Dateline: Same day as last session, 1400 local time.
The team have assembled back at Candyman’s lair, tired and windswept. They’ve had a couple of hours to wash, nap, and contact the interested parties. Now, they are awaiting the arrival of various negotiators and bag men. The first to arrive is unexpected. A slim and beautiful Asian woman shows up, telling them that she was given the address by the Emir. She wants to talk about a crashed AV. Mei sizes up the building from outdoors, thinking it an impressive hold for the small size of the group she was told about. Mei is sure she’s being watched from the several broken windows in the tower above – her skin prickles with the knowledge some are probably watching through gunsights.
Francheska comms Candyman on their personal channel: “Father, we have a visitor – I’m sure the first of the day. But she is not on my database. Should I detain her or see her off?” Candyman replies, “Aequitas, it could be someone related to the ‘Ghost’, we did recover it in the Emir’s territory. I’ll be right down, escort her in please.” He turns to the others. “Looks like we might have a visitor”, easing out of his chair and throwing his coat on, he tosses the next words over his shoulder, “might be related to the ‘Ghost’. I’ll be heading down, welcome to come along or enjoy yourself here, I’ll be back shortly regardless.” Pacoy shrugs and joins Candyman, mostly out of curiosity.
Behind them in the rest area they leave Able sitting at a table, the briefcase with the Ghost on it before him. A cable snakes from his neck down to an interface port on the side of the Ghost, and Able has his eyes closed, clearly communing with his interface. He is deep in concentration as information rapidly streams up the interface and into his storage banks, the entire digital signature of the Ghost within the case packaged up and shipped into Able’s skull. This is clearly a taxing process; Able has begun to perspire greatly, and if anyone were to touch the interface it would be quite hot to the touch. Pitbull is lounging in his favorite chair, cleaning and maintaining his Reaper, with a cigarette hanging from his lips while Garrion stays by Able to watch and guard him while he works, supposing that the others can handle everything.
Pitbull locks and loads his Reaper then stands to follow Candy, gun raised in a ready position, but is waved back with a smile, “We don’t need to be rude Pitbull, just guard the ‘Ghost’, more valuable than me anyways.” He goes back to his cleaning, idly watching Able as his own hands glide over the Reaper with assured deftness.
Below, the massive front doors of the former prison slowly lever open on their hydraulic systems, slabs of solid ceramic clad in steel. Mei is surprised to see a slim girl, perhaps 14 or 15, standing in the big doorway with a bouquet of hothouse flowers. the girl speaks: “Ma’am, my Sister has told me to bring you to Father. If you would please come with me.” She turns to lead the way. Mei follows the young girl into the building, the look of confusion at her greeter clearly visible on her brow. "I understand this the hold of man called “Candyman?” I speak with him if possible," her Chinese accent is obvious. The girl bobs a bow, “Yes, Ma’am,” she touches her ear, “Father is on his way down to meet you now.” She gestures to an elevator, the only one in a bank of three that is working. ,The elevator ‘dings’ open and two men step out. Both are slim and dark-haired, well dressed. One nods to the young girl and smiles at her before waving a hand to dismiss her.
Mei bows, a short but cautious nod of formal respect, “Mr. Candyman? Hello, I am Mei Wong. A man named Mr. Bey told me to see you. You took down a Sphinx near the bay very recently, yes?” “Ah a friend of Mr. Bey is a friend of mine.,” Candy returns the bow, “I tried to get through to him on that matter, yes. I hope it has come to a beneficial resolution Ms. Mei Wong?” Pacoy steps past him and offers a hand to the newcomer, “Hello, my name is Pacoy, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” Mei shakes Pacoy’s hand, her palm perfectly dry – a telltale sign of syntheflesh – and continues speaking, “Hello Pacoy. Yes, yes, a good resolution. I recover the vehicle. It engine destroyed, so sold for scrap, but still good money. Mr. Bey says I keep some, rest is for your team.”
