Bills to Pay

A beginning

A slow week for the team picks up

The team so far is a small group, assembled by disgraced corporate security man Xiao Feng. The mysterious Chameleon serves as the team’s eyes in the shadows, while Valentine’s fingertips can warn them of any tremors in the web. The diminutive Min-di, a.k.a.: Patchwerk controls a small squad of terrifyingly well-armed doll-drones, and Jack the sammy elf serves as the team’s surprise muscle in a fight.

They’ve been working together for a while now, and have actually managed to put down some roots. They’ve chosen a primarily troll district for their combination office, garage, and armory, mostly because it has a reputation for keeping a close watch on outsiders. On the other hand, that means they’re expected to contribute, and after a little over a year of residency, one of Freddy’s innumerable nephews drops by. Jack is crashed on the couch in the upstairs office, while Min-di is tinkering with her lethal toys in the shop. The doorbell is rarely used, so she responds naturally enough by checking the door camera with her workbench camera. She doesn’t see anything too alarming: a troll adolescent, with nothing more dangerous than the bored sneer common to his age group.

She yells upstairs for Jack to get the door, and with only minimal grumbling the cyborg clomps downstairs, pulls it open, and says hello. The kid’s message is pretty brief: “my uncle wants to see you.” The phenomenon of every troll in the district being a niece, nephew, brother, sister, or cousin of Freddy is well-known, and although they’ve never been invited before, they’re aware of how to get to his place.

Freddy lives in a construction site that was abandoned before it got off – or at least above – the ground. The supermassive skyscrapers require supermassive foundations, and for one reason or another, they abandoned this project after they’d sunk the hole and poured the base slab. Freddy has apparently consolidated the old foreman’s shop and administrative trailers into an interconnected complex in the middle of the slab and lit the whole area with floodlights. A small clump of generators hums, clatters, and chugs nearby, and the trailers themselves have been plated in makeshift armor. It wouldn’t do much to stop real ordnance, but it’s well capable of stopping standard small-arms fire.

Another of Freddy’s nephews makes himself a nuisance outside until Freddy himself slams open one of the steel-shuttered windows and yells at him a little, but enthusiasm in a doorguard/footman probably isn’t a bad quality.

Once inside, the party learns that Freddy has, one way or another, received word about a snatch planned to take place outside one of his clubs three days from now, something he’s not real pleased with. He names the snatchee and, without expressly giving the team a job for it, lets them know that they’d have his gratitude if someone happened to preempt the snatch outside his territory, and especially outside his club that’s popular with the moneyed thrill-seekers of upscale Seattle society. Oh, and he happens to have this anonymous commcode that might get any interested parties in touch with someone that might like to get their hands on the unfortunate young man in question.

As the team is walking back from the meeting with Freddy, Val gets a call from her admirer Killian, who says he’s been hearing about some Honeywell project named Caitlyn. Honeywell is primarily a U.S. corp, and its branch in Seattle is substantially smaller than any of its facilities back east, serving primarily as a corporate sales and investment location. The rumor mill is full of all sorts of hypotheses about Caitlyn, only made more obsessive by Honeywell’s stalwart silence on the subject. Val makes the intuitive leap to Caitlyn Watson, the last governor of Wyoming, but from that point the team decides to let the notion simmer on a back burner.

Val then turns her attention to finding out more about Khalid Vresh, the young man Freddy doesn’t want to see anyone fighting over in his backyard. She turns up an older research article with Khalid’s name on it as a graduate researcher. He’s since disappeared from public academic view, and is apparently working as a postdoc deep in IBM’s heavily protected Seattle research campus. However, he also seems to have made at least one trek out to meet an unknown third party, either willingly or by coercion. That third party looks just as scary as IBM, and is certainly extremely heavily armed.

Attempts to use the commcode the next day are tense, cat-and-mouse affairs as Val tries to track their signal back to its point of origin and they try to do the same. In a moment of brilliance, Val gains the upper hand, pinning the commcode to somewhere within Honda’s territory on the net, while their trackers are still lost in the countless whispering nodes of the Seattle net. At the same time, Cami makes her way on to the IBM undergraduate campus with a guest pass and sets up watch outside the gleaming tower that prospective students can see (but not touch!). She’s a professional, and the bored security teams and public-safety-oriented security systems of the IBM undergraduate campus present no challenge to her.

The team sets up contingency plans and spreads rumors of increased danger to attempt to drive Khalid down a possible travel corridor they feel most comfortable with, while finalizing their shaky negotiations with the faceless representatives of, apparently, Honda. They name a meeting spot for the handoff, and Patchwerk’s recon drone gets there before someone comes by and does their own recon of the area. There’s about 48 hours to go and the team is trying to nail down as many loose ends as they can before things get hot.

GM note: players, please leave comments with anything I’ve left out or underplayed or misrepresented!

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mrbeman

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