Learning the Ropes

GM: Jinx
Players: Jinx, Caine, Indra, Hek, Ryvera.
Synopsis: Jinx is about to learn a new profession that she didn't had in mind when she got herself the new shiny rig, but that got to her due to a simple fact. She needed a ride to finally be able to use that rig.
Date: Some time 2074
Plot Status: This plot is active.
Flashpoint Queue: Learning the Ropes

This is a Player-run-@mail Plot, follow this link for clarifications on the concept


The Meet

Denver is the High Mile City, Denver is the Treaty City, but Denver is also: Smugglers Main. This city with it's many borders, the free trading zone and the fact that no 'real' military is allowed here has drawn more Smugglers than any other city in the whole of North America of this time and age, possibly even the whole world.
Smugglers not only thrive here, they are neccessary for the complicated underground networks of the treaty city to be able to survive. Currently a new smuggling run accross the continent is being prepared. Shadow assets are contacted both as drivers, guards and support personell, as this will be a relatively large undertaking. Consisting of a treck of 10 rigged vans with drivers and a small complement of guards and 'mission specialists' as the handlers for some of the more 'critical' freight is called. This treck will have two such critical freight implements. A load of century ferrets and a load of a 'mystery' cargo, that seems to require some special medical attention, thus requiring a medically experienced specialist.

Jinx had come to this load in a simple way. She was in need of a vehicle and a contact of hers had pointed out she might earn hers by joining the treck. After some checking of her abilities, she had been quickly accepted. Now she was sitting as one of the already appointed team members in the warehouse that was designated as meeting area for the other members of the team that where still to join. Reading a book, about awakened critters, she might be preparing for her part in the treck, or simply be curious about something…

Caine is always in need of money, he owes a few people, and there are so many things he wants to buy. He prepares by simply bringing his armor, a riot shield, and his body. The man arrives at the warehouse, only after doing a little astral scouting with his ally spirit, making sure nothing seems out of sorts. He walks in slowly, with the aid of a cane, and the shield strapped to his back. It looks almost comical.

Indra may not really be a smuggler, but she's always wanted to see Saint Louis. Given half a chance, she's in for the duration. She's a quick talker, and she's used to hammering out contracts for her own use, so she's hoping she can help with this job, for a cut of the take.

Word circulates through the shadows about the field trip being organized and it catches Hek's attention. Twice removed from the Mexican mafia by way of the Surenos 13, Hek has been involved in the gang's production of BTL chips. The current job seems like a great opportunity to make new contacts and explore potential franchising arrangements. Even if the chip angle does not pan out, making new smuggling contacts who could potentially assist with moving whatever it is that The Eme needs to get up out of the Atzlan and into Denver will not hurt his standing with the gang.
With all of that in mind, Hek shows up to the warehouse ready for an extended journey. Wearing a full suit of form fitting body armor beneath a SecureTech armored jacket, he looks all the part of typically hired muscle. Though the electronics kit that he carries hints at skills beyond simply pulling triggers, the assortment of pistols and the Ingram Smartgun that he is toting might lead one to wonder just how diverse his skillset truly it.

Ryvera had heard about the convoy, through a friend of his. She had suggested he get out there, and do some real work for a change. Not one to disagree with making some 'yen, he showed up at the meet loaded for bear. Wearing a combat vest and a rifle slung over his shoulder, he settles in to await the briefing.

A large hispanic looking ork moves to the front. He looks quite refined in a kind of safari suit complete with helmet and a holster holding a pistol. "I am Colonel Sanchez, your host for this … run. I am pleased to see that you have arrived in these numbers.", he says with a distinct british accent to his words. I am going to thell you what you have to expect if you, as I really hope you will, join this expedition." As if this was Africa…
"I am assuming all of the present are willing to join the team. As I will now establish the facts of the route we take. The freight we have loaded will be enought to amass a base share of about 20K down in Saint Louis. I assume that will be enough to make this long and partly uncomfortable trail worthwile for most of you. And you might still able to earn a little penny by the side if you are clever and resourcefull. If you don't feel like this is a good deal. Then I suggest to leave the room now. As I am about to discuss matters that only the willing should hear."

