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 Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21

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T_Hawk
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:38 pm

Puck whistled as he walked toward the fence surrounding the low complex of buildings where the audition would be held in a few days. He wore a blue-denim jacket rather than his usual sleeveless shirt, the white of his t-shirt beneath stood out in the chill Denver night. When he reached the fence itself, he vanished, only to reappear on the other side, as though he'd simply kept walking while the world misplaced him for a moment.
He wandered up to the building complex, keeping an eye out for guards and looking the place over.

Perception Roll:

Intuition 3 + Perception 2 = 5 = 3 hits

Assensing Roll:

Intuition 3 + Assensing 3 = 6 = 3 hits

As he made his way across the warehouse lot, he caught sight of a bright metahuman aura shining off towards the river. Smiling, he let himself fade from the material world, and watched the figure from the astral as it made its way towards the warehouse. “Another player setting up the board before the game begins, perhaps? Oh, this could be fun!

Assensing Ashley:

Intuition 3 + Assensing 3 = 6 = 3 hits

The girl in question was unusual to be sure, and awakened to boot. Whether she could see into the astral or not he didn't know, but she didn't seem to have noticed him, and he knew he must stand out at least as much as she did in the bleak astral terrain surrounding them. He moved closer to her, taking note of her SURGEd features.
The runner had snuck up to the warehouse, where she stopped before a door. Puck looked over at it. Non-living matter expressed only as a dark shadow of itself in astral space, so he had difficulty at first making out the knife and note. He couldn't see what was written there since the written words didn't have an astral signature, but he received a vague feeling of the emotions they imparted: a warning of some sort.
All of a sudden, the girl's aura flared with alarm, and she sprung backwards, away from the door. The unexpected move caused Puck to fly up and away, stopping a few dozen meters off the ground from where the runner had moved. Her blazed with tightly controlled fear, and she took off running away from the warehouse, pulling mana in to herself as she did so. The magic empowered her as she made her escape, leaping over the fence in a single bound.
Puck found himself torn. Follow the girl, or stay and investigate what it was that had frightened her so? He had to make the decision quickly. She had already made it into the river, and was swimming away at a good pace. “Not a choice at all, really. Why hang around dull building when much better game is afoot?” He set out after her, easily overtaking the fleeing woman, since he didn't have to put up with a cumbersome physical form. He stuck with her, observing her unseen as she made her sodden way down to the road. When she managed to find a taxi and climbed in, he took a seat right beside her. He debated playing with the car, perhaps causing it to blow a tire or break a hose, but restrained himself with a bit of effort. He'd rather speak to the girl without the needless distraction of the driver.
Finally, the taxi pulled up in front of a hotel, and the slightly-more-than-damp runner climbed out of the cab. When she turned around, there was Puck, arms crossed in front of him while he leaned against the wall of the doorway, grinning widely. He kept his yellow eyes on her as she came to the door, mischief shining behind them. “Was the water nice tonight, luv? One must be careful, taking a midnight swim. It can be dangerous, don't you know, especially when one goes swimming out by old warehouses.”
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:01 pm

The uninvited interest displayed by the driver was nothing new to Ashley, and she simply ignored it for the time being. Looking was fine, asking annoyed her but she could cope. Once it got to the whispered comments and determined glares, that's when it was time to leave. Fortunately, her money was good, and the man got her to an address three blocks from where she was staying without problem.

On the way she examined what had happened in greater detail. At the time her mind had been too wracked by adrenaline to consider the situation, but once in the safety of the taxi, she could reflect. One thing stood out: the silence. There had been nothing loud to disturb the animals in the area, or she would have heard it. What did that mean? Something magical? Why waste such potential in the simple application of making the area unnerving? Ashley couldn't make heads or tails of it, and she still hadn't by the time the taxi pulled to a stop, letting her get out and send the sleepy driver back on his way.

Immediately after abandoning the stale air inside the cab for the crisp Denver air, a voice called out from the dark. Ashley decided she had done enough running for one night, and spun to face the source of the taunting voice. During the movement a metal clasp unlatched, allowing the comforting weight of her pistol to slide down her arm, guided by the swinging movement. By the time she settled into an offensive stance, her Colt Government 2066 resting reassuringly in her grip and pointed at the man addressing her.

"Escape wasn't so clean as I thought, what do you want?" Her ears swiveled to face the man, and she stared at him unblinking, something about his eyes highly disturbing to her, urging her to run. "I got your note and left, why chase me down?" Fight or flight, fight or flight. Her legs tightened and she sunk into her stance, able to bolt at any minute if she should need to. "Give me one reason I shouldn't shoot you right now."
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:29 pm

Puck looked down the length of the gun pointed at him, and his expression shifted to one of sullen disappointment, his smile pulling down into a frown and his brow creasing. “Such suspicion is highly unbecoming for a young lady.” He sighs dramatically, rolling his eyes up towards the heavens and gesturing out with one hand. “How poor are the manners in this benighted age..!” He steps off the wall and tucks his arms behind him. His grin reappearing, he leans in towards Ashley. “But where are my own? Thrice a question was asked, so thrice an answer I shall give: A bit of your kind self's time is why, this humble Puck did on you spy. And if it is a reason not to do me harm you seek, I ask why you should when I wish only that we speak.” He smiled widely up at Ashley, his eyes closed to mere slits by the width of the expression.
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:55 pm

