#GURPS: Interface Zeroversion 0.04
August 22, 2018 - January 24, 2019
Fridy, August 4, 2090
Talon all but crawled her way back into her den. That's how she fancied it anyway. A den. It wasn't an apartment, or a room or a flat and it sure as anything wasn't a house or condo. So, a den. The space was a partitioned off area of a partially demolished skyscraper in West Seattle. She wasn't sure exactly, but knew it was at least higher than the 40th floor because she had ranged her balcony to the water below and it was almost 500 feet. It was quite a climb even with the half-assed service elevator that had been rigged up from floors “10” to “30” on the building next door and that of course came after the “walk” out to the base of the tower across the myriad of rickety bridges, floating scaffolding and precarious planks that stretch from dry land and connect to roofs and lower levels of other flooded buildings of the Heights.
Talon was coming off of an all night job, actually an all week job, but she got her mark, and good thing too, since she needed the money. She had to replace some equipment from this most recent job. Just a simple skip trace, but it lead her all over the city. Seattle was cool, she thought, but expensive. Target rich environment though, that was good at least.
As she removed her gear, she stepped out onto her balcony. The sun was coming up in the east, trying its hardest to burn off the fog of night. Unfortunately there was also a thick layer of smoke, a combination of the burning trash fires around the city, the pollution from the numerous stacks in Tacoma in the south and the ever present forest fires in the outlying areas, some caused by occasional lava flows, some by lightning strikes and not a small amount purposefully set for one reason or another. If you could disregard the smoke, it was all very pretty, really. For a land ravaged by numerous natural disasters, there were still quite a lot of trees out there. Numerous rivers and lakes dotted the forest out past the city. And Mount Rainier had some snow remaining on it’s higher parts, not much, but a little. So much green and blue.
Then, something happened. It happened so fast that Talon was not even able to respond to it until after it happened. As she was standing on the balcony, which wasn’t actually a balcony as much as a part of the building that was missing a large chunk of exterior wall, something fell past. Something big. It looked like a person. She quickly leaped to the edge and peered down in the dim dawn light and could clearly see the shape of a person falling then splashing into the water below. She caught sight of what might have been a small drone trailing it. It hovered near the splashdown site, then disappeared in the maze of flooded building cores.
As far as she knew, no one else lived this high up in the buildings and very rarely did she ever even see anyone up here. The Bubble Guppies, a rag-tag little group of scavengers that fancied themselves a full-fledged gang, lived in the lower levels of the building and where she crossed over from another nearby building, was in the protected area of a strange commune of folk that didn’t like strangers. They allowed her passage because she paid them a hefty fee and offered her services if needed. There were only about 10 or so accessible floors above her den, and much of that was in terrible disrepair. She had only been up all the way to the top once and even she found it unsettling and dangerous.
Just then, she got a message from Rumor saying he had another job for her. The job was actually from a recent client and not actually a bounty hunting gig, but it sounded like good money and the client requested her specifically. It said to call him back as soon as she could.
Talon was very curious about the body that just hit the water. She briefly wondered to herself if the drone had caused the fall or maybe it was just a desperate jumper (there were always plenty of jumpers); did the person own the drone that followed the body down.
"Peculiar", she thought aloud, as she scanned the dark water looking for any sign of the body. She shook her head as she walked back into her den, money is money and dead bodies were only profitable if she was the cause of death. Plus, dead bodies were quite plentiful in this city.
She messaged Rumor quickly, hoping to get some sleep before she was needed again.
She catches Rumor and he tells her that he has another job lined up for her. A recent client, Eduardo Kanagawa, the guy who sent Talon after his deadbeat brother a couple of weeks ago, wants Talon to help him, but he says he needs to speak to her in person. The job is for about 15 minutes of work, shouldn’t be dangerous at all, but he’s willing to pay 1000$ for it. Says he wants to meet with Talon today to discuss it. Rumor passes off Eduardo’s contact info to her. She sees the OOL flash in front of her eyes in Hyper Reality then store itself in her little black book. She quickly reviews her file on Eduardo.
