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Post by Sinner » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:16 pm

After the Cannonball Run fiasco, Sinner remained with the body of the group as they inevitably became embroiled in the anti-metahuman struggle in the San Franc/Oakland area.
As Bishop strove to become the 'public face' of the Oakland Resistance Army, in a manner akin to one Gerry Adams almost a hundred years ago, Sinner struggled to go the opposite way, into obscurity.
The name and face of Sinner was too well known thanks to the much watched reality show.
At first the elf was fine until it came to face to face meetings with potential employers. Then someone would say "Hey! Aren't you that guy from Cannonball?" Then the whole ob would fall through. Eventually even his name, a not uncommon one in the shadow-running world, was enough to put people off.
With the lack of 'professional' work the elf became more involved in opposing the Japs and their racist schemes. But that only lasted a few months until the cash started to run low.

With a name and face that were a hindrance, Cardinal/Sinner did what he knew he'd have to do from the beginning - he changed them.
Silk had a talent for being able to alter a persons appearance, not by some sort of illusion but by permanently changing their bone structure, their skin tone, even their racial type. He was quite obliging in assisting the elf to change his appearance.
Sinner didn't go for any massive alterations, and decided to remain an elf. It was too much of his personal identity. He changed his eyes from blue to green, his hair from black to brown, made his face slightly harsher, his cheekbones a little more pronounced.
At a glance the new Sinner had a passing resemblance to the old one, but instantly with a proper look it was obvious that it wasn't the renowned Cannonball Run guy.
Silk did worry that the changes weren't major enough but Sinner argued that that was exactly the point. People would expect him to change his face completely. Now they'd look and if they were likely to recognise the guy from cannonball they'd see it wasn't really him and ignore the fact altogether.
Besides, his old colleague, Athena, had told him that he was 'good looking' and that that could be an advantage at times.
The name was harder, but after reading a couple of books - the Harry Potter classics - he decided that he liked the name Sirius Black.
"What does that say about you? Other than no originality!!" Silk had commented.
"That I'm someone who has done things outside of the law but for a good cause, but even so am wanted by the 'establishment' who think I am something I am not?"
It wasn't really that impressive.
"You're a Brit, right?" Silk had asked. "Anyhting that you can use there?"
Sinner had struggled with the name for many days.
Something quintessentially British?
His research had brought him to the Arthurian legend - which in turn brought to mind a recurring dream.
A storm night, a hill, seen from afar, and not always from the same angle. But this hill always had one thing - a sword floating upright, tip pointing to the ground, above it.
He wasn't completely sure but the small farm he somtimes saw at the foot of the hill looked a lot like the images he had seen of the Munro family home. The home of the original Cardinal's family.
So the sword was the guiding influence - Excalibur. It was a name synonymous with the Arthurian legend. It was a name of legend in its own right.
It was also very predictable and a little egotistical.
Further research led to the elf discovering another name for the sword. Caliburn was an old Celtic form of the name Excalibur. It was a name with the same implications, but was far more subtle.
Caliburn Black had more luck getting work than Sinner had had, running the shadows for some small time Johnsons.

Then someone assassinated the UCAS president and the work began to pick up. That was until the headaches started.
At first it was a constant but mild throb behind his eyes and across his forehead.
After two days he was no longer able to connect to the matrix and his headache became debilitating leaving the man curled on the floor in agony.
Caliburn Black of course was SINned and therefore existed, as did his fully paid and authentic Doc-Wagon contract.
Scans showed that the advanced cranial cyberdeck installed in the elf's head was being rejected by his body.
After surgery the doctor's showed Mr Black the blackened and almost completely destroyed hardware.
They commented on it being a very advanced piece of cyberware and were surprised that his body had rejected it after so long.
Returning to his small one bedroom apartment Black was at a loss as to what had happened, at an even bigger loss as to what this would mean to his life. The matrix had been a part of his life almost from the beginning. Now he wouldn't be able to connect there again. The surgeons had told him that even a new cyberdeck was no use as the scarring in his brain was to such an extent that they wouldn't be able to establish the correct neural connections and pathways.
Although he could see, Caliburn felt blind, and also as though a leg were missing.
That night his dreams were haunted by images of the Necron, his matrix persona in varying states of destruction. Eventually the Necron died, waking Black in a cold sweat.
Shaking, alone and fearful of the future Black stumbled his way to a local all night cafe.
There he drank coffee and silently observed the comings and goings of the other nocturnal customers.

