A Shadowrun RP (Game Thread)

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Jacob shrugged as he tried to get a grip on his UCAS uniform. Because of his tall, yet slender body, the size for his outfit was able to fit length, but accommodated a non-existent width. How do these soldiers do anything in something so baggy? More afraid of my clothes falling off than being shot. Tugging his jacket closer to him, the Mechanist looked to the crate the group had stuffed their gear into before arriving. He took up a good portion of it, no way he wasn't going into a place filled with giant bugs with his Ajax.

He also had taken the opportunity to put a few of his smaller drones in his pants, seeing as how he didn't have any ammo to put in them. They ones he kept on his person were just slightly bigger than his fists, so they probably wouldn't attract much attention. As he thought out possible outcomes to the group's plans, a close friend sent a message to his head. I have entered their local network, the bots they have here are almost too simple. Want me to collect them?

Jacob, against his better judgement, visually shook his head. No, if we're going to steal their drones, we should wait until either the distraction starts or we're near the dropship, which ever comes first. Regardless, get your kids ready, I'd rather they not use those against us if we can stop them.

I've already spread my web, the drones are yours whenever you want them.

'UCAS uniforms are sooo boring...' Ziggy thought as he stretched in the van. At least he still had Riley in his hands, a very angry Riley but a Riley nevertheless. A constant stream of flame mail was flooding in his commlink. So annoying. He might as well delete all of the messages, but a few specks of gold within the mud would be lost, so he left it. Ziggy began scratching his head, his hair ruined by the UCAS helmet he had been forced to wear. But it was a matter of life and death, so he let it slide. And there was another thing. If they didn't start the operation soon, he would probably go stir-crazy. Impatience eminated from his being and it looked to others that he had ants in his pants or something. "Are we there yet? Can we start yet?" Ziggy muttered in a sing-song voice.

Andrew fiddled with the Lonestar uniform he put over his suit. The novelty of being protected from chemical weapons, biological weapons, and radiation was beginning to be outweighed by how uncomfortable his skin would become by the end of the job. He fiddled with his rucksack again, he kept getting the feeling that if he didn't keep checking it, it would disappear by the time he needed it. He looked around the truck and pulled his baseball hat on, to complete the disguise as they pulled through the checkpoint.

Ziggy began twitching "Are we there yet? Can we start yet?"

Andrew looked at his bracer PC and a map flooded his vision, they were almost there. He willed the map away and sent a sprite to check files on the base, looking for anything relevant.

He looked at Ziggy "Are you always like this?"

"Are you always like this?"

Ziggy just stopped and stared out of the window, waiting for the UCAS airbase to reveal itself. But one remark set him off again. This was boring, too boring. Flash paks and shock gloves were all he had, well, in terms of weapons anyway. Ziggy should have brought along something to amuse himself. Even with amusements ever available on the Matrix, after the encounter with the singing elf, he didn't exactly feel like diving into virtual reality any time soon. Which left him bored. His reply was quick.

"Yes, no, yes, yes, no." Ziggy said in a singsong voice and then sighed, "Waiting is always so booooorrrring."

"Waiting is always so booooorrrring."

"Well you don't have to wait. You could just run out there and get shot, wouldn't mind me." Blue said. He kept his eyes glued to runway, where some of the crew was washing the plane down. It definitely wasn't the only plane here but it was the one that was the only one out there at the moment.

"So... you wanna go up to them and ask for the keys?" Blue asked the group.

Arsenal pulled to a stop not far from the desired plane. She turned the vehicle off and turned to the small army of hackers in the back. "Geist, Mechanist, Venaticus: you think you can get into their computer network without drawing attention?" she asked, though it was meant more as an order. "I'll need you to send the plane's pilot and guards a message clearing us Bug City passage. Take as much time as you need, but keep it quiet." she finished, giving them the go ahead.

"Richard; as the resident mage, do you think you can keep an eye out for the signs of bad mojo? I don't want to be ambushed by a fire spirit anytime soon. What more, if we are ambushed, call in your backup and do what you can to get us aboard that plane" she said, turning to the next of the team. "Jade; if the plan goes to hell, do what you do best and get this van on the plane by any means necessary." she added, emphasizing that if - and more likely when - the plan blew up in their face, she'd be their saving grace. "Blue, Rogue Knight: keep an eye out with Richard - and if the drek hits the fan - you're our backup plan. Cover Jade as she gets this rig aboard and gets the plane in the air." she said, finishing up with most of the team.

All that was left was Ziggy. "Ziggy - you're coming with me. Lets see if that silver tongue of yours can get us on board without the bullets and spells." After giving the pseudo-orders, Arsenal looked at the group and said. "If anything happens, Jade's in charge. Any questions?" she asked, settling back into her role as a UCAS commando... sort of.

When all the questions and comments were clear, she got out of the APC and walked in full military step toward the plane and it's guards. She had the credentials to get them aboard, all she needed to do was fake the orders and sell the story. When she finally reached the guards, she paused her step and waited for the guards to salute, then returned the gesture. "Captain Weinberg, UCAS Seals: requesting permission for team to board."

