adios to: Test
a sad goodbye for: 6 Cylinder
and introducing: Kitten Caboodle aka Kit and Keg
The next day, 6Cyl preps for his fight with a visit to Ahabitat, where Patty C asks if he really wants to do it at all. He has a bit of a crisis of intent, and realizes he’s just following Avocado’s desires, and Patty C offers to counsel him more later. Seeing Patty C with Otoko after their popcorn and trid binge also makes Aylin sad since she wasn’t around for Alyin’s teen years. Hotkey heads out to spend the day with his family, and Test announces that he is leaving the team. He says it’s time for him to focus full time on technomancer and e-life struggles, and is headed for Cairo, where there is a large TM community sheltered by the Coptic church who are working with Masaru on the new Library of Alexandria. He stops in at The Hangman on his way out of town to put GC in touch with Quantum Princess and get them talking about using the local NooseNet mesh as a potential Garmonbozia safehaven, and plans to continue this work during his travels. He signs off the team TacNet and goes on his way.
Avo, meanwhile, cruises around the Zone doing last minute promo for 6C’s fight, and stops at the Vault to double check all the prep there. He meets a Desolation Angel named Praxis who has a real hate on for bugs, and offers her (and the gangs) services should the team encounter any. Becky is absent, trying to round up some new recruits to replace the massive losses they suffered fighting the Ancients and shedim. Sid and Matt Wrath satisfy Avo’s questions about the prep for the evening though so he focuses on getting the green room “just so.” Carol hears from Candice Phillips at Ares about some new leads on the Taco Temple info he sold them, she seems to be gradually coming around to his usefulness. Hotkey takes his family out to Chicago’s Own Pizzaria, and spots some ghouls from Long Pig Farms delivering whole hogs out back. Using some sensors and TacNet programs he scopes out the ingredients and sees that they must be making good use of the onsite, well-protected greenhouse, given the amount of fresh components to their meal.
He also sees an adjacent table where the Monad gunslinger Twofer is eating with his retinue, including a local guide, another Monad named Kit, who seems to be a tech and medic, and has a cyberarm and some scrolling nanotats. HK does a tiny bit of recon for the team and buys the Monads a round, and also buys a dessert surprise for Test’s date here later, in case he still shows for that before leaving for Cairo. Avo also buys Test a fancy hour at a love hotel by O’Hare as a goodbye gift, and Carol pays back part of the massive loan he still owes to Test. HK and fam head back to their apartment, the location of which he’s decided to keep private for now. Meanwhile, eveyone else heads for the fight. They all get back into the green room as 6C’s entourage, and see that there is a large and rowdy crowd already in attendance.
The first fight is between 2 surly teens who remind 6C of himself, not too long ago, and who both seem a bit in awe of him. He tries to offer encouragement of a sort, in his usual bumbling way. The second fight is between a very unpleasant toxic ganger with an acid sprayer who says he “likes to makes them scream” and a new-in-town total fashion cyberpunk named Keg. He’s got a classic 2060’s trid quality getup, but seems to really know his gear. Carol and Avo are thrilled to meet him and he seems really confident in his abilities until he realizes his kit may get damaged by acid. The third fight is the big draw between Twofer and 6C, they spot Twofer and Kit tinkering on a weird Marstech gun that looks to be alterable in form and chip it’s ammo off of a feedblock. And the final bout is a deathmatch between a Rambler and a Demolisher- it’s apparently a tradition amongst some of the gangs here to settle certain disputes in the ring so they don’t turn into turf wars.
The first fight kicks off and the teen who looked more enamored by 6C fumbles the draw out of his new holster under his new coat, and his opponent teen draws her gun from an unholstered waistband carry and shoot his in the stomach. He falls to the mat crying and is hauled off by medics onhand from Tate’s clinic. The “winner” stumbles out of the ring in shock and pukes in a corner as Matt Wrath and Matt Rat commentate/chirp. 6C once again offers some words of his encouragement, but too quietly and far away for the teen to hear. Avocado wins some money.
The second fight begins, and the team watches in shock as Keg strips out of his nice duds, saying it will be easier to fix acid damage to his skin. He pulls out all the stops and speed draws, killing the toxic ganger in one amazing shot which also pierces their acid tank, and melts their corpse and part of the ring. Avo once again wins some money. Matt Wrath announces a brief recess while the ring is repaired, with Kit’s assistance. The third fight is called, and 6C and Twofer enter the ring to a lot of hype. Avocado places a massive bet, and everyone is shocked when Twofer outdraws 6C- but 6C easily dodges the shot and gets a solid hit in on Twofer in response, though it looks like Twofer is so cybered-up it seems to not do much damage. 6C only brought 6 bullets to the fight and he hopes it’s enough….
