[Shadowfate] Repeat Defender, Part Deux (5.2)



  • There's a tense moment when you reach the border, but a combination of some distraction Malin arranged, the idents, the van, and the careful disguise work used for Nizoni's infiltration gets you through to UCAS territory and the outskirts of Seattle.

    Anything you want to do while you're in Seattle, Jube? Malin's never been here, and the others don't seem to be in a big hurry to get home.

  • imageJubilex

    I didn't expect we'd be in Sea-Town or I might've planned ahead. I'll definitely suggest we catch a Screamers game, they're the local urban brawl team. I bet Mat and Malin would love to visit Nybbles & Bytes, a wiz electronics store. I simply must take them to Dante's Inferno. I think Malin and Nizoni will adore it, and I wouldn't be surprised if the newer model of Lindo has fun, too.
  • Malin books you but not over-expensive hotel in Downtown Seattle, walking distance from Dante's Inferno. The Screamers are "playing" the Boston Donnybrook tonight at the Tacoma Dome, and as it happens, Nybbles and Bytes isn't far from there. Seems like the most "efficient" path might be shopping, brawling, dancing. Sound good?

  • imageJubilex

    I don't get the quotes around "playing". Urban Brawl is very much a sport!

    This plan is very, very good for me. I want to get expensive cigars for Jess and I, and I'll look for some trinket for Mateo, something small. Plus, probably something for Aoife. Because.
  • imageMalin

    Malin has apparently picked up more than a little from Jessi over the time that she's been in the PRD, because she insists on a quick shopping trip for a dress somewhere along the way. You did pretty much just come with working clothes. For the moment, though, after a few hours' rest the five of you walk through the bustling streets of downtown Seattle toward the Ferry Terminal.

    Malin, apparently tuned in to some travel guide, speaks up. "Did you know that there are 2,398 coffee shops in downtown Seattle? I could use some caffeine. Anyone else?" Lindo raises his hand.

  • imageJubilex

    "Some caff would be good. Lead on, Malin" I answer. I'm checking local web traffic, listening to "big city chatter". We'll end up in some place that probably isn't half bad. I wonder if I could get a body shop to look over my augments? That would be prudent. I'll pull out my pocket secretary and look for something close by.
  • imageMalin

    Malin's normally better at concealing this, but for some reason, this morning your pocket secretary absolutely cracks her up. Leaning a little on Lindo, she gasps for air until she can finally say, "Hey, Jube, maybe we could ride a dinosaur to Tacoma!" Nizoni, Mat, even Lindo... smirks all 'round.

    There's a pretty well-reviewed spot around the corner, about a block off the main drag. As you walk up to it, you see that it's next to a shop with a red-lacquered Japanese arch (torii) as the frontage. There's no sign in English, just a single Japanese character, 鋼, in the center of the crosspiece, glowing gold.


  • edited July 2015

    I open the door for Nizoni and Malin, then keep it open for Lindo and Mat. Malin's dinosaur remark gets a slight frown, but I'm not surprised. I like the device, it's comfortable, I have all the macros done already and the damn thing is hardened, waterproof, bulletproof. I could afford some headwear to that stuff, but I'm always leery of having too much cyber. I've heard of guys going full borg, scary stuff.

    "Hey... I'll catch up. I want to check out this steel store." I'm heading that way,
  • You go through the wooden door in the center of the torii, and walk into blade heaven. Everything from cooking knives and scissors to traditional katana, wakizashi and tanto, to modern combat and tactical knives. There are no brands here, no megacorporate names. Just inch after foot after yard of folded steel, with a matte gleam in the tasteful spot lighting.

    A Japanese man in a tasteful business suit approaches, sizing up your build, your gait, your demeanor with an expert eye. He bows slightly and asks, "Konnichi wa. How may I be of service today, sir?"

  • imageJubilex

    I've never been here before. I would remember this slice of heaven.

    My fingers run along the cases of all this steel, so perfectly put, and I'm amazed at the keen edges, the brilliant workmanship. The craft of it all.

    I return his bow with Renraku-trained expertise. "Hoi. I am looking for three katana, one sized for a dwarf, the other two for human-sized wielders. If they can be found in a daisho, that would be preferred."
  • edited July 2015

    The difference between a store that sells the finest weapons and a store that sells the finest clothes? This salesman does not judge your ability to afford his wares based on what you're wearing, but rather upon those things that you saw him noticing as you walked in. "Are the others as... experienced as you are, sarunu-sama?"

