Dreamchipper Finale - Genghis Khan

GM: TRISTA
Players: GRETCHEN, KRAFT, TWO LEFT EYES, INDRAKSHI.
Synopsis: After freeing Val from the Cleopatra chip, she takes them to her hideout at an abandoned military base north of the Warrens. Inside they meet 'The Beast', as she calls it, her modified Airstar helicopter and the team start discussing how to acquire the final chip. Performing a fly-over with a drone, Val allows the others to see that Khan has gathered an army of almost 200 go-gang Bikers. Making plans, they finally gear up, gather some additional assistance from Indrakshi, then fly into the warzone. Rockets fire, machine guns spray, bikes explode, carnage ensues. Kraft and Gretchen head into the warehouse to try and gather up the chip, but eventually come up with a plan to remove it from a distance. Khan is now a complete mess, the chip is failing and he stops making sense, so the gang leaders start to come up with their own plan. Kraft talks to the gang leaders and amazingly doesn't get shot to pieces, giving Gretchen enough time to blow a hole in the roof so Two Left Eyes can magically remove the chip from Khan. Escaping in the chaos, they return to the helicopter and flee for safety, while below, the gangs, now without Khan's leadership, start turning on each other again. Once all is done, it's time to meet the Johnson, collect payment and hand over the chips.
Date: March 31st 2078


RELAXING WITH THE BEAST

It's a fair and uneventful journey after seeing Pengrave meet his end. The hour ticks past midnight, the mist steadily clears and the moon makes an appearance through the light cloud cover overhead, twinkling stars around it. The Westwind turns onto I-225 and after a few minutes, Val leans forward again, motions to an incoming offramp. "Head down and take a right..", she suggests, leaning back again. "You pulled me out of some serious trouble, so I'm trusting you with this location. If /anything/ happens to go missing, I'll know who to find.", she adds, resting back and watching the passing lights as the vehicle continues on. After a couple of miles, the lights stop and the hi-beams have to be used, you pass a sign which reads, 'Military Personnel Only Beyond This Point'. Despite any protests, Val insists it's safe to continue, and a little while later you reach an abandoned military base.

The base is old and quite small in size, probably used for training purposes some time in the past, and though it's seen better days it has some nice fencing around the outside, monowire keeping climbers out, and a few of the buildings are still habitable. "Continue over to that one..", Val pointing out one of the buildings that looks like a hangar, a long building with a curved roof and large double doors for vehicles to move in and out of. "This is home.", the woman explains. On the wall next to the double doors, a spray painted message reads, 'Beware the Beast'.

All along the route, Gretchen's head has only barely risen above the edge of the door, scrunched down in her seat, hair strewn out to one side, glasses constantly being nudged up to the bridge of her nose, and hands and feet tapping anxiously. "You weren't kidding about having a chopper were you," she asks, slightly wary, yet slightly in awe of this pretty prime hideout. Whether she got the wrong term for Val's aircraft, she has a big military chopper in mind, envisioning it behind the massive hangar doors bristling with gun barrels like a ballistic porcupine.

The Westwind runs smoothly along the highways, stiff suspension and wide tires bringing enough road noise to the cabin that it gets very old by the time the team arrive. Two's hands tremble slightly as they rest on the vehicle's wheel, steering as directed. Ignore those signs. Through this gate. Around this corner. "We've all got stuff nobody should find out, don't worry." He lies. Everybody here but him owns stuff you'd get in real trouble for owning. He'll buy it all soon enough. The westwind pulls up to the hangar doors.

Kraft's false eyes slide aside as he feels Val's arm go through his own, the grousing old borg patting it once with his free hand. "Might as well pine for the clouds." He mutters to himself, and otherwise remains silent for the rest of the ride. Either out of respect for the team he was thrown together with or - more likely - not wanting to burn his last dogear, that cancer stick remains unlit and tucked behind his ear as they travel. False eyes flicker - irises slowly dying away. Like any flatfoot worth his salt, he knows when its time to rack out. If they crash, they crash - he's in a bad spot to shoot out the window, bad spot to climb out the back, and a bad spot to do anything about anyone.

The jostle wakes him back up, half lidded eyes blinking a few times, clicking like vaccuum tubes warming up. He glances to Val, then out the window as they approach - military base?

"Huh. Thought I was the only one with heavy metal." He quips, leaning forward to get a better view.

When the car rolls to a stop, Val leans forward and nods to Two, "Not bad. You should try it with a control rig though, you might want to adjust that suspension within about.. ooh, five seconds.", she chuckles, then motions to the door. "Let me out, I'll show you around.", she says, continuing to stay leaning forward, eager to hop out and start showing people around. This place obviously doesn't get visitors very often.

To Gretchen she shakes her head, "A Hughes Airstar, modified with electronics and hardware no Airstar should be wired with.. not legally, at least, but it keeps me hidden well enough to be able to fly it.". When Kraft awakens, she gives him a smile, "Welcome back.".

Two Left Eyes turns the car off and steps out. He fumbles with his seat as he tries to find the latch to move it forward. Is this the first time he's ever moved that seat? Oh no, will he have to readjust the leg room? He responds to Val as she gets out, "I'd like to. But I've got a condition that probably excludes the kind of surgery that would take." He looks down at the car with a satisfied smile. "A better suspension would be good though. Maybe a drive by wire system…" Wonder at the new environment is briefly forgotten as he returns to his mental comfort zones - to-do lists.

The German girl is reluctant to exit the vehicle, not only due to her immediate fear of 'The Beast', but due to her recent slaying of a suit who may or may not have had contingencies in his will for dealing with runner scum… So she slinks out, obvious as a lit fluourescent in a pitch black room, all white hair and galaxies. She gingerly sets her boots down to the tarmac and lets the shotgun seat forward, leaning to the lever as she peers over her shoulders. She mutters grumpy German to herself under her breath as she paranoias out, feeling all too exposed in her party clothes and lacking her own wheels and gear.

"Yeah. Out of the frying pan and into the grease fire."

Grouses Kraft, finally able to stretch when Gretch moves her seat. Sliding out to take a good, long look around the hangar, finally tucking that dogear into the side of his lips. It hurt to look at the woman they had rescued, something that was hard to admit, so instead he focused on the obvious. Patting down his pockets for the lighter as he glances aside at Two and Gretchen. Then finally to Val, after a moment's hesitation.

"Not that we don't mind the chance to cool our heels, sweethea-.. Val.. but what's on your head, next?"

Exasperated, Gretchen tries to keep her mind off of things by instead fixating on small details at the expense of everything else. She blurts out finally, after her curiosity can no longer be held in check, "The fuck is the beast?!?!"

Her hands flex, making small motions under the draping charcoal fabric of her neo-Gaelic wool and kevlar shawl.

Gretchen shrinks after her demand, as though it slipped out unintentionally. She presses her lips into a sheepish, semi-apologetic frown as her shoulders fall forward in a subconscious desire to take back what she said, or at least to tone it down a bit.

Once the door is open and the seat is pushed back, Val is out of the vehicle and heading for the door to the hangar, using the smaller personnel entrance rather than roll back the large hangar doors. "A change of clothing for one..", she replies to Kraft, ".. then maybe some sleep, unless you're eager for some more action before the night is over.". Reaching out, her palm presses to the maglock on the wall outside, a red beam scans down her hand, bleeps happily, then the door clicks and opens a whisker so she can push it open the rest of the way. "Come on through.", she calls back as she makes her way into the hangar.

Once inside, the hangar has obviously been repurposed to be more than just a simple hangar. Areas have been sectioned off, added to, new areas installed. One far corner has been shaped into a kitchen, complete with cabinets, sink and all the essentials, a table and chairs placed nearby. Next to that is a sleeping area, with military beds obviously pulled from other areas of the base to be used here, though only one seems to see any real use judging by the items around it; books, a bedside table, and so on. The other side of the hangar is part storage, part workshop, with electronic and mechanical parts and equipment gathered on top of counters and storage boxes.

That said, however, the center of the hangar probably draws the most attention. A large helicopter, obviously customised to heaven and back, with additional armor, twin machine guns on firmpoints, a pair of rocket launchers, bullet - and probably rocket - proof windows for the passengers, not to mention the look of the interior through those windows wouldn't be out of place in a limousine. "This. Is the Beast.", Val says as introduction.

Gretchen's focus is primarily on the Beast of course, but upon entering she spins in a tight circle with small, angled steps to take in the entirety of the hangar. She returns her eyes to the Airstar and flips up the dark lenses of her glasses to a 45 degree angle and takes in the gunship with clear awe and utter silence. Her black lips part as her jaw drops a little.

Once everyone is out of the car, 2Josh makes sure the driver's seat is properly reset and closes it all up. He follows into the hangar, taking quick steps to catch up with everybody else. "Holy shit," is all he manages to say when Val introduces the Beast.

However, Gretchen is a flighty creature, and while she continues to sneak constant glances at the Airstar, she begins to gravitate toward the kitchen where, if she isn't interrupted, will proceed to remove her poncho (let's not kid ourselves here, what she's wearing is marketed as a shawl, but at the end of the day it's just a fancy shmancy poncho), revealing shoulder-to-knuckle tattoos and a tank that was clearly once a t-shirt but has had the sleeves and neck cut out with a pair of dull scissors. The chic poncho is tossed aside and she removes her glasses to begin washing her face in the sink.

A low, quiet whistle escapes false lips as Kraft meanders in behind 2Josh4U, pausing to put his hand atop his hat so he can tilt his head way back. "Look at the gams on that dame." He states, glancing aside to Val with that sideway grin.

"Huh. Look at you, battlestar Gal."

The humor quickly cracks and curls into his usual sardonic self as he finally finds his lighter. Clicking it a few times, the glow cupped in false hands as he listens. ".. Wouldn't mind a chance to get a new paint job in, to be honest. Got a few dings to bang out. Might also give us a chance to slip the noose a little on leaving a dead exec in Lonestar's lap. Twitch, Lefty?" He asks of the other two, hunting opinions.
Of course, Twitch has already started making herself at home.

Val barely slows down, a glance back to see the reactions, a soft chuckle to herself, "Stop it, you'll make him blush. Besides, he's greedy..", she says, pacing past the helicopter and patting it on the 'nose', "Isn't that right?", talking to the vehicle as if it were a friend, though she continues toward the bedroom area, "I'm barely breaking even taking it up lately, and Cooper keeping the payment really didn't help.".

When she reaches the bedroom, she pulls a curtain across and explains, "I need to get out of these clothes..", which is understandable, she's had nothing but evil comments for them since she awoke as herself. "Help yourself to whatever's in the kitchen. I should have some soykaf left.", as the soft whisper of clothing is shifted behind the curtain.

Two Left Eyes eyes the helicopter, then looks down. He stamps his left foot on the hangar's hard flooring. Is that jealousy? Insecurity? Awe? Maybe all of the above. Whichever it is, the young man is struck briefly silent. He pulls his suit's jacket off and lazily leans against a counter in the kitchen. "It might. But there's evidence of his bullshit, right? People won't look far once they discover it's a corrupt guy with a bullet in his head." He pauses. "There's a bigger thing to think about. The third chip?" He's half-thinking aloud, half asking the rest of the team for their thoughts.

Gretch uses the front of her tank top to pat her face dry, blinking exaggeratedly once she finishes, dropping the bottom of the loose tank to catch on her belt buckle, a mold-poured pewter boombox exactly the size of an old cassette tape. She whips her wet hair from side to side, slicks it back with both hands then replaces her glasses, dark lenses still angled up to reveal that she's cleaned off some, but not all of her raccoon eyes makeup. She busies herself now with the soykaf maker, rummaging for packets of the caffeinated powder and getting some water heated. "Speaking of Cooper…" She begins to broach the subject, calling out over her inked shoulder.

