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SR5E: Shadowrun: 'The Thomas Crowne Affair'


Dave ST
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Shadowrun:

'The Thomas Crowne Affair'

The Cutting Edge, Seattle Downtown...

The Cutting Edge was a low class bar and strip joint in Seattle's Downtown.  The whole place was lit up with AROs and exotic neon lighting as women of all metatypes worked the floor and stage wearing little more than what the Good Lord blessed them with.  The music thumped and pounded in Mycroft's ears as he made his way through the crowd, pushing people to the side and weaving through some of the congested areas near the bar.  A few polite smiled to the ladies that took an interest in him and he was on his way.  He was smart enough to know they didn't want him, just his money.

Finding the Ork and the dwarf weren't too difficult.  Like the message had said, the Ork was wearing a black 'I [heart] Seattle' t-shirt under a heavy armored jacket.  The piece underneath it he wasn't trying to hide very well.  His pal, the dwarf, made of the second leg of the security detail for the man he was about to meet.  The dwarf was mean looking biker dude with thick arms and a braided grey beard that went almost to his waist.

Expecting him, the drawf nodded for Mycroft to pass on by them and into the booth where a short, fat human man who was obviously Italian, greeted him.  "Welcome.  Welcome."  He greeted Myrcoft personably enough in a thick Italian accent.  "Waiting on one more, Mr... Mycroft.  I'm sure you now how this goes, so in the meantime, may I offer you a drink?  Perhaps we can go over your credentials or what passes for small talk."

As if on cue a scantly clad, relatively attractive, human woman approached the table and set a drink on the table for Mr. Johnson.  "Thank you sweetie, you're a doll.  Mr. Mycroft?"  He motioned from the lady to Mycroft.

She smiled at him.  "Heya sweetie.  Can I get you anything?"

 

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"A Guinness, thank you." Mycroft told the waitress, but he knew it was going to be a synthanol knock-off. It always was synthanol. Before the Crash 2.0, Mycroft could get a real cold draft Guinness beer, made of actual honest to dragons grain. Whenever the bosses threw an office party, the drinks were the real deal and even when they didn't, Frank Gordon had earned a high enough salary to afford the genuine article.

It wasn't as if he'd had too many other expenses to worry about. Now he had to be sure he pulled in enough nuyen to keep his dismal apartment with intermittent power and water. What a difference the past several years made.

Once the waitress (or dancer on her off-shift) left, Mycroft nodded to Mr. Johnson. "So, do you think Seattle's going to make the playoffs?" Given what Mycroft knew of the Johnson and his backers, he didn't scoff or roll his eyes at the suggestion of 'discussing credentials', since it would be disrespectful. But it didn't speak of an experienced client. If the Italian had gone through a fixer, he would have had the fixer's implicit promise the runners he received would be qualified.  

Hell, JackPoint itself was proof of quality. Only the good shadowrunners got to join. Of course, the job-offering process wasn't quite as organized as the classic fixer-driven process. Still, one would think Mr. Johnson had done his homework, representing even one of the lesser organized crime outfits. Unless this family had less history with runners perhaps?

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It didn't taste like it should have, but the Guinness the lady delivered was made a bit more tolerable by the smile she offered him as she dropped it off.  He and the Johnson talked about Seattle's chances for the season while going over a little of Mycroft's background.  The shrewed dwarf was smart enough to only tell him what needed to be heard to get the job handled and be on his way.  The dwarf didn't care for wet work, it wasn't generally the highest tier of accolades a Runner could strive for, but every runner at least once found themselves an assassin of some sort, whether they were ruining a marriage, a life, job, a history... didn't matter.  All things died and sometimes God worked too slow.

"Boss," the ork interrupted in a deep voice.  Mr. Johnson gave a nod and the second runner they'd been waiting for, arrived.

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The human man approached in old cargo pants and a sleeveless shirt, looking like ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag.  He hair was tussled and he looked like he'd just rolled out of bed with a five o'clock shadow and sleep still in his eyes.

"You don't look like a runner," Mr. Johnson said as the man sat down in the booth.

"But you, definately look like a Johnson."  The man replied with a sarcastic tone.  "Chunnin, Mr. J, Mr. J, Chunin, there, introductions aside let's get down to brass balls.  Squeeze them, fondle them, roll em' around... what're we talking about here?  Who are we ghosting and when do you need this done by?"

"And you don't care why," he nodded.  "That's good."

"They all tell us why," Chunin said.  "Something about dying makes a person want to washboard their soul before they go."

