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Friday, January 4th 2075. 9:30 PM

What a surprise. It’s snowing in Chicago in January. As the wind howls outside, you thank the runner gods that you’re in a nice warm pub or, even better, in a nice warm bed, and not somewhere running around the Containment Zone for a fistful of nuyen or whatever barter you’d have to scrounge. Then your commlink flashes the face of your fixer. <<Catch you at a bad time?>> Then again, it is nice to make a living. Your fixer goes on. <<It’s strange. No sooner does the new mayor announce the reclamation program that the biz starts lining up. I got a job for you, omae, headed into the CZ. Johnson would like to meet in person in two hours. There’s a table reserved at Chicago’s Own Pizzeria in Northside. Watch the slip-n-slide out there, chummer.>>

[ Spoiler ]

David was napping in his underground home, alone. He has not left the CZ in 20 years and did not want to make an exception simply for a run. Besides, getting outside might get him killing people again if the cop roaches want to check SINs or anything. David was in rehab - no more random killings. Pathetic weaklings are people too... or so everyone were convinced.

David's layer was decorated with countless remains of insect spirits, that given so much time in solitude were used for decoration, as furniture and for company. Afterall, Dead bugs were good and non judgmental drinking buddies.

"Yeah Yeah, I heard about this plan... Not to kill anything that gets within a 100 yards to my home. Too many people live outside."

>> Slim, tell mister Johnson that I never leave the CZ, but if he wants his puny runners to survive then he better hire me.
I can join their meetup with a phone call, but I should know if to start digging my way out as the snow is heavy and I have not left home for several days.
Titan closed the commcall and sighed.

"Northside..." he thought, "that is on the other side of Chicago from here. Normally I could make the drive in about a half hour, but with this weather all the ‘grid huggers’ vehicles will be going extra slow. And my normal driving will draw far too much attention… Now it will take closer to an hour and a half than half an hour."

The Dwarf stretched and yawned. He then accessed his PAN.

~ $ access my.gmc_sidewinder
Dev <2C7C:AA4D:7F1C:2EF1:D3A1:383E:95F7:7F98:5EAF:90BA:8B78:457D> accessed as gmc_sidewinder.
Authorization required.
Submit authorization:
Ownership authorization granted.
~/gmc_sidewinder $ ignition start
~/gmc_sidewinder $

The SUV surrounding the Dwarf shook to life slowly. "Come on lil’ lady… I know you don’t like the cold much" he said softly "but I got a potential job, an’ we both gotta eat."

Titan shifted his attention to his PAN again.

~/gmc_sidewinder $ exit
~ $ access my.pulse_wave
Dev <C4C6:5801:5C8D:AE5C:953C:8D31:C7A4:D141:7FA0:4FE2:EA21:AA82> accessed as pulse_wave.
Authorization required.
Submit authorization:
Ownership authorization granted.
~/pulse_wave $ search Chicago’s Own Pizzeria

Titan called up the AR controls for his SUV. He made sure the four wheel drive was engaged and eased out onto the street.

[ Spoiler ]
Raphael sighed. The last weeks had been hard going and he could use the cash really, really very much. He could barely afford the public transport to get to that pizza joint, but he had replied in the affirmative.
The weather was bad and was getting worse, but the automated busses still rolled - though at a snail's pace. For the sake of civility he had taken off his helmet and mask and instead put on that horrible pink bobble hat that the widow Delacruzes had knitted for him. It would have clashed with any outfit, but the worn and beaten Wild Hunt Big Game Hunter created the kind of contrast that caused traffic accidents and hit matrix videos.
He scowled at his fellow passengers, discouraging them to comment on his attire.
Already he wished he was back in the CZ. The doc had called it a form of PTSD. An inability to function outside the dangers that the zone brought.

He had to fight the urge to call up lightning as the bus stopped suddenly with a hard jerk - for what felt like the hundreth time. Because some idiot in his big SUV had just decided to cut off the automated vehicle to gain a slight advantage in what passed for traffic around Chicago.

The Ork finally reached the destination he needed and got off the bus. It still was about two kilometers to reach the place and the snow had been getting worse. Stomping with his heavy boots through the snow, feeling his nose grow colder by the second, he cursed again the loss of his Morgan. Hopefully this job would pay enough to wheel up again - otherwise it would be a really miserable return trip to the small camp he had build himself in the small part of Undertown he called his home.

The aroma of freshly made soy-pizza took him out of his gloomy mood for a second. Without hesitation he entered, taking a casual glance into the astral to make sure no spirits lurked around - and also to find the table that most likely held the other people called in for this mission...
@Jaws - There's a brief pause before your comm flashes again. <<Nigga I don't work for you. Sure as hell aint gonna relay messages for your sorry self neither. When's the last time you've seen the sun anyway? Or interacted with anyone who wasn't a bug monster or debt collector? Listen, it be simple. Real, real simple. Go to the meet as planned and scope it out to your liking and what have you. I've a good feel about this job and I firmly believe it'll be some easy ass money. What's the worst that could happen anyway? You eat some real food and make a living friend for once? Your lucky that I even bother with your lonely ass in the first place.>> You are left by yourself again. Alone, surrounded by the husks of those long killed. There's nothing but a few bottles of poorly distilled whiskey waiting for you should you opt to ignore this opportunity. Perhaps you'll finally embrace death and let the cold and frost outside mark this dilapidated subway as your grave... Or the Mafia's hired legbreakers. Whoever comes first.

@Titan - You surf the matrix haphazardly. Trying to find every granule of information that might glean the slightest of insight. Eventually, you discover that Chicago's Own is located on 7105 Grand Ave, Gurnee, IL (Northside) and is owned and run by an old woman named Ames. It's business hours seem to imitate other similar style restaurants. Starting from ten o'clock and going over to twelve o'clock. With this in mind you expect whatever mission detail there to be brief say the least. Anything else you try to find out is a mystery. There doesn't seem to be many matrix ads about it at all. For now, you're more preoccupied with trying to navigate the snowy Chicago streets.

