Limit of Infinity: A Shadowrun RP (Game thread)

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"Vounger here, what do you want?" the voice said over the line, an air of annoyance in his voice. "Big surprise there"

"Vougner; it's shipping. I have a shipment of mahogany furniture here for you, but I've got no documents to approve it. I need your go ahead to let it through." a man said - obviously troll by his accent - said; his voice displaying his annoyance.

"I need your go ahead to let it through"

Roberts allowed himself a quick smile before slipping back into his annoyed persona

"You called me for that?" He voiced dropped low to give an air of menace, given Vougner's accent the result was rather laughable. "Christ its like no one in this place has a clear thought in their head. They're just postmen for God's sake, what can they do? Just send the damn things through, the delivery men know where everything needs to go so try not to get in their way."

He hung up the phone before giving the troll time to respond, looking up he smiled at Sebastian

"Looks like I'm getting even more little presents today."

"...Just send the damn things through, the delivery men know where everything needs to go so try not to get in their way."

The troll closed the communication line and sighed; "Why do I put up with these bastards?" he thought aloud, then waved the group in. "Get on in - you've been cleared!" he yelled, moving toward the next truck. he typed a few commands into his digital pad, and moved on.

"Looks like I'm getting even more little presents today." Roberts said with a definite smile, safe in the knowledge that the delivery team had arrived, and all the equipment was here as well. After going over the message from Charlie and Taylor, Sebastian smiled as well.

"Well John, someone appears to be very lucky today. And I have just recieved some good news from a few contacts on my end; it appears they are in position for the next stage of the project, all they need is the go ahead, and for everything to be in place." Sebastian remarked, taking a sip of coffee afterwards.

"I must say John, this coffee is fairly good; not as flavoursome as the stuff back home, but its at least drinkable."

Nik held up a hand and ran it along the air, feeling for the magic. He felt a war tingling and a strange ringing in his ears as his hand drew close to the barriers NeoNET had up.

He looked to the other two.
"Rod, soon as this goes down any mages they got on site'll feel it. I can probably disable it from a distance though, you'll just need t' move fast. I'll be most useful up there."
He gestured to one of the nearby buildings. He'd checked it out a couple of times before and it would suit him just fine: technically outside NeoNET's territory, not corporate or city and best of all lightly guarded. Hopefully he'd have a nice wide view of the compound from the roof, but he'd need to get up there first.


"Rod, soon as this goes down any mages they got on site'll feel it. I can probably disable it from a distance though, you'll just need t' move fast. I'll be most useful up there."

Venaticus let out a rare smile, not that he was compulsed, just that he felt it was fitting. "I am hoping they will. See, with Wulf causing a huge mess and a magical barrier coming down, all of the guards will assume Wulf is attempting to break in. As such, a single guard sneaking through would hardly go noticed. Once I am inside, your jobs are mostly done, staying alive turning into your new missions. Though I will need it to come down again once I am done. Don't wait for me, I have other things that need to be done after this."

Rodrigo looked upon Kilmer again, So this is where it begins. I suppose he might find out if I use my old SIN, but considering my later intentions, a meeting seems inevitable.

"Get on in - you've been cleared!"

"Well, thank ya kindly," Clay said, tipping his hat to the Troll shortly before shutting the truck's compartment door and heading back to the cab. "Piece-a-fuckin' cake. Am I right, Finwe? Hop in front and let's get this show back on the road. We got a delivery to make."

With that, the runner pulled forward, deeper into the compound and into the building's shipping and receiving offices. Clay steered the truck into a fairly isolated section in the unloading zone, put it in park, then shut the engine off. Looking in the rear-view mirror and adjusting his cap before scanning the immediate area and putting in his earpiece that was made to look like a standard hands-free device. "Execs, this is the Delivery team. We're in. Ya copy?"

"Well, thank ya kindly,"Clay then shut the truck's compartment door. And he headed back to the cab. "Piece-a-fuckin' cake. Am I right, Finwe? Hop in front and let's get this show back on the road. We got a delivery to make." Finwe sighed relieved that they had gotten through. Finwe quickly joined Clay and sat on the front seat. "You handled that well Clay I am impressed. And I agree lets get on with out delivery, we have been held up long enough."

With that, the runner pulled forward, deeper into the compound and into the building's shipping and receiving offices. Clay steered the truck into a fairly isolated section in the unloading zone, put it in park, he then shut the engine off. He put in his earpiece. "Execs, this is the Delivery team. We're in. Ya copy?" Finwe smiled as he slipped in the back of the truck. "So what were we supposed to do now again?" He asked Clay he wanted to be certain not to screw this up. Finwe also inserted his earpiece, they needed to be able to communicate with each other at all time. That would determine success or failure on this mission.

