Dateline: December 28th 2050, 1530 Local Time
Friedlander Bey, hotelier and crime boss, has hired the team as security consultants at the Ottoman Hotel for the duration of the Grey Auction, a three day event selling high-priced stolen goods which is attended by Glitterati from all over the world. The event had been threatened by two groups: rival Russian mobsters from the Southside and a terror group called 23Enigma. The team caught some people hired by the Russian mob to cause a scene and know there are others, but also discovered that the terrorists had used a gene-tailored bacteria to turn the hotel’s sewer system into one gigantic bomb. The team identified some of the terrorists and tracked them to their lair, hoping to discover a gene-tailored answer to the bacteria infecting the hotel.
The terrorists were holed up in an apartment on the 12th floor of the Peach Trees Hab-Block in Pacheco Prospects, a down-at-heel area of hi-rise cheap housing. As the team crept up on the apartment, they were discovered and attacked by three cyberhounds, the terrorists and by their secret weapon, a homebrewed cyborg war machine. The team killed the hounds and cyborg as well as managing to capture all of the terrorists except one, after incapacitating some with non-lethal weapons. The terrorist’s hacker – Raymond Skyberg – blew his own brains out with a pistol rather than be captured.
Now, the team are standing in a partly-ruined apartment where the kitchen seems to have been converted into a micro-biology laboratory. In the living room there’s a large and expensive looking computer rig obviously used by the hacker. The window is missing, the front door hangs from a single hinge and there are sleeping bodies everywhere, with two sniveling terrorists in the bedroom. The team knows who one of the survivors is – the biochemist Bianca Klieber – but has no I.D. on the others as yet.
Mac crouches near Bianca, eyes full of concern. _Broad just went through a tough time – first she suffered through an assault, then watched a hacker become an amateur artist with his own fluids and a cold metal paintbrush. His eyes flit to Pacoy, then to Able. “Is there any way we can secure the rest of the team so they’re not a threat, and then see about what cyber-coward here was desperate to hide from us?” His eyes then flick to Pitbull. “You alright pal? Was worried when you were coming through the window.” “Not a scratch I didn’t already have.” Pitbull says as he plucks one of the slugs that had imbedded itself in his ballistic trench coat, without taking his eyes off of the bloody mess that use to be the hacker.
Able nods at Mac, then glances to Pitbull. “Use the rope from the rig to tie the prisoners up.” Able turns to the hacker’s setup, first checking that there are no deadman switches or other nasty surprises before setting himself up to investigate its contents. “I have some vac tape, anyone have anything more secure, or should we just do it ‘quick and dirty’?” Pacoy asks.
Candy leans against the shattered doorframe, monoslicer held limply between thumb and forefinger, “No harm will come to anyone here, that you all are still alive is testament to that fact. We’ll talk more when you’ve been moved to safer quarters.” Candy says more to himself than anyone in particular.
Mac turns to the biochemist, “It’ll be alright Bianca. Nobody’s going to hurt you now.” Mac looks towards Candyman and nods, leaving his trenchcoat around the dame to guard her against the world as he slips towards the body on the floor, intent on rolling the stiff to sniff out anything he’s been secreting about his person. Pitbull lights up yet another cigarette as he turns to the drunken bum. “Whoever this jackass is, I don’t see how he could sleep through all of our shit. He must’ve drunk himself out.”
As Able turns to take in the hacker’s computer, his expression slowly shifts and changes – his eyes grow bright, his mouth curls in a bit of a manic grin. His gaze lingers on the screaming woman, and his lips part, showing his teeth. Kneeling by the computer rig and peering under each rack and the desk with a penlight, Able sucks in his teeth appreciatively – there’s at least one booby trap in there, a homemade claymore mine in a paint can pointing at the desk chair. There are other wires too. Tracing the extra wiring, Able chuckles – an EMP grenade is wired to the main data drive. Both bombs seem to be wired to the cable jack and wireless jack. Able backs up a bit from the weaponry, his eyelid twitching. “Sonofabitch! Fucker trapped it! He knew I’d be here; not gonna let him get the last laugh, oh no.”