Arsenal and Ziggy walked from their vehicle through the dark. The runway was outlined in rows of illumination, and the noise was of pressurized water spraying off the metal hull. Forklifts went up and down the ramp, carrying metallic containers while loadmasters stood at the top, directing the units to be stacked.

Outside, others of the aircrew; The navigator, crew chief, flight engineer, flight surgeon and signaller, leaned on the wing, smoking and waiting for clearance. A few of them turned their heads at the ork and elf approaching the aircraft, but none of them paid them any concern. Only one guy went to meet Arsenal and Ziggy. Flight officer, from the look of his patches. He saluted. She said:

"Captain Weinberg, UCAS Seals: requesting permission for team to board."

"Board? But... but we weren't going to land... This plane is loaded with humanitarian aid, Ma'am. Our orders didn't say anything about deployment. Are you sure this is the right one?"

He seemed confused, and turned his back to the two of them, calling someone on his commlink.

"There's a message talking about an 'update to our mission parameter'. They want us to airlift personnel in the CZ along with the supplies."

"What?"

A heated exchange followed. The plane's commanding officer didn't like it, something about the sudden order gave him suspicion. But their names and pictures were all present on his roster, and the woman had been insistent. He wasn't going to defy an order.

But still...

---

The last of the pallets loaded, The ramp leading into the plane was raised shut. Flight crews ran off from around it, while a man with two glowing rods led the plane forward and into position so that it could be cleared for takeoff.

A reverberating sound began to emanate from the spinning engines, the turbines revving themselves up, taking in air and growing louder until there became a low continuous boom. Then, slowly at first, the plane advanced down the runway. It rapidly gained speed until it was careening along, while a torrent of air flowed over and underneath the wings. The inner passage of the craft leaned leaned backwards as the lift took hold and the front of the plane was raised up, the leading wheel leaving the ground. The others followed, and the plane ascended into the night sky.

---

They flew for what felt like a long time. Dark clouds passed all around the plane. The windows and viewports were wet with condensation. Inside, the glow of instrument panels gleamed against the dim light, punctuated by brief flashes of lightning.

In the plane's bay, there were small vibrations from a storage container. One of the bolted rivets began to rotate, twisting outward from the socket and falling to the ground in a tiny clang. The next one followed, then another. Until all the fasteners were unscrewed and the unit slid open.

Like an exquisite butterfly emerging from a cocoon, the stowaway inside pushed her way free. Headfirst, then arms, reaching up and around the top of the unit and swinging herself carefully down to stand among the pallets, stretching out to a sleek and beautiful woman.

A woman, or a machine. Some combination of both. Asian, with dark hair, a body mostly covered by black skintight material and red eyes. She wore a head attachment with two wing-like protrusions, and from these projected transparent HUD lenses that could be lowered over the eyes, or kept up out of the way.

She sniffed the air and her cybereyes, glowing red beneath an inky halo of short hair, sharpened as she studied her surroundings. With slow deliberation, she reached into the container and withdrew her weapon- a black, straight-edge blade a meter and a half long. It was like something that absorbed light. On her lower back was a second, shorter blade of the same technology. Yet another was at her side.

image

Naeko's former life was an elusive memory. As the shadowrunner named Rain, she had performed missions like this with regularity, in service to her Japanese corp masters. In return was all the augmentations she wanted. Then, she felt it. A ghost in the machine. The voice of the AI. It shook her, moved her. It was her new master, her overlord, and she thought of nothing else than how she may serve. She would die for Asclepion, but she was much better at killing for it.

The bay doors were set to open at the back of the plane. Naeko stayed out of sight while the loadmaster and another airman in UCAS flight suits came into view, walking down the hold and performing checks on the containers for airdrop.

If any of the flight crew saw the attack coming, they reacted too slowly to save themselves. The first had scarcely seen the open unit before a Monosword passed through his body. The man took a trembling step to balance himself after the blow, before his upper body slides off along a cut that cleanly bisects his ravaged chest, and the torso falls to the ground, slicking the immediate area with the blood spraying into the air from his exposed innards. The other turned to yell, enough for him to glimpse a swift redirect of the blade into a slash that freed his head from his torso and sent it spinning through the air before hitting the the ground. His beheaded body surged with the shock and fell gracelessly, clipboard falling from out of his hands.

Footsteps enshrouded by the engines, she padded out of the bay and into the fuselage.

Jacob kept himself busy inspecting the three drones he had pulled out of the airfield while the pallets were being loaded. He was initially surprised at how little the crew servicing the aircraft seemed to care, but there was one who was curious enough to ask. Must have been a recent recruit to ask so bluntly, and to be so easily dissuaded by the mention of words like "spy" and "treason". It probably helped that Jacob had the drones take aim at the lad while he spoke. Regardless, there was enough fear instilled to get him from interfering with the takeoff.