Kilmer Archive - Outside

As Nik reached put with his magic, he felt the power of the dual-natured wall of plants used to generate the barrier. The barrier was strong and multi-layered - befitting a place dedicated to high security. To most mages, such a barrier would represent a significant difficulty, but police work proved an ample training ground for such skills. None the less, cutting away at the layers was time consuming - and time was something they didn't have...

Except, they did. Despite the obvious threat to their security, no mages came running from the building to stop them; or even give warning of the danger to their less-than magically inclined allies.

Wulf and Venaticus were got into their positions, but still there was no reaction. One-by-one, the layers disappeared until none were left. Nik could scarcely believe how easy it was.

Until he noticed the bright red dot on his chest, quickly growing wider and hotter.

Novatech - Shipping bay

As the delivery truck disappeared into the inner workings of the facility, the Troll reached up - touching an object on his ear. "Did'ja get that? They're inside" he said in a muffled voice. He had to feel sorry for the runners - it's not like it was their fault someone had warned them about the attack.

"Ah well, sometimes life is drek"

Novatech - Roof

Charlie watched for incoming problems and waited for the "all clear" from the others - telling them it was safe to proceed into the building proper. It was only because of this that he caught the slight glimmer of moving metal on the stairs up to the roof, and the sound of heavy boots as they ran up the stairs.

The only good news was that whoever they were, were still three floors down - not that this would be true for much longer.

Novatech - Vougner's Office Area

The coffee was good - and real no less. This of course, was a much lesser concern then the sudden announcement "Vougner" heard over his personal comm-link. "Attention all Novatech staff, attention all Novatech staff: Security is performing a surprise evacuation drill. All employees are to proceed to their designated evacuation zones. Visiting guests will accompany will remain with their guide for the duration of the drill. We apologize for any inconvenience."

This of course, was met with a chorus of groans and - more importantly - confused stares, whose meaning only became apparent when Stacy asked a pair of questions. "A surprise evacuation? Have we ever done this before?", her tone giving away the rhetorical nature of the questions.

Wulf was in position, an alleyway directly below where Lone Star was currently peeling away at the barrier before his eyes. The Astral was strangely silent, very little movement in terms of mages around the place. In fact, he wasn't even sure he'd seen a mage's signal since he'd been watching the compound, strange that. The sun was bright and was a bit painful to him. Whose idea was it to raid this place in the middle of the day, again?

The barrier was taken down and that's when he began his part of the run, distraction, distraction, distraction. He revved his Fenris three times, to make sure the guards didn't miss the noise, to which he then sped out, reaching a quarter of what it was capable by the time he almost hit the gate, sticking a foot out and turning as he fired three smoke grenades into the compound. The machine should be able to get through with that much. He opened two bursts onto the guards, not intending to harm them, just gain their attention and ire. He then used the momentum left to continue down the street, body low to the bike, coat covering himself and pulled up to obscure his face as best he could. Within moments he was around to the other side of the compound.

Once there, he fired another three smoke grenades to cover Rodrigo's entrance. Another duo of shots from his side-mounted H&K attracted the confused guards attention to the other side of the compound and off he sped, hoping to maybe draw a few of them to him and keep on him. This was not going to be a good day if his instincts were anything to go by.

Venaticus made a note that it seemed unlikely the other two would survive this encounter. Perhaps if he had planned better, but there was simply not enough people to make this hazard free. Still, he hoped the other two could make it out alive and well. Deaths were always a shame and to be avoided when possible.

Wulf began his part of this attack, the guards had to be bewildered with all the chaos going on and hopefully anyone noticing Nik's work would get distracted as well. The noise from the bike was surprisingly loud, clocking in out of Venaticus's normal noise charts. With all of the guards focused directly on Wulf, Venaticus had an easy time slipping out of cover and into their ranks

Venaticus was able to simply mimic the surprised reactions of guards surrounding him, a trick he had been working on for a long time. The smoke covered him as he disappeared from all of their gazes. Venaticus had packed his stun-gun on this fight, it looked real enough that he could look official and it was quiet. Enough to give him the edge on anyone questioning too much. The door had an SIN identification system, everything Venaticus had still matched up and he was glad to see the NeoNET never bothered to deactivate the only man Venaticus had to murder. The door opened and Venaticus stepped into the corridors of Kilmer, the first objective.

The Troll allowed the van to pass, and as he did something registered in his gaze, something he may have otherwise missed, a subtle harbinger of things to come.

A lying bird, dead on impact with the road, having fallen from the sky.

---

The chamber was soon saturated with dust, a whirling particulate cloud- enough to paralyze an entire building. It was concentrated around the vent, around Taylor, flowing invisibly within the the ducts to be carried away into the bodies of their targets. Charlie could only just see the dust as it was freed from the Shaman's wings. To take off the mask now would be instant immobilization. And at the girl's mercy.