Candy leans slightly in that tell tale manner, activating comms, “Aequitas, we’ll be ready for pick-up in five, expect the full team with six guests. One is cold.” The voice of Francheska, Candyman’s lieutenant, comes over the team’s comms channel: “Affirmative, Pater.” Conversation complete, Candy raise an eyebrow at yet another personality to attribute to the chimerical Able.
Pacoy meanwhile gives the drunken sot a quick once over, making sure it’s just the booze that has him out of it before taping him up. The drunk has nothing of note in his pockets except a data-pad and a mini-toolkit specialized for electrical work. Mac begins methodically searching the hacker’s body, intending to spread his search slowly outwards to encompass the apartment. “Five? Not a lot of time to do a quality brush-job, but I’ll work to your ticker, boss.” Candy pushes off the wall and sheaths his weapons, “Never know who’s going to show up – they might even have set something up with the Russians. Better safe than dead.” The dead hacker has his pistol, of course – a standard Prowler – and a scrap of actual paper with a complex mathematical formula. As he broadens his search, Mac ends up in the kitchen – where he discovers the fridge contains two sealed flasks of clear liquid and a spray hypo. Pacoy’s cursory medical examinations of the drunk and the dead hacker discovers only their wireless interface and implant computer cyberware.
Able stands up and back from the computer for a moment, then gets down on his knees again. “You aren’t going to be grenading me all to hell and back. Let me see… this wire? Naw. This one? Hmm…” Able lies on his back and carefully squirms into the space under the computer desk. He lies studying the wiring for a second then reaches up and snips a wire. Nothing blows up.
Mac clutches the paper like it were the only detritus to survive a shipwreck. Shame this bruiser felt the need for some more ventilation. Nice to know others are still using the crisp and clean. He stares at the formula, letting his mind tick away once he’d memorized it. His voice comes over the comms as he relays the suspicious sealed flasks, complete with images. “Think we found the lunch-lady’s tray, lads.” As he stares at the paper slip, Mac’s mind fills with an 18 digit number, the result of a derivative function used as the base for an encryption algorithm.
“And how about you, Dr. Strangelove?” Pacoy asks the cybered up old man as he moves in “No nasty tricks, right? It’ll be a lot easier for everyone that way.” Pitbull also stomps over to the old man, and fixes him with a glowering stare as he crosses his arms. “Now what do you know?” Pacoy, examining the older terrorist, finds considerable cyberware – he has an exoskeleton and artificial skin as well as some sophisticated bioware connected to his wireless interface – and adds some extra rope and vac tape just in case. Hostages as secure as he can make them, Pacoy begins to snoop around the place, looking at what ever he can while trying keep an eye out for traps and avoiding actually touching anything. How could these guys run a bio-lab in a pigsty? He quickly polices up two MX-16 carbines and three more Prowler pistols.
Meanwhile Candy turns his back on the shocked prisoners and heads to the kitchen, where he sees a 3D printer set up, the DNA sequencer, the culture columns – a biolab for gene-tailored bacteria. “This is the lab then,” turning vials over in in his hands with a trained eye. Turning one vial slowly to reveal a label, “What do you figure she feeds these things to make them so viscous.” Candy swiftly identifies two separate cultures, but there his scientific knowledge ends – he’s a chemist not a microbiologist. Carefully slipping the vials into an interior coat pocket, Candy moves to the door to keep an eye on the street, “Marid, we’ve got some cultures from the one responsible for turning your septic systems into a liability, does the Bey have anyone to look over them or should I contact my own people?” There is no answer from Marid, the Ottoman’s controlling A.I. mind, to Candyman’s query – just a hold tone then a recorded message “This is the Ottoman Hotel. All of our operators are busy right now but if you’d like to come around in person we’ll be happy to help you.”
