5000 Reasons

GM: Lex
Players: Sebastiaan
Synopsis: Sebastiaan arrives in town, making one new acquaintance and accepting a dirty job from another. One tense confrontation and two dead bodies later, he's 5,000 nuyen richer. This might just have consequences down the road, though.
Date: April 6, 2080


There are nice marinas in New Orleans, the kinds of places that are home to immodest sailboats built for luxury and modest superyachts, as the big ones wouldn't even fit. And there's a lot of work to be had there, if you're the right kind of person. That's if you're human or elf or maybe dwarf, if you have a squeaky clean record with a nice national or megacorp SIN, and if you're willing to bow your head and say yessir nossir to moneyed elites who see you as little more than "the help," if they notice you at all.

This? This is not that. New Orleans is a big city, geographically, with a long and fractured coastline dotted with islands and pocked with coves. And some parts are less nice than others. This is a city that is battered and ravaged by storms, with the less affluent areas caught in a constant cycle of natural demolition and human rebuilding. People live here, though, some because it's their familial home and others because it's simply the only place they can live in this city. And people work here, too. Some are just poor workers who commute into the city, working as service or factory workers. Others make an honest living in this area, many as fishermen. Others make a dishonest living.

GridGuide cuts out before your self-driving taxi actually gets you to where you wanted to go, and so it unceremoniously dumps you by the road. From here, it's a walk. You have to walk a few blocks on a gravel that's not paved, much less wired, explaining why the taxi stopped. You have to walk past a parking lot that is simultaneously well-used and mostly a mix of gravel and grass. And then you have to walk the boardwalk path toward a marina.

This place is not up to code, for sure, but it's maintained surprisingly well, probably by the people who work here. It's a rather sprawling marina, too, with spacious slips, home to a few dozen ships of varying sizes. Many are older fishing vessels. Others are not. A surprising number are medium-ish sized, in the ballpark of 50 feet, with a rare few that are way bigger. You're not here looking for a boat, though. Luckily, your actual destination isn't hard to find.

In the center of the marina is a restaurant built onto the boardwalk. A big signboard has been brightly painted with the word, "Cecile's." That's your destination. The word you got from one of your previous shipmates was that this place takes all kinds, and that you might be able to find both work and information here.

Seb glances down at the little flimsy he'd got from Eric, it might have writing on, but Seb can't read English, the picture looks right though. Must be the place. He shifts the heavy bag on his shoulder away from the painful channel the strings had dug during the walk and with one final glance around, strides on into Cecile's, shouldering the door open. Being a ginger ork with a strange accent, he's seen most kinds of receptions, but here he expects low-key, presumably out-of-towners come through all the time. Inside he looks around for the first person who wants to pay him attention and announces himself in his friendliest Afrikaans tone, "Hoi chum, I was told I could probably find some work here, eh?"

It's popping in here. And the food smells damn good, at least if you love Cajun spices and fresh caught seafood prepared well. Dozens of tables are about, and at least 30-40 people are talking and eating. The atmosphere is fairly relaxed and jubilant too. This might be your scene, and if not, you'd at least recognize it. It's almost always hard work at sea, and people who do that work tend to know how to relax and play hard. This is that.

You might or might not be a bit surprised by the crowd you find here, though. This crowd is really, really heavily skewed toward metas, and not the metas humans like. Over half are orks. There are only a few trolls, but it's still way more than you'd normally expect. A handful of dwarves too, as well some elves, but not a lot. Humans are easily fewer than 1/3rd of the pop. There are even a few people who don't look like any of the above. Rare meta variants? Changelings? Kinda hard to tell. Nobody here seems to give a shit, though.

This dynamic might not be a surprise to you. In a lot of cities with deeply racist humans, and New Orleans has a fair number of those, metas get pushed to the fringes of the city, like where you are now.

The man behind the bar is a black-skinned ork male, stylishly but not formally dressed, with a chef's apron on. There's no wait staff, and it looks like he's the only employee on the floor now. "Work? Maybe. Where are you from, chummer?" The accent on his English is very Cajun Creole. He's likely a speaker, even. It sounds like he's feeling you out. This might not be an instantly trusting crowd.

Seb splits a grin across his face, showing off the massive gap between his front teeth, and the ork he's talking to probably homed right in on his slightly filed tusks. No point trying to hide it, his look around the room fills him in on the scene and he immediately decides he likes it here, "Nice place you got chummer." He hikes his bag again, can't get it comfortable now it's dug in once, "I'm from here and there ya know? I was born in Azania, so that's where the good looks come from, if that's what you're asking." His accent is pretty strong, every r is at least slightly rolled, and he sort of barks out his speech.

"Thank you. I think so too! It's my mama's place, actually. She's Cecile. I just run it for her. Some friendly advice: you don't want to start trouble here, because messing with the old lady is a mistake." The man's demeanor warms a bit. "My name is Dylan, by the way. Never met an Azanian before. That's southern Africa, right? Most of the folk in here right now are locals born and raised, and most of our outsiders are from elsewhere in North America or from the Caribbean."

Nobody's making much of a scene or outwardly paying you attention, but a lot of people in here have shot you at least a few looks. It feels more like a bit of suspicion of outsiders, than anything else.

"Who sent you here, chummer, if you don't mind me asking? Not trying to pry into your business, but it's kinda important that we know who we're dealing with, y'know?"

