Happy Birthday!

Players: GRETCHEN.
Synopsis: Gretchen is approached by a young Sinner with a job offer. It's her brothers birthday but they've been pulled apart, she'd really like to get a present to the little boy. If she can get a phone call through, even better! Gretchen heads off to the location to find a corporate home with the remnants of a birthday party for the young boy. Sneaking her way in, she delivers the gift and the phone, then sneaks out again, leaving the boy to talk with his sister. Gretchen returns to the Warrens, meets up with the Sinner, and they share a moment before parting ways.
Date: 26th April 2078


A small strike team darts from cover, automatic weapons spewing rounds to cover the point man who sprints across open ground. Enemy forces take shelter behind dilapidated cars with windows long since shattered. "Go, go!" The firing squad moves at a slower pace but covers for the runner who vaults over a low wall, ducks behind it as return fire sputters at his heels, then breaks for the final stretch, goal clearly in sight. One of the runner's defenders goes down, splatters bursting forth from their chest, then another takes a volley of rounds straight to the head. But it was all worth it — the runner dashes into an alcove the size of a small closet and smashes a large button with an armored fist. Klaxon alarms and spinning lights are triggered and everyone involved in the firefight either groans in dismay or cheers in triumph, whether unscathed or bathed in gaudy glowing neon splatters. « KSSSHH — Blue Team takes the round! » A voice comes in over the intercom as the overhead lights kick on, blinding those who had their vision assistance active in the dark warehouse space. The losing team is coated in far more of the blacklight reactive paint, and the two teams meet in the middle of the room to exchange half-hearted handshakes and muttered comments along the lines of, "Good game, chummer."

Gretchen does the obligatory handshakes but says little, simply moving to the antechamber for the blue team along with the rest of the group, removing a mask with a full faceplate and a jumpsuit with a heavy duty zip down the front.

"Those fucking paint rounds sting like a motherfucker," one of her teammates comments, having been struck in the neck and down the side, apparently having taken the full brunt of automatic fire.

"Then don't get shot next time," is Gretchen's only reply to the other, a teenager evidently, once masks are off and jumpsuits are unzipped and stepped out of. The suits and masks all get dumped into a chute to get sanitized, and the nonlethal weapons are delivered to an attendant behind a cage, the Danger Zone's quartermaster.

Gretchen taps in the code to a temporary locker, removes her bag and coat and begins to make her way outside, stepping through the Danger Zone's entry, through the lobby where a collection of public dataterms are covered in graffiti and stickers. Local youths hang around smoking cigarettes and sharing sips of beer. She bums a smoke for herself and exits to the street to lean against the wall of the rec center, buried deep in the industrial sprawl of the old Denver Tech Center, now a neutral ground between yakuza and triad turf north of Little Chiba.


« Later that evening… »

Gretchen unveils the last of the plastic bins full of equipment she had brought to Mission Hills with the help of the RGC crew who provided a beat up van for the trip.

"Some weapons, some goggles… a scooter…"

Behind the bins, also easily loaded into the back of the old Bulldog van is a black and white Mitsuhama Kestrel — not the most powerful or elegant cruiser but should be worth something in trade at least.

"What do you think? I'll let the whole pile go for a good rate…" A small group of Sinners look over the gear and perform individual appraisals, some checking weapons, another slipping on the smartglove on offer and flexing her hand to check the fit.

While the deals are ongoing, one of the Sinners, a tough but surprisingly young looking girl, keeps watching Gretchen. Her hands hold tight to her SMG, though it's not out of anger but out of nervousness. When the pair lock gazes, she has a questioning appearance, the girl moving a few steps away from the rest of the gang as if inviting Gretchen to do the same.

The girl takes a few steps until she's beneath one of the street lights, leaning against the post, far enough away from the rest of the gang so any conversation will be missed as long as voices are kept low.

