Part 6: The Fragrance of Dark CoffeePart 06 - The Fragrance of Dark Coffee
Burakgazi runs a pretty cozy and well-equipped little cafe here, they got hookah pipes and everything. The merry dwarven man at the counter seems to be having an especially good time.
Yes, it certainly is a beaut-
[Goldschmidt responds with a raucus belly laugh; apparently he finds the shopkeeper's insults to be hilarious.]
Ah, Altuğ, my friend. You are as quick-witted and sharp-tongued as ever. I bow to you.
If you wouldn't mi-
Goddamn, have some mercy on the poor guy. If the soykaf here is even half as hot as the proprietor's burns, a lawsuit is only a matter of time.
[Goldschmidt smiles up at you, his small eyes glittering.]
Enough of this senseless bickering. You have approached me for a reason, yes? Tell me: what can Jan Goldschmidt do for you?
Why did you put up with those insults? Don't you have any pride?
Two years of soykaf and strained patience, yes.
And I remain happy, and Altuğ makes money. An ideal business relationship.
Right, that all sounds perfectly healthy. Take care, Jan.
It's nice to see at least a little bit of cheer from somebody after all the recent doom and gloom.
Eh, not big on the flavored stuff.
Coffee? As in, *real* coffee, not soykaf?
Yes, for individuals of refined taste, I offer genuine bean coffee from my native Turkey.
[The cafe owner looks you in the eye. The tone of his voice grows low and serious.]
This is a top-shelf item, my friend, and not for the general public. Only for those few discerning connoisseurs who can properly appreciate it.
I think I'm the sort who can appreciate it. Tell me about the Turkish coffee.
It is hand-picked by my family in Turkey. A true delicacy of the Sixth World. This was considered a luxury even before the Awakening, when bean coffee was everywhere. Every street-corner, they say.
This guy's one hell of a salesman. So this is how it feels like when someone succeeds at a Charisma check against you.
All right, you sold me. How much?
This is a specialty item, delivered at some cost. I cannot part with it for less than 50 nuyen a cup.
¥50 a cup? Forget God, with that kinda price this stuff had better conjure up an entire damn pantheon.
[Burakgazi hands you a ceramic travel cup, which he then fills to the brim with dark, steaming liquid. The scent is intoxicating.]
We paid so much for this that even drinking it feels like a waste now. Let's just hold on to it for the time being, as a grim reminder about the dangers of impulse purchasing.
Is there anything more that I can get you?
Paul Amsel sends his regards.
[When he hears Amsel's name, the Turk's voice lowers and his accent becomes less exaggerated. His eyes take on a knowing look.]
Ah, very good. Please express to Herr Amsel my appreciation of his patronage. If he needs any more "catering jobs" seen to in the future, I am always happy to provide.
He tells me youre developing the menu for a friend of his now - "Herr Winters", I believe. I want to hear all about it.
My girl Kami is arranging to make contact with the "chef" as we speak. This will likely take some time... my chef is a busy man. While we wait, I wonder if you would be so kind as to run a small errand for me. A trifle, really. I hate to trouble you... I am embarrassed to even ask... but I would be most appreciative of your help.
I don't know, we've done a lot of running around today already. Maybe if we had some extra motivation...
I'm not exactly an errand girl. I do a job, I get paid.
[Altuğ smiles big. The Turkish vendor again.]
You are already being compensated, Most Masterful of Mercenaries! Do you not recall? Kami is fetching your information for you. Returning the favor would be the courteous thing to do.
My time is a valuable commodity, my friend. I'm sure a businessman like you can understand that.
This is a Charisma check of 3, otherwise you need to cede his point (or try and refuse which doesn't work since he'll simply refuse to give you the information in turn).
Oh ho! Yes, of course I can.
[Burakgazi rummages through his pockets and fishes out a crumpled 100 nuyen bill. He thrusts the coffee-stained wad of paper into your hands.]
There. You have been paid. Now, let us get on with it, eh?
