[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe (Crew: Oakland)   Posted by Mr. Johnson.Group: 0
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 104 posts
Sun 16 Feb 2020
at 21:52
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
It's been a cool autumn, with frequent stiff winds coming in off the Pacific, bringing rain and thin sleet.

Out in Oakland the city is alive with Christmas energy as the local communities and small businesses have weathered the storm of Imperial Army reprisals and come together in a spirit of togetherness.  The October 25 Alliance has found their voice and the Imperial Army doesn't want to deal with the bad press that the articulate and organized resistance movement can generate.  Conversely, some splinter cells associated with the Metahuman People's Army have been implicated in subversive and terrorist activity including an attempted bombing on the BART.  A number of recent executions have put a damper on the festive atmosphere in parts of the Orkland neighborhood in Alameda.

The pseudo-academic set in Berkeley are winding down for a well earned Christmas break.  Crowd sourced courses this 'semester' are coming to an end at The People's University.  The curriculum doesn't have a rigidly structured schedule, but it's pretty common for most programs of study to wind down this time of year.  A very active nightlife is in full swing as free time and a festive vibe combine for many Christmas themed party nights.  Dwarftown is the place to go for a laid back time, great holiday deals and live music (if you can handle the narrow, low tunnels).

Across the bay, the vibe in San Fransisco and the 'burbs of Walnut Creek, Orinida, Concord and Diablo Valley is decidedly more staid.  The wage slaves of the Japanacorps have embraced a corporate Christmas-lite flavor and archologies, megamalls and apartment complexes are festooned with tasteless plastic decorations and glittering tinsel in all colors of the rainbow.  Despite the trappings of the season, there is no discernible change to the routine corporate culture and security remains as tight as ever.  The closest thing to Christmas spirit may be the reopening of the BART, under strict supervision of the CalFreeState Rapid Transit Commission and Nobanaga Security Services.

Elves get a bit lighter treatment, but even they don't venture very deeply into the Downtown Human Cultural Zone without business to conduct.  Dwarves, Orks and Trolls are almost never seen inside the Imperial-Army controlled zones and only the faux red light district at Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown have any significant metahuman presence.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 105 posts
Sun 16 Feb 2020
at 21:52
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
@Grendel you are here...
 player, 37 posts
Mon 17 Feb 2020
at 01:42
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
Grendel rolled into Oakland mid-afternoon, coming off of what had pretty much been a straight shot south down the five. Traffic had become a concern well over an hour prior, and the throaty roar of the modified Gopher was reduced to a frustrated series of growls as the troll had his first real taste of driving in Bayplex traffic.

Drifting amid an ocean of primary colored compacts, automated tractor trailers and the occasional glossy black luxury vehicle, Grendel's old rattle-canned brown truck, with its lift kit and knobby tires stood out from the crowd. He could feel the stares as a steady stream of frustrated commuters either tail-gated him or cut him off on their way to wherever they were going.

He had kind of hoped to find a good spot to pull off in order to take in the view of the city, but it was all just a congested snarl that led ever deeper into a valleys and canyons of concrete and glass. In the end he was happy just to be off the freeway, and stopped in the parking lot of what looked like an impossibly huge shopping center. The bargain bin kind with an attached residential district that was designed to benefit from the plethora of restaurant options and contracted security.

There he found a space and hid his new sawed-off a lock box in the cab (an ingenious addition that was originally designed to accommodate Warhawks signature pistol, although the sawed-off fit snugly).  Then, he took a walk in the mall, just to get a feel for the city and to let his thoughts run while he stretched his legs. He needed a place to sleep, to park, and he needed work. He hoped most of this could be solved with a call to this Pearlman guy, after all he had some Cred to work with.

He just sort of, ah, needed to be pointed in the right direction. He needed a local guide of sorts, to make sure that he did not do anything too stupid while he found his feet.

This message was last edited by the player at 05:59, Mon 17 Feb 2020.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 112 posts
Wed 19 Feb 2020
at 02:49
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
You find yourself in a rambling old mall that would have been common the edge of the urban core a quarter century ago.  The sprawl has long since absorbed the outlying districts that used to provide a buffer between dense city centre, commercial zones and suburban homes.  Where the edge of the Oakland and Berkeley sprawls meet before coming to a sudden halt against the gates of the suburban bastion of Orinida, The Ridge is a testament to the tenacity of mass consumerism.

Alive with activity, The Ridge has seen better days.  The parking is lot strewn with all manner of urban detritus, from discarded fast food containers to abandoned minivans, although newer vehicles and a disproportionate number of motorcycles are parked throughout the disorder.  They are the signs of a working, if imperfect community.  Inside the mall itself, the pattern continues.  Garbage carelessly tossed aside and grime streaked windows greet, but do not dissuade, the mall's patrons.  As Grendel passes through the doors, he is accosted by a cracked advertising screen showing the distorted image of a perfect spokesmodel, imploring Rich Davidson to visit the local House of Raoul discount fashion outlet.

