[PILOT] Prologue

edited June 2013 in ANN_pilot
Seven years ago you were all agents for one of the most secretive international spymasters the world has ever seen.

You were agents free of the crushing grip of the Technocracy, and operating outside the purview of the Megacorporations that now run the world. You were the best of the best, and working together you were the most effective team the world has ever known. Seven years ago, Josine cut off all contact and your organization was plunged into darkness.

Today, Josine has surfaced. You received a text message from him early in the morning, and several others from each individual member of your old team — even Alex — all but validating its authenticity. The message was simple: a set of coordinates, riding on a text message lacking all the usual markings of a carrier-bound message, bounced off of dozens of satellites from a remote location near Reykjavik, Iceland.

Utseo, where were you when you got the message, and why was Tank with you?

Tank, you just got off the phone with Caroline Killbrew, who's your go-to for moving people and hardware across political borders. What did you have her move for you this time, and why did it have to be flawless?


  • [Utseo]

    We were standing at a hot dog stand. Correct that, THE hot dog stand. The single greatest hot dog stand in the entire world. Joey's at 4th Street in Neo York. It's a rather warm day and I was waiting for Tank to finally break down and agree that yes, this dog is a true classic, worth every cred. I don't plan on moving one step until she does. Well, I didn't plan on it, but now there is this message.


    I blink away the message from my shades HUD and tap my right foot expectantly. She's on a comm with Caroline, again. I swear, this girl is so meticulous, what is this, the fifteenth time she's talked to her today? And on the phone? Such a waste of effort when she could emitter-send text-only messages more securely. But she whipped up her comm and swears it's as secure as anything. Riiiight.
  • [Tank]

    Caroline Killbrew, that little con di, was moving some extremely valuable Nanotech Inc. wetware that I liberated. I spent three solid days researching this op and one wrong move by her cho chet contacts would end up getting the du-ing boxes impounded at the docks. I'm only here to check them once they've arrived, hand them off to the buyer and move on. Then they can all du ma nhieu for all I care. I only took this job because Alex begged me, the little dee chaw.

    Utseo is watching me eat this hot dog like he gave me a cute baby. Biến đi, Utseo, I won't give you the satisfaction, dragging me here for something important and all it is is mechanically separated turkey, pork, corn syrup, salt, potassium lactate, sodium phosphates, beef stock, sodium diacetate, maltodextrin for filler, sodium nitrate preservatives, paprika finished off by the ever mysterious "flavorings". And less than ten percent water, since this is in the United States.

    I will not tell him it is tasty. I will not. I look at Joey and say, "Door an nyu cuit cho-or." I doubt he has an always online translator, so he'll take my snarling smile as a compliment. But Utseo knows what I said. I see it in the way he narrows his eyes.

    Di ăn cứt, Utseo. I hate you, you know that.
  • [Utseo]

    Damn, Tank. You are a mean little girl. I don't want to argue, again, so I finish the last two bites of my footlong and wipe at the corners of my mouth and chin fastidiously, then pull her away from the cart, dropping into Vietnamese "just for her".

    Josine just contacted me. He wants us to go to Reykjavik. Don't scowl at me. Alex confirmed its legit, ping him. Ready to travel?"
  • [Tank]

    Josine? Alive? Utseo's not playing with me. Still, I tap out a quick message to Alex, ALEX, IS IT HIM?"

    I'll wait for a reply, glaring up at Utseo.

    Why did Josine contact him and not me? I bet Yoshi is already crawling back in his lap. Alex will go, too. I know he'll go. Emily is done. I'm sure she's done. Doc, I don't know about Doc, I should reach out to him. I'm going. There was never a question. My word's on the line about these parts, though. We have to do the hand-off.

    Where are you, Alex? Answer me, you cặc.
  • Tank, it takes Alex a moment to respond to you. It isn't actually that long, but the suspense of not knowing probably makes it feel like forever.

    Alex, 11:14 AM UTC, <Unknown-number>
    Damn girl, no need to yell! All caps = rage. Message looks as legit as it gets.

    ... 7 years too late, mind you ...

    Less than 30 seconds later, you get another ping — it's the same message Utseo got, with the same signature header. Co-ordinates just outside Reykjavik — maps pin it as an abandoned complex less than an hour out of town.