He watched one young man come into the cafe, order a soda and sit in the corner placing his cyber deck on the table in front of him. Moments later another two men entered, getting drinks an food and joined the first, whereupon the young man plugged himself into the deck.
Black realised that although his own cranial deck was gone his datajack was still there - he could always go in the old fashioned way!
Without wanting to be obvious he tried to get a closer look at the deck. Unthinking he reached into the pocket of his coat and extracted one of his spider drones and activated it. There was no sudden flurry of connection data scrolling across his vision and he kicked himself. Of course there wouldn't be - the rigger controls were all a part of his cranial deck.
He place the spider on the table in front of him a melancholy mood enveloping him.
"Something else I'll have to re-think," he muttered.
The drone tugged at his subconscious, waiting patiently for instructions but gently reminding him that it was there.
Black looked at the drone, shocked.
He could feel it's presence. Blinking in surprise he mentally commanded it to the edge of the table. It responded instantly, sending its telemetry data back to it's master. The information overlaid itself on Black's normal vision as though he were conjuring the image up from his own memory.
At will, just like he had done for years, Black projected himself fully into the drone, immersing himself in it's VR. He felt his eight sets of legs, shifted his balance slightly as he scuttled off the table and scampered across the cafe floor. He halted beneath a chair and looked around orientating himself.
Amused he paused as the spider drone's optics swept in the view up a young woman's skirt!
Moving further, he caught sight of himself, his elven self, sat at the table beside the window, the rain on the outside glinting in the headlights of the passing cars.
It was odd seeing himself from this angle, even odder in that he no longer looked like himself after the 'change'.
But that was just a matter of getting used to his new appearance. Now though there was something extremely odd and a little disturbing about his appearance. His eyes were glowing brightly, pale blue and green swirling fires burning deep within them.
The spider looked around. A few of the diners had noticed, and one of the men with the young decker too. Most of them just cast furtive glances towards the silent motionless elf.
Black emerged from the drone, mentally issuing the normal rudimentary commands, recalling the mechanical device back to him. His head turned slowly looking self consciously at the other diners. He noticed the decker, it's Blue-Fang port appearing like small door in the elf's vision.
With a mental step he had entered the VR of the Deck. At first there was just an empty room, a bar after closing time by the looks of it. stools were on top of tables, the lights dim bit not dark, soft rock music played in the background. There was a door at the front of the bar that Black guessed correctly led to the street outside and thus to the matrix interface node - the physical connection between the deck and the matrix.
Another there was only one other door located behind the bar itself, a sign clearly displaying 'STAFF ONLY - NO UNAUTHORISED ACCESS'. This obviously led to the main and sub-processors that made up the deck.
Black studied the room, studied his location but he seemed not to have a persona icon. Where he stood there was merely a blinking cursor.
A figure suddenly appeared beside the street doorway. It looked male, a bit like a cross between a biker and a western gunslinger.
"Who the hell are you?" the figure asked.
It was a good question. In the back of his mind Black came up with his answer.
A rumble sounded from beneath the bar, growing louder which made the glasses on the shelves shake and rattle. Eventually after a few long seconds the whole bar began to shake, glasses vibrated off shelves and smashed to the ground. The mirror behind the bar shattered and fell off. Moments later the floor cracked.
The figure at the door stepped back nervously and Black could see him running through diagnostic routines and attack programs searching for something to cobat the situation.
A mechanical, skeletal hand busrst from the floor, the ground breaking into chunks as a dark figure rose from the 'earth'.
It was Necron, only he looked more fearsome than ever. He wore what used to be the armour program already, although Black knew it wasn't a program at all any more. This was him in the matrix. Here he wasn't an icon, this was him.