"Suspicion is what's kept me alive," Ashley spat with a grimace. She briefly wondered what she had gotten into, but at least her accoster's intentions weren't violent... for now. Her gun arm lowered, dropping from its threatening posture to a more reserved spot by her side. It wasn't her preferred shooting position, but at least it wouldn't attract the attention of anyone else out this late at night. "Fine, let's 'speak'. Why'd you follow me from the warehouse? If you wanted to meet with me early you could have just said something instead of..." It occurred to her that she wasn't entirely sure what had happened aside from what she'd heard, so she let the sentence trail off. "Well... is this part of the audition?" Ashley demanded hotly, but inside she felt uncomfortable with the idea of her acceptance for the job depending on her talking abilities, and it showed as her heart beat in her long ears. Still, she forced herself to relax, standing up and walking calmly away from the street at a ninety degree angle to the man. She didn't risk getting any closer to him... something in his demeanor still triggered an inner uneasiness.
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:25 pm

Puck's disturbingly wide smile was replaced by his more accustomed grin. “Audition, you say? Then you've answered a question of my own already.” He closes his eyes and shakes his head. Opening them again he looked back up at Ashley. “I wondered who you were, and you've already told me in part. Another runner applying for Suileor's team, I see. Well, that's more fine with me.” He raises his hands up and clasps them behind his head, and there was now a wicked twist to his expression. “If so, I'm one of the worthy competition, I suppose. It would seem we were both about the same task; a little cheating on a test has never been a bad thing, to my mind. And nor is it to you, to judge by tonight.” He walks over toward a nearby fire-hydrant and jumps up to perch on it bent-legged. “But you're still being rude, you know. I've tendered my name; you should tender your own.”
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:55 pm

All this worrying for another 'runner? Ashley sighed deeply with frustration, and dropped the gun all the way to her side. As he had put it, she wasn't in the clear just yet, the man still had cause to kill her, even if just to make it easier for himself tomorrow night at the audition. "I don't consider it cheating, the message said nothing about when not to show up, just so long as we made it on time." She took a half-step back when he leapt onto the fire-hydrant, but nodded with grudging admiration at his demonstration of balance. "Name?" She snorted and shook her head, her still soggy hair slowing the gesture. "What's in a name... I could tell you anything and you'd nod and call me by it. So here's one, call me 'Tricks'." The man's insistence on getting to know his competition annoyed Ashley, and for all his speak of manners, his efforts at pretending friendliness came off as a pathetic attempt to gleam what she had managed to learn from the job site. Opting not to let him get to that point, she decided to take the initiative. "So what of your own efforts then? Have you managed to learn anything about the classroom or our proctors, Puck?"


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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:22 pm

Puck laughed at Tricks' words. "Oh ho! Too true, too true. Our good proctor never forbade us our curiosity, did he?" His laugh trailed off in to a chuckle. "You've a sharp mind for a mortal, you do. Quite refreshing." His grin compressed, hiding his teeth and he looked at her with half-lidded eyes. "As for our classroom, I'm afraid I was a little distracted by your good self. Your little foray was far more entertaining to watch than some boring old bricks." He reaches up and tugs at the small gold earring in his left ear, but his expression remained the same.
He looked over her aura. The uninitiated rarely knew to how to hide their feelings beyond the physical, and he saw the guardedness and natural suspicion playing through her. Of course, the fact that her weapon was still out could have told him that much, but he enjoyed the thrill of watching what she did not know was being watched. "'Tricks', was it? A fitting name, if a bit gauche." His eyes danced with mischief again, though he left it alone. "Tell me, my dear, what was it that frightened you so earlier?"


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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:45 pm

'Mortal'? The word bounced around in her head and earned Puck a questioning look, her brow furrowing at the implications. But she kept her mouth shut. That only lasted until the inevitable question, at which Ashley scowled and shook her head, eyes closed from annoyance. "Quid plo crow- er... squid grow..." she frowned, eyes squinting as though looking for something far away. "Well, tit for tat, Puck. I'll tell you if you can offer something in return." She shrugged, raising both hands away from her. The weight of the gun provided a reminder of its presence, and she thought for a moment before replacing the weapon in its slot on her arm. If the man tried to pull something funny on her now, let him think she was unarmed. "Otherwise you can do your own homework... unless you're going to bully me into letting you copy my notes?" A hint of a smile appeared on her face for the first time, and most surprising of all, it was only partially forced.
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:13 pm

"Bully? Moi? Dear lady, you wound me. I'm cut to the quick." Puck's expression was practically a mummer's mask of shocked dismay, and he actually grasped at his chest as though wounded. Of course, the display was gone nearly as quickly as it had come, his habitual expression of wry amusement subsuming it. "Quid pro quo, tit for tat, and 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours'?" He drawled the last in a horrible mockery of an East Coast accent. "How forward! And to think, we just met." He jumps down from his perch on the hydrant and swaggered over to Tricks, one corner of his grin ticking up and down as it tried to spread even further across his face. He stopped barely a pace away from the girl. He wasn't used to being able to look down into someone's eyes, at least not when the someone in question wasn't a dwarf or similar.
"Let me see..." His smile finally spreads, the imp no longer being able to keep it back. He rocks back and forth on his heels before going on, "Before our souls we do lay bare, and our darkest secrets we both do share, perhaps a pact by we two should be made, 'lest in the end the piper not be paid."
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:28 pm