"Oh shit."
Nik dropped to the floor, hoping the lip of the building would get him lost.
He was ass-down on the roof of the building and his head rolled onto concrete unpleasantly. He'd done this kind of thing before, get spotted as a sniper and you better move quickly. As he landed, a mental command through his commlink switched the active camo in his suit on.

Christ, it had to be a sniper,right? He opened his mind and flicked on the astral, staring at where the spot was.

Charlie stood waiting for the others to respond. It was currently silence on the airwaves as none of them had yet responded. Marlowe's only conclusion about this was that something was up. Had Novatech caught on to the scheme? Were these communicators faulty? Charlie didn't know and not knowing made him anxious. Body shaking in anticipation, his eye darted the area, watching for trouble as insect-Taylor spread its toxic dust. Sure, the mask and his fedora didn't get along, especially in manners of style and practicality, but to remove it now was too much of a risk. He had already seen the effects of the stuff up close, and it was pretty fast-acting. With that, Marlowe hoped that the neurotoxin would be enough to stop any guards.

Wait, what was that? A glimmer of something? Metal? Footsteps?

Whatever it was, it was best to be prepared. He reloaded his Beretta, took cover and waited. Whoever it was would get to the roof soon...

"Taylor, we're about to have some company up here," He said through the communicator, "Just a head's up."

He clung to cover and waited, both for Taylor's reply and for the oncoming guards.

"We apologize for any inconvenience."

Roberts watched as employees filed out of the area, a small smile played at his lips. After a few minutes the room was clear. He wasn't quite sure whether him and Sebastian could break character yet, as far as he knew the Taylor hadn't released the knock-out cloud so there was still a chance that people were manning the cameras.

"Well Casper" He turned to the man opposite "it seems are little meeting will have to be cut short"

"We apologize for any inconvenience." A female sounding voice could be heard over the office's intercom, which was then followed by the sound of people hastily making their way out of the building; hopefully leaving the halls nice and quiet for the plan that was to unfold. Out of the corner of his eye, Sebastian noticed a small smile escape Roberts lips.

"Well, lets just hope our good friend hasn't vacated the building as well, otherwise things could get difficult for us." He thought to himself, as Roberts said something to him.

"Well Casper." Roberts then turned to face him directly. "It seems our little meeting will have to be cut short." He then added.

"I suppose your right John, such a shame though, I was rather enjoying this little chat of ours." Sebastian remarked with a slightly sad expression on his face, but of course this was just him playing along with the act.

"I guess we should move things along then." He remarked in a slightly hurried tone, putting down the now empty cup of coffee on the table, and heading over to the crate which contained his and Robert's equipment. Searching through the box that was filled with straw to help with the deception, he found the arm piece of his stealth suit that had the hacking computer, making sure that it wasn't seen by the computer; and began to work on the ventilation.

"Right, looks like they have put the maintenance access system onto a seperate grid; hence the security being slightly different. Hopefully that means I shouldn't be interupted by the main security." Sebastian thought to himself, then looked at Roberts, and began making some conversation to pass the time, whilst looking at the 'paintings'.

"Yeah, your right John, these paintings will look good in your room; especially next to the fireplace, it'll give them that attractive warming glow, that such beautiful pieces deserve." He remarked in a rather calm voice, making occasional glances to the crate, then continued to hack the maintenance system. Within a few moments, he was inside. A smile accompanied this feat.

Now then, lets make it a little cooler in here.

After doing what he was tasked with, he put the arm back inside the crate.

"Everything is in order John, all that needs to be done now is to make the call."

"Everything is in order John, all that needs to be done now is to make the call."

Nodding Roberts began a call to all the other runners.

"Hello everyone, Vougner here. Just though you'd like to know that everything's ready to go, I recommend you all find the appropriate headgear for whats about to happen"

With that he reached into the case and brought out his gas-mask, Taylor might start at any second so they had to be ready, cameras be dammed. As he fumbled in the crate he found a small watch like device, with a press the cameras in the froze in place; they could still see but movement was impossible. From the create he took his Novastar and Sasquatch, the former went to its holster and then later on his back, he also grabbed Sebastian's arms and threw them to the elf.

"Hello everyone, Vougner here. Just though you'd like to know that everything's ready to go, I recommend you all find the appropriate headgear for whats about to happen." Roberts said over the communicators of all the runners that were part of the NeoNET job. Sebastian caught the weapons that were thrown to him, and then set the down next to the crate. He quickly took off the business suit, switching to his stealth armour. Finally Sebastian put all his gear in their holsters.

