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Jubilex, Mat gave you the go one minute and forty-six seconds ago, and you've been in free-fall ever since, travelling at terminal velocity. You've missed all the early hazards so far: hypoxia, frostbite, decompression sickness. Now it's time to pray the chute opens and you stick the landing.
That landing will be on the roof of Melzer-Togawa's Entertainment Division HQ in Los Angeles. The eighty-story tower is near the center of M-T's complex in the City of Lost Angels, and the team agreed on HALO as the best option to circumvent the impressive perimeter security. The catch? You're alone. Lindo and Mat are both too sensible to do something this crazy, Malin's just plain terrified of the idea, although she would have gone if you asked. Nizoni? She'd be kicking herself for missing it, but she broke her leg BASE jumping from an old transmission tower last week, so she's beating herself up instead.
They'll be in your ears all the way, or at least that's the plan, and bits and pieces of gear stuffed in all the pockets of your BDUs and filling the duffel strapped to your back serve as mementos. They stuffed you like a care package for a long-distance girlfriend, Jubilex.
By the way, what was it you had to promise Don Gobbi before he would call his 'associate in Los Angeles' and ask him to arrange for you to be taken up in his surely-legal, not at all suspicious or para-military seeming jump jet? (This is a Compel on In Bed with the Mob, Literally, by the way. If you choose to owe Don Gobbi something significant, take a Fate Point and note the debt on your sheet somewhere.)
Speaking of landings (remember that landing thing?), the last few seconds of free-fall have passed while we were talking. It's time to pull the cord (or push the button, or whatever you do).
Let's see an Athletics roll to stick the landing here, against a difficulty of Good (+3). Since Nizoni's done this a lot more than you have, and she's in your ear guiding you, let's say you have one free invoke of advice on Falling and not Dying if you need it.
I agreed to, as he put it, mentor his wayward son. Because I'm starting a kindercare now, or something. I like Matteo, we'll work out something.
Oh yes, the landing part. Better than the alternative.
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 3. Rolls: -, +, -, +)
I spend the invoke on Niz's advice and punch the landing "like a boss".
You take a quick look around the roof as you pull in and gather your chute. Whatever the material is, it folds into a packet no larger than your fist, which you wrap up in the thermal suit you quickly strip out of. You slap on the magnesium-thermite patch Mat provided, activate it, and the whole bundle is ashes, blowing away in the wind, within a few seconds.
Once the evidence is burning, you find the golf-ball looking microwave antenna Malin told you to look for and drop her piggyback device right next to it. When you verify that the light is blinking green, you move to the door for the maintenance stairway and look at the lock, knowing that Nizoni is taking in the feed from your glasses.
"Just a proximity card, like we thought. Hold up the reader, we'll shoot the code to the chameleon card once Malin decrypts it."
You've finally got a few seconds to breathe and assess the situation. This seems like a big operation, Jubilex. What the heck is in that vault on the 43rd floor, anyway? Why would Motown spend this kind of money to get it?
Motown expects that the vault holds the essence of Euterpe, a.k.a. "Giver of delight". I had to google the name, it's the Greek Muse of music. I don't know how M-T got it, don't know why they keep it locked up.
But I do know the number of zeroes in that paycheck we're getting.
I hold up the small reader so the eye can pick up the lock, then I can use it to get in.
In just a few seconds, as promised, Nizoni lets you know that the code has been transferred to the chameleon. You open the door and enter a plain concrete stairway heading down a few steps to the maintenance area. The same code gets you through that door, and you're among the control panels and access areas for all the HVAC and other equipment on the roof.
"From here, you've got two choices. There's another set of stairs you could take down four floors to an office space that's being renovated. Should be able to get to the elevator shaft from there. Or you can use ventilation shafts. Only the main shafts will be big enough, the feeders and branches have been Nakatomi-proofed, but you can use the harness to get down to Floor 68 before you have to risk live security."
What do you do?
I'm heading for the stairs and the renovated office space. I hate vent shafts with a purple passion.
