after he had agreed to help her, as a result he was a little slow getting his commlink out to get her the code.

He was still contemplating her statement of being careful since he had been seen with her when the noises outside started. Pushing the chair back slowly he set his kaf down and started moving for the front door. Luckily since it was still early business was light and he didn't have to push anyone out of his way.

The street was total chaos as he emerged from The Skeleton. He ducked out of habit when he caught the movement of the dumpster coming down out of the air to crush two Asian men before it flew back up. Standing in the center of the street was Daphne with a van bearing down on her, though she didn't seem concerned. Rocky understood why when it came to a screeching halt and crumpled like some giant had hit the front grill. A few more Asian men stumbled out of the crushed van but they didn't seem like much of a threat for the moment.

What did concern Rocky was the second van that had come from the other direction, stopped and disgorged four more men that looked intent on joining in the game. Drek, I guess she really is on somebody's bad side. Let's see how these guys feel about me evening the odd's.

With that Rocky took off at a run toward the undamaged van and four fresh attackers. As he got closer he focused on the front target who appeared to be trying to bring a taser to bare on Daphne. Rocky lead with his left shoulder and then brought his right fist around fast putting all his weight and built up momentum in to punch. The other three attackers realized he was there when they heard the splintering of their fellows ribs, sternum and possibly a few vertebra. The young Asian man collapsed in a heap and Rocky kept moving, wanting to take advantage of the surprise he had.

With a few of his long strides he was on top of the second attacker in line and caught him with a left as he brought his shoulders back around. The impact was not near a forceful as the first had been, but it caught the Asian man in the face, shattering his jaw, and orbital lobe. Much like the other man he dropped like a rag doll to the street.

As he lined up to see where the other two from his van had made it he took a quick glance over his shoulder to see how Daphne was doing. It was good and bad. The good was that she was still standing having blown the darts from the other two attackers tasers away and crushed the stunned guys from the other van with the dumpster, the bad was that he could see blood coming from her eyes and nose. Fuck, she's not going to last much longer, gotta get the two down and get us outta here before more guys show up.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1618; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

Then she stumbled, and Rocky saw that her left knee had exploded. Then she was whistling a weird tune. And her right knee went in a mist of blood about a second after the first one and she collapsed.

The two remaining Asian men shot their tasers at Rocky but he twisted aside and they missed.

A scream sounded from atop a nearby building and a man with a long rifle flew up as if in a whirlwind. Then the whirlwind disappeared and the man began his screaming descent to the street below.

The two men showed no intention of pausing in their taser barrage.

And a third van was screeching up.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1618; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

Just a things seemed to be getting manageable, the drek got thicker fast. First one of Daphne's knee's disappeared in a splash of pink mist followed quickly by the other one and Rocky saw her going down as he turned to deal with the two guys still standing from his van.

Gotta get this done now or she's dead, if she's not already and I'm suddenly the new target of choice.

Pushing himself Rocky lunged at the two remaining Asian guys swinging at both of them in quick succession. The first punch, while a little wild caught the guy hard enough to knock him to the ground and out of the fight for the moment. The second one however was short and the guy just had to lean back a little to slip out of the way. He got a quick shot off but Rocky kept his momentum and turned it in to a slid dropping below the line of fire, as he came up he was able to land a his second punch at the last man standing rocking his head back farther than it was designed to go, ending the threat he had posed.

Then as he swung around to go for Daphne he heard what sounded like another van closing in, "FRAK!"

He kept with his plan and moved over to scoop up Daphne, pleasantly surprised to see she was still conscious, "Time for us to find somewhere else to hang out."

With her in his arms he stepped up in through the side door of the still running van, doing his best to look intimidating as he screamed at the driver. "IF YOU DON'T WANT TO END UP LIKE YOUR CHUMMER'S OUT THERE YOU GET US MOVING NOW!"

