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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Funbox (Shadowrun 4th Edition)

    August 23 1936 – forty miles west of Luxor Egypt.
    It took four burly native men to latch the back of Bailey’s tattered old biplane to the tow truck. He rolled a cigarette between his broad bronzed fingers and watched as the dusty rig grunted and groaned to life, straining with the task of hauling the light aircraft off of the makeshift runway. Clear, level ground was hard to come by in the rocky desert and its task finished, Bailey’s plane was evicted from the field.

    Uninterested the American tried and failed several times to light his ciggy, but no luck. The cheap knockoff Zippo he bought in the suk was just as useless at lighting cigarettes as the expedition tow truck was at moving planes. Frustrated the young man tossed the crummy lighter over his shoulder and muttered darkly over his unlit cigarette.

    “Need a light?” said the aristocratic English voice form somewhere behind Bailey’s head. He spun casually on the spot to greet the voice. “Contaminating an excavation site with litter? I must say, I would have thought better from an archeologist as experienced as yourself Doctor Bailey. But one mustn’t expect too much from an American.”

    The Voices’ owner was a young man of unimpressive stature; Bailey had met him once before and yet that didn’t seem to keep him from starting at the man’s, well, peculiarities. Perhaps people who, whomever in Osiris’s name they may be, knew R.J. Cutter better could pinpoint what made him so very strange. His skin bore the marks of unmistakable sun damage with a dark tan and countless freckles, yet there were none of the telltale wrinkles.

    His eyes where blue, yet rather feminine bailey thought, he had an unusually thick black beard and eyebrows so the immediate impression upon the young American was one of robust masculinity.It was probably the way Cutter moved that unnerved Bailey so greatly; with a sensuous, predatory, feline grace. And that purposeful hungry stare from those finely shaped eyes.

    “Well don’t be shy! Go on have a light; there is a trick to working these chintzy lighters.” Cutter was still offering a light, right. Bailey gave himself a mental shake and held his cigarette in the lighter’s flame. “I must say Bailey, you are awfully distracted today.” Cutter fingered the lighter and took another pull on his own cigarette.

    Cutters eyes searched Bailey up and down. He felt like he was being x-rayed and didn’t care for it one bit. “Jus’ the sun,” Bailey muttered as Cutter fired up another cigarette. The man smokes like a chimney, Bailey though as he addressed the Englishman, “You, know I’ve been stateside for awhile, kinda forget what it’s like over here. “

    “Indeed.” Cutter answered in a faint enigmatic tone. Bailey ignored it and continued.

    “So what was so urgent that I had to travel halfway across the world to see?”

    “What? Hoffman never told you? That old man loves his secrets doesn’t he?” Cutter laughed, Bailey scowled. Professor Arty Hoffman was the greatest Para-archeologist of his generation; an infuriating old man who took perverse glee in wasting other people’s time.

    People who had more important things to do than go chasing fairy tales, people who worked for Arty’s old colleagues, who sent them across the globe, on a moment’s notice; poor harassed, haggard, henpecked people like Bailey. Well, just Bailey. For some reasons Arty always specially requested him.

    Cutter led Bailey through the cluttered dig sight. These large digs had all the energy and sound of a major city. Men in flowing striped robes striking at rocks with pickaxes, hauling debris from pits in enormous wicker baskets; laughing, singing, socializing and complaining as they toiled in the faded glory of peoples come and gone.

    These scenes always made Bailey a bit broody. As Cutter led him to the largest of the tents in the little village that had sprung up alongside the dig site he wondered if Cutter was the kind of man who pondered these things. “Kinda ironic ain’t it?”

    “What?” Cutter said as he navigated the raucous chaos of the dig with calculated ease. ”Didn’t catch that.”

    Bailey raised his voice to a near shout,” I said it’s kinda ironic. I mean all this life in a city that’s been dead four thousand years; all these men makein’ a livin’ off the bones of dead men. Jus’ kinda strange if ya think about it.”

