A Day in the Life: Tag, You're It

GM: Pyro
Players: Gretchen
Synopsis: At a thrashmetal show in the Souk, Gretchen spots those spangly, sequined bomber jackets she's been looking for and trails a trio of RGC members to a tagging battle with an opposing crew — red vs blue. The German girl is called on, as a supposedly impartial third party, to judge. Some private security crashes the party and everyone scatters.

Even at night, the Marketplace never really closes. Sure, different people are around, different sellers in different spots, but the marketplace remains, full of traders and gangers and.. well.. anyone you could want to meet, if who you want to meet is Warrens residents. The place is crowded, bustling, the night people having taken over hours ago. A little band is having an impromptu thrashmetal concert in one corner of the market, the troll lead singer screaming incomprehensible words to a beat that might generously be described as 'syncopated' and might cruelly be described as 'being drummed by an ork with his eyes closed with less sense of rhythm than a broken metronome'.

Night time is the right time, and Gretchen skulks around, face hidden behind sunglasses at night and a breather mask, camo hood pulled up over her head, with two rifle straps crisscrossing her chest. One supports a black canvas messenger bag and the other is connected to a small Ithaca pump shotgun that she holds to her side with one gloved hand.

The thrash metal is an instant attention-grabber, and the small urban camo-wearing figure shoulders her way near the front, removing her mask to light up a joint.

Gretchen cares not for metronomes, bobbing her head to a rhythm of her own devising, much like the lyrics. She doesn't care much for orks either, but a show is a show is a show. She seems accustomed to being jostled in crowds, but slings her bag around to her front just to be safe from pickpockets, and keeps the shotgun handy. Otherwise, she just seems to be enjoying the impromptu set, indulging in the most welcome distraction.

They're not what anyone would call 'great', but they are loud, and enthusiastic. There's a human guy with a chrome skull, wearing some kind of chain mail jacket over a synthleather shirt, jacked in to some kind of weird synthdeck/speaker custom rig, and out of it pours screaming guitar riffs, and bass lines, which meld together well with each other, but seem to have a different sense of timing than either the drummer, or the singer, adding to the chaotic sounds of the band. Of course, given that he's jacked into his synth, he might not even be /hearing/ the other members of the band. Who knows? What's weird is, the wall of noise suddenly coheres, for a brief moment, as if the 'bad' playing were just an act, and they all scream out the same lyrics, no more comprehensible than before, in a sort of joint refrain. They are totally, almost strangely in sync as they scream out their refrain, then each of them seems to go back to doing their own timing and playing, a sort of surreal commentary on the state of music in the 6th world.

Of course, those who aren't too caught up in the music might also see a bright red glittery jacketed fellow, followed by a couple other people with red pants or an orange leaf on their jacket, jumping up a fire escape, and darting down an alleyway, laughing and talking to each other, not far from the concert.

Urgently, the German girl drops her handrolled joint to the pavement and grinds it out with a hasty toe of her boot to start working her way out of the gathered bodies watching the thrash set. Her mask is set back in place over nose and mouth, adhering itself through the magic of modern polymimetic technology, and she weaves, bobbing on tiptoes, sidestepping and ducking to keep the unfortunately-named Red Glitter Crew in sight as they ascend the rickety ladder of a rundown building.

The RGC seem to be using this building as a pathway. They walk along the top of it, laughing and chatting, and heading along the building top, leaping to another building. They don't bother to hide themselves, they're just up high because they like to be. After a few twists and turns, they get near to a fairly abandoned part of the rez, the sounds of the market left behind, with only a few folks out this far. They sit on the edge of the building, and wait for a minute, one of them unslinging a bag that clanks audibly in the quiet night, paints, no doubt.

Another group of four appears a moment later, these guys.. well.. they're in various get-ups, nothing cohesive enough to be a gang, each of them has a blue armband on. One of them is carrying a bag of paints as well. The RGC stand up, and the two groups talk to each other for a minute, and then they seem to argue, but not in a particularly violent way. Just more.. 'nu-uh, we're the best' sort of thing.