In spite of outward appearances, the mall has a surprising amount of foot traffic.  All manner of metahumanity wander the corridors and through shops peddling counterfeit fashions, computer electronics, cosmetics, car parts, water purification, mainstream vices and children's toys.  In the food court a few dozen teenagers have assembled around major fast food chains and open air grills where a cacophony of different genres of music overlap.  There is even a small coffin hotel advertising 35 personal sleep units.  Not the most comfortable place to stay, but there are certainly worse places to crash.

As Grendel wanders, he finds himself in front of a storefront that may be exactly what he is looking for: “Lapierre – Pawn, Guns, Gold, Gems”

Wander into Lapierre's?  Pass it by?
 player, 40 posts
Wed 19 Feb 2020
at 03:47
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
Grendel had been in cities before, he was not that sheltered, the Clan had traveled up and down California at least twice a year. He was not surprised by the trash, or the decay, or the crowds. But this was the first real time that he was facing it solo, and the first time that he did not have a solid plan. It helped him to see it all more like somebody that called the place home, and it sobered him.

Make no mistake, his families junk show RV was no better than these little urban holes, and at least they (probably) had power, and plumbing, and insulation. The Clans food and water were better, but always inconsistent, where as these folks could walk a few dozen feet to any number of options. No, it was something else that bothered him, something he was still trying to put his finger on.

He made a mental note of the hotel, although he doubted they had a Troll sized option, it was probably better than sleeping on the street, but then, he saw Lapierre's.

It took him a moment before he did a double take. Could it be the same Lapierre that Big Mike had worked with all those years ago? What were the odds? Part of him wondered if Big Mike, back when he was just "Mike" and the Clan was just getting its feet had wandered along the same route once upon a time, had seen the same pawn shop, and decided to make something of it.

A shiver ran through the big Troll, and he got that feeling, the same one that reminded him of their Shaman.

He had the time, and hell, he actually had some Cred. He ducked inside to take a look, and to see if the guy manning the counter was the same Halfer that had mentored their Chief.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 114 posts
Fri 21 Feb 2020
at 01:00
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
The 'guy' at the counter is a twentysomething ork with curly auburn hair in a sweater dress who flashes you a disarming smile as you walk in.  “Feel free to look around,” she says politely, turning back to her PocSec, scrolling through something displayed on her screen with hands marked with henna dyed patterns.

The shop is clean and well organized.  Like the sign says, there are general pawn goods, mostly gently used electronics.  A sturdy gun lock up holds a modest array of rifles, shotguns and pistols while an alarmed jeweller's case holds a variety of gold bangles, semi-precious stones, necklaces and watches.
 player, 41 posts
Fri 21 Feb 2020
at 17:45
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
Grendel waved back with a smile as he nearly toppled a shelf filled with first gen trid displays. He caught himself, fixed them, then browsed about the shop for a few minutes before he approached the counter.

"Hey, kind of an odd question. Is Lapierre a Dwarf by chance? And if he is, is he still involved with the business?" Grendel asked as the jewelry case gave a little creak in protest as it absorbed some of the weight of him leaning against it.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 18:19, Mon 24 Feb 2020.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 121 posts
Sun 23 Feb 2020
at 21:50
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
“Lapp is in and out.  You know him or something like that?  He spends most of his time in the tunnels down in East Bay.  You know.  Dwarves.” she adds with a shrug.  “You seem familiar, like, were you my hydroponics class at People's last semester maybe?” she adds a bit flirtatiously.
 player, 42 posts
Mon 24 Feb 2020
at 18:24
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
Grendel broke out into a slightly shy and toothy smile as he seemed to catch the tone of her question. He paused and seemed to think for just a moment before he answered. "Kind of a mutual friend thing, a guy we both know...Big Mike? from years ago" he doubted she would have known him. Grendel had just been a kid at the time after all.

"But no, I don't think so. I just got into town, like, just now." he admitted with a jerk of his head towards the parking lot. "I was actually kind of lookin' for a good place to grab a bite. Anything you would recommend around here?" he asked in a way that made it obvious that he would like her to join him if she was able to get away.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 129 posts
Thu 27 Feb 2020
at 04:49
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
@Grendel - She shrugs unknowingly at Big Mike's name.  As you suspected, she is too young to have been working for Lapierre when Mike did his trial.

