This sucks. I have not had any work in over 3 weeks. The credstick balances are getting low and I am seriously debating going back to my old ways and hitting some house in the burbs for its valuables. Word on the street is someone is taking out Johnsons, and the corps are using in-house teams for their shadow work. Sounds like a big load of drek to me, the whole reason shadowrunners get hired is so corps have deniability.
I might be broke, but I still have enough to drink with. Dante’s might not be packed like it is on the weekends, but that suits me just fine. Since everyone goes to Dante’s you never know what might happen there. I might find a lead on a job or might find a cute boy to pass some time with. No matter what happens, it will be better than sitting around the house all day thinking about not having anything to do.
I get there around 9ish pm, and there is a short line of people. Fragging Dante’s, I know for a fact the club is nowhere near full, but they always need to have a line outside to show just how popular they are. I should have just gone to the damn Penumbra. Hell, it probably would have been just as bad and at least here I won’t get any sideways looks for being human. I wait in line for a bit, just long enough for a bit of a line to form behind me, and then pay my way to get in. I am not carrying anything on me (I’m no fool, I have seen those scanners they have here) so security check is a breeze. Finally, through the door with the famous “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” above it, I am able to enter the club itself.
No matter how many times I have been here, every time I walk in it is momentarily disorienting. A nine story nightclub is strange; a nine story nightclub with eight of the stories underground is mind-blowing. The glass dance floors give peaks of what is happening on each floor below, although it is hard to make out details beyond a floor or two. It is an effect I have never really cared much for, so I take a seat at the first floor (although the other stories are underground everything is numbered as if it were not, so the first floor is ground level while the second floor is the first basement and so on) bar, order a beer and start people watching.
Amongst the normal crowd of college kids looking to get laid, 30 year olds trying to convince themselves they can still hang at a dance club, and sad lonely people trying to fake their way to being happy, I recognize a face in the crowd. I quickly try and place where I know her. It dawns on me that I have run with her before. She is a lightning fast weapons expert by the name of Fallon if I remember right, but exact details evade me. She is dancing with no one in particular, but her attention seems to be on something (someone?) else. I try and follow her eye line, but can’t pick out what could be interesting her. For all I know, it could be nothing.
I came to Dante’s not really knowing what to expect, but it seems it is out of work runner night here. I spot another guy I have run with, a medic named Trauma. He notices me as well and we give a quick nod to each. He then orders a drink, glances at the time and quickly heads to the elevator. Either he is not a fan of the first floor or he is meeting someone. Wonder if the lucky bastard might have some work. I will need to try and “bump into” him later tonight and see if he needs any help with it.
After a few minutes I notice security start to perk up. They are subtle, but they are looking a bit harder at people leaving the club and seem to be moving with a bit more purpose. Some dumbass was probably talking a bit too loud about something you should whisper about or some other nonsense. I haven’t done anything wrong, at least not in a few weeks, so I remain calm and keep my eyes and ears open. Ok, so technically I did use a phony credstick to pay the rent, and technically I have some illegal gear in, on and around me, but if I panicked every time I saw security I would have been caught long ago. You got to be cool to last in this line of work.
A bit after security started their little dance I notice Trauma get off the elevator. He looks a bit unnerved and quickly orders a beer and sits at the bar. He has an open stool next to him, so I park my butt next to his and try and see if knows what is going on. After evading my questions for a bit and after being joined by Fallon, who remembered me and probably is just as desperate for a job as everyone else seems to be, Trauma finally told the story about what happened. He was on the fourth floor, about to attend a meet and probably get a job (lucky drek) when his contact got blown away by an unseen assassin. He tried to help the unlucky Johnson but the guy was clearly fragged. Looks like the rumors about someone taking out anyone hiring runners is true. This is going to be real bad for business. He then grabbed the Johnson’s pocket secretary, answered a few questions from security and got out of there.
At about this time I notice something I have never seen before. At the front door, talking to the in-house security and just arrived Lone Star (hereafter referred to as Those Bastards), is the man himself – Dante Passini. Not wanting to pass this opportunity up, I turn on my ears while cranking the dampener and filters to full and try and hear what he is saying. While not the most thrilling conversation I do find out that he is willingly turning the investigation over to Those Bastards and he seems to confirm most of what Trauma already said. Trauma gets out of the club as soon as Those Bastards get in the elevator. Fallon gets a call about the same time.
Fallon informs me that a Johnson needs a job done and asks if I want in. I do, and she lets me know the meet is as soon as she can get to a warehouse by the docks. We head to the parking garage and nearly get run over by Trauma on the way there. I vouch for him and she lets him in on the meet as well. We pile in his Roadmaster and head to the docks.
