Man in the Alley

GM: Hiller
Players: Janie, Shoeshine Boy, Hiller
Date: April, 2071

Synopsis: The two characters Shoeshine Boy and Janie are wandering around the Rez souk. They meet by chance and get involved into a fight. Someone hunts down a 'runner'. A courier with some unknown information of importance. Janie and SB decide, that they want to help the man. Out of different motivations, of course. But they decide to accept the quirk of fate this time. They quickly learn that the severlely wounded man was supposed to meet with another agent. Orange, also known as Hiller to some. So they escort the wounded man through the dark maze of the Rez souk and eventually rescue the 'runner' and his belongings.

Prequel/Follow-Up: This plot is part of Three Quarters.


A man with encrypted information on Lucas Don's personal and business correspondence lies on the street. Dying. It is Rez souk, sub-level. Down in the Warrens. Janie and Shoeshine Boy accidently pass by and become aware of a ringing phone. If they care for the man and answer the phone, they'll find Lionell K on the other side. And themselves in the middle of trouble.

The dying man has a data stick from Novatech Office Denver. The stick was provided by a bribed office worker. He had the possibility to copy Lucas Don's offline mail folder, dating from December 2070 to April 2071. The man scored big this time. As quiet some times before, he offered the information for a low price via matrix and Lionell's goons became aware of it. So they hired an "errand boy" in order to pick up the stick at the Arapaho District (Sioux Downtown, FTZ). From there, he was asked to bring it to an agent in the Warrens. From there, it should find its way to Ares Downtown. Why all the detour? Because the souk is an excellent place to cover any kind of deals. Even by magical means, it is very hard to keep track of a transaction in this buzzing place. Above that, the errand boy only had Lionell's cellphone number, but not a number of the agent in the Rez. They were supposed to keep in contact only via UHF radio.

The errand boy is Jack Benester, known in the more sophisticated Warrens and A to C rated areas downtown. He was hired by Lionell in order to carry the package from Novatech, Arapaho to the Rez souk. But what he did not know was that Novatech security was aware of the leak. They followed Jack on Warren territory and prepared to bring him down there. For interrogation.

Just another day in the Rez

«Plot» Hiller says, "Alright. Let's start, I'd say. Rianna may join later if you're open-minded. :) It's the Warrens, Rez neutral ground. But anyway, you can never know what people like you do! So if you push for it, you may suffer severe consequences. But otherwise, it's a normal day in the Warrens."

Shoeshine Boy happens to be set up in the Rez today. He's got his large valise out, the one with the metal footrest built into it and a flimsy-looking, high-tech folding chair set out besides it. He has kneepads built into his coveralls and sits in something approaching seiza, taking all comers who want their shoes shined - which, given the necessities of appearances, is a reasonable but not absurd sum.

Janie is browsing the street markets for anything interesting or worthwhile, but mostly simply enjoying the relative cool of the city after sunset. She looks once at the shoeshine getup, but despite her bright white leathers she doesn't appear to need his services.

Shoeshine Boy actually believes he's seen Janie once or twice though in different circumstances. While he himself might have been dressed differently, her clothes are so distinctive that he immediately recognizes them sufficiently to give a jaunty tip of his babushka-like cap.

Shoeshine Boy is awake, aware, and alert, with his many senses running and picking up information. Back in the olden days, the shoeshine boys had to, like, talk to people to pick up scuttlebutt, but from here he can eavesdrop on pretty much the whole Souk to a greater or lesser degree. Keeping track of the lay of the land so he knows which way to jump.

The Rez is the pulsing, beating heart of the Aurora Warrens. Centered on the Quincy Reservoir, the source of much of the drinking water in the Warrens, it is bordered by Quincy Avenue to the north and Smoky Hill Road to the south. An agreement between the major gangs keeps the Rez as a neutral meeting place and market place, where organized violence on the part of a gang is met by swift reprisal from the other gangs.

What makes the Rez so important to the Warrens is the actual economic activity that takes place here, in the old Summer Valley malls and along the shores of the Reservoir itself. Collectively these marketplaces are called 'The Souk', if you can sell it, someone is selling it here. From old car parts, to Novacoke to Cal-Hots to fresh vegetables from someone's garden, the Rez has it at some point in the day. This market place is absolutely vital to the function of the Warrens, and without it, most of the people in it might starve, both for a lack of a place to buy food, and a lack of place to sell the goods they have to buy food even if it were available.

Weather is hot today. Especially in the Warrens. The rainfalls of the past week have vanished and some people are already complaining about the lack of fresh water supply. But here, in the Rez souk, that's not a prblem. Not yet. It is early night and the place is humming with people of all races, religions, purposes and intentions. Since electricity is rare in this area - though accessable - the large storage buildings are dimly lit with petrochem lights.

One of the really nice mysteries of the Rez souk is the undergorund level. A former sub-level mall has been 'reconstructed' into a mace of small shops, dirty side-alleys, fighting-pits, stables, auction-halls and back-room. A dark place, where drugs, stolen goods of all kind, and even slaves and cattle are sold.

Janie and Shoeshine Boy are both walking around, rather relaxed, when there is a call through the crowd. A big auction is supposed to take place on the sub-level. Not so interesting at all. But what /is/ interesting, are all the people who'll come together and have a look. A good occasion for pucking up news. A good occasion for watching freaky people or just delve into the crowd.

Janie tilts her head as she hears the call to auction. She ponders for a moment before deciding to head on in - might as well find out what's up.

Shoeshine Boy certainly counts amongst the freaky people, so when his shoeshining is done he will be only too happy to fold up his chair and pick up his oversized valise for to go check it out.

It just happens that Janie and Shoeshine Boy accidently bump into another on a stairwell downstairs. It is tight here. Many people pushing forward, chattering in Cityspeak and smelling like a mix of what it is: a blend of cultures. Would they reckognize each other?

Janie nods once at Shoeshine - she has met the dwarven shoe polisher before, although not formally - as she makes her way to the auction.

Shoeshine Boy keeps his personal possessions as guarded as one should against dips in a crowd such as this, while maintaining his friend-of-all-people's smile and his previous recognizance of Janie's distinctive view. He calls upon his dwarven stability so as not to be actively shoved.

The stairwell ends and the pressure ceases remarkably. A red neon-sign flashes out and tints the crowd in uni-color. The sign reads 'sub 1 - saint's trail'. Hm. If it has something to to with The Saints? Anyway, this level is dominated with improvised food stores and one-man-shops for everyday life products. Second hand, of course. The place is solely lit by a few battery powered lights and good old-fashioned fire. - Shoeshine boy and Janie walk together, just because they share a common direction. Up ahead a large trailer, pushed by four men, approaches and virtually parts the crowd like a rock on the beach. People step aside or press themselves into one of the alleyways or shops. And Janie and Shoeshine Boy are more or less forced to do the same. You step aside into a small side-alley as the trailer tries to push its way past.