Gretchen is trusting enough of the girls gathered at the back of the van to peruse the used hardware to step to the side with the unknown member of the gang. She has her crimson poncho on, and casually flings the front of it over a shoulder to reveal her leather jacket beneath, which she unzips to access an inner pocket for a pack of Course smokes ("Stay on Course!"). Beneath the leather is another layer of street armor, a slimline kevlar vest, and Gretchen lights up, then puts one hand to her hip while giving the girl a curious stare. "What's up? Why do you seem ready to open fire..? Has there been any trouble since… Since Candy's funeral?" Gretchen frowns and blinks slowly behind her circle shades, angling her head down to the pavement as she takes a pull of her cigarette.

Not even realising she was doing it, the girl looks down at her hands squeezing around the weapon. "Oh.", she says, relaxing her grip before deciding to just put it out of the way, leaving her hands free. She doesn't seem to know what to do with them, fingers twist against each other, hands go to her pockets; that seems to do the trick, leaving them there.

"Just the usual.", the girl replies, glancing along the street before facing Gretchen more seriously. "Look, I know you're like this superhot 'runner and you take on biker gangs n' shit, but can I ask you somethin'? A favor or.. I don't know, I don't have much cred.", she says with a shrug. Doing deals with 'runners is obviously something not on her resume.

Gretchen's turn to get super awkward…

"I'm not— I just—" She clears her throat and tucks her free hand into her other armpit, focusing on taking a couple drags of her smoke, unable to meet the girl's eyes for a moment. She looks back to the group at the back of the van in order to collect her thoughts and sighs, turning back with a frown, unable to respond to the compliment that simply isn't true. "Just…" She ashes the cig, holding it down at her side and flicking it with a black-lacquered thumbnail anxiously, repeatedly. "…what do you need?" She lowers her voice and narrows her eyes, now peering darkly over the frames of her glasses at the other girl.

There's that awkward again, the girl pulls her hands from her pockets, scratches a spot on her head beneath her bleached blond hair. Another glance at the gang still checking the back of the van, ensuring they're not listening to her. "It's my brothers birthday.", another glance at the gang, as if she doesn't want them to know or hear about this.

"We used to live in one'a those adoption places. Fuck, I dunno what they call 'em. We were s'posed to be like a package deal..", the girl explains, ".. but they wanted my brother n' not me, so.. yeah.", a motion toward the gang, as if that's her reasoning for being here. "They don't let me see him or anythin', I just like..", a shake of her head, the girl straightening up, as if ready to walk away. "This is fuckin' stupid, you deal with bigger shit than this..".

Gretchen sidesteps to remain in front of the girl and raises a palm to her reflexively, but stops herself before making contact. She glances over her shoulder at the other Sinners then quietly speaks. "Wait. Look. I just deal with shit that seems important. Sometimes 'yen's important and I put my ass on the line for it…" She lowers her hand and quickly tries to state her case before the girl returns to the main group. "…sometimes helping someone out is important. You want some help getting in touch with your brother?" She's not graceful about asking the question, but she -is- asking genuinely and that would be clear in her tone, even muttered quietly as she's doing, to prevent the others from hearing.

Despite her thoughts about Gretchen being a superhot 'runner, the girl looks at the hand trying to stop her as if she might just bite it off. If it made contact, she genuinely might have tried. Hearing the question though, she relaxes and returns to leaning against the pole, the street light shining down around them; not the most private spot, to be sure.

The girl nods in response to the question, tries not to let emotion push through, but she's having a hard time with it. "I bought somethin' for him, just a stupid bear, but like.. I dunno, it's somethin', right? The thought that counts n' all that shit.", she puffs out a breath, trying to calm the emotion that's trying to bubble up at the thought of her brother. "If you can take it, n' I'll give you a burner phone too so I can like..", it's getting harder, a twinkle of moisture in her eyes, a shake in her voice, ".. just speak to him for a minute, wish him happy birthday. I never forgot his birthdays. Not ever.".

