The Genesis Concept

Thanksgiving Day
FIction

Journal File
Encryption Active
2053/11/28/0228:31 hrs

Thanksgiving was again, not an ordinary day…..but then again, I suppose everyday that I am still alive and in one piece is a day of Thanksgiving. Well, since my last entry it seems that the team that Gemini came down with actually may be okay. They have their issues, collectively and individually, but then, hell, so do we all.

Today was interesting as Constantine as I got a call from Fox. Says he’s found Socrates and he’s gonna send the Sioux Sector passes with him and for us to meet him at 10am at Jimbo’s. Logan called shortly thereafter and we told him where that meet was gonna go down. We end up meeting Socrates as directed and, lo and behold, we end up offering to let him join this wonderful guitar ‘run that we have active. A little while later FUSE does his magic shit and does that out-of-body thing he can do so that he can scout out Topal’s shop, the Earth Mother Curious. Talking about curious as FUSE comes back into the meat and tells us that he got the sensation of hate in the location around the shop but says other that that he found nothing of interest.

Anyway, around noon, we decide to travel to the Sioux Sector but damn, FUSE and Party Boi’s fuckin’ IDs don’t pan out. They are grilled for a couple hours before being turned away from the sector border. Of course, their passes are no longer any good. I, of course, get stopped by fuckin’ Red and I can’t get across. Red needs to let it go, the deal with that damned case wasn’t my fault. At least Logan, METL, Socrates, and Gemini are able to investigate the talismonger shop and they find Topal.

A little while later we all regrouped at the Clinic and discussed what to do next. I am a little worried about Party Boi though, that dumb ass does some novacoke and goes out for Tacos.
Topal seems at a loss and talks to Logan but I am still not sure about her. Seems like the guitar may be held at a warehouse. Socrates ends up doing a matrix search on this particular warehouse, the guitar and on Topal’s running team. But not much is found out as I still am not sure what he found out. Around 15:30 Topal and FUSE astrally scout the warehouse in question while Logan goes to meet a contact and Socrates and Gemini investigate Grep’s and Hammer’s (Topal’s teammates) places. Close to 1800 hrs we get word that Socrates and Gemini are investigating the Red Velvet Inn and Socrates reports that someone is watching then from a motorcycle. At 20:00 hrs everyone meets back up at the Clinic to talk about the legwork but the conversations seemed kinda muddled. I think that we, as a team, need to do a better job of recording and analyzing legwork so that clear decisions can be made. That’s where I am gonna do a better job. I wanna help figure this puzzle out.

Right in the middle of the team discussion, Topal gets pissed and leaves. Seems she took offense to some part of the talking. The funny thing about that is nobody seemed to care. I didn’t really say anything other than to point out that she was leaving as dealing with her was not my call. I need to realize that I am trying to fill a primary and several secondary roles and butting in on all that is outside my lane.

Anyway, as the night wore on me and Socrates attempted to hack Cuirassiers Security System Host…we got our asses handed to us and I got hit hard through dump shock….so did Socrates. It took so first aid and but both Socrates and me are fine. I’ll be nursing a headache and some bad bruising but I’ll be okay.

Lastly, a little over an hour ago Tini Biggs gives me a call and says that we are to meet a guy at Black’s Junk Yard at 0100 hrs Saturday morning (the 29th) so that we can trade the box (and what’s in it) for that guitar. Damn me, but I but this has something to do with that motorcycle guy Socrates saw……

Interesting Thanksgiving. I am damn thankful that my brain didn’t get fried on that Cuirassiers Security System Host run…..and I sure am thankful that once I close this entry I can get some sleep. Damn, I am tired…..and my head hurts…..

Journal File Closed
Encryption Terminated
2053/11/28/0231:07 hrs

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Autobiography of a Mage #2

Audio Log Entry #42 – Meaning of life.

Really. The answer is 42. Why, I don’t know, but a lot of magical spells in the healing side of things call for some semblance of that number. I guess when Douglas Adams first wrote that, he never realized he might have tapped into to the knowledge of mana a little bit.

Aside from that I traveled to Denver
…side note travelling by ground over long distances SUCKS. I need to look at a faster way of travel. Maybe if I combined part of the formula from the known “Levitation” spell with some form of kinetic push that would slingshot me…yeah…no. Bug on a windshield effect. NE.(starts to whisper)xt. Stupid close proximity to my fellow adventures. It seems we have formed a “party” of sorts. This is the second adventure to unknown lands. This walled off citadel of a city seems to be troublesome. We have an item of power. Weather I attempt to wield said power and possibly risk corruption or McScrooge sales it for some more coin in his swimming pool of coins, will be told in the next episode. (gets a little loud for a second) TUNE ..(whispers again after catching self) in next time! Same Fuze time, same Fuze trid stream!

