Urbex in the Warzone

GM: Simone/Gretchen
Players: Zen, Sim, with cameos by BillyBob and Nail

Synopsis: A spontaneously GMed scene that begins as a simple alternative to bar RP becomes a treacherous flight through the ruins on the outskirts of the Warzone. Simone is doing a bit of urbex for reasons unknown to Zen who finds her seemingly following a map on her pocsec and sneaking through alleyways. A sudden attack by hidden ghouls brings the two strangers together in an uneasy alliance, and a strange figure is encountered as the pair flees to an extraction point to be airlifted out of ghoul territory.


The Warzone
Once a thriving upscale shopping district, then a massive impound yard for vehicles unclaimed in the wake of VITAS, the Warzone is now Hell on Earth. Contested by virtually every gang and group in the Warrens, this district is little more than a free-fire zone where life can be measured in seconds. The outskirts of the area are still densely populated in apartment blocks, where families live six or more to a room.

The core of the district is where the major battles take place as surrounding gangs attempt to lay claim to the crossroads here and control the traffic throughout the region. Making matters worse are the remains of Tinkertown, the underground tech-colony last seen some six years ago when an earthquake cut the tunnels off from the outside world. Rumors of treasures and corporate holdings have driven the battles to new extremes.

There are no dominant gangs here, there is no authority that lasts more than hours, perhaps days. Conflict is an ever-present way of life, and anyone unwilling to do battle should stay far away from this district. Travel is almost always by foot, as roads are blocked by downed buildings and wrecked cars, and the streets are a ruin from battle, fire, explosion, and rogue magics.

To the southeast of the relative safety of the Souk lies the Warzone, a contested area that never stops being, well, a warzone. Automatic gunfire is audible in the distance at all times of day, and this is definitely the case tonight as well. The skies are cloudy, making the unlit alleys even darker in the late evening.

There are places to stalk the more peaceful gangs and those that are more violent. More peaceful means less corruption. Those more violent, such as the war zone, meant it was prime for a place where corruption could occur. While Zen only carried his pistols, they were still just as deadly as any assault rifle someone might have. He was hugging the shadows, moving quietly as he'd stalk the source of the latest burst fire. The critical thing in this world was information.. current and relevant. He didn't have a Brotherhood to help him find information.. so he had to do it himself.

Another figure stalks through the shadows on the outskirts of the Warzone as well, darting from corner to corner, referencing an illuminated screen as the coast seems clear and only when hidden in cover. They seem to be charting a course deeper toward the heart of the Warrens, where the constant warfare has reduced countless buildings to rubble, and those that remain standing are truly post-apocalyptic, missing massive chunks of their facades, creaking as though on the verge of collapse.

The screen-consulting figure emerges from behind a decades-past burnt-out car wreck that rests at an odd angle, looking as though it were driven through the shopfront windows of a pre-Awakening boutique, perhaps during a riot before the Sixth World came into its own. Fallen rubble from the upper floors of the building has created a significant roadblock, filling the alley they had been intending to take. Detours are the norm here, so they decide to try climbing to the top of the debris to reach an intact-looking fire escape.

Zen spots the screen-consulting figure. Interesting. He'd change his direction to follow them instead. He didn't bother to draw as he considered himself fast enough to outdraw anyone so far. Instead, he'd just keep low, observing what they are doing and mirroring their actions while trying to not give away his own. After all, they didn't look like they were from a gang around here.

So something else was going on.

Staccatto bursts of gunfire echo through the twisting maze of ruined streets, accompanied by occasional louder blasts, but there are no voices to be heard so the battle(s?) are sufficiently far away for the time being.

The rubble climber has few identifying features, especially in the exaggerated darkness of the area, but they have a bag slung over the shoulder of their parka (and it's actually a pretty nice coat - nicer than a local would probably own). Once they reach the top of the rubble, navigating fallen slabs of concrete and steel about two meters vertically, they pull a pistol from their single-strap messenger bag and take aim upward. The lower sections of the fire escape have long-since been crushed in the collapse the figure now stands on, but the intact sections are still clinging to the side of the structure two stories up.

Zen would climb as well, although pauses at the drawn gun. Either they saw him and consider him a threat… or something else is going on. When the rounds would go upward, he'd stay low to the rubble. Simply watching for a few moments. He may have to try and catch up after they're out of sight.. Or be ready for a fight. Either way, he was ready mentally, focused on what was needed to get this done.

The shot fired by the climber makes a -zzzzp!- sound, followed by a metallic clanging, at which point the pistol is quickly put away. Some manipulation of the front of their outfit occurs as they swivel their head from side to side, then they begin hoisting themself up, as though dangling from a rope. Feet are planted on the brick of the building and hands grasp over each other followed by difficult-seeming pulls. They make progress, but slowly.

Unfortunately, the clanging sound seems to have drawn some undesired attention from below, as a raspy, breathy hiss can be heard along with some clattering of loose bricks.

Zen's hands would blur as he'd perch there in the rubble, both of those nighthawks drawn, one black and one white. The close one, buried in the rubble, he'd try to sight down on to shoot. Unfortunately with the darkness and cover, the bullets don't hit that mark.

Just a short distance from Zen's feet, clawed hands attempt to tear at the brick that hold this… thing… imprisoned. It is humanoid, that much is apparent in the darkness, but the flashes from the barrels of the twin revolvers illuminate nightmarish features, sharpened talon-like claws at the end of its fingers and milky-white, dead-looking eyes. The creature hisses, like a scream through a parched throat as the massive rounds shatter fallen stone near its resting place, and it manages to nearly free itself of the weight that has held it in place for who knows how long.

Gretchen had NO idea she was being followed by this gunslinger, nor was she aware of the creatures that had been lying in wait, disturbed by the sound of her footsteps and the grappling hook she launched at the fire escape. Having latched herself to the rope already, she chooses to move upward as fast as she can manage, boots scrambling against the building's crumbling brick for some sort of purchase while she manipulates a pair of ascent-assisting grips clamped onto the rope that provide mobile handholds. She rises somewhat above the peak of the pile of fallen building chunks, but is now fully at the mercy of anyone with a gun… She clenches her eyes shut and just pulls herself toward the rickety, creaking fire escape as fast as she physically can.

The second humanoid creature scramble-charges on hands and feet from the lower alleyway up the piles of debris to reach Zen, closing in with a frenzied leap through the darkness and a raspy hiss that comes from deep within its throat. Gnarled, clawed fingers rake through the air in the hopes of striking flesh.

Zen's name was proven in that moment. The creature rushing at him had him calmly ward off it's strikes with those forearm guards. The pistols tucked inward, the bullets would ring loudly within the small space between them, knocking the creature down as they'd tear into it's body. Zen had space now, with it writhing in pain before him. Of course the next one was about to join the fray and he'd need to get this handled. Fast.

The falling monster, for lack of a better term, screeches and gurgles in pain as it collapses, writhing, riddled with massive wounds. However, the other has managed to free itself, and is now rising, on the verge of launching its own animalistic attack.