"Let's see what parts of the spectrum these little guys can see in..." The Mechanist muttered to himself as he projected a screen in midair, having his Machine Sprite, Tharax, flip through the settings. "Visible, Infrared, X-ray...what the? UV? The hell were these guys used for?"

As he thought about it, a odd-looking, robotic spider appeared on the screen "Irrelevant, you have them now, you can use them however you like."

"True, I guess if I ever want to feel uncomfortable sleeping in a hotel, I can bring these guys along." Jacob clicked the holoprojector off and moved a little in his place to sit down in a meditative pose. "See if you can spin a network for us. I want to see what I can do with their AIs."

Tharax, now speaking directly to his master, obliged. "Don't expect to find much, the only things these guys give any real thought to is tactical maneuvers."

Perhaps we can change that. After sending his response, Jacob let his body go limp, his mind now focused on his new drones.

Blue never thought he would be on his way to Bug City. Every VR mission, every simulation, every mission trained him along with Red, Green, and White to go into Bug City. He still remembered the mission parameters, the objectives, and who would live or who would die. It was all calculated risks since they never sent one single team into Bug City. He would have been their hammer, Red would have been their scalpel, Green would have been their torch, and White would have been everything else. Blue quietly to himself. The irony was overwhelming.

Blue got up to check on his laser rifle, make some calibrations so it wouldn't be absorbed by the shell of the ferocious Mantis Spirits. The plane's engine was so damn loud. Blue could barely hear his steps as he walked to the bay. He shook his leg to wake it from its slumber but on the way there he stopped. Before he walked through the hallway and into the bay something called intuition stopped him from stepping forward. Something was wrong. Earlier he had seen two airman in the back inspecting the cargo but now they were nowhere to be seen. The door to the bay was left ajar and there was no sign of the two going up and down the alleyways of containers. Something was very wrong.

"Who's there?"

A black-clad figure dropped in front of him and brought one of its blades to Blue's throat. Blue forced himself to the side, throwing his body to the side and catching the blade at the side of his neck rather than his jugular but because of the sharpness of the blade, Blue barely felt it. Blue brought his human hand on the side of the blade, forcing it aside. With his cyberhand, he gave the figure a jab. A jab from Blue's cyber hand wasn't as hard as one of his punches but it still had plenty of force. The figure's head snapped back from the blow but she was still far from dead. The figure stepped back into the source of light revealing a scantily-clad ninja. Blue would have shot the ninja then and there but he remembered that shooting a .50 cartridge inside a cargo plane wasn't the smartest of ideas. Even if he hit the target, the round would either bounce around or go right through the hull. Blue drew his High-frequency knife from his pinkie, the blade extending past his middle finger now. He sent an IM to his fellow runners warning of an intruder on the plane.

Intruder. Fuselage. Now.

In the meantime, Blue had fend off this ninja and cowboys and ninjas don't mix.

"Let's dance." Blue gave the ninja another jab but this time with the point of his blade.

After the plane had taken off and the safe altitude was reached Andrew took of the uniform's jacket and cap then pulled on his duster and vest. During the trip he occupied himself playing sprite chess against a primitive AI in his headspace. It felt like it had been hours.

Eventually the cowboy, Blue had gotten up and walked off. A minute later his commlink was feeding his mind a message.

Intruder. Fuselage. Now.

Andrew's mind dropped back into realspace and he pulled his suit's hood up. He grabbed his rucksack and put it on his back, pulled his pistol from it's holster, and began sprinting towards the fuselage.

The sight he witnessed when he arrived there was unexpected. He carefully aimed his pistol and fired three .22 hollowpoint rounds at the woman without thinking beyond seeing a target.

As the plane took off, Billy had found a quite corner to sit. Once the plane had taken off, a feeling Billy hated, and reached a stable altitude, Billy had sent a message to his mentor to call off the distraction, to which his mentor had accepted happily, spent some time cleaning his gun and knife, then falling asleep.

He was awaken by his buzzer. Rubbing his eyes, he grabbed it and opened the IM. What he saw scared him.

Intruder. Fuselage. Now.

The message had come from Blue, so that meant the intruder was on the plane with them. grabbing his gun and knife, he took off towards the fuselage. Using his powers, he managed to speed himself up, reaching the fuselage in a matter of seconds.

Billy reached the fuselage to find Blue fighting some ninja girl, and Andrew firing his pistol. Following Andrew's lead, Billy aimed his uzi and fired a three round burst at the girl, making sure to keep his sights away from Blue.

"Don't you think we should help?" Tharax suddenly popped up in Jacob's headspace as he was busy analyzing the operational data from his new drones.

"Help what?"

"Didn't you get that message from the other runner? I believe we should do something to assist, given our precarious position."

"Oh, that. It's exactly because of our 'precarious situation' that I'm sitting this one out. All I have on me are guns, and robots with even bigger guns. If I helped, it would probably end with a big hole in the plane. Since we're thousands of feet in the air, that wouldn't be good." Even though he wanted to stay out of the fight for now, Jacob used one of the drone's optics to look into the fight through the walls of the dropship.

