The DV8's

Hostile Fire

>>>Rook

Pariah contacted me with the offer of a couple shadowruns he thought I might be helpful on a little over a week later. I was thankful for the news, as I hadn’t made any headway in raising funds for next month’s rent, which looms ever closer. They picked me up with a RV at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Third Street, just under the I405 overpass.

The first thing I noticed about the team was that Red was looking a lot more mobile. It looks like she used the time well, and I’m impressed with how quickly she recovered from what looked to be some damn serious injuries. Back in full form, she also oozed ballerina to me; just the way she held herself, and the ice in her eyes. Everybody was business, since we were venturing south into the Puyallup Barrens for a meet with a Mr. Johnson – excuse me, a “Mr. Yin,” who obviously was too new to the shadows to know not to use his actual name.

I was definitely overdressed for Puyallup in my Auctioneer suit, but I understood that our second meet would take place in an upscale club called Reno’s downtown later in the evening. I knew the place, but had never been inside. Besides, I wasn’t overdressed at all when one considers the ballistic armor weave in my suit’s thread count. As I rested back in my seat, I felt the reassuring pressure of my Prowler as it dug into the small of my back.

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An Unscheduled Response

>>>Rook

We decided to set up shop as close as possible to the Russian mob’s warehouse for a stake out. The goal was to ambush anyone that left the compound and whittle down their numbers, or at least stop them from harming any more civilians. The group’s surveillance so far suggested that they very rarely left the warehouse unless it was for a raid, however, so we decided that we needed to create an excuse for them to do so.

It was my first time meeting the Italian mafia, but I was warned ahead of time about who we were dealing with – a twelve year-old kid. It was a surprisingly civil meeting, since the DV-8’s had laid the groundwork for cooperation in a previous meet. I laid out our proposal to Victor, and admit that I may have massaged the facts a little bit. As I explained it, we had the Khabarovskaya on the ropes, but their remaining troops were holed up or hiding out, and it was time for the Montelli Family to get back on the street and doing their normal business. I explained that now was the time for them to show their strength to the community and show that they were in charge.

The kid bought the story; aside from warning us that if they got burned by the Russians that they would take it out on us. I maintained a confident and unconcerned air in the face of his threat. Despite the fact that I was actually setting them up to get hit, our intention was to intervene so that if they got “burned,” it meant that we would likely be too dead for the Montelli faction to be of concern.

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A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Previous Inferno

Two days later, things began to change for the better. I was in my cell, having just finished a “game” with my cellmate. I was asked by a guard to follow him, and he escorted me into a conference room. There were several official looking individuals there, and some of them had dour appearances on their faces. The warden introduced them to me, and I was impressed by the caliber of people sent to meet me. I would have extended my hand to greet them, but the handcuffs prevented that. The warden said that he would release my writing hand if I was good, and I agreed.

We discussed the recent news article about a crime spree occurring in Las Vegas. Hearing this made me fear for Dot’s safety. They asked me that they heard I was part of an organization that may be able to help with this. I first said maybe and then yes, as they continued to stare at me. I tried to read the documents they were shoving at me, but they kept talking. I would apparently be given release and if we were to end this spree, I would be a free man. The crime I had a hand in committing would be attributed to someone else. One condition I did catch was that I would have a surgical implant placed at the base of my skull. Was I to try to flee, they would detonate it. Goodbye Charlie. I agreed to their terms and was given two phone calls.

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Requesting Back-up

>>>Rook

Once we’ve finished interrogating the prisoner, we huddle and I get caught up to speed a little more. It seems that the “Dv-8’s,” as they’re known in the shadow world, used to run with an olly named Igor, and they suspect that Doc is the Charles the Russian referred to. That clicks with me, and I replay in my head the news reports about how Charles Winfield was arrested for a murder committed in Las Vegas. Upon hearing the rest of the story, it starts to make sense as to why the story got such media buzz – he was burned in much the same way I was.

What doesn’t square, and where the confusion comes from, is that this Byk character was a walking toaster. Doc, a full-on magician, says that he’d read the troll’s aura on numerous occasions and swears the guy wasn’t awakened. In the end, we decide that the rest of the facts overwhelm that one inconsistency and decide to accept that the mafia gang is after Byk. They’ve been making all of this noise to announce their presence and draw him out.