The alley is narrow and may've been a maintenance corridor once. Though it is quiet high. Two stories, actually. With a gallery on the upper level. Strange architecture.

The trailer blocks the side-alley for a brief moment and Janie and SB are, well, trapped! But not alone. Three other 'commuters' are here as well. Two are chatting about a Nissan-Chrysler Model for sale. The other one is a female, just waiting for the way to be open again.

Shoeshine boy and Janie are forced to wait as well for some dozen seconds. And by chance, they overhear something strange from behind, down the alleyway. Somewhere in the dark, a muffled scream can be heard, followed by a hard thump. Glass breaks and something else shuffles. It's not easy to hear. Chatter from the main alley and some distant music cover the details.

Shoeshine Boy is required to dash that way. It's the way he is! Some people's reflex triggers have them draw guns, but his generally has him run towards dangers. It's a good thing he's wearing his Warrens chic. To Janie, all he spares/shares is 'that look.' A little questioning, a little 'is this really happening?' a little 'again?' a little 'here we go' and so forth.

In the Warrens, the proper response to hearing screams and thumping is to keep one's head down and head the other way as quickly as possible without looking hurried enough to attract attention. Janie, however, has never been much of a proper Warrens girl. She whirls toward the source of the noise, hands already reaching into her duster to draw her guns and mentally calling out to Athena to scout ahead of her as she sprints toward the source. Janie dropped Ally Spirit - Athena.

The first glimpse over the shoulder reveals the dark corridor, eight meters in height. There is no light so far. But supposedly it is covered with dirt, crap and maybe some crates or barrels. The narrow alley runs for ten yards and then turns right. Shoeshine Boy heads on and Janie follows on his heels. And Ally Spirit Athena dashes ahead of them all, propably!

After a few leaps, there is the right-turn and after another three yards, the alles turns left again, continuing into the original direction. Athena catches a first impression, shortly before Shoeshine Boy arrives: "There is a man lying on the groun!" Athena shrieks mentally. The voice concerned and alarmed. And indeed, on the short section between the turns, there lies a man on the ground. It is very dark here.

~Are there any other signs of life around?~ Janie sends back to her Ally, cutting through the alarm.

«Plot» Janie has thermographic and lowlight vision as adept powers.
«Plot» Shoeshine Boy has Thermographic, low-light, vision mag 3, eye light systems to see in total darkness, and ultrasound vision to see invisible things and through illusions that aren't solid.

Athena answer briefly: "Rats and other small mammals…and many people in a short distance!" she refers to the crowded hallways, most likely. - After all, the alley seems to be quiet and deserted except for Shoeshine Boy, Janie, the Spirit and the man on the ground. You arrive at the body. What's the first thing you do?

Shoeshine Boy stops to check him for wounds and injury (and to listen for his dying words and final clue). He doesn't move him, and quickdraws a trauma patch - just in case. And he doesn't crowd Janie, in case she's much much better than he is.

Janie briefly scans the area as she crouches by the body. ~Overwatch,~ she commands her Ally, who manifests and flutters down to perch on a building ledge and keep an eye out for hostiles while Janie shifts her perceptions to the Astral plane to look at the man's aura and check his condition.

The side-alley in this section is covered with dirt and shows some larger pools of water on the ground. It smells like fungi, wet debris and pee. But beside the man on the ground, there are no larger objects around. - The man is about 24 years old and wears solid army boots, stone washed blue jeans, a grey BDU/Cargo-jacket and fingerless gloves. A bright green rucksack is strapped on, and there dangle a pair of fancy rollerblades, as well as a Industrious Line helmet. The guy is well shaved and smells of some deo or perfume. That's the good news. The bad news is, that he's actually lying flat on the ground, belly and face down. As you all approach, you can even see how his left hand - oddly snapped aside - is constantly shaking. His breath comes in a low and heavy moan. His left cheek rests in a small pool of dark red blood. This young man is severely wounded.

Shoeshine Boy checks the left hand, and fits it with his personal recollection. Case handcuffed to his wrist, ripped off by superior strength? Looking at Janie's preparations and focus, he turns his senses outwards, listening very carefully throughout all ranges to see if he can pick up clues as to the location of the actual assailants as they likely creep away with what he imagines is their ill-gotten gains. Shoeshine Boy also looks for blood trails and other clues that might move them.

The first impression is: the man is seriously wounded. Shoeshine boy would suggest, that the man just fell down from the steel-gallery above. No blood trail. His breath comes very heavy and blood rins out of his mouth. His eyes are already glazed as if he's headed toward the other side. But he still lives. - Janie reckognizes as well, that the man has some cyberware and is scared to death. Haunted. He is not awakened.

From behind, tha noise of the Rez continues, but around the man, an unusual silence settles down. It sneaks up the back and stings the concentration- Athena shares the feeling as well. - Then, suddenly, a cellphone rings.

Shoeshine Boy is thus required to turn his gaze upwards; and to see if he can parkour his ass up these boxes and that dirt and off that wall over to said gallery… until the phone rings. And if that phone is not on the dying man, well, that's where he'll be parkouring his ass - towards that phone.

It is possible to reach the catwalk above, though tough. The cellphone ring is oddly distorted and thus adds to the creepy athmosphere. But luckily, it's just caused by some water. The cellphone lies in one of the water pools, two meters away.

Shoeshine Boy goes for the cellphone, unless he sees someone up on the catwalk all trying to escape. He will look questioningly at Janie as he does so, in case she indicates that she needs to get the phone and he needs to do first aid; but somehow that seems unlikely.

Janie looks at Shoeshine. "See if you can get that," she suggests, then looks back to the man. "Lousy time not t'bring th'medkit along," she mutters.

Shoeshine Boy , having spotted no one on the catwalk, uses his fabulous powers to walk over and answer the phone. Affecting a low, guttural voice, he answers it with, "Hey," in the effort, perhaps, to fool anyone who might be on the other side.

For Janie: The man has three major wounds. First, his arm is broken, supposedly two times, and he suffered from the fall. Second, he suffers from shock or trauma because, third, the man got shot in the back two times. The bullets penetrated the rucksack and Shoeshine Boy didn't even reckognize it. But beneath the rucksack, everything is covered in blood. A deadly wounding. No question.

For Shoesine Boy: "Yes! Gods above. Your status?" a male voice demands impatiently. Supposedly human.

"Keep y'r head down," Janie calls up to Shoeshine. "Whoever shot him might still be around." that said, she closes her eyes to concentrate. She'll only have one shot at this and hope it isn't already too late.

Shoeshine Boy keeps up that gruff voice. "Got the stuff." He has his mouth a little too close to the receiver, the way some people do that makes it hard to hear them exactly right. And hopefully so that whoever can't overhear people behind him telling him what to do the way he's trying to over-hear what's going on behind the guy on the other side of the phone while he lets the guy give him more information.

