Tales of New Secca

Discussion in 'The Fields' started by I. R. Shogun, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Vash:

    He didn't need a better invitation than Ham's body lock to start taking shots at Evaltan. His fist buried themselves in the elf's stomach, but after just a few punches the squirrelly bastard managed to kick and squirm his way free, eventually managing to force himself to have enough distance to slap on several thin patches all over his body.

    "Oh Christ," Vash muttered.

    "What?" asked Ham.

    "Stim packs," said Vash as Evaltan roared and ran forward, firing dozens of shots as he did. Evaltan would be less accurate now, but he'd be faster, stronger, and a lot tougher. Vash shoved Ham out of the way knocking the orc aside to let him avoid a head level shot from the enraged elf. Vash fired back, not sure if he was hitting anything vital, just trying to slow him down however he could, this was going to get nasty.

    ****************************

    Torgg:

    The dwarf gritted his teeth as the troll slammed him again and again into a wall. All the while the big ugly bastard roared and screamed something wild, most likely about their history and Boom's finger. Torgg didn't care, eventually he managed to kick free and drew his spear. "Come on then you ugly bastard! Let's finish what we should have years ago!" Torgg screamed.

    "With pleasure!" roared Boom as he pulled the doors off of the car he'd thrown through the windows then rushed forward. It was a terrifying ballet this duel, Torgg's martial grace versus Boom's primal ferocity. Both managed to score minor wounds against the other, but neither was able to get a decisive blow in, and both knew full well that the first who did would certainly be the victor of this struggle.
     
  2. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Hell Woman

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    Ham cracked his knuckles. Benito and Ham could take out even out the battle easy with a stim spell. Still most elves were floppy and easy to break with brute force, it was just a question if Ham could get a grip on him again, or if Evaltan would nail him in the head with a bullet first. It would just be hard to get in close, and keep his hold. And Ham's wounds weren't helping either.

    "Thanks for the push, Vash. If you keep shooting at this guy I have an idea. I can try to run and take cover a few times to get him to spend his ammo, you wait for him to shoot at me to pick off shots at his hand, then I can get in close and hopefully keep him from trying to pop our heads." Ham told Vash under the sound of gunfire and car doors flying.


    Ham then tried to dive for more nearby cover not sure if Vash heard it all, either way Evaltan would likely still try to pick off any open target.

    -----------------------------------------

    Picking through files and checking his com. device, Ghost was in a silent wondering state. Some blogs and early police reports were starting to come in about the skirmish at the Mage Tower. Large barriers, flying things, and exploding things were the most commonly mentioned things in the sightings. Still no reports about why there was an attack yet, or if anybody died yet.

    Ghost felt worried for Ham and Benito. He hadn't felt worried for them in a long time. Not after what Ham Fist did to his family. But the reports of the action sounded brutal. Not even somebody as sick as Ham belonged in such a place.
     
  3. wanderingmagus

    wanderingmagus King Anakin's Royal Advisor, Constantly Around :D

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    The healing runes and antimage runes were working finally. As his employer sat up and crackled her neck, Rift motioned towards the new-and-improved elf with a nod.

    "Gonna need better protection this time, miss. Wouldja like ta use some o' my runes, miss?"

    Wrench smiled menacingly.

    ****

    Slice waited impatiently for something to happen. Aside from that one shot, nothing in particular was really being that much of a bother. He considered going downstairs, but decided against it; when faced with one of the best assassins in history, it just didn't do to walk away from protecting somebody, even a mage of Lantho's caliber.

    ****

    Wrench screamed half-insane laughter out of her speaker systems as her new-and-improved biomech body slammed into Evaltan at the speed of a supersonic rifle bullet. Runes of protection and antimagic, as well as of corruption of enemies, sprawled all over her cybernetic body as all fifty laser cannons fired beam after beam at the elf. A lightweight supercomputer calculated the probabilities of the target's every move, and sonic emitters filled the air around it with an impenatrable shield of sonic booms and explosions designed to vibrate at the resonant frequency of elf bones.

    Meanwhile, new antimagic buzzkill droids and earthdiggers exploded from the walls and the floor as Rift worked furiously with car, radio and computer parts courtesy the bailing CnS team. Maybe, just maybe they had a chance after all.

    He focused a spare sonic emitter at Ham and Vash, and yelled, "Armour exosuits and plasma rifles ready for use, friends. Or at least, i assume you're friends. Sorry if that offends you, officer, master hamfist. Would you mind protecting me from stray shots and explosions?"

    He didn't even sound sarcastic at all. Seriously.
     
  4. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Hell Woman

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    Ham Fist was offended by the idea of even touching a gun, and everybody around him was coated head to toe in expensive armor, cyber-mechanic robot suits, and now he is offered an exosuit? After the long time they spent waiting and not even introducing themselves they were still far from friends. And what seemed to be common courtesy and gift giving by Wrench was insulting to Ham. He questioned why Wrench needed his help now when she seemed more in control than Kiyoshi in the whole operation.

    Trying to get in close to stop Evaltan was now a hopeless plan when the entire area is being bombarded with lasers. Ham decided that it would be best to neutralize the Torgg and Boom situation, before it got too messy. Ham limped towards them, all the while Torgg and Boom slipping cold glances at him, telling him that he was far from welcome, he would have to help take out Torgg and make sure Boom didn't crack either of their necks.

    Ham rushed into the side of Torgg. Sandwiching Torgg between a beefy arm and a car door. Hopefully Boom wouldn't be hostile towards a helping hand.
     
  5. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Vash:

    Vash wasn't paying much attention to any of the talking going on around him, be it from Ham or from the team of dwarves. He was too focused on the amped up elf that was throwing bullets everywhere that they could be sent. Wrench had some fancy doo dads glowing and buzzing as she attempted to close in with the pistoleer, probably had some kind of probability reader or something, the problem with that kind of tech in a war zone was simple, it was fragile, as Evaltan demonstrated by tossing a handful of grenades at wrench, toasting any simple software. Her arms and armor could take it, but some of the more sophisticated tech was battered to hell in the explosion, and the armor also got a fair test when Evaltan's bullets began exploding on impact.

    The laser cannons only bothered Evaltan for a second, he was an expert shot, far better than any combat machine could match if it wasn't full on military grade, and even with the stim pack making him move at that rate he was able to hit delicate parts in the cannons, rendering them a lot less dangerous than they'd started out. Vash tried to send out some support fire, but he couldn't even tag the elf bastard as he rushed and flipped and everything else to avoid any shots Vash could hit him with. Things were bad, and the amount of drones and noisy tech filling the air weren't helping much.

    Evaltan could focus on the task of taking anything and everything he saw apart, but the defending squad had the distinct problem of having one target flitting between their own toys, making it almost impossible for them to get ahold of the bastard without hitting their own gear and people. The offer of more armor and toys from Rift didn't really appeal to him either, he wasn't trained with plasma rifles, and someone like Evaltan could hit the weak spots in armor well enough that he didn't see much point in bothering to squeeze into it on the fly. This was a fine mess they were in...


    *******************************************

    Torgg:

    The dwarf felt himself getting squeezed between a body of soft meat and a car door when the orc crashed into him. He did his best to get loose but found that hard when Boom dropped the door and grabbed a hold of him. Torgg lashed his spear into the face of the troll, but it didn't do much good, Boom roared as he seized a hold of the dwarf's arms and put his boot against the body of his nemesis. Torgg screamed with all his might as the troll began to pull, armor and bone were no match for the monster as he ripped Torgg apart.

    It seemed like this would mean the fight was over, all on Evaltan, but unfortunately Boom didn't really care for these people either, and as he delivered a heavy back handed strike to Ham sending him skidding along the ground he made it clear the nightmare was just starting. Boom roared a challenge to everyone around and picked up the car he'd brought with him again, now tossing it at Wrench, this was going to get even uglier.
     
  6. wanderingmagus

    wanderingmagus King Anakin's Royal Advisor, Constantly Around :D

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    Rift was sitting behind a column, watching the action through a holoportal. The fight wasn't going well at all. All the tech just kept crashing, and they were all interfering with each other. There was no other option left. He looked at the stats his teracore datapad was giving him on the two. Powerful, yes. Fast, yes. Well-defended, most definitely. But he bet they didn't stand up very well against miltiary-grade interstellar ion cannons made to blast apart a planet.