He waits a little bit of time to allow for people to leave the room.

The Colonel nods satisfied as no one leaves the room at this point.

"The route we will be following this time is a spinoff of route known as the "The Long Weekend" in the circles you will be entrenched with now for a while. Meaning the smugglers comunity. During most of this run the worst problems we will most likely have will be environmental and critter problems. Most of those out in quite 'lonely' areas of this continent."

He switches on a beamer, to display a map of North America. He points towards Denver with a laser pointer. "This is where we are today. The first border, from the FTZ out into Sioux we will do out in the open. Driving out the I-70. I hope you all have at least decent SIN's, as this border will be crossed the normal way, all our vehicles on their own to avoid undue attention. We will leave the I-70 at Byers and drive down the Route 36 until we reach St. Francis. Until then I do not expect a lot of troubles. But at that point we will go off the well used roads to pass the Sioux-UCAS border. This is one of the more critical points along the ride. As that border is … well, a bit hot. As probably all of you know the Sioux and the UCAS are bound by a long and strong hate-love relationship." The last part is said with an ironic undertone. "St. Francis once was a little outback place. Today it houses a Wildcat Station. Why do we still pass there? Because I know a few very secure routes in that area. And I do have some friends that can tell me where the 'Cats look mostly when we are there."

"We will rejoin the Route 36 at Bird City. At that point a little break is planned, as I cannot say if there might be some repairs needed and I have some mechanics contacts down there that will lend us a hand with repairs if needed. Once we are ready to go on, the next part will be once again down the Route 36 until we reach St. Joseph. For those lacking some geopgraphy skills, that is really close to Kansas City. And we will take a little longer break there. I need to do some business there, so you guys can use the oportunity to go to Kansas if you want some time out, or something."

His laserpointer had been following and displaying the route on the beamed up display. "After we leave St. Joseph, we'll follow the Route 36 again. Big surprise…" He winks into the audience. "We'll follow it until we arrive in Hannibal. There we will head southeast to St. Louis. Which is the base aim for this trip and all you are hired for. If the opportunity arrises you might be able to join me on a little trip down the Mississipi or up to Chicago at that point. But you're not hired for that yet, those would be extra jobs. Any questions so far?"

Caine listens to the description of the trip, as he does, a few thoughts leave his mind, sent to another, his ally spirit. While Caine hears the info given by the Colonel, the ally spirit is using a simple mapping app on a pocsec elsewhere to go over the route. When the Colonel asks if there are any questions, Caine shakes his head slightly, so far so good.

For his part, Ryvera just nods as the Colonel goes through his speech. He seems to find it satisfactory, and while he's listening, he's also discreetly looking over those that he'll be working with. They matter as much as the cargo and route do, as they're the ones who he has to rely on if anything goes wrong.

Indra will be taking hand written notes, and trying to make a rough sketch of the route they'll be taking, it can't hurt, who knows what might happen..and what if the electronics break down and they can't fix the nav system? She seems to be very studious about this, along with any contract details so she can renegotiate them if they come up. Indra may not be very wiz at shooting things, but she knows how to make the deal better for her friends!

Hek simply sits there, stoically listening in to the Colonel explaining things. He seems to still wait for more information to come up before he will add his own 5 cents, if at all.

Jinx grins slightly as she listens to the Colonel. She clearly is totally at ease and simply takes in the words as they come. Praised be Mnemonic enhancers. For her they certainly seem like some of the magic she had seen her awakened friends work. At least they are magically effective if it comes to absorb data.

The Colonel then nods, "I see some of you have already started to have a look around at their team mates in this undertaking. I will introduce you to the team I know already and it would be nice if those of you that are new to me and my team would introduce themselves and their specialties after my introduction.