"I see no pipe," Ashley immediately frowned and blinked disapprovingly, unsure of why she had even said that. Quickly moving on to cover for her faux pas, she attempted to mirror Puck's wounded look from before. "Now who doth cut who?" The old English came a small bit of mockery, though she kept up here offended facade. "You think I'm just going to listen to what you have to say and then run off? Well..." she cocked her head, smirking slightly as she dropped the tone. "I'm flattered you think I can evade you considering you've so skillfully demonstrated your stalking capabilities." A wry grin accompanied the taunt, and she shrugged, scooting back a half foot while subconsciously straightening her legs to stand several inches higher. "Fine, if you need a... 'pact'... then I promise I'll share with you what I learned if you'll return the favor with something concerning the job that might help me. If you need anything more official than that, you'll have to get a signed consent form." She resisted the urge to cross her arms in front of her, leaving them hanging loosely by her sides.
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:42 pm

Puck's expression turned to shock as Tricks jumped back so far, but it was quickly replaced by one of miffed disdain, as he turned one shoulder and gave her a sidelong glance over it. He stayed that way as he listened to her offer, though lips twitched a bit when she made own play on words. When she had finished, he turned his back on her... and vanished. Barely a tick later, his voice sounded from behind her. "It seems there's no true trust on your part, but the Puck has no stone for a heart." His wicked grin was on his face again when she turned about. "I'll tell you this for free then, dear. Our good proctors name and a friend he had near." He disappeared again, to be replaced by a handsome elf with gold-flecked eyes. When he spoke an Irish brogue colored his words. "Aye, Suileor's the lad's name. He holds no man should be without friends, and his game we play, to meet that end." Again that blink as he faded into the air, and again he appeared in a new form. The voice that sounded this time was mechanical and cold. "Mr. Fixit, a pawn or a king? He speaks like this, a cold, dead thing. Errands for our Irish friend he runs, and when we've arrived, no doubt they'll be done."
Puck disappeared a final time, this time returning in his true form. "Not the info you expected perhaps, but more than a fair offering, I think. Now, sweet lady, what offer you? Can you meet me between, and true?"
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:07 pm

The theatrical presentation left Ashley gritting her teeth as she struggled to wrap her head around the information. And the sudden display of magical abilities did not help that at all, as she realized the man... thing... could likely outgun her without even being armed. Still she struggled to focus and digest Puck's words. From the sounds of it, he had met with their employer already, and he really did need a team. She just wasn't sure if the thing in front of her meant 'game' literally or metaphorically. And what to make of this mention of the guy with the voice synthesizer. It seemed to confirm his mention of providing supplies, though the name implied a more mechanical nature to his work. Perhaps the 'combat' she was to prepare herself for involved fighting drones rather than other people.

Finally Ashley nodded, satisfied with the conclusions she'd drawn. Ironically, the information Puck had provided was much more valuable than the meager tip she had for him, but then curiosity has always been a very strong motivating factor. "Very well, I'll offer you this... At the warehouse- er, no. At the site nothing seemed amiss. Security looked decidedly lacking..." she smiled broadly as the next line came to her. "Until a machine gun I heard clacking. A note for early 'runners Suileor did leave, saying anyone there ahead of time must leave. No wait, I said 'leave' twice. Well... too bad. You get the idea," she frowned dismissively, feeling defensive about her inability to rhyme. "The warehouse definitely isn't being actively used anymore, probably abandoned and Suileor is just 'repurposing' it for his little test. There's some sort of security system or at least a guard inside with some serious weaponry. The weird thing that I still don't get is that the entire lot went silent after I heard the gun being readied. It was almost unnatural. You..." she squinted her eyes at Puck, a sudden realization hitting her as she put the pieces together. "You wouldn't happen to have had anything to do with that now, would you?"
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:18 pm

"I? No, I fear not." Puck pondered at the information. He'd been distracted watching Tricks. In the astral, physical sounds didn't carry, but those made by feeling creatures often left an emotional impact that could be felt by nearby presences such as spirits or astrally perceiving magicians. He wondered if he could have missed something... it wasn't out of the question, but would have been unusual to say the least. Even the smallest magics left a clear mark in astral space, and what she described could be accomplished with a fairly simple spell. It certainly sounded arcane in nature, but why hadn't he felt anything? Surely he hadn't been that distracted.
"A hush fell upon the scene, you say? Can you describe it more?" Puck's cocky demeanor had fallen to one of pensiveness, his lips pursed as he stroked his chin with two long, thin fingers.
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:33 pm