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"His name is Thomas Crowne," he slides a chip across the table.  "Some people want him gone.  Stuck his cazzo in the wrong lady and now he needs to pay for it.  Unfortunately, everyone answers to someone and the powers that be are telling my employer to leave the man be.  So, he can't do it."

"But we can," Mycroft politely pointed out.

"Esettemente," Mr. Johnson said.  "That chip'll provide you with a last known address and a few associates of his that might know where he's hiding.  Off him, and we're talking 1,500¥ for each of ya.  Agree and I'll slot you the password to the chip."

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It would have been false to argue Mycroft's hands were clear of blood even when he'd been a law-abiding (certainly in the eyes of Cross Applied Technology) citizen. He'd been a security spider, and sometimes assigned to the places where corporate policy positively demanded hitting digital intruders with black IC and similar biofeedback attack programs. So Mycroft had never subscribed to 'thou shalt not kill.'

Obviously, if you got into a shootout with security guards, the same principle applied. Hazard of the profession, albeit from the different end now. Wetwork was different, just as obviously. Mycroft had his distaste for it, as many runners did, but the nature of the shadows meant sooner or later you had to take one of those jobs. The question would be: was the target one you could stomach killing?

Thomas Crowne, according to the Jackpoint buzz, had slept with the fiance of a mob boss' heir. Massive disrespect, and anyone who willful made that kind of decision had signed themselves up for the firing line. Mycroft wouldn't have come if he hadn't concluded that already. The issue that left here was, why wasn't the family doing this themselves? From what Mr. Johnson was saying, Crowne had important enough friends that a small-time family couldn't go after him. Not directly, anyway.

The chip would obviously say more about Crowne's buddies. Of course Mycroft couldn't get the info without signing himself up for the job. So would fifteen hundred be enough to take the leap? Probably. Cat O' Nine said this was usually easy work from this Johnson. If this run would be the exception, well no way to find out until after all was said and done.

Mycroft slowly nodded. "I'll accept."

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"Ditto," replied the shaggy human.  "After all, I put on my good shirt.  Might as well enjoy the evening."  He smiled.

The server came by the table again and his face lit up with joy.  "Hey there.  Hi.  Let's touch commlinks and be fiends."

She laughed and shook her head.  "Sorry, hun.  I'm working.  What can I get you?"

"Nothing for me, thanks, unless you're rethinking that 'be friends' angle."

"I'm off at three," she laughed and stepped away from the table.

"Two fifty-nine, got it."  Chunin looked back to his employer.  "So, you want this man gone, fine.  Quietly, or made an example of?"

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"Eccellente," Mr. Johnson said calmly.  "Do try to be discreet, but I know the nature of the job all to well.  I trust your discretion.  Do this, and I may have more work for you."  As he was finishing his sentence two dancers apprached the table with devilish smirks on their faces.  "Now, if you'll excuse me.  Ragazzi, vedete fuori il signore."

The two bodyguards turned to the table and gave the message, very clearly, that business was concluded.  The runners left without incident, the guards weren't handsy and remained professional.  They moved through the crowd of people and dancers and servers, and within a few moments were out in the streets of Downtown.  It was dark and wet and the rain poured down from the sky like heaven's bath tub had the drain pulled.  They stood under the cloth over hang leading to the club's entrance.  People weren't exactly lining up to get in this place tonight, so they had a few moments.

"Name's Mycroft."  The dwarf offered.  He extended his hand, and the men shared a classical gentleman's handshake.

"Chunin."  Replied the man.

"The hell is a Chunin?"  He asked in typical dwarven gruff.

"The hell is a Myrcoft?"  Retorted the strange human.

"Fair point."  The dwarf shrugged.  "What say we go find a shady spot and talk business.  We'll take my car, since your genius self decided to ride a motorcycle in the rain."

"How did you know that?"  Chunin asked.  "That I rode a motorcycle.  It wasn't raining when I get here a bit ago."

Mycroft throaty 'harumph'.  "I'm a dwarf, boy.  We drink and we know things.  Car's this way."  He nodded off to the side and began walking.

"I'm impressed," Chunin said, fiddling with his commlink as he followed the dwarf.  "But, I have ground rules.  I don't go all the way on the first date.  Non-negotiable.  Heavy petting, that's all you're getting."

The dwarf grumbled under the sound of the rain.  This was going to be a long night.

