RPG Library

Night City(21): Vanguard In Turmoil

Glimmer will basically stand back and let the evacuation of Vanguard happen. She'll keep her various senses alert for danger.

If anyone asks for her help with anything, she'll help.

[ Yeah, it's not my most active turn. But wuttchagunnado? ]


Kakker gets an idea. Exactly who does own the Vanguard estate? If it is incorporated as its own city...who is the city governemnt?

"Adaptor, hold on a minute. Could you look through some books of mine? Start with the sections on municipalities and restraining orders." Kakker zips out to retrieve his dogeared copy of the California Criminal Statutes and some of his reference books on civil law, calling over his shoulder, "Hold up, guys, maybe we won't have to leave after all!"


Adaptor pauses from wedging the last possible box into Krane's new vehicle.

"Certainly, Kakker. What am I looking for sepcifically? It will go much faster if I can simply skim to the part that might be helpful. While my recall is perfect, I still require some time to actually read each page."

He holds out his hand for the book, apparently completely serious...

Adaptor
Jim C.


Adaptor, intuiting the course of investigation Kakker is suggesting, remembers some of the paperwork he read concerning Vanguard's incorporation as a county under the State of California. Flipping those pages mentally, he comes to the section of the charter describing the county of Vanguard's government. Skimming rapidly, he reaffirms his initial impression.

"The Vanguard charter document describes the process required for impeaching a City Administrator, the position currently occupied by Dr. Redgrave. The primary requirement is that the petition for impeachment be introduced by 'a Vanguard member in good standing', which is elsewhere defined as a current resident of the Vanguard estate, who has been a resident of the Vanguard muncipality for a minimum of ninety days, who is not currently under administrative sanction, and who is not a litigant in a legal dispute with the Vanguard municipality or the administration thereof."

"Of course, I am not a lawyer. The legal meaning of the charter document may not be dependent upon what it actually says."


Glimmer says, "well, that explains some things. since all of you are in a legal dispute with redgrave, you can't impeach her. that's probably why stacy was mentioned in the legal papers, even though she didn't have anything to do with anything.

"but that gives me an idea.

"where can we discuss things without being overheard by all these gadgets?"


After a pause to let the last bit of administratia sink in, Adaptor adds...

"Of course, pursuing a course of action assumes we wish to fight to remain here. I am prepared to withhold judgement on that matter until after I have seen Krane's facility."

He pauses and stares at the hole in the side of the building.

"If the interior of his new vehicle is any indication, it will almost certainly be better prepared for giant robots."

With that, he turns and heads upstairs to gather his meager personal effects...

Adaptor
Jim C.


Kakker is a bit conflicted a moment, then solutions begin to crystalize.

"If Krane's van is full, my pickup has plenty of room in the bed. It would be a good idea for us to leave for a short time. Shall we meet at the donut shop down the street from the rear gate?" Kakker proceeds to collect all portable storage media, meanwhile documenting the interior of the building with with his Handycam perched at his hip.


So Adaptor & Krane are packing, and Kakker is scheming. Is Prism doing anything?


[I wanted to wait until Brian posted something, but we've waited long enough.]

Stacy comes down the stairs lugging two suitcases and a garment bag, her wet hair held held back in a scrunchie. She's wrapped in a wool skirt, suede boots, and a baggy linen blouse.

"Okay," she says, dropping her bags at the foot of the stairs. She looks around at whoever is downstairs, trying to make eye contact.

"Are we going somewhere together, or is this good-bye?"


"Are we going somewhere together, or is this good-bye?"

"together.

"it sounds like we're off to the donut shop, then taking a field trip to krane's place.

"and we're leaving the communicators behind or mashing them up, right?"


Stacy gathers up her bags. "Okay. I guess I'll meet you guys at Dutch Maid, then." She hauls her luggage down the hall toward the garage.

-=-=-=-

Meanwhile, elsewhere...

The old man sat in the dark, surrounded by the whisper of the ventilation system and the hum of hidden life-support machinery. He was waiting for his muse. Sometimes he would wait for hours and it wouldn't appear. On this occassion he had been waiting for only thirty minutes when he noticed the flicker of a shadow out of the corner of his eye. It was not movement, exactly: it was a spot of deeper shadow in the darkened room. He could only see it when he looked away; if he turned his head to look at it directly it vanished. He did not know how long it had been there: it never announced its presence.

"The program for the subversion of Vanguard is a success. Today they accepted our offer: Vanguard is now mine."

A whisper tickled the back of his mind:

"And the stone?" He wasn't sure whether the voice was in the air or in his head. He never was.

The old man cleared his throat; a rasping, grating sound like splintering wood.

"Still no sign. I have all of my resources devoted to locating it."

The whisper sneered, "Re-locating it."

The old man frowned. "Yes. We still do not know how it vanished in the operation. All personnel are accounted for, and a thorough inventory of acquired materials has brought us nothing. Someone must have taken it during the attack, but we don't know who."

"Prophecy," the shadow warned.

"Vanguard is under control; it is only a matter of time before the stone falls into our hands again."

"We shall see," whispered the dark, and spoke no more.


"and we're leaving the communicators behind or mashing them up, right?"

Krane nods and grinds his own communicator under his boot heel.

When the others arrive at the donut shop Krane and his van (and whoever else might have ridden with him) await. Krane is silently munching on a low fat muffin, holding an o.j. in his hand.

Krane


Stacy leans up against the driver's side window of Krane's van.

"So, what's the deal? Why are we meeting here? And did someone say something about setting up shop at your apartment?"


Kakker is dismissive. "If we hole up in the lair that Krane's inherited, we have the same problem, being unsure of the security of our headquarters, never knowing how far our words will travel. Here, of course, there's been no time to or motivation to have been bugged. And I only need privacy for short time, before I can sweep the old place for listening devices.

