G:InterfaceZero 0.02

#GURPS: Interface Zero

version 0.02
August 18, 2018 - January 16, 2019

Achievement Unlocked

Friday, August 4th, 2090

For the Movement

Kobato’s external sensors indicate that the temperature outside today is hot by typical standards and her optical feed backs this up. The people of Tacoma moving and working and living around her are sweaty as look fatigued. Many of the locals wear respirators or have bandanas or fabric of some kind over their faces to block out the “Tacoma Aroma,” as they call it. Kobato’s olfactory suite detects the plethora of foreign particulates in the air and knows that many of them are not beneficial or desirable to biological life forms, especially Humans.

Currently, Kobato is making her way toward the old port district to drop off a bundle of propaganda material to a group planning to hold a rally and protest for Synth Rights at Obelisk Computer Systems in downtown Seattle next week. The company just made a deal with some Brazilian biotech corp to code some wet chips for a new model of Simulacrum. This new tech is supposed to made it harder for the Sims to break from their programming enslavement. Utterly barbaric and disgusting. And in Cascadia, where the actual President is a Synth.

Kobato jumps on the Rail, the new and shiny monorail system that is supposed to be bringing Tacoma back to its glory days. From its elevated position, she can see the black smoke from the perpetually burning fires in Puyallup and the acrid, yellow smoke coming from the numerous stacks here at the base of the Sound.

Her car is empty except for a little, old Russian woman with a cart full of groceries and a pair of tweakers huddled at the far end, near the doorway to the next car. As Kobato watches the dirty cityscape of Tacoma speed by the doors at from of the car open and 3 gangers stroll in, being loud and vulgar. They look at Kobato and one of them makes a disgusting sexual gesture with his fingers and tongue before they turn their attention to the like old lady.

“Hey babushka, what ya got in the cart? Anything good for the Blazers today?” the leader shouts as he grabs the handle of the cart from her. She yelps and curses him in Russian. Though she does not recognize the name or their HyperTags, she does notice that each of the gangers has a Havoc Stick hanging from their belt. 

Seeing what is clearly a robbery, or what others might call a “shakedown” in progress. Kobato moves from where she was sitting to face the three street toughs. Her voice a modulated rainbow of tones, her head tilted to one side tauntingly she declares “Those groceries are not your possessions. Return them to their rightful owner or there will be… consequences.” She stands with her hands on her hips, one hip cocked saucily to the left - a remnant of her old programming perhaps.

One of the thugs turns and looks at her, and chuckles and dismisses her rudely, “Mind your own business, bitch.” He turns back to harassing the old woman.

Closing the distance with preternatural speed, Kobato interposes herself between the gangers and the old woman, pushing her shopping cart away from them. As she does, she speaks, as if reciting from a Wikipedia article. “Bitch, female dog. When the alpha female of the pack sees a member of her pack being threatened, she becomes aggressive and unpredictable.” She looks up at the men, her finely machined face inscruitible. “Also used colloquially, as in ‘Bring it, bitch’.”

“Hey, what?” The tall ganger that appears to be the leader steps back and reaches for his Havoc Stick, drawing the electrified club and flicking it on in one easy motion. The other two thugs each take a step back, giving the other one room. “I’ll bring it, bitch. Sorry you got your circuits in a cross, but whatever. I’ll straighten them out!

“Are you entirely certain you have considered the repercussions of your actions?” she asks, solicitously as she draws her primary katana from the sheath on her back. “I would advise you to abandon this course of action now, though I fear that the loss of face may be too great if you do so. Your status within your gang will surely suffer if you back down to a tiny girl. But perhaps that is still a safer bet than being beaten by one.”

She realizes that her words, however truthful, are intended to goad the thug into precipitous actions. An odd sensation passes through her as she considers that she wants him to stand his ground. Desire is still a foreign feeling. It doesn’t feel like it is designed to fit into her digital circuitry, and yet she feels it. “Bring it indeed. Those that prey on the weak deserve no remorse, be they ganger or corp drone.”

The ganger snarls at Kobato and lunges forward, swinging his softly buzzing Havoc Stick at her. His overly aggressive strike puts attack on target but Kobato sees that it makes him more open to a counter strike. If she can intercept the wrapping first, that is.

Seeking to end things quickly, Kobato leaned hard away from the blow and swung for the punk’s forearm. Sufficient force will sever the ulna and likely the radius, disarming the target and eliminating that threat vector. But the motions worked counter to one another and the swing met nothing but air. Recalculating, adjusting compensators. May be necessary to accept some blows to facilitate incapacitation of the target.

One of the other punks “oohs” as his friend misses and is nearly relieved of an arm, “Looks like the bitch has some bite, Nail. You got this, right?” he says and laughs. Nail, the thug currently locked in battle with Kobato, growls, “Screw you, man. I’m gonna kick your ass next!” he says as he makes an obvious swing at Kotato, this time, angling for her head! The stunner goes wide, narrowly missing her shoulder on the way down. The other two gangers laugh as their friend misses again.

Inbound vector indicates that the strike is wide. Assailant is clearly untrained and unstable. Avoid repeated attempts at the same attack to prevent predictability. Kobato processes the situation quickly and decides to attempt a more decisive blow. Her katana lashes out, attempting to separate his head from his body.

The ganger punk leaps back in surprise as Kobato’s blade whistles toward his throat, narrowly avoiding the strike. “Whoa, there, babe, gettin’ kinda nasty, aren’t ya?” He smiles cruelly and lunges forward again, this time going for Kobato’s sword hand. Kobato attempts to acrobatically dodge but the Havoc Stick finds its target anyway, striking hard against her closed fist. She feels the sharp electrical surge as the weapon releases its stored charge. Kobato feels her circuits completely overloaded and then her sensors go dead.

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When her visual sensors come back online, Kobato sees that she is surrounded by several Humans and one Canine Hybrid. The Hybrid is wearing the uniform of a Transit Monitor. He is speaking, but Kobato cannot hear him. She runs a systems diagnostic and finds that her audio sensor has suffered some minor damage. As she sits up, those around her all lean in close, all seeming to talk at once. She sees the little Russian woman sitting nearby, her grocery cart mostly intact still. She smiles at Kobato and says something, but Kobato still can’t hear. She quickly spies the “Help Box” Hyper Object located on the TransMon’s belt. 

Looking around, Kobato does not see her sword, but she feels that she still has her pistol tucked up under her jacket.

Still out of sorts, Kobato hits the link to the Help Box, hoping she can at least open a line of communication.

>>SeaTacTrans. I see that you are accessing from the #3429 northbound. Agent Bowers is on site. How can I help you that he cannot?<< the query comes through. The agent looks at you funny then touches his belt where the Help Box is located.

>>Please advise Agent Bowers that my audio circuits have been damaged and I am unable to communicate with him.<< Kobato sends back.

The Transit Monitor smiles and nods in Kobato’s direction. He begins speaking to her and his words come through as a text display in her field of vision. >>I’m Agent Bowers, you were assaulted by some Rail Blazers while assisting this woman here, is that correct?<<

>>Correct, Agent Bowers. It didn’t need to come to blows, but they were unwilling to accept no for an answer.<< Surely he needn’t know about her taunts or her unsettling desire that they refuse to see reason.

>>Thank you for your assistance. The woman, Mrs. Smekov, says you protected her from three of them. They stunned you but ran when these other passengers chased them off. You seem to have been damaged in the incident. If you want to make a report, you may do so within the next 24 hours. Do you require any further assistance?<< Bowers smiles and extends a hand to help her to her feet.