The parka-ed figure hangs suspended in midair, toes of narrow, low-heeled boots bouncing against the crumbling building's brick in an attempt to prevent theirself from spinning, but at the sound of the raspy growling, hurried footsteps, and sudden flurry of unsilenced gunfire, they reach to the small of their back to withdraw a chunky-looking pistol. With one foot braced on the wall, the figure fires a stream of bullets down on those below.

The suspended figure pelts the rubble pile with two bursts of small caliber gunfire, the rapid shots amplified by the alleyway while the sound of the twin Nighthawks still reverberate out into the night. A wordless sound of strain can faintly be heard, identifying the climber as a woman, and luckily for those on the ground, her shots all miss, simply sending fragments of shattered brick flying through the immediate area.

The remaining ghoul (that's what these things must be, right?) flinches reflexively from all of the gunfire directed at it, but isn't ultimately deterred. With a furious hiss that reveals fangs that glisten in the darkness, it surges forward at Zen.

While Zen doesn't have much room there, he'd have enough to twist away from the ghoul's attempt to attack and consume him. His guns were low. He had two rounds left. It was time to make them count. Those pistols lined up smoothly with the Ghoul to finish it off. 2 shots. One from each hand.

The shooting stops. The two critters sprawl before Zen, down and dying or dead. Faint trails of smoke coming from the twin nighthawks. Zen's balance didn't change. That perfect sense of balance there as he'd pivot and turn the guns upward. He made sure Gretchen wasn't going to shoot him. Sure he was following her, just because she wasn't a ganger.. So as long as she didn't try to shoot at him, everything is good, right?

All through the barrage of gunfire, the ghoul has managed to stay on its feet through sheer determination to feast on the flesh of those who disturbed it, but with a shuddering hiss-shriek it finally spins as one of the massive Nighthawk rounds removes half of its face, rotating with the momentum of the high-caliber round to fall to a miserable pile of little more than skin and bones. Above, a quick sound of gun hardware as the woman hastily unfolds a stock from her machine pistol and tucks it HARD into her armpit. Her laser sight traces a line up onto Zen's torso, but it wavers with her suspended motion, and she contorts, still struggling to keep herself from spinning on her harness.

Twin laser lines were on her. One on the forehead, the other on the chest. Zen waited a few moments longer. "Truce?" His voice while hopeful wasn't of someone afraid. Rather, someone that pretty much knew if it went south, he'd have a lot easier time of ending her. Any show of agreement would have him slowly put the guns away. Showing he meant it and would only come back if she was still threatening.

The woman's laser sight continues to drift as she continually has to tap that one foot on the wall to have any hope of facing forward, but she suddenly releases the trigger and raises the barrel upward along with an open palm. Her breathing is heavy, almost mechanical sounding, and it becomes apparent that she is wearing a vented smog mask which gives that sort of Darth Vader-y effect. "…I don't want any trouble…" She seems to fully understand and appreciate her pinata-like vulnerability, and tries to remain very still and unthreatening.

Zen would nod, putting his guns away then. "Then we're agreed. No hostilities between us. Thank you for attempting to assist." Zen would check the bodies, making sure they didn't have anything of value. "I was tracking gangs around here. I saw you instead. I apologize for shadowing you, I just wished to make sure you were a non-hostile like many of the groups around here."

"Denver must be the official stalker capital of North America," the woman mutters, ever so slowly collapsing the folding stock of her weapon in full view, then tucking it into hiding at the small of her back, foot still bracing her against the wall. More audibly, though cautiously quiet in the event that there may be more ghouls nearby she announces, "I'm letting myself down…" She waits for either recognition of the statement or an evident lack of concern before raising her hands to the sliding grips that are clipped onto her rope.

Zen notes the language adjustment but doesn't comment. Everyone has their own thing, right? He looked back up at her and gave a small nod. The hood he wore exaggerating it's movement. Then he'd go back to checking them over. He wasn't sure he'd find anything, but it was worth trying at the least, right? May get lucky.

The woman lets herself down the two meters she had previously ascended with a quiet zipping sound, then she unclasps something just inside the zipper of her coat before moving to join the inspection. She has a slim, leather holster down one thigh, mostly concealed by the hem of the parka from which she draws a baton of some kind. She continues to move slowly, letting the stranger observe her motions so that she isn't accidentally doing anything threatening. The baton is pressed against the nearer of the two bodies and with a click, small blue sparks are transferred into the neck of the first fallen ghoul. Better safe than sorry. Once she's confident it wasn't just playing dead, she rifles through pockets as well, averting her face though, as if she can smell the foul thing even through her breather.

Zen watched her curiously, but didn't really comment. He knew dead because the holes he put in it dictated it'd no longer be alive. Either way, he'd check the scrip, nod slightly and pull half of it off the roll and offer it to her without comment. The bottle cap and car would be left alone. Momentos for them in their passing.

Zen says in Latin, "In death, *** peace."

Zen would carefully make sure both Ghoul's eyes (or what's left of them) are closed.

The woman rises from her chosen corpse with a keychain in hand, breaks what seems to be the decorative trinket off of the ring and slips it into a pocket before unceremoniously tossing the keys (some actual keys, some mini-keycards) back onto the body with a soft clatter of metal and plastic.

In closer quarters, down with the bodies on the top of the rubble, the woman's face becomes clearer, or rather, what covers her face — the breather mask hides her nose and mouth, while above that, her eyes are hidden behind a pair of older-looking riding goggles. Older as in Victorian, perhaps, but she seems to be navigating far better than simple, centuries-old goggles would allow in this darkness. The offer of the corp scrip is taken cautiously, but she nods her thanks and tucks the bills into another of her coat's many pockets. She gives the fire escape a glance as she hefts her bag on her shoulder, then turns back to the stranger. "I need to keep moving. You probably should too." She doesn't invite him along, nor does she specifically state otherwise, but she begins to clip her rope back to the harness she wears beneath the coat.

The regular sounds of gunfire, engines and occasional explosions continue in the distance, and a sharply cold Rocky Mountain wind picks up, twisting its way through the ruins here, chilling those caught in it to the bone.

Zen would watch Gretchen for a long moment, then look around. A small nod was given as he'd square his shoulders. "I'd like to stay going with you, if you do not mind the assistance. I'm just out here to watch the gangs, so if I may assist you in an activity while I am engaged in my own patrol I feel it prudent to combine forces."

The woman turns back to the stranger after clipping herself back onto the rope and giving it a tug, just peeking her goggles past the fur at the edge of her hood, and angled over her shoulder. She thinks for a moment before reaching up to grab the locking sliders that allow her to use physics to climb as opposed to raw strength, and she presses one of her boots against the wall once again. "If you can climb. Or you could try the interior stairs, but where there is one of those things, or two, there are sure to be more. The rooftops tend to be safer." She leans back, putting her weight against the wall and lifts her other foot as she cranes her neck to look to the top of the building. Just a few meters on this rope, then the fire escape leads to the roof, six stories up.