Talon passes her fingers through her disheveled hair as she walks to the only working sink. She turns on the water and waits a few seconds for the water to lose the red rusty color. As soon as it turns a pale pink color Talon cups her hands under the sputtering water and splashes it over her face and head. It feels good even though it has a slightly salty smell. She shakes her head vigorously and the droplets of water spray around the small room.
Talon checks the time and decides she can sleep for an hour before she'd head out to meet Eduardo. Rumor said to meet him today and it will still be today in one hour. Eduardo can wait. Besides she feels exhausted.
She steps out on the balcony for one more look down at the water surrounding the building she calls home.
There is some activity down at the water, though at almost 200 yards up, it is hard to pick out any details. Talon is pretty sure she can see several people moving around on the floating walkways and maybe even someone on a small boat or skiff of some type.
She pulls a makeshift curtain across the balcony opening making the room slightly darker. In one corner of the room another opening leads to a smaller room. Crammed into this tiny room is a cot. Talon crawls onto the cot, pulling the doorway curtain loose. It drapes stiffly over the doorway, but it keeps out most of the light of the rising sun.
In an hour, Talon wakes, stretches, then sits on the edge of the bed, her feet barely scraping the dusty floor. After a few moments, she hops over the bed into the slightly larger main room.
Rendezvous With Eduardo
She checks the time as she heads towards the outside world. She negotiates the maze-like passageways, creaky elevator and numerous planks, her feline abilities making the descent seem effortless.
It's about 30 minutes before she reaches the lower level. "Time to check where I'm going," she thinks to herself. Talon pulls up the address stored in her digital book on her TAP. She calculates that it would take about 45 minutes to get there, if everything goes smoothly. But in the slums streets, smooth rarely happens. Staying in the shadows of the buildings as much as possible, she heads for a street vendor who sets up her wares on a corner about 3 blocks away.
Talon stands under an awning across the street from the vendor, waiting until the last customer in line was served and walked away. Talon runs across the street to the cart where Mya Kalani stands everyday, hawking her handmade food pies. Mya smiles at Talon as she reaches inside the small vendor cart. Her hand reappears holding a hot steaming meat pie. Mya hands the pie to Talon and bows slightly. Mya never charged Talon for the pies. Talon had helped her family once with a threatening gang trying to extract protection money. Talon showed them her own form of protection and the remaining gang members never bothered Mya or her family again.
Talon accepted the meat pie and returned the bow. She turns and heads down the shadowed side of the street. As she enters the crowded areas of the downtown area, she flips the cowl of her cape over her head. Soon she reaches the vestibule of the Spire Zone Tower and enters the elevator. She turns and punches the button to the 65th floor.
Talon triggers the button for her intended floor but nothing happens. The door does not close, the car does not rise. She hits the button again, but nothing. She flips her TAP off of mute and hits the Hyper Tag button floating in front of her. Still nothing.
A well dressed young woman approaches but stops several yards outside the elevator, “Excuse me, um, ma’am is it? I'm sorry, no unregistered guests allowed, Spire Zone Towers policy. The lobby network would have pinged you but you appear to have your TAP turned off or something. I'm sorry but I'll need you to turn your TAP on to register on the network. Who are you here to see?”
Talon turns slowly to look at the woman. If her uniform made her look sharp, her eyes made her look equally dull. Talon could smell the drugs oozing from the pores on the woman's skin and wafting off her breath. Talon wrinkles her nose in disgust.
"I have an appointment," Talon says quietly. "Your building systems are inaccurate and not working properly. You really should report that to your supervisors. I'm sure they wouldn't want the residents to know that the maintenance money they pay each month with their rent is being used for other purposes, like fancy new cars or other luxuries."
Talon smiles slightly as the woman's eyebrows raise slightly, "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you already knew.
"However, as I said before, I'm expected for an appointment and he won't appreciate the fact that you are holding me up, so be a sport and send the elevator to floor 65."