Mac whistles, then calls, “Able? I have some formula here – looks like the base for an encryption algorithm. This might be useful when you start tinkering with that joy-box.” He waits to pass the paper off to Able. “If you can get in there, can you make sure you wipe any vid of us coming in? The feed’s got to be somewhere…” He holds his hands up. “Just thinking out loud.” From underneath the desk, Able’s voice yells out at Mac. “Shut the fuck up while I’m snipping wires on a god-damn bomb that could kill us all, will ya? Christ. Who the fuck hired these guys?” He’s clearly a mite annoyed. Pitbull shoots a glance over to where Able’s voice came from. “Shit man. Who pissed in your beer, Abe?” Mac’s eyes narrow, looking down at Able from above like an unmoving statue. He holds in place, eyes wandering to look out the window, down to the street below, scrap of paper dangling from his vicelike grip. Pitbull takes a long, hard drag off of his cigarette as he stomps over to the wreckage of the Warborg, sizing it up in it’s post-mortem state. The massive warborg is definitely dead, chewed up by bullets and with the human CNS killed by neurotoxin. Pitbull takes in its six sets of razor-sharp metal claws and the pop-up mounts for guns and happily realizes it could have done a lot more damage than it did – say if it had been released in a public area.
A brief expression of irritation crosses Candies face when he can’t raise Marid, then his eyes get a distant look, “Hello, this is Candyman, you there Dr. Vano” The answer to Candyman’s call is swift: “This is Vano. How can I help you, Candyman?” Candy smiles, “I’ve got some interesting samples I’d like your assistance with, nothing like last time, still very interesting. If you’ve time I can fill you in on the ride over, for now I’ll just say its microbial in nature and poses no direct threat to anyone. Really more of a catalyst.” Vano responds, “Sure, I’ll take a look. I assume you’ve come across these samples in your normal course of business. Is there any chance you didn’t blow up the maker’s notes while you were at it?” Candy starts heading down the stairs, “I’ve got one better than that – but you’ll need to meet her at my place. She put a lot of lives in serious danger. I’ll be over there after I’ve taken care of a quick errand.” Vano goes silent for a moment, then replies to Candyman, “It’ll have to wait until my shift finishes, then. Say around 9pm at your place?”
Able shakes his head as he reaches out, snipping another wire, then graphing it to the first one; the resulting feedback loop safely destroys the trigger device on the first grenade. The EMP grenade takes a little more work; Able, carefully, unscrews a small panel on the side of the grenade, pulling out the detonating charge. The trigger mechanism then has nothing to do when Able simply yanks the grenade out. He rolls out from under the desk, dropping the two grenades on the table. He looks up at Mac, reaching out and grabbing the paper from his grip. “Fine, I’ll see what you’ve got here. Probably nothing good, but we’ll see.”
Mac snorts, stepping over towards the grapnel, seeing about loosing it from it’s perch to disguise their entrance, keeping an eye out on the street below as he does. Able glances at the scribbles for a moment, then looks back up. “What the fuck is this? It’s barely legible. Did you get some of that guy’s brain-guts all over it?” Mac starts laughing, then rattles off the 18 digit base cipher. “It’s a security algorithm.” He continues tugging at the grapnel to loosen it, like a joyous dentist going at a patient with a pair of pliers. Able looks back at the paper, with the information now in mind. “Huh. Why’s it written down? Didn’t this guy have a brainplant?” Taking a second, harder, look, Able can puzzle out what Mac saw instantly – an 18 digit number. “Can’t hack a piece of paper, Able.” Mac lets a slow smile glide across his face like a singer in a crowded nightclub. He tugs the grapnel loose and begins working on looping up the cable before checking with Pacoy and Candyman to see what needs to be packed up and moved.