"Well, sure, I guess." She reached over with her right hand to rub the fur on her left arm. It had a calming affect, and right about now she could certainly use it. "I mean, it was silence... how much is there to say? But... it was spooky, like all the normal night-time sounds cut out. Normally there are birds making noises or crickets chirping, background stuff you tune out. But when it stops, you really notice its absence. Well, as soon as I heard the gun, well, I bolted. But I also heard all the noises stop. It was like nature was aware that there was about to be violence, and it was holding its breath." She shivered slightly, the soft fur on her arm standing on end. The idea may have been coached in poetic terms (dang Puck and his dramatic nonsense rubbing off on her), but it was a creepy thought nonetheless. "It faded away- or rather, the sounds faded back in- once I was on the other side of the river and hailing the cab." She looked perplexed and raised her shoulders a bit, her ears drooping lower as she did so. "I don't know what to make of it."
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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:47 pm

"Curiouser and curiouser. My thanks, dear Tricks." The imp appeared lost in thought for several minutes, pondering the night's revelations. Looking up from his musings, he seems almost surprised to see the girl still standing there. Assuming a non-chalant pose, he asks her, "A chance I took, and a winning throw it turned out to be. You've bartered well, and faithfully." His expression was inscrutable as he continued on. "Another offer I would make, to see if another chance, you would take.'
"Tomorrow's test we're both to take, against all comers, early and late. Who knows what trials we shall see? A fight for sure there's to be, and likely not one solved with prose. So this to you, I propose: You watch out for me, and I'll watch out for you. I'll swear it thrice, so it be thrice true."


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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:07 am

The only reason Ashley remained waiting for the man/thing while he considered her intel was in case he cared to shed any light on what he thought it might mean. Sadly, though not unexpectedly, he did not, and Ashley felt a bit dumb standing there waiting for him. His rhyming words elicited a sigh and her gaze fell to the ground so she could concentrate, determined to discern the meaning behind the unusual presentation. When he got to the part about watching out for one another, she suddenly looked up at him with questioning eyes, surprise evident in her expression. "Really?" she asked cautiously, glancing around to make sure this weren't some sort of prank or trick. "Well, I don't know how much good that'll do... I doubt we even have the same audition time. Mine's at eleven. But... I guess it couldn't hurt. Seems like you're probably applying for the magical muscle, while my abilities are a bit more this-world. Well... some of them," she clarified, realizing Puck could probably tell she was Awakened. "So we're not trying out for the same role." She pondered it a bit more, her head bobbing back and forth as she chewed on the inside of her cheek idly. "Okay, sure. I'll... swear it thrice too. I mean- 'thrice also'." Even if they couldn't directly help each other during the audition, the opportunity to get Puck on her side instead of a neutral force or possible threat appealed to her. He felt like someone whose bad side she did not want to be on. Of course, allying with him would mean spending more time with him, and Ashley had to fight off a grimace at that realization. Hopefully it would be worth it. "I don't know about you but-" she gasped suddenly, interrupted mid-sentence.


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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:25 am

As Tricks voiced her agreement, a slight prickle would wash over her. Like a static shock without the pain, running all across her skin. In the distraction caused by the sensation, Puck faded from view. Looking about, he was nowhere to be found, only the empty nighttime street. Bewildered, by the events, Tricks was taken off guard when she heard Puck's voice. Only the words came without sound, simply making themselves known to her. "An offer made, an offer accepted. I'm a friend as good as my name, you now I shall call the same." His voice was as clear as though he were right next to her, but still she couldn't see him. "I've more business to be done. And so, I ought take flight, to see it finished before morning light. And if to you this all should seem, naught but fiction and a dream, you have but to call my name, and if I'm near to your side I'll come post haste, as though behind me Ol' Scratch chased. Go now, to your bed fly. I'll see you again, by and by."


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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:41 am

If it weren't for her excellent balance, Ashley might have tripped and taken a tumble at the moment she jumped back in surprise from the unexpected sensation. At first she suspected some spell had been cast upon her, but when she looked up she saw that she was alone. And then came the voice. Great, now he's in my head. Then she froze, wondering if he could hear her thoughts. With this level of magical trickery, nothing was certain. Forcing her thoughts to stay as neutral as possible, Ashley nodded hesitantly, unable to resist the temptation to search in vain for the man she had been speaking with -and still was, apparently- just seconds ago. "Right... okay then. And... let me know if I can... can do anything. Goodnight." She waited a few seconds, trying not to consider the possibility that he might take her up on that offer by simply showing up next to her without warning. Then she nodded once and began walking towards her hotel. She felt stupid addressing the night air, but took solace in the fact that either he was there and could hear her, or he wasn't and no one saw her speaking to herself. The thought rang particularly hollow; she was far too unnerved to be comforted by technicalities. One overwhelming feeling coursed through her, and it remained with her while she walked, as she took a long, hot shower, and up until the point when she finally collapsed on the hotel bed: What had she gotten herself into?


