Old People, Old Debts Part 1

Hi again everybody!

It’s time yet again to head back into the ever dark dystopia of City 08 where we originally set out to find us all a new bar. If you’ve missed the other three parts, I suggest you start with The Search For A New bar and then continue on with the sequel part which is named Kicking It High In The Afterlife and then get up to speed with Fun With Flamethrowers.

If you don’t, most of this will probably not make any sense to you, just saying. Also, I originally thought this part would be a lot smaller, but as it ended up being 30 pages despite cutting a lot of things, this will be five part deal instead of the original four parts I had envisioned. The final part will be released next week as I want this out the door before the end of the year.

But, let’s get down to business! As always, me and my SO Niky who are both tulpamancers did this together with our tulpas in a joint venture, so time for a roll call!

On my side, the following joined in this time:

On Niky’s side, the usual gang followed:

When we entered the usual alley into City 08, a smaller havac, seating eight people was already waiting for us. Naturally that was courtesy of Jane ordering it ahead of time. When the havac doors opened, a more plush interior than normal greeted us all. As we got in, I turned to Jane and asked her “So.. just out of curiosity, how much do these things cost to rent anyway?”

Jane flopped down into the faux leather seat and opened up the fridge and got herself a beer while she was beaming me a fiendish grin “They don’t really ‘cost’ me anything.”

“Figures” I said, knowing all too well how adept Jane was at finding out ways to mess around systems like that. To her, this was probably more about screwing over the system than saving a few credits on transport. I caught a beer being tossed at me and nodded at her as I held up the bottle to read the label “Tsingtao, nice.” I opened it and sipped a bit on it before I addressed everyone “So, we’re heading to Turfo’s, right?”

(Writers note: Turfo is the name of our new trader who Jane recommended to us after our older trader Jones betrayed her by dealing behind her back with the previous fed government. When she found out about it, she went over to his store and beat the crap out of him. Since we wanted to barter for some better prices, we accepted a gig from Turfo to get some kind of chemicals back. Oddly enough he owed those to a local gang. In the previous mission, we secured the last part of those chemicals and Jane got those over to Turfo afterwards.)

As they all agreed, Jane quickly had the havac take off into the cold night while the rest of us now had some time to kill. After a moment of silence, I smiled a bit at Jane and asked “So, have you talked to Jones.. after the last time?”

“Nah, don’t need anything from that fuck anymore. Once a fed, always a fed.”

Circe interjected “I don’t know, he seemed to be … just a bit greedy you know?”

Jane sneered “You got that right, I made sure the asshole can’t set foot in here or make any new deals. He can rot in the trader world for all I care.” Jane said with a mirthless grin on her face.

I chuckled “Oh you maaaad girl.”

She shrugged “That’s what happens when you fuck with me.”

Andrei muttered to himself “Note to self: Do not fuck with her either.”

Jane smirked a bit and said “On the topic of fucking… Mech, how’s things with miss sunshine?”

(Writers note: She was referring to his girlfriend Colleen, who didn’t join us this time)

“She is currently engaged in another mission with her order.” Mech said flatly.

Mocking concern, she replied “Ouch…. that bad huh?”

“We are fine.”

Leaning over, she patted his knee “I’m sure she is champ.”

Here, Circe couldn’t take it and basically exploded on Jane “Can you NOT be a raging asshole for once?!”

Leaning back into her seat, Jane winked at Circe and smiled “Yah, but not tonight.” after a moment, she happily exclaimed “Bottoms up!” and finished her beer and tossed the bottle over her shoulder where it landed on the floor and miraculously didn’t break.

The havac was now heading towards the worn down high-rise residential area where Turfo lived. Mech, seeing this, got out his shotgun and checked it. Following his lead, Jane also checked her SMG and collapsed it into the metallic flat cube shape that doubled as a pendant which she hung around her neck. She also checked her gun, nodded and put it back in its concealed holster.

Jane was also the first out as soon as the door opened, making a bee-line for the apartment lobby. We all scrambled to follow her, not really sure what the rush was here. The inside of the elevator revealed that it was a lot larger than normal, likely a relic left over from the construction of the building. The walls of it were made out of what looked like worn metal that once had been a bright green, but that had faded into a sickly muted nuance over time.

When Jane pressed the button for Turfo’s floor, the lights briefly flickered in a way that wasn’t all that reassuring. Hating elevators in general, Niky grabbed onto Andrei’s hand for stability as it started moving upwards through the shaft.