Tharax's avatar bowed his head in understanding, moving closer to "see" the fight as well. "It looks like they're fighting a cyborg, could lead to...interesting possibilities."

Jacob's head in reality nodded as well as in his head, an odd reflex he hadn't bothered to tame. "Indeed, we'll just have to hope they don't blow it to pieces for now."

Blue jabbed with the point of his blade. She dodged it, and in an instant had brought her sword around and sent it singing through the air. Blue raised his augmented arm up as a shield. The Monoblade cut into it halfway, dissipating electricity from the damaged actuators. He gripped it in his cyberdigits, struck with his other arm and throws it against the metallic container. When she lifts it back, Blue hammered a machine fist into it. The blade shattered in the middle into shards and fragments. He threw himself forward, high frequency blade extended, but the woman had already drawn the knife from her side.

He saw the knife out of his periphery and made a grab for her wrist. It missed. The knife was stuck through his hand and sliced further down into his wrist. In a blur, the blade was drawn cleanly and razed his arm and chest. But Blue retaliated, thrust his high frequency blade and slashed her in the throat.

What emerged from the wound was not blood, but a clear liquid that seemed to gel over and seal the wound as soon as it touched air.

Gunshots echoed. More of the water-like liquid filled the holes and plugged them. She kicked Blue away and turned to face the firer, short sword in hand, when another runner blasted an Uzi. The bullets deflected off the hull, ricocheting around the plane toward friend and foe alike. The assailant reached him and cut his gun in half.

Through all this, the rest of the aircrew came running the moment they heard the gunshots. They came to a scene of battle, saw the cybernetic attacker of their plane, and ran screaming to the pilot.

A torrent of air surged through the plane, a gale that bombarded the runners when the bay opening was released.

It all happened so fast. One second, Billy had been firing at the ninja chick, the next, Blue was missing a hand, the bitch hadn't suffered any damage, and she had just sliced his uzi in half. Kesin jumped away from her follow up strikes, dropped the now useless weapon, and drew his knife. A couple of crewmen had arrived, but quickly fled, screaming.

"Well, nice to see that we've got a bunch of sissies as allies." he shouted

I need to get her off this ship, before she sends it to the ground

At that moment, the bay door opened up, nearly throwing Billy to the ground. Oddly enough, he seemed happy about that.

That's just what I needed

Billy rolled backwards, then activated his adept powers, boosting both his speed and strength by a large amount. He stood up, balanced himself, then ran to the back wall of the bay. Taking a deep breath, he surged forward towards the ninja, knife in hand. However, instead of using the knife, Billy swung with his empty hand, aiming a powerful punch right at the things midsection.

Arsenal had been sitting with the group's crate, her eyes closed, focusing on the mission ahead of her. Bug City wasn't a good place to be, and focusing on the matter at hand seemed a good idea. She went over in her mind the dozens of pieces of information they would need to remember to survive. It was because of this focus - and the desire to conserve energy - that she'd turned her communicator off, and missed the message.

Fortuitously, though she'd missed the message, her senses had remained alert. When she heard the sounds of gunfire reverberate through the plane, she quickly, slipped down to one knee behind cover and drew her handgun. Taking stock of the situation, she put her helmet on and activated her comm-link.

"Intruder. Fuselage. Now." it said, giving her an idea of what was going on. Before she could react further however, the bay door began to open. Unsecured materials in the bay were pulled out almost immediately, and even those items secured were pulled as far as their restraints could handle before coming to a violent stop. Arsenal grabbed onto the secured crate with her free hand, thankful for the strength augmentation her suit provided.

Realizing she couldn't aid them in the current situation, she quickly stowed her gun and began looking for the bay-door controls, hoping to close the breech before the plane crashed or it's occupants suffocated.

What the fuck... gel... nanites?

Andrew began pulling back when the "woman" began to approach him. Then the adept opened fire with an Uzi, a beginners mistake considering the environment. The "woman" cut it in half after the shots missed and began bouncing. Then the bay door opened.

The blast knocked Andrew down and he quickly realized what was happening. He holstered his pistol and gripped for something to hold onto while looking for something to knock the bitch out of the plane. Then the adept vaulted into her at full speed.

Blue hit the wall but he got up as quickly as he was knocked down with the exception of his cybernetic arm. It struggled to be raised after the damage the ninja had done to his arm. Sparks and dissipated electricity came out of his arm but he was glad that it wasn't blood. Blue ducked his head as a burst of bullets ricocheted all over the room, nearly killing him then the bay doors opened. Blue struggled to find something to hang onto as the winds try to drag him into oblivion. He hit his human inside a crevice in the wall and he hung on to dear life as he watched one of his fellow runners dart towards the attacker.

"Damn ninjas!" Blue swore as the gale tore at them.

