Limit of Infinity: A Shadowrun RP (Game thread)

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A pinging in his ear woke Roberts up

Should probably of turned that off he thought groggily, then he remembered he was technically on a job and trudged into the kitchen. A quick glance at the clock showed 4:27am, he'd had about 2 hours sleep, more than enough. He quickly made a cup of coffee and sat down to read Niks message.

As he read a plan began to form, granted it wasn't the most complex of plans but it would probably work. Pose as the head of a failing business, catch Vougers eye, find a way to get alone with him, maybe through the car collection. He began to write his message:

Nik,

Here's what we do. We need to find what companies Vouger is working on, then we need to find when he's meeting one of them. Before the meeting we swap out their representative for me, I'm schmooze up to Vouger and find a way to get us alone. Knock the the head, we're done. Obviously we spend a few weeks tailing the guy so I can pick up his nature.

Sound good to you?

Sebastian had been spending the rest of the day preparing his arms, and loading up some hacking programs to his wrist computer. He had also been retuning the heads up display on his armour, as the focus had been off center on recent contracts. To assist the HUD, he had acquired a smart link, which would not only provide better picture clarity, but also allow seamless weapons integration.

"Master Sebastian!" Lupo called out, sounding like there was an emergency.

"What is the problem Lupo? Did the kitchen catch fire?" Sebastian asked with a sarcastic tone.

"No sir, it seems you have a direct video call. Point of origin, 4342'59.72"N 7920'26.47"W."

"It's her, alright patch her through."

"Who sir?" Lupo asked, sounding confused as to the person's identity.

"My Mentor."

"Oh, I understand sir. I shall leave you two alone. Patching call through." Lupo said, realising the significance of such a call. Her voice soon went quiet, as the image on the apartment's TV screen changed, to that of the Wings of Shadow emblem, it slowly spinning. It soon changed again, this time to a woman of around fifty years of age, her long grey hair rested past her shoulders.

"So, I guess its my time." He told himself, before he went back to work.

Jason Hill, NeoNET weapons trader, hit his mattress with a resounding thud. His day had been hell; hell in business casual. Between the huge IT nightmare that was NeoNET's recent acquisition, the weapons testing for the UCAS military, the new Executive Submersible project, and all the extra shipments to help increase NeoNET's current security, the man wanted nothing more then to get some sleep. So, in keeping with karmic justice: his comm-link rang.

Jason glared at his comm, thinking "I hate you". Believing it was someone from work, for apparently he was always on-call, he answered the phone. In his groggy voice he said "Hello?", ready for whatever task it happened to be

Roberts sent a message back in good time. Nik read through it quickly and nodded to himself. It seemed like a sound enough plan. As long as they worked out the finer details carefully enough it'd probably work, too. He responded as soon as he'd finished reading.

Sounds fine to me. One problem - how the hell do we find out these companies? Can hardly just walk up to him in that fancy restaurant and ask.

Nik looked out the window. He'd barely caught any sleep, same as most nights. He didn't have too many bad memories, but those he did kept him up. Well there was no point in going back to sleep, especially with this job Roberts had cooked up. He settled in his chair, switched on the trid and decided to watch the sun rise.

Jason Hill was a complete gentleman in his greetings, as always. Marlowe laughed, desperately covering his mouth so that poor ol' Jason wouldn't hear him. He felt sorry for him though, his co-workers must have him up all night, judging from that response. NeoNET must have been busy.

"Jason!" Charlie said, "Grab some coffee, I have a proposal for you. I think you'll like it."

Roberts glanced out the window at the slowly rising sun, his left ear bleeped

Sounds fine to me. One problem - how the hell do we find out these companies? Can hardly just walk up to him in that fancy restaurant and ask.

Hacking He sent back At the meeting tonight we can ask if anyone can get into their system, not sure about you but frankly computers aren't my strong point; I've got tec to deal with computer locks and such. I'm thinking Venaticus if he isnt busy, hes certainly the best suited for the job. I'm gonna spend today around town finding out what I can, with luck we wont need a hacker in the first place.

Venaticus had some time before his client would return. So, an early jump on the case seemed to be the correct move. The mortician was a young dwarf male, approximately five foot three and was good at what he did, but little else. He preserved the body and marked any lacerations, cuts or bruises found on the body. What they meant was unimportant to him, others handled that.

Venaticus didn't bother asking the elf's name as he had a record of who came in and from where. Not surprisingly, there were not that many elves in business suits being shot with sniper bullets. In fact, there was only one, a woman named Potraya Marote. Venaticus asked the front desk lady where he could find her, the lady was an elderly human who looked bored out of her mind, normally they would question him and ask for some identification but she was apathetic towards it all and just let him pass. She had pointed towards the west wing, which meant that the elf had only been killed within three days. The entire ward smelled of preserver and blood. Even though Venaticus was not an organic, he had been given sensors to sense air particles which made him able to appear more human. Inside the ward, there were names flashing above each doorway. Potraya showed up on the fifth to the right.

