Episode...uh...9...i think...

The Best Way to Win a Race is to Be The Only One In It

Outside the Tyrell arcology Rusty and Jinan are waiting with the sasquach for Anita to arrive in her big rig. Greg is hustling towards their location to learn more about the dragon, and his fire spirit is perched atop Rusty’s van, waiting to defend it as ordered. Rusty’s optic-X picks up the movement of what appears to be a Tyrell emergency response team approaching the rear of the building. Jinan moved into a position of cover behind some trees bordering a porch entrance to the building. As the special forces team rounds the corner, their leader dashes up to the edge of the porch, apparently only seeing the sasquach and fires on the creature, which utters a pathetic ‘Mburrhurrerr’ as it retreats back into the relative safety of the garage. Jinan swings her predators out on either side of the tree she is behind, using the smartguns’ guncams to zero in on the team leader. Two shots ring out, their rounds finding home in the mystic’s grey matter, as his aura flickers and fades. He slumps to the ground, dead.

The response team recovers from their shock at seeing their leader felled in 2 shots, and their combat training kicks in. They move to similar cover opposite Jinan and swarm her position with bullets. The tree provides decent cover, but she still is stung by several rounds that thud into her armor. Rusty’s roto and doberman drones begin to file out of the garage and open fire on the hitsquad, laying down sufficient suppressive fire to allow Rusty to move the van out of the loading dock, making room for Anita. As Anita pulls in she warns Rusty that the Lonestar have been alerted to gunshots and are on their way. Sure enough in the distance the sirens of approaching badges could be heard. The Dragon and the sasquach begin to climb aboard the trailer as Rusty’s icon races down the cyberlanes to the nodes of the approaching cop cars.

Jinan, wanting to provide cover for the defenseless dragon and wookie throws a thermal smoke grenade onto the porch. This forces the remaining assault team to press forward around the smoke to find better angles. They sweep into position and again open fire on Jinan and the drones. Jinan manages to evade or absorb most of the fire again, but the remaining rotodrone is not so lucky and falls from the sky, trying to maneuver to a better vantage above the roof. The doberman does not fair much better, and it climbs onto the porch one of the assault team guns it to pieces. Rusty barely has time to notice as he begins to scour the lonestar car’s node for weaknesses. By this time Greg has rounded the corner of the building, and takes stock of the situation. With the dragon and co. loaded Anita begins to pull the truck out, wanting to make a quick getaway before more heat is drawn or their IDs splashed all over the evening news trids. As the truck pulls away, the assault team is reeling, coping with the loss of their commander and the confusing milieu. Greg spots them, and and an impish grin flashes across his face briefly before it draws into concentration. He pulls his fetish from his cloths, draws the mana to his will, and shapes it into an ember. Fanning the flame with his intent, the ember erupts into a fireball that issues, screeching across the loading dock. One of the mercs has his wits about him enough to dodge away to safety, but the other is consumed in a righteous pyre. The other closes ground with Greg and tries to subdue him, landing a blow into the dwarfs stocky frame. But Greg, still coursing with energy, gazes into the eyes of his attacker, dominating his will.

Jinan runs across the street, firing on one of the mercs as she passes. He is knocked down but not out. Another in the street is not prepared for Anita to be pulling onto the road and us crushed beneath the massive tread of the trailer. By this time, Rusty has hacked the node of the foremost oncoming cop car without being detected by its firewall. Just as the car reaches its top cruising speed Rusty issues the command to fully engage the emergency brake. As the vehicle lurches to a halt, the car behind it unwittingly and unavoidably crashes into the back of it. Both cars go skidding over the curb and rock into the side of some dumpsters, their drivers presumably dead. Thoroughly pleased with this result, Rusty pulls the van around so that Greg and Jinan can board more easily, which they both do after Jinan dispatches another merc. The one mind controlled by Greg, however, is compelled to dash off to where the other Lonestars cops are already passing Anita and approaching the van. It seems these will be able to give chase and potentially identify the team. But just as they pass Greg covers the road beneath the lead car in a sheet of ice. Suddenly thrown into skids, the two cars careen into each other and stop with a crash. Whatever was left of the occupants is quickly finished off by a hail of bullets from the mind controlled merc. Jinan chuckles and speaks to Rusty over her subvocal mic.

“Remind me not to piss this guy off, Rust!”