Gretchen gives the other girl some space, withdrawing her hand to take a drag of the cigarette it holds, and she turns away to let the girl maintain her dignity should a tear slip throug her tough facade. She's already made up her mind about trying to help out, but she muses while watching the other women haul the electric scooter out of the van now and lower it to the pavement to begin examining the engine and the condition of the tires. "No, yeah, ah… what's your name?"

Thankful for the moment, the girl turns around, takes a few steps away, a break to compose herself. Returning when the question is asked, she turns and moves a little closer, "Sam.", she replies. Her hand slips into the pocket of her armored jacket and pulls out a burner phone, the girl entering some numbers into the memory so it can be used to contact her at the touch of a button. The bear follows, held inside a small bag, but the outline is easy to spot. The girl offers both items across to Gretchen.

"I really didn't think you'd help. Like, total respect.", she nods, the look in her eyes echoing her sentiments. "They live in this walled off home between Cherry Creek n' South Hampden, real corporate home. They're in number seven. Jus' travel from Cherry Creek n' count off the numbers, it's easy to find.". Another shake of her head, this one in disbelief. "Fuckin' golden.", she says in awe.

Knowing that Sam is a bit closer to showing her emotion about the matter than she'd like, Gretchen simply takes the bag without even giving it a look and tucks it into her jacket, zipping up to hold it in place at her side, then drops the front of her poncho to further conceal it. This is all done in a few quick motions, and she finishes by accepting the phone. "I'll make sure he gets it." She gestures slightly with the burner but dips her head in a way that makes it clear that she's speaking about the bear zipped up in her jacket as well. "Name und description," she concludes with, pursing her lips into a stern expression, knowing that the response could trigger a further outpouring of emotion. However, she tries to be very official about it, again, in the hopes of allowing Sam to maintain her gruff exterior in the presence of the other gang members. She also pours on the accent which helps reinforce that the demand is not made out of empathy, but out of a need for further information.

Not wanting to do it by words, it might indeed create another emotional moment, Sam instead reaches into an inner pocket of her armored jacket, pulling out her own phone. She spends a moment pressing a few buttons until a picture pops up on screen, the girl turning the phone to allow you to see it. "That's Mikey.", she tells you, another glance at the gang, ensuring they don't witness the exchange of information.

The boy is perhaps nine or ten, has the natural good looks that his sister possesses, the family resemblence can be seen in a few places. He has lighter hair than his sister; hers is black, bleached blond, his is a soft shade of brown. "If you find they're fuckin' with him, like, anythin' weird is happening, do whatever you can to make it stop.". The inference is there, if they're doing anything to harm him, kill them. "I'll see you're paid, whatever it takes.."

Gretchen licks her teeth behind closed lips, distorting her stern expression before reverting back to straight-faced. She simply nods with those black lips pursed tightly and gives Sam a brief moment to add more should she feel the need, but the slant of her shoulders and the movement of her right foot indicate that Gretchen is on the verge of rejoining the group at the van now that this exchange has gone as far as it needs to for the time being. She pockets the phone.

"So, let's see the fucking 'yen, chicas," Gretchen barks out at the other women now, taking a final drag and throwing the butt of her cigarette aside as she turns on the toe of one boot to step away from Sam.

Leaving the woman to walk away, Sam watches for a moment before deciding to head back to the group as well, her SMG pulled back out to reinforce that tough exterior, despite having to wipe her eyes as she finds the moisture still there. She remains at the back of the group, watching what they're doing, but giving a few respectful glances to Gretchen as she does.

Gretchen pointedly avoids looking back at Sam as she does some final sales pitches to get a bin of vintage clothes in good condition snagged up, manages to convince one of the girls that the scooter is worth having, and then goes around the group plucking credsticks one by one to end up with a bit of a bouquet of black market commerce. With all the cred gripped in one hand like one might hold a collection of pens and pencils, she shoves the doors of the Bulldog shut with rusty clunks and begins to make preparations to head back toward the Souk.


After the sales are made and the nuyen passes from one to another, there's nothing more to do except for a trip through the various smuggler routes back into the CAS sector of Denver. Travelling from Cherry Creek, heading toward South Hampden, the buildings on either side of the street scream corporate high life. High walls lined with monowire for protection, long driveways up to intricately designed steel bar gateways, large gardens in front of equally large homes.