    ****

    Half a world away, Whiz was staring up into the sky, hands tapping on the keys of reality, muttering indiscernable words as he reprogrammed the planetary defense network and repositioned the nuclear pulse cannon. Beside him, Dice stared fixatedly at the black cloud of deathmist his body naturally generated. Linked with assassin's deathmist constructs inside the mage tower, he was watching the battle. Passion told him he should be able to kill both Evaltan and the troll. Instinct told him nothing short of a small nuclear blast was gonna harm them at all. Oh, the mage tower would be shielded well enough. But pity the individual standing in the way of the concentrated beam going at a hundred times the speed of light. This was way beyond military-grade, this was intergalactic security grade. And even this might not be enough.

    ****

    Wrench climbed back behind the same column as Rift, tearing off her mask. She looked at the datapad, and at the deathmist holo-construct.

    "think it will stop them?"

    "can't be too sure about that. they've been more competent at fighting than just about anything. even a direct blast might not dent them."

    ****

    The cannon was ready. Whiz's finger hovered over an invisible key, waiting for the signal from Dice.

    (look, i'm making this simple. nothing we're holding is even touching these two. they're op, we go op. see?)
     
  7. wanderingmagus

    wanderingmagus King Anakin's Royal Advisor, Constantly Around :D

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    Wrench shook her head.

    "you can't just go firing that at them like that"

    Rift just looked at her.

    "Well why the hell not? It's pretty much the only surefire chance we've got"

    "how do I put this? Firstly, because the chances of missing is waaayy too high. Secondly, because we probably can't be sure we aren't gonna blow up the whole city. Thirdly, even if we get a direct shot, that's a NUCLEAR pulse cannon. NUCLEAR means RADIATION. And thick as my own skin and yours is, we've got these pesky little strands of DNA to look out for, and i'm not too keen on dying of cancer just to get rid of an elf and a troll. Even if it IS awesome."

    Rift concidered this for a moment, then sighed.

    "All right. I'll call it in."

    ****

    Dice massaged the bridge of his nose as Whiz hacked back out of the security network. It WAS a good idea. But, well, Wrench was right. And it'd suck being on the hitlist as one of the most dangerous terrorists around. Even if it was awesome.

    Back to the basics. Deathmist was a possibility, but only a possibility. If the past was any indication, Evaltan probably had defenses already set up for it.

    Boom was so out of their level it was funny, in a black sort of way. Whiz might be able to hack his mind and bod-

    Wait. Stop right there. Now THAT's an idea.

    The dark elf looked at the little halfling lying with his hands in the air. Should he try it?

    Reality hacking was a dangerous business. It did things to you, to your mind and to the people around you if you weren't careful. Take Whiz. Could probably cause the universe to explode, given a lot of time. But look at him. No will. No fighting ability. Poor vision, looks uglier than chopped liver. That's what reality hacking does to you. It takes everything else you have, and warps it. And rips it apart. Until all you have left IS hacking, and the last thing you hack... was yourself.

    ****

    Boom was throwing trucks and smashing columns with about as much effort as a dwarf crumbling a clump of dirt. Evaltan was running faster than most eyes could see, shooting rounds with a deadly precision reserved generally for assassins. Slice was held up trying to decide whether to assist his teammates or to protect his target.

    And Rift, he didn't have anything to do but build more buzzkll drones. And those were getting torn apart with grenades. What now?
     
  8. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Hell Woman

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    Ham was stunned and disgusted by Boom. He helped subdue Torgg only so that Boom could shred him apart and go entirely berserk. After Ham's own accident he had realized when to pull his punches and seeing Boom make his same mistake he wasn't going to hold back anything.

    Ham's wounds stopped hurting. He didn't need a stim pack to give him a jolt after seeing the worst thing in his life repeated right in front of him. Ham stopped caring about his bullet wound, it felt more like an itch from a bug bite. The orc roared back at Boom with just as much senseless rage. Ham grabbed Torgg's body and started to pry apart the body armor. The metal became hot as it was wrenched off and Ham's hand bloodied and worn even more.

    Ham Fist let the twisted sharp metal plate fly like a frisbee at Boom as he himself charged at Boom fistfirst ready to pound on him till Boom and his fists were a fine paste.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Benito started to hear louder and louder cries of pain and rage even from the floor they were on. From Lantho it sounded like everything was all set and under control but Lantho started to express a look of terror. Kiyoshi was outside still, yet inside there seemed to be far more action and far more brutal action at that.
     
  9. wanderingmagus

    wanderingmagus King Anakin's Royal Advisor, Constantly Around :D

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    The Twins, and their construct, suddenly turned to Wrench and Rift.

    “We have an idea. Lantho seems kinda busy at the moment, but we’re just sitting here.”

    Slice was speaking now. “Lantho’s one of the best mages in the world. He can take care of himself, no problem, and this whole thing was rigged anyways; Kyoshi’s plan’s all messed up, so this part of my task is done.”

    Dice also hissed. “From the data you’ve given us through the construct network, Boom isn’t going down without some heavy muscle. I’ve assassinated individuals his size before, but only after years of poisoning and stuff. Even if I literally BREATHED deathmist right in his face he might be resistant. It might slow him down enough for you people to get a good shot at him, though.”

    “And as for Evaltan, his stim packs have a weakness: they’re only designed for sub-five minute intervals. At the rate he’s going, his heart will be working at overtime. Even prolonging the fight a little more will probably rip his cardiovascular system.”

    “Or here’s an idea. We could use our combined deathmist capabilities and finish repairing the probability calculator in time to Evaltan’s movements. All we really need to do is show up with a knife just as he’s about to run into it.”

    “And we’re REALLY good at showing up. Quickly.”

    Wrench and Rift looked at each other.

    “Sounds like a plan if I ever heard of one.”

    “And how exactly do we keep the others from interfering with all this?”

    They looked over at the enraged troll.

    (I don’t feel like modding vash and hamfist. why don’t you figure out how you got distracted and I’ll worry about trying to take down Evaltan without the two of you getting in the way.)
     
  10. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Hell Woman

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    Ghost's trackers were overflowing with data. From crazy stories about vampires, and even convicts being let loose out of jail early, AND the Mage tower incident indicating signs of casualties already, New Secca had probably hit it's highest point of ludicrously. It all looked downhill and no police force would likely be able to put a dent in the surging future.

    Somebody has to stand up to all this, somebody has to control the valves of the tidal approaching, somebody has to be vigilant. The price of New Secca's freedom like any land's freedom is vigilance. A city so active has to be kept under watch.

    Ghost decided to step up to the plate, his entire family dead all he had nothing to care about other than his own back, and who would know if the next bullet shot would find his neck in this hole. Shade, that would be his name to his contacts now. Shade.

    For the first time ever Ghost started sending messages to the bugged phones, mostly threats. Using petty knowledge to blackmail gathered over time Shade found himself sitting on a possible boon of information.

    "Why just watch everything fall, being vigilant isn't enough. True vigilance requires action. To record crimes isn't enough. To control crimes requires action." Ghost began to think to himself.

    Ghost found himself suddenly busy, Shade just tightened the collar on one thousandth of New Secca's population. That was good enough for today. Ghost would buy Shade a computer to use, Shade would use information to buy protection, and if everything set in correctly Shade would be able to start and end riots with a single text. Ghost would find himself very wealthy, and New Secca as safe as Ghost pleased.
     
  11. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    The Last Day.

    “Opening Cell 41!” The cry came down from the intercom of tower 12 looking over block C, iron grated against iron as the doors slid off Dynamite’s cell, opening up the small bleak world before him. There was no sunlight in this hellhole, just fluorescent lights buzzing at the top of every concrete block, every steel grating. For the life of him Fedd couldn’t tell if it was day or night on the outside, but that was the point.

    Chief Davidson strolled up into view just outside. “What’s the hold up 13488? You getting yourself dolled up in there?”

    Fedd stepped forward and onto the sealed catwalk on level two of block C, he glanced down the seemingly endless grey corridor before approaching Davidson, keeping the mandatory two paces back. “Just taking it slowly Chief, no trouble, don’t want to be leaving a bad impression do I?”

    The chief stepped forward into Fedd’s face, or tried to, being only a good six and a half feet he stared down at all the other prisoners even some of the smaller, younger trolls, but Fedd made a point to look down on him. “How a sorry piece of drek like you gets out in less than half his sentence I’ll never know, you’ve been nothing but trouble in here since they sent your bleeding ass to my jail, you know the medics are having their own little party? Because they can finally close down the emergency ward they set up to deal with your messes!”

    Fedd snorted. “I keep telling you chief, I’m not the one who starts trouble.”

