Dateline: September 23, 2050, 19:00
The Edgerunners creep along in a dank sewer, moving carefully towards two thugs hiding out from the plague and rioting in the streets above. The thugs have captured a Night City police office – likely enforcing the quarantine by patrolling the sewers for just such a group as the Edgerunners. The thugs are beating the man, trying to get information out of him – but the Edgerunners have decided that two against one isn’t a fair fight. Not that Edgerunners fight fair…
As the Edgerunners creep closer, there is a sudden lull in the beating/interrogation at the end of the tunnel. The sewers are silent – except for the slight ‘swish, swish, swish’ of the Edgerunner team slogging their way through the muck. One of the thugs speaks up, and Pacoy watches through his feed from the buzzbot. “What was that? Shit, are the boy’s friends coming back?” Pitbull keeps his Reaper trained on the commotion, hyperspectral sight lighting up his HUD like Christmas.
Mac creeps forward, shotgun braced against his shoulder, holding it tight like it’s about to jump out of his hands. Shadowing the wall, he approaches and stops just before the tunnel splits off. Pitbull creeps closer to get a bead on one of them, Reaper trained on the expected location of the thugs. Pistol ready, Pacoy cautiously approaches the tunnel split off, paying attention to the feed from his bots.
While the combatants of the party creep forward, Mei continues to scan the pathway behind and around them to watch for anyone who may come to aid the thugs from behind. Pitbull leaps out and unloads three shots at the first thug he heard. The bullets fly out from the reaper’s barrel, pift-pift-pift, their silenced sounds reverberating in the tunnel. The bullets strike the thug directly in the chest, exploding into showers of gore that come flying out his backside. A few small entrails wind up on the police officer’s face. Following close behind, Wormwood copies Pitbull, stepping forward and unleasing both silenced pistols at the remaining thug.
The pistols blast into the other thug’s chest, their quiet puffs belying the power behind them. The thug falls to the ground, bleeding; the cop’s carbine falls from his hands as he tries to hold in his own guts from exiting through the new hole that Wormwood created.
Pitbull cocks his head to Wormwood. “Nice,” he grates. Wormwood immediately moves forward, kicking the carbine out of the thug’s reach and taking aim at his head. “Mei, check this guy, see if he’d dead yet.”
Mei whispers to Candy and Dweezil “It’s done, come on forward.” She begins to lead towards the site of the carnage. Pacoy sets the Buzzbot to hold position on the wounded thug as the team gathers for questioning.
As the Edgerunners come forwards, the cop moves quickly – grabbing his carbine and ramming the butt straight into the thug’s bloody wounds. Mac leans out from the wall, examining the surgical shots that took apart the thugs. He looks to the cop cautiously, lowering his shotgun. “Boy, looks like we got to you just in time, eh?”
Candy, hearing the sounds of fighting cease, moves towards the group and calls out over comms, “Good work team, I’m coming up.”
“That is useless. He’s dead as a door nail,” Pitbull growls to the cop as he racks his Reaper. Hank continues down the tunnel, looking down the side paths as everyone else assesses the situation.
“Fuck you and the whore you rode in on!” The cop’s speech is slurry, likely due to the magnificent nature of the bruises upon his face. He looks up at Wormwood with blood in his eyes – literally, from a cut that’s likely to give a nice manly scar on his scalp. “Hey, hey!” Wormwood shouts at the cop. “Wanna ease down there, guy? We want to talk to this scumbag.” Pitbull furrows his brow at the cop’s words as he readies his Reaper again, unsure if the cop is about to round on them.
With his gun still ready, Pacoy joins up with the wounded for a Q&A session. Mei kneels down to man that may still be alive to see if he actually is – and if he’s in a state to talk. “Hey, Officer, wanna drop the gun and play nice while we sort this out?” Pacoy asks sarcastically.
Candyman sits back and assesses the situation, “It’s likely possible we can locate this thug’s friends officer, take them down a few pegs and instill some respect for the uniform in their dead-ass backsides.”