Potraya would have been pretty, but anything that would have gotten in the way, including her hair and clothes had been either cut off or removed. Her face was nigh unrecognizable aside from a singular eye which was hanging by a thread. The bullet was found inside the stone building and had been reconstructed next to her body. The shot was clean aside from the facial damage, her whole body was only spotted with the occasional bruise one would gain from a fall. Everything on her was pale, even for an elf and most organics would be unable to spend a second in the room with the blood buckets nearby. The bullet was a recognized model, a 678-35 60 caliber round. Brutally effective and causes a bit of a scene, allowing escape. This was a professional. The most important part however, was the back of the casing. Every rifle put the indentation slightly differently but were all consistent within each other. While organics are normally unable to detect these differences, even with a microscope unless the model was very special, Venaticus had a gift for this kind of analyzing. He took the measurements down to the exact nanometer and even then had a couple thousand decimals and began running that with his own database on rifles. Once he had his rifle, he would have his weapon. Which he could then back trace to all of the owners in the area. Of course, that would only be step one. He wanted both the killer and the person who most likely hired him. With such a professional shot, it was unlikely that someone went and did it themselves.

The Dwarf that ran the preservation part of the morgue was simply staring at the Latino analyzing a dead body. When he finally left, the Dwarf finally figured it out and yelled "Eh, Roberto! When you get done with this case, I have something for you to do for me!" Venaticus ignored him as always and went on with his own business.

"Grab some coffee, I have a proposal for you. I think you'll like it." Jason heard over the phone in the distinctive voice of Charlie Marlowe. Jason groaned, pulling himself up from the bed. He honestly didn't want to do anything. His body was stiff and his brain was fuzzy. dragging himself into his kitchenette, he plopped down into a chair. He considered the idea of making coffee but decided the effort required was too great and instead grabbed a soda from the fridge, reaching the door from his seat with only minimal effort.

"Alright Charlie, I'm listening. This better be good or I'm hanging up." he offered, throwing down his ultimatum. The only reason he was still talking was because the last time he had a late night discussion with the ex-lawyer, he'd ended up on a double date with a pair of girls so far above of his league he'd not come down for months.

"Alright Charlie, I'm listening. This better be good or I'm hanging up."

"Jason hasn't changed a bit" Marlowe thought.

The gauntlet had been thrown, and Marlowe was ready. He knew Mr. Hill's vices and could easy link the two together. However, in his tired state, Jason wasn't really up to a good time at the moment. Maybe through the miasma of tiredness, the fire in his loins still glowed, maybe. Just maybe. Then again, Charlie's life had been a succession of compromises and coups with clients whose minds crawling with either rage, sadness, or tiredness. He knew what to do.

"Hey Jay, ever done a Siamese pair?" Marlowe presented his offer, "Acrobatic and can get into positions you wouldn't believe. Here's the terms - same as before - I want info on what guns your security squad is currently carrying. Gun names, capabilities,the works. An old friend has seen the shipments coming though and he's interested in the contents. If you accept, I give you the two Siamese and more..."

Lindsey and Lisa had just become great assets. He checked his notepad, their numbers were there. A nice romantic dinner aught to do the trick, or something a little more scandalous. Charlie prayed that Jason's tiredness would play to his advantage.

He swirled his coffee and waited.

Hacking. At the meeting tonight we can ask if anyone can get into their system, not sure about you but frankly computers aren't my strong point; I've got tec to deal with computer locks and such. I'm thinking Venaticus if he isnt busy, hes certainly the best suited for the job. I'm gonna spend today around town finding out what I can, with luck we wont need a hacker in the first place.

Hmm.
Made sense, Nik supposed. He couldn't really think of what he could do to further this whole thing though.
He replied.

Okay. If you got any suggestions on how I can help, don't be afraid to suggest them.

By now the alcohol had wound down in his head and he was sobering up. This wasn't really a problem, if anything it helped with the headache. It looked like it was going to be a regular Seattle day. Maybe he should check with Kodiak about the hacking stuff. Nik decided he'd consider it, and set about fixing a breakfast.

Jason laughed as the offer was made. He had the best end of the deal by far. All the weapon security was using was hardly confidential information, and the chance to score with a pair-o-girls...well, when else would he get a chance like that?

Jason activated his comm-link, calling the information he needed up. It was then that he realized the problem "Shit... that's right, we just brought on all that extra muscle to flesh out the security." Jason sat there, pretending to struggle with finding the information so as not to discourage his contact. Finally he made up his mind. "Well, I know most of the extra, hopefully he won't notice the rest" he thought then began giving him the data.

"Lets see here... Okay, well It looks like the Sec office just flipped over to those new NN-1240's - you know, the new model heavy pistols? Anyway, they are semi-auto, with a lot of power and a 12 shot clip, but they're a First-gen model, so the accuracy is shit. NeoNET also switched over to the M3-63's last year - they were having problems with hacking attacks on their guns, so they switched to Ares's more durable automatic. They have a smaller clip and lower power then the SK version we used to use, but I'll be damned if you can manage to break one of those guns. The longer ranged Sec's are still using the M-121 Barrett's" he said, giving an overview of the weapons.

"In terms of mods, they all used the standard Smart-links, while the auto-rifles also use Gyro-stabilizers and the snipers are using collapsible bipods. All are sticking to Standard rounds as far as I know, though I suppose some follow NeoNETS "BYOA" (Bring your own ammo) policy, so no telling on that." Jason said, finishing his talk of mods.

"The officers them selves have some basic augments - nothing more dangerous then a Wired Reflexes mod or two and some cyber eyes. The Snipers though, they tend to have full-body augs - ex-military as they are. In addition, most stick to NeoNET's standard light military grade armor." Jason continued, thinking about the good time he was going to have for this info.