"I'm ready." Sebastian said, his voice sounding a little deeper due to the armour.

Kilmer Archive - Outside

All was chaos; the combination of smoke grenades, bullets, and loud engine noises - in addition to crumbling of the magical wards - and ensured that. When the smoke cleared, the guards that had been outside with the delivery truck had taken cover behind said truck, only ducking out to fire at Wulf - he was after all, the real threat to them. The handful of deliverymen were taking cover wherever they could; determined not to die. A pair of delivery men lay motionless on the ground, having been caught in the cross fire, and a single guard was with them - all lying in pools of blood. All in all, the distraction had worked, save one particularly annoying element - the sudden influx of heavily armed and armored guards, led by a man in a long black coat, with a single massive metallic cyberarm.

These men had taken a more direct approach, advancing from the doorway in formation, moving from the doorway out toward Wulf relentlessly; firing their automatic weapons without regard for their ammo consumption. The man with the metallic arm however was more concerned with a different problem - that of the mage disrupting their shield. As such, he held out his arm, a bright red light coming from the palm, following Nik's movement. When Nik disappeared behind his camouflage cloak, he scowled slightly; taking cover in the guard post to hide from whatever the unknown mage was planning, and setting up his own plan of attack.

With the barriers down, the look of the building changed dramatically - at least on the astral plane. Gone was the dull glow of magical walls, and in it's place was a single bright point of magic, taking cover inside the building. This to wouldn't be much of a problem if not for the way in which the magical power at the spot was flowing - out around it as though trying to tear a hole in the world; to summon.

Kilmer Archive - Inside

Where the outside was a twisted miasma of disorder, the inside of the building seemed as distant from that as possible. As the automated plasti-steel doors closed, the gunfire outside dulled to just above human perception, overpowered by the now highly inappropriate, calming music of the lobby. A few small trees lined the large concrete lobby, alive only by the power of the sun-like lights hanging from the ceiling. A desk sat at the far end of the lobby, though whoever had occupied it was missing - running from the fighting when the conflict began into some deep, dark corner of the building to hide. A pair of corridors shot from the sides of the building, arching around to where Venaticus knew his destination - the data access terminal - lay. The guards who had been formerly in front of the door had pushed outside with the massive group of armored warriors, trying to stop the incursion before it could enter their building. The only occupant of the lobby, besides Venaticus, was a small rat faced sort of man hiding by the door frame, occasionally looking out, but otherwise just muttering words below his breath. he would have appeared a civilian, frightened beside himself, if not for the determined look in his eyes and the magical, fire filled, portal growing in front of him.

Novatech - Roof

Charlie had barely gotten the words out of his mouth and into cover, when the first of the guards turned up the final flight of stairs and opened fire. Bullets screamed from the doorway, cutting at the frame and burying themselves in the concrete. the sound of the automatic weapon was deafening, even hidden from direct line of effect as they were. After a few seconds, a gap appeared in the bullet storm, followed by a few more heavy steps forward - they were alternating movement and cover to protect themselves from the perceived threat of the runners on the roof.

Finally, the first of them reached the roof, ducked for cover on the stairs. He glanced around the entryway carefully, then rolled into additional cover behind an electric box. In the bright light of the early morning, his form became clear.

image

One-by-one, they reached the roof, getting into formation to destroy the enemies of NeoNET. For a moment, the paralyzed guard seemed to rejoice at their arrival. This was short lived however, as the elf quickly became "short-lived" - his blood staining the roof in the worst sort of spatters. The other guards they first faced soon began to suffer the same fate.

It was during this horrible chaos, that a new sound appeared - the ventilation system deactivating and the sound of "Vougner's" voice on the radio, saying; "Hello everyone, Vougner here. Just though you'd like to know that everything's ready to go, I recommend you all find the appropriate headgear for whats about to happen."

Novatech - Shipping Bay

Once inside, the shipping bay quickly became quiet. Gone was the hustle and bustle of business, and in its place was an eerily silent room of large metal trucks. The only sounds to be heard the those of the group, the idle sounds of running engines, and a thumping metal-on-metal sound that beat like a drum in the distance, but growing louder. None-the less, they were nearly unpacked anyway - whatever the threat, it was too late to truly be one.

Novatech - Office Area
Sebastian and Roberts managed to suit up, before Sebastian noticed something odd. The computer he had plugged into the Novatech system was running slower then it should've been - a tell-tale sign his computer systems were being compromised. It hardly mattered - the vents had been reversed and directed where they needed and, if the alarm were any sign, Taylor and Charlie had already reached the roof.

They had little time to worry about it however, before the large metal tube - the entry way to the lower labs - opened, and from it flew a pair of bullets, from a pair of guns held by a man who clearly liked westerns a little too much. Despite their timing, the shots were aimed, just a little too wide and to the left - enough to scar their masks, but leave them unharmed.