Instead of complying the man spun around and opened up on Rocky with a small pistol. With Daphne in his arms and hunched over in the van he couldn't really do more than turn his face and Daphne away from the gun. He felt the bullet hit, but his suit and naturally tough hide did its job and stopped it from doing any significant damage. As Rocky turned back the guy was throwing the driver's door open and slipping out. As he was looking out the door as the man ran, movement through the front windshield caught his attention and he saw something falling along the front of a building, but wasn't sure what it was.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1618; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

The falling object hit the ground with the sickening thump of flesh and bone on asphalt, then then Daphne got Rocky's attention with a soft fingertip on his cheek.

Her face was pale white, but her lips still bright red. He could barely hear her voice over the noise of the third van's door opening.

"Rocky, I knew you were a stand-up guy. Listen, I really like my life, so I am hoping you can save me from these guys....but if you can't, you have to kill me, okay?"
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1618; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

The soft touch of Daphne's finger to his cheek sent a shock through Rocky, but the words that followed it shock him to his core.

"...but if you can't, you have to kill me, okay?"

Kill her, what the frak is she thinking?

She's thinking you’re a killer and can get it done if you need to. Now get back to it or your both dead.

Sure I'm a killer, drek I probably just killed three guys in the last ten seconds and more are lining up for their turn. But her, someone that isn't trying to kill me, that I like, that isn't part of a job, that's different, isn't it?

Once his brain stopped arguing with itself, Rocky set Daphne down on the cot the thugs had so kindly brought along and answered, trying to sound confident. "Null sheen, we got this."

He then grabbed the side door they had come in through and slammed it shut. Regaining his voice he continued his conversation with Daphne. "Hold on, this might get bumpy. Any chance you got enough left to hide the van somehow or get a spirit that can do it?" As he asked the question he heard a couple loud thunks against the door he had just closed.

Swinging around Rocky got on his knees behind the driver's seat and then bent down grabbing it by its base. With a heave he pulled it free of the adjustment rails and sent it flying out the driver's door the thug had recently vacated. As he watched it go the thug came back around the door and got another shot at Rocky, which hit hard and seemed like it might have made it through his suit coat, but didn't think it had made it through his hide. Drek, this guy is determined. With the seat out of the way Rocky leaned forward, setting one hand down on the pedals and used the other to slam the van in to drive. He grabbed the wheel and slammed the gas pedal down trying to get the van moving before he got shot again and aimed the van for a nearby alley.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1618; Outside The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

As Rocky knelt in front of the steering wheel wrestling the lumbering van in the direction he wanted, he saw guys clambering back into their van as it started after him, and then an ork appeared on the dashboard. At least, it looked exactly like an ork, except that it was only about thirty centimeters tall. And a little bit transparent. It wore a nice suit - maybe an Armante - and asked, "Sorry, are you a friend of Daphne's? Calling me seems to have taken the wind right out of her, poor thing, but I'd be happy to help her out. Maybe you can catch me up?"
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1618; The Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

If Rocky hadn't been busy trying to make sure the van didn't hit random people, cars, trucks or buildings he might have jumped when the spirit appeared on the dashboard of the van, well he hoped it was a spirit.

Since the tiny ork didn't immediately attempt to attack him and then mentioned Daphne, Rocky figured he was safe and started to answer it's questions as he drove.

"Hoi, yeah I'm a chummer of Daphne's. The names Rocky. Well we talked a little at my work, she asked for some help with something but didn't give me any details and was going to get me the details later. She took off and about thirty seconds later a drek storm started outside. When I got outside a pile of gangers were trying to geek her. I took care of a few, but she had already drained herself with some wiz mojo and then got shot in both knee's."

Rocky took and breath and swore under his breath, "Drek" and then continued.

"We are in a van I borrowed from the gangers trying to get away. First what can you do to try and help us get away? There is at least one van full of gangers chasing us and probably more close by. Second can you do anything to help stop the bleeding from her knees? I saw an air spirt make a van invisible a few years back, any chance you can do something like that?"
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1618; congested alley leading away from the Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

"Bleeding? Sort of an alien concept."