The entire rear of the hold was open, the ramp lowered away, clouds and sky whipping past at incredible speed. The battle was raging all over the bay. There had been the AI's agents trying to stop the runners, and they'd ended up with a stowaway.

Sonya raised her pistol to the cyborg, the shots loud even over the raging winds that spun past the soaring plane. Clear liquid was exposed, augmented blood, gelling the wound. The weapon was ineffective, The cyborg's focus unchanged. She would try for a head shot... but for the fact that they were on a moving plane, one that shook and wavered; without a scope, how was she supposed to target, let alone hit?

All that passed through her mind in a moment and then she was moving, past the stacked crates, dodging the short sword. A storm of blows followed, kicking at each other, until the ninja woman seized Sonya's throat, augmented hand moving faster and stronger than she could have escaped. Her feet left the floor, the sniper woman struggling frantically, teeth clenched.

And then she was thrown. The assailant threw her backwards, sending her flying out at the passing stream of atmosphere, plunging into the sky.

Richard Sinclair used one of his incredible bursts of speed and barreled his fist into her waist, powering her away. She was knocked away, almost off the ramp, but recovered. The adept continued his onslaught, fueled by his magic for blow after blow. She resisted the barreling adept and they grappled into the floor.

A few running steps and Arsenal was looking down at a simple control panel, power switch, a dial for entering approximate weight, buttons for back and forth, a tiny readout screen, an emergency shutoff. The bay doors had been opened from the cockpit, but she was scanning for some way of overriding it locally. It was somewhere on the panel, but in the havoc she couldn't find it. What she saw instead was the controls for the hydraulic rail. Used to push heavy vehicles out of the plane, to be deployed.

Arsenal hit the power switch, twisting the weight dial to the maximum limit, just under three tons. She shot a look at them, locked in combat. Richard was badly bleeding from a monosword to the back, and she saw that the assailant it was only a step or two from being in the direct path of the platform. Her hand hovered over the switch that would move it forward, that should send it down the hold. With the weight of the storage containers and the three ton rail, it would mow the woman down like a blade of grass. Almost... almost.. . now! When Richard knocked her almost directly on the track, Arsenal punched the button - and nothing happened, nothing at all. Shit! She fumbled for the power switch again, maybe she hadn't turned it on - and she saw what was on the little readout screen. The simple instructions read, "Charging for load."

It was then that she felt the floor slanting. Unmistakably- the plane was ascending, the bay was beginning to incline. First 20 degrees, then 40. The door between the passenger deck and the cargo hold slammed shut.

My God, Arsenal thought. Those maniacs are going to eject us.

The cyborg was still almost directly along the track. They might not get a better shot, because if the assailant got to Arsenal before the platform was charged, she'd be trapped between the wall and the storage crates. And if she moved to evade, and was in the open when the units were released, it would be a trip back to the surface, hitting the ground at terminal velocity.

The whole row of containers shot out the ramp. The impact carried the attacker along and then her and the units were gone. But at the last second her hands caught the lip of the ramp, swinging under outstretched arms and looking forward under the plane's fuselage belly as the craft forced its way up into the air. Richard Sinclair went with her, all his weight was taken by his fingers, hooked in their gloves over the edge of the ramp door. His arms ached. Clouds passed under his feet. I'm hanging onto the goddamn ramp!

I'm hanging onto the goddamn ramp!

Truer words could not have been spoken at the moment. Richard was hanging by his fingers off the edge of the ship. He barely remembered how he ended up in the situation. One second, he had managed to nearly throw the cyborg out of the plane, despite the monosword wound in his back, which was beginning to throb, much like his arms were. Next, both of them had been thrown out of the plane, though Billy was able to grab onto the ledge. Though his knife had fallen off the plane, and he was unable to catch it.

Weeelll...there goes my last weapon.

Now he was hanging on for dear life. His magic was beginning to wane and he wasn't sure if he would have the strength necessary to haul himself up. He did manage, however, to at least get more of his hands onto the ledge, so as to give himself some extra time.

"Help!" He called out, hoping someone in the craft could haul him up.

Don't look down Billy, don't look down He looked down, his head shooting back up when he saw the drop he could expect. Why the fuck did you look down?!

As Billy began to look up, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. Turning his head towards the object in question, he noticed the cyborg hanging not to far from where he was.

"Guys..." he called, his voice getting panicky, "Hurry!"

The room began to shift upwards, the plane was rising further in the sky either trying to kill the ninja or them. His mangled arm hung down his side, towards the bay doors. Blue's inability to move his damaged arm escalated the issue that one of the runners was close by, calling out for him. The sound was immense and he only read his lips, crying out for help. Blue looked around, desperate for something to use to help him. Around him things were either flying or dangling in the gusts of wind. To his left, Blue spotted a shimmering case labelled "In case of fire". Blue didn't read the rest as he moved closer to it, inching by grabbing walls, or panels. When he reached it, he kicked in the glass which sent shards through the cargo door and into the open air. With Blue's feet, he felt the long hose meant to put out fires on board the plane. He wriggled it free and the hose unraveled as it met the air. It extended to the runner nearby, dangling for his life.