Each driveway is marked with the house number. One, three, five, seven.. the potential home of Mikey, Sam's little brother adopted into a corporate household, while Sam is left to fend for herself in an all female gang in the middle of the Warrens. The numbers continue onwards, nine, eleven, but those are of no concern. The target of interest is inside number seven.

Night coats the area in darkness, nothing but street lamps to illuminate the road, a mostly quiet road due to its location. A patrol car drifts past, a searchlight checking on anything suspicious; out of the way it might be, but this is corporate life, security is tight.

All the homes on this street are separated from each other, there are no adjoining walls, just personal 'compounds' that the corporate's like to call home. While the area appears very secure, it may be possible to sneak over a wall without being seen - if you can somehow avoid the monowire. A frontal approach seems out, as a security camera covers the front gating.

Having returned the borrowed van, swapped it out for her bike and ridden the convoluted route from the Warrens back to her safehouse in the CAS sector, she then leaves the bike behind in favor of calling a taxi. Before it arrives, she changes from Warrens gear into a fancier white infinity scarf which she drapes over her head and shoulders, but wears her urban camo hoodie below. Jeans and boots finish the outfit and she slings her messenger bag over her shoulder.

Minutes later, Gretchen exits an automated Johnny Cab out of sight of unit 7 and strolls around in search of a decent approach…

While not the smartest idea for security, between each 'compound', the spaces between the walled off homes, are large dumpsters for keeping the trash out of sight of the higher class interiors. It doesn't give an easy access, you would still need to pull yourself up into a faceful of monowire, but it's enough to allow you to look into the gardens and make a decision.

Mikey's home has seem some action recently; very recently. Not the kind of action a woman from the Warrens would be familiar with, instead, a large banner lines the front of the house that reads, 'Happy Birthday Mikey!', with each letter inside a different coloured block. The garden is full of party items, tables and chairs spread across the greenery, some of the tables still holding untouched items such as slices of birthday cake, snack food, soda drinks, toys and gifts. The mess continues across the grass, it seems a childrens party took place here, the steadily deflating bouncy castle hinting at a party that has now finished, the children returned home.

From atop the dumpster, monowire dangerously close to the lenses of her shades, Gretchen spies not just the aftermath of a celebration, but more importantly, some neglected cake in need of salvation. First things first though, this wire… She tugs her bag around from her back to her front and extracts a set of clippers. She ponders how to go about this, ideally in such a way as to not get sliced by a loose wire once it's been cut free, and while she plans to the best of her ability, she re-slings her bag back where it belongs, slips her breather on over nose and mouth, and quickly pulls her hood up. Urban camo now concealing white scarf, though a small bit is probably still visible at the top of the hoodie's zipper.

*snip* The first length of monowire is cut, leaving a mark on the cutters themselves, but it's enough pressure to snap the monomolecular thread. The wire flips backwards with the release of pressure, a quick dodge needed to avoid it slicing through your skull, the loose thread hitting the wall and burying in an inch before coming to rest. That's the first. Another two cuts, a few nervous dodges, and the way is finally clear.

Now that she's leaving proper evidence of tampering, Gretchen's pulse spikes, and her natural paranoia begins to kick in. Dodging the monowire is a big part of the fear-factor as well, but she takes it meticulously, having the luxury of time, at least for now.

Popping her head back up over the wall, the first order of business is to scout out something that will allow her to exit over this same section of wall.

With all the party items inside the garden, it's easy to set something up to escape over. A table, a few chairs, a tetris collection of building blocks.. Though first you have to avoid the temptation of birthday cake. It's not the cheap Stuffer Shack cake, this is created by a specialist talented baker. So good.

Having a better look from inside, there seems to be a motion sensor set up near the doors into the building; but it's the type of motion sensor that triggers a light to illuminate the garden when darkness strikes.

