Pahedi lazily drove to from the stuffer-shack intending to pick up a pack of smokes and a bottle of cheap booze. The memory of Harlequinn’s quest, extracting a mess of shadow, muscle and ichor from the aura of a young girl in an ancient church, needed some blurring. As he drove home, a message appeared in AR. Maya wanted to meet at an out-of-the-way restaurant to discuss working off some of the debt. What the hell. Pahedi thought, then redirected the autopilot to the location just outside Aurora. He found Maya sitting at a table waiting for him, her security sitting behind them, their eyes on Pahedi.
“Welcome back Pahedi, I trust you are well.” Pahedi smiled, pushing aside the recent memories of terrible magicks, “As long as I keep drinking this fabulous tea, I will be. Tell me, what is this all about?”
Maya looked him over for a moment. “You are being watched my friend. Did you know of Kitties allies in your little group of adventurers?” “Who.. what?!” Pahedi responded.
“Perhaps you’re working with him? Kitty has already moved against us and is now working with my enemy, George Stephanopoulos, to push my organization out. Do you know how Brand ties into her plans?” Maya pressed. “You read the file right? Kitty’s headaches, memory loss, change of personality. Look at these.” She dropped charts and doctor notes onto the table. “We found Maria’s old fake SIN and MeFeed as well. Watch these videos! She’s not the same person. If I’m right… she’s not even human.”
A squat individual, wearing a thick armored jacket and motorcycle helmet steps inside and asks the hostess for an order to go. He glances around the restaurant, stopping on Maya and Pahedi, then takes his food and leaves.
Maya continues, “We need assurances you and your crew aren’t going to take us down next.”
“Maya, as of this moment, Kitty has not given us any instructions towards you or the triads other than to ‘leave them alone.’ You have surprised me about our friend Brant and I will see what I can find out on my end about his allegiances and what he knows. I too am concerned that Mrs MacAvoy is gone for good and that Kitty is all that’s left. You say you don’t think she’s even human… do you have a thought as to what she might be? I’ve gone over her aura and I wasn’t able to find anything… otherworldly… but perhaps I missed it..”
Maya looked at him stunned. “You haven’t heard the rumors? It’s not spirits it’s like they can program people now. I don’t know. We had her assensed and they picked up something subtly wrong. Like ware but all over.”
Pahedi responded, “That I did notice as well. By otherworldly, I meant nothing from out of this world.”
Maya looked at him confused. He continued “We’ve been distracted by … otherworldly… things lately. So I apologize, I’m still processing some of what I’ve seen.”
Maya nodded with a worried look on her face. “I see..”
Pahedi changed the subject. “I will see if I can find out what her plans are regarding the triads and if successful, I will be sure to let you know. Also, I will let you know what I find out about our friend, Brand”
Maya smiled, “Thank you. I appreciate that. There is also another matter. How would you like to clear 3 thousand of your debt for just holding onto a briefcase? Someone will contact you to pick up. How does that sound?”
Pahedi laughed nervously, “It’s not going to blow my hands off or rip my soul out is it?” Maya looked at him sternly, “As long as you don’t open it.” She let that sink in. “You’ll be contacted by someone who will send you an ARO of text, ‘Wandering Stars’. He’ll set up the meeting. Just respond “The Darkness Forever”. You just give him the briefcase. Don’t let it out of your sight.” Maya slides the briefcase across the table to Pahedi, who takes a moment to let his mind read the interplaying auras. A ward.. and perhaps something magical when it is opened. Nothing obviously terrible about it. “Ok, it’s a plan. I’ll start immediately.”
Pahedi got a bowl of gourmet seafood and noodles to go and started driving away. After a few minutes dredging through traffic, he realized that there was a gopher truck behind him that had been staying a few car lengths back the entire drive. Knowing the types of trouble that happen when on a run, he set the autopilot a few blocks away and let his mind drift into the astral. O Osiris! Exalted art thou on thy throne! Seize the one who would harm me and hold him. Confess to him the Secrets of life! The golden light of Osiris drifted through space, traveling from the west and into the vehicle following him. As the truck slowed to a stop, Pahedi noted the vehicles license plate and put in a call to his only friend at Lone Star, Nick Ryder.
Nick whispered when he answered, “What’s going on Pahedi? Find a way to clear your name yet?”
“Lookup some plates for me, bud.” Pahedi sent the ARO containing the plate to Nick’s device. A little work with the host software brought up the most recent record. “Tommy Tong. He’s one of the Rippers, a local with the triad. You should watch out for these guys, they run all the human trafficking in town now that MacCaskill is out of commission may he burn in the fires.”
Pahedi thought for a moment. “Do me a favor bud, have him arrested for driving while intoxicated and get him off the streets for a while.”
“Well why should I do that? Is the young man doing something we can hold him for?”
“He’s being a dangerous driver. Swerving all across the road and hitting parked cars. I’d call it in myself but, my reports aren’t too valued at the moment..”
“Perhaps with a small donation to the policeman’s ball, we can make it happen. If you’d like to make a larger donation, we might make him regret his career choice. Base tickets are $100, Deluxe is $500.”