Mei offers Candyman a cashcard which he takes with a gentle hand, “I am glad we could be of service to the Bey and yourself. Is there anything else I can do for you today Ms. Mei Wong.” Candy’s cheer is evident as he deftly runs the card past his smart-phone’s scanner, seeing it holds $18,000. “Yes, I am to join up with your team. Your other girl – Snow – she go too deep. Can’t get out now. I replace her.” Candy nods, “Excellent, I was worried about Snow. She covered some of my inadequacies. If you would care to come up, the rest of the team is together now.” Candy presses the elevator button and holds it open for Ms. Wong. As she follows him into the spacious box, Mei tells him, “If you worried, he said she ok. Just has to wait till safe to leave.”
Meanwhile, up in the rest area, Able is aware of the massive data load he’s just copied. His brain feels stuffed – and then a rough and guttural voice speaks into his head: “Wotcher. Where the fuck am I?” The download continue as Able generates spins up a little VR reality meeting-place, a virtual chat-room that took the appearance of a spartan interrogation room in Able’s mind. “You’re in a box in Night City. General Martin, is it?”
The General nods, seen only by Able in his virtual cell. “Ayup, that’s me.” He chuckles, “first time I’ve been on this side of the table in many years. So, what’s it to be, pal, going to slap me around or be sensible and use drugs?” Able leans back a little. “I think you misunderstand your situation, General. Your body is still in Britain, over 5000 miles away. It would be a little difficult injecting you with a drug, or even slapping you around.” The General snorts: “Oh bollocks, I’m the ghost then? i keep forgetting which I am. Why are you pissing around, then, tosser? Open up the bloody box and let me see where I really am. I’ll maybe be more amenable, then. No promises.”
Watched carefully by Garrion and Pitbull – the latter even stubs out his latest cigarette – Able opens his eyes, gradually, then shakily but carefully lifts the lid on the General’s conveyance – the effort is nearly enough to make him fall over as the tide of information continues to spill into his databanks. The screen on the inside of the suitcase-carrier flickers, then a hologram of a grumpy looking old man in a military uniform sparks into being. He makes a show of looking around. “What a bloody dump. Looks like a slum or my Mum’s old place. I suppose you’re all terrorists, then? White Mice?”
The elevator ‘dings’ and Garrion turns swiftly, making motions to the arrivals to be silent and notice the screen, but the construct has already noticed. His coarse English accent roughens even more as he calls out, “Oh look, more bloody traitors! At least one’s a nice piece of tottie. If only I wasn’t just data, girl!” Pitbull barks a harsh laugh., “At least he hasn’t lost himself in the box! A horn-dog with no horn!” Mei smiles at his compliment – but doesn’t blush: “Too bad you don’t see my real face. You regret being a box even more.”
Able sits back, clearly tired as the data continues to stream into his skull. His voice carries through the box’s speakers, his own body a bit too tired to engage in normal speech, “You aren’t quite what I imagined, General.” “What did you think, I’d be some chinless wonder with a smarmy accent? Fuck that for a game of soldiers,” the ghost shoots back in contempt, as Candy steps off the elevator and looks upon the scene in surprise. “Seems another guest arrived while I was away. If you worry about our cause, I assure you its nothing so callous as terrorism, we’re couriers. We seek only the betterment of our selves and our dependents. Still, a pleasure, and you’ll be meeting those who have an interest in ‘you’ short enough. It’s not Dream Corp, but I know little to nothing of these White Mice, other than the random bit of street drivel.”
The general’s holographic image expands until his face fills the screen and he seems to be focused entirely on Candyman. “Oh, I see. Mercenaries. You’re right – It’s not that Dream Corps lab. Dull as dishwater, that was. But I guess I’m still in Night City. I tell you what, sonny-jim, call the local British consulate and ask to speak to the military liaison. He’ll do you a better deal than whatever buyer you had lined up or I don’t know me real-flesh self.” Candyman holds his hands before him in mock handcuffs, “Quite out of my hands. While more money would be welcome, I’m doing this more to earn the trust of a few good people. I do wish you the best General, I hope for your sake it is the British government you’re going back to.”