Seb takes a moment to shift his bag strings from one shoulder to the other, over his head, and nods, "That's right, I'm Afrikaans and my mama always said we were really South Africans but then she's a racist old bitch." He grins at the disrespect to his mother and then holds up a hand, "Hey, no issues from me my good friend, I'm just a sailor down on his luck. It was a shipmate of mine, Eric. We came in on the Mol Gratitude, sailed with him for a while but I was getting bored of the Gratitude and New Orleans looked interesting. He gave me this," Seb offers over the flimsy with Cecile's on it, "Said you lads here take in all sorts and I'm a whole bunch of different sorts, you know? I can be pretty handy on a crew, that's the sort of work I'm looking for."

"Eric, Eric … " Dylan rolls the name over in his mouth. His features look Afro-Caribbean, if you can spot that. "Oh! Eric Jefferson. Yes! Fellow used to work here before he decided he want to see a little more of the world." Dylan not so discretely takes a phone from under the counter and sends somebody a text message. He's not really about to take your word for anything, it seems.

"You want some food? It's real good. We've got a pot of jambalaya cooking, should be done right about now. Family recipe. Can you handle a little bit of spice? It won't take but a few minutes to get you an order."

Seb sniffs the air and licks his lips, the mention of food. With a heavy clunk he sets his bag down and nods, "The name's Seb by the way, whatever you got cooking sounds good to me." This is when he begins the patdown process, checking his various pockets and pulling out a couple of credsticks and offering them over, "I'm pretty low on spends though, that's why I finally dragged my arse over here. Maybe there's enough on those. I think I've got some corp scrip in my bag, some fuckers idea of a joke when I shipped into Southampton, they paid in IWS scrip, like I can spend that!"

Dylan nods. "Wait right here, OK? I'll be back in a minute." He heads out from behind the bar, cutting through the tables and passing through a pair of swinging double doors that lead into what looks like the kitchen. He disappears into the back for a little bit.

With a chance to look around now, the crowd here looks pretty mixed. Many look toned and pretty buff, though their physique is more that of a blue collar worker than a bodybuilder. At least a few are probably just fishermen or local charter captains. You did see one or two charter placards. But there are some /other/ sorts here too, who look to be a lot less legit, including some who don't really look like the blue collar type. The two crowds seem to intermingle freely, though.

Dylan returns with a plate of a red-tinged, heavily sauced mixture served on a bed of rice. It's pretty heavy on the meat, a mix of Andouille sausage and crawfish and a little bit of chicken. Also some peppers. It's plated pretty attractively, too, which at least suggests that Dylan takes food a little seriously. Smells nice, if that's your thing.

"Don't worry. It's not too spendy. You can find places that charge an arm and a leg for this, but it wasn't created to be expensive food. Just the opposite, actually." He throws a price at you that is, true to his word, a pretty decent deal. And then he starts to go through your credsticks, trying them one by one. "We'll throw it on your tab if we can't find a winner."

His voice drops a little lower, this part of the conversation apparently meant to be a bit more discrete. "So Eric vouched for you, at least a little. Sebastiaan, right? Or should I call you something else? What kind of work are you looking for?"

Seb nods, "Sebs fine, the whole thing is a bit of a fakkin' mouthful. But that ain't got nothing on this plate." He pulls it across the bar and starts scooping it up with whatever cutlery is immediately available. He makes it look like he hasn't had a square meal in a week, maybe more. About ten seconds in he stops with a wide eyed look on his face and a hot-breathed gasp, "Oh you weren't fakkin' me on the spices eh?" Taking a few gulps of air to cool down his now burning mouth he nods and wipes a tear away from one eye, "I guess I'll just be up front with you Dylan, I'm ex-marines, deck gunnery and boarding actions, although I guess I got schooling in all sorts of navy tactics. But I got drummed out by a Captain didn't like my face or my tusks, you know what I mean? So now my SINs busted with a drek record, and here I am. So if you know anyone might want to keep pirates off their precious cargo and ship, I'm their man." He glances around the room and then reconsiders, "Or you know, if they are pirates, I guess I'm pretty good at that too."

"Oy, oy, oy," Dylan replies, his voice dropping a lot lower as he leans in. "You seem like an honest guy, chummer, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I gotta tell you not to throw the P word around here. There are a few people here who aren't saints or law-abiding citizens, who will have a lot to answer for when their time comes, but even we don't take that kind. A lot of people here have lost friends and family to them. Even just being willing to do that work is a black mark that's hard to erase, in this kinda crowd. It's a line you don't easily come back from if you cross, if you want to stay working on the sea with folks that aren't total human scum." He pauses there, his voice softening. "Be real with me, chummer. Have you done that kinda work before?"

«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls 1 for "Dice of fate 4+":
3

Seb's not a good liar, even if he tried and him just trying to downplay and walk back his mistake probably looks pretty guilty, "Only if you count the kind that happens when you get boarded by the Navy and 'inspected'. There's some kak I could tell you about what my senior officers wanted me to do and always wrapped up in that patriotic bullkak. But thanks for the heads up chummer, mostly I been working the cargo ships to get around, been looking for my old man to tell you the truth. Dunno where he is but I'll catch up with that moffie some day. But hey, if there's people here don't like," he waves a hand to illustrate he means pirates but isn't allowed to say it, "Then I can do a real good job keeping them safe from that. Brought all my own gear too like." He kicks his bag to demonstrate, which just clunks with heavy metal.