Jane turned towards us and asked “So, you’re all going for armor?”

“Depends on if he has Russian shotguns or not.” Andrei replied.

“Doubt it.” and she paused for a bit and added “Then again, with old Turfo, never say never. Guy’s surprised me more than once.”

Here the elevator hit the right floor and as the door opened, the overhead lights went out with a fizzle that made it very clear that something had shorted out. We all hastily made it out into the hallway while Jane laughed “Hahahah.. fucking old piece of shit..”

As before, the hallway outside was clad in soft white plastic paneling that diffused light coming from inside of the walls. The light was a soft orange light that felt calming. The whole installation had been put together by Turfo once upon a time.

Andrei turned to Niky who’d been rattled by the short in the elevator and said “Easy there kiddo, it’s over. You’re fine alright?”

Circe turned to me with a smile “Why don’t you grab my hand like that Fairy? I feel left out…”

“Oh, be glad he isn’t about to puke” Andrei replied to her.

I exhaled sharply and narrowed my eyes at the both of them saying “I could grab something else if you don’t shut up.”

Kay laughed as Circe replied “Yeah, puke .. noooot my thing no.”

We all headed towards the door and Jane made a swiping motion towards it and stared at intently. A while later, the door opened up and Turfo stuck his head out of it, as always a lit cigarette was in his mouth.

“Right.. come in.” he said and went back inside

We all entered the apartment and as before, an almost sickly and pungent smell of something hit our nostrils. The smell was something like a mix between peppery spices, cinnamon and odd bitter herbs.

I mumbled something about needing my hand held and tried to keep a straight face as Sasha sided up to me and grabbed onto my hand and smiled “Does this help?”

I nodded “Yeah, weirdly enough.. ” I whispered back at him and smiled.

We entered the living room where Turfo had parked himself in the sofa, he looked up at us, took a drag of his cigarette and rested it in an ashtray. “Right, so you all came through. Nice piece of work. Since you saved my bacon, I’ll get you some gear.”

I pointed to Sasha and Andrei “I think we’ll let the guys ask first. Some of them have some special requests.”

Andrei followed my cue “Our gals want standard armor.”

Turfo gestured at him “You’ve gotta give me more to go than ‘standard armor’ here.”

Continuing, Andrei added “Actually Kay wants the bulky thing—”

“No!” Kay fiercely exclaimed, staring daggers at Andrei and sighed before she continued “Thin, concealable armor for Niky and me please.”

Turfo smiled at her and nodded “Now see, THAT I can do.”

She added “And these two want Russian weapons as well if possible.”

Turfo grunted and got up out of the sofa with his cigarette coming along for the ride. He went into the other room and pulled out a couple of vests which he returned with, eyeing both Niky and Kay for a bit. “Right, this one for you” as he tossed over one to Kay. “And this one for you” as he threw one over to Niky who caught it as well.

As they both tried on their armors over their clothes, Jane turned to him and said “Drop me a half wafer armor, none of the ‘prologue’ shit.”

Turfo shrugged as he went back inside, got an armor from another box and tossed it to her.

She eyed it critically and threw it back to him “I said HALF wafer.”

“Look, that’s all I’ve got on hand. If you’ll wait a few days I can-“

She cut him off ” Fine, give me a full wafer one then.”

“Alright.” he went back into the other room and got a full body suit and handed it over to her. She put it on and nodded appreciatively.

(Writers note: Presumably “prologue” is some kind of brand she doesn’t like, I’d speculate and say that full and half wafer likely refers to something called diamond wafer, which is a very tough and durable material that looks like glass.)

Meanwhile, Kay was doing some acrobatic movements to test out the flexibility of the armor, after a while, she nodded “Not bad.. not bad at all.” She turned to Andrei “Care to shoot at me? preferably NOT at the guts?”

Not hesitating for a second, Andrei pulled out his gun and shot her in the upper part of the chest. Kay seemed unfazed by it and nodded. “Yeah, I guess this works.”

Turfo raised both his arms in the air and yelled “For fucks sake!” as he rushed over to a panel on the wall and began tapping at it furiously.

Kay looked at him with an apologetic smile “Sorry, gotta try the product..”

Not taking his eyes of the panel, he kept tapping as he said “Jane, I don’t like your friends. They’re idiots.”

Jane shrugged “Never said they were friends.”

“…. Whatever. They’re dumb.”