The General’s ghost snorts, “Good people? Royalist traitors, more likely. Scum who’d suck all the good out of the country while yapping like corgis about their right to rule. Do you know how much that old bat Elizabeth kept to herself? Fifty billion pounds, at a time when the national debt was crippling us. Be on the right side, eh?”
Able responds dismissively to that. “Fifty billion pounds wasn’t any significant fraction of the British national debt at the time of the coupe.” The General has an answer ready, though, “Right enough, clever clogs, but you’re forgetting the cash the rest of the toffs had stashed away. Becoming a Republic was the only way to save the country – and if you hand me over to the Royalists you’ll be helping them put it back to the way it was.” This time, it’s Candyman who replies, “Mayhaps, but I have no stock in the any of that. People are people, you still have the power to shape opinions, but we are already bought and paid for. I would like nothing better than to help you, I’ve been the victim of human greed, but to help those few I can…I need good will.” Candyman seems to pause for a few moments “I’ll accompany you to the trade though, ask that you be allowed to make your case. There is nothing against it in the contract and I would like to have all misgivings out in the open at the least. I can sympathize…” He pauses in mid-sentence, then tills his head just so:: “Ah, Gomi is here now. If you can stay up awhile longer General, we can get this all out and clear.” He pauses a moment. “Yes, they may land.”
Mei starts as if she’s going to say something but stops short of making a word as the general begins to laugh, “Gomi? You sold me to a junk-shop? I’m sure Captain Wendham at the Consulate would make a better deal than some pikeys.”
Candy gives the General an apologetic look, then Able leans forwards, a relieved look on his face as he swiftly detaches his fiber-optic cable from the box. A slight ‘whirring’ which was scarcely noticeable earlier finally quiets down. He leans forwards and starts playing with the box itself, interrupting the General’s view of the rest of the room, then spends a few moments inspecting the system’s hardware before jacking into it once again, with a different end-game in mind. He begins attempting to fully penetrate the computer’s defenses, rather than simply copying it wholesale, though he doubts he’ll be too successful.
As Able sits down again, the elevator door whishes open once more and a small crowd get out. Gabriel and Ragdoll from the Gomi Emporium are there, but three figures the team last saw in the dark of night atop Talking Rock Tower lead the way.
As soon as Able moves out of the way, the general sees the newcomers. “Ah, Colonel. So nice to see you again, I don’t think. I should have known the tale of a junk-shop was so much rubbish. How is her ladyship?” His accent and demeanor have entirely changed – less rough, more cultured and educated, both calm and urbane. The older of the three, the man with the waistcoat and the older-model cyberoptic, bows deeply to the holo-screen. “You have no idea how delighted I am to see you in this…pickle, general. You’re going to be so very useful to us.”
Candy smoothly steps up beside the box, “So you’re the White Mice the General has been fretting about?” Pitbull picks up on something in his voice, and keeps a steady hand in the vicinity of his Reaper, eying the newcomers with suspicion. The older man turns to Candy, “Yes indeed. I used to be Colonel Phillip Fowlkes of the Royal Marines, once upon a long ago. Now just a loyal subject of the Princess in exile, doing his best for the cause.” Fowlkes produces a pre-paid card. “As agreed, $5,000 for each of your team on completion. $30,000 in all.”
Candyman nods but doesn’t take the cards, “The princess being Lady Firmin then. Her street reputation is quite first-rate, however the General has voiced some misgivings as to the way his ‘being’ will be used. I’ve agreed to help him reach an understanding on his future and inquire as to what uses he will be put to in improving life for the typical British citizen.” The Colonel turned resistance fighter chuckles, “He did, eh? well, I shall tell you that the data he possesses and his own knowledge of DI5 operating procedures will be used to bring freedom from his dreaded secret police, from arbitrary arrests and torture, from summary punishments at the hands of crony judges and from being ‘disappeared’ into the fascist government’s cells.”
