Limit of Infinity: A Shadowrun RP (Game thread)

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Venaticus returned Robert's look. It would be impossible for him to even let Roberts touch any of the equiptment. Besides, Venaticus only cared about deleting his files. To him, everything else was secondary.

"I looked at your Vougner guy, he has access to Kilmer as well apparently. We still need an experienced hacker for the Kilmer job, which promises to require just as much expertiese. That is why I think you could fill the role in that area. On top of that, since Vougner was involved in the aquisition of Kilmer, he would almost certainly have information as to where Shelly is. While he won't have his own computer there, his login will still work on any executive's computer. A safeguard instilled by NeoNET in case any of their acquisitions go against them. It will open up any and all of the files there to you. You can have fun destroying all the files after you get the information about our target."

With Nik finishing, Venaticus now had a way in as well. "Good, we still need someone to take down Kilmer's barriers, but as for the HQ, we only need muscle now."

"If anyone feels we need specific weapons, just tell me now, and I can put the call in. And finally, was it you Wulf that mentioned about some military grade communicators? In any case, I was able to acquire them as well."

"Fantastic," Clay said from the corner of the room as he leant up against the wall. "Saves me from havin' to worry about a dropped call. As for weapons, I got a request, shouldn't be difficult to get ahold of, not for some top-notch arms dealer at any rate. I've always wanted me a pair of Tarus Hushpuppies. If he can get them, make sure he throws in a few boxes of .40 mercury-filled rounds and another few boxes with armor-piercing capabilities, preferably tungsten-core rounds. Also, if it wouldn't be too difficult, a Remington Roomsweeper would be just lovely. Saw one o' those beauts a couple months back and have been dyin' to get my hands on one. Tell your man I'd like a few boxes of flechette ammunition and double-aught buckshot. Please."

Clay stood upright and walked over to the main table, arms folded as he glazed over the rest of the group. "And while I have your hopefully undivided attention, I may as well say what little I, or should I say 'Lanche and I, have managed to gather. Nothing major, we can only confirm that Nik's friend, John Wayne, has been hanging about as well as some fella with a metal arm, likely the same guy Wulf mentioned earlier. Now, I've actually been workin' on a plan, somethin' that should pan out quite nicely...

"As we all probably know, Roberts will be the first one of in the Novatech facility. Sebastian will be going in next as Roberts' business associate - Roberts will be informing the necessary people of this beforehand so as not to cause concern. Once in, Sebastian will hack into Novatech's security and make a couple arrangements to their newcomers list, as Wulf and another will be going in as new recruits. Sebastion will need to provide you with the identities while using your images so you can go about without hassle. The job of the security team will be to provide constant updates on the actions of security so the rest of the teams can know if and when something comes their way. The equipment they'll need, like Sebastion said, will be put into the weapons cache where they can access them. Roberts, meanwhile, will be arranging for a delivery to be made; a safe, a cabinet - something we can use to discreetly transport weapons and equipment inside the facility. The delivery team consisting of two people will move through the docks and into the executive offices, bringing the package along with them of course. By then, they will be the closest ones to Dr. Shelley and will be the first to move in on her. We'll need to cover all areas of escape if she makes a break for it, so we need a pair on the roof in case she has access to a means of air transport. This is where your talents come in, Princess," Clay said, nodding at Taylor. "We'll need you to fly someone up to the roof where you'll both be closing off that route -all other exits should be handled by the delivery team or, if by any chance she makes it that far, the security team below. As for the Archives, we need our most experienced hacker inside wiping all the files as our most experienced demolitions expert to level the place, just so we can be sure there's no trace of any files to find in there. Nik, from the sounds of things, you'll be providing overwatch for the Archives from a vantage point of your choosing. Not entirely sure how we're all gonna get out, but hey, I can't do the thinkin' for all of us."

"Then it will be someone light, and with minimal equipment." She replied. "But worry not. I will be more useful in the building interior. Utilities subsection. I can ensure that any there will be minimal resistance inside. In return, your word that you can avoid pointless death."

She had her own stratagem, of course. The word had a delicious, depraved beauty to it, the name these men had so kindly bestowed upon her.

Princess.