    The Chief raised his stun baton. “No, but you damn sure finish it, and I’m going to have to deal with the mess that’s going to come from taking you out of the equation of violence. Either way you’re shitting in my coffee and I don’t like it!” He jabbed Fedd once with the stun baton, the initial voltage did nothing, but the electric frequency set off the implant in the base of his skull half a second later. The pain nearly floored him and whitewashed his vision.

    Fedd has been told it wasn’t really pain, it just replicated the neural stimuli to pacify inmates, real pain was inhumane the government said. Fedd was damned if it didn’t feel exactly the same, he supposed it was just some semantic loophole for pacifying the Sentient Rights groups. It didn’t make a damned bit of difference.

    Fedd shook the haze out of his head and the Chief smacked him on the temple with the edge of his baton this time, saving Fedd the shock. “What are you doing pissing around here 13488? You’ve got an appointment with god! GET THE **** TO IT”

    ____


    As always the rhythmic ticking of the Warden’s grandfather clock set an oppressive tone to the room. Federal prisons these days were all made to fit a pattern, each one nearly identical to the last, the same set of concrete blocks, the same steel bars, everything made to fit and stamped with a barcode. It made for a world without light, a world without colour, a world without a soul. It went so far that soon enough, it started taking your soul with it; it was perfectly engineered.

    The Warden’s office was the same, bare walls, and steel furniture bolted into the concrete floor, only the damned clock wasn’t made from regulation boredom, but it stuck out so much it set the room on edge. Just something that didn’t belong.

    Warden Willowhorn paced behind his desk while Fedd stood there in chains. Davidson was behind him somewhere by the door, watching with his stun-baton firmly in hand. After a long moment of nothing but the ticking of the clock, Willowhorn finally stopped and turned to Fedd. “I’d pay good money to know who you got to strongarm the parole board, even your hearing was ahead of time, scum like you don’t have friends that high.”

    He picked up a file from his desk and began to sift through it. “Racketeering, battery, assault, evading arrest; all trivial. It’s the list that isn’t in here that bothers me. Theft, Rape, Murder. You should be rotting in the pits of my cold hell 13488, instead you’re getting out!” He slapped the file back on the table and strode up to Fedd. “I should have staged an accident the day you arrived. You’d be surprised how many implant procedures go messy, not a quick death that one, no siree, that’s a slow painful death, would be a mercy to kill em and save a week of agony, but I’m afraid us honest men can’t be doing with murder on our conscience. Something for you to think about if you’re considering getting back in the game 13488. Prison isn’t as nice the second time.”

    Behind him Davidson snorted, Willowhorn gave him a quick glance and smiled back. “Ah of course, the chief here is sure you won’t be coming back, no doubt there won’t be so many cameras the next time you get arrested 13488, and well, cops don’t take kindly to cop killers when they find them. I’m sure there’s a few of this city’s finest who miss their partners, their friends. I even heard a certain officer Muldoon was among those who died in pursuit of you, a well decorated hero, a family man, my there must be more people out there who want you dead than in here. What do you think of that Fedd?”

    “I think boss, that I don’t give a shit.” Davidson floored him in an instant with the first jab, the next four were harder to feel after that.

    ____

    “You just don’t know when to keep your ****ing mouth shut do you, you pissant!?”

    Fedd shrugged as the Chief led him back down the stairs toward the yard, or at least the artificial yard, little more than a hall with dirt on the floor and trees painted on the walls. “I calls em like I sees em chief.”

    “You got an hour before the papers clear 13488, until then try not to cripple anyone, or else you’ll be eating this goddamn baton!” He gave it a wave for good measure and let the electrified gate seal shut behind the troll. Fedd looked out on the masses sprawling ahead of him, even just the population of block C filled the room nearly to bursting, hundreds. The jails were full these days. Fedd began walking to his usual spot, the crowds parting before him like always, that was until he ran into Stone and his goons; ex runners.

    Professional runners made bad prisoners, not like career criminals, where prison was a rite of passage or an easy retirement for one of the families, runners who lived and died to be top ten got real pissy when they were taken out of the game; you had to be on the street to be eligible for that status. So without their precious ranking they turned to challenges on the inside, taking down the toughest nuts in the jail was all they had, and it didn’t help to be former top ten either. Fedd was getting tired of beating them up.

    “Don’t bother me today Stone, I’m not in the mood to deal with your bitching.”

    The shaved dwarf snorted and spat to one side, but didn’t move. “I hear you’ll be gone tomorrow Fedd, shame. I guess I’ll have to kill you when they let me out.”

    Fedd let out a loud booming laugh and silenced the nearby crowds. “Good one short stuff, but I’m honestly tired of picking your teeth out from between my knuckles, bother someone else when your time’s up.”

    “You think I won’t be gunning for you? You end up back on the top spot and I won’t be the only one after your skin. And on the outside there’s a lot more to work with than this.” Stone leapt forward, fast for a dwarf, but the pistoleer didn’t have his trademark guns, just a sharpened chunk of cutlery. Fedd didn’t even bother to dodge, he just swung his knee up to crack the dwarf in the head, the shank bounced harmlessly to one side doing nothing but tearing Fedd’s pants.

    Fedd cracked his knuckles “Next time you try shanking a troll short stuff, bring a chainsaw.”

    Stone was busy picking himself off the ground while his cronies spread out around Fedd, forming a tight circle, one dwarf besides stone, three humans, an elf and an orc, a couple had shanks too, but they were quickly reconsidering their use. Stone, finally on his feet, spat out a bloody tooth. “Now now Fedd, don’t want to get put in the hole on the day you leave do you? That would make sucking the warden’s cock all these years a waste of time. Or did you do it just for the protein?”

    One of the human’s guffawed, he was the first one to go down, troll fist in his face, there were a lot of crunches in that one punch. The next hand shot out and grabbed Stone by the neck. “You’ve been nothing but a nuisance to me since you got here Stone, maybe no one showed you the ropes when they threw you in here but let me leave you with some parting advice.”

    The orc rushed in from behind, Fedd swatted him always with the dwarf’s limp body, the shank the orc had been raising stuck in the dwarf’s leg.

    “Don’t” Fed began, but used the dwarf again to swat away one of the humans approaching, Fedd kneed the other one in the belly, taking him down in one hit.

    “****” The last human and the elf were swinging wide, trying a pincer move, just as they closed in Fedd smacked them both with his fists, people forgot a tall Troll made for one hell of a reach.

    “With Dynamite!” He threw Stone at his last remaining cohort, the two dwarves went down in a tumbling heap.

    One of the towers hit their wide arc pacifier, and everyone within fifteen feet went down in synthesised pain.

    ____

    There was a smell; that alone told Fedd something special, the air down in the cells was recycled, tasteless filth, not one breath different from the last in temperature or humidity. No trace of any scent, no hint of any origin or destination, just a perpetual regulated standard; it was intolerable.

    But something different was wafting down from overhead, not just the dirty air of a city mixed in with rain to come, but sounds, distant at first but growing louder so you could almost hear them over the roar of the cargo elevator.

    The giant steel platform passed the half way point on the two hundred meter climb up through the featureless shaft. Fedd hardily remembered it from his way in, near a decade ago. Back then his left eye had been shut for the swelling and they’d only taken the bag off his head to taunt him at the fading view of the city. They’d told him he’d rot down there for good, thankfully they were wrong.

    The platform was big enough for half a dozen armoured wagons to park on, and even Fedd must seem small to the guard tower that straddled the shaft, along in the middle but for his six escorts. No armour, no riot wagons, just a Troll and some guards. He looked above, finally focusing and filtering out the light from the control tower directly above, it was night up there, rain was setting in cold as it slapped against concrete, Fedd hadn’t heard a single unsanctioned sound since he was put in this rotting pit, to him it was music, it was freedom, it was everything about the world that had been taken away. There was no order to the crackle of the heavy droplets against the ground, or the wind whipping the tarpaulin on some nearby construction site, the whistle of it through the night air spoke of disorder and chaos, and for the first time in a long time Fedd felt alive again.

    He started to laugh to himself, and the guards around him shifted nervously. It wasn’t far now till they reached the top, ground level; street level. He’d be home soon. His wrists tensed against his shackles, eager to be free at last from the steel grip that had held them so long. His clothes felt itchy after spending so long in storage, they felt like the belonged to someone else, Fedd’s tough skin didn’t remember the feel of anything but the drab synthetics, there was too much to remember all at once.