The shots served two purposes - the first to provide enough delay and distraction to allow the occupant to take cover behind a heavy metal desk; and the second to serve as a warning, for the two shots were almost in almost precisely the same local on both masks. From behind the desk, a voice rang out - thick with a Texas accent that seemed more artificial then real, as though it were practiced for hours on end. "I suggest y'all be gettin out'a here, cause ya done been made. I ain't got no grudge 'gainst ya, being a runner myself, but I rather like my paycheck the way it is - big and fat like a Texas steak."

image

On seeing the summoning bleed, Nik quickly brought up a matrix window, before firing a quick mental text to Rodrigo and Wulf.
Red alert guys, we have a summoner inside the building, and he's working his mojo right now.
Now cloaked, he unpacked his rifle and hooked it up to his targeting visuals - he'd have a clearer view of what was going on through the smoke and chaos that way. But would that be enough?
He quickly ran through his mental grimoire before settling on the ideal spell; Clairvoyance.
After snapping his fingers, he gripped thin air, concentrating the invisible spell into his palm and flung, shooting the mental ball of perception into the Kilmer grounds. With any luck he'd get a read on whatever asshole had drawn a bead on him.

A message flashed in front of Wulf's eyes:Red alert guys, we have a summoner inside the building, and he's working his mojo right now.

He shifted his perception to the Astral for a split-second, and saw the glow from within the building. He sent a message back:

You've got the cyber-arm guy pointing at you down here, inside the guard post. Get out or get stuck in, I don't have enough firepower on this bike to take 'em down.

He then sent another message Rodrigo/Venaticus:
How long you thinking it's going to be? We've got their elites out here, and I'm going to have to bug out either way pretty soon. Get done and get out.

He sped around the compound, using every bit of cover to his advantage, keeping the chaos in full swing. One of the heavy armor guards wasn't far enough in cover and had his arm wrenched out by the Fenris, the snap of bones breaking evident over the roar of the machine guns and engine. A bit of fluid leaked out from the bicep area as well, must be a part of the guard's upgrades.

He sent another message to Nik:
One down, on the ground, if you can keep these guys down, we can get out of here without killing anymore of 'em. Do something Lone Star.

Charlie thanked his luck as he just reached cover as the first of the welcoming party reached the roof. But as he saw the glowing eyes, Marlowe's heart sank. This weren't the scrubs Taylor knocked out with her neurotoxic cloud of dust at the start of this 'run, oh no. Judging by their group organisation, they might have had a little more training than the poor elf whose blood was spattered across the roof. He was no fan of the bulletstorm they unleashed either, as his hat was soon riddled with bullet holes. Damn it, that was from a present from Sami, what I am going to say to her now? She'll go ballistic. His attention was snapped from the thought of his one and only (but crazy.) long-term girlfriend to the situation at hand as a the speakers came to life.

"Hello everyone, Vougner here. Just though you'd like to know that everything's ready to go, I recommend you all find the appropriate headgear for whats about to happen."

Marlowe breathed a sigh of relief, that was Roberts on the intercom, they had took control of the ventilation system and were about to spread the paralysing dust all over the building. That would mean less guards for him to deal with, but these guys would put a long and difficult fight, that much could be sure. He weaved in and out of corner, returning a few shot when he could, aiming not for the head, but the tube of the rebreathers build into their helmets. If Lady Luck would again grace him, all Charlie had to do was hold the line, disabling a few rebreathers, until backup arrived or the order was given to bail out of there. Marlowe's sanl again when he realised that the delicious bonus for this job was out of reach, this firefight being far from discrete.

"Better release the gas and quickly," Charlie said through the communicator, "Got a whole load of wasps here with a sharp sting, you guys might have alerted the nest."

Charlie stopped for a quick breather. In another time, he would have cursed how ridiculous he looked with a holey fedora and gas mask combo, or get distressed about the bonus. But this was different. Marlowe's life was far more valuable to him than a farce of fashion or even the hefty bonus. He hoped, no prayed, as he got into the rhythm of ducking into cover, taking aim and returning fire, that he would survive this day.

Clay hadn't noticed the deafening silence as he guided the cabinets down the loading ramp of he delivery truck, he hadn't noticed it when he guided them nearer the freight elevators, but when he had a moment to think, the lack of activity in the shipping department concerned him greatly.

Well, this can't be good, thought Clay. The steady beat of what sounded like approaching metal steps grew louder, removing the runner's attention from the furnishings on the handcarts and towards the source of the sound. "Yo, Fin. Time to gear up. I think we got ourselves some company."

