Dateline: December 28th 2050, 0005 Local Time
It’s just after midnight as the team exits the elevator on the seventh floor of the opulent Ottoman Hotel. The place is buzzing – the main theater area is full of Glitterati and gawkers as their current boss, Friedlander Bey, opens the notorious Grey Auction, an event which sells expensive stolen property in full public view over three days. The concourse is thronged with well-dressed guests, and the concessions lounge is open and doing a roaring trade in expensive food, drink, souvenirs and fashion accessories. For a moment they stop to absorb the bustle, then begin their sweep of the floor.
Pacoy has been preparing his Toys. “Okay Guys, a rundown – five Buzzbots: I was thinking one concealed in each of the 2 stairwells, one on Floor Two concealed near the Backgammon area, one on Seven in the Main theater, and one in our room just in case – all on standby.” Pacoy tics off the points on his fingers. “I have three Pinbots on me, a mini-can of bear-foam in the room that can be swapped into a fire-safety bot, and one ach of my Mako and Duwende light-ground-bots in the room ready for placement Oh…and a Kestrel. I’m open for tactical input…”
Mac adjusts his new Vortexo pistol as it sits in his coat pocket, jogging it so it sits more naturally. “Gotta say, this place is more alive than a bar at the end of the workweek. You certainly are prepared, Pacoy. I’ve got my eyes, ears, and my camera. I’d say we focus on the auction to start off – not sure where the threat is liable to surface from yet.” Pitbull keeps his eyes on the guests as he grunts a reply to Pacoy. “Sounds like you’ve got it, brah.” Able nods, his face shifting into a stylishly handsome older gentleman with a slight streak of gray in his hair. He fades into the background and begins mingling with the guests immediately as he continues the subvocal communication. “Sounds acceptable, Pacoy.” As Able moves, he carefully watches for anything that seems out of place or for anyone acting suspiciously.
Candy ticks off on his own hands, "Right, and Hugh can assist with surveillance of those stationed Buzzbots and any other tasks where you think his skills will be of use. I’ll start making conversation with any guests that strike a cord, see if I can find anyone claiming to be something they’re not. Make some friends, check in and use them as thermometers for unusual activity or individuals.”
“I’ll keep the ground bots and Kestrel in the room for now, if we need them, they’re there.” Pacoy shrugs “No sense tipping off people with an army of bots too soon…” Pitbull grimaces at the idea of “making friends”. He just got used to the friends he had acquired…
Candy continues in comms, “Seems you might be our Ace here Mac – looking forward to seeing your work.” Mac takes a look around, keeping his hat cupped in his left hand. He digs his camera out and begins taking a few snaps of the Glitterati present. “Gotta say, that’d make me real edgy, seeing those things about, if I were about to do some wrong. You think anything’s going up for auction that we could afford?” He studies the crowd through his camera’s lens. Then he comms back to Candy. “Hope not to let you down, hoss. Lets see what we can scare up, lads.” He continues playing amateur paparazzi, trying to get a feel for the crowd.
As Able blends expertly with the crowd on the concourse, he spots a familiar face pointing at Candyman, then heading in his direction It’s News 24/7’s Veracity Blaize, with a huge bruiser of a man lugging a holo-v camera in tow behind her. Able gives a quick heads-up. “C-man, newsie incoming. Looks like she wants an interview,” as his new security computer immediately dumps a short profile into his virtual field of view.
Blaize walks directly over to Candyman as the crowd parts almost magically for her. Several people even stop to stare as she approaches and the big guy hoists the camera to his shoulder with a deep grunt of “On, V,” as Candy ends his conversation with one of the guests to free himself for the news, “I hear you Able, thanks for the warning.”
Pitbull notices the camera aimed in Candy’s direction with a distasteful look. Christ, what has he gotten into… He thinks to himself. Pitbull resumes his surveillance of the crowd, all the while hoping that Candy doesn’t stick his foot in his mouth.
“Excuse me, sir? Veracity Blaize, news 24/7. Am I right in thinking you are the man known as The Candyman, leader of the Edgerunner team who is reputed to have brought a crooked DreamCorp executive to justice and to have stolen some valuable data from the mega-corporation in the process?” Around them, everyone has stepped back to provide a clear space and is watching with interest.