"That's good. As long as you know what side you're on, we'll have you. There is something you should understand, though. There's a bit of a gentleman's agreement around here, you see," Dylan states casually. "Provided you have somebody to vouch for you, the people around here will give you a lot of latitude. But there are lines you can't cross. I won't really get into more detail just yet, but I think you might have a place here for now."

Some of what he's isn't immediately clear. He pronounces NOPS as Nopes, but it's not clear what he means. Must be local slang. And what those red lines are is something he also doesn't elaborate on. There's probably a lot about the status quo here that you're going to have to learn, and it doesn't like he's willing to talk about it, at least not here or not now.

He slides you a data chip. "Location for a sailor's hostel a few blocks down. Mostly used by out-of-towner crew. I'll be honest. The place kinda stinks, they don't have hot water, and you better avoid the mattresses in their racks. Just sleep on a pad, if you got one in your ruck. But it's dirt cheap, they don't ask questions, and it will keep you warm and dry and out of NOPS's hands. The only patrol they do is to harass people. You can probably bunk there for a bit while I ask around for you. Or you can ask around yourself. I think a few captains that could use your skills are looking for crew. Some might be out on the docks. Let them know I cleared you."

Seb slides the chip over and up before slotting it into a reader that is revealed to be under a lid on his inner right forearm. He nods to Dylan, "The assist is much appreciated but you don't make that hostel sound like much. Still I guess a roof is a roof." He's still eating, but taking it much slower now, and he wheels around to survey the crowd, "I think I might head out and start taking in the sights, asking around if I've got your endorsement." He turns back around, "Cook is the most important man on board after all, should mean a lot coming from you, ya?"

"You know it!" Dylan shoots back as you exit, grinning at that.

You find yourself outside of Cecile's again, ruck digging into your shoulder once more. You're not exactly sure where to stow it. Dylan's datastick did include the basic information for Cecile's, including a phone number, or you could just ask him.

Taking stock of the ships here, it looks like a lot of the slips are empty. It's just about high noon, and it's probably some kind of fishing season. Looking at the boats here, it sorta seems like you can group them into four or five different categories. The first two are the most obvious. The fishing ships are easily identifiable as such due to the fishing gear and booms that are clearly visible. Then there are the charter boats. A few of the placards indicate tours, transportation, or fishing trip charters. The tours are a bit odd, since you see exactly zero tourists here, and you can't imagine them coming this way. These two groups make up probably the majority of ships in the marina.

Next are a bunch of miscellaneous, medium-sized fast ships, about the size of a small yacht or patrol cruiser. In fact, a few them of look to be GMC Riverines, a really popular boat for both civilian use and security work. These are fast, armored vessels. You can't see any guns openly visible, but you know a lot of these ships do have weapon mounts. Their exact purpose isn't clear, but there aren't a lot of them. And finally, there's one larger yacht, though it looks to be an older model, with two other large slips that could host a ship of that size. Again, you're not sure who would own such an expensive boat and set up shop here. Finally, there's a smattering of other assorted ships of various types.

A few people are out and about on the piers, but not a lot. Maybe a dozen or more are visible. Most are working on or near the fishing or charter ships. A few are near the other ships.

Seb takes his time perusing the docks, mentally discarding fishing boats, he's no fisherman and has no desire to smell like one. The charter boats seem unlikely as well, at least unlikely to need a seaman whose main skill is shooting things. That leaves patrol cruisers, those are familiar to him, at least a little, having served on a number before making it up to offshore patrol boat. They might hold some promise, but he hesitates, suddenly intimidated, anyone that needs a gunhand on board isn't likely to be that friendly up front, so how does one go about cold calling on them? He finally looks at the yacht and grimaces, he doesn't need anyone condescending to him every day, and the yacht comes with a few preconceptions about its owner.

After a few more moments of dithering he finally makes his mind up, Dylan said he'd ask around a little, lets wait and see what he comes up with, it'll be much easier when he knows up front the prospective Captain is actually interested. With that thought settled, which also settles his nerves, he turns and starts to explore landward instead. Dylan said the hostel was a few blocks up… or was it down? He sets off to find the place.

It's a long, not particularly fun walk. It's kinda miserable trudging over gravel on a good day, and it's even worse with that ruck. You do get a second chance to check out the area, though.

Bleak? Not quite. This ain't no Z zone. Blighted and economically depressed? Yeah, for sure. Basic utilities like gridguide, power, water, and sewage look to be semi-functional. A lot of the water and power hook-ups look to be above ground, bodged projects that were probably paid for and done by local residents. You can see parts of the road that look to have been eaten away and then crudely patched with pothole sealant ad nauseum. If you can spot that kind of thing, it's flood damage. This place seems to suffer every time the water comes.

There are signs of life. The few people you spot on the street are mostly orks. There are no cops in sight. You do pass a single fire station which doesn't look particularly well-equipped, which probably handles EMT and fire services for the entire area.

After a while, you reach the point where you were dropped off earlier. And then you cut right, like Dylan said, to find the hostel.

It's hard to miss. It says hostel in about ten different common world languages, if you happen to read one of them. Kinda makes sense. Boat crews often come from around the world. Inside, a dark-skinned ork man is watching a game on a small trid set. The game appears to be football, and the language it's being broadcast in appears to be French. Which league is a little less clear, if you don't speak French, and if you can't spot the flags. The players all look to be black, one side in blue and gold, and the other in black with white stripes.