He waits a little bit, then points to a small group including three orks, an elf, Jinx, a dwarf and a five humans. "This is our Rigger team. Armand, Diego and Hellen." He points out the orks. "Hedran." He points to the elf. "Jinx." Jinx is pointed out, "Joshua", the dwarf "And Mike, Lawrence, Janice, Remington and Margarita." Each of the people called gives either a grunt, nod or a wave, each according to the persons character. "Armand, Mike and Hellen will be driving the trucks. Our man Cargo and also our least mogile vehicles. Thus they are to be defended at all cost. Jinx, Hedran, Joshua, Diego and Janice will be the regular drivers for the vans. The others are backup, in case we need replacements. This is still some risky business. The trucks are Trailblazers with container
pickups. The vans the good old Ares Roadmaster with some armor added. We have two airborne drones that we will deploy during the more critical phases, intended to be piloted by our backup riggers."

He pauses a bit, then points to five other members of the team, an ork, two humans, another dwarf and what looks like an oni. "John.", the ork, "Marsha and Trish", the humans, "Drugar" and "Senesei, will be gunners. The Roadmasters all have a gunnery port at the roof with an Machine gun to mount there. Those are our prime defense."

Ryvera stands, saying "You can call me Ry. Primarily, I specialize in light weapons, rifles and such." He gives a grin, adding "Although, I do have formal training with demolitions and other explosives, should the need arise.Hopefully though, we can avoid needing to use any."

Indra will lightly clear her throat when it comes to her for introductions and give a weak but polite wave at every one. "Hi! Just call me Indra!" Fish out of water a bit, she doesn't have any fancy street rep or any thing, but at least she'll be cute to have along?

Hek still stays in the background, allowing himself to be 'overlooked'.

Jinx draws quite a bit more attention as she rises anyway. "I'm the Jinx. I grew up inna'Rens, did sum work with 'bout any gang dere was in dere atta time. Mostly bin a hired gun 'n blade then. Lata joined da Dirties. A team tha' worked 'ere 'n Denver fer 'bout a year 'r two. Been doin' some neat shit jobs until fate seperated most o' th' team. Now I'm learnin' da ropes of riggin' 'n got a decent field med. So I guess I kin be more'n jus' a brain fer steerin' sum wheels in dis layout."

As the introductions and descriptions start, Caine glances over at Hek, giving a small smirk as he notices the man trying to hide in the background. Caine looks at the rigger team and the others and nods, "Call me Gheppeto, I'm the magic here." He leans a bit on his cane, is obviously frail body likely good for little else beyond magic, he doesn't even look like he could carry an assault rifles weight, let along use it. Its probably all he can do to hold his body up with the light armor he does wear.

The Colonel seems to be quite happy with the mix of people he got himself here. "So a mage, an expolosive expert…" He looks at Ryvera, then continues, "Need to get you once we get on our way through the Rockies again, you'd not believe how much I would have liked a guy with some explosive skills last time… A medic and we seem to have a little mascot as well." He winks to Indrakshi, "Well, I guess I'll set you to assist miss Jinx in her medic stuff, at worst you will be a second pair of hands for her."

He pauses a bit again, then continues. "Okay… here is the procedures we will follow. Here in Denver a mixed convoy as ours would be a bit too obvious. So, as I already told, we'll be on our own on the way out of Denver. On the road I want a formation with a van always between one the trucks. The vans are both our light infantry defense force as well as carrying some smaller freight. If shit(tm) happens then I expect you guys in the vans to deviate whatever it is from the trucks who are our main freight carriers. I'll leave it to you guys who will be riding which van, but I suggest not everyone to be in one van. I need responsive forces that will act fast and decisive if we encounter the Law. Are there any more questions? If not I suggest you move out and start spreading yourself over the vehicles."