Kobato takes it and stands, still a little unsteady. >>Unless you are clever with an electronics kit, I don’t think there’s much more you can do. Unless you know where the Rail Blazers make their home?<<

Agent Bowers looks at her and shakes his head, frowning a bit, his canines showing. >>Not sure why you would want to go looking for more trouble with them Rail Blazers. Usually they just scare some folks, sometimes shake ‘em down for a few credits or whatever it is they’re carrying. Pretty harmless if you just let ‘em go their own way. As far as where they are, hard to say, you can always find one or two at the smaller terminals, though I’ve heard that they congregate a lot out past Fife Heights, up past Old New Tacoma, but that’s something I don’t recommend, ma’am. Thank you again for your assistance.<< He nods and ends the Help Box connection. A flashing Incident Report link floats in the corner of Kobato’s view then minimizes in her to-do list. The other passengers nod and pat Kobato on the shoulder, she believes they are mouthing congratulations and thanks to her, though one of them gives her only odd looks and doesn’t say anything or get very close. Old Mrs. Smekov smiles and pats the seat next to her. She offers Kobato an apple from her grocery bag then frowns and takes it back when she realizes the folly of her offering.

Pausing only to return to her original seat to grab her bag with the pro-Synth propo materials, she takes the offered seat. Using her internal monitors to try to avoid shouting, she thanks Mrs. Smekov in Russian for the offered apple anyway and takes out her tool kit. “I hope this won’t be disturbing to you, if I attempt to repair the damage I sustained?” she asks, keeping her voice light and melodic, as she knows how disturbing it can be to the uninitiated.

The old woman nods at Kobato with wide eyes, eager to see an Android do self repairs. Kobato sees that she has about 20 minutes until her stop, more than enough time to attempt the repairs, but she is not sure it is enough time for HER to complete them.

Over the course of the trip, Kobato manages to get the access cover to her damaged hand open and to assess what was wrong there. A few connections were beyond salvaging with her simple toolkit supplies, but she managed to get most of the insulation and fiber optics cleaned up and her hand feeling more like it was fully functional. She took the time to make sure Mrs. Smekov could get a look at what’s going on inside there. “See, no blood or gore at all. And no pain. That is one benefit we definitely have. This… I guess you would say that it ‘feels funny’ to have a probe inside there, checking the connections.” Whenever Mrs. Smekov tries to talk to her, she simply smiles and nods.

Given the time limitations and the limitations of the tools at hand, that’s all she manages to do before the train pulls into her station. She quickly packs up her gear and grabs her pack. She waves to her new friend and those that were there when she was roused by the transit cop before she steps out onto the platform and begins the trek to the Synth Rights office.

Again Kobato notices one of the Humans that had been there when she came back online. He is the one that had not been very congratulatory after the fight. Kobato noticed that he kept looking at her, but would always look away if she turned toward him. He gets off the Rail at the same station. Kobato knows that her destination is only a few blocks away, but is not very familiar with this area of Tacoma. The suspicious man follows her down the stairs then passes her and crosses the street. He enters “World of Weed,” a store that apparently sells all forms of marijuana products. A thick, green cloud wafts out of the door as he enters. 

Her, destination, the Emerald Queen, or what is left of it anyway, is two blocks up and two blocks over. The streets are busy this time of day. Numerous vehicles move haphazardly up and down Portland Avenue. Kobato identifies at least 100 beings within her visual scope, each of them seemingly going about their daily business. She imagines it is quite noisy here, and almost relishes the silence brought on by her damaged audio sensors. Her HR display is flooded by advertisement and HyperObjects and she quickly and effortlessly brushes most of them away.

Curious, and a little more cautious after our latest adventure in being too cocky, Kobato throws an HR flag on the interested fellow before he disappears into the dispensary and intends to keep an eye out for him again in case there’s anything more than a coincidence in their traveling to the same stop.

She heads to the Emerald Queen but a strange sensation makes her walk past and find a place to observe from cover for a moment. Is that what non-synthetics refer to as “a bad feeling” she wonders to herself?

This area isn't as crowded as where she got off the transit though there are some people and vehicles moving about. Several drones zoom through the polluted sky, some of them displaying ads and others on unknown missions.

The Emerald Queen is a dilapidated, half-sunken boat styled in a historic fashion that was part of a casino and gaming complex that sustained great damage in recent years. Most of the rest of the complex was destroyed but the floating casino managed to avoid the majority of the damage.

The ship is now being used as the “headquarters” of a small activist collective that organizes and leads lots of small, mainly peaceful demonstrations and protests. Their methods are not effective enough to Kobato’s processing but she is happy to help out with the propaganda. More voices are always needed.

After verifying that nothing untoward is going to happen, Kobato moves back to the dilapidated ship and joins her erstwhile comrades. She brings in the propo pamphlets and, after explaining her audio situation asks about possible sources for parts to get it repaired.

The leader of the collective, a Human by the name of Heto, thanks Kobato and sends her info on the nearest CyberShack, only about a mile away. Kobato nods in thanks and starts to leave but Heto motions her back. He picks up a handheld display and types a quick message on it then shows it to Kobato. It reads: Close the door. I have something important to tell you. Kobato gives him a look and a nod then closes the flimsy door.

He nods his thanks then sticks on a subvocal mic and composes a quick text message to her with some serious encryption. He types the key onto the handheld display and shows her, carefully shielding the display with his hand. In a moment, she gets the message. He quickly clears the decryption key from the display.

>>Sorry for the secrecy, but this is serious. I know you feel a little more strongly about this stuff than us. You interested in striking a real blow to the man? Take a step toward really changing the system?<<

A Job

He sits back at his desk, which isn't much more than a shelf with a bunch of unorganized papers, fast food wrappers, empty energy drink cans and lots of little waxy paper strips that are no doubt the backs of stim stickers. Kobato nods to him to continue and he composes another message to her.

>>So I got this lead, ok I swiped some info while hacking recently on some of the networks of our target companies. Was trying to sell a little paydata and found a really eager buyer. It's where I got the credits to pay you the other day, actually. So anyway, this buyer wants more of this stuff. He even told me where to get it, but I don’t have the skills or, well, the balls, to do it. It’s a data heist from ZRTech, but it’s gotta be an onsite grab, closed system. He says that the data could be huge for the movement. Something about some old research data that shows that they knew all along that the type of programming that runs Synths leads to sentience and self-awareness but they’ve been suppressing it the whole time! What do you think? You in?<<

Kobato considers the proposed operation. >>I can provide some of the muscle and on-site presence, but I will need to engage the skills of a hacker, and probably some additional offensive assets. I have some contacts, but without payment for the data it will be difficult to convince those who are less dedicated to the movement. Is your client willing to put a price-tag on this data?<<

Heto holds up one finger as if to say ‘hold on, one second’ and Kobato watches him manipulate something in HR. He smiles for a second and she can see him speaking. He then does some hand manipulation of an unseen HR ‘screen’ and pushes it over to Kobato. She accepts the screen and sees an image of a male Simulacra. The visage is dark-skinned, African. He nods at Kobato and smiles, then text appears on the screen. >>Heto says your audio sensor is out. He also tells me you are passionate about Synth Rights and are interested in a run. Can you put a team together? The run must be made tomorrow at just after 9am. There is a diversion in place to divert attention and the security detail to the first floor lobby at that time. I can provide you access to the building for three of you. You will have to break the network, retrieve the data and get out. I will pay 6000 for the job, 1000 up front if you are interested.<<

Information on the target appears in an attached screen, location, time, file batch names. A flashing green money bag with 1000 on its front floats above two glowing buttons: >>YES / NO<<.