The dude looks up at you without much interest. He asks a one word question. "English?" Again with the accent. It's the same accent Dylan had.

Seb repeats his shoulder switching routine as he nods to the football fan, "Ja, that's right. You gotta bed for me?" He withdraws one of those credsticks of a dubious nature and swings it over to the dude while flicking his eyes to check out the game. The french means nothing to Seb so he draws very little from it beyond that it's football and he looks back to the proprietor patiently.

The guy looks back at the trid, rattling off what sounds like a fairly stock speech. "Bed, table, toilet, window. Shared kitchen, shared shower. Maglock on the door. You can put a second lock of your own. 25 per week. No meals. 4 per ration, if you want." He thumbs at something you're probably way too used to: military MRE's. The labels look … Arabic? It's not clear what country they're from, or how old they are, but they were probably bought for price rather than quality. Luckily, you know those things are edible for many years. "No guests. No loud noises past 8. 200 deposit." He turns to look at you, waving a finger. "You get drunk and piss or shit the place up, I keep it, OK?" His English isn't great, but he sounds pissed off when he says that. He has probably had that exact experience more than once.

There has to be better than this, but probably not at this price. You're also not sure what the "stink" is that Dylan talked about. Seems fine so far. Maybe in the rooms?

Seb nods after the spiel is completed, "Alright, put me down for a week, and 2 of those rations." Old and foreign or not, they're probably high in calorie content and that jambalaya isn't going to last forever in his stomach. "Two thirty three, and no piss or shit." he slaps the credstick down, hoping it's one with something on it otherwise that will have been a wasted journey, and he's starting to regret packing the extra belt of LMG ammo. He consider trying to crack a joke and see if this dude will even smile, but thinks better of it, instead just waiting for his keycode while fidgeting with his bag.

The man starts going through the sticks. He checks them one by one. It's kinda not encouraging when he starts to go through stick after stick. He counts the value out as he checks them. The monitor is actually angled at you, probably a precaution to avoid getting punched by paranoid sailors who are wary of getting ripped off by locals, a not uncommon thing. "25. Empty. 103. Empty. Empty. 139. 196." He points at you again. "Hey buddy. What the fuck, y'know?" Not great English. He picks them all up and leaves them on the counter for you. "No tabs, no charity."

And then he looks at you harder. "Hey buddy. What do you do? What kind of work?" Something about your appearance has him interested. Maybe he has clocked you as ex-military, with that haircut of yours.

Seb scowls and swears under his breath, a steady torrent of Afrikaner curses, he's short on the cred. He grumbles while scooping up the sticks and stuffing them back in his bag with a cascade tinkling as they filter through all the crap he has in there. "Used to be a marine. You know? Sea soldier? Just work the boats now." He answers distractedly, looking around as if trying to think of what to do now. In fact, that's exactly what he's trying to think of.

"Marine?" The guy's looking dead at you. He's trying to size you up. You've been here before, and recently. "What happened? Why are you here?" He pauses. "You need money? I might have money for you. You do dirty work?"

Sebastiaan looks a little wiry for an ork, not overly muscled in comparison to his metaspecies perhaps just along the lines of average but all laid over a healthy constitution so possibly he looks like the ork for the job. He looks back at the dude, considering for a moment, "What happened is I'm looking for more work, yeah. You got something for me? Lay it out then, what do you need omae?"

The man just repeats the same query. "Dirty work?" It's still not really clear what he means by that.

Sebastiaan throws his hands out in the universal gesture for a question, "Depends on the work, I don't clean drains. I might clean out a few naaiers for you if that's what your getting at. So tell me what you need and I'll tell you if I can do it."

The guy stares. His face is weatherworn, but he doesn't look to be that old. He's maybe in his early thirties, but it looks like he has lived some. Maybe he was a sailor himself, or a blue collar worker, or some other job where he spent a lot of time under the sun and wind. Traces of laugh lines and crow's feet make his face quietly emotive, though, the lines arcing up and down with his feelings. There's a muddled soup of emotion spread across his face, a kind of bolted-down grimace that speaks to suppressed bitterness and desperation. It's not that hard to read.

"This man. He is. He is … " Somebody is something, and he's trying to explain what, but his obviously limited English fails him. Everything he said before, his speech about rules and prices, was probably words he had a chance to learn and memorize. He then starts to speak in what is presumably his native French, gesticulating wildly as if that would help. It comes out so fast that it's just a jumble. It's then that he look at you expectantly and realizes that he hasn't communicated much at all.

He picks a pocsec off the table, unlocking it, and starts to swipe through something. He turns it around to show you a picture after a few seconds of that. It's a top down picture of a dark-skinned ork woman in what looks like a hospital bed, one tusk broken, intubated, unconscious. Looks like somebody did a number on her. "NOPS," he says. There's that word again. "Nothing." He makes a gesture to emphasize that. "Nothing." He says a word in French. You don't know it, but he heavily emphasizes it, followed up by, "he says that." He takes the phone back and opens something up, then turns it back toward you. It's somebody's social media page. Looks like a milquetoast, normal white-skinned human guy in front of a house in the woods, with a pickup truck parked out front. Next to him is a girl, likely a wife or girlfriend judging by their proximity. You see a flag hanging from the front porch. You might or might not recognize it.