    Both, You see a few mass-texts go out from Yoshi and Emily to the group. Skepticism and confusion seem to be the main theme.

    Yoshi, 11:15 AM UTC, <Unknown-number>
    It could be a trap... I can get to co-ordinates before sundown. If Josine is there, I will find him.

    Emily, 11:15 AM UTC, <Unknown-number>
    Don't be ridiculous, Yoshi. I had someone who owed me a favor check the major DB's for flags on Reykjavik, and it's so far off the radar rats wouldn't be interested in it. I can be there in 14 hours.

    Alex, 11:16 AM UTC, <Unknown-number>
    Damn... And I just broke open this guy's Vintage Perignon. Shame to let it go to waste I suppose.

    Yoshi, 11:16 AM UTC, <Unknown-number>
    Where should we meet then?

    Utseo, No word from Henry yet... When was the last time you spoke to him?
  • [Utseo]

    Doc Moonie? Twenty one months and a scattered few days. Not that I'm counting. I doubt he's accepted my apology. Truth be told, I didn't really mean it. I don't care if the medical research sub-section of Ares was "doing good work", I had the goods on them and squeezed their corporate nuts until they cried for mercy. Then, I burned them on top of it. Because let's be honest, they would have hunted me to their dying day. That's the good thing about corporations, though. They aren't people. You make them go away, drop off the NASDAQ, they are gone gone, they don't come for vengeance anymore. No profit in it.

    That's when Doc Moonie got religious zealot on me, like this wasn't what we do anymore. I don't know what chick he was trying to impress, but I didn't see her around. I look forward to seeing him, burying the hatchet, not in his pretty brown head.
  • T2nk, 11:17 AM UTC,
  • All, Yoshi's message hangs in the air.

    Where should we meet?

    When was the last time you were all together? Where should you meet?
  • [Utseo]

    Utseo, 11:1 AM UTC,
    Why not meet @ Reykjavik? Em, name us a club, we meet @ VIP room in 14 hrs: 1:30 AM. kismet
  • edited June 2013

    Emily, 11:19 AM UTC, <Unknown-number>
    Rex. Drop my pseudonym to get in, if you can remember it. *kisses*

    So how are you guys getting to Reykjavik?
  • [Utseo]

    I ask Tank to help me reach out to my fixer, Tora Gorova. Tora can hook us up with first class tickets under pseudonyms. We'll fly straight there on a red eye.
  • One last question before the jump...

    Tank, why don't you trust Tora to get you there on the d/l?
  • [Tank]

    Other than the fact that Tora probably hates Utseo for being an insufferable cái tháng chó đẻ?

    Tora used to work for Fukiwara before Utseo used a whisper campaign to bring it to its knees. Then he offered her work, freelance. Comparable to what she made, but without benefits. He hasn't even checked in on her healthcare costs for her mother-in-law, because he either doesn't care or has become sloppy. Stupid lỗ đít. Probably both.
  • Screen wipe to a posh night-club in Reykjavik at 1:10 AM. Rex is hopping with the richest, sexiest people in all of Iceland, and even a few foreigners looking to enjoy their company.

    You walk up to the bouncer standing at the velvet rope separating the stairs to the VIP lounge from the rest of the already exclusionary club.

    Utseo, there's a beautiful, famous young lady, in the sexiest outfit you have ever seen, currently being ushered out of the lounge by force. She's making a scene. Who is it?

    Tank, being no nonsense, I imagine you walk right up to the bouncer. What's Emily's pseudonym to get you passed the rope?
  • edited June 2013

    Why, it's none other than Shima Okomi. She's wearing a nano-fiber skinsuit, which other than the neon colors and displays that flash and pulse, she looks nude. She's amazing. She's also got a fistful of Akarri's hair. The two of them have had a running feud for years. They're both "old riche" heiresses with the world thrown at their feet and can't handle not being the object with the strongest gravitational pull in the club. A shame, really. I hope they don't see me. I refuse to hide, but avoiding another run-in with Akarri would be preferable.
  • [Tank]