Moving out

Caine makes his way to a vehicle, likely moving to ride with Hek, having a bit more familiarity with the man than any of the other runners. He will make himself comfortable, stowing his gear away and remaining quiet most of the ride. He will of course be using astral recon on and off, checking the other vehicles if thats an option even. He would likely want to know more about the convoy if he can. When the border crossing comes up, he casts a minor spell, changing his appearance to that of a native american version of himself, a few changes here and there, like a distant cousin perhaps. The sin is passed over and, Dancing Leaf, makes it through the border…..now if only no one else gets busted, they will be off to a good start.

Ryvera is still chuckling a little, while going over his gear. Of course they would need an explosives guy. He mounts up into one of the vans, stashing most of his gear underneath the seat he's on. He watches the contryside roll past, for the most part saying little other than the occasional small-talk with a few of the others in his van. Coming up to the border, he gives his SIN credentials to the guard to be looked over, and Mr. Jacob White clears the border easily. Let's just hope the rest of the job goes as smoothly.

Jinx will enter her own, troll sized, van. Leaving a quite large seat for Indrakshi, if she would join her in that ride as the Colonel had suggested. She would jack into the rigger controls and the van would come to life. Her own vision overlaid with the HUD data of the vehicles status monitors, she was doing a carefull check of the rides responses as she lets the engine run warm for a minute. Only then will she move out, towards the border on her own route. Her credstick with SIN and fake freight list passing the controls without a hitch. She gives a toothy smile to the border guard that cannot help but shiver a bit being faced with such a massive specimen of a rigger.

Indra will opt to ride with Jinx, it just seems right, since she isn't really some combat escort to speak of, but she is pretty eye candy and she hopes between that and her ..hopefully decent fake SIN, she can get through with Jinx, her gear is mostly hidden in a duffle bag next to her on the floor of the van.

The run was well prepared and most of the things done are just the very last preparations that are happening with every travel, and yet it made the place quite busy still. So Hek joining Caine at the front van was not really catching too much attention. Ryvera found himself seated in the last van, while Jinx and Indrakshi where in the middle one. Gear was checked and the border proved no real obstacle to these experienced criminals. Aligning each other, with a little help from radio, the little convoy moved out the little strip of I-70 they would follow, just to pass into the much less used and quite a bit more rough and tumble Route 36. These areas all too often where the places that go-gangs used for their turf wars closer to the cities, and the streets showed clear signs of those activities. Further out the area quickly grew into a boring landscape of the plains. Rolling hills and grass, grass and rolling hills. A copse of wood here and there, then more hills and gras. Did I mention lots of grass? It was all too obvious why this routes name was the long weekend. Those roughly 840 miles to St. Francis could be some of the most boring 13 hours the runners might have lived through. And yet… I was prudent to stay ready and aware. These where Sioux lands, and the Sioux knew there where smugglers passing through their lands. The wildcats where known to take out slacking smugler crews, there was amerind go-gangs that would surely like to mess with an mostly anglo convoy. And there where critters out there some of them large and big enough to even mess with trucks. The white buffallo, adored by many of the native americans was quite especially hatefull of any kind of technology. And this was it's home turf.

I see Plains

Caine travels the first few hours relatively unbothered, for him, long hours at the same task are routine, enchanting being what it is. The others though, perhaps not so much. Caine speaks with the driver of thier vehicle, making an offer. "I have a magical version of Long Haul, totally non-addictive, but you do get the crash at the end and need to sleep. Pass it along to the other trucks that I'm willing to provide this for anyone who needs it." For him, its really not hard to stay awake, he can talk secretly with his ally, he can send his ally back to Denver and read off the trix….heck he could astrally project if he wanted. But he doesnt.

The driver eyes the mage with surprise at that offer, but then after considering things a bit, "Hey guys!", can be heard over radio, "I got an offer from our mage. Seems he has some magical version of Long Haul and offers it to place it on whoever is interested. As far as I remember there's that old truckstop a couple of miles ahead, could use that to have him spell it on us."
This causes some heated discussion among the smugglers, there is still a lot of distrust to magic in many people and some doubts. About half the crew decides to 'risk' it though, the Colonel among them.