  • imageJubilex

    I shake my head "no" slightly, "Īe. They are my pupils. They are not now, but some day may be."
  • The man bows slightly again. "I am Itsuki Nakano, proprietor. Perhaps we shall find something for you first? It is best to serve the sensei before the student, yes?" He leads you past the front displays to a brushed steel case near the rear of the space with a retina scan. "I am perhaps being presumptuous, but may I assume that you wish to find your soulmate in steel?" He's asking if you're willing to spend for the perfect match.

  • imageJubilex

    "It is a pleasure to meet you, Itsuki-sama." I remark before answering him. "If you have a soulmate for me, I would like to meet her." I offer a tiny, polite grin. And yes, I'm willing to spend.
  • Itsuki nods sharply. "Extend your dominant arm. Good, now make a fist. Show me your extension to the right and to the left. Good." He looks again. "Wired reflexes, yes? Step back toward the entrance." When you do, he says, simply, "Catch," then moving as fast and gracefully as you, but differently, he reaches inside his suit jacket and with a flip of his wrist sends a throwing knife hurtling toward your face with astonishing speed. You catch it between your palms, of course, but not without a moment's nervousness. He is clearly a physical adept...

    Again, he nods. "Very good. Will you wield the katana and wakizashi together, or separately, sarunu-sama?"

  • imageJubilex

    A phys ad? Wonderful! It's been forever since I met one. To his question about the daisho, "I will carry the katana often. The wakizashi would be used less frequently."
  • The older man narrows his eyes a bit. "For you, may I propose a daisho that is not katana and wakizashi? Katana, yes, but for the closest quarters, you may find a tantō more useful. And I suspect you find yourself in close quarters often."

    He moves to the locked cabinet, presents his eye to a retina scanner, and it pops open with a hiss of air. He reaches in and pulls out a lacquered stand holding a katana and a tantō. "These are not ancient, but they are made with great skill and care by a team that includes a Shinto shaman who blesses the blades." The katana is delicately engraved throughout its length with stylized flames, as is the tantō. The edges sing to you, a song of dividing like from like, of cutting air and flesh. You can almost hear the chant of the shaman.

    The proprietor lifts the katana from the stand and presents it to you. "I believe she will be the love of your life, sarunu-sama."

  • imageJubilex

    He's right, a daisho doesn't suit my needs, the wakizashi would be ornamental at best.

    The case alone is worthy of admiration, but the tool within is a marvel. I stare at the edge and imagine the shaman's voice, the chant humming from the metal, so melodious. With reverent hands, I take take the blade from Ittsuki-sama. This is the finest blade I have ever held. Priceless.

    My mind worries over the price of the thing, of course. Running a team, about to enter a partnership with Jess over Diego's, Lindo's impending retirement.

    Nattering. I push the thoughts aside, and worship the blade, look at the engravings. And wonder.

    "This blade is perfect."
  • The proprietor lifts the tantō off the stand, as well, and presents it to your left hand. "These two blades were forged and folded miles apart, and the tsuba and grip were made for them... and I suspect, for you." This is not a salesman's spiel. "There are times when the ancestors present me an opportunity to extend a man's arm, to complete it. So many who come here are collectors..." He looks at your grip, adjusts your left hand's fingers on the hilt of the knife. "Would you care to... take a test drive?"

  • imageJubilex

    My grip tightens around the magnificent hilt and I nod curtly, "Yes. I would." I arch a brow, asking silently if he's my opponent.
  • Itsuki returns your smile with a tight grin, then moves behind the counter to pull out a white oak bokken shaped like a katana, and a wooden tanto, as well. "I would not want to hurt you, sarunu-sama." He brings the practice weapons up and immediately starts circling in a classic Musashi-school style, keeping the shorter blade up to block and the 'katana' crossed high across his left shoulder, ready to strike.

    He seems very confident. What do you do?

  • imageJubilex

    I have enough faith in my own ability to turn a blow before I strike. I also have a feeling I won't need to hold back.

    With a slow, sweeping arc of the katana in my right, I bring the dagger up in my left, and move to face him. My fighting style is nowhere nearly as graceful, or as pure. An instructor once dubbed my fighting stance as "mongrel style". It's an inelegant combination of several different styles, created for effectiveness, not beauty. Over the years, I've studied other styles, and I'm teaching a few to Malin and Matteo.

    Here though, I fall into my most natural state. Mongrel style.
  • edited July 2015

    This isn't really a swashbuckling sort of duel, so we'll keep this simple. We're in a single Zone, and there isn't much "terrain" to worry about, though there are some display cases you can maneuver around. Do feel free to use other skills (Athletics, for instance, or perhaps Deceive to feint. I can also see perhaps Notice or Provoke) to Create an Advantage.

    Itsuki-sama Fights at Superb (+5), and will defend with Fight, as you do. His Notice is +4, and Athletics is +3.