Zen would nod in response and reload both guns quickly. The partial clips were stashed for future reload. He'd also grab the empties he had to eject. That done, he started up the climb as well, with reaching the top of the rubble by where Sim was able to start up the rope, he'd look it over, then start climbing. No rope, no help, simple straight up hauling himself up to the fire escape and on up.

Much like a historical game that the Creed Zen follows is based off of, he'd climb up the wall as if it was as simple as climbing a ladder. Getting to the edge of that fire escape, he'd pull himself up smoothly and settle low as it'd creak. Frowning at the metal, he shakes his head and looks to Simone. "My name is Zen. As we are searching for what you are here for, please, lead on."

The girl manages to hoist herself up to the bars of the exterior stair railing, swings a boot up to brace herself, then rises to her feet to hop the rail. She now stands at the base of the first of four sets of steep metal grate stairs - so steep as to nearly be a ladder - and she begins unclipping herself with hand in her parka, then begins to reload her grapple gun by spooling the rope back into it around a central cylinder. The four-pronged, spring-loaded hook is collapsed and clicked into place at the end of the barrel before she continues upward, and this affords her ample time to scan the surroundings, watching and listening, head tilted to the side, the opening of her hood flicking left to right.

"Strange name…" The German's voice hisses breathily through the vents of her breather mask as she repositions her single-shoulder bag, slips the grapple launcher into one of her parka's generous front pockets, then steps up to the railing, ready to begin the climb on foot. A final look down at the fallen ghouls, and she takes an audible deep breath before turning her face upward.

Zen would shrug slightly and start moving. The fire escape negating any potential attempt at stealth, he'd simply move quickly to get up onto the roof. "It is a name. It fits how I am often. That's really the important part." Zen would make that lip of the roof, hold on to it to peek over, verify it's clear, before climbing up and over it. He'd look for her then, to offer her a hand up if she needed/wanted it.

Even the most gentle of footsteps make a soft reverberating sound on the metal grating of the platforms and stairs, but as the masked woman reaches the next level, she pauses to shift her bag. The rickety structure groans and complains under the combined weight of the explorers, small pops coming from the bolts that hold it to the half-crumbled wall, welds making quiet squeaks. The woman takes a moment to lean against the inner rail leading up to the third level of the fire escape and simply watches the man, taking note of his graceful movem—SCRRRRR-KNG-KNG-KNG-KNG-KNG!

The railing actually snaps off of its mounting points and clatters down onto the platform with a deafening series of heavy metal-on-metal slams before it slides down the previous stairs to the bottom of the escape.

The woman has recovered her balance, first taking hold of the outer railing, but releasing it like it were a thousand degrees in case it too might collapse from being leaned against.

The falling rail is a sign. And the sign reads GET OFF OF THIS FIRE ESCAPE NOW. The German hustles, any concern for stealth left behind, and her low-heeled boots pound a rapid rhythm up to the top where she avoids Zen's offered hand and simply scrambles onto the roof, head spinning to watch for possible dangers at the top.

Zen winces at the loud noise, as she'd come up and ignore his hand, Zen shrugs and climbs to his feet himself. Glancing around, he'd nod slightly then glance to the german woman. "I recommend we move quickly away from here. That noise would undoubtably lure more things to come check it out."

The woman's left hand rises toward Zen, palm open to signify that he pause, and her head tilts as she leans forward. "Hsst," she hisses to demand silence. The open hand then slowly drifts forward to where she is directing one ear.

Zen would pull the nighthawks, crouching low and breaking from the edge of the roof over to a duct. He'd keep low, trying to watch for trouble as well as keep himself out of view too. Great. Now what's up here? Maybe it's only humans. Or meta. Or something. Just not more of those dead things. Those were just wrong.

Zen frowned while he'd hear.. whatever it was. Probably more of those things.. coming. Or at least on the roof. Glancing at Simone he'd hold up 4 fingers, with a questioning look. If she picked out 4 as well, they were on the same page at least. But it's probably better to not fight a nest of them. Keeping low, Zen would try to stealth over to the next duct. Maybe he can get a look without giving away they were there.

Zen stays low and slow, quietly making it to that next spot. Ah. They're inside. The guns got put away as he'd eye the skylight. Nothing saying they can't climb out.. but if they keep to structurally sound sections and keep it slow, shouldn't draw any more out, right? He'd glance back to where Simone was at, motion for her to follow and would slowly make his way to an edge to skirt around the skylight without being in sight of it.

The German breathes heavily and sinks into a crouch, drawing the weapon from the small of her back with a nod to Zen. She extends the folding stock with a soft click and a wince at the sound which is hidden by her mask and goggles, then slips a piece of hardware from a pocket and begins mounting it on the top of the machine pistol. It slides into place with another faint click before she presses the palm of a gloved hand to cover it, then activates it — a mounted flashlight, and she lets just the tiniest sliver of light escape to let Zen know that she'll be using it. She disables the light, removes her hand and follows her mysterious companion to get a view for herself.

She stifles the urge to approach the skylight for a quick peek, actually moving a bit further out from it than Zen is. She skirts the edge of the roof on the street-side now, ducked below the edge of the low safety wall. Both Zen and Simone's footsteps grind softly due to the crisp layer of snow that coats nearly everything, but the grunts, rasps and sounds of motion below don't seem to be attracted to the runners.

Zen has no interest in peeking in. He'd keep moving slow and steady to get to the other side. There, he'd look over the edge, then back to the german woman with a small shrug. She knew what she was looking for. His stated objective, watching gangs, had none be around to watch, right?

The woman continues her creep along the low roof wall to get past the skylight before pausing at roughly the center of the southern side to peek down to the street. She looks to both sides to pick out landmarks, holds up a hand to Zen to indicate 'one second,' then slips a hand into her bag. She pulls up a cylinder that she grips near the top, then glances at the skylight before rising enough to lean over the edge just a bit with the cylindrical object.

The woman leans head and shoulders past the waist-high safety wall, overlooking the six-story drop to the street and apparently spraypaints something judging by the sharp hissing. She pauses at one point to flick her attention back toward the skylight while still leaned out partially over the edge…

An alerted-sounding gurgle comes from the gaping skylight, but the German isn't through. She rushes to finish whatever she's painting on the front face of the building as aggressive, raspy yips and growls come from below. She wraps up her art project and crouch-runs to reach Zen now, hoping to find another fire escape or something on the east side of the building.

Zen just stayed poised as he had been the whole time. only after the German woman passed him, would he withdraw smoothly for that other side. His attention was split evenly between the skylight and searching for a way down. The first sign of one of those things getting out that hole would have him draw. But until then he could help her figure out how to get out of there.

There is a fire escape on the east side of the building, definitely. It just happens to have separated from this building two floors down and smashed into the neighboring building to create a treacherous angled bridge of slender metal beams of very questionable stability.

