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530133 No. 530133 ID: 4652c9

01000100011011110010000001111001011011110111010100100000011101000110100001101001011011100110101100100000011110
01011011110111010100100000011000110110000101101110001000000110001101101000011000010110111001100111011001010010
0000011000010110111001111001011101000110100001101001011011100110011100111111

http://tgchan.org/wiki/Static_on_the_Wire
Expand all images
>>
No. 530134 ID: beeca1

Binary is "do you think you can change anything?" for the curious.

Can't recognize anyone from the image. A couple of moldies?
>>
No. 530138 ID: b5df96

>>530134
Penelope on the right, moldy on the left.
>>
No. 530139 ID: 4652c9
File 137533618076.png - (109.67KB , 800x600 , 2.png )
530139

The slow crash of the subterranean waterfall sounds like the white noise on a huge, neolithic dead tv station.

73-6 brushes the flecks of water off his collar.

"Here they come," says Penelope. "Told you they didn't need a chaperone or nothing."

"I get nervous when we're in the cavern atrium," says Monica. "They splurged for the big conference platforms at the underground waterfall but they couldn't be bothered to put guardrails on it for some reason."

"it's about the decor of the thing," says 73-6.

"Speaking of decor, she brought Keisha. Bueno." Penelope nudges 73-6. "You didn't wake me up last night when she was running around with no pants on. You know what that makes you?"
"respectful of your much-needed post-surgical rest?"
"A bad friend."
>>
No. 530141 ID: e1609c

>>530139
So, what now? We gonna get inducted into the business or something?
>>
No. 530142 ID: 5a5dd4

Well, get going with the debriefing.

That's what this is, right?

Informing Keesh and Sara of how dead they are if they ever think about mentioning this to anyone else?
>>
No. 530143 ID: b5df96

Obvious questions from the girls: Penelope's still with them, and she's traded in her ninja suit for one of them trench coats.

Also... so uh, what happens now?
>>
No. 530144 ID: a23afd

>>530139
I bet they're somewhat surprised to see Penelope here.

Tell Pen that you'll make it up to her later.
>>
No. 530145 ID: ba8629

Hey, they killed some Fantomas for you. That's good, right?
>>
No. 530152 ID: 4652c9
File 137533881424.png - (10.20KB , 800x600 , 3.png )
530152

"i'll make it up to you later," says 73-6.
"I'mma remember you said that," says Penelope.

"Take a seat, folks." Monica pushes a button underneath the table and chairs pop up from the ground.
"Holy cannoli, this is cool," says Sara.
"We don't usually get to show our cool toys off to civvies," says Monica.
"Our tax dollars at work," says Keisha.

"Were your rooms okay?" asks Monica. "We had to convert a couple offices. Sorry about the clutter."
"I slept great," says Sara. "Thanks for, uh, being there, Sev. I don't know where we could have gone but here."
"nill problemo," says 73-6.
"Easy for you to say, Mr. I-Don't-Do-Paperwork," mutters Monica. "Anyway! We reviewed your case files. I had a couple questions for you about last night."
"Such as?" Keisha takes a seat next to Sara.
>>
No. 530154 ID: 4652c9
File 137533892781.png - (10.45KB , 800x600 , 4.png )
530154

"Take a look at this."
With another button Monica raises up a holographic projector and a color image of a strap-on square visor flickers to life.
"I know you didn't get a good look at them, but the visor guy. It look anything like this?"
"Exactly like that," says Sara.

"That is very good news, and very bad news," says Monica. "Very good news because we can know exactly where that thing came from, and very bad news because we can know exactly where that thing came from. This is a Sintex Solutions Visor. Sintex Solutions, the Agency. You can only find them in two places. And since I can't imagine a Sintex agent could be working alongside the Fantomas, that means your mysterious rocketman picked this gadget up in the Black Stalls." She taps the desk. "This shit is rare and extremely illegal for nonagency use. Anyone who sold it would have records as to where it went. I think a shopping trip is in order."

"You goddamn right," says Keisha. "All my clothes got blown up. You spooks are paying to replace them, aren't you?"

"You two can't go outside without an escort right now," says Monica. "Fantomas could easily be looking for you. We can't let you out of Bureau sight."
"Ooh," says Penelope. "I can take her. We can hit up the mall, have girl time, get new duds. Divertido."
"Well if one of you two is willing to take people shopping, I have an assignment for the other to investigate the Stalls," says Monica. "This is our chance to find out just who the Fantomas have working with them."
>>
No. 530155 ID: f0357f

>>530139
Sara, before you all get down to business and things get seriously moody, you tottaly need to plug in your compy and replay from your memory-banks how Keisha completely shut down that Fantomas checkpoint guard!
>>
No. 530156 ID: a23afd

>>530154
Did the hacked communications pick up anything while this was going on?
>>
No. 530165 ID: 4652c9
File 137534068902.png - (9.90KB , 800x600 , 5.png )
530165

"what about that communications hack? did it get much?"

"It got this," says Monica. She pulls up a terminal window, which plays an audiofile. Two voices.

"Punch it. Come on, punch it."
A sudden, glitchy blast of distorted vocals.
"There's a gunfight going on in there. They have guns."
Another blast. 73-6 flinches.
"That's what you're for."
One more blast of static, then a muffled boom. Sara swallows.

"He's smart," says Monica. "I don't know how, but he scrubbed the voice. During the transmission to us. He knew we were listening. Check this out." She fastforwards to a different segment of recording.

"We can't find them. They're gone."
"Could they have been atomized or something?"

Loud static bleat.
"Then we have a problem."
"We- under fire. Repeat, we are under fire from target building."
"Copy, flushout. Withdraw. Delta Apex, pull out with them and comb the area."

Static.
"What? We aren't- what are you talking about? Bugged? Dispatch, get me tech on. Now. Scrub the comms. Someone switch to the secondary channel. We-"
The comms end. Then suddenly two airhorns blast in, making everyone jump and a poorly compressed soundbite of a fart plays.
"Should have warned you about that part," says Monica. "It came from him. After the comms shut off. He was playing with us. A search on the name 'Delta Apex' came back completely dry. Must have been a mission only codename."
>>
No. 530169 ID: e1609c

>Airhorns and a fart sound
I am caught between hating this guy for trying to murder us and loving him for the sheer amount of fucks he refuses to give.
>>
No. 530170 ID: a23afd

>>530165
Shit, this guy is GOOD. Was there nothing before that?

Delta Apex... uh, top of the triangle? Capstone? Or it could just be D-A. Or just something random. Probably a dead end, don't look too far into it.

Wait. Didn't Sara shoot at them immediately after the guy shot that rocket? From these transmissions it sounds like they were shot at after the two got away by crossing the cables. Who was shooting at them...? How far did they fastforward, there?
>>
No. 530182 ID: 4652c9
File 137534262109.png - (8.25KB , 800x600 , 6.png )
530182

"sounds like someone started shooting after you two made your escape."
"Sounds like it," says Monica. "We need to find out what happened and who made it happen before we can go any further."

"and i know where to go to find out."
"And I know where to go to find pants," says Penelope. "Come on, kids, I'll drive you places."


>Choose which agent to take control of. Both perspectives will be seen; whoever is not selected will be played second.
>>
No. 530184 ID: e1609c

Voting for the lesbian drug ninja.
>>
No. 530187 ID: f0357f

>>530184
I thought penelop was bi, and monica was the lez?
>>
No. 530188 ID: e1609c

>>530187
Maybe? I really dont think it was stated solidly beyond pen's fixation on keisha's butt, however. Still, this is more /dis/ thread stuff, so lets try and stick to votes for now yo
>>
No. 530193 ID: beeca1

>>530187
No, check the original thread, Penelope's straight-up gay.

Anyway, voting for Penelope.
>>
No. 530208 ID: 35edd4

Penelope!
>>
No. 530212 ID: 57a559

Penelope
We got to take care of this relationship thing right away.
Penelope already has a +1 in her chances since Keisha has been deeply disappointed by many boyfriends (according from ITQ and the fact that she wanted us to kill her ex, which we did)
>>
No. 530228 ID: a01b62

We owe Penelope! Let her go with Keisha! I'm voting 73-6, you heartless bastards.
>>
No. 530229 ID: acb7da

Pen Pen.
>>
No. 530242 ID: b5df96

I like it that neither of the girls thought to question that Penelope is still hanging around.
>>
No. 530258 ID: 9ddf68

lets start with the something a bit easier and work our way to the other.

Penelope
>>
No. 530287 ID: 4652c9
File 137537494882.png - (13.54KB , 800x600 , 7.png )
530287

"Everything that glitters ain't fishscale," Keisha and Penelope say in unison. "Let me think; don't let her faint get Ishmael. A shot of jack got her back it's not an act stack forget about the cackalack holla back clack clack blocka. Villainy. Feel him in ya heart chakra chart topper star shit bouta be a smart shopper. Shot a cop day 'round the way 'bout to stay but who'da know there's two mo that wonder where the shooter go."
"Can't believe you know Figaro," says Penelope. "I love this old shit."
"Please, girl, I ain't a barbarian." Keisha rolls the window down and blows her cigarette smoke out.

>>530242
It's been a day since the ladies arrived. Penelope got the chance to reintroduce herself. It was a touching reunion.
She and Sara hugged while Keisha just stood there raising her eyebrows like she does.
Sara isn't coming on the shopping trip, though. She needs specialized clothes for her chassis that let her see out her chest. Apparently they're a lot more expensive.

"Where we going?" asks Keisha.
"Well, there's Faneuil and there's Arsenal," says Penelope. "Those the two big malls I been to. Faneuil's closer, but I'm thinking with a bunch of Fantomas slinking around here we might want to go farther, even if it takes a while."
"As long as we back in time for me to go to work," says Keisha. "You driving me to work, by the way."
"Is it really the best time to work when you got a shit load of gangbangers looking for your head?"
"I don't come in for the night shift, my boss is gonna join them. And she a lot scarier."
>>
No. 530288 ID: 9ddf68

when do you work, knowing that will give us a better idea of what kind of time frame we have to work with. Also what do you do.
>>
No. 530289 ID: b5df96

>Apparently [Sara's clothes are] a lot more expensive.
It's ridiculous what designers will charge to cut eye-holes in a blouse or dress these days.

>Fantomas slinking around looking for Keesh
What are the odds Tribranch is looking for you? The Bureau let on that you're dead, right? (I still liked the mock sympathy card idea). Safest way to keep them from looking for you.

>job
What's she do, anyways?
>>
No. 530292 ID: 4652c9
File 137537740648.png - (55.57KB , 800x600 , 8.png )
530292

"Where do you work, anyway?"

"I'm a clerk for the Department of Mindin Y'all's Own Business," says Keisha. "and I gotta be on 377 Bailey at 8."

"That's plenty of time," says Penelope. "Arsenal it is."

>>530289
As far as Penelope knows, TriBranch thinks she's dead. 73-6's mission report states that he killed her, and the Bureau's pulling the line.

"Why are Sara's clothes all so expensive, anyway?" she asks.
"One-way fabric or something," says Keisha. "Poor girl can't barely afford the clothes on her back. Most of it got blown up, too."
"She have a job?"
"Data entry," says Keisha. "She does it all online with that robot body of hers. And she loans out processing power she ain't using to some business or another to get some extra cash on the side. Ain't easy to work when you a crazy-lookin robot. Y'all black coats should give her a job patching people up. She came right back alive when she was sewin up yo boyfriend a few nights ago."
"Not my boyfriend."
"I know, I know," says Keisha. "I'm just tryin that line on everybody."
"Why didn't you bring this jobhunt angle up to Monica?"
"I don't know if Sara wants it," says Keisha. "And if she gets all useful, they might start looking for what I can do for em too."
>>
No. 530293 ID: e1609c

>>530292
So, not a fan of the corporations I take it?
>>
No. 530298 ID: 4652c9
File 137537890968.png - (10.03KB , 800x600 , 9.png )
530298

"Not a fan of corporations?"
"Not a fan of them when they want a favor and I can't do shit," says Keisha.


Arsenal is bright, loud, and plastic.
Keisha drags Penelope around trying to find a place she can buy clothing. It's on the Bureau's dime, so she does a lot of looking and tutting.

"Here we are," she finally says. "This place is always good."

"Corporat?" asks Penelope.
A scrolling marquis across the storefront says Conservative clothes for Conservative People.
>>
No. 530299 ID: 4652c9
File 137537899690.png - (13.36KB , 800x600 , 10.png )
530299

"Naw, that one." Keisha points to the store's neighbor.

It's called Devil On Your Shoulder, and Penelope can hear the thumping club music inside from here.

"You coming in, or you watching the door?" asks Monica.
>>
No. 530303 ID: beeca1

>>530298
...I suspect there's something not quite right about that place. Could just be paranoia, but ask her to tell you a bit about it before you go in.

Actually, nevermind, Devil seems okay. Typical punk stuff. Corporat still seems like a front for something, though.
>>
No. 530304 ID: b5df96

>You coming in, or you watching the door?
Yeah, you're not standing around here like an idiot if someone tries something inside. Head on in.
>>
No. 530306 ID: 9ddf68

that a clothing store or a nightclub? either way it sure looks a lot more fun then standing out here.
>>
No. 530307 ID: cf8f63

Devil's what she deals with eh?
Alright.
Wait, why does she just want us watching the door or something?
>>
No. 530310 ID: b93170

Well, now we know where 73-6 shops.
>>
No. 530313 ID: 4652c9
File 137538112770.png - (13.79KB , 800x600 , 11.png )
530313

Penelope heads inside with Keisha.

Devil On Your Shoulder is lit with a dim, reddish glow.
Keisha picks through the shelves, humming along to the pounding trance music and pulling things off racks which couldn't really be called lingerie, but couldn't really be called normal clothes either.

"This is, uh," says Penelope. "This is for your work?"

"That's what I said," says Keisha. "Hm. Those fishnets I had back in the apartment were nice, but if the Bureau's payin, I think we can afford to splurge." She looks back at Penelope. "You buyin anything or you just gonna gawk?"
>>
No. 530314 ID: cf49fc

>>530313
Buy a sexier trenchcoat!
>>
No. 530316 ID: 9ddf68

might as well browse to see if you can find something that catches your eye.
>>
No. 530321 ID: 9f7acd

>>530314
If I remember correctly, the Bureaus trenchcoats are bulletproof. And that's sexy enough for anyone.

Still you should grab something more bedroomy. Ask her for help in that, I'm sure she has good advice.
>>
No. 530322 ID: 885ee8

Well, you weren't planning on JUST gawking, but plans may change if she tries that on.

I suppose it wouldn't hurt to look around.
>>
No. 530327 ID: 4652c9
File 137538251916.png - (8.09KB , 800x600 , 12a.png )
530327

"I'm looking for something a little more, uh, bedroomy," says Penelope.
Without any other acknoweldgement, Keisha reaches to a nearby shelf and tosses something over her shoulder.

Penelope catches it.
Fuzzy handcuffs.
>>
No. 530329 ID: 4652c9
File 137538275951.png - (8.92KB , 800x600 , 12.png )
530329

Well, at the very least now if she needs to make an arrest or something she's covered.

The two women leave the store with their purchases in tow. Keisha reaches into one of her bags and pulls out a new hat. She quickly and expertly tames her wild mane with a couple of scrunchies and adopts her usual look.

Penelope is clearing the store's archway when she stops. The hairs on the back of her neck rise up. Something tugs at her gut.
Someone's watching them.
>>
No. 530330 ID: 4652c9
File 137538276576.png - (11.85KB , 800x600 , 13.png )
530330

Trying his best to blend into the crowd is a man with a black hoodie.
Penelope realizes she saw him when they came in.

As soon as he catches her eye, he takes a couple steps back and turns to try and blend into the crowd.
>>
No. 530331 ID: cf49fc

>>530327
Huh. Didn't think Keisha swung that way.

Maybe you should stick with a nice replacement unitard. Something in kevlar, maybe.
>>
No. 530332 ID: b5df96

Play awkwardly with the handcuffs. *click-click*.

Oh hey, lookit that! Penny's already got a head-wire.

Don't let all this throw you completely off your game, sword-girl. There are people who would want you both dead. Keep an eye peeled on your surroundings and the people around you. Can't afford to let yourself be caught off guard.
>>
No. 530333 ID: cf49fc

>>530330
Cuff him.
>>
No. 530347 ID: 9ddf68

think it's a Fantomas or something more?

either way I don't think chasing the guy is a good idea so I vote for just leaving.
>>
No. 530348 ID: 9f7acd

Ask Keisha if she knows the guy in the hoodie. Try to be subtle about it.
>>
No. 530352 ID: b5df96

Oh, we got a tail.

Either we lose him, or we fake him out and grab him. Trick is getting him to think he's going to lose you and rush, and do it someplace where the crowds aren't there to react.
>>
No. 530360 ID: 60ad76

>>530330
you can't draw attention to yourselves and you can't let him escape. get him alone and get some answers.
>>
No. 530365 ID: 735f4f

Maybe act like you saw him staring and wander over to pretend to flirt with him?
>>
No. 530399 ID: a23afd

>>530330
Describe the guy to Keisha, maybe it's one of her ex-boyfriends that hangs out at the mall a lot.
>>
No. 530459 ID: 4652c9
File 137539664648.png - (10.85KB , 800x600 , 14.png )
530459

"Keesh, escúchame," says Penelope. "You know that guy?"
"Who?"
"Hoodie over there."
"Him? No. I'd remember a mug like that."
"I'm gonna go talk to him. Stay here."
"Why? You think he some kind of street rat secret agent?"
"Just hold on, amiga."
>>
No. 530460 ID: 4652c9
File 137539665134.png - (11.94KB , 800x600 , 15.png )
530460

"Hey," says Penelope, approaching him. "Hey, uh, excuse me."

He walks backward a few steps, sizing her up, then spins round and sprints.
>>
No. 530462 ID: a23afd

>>530460
...yeah, it's not worth chasing him and getting separated from Keisha. He's probably just a pickpocket or something, someone scoping you and Keesh out for some lesser crime.

I say use his burst of speed away from you to get Keesh somewhere else so he won't find you again.
>>
No. 530463 ID: 360a3c

Thinking ahead: How the heck are we gonna keep Keisha from being Soylent Green if we don't even know where she works or what she does there? We need a lookup on her address and some clues if we're really going to let her go to work.
>>
No. 530467 ID: 66bd58

Keisha's a stripper, Duh!
>>
No. 530473 ID: cf49fc

>>530460
You're an unstoppable commando berzerker. Chase him down.
>>
No. 530474 ID: 66bd58

Orange bandana around the neck, that screams Fantoma.
>>
No. 530475 ID: 66bd58

Then again, he could be a distraction for someone else to grab Kiesha.
>>
No. 530476 ID: a23afd

>>530474
Fantomas is orange and white. Also orange is literally the only color we can see, bro. Lastly, that's a hoodie, not a bandana.
>>
No. 530492 ID: 66bd58

>>530476

He's described as wearing a Black hoodie, that ain't black.
>>
No. 530493 ID: a01b62

The jacket part of the hoodie is black, the hood is colored. Not that uncommon.
>>
No. 530497 ID: 60ad76

so.. err... hoddies are cool.
>>
No. 530503 ID: b5df96

...it's not worth chasing him and losing track of your charge. We handled that wrong. Shoulda just gnabbed him.

Let's just move on, or get out of here.
>>
No. 530510 ID: 6961d6

>>530462
I agree. if he's up to anything sinister enough to make him worth chasing, its not worth it to leave keesh unguarded.
>>
No. 530513 ID: 885ee8

Well, if he was tasked by bad people to tail us, we just got him to stop. Mission accomplished. Get back to Keesh and try to keep your wits about you in case he tags in a replacement.
>>
No. 530541 ID: 4652c9
File 137541586840.png - (8.60KB , 800x600 , 16.png )
530541

Penelope backs off and returns to Keisha.
"What was that all about?" she asks.
"I don't know," says Penelope. "but it ain't kosher. We should get going, chica."
"I was gonna look around more."
"Maybe another day."

"Girl, what has got into you?" asks Keisha in the parking garage. "You more squirrely than a,"
"Squirrel," says Penelope.
"I was looking for something better," says Keisha. "but yea. It's just a trip to the mall. Ain't gotta get all spec-ops on my ass."
"Well, we- wait." Penelope leans down.
Keisha jumps. "Gotdamn, girl, what is it now?"
>>
No. 530542 ID: 4652c9
File 137541587253.png - (7.23KB , 800x600 , 17.png )
530542

"This door," says Penelope, "was 100% locked when we left."
>>
No. 530543 ID: 91c1b3

>>530542
Open the hood of the car. Check for a bomb.
>>
No. 530544 ID: 01531c

CAR BOMB

also they jacked your fuzzy dice.
>>
No. 530545 ID: e1609c

>>530542
Aw crap, its been rigged to blow up when the door is opened hasnt it
>>
No. 530547 ID: 01531c

on second thought, don't even open the door.

Just call Monica or Sev, and say
"Does the Bereu have car-bomb insurance?"
>>
No. 530548 ID: a23afd

>>530542
Penelope, are you getting paranoid because of withdrawal symptoms? Regardless, ask Monica how easily someone could get one of these vehicles open. If it's even vaguely possible, take out your gun and check all the seats from the outside. Aside from that, you could pop the hoods and check to see if anyone's tampered with the engine or trunk.

If nothing's out of the ordinary then uh, are you SURE it was locked?
>>
No. 530549 ID: 4652c9
File 137541655332.png - (4.18KB , 800x600 , 18.png )
530549

>>530543
She most certainly will.