The attendant narrows her eyes but takes a step back. “Thank you, ma’am. I’ll send your car up to floor 65. Have a wonderful day,” she says as she retreats to the main desk area across the lobby. Talon is quite sure she could see the young woman sweating. The doors of the elevator close and the small car shoots up to the 65 floor quickly. Talon is not sure what to expect. The last time she worked with Eduardo, they had met at a cafe near here, not at his home. The doors slid open silently revealing an oval shaped space about 100 feet long and about 30 feet across at its widest. The middle of the area is open both above and below with a silver railing. About 10 doors line this oval area, each one with the number 65 and a letter on it from A to J. The floor is covered with a thick, rich carpet of swirling brown patterns. Several pieces of art and potted plants adorn the area as well as a few plush chairs, divans and small tables. A bright, natural feeling light shines in from above and a gentle breeze that smells of flowers seems to flow through the area, though Talon is quite sure the sunlight is artificial as it just wasn’t that bright of a day yet. She quickly spies the door with 65C on it.
Talon stood before the door which appeared to have no button to announce her arrival. Her TAP did not help either and she turns it off once more. She frowns momentarily, her eyes narrows. Suddenly the door clicks and slowly opens to a foyer with a middle-aged woman standing in the entryway. Based on her manner of dress, Talon assumes she was a house servant. The woman has a bit of a surprised look on her face. Something about the look tells Talon that the servant is probably a simulacra.
"Ahh, You must be Ms. Moretti. Mr. Kanagawa is expecting you. This way please," she states flatly, indicating that Talon should follow, then she moves further into the apartment.
Being a creature of habit, Talon's eyes take in the details and layout of the apartment as she walks through the rooms, following the older woman. The living area is well furnished yet most of the furniture is simple and certainly not expensive. There are a few HR paintings on the walls, the colors complimenting well with the rest of the room. Talon doesn't recognize the artists but she finds that of no consequence. She is not an expert on art.
The woman stops by an open door off the living room, obviously a study or office. She indicates that Talon was to step in and she walks away. Talon steps into the room and looks around.
She sees Eduardo behind a large wooden desk, there are papers, drink and food containers spread haphazardly about the surface. He is bending over, looking at something behind the desk that Talon cannot see. He sits up and jumps a bit, “Oh, you’re here. Hello. I didn’t get a notification from downstairs that you are here.” He stands and hurries around the desk. He is wearing a dress shirt, though quite wrinkled and unbuttoned at the top, but instead of the typical slacks, he is wearing dirty athletic shorts. His black socks are sagging and he is wearing baby blue fuzzy slippers. He looks down at his lower half and gives out a little laugh then shrugs. “It was a long night last night. Took the day off today, working from home really. So, thank you again for coming and of course, thank you for finding my brother for me last month. My mother was so relieved to have those documents of my father’s back. Anyway, have a seat,” he motions toward two boxy looking chairs near the window. They do not look very comfortable and appear to be made out of hard plastic or some other shiny surface, but when Eduardo sits down, he nearly melts into the chair. Talon follows suit and finds the uncomfortable looking seat suddenly flow and reshape around her, adjusting to her exact shape, posture and weight. It is almost as if she were floating on a cloud. He notices the momentary look of surprise as she settles into the chair. “Nice, ehh? Brand new, from China, or one of the many places that it owns. Only the best from the Mandarinate.” He turns and looks out the window. “Like the view?” He leans forward and cranes his neck upward, “At the right angle you can see the top of the Spire. I’ve lived here a year now and I still think it’s cool!” A casual look out the window gets Talon a view of the building one block over. She does not lean in and crane her neck to see the Spire, she’s seen it before.
“Want a drink?” He offers as he pops the top off of an energy drink can produced from a small fridge behind his chair. “Anyway, so the job I need you for, well, it’s not a bounty job, but it's totally easy, will literally take 15 minutes of your time and I’ll pay you 1000 credits. You don't have to chase anyone, beat anyone up or even draw your weapon. Totally easy! You ever wanted to be on tv? Like an icon or reporter or something?” He smiles big at her, as if the thought had occurred to him more than once. Though he is smiling and seemingly happy, Talon can tell he is exhausted and anxious about something.
Talon stares blankly for a moment. The offer was very unexpected. She certainly never considered doing something as public as TV. On the other hand, the money - -
"Tell me more about this proposition," Talon says quietly, "It doesn't sound like one of my typical endeavors. But I'm always open to expanding my resume."