Simone peeks down at the collapsed stairway, then whispers through her breather and points to the northeast corner of the roof. "There!" A wireless antenna rises up to the sky, reaching about six meters in height, and even still has one last mini satellite reception dish attached by a thread — it dangles from the top, hanging through some of the scaffolding-type 'X' crossbeams, spinning silently in the wind from the final wire that holds it in place.

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The wretched creatures on the floor below are making enough noise to let the runners know that they are still curious at what may be above them, and can be heard even on the far side of the rooftop.

Zen saw where she pointed, nodded and headed for that direction. He'd plant himself between where she'd be working and the skylight. He didn't draw yet. No point. But he was waiting for her to get the antenna down so they could get off the roof that way. It didn't sound like they were getting out yet. But he also wasn't watching them inside.

Simone quickly collapses the stock of her weapon and reholsters it, then swings her messenger bag around to her front as she takes a position near the wrecked antenna. She rummages for certain bits of climbing gear and looks up to Zen. "We can try to bridge the gap with the antenna…" She looks over the north wall of the roof, across the narrow alley to a taller building. If the antenna were toppled over, it would smash through a window across the alley and the pair of runners could get across and in. "…or we can lower ourselves down." She leans her head past the edge and looks down to the alley below.

Zen glanced at the antenna then Simone. He'd give a small nod and look back at the skylight. "Knock it over. We know hostiles are here. We don't know there. It may work out. But this can potentially be a lethal location if we do not get to a new spot quickly."

The bolts connecting the antenna to the rooftop are rusted, and one of the four is actually missing entirely. "I think we can pry these, or maybe just push the thing over…" She first tries leaning her weight against the small tower, groaning with the exertion of applying all her might. The rusted bolts creak ever so slightly.

Zen nods slightly and while keeping a watch for creepers from the skylight, he'd set up next to Simone and put his own weight into the push.

With both bodies leaning into the antenna, one of the bolts makes a sharp <CRACK> as the brittle, ruined metal snaps in half. Two more to go.

The sound of shattering glass just below the runners startles Simone. "They're right below us…" She risks a glance over the edge.

At least one of the ghouls has followed their movements from below, and has begun trying to reach up to the roof while leaning partially out of the now-shattered window. The broken glass gashes its flesh but it seems not to care, as it continues flailing one or both claws, raking them against the brick above the window, just a short distance away.

Zen steps to the side, both Ultras pulled this time. The silenced pistols wouldn't make the same bark as his nighthawks and might only stun it.. but they only need it to not draw the others and the noise of the guns could do just that.

Zen was fluid in pulling those Ultras, both of them coming forward as the creature would reach for them. It was simple. Snap. Snap. Snap. Each of the rebound rounds followed that laser pointer, slamming into the creature's chest and knocking it back, loose, then with a final hit, flip it out of the window. It's head would smack the wall on the way down, the final dull meaty thud of goul hitting pavement brief in it's length. Zen waited. If another showed up, he'd shoot it too. After a moment, the guns were gone just as fast as they had shown up and he'd go back to helping the german woman with the antenna.

In the moment while Zen was turned away, Simone seems to have started trying a different tactic: she is now crouched low at the base of the antenna with a knife in hand, digging the blade into the layer of rust surrounding one of the two remaining bolts. Maybe if she can get some leverage she can pry it out…

She wedges the thicker back side of the knife blade between the head of a bolt and the mounting plate below and grips the handle in two fists. "Try pushing again," she urges, shoulders and legs tense as she uses all her strength.

Zen nods, the action of Simone watched, he'd get to the proper angle he figured for helping with that leverage she was doing and with his own hard push, put his weight into trying to knock it over. This was going to be loud.. but they could get out fast at least.

The feral, cannibalistic creatures are trying to reach the roof now, growling and pawing up through the skylight as though trying to get a grip where they can pull themselves up. Broken shard of the remaining panes of glass are falling down onto the floor below, knocked loose by the indelicate monsters. A small structure that houses the stairs down into the building begins to resonate with rhythmic pounding as well, as though one of the creatures found the stairs up and is now hurling itself against the metal security door.

Zen's pull of guns wasn't the ultras this time. He was ending those below that had no control over what they were, nor any way to return to that peace. Twin nighthawks, painted much like the Ultras with one white and one black, would come out. Those shots were precise, the ghoul that was leaping for the skylight got shot, once, twice, and that third shot was a clean hit, straight through the skull, removing anything that could be considered brains with it on the way out. Zen, still moving with that smooth agility of one practiced at this, had the last gun come up and shoot one of the others that were probably only just becoming aware of the fellow ghoul Zen had stopped. The shots would draw them, Zen didn't look back as he'd call back to the masked woman. "Please let me know as soon as you have it down. I will keep them delayed."

The wounded ghoul skitters to the northwest, out of Zen's sight as it lets out a horrid, gurgling roar of surprise and what might be pain, if these terrible things are even capable of feeling their injuries. The one that the gunslinger neglected to fire on crouches in the shadows below, among the collapsed greenhouse tables, and as the first body crashes to the floor, smashing long-forgotten pottery and causing a table to collapse, it launches itself forward. With an inhuman leap, it tries to reach the lip of the skylight by bounding onto and then off of yet another of the tables in the greenhouse.

The unnaturally agile ex-human launches through the air and grasps the edge of the skylight with gnarled, clawed hands, then manages to scramble its way up in a frenzy. The rusted frame and shattered glass of the skylight tears gashes into its arms and torso and pulls strips of its already tattered, ill-fitting clothing from its body, but it shows no concern for such things. It is focused entirely on feasting on Zen's flesh.

The German is preoccupied, still hunched next to the base of the antenna. She quickly repositions the blade of her knife under the head of the bolt and puts her whole body into it, pushing with her legs and pulling with her arms in the hopes of snapping the weather-rusted metal…

The head of the bolt snaps off with a loud 'PINK' sound, as the worn threads and broken welds come free. The girl staggers in place to recover her balance from the full-body tension that was suddenly released, then kneels down to begin working on the final bolt.

The small structure that leads to the stairs on the northwest corner of the roof reverberates with mindless roars and repeated impacts that sound like a battering ram. But the door holds.

Zen takes a half step back as the creature launches up and makes it. Both guns come up, the laser pointer specific in their target as Zen would make sure that it doesn't stay up there on the roof.

Zen brings both guns up, tracking the one that came up and with a squeeze of each trigger, it gets dropped before it can do much else. Both hands come back down, the guns aligned with the skylight below.. only for there to be no other targets. Zen frowns, focusing his gaze on sweeping down there, prepared for if there is more to come. "How are we coming? They seem to be focused on the door now."

Blows strike the opposite side of the door as Gretchen works to bring down the antenna. "One more," she calls back after the echo of Zen's hand cannons ripples over the crumbled rooftops to blend into the sounds of prolonged combat in the near distance.

The door continues to receive a frenzied beating from within, accompanied by a lower roar that sounds different than the hissing of the twisted, zombie-like creatures the duo have encountered so far. The door holds, but for how long?