You move quick and silent down the stairs. Malin covers the cameras, and with Nizoni's help you get the door open in no time. Floor 76 is a typical construction scene: a maze of plastic sheeting, building materials, random leftover office furniture, and bits and pieces of mess and drek. Malin says, "Cameras are off on this floor, so they're blind but so am I. The elevators are in the middle of the south wall. Be careful." Looking toward the south wall, you see a single flashlight beam piercing the gloom.
What do you do?
I sit in the dark and wait to see if it will pass by. If it is a guard, then I'll look for an opportunity to attack. I'd rather sneak by, if I can. But if he's bearing right down on me, I'll take him down.
From the pattern, you can tell that whoever's holding the light is walking the perimeter. Their path will intersect your spot eventually, but they're moving slow, swinging the beam. Unless you hide well or risk some sort of evasive action, you'll probably be lit up at some point in the next forty-five seconds.
I'll move towards them, steady and ready to act as soon as they sense me. I'm going to close and take them down, quick and quiet. Hand to mouth, arm to throat. If I can avoid killing them, I will.
Fight (if needed):
(Rolled: 4df+5. Total: 3. Rolls: -, -, +, -)
This isn't any sort of elite guard, just a flatfoot rentacop, but I'll take that roll into account.
You move surely to intersect the guard at just the right moment, just after he checks in. His surprise is brief as you take him out swiftly and silently, ensuring that he has no opportunity to call a warning. He's connected wirelessly, of course, but from the patrol patterns you analyzed previously and the fact that he *just* checked in, it's unlikely that he'll be noticed as "missing" for at least twenty minutes.
You get to the elevators and pry open the doors on the left side. The shaft is clear down to the elevator car itself, which is on the first floor.
You've got climbing gear, and you know that the 43rd floor (33 floors down!) is heavily guarded, even before you get to the vault room. You're going to need perfect timing once you get there. What do you do?
I'm going to climb down thirty two floors, then get out on the 44th. From there, I'll move to the closest point I can reach above the vault, then laser cut my way down. I'm hoping to circumvent their big burly guards, or as many as I can.
Scene: The Wellby Cave, 48 hours earlier
The big "conference table" covered with AR icons in layers. Floor plans, staffing documents, recommendations for taco trucks (hey, you're going to LA), you name it. Mat and Nizoni are in a full-blown argument while Malin sits in uncomfortable silence. Lindo is in his little workshop.
Mat stabs a finger at the schematic you're all looking at. "I'm telling you, Nizoni, cutting through from above makes the most sense! Avoids the hardened door and most of the guards, and we can adjust for the thermal shift—Malin can cool the room above to match the temp of the vault room."
Nizoni shakes her head furiously. "What about the heat from the laser? To do it in short enough bursts that the vault doesn't warm would take..." She thinks for a second. "...93 minutes. We don't have that time."
What do you say?
"You're both right." I cut in. "But... I can use a focused laser to cut through about 95% of the floor quickly. Then, it's just a matter of of a slowl burst laser cutting through an inch or so, and I'm in."
Malin raises her hand. When you look over to her, she says, "I've never actually planned a heist before, but I've seen the movies and sims. I wonder... I can't get to the thermostat in the vault directly, and the sensors are on a closed network, but there's a tiny backdoor into the box that actually generates the AR alerts when the after-market alarms are triggered. That's the temp and vibration ones. I can't stop an alarm, but I'm pretty sure I can create one. Or, you know, like ten. Scattered over the day before you go in."
She waits to see if she's being stupid.
I give her a broad smile, then look over at Niz to make sure she approves.
Nizoni nods, like "that'll do." "It will still take more time than I'd like, but with precautions and a 'faulty' alarm or two, they should either reset the tolerances or just start ignoring the thing. You'll need a lightweight block-and-tackle to lift what you cut, as well. A manhole sized circle of those materials will weigh close to..." She pauses for that internal calculation again, but Malin beats her.
"Two-hundred and three pounds. Give or take."
I chuckle at their competitive natures, but quietly. No need to anger either, or both of them.
"Then manhole plan it is."
There you stand at the lip of the elevator shaft, looking down at the approximately 420 feet (Nizoni) and 560 rungs (Malin) that lie ahead of you. Nizoni provided some gecko gloves and covers for your shoes that should help with traction, but it's still going to be a long climb. For a standard corp-drone, this would probably take something like 45 minutes, excluding time spent clutching the ladder and panting or panicking. For you, probably 12 minutes. What do you think about on the way down, especially when your arms start getting tired?