The face on the other end nods and Kobato receives a packet of information on the target. ZRTech. A small archive and data retrieval company. Based out of Chicago, ZRTech has smaller offices in numerous cities, including Seattle. The building is a 5 story, free standing building near Sea-Tac. The floor plans of the building are fairly standard. First floor has lobby, public relations office, loading dock, small warehouse, security center, conference and some other shared space. Second and third floors contain office space. Fourth floor has a computer lab, mechanical room, network security and some dedicated data storage repositories. The fifth floor is all data storage. The data storage bank that must be accessed is on the 5th floor. It is not connected to any of the interior networks and must be accessed directly. It’s physical location may be monitored by an interior security network though. The cover story for getting three people in is a delivery and installation of some new peripherals for the climate control system in the mechanical room on the 4th floor. There will undoubtedly be video surveillance and possibly a member of security or at least maintenance assigned to oversee the task. The address to pick up a truck and the parts to be installed is given with instructions to meet at 6am. A portable data safe will be provided to copy and store the files as well as uniforms, ID cards and temporary TAP masks. The scheduled arrival time at ZRTech is at 8:30am. The scheduled distraction is to happen at 9am. Kobato looks over the plans and feels that everything needed is there. The client includes an OOL to contact when the data is off-site and secure. With that, the connection is ended. Heto looks at Kobato and smiles an uneasy grin. “Yea, that kind of stuff is way over my access level, I wish. Good luck,” he tells her.
She leaves the Emerald Queen and heads toward the CyberShack to get her audio input fixed, as well as the other damage she sustained. As she walks, she begins to think about who she can get to make this run with her. No names immediately stand out on a quick hacker query of her databases. She will have to reach out to one of her contacts to see if they can find someone on such short notice.

Making her way to the CyberShack, Kobato puts in a text call to Moxie, hoping that the nature of the work will have some allure for the diminutive rodent boy.

Moxie complains that it is a little short notice to put a crew together, especially one requiring a hacker, but he says he will do his best to find someone. He suggests that maybe having a backup might not be the worst idea. He promises to send word back as soon as he figures something out.

Finally, she makes it to the nearest CyberShack and prices out getting the damage repaired from the brawl on the transit. The kid behind the counter estimates about 600 credits to make the repairs once the tech is available, which should be in a few minutes.

Waiting for the repair technician to be available, Kobato puts another call out to her erstwhile boss and sometimes friend back at the nightclub. >>Onto something, could use a little help. Might need a hacker for a scratch job, and any information you have on ZRTech.<< At the same time, she fires up an agent to do an indirect search for information on the company.

Kobato’s search for the company comes back with pretty much the same information she already got. ZRTech is a data archival company based out of Chicago. They have business ties to several of the larger megacorps and many of the smaller ones. The field of data retrieval and archival storage is a fairly competitive field and there are many other companies that provide similar services for similar prices. There is nothing in the public Deep regarding ZRTech having the type of data that is the focus of this job, and there is nothing out there to even suggest that such information has been unearthed recently, though if it were public, Kobato imagines that would be huge international news already. Finally, the CyberShack tech is available and Kobato heads into the service bay to have her repairs made.

Kobato undergoes the process stoically. No pain involved in her own repairs, unlike so many of her fleshly acquaintances. She recalls the processes she’s already undergone to augment her strength and reflexes. The sensations were nevertheless awkward and unsettling. If one was truly the sum of one’s parts, did it change a person when they added new parts and replaced older ones? Did humans go through this kind of dysphoria when they had cybernetic enhancements done, she wondered?

Satisfied that ZRTech was a legitimate organization and not something simply set up overnight or as a front for what might be a trap, she tests out the newly repaired components and thanks the technician before leaving the ‘Shack. Now she only had to be patient and wait for her contacts to find her some new allies. Patient she could be - her people were good at being patient.

The afternoon streets of Old New Tacoma are not too busy, but there are plenty of people around. Vehicle traffic is picking up as well as it approaches rush hour. Drones of all sizes fill the air above her head. Sirens can be heard in the distance, either police or private security forces, she imagines. A blast of automatic weapons fire pierces the scene. Everyone tenses and stops for a moment, most people reaching for a sidearm, but no return fire is heard and soon everyone is back about their business.

Seeking Retribution

Now that things are starting to get crowded, Kobato does a little searching on the Rail Blazers, as she heads to her doss to pick up her other katana before paying the gangers a visit.

Hoping to keep this sword in her possession, Kobato boards the Rail again, heading north toward Fife Heights and greater Seattle beyond. The Sprawl gets rougher and dirtier the farther north she goes. Things start to clean up around the airport, located halfway between Tacoma and Seattle. She notices that there are not a lot of stops in this are, and when there are, not many people get on and fewer still get off.

Kobato calculates which stop would be the optimal one to find her quarry and quickly disembarks when the Rail arrives. No one else gets off or on at the Milton/375th Street Station and before she even makes it down the steps to the street she spies a couple of Rail Blazers defacing a support pillar. They are about 7 yards away, over a rail and across some uneven terrain under the platform above. They are definitely not the ones she was involved with earlier but their HyperTags identified them as Rail Blazers nonetheless.

Finding a place to prepare, Kobato draws her remaining katana and holds it rigidly against her leg, hoping to keep casual observers from seeing that she is in fact carrying anything, and moved generally toward the Blazers, making no eye contact and keeping her face impassive - the way some of her friends have confided “creeps them out.” Gauging the distance, she rapidly closes the distance between them and pounces on the one most distracted by his juvenile delinquency.

Kobato silently leaps the rail and navigates the rough rocky terrain near the pillar. As she closes one of the punks turns and gasps, quickly taking a step away from the tiny, charging woman, getting close to the recently spray painted pillar. The other ganger shouts, “muthafucker!” as he wheels around and throws his paint can at Kobato's face. His desperate attack goes wide and sails over to the walkway nearby. Kobato is pretty sure she sees the first punk reaching for something, most likely a weapon of some sort, on his belt.
Taking no chances this time, Kobato lunges at the off-balance ganger closest to her, the razor tip of her katana aimed at his chest.

The blade slides easily into the surprised youth and she feels the tip hit the support pillar behind him. She quickly retracts her weapon as he lets out a gasping sigh and slumps to the rocky ground clutching the bleeding wound. The other ganger, a long, black-bladed knife in his hand turns and runs down the rocky slope, away from Kobato as fast as he can run.

Locking onto the fleeing ganger, Kobato runs down the hill after him, taking care not to fall, unwilling to allow any mistakes to befall her this time.

Kobato pursues her prey down the rocky hill, careful not to fall. The Rail Blazer, however, does not show the same caution and just as he reaches the bottom of the hill, his legs, moving faster than his body, slide out from under him. The ganger skids and rolls on the dirty pavement as Kobato steps up.

Placing the tip of her bloodied sword against the fallen ganger she addresses him sharply. “Stay down, or you’ll join your brother in a swift death.”

“Yea, yea, sure. I'm down. I ain't fucking moving! Come on, what's the feed? Wha'd ya want?” he pleads.

“Nail. He has something of mine. You will tell me where to find him.” Her android voice, designed to be mellifluous and melodic, natural self-harmonic, is cold and brooks no challenge.

“Huh, what? Nail? Oww, shit. I dunno where he’s at, but I can call him for you. I’ll call him and find out, alright? Come on!” The ganger squirms on the dirty ground beneath Kobato’s blade. He cranes his neck around to try to get a look at better look at her. He relaxes a bit and smiles uneasily, “Hey, settle down honey. I’m sure we can work this out, right?”

Kobato applies the tip of her boot to the gang banger’s head. “There will be no working this out. All I need is to know where he is. Locate him and you live.” It felt unusual to omit that he would live in an unconscious state, so as not to betray her further, but if Kobato had learned anything in her time alone it was that sometimes the whole truth was more trouble than it was worth.