Well, that explains Cleo's comfort around a tincan flatfoot. Val's already got a hunk of metal for a beau. Allowing that wry grin to twist up false lips again while the cherry tipped cancer stick glows dully, Kraft rolls his shoulders in a shrug. "Don't know what we can do about that, Val, but at least you've got a chance to break through now. Honestly speaking? I don't think there's much of Cooper going to make it back. Those chips you three slotted are bad news, and I don't mean the latest ORC polling." When Val mentions heading to get dressed? Well, Denver's Dirty Angel finds somewhere else to be. Somewhere, alas, not quite out of earshot of rustling clothes. Damned amplified hearing. Oh, look, it's these two!

"Yeah. Two down, and one to go. Jack was relatively easy - all we had to do was dangle a bit of TWitch meat and the man came sniffing." A glance at the woman, Kraft raising a gloved hand to ward off any wayward sprinkles as he keeps talking. "Cleo was…" He pauses, voice drifting off for a moment as his chin lowers. The fedora cutting a sharp angle over his fake face, hiding the glow of his irises. ".. a different problem all together. But Khan? Khan's going to have an army. So we're going to have a whole different sort of patty to step over. So; Let's have ourselves an old fashioned chin wag. What've we got that he doesn't?"

It doesn't take Val long to change, before the soykaf is even ready, the woman pushing the curtain aside to reveal her normal choice of clothing; a thick leather jacket, grease stained t-shirt and baggy pants, along with some thick boots. Not so enticing, but she's still naturally attractive, as much as she tries to hide it. "I can't help you with that..", she says to Left Eyes, ".. I don't know who he was.", then to Gretchen she adds, "Cooper, though.. I'm going to see what he's doing.".

Moving across to her 'Beast', she opens the pilots door and reaches in to pull across a control deck, placing it on the seat as she stands at the doorway. Weaving a wire up, she slips the end into her datajack. "Unless you have any protest about that?", she asks. A thought transferred down the wire causes the hangar doors to slowly slide open a foot or two, then a storage bay drops open beneath the helicopter and a small, cherry red, circular drone drops out, a circular lens on the front. It starts to drift around the hangar, that 'eye' looking at the 'runners gathered around. Val looks across toward Gretchen, as if expecting her response to hold more weight.

Gretchen immediately snatches up her shawl and jogs to the Beast with wary but wide eyes, running them over the contours of the machine. Her only reply to Val's question is, "…can I co— oh…" She nods to herself as the drone begins to orbit the group, realization that it's not an opportunity to fly that's being offered. She clears her throat behind a fist that reads 'ALPT' and 'MILE' on two tiers of her knuckle bones. "Ja, no, go ahead, go ahead…" She does begin to watch the drone with purposeful curiosity, but begins to drift back toward the kaf. Always back to the kaf…

"I can fuck up a car. My magic can't do much to whatever army he's raising." Two stares down at the floor as theories fly rapidly through his head. He looks up in time to see the drone drop down. "Guess that's a good start."

"Huh. Handy. Wonder if they come in 'hat' form.."

Muses Kraft, before glancing again to Val. Both hands finding their way to his pocket, that ribbon of cancer smoke winding its way up to his hat, the yellow fake iris glow dully showing through. "Alright, dollface; This show's yours. Guess we'll keep you company while you're off floating?"

The drone twirls effortlessly through the hangar, swooping down to bump Kraft's fedora out of place again before it shoots off at speed through the open hangar door. Once it's gone, the door slowly slides closed again, Val giving Kraft a teasing grin at her playful toying with the drone. "This might take a while..", she says, turning to rest her back against the 'Beast', wire from her 'jack threading in through the pilots door to the control deck on the seat.

Looking across to Gretchen, Val asks politely, "Do you mind making me one? I would do it, but..", a motion to the wire keeping her in place. "I don't even have to think about it for now..", she tells Kraft, ".. it's an open flight for a few miles.".

"Totally," Gretchen replies to Val as she begins pouring the first cup. "How do you take it?" She searches (with high hopes) for some form of flavored creamer. Black soykaf isn't her favorite, but it gets the job done, no doubt about that.

Two Left Eyes twists his mouth to the left and right as he begins to arrange his thoughts. They begin to all fall into order. "The rest of us are all dressed for high security party too. We should get changed at some point. Sort ourselves out." He pulls his pocsec out of his pocket and flips it open. "Maybe make some calls."

"However you make it.", Val replies, "There's some cream in the.. not that one, the other.. that one.", she says, guiding Gretchen from a distance in her search for the cream. The woman seems about to say something else, when she's forced to focus on her task at hand. "Hoooo-leeeee.. You need to see this.".

Gretch doctors up Val's kaf, or not, as the case may be, and promptly delivers a mug to her while holding her own in her other tattooed and black-nailed hand. At 2Josh's comment, she looks down to her leggings and then aims an 'if it's not too much trouble' expression to Val. "…can I borrow a pair of trousers..?"

There's a sudden shudder that rattles the mugs in the kitchen as the helicopter comes to life. The rotors don't spin, but the engine is alive and well. "I'll feed it to the paintwork..", she says. The entire outer coating that isn't engine and propellor shifts colors seemingly at random, pixels on a machine, until they become a solid image in motion. The image shows the sight of a Warrens street from high above; below, the roads are full of bikers. At first there are only a few, but as the drone continues forward and the camera angles upwards, so the streets seem to be flooded with them. At the center of the recruitment drive sits a warehouse in an area of destruction, old warehouses turned to rubble leaving only the one standing. The number of bikers are well above a hundred.

The camera on the drone zooms in to get a closer look, the familiar colors of Blood Rumblers sharing a street with the Red Rovers, who in turn are talking with Spike Wheels.

The delivered soykaf is taken from Gretchen, though her focus is on her drone, ensuring it isn't spotted. The question of trousers is given a nod, "Sure..".

Two Left Eyes jumps when the helicopter whirs to life. His eyes widen in surprise as the paint does its own version of whirring to life. Being accustomed to the astral and matrix might make you used to the fantastic, but he's used to his real life being devoid of it. This is something you normally only see on the trids. "Fucking hell," he murmurs. It's unclear if his response is to the gathering horde or the paint job.

The German's hand-cut shirt reads 'LAZERHAWK' in bold white lettering on black fabric, underscored by an album title, 'SKULL & SHARK' with an upturned crucifix in place of the ampersand. She doesn't seem to feel the need to change this aspect of her wardrobe, but the leggings though…

Wait. Nevermind. There's an apocalypse rezzing into existence on the outer panels of the Beast and Gretchen's eyes go wide as her jaw drops behind her mug, held close below her nose with both hands. "…holy shit…" She swallows nervously as she takes in the scene playing out on the Airstar's adaptive paint. She begins to openly fret, voicing out loud, "How the hell are we gonna reach Cooper..?" The scene is daunting to say the least, and as she watches drone-trid she loudly sips from her steaming mug of overly sweetened kaf.

"Getting in would only be part of the problem. With all those people, how are we going to yank a chip out of his head?" Two stares at the footage on the side of the helicopter as he talks. "It's not like we can talk it out of his head." He stops in his tracks and spins around, then pours a cup of soykaf for himself. "Maybe that's not a bad idea. Ghengis Khan was all macho and shit, right? Challenging him to pull the chip out of his head might actually work."

The drone swoops over the top of the warehouse, changing angle so the warehouse is always in its field of view. "He's going to be inside. I'll see if I can get a view.", Val replies. The drone changes view, spins to take in the area, zooming in on various bikers and their selection of weaponry, ".. only small arms..", she mentions mostly to herself, then the drone locates a doorway and pulls right out to get a view on it first.

Not finding anything blocking the path, the drone rushes through the open door and into what appears to be a reception area for whatever this warehouse used to operate as. The filing cabinets are all tilted, knocked over and smashed, and a computer terminal is in so many pieces there's nothing more than a shell remaining. A hallway leads onwards, toppled vending machines blocking the path, but the drone manages to find a way through. It pops out the other side to find itself behind a pile of boxes. It spins 720 degrees to gather its bearings, then hovers oh-so carefully upwards.

"That's Cooper..", Val says, the view zooming in on a man surrounded by six bikers. He's small and chubby with slicked back, short dark hair. With so many people around, she adds, "I'd best get out while I can. If you want to see something, tell me now."

Gretchen feels a dire sense of urgency at the opportunity to get a close look through the drone, and the vicarious nature of the display is actually making her nervous here, miles away. "I— Idunno, a shot of where his chip is jacked?!" She blurts this out, backpedaling from the larger than life video feed playing out on the chassis of the gunship to get a better overall picture.

Jerking his head down as the fedora is bumped out of position, Kraft takes a moment to reseat it before wandering off. Letting Two and Gretchen do the majority of the small chat with .. well, with Val. Just another woman, he keeps reminding himself as he finds a screwdriver. Peeling his glove off as he tries to loosen up that left thumb, and just manages adding more scratches to the chasis. Reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose, letting the cigarette burn without drawing in more than a wiff of the noxious fume just yet.

"Mmph."

Head in the game, he starts as the engine of the Beast rumbles to life. Meandering his way back over to watch the view, false eyes narrowed.

"Chipjack it is.." Val replies, the woman focusing on the drone, the image zooming in to Cooper's chubby face and scanning across his head, along his neck, behind the ear where the chip can be spotted. "There's our baby.", she smiles. "Now I'm getting out of here.". She talks as if she's actually there, because in essence, she actually is. The drone spins and the image returns to normal zoom. It carefully makes its way through the toppled vending machines then rockets out of the doorway and high up into the sky. The image on the sides of the helicopter fade back to a silver grey and the engine shudders as it powers off once more.

No longer having to focus so much on flight, Val lifts her soykaf to her lips and takes a slow drink, nodding appreciatively at the taste. "You make a good 'kaf.", she says.

Two Left Eyes finishes making his soykaf and sips it gingerly. The chip is clear as day on the side of the helicopter. "That's confirmation of him and the chip at least." He stares into his mug thoughtfully. "Maybe we could yank him out wholesale? Deal with getting the chip out once we've extracted him."

Kraft considers the problem for a moment, palming that cancer stick in his hand while he stares at the blank flank of My Little Heli. The cherry glows red as assisted lungs whirr, drawing in oxygen to feed dying meat sticks, eyes squinted beneath the gloom of his once more appropriately fixed hat.

".. Stealth copter. Huh." And then he turns his head aside, finding something interesting in the corner to watch. "My usual trick of going building top to building top's not gonna work there. It's flatland all the way up to the front, and a whole bunch of riled up gooks looking at him like he's the one passing out rat jerky." The cigarette is palmed; Rolled back and forth. "And we can't just slip inside in disguise. You two might be able to pull it off.." A glance to Two. ".. Might.. but I'm going to stand out worse than a ficker picking up gals at a humanis bar. So the first part is getting close - the second part is getting -far-."

"Well, I can't do anything from here," Gretchen contemplates aloud, though she does tilt her head back, and side to side with an appreciative glance at the hangar HQ. "All my shit is in the 'Rens — I don't even have a knife on me at this point…" Though she does look to Val at that.

Leaving the 'runners to their plans, Val focuses partly on drinking her soykaf and partly on returning the drone home safely. Hearing Gretchen's comment, Val looks up, "Wherever you want to go..", a tilt of her head toward the helicopter, offering the woman a ride which is obviously extended to everyone else.

It takes a couple of minutes, but the little red drone eventually returns to the hanger, the doors opening briefly to allow it inside before it returns to it's storage bay in the underside of the 'copter.

"I think… If you're willing, Val…" Gretchen grimly offers a tentative plan. Uh oh… "I can try to make some headway on foot— on my bike. And… if worse comes to worst… Extraction via the Beast?" She takes a pause to let her ideas gel just a bit more, sipping her kaf loudly once again. "Do you think you could hold down an evac for us if we have to go loud?" The more 'mercenary' terminology sounds strange coming from her, as though she's never spoken the words aloud, coupled with her German accent which puts it into the realm of alien as opposed to just unfamiliar.

A slow nod of the head. "Now the real question; You want to wait until the big shindig when everything's heated and moving, or you want to try and hit it tonight?" It's a hard question, and Kraft is drawing hard on that cancer stick again.