That's double our coffee money returned and we even get to keep the coffee! Things are finally looking up.
In order to maintain their... how do I say it... their "anonymity"... each tap's protocol buffer must be reset every few days. I simply wish for you to visit each data tap and reset it.
That's it? No catch?
There is no "catch", I assure you! It is time-consuming and a bit tedious. Nothing more.
I'll believe it when I'll see it, the way things have been going at least one of these taps will end up summoning an insect spirit or something.
Just reset the taps and come back when you are finished. There should be three of them scattered around this neighborhood. The first one is just outside - look for a metal box with yellow arrows painted atop it. By the time of your return, I should have the information Herr Amsel requested.
Presumably there's a "flush data tap" button on each of the things because this stuff isn't exactly our field of expertise. Ah well, let's get this done.
The first data tap can be found up north, near Herbert's "Tribute to Victory".
The second one is right outside Dr. Ezkibel's clinic. The purpose of this quest is basically to show you around the Kreuzbasar in case you headed straight for the cafe.
Like the man said, the third and last data tap is right outside the cafe itself. But there's something unusual about this one.
Oh? Only one thing to do with mysterious street earplugs, let's give it a listen!
[The sound of heavy machinery makes it difficult to hear the words that are being spoken. After a moment, you find you can make out two distinct voices - a nasal woman who sounds like a heavy smoker and a man who speaks in a high-pitched, breathy tone.]
xxx just heard xxx xxx Monika xxxx xx xxxxx. xx need to verify xx, xxxxxx.
xxxxx xx good for us. xxxx xxxx xxxx
[A sound like a conveyor belt starting adds to the noise of machinery, and you cant make out anything else until it comes to a stop a minute later.]
xxxx xx xxx think our next step xxxxx xxx?
xx wait. xxx xxxxxxx isnt ready to make a move yet. xxxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxx to be patient. x xxxxx xxx see who steps up xxx xxxx xxx xxxxx. xx could be someone more xxxxxxx xx xxx xxxxxx.
[More conveyor belts start up. All you can hear is the sound of machinery. Some sort of motorized vehicle then starts up, drowning out everything else.]
[A bell rings loudly again and again. It sounds like a telephone.]
[You then hear the sound of a door slamming shut, and the noise of machinery is suddenly muffled. Theres a rattle of plastic, and the ringing stops.]
[Her tone changes, becomes more businesslike.]
I heard. .....Yes, he knows. I told him it wasnt time to make a move yet. ......What do you think I am, an idiot? .....The council needs to meet again. .....I know. Getting everyone in the same room is... challenging. Getting them to agree on a course of action is going to be even more challenging.
Wonder what that was all about. By the sound of it they already knew about Monika, so things sure don't stay secret in this place for long. And something about a council? Altuğ will probably want to know about this, so let's head back.
[Burakgazi smiles at you from behind the counter.]
Welcome back, Honored Efendim. How may I serve you?
I've finished with your "little trifle," Herr Burakgazi.
Ah, very good. I assume you had no difficulties?
So, those taps are a public service, is that it?
It is the least I can do to give back to our little community! With but a minor effort from me, all in the Kreuzbasar may enjoy free access to the Matrix and high-speed communications. All for the greater good, eh?
Having some Decking skill allows for some extra options here. Decking 1 allows you to blackmail Altuğ about keeping quiet about the taps' existence for an extra ¥100 (¥150 if you also pass a Charisma check of 3 afterwards) whereas Decking 3 allows you to give him advice on hiding the taps better for ¥300. Not bad this early on.
Yeah, you're a prince.
I do what I can. I trust that you encountered no difficulties?
Difficulties? No. One of the taps had been... modified a bit, though. Someone was using it as a surveillance device.
Uncle Taydemer needs to come up with more creative sayings.
Also since it has now come up several times, lemme briefly cover what is meant by the Flux State. February 7th 2039, which came to be known as The Night of Rage, was the culmination of a long period of anti-metahuman hate crimes by human supremacists which escalated into massive riots and violence between humans and metahumans on a global scale.
