Bills to Pay

What are we signing this contract in, again?

Pleased with a pretty decent payout about a week in to the new year, everyone mostly took a week or so off. Patchwerk hung out with her dad at the restaurant, Val practiced violin, and Xiaofeng broke a few boards. But mostly, they lounged. Bumping a team out of a cushy informal contract with one of the big players was a nice start to the new year, and although it came with its own risks, it also took a little edge off of the hunt for new runs. And, sure enough, on the evening of the 19th, Ran Isha, the Honda security suit that had taken the handoff of Khalid, showed up outside their door.

Either because he was trusting, confident, or just dumb, he didn’t hesitate before stepping inside, leaving his bodyguards in the sedan. That said, he clearly didn’t plan on spending that much time inside, just long enough to drop off the outline to a job, upload a data packet with details, and settle on a price. Then he was back in the sedan and on his way to wherever it is the corpies sleep.

The job itself was pretty straightforward wetwork, but came as close to formalizing a longer-term contract as anyone ever gets. They’d already bumped off one member of the other shadowteam in the process of stealing their livelihood, and it looked like the survivors had decided to take a piece for themselves in response. They’d stolen a prototype of some sort from Honda by abusing a personal relationship they’d formed with someone inside the corp and were holed up in an abandoned foundry just inside the Drydocks while they tried to auction it off. Val had managed the bargain the contract price up to $45k for the kills, with a $12.5k bonus for delivery of the prototype intact.

Within an hour they were on their way, Patchwerk’s van carrying herself, Cami, Jack, and Guei and clearing a path through the slush for Xiaofeng on his bike. The normal light, noise and smell of the Sprawl faded as they came closer to the darkened border of the Drydocks. A quick peek with one of Patchwerk’s rotor drones revealed a circling zep drone on recon above the only building with working lights in the area. She brought it back down before it was seen, then they went back to pushing forward on the ground.

They were the only vehicle that had been by that route any time recently, but there were plenty of footpaths criss-crossing through the snow. The glow from the foundry grew more pronounced as they approached, eventually revealing that had someone had set up floodlights around the massive door that had once taken deliveries of raw material and sent out maritime structural components in exchange. It was a heavy enough slab of reinforced steel that it had never been cannibalized, and one way or another, someone had managed to get it rolling along its track again.

All of this information came from Cami, who’d hopped out of the van and snuck forward close enough to get a good look without getting noticed from inside. She had, however, been noticed from outside, and even with a warning in her earbuds from Val, she only had time to clip a hungry ghoul with one round from her holdout before he’d dug his claws into her shoulder and neck, right at the seam of the armor. Xiaofeng took off running to the rescue, while Jack’s wired reflexes got him on to Xiaofeng’s bike and down to Cami before the ghoul could strike again. Ghouls are tough, but two hard punches to the kidneys from behind will put most people down, especially when they’re made with a retractable blade.

Hopping back on Xiaofeng’s bike, both Jack and Cami had time to whip by Xiaofeng, still running, and now pursued by a small pack of four ghouls, attracted by the commotion. Luckily for him, they were well in range of one of Patchwerk’s armed ground drones. Between the sound of the bike, the van’s engine, and the smell of blood as automatic fire ripped one of them to chunks, the remaining three thought better of things and bolted.

As soon as the disturbance had started, the recon zep had started drifting over to investigate, so Guei wasted no time forcing his way into the rigger’s commlink and handing access codes to Val to shut down the sentry drone while he turned the combat drone on the top floor against its mistress. As soon as she saw it turning outside of her control she began to spam frantic shutdown commands, but by then it was too late: Guei had been in possession of admin privileges to her commlink for far too long.

Bypassing the blockaded first floor, the team made its way to the second-floor outside door, inside and past the power-down sentry on the second floor, up to the 3rd, where the combat drone Guei had taken over was also powered-down and awaiting collection. They were surprised to find two Orks there, evidently hoping to ambush them as they tried to pick up the prototype, but they were both disabled before there was even really a fight. There was some debate about what to do with them, but the final decision was that the least risky option was to execute them, use the bodies as bait to distract the ghouls that were apparently trapped on the first floor, and make their escape. You’ve gotta watch out for your own in the shadows.

Comments

Don’t forget! Patchwerk shook her groove thang at a club in her neighborhood. ;p

mrbeman

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