Time is always a factor and Nail has been in the middle of a delicate procedure. As the gunshots get closer he sighs, flipping the nail gun to pressure sensitive and pressing it down while pulling the trigger. The sharp 'Hiss-thunk' is most likely a small noise compared to the gunshots. The sounds from the building next door are something he can no longer ignore and he slings the nail gun over his shoulder by the long nylon strap, stepping away from his project and moving to the window to look down on the roof where the action is. He notes the woman by the antenna and the man at the skylight. He purses his lips and half turns to look back into the room. "Looks like this might be your lucky night."

Gretchen is urged along by the frantic pounding against the other side of the door, wedging the blade of her knife under the final bolt securing the antenna to the rooftop. She pulls with all her might, dislodging it to a degree, but not quite enough to topple tower to create the makeshift bridge they need. "Hrrrrgghhhh!" She pauses to reposition her blade for another attempt as she updates her unknown companion. "Almost got it!"

Zen, finding nothing below, would turn away. Guns holstered once again, with Gretchen getting it partly over, he'd follow up with his own hard shoulder press to it, seeking to add weight, a bit of speed and his strength to the push to try and knock it over the edge.

The pounding on the door is now doubled, but there is an audible difference in the power of the blows. The wounded ghoul that fled Zen's Nighthawks is incapable of putting as much power behind its attempts to batter the security door as whatever else is already there.

Zen's additional strength to Gretchen's push, plus that bit of a running start he got was enough to cause the SNAP of the bolt. The jarring hit would probably leave a bruise on Zen's arm, but he ignored it, watching the antenna fall over and crash into the window across the alley, giving them the perfect bridge. Zen glanced back at where the ghouls were coming from. "Go. Call back when across. You're lighter, less likely to knock it down. At least one of us can get safe."

Gretchen braces herself as the antenna falls, feebly attempting to take hold of the base of it as the weight of the steel causes it to bounce slightly against both the low wall of the roof and the brick of the window sill across the alley. With a glance back at the door, she begins to clamber up, preparing to cross the six story chasm…

Nail takes a quick glance as the antenna creates the bridge and then scowls, moving away from the window for a moment and looking at the open door to the floor below. "Guests then. Wouldn't you know it? Happens sometimes. Are you sure you aren't going to be more compliant? No? Hrmm well then this will end out session on an annoying note. Practice does make perfect and you have been the perfect subject. Good job holding out. I applaud your tenacity." He shrugs and moves back to the window to watch the girl. "Becka, you can finish him now."

The German seems quite comfortable with the height, but takes caution to ensure she gets solid footing in the criss-crossing beams that make up the antenna tower. The first few steps are slow, but she speeds up after passing the halfway point, coming to a cautious crouch in the window of the new building, whipping out her machine pistol before fully climbing in to set her feet on the broken glass below. It takes a little maneuvering to slip through the shards that remains in the frame, but she sets herself down inside the sixth floor room with the crunch of glass underfoot. "Shit…" She scans the interior with the aid of her goggles and swears under her breath.

The growling, roaring, hissing cacophony continues from within the stairwell, but whatever the door is holding back remains restrained.

Zen stayed posed, ready, waiting. He'd note Gretchen made it across cleanly and with that knowledge he moved himself. Sweeping upward in that climb to the top of the antenna they knocked over, he'd start across. Quickly but patiently, not sure about how sturdy it was, he wouldn't press his luck with more speed. This? This was something he's done before though.

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On the sixth floor of the target escape route building is a scene not for the faint of heart. There are multiple bodies here. Three gangers in black leathers sporting twin 'White Hammer' colors stand out among the ghoul bodies. It looks as though the gangers fought them off from the floor below, but fell as they came into the room and the combat went from bullets to hand to hand. The third ganger is less torn apart and half way up the stairs leading up to the seventh floor. The wall to the staircase is crumbled on the sides leaving that in open view. At the top of the stairs is a ghoul stuck to the wall with a piece of iron rebar jammed through its throat. The body hangs limp. The door to the seventh floor is open and a dim bluish light flickers beyond the doorway there.

Nail paces back and forth now as his watching shows the two having come into his building. "No ghouls is good. Yeah, maybe they will be pleasant people that will see that what I am about it for the betterment of human kind. Although asthetically speaking it is a bit harsh. Oh well. Everyone has their issues."

Across the bridge, he'd make sure Gretchen was clear before clearing enough glass with a boot to enable him to get in. A sweep of the area had him frown, those nighthawks back in hand as he'd note the light above. Shaking his head slightly, he glanced to his masked partner. "This is a bad scene. We should leave it as quickly as possible." His voice was pitched low. Trying to keep it to just them. The place had a bad vibe to it and he wanted out. now.

"This is…" Gretchen whispers, scanning the bodies while trying to keep an eye on the open doorway above. "The bodies are still warm…"

And in the current weather, that means this slaughter occurred -very- recently. Less than an hour, surely.

The voice from above is clear, "Safe up here. I am pretty safe. Mostly and most of the time. You are not. Shutup. Becka get up the stairs to the rooftop, they will not understand you. No balking this is important. Scoot." There is a shuffling sound, boards thumping. Nail mutters, "Should have brought more tarping, this is messy."

The German girl's knife 'snicks' softly as she triggers the blade, and she creeps from body to body, quickly frisking after cautious kill-stabs to skulls and spines just to be safe. She moves rapidly, crouching, unnerved by the light and sound coming from upstairs.

Zen glances at the stairs, keeping tabs on it while looking around slightly as he could. This was a graveyard. He didn't comment on her rifling pockets. The dead would have no use for it. Giving her that moment while he stood guard, he'd nod in the direction away from the stairs, his voice pitched low to try and avoid it carrying. "That way? Not sure I like the talk and show above."

Gretchen accidentally steps on the already shattered shards of fallen fluorescent tube lighting. The crunch is as bad as pulling a fire alarm, and the voice upstairs falls silent, then the pounding of footsteps above disappear into the depths of the building above.

Zen freezes at the crunch and the resulting sounds. Glancing upstairs, he'd shake his head slightly and look back to Gretchen with a small shrug. He would continue on, heading for the other side of the building to see how they can get down, or at least past here and into a more safe spot. The woman was here for something, afterall, so maybe she'd find what she was looking for.

The source of the voice upstairs seems to be fleeing, so the German takes the opportunity to hastily stuff a few more scavenged items in her pockets with barely a glance at the body at her feet. "Shit. Shit, shit." She whispers under her breath as she moves back to the window the perfect strangers used to enter this building. Whatever is behind the door to the other building's stairs is still trying to break through.

"Keep an eye out," she whispers urgently, then pulls out a pager and thumbs a message while crouching in the shadows and trying to watch all directions at once, while still dedicating partial attention to the little glowing screen.

Zen nods in response. "I am making sure we won't be ambushed." He continued to keep his voice pitched low. A moment's thought and he'd focus himself, using a low hum that would tap into that other sense to see if he can get a wider field of view from using ultrasound to check their immediate area. Obviously doors and walls should stop it, but he might pick up something not otherwise easily noticed, right?