"But," she pauses, leans forward as the fluid-like chair adjusts then continues, "Mr. Kanagawa, I would also appreciate hearing the whole story. You are obviously feeling stressed and troubled and I think the job you are offering may not as simple and straightforward as you indicate."
Talon sits back in the chair and thinks to herself, "I've gotta get one of these chairs."
“No seriously, it'll be a piece of cake. You ever play Bamapana? What? No? Oh, seriously, it's fantastic.” Talon sees Eduardo’s over-tired eyes light up with pure joy as he explains Bamapana to her. The game, he explains, it's a Virtual Reality MMORPG about executives and shareholders of a fictional megacorp. Deals are made, stocks are traded, boardroom intrigue abounds and there is even corporate espionage. The interesting thing about this game is that it incorporates real life actions as side-quests to obtain certain in game benefits. Eduardo seems very excited and into this game and has snagged the rights to carry out one of the more worthwhile side-quests, but another real-life event has demanded his attention. “I’ve been putting off this presentation with my boss all week, well, because I’ve been playing a bit too much of Banapama, but I really don’t want to lose this bonus. It cost me 500 credits just to get the credentials to bid on the task in-game, but it has to be done tomorrow at 9am, for 15 minutes. And if I’m not at work presenting my new sales scheme to my boss at 9, I’ll be fired. That can’t happen. I can’t believe I got myself into this situation.” He puts his head in his hands and moans for a moment, then looks back up at Talon. “That’s where you come in. You can do the task for me. I’ll just need you to log-in on the game right before you start. The job is easy, like I said. This task is more of a prank, it’s called “Ambush Journalism.” You have to go down to this media storage facility, ZRTech, it’s out near Sea-Tac somewhere, I’ll give you the address, tomorrow morning at 9am and demand to see the facilities director. Hell, he probably won’t even be there on a Saturday. You have to pretend to be a journalist doing a report on how the memory repositories use too much coolant to keep the storage banks at optimal temperature or something like that. The task says that it does not really matter what you are there for, only that you engage on-site for 15 minutes in character. At best, you’ll be harassing some receptionist or security guard. 1000 credits.” He sees Talon’s eyes narrow as he explains the details of the job. “Shit!” he says, “You can have the chair too! Seriously, the pair set me back nearly 10k. It’s yours. Hell, you can take it today if you want! Come on, you gotta do this for me!” As far as Talon can tell, this upright is hell bent on getting this little prank for his VR game done, it means a lot to him and he just may be willing to up the ante a bit. “I’ll hook you up with a follow drone with a camera for the job too, you won’t even have to pilot it. It follows and shoots over your shoulder at default. Simple TAP commands will have it move to a forward position to focus on you easily enough. Whaddya say?”
Talon grins, her sharp teeth gleaming from the sunlight streaming through the window.
"Mr. Kanagawa you seem like a really nice guy. It's sad that you have fallen into this trap. Gaming is highly addictive for many people.
"Look, I'll do this thing for you. I'll bank the 1000 credits, take the chair and when I'm done the drone is mine. I sure hope this in-game bonus is worth it because out of game it's going to cost you. I'm not some cheapo Stimmer looking for their next fix.
"So, Eduardo," Talon says pointedly, "Whaddya say?"
“What? The drone? Oh, yea, sure. It's yours! totally! And yea this is one of the highest tasks on the board. This is more than a game. Getting my name to the top of the leaderboard will help me with my real job. It'll open some doors for me, smooth over some deals, that kind of stuff. Plus it's just cool!” Her gets up and starts rummaging through a nearby closet and pulls out a box. It's bright packaging and plasticel front reveal that is a hover drone with built in camera and selfie or over the shoulder mode. He holds it up facing Talon. “Here it is. ICU3DX. It's not top of the line or anything but it'll work. You got the controls loaded yet? Want to keep the box or what? Oh, yea, and Maude will help you take the chair down. But hey, use the service elevator. We're not supposed to use the resident lift for stuff like that.” He stares at her, but feels like he's looking through her. He lifts his hand and wiggled his fingers in the air a bit, as odd look coming across his face. “I just realized. Seems like your TAP isn't even on. I can't transfer you the money or control of the drone.”