    I entered the bar away from Utseo, he is as fond of making a scene as Alex. Except Alex is adorable when he makes a scene. While Utseo is staring at the half-naked girl, who has nothing on Emily, of course, I stride up to the big Viking bouncer and say, "Cammy sent me, let me in." I hate her joke name, Cammy Leon. Chameleon.
  • I weave through the crowd, deliberately allowing my smile to appear harried so that only the most drunken or obtuse fans try to tug at my arms or catch my attention. Catching a glimpse of Tank's wonderfully surly face, I raise my hand and call out to the bouncer.
    "Honeylove, this is another of my friends. This one and..." My eyes catch Utseo ogling a cat fight. "That one, if he picks up his jaw long enough to make it inside." Neon colored koi fish swim on my skin as I wrap my arm around Tank's, leading her inside.
  • image

    Utseo, Akarri follows suit down the stairs leading up to the VIP room. Her face has a streak of blood – probably synthetic – running down it, and there's a chunk of her hair missing in a rather obvious spot. She doesn't look overly thrilled.

    Emily emerges behind her, and talks to the bouncer. He eyes you coldly as Emily points to you, and takes Tank upstairs. You can clearly hear him growl, "I don't want no trouble from you, you hear?" as he opens the rope for you..

    Emily, Tank grunts as the bouncer lets her into the VIP room, and takes your arm as she walks up the stairs. She struggles to talk over the music as you climb, "You guys always pick the worst meeting places."

    It's one of your songs playing in the background. How much of this club would you say was influenced by your art?

    All, The VIP room is posh and quiet — the muffled bass from the dance floor below being only just loud enough to make out over few conversations going on up here. Yoshi is leaning back comfortably on a large sofa next to Doc Qamar in an isolated part of the room. He stands respectfully when you approach.

    "Tank," he says, offering his hand to shake, "Utseo, good to see you again." He's wearing a long trench-coat and olive drab shirt with old marpat BDU pants and combat boots. He's a towering presence, even though he's not much taller than Tank.

    Tank doesn't take his hand, but instead nods with a grunt. "Alex is late again, I see." She comments, offhandedly. Yoshi withdraws his hand, and offers it to Utseo instead. His zen-like face is as unperturbed as always.

    Henry is crouched over his drink, and looks up to greet you, but doesn't stand. He's dressed in a sleek three-piece suit — a very classic look — but he wears it like a dog wears wet fur. You even catch him eyeing Utseo out of the corner of his eye to acknowledge his presence.
  • This club is one of my favorites, and I was involved in the redesign six months ago - it reopened just last week. This district had been missing a neuposh vibe. Icelanders have been too wrapped up in this Vikerious (Viking + 19th century mashup) trend for too long. It was time to bring in a little Paris, a little modern sophistication, a little sex.

    "If Alex were suddenly on time, we wouldn't be able to trust him anymore." I turn and touch the tip of my nose to Utseo's in an affectionate greeting that won't smear my facial enhancements. "You look amazing, Flower. It's fantastic to see those legs move in person. They must have cost as much as my penthouse in Seoul."
  • edited June 2013

    Of course I shake Yosh's hand. He'd be offended if I didn't. He might even go running to Josine. Shimata, he might already BE working with Josine, sent here as an intermediary. So yes, playing it nice. Firm handshake, but not as firm as Yoshi's, which isn't technically possible, since he can crush concrete with his grip.

    "Yosh. You are looking good." I meet his eyes, showing my teeth. There is no flinching, I am a Shogun in my own right, he must respect me. Then I call over to Qamar, "Doc Moon. I see you are... here."

    But I am pleased as punch at Emily. I receive her greeting with not nearly as much grace, "Emily, thank you. You look amazing, too." I don't fawn over Emily, she hates that. Alex still doesn't realize this, but well, he's not so good with people. I glance down at my legs when she compliments them.

    "Yes, probably as much. But they don't come with a warm shower."

    She's making me feel a little reckless, so I'll hop a couple steps lightly over to spring up onto the cushion by Qamar's couch, then I pirouette to slide into a cross-legged pose on my butt. I give Tank a grin. I know how she hates show-offs. Except Alex, she doesn't hate him. Never understood why.
  • You exchange pleasantries for a while, and are about to sit down to business when a tall dark man in an exquisite CK tux and a fedora walks in with a glass of scotch in one hand, and a fine looking young lady on the other. He gives her a quick kiss, and shoos her over to the VIP bar. She looks a little annoyed to be ditched, but she shrugs and walks her heavily modified self over to the bar.