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Pandora's Box
Fiction

Journal File Accessed
Encryption Active
2053/11/26/0417 hrs

Fucking great. What have I gotten myself into? Who are these guys? Why did the Upright Man hook me up with these dudes? Okay, okay back up. Here is what I know:

The Upright Man fixed me a job. I was supposed to liaise with a ’running outfit outta Chicago that needed to make a delivery here in the Sector and then split. I think I was supposed to lend a gun hand and maybe provide tactical matrix support and local knowledge, if needed.

Job was supposed to be a quick deal. Give someone this for that and be done with it.

Well. Shit didn’t work out that way……

Seems that they, or shall I saw we, were supposed to meet with Tini Biggs (of all people) and give him this box and he was supposed to give us an antiquated, yet, expensive guitar, specifically it was a Fender Stratocaster. Well, Tini didn’t have the Stratocaster so no deal…..

He at least tells us that another ‘runner team led by a chick named Topal has the guitar and that it looks like the deal fell through. Look’s like the Upright Man’s hands are tied on this one and even though he is sympathetic, the way the street is, we’ll all get a bad rap if we don’t somehow find this Stratocaster and give it to the Johnson who dealt with the Upright Man.

I was pissed but now that I’ve had a chance to think about, I can’t blame the Upright Man and if we can find that damn guitar and send it on its way, I can, at least, avoid more a fucked up reputation. The 5+ grand will help…..its not what I wanted but hey…..We find Topal and we find this guitar….

Which leads me to the next thing on my mind….what the fuck is up with this box?

I did some research and the blogosphere says that foci are some powerful shit. If we, right now, possess a serious focus, that alone could net upwards of a hundred grand….which will make my total cut on this job closer to like twenty or twenty five grand…..and that is much more like it….

We have a focus….does Fuse know the full gravity of that fact? He has too….he’s the magic support. Me, I don’t know the in’s & out’s of that shit but we are holding a focus that was supposed to be traded for the damned Stratocaster and this begs some questions….

Is the guy that was expecting that focus gonna come hunting for it? Are we gonna keep it or sell it and split the ¥? Is Fuse gonna even want to to?

I wonder if Gemini, Fuse, Logan, METL, PB and Diesel are familiar with the ancient Greek story of Pandora’s box? Did we just open Pandora’s box and are we ready for what may follow?

I don’t know……shit, I just don’t know…..

Journal File Close
Encryption Terminated
2053/11/26/0418:35 hrs

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The All-Seeing Eye
Hottest News-Magazine Show on the Trid

All_seeing_eye.jpg
Friday, November 28th, 2053

Audrey W. is one of the hottest things on the trid this year, and her ultra-popular, The All-Seeing Eye, is pulling in huge ratings all across North America. She’s talented all right; she can cut straight to the heart of the matter with a penetration question or revealing piece of footage. And she’s always so cool, so sharp, that just seeing her on the street or in the restaurant has reputedly caused even the most hardened corp executive or politician to break out in a cold sweat. Tonight you can feel her shooting off the screen.

As always, she stands on her custom virtual set, clad in one of her trademark, chic Abandallo business suits. The show’s last segment, something about toxic agents in the latest fad food additive, was uninspired. The image behind her is one of her more provocative images of the All-Seeing Eye on blindfolded woman’s chest. Her pursed lips express displeasure as she addresses her audience.

“What the drek is happening in Chicago these days? Unbeknownst to the general audience, a secret cabal is taking advantage our citizen’s trust. They are undermining our streets and infecting our children. They blind us with false hopes of progress and innovation. The group works from the shadows, masked by front-men that deceive with a smile. There are abominations that abound in our city, but the people are blissfully unaware while these beasts steal our children in the night. Their actions are hidden by the upper echelons of our government, who have been turned to their depraved ways. What I’m about to show you may revolt you. I, for one, hope it does.

The image flashes to tightly focused shot of suit walking apprehensively into dilapidated area in what is presumably one of Chicago’s rundown neighborhoods. The cameraman makes a wide pan to the area around an abandoned apartment building. Then the camera zooms in to the windows, the doors, and the littered trash in front of the building. From the elevated perch of the cameraman, he fails to catch any squatters in the area, like the building is devoid of life. The fading sun casts long shadows the suit tries to stay out of the shadow of the building. Another individual exits the abandoned edifice and walks to meet the suit. The cameraman zooms trying to catch a glimpse of the person, but his wide brimmed hat covers his face. His clothing is ragged and layered like a homeless squatter protecting himself from the cold. You cannot tell if the figure human, elf, or even an ork. The suit hands the individual some paperwork points out some apparently important sections of the packet and nods to the figure before quickly turning to leave.