    “Nothing strange about that,” Though he couldn’t see the man’s face Bailey swore he could hear the smile in Cutter’s voice, “under takers have been doing exactly that for eons. Mankind builds with death and the dead. As a civilization the dead are our bricks, death our mortar.” Before Bailey could offer a rebuttal to this rather grim view he was ushered into Hoffman’s tent; Cutter smiling broadly from behind his busy beard.

    While Cutter’s beard was magnificent, Hoffman’s beard was majestic. An immense cloud of fizzled white hair framing a face that seemed to consist of only a bulbous potato nose and a pair of round lensed spectacles. To Bailey Hoffman always resembled some hybrid of gnome and confused dandelion dressed in red suspenders and a pith helmet.

    The gnomey Hoffman stood behind a large broad table in the middle of the cluttered tent. “Bailey! There you are!” Hoffman shouted with his usual enthusiasm, crushing Bailey’s hand with a firm grasp.

    “I’m fine Sir, it looks like y’all are doin’ well. Excuse me Sir, yer crushin’ my hand.”

    Hoffman released Bailey’s hand and beamed. “Of course! Of course you’ll have to forgive my enthusiasm! But I knew the moment we found it that you would want to be here!”

    Cutter leaned against one of the tent’s supports, rolling another cigarette, “You might as well cut to the chase Hoffman, after the ride he’s had in that old crate of a plane of his I don’t think Bailey’s in much of a mood for suspense. Trust me Bailey you will be happy you’ve come.”

    “Alright! Let’s see it then Hoffman.”Bailey said with more annoyance that joy.

    Hoffman jovially ducked under the table and after a few minutes of noisily rummaging about appeared with a small parcel in hand. “I didn’t bother with a safe. I figured any thief would have looked there first so I just buried it in this mess. Much more effective, though I must admit I was nearly in danger of never finding it again!”Gingerly he lowered a small package, wrapped in time yellowed parchment, onto the table’s surface. With deceptively nimble wrinkled fingers, Hoffman unwrapped the parcel. It was no bigger than a cigarette box; its shiny silvery cover was engraved with Hellenistic symbols Bailey recognized from his studies.

    “Impossible.” Bailey breathed he lifted the object with quivering fingers, “Its, its. . .”

    “Pandora’s Box,” Cutter supplied from his space in the tent, Bailey meant to say beautiful. It was splendid but Pandora’s Box, please. Defiantly odd that this artifact would wind up in Egypt; it would require more study. Study that neither Bailey, nor Hoffman, nor anyone else would ever get to do.

    The workmen say that they heard noises from Hoffman’s tent the night that he and the American died. They claim that they heard the voice of the Englishmen and that of a woman and that in the morning two sets of prints led off into the sand.

    Seattle, May 2072 12:00 P.M. The Snake Alley Noodle Shop

    A lantern shone through the dark gloom of the warehouse. Its light the only comforting beacon in a dreary landscape otherwise lit by moonlight through filthy windows and by the soft illumination of the ancient Gothic tanks that filled the dank space. As the intrepid party approached details came into view.

    The grim objects; pitted black iron as ancient as Paris herself, rough blown glass panels large enough to conceal three horses and dark murky shapes floating within. “Nicolette?” said a soft timid voice, a member of the party; a tiny wisher in the overpowering dismal atmosphere. Crushed not only a moment by a loud Shush!

    There was stillness once more, silence interrupted by the breathing of a few good men and echo of their shod feet on the dirty strew bricks of the building’s ruined floor. Of all the men in the party only one knew the reality of the situation. The only one trained in the most noble of man’s endeavors –that being SCIENCE!! - realized what populated this place. Dr. Graham led the troop of men to the nearest glass and iron monolith, his face illuminated by the warm light of his electric lamp.

    “Yes, the fairies were correct in their assumption,” He muttered under his breath, “Doctor Frankenstein indeed, make note, purchase sugar cubes for Her Grace.” Carefully, with the calculated precision of an automaton, the Good Doctor tapped on the glass with a finely gloved hand. “As I suspected.”