Finwe noticed how empty the parking lot was. It was also strangely quite something which wasn't an good sign. Still it could just be him being a bit paranoid due to the scale of the mission. "Yo, Fin. Time to gear up. I think we got ourselves some company."

Finwe used his Astral vision to see that something was wrong. "It seems that they are on to us. Or at least something is wrong." Finwe quickly slipped into his armor and armed himself with his weapons. Finwe stepped out of the truck ready to enter the fight. "So Clay are we going to try and sneak, or are we going in guns blazing?" Finwe knew that sneaking wasn't the best choice. Considering that they would be waiting for them. And neither of them as far as he knew had much experience with sneaking.

One down, on the ground, if you can keep these guys down, we can get out of here without killing anymore of 'em. Do something Lone Star.

Nik grimaced before sighting his rifle. There were more than a few guards running around, so he was spoilt for choice. A movement caught his eye - a man taking aim on Wulf. He popped off a shot downing the poor fellow, probably for good.

He responded quickly, most of his concentration spent on maintaining the clairvoyance ball and sighting targets.

You think I'd let you guys get hemmed in and cacked? I got your back fur-boy.

Now if only he could get a read on the 'samurai... he tried to move the "ball" into a location where he could better see the guard post.

The air was full of poison, carried away in a tempest of wind. Taylor's body seemed to move on it's own, the powerful thorax motor guiding a rhythmic beat, a dance of wings.

Marlowe's warning came only moments before the first shots. She heard them rushing to respond- not footsteps or armor clanking, but the high-pitched sounds human's can't hear- the ultrasonic squeal of their radios, the subtle rings of their keys. The roar of gunfire reverberated down the vent. Immediately, Taylor flipped onto the vertical surface and began to ascend towards the light of the roof.

She didn't get far. As the pitched firefight was underway, one of the troops turned his head to look down the opening and set eyes upon a huge creature- a moth with a twelve foot wingspan. Taylor saw him at the same time. Without pause, the man lifted his gun to the cabled barrier and opened fire.

Taylor let go. She simply fell down the drop, letting the air flow past. Bullets ripped through her, making holes in the spreading wings that had slowed her fall. She landed softly with tattered wings, scuttling under the linked vent of the chamber.

image

In thought-speak she yelled to Charlie, but knew not to distract him.

Roberts first thought was Clint Eastwood, his second was of the tear in his mask.

In a few minutes Taylors gas would spread across the building, with any luck the runners stetson didn't function as a gas-mask. Instantly, his eyes surveyed the situation. Sebastian was to his left, still looking confused at the mans appearance, beyond him was the crate. With one fluid motion, Roberts drew his Novastar and fired at shot the the table, forcing the Texans head down. He then jumped to the left, grabbing Sebastian as he did so, and rolled into the cover of the crate. Once safe, he pulled the Sasquatch off his back and switched it to shotgun setting.

"Sorry 'Partner'" He shouted out, voice think with sarcasm and mocking "But unless that paycheck goes to me, I'll be staying right here"

Dust particles floated in the air as bullet whizzed past. If the scene was in slow motion, you could almost say that it was somehow beautiful. More of the neurotoxic cloud spewed forth from the corroded vent on the roof, rising from beneath the helipad with the help of the expelled air, giving the impression of snow. If the scene was in slow-motion, one could say it was somewhat beautiful. Meanwhile, in real-time, Charlie had a battalion of elite guards to deal with. Peek out of cover, take aim, return fire. Marlowe had settled into a steady rhythm as he held his ground. Things were looking optimistic though, Sebastian and Roberts had come through, the ventilation system reprogrammed to spread Taylor's neurotoxin everywhere in the building.

Unless the laser sight was totally inaccurate, he had busted some of the goons' intake tubes on their own little closed circuit breathing apparatus. Well, there wasn't much for him to do here, so Charlie figured he would score some skill-shots. Pleased with himself, he waited for a while behind cover only to find the federo well and truly shredded. Mourning the fedora, Marlowe cast it away in a manner almost like a Viking funeral, just with more bullets and less pyrotechnics. Suddenly he heard a scream, amplified with the distinct echo of thought-speak. He looked up to find Taylor floating downwards, wings shredded almost as much as his beloved hat.

"What the hell are you doing Taylor?" He said through clenched teeth, "Get outta here, while you still can."

Charlie knew that the Insect Shaman had her eccentricities, but those were simply babbling crytic nonsense, trying to sound somewhat mystic and generally being an utter weirdo. Not flying into a hailstorm of bullets head first. She was a headstrong girl, but this was taking it to the extreme. What did she seek to accomplish? What is she planning? Was it just a mistake? Marlowe though on it a while, while going through the motions of the firefight. Maybe it was just that she was a young girl who had filled her head with shamanistic mumbo-jumbo in an effort to sound more grown-up and left little space for common sense. But Charlie didn't like simple generalisations like that, mainly because they're mostly not true, bringing false security only to the ignorant. Take this group of 'runners, perfect example. They hatch a plan, do the groundwork, etc and everything's dandy. Then they catch onto us...