    We'll call this best two out of three, meaning whoever scores two hits first "wins" the duel.

    For this case, we're going to roll for Initiative. The traditional skill for initiative in physical conflicts is Notice. I'll go first.

  • Itsuki-sama's Initiative

    (Rolled: 4dF+4. Total: 2. Rolls: -, -, +, -)
  • imageJubilex

    My Initiative (Notice)
    (Rolled: 4df+3. Total: 1. Rolls: 0, -, -, 0)
  • Itsuki approaches, the tip of his wooden katana angled up and pointed at you. With lightning speed, he crosses the last few steps, slashing at your shoulder with the longer sword, then using the tanto to direct a strike at your midsection.


    (Rolled: 4dF+5. Total: 4. Rolls: -, -, +, 0)

  • imageJubilex

    I want to match skill for skill on the first pass, so I block katana with my own, and tanto with my own, blade for blade.
    (Rolled: 4df+5. Total: 4. Rolls: -, 0, 0, 0)
  • When you tie a Defense, you grant your opponent a boost. In this case, Itsuki has The Upper Hand. However, he didn't score a hit.

    Your Attack. Let's see what you've got!

  • imageJubilex

    He's quick, and so perfectly poised. He didn't tag me, but man, I'm out of position, had to drop to my ass to duck the backhand strike. From my position, I don't have many choices, so I'm going to try and sweep his legs so I can push myself up and strike him overhand.

    (Rolled: 4df+5. Total: 6. Rolls: +, 0, +, -)
  • Itsuki Defends

    (Rolled: 4dF+7. Total: 5. Rolls: -, 0, -, 0)
  • I baked the Boost into the roll, and you STILL won.

    Your opponent manages to avoid the leg sweep, but he squanders his advantage by moving out of stance to do so. You're back on your feet and your blade strikes home in a stroke that should have taken his arm off at the shoulder, but either his suit is made from some sort of armored weave or he has his own protections. A hit, though, and a strong one.

    Jubilex 1 :: Itsuki 0

  • Itsuki's eyes narrow as he reacts to the impact of your blade, and he steps back into a wide-stanced ready position with a respectful nod of his head. In a single, smooth motion, he rushes forward, dropping the tanto and taking the katana in a two handed grip to sweep downward as he launches into the air off his right foot.

    (Rolled: 4dF+5. Total: 3. Rolls: -, 0, 0, -)

  • imageJubilex

    I set my back foot as he leaps, turning my katana over in a wide guard, holding it up and locking my elbow. I trust that my one arm can withstand his two-handed strike, taking the chance so I can strike back with my tanto to his side. I will turn the blade when I strike. I do not wish to hurt this sensei.
  • imageJubilex

    (Rolled: 4df+5. Total: 7. Rolls: 0, +, +, 0)
  • That gives you The Upper Hand, Jubilex.

    Your Mongrel-style defense takes the master by surprise, and he is not prepared for your counter-strike with the tanto.

    Let's see your Attack roll, Jube.

  • imageJubilex

    (Rolled: 4df+7. Total: 6. Rolls: 0, -, -, +)
  • Itsuki is on his back foot, trying to respond to your unexpected play.


    (Rolled: 4dF+5. Total: 4. Rolls: -, -, 0, +)

  • After your second hit, the swordmaster winces and steps back again. He sweeps the wooden katana in a salute, then bows. "You are indeed worthy of the blades, sarunu-sama. Wear them well." He gives an apologetic smile and another bob of his head. "Of course, there is the matter of payment. I will gladly gift one of your calibre with blades for your students, but these..." He nods toward the sword and knife in your hands. "...these are not something I can afford to make a gift of." He moves to the counter and takes out a brush, dips it into water and then a block of ink, and gracefully traces a number on a piece of rice paper. He turns it around to you. It is a large number.

    Let's see a Resources roll to Overcome against a target of Great (+4). Fail, and you still get the swords, but you'll have some work to do to recover. Or, alternately, Fail, and you can walk away without the steel. Your call.

  • imageJubilex

    Resources (please roll well):
    (Rolled: 4df+2. Total: 0. Rolls: -, -, +, -)
  • imageJubilex

    I look at the rice paper and my heart sinks. I check my balance on my pocket secretary, all my extra funds have gone to the team or to the account for Diego's. I'll have to pick up some work for this, but I can tap a fixer or two, maybe knock out a job here in Seattle. I nod, decision made. "Itsuki-sensei. The price is fitting for such an amazing tool. I did not come prepared to purchase, but I wish to leave a small advance now. I will return in three days to complete the purchase.. if this is acceptable." I bow, and await his answer.
  • He smiles just a little, as if he was hoping for this answer, and this expression on your face. "As it happens, sarunu-sama, I may have a way for you to pay this price without inconvenience to your accounts. Shall we call it an... in-kind trade? There is one in Seattle who managed to steal a kera, a steel bloom from the traditional process used to make the finest of swords, and transport it here. If you can recover this and deliver it back to the original owner's agent at a certain location, it is worth your blades, those of your students, and a significant payment as well." He raises an eyebrow. "Of course, you should know that a single kera weighs a bit over two tons."