"That's what I know when it comes to Sec. I'm not a magic guy so I couldn't begin to guess at what the mages have - I see a book, they see a rocket launcher." e said off handedly. That was most of the info he had, only two more bits left.

"The cyber-sec guys have been using the new H2-hover-drones for their local nodes, but they still stick to their server rooms - they hate being anywhere near the front line." he offered. Truth was, he didn't know much about NeoNET's computer sec, but he had to pretend he did - he worked for a bloody computer company after all. Still, he knew the info was accurate, just not what it really meant.

"One last thing; you may want to tell your friend to wait a few weeks to grab a shipment - NeoNET brought on a bunch of extra security after some buyout up at Novatech. They even brought on a handful of Ex-Military and Lonestar Mercs as well as some freelance hackers to help out with the extra demand." he said, finishing his talk. Truth was, he didn't know how many had been brought on at all; all he knew was some ex-Lonestar jerk who thought himself a cowboy was making his life hell when it came to getting in to work.

The promise of candy was working. Marlowe smiled as he watched the letters danced across the screen. Voice recognition software had truly come a long way. Charlie knew Hill saw this as an free lunch of sorts, however, he didn't know there is such a thing as a free lunch.

"Time to try and squeeze a little more honey outta you, busy bee."

This was negotiation. Knowing when to put the contact under pressure or have a light touch, knowing how to either rile or depress the contact to your advantage, knowing their vices and virtues. And most important of all - how to exploit all of these.

Marlowe's voice went from a tone of friendly banter to a friendly warning, "That's nice, Jay. Real nice."

Charlie leaned on the table, swirling the spoon in his coffee. He took a spit and screw his face in disgus - it had gone cold. He sighed, then waited for Jason to stop babbling about how he going to spent his time with the Siamese pair.

He then continued, "Anything else you're not telling me? Word is NeoNET has been busy lately. And my friend has watched the influx of muscle come through and all the rest. He's interested, real interested and he wants to know it all. Every single bit. You know, you could end up with only having the one Siamese to go to town on. And believe me, those two are better together. Your choice."

Jason unconsciously scratched his head. "Was there anything else? I think I mentioned everything... damn it, I want the set! Jason stayed quiet for a while, thinking the information over in his head, scraping the bottom of the barrel for anything else he might have heard.

Their Names! he thought as the caffeine in the soda finally hit his brain. "Honestly, that's about all I've heard. I caught two of the aliases of the free lancers, maybe you can find out about them from there. How about this. You give me the names and numbers of some twins and set up the encounter, and I'll tell you the names I overheard yesterday." he said, the caffeine finally restoring his mental capacity. "Seeing as how I've been the one talking for the last half hour, you go first."

Charlie noted the change in Jason's voice. If he had drunk coffee, the caffeine was finally kicking in. Marlowe had to close this deal, fast. Aliases were a long shot but with enough promises and enough contacts he would find out how they are. Oh yes.

A deal was a deal. Mr. Hill would have his bones rocked by a duo of magnitude 8 earthquakes in the near future. Charlie didn't think that Jason's pelvis could take the shock.

He looked down at the notepad, at the names and at the numbers. Marlowe had already made the arrangements in advance - a reservation at Maximillion's. It was originally for himself, but to be honest, when Mr. Marlowe was on a 'run he was focused on the 'run. Not some of that. He quickly messaged Lindsey and Lisa that he wouldn't be able to make it and that there was a rather well off gentlemen going to the appointment in his stead.

But Charlie couldn't take that harsh tone out of his voice yet.

"By all means. However, if you hang up now the deal is completely, utterly off." Marlowe said, "Lindsey and Lisa are quite a pair, but with these digits easy to acquire."

Moving his hand from the spoon to the screen Charlie slowly typed out their numbers and sent them over to Jason.

"You should have received their numbers now. As I said, quite a pair." Charlie continued.

His hand then settled back on the spoon again. Back to the rhythm of stirring his coffee, now gone cold.

"Now, tell all."

Marlowe waited for Jason's reply.

"Now, tell all."

A deal was a deal. "Alright. I mentioned the one that thought he was a cowboy right? Well, I heard him having a conversation on my way in the other day with a guy named "Maleficent"; seemed like he was working the tech side of security for the main Novatech compound. I heard him call the other guy, the one dressed like a cowboy, "Luckshot." Finally, I heard them mention they had two other people working another building... some data archive, didn't catch the name though - of the other two or the data safe." Jason finished, emptying his memory of useful information. "Now if you don't mind Chuck, I have some sleep to catch up on... this day has been hell."

"Now if you don't mind Chuck, I have some sleep to catch up on... this day has been hell."

'Chuck' chuckled, "I can imagine. Cowboys and you don't mix. Don't forget Maximillion's, at 8.30PM. The twins will be waiting for you at the entrance. Goodnight, have fun."

Marlowe ended the call and stretched his arms. Even he was struggling to keep his eyes open at this time of night. However, when times called for stamina, he hadn't failed to keep going in a while. Nevertheless, he needed to sleep and Charlie wasn't looking forward to be running on caffeine, tomorrow. Time to get it over with and type this information up. Marlowe's fingers slowly slid over the keyboard projected into his coffee table, eyes pinned on the end result. Charlie was a perfectionist when it came to formatting, a leftover from his lawyer days. To him, presenting evidence had to be in a way concise and understandable. After all, the jury had to understand it, and the jury could consist of anyone; from the corporate executive in his skyscraper office to the junkie down the road.