"You're forgetting something. I'm not exactly guard material, anyone who's been on there long enough is going to know I'm not private sec. Besides that, when if any part of that plan goes south, I'm not that inconspicuous. Anyone with money's going to want me and if and when they find me, chances are, they'll find all of you not long after."

Wulf leaned back and took a sip of his drink, relishing the flavor of real vegetables or fruits or whatever was in the stuff.

"I'm better suited for the Archives job, get in, get out, destroy what evidence we can and try not to get caught."

Sebastian noted down what weaponry Clay requested, along with the appropriate ammunition. He then listened to the overall plan, making sure to take note of his overall role.

"Sebastian will be going in next as Roberts' business associate - Roberts will be informing the necessary people of this beforehand so as not to cause concern. Once in, Sebastian will hack into Novatech's security and make a couple arrangements to their newcomers list, as Wulf and another will be going in as new recruits. Sebastian will need to provide you with the identities while using your images so you can go about without hassle. The job of the security team will be to provide constant updates on the actions of security so the rest of the teams can know if and when something comes their way. The equipment they'll need, like Sebastian said, will be put into the weapons cache where they can access them."

"Okay then, once I've handled all the necessary security requirements for this plan, shall I join in with the others for the rest of it, or remain on watch to help co-ordinate things? Just to be on the safe side, I'm going to bring in my weapons and armour in case things get a little messy." Sebastian remarked with a semi devious smile.

"Whatever vehicle Roberts is planning to use to bring in the equipment cache, we could probably use to transport Dr. Shelly out of the building. With any luck, the transfer should be quick and quiet."

"Hold up there Finwe. Shouldn't all of us decide on who is going into what teams to tackle these building."
Finwe turned around "Yes that would be for the best." Finwe walked back to the table and sat down in his seat again looking a bit off.

"Finwe is coming to the HQ for his contact," Finwe silently agreed with this statement.
If there was a way to save his friend, it would be to try and find him there and save him. If there was still a person to save...

He then continued to listen to the plan that was formed. "Well it looks like you are taking the lead on this one Rodrigo.
So just tell me where you need me to go. And I will be there."

The conversion had picked up again, Charlie looked up. Now the subject was the actual plan for this, one screw up and... Well, he didn't particularity want to think about that. Marlowe listened to Rodrigo and Clay's plan. Well, at least it was a start. For one, Clay's little explosion had to go and for another, what was that about only needing muscle for the headquarters? He sighed. Charlie already felt out of place with assassins, furries and Triad destroyers and now he felt even more like a third wheel. Nolan still hadn't turned up to the little meeting. Marlowe guessed it was time to give up on any chance of the ol' Beretta getting repaired. However, he now had ample opportunity for an upgrade. A laser sight would be useful, his aim wasn't what it used to be, especially with being excluded from his old gun club because of what he got himself into and a twelve round magazine would be handy, as well. The two extra shots would make him feel a lot more safer, after all, in his experience - killing or being killed only came down on whether you or your opponent had any bullets left in that dark chamber.

"Well, Nik is gonna make sure that those ex-Lonestar guys so they'll be down some men and that'll hopefully make it easier for us..." He mumbled, waiting his thoughts to hit a momentum, "Clay, nice plan, but no explosions. There's a sweet little bonus for doing this quietly and I don't want to see people missing out on that. If anyone's offering weapons, I'll take a Beretta Model 101-T with the laser sight and twelve round magazine upgrades. Better than this old thing."

Charlie made a play holding the old, dis-used gun he carried around with him at all times. Mostly to threaten with rather than main. Besides, if you had a gun, people paid attention and could be coerced into telling you what you need, without even so much has firing a shot. Marlowe quickly adjusted his hat and continued,

"Besides, we'll have to find a place for little ol' me on this little excursion. Here, I'm a man with a thousand contacts and a talent for persuasion. There, I'm just another suit with a gun. I'm not sure what I could do, my talents lie mainly with speaking but I'm sure you guys will think something up. Sorry for going on about this but I don't want to feel like I'm the third wheel in this team. Maybe I'll fly with Taylor, seeing as I'll be as lightly equipped as I am now. Who knows?"

"Then it will be someone light, and with minimal equipment. But worry not. I will be more useful in the building interior. Utilities subsection. I can ensure that any there will be minimal resistance inside. In return, your word that you can avoid pointless death."