  • imageJubilex

    How do you hide something that weighs two tons?

    I bow low, "Hai, I accept. Please provide me all the information you have. I have a Drive you can access to drop files, pictures, whatever you have."
  • Itsuki receives the node address you send him with a sharp nod. "I think it is most fortuitous for both of us that you happened in today, sarunu-sama." He traces out another number with his brush. "In case your team needs motivation, this is the number, after the price of your steel is subtracted." This one has one more zero than the first, and the first digit is higher, as well.

  • imageJubilex

    I look at the number on the paper, nod. "We will be properly motivated. And we will work quickly. Thank you, Itsuki-sensei."

    If there's nothing else he needs, I'll head to the coffee shop.
  • So, I know you've got a lot going on in your brain right now, Jubilex, but how do you take your coffee? Are you a 'half-caf soy latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon', or a 'black and bitter like my heart' guy? It's a legit question. You do drink Tequila Sunrises.

  • imageJubilex

    I like a tall mocha latte with a single creamer. I'm not so much into coffee, but a well done mocha flavor is a thrill I won't deny myself. After I order my drink, I'll join the team wherever they're sitting.

    "I got us a job. It will pay... well. And it's local. Want to stick around for a few days?" I take a sip and wait.
  • imageMalin

    No one objects. Malin says, "I've never been here! I'm cool with a few days to explore, and a run just makes it sweeter. Oh, what is the job?"

  • imageJubilex

    "Someone took a two ton hunk of metal called a kera. We're going to take it back." I grin, then take a long drink of my mocha to let her noodle that over. "But that's for tomorrow. Tonight is Dante's Inferno, and everyone has to come."
  • Everyone has perked up at news that there's a job afoot, and you can see Mat already thinking about moving a few tons of metal as he sips on his Americano. They take you at your word that it's a matter for tomorrow, though, and it's not long before you're back out on the street, making your way to the ferry. The crowd gets even more diverse as you get to the dock, an almost dizzying panoply of humans, metahumans, locals, tourists, you name it.

    You pay for five round-trip tickets and board. Are you going to stay on the deck? It's a really pleasant day, cool and only a little cloudy. There is a bar and a noodle shop inside.

  • imageJubilex

    It's hard to enjoy Seattle noodle shops now that I've had Kenzo's. The weather is great, though, so I'm staying on the deck. I bet someone will serve us drinks out here.
  • The whole gang joins you at the rail as you wait for the ferry to embark. Malin's eyes are everywhere, trying to soak in the entire skyline, the crowds ambling past on the promenade, the surf, the seabirds. Mat leans with his back against the rail, casually observing your fellow passengers. Lindo turns his face up slightly to catch the sun, clearly enjoying the breeze and his relative lack of aches and pains. Nizoni is still thoughtful, standing closer to you than usual and not saying anything.

    When was the last time you were in Seattle? Business or pleasure? Oh, and is there anyone you're hoping not to run into?

  • imageJubilex

    For a moment, I consider putting an arm around Nizoni, but I don't. It wouldn't mean to her what I'd want, and she'd shy away. I accept her closeness as enough.

    Last time I was here was a job for Renraku. My team was tasked with protecting a courier, a ratfink little elf named Barr who had diplomatic immunity due to old treaties with a small barony. He used it to carry datasteals across borders, everyone knew it, but as long as he was alive, he'd keep doing it.

    I hope I don't run into any of the O'Malleys or the Finigans, the Irish mafia who rule here. Jessi's family doesn't get along too well with them, so I don't by extension. Oh, and I punched Jimmy Mac once.
  • edited July 2015

    I'm sure it'll be fine. I mean, what're the chances that Jimmy Mac likes to bet on the brawls, or go dancing? Really...

    imageAfter a few minutes, the ferry gets underway with an old-fashioned (probably synthesized) steam-horn toot. A couple of young dwarves beam when their unbearably cute young son giggles and tries to imitate the sound with a high-pitched "HOOOOOO!" As you turn to look, you catch a glimpse of a gorgeous blonde with tattoos running up from the neck of her casual blouse to her chin, gesticulating broadly and talking loudly enough to whoever's on the other end of her connection for you to pick some of it up. "...will end that fokken cuit, do you understand me?" Your assessment tells you that the tattoos are probably dermal implants, enhancements of some sort, although you don't see any other obvious enhancements. The language expert system tells you the unfamiliar words are Afrikaans, but declines to translate them literally, instead providing TERMS OF ABUSE. I suspect you have a pretty good idea, though?

