Saturday, February 12, 2011

We, The People [Session 4]

They had already seen the news broadcast. Twice over by the time they had left the train. It had only been two days since the hostilities at the dam, and already the news of their actions had spread across Arcan, probably through the entirity of Drex. All three of them, Darius, Clay and Zackery, had been accused of being terrorists, their actions having been distorted by TOWERs complete control of the media to turn them into the enemies. That supply train they had attacked and robbed to feed their dying town? Apparantly is was supplying the very towns they were, even though Clay had downloaded evidence proving otherwise. 

They were changed with theft of aid supplies, destruction of TOWER property, murder of TOWER employees, and worst of all, sabotage of the Ulysses Dam, resulting in the power-loss throughout Cain. They had explain all this, 24 hours ago, to Major Peterson back in Viradenne Drop; he had listened to their liberal telling of the truth, explaining how they had to shut off the dam to prevent the entire area flooding. He agreed with their need to keep this information quiet; the last thing they needed was panic. For now, it would be decided that the group would take the supplies they had acquired over the last few missions, and attempt to sell them in the city. 

They were just stepping off the train, over a day later, when they were confronted by Newarth. One of the largest cities on Arcan, and containing the largest space-port in Drex, the city was a site to behold; many miles of slums and social dwellings, suddenly arching upwards into huge TOWER-controlled factories, open and active 24/7, pumping out some of the finest goods Humanity could produce. Just beyond that came the TOWER HQ itself, together with the space-port; the skyscraper stretched high into the clouds, and even at this distance and this early in the morning, there were thousands of ships of every shape and size buzzing around it, like bee's around a hive. It was incredible.

The security checkpoint was heated; the news reports didn't mention that it knew who was behind the atrocity, but who knew what TOWER was capable of? Clay remained calm, casually strolling through as if nothing was unusual. Darius, a few steps behind, and a little more nervous, managed through without issue. Zackery, despite trying to fit in amongst the crowds, made a poor job of it; the guards noticed, frowned, and thought nothing more of it.

The team was confronted; the main market street infront of them was filled with people, despite it being morning, but was relatively low-class. The more money they made, the better Viradenne Drop would do, and the larger their cut would become. Clay, sensing that the already-warm day would only get warmer, set out to find a store immediately; the supplies he needed to be rid-of mostly consisted of water, an item it shouldnt be difficult for him to be rid of, even with his rather anti-social mannerisms. 

Darius and Zackery both took the second option; down a large street filled with pubs, clubs and bars of all varieties and types. Some had been open all night, some were only just opening for the morning rush, but everyone in the area seemed relatively well dressed, including the assorted bouncers and guards they saw, mostly Human. The two came across a pawn shop opposite the largest building they had seen so far, a club named Talisman, open all hours.

As soon as they entered the pawn shop, the subtle scent of decay was overwhelming, and the source was obvious; the Ghoul standing behind the counter was well into the stages of decay. It was already obvious that the Ghoul rarely got fresh customers, as he didn't even turn to look at those who had just entered, assuming they were his regulars. He half-grunted a hello. Darius felt the smell cling to the back of his throat; an Onatan, he was sickened at the thought of disease and uncleanliness, but he had goods he needed to sell. He looked around the store, and seeing little of interest (an disgusted by the smell) he left it at that, and went in search of Clay.

Zackery, meanwhile, already a Ghoul, thought nothing of the scent, and tried to get the other Ghouls attention. He was no idiot though; the Onatan didn't know that Zackery was a Ghoul, and things would go a lot smoother if he didn't figure it out. He waited patiently till Darius left, and approached the Ghoul storekeeper. "I'm interest in selling some items, good sir.."

The Ghoul simply hand-waved him away, with a grunt about being uninterested in buying desert scrap. A little more forcefully, Zackery repeated his proposal, this time adding; "And I thought us Ghouls were meant to stick together." This seemed to get the others attention; they shook hands, and he introduced himself as Dustin. "Listen Zack, I like's me Ghoul's, we need's to stick together here, right? You prove's to me you can sell five items to those fleshies out there, and I'll buy half your stock. Deal?" They shook hands and Zackery went to work.

Clay, meanwhile, had found himself a nice store near the higher-end of the market, next to a Sigurn; usually small and fleshly creatures, this one was encased in a hulking 7 foot Golem, not unusual for the technologically-advanced race. The Sigurn showed little attention to the Exohuman, as he went to work selling his water. Business was slow, but he made a few sales, and things seemed to be going well.

