Prologue: A Favor for a Friend
Prologue Detailed
Players in Attendance: Adam (GM), Air, Nine, Frost
Players not in Attendance: Tanasen, Irish

Reputation Bonuses
Air: +2 Dependable
Nine: +1 Polite, +1 Perceptive, +1 Paranoid


«Plot» Adam says, "Setting: Custom Guns and Armor, front of the store."
«Plot» Adam says, "Characters: Air and Nine"

customgunsandarmor.jpg

Beams of sun sear through the Denver haze— somewhere between the standard bad air quality and the condensation of it from altitude and temperature. It is a summer morning in the Mile High City and already the streets are busy. Cars, as unconventional as they have become, of different shapes, sizes, and notably sounds still crowd the urban jungle; several even fly through the air lanes. The neon lights they emit are all but blotted by the more natural lighting as the advertisement space around the Custom Guns and Armor starts to go into a power saving mode. Electronic panels flicker into a different display: Frapo-Cola, mixing two tastes you love with EIGHT TIMES the Energy!

But no one stops to watch the neuron network of information, for it would swallow them whole. Plenty filters between the cracks of what makes sense— what people act on.

But there are always a few things that never stop getting our attention.

*Ring Ring* The familiar ringtone of the CGA store's desk phone starts to go off. A cheshire young woman is humming along, helping out with getting the store ready for its opening while the master gunsmith is in the back, checking in on orders and projects while the administrative tasks are being handled. No customers. Not yet. Store still has ten minutes to open. And the phone lines? Only the back line is even turned on before opening— the 'emergency line'.

Air potters around in the workshop, checking on the projects in their semi completed states. It is organized clutter back here with tools laid out and parts of firearms spread across benches. He looks through the open door to the store frontage as the phone rings, "Huh? Nine, can you get that?" His hands are already covered in oil, and it's not even time to have started working yet.

Nine responds with, "I can…", as if to answer his question with little intent to do anything, but really? …Nine actually hustles herself past Air and gets over to the ringing phone before swiftly picking it up and speaking in her usual soft but clear tone. "Hoi? This is CGA. How can I help you today?"

There is a voice— easily a distinguished Asian accent over the line. The Vid terminal on the small desk phone appears and shows nothing but a gray screen. Sliding his head into the picture is a man— short black hair, squinty brown eyes, and thin lips. "Good Morning," he tells the woman— English clear but not native, "I need to speak with Air. It is about his 'shop'."

Nine smiles toward the vid phone when the man appears. She has black hair, as well, but her own hair has grey streaks dyed all through its length. While focusing her vivid green eyes upon the picture, she speaks very softly again, "Good morning, Sir." After the greetings and what the man says, she nods a few times. Nine glances over toward where Air is, "One moment, and I will fetch him." she claims before rushing over to Air and asking him, "Love? You get all that?"

Air nods to Nine, already cleaning his hands off with a bit of a rag, "I heard it, yes. I'll be right there." He rubs his hands off decently with the rag and then ambles over to the phone, picking up the receiver and sliding his own face into view. "Katsumori?" A little surprise in his voice, "I wasn't expecting a call, how are you?"

Nine follows along after Air and hangs out behind him, but she remains very quiet now, just like a good little wench should. Her expression shows she recognizes the name.

"As well as could be expected. I trust the same could be said for yourself," Katsumori-san says over the phone with the cordial hint of a smile, "I must apologize for the rudeness of my request— but I need to speak to you in person. Had I the time, I would await closing hours. Unfortunately, I do not."

Air lets a little frown crease his face as he nods back, "Yes, meet in person…" He sucks on his teeth. "Ok, I assume you've already had a place screened?" Air turns to Nine, "Could you put up a closed all day sign please?" Then he turns back to the phone to await an answer.

GM Note: Air has gained +2 in Dependable

Nine nods slightly and then moves quickly to do what Air has asked her to do. Nine carefully types three words, "CLOSED UNTIL TOMORROW", into an indoor keypad console that is electronically linked to an outdoor digital display screen upon which those words appear boldly.

The voice continues, "I do." He uploads a file towards the terminal. The Picture-in-Picture screen in the lower right displays the location of a little noodle shop in China Town. "I will see you there." He doesn’t say if he needs to come alone— and that’s not a detail he would omit so company should be OK.

Air notes the address with a slight grin and a nod and then hangs up the telecom. He looks over to Nine, "Well, I suppose you're about to get your wish to meet Honda. Get your stuff; we need to head over to the noodle shop."

Nine smiles big and then turns away from the control console with a, "Hurray!", that is exclaimed quietly (but super excitedly) before she dashes through the stairway door and heads upward to collect the Mortimer greatcoat that once belonged to her Cat-shaman mommy. She never goes anywhere without that dang coat, ever.


«Plot» Adam says, "Minutes Later…"
«Plot» Adam says, "Setting: Corner of Palmer and Lamb, Little Dumplings Noodle Shop"

noodleshop.jpg

Stepping into the Noodle Shop, early in the morning, there is a healthy mix of corporate suits and laymen. The only difference is a suit eats alone or with one or two coworkers. A layman will be stuffed into a booth with up to 4 to 6 others.