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PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:45 am

Skuld made her way through Snohomish early on Monday. Sleipnir, her heavily modified Hotspur, seemed to be in a good mood this morning, his engine purring under the hood as the miles to their destination rolled by under his tires. Coyote had instructed her to meet him at a small airstrip, near to Pain Field Airport. The place was privately owned, and rented out hangar space and the use of its runway primarily to private lines and amateur enthusiasts... and the occasional smuggler such as Coyote.
Coyote had explained that the good thing about the strip was actually its proximity to Pain Field itself. The airspace was always crowded there, and air traffic control had its hands full each day managing the comings and goings of various craft. He could file his paperwork and travel route through the private field, who submitted it to federal commission at Pain. Customs searches were rarely done on more than paper, and a few bribes had ensured that he always knew when they would receive the more personal touch of a particularly gung-ho agent. Thus, he was able to circumvent the hassle of having various law enforcement agencies asking him why he was showing up on their radar without a properly filed flight plan, while still being able to carry on with his less than legal business.
It seemed like a gamble to Skuld, but she'd already wired the up-front, and figured she might as well see if it would pan out. She was reassured when the gate guard waved her through without even a cursory search, once she had told him she was meeting Coyote. The wind in her hair, she drove across the tarmac to the hangar number the Navajo had given her, pulling up inside its dark expanse.
Opening Sleipnir's door with one hand, Skuld stepped out onto the tarmac, her neck craning back as she gazed up at the huge machine in front of her. An old C-130. One of the largest transport planes built in the 20th Century, the behemoth was impressive, despite the many signs of age apparent in its dull, scratched skin, patch jobs covering it like a rash. Walking along its great length, she paused under one of the great propeller engines slung under a wing. Stepping up onto a maintenance ladder, she looked in at the engine workings behind the prop. Exhaust carbon had discolored the pain around the vents, but she could find no spots of rust on the steel interior, nor did she see any signs of leaking lubricants. Reassured, she hopped down from the ladder, pausing to wipe grease off her hands when she let go of its metal rails.
“Satisfied?” She turned around to see Coyote standing there, grinning. “I know what she looks, but she runs as well today as when she did straight off the factory floor.” He pauses, then adds, “Well, except for the occasional odd noise when we're flying. Old machines, you know?” Skull nodded, a little amused and a little concerned.
“If you'll go ahead and bring your car around to the back, we'll load her up for you.” Skuld smiled, and over by the entrance to the hangar Sleipnir's engine revved up in a start. The car pulled out, no one at its wheel and maneuvered around the warehouse to the lowered ramp at the rear of the C-130. It pulled up onto the ramp and then up into the plane, scattering two men at work in the cargo hold as it did so. Coyote huffed a breath out. “You've got a flair for the dramatic, don'tcha?”
Beklager,” Skuld replied, grinning from ear to ear.

The flight out from Seattle wasn't eventful, and the Pacific had spread out underneath the plane in all directions, its dark blue waters seeming to rise up to meet the sky on the horizon. When asked why he wasn't taking the more direct route across the Rocky Mountains, Coyote had simply said that it was “too obvious.” They would take a more roundabout way, flying out over the ocean, then turning about to come back towards the mainland over Cali Free, steering well clear of Tir Tairngire.
The flight would take the rest of the day and into tomorrow, and Skuld found herself chafing at the wait. The old plane was flying well (if you ignored the various creaks, groans, and odd noises that Coyote had mentioned), and making good time. But she didn't have a sat link-up to allow for connection to the matrix, and Skuld found herself for the first time since the Crash without a sense of the digital ether around her. It was as though she had grown accustomed to a soft noise that had been with her always, as old and comforting as the beating of her own heart, and now found its absence profoundly unsettling.
To say it made her feel odd was putting it mildly. For the duration of the flight she was twitchy, nervous, and snappish, which made life for crew of the plane unpleasant as well. Halfway through the flight over the ocean, she retreated to where her car was stowed in the cargo hold. Activating Sleipnir and her other drones with a thought, she soothed her frayed nerves by listening to her pets. It wasn't a substitute for the rush of the matrix, but it worked well enough. She busied herself fussing over the drones, making certain their ammo was topped off, searching for any obvious mechanical faults, and doing some general maintenance until they neared the coast of California, and she could once again feel the lines of digital code transmitting through the air.
Reclining in Sleipnir's seat, she closed her eyes and dove gleefully back into the neon sea of the Matrix.

