The Fast and the Spurious

GM: Posh
Players: Feather, Posh.
Synopsis: Posh and Feather are contracted by Suen Qiang to retrieve a stolen jade statue from a bosozoku gang. They come up with the idea of a race to win the statue, in place of the usual bit of the ol' ultra-violence.
Date: April 1, 2080

It's been more than two months since Posh has fully returned, having come to a realization that it's not only about her, and that she should have given her dear friends more information, and more chances to help her, when her past sprung up. She'd seen her selfishness, and pledged to be a little freer if she were to have to take aleave in the future - because she hasdn't expected to have been worried about so much.
Still, it's taken a little bit of time, but there's been time for healing, too.
So one fine, brisk day in early April, Posh comes up the elevator, looking around. "Feather," she says, upon spying you in the great room. "Just got a message from the Red Dragons. Specifically, a request that we meet with Suen Qiang," she says. "I let Trevor know that we're back in business, you see, and he'd been rather delighted - having us here is an asset to them, of course, provided we perform and don't ask too much, I imagine." She smiles a bit. "I wouldn't be surprised if they might want us to deal with a thing or two. Might be good for us, as well."

Feather has been slowly getting back into the swing of things. It took her some time to really find her feet again, but maybe that wasn't a bad thing. She had confessed, even, that she had liked having a bit of a break, even if she had been worried about Posh a bit during that time. She seems to mostly be back in shape too, trying to put the physical back into physical adept for herself.
She's seated, not really doing much in particular. There's a Combat Biker game on, but she's not really watching it. She looks relaxed, really, perhaps more chill than she usually is. There's a slight smile on her face. "Do you know what he wants?" she asks quietly.

"I doubt he just wants a cup of tea," says Posh. "Look, we don't make a regular protection payment here. I wouldn't be too surprised if he wants something done. And to refuse would be rude, after all. Frankly, I'd like to have you with me." She smiles. "I think he's going to want to speak in English, because walking in with a high-grade Cantonese knowsoft is going to look rather false, after all. I think we do things that he requests…he's always been gracious to offer money as well…and all will be well. We're not Triads, of course…but living here, and enjoying their security, we are a bit under their thumb after all…but I wish to be clear. That's an arrangement I'm comfortable with. Cinderford Solutions stays a legitimate business, we get occasional Shining Mountain inspection reports…we're clean. As clean as a compound housing a dozen criminals in relative comfort can be, I suppose."

Feather stands, a catlike stretch briefly following. She's back in her riding suit, so it's likely that she was already out today. It's probably not the most comfortable thing to lounge in, after all. "I wouldn't mind talking to him. We haven't spoken in quite some time." Turning to Posh, her expression shifts a bit. "Your assessment of the situation is right, of course, and it's wise of you to pay attention to his requests. But I wouldn't be too deferential. Respect and decorum are very important, with men like him, but respect in this world is as much social nicety as it is reminding your enemies that you have teeth and will bite. And he is our enemy, even if he is also a kind of friend."
"I'm sure you will be able to thread that needle, though. I've still got that second helmet you used to use sometimes, y'know. Do you need a ride?"

"I'd love to ride with you," says Posh, smirking a bit. "You just want me in the bitch seat, don't you? To show me my place?" she asks.
"I've had enemies before, Feather. You might remember, one shot me with a dose of juicers trying to ghoul me. Suen Qiang might be trying to use us, and might not care if our kids go to university, but he's far from an enemy. He's…a realist, as I see. Or am I missing something? Why is he our enemy, if he tolerates our presence?" she asks.
"Believe me, your advice is taken very seriously. That's why I want to understand this perspective. Maybe I just have a different understanding of an enemy. But he's certainly not a rival…to me, he is the local lord, who must be paid tribute."

Feather listens quietly, falling silent for a few moments afterward. "It's simply one way of looking at things. It is the way I was taught when I entered this life. One of the things that works best to keep you alive is to not overuse the word 'friend,' and to not assume normalcy in the behavior of criminals. Today, our relationship with him is functional. Tomorrow, who knows? Ask yourself this. What would it take for me to kill him? What would it take for you to kill him? It would not be something that happens lightly, obviously, but as you consider this, you might realize that this line might be crossed for any number of reasons, and that it might be crossed more easily than you think."
"And all of these things are equally true for him. That's the nature of our relationship with him. In some ways, to each other, we are people to be respected. And in other ways, we are pieces on each other's chess boards, to be tipped over when necessary. And he's an old man with a long memory, and I was an open enemy of his organization before I was a friend, and that can be set aside but not erased. So I see him as both enemy and friend, to not let myself get complacent."
"But that is perhaps a little grim. Are you ready to head out now?"

"A change in the status quo, initiated by him, that is unilateral and without any concept of negotiation," answers Posh flatly. "It's an easy enough question, and I wonder how naive you actually think I am," she says. "I'm sure that he knows that I could damage him, given my resources and connections, and he certainly can damage us." Posh gives a quick smile.
"Were you really an open enemy, or were you a servant of an open enemy, Feather? That is a difference." She shakes her head. "Enough debate, you're right. Let's get going. May I borrow your helmet?" she asks. "I haven't been able to ride behind you in ages," she says, clearly looking forward to it.
She takes the borrowed helmet and follows you to the garage, hopping onto the back when you're ready to set off.

