#GURPS: Interface Zeroversion 0.01
August 2, 2018 - January 6, 2019
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 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.
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.
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
Doc John O'Brien: a washed out combat medic turned street doc; played by Dan E
and Jason GURPS as the GM