The call came. The “big one” that any Fixer wants, but at the same time doesn’t. Huge payout, but almost no chance of getting a return customer……or a returning Runner. And that doesn’t always mean good business. But the perfect candidate was already available, seeing as he owes Felipe Pérola de Rosário. Plus the fact that some folks around here don’t like him for a reason that only Runners know of……or do they, even? Maybe some did a few years ago, but the actual story faded away and only rumors and emotions remained. New Runners show up and feel out the attitude and join the herd of hate that is directed at Sun Jian AKA Chénmò (沉默). But the chips are down, and despite the group attitude, Filipe knew he could count on Chénmò following through with his debt. He gave him the call, and told him where to go and how to make contact with the group. When Filipe hung up, he lit a cigarette and began to just think. Jobs like this don’t come around often, and he never enjoyed sending Runners off to die. But when the big fish starts eating the little fish, you gotta feed it. The cigarette burned down to the end without Filipe taking a single drag.
LATER THAT EVENING
Chénmò was chewing over what he just agreed to. Which he knew next to nothing about. Obviously there was no money to be had because of his debt, but he was told some costs of the mission would be covered by the “agency running the show.” Which that made this all seem like some elaborate event, which usually means a lot of folks are going to die. No turning back now. Turnpike stopped his rig, ground the gears into what Chénmò guessed was park. The giant Canadian troll cleared his throat a bit “So…..you sure about this?” He said in the worst Cantonese ever, with an accent almost as thick as his arms.
“A job is a job. And I’ve agreed to go already.” Chénmò gave a sigh and turned his gaze from out the window to his troll friend who was kind enough to drive him to his destination. “Don’t want to make my image worse than it already is, Turnpike.” The troll just nodded his head, accepting that as a good enough reason as any. They shook hands, Chénmò opened up the creaking door of the truck and stepped down from its immense height. And walked up the an entrance of Tolo Harbor Complex
“You all have the information for this mission. I suggest you take the time we have left to study it and the game plan of how it is all going to go down.” There was a pause from the VERY militarized elf, who earlier identified himself simply as The Unavoidable “You were all vetted for your skills and talents. This is not a time to be flashy or try to impress folks. Compensation upon completion will be to your liking. We can assure you of that.” Unavoidable walked over to one of the walls of the large (and unmarked) naval ship they boarded a while ago. He pushed a button located next to a door and some floor lights came on. “These lead to areas where you are allowed. A small dining facility, and some bunks to catch a few winks.” With that he turned and exited a hatch the led upstairs. The lights where they were allowed did not go that way. Oh….yes, they. Runners from all walks, disciplines, ethnicity and metatype. The trolls naturally congregated together, as well as the elves. The rest? They mingled. Some better than others. While a handful pulled the loner card and dove into some digital screen or another to avoid others, or to actually take Unavoidable’s advice and study up. More than one or two looked to be eyeing the bulkhead up like they were stuck and wanted out, not knowing what they get themselves into. Could have been similar to Chénmò’s situation where they could have just owed somebody and they called in the favor. Or the money was just too damn good to pass up.
TWO DAYS LATER
Chénmò tried to catch his breath after sprinting from the building that was now fully engulfed in flames, parts of it collapsing as he made his escape. Panting he glared at their so called demolitions expert, “You just about got me fucking killed!” He exclaimed between breaths. As he straightened and took a step towards the dwarf Phillip, whom he was quite upset with at the moment, their company sponsored baby sitter, False King, stepped in. The orc was a force to be reckoned with, and that’s saying something coming from the birthright of awakened powers that Chénmò had. False King was pure skill….and maybe a bit of chrome. That was delta grade. But still! He also had determination that was as cold and hard as his chrome arms, as well as tactical intelligence that comes from years upon years of training. Where that came from, nobody hired was told. They only knew the mission. And after being here for just this short amount of a time, the ones who survived up to this point knew the job HAD to be finished. And not just for their own survival. There are insect spirits, and then there is what they were up against. Or more precisely, what they are potentially against. What they had to stop.
“That’s enough, Chénmò.” The glare shifted to False King. He wasn’t yelling at Chénmò, just trying to make sure he didn’t end up killing the dwarf. “The job is done, and you are alive to continue the fight. I suggest we do that.” So matter of fact…and all about the mission. Chénmò used to be very job focused. That was until about 24 hours ago when shit started to hit the fan and almost half the teams out there went silent, some confirmed dead, others just……gone. The woods were a different experience for Chénmò, but he made do. What spells he had made up for his skill as a woodsman.
False King then turned and pointed right at Phillip “And next time you decide to set your charges off before we confirm everyone is clear, you had better be long gone. Or I will kill you myself.” Straight up murder face was all they saw on False King. He meant exactly what he just said. With that he tossed a water to Chénmò and said all matter of fact “gotta keep to the schedule, gentlemen,” and proceeded to walk off to their next rally point…which if they remembered correctly was finally getting a night of reprieve from all this chaos. If you looked around you could see exhaustion on most everyone’s faces, other than the one. Jester always seemed to have energy and be smiling, or at least cheerful. He was also the only other spellcaster in the group aside from Chénmò, and he was quite powerful at that.Jester walked over to our almost certainly soon to be dead hero, gave him a pat on the shoulder. And in an attempt to cheer up Chénmò he said “Hey, it could be worse!”
There was a pause as Chénmò drank from his water, screwed the cap back on, and gave a raised eyebrow look back at Jester. “How?!” He exclaimed.
To which Jester gave a nonchalant shrug. “Insect spirits?” Fuck! He had to say it, didn’t he?!
TO BE CONTINUED…