Dateline: December 28th 2050, 0515 Local Time
The Ottoman Hotel never sleeps; it is an ever-busy hive, a temple to restless hedonism – there is no rest for the wicked at the Ottoman and so in the darkness before dawn the team find themselves in the office of the hotel’s security chief, Jonathan Haroun.
Haroun stands behind a gray metal desk the size of a small aircraft carrier, his calloused hands placed on the clear smart-glass surface as he leans over the desk to yell at them. “What the hell did you think you were doing? Never mind! You weren’t thinking! If it weren’t for Jacob’s fast talking, one or both of the keynote artistes contracted for the Auction’s entertainments would have walked by now! As it is, the boss has had to promise Lady Yan a bonus. On the bright side, Kali!‘s team have got her under sedation and say she’s likely to remember none of what happened. As to the little spat with Big Bill Farthing….” The security chief pauses at last for a shaky breath. “Let me make it very fucking clear to you – our V.I.P. guests are called that for a fucking reason, and are entitled to bring their own security into the hotel. You have to allow those bodyguards to honor any reasonable threat, and give them time to stand down before you try to shoot them. Am I fucking crystal on that? Do Not Shoot Them Unless There Is No Alternative. I want to hear a ‘hell yeah’ on that. Well?”
Able nods. “Yes sir. But may I make a suggestion?” There’s a squeak of abused metal as the security chief’s right fingers dig into the edge of the desk, but he straightens and takes a calming deep breath. “Yes, Able?”
Mac looks down his nose at Haroun, his trigger finger flexing instinctively as though scratching an invisible itch. This boob’s awful uptight. Mac shrugs and looks over towards Able. Pacoy stands calmly, listening the lecture and thanking himself that he restrained his first instinct to shoot into the melee with his actual pistol – that probably wouldn’t have gone over very well.
Able stands straight, looking the security chief in the face; his little ‘intimidation’ attempt hadn’t exactly impacted his brain, since it had its fear center surgically burned away. “It’s typically standard practice to evacuate civilians from an area where combat is taking place, especially if they aren’t within the line of fire. Further, all information we were given, including the arrangement of the room and the civilians taking cover and the newsies coverage, suggested that Lady Yan was the perpetrator and currently attacking that room. If we had been provided with adequate information, or the hotel’s regular security team had followed typical guidelines, then this would not have occurred.”
Candy places his arms behind his back with clasped hands, “Marid has facial recognition, all the V.I.P’s are in the data banks. All we need to do is allow him to validate individuals as V.I.P’s, staff, or unknowns or customers. No need for there to be a repeat of this incident, Marid, can you do that for us? Set up a subroutine to follow us around and through Augmented Reality give us status’s of everyone we see in your domain?”
Haroun sighs, and finally sits in his big desk chair. “You’re both right, of course. I got an ass-reaming from Mr. Battersea over this and as you all know shit has to roll downhill some, but you are still right. Marid, implement Candyman’s suggestion with all the roving teams. Also, whenever they respond to an alert I want a burst of whatever surveillance you have of the previous three minutes sent to them, ok?”
Marid’s voice issues from the desk: “yes, Sir. Run-time reallocated.” Able nods, satisfied with the result. “Understood. We’ll take our lumps, but it’s always best to use negative situations as a learning experience.” Candy looks to Able then the rest of the team, “I don’t think any V.I.P’s are going to be in on this gig – blowing up a locale good for their faces to shine and to book a profitable night? We can only expect so much from Marid – he needs pushes in the right direction, A.I.’s are particular like that. Yes, he told us about the fight but its not in his programming to spell it all out for us. Lets try to keep that in mind and make his job a little easier, it will sure as hell make our job easier.”
Mac starts laughing under his breath, lips barely moving as he mutters into the sub-comms, “Able, were you born with stones like that, or did you have them installed after?”