"Personally? I say tonight. Don't get me wrong, doll.." A glance to Val, and another glance. Damn near forgetting where he was going with this, a grin creeping up the side of his lips. ".. I wouldn't mind sharing a roof. But right now the whole crew's probably lit up in smokes and booze, getting ready to roll tomorrow after the big announcement. That'll give us time to gather up more than six bullets as well."
And then he nods at Gretchen. ".. That'll take care of 'getting out', at least. Imagine we can cut you a piece too out of what Cooper owes you… You two, uh… friendly enough you want him out alive? I know you said you'd like a knife in his gut, but." A shrug of the shoulders again. "You've been back for a bit now. Still want him gone?"

Two Left Eyes downs the last of his soykaf and rubs his eyes, fingers sliding behind his glasses. "Alright." He quickly rinses the mug out in the sink, then picks up his jacket, re-energised and ready to go. He waits for the others to get a response before making any other move.

Gretchen sets her mug down nearby, kaf nearly finished, and begins to bob slightly on the balls of her feet, the three inch heels of her short boots rising from the concrete floor of the hangar. This lends her the air of a boxer prepping for a fight, but the expression on her face is deeply worried, tattooed hands flexing at her sides.

Pulling the wire from her 'jack, Val pushes the pilot door closed then heads for the bedroom area again. "Extractions and hot drops are what I do best.", she replies to Gretchen, the woman disappearing behind the curtain for a second before walking back out again, toward the woman in question. "It should be no trouble, those small arms aren't even going to scratch the paintwork..", reaching out, she offers the dikoted blade toward Gretchen, "If they have some rocket launchers stored somewhere though, that might need me to be awake.".

Looking to Kraft at his question, she gives a light shrug of her shoulders, "I don't care what happens to him. We've never been friends, if he happens to expire by sunlight I won't shed a tear."

Gretchen gratefully accepts her pocketknife back, then beelines to the kitchen to leave her mug and retrieve her shawl once more. She slings it over one shoulder and digs out her phone, then steps aside to make a couple of calls…

Gretch's calls do not fall on deaf ears. Barry and Wyatt at the marketplace agree to spread word and get the locals prepped to the best of their ability. Rill, Jag and Bosco with the Red Glitter Crew eagerly jump at the chance to work their craft for a cause and fetch their climbing rigs and spectrum of paints. Benny and Jem with the Sinners are always ready to rumble, and agree to get more of the girls in on the action.

The calls take a few minutes, going out to other lesser-known contacts as well, and with her lower lip bitten in anxious anticipation of what's to come, Gretchen returns to the group. "People are prepping in Aurora. The horde won't be preying on the unprepared at least. Not entirely…"

After Gretchen's calls, the Warrens starts to stir. It's still late at night, but the murmurings are starting; bad things this way come. A few of the business owners in the marketplace decide to close up early, share warnings with others and hole up until the trouble has passed. The gangs pass word to other gangs, unheard of in the Warrens, but the thought of a couple hundred bikers roaring through gang territory killing all that stand in their way is enough of a warning to listen to.

The heavy weapons come out of hiding, snipers take to rooftops, squads of gangers become common sight to protect their turf and they're not carrying the usual pistols and SMG's, the assault rifles are out for now. Better safe than sorry.

"I'm not telling you how to run your team..", Val chimes in after Gretchen and Kraft have finished their calls, moving along the side of her Airstar, ".. but if it were me, I'd open up with these..", a pat against one of the hardpoint machine guns, ".. clear an area, then drop you in close. I'd rise..", a tilt of her head, imagining the 'chopper rising away from the team, ".. and keep them busy while you're inside dealing with the main problem.".

Val notes the rocket launchers and adds, "Perhaps a few of those for good measure.". The last of her soykaf finished, she makes her way to the kitchen area to drop off her mug.

Gretch sneaks a quick-dissolve capsule under her tongue, perhaps discreetly, perhaps not, but she turns her back to the group and hunches over the empty datachip case she keeps her party favors and mood stabilizers in. For everyone's sake, let's hope she grabbed the correct microdot pill…

"We're trying to stop a war, not start one." Two says as he slides his jacket on. He pauses in the hangar and looks at the helicopter. "But maybe you have a point…" He wonders aloud.

"Well, that's one vote for 'walk in hot'."

Grouses Kraft, considering the problem while he palms that cig again. Eyes briefly travel to watch Twitch 'secretly' swallow a few pills, before he pinches the bridge of his nose. ".. Sad thing is, that might be our best shot. I don't know about you mooks, but I'm not invisible. Can't think of a way to get around a hundred damn bikers without -someone- noticing us. And that warehouse had, what.. six, seven bodies in it, not including Khan?"

A FLIGHT OVER THE WARZONE

Her mug left in the sink, with just a quick rush of water thrown over it, Val makes her way back out into the main hangar. "There's no point us standing around here, there must have been over a hundred bikers there and something tells me that's not the last of them.", she makes her way over to her helicopter and pulls open the pilot door. "Does anyone need a ride before we deal with this? I might not be a part of this.. whatever 'this' is.. but I'm not ready to watch /that/ roll over the Warrens uncontested.".

"CanyougetmetotheSouk?!" Gretchen turns from her not so sneaky self-medicating to try to take Val up on her offer.

Two Left Eyes stays looking at the helicopter for a moment, not spotting Gretchen 'gearing up' or Kraft's reaction to it. "Yeah. You're right." He reaches into his pockets and pulls his keys out, then replaces them. "I'm probably better on the ground but a giant assed helicopter is about as safe a vantage point as it gets. If you're going to be overhead, I'll go with you." He walks to the helicopter and shows his clear inexperience with aircraft by pausing at the side entry door, unfamiliarity making him wonder for a moment how to get in.

With a look to Gretchen, a little smile creeping onto her features, Val motions to the side door, "Hop in.". Then she does the same, climbing up into the pilot seat and closing the door behind her. A wire is pulled from the console and threaded up to her datajack, though a hand still rests on the stick as if she were going to control it manually.

With a soft hiss, the passenger doors slide open to reveal the interior which is all soft leather and sleek design, akin to the interior of a limousine; it even comes complete with a chiller stocked with cold drinks, alcoholic mostly, and a trid screen for either watching basic trid or feeding other information to. There are, of course, seatbelts. At the same time as the passenger doors open, so the hangar doors open, rolling aside wide enough to allow the 'chopper through. With a rumble, the vehicle comes to life, though the propellers don't spin quite yet.

Gretch clambers up into the belly of the beast without further ado, clinging to the edge of the doorway, hanging from the assistance handles as though she might actually intend to pass the duration of the trip like this.

Two Left Eyes hauls himself into the helicopter with a grunt. This is a lot higher than any vehicle he's used to getting into. He glances at the bar wistfully. The party seems so far away now. "Alright." He says while closing his seatbelt and adjusting his glasses.

"Normally speaking, doll, I've got reservations about climbing into another man's lap."

Grouses Kraft as he clambors aboard the heli along with the others of the team. Pausing to admire not so much the interior as the liquor expanse, before the damn machine starts shifting and getting ready to take off. Strapping himself near the entrance, false eyes blinking out the window as he grimaces.
"I don't mind heights so much as falls." He mutters mostly to himself. Keeping his eyes peeled for the anime-con - I mean, biker fest.

Once everyone is aboard, the propellers start to spin, slowly turning enough to give the helicopter motion. It rolls forward, through the open hangar doors, which slowly close behind it as the 'chopper finds itself on open ground. With a steady whine the propellers gather speed until they become nothing but a blur above the top of the vehicle. "Hold on, we're going up..", Val says over the comm, her voice having that faintly mechanical sound found over in flight communications.

The helicopter rises slowly to about 30 feet, then with a sudden twist and lunge, it turns direction and starts to rise higher, quickly increasing speed. Higher and higher it rises, the large hanger becoming a distant shape below, the wind from the open doors fluttering clothing and throwing hair in all directions. "We'll be passing over the bikers soon. Keep your eyes on the ground.", she says.

Her 'stolen' military base being north of the Warrens, the path does take the helicopter directly over the top of the biker situation. Far below, like ants scurrying through the streets, the bikers roam; while it seemed a lot when viewed from Val's perspective, seeing it for real is.. troubling. The helicopter passes directly over the top of the warehouse, all around it are the remains of other buildings. There's enough cover there if you were to go in on foot. Sure, it wouldn't be easy, but it's possible to sneak your way in.

All around the streets, however, are bikers, armed bikers, rumbling back and fore on everything from the large Blitzens to the superfast Rapiers, gang colors mixed together into one mass army. And that's not the last of them, as the outer edges show more moving in, as you move deeper across the Warrens there are more again travelling along the roads, heading northwards to that one meeting point.

Gretchen prolongs her stance in the doorway, gripping the handrails for dear life as the Airstar rises. Her hair whips wildly in the wind from the rotor, and she gazes down at the ground, from the megaplex to the plains out east, but gradually she seats herself, moving hand over hand, steadying and pulling herself to a more secure position. Strapping into one of the seats, she double checks that comms are all in order. « Check! Check! » She holds a hand to her right ear, yelling over the sound of the engines. « Once I can get to the market, I'm going to grab some equipment and then… » She looks between Kraft and Two. « Do we drop in from above? How do we want to do this? Set down on the nearest concealed roof? » She peers down through the open door that she didn't bother sliding shut, taking in the ant swarms far below.

Two Left Eyes looks very unsure of the entire situation as the helicopter sways and begins to carry them through the air. This is not the same animal as levitating. He's used to being in control. This is nerve wracking. He stares out the window as the ground whizzes past, people and vehicles looking like models. He fumbles at the magnification options on the loaned glasses. « There's so many of them. It's like an awful joke. » He says over the comm while staring out the window. « I can cast from up here. Hold on, I'm going to go scout. » He sits back in his seat and closes his eyes, body sagging in the plush leather.

«I can take being dropped, sister. You'd be surprised how often women dump me.»
States Kraft's voice over the chopper comm, once he's unplugged the taccom and popped that headphone in instead. While it'll keep him from being instantly connected with the team and expose communications with Val, at this point he's.. not so worried about Val. Not anymore. He's got a sardonic grin, but his lips aren't moving. And then he considers the problem of early morning bikers, with a grimace.

«I'll need to pick up a holster at least, and a few more than six bullets for this lot. We'll need a backup too, sister, 'least you're counting on Johnnie boy here being able to pull it off in one slot.» A glance aside towards the man. «.. Can you pull it off in one shot?»
Back to watching out the window. «How's your aim with a long gun, Twitch?»

The spirit of Two leaves his body and is instantly left hovering high above the night sky as the helicopter continues on its path. Travelling down below he passes through the warehouse walls and into the area inside, where Khan and now seven others are gathered around; he can hear them talking, or rather, Khan performing for the troops, ".. will guide us all forward. No longer will we be tied to our territory. No! The Warrens will be ours, from this day forward the world will..". Moving out as a pair of elementals travel through the area, Two misses whatever comes next as he quickly leaves the warehouse. Like bright lights in a sea of the mundane, he spots two more awakened in the sea of bikers, one a magician, another a shaman.

Commlink-ALPTRAUM> Gretchen sends, « …not really a sharpshooter… » Acting sheepish and yelling over the chop of rotor blades don't really go hand in hand, but Gretchen's body language, even strapped into a chopper seat as she is, implies it well enough to the 'borg, from her dipped head to frowning black lips. « I'd have to get ahold of a rifle on short notice though. »

The helicopter continues along its path, there's barely a shake or a shudder Val pilots it so well, a smooth ride until below you can spot the Souk and the marketplace, still filled with potential customers. Not bothered about who might spot it, it's the Warrens after all, she guides the Airstar downwards until it comes to a steady hover, slowly lowering itself down to a gentle landing on the street outside the marketplace. The machine guns spin, track targets, a threat to those with ideas to keep their distance.