Mac surreptitiously wheels and snaps a few shots of Veracity Blaize. He mutters into the comms under his breath. “This broad’s a mudraker if I ever saw one. She’s itching for controversy.” He spins back, taking a few pictures of the crowd as he heads closer to the auction block. Pacoy tenses slightly, the spotlight on the crews activities not helping his anxiety over restraining himself for the night.
Candy turns with feigned surprise, “Ahh, Mrs. Blaze. I suppose all the stars are out tonight. Candyman, that is one of my epithets, but you can call me Pater.” Candy gives a brief nod of recognition to the camera, “As far as our actions in the past, we’ve fallen into some unique situations, but corruption – so commonplace I’m surprised it’s even worthy of note. After all, how can you steal what’s already stolen?” Candy waves at the Gray Auction for dramatic effect.
“An interesting viewpoint on an incursion that cost DreamCorp sizeable damages, Mr. Pater, but that is what the law says in Night City. Did you know that a copy of the data in question is one of the auction items? How do you feel about that?”
As Mac works his way through the bystanders on his way towards the main theater’s doors, he spots a flash of movement as a slight woman in an expensive dress dips slender and manicured fingers into the back pocket of a burly man in a blue suit, those fingers re-appearing with a wallet. Mac sidles along, snapping occasional photos along the way, attempting to trace the path of the woman and corner her. “Not that it’s unexpected, but we have got a pickpocket here.” He mumbles under his breath as he attempts to track the woman down. Pitbull perks at the idea of something action-bound. “Where?” He comms back enthusiastically
Candyman tries to cover a grimace, “The organization and our exploits, those may be common knowledge Mrs. Blaze. However, what may not be so well known, is that I am a member in good standing of Amon Zero. Further, I am proud to say, I support Ghost rights – but who am I to stand against popular opinion and the very law itself. I am displeased, personally. Like many advances, cultural and technological, we have simply out paced the law. I am confident that, in time, Ghosts will have the rights of you or I.”
Blaize smiles sweetly at Candyman, “So you’re in favor of rights for electronic ghosts? was that the reason for the theft or was it purely for money?”
Able catches Mac’s update and tilts a bit to get nearer to the pickpocket. As he does, he begins to act like a potential mark, leaving his wallet just peaking out of his front trenchcoat pocket. As he acts the mark, he keeps a close eye on the thief via the team’s network, watching for her to make a move. Mac slips on his hat as an indicator to Pitbull as well as relaying the woman’s description and a picture. Pitbull tries to look nonchalant as he moves to the woman’s position.
Candy gives Mrs. Blaze a quizzical look, “Well, obviously, it was to bring attention to Ghosts and their lack of Rights as a serious issue. That the public might be more aware of them – my small contribution to bringing true change and freedom to all sentient men and women.” Blaize moves in, close enough for Candy to smell her perfume, and bats her long lashes at him. “That was very altruistic of you, Mr. Pater. But tell me, are you here on business tonight or just taking in the sights? It seems unlikely to be a coincidence that Mr. Bey is now selling what you liberated. Are you working for him?”
Candyman puts on a look of utter contempt, “Mr. Bey and myself have differing opinion on the issue of Ghosts. Rather, I’m here to get the word out about Ghosts. To have this Auction be the last time a person is brought to market to be sold legally before man, woman, and child.” Candy leans in close as well, till the scars around his throat stand out white and angry and looks deeply into her eyes, “The voice you have given us is much appreciated Mrs. Blaze. I fear all my efforts would be for naught in the shadow of what you have provided the movement this night.”
Blaize takes a step back as her cameraman tenses, then a small hand signal to him relaxes him again. “I’m sure, Mr. Pater, that the Amon Zero movement will be well-served by your efforts. You haven’t really answered my question, though, have you? Are you working for Mr. Bey right now?”
Pacoy slowly works his way to intercept the thief should she run, but the pickpocket, a middle-aged petite brunette making the most of her fading looks, seems oblivious to the team’s moves as she edges up behind Able, reaching for his wallet. Able, who is waiting for it, feels a distinct but faint tug as she pulls his wallet out of his pocket and immediately turns away. He reaches out took place a hand on the pickpocket’s shoulder as she moves away, his reflex booster firing in preparation of a confrontation. “You may want to open that wallet, miss.”