The suit suddenly breaks out into a full run and the camera pans to the building as a multitude if figures pour out of the openings, doors, windows, and holes in the walls. The camera tries to zoom in on the people, but they are moving too quickly to focus. Half-glimpses of grossly transformed humanoids chase after the suit, running past the figure studying the document. The camera pans to a second building standing adjacent to the first. A similar horde of creatures pour from the openings in the edifice, some jumping down from second story windows. The suit tries vainly to escape as the creatures run him down. The camera tightly focus on the suit as the horde descends upon him, claws shred away his clothes and flay his flesh as the creatures stuff them into their mouths. Entrails are forcibly ripped from his eviscerated stomach in a macabre game of tug-o-war before they snap and devoured by their participants. The suit screams has his eyes are scooped out their sockets and succulently sucked between quivering lips like a delicacy in a four-star restaurant. The creatures scramble over him like a quarterback sacked in the end zone, biting and rending as they go. Even his head, despite his screaming, is clawed at until it pops loose from his body and a secondary group shuffles away as one of them runs with the head, like a dog that managed to snatch a bone away from the pack.

The camera starts to focus on the individuals as they slow and turn seeking other prey. Their ashy, desiccated skin hangs in tatters on their exposed flesh. Any hair they may have once had has been shed like an alopecia universalis victim. Sharp yellow teeth and long fingered claws are used to tear the flesh from their victims. Their eyes are milky-white and despite their apparent blindness, they have no problems seeing each other. As the sun begins to break the horizon line, the trid jostles and loses focus as the cameraman hurries from the area.

The scene switches back to Audrey, standing agape in shock, one hand covering her mouth in horror. Composing herself, she turns a stern eye back to the camera.

“That was governor’s aide Christopher Reynolds as he delivered Special Order 162, better known as “The Cabrini Refugee Act” to the leader of a ghoul community in front of Scamplife on Cabrini Green earlier this month. What is this Special Order 162? Apparently the Illinois legislature, in a closed session, passed “The Cabrini Refugee Act”, which allows for ghouls to inhabit Cabrini Green and are protected under the law. Like these unclean beasts are some disabled members of our society. Why wasn’t Reynold’s murder announced on syndicated new stations? Why isn’t there an investigation on why the government is protecting abominations that would sooner feed on our flesh than read a proposal with their blind eyes? Why is the government protecting a murderous group infected people? I implore you email your congressman; flood their inbox with a wave angry messages at this transgression. We should not have to allow monsters to roam our cities. Protect yourself. The All-Seeing Eye is watching for you.”

The Trideo changes to the new trailer for CyberNinja IV.

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Autobiography of a Mage

Audio Log Entry #32 – Something …bugging me.

Deep down in the lair of the beast stood an epic man tinkering and toiling with the workings of mana. My, I mean, his lair littered lushly with magical items and technologically wondrous equipment seemed to loom a dark cloud above it. No, not a literal cumulonimbus… why would I conjure up a storm in my squat, if I can even call it that, to destroy what little I own currently?

Eh, drek this.
F’n bugs. SPIRIT BUGS! What the hell man. Creepy and I would venture to say not a normal human interaction to want to be part of a single mind. Though it does make some interesting ties as to how the HELL did they merge a spirit with a physical body AND make it stronger overall.
Food for thought and stuff that should keep me up at night, but I’ve got other things I have on my mind. Like how to get a place setup that doesn’t have a sign outside saying “condemned”. Great choice there pal! Trade in the nice life to prove somebody lied and took our research and theories. I guess only time and more nuyen from these new “ventures” will pay off. Have to take the lower ones to get the better pay later.

Anywho, trying to get a SIM helm to test out Matrix simulation versus reality and if rituals CAN possibly be done via the net or recording. Probably not due to connection to the mana in conjunction with the locality, but hey, I can at least get some programs for training that might work anyways OR sell SIM sense of channeling mana or even as far as formula…

After my last “venture” I have this overly feeling of needing to actually workout. Never done it before, but with this line of work I’m starting, I need more than my brains and magic possibly…
I couldn’t do anything when that “creature” was in my face but the 5 D’s. Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, Dodge! Old trids are great. Old man has a ton of them.