«Auto-Judge[VALID]» Hiller (#10245) rolls 5 vs TN 4 for "Man's INT. Who's there exactly?": 1 2 3 4 5 = 2 Successes

Janie curses to herself. "He's been bleedin' out too long. I can't stabilize him. D'ye have anythin' with ye?" she asks Shoeshine.

Shoeshine Boy tosses over that Trauma Patch he had out, while he still listens on the phone.

At the phone: "Who's there? What's happened?"

Shoeshine Boy gruffly says, "Ran inta some trouble, whaddaya think?"

The voice sounds suspicious and irritated. And stressed.

"Who's on th'phone?" Janie asks while catching the patch. "Here's hopin'…" she murmurs as she applies it.

The patch is placed upon the man's heart and the chemicals start their work. The man is still conscious, but if he'll ever have the chance to reach propper medical treatment? Doubtful. Shoeshine Boy, a bit apart, speaks in the cellphone. From the other side of the phone, there comes only the voice. No background noise.

Shoeshine Boy sees if he can figure out the 'mute' button on the phone for a moment as he walks back and checks out the man. He tries to show him the phone, to see if he recognizes it in his moments of consciousness, and the voice on the other side that may or may not be speaking.

Shoeshine Boy holds a finger up to his mouth to politely shush Janie.

«Auto-Judge[VALID]» Hiller (#10245) rolls 4 vs TN 4 for "Willpower for the man.": 2 3 4 9 = 2 Successes

Janie looks the man in the eyes. "Can you talk?" she asks in as soothing and clear a voice as she can manage. "Can you tell us what happened?"

The man struggles in the deep darkness and focuses on the cellphone's green lights. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. His head turns and he's still delirious. His eyes are focused far away but he manages to stutter something like "My…my.." that's all the young man is able to say. He still clinges to the green lights of the phone. That's the moment when around the corner, a heavy door bashes open. Most likely on the upper catwalk level.

Athena shrieks mentally again.

"Get back down here" Janie hisses to Shoeshine before pulling into the shadows and keeping her guns at the ready.

Shoeshine Boy will take that as 'My phone,' and say in to the phone, after he de-mutes (and steps away into the shadows and begins walk-climbing) "I'm terribly sorry for the paltry subterfuge. Your man with the rollerblades is down and we're helping him."

Combat in the alley

This is a bad area for working magic in, but there's neither time nor room to avoid battle - and on death ground, /fight/. Janie breathes deeply and focuses her Power to call on the genus loci, such as it is, for assistance.

Out of one of the water pools there appears a misty apparition. It resembles a slender human or elf, but what appears to be some kind of dark grey business suit is just shadow tissue. The face is a lighter shade of grey, only the eyes manifest in white. It looks like a pencil sketch of a dead man who just srose from his coffin. He obeys to serve, face stern and mean. And it awaits order.

At the phone: "What?! Who…where…where is the runner? Is he within reach? You have to be careful. Don't hang up!" The man's voice is alarmed now. He adds: "What's the situation, and what's your part here?"

Shoeshine Boy whews. Looks like he guessed right. When he has stepped a fair piece away from the fallen, bloodied man, he takes out a standard flashpak with his right hand (phone in left) loops the cord over his neck, and triggers it, primarily up towards the catwalk. "About to get shot at, and good samaritan," he says on the phone, as he works towards hopping boxes and dirtpiles and getting ready for that last leap to grab the edge of the catwalk and swing over one-handedly. But before he does that, he'd like a moment of cover as bad guys burst into flaring light and their gazes are hopefully drawn to him.

Up on catwalk level, but still around the corner ahead, the flash of dim lights appear. Boots on the catwalk give the impression of people with hand lamps have stepped out of one of the building next to you. And the bootsteps suggest that there are two or three people in a hurry! A moment after, they appear on the catwalk and step in sight. Three man, actually, two humans and one troll, can be seen now. All are suspiciously clad in the same kind of chic. A heavy pea coat, army boots and grey trousers. All of them are armed. And they have very small flashlights attached to their weapons and some weird goggles on their heads. Most likely low-light vision or something like this. And then there is no need for flashlights anymore, when Shoeshine Boys flare goes off.

The first of them, who comes around the corner, estimates the situation: "Down there, beware! Take Cover!" and with routined gestures he orders the others to make ready to climb down. And the one who shouts is the only one who shoots this round. He aims at Shoeshine Boy downstairs and raises his shotgun for a try. The other two are heading to the handrail without hesitation.

Another blaze, as the shotgun is firing into Shoeshine Boy's direction. Despite all the odds. He even fires through the catwalk partially. Those guys are operating very decisive and with routine. And Shoeshine Boy is hit by the shotgun slug or whatever side effect the shot produced.

Shoeshine Boy is clearly using the flashing lights and the boxes to his best advantage, deliberately pulling the gaze - and the shotgun fire. But he jukes behind a box and instead of being dead-center, the slug caroms off the outside of his armor, jsut like it's supposed to. "Shoot that again, and I'll be forced to come over there!" he shouts. (He can hear himself just fine over the shotgun-roar - the wonders of hearing dampeners.)

Janie looks up sharply at the shotgun blast, tracking the origin with both guns out. She narrows her eyes slightly as she spots the shooter and opens fire.

Four bullets hit the man square across the chest. Whatever his purpose was, he obviously didn't expect military grade ammunition ready at hand! With a subdued scream he staggers backward around the corner, out of sight. The two comrades who are just going to climb down realize it. One says in typical English: "Damn, Harris down. We receive heavy resistance, Sir!" Propably directed into some kind of microphone.

The man at the phone shouts at Shoeshine Boy: "Hello, hello? Damn. Look, whoever you are, recover the runner's equipment, all of it and I'll reward you! Just don't let anyone get a grip on the man's stuff!" the voice screaks out of the cellphone, so that Shoeshine Boy can even hear it though he hasn't it placed on his ear.

"The runner has a frequency for his assumed contact…*shots shots*…called Orange in…*shots*"

Shoeshine Boy is fortunate his hearing dampeners take out the gunshots while his enhanced hearing picks up the man's words clear as a bell.

«OOC» Hiller says, "The other guys are on their way down. On the first pass, they proceeded to the handrail and started downwards. The second pass is still to come."
«OOC» Shoeshine Boy thought 'pass 1, janie summons, phone talks, shoeshine flashpacks, shotgun shoots. ' 'pass 2, janie shooes, phone talks, now shoeshine'

Shoeshine Boy's hearing enhancement filters the words. The runner is assumed to have a radio frequency in order to establish contact to an agent. The agent's name is Orange.

«OOC» Shoeshine Boy says, "I will be using Close Combat to negate the troll's reach penalties. The human hasn't joined in yet so there's no friends in melee bonus. My base TN is 4 +1 for strobe lights = 5. The troll's base TN is 4, +either 4 or 2.The power of my attack is -1 for using Close Combat, so base 12m -1 = 11m against Impact armor."