"Alright, that's fine with me. Try not to get killed, yourself."

"You're forgetting something. I'm not exactly guard material, anyone who's been on there long enough is going to know I'm not private sec. Besides that, when if any part of that plan goes south, I'm not that inconspicuous. Anyone with money's going to want me and if and when they find me, chances are, they'll find all of you not long after. I'm better suited for the Archives job, get in, get out, destroy what evidence we can and try not to get caught."

"Suit yourself, just make sure that place is nothin' but a pile of rubble."

"Okay then, once I've handled all the necessary security requirements for this plan, shall I join in with the others for the rest of it, or remain on watch to help co-ordinate things?"

"I think you should remain with Roberts and act as a coordinator. If the team takin' Shelley needs assistance with the capturin', you both'll be actin' as a safety net, makin' sure she doesn't make it to the lower levels."

"Clay, nice plan, but no explosions. There's a sweet little bonus for doing this quietly and I don't want to see people missing out on that."

"Well, Charlie," Clay started, leaning forward and setting his hands on the table. "It was my understandin' that we were getting paid to make this facility permanently incapable of storin' data. Unless you feel we should take the time to individually destroy every data system in there while keeping the structure intact, I don't think there's another way we can go about this. There's minimal staff which means very little casualties, so I believe levelin' the place is the best course of action."

"I think you should remain with Roberts and act as a coordinator. If the team takin' Shelley needs assistance with the capturin', you both'll be actin' as a safety net, makin' sure she doesn't make it to the lower levels." Clay responded with to the question that Sebastian has asked earlier. Sebastian continued to note down recommended weapons for people. He had a understand look on his face to the response he got.

"Alright then, that makes sense Clay. Another question for you, would it also make sense for me to be Roberts bodyguard? If that is the case, it would justify me being in my armour, and carrying weapons around with me. But I can do business suits if it is required for your plan to work. I may bring them along, for in case things go wrong."

Venaticus knew he was best suited for the Kilmer job, but if Roberts went in to NeoNET, what would the point of any of this be? He decided the best idea was to tell Roberts and see if he can talk Roberts through it.

"Roberts. This is mission critical information that I only need you to know, so if you want to know anything about hacking into NeoNET, you will come with me now. That also goes for details on the building."

"Suit yourself, just make sure that place is nothin' but a pile of rubble."

"Clay, nice plan, but no explosions. There's a sweet little bonus for doing this quietly and I don't want to see people missing out on that."

"As a compromise, isn't there some kind of matrix virus we can use to drek up their system, since it is self-contained? Having their systems corrupted is not really something any corp cunt is going to want be known to the public. A busted building on the other hand, while it may be the norm in the Barrens, isn't so much around that area of Seattle."

Wulf turned to Venaticus,"Is that something you can do for our deck-man?"

"Is that something you can do for our deck-man?"

Venaticus turned at Wulf. "This is sensitive information, I can't divulge it to anyone outside of Roberts. I do have the floor plans which I will be giving out after, but I need Robert's cooperation first."

"Well, Charlie," Clay started, leaning forward and setting his hands on the table. "It was my understandin' that we were getting paid to make this facility permanently incapable of storin' data. Unless you feel we should take the time to individually destroy every data system in there while keeping the structure intact, I don't think there's another way we can go about this. There's minimal staff which means very little casualties, so I believe levelin' the place is the best course of action."

Charlie couldn't believe this kid. What was wrong doing the whole thing without explosions? Him and the group got paid more for no waking the neighbours, and NeoNET didn't have to wake up to the goddamn awful sight of rubble in the morning. There were other ways to do this and everybody won.

"Well, Clay," Marlowe replied, mirroring Clay's stance, getting a good look at the kid's eyes. "It's my understanding that we are going to a lot of trouble to make this facility permanently incapable of storing data. Explosions look pretty in the Seattle night-time, sure. But they'll wake NeoNET up since they really don't like vandalism of their property. There are other ways, whether it be using magic or the Matrix."

"As a compromise, isn't there some kind of matrix virus we can use to drek up their system, since it is self-contained? Having their systems corrupted is not really something any corp cunt is going to want be known to the public. A busted building on the other hand, while it may be the norm in the Barrens, isn't so much around that area of Seattle."