>>530548
She most certainly isn't.

>>530545
It most certainly has.

Magnetized bomb on the bottom of the vehicle, driver's side.
>>
No. 530550 ID: a23afd

>>530549
Tell Keisha and Monica.

Any good at defusing bombs?
>>
No. 530551 ID: b5df96

Dang. They made you rather fast, didn't they.

Do you know how to disarm that? If you don't, we could call Monica.

...ooor we ditch the car and commandeer another.
>>
No. 530553 ID: beeca1

>>530549
What happens if you demagnetize it?
>>
No. 530554 ID: e1609c

>>530549
Welp. if you cant defuse it to get home then remote detonate it and try to make it look like you got caught in the blast
>>
No. 530557 ID: 9ddf68

get rid of it if you can, if not steal another car and have this little bomb go off to make it look (at least at first) that they got you, then get the hell out of here and make sure you're not followed.
>>
No. 530560 ID: a23afd

Well, an alternative is just not use that door. Someone is likely watching to make sure the bomb goes off though.
>>
No. 530561 ID: 929606

>>530549
i can only hope you have similar comm tech to Sev now? This is something that should be reported. If you can give them a good description they may even be able to help you disarm it.
>>
No. 530564 ID: 76b151

Whoever planted this bomb was sloppy. Leaving the door unlocked and the bomb in clear sight are big no-nos
>>
No. 530566 ID: b5df96

>>530564
Then maybe they're just a distraction for an ambush. Or there's a second, better hidden bomb that will get us after we remove the obvious one.
>>
No. 530570 ID: 4652c9
File 137541898416.png - (7.58KB , 800x600 , 19.png )
530570

"Car bomb," says Penelope. "If you'da opened up that door we'd be shaking hands with God."

"Forget everything I said about yo ass being squirrely," says Keisha. "Yo ass is not squirrely. I would not have yo ass any other way. Can you disarm it?"

"Claro que si," says Penelope. "This shit I got experience with."
She slides under the car, shaking her butt a little just in case Keisha was being literal about it.

She bites her tongue in concentration as she tinkers with the bomb. It's not going to explode unless the detonator's triggered, but she wants it recovered as intact as possible for the Bureau.
She likes that. Workin' for the Bureau. It's more fun to say than Branch.

"Penelope?"
"Thinking deep thoughts, Keesh. Silencio, por favor."
"Penelope? Babychild? I think the bomb just took backseat in our priorities."
>>
No. 530571 ID: 4652c9
File 137541899228.png - (13.29KB , 800x600 , 20.png )
530571

"Correctamundo," says a nasty little nasal voice from above. Penelope cranes her neck to see out from under the car.

Hoodie is back, with friends.

"Sups, ladies," he says. "How we all doing tonight?"
>>
No. 530572 ID: a23afd

>>530571
Oh hey, guys to kill. Ask them who they are before we get down to business. Or just kill two of them and ask the last guy alive.

How well armed are you right now, Penelope?
>>
No. 530573 ID: e1609c

>>530571
>Detach bomb
>throw bomb at assholes
>Use distraction/dead bad guy ruse to make your escape.

CAR CHASES WOO
>>
No. 530577 ID: 91c1b3

Maybe say something witty about car trouble? I don't know, I'm certainly not a writer.
>>
No. 530578 ID: b5df96

...I see one weapon, and it's a crowbar. I'm pretty sure you're more than a match for these guys. If you've managed to fit your sword under that coat, you could cut them down all pretty quick. Or three quick shots with a gun, anyways. You got any stims left, if you need them?

The bigger risk is if someone trips the detonator. Even if you kill all the punks, you and your charge are standing close to the bomb.

Come out from under the car, play along. Act cool and cocky, find out what they want.

Then beat the shit out of them, or kill them, as appropriate.
>>
No. 530580 ID: 57a559

>>530571
What cho hasslin us for boys
>>
No. 530581 ID: 4652c9
File 137541992463.png - (8.03KB , 800x600 , 21.png )
530581

"What do you want?" asks Keisha.

"We'll start with your friend under the ride," says Hoodie. "You I'mma save for later. Come on out, Oppie."

Penelope's katana is strapped to her thigh. They took her stims, but the katana they let her keep.
In a shoulder holster on the inside of her trenchcoat is a boxy .357 semiautomatic.

She glances at the bomb. She hasn't got it unstuck yet.
How did these dweebs get this hardware?

Her professional diagnosis is that these little mallrat fucks don't know who they're messing with.
>>
No. 530582 ID: 01531c

>>530571
Keisha- pull out the dress you got in that bag, see how they react.
>>
No. 530585 ID: 76b151

The guys with the hands in the pockets probably have weapons. crowbar dude you save for last as he is unprepared to do anything with it. I say take out the guy in the back first with the gun. use the katana to kill the weasel and interrogate crowbar.
>>
No. 530587 ID: 885ee8

>>530582
Better: pull out the dress, dangle it around for just a sec, then toss it at them and immediately go for the throat. They will have a split second of confusion to react to the dress coming at them and by the time they've dealt with it you'll have dealt with them.
>>
No. 530588 ID: b5df96

>Her professional diagnosis is that these little mallrat fucks don't know who they're messing with.
Yeah, that's my analysis too.

Let's fuck their shit up.

Grab that one dude's crowbar and beat the shit out of them with it. I don't think these guys are enough of a real threat to bother killing.

...or failing that, default to sword-slaughter. No gunshots mean we're not attracting more attention.
>>
No. 530590 ID: 9ddf68

gun down the Elvis wannabe first and then put a hole in crowbar's head, close the gap as quick as you can and cut off a hand (whatever one is holding whatever weapon he's got preferably) on sweater rat. Then put the blade right above his crouch and ask him a few questions, also watch your back, If this numb nuts got someone to give them a bomb it wouldn't be to much of a stretch for them to have backup somewhere around here.
>>
No. 530591 ID: a23afd

I'm partial to taking the crowbar and beating the shit out of them. I'm totally against using the gun. Katana if necessary.
>>
No. 530593 ID: 885ee8

>>530591
>>530588
They put a fucking bomb on our car. Pulling a gun on these fuckers is not an escalation, it is a downgrade, it is fucking reasonable discourse. If they really don't know what they're dealing with, show whichever one you leave alive for interrogation how much of a fucking mistake he and his two soon-to-be-dead buddies just made. If they DO know what they're dealing with, at least you didn't fuck up by underestimating them.
>>
No. 530594 ID: 4652c9
File 137542329419.png - (8.74KB , 800x600 , 22.png )
530594

"Hey, hey, mis amigos." Penelope extricates herself from the car. The men advance. "Uh, we just had some engine issues. No es nunca."

"Never seen a wetback Oppie," says Elvis. They weave their way through the cars toward her with the predatory gait of wolves. Penelope's fingers twitch. She thinks she's going to enjoy this.
"You want us to take a look at that for you?" says Hoodie.
"I'm good," says Penelope. "I went to school for this."
"You a mechanic?"
"No."
>>
No. 530595 ID: 4652c9
File 137542329937.png - (13.74KB , 800x600 , 23.png )
530595

"I'm a troubleshooter."

6/10, Penelope, thinks Penelope, as her trenchcoat whips out and around. Maybe the draw will make up for the difference.

Her hand shoots down from her shoulder and slides the gun from the holster. She twists it round her index finger by the trigger guard and instantly ventilates Mr. Wetback-spouting Elvis in the throat. The casing pings out of the gun and slides down the waving trenchcoat, sailing up and into the air.

Yeah, giiiirl.

"ghhm," says Elvis.
"GUN," says Hoodie.
"RAGUGH," says Crowbar, leaping at Penelope.

She's not going to have time to line up the next bullet.
>>
No. 530597 ID: 1f8505

>>530595

Take a few quick steps backward and prepare to disarm Mr. Crowbar. Then embed said crowbar into his neck.
>>
No. 530599 ID: a23afd

>>530595
Hahaha look at that little knife. Show them what a real blade is. Quickly draw your sword and parry his strike, then disarm him. By cutting off his arms.

After that we can hold the rat at gun/swordpoint, make sure he has his hands fully up, and ask what the fuck he was thinking.
>>
No. 530603 ID: 9ddf68

show crowbar that sword beats crowbar
>>
No. 530604 ID: 207ae7

Slide the pistol over to Keisha, then pull out the sword and waste this chump.
>>
No. 530605 ID: ba8629

Draw katana. Chop guy with crowbar.
>>
No. 530608 ID: 885ee8

If we don't have time to properly point a gun, we sure don't have time to unsheathe a damn sword.

If he's leaping, that means downward strike. Dodge to the side, pop him in the skull when he misses.
>>
No. 530613 ID: acb7da

>>530608
False. Some styles of sword combat, especially those related to the katana, have strikes that specifically start while the sword is sheathed. She should be able to do it. Simply drop the pistol right there in mid-air and whip out the sword, cut crowbar's arm off.
>>
No. 530621 ID: 360a3c

>She's not going to have time to line up the next bullet.

Then he's moving too fast and reckless to avoid a foot between his legs: Faceplant him on the concrete and curbstomp.
>>
No. 530655 ID: 54af1f

draw katana and deflect the crowbar into the ground then cut off his arm.
>>
No. 530675 ID: f8bfd7

We are a leaf on the wind.
>>
No. 530686 ID: 4652c9
File 137546779512.png - (12.42KB , 800x600 , 24.png )
530686

The TriBranch martial arts training regimen included a heavy focus on Iaido, the art of the killing draw.

Penelope is a highly practiced Iaidoka, because she thought it looked fucking awesome.

She demonstrates the proper kata to her charging attacker, stepping up and into his charge and nearly cutting his arm off entirely. She opens his chest up from one end of his ribcage to the other.

He halts and gurgles. The crowbar clatters to the floor.
>>
No. 530691 ID: a23afd

>>530686
Alright, look around to make sure nobody else is gonna interrupt you, then get that last guy's hands up and ask him what the fuck he was thinking.
>>
No. 530692 ID: ba8629

Feel sad that you don't get a stim high while this happens.

Now who will free-verse at them?

Instead, ask the last guy "You knew I was an Operative. What did you THINK was gonna happen?"
>>
No. 530695 ID: 35edd4

Ask him again what they wanted.
>>
No. 530696 ID: b5df96

Right, take hoodie alive so we can beat some answers out of him. Keep an eye peeled for anyone else in the garage, though.

And remember you're standing next to a bomb, and if this idiot doesn't have the detonator, someone else may. Meaning if you stand there like an idiot, you guys may get blown up.
>>
No. 530702 ID: 4652c9
File 137547088797.png - (9.20KB , 800x600 , 25.png )
530702

Penelope sweeps forward as Keisha scrambles to pick up her discarded gun. She shoves the blade's edge into Hoodie's face.

"Okay, nidada. You know I was oppie. Why the fuck you try and fuck with me?"

"Guh. Ffuh. Um, we.

"We."
>>
No. 530703 ID: 4652c9
File 137547089234.png - (9.61KB , 800x600 , 26.png )
530703

"We, uhm.

We. We."
>>
No. 530704 ID: 4652c9
File 137547091929.png - (11.15KB , 800x600 , 27.png )
530704

"We are," he says, and before even Penelope's honed skills can react he is gripping her katana and pushing down on it with hysterical strength. Blood curls and spurts along the steel from his hand.

His eyes are blank and bloodshot. He's riding the stimboost rocket.
"We are. We are. We are. We are."
>>
No. 530705 ID: a01b62

Yep, these guys are TriBranch. You're a stimmer, so you know how to deal with one, right? Do what you do best. Probably run like hell.
>>
No. 530706 ID: a23afd

Oh god PUSH FORWARDS AND IMPALE HIM.
>>
No. 530708 ID: a23afd

Oh, Keisha has the gun, yell for her to shoot him!
>>
No. 530714 ID: ba8629

Stab forwards. Maybe it'll cut his fingers off and send the tip through his brain. Drugged or not, he's still made of meat.

Unless he's got a better grip on it than you do. Then I got nothing.
>>
No. 530716 ID: 60bf07

...I still don't get why they wouldn't at least try to just snipe you if this is indeed an ambush prepared in advance. If they are working for Tribranch, does Tribranch have some crazy urge to avoid using guns for killing whenever possible or something? (That would fit with Penelope's starting equipment...)
>>
No. 530719 ID: b5df96

Oh fuckshit. He's a brancher? Or they're just giving gangsters stims to fuck with you? This ain't good. They found out you were alive way to fast.

Kill him kill him kill him. Slice through his hand, push back into his brain.

(Are the stims on his person, or is there a brancher here to kill you who just darted this guy?).
>>
No. 530721 ID: 9ddf68

quick, use one of your legs to sweep his feet out from under him so he loses any momentum he might have and then as he's going down put all your weight on the blade and try and hit something vital.
>>
No. 530725 ID: cf8f63

Either stabbing him through head or slicing through hand sounds like good options, but in general, stim boosted branchers I bet are the modern equivilant of the ancient art of Berzerkers-warriors who don't feel pain and thus don't STOP when injured...
But the trade-off is they have no reason, soo I'm guessing that it wouldn't be that hard to take him out. The trick...Is doing that and surviving.
>>
No. 530731 ID: 60ad76

>>530704
strong or not, he's gripping a blade. slice his fingers off and kill him
>>
No. 530733 ID: 4652c9
File 137547387097.png - (8.86KB , 800x600 , 28.png )
530733

Penelope can't move the sword. His grip is too tight.

She goes for his legs and tries to sweep them from under him, but he just ends up toppling over on top of her.
Her swordarm is pinned. He's sitting heavily on top of her.
"Fuck you up you think you can mess with me french fry Imma fuckin kill you don't mess you can't mess Imma mess you ain't" he says.
His fingers scrabble for her throat. She's trying to kick him off.
>>
No. 530734 ID: 4652c9
File 137547387377.png - (6.20KB , 800x600 , 29.png )
530734

With a loud pop his head cracks open. He dies instantly. His grin is frozen on his face.
>>
No. 530735 ID: 4652c9
File 137547388006.png - (11.57KB , 800x600 , 30.png )
530735

Keisha lowers the gun.
"Fuckin' psycho-ass bitches." She shakes her head. "Shopping sprees ain't what they used to be."
>>
No. 530739 ID: 9ddf68

niiiicce shot there, and thank her for saving your squirrely ass.

I also think would be a good time to leave
>>
No. 530740 ID: e1609c

>>530735
>Penelope: be incredibly turned on
>>
No. 530746 ID: a23afd

>>530735
Don't forget about the bomb, still gotta disarm it. You do that while Keisha looks through their pockets for any clues as to if they're directly affiliated with Tribranch or just got sent at you like expendable weapons.
>>
No. 530756 ID: 4652c9
File 137547595178.png - (8.19KB , 800x600 , 31.png )
530756

>Be incredibly turned on
Roger.

Penelope gets to work fully disarming that bomb while Keisha picks through the bodies.
"Ayo Pen," she calls, while Penelope is just finishing the defusing. "Check out what the big one had." She holds up a vial and sloshes it around. "Hawaiian Punch Special."
"Shell upgrade?"
"Ye. And five hundred dollars."
"That's grip."
"That is grip," says Keisha. "That is a lot more than hood rat money."
>>
No. 530760 ID: b5df96

What about the stims he used? Check the vial or needle or whatever. Is it Branch issue? If so, I think you've got a problem.
>>
No. 530761 ID: 885ee8

>>530758
I do not believe we left anyone intact, no. Hair guy got shot in the throat. He's either dead or no longer an effective communicator. Dunno what info we'd get outta him anyway. Seems like a safe bet these guys are Tribranch who now know about our defection. And what car we drive. Be sure to get checked out for implanted bugs or trackers, if we haven't been already. You know, when we have a spare moment.

Actually, better make sure hair's actually dead before we let our guard down too much.
>>
No. 530764 ID: 735f4f

So no smoking gun yet but hood rats do not go around blowing up peoples cars while mugging them. It tends to destroy all the loot.

How long where you shopping? Because in that time someone put a bomb on your car and 3 well armed thugs went after you. The bomb and the thugs could be separate things but that's a stretch.
>>
No. 530774 ID: 9ddf68

hey Pen, just how well did you know other agents from your old job? I mean could your recognize people on sight if you saw them or since you where still pretty new you never really got to know anybody? Just asking to see if any of these guys look like they work for branch or not.
>>
No. 530779 ID: 57a559

Can... can we upgrade you like we do Sev?
>>
No. 530784 ID: ba8629

Upgrade Keisha.
>>
No. 530791 ID: 2f4b71

Well, we know there are more agencies than just TriBranch and the Bureau. Are there any that eschew investing in their operatives, and prefer to just hurl cheaper cannon fodder at a problem?
>>
No. 530799 ID: 4652c9
File 137548401143.png - (8.30KB , 800x600 , 32a.png )
530799

Penelope doesn't know any of the corpses.
But under the hoodie guy's hat, she finds an injector headband that looks troublingly familiar.
It looks just like the one she had in her helmet.

>>530779
Anyone with shell-compatible bionics is compatible with universal shell upgrades.

Penelope doesn't have as much mechanical shit inside her as 73-6 does, but every agent worth their flowing garment has a few augmentations here and there.

But right now she has a serious urge to put distance between her and here, and Keisha needs to get to her job.
>>
No. 530800 ID: 4652c9
File 137548401510.png - (7.58KB , 800x600 , 32.png )
530800

"This, uh, this is 377 Bailey?" asks Penelope.
"Yup."
"You work here?"
"I do."
>>
No. 530802 ID: 4652c9
File 137548410110.png - (43.78KB , 800x600 , 33.png )
530802

Keisha hops out of the car in front of the neon monolith known as PISTON. One of the hottest, loudest clubs in the lower city. This place is famous.
Or, wait, infamous is probably the word Penelope was looking for.

It's quiet right now, and there are only about half the garish display lights on than usual. A scantily clad cybergirl shakes it on the oscillating building sign. Later tonight, this street is going to be crowded and loud as fuck.

"You, uh, you're an employee there?" asks Penelope.
"How many times you gonna ask me?" Keisha shoulders her bags. "Aight. I'll catch you later."
"I can't go in?"
"Go get dinner or something," says Keisha. "I'll be fine here. Ain't nobody gonna try anything in Piston."
"What if I just wanna dance?"
"Jet, amiga," says Keisha, heading to the door. "Pick a night I ain't working."
"What exactly do you do in there?" asks Penelope, but Keisha is already inside.
>>
No. 530803 ID: e1609c

>>530802
Respect her wishes, dog. If she's workin what I think she is workin, then I dont blame her for wanting to keep work and friends as far apart as she can.
Lets sod off for a bit and find us something to do.
>>
No. 530804 ID: 735f4f

Hmmm somebody sounds embarrassed about there job.

I would say respect her privacy but we are her bodyguard right now and that means sticking close. If she gets strangled in the bathroom how would you feel about yourself?

If you can disguise yourself and lurk unnoticed that would be nice.
>>
No. 530807 ID: cf49fc

>>530804
She picked off a thug on Space PCP who was kicking our arse. She'll be fine. There's bouncers in places like that who are more heavily armed than you.
>>
No. 530808 ID: b5df96

...well, anyplace like that needs security to deal with idiots acting up. They can probably handle anything handle-able that gets inside.

You fond something to eat, and find a place where you can watch the exterior. So long as you don't see a strike team or super assassins moving in, she should be fine. Watch your own six, too.

Probably a good time to call in the bomb and the attack. See if you new support structure has anything useful to offer.
>>
No. 530813 ID: e1609c

>>530803
Actually you know what? screw that
GET IN THERE DOG.
The guards in there are just gonne be regular bouncers, I doubt they can prevent any agents from going after peeps with any reasonable dependability
>>
No. 530821 ID: 9f7acd

If we wanna stay on her good side do what she says and don't go in there tonight.

She didn't say anything about sticking around outside though. Go get some dinner, upgrade yourself, swing back around here and mingle in the crowd outside till she is off work. Not like you have anything better to do.
>>
No. 530831 ID: 4b04e8

>>530821
Yeah, stay outside, and find somewhere nearby.
>>
No. 530874 ID: 1f8505

BUST IN
>>
No. 530881 ID: c770a7

You're her bodyguard! Get in there! There should be a thick enough crowd in a nightclub that you'll be able to be there without being seen. It's your job to protect her.
And if you get an eyeful of stripper keisha ass, that's an added bonus
>>
No. 530894 ID: e31ca1

>>530821
Close enough that if some shit does happen to go down loudly, you can respond. But she did imply there was good security, and you implied it was infamous, so I should hope that nothing silent will happen, at least.
>>
No. 530910 ID: a23afd

>>530802
Penelope, maybe you should just chill out somewhere nearby. Remember, the Tribranch expendables were after you first and foremost. Keisha is more in danger the closer you are to her right now.

You should probably put some thought into getting a disguise of some sort. Also, use that shell upgrade.
>>
No. 530913 ID: 5a5dd4

We got orders to stick with her, we stick with her.