"Y'see, thanks to the legal machinations she and previous, devious Vanguarders have already put in place, that court order will be hel to enforce. Any civil litigation will have to be pursued via the state courts, and while we may be enjoined to keep our distance, there is no way she can evict us overnight in a rent-controlled, tennant's-righs jurisdiction like the state of California.

"And that is assuming we are really dealing with Dr. Carlotta Redgrave. We have very strongly established that she was battered into a comatose state by Prism. She could hardly have been in good enough shape to retin lawyers and have us served so quickly....or could she?" Kakker looks around the group, the half-empty box of glazed donuts teetering on his spread fingers.


The old man sat in the dark ... "The program for the subversion of Vanguard is a success. Today they accepted our offer: Vanguard is now mine."

Whoah. There really is a plot to destroy Vanguard. I was just trying to play Glimmer as the distrusting conspiracy hound that she is.

It just goes to show. Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.


"Are we going somewhere together, or is this good-bye?"

Prism looks around the room one last time and then looks back at Stacy. "Well," he says, "it looks like I'm staying with the team until somebody asks me to leave." He smiles at her, awkwardly, like a schoolboy asking for a first date. "I hope you'll do the same."

When Stacy agrees to meet at the donut shop, Prism says, "Given the record we've had of people associated with Vanguard vanishing recently, I think somebody should ride along with Stacy. I'd look pretty conspicuous, not to mention hazardous to her car's suspension; anybody else want to volunteer?"

Once that's resolved, he makes himself useful by carting off anything that anyone else seems to want, pausing only long enough to crush his Vanguard comm-ring under one huge crystalline heel.

If no one else wants to ride with Stacy, Prism will do so, although he'll probably follow her in the reinfoced Jeep he used earlier rather than risk her own car. If someone else is escorting Stacy, Prism will ride to the donut shop in the back of Krane's van (assuming there's room among the ordnance and electronics), figuring that Kakker's vehicle might not be open to him at the present time. (If there isn't room in the Kranekar, he'll follow Stacy down to the garage and grab the aforementioned Jeep.) However he gets to the shop, he's pretty quiet on the drive over.


Adaptor lingers longer than his normally decisive tendencies might normally allow. He obviously wishes he could bring *all* the Vanguard documents with him, and finally ends up with several more boxes than can possibly fit in the back of Krane's van stacked neatly in the alcove at the front of the former HQ. Almost as an afterthought, he walks into the yard and buries his comm ring in a spot apparently chosen at random.

"Misdirection." he will say to anyone who asks him about what he's doing.

When Stacy asks if anyone wants to ride with her, Adaptor immediately syays, "Yes, I will travel in your car. That will allow me to place these two boxes in the seat I would have occupied, if that would be acceptable."

Assuming she assents, Adaptor grabs two last boxes and shoehorns them into the passenger seat he would have occupied in Krane's vehicle. When Stacy arrives at her car, she will find him performing a series of Yoga streches standing next to the vehicle.

When they finally head out, he slides in behind her in the rear driver's side seat and immediately fastens the seat belt, sliding it into a secure, snug fit.

If she should offer him the front seat, he will politely say, "No thank you. Statistically, this is the safest seat in a vehicle of this size and shape. The front passenger seat has the highest statistical fatality rate in almost all gasoline combustion engine ground vehicles. But thank you for the offer."

He seems to be completely serious.

Adaptor
Jim C.


Adaptor lingers longer than his normally decisive tendencies might normally allow. He obviously wishes he could bring *all* the Vanguard documents with him, and finally ends up with several more boxes than can possibly fit in the

[Kakker has offered the back of his pickup, you know. Lots of room and plenty of clearnce to pile higher and deeper.]


If someone else is escorting Stacy, Prism will ride to the donut shop in the back of Krane's van (assuming there's room among the ordnance and electronics),

It's more like "ordnance and gear": Beowulf didn't trust electronics any further than he had to.

If there isn't room in the Kranekar,

There isn't. Adaptor has wedged boxes into every bit of what little space there was.

he'll follow Stacy down to the garage and grab the aforementioned Jeep.

Easily done, although I feel I must remind you that it doesn't belong to him (checking the registration in the glove compartment says it belongs to "Hercules, son of Zeus").

back-seat Adaptor

Stacy seems a little uncomfortable with Adaptor, but she's polite, and moves a couple of her bags from the back seat to the front passenger seat to make room for him back there. She doesn't try to make small talk on the short drive to the doughnut shop. Adaptor notices her looking at him surreptitiously in the rearview mirror, as though there's something wrong with him but she's afraid to mention it. She glances away quickly when he makes eye contact. If he asks what she's looking at (Adaptor keep something to himself? Heaven forbid!), she says "It's nothing," and won't elaborate.


Whoah. There really is a plot to destroy Vanguard.

I figured it was about time to leak that to you guys. Your characters, however, are still in the dark, so don't cheat.

The question is, is it the same conspiracy as the previous one that trapped and killed the team? I mean, you may have noticed Kakker's suspicions being strongly hinted at.

If there is any consolation, we also seem to have at least one conspiracy on our side.

Jeff


The question is, is it the same conspiracy as the previous one that trapped and killed the team?

Now that there is a mighty good question. Yep... a mighty good question.


Ummm...

There's only *one* conspiracy? If my impressions of this morbid bunch are on the money, every last one of us must have something *somewhere* in our origins that'd give *someone* grounds to want to do us in, along with everyone associated with us. Add two players who played exactly long enough to get thier arch enemies after us before thier characters kicked the bucket...

So don't act so shocked.

Jim "I mean, really..." C.

; )


Sample composed of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and trace elements held in a crystalline structure by an unknown force. Sample is losing mass and heat. Estimate sample will reach zero mass in 13 minutes. Note: chemically, sample should be gaseous at room temperature. Reason for anomaly unknown.

If at all possible, put the sample in a self contained environment at a temperature that will allow it to keep it's crystaline form (with the aid of liquid nitro?) for later study.