“Yea, ok ok, I’ll call him. Hold on,” He shifts his weight a bit and gets that blank stare when Humans are accessing their TAP. He mumbles, “call Nail,” under his breath. He waits a moment, then smiles weakly. “Hey, yo, Nail. What’s up? Where you at?” He pauses for a moment then continues, “Yea, naw, I was just wondering. I’ll catch up with you later, alright? Cool. Blaze on!”

The prone man turns back to Kobato. “He’s heading back home now. Mud Lake. At the abandoned park. Only about a mile from here. Just up the Rail. Next stop.” He looks up with scared, sad eyes.

Seeing his mental state so clearly on his face, Kobato moves the tip of her sword from his chest. “Why do you do this? Why do you associate with people who hurt others for their own gain? What hold does this Nail have over you?”

The youth on the ground kinda smirks and sneers at the same time, “What Nail? He ain’t got nothin’ over me, he’s my boy and all, but whatever. You gotta find a crew and stick with ‘em. They have your back. But seriously, come on, I told you what you wanted to know, lemmie go, will ya? I ain’t got no feedback with you, an I never did nothin’ to get your wires crossed, lemmie get the hell outta here and I’ll never see you again, cool?”

“That is unfortunate. I might have been able to bring you on to a team that uses their strengths make things better, not just for their own gain,” she says.

He almost laughs at her when she says this. “What? Seriously? Make things better. You gotta be outta your mind, or circuit or whatever it is you have up there. Nothin’s gettin’ better. Not for you, not for me, not unless I make it better. What’re ya? One of them optimists or something?” He shakes his head slowly in disbelief.

“Ah, a nihilist. I should have known.” Kobato aims a kick to the side of the young man’s head, hoping to render him unconscious but not dead.

The haughty Rail Blazer tries to turn away but catches the full force of Kobato’s foot. A strained “ooof” escapes his lips before he crashes face first into the ground. She nudges him with her foot. He does not move. Kobato does a quick pat down of her downed foe and finds a little baggie with some pills and patches in it, a collapsible baton and a knife sheath. The knife he drew before running down the hill is not on him anymore. He's wearing a beat up combat jacket and boots with nasty spikes on the toes as well but neither are Kobato's size.

Pocketing the drugs - they might be useful to a teammate - Kobato leaves the unconscious ganger behind and heads back to the train to make her way to Mud Lake.

Kobato has to wait quite a few minutes before a local train stops at the station, though several express trains pass her by as they zoom along their way toward Seattle proper. No one else waits at this terminal. She looks around and sees quite a bit of graffiti and vandalism, mostly of the Rail Blazers variety, though there is quite a bit of additional random artwork as well. A couple of drones can be seen in the sky nearby, but none seem to be interested in the goings on at the train station. Emergency sirens can be heard at random intervals from the surrounding area. Looking southeast, Kobato can actually catch a glimpse of Mt. Rainier, but the haze and smoke hide any details.

Finally, a train stops. There are not a lot of travelers on this train, but she does take note of an armed Transit Monitor one car back. Most of the rest of the travelers appear armed and able to take care of themselves, just out for a trip on the Rail. One traveller looks out of place, an older Human woman, with tall, gray hair and very well dressed. She seems to be busy manipulating something on her TAP and possibly communicating subvocally. She does not seem to be paying any attention to her surroundings at all. Not too safe in this neighborhood, Kobato thinks. As she settles into her seat, she does notice that the two young Humans sitting across from her, both tall and fit, have black duffle bags at their feet with the StonePeak logo on it. Off duty cops, either going to or coming from a shift, she thinks.


The rest of Kobato's ride to the next stop is uneventful. She gets off at the proscribed stop and notices she's the only one getting off here. The terminal is covered with Rail Blazers graffiti. As the train pulls away she scans the area and quickly sees what must be Mud Lake. A large, brown expanse of water stretches out and covers what must be an abandoned water and theme park. Various makeshift bridges and platforms connect the different dilapidated buildings and broken down structures.
Realizing that she was likely standing out, being the only person on the platform, Kobato quickly moves to some cover and reviews the camp, looking for any activity and getting a feel for the entrances and exits.

Kobato sees that most of the park is ringed with water, though it is unclear how deep that water is in most places. It is definitely not too deep in many places as she sees the tops of fences, railings, benches and other things poking up out of the water. There seems to be a cobbled together wooden walkway leading from a wooded ridge into the building housing the boarding ramp of one of the coasters. Kobato does not see any movement in the park, but can hear some faint, muted music coming from somewhere in that direction.

Moving as quietly as she can, Kobato approaches the main entrance, keeping an ear out for the faint music she heard.

Kobato makes her way to the trees along the western edge of the property. The main entrance is a narrow walkway bridge stretching across about 15 yards of water. From here it is clear that the water isn’t too deep, probably only 5 or 6 feet at its deepest. The bridge leads to a wooden structure connected to a dilapidated rollercoaster. Scanning the area, she does not see anyone on lookout or notice any functioning surveillance tech.

Sticking to the shadows, Kobato approaches the rollercoaster, slowly, looking for good places to hide along the way. Her goal is to reach the place and find where the gangers make their hideout.

As Kobato makes it to the nearest end of the bridge, the sharp report of an automatic rifle rips through the sky. Bullets hit the water below the bridge and several ricochet off the bridge itself, flying all around her. There is no cover immediately behind her, the bridge is about 15 yards to the building across. There are some trees and a low earthen berm 3-4 yards behind her. Some shouts of “We have visitors,” can be heard echoing from within the park.

“Nail! Don’t be a coward. Come out here and bring me my sword or face me like a man!” Kobato runs forward, trying to close the distance to the nearest building without giving ground.

The sound of the automatic rifle fill the air again and Kobato can only assume the bullets are coming her way!

Kobato manages to dodge and weave as she runs across the bridge toward cover, luckily avoiding being hit by the bursts of automatic rifle fire. The gunfire continues followed by a shout of “Go to hell, bitch!” As she makes it about halfway across the bridge, though, her luck runs out and she feels several high powered slugs hit her. She is thrown to the decking of the bridge by the first hit and the second impact microseconds later threatens to throw her systems into standby mode. Warnings and notifications are popping up left and right and Kobato attempts to deal with them all. There is a momentary pause in the shooting, giving Kobato a brief second to try to recalibrate her motion actuators and sensors.

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The next thing she knows, all of her systems begin shutting down, the alert: SYSTEM OVERLOAD keeps repeating. Then it stops and everything goes black.


Cast of Characters: 

Karh Danishan: a young hacker looking for that big score; played by Ben L
Doc John O'Brien: a washed out combat medic turned street doc; played by Dan E
Casanna "Talon" Moretti: a tiger hybrid bounty hunter; played by Carol C
Kobato: android former pop star turned anarchist; played by Jason P

and Jason GURPS as the GM

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G:InterfaceZero 0.01

#GURPS: Interface Zero

version 0.01
August 2, 2018 - January 6, 2019

Fight Night

Friday, August 4, 2090

Hanging Wit' Da Boyz

Karh moves frantically around his apartment, straightening up. It wasn’t a big place, he thinks to himself, so it shouldn’t take too long, but it sure seemed to be. How could this place get so damn messy!
Karh expects his friends to be arriving soon. Everyone is coming over to watch the big fight tonight at his new place. The downtown apartment is on the 4th floor of a rundown tenement near the airport. So what if the parking lot and grounds flood when it rains, there is a walkway from the 2nd floor to the bypass next door. It’s cramped and the hallways smell funny, but it beats his old place out in Redmond. It was getting too dangerous out there and he didn’t like living that close to Glow City. 

