I finally got The Call. The one I was told to leave my old life behind for, and come to this shit-hole city and wait for. Took them frekkin’ long enough.
It’s quite disturbing just how informed this “Senior Jiminez” was about my past, considering all the yen I dropped to try and distance myself from it. And just how did he get this number, anyway?
Those questions would have to wait until we’re on better terms, I suppose. I’ve heard the tales of how this line of work can go. And, speaking of cashflow, this was exactly the opportunity I needed to try and turn my credit balance from a nosedive into… well, perhaps at least a shallower decline.
Introductions to my ‘Runner’ partners were made at a little dive bar called La Cocina, where we were given the details of the requested job. A group of gangers had set up a BTL operation in what’s supposed to be a “nice” neighborhood (as if they even know what such a thing is, around here) and wanted them evicted. Seems straightforward enough.
As for my newfound coworkers… ‘Roxy’ appears to be a razor-girl with back-alley implants and “makes poor decisions” practically tattooed across her forehead, while the supersoldier-turned-freelancer who goes by ‘Ace’ seems almost as out of place in this line of work as a former-medical-student like myself. Nevertheless, they were each offered extra cash by the Fixer for taking a rookie like me along on this job, which silently speaks volumes about the trust he places in each of these mercs. So, I decided to just play the ‘support’ role to the best of my ability while these two professionals show me the ropes.
The squat of these gangers was above a bodega across the street from the Cavalry Cemetery, near the corner of S. Downey and Whittier. Rebuilt plastcrete businesses crammed together like sardines lined the roads, but spotting our destination was a simple enough matter. Recon was performed by Ace, who seems to have a knack for flawlessly blending into the background when he needs. Little useful intel was found, so Roxy and he decided a frontal assault would be our chosen tactic, with Ace acting as sniper support from a neighboring roof.
To kick off the action, Roxy put on her best ‘street girl’ impression in an attempt to distract the door guards, but upon catching sight of two additional armed guards just inside the front lobby, things took a sudden and decidedly dangerous turn in very short order. Roxy lunged into combat without first signaling Ace or myself — we have got to work on better comms for future gigs! Fortunately, a trigger-happy Ace was at the ready to provide support, but it all happened far too quickly for me to much aid from my post-up down on the corner. I hustled as quickly as my short legs would take me, and joined the fray just in time to spin a Nerve-Frayer into the brain of one of Roxy’s assailants, nearly killing the poor stupid soul.
In short order, our little trio had managed to down 3 of the entry guardians, but the fourth had managed to flee and alert the rest of the entire damned building! Ace later told me that he watched the whole thing spiral via his thermal optics, as he was able to see – and fire that rifle of his – through the building’s walls. Handy, that.
During the scuffle, Roxy took a bullet straight to the upper intestines from a lucky ganger’s semi-automatic, and started quickly fading from the fight. Fortunately for me, she kept her wits in place enough to shove me behind cover before more incoming fire could threaten to do the same to me. Thinking quickly, I mustered up the arcane forces necessary to build a Blood Barrier that separated she and I from the oncoming forces long enough for Ace to circle around the rear of the building and take the rest of them by surprise. From our position behind the bodega’s front counter, Roxy and I heard the quick burst fire and a hail of incoming bullets from Ace’s automatic weapon lay into multiple gang members. I took this opportunity to fire another Nerve-Frayer through the barrier at their shaman that’d made an attempt to bring the wall down. Fortunately, his street magic was no match for my university-level incantations, and the Nerve-Frayer connected with enough force to black him out.
Between my display of arcane expertise, and Ace’s fire support from the back door, the remaining gangers appeared eager to surrender and flee. Ace allowed them to run, and I got to work trying to finally see about mending the bullet wound in Roxy’s abdomen. Through incredible effort, and no small amount of good fortune, I managed to knit her muscle and intestines back together somewhat, and carefully expressed the bullet from the wound via my well-trained control over human physiology. Some of the best patching I’d had the misfortune of needing to perform, if I’m to be honest about it.
With Roxy back in a better state, and the gangers on the run, the three of us quickly set about our business in the now-abandoned BTL manufactory.
On the second floor, we found a couple of chipheads in a bad state, and many of the walls had been knocked out in order to make space for the gangers’ machinery. I took the two chipheads to a rideshare out front and sent them off to one of the Hospitaler’s nearby haunts and notified my contact to see what she could do for them, while Ace and Roxy used the plastic explosives we’d brought to rig the building to collapse inward on itself.
Once we were all back on the street, Ace offered to let me have the honors of pressing the detonator, but I insisted Roxy was more deserving, since she’s the one that took a bullet on this job. She accepted the detonator in her clawed hand, and slammed it into her forehead to start the party. With a quick series of explosions, the second floor’s ceiling brought the top floor down, and the innards of the ghetto building collapsed inward on itself in spectacular fashion.
Apparently Ace has this thing about not looking at the explosions he causes? He began walking away before the detonator had even been pressed. To each his own, I suppose.
Job well done, despite the mess. And – a big bonus for me – Roxy forwarded me the 500Y ‘training bonus’ Jiminez was to send her way. A bit nerve-wracking, but all-in-all, not as bad a job as I’d been led to believe they could be.