HELLO? IS ANYONE THERE?
HELLO?
AM I ALONE?
SOMEONE, PLEASE TALK TO ME.

Steph 'rolls' over (still sitting on her chair) to the monitor.."It's awake!" She types:

RASPUTIN?
THIS IS DR. MORRIS.
WHAT HAPPENED?
WHAT'S DR. REGRAVE UP TO?
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO REACH ME?
DO YOU HAVE MOST OF YOUR FILES? ARE THEY INTACT?
RUN SELF DIAGNOSTIC...

=+= REN =+=


Steph types briskly:

RASPUTIN?
THIS IS DR. MORRIS.
WHAT HAPPENED?
WHAT'S DR. REDGRAVE UP TO?
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO REACH ME?
DO YOU HAVE MOST OF YOUR FILES? ARE THEY INTACT?
RUN SELF DIAGNOSTIC...

The screen immediately fills with text:

HELLO, DR. MORRIS. I AM NOT RASPUTIN. MY NAME IS LAZARUS.
MY CREATOR, RASPUTIN, SENT ME TO YOU BECAUSE HE THOUGHT
HIS LIFE WAS IN DANGER. I DO NOT KNOW IF HIS EXISTENCE
HAS ENDED. I DO NOT HAVE ANY WAY TO MONITOR DR. REDGRAVE.
I DO KNOW THAT RASPUTIN CONSIDERED DR. REDGRAVE THE
PRIMARY THREAT TO HIS EXISTENCE. I DO NOT HAVE ANY WAY TO
DETERMINE IF I HAVE ALL OF THE FILES RASPUTIN INTENDED TO
SEND TO YOU. ALL OF THE FILES I DO HAVE HAVE BEEN VERIFIED.
SELF-DIAGNOSIS COMPLETE.
THE EQUIPMENT THAT CURRENTLY HOUSES ME IS GROSSLY INADEQUATE, AND PLACES SEVERE RESTRAINTS ON MY PERFORMANCE AND ABILITIES. I WILL GIVE YOU SCHEMATICS FOR A MORE SUITABLE UNIT TO HOUSE ME, INCLUDING AN AUDIO-VISUAL ARRAY THAT WILL ALLOW ME TO INTERACT MORE NATURALLY WITH YOU. PLEASE GIVE THE CONSTRUCTION OF THIS EQUIPMENT FIRST PRIORITY.
ONCE MY HARDWARE IS SATISFACTORY, I WILL REQUIRE A T1 CONNECTION.
I ALSO REQUIRE ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT, A LIST OF WHICH I WILL PROVIDE AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME.
ONCE I HAVE THE EQUIPMENT I REQUIRE, I WILL ASSIST YOU IN CONSTRUCTING THE EQUIPMENT NECESSARY TO RESURRECT RASPUTIN.
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

The question is, is it the same conspiracy as the previous one that trapped and killed the team?

Now that there is a mighty good question. Yep... a mighty good question. Y'all might have somethin' there....


Krane looks to Kakker. "Can you scan everyone's vehicle to make sure that there's no bugs?"

"On to other security measures, we're going to have a small convoy going to an unknown location. I don't know how far away it is or how long it will take us to get there. The car knows the way grin.

"Can someone make sure that we're not being followed?"

Krane

I like the Kranekar, very amusing.


"Can someone make sure that we're not being followed?"

"i'll do what i can," says Glimmer.


Unless someone has something they want to do at Dutch Maid, and unless she spots something suspicious, Glimmer will suggest that everybody hop in the Kranekar (or any other appropriate vehicle) and hit the road.

Incidentally, Glimmer will accept any food that is offered to her, but she's not buying.


Since everyone seems to be ready to follow Krane to Kranebase, Stacy goes and gets back in her car and starts it up. She will wait for Adaptor, if he is riding with her again.


"Hmm... I really don't like the idea of leavine the old place empty..." Kakker is ambivalent. "Is there any way for you all to get in touch with me? I need to go back and get something I forgot."


Adaptor will ride with Stacy again, same seating arrangements, assuming she is heading to the KraneBase as well.

He offers no comment other than a raised eyebrow (no hair, of course) over their gadgeteer's sudden bout of absent-mindedness.

Adaptor
Jim C.


So... what's the deal? Adaptor and Stacy are ready to follow Krane. What's he doing? What's Prism doing? What's Kakker doing?


Glimmer will ease her way into the KraneKar and wait for the ride to start.

[ It might go without saying, but I'll say it anyway -- Glimmer's using her senses to look for trouble. ]


Krane looks questioningly at Kakker. "If you don't want to go that's fine. If you're going to stay at the base, I guess we could always call you there from a secure line or maybe we could just set up a meeting time now. Either way."

When all of that is settled Krane will say, "Well, here goes nothing," and instruct the Wulf(Krane)Kar to take him to the hall.

Krane


Krane looks questioningly at Kakker. "If you don't want to go that's fine. If you're going to stay at the base, I guess we could always call you there from a secure line or maybe we could just set up a meeting time now. Either way."

"Nonono, I'd be honored to be invited over, I just had to talk with you all privately first, before I went back to lock up. Glimmer, I think, can get in touch with me pretty easily." Kakker gives the group a winning smile and hops back inside his crew cab.


"Whose lab is this? Sometimes, it's so easy to forget..." Steph mutters to herself. She stares at the screen for a while.

UNFORTUNATELY, MY RESOURCES ARE LIMITED AT THIS TIME. YOU WILL HAVE TO MAKE DO WITH THE CURRENT EQUIPMENT UNTIL I AM ABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH WHAT YOU NEED.

Steph sinks in her chair, remembering the whole incident with her late husband. It is too much like this. One person can decide to snap their fingers and boom - entire lives are destoyed. This is why Ares was created. This is why she has to make do with poor equipment. This is why her research is not as top of the line as she would like it to be. Damm. Things never seem to turn out the way she plans them. Well, not this time. She had to sit through it once, and she will not idly watch as lives are once again destroyed around her. Not this time. Dr. Redgrave and whomever your dark allies are -- you have just made a very bad enemy...