Pitbull laughs, noticing that the issue isn’t too different from the issue he left in Mexico, as Candy turns to the General “Your thoughts on their platform? Do their aims sound in alignment with your wishes?” “Are you insane? No, and thrice no. these are enemies of the State!” but the Resistance fighter isn’t finished.
“…also, the Republic is possibly the only Western nation that habitually uses it’s armed forces to keep down it’s own population with live ammunition. Remind me sometime to send you footage of the Brixton massacre this ghost’s real version ordered."
Candyman bristles – his own experiences have left him with a new appreciation of the downside of betrayal and for the rights of even the lowest, “Real version, the General is very much alive. He may be operating at less than optimum capacity as compared to our brains, but that can be rectified for someone of his station. This is a discussion, I would like to keep it respectful, please.”
Pitbull turns to the image of the General, “They make you out to be a real royal bastard, don’t they?”
The general answers Pitbull with slow and sincere dignity, “All I have done, I have done to save my country. Harsh measures were sometimes warranted to prevent dissent tearing the nation apart.” Pitbull folds his arms and smirks, “That’s something along the lines of what my former-superiors told me. With less twang, though.”
Behind the suitcase, out of line of it’s audio-visual pick-ups, Pacoy has been filling Mei in on the provenance of the ghost and the team’s efforts to procure it. Mei whispers to Pacoy, “How much you know about how he got loose? Was it not long ago?” He whispers back, “As far as I know, yeah. Dreams Corp hasn’t had it long enough to do anything real with it, but it’s been in the wind at least a few weeks.” Pacoy shoots a sub-vocal comm to Garrion, “Do we know how long the Ghost has been out of Brit hands?” then passes on the reply, whispering to Mentadak, “Pretty sure less than a month out of Brit hands.” Mei nods and whispers back, reassured about something, “Ah. That good then.”
Able backs off from the intrusion attempt and finally logs out, unplugging from the case for good as Gabriel steps past the Colonel and appeals to Candyman, “Are you trying to welch on the deal? That’d be bad business. The Emir would lose face if he didn’t succeed in having his debt to Her Ladyship paid off.”
Candyman sighs theatrically. “I will stand by my word and see that the ‘Ghost’ goes to Gomi. However, he is still a person and has some rights – I merely would like you to show him the respect of a captured enemy that befits his station. For myself, if your revolution is successful, my ability to get a hold of weapons will diminish and it could well cost me more than the pay of this job. Would it be possible to arrange something in regards to that?” Ragdoll sighs in turn at this expected development, “I suppose this is necessary.” She produces another debit card. “A bonus from the lady of $15,000, for a job swiftly accomplished with minimal collateral damage. Final offer.”
Pitbull lights another cigarette and grumbles, “Remember, remember the 5th of November…” at which Candyman takes the hint and hangs his head in defeat. “Very well, such a market loss will be short term and across the board. I hope in the future we can prove useful to one another – acquisitions, information trading, or otherwise. ‘Ghosts’ may yet be outside the protection of the law as far as human rights, but I hope you will be as forward thinking in that regard as you are to the welfare of your nation. He has been murdered once already, I hope you will repay him for his contributions to your cause in the near future.” The Colonel steps past everyone and shuts the case, also shutting up the General’s ghost.
With the General gone, Mei turns to Pacoy again, no longer whispering, “Thank you for before. I was afraid he may have been trap. He mentioned name earlier…Wendham…she only been in city 2 years.” Pacoy nods, “Ah. Thanks. Here, let me hook you up with comm channels.” He proceeds to give Mentadak the team’s encrypted communications wavelengths to key into her own phone and modem.