    As you take in the sight, she somehow registers your glance and meets your eyes directly, looking you up and down, then giving you that smirk.

  • edited July 2015

    Thanks HUD. I appreciate your helpfulness.

    That smirk.

    I give her a quick grin, followed by a wink. I'm tempted to head over there and talk to her, but I can't abandon my crew.
  • Her conversation continues in that odd accent that seems halfway between Dutch and Australian, with plenty of TERMS OF ABUSE thrown in.

    Meanwhile, Mat and Lindo are talking about what they're hoping to find at Nybbles and Bytes. In an age when you can order most anything by essentially thinking about it, there's something about a place like the one you're headed, "curated" lovingly by one of the few people who know as much about the technical side as the mystical... well, it's kind of legendary, and you can see they're excited. Nizoni listens with interest, and even Malin, who's essentially gadget-agnostic, is looking forward to it.

    Anything in particular you're looking for, in the talisman or gadget world?

    The blonde's conversation comes to a close, and she moves in your general direction, toward the rail. She's trained, Jubilex, but you don't really recognize the gait as belonging to a particular school or organization. She winds up a few feet away, her hair moving in the cool breeze as she looks out at the seabirds like she's doing some mental target practice.

  • imageJubilex

    I could use a new talisman to protect me from the Corktown nasties. Because, you know, I just imagine Aoife might want to return there sometime.

    I'm not going to ask her to go. I just "know her".

    Back to the bird-watching, "How long do you think it would take?" I let the question lie out there until she looks over, then I turn to her. "To take all of those birds out. If someone was of a mind to do such a thing. Do you think?"
  • edited July 2015

    She glances over at you. "Well, chommie, it all depends. Crossbow'd be sporting, don't you think? Quiet, too, but figure it would take a while, even with one of the cartidge jobbers. Call it maybe six, seven minutes depending on the wind. With the right rifle and a targeting link, maybe forty or fifty seconds. Poor birdies wouldn't know what hit 'em until it was too late."

    She turns toward you more fully and holds out a hand. "Emma Fortuin, DeBeers-Omnitech."

    [Just because I'm a nerd: the "ui" diphthong in her last name is pronounced like "oy," but with the "oh" part replaced by "uh".]

  • imageJubilex

    "Jubilex, freelance," I answer, taking her hand for a shake, given firm, showing respect. "DeBeers is top notch. Are you working out of Seattle, or traveling?" I take the opportunity to stand a bit closer, looking at her eyes, not her tats.

    Not that I don't find them attractive, because I most certainly do.
  • Emma gives you another appraising glance, after which she seems to make a decision. "On a hunt, actually. Fokker thought to scamper away with company secrets, sell 'em to the highest bidder. Goggo... bug to be swatted, you know, right? Fokker not showin' 'is face 'till tomorrow. Got plans for tripping the lights later?"

  • imageJubilex

    "Bug hunt tomorrow, fun times tonight?" I ask with an amused tone. "I'll be at Dante's Inferno. I'll save a dance for you... or two."
  • She raises a razor-thin eyebrow. "If you think you can keep up with me... well, I'll be there either way." She gives you a wink as she walks away, toward the inner compartments of the boat, and, you'd have to guess, the bar.

  • imageJubilex

    That sounds promising. I'll watch her leave, because that's a nice view. Then, I'll head back to my crew, give Lindo a smirk.
  • imageLindo

    Lindo shakes his head. "Son, I think you could parachute into a crowd of angry, militant lesbian terrorists and find the one woman who wanted a last fling before she really committed to the cause." There's a twinkle in his eye, though. You have a feeling that his somewhat-rejuvenated self might have a bit of fun at Dante's Inferno tonight.

    Mat, hearing that, snorts a laugh, while Malin is blissfully unaware.


    Nizoni gives you a look. "You know the word 'commando' comes from Afrikaans?" There's something about her expression, like she's telling you to be careful.

  • imageJubilex

    Lindo's crack makes me laugh and a I give him a grin, too. To Niz, I nod, "I didn't know that. I'll... be careful." Spooky as she is, I appreciate her concern.

    Plus, she'll probably watch us. It's her way.
  • You spend a few minutes just enjoying "hanging out" with your team, Jubilex, but the easy camaraderie is spoiled a bit when you hear the following from the other side of the deck. It's pretty loud for you to hear it, given the distance, the wind of your passage, and the chug of the engines.