    At last they crested the shaft, and ahead on the road towards the exit the Warden stood waiting. Fedd moved forward without the nudge of his guard team towards Willowhorn, a smile starting to bloom on his face. “Evenin’ Boss.” He said, sucking in the night air at last, watching every cold white light across the skyline.

    “Fedd Stromm, Prisoner number 13488, Hayden Bridge Federal Correctional Facility has deemed you rehabilitated and hereby releases you from your incarceration.” Willohorn nodded to the nearest guard who began unlocking Fedd’s restraints. “It is the opinion of the parole board that your sentence be ended prior to its completion and that the rights and privileges granted to every private citizen are returned to you forthwith.” The last lock sprang open, the angry jagged mouth of the cuffs releasing their grip on Fedd for the last time, he instinctively rubbed his wrists and stretched his legs on the spot. He too one sniff of the night air again to make sure this was real.

    Willowhorn was not amused, despite his attempts to stay the release on the grounds on the fight earlier in the day, there was nothing his could do, the paperwork was done. “See you around Boss.” He said at last before walking towards the gate.

    Behind him Willowhorn grunted in anger. “Pray that you don’t Stromm, or next time you’ll get sent down into my prison without riding the elevator, and we’ll see if you can punch your way out of a two hundred meter fall.”

    Fedd ignored the warden, he ignored the guards and the walls, the sound of the steel elevator retreating back into its bleak hell, he ignored it all. All there was in the world was the opening gate before him, and the city beyond.

    First thing to do was get a drink, the next was to find out who the hell got him out.
     
  12. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Vash:

    Suddenly the old man had an idea. As they were they wouldn't have much luck bringing down Evaltan unless they let his heart explode, although from what he could hear on the coms for Wrench's team their sappers sounded confident they could cut him down to size given the opportunity. He dashed out, hoping to avoid catching any lead from the elf as he rolled over to the one called Rift.

    "Your boys think they can take Evaltan?" he asked.

    The dwarf nodded as his fingers danced around, quickly sending out a drone into the fray.

    "Get them to hop to it, and if you don't mind, take a look at this," said Vash as he handed Rift a small, very old radio. "See if you can't mod it, increase the range a bit, with things going this wild police authority overrides mage tradition, but I can't get it to work. You get it working and ready, I'll call in every SWAT guy in the city to bring that troll bastard down." Rift nodded understanding, Vash just hoped he could get it taken care of quickly.

    *************************************

    Boom:

    The troll roared with challenge as his hands and those of the orc made loud brutal thuds as they bounced off each other's forms. He was in better shape than the orc, but any berserker knew that it took time to break through someone in a rage. Luckily for Boom he was the toughest there was, and he was confident that this little punk wouldn't be able to slow him down enough to bug him when he took out the rest of these chummers.

    *************************************

    Kiyoshi:

    She breathed heavily as she limped through the alleyway three blocks from the Arcana Tower. She was hurt, but she'd live, of that much she was certain, but not of much else. She didn't know who the man was that killed Red Eye and attacked her, she didn't know who, if any of her team was alive, and most importantly, she didn't know if she could believe what she had a feeling had to be true. Did the dragon really sell her out? What other explanation was there? She didn't know, but she was going to find out, one way or another, she was going to find out.
     
  13. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    “C’mon Jackson you know I’m good for it!”

    Jackson Knox sniffed at the junkie in front of him, the chump was strung out, there were piss stains all down his pants and the sucker was starting to bleed round the eyes, if he didn’t have the bug or worse, he was at least melting from withdrawal. “Why does every sucker tell me the same thing every time they’re short of cash?” He sighed, junkies were all so predictable.

    “I’m getting my benefits next week man, I’ll get you your money then!” The punk was getting jittery, Jackson didn’t like the way they were cutting the latest batch, someone was using caffeine pills again, it always made things a little more volatile than just chalk.

    “No loans, no layaways, no credit, same for you as everyone else, you got a problem take it up with the management.” Jackson nodded down the street, past the lookouts to the car full of his ‘friends’ packing heat. Good security was an essential part of the game.

    The little punk whined, stepped back and forth between his feet and muttered to himself before pulling out his piece. “You think they’ll get here in time? Gimmie every goddamn vial you got!! NOW!”

    The muscle down the street didn’t have time to get there, and the Junkie didn’t have time to turn around. A fist the size of a cinder block took the punk in the back of the head and he flopped out like a wet fish to the deck, Jackson took the gun away before he looked at whoever had helped him. All six of the revolver’s chambers were empty.
    “Dumb ass junkies can never afford bullets.”

    “Was the same last time I was here, I didn’t expect it to be much different.”

    Jackson Knox looked up into a face from the past. “Son of a bitch! Dynamite?”

    The big Troll grinned with those same yellow teeth. “The one and only, back from the beyond.”

    “Man, I thought they put you in for good? Whats it been? Fifteen!?”

    “Ten” Dynamite Grunted.

    Jackson whistled through his teeth “Mother****er! You escape or something?”

    “Beats me, last week they tell me I was getting out, forty years off my time just like that, I don’t have a damn clue who made it happen or why. I was hoping you could set me up with some contacts, help me find out who did it. Ten years is a long time to be out, I don’t know any major players anymore.”

    “Hey, You know Jackson Knox don’t ya baby!? I’ll be off the corner in an hour, meet me down at Sully’s bar, we’ll talk there.” Jackson passed him a bit of cash. “Get the drinks in man”

    ____

    Fedd settled into his ninth shot of vodka while Knox was still nursing his third beer. Although by body mass they were probably about on an even pace. “****ers in that place gave me constant grief about that job, you nearly start a war in the city and you’re a celebrity on the inside. Made me a target, but they learned soon enough not to mess with me.”

    Knox nodded over his bottle. “I’ll bet, Say it wouldn’t be Gonzatti who got you out? You did get the job done after all.”

    “That old man wouldn’t waste his time on me, he sent a few knives after me in the joint, if anything he was happy to let me rot in there.”

    “Hey, not all gifts are in good faith man, maybe he’s got you out to put a bullet in you, that kinda thing gets too many questions on the inside.”

    Fedd didn’t like the thought of that, but either way he had to find out.

    Knox resumed his ranting. “You thought much about what you’re gonna do on the outside? Finding people isn’t exactly a good day job is it? more of a hobby really. I could use a reliable arm on my corner, some of the thugs Anton is giving me these days are as high as my customers.”

    Downing his drink Fedd shook his head. “You know I’m out of the game Knox, I work for myself, always will. Besides H is too hot a product, and I’m staying out of the heat for a little while.”

    Knox started laughing. “you have been in a while, H is old news man, We’re all the way up to L, Lytonine man, hit about six years back, kicks the shit out of H, twice as strong, five times as addictive. Its so bad withdrawal is more likely to kill you than an overdose. Business has trebled since then. Now would be a good time for you to get back in!”

    “And here was me hoping you’d consider rejoining Dynamite Enterprises. There’s a lot of businesses that owe me back pay on protection.” Fedd smiled at that, thinking off all the mayhem he could do.

    “Nah, I got my corner and I get a good take, and Anton isn’t as bad as half the other chumps and gangs out there. But I’ve always got your back man, I’ll look into this prison shit for you. But if I were you I’d move on man, if there really is someone watching you, they’ll come to you eventually so what’s the beef?”

    “I don’t like being in debt to anyone Knox, you should remember that. Which reminds me; I need you to look up someone for me, beside the other shit.”

    Knox finished his beer and sent the empty bottle flying across the bar to the chagrin of the old barkeep “Course man, who?”

    “Stone.” Fedd Began.
     
  14. wanderingmagus

    wanderingmagus King Anakin's Royal Advisor, Constantly Around :D

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    Wrench started modding the thing immediately, but it was made to connect with a network, which was in no way her forte. But they had assets, they had a team. And if any of them lacked a skill, another had just the right skill to make up for it. A deathmist doppelanger of Whiz quickly hacked and reconnected the radio with the network, and police reports started softly sounding.

    ****

    Meanwhile, half a world away, Dice sat in a lotus position, seeming to meditate. But when one looked closely, something completely different was happening. His saliva and breath were MOVING, of their own accord, turning black and seeping out of his mouth and pores. Within moments, he was surrounded by an entire acre of darkness. He opened his eyes, which suddenly lit with a red light. If the Twins were standing next to one another, observers would have been unnerved more than slightly as an inhuman, unearthly grin stretched across their faces at the same time. The darkness took forms, and shapes. An army of Twins, and their equipment condensed and materialized from the utter blackness, as physical and tangible as the Twins themselves. Ten thousand Twins smiled the same smile, glowed the same glow, hissed the same hiss. Their number was legion. Somewhere, sometime, something formed of pure shadow and attached to our world by a single black thread smiled, uncountable teeth smiling in a way that would drive even the bravest and most strong-willed insane.
    "IT IS TIME."