Satisfied with the result, he sent off the document to the group using Dvorak's little program, the message would be totally unreadable as it made its way through the Matrix due to its encryption. Charlie liked to protect his information, experience taught him to be careful about these things. The beauty of the little program though, was in the fact that the message would only be unencrypted when opened by the normal means. Open to exploitation there, but as least the program prevented remote hacking.

"Dvorak." Marlowe thought, "I'll have to give you a little 'greeting' sometime soon."

That was it for tonight. Now was sleepy-time, even though Charlie would get about less than 4 hours of sleep or so. He changed into his silk pajamas and carefully folded his suit and put that away in his small, space-efficient wardrobe. A thought entered his head to message Jason again, a little step needed in the dance but he decided to bother Jason in the morning. He hoped that little message wouldn't ruin Mr. Hill's morning when he read it...

Chapter 2: The Dragon's Lair

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Three days later:

Time had passed in a flurry of motion for a number of the loose confederation of runners. Some trained, others called contacts, yet other scouted, and a few rested; all occurring before the appointed day arrived - the run meeting in the ancient bar.

The Dragon's Lair was a dive bar by any standard - filled with the lowest sort of people imaginable. There, villains of every make and model save the most "incorporated" of them, met and discussed deals not meant for the light of day. The dive itself was built around the bar: a semi-circular block of plasti-steel, colored and textured to appear as though a wooden bar of old. Behind the bar were dozens of bottles, each filled with a different drink for a different taste, and fed unendingly to feed the thirst of their particular clientele. Around the bar, were a number of booths and tables, all arranged to follow the invisible, expanded lines of the bar, creating a sort of concentric circular pattern when viewed from above. Ar screens dotted the walls, displaying games of every sport from baseball and golf to urban brawl and combat biking - whatever the viewer desired. The walls were decorated in faux-gold and jewels to keep "on theme" with the name of the unsightly dive. A single, massive, dragon head sculpture hung above the bar, it's eyes seemingly alive in a way that could only be described as unsettling.

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For all it's problems, the building was secure - a pair of Troll bouncers and a reputation for violence saw to that, leaving only the strong, the smart and, most importantly, the discrete criminals with any desire to stay within the building proper. A number of large tables, each made of the same false-wood as the bar, had been placed together to fit the needs of a large party - the work of Wulf no doubt - and placed in a lonely corner where no one with any sense would travel uninvited.

The room was mostly empty, again most likely thanks to the former Ancient. The sole occupants were a pair of brutish bartenders, each of such dimensions as to double as bouncers if needed. A handful of random people sat about the bar - each looking as though they were there for one reason - excess security; the Ancients never took strange runners in their bars at their word - former leader among them or not. Only a single man, mildly buzzed, and dressed in an unbuttoned three piece suit, a bag of books beside him, sat in the bar. As the first of the group of scummy, villainous, runners entered, the bartenders kicked the poor man from the bar with resounding speed, but not before the man caught a quick glance at the first of the group to arrive.

As the group arrived, by themselves or in pairs, they were directed tot he long table by one of the trolls to await the others.

Finwe left the sewer as a broken man. His friend was probably dead in the best case captured and it was all his fault.
In anger Finwe hit the wall with all his might hurting his fist. Realizing that this wouldn't help his friend much.
He quickly healed the small wound then drove off to the meeting.
Those assholes just made this personal they shouldn't have done that. This was the last mistake they ever made.

Finwe cleaned himself up before entering.
Wouldn't want them to smell where I have just been. The sewer isn't such a great place.
Looking in the back he saw his new armor lying in a secure vault he had custom made.
He turned on the security and then activated a few traps that weren't hackable.
Thinking back to the hacker which had broken into his car only to have his throat slit open by one of his many traps.
That was allot of work to clean up. However I could sell his augmentations. So I didn't mind much.

Getting out of the car he looked at his watch.
20 minutes to go as usual. At least I haven't lost my touch.
Finwe regained his normal attitude not wanting to let anybody notice what he had just been through.
Should I tell my new colleagues? Well I will see what I am going to do as soon as I enter.

Walking over to the trolls he asked if he was allowed inside.
After confirming who he was he was let inside. Walking into the main hall he saw the table.
Maybe Wulf has some talent as a leader after all.
Finwe walked to the bathroom cleaning himself one more time to be sure.

He walked over to the table 12 minutes before the meeting was scheduled.
He sat down then looked around for Sebastian. Knowing he could at least trust him with this Intel.
He waited for his friend to arrive.

Venaticus had used the last few days gathering information and he had a lot now. Triads were being arrested in a slow but steady stream via anonymous tips and hints. On top of that, he had made serious progress on the second elf case. In fact, this morning he had captured and arrested the guy who had hired the assassin. The information he had gathered from him was exactly what he needed. People tend to talk more when their other option is a torture chamber marshaled by NeoNET security.

Funny, even though I branched away from them and spent so much time planning and executing an escape, I still work with them all the time. Life is ironic that way.