    "What the drek are you lookin' at, you old trog? Back off, or we'll pull off those tusks and roast your balls on 'em like marshmallows." Nizoni pushes off instantly, and you turn to see a trio of young humans with the distinctive "non-pointy ear" logo of the Humanis Policlub threatening an ork leaning on a metal crutch. Old, indeed, which for an ork means maybe 40, tops.

  • imageJubilex

    Sixty percent of my team are metahumans. My girlfriend just slept with an elf, and well, so did I. This does not sit well with me, not one bit. I wonder if these fraggers can swim? I look at Niz, then say, "I'll be right back."

    I'm walking that way, not running up on them unless they hurt the guy. "Hoi, chummers! What's this guy do?" I'm asking with a tone like maybe I think the ork did do something, mostly to hear their answer, to get me closer, to keep their guard down.
  • Nizoni was about to wade in, but stops when she hears your question to the Humanis thugs. You have the welcome feeling of knowing without having to look that the rest of your team is behind you, having your back.

    The three young people (two guys and a girl) give you defiant looks. The oldest one, who seems to be maybe 22 or 23, spits out, "Slot looked at us, didn't he? Keep your nose in your own fraggin' biz, chummer." Nizoni is very quiet and very still.

  • imageJubilex

    "Well, now I'm looking at you." I answer, moving closer, my tone growing harder. "Are you going to give me trouble? I could... borrow a crutch, if that helps." I'm two seconds from beating the drek out of both of these guys. The girl gets a punch or two on me before I respond in kind.

    What's the law on beatdowns? I wonder if Malin's checking cameras. I'll ask her before I start waylaying these idiots.
  • imageMalin

    Malin's a step ahead. Your HUD overlays with the positions of three cameras and highlights the people that have turned toward you and are recording with their own 'ware. Her voice reaches your ear. "Want a little privacy?"

    The three Humanis bullies spread out in a triangle and face you. "You can walk away, chummer, and you oughta. Ain't made too big a mistake yet." The law? If they attack you, you have to defend yourself, right?

  • imageJubilex

    "Yes, please." I respond over subvocal, which probably looks like a whisper. I square my shoulders to the talker, "I think you're about to bite off more than you can chew. You should apologize to my friend there. While you still can walk away."
  • You catch a glimpse of a few puzzled faces as the many implanted cameras among the spectators stop recording all at once, but don't have much time to smirk at that: the three are coming at you fast. Well, fast for them. Not so much fast for you.

    Here's the questions, then I'll figure out the roll: How badly do you want to hurt them, and do you want to take care of this before Nizoni has a chance to wade in?

  • imageJubilex

    Nizoni needs to take out some aggression, so I'll leave the girl for her. Maybe the mohawk idiot, too. I'm bruising and spraining. I really want to get the mouthy guy in an arm lock and make him apologize to my ork friend. That's what I really want to happen.
  • Okay... it would be easier to just kill him, of course. Let's call this (unusually) an Overcome roll using Fight, at a difficulty of Great(+4). Failing the roll doesn't mean you "lose the fight," but he probably won't be in much of a position to do any apologizing in that case.

  • imageJubilex

    I do like a challenge.
    (Rolled: 4df+5. Total: 8. Rolls: 0, +, +, +)
  • As it happens, the girl isn't a pushover. Nizoni engages with her as you move toward Bigmouth, the Policlub punk pulling out a balisong and whipping it around in an impressive display of agility, but Nizoni just sneers. (One of the more attractive sneers on the planet, but still a sneer.) It's going to be an interesting fight, but you have no doubt as to the outcome.

    For you? Mohawk comes barrelling into your path on a diagonal as you approach Bigmouth, and you lay him out flat with a single punch to the forehead, which, while satisfying, will probably sting a little bit later. Bigmouth is a little tougher, bringing his own knife (a tactical thing, knockoff of an Ares model) out. I'm guessing you don't even bother to sneer, do you, as you kick it out of his hand, take the next step and pin his arm before dragging him into a chokehold.

    Just as you're ready to make him apologize, you see Nizoni catch the whirling balisong in mid-slash, moving her hand almost too fast to see to flick the flat of the blade so that it leaves the girl's grip, then catching the handle. She holds it to the girl's neck and leans in to whisper something that makes the knife's former owner turn pale.

    So, what exactly are you asking Bigmouth to say, here?

  • imageJubilex

    No sneer from me, I can't outdo Niz, so why try?