"Come on, princess," Charlie mumbled, "Get up and out of there."

With a swift single motion, Roberts had taken a random shot at the cowboy reject, then proceeded to grab Sebastian, and the pair of them landed behind the cover of their weapons crate. He felt a brief sigh of relief, but also annoyance that they were detected; that the group had essentially failed in doing things discreetly. But he also realised that this was a two on one fight, they could easily take this guy down; however, he wanted to do things a little different.

"Nice move Roberts, and quick thinking too." He said to Roberts quietly, who was still in the guise of Vougner at this point, and hopefully out of the cowboy's hearing range. Sebastian then began looking around the room, seeing if there was anyway of a resolution to their current predicament. Upon looking at the windows, he found some sort of inspiration, and went back to his hacking program.

"Roberts, keep him talking, I think I have an idea, but I'll need a little time to pull it off." Sebastian then pulled out of the maintenance access, and began searching for something.

Novatech - Offices

From behind cover, it was difficult to see what the offending cowboy was attempting. Aside from the occasional shot over cover, he remained hidden in cover, keeping the pair at bay. It was a strange choice of action; focusing more on safety and pushing the pair back then trying to actually stop them. After several rounds were exchanged, and the battle became quiet, the enemy Texan finally spoke up, his accent still thick, but sounding more artificial.

"Looks like we got a regular standoff on our hands... Shame ya won't just leave; I'a preferred this end'n clean like. I do have one suggestion for ya though - one runner to another an'all - I might not be given ya my paycheck, but I wouldn't suggest standing right there." he said. The meaning of the words didn't become readily apparent until the flash-bang fell over Robert's cover, nano-seconds after the elevator behind the lone gunman opened once more, and a small group of scientists bolted freely toward the stairs.

Novatech - Roof

As Charlie's shots tore through the enemy's masks, they quickly came to a halt: paralyzed, yet stuck in the standing position by their heavy armor. Still no sound of anger or agony or concern came from the group. Whoever they were, they were deadly efficient and clearly used to heavy losses.

Though they had effectively immobilized the enemy moth, no cheer of success rose from the ranks of armored soldiers. Instead, only the ear-shaking sound of bullets sounded. Thinking the threat of the bug dealt with, they turned their full attention to the formerly fedora-adorned Charlie, pouring rounds from their guns with reckless abandon; no emotion visible through their masks.

Pushing forward, they mad their way toward the VTOL pad, trying to reclaim the highest ground in the building.

image

Novatech - Shipping Bay

As Finwe switched to Astral vision, it quickly became clear that something was terribly wrong. First, the astral plane around them was dead of life. There was no sign of anything biological; even the insects crawling on the ground had abandoned the dock in favor of much safer grounds. The astral plane was positively filled with a miasma of... wrongness; a feeling that wanted to push any creature of any sense away from the location at the greatest speed.

Finwe didn't have a chance to really think about it however, as a large corrupted aura approached them from the same direction as the metal-on-metal noise. It was only seconds later that a massive form, the size of their truck, pushed into the area, cracking the cement where it stood, breaking walls as it walked. As it entered, and came into sight, the unnatural aura became thick; so thick the astral perception became unnecessary to feel it.

image

It turned to the group, the metal of its form gleaming and reflecting the light around it in a way that was truly disturbing to the eye, and it let loose a horrible moaning howl, that chilled to the bone; particularly Finwe who had heard a similar sound once before when his contact disappeared.

Despite all this, Clay could not help but notice a familiarity in the gleam off the horrible machine; the reason for his deja vu on the tip of his mind but inaccessible.

Kilmer Archive - Inside

As Venaticus stared on, the summoning circle grew larger and larger, the flames of the hole in reality licking at and scaring the floor around them. Beside him, one of the plants that brought life to the lobby burst into flames; unable to withstand the heat any longer. With a mighty roar, the beast broke free of his holding and into the material world. As it did, the ratish mage had a look of triumph for only a second, before it vanished into confusion and fear, and another second later flames as the summon became truly free.

image

Venaticus had but a second to doge to the side as the summon ripped past him, destroying everything in it's path. An uncontrolled summon was never something to be desired, but at least it provided one good: they wouldn't need to worry about the building after today.