    ****

    Evaltan was doing the usual, dodging bullets and laser beams, and feeling the rush going through his system, when suddenly the area right in front of him disappeared into a black void. Slightly unnerved, he quickly changed direction and went the other way, only to see a... creature, elf-like, certainly, but somehow so unlike an elf as to seem to rot the reality around it.

    The true elf changed directions once again, and began to notice that all about him, everything, even the floor beneath his feet, seemed to be changing colors, gaining a dark tinge. He skidded to a stop and looked around for the little insects he was assigned to kill. Instead of a few dwarves and an old man, however, all he could see was blood-red walls and floor. Which started moving.

    A hand came out of nowhere, reaching. It was faster than he had expected, but nothing really bothering, so he dodged it.. and made the mistake of looking out the corner of his eye. The wall wasn't a wall anymore. It was a plane full of eyes and silently screaming mouths, of faces smiling with an expression only describable even by himself, of a hundred years of experience, as the most unnerving thing he had ever seen. He immediately tried to go towards where he KNEW there was a battle, but that was when the floor suddenly smiled. And the smile... it was from a nightmare he had. From when he was a little child. After he had killed someone for the first time. Like a corpse, but alive in a way that seemed to make the most disgusting insect seem beautiful and innocent. A hundred thousand tentacles reached for him, but he was too fast for them. But beneath the padding of his feet, the whistling of the air, and the thumping of his heartbeat, he could hear something, something nearly inaudible but discernable.

    "COME TO US."

    He looked towards the source of the sound.. and saw his mother. But his mother was dead..

    The figure turned around. A thousand tentacles pried its chest apart. A smile stretched across its face.

    That's when Evaltan, ice-cold assassin of a hundred years, began screaming.
     
  15. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    Ruby Stone struggled to breath through the sack over her head, the material was dirty making every breath reek as it spread acrid fingers down her throat, the lack of oxygen was making her head feel fuzzy. She couldn’t remember how long it had been since she’d been jumped on her way home from work. They’d always been told to stay in the lights on this side of town and she had, but some thugs were less lucifugous than others.

    But she was alive, and for now that was enough. She tensed against the ropes around her wrists and ankles, tried desperately for some loose gap to no avail, they’d been done up so tight her fingers were beginning to numb.

    There was the sound of someone moving close by and the world exploded in a shower of light as the bag was taken off her head, only to be replaced by a rain of liquid. Ruby coughed in surprise, trying not to choke. It was liquor, vodka by the smell and it stung her eyes. Her captor was out of view and all she could do was yelp. “Stop!”

    As the tide of spirits subsided, Ruby took the time to survey her surroundings, she knew every detail mattered, could mean all the difference in the police report. She was in a dark room but for the construction light on a tripod before her, a quick glance showed the unfurnished walls to be some sort of construction site, there were tools, bags of cement, and all manner of tarps and sheeting about. It couldn’t be too long from her capture, and the only building going up nearby was the new office block on 8th Street. She noted that down in her mind, the place was nearly done, and deserted at night. She’d have to break free, but it wasn’t far to the populated streets, she just needed the opportunity.

    “Please” She began. “I don’t have any money, I’m just an IT technician for city hall!” Play dumb Ruby, let him get lax in control, wait for your opportunity.

    Her captor finally revealed himself, a massive troll stepped into view from somewhere behind her, he swigged from the large bottle of vodka in his hand before looking down at here. There was something in his gaze, some reptilian flicker that made her scream inside. “I don’t want your money, I don’t care who you work for.” Her captor said in a blank tone. Not robbery, not ransom, Oh god no!

    Ruby tensed her wrists against her bonds and the huge troll’s footsteps thudded closer. The half empty bottle of vodka slammed into the floor beside her sending shards of glass and a spray of spirits into her face. Ruby screamed as one shard stuck in the corner of her eye.

    “This isn’t about you; it’s about your father.” The troll spoke over her pain, a huge hand took her by the midriff, crushing the air from her lungs and raised her so she was face to face with the troll, her dwarven stature making her little more than a ragdoll in his hands. The Troll smiled as he started ripping off her clothes.

    ____

    It was a bad sign that Aeryn was outside the crime scene, Jhonnah usually found his rookie partner on the scene before him, the nimble elf already taking notes. The fact she was outside and her pallid complexion meant this was going to be a bad day. Sgt. Jhonnah Morris had fancy dinner reservations with his wife; he didn’t want his appetite spoiled.

    “How bad?” Was all he said to Aeryn Brook.

    The elf shook her head, not making eye contact. “Bad” Was all she said in response. That was definitely bad.

    Jhonnah took the cigarette butt from his lips and stamped it into the floor, they hadn’t put the carpet down in this new building yet, he still had that luxury. “Well, shit” was all he said before moving past the police line. He didn’t look so see if Aeryn was following, he knew she would, no matter how much she would struggle with a messy crime scene, she wouldn’t back away when she and Jhonnah had a job to do. She was a good kid, dependable.

    At first it didn’t seem like there was a body, Jhonnah looked up and down at the blood spread across the walls, there were chunks here and there, bits of torn meat that reminded Jhonnah of his old dog after the car accident. It was only after a few steps that he saw the body behind the sacks of concrete. “Good god.” He started, and stifled the impulse to retch. CSI were taking samples and the construction team scheduled to work on this room were being questioned on the other side of the unfinished wall. Jhonnah couldn’t take his eyes off the broken body on the floor. Behind him he heard Aeryn shudder. There were cases like this once in a blue moon, real sick bastard cases, sometimes cops would come and go without handling one but the ones that did were never the same again. At that moment he felt a pang of pity for Aeryn more than the wet heap on the floor. Only one of them would have to live with this.

    Dover was heading up the CSI team and Jhonnah grabbed him first, to stop himself looking at the body. “You find anything yet? We ID the victim?”

    Dover frowned, the specialist made a hobby of expressing through his eyebrows alone, since that was all you could see through the clean suit. “Our tag is Ruby Stone, office worker down at city hall, her handbag was in the other room, dropped on the way in we think, IDs and all. The boys over in logistics ran it already, single, few friends, no immediate family; her mother died last year in a rehab clinic, L withdrawal. Her father’s been in Hayden Bridge for the last eight years and isn’t out for another twelve. Spotless company records, no history of mental health issues, just an ordinary gal by all accounts.”

    Jhonnah grunted. “handbag? Anything taken?” Dover shook his head, not robbery then. He took another look at the body, checked the bleeding sites beside the obvious ones, pictured where the bones had been broken and torn. It was hard to look, hard to try and picture the scene of violence that left this, even harder when he saw the telltale signs.

    “shit” Was all he could say as he felt his throat tighten.

    Dover leaned in beside him, taking in the same angle. “You saw it too huh? Not a pretty sight, the boys at the morgue are in for quite a weekend.”

    “What is it?” Aeryn uttered from behind them, the first word’s she’d said since they’d entered the room.

    Jhonnah looked her in the eye before turning back to the body, Aeryn was tough, she had to be to get this far in homicide, but sometimes the world was brutal. “Our perp is most like a troll, a big one, you rarely see this pattern of bleeding in other cases.”

    The elf stepped forward to look up and down the body. “Most of these are gouges, some Orcs can have tough enough nails to do this it could even be a weapon of some kind. And the bones, a big enough group can put that weight into a hit post mortem.”

    Poor kid, Jhonnah thought. “Not that bleeding Aeryn.” He nodded to the body, down between the broken and sundered legs. “I haven’t worked a rape case in a long time, but that much tearing is only consistent with body types above the eight foot range.” He saw the look in Aeryn’s eyes, and wanted the words not to be true. “I’m going for some air.” The smell of blood was too thick here and the dead face of his partner was too much to bear, every cop lost their innocence sooner or later, but after a case like this, well there were criminals, and then there was a realm of things worse; much much worse.
     
  16. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Hell Woman

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    Ham threw his fists in a fit of rage, punch after punch, he wasn't even aiming anymore. Drips of his blood whipped with his fists. Boom was blocking every one of them, but Ham could go on, but if his fury subsided in this state he would need to get to a hospital fast. But Ham didn't know this all he knew was hate.