Talon's eyes widen and she smiles. "Forgive me, I'll turn the TAP on. I usually try to keep myself and my whereabouts to myself. It is an added edge I need in my profession."
Talon flips off the mute, then nods to Eduardo, "I'm ready for the transfer." She watches the bank account balance increase by $1000 credits and in the other corner she watches as the upload progresses in seconds. The access panel with command options opens once the upload completes. Talon swipes the air left and the panel disappears. She taps the bank account window and the window logs off.
She stands and turns to the bright yellow char as it smoothly resets to a block of seemingly hard plastic. "I think it would be better if I arrange for the pick up and delivery of the chair." Talon smiles as the image of carrying the bright cube through the busy streets rolled in her imagination.
“Great,” Eduardo beams. “I really appreciate this, a lot. I really do. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you again.” He takes a minute, pulls up a shared HR window and shows Talon how to log into Bamapana so she can do it in the morning before entering the ZRTech lobby. “You don’t have to go full immersion for the event, just check it like this so it knows that I’m there and the one doing it. This is great, thank you again. Maude will show you out though, I really have to get back to work on my presentation,” he says as he moves back toward his desk. He looks down at his desk and manipulates his fingers ever so slightly, obviously working on some HR objects, no longer paying any attention to Talon.
Maude, the housemaid, appears near the door and directs Talon toward the door. “Master Kanagawa says you will be calling about the FormChair? Here is the number to contact, I will help you make any arrangements, thank you.” As Maude shows Talon back out to the plush hallway, she can hear Eduardo yelling at someone from his office. Maude smiles at Talon in one of those completely mechanical simulacra smiles and closes the door.
Talon does a quick check to make sure she has all the info she needs to do the job in the morning and feels confident that she does. The calls the elevator with her TAP and within moments, the car arrives and the door opens. The ride back down is even quicker than the ride up and in no time she is striding back across the lobby to the street. Several building staff watch her go with steely eyes and she notices one security guard step up, placing his hand on his stun baton at his belt. She pays no mind to this as she is leaving, and hopefully never has to come back to this place again.
Back On The Street
Out on the busy street, she contemplates what her next move is. It’s about noon and the sidewalks, streets and skies above are busy with traffic. Nearby, Talon spies the young attendant from the lobby sitting on a bench. A small carton is sitting on her lap. She is bawling profusely into her small hands.
Talon stops for a moment to watch the woman on the bench. It definitely is the woman from the elevator encounter. Talon is curious because she doesn't understand why the woman is crying.
On the other hand Talon is not sure if she really cares about the woman. She looks up the street as if to walk away then turns back to watch carefully. The woman heaves a huge sigh, then takes something out of her purse. From where Talon is standing, the item looks like a gun. Now Talon is interested!
She walks quietly to the bench and stands behind the woman. From here Talon can see the contents of the box had been carelessly thrown into a jumble. And the woman indeed has a small gun gripped in her hand and laying in her lap.
"Is the gun for herself," Talon wonders, "or is it for the person who made her cry?"
The woman seems to make a decision and stands up. Talon asks quietly, "Did you make sure the gun is loaded?"
The woman spins to face Talon, “What? Who? Are you fucking kidding me? You cat-faced bitch! You got me fired! Such fucking hybrid trash! That's all you are!” She screams and curses at Talon, waving her hands in the air threateningly though not once doors she point the gun at Talon. Instead, she lashes out with it like a club, trying to hit Talon. Her very obvious attack goes wide though, missing Talon completely.
Talon quickly grabs the woman's wrist of the gun-holding hand. Her wrist felt small and fragile in Talon's hand. She pulls the woman close and swings her around.
The woman is now facing away from Talon and the weapon falls to the sidewalk barely making a sound as it hits the pavement. The street noise covers the sound and no one pays attention to the two standing near the bench.
Talon leans close and whispers, "If you're going to kill me, at least allow me the courtesy of knowing my murderer's name."
The woman sobs and doesn't reply. Talon becomes annoyed with this behavior. She tries a different approach and this time her voice growls with frustration.
"You blame 'me' for the loss of your job. This is simply not possible. 'You' are the one that didn't follow security protocol. 'You' are the one that allowed me access to the elevator."