In the van with Caine, Hek rides shotgun on the off chance that he might have to drive at some point. While he lacks the cybernetic augmentations of the riggers, other than his datajack, he can drive better than the average slot on the road. Perfectly content to watch the world go by, he just focuses on his breathing and absorbs the tranquility of the open road, the expansive skies, and the wide open country that seems to stretch as far as the eyes can see. In his case, that is quite a ways given the way that he instinctively cycles through the various magnification intensities that he has given up some of his soul for. In fact the whole experience is not at all unlike watching a long, boring movie that cannot be turned off.

The efforts of Caine to make friends with his magic never ceases to amuse Hek. In fact the man seems unable to resist himself when he cautions the driver, "Careful chummer, or you're going to end up with a tattoo before this trip is over." Though the driver probably does not understand, Hek shares a knowing smile with Caine, fully aware that the shaman will get it.

Indra was attentive more because she simply had never left the Denver area in decades, a road trip to her meant what it did to a teenager blowing out of their state with friends, something new and exciting. The talk of magic makes her shake her head a bit, like many, she doesn't trust it..despite being an elf and sterotypes! "Maybe they should save parlor tricks for when we get in a tight spot.." She says to Jinx in a quiet voice about the entire situation.

Caine frowns, pulling his ally spirit down to the vehicle. He speaks over the comm, «Somethings up above us, I'm going to take a look, could be nothing, but be prepared.» The ally will watch his body, and just before he seperates he will conjuring a F4 Sky spirit.

Caine takes a few breaths, focusing his mind, then mentally calling out to the skies, to the spirits, and asking for thier help today. He gets a response, a wild spirit of the skies, and it drains him just enough to give the man a headache despite his bioware. He thanks the spirit and then seperates from his body, projecting. The ally remains with his form, and Caine and the sky spirit soar up to see whats going on above them.

Indra will crane her head forward a bit to watch some thing above even as Caine mentions it, before glancing to check the rear view mirror. She even lowers a window to lean out and watch before openly speaking on the Comms for others to hear. "Unless some thing has changed, I don't think there should be an aircraft..or motorcycles following us, right? Maybe the natives are upset with us."

Caine spends a few moments looking over things, then returns to his body with the help of his ally. He will let the sky spirit go for now, perhaps to call on it again later. He gets on the comm when he is in his body, «Minor magical weather pattern above us, and a drone. The drone will likely leave due to the weather. Its hopefully nothing thats going to affect us, but I'll keep an eye on it.»

From his position in the passenger seat of the van, Hek occupies himself with watching the mirrors as the miles upon miles of grassland seem to repeat themselves like a particularly boring movie played on repeat. The repetitiveness of the environment makes the drone following the convoy all the more obvious, as it is an exception to the rule, a break to the monotony. "Looks like a surveillance asset." Hek remarks to the rigger in command of the vehicle, in the event that he feels it warranted to pass along the information.
"Unlike those White Buffalos who have been tailing us for a good hour at this point." Hek adds, trying to keep the conversation casual as he directs the rigger's attention to the steady presence of the go-gangers who have been keeping a steady, even distance from the convoy for long enough for it to be considered suspicious.

It seemed the gangers had been taking a bit off as the team suddenly pullled off the road and into the old truck stop as they followed Caines offer for the evervesce spell to be delivered to some members. All in all five of the smuggler team allowing themselves to be treated with the spell. The gangers drove past the truck stop at that, but things got really suspicious as they reappeared from a little resting spot right after the convoy was back on the road again. The Colonel was not happy, his gaze went up to the sky where that drone was still flying on it's surveillance course and back to the gangers, then around to see where the rest of the gangers where. Via radio he gave out the directive to be on the lookout. "Sadly we cannot just shoot them away with this damn drone flying above us, as I would like.", he says over the secure radio line. "If these guys do a move while that drone is still above us, then we cannot even use the heavy artillery, as we would give away that we're better armed than the average trucking setup." The scorn about this situation was quite evident in the way his british accent came even worse to the fore. There was some 'not amused' brit here.