    The screams of pain from Torgg were like the screams he caused. That is why Ghost hated him, because of the screams he caused. The screams that ruined their team, Benito and Ham Fist taking small jobs to survive on the street. But Ghost had a family before they met.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Benito was getting anxious, from below they could hear more screams and through a window Benito and Lantho could see Kiyoshi under attack.

    "I think we should wrap up any scraps below, Kiyoshi is occupied and I'm starting to worry about Ham." Benito tried to slip to Lantho as a hint. Benito himself was felling pain from the implant in his hand, the crystal chip used by Mage Towers to regulate the use of magic used by students.

    It burned after a few healing spells and wall spells every time, then it would release magic or some kind of chemical that deteriorated the caster, it did let him cast more weak spells, but after all the walls he was starting to ache. Still the battle cries and screaming below was filled with more pain. If Benito could get down there with Lantho they might be able to turn the tables as a duo of magic armored casters. As long as Benito could hold onto the armor spell before he wipes out. Benito just hopped that too much blood was already spilled. He liked clean jobs more.
     
  17. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    The bar had changed a lot in the last ten years, it had been a real shithole the last time Fedd had walked into the place, now there was polished wood everywhere, fancy upholstery, the windows were gaudy stained glass affairs all setting the theme to the ‘Ye Old Tavern. It had been ‘Dave’s’ last time, Dave at least had some sense to change the name, and it looked like he’d been putting Fedd’s money to good use in cleaning up the place. Too bad for Dave, Fedd couldn’t pawn the furniture for the cash he wanted.

    It was about eleven and the place was real quiet, Fedd sidled up to the bar and took a seat, hearing the strain in the stool as he did. There was no sigh of the barkeep so Fedd took the nearest stack of condiments and smashed it into the service entrance.

    Dave was real quick to respond to the sound of breakages, just like old times, and the look on his face when he saw Fedd was priceless.

    “Dynamite! I, I, I thought they gave you the chair!? Sully told me!” He saw going an odd shade of grey, very unbecoming of an Orc.

    Fedd grunted leaning forward and laying his knuckles onto the bar. “Sully’s full of shit Dave, you know that, and more importantly you know I ALWAYS collect my due, you should expect me to come knocking till the day you die.”

    Dave was getting more nervous by the minute, he started wringing the towel he’d been holding until he dropped it jumping at Fedd’s veiled threats. “Easy now Fedd, I’m sorry I didn’t mean nothing by it. Can I get you a drink or anything?”

    “I seem to remember your stuff was more watered down that dog’s piss, so brought my own cocktail.” Fedd fished the Molotov from his coat pocket and placed it gently on the bar beside him.

    “Oh god Fedd please, I got the place running real nice, we get families in here now! I can’t afford this kind of damage!”

    “We’ll see how much you can afford Dave, you owe me ten years backdated taxes, but seeing as how I’m such a charitable fella I’ll give you a break and leave it at 200 Gs. After that we’ll be adjusting your rate to compensate for the higher income bracket of your clientele.”

    “200! Fedd I don’t know where to start getting that kind of money together! You can’t be serious!”

    Fedd shot up and leaned forward, Grabbing Dave by the head with one hang and dragging him close. He put one of his grubby overlong claws up against Dave’s eye. “Look here Dave, this is my serious face” He pointed the finger at himself. “And that means you get me my money in two weeks, or I start breaking your furniture, and your whole bar and then your whole body.” He let Dave go, and the shy Orc simply slumped against the back wall as his legs gave way beneath him. Fedd left him there on the floor as he walked away to the exit.

    “You left your cocktail.” Dave said weakly, now out of view.

    “Keep it.” Fedd said. “I’m driving.”
    _____

    Jhonnah Morris liked the way the bell rang every time he stepped into the South End Diner, he liked the fact there was a bell at all. Most places these days didn’t appreciate the classic touches and South End could be a museum to the fifties for all it’s classic charm. That plus it was the nearest diner to the station by a good five blocks, and the manager was an old friend meant he spent a lot of time there.

    With the case files nestled under his arm he took a seat across for Aeryn at their usual booth. He slapped the heavy stack onto the aluminium surface, with the coroners report sitting neatly on top.

    “You know.” Aeryn began. “It doesn’t help your reputation much sitting in a place like this rather than the office.”

    Morris lifted a single brow while he lit the cigarette that had been in his lips since the precinct. As long as he was by the door the manager neglected his smoking, another reason to stay. “Listen Kid, rule one in Morris’ big book of police procedure; it doesn’t matter how you do it, just get the job done. Who gives one if I do by briefings here or at the office? It’s just you and me on this case and the coffee over here is much better.”

    “You know I’m older than you Morris, Right? By like twenty years. When are you going to stop calling me Kid?”

    Jhonnah exhaled a puff of smoke towards the door as he took his coffee from the waitress, handing a smile back. “Ah you’re an elf, twenty years is like a week to you people. In human years you must be late teens or something?” He shook his head, realising that wasn’t the smartest thing to say. “That’s not even it Kid, it’s about the job, you’ve been a detective what? Three weeks? Not disrespecting the patrols you pulled back in blue, but investigation is a different game altogether. You’re smart, and capable, you’re going to go far but right now you’re just a Kid, we’ll change that when we’ve cleared a few cases. Rule two; good things take time, rushing to the finish line causes more problems than it solves. Patience is one of the many tools in the police arsenal.”

    Aeryn looked at him for a long time on the verge of saying something, but eventually reconsidered, deflecting to the case. “So what did the Coroner find?”

    Jhonnah thumbed through the report he’d already gone over down in the Morgue. “Not a lot to work with, the lacerations seem to be claw marks; there’s no sign of artificial edging besides a few shards of glass from the floor, but then there’s no sign of DNA in there either. Same with the rest of the body, no DNA under the nails, no loose hair beside the vic’s and no semen.”

    “That was a messy scene and no trace of the perp? That’s a little hard to believe.” Aeryn was evidently doing her best to stomach the case, even a day after the scene it was still hard to shake that bloody mess from their minds. Jhonnah had seen Ruby again on a slab, with the blood cleaned off, she looked even less real then, just a piece of shredded meat with a face. Helluva sight; eyes staring back from half a person.

    “No DNA, but that cuts both ways, when we take this to the DA there’s a chance that a clean crime scene is circumstantial evidence of premeditation, which can jump up the charge to Murder One. It’s loose but it can swing the scale for a few jury members.” Jhonnah stamped out his cigarette butt into his empty cup of coffee. “Plus that mess at the scene; if we didn’t find any of the perp on the victim, there’s a better chance it will run the other day. We just need to be quick to catch that break.”

    That reminded him. “Speaking of breaks, I’ve got a hunch there’s one here.” He tapped onto the second page of the lab report, and waited for Aeryn to read it.

    “Vodka?” Aeryn mouthed, frowning.

    “Swabs found it all down her face, CSI found it dried into the floor in the middle of the room, where they think the grizzly scene began, thing is our gal aint a drinker according to her employee records and blood tests, tee total after her mother died apparently. And the coroner found the wound to her left eye wasn’t part of the beating, glass shards from the pile we found.”

    “I still don’t see where this is going.”

    Jhonnah sniffed, the Kid was still a Kid after all, she didn’t know which string to pull to find the prize; in Jhonnah’s experience pulling at everything vaguely string-like worked well enough. He sifted through the long report to the analysis chart. “Boy’s in the lab did good, narrowed it down to a specific brand, Chekhov’s Reserve. And what’s even more interesting is this is imported stuff not your average run of the mill grocery store brand. And not the rich kind of imported. I’m talking off the cargo container with the mail order brides imported. Back alley stuff only a few retailers in the city will handle which narrows it down a good deal.” Jhonnah grabbed the crime scene report and sifted through the photography, finding the one of the broken glass bottle. “Look here, where the bottle broke, you see the line in the dirt where the puddle was? Volume wise between the traces on the vic and the puddle the whole bottle must have been dropped. That means a fresh purchase.”

    “Not likely to find a money trail or CCTV footage in a back alley immigrant shop” The Kid had some sense.

    “No” Jhonnah accepted. “But there’s only a few viable locations anywhere near the crime scene and its worth checking out. I’ve got a good feeling about this one.”

    Aeryn pondered for a second and nodded. “So when do we check it out?”

    “We don’t, You do. I’ve got a meeting with the chief tree minutes ago, we’ll meet back at the office later.”
     