"And you can't tell me, Madam Teary Eyes, that this was your first offense!" Talon voices emphatically.
The woman stiffens and stops weeping. Talon loosens her grip slightly and turns the woman to face her.
"Now, I ask you again. What is your name?"
When Talon turns the woman, she sees that the woman is burning with rage. She spits right in Talon's face and stomps down on her foot with her spike heeled shoes. “Help! Help! This thing is attacking me! She's hurting me!”
"Away with you then," Talon says as she pushes the woman back onto the bench. "Maybe one day you can accept your own shortfalls. And quit sniffling. It's very annoying"
Her foot still smarts from the high heel as Talon walks away from the bench intending to blend into the crowded street and stops. Talon looks back at the woman over her shoulder.
"Just to set the record straight, I walked over to ask if you needed help," Talon slowly says.
Talon takes two more steps away from the woman and peers back at her, "My name is unimportant but you can find me by asking around the Heights. I mean, just in case you change your mind."
Talon races into the street crowd and disappears in the shadows cast by the tall buildings.
Talon walks several blocks at a brisk pace, keeping to the alleys and narrower streets just for good measure. She finally stops to catch het breath and looks around, taking in her surroundings and sees she's near 3rd Avenue and Vine Street, several blocks south of the Spire, though she can't see it from here due to her proximity to some buildings.
Talon takes a deep breath to clear her mind. She needs to decide what to do next. The contact with the crazy lady doesn't set well. Why the woman didn't want help is beyond her comprehension. If the woman no longer has a job, Talon could offer her advice on getting a new one.
She shakes her head and dismisses the incident altogether. It's time to check with Rumor anyway. Plus she needs to find a way to get the squishy chair delivered. It's possible Rumor might know someone.
Talon walks to a nearby cafe. She knows the owners and knows she won't be hassled by other patrons. The owners are an older couple who are caring and very hard working. The man and woman remind Talon of her own parents except for the caring and hard working part.
She waves as she walks in a sits down in a booth at the back of the cafe. The old woman, Darrisa, smiles as she brings Talon a bottle of beer.
A few minutes later the older man, Frank, brings Talon a large plate of steaming roast beef and warm, crusty bread. Talon takes a large gulp of beer before she turns on her TAP to call Rumor.
She eats her meal as Rumor answers. “Hey, so you get all squared away with Kanagawa? I assume it wasn't anything serious or delicate, right? Didn't feel like it when he called me. Don't worry about my fifteen, but really, how much was the job? You need something else? What can I do?”
"Yeah, Rumor. Deal seems fine, just a little weird. Actually more unusual than weird. But listen, I could use some help. I got some extra incentive for the job and it wasn't something I could just stick in my pocket, you know? I need you to arrange pickup of a package from Kanagawa's apartment."
Talon relays the contact number received from the simulacrum woman, "Have it delivered to yourself. And Rumor? You're welcome!"
Talon closes the communication and smiles. Rumor's bad back will shiver with excitement when he sits in the chair for the first time. That little piece of furniture should place her on top of the list for prime contracts in the future. At least she hopes so. She cocks her head in thought for a moment. Talon then proceeds to finish off her meal.
She finishes the meal and heads back out onto the street. It’s mid afternoon and the Seattle streets are busy. The sun is up there somewhere, she assumes, though cannot see it for all of the tall buildings around her. Not to mention the thick blanket of clouds that are always in the sky over head. She checks the Bounty Board to see if there are any new jobs available but there is nothing worth dealing with. She slinks toward the shadows of the edge of the building as she decides what she will do next. Her job for Kanagawa isn’t until tomorrow morning and she has plenty of time to kill.
Talon considers her next move. It's too early to go back to her place and she feels edgy and restless.
She walks down various streets until she finds an alley that opens on both ends into mostly deserted streets. Here she squats down on the pavement.
Talon opens the drone box and sets the drone in front of her and looks it over. Upon casual observation, she doesn't see anything unusual about the drone. She stands and directs it upwards and places it into automatic mode. It veers slightly and slowly descends, hovering behind and above her right shoulder. Noticing a large rat waddling down the alley, she commands the drone to target the rat and start recording.Talon zooms in on the rat as it rummages through the garbage in the alley. The rat stops for a moment and stares at Talon as if posing.
