It’s dark and wet. I wake up on the ground, lying on my side in an empty alley. My hands are zip-tied behind my back. I cough and taste metallic blood. My head is throbbing like a troll took a sledgehammer to it. It takes three of them to hoist me up, I can’t see the two at my sides because of the shadow. The one in front I can make out though. He is a handsome, slender elf. He pulls me up by the front of my collar. My head is spinning but old habits die hard -
I smile with my gnarly, east-bloc metal mouth and spit a gulp of blood into his pretty face.
He cries out “Fuck!” and I receive a flurry of blows to my head and body from all sides. I fall to my knees in pain. The strikes continue. I’m laughing loud and hysterical.
Someone cuts my hands free, instant relief. I feel giant troll mitts grab hold of my shoulders and drag me through a door way. I’m inside a building now, on the ground again outside of an office door. He sets me down and bellows, “The boss is waiting.” He takes a few steps back, then leans against the wall, a towering giant watching me carefully with his goddamn tree-trunk arms crossed in front of his whiskey-barreled chest.
I gather myself, breathe deep. Focus Razz.
The door is slightly open, I step inside.
I recognize the voice immediately.
“Razzzzz…” feigning surprise.
I respond, “Yes.” Or: Guilty as charged.
“Come in, and shut the door.”
It was a small square space with a window without a view, and a rug on the wall, and photographs on the walls, and a double wide storage unit in the corner… It was a small square space empty of Metas poised to murder me or beat me even more, apart from Gang Boss Drake Pie himself in a chair behind the desk. This is the Kingpin I promised 10K Nuyen to for a boatload of performance stims… and never made good on that promise. He looks up at me and smiles.
Drake said, “You’re late. You know what happens to people who don’t repay their loans…?”
“I’m sorry,” I stammer, “Payment was held up by – “
Drake interrupts. “There are plenty of Street-Sams in the Seattle sprawl… maybe too many. Maybe I need to do some culling.”
I say nothing.
He asks, “Was I on your list of things that might crawl out from under a rock?”
You were the list, I thought.
He says, “If I wanted you dead, I’d have you organ-legged by the Dis-assemblers. I’d have you done the last time you were in Bellevue, which I know for a FACT was last Thursday. Maybe I’d be there myself to watch it all unfold…”
I say nothing. He looks at me for a moment, and then a smile starts on his face. And then the smile turns into a laugh, which he tries hard to suppress, but he can’t. It comes out like a bark or a sneeze – he has to lean back in his chair and look at the ceiling.
“I have a problem. Someone fucked up worse than even you. This kid is a Troll Killers Captain, he’s dealing in pharmaceuticals and pushing into MY territory. He’s the nephew to Seattle’s very own Governor Brackhaven – I’m not going to be implicated in this so it’s your problem now. Or, I can call Tiny and Bragalos in here to rip you apart… piece by piece.”
I edge and use my knowledge of Seattle gangs.
I know all about the TKs… Like you’d expect from the name, the Troll Killers are bigoted humans whose idea of a good time is collecting Ork tusks and Troll horns to wear as trophies. They started out as the spawn of Humanis supporters and sympathizers in Seattle and became something of a rite of passage; some members of the gang are the second- and even third-generation. Unfortunately for the TKs, their chosen prey got organized and fought back, and the gang took some serious hits from opposition like the Ragers and even the Skraacha, forcing them to pull back around their Lake Washington turf.
Well… not anymore anyway. Somebody has been arming the Troll Killers lately and turning them into vigilante bands. A lot of the ordinance is stuff that went “missing” during the metroplex security transition, meaning it technically belonged to Lone Star Inc., but I bet the connection is more with the Brackhaven administration with Lone Star as the fall guys. The TKs might even just be stalking horses: get the metas riled-up enough to fight back, then you can call it a riot and have Knight Errant come down on them hard like an orbit shot and say you’re just “maintaining law and order.”
“If I do this, we are square!”
He leans back in his chair. There’s a pause. “Yes.”
I turn and walk out, pretty confident that I just accepted a suicide mission…
Milk Run Part 2 Next week!