"If anything, you've taught me a great deal on how to handle things with subtlety," she adds, heading toward the garage. "Now I know I have options when dealing with problems. For example, do I kill people loudly, or do I kill them quietly?"
In the garage, Feather takes a few moments to tie up her hair before her lifting her helmet off the bike's seat and strapping it on. She hops on, kicks the Suzuki to life, before looking in Posh's direction, the purr of the Japanese engine echoing off the garage's concrete walls.

Posh flashes a smile. "That's a start," she says, making sure her helmet is on, and that she's seated securely, her boots up on the passenger footrests. She slips her arms around Feather's waist, and gives a quick nod. "Ready," she says. "I realize you've always escorted me when meeting Suen. I'm glad you're coming to this meeting." The door opens up smoothly to a command from Posh's deck.

Feather gives the bike enough throttle to sail out of the garage, exiting out into the back alley behind it. Her pace remains slow as she and Posh cover that distance, heading for the main street. There's a fair bit of traffic, once she actually gets there, but she does open up just a bit anyway, slowing when she filters, and letting the engine roar just a bit when she has some open stretch in front of her. This is how she usually rides. She's not reckless, and she never seems out of control, but her style has a fair bit of intensity.

Posh savors the ride - she does like a bike, although Feather's is a lot more…cutting edge than her more classically styled and outfitted Triumph. She swings her leg off of the bike, and gives a smile as she removes the helmet and then offers it over. "Thanks, Feather," she says. "Well, I suppose we should go in."

It's at a restaurant, today, Suen Qiang sitting at a table in a back room, where Posh and Feather are guided to. He has a cup of tea in front of him, half full, with a metal pot, and an untouched bun sitting on a small dish.
Posh moves to approach the gentleman, dipping her head politely in a very British show of incremental respect, the sort of brief bow that a baroness might give to a marquess.
There's the faintest of polite smiles on Suen Qiang's head, a nod in reply more than a dip of the head, the courtesy accepted. "Please, sit."
He waits until his request is complied with; Posh does so, across from him, another chair for Feather, there, though Posh understands Feather will sit if she pleases. "I have heard that you are becoming active in town. I am pleased to hear this. There is a task."

Feather offers a polite nod in acknowledgment, to match Posh's gesture, and sits when she does. For the moment, she doesn't speak, letting Posh do the talking. She keeps her eyes on Suen Qiang quite squarely, but it's not a hard stare or gesture of intimidation, or at least it doesn't seem like one.

The details are on this optical memory chip. I will be happy to release seventy thousand nuyen to you for completion of this task," says Suen, simply.
Posh smiles, and accepts the chip, and shakes her head. "Please, allow me to express my gratitude for your patronage, and the protection of Shining Mountain Security, by accepting a mere fifty thousand nuyen," Posh says. "If the task is within my power, I shall accomplish it. If it is not something I am able to do for you, I will tell you shortly, after review, and request another way to offer our friendship," Posh says.
Suen shrugs. "I doubt you will have much difficulty recovering something from our Japanese friends that does not belong to them," he replies, to which Posh nods thoughtfully.
"I find it difficult to argue. Thank you for your time. I will update you via Trevor?" she asks.
Suen just offers a brief smile, a faint uplifting of the corners of his mouth. "I wish you good fortune."
Feather doesn't say much. She hasn't said anything at all, in fact. That itself might be a bit of a breach of decorum. As much as she talked about how men like Suen Qiang view her, what might also be an issue is how she views them. She might have her own grudges that, as she put it, have been set aside but not erased.
She heads out with Posh as the meeting reaches its conclusion, only breaking her silence once she's out. "That was about what I expected, I suppose, so I'm not sure why I feel a bit strange." Back at the bike not far from the backdoor they exit from, she pulls on her helmet. Then she pulls back her left forearm sleeve, revealing the pocket computer she keeps strapped to her arm, and pulls out a wind out optical data cable. Presumably, this is the way both of you can look at the chip at once. "Shall we check it out?"

"It wasn't out of what I expected. Being given an order with a veneer of politeness," she says. "I refused the price, well…I suppose, I'm hoping that he'll remember that I consistently save him money for his pocket. Of course, he'll probably report that he paid seventy for the job, and pocket the twenty grand for himself, which is not insignificant. One of the things I've found, Feather, is that it's always good to make sure other people are making money," she says. "Makes friends. I might have to call upon Suen for a big favor someday. I don't think he'll completely forget these…" Posh shrugs.
"All right, let's have a look at the chip," she says, opening a little hatch in her forearm, and then slotting the chip inside, closing it, and also connecting your datacable.
"Well, it looks like something rather interesting," says Posh. "It appears that a rather valued jade was stolen from the Silver Lotus Temple," she says. There's pictures of the statue, and a few camera feeds, showing lots of hot bikes and luridly colored riding jackets. "One of the many 'new' bosozoku crews found in the area. You know, kids of the Japanese megas, making trouble, playing gangster. Apparently here we've got a rather successful prank going. They want us to recover it." She thinks a bit. "You remember Kenji, the person I helped escape when…" She smirks a bit. "When I burst out of those handcuffs?" she asks. "Well, I suppose I could call him up, see if he's heard anything. Got any better ideas?"

"Kenji sounds like a good place to start, if you feel like you can trust him," Feather replies. "If we're dealing with wageslave brats, I imagine it will be better if we do this quietly. The Triads and Yakuza are known quantities. Megacorporate reprisal, or lack thereof, is more of a question mark, and it's one which I would rather avoid."