Fallon’s Johnson ain’t messing around. Dude’s got a dozen or so security guards with him. A couple look to be magical and the rest are beefy types you don’t want to mess with. As paranoid as Johnsons normally are, this guy is turning it up to eleven. He lets us in on the news that a corp, not sure which one, has made it a point to get rid of shadowrunners by eliminating anyone that tries to hire them. Smart move, getting rid of runners just gets you more runners — but without a Johnson runners are just petty crooks. Anyways, this guy seems secure with his battalion of bodyguards and gives us our mission.
It seems we need to break into a storage facility and steal a hard file. Johnson seems pretty sure it will be the only file in the unit. It looks like a pretty straight forward and easy job (don’t they all at first) and the pay is 10,000. We get an address and head that way to do a little recon. On the way we check the place out on the matrix. Seems it is a secure facility popular with corps. After a bit of scouting, we figure we should get an inside view of the place. Fallon will call them tomorrow and set up an appointment to get inside. I will go with her and record everything with my eyes. We break for the night.
I call Fallon and find out the details of our recon. We will be posing as brother and sister (thank God I didn’t need to pretend to be her boyfriend or husband) needing a place to store our recently deceased grandmother’s possessions. A pretty solid plan, although we will be on camera it won’t look suspicious and they will tell us all about the security measures to entice us.
Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. We got a tour of the place, learned the location of the unit we needed to hit, learned all about the security – including Those Bastards’ normal response time – and nearly everything else we could want to know. The biggest problem I found was unit #110, our target, didn’t have the normal maglock, but some fancy matrix type lock. This made me damn near useless to get into it, and meant we needed to get our hands on a decker of some sort. After we all regrouped and reviewed the footage a bit, Fallon contacted a decker we all knew named Spectre. Even though last time I worked with him I barely even saw him and everything went south real quick, it was not his fault and I knew he was good at what he did. After Fallon hammered out details with him we agreed to do this tonight, as the file could be moved if we waited too long.
We all meet up in a parking lot about 1.5 km away from the facility. Oh drek, I had forgot how absolutely gorgeous Spectre was! He is exactly my type – boyishly handsome, toned but not buff, ass you could crack an egg on, long hair, perfect face, the list goes on. Did I mention he was an elf with fashion sense to boot? When he took his shirt off because it didn’t match the long coat his was given I thought I was going to need to change my pants. It was going to be hard to keep my mind on the goal. The plan didn’t have me sticking around him that much, so I would probably be ok.
Speaking of the plan, here is how things would go down. I would go to the front gate and make up a story about losing something when I was here earlier. While the guard was dealing with me, Trauma would levitate Fallon over the wall. She would then break into the guardhouse using my universal passkey, deal with the guard, and open the front gate. Trauma would then drive in with Spectre who would then do his thing and mess with the cameras and open the locked door. Trauma would also be using my jammer to block any radio signals in case someone saw us. Once we were all in the guard house we would track all the other guards and deal with them as needed. Once the door on 110 was open we would grab the file and get out of there before anyone even knew what happened.
Naturally, the plan didn’t quite hold up. After I distracted the guy, Fallon managed to blow the guards brains out when he opened the door to get back into the guardhouse. She did it silently, but it did make quite a mess in there. There was only one other guard on the ground floor, and Fallon would take care of him. Trauma would keep an eye out and kill the jammer after Fallon signaled that the other guard had been dealt with. Spectre jacked in and went to work on the cameras and the lock. Looking down at him as his body went limp numerous dirty thoughts went through my head. Not jumping his bones right then was by far the hardest (pun most certainly intended) part of the run. Fallon must have seen the look in my eyes or the way I licked my lips as she pointed out we had things to do. I (reluctantly) went to 110 to prepare for it opening.
Things seemed to be going perfect. By the time I got to 110 it was unlocked and just waiting for me to open it. I hit the button and got ready to walk in and finish up this milk run and collect some much needed ¥. The door retracted up in to the ceiling in a blink of an eye, and in another blink I was shot in the chest by a turret.
No, I am not a ghost now or a zombie or anything crazy like that. Fortunately I had my wired reflexes turned on and I was wearing my secure long coat. I managed to dodge a bit out of the way and the armor seemed to absorb some of the hit. It was also not normal bullets, it was some kind of energy blast, probably meant to stun instead of kill. It still felt like I got punched in the chest, hard. I rounded the corner of the unit to get some cover between me and the turret. As I ducked out of the way I saw Fallon headed in this direction. I motioned for her to stop, quickly explained the situation to her, and tried to radio the guardhouse to find out what was going on. No response, Trauma had forgotten to turn off the jammer.
Fallon then did what she does best and shot the turret. She had to fire twice, but did it so fast there was no time for it to react before it was a useless piece of broken robotics and sputtering wires. Remind me not to get on this girl’s bad side. She is one of the only people I have ever met that is faster than me, and she could shoot the wings off a fly with her pistol, which isn’t even her primary gun. I can just imagine what she could do with that sniper rifle in her hands. I shuddered at that thought and then went to check out the storage unit.