Sitting at an otherwise empty table, a familiar man to Air is eating a bowl of noodles. One more bowl is left across from him, steaming with beef udon goodness. As the two enter the fragrant shop, his eyes remain on them.

Air steps inside the shop, taking a deep breath through his nose reflexively. He mms appreciatively under his breath and then glances around, spotting Honda immediately and giving him a very slight up nod. He turns to Nine and speaks quietly into her ear, "Go and get yourself some noodles ok?" Then he heads over to sit with the suited man himself.

Nine follows Air inside after having locked up the Chrysler-Nissan Patrol-1 patrol car. She pauses to listen closely to what Air whispers, frowns softly but nods slowly, and then heads to the noodle bar. Easily distracted by all the lovely food, Nine loses her frown, and thus the clerk receives a happy smile.

Air seats himself down opposite and breathes in the aromas from the bowl of beef udon. He grins across at Honda, "Morning." Then he digs in, Katsumori still remembers his appetite.

Honda watches the woman go to the bar before speaking. His eyes shift towards Air as a small device is place on the table and flicked on. Suddenly the ambient noise around them is blanketed in dull static akin to the background noise of a simple fan. "Morning. I need a favor," he starts. It always starts that way, doesn’t it?

Air winces into his noodles at the white noise, it always bothers his hearing. "Uhm, usss," he says, around a mouthful. Taking a second to swallow, he grins again, "Ok, uh, a favour? You know me, depends what the favour is," he glances at the WNG, "and how much it pays."

Nine tries ordering herself something good, probably beef lo mien, if there is any of that here. She also orders beef pagoda, too, if that is at all possible as well, but she is not sure. Maybe, she is ordering from the wrong menu, since those are primarily Chinese dishes. Nine accepts whatever includes the word 'beef' and waits quietly for her food to be delivered. She turns once to glance toward Air and Honda briefly, but then she looks back to the noodle bar counter again, trying to not feel ostracized! Wah!

"Heavily," Honda replies— taking a bite of his noodles, "they have authorized to divert the construction of an Oklahoma weapons facility to a limited liability subsidiary." That’s his fancy way of saying 'How about an entire Weapons Factory?’ He chews his food while the man lets that settle in.

Air nods a little to that, taking another gulp of noodle and beef. "Really, I'm a subsidiary now." He chuckles at that, "I suppose so. But if they're willing to give that over, it's most likely beyond my means alone. Authorized to provide recompense in contacts, gear, and even cash for some compatriots, so to speak?"

Nine finally collects her beef-flavored noodles and pays up with her R4 Minihaha Harkness SIN. Harkness, greatcoat motif, and all. She silently waits for the falsified transaction to run its course.

The Asian man nods his head a touch and notes, "Just part of what is commissioned out. They predict enough to similarly compensate a team of five, though the liability of this endeavor lies solely on you." He takes a deep breath before looking over towards Nine and back to his old companion, "With the rewards, I must warn you of the consequence of failure. This is not just a job. This is a mission. This is a project. Succeed and be rewarded. Fail and you will disappear forever."

Air nods and shrugs a little to Honda, "No Harume to pull me out of the fire this time hmm? Who dares wins, Katsumori, nothing ventured nothing gained. How long do I have to pull the rest of the team in?" The bowl is mostly forgotten in front of him by now, though already half empty.

Nine hopes that everything goes through okay concerning her recent transaction. It should, since this is a noodle shop, and not like, the police? Nine pockets her credstick after it is returned, collects her tray, and then she turns toward the two men over yonder. She seems uncertain about what to do and where to go at first, but then she moves and finds a table of her own, unless Air or Honda indicate that she should do otherwise.

"You have 48 hours to give us a list of who is going to go with you," Honda states, "We are going to need to issue them identities."

Air shakes his head, "I'll just call them all in and we'll have a quick chat then I can be back in touch with you, I won't need half of that." He does wave over to Nine as she turns around, beckoning her over. "She's been wanting to meet you for a while so, play nice; this isn't one of your marks." He smiles idly at Honda about mention of his previous line of work.

GM Note: Nine has gained +1 in Paranoid.
GM Note: Nine has gained +1 in Perceptive.

Nine was just standing there for a long moment while seemingly scanning for an open table (but while actually being a sneaky fiend by stealthily extending her astral senses). She notices a couple people who may be awakened, but then she shuts the sight down, going back to normal vision. She decides against casting the mind link she initially intended to do, and it helps that Air beckons her over to them. With a small smile in place, she carefully approaches their table while still carrying her food tray before predictably selecting the open seat just next to her man, Air. "Hello, Sir." she says softly with a blushy smile over toward Honda. "How are you?"

GM Note: Nine has gained +1 in Polite.

The Asian man nods his head to Nine— but otherwise does not answer yet. He returns to business, a bit coldly, over towards Air, "You may not need it— but I will emphasize the importance of picking reliable people for this." Then he takes a deep breath and looks towards Nine, "A pleasure to meet you. I am well. Are you a fan of the food here?" Idle chatter— he is indeed making an uncharacteristic, mildly forced, effort on Air's behalf.