Through sheer force of will, Gretchen handles the business of securing her escape route before letting herself indulge in stealing a slice of cake. She gingerly sets up enough patio furniture tetris to facilitate a quick escape should she need it, and only then does she duck behind the bouncy castle where a table is still decked out with party favors and a few neglected plates. A sheet of plastic wrap is pulled from her bag, unwadded, and she uses it to swoop up a slice. She folds the wrap around it and tucks it away for later.

Motion sensor light, check. Gretchen keeps this in mind, and continues seeking out any sign of Mikey's room from outside. She's loathe to attempt an actual break-in, but… She braces herself for what may be necessary, and rifles through her bag for the lockpicks and other similar tools, slipping them quickly into the front pockets of her hoodie for easy access. This done, she begins to creep oh so cautiously.

Finding a way outside the view of the motion sensor, you creep closer toward the door until the sensor can no longer be avoided. A shuffle here, a short step there, with some urban camo keeping things hidden, the light doesn't even trigger. It's enough to cause a smile, for sure; moving and not triggering a motion sensor is something to be proud of.

The garden ends at a set of plexiglass doors, wall to floor windows of the same material on either side, allowing a clean view into the living area. This is the life that your every day wageslave dreams of, with a trid screen the size of a wall, large plush couches and chairs, soft carpeting, decorative rugs, expensive paintings adorning the walls. Off to one side, a kitchen area opens up, which is larger than your typical Warrens apartment.

The downstairs lights are off, only a faint light drifts down the stairs from above.

The plexiglass doors are sealed by a generic maglock, a card reader with a series of lights to announce its current setting. Red; locked.

Slowly, slowly… Gretchen does the larcenous limbo, taking exaggeratedly slow, long steps, arms outstretched for balance, but she reaches the house feeling a surge of pride that blends with her adrenaline. She curses silently at the card reader though she has a passkey with her and takes a brief moment to listen for sounds of activity, though a large part of her attention is on this glimpse at life as the other half lives. While this may be the standard for corporate American, it's the lap of luxury for her, and a slew of what-ifs drift through her mind in the few moments of quiet before she takes action.

No sound is heard from inside the building, though the plexiglass might be sound proof. There are sounds, of course, with nature so close there's the soft hoot of an owl coming from the tree in the garden, a distant whisper of traffic outside the premises.. life goes on.

Gretchen lets her unwillingness to tamper with anything get the better of her, and puts her passkey to the test. She absolutely hates this thing. It's more trouble than it's worth, honestly, but she paid an exorbitant amount for the damn thing, and one of these days it's going to pay off. However, for now, the only purpose it serves is to short circuit the lock system!

"Fuckfuckfuck..!" She swears under her breath as she tries the card a final time and gets nothing but a scrambled readout and a static *pop* from within the lock casing which prompts her to hunker down and scramble to wrench the casing from the wall. The imagery of a bomb-defusal scene she saw in a sim recently plays through her mind and she attempts to imitate Sheena Stone's solution to the problem: she cuts the blue wire…

Sheena Stone, infiltration expert extraordinaire (from the latest John Bomb sim, of course) made it look easy. Gretchen on the other hand… She fumbles the passkey, dropping it to the entry mat as she frantically goes about her work. It seems to have done the trick though… She hopes…

Grimacing behind her mask, the German would-be catburglar kneels to retrieve her ineffective lockbreaker, pockets it along with her other tools and wipes the back of an arm across her forehead. And then she tries the door handle.

A soft boop and a hiss as the door unlocks at the cut of the blue wire, a tiny sliver of movement as the breeze pushes against the door, causing it to slide ever so slightly inwards. The door is free to open, silence greeting you from inside. The interior of the building even smells nice, a clean, well tended scent with an overlay of air freshener keeping the living room so welcoming a place to be.

Across the living room are the steps upwards into the second level of the building, to the right is the kitchen area, a sealed door in same direction is the downstairs bathroom, while the rest of the area is a beautifully designed living area. Multiple levels, seating, dining, trid, entertainment system, gaming area; this floor has it all.