Pitbull arrives just six feet away as Able lays his hand on her shoulder. He stares at the commotion, knowing full well where the knockout pistol is, and where his Foxes are in case of the worst. The pickpocket seems to slump, as if knowing she has been caught, then attempts to twist away and make a dash for it. The pickpocket lets out a screech as Able’s second grab snags her by the hair, and Blaize’s cameraman, along with the bystanders, turns toward the commotion.
Just then, the burly man in the blue suit lets out a bellow of outrage. “Damnit, my wallet’s been lifted! Hold that woman!”
Able uses the moment to firm-up his hold on the woman and bring her in closer. He speaks louder such that rest can hear. “Be calm; this is hotel security and we have the situation under control.” Able takes a good look at the woman’s face, feeding it to his facial recognition database.
Pitbull and Pacoy think twice about going over to the commotion, backing off and attempting to keep their anonymity as long as they can. Mac holds back from getting in the field of view of the camera unless Able looks like he’s losing his grip. “This is an awful lot of action for the start of the auction.” He swings his gaze away from Able and towards the rest of the crowd, hoping that his instincts are firing off incorrectly.
With the camera no longer looking her way, Blaize sticks a slim plastic card in Candyman’s lapel pocket as soon as the camera is off her. “Thanks, that was great!” she smiles and turns towards the commotion. Candy stops in mid thought – simply staring at the woman as she rushes to the next figurative train wreck. He shakes his head, “An impressive woman that one” even as he slides the plastic card into his hand for closer investigation – her business card from news 24/7, with the station and her own private comms numbers.
Able speaks loud enough to be heard by the other guests – especially the reporter and her cameraman. “Michelle Stawiarski, stop struggling. You have been caught attempting thievery in the grounds of the Ottoman Hotel and practicing your craft upon our guests. We do not tolerate actions such as this in this establishment. Please return your ill-gotten goods at this moment, or things could get much worse for you.”
The burly man comes up to Able and shouts at the woman. “Gimme back my wallet, bitch!” he turns to Able. “You’re security? Search her, man. She’s got my wallet!” Meanwhile, the pickpocket herself is feebly trying to prise Able’s fingers off, weeping as she does so. “I’m sorry…” she weeps, “he made me do it…”
Mac winces at the commotion. “Guys, keep an eye out – there’s something about this that’s rubbing me the wrong way. Never seen someone deal with a glommer like that. This ain’t a typical lift job. Feels like a distraction to me.” His eyes turn to the remainder of the room, focusing near the auction stage.
Candyman swiftly begins to move towards the opposite end of the room from the commotion, “I’m checking it out over here,” while Pitbull follows Mac’s words as he resumes scoping through the crowd for further suspicious activity.
Pitbull is the one who spots the man who stiffens at the pickpocket’s words, then rapidly turns and heads for the elevator. He’s medium height, medium build, balding and somehow looks like a real tough hombre to Pitbull as he shoulders two guests out of his way. “Shit! A guy is bolting for the elevator. I’ll send you the feed I have of him.” Pitbull sends through the comm as he starts his way to the elevator.
Noting the way Pitbull is looking, Mac spots the man too, and immediately recognizes him as a Southside Russian smalltime hood. “Pit, that’s a Russian no-goodnick, Sturmevik. He’s small time, but if he’s using this greaser as a distraction, he’s up to something.” Mac starts towards the big burly guy in blue. “I’ll make sure Able doesn’t get torn to bits by this guy down here.”
Now, the burly guy in the blue suit is engaging in a tug-o-war with Able for the pickpocket as his voice rises angrily. “Search her, I said, or I’ll do it myself!” Under the lens of one of the most watched news shows in the city, the burly man rips the front of the poor woman’s dress, exposing her underwear and a wallet that drops to the ground from between her ample cleavage.
Able is still pumping speed through his veins, quickly moving to cover the woman with one hand while the other reaches into his coat, which just barely covers the man for a few moments. Suspicious, he has been running a search routine on his implant computer – and gets a hit on the man in front of him. The burly guy is Tyrell West, a bit-part actor from the Southside. The second he can get to her, Mac quickly shrugs out of his trenchcoat and swings it around the girl’s shoulders, covering her as best he can from the eyes of the nation.