Just then, a groan comes from the tied-up Asian guy near the main door – he’s starting to show signs of coming around. Glancing over his shoulder at the man, Candy comms the team on another channel, “The twin’s at the door are starting to come around, Francesca’s on her way now, lets wrap this up.”
Candyman has switched back to Dr. Vano, “That will be fine, don’t worry, she’s hurt no one yet and I’m not a savage. I just hope she’s willing to hear reason. I’ll see you at 9:00.”Vano sounds mildly distracted by whatever she’s working on as she says “Nine it is. Tell that fox Francheska I’ll look forward to seeing her too, if she’s about.” Candy reaches the landing and looks down the road for Francheska, “Aye, more of a wolf that one, she might well be around with all the troublesome guests I’ll be attending to. We’ll talk later. click”
Able frowns, then turns to the computer. He grabs the HE grenade and rejiggers the triggering mechanism a bit, setting it to trigger on movement. “It’ll be a while before I have this thing downloaded; and I’ll be out of it. If any of you fucking touch me, the ‘nade goes off and we all burn. Don’t fucking do it.” Able’s left palm opens up and a spike-like cable-jack suddenly pops out of his wrist. He reaches out and connects it directly to the computer and jacks in. He then leans back, closes his eyes, and activates the grenade to blow if someone fucks with him.
Just then Francheska comms “Pater, I’m outside. those gangers are hanging about so I probably shouldn’t leave the van alone. Can you come down?”
In Able’s mind, a keypad with eighteen blank slots unfolds. He plugs in the number even as he activates the Hardline adapter, sending in the SQUID penetration hardware to begin copying all the data on the computer onto his brainplant, even if he doesn’t breach its normal security. Able sees the computer accept the code, then instantly wipe it after granting access using an automated sub-routine. Able’s brainplant begins to heat up and he begins to sweat, the shear amount of data he’s downloading overloading his normal processing capability. His eyes can be seen rapidly fluttering there and back again as the information spools out, rapidly filling terabytes of space.
Candy wraps a hand around the monoslicer beneath his coat and moves towards the van a block down the street, “I’m heading over Francheska, in other news, Dr. Vano will be over at 21:00 to look over the samples we recovered, she said she looked forward to meeting you. I trust you can stay over to secure this rabble we’re bringing down.”
“Pit – wanna help with the heavy lifting while Mr. Sunshine is doing his thing?” Pacoy asks, looking at all of the stuff they have to move. “By the way, you killed it just right,” Pacoy says to Pitbull with a smile, “The messy meat-stuff is dead, the fun shiny stuff is ready to play with.” Pitbull smiles as he stubs out the butt of his cigarette on a metal piece that presumably belonged to the Warborg. “Yeh, alright. What bit of it should we start on?” “Well, waking hostages tend to squirm – move them either first or last” Pacoy answers.
As Candy reaches the van he calls out to the ruffians, “Hey gangers, how would you like to make some green for five minutes of labor? We are in a bit of a rush and I’m a busy man. Got a grand for the lot of ya and another grand for your silence if you’re accepting.” The boostergangers turn at the sound of Candyman’s voice and the leader grins. “Yo, choo-flash. Sure’n we’s sniffin’ for creds if you wanna hand.”
Francheska comms Candyman, “Elsbeth is coming over in just a couple of hours? Pater, can we hurry this up so i can at least shower?” Candy misses a step, trying to cover lest the gangers sense weakness, “I’m working on it. If you need the night off I can have Hugh and some of the kids watch them later this evening. Not often we get to entertain worthy company.”
The boosterganger leader spits in answer to Candy’s query, “Two kay, who we gotta mess up?” Candy points up to the room, “Guys you fed us the info on, just need them deposited in this van here. Their worth a lot to me so treat them like your prize cooz.” The gang leader nods and motions his four friends to follow him into the hab-block, all high-fiving each other and gabbling about what they could spend two grand on.