  18. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    Aeryn could see the store from where she was parked, down in the South Eastern district out near the bay, most of the eastern block criminal organisations ran in this part of town, she knew that much from growing up near by, and from her father’s stories. Every one of these alleys could have been one of his daring stands, a chase he made that kept the bad guys behind bars. As a child the places he’d talked of had been dark in her mind, full of danger, but they always had a glow to them; the limelight of the stage where those stories unfolded. The reality was dark in truth, but also rank, dirty, vomit stains on the side walk, graffiti all down the walls. It wasn’t a place where heroes were made, it was a place for the criminals, the degenerates; a place where hope came to die.

    She looked through her monocular into the store front, past the steel bars, event through the dingy windows she got a good look at the inventory, eventually she spotted the label she was after, the Vodka Jhonnah had fixated on. Stored in the back room and only opened for a few customers, local gang members most likely. She didn’t get a good look into the room from this angle, only the shelf with the vodka was in sight, who new what other shaky merchandise was back there, guns? Drugs?

    Aeryn snapped a few photos of the men coming out who had been given access to the back, wrote down descriptions and patterns before moving on. There wasn’t much she could do here besides observe, there wasn’t enough of a connection with the case to do a search and seizure, and without her partner she wasn’t in the position to do an up front rec of the place.

    Down the way towards the south end of the block there were some typical gangers, hoppers most like, the corner down the way seemed to be the local spot for L dealing and most of the store’s backroom traffic was going to and from there. A gang connection, just was this investigation needed. Aeryn started up her engine and pulled away from the store, heading back towards the precinct house.

    ____

    “Sorry I’m late Colonel. Case files were weighing me down.” Jhonnah took up a seat in front of his commanding officer who hadn’t moved an inch since Jhonnah had stepped into the office. He still sat in silence, fingers bridged over the file on his desk. After a moment he sighed.

    “Joe, you know most of my detectives, they wait for permission to sit down, they wait for my say so before they do anything in my division, not you though.” Col. Dharak was a patient orc, he rarely raised his voice over speaking level and remained calm even as the walls fell in around him. Jhonnah knew after being here so long Dharak tried his best not the be shoehorned into racial stereotypes, he always remained calm and in control to spite anyone who thought an orc would do otherwise. Most commanders would get contempt from subordinates for such an action, but if anything Dharak had defined the term passive aggression.

    “They say familiarity breed contempt boss, me, I just assumed I’m not in trouble enough to get shot down over a chair.”

    Dharak parted his hands, and placed them on the desk with care. “No Joe, you’re not in trouble, not yet at least, but come the end of the month we’ll find out for sure.”

    That one caught Jhonnah off guard; unconsciously he reached fro the cigarette he didn’t have in his lips, and after realising his mistake scratched his nose to cover the fumble. “What do you mean?”

    “I just got off the phone with the Deputy of Operations, who in turn you got off the phone with the commissioner, and if I’m to believe it, before that the commissioner had just ended a long conversation with the Mayor, all of whom have an undue amount of interest in your case.”

    “Bullshit, city hall doesn’t give two shakes of a dick about the cases we run down here, all they hear is the stats that travel upwards, and last I hear our clearance rate was the highest in the city.” Jhonnah rubbed his fingers together, he needed a smoke.

    Dharak merely frowned, he knew Jhonnah’s habits, likely he was using the added tension to his advantage. “That it is, and I push all of you hard enough to keep it that high, but some cases mean a big deal to some people, don’t forget your vic worked down at city hall, have you even been down there yet?”

    “Not had a chance yet, been reviewing her files, and going over the coroner’s report, once Aeryn is back in we’ll head down there. Didn’t look like much of a connection to me, besides Ruby Stone was an IT consultant, I wouldn’t have thought the mayor cared about a low level techie on her payroll, there must be hundreds of em down there.”

    “For whatever reason, our prestigious mayor does care, you can find out from her yourself when you go down there, she wants to see you personally. Don’t forget, this is an election year, things are busy down there and the mayor is pushing hard to keep her office, promising the earth in reform and innovation, have you heard of prop 08?”

    Jhonnah sniffed. “I don’t much do with politics.”

    Dharak leaned back in his chair. “You should, prop 08 is the mayor’s ace in the hole for the new term, a radical innovation of police logistics so they say. In reality its budget cuts, hard ones, and the difference going to outsourcing. Runners.”

    “Privatisation of Justice?” Jhonnah wanted to spit, “Suited Bursem well enough. I hear things are peachy over there.”

    “Sarcasm doesn’t suit you Joe, I know your thoughts on this matter, I thought it best you know this before you walk into it down at city hall. The crux is this story could be a field day for the press, if the Mayor can’t hadn’t a murder on her own doorstep it could swing the vote against her and prop 08. As such she is pulling the strong to get this one resolved quickly, you have three weeks to make an arrest after that I cant’ help you Joe.”

    “I get it boss, the chain of command is wrapped neatly round your throat. It’s the guys upstairs ****ing me on this one.”
    Dharak stood up and walked over to his window, he stood there looking out for a moment. Jhonnah took that as his cue to leave, but as he got to the door the colonel spoke up one last time. “You’re one of my best Joe, if anyone can make this case on time its you, I’ll do what I can if things go south but its time to bring you’re A game.”

    Jhonnah didn’t feel the need to repond, he simply left.
     
  19. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Lantho:

    "I think we should wrap up any scraps below, Kiyoshi is occupied and I'm starting to worry about Ham." said the younger troll to the elder. Lantho inhaled a deep breath through his nose, the youngster was right, it was time to end this.

    "Come along then, it's time we end this," said Lantho as he headed for the door.

    "What?" said Slice.

    "We're going down stairs," said Lantho.

    "But I'm supposed to protect you," said Slice.

    "Then you'd better come along," said Lantho.

    "We can't go down there, if you get into the fray then there was no point in sitting up here all this time," said Slice.

    "Perhaps, but if you have a problem with that you're more than welcome to try and stop me," said Lantho, glancing back.

    Slice sighed, understanding there was nothing he was going to be able to do to convince Lantho otherwise.

    "As I thought, come along boys, time to put an end to this," said Lantho as they headed for the elevator.

    **********************************

    Vash:

    After a few minutes of the troll and the orc slugging it out and Evaltan dying an unpleasant sounding death the male dwarf tossed him the radio that he'd asked to have fixed. Vash didn't bother to try to test it, no time. Instead he clicked the transmitter and shouted in.

    "Dispatch this is Vash, I'm at the Arcana Council tower and in need of backup, all hell has broken loose. Long story short we've got Buffalo Boom and a lot of dead runners, I need backup," he shouted.

    "Vash this is dispatch, we have units nearby on their way," said the woman at the other end.

    "Tell me you've got SWAT and medics mobilizing," said Vash.

    "You did say Boom didn't you," the woman responded.

    Vash smiled, he hoped Ham could stay up long enough for the fireworks and medics to get there.

    ***************************************

    Lantho:

    The elevator took them down in a matter of seconds, and without consulting his associates he moved forward into the fray, or what was left of it. Really at this point it was down to Buffalo Boom and an orc battling while a tired old human and a pair of dwarves attempted to figure out some plan of action. Lantho ignored the non-combatants and corpses and directed his attention to the orc and troll. With a wave of his head the orc was flung back toward the elevator, unconscious before he landed, allowing Benito to attend to him.

    "Now then, let's see what you can do against someone your own size," said Lantho.

    "Love to, but you'll have to find someone first!" said Boom as he surged forward.

    Lantho was no fool, he knew of Boom's reputation, and he knew that a hand to hand engagement against the brute wasn't going to end in his favor. Luckily for Lantho, Boom wasn't the only troll in this fight who was the top of his class. The elder troll's hand began to glow red as he muttered something in the ancient language of magic, whacking Boom against the head as he came close. The blow did little to harm Boom, but it did distract him long enough for Lantho to fire off the spell, thrusting his hand forward and causing a wave of force to drive a wave of force through the body of Boom.

    For a second Boom cringed and staggered, but only one second. The brawler then smiled and rammed his head into Lantho's causing a loud crack to echo through the air as he lifted the mage with no effort at all and threw him several feet like a rag doll.

    "Come on, I thought troll mages were supposed to be tough, maybe our people were just meant to be brawlers," said Boom as he walked over to Lantho, who just narrowly managed to get to his feet.