I don't admit it to anyone but Mat, and Mat only knows because he caught me humming. There's this ancient movie about a burglar who would memorize a number of songs and use them to keep time. I realize it's inefficient in a few ways, but the music itself is a good way to keep me alert but push back the pain of my arms and this fragging climb.
And yes, most of the effort I'm thinking of "Swinging on a Star".
I'm dropping you a Fate Point for Hudson Hawk and Swinging on a Star.
You're about halfway down when you her the click-whirr of motors and pullies engaging. You can tell the car below you is beginning to rise, and it's moving pretty quickly.
Malin's in your ear right away. "On it. They should only be using the other elevator on the weekend. I can stop it, I think."
Nizoni practically talks over her. "Remember the schematics, Jube? There's a safety cutout about twelve feet down. You can get around behind the ladder there and hang on, just in case."
"Got it, heading down. Malin, let it go. No need to tip them off." I'm scurrying for the cutout as fast as I can.
Your shoulders and thighs are already tired, but you shimmy down as quickly as you can. Let's see an Athletics roll against a difficulty of Good (+3) to see what happens. Failure isn't getting smooshed by an elevator car, but it could be a strain or something that will hinder you ongoing.
Athletics to make it to the cutout in time:
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 1. Rolls: 0, 0, -, -)
I see the elevator getting closer, and for a second, I don't know if I'm going to make it. I knuckle down and push myself, kicking in every bit of oomph I have. I can't let the team down, I can't die in a fragging elevator shaft.
I'm spending a FP to active Haunted by Failure to give myself a +2 on the roll
The elevator moves smoothly past just as you swing behind the ladder into the little alcove. When you make the transfer to the opposite side, you feel a twinge in your shoulder... you've put stress on an Old War Wound.
When you tie an overcome action, you attain your goal or get what you were after, but at a minor cost. I'll make that cost a Boost for me for use when you're rolling something physical, as indicated above.
You make it the rest of the way to Floor 44 with no further surprises, moving a little slower, but still progressing well. You insert three tiny mechanical spreaders (think old-school car jacks, but sideways) and attach the expandable motor assembly and battery pack Mat whipped up. When you indicate you're in place, Malin and Nizoni start feeding you data on security movements on the floor.
Scene: The Wellby Cave, 46 hours earlier
"Okay, given the layout of the 44th floor, logical assumption is two guards. One at a basic guard post, and one on the move. If they follow standard protocols, it will be a sweep every fifteen minutes, so you should have plenty of time to get to the room above the vault, which is... the women's locker room for the executive gym. Every fourth pass, they'll both go out, and check inside all the rooms. We get you to the elevator doors without raising an alarm, and it should be no problem."
Back to the Present
Nizoni says, "You're going to have to hold in position for about ninety seconds, then you're clear to open the doors and take off. Remember to trigger the release on the spreaders once you're out. Remember, left, left, and through the gym to the door with the picture of a chick in a skirt on it. At least hopefully. God forbid you'd have to read a sign."
Malin checks in, too. "I scrambled the PAN of the guard you took out earlier, so he'll have to report physically to main security on the ground floor. Should buy you some extra time."
91 seconds later, Nizoni gives yo a simple, "Go. Now."
I trip the device and open up the panel, then skulk down the hallway, left, left, to the gym.
The lock on the gym is trivial. You take care of it yourself, just to prove that you've been paying attention, then you're inside, making your way through the maze of equipment to the door with the picture of a lady in a skirt on it. Once inside, you see that the floorplan did not include all the information. The lockers have been reconfigured, and are now sitting directly atop the area that overlaps with the vault room below. There is no clear area to set up the cutter. Also, no cameras (privacy, you know), so no way you could've known in advance.
What do you do?
"They've redecorated." I say over comms. I'll try to give them a peek with my cam, "Take a look. We need to find a new way in. And fast."