He didn't blink as the van plowed into a pile of boxes, framing him in an explosion of polystyrene on the other side of the windshield.

"And nope, no invisibility."

There was a hard bump as the van behind them slammed into ther rear bumper.

"I could speed you up," he said, but gave a meaningful glance to Rocky driving on his knees with a hand doubling as a foot. "Orrrr...I could slow them down."

And there was a tremendous clatter behind them as Rocky's driver-side mirror showed the following van fail to avoid a heavy dumpster and grind to a halt.

"There. Daphne's always been good to me. Take care of her." And then the tiny ork was gone.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1619; congested alley leading away from the Skeleton, Redmond Fall City Road & 196th Avenue NE, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

Rocky smiled as he saw the other van slam in to the dumpster and come to a halt. He heard the ork telling him to take care of Daphne, but by the time he looked back over he was gone, but Rocky called out any way. "Thanks Chummer!"

Rocky knew the chase wasn't over if he didn't keep his eyes on the road and keep as many buildings between him and the other van for as long as possible. He made a quick left out of the alley on to a small street, and then made the first right he came to. He kept this up for a solid couple miles, slowly making is way toward his doss but circling it to be on the opposite side of it from the Skeleton.

As his heart started to slow down and he hadn't seen any sign of the van or more Asian thugs he glanced back at Daphne hoping she would somehow be awake, but wasn't shocked when she wasn't. He was happy to see she was still on the cot and it was upright, but he could see the blood from her knees soaking it, which worried him. Gotta get that taken care of or this was all for nothing.

Seeing an abandoned fast food joint he pulled around to the back of it, where the van couldn't be seen easily from the street but he would still have two ways out. Having parked and locked all the doors he shuffled around to see if maybe these guys had thought to bring a med kit along in case the grab hadn't gone smoothly. He had to dig through a layer of styrofoam containers and Stuffer Shack wrappers but finally found what he was looking for under the cot. Pulling the med kit out he started looking over the picto graph instructions on how to get it running. After a couple minutes he realized it had a wireless function which he almost didn't turn on in case the yaks might be able to trace him through it, but figured having it on for a short time should be ok. Once he had the sensors hooked up sat back and waited.

After about thirty seconds it beeped and started showing him instructions. It was slow going since his hands were not designed for precise work but he slowly used the included gauze to staunch wounds to her knees and cleaned some of the blood that had dried at the corners of her eyes and on her upper lip. The med kit had him give her one shot, which while it didn't bring her conscious it did seem to even out her breathing a little. "I hope this is helping you Daphne, this isn't my normal gig. I'm normally just on the applying wounds side not fixing them."

Seeing that he had done all he could in the back of the stolen van he decided to head for his doss and see what he could do there. Shuffling back around he put the van back in gear and got it moving. He took his time getting back out on the street, looking both ways for any signs of the other van or anyone looking to closely at the van. To play it safe Rocky did another four or five quick turns, while keeping an eye out for any vehicles trying to keep up with him.

Not seeing any, Rocky covered the last few blocks back to his doss. As before Rocky parked the van behind a building where it couldn't be seen easily from the street. He then gathered up all the supplies from the med kit and closed it back up, using the carrying strap to put it over his shoulder. Then he unlocked all the doors, pushing the back doors open and climbing out. Once he was out of the van he took a minute to slowly straighten up to his full height and work the kinks out of his muscles after being hunched over for the last 15 minutes in the van.

Glancing around to make sure the coast was clear he reached in and scooped up Daphne, doing his best to not injure her any further. He didn't take the time to close the back doors as he walked away, and figured in this neighborhood with it unlocked and running it would be gone before he had Daphne in his doss. Rocky did his best to keep to the backs of the buildings as he covered the last block to his place, the last thing he needed was someone thinking he was the one that had grabbed Daphne.