He taps hard on that screen, finger shaking. The guy's tone makes it obvious how much he hates the man in the picture. "This man. 5,000." He stops to look for the words. "Payback. Whatever you want. Just … he doesn't come back. Finished. Done. You do it, 5,000."

Sebastiaan looks at the picture of the woman, he's blinking and reacting, it's just that he happens to be reacting calmly. "Nopes," he says, confirming or just sounding it out, he still doesn't know what it means. "Nothing eh? So he beat her down and got no punishment for it? Sad story for a lot of orks, he looks like a gat gabba to me, moffie ass naai donkie kont." Seb seems to be working himself up as he speaks, probably meaningless noise to the Cajun ork in front of him, but with an important, almost religious meaning to Seb. "Alright, you got a deal," he peers down at the pocsec, "That got an address? I need to leave this here with you." He drops his bag off his shoulder, indicating he plans to leave it here, tugging it open to pull just a couple of things out, a super shorty shotgun that he secretes on his person, and a handful of shells for it.

«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "Basic plan is try to get the guys address from this cajun dude. Then directions to that address if it's not obvious. He's got an orientation system and internal GPS so should be able to figure out how to get there. Then walk over there and knock on the guys door."
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "Will take a taxi with my last few creds if needed."
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "One Defiance T-250 short, holstered, about 5 spare ExEx slugs, my switchblade cougar short sheathed. Pocsec. Armor jacket, formfit shirt, forearm guards."
«Plot» Lex says, "Seb is leaving the shirt behind."
«Plot» Lex says, "I'll rule that the hostel owner gives Seb a very, very basic mapsoft of the area, kinda tourist-level. A lot of local stuff isn't on it, but this will be enough to figure out this job."

The hostel owner and Seb spend some time exchanging basic info, and then he consults his basic mapsoft. The house is about six miles out. The first few miles of that trip are inside this same neighborhood. Then you hit the town's edge, the roads snaking outward into a network that cuts through the wilderness and leads to various small clusters of housing in the bayou, most of them farming or fishing spots, others solitary homes in wooded swampland. With that kind of terrain, with the gear he has, and at a fast pace for somebody used to marching, Seb figures he could walk it in about two hours.

It looks like Grid Guide lasts about five miles of the journey. He'd need to hump it for the last mile. Total trip time would be about 30 minutes. That's the way Seb decides to go.

The hostel owner stops Seb from calling his own ride, though, instead arranging one from a local car company. He gives Seb the same number, for his ride back. Seb is told to walk about a block down the street, and there he finds himself waiting in front of a vacant lot. Three minutes later, a car arrives, and he jumps in. It's unmanned, and he doesn't see any internal cameras. If anything, the car is a battered, twenty year-old model that looks like it was purchased after a more reputable fleet company retired it. Maybe that cycle has repeated a few times, actually. Why the hostel owner insisted on doing it this way isn't instantly clear.

You drive for five minutes through the neighborhood, spotting a lot of blighted homes, many of them built on stilts, several of them looking well-worn and in dire need of maintenance. Then you hit the country roads, open greenery around you, with an occasional beautiful view of the Gulf. This part of the ride, at least, helps one understand why so many locals seem tied to this land. Then GridGuide cuts out, and the car just stops. You hop out, and the car heads home. This is starting to seem like a common thing here.

The last mile is actually pretty beautiful, if you like this kind of terrain. It's a dirt road that slopes gently upward, with this house looking to be a fair bit higher than the floodzone. Around you is forest, though it's not like anything Seb might have seen in Azania. It doesn't take long before you find yourself at the foot of a driveway leading up to the house. This is it. You can't see much here aside from the driveway and a black and red sign with bold English lettering that Seb can't read. There's a cartoony, black silhouette of presumably a burglar, though, along with a crosshair over it. It doesn't take a genius to infer what the text probably says.

Seb actually enjoys the walking, he's been on ship for so long with nowhere to really stretch out, and he doesn't have to lug a heavy kit bag around with him, so it's fairly relaxing. Of course, there's the grim task he's looking forward to at the end of it as well. He briefly ponders what Wotan would do in this situation, and decides he doesn't know exactly. But he also decides that Wotan clearly can't approve of needless violence against orks, otherwise why would he be empowered to carry out Wotan's will? It's pretty much the cyclical logic he's used to justify everything he's ever done, and it still seems to work.

At the bottom of the drive he pauses to look at the sign, scratches his head and then heads on up the driveway. Very last minute, he starts coming up with a plan, knock on the door, car trouble sir, can you help? Something like that. He gets up to the door and knocks twice, then shifts his vest a little to make sure nothing is snagging while he waits.

There's a long, awkward silence, and it takes a few moments before somebody answers. The door opens just a few inches, with a visible security bolt preventing you from pushing through. It doesn't look particularly sturdy, though. The face is that of a woman. It's hard to be exactly sure, but this looks like the same human woman you saw in the picture the hostel owner showed you. She sounds paranoid. You can't really see her right hand or much of anything inside the house.

"What do you want?"

Sebastiaan is taken aback just a little bit when a woman's voice answers the door, he hadn't made a plan for that. But after a moment he recovers, "Uh, hello ma'am, I was sent over over by a friend of yours, he said you could do with a handyman? I'm very handy around the house, I can clean up all sorts of messes, fix any broken things, you know? Clear up any issues you might have at all?" He's trying his best to be chipper and friendly, but he's still a big ork on their door step. But hey, he's white too.