He stopped typing and stared at Andrei, still fuming.

Andrei laughed “What? … you don’t do live tests? How do you know if the product is good, then?”

“What kind of morons go around shooting shit in the middle of the night? That’s how you get the fucking COPS involved. And, I don’t know what backwater place you’re from, but around here, we fucking test shit with a damn SCANNER!”

Andrei shrugged “Did you HEAR the thing? … NO because it’s SILENCED.”

Turfo exhaled and pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes, no doubt trying to maintain his patience. “I mean, are you all .. slow or something?”

“Well, you did, but the rest of the building DIDN’T.” Andrei spat back at him.

“Right and the smoke coming off that old relic? You don’t think someone’s gonna snoop that? I just had to drop a hack to tell the building’s custodian AI NOT to call the fucking cops us.”

Andrei looked down at his gun, no doubt feeling a bit embarrassed “Not used to smoke detectors, sorry…”

He turned to Jane “Next time you have people over, don’t bring me fucking weekend warriors alright?”

Jane made a gesture with her hands “Sorry man, I didn’t know they’d do that!”

Turfo said nothing, being content with just rolling his eyes.

Having finally gotten into her new armor, she moved around in it and nodded approvingly. “I’d be a bit more stiff in this. But yeah, this’ll definitely take a beating.” She then draped her normal coat over it.

Andrei cleared his throat “So… us both. Sasha has no clue on what he wants, but I wanted a Russian shotgun.”

“Reg stuff? Sure… let’s check what we have.” Turfo said as he walked over to the panel in the other room and tapped at it, showing off one shotgun after another. Some looked bulky, others were thin, one of them flashing by had a sawed off with three barrels. “What we don’t have here, we can probably get in a few days.” he finished, looking over to Andrei.

“KS 23? Saiga 12?”

Looking uncertain, Turfo tapped at the display “Let’s check if they’ve got those…” and then shook his head “This is old shit man, what are you? Vintage collectors? I can swing those, but .. you’re gonna have to pay extra.”

Andrei shrugged “Eh, then I’ll stick with armor too.” he looked over towards Sasha “Decided yet?”

“If he doesn’t have … vintage stuff… then I’ll get armor too.” Sasha said thoughtfully.

“Right, same as the others then.” Turfo said as he got two more armors and handed them to Andrei and Sasha. He then turned to Mech “So, how about you big guy?”

“Could you look for something similar to an SRM 1216? I do not require an exact replica, merely something that covers the same kind of role.”

“Sure… never heard of that though.” Turfo said as he punched in the name and looked up the specs, his cigarette now mostly ash, he noticed that and cursed as he put the butt into a nearby ashtray.

After a while of staring at the screen, he slowly said “Hmm…. .. I DO have something similar to that .. I think.” as he went over to a corner in the room and opened a box and started pulling out packing foam. “You might be right for this one.” He exclaimed happily and handed over a bulky looking shotgun that had a round magazine below the barrel to Mech. “This is sort of the same thing. But none of that outdated shells crap, this one comes with dry hacks.” he said to himself, obviously pleased with that.

“Dry hacks?” Mech replied with a puzzled expression on his face.

Almost going into a sales pitch, Turfo went “Yeah, packed ammo. Each mag has 20-25 rounds depending on what you load it up with. Completely modular. All the flavors you want.”

Walking over towards them, Jane looked at the weapon and nodded and smirked “Turfo.. if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re liking him. Giving him a piece like that?”

“He’s the only one of you that doesn’t seem like an idiot.” He nodded at Mech “Tell you what big guy, you try that one out and if you don’t like it, you come back and I’ll set you up with something else right?”

Mech bowed slightly “Thank you, this will be sufficient.”

Andrei snarked “Looks like you have an admirer now, Mech.” then he added “Also, you’re gonna need ammo for that.”

“Can I buy some spare magazines for that?” Mech asked Turfo.

“Sure, how many do you want?” he replied, looking over his inventory.

“What ammo types can it fit?”

“You’ve got your incendiary, piercing, slugs, explosive, chems, nanos, the usual stuff.”

Mech looked down at the magazine that Turfo had handed to him “These are piercing correct?”

“No, slugs.”

“Then I’ll take one magazine of piercing, one incendiary and one cryogenic if you have that.”

Turfo gave Mech a sharp glance. “Cryo? Like ice? Cold?”

“Yes, unless this model does not support that.”