    "I'll try it again, chummer. More slowly. Smaller words." I repeat myself after Bigmouth takes a pause in his groans of pain. "If you want your arm to continue bending the way God intended, you will apologize to my friend here for causing him trouble. Convince me that you're sincere." It's his last chance. If he decides to take it, I'm breaking his elbow. Compound fracture.
  • Well, it's not always a happy ending for everybody. Bigmouth starts to spit out "Frag you, chumm..." before you apply a bit more pressure, stressing the elbow in a way that makes it clear he's seconds away from a big medical bill, at best. "Okay, okay! I'm sorry, trog! I shouldn'ta messed with you!" Somehow, he's smart enough to get that what he just said won't be enough (was it another measured application of torque?) and continues. "You're a UCAS citizen and I respect your rights and privileges under the law. I'm a misguided youth acting out the frustrations of my childhood, and I apologize for troubling you." It's rehearsed, but the words are pretty good, right?

  • imageJubilex

    I release Bigmouth and shove him towards Mohawk, "Thank you, citizens. Please consider this altercation the next time you meet a person who might want to be treated with courtesy, or... you know, like a person. Now get lost."

    After they take off, I check on our ork friend, "Are you alright, sir?"
  • There's a moment of silence before someone in the crowd starts clapping, followed by another and another. The applause doesn't last long, but it was genuine, for sure.

    The ork squints at you through an old-fashioned pair of coke bottle glasses. His voice is raspy but strong. "Thanks, chummer. I'm fine, and those idiots could stand to learn the lesson you taught them." He pauses, taking in you and Nizoni. "You folks have names?"

  • imageJubilex

    I purse my lips for a moment, look over to Nizoni. I look back at him, shake my head no. "No, sir. No names. Just fellow citizens. Have a good day, sir." I clap his shoulder once, solid but not hard. As long as Nizoni's good to head back to minding our own business, that's what I'll do.
  • As you, Nizoni and the rest of your team wander back to the rail, things quiet down. Mat excuses himself after asking for drink orders, and Lindo offers to go with him, to help carry.


    While they're gone, Malin, who is once again gazing out over the water, veritably squeaks with excitement. When you turn to follow her pointing finger, you see a school of maybe a dozen merrow, the humanoid upper halves of their bodies partially out of the water as they swim alongside the ferry. "That is awesome!" Nizoni turns, too, and watches the creatures pacing the boat with a small smile.

  • imageJubilex

    Malin's excitement about the merfolk is infectious, and a nice distraction from my adrenaline high. I'm still in "fight mode", so this helps me calm a little. I join her, looking down at them. "It is. First ones you've seen?" She's lived a pretty sheltered life, I forget that.
  • imageMalin

    Malin nods. "Yeah. Feels like I come across something like once a week that reminds me how little I actually know about the world." That may seem a little melancholy, but she perks up. "Good thing I like learning stuff."


    Mat and Lindo return with beers for everyone, in plastic cups. When Nizoni raises an eyebrow, Mat shrugs. "Didn't have much of a selection, Princess of the Horses..."

    Once everyone has a beer, you all sip and talk mostly about nothings until the ferry reaches the Tacoma dock and you disembark. Still a nice day out, but it's a fair distance to Nybbles and Bytes, probably over a half-hour if you walk it. Stay on foot, then, or take a cab?

  • imageJubilex

    Horse Princess is the perfect joke name for Nizoni! I chuckle at Mat when he drops that one. We'll take a cab. All of us pile into a driverless unit. I'm sure Mat can summon something decent.

    As we're waiting, I check in with everyone, "We all wiz?"
  • You all slide into a large autocab, comfy, and the "driver" takes your destination and navigates smoothly through the Tacoma traffic, and pulls up along the curb outside a storefront decorated by eight-bit depictions of wizards' hats, wands, and herbs. Everyone already agreed that they were wiz.

    You're at Nybbles and Bytes. As you all walk in, you're greeted by a middle-aged woman that seems like an aging flower-child, dressed in flowy gypsy skirts and a peasant blouse, with a garland of wildflowers in her hair, but Cassandra Van Vieck has sharp eyes, evaluating all of you with both compassion and calculation.

    "How can help you, friends?"

  • imageJubilex

    "Hoi, Ms. Van Vieck," I greet her using the AR info. "We're here for a short visit, and couldn't help but stop at one of the most exciting places in Seattle. What's the latest and greatest that you have to wow my arcane and gadget-inclined friends?"
  • image "Please, call me Cassandra, or Aunt Cassie if you like. Welcome to the shop." Her voice is breathy and she gives off a ditzy vibe, but her eyes are sharp and intelligent.

    The team didn't wait for you to chat with the proprietress, but immediately scattered to the corners of the comfortable-looking shop. "Anything in particular I can show you? Seems like the rest of your interesting little group is browsing."