    "And maybe you should stick to punching things," said Lantho as a massive bolt of lightning left his fingertip, striking Boom square in the face. The brawler stopped long enough for Lantho to extend his palm and blast Boom with a massive fireball which took the brawler off his feet.

    Boom sprang to his feet and retaliated with a heavy punch to the mage's jaw, followed by a brutal knee to the stomach. "You want to play tough, I'll show you tough!" Boom roared as he continued to pummel Lantho. The mage could scarcely stand, let alone cast a spell, but Lantho wasn't without his counter measures.

    The old mage tossed his staff at Boom who easily caught it, only to have an immense amount of raw mana burn through his body. Lantho had had a staff stolen years ago, and so had decided to have this one made with a booby trap, anyone who wasn't a mage who touched it would feel pain like few had experienced before. Unfortunately Boom had had worse, and as the effect of the staff wore off he looked angrier than before. Lantho didn't much care, he'd gotten the time he needed, and just then a shape like that of a bull rammed Boom through a nearby support beam.

    Boom took a moment to shake it off, then smiled and pounded his fist against his chest, "I gotta admit old timer, you put up a decent fight, but now it's time I got serious!"

    Just then the blue and red lights began flashing. Boom growled as he looked over and saw the police vehicles surround the building. He was tough, but between the orc and the mage he was still hurt, and in no shape to have an extended fight with the cops and Lantho, even someone as dense as him realized that. "This isn't over,"he growled as he turned and left, smashing through anything that got in his way and disappearing into the night. If it had been anyone but Boom the police would have pursued, but given his track record, if he ran it could only be problematic to try to catch him, more so that usual.

    *************************************

    Vash:

    He heaved a sigh as he sat down once Boom disappeared. The SWAT officers and medics quickly swarmed the lobby and started taking statements and tending wounds respectively. He looked around at the mess of a scene that they now had. Lots of bodies all over, hopefully Ham would be alright after all of that. He could only guess what had become of those CnS kids. It didn't matter he guessed, near as he could tell only Kiyoshi's team had bit it, and that was something he could deal with tomorrow. It was going to be some long days ahead.
     
  20. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    Closing time had been and gone an hour past, and three AM rolled in with the sound of stray dogs and car alarms somewhere off east. The night air was cold as ever, always the same in this town. Even as soon as it was after he was out, the air still tasted good. Dirt and pollution savoured like a good wine.

    The lights were off at ‘Ye old Tavern’ likely Dave was in back waiting, Fedd had been taken aback that he’d called up so soon ready to hand over the cash, he must be doing good for himself with the new place. Fedd would have to charge extra after this.

    Round back out by the dumpsters the rear entrance to the tavern was ajar, a low light pouring out of the narrow crack in the doorway and illuminating the dank alley behind the building. Fedd strode up through the dirt and the puddles to the door, and hunching his shoulders, he delved into the kitchen of the tavern.

    The light was still low, and Dave was leaning against one of the work surfaces in the middle of his kitchen, looking like a jumpy fiend, eyes darting forward and back, focussing heavily on the door to the manager’s office before he took in the sight of Fedd blocking the doorway, framed by the night.

    Fedd broke the silence with his booming voice. “Wasn’t expecting you to have the money so soon Dave, keep up with the pleasant surprises and things will go smoothly. Where’s the cash?”

    Dave rubbed his face twice over before making an all too loud cough. “Er, see there’s a problem Fedd. When you was away it wasn’t like nobody else was running protection, and like it or not I got interest from another party, they weren’t too happy to hear that you showed up the other day.”

    “Who’s in the back room Dave? Who do I have to kill now to refresh your memory on my business practices?” Fedd cracked his knuckles, and for knuckles as big as his he would bet whoever was in the next room heard it too.

    The back room door swung open slowly, and three suited goons strolled out as leisurely as if they were in a park in the springtime. Fedd didn’t recognise them, but he clocked the style right away. Western Family men.

    The de facto leader of the group stepped up toe to toe with Fedd, even coming up short as he was the human thug had all the swagger of someone not used to losing a fight. “Our friend David was telling us that some hoodlum was trying to muscle in on his fine establishment, and me and my associates came to settle this situation. This is your one and only warning punk. This is Gonzatti property, now beat it before we have to clean your blood off the floor.”

    Fedd laughed, and ducked so he was face to face with the man. “You have no Idea who you’re dealing with do you prick?”

    The goon wasn’t fazed. “Some shitbird like the rest, I don’t give a ****, its you who needs to remember who you’re dealing with. Me, I’m Sonny the Hammer, and my friends there are Vinnie and Vinnie.”

    “No relation.” The smaller of the two Vinnie’s interjected before Sonny resumed his monologue.

    “And we three run this block and the rest all the way to the Fourth street Bridge, you step into our streets asking for our money and you’re going to get beat. And by the fact that you haven’t ****ed off by now means you need a lesson in manners.”

    Even as the three men began a slow stroll towards Fedd he didn’t give a shit. “****ing lieutenants? Muscle, not even a ****ing Capo, you’re in this on your own aint you, the big man doesn’t know about this? ****er probably doesn’t even know I’m out.” Fedd laughed to himself, there went that theory, seemed Gonzatti didn’t give two shits about Fedd either, must be someone else pulling the strings on his release.

    Even is the big man didn’t know Fedd was out, there was a good chance still that he had beef to settle in either case, it was best not to get the man’s attention. Fedd was smart enough to know that he should walk away from this building right about now, but letting a racket slip was a downhill ride, protection relied on reputation and sooner or later he’d have to catch up with the mess he’d left behind all those year back. Better now than down the line.

    Come out swinging.

    “Sonny.” Fedd began. “I got manners aplenty, I got knowledge aplenty, and I got more bodies on me than you can count. I don’t scare at greaseball scum like you.”

    One of the Vinnie’s stuck him from behind with a taser, the crackle shot through Fedd’s thick hide and he felt the muscles in his lower back ripple to the frequency of the electric pulse. There was pain, real pain, and that too was something to savour after the artificial touch of the prison pacification system. But that pain wasn’t enough to floor a troll as big as him.

    Fedd span and backhanded little Vinnie across the top of the head. The massive sweep of both Fedd’s muscle mass and the spinning action topped the kid like a puppet with it’s string cut. Even before all of the prick has hit the floor Fedd was moving on to Big Vinnie.

    Big Vinnie was packing two knuckledusters on callused fists, Fedd smiled as he jumped into the man’s reach, both huge arms swinging inwards in a karate chop that threatened to break the fool’s arms. The madman wasn’t fazed, instead he aimed his punches outwards to intercept Fedd’s strike’s in what could only be an effort to break his own arms in fifty places.

    When the impact came Fedd was sent flying back into the Gas oven, breaking steel fixtures and porcelain walls. The pain echoed even through the head trauma from the impact, Fedd’s arms felt like they were on fire.

    Through blurred vision he looked up to big Vinnie as he walked over, straightening his tie. The knuckledusters caught the light in an odd way, scattering more light than they should. ****ing enchanted pieces of shit, Fedd should have known Gonzatti thug’s would be packing better hardware.

    Big Vinnie smiled through crooked teeth as he stood over Fedd. “I don’t like it when people mess with my pal Vinnie, we got a rep to maintain you know. Out of principal I’m gonna hafta kill ya.” Vinnie glanced the edges of his knuckledusters together, sending a cascade of sparks across the floor, the edges too on a menacing glow that wasn’t there before.

    Fedd took the opportunity to kick the fool’s legs out from under him. This close to the oven, there were plenty of prep areas and Big Vinnie’s head found one of the way down, cracking his skull on the corner of one. When Fedd got up he saw a pool of blood forming, he hoped the prick was dead.

    There was a bang, and Fedd felt the hollowpoint pancake itself beneath his skin somewhere below his ribcage behind him. There was a second shot that embedded itself in the thick muscles surrounding Fedd’s massive neck. The third and final bullet took his in the hip as he was falling, this time going all the way to the bone.

    Not the first time in his life Fedd was happy to be a troll, and as big as he was. Thick skin and tough meat made a big difference to a bullet. That first shot would have killed a human, not right away but it would have pulped enough guts to do you in painfully. Where hollowpoint rounds were meant to increase stopping power by pancaking out inside you and doing more damage, in a troll it just slowed them down before they hit something important.

    Three shots to the back however, that would **** almost anyone up. Fedd rolled over to see Sonny at a good distance holding his pistol like an artist ready to make the final brush stroke. “You got game pal, but this is where it ends.”

    There was a gunshot.