    “What is it Monsieur?” Said the brave and brash Inspector Gavroche; his hand fastened firmly on the butt of the atomizer pistol in his belt holster.

    “My dear Inspector, these are Bavarian vivisection tanks, much similar to those used by the monks of St. Percy of Perpetual Sorrow in the south of this coun . . . French.” As he turned to face his small group of companions, expecting an eager audience, Dr. Graham was instead treated to the sounds of terrified shouts and fleeing footsteps. Unfazed the good Doctor turned his attention on the tank the raising of an eyebrow his only response to the horror that. . .

    Horatio loved the vids. Normally wire-fu movies were his specialties but given the chance it was hard to pass up the all day Doctor Graham marathons on the Fantasy Classic channel. Reaching his hand into an eighty pound bag of barbeque soy pork rinds Horatio was experiencing purest bliss. French Radio was the second movie in the Graham Series and as a rule the goriest, so that made it all the better.

    Just as the Good Doctor was about to deliver the finishing blow to his adversary, via an alchemy bomb, the message alert sounded on Horatio’s comm-link. James, Horatio’s mechanic, was finished with the twenty-thousand mile maintenance on Horatio’s bike. James also insisted that Horatio pick it up whenever he found it convenient.

    Along with his T.V and sofa Horatio’s bike was his prized possession and while James was a good mechanic he was also bit off his rocker. A man of few words who had married a former English pop star and opened an exotic auto repair shop downtown James was a man who meant business and treated Horatio well.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Funbox (Shadowrun 4th Edition)

    Horatio stared at his commlink pondering the message. There really wasn't much to ponder. In 'James Speak' the phrase 'whenever he found it convenient' meant 'If you don't get down here and get this thing out of my garage right now I might forget who it belongs to and sell it to a bum for a single nuyen.'

    It wasn't that James didn't like Horatio, or the bike: he just kept an efficient shop. It was his nature, just as it was in Horatio's nature to mostly sit on the couch and eat... well, whatever was around. The thought made Horatio check the bag in his hand.

    "BBQ Pork... things. The frak is-? Horatio ran the barcode scanner on his commlink over the ingredients list and immediately regretted it. He shook his head. "And I'm not even high... I mean, pork rinds. How did I even get these?"

    It was bad enough finding strange food in your house. Stranger still to not remember buying it. And then eat it mindlessly. Just to be safe Horatio checked is purchases in this account- and there it was: 2 to packs of pork rinds, on sale at the local Stuffer Shack- purchased at -9:00 07/05/72.

    "Two?! Ugh."

    Confused and more than a little upset, Horatio dumped the remaining pork rinds into the tiny garbage disposal, and the machine almost choked on the excessive dehydrated sodium polydextrose sulfate and heaven-knows-what-else created in a lab deep underground. By trolls, in all likelihood. The more Horatio thought about it the more he decided not to think about it.

    A quick check in the opti-cam mirror revealed what Horatio already knew: He looked like he'd been sitting around doing nothing in his basement apartment waiting for his bike to be fixed. That would not do. A quick turn in the sonic shower, a cold water shave and a clean set of clothes later Horatio was ready to go collect his bike. He almost made it to the door before he remembered that he would be riding his bike back, and would thus need his biking things. Muttering under his breath Horatio went and collected his helmet and jumpsuit.

    With one eye on the clock Horatio changed out of his clothes and into his layered jumpsuit. It was a fairly ordinary garment, eschewing the fashionable neon colors for standard issue black- complete with a chemical resistant under-seal and added ballistic protection: the Barrens dwellers liked to take pot shots as he sped past delivering noodles. And that train of thought led Horatio to add his pistol and gun slide, boot knife and shock gloves. It was better to not take chances.