Apparently Byk bailed on the group when things went south for Doc. They don’t know where he went, or why, and haven’t had time to follow up on him because of the current mess. Now that he seems to be at the center of this, they finally have an excuse – and a bit of mad-on. Pariah contacts a mutual contact of theirs and asks him to pass on a message to Byk – either he gets his ass here within the next twelve hours, or they’re going to pass on everything they know about the troll to the mafia. It’s a bit of a bluff, because no one wants the mafia to up and move the chaos to Seattle, but they feel confident that the troll will cave.

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The Usual Suspects

>>>Rook

I start rummaging through the duffle bag the police left with me when they dropped me of in this motel parking lot. I can’t say that I’m thrilled that they didn’t give me a chance to switch out of the county jail jumpsuit beforehand. I’ve no more than got the bag open than I hear a door open over head and see a dwarf come to the rail of the second floor walkway and look down on me. I instead start refolding the flap on the duffle while he trots over to a stairwell and makes his way down to street level and over to me.

He whips out a hand while asking, “are you the one we’re looking for?” I turn the question around on him, “are you the one looking for me?” I’m pensive, but the friendly grin on his face overwhelms me such that I accept his welcome and shake his hand. He waves me up to their motel room where the light of a trideo floods from the still-open door. I take one last look around at the digs, it’s about as run-down a motel as you could find on the strip, with even the light in the “M” of the neon motel sign out, so that it reads, “otel.” I squint to see if the letters “B-A-T-E-S” aren’t out, as well. Nope, looks like the owner was smart enough to take them down.
Psycho bates motel

I heft my duffle and hurry after the dwarf, who introduces himself over one shoulder as he climbs the stairs. “Name’s Drake,” he says, to which I give the auto-reply, “I’m Rook.” He half-whispers, “watch out for these guys,” while hiking a thumb towards the motel room. I don’t bother to tell him that he’s already at the top of my list for suspicious characters. What can I say, I’ve got trust issues after all I’ve been through. I stop in the doorway of the motel room, and take in the scene. It’s a tough-looking crowd, and I start to worry that maybe I’m not the one they’re looking for upon seeing the elf girl on the bed. She looks like she got in the way of a truck, and I worry that maybe this is some kind of gang initiation thing…if it weren’t for the cheery dwarf who seems oblivious. There’s a mean looking hombre sitting at a coffee table and flipping channels on the trideo with a remote control, but he’s eyeing me up while he does it. Drake starts complaining that he was watching some show, but the crowd doesn’t seem to care.

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Forcible Entry

>>>Rook

I thought I finally had an out. Silver managed to hook me up with a SIN that would get me through the border crossings. Spartan called in a token with a trucker to get me a ride in his Conestoga heading for Denver. I clambered up the stairs of the Conestoga at the appointed hour and met the greasy rigger named Duke. We shook hands and I offered, “nice to meet you, I’m Robert…Bob, you can call me Bob.” When I first picked an alias for myself, I opted to keep my first name, Martin, for exactly this reason – there’s no hesitation or confusion to give me away when someone asks for me. Duke let it slide, knowing that I was on the lam anyway. I’d shelled out most of my remaining nuyen for this ride, after all.
Road train
The command module shook and heaved as Duke brought the massive vehicle to life. Bluegrass blared in the cabin as the engine finished turning over. Duke hurriedly jammed a plug into some socket and the music stopped. He lifted a pair of headphones onto his head as he beamed back at me with a big grin and shrugged.

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Gray's Intro

Fire owlI shot upright in bed. The chirp of a bird echoed into silence in my head, and I looked around the dark room in confusion for its source. The only thing that caught my attention was the glowing display of my cellphone resting on the bedside table. Still shaking out the cobwebs of sleep, I began to recognize that there were no owls roosting in my bedroom. I picked up the phone to see who was calling.

I fluttered my eyes to try to bring focus to the caller ID on the display, then realized it didn’t matter. My Owl totem must have wanted me to answer the phone, which I would’ve otherwise blissfully slept through since the ringer was off. I tapped the receive key and mumbled out a dry, “hello?”