"I don't know about quietly, but I would say for sure that we shouldn't leave any corpses. That'll be easier to also get Ken to cough up some details…explain to him that this was a great prank, but we have to restore the balance before it escalates, perhaps, and he gets a few thousand nuyen on top," she says. "He keeps his mouth shut, we bust some heads but leave everyone breathing, and we get the statue back," Posh suggests. "I suppose I'll have to dress up as if I'm a local Triad affiliate. How do you think I could pass for…well…at least half-Asian?" she asks.

Contact Name: Kenji Saegusa
Level: 1
Type: yakuza enforcer
GM Note: Kenji Saegusa is a 28 year-old human man who came to Denver in his teen years from Neo-Tokyo, the son of Japanacorp expatriates. Eventually falling in with a local Japanese Go-gang, he quietly rose his way through the criminal underworld before his latent magical talent was noticed by the Yakuza lieutenants who controlled his gang. He accepted a position within their organization, eventually becoming a trusted and feared enforcer. He has wits to match his strength, though, and he tends to be in the know when it comes to the workings and affairs of the local Yakuza and Go-gangers.
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 1 for "Can Kenji find out who these are, with a copy of the footage? 4+ yes, 1-3 no":

Posh shakes her head after a moment. "We've got a bit of a problem. Kenji hasn't seen these particular gangers before, and he doesn't know the colors. Got any ideas?"

Posh considers. "I know a Lone Star gang detective…he might be able to recognize the colors and tell me where these folks hang out," she says.

Contact Name: Hector Ramirez
Level: 1
Type: ls gang detective
GM Note: Hector Ramirez is a detective sergeant within the Organized Crimes unit of Lone Star in the CAS Sector. An ork born and raised in Dove Valley, it was inevitable that he would join a gang, but none of his friends expected him to join the biggest gang of them all. One part cop, two parts gangster, the only reason Internal Affairs has not drummed him out of the force is because his tactics are effective, and few are capable or willing to take his place in some of the most violent and corrupt portions of the Denver metroplex. Not exactly the most intelligence or charismatic officer, he relies on hard handed techniques, with his informants, and those who refuse to get in line and with the program.
Stats: Body 8(10) Quickness 6 Int 3 Cha 2 Str 7 WP 4 React 4(6)+3d6 CP: 7
Skills: Assault Rifles 5, Athletics 4, Car 2, Clubs 6 (Stun Baton 7), Etiquette 3 (Corporate 4, Street 5, Gang 5), Pistols 5 (Ruger Thunderbolt 7), Rifles 5, Shotguns 5, Intimidation 3, Brawling 5 City Law 4, Criminal Organizations 4, Gang Identification 5, Leadership 4, Lone Star Tactics 6, Police Procedures 6
Cyberware: Dermal 2, Boosted Reflexes 3, Smartlink 2, Commlink (Rating 5), Radio (Rating 5) (Based on Elite Officer, New Seattle p114 with Ork Racial Modifiers)

«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 1 for "Can Hector find out who these are, with a copy of the footage? 4+ yes, 1-3 no":
"And that's a strike out as well," Posh says, chewing her nail. "Look, I can run a Matrix search, but that would take quite some time, a day or two. You got any ideas for something faster?" she asks Feather. She taps her cheek with a fingertip. "Let's see. We could try an info broker. It'll be a bit more expensive, but…well, he almost certainly will be able to get, right?"

Feather leans against a wall, face blank. It's her, "I'm thinking," flavor of brooding, to those who recognize such things. "I wish I could be more useful. My network of contacts is rather small, and almost all of them are more Triad-connected than Yakuza connected. I could ask. Perhaps the Lotus or the Phoenix knows something that the Dragons do not? I might hear something that would not be told to a man like Suen Qiang. Even in a moment of detente, these are not people who freely share information with each other." She shrugs. "But I think even that would not likely be successful. I don't have a history of, or skills with, diplomacy, so these people aren't likely to do me favors. The information broker might be a better bet."

Contact Name: Dirk McDougall
Level: 1
Type: sinfo broker
GM Note: Dirk McDougall is a rather ill-tempered Scottish dwarf who loves to play with stereotypes, and is an old friend of Les. He's in fact one of Les's primary info brokers. Dirk is one of the best guys around to purchase an 'eyedee from, lassie,' and he also keeps his finger on the pulse of the shadows. However, being sharper than most, he's harder to get the best prices from. INT 6, Negotiation 5, specialized for SINSs, specific for information.

«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls Etiquette + 1 vs TN 6 for "Remote contacting, specific for info":
1 2 3 4 4 5 7 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls Negotiation vs TN 6 for "Negotiating vs Dirk, base price 5000 nuyen for this info":
1 4 4 4 7 8 9 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 8 for "Dirk vs me":
1 1 2 5 5 = 0 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "15 percent discount from 5000, info cost 4250"
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) spends 4250 nuyen for "Information from Dirk MacDougall about Location of Bosozoku Crew that Took Jade Statue".

"All right, Feather," replies Posh, thinking a bit. "All right. I'll share with him some of the info I got from Suen, and I'll see what he can come up with. He's always having his agents browsing, so he's a good source…specifically, I'll ask him to check out the colors of the jackets, and where the hangouts of these fellows might be."
She smiles a bit. "You're right, best not to get your sisters involved. They might not be a hundred percent on board with the 'no beheading' rule."

"A thought has occurred to me. We might have another avenue to search for them. In terms of severity, our worst engagements with the Japanese were with the Yakuza proper. But in terms of quantity of skirmishes, it was probably more often that I had to put the Bosozoku in their place. I do know a little about them. And there's one thing I have in common with them that I didn't consider until now," Feather says.