Gretchen gets a response after a moment, taps in one more reply, then readies her weapon, flexing gloved hands on the grip and under the barrel. "We need to get to the roof. Or I do at least. You're welcome to sta—" The door on the rooftop across the alley bursts open, hinges ripped from the frame. With an echoing slam as the door collapses, two of the ferals charge out. One is significantly larger than the other and its clothing is in considerably better condition. This ghoul happens to be an ork, and is 'fresh' enough that it has still retained a great deal of the muscle mass it possessed before the HMHVV infection took over.

At the crash of the door across the way, Zen is a blur of twin nighthawks out and pointing at them across that gap. Eyes narrowed, he gives a small nod. "Then we go up. Quickly. I suspect they will be following us shortly so we should move. Now." Zen would keep aware of her position, waiting until she moves before he would too, following her away from the window first before he'd put the guns away to rush for the stairwell upward.

Gretchen wavers, turning from the window to the stairs and back again. Behind her mask she grits her teeth out of anxiety, wanting to do nothing more than run, but neither direction is particularly inviting. She comes to a hasty decision and moves to the broken antenna top jutting in through the window. "Well?!" She slips the barrel of her weapon under the front flap of her messenger bag to free up her hands as she gestures to the makeshift bridge then begins to lean her weight into it. Her boots slide in still-warm puddles of fresh blood and decades-old dust and grit as she pushes with everything she's got.

Zen would nod and his nighthawks are quickly put away as he'd assist Gretchen in pushing on the antenna. It might of lodged well, but it's still only lodged, enough force at the right spot should do it.

The antenna budges with Zen's effort, making a grinding sound as rusted steel scrapes on the brick of the window sill. The ghouls are alert and searching the other roof, and the larger of the two, the ork, spins and catches sight of the two in the window.

Zen spots the ghouls and the one sees them. With a blur of motion and a half-step forward, Zen lines up both nighthawks on the ghouls. It's a single shot on one to drop it to the ground, out of sight so no target. The other got the rest of the fire, most of them negated, but Zen managed to catch a hole in it's jacket enough to at least draw blood. He didn't really glance at Gretchen, but became aware of her distress. "My apologies. Please try to keep working. I will stop it." The gun's bark was louder in the enclosed space but Zen didn't seem phased. Then again, he's done this. A lot.

Simone staggers back, clutching her ear as she screams, "MotherFUCKER!"

The German slaps a hand to her Zen-side ear and reflexively cries out as the first of the shots seems to explode her ear drum. She throws out her other hand to steady herself on the blood-slick floor and /shoves/, managing to scoot the top of the antenna that much closer to the edge of the window sill. The rapid fire shots have really put a fire in her and against all odds, she manages to shift the makeshift bridge with sheer rage-strength.

The skinnier, fallen ghoul doesn't surface above the edge of the low roof wall, but the heavy-set feral ork is only enraged by the love tap from Zen's flurry of magnum rounds. It charges toward the fallen antenna, closing most of the distance, but he's a lumbering brute and doesn't reach the precarious bridge quite yet.

Zen was very steady in his firing, watching for the critter as it'd drop. With it getting knocked out of sight, he'd check ammo and reload both nighthawks quickly and efficiently. The partial clips are kept to be sorted out later. From there, he'd holster the guns and try doing his own push on the antenna. He expected it to get back up, but if the bridge was out before then, it wouldn't matter, right?

Zen would pull of those shots smoothly, one after the other, the whole system of Zen, guns, working as a machine in the firing down range. As the ork gets knocked down from the gun, there isn't even a real pause from Zen, the turn away from the window had those hands nimbly ejecting clips, slipping into a set of pockets on the jacket and the guns popped down onto the next clips in place, reloading them with twin clicks that was in perfect tandem. The movement of Zen from the window to the antenna completed with the guns gone back into their holsters just as fast as he had pulled them and Zen attempted to leverage that antenna out of the window in assistance with Gretchen. The strangers working together seems, however, to have got it lodged in place again.

Gretchen can't hear herself from the ringing in her ears, or simply doesn't care about making noise any more, and she redoubles her efforts to topple the antenna. She growls through her breather which quickly grows in volume and intensity until she's wordlessly yelling a steady "Rrrrrrghhhhh," and steadily sliding the heavy steel structure the last few inches. Once the antenna passes the threshold of the window sill, it plunges heavily downward, striking both sides of the alley, spinning and ricocheting with massively loud but dull echoes. A cloud of dust and shattered concrete erupts from the alley when it hits bottom, twenty meters down where the twisted metal obliterates the corpse of the ghoul that was sent tumbling from the window mere moments before.

Zen stares at Gretchen. Alright. Don't underestimate her. Shaking his head, he'd sweep the roof of the other building before turning away to look inward. "Upstairs, the roof right?" Glancing back at her, he'd make sure she was ok after that push, then start upward. Her ride (and hopefully his) was going to pick them up from there?

Gretchen is preoccupied with trying to pop her ears, working her jaw behind her breather and quickly working a finger back and forth just inside her ear by slipping that hand into the hood of her parka. She repeats the gunslinger's words back to him due to a combination of temporary deafness and determination. "Upstairs," she calls out, overly loudly.

The skies are cloudy tonight, but the wind coming down from the peaks of the Rockies is relatively calm, creating little turbulence for aircraft in the FRFZ. The warzone is alive, even in the dead of night, with a different sort of turbulence however — the sort of turbulence that leaves people riddled with bullet holes. All through the ruins, futile battles are being waged by any number of gangs who want to dominate the centermost region of the Warrens but none will inevitably prevail in this perpetual front line of a war between a dozen or more sides. Muzzle flashes and explosions from countless skirmishes flash bright in the darkness, easily visible from on high.

BillyBob was flying back from a shuttle run to one of the corporate ski retreats in Sioux land in his Ares TR-55 tilt-rotor. His return route to the CAS sector took him over the Warrens. Rigged in, it's a bit like flying without flapping his arms. The secure comm pipes up. "Hoi chummer. You need me to pick up who? You got dat modified flight plan?" A new flight path comes in, showing a small stopover in the Warrens - it must have been arranged by the fixer on short notice. "Sure omae, if tha' nuyen is right." His rotorcraft switches to hover mode as his speed begins to drop, descending near the GPS coordinates given. "Hope dis shit is accurate. Looks ornery down there."

The aircraft's rotors tilt horizontal, allowing vertical descent. Edging between a gaggle of much taller buildings in the Aurora sprawl, the rigger descends slowly, aiming for the targeted. Rubbish and dust flying haphazardly around as they are disturbed by the active turboprop blades. His chopper settles gingerly on the roof, though the rotors keep spinning, in case of a sudden need to lift off. In the Warrens, you can never be too careful. His voice crackles over the comm frequency supplied by the fixer. "Yo, who'm I extractin'?"