Pacoy uses the commotion to head over to the elevators covertly as Pitbull comms on the casino’s channel, "Marid! We need a knock-out gassing to the elevator with “Sturmevik” in it." Marid responds immediately on comms; “You’ve got it, pardner” in an atrocious cowboy drawl. The elevator doors close behind the Russian hood, and then the car ascends instead of going down – heading for the 29th floor and the main security offices. Marid again comes on Pitbull’s comm channel, “I’ll have a couple of the boys meet your little doggie at the ranch.” “Thank you, Marid. You’ve done buddered his biskits, I’ll say!” Pitbull grates back, attempting to keep the sarcasm out of his voice.
While his coat covers the action, Able lifts the little Vortexo! pistol from his holster, shoving it right into the man’s mouth before pulling the trigger. By the time Able’s little half-whirl ends, the burly man begins to slump toward the ground. Handing off the girl to Mac, Able takes on the man’s weight. As he does so, he comms Marid. “Send some uniformed security here, please.”
Marid comms Able: “On their way now”, and sure enough three men in the long black dusters and black shades of the Imazighen, all openly wearing Ottoman IDs, are heading your way through the crowd. Mac murmurs under his breath, “Slick one, bo. That was a heck of a move.” His eyes continue scanning the theatre proper, checking for any other suspicious activity.
Able hands the man off to the security men. “He was acting and working with the girl and the Russian in the elevator. Take them both to main security; make certain the girl stole nothing else.” Mac adds, “And when she gets there, could one of you be a champ and run my coat back up to me? Hate for her to catch a chill up here, but when she doesn’t need it, I’m a bit partial.”
Veracity Blaize and her cameraman carefully watch as the three remove both the pickpocket and the burly actor, taking them to the security offices on 29. When he’s done, Able brushes his coat, straightens it, and nods to the camera before turning and blending into the crowd, both his facial features and clothing altering their looks and coloration enough to not be recognizably the same person. At no time is his pistol ever seen by the crowd. As he moves away, he comms the security agents. “Please return my wallet and any others belonging to other guests after processing the girl.”
From across the room, Candy admires the scene, “Smooth Able, well played.”
Veracity Blaize is suddenly beside Mac. She indicates the camera isn’t running" Tell me, off the record, are you and your face-changing friend on the permanent staff at the Ottoman or contractors brought in for the event?" Mac smiles at Veracity, rubbing the back of his neck. “Me? Gosh miss, I’m just a man who can’t stand t’see a poor girl exposed like that in front of all these people. It’s not right, and it’s not proper.” “Riiiiight. But fair enough, for now.” She smiles and turns away to talk to her cameraman.
Pacoy gives a quick nod and nervous smile to a passing cocktail waitress, and eyes more than her platter of drinks, “Not tonight, Tess, sorry.” as he walks away, he clenches and relaxes his teeth and fists. “Like frickin’ monks at Mari Gras” Pacoy mutters.
Mac breathes out and heads back into the crowd, feeling a bit exposed without his trenchcoat. His eyes go back on the alert. “You’d make a good Monk, Pacoy. I could see it now. Maybe get into brewing some Trappist ales?” “This is some kind of hell,” Pacoy grumbles to Mac while fidgeting “My Lolo used to say Hell was sitting in a comfortable chair with a beautiful woman in your lap and a cold can of beer in your hand – only the can has a hole in the bottom and the woman doesn’t. That’s how I feel right now!” Mac damn near spit-takes on a passing Glitterati bidder and has to pretend to tie his shoes to mask how hard he’s laughing. “I’ll take you out for a stiff drink when we’re done, and we’ll see if we cant put you over the edge with the rams.”
Pitbull watches a man in an awful looking maroon suit chat with a guy in a comparatively understated tuxedo. He winces as he watches the man down his drink and scoop up another from a passing waitress. He grimaces as he yanks out a smoke from his coat, and lights it with a little more force than necessary. Pacoy notices Pit’s wince and nods “You know how much I could pull off a guy like that?” After a long drag, Pitbull hisses out a thick cloud of smoke. “No. What?” He grunts back sourly to Pacoy through the smog he had gushed. Pacoy just grins in reply.
A hotel bellhop slides up to Mac with his coat neatly folded over his arm, hands it over, then discreetly slides off again. Mac gratefully slides into his trenchcoat again, checking his pockets as he does, shrugging a few times to get it to sit correctly. He stands up and gets his bearings, using the team as reference points, and tries to keep up his vigil.