They set down in Pueblo territory, about 20 klicks outside Denver proper. Coyote and the crew unloaded their cargo, including Skuld and her toys. A semi-truck and trailer were parked off on one side of the small, dust covered runway, and the men busied themselves loading it up as they pulled the cargo off the plane. Skuld leaned against Sleipnir's door and watched them as they worked. A dry kicked the dust up off the runway, causing her to cough. The temperature was much cooler than it had been in Seattle. If it hadn't been so dry here, it almost would have reminded her of home. She rubbed her bare arms, resolving to buy some clothes better suited to the environment when she got into town.
After working for close to an hour, Coyote eventually walked up to Skuld, hands stuck into his jacket pockets. “We're about ready to go. Follow along behind us and we'll lead you along a back-road into the city. We'll be crossing over into the NAN side, where we're going to offload our stuff. I'll point out a side-street you can take to get over to the UCAS side without going through a check-point when we get into town.” Skuld nodded and got into her car. A few moments later Coyote had climbed up into the big rig with his crew and they headed out.
A little less than half an hour later they were rolling through the edges of Denver, rolling through the low-built buildings along its edges. Most of them were small brick and concrete edifices, erected in a sever and plain fashion that spoke of a preoccupation with function over form.
Skuld was relieved to note that they hadn't run into any obvious authority-types; obviously, Coyote knew his stuff well.
She continued to follow the trailer, always traveling over small two-lane roads with little traffic. Skuld was surprised to see the big rig's passenger-side door open and Coyote lean out. With one arm, he pointed emphatically to his right. Skuld beeped her horn at him, once, and he smiled and waved before climbing back up into the cab and shutting the door behind him. Flicking on her turn signal, Skuld pulled down the little side-stree the Navajo man had indicated to her, passing into the UCAS section of the city.
Once on the right side of the border, she headed over the hotel she'd booked online. She'd decided to opt for one of the more expensive ones, in order to have access to a private parking garage to keep Sleipnir in safely until the meeting. Pulling up to the Denver Renaissance's gate, she keyed in the security code that the hotel had given her for her stay, and drove in.
At the hotel's front door, a valet met her. Getting out of the Hostspur she warned the valet, “Be careful with him. I would not take him off automatic control.” The teenager in the red jacket smiled at her in that condescending-behind-the-politeness manner of most attendants. “Don't worry, ma'am. I won't get a scratch on him.” Walking around the car, idly trailing her fingers along its smooth finish Skuld cast him a sidelong glance. “It's not him I'm concerned about. He doesn't like it when someone other than I drives him. Forstå?” She walked through the hotel's doors, leaving the valet behind with Sleipnir.
The young man climbed into the vehicle, muttering to himself about “fraggin' rich slots.” The very first thing he did was reach for the switch to shift the car to manual control. Before his fingers could touch it though, the Hotspur's engine roared and the valet was pressed back into the seat by acceleration as the car burned rubber on the hotel's drive-way.
Having not fastened himself in with the seat-belt, the valet was thrown into the door repeatedly as Sleipnir made several high speed turns around the hotel's corner and into the parking garage. The car was speeding along at close to 70 kph despite the narrow confines of the lanes in the garage, and the valet was clinging, white-knuckled, to the console and door-handle as the car took each turn down into 3rd sublevel of the complex at breakneck speed. He reached twice more for the manual override, but each time he did so the car would swerve hard, throwing him around its interior and nearly side-swiping a line of parked cars.
Sleipnir hit the floor of the last sub-level and increased its speed still further, barreling down towards the end of the road. The poor valet's eyes went wide with terror as the wall at the end of the garage rushed forward to meet them, and a strangled scream tried to tear its way out of his fear constricted throat. A mere ten meters or so from the wall, Sleipnir turned hard to the right, its wheels screaming as it was spun around in a half-circle. Rear-end first now, the car screeched to a halt between a black SUV and a hot-red corvette. Inside, the valet was near to hysteria as he clawed at the door release, tumbling out of the Hotspur to land in a heap on the oil-stained floor of the garage. The scream that hadn't been able to come out while he was pressed back into the leather seat of the car now erupted from his lips as he ran full-tilt back down the garage.
Sleipnir, that was bad.” Skuld sent the thought to her car electronically, having watched the hole thing through Sleipnir's internal camera. Smiling wickedly, she eased the sting of the words (and put the lie to them) by adding, “But very funny.

Up in the suite she'd rented for her stay, Skuld lay on the clean sheets of her room's bed, boots kicked off and left where they'd fallen on the floor. She didn't notice the soft sheets around her though, as she was literally gone. The matrix was her playground, and she was mixing pleasure with business. She was looking for info; the last time she'd gone into a meet unprepared, she'd suffered an ambush. So this time, she'd be sure to know at least a little about what she was walking into.

Hunting down data on the Address: (previous and current owners, activities it's been used for, city and state records on it, etc)

Prior Threading Test:
Resonance 5 + Software 3 + Hot Sim 2 = 8 = 6 hits

Data Search Test :

Data search 3 + Browse 3 + Hot Sim 2 + Threading 6 = 14 = 5 hits

Test to Resist Fading: 6S DV

Willpower 5 + Resonance 5 = 10 = 3 hits

6S – 3 hits = 3S damage to Skuld.

The strain on running a high end form was draining her, causing her to fade. She could feel her mind slowing with fatigue, making each action in the matrix more difficult than it should be. Still, she wanted this done before the night was over, so she pressed on. Got the site, now for the individual in question.

Hunting down info on Suileor: (First running a generic search on the name through Lone Star, Knight Errant, and then Interpol public databases, then moving on to more general sites such as personal networks.)

Data Search 3 + Browse 3 + Hot Sim 3 + Threading 6 – 1 wound = 13 = 4 hits

Resisting the Fade: 6S DV

Willpower 5 + Resonance 5 – 1 wounded = 9 = 2 hits


6S – 2 hits = 4S

Skuld let the search end, and her avatar faded from the matrix, returning her consciousness to her meat. The drain of the search had left her with a throbbing head-ache and dizzy. Not bothering to open her eyes, she let herself relax into slumber, to sleep away the fatigue with the night.

Recovering from Fading: 6S to heal.

