This should be interesting, Dash said to herself as she looked down on the warehouse floor beneath her. She was perched in the shadows on one of the structural roof beams on the far side of the warehouse. The rest of the building was dimly lit, with a small group of men gathering on opposite walls. Additional men from each sides surrounded the Tacoma waterfront property to ensure privacy and a lack of interference.
The men on both sides appeared nervous and scanned the building for danger or potential treachery. It was for this reason that she was perched so far away and left her foci at home. She was sure that each of the groups would have at least someone that could perceive astral space and if she was spotted the gig was up. She still maintained line of sight and could hear what was being said over the laser microphone. The only reason she felt safe being this close was earlier today she summoned a very powerful spirit to provide her with concealment. She was still seriously injured from the summoning—it was the most powerful spirit she was ever able to summon and she was happy to have done it successfully (and to do it while staying alive was a great bonus). She could still feel the spirit stalking inside of her waiting to be free. The injury was just one more reason not to get in the fray tonight.
She didn’t blame either group for being cautious. Over the last 2-3 weeks, the minor skirmishes between a small group of the Tiger’s and the Yellow Lotus had engulfed into a full out war. The serious injury and almost death of a key Lotus enforcer caused the triad to need to put the Tigers in their place. Two nights later 7 tigers were captured, eviscerated, and left to be found deep in downtown Tacoma Tiger territory. Since then the Tigers locked everything down and stayed hunkered well within their zone of control, only leaving to engage in targeted raids against their newfound enemy.
Three days ago, the 88’s, another triad group and a rival to the yellow lotus, arranged this meeting to try to calm things down. While not really opposed to the yellow lotus being involved in any war, the 88’s knew that given their relationship with the Tigers, they would be brought into this sooner or later and with the business coming down in the next few months, now was not a convenient time. The war had also become inconvenient for Yellow Lotus after their night of knives. Apparently, Knight Errant was under the impression that the group raided an Ares Research lab and has been all up in the Yellow Lotus’s shit since then. An arrest was even made of an enforcer that “was seen” during the robbery who “left fingerprints” at the scene. Tragic. Hence the meeting tonight. The Tigers have been brutalized, the Yellow Lotus are distracted, and the 88’s wanted to focus on business. The word on the street is that everyone agreed to have an 88 smoothtalker named Craig Valentine to try to smooth things over.
At 2200, the real players arrived and both groups headed towards a table set up in the middle of a warehouse. It was obvious to all that there was no love lost between the parties involved. It was time for Valentine to get to work. Valentine was a very chromed and very smooth Chinese elf. He had an obvious two cyberarms, and a pair of obvious cybereyes. He moved like he was wired. Rumor has it that there are less obvious modifications. Supposedly Valentine’s tailored pheromones were genetically customized and were significantly more effective than even the normal top of the line variety. Yes, Valentine was a paragon of elfish charisma and a good choice for this task. Unfortunately for him he was only moderately intelligent and just didn’t have a lot of mental fortitude. Siting at the table was the Triad Lieutenant Li Tamm. Li Tamm was a middle aged Chinese male with greying hair and a crisp business suit. The word on the streets was that he was a good lawyer and an even better mage. Across from him was Derek Vargas, the apex predator of the Tiger universe.
As Valentine started his pitch, AR windows popped up around the table. Pictures, maps, and agreements. Within minutes it was obvious that even though everyone wanted the same thing, it is the details that can get deadly. Without her foci, she had some difficulty understanding the details of the Chinese being said but things were not going good. Maybe some of the rumors that she had been planting the last few days had taken root. Maybe not. Regardless it was almost time.
Every story needs a good climax and Dash felt that this climax was fast approaching. Things got started when Li Tamm stood up and started to say something angrily in Chinese. Damn, that was a useful focus she left at home. Back to the matter at hand. She then communed with the Spirit of Man that was trapped inside her and told him, her, it… whatever… that it was time. One more service and it would be released. Just do what we agreed.
Spirits have different powers and different levels of raw power. This particular spirit was a Spirit of Man and its power was like a 12 on the richter scale. This spirit was instructed to do one thing. Introduce a particular thought into Craig Valentine. It is interesting how influence works in a subject. The greater the discrepancy between the action and what the subject was being influenced to do, the greater the chance of resistance. So instead of influencing Valentine to shoot Tamm in the fragging head, the spirit was instructed to insert a thought that Valentine should point his gun at Tamm’s face to get him to shut up and listen. Dash hoped that between the power and flavor of the influence, and Valentine’s weak mind, that he wouldn’t have a chance.
As Valentine raised his weapon, Li Tamm’s eyes widened in shock. As a mage, it was theoretically possible for him to notice the spell on Valentine but like everyone else he was just looking at all the AR bullshit so it was doubtful he was perceiving the astral. The weapon pointed at Tamm’s head, and Valentine prepared to speak to tell him to sit the fuck down and listen. It was Dash’s turn.
Valentine used an Erika Elite, a decent comlink that ran his PAN and was decently defended. Attached to that PAN was his equipment, including the Ares Viper Slivergun. His PAN also happened to be attached to his electrochromatic clothing. The day before she managed to get a hold of his jacket, which with physical access allowed her easy access to Valentine’s PAN, even with her basic hacking skills. After putting marks on the PAN and incidentally the Ares Viper all Dash had to do was wait. Wait for this moment. The command was sent out through the matrix and Valentine’s weapon, which was aimed at Tamm’s head, went off, in a full round of burst fire.
After the gun fired, surprise shot across Valentine’s face. Whether it was surprise that he pulled the gun, that it fired, or the 11 bullets that just hit him in the chest from the Yellow Lotus contingent was unknown. Bullets started to fly everywhere.
Having completed his service, the spirit vanished and left Dash feeling weak from her previous wounds. Dash quickly summoned an air spirit at a more standard power level. Having several services with this spirit she resumed concealment, movement, and had the spirit use its powers of accident and confusion to turn the battle so the Tigers and 88’s would lose. This night would be squandered if at least one Yellow Lotus did not survive to report tonights events to their superiors.