Marid comms; “the woman tells Tomas that Sturmevik forced her to come here and pretend to pick the actor’s pocket so that he could make a scene. He threatened to make her ugly if she didn’t comply. it seems the actor was just paid a small fee. we’ll be releasing both, but we’re holding the Russian for now.” Pitbull comms back to Marid. “Very good. I think we will like a word with him before the evenin’ ends.”
The bellhop is still looking around vainly, clutching a wallet. Mac stops him, “Can I help you? I can get that to whomever you’re looking for.” Able passes by the bellhop just as Mac speaks, his true face peaking out for a moment. “Here.” "Oh, right! Wow!’ gushes the teenaged bellhop as he hands over Able’s wallet then heads off, beaming. Mac shakes his head. “Confusing for the poor lad. I don’t even know how I’m dealing with it.” He cocks his head to the side. “Pacoy, haven’t you ever heard of Russian Roulette? They love the game. Crazy about it. Not sure why. There could be something over that way.” Pacoy just raises an eyebrow at Mac, missing the quip.
The immediate crisis at an end, Candy eases into a conversation about investments a group of Glitterati are having, “The interesting thing there, anagathics certainly give you a few more years of money earning potential, but in return for a heavy increase in overhead. Investing in the future, a noble sentiment, but money can be squandered and misused by the ill advised. My feeling is that the best investment is in the ‘Soul Electric’. What other endgame portfolio option allows one to pass on their knowledge to the next generation after all? The only hole in it at the moment is the lack of legal protections – but a few politicians in the pocket is already a safe investment.” Candy ends with a wink.
There’s a commotion in the crowd around the far end of the concourse, as a slim female figure surrounded by techie types and three dark-suited bodyguards plows through the crowd on her way to the concert hall. Your visrec programs immediately give you her profile: it’s Kawaii Kali! the b-rock diva! The crowd surges in that direction, only to be faced with closed doors and two of the grim-faced bodyguards shaking their heads.
Mac looks in that direction. “Oh, this is going to be a treat. She’s here? There’s going to be a bit of a rumpus, outside threats or no. Decent music, at least. For what it is.” Disappointed, the crowd return to other diversions – they’ll have to wait for the opening concert to begin properly in 45 minutes. Pitbull notes the commotion, but continues watching the crowd. Oh great. A celebrity. Can’t tell if that’s a good thing. But it’s definitely going to cause some headaches. Pitbull bitterly thinks to himself, praying that the evening doesn’t continue it’s ramp of pace.
Not noticing anything else worthy of official attention, Able heads to the elevator, sending out a call to the others. “Heading to security central for interrogation of suspect. Will relay.” Just then, Tomas’s voice breaks in on comms. “Gamma. can Lazarus report to the security offices, please.” Pitbull smiles, as he turns on his heel, heading just as much to his comfort zone as a security office. Pacoy joins him, sighing as he passes the biggest collection of marks he’s ever seen.
Mac blinks at the dual comm messages. “Is Able a psychic or something?” He shivers at the image of Able with that strange metal hat on and heads towards the elevators, hoping that they’ll be done in time to eavesdrop on the concert.
Candyman quickly ends his conversation with the Glitterati investors. “Hope to see we can speak again later, with the plague in Cargotown, investments and opportunities are shifting. Evening” Candy heads towards the elevator as well, aware Mrs. Blaze will likely read the entire situation like a book.
The elevator whisks everyone to the 29th floor, which is in the hotels “waist section”. There’s a periodic almost subliminal rumble as an expensive AV slides into the vast hangar area which is also in the waist as they tramp down a corridor to an airlock door overlooked by a pair of watchful Imazighen with slung machine pistols. One of the guards checks a readout and nods, then the outer door opens. A camera turns to watch your every move, beside it the muzzle of some kind of weapon. Then there’s a holdup as the guard frowns.
“One of you is showing the right RFID ID but isn’t in our visrec database.”
Able smiles slightly at the man as his features shift to that of his original face before continuing to alter to the General’s visage. “Son, you best get used to it.” The Rossum corporate logo dots Able’s face for a brief moment, along with Able’s bar code. “If it comforts you, I will show my flash when you need visual confirmation of my identity.”
There are curses from the two guards and the inner door stubbornly refuses to open as the outer one slams shut and locks. Then you see the Ottoman security chief beyond the inner door. He waves, nods, and it pops open with a hiss of equalized pressure. Haroun frowns at Able. “that’s a neat trick, son, but you need to turn it off when you’re in here or you’re gonna have a fatal accident.”