[ Spoiler ]

@Harbinger - The smell of traditional Chicago style crust and real meat lures you from blocks away into a pizza-lover’s dream. the last real Chicago pizza place. Chicago’s Own is a century-old restaurant, but a few additions have been put in place over the years, like bars over the windows, barricaded windows upstairs, and razorwire over the top. The place is literally brick-and-mortar, with a few scorch marks across one side. Even the astral contains the wafts of freshly-made pizza. Carried through the aether on neon glowing smoke lines. Dazzling your senses with hunger. On your way inside you noticed a loading truck parking itself in place at the back of the restaurant. This would be an unremarkable observation if it weren't for multiple auras inside the vehicle. Way too many for just one truck.

[ Spoiler ]
Friday, January 4th 2075. 2131 HRS

Just in time, Karmakaze thought. She was down to her last nuyen, and she needed the work. Even if it were in the CZ.

She quickly ate the last of her ramen noodles, then chased it down with some kerosene-grade vodka mixed with store-brand cola, hoping that would smooth out some of the shakes. The newly installed wired reflexes had her on edge. Mix that with adrenaline and nerves, and she was quite jumpy, ready to test out her new gear.

She makes a quick search on her comm to see if there are any reviews of Chicago’s Own Pizzeria. She also searches for general news and and police reports of the area, and tries to recall what she knows from her time on the force.
[ Spoiler ]

Friday, January 4th 2075. 2215 HRS

Karmakaze finished the trip on foot, which was nice after being packed into an E-rail car for 45 minutes, even if it was through a half of foot of snow. She stuck to the paths carved out by pedestrians through the day, and soon found herself standing outside of the pizzeria.

I sure hope Mr. Johnson is paying.
David texted >> I am confused... Did you quit working for me fixer Scum? I'll better come myself."
His "etiquette" plugin auto corrected to:
>> Dear Fixer S, I'll come to the meet. Please do not quit your job. Mr. Jaws

David thought, "bugs got sneaky in recent years... behaving as meta scums" He hated going out - but he did not want fixer Scum to quit working. Regardless, David was poor enough to actually get out of his layer in such a heavy snow. On one of the walls there was a note, a checklist he must follow before going out.

1. Shower! No exceptions.
2. Be polite to the Johnson scum.
3. No killing the Johnson scum.
4. No killing the other runners.
5. No killing outside of the CZ.

David reminded himself of his honor code for finding jobs and that killing Mafia people is what brought him in that mess. "The killing was fine... problems started when I started to believe that they were not bugs!" he reminded himself.

Still there were simple rules and he had to shower although it has only been a week or so. Well, David entered the shower and afterwards looked at the old food processor with misery "No Soycaff today..." he sighed after using all the hot water for shower. Instead he grabbed a bottle of whiskey and then begun digging his way out of his layer.

"Human scum and their money" he mumbled as he dug and dug.

Eventually, he had enough to take the morgan out - so he did real slow. Morgan was for work, Morgan bought on loan - Morgan needs to repay its cost but Morgan did not go anywhere alone... David had to drive it and do all the hard work interacting with Johnson scums. Mr. Morgan was only a car... or so he said, he did not have an aura but perhaps some scum hid their insect nature better than others.

At any case, Morgan behaved like a car - and while he did David was happy to drive it. Once fully armored of course David said to retro car: "Common Morgan... We are leaving to meet a Jhoson scum."

As he drove he memorized the mantras which he summarized: Be polite to Jhonson scum and do not kill these flesh forms that claim to be humans. He comforted himself with an happy thought...

"They'll be plenty of time killing them when they turn."

After all, if the human race really did survive as these flesh-form scum claimed... Why didn't anybody come for me in so many years?! David accepted that hypothesis but never stopped doubting it.

He called his only contact, a flesh-form scum called Fancy Derek.
He texted:
>>Fancy Scum, need to cross CZ with car, say where.

His autocorrect "Etiquette" application changed it to.

>> Dear mr. Fancy S. I require crossing into Chicago, text me location. Yours truly, mr. Jaws

David looked at the text thinking "It appears longer, I hope that Fancy Scum is not angry for texting so long. Out of all flesh-forms I hate him the least.

Satisfied he packed his gear and drove slowly... like a snail Morgan scum was fragile and David could not afford therapy for Morgan.

Fancy texted an entrance number where corrupt copper scums were and these allowed David outside of CZ...

As he arrived at the meeting location David took few quick looks at the piece of paper. With the etiquette rules outside the CZ " I hope I get it right there are so many rules... already I just hope that I covered everything this time."
'Always expect an ambush, no matter where you are. Firewatch watches and is ready to fire.'
Raphael ached at the thought of his old employer - and his friends and colleagues that he had to leave behind. Yet old, ingrained habits had taken over immediately and he tried to get a good understanding of what was going on on the astral

[ Spoiler ]
Friday, January 4th 2075. 9:33 PM

"That's... Odd," Titan mused as he climbed up to the front seat. "There is almost no social media on Chicago's Own..."

Titan programmed the address into the autopilot, and let it plot the course.

"No reviews, good or bad. No MeFeed wannabe food critics stating how the food should be... At least it will be near closing time. No need to change into better clothes."

He tried the search again to make sure it wasn't just a Matrix glitch.
[ Spoiler ]
"Damn this is goanna blow.. Oh well, best get to finding myself a ride" Aeron mused to himself.
After poking his head outside of his basement apartment, he realized there was no way in hell what passed for local transit
would be running anything like on time and pinged up a ride from one of Big Rigs boys. Damn gangers are dumb, but they take cash like anyone else..
and they know the streets better than I do.
Best get on the move. He locked up his place while he waited for Big Rig's ganger to show up with his ride. Hopped in, and closed the door to the frigid cold.

