Room Service with a Smile

GM: Walker
Players: Varangian
Synopsis: Armed with the fruits of her first foray into decking, Varangian proceeds to infiltrate the Staybridge hotel to extract Warren Hastings.
Date: 18 Jan 2081


It's still dark outside when 'Estelle Chandler' shows up for her first shift at 6 AM at the Staybridge. The building is quite impressive: a sweeping frontage that curves round in a broad arc to provide what must be impressive panoramic views of the UCAS sector. The staff entrance is at the other side and is a much less grand affair: a simple set of double doors beside a loading dock for receiving deliveries. The other workers arriving for the same early shift barely register the newcomer: just another maid, probably gone in a month. It's easy enough to find the changing room and before long she has a locker and a uniform in front of her.

The Varangian is not terribly good at looking inconspicuous. Fortunately, most of her cyberware is internal and not too visible, but her build certainly makes her stand out among the other maids. Nonetheless, she shows up in very normal jeans and t-shirt sort of streetwear, tying her hair in a low ponytail to cover up as much as possible of her chrome, and before long she's dressed up in whatever uniform the hotel provides for her. Unable to wear a proper vest underneath without rousing suspicion, she at least wears her form-fitting bodysuit underneath for a modicum of protection, along with her taser. After changing, she looks around to find the rest of her team, looking for a supervisor to show her the way around, where to access the service lift and such thing you'd get to know on your first day on the job.

As it turns out, the only thing more boring than the uniform - simple black shirt, long skirt, tights and apron combination - is her 'buddy'. After the shift manager gets through their early morning team motivational speech which if anything makes the young man more despised by the staff and introduces the pair, the older woman gives 'Estelle' an appraising look. "Surprised they didn't put you on the front desk," she mutters eventually, "You piss off the interview panel or something?"

Estelle looks at her superior with a look that's part boredom and part pre-kaf morning haze. "They probably thought I'd be good for lifting things," she says. "Wouldn't be the first time. Anyway, where do we start? Show me around the service elevators and where we make pickups from the kitchen?"

Erma actually cracks a fractional smile at that, pulling a pack of gum out of her apron and offering some to her charge. "Makes sense: all the girls they put on the desk are these tiny little skinny things: probably never made a bed in their lives," she agrees with a harsh bark of laughter, "Come on then, I'll show you the ropes." So begins a whistle-stop tour of the hotels innards - storage closets, service elevators, fire escapes - everything you'd need to invisibly keep the place running. Or spirit a guest out of the place in a hurry.

Estelle graciously accepts the token of friendship, taking some gum and popping it in between her teeth. During the tour, she does pay attention to things; not because they're interesting or because she intends to do any actual work, but because it's all useful information, contributing to the escape plan already brewing in her head. As they head back to the service elevator, she asks, "So the regular rooms are well and good. What about the penthouse though, does it have its own service elevator?"

Erma shakes her head - she's still smiling though, this girl seems a bit brighter than the usual lot -
"Nah, but only elevator 2 goes all the way up there. They won't put you on the penthouse on your first shift though… probably not for a month until Bradley," she imitates the manager's name in an excellent impression of the man's nasal voice, "Is convinced you won't fuck up, so don't sweat it, so ka?"

"Sure thing. Just asking," Estelle says with a bit of grin. They step into the service lift together and expects Erma to press for wherever they're going. "So morning pep talk, basic tour, what's next? Guess there's not much in the ways of room service in the morning, so I guess we'll proceed with housekeeping after breakfast opens?"

"Lobby first," Erma supplies after a brief nod, "gives the guests a bit of time to wake up before we start with the vacuums. Then corridors and housekeeping: you'll probably get given a floor to do yourself along with a key for that floor. If you finish early you might get sent to another to help pick up slack." She gives Estelle a wry smirk and fetches her a gentle shove on the shoulder. "Pep talk…" she mutters ruefully,

"Don't let Bradley hear you say that or he'll start thinking it actually works."

"Fair enough," Estelle says and looks fairly okay with it although the Varangian groans on the inside over having to do actual work. She looks at her watch, "Breakfast should open any moment, 7AM on weekends right?" Then the doors swing open and she steps out into the lobby again. From there, just mostly tags along wherever Erma takes her, mostly just trying to get to a point where she'll be given an opportunity to work alone.

Thus, while the breakfast buffet of the hotel opens up, the new housekeeper goes at her work; dusting off tables and chairs, turning on computer and trid displays, emptying out bins and all the other regular drudgery that the invisible army of hotel staff do. It's not exactly fun and Varangian could think of a million other things she'd rather do, but it's not the worst drek she's been forced to do on the job.

After the initial work in the common areas is complete, the housekeeping staff reconvene and have their individual assignments handed out. Estelle, perhaps in a stroke of luck, is assigned to the 6th floor and provided with a passcard granting access to the floor and the rooms upon it. As she reaches her assigned area, large trolley in tow, she notes the cameras dotted at regular intervals along the hallway, albeit relatively inconspicuously worked into the ceiling.

Once she's finally up on the floor alone with her trolley, she proceeds with her plan. Naturally, this plan does not involve serving any of the rooms on the assigned floor. She only goes there to check the floor once, then retreats back into the service lift and pulls out the keycard she copied from the Matrix, and plugs it into the slot connected to the penthouse suite.

The little light on the control panel blinks green as it did before and the elevator begins to move up. Once the doors open she finds herself looking down a curving corridor that quickly reaches a pair of richly appointed double doors that lead to the suite itself. Another cleaning trolley sits half inside the door and the sound of a vacuum cleaner can be heard from inside.

Note: That lets him spot normal stuff at TN5 (he's distracted, has to cover multiple feeds at once).