Nizoni's first response is full-on cursing, worthy of an Ork in a low-end pit fight, and I won't repeat it here. Malin's is more genteel. "Okay. We'll look at the floorplan and see about Plan B. We're a little ahead of schedule. You look at the lockers and see if there's anything you can come up with where you are?"
"Affirmative." I'll open the lockers, look in the bathroom, see if there's a spot that seems to be about the same space as what I recall of the layout of the floor below and our designated "safe spot".
Why don't you give me a Notice roll here? Base difficulty is Fair (+2), with additional goodness for every two shifts you beat that by. Since Nizoni is looking over your shoulder, you may spend a Fate Point to invoke her Finely Honed Sense of Spatial Relations.
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 5. Rolls: +, -, +, +)
As I look around, Niz points out a few little details I'd missed.
Spending a FP to use that Aspect.
That means you beat the target by 5. Good work!
The first thing you notice is that the shower area overlaps your target by about a foot. Then you realize that the modular locker units are standalone, not bolted down, so you can (with effort) slide them a little, one way or another.
The kicker, though, is that you realize the flooring in both the shower and the locker area must've been laid in a hurry. You can actually pry up the top three inches (the "floor" of this room), which will take some time, but will decrease the time you need to cut through the vault's ceiling.
"Thank goodness for bad contractors," I say as I drop to a knee, move a locker unit enough to pry up some flooring. First, the tile, with my knife, then the underlayment. This is going to take a bit, but yeah, this is pretty much perfect.
"Going to push a locker, then pull floor first, then cut." I put a cam facing the door, "Keep an eye out while I work." Then, I get to work.
You work for a bit, more physical than you anticipated, but satisfying in its way. Once you have cleared a space about four feet square, you set up the frame and cutting device that Mat provided. It cuts inward at a slight angle, so the circle doesn't fall before you raise it. This will take a few minutes, so you have a moment to ponder next steps.
Scene: Wellby Cave, 45 hours ago.
"So, the vault is highly customized, and we don't know much about the interior layout. I wish we could get eyes in. Jube, any thoughts?"
"Mat, what about those micro-drones of yours? I could drop them in the vent, you run them down to peer at the vault."
Before Mat can answer, Nizoni speaks up. "The vault has separate ventilation, so you won't have a shaft." She makes something blink on the AR display, indicating the ventilation. "Once you're ready, though, you could drill through and insert a drone. Would have to be very small, to avoid motion sensors. Say, 10 millimeters." She turns to Mat. "Can you do anything usef..."
It's Mat's turn to interrupt. "SMART DUST!" He seems almost too excited to actually explain.
"Smart dust. Of course." I answer with a grin, supporting Mat on this one.
Scene: The Present
Just as the cutter and drill finish their slow work, an "URGENT" icon pops up in your AR. It's Diego. You've already got the vial of smart dust in your hand and the control interface up. What do you do?
I shake my head in slight frustration, but I can't ignore Diego. I take the call, "What's up, Diego?" I'm whispering through subvocal. Also, I'll work on getting the smart dust in the vent.
As you split your attention and try to get the tip of the vial into the tiny hole, Diego pops up on the left half of the screen. "Yo, Jubilex. Gotta problem."
I focus as much as I can on the vial, whispering, "I'm not in town right now, amigo. What's wrong?"
Diego frowns, clearly worried at your answer. "The little fraggers are making a move. Going through a building on South Post Street. Kicked the people out and going through their stuff, then making them 'sell' it for like ¥10, so there's a record of transfer and it looks 'legal'. Lone Star won't respond."
Mierda. "Diego, get how much the people on South Post were shaken down for. I'll pay them back personally, then settle with the gangers when I get back. Can you let the Lobos know?"
"I'll make it right, ese." I assure him, then cut communication. Back to smart dust application and getting the hell down to next floor.
You apply the little tip directly to the hole you drilled and push the button on the end. (Mat made it simple for you.) Within a second, about a million tiny motes are sifting down through the air in the vault below, transmitting back their consensus view of the surroundings.