The fight should be a good one tonight, Karh thinks to himself. The FUB 2090 Championship. The Russian cyborg Fedor Arvloski taking on the reigning champ, Tanner Weidman, a bear Hybrid from the GLU. The fight was happening out on the East Coast, in Boston, so it would be on a little early. When he “happened” to “come across” the access code to the Pay-Stream, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to call up a few of buddies and invite them to his new place. 
With the creak of worn out springs Karh drops into a dilapidated sofa occupying the center of the room.  A quick glance around the apartment confirms everything is as about as good as it’s going to get. The furnishings are sparse and pretty much everything has a second hand look to it.  A few boxes of odds and ends electronics sit in the corner. He props his feet up on the metal shipping container serving as a coffee table.  

The pregame commentary is already playing on the digital wall. Karh cobbled it together from discarded displays he appropriated last month.  It glitches from time to time and the audio is a bit shrill even when turned down low but it works.

Karh can't believe his good fortune.  He’s never had a place this nice before.  His last place had water leaking every time it rained.  You didn’t dare drink anything from the faucet because it smelled like sulphur and tasted like iron.  The walls were so thin you could hold conversations with the neighbors from inside the apartment.

With that thought in mind, Karh hears several shouts and curses from the hallway outside his door. Then a loud and frantic banging on his door. A voice shouts through the thin hatch, “Dammit bakebrain, you left the fraggin garbage chute open again! Them damn rats, or whatever the frag they are keep coming up!” Karh knew the voice, it was Mr. Jenkins, his neighbor from down the hall who had the unfortunate circumstance to have the apartment nearest the refuse chute. He had been harassing Karh about making sure the chute was closed since day one.
Mr. Jenkins, that bastard
Karh throws the manual bolt and opens the door.  He refuses to be intimidated by the old man.  “Listen Jenkins, how many times do I have to tell you?  It wasn’t me!  I don’t use that garbage chute. Now go bother someone else who has time to listen to ya!”  Not giving the geezer a chance to launch into one of his infamous lectures on trash protocols, Karh slams the door and bolts it back. 

Karh Danishan
Karh knows he really should stop opening the chute everytime he walks past, but the old man is just so damn annoying. Karh just can’t help himself.  Besides it gives Jenkins something to occupy his time.

There is one final slam on his door and he hears Jenkins cursing under his breath. “Yea, ya don't use the chute, that makes sense, ya choob, no wonder this end of the hallway smells so bad!” Karh can hear him out there steaming for another moment then he walks away. The sounds of random shouting can be heard from further down the hall toward where Jenkin’s flat is. 

More pounding on the door then a muffled shout of “Police, open up!”

For a split second Karh considers heading for a window. Then he realizes it’s not just some asshole in a uniform.  It’s an asshole he knows all too well.  He thumbs the controls for his cobbled together security system and yells brought he intercom.  “Fuck off Grim!  You’re lucky I don’t blast you through this door!”  Not for the first time Karh contemplates rigging some type of electronic trap to his front door.  Preferably one with high voltage power running through it.  He slides the bolt open and motions Grim inside.  “Hurry up before old man Jenkins gets wound up again.”

“Hey buddy,  what's up? Who's Jenkins? The short circuit at the end of the hall going in about beetle rats?” Grim says as he shoves past Karh into the apartment. Karh’s friend Grim, aka Graham Brooks, is one of his oldest and closest friends. He carries a 12-pack of beer. Looking closer, Karh sees that it's Nutrivend reBeer. His stomach turns at the thought. “Who else ya got coming over for the fight?” he asks as he lights up a smoke. 
Grim Brooks

Karh locks the door behind Grim and grabs one of his beers.   “What the hell Grim!  You know this crap doesn’t taste good when it’s ice cold ... and this stuff is almost hot!  Can’t you not be a cheapskate for once and get the real stuff?” Karh smiles a bit at Grim's expense.

Karh settles down a notch or two and repositions himself on the sofa.  He continues in a friendlier tone,  “Go ahead and throw that crap in the fridge anyways though. I don’t have anything better to offer.  Bee and Dante should be here anytime.  You know Bee hardly ever eats and Dante always charges for for his stuff.”  

“What? This stuff is great! And made from 150% upcycled table scraps and twice used undies. Nothing better and warm is the ONLY way to drink it!” Grim smiles as he cracks the can open and drinks the foamy beverage. “Plus, you can eat the can of you soak it in water overnight! Instant breakfast!” He gulps, burps and slams the empty on the counter and opens another before depositing the rest in the small fridge. He plops down on the stack of cushions that resembles a chair. “And seriously? Dante? I thought you said you had friends coming over. I mean Bee’s chill. But Dante. Whatever. Whatcha been up to? I've been working my ass off all week, mooking for some suit in from Portland. Portland, Maine dude. East Coast all the way! He's ok I guess. Works in transport or something. I don't really know. Been mostly downtown and a little sightseeing around the Sound. Bit how bout you, ami?”

With a grimace Karh manages to down a healthy swig of reBeer. It’s an acquired taste apparently. One that Grim has worked diligently on for years. “I managed to flip a few interesting files I found this week but otherwise not much going on. I need to hit something primo so I can fix this place up a bit.” Karh still can’t believe that he’s living here. It’s by far the nicest place he’s ever been able to call his own. “So whatcha think, Tanner or Fedor?  I’ve seen some of Fedor’s fights, I don’t think anyone can last against him.”

Grim laughs, “No way. The Bear is gonna smash him. Russian cyborg doesn't stand a chance against all those 100% natural bear muscles! Bet ya 50 on it?” He slaps the table just as there is another knock at the door. This time it's a much calmer, more polite knock, unlike Grim’s frantic bashing.

There is a pause and then the knocking  begins again, a little more forceful this time. “Uh, you want me to get that?” Grim says, looking at Karh over the top of his beer can.

“Oh no ami, wouldnt want to interrupt you nursing that beer back to life or anything.  You just sit there and relax while I take care of things eh?”  Karh once again steps up the door and checks the security screen.  He smiles and immediately throws back the oversized deadbolts, pulling the door open.  

A young man stands at the door fist raised to knock again. Karh addresses him warmly,  “Hey Dante!  Glad you could make it.  Come in.”  With a smug smirk Dante enters the living room and takes the seat furthest from Grim.  

He stands about 5’10 with a slender build.  His hair is jet black and tousled into long forward facing spikes. Coal black eyes seem to appraise everything and everyone.  His features are distinctly Asian and he keeps his face smoothly shaven.  His clothes are clean and neat if a bit threadbare.

He nods at Grim curtly, “I see you are still drinking that fermented garbage.  How you manage to survive day to day on that crap is a modern miracle.  You are going to have to let me get you either something real to drink or one of those new stomach implants like the ones Kortana Industries is making.  With one of those installed you could drink battery acid and still be ok.  Although it won’t make that reBeer taste like anything other than the shit it is.  You’ll need another implant for that!”

Karh shakes his head at his friends friendly (most of the time) banter as he is closing the door.  Just before the door seals a slender arm shoves it open and a gaudy figure forces her way in.

The young woman is about 5’8 and athletically built.  She wears her hair in long dreadlocks alternating between black and bright almost neon yellow.  Her dark features reveal a mixed African and eastern European heritage.  Her clothes are a wild jumble of contrasting colors and styles.  

“What in the hell Karh!  You sent me a message insisting I come over and watch the fight with you dregs just to slam the door in my face when I get here?  I augta kick your scrawny ass for that!”  She gives Karh a hard punch in the shoulder before enveloping him in a friendly hug.  

“Sorry Bee I didn’t see you coming.  If I had I woulda locked the door and turned the security on.” Karh rubs his shoulder as Bee turns to the rest of the living room.

She grabs the back of the sofa and lightly jumps over it.  Settling down into her seat she looks to the left at Grim and then to the right at Dante.  “You two having a little dick contest or something?”  She laughs good naturedly at the the guys expense.  “Throw me one of those reBeers you cheapskate.”  

Any tensions in the small living room are instantly deflated by Bees presence.  More beers are passed around and the group quickly settles in to watch the fight.