"Beyond my weapons and my suit and a few bits of miscellaneous gear, what was the one large piece of kit that I wasn't willing to part with, even if shipping it with was both expensive and difficult? My motorcycle. They're the same way. They love their bikes more than anything, and they'll probably take them wherever they go. They might have morphing plates and chameleon paint and GridGuide spoofing hardware, but those bikes are often highly customized and extremely distinctive based on their parts alone, including prominents parts like their exhaust. Maybe your contact could tilt his searches that way?"

Posh gives a thought. "That'll indeed help us, Feather. I'll also make sure that he focuses on analyzing the specific configurations of the bikes if that can help," she says. "Thanks. I'm grateful."
Posh considers a bit. "I suppose we should find a place to sit tight for a bit while we wait for a response. Are you hungry at all?" she asks. "And we should figure out our plan. How do you think we should make a disguise?"

"I don't usually eat before work, but it has been a while since we've gone out, hasn't it?" Feather asks. "Have anything in mind? As for the disguise, I trust your skills. I said make up alone wouldn't be enough before, but I only meant that we'd probably need a little bit of prosthesis too. If you're looking for an angle, well … " Feather exhales as she thinks it over.
"Bosozoku are a lot of things. Probably the most admirable thing about them is their love of their machines and their skills as riders and mechanics. Less admirable are their pathetic aspirations at being something they're not. With men that insecure, in a city of Westerners, at least a few of them probably have some sort of racial inferiority complex and the weird hang-ups that go with that. So I agree that your mixed race idea might work really well, at least on a few. It would be enough to get their guard down. I think you could sell it with the right disguise. You have the skills as a face. I don't know how you'd leverage that, though, with a job like this. In my mind, this will come down to breaking down and putting them down. Perhaps I'm not being creative enough, though."

"Wait a minute, maybe there's another angle here. What if we tried to get Kenji with us, and just spend some money to solve the problem?" she asks. "We could ring up Kenji, explain that there's a problem here, and he comes with us. How good are you on a bike, really? Do you think you could win a race against one of these kids?" she asks. "Is your bike tricked? I could put up my Triumph against the statue, maybe…" Posh rubs her chin. "All right. Well, I think it'll be pretty simple. Let's grab something to eat, I'm going to work on my disguise. I mean, I think we should just keep it simple. We're not there to try to do anything more than liberate that statue. I guess we're going to have to find out where they hang out, and maybe see if we can't peel one off? Get on our bikes, motivate some to chase us, and either double back or do something? From what I'm told from Dirk…this crew is about half a dozen members, but sometimes they also roll with friendly crews. That might be a lot to handle, particularly if they're carrying guns and they decide to get enthusiastic," Posh says thoughtfully.

"Wait a minute, maybe there's another angle here. What if we tried to get Kenji with us, and just spend some money to solve the problem?" she asks. "We could ring up Kenji, explain that there's a problem here, and he comes with us. How good are you on a bike, really? Do you think you could win a race against one of these kids?" she asks. "Is your bike tricked? I could put up my Triumph against the statue, maybe…"

Posh shakes her head. "I'm sure you could. I've never seen someone handle a bike like you, Feather," Posh says. "Plus, I was thinking that we could have an ace in the hole. It's an idea that came from what you said about the custom items. They like to have really distinctive, loud things - big turbos, visible. It doesn't help if the modification isn't visible," she says, thoughtfully. "Well, I know one modification that will win you a race against anything loud and visible: nitrous oxide. We set up /my/ bike with a top end nitrous oxide system, we bring Kenji on board, and we challenge them. I think I can goad them into accepting the challenge. A Triumph Tempest is a special enough bike to interest them, and I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to come out on top. It wouldn't stand you for a huge rally…but for a short street race…like a circuit of the Tech Center and Asian district," Posh says, thoughtfully. "What do you think of that? I can contact Kenji and offer him twenty-five hundred to play along. I'm sure he will. Maybe we'll even make a friend or two with this."

Feather is silent for a few seconds. "I think you exaggerate my skills just a bit. But I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited by the opportunity to do this. You should set a ground rule that wired connections aren't allowed, though. I think they'll agree to that, though, for reasons of bravado if nothing else."

Posh shakes her head. "I don't think this kind of crew is going to have vehicle control rigs or anything like that, anyway?" Posh says. "These types generally aren't jacked up with wired reflexes or things like that. But we can set that as a rule. No wires. Only grips. I think they'll eagerly agree to it, especially if we pretend one of us has wired reflexes." Posh considers. "Which I can do originally. In fact, I'll take off my realskinn, so they can see I'm all cybered up. Then I'll say 'All right, which one of you has a Class-Three rig to make this a proper race, then they'll be all 'no rigs,' and I'll say, 'Fine, then Feather rides." She grins. "What do you think?"

"So I'll be a sleeper," Feather says. "That's a good strategy."

