I got a message regarding the job that Uncle had asked us if we would be willing to take. We were instructed to go to the Horse Trot Ranch, north of the Wall, to meet with a man named Falcone at 1800. I let the others know, but I didn’t hear from Simon. As I was gathering my gear and waiting for Cheshire and Nicholas to pick me up, the doorbell rang. A Morben Industries delivery man had me sign for a package.
I had a bit of time before the others arrived, so I opened the package. Inside was what looked like an archaic deck. It was by far the oddest thing I had received from Uncle, but there had to be more to it than there seemed. There was a slip of paper with instructions on it to press four buttons in a certain sequence. When I did so, I discovered that the deck was actually a disguised rifle. Uncle’s note said something about holograms, but that kind of thing isn’t really my expertise. However, this was going to make it much easier to get a rifle through security checkpoints, for sure.
Once we got to the Horse Trot Ranch, we were escorted to meet Falcone. He informed us that the kidnapped person was one Jonathan Blankley, from Ares R&D. They didn’t know who had taken him, or why, and their security system had been hacked around the time of the kidnapping. Cheshire got permission to review the security footage while Nicholas and I went to search Blankley’s room.
We found a leather-wrapped raven’s feather. I called Uncle, who knows a lot of things, and he said that it’s the “calling card” of a ’runner named Kira. We also found a pair of commlink glasses. Cheshire was able to examine those, and we learned that Kira frequents a bar known as “The Hard Pan.”
So we went there. We discovered it was a bar frequented mostly by Sioux. Being the only one in the group who speaks the language, it fell to me (shudder) to make small talk and glean what info I could from the bartender. Fortunately, a generous tip got us some information about Kira – and the bartender agreed to facilitate a meeting between us and Kira and a nearby airport.
We had two hours before the meeting, so we went straight to the airport to scout it out. We found a gatehouse that had an excellent view of the field and the meeting spot, so I climbed up and got settled in with my new rifle. I had worn my armored coat with thermal dampening, and I made sure the hood was up. Cheshire set a couple of his drones to watch over me as well, in case anyone noticed me and tried to sneak up on me while I was focused on my scope. He also linked our comms so that I could hear their end of business, and they would know if I got into any trouble.
Kira arrived. Nicholas told her to hand over Blankley. She – not surprisingly – refused. Nicholas threatened to beat her up. She seemed amused. So he moved to attack, and two spirits appeared next to her. Suddenly, Nicholas was running away from her. She followed, leaping onto his back and drawing a knife. I saw my shot and took it – and blew her leg clean off at the knee.
She fell off Nicholas, and the other spirit picked her up and began fleeing. Cheshire seemed to be doing…something – he was standing there, kind of staring into space; I’ve seen him do that before when he’s hacking or doing other technomancer-y things.
The spirit not carrying Kira changed course, heading towards me. I learned that you can actually shoot and “kill” spirits with a rifle. Once the spirit was gone, Nicholas stopped running; he went for Cheshire’s car to drive after Kira. The spirit carrying her was really trekking. I was able to get off a couple shots; it looked like I was hurting it.
Then my rifle jammed. It was the work of a few seconds to clear it – not long, but it cost me a shot. Nicholas picked up Cheshire and continued after Kira. I was able to get off one final shot, and the spirit dissipated. Cheshire and Nicholas got to Kira, and Cheshire sent the car back for me while Nicholas tended to Kira’s wounds, keeping her alive.
I climbed down and got in, followed by Cheshire’s drones, and let him drive the car back to where they were. Cheshire said he knew where Kira’s accomplices were – he had searched out their comm signals. So now we need to go after them, but we can’t leave Kira here alone. Which one of us will stay, and who will go?