Travis Industrial Biochem Ltd
West Finchley, London Metroplex
Friday 14th April, 2051
With Yardie Bob safely imprisoned in Sharktooth Tony’s basement, Able has assumed his appearance and command of his gang. Swiftly, he has led some of them on a robbery at a bulk pharmacy located on a small industrial park in the suburbs of North London.
The rest of the Lazarus team has followed – at a discrete distance, of course – and their black van is now parked on a residential street adjacent to the estate as “Yardie Bob” and eight of his best pull up to the estate’s security perimeter in a removals van. One of Able’s gang turns to him. “What’s the plan, Bob? Run the gate, cosh the nightwatchmen and blag it before the rozzers get here?”
Mac grumbles as he shoves discarded curry containers off of his attache case. “Next time, can we get the cushy job riding in the fancy car, and stick Able in the support van with the shoddy icebox and strange stains?” “Eh. Reminds me o’ home, if I am bein’ honest.” Pitbull growls, as he pulls a paper coffee cup that got stuck to his back of of his coat. Mac sighs. “You need to move in with that nature lady. Proper broad would do you a world of cleanup, I’ll tell you what.” He idly flips the pages of a virtual novella aside as he pulls Able’s cam-feed up to fill his HUD, idly muttering to himself, but still quite audibly, “You know, this is the problem with stakeouts. Long stretches of doing nothing but waiting, and it used to be fine. Used to be normal. After joining together with you yahoos, I keep expecting some gunsel to show up throwing lead like it’s confetti at a parade, and it’s playing fiddle with my nerves.”
“We’ve kinda talked about that. Told her about how I had grown accustomed to living almost homeless before squattin’ at the HQ, and she almost dragged me by the ear to move in with her.” Pitbull chuckles as he flickes a molding french fry off of his arm. “Well, we should worn her you’re not exactly housebroken,” Pacoy smiles, “She’ll end up with her furniture chewed and her shoes soiled, but she looks like she could break you in if anyone can.” Mac gives a suttering laugh that he attempts to stifle and fails. “Oh the imagery. Pacoy, you’ve ruined dogs and horses for me forever.” “I at least shit in the toilet. I think that counts as good house manners. Otherwise, the fleas, lice, and ticks don’t give me no shit.” “You’re hot-bunking with a guy named Pitbull, and just now caught the dog jokes?” Pacoy raises an eyebrow. Pitbull turns and gives Mac a grin. “Don’t worry Mac. I ain’t gonna hump your leg or anything. But if I scratch at myself in public, I’m only doing what comes natural.” “The Way of the Dog: If you can’t chew it or screw it, well, Piss on it!” Pacoy laughs.
Able looks around, giving Mac and the rest a good view in his vid-feed of a gang of London tough boys, all squashed noses and scarred faces. All are looking expectantly at “Yardie Bob” waiting for his word. Able turns Yardie Bob’s big grin upon the gangster. “That’s about the long and short of it. I’ve got a guy in the watchman’s organization – new blood, this is his test before he gets invited to a proper initiation with the gang – that’s going to come calling when this poor sod cries for mamma. We don’t have the time to pull the big stuff, but if we drop it in the dumpster he’ll secure it for us. The little stuff we can make off with on our way out.”
Mac sighs and slinks back into his chair, taking another mouthful of bap and speaking around it. “Maker preserve me, I’m trapped with an animal and a wisearse. I thought Able was going to have it tough today, but apparently it’s me!” He listens to Able speaking, chewing thoughtfully.
The ugly hoodlum grins. “Just the way I like it, slam bam and thank you Ma’am! OK, Goggles, floor it!” The driver does just that and the big removal van hits the flimsy security barrier at the entrance to the park doing 40 or more. As it careens through, two big men carrying axe hafts jump down from the back of the van, roll, then jump up and set about the startled night watchman. In less than a minute, the van rolls up to the loading dock of the pharmacy company and another gangster runs up to the locked doors with a crowbar.
“It’s always better to travel with a Smart-Ass over a Dumb-Ass,” Pacoy nods to Mac as he follows Able’s feed.“But we ain’t got no Smart-Ass! Just a Wise-Ass and a Nasty-Ass, apparently!” Pitbull guffaws at his own joke. “And a Noir-Ass!” Pitbull giggles through another drag off of his cigarette. Mac grins to himself before slipping up between the front seats and repurposing the rear-view to check his hair. “Say, you guys think I can pull off a decent flatfoot for hire? I mean, I’ve got the jaw for it, sure.” He gives Pitbull a playful slug on the arm.
Able steps out of the vehicle as it rolls up to the pharmacy, being sure to be caught on the pharmacy’s camera system. With a simple bionic command, Pacoy activates a marmalade drone and sets it out discreetly.
“Yeah, Mac. Just put on that face you gotta do when the guy you’ve been hired to investigate catches you and there’s no way out of it other than staring him in the face. That and you need to look like you can draw a gun at any moment. You got this shit, bruh.” Pitbull growls through another smoke cloud.