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When It Rains, It Pours

Chicago’s Ritz-Carlton stands as an edifice in the Elevated Downtown. The oldest and most successful hotel in the area, the Ritz-Carlton is host to numerous meetings, some are discussion on large corporate merges, some are clandestine business dealings, and some are shadowy underworld agreements. The Upright Man often finds himself a patron of the Ritz-Carlton. The deep mahogany wood paneling contrasts the white marble floors beautifully, a metaphoric chiaroscuro that exemplifies his line of work. The tapping of his patent leather shoes across the marble floor is drowned out by the hum of wealthy business men who have travelled the Windy City for some convention on corporate empowerment.

The Upright Man holds his hand up as the hostess makes her way to speak to him. The Ritz-Carlton prizes nuyen above all else. His custom made Italian suit, diamond cuff-links, and ebony cane convinces the employees to overlook the fact that The Upright Man is a dwarf. His neatly trimmed beard frames his welcoming smile as the dwarf signals the hostess that does not need assistant. The Upright Man’s smile is not due to hostess’s action, but that the MAD devices failed to detect his new Barton Arm’s cane. Equipped with a single shot, the dwarf feels more confident with the weapon in hand. The dwarf makes his way to the first bank of elevators and pushes the ‘up’ button. In unison, two elevators silently slide open and The Upright Man chooses on randomly. As the door slides shut, a hand quickly thrusts between them, causing elevator doors to stop abruptly and re-open.

Two tall elves dressed in black suits and mirrored shades enter the elevator. Their hair is slicked backed and tied into a pony-tail, without a strand out of place. They remind the dwarf of G-men as they take a stance on either side of the elevator door facing each other. The Upright Man is not surprised when a third elf enters the elevator and stand next to the dwarf.

As the doors slide shut for a second time, The Upright Man glances up to the look at his elevator companion. The elf turns to meet the dwarfs gaze and The Upright Man feels an almost unbearable pressure on his head, as if a giant vice is clamped to his temple. Fighting the nausea rising in his stomach, the dwarf looks down and rapidly blinks the tears from his eyes.

“My apologies Mr. Winters, I did not know my spells would have such an effect on you.” The elf’s voice hammers into The Upright Man’s head from all directions and the dwarf isn’t sure where his voice is coming from.

“I was unaware you were awakened. My spells are meant to shield me from unwarranted attention. I will make this brief. I have heard that you are an honorable… dwarf, and you have a team of runners that have encountered a problem I am dealing with. I believe a Mr. Logan Knight leads this group. Please ask his group to meet at the Vertigo, Monday at midnight. I assure you the offer is not only lucrative, but also in the best interest of this city. Have them ask for Mr. Grey’s party. Again I apologize for the effect.”

The Elevator dings, but The Upright Man fails to hear it. The elves exit the elevator and it takes several moments for The Upright Man to regain his composure. Looking up at the floor numbers, the dwarf realized he has reached the twelfth floor of the Ritz-Carlton. The doors silently slide open and dwarf walks to the Venedome meeting room. Bright sunlight filters into the room through gradient glass. The furnishings are clean and functional. The only inhabitant, an elf wearing the latest style of Tir Tangire, turns and smiles at the dwarf. Unlike the previous elves, this elf wears a dark blue, Edwardian cloak adorned with magical symbols.

“Thank you for meeting with me, I have need of some individuals to acquire an item for me.” The elf is soft spoken and well mannered. The two speak pleasantly for several minutes before coming to an agreement. Exiting the meeting room, The Upright Man sighs audibly makes a call on his phone.

“Greetings Logan, I know it’s been a couple months since I have contacted you, but I have not had any jobs for you. It seems that when it rains, it pours. I have two meetings for your, one is this Monday at midnight the Vertigo Lounge. The other is on Wednesday nine p.m. at the Underground. I’ll Wickr you the details.

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Grissim's Gambit
Things are afoot in Denver.

Captain Grissim took one long, last drag on his nicostick and tossed the glowing butt across the empty parking lot. He watched idly as it arched briefly and skittered to a stop, sending ashes and sparks dancing across the asphalt. It was kind of pretty the way the sparks died out one by one. Grissim leaned back against the sloped hood of his Cltymaster, enjoying the surprisingly clear, moonlit night. Behind him, he could hear one of his men approach. He glanced again at the pale orange glow of his dying cigarette.

“Just like tonight,” he mused aloud. “Watch ’em die, one by one.”

“Captain?”

Grissim absently rubbed the two-day growth of beard on his chin and neck as he turned to stare contemptuously at what his superiors referred to as an aide. From what he could tell, the guy was little more than some lop-eared techie with a datajack, fresh out of the academy, with no more sense than some drekheaded dreamchipper. In only six short hours, Grissim had grown to despise the young Elf. How, he wondered for the hundredth time, was he supposed to make a soldier out of such rot? He rolled his eyes in a silent plea for mercy, or maybe Justice.