Wormwood subvocalizes, “Mei, check him for other weapons too – and the dead guy.” He hands his companion a pair of strip-cuffs, tough ties of plastic around a steel wire. Mei replies subvocally to Wormwood, “On it.” While checking the status of the fallen men, she begins searching them for weapons or anything else interesting.
The cop backs up when Pacoy mentions dropping the gun. “Wha- the fuck you say?” It comes out more ‘the fu’ yo sa?’ through his loose (or missing) teeth and the bruises. “Who the fuck are you? I ain’t dropping this gun for no man!” The cop does look over at Candyman. “But this guy – this guy I like. Yeah. Take it fuckin’ to ’em!” He gives a rather inept chest-thrust. “Uh!”
“Then lower it. We would like to know who we saved from a very one sided fight.” Pitbull bellows, voice echoing in the tunnel. Candy steps in front of Pacoy and eases his ally back, “Officer, that won’t be necessary, keep your gun. If you could come over here a few paces, I’d be interested in hearing how this assault came about, see if we can prevent future law breakers from causing you trouble.” The cop lowers the weapon a bit, then backs up until he’s flat against the wall of the tunnel.
Wormwood speaks over his shoulder, not letting up his aim until Mei has the thugs secured, “Better listen to the C-man, cop. He knows what’s what.” Pitbull grunts in agreement with Wormwood, as he starts looking around. “Hank, you alive there?” Pitbull comms, noticing his abscence. Hank responds, “Yes I am just keeping an eye on our backs.” “Good. Hows it looking back there?” Pitbull comms back to Hank.
Silently, the quadrotor Buzzbot goes from holding over the wounded thug to taking a strategic position closer to the cop. Mei finds a pair of paper filter masks on the dead and near-dead thugs; it looks like they haven’t been used in a while. They’ve also got a few bits of food among them – cooked rats, even some bits that look like it may have come from an alligator. They obviously haven’t been eating well.
The thugs themselves look vaguely oriental at first blush, but on closer inspection Mei notices the tell-tale signs of cosmetic surgery. These were originally two very white boys, but they’d altered themselves – probably to fit in better with the ruling ethnicity of their homeland. “Ghah, Bananas.” Pacoy scoffs
Under his breath, Mac mutters, “Anything interesting over there, Mei?” He looks over at Pacoy, an expression of confusion playing across his face. Seeing Mac’s confusion, Pacoy subvocally informs him “Thick yellow outer cosmetics, soft and white on the inside.”
“Looks clear.” Hank responds from the back. “Good. Keep us posted. I’d hate to run into more of these… thugs? Well, whatever passes for thugs up here.” Pitbull grates into the comm, kicking at the body of his kill as he stares at it.
Mei does find that both thugs are wearing some light armor – nanoweave, by the label on the shirt collar. It’s a simple shirt-and-pants underarmor affair.
“So let me introduce myself, my friends call me the Candyman or C-man. I’m the fixer for this fine group of Edgerunners behind me, it’s my aim to make the streets a bit safer and help my friends.” Candy nods back at Mei, “April, do you have any pain meds to ease the officers distress before we have a chat?”
The cop looks over at Candyman, and his eyes look bright – through the grime and blood – at the mention of ‘C-man’. “So you’re the cocksman!?” He looks disappointed when Candy says his actual name. “Oh. That… that’s good too.”
Wormwood snorts at the cops words, then hurries off to cover the rear with Hank, stifling laughter. A look of confusion spreads across Candy’s face, “Can’t say I’ve ever heard that particular phrase connected to myself.”
Mei comms to the group, “They are not carrying much. It’s odd, they’re white but have had surgery to look asian. Probably afraid of the Triad in cargotown. They’re clothes may be worth some though – nanoweave it looks like. Pacoy, can you take care of this man? He is still alive, bleeding fast.”
Mac responds back to Pacoy, keeping an eye on the police officer, barely able to hide a smile at the cop’s reaction. “Fitting mush for these two, particularly for how squishy they ended up being.”
Wormwood’s augmented hearing brings every word to him – and he can’t help himself at Candy’s words, “Bwahaha…snort!”