Gretchen happens to have been deafened by six or ten extremely high caliber rounds that were fired next to her ear without warning…

Commlink-Alptraum> Gretchen sends, « WHAT?! » The responder is a woman yelling in a German accent with a mechanical sound to her voice. « Come in! Hello? »

Commlink-BillyBob> BillyBob sends, « Dis is extraction. Landed on da apartment building, waiting 'ta extract two. Flight plan don't leave much time for shittin' around omae. So get to da roof. »

Zen glances sharply at Gretchen as she'd yell at her comm. He sighs silently and shakes his head. Switching to signlanguage, he'd motion she's a bit loud, then beckon her to follow. Heading for the stairs up, Zen studies them a second, that ultrasound used to verify integrity real fast before he'd start up them. He's steady, careful without slowing his pace. Trying to avoid surprises but they don't have time to dwadle either.

The stairs creak agonizingly loudly, but are otherwise sturdy. The source of the blue light that was visible from below turns out to be a military-grade breaklight that has been jammed into a hole in the drywall at the top of the staircase to illuminate a corner of the room where a body appears to lie on an old computer desk with a stained sheet draped over it. Part of the right side ribs and elbow are not concealed, and show that skin has been peeled from the body and nailed to the desktop in some sort of grisly ritual.

Straight ahead down a corridor littered with debris and collapsed office equipment, a figure in black crouches in a window, turning to glance at Zen and Gretchen's arrival before diving out to disappear into the night.

Zen's guns are out in that blur as soon as he spots the person. Pausing, the nighhawks remind silent as the figure would dive out the window. Finishing his sweep of the room, Zen shakes his head slightly as it looks clear. Glancing to Gretchen, he shrugs and reholsters the guns and start forward. Zen would keep steady on searching the next room for the stairs up. They needed to get to the roof and no clue how tall the building actually is. He didn't look up when dealing with ghouls.

After the figure disappears from sight, Gretchen groans wordlessly at the pain in her ears as she steps aside to risk a glance at the poor soul under the stained cloth. She slips the barrel of her weapon under the fabric and begins to lift it but is prevented from taking a proper look by Zen's intervention. Probably for the better, all things considered… She still hasn't quite been able to understand BillyBob's comments, but she has to assume it's the on-call pilot sent by the fixer. « We're coming, » she speaks, unaware of her volume being louder than necessary. « Making our way to the roof. »

Zen's hand is lightning fast. He'd step closer and grab at her hand on the gun. He's not disarming her, simply stopping her from lifting the sheet. Zen shakes his head. "The dead rest. Don't disturb them further." He pauses as she almost shouts at him with her comm. "We have someone waiting anyways, let's go." Zen lets go of her hand and turns to start across the room, he'd sweep the doors as he could, looking for the next stairway sign so they can keep going up.

BillyBob's chopper remains perched on the roof, its two rotors spinning furiously and kicking up debris and detritus left on the decaying apartment building. His voice squawks over the comm. "Hurry up, I ain't waitin' forever." He checks the sensor display pop-up, wary of any opportunistic Warrens trash that might attempt to bring his bird down.

"Womp womp -womp- womp…" That's all Gretchen can hear as Zen shares his wise words. "Womp womp womp womp," goes the voice in her earpiece. She tenses her arm at the unexpected contact but refrains from reacting to it, instead leaving the dead to lie. She swears to herself in German, but leaves well enough alone. She begins searching for the stairwell leading up, poking her head and the barrel of her weapon through doorways and holes in the walls in unison.

Zen tries a moment to speak to Gretchen via that sign language, to see if she can understand that the chopper is here. If she's not showing understanding he doesn't keep it up, instead searching more urgently. He doesn't know how long the guy is going to stay around, but he does know they need to move.

The sheet covering the body stirs, something moving beneath it, or perhaps it is just the concealed arm and the person underneath is still alive. The movement shifts, the sheet being peeled back and away from a bald human head. There is bruising around one eye but both are closed. The cheeks move, then the jaw. And then the man's lips part as if he is about to speak.

Have you ever seen a tiger slug? This one is oily black with pale grey mottled spots and partial stripes. It emerges from the mouth, the skin of the man's face stretching. It is as thick as the man's forearm.

The slug undulates and stretches, slime covered body still emerging from the mouth after two feet of it has already moved across the table.

Zen picks up motion first. The thing they had almost messed with stirring. Zen pivoted as those twin nighthawks would come out in a blur of motion. He's not right next to Gretchen this time when those nighthawks would bark, He wasn't sure what it was? But it was coming from a dead body and he's already determined anything with dead bodies needs to be ended. Quickly.

The slug wriggles as it works its way out of the corpse's mouth, and as the massive bullet from Zen's Nighthawk strikes home, the creature is jerked to the side from sheer momentum, innards splattering in a thick streak of slime out the far side of it to decorate the wall. However, its flesh seems to begin knitting back together the instant the bullet passes through, and the only evidence of the attack is an unimaginably foul stench and the dripping slime that glistens in the blue light of the wedged glowstick above the body.

The second round rips another cavernous hole through the boa constrictor-thick slug, slathering the wall behind it in another splatter of reeking offal. The creature's glistening flesh knits back together just as quickly as with the first shot, and the only visible result of the attack is that Zen is assisting it in escaping the corpse's mouth faster by thrashing it about.

Zen pauses. Ok. Shooting isn't killing it. Just pissing it off and helping it out. That's.. different. A quick decision reached, he'd put away the guns for now, no point in wasting ammo on it, a glance to Gretchen and he'd beckon for her to join him as he'd step back, then turn away. He'd keep awareness of the slug because, well, creepy! but he was searching for that stairwell all the more fervantly now.

The slug rolls the head portion of its body down and back into itself as the last of the tail part escapes the dead ganger's lips. In one surge of rippling slime covered flesh it becomes a ball of writhing worms. Then the worms part at the top of the mass and a sickly butterfly creature emerges, soaking most of the mass into its abdomen, but also quite a bit flows into its emerging sticky black-blue wings. It shifts on the table, moving its insect eyes in the direction of the window that Nail left from.

A thin voice issues from the shifting flesh of the facial area of the creature, "Nothing good in there anyway." It extends its wings out fully and flaps them several times, ichor spattering the table.

Magic? Great. It has wings now. Zen would pause at the doorway that Gretchen was probably already out, studying the thing a moment longer before he'd get into the stairwell and head up after Gretchen. If that thing comes after them? Well, they'd just have to deal with it when they could. He'd check on her as he knew she was still thrown off by the firefight earlier, then make his way up the stairs, ready for potentially.. anything. Here's hoping the next thing that is potentially hostile can actually be killed.

Gretchen is sprinting. Toppled walls and haphazardly strewn furniture are no obstacle to her in this state of escape-at-all-costs panic.

She takes the stairs two, three at a time, breath heaving through the vents of her mask until she reaches the roof access door where she pauses to try to futilely listen for the chopper and allow her and Zen to exit together in case there is indeed a threat on the roof, and not just the chopper that can transport them to safety…

Well.. at least she's going fast. Zen puts away the guns again as he'd bolt off after her. He'd do his best to step the same place she did. Afterall, less likely of a trap at those spot, right? Making the roof door with her, Zen sweeps the area as well, then motions for Gretchen to head for the chopper, following after her while keeping alert for potential threats.