"Chicago’s Own Pizzeria, Northside, omae. Extra good word to your boss in it for you if you can get me there in the next hour and a half. I know traffic is going to be hell, but lets be smart and there all in one part, yea?"

[ Spoiler ]
David parked his car right at the entrance to the pizza place. The smell of fresh pizza was intoxicating and the Dwarf entered the place, approached the counter and demanded "Pizza slave! Attention here! Now!" when the scared teenager had his attention Dan added. "You give me 20 family sized pizzas and I give you little plastic credstick. I want extra dip - failure to comply would result in termination! Chop chop get to work." When David said termination he did not mean from the job - he meant permanently. Though he remembered that some people reacted poorly to death threats so he decided to leave that ambiguous.

"Would you like some coke with the Pizza, we have a special deal..." said the clerk.

"Do I look like I want coke with my Pizza! Does coke has alcohol in it? No then stop wasting my time, you have plenty of pizzas to make!"

Satisfied for being at his best behavior, Dan gave the clerk his credstick and sat to a table. He'd look at the clerk from time to time and then check the watch application on the comlink - just to keep the kiddo vigilant. "Hey at least if I went all the way here - I could resupply a bit." He said and took a sip from his poorly crafted self made Whiskey.
@Harbinger - You peel back the skin of the material world and see the sickened auras of six ghouls and two pigs in the back of the parked truck. The truck driver is, ironically enough, mundane from the looks of it. Your dual nature shines like a beacon to them. Alerting them to the fact that they've been outed. You can see them all panic, and before you know it the back door to the truck slides open. Six robed ghouls hop out of the truck into the ice and snow. Steadily sloshing their way towards you. A mixture of anxiety, fear and hunger wells up in each and every one of them. Whatever business they are about to conduct here is being placed on hold just because of you and what you've seen. You have about a minute before they close the distance and reach you.

@Karmakaze - You feel an uneasiness in the pit of you stomach steadily growing more intense. As if your insides are churning endlessly against itself. Mixing up the contents of your belly like a cartoon witch would do with a cauldron of frog juice. Next time, it'd probably be wisest if you didn't chase down store bought ramen with off brand cola. But on the bright side, your aptitude with the Matrix and past experience with the general area offers up a few interesting key notes. The pizzeria is decades old for starters. Owned by an equally older woman called Ames. Word on the street is that lately she has been getting her meat by slaughtering pigs in her basement. Traded from ghouls at night by truck ride. Maybe that's why her pizza tastes so authentic? Of course, there's been no credible evidence to substantiate that claim. Just a lot of gutter talk it seems.

Crime-wise, the sprawl is fairly quiet. Nothing really out of the ordinary happens here. Jaywalkers are the only real nuisance in the area. That's probably the reason why the Johnson picked it in the first place. The worst you could find are scattered domestic disturbances but nothing serious mind you.

You arrived early at Chicago's Own. You'd enjoy the scene of the lovely pizzeria and it's delicious smells more if your nerves and stomach weren't at odds with themselves and would calm the living fuck down for a second. That, and there seems to be a bunch of robed, hooded figures all converging on a lone stranger. At the present moment, you're not completely certain which is more unsettling.

@Jaws - You're loudmouthed behavior immediately changes the atmosphere of the whole joint. It went from being calm and sleepy to being tense and awkward. What little remains of the pizzeria's nighttime staff are now walking on eggshells around you. Doing their best to smile and keep you satisfied while trying to see to needs of the remaining customers that haven't left yet. As a disgruntled elderly couple leave and turn their noses at you for your outrageous behavior (and rancid odor) you can't help but notice some kind of commotion going on outside. It's difficult to make out from your booth what is exactly going on though. In the meantime, you've also picked up on the fact that everyone still inside is trying to avoid you at all costs. You saw a server take an extremely roundabout path through several tables just to not be anywhere near you. Fraidy cats. The whole lot of 'em are nothing but fraidy cats.

@Titan - Alas, even though you try and try again you find no further relevant information about the place. Just some gobbledygook about midnight dealings with ghouls. Nothing more than hearsay at best from random paranoid hobos.

@Aeron - The ganger smiles broadly at your promise. Revealing the left half of his mouth to be utterly devoid of teeth. Causing him to slur somewhat as he speaks."Yesshh, no problems pal. Ish gets yoush there in no time flatsh." Apparently, he must of forgot to brush that half for his entire life or he got the shit beat out of him one day. But from the smell of his breath you can tell that the word Colgate is not part of his vocabulary either. Maybe when they started to rot he physically punched out each tooth? Who knows... you're spending way more time trying to figure this out than he did. You have a meeting to get to and that's all that matters.
A deep crease formed on the Dwarfs’ forehead when the so-called results came back. He mentally “tapped” the AR display and caused it to flutter, but it failed to reveal less foolish results.

"Bah! I’ll have to run diagnostics later. For now, the highway calls." Titan pulled the Universal Connector Cord from the base of his skull and plugged it in to the center console. "Ghouls, heh." he smirked as his pulse altered slightly to keep time with the rhythm of the pistons. His toes and feet tingled as if he was walking barefoot in a pristine wheat field. He felt a warm breeze on his face, even though it was bitter cold outside. He had slid into the machine.

~/gmc_sidewinder $ mplayer –random
[ Spoiler ]

The semi conscience Dwarf grinned as the music played inside his head, and he felt the vehicle claw its’ way along the road.

Friday, January 4th 2075. 10:57 PM

Titan reluctantly climbed out into the real world as he switched back to AR and parked the SUV a block or three away. He mentally ran a pre-flight check on the small wasp like drone in the back. When it all checked out, he throttled up and it leapt a few inches off the floor of the car and hovered. He set an alarm on his commlink to text his Control Rig 'Ware at 11:15pm, then lowered the drivers' side rear window and piloted the drone out of the SUV. He quickly closed the window once it was clear.