Across the floor and downwards into the living area are more signs of the party; wrapping paper for presents, gifts that weren't immediately wanted left scattered around, spilled soda marking the clean cream carpet, empty plates with crumbs everywhere. The children were obviously left to their own devices; the parents obviously have enough in their accounts to worry about the cleanup later.

Ornaments, designer items, rare collectibles, if there's something here that's not worth taking away, it shouldn't even be here.

Simone Vogel aka Gretchen Roth, catburglar not-so-extraordinaire eases the door shut behind her with a sigh of relief, but it's not over yet… She swallows back a lump in her throat and scans around for anything expensive she might be able to pocket, but… Taking a glance at the electronic toys, she decides to leave those be. Taking something that could potentially be Mikey's feels wrong to her, so she opts for the more mundane and eases a few non-toy decorative figurines into her bag as cover for her presence here — if she does happen to get busted, her conscience demands that she not get caught for her true intent, to deliver Sam's gift, but instead for petty theft.

Cover story secured enough for her liking, Gretchen gives the remnants of the party a bittersweet glance, then begins to make her way upstairs…

The light increases as you travel upwards, though it's only the corridor lighting, and even then it's been dimmed below normal brightness. A selection of doorways lead off either side of the upstairs hallway, though all but one are impossible to make a decision about. The final has a sticker on the door, 'Danger, Keep Out!', which surely isn't for the parents bedroom.

Snap decision, and Gretchen creeps toward the 'Danger' door…

A few quiet steps bring you to the 'Danger' door, a gentle press of the handle and the doorway opens into a 'small' bedroom. It's small for the building, but this would be apartment sized in the Warrens. The bedroom contains a computer desk with the full setup, a box full of toys and electronic gadgets that would please any kid, and, of course, a bed. A cute little kid is sleeping the night away, light brown hair, features similar to Sam except boy-ish, of course.

When the door opens, he murmurs softly and rolls onto his side, tangling up the bed sheets as he goes.

Gretchen steadies her nerves, swallows her fear once more and closes the door behind her. With slow, easy steps she crosses the room in the darkness and slips the bear and the phone out of her bag. She gently sweeps the boy's bangs from his face as she imagines a whimsical explanation for the bear's appearance, something she hopes the boy might conjure up with his imagination to justify the surprise. She blinks behind her glasses, a touch of moisture obscuring the thermographic signature of the sleeping child, then ever so gently eases the stuffed toy and the phone under the blankets at the corner of the bed. She smiles her bittersweet smile to herself and rises, giving Mikey a gentle look before she turns with a sad sigh and slips back to the door.

«Auto-Judge[]» Gretchen (#7451) rolls Sorcery + Spell Pool: 5 for "Casting Dream. Imparting Mikey with a vision of his sister whispering to a stuffed bear who snuck in in the night lugging a cell phone. The little guy clambered up each and every step, crept down the hall dragging the phone and was so exhausted, he crawled under the blankets at the foot of the bed and went to sleep."

While the world passes at a normal pace, dream time is accelerated, the bear crawling upwards and to his bed with phone in hand, curling up beneath the sheets at the foot of the bed. Though you're outside the door by the time Mikey stirs, it's easy to hear him waking. "Hello?", he asks the darkness around him, a silent moment as he studies the shadows that surround him.

And then he's crawling down, a gasp as he actually finds the bear from his dreams beneath his sheets, at the end of the bed. There's a squeak of happiness as he uncovers the bear and the phone, a squeak of bedsprings as he shuffles about, finds a nice spot to sit and get comfortable. There's a moment where all is silent, the boy sitting still, his motions unknown, but finally his voice can be heard, "Sam!?!", he has the cutest voice, so happy to hear his sister, "Is that really you?! SAM! I missed you /so/ much! Where are you?!", his sweet voice speaking down the phone, the other side only heard in your imagination, a possible guess at what she might be saying.