Also what the hell guys we killed three guys and found a bunch of sweet clues we need to call that shit in.
>>
No. 530921 ID: 9ddf68

go get a quick bite to eat and call the bureau and see what they can find out about the bomb attack then head back here and just stake the place out. I really don't think you have to worry to much about any agents of any kind going after Keisha since to them she's a nobody and the Fantomas are really the only ones looking for her if for nothing more then to make an example out of her but I really can't see them putting anymore time into finding her if she got away since they could just as easily say they got her to anyone that ask. Still it's not like we got anything better to do so might as well just stake the place out just to make sure nothing to big happens.
>>
No. 530927 ID: 7dbd6b

>>530821
Speaking of upgrading, I pre-emptivly vote for Wetwork.
>>
No. 530967 ID: cf49fc

>>530927
Fool, the answer is clearly ALWAYS HACKING. If we dump enough upgrades into Hacking, then we'll eventually be able to call up the Universe's Console and activate Big Head Mode.
>>
No. 530972 ID: 4652c9
File 137551347832.png - (8.56KB , 800x600 , 34.png )
530972

Through the lips and over the gums, thinks Penelope as she uncorks the Shell Upgrade. Look out, stomach, here it


madre de dios that hurts

Penelope has different augmentations than 73-6, and her upgrade paths are slightly different:

HUNTER: Any melee attack with a blade will no longer miss and is a guranteed one-hit kill or KO on normal enemies.

SHINOBI: Penelope can now block a bullet with her sword if she sees it coming. Semiautomatic weapons only.

HACKING: Penelope gains beginner hacking skills.

>>
No. 530973 ID: 76b151

SHINOBI
>>
No. 530974 ID: a23afd

>>530972
Shinobi all the way.
>>
No. 530975 ID: 35edd4

SHINOBI. We will be CYBERPUNK NINJA.
>>
No. 530976 ID: f4dc10

Penelope needs the most baller upgrades possible and right now Shinobi is that
>>
No. 530977 ID: 256d52

They're all great options but... Shinobi! Ninj the shit out of things!
>>
No. 530982 ID: 888df6

Shinobi because it's the most cool.
>>
No. 530983 ID: 9ddf68

SHINOBI
just because
>>
No. 530984 ID: cf49fc

>>530972
Shinobi, because that's fucking awesome.
>>
No. 530986 ID: 4652c9
File 137551445389.png - (10.19KB , 800x600 , 35.png )
530986

Penelope almost wants someone to shoot at her just so she can test this out.
This is so badass.

Oh, right. She has to report in. Tribranch was a lot more hands-off, but 73-6 used to get that I'm-on-the-phone look all the time.

"Uh. Hola. Monica?"
"Agent Penelope. How was shopping?"
"Ran into some gangbangers tried to blow up our car. Killed 'em and got the bomb. You want I should bring it home?"
"How many?"
"Three. One had a shell upgrade on him and now I can block bullets with my sword."
"Holy shit."
"Right?"
"How's Keisha?"
"She went into work. Told me not to follow her."
"So you told her heck no, right?"
"Nnnno. I kind of went to go get pizza instead." Penelope chews, pensively. "She blew a dude's head up. I think she can handle herself."
"Handle herself or not, you're not supposed to keep her out of your sight, agent," says Monica, sharply. "We shouldn't have let her go to work in the first place."
"She's in Piston. Ain't no one would try shit."
"Oh. Well. That's something," says Monica. "But if it's a choice between obeying her wishes and keeping her safe, you keep her safe. We need the roomate, and Keisha dying would seriously upset her."
"It would seriously upset me."
"Then maybe go in that nightclub with your collar popped or something and hang in the back," offers Monica. "Who knows? Maybe she's just playing hard to get."
"Don't you go play games with my lesbian heart, chica," says Penelope.
>>
No. 530989 ID: a23afd

>>530986
She's right, the mission comes first. Also you forgot to mention one of them had a Tribranch stimpack.
>>
No. 530991 ID: 735f4f

Yea make sure to mention the headband and the rest. Do not mention the money though.

Then get in there and protect her. Just because someone wont try anything out in the open does not mean they wont try in a back hallway or room. People get killed in the bathroom all the time because some stupid bodyguard let them have there privacy.

Sure she might be a bit upset but you can apologize later.
>>
No. 530993 ID: cf49fc

>>530986
Okay, to stay inconspicuous in this place, you're gonna need a class FIVE collar pop. Stash your weapons in your coat. 'ware Bouncers.
>>
No. 530995 ID: 9ddf68

a place like piston has got to have lots of shady spots to hide in just stick to those. I mean as long as you don't move to the front of the stage or wherever it is she's working you should be fine.
>>
No. 530996 ID: 57a559

>>530986
Hey Monica, are you seeing someone?
I mean, hey, still going for Keisha for dat ass but you know how to rock future 50's style.
It's just friendly curiosity.

I honestly think she might be a stripper now, Penelope. I mean, she doesn't want to let you in? Doesn't want you to know what she does? Isn't afraid of someone attacking Piston? The fact that Piston sounds very sexual?

Oh yeah Penelope, lapdance. I can only hope NPH has some relevance still in your time. Now why don't you drop that one layer of dough cheese burger and go get down on some fur burgers!
>>
No. 530997 ID: 9fb7af

Monica is surprisingly casual among this official reporing-in routine. Isn't she supposed to keep a little more distance?

Anyway, before you come in, walk around the building and note any back doors and whatnot. Look for possible escape routes.
>>
No. 530998 ID: 4652c9
File 137551733782.png - (15.52KB , 800x600 , 36.png )
530998

"Oh, and uh, one had a TriBranch stimpack," says Penelope.

She hears the sound of Monica choking on something. "Son of a bitch," she says, coughing. "All right. Shit. Well, we knew something like this might happen, and if people are running around with Sintex visors they could be running around with TriBranch injectors. I'll look into it. You just... keep Keisha alive and then get back here ASAP, okay?"

"Okay. I'm going into the club now."

A huge crowd has gathered outside Piston. Someone's dragged out dividers to organize the line, which snakes into the street. The entire place is lit up with neon, and the ground vibrates with the thumping bassline.

Penelope was worried about being conspicuous with her trenchcoat, but she doesn't think she has anything to worry about.

"It's crowded as fuck," yells one woman over the bass thunking. The heart-shaped panel over her eyes is steadily scrolling LOVE ME FUCK ME. "It's thursday. Why's it so crowded?"

"Thursdays always crowded," says the Plague Doctor she came here with.
>>
No. 530999 ID: 4652c9
File 137551734601.png - (223.54KB , 800x600 , 37.png )
530999

Penelope makes it inside.

The bass is joined by a spiraling, lascivious synth as she navigates to the main floor. The drums pound like a monstrous, rampant hearbeat. It washes below the droning, dipping bassline, which alternates from smooth surges of thunder to doo-wop slapbeat.
Lasers and searchlights rake across the mass of humanity on the dance floor. Semi-translucent plastic chrysalises ram up and down with the rhythm, the curvy, guiltlessly erotic dancers inside miraculously stable and graceful.

Penelope retreats to higher ground as the music throbs and slithers through her. It's dark, pumping, primal, sexy. It makes Penelope want to dance or kill or fuck.

She looks out across the floor.
How the fuck is she gonna find Keisha in all this?
>>
No. 531001 ID: 76b151

Well she was concerned about what she was wearing so shes probably on a stage, or working the floor. doubt she's behind a bar as she said she used fishnets and you gotta show off your legs to work those.
>>
No. 531002 ID: a23afd

>>530999
Look for her hair. Hey, I think I see it over there in that glowy thing on the left.
>>
No. 531003 ID: 4a20fa

>>530999
Start by looking at the chrysalises (up on the left?), then places like the bar staff. Since she's an employee, not a patron, she's probably not amongst the masses.
>>
No. 531005 ID: 4652c9
File 137551860913.png - (19.42KB , 800x600 , 38.png )
531005

Penelope squints her eyes to see into the far piston, but that's too tall to be Keisha. Her ass isn't big enough, either.

She looks to the stage, the whirling nexus of music in the eye of the storm. A group of outrageously-clad women undulate and dance around the raised DJ booth, thick with cables, electronics, and dazzling LEDs.
>>
No. 531006 ID: 4652c9
File 137551868881.png - (18.86KB , 800x600 , 39.png )
531006

Standing in the middle of a sea of synths, turntables, pedals, and speakers, Keisha Chalthoum is whipping her little brown hips to the rhythm, pumping one velvet-clad fist in the air while the other dances across a keyboard.

Her lips are dark and full against the mic. She sings with a syrupy, tar-dripped alto that punches straight through Penelope's guts into the lower regions.
>>
No. 531007 ID: 4652c9
File 137551874103.png - (16.38KB , 800x600 , 40.png )
531007

The song ends and Keisha slams both fists onto the synths to create a blindbursting backwash of noise.

"WHAT THE FUCK IS UP, PISTON," she screams.

The crowd screams back at her.

"I SAID WHAT THE FUCK IS UP," she howls.

They scream again.

"THIS ONE'S CALLED SINTAX" Keisha starts in with her thunderball bass again. She shakes her thick dreads to the beat. "WHEN I'M DONE WITH THIS ONE YOU BETTER BE FUCKIN' OUT THERE"

She bends into the mic. "NOT REALLY I GOTTA CLEAN UP IN THIS SHIT"
Then the synth picks her up and throws her around like a wild marionette, and she starts in on the next song.
>>
No. 531008 ID: 57a559

Penelope meow and purr in the distance.
>>
No. 531009 ID: e1609c

>>531007
Well then.
Hang back, keep an eye out for trouble.
We'll want to make it out of here without her realizing we were there when the show ends, so if possible we should stay near a back entrance.
This will also allow us to accost any sneaky punks coming in the rear.
>>
No. 531010 ID: 9ddf68

so she's the dj, that's actually really good since that means we don't have to worry about her going back stage and figuring out how to get back there ourselves since she'll likely stay by her turntable for most of the night. We just need to watch her to make sure no one tries to do something stupid and maybe get ourselves a drink ever now and then (not enough to get drunk of course) so people don't where just some creepy stalker and try and have security throw us out.
>>
No. 531011 ID: a23afd

>>531007
Daaaaaaaamn. What was that girl doing in that shithole of an apartment?

Find someplace relatively close to the stage yet out of the way to lurk.
>>
No. 531020 ID: 47d311

>>531011
Saving up money to get a place that's not a shithole apartment.
>>
No. 531030 ID: e31ca1

>>531010
Yeah, but better to not drink anything, for multiple reasons. I don't think anybody is going to notice, this place is too packed anyways.
>>
No. 531035 ID: b5df96

>unanimous shinobi
I'd complain about sleeping through an upgrade vote if that wasn't exactly how I would have voted.

>DJ Keesh
Hawt.

Hmm. On stage has its ups and downs. On the one hand, she's important. Center. Security will be watching her. On the other hand, she's exposed, visible. A target. If someone got in here and really wanted to take a shot, they probably could.

No time to really enjoy this, though. You're on the job, and you'd really prefer her not dead. Stay out of her sight, but try to get someplace closer. Some place with a vantage point, but where you could intervene if you have to. Leap and deflect a bullet. Shoot an attacker. Knock her out of the way.
>>
No. 531048 ID: 735f4f

If I was going to kill her I would do it one of two ways.

First would be just shooting her from a far corner while she was on stage. They wanted to make a example of her for helping you and that would make it loud and clear.

The second one and probably a bit more likely is wait for a break in her set and kill her when she is in a back room or hallway. Would be out of sight and easier to avoid security.

They could always try something more complicated but those are the most likely.
>>
No. 531064 ID: 9f7acd

On the plus side, she's easily in view of us. On the other hand, she's easily in view of everyone else. Hopefully she is right about no one starting trouble here.

I'd say keep an eye out for anyone who seems out of place, but that'll be hard with this crowd. Just try to watch for people with weapons.
>>
No. 531175 ID: acb7da

>>531009
lol, coming in the rear.
>>
No. 531252 ID: f0357f

OK
contact Monica, let her know (via text, if she can't hear over the music) that Keisha is out of reach, but you have your eye on her.

also, get yourself out of immediate site, use your Agent training to ID a nice spot to keep an eye on keisha where she won't be seeing you.

That "Penelope: be incredibly turned on" command earlier that may apply here, depending on how Penelope feels about club scenes.
>>
No. 531292 ID: 4652c9
File 137559893593.png - (173.81KB , 800x600 , 41.png )
531292

>>531252
>Continue to be incredibly turned on
Roger.

Penelope stays in the shadows of the upper catwalks, where the haze of smoke and the smell of candy-flavored booze and libido rise and cling. She surveys the pulsing crowd while Keisha grooves and writhes onstage.

A fan of lasers fret through the smoke, and on the other side of the club, Penelope sees a man unsling a bulky backpack from his shoulder. He puts it near the balcony and pulls something long and metallic from inside.
>>
No. 531293 ID: 9ddf68

well move in quick and get ready to draw your sword. Just whatever you do try and keep it quite.
>>
No. 531294 ID: e1609c

>>531292
A shame they dont pat people down before they enter, innit?
Ninja yo butt over there and tackle him, yo.
>>
No. 531295 ID: a23afd

>>531292
Could be a tripod for a camera...? Get closer to properly identify what he's doing, while being ready to draw your gun. Or katana, depending on how close we can get.
>>
No. 531296 ID: e1609c

>>531294
However, make sure you read the situation. It might be a part of her show. What I am saying is, use your damn ninja reflexes or some shit and block any bullets with your blade sonny
>>
No. 531297 ID: 1f8505

>>531292

Potential sniper spotted! Go stop him!
>>
No. 531298 ID: cf49fc

>>531292
Mosey on over there and quietly break his neck.
>>
No. 531313 ID: 4652c9
File 137560534280.png - (310.72KB , 800x600 , 42.png )
531313

Penelope moves to the other side of the hall, fingers tightening on the catch in her scabbard.


Oh. It's a camera.

That makes more sense.

That would have been a little embarrassing. Penelope takes a deep breath. Maybe there's such thing as being too on edge.
>>
No. 531315 ID: 883c37

>>531313
make sure it's actually a camera and not a sniper rifle looking like a camera
>>
No. 531316 ID: a23afd

>>531313
Maybe. Keep scanning the crowd anyway. See if you can pick out anyone you know.

Maybe get a drink?
>>
No. 531317 ID: bf54a8

one person, alone? seems sus.
>>
No. 531318 ID: 57a559

Just go hello how's it going nice hat what model camera is that?
>>
No. 531319 ID: 4a20fa

>>531318
And how them that you've got a smartphone with a camera in it too isn't that cool and hey look its got this app that makes it look like it was taken on an ancient broken Polaroid!!
>>
No. 531323 ID: a23afd

...I think it might be too loud to engage in conversation with anyone.
>>
No. 531354 ID: b5df96

...you sure that's a real camera and not a gun in a camera? Be in a place where you can mess up his shot and/or parry it.

Also, keep scanning the place. Nothing else has happened while you let this guy distract you, right?
>>
No. 531356 ID: cf49fc

>>531313
It might be a Camera-Gun. Chat him up about his camera.
>>
No. 531428 ID: 7dbd6b

Aw hell naw. That's a terrible thing. Flash photography in a darkened club? Wrecks havoc on the eyes, and it's an AOE on everyone in the club.

Not to mention the potential to be a gun, or setting up from the actual sniper to be taking a shot.

I recommend confiscating* that thing. "No photos in the club."

*in this case confiscating means cutting in half
>>
No. 531441 ID: a23afd

Oh jeez this is gonna be embarrassing.
>>
No. 531474 ID: 1f8505

Talk to the camera guy. Ask him how he's doing and if you can help... camera stuff.
>>
No. 531590 ID: 4652c9
File 137568346607.png - (133.26KB , 800x600 , 43.png )
531590

"HEY IS THAT A CAMERA?" says Penelope.

"WHAT?"

"WHY ARE YOU ALONE?"

"YOU ALONE TOO."

"THAT A CAMERA? YOU SUPPOSED TO BRING CAMERAS IN HERE?"

"UHHH"

"STOW IT, AMIGO.

"AW, NO, HOMES, COME ON. I WON'T SHOW IT TO ANYONE BUT ME. IT'S SEKHMET. THIS IS MY SHIT. "

"WELL THIS IS MY SHIT." Penelope grabs the camera off the tripod.

"HEY-" The amateur photographer scrabbles at the camera. "FUCK YOU, MAN. COME ON."

"YOU WANT IT BACK, YOU ASK SECURITY OR SOME SHIT AFTER THE SHOW," says Penelope.

"JESUS, FUCKING COOL YOUR SHIT." The man in the hat storms off. "GET A DRINK OR SOMETHING, YA CRAZY FUCKIN BITCH."

"WHAT?" says Penelope.

"WHAT?" says Penelope.

"HEY," says Penelope.

"WHAT?" says the guy in the hat.
>>
No. 531591 ID: 4652c9
File 137568348431.png - (127.71KB , 800x600 , 44.png )
531591

He turns around just in time for Penelope to bean him in the face with his camera.

He catches it and nearly fumbles.

"YOU WANT I SHOULD FUCKING DECK YOU?"

"YEAH, AMIGO, TIENES UNA POLLA TAN GRANDE AND WE ALL IMPRESSED. PISS OFF BEFORE I CALL SECURITY."

He pisses off before she calls security. Penelope laughs. She needed something like that. She's too wound up right now to really be digging this club thing.
>>
No. 531593 ID: a23afd

>>531591
Get a drink or something.
>>
No. 531594 ID: cf49fc

>>531593
No drinking. Bartender could be under pay, drinks could be drugged, or they could just be that full of chems. We need to be clear headed for when we need to start slicing bullets in half.
>>
No. 531595 ID: 9ddf68

well that was fun, now to go back to watching Keisha. Maybe find somewhere comfortable that still gives you a good view since you're probably are going to be stuck here for a bit.
>>
No. 531599 ID: b5df96

Right, back to watching for threats. You're on security detail, you can't really enjoy the dance or drink or even enjoy the show (too much).

Stay vigilant, stealthy ninja guard in the shadows.
>>
No. 531604 ID: a23afd

>>531594
We could... get something non-alcoholic?
>>
No. 531606 ID: cf49fc

>>531604
What, you wanna drink tapwater?
>>
No. 531608 ID: 57a559

Shirley Temples are awesome non-alcholic drinks! They're so sweet, like Mountain Dew Red but less poisonous to your insides!
>>
No. 531611 ID: 4a20fa

>>531599
That.
>>
No. 531614 ID: 4652c9
File 137568920863.png - (44.18KB , 800x600 , 45.png )
531614

Penelope saunters to the bar, near floor level. It's a good vantage point and there's got to be something non-alcoholic she can drink there.

She sits warily at the bar. Most people are up on their feet dancing, so there's plenty of seats available.

"Welcome to Piston, Leathergirl," says the bartender, in a deeply modulated voice. He's wearing one of those weird zentai suits. His face is blinking LEDs. "How can I fuck you up?"

"Got a Shirley Temple?"
"A what?"
"Shirley temple. Ginger ale and grenadine?"
"No I know what that is. Just making sure I heard you right. You know there's no, uh,"
"Mhm."
"Okay. Just making sure." The bartender scratches his head. "We've got the shit for that somewhere around here."
>>
No. 531615 ID: 4652c9
File 137568931346.png - (37.27KB , 800x600 , 46.png )
531615

After an hour and a half or so, Keisha grabs the mic, yanks it close, and yells into it:
"THIS PLACE IS THE SHIT BUT I'M OUT DOE"
The crowd screams again. The applause is thunderous.
"DON'T GET TOO EXCITED NOW," says Keisha. "I WASN'T THAT BAD. AIGHT NEXT UP IS SOME DJ I AIN'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT NAW I'M FUCKING WITCHU IT'S DEE! JAY! SHADE!".
The next round of applause is a little more subdued.
"HE GON TAKE CARE OF YOU! I BLAZES WITH THIS MAN AND YOU SHOULD TOO! PISTON Y'ALL ARE SUN GODS AND I! LOVE! YOOOOOUUUUUUNEVAHFORGET"
Then she pitches the mic bodily into the crowd, does a neat back spring out of the booth, and goes offstage flanked by a flock of frilly dancers.

Penelope sips her latest Shirley Temple through the bendy straw charitably provided by the bartender.
>>
No. 531617 ID: e1609c

>>531615
Aight, lets bounce. Get out the frontways before she does.
>>
No. 531618 ID: a23afd

>>531615
Alright, go follow her wherever she's going. Which is likely backstage, but you gotta. If she complains, tell her you're under orders. Also that she has a totally sexy singing voice.
>>
No. 531623 ID: 9ddf68

anyway you see to get back there?
>>
No. 531647 ID: 57a559

Say to the bartender that you're a designated driver. Really not much choice, you'd choose something heavier, but hey man when you gotta work you gotta work.
The flavor's nostalgic.
>>
No. 531826 ID: 4652c9
File 137576386006.png - (12.56KB , 800x600 , 47.png )
531826

Penelope makes her way through the thinning crowd to the backstage entrance.

She is predictably obstructed by the biggest, ugliest motherfucker in the club.

"Excuse me," he says. "You lost?"
"I'm good."
"Club's back there."
"I'm a friend of Keisha's."
"Everyone wants to be friends with Sekhmet. Sekhmet has a lot of friends. You going back to the club."
>>
No. 531827 ID: 4652c9
File 137576386719.png - (16.97KB , 800x600 , 48.png )
531827

"Yeah, amigo, but I mean outside of work."
"Right. Get outta here, hon."
"No can do, hombre. I'm looking after her."
"That's my job. You looking for a boot up your ass?"
"You looking to put it there, chica?"
"Turn yourself around before I-"

Keisha pokes her head out of the doorway, looking a little wobbly.
"Barker, who you terrorizin out here?" she asks. "Chill your- Pen-el-lo-pee?"
"Hola."
"Whatchu doin here?"
>>
No. 531828 ID: a23afd

>>531827
Watching over her fine ass, like you're supposed to.
>>
No. 531829 ID: beeca1

>>531827
Remember the car bomb? Trying to stop stuff like that from happening again.