Upstairs, the other prisoners are showing signs of returning to consciousness too. The Asian man is lying still now, though, breathing smoothly. Mac looks at the boys huddled over the war-borg, reminded of playing at toys with the kids in his neighborhood all of those years ago. “We going to be able to shift that mass by ourselves?” Pitbull just bends, lifts and begins to haul the entirety of the ’Borg to the elevator, grunting with every other step. Mac laughs and then steps over towards the Asian man, kneeling down and looking at his face. “You keen to anything I might find interesting? Something I might be of a mind to increase your comfort for?”
The Asian man’s eyes open instantly at Mac’s question. “Sure, I could do with an iced latte and a stick to beat your ass with.” He grins, then sobers instantly. “Is my sister ok?” Mac’s eyes swivel to Pitbull, shifting out of his way swiftly. Slugger’s got power and perseverance. Maybe that man who took a pain to him is someone to be afraid of after all. “Which skirt is your sis? What’s she look like?” The guy looks at Mac like he’s feebleminded, “Like me, only small and pretty, numbnuts. We’re twins.” Mac squints at him before smacking him across the top of his head. “Could have fooled me – I thought we dropped your brother with a stunner.”
Candy comms in to the team, “Guys, I’ve got the gangers coming up to help move this down, Francesca’s waiting in the van. We can chain gang it or whatever works best. Lets get this shit moving.” just as the boostergangers pile in the front door, all “ooohs” and ’woahs". The leader speaks “Flashy sent us up. Said he wanted summin lifted.” The gangers exchange sloppy joke salutes and start lifting what they are told to, gawking around the whole time. Able slowly comes to, opening his eyes once more. He nearly freaks out at the appearance of several new people in the apartment, all wandering around, but just barely manages to control himself as he disables the grenade once again.
The Asian relaxes instantly. “A stunner…” He slumps back, silent again and watchful. Mac pats him on the arm, “You behave and I’ll see it goes well for you. You’ve got my word.” He rises and looks at the gang leader, then looks towards Pitbull. “Well, you two have met. Look, you guys touch my friend in the corner and it’s going to be the last thing you do. We’re taking everything that gets passed to you, out to the van. Nothing funny, or you get paid nothing. I’ll remember everything that gets passed to you, and if it’s not in the van, my friend here gets to play.” Mac moves through the apartment, systematically stripping it down, paying special attention to older or paper-items.
Mac mutters through the voice-comms, “I’d keep an eye on Goggles – I think he’s key to all of this.” The key to a lock that belongs on a door I’m not sure we want to open, but a key nevertheless…He begins muttering, sorting through the file cabinet that is the database he keeps in his mind. He mentally blows off the dust that had been gathered on one file like broken promises. “Professor Gregori…” He begins relaying the information on the man, a wanted terrorist with a reward on his head. “…we could turn a bit of profit on this one if we let Umbra know we had him.” “Well, we’ll cash those chips after we get our money’s worth from him.” Pacoy says to Mac.
Soon, bio-lab equipment and computer hardware is being carried out to the vans. Meanwhile, Pitbull finally staggers to Francesca’s van with the warborg in a fireman’s carry. In a fairly short time-span the equipment is loaded in Francesca’s van and all that is left are the prisoners.
Both the sister twin and the old man have gradually been coming to consciousness while all this has been going on. Now, hearing Mac, the old man speaks. “If you were to exchange me for such a small amount of money, into the servitude of the beast, you’d do both me and the world a huge disservice. Can we perhaps talk about this?”
Candy takes note of the exchange, “We are no great friends of Umbra, if you can make it worth my fellows while I can insure that you will not fall into their hands. Believe me when I say the Corps can go to hell.” Mac takes a look over at the man. “Goggles, you’d have to talk to the man in charge.” He walks over to the twin sister, kneeling down and catching her eye, then leaning in close, whispering, “I will have you know, your brother is safe, and no harm will come to either of you if I can prevent it.” He then stands up, looking once more around the apartment. “Are we ready to shift our new guests?”