The lead thug finally breaks the loading door lock by sheer brute force, wrenches the door aside on a sliding track — and a gleaming metal and fur shape arrows out of the gap to grab him by the throat. The gangster doesn’t even have time to scream as monowire edged teeth slice through his neck, then the cyberhound guard dog turns to aquire a new target.
“WOW!” Pacoy gasps at the feed, “Did not see THAT coming!” “I did. Tiajuana. How it started to go downhill.” Pitbull growls, unfazed at the scene as he takes another healthy drag off of his cigarette. Mac tenses up. “Able’s got this, right? Please tell me he’s got this.”
Able steps past his goon’s body to reach into the gap in the door, uppercutting the cyberhound with an electrified fist. The uppercut sails by the creature’s chin, but is quickly followed by a second punch to its snout in combination with a brutal attempt at an electrified head-lock with the other hand. Just then, Pacoy’s drone arrives on scene, activates, and puts a blanket of static over every channel – including Able’s feed. “Aaaaw damn! Just when the movie started gettin’ good.” Pitbull growls, as he flicks his cigarette to his right, before looking over his PDW. “Would it be in poor taste to ask Able to try and take the hound with as little damage as possible? I mean we could end up with a new mascot!” Pacoy smiles, as he readies his gun, just in case.
Mac winces, spinning to glare at Pacoy. “That’s no good. We’ve got to know what’s happening in there. If I can get to see a window, I have a laser mic that will let us at least hear what’s going on in there?” “I’m on it,” Pacoy agrees as he fine-tunes the marmalades signals, opening the teams feed.
The cyberhound keeps avoiding Able’s blows – until he lands a full-on grapple of its head in his electrified hands, sending thousands of volts through its brain. The hound lets out a howl mixed with a cybernetic screech, then slumps to the ground with smoke whisping from his ears and mouth. Able steps back, patting his hands to rid them of dogstench. “Pick him up and bring him back to the van. We’ll give him a proper burial. Drop some bleach on the stains if you can find it, but let’s get back to it.” He shakes his head as he steps into the pharmacy propper. “What a waste…” In the aftermath, an alarm bell can be heard ringing. The yardie gangsters ignore it as the race into the warehouse area. Shortly, one yells “Boss, is this the thing you were after?”
Mac fidgets in the van, flipping the cylinder of his revolver open and closed. “I don’t like this, I don’t like it one bit.”
Able turns towards the loud thug. “Bioprinter, full of cartridges. Should have a box with spares around here, too. Put them in the dumpster – they may have a tag on ‘em, and our security man said he’d disable them.” “Got it, ok – all of those ones, guys. And grab some of those canisters of blue bills too, we’ll take ’em with us for the after-party!” Within three or four minutes, the gang has packed several shipping cases into the nearest dumpster and loaded several others onto their van alongside the corpse of their friend. “Ready to go, boss!” one calls out.
Able steps out, walking towards the van – his brain full of images of the Yardy gangsters robbing their way through the pharmacy. They’d make a nice upload right into the police’s inbox later tonight. He steps into the van after checking that everything’s in its proper place. “Alright. Get us out of here.”
Mac watches from his feed, silently calculating the distance they have to travel with a digital ruler, counting yards on his fingers. “We’ll have to move fast. The flatfeet are more than likely already here. So we’ll pull it like a Bobby Kennedy. Pull up hot to the dumpster, we load the kitch, Pacoy gets the jam-bot back to the van to jam the homing beacon and we vamoose into the night while he gets to disabling the homing beacon.”
The removals van rumbles away from the warehouse, down the road and past the gate, picking up the two toughs there as it goes. Pitbull nods as the van starts rolling. He lays the PDW on his lap and pulls out another cigarette as he growls. “That went well. Hitchless almost.” His eyes narrow as he finishes his sentence. “Alright dudes, keep yer eyes peeled. Shit usually tacks itself on at this moment.” “Why did you say that? Of course it’s going to, because you said it!” “No, Mac! Don’t you watch movies? When shit goes down in any action-heist-flic, there is always some loose end waiting around the corner thinkin’ their smarter than you! I didn’t call the storm, I just pointed it out!” Pitbull grates as he grips his PDW tighter.
Able sits back in the van, smiling a sad smile. “Aside from the trouble with the dog, that went reasonably well. Now we just see if our inside man can make good on his word. Drop me off at my residence; we won’t know if he’s done his part until morning, and I don’t want to crash your celebrations.” The toughs with Able in the cab of the van look at him with even more respect than before – he’s just cemented Yardie Bob’s reputation as a mean man to cross. “Sure boss. Ummm…what residence? I thought you lived on the top floor.”
Mac tenses a bit. “Dumpster, now, quick as you please, Pitbull. I’ve got a bad feeling about this. I told you that you’ve brought bad luck to this endeavor..”