Charlie smiled. He was beginning to like this guy, even if he was still tempted to yank that fur to see if it was just a fursuit, but apart from angering the guy, it looked pretty real from this distance so he just put that little plan aside. It was good idea to use a virus, but it mattered on the skill of the deck-man and whether NeoNET's computer security was up to scratch.

He turned to Wulf, "Good idea, I saw some of that go on before I took up 'running. The corp suit wouldn't let that out to public, yeah, that'll spoil the image of omnipotence they have going on," He then turn to Rodrigo, "Is the guy up to it, though? NeoNET seem this data disappearing act plenty of times and they'll be prepared for it."

"Is the guy up to it, though? NeoNET seem this data disappearing act plenty of times and they'll be prepared for it."

Venaticus thought about a virus for a second. When he had been working for NeoNET, that kind of attack would have been hilariously easy to deal with. Now that he was gone however, it would have a shot. Of course, it would be more simple if he simply just went in and caused a mass system deletion, which is possible if he altered the programming enough.

"The virus idea is plausible, but I only say that because I no longer am the head of security there. I honestly have no idea who or what is at this point. A virus may either be effective, or if they managed to get someone better than me, entirely useless. The safer option would be to simply edit the core programming of the archives and have it cause a mass server deletion. Simple to do for me, NeoNET based systems all run on the same platform and because Kilmer was bought off, they would already have the NeoNET platform on, it is a high priority deal. With that in mind, I could alter any computer there in approximately five seconds."

Venaticus had already run through the steps in his mind. It would actually take four.

"I looked at your Vougner guy, he has access to Kilmer as well apparently. We still need an experienced hacker for the Kilmer job, which promises to require just as much expertiese. That is why I think you could fill the role in that area."

"I suppose that would work, I'm no hacker but if Vougers password gets me in I should be able to get the job done. All I need from you is the list of companies hes worked with so I can actually et the guy in the first place"

"Alright then, that makes sense Clay. Another question for you, would it also make sense for me to be Roberts bodyguard?"

Roberts shook his head

"Vouger's high up but I doubt he'd take a personal bodyguard into work, especially not with the level of security already in place. I can probably get you in the building legitimately but weapons beyond what you can easily conceal are out of the question"

Since things seemed to be getting into the nitty-gritty now, Nik felt justified in speaking up. He'd been listening to everyone for a good long while now, so it seemed time to say his piece.

"Okay, other'n what we're covering now seems to me our teams are organised. So in my mind that leads to a point we've probably already been over a thousand times: we need to figure out who's calling the shots for both units."
He pointed to the PI.
"Mr. Rodrigo here seems to be a natural choice fer th' Kilmer team. He knows the place and his role's pretty key. If everyone else in that group's agreeable I nominate him."
He looked to the others.
"But you guys? Wouldn't like to judge. I ain't on your team so I reckon it's up to you, but we do need to figure out who we're running to if and when we need to."

Venaticus looked at Nik, he had a point. Really, nobody else would be able to do the damage he could do inside Kilmer and do it efficiently. That said, if Roberts is going into the HQ, Venaticus had to make sure that his data would be wiped while he is in there.

"I can be the lead hacker on the Kilmer job. That seems reasonable. If that is the case, I will have to talk Roberts through disabling any and all automated security while he sneaks in there. I would like to tell him right now, but I don't share these things with an entire group, so whenever he is ready..."

Venaticus looked up, he missed the sky a bit. He had spent most of his life in a building, buildings were never fun. "Speaking of betraying the people I used to work for in front of everyone, I have a map of the entire area. It is in a file and I can send it to you all. In fact, I am doing that right now."

Finwe was listening to what was happening all around him he then though of something.
"Hey guys I know it might be dumb to ask this but they have magic guards right? Well won't they see through Roberts disguise?
I mean if Vougner is an mage they would know it immediately, and even if he wasn't he has allot of augmentations. Which they will surely see." Finwe looked around to the others. He wasn't sure if had just asked a smart or dumb question.

"Hey guys I know it might be dumb to ask this but they have magic guards right? Well won't they see through Roberts disguise?
I mean if Vougner is an mage they would know it immediately, and even if he wasn't he has allot of augmentations. Which they will surely see."