Gretchen shoves the door open with a nod of acknowledgement to Zen, then charges out in a crouching run, weapon at the ready. She turns from side to side, skirting around ventilation fixtures and other rooftop objects, but tries to make as direct a beeline as possible to the waiting vehicle.

Zen is right behind her, although his guns aren't out yet as he relies on his speed to be able to draw them anyways. He'd move pretty close to the same path, rushing for the chopper. When they'd get close, he'd attempt the door to help her get in before getting in himself. "She's having hearing problems, if you haven't noticed chummer. Thanks for the lift."

Gretchen clambers up into the chopper at top speed, turning to aim out onto the roof as she calls out in an attempt to be heard over the rotors. "GO! GO!"

He'd get into the chopper behind Gretchen, as long as BillyBob let them in. Once he was in, he'd motion for BB to take them up. Although a rigger jacked in isn't going to respond so much, is he?

BillyBob is alerted by his sensors to the presence of two individuals on the roof of the apartment. After a quick scan, the side door of the tilt-rotor slides open, revealing twelve reinforced seats for passengers. This looks like a passenger aircraft for sure. "Get in, hurry up chummers!" the rigger says. When they are in BillyBob replies to Zen, "Null sweat." The chopper lifts off vertically, soaring up into the sky between taller buildings. "Where can I set ya'll down? If we go back to da CAS, I gotta land at da airport."

Gretchen grips support rails to creep forward during lift off so that she can speak to the pilot, and regardless of how well-insulated the interior might be from the sound of the engines, she yells nearly as loud as she can. She confirms Mission Hills as the destination of choice and braces herself so that she can slip a certified credstick out of a pocket. She clicks the miniature interface with a thumb to set the cred limit and passes this to BillyBob.

BillyBob is busy flying the chopper, so he doesn't take the offered credstick, but there's a drink holder with a cup full of chewing tobacco spit that she can put it next to. "Mission Hill it is. I hope yer fixer cleared dis wit' them AAC boys." Once the tops of the larger Aurora buildings are cleared, the chopper's rotors tilt forward and off they go to the Mission Hill district. When a properly clear spot is found, BB sets down with another careful vertical landing. "Here it is chummers."

She drops the stick in the chew spit, obviously.

During the flight, the masked German girl makes arrangements to get landing privileges from the Sinners. They may not be be an officially recognized authority in terms of airspace, but they're just as capable of handling man-portable rocket launchers as any other fraggers in this hellhole.

The site chosen is an old department store parking lot some distance off of the main strip of the Mission Hills district. It's not quite dawn, but there are still pedestrians, vagrants, occasional vehicles and the like on the streets and in the alleys, and two figures stand near a pile of stacked vehicles that were apparently firebombed in what must have been a great display some years ago.

Zen for his part would stay back out of the way and silent. He'd check his clips, make sure both sets of guns were ready for landing and watch Gretchen as she worked. Well this was definitely an.. interesting.. encounter. She was resourseful at the least. Zen makes sure his hood stays up, keeping it low over his face as they'd get ready to depart. Definitely food for thought.

BillyBob settles his chopper down in the 'cleared' area of Mission Hills, the rotors making a THUFT-THUFT-THUFT sound as their rotations slow down considerably. The side door slides open. "Ayo chummers, this is yer spot. I gotta git back on my flight path, they only modded it fer a fake weather event 'ta give me more time. If you need a pilot call me, BillyBob's the name."

Zen would nod to BB. "I go by Zen. I'll be in touch." It'd definitely be useful to have contact with someone that can get him up in the air. Potentials are important to have. So are good people. Zen would wait for Gretchen to get out, before he gets out himself, knowing it was sinner turf from Gretchen's contact, he'd just keep his hood low and to the background. He didn't want trouble. Too much food for thought right now.

"I'll have my 'people' set you up with more than that-" Gretchen gestures to the credstick deposited accidentally(?) in the chew spit, "-but that's out of pocket. And… Thanks." Her tone sounds as though she's intending to confide in the pilot, to speak quietly, but her volume knob is still broken. She finishes with an introduction, and a simple one at that, before exiting. "Gretchen." She makes it sound extra German by rolling the R in the back of her throat.

The two silhouettes begin to approach the chopper when it sets down — a wiry human woman and a bulky she-ork, both bundled for the weather but displaying Sinners patches.

Gretchen disembarks by hopping out of the sliding door to greet the two women familiarly. The ork slaps her shoulder with a strength that rocks the small woman to the side but she doesn't seem to mind, and the narrower Sinner, a sly, wily type, watches the chopper and Zen with sharp analytical eyes and a sneer.

BillyBob spits into the spittoon cup. He has aviator shades on so his eyes are masked, but he gives a little two-fingered salute to Gretchen and Zen. "G'luck in da Warrens." The exit hatch slams shut and the rotorcraft rises back into the air in a whirl of dust and trash, leaving everyone windblown as the rigger makes his escape. Once in the air, the rotors tilt forward and the chopper makes a bee-line for its original flight path. West, to the CAS sector.

Zen follows behind and to the left of Gretchen by three steps. Hand over fist, he'd bow formally to the two women as they got close to Gretchen and Zen. "I accidentially set off a firearm close to her ear while saving our lives. I humbly request that you assist her with treatment as possible as I do not wish permament harm to her. I can be found in the marketplace and will pay restitution for the aid as necessary." Zen would have a small half-step as the blades spun up on the chopper, reaching up he'd make sure his hood stayed on and kept his face shadowed as he'd watch BB take off. Shaking his head, he'd look to the three women then.

Gretchen grips the top, furred edge of her parka's hood to keep it in place until the chopper is far enough for the air to settle, and when Zen speaks, the Sinners look to each other before laughing out loud. The ork woman bellows and snort-laughs, while the other has more of a high-pitched witchy cackle. The ork says to the human, "Fuckin' Mission Hills heli-tours with Shakespeare or some shit. Bwahaha!" Gretchen steps to the side to speak with Zen and seems to be able to manage her volume better now that some time has passed, though she rattles a finger in one of her ears to pop it as she speaks. "Don't mind them. Ah, I appreciate your help…" She reluctantly extends a hand to shake. If any of the girls," meaning the Sinners, "try to hassle you on your way out, just mention that you've got through-priviliges for the night from Jem. It'll check out."

Zen looks at the two women confused, then gives a small shrug and steps to the side with Gretchen. "I was glad to be of assistance. It was unfortunate that your time got cut short. I do apologize for such. I also wish to apologize for the sound assault to your ears. I hope you will be ok quickly." Zen would shake her hand, briefly, then let go, stepping back. He glances at the other two women and nods, looking back to Gretchen. "I'll make sure to do that as I do not wish to disurb your allies. Thank you." With that, he'd step away, heading back in the direction of the marketplace. Food for thought indeed.

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