The client was… unnerving, to say the least. Just about the creepiest guy you could imagine with his entourage of flying rats. That drek just wasn’t natural; I don’t know what his deal was but I’m not convinced he wasn’t a mage cloaking himself in illusions. Given my own skill with mindfrags I should have been able to tell, so like I said, unnerving.
We were to pick up a crate using a cover he provided, sit on it for a week and bring it right back discreetly. Might’ve been preparing for an inspection or something along those lines, but as long as the cargo itself doesn’t represent a danger for my team it ain’t my place to pry. It helps that it was gonna be our biggest payday yet(8k up front, 8k on final delivery), but that also implies risks so I negotiated us an extra 8k as hazard pay.
Turns out that was the right move.
Nothing we couldn’t handle, but trouble popped up just about immediately. We picked up a tail between the pick-up location and the storage unit where we had decided to stash the crate for the week. Spotting them might’ve been a stroke of luck, because they were good enough that Frank couldn’t lose them the old fashioned way. We shook them with a bit of arcane trickery courtesy of moi, stashed the cargo, hired Jake to keep an eye on it, and went for a drink.
Kicked back until Jethers was approached while he was off brooding in some dive bar again. Some corporate-looking guy with bodyguards. They wanted him(and/or us) to let him have a peek at the contents of our crate. Normally I’d be all for it, but there were too many variables in play. No idea what was in the crate, what security measures they placed on it, etc. … If somebody wants to know what’s in there that badly, it ain’t to sit on the information and do nothing. They would use that info, and when they did, our first client would know we crossed him.
Jethers apparently went into self-preservation mode. Messaged Frank as a getaway driver. Accepted the job and took the guy’s money, which is definitely gonna come back to bite us in the ass later. Ven can handle a crisis, imagined or not, but he doesn’t see the big picture.
Had to lose another tail on the way back from there, used the same trick. Fool you twice and all that. I think we’ve come up with a good system, but we’re gonna have to introduce some variation to it.
Client #2 wanted us to give him 24 hours with the crate to check it out, gave Ven the commlink code for a “specialist.” No way to correct his mistake directly. Called said specialist to try anyway. Pretty young thing picked up, a redhead, and she wasted no time trying to pluck my heartstrings. She thought she could play me. Well, I was about to play right back but her decker friend fumbled all over my commlink, prompting me to go for a more direct approach.
We had a location, so the crew and I ran the decker down. Seriously fancy driving on Frank’s part, coupled with a push from one of my connections in the astral plane. This kid was green. Called himself Bobby. He said the Triads had hired him. We confiscated his ‘deck and asked Manners to keep him for a while. Can’t have been too unpleasant, right?
Then came the day we were to turn the crate in, right back where we took custody of it in the first place. Well, as we were preparing to leave, Jake alerted us that he’d lost visual on part of the storage unit. We raced over there and caught three Triads sneaking in. Weren’t no fight; Jethers fired a single burst and put two rounds in each of the poor saps, killing them dead. That wasn’t a smartgun either, can’t say I’ve seen the like before. Ven was a good investment.
We got out of there before the owner showed up and went for a stroll to dodge the ensuing trouble. A whole heap of the local mafia showed up, making a show of their intervention. Gotta keep up appearances. So we rolled up again as if nothing had happened and I talked my way in to get the cargo. Their boss gave me some trouble but we came to an understanding. It’d be bad for them if anybody found out they allowed this to happen on their turf after all. He wanted my contact information, I went a step further— he’ll know who to call if he needs a team that knows how to get things done.
Scuffle on the way to make the delivery. Another truck was following us and a couple of drones straight up opened fire on us. Ven took one out and a raccoon spirit tore into the other, but not before Jethers took a full volley square in his chest plate and he hit his head against the van wall behind him, out cold. That’s gonna leave a nasty bruise. Then I brought in a storm spirit who got rid of the truck with surprising efficiency. We finished the delivery without further incident and received payment not too long afterwards.
In conclusion, we have probably made an enemy of the second Johnson but in my opinion it was either him or the original one. And if we’re gonna make an enemy, I’d rather do it without earning a reputation for crossing our clients.
Frank and Ven pull their own weight. That said, we’re lacking in certain departments. I’m going to find us an in-house decker and perhaps another specialist. I’m also going to encourage Frank to expand his skill set, and Ven can certainly be groomed to greatness – just as soon as he’s done mourning his former life.
As for myself, I intend to hone my verbal kung fu and my magic.