Shade, BlackJack, Rickets, and Rickets’ sister sit around a booth at the Waffle King. Just below the sign is a flickering 24/365. Gaining no comfort from the fact that the metal detecter they discovered they just walked through didn’t go off even though they are packing heat. The dive is packed and they had to wait a few minutes to get in and everyone recognizes that three of the four of them don’t belong. They feel eyes penetrating them from all sides for a few moments and then slowly everyone goes back to their own business once the group has been seated and orders food. The kitchen and the cashier station is behind bullet proof glass. The serving staff isn’t in full combat gear, but is in enough armor to protect them without getting in the way of serving their customers.
Jennifer seems to have slipped back into her shock and silent starring but does manage to devour her meal while the group eats, talks, and goes over plans. Towards the end of the meal Ricket’s sister looses it and Shade and he help her back out to the car while BlackJack flirts with the cashier and pays the bill.
Back in the van the group heads off to make sure the gang boss Dimetri is okay. It is a bit errie for Rickets to be both in the back of the van comforting his sister and driving the van at the same time, but everyone eventually gets used to it. They pull up in front of the apartment complex that is also Dimetri’s home. The gang having taken over the building and the boss having the run of the penthouse floor. They even make some cash renting out many of the power floors to locals.
The word has spread that the gang is at war with the Hellhounds. The streets are empty. The poor excuse for a green space park is barren of street kids playing like they usually do. All the entrances have visible DRM members with visible Heavy Pistols.
Ricket’s stays in the van with his sister and at BlackJack’s request launches his big drone and puts it in surveillance/patrol mode while he continues to deal with his sister with very little improvement. Eventually she gets quiet again and becomes unresponsive just staring out the passenger window at nothing so he jacks himself into the van for a break.
Shade and BlackJack head into the building. The guards give BlackJack a nod and watch Shade questioningly, but don’t stop the two from entering. Their first stop is the security room to deal with Bob the security builder.
The security room is on the basement floor and is an apartment room that has been converted into the security center and network node of the entire building. A bed, table, kitchenette, and bathroom are all that remain of the original purpose as heavy duty wires come into the room from all different directions through broken out holes in the floor, ceiling, and walls all leading to a computer terminal half in the wall and half resting on the table. Bob “Hardhat” McStorm sits at the table tapping away on the keyboard attached to the terminal with one hand and sipping on a soycaf mug with the other. He gags back from spitting all over the terminal as he sees Shade follow BlackJack into the room. “He can’t be here… this is a restricted…” his face is read, but with just a lifting of his hands he gets quiet (with a little visible effort).
A few minutes later two rather large orcs arrive and take point outside the “security room” per standard procedures. There is a look of panic between BlackJack and Shade for a second, but it passes as the two orcs give a respectful nod to BlackJack and completely ignore Shade. BlackJack spins a tale about Shade being a hired security consultant and needing full access to the system to verify it is prepared against their current rivals. It takes some convincing buy Bob finally agrees and generates some credentials for Shade and points out that they expire in 8 hours as he tosses him a chip to transfer the embedded code into his persona. He ten pointed out a slightly uncomfortable looking chair and a jackpoint along one of the walls while he himself moved over to a very comfortable looking old leather lazyboy and jacks himself in. His last look is on Shade gives the message, “I’ve got my eye on you.” without question as the two jack in.
Seeing that everything is in order BlackJack heads off to the elevator to go to the penthouse to visit the boss and that is when all hell breaks loose.
Shade jacked in finds himself in a matrix host that resembles a digitized version of the apartment complex. He activates the code from Bob. A moment later wondering if he should have scanned it first and finds his Shade Ringwraith persona to suddenly have a very cartoon-esk sheriff/guest pass appear on his black robe. He also finds himself teleported from the I/O Port he was in to the CPU and then rerouted again to the camera Slave Port where he finds rows upon rows of camera feeds of all the entrances and levels. Along with the camera feeds and controls is a cartoon button panel that resembles the apartment call box they passed on the way in. This one is labeled with nodes instead of tenant names. He goes to work getting acquainted with where each camera is physically located and starts scanning them for the face he saw on the video and anything out of place. It doesn’t take long for him to notice a disturbing trend.
BlackJack presses the up button and goes to work summoning some of the apartment spirits to help him in case of attack. The first looks like a teenager fully decked out in gang colors with just a hint of spirit transparency. A moment later he sends this spirit off to check in with the boss and give him instructions to leave. The spirit is then to stay with him and guard him. It nods and flies off to complete it’s task.
The trend that Shade notices is that within seconds of each other all the cameras on the first floor starting at the main entrance suddenly go to static. The system registers it as a hardware malfunction that cannot be restored from the network. The trend continues as the cameras in the stairwells also go static floor by floor in rapid succession. Quick thinking on his part Shade jumps to the CPU and triggers all alerts and alarms. So basically everyone in the building is suddenly bombarded with fire alarms, hurricane warnings, tornado warnings, earthquake drill signals, water pollution count reports, acid rain warnings, nuclear bomb detections, etc. Safe to say everyone knows something is up and all the residents start making their way out of the building in a panic using the stairs.
BlackJack’s upward moment stops abruptly as multiple alarms start going off everywhere. They are especially loud in the little elevator. The elevator stops on the second floor and opens and locks. It seems you can’t use elevators during emergencies.