June 15, 2012

Billie's Journal - Orchid

Amazon river, 29 December 2050
I wake up feeling a little queasy, whether from the tree worms or the local hooch I can't really say. Some water and a few pills from the medkit sort me out and we wave goodbye to the locals. Before they head off downstream, they warn us about 'demons' upstream. Dances says we should be there by nightfall, assuming the map in his orientation system is correct. He says it's been getting further off the further we go.

He's also got a clock in his head and lets us know when it's noon, when Zero is due to call. She doesn't. By the time she does, Finlay is pretty twitchy and the conversation doesn't go down well. And it's no lover's tiff either. Seems Zero has taken another job and for the Russian fixer Maxim, no less. Not a man to cross according to Finlay. Zero claims the other run will be done before midnight and she'll be online to cover us in the matrix. She better be!

We row pretty much all day. I think I'm finally getting the hang of canoeing. As evening falls, Dances announces we're as close as we can get by river. We pull the canoes ashore, deflate them and stash them just in case. It's always good to have a plan B.

We trek for about an hour through the jungle. Dances is leading the way, his orientation system keeping us on track. Suddenly, another bunch of natives appear out of the bushes around us. I didn't hear or see them coming and the rest of the team seems equally surprised. These dudes ain't too friendly and the shrunken heads on their belts make that clear. Their chief makes it pretty clear they don't want us on their land, gesturing back the way we came. They got us cold, so we back off slowly until they are out of sight, then take another path that will hopefully bring us around them and back to the target.

Let's just say it was a good plan. About a half hour later Finlay warns us that he can smell them and then they are all over us again. For whatever reason, they seem to pick on me. Maybe because I'm the only elf, only woman or only white person on the team. Whatever it is, two of them try to pig-stick me with their spears. I feel one of them penetrate the armor, but it's not deep. Then a third one shoots me with a fragging arrow. Praise the Lord for plastic bone lacing, cause that's all that stops it puncturing a lung. I take a wild swing at the nearest spear-chucker but he dodges out of the way.

The others ain't exactly getting off light either. Dances has another spearman stabbing at him and Finlay's fighting off a spider the size of a fragging horse. Fortunately, Henry Leon or Ju-Ju as Dances has taken to calling him gets off a spell that frags up the two injuns trying to stab me. They don't seem to like that and hightail it back into the jungle. Arrow boy takes another pot shot at me but I'm ready for him now and it bounces harmlessly off my armor jacket. I return the favour, putting a couple of gel rounds into him and he drops.

Finlay takes down the spider and Dances puts a shotgun round into the injun trying to gut him. And just like that the fraggers are gone. Dances patches me up as best he can and we move on. Lucky for me, my 'special talents' include the ability to ignore a fair amount of pain, so I ain't hurting too bad.

With the help of a spirit smmoned by Ju-Ju, we shake the injuns and head on to the compound. It's pretty much as Zero's surveillance showed it, with the exception of the ex-military chopper sitting next to the hangar. According to Finlay, it can transport up to a dozen fully equipped soldiers. I sure hope we don't end up having to take them on. We're early, so me and Ju-Ju rest up while the others scout the perimeter. Seems that casting them spells and summoning them spirits took its toll on him. Getting stabbed and shot has the same effect on me.

Around an hour or so later, it hits midnight and we're just waiting for Zero to call in do her matrix voodoo on their comms. We're still waiting an hour later, when Finlay gives the go. I take down one of the barghest hounds with the tranq gun when its hidden from the rest of the compound by the hangar. Finlay cuts the fence, without tripping the alarm, and the three gents move in while I cover them. When they reach the hangar, I follow them in. Ju-Ju's takes a little astral walk to check the hangar. According to him there are four people sleeping and one woman up and around. We sneak in to find her resting her eyes in a hammock. Couple of tranq darts later and she is out cold. We tranq the others too just as a precaution and tape them up for good measure. Can't be too careful when you need to be quiet.

Unfortunately one of the guards patrolling the house calls in to check on our sleeping beauties. Too bad none of us speak Spanish. Radio boy is getting pretty agitated. Ju-Ju thinks he's telling the other guard to come over and check on them. So, I slip outside to take a bead on radio boy, while Finlay and Dances wait to ambush the other one. The plan goes smooth as silk. As soon as the guard enters the hangar, Finlay takes him down while I drop the one on the roof. Finlay then runs a quick pre-flight check on the plane, while Ju-Ju disables the helicopter.

Then we sneak across to the greenhouse. Barghest number two is asleep just inside the door and a couple more tranq darts makes sure he stays that way. Dances locates the plant and transfers it to the special container we have for it. And then we fly out, without anyone trying to shoot at us. Only thing we forgot was to disable the radio, so we do hear them calling for help a bit sooner than we would of liked. We cross the border, dump the gear and the plane and pick up our connecting flights back to Seattle. Almost too smooth.

Seattle, 30 December 2050
Back in town, we place the call and arrange a meet to transfer the goods. Some prim corp bitch turns up to pick it up, not Helms. She basically drops it on us that there is a follow-up mission that will require us to leave the following morning for St. Louis to snatch some corp bint. I point out I still got a couple of holes in me but she seems to think what we are being paid should cover that. I guess 350k split five ways with Ju-Ju only taking a 20k cut kinda does. Especially if there is more like that coming our way.

We head back to the garage to clear out our stuff. The place is way beyond compromised. We take the gear to a contact of Seaside's first to get it scrubbed and I accompany Zero to a streetdoc to get her headware checked. The doc finds some dodgy code in her glasses and headware and after rebooting her head or whatever, gives a copy of the code to Zero on a chip. I notice that Zero is covering up marks on her neck that look like someone tried to strangle her but she's not willing to talk about it. Unfortunately Billie sees them too and it's only the fact that we are too busy shifting gear to Seaside's place that stops her doing something about it right then and there. It still takes me the rest of the day to get myself back under control.

Even then , I don't sleep too good which means I'm in a bitch of a mood when we leave for the airport the next morning. While the rest of the team are wondering why we need to extract this Jane Foster, I'm just hoping some fool man tries to stop us.