Gretchen pursues with morbid curiosity, up and over the buildings at a distance. Her nostrils flare behind her mask as the other crew steps to the RGC, suspecting a tag battle is soon to occur if one crew or the other doesn't give way. She takes up a position only half a block away, elevated if possible, perhaps not close enough to hear, but she makes use of her zoom, trying to read lips, and just read the situation in general.

The voices are muffled, and the angles are bad for lip reading, but the general gist is 'Your tags are shit, and you should stop messin with us' from both sides. The only thing Gretchen has particularly heard about blue armbands is that there are tags out there that people have seen people blue armbands spraying on walls. If they're a gang, they certainly aren't a big one.

Finally, one of the RGC members gives a rather rude gesture towards the other gang, and both sides grab their paints, and start handing them out. RGC and Blue Bands then start arguing again. This one is easier to hear, someone says something about 'needing a judge'.

Gretchen seizes the opportunity to creep down out of her hiding place, closing the distance as she slips a can of Krylon from her bag, rattling it with the unmistakeable clack-clacking of its internal paint mixing ball bearing.

Announcing her presence in this way, she cautiously interjects herself into the situation…

The two groups turn to look at Gretchen, and the RGC members cock their heads, looking her over with interest, while the blue bands just look at her with a haughty sneer. One of the RGC members speaks up.

"Hey. You got a tag? Anyone we've seen?" he asks, not sure who Gretchen is, but if she's got paint…

"You can't be serious. You're gonna get some chummer that you guys probably already know to judge?" one of the blue bands protests. "She's no friend of ours, and why else would she be up here if not for you guys?" he complains.

One of the reds sneers at the blues. "We don't know /everyone/ on the streets, you dumb slag." the girl responds. She's wearing a jacket with an orange leaf.

Gretchen's mask lends her low voice a hissing, raspy, Darth Vader-like sound and she looks between the groups with her shoulders hunched, stating in rough cityspeak, "I have no stake in this. You need a judge, well…" She clacks her can on the spur of the moment, crouching down to tear a corner from an old, discarded cardboard box. Using this as a straight edge, she throws up a quick tag of her own that reads 'ALPTRAUM,' nightmare in German, with a few intentional, exaggerated drips seeping from a stylized gunshot that cracks and spiders the jagged lettering.

As soon as she's done illustrating her tag, she blocks it out with wide swaths of paint. She isn't trying to take part, but wants the RGC to realize that it's she who's been tagging near their murals to announce her presence.

As Gretchen finishes her tags, both the girl, and one of the blues are nodding, looking at each other a little. Gretchen's keen eyes catch a little widening of the eyes on one of the reds, clearly recognizing her tag. Surprisingly, one of the blues has the same recognition in his eyes, apparently having seen her tag before. The girl and the guy who were nodding finally seem to reach some unspoken agreement.

"Alright. You're not bad. You can judge." the blue says.

"Ten minutes?" the red girl asks, and both sides look to Gretchen to see how long she'll let them have to make their tag.

Gretchen decides to switch it up a little bit and tucks her can back into her bag, drawing a little nearer, within a few meters, Ithaca held pointed downward with one hand on the top of the barrel — in hand, at the ready if hell breaks loose for some reason, but not held for combat. She raises a single finger beside her hooded head.

"One minute for a quick throw-up — name or symbol — and ten for round two," she splays out both hands, all fingers, "…larger wall piece."