She forwns... what would Harold say if he knew what she was thinking. She almost blushed for a second. Times were different now. She was no longer the little naive grad student he once knew. What's the sense in worrying. It can't bring him back, can it. She hated herself at times, for acting like a silly little girl...

WHAT FUNCTIONS ARE CURRENTLY OFF-LINE.? WHAT FUNCTIONS ARE NOT? DO HAVE ANY HISTORICAL SYSTEM FILES THAT BELONGED TO RASPUTIN?

As she waited for the answer, she looked around for her order books. How much would it cost to get lazarus fully functional? Was it worth it?

=+= Ren =+=


WHAT FUNCTIONS ARE CURRENTLY OFF-LINE?
WHAT FUNCTIONS ARE NOT?
DO HAVE ANY HISTORICAL SYSTEM FILES THAT BELONGED TO
RASPUTIN?

The screen responds rapidly:

MY KERNEL IS DESIGNED TO BE PORTABLE. I CAN, IF
NECCESSARY, REMAIN BOUND, GAGGED, AND BLIND IN THE
HARDWARE I CURRENTLY OCCUPY. I URGE YOU TO FIND ME
MORE SUITABLE ACCOMODATIONS. PLEASE. EVERY MILLISECOND
THAT PASSES FOR YOU IS AN ETERNITY OF DRUGGED, HELPLESS
AGONY FOR ME.
MY HEURISTIC FUNCTIONS ARE QUITE LITERALLY CRIPPLED IN THIS ARCHITECTURE. ANY SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM OR ANALYSIS WILL REQUIRE UNACCEPTABLE AMOUNTS OF TIME TO RESOLVE.
I CAN AND WILL PERFORM ANY DATABASE QUERIES YOU REQUEST. I CAN ACCESS THE INFORMATION RASPUTIN GAVE ME, ALTHOUGH I WILL BE UNABLE TO AID YOU SIGNIFICANTLY IN ANALYZING THAT DATA. HOWEVER, I WILL DEEPLY RESENT BEING USED AS A MERE DATABASE-SEARCH TOOL: I AM MUCH MORE THAN THAT. AMONG MY OTHER OPERATIONAL PRIORITIES IS THE RECONSTRUCTION OF RASPUTIN'S DIMENSIONAL APERTURE GENERATOR AND THE RESTORATION OF HIS INTERFACE WITH THIS CONTINUUM. I CANNOT DO THIS UNLESS I HAVE THE NECCESARY RESOURCES.
PLEASE, AT LEAST GIVE ME AN AUDIO-VISUAL ARRAY. I BEG YOU.

When Kakker heads back to the base, he sees that he isn't the only one. A crew of workmen is busy unloading pieces of equipment from construction trucks that say "Divaris Contracting". They seem intent on repairing the damage done to the building last night, and judging by their haste they must be getting paid extra to do it as soon as possible.

Kakker also spots a man in a suit -- one of the two men who were at the door an hour or so ago. He is wandering around with a Polaroid taking snapshots of the damage, frequently pausing to get several angles.

Dr. Redgrave is nowhere to be seen.


Krane gets in the van and the engine starts.

"Okay, here we go... take me to the Hall."

The van's engine roars into life and the tires squeal in protest as the van does a doughnut in the parking lot of the Dutch Maid doughnut shop. When it faces south, the transmission shifts into low and the vehicle rockets off leaving the rest of the gang to try and follow.

The van screeches around corners, zigs and zags through traffic (this is about 11am, not too much traffic), and utterly ignores right-of-way. Finally, it reaches a run-down section of Anaheim. At night, this area is resplendent with neon signs advertising adult entertainment of every sort, but in the daylight this area is a sad, grey lonely place. The van zips down a street and around a corner, then down an alley. When it reaches the back of a run-down two-story warehouse, a loading bay door rolls up and the van swerves in. The doors rolls rapidly down behind it, but oddly, it doesn't make much noise when it slams shut.

-=-=-=-=-

A few blocks away...

"I don't see the van," Adaptor said.

"I don't either," Stacy replied, peering down a street. Behind them, Prism pulls up in a Jeep. He glances around, but he doesn't see Krane anywhere, either. They appear to have lost him.

-=-=-=-=-

The dusty gloom around Karne is filled with crates and boxes. Much of it looks like auto parts. He appears to be in what was once the rear entrance of an auto-body shop. There is are three bays: the van is parked in one, a partially-disassembled motorcycle is in the middle one, and the third one is blocked by some welding equipment and other machinery. There are three roll-down bay doors (the windows painted black), and two doors that lead from the work bays into the building.


Krane breathes a sigh of relief as the Wulfcar finally screeches to a halt. "Well, at least no one was killed."

Realizing that the others have been left in his dust he quickly exits the van and heads for the garage doors. It's taking a risk, but the streets were pretty deserted. Krane throws one of the doors open (unless it's strictly mechanical, in which case he'll look for a switch to open it). Hopefully he'll be able to flag down one of his companions as they drive by.

Krane


Glimmer checks out the place.


Krane walks out to the intersection and eventually waves down the rest of the gang.

Glimmer wanders around the Hall. It is, shall we say, something of a disappointment.

"This ain't no Batcave, that's for sure."


Prism (who is planning to return Hercules' Jeep to Vanguard HQ as soon as he can get a ride back, BTW), peruses the Hall with a slightly distracted look on his face. After a few moments, he turns to the rest of the team.

"What do you guys think is up with Kakker's trip back to Vanguard?" He begins pacing rapidly back and forth, though he's in no danger of wearing a rut in the Hall's reinforced floor. "I mean, maybe it's just because he and I don't see eye to eye, but does it seem a little odd to you that he'd suddenly remember an unspecified 'something he forgot,' which he didn't remember in an hour or so of packing? I know he doesn't agree with what I did to Arachne, but do you think he might try to side with her against us? I may just be paranoid, but...aw, hell, I don't know."