It seemed like the block walk to his place from where he had ditched the van was taking forever, but finally he made it and slipped into the entryway of the building and up the stairs to the second floor and in to his doss. As quickly and gently as possible he set Daphne down on his sleeping mat and then went back to the front door, taking a quick peek out side to see if anyone had seen them before closing and locking the door. He the unslung the med kit as he moved over to the window that looked out on the main street to see if anything jumped out at him. At first he freaked out when he saw a van coming down the street, but exhaled deeply as it passed and he saw it was the one he had just been in and now had what looked like a human teenager at the wheel, with his friends hanging out the open doors. "Have fun chummers."

Turning around he grabbed the med kit and went over the Daphne. Once again he opened it up and started setting up, waiting till he had everything ready before he turned the wireless back on. As he expected it took him through the same steps only skipping the shot from last time. Well I guess now I wait. With nothing else to do Rocky went over to the cooler that passed as his fridge and dug out a beer, popping the top off as he collapsed in to the one chair he had.

Half an hour had passed and Daphne's condition hadn't changed and Rocky started thinking about who he could call for some help. I don't think she's dying, and the trip to Dr. Cline's wouldn't be easy with no wheels and her unconscious. There is a good chance the yaks have eyes or at least ears at all the local clinics so that’s a no go as well. Rocky was starting to wonder if he would be able to do anything, when he had a thought. Hacked. That’s the ticket, Hacked can help her, assuming he's not out on a run.

Rocky dug out his comm and started to type out a message on its extra-large keypad. Hoi Chummer, you around? I need some help this evening, I've got a friend that's hurt and needs to be put back together. Let me know if you can help?

With the message sent Rocky sat back and waited, hoping Hacked would be able to bail him out.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1651; Rocky's Doss, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

The response to Rocky's text was immediate. <<Say no more chummer, I'm thirty minutes out.>>

Things finally settling into some semblance of stability, Rocky breathed a sigh of relief. Then his comm buzzed again. It was Stan, the Skeleton's bartender. Rocky answered. Stan's spoke quickly and in a low voice. <<Don't know where you are, and don't tell me. But if it's home - get out. Yaks walked right in, threw Eldred on the ground, didn't give him a choice. They got your address, can't be more'n five minutes away. Gotta go, killer." And the line went dead.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 1651; Rocky's Doss, Touristville, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

And the line went dead.

"Frak! Drek! What the frag did you do to these drek head Yak's woman?" Rocky knew he wouldn't get an answer right now, but he would soon, that was for sure.

Having cooled down Rocky got to work, his doss was no longer the place to be. Looking down at his 'link he came up with a plan and got working on it as quick as he could. He started with ordering a cab, to pick them up in four minutes at the corner of 196th Ave NE & Dreher Ln, and then a second one at the corner of NE 84th st & NE Union Hill Rd. Followed quickly by a third at the corner of 178th Pl NE & NE 76th St and lastly a fourth one at the corner of 188th Ave NE & NE 68th St.

With transportation ordered Rocky started grabbing gear he might need over the next few days, since he figured his place would be too hot to visit for a little while. He pulled the old duffle bag that held his running gear and started to pile more stuff in it, not taking the time to make it neat. The first thing was the extra ammo for his gun and his lined coat since he knew he didn't want to spend the next week in his monkey suit he added a few sets of normal street clothes. He scooped up the little cash he had set aside along with his cred sticks otherwise they would be gone for sure when he made it home again. Wandering into what passed as a kitchen for him he snagged a few bottles of water and a box of protein / soy bars and dropped them in to the duffle.

Glancing at his comm it had already been ninety seconds, he needed to get a move on. Making sure the wifi was off he peeled the leads of the medkit off Daphne and unceremoniously dumped all supplies from the kit in his bag and zipped it up. Stopping to take a breath he looked down at Daphne, "Damn this would be easier if you were awake."

He threw the overloaded duffle over his shoulder and then as gently as he could he wrapped Daphne in the blanket from his bed and scooped her up and headed out the door, making sure it closed and locked behind them.