    The man is, of course, none other than Alex Hayes.

    He saunters over with a grin on his face and tips his hat to the group. "Well look who's here! How did you lovely people ever survive without me?" He chuckles to himself and walks up to you, Emily. He throws his arms open and says, "Damn, don't you look fine? Emily Syndrome – so good to see you!"

    Henry finally speaks up, "How nice of you to join us Alex. Good to see you're still alive."

    Yoshi shakes his head and gives Alex a pat on the back before going back to the sofas.
  • "Sexyness! The whole room just got warmer." I slide into his arms, allowing my hip to brush him. "You look delish. And I see you've brought dessert." As I draw away, I slip a few credit chips into his pocket.
  • edited June 2013

    I chuckle at Doc Moon's irritation. He always was punctual, not that it mattered. Nothing moves until Alex is ready. Not entirely true. I move. I move quite well, but that's old me talking. The Team Utseo. This team.

    It's funny how Emily fawns over him, stroking that ego. Tank is glaring at her back. Yeah, not much has changed. I'll wait for Yosh to get impatient and start making plans. If he doesn't, then that means he's already in with Josine.
  • Emily, Alex winks and slides onto the sofa next to Tank. She greets him by hastily giving him some space, and Alex smiles wide at her. "Good to see you too."

    Don't think he hasn't noticed the creds you slipped into his pocket — he's just playing it cool. What did you just buy, Em?

    Utseo, you're about to sit down on the couch when a message flashes up from your second in command. It reads,

    Daimyo, 1:34 AM UTC, +41 64 58 877
    You haven't touched base in a while. Is something going on?

    Who is Daimyo?

    All, Tank averts her gaze quickly, her face red from either the beer she's swigging, or the complement she was just delivered. "Whatever," she says looking back to Yoshi, "Why are we in a club when Jo's less than an hour out of town?"

    Yoshi looks around the room, making sure he can't be heard and answers, "I think it makes sense that given how abruptly contact with Jo ended, and how quickly our group dissolved, that we at least meet up in person before going back to work..."

    Henry takes a measured sip from his glass, and says, "Yeah, well, things have certainly changed since then, haven't they?"

    Yoshi nods, and pats Henry's knee, "that's exactly why we're here. Jo's disappearance changed things drastically; but I have wandered without purpose for seven years, and I'm here with the hope that his reemergence can make things right. Why are you all here?"
  • Alex is the only other person who knows about my six year old daughter. I made sure of it by erasing the memory of the midwife who delivered her. Those credits will make sure it stays that way, for at least a while longer.

    I saunter over and casually drape my arm around Utseo's waist, picking up my drink from the low table.
    "I'm here for the reunion. We had a lot of fun, back in the day." I keep my tone light, but I'm feeling pity for Yoshi. Lapdogs never earn their independence, it seems.
  • edited June 2013

    Ah, Daimyo. He's my little pocket Net Hacker. Physically he's only thirteen or so, but his cyber-enhanced brain is more than enough to slice and dice through almost any network. I saved his life from a Tetsonuyen Industries med bay where they had him in an induced coma and ran subroutines through him, which they tweaked up to insane levels of calcs per nanosecond. He burns out if he pushes it for too long, but for burst work, he's one of my best assets.

    I slide a keypad out of my right leg (I reach into my pants pocket to retrieve it) and tap out a response:
    Utseo, 1:35 AM UTC,
    Got a ping from an old friend, dropped out to answer it. Everything still moving along on Project Phoenix Gamma?

    I almost miss Emily coming up to me. I love how touchy feely she is. It's adorable that she doesn't notice the effect it has on, well, most everyone. I look over at her while sliding my keypad back in my pocket. There's a slight whirring sound as the keypad slides back into its housing. "Em. You know the team won't be the same without you. Stop playing hard to get. You know it only makes Alex whine." I look up to Alex and Tank and add, "Nobody wants to see, or hear that. Right, Tank?"
  • Tank rolls her eyes and avoids eye contact, "đi ăn cứt! Don't you drag me into this! If the girl just blew airfare to chat with us before we go save our old boss then she can go back to making pretty dresses and stuff."