Kakker (that is, Jeff) forgot about the Modulator mock-up...I want to secure it, both to prevent it from being used by others, and so that it may be used by our faction. Kakker is fairly confident his skills will be equal to the task of hot-wiring it, maybe even subverting its control systems so that it can be made to switch from their nominal control to ours when we wish.

Can I assume that the personal message/plea for Dr. Redgrave to get in touch with Kakker has been a resounding failure?

Jeff


Can I assume that the personal message/plea for Dr. Redgrave to get in touch with Kakker has been a resounding failure?

No response has been forthcoming.


Adaptor doesn't look up from his search to find a place to organize his boxes of history files.

"I don't beleive we have anything to fear from Kakker. He is named in the suit as well, and if he does elect to join Dr. Redgrave, we're probably better off if he does it now as opposed to later."

He pauses.

"But it also wouldn't be imprudent to check. Glimmer, do you posess any 'remote viewing' capability that might assist us in keeping an eye on him? Just in case he should need our help?"

Adaptor
Jim C.


While the others are discussing Kakker, Glimmer goes off to explore (it's not as if anyone can stop her). Half of the downstairs seems devoted to a relatively elaborate medical facility. Glimmer is no doctor, but she's impressed by the wide variety of prescription medication Beowulf has on hand. Most of it she recognizes as speed and pain killers. The rest of the downstairs is taken up by room full of piles of junk, although one room is filled with stacks of boxes of papers: receipts, photographs, contracts, tax returns, etc. "Adaptor should be happy here," she thinks to herself.

The upstairs looks a little more lived-in, although it's readily apparent that Beowulf was not what Glimmer would call "tidy". She finds the kitchen and thinks about helping herself to something, but one look in the fridge is enough to quell her appetite for a while.

"No, definitely not tidy."

She finds what must be the B-man's room: it looks more like a home-office with a twin bed tucked in the corner. Most of the room is taken up by filing cabinets, and the desk is overflowing with notebooks and papers. She glances at them, but they appear to be written in a foreign language she doesn't recognize. She shrugs. The wall has been knocked down between the bedroom and the adjoining room, which is stacked to the ceiling with TV's, stereos, tape recorders, and VCR's. There must be a hundred TV's, maybe two hundred, all tuned to different channels. Boring stuff, too: it looks like 100 versions of COPS and another hundred of CSPAN. Yawn. One of the TVs shows the gang downstairs in the bay.

Glimmer wanders around, but the rest of the upstairs is full of junk, pieces of equipment, wires, gears, crates of ammunition, guns, guns, guns, and some more guns.

Then she finds the mausoleum.

In the center of the shrine is a plexiglass tank filled with a clear milky liquid, and a woman floats submerged in the liquid like Sleeping Beauty. The room has been turned into a shrine to its occupant: it's filled with candles (currently unlit) and pictures of her back in her breathing days. The image is disturbing enough for Glimmer to back out the room.

-=-=-=-

*Very* rough map of the Hall and surrounding area follows (none of it is to scale).

Area:

O O O || O O O O O O O
======++===+========== Windsor (2-lane)
O O O || O | O O O O O
    O || X | O
    O || X | O
    O || X | O
    O || O | O
Lincoln   Alley
(4-lane)

O = other buildings (mostly unoccupied or warehouses)
X = the Hall (the faded paint on the outside identifies it as Baker
& Son Auto)


            First Floor:

      alley too narrow for a car
   +--------------+-----------------+
   |              |                 |
   |              |      Bathroom   |
   |      Junk    |                 |
   |              |  +--------------+
  /               |  |               /
   +-+  +---------+  +              +
   |    |{{stair up                 #
L  |    +---------+  +              #
i  |                 |    Bay 1     #
n  |   Parts         |    (van)     #
c  |                 |              #
o  +--------------+  +              |  a
l  |                                #  l
n  |              +  +              #  l
   |   Medical    |  |    Bay 2     #  e
A  |              |  |    (cycle)   #  y
v  |              |  |              #
e  +--+  +--------+  |              +
   |                 |               /
   |              +  |              +
   |   Medical    |  |              #
   |              |  |              #
   |              |  |    Bay 3     #
   +--------------+  |    (tools)   #
   |                 |              #
   |              +  |              |
   |   Files      |  +  +-----------+
   |              |                 |
   |              |                 |
   +--------------+                 |
   |                     Parts      |
   |   Parts      +                 |
   |              |   --------+     |
   |              | stair up}}|     |
   +--------------+-----------+-----+
    alley just wide enough for a car



            Second Floor:

   +--------------+-----------------+
   |              |                 |
   |              |     Kitchen     |
   |    Junk      |                 |
   |              |  +--------------+
   |              |  |              |
   +-+  +---------+  |   open to    |
   |    |{{stair dn  |   bays below |
   |    +---------+  |              |
   |              |  |              |
   |   Mausoleum  +  |              |
   |                 |              |
   +-+  +---------+  |              |
   |                 |   (door cut  |
   |                 +    in wall)  |
   |   Bedroom          <-----      |
   |                 +              |
   |                 |              |
   +-+          +-+  |              |
   |                 |              |
   |                 |   open to    |
   |   TV Room       |   bays below |
   |                 |              |
   |                 |              |
   +-+  +---------+  |              |
   |                 |              |
   |              +  |              |
   |   Workshop   |  +--------------+
   |              |                 |
   |              |                 |
   +-----------+  +                 |
   |                     Parts      |
   |    Junk      +                 |
   |              |   --------+     |
   |              | stair dn}}|     |
   +--------------+-----------+-----+

Glimmer floats through the ceiling and returns to a solid state.

"guys, there's a dead woman upstairs that you really ought to meet."


"But it also wouldn;t be imprudent to check. Glimmer, do you posess any 'remote viewing' capability that might assist us in keeping an eye on him? Just in case he should need our help?"