Grim laughs uncomfortably at Bee`s joke about the contest between him and Dante and scoffs, “Yea, and I'm winning.” He smiles then grinds his teeth and tries to back pedal, “I mean, he's winning because I've got, I mean he's got…” Grim`s face turns red as the others laugh. “Yea, well fuck you all. And seriously, stop bitchin`about my cheap-as beer when none of you even brought any!”

There are some banging sounds from the hallway and more shouting.  A high pitched screech is heard and Karh assumes it's his neighbor at the end of the hallway.  She seems to have a lot of different boyfriends and girlfriends coming and going and at least every other one ends up in a screaming match in the hallway while he's sleeping. 

The main event finally begins but the shouting and banging in the hall continues. He can hear his neighbor Jenkins out there raising hell about something again. Something loud hits the outside of his door.  Dante looks irritated, then he turns away and holds a finger to his temple. Looks like he is taking a call by the way he is moving his mouth. Must have gotten a subvocal comm upgrade. “Aww shit. I gotta jet,” he stands and traps the side of his head. “Sorry, but seriously, I can't hear the damn fight anyway with your neighbors having their own championship out on the hall anyway.”

Come In, Make Yourself At Home

As Dante approaches the door to leave he turns back to say something but is interrupted by a loud crash as Karh`s front door comes flying out of the jamb and smashing into him. The force knock him to the ground and the door lands on top of him. Karh sees his neighbor, Jenkins, laying on top oh the door in a bloody heap. 

“You musta not got da notice. It's moving day, sprawlers, get the fuck out!” Two gangers stand in the damaged doorway. The one speaking is a skinny punk with goggles on, twirling a havoc stick while the other one is a hulking hybrid, a rhino or something.  The hybrid steps into the apartment and swings a heavy chain around menacingly.  

Bee whispers, “Oh shit,” as she slides off the couch and onto the floor, never taking her eyes off the door and probably recording the whole thing now. 

Grim leaps to his feet and he frantically pats himself down, looking for a weapon. “Fuck,” he mutters under his breath as he sees his jacket and sword in the corner of the kitchen. Karh sees him glance down at the combat knife sheathed in his boot. 

Karh dives for the bundle of clothes piled loosely together by his nightstand.  He tries to stay crouched down beside the bed in an attempt at using it for cover.   Frantically he reaches for his trusty Ravenlocke P9D concealed under his jacket.  

“What in the hell do you gangers want?  The rents been paid already!  And who’s gonna pay for my fracking door!”  Karh yells at the intruders, trying to distract them and slow them down in anyway possible. 

As Karh fumbles for his gun in a pile of dirty laundry, Grim watches the hybrid, a Rhino or Hippo or something big, grunt and rush forward to the side of Karh’s bed and swing his heavy chain over in an attempt to hit Karh. Fortunately, the thick chain misses and only hits the side of the bed. Bee screams out and Dante groans quietly as the other ganger strolls in. “I said get the hell out of here, ya stiffs!” he says he moves into the apartment. A bright neon devil HR tag can be seen on his combat jacket. Without wasting any more time, Grim jumps over the couch and goes for his gear, unfortunately, Karh’s  couch has other ideas and Grim catches his foot on its back and he trips, sending him crashing to the ground face first. He hits with a thud.

The skinny thug coos to the fallen Grim, “Aww naw ya don't, buddy. You just stay down, ok?” and steps toward him slowly, his havoc stick out in front of him.

The big guy kicks the side of Karh’s bed then makes his way around the bed, swinging his chain wildly and missing again. As he rounds the foot of the bed, he stops sort and cusses in a whimpering, high pitched voice, “Oh shit,” when he sees the SMG pointed at him. 

“Eat lead you fracking hippo!”  Karh screams at the hybrid attacking him as he squeezes the trigger.  Bullets fly on target at the intruder.

Big Hippo dives to the side hoping to avoid the barrage of gunfire but all three rounds get him. The bullets rip through his combat jacket and Karh winces at the sound of them piercing his fat flesh. “Arrrgh, you sonofabitch, I’m gonna smash you for that!” 

As Grim starts to pull himself to his feet, the skinny ganger steps up and lashes out with his Havoc Stick. Grim grunts and and dodges the attack. The ganger, anticipating an easy hit, over-swings and throws himself off balance. Grim uses this opening to pull himself to his feet and step toward his gear on the nearby table. The Hippo, now prone, crawls forward, pulling his chubby legs out of Karh’s sight. Bee still remains on the floor, crouching in front of the couch and Dante and Mr. Jenkins lay on the floor in the doorway, both quiet and unmoving.

With the hippo out of sight Karh turns to the skinny ganger.  “Drop it NOW!  Or I’ll drop you like your buddy!”  Karh takes aim at him.  He holds his fire, giving the ganger a chance to respond.  Any action short of dropping the havoc stick and Karh will fire.

The ganger, his attention now divided between two foes and his companion now on the floor in front of him, does just what Karh shouted at him, but instead of putting his hands up, he reaches beneath his jacket and goes for his gun!  Fortunately he does not whip it out very quickly and gets stuck fumbling with the holster but does manage to draw the sidearm. Grim grabs the hilt of his sword as he comes to his feet, turning to face the ganger and keeping his back to the wall. The Hippo hybrid crawls forward on the floor toward his partner.

Karh squeezes the trigger on his Ravenlocke, this time targeting the ganger who is drawing his gun.  He barely manages to keep on target but somehow he does.

The ganger turns and tries to stay out from in front of Karh’s PDW but one of the slugs manages to hit him. He curses loudly as the bullet penetrates his jacket. The ganger winces but does not go down, but instead raises his gun and pops off three rounds in Karh’s direction, but all three go wide and hit the wall and nightstand behind him. At the same time, the hippo hybrid slams into the bed, sending it crashing into Karh.

“Damn, damn! Karh, should I call the cops or what?” Bee shouts out from behind the sofa while the bullets fly around the room. “Is Dante ok? Should I call a medic?”

While this is all going on, Grim finally gets his blade out of its sheath and slashes at the standing ganger, trying to cut his legs out from under him. The ganger catches his move out of the corner of his eye and jumps out of the way just at the last second. 

“Call everyone!”  Karh yells at Bee as the bed slams into his side. The weight of the bed drops Karh to the ground with a thud. Not for the first time he curses the poor genetics that made him such a wimp. He pushes himself back up to his knees assessing the situation.

The ganger with the gun steps back, crouches and fires, this time at Grim, but again, all three of his shots miss. Bee cries out loudly in pain and slums to the floor, limp and motionless. Hippo pulls himself to his knees and growls at Karh across the bed, “I’m gonna crush you, worm!” he calls out. Meanwhile, Grim leaps forward and charges the ganger with the gun, trying to take out who he sees as the “bigger’ threat. He leads with his blade, stabbing directly at the man’s midsection. The ganger leaps back out of the way, somehow knocking Grim’s sword from his hand. The blade falls and clatters under the small kitchen table. “Dammit!” Grim shouts!

From his knees Karh braces himself against the bed and fires a three round burst at the hippo!  The shots are just barely on target.  “Not if I shoot you first!  You assholes are going to pay for hurting my friends!”  

Two bullets hit the angry hybrid and seem to just seem to be swallowed up by his bulk while the third whizzes through the air, passing just between Grim and the other ganger, striking the wall to the shitter. “Hey watch it, buddy!” Grim yells in Karh’s direction! The skinny ganger takes another step back, carefully keeping his balance as he walks over the mess in the doorway and works his way into the storage area. Half hiding behind the wall, and now out of Karh’s line of sight, he takes aim and fires three more shots at the weaponless Grim. Grim dives to the floor, hoping to avoid the incoming bullets and get a bit closer to his sword but all three shots hit him. Grim grunts loudly as he hits the ground. As Karh watches another friend get shot, the hybrid comes to his feet and swings the long chain over his head. It comes crashing down at Karh. 

