The Archology Sector of Downtown L.A. was about as close to fancy as you could get without a corporate barcode branded into your flesh or designer blu blood pumping through your platinum docwagon insured veins. This part of the city was dense with sweat and chrome, synth leather and Real-Cotton socks. An homage to the old Los Angeles, where the filthy rich could, in-theory, rub elbows with the filthy. For the right amount of nuyen or pride, just about any thirst could be quenched there.
So it came as no surprise when Roxy accepted the contract to “motivate” some jackass to leave a woman alone at her job, that that job would be at a place like Club Abaddon. The place was smack in the middle of Archology central, yet had somehow avoided urban renewal. Its clientele ran the gamut of wage slaves and go-gangers to corporate partners and wives-night-out-gangs slumming it for cheap thrills. The unifying factor was that Club Abaddon was considered “safe”, even the gangs didn’t risk their credibility there. A fact that lent itself well to the seven-year-rise in profitability of a place that had gone bankrupt decade after decade prior to its acquisition by the current proprietor.
Mr. Jimenez had given Roxy the address of the job once she’d accepted it, no name, nothing. So as she pulled up she was pleased that she was “recognized” and waved down by her client; a pretty thai woman wearing a green sarong-like dress. She introduced herself as Lamai. Roxy then requested confirmation and she rattled off her name and Mr. Jimenez’s recommendation. Satisfied, Roxy followed her inside the club.
The entrance was crowded with people, but Lamai maneuvered her way knowingly inside, Roxy in tow. At the front kiosk Lamai indicated with that night’s pass code; Alpine Green, that Roxy was on the House’s list. Presenting her forearm to the robot behind the anti-ballistic screen layered with flyers, Roxy got her stamp to enter the club, glowing electric purple under the blacklight inside.
Classical music in the foyer hallway quickly gave way to Speed Pulse from Low-Orbital Intercept’s latest tracks, while sweat drenched clients dressed in the latest fashion filled the dance floor under sparkling disco-tech globes in the ceiling. Lamai inquired if Roxy wanted a drink, but Roxy was a professional and she just shook her head wordlessly at the inquiry. Lamai continued leading Roxy on to a side corridor and down some stairs into a secure portion of the club. Something seemed off, but Roxy couldn’t put her razor on it until she saw the real wood paneling and door to an office; Lamai wasn’t the client, she was just a gopher. Roxy immediately sized up Lamai, the security measures, closest exits, and how many security personnel were between her and the front door. Just in case.
Entering the office, Roxy was met by a classically beautiful caucasian woman named Annabelle. She offered Roxy a seat. Roxy took it. Lamai left. This left Annabelle, Roxy, and Annabelle’s body guard in the room to discuss the details. According to her, she was the owner and proprietor of Club Abaddon, and she had, on Mr. Jimenez’s recommendation, hired Roxy on for this job.
The job in question, Annabelle added after Roxy’s professional silence and calm, was to get rid of a man harassing her employees. Photos, details of his stalking and harassment, and motive were given (mental instability is such a blanket term to cover up any number of secret agendas). He fit the bill as a desperate skeevy guy, blond hair, thick glasses, hadn’t shaved lately. He was almost too stereotypical. This smelled off somehow.
Roxy took this information, asked a few targeted questions regarding when and where the incidents took place, and then confirmed that death and specificity of the warning’s origin were off the table, but anything in between was fair game. Roxy then gave Annabelle her burner phone number, indicated she would be in the area, and for her girls to be given the number in case the target made contact. With the 3-block radius given, Roxy guaranteed intercept within 60 seconds. Annabelle gave Roxy a green credit chit that provided free access to the bar and restaurant at Club Abaddon for the evening.
As Roxy was about to leave and begin her sting operation, Annabelle was informed by her muscle that security had ID’d the perpetrator across the street at the GAP Corporation’s street level diner; Banana Re-pancakes. He was clearly staking out the front of Club Abaddon, even using old timey binoculars in a non-subtle way to keep eyes on the club’s entrance. Roxy informed Annabelle that she would take care of it and set about on her plan.