The hit was ordered by some short chubby guy with an elf fetish, bald head and overall a pretty pathetic human who was preparing a suicide for a few days. Possibly some strange ritual found on the matrix but he told Venaticus that he made the assassination out of love, though in reality it was probably lust. Either way, the man was now in jail and he had the assassination order too. A large organization known as the Wings. Now Venaticus had to either find the leader, or the assassin and arrest him or her. He had already received an agreed upon payment of four thousand for finding the guy. Which while it was enough for the husband, was not enough for Venaticus.

The Dragon's Lair was in Venaticus's window. It was something Venaticus had been to as well, to arrest people granted, but he had still known the surroundings. Venaticus had arrived just as time, the wheels of his car seeming to protest even entering the area. Once he had stepped out, he ordered the car away.

First time I left it here, the wheels ended up missing. Not having that happen again, though this does raise the question as to who Wulf keeps in his company.

When Venaticus entered, he saw Finwe sitting alone. Better late to make acquaintances than never. He sat down near him and said "Hello there, I don't think we ever bothered to talk."

Finwe saw another one of the shadow runners group enter. Using his astral perception revealed something very interesting.
"Hello there, I don't think we ever bothered to talk."
Might as well act friendly we are on the same team so why not act nice.
"Indeed we have never talked before. My name is Finwe how about you Robot?"
Finwe added at the end of his sentence as a whisper. Finwe looked interested having never met such a robot before.
He couldn't help but get excited at the thought of learning something new. As well as being more on his guard.

Roberts strolled calmly into the bar, He'd been here once before with his Master, the owners still hadn't removed the cameras in the Dragons eyes. Thankfully their table seemed to be out of sight of the ever watching Smaug and as far as he knew the Cameras only purpose was to watch not listen.

The table was empty aside from that AI and the Elf he'd pissed off last time
What a fun bunch he thought before walking up to the table, as he before he sat down he passed the bar and ordered shot of Golden-Lemon, if he was stuck with these two for a awhile he was better of drunk. He grabbed his drink, walked over and took a seat; close enough for conversation, far enough so they couldn't hit him.

"Evening gentlemen" He said

After sorting out the situation involving his mentor, he double checked his equipment, and looked over his computer programs, seeing that it was all in order, Sebastian felt more relaxed. And, thanks to Drebin, the team would get access to some better equipment and weapons, which would make the overall job easier. He finally got round to talking to some contacts who worked for NeoNet, hoping they might be able to provide some sort of access. Sebastian used his mobile to call the center, making sure to make his call untraceable.

"Whew, glad that has been mostly sorted. Think I'll just relax for a bit." Sebastian remarked, as he flopped out on the couch.

Three Days Later - Half Hour Before The Meeting

Sebastian loaded up his gear into his bike, wearing his standard attire, and then set off for the Dragon's Lair.

Sometime Later

He arrived at the establishment that the group agreed on, the Dragon's Lair. Its overall appearance, would make most people simply turn away. From what he could see, the eyes of the dragon, had security cameras installed in them.

Interesting. Let's hope I don't suddenly see any flashing arrows, telling me in which direction to go. Sebastian thought to himself, thinking that line had some significance. He checked his phone, and noticed that he had arrived ten minutes early. He walked in and saw that Finwe, Roberts, and the Detective had already arrived. After ordering a water, he decided to join them.

"Hello gentlemen." He said as he sat down at the long table before him.

Contrary to his plans, Charlie ended waking up in the late afternoon. His dreams were of a giant Jason Hill trying to crush him and wrenches being thrown at him, just leftover feelings after sending that message yesterday afternoon and of regret of not contacting Nolan after Charlie give him a bed to sleep on. Marlowe could almost hear Jason groan as he sent it. However, one thing was certain: Jason would be making a very different noise once those twins laid their hands on him. Charlie had found time in the afternoon to spent some quality time with Sami, albeit with bouts of shouting and acquisitions. Nevertheless, for a woman suffering from paranoia and was certainly hysterical, Charlie found that his stamina hadn't been tarnished by the all-night negations with Jason. Plus, Sami hadn't lost her spark. He took care not to wake her up as he slid out of the bed. Surprisingly, for a face that did so much shouting and screaming, it looked so gentle. Sami was sound asleep. Not surprising after what they got up to last night.

Marlowe stroked the face and whispered in her ear, "I'll be going now. See you soon."

Charlie went on to perform all his morning rituals such as brushing his teeth, washing his face, showering. Now only one remained: choosing his clothes. Marlowe opted for a pale salmon shirt with matching handkerchief and tie. This was a time for a stylish tie, not a silly one like last time, after all. Also, the slick silk tie was a gift from Sami - as per the custom - and when she awoke, Sami would see the tie missing from the huge tie rack which dominated Charlie's room and simile. It was a small gesture but a thoughtful one. Marlowe then chose a light navy suit, with matching trousers and fedora. He was a man who took pride in his look, even the sash around his hat was the same colour as his shirt. His shoes were an exception to that clause; always the same, highly polished boots. He tucked the handkerchief into the pocket of his suit, gathered his things and left.

Seattle was a city of many things; rain and megacorps, for instance. Seattle was also a city full of taxis. Charlie hailed one and asked the driver to take him to The Dragon's Lair. Marlowe thought the group and this whole thing was more of a nest of snakes. One look at this place and his opinion of Wulf pummelled. The trolls becked him in.

