The door buzzer rings. The team sees a little pale goblin in the video feed monitoring the back alley entrance to the safe house. He seems to have an envelope of all things in his hand.
The team, chafing to be summoned again by Lughaidh, nevertheless loaded into Lord Z3R0’s van and drove to the elf’s tower. Once again the tower was shrouded in mist, the grounds populated by goblins and trolls. The moon seemed larger here, and on the whole the place might have seemed like some idyllic setting straight out of Tolkien except for the garish strobing lights coming from a window on the third floor. As they approached the building the curtains in that window were drawn back to reveal their long lost companion Clive evidently having his way with one of the local denizens.
The goblin Butler in his little waistcoat and fob watch escorted them to the elevator. It stopped at the third floor opening to reveal Clive, slightly sweaty and wearing nothing but a smoking jacket, standing pendulously before them. His eyes were glassy and he seemed somehow taller, but then he dove right into his usual inane banter as if not a moment had passed. The elevator continued its trek to the 14th floor letting the team out to the strange hallway which seemed to be open to the night sky above. Lughaidh met them in the same place as their last encounter where he explained that he had another set of missions for them to undertake, very similar to their last one.
Lughaidh cautioned them on any significant deviations from their mission, particularly gambling or investing in anything smaller than a AA Corporation. The problem as he explained it was that such deviations were thought to cause ‘ripples’ which can alter the timeline in unforeseen ways perhaps leading to their own extinction. ’Paradox must be threaded very carefully.’
The team showed itself to be quite reluctant so Lughaidh made them and deal. They would be able to keep any of the money offered by the Johnsons on the runs they were intercepting, and he would give them ¥65,000 up front. In addition Lughaidh agreed to give the entire team ¥1 million in gold to take back with them on their last mission to invest as they saw fit, so long as it was in a AA or larger corporation. He explained that investments of seven figures smaller or so minuscule compared to the actual cash flow and assets of such corporations that they had little if any chance of causing a ripple.
Most of the runners were licking their chops at such an incredible payday, but lot, sensibly, question the probability of their return from the last mission. Lughaidh assured that they would finish their final mission and he would bring them home. The team accepted that assurance.
They took three days to square away gear and do some research. Lord Z3R0 for instance researched matrix protocols and equipment, particularly how to interface his state-of-the-art gear with 20-year-old junk. Lughaidh had also informed them that he was attempting something new. Specifically he had established a pair of computer terminals in the parking garage links to powerful wireless transmitters that he hoped would allow zero to maintain access to the present day matrix.
The team headed back to the garage that lughaidh’s goblin minions put on the medallions. A few moments later the goblins were gone and the computer terminals clearly of a different model. Assuming this all wasn’t some elaborate BTL hoax, they were back to early 2051. A call came through on the link introducing them to a fixer named Charlie. They headed off to the meet, accepted the job, and hunkered down for an intense 10 minute planning session.
They decided to go with a delivery truck option. The APN headquarters was an old city building that was built around a large garage with three bays middle of the building. There were a few elves patrolling the outside with swords, bows and arrows, and the occasional shotgun all dressed leather. The whole thing was in the very significant shadow of the Renraku Arcology.
Zero backed up the truck and one of the guards came over straightaway to find out what they were doing. Perses rolled down the window he met with a hail of Renaissance Festival yammering. Without missing a beat, the Gillette rolled straight into “forsooth and such” earning a lifelong friend (not that long) who did his damnedest over the next two minutes to recruit Perses and his pals.
The elves open the middle bay and zero backed the truck in halfway. Perses asked the guards, five total now, to get a higher ranking member to “sign for the delivery.” One of the poser elves ran off to do just that. But, before anyone returned, Zero became far too disgusted with the ‘Thees’ and ‘Thous’ and splattered two of the posters with his Uzi. He was still in the truck.
Perses who had his arm around his new buddy placed his hand against his chest pretending to seen some sort of stain on his jerkin. The Gillette popped his spurs right through his newfound friend’s shirt, skin, lungs and back. The only remaining elf in the room was dumbfounded until Lot and Gyoza pumped three rounds of Magnum into the poser. he had a far more complete understanding of the situation then. As the gunfire echoed around the large open bay, the team decided to hunker down and wait.
Lot and Zero stayed the van while Gyoza stood by the door that the poser had gone through. Perses made a quick check of the two doors on the other side of the room and found them to be mostly storage. However he did note that one of the rooms had a ladder leading down to a basement level. Lot put his watcehr spirit on that as Perses returned to join Gyoza by the door.
Minutes passed. Eventually Perses heard movement on the far side of the door is a group of APN numbers got ready to assault the room. One of them kicked the door open but the team was ready and Lot dropped all six of the first wave with a stun ball. The razor boys moved into the hallway quickly katanas permanently ending their opposition. Five were done for and they were moving to the sixth was in the intersection of the hallway of the head when they heard “clank . . . clank . . . KRUMP!!!”
Perses and Gyoza both threw themselves backwards as the grenade detonated. they got far enough to get out of the immediate kill radius. Heavy armor and cyberware, as well as being generally tough bastards, let them off with some serious bruising and lacerations. Perses took a quick peek around the corner and saw another four guys set up in the hallway down past the stairwell. He sent his own grenade their way return the favor. they weren’t nearly so quick. Cries of alarm were smothered by the explosion, leaving one voice shrieking for his mother while another whimpered piteously.
Perses dashed across the hall taking cover around the corner and scanning ahead for enemies. Not seeing any, he moved several meters further down the hall, covering it with his machine gun. Gyoza rushed past Perses to the wounded. He stepped on the whimpering guy’s hand while readying his sword. BLAM! Someone on the staircase shot him in the back with a shotgun at close range. Again Gyoza’s armor and cyberware saved his life. Back at the first intersection, Lot could barely see the hand of the shotgun shooter while taking cover around the corner. It was enough. He unleashed a manabolt spell but discovered that there was another wizard opposing his own casting. The other wizard was weaker. Shotgun and shooter tumbled down the stairs.
The door at the far end of the hall opened and someone stuck an AK-97 out, spraying the hall would lead. Lot ducked back behind the corner while Gyoza and Perses droped to the ground. Gyoza attempted to roll a grenade to the doorway but it bounced badly, going around the corner and detonating. Perses opened up with his M-202 splintering the doorway and the adjoining wall. He was rewarded with a startled yell followed by the shrieking of a young child.
Lot’s watcher spirit told him that someone was coming up the ladder. Lot sent Zero a message in AR and Zero deployed the .50 cal to cover the door. A Rambo elf festooned with guns and grenades rushed through the doorway only to be blasted to pulp a moment later.
The rest of the team was still in the hallway choked with smoke and dust and bodies. Lot knew there were still a wizard upstairs and nobody was particularly keen on rushing up to engage him. Lord Zero settled it though, traversing his .50 cal to fire through the wall were Lot estimated the stairwell landing to be.
Bullets punched through the cinder block wall spraying chunks of debris down the stairway that were followed a moment later by a wizardly forearm, and then a wizard (sans forearm). The fight in the hallway had destroyed the lights leaving the hall in darkness. But now, as the .50 cal ceased its fire, beams of white light from the stairwell stabbed down through the swirling smoke and dust in the now quiet hall. Only the occasional thud of a falling piece of masonry disturbed the stillness.
After a few moments they could discern the sobbing of a young child through the bullet riddled door at the end of the hall.