--Be good. Leave the sinning to me.--

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The story continues

Post by Sinner » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:17 pm

"I am Necron. Apologies for the intrusion," Necron growled in his guttural 'from the grave' voice. "Who are you?"
Necron stared at the gun that suddenly appearedin the man's hand.
There was no sound although the muzzle flash was impressive.
Necron stumbled backwards with the impact. His vision switched from the matrix to the physical world and he looked down to the point of impact. There was no blood but his ribs hurt like someone had just punched him.
Diving straight back in Necron glared at the icon calling iteslf 2-XS.
Closing the distance between them in a single leap Necron grabbed the gun arm and thrust it out wide, analysing the weapon's programming at the same time.
The code wasn't bad but there were a few falws and it wasn't as powerful as it could be. In fact it looked like a standard attack program, the sort you could buy from any 2-bit matrix security supplies firm out there. Necron stripped the code down, rewrote it, and uploaded it back to 2-XS.
The weapon now looked like a heavy calibre machine pistol, with 'whistles and bells'!!
With a thought Necron refreshed the VR of the room, restoring it back to its peaceful, just shut up for the night saloon.
"Are you any good?" Necron inquired, the inert question still managing to sound like a curse from hell itself.
Armed with a more powerful weapon the biker-cowboy relaxed and said, "Thanks."
He indicated the saloon. "This is an Excalibur, man! Don't get your hands on one of these baby's unless you're good or stinkin' rich an' I could always do with a few more nuyen if you get my meaning."
"Well then, 2-XS, who is good enough to use a Fairlight Excalibur, my arrival here was an accident, but the meeting was not without worth. I may have need for the likes of you in the future, I'll even come armed with some spare nuyen! How would I contact you?"
2-XS gave Necron his LTG contact details.
"Uh, so what do you use then?"
Necron thought about that for a few moments. "Nothing," he replied.
2-XS's persona icon looked shocked. "Shit!" it exclaimed as the Necron disappeared in a flash of light.

Caliburn sat back, amazed at what had just happened. How the hell had he just connected to the matrix? Ok the connection thing was simple - his Blue-Fang sender was still in place, his retinal displays too, but he had gone in at a much higher level of access than just a standard matrix user which was what he would have expected to get. In fact he felt more in connection with the matrix whilst he was in there.
Excited and somewhat unnerved Black threw a five nuyen note on the table and went home.

The mirror in the bathroom didn't reflect the odd glowing eyes but Black did notice that he now had one green and one blue eye.
Bloody strange, was the only conclusion Black was able to come up with.

It didn't really bother him either.
Now he had somewhere to go, a course to follow.

Over the next month the elf explored his new ability, logging onto the matrix both wirelessly through his phone and also by direct line through his datajack.
He found that his eyes were the give-away whilst on the matrix or controlling his drones they burned brightly with those blue and green fires.
Black took to wearing dark glasses a lot.

From then until now Black has kept a low profile, working on small private jobs and low level runs, building up contacts both physical and matrix based.
The Money began to come in, slowly, and his reputation began to grow, again slowly.
--Be good. Leave the sinning to me.--

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Location: The old scaffold warehouse, East 35th. Oakland.

Post by Drake » Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:14 pm

It was just after 5 o' clock in the evening when Martha Van Wikkenstein answered the front door of her detached residence in the exclusive Pinelands estate on the hills overlooking Oakland.
At first Martha thought her doorbell must have malfunctioned, but as she glanced downwards she saw a small boy wearing a ninja outfit and a skull mask.
"Oh how very delightful, but young man, aren't you a little early for Halloween?" asked the well spoken orc, dressed as always in twin set and pearls.
The boy said nothing, just shook his head and held out his hand.
"Well... Stephen will not approve of begging, but as you've made such a lovely costume I'll see what I can do."
Martha turns from the front door to retreive her purse. The early evening sun casts a shadow through the open door and onto the hallway wall.
Out of the corner of her eye she sees the shadow of the boy rise up into the air. He is not floating, but is being suspended on something. Spinning back to face the door she has to double take, as the child is now 5 feet in the air, suspended by three large, metallic tentacles which come out from something behind the child. Each tentacle ends in a three pronged head, spread on the ground. There is a fourth tentacle which has picked up an ornamental vase from a small table, a vase which is very quickly being swung towards Martha's head!
"You little shi-" she manages to blurt out before the vase is smashed over her well coifered hair.

When Martha comes around, the first sound she hears is an almighty clatter coming from the kitchen. She pulls her large frame to her feet, grabs an umbrella before slamming the kitchen door open.
The room is empty, no child, no tentacles, no noise. At first everything appears normal, apart from the open window, but as she examines the kitchen she discovers she has no pots. No pans. No spoons, knives, forks, in fact nothing made of metal is left in her once well equipped kitchen.