The troll growls something in response to Janie's shots and engages in close combat as well. The first attack is negated.

Shoeshine Boy rushes over and unloads - in his martial art, this is called 'the chain of hands,' or Kadena de mano. A bunch of tight strikes, none really hard, none that commit. They get him in across the massive reach.. but in terms of putting the troll down, it's less than exciting. On the plus side, he's now too close to them to be shot all that effectively.

Shoeshine Boy also is kind of blocking the path to 1. pistolero and 2. trauma patched man.

The troll just tries to punch Shoeshine Boy down. He makes a severe box attack. A series of punches, all aimed to the head or whatever stands in its way.

The troll and Shoeshine Boy enage in hard melee combat and whoever may spy on the scene, would most likely opt for a quick retreat. Fist fly, kicks are settled and blocked and the unlikely opponents don't spare anything. And there is the other guy who comes down the catwalk with a final jump. He has a Shotgun as well, short barrel for concealment, most likely. And he uses the two in melee combat for full cover against Janie's deadly pistols. "This is nothing of your concern! This man is a thief! Retreat immediately and cease fire!" the loud voice of the man shouts. He takes careful aim at the melee and kneels down. And waits for a reply. Actually, he delays his action.

Shoeshine Boy feels like he's in that old movie where the guy says, "Shoot zem. Shoot zem both."

Janie reflects briefly on the notion that that would have been more convincing if he'd said that before his buddy opened up with the shotgun without even looking. "I take it ye have some kind o'authorization?" she asks acidly.
«Plot» Janie says, "Also holding action. If he tries to shoot, Janie will fire and pit her reflexes against his."

In the narrow alley, the human with a shotgun is taking full cover at the moment. And he replies: "Leave the man where he his, we'll take care of him." - And this shouting can be heard on the other side of the cellphone as well. If it is still on?

"How, with another four shots to the back?" Janie replies.

The cellphone in Shoeshine's hand screaks again: "Don't do it! Whoever it is, he's no idea about the man or what's going on. He's lying!"

«Plot» Hiller says, "Shoeshine's turn then, since Janie delays."

Janie briefly looks to where the spirit has finally formed enough to hear her pleas and she indicates the man. "Cloud his thoughts and confuse his mind," she commands.

«Plot» Janie says, "First spirit service: Confusion. Target has +4 to all TNs and needs to succeed a Will (4) test tofocus enough to take a decisive action of any kind."

The spirit grey in grey appears in the shadows and it resembles a weird apparition. The flash pack still draws a net of light and shadow through the catwalk and it is very hard to clearly spot the spirit. It moves close to one wall and stretches over it like a darker kind of paint. And then it is next to the man with the shotgun. "Sorcery!" he shouts and immerdiately tries to back off from the spirit. But with little help. The confusion is inevitable but may be resisted.

«Auto-Judge[VALID]» Hiller (#10245) rolls 5 vs TN 4 for "Keep the focus": 3 3 4 10 14 = 3 Successes

The man concentrates and again, it is obvious that he's not a Warren ganger. He acts quiet decisive, even though the spirit haunts him. "We have a magical incident here and one man down. Request support. Retreat to Epsilon," he urges into the subvocal microphone. Then louder toward the troll: "Come on!"

"Drop your weapon and start explaining why I shouldn't shoot," Janie replies, holding her aim steady on the guy with the shotgun.

Still, the guy with the shotgun is not in line of sight. And he moves further backward right now, the spirit trailing. It's only a few feet to the next alley turn. The man continues to make a quiet report or whatever and is not going to answer Janie's question. At least not know But there is a troll left, hand to hand with Shoeshine Boy. The troll would cease his attacks and growls: "Keep it at bay, chommer! Just let me take care of the rollerblade guy!" he makes a defensive stance and would attack, if Shoeshine Boy continues his aggression.

«Plot» Hiller says, "So it is Shoeshine Boys turn, unless he wants to attack. Then the troll goes first."

Shoeshine Boy will agress. This is a challenge! Most of the people he's punched out, it's been way too easy. "When Polly's in trouble I am not slow, it's hip hip hip and away I go!"

So, the troll uses a complex action and draws a knife. It springs out of the sheat and starts to hum in a low vibration. That's his action this pass.

Shoeshine Boy is wary of the knife in his attack - perfectly knowledgeable in how to slap the forearm out of the way to go in and use his powerful strength.

The troll expected that. Escrima fighters always jump for an arm or two. But what if there's just no difference between a man dangling from your arm or not? The powerful built troll has his vibro-knife out and is well aware, that there's another shooter behind Shoeshine Boy.

And now it is the trolls turn. He makes a full attack with his vibro knife against Shoeshine Boy. Shoeshine Boy is doing a lot more body angulation and a lot less elbow-blocking right now - going for a scissoring arm-break in there somewhere.

The melee struggles on and on. The knife is out now and Shoeshine Boy works hard to keep the troll at bay. Shoeshine Boy is actually starting to pant here! What a workout!

Janie keeps her guns at the ready, looking for a chance for a clear shot at either the troll or the guy with the shotgun if he returns.

Combat done - what now?

The troll finally comes down. His knife falls to the ground and he grunts heavily. He staggers back and raises his hands in defense. It is up to Shoeshine Boy. Will he finish him or leave him to his own misery? The troll will most likely just collapse.

Shoeshine Boy will pound him in the belly to knock him down and out as he runs around the corner to where shotgun guy was. He'll run after shotgun guy a good 3-6 seconds, to see if he can in fact outdistance the guy and catch him and put him down while Janie keeps the man safe… and if the shotgun guy has escaped, he better frickin' be running.

The guy with the shotgun is gone. Her turned around the corner and made up his way into the direction he came from. Only one level below. Unless someone chases after him for now, he's not a problem at the moment.

Shoeshine boy sees the man with the shotgun heading down the alley between the old underground stores. He'll eventually delve into the stream of people that occupies the main street there. It is actually a parallel street to the one Shoeshine Boy and Janie came from.

«Plot» Janie says, "Order Athena to shift to the astral and follow Shoeshine, and wish he'd had the presence of mind to leave that phone with her."

Shoeshine Boy, thankfully, ain't going far and is coming back quickly unless ambushed.

Suddenly, silence returns. Framed by the noice from the main streets and the suffering from the man on the ground. Back on the mainstreet, the whole situation summed up as 7 shots and maybe one or two shouts. Welcome to the Warrens. A few daring faces entered the side-alley but quickly retreated as they wittnessed a massive melee. The imminent situation is calm again. The fight is over.

Shoeshine Boy comes back with the phone to Janie. "Situation's done. Your man is safe, still in critical condition. You still there?" He holds the phone so Janie can hear, and will hand it to her if need be.

A stressed voice answers after a moment: "Whatever happened there, you've done the right thing. The man with the rollerblades is just a messager. I hope he still lives." Another pause and the man calms down further. "Be alarmed though. I dunno what's going on there. But since you prevailed, please take care that the man reaches the contact."