Kilmer Archive - Outside

Things were looking good. The guards were falling one-by-one, pushed back toward the guard station by Wulf's running riding-and-gunning. It was only a matter of time before they regrouped, rounded up by their cyber-armed leader into a more organized assault; but their ally was inside, Nik had regained his sniper nest, and Wulf still had his bike. Their only worry was the summoner.

And then, their only worry was the summon, as the beast crashed free of the facility, looking only to destroy. Unfortunately, with all his fur, and atop a vehicle filled with combustible liquids, Wulf must have looked particularly flammable for, with a vicious grin, the spirit burst forward, intent on burning the elf-kin alive. A pair of guards, caught in the path, served as proof of the summons power as the pair turned to ash with the spirit's passing; only making him glow brighter.

Using the fire as a distraction, the metal armed man moved from cover, raised his cyber-arm, and fired his hand-mounted laser toward where he believed Nik to be; Nik's only luck being the cyberarmed man's information being off, causing the enemy to miss Nik by a wide margin.

Silver-linings I suppose.

Roberts turned, time slowed, the grenade came sailing over his desk and landed at his feet. Before it blew his subconscious sent a quick message

Why does a cowboy carry flash-bangs?

Then it went off.

He was blind. Flash-bangs tend to do that. Silently he cursed himself for leaving his shades at home, this wasn't meant to of happened. Recoiling from cover he fired several stray shots hopping to keep the Texan down. He still wasn't sure of the mans purpose, but anyone who threw a grenade at him deserved a little one on one chat. Thankfully the grenades effect were short lived, Roberts quickly glanced over his cover, taking a look at the current situation.

Novatech - Office

As the effects of the grenade wore off, Roberts was able to take stock of the situation. The scientists had, in the intervening time, crossed half the room. The fastest of them had reached the stairs and were staring down at something - their sleeves to their mouths for some reason. These first few quickly turned and fled upstairs and out of sight. All of this seemed less important than another sight however; that of a splash of blood on the elevator door opposite the cowboy's previous location.

Apparently the "spray and pray" philosophy had worked, if only in part.

Venaticus was analyzing the situation and before he could act upon the summoner, he set himself on fire and out went a summoned fire beast. Venaticus barely dodged the summon and began bolting towards his objective. He did it in a way that would seem panicked in the "I just saw someone pull a fire demon from hades" sort of way. None of the other guards gave him trouble as Venaticus ran to the other side of the building, ignoring signs after signs and he quickly found an executive office.

Alright, just fumble with the SIN a bit and seem more panicked...why do humans have to be so dramatic all the time? Makes things so much more difficult.

The office had a door and while it normally would be locked, NeoNET guard SINs work on all doors in their subsidiaries and the portal opened wide. Venaticus hopped in, in case someone was inside and began breathing heavily. He looked up to see if anyone had seen his spectacle.

Nik grinned. He had a bead on the bastard now.
He swung his rifle around and fired on the location the laser had come from. Hopefully that'd be enough but a good sniper kept on the move. Couldn't get paid if you were sucking air through a hole in your head.

He moved further down the building, hoping that his chamo would mask his movement somewhat, scanning the battlefield.
"Oh christ" he muttered.
A fucking fire spirit. An unbound fire spirit, from the looks of things. Heading straight for Wulf. Nik's job was to keep fire off of the furry so he squeezed off another shot, landing it on the spirit's shoulder.
Wouldn't do much but hopefully should catch its attention.

Now for the hard part. Nik hated conjuring with a passion, but Mandrake had put him through the training anyway, on the off-chance that a situation such as this would arrive. There was only one thing to do here - attempt to banish it. Provided it was close enough, he'd be able to start. Only thing was, it would notice, and not only would it try to resist, but it would probably end up making tracks right for him.

But that was just one of the risk of the job.
Nik searched his brain for the incantation, and started speaking.

With all the chaos that was going on, Sebastian hadn't noticed the flash-bang being lobbed by the cowboy. Fortunately he hadn't been looking directly at it; but still suffered minor blast back, and was temporarily blinded, although not as much as Roberts was, who was wiping his eyes for several seconds after the flash was gone. It did however give him enough time to work his way into the lighting and blind controls for the office. A satisfied smile appeared underneath his helmet as he managed to do something in this now partially botched stealth mission.

"Now you see me... now you don't." Sebastian said, switching to a quiet, and slightly more menacing tone half-way through. His minor hack had caused the lights to go out and the blinds closed, plunging the room into darkness for a few brief moments. When the lights came back on, there was no sign of him; but in reality, he had engaged the stealth function of his suit. He then quietly got up from the cover of the crate, and made his way over to the cowboy. Appearing behind his back, Sebastian grabbed the cowboy and put him in a choke hold whilst restraining his arms.

"I wouldn't do anything rash if I were you." Sebastian whispered into the cowboy's ear as he became visible once more.

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