“No.. it’s .. I can swing it, but it’s kind of a weird ammo type.” Turfo said as he got out a magazine and stuck it into a machine and began tapping at the display, after a moment of clanking and humming, he opened up the compartment and got out the clip and threw it over to Mech.

Andrei piped up “You’ll want a full box of either slugs or piercing ammo. so you don’t have to come back every time you empty the mag.”

“I can deliver anywhere in City 08 in a day if he needs more. No sweat.” Turfo boasted with a superior smile on his face. “That goes for all of you.” he added.

“We’re not always in the city, tho” Andrei rebutted.

“No problem, you got a handler, I can get it there.” Turfo spat back, now clearly getting a bit annoyed again with Andrei.

“We’ll.. contact you with more details, got to confirm one first.” I said, trying to defuse the situation somehow.

Turfo got out two more magazines and handed them over to Mech who again bowed slightly as he accepted them.

“I’d still buy a full box, Mech.” Andrei said in a cautioning tone of voice.

“Shit, let me get you get you all a bag.” Turfo said and came back with a backpack that he tossed over to Mech. “You can all share that right?”

Mech nodded and put the magazines and rifle into the backpack. Stopping midway, he looked at Turfo “How much for these by the way?”

Turfo shrugged “Tell you what? If you’ll share the data on that cryo mag, I’ll call it even.”

“Of course.” Mech said as he nodded at him.

“So, how about you pretty boy?” Turfo said, looking at me.

I was a bit taken back, but I replied “Me?.. uhm.. fuck.. just one of those armors will do, light please.”

He handed me an armor and I nodded at him in appreciation as I put it on and slid my coat over it, concealing most of it.

“So, what is the name of this shotgun?” Mech asked.

“No name yet, experimental prototype.” Turfo replied.

I looked sharply at him “Wait… you’re a gunsmith aren’t you?”

Here, Turfo rolled his eyes, but smiled at me, clearly liking the term. “Yeah, I make guns and ammo. The armor thing is just a hobby really.”

“In that case, I say we call it ‘Turfo 101’, sound good?” I said, looking at Mech while Andrei was trying to stifle his laughter. (Writers note: Andrei refers to Turfo as Tofu in private, I’ve told him that if he ever wants to get on his bad side, he should call him that to his face.)

“Works for me.” Mech said with a neutral voice.

“So you don’t really do, uh, vintage stuff?” Andrei asked Turfo with a bit of disbelief having crept into his voice.

“I can try, but it’s not the same as in the old days. Our new materials are fine, but it’s .. off. My advice is that if you need custom stuff like that, go see a trader specializing in that stuff instead. They’d likely be cheaper than me too.”

Here Andrei nodded “Yeah, that’s… more or less what we were planning.”

“I tried making a SPAS shotgun once, fired like crap. I compared it to an vintage one I had lying around, completely different guns. I’m good, but .. you’d have to be a damn legend to pull that off.” Turfo then looked to Circe and Jane “Ladies?”

Circe handed Turfo her gutpuncher gun. “I want this thing to do more damage. I’m not into guns really, but .. you know…”

Turfo sighed a bit with joy as he saw it “Old gut puncher like this, man.. a beaut. Let me keep it for a while, I’ll see what I can do with it.”

“Sure.. and .. I’d also like some other types of ammo for it if you have it.”

“Normally I’d say no. But .. I’ll see what I can do.”

He then looked over to Jane that laughed “Oh I’m already fine. Plus you still owe me.” She flexed her new armor and added “Gonna take some time to get used to this though.”

I looked around the room “Alright, everyone got their stuff?”

Kay nodded “Yes, we all did.”

I turned back to Turfo and handed him a card “Here’s my number. Call me when the gun is done.”

“Sure thing, but before you all leave.. a token of my appreciation.” as he tossed over a small spherical object to Jane.

Jane raised her eyebrows “Pulling out all the stops huh? Thanks man!” as she studied the sphere with hungry eyes.

“A grenade?” I hazarded.

Jane shook her head “Nope. Null bomb, basically anything electronic in a 45-50 meter radius. Then she added “Wouldn’t wanna be caught in the same room with one of these.” She tossed it over to Mech who put it into the backpack.

I rubbed my hands together “Alright, time’s wasting and we’ve got a club to crash.. thanks Turfo and see you around!”

