Seattle, 21 December 2050
I think I'm going to have trouble with the Yakuza. I've been keeping a watch on the Green Ronin, but a couple of days ago I noticed that he had picked up another tail. Three suits, two asians and one causasian. I couldn't tell if they were yaks or feds. In either case, I decided to keep my distance for a while.
Then today, I come out of the coffee shop after a meet with Danny Kinkaid. A meeting that didn't go down too well. Danny had found an address for my folks. I told him I wasn't sure if I should contact them after seeing how the senator reacted to the recovery of his daughter. Maybe it would be better for them if they keep thinking I'm dead.
But what about me. I think I need to know and had hoped Danny might be my middleman. Instead he gives me the open palm gesture and tells me he's just a reporter. I was hoping for more but it's not to be.
As I leave, I spot a nondescript car pull out behind me. I'm heading out of town and the car is following me, when bam! Some idiot pulls out a side street right into them. Two asians jump out of the tail and start arguing with the driver of the car that hit them.
I should just of drove on, but my blood was still up from the meeting with Danny so I pull a U-turn and drive back to get their licence number. I make eye-contact with the one on my side and the fragger snaps a shot of me with his phone. I roll on a block then make another turn but by then the cops have arrived. I circle the block until the cops leave and the two asians are picked up by another equally non-descript car. I follow but haven't gone two blocks when I spot a grey van in my mirrors. Frag me, what have I got myself into. I give up on tailing the japs and spend the next hour shaking off the grey van.
I go to ground in an alley just off tourist town in Redmond. As I wait out the heat I get a call. I assume it's one of the crew but the voice on the other end just says, 'Pull another stunt like that and I'll hand you to the yaks myself!' then hangs up. Fragging uppity fed asshole! If he's going to use me as bait, he could at least of let me know.
I'm still spitting teeth, when the phone rings again. Finlay almost gets an earful, but I recognise his number in time. He's got a job. Seems like Martha needs some backup for a deal. I get to be scout. I make my way carefully back to the garage and let the guys know there might be some shit going down with the feds and yakuza.
Zero checks out the licence for me. It's a dead trail, but she says someone else has been in the DMV. Several discreet queries have been made about my license number but didn't turn up anything because someone else altered the number of the plate linked to my fake ID. Means that I better not get stopped by the cops until I can get the plates on the Harley changed as it now belongs to someone else.
I grab some grub and check my gear then head out to the meet. I am running interference. Martha is uncertain about the guys she is going to meet so is sending them on a little drive around the barrens first. I need to check them out at their first stop before Martha gives them the real meet location.
I get there early and find a quiet alley to stash the bike. Unfortunately it's not quiet enough. A couple of gangers roll me for protection money. A 50 gets me a guarantee that they won't frag with my bike. Little racketeering creeps. I would just of shot them, but there might have been more hanging in the shadows.
I climb onto the roof of the building and take up a spot to wait near the heating vents. After an hour and a few sips of Jack to keep me from freezing, the marks turn up. The van is beat up and the goon who gets out looks more street trash than gun dealer. He also seems pissed. I pass on the info to Finlay and the rest of the team who are waiting at the real location and when angry man gets back in the truck, I follow after them. I keep one eye on my mirrors just in case I have a tail, but it seems clear.
By the time I get the bike stashed at the second location the deal is practically done. Martha has a vanload of military weapons and we will get half of what she can shift it for. Hope she negotiates the sale as well as the buy. Although Finlay tells me he thinks new girl Cleo might have cast some spell to smooth the deal.
We are barely back at the garage, and I am just thawing out with some black soykaf, heavy on the sugar and with just a tiny shot of bourbon, when Finlay gets another call. It's Seaside and he wants to see us, like right away.
I gulp down the kaf and get back into my winter gear and we all drive over to Seaside's. He is there with his brother, who has the full injun look going, and doesn't look right happy to see me. I stare him down. He is fussin' over some scrawny woman, who looks sick to me, but waves me away when I mention she needs medical treatment. The brother, Richard explains that his lady friend needs some help from people like us.