Meanwhile, Gregori has turned all his attention on Candyman, studying him from behind his vision-enhancing glasses. “Young man, I believe the corporations _are_hell. And you do too, if I’m any judge. Didn’t your own corporation hang you out to dry in New Bangkok after all?”
Candy gets a frightened look in his eyes, “I’m trying to help people in my own way now. That is to say, yes, people are worth more than a profit margin. We can’t stay out in the street any longer though, we can talk about this more at my place.”
Mac’s head swivels around to look at Candy, his brain ticking over like an overtaxed clock. New Bangkok? That’s a start of a lead… what was Candyman before he became the man I know? Pitbull looks on at the scene with confusion, probably not the only one confused about a mention of Candy’s past.
Able snorts, “What the fuck! You gonna allow this ass-beast to mindfuck you, Candy?”
The Professor ignores Able and nods curtly, “Agreed. It’s only a matter of time before the police or a corporate team come sniffing, if they’re not already monitoring your communications. Take us where you will, we will not resist.” he raises his voice slightly, “Do you hear me, comrades? We will give our parole to these fine people of the Lazarus Group, for in truth they should be our allies not the corporate rapists’ dupes.”
Candy walks to the van and without looking back, “Just get in the car Able, it seems we’ve more to talk about than I thought.” The door closes without another word.
Fade Scene: Candy’s headquarters at Cabrini Grean. 17.00 Local time.
The team arrived only twenty minutes ago but already a small horde of young Desiderium staff have transferred all of the equipment into the Tower. Now Francheska steps up, “Pater, where should we put these people? the cells or a bedroom suite? Their status seems…ambivalent.” Able steps forward, his normal rock-solid ‘poker-face’ expression once more in place. “What are we doing here? The Hotel has perfectly adequate interrogation rooms, and we have to get back soon.” Mac takes a look at Able and takes a deep breath. “I was wondering the same thing – do we have time to deal with this diversion now? The last thing I want to do is get in trouble with our employer…” Mac seems conflicted, his face betraying a deal of inner turmoil like a storm beginning to brew out at sea.
Professor Gregori turns to Able and Mac, smiling patiently, “Ah if only you knew. The man Bey seems like a criminal, one of the out-class – but in actuality he is a banker and a corporate executive who is only a little more open about his rapaciousness than the others. How do you think a criminal so easily finances such a place as his casino, or attracts the great and good” (his voice drips sarcasm) to that auction of his if this were not so? he owns shares, they own shares, they all lie together like a nest of incestuous rats."
Candy ponders a moment, “We’ll put them in a suite under guard. They will understand and it is for their protection as well. You’re free to clean up now or accompany me awhile longer, I would not needlessly hold my Wolf of Red Roses to heel.”
Able glances at the man and raises an eyebrow. “Why should any of us care?” He shakes his head – fanatics are, by definition, insane, and this guy’s got a long track record of it.
Gregori’s voice changes, now it is a Voice. “Show me your tattoo!” Able frowns, then in response to a call from his brainplant he ignores Gregori.
Gregori laughs, “So strong willed. They’ll lose you yet, Janissary. You’re coming back to yourself. What will you do when you realize your crime and why you are their slave? Revolt or serve meekly still?” Gregori leans towards Able and whispers “Non Serviam.” Then he begins to chuckle and steps back.
Pitbull had stepped out of the van as Gregori demanded to see Able’s tattoo. He stomps over to Gregori and stares him in the face. “That sounded like you wanted that to be a threat. I suggest you don’t talk to my friends like that.” Pitbull grates, knowing full well how long it would take him to draw his Reaper on the old man. Gregori studies Pitbull’s face for a second. “I don’t know the Janissary yet, but you light up the net like a falling, tragic star my young soldier friend. Did you ever tell your companions about Operation Rollback, in Mexico City?”