The Colonel picks up the case and passes it to his male companion, “Here, Hugh, take good care of this, there’s more than just our lives at stake.” His friend looks grave and just nods, sharply. Able stands up, facing the Colonel and his party. “It was acceptable working with you. If you ever desire our services again, give us a call.” The tattoo on Able’s face flashes, briefly displaying the Rossum logo as he puts out a hand to shake. The Colonel notices the tattoo with only the barest raise of his eyebrow, then draws himself up and salutes the room. “Thank you, you don’t know how much this will mean. I’d like to think we’ll be in touch with more business at some stage.” He turns on his heel and leads the resistance members out, carrying their prize with them and leaving behind their payment on Candyman’s clear-topped coffee table. The team are left alone – and somewhat richer – with their main mission now accomplished and handed off to the clients.
Garrion lets out his breath with a whoosh, “Well I’m just glad that damned thing is gone. The last thing we need is someone trying to jump us to get it.” Candyman frowns at that: “Well, I feel a bit dirty. I don’t believe in human trafficking.” He goes to get a drink as Garrion replies, “He was a scumbag. No different than taking a prisoner and handing him over for interrogation.” Pitbull: hoots, “Yeh! ‘Xactly why we need some celebratin’, Gar’!” but Able steps over to Candyman and speaks to him quietly, “We agree there, Candyman; we simply disagree about what it means to be human. I can assure you, no matter how realistically he portrayed his template, that software was not human.”
Mei looks around at the faces she hasn’t been introduced to and tries to change the subject, “Sorry – I entered at bad time. I am Mei – was sent to replace your friend Snow.” The others nod or give laconic greetings and Pitbull tries to flirt a little – which she deflects gracefully – but this philosophy session isn’t finished yet. Candy downs a heavy hit of his drink and announces, “The victor writes history, and so the loser must shoulder the pain of defeat, reparations, and all the war crimes. The victor goes on scot-free. Don’t think we were saints here.”
A young man, barely 16, enters the room. “Father, Francheska sent me to tell you that the Emir’s representative is on his way. A Mr. Battersea, she said. he’s alone, apparently, but she says there are at least six Imazighen AV’s within 30 seconds flight of the Home.”
Pitbull answers Candy’s deep thought, “Don’t care one way, no less. He was the software of yet another guy who sends rapists with guns to shoot up a town. Don’ care what happens to him, really.” Pacoy nods, “Yeah, it was an amazing array of ones and zeroes, but I agree with Able, a program isn’t a person.” Candyman, however, still looks pensive, “I don’t really agree, we are coming upon that age. I’ll leave the celebrating to you gentlemen, thanks for your hard work, but I’ve some soul searching to do.”
The elevator opens and Francheska ushers in a massive man, at least seven foot, balding and grim. “Father, Mr. Battersea to see you.” Candy hides his coming depression, and turns to Battersea with a cheerful smile plastered upon his face, “Ah, welcome, welcome. What can I do for you Mr. Battersea?” The Emir’s strong right arm smiles at them like a portcullis gate opening and moves forward in a soft whine of servos. “Salaam al-alaikum,” he makes a gesture of benediction. “I bring Mr. Bey’s personal thanks for a job well done.” He nods to Mei, “I see you found your way here. Good, good. I hope my friends are making you comfortable and welcome, eh?”
Candyman smoothly interjects, “Ah yes, Gomi just left and seemed quite pleased. It was a pleasure working with the Bey, we got the credit chip from Ms. Wong, everything is looking quite profitable on all sides.” Candy gestures to his small bar and moves over to prepare Battersea a drink. “What do you take?”
“A father must be both stern and loving if he is to be a blessing to his children, so the Prophet teaches, but his children must give him respect at all times,” Battersea compliments Candyman. He asks for tea and whines over to the big sofa then carefully eases his bulk into it. “It is good to be welcomed.” Mei eyes turns to him, “Yes, I think I will fit here. Please thank Mr. Bey. I know this favor for our friend, but tell him I owe him too." Battersea inclines his head again in what is obviously a deliberately studied but often-used gesture, “I will pass on your thanks, in gladness.”