Caught a dude with a camera that might have been a gun, so there's that.
>>
No. 531830 ID: b5df96

>"Whatchu doin here?"
Taking stock of what seems to be refreshing competent security.
>>
No. 531831 ID: 3fee94

>>531830
this
>>
No. 531836 ID: 4652c9
File 137576653567.png - (15.11KB , 800x600 , 49.png )
531836

"Reviewing some refreshingly good security," says Penelope, stepping gingerly around the gorilla.
>>531828
She's a little too sober to be putting any implicit moves on the ass of Keisha, fine as it is.

"Giiiiiiiirrrrllllll get yo cyberpunk-ass crewcut up in here," says Keisha, smiling an alarmingly large, vibrant smile. "Go punch a baby or something, Barker."
"Yes, ma'am."
"Love you, Barker!"
"Thank you, ma'am."

"You see the show, baby?" asks Keisha, half-dragging Penelope through the door.
"Yeah. It was great."
"It woulda been a little rough around the edges if I had got blown up," says Keisha. "So yo drinks are on me."
"I'm not actually"
"LAY-DEEEEEES," sings Keisha. "This that ninja chick I was talkin bout! This Penelope. She saved my ass."
"Is she a moldie?" asks one of the dancers.
"She look like a moldie?" asks Keisha.
"She's wearing a trenchcoat."
"Shut yo stripper ass up, Julia." Keisha is nearly vibrating with energy. "We about to hit the floor, Pen. Take off that leather andd all yo swords and shit and get at least twice as drunk. Your sun goddess commands you."
"She has swords?" asks Julia.
"Hell yeah, she has swords," says Keisha.
"I'm actually not drinking tonight."
"If you wasn't before you is now, mamacita!" Keisha spins Penelope around with surprising force. "Let's dance! Let's get out there and make some niggas sexually frustrated. Take some Flushout when we done or something."
"Flushout?"
"Insta-sober, girl. Piston's got it on tap. Let's raaage!"
"I don't know."
Keisha grabs Penelope's hands and rocks back and forth, pulling her toward the club. Her palms are very soft through the velvet. "Cmooooon. I promise if you do I'll forgive you when I'm sober for directly disobeying my ass."
>>
No. 531839 ID: a23afd

>>531836
Walking out into the dance floor unarmored, unarmed, and drunk, while on bodyguard duty? That's grounds for getting yo ass fired. Walk out there unarmored but not completely unarmed, and feel free to get a bit drunk, just sober up before we leave the secure building. One out of three will let you keep your job, at least.
>>
No. 531842 ID: e1609c

>>531836
Screw it, lets go for it. keesh has backup security, and they seem p. diligent. lets have some fun, yo.
>>
No. 531843 ID: 35edd4

Juuust a little bit of drink. Quietly ask the bartender to water yours while Keisha's not paying attention, perhaps.

And agree only on the compromise that you keep your gear on. If you can ninja with it on, you can dance with it on too, and this club should be perfectly friendly to strange garb.
>>
No. 531845 ID: 735f4f

Go ahead and enjoy yourself a bit. But make sure to keep some flushout handy so you can get sober quick if you need to.
>>
No. 531847 ID: b5df96

>are you a moldie?
...you know, if anyone might actually buy the lie, the Bureau stealing your corpse might upset Tribranch slightly less than getting you to defect. Penelo-who? I'm just 96-1, you drugged up brancher. Go away.

>do it?
As much as you'd prefer to get drunk and half naked with Keesh, you can't exactly afford to take leave of your senses and weapons. People have already tried to kill you once tonight.

Worry about keeping her alive and doing your job, for now. You'll worry about making her happy with you later.

...looks like you're gonna be one of them peeps being made sexually frustrated.
>>
No. 531848 ID: 4652c9
File 137576952156.png - (14.72KB , 800x600 , 50.png )
531848

"Can I take the sword?" asks Penelope.
"I am one hundred on you taking the sword," says Keisha. "I love that. AYO BARKER! SHE'S TAKING THE SWORD!"
"She has a sword?" calls Barker.
"You gotdamn right she do! I'm with it. I am one hundred on it. I blaze with that. Meg! Babygirl. Babychild. Sugarbaby. Baby baby baby. Pass me that."
One of the backup dancers passes Keisha a thin glass full of something fluorescent. "Drink this."
"What's that?"
"This, Penelope mine, is Piston's specialty. Drink this shit."
"I don't know."
"Aw it's just booze, sugar," says Keisha. "What am I gonna do, roofie yo ass?" She touches Penelope's arm and waves the flute in her face. "Woooooo," she goes in a little chipmunk voice. "Put me insiiiide yoooou, Pennyyyyyyy.
>>
No. 531851 ID: e1609c

>Penelope: give into peer pressure
if you dont wake up in bed with her after a long ass night of partying i will come after brom with a stick
>>
No. 531852 ID: cf49fc

>>531848
"I can't. I'm on duty. And if I take one drink, I'll take four. And then when a deathsquad kicks in the door, I'll be sloshed!"
>>
No. 531853 ID: 735f4f

How high is your alcohol tolerance? I know you have used a lot of combat stims in your old job but this is a bit different.

Because one or two drinks should be fine and then you can pretend to drink more while hiding them.

But if you are the type to get one drink in you and wake up 4 hours later hanging off the lighting then it might be a problem.
>>
No. 531854 ID: a23afd

>>531848
"How can I refuse such an invitation?"
>>
No. 531857 ID: 35edd4

Get a dose of flushout first and keep it on your person just in case.
>>
No. 531863 ID: 57a559

>>531848
Keisha is a completely different person drunk oh my god.
>>
No. 531865 ID: 41690e

This girl is nothing but trouble.

...le sigh. Short of being the stubborn stick in the mud, I think you're going to have to take a hit or two just to keep her happy. I hope all that drug abuse gave you a high tolerance.
>>
No. 531869 ID: 4652c9
File 137577208515.png - (295.30KB , 800x600 , 51.png )
531869

Penelope downs the drink.

The effect is immediate and awesome.

Her heart bounds joyfully up from her ribcage into her throat and slams blood into her cheeks.
Her limbs tingle and loosen. She feels dextrous and sloppy at the same time.
Her pupils dilate and her ears take in the sound around her like a neon-tinted slagfall.
She wants to dance. That or swordfight someone, but that's probably just her.
The chaotic club around her makes sudden crystal sense. Any discomfort and self-consciousness she felt has just been blasted into shrapnel. She feels sexy.
She is horny as fuck.

"Holy shit," she says.
"Right????" says Keisha.
"Right!!!!" says Penelope.

"Get out there, girl," says Keisha, slapping her ass.

The next hour or so is a sweaty, vacillating motion blur.
The floor seems almost to part for Keisha. She moves like poetry.
Penelope manages to resist tackling her, for which she is very proud.
>>
No. 531870 ID: 4652c9
File 137577209874.png - (50.63KB , 800x600 , 52.png )
531870

They are deposited, laughing and panting, to the bar.
"FUCK," says Keisha. She knocks hard on the bar. "Ayo! Robogimp! Two shots of rum!"
"I caaaan't," says Penelope. "No queiroooooo."
"You caaaan," says Keisha. "Quieressssssssss." She spins round on her bar seat and faces the thumping dancefloor. "You dance like you fight."
"How do I fight?"
"Like a badass motherfucker, how you think? It's cos you got a ninja sword. I want a ninja sword."
"Katana."
"Ka-ta-naaa," says Keisha. "That's the shit. Y'all bureau agents is the shit."
"I thought you didn't like the bureau?"
"Ye, but I dig badass and I dig leather," says Keisha. She leans forward, kicking her legs against her barstool. She just barely doesn't manage to touch the ground. "So Pen: which is better: yo house or mine?"
"Yours don't have a waterfall."
"Yours don't have a room full of horny men," says Keisha. "For rill. Point at any single one of the fellas up in here and Imma hook you up, girl. You rollin with Sekhmet now and we up in the kingdom of the sun."
>>
No. 531871 ID: a23afd

>>531870
YOU MUST POINT AT HER.
>>
No. 531873 ID: e1609c

>>531871
This is the one true path to enlightenment.
And remember; Keesh likes it ROUGH.
>>
No. 531875 ID: 41690e

>Point at any single one of the fellas up in here
*cough* ...fellas ain't exactly the way I point.
>>
No. 531876 ID: cf49fc

>>531870
Lean in and leer. You're already both drunk as fuck, you may as well go that extra mile.
>>
No. 531878 ID: 9b9ef8

>>531870
flirt before going all out for her, make sure she's ready and not surprised.
>>
No. 531880 ID: a23afd

>>531875
Oh good idea maybe we should sorta lead up to it. Like, "What about the ladies? Could you hook me up with one of them?"
>>
No. 531883 ID: 4652c9
File 137577568591.png - (192.51KB , 800x600 , 53.png )
531883

"Anyone?"
"Anyone, baby."

"I don't actually, uh, point that way, Keesh," says Penelope.

"Wha?" Keisha looks down at Penelope's finger. "Oh. Ohhhhhhhhh. Oh jeezum kringles, Pen, I didn't mean to assume nothing. You like, uh,"
"Chicas," says Penelope.
"And me?"
"Kind of, yeah."
"Penelope, you great, and you badass as fuck, and tonight was the shit, baby," says Keisha as Penelope's heart gradually starts to let off hot air, "but I don't know if that's the way I ride, babygirl."
>>
No. 531884 ID: beeca1

>>531883
Say that you understand, but ask if she's willing to try and find out.
>>
No. 531885 ID: 35edd4

>>531884
"Can you think of a better way to find out?"
>>
No. 531886 ID: a23afd

>>531883
Uh, she doesn't know? Has she ever tried it? Thought about it? I mean, no pressure or anything but well.
>>
No. 531888 ID: cf49fc

>>531883
"We're both high as fuck, what better time to find out?"
>>
No. 531889 ID: 4652c9
File 137577660773.png - (49.25KB , 800x600 , 54.png )
531889

"Okay."
"I'm sorry."
"Are you sure?"
"Well, I mean babe, I," says Keisha. "I'm a, actually. hold up." She stands up, pursing her lips. "I done way more shit with some people who deserved a chance way less than yo ass."

She throws one caramel-colored leg over Penelope and kisses her ferociously.
Her lips are full. They taste like nectarine.
Once Penelope gets over the shock she kisses Keisha back. Her arms close around the DJ and she leans back against the bar.
For a second Keisha gasps and freezes up. Then she lets out a little groan in the back of her throat and pushes herself up against Penelope's chest, her legs wrapping tight around Penelope's hips. She gyrates like she did in the booth up onstage, and Penelope's heart nearly chisels its way out of her chest.

"Two shots of- ohh. I'll, uhm, I'll come back later."
>>
No. 531890 ID: 4652c9
File 137577664623.png - (125.09KB , 800x600 , 55.png )
531890

"Shit," gasps Keisha, when she finally pulls away, "maybe I was wrong about that whole 100% straight thang."
"Ya think?"
"That was interesting," says Keisha.
"Bueno interesting?"
"Bueno interesting." Keisha boings the wire in Penelope's head. "Pen. Babygirl. I need you to do something for me you probably rilly rilly do not want to do."
"What?"
"Sso maybe that flicked a couple switches I didn't think it would." Keisha swivels her hips a little and Penelope's breath catches. "But maybe that's just cuz I'm drunk as fuck, sugar."
"Take a flushout?"
Keisha shakes her head. "I don't know if I'm ready tonight, Pen. Flippin the script is a bigass step."
"I get it."
"So I'mma need you do something."
"Anything."
"Talk to Sober Keisha about what we just did sometime," says Drunk Keisha.
>>
No. 531892 ID: 57a559

Hey, thems the breaks with a creature of the night. Gotta have that night/day matrimony and shit. That's fine.

Can't have one half without the other.
>>
No. 531893 ID: e1609c

>>531890
If she tries to shoot us we can deflect her bullets with our sword. I vote sure thing, yo.
>>
No. 531895 ID: a23afd

>>531893
Haha yeah we should just straight up tell her that.
>>
No. 531896 ID: 47d311

>>531890

>"Talk to Sober Keisha about what we just did sometime," says Drunk Keisha.

That is a land mine if I have ever seen one. Not insurmountable by any means, but you may want to hold off on that talk for a little while.
>>
No. 531898 ID: e1609c

>>531896
>Hold off
Nah man, this is gonna be like a bandage. Gotta rip it off quick, not let it fester. If we wait she'll just get pissed we waited, dog.
>>
No. 531900 ID: 0b214d

>>531890

Sure. Staying quiet or saying No is worse, anyway.
>>
No. 531916 ID: 41690e

>talk to sober keesh about that
...well, you've faced certain death before. And for worse causes. What's once more?

(Continue to keep an eye out for assassins and the like).
>>
No. 531968 ID: 4a20fa

Alright, fun's over. Get yourself sober so you can cope with inevitably being jumped on the way out.
>>
No. 532137 ID: 4652c9
File 137583512291.png - (187.99KB , 800x600 , 56.png )
532137

"Sure thang," says Penelope. "You try to shoot anything at me I can just deflect it with my sword."
"You can do that?"
"You're gosh darn right I can."
"Don't make me jump yo ass again or I'll smear my lipstick, girl," says Keisha, grabbing a proffered shot of rum and slamming it down. She gags and shakes her head as another song comes thundering on. "Mmm. God! I fuckin hate this song. Let's dance."
"I haven't had my shot!"
"We can make out some more too."
"Fuck shots!"
"Look after her booze, robogimp. I need my bodyguard up on the floor." Keisha grabs Penelope's hand and pulls her toward the grooving crowd of dancers.
"About 90 percent of the straight men in this club would kill someone to get to do what you're doing," says the bartender wryly, picking up Keisha's empty shotglass.
"Yeah? Well I killed two," says Penelope.

Then she's back in the crowd and dancing her ass off.
>>
No. 532138 ID: 4652c9
File 137583512871.png - (9.87KB , 800x600 , 57.png )
532138

The entrance to the Black Stalls is in the back of a dingy dead end alley, flanked by tombstone buildings and bearing absolutely no sign that it is the door to the biggest weapons and technology black market in the country.

This was, of course, by design. The only people the Stalls want visiting are the kind of people who would know exactly where the Stalls are.

Operative 73-6 is that kind of people.
>>
No. 532139 ID: e1609c

>>532137
Atta girl.
>>532138
Well? we gonna pop in there? or is there some kind of secret handshake?
>>
No. 532140 ID: a01b62

But, of course, they don't want you.
>>
No. 532143 ID: 41690e

>>532137
Hells yes. That went surprisingly well!

>>532138
Well, make your approach, and don't do anything that would make them shoot you before you get there.

What you carrying for weapons now? Did the Bureau give you any spending money for bribes or loosening lips? (This is an information collecting mission, after all). Or are we gonna be relying solely on good will, intimidation, and interrogation?
>>
No. 532144 ID: 57a559

>>532138
Hey, this is going to be where we start making connections for retirement right?
Or is your better judgement saying that would be a terrible idea, Sev?
>>
No. 532145 ID: 41690e

>>532144
...I think it might be way too early. We've kind of rocked the boat a lot recruiting a defector and bringing in two civies to be rescued. We want upper management not paying as attention to us so much, or having obvious people to threaten if it looks like we're going off reservation.

We gotta be the good little moldy for a while.
>>
No. 532148 ID: 57a559

I was thinking more about just getting to know people not going "Hey, I want to retire, are you the guys I got to talk to about that?"

I mean, the only reason 14 got away was because of his war hero status, so we can just learn a few names. A foot in the door here and there. Scope out the potential, etc.
>>
No. 532184 ID: 4652c9
File 137584744563.png - (11.14KB , 800x600 , 58.png )
532184

73-6 is carrying his spike, his snubnose, a cool $10,000 in bribe money given to him to find out who sold and who bought that visor. He also has $7000 of his own cash, in case he finds something he wants.
Intimidation and interrogation will not work on any vendor in the Stalls.

>>532140
The Stalls don't care about who uses them, and any agency that would try and face off against them is stupid enough to deserve the near-absolute destruction that would inevitably follow.

They maintain a strictly enforced neutrality. You find agents, terrorists, drug czars, foreign warlords, senators, and just about anyone else who has business with less-than-legal commodities here.
And if anyone pulls a gun on anyone else inside, the penalty is swift, immediate, and permanent. No one really knows who runs them. It's possible they just go along this way entirely autonomously, with no real leader and organically grown rules.
But when you're in the Stalls, you follow those rules.

Of course, just outside the doors anything goes, but that shouldn't be a problem unless there's some sort of Fantomas shopping trip finishing up inside aw shit 73-6 just had to bring that up.
>>
No. 532185 ID: 41690e

...well, your options are to either kill them or make yourself scarce until they leave.

Considering we're going for low-key information gathering, I'd prefer to avoid a bloodbath. Especially if engaging just means more Fantomas waiting for you when you leave. Last thing we need is to be trapped again.
>>
No. 532186 ID: 360a3c

Can you ping these people for tracking? I see potential for at least one future mission in knowing what they have and where they're taking it, and if what's in the bag is nice enough stuff this might be a better lead to pick up on than what you can afford to buy from The Stalls.
>>
No. 532187 ID: a23afd

>>532184
They're just outside the doors, that means anything goes! Wait for them to get closer. Get up higher if you can.

Take out the guy with the gun out first. If possible I'd like to ambush them in close quarters to make use of the spike and snapshots, but I suspect they will be somewhat wary.

Oh, I'd like to keep one of them alive, to ask them about what went down at the apartment.
>>
No. 532188 ID: 9ddf68

see if you can find some place to hide until they pass. Failing that spike whoever is closest to you in the face and then while using bozo number 1 as a meat shield use your stubnose to blow the other 2 away, then quickly check the bodies for cash/loot and get inside already.
>>
No. 532192 ID: 735f4f

If they just finished a shopping trip they may be loaded with loot. Might be worth offing them if we can sneak up on them somehow.
>>
No. 532194 ID: 4652c9
File 137585148738.png - (6.98KB , 800x600 , 59.png )
532194

73-6 pulls deeper into the alleyway and lets the men pass by. The one in rear is toting an assault rifle. The other two are not visibly armed, but they're in full gear with earpieces and presumably weapons on their person.

"monica."
"What's up, Sev-Three?"
"got three fantomas just left the stalls. they haven't seen me."
"You thinking about whackin' em?"
"yes ma'am."
"One second. Checking your parameters. Okay, Sev. Go with the feeling. Weapons live. Icing those guys is officially part of the op now. That means any civilian casualties or property damage is no longer illegal. But uhhh exercise caution."
"don't i always?"
"Hah."
"how you want their tickets punched? any special conditions?"
"If you think you can take them out now and quick before they can radio you off, hit them," says Monica. "Otherwise follow them unseen for at least a couple blocks, then bring the hammer down. We don't want them getting word of a Bureau agent near the stalls, or the Fantomas might catch on to what we're doing. Oh, and when you make the move, don't feel like you have to be stealthy about it. Bureau could use some free publicity."
>>
No. 532199 ID: cf49fc

>>532184
They're carrying valuable guns! Kill them all for their loot. Stealthily.
>>
No. 532200 ID: 9ddf68

how quick of a shot are you? Cause if you think you can pull it off before they call you in just pull out your stubnoise and just shot them in the head one right after another. Then just loot them and move on.
>>
No. 532201 ID: a23afd

>>532194
Alright, let's follow them. Attempt the publicity stunt. Look for a good spot where the sound of gunfire will attract attention but also where you can pick them off without risking yourself very much.

Optimally, we'd kill the guy in the rear with a silent spike, then gun down the other two before they realize you're there.
>>
No. 532207 ID: a8454f

Kill the nearest guy quietly with the spike, grab him for a shield and his gun for shooty and deal with the other two, don't bother trying to retrieve the spike until all three are dead.
>>
No. 532210 ID: ba8629

Time to get Hotline Miami on their ass.
>>
No. 532211 ID: fa0e66

If they have earpieces, trying to kill them now is too risky. Follow them and kill them when they're in the open and public.
>>
No. 532213 ID: 4652c9
File 137585752306.png - (81.89KB , 800x600 , 60.png )
532213

>>532201
>>532211
73-6 tails the Fantomas. He lets them take him a block or two away from the Stalls, climbing the ramp onto the overpass where it dips up out of the ground to get a better and more incognito look.

"so we're all right with making this flashy?"
"We most certainly are. This is out of the way of Fantoma territory. If they're moving in groups of three and bringing choppers into hab-block airspace, they're a little too bold. It's time to remind them just how much power they have. Go ahead and let them call it into base. Any reinforcements would be at least five minutes away."
>>
No. 532214 ID: 4652c9
File 137585753062.png - (6.04KB , 800x600 , 61.png )
532214

73-6 climbs down from the overpass onto a civilian street corner, still following the Fantoma Vengadores.
They reach a thick, black van and start to load themselves inside.
"shoot."
"What's up?"
"they've got a car. cars is good cover."
"You're a little close to the Stalls, still. If you want to take a shot you can take it, but this ain't the optimal place to do it."
>>
No. 532216 ID: fa0e66

Ask if stealing a car on the job is okay.