Once again his eyes glazed over, and his facial muscles went slack as he slid into the drone.

The drone fluttered off into the night to begin the first of several sweeps around the Pizzeria scoping it out.
[ Spoiler ]
At this precise moment, Raphael stopped existing and only the icy cold determination of Harbinger remained.
'Threat assessment: Six dual natured threats, close combatants, blind, but astrally perceiving.
Combat solution: Establish battle readiness, employ area of effect attack.'

[ Spoiler ]

Harbinger moved and expended some of the precious reagents he had left to slow down the world around him. Chrystal clarity overcame him. In rapid succession the threw three mana detonations at the mob of ghouls as long as they hadn't dispersed. He knew he couldn't knock them all out in one go - even if he concentrated but it would slow them down a bit, while they slipped and stumbled through the snow towards him.
Steadily he retreated to keep his distance from his opponents. Only two of his attacks had actually taken effect and they had affected the six monsters in varying degrees.
Harbinger felt the combat clarity get more intense, noticing muscle movements and looking for signs that his opponents packed guns or other ranged weapons, ready to dodge at once. A mask of claws and teeth had briefly manifested around him, revealing to everyone looking that he was drawing on primal powers of the mind - the lizard brain - to kill his enemies.
Friday, January 4th 2075. 2216 HRS

The six robed figures that looked like some B-movie cult extras stood out in this neighborhood. She watched as they merged on a single target: a male ork, who looked like he could handle himself. This might get interesting.

Karmakaze moved to get a better view and put a barrier between herself and the group if gun fire were to erupt. She pulled her phone out and set it to video, sliding it in her front pocket as a body cam. Evidence isn't always worth money, but sometimes it is worth favors. She looked back up, ready to pull her Savalette Guardian for protection when it happened...

[ Spoiler ]
Areon slid out of the car and glanced at the half-toothed driver. Oy vey, better him than me! Let's see about some chow. With a quick tip to the driver and a slide out of the car, he heads inside to find the meeting. Upon ducking in, he would look to spot whoever in the group is most familiar to him, or that he had last worked with, if anyone.
David tries to smile to break the ice - but it only seems to make matters worse. He does not see his behavior as provocative as he believes that ordinary human scum should fear critters like him. In a way, these inferior weaklings only exist at a whim of monsters like David and letting them forget it just creates problems. Fear prevents violence and makes the sheep more compliant. Fear may allow him to not kill anyone before the meetup. He needs to adjust to survive - and at his social understanding that random scum he kills might as well be the Jhonson as they all look alike.

Noticing the commotion outside he gets out of his seat "Are you alright Morgan?" He says loudly as he exists the pizzeria and takes a look to see that his car is safe. After all the metal horse was having a bad day and struggled with the snow driving there. Morgan insisted that he was a car, and David was afraid that he'll carry on with that ruse out of stubbornness even as bullets start flying and pierce its windows. Or worse... David never got Morgan to admit that he was really some form of well-masked insect spirit.
The ghouls were now really angry, showed their teeth and claws and sprinted at full speed across the frozen parking lot. Their fury showed even in their dead eyes and their long strides ate the distance in no time at all.

Harbinger paused for a moment and concentrated. This was going to be hard - especially since the ghouls had spread out into a line - probably to circle him like a pack of hungry wolves and rip him apart.

Harbinger let out a long slow breath that he had held and gave the construct he had build in his mind metaphysical form.

On the astral an opaque barrier appeared directly in front of the charging HMHVV wall. The amount of mana he had channeled made him stagger slightly, but didn't manage to burn him.

Their momentum was to high to stop in time and caused them to intersect with the barrier, one after the other, with a faint glow where their heads connected with the invisible barrier, dropping them in a neat line across the lot.

'Right, that's that then.'
Harbinger turned around and finally entered the pizza joint, nodding at the kitchen help and looked around for any known faces. His eyes narrowed as he spotted several that he vaguely connected with the CZ. 'Figures. I'll fit right in with those assholes.'

[ Spoiler ]
@Titan - Seamlessly, you merge into your machines with little more than a thought. First becoming one with the hulking metal behemoth that is your car then transitioning to that of your Fly Spy. The wind comes and goes in sporadic bursts. Still for one second, wailing the next. Harshly it buffets the tiny drone. You barely manage to keep yourself from being thrashed out of the air. Chicago bellows out one last gusty night terror before silencing itself. Sadly, you can't for the life of you remember anything noteworthy about the area as you regain control. Even the basic layout tentatively slips from all manner of recollection. But... you won't let such trivial remembrances (or lack thereof) distract you from the scene down below. A half dozen robed assailants march their way towards a lone ork. Seconds later their slow march morphs into a mad dash. As if they were prompted as such by some invisible force. They split off and try to encircle the ork. Gaining headway with every step. Nearly meeting their mark in the center before they all simultaneously come to a grinding halt and fall flat to the snowy ground.

@Harbinger - Mediocre... Mediocre... Mediocre... All you can think about is how unimpressive that desperate display of claws and fangs were. You feel more challenged by the chill setting into you than the audacity of the ghouls. The winds whips at your back. Bringing a deeper chill. You're alone now with the illusion of danger having passed. Already a layer of snow settles on their unconscious bodies. An apathetic portent that they will all be buried in a few hours. Although why should you care? You've done nothing wrong. All you've done is a measly amount of astral scouting. How could it conceivably be considered your fault? Still though. Alone you stand surrounded by sleeping monsters. Almost like... the CZ all over again.

The truck driver hadn't moved since all this tomfuckery had started. Neither has anyone gone to him for that matter. Leaving you with an odd but comedic choice. You can ignore what just happened and enter the pizzeria once and for all. You know, kinda like how you wanted to in the first place and not have to stand around outside in the cold at damn near midnight. Or you can give in to your own curiosity and see what all the hubbub is about that'd warrant an escort of freaks.