But then the moment is disturbed, a door opening in the hallway, a large man in pyjama's making his way out and further down, luckily with his back to you. He pushes open another door, heads inside.

The hair on the back of Gretchen's neck rises in an instant, even as her eyes are further glossed over with that creeping sense of bittersweet happy-sadness that began bubbling up once she saw Mikey sleeping soundly. No time to lose though, this is an opportunity that needs to be seized — when the man disappears from the hall, Gretchen's boots lead her back toward the stairs in slow, long strides in an attempt to get back down to ground level and out the back door as fast as she possibly can. She trusts that Sam will coach her brother to keep the phone hidden, unwilling to risk causing a commotion at this point by re-entering his bedroom.

Without even realising someone else was in the building, the same man leaves the bathroom and heads back to his bedroom, Gretchen now long gone. Before he enters, however, he checks on the area, before clicking off the final light in the building and returning to his room.

Still inside his bedroom, Mikey continues to chat with his sister, telling her about his birthday party, about the friends from his new school, but how much he misses his sister; he's more than happy to give it all up to be with her, but she insists he stay. They'll find a way, they always have.

With the security down on the exit, it's a simple slip out into the garden, avoid the motion sensor, and back to the collection of tetris'd items to climb over the wall. Most 'runs are complicated, involve security and uncomfortable encounters, while some.. some just bring lost family back together again, if only for a night.

Back on the ground floor, Gretchen risks a few more moments in the house — with the delivery handled, she takes effort to undo her cover story, hastily replacing the figurines that she slipped into her bag on the shelf she snatched them from, and after she eases the door to the yard shut behind her, she gives the maglock a quick assessment. This could be incredibly foolish of her… Or it could turn out to be the best way to conceal her visit, in that, eventually the snipped wire -will- be discovered, even if it's a week from now.

She removes a disposable lighter from a pocket, applies the flame to both ends of the cut wire to conceal the fact that it had been cleanly cut, then pulls a can of spraypaint out of her bag — she's playing with fire by delaying her exit to do this, figuratively and literally — and she proceeds lightly singe the whole interior of the maglock case with a quick pass of a jet of flame by igniting the aerosol. Hopefully once the fault in the lock is discovered, the scorched interior of the casing will be taken as a short in the wiring…

She replaces the outer cover, then bolts. Once she slowly eases past the motion light that is.

And from there, it's a matter of taking a convoluted path out of the neighborhood, summoning her bike to her, courtesy of her hacked panicbutton, and returning to Mission Hills. She even saves the slice of cake for Sam (though she couldn't resist trying some of the frosting and then wrapping it back up).


Back in the Warrens, when Gretchen returns to Sam, she's still talking to her little brother. The tough exterior has been broken down, the girl found outside the Crank, tears staining her cheeks while she laughs and enjoys her moments of freedom with her family. The call has to come to an end eventually, reluctantly, a promise to speak again, keep the phone hidden.

And then Sam notices Gretchen has returned. The call over, the girl rises to her feet, approaches Gretchen, has that tough exterior on her once again; but it's gone, whether Gretchen wants it or not, Sam gives her a thankful hug, a few moments of thanks, then she's breaking away and putting on that tough armor again. "Whatever you need, chica.. Anythin'.".

Gretchen isn't one for hugs typically — too much has happened to her, too many walls built up to keep the world at bay — but in this instance, she finds no trouble in sharing a moment of walls-down reality that causes her thermographic readings to go wibbly again. She slips her glasses off, dabs at the corner of an overly-shadowed eye and pulls her mask from her face as well to reveal that black, bittersweet smile.

As -herself- rather than the shadowrunner that Sam seems to perceive her as, she reaches into her bag to offer the slice of wrapped birthday cake. "I thought you might want this…" She has to wipe that pesky visual distortion from her eyes yet again with a sleeve, and she simply shakes her head at Sam's offer. Her eyes drift off to the distance, memories of a former life flooding back. Memories she typically does everything in her power to forget. "No need, Sam… I know how it goes… I know how it goes…"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License