The cop shrugs. “I guess not. I heard he was a player down here, though – the sewers, I mean. Not under Cargotown. Over by the Core.” Pitbull smirks, over-hearing the cop’s words as he stomps past his kill to look at Wormwood’s target. Candy straightens himself out, “So this Cocksman is someone you would like to have met?”
Pacoy takes a look at the wounded thug “Do we want him Alive, or Alive For Now?” “For now is ok.” Mei begins to strip the Nanoweave off the men, “Also, keep an eye out for cyberware…or tattoos. We used to make good money off implants others didn’t see.”
Wormwood has a double-take at Hank as he draws up level in the gloom, “Hey, I just figured it. Caught a couple of your sensies back in the day. Good stuff, when I was a teen and not an Artist.” Hank pleasantly responds, “Thanks, are you a fan of my work?”
The officer nods; he still has a bit of a speech impediment, but the adrenaline seems to be still pumping through him – he’s got as much energy as a young dog. “The Cocksman was connected to a string of burglaries in the Core. Big reward for solving those crimes, but nobody at the station thought he was real. They were all ‘Jimmy can’t detect his way out of a paper bag’ and ‘nobody would call themselves the Cocksman! It’s too stupid!’ But I knew I was right!”
Wormwood leers at Hank, “Well, I liked that one with the three girls and the oil – but I’m into different stuff nowadays.” “I get the feeling that is how the market in general is now,” says Hank, with a tone of disappointment.
Candy nods with understanding, “So if I had been the Cocksman, would you have turned your savior and his men over for a reward?”
Wormwood nods at Hank as he subvocalizes, “Pacoy, Mei, that goon conscious enough yet to tell you what he thought the cop might know? That might just be something we should know before we go up top into Cargotown.” Pacoy catches wind of Wormwood and Hank’s side conversation and pinches the bridge of his nose, shaking his head as he sighs and continues patching up the nearly dead thug.
“He isn’t long without real care, but he’s awake.” Pacoy grunts, still working.
The cop turns to look Candy in the eye; Candy notices a distinct sheen in them, a sheen not quite accounted for by the blood and injuries. “I could have taken’ them! And him! So long as he didn’t reach into his pants. But…” The cop pauses. “I don’t know about giving him up if he helped me. Maybe punched him in the face a few times to pay him back for the crimes he committed!”
Pitbull stares down at the thug, cocking his head a little, watching as Pacoy patches the guy up.
Wormwood claps Hank on the shoulder, “You’re still an artist, guy, even if it’s not my taste any more. I gotta respect another artist.”
Candy nods, “Right then, well I’ve many eyes near the core. If you’d be willing to help a friend I’ll pass along what I learn about criminals on the streets. I might not be able to help with the Cocksman this far from my territory, but I would be pleased to exchange information. Besides he might wonder my way when the heat gets to be too much here – we can take him down together.” Candy offers a secure contact point. The cop accepts the contact point, but still looks jazzed, even with what is now becoming evident to be a broken cheekbone, a broken nose, and quite probably a few cracked ribs – at the least.
“Time to turn the tables here then. So Mr. Fake Asian, what’s your name and who do you work for?” as she says this she presses her finger on the man’s neck – just above his chest. Not hard enough to cause injury, but hard enough that he knows she could. And might.
“Are you in another part of the industry?” Hank asks. “More freelance, you might say. Not here, not now, m’kay?” Wormwood puts his finger to his lips and smiles. Hank nods his head and continues to keep a look out.
Pitbull points the barrel of his Reaper at the guy, almost five inches from his face. “You gonna tell me what made you think that it was such a good idea to rough a cop, boy?” Pitbull growls, distasteful emphasis on ‘boy’. The cop pipes up, “Hey, want some help roughing that guy up? I’ll hit him fucking hard in the face! Again!” Mac looks at Pitbull with some degree of concern, and then diverts his attention down the tunnel in the direction they had headed, keeping a watchful eye while others are focused on the prisoners.