Twofer responds and blasts the gun out of 6C’s hand and the crowd goes wild, but 6C rolls and grabs it and knocks Twofer down, and the crowd goes wilder. Having gotten a little worried about his opponents skill, 6C has switched from trick shots to max damage, and it seems like Twofer is in the same boat- he unleashes a targeted burst and catches 6C right in the face. There is a shocked silence in the crowd as he falls to the mat, and Kit rushes in with a medkit. As he is declared dead and flatlines on the TacNet, the team notices his gun vanishes. Aylin seizes and almost dies as well from their bond, but instead waked up to Kit, Keg, and Carol hovering over her and is disturbed to find that she has lost her magical ability. She feels that breaking the bond with 6C broke their bargain with Tohu Wa Bohu, their mentor, and she won’t regain her magic until she abases herself before It. However, she plans to continue with their plan to sever their tie, and hopefully save whatever remains of 6C as well…
A CrashCart team rushes in, confirms 6C’s death, and takes his medalert bracelet. The crowd filters out, and Matt Wrath announces that the two gangers from the final deathmatch decided to settle it non-lethally, mano a mano outside. Twofer and entourage take off quietly, not wanting to gloat on a rough victory, but leaves a contact with a hint that he has good Evo ties. Kit sticks around to keep an eye on Aylin, and they all drink together. Everyone bleeds a little into a shot glass for Aylin, including Kit, who reveals they are a Monad., and HK, who moto’s down for the occasion (to some eyerolls from his wife). Keg also joins in, and offers his services, since he’s new in town, and obviously they need a new shooter. They agree and drunkely call Mrs. Clean to take a milk run job to test out these two potential new team-mates. They get the info for the meet the next morning and arrange to all meet there.
Keg and Kit head off together on Keg’s moto, and Kit gives an all-nighter tour of Zone hot spots to the new arrival. HK heads back to his fam, and the rest of the team heads to Ahabitat to break the news to Patty C, and figure out what to do with 6C’s remains. When they arrive, they find Patty waiting with celebratory brownies and have a pretty heart-breaking convo with her. They all eat the brownies together in grief, and share some alchemical moonshine Patty has brewed up. Otoko, as usual seemingly not super phased by death, summons Big Meat, and they all agree to bury 6C in the coral reef alongide the Merrow community’s dead. As 6C requested, they bury his Red Samurai blade with him so as not to get anyone in trouble for having it. He wanted his gun destroyed as well, but it seems magically absent so they’re not sure what to do.
The team travels down in an air bubble from a summoned spirit, and watches one of the Merrow shape coral in the reef growing out of the wrecked third hab area around 6C’s body, as Big Meat places him within and places his arms over the sword- a proper warrior’s burial. They all head back to the hab, have one final toast, and crash. Blearily rising for the meet the next morning, the crew head to what seems like a Yakuza bar to meet Maggie Goldberg. HK, less wrecked, has prepped a dossier on her for Avo to use a negotiating tool, but he’s off his game, feeling that he needs to break with his mentor and find a new guide since Raven was a big impetus towards him manipulating 6C to his death, as Avo sees it.
Maggie is semi-on the DL a fixer for MCT, seemingly a cutout for their shadow ops. She seems very friendly and upfront, and has a good rep, but HK thinks she is likely more loyal to her patron than her corp, if that ever proves useful. They arrange for a regular level of pay and are tasked with retrieving a prototype camera hacking soft projectile developed by 3D (their landlord at the Bolthole) and Byom, a Russian explosives expert. They figure this will be a cakewalk since they know 3D and Maggie seems open to paying for it, so they call him but it goes straight to voicemail, very unusual for him. They head to Hoodville and find his office trashed, but carefully covered so the damage isn’t obvious from outside. Using CSI skills they determine that the kidnappers are some mafioso types, and calling in one of their favors with Ryder, he ID’s them as MacCaskill mafia bruisers, and gives them an address they’re likely at- a safehouse adjacent to the Chicago Market.
They head over and do some quick recon. Two guards out front, 3 more inside, plus an interrogator, and the two captives. They send the drones in through a high window, who sneak attack with their narcoject. Aylin mists in and frees the captives. Byom takes one of the kidnappers ponytails as revenge, and Aylin figues “why not” and feeds on him a bit too, just topping off. Carol and Keg take out the guards out front with stick and shock, and the team quickly gets out of there with no casualties on either side, which Kit is thrilled about. Kit tries driving and almost crashes, but swears they’re usually good at it. Avo convinces 3D and Byom to sell the tech to MCT (though they seem to plan to leak it to the shadows as well) to get people off of their tail, and they agree. The team gets paid, and Maggie seems quite happy with their work, and says she’ll be in touch with more opportunities. Plus the 2 newbs worked out well, so that’s good.
Kit also tells the team about a “downtime” shadowcast that they do, and requests to interview them, to get more perspectives on the Chicago shadows. Avocado is the first to agree.