Shoeshine Boy says "You gonna have an ambulance there? Because he needs one."

"An ambulance? In the Warrens?" Janie asks. "You're joking, right?"

Shoeshine Boy says "Hey, pay DocWagon enough and they come out here."

Another pause. "No. It's the Warrens. There is no such thing as an 'ambulance'. " Another sigh. "Please take care that he—-lives…but deliver the object to the contact. You'll be rewarded." "Where are you exactly, after all? The Rez?" The man on the other side asks.

Shoeshine Boy says, "Yes."

"And who's with you there?" the voice asks. Seems he overheard Janies comment.

Shoeshine Boy hands over the phone and control to Janie, while he gets the courier ready for transport with limited first aid, now that the trauma patch is keeping him stable.

"No names, no pack drill," Janie replies into the phone. "Call me Samara if you need a name."

Shoeshine Boy also goes over to do a little frisking on that thar troll - he has a comlink system, at the very least, and a vibroblade, and who knows what else.

The troll has an Ares Predator III as well and is wearing a Secure Jacket. Straight from the shop.

Shoeshine Boy leaves the jacket, takes the gun - and all communications gear and his little hat-light. He's got thermo, (well, he has flare-comp, so he has cybereyes) so he can get out.

At the phone: "All right Samara. We don't know each other, but that's fine for both…three of us, I guess. The messenger must've some kind of delivery equipment. A rucksack, a bag, something like this. We need everything he carries. There must be some kind of radio as well. He was supposed to call his contact, Orange. Orange is paid to carry the package to its destination. Is that understandable so far?"

"Yes, but be advised that whatever he was carrying in that rucksack wasn't bulletproof," Janie replies. "From the looks of it at least two, maybe three bullets went through it and his back before he went down."

Another unnerved sigh. "A data stick. It is a data stick. Might be just as big as your credstick."

Shoeshine Boy judges that the clothing and equipment of those pals are quiet uniform and new. Looks like they actually dressed for the Warrens. But it's certainly bought somewhere north of the Warrens.

"I'll check," Janie replies. "Also, any idea who might be so intent on keeping it from you?"

Shoeshine Boy is already gonna be lugging one body.

The man at the phone: "It's the Warrens, I don't have any clue. The meeting spot was chosen for security reasons. No one could follow him there. It's a maze. I guess it was just an attempt for robbery."

Shoeshine Boy , if Janie hasn't done it first, will make sure that said datastick hasn't already been stolen by whoever put those bullets in his back.

The bright neon-green rucksack contains two bullet holes, two broken water cans, a small notebook, a portable radio.

Janie flips through the notebook for anything that might be relevant as she talks into the radio. "Looks like your courier may have misplaced the chip. Stand by…"

No data stick. Just a notebook or oversized pocksec. The shots haven't demolished the elctronic devices, luckily.

The notebook is turned off and it won't surrender to any attempt of unexpected access, unless someone knows how to deal with passwords and encryption.

Shoeshine Boy starts really strip-searching the guy - shoes, socks, taking the cover off the portable radio in case it's secreted next to the batteries, pockets, inseam of clothing like it's been sewed in. It's going to be a bit. And he's already bloody.

Shoeshine Boy tells the notebook, "Orange."
The notebook doesn't reply to "Orange".

Shoeshine Boy does a very dirty job. Blood everywhere and the half-conscious man groans when he's moved and shoved. An ethical person would have to take a deep breath now. There is one interesting thing at the radio. A tape strip is placed across the bottom, reading 0.550020 GHz. But there is no data stick so far. But Shoeshine Boy is still searching.

Shoeshine Boy is a pretty ethical fellow and is following orders, considering that there's not going to be medical attention for the guy until he's gotten out of the warrens. And to do that requires dangerous carrying and moving. In fact, right about now is time to rustle up a long plank to tie him onto so he doesn't shake and break additional stuff.

First of all, it is a Mitsuhama product. Quiet fancy. It's supposed to access local networks as well as mid-range data streams. It is known to feature GPS functionality as well. And it asks for a simple old fashioned password. The flash memory is encrypted and not accessable without the password - or someone who knows how to override it. That is: without some electronics tools, there's no way to break the data lock now. Not here in the dark back alley without even a light bulp.

Shoeshine Boy >click< on the headlamp from the troll. Turn off the flash-pack. Man, that thing's annoying.

The alley is dark now again. The joyful play of shadow and light is gone. The man on the ground has slipped into unconsciousness due to the trauma patch. But he seems to be stable for now. Shoeshine Boy searched the body, but he didn't bring up anything like a credstick or data stick.

Shoeshine Boy says "So like, I should ask, since I saw you do that spirit thing. Can you heal?"

Janie shakes her head. "I could try, but with the mana pollution around here I'd run a severe risk of making things worse in the long run. He /should/ be stable enough to move, though…"

Shoeshine Boy , if he can find a board, can bungee him down to it to keep him stable, and then can carry him out on it.

«Plot» Hiller says, "To improvise a stretcher is possible here. But the situation is still a bit uncertain. Since one guy escaped and cried something about backup in his radio. I suggest you two agree IG on how to proceed."

"At any rate, we need t'be gone by th'time that guy's backup arrives," Janie decides, then calls to the spirit for one last service - concealment, to hide the three of them from prying eyes while they make their way to safety.

«OOC» Shoeshine Boy says, "Do we want to hit the radio and try to contact 'orange' or do we want to wake him up and have him tell us what the deal is with the missing credstick and where it was on his body before it was stolen, or do we want to search the Souk for it, or check and see if it was just added to the auction?"

«OOC» Janie says, "And with that, I'm going to keel over. Sorry."

«OOC» Hiller says, "Ok, thanks for participating. It was fun. We may try to end this soon, because I'll be gone for some days end of next week. Hopefully, timezones don't cross our plans."

Session break.

We remember: Janie and Shoeshine Boy entered the Rez souk sub-level, following the call for some kind of auction. Event of the day, so to say. The Rez souk, a buzzing hive of every color, language and intention, was crowded and fast moving in this early night. And by chance, both discovered that something was going on in a side alley down on sub 1. The 'buried' and reshaped mall complex offered a nice little maze, kindly provided by the Warrens and valued by everyone with some interest in hidden businesses and dirty deeds.

There was this young, blonde 'runner', lying on the ground. Two bullets in his back and several signs of some tough persecution. Janie and Shoeshine Boy decided to help the man. A phone rang, a door got slammed open. A flash pack, quick shots and a hard melee workout. Then there was silence again. At least on the immediate scene. An unknown man, stabilized on the ground. A notebook. An upset man on the cellphone. A portable radio with a written frequency on it. Some contact called Orange. And many open questions more.

«Plot» Hiller says, "Your pose. Just start playing or ask if you need any further explanation of the scene, reposes or whatever,."