The key problem with the plan. There was a solution to it and that would highly alter the plan, but it could put Venaticus in a good position as far as deleting his files.

"Here is the thing. If he goes to Kilmer, they won't have the authority to question him. NeoNET keeps a tight leash on every single subsidiary they own. Kilmer won't be an exception. As long as he does not stick around too long, there should be no problems."

Venaticus peered down at his map. Something connected, he had an idea as to where the target was hiding.

"Most likely, our target is hiding in one of the high security labs. This means a few things, first, getting to her is going to be tough. However, it also means we have a way to find her should the Kilmer team fail."

"If that is the case, I will have to talk Roberts through disabling any and all automated security while he sneaks in there." The detective remarked, which cause Sebastian to speak up, as if the man had forgotten the other skills that the assassin possessed.

"You know Detective, I could help with disabling any automated security over by the NovaTech compound. That way, all Roberts would have to do, is to make sure that the other team members for that assignment, can get in undetected. If there is information over at the compound, surely you'd want that removed from the field as well. Or, do you not trust me to remove anything sensitive?"

"Or, do you not trust me to remove anything sensitive?"

Wulf felt there was a need to respond to the so-called assassin,"I doubt it has as much to do with not trusting you as Rodrigo here knowing the limits of your abilities. By my... estimates," He gave a look through slitted eyes meant only for the machine, "He's got more hardware for hacking than skills you have for anything combined. NeoNET's the top software producer out there, and you can sure as hell bet they've got more firewalls, ICe, reverse viruses, and codes in long dead languages no one's even got a name for than anybody else out there. And that's just Renraku's basic security, you can bet there's worse coming from the lead manufacturer that everybody in the world uses."

He took a sip of his juice-like substance before continuing.

"The chances of someone without his particular...,"Another look,"Talents. probably has about as much chance cracking through everything unscathed as any old squatter does killing a fully-chromed and enraged troll slottin' 2XS chips and on more drugs than a dragon could safely take. In other words, you may be good against maglocks and Stuffer Shack servers, but I don't - and if I'm correct neither does he - think you're exactly ready for one of the Big Ten's secured compound's self-contained Matrix. That slag'll chew you up and drek you out faster than I can draw my weapons.

He again took another sip, glancing at Venaticus, judging his reaction. Nothing of course, machines didn't. He looked back at Sebastian and decided that he'd better continue before that look in his eye decided to come out and one of them got killed, he'd kept his other hand on the table, at an angle where he could easily draw his fletchette Predator.

"We had a ride-along like you, once, thought he had everything figured out, give him a deck, back before the Second crash you know, and he could get through almost any security we took him along for. The little shit felt he had what it took to take on Renraku's Matrix, barely five seconds into one of their company cred stick caches, his head melted so much and so fast, Lone Star here couldn't identify the creep barely half-an-hour later. Don't even think for a second you've got what it takes to hack a Big Ten Matrix, because most don't, and know better than to go looking for trouble that won't net them anything. Ironic too, street name was Hot Head, from out near Austin with Aztech, at least that's what he said.Could've been from about anywhere, I suppose."

Venaticus shot a look at Wulf. At least he was attempting to be subtle, sort of. "I can talk people through quite a few things and maybe even get you through Kilmer, but if you mess up that hack attempt, we would be short an assassin. If I must do the Kilmer job, then it is highly recommended that either I talk Roberts through the steps of getting the basic hacking done and then with the chaos ensuing, I sneak in and aid you guys. Or, you simply don't hack into anything."

The walls of NeoNET were tightly sealed, if any assassin could sneak in and break their whole defense network, their walls would be more like paper than steel. Only one person had ever truly disabled everything they had and he was being sent to delete a few files in another building. Either way, the files to his own project would be in the labs, where the good doctor would most likely be found. He did not have the time to wipe his own files when he escaped, but an invasion would make the perfect cover.

"I recommend the former option, mainly because we have an insect shaman who I am sure can spread some form of poison or another. Don't look surprised, I specialize in the paranormal, you are not very good at hiding your origins. To be honest, I was more curious about which insect you were than anything else."

Taylor fit the perfect profile of an Insect Shaman. It had taken Venaticus a bit to piece it all together, but flight combined with her behavior made it seem obvious. Those types specialize in neurotoxins and he doubted she would be any different.