Ambush

In the end things got hot pretty suddenly. One moment the trucks where driving through one of the small copses of wood, then suddenly there was a loud bang, for the more acute of hearing it where four seperate loud bangs, as the front vans tires suddenly exploded simultaneously. The huge shape of a White Buffalo, the critter, was visible on a little wood and brush covered hill to the front, clearly the reason for the unexpected accident. Most likely the beast had been using some magical power to cause trouble.

But the animal was not the real problem, that would be the crowd of gangers spilling out of side roads all around the trucks. With the truck and van drivers currently all too busy preventing to cause a mass collision with the van in the front, everyone was getting shaken quite a bit within the vans. Meanwhile on the outside the gangers where maneuvering themselves into a position to 'convince' the smugglers to surrender their wares.

Up there in the sky the formally fluffy little clouds didn't look so innocent anymore. They had grown quite a bit and where now looming as large dark shapes above everything. The drone slowly turning away, but still too close, still having it's sensor sweep over the area.

Indra will slink down into her seat at the initial discord, trying to keep her self from eating the dashboard initially and then looking out the window, keeping it closed as she readies her pistols for the time being until some one else opens up. Maybe there's some contingency plan no one briefed them on. Once people start shooting, she'll join in.

Jinx stopped her van, without touching anything. Her van was however locked in between the trucks. Clearly not a scenario the Colonel had in mind. All through the convoy there was calls as guns where drawn and people got ready to rumble. Jinx being confronted with a situation she could clearly not solve with rigging, decided to go back to her old 'virtues' and grabbing behind her seat, she pulled out her Katana, readying it even as her mind was busy getting the van to stop with cybernetic commands. She whispered to Indra, "Keep ma back secure, I need ta do some blade work.", she then says.

Caine is not a very physical person, so when the vehicle swerves and comes screeching to a stop the poor mage is banged up a little bit by the ride. It takes him a second to get his bearings, looking around and frowning. "So much for subtlety."

Truth be told, the ruse /has/ worked. The problem was that the gangers facing you seem to have considered this a juicy lfew trucks able to be looted. It was mere bad luck that they where out on a hunt when the smugglers convoi hit this road. So aside from a nice number of oponents you face a relatively weakly armed group of wannabe warriors. Most are wearing barely more than nartural leather clothes, all riding on environment friendly electrobikes, a fact that probably brought their benefactor to them. The white buffalo that clearly is the reason this gang is called the White Buffalos with all kinds of feathers and leather and bone attachments decorating theim. Each of them wearing the image of a white Buffalo stitched to their backs. These are clearly far from the street hardened gangers you are used from the Denver streets.
On the downside, gangs in these parts are known to have the occasional mage within their ranks. And with their outfits the chances to identify those by simply looking at the outfits are quite harder than usual.

Jinx wades out seemingly carelessly as soon as the van stops. Her door opens guided by the vehicles computer and hte cable connecting her to the rig is taken care of with a quick pull. Then she is free and almost at once within a small pulk of bikers. A silvery coated blade starts to do it's deadly work. One of the ganger is is almost cut in half with the first strike, the next gets a barely less dangerous wound as her blade slashes through his guts. Only the third is 'lucky' enough to get no more than a still serious if not immediately deadly looking wound. Yeah, the troll clearly is pissed off. And she is not out to play it nice.

How quickly things go sideways. One second the riggers are at the truck stop, getting magically high on whatever voodoo juice Caine channels through that frail elven body of his. Hek feels left out and finds himself remembering with some fondness the nova coke habit that he managed to kick. In fact he is still fighting those demons, reminiscing about the electric buzz of stimulants when the universe delivers something even more intense.