"We don't need nothing like that. My husband can take care of whatever we need. You just run along now, y'hear?" the woman replies. There's literally not even room for a reply. She tries to shut the door in your face as soon as she's done.

«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "Is there a pickup in the drive now like in the guy's picture?"
«Plot» Lex says, "Yep."
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "Any kids toys or playthings or the like in the garden area?"
«Plot» Lex says, "There are no immediately obvious signs that children live here. Roll perception, though."

«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Intelligence for "I'm an Ork":
1 1 3 3 5

«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 (to no one) for "Quickness Default Stealth Test for Approaching Husband":
1 4 16

There's not really a lot to see here. The house is large'ish, probably big enough to be two or three bedrooms, but land and construction are a lot cheaper in spots like this. It's built to about the same standard as what you saw in town. There's no garage. The only vehicle you can see is the pickup trick from the picture. Up close, it looks like a compact model from Chrystler-Nissan. There are no toys or playsets around, and you haven't heard any people beyond the wife.

Sebastiaan lets the door slam in his face and nods, about the reaction he was expecting from a racist piece of drek family. He turns around and steps back a little, taking in the house and the driveway, scanning everything. Eventually he turns around and knocks again, two knocks with his big, ugly ork fist.

Chuck'CHICK. You definitely know that sound pretty well. It's a pump action shotgun being primed to fire. Your senses are decently sharp, but someone somehow got the drop on you. Maybe they got unlucky, or you got distracted, but you didn't hear them coming at all. They're not firing, though. "Turn around now nice and slow, boy." Male. Thick southern accent, kinda bayou. He sounds pretty damn cocksure too.

Sebastiaan is taken by surprise, honestly that's not that difficult but it's still pretty uncomfortable for Seb, who's just glad his shotgun isn't riding on his hip like some sort of cowboy. He turns around nice and slow, just as requested, and even flops his hands up in a casual sort of surrender motion, "Hey man, not lookin' for any trouble ja? I was told there was work up this way is all ja? Can you point me at it?"

"I can point you the Hell off my property, is the only thing I'll do, /boy/. The sign says that intruders will be shot. Didn't you read it?" And then he pauses there, his face twisting into a sneer. "Oh, I bet you can't read it, huh boy? Words are too complicated of a concept for that ork brain of yours, aren't they?" He seems pretty damn happy with himself as he comes up with that one.

Tactically, you've got kinda a mixed bag in front of you. The guy actually has OK taste in guns. Looks like a Remington 990, which is a common enough weapon that's not hard to get a civilian permit for in a country like this. Laser sight mounted below. A nightfighting reflex sight on top is totally pointless and probably an actual hindrance right now in broad daylight, but he probably thought it looked cool. He even pulled on some body armor while his wife was talking to you. It's a light Securevest. You know it's not much armor. Securetech's marketing is kinda genius, though, and it works well on these guys. He's kinda on the fat side. Not morbidly obese or anything, but definitely noticeably overweight and probably not at all physically fit.

«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "Is it the guy?"
«Plot» Lex says, "Definitely him."

Sebastiaan keeps his hands up in that sort of relaxed surrender posture where they're about level with his shoulders and he proceeds with the guy's demands. He shakes his head as he very slowly steps down off the guy's front porch, "No sir, I don't read too good at all. You know where there's some work for an honest ork? I'm happy to do the heavy lifting, maybe just for some food ja?" He's trying to put on the very put down, out of luck ork, but with a strange accent. It's an attempt to put the man off balance before doing anything more drastic.

«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "If it seems like I can get within reaching distance Seb will try to push the muzzle off line and control the shotgun."
«Plot» Lex says, "He's deliberately keeping his distance, at least a few long stride's length. You could try rushing him, but you'd be hoping you're faster than his trigger finger."
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "Seb is confident in his speed most of all, so he's going to do the stupid thing and draw down on the guy. Once he's walk far enough to where the dude isn't pointing his shotgun towards the house anymore."
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "Quickdraw and double tap with the shotgun, is his plan."

"I said to /frag off/," the man repeats. "You say or do anything but turn around and start walking, and I start shooting."

«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Initiative with a result of 9.
«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 (to no one) for "Husband initiative roll. 1d6+2. Physically active human male with lower physical stats due to being overweight. 4 str, 3 qui, 3 body, 2 cha, 2 int, 3 will.":
3
«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 (to no one) for "Wife initiative roll. 1d6+3. Average fitness human female. 3 str, 3 qui, 3 body, 3 cha, 3 int, 2 will.":
3
«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Reaction vs TN 4 for "Quickdraw from a suitable holster":
1 1 5 5 5 = 3 Successes
«Plot» Lex says, "Sebastiaan acts first in this initiative pass due to Quick Strike."
«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Shotguns + Combat Pool: 3 vs TN 2 for "Smartlink-2, short range no vision":
1 1 1 2 3 4 4 5 = 5 Successes
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "12S base damage with ExEx."
«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Shotguns + Combat Pool: 1 vs TN 2 for "Smartlink-2, short range no vision, 1 RC second shot":
1 2 2 2 4 5 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 + Combat Pool: 4 vs TN 10 for "Resistance Test":
2 2 2 3 4 5 10 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 + Combat Pool: 4 vs TN 10 for "Resistance Test KP 1":
3 4 4 5 5 7 8 = 0 Successes