As she was thrown from the back of the plane, Arsenal reached out with her hands trying to grab anything to save herself from the unforgiving gravitational pull of the ground below her. Her hands slipped on the smooth surface of the hatch as she was pulled back. She'd almost given up and accepted her death when she saw the metal tubes of the hydraulic assembly that opened and closed the doorway. Reacting on instinct, her left hand snagged the large pipes, saving her from certain oblivion. She heard a crack as she caught it, suggesting it wasn't designed to support her armored, orcish weight, but then she couldn't be certain that was the case given the metal boxes flying from the back of the plane.

Assuming the hydraulics held, she knew the servos in her suit wouldn't give way to the pull of earth and therefore he wouldn't fall to her death. As the adrenaline wore off, she began to assess the situation and look for a way back into the plane. Not far from her, she could see Billy hanging for dear life as well. "Guys...Hurry!" he called out as he started to panic. Fortuitously for her, part of the problems was solved when a figure she couldn't make out threw a hose toward Billy in an attempt to save them.

Her thoughts clear, Arsenal made her plan and started working toward it. Extending the blade of her right arm, she punched through the back of the plane door and tarted working her way toward the hose and her other companion. One-by-one, she cut into the ramp and pulled herself closer, until she reached the hose. This was the hard part. Sending a signal into her suit, she activated the injection system. She felt the pressure on the back of her neck a moment later, and the flood of chemical cocktail a second after that. With her strength enhanced - and knowing she'd have to act quickly before the side effects of the K-10 kicked in - she pulled one of her hands free of the ramp and grabbed hold of the hose. She wrapped it around her other hand and gripped it in said hand to pin it, then retracted the blade that pinned her to the ramp.

She fell back from the location of the hose as gravity finally took control. As he reached Billy's location, she slammed her blade into the ramp once more, catching her hold once more. Turning her head until she could see Billy, she screamed "GRAB HOLD!", her face red and her eyes bulging from a combination of exertion and rage. She wasn't going to say it twice.

Well...I guess this is it.

Billy could feel his arms weakening as the plane's ascent got steeper and steeper, any second now he would lose his grip and fall to the earth below. Hell, even if he didn't fall, the cyborg nearby would turn him into mincemeat in a few seconds flat. Billy was ready to go, when suddenly, he found a second chance at life.

The chance came as a long hose that one of the other Shadowrunners had uncoiled and thrown from the plane. If he could reach it, it would put more distance between the cyborg, but it'd be a risk. Luckily, before he could jump, the orc, Arsenal, came sliding down the ramp, using the hose to stop herself. She then slid closer to Billy. Her face was red and her eyes look like they were about to come out of their sockets.

"GRAB HOLD!"

She didn't need to tell Billy twice, within seconds he had let go of the ramp and had grabbed onto the hose coiled around her hand, lifting himself up onto the plane with all his might.

"Thank you!" he shouted to her, than quickly grabbed onto the first stationary object he could find, hanging on for dear life. He noticed Blue further up, and shouted up to him.

"The cyborg's hanging onto the ramp!"

"The cyborg's hanging onto the ramp!"

"What you do want me to do about it?!" Blue yelled as he struggled to keep himself from being sucked out into the atmosphere and falling to his death. Then an idea popped up in his head. It wasn't his best idea but the only idea he had concerning in dealing with the stowaway. Unless he dealt with her, he was sure that the crew wouldn't stop ascending or would they be allowed a safe moment. To be safe, he sent one of the runners inside a message.

TELL THOSE LUNATICS TO LEVEL THE PLANE

With that sent, he looked to his fellow runners dangling on the hose.

"Hey! You fellas' got any room for one more?!" Blue yelled. "I have an idea to get rid of our little ninja. It's not a perfect idea but the only idea I got!"

"Hey! You fellas' got any room for one more?!" Blue yelled over the rushing air. Arsenal didn't really feel like letting another climb on top of her, particularly given her less than rational state of mind. She was currently thinking about throwing the cyborg out the back of the plane if only because she could. But then he said something she liked. "I have an idea to get rid of our little ninja. It's not a perfect idea but the only idea I got!"

She'd forgotten about the Ninja bitch. She quickly decided to amend her plan to throw her out the back of the plane as she refocused her rage at the intruder. Grudgingly, her intelligent side figured a second plan to deal with the ninja couldn't hurt - only be less fun. Grunting, she started cutting her way toward Blue. By the time she arrived, she couldn't really recall how to say the words "get on", so she merely screamed at the cyborg and waited for him to get on.

Through the drug fueled haze she determined they would be buying her a lot of drinks when this was over for all the work she was doing.

Arsenal took up Blue on her, and gripping with the suit with Richard and Blue hanging on, began working her way back up. Over the commlink, the cowboy sent a message to the runners still in the flight deck.