Two Left Eyes's divorced mind glides through a realm of emotion and thought. He catches glimpses of truth here and there and begins to radiate concern. He circles the area slowly, watching. Waiting for the helicopter to come into range so he can return to his body easily.

PREPARATIONS

Gretchen disembarks and sets off into the alleys surrounding the marketplace before she finds a secluded manhole with a crowbar conveniently stashed behind a dumpster nearby, as though she knew it would be placed there. With a great effort, she heaves the metal cover aside and slips into the subterranean tunnels. Her comm remains open, and should Kraft or Two accompany her, she'll guide them through the sewer tunnels until they reach a massive subway transfer station where half a dozen twisted trains once collided to make a rusted pile, like the skeletons of a clutch of snakes. Some of the trains are toppled, some are jackknifed upward, and it makes for a hell of a maze. Fire barrels filled with long-burning material have low flames for not having been tended recently, but some are still providing enough light to see by. The German navigated with practiced ease, dodging simple noisemaker traps like stacked beer bottles, tripwires with scavenged parts of windchimes and the like. In one of the train cars, she lifts up a floor panel and begins extracting heavy plastic bins filled with her precious equipment, and lastly, a heavy duty secure military case…

".. Talk about coming from low down places."

Grouses the old borg as he follows Twitch. Mostly for lack of much better to do, since all he needed was more bullets. Although he does have to clap a palm over his false face when they hit the sewers, the stench of old fires and older waste in the tumbled up jumble of train cars. A flicker of irises before eyelights come online, giving him at least a better view than trash can fires while Gretch start spulling tarpins.

"Huh. You know, with all the crap you keep pulling out of nowhere, Twitch, I didn't figure you'd have it stashed in … crap."

Once Gretchen and Kraft have moved off, the rotors pick up speed and the 'chopper rises again into the air, though doesn't go any higher than the tallest nearby building, deciding to come to a hover while the team prepare themselves. This is one of the safer places to hover, the Souk and the surrounding area being a neutral zone where gangs will not attack.

She sets her equipment aside, opens one particular storage bin filled with crumpled clothing and hastily changes out of her nicer outfit into more heavily armored street clothes — black jeans, biker jacket, dense poncho with kevlarweave backing and her motorcycle helmet. Shock gloves, breather mask. Holsters. Guns in said holsters. Heavy knee-high boots. "There's worse to contend with down her than the smell," Gretchen murmurs from behind a hung curtain where she rapidly changes clothes. She peeks out to point at one of the bins. "If the smell offends your delicate sensors," a few of her brand of breather masks can be seen sitting near some military style ammo bins. "You can have a breather…" She finishes her wardrobe swap and comes out of concealment to finish equipping. She cracks the ammo bins open one by one and begins checking her weapons — Saber rifle (American spelling because Cavalier is an American company), Ithaca shotty, pistols and more.

Gretchen has a small terminal set up in the Undertown subway car where she and Kraft are finishing preparations, and she powers it up by flipping on the small generator stowed on the roof of the compartment.

« Novatech Z-Term — Boot Sequence Initiated… »

In the digital glow of the small screen she sends out an urgent shadowland post requesting assistance in the Souk, then looks to Kraft as she powers the terminal and gennie down once more. "Let's hope someone bites. The more the merrier, right? That's a phrase…" She is incredibly nervous, and the vents on her mask make a steady rhythmic hiss due to her adrenaline already rushing through her veins.

Indra -rarely- got asked to do what she did best..in Denver any how, people didn't generally need it, this is a city, not a warzone. So when people -actually- seek out some thing resembling the ability to stop a small military force, in the Rens? She's quite pleased, enough so she's loaded for bear as it were. Actually she has it in her Brumby, but that isn't the point, she has to get out to arm up. "Somebody call for the big guns?" The milspec clad elf growls out, her voice little more machine washed cant, a dark long robe over it, it's hooded, leaving only the peculiar glowing optics of the helmet visible..and the long barrel of a RPK exposed. Poor Souk, why do you deserve some one setting up a Mortar? For that matter; who the hell keeps a Mortar in Denver!? Manitou! Thats who!

It's not entirely subtle, but it sure is a beautiful thing. Using the benefit of neutral territory, a helicopter bristling with machine guns and rocket launchers hovers around thirty feet up from the road outside the Souk marketplace.

Once the team starts to return, the helicopter slowly descends, lands gently on the road, its rotors slowing to a steady spin, though the machine guns spin and track those nearby, ensuring that stupidity doesn't rule out against heavy machinery.

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « I am getting paid for this, yes? »

"Depends on how you define merrier, sister."

States Kraft, blinking a few times at the screen. False eyes turn back upwards, his scowl twisting sideways as a -new voice- comes on the commlines. His own 'voice' - sent via transducer - lacks emotive context, but the snark is obvious.

«What, you're not pro bono, bub?»

"Well.. better now than never. I got all I'm going to need."

Gretchen stows the equipment she's not bringing under the subway car's floor panel once again, just shoving it all back into the luggage compartment unceremoniously, one bin after another. She's now loaded up like she's never been before — heavy secure case at her side, bulging messenger bag on her back, Ithaca and Steyr slung on opposite sides, straps forming an X over her blood red poncho — she returns to ground level with Kraft, popping up from a different manhole cover near a different part of the market.

The new voice on comms has her turn to Kraft with a start. « Looks like we got a taker, » she murmurs in a thick German accent, heavily modified into a Darth Vader-esque hiss due to her breather. « You'll be compensated… »

Two Left Eyes remains unconscious in one of the helicopter's soft leather seats. The lounge back there is very nice and it's a shame the moment's not right to really appreciate it all. In the astral he circles the gang's territory. Carefully observing the two spirits and the two awakened. Every so often he gazes upwards, checking for the helicopter with his body and the rest of the team.

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « Good. Keep me appraised of astral threats, I only have a few spirit busters. Hard to find. Designate an ideal roof top position to face incoming hostiles. I will deploy there. I will disrupt their patterns in advance of small arms range. I have several cases of Mortar shells. »

Over the comm comes a slightly mechanized voice, the sound that you routinely find over in-flight intercoms. "Are we moving or just talking about it?", a female voice, Val, the rigger pilot, "Let's go, the scavengers are moving in and I /really/ don't want to open fire.".

Outside the helicopter, the scavengers are starting to gather. One alone won't take down a helicopter, but if you throw enough at it? They're insane, but desperate can drive you that way.

Gretchen charges for the helicopter past the scavvers, masked, with one hand hauling the mysterious heavy case, the other hefting her small shotgun. "Back the fuck off!" She waves the barrel toward any of the bystanders drooling over Val's Beast and /HEAVES/ the case in first, pushing it along the floorboard, then clambers in herself.

Indra will have no real fear of the Scavs, infact, it almost looks like she's as likely to start shooting them as she is to get aboard the helo with her heavy equipment. Indeed, she purposely leans close to one before boarding, pausing, sniffing the air. "I smell death..it's marked you my lovely puppy. I'll be back later for you. You should run..my blade wants to dance for you, gently caress your skin as it slices and I sing." Her natural voices come through, not machine washed..it has a surreal singing quality to it. "Run now puppies! I'll come back for you later, yes I will!" She begins to giggle as she stomps up, RPK sweeping them as she does..as if to see if they flinch from it, or run. Oh do run!

With regard to the merc's comment on astral threats and the like, Gretchen hisses through the vents of her mask, « Wouldn't know anything about that… »

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « Then you are of limited use. Find some one who can advise properly. »

APOCALYPSE NOW!

The inside of the helicopter is more like the interior of a limousine, with cream leather seats, mini-bar and entertainment system. Once everyone is inside, the doors slide closed and the rotors start to gather speed, finally pulling the Beast into the air. "Here we go..", comes Val's voice over the comms. "Who's the new girl?", she asks.

The helicopter rises and twists at the same time, taking a direct path over the top of the Souk marketplace, the downdraft fluttering synthplas coverings and causing people to look up in surprise. The helicopter rises higher as it travels northwards, the roads beneath becoming lines that soon start to become full with bikers, travelling toward the main warehouse from all directions.

Moving closer still, the warehouse is spotted in the distance, the mass of bikers filling the roads, the total closing in on two hundred at a guess.

Ever circling the ground, Two's aura begins to radiate a mixture of worry and impatience. Waiting is always the worst part. Eventually he spots them glowing in the air. Perfect - was his sense ot time warped or something? The young man's spirit returns to his body and he jerks upright in the rear passenger seat. « Fucking hell it's an army. They've even got a couple of magic types. And spirits. Khan's still in the warehouse. » He reports quickly before his eyes even properly focus. Then he notices someone new in the helicopter. And all the gear. « Oh, uh, I see you picked everything up. »

Indra is patient on the outside, since helicopters don't truly allow for much pacing, but when some one mentions spirits? She points directly at him with a metal encased hand. "Designate the mages." She suddenly says, a trace of hurried inclination in her tone. Some one dislikes mages! "They are priority targets. I will then engage this Khan. Then I get paid, yes?" She asks, it seems likely if she isn't paid, she isn't going to do much..but then she'll go towards the pilot, or try to or shout. "We need to focus on the mages. Spirits and magick will not care about your armor. Nor mine." She barks out, because some times you need to remind people of that. Then? She begins to go through her equipment..why? Well to toss a mortar shell up and down like a foot ball!

Commlink-ALPTRAUM> Gretchen sends, « Didn't have time to run a background check, » Gretchen offers to Two and Val with a gesture to Indrakshi/Manitou. « She's… on our side, and that's all that matters… »

On the approach to the warehouse, the helicopter drops down to street level, starts swerving left and right through the streets, using the buildings as cover. There isn't the slightest hint that this is dangerous, though it certainly feels like. "Let's get some eyes in the sky.", Val says over the comm. There's a thunk from beneath the passenger section and out of the windows, two small red drones fly off to either side, circular with camera lenses mounted on the front. A soft hiss as the storage bays reseal.

In front of the 'runners, the entertainment system comes alive, showing a view from one of the drones that just launched. "Which of these are the mages?", she calls back, piloting the drone high overhead the sea of bikers, but angled so it can get a good view of the situation below. "Did I hear you wanted to be dropped on a roof?", she asks of Indrakshi.

Indra is relying heavily on her HUD to keep up with things; she's been in the Rens before, she sort of knows the Rens! "On top of Khan's roof." She says with that machine washed static voice. "We will bring it down on top of him, and then the real fun begins." Well, there she is in crazy town.

With her face concealed by her circle-lensed sunglasses and small minibreather, Gretchen's expression is unreadable, but her silence right now speaks volumes when coupled with body language that alludes to the fact that she's trying to force herself to ignore the fact that there are potential magical threats. She seems to only peek at the screen warily, hands anxiously gripping her slung weapons or drifting to the restraints built into her seat to emphasize what little sense of security she has in this do or die situation.

Two Left Eyes adjusts his borrowed glasses, lifting them off his nose and settling them back down uncomfortably. « It's difficult to put it all together. Give me a minute. » He leans over to the window and stares out, zooming in on places in the crowd. « The mages were over there last I saw. On this side, near that group with the red bikes. » There's a pause where he's thinking things over. He glances at the stacks of equipment and then adds, « I'll call out when I see Khan. We get paid based on a chip in his head, so don't blow him up. »

The German begins to withdraw grenades from her black canvas messenger bag to clip them onto its strap for easy access. White phosphorus, smoke, flashbangs, and a couple of chemical air-burst canisters.

Ever get that feeling that you've just over balanced and you're tipping down the slope? That's what Kraft's got going on today, as both Twitch and the new lady start talking in terms of grenades and mortars. The old borg grousing for a moment as he loads one of the sparking new APDS into the last empty chamber on his heavy hand cannon, snapping it closed and rolling it across his wrist with a clicka-clicka-CLUNK. His voice slipping over the comms again, though his lips aren't moving - drawn into a permanent frown.