“What is it, trooper?” he asked.

“Bane’s on Tac-2, sir. His men are in position on the far side of the Junk yard-”

Grissim smacked the trooper’s cheek without conscious thought. Damn kids. They didn’t know anything.

“Across the what, Trooper? Across the what? Why do you think we make up those cute little codes back at HQ? For the fun of it?” Grissim whacked him again, though he was sure the Elf had already realized the error of his ways.

“I thought you daisy-eaters were supposed to be tuned to all that magical mumbo Jumbo. I thought you knew about magical spying. I guess I was wrong. Was I wrong, trooper?” In reality, Grissim wasn’t really worried about someone overhearing his aide’s mention of their target. The pair of wage mages attached to his force had given him the all-clear signal five minutes ago, and they would have noticed if someone was about to try something tricky. Still, it paid to be careful, especially because no raid on Black’s Junk Yard had ever gone according to plan. Besides, the Elf had to learn sooner or later, and Grissim enjoyed this part of the training.

“S-s-sorry, sir.”

“Yeah, right. Sorry. Well, if you’re sorry, then it must be O.K. Think, boy. You’ve got to be thinking all the time. Now what is it?”

“Bane’s in position. The target is quiet. The new group appears to have moved into position and seems to be waiting on their contact. They are scanning, both magically and physically, but they are not searching this far out. Both our squads are ready to move in.”

“Good, trooper. That’s real good. Now, back to your post. Tell the boys to saddle up. We move when I give the word.”

Grissim adjusted his field jacket and watched the Elf climb into the depths of the Citymaster. Feeling the hairs rise on the back of his neck, he could tell that it wouldn’t be much longer. Time for a payback, and everybody knew how painful that could be.

Grissim headed for the command couch of the Citymaster and considered his good fortune. Only eight hours ago, one of his larks had spotted his old nemesis Blackwing leaving the Aurora Sheraton in a rush. Among the handful of people alive that could ID the notorious Elven hitman, Blackwing’s joygirl was one and Grissim was another. The Joyglrl was also Grissim’s lark. As luck would have it, the Captain was only a few blocks away at the time of the tip, and arrived on the scene in a matter of seconds.

It was no surprise, though, that his lark had already vanished and Blackwing was nowhere to be seen. The hotel desk clerk was extraordinarily helpful, with a little motivation from the Ares Predator Grissim brandished under the clerk’s nose. Directed to Room 616 on the sixth floor, Grissim found everything just as he had expected.

Blackwing had been typically efficient, killing the room’s three occupants with three precise shots. By the looks of them, they were “back-to-nature” Elven runners. The scene was as clean, almost sterile, as one would expect one of the best Elven hitmen to leave it. But under the body of the third victim, Grissim found a shattered pocket secretary. He wondered if the hitman had truly intended to kill the woman and shatter the recorder with the same bullet. It would have been a tricky shot, but the kind for which Blackwing was famous. Whatever the Elf’s Intent, the shot had trashed the pocket secretary. That wouldn’t stop Grissim, however. A lot of people owed him some big favors.

As it turned out, he only had to cash in one favor to get a partial reconstruction of the dead Elf’s last conversation. Most of it was still garbled except for the words, “Four A.M.” and “Black’s Junk Yard.”

Snapping out of his reverie, the Captain ducked into the spacious Citymaster and leaned into the command couch. From here, he could oversee the entire operation. Strapping on the headgear with one hand, he used the other to flip a bank of toggle switches. Lights began to flash. Good. Grissim liked a lot of lights. He glanced at the amber display to his left, double-checking the Cltymaster’s readings. He confirmed what his rigger Ronnie already knew; everything was ready to roll. When a certain red light flashed on the console, Grissim hit the switch and listened.

“Group Two moving into position, sir. Five or six additional contacts. Total eight/nine in the net.”

Grissim grinned. The terrorists with whom Blackwing was supposed to link up had showed. Fine. He’d take them all down tonight.

“That’s a roger. Keep the astral boys flying. We’re on the way.” Grissim keyed the open channel. “This is it, campers. Blue One, move out. Gold One, follow my lead. Ronnie, take us in.”

Grissim could feel the big Citymaster roll forward as the rigger slipped into gear and pulled away from the attendant patrol cars. He glanced at the forward-mounted security camera as a side gate to Black’s swung into view. He knew, no matter what happened next, that it was going to be a blast.

The Cltymaster tore through the gate with a crash, immediately encountering a column of crushed cars. Without pause, Ronnie swung the beast to the right and began to charge down the narrow lane.