Taylor was silent.

...

"Yes. That was my goal. Carry Marlowe to the building exterior. For all the structure's elaborate defense, it still must have a link to the outside world. Once in utilities, I can act from inside the vent. What I need is for others to keep the vent open, the fans going, and the filters sealed off. If you can somehow access the utility system, you can route the toxin to different sections of the building."

She put her hands up.

"And I hope you bring a gas mask."

Nik whistled. The secret was out.
As Taylor finished, he started to speak to her.

"Okay, I don't doubt that any folks here with Perception got you pegged pretty quick. I did but I wanted to be sure. Now I've got this problem. You guys kinda tried to mass possess the world, or your bosses did. Before we go any further with this mission I want a guarantee that I can trust you. Sound fair?"

In all honesty, as far as Nik was concerned he'd rather have kept this quiet so he could observe the shaman without arising her suspicion, but since she was now revealed it seemed the best idea was to confirm that she was safe. More than anything else, her answer would at least give him some idea of her intentions, if not the truth.

Just to be sure, he covertly snapped his fingers under the table. Nobody had seen his magical "tell" yet, but it did look out of place mid conversation. Channelling a small amount of energy he focused on the covert surface thoughts spell he'd used back in Club Raven, concentrating on Taylor as he did so.

And there it was, the big bad secret was out.

The magic users had seemed to be a tad spooked back in Club Raven and this was probably why. Charlie didn't really care about things like this, he was a bit selfish in that way - stuff only mattered when it affected him. It was how he coped with all the crazy things the Triads did with the weapon shipments he sold to them. Blissful ignorance, indeed. Then Charlie found out how they could shake up his life. Now, he was a little more cautious, especially since Taylor had got him involved, true he did volunteer for this part in the plan, but he never thought about what was she was. Marlowe was under the impression that she could fly by magic or something like that...

However unlike the mages that night, Marlowe kept his cool, one insect shaman was nothing, right? He adjusted his tie, Charlie was more worried about the possible confessional of everyone's secrets, including his. With one 'runner turning out to be a insect shaman hiding under everybody's noses, the group would be justified in asking everybody to tell their deep, dark secrets as anybody here could turn out to be anything. He hid his anxieties in a favourite fall-back - snarky remarks. But there was something Charlie needed to ask, as well...

"And I hope you bring a gas mask."

"A little neurotoxin never hurt anyone," Marlowe chuckled, "But since caution is needed on this 'run - gas masks for everybody. But I digress, which site will this staged at? If we pool all our resources in Kilmer, we'll run up short with the Novatech Compound."

"Okay, I don't doubt that any folks here with Perception got you pegged pretty quick. I did but I wanted to be sure. Now I've got this problem. You guys kinda tried to mass possess the world, or your bosses did. Before we go any further with this mission I want a guarantee that I can trust you. Sound fair?"

"Well, it's not like the rest of the world has done such a bang-up job."

If we pool all our resources in Kilmer, we'll run up short with the Novatech Compound."

"We've got the guard routines, know the basics of what we're up against, and we've got an eye out for the human with the arm. I've gone into cross-state shipment runs knowing less. Give me someone who can get into the mainframe they've got set up there, and someone that knows how to get around a place without being seen, and I can get the job done. The only problem being some of our fellow enthusiasts seem to have gone underground. Or got stupid and let Lone Star or the suits get to them. I have the equipment I need, and the talents to make it work, two of you competents and the job's as good as done. The only problem I'm foreseeing is my intel being bad and the Yak that hired us working the sides. Either way, we don't have enough time to re-evaluate. Getting the two jobs done in one night seems the only thing we can do without them getting spooked and moving that doc of theirs out of the Fortress."

"Well, it's not like the rest of the world has done such a bang-up job."

Wulf chuckled into his glass,"That's the answer you give him? You Insect Shaman are all the same, you think you can control that power and give cryptic and over-vague responses. You're all scum of the earth as far I'm concerned, you can't be trusted, you'll be toasted eventually, get that spirit you follow inside you, and then..." He paused a moment before draining his glass,"Well, we all know why Chicago's called Bug City now. So long as she's not on the Compound job, I'll tolerate her. As soon as this job's over though, if I see you in Redmond, know that a bug hunt's going to follow you pretty quick-like."