Posh agrees. "Well, let me send a message over to Kenji," she says. "I think this will also be a good way of handling things that will…put things to right without escalating the situation," she says, thoughtfully. "This should be good."
She sends a message to Kenji, offering him 2500 nuyen for assistance in deescalating the situation. "Good news, Feather," she says, "Kenji's willing to come by tomorrow. And Dirk just sent back some information. Bikers wearing these colors frequently haunt an okonomiyaki in Little Chiba, on the fringe of K-Town," she says. "We were talking about food. How do you feel about okonomiyaki?" she asks. "Fried cabbage patty with fish flakes. I'm a fan, I'll admit. Though I don't like to add the mayonnaise. Anyway, that'll be lunch tomorrow…it's going to take some time to do this work. We should plan to hit them up and demand the race tomorrow evening."
«Plot» Posh says, "Avail 4/48hrs. Price: 17500 SI 1."
Contact Name: Rollo Doohrz
Level: 3
Type: auto chopper
GM Note: Needing a good contact to get her wheels fixed up, Vera asked Cracka Jack to introduce her, now that she's started doing favors to him, to a guy that gets ahold of car parts for his smuggling operations. Rollo's an ill-tempered old ork with a gleam in his eye for the ladies and for real booze, thrash metal, and tearing up cars, making mishmash monsters and stylishly armored vehicles, though he gets more business in the former than the latter at his gang-protected shop hidden away in the Warrens. (INT 5, Negotiate 5, vehicle specific, Car B/R parts specialized)
GM Note: Rollo Doohrs: Car B/R 7, Bike B/R 5, KP 3
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls Etiquette + 4 + 3 vs TN 4 for "Acquiring nitrous oxide system FAST":
1 1 1 2 3 3 4 5 10 11 11 15 19 = 7 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls Etiquette + 4 + 3 - 7 vs TN 4 for "Acquiring nitrous oxide system FAST kp 1":
2 2 2 4 4 8 = 3 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "48 hours 10 successes means it's acquired in 4.8 hours."
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls Negotiation + 4 vs TN 2 for "Vs Rollo INT, Specific Level 3 contact":
2 2 2 3 4 4 4 4 5 7 9 = 11 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 7 vs TN 8 for "Rollo vs Posh INT":
1 1 2 2 3 7 10 = 1 Success
«Plot» Posh says, "10 net successes, which is a 35 percent discount from 17500."
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 2 for "Posh Assisting, Vehicle Facility, removing Secret Compartment 48 hours base":
1 3 4 5 5 = 4 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 4 vs TN 2 for "Comp dice for removing compartment":
2 3 3 5 = 4 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 2 for "Posh Assisting, Vehicle Facility, installing Nitrous system ASAP Rollo (52 hours base)":
2 2 2 4 4 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 4 vs TN 2 for "Comp dice for installing nitrous":
2 4 5 8 = 4 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Final Price: 11,375 + 500 for Rollo's work time."
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) spends 11875 nuyen for "Removal of Secret Compartment and Installation of Nitrous 5 into Posh's Triumph Tempest on voucher #6709".
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) spends 2500 nuyen for " Payment to Kenji Saegusa to help propose and referee the race.".
It's a day and change of hard work, and money going out, but Posh and Rollo, working together at Dangerous Curves, are able to relatively quickly and cleanly remove the secret compartment on her Triumph Tempest and install a high-grade Nitrous Oxide system in there. "All right, Feather," Posh says. "Do you want to try it out before we head over there?" she asks, with a little smile. "Careful. She'll be…very hot now."

Feather has mostly just waited patiently. She knows a little bit about bikes, but when it comes to parts and maintenance, Posh has her beat there. She was around, though, even if she wasn't of much use, offering to get food and drinks as needed. Just her way of showing support, maybe.

When the work is finally done, she surveys the bike appreciatively. "It's probably best to know what I'm dealing with. And it sounds like fun." She straps on her helmet and hops on, keeping her visor up as she talks to Posh. "Have you used nitrous oxide boosters before? What should I expect?"

"When you push that button and crank the throttle…well, it should feel like nothing you've felt before. Keep your weight forward and you'll have to bring it on so you don't lose the bike from underneath you," Posh says. "You'll feel the front want to lift from the torque, so don't just twist…you'll have to bring the power on smoothly," she says. "It'll be…crazy, with this setup. Go on, try it out. I'll refill the nitrous before the race."

Feather lowers her visor and gives it just enough gas to glide out of the garage, the engine rumbling low. She arcs out of the parking lot before hitting the currently empty main drag. She spends a few seconds building up speed without the NO2, and then she finally kicks it in as she goes full throttle, the engine roaring to life. The bike catapults forward, the front wheel lifting just a touch as she brings it under control, nearly making her overshoot a traffic light before she can stop. That little experiment complete, she swings back around to head back into the parking lot.
She flips up her visor again. "That was something. I think this secret weapon of ours might be enough to win this. I imagine overusing this won't be good for the engine, but if it's only for this one race, that should be worth it."

«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls Disguise + 4 for "Disguise shop, fiber hair, polyeyes":
1 1 1 2 2 3 3 5 10 10

"It's really something, isn't it?" Posh asks, with a little smile.

"So, I think that's pretty simple," she says. "It'll really give you a shot, I don't know. Maybe when we're distracted by the race I can shoot everyone with rebounds and take the statue" She chuckles, to show that she is just joking. "Let me get in touch with Kenji, and let's go crash the party.

A brief message is sent, and then Posh hops on your bike, with your permission. She turns the key and pulls out - without the nitrous activated, no need to be too gentle on the throttle.