TELL THOSE LUNATICS TO LEVEL THE PLANE

Moments later, there was shouting over the commlink, nearly drowned out by the roaring winds.

"I'll point her straight up; I swear it!". More shouting. After a few seconds there were loud bangs, but there was no way of telling from who or what.

Then, all hell broke loose.

The ascending plane took a sudden, violent dive. Those aboard were briefly weightless and then hurtled forward, crashing headlong onto the floor. The aircraft pitched and yawed, and swung into a barrel roll. Men were tossed around the cabin, colliding with the walls and each other. The Cowboy, Ork, and Adept were sent sprawling. They tumbled around the bay and ploughed into the interior by the plane's turbulent motion.

Again it went into a spin. The door out of the bay went clanging open from the runners thrown against it. Jade slid across the steel floor and was launched out the back. The cyborg woman was lifted up in an arc, this time soaring into the air and through the clouds below.

Arsenal seized the ramp, flat against it like a gecko and driving her blade into it. The hose still flapped around the bay. The weight and power of her suit was shearing the metal. Her muscles were blazing from the exertion, veins jutting from every inch of her body, eyes glaring from the strain while the hurricane on air blew past her. Until at last the suit systems could take no more, and still holding on to each other, they were cast out into the night sky.

In an instant, Blue and the rest of his crew were cast out into the night sky. Everything swirled around him but the ground seemed to stay in place albeit gradually getting bigger the second he was out. The wind deafened him, the roar made it nearly impossible to hear what anyone was saying to him but the feeling was all the same and it was getting cast out into the open sky. Blue's arm still had a hard time functioning and now served as dead weight until he could spruce it up. He wondered if he still had his tools then that's when it hit him.

The Bubbles!

Blue fished around his pockets for the little devices G.O.D gave them. It wasn't until in a few seconds that he found them inside his coat pocket. At the right moment, he decided that it was now or never and activated it hoping that they would work.

Well crap...

Within moments of being back on the ship, Billy was back out in the night sky. Only this time there was no plane to grab onto. He could see the cowboy and the orc falling not too far below him. He didn't know where the cyborg girl was, but he honestly didn't care. In fact, he wouldn't mind if she had stayed on the ship and killed every bastard on there, she'd save him the trouble for later.

However, at the current moment, there were more important things at hand than his plans for that crew. For example, trying to not turn into a pancake on impact. A million ideas floated through his head in a second. Most of them involved either using the orc to break his fall, or aiming for something soft, though he couldn't honestly see anything soft below him. Luckily, an even better plan arose when Billy noticed the cowboy pull something out of his pocket. That's when it hit him.

We still have the bubbles!

Looking through his pocket, Billy was able to pull out his bubble. Waiting for just the right moment to arise, he activated it, hoping beyond hope that it would work.

As Arsenal fell from the plane, she knew there was nothing she could do. Her armor was too heavy for a proper parachute even if they had one and to top it all off, there were three of them in the sky - far too much for their abilities. Her only real hope was that her suit and the drugs in her system would buffer the damage enough to keep her alive - not much of a hope.

She was about to surrender to her fate when she saw Billy and Blue working their way through their pockets. She hadn't an idea what they hoped to find, but she was curious enough to pay attention. It all became clear when blue pulled the small device the G.O.D. gave them out of his pocket and activated it, bringing a bubble to life around him. Understanding what he was up to, she reached over to Billy and grabbed hold of him tightly as he activated the bubble. Unlike her compatriots, her suit lacked useful pockets for such devices, so her supply was tucked away inside her armor where she couldn't reach it.

Hopefully, the bubble could handle the weight of two people.

"Do you want to skydive before you die?"


The runners sailed down towards the earth in freefall. It took only seconds for them to reach terminal velocity. The temperature had dropped, the cold high-altitude air forcing against them, blowing into their ears and noses. They went careening through the clouds until the lights of the city became visible below, tiny points on a vast plane of darkness. It was like falling forever, even though it was happening very quickly.

Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are. They would die instantly. They wouldn't even feel it. Their lives flashed before their eyes.

Every thousand years
This metal sphere
Ten times the size of Jupiter
Floats just a few yards past the earth
You climb on your roof
And take a swipe at it
With a single feather
Hit it once every thousand years
'til you've worn it down
To the size of a pea
Yeah I'd say that's a long time
But it's only half a blink
In the place you're gonna be

Scarcely a minute passed before the ground was approaching. Still several thousand feet up, they activated the kinetic bubbles, generating a surrounding field to dampen the immense height of the fall.'A building was below. It couldn't be avoided. They braced for impact.

With a blasting noise, the bubble went through the ceiling, sending ripped panels raining down with with them, before evaporating against the floor and laying the runners down, alive.

They lay stunned and thunderstruck, vision spinning. They slowly came to, trying to comprehend their surroundings. There were piles of something. Assemblages of small objects. Books. Books laying all around, and empty shelves.