Karh dives for cover behind his bed.  Not willing to risk being on the business end of Hippos chain, he puts everything he has into it.  He hears the chain whistling harmlessly overhead as he hits the floor once again.  

As soon as he hits the floor he is once again pushing up to a kneeling position. He looks over the bed as he is doing so.  Karh watches for the Hippo and his partner.

The next thing Karh knows, his bed is being flipped over, right on top of him and he hears the ganger yelling, “Com’on, Nigel, let’s burn!” As he scrambles to climb out from under the dirty mattress, he hears the two of them running from his apartment. As he gets out from under the bed, he sees Grim getting to his feet and patting himself down, “I, uh, whoa. I think I’m ok.” Both of them turn and stare at Bee, who is lying on the floor in front of the couch with large red spot beneath her. She is breathing, but shallowly. Groans can be heard from the doorway.

Cleaning Up the Mess

“Damnit Grim are you sure you are ok?  I thought I saw you get hit several times!”  Not waiting for Grim to reply Karh rushes over to Bee.  He grabs a mostly clean towel and manages to stop the bleeding.  “Hold on there Bee, we are gonna get you some help.”  

Karh looks around at the wreckage that is now his apartment.  The gangers did a pretty good job trashing things in a short time.  Karh doesn’t know if he will ever get the opportunity, but those gangers will have to pay for tearing up his place and hurting his friends.

“If you aren’t hurt Grim, see if you can wake Dante up.  I’m sure he knows someone who can help Bee.”

As Grim moves toward Dante and Mr. Jenkins in the doorway, there is a spate of loud shouting followed by several gunshots in the hallway. Three more gangers run past, one of them reaching back over his shoulder and firing off 3 more rounds, sending crashing echoes throughout the small apartment. Grim ducks and then drags Mr. Jenkins back into the apartment. “Think there’s still some gangers in the building, can hear some yelling from upstairs maybe,” Grim says as he props the door in place and drags Dante in as well. “That was, crazy,” he says, wiping his brow and grabbing his jacket and putting it on, even though it is already a little hot inside. He pats the back and finds his pistol and removes it, replacing it tucked in his belt in the front. “Just in case,” he nods and winks. “How’s Bee? Dante and this old dude are both out cold,” he says as he moves to the kitchen and gets another rag, soaking it in cold water. Karh looks down at his makeshift bandage job and realizes that his friend is still bleeding. 

Looking down at the blood still seeping through the towel and onto his hands, Karh curses.  “Frack!  Grim!  Throw me that medkit from over by my terminal!”  

“What? Oh, yea, here,” Grim calls out as he tosses the small plastic box across to Karh. When Karh catches it he sees that his friend, Grim, did not make it out of the skirmish unscathed. There are a few bullet holes in his shirt accompanied by a small amount of blood, but nothing to indicate major gunshot wounds, probably just lucky grazes. Grim sees Karh looking and zips the jacket up. “There's still some action in the building. I'm gonna go check it out, ok?” and before Karh can even answer, he bolts out of the apartment. 

“Damnit Grim what the hell am I supposed to do about gunshots?!” he yells at the empty doorway.  Karh sighs in consternation as he realizes Grim probably never even heard him.

“Frack!”  He yells to no one in particular.  Determined not to let his friend down he starts bandaging again.  This time he is meticulous and focus’ on doing his first aid right.  

Karh does his best and gets the bleeding stopped. By this time, Dante has crawled out from under the door. Mr. Jenkins, the neighbor from down the hall is still unconscious in the doorway. Bee moans and winces a bit as Karh tightens the bandages, but remains unconscious as well. Grim comes loping back into the room. His leg is bleeding but he is smilng. “I took out two more of the gangers, but one got me here, dammit. That hurts. Chased the rest of them out.” He steps over the unconscious old man and grabs another reBeer before flopping down in one of the chairs.

Dante looks around, dazed, “Wha happen’d?”

“You did your best to imitate a door stop you fracking idiot!”  Karh smiles and laughs at his friends misfortune.  Karh fills Dante in with all the details about the gangers attack. 

“Seriously though, what are we going to do about Bee and Grim?  They’ve both been hurt and need more medical attention then I can give. 

“Uh, well, yea. Ok. I think I know of a street doc nearby. Here,” he wiggles his fingers in the air and an address pops up. It’s not too far, just on the other side of the airport, maybe 2 and a half miles, Karh thinks to himself. Five Corners neighborhood. Dante sits down hard on the floor, his head sagging forward. Karh notices quite a bit of blood on the back of his head and staining his designer jacket. Must have taken quite a pop to the head. 

Grim crushes the empty beer can on the table, “I’m fine, just need a little cleaning up. I can move and whatnot. Dante don’t look good, neither does your neighbor there. What should we do? He give you an address or something?”

“Well ok then maybe Dante is in worse shape than I thought.”  He eases Bee up onto the sofa where she can be a bit more comfortable.  Turning his attention to Dante he checks his friends injury to the head.  

While he bandages Dantes wound he looks over at Mr Jenkins lying in a heap on the floor.  The old hermit was more of a pain in his ass than anything even remotely resembling a friend.  He's also pretty confident that Jenkins wouldn't even bother to slow down if he passed Karh lying injured out in the hallway.  

Growing up out on the streets it was something Karh learned quick;  Keep your nose out of other people's business.  Those with a bleeding heart didn't survive very long.  Even with all the years of harsh lessons out on the street urging Karh to just toss the old man out and let fate sort things out he finds he just can't let it go.  

He's tired of being pushed around.  Tired of watching people die all around him.  He has to stand up and do something.  Even if it is just making sure Jenkins gets some decent medical treatment.  

With a sigh he finishes the bandages on Dante and lays him down onto the floor.  Grabbing what's left of his med kit he steps over to Jenkins and does what he can to stabilize his crotchety neighbor.

“Hey Grim make yourself useful for a moment and keep your eyes on these guys ok?  I'll be back in a second!”  Not wasting any time Karh takes off down the steps to the first floor.  He steps over the motionless bodies of the two gangers that Grim has incapacitated, taking care not to step in the slowly widening pools of blood.  

The front door the the complex has been bashed open.  Karh passes through pausing for a brief second to wonder at the gangers lack of subtlety.  The bio lock on the door wouldn't have stopped a determined child if they had only tried.  Shrugging to himself he runs to the end of the building and turns left into an alley covered in graffiti.

Half obscured by heaps of refuse is Jenkins car.  He knows it still runs because the fracking idiot tried to run him over with it just last week.  The badge on the front identifies it as an old Tesla Model Z.  Just looking at it you wouldn't think it would run but Jenkins never could be bothered to maintain anything.  Woulda maybe been worth something if the company had not went under shorty after Musk abandoned it.  But that eccentric got what he deserved when he left for Mars in 2041. 
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Karh accesses the security plate located on the drivers side of the car.  Confidently he attacks the security code.  In no time he has the car convinced that he is its new owner.  Sliding into the seat he toggles the hud and checks each of the cars readouts.  His good luck continues to hold, everything checks out, even half a charge left on the battery.  He eases the antique into drive and slowly pulls around to the front door.