Slipping down the hall he bypassed the first set of stairs down to the ground floor and headed for the back set that exited next to the small laundry area and back door of the building. So far, so good. Just gotta keep moving and not give them time to catch up. The back door opened on the afternoon sun, but his luck was holding and a van full of Yak's weren't waiting for them, not yet at least.

Now he had to make a choice, and pick one of the cabs he had ordered to get on the move. After about five seconds thought he figured the one that didn't have direct street access would be the least likely to be spotted, so he took off across the open area behind the building to the east. Less than sixty seconds later, his breathing a bit labored from the weight of his bag and the effort to not make Daphne's injuries worse he arrived at the corner of 196th Ave NE & Dreher Ln as the troll sized cab he had ordered pulled up. Pinging it with his 'link so the driver would know he was the one that had ordered he opened the door and slipped in hoping the driver wouldn't freak out that he was carrying an unconscious woman.

The ork driver glanced over his shoulder as Rocky climbed in and his eyes showed a little surprise as recognized what it was Rocky was carrying, but quickly turned back around when he saw the look on Rocky's face. "Where to chummer?"

"Corner of NE 160th St & 168th Ave NE."

As the cab pulled away Rocky looked around for any sign of the Yaks, but didn't see anything. Though he knew that didn't mean they weren't out there. Gotta make sure Hack'ed doesn't walk in to the drek storm that is going to be my apartment. Since I'm sure all trolls look the same to the Yaks, just like they all look the same to us.

Rocky fished his 'link out of his pocket and typed out a quick message, keeping in mind the Yaks might already be in it, but hoping that wasn't the case.

:: 16:56 :: Hack'ed :: doss is hot meet at our crash pad from the United Oil job going dark normal intervals Rock ::

The message sent, Rocky ordered yet another cab to pick them up in twenty five minutes at the corner of 163rd Ave Ne & NE 160th St. Once he knew the order was in Rocky checked the time and shut down his comm.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 17:23; Corner of NE 160th St & 168th Ave NE, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex

The cab ride had gone quietly, the cabby had decided to keep his eyes on the road and thoughts to himself, which was fine with Rocky. He had powered up his 'link long enough to make sure Hack'ed hadn't responded at 17:11 and then shut it back down and had gone back to looking for Yaks.

* * * *

Climbing out of the cab Rocky handed the ork the fair and 20Y tip, "I'd stay out of the area you picked me up in for a few hours if I was you." Rocky closed the door and started to walk away, not waiting for the cabbies response.

He started heading south on 168th Ave until the cab was out of site and then turned around and headed for the next pick up. Traffic had picked up as the wage slaves and salarymen were making their way home before the runners and other undesirable's took over the streets. A few minutes later he meet the next cab at the corner of 163rd Ave Ne & NE 160th St taking another quick look around for any sign of the Yaks. If they had caught up there was no way he was going to slip them and it was just going to be a fight to the last troll standing. Luckily it seemed like he had slipped them for the moment and could head for the meet with Hack'ed.

A dwarf sat in the driver seat of the cab and didn't even turn around to see who was getting in his cab. "Going?"
Rocky didn't mind him being short with him and figured it was better than a bunch of questions. " SE Green Valley Road & 218th Avenue SE."

The dwarf nodded and took off, Rocky craning his head around again looking for signs of their pursuers. Again seeing nothing he sat back in the seat and pulled out his 'link to check in again since it had been 25 minutes since his last check. Seeing nothing he shut his 'link down and took a deep breath starting to relax, and then sat up straight bumping his head on the ceiling of the cab. Trying not to attract any more attention from the dwarf he started trying to figure out where Daphne's 'link was having just remembered he had never shut it off. A few seconds later he found it and shut it down, hoping that hadn't undone all the work he had done to slip the Yaks.