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Mycroft knew this was going to be a headache. Chunin was one of those inveterate snarkers, who would not stop making remarks about everything. From the confined space of Mycroft's Honda subcompact - which fit him fine and was affordable and quite serviceable thank you - to the music Mycroft tried to put on, to the brief burst of gunfire that occurred as Mycroft was making a turn to bring them to the shady spot.

It was just a brief flare-up between gangers, and for once blessedly, Chunin had shut up and demonstrated a quite strong sense of alertness. Until it was clear it wasn't going to affect the two runners, and Chunin went back to making stupid comments.

"All right, cram it." Mycroft finally told him, in no more mood for this. "Business time." He slotted the datachip into his comlink, entered the password, and projected the contents on AR display for Chunin's benefit. Crowne's picture showed a reasonably handsome human, but nothing to write home about. "We have Crowne's address and apartment number: in not too bad a part of town, but cops are going to take their sweet time if some noise happens."

Then three more pictures. "Associates: Trevor Evans, friend from work. DJ Dewinter, Crowne's bookie. And Laura Fisher, an ex. No further info, but I'm sure I can track down where to find any of them. Your thoughts?"

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"Well," Chunin relaxed his seat back and reclined.  "Apartment is too obvious.  He knows he's screwed, let's call it like we see it.  Great place to pick up clues as to where he could have gone.  Bookie, well he'd have to work him over, he probably has hired help, so that's a recipe for a drek souffle, or a kinky night out.  Your call.  However, the bestie and the ex... you want dirt on someone?  Wanna know their secrets?"

"The Ex."  Mycroft finished the human's line of thought for him.

Chunin smiled.  "The Ex."

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"Well then." Mycroft set up his cyberdeck for optimized data searching. Fisher had a SIN, and if she was like the average wageslave, would be blasting out personal information on the Matrix like it was popcorn on Free Theaters Weekend. "Let's start with her then."

Spoiler

Mycroft configures his Cyberdeck to: D8, F6, S4, A3 (Browse, Encryption, Toolbox)

Details:[10d6 (5 4 1 5 3 5 5 2 1 2)]
Matrix Search - 4 hits. Time halved by Browse.

 

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Mycroft's persona sifted through the Seattle directory as Chunin sped through the radio stations in his car, waiting for the ol' dwarf to finish his thing.  He'd settled for the 'Punk Goes Pop' station not long before Mycroft came back to the Real.

"Well," Mycroft started.  "That was interesting."

"It was, yeah,"  Chunin nodded.  "Why would anybody want to remake a punk version of 'Chrome Palace'?  It's a horri-"

"Not the song," the dwarf rolled his eyes.  "You idgit.  I found her place, and she has a restraining order out on him."

"Oooo," Chunin smiled.  "Juicy."

Mycroft put the car in gear and they were off to meet with Mrs. Fisher.   It wasn't far, only about a twenty minutes drive in Seattle evening traffic and Mycroft only had to reprimand the human idiot twice on messing with his radio.  Laura Fisher wasn't exactly rolling in nuyen, in fact her apartment was in one the slummier parts of the downtown area, not too far from downtown proper where all the rich elves could look down on her neighborhood and thank their stars they were elves, and rich, and better than everyone else.

Mycroft didn't see the harm in bringing up his side arm, tucked casually under his coat.  Chunin didn't appear to have any weapons, save for a combat knife tucked upside down underneath the vest he was wearing.  It wasn't a good neighborhood, but thankfully they hadn't ran into trouble with gangs yet tonight.  The two men entered the building and made their way up the stairs since (surprise) the elevator was out.  They'd both been in low-income buildings like this plenty of times, with trash strewn about the hallways and every wall was tagged in either luminescent paint or ARO tags displaying all manner of programmable art.  The image two framed animated image of the Renraku logo sodomizing what appeared to be the entire city of Seattle, Chunin thought was particularly tasteful.

"I don't know," they heard from the door that was supposed to be Laura's.  The voice was muffled but seemed feminine.  They both hear the loud smack that came next.

A second voice was muffled through the door.  "I can do this all night, lady.  You better start remembering something."

Spoiler

The door, as you may have gathered, is locked.  It's easy to surmise, with no roll, that some dude of smacking her up.

 

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Mycroft grimaced, both at the sounds of the woman being assaulted and the likely probability they weren't the only ones looking for Crowne. "I don't make a habit of carrying lockpicks with me. If you don't, either we can bust down this door, or knock on it and pretend we're cops - or rather something more likely to show up. Don't know if this sleeze will panic or try to play it off like she slipped in the shower."

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