@Karmakaze - Your clandestine footwork ensures you go unnoticed. The hooded and cloaked figures remain more interested in the ork than they do anything else. That is to say, they were until all of a sudden they all collapse at once. Something that catches your eye is the shimmer of light in the air surrounding the ork prior to this though. As if the light itself is bending around and towards him. Even more peculiar are the bestial features encompassing his face while all of this is happening. You see rows of large triangle teeth and blue-white scales. This manifestation is but transient it would seem. Because as soon as the cultists fall, so too does the shimmering light and the ork's inhuman look.

@Aeron - One smelly car ride over and you arrive at the pizzeria. You have some difficulty trying to trudge through the snow that had piled thickly in certain patches on the asphalt. Made worse by the taunting aroma of sourdough, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and... something else. Oh, it was a ganger fart... The ganger could have had the decency or common fucking sense to pull over closer to the building. Instead, he choose to park inconveniently in the back of the parking lot. Leaving you the delightful joy of cold feet and a rising appetite. Step-by-step, you make your way. Careful to not slip and fall. So far from what you can see there is not a familiar face to be found. Only snow, some more snow, even more goddamn snow, a truck off in the distance with someone inside maybe and a bunch of dudes taking a nap in the snow with one asshole sticking out in the middle of them.

@Jaws - Holy dumb fuck! What in the blue hell is gonna happen to Morgan! You scream this over and over in your head as you race outside. If he ends up collateral in this fight then you'll end up with one less friend and compatriot. No way are you going to let a bunch of candy asses send him to the great auto shop in the sky! Not without cracking a few skulls first that is. You practically bulldoze your way through several chairs and tables to the entrance doors. Almost ramming through a wall in your haste. When your hand finally reaches the door handle to superman pull it open. Causing a loud awful creak as the hinges are nearly torn apart. Only to reveal that there is no fight or battle or commotion of any kind. Whatever was happening when you first saw it start to go down had already transpired in the time from you going from your seat to the door outside.
Raphael knew that he probably shouldn't leave the scene like this. Six aggressive undead attacking in plain view were not common - not even in the CZ. Still, he was here to get a paying job, not to solve mysteries. If the meeting went fast enough he might take a peek into the transporter - provided the driver hung around that long.

With a deliberate step he we had crossed over the prone body in his way and was now in fact, inside the pizza joint, looking for the Johnson.
Areon would squint at the figure and end up thinking better of it, as he's not wearing his eyes and has no business getting involved. No sense getting geeked before even finding out what this goober wants... Besides this is a *paying* job. No sense in going looking for trouble.

With that, a trudge through the snow to the door, and scope around to spot the johnson.
Boring... Concluded David and reentered the Pizza place - waiting for his 20 pizza's or the Jhonson - or a familiar face.
Friday, January 4th 2075. 10:59 PM

Titan grunted as the little drone was battered, and perhaps a bit bruised, by the cold Chicago winds blowing outside.

The odd sight of six robed figures slowly being buried by snow in the lot causes Titan to momentarily forget why he was even piloting a drone in the area.

~/ispy_flyspy $ record –still –count 5 /ispy_flyspy/storage
Still images recording: 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…
~/ispy_flyspy $

"Gotta be some partiers passed out. Naw. Someone would have called the city on them by now, judging by the snow covering them. Must be some art exhibition…"

Titan shook off the mental cobwebs the strange image cast about his mind, and got back to work. The drone whisked off to the left and began circling the pizzeria in a wide pattern.

"This ain’t no pizzeria. It is a frakkin’ jail!" Titan snapped a few more stills of the building as he circled. "A delivery truck? This late at night?"

~/ispy_flyspy $ camera –zoom
Activating Vision Magnification.
~/ispy_flyspy $ record start ispy_flyspy.vismag /ispy_flyspy/storage/truck.vid
Recording started.
~/ispy_flyspy $ record stop
Recording stopped.
~/ispy_flyspy $

Titan checked the chrono. "Time for one more pass." He swung the drone around for another circle. And with that, the drone flew off towards its’ nest.

As the FlySpy came into range of the Sidewinder, Titan shifted to AR and called up the SUV controls as well. With a few mental commands, the window lowered for the drone to fly in and the window closed again.

The Dwarf climbed in back as he landed the drone. He attached a datachip (Gray Platinum Crocodile) to the drone, and downloaded the photos and video he recorded.

"Time to get ready for the meet."

Titan rebooted everything to shake off any digital leeches he may have picked up, then proceeded to prep his gear.