«I get the feeling I'm a little under dressed here.» He comments, before glancing out the window at the moving crowds. «Johnnie's got a point, dame; You make mince meat out of Khan, and our payday goes up with it. So does yours. Enemy close, savvy?»

Well, time to check what he -does- have on him. Wrist grapple gun, 21 rounds, a loaded gun and his fancy scanner. That's all he took to the party when he met.. all he took to the party. And it's all he had time to nab before they rolled out.

"Then let's get this party started!", Val replies at Two's description, there are two groups that could be the right ones, so why not get them both. "New girl, take the group near the drop point, I'll take the further one..". With the increasing number of bikers below, as the helicopter travels along at street level, soft pings can be heard echoing off the exterior, bullets fired from close range that fail to even scratch the paintwork never mind leave a dent. But then there's a sudden twist, almost throwing people out of their seats, "Woo!", a rocket zips past the window and flies onwards, impacting with a nearby building and exploding, showering the street below with rubble. "How sweet! They have rockets too… Prepare for the drop!", she calls.

The helicopter starts to rise above building level as it quickly approaches the warehouse, the passenger doors sliding open, "I'm going to pass over the roof then drop the rest off near the entrance.", she calls.

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « Is Khan going to look different then other targets? This would be good to know before I deploy. If you want him intact. »

Commlink-ALPTRAUM> Gretchen sends, « Val, can you try to get eyes on Khan? »

Indra is going to smash what ever button opens the helo door she got in <or a side one, which ever is better, before hucking a mortar shell as if it were a foot ball. Fueled by an enhanced body. "Touchdown." She says..was that an attempt at humor before she grabs on her equipment case, watching her dropzone. "Is Khan required alive?" She doesn't even seem worried Gretchen might murder them all. She just wants to know if she can cut off Khan's head before she drops to her LZ.

Commlink-ALPTRAUM> Gretchen sends, « No, we just need the chip he's got jacked intact… »

Commlink-MALTESEFALCON> Kraft sends, « Behind the ear, lady. »

As she replies, Gretchen slips out two bricks of plastic explosive and lobs them underhanded out the door after Indra's throw. As the bricks tumble through the air toward the hordes below, she takes hold of a small hand-grip with a bold red trigger and a little antenna, waiting for just the right moment to squeeze…

Two Left Eyes stares out the window. Every eye he has is held open wide as if that would somehow help him see more. «Good thing he probably won't try to run.» He stares into the astral, trying to spot where the mage and shaman ended up. Dead, hopefully.

«Funnily enough, he probably will. Tactician first, leader second. That's in the program, mac.»

Comes Kraft's voice as he grimaces, wincing with each loud thud from below as Val bellows her metal and missiles, the helicopter swooping, the new lady -throwing mortars- and somewhere along the lines even Twitch dropping packages of death. Kraft? Kraft just keeps a tight grip on that heavy calibre Deputy and waits by the side of the door, his other hand holding onto the suicide rails as he waits for the word to drop. Looks like he's planning on being on his own two feet this time, rather than riding Val's belly.

The mortar shell spirals through the air and lands inside a group of gathered bikers, the massive explosion causing a series of other explosions as bike fuel alights and burns. Bikers are thrown in all directions, pushed outwards from the center of the detonation. A hiss comes from beneath the helicopter as Val opens up on the second group, a missile streaking through the air to impact into the middle of the pack, causing a similar series of explosions and decimating the last of the magical support. Two sees the life go out of the last of the mages, the spirits fading away and returning to their home on the astral plane.

The helicopter turns sharply and drops down to roof level, giving Indra a brief moment to jump out, before it starts moving again, dropping to street level near the entrance to the warehouse. The machine guns start spitting out fire, sweeping left and right, bikers being cut down one after another, clearing a landing area for the team.

The bikers, however, aren't going easy, there's more than enough of them. A dozen or more start gathering up weapons and using nearby vehicles as cover, opening fire on the hovering helicopter and its inhabitants.

Indra and her equipment case will deploy out the side, grinning inside her helmet. Indra likes this helicopter..she wants one like it. Still, once she hits the roof? She'll disappear from sight, so does the equipment case as she moves it. Poor Gretchen; even when the bad mages are gone, the team has magic about it! Then she'll begin moving her and her equipment to get a better view on the warehouse, so she can begin hammering anything fleeing from it with her ordinance. Once she finds a good vantage point.

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « What does Khan drive? Does his bike have any thing to tell it apart? »

Commlink-ALPTRAUM> Gretchen sends, « If anything he'll have a personnel carrier. I don't think he's stupid enough to travel without armor… »

« You got'em. Magical support's dead. » Two has one hand on the zoom control for his glasses and is flicking his focus around the field. He flinches as explosions rock the air and clouds of dust begin to rise. Fire from leaking gas tanks and shattered bikes begins to light the area. «I.. I know his aura. I'll find him.» Two looks shaken. A little more pale than usual. He leans back in his seat with a grim expression and closes his eyes.

«Ever get the feeling one of us oughta be hauling a UCAS flag and yelling 'Forward, boys!'?»

Grumbles the old borg as the heli makes a hard landing point. Kraft's already rolling out, however, the jacks in his legs absorbing the heat easy enough. He hasn't got massive ordinance; He doesn't have explosives. All he has is a bit of old armor, a hand on his fedora to keep it from being blown off in the wash and his grip tight on the heavy deputy. Moving to quickly get into cover and out of sight of . .well.. a god damn army.
They aren't paying him enough for this anymore. «Sister, you on my keister?»

Gretchen leaps after the cyborg, poncho trying to flutter but hindered by her bag and crossed weapon slings. Her heavy case hits the ground just as her boots do, and she pauses on the impact, crouching, then breaks into a crouching sprint. « Right behind you, Kraft! »

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « If he does not have a carrier, what do I then disable so he can not flee? Also the UCAS Flag is not appropriate. They already have me in their datafiles. »

Commlink-ALPTRAUM> Gretchen sends, « Use your best judgement, » Gretchen calls over comms to Indra. « I doubt he's going to let himself be as exposed as riding a bike! » She hustles after the trenchcoated detective, darting from cover to cover while trying to keep an eye out for incoming death in the form of, well, anything really.

As soon as the 'runners are out of the helicopter, Val again sends it up into the air, angled so the weaponry has a line on the bikers below. "What the fuck is this?", one of them can be heard shouting. "We've been set up?! Get the boss!", another replies, before Val opens up and tears holes into them with machine gun fire, giving the team enough time to rush into the warehouse.

There doesn't seem to be any APC's around the area, no tanks, not many functional cars either, just a whole lot of bikes and a whole lot of bikers. Having seen the armored woman drop out of the helicopter, a mass of light weapons fire sprays through the air above the warehouse, a few finding the invisible target of Indrakshi, bullets pinging off the military level protection.

Two Left Eyes breathes deeply. He looks out the window as the helicopter rises again, trying not to flinch when he sees the devastation. Living in the warrens accustoms you to low-level human suffering but this is a new level for him. The zoom lenses don't help much either. He relaxes in his seat and lifts himself from his body again, going on the hunt for Khan.

Indra is moving with her case -away- from the spot on the roof she was dropped on, even if she feels certain at this range, nothing but small arms is being thrown her way, she doesn't want to stay there, moving for superior cover to settle in on..literally sitting on her equipment case to begin sweeping the Bikers trying to murder her new friends! Actually, she's met Leftie before, but he doesn't know that. She's going to try and determine if there is leaders the bikers are rallying behind, resting her RPK on the top of her cover as she does.

KICKING THE KHAN

«OOC» Floorplan: https://www.mipui.net/app/index.html?mid=mnnwrbrnfsx

The 'customer' entrance of the warehouse has no protection, the door is hanging on one hinge, whatever security lock it once had has been smashed up, taken apart and sold for parts. Inside can be seen a reception area, though it's no longer looking very receptive. The counter surface is scarred and pitted, several bulletholes along the front, the computer is nothing but a shell and what used to be filing cabinets are tipped over and empty. Two doorways are to the north while a corridor continue in, but is blocked up by vending machines that have been toppled and thrown onto each other. It might be possible to wriggle through, though.

Outside, the bikers start reacting to the helicopter, several start peeling off and moving around the streets, but high above Val's drones circle around to keep a watch on them. Bikers start leaving their bikes behind and run for the nearest cover; smashed up warehouses and broken apartment buildings. Any that make a path for the main warehouse are met with machine gun fire from high above. Some bikers fire back but it's a pointless exercise against the helicopter, as bullets ping off the armor, but then another rocket is fired upwards from a nearby window, the pilot having to twist hard to avoid it. The rocket fizzles away into the distance, nothing nearby is high enough for it to hit.

Taking a moment to get down below the desk, Kraft grimaces as the racket outside continues. He'd say it sounded like a warzone, but.. that's.. pretty much exactly what it is.
"Where the hell did this go wrong, Twitch?"

He asks, but it's mostly a rhetorical question. A glance down the main entrance shows its all walled off; They could slither through the vending, but that'll expose their keisters to some lead. Urgh.

«Looks like they've got us funneled, Twitch. How's your dance moves?» He asks, even as he's easing towards the north doors - and the manager's office. That heavy Deputy up, barrel down.

The noise outside hides any failure of stealth, there are rockets, explosions, dozens of submachine guns and pistols all firing at once, there's a steady roar of motorcycle engines. And yet, over all that, along the entrance hall and into the main warehouse can be heard voices, the words of a madman, ".. we will bring down these attackers! Together we can destroy them all!". A dissenting voice calls out, "Bullshit! This is a fuckin' setup, you got us all in one place and now you'll finish us all, that it!?". A general rumble of agreement comes from the others, "I'm gettin' the fuck outta here before that thing wipes us all out.. fuck you, Khan!", responds another.

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « I do not think Khan is outside. Should I begin engaging freely? »

Commlink-MALTESEFALCON> Kraft sends, « Sounds like we've got a bead on him in here, lady. I guess .. have.. fun..? »

Gretchen hunkers down near Kraft, flinching from the sounds of full scale war outside, whirling her head toward the toppled vending machines in the entrance hall through which Khan can be heard trying to rally his subordinates. "Where did this all go wrong," she repeats in a harsh whisper through her mask. She is occasionally known to miss the rhetorical nature of certain questions. Language barriers and all that. "The moment we agreed to take a job that put us up against every biker gang in Denver…"

She shuffles over to begin unloading the remainder of her C4 near the doors into the manager's office and the receiving office, just piling the simple bricks up with no real attempt to conceal them. After all, if someone should charge through, all she'll need to do is hit the radio trigger, and even if they spot the explosives they'll likely still be caught in the blast. A last look at Kraft from where she crouches, placing the last piece of her unsubtle trap. "…So… yeah, sorry about dragging you into this…" She does realize that the borg being caught up in this mess is her fault to some degree, and makes a vague effort to own up to it.

The receiving clerks office door is completely missing, it isn't even on the floor, it's just gone. Inside, an old wooden swivel chair leans against the wall, while in the center of the room are the remains of a small fire and the scattered debris of a recent meal. Whatever it was, it doesn't look recommended eating. The managers office door is open, likely where the sound is coming from, as the room is bare of furnishings while a large hole has been blown through one wall, rubble still scattered around the area.

Outside, the helicopter rises, the little red drones spin around quickly checking on locations. "New girl? We might have some trouble brewing.", Val says over the comm, the Airstar swaying to the side to cover one section of the warehouse, "It looks like they're planning to hit the warehouse from both sides. I've got this side covered..", she declares.

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « I will make them remember I yet exist. This will be most delightful! Keep an eye out for rockets. I doubt they've expended their entire stock. »

It doesn't take long for Two to swoop through the astral into the warehouse. The swirl of psychic chaos is strong. His mind glows brightly as he tracks Gretchen and Kraft, flashing as he ducks through the wall to the large storage area. He flits about, counting people, then hovers over Khan's aura for a few moments. Seven or eight people. This isn't an easy fight for regular people. He zips back to his body, returning to consciousness with a sudden gasp. « Khan's still in the warehouse. Big room. There's about eight people in there. Four on either side. He'll be on your left. I don't know what's going on but it doesn't look pretty. » He immediately calls out a warning to the teammembers inside.