Then steal a car even if it isn't because no one tells 73-6 what to do.
>>
No. 532217 ID: cf49fc

>>532216
BRILLIANT! We wait until they're done loading, shoot the driver in the face, run over the other guys, shoot the guard they definitely have in the back, and BAM, shopping's done.
>>
No. 532218 ID: a23afd

>>532214
Ugh. This is turning into a big deal. Oh well, in for a penny in for a pound. Let's keep following them. Commandeer a vehicle from somebody.
>>
No. 532221 ID: 4652c9
File 137586038070.png - (9.78KB , 800x600 , 62.png )
532221

>>532218
It's not turning out to be a routine mission.

But every cloud has its silver lining.

In 73-6's case that lining is slick, onyx, and parked right behind him.

"is it considered property damage if i steal a vehicle?"
"Kind of."
"and property damage is allowed?"
"We want to minimize it."
"but it's allowed."
"You don't have to sound so excited about it, Sev-three."
>>
No. 532222 ID: a23afd

>>532221
Hack that shit. We gonna have some fuuuuun.
>>
No. 532227 ID: 9d8047

Sev you just made my day:D now get on with the car chase
>>
No. 532289 ID: 41690e

>cars is good cover
Cars can also have backup inside.

>motorcycle chase
...awesome, but I wish we had a heavier weapon. A snubsnose isn't exactly the best weapon for shooting at a car as you chase it.

Unless we're just planning on driving them off the road. Or boarding. Or just following them, but that's kind of dull.
>>
No. 532328 ID: 9f7acd

"Yes, I do."
Vroom vroom, motherfuckers.
>>
No. 532392 ID: eaa372

If that van has windows to break you could drive up and unload into driver once you have adequate distance from the stalls. It'll give some loud publicity if it causes an accident on the road. If you have enough time you could wipe out the passengers as they get out of the car wreck.
>>
No. 532435 ID: 2c4b1c

"i'll try and return it in the same condition i found it in"
>>
No. 532445 ID: 4652c9
File 137592306283.png - (71.49KB , 800x600 , 63.png )
532445

The motorcycle turns on smoother than chrome, and purrs to life under 73-6 as he puts the helmet on.
He cranks the throttle into gear and tears out onto the highway, as the van lurches ahead of him.

He's been wanting to do something like this forever.
>>
No. 532446 ID: 4652c9
File 137592306849.png - (7.13KB , 800x600 , 64.png )
532446

73-6 weaves through the highway traffic. His trenchcoat flaps in the air behind him.

He leans down and turns into the lane behind the van.
If they've noticed him, they've made no indication of suspicion.
>>
No. 532450 ID: cf49fc

>>532446
Hack the traffic signal control systems of the city to put a stop light ahead, then walk up to the back, open it, shoot the guy inside in the head, steal all the cargo, and hop out, leaving a grenade to blow it up behind you in a dramatic manner.

Or just wait till they're at speed, shoot out the right front tire and cause a traffic "accident".
>>
No. 532455 ID: 41690e

>traffic accident
We're here to show off and inspire fear, but not to needlessly get civilians killed.

If we went with causing an accident, we'd have to carefully engineer it to avoid collateral.

>trafic light ambush
That's more interesting, although once we pop the driving, getting in and killing the other two without getting shot is a bit of a tactical problem. Also, we don't have a grenade.
>>
No. 532493 ID: 9ddf68

pass the van over on the drivers side and as you pass pull out your gun and blow his head off, then pop on of the van's tires so it crashes (try to do this in a low traffic area) and while the other 2 are dazed go in and finish them off.
>>
No. 532538 ID: 4652c9
File 137594662296.png - (90.31KB , 800x600 , 65.png )
532538

73-6 has no grenade and no way to remotely hack any traffic lights.

He peels onto the divider and guns the engines, pulling up to the van's window.
The driver is a new guy. He must have been waiting to pick them up. He's saying something about french fries to the Fantoma riding shotgun when he sees the motorcycle rider skimming the divider next to him.
>>
No. 532539 ID: 4652c9
File 137594667851.png - (10.13KB , 800x600 , 66.png )
532539

Before 73-6 can get a shot off he squawks and slams on the brakes, tilting the van into the next lane over. One of those little matte Japanese capsules is in its path. It swerves desperately out of the way.

73-6 takes a snap shot, but it pings off just below the window.
>>
No. 532541 ID: acb7da

Shoot more.
>>
No. 532543 ID: a23afd

>>532539
Shoot a tire and drive around a corner. Hopefully he'll try to turn the corner at speed and lose control due to the shot tire.
>>
No. 532558 ID: 9d43c9

>>532539
shoot out the back left tire. that way it won't flip at you and won't fly over to the civilian car to the right.
>>
No. 532582 ID: 04bed5

>shoot out the tyres
They've just come out of the premiere black market. We can probably assume they can afford run-flats for their van, if not outright armouring.
>>
No. 532586 ID: bf54a8

>>532582
that same black market is the one that made the shitty shotgun turret. they make what you pay for, not make you pay for what they make. you can get whatever you want on the cheap, if you are okay with it being shitty.
>>
No. 532588 ID: 41690e

Okay... the tricky but here is to cause a wreck without too much collateral. You're not trying to get civies killed, after all.

>>532558
This seems like it might work. Then you just shoot everyone while they're injured and groaning.

>>532582
They had the car waiting for them. It wasn't what they purchased.
>>
No. 532639 ID: 4652c9
File 137598753866.png - (103.52KB , 800x600 , 67.png )
532639

The motorcycle howls responsively as 73-6 whips it round. He fires two bullets and pops the back left tire on the van. It spins out and lurches to a halt.
Three shots left in the chamber.

As 73-6 tears round the side of the van for a shot, the back left window explodes in a shower of powdering crystal, and a cluster of spiraling, buzzing minirockets flies out.

73-6 mashes the brake and slams his steel-rimmed heel against the street as they streak past his face. Two stick into the orange car the lane over, chirrup for a couple of seconds, then detonate, pulverizing the back third of the car.
>>
No. 532651 ID: a23afd

>>532639
If one lands near you or sticks to you/your bike, grab it and toss it back at the van. Also get the hell away from the others so you're not in the blast radius.
>>
No. 532655 ID: e31ca1

Get near or in the van- they can't use explosives if you're right on top of them.
>>
No. 532657 ID: 41690e

Dang. Hope orange car was insured. They just lost their groceries. (Hopefully no one was hurt).

Dodge round the rockets, and shoot the rocketeer in the face before he can reload or change weapons.
>>
No. 532664 ID: 60ad76

>>532639
D: oh fuck!
errr try to not be in front of anything killable when you're being shot at next time..?
>>
No. 532675 ID: cf49fc

>>532639
Hmmm. Apparently the windows WERE bulletproof. Damn, looks like we'll need to do this the John Woo way. Try for the tires, and get out of the line of fire for those rockets.
>>
No. 532677 ID: a23afd

>>532675
We already hit a tire, and the van is stopped. Also we only have 3 bullets. Gonna have to reload soon.
>>
No. 532682 ID: e1609c

>>532639
GRAB ONE IN MIDAIR AND THROW IT BACK AT THEM.
>>
No. 532685 ID: 41690e

>grab / throw
>sticky
>explosive
...how about no.
>>
No. 532755 ID: 4652c9
File 137601203437.png - (202.95KB , 800x600 , 68.png )
532755

73-6 whips round the front of the van, trying to get the oncoming lane out of the line of fire.

The guy with the launcher leans out of the vehicle. 73-6 tries to get a shot off, but he's on the wrong side of the van now, and he misses.
Two bullets left.

The Fantoma responds in kind with another whirring barrage of missiles.
>>
No. 532756 ID: 4652c9
File 137601203938.png - (69.63KB , 800x600 , 69.png )
532756

73-6 twists his head back to see if any civilian vehicles have been hit, but it looks like he's in the clear. The noncombatant cars are staying away from the oh sonovabitch
>>
No. 532757 ID: a23afd

Change the trajectory of your bike so that it flies towards the van and explodes. Also jump off it before it explodes, that's an important part of the plan.
>>
No. 532758 ID: 41690e

How'd that jerk reload so fast.

Anyways, abandon bike, but make sure to launch/jump the going-to-explode-bike towards the prone car on a suicide mission.

You'll lose the bike, but the van should explode / have a hole in it, and be on fire.
>>
No. 532769 ID: cf49fc

>>532757
This plan is AWESOME. Try to jump onto a vehicle moving approximately as fast as you are to prevent yourself from dying. If you can, wirelessly hack into it to use it as a platform to shoot that jackass from.
>>
No. 532778 ID: e31ca1

>>532769
If there isn't one to aim for, however, just roll, don't try for a long shot.
>>
No. 532780 ID: 4652c9
File 137601536761.png - (153.53KB , 800x600 , 70.png )
532780

73-6 guns the bike's engine and dives off of it, absorbing the fall with his trenchcoat and kneepads.

He straightens in time to see it slam into the side of the van. The side in contact blooms into a percussive explosion that reduces half the bike to shrapnel.

The topheavy van tips, teeters, and before the shocked Fantoma on the other side can get back inside, slams onto its side on the asphalt.

73-6 just destroyed something beautiful and irreplaceable.
Oh and he also killed a guy he guesses.
>>
No. 532782 ID: e31ca1

>>532780
Be sure to not take the helmet off till you are walking away from the flaming wreckage, that's the most dramatic moment for it.
>>
No. 532785 ID: a01b62

Yeah, stroll up helmeted with your gun and kill the survivors with your meat cleaver as they crawl out of the wreckage, then walk away.
>>
No. 532786 ID: a23afd

>>532780
There are three more men in there. They are likely stunned by the van flipping over, so get in view of at least one of them. Spike one if you can, and aim carefully to take out the last two with your final two bullets.

Or I guess if you can do it we could slap a couple more rounds into the derringer while relocating.
>>
No. 532787 ID: 735f4f

Get over there and finish off the rest of them before they can fight back. Unless the van is about to explode or something.

Once the rest are dead loot the van and find another ride to carry the spoils.
>>
No. 532791 ID: 4652c9
File 137601756948.png - (134.80KB , 800x600 , 71.png )
532791

The flames from the motorcycle crackle and lick against the van.

73-6 strolls toward it. He flicks open his snubnose and reloads as he walks.
>>
No. 532792 ID: 4652c9
File 137601760238.png - (123.91KB , 800x600 , 72.png )
532792

The back of the van opens and a dazed Fantoma stumbles out.

He comes round the corner of the crashed van, yelling and waving his rifle, and 73-6 shoots him in the head.
There are two more still in the van, with the sense not to come out so quickly.
>>
No. 532795 ID: a23afd

>>532792
Take his rifle and unload on the vehicle. From a bit of a distance. I'd like to blow it up.
>>
No. 532798 ID: e31ca1

I'm willing to bet there's more explosives in there, and tempted to say shoot the gas tank and walk like a badass away from the explosion, but if there isn't you'll look kinda dumb, and if there is then that's perfectly good explosives wasted. Anyways, with the vehicle on fire, there's no way they can stay in there forever, and you'll have an advantage on them if you can find some cover outside of the van.
>>
No. 532799 ID: 9ddf68

who said we have to wait for them to come out? just walk back toward the other side of the van and then put a few rounds in the gas tank, then just wait for the gas to reach the flames of the bike and boom. Unless you want what's inside, then just walk toward the windshield grabbing the rife as you pass a just put a clip or 2 into the van then loot and scoot since I'm sue the police will come in at some point to see what the hell is going on here.
>>
No. 532801 ID: d78743

There could be evidence in there to help find their supplier. Don't blow it up. Take the guys rifle, put it against the window, and unload at them. The same spot on bulletproof glass thin enough to be a window shouldn't be able to handle a tight grouping of shots let alone ones at the same exact spot.
>>
No. 532809 ID: cf49fc

>>532792
Pick up his rifle and shoot through the undercarriage. Then shoot whoever runs out in the head.
>>
No. 532810 ID: 41690e

>73-6 just destroyed something beautiful and irreplaceable.
There are more bikes, Sev.

>two left
...safest thing to do is walk around and put a round in the gas tank. It'll ruin any money or loot we might be able to take off them, though.
>>
No. 532813 ID: b99cb6

I bettering that future-gas tanks aren't prone to exploding even when shot. We probably shouldn't do that anyway. Let's just grab that rifle and swiss cheese the van with it.
>>
No. 532815 ID: e31ca1

>>532813
Well actually neither are present gas tanks, but there is an open flame right there.
>>
No. 532821 ID: a23afd

I'd like to point out that even if we don't shoot the van, it will probably explode soon. It is after all, ON FIRE.
>>
No. 532824 ID: e31ca1

>>532821
Actually, on-fire vehicles don't tend to explode as readily as action movies imply, but if we shot the gas tank, it would probably catch and explode.
>>
No. 532826 ID: 360a3c

>532821
A decently designed vehicle can survive a crash and even a bit of incendiary explosion perhaps without incident. If it's an electric vehicle though perhaps the batteries are a little volatile if heated sufficiently?
>>
No. 532828 ID: 4652c9
File 137602213439.png - (124.73KB , 800x600 , 73.png )
532828

73-6 moves to the rifle and picks it up.

There is an immediate burst of response fire from inside that plasters him to the side of the van. He checks the mag. 20 rounds, all there.
>>
No. 532829 ID: a23afd

I still say we should back away and shoot the tank.
>>
No. 532830 ID: a01b62

Just blow the thing up. We're here to make a scene.
>>
No. 532832 ID: e3aff6

I quickly looked up the fuel tank thing, and apparently while fuel fires can be dangerous (though not very explosive), normal bullets just punch through a gas tank without actually setting it on fire. Really our best chance for the van exploding is for rocket spam guy's weapon to have armed some ammo while being squished.
Shooting through the car in general might force them out though.
>>
No. 532834 ID: 4652c9
File 137602593238.png - (73.89KB , 800x600 , 74.png )
532834

73-6 steps away from the truck and holds the trigger down on the rifle, targeting the gas tank.

The gas pumps into the fire from the motorcycle bomb. The fire balloons into the van. Ammunition from the rocket pod starts to cook off, rocking the van with explosions and causing tiny missiles to punch out at haphazard, corkscrew angles. 73-6 keeps firing. The ejected brass jangles and rolls across the asphalt.

By the time the rifle goes click, it's hard to imagine anything inside that vehicle with a pulse.
>>
No. 532835 ID: a23afd

>>532834
Confirm your kills, then call them in. Afterwards... I guess we have to walk back oh GOD NO WE HAVE TO WALK BACK!

...maybe we can hitch a ride with somebody.
>>
No. 532836 ID: 4652c9
File 137602699571.png - (11.96KB , 800x600 , 75.png )
532836

"got 'em. 4 kills. there was a driver."
"Good stuff, Sev-Three. Any inkling as to what they'd bought?"
"they used it on me. some kind of missile pod they blew the bike up with."
"We'll arrange grief counseling for when you get back. Did you recover the weapon?"
"i think i blew it up."
"Almost as good. Okey-doke, Sev. Keep going with the primary mission. I guess you're walking."
"no, it's fine. i explained that i'm a bureau agent to mr, uh,"
"Randall, sir."
"mr. randall, and he volunteered to give me a lift to where i needed to go."
"Please don't kill me."
>>
No. 532837 ID: beeca1

>>532836
Tell him not to worry, you haven't been paid to kill him and bullets cost money.
>>
No. 532838 ID: a23afd

>>532836
Tell him you don't kill bystanders if you can help it.
>>
No. 532842 ID: 7dbd6b

Goal is publicity, right?

Tell him that you need someone to be alive in order to tell the story.
>>
No. 532848 ID: a1ab63

Proceed to accidentally make him uncomfortable with small talk.
>>
No. 532852 ID: 4652c9
File 137603121983.png - (12.87KB , 800x600 , 76.png )
532852

>>532848
"and then he goes, like, actually, guess."
"I'm sure I really don't know."
"well, c'mon, just guess. guess what sound he made."
"I'm, uh,"
"guess."
"Er. Er. 'Augh'?"
"no! and you'd think he would go like 'augh' or grunt or something, right? but he went down like hold on let me see if i can replicate it. he was like, 'wark'."
"Oh."
"'wark!' like some kind of chicken guy!"
"I see."
"maybe you had to be there. anyway, i wouldn't kill you. i only kill bad guys. you're not a bad guy! right?"
"Right."
"because i know them when i see them."
"A good skill."
"they're the ones i've poked holes in. ha!"
"Ha. Yeah."
"oh, stop the car. this is where i get off. thanks for the-"

The car tears out.
"the ride."
"Have fun?" asks Monica.
"with the shooting people or the randall?"
"Either/or."
"i really think we bonded, he and i."
>>
No. 532853 ID: 13d429

How cute. :) Now let's get back to the business that got interrupted and go on inside.
>>
No. 532854 ID: a1ab63

What a nice man, shame he left before you could thank him. Did you get his license plate number? If so you should look him up later and thank him in person with a fruit basket or something, maybe there is a Bureau policy on thank you cards?
>>
No. 532856 ID: a23afd

>>532852
Time to saunter in!
>>
No. 532857 ID: 9ddf68

what a nice guy, oh well now time to actually get started on the real job. Also what kind of weapons do you prefer so we know what to keep an eye out for incase you want to spend a little bit of your own cash.
>>
No. 532861 ID: 4652c9
File 137603361895.png - (11.29KB , 800x600 , 77.png )
532861

"if i have a plate number, do you think we can send him a tasteful gift basket?"
"Got the number?"
"7jy-e34."
Monica laughs. "I'll see what we can do, Sev-Three. You at the stalls?"
"yep."
"When you get deeper in their jammer's going to kick in. I won't be able to reach you. Proceed with extreme caution, Sev."
"i know."
"Just reminding you."

73-6 slips inside an unassuming hall, lit in flickering tension by buzzing plastic fluorescents. He continues down the hall and turns left.

He knocks on the second door to the right. It opens into the elevator room.
Two Black Stall guards stand in the doorway. 73-6 can feel the dry cold from the coolant beneath the black surface of their armor. They are unnervingly still.

"Agent. You are now unmonitored and anonymous. State your business inside the Stalls."
>>
No. 532862 ID: a23afd

You are here to purchase information on an item that was sold here, and possibly buy some equipment.
>>
No. 532863 ID: 76b151

>>532861
Finding a supplier for off the book agent-grade hardware.
>>
No. 532864 ID: 57a559

Purchase of information and possibly some hardware. Just leave it at that.
>>
No. 532865 ID: 885ee8

Give a short and sweet answer like
>>532863
first. If they press for more, they might be intended as guides. Could maybe say you heard they were selling your competition's superdrugs here and you want in on that, which should at least get you to the right area.
>>
No. 532872 ID: 9ddf68

>>532864
this is good.
>>
No. 532880 ID: 0b214d

>>532862

This. Also, Sev... you looked badass in the helmet. Make sure to keep it or maybe buy a similar looking armored helmet with built in gadgets and vision modes and such.
>>
No. 532897 ID: 41690e

>>532852
Sev is a master of civilian diplomacy.

>>532864
Yeah, this is sufficient. No need to specify we're trying to track something sold. The stalls might not appreciate that.
>>
No. 532900 ID: f0357f

>>532864
This is safest answer.

Also, Sev, do you have the cash on hand to purchase the info and stuff? I don't want you to ave to run to the nearest ATM.
>>
No. 532938 ID: 9f7acd

>>532900
That was covered back here >>532184
He has 10,000 for the info and 7,000 of his own cash for gear.
>>
No. 533124 ID: 4652c9
File 137611144775.png - (9.00KB , 800x600 , 78.png )
533124

"i'm here to buy information and hardware."
"You acknowledge that you must wear a face covering or mask in the Stalls at all times. if you have not brought a covering, one will not be provided to you.
"my face already looks like a spooky halloween mask."
"You will not joke. You may say only I acknowledge or I refuse. If you refuse, you will be denied access into the Stalls."
"i acknowledge." 73-6 pulls out his keffiyeh and ties it around his face. The goggles go over his eyes.
"You acknowledge that you will not speak to other Stall customers."
"i acknowledge."
"You acknowledge that you will not brandish or discharge a weapon in the Stalls."
"i acknowledge."
>>
No. 533125 ID: 4652c9
File 137611145467.png - (7.52KB , 800x600 , 79.png )
533125

The elevator starts down, clicking smoothly along its track.

It's a long way down. The underworld of the city takes itself literally.

"You acknowledge that refunds are not guaranteed, and any harassment of Stall Vendors is grounds for immediate removal."
"i acknowledge."
"You acknowledge that the authority of the Stall guards is absolute, and you will obey them at all times."
"i acknowledge."
"You acknowledge that the violation of these rules can result in your immediate execution, and waive all responsibilities and rights not afforded you."
"i acknowledge."
>>
No. 533126 ID: 4652c9
File 137611147525.png - (40.33KB , 800x600 , 80.png )
533126

"Welcome to the Black Stalls, Agent."

The elevator descends into the main cavern and 73-6 squints out across the yawning sprawl of the Stalls.
As usual, it is unnervingly quiet.

It is incredibly easy to get lost here, and incredibly difficult to work up the courage to ask for directions. But he's been to the Stalls a half a dozen times. He more or less knows his way around.
He has a few ideas as to where someone would be selling a Sintex visor. Should he pursue those, or browse the selection of weaponry and hardware available first with his spending money?
>>
No. 533128 ID: 735f4f

Lets browse a bit and enjoy ourselves a bit before we try to track down the visor.
>>
No. 533130 ID: 41690e

Jeeze, this place is big.

Sure, let's see what's for sale, first. Where'd we get the 7k, though? That our savings, or the money you smuggles through Penny?