~ $ access my.pulse_wave
Dev <C4C6:5801:5C8D:AE5C:953C:8D31:C7A4:D141:7FA0:4FE2:EA21:AA82> accessed as pulse_wave.
Authorization required.
Submit authorization:
Ownership authorization granted.
~/pulse_wave $ ulink my.specs
Dev <7238:46F6:691E:5E2E:653E:AB9F:A38E:30E7:64E1:777B:B8AD:6068> removed from PAN.
~/pulse_wave $ ulink my.micro_mic
Dev <6E6A:9B42:8D81:8DD6:90D:B363:6497:926A:CEC2:3665:8DE6:AA6E> removed from PAN.
~/pulse_wave $ status
Dev_ID: C4C6:5801:5C8D:AE5C:953C:8D31:C7A4:D141:7FA0:4FE2:EA21:AA82
Dev_Name: pulse_wave
Operation Mode: SILENT
Grid: ChiTown
Pan: Master
- 79E7:732A:4066:15C5:9802:78D1:B40C:E5D7:95C9:97BC:2E50:3113 as mask
- 2C7C:AA4D:7F1C:2EF1:D3A1:383E:95F7:7F98:5EAF:90BA:8B78:457D as gmc_sidewinder
- C1EB:1E67:2CF1:5BD3:7A51:9965:44EB:C02:5AE7:6F09:4BF5:840B as ispy_flyspy
- 7A25:520E:7C6C:AC84:E535:C73C:C33E:4368:8025:9814:6D93:7A6C as life_blood
- 6A0E:AAAD:AABC:5FD0:4F96:6F8A:BA1C:E139:4297:1D3E:78D4:674E as smart_link
- 8CCC:8D85:18C5:A44A:6D06:8A65:8111:74E9:75D0:A118:AB04:8D7A as fast_flex
~/pulse_wave $ wireless –off –all
Dev <79E7:732A:4066:15C5:9802:78D1:B40C:E5D7:95C9:97BC:2E50:3113> wireless OFF
Dev <2C7C:AA4D:7F1C:2EF1:D3A1:383E:95F7:7F98:5EAF:90BA:8B78:457D> wireless OFF
Dev <C1EB:1E67:2CF1:5BD3:7A51:9965:44EB:C02:5AE7:6F09:4BF5:840B> wireless OFF
Dev <6A0E:AAAD:AABC:5FD0:4F96:6F8A:BA1C:E139:4297:1D3E:78D4:674E> wireless OFF
Dev <8CCC:8D85:18C5:A44A:6D06:8A65:8111:74E9:75D0:A118:AB04:8D7A> wireless OFF
Dev <7A25:520E:7C6C:AC84:E535:C73C:C33E:4368:8025:9814:6D93:7A6C> wireless OFF
Connection lost.
Dev <7A25:520E:7C6C:AC84:E535:C73C:C33E:4368:8025:9814:6D93:7A6C> wireless is OFF
~ $ wireless –on my.life_blood
Dev <7A25:520E:7C6C:AC84:E535:C73C:C33E:4368:8025:9814:6D93:7A6C> wireless ON
~ $ exit

Titan turned the wireless on the Pulse Wave back on and connected it to a hidden Universal Connector Cable in the last place any car thieves would look: in between the back and bottom cushions of his seat, and slid the Pulse Wave in with the cable. He then pulled out another commlink, and powered it up.

~ $ access my.meta_link
Dev <958A:7D36:6645:9EE6:6C6:6F7A:DAAF:924D:A009:5DC5:8087:B060> accessed as meta_link.
Authorization required.
Submit authorization:
Ownership authorization granted.
~/meta_link $ status
Dev_ID: 958A:7D36:6645:9EE6:6C6:6F7A:DAAF:924D:A009:5DC5:8087:B060
Dev_Name: meta_link
Operation Mode: NORMAL
Grid: Public
Pan: None
~/meta_link $ chopmod silent
Operation mode changed to SILENT
~/meta_link $ link <Dev: 7238:46F6:691E:5E2E:653E:AB9F:A38E:30E7:64E1:777B:B8AD:6068> specs
Dev: 7238:46F6:691E:5E2E:653E:AB9F:A38E:30E7:64E1:777B:B8AD:6068 added to PAN as specs.
~/meta_link $ link <Dev: 6E6A:9B42:8D81:8DD6:90D:B363:6497:926A:CEC2:3665:8DE6:AA6E> micro_mic
Dev: 6E6A:9B42:8D81:8DD6:90D:B363:6497:926A:CEC2:3665:8DE6:AA6E added to PAN as micro_mic.
~/meta_link $ mkdir ~/meta_link/Shopping\ List/Sausage_Party/Johnson
Directory Shopping List is protected.
Submit authorization:
Authorization granted.
Directory Sausage_Party is protected.
Submit authorization:
Authorization granted.
Directory Johnson created.
~/meta_link $ record start my.specs.visenhance /Baby\ Photos/mng001.vid
Directory Baby Photos is protected.
Submit authorization:
Authorization granted.
Recording started.
~/meta_link $ record start my.micro_mic/Baby\ Photos/mng001.aud
Directory Baby Photos is protected.
Submit authorization:
Authorization granted.
Recording started.

To ensure smooth stitching of the files later, Titan looked down at his left hand and held up three fingers and said “Three.” He lower the third finger and said “Two.” The second finger - “One.” Finally he looked at his closed first and said “Synced.”

Friday, January 4th 2075. 11:16 PM

Titan manually set the alarm on his mobile home, and exited the vehicle. He cued up some walkin’ music as he headed to Chicago’s Own Pizzeria, unaware that the ghouls were starting to wake up.
[ Spoiler ]

ETA to Chicago’s Own: 5 minutes

[ Spoiler ]
KARMAKAZE - Friday, January 4th 2075. 2318 HRS

Holy hell, I hope he is on my team, Karmakaze thought as the shaman dropped six men, then just walked past them like a action trid star.

Everyone else around also seemed unimpressed and ignore the fact that there were six dead or unconscious cult members lying in the middle of the street. Scanning the area again, the coast looked clear, no one seemed concerned, so she went to check on the nearest robed figure. He didn't appear to be breathing...

"You're fucking kiddin' me," she muttered. The man was dead, but that was before he arrived. She checked the others; All the same, all ghouls. I guess the rumors are true. She checked the truck, hoping the pigs were still alive, or at least clean. The rotting flesh of the ghouls had caused an subconscious correlation to the likely cargo.

She noted the trucks license plate as she approached and attempted to inspect the cargo.