“Wouldn't eat anything in here she replies sticking out her tongue and laughing while making a 'barf' face.  “That foodcourt is all reconstituted soy kibble and devil rat.  We grow a lot of our own fresh food and raise some game birds, rabbits and the like down in Orktown.  I live in a community run tenement down that way.  If you're looking for a flop, there is a room.  Not as cheap as those coffins in the mall, but a lot of us barter labor tending gardens and animal pens to offset the rent.  It's a good place to live, on the BART line and we don't get too much trouble with the Imperials... ”

@Acme - You've followed no particular path to Berkeley.  For the past month you've been trading conjuring instruction for a place to stay in the crumbling Martinez Commons building.  The building's outer shell remains largely intact but the interior has been modified and chopped up so much that the original floor plan has been lost to the warren created by plastic panels, old furniture and packing materials salvaged from the Oakland port authority's solid waste facility.  All things considered, a small single room apartment and a shared washroom is much better than the streets, even if no one would dare to cook in the building for fear of starting an uncontrollable fire.  You get by on heat in the can meals and take out.

In the several months since you left Shasta, you've heard nothing from Ilena.  Her guidance had been blessedly general when you met her in the medicine circle at the apprentices' lodge: “There are whispers that the turbulence in the Bay Area causes our Lady concern, go there, be her eyes and ears.”  In your heart of hearts, you can't help but feel that even this broad direction is too constraining for Coyote.

Despite your role as teacher, you find that you have learned much here.  The aura here is strong.  A product of almost 200 years of academic pursuit and freedom of thought, the area around Berkeley attracts spirits of the teacher aspect.  In fact, you have recently summoned one to aid you in instructing your final class of this semester, bringing forth this being to aid you in teaching promising young magicians how to summon watchers.  Formed from the pages of a thousand old books, vaguely human but only about half your size, wearing what looks like a tweed jacket with patches at the elbows and smelling faintly of pipe smoke it hovers before you as your final student files out of the stone circle you have constructed in front of the Commons...
 player, 43 posts
Thu 27 Feb 2020
at 17:58
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
Grendel chuckled. "I'm not sure I could fit in those things anyway" he replied, referring to the nearby hotel. He seemed earnestly surprised that the locals were managing any sort of farming in the middle of the BayPlex and he smiled. "No drek?" his demeanor relaxed a little, less openly flirtatious, more conspiratorial. Maybe he had more in common with these people than he has assumed?

"I've picked a lot of crops, mostly with the big Agg ops, but I've learned up a few tricks. What time are you off?" He asked, and followed up with asking if she needed a ride. It would be easy enough to kill most of the day in a place this big, and it would give him time to hash things out with this Pearlman guy.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:58, Thu 27 Feb 2020.

 player, 48 posts
 Coyote Shaman
 Avowed Pain In The Ass
Sun 1 Mar 2020
at 06:36
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
Acme yawned a bit with a smile on his face.  The teaching had been taking a bit more drain on him, mostly because he was actually summoning more and more complex spirits for demonstration.  It was of course a guideline; he had students of many traditions learning from him rather than just shamans, and for that he was actually happy to be able to reach them.  For now however, he would readjust, see if the People's University would need him for the next term, and keep an eye on things in the area.  The Alliance and other resistance groups in the Oakland/Berkeley area were good resources to talk to, gather where they were and what they could share about the corps.

But right now, he wanted some tea.  "Can I offer you anything, Professor?" he asked the spirit.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 134 posts
Sun 1 Mar 2020
at 16:46
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
@Grendel: “Uggg, I'm on until this evening.” she says with a growl.  “The other guy just quit and, like I said, Lapp spends most of his time down in Halferville.  The sign out front should say 'Jenny's'... but here, I'll get you my LTG number... call me OK?  I'll show you that place in Orktown?” flipping her PocSec back open, she pairs with yours and blip you've got her number.  Assuming you allow her device to connect to yours you gain a contact.

When you open your PocSec, you quickly note the local buzz about the Christmas carnival keeps popping up on Shadowlands.  Planning for the security jobs at several Apogee sponsored live shows and matrix live simcast seems to be well underway.  The lead security contract has gone to rough and ready private military contractor, Global Executive Interventions.  Not taking any chances, given GEI's recent difficulties in the Southeast Asian warzone, the studio is working with the October 25 Alliance. Shadow buzz is there is legit security work out there.  Should be a nice easy payday so long as you don't mind the prospect of working with a bunch of trigger happy mercs.

You also have a message waiting:

:: LTG# 206 (52-4058) :: {Pearlman}
Gren? Warhawk vouched for you... said you were reliable... I'm sorry to see him go but hope you can step-up to take his place... if you're interested in some security work for these concert jobs that looking for local talent.  Matchsticks. Tonight. 8pm – P’
>>>This message includes a pin drop to Matchsticks (a bar in downtown Oakland)

You've been in town for two days and you've barely had six hours of sleep.  As soon as the suborb hit the tarmac at Oakland Intentional, the team has been running full-tilt.  Planning for the security jobs at several Apogee sponsored shows has been a full time job.  With only a half-company at her disposal, Malvalda is tapped out for soldiers and with your experience, you're acting as her second in command.  Not taking any chances, the studio's lead event planner, a low level executive named Zavier Devlin, whom Malvada has nicknamed Bossman, has recently solicited help from the local metahuman equal rights group.  With connections in the local community, the October 25 Alliance, have put the word out and are hiring local 'runners.  The prospect of working with unknown freelancers is less than appealing, but, under the circumstances, GEI can't be too picky.  At least it's October 25 and not the unpredictable and potentially violent Metahuman Peoples' Army.