Saddling up to the bar, Roxy had no trouble making space with her razor fingers on full display. The bartender, Mads, filled her request for ice water (no floaters) which Roxy quickly dumped over herself. Her overactive Wired Reflexes had built up quite a bit of heat while she was acting “pro” for the client. She followed that up for an order of bottle water, which Mads gingerly opened for her. She drank it, tipped him 2 nuyen of her own money, and then stepped outside.
Outside Roxy spotted the perpetrator across the street at the diner, guzzling down coffee with the binoculars at the counter beside him. She blended into the street traffic and bummed a few coffin nails from some teens who hadn’t lucked out on fake identification to get them into one of the clubs yet. From there she watched as the perp watched the club.
Suddenly he was up and moving. Paying his bill and hustling out onto the street with a purpose. The guy clearly had no tact. Roxy measured the situation and identified his quarry; one of the girls who worked at Club Abaddon who was leaving work and on her way home. Smelling the worst scenario, Roxy shadowed the man, ensuring she was within distance to make a move if he did something stupid.
He did something stupid. At a crosswalk the man caught up with his target. He removed a Walgreen’s brand taser from his right pocket and pushed it up against the back of the girl. She saw him whisper something into her ear while he punched a number on his cellphone in his other pocket. Then he put his hand on her waist as if they were friendly to one another the girl was frozen in terror. He was in the middle of a crowd, so Roxy was pretty certain he wouldn’t be dumb enough to do anything here, no, he’d try to move her somewhere secluded first.
Sure enough, he started to turn her down the street instead of waiting at the crosswalk. Roxy moved in. Just as she entered his peripheral vision, Roxy was beside the man and she invaded his personal space, mirroring his stance on the girl, Roxy looped her arm around his waist pushed his arm with the taser between their bodies so he couldn’t aim it at her. She then snuggled against him and loudly said, “There you are, lover boy! Get your hands off my man!” In shock the man looked at her and forgot his grip on his target. She fled with confusion and thanks in her eyes and dashed back to her workplace.
Now the man was alone with Roxy, and the same confusion was in his eyes, but instead of thanks, there was fear. Roxy continued to ignore personal boundaries and turned to face the man, dragging her razors just hard enough over his clothing that there was no mistaking what her fingers were tipped with. She began an aggressive onslaught of “affection” that was more designed to inflict bruises and keep him unbalanced than do anything to be enticing, she dialed up the intimidation, “I’ve seen you around here, and I’ve been waiting all week to get my claws in you, loverboy.”
In a panic, the man tried to get his taser free and shot it, but Roxy threw his aim off and it hit an old lady instead. She went down like she was hit with a cattleprod. The crowd made some space, but otherwise kept out of the slightly-unorthodox-drunken-seductions of a couple late at night in the Archology Sector. An old man checked on the woman, then stole her purse and shuffled off as best he could. Yep, everything was on par for the Archology Sector.
Roxy ripped the phone out of loverboy’s jacket pocket and inquired, “Who’d you call, loverboy, we making a deli-thin-you-sandwich tonight to eat up?” He managed to stammer out “I…I…just… called my… car… that’s all.” Roxy smiled, biting his neck aggressively as the Jackrabbit pulled up to the curb, “Good, get in.” God he stank like garlic fries.
Roxy followed the man into his economical transportation vehicle. The autopilot continued to take them where he was planning to take the girl. Roxy made sure he couldn’t touch the wheel by continuing her feigned sexually aggressive assault on him, to really drive home the point. Soft places were touched with her finger razors as not-so-subtle warnings and threats. Satisfied that they were far enough away and he was suitably freaked-the-fuck-out, Roxy sat back in her seat and cut the bullshit, “Where are we going and what were you going to do to her when you got her there?”
The man finally stammered out, realizing his dick wasn’t in imminent danger, “F…f… fucking vampires. They’ve taken over the girls minds. They’re drinking people’s blood and preying on the weak. I’m trying to help them. Please don’t kill me.” He spit out without much of a fight.