Sebastiaan keeps his hands up, and very slowly, carefully walks down the man's drive, at least far enough as to where the shotgun pointed at him is no longer pointed in the direction of the house. With a few carefully measured breaths, Seb whispers a few words, mostly to himself, somewhat to Odin but it's too quiet for the man to hear for sure, "Fokkin' poes bastard sneaky little moffie fok." With that ritual done he drops his hip, turns and yanks the shotgun out from the small of his back. He's trusting in Odin to make him fast, and it seems to work, his smartlink connecting up to the shotgun before it's even levelled, and he mentally fires it, racking his own shotgun twice, both eyes wide open to take in the carnage that is wrought. Now breathing short and sharp, trying to stay oxygenated despite his now raised adrenaline levels he tries to stay alert.

In a world where fights are fair, having a bead on someone like that would be an insurmountable advantage. This is a world of cybertechnology and magic, though. Sebastiaan's burst of speed is little more than a blur in the soon to be dead man's eyes, with the gun drawn, readied, leveled and fired before his finger even finishes depressing the trigger.

The first shot kills the man. The second drills him in the chest again before he even finishing crumpling down to the ground like a sack of potatoes. A final hand spasm finishes that trigger pull, with a stray shot flying into the forest. Around Seb, the birds in the trees startle and take flight at the sound of gunfire. And then he finally learns the man's name.

There's a shrill, unimaginably loud scream from inside the house, followed by the same voice saying, "Daniel!" about as loud as she can muster. She walks out, face a twisted mess of anguish and murderous desire, a hunting rifle in her hands. "Gap-toothed underbite animal degenerate!" she screams, already raising the weapon to fire. It's hard to tell exactly what kind of rifle it is. It just looks like a civilian rifle with a large telescopic sight and a laser sight. She already has it ready, though. It seems like she was waiting right behind that door, weapon in hand, just in case.

«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 + Combat Pool: 3 vs TN 3:
1 2 2 3 3 5 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Body + Combat Pool: 4 vs TN 2:
1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 4 4 5 = 9 Successes

«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "No CP left."
«Plot» Lex says, "7S rifle shot, no damage taken by Seb."
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "I will run the fuck away from the crazy lady."

«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Initiative with a result of 6.
«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 (to no one) for "Wife's Initiative, 2nd round. 1d6+3.":
3

«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 + Combat Pool: 3 vs TN 3 for "Wife's second shot at Seb":
1 2 2 3 3 8 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 + Combat Pool: 1 vs TN 3 for "Wife's second shot at Seb":
1 2 4 9 = 2 Successes
«Plot» Lex says, "Forgot target running modifier. Both shots are actually 1 success due to TN 5."

«Plot» Sebastiaan will attempt to dodge as he runs, dodge, duck, dive.
«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Combat Pool: 4 vs TN 4 for "Dodge":
2 3 5 5 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Combat Pool: 4 vs TN 4 for "Dive Shot 2":
1 1 1 7 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Combat Pool: 4 - 1 vs TN 4 for "Dive Shot 2 KP1":
1 3 5 = 1 Success

Seb makes a break for it down the driveway, but he's not that far compared to the accurate range of a hunting rifle. And Daniel's dear wife is not giving up. One might think that her main priority here would be to check on her husband, but she's not doing that. For whatever reason, her attention is more focused on Seb. She takes two more shots, and as Seb starts to disappear from view, she heads for the pickup truck in the driveway.

«Plot» Sebastiaan is gonna wheel around when she stops firing and lay her out instead.

«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Initiative with a result of 8.
«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 (to no one) for "Wife's Initiative, Round 3, 1d6+3":
14
«Plot» Lex says, "Seb acts first despite Wife having higher initiative, due to Quick Strike."

«Plot» Lex says, "Long range with heavy pistol ranges. Target not stationary, but not running. Slow walk. No movement modifier. TN 4 with Smartlink."
«Plot» Lex says, "TN 3 due to rangefinder."

«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Shotguns + Combat Pool: 3 vs TN 3 for "Long range, ExEx slug":
1 3 3 4 5 5 5 8 = 7 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) rolls Shotguns + Combat Pool: 1 vs TN 3 for "Second shot":
1 3 3 4 5 16 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Sebastiaan (#13621) uses 4 of item 2: EXEx Shotgun Slug from Ammo (#13656).
«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 + Combat Pool: 4 vs TN 12 for "Wife soaking first shot":
1 1 2 3 3 5 10 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 + Combat Pool: 4 vs TN 12 for "Wife soaking first shot KP 1":
1 1 1 2 2 5 7 = 0 Successes

Sebastiaan turns from the screaming woman and runs, dodging his way down the driveway, serpentine, there's no cover just create it with movement. It's the thought running through his head so hard he almost doesn't hear the rifle being fired at him. He definitely felt the first shot though, the bullet that's buried pancake style into his vest. Thank Odin for the vest. As he approaches the end of the drive he's looking at the surroundings, thinking back to his walk over here where he was admiring it, and he's thinking, 'there's no cover out there either.' It's just enough to jolt him back to reality, and he stops and turns, raising his little shotgun towards the woman. It has to end here, or he's going to end up a splat on the road.