There was an overpowered smell of gas fumes. It was then the runners realized that their clothes were wet, and they had been lying in a puddle of gasoline. The gasoline was everywhere- the books were drenched in it. And to the gas-soaked piles of books were wires, where signal flares had been set up. The building had been rigged with flares.

Whatever bookstore this structure had used to be was engineered as some kind of deathtrap. But before they could get up, there was a voice from very close by. A hulking figure came into sight, a giant humanoid with jutting tusks and gnarled horns. The troll hobbled over, looking up through the hole in the ceiling, then down at the prone runners. Then he noisily yelled:

"Gawdon Bennet! where da 'ell did yew come from. OK?"

"Gawdon Bennet! where da 'ell did yew come from. OK?"

The fall was exhilarating, breath-taking, and majestic for the time they were in the air but the landing was far from it. They careened through a building and landed on the ground floor of what turned out to be a bookstore but there was as the smell of dust left, it was replaced with gasoline. Blue was afraid to move at first, fearing that he broke every bone in his body but has yet to feel it but the gas alarmed him. Then out of the corner of his eye he spotted a troll, looking down through a hole.

"The sky!" Blue coughed. He sprang to his feet and hobbled to the nearest door. It was jammed at first but Blue used all his weight and muscled through the door, breaking it apart. He jumped into the street, fearing an oncoming inferno and oblivious as to whether or not he was making an ass of himself or not.

"Gawdon Bennet! where da 'ell did yew come from. OK?"

Arsenal was laying on the ground, face down, her ears ringing and her sense of direction shot to hell. She pushed up with her hands, trying to work her way up to at least a sitting location but in her still addled state, she merely rolled over. Her everything hurt - likely an effect of the sudden fall from the sky coupled with K-10 Withdrawal. "Ow" she said, not really wanting to move.

"The sky!" Blue coughed out in answer to the inquiry as he moved to escape the building. Though Arsenal really didn't want to move, she knew she had to. She pushed her hand against something hard, using it for leverage to get her to her feet. This time it worked, allowing her to stagger toward Blue and an exit from the building. "And Seattle" she called out as her own response

What, it was true enough.

"Gawdon Bennet! where da 'ell did yew come from. OK?"

Billy rolled onto his back, every part of his body seemed to hurt. He had activated the bubble in time, but then Arsenal had latched onto him. The bubble had still saved their lives, but the added weight sure didn't help things along. Pushing himself up, he noticed that he was in a library, or at least the remains of it. The place also reeked of gasoline, which Billy figured was probably a bad sign. A troll was staring down at the three of them from a hole in the ceiling. He had called something down to them, but Billy was too confused to say much.

"The sky!" Blue had called up in reply. He was already pushing his way out of the building.

"And Seattle" Arsenal had added. She was already following Blue. Saying nothing, Billy pushed himself up and stumbled after them.

The troll lives in a book store. He waters piles of books using a watering can filled with gasoline. The whole establishment is rigged with flairs. If anyone tries to take his store, he will incinerate them and himself.

The runners made a quick exit outside. It was still dark, and fires from burning barrels illuminated torn structures and streets. The district was a ruin, the roads littered with debris. Blasted shells of buildings chronicled night after night of battle.

Making their way down the streets of Chicago, the runners came to a large intersection. Suddenly there was a loud screech, like tires on pavement. Headlights came into view, the driver redlining his vehicle's engine. There were sounds of gunshots, and a Lone Star insignia was stamped onto it's side.

Andrew started coughing on the floor as his body caught up with what just happened, his mind almost reeling at where he just fell. He looked around and pulled his gas mask on. He saw the others running outside, so a few moments after they exited he sprinted behind them.

He looked at the others who came out. "Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit."
Then he saw the lonestar vehicle. I wonder if they're here for us?

He looked around a little more, and found something to crouch behind that would make passable cover if they opened fire.

The vehicle - an armored van of some sort, though the bright lights and surrounding dark made it almost impossible to make out - went zooming down the highway. It swerved wildly, ignoring it's lane, impacting inert cars and nearly flipping itself over hard turns. Muzzle flashes and loud bands echoed from inside it.

Only then, as it came closer, could a dark shape be seen on the outside. A huge monster was latched onto the vehicle, gripping the side even as the van ran it against rubble and debris to throw it off.

It was humanoid, giant-sized and covered with a chitin exoskeleton like an insect, green or dark grey. It was built like an eight foot colossus, its shoulders impossibly broad, its body plated with armor. There were four arms, and ended in massive claws. A large crest jutted from it's forehead. The occupants blasted the Beetle Spirit from the windows as the spirit turned its fiery red eyes to look at them before roaring, an explosive howl of bloodlust and fury.

image

The Beetle Spirit held fast with it's multiple arms. The spirit took one clawed hand and rammed it's fingers into the metal of the door. They went through like it was sticking his hand in a loaf of bread. It did the same with the other hand, curling it's fingers and gripping the handholds it had created. Then, with the noise of shearing metal, it tore the door from it's hinges and threw it aside, reaching into the Lone Star van's cabin.

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