    As Horatio stuffed his biking helmet in his shoulder bag along with the rest of his 'walking kit' he sent a text message to James: 'Don't sell the bike- I'm coming.' And with that Horatio headed out the door.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: Funbox (Shadowrun 4th Edition)

    How Mr. Lin, the balding obese man who founded snake Alley Noodles, came to choose this particular crowded barrens alleyway for his business was anybody’s guess. Most people’s guesses involved a large bucket of opium and several burly men with bats. Why else would any sane person found a premium restaurant in a smelly litter strewn alley?

    The stench of rotting trash and mildewed laundry mingled on the humid putrid Seattle air with the sweet tangy smells of Mr. Lin’s famous noodles. It was an overpowering aroma that dazzled and confused many of the alleyways first time visitors. But being immune Horatio pressed onward, nonplussed.

    Passed rows and rows of old apartments, cracked and pot marked city streets populated by a few neglected cars and hordes of people. This part of the barrens was one of the most active in the metropolis. People from the entire spectrum of Meta humanity mingled in the open spaces. Horatio walked on, past countless rundown grey and white buildings that were bland even when new.

    After a few miles of identical tight alleys and boulevards Horatio came to the edge of Little Morocco. An ethnic neighborhood fashioned after the great cities of the region this was a much more colorful than the development from which Horatio had just come. Crossing the street and passing beneath the entry arch felt like crossing a barrier back through time.

    Here the buildings were colorful. Earthy brown adobe and mosaic covered walls filled Horatio’s field of vision with dazzling colors. Just a few more blocks. Men in striped robes called to each other and packed the street making passage difficult. Here and there the crowd parted as small cars and trucks forced their way through. Veiled ladies sold goods from underneath awninged stands and small children ran to and fro bringing the cacophony to a tumultuous head.

    As Horatio stood in front of the open garage door of Milano Seattle, the small auto shop owned by James, the tepid aroma of spices and hashish was thick on the air. The few old men soliciting the café across the crowed street watched cautious eyes over their hummus as the young elf approached the open door of the shop.

    The interior of Milano Seattle had the unmistakable sent of cool concrete and grease. A few old Alfa Romeo race cars took up much of the floor space and a customer’s vintage Lamborghini sat waiting for attention. From a stereo somewhere in the shop’s interior Ella Fitzgerald crooned. James was a tall slender man who could be likened to the exact twin to Spike Spiegle from the old Twentieth Century anime.

    He wore a black t-shirt and had tucked an unlighted cigarette behind his ear; its lit twin hung from the corner of James’ mouth. “Bout’ time you showed up, almost sold that wreck of yours to the beggar in the alley.” He smirked and jerked a thumb to the highly polished black Suzuki sitting by the office door, awaiting it’s master.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Funbox (Shadowrun 4th Edition)

    "Yeah yeah. Heard it all before Jim."

    Horatio walked over to his bike, taking a moment to inspect the paint and finish. Then he slotted a cord from the motorcycles' 'brain' into his commlink. Horatio was never monied enough to buy a new motorcycle, but the used one had its advantages, namely cost. Although the vehicle didn't have a wireless ability, the addition of holster for a commlink solved the worst of the problems without much fuss.

    Horatio browsed through the vehicles' checklist, checking the oil, fuel, tire pressure and a few other odds and ends. James wasn't normally the cheating sort- he had enough money judging by the toys he kept- but double checking his work was as much a part of the ritual as the threat to sell the bike.

    "She looks good Jim. Thanks! And you didn't syphion off the gas. Color me impressed."

    Horatio took the long way around back to James' workbench so he could admire the new additions to the collection. Most of these beauties were antiques, obviously, and Horatio could make a decent guess as to makes and models. Eventually he ambled back to the workbench, and slotted his certified credstick into the receiver. Mr. Lin's mantra of 'Certified Credstick Only' was so ingrained in Horatio he started using them himself.

    "Here." Horatio said, paying the agreed upon amount and a percentage tip (it never hurt to keep the mechanic happy)"That one's new isn't it?" Horatio nodded toward the Lamborghini. "One of yours?"

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