Damage Recovery Roll 1st Hour:

Willpower 5 + Body 3 = 8 = 2 hits, *glitch*

2nd Hour: Consumed by glitch

3rd Hour:

Willpower 5 + Body 3 – 1 wounded = 7 = 3 hits

4th Hour:

Willpower 5 + Body 3 = 8 = 3 hits

Skuld woke up with the sun shining in her eyes. Checking the clock on the bed, she noted it was only a little more than half-past ten. Sighing, she connected to the hotels LAN and ordered a continental breakfast. She was only mildly disappointed when the meal arrived and the continent in question turned out to be North America and not Europe as she had hoped. Crepes were a favorite of hers. Still, she dug in heartily enough, enjoying the rush of energy the rich food provided.
So buoyed, she walked out the hotel doors to catch a tram to the interior of the city. Normally she would have taken Sleipnir, but she thought it best to let her mount stay where he was. She didn't know the city, and getting stopped for going up the wrong way on a one-way street was the last thing she wanted. The tram was tedious but it accomplished the job of getting her to a nearby shopping center, where she spent the day looking over warmer wear than she had brought with her. She went from shop to shop, indulging herself with that favorite past time of the fairer sex, and eventually boarded the hotel tram again in the early afternoon, wearing a sleek, black leather coat.
When she got back to her room, she again lay down on the bed. She didn't know what form this audition would take, but was determined to go ready for anything. To that end, she slid back into the matrix, though this time she wasn't after data.

Compile Sprite: Fault Sprite, rating 5.

Resonance 5 + Compiling 3 = 8 = 2 hits

Sprites Opposed Roll:

Rating 5 = 5 = 3 hits

Resisting Fading: 3 hits x 2 = 6S

Willpower 5 + Resonance 5 = 10 = 5 hits.

Skuld takes 1S damage.

2nd Attempt: Fault Sprite, Rating 5

Resonance 5 + Compiling 3 = 8 = 1 hit

Opposed Roll:

R5 = 5 = 2 hits

Resisting Fading: 2 hits x 2 = 4S

Willpower 5 + Resonance = 10 = 4 hits
Skuld takes no damage.

Skuld gritted her teeth, the physical act mimed in by her digital self. Compiling sprites had always been a task at which she was only middling at best. Despite time spent learning more about the act and nature of the beings she was trying to create, accomplishing the deed still remained difficult. She could feel the exertion of the it at work on her, but was determined to persevere.

3rd Attempt: Fault Sprite, R5

Resonance 5 + Compile 3 = 8 = 3 hits

Opposed Roll:

Rating 5 = 5 = 1 hit

Success.

Resisting Fade: 1 hit x 2 = 2S

Willpower 5 + Resonance 5 = 10 = 4 hits

Skuld takes no damage.

Streams of shining alphanumerics spread out from her hands, the lines of code twisting and entwining, merging to take a definite shape before her. A large squirrel, its fur gray and whiskers quivering, looked up at her, it's eyes shining with the green illumination of a computer screen. Skuld smiled. “Ratatosk,” she named it. It would perform any two tasks it was asked so long as it was within its power. Smiling, she stroked the sprites head and scratched it behind its ear. She then made a shooing gesture, sending it off into the matrix, where it would wait for her command.
Tired but satisfied she returned to the physical world. Looking at the clock, she noted that it was nearly 4 PM. Climbing up into the bed, she lay herself on the soft sheets and dozed off.

Recovery roll: 1st Hour

Willpower 5 + Body 3 = 8 = 3 hits

She awoke later that night, and rolled out of bed. The meeting wasn't for another couple of hours, and she busied herself getting ready. Odds were, it was going to be a long night.
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Ghostmaker
Corprate CEO
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Number of posts : 3114
Age : 41
Location : Westchester New York
Registration date : 2009-05-13

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Character Name: ix Sama
Race: Elf
Sex: Male

PostSubject: Recruiting runners for a team   Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:40 pm

Digit was surprised to have received the mail from Suileor, but he was happy he got it. The only problem was his experience. However he did not plan on letting that stop him from getting a good team behind him. He decided he would audition for the team, and quickly composed a massage for Suileor.

Massage Begins:
To: Suileor
I think I got what yer looking for chummer. I like Remote toys if you get my drift and I hack a lil but keep that between us. Well if you want me to audition you know how to reach me Very Happy
Digit
Massage Ends

He then sent the short massage and stuffed a candy bar in his mouth. Wow he thought this is the op of a life time. Real runners on real runs! None of that testing stuff ivy had him doing all the time. What with her making him meditate during time he could be using working on his favored toy project. She did not approve of the drone she said it drew him away from his study’s her ninja hacker study’s. She always had him practicing but this time it would be different hell he thought I might even get to show off my new toy. Then he went back to screwing with the inside of the drone he was currently working on.Digits sheet
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Paradox
Runner
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Number of posts : 198
Age : 43
Location : PST
Registration date : 2009-12-25

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Character Name: Blake
Race: Human
Sex: Male

PostSubject: Schedule   Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:29 pm

(OOC: Man, I have a lot to write tonight! I'll have everything written up for you when you wake up in the morning!)
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T_Hawk
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Number of posts : 666
Age : 37
Registration date : 2009-02-19