Hissing through her breather with circle shades and hood lends Gretchen a bit of a 'Sand People' vibe perhaps, but the German accent and the shotgun sort of bring things back from sci-fi into the harsh reality of sprawl life. Not all battles involve gunfire, and Gretchen is deathly serious about the responsibility she just volunteered for. She may secretly hope that the RGC stomps the bluearms, but she thinks to herself, "Got to remain impartial. Impartial… Unparteiisch…"

All the taggers nod, and wait for the go symbol, before darting off. The Reds split up, and each throw up their own tags in red and glitter, with one of them lining it in gold. The girl does the leaf, one of them does an RGC2060 tag, and another just does CREW in red glitter, lined in gold. The blue bands dart off together, and do theirs intertwined, each taking a portion of the same bit of wall, and scrawling symbols that overlap. Leftmost is a suggestion of a cyberhand with sprays coming out of the fingers, which leads to the second, a blue irised eye, looking over at the third, a blue circle floating around a stylized parody of the RGC tag, the blue band marking right over it.

The German gives the bluearms an actually pretty satisfactory nod as she folds her arms, appreciating the burn incorporated into the triple-cyber in blue. The girl's left hand goes out to RGC though, fingers held tight, like a chop motion. "RGC," she drawls, announcing her pick. "Cover-ups or murals, ten minutes!" She then reaches into a front pocket of her camo zip-up to pull out a cheap burner phone to keep time. "Go!"

Meanwhile, the German trades the phone for a sixteen ounce can of beer from the other hoodie pocket. Tecate is drek, but Gretchen's tastes are not so refined as to turn down a tallboy of T-Bird. She removes her mask, now showing simply beanie brim, white bangs and circle-lensed glasses over thin black lips. As the crews work, she sips and assesses, totally not subscribing to her initial concept of remaining impartial.

The reds all look at each other, smirk, and run towards the edge of the building they're on, rather than the walls up here. The blues look confused, but dart for the section of the wall with the red leaf on it. As they start to paint, the reds all reach into their jackets, and hook what appear to be ziplines to the edge of the wall, and jump over, all in one smooth motion. From down there, on the edge of the building, the hiss of paints begins.

The Blues are going for another burn piece, this one centered around the leaf, since it's close to hand, and looked damn good. A blue lined white cloud goes up beside it, with a face puffing on the leaf, making it look as if the cloud is blowing the leaf along. One of them works on doing a background piece around the other two, as they work. The third works on what looks like a high tech robot, with flamethrower arms, blue flames licking out towards the leaf, getting ready to 'burn' it, and adding a few blue flames on the edges of the leaf closest to the flame. The background turns into a cheering crowd surrounding the robot, cloud, and leaf, as if they were performing for an audience on the streets.

In the meantime, it's hard to see what the Reds are making, at least, unless one goes and dangles off the building. When they're done, they haul themselves back up, leaving the mural behind on an angle where those on the streets can see it.

Their work is a stylized RGC mural, with what looks like red fighter jets flying over a group of blue stick figures who are oblivious to the big, glittery red bombs that are dropping on them. An explosion is painted at the leftmost of the mural, red and gold and orange, with blue stick figures flying off from it, as other bombs drop towards the blue figures below.

Gretchen definitely makes it a point to get an angle on the RGC piece in progress. She seems to have no inherent trouble with heights, though she is largely skittish in general. Under the circumstances, however, she wants to watch both crews intently, so she takes up a position at the corner of the building where she can lean over the edge to keep tabs on the Reds while the Blues are in sight as well. She takes generous pulls of her T-Bird fairly rapidly, eventually tossing the can over the edge when it reaches the last inch of skunky, uncarbonated swill.

"Two minutes," she calls out, shifting her shoulders to resettle the weight of her bag and slung weapon. She then turns her back to the low wall that surrounds the roof, props her hands and hops up to seat herself, swinging ninetly degrees on the edge to dangle one leg. Black thermal leggings and a low-heeled boot descend from black cutoffs. In this way, she keeps tabs on both crews, balanced precariously.

When the pieces are complete at the ten minute mark, she brings her feet under her, rises to stand on the edge and calls things to a stop with referee arms held out. "Time!"