Air looks mock insulted, "Katsumori, you wound me. Reliable people are as important to me too, they will be the ones backing me up after all. Nine, this is Honda Katsumori," he holds a hand towards Honda, "And this is Nine Lives, Katsumori."

Nine glances over toward Air when Honda speaks to him, but then when she is addressed, she perks slightly and looks toward Honda, "Thank you." she says to him with probably more gratefulness than is necessary, for some reason. Nine is odd! She rests her tray down in front of her, and she remains politely quiet as the men speak further. She smiles a bit more when Air intros them. "Good to meet you, too, Mister Katsumori. And, I am a fan of most food, and Sir Air here." she explains, and then she goes quiet again, but still smiles.

The dark haired Asian nods his head a touch to Nine, "Again— a pleasure." He takes a slurp of his udon— an ahhh at the end. "For both our sakes— it is a wound to save ten more. Do you remember the Draco Foundation aquacology?"

Air casts a quizzical look Honda's way. "A wound… The Draco Foundation aquacology? No, I don't think so. You'll have to refresh me." He looks around the room quickly, "And where is your close protection team anyway?"

Nine stays quiet now, not sure about what they are speaking now, but she would listen up and pick it up. She takes one of the containers from her tray and offers it over to Air by placing it in front of his nearest side.

The businessman motions his hand to several places. First, the camera, second a businessman, third a layman. The mentioned people Nine already noticed as being awakened. "The aquacology was commissioned by the Draco Foundation to research, investigate, and explore off of the coast of the UCAS in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the company's mainstay not into an arcology, but an underwater arcology— an aquacology." Yes, that happened some years ago. Critics argued it was Yametetsu's 'bleeding edge' venture to combat with Ares' Space stations— which were basically space arcologies.

Air nods, "I see, space isn't the final frontier, the bottom of the sea is. So something went wrong in the… aquacology then, and you'll be issuing us with Draco Foundation identities and sending us in?"

Nine hears this 'under the sea talk', and she flicks her green eyes up to glance at Honda once again briefly, but then she looks back down at her noodle bowl. She procures some chopsticks, and she slowly begins to do the chopsticking style that Air himself had shown her. You know, the insulting one! She gets them set up in her steady surgeon hands and then immediately starts in with Vietnamese Chopstick Fu on her noodley food, though a very slow rendition. She needs more practice.

"You would be correct— else the company would not be willing to issue millions of nuyen to have you and a team go there," Honda says like 'millions' are nothing. Compare it to Enron from years past, and to them it really is a drop in the bucket. "Perhaps I should explain the political climate first. Because we designed, built, and maintain it— we have a permanent liaison within the arcology. And any part of a city that is owned by a corporation is sovereign territory. In the past— this was mostly a formality and it has been seen as little more than an ambassadorship. However, things have been changing. The Foundation has reason to believe we are staging a coup."

Air nods along with Honda, "Ok, they have reason to believe, but you are not, is where I see you going right now." He takes the bowl of beef udon from Nine and starts in on that, with a little hand motion, please continue.

Nine glances over toward her lovely Air and then back to her food again, and she still remains very quiet for now, possibly being more odd than most women. She just keeps eating, yep.

The businessman shakes his head slowly, "The executives officially disavow any knowledge of this. But as we both know, this means nothing. Tensions are rising and the evidence does not add up." He eats some more, "That is why this venture exists. If we send in the shadow operatives— the results would be without value. Even if it clears our name, the credibility is ruined." He takes a deep breath, "So I— we— need to know the truth of what is going on down there before we lose our investment."

Air frowns a little with a slight nod of understanding. "Subsidiary with a licensed business, it is licensed under a different name you realize. I have not used my real SIN since arriving in Denver. As for the rest, it sounds like this might take us a while, once we're down there."

Honda stirs his bowl of udon with two synthetic wooden chopsticks, "You'll be getting full Draco Foundation SINs so your former identities will not matter. It’s the only way you'll be able to get by in there." He takes his chopsticks out and rests them on the bowl to show that he is done. At that time, two men decide to leave the shop as if on cue. One last thing he says to Air, "I do not have a timetable for you, friend, but you can always assume that when you are down there, it is a resource neither of us have to squander. I'll be looking forward to your team roster." Looking to Nine, he bows his head a little bit.

The man flicks the WNG off and slowly pockets it— graciously standing and offering a quarter bows to Air.

Air nods to him and stands, inclining into something of a bow, he was never very good at that stuff. They keep the strike team grunts under wraps normally, and his cp work was done in Europe. "In a day or two then Katsumori," he bids farewell to the suit.

Nine glances up to Honda, over toward Air, then back to her food again, and after chewing and swallowing her last bite, she sits up again, listening closely. Still, she is quiet, and she repeats the motion Honda did, putting her down chopsticks on her bowl, too. She smiles up at Honda, "I hope you have a good day, sir." she tells him sincerely, and then she goes silent again.

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