Able under a mask of Bob gives the boys a smile. “What, you don’t like this new way of referring to my private entrance? I thought it had more class than ‘by the back door’.” The toughs laugh too. “Classy, yeah man. OK, Sir Yardie, your private manor it is!” The removals van rumbles off into the night, headed back to Stepney.
As Mac and Pit grab the loot, Pacoy quickly disables all power-sources from the cyberhound and pulls it to the van while grinning “Why yes, Santa, I have been a good boy this year!” Pitbull heaves the hunk of tech into the back of the van after Mac passes it off to him before noticing the still smoking cyber-hound nestled next to the printer’s new seat. “Pac… You really are a… Pac-rat.” Pitbull guffaws again, as he slams the van doors shut. Mac sighs as he settles into the back, resting his heels on the printer. “Is it too late to walk back to Night City? That was terrible.”
Getting the beefy dog into the van, Pacoy grimaces, “Oh, cyberhound! In the chaos, I was thinking it was one of those fancy new robo-dogs that are all the rage. Now I kind of feel bad.”
As they speed away from the pharmacy, Able begins the task of uploading his captured video to the ‘CrimeBusters!’ anonymous crime-reporting website, carefully tagged with location information and carefully-edited dossiers of each of the gangsters involved – including one Yardy Bob.
Mac slides into the passenger seat to get away from the unconscious dog. “This is just great. Now we have to worry about house breaking two different types of dog. Take this next left up here, then keep on straight for half a mile. We’re out of this mess in no time at all. Treat you all to a drink when we’re safely back.” The van slides off into the night, laden with ill-gotten spoils.
- Fade Scene -
Imperial War Museum
Lambeth, London Metroplex
Saturday 15th April, 2051
The scene in the small room is jubilant but expectant. Able, having slipped away from the Yardies the previous night and now wearing his own face again, watched the holo-vid report with Sharktooth Tony. The news anchor sums up: “Most of the notorious Yardie gang were rounded up at their Stepney nightclub in a dawn raid. They have been charged in connection with a robbery at a pharmacy wholesalers last night and more charges are expected. The gang’s leader, Yardie Bob, remains at large but police have said they expect to arrest him and recover more of the stolen goods soon.”
Tony laughs through his sharp teeth. “Well, if they find Bob he’s more ‘at small’ now than ‘at large’ – or to be exact scattered in biteable chunks among the pig swill. We’ll give it a month and move in to buy out the club. Nice work, Yanks, I’m impressed despite myself. We’ve got the gear set up in the east wing making mostly antibiotics and vaccines. The folk of Lambeth will be really greatful for last night.”
Pitbull chuckles at the news story. “I love when inside jokes come together.” Mac winces, not relishing the idea of Tony’s particular brand of justice. “As long as those people’s lives are going to be improved, yeah, it may just be worth it. So what are we left to settle up, a cracked jaw?”
Able leans backwards, a smile on his face. “That’s how I like to get things done – efficiency first. When’s our would-be boxer extraordinarie going on?” Tony gestures past the curtain towards the main hall of the old re-purposed museum. The boys are setting up now, the crowd will start to arrive in maybe two hours. there are some important people going to be there, folk i want happy with me. So, no mistakes right? Your man goes down in the second round. Who’s it going to be, the big Texan there?" “Nah, man I know myself well enough that if he hits me right, I won’t stop. Big dumb ego and all that. I vote Mac or Abe. Both of them are very capable with the ol’ …erm fistycuffeds.”
Mac looks at Able, feeling a massive twinge of guilt for the events he set in motion. “I’ll go top bill – I can take someone boxing my ears for the cause. ‘sides, Pitbull can attest – I can take a beating in the ol’ square circle.” “My votes on Mac,” Pacoy nods. Mac sighs, looking sidelong at his reflection in a pane of glass. “Just promise me you can put everything back where it belongs, doc. I’m too young to get made ugly.” Able raises his hand to Mac – and brings it down quickly after noticing it beginning to shake. “I’ll leave it to you.”
Sharktooth grins. “Don’t worry, the other guy will be told not to knock you out in the first.” With that, he leaves to arrange some details for the fight. Mac looks around at his comrades, then pointedly at Pacoy. “Hey, since we know the outcome of the fight already, can we pool some cash and put a bet in on the result?” “I was thinking the same thing, We’re from macross the pond, Mr. Sharktooth: what would be a fair bet with being greedy or disresprectful to your operation?” Pacoy asks.
Tony turns on the way out. “The house maximum is 10 thousand. You’ll get two gets you one odds on the other guy. Fifty to one if you back your guy, but we know he’s going to lose so that wouldn’t be bright.”
Mac runs his hands over his face again, staring at his synthetic features in the reflection as talk of betting goes on about him. He thinks to himself, I’ve never taken a beating for money before. I hope it’s going to be worth it. These looks may not be genetic, but…
“Anyone got the Mortal Kombat theme? I think it’d work right about now.” Pitbull growls as he stubs out his cigarette.