"You're wanted come with us." They boomed as they 'gently' escorted him to the large, false-wood table. In the chaos, Charlie got a glimpse of the dragon's eyes and the eyes stared back. He hoped that would be the only dragon there this evening.

"Hey!" Marlowe grumbled, "Mind the suit!"

When they were done, Charlie took a seat and tipped his hat.

"Hello and good evening." He said.

"Indeed we have never talked before. My name is Finwe how about you Robot?"

"Well elf, seeing as how we are using those terms. You can call me Rodrigo. Someone was busy looking in to the astral plane I see."

Venaticus was a little surprised Finwe had figured out that he was an AI, but it mattered little. Worst case he picks a new identity and becomes a detective elsewhere. Venaticus noticed Sebastian sit down and remembered in particular that Sebastian said he was an assassin. Information on the Wings would be useful.

"Sebastian, welcome. I understand you are an assassin and could use some assistance, which organization are you from again?"

"Well elf, seeing as how we are using those terms. You can call me Rodrigo. Someone was busy looking in to the astral plane I see."
"I didn't mean it as an insult or a warning Rodrigo. Only as a sign I know what you are. And yes I look into the astral planes allot."
Finwe says to Rodrigo looking at him interested.

More and more people seemed to join and sit down at the table. Robert greeted him and Rodrigo but Finwe ignored him.
Not wanting to have another fight. Especially not when he still was this angry.

Sebastian finally entered the hall and sat down. Finwe seemed happy to see him again.
Wanting to share his info with him as soon as possible.
"Hello gentlemen."
"Hello Sebastian. So how have you been?"
Finwe asked thinking of a way to show his information in more private way.
Anything with an computer link was a no go maybe they were watching him.

And the well dressed human also approached greeting them.
Must be a face. Or something like that.
"Hello and good evening." "Good evening."
Finwe said to the man then focusing his attention back to Sebastian.

"Sebastian, welcome. I understand you are an assassin and could use some assistance, which organization are you from again?"
He isn't really going to answer that is he?

"Hello Sebastian. So how have you been?" Finwe asked as Sebastian sat down.

"I'm well enough. Managed to get some weapons available, curtsey of Drebin, along with potentially those communications device that someone was talking about the other day. Some information regarding the compound, but I'll let those assigned to that task speak first on the matter. That and some modifications to my armour, along with some personal issues regarding some friends back in Toronto." Sebastian remarked, recounting his exploits to Finwe since he left the apartment. It was then that the sharply dressed man known as Charlie turned up.

"Hello and good evening."

"Hello to you too Mr. Marlowe." It was then that the detective asked him something.

"Sebastian, welcome. I understand you are an assassin and could use some assistance, which organization are you from again?"

"Unfortunately Detective-" Sebastian began to say as his water arrived, taking a sip before he continued.

"-,certain rules within my order, prevent me from disclosing information like that. After all, we have a level of secrecy to uphold. But, I can tell you this, you won't find them here, they have not stretched their wings in this direction, at least, not right now. Why do you ask?" Sebastian responded with a question of his own, taking another sip of water afterwards.

"I'm well enough. Managed to get some weapons available, curtsey of Drebin, along with potentially those communications device that someone was talking about the other day. Some information regarding the compound, but I'll let those assigned to that task speak first on the matter. That and some modifications to my armour, along with some personal issues regarding some friends back in Toronto."

"Sounds like you have had an interesting few days.
What kind of deal did you make with Drebin?
So what kind of modifications have you added to your armor?"
Finwe started asking questions as usual. His mood lightened up realizing. He can't do much until they eventually go.
So he might as well enjoy the time he gets to spend with his friend. If i get a change to talk to Sebastian in private. I am going to ask him about the personal issues however discussing them out there doesn't sound like an good idea.

"Unfortunately Detective -" Sebastian took a sip of water.
"-certain rules within my order, prevent me from disclosing information like that. After all, we have a level of secrecy to uphold. But, I can tell you this, you won't find them here, they have not stretched their wings in this direction, at least, not right now. Why do you ask?"
Detective huh? Well in that case I am not going to tell him more about myself. I might not be on the police radar right now.
And I want to keep it that way so no more unneeded attention for me.

"Good evening."

"Hello to you too Mr. Marlowe."

At least two 'hellos' and not even a punch-out, part of Marlowe was disappointed. Then again, that pair of trolls would make sure that if anything like that would occur, it would be shut down fairly quickly. There were stories about those trolls, after all. Charlie nodded and acknowledgements the greetings, waiting for them to take their turn in this conversation. The one he assumed was Sebastian starting answering an unheard question.

"Unfortunately Detective -" Sebastian took a sip of water. "-certain rules within my order, prevent me from disclosing information like that. After all, we have a level of secrecy to uphold. But, I can tell you this, you won't find them here, they have not stretched their wings in this direction, at least, not right now. Why do you ask?"

Charlie was always on edge around assassins and generally regarded them with a wide berth. Being the target of a few (thankfully.) unsuccessful hits disenchanted you with the whole 'mystic assassin' ideal, as far as he was concerned, an assassin was just a murderer-for-hire. Rodrigo hadn't returned his greeting and looked slightly troubled about something, however Marlowe was sure he would be on his side. He posed a question to the small group,

"You all have received my message regarding NeoNET's security, I hope?"