If it's money we're not supposed to have, I'm not sure we can spend it all. Then we'll have a weapon we shouldn't be able to afford. That could be problematic, this early in the game.
>>
No. 533138 ID: 57a559

If everyone's masked, how can the person who sold the visor possibly know who bought it?
>>
No. 533139 ID: b99cb6

Business before pleasure, let's hunt down that info before shopping for ourselves.
>>
No. 533145 ID: 01531c

Okay, 73-6, do a quick recap of what kindof faux-pas are here, and if you're allowed to communicate via text, or communicate with the guards at all, or communicate with the outside world at all.
>>
No. 533158 ID: 888df6

I'd say do our own shopping first, since our official business here is more likely to result in... trouble. And the mission shouldn't be time sensitive, there's no rush.
>>
No. 533159 ID: a23afd

>>533126
I think we should track down the visor first. I mean, if it costs more than the money allocated, you might have to dip into your own money to cover it, and if you spend it first... MISSION FAILED.

Also, if it costs considerably less than we allocated, some of it could go towards our spending money, and nobody would be the wiser!
>>
No. 533168 ID: 4652c9
File 137612015594.png - (7.74KB , 800x600 , 81.png )
533168

73-6 steps off the elevator into the dark technocrypt air of the stalls.

The elevator hums and rises up again.

"I thought it was pretty funny."
"Epsilon, there's something beyond the armor and the machismo and the guns and it's called attitude, and we need to work on yours."

73-6 cannot communicate in any way with other customers. He can speak only to the vendors, and only when in their stall.
>>
No. 533169 ID: 4652c9
File 137612016871.png - (9.40KB , 800x600 , 82.png )
533169

The Inculcation Station remains where 73-6 remembered it. He passes through the threshold to meet with Juler.

"Seventy-Three Sixxxxx," says Juler, his voice flattened and electronically mashed by his rebreather. "Still kicking, are we?"
"i could say the same to you, juler, ya scarecrow. how did you know it was me?"
"I know that gait anywhere. Derringer on your hip, eh, Seventy-Three Six? Still waving around that piddly piece?"
"standard bureau issue. ain't the size that counts."
"An exemplary Agent deserves an exemplary gun, doesn't he, Seventy-Three Six?" Juler presses a button on his desk and his display rises and pivots. "Look what toys Santa has for the good little murderers:

A Filament Whip. Concealable, quick, and very deadly. More reach than that spike of yours. More tricks for your sleevies. Two thousand dollars.

A flechette pistol. For when you finally decide to snub your snubnose. Why fire one bullet in the time you could fire half a dozen splinters? Nice and quiet, this one. Comes suppressed. No flash. This and enough ammo for an army of agents. Four thousand.

An automatic shotgun. Perhaps not the stealthiest thing, but when your back is in a corner, you'll be glad your finger's on the trigger. Five thousand.

This is my favorite. The Corner Rifle. The barrel is breakfold and camera-rigged to feed into a viewscreen on the stock. Snap it into an L-shape and fire around the corner. They'll never know what hit them. Seven thousand.

Or maybe you're insulted by these baubles I juggle for you. Maybe you want killing power. I have it in stock, Seventy-Three Six. The wetwork wet dream. And for you, just this once! I'll sell it on the cheap. Twelve thousand for the Strix."
>>
No. 533171 ID: beeca1

>>533169
That's great, but you were actually looking to upgrade your headgear. You had something specific in mind- a Sintex Solutions visor. Got any?

If not and he just so happens to have sold one recently, ask who he sold it to and make it clear you're willing to pay.

THEN drool over weaponry.
>>
No. 533172 ID: 939000

>>533169
As much as it pains me, I think we should pass on the sniper cannon. We are aiming for retirement after all, and aping our other moldy buddy too far might be a bad idea at this point.
I am voting primarily for the Flechette Gun, with a secondary interest in the Corner Shotty
>>
No. 533173 ID: beeca1

>>533172
Visor first, in case tracking it down costs more than the $10k we have allocated to that, remember?
>>
No. 533174 ID: 885ee8

It's easy to get sidetracked by the fiddly details and ignore the big picture. 14-1 didn't get out because he had the strix. 14-1 got out because he was smart. And smart is what we ain't if we go right down his path. You've been here before, you know how this works, you can come here again if need be. Right now the big picture is you need to look like the model agent after some seriously sketchy shit you pulled last time, and the model agent doesn't turn up with shiny new weapons and no apparent means to pay for them. ask about the visors and leave if he doesn't have a lead.
>>
No. 533176 ID: a23afd

>>533169
...the Strix... We don't have enough. Maybe someday, but not today.

Take the filament whip and the flechette pistol.
>>
No. 533177 ID: a23afd

>>533174
We can just say the visor didn't cost as much as we expected, and decided to spend the extra money, with no instructions to the contrary.
>>
No. 533178 ID: 939000

>>533174
We could easily write off some new weapons as a bonus for managing to haggle down the price on the visor intel a bit.
>>
No. 533179 ID: 885ee8

>>533177
>>533178
Even if that was a good idea, let's make sure that's the case before we spend money we ought not to have. Finish the mission, then look for bonuses. It will still be here after we find the visor.
>>
No. 533184 ID: 57a559

>>533169
I want that whip.
I feel a little too inversitle in melee combat compared to Penelope. Plus, chance for creativity.
>>
No. 533190 ID: 732d7f

>>533169
The flechette pistol is interesting, but I think we should look around for something else.
Killing's just the destination of the winding journey every hit travels, and if you don't have the right tools you can't get there in time, so maybe you should ask for say, something that can provide easier intrusion when hacking, things to provide new movement options, etc.
Hell you've even brought a Sintex visor that you want looked at, winner takes all and it's nice to know the history of your loot. If he doesn't know much about it just take a wander around and see if you can find anything fuchsia on sale.

Guns are fine and all, but it's getting in and out that's the tricky part. And we probably want to get out in one piece, no matter where we are.
>>
No. 533193 ID: 9ddf68

well we only have 7000 spending money for ourselves so lets try not to go over that shall we. Also this is the first stall we've been to so lets see if we can't browse some other stalls to see what they have before we jump to a decision. but yeah ask about the visor and who may or may not have purchased 1 recently first and then look at some guns.
>>
No. 533194 ID: 35edd4

Filament whip is interesting. What exactly is the Strix? Maybe we can come back if we have leftovers from the visor.
>>
No. 533196 ID: 112340

>>533194

The 'Strix is the fuggof-hyooge sniper-CANNON. 14-1 had one, but I'd reccomend against that. We're better off going our own road than trying to ape the old man. His specialty was extreme-range/extreme-accuracy sniping, ours is super-stealthy CQB and hacking.
>>
No. 533205 ID: 6a90b4

>>533196
yeah, 14-1 did the first of god sniper approach, we do the silent creeping death approach. the pistol and the whip would be the most useful.

we could get most of the benefit of the pistol by requisitioning a silencer for our sunb nose. so I don't think its worth the money. the whip on the other hand is a massive improvement over our spike, and is very cheap. I say we buy it.
>>
No. 533210 ID: 41690e

...so wait, how are we explaining this purchase if we make it? We're not supposed to have that 7k. If we come back with an expensive new weapon, they'll figure out we have our own hold-out money. Or they'll assume we spent some of the bribe money on it.

The whip or the pistol seem the most interesting, though. Stealth is kind of our thing, and better quiet weapons is a good thing.
>>
No. 533212 ID: 112340

Aren't we really hear to get information first and foremost?
>>
No. 533215 ID: a01b62

>>533210
Found it on a dead guy. We do it all the time.
>>
No. 533225 ID: cf49fc

Ask if the Fletchettes are armor piercing. That'd be real nice if you shoot some Fantoma in the ass and then have all the rounds ping off.
>>
No. 533230 ID: 13d429

Agreed with searching out information as a first priority. Still doesn't hurt to scope out the weapons, though.

That sniper cannon looks awesome, but it doesn't really fit your combat style, not to mention how much you would have to fork over for it. Neither does the shotgun. I mean, it's nice but you can probably find loud stuff like that on the field. Covert weapons'll be harder.

That said the two silent weapons do look nice. You definitely do want to save up for your retirement, but you also want to survive to said retirement. And 14-1 has to have gotten that Strix somewhere. Make a note to come back after hunting down the info--tell the storekeeper you're interested in those two but will come back later.

That said, buying the whip now probably won't put too much of a dent in your finances.
>>
No. 533235 ID: c8be0e

He's trying to get us to buy stuff. Even though you can just bribe him it would go over much smoother if you let him get his sale instead of ignoring the effort he put into his pitch and changing the topic. He's right about changing your gun, it is ill suited to your sneaking style. You should get the flechette pistol, then add on some extra for info.

If questioned, purchasing an item is a very good bribe for info. Shop keepers put effort into keeping customers that buy stuff, especially if they're willing to give extra for the info, which is a product with no monetary cost to the seller. A better bribe than just throwing money at people.
>>
No. 533236 ID: 9f7acd

Damn, we shoulda bought the info first. Oh well, let's just be conservative so we don't screw over that job. That means no Strix tonight, friends.

Go for the Corner Rifle. It's his favorite for a reason, that's some nice functionality. And we can think about the whip if we have some change left over from the info.
>>
No. 533280 ID: 4652c9
File 137616402047.png - (8.01KB , 800x600 , 83.png )
533280

"the pistol. is it armor penetrating?"
"Oh, no, Seventy-Three Six!" Juler laughs. "It is the opposite of armor penetrating. They very successfully sell a domestic model of the flechette precisely because its ammunition is dirt cheap, it reloads after 100 shots, it won't penetrate anything but the home intruder you point it at, and it will do minimal damage to them. The projectile is very, very small."

"why would i want that?" asks 73-6 as Juler retrieves the pistol from the wall.

"Because the domestic flechette pistol is semiautomatic," says Juler, turning back with the pistol in one hand and a squat brick of metal in the other. "And this black beauty fires thirty flechettes a second. It will not penetrate thick plating. Concrete it will simply tickle. But flesh it will turn to mist. They use these little numbers on space stations and flyers and anywhere else where machines and edifice are prized more highly than human life."

He flips the top of the flechette pistol open and slides the bar of metal inside. He slaps the pistol closed and open-palm whacks the orange button on the side. The handle vibrates softly in his fist.

"That metal slab," he says, "has just splintered into one hundred flechette rounds. If I were to hold the trigger down right now, the pistol would be empty in less than four seconds. Perhaps you'd like a demonstration, my friend?"
>>
No. 533281 ID: 4652c9
File 137616403368.png - (71.74KB , 800x600 , 84.png )
533281

Before 73-6 can respond, Juler has pushed another button and a rack of paper targets has slid in from the wall behind the desk.

"Observe," he says. "Controlled bursts, of course, but you will not pull this trigger without ten flechettes firing at the very least. Against enemies with heavy or ceramic body armor, go for the joints and the limbs. The sheer volume of metal this slings could easily blow them off. Embrace the rain."

He points the gun at the first target, and squeezes the trigger.

The flechette pistol makes a buzzing sound and sprays a cloud of jagged, superheated metal. The target is shredded in half.

"wow," says 73-6.
"I love my job," says Juler.

"what about a ui enhancement?" asks 73-6. "i was thinking a visor."
"Why would you need a visor?" Juler slides the targets back into their alcove. "You have a Shell, don't you? I imagine Hoxton in the Transhumanist Emporium will sell you an upgrade or two for that."
"yeah, but i want something higher grade. maybe sintex."
"Luxury," says Juler. "You need nothing but your wits and a good gun. But I suppose you could look in Cybranicon."
"haven't heard of it."
"It's new, but among the wirejockeys I'm told it's all the rage. Deckers, icemen, black hats, defenders. They line right up." Juler shakes his head. "Perhaps I'm just old, but I don't see the appeal. I can point you the way, Seventy-Three Six, because I like you, and I want you to survive and buy more hardware, but I guarantee your money will be spent better here. Be prepared for fedoras."
>>
No. 533297 ID: 735f4f

I like that pistol. A lot.
>>
No. 533303 ID: 41690e

Okay, I'm sold on the flechette. It's silent, great for not destroying collateral, and has a shit-ton of ammo.
>>
No. 533312 ID: a23afd

>>533281
Ten shots, at most. Not a whole lot, but better than the snubnose and far more likely to hit a target. Get that and the whip, because it's cheap and a good upgrade.

Keep the snubnose still, though. Just in case we need a single bullet rather than a spread of shots.
>>
No. 533322 ID: 60ad76

>>533169
how does it's penetration and quick killing potential compare to the snubnose's? how about accuracy?

if it's at least comparable or better then take it. but a downgrade should warrant consideration.

could you expatiate about the whip?
>>
No. 533324 ID: 60ad76

>>533312
i'm not sure we should burn through the entire 6k just yet. we shouldn't buy the whip if it's not fucking awesome because we might need the 2k for something else.

also see about haggling the price down.
>>
No. 533333 ID: 7f063d

Get those directions.

The flechette is a perfect weapon for stealth missions, something that things we pick up in the field just won't do for us. I say we go for it. But keep the snubnose for when armor is an issue. And maybe get the whip too, ask about it first though. Get a demonstration of it and such.
>>
No. 533392 ID: 6d80a8

>>533324
dont haggle down, we still need to get more info out of him, do him one better
>>
No. 533393 ID: 13d429

>>533392
We already got the info we needed--where to go for more info on the visor.

Regarding worries about said info costing more than 10k, it's worth noting that the Bureau gave us 10k without knowing about our hidden 7k, so they probably think it's plenty.
>>
No. 533394 ID: beeca1

>>533393
No, the info we need isn't where to get info about the visor.

The info we need is info about the visor.
>>
No. 533396 ID: 13d429

>>533394
And he doesn't have that info so >>533392's point is invalid. He told us enough to get a start.
>>
No. 533397 ID: beeca1

>>533396
We are here to get info about the visor. We do not know how much money this will take.

We do not have info about the visor. New guns are a secondary objective. We will not waste money on our secondary objective until we have completed our primary objective.
>>
No. 533398 ID: 41690e

I'm not sure we want to spend most of our money getting the whip, too. A monofilament weapon is fancy, but can also be kind of hazardous if not controlled perfectly.

Also, I'm interested in the shell upgrades he said Hoxton might have. Better hacking stuff or more skill options is better than a fancy melee weapon.

>We will not waste money on our secondary objective until we have completed our primary objective.
We're pulling from separate pools. Spending out own money doesn't take away from the money the bureau gave us to purchase information.
>>
No. 533399 ID: beeca1

>>533398
Again, there is no guarantee that the info will cost exactly $10,000. It has been mentioned before that we may have to dip into our own personal stash. If we do have to and we've already spent it on cool tech, we're screwed.
>>
No. 533413 ID: 13d429

>>533397
I don't even know why you're arguing with me. You seems to have completely misunderstood my reply which was specifically directed at someone who seemed to think we should try to get more info on the visor out of the weapons dealer by not haggling, instead of just following the lead to someone who actually sells visors that he already gave us. Also, I already argued earlier for scoping out the goods but not buying until after we've gotten the visor info.

Speaking of, I'm going to make my actual suggestion: tell the weapon dealer you're very interested in his goods but need to see how much money you'll have after doing some other necessary shopping.
>>
No. 533427 ID: 732d7f

>>533397
I'm going with this guy, we may need more funds than just the mission allowance, and we aren't here to just buy things.

Plus, it's smarter to look around a bit more in a place like this, so why not go to the Cybranicon and see if we can find any leads or interesting items there first.
>>533333
We should probably pick up the flechette pistol on the way out if we have some dosh left over from finding information on the visor, a bullet might not stop some Tribranch druggie immediately, but a lost leg or bisected torso might.
>>
No. 533444 ID: a1ab63

How hard would it be to become a stall vendor? Nobody would ever see your face, you would love your job, etc...
>>
No. 533451 ID: 76f779

Hold up, Julas, did you say fedoras?
I sense of taste was required to get in the Black Stalls!
>>
No. 533455 ID: 76f779

>>533281
I personally like that flechette gun.

What's the maximum lethal range?
How far away can the flechettes pucture the skin and eyes? In a pinch, the pain of a million needle-thorns in their skin or face can incapacitate or throw off their aim.
Is there a wide-spread option?
Is there incendiary ammo? Fletchetted aluminum would make this a hand-held thermobaric flamethrower! Fletchetted magnesium could be a blinder/scorcher/flare!
Are there specialty ammo packs to hold extra clips? Should they be properly be called magazines or clips or some specific jargon like "bars"?
Are the individual clips small enough to carry dozens extra?
Is there specialty ammo that uses the flechetting mechanism to spray a cloud of status-effecting particles? I'm thinking like a
Against heavy-armor enemies, can the fletchettes scratch up visors/sensors into uselessness? Are the fletchettes invasive enough to sabotage the rebreather equipment of heavy armor?
Are there mods like railgun addons to boost the speed of the exiting flechette?
>>
No. 533458 ID: 4652c9
File 137619558020.png - (8.12KB , 800x600 , 85.png )
533458

"i need that gun."
"That gun needs you."
"can you put it on reserve for me? i have to make sure i'll have enough money to buy it after i'm done here."
"For you, Seventy-Three Six? Anything. If you do purchase it, send me a photograph or two from its first kill. I so rarely get the chance to watch my babies walk for the first time."
"you're a creepy motherfucker, jules."
"I am!"
"can i see the whip?"

"Careful with that thing. When you push this button on the hilt, the whip shoots out with the force of a bullet. Try it."
73-6 pushes the button and the whip extends violently out of the handle. A second or two after it meets the air, the latter half of it fans out a little into dozens of tiny, sparkling razors.
"Now imagine it doing that inside someone's torso and giggle at the possibilities," says Jules. "A second press brings the whip back into the handle. But hold the button down and it will stay rigid. In case you need to swordfight, or something. Practice with that and you can do a great deal of clever tricks. Or just fire it off into someone's neck and watch their head fall off. Brutality has its own grace."
>>
No. 533459 ID: a23afd

>>533458
Sweet. Okay, I want that too. We can probably just buy it right now, actually. Then let's get over to that visor merchant.
>>
No. 533464 ID: 41690e

Hmm. That's more practical than I expected from the description.

Well, we'll be back before we leave the stalls. You have the best stuff, Jules.
>>
No. 533471 ID: 60fee2

>>533458
Buy it. Buy it now, please.
>>
No. 533473 ID: beeca1

>>533459
>>533471
Let's not. Ask him if he'll put that on reserve too and promise to send him more photos.
>>
No. 533476 ID: 13d429

>>533473
This. Those're some yummy toys, but let's have some self-control and focus on the mission first (though buying them would be very nice if we end up with the budget). I think next we'll want to follow up on that lead to the hat vendor.
>>
No. 533492 ID: 4652c9
File 137620124248.png - (13.70KB , 800x600 , 86.png )
533492

"put that on reserve too?"
"Of course, Seventy-Three Six. No one else could use them quite like you do. They deserve a good home. You'll find Cybranicon in the East-3 Stack, tier 5, second alley. Hoxton will be where he usually is, East-2 Tier 7 alley 4, if you need Shellwork done. Tell him I sent you and perhaps he'll kick some credit my way."

Juler bows 73-6 out of his store. "Go, Agent," he whispers. "Kill well, Agent."

73-6 returns into the throbbing neon midnight of the Stalls.
The streets are lit mostly by garish storefronts and the occasional sediment-caked fluorescent. 73-6 brushes his way past other clients, all masked, most armed, and all with the same sense of cold-blooded purpose.

Cybranicon pulses purple in Alley 4. It looks newer and larger than the other buildings, especially Juler's lean-to emporium.
>>
No. 533493 ID: a23afd

Looks like two guys already bought some visors. I don't think we're gonna get much information here if they're so easy to buy. Oh well, may as well go in and try.

Find out how much they cost, first and foremost, and what they can do. Then we can approach possibly-taboo topics.
>>
No. 533512 ID: beeca1

>>533493
Those may not be the exact same kind.
>>
No. 533540 ID: 41690e

Well, this looks like the visor selling place.

Let's see what we can learn, preferably without things getting violent and the entire Stalls coming down on us like a ton of bricks.
>>
No. 533603 ID: 360a3c

Don't just hang around outside, we want to know what the stock is and what the price is.

I expect we're probably going to learn very little except that the Fantomas apparently have been developing a budget somehow. So let's at least try to figure out what that budget looks like: Get price figures for what they're buying so that we can build intel on how rich they are, and then maybe we can back-track that to what their sources of funds are.
Don't rule out that someone is either funding them to do their work or one of the agencies is funding them to make them look like a bigger (and therefore more valuable) threat.
>>
No. 533644 ID: f394ed

>>533603

Our original sweep of the hab-block showed that the Fantomas had an unusual degree of high-end stuff, and some indications that some of their personnel were of a highly technically trained sort.

Now we hear of this brand new shop in the black stalls, also very high-end technically oriented.

Possibility someone's jackin' around with the 'natural order' of Black Stalls neutrality?
>>
No. 533661 ID: 9c42a2

>>533644
i'm not sure a favored customer discount would violate neutrality. the shop could just be selling things at cost to drum up a reputation.
>>
No. 533671 ID: f394ed

>>533661

Or they could be a front for someone that wants to see the Fantomas on top...

...or who wants to see whoever the Fantomas' usual opposition is taken down a couple pegs.
>>
No. 533722 ID: 4116fa
File 137628866878.png - (8.95KB , 800x600 , 87.png )
533722

73-6 enters Cybranicon.

The stall is a solid blockdark, smoky and flat like a powered-down LCD. Hundreds of gadgets flare their weird, foreign UIs out at 73-6 as he moves through the shelves. Japanese trashwares. Ukrainian bootstrap CRT-blowers. A vellum-rolled Taiwanese derm graft.