The voice on the other end was my friend, Rajiv. “Do you remember my saying that I had a shadowrunner friend?”

“Um, I do…” I tried. Still trying to get my bearings, I scanned the room again and settled on my alarm clock, which read 8:27am. Maybe I should get some water, I thought, but then I didn’t want to get out of bed for it. I quickly dismissed the idea of having Nisse fetch me a glass. That would be beneath the hearth spirit’s dignity. “Yeah, I think you said he was getting married or something,” I tried harder. Rajiv knew I was never up this early, not to mention Owl’s subtle hint, so I knew this call was more than social.

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Damned Zombies

We met a man named Vincent Moore, our newest “Mr. Johnson”, and he contracted us to go to a place called The Rat’s Labyrinth, a remote area in the Redmond Barrens. Apparently, thirteen people went missing, five from the initial flight and eight more from the rescue party. Some rescuers, though from the sound of it, this place is damned scary and he did not want to go in himself. Odd, considering he said his own son Anthony Moore was one of the people that have gone missing. If you ask me, the man is a little creepy; his assistant even went into the restroom with him when he had to answer nature’s call. Can’t wipe his own ass, I guess.

Doc learned from his uncle that Vincent Moore owns More Electronics, located Downtown. After checking with Miss Sinclair, I discovered that More Electronics is in bed with Ares Technology, and has been working on a Dual Smartlink.

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A bouncy tune.

Music plays
Music plays. A percussion symphony of tinkling brass chimes and bells, and the slam-bang of various size drums. The cold morning air is thick with smoke and the vapor of breath and sweat. The glare of the morning sun as it filters through the haze, and glints off of twirling brass, is so dazzling that the muzzle flash of the orchestral instruments can hardly compete. The performers squint as they concentrate on the targets outside of the thickening cloud.

This isn’t a symphony, it’s a rave. The band members look angry as they shout and bellow. The rhythm of their instruments is hard, fast, and unrelenting. Their fans jostle and clamor to reach the stage. They want to pull the band members down into their mosh pit. They are hungry for entrails.

Cursing, one of the band members changes instruments and rushes the crowd. The sound of a brush on a cymbal follows, as his sword sweeps through the masses. The fans close in around him, and suddenly he doesn’t have room to play. They are true fans, as they grab clothing and tear flesh.

The bouncers trying to hold back the tide of fans are bullets. They hit the crowd, rending and tearing in return. A chunk of scalp vanishes suddenly to reveal the bright white bone beneath. The bone is gone a split second later, a quarter of the head with it; spraying back onto those behind. The unruly fan wheels and collapses from the one-two punch. One behind it takes a step forward before its head simply explodes.

This damp cold makes my joints ache, which is drek since my joints are all cyber now. I lift the cannon’s barrel skywards to flip it over the heads of everyone as I do a 180. The barrel drops back down to draw a bead on the zombies shambling up behind us. I’ve no more time for simile and metaphor.
Images ca8 eybvy

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The Rescuers-Doc

When we reconvened after our brief respite, things were largely back to normal. Though I am not sure when I can fully forgive Byk – especially since he can not see that he was in the wrong – I can at least talk to him again. Soon after our return, Drake received a call from his friend at Lonestar Security that she had a job for us that they didn’t want to handle.

She arranged the meeting for us with our new client in short time, and we traveled to the Banshee to meet the newest “Mr. Johnson”.

This newest Mr. Johnson was unlike some of our other employers, and actually told us his real name, Vincent Moore. Besides him, there was an unusual woman seated next to him. We garnered the following information directly from him: Five of his employees were headed towards Tir Tairngire when their helicopter crashed in a remote area of the Redmond Barrens – an area well known as The Rat’s Labyrinth. This is one of those places that children are told about in scary stories, and where modern horror flicks take place, but no one would dare film. After these five disappeared from the radar screen, eight rescuers also disappeared, for a total of thirteen employees. After some negotiation on my part, we negotiated a fee of 180,000 for every employee returned alive, and 60,000 nuyen for every dead body returned. One particular individual, an elf was worth 600,000 nuyen for his safe return. We were given a data unit containing pictures of the missing and the last known coordinates of the rescue chopper.

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