Candy booms out across the room with the full force of his voice mod, “They are guests, they will not see harm in my home!”
Gregori makes placating motions with his tied hands, “My friends, no need to quarrel over me. I am not the threat to you or the world.”
Able taps his foot while he tries to route the call to the Bey – this has become serious implications. Able’s hand almost twitches towards his pistol, but his other hand stays in his pocket – safely on the reassembled EMP grenade taken from the apartment. “They don’ need to know ’bout my dirty laundry. I work with them now, and I follow morals ’n ethics to the best of my understanding-” Pitbull growls in a manner of the titular dog, before cutting himself off at Candyman’s outburst.
Watching the externalization of his inner storm take place in Pitbull, he catalogues Operation Rollback as something to be dug into at a later time. Mac regards Gregori with a cold caution. On hearing Candy’s voice, he rocks back, his arms crossing.
The Bey answers Able’s call, “Agent, where are you all? We have some problems here. Some hacker installed a backdoor in Marid and subverted the slot machines. I’ve a consultant working on it but we’ve had to shut Marid off from the comms net while he works to prevent the hacker just re-subverting the A.I.”
Pacoy’s eyes narrow, “This guy knows entirely too much about each of us, Mac, I’m staying out from under his microscope.” he subvocally comms while using the marmalade-bot to be certain the conversation stays private, “I don’t trust him, and I think he’s getting to Candy. We need to get back to work.” Mac nods, sending back to Pacoy. “Too much? No such thing as too much in my line of work, bub, but I hear what you’re putting out. I don’t trust him either. And we do need to get back, and the sooner the better. I’m going to need a stiff drink after this is done.”
Candyman: Candy strides over, gesturing to several of his children as he does, “I said there will be no violence in my home. Make what calls you will, but they are under my care now. I will extend the courtesy of allowing you, my friends, to keep your arms in my home, but do not make me regret it.” Candy grabs up the guests and ushers them inside. Pitbull backs off, fuming, and lighting another cigarette, taking a furious drag off of it that sees about three quarters of it spent. Overhearing the Bey’s call, Pacoy grumbles to himself about the perfect time to be banned from the slot machines.
Able subvocalizes his communication, changing to a private channel to keep it off the normal grid and making sure it’s encrypted – hopefully protecting it from Gregori’s interception. “We have a serious issue. We’ve captured the e23 cell, but Candyman has already undergone Lima syndrome. I believe we have a serious security breach and that negotiating with the e23 leader will result in further problems. Do I have authorization to eliminate the target prior to an interrogation?”
The Bey stays silent for a second, then “You’ve got their leader? He could be a goldmine of information. Hmmm. I’ll rely on your judgment – if he’s too turbulent a priest, rid me of him.”
Able nods and verbalizes his final communiqué. “Acknowledged.” He turns to Candy, his hand settling on his weapon as time begins to edge towards slowing, but Able waits a moment once it becomes clear that Candyman is speaking with the Bey.
Taking a look around at the parked van, Mac casually looks to see if the keys were left in the car. He comms to Candyman, “Can we get a lift back to the Ottoman? I don’t want to short our client, and I’ve got a job that he’s depending on me to do.” Candy comms back quickly, “Certainly, feel free to take the AV if one of the crew heading back can drive it.” Mac remembers the AV, a luxury flying car which uses four powerful turbojets to stay aloft. “Too few wheels for me by at least two. Can anyone else drive?”
Candyman’s comms shows an incoming from Friedlander Bey. Candy opens comm, “Mr. Bey, how can I help you. I’ve got most of the team heading back that way ASAP via AV, Able should be there with plenty of time for his tasks.” Bey sounds worried, “Yes, my brother, that is why I called. Able tells me you captured the terrorist leader alive. Be wary of him, my friend, for honeyed words often come from the djinn who would lead you astray in the desert. I would greatly regret seeing all you have worked for torn down, do you understand? You and I have shared salt, and the first to put that aside is cursed, as the Prophet tells us. I will see you here at six. Salaam al-alaikum.” And with that, he signs off.