Shoeshine Boy has the man on a board, ready for transport, but has been unable to find any 'datachip' on his person. He just doesn't know if it's cunningly concealed, or if it was stolen by the first group who did him in. but if it was stolen, then why the second group? And why did they know so much?

Shoeshine Boy asks Janie, "do the radio?"

Shoeshine Boy thinks of one last check, in case he has been the world's total doofus. Does the courier have a datajack?

Hiller says, "The board actually is a ladder, comfortably padded wtih worn insulating material. It makes up an acceptable stretch. - The radio is a portable radio for UHF. The frequency written on a piece of cellotape is 0.550020 GHz. It seems to be ready for operation and is turned off. Janie switches it on and after a brief second a small display offers information about battery status and chosen frquency. Easily, the frequency is adjusted to the attached number. The courier himself has no visible datajack."

Shoeshine Boy listens in indeed using his extra-sensitive hearing.

Janie switches the radio on. "Who am I speaking to?"

From the distance, there is the noise from the sub-level main street. The shadowy street-spirit in grey offers some concealment to the group of three and nobody seems to trouble them now. The unconscious troll still lies on the ground and from above, through the catwalk, blood drips on the wet pavement below. The second 'hunter', perforated by Janie. The situation is not relaxed now. It's still the Warrens and the third man who fled the scene, had radio contact with possible backup at hand.

Shoeshine Boy aw hells, he just had to be reminded, didn't he? It's been a little while - he's spend more time on the semi-innocent courier, after all, but when he recalls the multiply-perforatred man upstairs, he will go and see if he is grimly clinging to life, or has fully expired. If he is grimly clinging to life, he gets a trauma patch, and if he has fully expired, well, the only thing to do is to go through his pockets for loose change.

The digital radio device is of good quality and transmits Janie's voice into the Aether. After long seconds, the silence around Janie and Shoeshine Boy is disturbed by a rather loud voice, very close to the mikrophone and overlaid with background noise. In the meanwhile, Shoeshine Boy is already upstairs and searches the dead body. Dead as dead can be. He sufferes four bullets in the chest.

Janie reckognizes the voice on the other side of the radio. It is quiet plain to hear but hard to pinpoint. A woman, propably elf or human: "Orange calling. Who's answering? Identification?" The sound of the voice is straight and direct but a little bit hushed. Subvocal microphone, most likely. Janie thinks that she's heard that voice before. SB doesn't reckognize any familiarity.

Up on the catwalk, SB discovers a hidden submachine gun, very small. As well as a credstick in one inner pocket. Then there is a armor jacket, discreet security style. A small transponder with the corporate brand sign of Yamaha on it. Another small bag with shotgun shells. A bloodstained printout of a young man. Actually the portrait of the man on the ground. But it is a very rough shot. In full movement.

«Auto-Judge[VALID]» Shoeshine Boy (#844) rolls Intelligence vs TN 8 for "Checking out the transponder": 7 7 8 11 = 2 Successes

"Orange, you can call me Samara," Janie replies. "The owner of this radio was trying to get a package to you, but he was intercepted and shot. He's in critical condition but stable."

The transponder is regularly used by Yamaha for the activation of electronic devices. It could activate nearly everything. From a bunker entrance to a motorcycle or coffee brewer. It is meant for the public end-user and normally, it activates something by approach. It doesn't have the necessary power to reach beyond a dozen meters. Unless it is a fancy modification. But from what SB knows, that's unlikely.

The radio answers after three seconds: "What is your legitimation?" The question is suspicious of course, and it sounds like a routine question. Following some protocoll maybe?

Shoeshine Boy imagines it's the man's car keys. Which means they might have a ride. Unless the bastard rides a motorcycle.

"None you'd recognize, I'm afraid," Janie replies. "Just a pair of Samaritans feeling helpful."

Orange: "Where is your position? Can I speak to the courier?"

"Just south of the Rez," Janie replies. "I don't think he's conscious right now, but I'm about to attempt magical healing — not the most optimum situation but as it is now he won't survive being transported."

Orange: "Who identified Orange?" The voice sounds cool and distant now. As if still following protocol or just doing routine.

Shoeshine Boy is only too happy to draw out the cellphone curiously, and check to see if the phone line is still there, and then ask, "Hey, you there? Not to jump levels or anything? But could you authenticate us to this 'Orange' guy?"

Shoeshine Boy says "He said something wacky like What is your legitimation?"" Shoeshine Boy brings the phone close enough to the radio so everyone can freaking talk before twenty more guys come in with shotguns.

The male voice answers: "I am still there," and it is quiet obvious, that the situation is complicated. If he /is/ in the couriers side, should he risk Orange as well? Then, a somewhat strange conversation commences between the two communication devices.

The man says, "Where is the stick?" - Orange: "Who's speaking?" - Cellphone: "Uh? Who's this now?" - Orange: "Where is the woman I just spoke to?" - The cellphone man again: "What is this all about, damn it. Are you kidding? Who's /there/?" - After a second, cool voice again. "Orange, requesting identification." - This is Lionell K. We are eavesdropped most likely. What is your situation?" - "Can't offer this information, Sir. Mission status?" A long second, a very long second. Then there's the man's voice again, adressing orange: "Make the meet and clean up. You're operating on own risk." The cellphone call is ended. Orange: "Sir?… Sir?"

It is quiet obvious, that both speaker were known to each other but the situation is strange. Orange is quiet for now. Most likely cursing.

Shoeshine Boy says, "So like, we have the body of your man. If there's a memory stick on him I don't know where it is. Samara is about to heal him and maybe he, like, knows something or hid it somewhere. Hang on."

"Your call, Orange," Janie says into the radio. "You want to abort this, we'll try to heal your courier as well as we can and leave him somewhere he can recover. Or we can try to help you find what he was trying to get to you."

Shoeshine Boy wipes his hands to get off the blood, and then puts on his shock gloves and draws his right-hand Predator-3, the one loaded with APDS. And he watches the exits to give cover.

Shoeshine Boy knows that magic healing can take a while from the 'trids.

After a brief pause again: "I expect you found out that this is a complex and unpredictable situation, Samara. Me and my team are not aware of your situation, that's your advantage. I offer you a reward if you escort or transport the courier to the New-Baker Street, Rez souk ground level. Where the blue colored sex clubs are. I'll provide medevac for the wounded out of the Warrens and we talk about how we settle this whole thing."

"Understood," Janie replies. "I'm about to perform magical healing on your courier; be advised that any subsequent surgery won't be effective so he'll have to recover on his own from there. I know it's not the most optimal, but he was shot four times in the back and I don't think he'll survive being transported anywhere otherwise."

The described spot is a lively and well known street close to the actual souk. Famed for prostitution, electric light! and strange fast food.

"Roger that," Orange replies. "There is a large rain shelter opposite to the graffitti covered brick building. Some dogs are leashed there. I'll meet you there."

