A.K.A. Intimidation and lies… works every time
Our runners are sent to a local diner to apprehend a rival gang member. Their goals are simple: find the mark, interrogate the mark, and keep it quiet. A bonus has been offered to make an example of the mark.
Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as planned. The mark never showed and the low-level drug pusher that was supposed to lead our runners to the mark turned out to be in business for himself.
Fortunately, our runners kept their cool and despite several shots being fired they were able to extract the location of the mark without any bloodshed.
A decker, an ex-cop, and a troll walk into a bar.
It’s really just any bar. And the three men are there to meet a woman. She’s not just any woman. Her name is Lydia “Johnson”, and she’s a broker. And she has a story to tell.
There are many gangs in the near-lawless city of Aurora, just outside the free city of Denver. They fight endless wars against each other, each struggling for their little piece of the pie in the great game. For each gang, their own war is everything. But the power exchange is linear. A push here, a fumble there, and one piece of the pie moves from one hungry mouth to the other.
But the Devils are different. No one knew them, because they weren’t worth anything beyond their little corner of the world. Except lately, their power is growing, and no one can explain why. And as that growth is exponential, it’s a matter of concern.
Gorgeous Gail was a member of one of these concerned gangs, but she parted ways and joined the Devils. Now she’s a lead, and a target.
The runners get their mission: find Gorgeous Gail, find out what she knows about the Devils’ rise to power, then kill her. There’s pay for the first and second, and a bonus for the third.
The decker, the ex-cop, and the troll leave the bar. Each has their own stake in the game, and now they are thrust together to solve a mystery. For some, it’s about the mystery. For others, it’s the money. Either way leads down the same road.
The decker is dwarf named Hex. His dress is modest – exceedingly modest. If we’re speaking of money, then he’s nearly broke. But the strange bulge in his coat answers the mystery: a deck, his interface to the Net and all of its secrets.
He rides in a taxi to their destination with the ex-cop, a human named Tom Park. Tom wears a long overcoat and packs a nasty revolver, but it’s impossible to notice that his left arm is not factory original.
The bruiser takes his own ride. A troll named Merrick, his physique says everything about his deadliness. He carries no open weapons, but one suspects that is not to his detriment in the least.
They have a lead. Gorgeous Gail ran drug deals outside a diner named Joe’s Pie Shop, making money drops with a dealer named Shifty. The dealer was a nobody, but the drops happened regular enough.
The runners meet at a bar across the street from a diner and set up near a window. From there, they spot Shifty – only he is not alone but flanked by two thugs. And on the street corner, another man keeps watch.
Hopeful to find more, Hex retires to the restroom and pulls out his deck. He tries to hack into the diner, hoping to find security cameras or anything that would let him spy on Shifty.
Tom goes for a more direct approach, acknowledging that good eats is crucial to a good stake out. He heads out to the diner and orders three burgers to go. Inside, he observes Shifty more closely. The punk is not withdrawn, shy, or even all that shifty – he is instead boisterous and arrogant.
Wondering that Johnson’s intel may be outdated, Tom returns to the bar with the burgers, taking the long way around to avoid the watch’s prying eye. Hex returns from his own venture with little in hand. The runners settle in to see what more they might learn.
Shifty was supposed to be small fry, but as the day wore on, the sheer volume of traffic put that intel to lie. Shifty was getting not only numerous deals, but he wasn’t even handling them himself. Instead, his watch at the street corner took the deals. And they weren’t lunch sacks full of greasy money either. Large sums of money were being exchanged, and visitors came by in luxurious vehicles.
Yet through all of it, there was no sign of Gorgeous Gail.
Wanting to know more, Hex tapped Merrick to escort him behind the diner, where he could tap into Shifty’s phone calls directly. The two left the bar and crossed the street, leaving Tom as lookout.
The pair made their way behind the shop and Hex set up his deck. Soon enough, he was in, but he fumbled masking his trace. He tapped enough of the line to hear Shifty swear, and Hex knew he was caught.
The lookout and one of Shifty’s bodyguards immediately began to search. They split up and began to flank around the diner. As Tom watched, Shifty and the last bodyguard began to leave.
Behind the building, as the thugs drew on Hex and Merrick, the troll responded with intimidation, daring the thugs to press their issue or bugger off. They were unwilling to stand up to the troll and began to dither.
Meanwhile, Tom stumbled out of the bar and into the fleeing bodyguard. The moment they touched, Tom drew his own gun and flashed his old badge, pretending to be Lone Star. The guard immediately fled. Left alone, Shifty began to flee himself, towards the back of the diner, but Tom stopped him with a single warning shot.
Meanwhile, the thugs began to fire at Merrick and Hex. The decker exchanged fire, while the bruiser began to swing at the thugs.
Under threat of arrest, Shifty revealed that Gorgeous Gail no longer dealt on this corner, but he had an address. Tom took the address then forced Shifty to call off his other minions. Shots had already been exchanged behind the diner, but at Shifty’s word, they backed off.
Shots exchanged, but no one wounded or killed. And now the runners had their lead on Gorgeous Gail.