As chaos begins to unfold in the form of a barely avoided multi-vehicle collision, Hek braces himself at first and then relaxes. Layers of ballistic weave and padded reinforcements absorb the impacts as the forces of velocity and momentum threaten to rip him away from the seatbelt and eject him through the window of the van.

The dust has not even settled and the screeching of tires are still echoing in the ears of the unaugmented passengers as Jinx goes wading into melee combat with the assembled go gangers. Despite a nervous system that is spurring him to jump into the fray like a cat confronted with a field full of flowers and butterflies, Hek manages to stay centered as he fully absorbs the entirety of the situation before him. Only once he has full awareness of the threat the team is facing, a process that takes all of about a second and a half during which he instinctively unfolds the stock on the Ingram Smartgun, does he ease out of the van while making sure to keep the armored passenger door between himself and the majority of the ambush.

"Stay inside here chummer!" He cautions Caine, figuring that the armored van is a decent place for the scrawny elf given the imminent threat of incoming bullets.

Brrt! Brrt! Heks gun spews out two little hails of deadly metal. One ganger is hit squarely in the chest and drops of his ride, bleeding and lying on the ground in a way that makes it quite clear that he soon will be dead meat. The other does a quite impressive 'jump' of his bike and lands slightly more elegant than his dying compadre. Slightly means he managed a halfway decent rolling off, though the grunt he gives off shows how that must have hurt.

Indra waits for Jinx to go to work, crawling out after her, deciding to fire at the first ganger that seems to slip past Jinx. Indra has never fired on another person in her life, but she deems to tap two bullets from a Pred into the poor ganger.

Both bullets hit their mark quite nicely. The first bullets hitting the ganger squarely enough, the second making sure he stayed down. And so he did, bleeding profusely.

Jinx had made herself a traget by wandering out like this, intendedly so, trying to draw firepower away from other targets in the convoy and allowing the others to regroup while the gangers are busy with. She took a bet of her luck against the gangers. So far it worked out. She only got a light wound from an all too well aimed burst fire by one of the more agile gangers while lots of other lead, including a couple of light gun hits simply ricochet off the layers of armor and hardened troll skin. She curses loudly as that single bullet scrapes over her skin, hot lead 'cutting' open flesh and making her bleed a bit.

The smugglers where desperately needing the time Jinx bought them. Having been shaked around by the luckily otherwise inconsequential sudden braking maneuver, aside maybe for the lead van, who was right now lying on it's side, after having tipped over giving in to centrifugal forces.

Caine looks out the windows, focusing his attention on the astral plane. There has to be someone awakened out there, spirits rarely just show up to help mundanes. Caine also throws up spell defense on his side, no sense waiting for the enemy mage to cast a spell. As he does, his sky spirit is quicker, spotting awakened targets and projecting its energies at them as it materializes into the mundane plane.

Jinx has to tone down her attacking a bit, for one her wound bothers her a bit and then there is the fact that there is not too many people standing close to her by now. All this results in her next attack serving to bother the only two guys closer to her. By now the gangers overall are more busy as the shooting from the smugglers and her teammates serves as a nice distraction. She cleanly misses one of them, but still seriously hurts the other, the man staggers a few steps back as he is hit by the impact.

In the span of three seconds, Hek strokes the trigger four times and expels a dozen rounds from the compact form of the Ingram Smartgun. There a frighteningly robotic precision to his actions as he works on instinct, his mind wired into the gun as it feasts on a meal of targeting data sprayed across his field of vision. The man gives a silent thanks to the specticle that is Jinx as the trolls actions make her a beacon for the gangers, drawing their attention and making his job all the easier for not having to dodge return fire.

One ganger, the guy that actually wounded Jinx with his SMG is going down in a heap of blood and gore, the other target was more lucky, he just received a bullet in a less 'appropriate' position, though he might have a little problem sitting for a while. Both gangers still make a nice little fall to the ground.

