Part 51: Traipsing Through Twilight TownPart 51 - Traipsing Through Twilight Town
Right, time to meet Eiger's contact and then go for a second trip to the bright and pleasant Schattennest to find this Engineer fellow. Why do we always end up making return trips to the worst parts of town?
We find Eiger and the man waiting at the back of Der Weinkeller.
You could say that. Rosa, this is Bannik. He's a friend.
[The dwarf scoffs.] Don't know if I'd go that far. Nothing personal, you understand - if I were to start keeping friends, I might call you one. But in my experience, friendship and obligation go hand in hand. A solitary life is cleaner.
[She smiles.] "Professional acquaintance," then.
[He nods.] Better. Now, let's get down to business, shall we?
Let's. We need intel on the Engineer - where he's staying, who he's working for, how long he's been in Schattennest. Whatever you've got, we want it.
[He spears a hunk of pie with his fork, crams it into his mouth, and starts to chew. A moment later, he shrugs.]
I've had worse. And of course - I'll give you what I can. But I don't know much. I can point you in the right direction. That's all.
Just tell us what you can. We'll handle the heavy lifting.
All right. What you're looking at is the northwest quadrant of Schattennest. This is gang territory - all of it. These days, the whole kiez is being held by Rammbock.
Not those assholes again.
Right, those masters of ambush who didn't quite grasp the idea that the explosive barrels should probably be placed next to the other guys. Not exactly shaking in our boots here.
[Eiger exhales heavily.]
If he's staying there, he must be arranging some sort of deal with them.
That'd be the safe bet. And they haven't pulled their guns on him yet, so it's fair to assume that negotiations are going well. I'm sure that I don't have to tell you this, but the last thing we need is an alliance between some foreign syndicate and Rammbock. No good could come of that.
Can't argue with that.
Now, I can't tell you who the Engineer is working for. You'll have to ask him about that yourself. But what I *can* do is make it easier for you to have a sit-down with him.
Don't open that in here. There are people in this room who would kill you for what's in that bag.
[You shrug.] I'd kill them first.
All right, tough gal. I get it, you're wiz. Just do me a favor and keep the damn bag closed, okay?
You gonna tell us what it is, or do we have to guess?
But enough about your sex life.
Is it a stun gun?
[He pauses for a moment, playing with his fork.]
Well, not really. For your purposes, you might as well think of it as one, though.
[Eiger whistles appreciatively.] Very nice, Bannik. That should make this easy.
Not easy. *Possible.* I wouldn't be giving it to you if the job could be done without it. The Engineer is rocking a delta-grade move-by-wire system. Unless you can shut it down, there's no way in hell you're going to catch him.
The idea of move-by-wire bodyware is to essentially induce a permanent state of spastic cramping, the rapid movement of which is then harnessed into controllable form via implanted systems, resulting in the body being in a state of constant readiness which makes for lightning fast and perfectly smooth reaction speed at the cost of long-term discomfort and strain on the body and brain.
The procedure is major and irreversible, so when you disable the "controllable" part...
...And if we *do* shut it down, he'll be forced into a state of permanent seizure.
[He shrugs.] Only until he gets the thing up and running again. "Deactivated" isn't the same thing as "broken."
That's handy. Making people uncomfortable is my specialty.
Truer words have never been spoken. Thanks, Bannik. We'll let you know how things work out.
Don't bother. I'll be watching.
Let's hope this goes better than the last time we were told that after being handed a mysterious package. Or at least involves fewer asshole mages, one of us is plenty enough.
No sense in wasting any time, let's get this done.
Before we take off, we give Eiger the grenade launcher and a shotgun that's better than her own. We murdered a bunch of AG Chemie security guards to get that thing, so in a way we owe them to ensure that the cycle of mindless bloodshed continue ever on.
(A nice and moody mix of melancholy and military. Still a shame we never got a personal theme for Dietrich...)
Place is looking very yellow in the twilight, something mentioned in the description were this our first foray into this neighborhood. It's kinda weird to see since we don't often get out and about when it's not already dark out.
The smell of burnt garbage always reminds me of back home.
[Eiger wrinkles her nose.]
The funny thing is, a syndicate presence might actually help Schattennest... in the short term, at least. They'd clean up the streets, if nothing else.
Don't tell me you're changing your mind.
Today's objectives are as simple as they come, find the bad guy and make sure Eiger survives her own personal mission. A reasonable thing to ask.