Nizoni immediately gets to work analyzing the images, as quickly as Malin can clean them up. She says, "Okay, you'll need the rebreather, there's a CO2 monitor that's got to be finely tuned, or it wouldn't be there. Malin's made sure that they'll ignore the temp and vibration alarms, hopefully. Motion sensors are there, but they're factory standard, we can break the code. Laser grid at floor level, so you'll have to use the harness until you get the item, at least. Go in face down like we said, head oriented toward, ah, the third shower from the left. Precisely six point three feet down. The individual drawer is number 343. Malin's working on the motion sensors, so get the winch set to pull up the bit of floor you cut, get the rebreather on, and attach the harness. I'll give you a go."
As you scramble to follow the motions that you've practiced over the last two days, humming "Swinging on a Star," you get totally into the zone. 110 seconds later, you're ready to go when Nizoni gives you the signal.
Let's see an Athletics roll here, to control your descent and keep oriented the right direction. This is an Overcome action, with a difficulty of Good (+3).
From here on out, you can spend a Fate Point to Invoke an (as-yet undefined) Aspect reflecting current or planning advice from any one of your team members. To do so, just tell me what they said and spend the fate point. Malin also counts as "present in the scene" for any of her own stunts on the Marcus Wellby sheet.
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 1. Rolls: -, +, -, -)
I think back to the warehouse where Nizoni took me. She put me in this same damn harness and had me strung up for hours.
Over and over, she would have work on the descent. Every time I fragged it up, she'd scream, "Wronnnng! Do it again!"
I'll spend a FP for the Aspect Wrong! Do it again! and re-roll.
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 4. Rolls: +, +, 0, -)
Apparently Mistress Nizoni did her job well, because you manage to correct in mid-course and wind up at the right height, facing the locked drawer you intended to. The essence of Euterpe is right there. Following your POV, Nizoni whistles low. "They are not joking around. High end Mesa-SMS digital secure with a mechanical interlock and glass rod safety. It was in one of the sims, if you can bring it to mind, Model Number MST3K."
Scene: Wellby Cave, 32 hours earlier.
Nizoni pulls up an AR icon. "All the training sims I could scare up on the black market. I've prioritized them for you, so just go down the list. They move fast, you won't have much retention beyond about 48 hours, and you might have a headache when you're done. They won't turn you into a safecracker, but you've got good hand-eye coordination and your reflexes will stand you in good stead. Have fun. I'm going to go rob an orphan or something. About all I can do right now." Nizoni stumps away, leaving you in your favorite chair.
You start going with the first sim. It's surprisingly compelling, immersing yourself in the complex geometries of gears and wires and cleverness, and you're drawn in effortlessly to the VR training. Perhaps too drawn in. You settle all too quickly into a familiar contented floating sensation, the world and your self falling away until all that's left is the details filling your mind.
So, you've done the training. The fiction will justify giving you Junior Safecracker to use for Burglary rolls in the vault. However, I'm offering you a Compel (which means I give you a Fate Point) on your Trouble (Recovering Simsense Addict) to also take the Aspect Didn't Sleep at All Last Night, which gives me something juicy and direct to mess with you with once you're on the run. You can refuse the Fate Point and the Compel, if you like, you'll still have the skills.
I'll take the compel. I was a kid in a candy store. I went a little crazy with the sims. I started off telling myself I was being thorough, but in the end, I was just riding the high.
Scene: The Present
You bring the MST3K specs up. Slowly adjusting the "angle of your dangle" so you can bring your hands into play and reach the tools in your pocket, you blink a few times to moisten your dry eyes and get to work.
Opening the MST3K is going to be a three-part Challenge. There will be one roll at Average (+1), one at Fair (+2), and one at Great (+4). I'll describe each individual situation and what to roll, then you should narrate Jube's response and make the roll. Try to give me some flava.
NOTE 1: If you think of a way to use a skill other than the one I propose, feel free to convince me in our HO.
NOTE 2: Very Important! In fate, failing the roll doesn't necessarily mean failing the action. It can also be Succeed at a major cost. Keep that in mind as we proceed.
The first part of the process is really more about how well you use your tools than the electronics and mechanics. You need to drill a tiny hole in just the right spot, keeping your hand steady and the bit absolutely straight. You know there's a glass rod you must not break just to the right of the insertion point. A touch of a headache is starting, right between your eyes, as you focus.