Wulf had arrived earlier than Lone Star and the others had agreed upon and had been getting his fill at the bar, albeit no alcohol this night. Jamen had gotten very good information from his days watching the compound, and even his rough-up had told him alot about the ones in charge there. They were a bit slow, but they needed to get this job done in the next four days, so there wasn't alot of room for error here. He'd gotten a few tables set together and reserved for the group, but hadn't joined them yet, his instincts still not trusting them enough to sit down at a table for twelve. He picked his drink up and arrived at the group when a few of them had shown up and began talking.

"I'm well enough. Managed to get some weapons available, curtsey of Drebin, along with potentially those communications device that someone was talking about the other day. Some information regarding the compound, but I'll let those assigned to that task speak first on the matter. That and some modifications to my armour, along with some personal issues regarding some friends back in Toronto."

"Well, that's good, because I've gotten some pretty good info on our building's guard schedule. When everyone gets here, I'll tell." He said as he sat down in one of the chairs, across from Rodriguez the AI.

"You all have received my message regarding NeoNET's security, I hope?"

Roberts took his shot and began talking to the man, from the looks of it he was a face; that would explain how he'd got so much information. Faces were a nightmare in Roberts eyes; the kind of ex-lawyer who smiled as he stabbed you, this guy looked like he'd been in the job long enough to gain that trait.

"Yeh I did, seems like standard stuff but do you any more info on the drones?"

As he spoke the shot kicked in, the insides of his mouth tingled satisfyingly

"I'm going in disguised so I need to know if they can detect augmentations and such"

Another group he was nervous about and around was the guys with the augs. One minute they were smiling at you and in another, they were stabbing with the augmented teeth. Charlie didn't really see the whole point of augmentation; sure, you get to see the time in the corner of your eye with help of an implant in the optic nerve, but most ended up as simple muscle when the orks were deemed too uncouth. Looking back, he was lucky to be recruited into this mess by Ms. Tanaka and her dress, rather than Mr. Roboto Tanaka.

"Yeh I did, seems like standard stuff but do you any more info on the drones?" Roberts said, as he enjoyed his shot, "I'm going in disguised so I need to know if they can detect augmentations and such."

Ouch, hard question. Marlowe tried to answer as best he can with excuses and deflection.

"The only other things I know is that those drones hate being on the front lines. Shame the guy I contacted only works in Wep-Sec and dabbles in the others." Charlie replied, "Anyway, with any information we have, I think we should all message each other with it. No secret little deals, that would compromise the team."

"I didn't mean it as an insult or a warning Rodrigo. Only as a sign I know what you are. And yes I look into the astral planes allot."

The more people that knew who he was, the worse off he was, but Finwe seemed friendly enough. "I don't particularly mind, as long as you don't go off telling on me."

"You all have received my message regarding NeoNET's security, I hope?"

"I did indeed." Venaticus said turning to Marlowe. "I won't ask how you got it but it is helpful." NeoNET had not advanced much in terms of security in the past two years. Venaticus had actually compared the two reports earlier and they were remarkably similar. Only varying slightly in terms of load out.

"-,certain rules within my order, prevent me from disclosing information like that. After all, we have a level of secrecy to uphold. But, I can tell you this, you won't find them here, they have not stretched their wings in this direction, at least, not right now. Why do you ask?"

Venaticus was now staring directly at Sebastian, making a small smile. Not out of reflex but he was trying to set Sebastian off a bit, easier to get info that way. "No real reason, I just was hoping you would be from some place that has a vendetta against The Wings is all. You wouldn't happen to have something against them would you?"

Edge woke up late in the afternoon after a deep slumber, checking the clock on his bedside table he saw that today was the day that he was to meet the rest of the group of runners in the Dragon's Lair.

Oh joy, meeting up with those freaks again. Oh joy. Furball better behave himself...

He got up from his bed, looking as bedraggled as ever, his hair and personal hygiene sorely in need of some attention. He meandered over to the kitchen and poured himself a bowl of some kid's brand of cereal, whatever it was it had marshmallows. He opened a can of food and emptied the contents into Honey's bowl, hoping that would tide her over for the rest of the night, as he probably wouldn't be back anytime soon. Edge had a shower, brushed his teeth, styled his hair, and had a glass of bourbon. He pondered to himself whether this job would be the one that finally rose him above the cesspool of mediocrity he currently found himself stuck in.

He had spent the last couple of days generally lounging about, keeping to himself. He had never been the type that prepared intensely for a job, plotting meticulously. He preferred to sit in the background and let things happen for themselves, without need for intervention.
He had done some things however, paying a visit to Merchant to ensure he was fully stocked on his supply of throwing knives, replacing those he had lost in the fight against that elf, as well as ensuring that those Nurikens he bought off him weren't faulty, Merchant wasn't above ripping anybody off regardless of who it was. He had also managed to haggle a decent price for a set of Narcoject Darts, no pistol mind you, just the darts.
Satisfied that he was fully armed and dangerous, Edge had set about practising his parkour, just to check that he wasn't rusty, there was no way he was going to get caught if things all went sour, and there was no way he was going to slip up. He was going to get those Nuyen no matter what.

Shit... gonna be late again he thought as he caught the ledge of an Chinese restaurant.