The reds and blues wander to each other's places to look at the pieces, the blues dangling over the edge for a moment, and then both sides gather together, watching Gretchen with expectant looks on their faces as they wait for her to make the call. The blues look a little nervous. Both sides did burn pieces, but the reds did theirs in a better position, for the world to see, as it were.. so do they get some bonus points? The reds seem confident, though one of them keeps looking back at the mural they built around the leaf, and frowning, as if trying to figure out how to alter the mural to reverse the insult..

Gretchen actually moves to anchor a line before declaring a winner, dropping a length of slender black nylon rope down alongside theirs. Her bag has tons of weird stuff in it, apparently. A minimal piece of climbing harness gear is also pulled out before she closes the top flap — a carabiner with a clamp connected by a foot long length of secure strapping. She slips this into the collar of her hoodie and snaps it against a tactical loop on the small armor vest she wears beneath. The rope-gripping clamp dangles down near her belt buckle, a vintage pewter boombox.

Wary of how the Blues may react to her decree, she rolls her shoulders nervously and shifts the angle that her shotgun hangs at.

"Great work on the robot," she says, looking to the Blues' mural, "But it goes to RGC…"

Fight or flight time… Shit hitting fan time…

The Blues probably aren't going to be pleased with the results, and Gretchen is ready at a moment's notice to fire or dive off the edge, feeling blood pounding in her ears.

The blues groan, "Oh, you gotta be shittin me." one of them says, complaining, while the Reds all smirk at them.

"You heard the lady." the girl in the leaf jacket says, "So let's see that nuyen, chummer." she laughs, and the reds laugh with her.

Unfortunately, at that moment, the roof access door busts open, and bright flashlights shine out at the two groups.

"Drekin Taggers! We told you, stay off our building!" one of the men who charges out shouts. There's three of them. They're dressed like 'security' for a cheap street thug definition of 'security', hired by the 'owner' of this building to run off squatters, and stop taggers from panting all over it. Of course, the reds dangling off the side of the building caught their attention, but it was late towards the end of the ten minutes, and it took them a few minutes to get into the building, and get up here.

The guys are wearing bulky outfits that all match one another, probably some kind of armor, but not obviously, and carrying small SMGs.

"Slag me, scatter!" one of the blues shouts, and both they and the reds start running opposite directions, the reds towards their ziplines, planning to take the fast way off the roof.

The German bolts for the edge, one hand scrabbling to get hold of her own line, the other nervously shoving the descent clamp into place!

Gretchen makes it down, as she hears some gunfire up above. The men above aren't yet at the lip of the building, so they must be shooting at the blues. The reds are descending, but they're not as fast as Gretchen, and one of them slips, his arrestor slamming him awkwardly into the building and taking the wind out of him as the others catch up to him. Together, they're about halfway down, when two of the thugs lean over the edge of the building and start taking potshots.

Gretchen's descent clamp snaps into place around the rope she laid, and in a flareout of limbs, she hurls herself over the edge, arms first but rotating. As her vest-clipped support draws taut, she swings her legs beneath her to brace against the face of the building. With the guards peeking over the edge, she indulges in her momentum, wall-running a few steps horizontally while holding the line with a white-knuckled grip, though her hands are gloved. At least she'll be a moving target if indeed any targeting occurs…

The Reds grab each other, and hurry their descent. Of course, they were already 3/4 of the way down, so with this, they get off the wall, though they can't get far off before the shooting starts, it's better than being dangling and predictable targets. They hit the ground and start zig zagging, as the guards above start shooting down seemignly at random. Guard 1 is mostly focused on the Reds, while Guard 2 takes a shot at Gretchen.

Gretchen's legs scramble against the recently-tagged face of the building as she grips her descent clip for dear life, slipping down and to the side until forced to pendulum back the way she came, nearer to the flashy red street artists. Her line zwips, her fear manifests through short, panting breaths, and her head whips from the roof edge to the ground in her hurried scramble to safety. She's ready for her boots to hit solid ground, unclip and sprint to cover after the gangers, if for no other reason than to not be a lone target by surging off in another direction.