“Blue One, this is Leader. We are in the perimeter. Ronnie, give me ETA.”

ETA thirty seconds.”

Grissim glanced at the monitor. “You heard the man. Get a move on, Blue. You’re going to miss the excitement.” Grissim watched several cameras as the Cltymaster flew past the ancient walls of rust. His mental timer counted down the seconds as his adrenaline pumped wildly.

“Swope, take the water cannon. Hose them down good. We’ll sort it out back at the station.” Behind him, Grissim heard his assistant climb into the cupola, the glamour slot on the Cltymaster. Though he wouldn’t admit it, Grissim hoped the kid would do well. “Any grief, Swope, and hose them with lead.”

Ronnie’s chipped voice filled his headphone.

ETA in ten, nine, eight. All passengers prepare for Immediate Impact. five, four. Blue reports Initial contact. One. Impact!”

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A Small Windfall

Gemini walks quickly down street towards his warehouse on the edge of the Noose. Thankful to be out of the cab, he ignores the street kids and vagrants that hang around the old rail cars across the street. Gemini ducks in between the fence that surrounds the warehouse and a newly installed plascrete wall. The wall shields Gemini from view and allows him to access the warehouse parking lot through the side gate. Occasionally, Gemini finds a vagrant sleeping behind the wall to shield them from the wind, but the wall provides no real cover from the elements. Gemini touches a rather sophisticate maglock with his credstick; almost instantly, a loud, heavy clank resounds as the device unlocks. Gemini quickly walks across the abandoned parking lot to the warehouse and notices a distinct lack of security. Although the fence surrounding the warehouse is topped with razor wire, resourceful individuals could easily get into the parking lot. As he opens the door to warehouse, which is secured by an equally sophisticated maglock, Gemini resigns himself to getting a large dog to guard the warehouse.

Once inside Gemini walks past the still unconscious body of Nitro sprawled out on the couch. Two empty bottles lay on the floor; a third bottle, half full, lies nestled in the crook of the dwarf’s arm. The trideo is playing a re-run of Andrea McBain. As she hunts a notorious shadowrunner, her crew works furiously to prepare for the hit. Gemini wonders how criminals fail to notice this bounty hunter, her team, and crew of cameramen all converging on their location. Gemini gingerly swipes the bottle from Nitro’s care, takes a long pull, and then proceeds to the shower to get ready for the rest of day.

The shabby warehouse belies the opulence of the structure’s bathing room. The first upgrade Gemini added to the warehouse, the room looks like something that could be in corporate executives home. Marble floors, brass fixtures, and mahogany woodwork turn the restroom into an oasis in an otherwise drab squatter shack. Gemini admires his choice on how to spend his well-earned nuyen. As he dresses, Gemini wonders if Logan would like it, or think of it as a frivolous expenditure. Equipped with a new Armante Suit, Gemini replaces the bottle, now a quarter-full, back into the crook of Nitro’s arm. The dwarf snorts loudly hugging the bottle close. Gemini laughs and then leaves the dwarf to his nap.

Gemini drives his dilapidated Caliber to Vito’s garage, a chop shop located on the east side of the noose. Vito’s garage fronts as a garage and car wash for the mafia. Gemini’s eyes flip from the purple Gemini symbols to green sevens. As two ork goombas approach as Gemini makes his way to the main garage. Seeing the well-dressed decker exit the beat-up car, one of the orks laugh a nudges his buddy who shares in the mirth.

“Yous in the wrong neighbor pal.” The first ork, dressed in a synth leather long coat and gold tusk caps, puts on a stoic face. Gemini recalls his name as Lenny, but the two orks fail to recognize Gemini with his new make-over.

“I’m here to see Vito about fixing up my car.” Gemini pretends to be unimpressed by the orks bravado. This causes the second ork to puff up and crack his knuckles in an attempt to intimidate Gemini.

“Perhaps you didn’t hear us. You don’t belong here.” The second ork wears a synth-leather biker jacket emblazoned with a biker club logo that Gemini does not recognize. His hair is slicked back with some oily substance.

“Look fellas, I’m not here to get into it with anyone. Red-eye said Vito does good work and I have ten large to get this hunk of scrap metal in to something that I can show up in for the boss man.” Gemini did not know if it was Red-eye’s name or the ten thousand dollar price tag that convinces the orks, but Lenny whispers something to the other ork and turns to get Vito. A short time later, squat Italian with a bald head and tattoos down his arms comes out wiping the grease from his hands.

“Who da fuck are you? And why are you at my garage?” The Lilliputian tries to impress an air of authority on Gemini, but fails in the presentation.