Arriving at the okonomiyaki stand, well, it's pretty much what could be envisioned. They really like electric blue and dark green as a combo, and everyone's leathers has some wild formulation of that color set, lots of open jackets to show bare bandaged torsos underneath. It seems like they call themselves the Fists of Chiba, perhaps a bit grandiose, but it's not just a half dozen - it's about a dozen total, although only half wear colors. The jade statue is indeed there, sitting on a table nearby…and there's Kenji approaching, not quite the last Posh had seen him, in beater and jeans, but wearing a silk suit and dark sunglasses.
His approach seems to garner a little attention, a few whispers among the wildly dressed bosozoku, and Ken approaches, while Posh and Feather rumble up on their bikes.
"Quite a nice acquisition," Kenji says, regarding the statue. "Quite a success, to get ahold of that one. Apparently our friends in the Red Dragon are quite annoyed by your success," he says. "I must say, well…that is a bit of a coup. But, you understand, we don't want this to create…unneeded friction."
Kenji at least gets a little bit of respect, even if they look at dark-haired, dark-eyed unrecognizable Posh. "Welcome, sir," says a green-haired punk who walks on up. "I'm Oshida. But who are the two bitches?"
Posh hops off of her bike, and strips off her jacket, revealing two bared cyberarms. "We want the statue back," she says. "And we're willing to race for it," she says. "Which of you has a hot-shit SOTA vehicle control rig? We're ready to take you on." She nods towards Kenji. "I win, you give the statue. We win…you keep the statue and my bike, and the situation doesn't escalate. You as bad as you say you are?"
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls Etiquette + 4 vs TN 9 for "Visible Cyber, difficult test":
1 1 1 1 1 3 4 4 9 15 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls Negotiation + 4 vs TN 6 for "Vs Oshida's INT":
1 1 1 2 2 3 4 4 4 9 9 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 6 vs TN 8 for "Oshida vs Posh Negotiation":
1 2 3 3 5 5 = 0 Successes
Oshida scowls…Kenji's right there, a relatively honorable challenge has been issued, but then he smirks. "No no no. None of that shit," he says, pointing at Posh's cyberarms. "We aren't going to put ourselves up against some ringer. Bullshit. Our best, against you," he says. "No wires. Like proper bikers."
Posh bares her teeth, as if her plan has just been wrecked.
"…Okay. Fine. We need that damn statue. But if it's no wires, then it's your best against our best," she says, turning to Feather. She tosses the keys over.
"How's this for a route? A circuit, from here through the DTC and back. Through K-Town, then West DTC, then Old DTC, around to LIttle Chiba, and back to here. First one here gets the bike and the statue," Posh suggests.
Oshida nods. "Acceptable. Get ready to ride your friend's bitch seat home."

Feather kicks her stand down and slides off. She flips her visor down just long enough to lock eyes with Oshida, a smug look on her face. Whether or not she's really that confident, she seems intent on showing a bit of bravado her own. Mind games, if nothing else. "Who's your rider, then?" she asks.

Oshida nods to Feather, as Posh steps back a bit. "You'll be racing against the Falcon," he sneers…his thin moustache not making him look any older than what cannot possibly be 20 years. "She's got the hottest bike and the fastest 'flexes around," he says. A sour-faced young Japanese woman steps to the side…patting a lurid bike with a massive exhaust, surely with the baffles removed, and you can see the size of the turbocharger mounted to the side of the engine. "Get ready to lose," she says, swinging onto her bike, kicking it started (of course, she's removed the starter motor), and reving the engine that produces an ungodly howl, unlike the almost elegant purr of the Triumph. She slips the clutch on her bike and motors over towards the exit.
"All right," Oshida says, with a smirk. "On my count…three…two…one…"
The Falcon's bike suddenly howls with a roar, giving you the signal as well!

«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 3 for "Initial acceleration: Falcon's bike is a Blitzen with EC 2 (Speed and Accel), Turbocharging 4 (Speed 310, Accel 19)":
1 2 4 5 5 = 3 Successes

«Plot» Posh says, "Round 1/8: The Falcon is now at Speed 57 and has traveled 57 meters

«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike + 5 vs TN 3:
1 2 2 2 3 4 5 5 9 14 = 6 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike + 5 - 6 vs TN 3 for "KP 1":
2 3 5 7 = 3 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Round 1/10. Feather is now at Speed 117 and has traveled 117 meters, with Nitrous activated. Speed 220 (max now 2.5x) Accel 13."
Feather doesn't hold much in reserve, off like a rocket as the front wheel briefly climbs and then touches down again. She gives the briefest look to the other rider as she peels away, just barely ahead for now, before looking forward once more. The nitrous, for now, seems to be giving her the edge against the more powerful vehicle.
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 3 for "Round 2/8: Falcon":
1 1 2 3 4 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 - 2 vs TN 3 for "Round 2/8: Falcon KP 1/6":
1 3 4 = 2 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Falcon accelerates another 76 to 133, and has now traveled 190 meters."
The Falcon's engine positively howls behind you as she puts the twist throttle on maximum, a roar of turbo that drowns out the snarl of rage on the Falcon as you leave her in the dust.
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike + 5 vs TN 3:
1 3 4 4 5 5 5 9 10 17 = 9 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Feather accelerates another 117 to a speed of 234 now, and has traveled 351 meters."
The engine screams on Feather's bike. A lot of racers might consider this "cheating," but this isn't exactly a legit race. Hopefully, the engine holds long enough under the incredible levels of compression from the nitrous system. That's one advantage to putting such a kit on a big, burly like this, though. She's not even looking back, though. It's enough of a chore just to keep the bike under control as it continues to take off like a rocket.