With the heavy initial assault and the threat of a helicopter bristling with weapons overhead, the bikers split out and around the area, thinning to almost nothing around the warehouse, but now they've regrouped and come roaring back around the corner en masse, a two pronged attack. Thanks to overhead drones, there's enough warning to react.

From the south side a mass of bikers approach at speed, heading for the large double door entrance of the warehouse. Val puts a quick end to that idea, as twin rockets fire from the underside of the helicopter, streaking across the open ground to impact first in front of the approaching bikers, then another impacting right in the middle of them all. Bodies fly in all directions, gas tanks explode adding more noise to the detonations. Those that are left spin quickly and start heading away at speed, some having to give up their bikes and escape on foot.

From the north side, Indrakshi spots another horde of bikers heading toward the warehouse, attempting to cut through the open ground toward the customer side door.

Indra swivels her RPK on it's mounting, eyes giving her probabilities and the like, lost in the knowledge of conflict, the RPK begins to kick out rounds, invisible, relatively quiet; but the effects are noticable. Bodies kicked aside as heavy rounds slam into them, sparking up off the pavement, mangled bits of once living, another left grieviously injured. Indra is happy though, she is in her element, amused as she keeps firing.

The rounds from the RPK spray through the oncoming bikers like rain hitting a festival gathering; except this rain is of hot lead. The bikers are hit by the repeating fire, through the head, chest, an arm that causes one to lose control of his bike and slam into the bike next to him, causing a three bike pile-up. They don't have enough time to argue about it as more bullets tear through the grounded targets, ripping holes in them like a hot knife through butter. Deciding to give up this line of assault, the bikes start to wheel, a call of 'retreat!', though some aren't fast enough on the uptake and immediately regret it.

Bodies lay scattered around both the north and south sides of the warehouse, the remaining bikers thin out again, re-gather a few streets over to discuss further tactics.

"Don't worry about it, sister. I'm a grown man; I'm more than capable of landing in the steaming drek all on my own."

Grouses the old borg while explosions and hellfire rattle around the warehouse - giving him a god-awful headache while it's about. Hearing the word from Johnnie boy aboard the copter, Kraft moves up into the manager's office, keeping himself close to the wall. Dull dusty brown on dull rusty brown - here's hoping it works. Taking a moment to peek -just- a little, to verify Two's scouting before he frowns hard.

«Sister, think you can slip along the north side nice and quiet and get a bead on them? I can draw attention and let you take a potshot at the potbelly. Spooky, what about you? Whatcha need to get a tug on that chip? Anything you can do with that finger waggling?»

Commlink-2> Two Left Eyes sends, « I need to see him to cast. If someone punches a hole in the roof I can even lift you out through it. »

Commlink-MALTESEFALCON> Kraft sends, « .. Hey, lady. How goods your aim with the booms? »

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « I assume you have a target in mind? What type of payload? »

Commlink-MALTESEFALCON> Kraft sends, « Uh… Hell if I know. What pokes a hole in walls big enough for spooky but small enough not to shred the head? »

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « I can let loose with some grenades and see if that works? »

Commlink-MALTESEFALCON> Kraft sends, « Yeah, sure. Grenades. The hell was I thinking coming out here in my -new- shirt… »

Inside the main section of the warehouse it's mostly empty, a few boxes and gatherings of trash that might make for suitable cover points. Up above, the ceiling is a maze of girders and lights, illuminating seven remaining gang members - leaders, judging by the additional gang colors and patches. Khan stands on a raised section, a collection of boxes and crates that he's using to elevate himself above the 'general rabble'.

Commlink-Manitou> Indrakshi sends, « I can also fire a mortar shell if you'd like..or lob a rock covered in explosives. Your choice. »

There are certain designs for warehouse lighting, they can be inside seperate sections of the warehouse dedicated to power, which isn't the case here, or in a warehouse like this, a power console attached to one wall with wiring leading upwards to the ceiling and the lights themselves. In this case, the lighting rig is out of the way of general storage; poking your head out briefly, to the left, there sits the control rig. A large sealed panel, a pull switch for instant emergency shut off, and a whole jungle of wires heading upwards and through the walls.

While Kraft catches sight of the lighting rig, the conversation inside the warehouse continues, Khan speaks up again, "No! No more shall we run and hide from. Run and hide from. We must ride forth and. No more!". Managing to catch a glimpse of the man from his place inside the managers office, Kraft can see Khan is twitching like an android with a bug in its code, speaking words, adjusting his head, more words, a raise of the arm to gather the troops; the chip is failing and fast.

The rest of the gang leaders look at each other briefly, "What the fuck is this?", one of them asks, pulling an assault rifle from his back and stepping closer. Another ganger does the same, but levels the weapon at the gang member, "You wanna think again on that?". Things may be getting a bit out of hand inside.

Gretch scrambles to the piled up vending machines now in the entrance hall, seeking out a decent vantage point or the right spot to try to slip through if need be. That large case of hers is quite a burden but she doesn't risk letting it go.

While there's a barricade of vending machines in the entrance hall, a little crawling can get a person through to the other side into a well hidden area. As Gretchen scrambles along and into a clear spot, the conversation continues inside the warehouse, "You're seriously pointin' that thing at me? Here?", the gang leader asks, "Look at him, somethin' ain't right with his head. Yeah, it was a good plan, but fuck, listen to what's happening outside.".

"Must stand together. Together. Must. We will be strong, we will rule the. Rule. We will Warrens. Rule!". The grip on reality that Khan has had up to this point is fading fast. "Then what do you suggest?", asks the ganger with the rifle, Kraft see's him lower it; they all need a safe way out of this. "We pull the hell out of here, a truce for the next ten minutes. It can last for ten more minutes.". A few other voices come from around the warehouse, "Why the fuck should we trust you?", "Yeah, you were all over our turf, killed you a few of our men.". "That was then, this is now. We work together or we're not gettin' outta here alive.".

Commlink-ALPTRAUM> Gretchen sends, « I think… » Gretchen scuttles near the fallen soda machines trying to get an angle up toward the point where wall meets roof above the large door of the warehouse. « I think I might be able to help with opening up a line of sight… Give me a minute and I can help swing a wrecking ball from inside… »

The helicopter moves to a hover, small red drones fly over the nearby streets, keeping a watch on the bikers that are awaiting some sort of order. With a sudden gut wrenching turn, Val twists hard, spins fast until the 'copter is hovering close to the main warehouse loading doors. "Did someone call for a precision strike?", she asks, the fun she's having evident through her tone of voice. "Where do you want it, sleeper?", she has a pet name for the sometimes awake, sometimes not, Two Left Eyes. "New girl, you might want to move back a bit!", she has no other name for Indrakshi, no introductions made so far.

«Just a minute, sister? .. Make it a fast damn minute.»

States Kraft, as he takes a long slow breath through his mouth. Then? .. Why, then the gun is spun and holstered back at his side as he's stepping out into the warehouse proper. Hands open and fingers splayed at the waist while his voice rings out over the sound of chopper fire and missiles.

"What you've got here, brother, is called 'a frying pan'." He begins, with a false bit of bravado he sure as hell isn't feeling. "And you've been following a glitch. Lucky for you boys, I'm here to save your miserable hides."

That certainly gathers some attention, all seven bikers whip out their assault rifles and point them straight at Kraft as he comes out of hiding, seven bright red lasers coming from the overbarrel mounts, criss-crossing across the room to the investigator and lighting up various parts of his body.

"What the fuck is this, now?!", one of them asks. "Better question. Why don't we fill you full of lead just for walkin' in here?", a second asks. "Yeah, why haven't we done that already?", another asks. Nobody really has an answer to that, but the original gang member, the one trying to get them all out, asks, "How are /you/ savin' /us/ exactly? Have you seen what we've got outside? We don't need no savin'.".

Khan reacts to the presence of Kraft too, pointing at him, "Stop the..", stops pointing and raises his arm, "Rule!", points again, "Kill the. Slaughter! We must.". He's not exactly making a lot of sense, the bikers have given up even listening at this point.

As Kraft steps boldly into harm's way, Gretchen's hands work as fast as possible, laying down her heavy duty plastic case, snapping up the lid, and extracting a launch tube from heavy foam cut out to house it, along with two wicked-looking rockets. It requires a bit of DIY to get it into a workable state, and she doesn't realize she's holding her breath as she goes through the instructions on the inside of the lid. One hand traces the 'rotate backblast funnel and extend until it snaps into position' line while the other cradles the collapsed AZT Lasher…

Back up in the helicopter, Two Left Eyes points. Not that it helps - the person he's trying to direct is plugged in over in the driver's seat. « Anywhere from that big front door up ought to give me a shot. » Two's whole body thrums with adrenaline and building magical energy. Casting under pressure. Did this last time, can do it again. Just be ready.

"Simple enough, mac."

Begins Kraft, swallowing that lump down deep in his throat as red dots dance across his coat like he's got some strange form of the pox. But that brave, confident swagger facade keeps on. "That guy having a spaz attack up there? He did precisely what he's supposed to do; He got all of you.. in -one- place."

Kraft lets that sink in a moment, his hands not moving. "Now me? I couldn't care less which way you boys run. You're not the job - -he's- the job. A bit of malfunctioning Judas designed to lead sheep to the slaughter. That sound out there?"

"That's the slaughter. And they're after him too. All you gotta do - is stop listening and get the hell away before they come busting in here."

Another of the gang leaders speaks up, hearing enough from Kraft, "Or!", he starts, "We can gather together for one last fuckin' ride!", stepping forward to try and rally the troops, "Bring together all our forces, gather every damn rocket n' fire them up that things tailpipe!". A few of the other gang leaders even cheer at that, "YEAH!", raising their assault rifles over their heads, a few laser sights leaving Kraft for now. "Fuckin' right.", another says, a hand going to his comm, "Alright everyone, gather up, get every rocket we've got and bring that bird down."

Moving closer, the original gang leader takes steps toward Kraft, assault rifle still aimed at him, "Now we'll see if we need you or not..". Over the comm, Val's voice picks up, "Uh, team? I'm getting a lot of movement out here..".

Kraft, his lips drawn into a thin line, lets his transducer do the work.
«They gotta lot of rockets, sweetheart; You better get ready to move.»

Insert tab A into slot B… Twist section 7 of the launch tube housing. Prime the loading channel with the provided aerosol canister… Gretchen manipulates the launcher with nervous hands, kneeling there behind the CuppaKaf machines that form a makeshift barricade. « Almost ready, almost… Slide this until *SNAP* and then… Okay… » She continues to split her attention between the field instructions and the cylindrical weapon itself, now murmuring to herself in a hurry, sweat beading under the edge of her helmet and trickling down into her eyes.

"Wise guy, huh?"

States the old borg, thin line of lips curling into a sardonic grin. His empty palms stay where they can see them. "Alright then. Riddle me this; Which one of you is going first down that road? Which one of you is letting his boys get mince meat? Seems to me the last crew to ride out - is the one that's got the most boys left to sweep up the others. So; Who's gonna be king pin when the smoke rolls over? Ol' Khan there was selling you boys a dream, but here's the hard reality."

"Only one of you gets to wear the crown."

Commlink-ALPTRAUM> Gretchen sends, « I'm on it, I'm on it… » She murmurs a reply to Val and the others as she hustles to get the final step accomplished, then gingerly loads one of the bulbous rockets from her case into the front of the Lasher. « I'm as ready as I'll ever be… » She draws a deep breath causing a hiss through the vents of her breather in a high tone, then forces it out in a lower tone, audible over the channel. She shoulders the weapon finally and maneuvers to a spot with sight of the wall/roof meeting point above the doors. « Open sesame in five… »

Outside the warehouse, a stream of bikes starts to pour out of a distant street, then another stream from another street; Two, from his position looking through the window, can see they're all carrying launchers. A dozen in each pack, maybe more.