Mac throws a sidelong look at Able before following Pitbull in, taking his hat off as he does so.
Able frowns and his face twitches slightly, then he nods as his normal face shifts back into place, though his voice is now solidly British. “Relying upon our current visage for identity confirmation seems to be a minor security loophole. If someone did that back in DI5 I’d have flogged them in the streets.”
: Haroun looks sour. “it’s hardly reliance, bud. It’s just one of several checks and if you don’t pass them all you’re not getting in, and you may not get out.”
Candy looks sidelong at Able, "We are employees under contract now, we are not in charge “General”. Pacoy shakes his head and sighs, “Can we play nice, boys? We’re all on the same leash here…”
Able nods. “Just making an observation.” He turns to the Ottoman man. “Where’s the prisoner?”
The security chief leads them to a small room in which one wall is entirely taken up by a laminate window. Beyond it, the man known as Sturmevik is securely tied to an old iron chair and a tall, dark-skinned man wearing a full-face gas mask is standing at a side table, fiddling with something. Pitbull smiles a little. Something interesting, to say the least.
Haroun motions to the tied up man. “This isn’t the actual interrogation part of the interrogation, you understand. We’re not total beginners. But this man knows there are consequences for such blatant trampling on the Emir’s toes and he will now experience those consequences.” Able nods. “Of course. Consequences must always be delivered to those who spur them.” “I’ll gladly lend my own experience, if you would like it.” Pitbull grates through a toothy grin. Both he and Able lean forwards slightly, almost seeming to look forward to the bloodshed.
The gas-masked man – Tomas – turns, holding an Armatech Agonizer baton. He walks swiftly over to the tied Russian and hits him, hard, in the gut then turns away as the man tries to double over in pain, but is prevented from doing so by the plasticuffs securing him to the chair. This process is repeated, again and again, over the next several minutes – Tomas strikes the man somewhere then backs off, almost dancing, as he waits for the agony to subside somewhat so the Russian can experience the full pain of the next blow.
Mac winces and turns his head, not particularly fond of the overt violence against a bound man. Pacoy casts a glance at Mac, who he believes might be a pacifist, and looks for a reaction to the situation. Pitbull laughs at one of Tomas’ flourishes. “Nice!” Pitbull barks as Tomas raises his arm for another strike. Candyman: A few moments into the beating, Candy turns his face from the scene, “I don’t envy Francheska her job – being face to face with this side of things is troubling.”
Finally, Tomas puts up the Agonizer – and instead slips on two pairs of brass knuckles. He continues beating the Russian mobster until he is bruised and bloody over his torso and face, continues until the man blacks out entirely. Haroun turns to Able. “Now the real work. Care to come watch close up, General?” The General nods, licking his lips. “Interrogation is something DI5 has always been famous for.”
Mac nods at Candy. “Not right to dry-gulch a man like this. He’s already been taken in. There are other ways to lean on him and get him to talk. Interrogation only gets them to tell you anything to make it stop.” Pacoy clicks his tongue, the Agonizer is a brutal tool that will send an unforgettable message straight to the brain, but the brass knuckles are cloddish and most likely a toy for sadism in most cases, not very professional. “True, Mac.” Pitbull butts in. “But I’ve found it a very effective tool. These guys are in the right, I think.” Candy clears his throat, “Be that as it may, perhaps we could have gauged his willingness to talk before this stage?” even as the door closes to the torture chamber. Pitbull watches intently, secretly hoping they change pace to using just their hands. So many possibilities with just a pair of hands…
Haroun leads Able to the interrogation chamber itself, where another man, perhaps a doctor of sorts, is already checking that the Russian will live, then injecting an amber liquid into the muscle of his upper arm. As the doctor leaves, Haroun grabs two chairs and positions them well behind the subject, motioning Able to sit as he does so himself. Then Tomas dumps a half bucket of ice-water over the bound man, who wakes spluttering to a groggy consciousness."
Able remains standing rather than seating himself. Instead, he paces back and forth behind the man, deliberately hitting the floor loudly with each step, making a quick ‘clap’ sound each time. Haroun motions to Able, indicating he can question the bound Russian. Able continues to pace for a few moments, heightening the prisoner’s tension. He does not speak at first, simply observing the prisoner, getting the measure of the man – and waiting to see if he’ll act.