The lady says that the spirits led her to a man, David Tom or was it Tom David. Anyway, this guy was on his last legs, but told her that someone called Martha was going to do something that would kill a lot of people up in Timshian territory. I don't know that territory so well, as I usually stick to Salish lands when I need to get out of town. Some of the other territories aint too friendly to whites, particularly those dressed like me. I figure that Timshian is one of those. Turns out it's worse.
Anyway, the lady finishes her spiel and hands Finlay lump of gold the size of his hand. And he's got big hands. She is offering ten times that as payment. Don't know how much that lump is worth but that seems like a lot of cash and damn little to go on. Finlay says as much but the lady cant tell us anymore. Seaside tells us he thinks he can get us in to Timshian through some of his old injun buddies while the padre takes a look at the lady to see if he can fix her up.
Afterwards he tells us she was an eagle shifter, not a real person at all but an eagle that could take on human form. Sure explains some of the weird shit she was saying.
New girl Cleo seems a little out of her depth, but at least we aint under fire. Well shit if I shouldnt keep my yap shut as just then some young girl just wanders into the hangar asking for Seaside. He seems surprised to hear his name. I spot Finlay going for his piece and then the girl shouts out something about 'Saving the planet' and then takes a run at us. Finlay snaps off a shot at her, but misses.
You know all those stories about wired guys that shoot their friends by accident. I always thought they were just street lore. Well, I aint really sure what's going down, but I draw my piece and put a round between that little girl's eyes before I am really aware of doing it. Her head snaps back and blood sprays the padre and Cleo as she cartwheels backward and hits the ground.
Finlay pushes past me and fumbles a detonator switch out of her hand. I move up next to him and open her coat. She is wired with several kilos of C4. Each packet is stuffed full with ball bearings and it's all hooked up to the switch and also to a cellphone. I hear myself shout 'Get out' and then I'm running.
I hear a grunt from Finlay as I run out of the hangar. He's picked up the girl and is heading for the old APC that Seaside has been working on since we met him. He shoves the body inside just as the phone starts ringing.
The explosion leaves me deaf for a couple of hours but the APC contains most of the blast. Even Finlay gets off unscathed, although the door he pushed her through almost takes off his head when the blast blows it off it's hinges.
After searching Seaside's place and finding no-one else around, we decide its probably best to get started on this run as soon as possible.
Seattle, 22 December 2050
Zero does some digging on the matrix, while Finlay and I pack gear. Seems these Tim's have a bit of an issue with eco-warriors. They put them down hard a few years back, although it was also linked to some tribal trouble. Sometimes these braves have more problems with each other than with the white man.
Weather's closing in so we pack for snow. Zero bitches about leaving the city as usual and seems to want to take all her gear with her. Finlay and I end up hauling it for some peace and quiet.
We return to Seaside's around nightfall and load our stuff onto his boat. He takes us out to one of the islands in the sound. One of the indian ones. There is a small airport facility there, little more than a few sheds to keep the cold off a body. Seaside's buddy Russell is waiting for us and introduces us to Osprey. The mohawked rigger flies his namesake, one of them tilt-rotor bastard crossings of a plane and a helicopter. It's set up for hauling cargo, so facilities are limited to say the least. Finlay just stows his gear and tucks his arms into the webbing along the walls. I get the feeling he's done this before.
The flight takes about four hours but feels longer and by the time we arrive I can barely feel my fingers and toes. We unload in a snow-filled clearing and another injun with an assault rifle points into the dark and shouts that our ride is over that way.
On the limit of the lights from the flares in the clearing I can just about make out a limo van. We crunch through the snow. Finlay is playing soldier and edges up alongside. I just tap on the driver's window and it hums down halfway.
Well blow me down. I was expecting some local brave, but the lady inside is a blond, blue-eyed caucasian and when she speaks, I could swear she has a German accent. She helps us load our gear in a hidden compartment in back, then while Finlay gets in front the rest of us pile in the back.