Darius had arrived now, and set up opposite Clay with his assorted goods; clothes, shoes, watches, and other trade goods, general items of interest to many. His sales pitches were well placed, and he attracted the attention of many who were just browsing, getting those sales thick and fast. Things were going well.

Zackery, now leaving Dustin's store, decided to try his hand in Talisman; it looked like a quality establishment, and the people going in and out seemed much better dressed than most there. He had no trouble with the bouncers, and after greasing the palm of the barman, an otherwise friendly Human, he went to work. Convincing the drunks on the lower levels to buy food wasn't a difficult task, and utilising assorted watches and bracelets, he managed to use the women on the arms of some of the well dressed men to convince everyone to indulge in his wares. It was going well, but Zackery needed more, and faster; he ascended the stairs, where the highest class of patron resigned.

As the clouds cleared from the sky, and the midday sun burnt hard and hot above them, Clay's business began to skyrocket. Water was flying from his stand at such a rate that Clay didn't notice the Sigurn approach behind him until the creatures shadow was upon him. "You're doing well friend," spoke the Sigurn, sophisticated and gentle beneath all that stone. He introduced himself as Garrett, who had been working here for some years, on and off. His food stand was popular, selling assorted foods for specific races, and doing well for himself. "Perhaps, those who eat need a drink, and those who drink want some food. Yes?" They would send each other patrons, and both would benefit. Clay offered his word and a shake of his hand as proof; as gentle as they are, no one would willingly betray a Sigurn.

Darius was having similar luck. Beside him, a Indrafil named Duranne had taken an interest in some of Darius' items, of a much higher quality than the usual tat sold in the market. The lofty and dazed looking Indrafil dealt with Darius, an equal trade of goods, to diversify both stalls and attract more customers for each of them. Duranne chose a few assorted goods, and offered a view of his stall for Darius; he immediately recognised the tint of the Unreal on some of the items. "I make them all myself!" Duranne beamed, probably unaware of the sorcerous taint on the items. Darius was fair, taking some of the magically-adept items, and some of the regular, before returning to his stall. He pushed aside two of the sorcerous bracelets, and left the necklace on the stall, just to see it's effect.

Zackery was finding his wears popular upstairs, after bribing the guards to let him through. He sold a bracelet to a merchant hoping to attract the attention of a pretty pole-dancer, and a watch to a large man surrounded by women of various species. All seemed to be going well, until a better-dressed bouncer grabbed him harshly on the shoulder. "The boss wants to talk." Zackery calmly nodded, and followed his way through the back door onto the third floor, the top of the building. Down a long and open corridor, filled with men and women enjoying assorted drinks and drugs, sat a Kai-ka-Thear. The insect was almost 7 foot tall, a huge and hulking creature that would give a Sigurn a run for it's money; it was covered in scars and burns, obvious signs of combat, and it's two scythe arms were folded low behind his carapace; he was missing of his front arms, his lone claws hand clasped tightly around a bubbling blue drink. He downed it in one, and glanced with insectile eyes at the Ghoul.

"You've got balls. Selling in my club. Off-wordler, right? Don't know the rules? You're lucky you're not selling crap gear; this is good stuff. TOWER stuff, right? Hah. If my guys downstairs hadn't spoken for you, you'd already be dead. So.. what have you got to say?"

Zackery thought fast, and spoke faster. He was calm, apologetic, and respectful at all times, and graced the Kai-ka-Thear crimeboss with some of his earnings, to smooth things over.

"I like you." The boss replied, introducing himself as Logant. "Most people don't have the right respect when they come into my town. My slums. Infact.. there are two there now. An Exohuman and an Onatan. Think they can set up shop and not pay their dues. Get the bastards to pay up for me, and maybe I won't rip your arms off and feed you to my patrons.." Zackery nodded, and left quickly.

Back at the store, and people had begun to close up shop. While Darius sold a few final items to people browsing, Clay caught up in a conversation with the Sigurn, Garrett. "It usually dies here late afternoon. Might get a big crowd come through, factory workers, early evening. I'll stay till then, sell the last of my stock for cheap; they need any help they can get, then go home. Besides, Logant doesn't like people blocking up the street and distracting his patrons." The Sigurn laughs nervously. "You got stock left? Listen, I got a guy, Granth, apparantly the last of his species. He buys bulk, better than taking it home, right?" Garrett jots down the address on a piece of card, and passes it to Clay. "You be careful, hear? You're a nice guy."