The Night Elf didn't trust mages in general, and Insect shaman were the worst of the bunch. Nothing but a bunch of low-lives that didn't have a place in any society, worse than old squatters looking for a hand-out in Ancient's territory. They were dangerous,true, but every mage was,in their own ways, and he had yet to meet the mortal that could survive a few shots to the head without at least some replacement necessary, which made them even more vulnerable, seeing as the more chromed they got, the less they could throw that damn magic around.

"Well, it's not like the rest of the world has done such a bang-up job."

Nik's eyes narrowed.
"Honey, the rest of the world isn't trying to summon the damn Horrors. When you ain't working for beings that want to destroy all life we can discuss ethics. Until then... An' you didn't answer me."

"So long as she's not on the Compound job, I'll tolerate her."

"Listen, big guy," Clay started, "we can't all accomodate to what you feel you can 'tolerate'. We need her at Novatech, we need her to get somebody up top to cut off the good doctor's escape. And that neurotoxin business she was goin' on about sounds like a great way for her to be even more useful. She can eliminate any threats the security team sees and she can do it quietly. Also gives Sebastian somethin' to do after instatin' the new and improved security recruitment list, other than twiddlin' his thumbs. He can gain access to the maintenance systems and reroute the ventilation to wherever we need it. It won't be any problem bringing in gas masks to the executive offices, we'll just smuggle 'em in with the weapons."

"Honey, the rest of the world isn't trying to summon the damn Horrors. When you ain't working for beings that want to destroy all life we can discuss ethics. Until then... An' you didn't answer me."

Venaticus butted in, "Nik, neither is she. Look at her for a second, that whole incident that is making you shit your pants happened when she had hardly even been conceived of. All I see, are a bunch of murderers picking on someone who seems to have hardly done anything. If I thought there was a risk to an adolescent insect shaman, I would have said I thought there was a risk. I simply said she was one because she could be useful. If you and Wulf intend to bully her more about things she can not change, this will not get anywhere. Nobody ever forced you guys to become assassins and murder people for money."

Admittedly, Venaticus was putting his own prejudicial views on the table. He could hardly trust any of these people, a mix of the crooks he had long ago sworn to hunt. Insect shamans were nothing next to a gun crazed adept in a shopping mall with two machine guns.

"Nobody ever forced you guys to become assassins and murder people for money."

"Alright, alright," said Clay, putting his hands up as he tried to nip this ethical argument in the bud. "Before this becomes some kinda big debate over right 'n' wrong, good 'n' evil, let's just all get focused back on the task at hand. You can all tear each other apart once this is done and over with, just let's not fuck this up so I don't have to worry about whether or not I'll be getting my paycheck in lead. That sound fair?"

"we can't all accomodate to what you feel you can 'tolerate'.

"Have you seen what one of her kind can do, kid? Have you seen people be torn limb from limb by just one of those things she can summon at a moment's notice? I have my prejudices just as I'm sure everyone else here does, and I know what she can do. I just don't want her anywhere near me on my part of this job, I'll take care of the Compound, so long as she stays over there, on the other side of the city for all I care, taking care of getting our good doctor out."

If you and Wulf intend to bully her more about things she can not change, this will not get anywhere. Nobody ever forced you guys to become assassins and murder people for money."

Wulf's voice oozed with contempt for the machine in front of him,calm, but obviously furious below the surface,"Just as I'm sure nobody ever forced you to do what you do, chromey. And for the record, I've never killed anyone for money, respect,stupidity on their part, and selling out others is another matter, however. She may be an adolescent as you claim, or not. No one knows her ultimate goals, but as I said before, for as long as this job is on, she doesn't have anything to worry about from me. And there is always a risk involved in taking almost any mage or shaman along, so get whatever hardware you've got for a brain wrapped around that concept. Because you may know computers, but you don't know drek about metahumanity."

Could no one see the danger she was? Had none of them seriously ever seen what one of her kind could do? Nevermind that she was an adolescent, as Rodriguez had said, she was a magic-user, and they were never truly adolescents, there were the ones that could control their power, the dead ones, and then there were the shaman like her. She'd eventually succumb to the Insect she communed with, that he was sure of, and when she did, all hell would break loose.