    Alex on the other hand isn't convinced, "I'll whine! Hell, I'll beg if it keeps me in your fine presence a little longer, Girl!" He gives you a sly grin, Emily, and takes a sip from his glass of scotch. "Just don't expect me to grovel. This outfit costed somebody a pretty penny."

    Henry puts his drink down and leans in closer, "Look, I'd be lying if I said I don't miss the life — I do, even in spite of my new responsibilities; but I'm here because I feel like I owe Josine this much, and even if tonight may be a little foray into the old life, it's not like Jo's going to pop up and put us all back in operation. Right?"

    Yoshi nods, "I'm going out there no matter what, and I'll take anyone who wants to come. Em, we'd appreciate your company — even if it's only for this one outing."

    Utseo, your HUD flashes another message:
    Daimyo, 1:34 AM UTC, +41 64 58 877
    I have a foot in the door. Give me another 2 hours, and I'll have the info. You ready 4 the vid? Gunna blow them out of the water!
  • [Utseo]

    I nod when Yosh goes for the hard sell. He's never one for subtlety. I'll wait to see if she declines before I add in my thoughts.

    Utseo, 1:36 AM UTC
    2 hours. Keep up the good work.
  • [Emily]

    "Josine was like a mentor to me, although he seemed to prefer his pupils learn the hard way." I swirl my drink in the glass, observing how the ingredients come together just to separate again.
    "I'm in. I'd like to know more about what we're going to actually be doing. Anybody sneak some recon against group suggestion?" My eyes, currently sporting lotus blossom contacts, meet with Alex's. "I suppose you haven't, or you'd be frantically texting one of us to come save your tight ass right now."
  • [Utseo]

    I snicker at Emily's jibe. She always knew how to put Alex in his place. It's interesting, how we fall back into our patterns so easily. "Then we're agreed. Yosh, do you have transport lined up?" I pop up from my seat and land lightly on the floor, "Or are we running there?" I give Tank a wry grin. She needs to get out with people more.
  • edited June 2013
    Alex holds his hand to his chest feigning insult, "You wound me, girl! Why do you think I was late in the first place? A man's got to do his research if he's going to be breaking into something!"

    He hauls a HUD out of his pocket and slips it on, suggesting that you all do the same, then he sends you all a few snapshots he took earlier in the day of a short, but long metal building on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic.


    "The co-ordinates are sitting right on top of an old server farm for that old pet project from that Nanotech CEO that got fired for misappropriation of funds — you know, Cerebral Compression Backups. Place is technically owned by those Digital-Memory boys, Edgar and Dougray Hoefler, and it's used as a back-up facility for their operations. Low-security. Looks like a redundancy site."

    He takes another sip of his drink, and takes off his HUD. "I saw a couple of amateurs scoping the place out in an old van. I'm willing to bet it's a couple Anarchists lookin' to make some quick cash. Nothing we couldn't handle."

    Yoshi and Henry look shocked that Alex put so much research into this. They're speechless. Tank just smiles to herself.

    Alex finishes off his drink, and looks around the group. "So we good to go?" He asks with a grin.
  • [Utseo]

    I scan over the pics. I'm tempted to run it through my people, not that I don't trust Alex, he's brilliant. I realize I'd only do it in hope of impressing them. Especially Doc Moon.

    Still, I speak up, "Either this is a milk run to give us all the warm fuzzies working together again, or this is only the tip of the iceberg. Regardless, Josine wouldn't have called us all to do this."

    I take two long steps to Alex's side, put a congenial arm around him and say, "Might as well have a look-see. Right?" I give Tank a wink.
  • [Emily]

    "Sure, I just need to change." And isn't that the truth. I'm looking forward to dusting off some old Friends. "Are we simply stopping the Anarchists, or digging in the facility? Or both?"
  • Yoshi shakes his head, "Josine's got to be in there... Why else would the message be so bare-bones? This has to be him. We get in, find Jo, and get out. Easy peasy."

    == END SCENE ==
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