* * * *

Ten minutes later he checked again and saw that Hack'ed had gotten his wave off message and was in route to the new location. Rocky continued to take a look around every few minutes for any sign the Yaks might be following them at a distance but never saw anything. Well either we gave them the slip or they are tracking us from a distance and won't know it till they blow the door off the motel room. It seemed like the trip hadn't helped Daphne, but she didn't seem much worse for it either, which was saying something.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 18:31; Green River Inn, SE Green Valley Road & 218th Avenue SE, Auburn, Seattle Metroplex

Rocky climbed out of the cab, trying not to catch his duffel bag or hit Daphne's head. Since the cab had troll sized doors it was easier but he still had to take his time. Again he paid cash and added a 20Y tip, though he didn't provide the warning he had to the first cabbie.

The Green River Inn looked like he remembered, decent place where you didn't worry about getting shot when you went to get ice but not nice enough that the Star or Knights were by every 3 minutes to check on what was going on. Hack'ed, Sledge and he had crashed here for over a week for a run a few years back which made it easy to remember and suggest quickly to Hack'ed after leaving his place in a hurry. I wonder if the Yak's have burned the building to the ground yet?

Rocky slipped in the back entrance to get to the coffin rooms and rented one for Daphne. This will be easier than trying to explain what's up with her at the front counter and be a safe spot for her till he knew things were safe. After getting her in the coffin he powered up their 'links and sent her a message with a note about where she was, the code to open the coffin and letting her know he had help on the way but wanted to make sure the coast was clear before bringing her up. Once he saw the message had be delivered he shut her 'link down again. Can't be to careful. Once she was set, and making sure he had the code to open the coffin back up, he closed it and headed for the front lobby.

When he first walked in he thought it was the same chippie that had been working the desk all those years ago when he stayed here that was sitting behind the counter, but quickly realized that was just his mind playing tricks on him. The interaction went same as before, room for three nights, deposit and reminder about the silent alarm and that KE was always less than thirty seconds away. Surprisingly the price didn't seem to have gone up since his last visit, but once he saw the room that made since. He was sure the carpet hadn't been replaced since he was there and wasn't sure if the bedspread wasn't the same one as before.

He dumped his bag in the closet and then powered up his 'link again to let Hack'ed know what room he was in. :: 18:40 :: Hack'ed :: 373 ping when you are 3 min out. :: Once he sent the message he grabbed the ice bucket and left the room.

* * * *

He got the three minute warning about six minutes later, so he had plenty of time to find a spot down the hall from his room where he could watch the door and make sure Hack'ed hadn't picked up a tail or anything else weird going on.

Almost on down to the second three minutes after his message Hack'ed came in to view at the far end of the hall. His bulk, also being a troll made it hard to see past him but Rocky didn't see anyone behind him and he seemed relaxed. So as Hack'ed knocked Rocky made a show of coming around the corner with the tiny ice bucket in his hand. Once he got close he greeted Hack'ed, "Hoi, Chummer. Thanks for making it out so quick. Sorry about the change of venue."
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 18:31; Green River Inn, SE Green Valley Road & 218th Avenue SE, Auburn, Seattle Metroplex

"Rocky!" the other troll embraced the former boxer in a quick man hug, the leather of his black jacket creaking as they embraced. Then he stood back, apprising Rocky with his blood-red cybereyes. "You look okay," he observed, absently stroking his goatee. "But how about your patient?"

Rocky showed Hack'ed into the room. "Ouch!" the mage said, kneeling beside the bed. "And she's got the Gift. Those knees...unless she's got hella cash she's gonna be choosing between walking or losing some mojo." He smile apologetically, polished tusks gleaming. "Sorry to be so clinical about your friend. But I'd best get to work. There can be a window on this stuff..." He produced a small pouch and tossed a pinch of blue powder into the air above her inert form. Started chanting. He started with the knees, but under the bandages Rocky had applied he really couldn't see if it was having much effect. After a few minutes, Hack'ed moved up to her head. Finally, holding his hand over her face, he said, "I'll bring her up now. She's stable, but those knees - she won't be anything like mobile without serious professional help."