- – - – -

Rusty communicates with Anita over commlink while he drives, telling her that the heat is off their tail and arranging to meet at her workshop in Redmond ASAP, urging her not to look inside til he arrives. While this is happening, Jinan and Greg introduce themselves more properly. Once Greg realizes that the pair has no intention of harming the dragon and are in fact trying to effect its restoration, and Jinan realizes that Greg is not likely to be a spy from Tyrell sent to track them, they agree to work together and try to return the dragon to it’s country. Greg tells Jinan about the halloweener he interrogated, but all she can figure from that info is that perhaps Tyrell had gotten wind of their B&E and set the gang on them to waylay them til the team arrived. But if that were the case, why did the team seem so startled to see them: approaching in a cluster rather than tactically surrounding the building, and falling quickly to their fire. She cannot reason more, and writes it off.

They stop in at Jinan’s apartment before going to Anita’s shop. Jinan changes out of her now out-of-place camouflage suite and into her less conspicuous armored jacket. She tries to quickly find a secure place to stash the datachip with their evidence record, but not being able to find something suitable in the short time available she decides it is likely safer with them and keeps it with her. A strange tension hangs over the group, as though they have forgotten something important that they just cant remember. They pile back in the van and proceed to Anita’s chop-shop.

“You didn’t tell me I was chauffeuring a Dragon, Rusty! Those are the types of things a girl likes to know BEFORE she goes to a dance!”

“It couldn’t be helped. It’s not the type of thing one just goes blabbing about over open channels.” Rusty replied, slightly stung that she didn’t trust him not to look.

“Fair enough, but lets just say that you three are lucky your new friend is very wealthy. He wants to talk to you anyway. More specifically he “Bid me summon his new retainers to him’ which seems to be you lucky lot.” She quipped back with a wry grin. “I’ll can find a place for him to lay low for a while, but we’re going to have to get him across the border sooner rather than later if we want to collect on this. Speaking of which, do you two have what I asked you for? Or was this whole thing just to pick a dragon up from day-care?”

“We have the hard drive.” Jinan said, relinquishing the device. “You might as well know what’s on it. They were experimenting on metas in there, trying to strip them of their essence to rig them like drones!”

“We’ll just see if this is really what you say it is. Meanwhile you’d better go talk to your new boss before he decides to chew his way thru my crew.” With that Rusty left to follow Anita, who wanted to verify the hard drives authenticity, while Jinan and Greg approached the trailer with the dragon. They manage to open and enter without revealing to the rest of the shop the extraordinary contents of this rig.

“Hail!” the dragon welcomed them, speaking again thru the frightened but relieved sasquach. “I offer my thanks for liberating me from my bonds. You cannot imagine the suffering I endured at the hands of those mortals.” The last word is nearly spat with contempt by the interpreter, but its composure returns quickly. “And I congratulate you for entering my services for the time being, while you arrange for my escort across the border back to me country. You are no doubt gratified to know that the reward for accomplishing this will be appropriately handsome. To that end, I shall now allow you 15,000 nuyen each and more upon completion of your task.” The dragon himself seems the have regained some of his stature after the trials he endured, tho definitely not at his full splendor, holding himself with aloof regard for the two. Jinan, not wishing to offend what was undoubtedly a hungry dragon, bowed low in acquiescence. Greg is wide-eyed and star-struck.

“We graciously accept your offer, and will do all in our power to see you discreetly to your home. It truly is an honor to be in your service, tho in fact we did not venture in to the arcology to rescue you. We sought the hard drive of a scientist named Mayhew. We have been hired by a group of elves to extract him from his previous employ, but we found him dead and his data taken. That is what we tracked to Tyrell’s arcology and discovered their plot to strip metas of their essence. What more might we learn from you of this? Has your government any prior knowledge of Mayhew or his work, or of Tyrell’s intention?”

“Alas, no.” The dragon would have almost looked chagrined that he didn’t know, if a dragon could look chagrined. “I myself was investigating news that Tyrell was using its position as border guard of Seattle to capture mortals for their tests. That was when I…attempted to infiltrate their operation disguised as a captive, in an effort to learn more. I wasn’t prepared for what I found, and I intend to make them pay for what they did to me…or rather, to their fellow mortals.”

“And what of the A.W.E.? We learned that they were also looking into Tyrell for similar reasons. Would there be any particular cause for their aims to so closely mirror your own?” The dragon looked away.

“The policy of our government is never to endorse random acts of political dissidents, or associate with them directly.” He said coyly. “But it does not seem unusual for them to take interest in the mistreatment of mortals who flicker with magic.” Thinking it best not to press the dragon more, Jinan agreed to contact it again when arrangements had been made for its travel, and she and Greg bowed their ways out of the trailer. the group then reconvened to decide how best to proceed…



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