Their unit was huge, but all that was in it was a desk with some random papers on it and a safe below it. Here is where I would shine. I dropped down to get a look at the safe and realized it was a freaking combination lock. Not a maglock with a key pad, but an old fashioned combo lock that spun around with numbers on it. It was a good idea; most modern runners have no clue what to do with a lock that is not electronic. That is, it would have been a good idea if they would have used an old fashioned key lock. These combo locks made very faint clicking noises when the right number was selected on the dial. That means that someone with excellent hearing, like the kind you get when you have some cybernetic ears, could crack it fairly easily. It took me a bit to figure out exactly how to work it, but it was a snap to get open once I got how it worked. Amateurs didn’t realize they need to do much better than that to keep me out.
It was around this time that Trauma remembered what his job was and killed the jammer. Spectre let us know that he ran into some black IC and unfortunately security had probably been notified. Fallon and I hauled ass back to the Roadmaster and got the hell out of the facility. Trauma dropped us off at the gate and I hopped on my Rapier while she took off running, keeping to the shadows. I went in the opposite way of the Roadmaster, and casually saw Those Bastards with their lights flashing and sirens on heading to the storage unit. I really hoped Specter was able to fully cover our electronic tracks. They passed me without a second look, probably assuming nobody was quick enough to get out of there in the time we did. Nothing better than making Those Bastards look bad.
We regrouped later at Spectre’s house in Bellevue. Ok, now I know this is the man I am going to marry. His place looks like it costs more than all my gear combined. Clearly I had chosen the wrong line of work. After checking out on of the most impressive locks I had ever seen on his door I knocked and was let in by Fallon.
Specter was lying on a couch after being bandaged up by Trauma. Spectre was still shirtless and I was debating “accidentally” dropping something on his legs so Trauma would need to get his pants off and examine his leg injury. Trauma instead checked out my injuries and determined there was nothing he could do about them, I would just need to get some rest. About this time Fallon made the call to let Johnson know the job was done. I made a recording of the files, just in case they turned out to be worth more than we were getting. Fallon and Trauma went off to the meet while those of us who had been injured stayed around to recuperate. Fallon was not overjoyed about leaving me alone with Spectre, but I had been pretty insistent about it. She muttered something about not wanting to walk in on what I was planning, but I was pretty sure if she did she would enjoy the show. Anyways, they went to go get paid and I fixed myself a G&T and settled in to some small talk.
After talking for a while I was pretty sure Spectre hit from both sides of the plate, which was good to figure out. I was not going to be super forward about this, as I remembered stories about coworkers and relationships and how they never work out. Still shadowrunners are not exactly coworkers, and who knows if I am going to keep running with Specter. He was pretty shy and quiet, and he didn’t even want to have a celebratory drink so it seemed unlikely he would make the first move. Hell, if I was as gorgeous as him I probably wouldn’t be that trilled about a guy looking like I do clearly lusting after me. I am handsome enough, but I am not in his category. I might be a 7, but he is a 9 on an off day. My ribs were still hurting me pretty bad as well, so I was ok with taking it slow.
Anyways, about 45 minutes after Fallon and Trauma left I got a call from her. It seems like the exchange had gone off without a hitch, and we even earned a bit of a bonus, but then the Johnson, his bodyguards, his car and everything in a 20m radius got blown all to hell, including the file we had retrieved. Fortunately Fallon and Trauma were still in the warehouse when this happened, so they were mostly unharmed. Unfortunately, Fallon parked next to ground zero. They were now hiding in an alley off Pike and needed a ride. My bike would not hold 3 and Trauma had his keys on him so Spectre would need to get them. I went along for the ride, mostly because I am not going to turn down a ride in his Westwind 2000.
After Spectre showered and picked out his clothes we headed downtown to get them. It probably took us nearly an hour and a half to get there after they called, and although they seemed a bit annoyed by the time it took they were grateful for a ride. Fallon still had some blood splatter on her and Trauma was in full security armor so getting a cab or walking somewhere would have been out of the question for them. We went back to Spectre’s, divided up the ¥ and sort of called it a night. Spectre said it would be ok if we crashed at his place, an offer I took him up on instantly. Trauma also did but Fallon went back to her place. She had been checking out Spectre as much as I had, but either she was far less forward then me or had already given up on him. Her loss. Spectre and I then went for a swim while Trauma did something probably. Spectre apparently never sleeps, because after two hours in the pool it was about 4:00am and he still went and did something else. I had to get some sleep though, my ribs hurt and I was exhausted. I went to bed alone, but 3,000¥ richer than I was. It also sees like I have a team that works well together, a gorgeous man to occupy my idle thoughts, and a file in my brain that someone will probably be willing to pay good money for. Things are really starting to look up for me. Right before I fall asleep the phrase “Famous last words” drifts though my brain.