Gretchen's boots hit the concrete below, stumbling as the line swings her to shoulder-ram the wall. She grunts at the impact, due to releasing more line once the bullets started flying. In a crouch, she unsnaps her clip and beats feet to stay grouped with the RGC, swearing in German, then switching to the multilingual mishmash of cityspeak to just encourage the Reds to get behind cover. "Out of sight, let 'em focus on the Blues!"

The gunfire is still echoing in the streets as the reds run after you. They're not as fast, or as trained, so they're definitely slower than the German lady, but they duck into the alleyway after her, taking her advice of getting out of sight to heart. Distant curses of thugs can be heard, but they're sure not climbing down the side of the building just to shoot at some gangers. The gunfire recedes in the distance as the blues escape as well, and the girl in the leaf jacket laughs, and smiles at Gretchen.

"Thanks!" she smiles, "Drek, but those Blues can pick a meeting spot, can't they?" she laughs, as she and her friends follow the German.

Gretchen is shrunken into her hoodie, both hands holding her pistol-grip shotgun tight. She spins on her heels guiding her weapon front and back as she slinks away with the taggers. After the release of a deep breath, she offers a grimace to the Reds in an effort to transmit camaraderie through a stressed out flashing of teeth and black lips. "Dumb fucks," she mutters, looking back to the scene of the scramble before rounding yet another corner. "Hey," she offers, turning back. "Any time."

Regarding the Blues: "Assholes probably just had their numbers cut in half for that." She drawls this out, figuring that must have been the entire crew, and that the Warrens is better off for it.

The reds laugh, and nod, shrugging as they move along with the shotgun toting woman.

"Those three have been trying to show us up for weeks. Heads up their asses." the girl in the jacket says, as she laughs nervously, and sighs. "Hopefully even if they don't die, they'll learn something from all this." she waves a hand expressively, as she smiles.

"I'm Rill." she introduces herself.

One of the other guys speaks up. "I seen your tag near some of our stuff. Trying to get our attention?" he wonders.

Gretchen nods to Rill and spits over her shoulder to express how many fucks are given about the Blues — an unclassy sentiment of likemindedness. "I doubt they'll keep trying to butt heads with you after this."

Turning to the guy speaking up, "Just trying to find some wallspace." She tightens her lips into a thin line and flips up the dark lenses of her circle shades, prescrip lenses beneath. "RGC has all the good spots," she offers in her way of being diplomatic. "Just trying not to do-over any of your pieces. You can write."

The guy who spoke up still looks a little.. suspicious. "How weird is it meeting a random tagger who's been tagging beside our peices, just at the time we needed a judge?" But Rill just waves it off, with a smile, and then the other guy slaps the suspicious guy on the shoulder.

"Lay off, dude. She helped us out with the judging, and she helped distract the goons. Unless you'd have preferred getting shot at by both of them?" he laughs, and the suspicious guy shrugs, and sighs.

"Whatever." he says.

"Yo, we gotta jet, but look us up sometime. I saw one of your murals. You do neat work. I like the arcane stuff. All symbols an shit. It's neat." Rill says with a smile.

Gretchen narrows her eyes, preparing to scamper a different direction. "I… Don't know what you're talking about…" She begins to slowjog a few steps down an adjacent alley, then pauses. "Alptraum! Err," she calls back. "Gretchen." The crew are given a sloppy, fake salute, hand to chest, while the other hand still grips her weapon. "Stay frosty." She spins and disappears into the shadows…

On her way back toward the Souk, Gretchen finds an abandoned Americar shoved up beside an old apartment block with its windows smashed out and the trunk popped. It's been looted, but she tries her luck anyway…

She pockets the highlighters after popping the cap of one to see if it still writes or the ink has dried out, then looks over her shoulders as she leans in to the glovebox, one knee on the driver's seat. Normal glovebox trash, but… a little silver necklace bauble. Might be worth a bowl of udon back at the market…

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