“So what’s your name officer, unless you want me to call you Jimmy? I can have my driver come pick you up and take you to the hospital if you like – I think you have some broken bones. It’s not a problem.” Candy says in a soothing tone.
Mei speaks to the cop without turning her eyes away from her prisoner’s. “That’s quite alright officer, this is a bit of a specialty of mine. It requires a delicate touch, sometimes.”
Wormwood steps over to Dweezil the guide and whispers, “You ok there, big man? Don’t worry about this, it’s just business – but i gotta ask, since you’re the guy we hired to know this stuff…what do you think we should do with the cop?” Dweezil looks down at Wormwood, then shrugs. “I and I need not know such things as this. If the po-po be keen on allowin’ us to walk and without squeeking like a chicken up top, we no think we gotta gut him like a fish.”
Meanwhile, Candy comms, “Mei, I think this cop is juicing. He’s aggressive and a bit unpredicatable, do you have some sedative to ease him back down and maybe take a touch of pain away?”
Wormwood shrugs, “Good call, Zion man.” He switches to subvocalization, “Candy, the guide says we should kill this cop if he won’t promise to stay quiet about us when we let him go.”
Clearly getting impatient, Pitbull shifts the Reaper in his grip and moves it to barely an inch from the thug’s eye. “Well, boy?” Mei cautions the thug, “You’d really better start talking. Pitbull here is not as patient as I am. And don’t go thinking he’d make it quick either.”
“I agree. If you feel his life is going to endanger ours, he most certainly needs to join his friends” Hank subvocalizes coldly.
The thug spits at Pitbull, striking him straight in the face. “Fuck – hrrr – you, lady-tits! We just wanted to get some info; cop and his brainplant, figure out what’s going on up-top. Where we
need to avoid down here.”
“One thing though, it would cause another friend of mine, and all of us, a great deal of trouble if people heard we were breaking quarantine. We’re on a lead to put a stop to this plague and those causing it – but I’m going to need your help there. Is it a deal?” Candyman gives the cop a serious look – even fatal.
Mei presses her thumb a bit harder on the man’s neck. “Now now, theres no need to get an attitude. Why don’t you answer my question? Who are you and who do you work for? You’d better play nice or I’ll have to get my knife out.”
The cop hops over and shakes Candy’s hand. “Deal, not-C-man. You take out the trash and his friends and the people who put up the plague and I won’t say a peep.” The cop’s hand feels wrong to Candy’s senses; when he looks down, Candy sees that some of his fingers are bent completely out of shape. The cop doesn’t seem to notice.
Pitbull wipes the man’s spittle from his face, and presses the rifle barrel in between the man’s eyes, snarling. “You think the gun is the best I can do? That’s quick and easy, prick!” Pitbull grates, restrained fury in his eyes.
Mei comms back to Candy, “Oh, I forgot, Candy – I do have something that might help the cop.” She removes her bracelet and sets the selector to sooth. “Here, put this on his wrist and hit the activation button.” After a brief pause, she reconsiders. “Actually, wait – this may be a bit much for him.”
Candy turns to Dweezil, “On your way back up can you take Officer Jimmy, I’ll have some of my crew topside to get him medical treatment.” Candy palms Dweezil a grand for the trouble.
“Hey cop,” Wormwood calls softly, “what was it they thought you knew?” The cop stands tall and looks around, then down at his shirt. He frowns for a moment and brushes some blood and muck off his uniform, revealing a nameplate – Officer J. Taffy. Officer Taffy looks up at Worm. “Oh, the patrol routes for the quarantine and what’s going on with the plague. Just got a new info-blot this morning. Hounds wanted it out of me good, but hah! Nothing coming.”
Candy calls out, “Good man.”
Mac looks over. “Oh? What is going on with the patrol routes and the plague? Anything interesting?” He attempts to make the cop feel like he’s talking shop around the water cooler back at the department. Jimmy nods. “Hells yeah! They figured the damned plague out. Someone messed around with a Gen-Nu virus, thought it went extinct decades ago. The routes; eh. Nothing interesting. They’re cutting back so we can flood the sewers. Gonna put octobots in our place.” Mac snorts. “Octobots aint ever going to replace a good paddy. When is the flooding taking place?” The cop shrugs. “I dunno. 2100. Or was it 2030? 2145? We’re all supposed to be out by 2000 sharp.”