    This place is fun, and mixed up in a way that almost makes sense, but you can't quite put your finger on the organizing scheme. A huge white cat with bright green eyes rubs up against your shin, purring loudly.

  • imageJubilex

    I reach down to pet the cat, "Tell me about your cat. And anything you think I might like instead of my old pocket secretary." I pull it out of my pocket, of course, to show her.
  • Cassandra gives a rather delightful laugh. "My cat? Demetrius is hardly my anything. He's a free spirit that decided he liked me about forty years ago and hasn't stopped yammering in my head ever since." It's clear she's teasing. The cat, not you.

    She looks at your pocket secretary with an almost affectionate smile. "Ah... the classics, right? Well, assuming you don't want any more metal in your head than your port, I can show you a few things." She leads you to a case right beside a collection of talismans woven out of dried vines and such, but this case holds a bunch of small, sleek and shiny devices. "These will fully integrate with your port, but you won't have to pull them out to do things. We could easily upgrade your, uh, spiffy AR spectacles, too. If you want."

  • imageJubilex

    I look at the devices, a little lost in them. Shiny. "Yes, new shades sound wiz."
  • She makes a gesture before opening the case, apparently releasing a magical lock, then flips the glass case open and pulls out something decidedly not shiny. Matte black, about the size of a Zippo lighter, with one button. "You might need some time to get this set up, but it is to your lovely keepsake..." She nods to your pocket secretary. "...as you are to a couple of Humanis toughs." She gives you a wink.

  • imageJubilex

    Does she...? Does she know what happened earlier? How the frag?

    I take the zippo thing, look at it for a moment. "This fits in my port?" How?
  • Another brief instance of that laugh. "The world is wireless, and so are you, sweetie. Your port's already taking in everything, feeding the AR specs you've got now. That little thing stays in your pocket, or anywhere within about a hundred yards, really, if there's not too much interference. A little time to get used to it, and some up-to-date shades, well, you'll almost be up to the 2070s. You could go with contacts, if you want, keep those pretty eyes on display for the girls."

  • imageJubilex

    The bit about my eyes gets a playful grin. "I like to hide my eyes from time to time. It's useful. And cool." I squeeze the device once. "How strong is this? Waterproof?"
  • Cassandra's eyes take you in for a moment. "I assume you're carrying? Come with me." She snags a pair of slick mirrorshades from another case as she leads you to the back of the shop, through a storeroom, and to (of all things) a small shooting range. She reclaims the little device from you and sets it on a pedestal at the target end of the range, then walks back. "Do your best."

    About 20 yards, pretty small target. Let's make a Shoot roll, for fun, to see if you nail it on the first shot or the second. If you make a Good (+3), it's bullseye right away. If not, you'll have to adjust your grip or something else shoot-y, before hitting the target on the second time.

  • imageJubilex

    I'm shooting!
    (Rolled: 4df+4. Total: 5. Rolls: +, 0, 0, 0)
  • You hear a sharp ping followed by a thunk as the bullet ricochets off and into a wall. That was a heck of a shot, Jube. Cassandra seems pleased but not surprised as she walks over to the device and brings it back to show you that there's not a scratch on it from your dead-on shot. "Carbon composite. You'd have to use a very, very good drill bit and a lot of patience to get through." She hands you back the little black box. "It's basically an updated version of your classic, with all the interface in AR. If you think you might want to use it without the glasses, I can throw in an interface device that you can actually put your fingers on."

  • imageJubilex

    "I'd like both, please, Cassandra." I answer after staring at the device. "This is nice." I grin, then look up at her, "I want to keep my pocket secretary, though. Let my team think I'm still an old fogie."
  • She takes care of the money, then hands you the device and the new pair of shades she grabbed on the way back. As you re-enter the store proper, Cassandra makes a quick detour to grab a slim keyboard/display about the size of a thin paperback book. "I'll throw in the interface. Not much call for them these days."

    Lindo is browsing an extensive ingredients supply in something like a trance, occasionally sniffing or rubbing things between his fingers before filling up a small bag and putting it in the basket he's carrying. Mat, too is more looking at parts than completed devices, occasionally coming out with a happy grunt as something surprising shows up.

    Malin is going over an assortment of what looks like jewelry. You assume it's actually various camouflaged wireless bits and bobs. Nizoni has something of an evil grin as she plays with a small box with a series of lights and switches.

    Cassandra asks, "Anything else for you?"

  • imageJubilex

    I chuckle lightly as I see the team all engrossed in their bits and bobs. "No ma'am. Just the device. Watching them is worth the price of admission." I'm rather excited about this device, it has so many possibilities.
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