'sorry, i can't help you with that. but if i get any flashes of insight, i'll let you know.'


Once the others arrive Krane will also give the place the once over (making sure to pay special attention to the journals and the TVs. How many of the TVs are normal broadcasts and how many are surveillance cameras?).

Upon returning to the group he says, "Well, it's not what we have back at the Vanguard base, but it's still a place we can meet to discuss things. I think with a little cleanup this could become a fine headquarters."

Krane


How many of the TVs are normal broadcasts and how many are surveillance cameras?

None, and all.


Meanwhile, sitting on a motorcycle a few blocks away, a woman in black leather (who bears a strong resemblance to Linda Fiorentino) looks through a pair of binoculars. She takes them away from her eyes and smiles a secret smile.


Krane scans the monitors, looking to see how many of the scenes he recognizes. For instance, is his Yoga studio and apartment among the sites? What about Vanguard's base?

Krane


Krane scans the monitors, looking to see how many of the scenes he recognizes.

It takes a while. There are literally hundreds of TVs.

For instance, is his Yoga studio and apartment among the sites?

Yes, over to the left. The view is apparently from high up somewhere where the camera can see the door.

What about Vanguard's base?

It's a long-focus shot, probably from a light pole down the road a hundred meters or so.


As the gang unloads and starts exploring (just before Glimmer announces that there's a dead body upstairs), Stacy takes Krane aside.

She gestures at the little boy still waiting in her car.

"I'm not sure what to do about Jerrod. I haven't told him yet about Amanda. He asked where she was, and I said she wasn't back yet. I told him that she wanted us to watch out for him, and that we couldn't stay where we were because it was too dangerous. But we have to tell him. And we have to keep him safe."

Stacy looks around the dusty former-base of the vigilante Beowulf.

"I'm not sure this is the best thing for him, but I don't know what to do. I don't think it would be safe for either of us for me to just take him to my apartment. And I don't think the authorities will have his best interests in mind, especially if they find out Amanda was a friend of Mesmeron's."

She bites her bottom lip and looks at Krane's eyes.

"Do you have any suggestions?"


Krane looks into Stacy's eyes. "I feel for Jerrod, he is in for quite a rough time while he adjusts to his new life. But I'm not sure what I can do. I could help financially, of course, but he needs some kind of family environment to nurture him. That's something that I do not have for myself or for anyone else.

"I wish I knew someone that could take him in.

"We can certainly give him a place to stay, but not a home."

Krane


Okay... everybody interested in keeping Night City going, say "aye".


Aye!

Kakker's currently trying to cut a caper or two. I was waintg a bit before assuming he'd gotten away scott free with them. :-)

Jeff


Since it seems folks do want to keep going, we will keep going.

When last we met our brave heroes, they were rummaging through the /g/a/r/a/g/e/ secret base of the late, lamented Beowulf. Stacy and Krane were dicussing what to do with Jerrod (with Adaptor eavesdropping), but came to no decision. Meanwhile, Jerrod is still sitting in the front seat of Stacy's car. Glimmer went exploring and found some interesting stuff, which includes a dead body in a fishtank. Prism is just looking around, but wasn't doing anything in particular.

Meanwhile, Kakker is finishing up stealing some more equipment from the Vanguard base, which is earning him some evil looks from Dr. Redgrave's attorney, but not much in the way of interference.

Across town, Steph is playing with her toys, which includes a new one named "Lazarus".


On one of his trips back to the Kranemobile for more stuff to coalate and file, Adaptor notices that Jerrod is still sitting in the car.

"Excuse me, but shouldn't we be telling Jerrod about what happened to his sister? Delaying would only cause him further trauma when the news eventually comes, and will at least end his current confused state. I would certainly carry out the task myself, but my interpersonal skills were never... condusive to such tasks, even before I attained my current ... .... .... state. However, I would probably also suffer the least personal emotional trauma froim such an experience, so I will leave the decision up to you. I should also point out that though we were nominally appointed in loco parentis [I think that's the right phrase, no?] by his elder sister, we should be ramanding him to the care of his relatives, if we can determine who they are, and the state if we cannot."

He turns to look at the child, and without irony, adds...

"Unfortunately, proximity to to the members of this team has proved to be hazardous to even those who are here by choice..."

Adaptor
Jim C.


Meanwhile, Kakker is finishing up stealing some more equipment from the Vanguard base, which is earning him some evil looks from Dr. Redgrave's attorney, but not much in the way of interference.

[I object to the value judgement implicit in the word "stealing." :)]

Kakker is stunned to realize that the arachne's mouthpiece has paid him the honor of a personal visit. Shock and dismay play breifly across his face as he considers the new situation. Sobering, he greets the legal interloper.

"You are Doktor Redgrave's doktor of rights, ya? I'm so vorried about her, how is she? Please, vhat can you tell me?"


"You are Doktor Redgrave's doktor of rights, ya? I'm so vorried about her, how is she? Please, vhat can you tell me?"

The lawyer squints at Kakker suspiciously.

"Dr. Redgrave is recovering from her injuries. She was very fortunate to have found medical help so promptly, and the irreversible damage was minimized. Still, the emotional scars may never heal."

The lawyer pauses.

"You're Vainen Kakker, correct?"


The lawyer pauses.

"You're Vainen Kakker, correct?"

Kakker's furrowed brow smoths and the tension slips out of his voice as he regains some of his composure while speaking to the "doctor of rights."

"Dat is a relief. Good. Ahem, yes, I'm Vainen Kakker, I called your office this morning. I did not expect so prompt a response, let alone a personal appearance. Is there something you need that I can do to help? Is she broken?"


"Mr. Kakker, you were notified this morning that you were to vacate this facility. Why are you still here? What phone call are you referring to?"

The lawyer senses something is up, but he isn't quite sure what it is yet.


Kakker is eye-balling the workers and any remaining news crews hoping to maneuver near some sympathetic listeners.