Now this had all kinds of consequences in both short- and long-term (some of which we'll probably come back to later), but what's relevant here is that in Berlin an organization called Anarchist Movement Berlin or AMB managed to rise up and successfully take control over the city, subsequently declaring independence from the German state and turning Berlin into the "Greatest Experiment in Anarchist History" - the Flux State.
As an anarchist state, the Flux has no set power structure nor governing body and people are theoretically free to live as they please with no higher authority to control them or tell them what to do. Of course this also means that if you can't swim, you'll sink real quick - at the end of they day there's nobody but yourself to keep your head above water. Due to the constant change in the state of things, information (together with connections) is the most powerful floating device of all.
Now obviously corporations and dragons (primarily Lofwyr) do hold some sway in Berlin just as anywhere else, but not nearly to the degree that they do elsewhere. All in all this makes the city a very attractive place for those who, either for ideological or practical reasons, want to avoid the long hand of the law and attention of authorities. A lot has happened since in the tabletop version of course, but that's more or less where we stand at the time of this game.
Nevertheless, I shall have one of my people look into it.
Wait, theres more. I listened in on the tap and heard something. Might be important.
[He eyes you closely, amused.] Oho! Tell me, O Listener at Keyholes, what did you hear on this surveillance tap you found?
I couldnt make out much. A nasal woman and a high pitched man. They seemed pleased Monika was out of the picture.
[The Turk's face falls.] News travels fast in Berlin. These two are known to me. Is there more?
The woman got a call. She talked about a council meeting tonight to decide if they should make a move. Then she was drowned out by heavy machinery.
[He nods grimly.] Most excellent. It is indeed fortuitous that you discovered this information, though it is not unexpected. I will have one of my people attend this council meeting and report back.
I'm starting to get the sense that you really don't want to get on the bad side of Herr Burakgazi here if you want to have a good time in this neighborhood.
Sounds good. Keep me in the loop.
The "menu" for Herr Amsel, Uncle.
[Kami hands you a folded piece of paper. Inside is a memory stick.]
Please extend my consolations to him. The death of Fräulein Schäfer must have hit him hard.
[He frowns.] Few know how important. The memory stick Kami just handed you should contain all the information Herr Amsel requires from our chef in the field. Should you require my services in the future, you know where to find me. Until then, good day.
And with that, we're done in the Kreuzbasar for now. Let's make our way back to the safe house right away, Paul's probably getting impatient what with all our sidetracking.
Seems like everybody's all gathered up already.
Yes, I spoke to Altuğ. He gave me this memory stick.
Let us see what his agent has to say.
[Amsel snatches the memory stick from your hand and slots it into his computer terminal. He navigates a series of command line menus and a wall of amber text floods the screen. Paul scans it, mouthing the words as his eyes flit back and forth.]
Burakgazis agent tailed Green Winters to a hotel in a cesspool of a kiez called "Drogenkippe".
"Drogenkippe" and "Das Kesselhaus" translate as "Drug dump" and "The Kettlehouse" respectively. Sounds like a charming place.
Recently, there was some contention between two gangs over control of this neighborhood. Due to the gang violence, the agent refused to follow Winters inside of the hotel, but he confirms that he is still inside.
Well, what are we waiting for?
[Eiger slings her rifle over her shoulder with a single, spare motion.]
Gear up, people. We have a hotel to raid.
That said, we believe that Rosa is the right choice to lead the team.
Don't mistake this decision for a reprimand. Monika considered your contributions to the team to be invaluable.
...but we all know that she wasn't comfortable putting a soldier in charge.
You want to put the rookie in charge. Again.
[She shakes her head.]
Dont you people *learn* from your mistakes?
Rosa is the reason were still alive, Eiger.
*She* kept us together. *She* led us out of there in one piece.
Aww, you guys...
...Making her your number-one girl.
[She sounds tired. Resigned. But above all, disappointed.]