“Nah, I don’t think this fragger needs an alignment change. I might change my mind, if so I’ll give you a call within a few, but I doubt he’s worth the time.”
“Ok, you need anything else, let me know.” Nick disconnected and sent out the notice to the officer nearest Tommy, who was picked up without trouble.
Pahedi went home, drank until the visions fuzzed and crashed out on the couch. Waking late, he started the day with a smoke and some meditation. The astral only communicated one thing to him. Danger. No frag universe. After spending the day with the briefcase on the couch watching classic trideos, he finally got the message he was waiting for.
Pahedi responded, “The Darkness Forever”
Only a few seconds passed, but they seemed to stall in time. “Meet me at Pog Moi Thon at midnight. Come Alone.”
Pahedi got into the car and sent a message to Desi, asking her to take a peek into the place he was heading and see if there was a spot she could watch from. She responded with a message a little later. It’s a dank punk bar in the basement. Meshuganah is playing tonight, they’re a wiz punk klezmer band. Place has no cameras. Good Luck!
Pahedi let the autopilot take him to the pub and parked a few blocks away on a dark part of the street. Before stepping out, he focused his mana on his form, generating an image of a radical Ancient punk. The mana continued wrapping around him into the astral, adding to the disguise. Waiting for the right moment, he stepped into the pub at 11:57. The dance floor is a wall of bodies, slamming into each other and into the air. The music is incredibly loud and the lighting is practically non-existent. Pahedi nodded along for a while before slipping into a table near the wall. Grabbing a drink menu, he ordered a short whiskey and sat back, enjoying the music.
A few minutes later, his pocket vibrated. A new message from the client. Leave the case in the second men’s stall from the left and leave. Standing up and chanting along with the rhythm, Pahedi headed into the men’s room. The room is full of people lined up relieving themselves against the wall. Some of them were hitting a toilet, some of them are near a toilet, some of them were none of the above. The door to the second stall was locked. A gnarly troll with glazed over eyes, stumbles over and pees on Pahedi’s shoes, the stream passing through the illusion. Irritated, Pahedi decided to pee back, soaking the trog’s feet.
“HEY!” he said as he lurched forward swinging a massive fist which flies over Pahedi’s head. Pahedi laughed and leapt into an empty stall next to the targets and slammed the door closed. Feigning a bad english accent, he says “Nice try love, next time let your mother try.” The troll started banging against the stall door, trying to tear it down. Pahedi sang out to him, “I can’t heearr youu over the lack of frags I give. Bugger off chum.” The troll tried harder, bending the door lock.
Pahedi dropped the illusions and stepped to the side, just as the door tore off its hinge and off of him. The wall behind him kept him up as the troll and door went down into piss. “Uhm excuse me sir, this stall is occupied.” He said to the drunken thug at his feet. The troll stood up, confusion on his face and looked under the stall to either side. “Come out then you bugger!” The troll pulls himself over the walls and seeing no-one inside, stumbles out onto the dance floor, looking for that fragging elf.
Pahedi entered the target stall and locked the door behind him. On top of the toilet, an origami crane stared at him. He put the briefcase down on the seat and reached out for the crane. A wave of mana wavers across his aura, sending it spinning for a moment. He closed his eyes and focused for a moment. Go home was the only text written.
Pahedi took a minute to think about the situation._ A club full of of metahuman punks and anarchists, a mysterious package and a magical influence. Something isn’t right. I’ve heard of terrorist groups who’ve used similar devices to wipe out groups of metahumans in the past. Is the triad planning on abducting all these people? Killing them for ritual magic? In either case, this is some kind of bomb. Frag this…_
O Osiris! Exalted art thou on thy throne! Destroy this device and rescue these people from the threat. Stone and mortar came up from the ground and chewed the briefcase into small pieces, dropping a wooden puzzle box which seems to just bounce around inside the chaos. The magic ended and the earth returned to it’s original form. Conceal me my god! Pahedi reached out to Osiris one more time. He ran from the bathroom, leaving the puzzlebox floating in the water, and pulled the fire alarm. The system disconnected the music and began alerting people on how to get out of the building. In the crowd of people, Pahedi was able to slip outside and return to his car. A message from Maya was waiting for him on his commlink when he returned. “How did it go?”
Pahedi messaged back Some big ass troll thought I had something fancy in that briefcase and wanted to see it. Meanwhile, those psycho anarchists were setting each other on fire. I barely made it out of there in that stampede.
Did you leave the case?
The case was left behind. What was that all about Maya?
You received the text and left the case as ordered. That’s good. We will credit the amount we discussed.
The messages stopped coming and Pahedi sat in his car for a minute watching the club. Nothing happened, so he returned home and sent a message to Desi._ See what you can find from these commcodes. They may be involved with some of that terribleness of late. They had me drop off a briefcase in a nightclub. Don’t know what they were intending, but I doubt it was sunshine and rainbows._
Well that commcode client is just a burner. Phones already dead and gone. Maya has a couple of recent messages. No name, only seems to refer to ‘the item’ which I’m assuming is that briefcase. Maya seems to recognize the sender of the message, and it seems like they might be meeting again soon. It also seems like they operate by dead drops. Neither of them trusts the other.