"Affirmative," Janie replies. "Watch yourself, the op force had some survivors when they retreated. Samara out." With that, she closes down the radio and breathes deeply, trying to clear her thoughts and focus.

Calling for the powers of healing

Athena flutters down from the ledge to perch on Janie's shoulder as both spirit and shaman start to glow with the Power she channels. Under her hands, the courier's wounds start to visibly close even as her hair and skin darken and her countenance shifts. When she opens her eyes again at the end, Shoeshine can still see a silvery grey shimmer fade back to her natural color.

Shoeshine Boy rarely gets to see magic close up, so his own wide eyes go blinkety-blinkety before he turns himself back to being 'on guard.'

The badly wounded man, still unconscious, lies on the improvised ladder/stretch. His breath comes slow and shallow. He is stained with dirt, sweat and blood. And his aura radiates with fear and impending doom. Despite the treatment, it seems like he /believes/ in his death. Or is it the overimposing aura of this disturbed place? - From afar, the noise chatters on. Laughter and labor, and struggle for life. The street has already consumed this man into the world beyond. But suddenly, there is a small light of hope. Within a world of shadows. Janie makes a stand and declares this man's life as sacred. For what reason? Janie can feel her presence protect and engulf the man to her feet. Like a lighted bubble of air in the deep sea. And dozens of eyes, hidden beyond, turn toward the bringer of life and hope in this place. The feeling of alienation crawls up Janie's spine. And Athena joins in what may be a serenade of foreboding. Greater things have reckognized Janie and her disturbing deeds in that dark place. Whatever that means, reason suggests to hurry.

And the man's eyes flutter as his body slowly recovers and steps back from death's gorge.

Janie looks intently into the man's eyes. "Can you hear me?" she asks. "How are you feeling?"

Shoeshine Boy doesn't know about the spirit world coming down on them for healing this guy. He just knows that these guys had radios and if this goes on long enough he's gonna have to kick that troll in the head while he's down which is just not his thing.

The man looks straight through Janie's face and his facial features appear distorted. It seems like he's weeping, silently. Not good. He gives something like a nod to Janie's question but it is obvious, that he's still trapped between dream and reality. He will need more time before he'll be able to talk.

Shoeshine Boy asks Janie, "Am I carrying him?"

Shoeshine Boy gets ready to wedge the ladder-stretcher on his hip, and drape his left arm over the man to the other side, and lift up to a stand. Shoeshine looks stocky under all that armor he wears, but it's hard to tell for sure. He wasn't exactly covering himself in glory in the fight against the troll.

The young man can walk, but needs a supporting arm around his waist. He's weak.

Shoeshine Boy will provide the arm, with his left. He's like a portable cane! "If anything bad happens, just sit down and lie back and go prone. We'll take care of it." And with that, hopefully, it's off we go on some kind of route out.

Shoeshine Boy does this thing, unless, like, he is told otherwise or the man gets up to walk.

Janie nods. "Let's go," she offers, Athena once again spreading her wings and taking flight before vanishing into the Astral.

Shoeshine Boy is just going to assume, if we walk away, that the wounded courier did not hide the chip somewhere in this room preperatory to being shot, because if we leave and he doesn't tell us, that would be just dumb.

Leaving the alley

The unconscious troll and the dead man are left behind as Shoeshine Boy, Janie and the weak and confused man leave the scene. The described meeting spot is on ground level. Not very far away. In fact, it is neighborhood. Just directly next to the souk complex. That means, one level up, then exit to the east, turn left. The group finally arrives at the alley called New Baker. It got named for several 'improvised fast food' street shops. But now, prostitution makes up the dominant part of the street. The street is crowded, but unlike the hallways below on sub-level, there is more space. The street is 7 meters in breadth and stretches for roughly 100 meters. On the left, there are several opportunities to enter the Rez souk through crumbled doors, dark stairwells or garages. A dark facade, dominated by ruined buildings. Some of them are reshaped as improvised shops, bars, brothels or shelter.

The crowd on the street ignore Janie, Shoeshine Boy and the 'runner'. Everyone just caring for himself. Some shabby cars are pushing through the crowd as well. A couple of motorcycles indicate gang presence of various colors. Ah, and hookers, of course. Just another buzzing place close to the Rez.

After three dozen meters, there is the rain shelter, opposite to a sex club or brothel, lighted in bright blue. The shelter was a bus stop once. A small shelter, closed on three sides.

Shoeshine Boy is, in fact, looking for a Yamaha vehicle as he goes. Preferably a van or something that would hold a troll, assuming that the guy Samara shot was the leader and controlled the vehicle. He's put the gun away, but still wears his shock gloves, and his super-senses are quite on alert. It's entirely possible all those radio transmissions were listened to and penetrated, and so the job is not to fall for it.

The rain shelter is occupied by four hobos. They're gathering around one of two benches. The place is shadowy and bathed in the blue light from the opposite sex shop. Some people follow the movement of the small group. Some interested. A hooker approaches Shoeshine but quickly withdraws when she reckognizes that this is propably not a heavy hangover situation. There are 4 choppers further down the road and a shabby white car even further beyond. Some movement can be seen on the upper stories of the builings left and right. Windows with faint lighting.

All in all, there is not the immediate presence of danger or any sign for pursuer.#

Shoeshine Boy will look to get the man into some cover/concealment while still being in a legit place to make the meet. Don't want him getting shot. He zeroes in with vision mag on the four choppers to see if one's a Yamaha or if any of them were tTroll-sized. And he wishes he had time to go back to his car for a big gun, but that's not happening.

The choppers are not troll sized. And as far as he can tell, none of them is a Yamaha. The hobos raise their head as Shoeshine places the wounded man away in one of the shelter's corner.

Janie looks around cautiously, one gun drawn under her duster but not visibly out yet. She glares at the hobos for a moment before flatly stating "Find somewhere else to shelter tonight." with a jerk of her head.

Shoeshine Boy assists Samara by saying, "Five for each of you to get the heck out." He takes out some fivers in corp scrip. He's the Good Cop here.

The hobos look at each other and do as Janie commanded. There is some muttering but the scrip settles the issue fast enough. None of the constantly passing crowd pays any attention so far. Only an ork bouncer on the other side of the street, at the brothel, and some of the hookers there, watch the scene. But they don't care so far.

Meeting with Orange

Orange: "Orange for Samara." the radio suddenly starts.

"Samara here, go ahead," Janie responds. "We're in position."

Orange: "You clear for approach, pickup zone is secure? Check."

Shoeshine Boy , if the man is settled, positions himself a little closer to the white car so he can run to it and get in pistol/smartgunnery range. 60 meters is just a little out of that desired distance.

"As secure as it gets," Janie replies. "Which, this being the warrens, means not terribly secure. We'd appreciate it if you expedite, over."