Mac curses into his mic. “I think we’ve got a deadline for coming out this way, lads. This place’ll be wetter than a barman’s rag soon after 2000.” Wormwood glances at the time display in his HUD, curses, and spins back to Dweezil, “Quick, mon, how do we get up from here?” Mei comms in reply, “Coming out? That’s barely an hour away!” Pacoy checks his time-display “Double Time it boys and girls!” Candy comms, “Ok lets wrap this up brothers, time to get the hell on with business.”
Mac throws a salute at the officer. “Nice getting to know you.” He hefts his shotgun and proceeds to look towards Dweezil, ready to hustle down the corridor indicated. Dweezil looks down the tunnels for a moment, then points – a ladder leading up a few dozen yards ahead shines in the light of his flashlight, and Hank begins heading in that direction. “Not where we be wantin’ to come out, but close enough for babylon.”
Pitbull looks over to the commotion, then back to the man with his Reaper planted into his forehead. He smirks as he growls to him, “Looks like you’re getting the quick and easy.” “Its a shame. Might be useful to know who was after this info.” Mei says.
Pitbull’s Reaper splatters the thugs head, Aphex round exploding in his cranium. Pitbull then starts stripping both of the men of their Nano weave armor. Wormwood laughs, “Overkill, Pitts my friend. Nicely stylish though.” Mac grimaces at the small-scale explosion and turns to head towards the ladder, slinging his shotgun to ease his ability to climb.
“So your Art is snuff work, Wormie, or are you appreciating my Art?” Pitbull says, tone hinting at a joke.
Mei notices an inked tattoo of a dragon on the body of one of the dead men as Pitbull strips him of his armor. “Well, looks like the dead one answered his friends question for him.”, she comms vocally in forming the others. “Sign of a Triad.”
Pacoy stows his gun and recalls the bots. Preparing to climb the ladder, he sends up a fresh Pinbot. The Pinbot climbs up about twenty feet, then… tunk. It hits the roof. When the camera angles up, it appears to be an old-style manhole cover. Mac looks up at the Pinbot. “Want someone to go up with some hands, chum? I’ve wrangled my way out of sewers before.”
Wormwood moves to climb the ladder too, “We’re all artists, Pits, the question is what kind?” Pitbull grimaces as he struggles with the legs of the armor from the first thug. “I’m just a bullshit artist with a gun, I’d say.” As he strips down to pants level, he notices that the corpse had just voided its bowels. “Ugh. I guess literally in this case.”
Pacoy recalls the bot. “Guess it’s time to go ‘Old School’ here.” Candyman speaks up, “Up and at ‘em – for Garrion.” Mei moves over to Candyman who’s been navigating by the light of Dweezil’s flashlight and leads him towards the ladder.
Pitbull gets up from the dirty work and climbs the ladder to the manhole cover. The ticking clock keeps going up. It’s now 1955. Seeing Pitbull having some difficulty with the heavy cover, Wormwood shinnies up the side of the ladder and lends a hand. Pitbull and Wormwood strive together, struggling for just a moment and then – pop! The manhole cover comes loose; Pitbull maneuvers it to the side and out of the way.
Hank waits at the bottom of the ladder waiting for everyone to go up and keeping a look out.
The cop waddles over to the ladder, still blissed out on pain medication. “Where you guys going? That’s up to the Plague zone.” Mei pulls out one of the unused air filters she found on the thugs, and hands it to the cop. “Might want to put this on.”
Mac puts a hand on the cop’s shoulder. “Boyo, the waters are coming. This way’s clear enough a way out of here. And we have some business. If you want to clear out of here in time, you might have to leave your carbine here and book it.”