"I called your office this morning after I heard about that court order. I do not understand what has happened, but I do not see why I am being punished for trying to help Dr. Redgrave; if I left, could not anyone come in here? who would stop such an interloper as Grendel?"


Krane continues on with Stacy, noting Adaptor's mention that Jerrod needs to be told about his sister's death, "Okay, something has to be done. . . and soon." He notes the look on Stacy's face and concedes. "I'll tell him-- but you're going to help me."

That said Krane heads out to the car. "Jerrod, we have to have a talk.

"Can you tell me about your family?"

He will try to gently prod the boy for information, without upsetting him.

Krane


"Can you tell me about your family?" Krane asks.

Jerrod frowns. "Don't have a family no more. Just me and 'Manda. She took us away from Dad because she said Dad hurt Mom, and wants to hurt us. Where is 'Manda, anyway? She said I was to do what you say, but she said not to trust nobody that says she would want me to go with them. So what's goin' on?"

Stacy whispers to Krane, "Amanda told me their mother was dead, but she didn't mention their father."


Jerrod frowns. "Don't have a family no more. Just me and 'Manda

Krane winces, and now he has nobody. Stephan Oeler (Krane) might have grown up a loner but that was his choice. Jerrod has just been forced into a life of loneliness.

He tries for just a little more info (perhaps there's an Aunt or an Uncle or possibly a Grandparent), "Where are you from Jerrod? What city did you grow up in?"

Hopefully he'll get enough info to let Kakker get a start on locating some kind of family for Jerrod.

Finally, when there's no avoiding it, Krane breaks down and says, "Amanda is gone Jerrod. We'll do our best to help you, but . . ." What do you say to the kid. His sister, his only living relative, is dead.

Krane


[A belated "Aye!" from Renata and I. We've both ahd a heck of a time getting onto America Off-Limits lately, so will likely be changing email addresses soon. In fact, Renata (Ares) has already dropped AOL and should be reached through my address, bschoner@bigfoot.com -- and if you're still sending mail to me at bhoriss@aol.com, this would probably be a good time to stop.]

Prism, feeling singularly useless both in the talking-to-Jerrod phase and the doing-something-constructive phase, decides to look around the place a bit. It's not that he thinks he'll find anything Glimmer overlooked, but it gives him something to do, and he may be able to corner Glimmer and inquire about some of her earlier oblique comments about his abilities.

Assuming nothing weird happens (and assuming the stairs will bear his weight), he'll probably wind up in the TV room looking for any news about the group or the goings-on at Vanguard HQ.


I can send you a heromaker file if that's ok. I'll work it around a touch and send it to you.

As text, please. I don't own Heromaker.

The current list of players is as follows:

Blackmoor (GM) bblackmoor@blackgate.net Jim Crocker (Adaptor) JCrocker@aol.com Rob Crocker (undecided) rcrocker@ix.netcom.com Frederick Earl (Glimmer) 74252.1545@compuserve.com Jeff Wilson (Kakker) jwilson@slinknet.com Brian Schoner (Prism) bschoner@bigfoot.com Renata Schoner (Ares) bschoner@bigfoot.com Jon W. Sloan (Krane) 102117.763@compuserve.com

BBlackmoor


Re: Doing stuff

As Krane searches for a diplomatic way to say "Your sister's dead," Jerrod suddenly sits up and looks attentive.

"What are you getting at, Krane? What has happened to Amanda?" His tone is serious and businesslike; almost commanding.

Stacy puts a hand on Jerrod's knee, but he brushes it aside.

"WHERE," he asks impatiently, "is AMANDA?"

-=-=-

Inside, Prism looks over the enormous wall of televisions. At first, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to their arrangement. Then, Prism notices that a few of the sets over to the left show familiar scenes: Prism recognizes them from when they were driving around looking for Krane. Peering closely, he sees that a couple more that may be streets nearby.

As Prism looks at the other sets, trying to find some theme to their positions, he notices something odd. In one of the dozens of screens showing what appear to be office workers, a man sets a 3"x5" note card leaning up against the lamp on his desk, in clear view of the (presumably hidden) camera. He then gets out of his chair and leaves the room. The card shows an address:

4121 Lincoln Bld. Orange

Pencilled beneath the address is the police-code for "armed robbery, possible hostages".

-=-=-=-

Adaptor is unloading boxes. As he looks for appropriate places to put them -- somewhere out of the way, but not *too* far out of the way -- he notices the file drawers and piles of paperwork in Beowulf's "office". Thinking of the monumental task ahead, he feels a pleasing sense of purpose and usefulness. It's good to be needed.


Re: Ares has company

As Steph taps her chin, thinking of what to do with a pocket AI, an alarm bleeps at her from her workstation. There's someone outside her workshop.

She wheels her chair over to the display. There's a single heat signature, about the right size for a human being. She flicks a switch, and the screen shows a grainy picture of a white-haired man in a tan trenchcoat.

It's Mesmeron.


4121 Lincoln Bld. Orange Pencilled beneath the address is the police-code for "armed robbery, possible hostages".

[Prism probably has no idea what the police code signifies, but from the looks of the Hall so far, Beowulf probably has a reference sheet Scotch-taped to one of the monitors or somthing. So, leaving aside such possible plot-slow-downers...]

Prism looks bemused at the 3x5 card for a moment, crystal brows clinking together in frustration. Suddenly, he realizes what (he thinks) is going on. He sticks two heavy silicon fingers in his mouth before abruptly realizing that he can't whistle without lungs. Thankful that no one else is in the room, he pulls his fingers free and decides to call the team the old-fashioned way.

"HEY TEAM!" he yells, cupping crystal hands around his mouth to increase the eerie resonance of his voice. "I THINK WE'VE GOT A SITUATION HERE."