But now…perhaps rather ominously…and very ill-timed, it seems like a light drizzle has begun. Visibility is reduced and lights shine through the mist - as the road gets slicker (All Handling Tests +1 TN)

«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 4 for "Round 3/8: Falcon Accelerates":
1 2 2 7 8 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 - 2 vs TN 4 for "Round 3/8: Falcon Accelerates KP 2/6":
1 3 5 = 1 Success
«Plot» Posh says, "Falcon accelerates another 57 to 190, and has now traveled 380 meters"
If this were Star territory, there'd be a big problem, right now, but the occasional street race is something Shining Mountain has to put up with - with their harm reduction policy, GridGuide vehicles start pulling over to either side of the rode and slowing down, making a little extra room for the breakneck speed the riders are traveling. While this might usually lead to a massive bill being posted…well, that's why transponder chips and morphing plates exist. Plus, given the parties in the race, it's sure that will be swept under the rug…this time.

«Plot» Posh says, "You're already over Speed, so you could do one of two things: Keep accelerating, or let your speed drop by accel, which would help any Handling Tests. Right now you're at a base TN of 5, for the mist and being over speed."

«Plot» Posh says, "Feather holds at 220, and has traveled 571 meters."
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 4: Falcon Round 4/8
2 4 4 5 5 = 4 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Falcon accelerates 76 to 266, and has now traveled 646 meters."
The throaty rumble of the turbocharged engine starts to get louder behind you, as Falcon continues to accelerate….clearly, that powerful engine has the edge when she's not using nitrous. Seems like she's not pulling back at all during the mist, which spatters on her goggles and your helmet. Falcon, of course…too good for a helmet.
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike + 5:
1 1 1 2 4 5 5 5 5 11
«Plot» Posh says, "Feather accelerates 78 to 298, and has now traveled 869 meters."
«Plot» Posh says, "Handling Test. No real stress here. TN 5 for Feather, 4 for Falcon, for making the turn."
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike vs TN 5:
2 2 4 5 5 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 4 for "Falcon Handling":
3 4 4 4 13 = 4 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 4 for "Round 5/8: Falcon Accel":
2 2 4 4 5 = 3 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Falcon accelerates 57 to 323, and has now traveled 969 meters."

Feather careens around the corner, knee out, her body bending to try to keep her center of gravity in the right place as she deeply banks the bike to get around the corner at speed. From afar, it looks dicey, to say the least, especially at these speeds. Even with high-performance tires, it's hard not to fear for the safety of the riders. She's on radio comms with Posh, but she's remaining silent for now. She's not exactly a chatterbox on comms usually, but still. It's not clear whether she's just that into the race, or if she's trying to stay focused because of how dangerous this race is becoming.

«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike + 5 vs TN 5:
2 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 = 6 Successes

«Plot» Posh says, "Feather accelerates 78 to 376, and has now traveled 1,245 meters."

«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 5 for "Accelerate test for Falcon, mist, above Speed rating":
1 1 4 5 15 = 2 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Round 6/8 Falcon manages to accelerate 38 to 361, and has now traveled 1330."

«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike + 5 vs TN 5:
1 1 2 2 2 3 4 5 5 5 = 3 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Round 6/8: Feather accelerates 39 for a speed of 415, and has traveled 1640 meters."
Though Falcon's engine is whining, between the mist and the high speeds, it seems like she's not able to quite pick up the pace as much as before. Still, she's trying to keep up, teeth bared behind you.
«Plot» Posh says, "Handling test. This one is a sharp turn, adding +1 to Stress, headed towards Little Chiba."

«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 6 for "Falcon Handling: , Light Rain +1, Over Speed +1":
1 3 4 5 7 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike vs TN 5:
1 1 1 2 3 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike vs TN 5:
2 2 4 5 5 = 2 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Feather has used 3 KP total of 6. Falcon has used 2/6 KP."
It's a tight turn, but these superbikes can handle it. The g-forces smash the both of you down into your seats as the bikes tear around a hairpin towards Little Chiba, the electronic traction management systems pushed to the limit as the two bikes howl their way through. Shining Mountain cars are pulled to the side as well - attempting to give chase would be hopeless.
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 6 for "Accelerate Test. The stress is real now, in the home stretch. +1 streess, +1 Light Rain, +1 Speed, Round 7/8":
2 2 2 4 4 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 6 for "Falcon KP 1 (3 spent)":
1 1 2 4 9 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 - 1 vs TN 6 for "Falcon KP 3 (5 spent)":
1 3 4 4 = 0 Successes
Falcon's engine can't give much more, or there's a little bit of grip loss from the traction control…but now she's no longer to accelerate much…Feather opening the distance more and more as the race finally enters Little Chiba…
«Plot» Posh says, "Round 7/8: Falcon manages to accelerate 19 to 370, and has now traveled 1700 meters…"
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike + 5 vs TN 6:
1 1 2 2 3 4 4 5 5 10 = 1 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Round 7/8: Feather accelerates 13 for a speed of 428, and has traveled 2068 meters."

It seems that dastardly work is afoot! Onishi must have been given orders to mess with the race if Feather was winning, because with just heartbeats of notice, you see the telltale sign of a spike strip unspooling about a hundred meters ahead, depoyed by a grinning figure wearing a yellow and green jacket!

«Plot» Posh says, "Stress +2, wet +1, speed +1. Both Falcon and Feather must roll to avoid spike strip!"
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 7 for "Falcon dodging spike strip!":
2 3 3 4 4 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 7 for "Falcon dodging spike strip! kp 1 (6 spent)":
2 2 3 3 5 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike vs TN 7:
2 2 3 5 5 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike vs TN 7 for "KP 1":
1 2 5 5 5 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Feather (#12973) rolls Bike vs TN 7 for "KP 3":
3 5 5 7 7 = 2 Successes
«Plot» Posh says, "Feather narrowly dodges the Spike Strip! Falcon's bike takes M damage and must roll a Crash Test."