Miles away in one of the many industrial districts of Oakland, the tiny figure of Drake darts into a disused warehouse with todays 'takings'.
He makes his way to the centre of the warehouse, tentacles lifting him gracefully over fallen girders.
He can see the orange glow of candles illuminating the centre of the empty industrial unit. He can feel the familiar feelings of excitement, and fear.
In the centre of the room is a mammoth scultpure. Spherical in shape, it is made up from barbed wire, metallic ribbons, copper wire, anything flexible. It looks like a huge, floating ball of metal wool. Still, quiet, and eerie. Underneath is large stone bowl, several metres across, surrounded my a circle of candles.
The bowl is already full of all kinds of scrap metal; pots, pans, wheels, prams, parts of girders, buckets, anything. Frank adds the Wikkensteins best pans to pile and retreats respectfully, bowing to the immense floating sculpture.
Once outside of the circle of candles he kneels, and recalls the telescopic tentacles back into the rucksack he is wearing. Bowing to the sculpture he starts chanting the chemical names of base metals in the Periodic Table.

Drake is unaware how much time passes. It could have been minutes, it could have been hours, but eventually something starts to happen. At first there is a slight vibration which knocks all the pots and pans against each other, but the vibrations keep getting bigger. One by one each piece of metal jumps up into the air, and hangs in the stillness. Soon all the pieces of metal are suspended, then start to move together. They slowly rotate above the stone bowl, moving closer and closer together. The pieces in the centre push together with so much force, that it looks as it an invisible car crushing machine is at work. All the pieces start to crush in on each other making one large mess of metal, which slowly forms up into a long, thin ribbon. The ribbon moves up into the metal spehere and wraps itself around, forming a new layer of thin metal.

Frank's nose starts to bleed as he feels the immense power of the Gagglepuss.
"I am here, O Lord" he cries through the splitting headache which rips across his head.
"I am Your Voice upon this world, your servant, your emissary O Lord of Metal! Your Disciple of Steel!!" he cries before passing out. The presence of the Alien Metal God too much to bear.
The room descends into quiet once more. The tentacles, working even though their controller is knocked out, wind their way out of the bag and carefully lift the unconscious gnome from the dusty warehouse floor. The climb up into a small room in the rafters and lay their host on a makeshift bed, before performing a diagnostic and shutting themselves down.

Tomorrow is Monday. The day of rest. On Tuesday Frank will spend 5 days collecting metals again, in preparation for another ceremony, exactly the same as has been doing every Sunday for the past 3 years...

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Post by Rey'th » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:09 pm

3 Years Ago...

Lightning flashed and thunder crashed across the sky, the wind buffeting the small helicopter.
The pilot watched the fuselage of the transport plane above him, as it rocked sideways in a strong gust. He manoeuvred the his craft to mimic the movement, keeping his radar signature aligned with the bigger aircraft.
Glancing at the navigation screen he tried to determine just how far he could get on the single tank of fuel. Not as far as he wished was the answer.
The aircraft he was following seemed to be making for the military airfield at Des Moines.
That was among the many places the chopper pilot did not wish to go.
Another arc of lightning lanced through the sky followed almost instantly by such a clap of thunder that the force of it blasted his chest and rocked the Drake attack helicopter sideways.
Taking his opportunities as they came the pilot veered left, dropping altitude like a stone, using the distraction of the weather to his advantage. He hoped his caution was unnecessary as the chopper's stealth suite should have made spotting him impossible, but he didn't want to take any chances.

He took the chopper south-west towards Kansas City and lucked upon a small private airfield. In the dead of night he landed the helo and stole enough fuel to fill her tanks.
Next he took off west heading for Denver. The pilot thought about stripping the chopper of its markings, but decided that, along with the flight suit the UCAS had kindly provided him in Echo Tower back in Chicago, then he looked legitimate.
At Denver he picked up some info on an old airstrip that runners used in the middle of nowhere, a hundred miles south of Butte on the Salishe-Shidhe/Sioux border. There he got in contact with some smugglers who, for the last of the pilot's cash transported him and his vehicle across the Indian lands to Seattle.

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Post by Rey'th » Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:13 pm

Present Day...

Stepping from the shower the man dried himself off and wrapped the towel around his waist before venturing out into the apartment.
He looked out of the full height window in his living room as he sipped real coffee from his mug, appreciating the .
The bright sunshine glistened off the glass enshrouded skyscrapers of Downtown off in the distance.
The morning seemed fresh and clear after the horrendous night. It had reminded him of the night he escaped from Chicago, “Bug-City.” It seemed such a long time ago now.