Inside the warehouse, the gang members start to look at each other after hearing Kraft's question. "Fucked if I know..", one of them says, "It should be me.", says another, "Why you? Your gang sucks!", "Fuck you. If it wasn't for /this/, those would be the last words..", "Would you shut up.", another says. The main gang leader, the one who could possibly lead the lot, smirks at hearing the scuffle behind him, keeps his rifle locked on Kraft. "Now who's the wise guy?", he asks. He so wants to pull the trigger, he really does, it's all over him, but he holds for now; who knows, he might need Kraft after all.

Two Left Eyes throws the side door of the helicopter open. Wild winds blow his hair in every direction. He can't hear a damn thing any more, but getting a good view is more important. Slender hands unused to strain grab a handle near the door, their knuckles turning white as he spots the bikers raising launchers. Magical energy flares about his aura as he turns all his nervous energy into productive force.

Gretchen bites her lower lip behind her breather and lines up the low-light reticle at the meeting point of wall and ceiling, just between two large support beams.

~FOOOOOOOOOOSH~

With a massive flash of flame from the backblast illuminating the dilapidated customer service area, scorching the abandoned receptionist counter, an Aztechnology-brand high-explosive rocket spirals up to the ceiling of the warehouse from behind the CuppaKaf machines.

~KA-BOOOOOM~

The explosion sends plascrete shards raining down inside and outside, pelting the rooftop as a massive fireball erupts, but the flames rapidly burn themselves out in a spectacular insta-burst, « Voila… »

Being approached from both sides, Val doesn't exactly know the best route to take; she can remove one set, but she's not going to have time to target the other. Does she go high? Drop low and skim the ground for cover? It's a blink of a thought, much like Two when he finally releases his hold on the spell. A hiss comes from one of the approaching bikers launcher, smoke starts to stream out starting to launch the rocket into the air, and at that instant a dome covers over the top of the entire group. The rocket shoots out a few feet then impacts with a shimmering wall, exploding on impact. The explosion is encapsulated inside the dome, other rockets explode, additional ammunition, the bikes themselves. The glittering wall of force becomes coated with blood and gore.

That lets Val make her decision, twirling the helicopter gracefully as an explosion rips apart the front of the warehouse, smoke, dust and debris clinking off the heavy armor as she spins to face the second oncoming horde of rocket wielding bikers, firing off two rockets and a hail of machine gun fire to follow. There's very little left when the dust finally settles.

Inside the warehouse, the gang leaders all spin at the sound of the rocket nearby and the subsequent explosion, all guns now no longer trained on Kraft but aiming up at the hole, where a massive helicopter hovers menacingly, rotors a steady thump echoing around the interior of the warehouse.

Two Left Eyes narrows his eyes. All the tension and energy in his body releases in a single instant. Light glitters in the distance around the moving bikers. He wavers in his position, barely breathing from the intense concentration. The shimmering barrier he formed turns a deep red on the inside - job done. He exhales rapidly and takes another breath like a swimmer about to dive under water again. The helicopter spins. He stares into the building and builds power for another spell. Time to get paid.

Over the comm of the biker nearest Kraft, he hears, "They're dead.". "How many?", the biker replies, "All of them.". The biker shakes his head, looks over his shoulder to the other leaders who just got the same message, despair is evident.

That's all, folks, make sure to tip your waitors. Having done his part to pay Twitch back for being bait - by being BikerBait himself - Kraft shifts his keister the hell out of dodge. That is, BACK through the manager's office, a hand on his fedora and his grimace saying all that he can't.

«Lift your heels, Twitch!» Comes his stressful transduced call as his hydrualic jacks hiss and clunk. Time for Johnnie boy to earn his pay while Kraft slips the limelight.

Gretch shudders and flinches and winces all at the same time, and as Kraft dashes in past her pile of C4 bricks just outside the manager's office she's collapsed the launcher, shoved it forcefully back into its foam placement in the heavy duty case and slammed the lid shut. « I'm moving! » Her voice cracks, thick with accent, and she pounds her feet to get back out the side entrance. Small bits of plastic debris are still flaming from the intensity of the launcher's propellant blast, casting small plumes of oily black smoke.

Remaining hovering in place so Two can do his thing, Val speaks over the comm in her usual slightly mechanized voice, "Tell me when, sleeper..". Aw, she even gives nicknames like Kraft, the pair are made for each other, ".. the team need an out. Where'd the new girl go?", she asks.

Not even realising Kraft has moved, the gang leaders inside the warehouse keep their weapons trained on the helicopter. They're not going to help, but it makes them feel better.

Two Left Eyes sways. His legs wobble. The helicopter's movements are making him dizzy and peering through the smoke and falling rubble to try and get a bead on Khan. There! Psychic energy spears into the building. Lifting his free hand, he nimbly plucks something unseen, then begins drawing it back as if he were reeling in a fish. « Hold us still, I'm pulling our paycheck in. » The young man's voice is strained, coming between gritted teeth.

The tiny, dark square of the chip sails with an eerie peace through the air and lands in Two's hand. He immediately spins around and slams the door shut. « Got it. Get out of there! » He transmits, flopping back into his seat and panting for breath.

Not giving up, Khan continues to rant, an almost literal robot with defects at this point; his movements are erratic, his words nonsensical. The chip is pulled out magically and the human robot immediately shuts down, his legs give out beneath him and he drops down onto the box he was standing on. Not enough room to hold him, he slips off, drops again, thumps into a collection of rubble and slides down it onto the ground, landing on his back. Vacant eyes stare upwards at the hole in the roof, as if watching the chip finally leaving him, though the mans mind has long since departed.

"Hold on!", Val calls over the comms once Two is ready, the 'copter turning sharply, up, a twist, and straight back down again to a soft landing near the side entrance to the warehouse. The doors slide open, await the arrival of the team.

"Talk about door to door service."

Quips the grousing cyborg as he clambors. Hanging onto the side of the copter for a moment, hand on his fedora, watching Twitch's back; Between the jacks and his general headstart, he's going to be a bit faster, and someone needs to watch the crazy lady's spine. Although at last he grins, flashing white teeth as he lifts up a hand in a fairwell.

"Hey, KHAAAAAAAN… up yours, ya ratfink."

Gretchen will not be dying this day! Case in her left hand, smacking against her thigh as she sprints after Kraft, she whips out her radio detonator with her right, crouching as she makes it to the door, ready to detonate the plastic explosives should any of the gang leaders come after the 'borg in hot pursuit! « On our -fucking- way! » The German convenes with the detective at the door to glance at the exterior, seeking a path back to the Beast. « …Can't believe that worked… » Did she mutter that out loud? And was that in reference to her rocket? The verboten mojo that she firmly denies? Or the whole bloody scenario? The intensity of the warzone is getting to her.

Two Left Eyes is already strapped in to his seat when the others get there. The chip is in one hand, a bottle from the bar is in the other. They're displayed proudly to the rest of the team as they rush towards the open door.

With the death of Khan and the uncertainty of the gang leaders inside, before Gretchen has even reached the 'copter she hears gunfire, but it's not aimed at them. Deciding that working together just isn't possible, a fight breaks out inside the warehouse, something which starts to echo across the streets as bikers who previously worked side by side, now tear through the streets, returning to their old lives of kill or be killed.

Once Gretchen is on board, the 'copter lifts up, it had touched down for only a few seconds, rises high into the air until it's already possible to see the signs of chaos below. What was one mass army is now a collection of rivals fighting for survival. "Anyone hurt?", Val asks over the comm channel. "I have a medkit back there.. and some scotch if it's just your nerves that need fixing.".

"I'll take the latter and leave the former, sweetheart. Nothin' a few passes with a buffer won't take out."

Grumbles the old borg, settling into the seat a few moments after they take off. Which leads to a bit of a freewheeling arm rotation to keep balance, but at last his heavy chassis is strapped down. And he pulls the fedora from his bald head, the thin line of the polymask showing near the back of his skull, leaving the cheap pockmarked material displayed. Along with the wire coming out.

"… Well. I gotta say, Twitch, you ain't boring. Whatcha got there, Johnnie?"

Once the departure really registers and Gretchen is strapped into her own seat she does a self-check, hands patting her face, arms, knees — "No injuries here," she replies to Val in astonishment. A look to the others, a quick glance for blood, or pneumatic fluid in Kraft's case. "… I could use some of that scotch though…"

After taking a swig directly from the bottle, Two holds it out to Kraft and Gretchen. « Val, I might owe you another bottle of this stuff. 'cause we're drinking it. » He leans back in his seat with an expression that could only be described as victorious.

Gretchen hastily removes her breather to take a long 6-count pull from the bottle herself before she's forced to lower it with a shudder from the feel of the liquor hitting her system. "—aaaaahhhh!" She exhales a deep breath as she tries to subdue her anxiety with sweet, sweet booze. Scotch isn't her thing normally, but anything would do right about now.

Having shifted the control set from combat to luxury, the ride back is so smooth if it wasn't for the windows you'd forget you were actually in flight. A soft lean to one side is all you really feel as the 'copter heads back to base, perhaps a momentary drop off to store some of the larger items back in the Warrens.

Still using her advanced electronics, Val remains beneath the radar, or rather, completely invisible to radar, a safe and comfortable journey back to the abandoned military base, where Two's Westwind still awaits. A gentle and graceful landing and the rotors slow to a steady whirl, just enough speed to keep the 'copter moving. The doors to the hangar open and the Airstar taxi's comfortably inside, the doors sliding closed behind; normality resumes.

A FINAL FAREWELL

When the team decide to depart, Val waits for them to leave the hangar before catching Kraft by the arm, pulling him gently back away from the others for a little privacy. "I..", she starts, it's always a good place to start, the woman scratching a spot on the back of her head as she looks for the words. "I..", that word again, a slight tilt of her head, searching for the right thing to say.

"It's not just me, right?", Val says with a little chuckle, trying to break the awkward moment, "There's..", her hands raise, move, a motion from one to the other, between you and me, but she gives up on that and lets them drop to her side. "If you want to. If you're not busy. You're welcome to visit. Whenever.", letting the comment pass with a light shrug of her shoulders. Her message is out there, though she looks really awkward about it.

It was time for -that- conversation. The part Kraft had been dreading for a long time, like watching the cherry of a cigarette get closer and closer to his knuckles. Sometime he was going to have to bite the bullet and flick the butt, but sometimes - just sometimes - you hope it'll last just a few minutes longer. When his arm is caught, the old borg glances once back to the other two, but follows along without complaint as Val takes him aside. His smile isn't cruel; It's just a touch sad, before it fades into a thin line. Letting her say her piece for a moment, false eyes tracking something above her head before they drop down at last. His hands lift; hesitate. Then rest with calm assurity upon her shoulders.

"No, sweetheart. It ain't just you."

He begins, squeezing lightly before letting his hands drop. The fedora lifted slightly as his false throat works, hunting words. ".. But we both know how this ends, Val. You've got a good thing going here, you and your man.." A nod aside, towards The Beast. "And I'm no good for any of it. Now listen; Listen. You're a young woman, you deserve more than cold metal hands to hold you at night. That ain't fair to you, and it ain't fair to the memory of the ghost I … And right now? Right now, that's all I got to offer. And … you know if you stayed with me, you'd end up regretting it."

"Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of your life."

There's a strange attraction, something Val doesn't understand, she doesn't know where it's come from or why it's there, but she feels it. It's not something she's used to, she's happy dealing with machines, with electronic parts and engines. Perhaps that's why the man before her is so intriguing, why he's not like the others. But there's something about his words that reveals the truth, if it is the truth. But she trusts him, she did before she truly met him.

The woman lowers her head, nods once, twice, a distant smile. Taking a step forward, she raises up on tiptoe, touches a kiss against Kraft's cold cheek, whispers softly, "You stay safe.", then she moves back, turns around and walks slowly, thoughtfully to her 'Beast'. "Hey baby, did those bikers hurt you?", she asks, running her fingers across the outer shell, searching for faults, the man behind her already forgotten.