"...All I see, are a bunch of murderers picking on someone who seems to have hardly done anything." The Dectective said, trying to break up the arguemeny between various members of the group who were targetting Taylor the Insect Shaman. Sebastian decided to enter the conversation.

"It may not be Taylor specifically that they have a problem with Dectective Rodrigo, but Insect Shamans in general. Some people have problems trusting someone, especially after someone or a group of people caused trouble in the past; even if that person in question wasn't connected to what happened at all, or is trying to help change things for the better. I for one, have no immediate concerns with Taylor, and since I have never worked with an Insect Shaman before; I shall considered this an invaluble learning experience." Sebastian remarked, giving his overall opinion on the current situation before sitting back in his chair.

"I'll be sure to add gas masks to the inventory. Although, my armour does have sufficient breathing equipment, it does help to have a backup in case something goes wrong." He then added with a thoughtful look on his face.

Nik raked a hand through his hair.
This conversation was going against him, this was precisely why he tried to keep his damn trap shut. He took a deep breath, and continued.

"Okay, first things first. The Bugs. Are. Evil. This ain't a personal opinion, it's a fact. Their entire existence is based around consuming life and possessing everything they can get their feelers on. I wish that was hyperbole. Rodrigo, call me a killer if you want. I won't hide from that. But this a force you don't have a frame of reference for. Bad News with capital letters. I've got nothin' against Miss Taylor, but knowing what I know I can't help but feel wary. The last time we twigged the Bugs were around we lost a city. So I'm hopin' you can see why I feel justified in asking her why exactly she's in the city."

He looked to Clay.

"Sorry buddy, this kinda goes beyond the job. I know I shoulda spoken about this as soon as I knew, but I didn't so I'm sayin' my piece now."

He paused. He hated speaking this much. If he could have just accepted the job and quietly found a sniping point to work his business... things were getting complicated and they weren't even on the run yet.

The comment about murdering people for money had really stung. Of course it was true, but that didn't make it any less painful. How had he ended up here, on this path? If he'd been smart he would have just concentrated on mage-work after he quit and... become a corporate slave or something.
Shit. He thought. This is really going to get out of hand.

"It may not be Taylor specifically that they have a problem with Dectective Rodrigo, but Insect Shamans in general"

"Be that as it may, we are a team, and if Taylor has to worry about Wulf stabbing her in the back, she might not go at full capacity. Likewise, if Wulf is too busy raging about a shaman on the team, he might make a mistake. Mistakes will lead to someone getting killed." Venaticus had not moved for a while now, he started fiddling with his necklace to seem a bit more normal.

Admittedly, he had made one mistake when he was leaving NeoNET. When he overloaded the communications and disabled all automated defenses, one guard saw him and chased him outside the grounds. That mistake forced Venaticus to take the man's life. By accident, he did not know the strength of the robot body he had taken. He covered it up and still uses that man's face and look today. To remind him of what mistakes can cause.

"Okay, first things first. The Bugs. Are. Evil. This ain't a personal opinion, it's a fact. Their entire existence is based around consuming life and possessing everything they can get their feelers on. I wish that was hyperbole. Rodrigo, call me a killer if you want. I won't hide from that. But this a force you don't have a frame of reference for. Bad News with capital letters. I've got nothin' against Miss Taylor, but knowing what I know I can't help but feel wary. The last time we twigged the Bugs were around we lost a city. So I'm hopin' you can see why I feel justified in asking her why exactly she's in the city."

The cop was now looking conflicted. Something Venaticus said had to have struck a chord with him. Maybe he wasn't beyond saving, interesting thought for later. They all seemed to doubt Venaticus's understanding of the shamans. One of the larger databases he had was on that particular group.

"I hear everything you are saying, I really do. I have read all the statistics, seen all the numbers and while I never witnessed the atrocities, I can appreciate your concerns. I however; judge a person as an individual, not as a member of whatever group, club or race they happen to be affiliated with. Compared a few certain members," Venaticus peered at Wulf; "Taylor seems level headed. That is all."

"That sound fair?"

Venaticus let his necklace down and looked at Clay as he said in his normal apathetic voice, "Fair."

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