A LAV soared across his view flying just slightly higher than his twelfth floor apartment. The Doc-Wagon emblem emblazoned on the vehicle's side, its emergency lights flashing.
The semi naked figure shook his head, there was always some tragedy happening in Seattle.
It was five-thirty in the morning and the city would be coming alive. Already the huge wheel of the service industry would be turning, making ready for the corporate wage slaves and the civil servants to go about their work, not noticing that the bins had somehow been emptied and that coffee stain on their desk top had disappeared.
Not that the dark hours in the dead of night weren't as industrious, it was just the work wasn't always that legitimate, or legal!

God! He loved Seattle. Strange, he thought, that no matter how many times he left the city, no matter where he went or what he did, he always ended up gravitating back towards Seattle.
Yet again he was a resident of this isolated sprawl a different person than he was before. He was beginning to lose track of all the people he had been over the years. This time his name was Jericho.
It had been Joshua Calladan when he had arrived three years ago.
Then he had been on the verge of poverty. It had cost him pretty much all the cash he had left to put his chopper into secure storage.
He'd managed to get himself a menial job in a mall as a cleaner that just about gave him enough money to rent a small apartment with one of his colleagues. This had only lasted a few months before Joshua Calladan, refugee from quarantined Chicago had begun to feel the call of the bottle. Calladan had been a PI back in the Windy City. He'd also been a drunk.
Bug City had cured him of that, but now with the mediocrity of lower class life beginning to atrophy body and mind the faintest tinges of his old ways would call.
He began to frequent certain clubs and bars, ensuring he stuck to soft drinks, and inquired about work in the shadows.
Eventually he hooked up with a team operating out of the docks. It amused him that they were using a little used warehouse in Von Geller Shipping's sprawling compound as a base of operations.
It was on the second run that things went wrong. One of their team mates ratted them out to the corp they were running against and the op went south, leaving the runners to fight a retracted retreat back to the obscurity of the Barrens. Jericho/Calladan realised that although he had bio-enhanced musculature and cyber-enhanced reactions, he just wasn't that fit any more.

He had made a decision. A year after arriving in the city, sick of bowing to other people, but realising the limits age we beginning to place on his body, he played the ace up his sleeve.
Jericho carefully advertised his prize possession, and was selective in his buyers.
A UCAS stealth copter with all the trimmings could and had fetched a very tidy sum indeed.
In fact he had gained enough to undergo Leonisation treatment. The course was successful and knocked nearly twenty years of his age.
The next thing to go had been his name. Joshua Calladan had a fake SIN from Chicago to go with his fake name. Joshua Calladan represented a dark period in Karl von Geller's life. So he took the Jericho, the name he adopted in his time in the Containment Zone. The one thing Calladan could offer Jericho was a cast iron background. All but the most rudimentary records of his existence had disappeared inside the zone. He changed his name legally from Calladan to Jericho dropping as he had for Galager any need to distinguish between Christian name and surname. The most anyone would be able to dig up on Mr Jericho was that he was a licensed Private Investigator from Chicago who went by the name of Joshua Calladan.

With money in his pockets, a return of his youth and a keenness to get his life back on track, Jericho purchased a reasonable apartment in an 'A' rated part of town, transferred his PI's license to Seattle and opened an office.
He kept his profile low, taking various cases, most often finding missing loved ones or digging up the dirt on cheating spouses. When a job started to get heavy, like discovering murders etc he wisely brought in Lone Star, giving information and being as helpful as he could. In return one or two of the detectives began sending work his way. One advantage PI's had over cops was no need to worry about procedure. So long as they didn't break any major laws on the way, the civilian detectives could often go snooping where the cops couldn't.

His clientèle varied from menial working parents whose daughters or sons had gone missing in the Barrens, to corporate mid-level managers looking for reasons to leave their other half without having to live up to their pre-nuptial agreements.
He also had regular work for a number of smaller law firms, all of whom had the need to find or hide the dirt on their clients, or prove there was no dirt in the first place.
Jericho wasn't sure but he had the feeling that one his clients really worked for the Federal Government in some intelligence gathering capacity.

Jericho finished his morning routine, took the stairs down four floors to the platform on 'Eight' and caught the 'El'.
At Seven-Thirty he walked into his office ahead of his secretary.

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