He removed his huge hand from her pale face and her eyelids fluttered open. The first thing she did was whimper in pain, face widening in panic. The two trolls did their best to calm her, and after a moment she relaxed a bit. "Rocky, you...I'm not dead."
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 18:50; Green River Inn, SE Green Valley Road & 218th Avenue SE, Auburn, Seattle Metroplex

Rocky had sat in the one troll sized chair in the room and occasionally peaked out between the curtains for anyone walking by multiple times while Hack'ed worked.

He moved over to the bed as Daphne started to wake up.

"Rocky, you...I'm not dead."

Rocky nodded in agreement, "Nope. We are both still kick'n, well I am but it's not sounding like you're going to be running any marathons in the next few weeks."

Rocky gestured over to Hack'ed as he moved back to give Daphne some room to breathe. "This is my chummer Hack'ed, he helped get you back to the waking world. I had found a medkit in the van we grabbed but it didn't do me any good when I tried to put you back together. Just so you know we are in Auburn and I think I ditched the Yaks, or at least it's going to cost them a lot to find us. Oh and I don't think either of us will be welcome at the Skeleton for a while, the Yaks roughed up Eldred to find my doss and I'm missing my shift tonight."

Rocky smiled at the last part before continuing. "I'm going to let Hack'ed fill you in on your condition and then I'd like to hear exactly how deep this drek is I'm in now."
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 18:51; Green River Inn, SE Green Valley Road & 218th Avenue SE, Auburn, Seattle Metroplex

Hack'ed gave Rocky a thanks buddy look, but made his bulldozer voice as gentle as he could for Daphne: "Well, I'm not exactly a doctor, but I'm pretty sure your knees are shot out." He winced at his own words, and tried to recover. "But there's now auric damage that I can see. I've just done some curative mana flow, and your flesh has responded well, but, well, it's not exactly my specialty..."

She put a hand up and smiled weakly. "It's all right, Hack'ed. Thank you so much for your help. I think you've done what you can, and I'd hate to see you further expose yourself to danger by being here with us."

The troll's eyebrows shot up at her polite but firm dismissal. "Well, all right then, makes sense. Call me if you need me, buddy." And with a WTF, dude shrug at Rocky on his way out, the hacker-cum-spellslinger was gone.

"Sorry, Rocky, but you wanted to know what you're into, and for various reasons what I say must be for your ears and yours alone. But first, thank you for your help. I wish I could say to you also that you've done all you can, but I fear there is much, much more that awaits you."

She paused, thinking back to the last words he'd spoken. And there was that sad, ironic smile again. "Deep, Rocky. Marianas Trench-deep. The black hole in the heart of an international child sex trafficker-deep. And that's just the enttrance to this rabbit hole."
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 18:52; Green River Inn, SE Green Valley Road & 218th Avenue SE, Auburn, Seattle Metroplex

Rocky was a bit taken aback at Daphne's treatment of Hack'ed after he had taken the time to heal here and not even asked for a beer in payment. Once she explained what was going on and how deep of a hole he had been dragged in to he understood and wondered for a second or two if he could just walk out too.

Sitting back in the chair, not really looking at anything Rocky tried to figure out where to start with the questions. "So I'm going to assume this is the thing you mentioned at The Skeleton this afternoon and the time frame for my involvement has just been pushed up significantly."

"So the first question is are we safe? The spirit you summoned used a dumpster to block the last van and we slipped away. I stopped and tried to revive you but had no luck so I headed for my doss and dumped the van. Had a chance to catch my breath and then the bartender called to warn me about the Yaks getting my address from Eldred. I gathered up some gear and ordered four cabs at different locations around my place. Took one of them about a mile and then ordered a second one that arrived after the first had left and had it pick us up a few blocks away. It then brought us here. I have not seen any sign of the Yaks since the alley near the Skeleton, but I know that doesn't always mean I wasn't followed." Rocky takes a breath and looks at Daphne to see what she thinks.
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 18:52; Green River Inn, SE Green Valley Road & 218th Avenue SE, Auburn, Seattle Metroplex

Daphne: (that same resigned, ironic smile flitting across her face) I have no idea if we're safe, Rocky, but I hope we are, because within the next few minutes I'm going to be here alone for a short while. I need you to go and meet your new teammates. In Tacoma.