«Plot» Posh says, "Falcon's Reaction is 7. She's travelling more than her Reaction x 40. That means Crash Test is TN +4, +2 damage, base 3. Falcon must roll Crash Test vs TN 9."

«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 9 for "Falcon Crash Test":
1 3 5 7 10 = 1 Success
Feather barely, just barely, manages to squeak this one out, avoiding the spike strip by what seems like mere centimeters. She screams by on her bike, now on the look out for further hazards. Falcon is less lucky, and Feather sees her catching the strip in her rear view mirror. That momentary glance is all the looking behind she does, though. At these speeds, she really has no time to care about anyone else.
Feather manages to dodge the spike strip, but Falcon goes over it, her tires blowing out spectactularly. Sparks shower from her rims, but the rider somehow manages to keep control of the bike, keeping it on towards the finish line! The engine howls and Feather can hear a scream of rage behind her.

«Auto-Judge[]» Posh (#11342) rolls 5 vs TN 7 for "Falcon Accelerate, damaged vehicle":
1 2 4 5 5 = 0 Successes

«Plot» Posh says, "8/8: Falcon maintains speed at 370, and has traveled 2070 meters."
Feather sees the designated finish line in sight. She's not about to let the cops catch up to her after all of this, so she makes sure she's well over the finish line before slowing way down, ducking into a less trafficked street, and making her way back to the rendezvous point.

«Plot» Posh says, "(8/8) By default, Feather wins, because she cannot decelerate fast enough to lose, after 8 rounds. Assuming no acceleration, Feather goes another 428, and has traveled 2483 meters when she crosses the finish line. A few seconds later, Falcon slows down, rolling in on devastated rims."

"You fucking bitch!" Onishi is screaming as Posh, who looks rather smug, folding her arms. "You cheated! What did you have in that bike? You're not going to get away with this!" He draws a Savalette Guardian and waves it in Posh's face, who steps back, holding her hands up…which Feather knows is not as innocuous for Posh as it might be for others.
"Don't even fucking think about it." Another pistol is drawn…this time…by Falcon, who points her Morrissey Alta right at Onishi. "You fucked with my race. You fucked with my bike. Now you want to cheat," she says, her sour face almost red with fury. She wriggles one arm out of her colors, and then transfers her gun over, and then wriggles out her other arm. Then, she throws the jacket at Onishi, expertly covering it over his face and gun. "Take your colors and go get stuffed," she says. "You're not a biker. I know your secret, Oshida. And no more games. Time to tell everyone the truth: you ride on -autonav.-"
There's a gasp, as the other Fists of Chiba look suddenly shaken, Oshida looks white as a sheet…and then he simply shakes his head, a broken man, and gets on his bike and autonavs away.
Kenji, a little amused, looks on. "Well," he says. "Quite an event," he says, heading over to pick up the jade statue, the other Fists not resisting. He heads on over to Feather. "I think this is yours."
Falcon holsters her pistol, tears starting to well in her eyes as she inspects her destroyed wheels.

Feather pulls in a few seconds later, hopping off but keeping her helmet on. Posh's bike is still rolling, but the engine will probably need a rebuild after this. Feather herself shakes her arms and legs out, seeming a little fidgety. She seems a little … rattled? She ends up wandering Falcon's way. "I can't believe you're not dead after running over a spike strip at that speed," is all she says. That might be a compliment? "And your bike certainly didn't deserve all of this."

Falcon draws herself up, pretending that she was just a little upset. "Sorry, I don't like that kind of thing," she replies to Feather. "And my bike will survive, once I can get new rims. But I have to say…that was a hell of a ride. Respect. Nitrous, right?" she asks, nodding. "I might have to reconfigure my setup, actually." She offers Feather her hand. "They call me Falcon. How about you?"

"If you are going to ride hard every day, over long distances, a setup like yours is better," Feather replies matter-of-factly. She takes Falcon's hand. "I'm Feather."

"Maybe," replies Falcon. "But she's not going anywhere for now," she says, a bit ruefully. "I'm definitely going to have to get runflats when I replace the rims."

"I thought you were a maniac when we went off the line, honestly," Feather says, apparently not afraid of hurting anyone's feelings. "I still think that, but now I think that in a good way. You've converted me, honestly. I think I want a sports bike now. I'm probably done with nitrous for now, though." She pauses. "If you have time to kill while your bike is in the shop, do you like Combat Biker?"

"Yeah…" Falcon gives a smile. "Look, I'll be up front. Think you can spot me a set of rims? I'll be able to catch up soon, but…you know, without my bike, I'm kind of out of luck. Oshida didn't really share the love. I think I'll be working more freelance, now…but I'd appreciate it if you can help me out of this spot."
She pauses. "And hell yeah, I love Combat Biker."

"Sure. I can do that. It won't be for free, though. You will owe me one, later." Feather takes a pocsec out of a pocket and quickly transfers over a burner number to Falcon. Accepting the statue from Kenji, she turns to Posh. "We should probably get out of here before security arrives. We can stash your bike, and I'll change my colors, and we can ride away on mine. We can retrieve yours later when it's clear." Back to Falcon, she adds. "Give me a call if that's agreeable to you. Or if you feel like catching a game."

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