When he stops and gets out, Karh hears sirens approaching. Only about 45 minutes too late, he thinks to himself. A moment later he shakes his head in disgust as the sirens fade back into the distance. He races back inside and finds Grim and another neighbor, Mrs. Li, helping Dante, Bee and Jenkins to the front door. Dante and Bee are both walking but Jenkins has been unceremoniously dumped into a rolling  laundry basket. Mrs. Li smiles when she sees Karh. “I knew you and your friends would chase those thugs off, such a nice boy,” she announces. Her and her husband own a nearby restaurant, Nice Rice, that serves tasty rice and noodle dishes. They have been fans of Karh since just after he moved in and helped them with some electrical work in their apartment and at their restaurant. “Now I'm sure you are trying to help Herman here and not use this as an excuse to hide his body, right?” She laughs in that ‘I'm just kidding… no I'm not… yes I am’ kind of way. As the group makes it back outside to the waiting car, the noise of a vehicle in bad need of a tuneup and new music selection comes from around the corner. Karh looks up to see a Samba pickup truck come crashing over the sidewalk. A glowing Hyper Tag of the little devil he saw earlier on the ganger is prominently visible. Two people, a man with a ski mask and a feline looking Hybrid stand in the bed of the truck. She wields a shotgun which she is firing randomly at the building and he lobs what could very well be a grenade in the general direction of the group headed toward Jenkins’ car. 

“GRENADE!!!!!  WATCH OUT!”  Something takes hold of Karh and he sprints towards his friends.  “Get down!”  As the grenade lands Karh finally takes his own advice and dives for cover behind an abandoned auto vender.

Everyone else follows Karh’s advice and dives for cover as well. The grenade lands nearby and explodes but appears to be some sort of homemade explosive and does not shred everyone to bits like a real military-grade weapon would have. The truck with the gangers skids around the far corner of the building followed by another explosion and more shotgun blasts a few moments later. With the danger passed, Karh quickly ushers everyone into Jenkins’ waiting car and floors it, though the antique vehicle only accelerates at a moderate rate. Karh pulls up the address that Dante had given him and starts making his way to the nearest street doc to get his friends patched up.
It only takes Karh a few minutes to get to the other side of the airport, just a quick drive down 154/156th to a left on Ambaum. The drive is a bit hectic as there is traffic and Jenkins’ brakes are not as responsive as Karh would like. The old Tesla flies in and out of traffic, sideswipes a Metro stop, scaring the few people there waiting for the bus, and nearly rear-ends a trash truck but finally, three hair-raising miles later, skids into a crowded parking lot in front of some restaurant and casino type place. Huge sign and HR ad says it’s Lo Pan’s Den - Fine Pan Asian Fusion and Gaming Center. Sounds interesting, Karh thinks to himself, vowing to check it out when he has more time. A huge, floating image of an Asian wizard ambles around the parking lot, just above the height of the tallest vehicles. He beckons passerbys and frequently throws out flaming dice that always come up snake eyes. 

“This the doc’s place?” Grim asks hesitantly from the back seat, looking out at the lights and people milling about. The building is 3 or 4 floors high, and the restaurant and gaming center probably only utilize the bottom two floors at most. “There’s a lot of blood back here, Bee is bleeding again. So is Dante,” Grim announces. At this, Mr. Jenkins, who is slumped over in the front seat, rouses a bit, looks around with a surprised look on his face, starts to say something, then falls back unconscious. 

Karh leaves the his friends sitting in the dilapidated junker and steps out onto the street.  He is familiar enough with the necessity of street docs although he's been lucky so far to have never personally needed their services until now.  

He reluctantly makes his way into the main floor of the building.  He curses a bit under his breath as he looks around for an employee to talk to.  Meeting new people isn't high on Karh’s list of fun things to do.  His injured friends waiting back in the car are about all that is keeping him on track for the moment.

He fervently hopes this doc is worth all the trouble. These meat cutters aren't always known for being the most stable of personalities. With a chuckle Karh, remembers a story about a doc who used to operate without any pants on. But that was a story old Gumpter used to tell.  Granted that whino was not the most reliable either. Drank enough ale to drown a rock he did. Damn geezer could really tan your hide if your ran afoul of him.

Putting old stories aside, Karh catches the attention of the first live attendant he can find.

The young Asian man bows slightly and asks if Karh wants a drink, table reservation or tokens for gaming. He adds, in a slightly annoyed tone, that all of Lo Pan's amenities can be accessed through conveniently placed HyperObject menus, their node on the Deep, through OOL Direct, and through the VR Portal. He turns to face Karh but is only barely seeing him, no doubt accessing something through his TAP.

What's Up, Doc?

While Karh focuses on the waiter, he is caught off guard by another man that walks up and speaks. He leans in and says, “Hey Karh, I think you are looking for me.  Now, let’s go to your friend before he dies.”

Karh looks at this newcomer with a bit of a shocked look on his face and mutters, “Yea. Parking lot,” and turns and heads back out of the building. He leads the street doc outside to Jenkin’s car and waves his hand to signal Grim, “I got the doc,” he says. Grim climbs out of the back seat, and says, “I’m Grim. We just talked.” Kar watches is quite shock as Grim does a quick scan of the area, always on the lookout for danger. He is thankful that his friend is with him. He hadn’t expected so much pressure and stress and was glad that Grim always seemed to keep his wits. “Where do you want them?” Grim asks the doc as he lights up a smoke.
Doc John O'Brien
The doc assesses the situation and states, “Do you think it would be safe to move them outside the car?”  He then starts  look at Jenkins in the front seat then begins to move him onto the tarmac of the parking lot.

Karh, still a bit in shock over the whole thing, shrugs, and Grim responds instead, “I dunno. You're the doc right? Bee, in the back. She was shot. Dickhead and the old man were both smashed by a door and run over by a, umm, well, by a rhino. A hybrid, ya know?”

John, the doc, gets the man in the front seat carefully to the ground.  He starts looking him over, then turns and says, “You know a little help moving the others would be helpful.”

Grim and Karh help the doc with Bee and Dante. As they do so, several people passing in the parking lot shoot glances at what is going on. Some smart ass shouts out, “Let ‘em bleed! Blood in the gutters!” Grim shouts back and flips the bird. The giant HR Lo Pan ambles over to where they are huddled around the ancient Tesla. It leans over and shakes its head and waves a finger in their direction as if saying, “no, no, no.” The doc responds by cursing under his breath. Lo Pan moves and stands directly above the makeshift triage in the parking lot. 

Karh ignores the random AI interest in their party and addresses the doc.  “Might be best to get them off the street ya know?  We are drawing a bit more attention here than either of us are looking for.  Where should we go?”

John snaps at Karh, “Yes, I know. I live here.”  He turns and quickly adjusts the bandages covering Bee’s gunshot wound.  When the doc finishes, he looks at Grim, and says, “Dark One, she should be stable enough to move. Grab her. “  Then  he points at Karh and says, “You and me help the others.”  The street doc helps the closest one to him up and escorts them all to a back alley behind Lo Pan’s. The alley is dark, and full of garbage.  There are several people, homeless or addicts, possibly, sitting or laying in the alley here and there.  The doc opens a backdoor revealing a hallway to a rickety, unclean elevator.  He looks at the group and states, “We are going to the elevator.  It smells like stale piss but hey, it is better than the stairs.”  

When the creaking elevator gets to the third floor, the doors open to make-shift surgical suite.  Doc John motions toward a surgical table and says, “Put the girl there.”  He motions his patient to a chair nearby and turns to Bee.  He grabs a mask and instruments.  He stops suddenly and looks at Karh, “You are going to be my nurse. Not hard. Just hand things to me when I ask. Oh, here is a mask. Put it on.”  Without waiting for any response from Karh, the doctor goes to work on Bee.

Cast of Characters: 

Karh Danishan: a young hacker looking for that big score; played by Ben L
Doc John O'Brien: a washed out combat medic turned street doc; played by Dan E
Casanna "Talon" Moretti: a tiger hybrid bounty hunter; played by Carol C
Kobato: android former pop star turned anarchist; played by Jason P

and Jason GURPS as the GM

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