Let's see the first roll. This seems like Burglary, and I'm calling this the Average (+1) difficulty roll.
My Burglary is average. I'll roll that with hopes to break even here.
(Rolled: 4df+1. Total: 1. Rolls: 0, 0, -, +)
I hold the drill as steady as I can, but the work is tense. Sweat runs off my chest, slowly down my neck, up and over my chin. I suck in some air just trying to keep from sweating down onto the floor.
I don't see how Nizoni does this.
That's a squeaker.
Just as you finish, you hear Nizoni huff out an exasperated breath. She probably didn't mean for you to hear it, and she doesn't say anything, but it was definitely there.
As you're transferring the drill back to your pocket, your sweaty palms lose their grip for just long enough that it slips out of your hand, heading toward the floor. It will almost certainly trigger the pressure sensor in the floor if it hits.
Let's see an Athletics roll at Great (+4) to catch the damned thing before it gives you away.
I mutter a curse as I let slack in the line with my left hand to give me some movement and reaching out with my right to grasp at it.
This is going to be tough!
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 2. Rolls: +, 0, -, -)
I'm tapping Junior Safecracker here. A good one doesn't drop his tools, right? With the FP spend, that brings me up to a Great.
Another skin-of-the-teeth moment, there!
Let's go into bullet-time, here. As you let out the slack and reach for the drill, a bead of sweat quivering on the tip of your nose, you touch the drill once, twice with your fingertips before finally stretching that extra half-inch to pull it back into your right hand with just your index and middle fingers. You feel a twinge in your left shoulder as it takes your full weight for a moment before you regain your balance and swing back upright.
Let's give this one a little mechanical effect. I'm taking a Boost, Muscle Strain that I will be able to use against you on one future Athletics roll. (It will need to be fictionally appropriate, so likely only in a situation that involves upper-body strength or what-have-you.)
After a few breaths to center yourself, you move on to the next few tasks. You slide a thin fiber-optic cable through the hole you drilled, attached to another of Nizoni's little boxes. You thread the end into the diagnostic socket inside the lock, then look at the indicators on the device, recalling the patterns you learned to recognize from the sim training.
It's a brain game from here, watching the shifting patterns and finding just the right moment to interrupt and trigger the sophisticated lock's diagnostic mode, which will allow you to disengage the mechanism without actually breaking the massively-encrypted, time-shifted code sequence.
Let's see another Burglary roll here, this one at Fair (+2). It would be higher, but you're bypassing the worst of the challenges.
I'm watching the numbers flash by, letting my mind feel for the pattern, trying to push everything else out. It's not unlike martial arts, really. I can't catch a fly with chopsticks, but I'm pretty quick. I'm hoping to Notice the pattern first, get a strong feel for it.
I want to Create an Advantage for my Burglary attempt.
Given the preparation you've already had, I'll say that this is a Fair (+2) difficulty.
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 3. Rolls: 0, 0, +, -)
You stare at the screen for long enough to catch the pattern repeating twice, and get a feel for the timing. You now have one free Invoke on 92753584125GO!.
Now I'll grab the moment, reaching with the splicing laser to cut the transmission at juuuust the right time.
(Rolled: 4df+1. Total: 0. Rolls: 0, 0, -, 0)
I really wish Niz was here right now!
I'll burn the invoke on 92753584125GO! to make the roll. Squeak!
On second thought, I need to make this look good. I'll spend a FP to activate my Junior Safecracker aspect. I wanna make momma proud.
The lock mechanism clicks open and the door shifts a fraction of an inch. When you pull it all the way open, you see an item around three feet long and four inches wide at the widest, wrapped in a silk cloth.
What do you do?
Through subvocal, "I'm looking at it right now." I pull down my multi-spectrum goggles and look for anything off about the interior of the little safe.
There's nothing visible through the goggles, but there are intricate runes of some flavor embroidered into the black silk in silver thread that seems to have a luminosity of its own, despite not showing up as unusual physically.
What was it Lindo told you about this sort of situation, Jubilex?
Lindo said they've entrapped the spirit, so there would be barriers. I'll try and descrive a few runes and sigils over the subvocal to him. I also want the cams to get a good look.