KARMAKAZE - Friday, January 4th 2075. 2325 HRS

Karma entered the pizzeria (without intro music) and asked the hostess for the Johnson party (which also happens to be the title of a shadowrun themed XXX trid).
Split was just enjoying a quick soy cafe to heat up his bones during the cold night when he sees his HUD pop up with the message two hours for a quick meet. He sighed looked over at the bare cabinets in the kitchen and decided it was probably time to bare the real world again sending a quick reply to slim << its always a bad time slim you know that its cold and snowing out chummer but null shen if the pays right>>. He suited up with armor jacket and a sweater from the closet bringing only his stun baton as a non lethal weapons in case he runs into trouble. locking up behind him he heads to his bullpup van shivering once he hits the outside weather he swears silently and starts the trek in the cold weather. luckily for him his thermal vision helped in the cold he almost his something warm while starting his initial trek.
David looked at Karma and introduced himself "David off hours, Jaws on the job." he said and extended his hand.
The short man was massive for a dwarf and almost human in height. He was very muscular and quite clearly augmented. He was clean and bearded, armored with a jacket that was fashionable some twenty years ago. In an attempt to be friendly he asked: "Do you like Pizza?"
Friday, January 4th 2075. 11:16 PM

split drives through the downpour of thick snow and wiping away the chunks the wipers were getting a work out tonight. the heat full blast and pumping on defrost.
Split roles up to the pizza joint. seeing how the snow was coming down so thick still using his thermal vision no other heat figuring except for a few singles showing up and walking in he is either late or early he parks and walks into the pizzeria asking for the johnson party. He is pointed to the back and introducing himself as he sits down. he seemed to recognize some of the members but couldn't place the faces Split was huge even for a troll there was a lot of muscle but when he walked you swear you could hear the floor scream in agony in some spots thankfully most chairs were made to accommodate meta types and meant to stand extreme weight.

Split introduces himself he waits for a few moments while everyone finishes <<hello I am Split. >>
Harbinger had found the correct table and nodded at the other runners arriving:
"The name's Harbinger. Yeah, pizza sounds about right. Hope the Johnson get's his ass here soon. Those clowns out there are just cooling their heels and I don't intend to be here when they wake up - one way or the other."
He shook the offered hand but kept a watchful eye on the runners.
David said "I liked what you did with these losers Harbinger - though I would keep the violence to a minimum until we are hired... some Jhonsons don't like it when flocks like us step on the useless ants."

To their surprise, the Pizza's were piling up the table... 1 -2 3 ..10 until eventually, 20 family sized pizzas were served. Way more than they could possibly eat.

Areon found the table, piled high with pizza and pulled up a chair. "Sup?" (He extends his hand to the group, shaking hands with whoever takes it first) ""This stuff communal, omae? Also, anyone seen our Johnson yet?"
KARMAKAZE - Friday, January 4th 2075. 2326 HRS

Karmakaze returns David's greeting, "Of course. I wouldn't trust anyone who didn't like pizza.

"My name is Karmakaze; On and off the job."

In regards to the twenty pizzas, she questions the group, "So... is this a meeting for a run? Or is this a kids birthday party?"
Split was mid way into his third slice of pizza when Karmakaze mentioned work. after a few chews Split decided to chimed in "I hope so i didnt leave the warmth of my hovel for just free pizza.the message i received asked me to be here specifically for that reason."
Raphael shrugged at David's admonishment: "Not like they left me much choice. I really don't want to know why a meat transporter has a crew of six ghouls delivering to a pizza joint. That has to be unsanitary.
Incidentally, I think I'll keep to the pure cheese pizza, thanks."

He nodded towards the others: "So you are the crew then. While the Johnson keeps us waiting we could do the introductions among us. I'm Harbinger and used to do magical fire support for Fire Watch Team Epsilon Apocalypse. The unit was dissolved a while ago, so now I freelance as a troubleshooter in the CZ."
David answers Karma, "Well... I don't get out much. " To Harbinger he said "Firewatch, you mean the rescue that never arrived heh... Better late than never I guess. I waited for you guys for many years..."
Areon shurggs. "Personally I was never really sold they where coming at all. Areon, on and off the job. I used to do gigs for Aries as a combat mage, but my section got some serious downsizing when they started a new R&D team. Outside of a fight I was also the team handler and trainer for the newbloods, as well as handling the corp types. If we find ourselves in that sort of shakedown, I'll do what I can. Outside of that, if one of you can give me a ride to the job that would be extra special of you. Anyone have a lead as to what this gig might be?"
Splits swallows his fifth slice and takes a drink to quench his thirst. "Far as I know my guy contact said a little something about heading I to the CZ. That's all I know so far was hoping a little light to be spread by the johnson, as for a little back drop I have been doing physical security for a few groups for some time now, need to cut away from them and branch out.."
QUOTE (Derfmancher @ Aug 4 2017, 10:26 PM) *
Areon shurggs. "Outside of that, if one of you can give me a ride to the job that would be extra special of you. Anyone have a lead as to what this gig might be?"

David said "Morgan has two free seats, welcome to join. " He shrugged "I live in the CZ, never did a job outside of that hellhole. "
Raphael shrugged: "It's not like the Firewatch wasn't on duty for almost six weeks straight without pause. We did what we could against the bugs. Until our unit was dissolved. I still do that, as a matter of fact, even though I'm no longer paid to do so. So you lot keep your traps shut about that."
He took a large piece of cheesy goodness, rolled it into a compact roll and began methodically to munch it down in a few bites.
KARMAKAZE - Friday, January 4th 2075. 2330 HRS

"Holy shit ; You live in the CZ? You're one brave sonofabitch... Either that or crazy."
Areon began to join Raphael in the destruction of the pizza, and listened to the others discuss, while waiting for the Johnson to show.
By Titans' estimation he was only a little past halfway to Chicago's Own when the song finished. He mentally commanded the commlink to call up a song to help focus on the upcoming meet.
[ Spoiler ]

Titan took a deep breath, and held it for a five count. He then slowly released it as his sensei instructed to center himself. "That is the one." The lot was mostly empty as he walked through it. Only a few vehicles, probably belonging to staff judging by how cheap most of them were, remained. "Hmm. The artists musta went home. Don't blame 'em with how cold it is out."