As we all headed outside into the hallway, they were all now shimmering with a beautiful, hypnotic swirly rainbow color. Jane smiled and yelled into the apartment “Hey, your alarms are still on man!” as she closed the door. From inside we could hear Turfo cursing as he no doubt was trying yet again to beat the AI into submission.

“What?” I said to Jane, not really sure what’d happened.

“The walls, the rainbow shit? It basically means ‘shit’s going down, get the fuck out’, one of Turfo’s old warning systems.”

Andrei groaned “I will never get used to not be able to shot my gun in peace.”

Jane had in the meantime hit the button for the elevator, that was now blinking as it was heading up again through the shaft.

A moment passed while we were all waiting and Kay mused “Yeah. all that fancy tech, and what for?”

Jane looked at her and shook her head “He’s right, nobody sane would fire a gun indoors and especially not against an armor you hadn’t tested before.”

“THAT is the way of testing it in… you know.”

“Nah, the way we test shit here is to have a machine do it for you, no ballistics, just light refracting. Keeps it fresh. No new holes.”

“Fancy. don’t like it.” Kay said dismissively.

“Of course you don’t, you’re all regs.” Jane said with a bit of a laugh.

Andrei joined in the laugh “Aaah I guess we indeed are.”

Meanwhile, Circe was leaning against the wall, studying her nails “I wonder what he’s gonna do to my gun…”

Jane turned to her and grinned “Knowing him, probably something crazy as fuck.”

Andrei poked her shoulder which caused her to turn around “so, Jane… any idea on where we could get old-school Russian stuff?”

The elevator arrived and we all stepped inside into the darkness as Jane hit the button again which closed the door and cut off the rainbow light coming from the hallway. As it rumbled downwards in the shaft, Kay added “I say we … go somewhere else for that.”

A bit of a silence, then Jane’s voice coming out of the darkness startled me “Old reg stuff, kinda rare over here. Nobody wants it when there’s better stuff around.”

“We pay market price for it.” Kay replied dryly and then added “Everything’s fair.”

A bit of a shuffling sound and Jane replied “Eh, I’d tell you to go see Jones but.. you’re likely to get a knife in your back as your spare change with him.”

“Well.. he did call the guards on us the last time..” Kay say with a bit of unease in her voice.

When the elevator reached the bottom, it lurched around a bit and the lights came back on again. We all blinked a bit at the harsh lights as the doors opened and we walked into the small bottom level hallway.

Jane looked back at all of us as we were just inside of the door leading to the outside “Alright.. next stop.. Sandy’s bar?”

As we all agreed to that, we got back into the same havac we’d arrived in and it took off towards Sandy’s bar.

At this point I leaned forward “So.. I know for a fact that it’s like ten or so minutes until we get there, everyone cool with me speeding up time a bit?”

(Writers note: Time normally flows the same in most of the worlds, but having admin powers means that I can compress it for shorter periods of time. As a result, shorter periods means that the rest of the next 24 hour period has time moving a bit slower to compensate. Also, some of our tulpas can handle it just fine, others have very adverse reactions to it, to the point where we’ve discussed other methods of rapid transit.)

Kay and Sasha nodded, both gritting their teeth. Andrei and Niky both took a deep breath. Circe clamped down on her seat as if she was scared she was gonna fall off. Mech simply nodded while Jane just gave me a look.

I nodded at all of them and said “Hold onto your shorts people.” and snapped my fingers. The next 15 or so minutes went by in a blur as there was talk of beer brands, guns and whether or not the Regs are better than Caps and suddenly time snapped back into place as the havac was starting to head down heading down towards the bar.

As soon as time had fully restabilized, Circe reached over, got a bucket and puked into it. The rest of us shared a look and I drew a deep breath myself. “It’s honestly making me a bit queasy too now.”

A bit of silence as we heard the engines shift as the vehicle made ready for it’s final approach.

“Elevators are far worse.” Niky said with a thin voice.

“Funny that the havac doesn’t give you motion sickness.” Andrei said with a smirk.

Meanwhile, Jane was handing Circe napkin to clean up with and the rest of her Klobb, which Circe accepted with a thankful gesture as she immediately emptied it.

Niky shrugged “Guess they don’t accelerate as fast?”

“Stabilizers.” Jane shot back, then continued “Can’t enjoy your drinks if you’re shaking around like a mofo.”

The craft settled and the engines died down to silence again.

“Alright, time to call Sandy.” I said as I placed a call to her implant. A few ringing tones echoed out and then a short electronic noise when she answered.

“Yes?”