This is more of your Flux-State idiocy at work, isn't it?
[Dietrich reaches out. Puts his hand on her shoulder.]
It's what Monika believed in.
Eiger's really been having it tough. While everyone else can take some degree of comfort in the knowledge that they did everything they could for Monika, she's still clearly haunted by the idea that she could've maybe saved or stopped her had she just been there in that basement instead of us. Feeling so helpless about the whole thing must be immensely frustrating for a person like her.
[She straightens to her full height.]
Let me give you a piece of advice. In the field, only two things matter: the mission, and survival. Everything else is a distraction. Your ridiculous politics have no place on a shadowrun.
Meanwhile Dietrich continues to be pretty much the best.
[Eiger sighs. The tone of resignation returns to her voice.]
Screw it. Lets put an end to this. Ive got the skill and experience to lead this team. Rosa, on the other hand, was appointed by Monika as a joke. If youd rather she take the lead, Ill abide by that. But I want to hear each of you say it.
They already have. You just weren't listening.
*You* stay *out* of this.
[She stabs an armored finger into your chest. Hard.]
I think weve heard what Dante has to say. As for my part... Rosa saved our lives back there. You may not believe it, but she did. The way I see it, that means I follow her lead a while longer.
Man, we probably don't deserve you two. Or Dante for that matter.
The discussion is finished, Eiger.
[Amsel speaks softly, but his tone is firm.]
Rosa will take Monikas place as the leader of this team.
We can make some cool statement as the new team leader here, though one of the options is instead telling Eiger to fetch us a soykaf. You can be a real jerk in this game if you want to, definitely a much worse one than you could in DMS.
Monika's death deserves vengeance. I intend to see it done.
[Glory nods in agreement.]
All right. Fine.
[She shakes her head in exasperation. Her voice is heavy with defeat.]
Looks like the rookie's in charge. Again.
Now if only she dropped the whole "rookie" thing already... But one step at a time I suppose.
We can talk about this more later, Eiger. For now, we have more important things to deal with.
I have transferred the information that we received from Altuğ to the computer terminal in the next room. It used to be Monika's personal workstation, Rosa. Now it is yours. Monika kept a variety of notes and dossiers on that machine. I would suggest reviewing her notes when you have the time.
I wouldn't suggest driving to Drogenkippe.... the roads aren't safe. Taking the U-Bahn would be faster, anyway.
Thanks for the tip, Eiger. The U-Bahn it is.
Again we could say that if we wanted her opinion we'd ask for it, at which point even Dietrich would suggest against us putting her down in front of the team like that.
Back in control, we now have our first chance to talk to Paul and ask him about various things relating to the Kreuzbasar, but almost all of it is stuff we already know. The only real exception is when we ask him about purchasing medical supplies and cyberware:
Do you know of a decent doctor around here?
If by "decent" you mean "competent," then yes. Around the corner you will find a clinic called "Triage." The owner, Dr. Ezkibel, is a cybersurgeon of some renown. He can see to your needs.
You don't seem to be overly fond of this Dr. Ezkibel.
There really are people from all over Europe here. Wonder what happened for him to come all the way here from Spain though, you'd think skilled surgeons were in demand everywhere. Something shady probably, or maybe he screwed up operating on someone important.
That said, there is a difference between a man's deeds and his work. Ezkibel is, by all accounts, an excellent surgeon. So long as your association with him begins and ends there, I'm sure that you'll get along swimmingly.
Tell me what you've heard from your friends in Spain.
No, I'd rather not. I've said too much already, and it isn't my place to deprive the man of business. In the end, it doesn't matter what I think of him... when it comes to our suppliers, we don't get to pick and choose. If you want your "chrome," Ezkibel is your only choice.
He has nothing else interesting to say, so let's go check out Monika's workstation before we head out.
So, the mission computer. This is another feature which was carried on to Hong Kong pretty much unchanged. Let's take a look at what we can do here.