Lindo responds. "Zoroastrian ritual, from the looks of it, which makes sense. If the safe is okay, you're good to lift it carefully and tuck it away. Do not let the silk covering come off, whatever you do. Muses are all well and good, but I don't think you want to get too inspired when there's a chance you'll get shot at."
Lindo has a point, so I reach in and gently wrap my right hand around the silk cloth, then squeeze so I pick up the shaft. I'll carefully pull it out, then start working my way back up and out of the vault. "Exfil coming."
Scene: Wellby Cave, 40 hours previously
"Won't be able to get close enough to pick you up off the roof, Jube. That's why we're doing the HALO drop."
"I vote hanglider, then skyhook once you're outside the perimeter."
Lindo waves his hand. "Says the elf with the broken leg."
Malin just watches, like this is a soccer match.
Anything to contribute? It is your cyber-heinie on the line, here.
"Can we afford a bat-glider?" I ask with a grin.
After I get my baleful looks, I throw up a defensive hand, "Hanglider to skyhook sounds like fun."
Jubilex, as you raise yourself back out of the hole and start setting the timers that will destroy the evidence behind you, Malin comes in over the comms. "The first guard you knocked out is up and on the move. He's in the elevator on his way down. I can stop the elevator, but can't disengage the emergency call button. It's mechanical."
"Understood. Let the elevator go, he might not think to use the button until we stop him." I'm pulling myself up to the floor again, one-handed so I keep the silk cloth on the rod thingie. "Anything on this level, Niz? Am I clear to exfil out a window?"
Nizoni responds quickly. "Clear so far, but you'll need to get up to at least Floor 60 to have enough updraft to clear the perimeter. Not much wind, which is good for steering but not necessarily for keeping your elevation, so the higher you can get before blowing a window the better."
You've got some options here. There's a service elevator separate from the bank of passenger lifts, stairs, the ladder back up the elevator shaft. Probably other choices, too, if you can find one. What do you do?
I'm headed for the service elevator. I don't want to wear myself out on the elevator shaft.
You pack what needs packing and set the self-destruct on the rest, then make your way across the maze of offices to the service elevator access. Your lack of sleep is starting to take its toll, you're seeing fuzzy halos around objects and lights and you almost stumble over an out-of-place office chair once.
I'm Compelling Didn't Sleep at All Last Night to call for a roll here. I'd like to see a Will roll against a difficulty of Good (+3) to keep trucking along with no immediate effects.
I bite the inside of my lip to bring some pain into the equation and wake my ass up.
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 3. Rolls: 0, 0, 0, 0)
You reach the elevator and lean your forehead against the cool metal wall for a moment. Just resting your eyes, of course.
Twenty seconds later, you jerk your head up as Malin's voice sounds in your ear. "...ilex? Jubilex! They've deployed. Secondary security posts every five floors, they're fanning out. Why the heck does an entertainment company need this much security?"
The floor indicator shows 56, and you've pushed the button for 60. What do you do?
I push myself off the wall, a surge of adrenalin hitting me and giving me the boost I needed. I push the button for floor 72. I'm looking to get up, to climb on top of the elevator. If I can do that in time, I can ride this baby up and bust my way out of here high enough up to hanglide and GTFO.
When the elevator stops at the 72nd floor, you're fully alert. (Elevator surfing is rather exhilarating, after all.) The service elevator is on a central shaft, at the end of a short service hallway, and when you swing down into the car, there's no one present to challenge you. You do hear voices though, indistinct in direction, but definitely multiple bogeys. Your target is the large conference room along the north face of the building (biggest window frontage, and on the correct side). What do you do?
I have my Ingram smartlinked SMG out, ready to go as I move quick and quiet for the conference room. I'm keeping alert, but any bogeys get in my line of sight, I'll rely on my excellent aim and my SMG's suppressor. Short burst fire, hit hard, move in for the takedown if needed.
If I'm lucky, I'll get out of this without killing anyone.
You know that you won't have much time. The floor indicator for the service elevator will surely show up somewhere, which means that security will be quickly converging on this floor.