“Got some time to spare? We figured that we’d go see that old madame’s club you mentioned last time.” I replied.

There was a bit of a pause, then she answered “Sure, I’m .. yeah. just a sec, I’ll be down soon.” and the line went dead.

I smiled at the others who hadn’t heard the conversation and said “She sure sounded eager.”

Jane nodded in agreement “I’d be to for 300 million creds.”

I laughed at her and replied “Don’t you have ENOUGH money by now?”

Andrei interjected “No such thing.”

Jane took a sip of her beer and pointed at Andrei with it “Guy gets it. Nothing better than having more creds.”

He made an apologetic mocking gesture “I’m a simple man, I don’t need fancy things… but there’s a lot of expenses, and they don’t cover themselves.”

Jane exhaled sharply through her nose “Sometimes you almost sound sane Andrei.” Then she looked around at all of us and switched gears “So, what’s our plan?”

“Well, I AM Niky’s Common Sense, believe it or not…”

This caused Niky to snort and laugh a bit which made him shut up.

I nodded at Jane “So, my idea is that Circe and Andrei and Sasha go in, they pretend to be buyers and we scope the place out.”

A moment passed after which Jane gave me a critical look “That’s your entire plan?”

I made a face “Yeaaaah?”

Andrei interjected “No, no, we DO buy the place, then after that, everything’s legal and well.”

Circe fished out the special credit chip out of her cleavage and offered it to Andrei. “You’ll need this then, Fairy prepared it beforehand.”

“Actually, no, you keep that. We’re just… ah.. your advisors since you’re from … some other place.”

“Why? She’s gonna wanna see the cash. She’s gonna figure it out if she looks at me close enough. She’s not stupid Andrei.”

“Okay, oh-kay.” he sighed.

“Unless you know, Niky here can change how I look or something.”

Niky replied “A mask, maybe?”

Suddenly the door to the havac opened and Sandy climbed inside and took a seat.

“Hi everyone..” she said with an unsure smile. We all greeted her back.

The havac took off immediately and I turned to Sandy and asked “So, where are we going?”

Jane smirked at me “Already going there.”

Andrei took a second swig of his bottle of beer and exhaled happily and looked at it “Good shit.”

“Alright, how’d.. you know where to go?”

Jane nodded her head towards Sandy “Legs over here gave me the coords heading over.”

Sandy smiled and shook her head “You know, I’d normally slap someone for calling me that. But yeah, you’re right, I AM legs bwahahah!”

Andrei took a swig from his vodka flask and held it out a bit “Anyone else?”

Jane accepted it and took a small swig and smiled as she handed it back “Nice.. hits the spot.”

“I’m good.” I said as I held up my beer.

“I never drink on the job.” Sandy said with a deadly serious tone of voice.

As nobody else said anything, Andrei shrugged as he put away the flask again.

I turned my attention towards Sandy “So, what can you tell us about the club?”

Sandy’s face went a bit slack, suggesting she was accessing some internal database “It was a pretty trashy place before she bought it. She’s sunk quite a bit of creds into it.” She paused for a bit and then continue “But yeah, checked some reviews. She’s had a problem with some people, but most of them report good working conditions. Company fiscals look good too, oddly enough.”

“You pulled the fiscals?” Jane said with a bit of a surprised tone in her voice.

“Yes.. why not?”

“Damn, you really did your homework. I rarely do that.”

Andrei nodded in agreement “Information is power. so the more you have, the better.”

Hearing this, Kay also nodded absentmindedly as she stared out the window at the city flitting by below the havac.

“So, is it far away from here?” I said, hoping I wouldn’t have to bend time again.

“No.. just a few more streets up ahead. The only reason I even know about the place was because some weirdo came over one night and started making trouble about our prices. Kept telling us ‘The Madame’s club is so much better'” then she focused on us all again and added “So I decided to check out the competition. Not really a fan of the epox white and laquer black though.”

“Well, I guess with the exception of me, you could all just go into the club and order drinks…” I said and paused for a bit. Then I added “Actually, Mech, you and me should head in towards the back.. or .. the roof if it doesn’t have a back.”

Kay leaned forward “No, we two stay with you. Do you think they’ll let Niky get in with her flamethrower?”

I smiled back at her “Maybe she should leave that behind yeah. But yeah, that makes it me, Mech, Niky and Kay for the first party then.”

“Then I’ll go with Circe and the boys if you don’t mind.” Sandy said.