Orange, "I approach from north. White Honda." And with this words, the white Honda sports car starts to move past the bikes and through the crowd on the street. Speed is slow. A shabby car from the outside. Dull ivory color, stained with dirt of the recent winter days. It seems like something hit the front window recently. The people on the street push past the car and many complain. Some even give the car a knock or bump. The car stops just in front of Janie, Shoeshine Boy and the wounded man. Quickly, Hiller aka Orange, leaves the car and walks around to the other side. Giving a brief and serious nod.

Janie tilts her head. "Orange, I presume?" she asks.

Shoeshine Boy , having given Hiller a shoeshine, can make a certain recollection. He smiles brightly but, this being an open space, doesn't reveal giveaway information. And now he doesn't have to use some of his extremely precious anti-vehicular ammunition shooting up the window of the white car to give Janie's better gunsilngering a free rein inside.

Orange: "Yes," she replies briefly. "I don't wanna waste time here. I already drew too much attention. There are some guys on motorcycle patroling the Rez vicinity. They're using a search pattern and radio a tough encryption. If you've been followed, we'll be in trouble soon." Orange appears to be tensed. "I've room for all of you, but you must squeeze." Her sunglasses shift to the wounded man, who blinks at the flashing night life of the Rez. "How shall we bring this to an end?"

Hiller looks to both of them and waits for an answer. At the same time, she opens the passenger door of the sports car. The engine is still running.

Shoeshine Boy says, "Let's get out of here to somewhere we can talk. If he had something for you, I have no idea where it was - maybe he can tell us later." He is happy to usher the wounded main into the seat, and take the rear - Samara can have shotgun.

"We'd best be out of here, and fast," Janie replies. "I managed to patch up your friend, but he needs someplace safe and relatively clean to recover."

The car's interior is quiet tight. One half of the bench in the back has been removed and replaced by some kind of big black box. Obviously something custom made. The whole car's interior is definitely in a better shape than the Honda's outer varnish may suggest. A smooth, dark red dominates the seats and instruments. Some green and red instruments glimmer on the armature. Two small screens, datajacks, a connected laptop and several switches are visible as well. Someone has done some proper adjustments to this everyday sports car model.

Orange: "Get in then, alright. We'll talk while we drive." Shoeshine Boy , finally, pops the transponder to see if any of those bikes respond and 'wake up.' Janie nods and boards the car, keeping one hand on her gun just in case.

Orange enters the car as well and connects to the VCR with one of her datajacks behind her ears. But she doesn't jump into it completely for now. The instruments turn dark again, only the laptop provides a nice detailed map of the Warrens. Some spots are marked with different colors and some are moving. "What's the subject's condition?" she asks Janie, who sits right beside her. "Do we need a smooth ride?"

"Stable and likely to recover," Janie replies. "Smooth would be nice but not crucial."

Shoeshine Boy fumbles with the transponder and turns his head back over the shoulder toward the bikes. None of them reacts to the transponder's presence, as it seems. But that's the moment he reckognizes a man, running for one of the bikes. He wears a grey trenchcoat and, well. He shouts something into a walkie-talkie.

Shoeshine Boy says, "There's our man." He draws his left-handed pistol, transfers it to the right, and opens the door a crack… his goal is to, when the grey trenchcoated man selects his vehicle properly and makes it known which bike is his, shoot out the front tire with a single, silenced shot of his special ammo.

Orange says, "Keep your eyes open. Just for the case. I don't know how /you/ got involved or what happened, but I call it a lucky coincidence so far."

And that's the moment when Shoeshine Boy just answers with a draw of his weapon…

Next to the sports car, several pedestrians walk past. The street is crowded and no one really realized what's going on so far. Just a car and a guy running for his bike, 30 meters away. Nevertheless, many people are around.

Escape and Epilogue

From the back seat, Shoeshine Boy doesn't have a proper opportunity to squeeze himself past the front seats, Janie and the wounded guy. So he has to wait for another possibility to shoot at this point. Then the tuned Honda 3220 starts to roar and breaks loose. Orange jumps into the car and tries to push through the crowd on New Baker Street as fast as possible. Alarmed by the horn and the roaring engines, the crowd parts and hastily flees the dark street. The man on the motorcycle starts to hang on. Both vehicles engage in an short pursuit, flanked by an angry crowd of gangers, hookers, hobos and local neighborhood. Some are even throwing an occasional beer can or stone at the two disturbers.

Within a few seconds, Hiller accelerates the white Honda to her chosen speed of 120 km/h. Luckily, she's able to avoid any collision with one of the pedestrians. Only a brief moment, she brakes again and prepares for a tight turn to the right, heading west. But that's the moment when the pursuer on his Suzuki Aurora realizes that he can't keep up with the Honda. Especially because he's frantically trying to inform his comrades via radio and to draw his weapon from his waist. When Orange's car arrives at the crossroad, the man on the motorcycle steadies his bike and fires two shots at the white Honda. One shot shatters the back window but misses the passengers inside. That leaves a line of sight for Shoeshine Boy.

The Honda finally turns right and the motorcycle follows as fast as possible. On the dark street, running from east to west, south of the Rez souk, Orange slows down and thus allows the motorcycle an unexpected approach. Shoeshine Boy gets his chance for s clear shot to the front tire.

A silent shot, fired from the back seat of Orange's car, hit the front tire of the motorcycle, forcing it to slow down immediately. The rider curses and quickly takes cover on the ground, thus reducing his profile against additional shots to come. And Orange accelerates full speed ahead again. This leaves only another car (GMC Suburban) in the closer vicinity, searching for the escaping group. Orange tries to use speed, darkness and the many corners of the Rez maze in order to escape any left pursuers.

Quickly, the pursuit is over. The heavy and bulky GMC Suburban has no chance to keep up with the tuned sports car without a motorcycle-wingman. The rescue of the still unkown courier is a success. Janie's strong healing magic and Shoeshine Boy's trauma patch saved the man's life in the end. The uninspected rescue mission ends in Mission Hills, where Orange stops for a brief pause. The wounded man is checked again. In the meantime, Orange/Hiller calls a friend of hers. A medic. He would take care of the man and check him through thoroughly. And that's the moment when Orange decides that she would continue alone. Shoeshine Boy and Janie, both were not a part of the whole thing at all. But since Orange knows them both (at least a little bit), she promises that she would urge the man called Lionell to offer a proper reward. Shoeshine Boy's cellphone number is already known to Hiller. So she just asks for Janie's preferred way of communication and would head on in her car. The wounded man and all his belongings leave with her as well.

The 'data stick' was never mentioned again, since Lionell ended the phone call earlier this night. And whatever the whole thing was about remains unclear. If Janie or Shoeshine Boy are interested in any investigation, they would've to ask Hiller for it. So far, this interlude came to an end.


The wounded courier and his equipment got rescued from the Warrens by Orange. But his situation is still critical. Thus he's brought to Angela, who cares for the runner.

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