"Nice," she comments. The controls are easy and not too sensitive. Talon opens the main menu and selects Options. Nothing unusual here either. She swipes the menu closed and chooses System Settings.
At first nothing looks strange until she checks the camera settings. The camera was set to transmit video to Net addresses. Was this normal for these types of games. She shakes her head. She doesn't know. She leans against the building and thinks. Does this affect her? Does it affect how the game will end tomorrow? Does she even care?
And that last thought concerns her. Of course she cares if multiple video recordings are logged indicating where she lives. She cares enough to know that she will turn the drone off before she goes home. She does her best to limit the number of people who know where she lives.
She lands the drone, then places it back into the box. Maybe she doesn't even want to take the thing home with her. She continues to think as she walks out of the alley and back onto the side street. She thinks she is being paranoid, but being paranoid has kept her alive this long.
As she walks, she considers the details of this job. She is supposed to impersonate some sort of reporter or journalist at a data storage company. Strange. What do reporters look like? What do they wear. She is not sure she has any “reporter” clothes and will probably need to find some. She also wonders about where this will go down. ZRTech. Somewhere down near the airport. She wonders what the neighborhood is like so she looks it up. The building in the image she finds looks nice, lots of brick and glass. Looks clean but who knows if that’s accurate. Images show one main entrance, maintenance and emergency exits on the other three sides and a small loading dock from an alley in the back, opposite the front doors.
As she walks, she opens a viewing channel on her TAP. She swipes multiple times until she finds broadcast of the Seattle Daily News. The actual news doesn't interest her and the broadcast drones on. The reporters featured so far were men so she waits until a woman reporter started speaking. She uses this observation to formulate an idea of body language and most importantly appropriate clothing. She wrinkles her nose in disgust at the clothes. Talon has seen this style displayed in multiple stores but she certainly never shops there for herself. But jobs frequently have unusual, unorthodox or even freaky requirements but pay well and in the end it's just another job.
She checks for the nearest women's fine clothing store and heads in that direction. She enters the store, looks around for a few minutes while under the scrutiny of a suspicious store clerk. She picks out an expensive blouse, blazer and slacks. She tosses them to the startled young woman.
"Be a dear and tally this up for me," Talon says as nicely as she can muster. She smiles at the clerk but her sharp white teeth look menacing
She looks down as her boots and adds "Wait! Find a me pair of shoes. And sweetie, no heels." Talon gives the clerk the shoe size.
Once the transaction is completed, Talon moves quickly out of the store. For no perceptible reason the experience put her on edge.
Talon decides to take a cab to the building where tomorrow's job will take place. The ride is quick and the cabbie does not try to have a conversation with her. She steps out of the cab and looks up at the building.
Scoping the Target
It is just after 6pm when Talon arrives at the location. ZRTech looks just like it did in the pictures she had researched. The business appeared to be closed, though the lobby lights were on at a dim level and a young man can be seen sitting behind a receptionist's desk, probably the evening security. Traffic on the street and walkways around the building is brisk, not heavy but definitely present. No one pays any particular attention to Talon as she stands on an opposite street corner casing the building.
Talon stares at the building trying to decide the next step. The building looked nice and the lobby seems modern. The security guard looks settled in for the night and probably doesn't have reason to be attentive. She considers trying to get inside the lobby but that doesn't seem like a wise or even necessary step for tonight
Her stomach rumbles loudly and she realizes it's close to dinner time. Talon turns to walk away from the building and heads to one of her usual eating places. Her meal eaten, she decides to head back to her den and start fresh in the morning.
Talon makes her way carefully back to her place and makes the long climb up. She reaches the top just as the sun is setting out over the ocean to the west, casting long shadows over the Heights and the city beyond. She hits the sack and worries a bit because the wind is blowing hard and making quite a racket up here, but she manages to fall asleep easily and sleeps until morning.
Cast of Characters:
Casanna "Talon" Moretti: a tiger hybrid bounty hunter; played by Carol C
and Jason GURPS as the GM