Meanwhile, Garrion, Able and Pitbull have gathered by the small bar, leaving the three fixers to do their thing. Garrion asks, “So what did you have in mind for celebrating Pitbull?” Pitbull shrugs, “The usual off-duty soldier way? Beer, strippers, prostitutes, something not involving blowing shit up? You guys’ call!” Able reaches over and grabs a few bottles from the bar, mixing together a drink, throwing things together almost randomly but with the aim of getting a strong taste. It… doesn’t look very appetizing, and is quite strong in the alcohol content. Garrion watches him, then shakes his head. “Alcohol and I don’t get along. I prefer not to muddy up my brain. I’m game for hangin’ with ya though.”
Battersea, taking up most of the couch himself, smiles at the three then speaks, “Is the ghost of the British oppressor already gone then? I had hoped to see it. Ah well. Mr. Candyman, the Emir wished me to enquire about the status of your new territory. He hopes all is well and assures you that he stands ready to assist in any small way he can. Friends must wash hands together, eh? Alas, I also have more reason for my visit than just to pass idle time with my friends and friends of my friends. To pass to business so swiftly is rude, I know, but The Emir bids me ask if the luxury vehicle recently appropriated from the Dream Corps security chief is available for purchase. He has a willing buyer. He is also interested whether any of you had the foresight to make a copy of the Ghost, for which he would also be willing to pay.”
Candy comes back with a tea and bottle of water, allowing Battersea to take his pick. "Yes, friends must, for who else will. I look forward to supporting the Bey in future projects.“ He sits down across from Battersea, all smiles and good cheer. Mentadak takes another chair. “I would like stay as well.” Mei loads her English Naturalizer Module, figuring if she’s drinking she’ll need the extra help speaking…and she won’t be learning much in that state of mind. Then, her accent effectively gone, “I’d be interested to learn more about this group you’re running, Candy. I have quite a bit of experience in the matter. Maybe I could lend a hand?”
From by the bar, Pitbull laughs, “Count me in. I can’t think of anything better than shooting people who deserve a shot for a living." The three fixers ignore him as Candy studies Ms. Wong, “Perhaps, I run Desiderium like a loose family. I suppose that is more similar to the Orient. I’ve a second base of operations now – so my workload is pretty heavy at the moment. If you would care to aid me in that regard – I would readily accept. Are you willing to join Desiderium or is this strictly a bid as an advisory contractor?”
Battersea’s exoskeleton creaks as he leans forward, his voice almost imperceptibly harder, “It would please the Emir very much if this new team of Edgerunners would consider taking Mei on as a full partner…” but Mentadak is already smoothly covering her new team-mate‘s question. “I wouldn’t expect you to be so hasty as to accept me in a leadership role without knowing my skills. I would be ok with assisting you for the moment. I have heard the young ones calling you father, and each other brother and sister. This is why I ask. If they care for you as family, it seems like the place for me. It would help me to atone for my sins. Besides, taking some time to acclimate will give me time to resolve some outstanding issues with my…last family.” Candy catches Battersea’s meaning though, “Ah, yes, well there are plenty of jobs Mei can aid with in a more general sense. I would appreciate any help you can give on the Desiderium angle Ms. Wong, but if you’re to remain outside our organization, I ask you show the proper deference to my lieutenants.” Mei smiles back at Candy, “I have plenty of experience in deferring to superiors, it should be no problem. I’m very optimistic that this will turn out to be a mutually beneficial partnership. You demonstrated great loyalty earlier in refusing the General’s offer. No doubt, the British would have paid multitudes more to get that box back.”
Able, who has been standing by the bar with his eyes unfocused, pulls himself together as something Battersea said penetrates at last. He turns to the Emir’s strong right arm and tips his glass. “I have a full and intact copy of the Ghost loaded on my neural implant. What is your starting offer for the rights to a copy?” Able turns to Candy, “Candyman, I leave it in your able hands to negotiate a purchasing price.”