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Character Name: Shadow
Race: Human
Sex: Male

PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:56 pm

The Greyhound bus pulled into the station, its breaks hissing as it rolled to a halt. Its doors swung open, and a mass of people disembarked. The all shuffled through the station, making their way out and to their various destinations. Some were tourists, some students returning from break, and others were working class folk who lacked another means of transport to make their commute. The last to step off the bus didn't belong to any of these groups. He was clad in a long black coat, shirt and pants, and wore a matching wide-brimmed hat. A pair of dark glasses perched on the bridge of his nose despite the time of night, and beneath them he sported several days growth of beard. An old worn backpack was slung over his right shoulder, and he walked with his other hand in his pocket, eyes down as he made his way out into the cold Denver night.
On the lenses of his glasses a window opened up, activated with a silent command. His fingers played out in front of him as he keyed in a message and sent if off to its destination.

To: LTG-CALFREE-#14512-LB-642
From: mifune2070-999@jackpoint

I saw your audition notice. I'll drop by this evening. Name's Shadow.

Closing the interface, he started walking up Brighton boulevard, his pace steady and seemingly unconcerned. He had no ride, but wasn't overly concerned. Folks had gotten by just fine before cars came around. He could get by just fine without one now. As the miles to the meeting place slipped by under the soles of his boots, Shadow found himself humming softly, unconsciously giving voice to the song running through his head. Old and bluesy, it suited his mood.
Overhead, the light of stars shown down on the walking figure.
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Vanya's Devil
Mr. Johnson
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Number of posts : 661
Age : 31
Registration date : 2010-03-24

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Character Name: Radek
Race: Human
Sex: Male

PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:32 pm

Suileor gets a message on his commlink.

>>This message comes from he who is designated "Pete". Role is one of software intrusion and subversion.
>>To your "audition" I respond. Please designate )$%kj*04% where we're gonna meet. I'll be there.
>>P.D.

In a warehouse across the city, a sleeping metal shell houses a furious debate.
>>You idiots shoulda let me do the talking!
>>You're methods of communication are suboptimal. Also frequently antagonistic.
>>Cram it, fragger! The way you talk, you sound like one of those electronic translators!
>>You are being antagonistic.
>>SILENCE! THERE WILL BE SILENCE OR I WILL EX-TER-MI-NATE YOU ALL!
>>Shut up!
>>Please be silent.
The shell is silent, the violence of its disagreements unheard.

(OOC: Sorry this took me so long! I've never built a hacker character before. It's all up now.)
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Neurok_Shinobi



Number of posts : 15
Age : 29
Registration date : 2010-03-24

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Character Name: Nerin
Race: Troll
Sex: Male

PostSubject: Re: Recruiting runners for a team - reply by 4/21   Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:31 pm

Nerin yawned loudly as he stretched out, running a hand through his messy, dirty-blonde hair. The last job he had done had done went quite well, and paid even better, but that was several weeks ago. Since then, the troll had been going out to the outskirts of the town, into the woods. He had recently taken a liking to them, taking his bow with, with which he was quite skilled with, though he rarely actually hunted. During one of those ventures, he had recieved a call from an old freind, Dalgon had word of a job for him. As he sat up in his bed, he noticed his comm was blinking, the Dwarf had sent him the message while he was asleep. He reached over, accessing it.

He read over it, yawning again. The Johnson seemed to know what he was doing, people wouldn't get needlessly injured. He started punching in his response to LTG-CALFREE-#14512-LB-642.

My apologies for the delay Mr. Suileor, I just received the information from my contact this morning. If you are still in need of service, allow me to be of assistance. I am quite skilled in the art of unarmed combat, and less likely to kill the opposition, which it seems you would appreciate. I am rather skilled with my tongue, and the bow as well. Given the chance, I will have little problem proving my capabilities for the audition, should you see fit to include me. Again, if you are still looking, I look forward to working for you.

Nerin~


He sent the message, and set the comm back down, moving into the kitchen. He grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, and bowl of soy with ramen flavouring, eating his meal as he waited for a response.
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Paradox
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Number of posts : 198
Age : 43
Location : PST
Registration date : 2009-12-25

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Character Name: Blake
Race: Human
Sex: Male

PostSubject: The Audition (Fighters) is Live   Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:16 pm

(OOC: Hi all. T_Hawk has graciously set up forums for The Audition. The Audition (Fighters) is ready to go. Tricks, Shadow and Neron can begin posting. The location is

Fighters: http://shadowrunonline.forumotion.com/t-hawks-games-f18/the-audition-fighters-t365.htm

Hackers: http://shadowrunonline.forumotion.com/t-hawks-games-f18/the-audition-hackers-t367.htm

Magicians: http://shadowrunonline.forumotion.com/t-hawks-games-f18/the-audition-magicians-t366.htm

Riggers: http://shadowrunonline.forumotion.com/t-hawks-games-f18/the-audition-riggers-t364.htm

OOC: http://shadowrunonline.forumotion.com/t-hawks-games-f18/the-audition-ooc-t368.htm

I'll keep introducing the other auditions as fast as I can type and for as long as I can stay awake!!!)
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