As you come out of the service hallway, moving past boxes of trash and a metal shelving unit with supplies and various antiquated office tools (who needs a red Swingline stapler these days?), a figure appears silhouetted in the doorway. "You there! Hands up!"
Most of these guys will be simple mooks, and you can easily take them out. If you want to be sure of "wound vs. kill," that's going to take a Shoot roll to Attack at Great (+4).
Yeah, I'll see what I can do about keeping down the kill count. I burst each of them with the Ingram while my off-hand reaches for a stun baton.
(Rolled: 4df+4. Total: 5. Rolls: 0, +, -, +)
The one in the doorway goes down, clutching his thigh and crying out. A second shooter, behind the first, squeezes off a single wild shot before a round passes through his shoulder and he spins off, knocking down a modular cubicle wall as he falls.
There are three more here, moving toward you in a loose formation. Clearly career rent-a-cops rather than former military or high end corpsec contractors.
Fortune has it that they're spaced out enough that they can get a decent shot as you barrel out of the doorway.
Guards Shoot at Fair (+2)
(Rolled: 4dF+2. Total: 3. Rolls: 0, +, -, +)
I pick up the pace, giving them a moving target with Wired fragging Reflexes.
Athletics to Dodge:
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 6. Rolls: +, +, 0, +)
Following suggestions on Ryan Macklin's blog, I'm going to leave that Boost unnamed until you need it, then we can call it what it is when you use the free Invoke, rather than limiting you in advance.
You spin and twist, and to the three that just shot at you it must seem that you're actually faster than the bullets, rather than being faster and more aware than they are. One of the guy's jaws drops as you move, but all three recover and start trying to track you again.
They can't track me if they're on the ground. I'll burst fire at these guys, too. All the while, I'm making my way to the window, not slowing down.
(Rolled: 4df+4. Total: 4. Rolls: 0, 0, +, -)
Three batters up, three batters down. You're pitching a perfect game so far, Jubilex.
You've got about fifty feet of hallways and cubicle maze to cover before you reach the conference room, and for a brief moment you have the hope that you'll make it without seeing any further resistance. Well, you can hope, but the world has its ways. Just as you enter the open space that serves as a foyer for the conference room, decorated in office-standard (Uncomfortable looking chairs, AR access points for entertainment channels, and ficus trees. Ficus trees? Is this the TwenCen?), a slender Hispanic woman steps into the area, holding an Ares Predator Mark VII in each hand. She has cyberware around her right eye and the distinctive unnatural grace of someone with wired reflexes. Her right hand is chrome, as are each of the fingertips on her left.
You got there just before her, so you've got the drop.
So you know, once you get into the conference room, you'll have two choices: Shoot out three panels of glass, deploy the hang glider (which takes a few seconds), then jump; or, shoot out one panel, jump, and hope that the 'glider deploys before gravity gets too much hold.
Seeing this girl with her chrome and her cool eyes, I pivot and head right for her. I can't show her my back, and I'm itching for a good fight anyway. "You planning on keeping me here?" I ask as I close in on her so we can go toe-to-toe.
As you approach within a few steps, the woman does a standing backflip, landing several feet away in a crouch, guns still trained on your center of mass. "Yes. I am."
Nice movements. She's quick and agile. Those guns will do a world of hurt on me before I can get in tight and make them useless. I'd like to sidestep like I'm easing off, but kick a chair from the conference table in her way. Once I've got her distracted, I'll just head for the window. Who knows? Maybe she'll take out one of the windows for me.
She jumps to clear the chair, kicking back in mid-leap to knock the chair behind her and out of the way. You make it close to the window before she manages to bring the guns to bear on you. Two single shots, and you can tell from her stance and the easy, relaxed way she pulls the triggers that this isn't just a shooter you're facing, but a true disciple of the art of making things hurt with a projectile. The gun-fu is strong with this one.
Mina rolls Shoot
(Rolled: 4dF+5. Total: 3. Rolls: -, +, -, -)
I duck my head and try to dodge out of the way while still heading for the window. If she tags me, I've got my Ingram to open the window up, but I'll probably end up crashing through it, which will hurt.
Athletics to Dodge:
(Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 1. Rolls: 0, -, -, 0)