“The name is Dylan, Dylan O’Callaghan, but people call me Seven. Listen Vito, I know you run this garage and you call the shots, but I got ten large if you can make this car look like new and put a title in my name. If you can’t do it, that’s fine, I’ll find someone else and let my boys know that you’re two busy to help out the family.” Gemini’s words sink in as Vito eyes the vehicle.

“You said Red-eye sent you. If you know Red-eye, then you know what happened to him, right?” Fishing for information to prove the legitimacy of Gemini’s claim, Vito walks over to look while secretly preparing his goons to rush Gemini.

“Yeah, he got into a tangle with the Eagle a couple weeks ago and the Razor’s Edge. What about it?” Gemini watches Vito as he walks around the car. The answer satisfied the wheel-smith and continues with the negotiations.

“I can do it for 15.”

“C’mon Vito, you’re killing me. I can buy a new one for that price. I’ll give you 11 gees.” Gemini knows that Vito desperately needs to control the transaction in front his men a presses the deal.

“Ya know, I like you, I’ve never had no beef with Red-eye so I’ll cut you a deal at twelve-five.” The diminutive man raised an eyebrow for Gemini to challenge the price and the two orks snicker at what will come if he does.

“Twelve five it is, but can you loan me car so I can get back my squat.”

“Get the fuck outta here, this ain’t no rental shop. You can pick the car up in a week. You tell your boys what a good job I did for ya and maybe we can do business in the future.”

“I’ll have the nuyen when I come to pick up the car.” Gemini turns and walks away as Vito frantically waves his hands for his guys to move the car into the back.

A short taxi later, Gemini walks into a branch of The First Caribbean League Bank of Calumet Heights in the Downtown Elevated. The small bank office, comprised of faux wood furniture and black granite counters, smells of lavender, lies nestled in the plethora of corporate businesses. An elf security guard eyes Gemini as he makes his way to the counter. The guard wears a Knight-Errant uniform and carries an HK-227 at the ready. The MAD devices give no indication that Gemini is carrying any sort of weapon and the guard appears relaxed but cautious. Another elf with dark chocolate skin recognizes Gemini’s clothing and moves to intercept him. Her thick mane-like hair has been straightened and she wears it down to her shoulders in the latest corporate style. Her well-made business suit exemplifies the current fashion for the corporate professional, but lacks any flair to be notable.

“Nature’s blessing on you sir. Welcome to The First Caribbean League Bank, how may I be of assistance today?” The elf’s words ooze with polite frivolities and her well practice smile actually puts Gemini at ease; he almost believes that the elf is sincere.

“I need to set up three escrow accounts for business endeavors I am conducting.”

“Excellent Sir, if you can step this way, I would be happy to assist you with that.” The elf was pleasant and cheerful, helping Gemini, under the guise of Dylan Ó Ceallachain, create the new escrow accounts. After a couple hours of Gemini departs from the bank with three crowsticks, each containing one-hundred grand in the escrow accounts.
Another quick ride and Gemini visits Logan’s cover business, the Brown coats Bail Bondsman Agency. Gemini waves at the receptionist; and then proceeds to Logan’s office. Leaving the three black crowsticks, Gemini scrawls a simple note addressed to Logan.

“A little cash for you, METL, and Fuze. More to come, but moving this amount of money requires discretion.”
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A Cold Sleepless night
Logan's Aftermath

Terror washes over Logan. "Fucking bugs!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! " he screams awakening from the recurring horror of his nightly dreams. He catches his breath, trying to regain composure from the nightmare.

“That last run was all sorts of wrong,” Logan says to himself “Fucking bugs, I can’t get them out of my mind.” “This wasn’t any normal run”, he thought to himself, “in fact is was the most fucked up run to date. The pay out was good, I gained a bit of Nyuen to further my goals, but was it really worth it? I lost some new friends and partners that last run. Fucking grenade. At least it was instant; hopefully he didn’t feel it. Our new hire was extremely creepy, but we didn’t expect him to last long. What was with him disappearing on us all the time? And Diesel! Fucking Diesel,” Logan feels a bit of anger rush through his veins! “The guy is a good razor, loyal to the crew, no doubts there. Why did he have to go get a cop killed?! I know he was protecting us when we had Euphoria, but no need to bring the heat on us."

Logan gets out of bed and stumbles towards the bathroom to take a piss. As he gets to the toilet, a loud crash echoes through the condo. “WTF!!!!!” Logan screams as he nearly jumps out of his skin. “Lights!” The condo is now illuminated, the dark pushed back to the corners. Another crackle booms through the condo and then the sounds of rain hitting the glass to the bedroom window.