“Well, Candy, I’d think you of all people would recognize the need to send a message for this kind of transgression, willingness to cooperate or no…” Pacoy reasons. Candy says silent for long moments, “I just have someone else do it…”
Mac sits himself against the wall, distracting himself from the interrogation by playing with the holo display on his pocket watch. “I have to say, I wish I made enough to come to this place regular-like. It’s got some attraction to it.”
When Able finally speaks, it isn’t – quite – directly to the prisoner. Instead, he seems to be speaking out to the room at large, addressing no-one and everyone. “Times like these, I sometimes hate my work. The screams. The blood. The torture. It isn’t something I enjoy.” He stops pacing, leaning forwards slightly, speaking directly to the prisoner. “But it is a necessity, and I will do anything needed to protect my people.”
The Russian finally speaks, mumbling through bloody teeth, ""Poshel na khui, suka, blyad!" Pitbull smiles as he watches the Russian’s defiance. If it had been me in there, I would have given him a love-tap and screamed “English!” at him. He thinks to himself.
Able continues talking directly to the prisoner. “Sturmevik, you endangered my people. Your little show on the party floor – it wasn’t unnoticed, and it wasn’t innocent. It could have damaged the reputation of our establishment – and we can’t have that. Our reputation is what binds us together. What I need to know, Sturmevik, is why? Why did you arrange that little distraction? What did you hope to do, and who set you to it?”
The man answers reluctantly, as if the drug in his system is dragging the words from him. “I was told by my Sovietnik to set up some public nuisances. Things to make a scene, and to make sure the media were watching when they happened.” Able nods, then begins to pace again. “And was that all? You were to do nothing else? What other ‘public nuisances’ did you set in motion?”
“I sent a bunch of our whores in to seduce whoever they could….then make a scene and shout rape, or just drug their John and leave him sleeping it off in a corridor.”
Able makes a motion to the others to take note of that and act upon it. “What else, Sturmevik? Don’t tell me that was all.”
“I don’t know…that was all from me…I think there were others, though. The word is the Pakhan wants the auctions ruined, the Emir embarrassed into ruin.”
Able nods. “Good, Sturmevik. Good. And why does he wish this? What would motivate him to anger the Emir in such a way?”
“He’s making a move, the word is. He thinks he can take the Bey down if he can be weakened enough first.”
Able looks over at the Emir’s men. “What has changed to make the Pakhan so confident?”
The bound Russian grunts. “23 enigma. The Pakhan thinks they will do much of his work for him.”
A slight shiver runs through the floor and moments later Marid breaks in on the team’s comms. “Gamma! NCPD found a man acting suspiciously outside, on the street. One of the officers shot him with an electrolaser and he blew up. I’ve done a search of surveillance footage and he definitely was inside the casino area. I’ve footage of him exiting the fifth floor mezzanine restrooms.”
Mac stops what he was doing and snaps his pocketwatch closed. “Wait, the restrooms? And he blew up?”
“….Blew Up?” Pacoy repeats.
Mac stands up and looks around the room. “You obviously don’t need us here for this interrogation – I think we’ve got another threat on our hands.” Pitbull bristles at the Gamma comm. “Shit.” He whispers in surprise. “You’re right, Mac. Let’s move.” “Sumpain!" Pacoy curses, “that sounds like some crazy terrorist bull if I ever heard it!”
Able frowns, reaching into his coat to pull out a pistol, but stops after glancing at the Emir’s men – it’s not his place. “Your men can handle it from here. We’ve got what he knows.” Haroun nods sharply. “Go, this kind of thing is why my Emir hired your group.”
Able steps quickly to the interrogation room’s door, looking back at the Emir’s Imazighen. “We need portable chem-sniffers to check for explosive residue.” Haroun nods again, then speaks to the air. “Marid, Gamma. get the Lazarus folk some chemical analyzers fast. Get them to the fifth floor mezzanine, Lazarus are on their way.” he turns, "Tomas, go with them.
Candy turns towards the door to the elevators as well, “Fucking hell. Madrid, put out a security message to forgo electric discharge weapons until we can get to the bottom of this” Mac answers Pacoy as they all turn and begin to run. “Terrorist bull or not, it’s something we’ve got to address as soon as possible.” The team heads towards the restrooms on the 5th floor to secure the site.
To Be Continued