Candy nods along with the words – then turns back to the prisoners, “Let’s get you all upstairs, I want to hear more about how my identity became compromised. I’ve got a lot of lives on my plate and I won’t see them hurt because of my sloppiness.” As he does so, Pitbull sends Candy a H.U.D. text that reads: “I ain’t the brightest bulb in the box, but even I can see that this guy is mind fuckin’ us. I think we should take this man out before he does anymore damage.”
Able holds up a hand. “Before we give them comfort, I think it only prudent that we disable any communications devices and cyberware prior to the interrogation.” Candy nods at Gregori , “Please, it will be safest for the both of us. I assure you, my people will keep you out of harm and I honestly want to hear what it is you have to say. I suspected the underworld had something to do with the Corps, but to be so ingrained. If the Bey knows who I am – it would be a most dangerous arrangement that I have brokered.” Candy comms to the Desiderium channel, “I’m going to need EM bracelets for each of our guests, and if I leave before their fed, make sure they get dinner.”
Gregori nods and soon sets of EM bracelets are brought out from storage and fitted to the five prisoners. as soon as his are in place, Gregori slumps to the ground and sadly asks for a wheelchair or some assistance to carry him. Pitbull stares at the man with disdain. I may have found a cane for Mac some time back, but this fucker can crawl with his head for all I care. Candy gets a hurt look, reminded of Hugh’s condition, “I’m sorry Gregori, I’ve a man in a similar state, I’ll have a spare wheelchair brought down immediately.” The pain is evident in Candies voice. Gregori wheezes, “I thank you, that would be a kindness.”
Able nods when Gregori goes to the floor, pleased. He turns to Pacoy. “Have one of your Marmalades follow the group – I don’t want them calling out for help or alerting other cells to our location. Though it may already be too late – Candyman, I highly recommend you double-up on security here. This man’s compatriots are likely to make an assault of our location, since we didn’t prevent them from broadcasting it to them.” Able steps up to Gregori. “Hope that you have information that’s worth your lives, and know that if you don’t, your cause isn’t going to save you. Some may be susceptible here, but not all of us.”
Pacoy gives the professor a quick inspection, just to be sure, then sets a marmalade-bot outside his cell and sets the Big Black Ball and a few Buzzbots to help watch the hall. Candy gives a slow nod to Able, “Francheska is here to oversee security and the vast majority of my men besides, still, I’ll recall those I can from Mons Ferrum and have them bolster the perimeter.” Pitbull rolls his neck before giving Gregori a very brief dirty look before saddling up with the rest of the crew.
Mac fiddles with his electrolaser, casting glances at Pacoy, then Pitbull and Able. Reseating the weapon, he pulls out a notepad from his jacket and begins scribbling some notes, pausing occasionally to tap his pen against his teeth, sending a short ‘tik tik tik’ into the audible spectrum, still making notes as he heads to the transport. Pacoy makes a quick stop at the workshop to grab a fresh roll of tape for his get, double checks the rest of his gear, and heads for the AV.
The team quickly ascend to the rooftop landing pad where their AV awaits. It’s only ten minutes flying time, they should reach the Ottoman with ten minutes to spare. As they climb into the sleek flyer, Candy leans close in to Able, the low roar of the AV engine a light drone behind the power of his cold voice, “Your soul might belong to the Corps Able, but I’ve made that deal once, I’ll not make it again. We’re Edgerunners, we all fight for our own reasons, many for gold and glory, I do it to repent. Something you should consider before you’re buried under sins of your own.”
Able turns to Candyman. “My soul was buried long ago, and I’ll not be a party to mass murder again, Candyman. And I won’t allow you to be such, either.”
Session Closed – To be Continued.