As the light goes green, Varangian coils her fist in triumph over it working. She pulls out a taser that she hid under a pillow on her trolley and makes sure it's ready to go. However, as she steps out into the corridor and notices someone else of the cleaning staff is here, she bites her lip. "Damn," she mutters under her breath, but nonetheless proceeds towards the doors. She hides the taser in the pocket of her apron, then looks inside before entering.

As she comes level with the doors, Varangian can clearly hear the vacuum running inside the room. Peeking around the double doors, she sees a young elf woman - surprise, they sent the prettiest maid to the penthouse - industriously cleaning the living room of the apartment. Off to the left, behind a glass separator wall, she can make out a man chatting on a phone in a large chair in what appears to be a built-in office to the suite. Currently he's gesturing animatedly as he talks and looks out the window over the 'plex.

Varangian is not feeling great about what she's about to do, but the poor elf girl is far too much of a liability. While she is obliviously vacuuming the floor, the taller woman walks up to behind her and puts the taser to her back. Without releasing a dart, she uses it as a stun gun and quickly zaps the poor maid into unconsciousness, then lifts her up and drags her back into the little corridor where her trolley stands. She gently puts her down on the floor, then heads back into the room again to pick up the vacuum cleaner.

As her body jerks as the electricity courses through her, the maid gives out a little choked off scream that sounds more like a sigh than anything. She barely weighs anything and for Varangian it's the work of moments to move her unconscious form out of sight, leaving her behind a sofa against one of the walls. In all this Walter Hastings seems to remain oblivious, happily chatting away on his phone. As Varangian retrieves the vacuum, she notices that she can't actually hear anything he's saying: presumably the glass wall separating the office from the rest of the suit is sound-proofed.

After picking up the vacuum cleaning unit, Varangian pretends to keep up the work by walking around with it. She works her way close to the door leading into the office section, trying to see if it's locked or anything.

As Varangian inspects the door, revealing the presence of another passcard reader that allows access, Walter Hastings idly spins his chair and happens to glance at her. For a moment he peers at her, but only for a moment. Just another maid. Did she look different before? Who cares.

Not wanting to appear any more suspicious than she is, Varangian just keeps on pretending to vacuum the floor, continuing to do so until he turns back again. Then, she turns the vacuum cleaner off and takes out her keycard, putting it against the maglock.

Again, a green LED blinks on. There's a soft hiss as the sound-proof seal releases and the door almost silently slides aside. Walter remains oblivious to this, still chatting happily away with the chair facing away from the door.

The taser slips out of the pocket on her apron again, and she steps into the office, raising the electric gun as she approaches the hapless businessman.

What is it that tips him off? She doesn't think she made a sound, and he's been on the phone the entire time. Maybe he caught a reflection in the mirror. Whatever it is, as Varangian crosses into the room Hastings utters a puzzled, "What the-" as he spins in his chair to behold the maid advancing on him with a taser. Eyes widen. Muscles tense.

Mr. Hastings certainly did not expect his morning to end up like this. The cute little elven maid turning into a towering one, that later shows up holding a gun to him. It only gives him enough time to twitch in his chair, attempting to stand up before she unleashes an electrical dart straight into his chest, delivering a powerful shock that send him shaking in his seat for a second before all goes black. Quickly, she proceeds to remove the dart, put away the gun and quickly search him for any weapons before he ends up slung over her shoulder and carried back to the door. Once there, she reaches in for the trolley and pulls it into the suite, careful not to show anything on the cameras. Mr. Hastings promptly gets gagged and bound by bed sheets, then dumped into the laundry basket. An extra sheet gets put on top for good measure. Then, the maid quietly heads towards the lift to proceed downstairs.

The trip down the elevators is almost suspiciously uneventful: no stops on other floors, just straight down to the basement. It seems the other staff are all busy elsewhere, even the back rooms downstairs are all but deserted. Sneaking around the few stragglers is a simple enough matter.

While she's heading downstairs, looking cool as ice, she takes out her phone and calls Mr. Batulhan.

The answer, when it comes, is to-the-point. "Yes?"

"Selam," Varangian says, which should make it obvious who she is. "I've got your man. Send me a car to the service entrance of the Staybridge for pickup. Quickly. I'll be there in five minutes."

"Understood," is all the reply she gets before the line goes dead, leaving Varangian alone in a basement with an unconscious man in a cleaning trolley.

Varangian flips down the receiver half of her phone and puts it away, just before the lift goes *PING* and opens up to the basement. Calmly, she proceeds on, guiding the trolley towards the service exit at the back of the hotel, all while trying to look as inconspicuous as possible. She takes out a cigarette and tucks it between her lips but does not light it up just yet.

She almost makes to the door. Almost.

"ESTELLE!"

Following in her make is Bradley, her erstwhile manager. He isn't so much angry as seething, "What the hell are you doing down here? Security says you haven't even been working your floor! Where have you been?" The young man doesn't really do a good line in anger, his voice is a little too squeaky when he tries to shout.

"Oh, but I've been working," Estelle says, while stealthily reaching for the taser in her pocket. "I'm done here though. I quit." Then, she pulls the electric gun again.

There might be a gasp coming out of the man before a dark slams him right in the chest and gives him a shock that sends the feeble man to the floor quickly. With a twitch, she disconnects the dart and puts the gun away, then reaches into the laundry basket to pull Hastings out. Then, she opens up the door, walking out into the grey Denver morning. Anyone who might be there will see a tall woman in a maid's dress, hauling an unconscious man over one shoulder while lighting a cigarette. She has barely had time to enjoy two puffs before a car comes whizzing by, screeching to a quick halt right in front of her. She opens the boot of the car to deposit the man before flicking the cigarette away and taking a seat next to the driver. The car then quickly drives off, leaving the crime scene behind.

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