As he approached the entrance to the jail / pizzeria, Titan mentally checked his chrono.
~/ $ Time
11:21:19 PM
00:08:41 to appointment
~/ $

"Damn. Earlier than I meant to be... I'll have to work on that. But at least I'm not much earlier."
[ Spoiler ]

"One more to set the mindset." And with that, he entered the doorway a bit loudly cursing in street slang. He stomped hard, alternating feet, to knock off the snow, all the while visually scanning the pizzeria to get a read on the patrons and staff.

Titan sits at a table and pulls out his flask and takes a swig. He reaches out with his Control Rig to scan the Matrix in the area, and he slowly scans the room taking stills of everyone he can.

Friday, January 4th 2075. 11:24 PM

"That table with the street trash and poor gathered around a large pile of empty pizza boxes is a likely target. They ain't teenagers, and there aren't any gang colors or other uniforms unifying them in any other way. And what else would bring a Troll, two Elves, an Orc and a Dwarf together..."
Titan focuses his Matrix attention on them and scans them a bit closer to get more information, taking a swig from his flask again while looking for the Johnson.

[ Spoiler ]
He looked at Raphael "Well they were tough buggers and most were unprepared..." The abandonment of being left there to rot, without any form of help or rescue. Years of waiting by the comlink and waiting for a rescue to come. It was painful, then Karma with her piece and David responded softly "Perhaps a bit of both, been living there for so long that I do not belong anywhere else. Though, I liked it better before I needed to share it with tourists as there were fewer politics to consider."
@All - It was not until 11:30 PM exactly that you noticed an odd looking woman exit the girl's bathroom. She spies on you all through the narrow slits that make up her eyelids. She is an Hispanic human in her mid-fifties, dressed up in runner style with an armored jacket, dark fatigues, and boots. Her right temple sports two chrome datajacks, and she examines you through obvious cybereyes, deep violet with golden atom symbols in place of pupils. The woman takes a few bold steps forward to your table and slides a chair over from a vacant booth. Most of the clientele had left soon after the ghoul nonsense outside and the hour was getting late as well, so that wasn't helping much. The restaurant was silent for the moment. There was no noise save from a few clattering pots and pans coming from the kitchen. Making her proposal all the more audibly dramatic. “Thank you for meeting with me. Some of you might know me as Quantum Princess. I have a short job for you. Two Matrix signal repeaters in the CZ are showing signs of failing, and I need you to replace a module in each. I’m offering 4,000 nuyen for the job. Oh, and my apologies for not warning you about our, let's say... unsavory guests. I didn't think they'd be here so early.” Her stony-face bends toward Harbinger as she flashes an ugly smile.

@Titan - Cracking open the electronic shell of the matrix didn't tell you much more than what you could already plainly see right in front of you. A few tid-bits of trivia here and there but nothing truly juicy. Your compiled observations, both matrix and physical, are as follows: Vanessa Rodriguez, a.k.a. Quantum Princess is an elder statesman among shadowrunners. She was in the heart of downtown when Bug City hit and the Containment Zone went up, and she was one of those early few who tried to figure out what was happening and helped cobble together a rude BBS to help those trapped survive and communicate. Many suspect she’s the primary Sys-Admin for NooseNet, Chicago’s Shadow Host, though she won’t admit to it. Most often she can be found working as a fixer. She’s also liked and trusted by almost every faction in the shattered sprawl, and frequently acts as a mediator and go-between for them. Quantum Princess is a human female of mixed Hispanic descent evident in her deep brown skin and dark hair. Age and stress have taken their toll, and she’s a little heavyset and not as nimble as she once was. Her mind, however, is sharp, and her deep-violet cybereyes with their golden atom symbol pupils catch everything. You deduce this by the vigilant stare she's maintained since she first left the bathroom. Even now it feels as if she could read your mind simply by looking at you.

[ Spoiler ]
"Shit... Runner 'royalty.'
Sounds of silence...
Sounds of silence...
Sounds of silence..."

Titan climbs down of his chair and heads toward the group he has been surveilling.
He grabs a closer chair, and carries it near the table to climb up into and gives Quantum Princess a nod.

Titan gives a slow look around the table, as if to see who will speak up.

[ Spoiler ]
"4000 per person to enter the CZ? That's not exactly generous. This better be an easy job.

And don't worry about those infected abominations. I just knocked them out. A little courtesy from my side."

Raphael stopped. He had said his piece and he was all to happy to leave the haggling to others, more socially adept people.
David looked at their fixer with curiosity and then returned to his Pizza. He could only make it worse by haggling and it was clear that he was interested. After all, he was going back to the CZ anyhow - and a stronger matrix signal could prove handy. Perhaps this was the reason jobs were so so... (or not).
Areon "I don't know about you all, but 4000 sounds a little low to expose myself to rads. Are we talking 4000 total, 4000 per head, or 4000 per head, per unit that needs us to go out and play nanny?"

[ Spoiler ]

At this point, Karmakaze couldn't afford not to take the job, even if the asking price was that low. But that isn't how negotiations are done. They start low, you go high, you meet somewhere in the middle, and end up getting screwed anyways. Unless you find some good loot, but in Bug City there is rarely is SOTA drek just laying about.

"I am going to assume you mean 4,000 per person, which is only 24,000, which is pretty low to send a team into the CZ, even for a simple task. You have assembled a well-rounded, highly-skilled crew with a lot of magical force, so I doubt it will be a simple task. Let's start around 42,000, which would cover a basic run at multiple locations within the CZ. In addition, we will need all the information you have on these modules in case we need to make repairs on site to get them working."

[ Spoiler ]
"Frakkin' Elves... Prancin' around like peacocks to show everyone how bright their feathers are..." Titan took a swig from his flask and noticed how rapidly it was emptying. "Bet they would have a pissin' match over which tree grew more in the last hour." He frowned at the flask.

Titan sniffed a bit and took the time to listen around him to make sure there weren't any uninvited guests. He then focused on his AR displays to see if there were any signs there.

[ Spoiler ]
David looked with appreciation at the negotiator and to show respect ate a pizza slice with his mouth closed.
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