A bank of monitors shows him himself as he passes by in every possible angle. 73-6 from below, head-on, above, in darkvision, in thermal, sketched out of a snowstorm in wobbling raycasts.

The woman at the front desk is slumped in the center of an electronic cocoon, in a seeming trance.

73-6 feels a little out of his fucking element.
>>
No. 533725 ID: bf54a8

don't let it show. walk right up and say "i'm looking for information about a certain someone who bought one of your fine goods"
>>
No. 533727 ID: bdb3f8

>>533725
Nooooo we don't open with THAT question. Not in this market. Why do you think they even HAVE the masks here? No, we start with asking about the product, to see if it is even the right thing. Then we sort of casually ask if they are a big seller.
>>
No. 533729 ID: a23afd

>>533727
Yeah.
>>
No. 533730 ID: 735f4f

Start by trying to find one of the visors on the show floor. And for god's sake do not just start asking about people they do business with. That's like a bad cop drama.

If you can find one try to ask the trance lady more about the visors. Say some of your competition had one and you are looking to even the playing field.

Judging by the computer network and trance by the time you talk to her she might have tracked down a bunch of info about you. If they sell high end hacking equipment you bet they will research there clientele.
>>
No. 533735 ID: 4116fa
File 137629001342.png - (11.23KB , 800x600 , 88.png )
533735

73-6 slowly approaches the front desk.

The woman's head snaps upward and she raises her arms.
As she does so, the brushed electronics surrounding her unslat from the floor and slide up and out, mimicking her movements, right down to the subtle biological twitches of her muscles.

"Welcome to Cybranicon," she says, her voice too smooth and perfect to be generated by normal vocal cords. Her shaved scalp gleams ebony in the dim. "The future is already two versions out of date."

"you sell visors here?"

"We sell revelations here."

"i'm looking for something maybe sintex. need the playing field evened."

"You looked the agent type. This isn't the place to even the playing field. This is the place where we help you tilt it upside down. Sintex?"
"yeah. strap-back box visors."
"The Operations Model. Of course we have them. Shelf four. Every iteration for five years back and six months forward. Those are nice hack augs, wirehead. Don't use them in here."
>>
No. 533738 ID: bf54a8

look on the shelf for the same one.
>>
No. 533740 ID: 735f4f

I have no intention of doing anything of the sort.

Go over and take a look at one and then ask how they are a improvement over internal shell hacking systems.

Also ask if they have any upgrades for your shell hacking systems or any suggestions for something to go along with them.
>>
No. 533743 ID: 76f779

You'd think that your basic hack augs would actually make you vulnerable to the visors!
>>
No. 533750 ID: a23afd

Do the rules of the Black Stall prohibit us from disobeying the merchant in this way? Go look at shelf four and find out what the visors do exactly.
>>
No. 533835 ID: 360a3c

>>533750
The rules of common fucking sense say do not cause a disturbance in a place where our life is officially forfeit if we are a jerk.

She says they sell revelations here, I think we could use one: "You say you sell revelations, tell me something: What's the future look like five years from now?" Would be nice to know if there's a high-confidence prediction that our agency is dead within that time.
>>
No. 533871 ID: cf49fc

>>533735
Play nice and don't try to hack the Cyberwarfare Salesperson. We may have dumped literally all our points in hacking, but they're hooked into the matrix. Also, we can just shoot them in the head if need be. Get to those visors and acquire one.
>>
No. 533985 ID: 4116fa
File 137636963384.png - (6.40KB , 800x600 , 89.png )
533985

73-6 investigates Shelf 4.

"Let me get that for you," calls the saleswoman. She raises an elbow and flicks her arm, causing the shelf to telescope and rise further from the floor.
73-6 walks along its length, peering into the empty span of each visor. All variations on a very familiar theme.

There's the one. He remembers it from the floating hologram in the conference room.
>>
No. 533986 ID: 41690e

...what can she tell you about it? (Getting the specs and capabilities might be useful if you're going up against someone who has one).

Then we can move on to the more delicate business of trying to track down the last one she sold.
>>
No. 533987 ID: beeca1
533987

Ask for the price, and then whistle and say with prices like that they must not sell many of them.
>>
No. 534013 ID: 4116fa
File 137637506411.png - (8.22KB , 800x600 , 90.png )
534013

73-6 brings the visor to the front.
"this is the one. how much will it cost me?"
"Ten and a half thousand." The saleswoman barely looks up.
"you must not sell many of those at that rate."
"We sell enough."
"what can you tell me about it?"

The woman looks up and folds her arms. The store whirrs and shifts in response. "I can tell you that it's a tactical visor, with projected firing solutions, night vision, thermal vision, magnification up to twenty-five times, full-spectrum VR jack, hack interface, wikipedia interface, flashbulb countermeasures, hotspot, and a boatload of other things that I can also tell you don't matter because both of us know you aren't looking to buy, wirehead."

"i-"

"I know that model's purchase history, and I think I know why you're here. Bureau moldies all have extensive Shell-compatible firmware. We know your systems better than you do. Why would a techzombie with Shell-up boostable LCD uplinks for eyeballs want a pair of techboy sunglasses?" She puts her hands on her hips. "This isn't a maximall and I'm not an apple store bimbo. This is the Stalls. Stop trying to be clever and get to the biz you came in for or you're out on your ass."
>>
No. 534014 ID: 41690e

>get to the biz you came in for or you're out on your ass
Well, you heard the lady. Tell her what you're looking for.
>>
No. 534015 ID: 96c896

>>534013
Hey, we may not be looking to buy, but knowing the specs would help too. She is right though, we're here to buy information. Get down to business. Someone not of an agency bought one. We want to know who he is.
>>
No. 534016 ID: 57a559

Thank her, because you honestly hate the stupid beating around the bush stuff you usually have to do to get information. You wouldn't do this shit normally but you have that dumb feeling in the back of your head being direct never works.
Sorry, it's a man thing. We love to take the direct approach but only do it when we tank in dumb RPGs. So let's haggle.
>>
No. 534018 ID: 57a559

>>534016
Oh, and if she's looking for a good tank in a MMO you'd be glad to leave your username. You've been looking for a group. Actually, wouldn't mind tanking in table-top either if she prefers the imagination approach to her gaming.
>>
No. 534020 ID: 360a3c

"Well okay, top of the list I'm looking for a price catalogue and the Fantomas' shopping history here, along with specs on what they're buying. How much of that can I afford?"
>>
No. 534025 ID: beeca1

The specs actually were useful, and you do have a non-moldy friend who could use this, but thank her for her directness and ask how much it'll cost to buy the purchase history, or one specific Fantomas.
>>
No. 534027 ID: 735f4f

We actually do want to know what they can do because we need to know what our enemy is capable of.

But now that she has brought the matter up.
>>
No. 534094 ID: 9f7acd

Right down to business, then. No funny games, ask for the info we need on who bought this recently and on how much that info will cost us.
>>
No. 534117 ID: bdb3f8

>>534027
Yeah, we haven't been wasting anybody's time here. This stuff IS what we want to know. Everything she has told us so far is useful information.

For instance, that price tag is sufficient to equip an entire squad of Fantomas with the quality of equipment they were carrying, and it's not even a weapon. So either they don't give a shit about their elite special-forces hunter squads and spend the whole budget on a few extra-super operatives, or they contracted for some outside help when their best wasn't good enough.

Since the overwhelming odds are that the guy was an outside contractor, we probably don't need to bring up the Fantomas at all to this lovely young woman. I suspect purple paint is out of their price range.
>>
No. 534294 ID: 4116fa
File 137646338289.png - (15.45KB , 800x600 , 91.png )
534294

"it wasn't useless," says 73-6. "it helps to know what kind of hardware these guys have."

"Then I've already said more than I should have, and I'm not saying any more," says the desk woman. "You know what they say about the Stalls and snitching."
"right. you never do it."
"No. That's the old guard. Even the Stalls got to roll over sometimes. What they say now is, you never do it for free, and you never do it when someone out can hear in."
"think you can shut the store down for a while, give us some privacy?"
"Of course. I thumbed the surveillance killswitch two minutes ago and the lock is keyed into the dampers. Problem is, hon, that privacy lock of ours, maybe it's a little behind the times." She taps the desk with one hermetically sealed fist. "It's coin-operated."
"how much?"
"How much is this worth to you?"
>>
No. 534295 ID: bf54a8

be honest
"if i get what i came for i can say it's worth ten thousand"
>>
No. 534296 ID: 735f4f

Never go all in on the first shot. Start with 2000 and work you way up if need be.
>>
No. 534297 ID: 57a559

6 thousand
More than half of your allotted money, unlikely to offend her, she won't go for it but we can haggle up. If you go straight for ten, she's not going to accept it.
>>
No. 534299 ID: 1f8505

>>534294

"About a buck, you stinking weasel."
>>
No. 534302 ID: beeca1

>>534299
Fuck no.

>>534295
Still no.


Start with 4,000. Work up to 8,000 and if she drives a hard bargain then go up to 10,000.
>>
No. 534304 ID: c661f6

>>534302
Start at 4K to see her reaction, if she agrees, that works.

If she doesn't say, 'More like <wanted price>', up it by 2k. If she does, haggle, try to meet her halfway down from the stated price without revealing how much we have on us.

If she keeps silent after going to 6k, shrug and play the 'seems my money's no good here if you can't talk to me, i'll find someone else who'll play ball.' If she don't take that bait, then fuck it. This is our best lead but I'm sure it's not the only person here we can talk to given the nature of this environment.
>>
No. 534308 ID: 35edd4

>>534304
This.
>>
No. 534347 ID: 9f7acd

Start by saying "What will 6,000 get me?"

>>534304
I don't think anyone else can help us though, since what we need is the purchase history she has. Let's not act like we can take our business elsewhere when we really can't. We need to haggle with a lighter touch.
>>
No. 534353 ID: bdb3f8

You guys have the right idea about where to go with haggling, based solely on how much we are carrying. I am not sure offering her half the sticker price of one unit is going to convince her to sell out all of her former customers though. Unless she really hates all of them for some reason. We should be prepared to give her some incentive beyond bribe money to work with us.

I would suggest mentioning that you are here because somebody who bought one of these things is targeting civilian hab blocks with high yield explosives. Maybe that is not the sort of publicity she wants. Premium tech being used for the lowest form of terrorism. This gear is highly visible, and the guy does not care about being seen. Maybe she wants to help us straighten him out before her product gets a bad name. Bad for business.
>>
No. 534369 ID: df1c37

73-6 is an able agent. His skills are worth more than 10 grand and he's definitely earned more than that for the Bureau in the past.

Perhaps if our little Glados's idea of a deal is more than we have on hand, we could offer a favor. Surely there are business opportunities for her store that require some... subtle force. Like Sev-Three.

And it never hurts to have a friend like that.
>>
No. 534393 ID: beeca1

>>534369
I'd honestly prefer for this to be a last resort. Favors are much, much more expensive than most people think. For ordinary people, a favor is helping someone move. For professional murderers, a favor involves risking your life multiple times over.

Even if we really do need to try that, put limits on what she can ask for.
>>
No. 534441 ID: 360a3c

"It's coin operated? Here's me being awkward with five thousand bucks of paper money to start talking with. Should I go next door to get change?"
>>
No. 534503 ID: bac511

>>534393
Fair point. I was thinking more along the lines of building a powerbase and getting long-term allies, which is what we need if we are to pull off the whole retirement thing.
>>
No. 534517 ID: 4652c9
File 137654805219.png - (8.58KB , 800x600 , 92.png )
534517

"coin operated? because here i am with four large but it's all paper. maybe i should go next door and see if they can give me change."
"See if they can give you the info while they're at it. I don't have time for punk stim money."
"double it."

The doorlock hishes and clicks. The air stills.

"The guy you're looking for is as much a legend as you can be in a scene as young as ours," says the marionette woman. "He's on the deepnet hot as a kerosene bomb and twice as dangerous. Think he's going by Dartline Alchemist right now."
"dartline alchemist?"
"Who knows with these hotshot Deckers, man? All I know is he's a total iceman."
"some kind of hired gun?"
"More or less. Likes killing agency slags like you."
"he got them, they weren't like me."
"That's all I know. That and how you can get to him. You'd be a moth flying into a house fire."
"how do i get him?"
She stretches. "Eight thousand gets you the bait and the hook, dead man. You want the bite you kick in more."
>>
No. 534518 ID: 96c896

>>534517
D.A.

Offer her 3 grand more, but that's all you can spend.
>>
No. 534522 ID: 4a20fa

>>534517
8K for a disposable identifier he's probably already changed and some vague sense of reputation? Not getting another four if that's the quality of information going. Make it a round ten.
>>
No. 534524 ID: 360a3c

"Okay, I have two thousand more to offer before I have to start telling my bosses how unbelievably little 10k buys these days."

Do NOT offer more than the money we officially have, the other money in our pocket DOES NOT EXIST because we are on agency time here doing agency things and they will poke at us pulling money out of thin air.
>>
No. 534526 ID: 96c896

>>534524
Who is going to poke at us? The Bureau can't see what we're doing in here. That's why we brought some of our own money to spend.
>>
No. 534527 ID: 4652c9
File 137655126254.png - (8.50KB , 800x600 , 93.png )
534527

"ten thousand tops. that's all i can give."
"Ooof."
"that and a promise not to wander over to a guard and tell them that your lips are a little looser than they should be."
"They wouldn't believe you over a vendor. You'd be out on your ass, at minimum."
"look me in the shell-up boostable lcd uplinks and tell me they wouldn't turn the heat up on your operation a degree or two, just from hearsay. they might not like what they see."
She sighs. "Ten thousand?"
"on the table."
"Here is what I'm going to give you for ten thousand: 8634061409."
"i wanted lucky numbers i'd buy a truckload of fortune cookies."
"It's a VRP address, smartass. His. The amount of shit he's hiding behind, there's no way you can jack in right on top of him. I'd guess in the 85s or 87s would be your best bet."
"vrp?"
"Virtual Reality Protocol."
"i know. mindjacking. cyberspace. but vrps don't code for 10 digits."
"The ones the rich pastels use when they want their e-dick sucked don't. Illegal ones do."
"fuck."
"That's right, slick. There's no way I know to get to the Dartline but one. And that's through his turf. You're going to the Deep Road VR, wirehead. Undernet."
>>
No. 534528 ID: 96c896

Um, Hacking upgrades help there, right? Maybe we should ask where around here we can get a Shell upgrade, to get level 3 Hacking.
>>
No. 534529 ID: 735f4f

Best way to find one would be loot it or get one from work. But we might as well find out how much we could get one for at the stalls.
>>
No. 534533 ID: e97f9d

Proffer the money and thank her for your help. You'll recommend her to your friends.
>>
No. 534539 ID: 888df6

>I imagine Hoxton in the Transhumanist Emporium will sell you an upgrade or two for that.
>Hoxton will be where he usually is, East-2 Tier 7 alley 4, if you need Shellwork done. Tell him I sent you and perhaps he'll kick some credit my way.

We already got told where to go for Shell by our favourite creepy weapons dealer.
>>
No. 534549 ID: e96ca9

Uh, guys? We're not a lone actor here. Let's get back to the Bureau and consult their resident cyberwar expert(s).
>>
No. 534554 ID: 8dbb17

>>534549

This..

And don't forget our goodies on lay-away. :)
>>
No. 534562 ID: 41690e

Right, pay her and go.

Jacking in and getting him in VR sounds like trouble. What rules does wire-verse VR follow? Is this one of those die in the sim, die for real deals?

And yeah, we may want to check out Hoxton, see what he's selling. We might need a hacking upgrade. See what's for sale, and then choose how much of our money we're spending there, and how much with Jules.
>>
No. 534586 ID: 4652c9
File 137658665313.png - (5.63KB , 800x600 , 94.png )
534586

73-6 digs his cash out and places it on the desk. "thanks. i'll recommend you to my friends."
"If your friends pay for info like you do," says the woman, "don't bother."

Hoxton's Transhumanist Emporium is low, clean, and elegant after the garish techno dystopia look of Cybranicon.
"Agent." A man 73-6 can only assume to be Hoxton comes out from behind the desk and shakes his hand. "Bureau, yes?"
"that's right."
"It's always a thorough pleasure to work with the Bureau's reconstituted assets," says Hoxton. "You are a treasure trove of subdermal shell enhancements."
"you knew i was an agent?"
"Juler sent word you might be coming after your visit to that new establishment. Cybertopia, or something."
"cybranicon."
"Kiddy gear." Hoxton sniffs. "Gadgets for the tourists and daydreamers skimming the surface of what technology will offer them. You and I." He taps his eye, which is smooth and glass. "We are the more perfect union. Heirs to the human-machine equation. Symbiotes to their parasites."
"i was told you can buy shell upgrades here?"
"Correct. Two thousand a pop for civilians. But Juler is a friend, and the Bureau is another. I'm prepared to take fifty percent off that price for you."
>>
No. 534588 ID: 31a110

>>534586
oh my god two upgrades beat the whip by so much.
>>
No. 534589 ID: 91c1b3

>>534586
That is quite a deal. We can get 1 and the other stuff on reserve or get rid of the whip and get 3. I go with the second option.
>>
No. 534590 ID: beeca1

We can afford the whip, the flechette pistol, AND a shell upgrade. So people don't have to Ctrl-F and scroll up:

The whip is 2,000.
The pistol is 4,000.
And a upgrade is 1,000.

We have exactly $7,000 to ourselves.
>>
No. 534591 ID: 735f4f

I would like more shell upgrades rather than getting the whip. But either one is good.
>>
No. 534592 ID: 41690e

>1000 for shell upgrade
Sold.
>>
No. 534593 ID: beeca1

Sev, how is Jules likely to react if you decide not to buy the whip after reserving it, but buy the pistol?

Unless he's likely to call the guards on us or something equally drastic and unreasonable, get 3 upgrades and the pistol.


...I really hope this guy is legit.
>>
No. 534599 ID: 4a20fa

Whip and five upgrades.

BECOME ZOMBIE JESUS.
>>
No. 534602 ID: 4652c9
File 137659525176.png - (8.32KB , 800x600 , 95.png )
534602

73-6 takes Hoxton up on that offer.

"can i buy more?" he asks, swirling the murky liquid around the bootstrap vial and hearing the clatter of the Upgrade inside.

"I suppose," says Hoxton, "but they'll be at full price, not half. I respect your agency but I have a business to run."
>>
No. 534604 ID: 9f7acd

Let's just buy the one, and get the fletchette gun.

And for gods sake bring more cash next time.
>>
No. 534608 ID: beeca1

>>534604
That was all we had. The Bureau doesn't let us have our own stuff, we're just a moldy. That 7,000 was what we found and hid.

There was no more to bring.
>>
No. 534614 ID: a1ab63

We could just blow it all and become a techno zombie god...
>>
No. 534621 ID: 4652c9
File 137659690732.png - (7.66KB , 800x600 , 96.png )
534621

73-6 pays for the Shell upgrade and excuses himself from Hoxton.
"thanks for the discount."
"Happy to help a child of the wire reach his full potential," says Hoxton. "Rise above, agent."
"uh, you too."

73-6 returns to a delighted Juler, who hands over the pistol and the whip. His remaining spare money will be entirely spent in their purchase. "You take good care of those two little death dealers now, won't you, Seventy-Three Six?"
>>
No. 534626 ID: 8b25cb

>>534608
Clearly aquiring petty cash just became a secondary mission priority. We just need to make sure we can get away with it...and now I'm worried we're going to end up paying Penelope a percentage.for being our off the books bank.

>>534614
I think real techno zombie godhood would set us back at least a few hundred grand, might want to wait on that.
>>
No. 534634 ID: 8b25cb

Smile, "Of course." Load the fletcher and secrete our new tools somewhere easily accessible on our person.

Expect an ambush on the way out. The idea are heavily against it but you did just waste a group of Fantomas finishing up a shopping spree. Don't make their mistake of overconfidence in he anonimity of the black stalls.
>>
No. 534645 ID: 47d311

>>534634
Literally every shopkeeper in the Stalls recognized him as a Bureau agent immediately.

You can pretty much assume he is not anonymous at all.
>>
No. 534646 ID: 96c896

Hey, how are we supposed to send him that photo he asked for?
>>
No. 534647 ID: 41690e

Huh. Fletchette is bigger than I expected.

>>534626
Yes, funds are good. Although we still have to direct some of the money we find to the bureau, or else it'll eventually look suspicious.

...as is, we're just going have to conceal these weapons, or make up a good excuse for having them.
>>
No. 534651 ID: 4652c9
File 137660012804.png - (10.77KB , 800x600 , 97.png )
534651

73-6 loads the fletcher and magnetizes it safely to his hip. He stows the whip in his belt and takes his leave of the Black Stalls.

He feels better about the ride up than the ride down. That's what happens when you're packing serious heat, he guesses.

There's no ambush or anything waiting for him up top. He pulls the face mask and goggles off.
"monica, you there?"
"Right here for ya, Sev-Three. How were the Stalls?"
"useful."
"Yeah? You got the info?"
"i'll fill you in back at base."
"Get anything else while you in Gangster Paradise?"
>>
No. 534653 ID: cf49fc

>>534651
"Literally everyone recognized me. Tell our Operational Security Director to stop sucking."
>>
No. 534656 ID: bf54a8

"a recommendation got me a shell upgrade for cheap, after the mission of course. out of cash now though"
all true :3c
>>
No. 534657 ID: 96c896

It's not feasible to hide weapons. Say you got the information at a heavy discount thanks to some quick thinking, and spent the extra on weapons and a shell upgrade.
>>
No. 534658 ID: 4652c9
File 137660235103.png - (10.26KB , 800x600 , 98.png )
534658

>>534653
The people who recognized him were a good friend, a goo friend of that good friend, and a cybernetic hackstress who probably spread open his entire schematic the moment he set foot in the store. No one else gave him any hassle.