Rocky: Okay fine, I'm happy to help. But I'm no good to you without a clue what's going it just the yaks after you?

Daphne: Well, it should be the yaks and the seoulpas. We've been hitting both pretty hard. But while the Japanese have been hitting us back for the past twelve hours or so, we haven't heard a peep from the Koreans.

Rocky: We? Us?

Daphne: (shifting on bed and wincing) Have you got any opiates in that medkit of yours?...Yes, that...Don't hold back now....Oh Goddess yes....Thank you, Rocky...............I'm sorry, I can't say who we are. It's a combination of geas and ignorance. I've taken mystically binding oaths, but I also simply don't know most of it. I can tell you that I am a member of a in initiatory circle, and that we have sister branches around the world. And that we in turn have allied ourselves with other covens and by extension with their sisters. The alliance if far reaching, but cellular and not always well coordinated. But we have come together because we have slowly, each contributing bits of lost wisdom and knowledge, come to an awareness of a grave threat to this world.

Rocky: (raised eyebrows perfectly expressing how completely lost he is).

Daphne: In our self-appointed mission to thwart this threat, we have come to understand two things - the one metaphysical and the other very physical. The metaphysical side is rather difficult to explain. To gain a true appreciation of its truth, it must be felt, and not upon this plane of existence. I have had that privilege, and so unlike so many of our number that risk their lives on faith and trust in their sisters, I know that truth whereof I speak. And this truth is that, if we are to have any hope of dealing with this threat - well, more specifically to avoid inadvertently precipitating rather than halting this catastrophe - we must act indirectly, through surrogates. Some of us have been tasked, using Fates and Patterns, to identify the proper surrogates. And I have identified you.

Rocky: (deep breath that only tentatively accepts any of this as true) To do what?

Daphne: That brings me to the physical understanding. Sometime very soon, the Seoulpas will sell about a hundred innocent children into slaveries of the worst kind. They will do this through the yakuza. I understand we have narrowed down the location for the delivery, though not the exact time. Meanwhile, these our mundane enemies have perceived the threat we pose, and their counterattacks are grown more potent. You need to go to the other surrogates we have selected immediately - they will need you not only to help them intercept the delivery, but to help keep them safe until they can do so. Hand me my commlink.......There, I've sent you the address in Tacoma. You must go. Don't worry, I have other ways to alert my sisters to my predicament. I will be gone from here and in their care soon. But you cannot afford to wait. Neither will they wish to be seen by you. Guard these secrets with your life, Rocky, and speak of them to no one."
Thursday, 21 November, 2075, 18:54; Green River Inn, SE Green Valley Road & 218th Avenue SE, Auburn, Seattle Metroplex

It took a couple of minutes for Rocky to work through what Daphne had told him about what was going on and how deep of a hole he had landed himself in. Last time I rush to the rescue of a pretty lady.

"Thanks for the info, that is a deep drek filled hole I've walked in to." Rocky laughs to himself before continuing. "At least it will be for a good cause. Let me take care of a few things and I'll get on the road so your friends can pick you up before the Yaks figure out where we went." With that Rocky grabs his bag from the floor and heads in to the bathroom. He takes his Warhawk out of its holster and sets it on top of the toilet where he will be able to get to it from anywhere in the tiny room. As the water from the shower heats up, he pulls a fresh set of clothes from the bag along with his lined coat, hanging it on the back of the door where it might slow bullets down if someone starts shooting from the other room. He keeps the shower short, just enough to get rid of the sweat and blood from the afternoon's fight and subsequent run for his life.

Clothed and feeling better he stuffs the suit in the bag and adds a few random things from the bag to his jackets pockets and then heads back into the main room. "Alright, unless you thought of something else I'm goin' bounce. I'll walk a couple blocks before I call a cab to help keep this place clean. Take care of yourself and hopefully I see you when it's all over."
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012