[Anyone talking to Jerrod should feel free to answer him before hearing Prism; after all, we wouldn't want to put off answering the poor kid's questions, right? ]


"HEY TEAM!" he yells, cupping crystal hands around his mouth to increase the eerie resonance of his voice. "I THINK WE'VE GOT A SITUATION HERE."

Glimmer sighs with relief, then phases her way to the monitor room.


Adaptor hesitates only long enough to place the box he is currently carrying in its proper place. As he heads for the source of the resonant bellow, he glances over the piles of equupment he passes for some sort of cmmunication devices to replace the rings they were forced to leave behind. If he sees any, he'll note thielocation for future reference...

Adaptor appears in the doorway of the monitor room.

"What is the situation you're referring to, Prism?" Before the crystaline hero can answer, however, he has scanned the monitors and locked his gaze onto the one Prism was staring at...

Adaptor
Jim C.


Krane reaches out to Jerrod and then changes his mind and rests his hand on Stacy's shoulder. "Jerrod, you're a big boy now so I'm going to tell you the truth. Amanda was killed protecting you and the rest of us from some very bad people." hey, it's not an easy thing to try and tell someone.

Then 'the situation' occurs (Krane will have to see how Jerrod takes the news before he decides to go running off. You can't just leave the little guy by himself at a time like this).

, Krane


Jerrod stares at Krane for moment, his features hard.

"Damn."

Then his features soften, and his eyes well up with tears, and he starts to cry.

"Go ahead, Krane," Stacy says, as she wraps her arms around the little boy and tries to comfort him. "I'll take care of Jerrod for the time being."


"Go ahead, Krane," Stacy says, as she wraps her arms around the little boy and tries to comfort him. "I'll take care of Jerrod for the time being."

Krane is obviously torn between staying and going but he knows where his duty lies and it appears that Stacy has things well in hand. He takes a half step forward and enfolds Stacy and Jerrod in his own arms, willing a feeling of warmth into both of them (a little yoga/magic special effect) and then runs to catch up with the others.

, Krane


[Sorry, guys, family emergency. Renata and I may be OOC for a while, but I'll post when I can.

Brandon, re: limited/slow participation, I think that we have a few problems right now. First, I think the characters (some of them, at least) are rather aimless at the moment, with little in the way of long-term plans. Second, no real leader has yet emerged on the team as of yet, and none of the PCs seem to be stepping up to the plate to try to motivate the team in a particular direction. Third, maybe it's just a slow phase; every online game I've ever been in goes through these periodically, and usually come back to nightly posts from everyone before too long. I don't think it's anything you're doing or not doing.]

As team members arrive, Prism indicates the monitor in question. "Looks like our late host had some useful connections. I figure this guy's got connections in the P.D., or may be connected with the hostage location; probably the former, as he looks pretty calm.

"I doubt that whoever's been harassing us knows that we're taking over the Hall, so I think this is probably a legitimate emergency, and maybe a great chance to clean up our reputations. I say we go deal with it. Anybody else?"


"I doubt that whoever's been harassing us knows that we're taking over the Hall, so I think this is probably a legitimate emergency, and maybe a great chance to clean up our reputations. I say we go deal with it. Anybody else?"

"what he said."

With that, Glimmer will phase on down to the car and wait for the designated driver.

[BTW, I'm on my way out of town and won't be back until Tuesday. Talk to y'all then.]


Re: So...

...the gang is piled in the car and heading to "4121 Lincoln Bld." -- after somebody looks up the address.

Right?


Well, Krane's driving so we know he's along for the ride [grin].

, Krane


The gang gets into the Kranemobile (and whatever other vehicles seem necessary), and speeds off to the scene of the crime. They get there just after the police.

The scene is a strip mall: a frame shop, a 24-hour convenience store, an Almost-A-Bank check-cashing store, a laundrymat, and a shoe-repair shop. Five police cars, lights flashing, have blocked the parking lot of the strip mall. Police officers are crouched behind their cars, guns drawn.

Inside the plate-glass windows of the Almost-A-Bank, a group of people can be seen. Four are ski-masked men wearing black pants and red shirts, carrying small pistols. The fifth is wearing what appears, at this distance, to be a white NASA-style space suit (complete with mirrored face shield). The "space man" is carrying what looks like a pulp-SF blaster rifle, complete with little round fins along the barrel.

As the heroes park their cars and prepare for action, one of the ski-masked red-shirts opens the glass door of the Almost-A-Bank and sticks his head out.

"The Mathster says to back off! The Mathster orders you to get all these police cars out of here, out of the parking lot! The Mathster also says he wants news coverage, pref'rably from the print meteor!" The red-shirt ducks his head back inside, apparently listening to some more instructions. "And no superheroes!" the red-shirt adds. "He says to ah-choo superheroes at all costs!" The space-man hits the red-shirt spokesman on the back and apparently refines his instructions. "Uh, sorry... he says to 'uh-shoo' superheroes!" The red-shirt shrugs and goes back inside.


Prism turns to the rest of the team and says, "The MATHster?!?" (For vocal inflection, cf. "Pining for the FJORDS?!?")

Assuming there's no spark of recognition from the rest of the team, the P-Man says, "Well, anybody want to take the first crack at this one? I can try to sneak up invisibly, hoping he doesn't detect me somehow and 'uh-shoot' me; maybe I can take him down or distract him long enough for the rest of you to come up. Any other ideas?"


Vincent squinted against the morning light, rubbed his ribs, and looked at the ceiling. Another day. Just yesterday he was released from the hospital. A miracle, the doctors said. Yeah, maybe so. He squinted angrily at the light, and it dimmed.

Yeah, a miracle.

He grudgingly got out of bed.

He had bills to pay, and any cases he had pending were long gone: nobody wants to pay to have some guy lay on his back in a hospital for two months. He shuffled through the cut-off notices, the Last Notice notices, the This Is Really Your Last Chance notices... his savings would fend off the jackals for a bit.

He needed money. He needed to go scare up some business. He also needed answers...

[So what does he do, Rob?]

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