Edge slid down a ladder from a building adjacent, getting his hands covered in a mixture of rust and grime, lucky not to graze himself. Lucky, because if he got tetanus he didn't exactly have health care, being without a SIN, there was no legitimate establishment that was going to accept his possibly bullet-ridden ass, he had to be more careful in the future. But then again, there was always a couple of back alley doctors that he could rely on, they weren't particularly shady, they had just been disgraced from their jobs and couldn't be re-employed.

He entered the Dragon's Lair, walking straight past the Troll bouncers that were at the door without even an ounce of hesitation, they were here for a reason, whoever was behind the scenes knew they were obviously going to be packing a lot of heat, there was no need to frisk them.
The bar itself was a seedy hole, the kind that housed general lowlifes looking for a faux asian excursion, filled with copious amounts of tacky gems and motifs to reinforce the cliche theme.
Once in, one particularly nasty looking troll with a large nose ring directed him to a long table where some of the others were already sat, already busy exchanging pleasantries. He ignored the immediate gesture, instead choosing to take the time to clean up his hands, before wandering over to the table.

"You all have received my message regarding NeoNET's security, I hope?"

"I'm well enough. Managed to get some weapons available, curtsey of Drebin, along with potentially those communications device that someone was talking about the other day. Some information regarding the compound, but I'll let those assigned to that task speak first on the matter. That and some modifications to my armour, along with some personal issues regarding some friends back in Toronto."

"Well, that's good, because I've gotten some pretty good info on our building's guard schedule. When everyone gets here, I'll tell.

"Well this is a lovely way to spend an evening isn't it?" Edge said as he took a seat the seat at the right of Wulf, before putting his feet up on the table and sticking a stick of gum into his mouth.

"Everything I've heard so far sounds good, don't let me interrupt you."

Taking out a balisong from his waist, he began to clean his fingernails with the blade, there was once again no point to making no effort to conceal his weapons, they all knew each other. And plus, that dirt was still stuck under there.
He looked across the table at the man sat across from him, he was the one who had complimented him at the Club Raven on his use of parkour, Sebastian. People seemed to be talking about him being some kind of assassin, some cultist, pseudo-religious order no doubt. Oh well, might as well try to make some friends.

"Hello, I remember you, the assassin guy right? I never had much of a chance to introduce myself properly last time before I was rudely interrupted..."

He motioned with his eyes to indicate that he was talking about Wulf, making sure he spoke loud and clear enough so that the elf could hear.

"Anyway, as I said before, the name's Edge, I look forward to working with you"

He took his legs down from the table and leaned forward to extend his empty hand across the woodwork, still holding onto his knife in the other out of habit.

Charlie was drumming his fingers on the table, waiting for the assembled members of the group to reply to his little proposal. His mind was clearly on something else, however he caught this little snippet of conversion between Rodrigo and Finwe;

"-as long as you don't go off telling on me."

Interesting. So the Latino had something to hide and wouldn't be pleased about it if the group got a hold of it. Whether he was a rampant homosexual or a one of those person with a really weird fetish for Trolls, or a disgruntled 49er who got mad at the Triads for some reason or other, quit the organisation and swore revenge didn't particular matter to him. It took all types to make a world, especially a world like this one. Marlowe only cared if you were with him or against him, his optimistic naivety had been knocked out of him during the rigors of law school. Rodrigo spoke again, only this time directly addressing Charlie.

"I did indeed." Venaticus said turning to Marlowe. "I won't ask how you got it but it is helpful."

Charlie wasted no time in replying, "Thanks, just say I know what people want and can give it to them, for a price. My deal with you, for instance... Oh, did it go well? I warn you, whatever the reasons for going after the Triads, you're stepping on a lot of toes. I hope you can deal with that."

Some kid with a dirty blonde faux-hawk entered the scene, his whole look just screamed 'gang kid who tries to be tough.' If Charlie recalled correctly this was the guy who tried to hit on Ms. Tanaka with limited success. He simply nodded and tipped his fedora when he heard the kid's greeting. Marlowe was only interested in finding out who 'Luckshot' and 'Maleficent' were. The bounty hunter and the ex-Lonestar officer might know and they hadn't arrived yet, so Marlowe just lay back and waited for the others to say their piece.

"Cute scar, kid." He thought, "But will you still be popping gum when a NN-1240 is pressed against your skull?"

"Thanks, just say I know what people want and can give it to them, for a price. My deal with you, for instance... Oh, did it go well? I warn you, whatever the reasons for going after the Triads, you're stepping on a lot of toes. I hope you can deal with that."

Venaticus motioned for Marlowe to go off to the side with him, after the two went away from the prying eyes of others, Venaticus whispered "Indeed it did. I got everything I needed and I have the rest of your cut here." Venaticus whipped out two thousand five hundred nuyen and slipped it to Charlie discreetly. "I suppose there is no reason to hide my intentions now. I plan to systematically destroy them. I always enjoy projects and they will find me difficult to find under the best circumstances. In fact, I am sure you heard of the recent string of arrests, five today, three yesterday. Tomorrow it should be about ten. Taking them down is a simple mix of compiling all the Triad related crimes, putting together evidence gathered from the scenes and running that through the database of every single Triad I have. They have left so much for me to work with that honestly, they set themselves up to be destroyed.

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