“Look around you, pal. Everybody in this fucking town is a fucking vampire.” Roxy spit back without a second thought.“Oh… Oh god! They got you too. You’ve got to snap out of it. They’ve put a spell on you!”
Curious, Roxy played along, “Yeah they did. You know what the spell is called? It’s called nuyen you dumb motherfucker. You’re just lucky they didn’t pay me enough to kill you.” Roxy traced a blade over her cellphone to call her motorcycle to her location.
“Pull the car over.”
The man disengaged the auto-nav and the car pulled to the side of the road. Roxy turned to fully face the man now, leveling with him.
“Chummer, I really don’t care if they’re vampires. All I know is I got hired to make you leave those girls alone. So as long as you do that, then I get paid and you never see me again. But if you don’t do as you are told, then I get hired again, and that time you are fucking hamburger, pal. Understand?”
“But… they need help. Someone has to help them. Listen, there’s some of us trying to put a stop to this evil in our city. We can offer you more in exchange…” The man scrambled for some sort of edge in the conversation.
Roxy cut him off, “Shut the fuck up. I’m on a contract and I don’t double deal. I’m trying to save your life, so listen; Stay the fuck away from those girls. I get paid. You get to live. It’s that easy.”
The man wasn’t defeated yet, “But, we have to do something. How can you sit there and not care about these creatures? Don’t you understand? If nobody does anything it’ll be just like Bug City all over again. By the time anyone does anything about it, it’ll be too late, and then they’ll level the whole neighborhood to get rid of the infestation! You’ve got to help us stop them!”
Roxy understood the idea of the argument, but the evidence was flimsy as fuck. Would an honest to goodness vampire REALLY set up shop in a new-retro-speed-pulse-goth-club called Club Abaddon? Isn’t that just a LITTLE too on the nose? Even for a nostalgic vampire? She switched tactics.
“I’ll tell you how I can help. You need to change tactics. Whatever plan you had, that failed. If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here, right now, hired by your target to tell you to fuck off. So if you don’t change tactics, that’s game-over-levels-of-stupid. If you really want my help, then you can contact me after this job is done. Until then, my advice, is you are and your buddies come up with a new plan, cause this one is going to get you killed.”
The man finally let defeat sink in.
“Now lean forward.” Roxy waited for the man to comply and then pulled his jacket down and moved his arms still in the sleeves behind the back of his carseat and tied the sleeves together. She then opened the door to get out and reached to press the auto-nav back on. The man finally spoke again.
“Wait, how will I get in touch with you?”
Roxy frowned, “Chummer, if you have to ask, you aren’t ready to get in touch with me. When you know how to do that, then I’ll know you aren’t dumb enough to get us both turned into hamburger.” With that she re-instated the auto-nav and closed the door. As the Jackrabbit rolled off down the street her bike showed up and Roxy climbed aboard, texting a reply to Annabelle’s text message that awaited her on her burner that the job was done.
After a brief stop at Julius Cadabra’s shop to pick the brain of the occultist on the plausibility of vampires in Los Angeles, Roxy returned to Club Abaddon. Lamai indicated she was authorized to pay her for the job. Roxy took the cred chit. Lamai then asked if Roxy had any questions for the client to which Roxy replied, in her best professional guise, “Should I have any questions for her?” Lamai shook her head no and Roxy nodded.
Despite the call of a free real-beef shawarma kebab at the club’s restaurant, Roxy swallowed her pride and kept up her professional guise, practicing what Julius had just told her about vampires and their preference not to shit where they eat. Roxy thus decided not to eat where she shit, or in this case, where she worked, and so settled for a shot of top shelf real-vodka and then she hit the road.
Stopping at a top end restaurant on the way home, Roxy spent some of her contract money on her very own real-beef shawarma. Once home she ritualistically, by candle-light, consumed said meal, in secret, without her roommate(s) smelling it. Meat juice running down her chin and everything. It was sinful.