By the time Darius had finished packing, already with a hefty sum in his pocket, Clay had the time to explain about Granth, and his new concerns about someone called Logant. They had already decided to see this Granth by the time Zackery showed up. 

"You need to pay Logant. He's got too much power to piss-off!" Their argument was getting heated. Zackery had seen the sort of influence Logant held sway over, and had respected his power greatly; a tithe to appease the crime-lord, and they could be on their way. But Darius had flat out refused. "This money is for Viradenne Drop! I'm not paying some oversized bug! You go back to your new friend and you tell him he can fuck off. C'mon Clay, let's go to Granth."

With that, the group split. Zackery returned to Logant, who was enraged at the news of Granth's involvement; a rivalry between the two had grown over the last few months, and Logant was tired of it. "Go. Get the credits from those friends of yours, and make a damn example of Granth, that four-armed bastard!" With a Helos, a Dravn, two Humans and a Cendran in tow, Zackery nodded, and the group boarded a transport.

Meanwhile, Darius and Clay had found Granth; the Ship'n'Shuttle Autorepair store was relatively unspectacular, and although the two large steam constructs outside were imposing, the skinny four-armed Granth was now. He was talkative and friendly, but distant, until the name Garrett came up; his dispossession change, and the three retreated to Granths office to talk business. Talk was short, and before long, Granth had a wealth of new supplies, and Darius and Clay had a new supply of wealth, and a new contact for the future.

As they were leaving the office, though, things began to look a little more dangerous. Logant's team had held back, but Zackery was approaching with cocky enthusiasm. He ushered the others back inside, and warned that this guys weren't playing around. "Listen, I've got a plan.."

Zackery led out the other two, their arms held high in surrender. The Dravn and the Humans began moving in opposite directions, as if circling their new prey. The two constructs had begun to slowly advance from the building behind them. The Helos strolled forward with the unbridled rage that only a species of slaves can truly manage, while the Cendran began to speak into his helmet radio. They were 20 feet from the Helos when things really went down. And it started with Zackery..

..Sadly, not how anyone had expected. He span, drawing his pistol, and firing at Darius. Everything seemed to go to hell imediately after. Clay, always willing for a good fight, practically challenged the Helos to a dual, and the two began to brawl, sorcery and fists clashing between the two of them. Darius and Zackery were exchanging shots and blows, with the Humans firing into the combat wildly. The Cendran hung back, still on the radio, oddly calm. The Dravn, meanwhile, had found his target; his warhammer descended upon the sluggish Constructs, abominations in his eyes. 

Zackery lunged at Darius, pinning him to the floor, hands tight around his throat. Darius managed to hold on, to remain conscious, and kicked Zackery off from ontop of him, laying into him with his axe. With a struggle, Clay managed to finish off the Helos; first with a pair dragonheads, soaking the wolf-like creature in flames, and then ending the creatures life with his dagger. The Dravn had crushed the leg of the one Construct, and while it was incapacitated, the reptile turned to the other, and descended like a beast possessed.

That was when the Cendran strode into the fray. With the calm motions of a trained soldier, he pulled the pin from a smoke grenade, and rolled it into the centre of the combat, activating his visor in the process. As Clays dragonhead rose up for another shot, the grenade was caught in the intense sorcerous heat; the pressurised can, before it could go off, simply burst, as smoke filled the area, choking and suffocating all within. The Humans fired wildly, and even the Cendrans pinpoint shots were meaningless.

The radio on Darius' side burst into life. "On the way gentlemen!" The blast from the cutters engine blew the smoke towards the Humans, leaving them gasping for air. The back ramp opened, as Darius and Clay leapt from their prone positions, ignoring the smoke, and dived into the storage area of the space-faring craft. And like that, it was gone.

Granth, piloting the craft, was disappointed; at the loss of his building, the loss of his constructs, and the betrayal of Zackery. The flight back to Viradenne was long, and they had much time to talk..

Logant, meanwhile, was significantly calmer than expected. Granth had gone, and the supplies locked up within that building bolstered his hold on the city significantly. And with the loss of the Helos, it seemed a new position was opening in his group; Zackery accepted, finally making his way in life..

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