"got a shell upgrade on the cheap," reports 73-6. "used up my personal shit i brought along. the informant took the rest."
"Okey-doke," says Monica. She's chewing on something. "Find your way back here with the info and we'll stick that shell upgrade into your robo brain thing."
"it's okay i don't have any change, right?"
"Ain't my cash, Sev-Three. And I imagine the Bureau will be fine with it. Provided we bag this guy."
"dartline alchemist, is his name."
"Wow," says Monica, around her dinner. "And I thought Delta Apex was dumb."


By the time 73-6 gets back to base, it's pretty late in the day. He descends to the Outpost, through the electric caverns.
He pauses in the office hallways, near where Keisha and Sara's rooms are. Someone's sprinting down the entrance hallways toward him.

"Slowdownslowdown you gonna drop meeee"
"I'm a secret agent mamacita i gotchu stop choking me"

73-6 turns around to see Penelope giving Keisha Chalthoum a piggy-back ride. He blinks to make sure he hasn't already jacked into the matrix by mistake.
Keisha is wrapped in Penelope's trenchcoat, laughing and clinging to the agent for dear life.
>>
No. 534659 ID: 294d14

"yeah, I found a few toys cheap enough to afford on an operatives pay"

they know you have money, they just don't know that you’ve started keeping money you find in the field. do not even hint that you used mission funds for personal reasons.
>>
No. 534660 ID: 4652c9
File 137660239880.png - (7.31KB , 800x600 , 99.png )
534660

Penelope deposits Keisha in front of her room. Keisha half-stumbles inside, still giggling. 73-6 didn't know she was capable of smiling.
"Wait wait I gotta get my trenchcoat back!" Penelope looks in after her. She is suddenly and bodily pulled into the office and the door slams behind her.

73-6 stares transfixed at the door for a full minute.

Then a disheveled, flushed Penelope is deposited back into the hallway, and leans against the door, panting.
"Hola," she says. "How was the mission?"
>>
No. 534661 ID: 294d14

"it went pretty well, thoug apperantly not as well as yours"
>>
No. 534663 ID: 31a110

>>534660
not nearly as good as yours, but successful nonetheless.
>>
No. 534667 ID: 8b25cb

>>534660
"It went very well. Just so we're clear, I no longer feel any lingering guilt over not interrupting your post-operative rest."
>>
No. 534668 ID: 9ddf68

blow some guys to straight to hell, got some information on the guy, managed to scare the crap out of a civy by befriending him somewhere in between the first 2, so not to bad... You?
>>
No. 534676 ID: 41690e

>>534661
Yup, pretty much.

You got some new toys, an upgrade, a lead, and the chance to blow up a car after a motorcycle chase.
>>
No. 534683 ID: 360a3c

Acquired a crappy lead and some decent hardware, made friends and enemies, made a van go boom with some Fantomas in it, found and then lost true love.
The overall average is okay I guess but my day doesn't seem to have gone as well as yours: Do you still think I'm a bad friend for not waking you up when Keisha was angry but pantsless?
>>
No. 534800 ID: 4652c9
File 137663907186.png - (9.45KB , 800x600 , 100.png )
534800

"i stole a motorcycle and blew up a van and got a bunch of cool tech."
"I made out with Keisha like a dozen times."
"call it a tie?"
"I don't think so, ese."
"i concede. what happened?"
"We went to a club thing. It was a cool time," says Penelope. "Hadda couple drinks. Then some Flushout. That shit made me pee like a horse, hombre."
"vivid imagery."
"No sugarcoating, man. That flushout stuff works wonders, but there is always a price to pay."
"you forgive me for not waking you up when she was pantsless yet?"
"Not yet," says Penelope. "I don't know if she's gay or just mad drunk, feel me? So neither of our asses is off the hook yet. Speaking of: you make your move?"
"i don't know what you're insinuating."
"Come on." Penelope nudges him. "Domo Arigata, Mrs Robota."
"that's not proper japanese."

"Hey, you guys," Sara opens the door to her room. She is eating yogurt again. "I heard y'all ruckusing. What's up out here? Mission go good?"

"Domo," whispers Penelope. "Domo."

"think i got some info on your homewrecker." 73-6 ignores the ribbing street samurai. "i'm supposed to go meet with monica about it."
"Yeah, so whenever you're ready to do that meet me in the cavern atrium." Monica's voice blats suddenly out of the loudspeaker next to 73-6. He jumps.
"Ooh, can I come?" asks Sara, sticking the spoon in the yogurt cup.
"I'll allow it," says Monica. "She's been of help to this operation and civilian/agent decorum is already at an all-time low with you people anyway."
"is that an issue?"
"Nah. But next time you bring back a civvy informant make it a hunky underwear model or a chef."
>>
No. 534801 ID: 96c896

>>534800
Sarah is a good cook, though! Ask her if she does any underwear modeling. Maybe we'll have the best of both worlds here.
>>
No. 534811 ID: 57a559

>>534800
Sara probably has a few models with abs on them, somewhere.
Maybe a ridiculous ab shirt, but then she's blind.

Okay Monica, if you're serious maybe we can escort you to chipndales later.
>>
No. 534829 ID: 9ddf68

ask Monica if it's now our job to try and hook everyone in the Bureau up now?

anyways might as well go.
>>
No. 534840 ID: 87688e

>>534800
why are you not flirting?
>>
No. 534848 ID: 41690e

>make it a hunky underwear model or a chef.
Well all right, although you're less likely to find a situation where one of those up and saves your ass out of the blue.
>>
No. 534961 ID: 360a3c

>>534848
NEVER underestimate the cook, the ones you should be terrified of are mostly people with OCD as a damn super-power. A chef is a cook that's famous, and those usually tend to be more OCD than the ones that stay as cooks.

We should tell Monica that we're down with trying to recruit a chef and could possibly be bribed into recruiting her some beefcake, but that we could use some mission-profile adjustment to make those hypotheticals more possible and plausible. Meanwhile we should be having fun with Sara charting out the progress of Penelope's relationship. If Penelope starts counter-needling us we should say that it would be ungentlemanly to hit on someone that has to crash on your couch temporarily.
>>
No. 534986 ID: 2fc3e9

>>534961
A chef is just someone paid to cook. Technically the guys who make burgers at McDonald's are chefs.

I'm actually tempted to make that happen now.
>>
No. 535006 ID: 847b03

>>534986
>>534961
A chef is someone who has formal schooling on how to cook like a doctor. Also 73-6 you should offer to eat a meal with Sarah and talk through the past two days
>>
No. 535034 ID: 4652c9
File 137671874374.png - (9.49KB , 800x600 , 101.png )
535034

"sara's a chef," says 73-6. "she could cook for us."
"Hey yeah," says Sarah. "I could. We'd need to hit up a grocery store first, though. The only thing in the fridge I saw was a few cheesesticks, a couple yogurts, and two pork dumplings."
"Did you say two?" asks Monica. "Not three? You sure?"
"Yeah," says Sarah.
"Then somebody is going to die," says Monica.
"there's a place down the street we can go that has really good synthstuff produce," says 73-6, valiantly ignoring the kissy faces Penelope is making behind Sara's back. "you can hardly tell it's vatgrown."
"Cavern Atrium first, Sev-Three," Monica reminds him. "The waterfall was free again."
>>
No. 535035 ID: 4652c9
File 137671875411.png - (12.71KB , 800x600 , 102.png )
535035

"Cyberspace."

Monica nervously clicks and unclicks her pen against the conference table.

"So if anyone was wondering, this is gonna be a bitch."
>>
No. 535036 ID: 4652c9
File 137671876540.png - (53.94KB , 800x600 , 103.png )
535036

"How bad a bitch?" asks Penelope.

"For starters, this Dartline guy has so much ice guarding his little corner that we can't even get visuals up on it," says Monica. "You're gonna have to go in far off and make your way there, and it'll be quite the walk. His defenses are brutal."
"like firewalls or something?"
"Firewalls is kid stuff on the Deepnet. The shit Dartline Alchemist is packing will fry your brain like an egg inside your skull if it gets you. If we connect via any of the Bureau's hardware, he'll read it instantly and you're dead. And I don't think our proxies are gonna fool this guy."
"so what do we do?" asks 73-6.
"Two options," says Monica. "One is, Sintex are gods at this sort of thing. They have the tech and the knowhow. With a Sintex sherpa on your side and an icebreaker running point you'll be able to squeeze past Dartline's shit and get to whatever it is he's got stored on the deepnet. But that requires Agency collaboration. And that is never a good thing. Sorry, Penelope."
"No offense taken."
"Option two is simpler and a little more brutal. DA is working with the Fantomas, and they need to get to him. He'll have a path clear for their VR connection to get to him. So we just find a Fantoma Vengadores building with VR access and terminals, kill everyone inside, and jack into cyberspace there. The problem being the clearout, and having to work very, very fast, because we'd need to stay onsite while you were in cyberspace."
>>
No. 535037 ID: 9ddf68

I say we go with the Fantomas route. I mean it sounds like both options have a high chance of us having to kill someone simple because we can't get along and with the Fantomas not only are we get a way to dart but are also fucking there shit up as well. Plus we could send 2 agents here, one to go into cyberspace and the other to keep any stray Fantomas of the guy who's going in. Just make sure we have an exit strategy this time around cause even if we pull this thing off without a hitch we're still going to need to make a quick getaway before Fantomas reinforcements show up.
>>
No. 535039 ID: 8ffedb

I would love to see the sintex peeps, but I think murdering fantomas is the better option.
>>
No. 535040 ID: 57a559

>>535036
What, think we can't pull another Penelope and bring over a Sintex guy? Easy. Maybe he'll be that hunky underwear model you wanted, or was before he got into security.

I actually like the Sintex method way more even though it's potentially way more dangerous, if only because I'm sure DA has some shit prepared to cut off Famatoma access immediately. We don't even know if he hasn't already.

Sintex collaboration, if possible, is the only for sure option. Therefore, worth the risk. Plus, well, TriBranch was pissed at us for giving them extra paperwork for sharing the big kill. We haven't actually pissed off Sintex. Maybe they won't put a hit on Sev or Penelope. Because why, exactly? I still don't fully understand what the hit on Sev would have actually done for them besides that they were grumbly over some extra paperwork, and Monica handled that professionally may we say that you're a very good and kind handler thank you for taking that paperwork like a boss. Monica or the Bureau higher ups didn't ask us to kill Penelope just because of paperwork.
Like killing a single dude really hurts the competition anyhow. It'd make more sense for a full scale assualt against the competition, or to plant hacking to steal information.
>>
No. 535068 ID: 96c896

Wouldn't Sintex like to go after someone who's using their equipment illegaly? That said, I would love to kill more Fantomas.
>>
No. 535072 ID: 4652c9
File 137672942453.png - (95.56KB , 800x600 , 104a.png )
535072

"i think the play is we go after the fantomas," says 73-6. "we usually end up killing someone. it might as well be them."

"Good deal," says Monica. "Okay, now. Cyberspace. You ever been?"
"i've never had that kind of money."
"Well, that's fancy cyberspace you see in all the ads. Commercialized digital playgrounds for the rich and famous. Harmless to everything but your wallet. You aren't going there. You're going to the Deep Net."
Monica pushes a button and a sprawling cancer of nodes and connections blossoms across the display screen. Wobbly synthesized visuals and labyrinthine networks.
"A worldwide digital favela," says Monica, "where the desperate cross paths with the dangerous and the plain crazy. Why some of these motherfuckers don't just use google is beyond me, but I guess you can't buy biological weapons on google. See those?"
She points to a pocket of warped, hazy data. There are about a dozen of them floating between the digital planes. "Know what those are?"
"what?"
"Malignant AI," says Monica. "Up-and-up VR has safeguards, people in charge, approval processes. Deep net has none of that. So you get these basement programmers think they're Turing's golden baby who make these AIs that grow, rampant in a week tops, sizzle their creators' synapses, and spread across the deep net like tumors. Then those conglomerate into the Deep AIs. Ever read Lovecraft?"
"no," says 73-6.
"Iä! Shub-Niggurath!" says Penelope. "The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!"
"Think that, but digital," says Monica. "The gangsters, the techies, the deckers? They may have controlled the Deep Net all the way down once. Now they just skim the surfaces and hide in the corners. You catch the attention of these AIs, they'll veg you out on a whim."
>>
No. 535073 ID: 4652c9
File 137672943219.png - (14.68KB , 800x600 , 104.png )
535073

"Your boy Dartline," Monica continues, "is on the East-8 server. Covers most of the Eastern Seaboard sprawl. And it is run and ruled over by a massive slumbering rogue AI." She enlarges one of the nodes to a barren mesa with jarring geometric buildings scattershot across it. "It calls itself Deneb," she says, "and it was made 8 years ago by a now-deceased gamedev to use as an enemy AI in some videogame. Now East-8 is basically all its insane, glitched-out dream. Which happens to manifest itself as, uh, as a shooter."
"so you're telling me cyberspace is basically an fps."
"This part of it. Yes. Well, an FPS crossed with the nightmares of an unfathomable superintelligence born from a shitty aimbot/mob script."
"and if you die in the game you die in real life."
"Well when you say it like that it sounds stupid. But yes. Depending on what gets you."
73-6 sighs, heavily.
"Decker culture, dude! It's not my fault?"
"okay. what's the game?"

Monica squints. "Some arena shooter called Blastlands."
>>
No. 535074 ID: 4652c9
File 137672943531.png - (9.38KB , 800x600 , 105.png )
535074

"never heard of it," says 73-6.
"I think my hermano used to play it," says Penelope.
"BLASTLAAANDS," says Sara. She turns to 73-6, excitedly. "Don't judge me. Okay?"
"okay."
"But I have over 2,000 hours logged in this game. You absolutely need me. I'm coming along."
>>
No. 535075 ID: 76b151

Its a date.
>>
No. 535077 ID: 9ddf68

uh well she may be a civilian but she was in the military at some point and probably has the best chance with the deepnet 'game' so sure why not.
>>
No. 535078 ID: 57a559

As a person in a robot body, does she get any bonuses in cyberspace? Maybe she doesn't die when killed? I figure the body would have a consciousness backup or is her actual brain in there?
>>
No. 535080 ID: e97f9d

Hell yes she is.
>>
No. 535083 ID: 4a20fa

>>535074
Nothing can go wrong with this plan.
>>
No. 535085 ID: 96c896

Let's not forget about that Shell upgrade before we go in. Extra Hacking skills will help, right?
>>
No. 535093 ID: 1a30b7

>>535074
See if we can get the Bureau to contract her for this mission. We need some excuse for Sara to be able to afford new cloths.

>>535085
>Hacking upgrade
Yes, that would be good. Unless we get offered some crazy gun skill which is applicable to the FPS we're about to hop into...
>>
No. 535097 ID: fd7eca

Shame to waste a pro gamer! Also, I guess you're using that upgrade for more hacking, Sev. Gotta keep the lady safe from the more esoteric stuff so that she can keep pulling the sweet headshots.

I wonder - if, when you're in there, could you have a connection ready to a legit or (semi-legit) blastlands server somewhere else on the net? Or several of them, even. If the AI wakes up and chases you, you dump the link on it, and it gets distracted pwning some noobs elsewhere. It won't hurt the guys who are using the old tactile interfaces.
>>
No. 535101 ID: 41690e

>Sintex sherpa
I don't suppose there's anyone on our side who's got at this kind of thing? I mean, you know how to shoot things, and you're getting pretty good at hacking things. But there's no experienced superhacker moldy?

>You absolutely need me.
Hum. Well, someone who knows what they're doing would be pretty valuable. Although we have to keep her back and safe while killing the fatomas and getting our connection.

>>535085
So much this.
>>
No. 535125 ID: 8ffedb

As long as we stay away from any nodes belonging to a certain J Corporation, I say let's go on a date in the Otherland network.
>>
No. 535326 ID: 4652c9
File 137681446820.png - (11.42KB , 800x600 , 106.png )
535326

"sara's combat capable and if she knows the game she knows the game."
"Works for me," says Monica. "Okay, Sara. You're a deputized field agent now."
"Wooo!" says Sara.
"Now the three of you have a busy and dangerous as hell day tomorrow," warns Monica. "You're all dismissed. Get some sleep in your systems because we're going hard. 8 AM wakeup."

"This is nuts," says Sara as the three of them cross the footbridge. "We're going on an adventure into a video game? It's like a terrible cartoon show! Only real! And awesome!"

"Well, you two are going in," says Penelope. "I'll probably watch your bodies while you out or something." She raises and lowers her eyebrows at 73-6, who gives her an eye a couple notches more evil than usual.

"So what do we do now?" asks Sara, nearly vibrating with excitement. "Is there some kind of hazing thing? Or something?"
"They drilled a hole in my head," says Penelope.
"I'll just use my internal radio, thanks," says Sara. "Still though. We agents now! Dude! I should drink to this or something. What time is it?"

73-6's internal readout says it's around 10 PM. He wants to be well rested for the mission, of course, but if Sara wants to stay up another few hours, some small part of him wants to stay up too.
>>
No. 535327 ID: 735f4f

Live for today because you could die tomorrow. Should be safe to spend a few hours with her.
>>
No. 535379 ID: 4fe99a

You are asleep at 1:30, NO LATER, you understand?
>>
No. 535387 ID: 9ddf68

have a light party since you more then likely don't want to do this thing tomorrow hungover and make sure you hit the hay by at least midnight.
>>
No. 535427 ID: 5af25b

>>535379
>You are asleep (with sara) at 1:30, NO LATER, you understand?

fixed
>>
No. 535435 ID: 1f8505

>>535326

Stay up with Sara.
>>
No. 535483 ID: 775354

Rest. You don't want to dance around the Elder One's ear tommorow sleep-impaired, even if Sara is technically a robot, and you're a zombie, you certainly could use your rest.
>>
No. 535489 ID: 1454f2

You totally hang with Sara for a couple hours, maybe even play some Blastlands if you hqve enough self control not to binge on he game. And you know what you should probably do before heading to bed? POP that shell upgrade.
>>
No. 535493 ID: 4652c9
File 137686438643.png - (7.95KB , 800x600 , 107.png )
535493

"i'd be down to stay up a while longer," says 73-6.
"Yeah?" says Penelope. "Well I think I'm still woozy from gettin' my temple ventilated. I'm turning in." She brushes past 73-6 and nudges him in the ribs. "You lil' niños have fun now."

"Good night!" Sara calls after her. "Crazy how you got her a job here."
"i got you a job here."
"Call it temp work," says Sara. "Or friggin' vacation! Blastlands! Holy cannoli. We played that all the time in the corps. Whenever we weren't shooting at real dudes, basically."
"were you good?"
"I was the best," she says. "Well, top five. Hey, what do you want to do now?" Before 73-6 can answer, she says, "Wanna learn your way around the game? It could help, tomorrow."
"do you have it with you?"
"I have it inside me, dude. There's not a whole lot of room on my internals, and most of it I need to keep free for lending out, but I had to bring it along." She shakes her hair out. "Got any universal controllers?"
"a few in the rec room, i think."
"Well check this out." She moves her hair out of the way to reveal a small, raised universal receiver jack in her back. "Pretty slick, right? Just hook me up to a tv then grab a controller and stick it in the back. Wakka wakka."
"that's crazy impressive."
"Just don't ask to see the cupholders. So whaddya say, agent? Ready to get your ass beat by a girl? Robot? Girl-robot thing?"
>>
No. 535494 ID: 3e4b6e

Boy-howdy!
>>
No. 535497 ID: 41690e

I'm more than happy to get killed by a girl now, if it'll keep me from getting killed by purple-face later.
>>
No. 535498 ID: bf54a8

stick it in...

i mean the controller.
>>
No. 535499 ID: 5af25b

>>535493
sev if you miss this chance to say a back slot/anal joke i will be very cross with you.
>>
No. 535508 ID: 0c4b60

>>535493
Too bad we dont have a VR connection for this.

Another thought: Can she use shell upgrades like the one you purchased? She may need more than her military and game skills to delve the deepnet, and you already have hacking upgrades.
>>
No. 535509 ID: b9d767

>>535493
Of course we're ready! That leaves only one think left to be known: what class we will play.
>>
No. 535522 ID: 4652c9
File 137687565670.png - (10.30KB , 800x600 , 108.png )
535522

"of course," says 73-6. "better killed now by you than later by some purple-faced asshole."

He tries to think up some clever joke about this whole thing but his forte is more slayin em with guns than with wit.

"Schweet," says Sara, who doesn't seem to mind. "I'll go easy on you."
"naw, man. i can do it."
"You're saying that now. We'll see, sucker."

They find a tv in the break room and set it up in Sara's office/room. He helps her get all wired in, and then she boots up the blood-and-rust drenched title screen for Blastlands.



Then she mercilessly kicks his ass all night.
>>
No. 535638 ID: 360a3c

Appreciate the schooling, fucking LEARN how this shit is different from the real world.
And, uh, try to get SOME sleep eh? It would be really embarrassing if we showed up at 8AM without having slept or gotten lucky.
>>
No. 535641 ID: bf54a8

yeah pull it out before too long.


the plugs i mean.
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