Battersea turns back to Candy, "I assume from the lack of answer that the vertol is not for sale. A pity, but not a grave one. For the AV as-is The Emir would pay up to $150,000. But I understand if you want to keep such a fine machine. Let us speak of the ghost copy, then.” Candy nods, “Well, she is a useful bird, what with my organization spread about so far now. I had not realized road traffic to the Shambles was so…impossible. So I would like to retain that. Still I appreciate the time put into such an offer. The Ghost is more a prize of the Edgerunner group. It may sound weak, but I feel some guilt in the trafficking of a human mind. If I might be so presumptuous, what are your intents for the General?”
Battersea spreads his huge, calloused hands palm up, “The Emir has no use for such a soul-less thing himself, but he has contacts who may pay for it’s knowledge. Especially a certain smuggler.” Candy turns to Able, “if you should like to discuss the ‘Ghost’ your the tech expert here." Able nods, “Yes, but you’re the merchant; I’d prefer to get a good deal. I do believe that $10,000 sounds a bit light for a coupe of this caliber. Why, I believe there are those willing to pay upwards of $50,000 or more for it. Such as the British consulate, or DreamCorp.”
Battersea rumbles, his version of a laugh, “Good luck with both of those sales, then. I may be pressed to offer $15,000.”
Garrion, at the bar, decides to chip in with a sudden thought. “The real issue here is whether Gomi will get their toes stepped on with this side trade.” At that, Candyman nods. “It would be bad form to cancel out the advantage they just purchased.” Mentadak voices her own opinion, “I don’t think they would. Gomi gets their use of it regardless of who else does.” She subvocalizes the next part over the team’s comm-channel, keeping it from Battersea, “The British, however, wouldn’t likely care to purchase it now. If the secrets are out, it does no use for them to attempt to contain it further. In fact, depending on who the buyer is, it may be beneficial to the Gomi if it were to pop up in someone else’s hands. As of now, the British don’t know who has him. If they see it with someone else, they won’t have reason to believe that the White Mice has his intel.” Garrion, agreeing, replies on the same channel: “I see your point. I just want to make sure Gomi doesn’t think we crossed them.”
Battersea continues, unperturbed, as if no-one had spoken, “I think if you sold it as this one wishes,” he gestures at Able, “you would make enemies of both the Gomi and the people you sold to, for you’d be exposed as the thieves trying to sell them their lost property back. Sell it to the Emir, he takes the risk of exposure.”
Candyman sits back and pushes away with his hands in a gesture of dismissal, “I’m a simple arms merchant. It’s in all honestly over my head – ‘Ghosts’ being nearly non-existent on any market. I can not speak for all of the group on this, my knowledge is simply lacking.” At that, Able shrugs, frustrated that Candy’s feelings are getting in the way of his negotiating skills, “As I said, I am not the merchant here. If $15,000 is your final offer, as it seems to be, I suppose we must take it, unless there are any objections?”
Battersea nods and smiles, pleased. he reaches inside his robes and pulls out a sheaf of $1k debit cards, then counts out 15 from the fat wad and lays them on the table before standing. “I shall tell the Emir all is well here and he should be pleased. Al-alaikum salaam.” He heads for the elevator.
Candy waits until the Emir’s man has gone, then heads to his office for that soul searching he has promised himself, a bit grimmer than before. Behind him, Mei goes to pour herself another drink, and turns to Able, “How does it feel having another man inside your head?” Pitbull barks a dirty laugh as he grabs a drink himself and Pacoy think s of a witty line about multiple men inside of someone, but thinks better of it as her reaches for a beer. Able turns to Mentadak, “The ghost is securely locked down in file storage; I do not run unsanitized AI software within my computer implant.” That gets another bark from Pitbull. “Wouldn’t run him without protection, eh Abe?” Pitbull laughs at his own joke. He’s in a noticeably better mood than usual. Garrion raises his glass, “To a job well done. I wonder what the future holds for our little operation.”
On the coffee table, untouched for now, sits the “takings” – $78,000 in transferable pre-paid credit cards – as mute testimony to the hard work and danger the team have gone through. This is the life of an Edgerunner.