The little shotgun barks, racks and barks again. Another rack readies the chamber, but the human didn't stand a chance against those twelve gauge ExExplosive slugs detonating in her chest cavity. He breathes again, looking around again, "Any more racist ass moffie motherfuckers wanna come out and show yourselves? Fokkin' draadtrekkers live around here man!" But there's a problem. Five shotgun blasts and three rifle shots makes a lot of noise out in the bayou. He's got at least a mile to go here on foot. That's not a calculation that works. Instead, he heads for the pickup truck, she must have the keys.

«Plot» Sebastiaan is going to try to use their pickup to drive back to somewhere closer to town, dump it and burn it.
«Plot» Lex says, "How close to town? How much are you trying to avoid people, or not?"
«Plot» Lex says, "And how are you planning on burning it?"
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "I'm thinking there aren't a lot of options for roads around here, so basically just retracing my steps out here."
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "No great plan, if there's a hose in the truck siphon it for gas, if not dump it in a bayou."
«Plot» Lex says, "She had the keys in her hands as she headed for the truck, and they're on the ground near her body now. There's no easy options for accelerant in sight. There are definitely spots in the bayou accessible from the road that are deep enough to fully submerge the vehicle, though not much more. These roads are very, very lightly traveled too. You basically saw nobody on the way here. It's probably at least a quarter-mile to the nearest house. Whether anybody heard you, what their response will be, is an open question."
«Plot» Lex says, "We'll say you can do that out of sight of town and walk back in, if you want to be close to town."
«Plot» Lex says, "The closer you get, the more vehicle density grows."
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "That's the plan yeah. Be quicker away from the crime scene, and dump the truck in an apparent botched robbery or something."

Seb starts jogging, and as he rounds the pickup truck to view his masterpiece he doesn't even falter, he's seen similar before on the job. A quick hunch over and he snatches the keys from the ground where crazy lady with a rifle dropped them. He doesn't bother with the rifle and in fact holsters the shotgun to get it out of the way. Jumping in the truck he kicks it over and it starts nice and easy. Thank the hicks they take care of their vehicles. With a yank into drive he sets off, the adrenaline high fading into a bad case of shudders that leave him grabbing onto the steering wheel hard to counter them. Thirty seconds later and he's away off down the road and feeling better again, no traffic and he's away. "At least in the Navy I didn't have to fokkin' worry about the cops man. Frag I should've ropped that shotgun he dropped." He shakes his head with regrets as he talks to himself, and after seeing a couple of other vehicles on the road, decides it's time to get out of the pickup. A few minutes later and he drives the thing into the bayou where it looks kind of deep and hops out, letting it roll itself in. Then it's turning back towards town to walk back in.

«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "Going to walk some distance from this truck, and order the car service from like, wherever I think I'll be fifteen minutes down the road. If it made it this far out last time."
«Plot» Sebastiaan says, "I'll order it to take me to the hostel."

Sebastian walks about fifteen minutes more, which gets him just far enough to be on the outskirts of the town proper. There he calls the same car service and orders it to return him to the hostel. It's again not a long drive. Ten minutes later, he's pulling up out front and stepping out. The hostel owner sees him, and he doesn't look pleased at all. He beckons Seb to come in, and in a hurry.

"What are you doing, buddy?" he asks, looking around outside with paranoia. "Why here?" It's not instantly clear what he means by that. He shuts the door, though, once you're inside, waving off that worry. "Nevermind. What happened?"

Sebastiaan frowns at the hostel owner, "Why I came back? For my stuff and my cash, ja? You owe me, five large. Guy in the picture is fokked, ja? And his racist donkie kont of a wife too. Fok them." He heads over to wherever his bag of stuff has been sat, presuming it hasn't moved, to collect it.

"The wife too?" the hostel owner asks. Something about that gets to him. His expression isn't regretful, though. Not at all. This is something else, and it's easy enough to spot it on his emotive face. Worry? Fear? He mutters something to himself in French, for a few seconds. It sounds like he's reassuring himself, but Seb doesn't know the words.

And then he's back to talking to you. "I don't know. I don't know … " He trails off, looking for the right words. "I don't know if you're a good or bad man. But you did a good thing. One second, OK buddy?" He disappears into the back, and you can hear him rummaging. He comes back a second later. "Had this ready." He sticks it into his credstick checker, where you can see it, and the total pops up on the screen, still angled in your direction. It is 5,000 as promised, provided the reader and monitor are legit. And then he hands it to you.

"I'm Jean, by the way. Stay low, OK?" Does he mean lay low? "Stay quiet for a while. No more money. You stay free for a month. Food too. No, three months, if you need." That's worth like … about 1,200 nuyen, but it's something. He hands you a maglock key. "112, if you want."

Seb only has to turn the corner to realize what this place is, or at least what it used to be. There is a communal kitchen and large group shower, as promised, though each looks like an after the fact conversion. Each "room", though, just contains a long twin-sized mattress on a metal bench extending out from the wall, a metal table for work that's so close that the bed can be used as a chair, and a few square meters of space to stand up in. The doors are reinforced steel with heavy duty maglocks, and the windows are barred and reinforced. The rooms are very secure. Extremely secure, given that this was obviously a jail before it was converted into a hostel.

Whether Seb stays or chooses to find better lodging, there's nothing to do now but wait, for either the next job or any potential blowback to come.

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