On your PocSec this morning as you rouse from a few hours sleep in the coffin hotel where GEI has you all holed up:

:: LTG# 670 (34-1211) :: {Malvada}
Hey, it's Mal.  Bossman is meeting with some of the hired help at one of the venues tonight.  I'll send you a pin.  Can you take this one?  I'm tied up with the fiasco that Scherwinski caused over at The Parish.
>>>This message includes a pin drop to Matchsticks (a bar in downtown Oakland)
>>>This message includes a meeting request that is automatically loaded to your schedule for 2000hrs tonight.

:: LTG# 709 (88-9973) :: {Spriggan}
gave your number to this guy i know named pearlman cause he said he got some work yu might be interested in security work for those concerts everyone is talking about think you can get me in for free (jk) kiss kiss

:: LTG# 206 (52-4058) :: {Unknown} – save as new contact y/n(?)
Got your number from Spriggan.  Pretty lady but she talks too damn much...  maybe we can do some biz?  If you're interested in some security work for these local concert jobs, be at Matchsticks tonight 8pm and feel free to bring your wiz partner along – Pearlman
>>>This message includes a pin drop to Matchsticks (a bar in downtown Oakland)

@Acme: Your sense of equality never fails to surprise me song-singer comes the spirit's voice in your mind What do I want?  Well, as you ask, let me take a moment to teach.  It is my nature after all. it adds with a paternal chuckle My plane is closely aligned with yours.  I exist, in this form anyway, only because this place exists as you see it now.  I've come to enjoy the way I am.  I fear the way things are going across the bay.  Among my kind we feel the ripples of man's activity.  We are spirits of your essence after all. A reflection of you.  Imagine,two whole races of beings so intrinsically linked, so completely tied to one another, so deeply ingrained and yet so many on both sides of the relationship completely ignorant.  All I ask of you, is that if a reckoning comes, remember those of us on the other side who are caught in it too.

You also have a message waiting on your PocSec:

:: LTG# 804 (72-9021) :: {Hellfire}
Got biz.  You looking?  Tonight at 8.
>>>This message includes a pin drop to Matchsticks (a bar in downtown Oakland)

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:47, Sun 01 Mar 2020.

 player, 44 posts
Sun 1 Mar 2020
at 17:21
[December 2059] Mayhem and Mistletoe
At around 1830 Grendel had decided conclusively that it had been the longest day of his life.

Sitting in his truck (which he still thought of as Warhawks truck) just down the street from Matchsticks he replayed the events of the day over and over again in his head. He had even killed the music as it had started to mess with his concentration.

What am I doing out here? was the question that kept coming back around as he stared out at the endless traffic that crept by and the stream of people on the sidewalks

Hopefully getting paid was the sensible answer. He needed NuYen. Eco-philosophy and and self sufficiency was good, but he was about to have rent to pay, grocery bills, things he would have had to tackle years ago if he had been living anywhere developed.

Playing soldier... was another distressingly common answer that he gave himself. He had no training, no resume, no certifications. He could barely find his way around the city for hestaby's sake. He was about to be working with legit Shadow runners, professional Mercs and the like, at a venue in the BayPlex so crowded that his heart rate picked up just thinking about the crowds.

But you're modded out, your got some ware on board... he answered back. Yeah, borrowed at his family's expense. He had not even earned it.

And you did hunt down and kill a Peryton bare handed.... Yeah, don't mention that. Seriously. They'll think your fraggin weird.

The big troll blew out a long breath and let his head fall back against the seat rest with a thud.

Warhawk vouched for you... he almost said it aloud. That was true. That guy had been here, done this, and he felt that Grendel could do it too. He was back there with the Clan, his family somewhere up north probably talking about how it had all went at the bus station. They were rooting for him, counting on him. Expecting him to come back back with his own cool stories, and money, skills, contacts. It was time to start giving back.

He glanced at the dim green display, 1941, time to go.

He reached down and grabbed the sawed off, checked the chambers again and then climbed his way out of the truck. He needed a damn holster or something, but for now he slung it under his jacket over one shoulder on a piece of knotted webbing. It was janky for sure and it was still obvious he was armed, but it kept it politely out of sight at least.

It was embarrassing to be meeting a bunch of Mercs like this, but less embarrassing than showing up unarmed, hopefully.

He made his way towards Matchsticks, and then around back towards what he hoped was the "employee" entrance.