Candy nods, “Yes Officer Taffy, Umbra is responsible for the plague. They’ve already attacked a hospital and killed the patients with the plague there to cover their asses – we’re taking the fight to them. Dig up this shit and force them to back off, before they develop a weapon that threatens us all.” “Kill us all?!” Hank exclaims. “Unless we pay them.” Candy responds wryly.
Pitbull forces himself up onto the other side, making sure that his filtration mask does not come off in the process. Wormwood likewise makes sure his mask is secure and follows Pitbull.
“Is this Gen Nu virus really that deadly?” Mei asks, astonished. “They are directing it down a specific course, imagine if they could flip it like a switch and for a low monthly payment of $299.99 you too can forstall death…” Candy’s face is grim. Pacoy chimes in, “Yeah, M..Alice – Gen-Nu is REAL bad mojo. Real Bad.”
Pitbull finds himself in the middle of a street near the edge of a neighborhood that is on fire. Shouting, gunfire, and all-around chaos can be found everywhere Pitbull looks, and more than one building is literally in flames. As he looks around, a kid comes running down the street; his feet just barely miss Wormwood’s head as Wormy begins to pull himself out of the sewer. “Holy Klono’s brazen balls!” Wormwood keys the team net, “Better come fast guys, all hell is breaking out up here!” Pitbull couldn’t help himself from rolling his eyes at Wormwood’s line as he locates a spot of cover.
“That sounds crazy,” says Hank, with a hint of disbelief. “Seen worse.” Candy say dryly. Mei resists the urge to curse in Cantoneese, instead keeping her accent up. “Bastards probably would, too.” The idea of being on the receiving end of extortion aggravating her more than most other danger she’s encountered in this city. Mei relays Wormwood’s words to those without the comm-net – “Its nasty up there. Brace yourselves.” She then comms to Pacoy, “By the way, the code name was April – not Alice. Hope nobody picked it up. Should be fine with just these two, though.”
Mac blinks a few times, then, out of fear of being hit with a roaring wall of water, makes sure Mei and Candyman are climbing up the ladder before he himself begins the ascent, where he is followed by Pacoy and then Hank. Candy mumbles as he is ushered up the ladder, “Better than the Octobots I suppose.”
Pitbull comms to the team. “Follow me. I see some cover.” Wormwood follows Pitbull, grabbing his elbow and pointing to a cool spot in the direction he’s heading, “No fire over there Pits!” Pitbull looks in that direction. “Any gunfire down there?” It quickly proves to be a silly question, as there is gunfire coming from everywhere. Very little is aimed in the direction of the group, however. Even less seems to be ‘aimed’ at all. “Fuck it.” Pitbull grunts as he heads in the direction that Wormwood pointed to. Better cover anyway. Candy comms over, “Coming up team, already dreading how bad it sounds.”
Wormwood throws himself down in the shadow of an old, crumbling building next to Pitbull, “Come on, it’s fire or water!” He comms to his team-mates. Mac doubles over, unslinging his shotgun as he does, and follows along behind Wormwood and Pitbull. Mac grunts into his comms, “Can I take a third option? Not keen on either of those two! Wind, maybe?” “Your survival rate is much better dodging bullets than a flood. Stick with me, and you won’t die!” Pitbull comms to Mac.
The cop tries to head on up after Candyman has cleared the manhole. “Hey, wait up. Hrmph. Urr. Damnit. My hands aren’t working right! Start working, hands! Grab those rungs! Gr-Raaah!” A few moments later, the cop comes flying out of the manhole like a tossed sack of potatos, Dweezil following right behind.
Mac comms back at Pitbull. “You and me, mate, I’ll be like your shadow.” He checks the cop’s landing, checking to see if Candy is okay as well. Candy dashes over and slides down next to Pitbull, “Insane up here, what the hell happened?”
Wormwood rolls around on his back, looking for an entry to a building that isn’t burning and doesn’t have gunfire coming from it. As they look around the ruins of what was once a proud Combat Zone ruled with an iron fist by the Triad, the Edgerunners find that the Red Plague has done quite a number on the area. Mac’s keen eyes zoom in on the burning buildings – and note piles of bodies stacked up like cordwood within. The population on the streets has drastically thinned out, and what is there is angry. It’s a proper riot, with molotov cocktails, automatic weapons – and even what look to be a few bodies that were cut up by someone wielding a sword.