We have neither new messages nor jobs as of yet, so the only things we can do here for now is accessing Shadowland and reviewing the team personnel files. Let's go over the latter first, see what Monika has to say about our little ragtag squad of misfits.
First up, Paul:
Can't think of much else to say about Dietrich. Just a good, reliable guy.
[She pauses for a moment. Whe she speaks again, you can hear a hint of guilt in her voice.]
He is getting a little long in the tooth for a shadowrunner... I'm not sure how many more years he has ahead of him in this game. But I'll be happy to run with him for as long as he's able. We'll see, I suppose.
On an operational level, Glory's solid. That chrome of hers may be old, but it gets the job done. I've seen her take a troll apart with her hand razors, and when her adrenal pump is running, she moves faster than anyone I've ever seen.
On top of all of that, Glory's a competent field medic. I don't know where she learned medicine - yet another question mark - but she's patched me up at least a dozen times. Between her skill with a medkit and Dietrich's magic, we haven't had much trouble with serious injuries, and in our line of work that's a luxury.
I dunno. Maybe some day, she'll open up to me. I'd like to think that she will. We'll see, I suppose.
Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages, too. All of that military training has left her... how to say it? "Rigid," I suppose.
[She shakes her head.] One of these days, this situation is going to come to a head. I just hope that it doesn't happen soon.
And of course, us:
There aren't many people left from the old days. Far too few. And Rosa...
...Well, she was always the best of 'em.
At any rate, if anything happens to me, it's good to know that she'll be on hand to fill my shoes. It's not what Eiger would want. But it is what would be best for the team.
Next, let's access the Shadowland BBS. There are two things we can do here, with the first being posting paydata we've picked up during missions in order to sell it to the highest bidder. We snatched the Seattle antiquities delivery schedule during our ill-fated Hartfeld run, so let's put it up and see if we can get something out of it.
Of course we'll have to wait for someone to buy it before we get the money. The second thing to do here is searching the BBS for relevant keywords, which in practice means a pastime we're all very well-versed in around here - reading the various threads people have posted. For now there are two we can look at.
Ah, memories of more innocent times. Note the dates - these posts are from July whereas Dragonfall takes place in November, which at least partially explains why they're not yet aware of the Ripper's demise.
- Tolstoi <04:15:29/07-24-54> [Who says it's a "he"? They don't have any leads.]
- ProShot <04:15:18/07-24-54> [Hah. I'll be in Seattle next week. FWD any info you have about this "Ripper" and I'll see about taking him out for a date with my Walther MA-2100. I'm sure Lone Star will have a fat reward waiting for whoever blasts this goon.]
He was actually called "Blartz" in the localization.
- Tolstoi <04:13:58/09-26-54> [Step up your security. Write some white IC programs if you can, at least make the kid's hair stand on end for a few hours next time he tries it.]
- Clockwork <07:03:13/09-26-54> [Just make sure that your IC is quick! Heavy-hitting IC is no good if it can't catch up with an intruder... a fact that I take advantage of on a regular basis.]
- The Smiling Bandit <Strikes Again!/Ha-Ha-Ha> [Always running, eh CW?]
- Clockwork <07:17:51/09-26-54> [Like clockwork!]
- Lumens <01:50:10/09-27-54> [If you two are finished... I *did* have IC on the thing. Tracked the hole down. Grocery store across the street was piggybacking on my LAN and they left an unsecured jack point in a bathroom stall. Old as hell maintenance jack in a fusebox, and my security ignored it. Mystery solved.]
- Maelstrom <01:58:19/09-27-54> [Shadowland isn't your personal tech-support board, Lumens. Glad to see you fixed your own problem. Only way you're going to learn.]
Alright, that's enough browsing for today, we have work to do and a subway train to catch.
It's a little hard to see in the more zoomed-out images but there's a lot of cool details in the environment, including all sorts of graffiti and other street art.
We are in charge now, and we're about to turn up the heat high enough on Green Winters to turn him into Green Summers.