Indra raises her second pistol to let another fusilade of shots ring out..well more hiss out, silencers don't let much ringing and banging occur. Either way, another bullet finds a mark, slamming into the ganger she had been vaguely aiming at through her SL-2 links and tearing a hole through the poor bastard's belly.

Two deceivingly small holes appear on the mans belly, but the damage they deal inside the mans body is quite devastating. One bullet would already have had him mortally wounded. The second makes sure he will not rise from the floor he falls down to now. Not alive at least.

Jinx moves on towards the next gangers, leaving dead and seriously wounded people in her wake. The gangers might see her like one of the old nordic berserker warriors, though her silent and efficient way to fight is probably even more frightening than someone wandering among them shouting like a beast.
Two more of them are thrown to the ground, as her blade deals them ugly looking wounds, blood spraying over their fellow gangers.

Indra doesn't waste time before she shifts her fire onto another pair of gangers, hammering out a series of quick shots, even if she doesn't cut them down, maybe she can at least make them duck and keep out of the fight.

One ganger goes down in a heap of blood and screams as the bullets deliver a deadly blow to him, the other is more lucky, a few light wounds all that he will keep as a reminder of this encounter.

The gangers as a whole seem to have had enough, though. They had intended to hit on a couple of unorganized truckers, not this gang of furiously fighting runners. Another proof of what a good team of runners can do. The gangers at least have enough. Leaving behind a couple of dead and dying, including their bikes and other belongings, they are starting to zoom away. From the looks of them, they seem to have the worst of their tribal spirits after them. Or at least they seem to feel like this. Only two daring members take the time to attempt getting some of their less wounded comrades with them. Although this makes them vulnerable to attack, not even the smugglers are shooting at them. There is just a loud cheer of victory from all around. Then the smugglers go out to check on their damaged leading van. Just lucky that they have quite a few spare materials with them. Seems the Colonel had been planning quite a bit ahead.

After the fight

Indra isn't a mechanic, but she takes her time to reload her pistols with new clips. "Maybe we should clean things up a bit?" She asks, moving to start ..well, taking choice bits of gear, but she also wants to move things off the beaten path persay. So if a UAV sweep -did- happen, it won't just see evidence of a fight on the road. Maybe she'll get some extra nuyen out of this yet.

Hek apparently has no interest in remaining out in the open any longer, and returns to the passenger seat of the van. The Ingram willingly dislodges its clip and Hek busies himself with thumbing rounds into the high capacity magazine to replace the ones he expended repelling the attack from the go-gangers.

The smugglers are a pragmatic lot. Leaving stuff lying around is asking for troubles, so they collect the gear of the gangers that got killed in the incident. It may be noted that Jinx, who was one of the first to wade into combat, doing so without remorse, now is wandering around to check on the gangers that might still have a chance to survive. She even spends some of the medic supplies on those gangers. Spoken at by the Colonel about this, she simply hands him some bills covering the cost for the stuff she used. There will be no real loss though, as the gear taken more than pays for the cost of treating the gangers.

Caine sighs as things settle down, then looks to Hek. "I am going to magically boost my speed one day, like wired reflexes. Then I won't sit and stare while folks around me blur into action. Its kinda annoying. Now I know how you feel when I go do my astral thing." He grins a bit.

The deranged vans tires changed and the loot collected, the smugglers finally set off again. Up in the sky the drone had by now vanished out of sight and luckily it seemed not to have taken notice, otherwise it would probably be circling up there to find the source of the commotion. The team would be back on track all too soon. Adrenaline fading from the peoples systems as they moved on.

The Thunderstorm

The thing that would slowly get more 'interesting' would be the sky now. Those tiny clouds up there where slowly starting to grow, all too soon starting to hang up there in the sky with growing astral and elemental power. Growing faster than any truck would have any hope to out run them, covering the sky in a thick layer of blackness with multicolored lighting slashing, for now, only through the clouds. The phenomenon clearly attracted a very special crow up there. The dark shapes of birds where seen sailing through the sky, gathering into small flocks.

Discontinued

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