Gunfire regularly stitches buildings, both from windows or doorways and from people just running about the street. There does seem to be one semi-calm area, however – a few blocks north. There, you can hear the practiced shots of trained shooters exercising proper fire discipline. Only a few shots ring out from that direction, each and every one enough to silence another troublemaker getting too close to the area.
Mac blinks a few times. “Oh this is a right and proper mess. Swords? I didn’t sign up to deal with swords.” “Last I checked, none of us signed a damn thing. All I know is I’m not going near the building with the guns.” Pitbull growls ominously as he watches a runner wielding what appears to be a decorative mace get gunned down in front of the building.
Mei comms subvocally, “Yeah, that place would virtually be a deathtrap for me. I’d suggest we avoid it if possible.” Candy nods to Mei, turning to his tech specialist. “Pacoy, is there a way you could get a message to them? If they are against what Umbra is up to, as I would be if this was my turf, they will be willing to help. Besides, they will know more about their own territory than any other jack leg out here.”
Wormwood takes a look in the direction being discussed. “Guys, that’s not a building, exactly – if I remember right its one of those old aircraft carrier thingies towed in to be broken up then forgotten about.” Mac looks around, trying to think of an alternate solution to having anything to do with the aircraft carrier. “The People’s Liberation Front might know a bit of what we’re looking for, but it might take some time to locate them as well. The Triad might be the fastest way to find some answers.”
Pacoy looks at Candy apologetically, “Sorry, Candy – All the bots I brought are non-vocal, I could flash code with the Pinbot, but it’ll probably just draw fire.” Candyman nods at Pacoy. “Give it a try, I’ll cover the costs Pacoy.”
Mei interjects, “What about radio comms? Just broadcast open.” Wormwood pipes up, “Good Idea, whatshername! Worth a try, Candy.” Candy nods, “Who can speak to them here, I’ve not had any reason to upload laguage programs in my turf.” “Well, I could – but I imagine they speak English. At least some of them would,” Mei replies.
“How about a note attatched to it?” Pitbull wonders aloud. Mac digs out a notepad from his back pocket. “Ain’t nobody ever objected to a piece of mail, Pit. That idea might work.” Candy clasps Mac on the shoulder, “Damn man, you’re prepared!” He then nods to Mei, “I’ll speak for us then, just don’t want to cause them any irritation.” “They might be more willing to help if we speak Chinese though. I’ll do it, call me Jingfei.” Mei shifts her appearance to that of a Chinese woman, taking care not to look to similar to her true self.
“English is pretty universal, I think. Maybe one of them at least almost speaks it.” Pitbull ventured. Candy offers a shrug of his shoulders. “Well Mei, you’re the expert here, I’ll defer to you.”
“Didn’t think anyone carried paper anymore…” Pitbull growls. Mac laughs. “Never leave home without it. Can’t hack paper, Bruno.” He pulls a pen from inside his suit jacket and twirls it around his fingers.
“I’m more worried about drawing fire on us than on the bot!” Pacoy sends the tiny little pinbot towards the carrier, as it approaches, it starts flashing in code.
As the Edgerunners debate how to send a message to the overseers of this land, a sudden noise is heard from the left – a strangled cry of battle coming from Officer Taffy’s lips, now going blue from lack of oxygen as a man holds him high in the air before tossing him to the ground like a rag doll. A loud crash erupts from near Pitbull’s head; when he turns, he sees the manhole cover, buried in the wall just a few inches away.
Pitbull raises his Reaper and searches, vigorously scanning for the culprit. The groups eyes all turn outwards and they notice that they are now the center of attention of several of the Cargotown ‘citizens’ who were out on the streets. When they get a closer look, they notice something strange – half of them, maybe more, have strange growths growing out of their bodies and faces – obvious tumors. Others have scars covering most of their bodies. And they all look angry.