Logan takes a deep breath, to calm his nerves. “I haven’t been the same since that run,” Logan thinks to himself. “We drop Euphoria and get one hell of a payout then parted ways to let the heat blow over. But that last part of the job was nothing short of extortion.”

“Euphoria is captured again, go get our Euphoria, or we will kill you,” Logan mocks out loud in a condescending tone. A bit of calmness comes over Logan, “At least that turned out a bit better. Mega media is off our backs, and we’ve added two more guys to the crew. These ones seem pretty professional so far. However, it’s all about business and not getting attached to these guys,” Logan thinks intently as he leans over and stares into the mirror. “I can’t get too attached to people in this line of work. Getting attached leaves bigger scars than my ruger.” People he has learned to care about are mostly gone. “It is just me and Gemini now and I thought I was going to lose Gemini at that fucked up cult place, but, man, Gemini has some moves. That abomination couldn’t lay a hand on him! The new guys did really well, too, but… Fuze got beat up pretty bad. METL came through as well. In fact, he saved our asses come crunch time. Real MVP there.”

Fear swells in Logan’s body and sweat starts to bead up on his forehead as an image of that bug burns into his mind and the sounds of that chitter. “And what the hell were those bugs! That Abomination! Those people all looked deformed, almost worse than the ghouls in the shattered graves.”

Logan shakes his head and starts heading back to bed, “Well the job is done. We can put this behind us, no more fucking bugs.” The wrist phone blinking catches Logan’s eye. “Voicemail from George Pakulski? I wonder what this is about?”

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A Call from and Old Friend

“I’m taking one of these.” Pakulski grabs a doughnut out off box on a beat cop’s desk. He did not know the rookie’s name, so he just winks as he bites into the glazed pastry. The taste of soy invades his mouth and Pakulski suppresses a gag and lets pushes the abomination out with his tongue, allowing to fall into the trash can. Pakulski slams the other half into the can and glares at the rookie. “Damn son, don’t bring that shit into the precinct. There are some things you shouldn’t buy soy.”

“yes sargeant!” petrified, the rookie tries his best to look busy on a report. Typing furiously on the keyboard, the rookie finds himself backspacing continuously. Pakulski, a vice detective in Chicago’s illegal BTL market, stands over the rookie and snickers at the cop’s unease. Pakulski is an imposing figure, standing six and a half feet tall. Taller than the average ork, Pakulski works out regularly so that his already large frames dwarfs even other orks. He wears his blonde hair cropped short, reminiscent of his time in the UCAS Marines. As he watches the screen, Pakulski frowns as he recognizes a name on the screen.

pakulski.jpg“What’s this rookie?” His voice sounds like a gravel rockslide. Grabbing a napkin, Pakulski tries to wipe the after taste out of his mouth. He points at a strange logo at the top of the report the rookie is looking at. The image reminds Pakulski of an upside-down sunrise.

“It’s a report that was sent in this morning. I am entering into the precinct’s database.” The rookie’s shaky voice belies his bravado. Unable to tell if the sergeant is mad at him, rookie risks a glance at Pakulski. Pakulski is completely engrossed in reading the screen. He pushes the rookie out of the way and commandeers his keyboard.

“I’ll take this rookie, I think it’s related to a case I’m working.” Pakulski emails the file to his own account and deletes it from the rookies computer. He smiles a toothy smile a clicks his tusks a couple times completely unnerving the rookie. “Remember rookie, real doughnuts next time.”

Pakulski walks quickly back to his desk and pays little head to those around him. A three hundred pound ork has a way of making people move out his way. Pakulski is completely surprised when one of those people fails to get out of his way. Another detective, human with short brown hair, turns and Pakulski swears leans into the shoulder hit. Only a few inches shorter than him, the human’s physique is impressive even to an ork. Pakulski face tightens into a scowl when he sees his assailant.

“Watch yourself Simica!” Pakulski tries to shove detective Simica away, but Simica is already backing away from the large ork.

“Sorry Paku, you should pay attention to where you’re going, you don’t want set one of these rookies up for a fall.” Pakulski knows that comment is jibe from when they first worked together. Simica’s smug smile causes Pakulski to take a step towards him, but realizes that would not look good to the captain.

Pakulski continues to his desk where he forwards the document before deleting it off his own system. He grabs his phone and makes a quick call, speaking in muted tones. “Hey Logan, I saw an interesting memorandum come into our system today. I managed to grab it before it got submitted into the database. I’m not sure who you pissed off, but they must be pretty well connected to get this kind of info.” Pakulski glares at Simica as he makes his way from the precinct’s bullpen.

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