Jane was tinkering a bit with her SMG and looked up “I’m staying the fuck out of this one. I can be overwatch. Bitch’d spot me miles away. Even before old Fairy showed up here, I was a known quantity in those circles.”

“Soooo, Circe, about that mask…” Niky started, then frowned and sighed “Only thing I can do is .. fabric maybe? Transform the look into, like skin .. or perhaps metal.”

“Uh.. can’t you… err.. make me look average or something?”

“Let me try… ” Niky said as she grabbed onto Circe’s hand and focused on casting her alteration spell. Circe’s features slowly changed in front of our eyes to take on an appearance like a mix of Jane and Andrei, with a hood now casting a shadow over parts of her face.

(Writers note: Since most of our worlds tend to have wildly disparate time eras, once we all started exploring them, we did run into some situations where our clothes and weapons raised some questions with the locals and made us stick out like sore thumbs. Since Niky had always wanted to play as a sort of healer/mage, we went in search of a sort of illusion magic and thankfully enough, our old trader Jones had a spell that did just that. So, before every mission, Niky tends to cast that on everything to make us all fit in a bit better. Still doesn’t help with the fact that both Mech and Circe are pretty big people overall, or that Andrei and Sasha still opt to wear their suits in City 08. But hey, baby steps right?)

“How do I look?” Circe said as soon as Niky let go of her hand.

I studied her face closely and smiled at Niky “…..Oddly forgettable.”

The havac now started its descent in an area with shops on either side, the road ended further up in a dead end that terminated with the building where the front of the club was. There was no mistaking it since it had a garish pink neon sign with the name Madame written in cursive.

“Madame… the fucking bitch named the club after herself.” I said with a wry smile.

“Alright… sec… while I check things…” Jane said as her eyes lost focus for a moment while she no doubt checked her TACS for info. A while passed and then she piped up again “Place looks …. almost clean.”

“Define ‘clean'” Andrei said.

“One big guy… well.. ‘big’ as in big presence. Some guns, some .. stuff on the upper floor, but it’s hard to make that out. Lots of metal plating I bet.”

Andrei looked concerned “Stuff?”

Jane sighed “It’s giving off signatures, but I can’t match them. Maybe explosives.”

Andrei sighed “Okay, don’t piss off the hag then.”

Jane chuckled “Nothing you can’t handle though.”

“Alright, so… since this is a dead end, we’ll have to fly over the building.” I interjected.

“Any way I could, uh, get there without getting noticed?” Niky said a bit tersely

I looked at her “You mean the upper floor?”

“Yes, to check on that and disable any explosives.”

“You could try the roof, but I’m assuming that’s loaded with alarms.”

“So Fairy, HOW exactly are YOU getting in?” Andrei said with a bit of a challenge in his voice.

I flashed him a winning smile “I was gonna go behind the place. And hope they hadn’t put too much stuff there. Jane, you’re also coming with us, we need your perceptive eye on this I bet.”

Andrei turned to Jane “Any back door?”

Jane, eyes still unfocused replied “Not sure, first time I’m seeing this place. Can’t find shit, so I’m gonna go with no.”

“Pull the floor plan, then?”

Jane blinked as her attention returned to the real world, she looked at Sandy “Did you manage to get the floor plan while poking around?”

Sandy frowned “Yes, but she’s changed it, she’s gutted the whole place.”

“Shit. So old floor plan then.”

Sandy nodded “Yes.”

“Still should show any outside accesses.” Sasha mused to himself.

“Mind if I follow you?” Sandy said as she looked at me.

“Sure, whose going in the first party?” I said to everyone.

“We’ll check the back, if there’s nothing there, we’ll try the roof.” Jane said.

“So… it’s us four heading for the club?” Andrei said, pointing at Circe, Sasha and Niky and himself last.

As Kay nodded, Sasha leaned over to her and quietly said “Niky can lend you the flamethrower and come with us and ask for the restroom and sneak away.”

“OK.. I guess.” Niky said as she handed Kay her flamethrower.

Kay in turn handed Niky her knife. “Take this just in case, better than nothing.”

Niky said nothing as she awkwardly pocketed it.

“Alright then everyone..” I said as I started placing some cans into a row “These are our teams then……”

And this is where we’ll end this part, because it’s got another 15 pages that I’ll publish next week where you’ll all see what happens once we head into the club known as Madame’s. Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments about this part, drop us a comment!

  

//Wondrous Fairy

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