"We'll always have the Rens, Val."

Comes the quiet response to the kiss on a cold, fake cheek, as Kraft's fingers flex and grip in on themselves. Would it have been so bad to just live the dream a little longer? Just hold her for a bit, spend a few days? .. Yeah. Yeah it would have. It's one thing to be a messed up pile on his own, pining for ghosts and warmth long since past. It's another to drop that luggage on someone else's cart. A last lingering look at the woman heading back to her 'man', before Kraft shoves his hands into his pocket. Finding the last little dogear he never got to smoke.

By the time he's moving back towards Two and Gretchen, a cherry is merrily glowing beneath the shadow of his fedora, like the dying ember of the last sunset.

PICKING UP THE PIECES

The last of the moonlight drifts away, the warm rays of sunshine rising over the top of the horizon as the Westwind moves away from the abandoned military base and returns to life in Denver. It seems crazy to think that it's only Wednesday morning. Sunday night the team knew next to nothing; a name on a photograph, a pack of tea leading to a store. That led to Flair, Tee Hee, Freya, a shoot out with a rival CEO, the death of a serial killer stalking the Warrens in the form of Jack the Ripper, the seduction of the beautiful Cleopatra at a Hollywood Simsense party, Val the Rigger flying the team through a warzone to help capture the chip from Genghis Khan. All this in two short days with very little in the way of rest.

The call goes out, the war is over and it's time to cash in your chips; quite literally. The call goes out to Roxanne and she asks to meet in the usual place, the Rathskeller. The last time you were there, you were caught in a fire fight, but she ensures you that the place is safe and in working order.

The helicopter ride back was joyous. Two Left Eyes engaged in celebration, passing the bottle around and smiling. Not a single moment was wasted on reflection about what he just saw - or did.

Once the celebration stops and everybody else is back at the hangar, heading their separate ways, Two's drunken memory begins replaying things. He sits in the driver's seat of his car as the autonav system guides it away. Did he really just kill a bunch of dudes? Did they kill themselves? They were so far away he couldn't really see their faces. Divide the nuyen by number of dead - is this the value of life? Celebration is far in the past by the time he's in fresh clothes and rolling up to the club to meet the others. The chip is stashed in a carrying case and there's not a single weapon on him.

Returning to the club, Gus, the Dwarf with the shotgun, has been replaced with a human bouncer who takes your heavier weapons…

Gretchen just shuts down once she finishes her pull from the bottle of scotch on the route away from the conflict with Khan and every renegade biker in the metroplex — exhaustion grips her fiercely, and the answer to the question 'can one snore in German' is thoroughly answered in the brief stretch of time it takes for her to get dropped off back at the Souk marketplace. She is neither seen nor heard from by the other members of the team until she barges into the Rathskeller to start a shouting match with the new weapon check employee over her shotgun which she seems loathe to part with.

"…I'll believe this place is secure when I fucking SEE IT, but last time I was here there were corpses in every fucking room!" Gretch argues.

Looking more than a little rough around the edges, despite the new shirt, slacks and tie, Kraft wanders in after Gretchen. Grimacing a bit at the new bouncer before he joins in Twitch's complaint. "She ain't wrong. Last guy sitting where you are pulled a shotgun on -us-, brother, and he went bleeding for it. Best to let this one pass."

There's disagreement from the weapons check, until a familiar bouncer pokes his head through the door to see what the commotion is. He's one of the survivors from the battle. He immediately waves down the man checking the weapons and even opens the door to allow everyone through, "VIP's..", he explains to the man checking weapons. It's his first day, so he doesn't argue about it.

The bar looks better, the blood has been cleaned up, the tables repaired, smashed electronics replaced, though they haven't had time to cover up all the bullet holes in the walls yet. Mackie, the Troll bouncer, still guards the back bar entrance, the mountain of flesh giving a toothy grin at your approach. "Still breathin' then?", he says jokingly as he pulls the door open for you. No need to ask this time around.

Inside, sitting at the back bar, is your beautiful blue eyed, blond haired Johnson, another of her smokey blue drinks in hand. The woman rises from her seat when she spots you've arrived.

Head or highwater, it's time to eventually make it into the meeting with Blue. Giving the ficker a sardonic smirk. "For a given definition, bub." He comments. And finally false eyes lay themselves on the femme fatale herself, rescued and rescitated and vindicated.

"Long time, Blue. How's the fam?"

Gretchen cradles her little Ithaca 37 in a two handed grip and stalks into the room proper, in a huff, tapered bootheels clomping, crimson poncho flowing. She mutters something in German that contains the English term 'slam-fire' but conceals the small pump-action weapon once she gets more than a few steps in. Sheepishly, she greets Kraft with her head bowed and joins him in setting down with Roxy Blue for a good old chat about law and order and the nuyen that falls through the cracks.

There's a sudden look upon Roxanne's face at the mention of her family, perhaps a hint of panic. For a moment she considers it to be an honest question, that Kraft knows something that he shouldn't, but then catches that he's just playing with her so her shoulders relax. "Very well.", she replies, flashing him one of her eye catching smiles, "You're looking well. New tie?", she asks, a hint of teasing in her voice.

A quick sip from her 'Glacier', then she leaves the drink on the bar and motions toward the private room. "Urlan has made room in his schedule for you. This way.", Roxanne says, moving over to the door to push it open and step inside, remaining there to hold it open for you all.

Gretchen offers Two a greeting with tired eyes after flipping up the lenses of her shades on their hinges as she does from time to time, looking both stern and apologetic at the same time somehow. And into the 'Manes suite' they go…

Two Left Eyes makes his way through past the security without much in the way of problems. It's been a long day. He matches Gretchen's greeting with one of equal exhaustion on their way into the back room. Unbuttoning his jacket, he takes a seat with a quiet nod.

Inside, the room is as you remember it, minus the box of Tee's things. The card table and chairs is still where it was, the couch with Urlan resting on the arm, the small circular white noise box that he switches on when you enter the room. "Good morning. Roxanne tells me you've been successful?", the man rising from where he was sitting, a polite gesture to allow you all to settle before he reseats himself.

Gretchen allows herself to (reluctantly, begrudgingly) take a seat this time, one hand snuck under the loose fabric of her street poncho, unconsciously turning over the small datachip case in which resides the 'mind' of Jack the Ripper. She spins it over and over in a nervous hand clutched to her solar plexus.

"Good eye, Blue. Got the last one nipped in a cat fight."

A shrug of the shoulders, the old borg so used to exhaustion at this point that he's pretty much his normal, bitter self as always. Although the slight hint of panic curls that grin up just a few more notches. A nod aside to Two as well, a twist of false lips. "Hair of the dog that bit ya, Spooky?"

Yep. Two's got a new name. And then it's time to meet with The Boss. The man who's got the pile to pay for all this trouble. Kraft waiting a moment for the others to settle - or just sitting down if they're playing the hot seat game, trying to figure out who sits first. While Gretch tugs out her chip, and Two's got a secure case, Kraft? He just plucks the fedora off his bald head, reaching inside to tug out Cleo's chip. Then the fedora goes back on, tugged down low.

Roxanne closes the door behind the team, then moves across to join the gathering. Looking up to her as she approaches, Urlan says, "Roxanne? If you would.". The blond nods, smiles politely, then moves across to a small table at the end of the couch where a serving tray sits, three credsticks sat on top. "If I could see the chips?", Urlan asks.

Like a waitress at a high class dinner party, Roxanne moves from person to person, inviting them to take one of the credsticks. Urlan speaks again, as she moves around, "You will find a bonus on each, we recovered the data from Juniors data store, and keeping Tee alive is a boon for the company that I appreciate.", he nods.

"A fat joint and a nap, more like it." Two responds to Kraft with a faint smile. He'd love to engage in a little levity, no matter how unlikely the source is. When prompted, he pulls the small chip case out of his pocket and holds it up - a tiny square that's apparently more valuable than a few hundred lives. Regardless of how much that may weigh on him, he's certainly eager to receive a credstick in exchange.

Gretchen's chip case is drawn out from her heavy poncho, its case not unlike that of an old film canister, small and cylindrical. She slowly makes the exchange, lips drawn into a tight black line. Once she trades for the credstick and glances at the balance, however, a visible tension is released from her body, like the strings of a marionette having been cut. She rakes a hand through her hair and slumps in her seat.

Kraft's the last one to let go of his chip; Those false eyes watching the light play across the tiny thing. A sad smile. ".. See you around, sweetheart." And then the chip's placed on the tray alongside the others. Love and loss and nuyen; What's a broken heart worth these days anyways?

A glance at the credstick answers that question. "What can we say, mac? Hire the best, get the best. Been a hoot, but this place has got Twitchy all nervous. You don't want Twitchy nervous."

With the exchange made, Roxanne moves the tray over to Urlan who picks up each chip, one after the other, inspects them, then simply pockets them away. "On behalf of Global Technologies, I offer my thanks.", the man says, slowly rising to his feet. "It has been a pleasure. If anything arises, we'll be certain to hire your services again. Roxanne will be in touch.".

Moving from his seat, he moves across to the door and pulls it open, the beautiful Johnson beginning to follow, though before she moves off she tells you, "The room is yours for the next ten minutes. If there's anything else..?", she asks, happy to stay if there's more. Urlan, however, is a busy man.

Two Left Eyes looks at the other two runners. The credstick he picked up has already vanished into a secure pocket in his suit. There's not a lot he's got to say here. This is the part that ostensibly made everything else worthwhile and it's hardly professional to express relief immediately after getting paid. So instead he smiles thinly and shakes his head in a clear "Not from me."

"Yeah, one last thing."

States Kraft, his own credstick disappearing into the many, many internal pockets of his line coat. It's like a magic trick. ".. What's your size, doll? Next time we meet, it's gonna be in a better place than this dump. Something with class." That dry, confident grin again, assuming that there's going to be days after this one. And who knows? The team did good; And there's always problems that need troubleshooting. That is, shooting at trouble.

Maybe, just maybe, Gretchen can come to appreciate Manes' traditional Amerind fringe again. Perhaps she had been too rash in criticising his wardrobe in the past, in her assessment of him, due to the extenuating circumstances revolving around Junior's multiple interruptions in what was /supposed/ to be neutral ground. Nonetheless, Manes' approval gives her what passes for 'the warm fuzzies' in the streets these days; a glimmer of satisfaction of a job well done, but at what cost? How many lives were lost for her to receive a paycheck and a sense of accomplishment?

She clears her throat behind a tight fist, pointed end of the credstick jutting out like the blade of a dagger in a downward stabbing grip. With regard to final comments and questions she belatedly offers up, "Just… Don't let those chips hit the streets again… I'd hate to have to clean up that mess twice…" Is that an awkwardly veiled threat? Or just an awkward admission of being glad that it's all over and done with? Who can really say. Chances are, Gretchen herself isn't even sure what that was supposed to mean, but she's genuine about it, no doubt there.

"They were never meant to.", Roxanne replies to Gretchen, "They were prototypes; proof of concept. We have a required interface just to keep the testing staff sane..", a shake of her head, leaving the comments to fade. Sometimes there's nothing you can do, it doesn't matter how good the security, how powerful the defenses, it's never going to be enough. An army of bikers wasn't enough for this team.

There's something about Kraft that pulls Roxanne back to the fun times of her past, makes her lose her corporate exterior for a brief moment, the woman giving a musical little chuckle at his comment. Making her way to the door, she places a hand on Kraft's shoulder in passing, tells him with some teasing amusement, "You couldn't afford me.".

The woman continues walking, leaving you all to the room, but before she closes the door behind her she chuckles again to herself, "Blue.", as if the name amuses her.

A long, low whistle. "That's trouble on sticks right there." States Kraft, before finally standing up once more. A brush down his lined coat, a soft sigh.

".. Alright, Twitch, Spooky. You're on my six, 'cause I need a drink and I'm not drinking alone. Don't worry about it - I know the place we need."

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