We also have Bannik's toy occupying one of our precious inventory slots. Feels like getting close enough to zap a guy armed with hardwired spidey senses with this tiny-ass thing would be actively more difficult than catching him via conventional means though...
The kiez gate is watched by a dwarf and his ogre buddy.
If this looks familiar, it's because we've been through here before. At least these guys are dedicated to their jobs, good to see it.
Had we done this mission before the Humanis run he'd say the exact same things, just the other way around.
Our previous meeting spot with the smugglers is now a dead end with nothing to see beyond a single box. Might as well take a look and hope there isn't a snake in there or something.
Eh, we're willing to stoop pretty low but stealing pennies from the homeless is a little too pathetic even for us. Mage life has been pretty inexpensive so we have a decent chunk of savings anyway.
This time we'll take a previously blocked off road and follow it to the northeast.
The homeless are one thing but don't for a moment think we're even remotely above plundering garbage piles, those piss-sparkly treasure chests of the modern world. This particular expedition nets us some Bliss.
As we emerge from the alleyway we spot a couple of rough-looking characters keeping a look out.
Rammbock gang up ahead. Maybe there's a way around?
There's no diplomatic solution to be had here and approaching the gangers only leads to an entirely pointless fight against three Rammbocks, so as per Eiger's suggestion we simply go around the building instead.
Beyond we find a dilapitated parking lot turned equally dilapitated market area of some sort.
No one here looks like an armed ruffian, so we take this chance to see if the locals know anything useful.
What? What do you want?
I'm new in town, what's hot around here?
Nothing. Not a goddamn thing. All there is to do in Schattennest is get your arse beat by gangs until you decide to join one.
And which gang are you in?
I'm still in the former camp. I've heard what the Rammbock do to haze new members. I'll take getting pushed around every once in a while over that.
Why don't you move? There are safer kiez not far from here.
That takes money. Rent ain't free, unless you're suggesting I start living on the street. At least here I have a roof over my head.
Fair enough. I'm looking for some information.
I bet you are. I've seen your type before. You're probably lookin' for someone, or lookin' for something that's been stolen. Either way, the Rammbock won't be happy about you stickin' your nose into Schattennest.
Our nose isn't any happier being stuck in this place, but despite their mutual displeasure our nasal cavity and the gangers will just have to deal for now.
All right. I'm leaving.
Kami? No, wait, just a resemblance.
I got pots and pans! You need pots and pans?
No, but some info would be nice. You see any new friends of the Rammbock show up lately?
(¥50) Just trying to help out the neighborhood.
With Street etiquette we could promise to mess up the Rammbock and avoid this minor contribution to the local economy, but it's no big loss.
[The woman leans in for a whisper.]
They're just down the street, in the warehouse with the grass in front. New guy showed up a few days ago, seems like a bigwig. They've been moving product through there ever since.
What kind of product?
That'd cost you extra, sweetie. Is it important?
(¥25) [You hand over 25 nuyen.]
Drugs, guns, the usual. Seems like more drugs than guns lately, so maybe things will pick up around here!
Well, it's all about those small steps after all.
No problem, honey! I got the best deals on pots and pans this side of Spandau!
Finding the warehouse doesn't take long, especially since this is the kinda place where you're more likely to bump into metal blades than grass ones. Cool graffiti too, if a bit out of place.
Unfortunately our progress is stymied by the standard 4-digit lock with no visible clues to the correct sequence, and we don't have the Decking 5 to let us bypass it either.
Got any ideas, Eiger?
[She examines the heavy door, scowling.]
I might be able to blast it open with a controlled explosive, but that'd spook anyone inside.
Know where we could get a controlled explosive around here?
Dang it Ebby, where are we gonna find a propane salesman in this dump? And yeah, blowing the doors in would probably mildly alarm the guy we're supposed to get into tickling distance of before he Eddy Gordos himself through the ceiling window or whatever.
Probably best if we could just find the code.
Only other thing worth looking at here is a lone motorcycle outside of the warehouse, but it holds neither propane nor keycodes for us.
Actually though, finding a propane tank is as easy as heading back a bit past the market area and repossessing one from a resident, but we'll leave that as a last resort.
Let's instead check if by any chance our local cookware informant can help us with the more quiet approach.
Get your pots and pans here!
That warehouse you told me about is locked up with a keycode panel. You know anything about that?
Sure, I could help you out there. For a price...
Figures. Street etiquette is an option again but wouldn't actually work this time. Threatening her with Strength 5 is another but we'll cover that in the Extras section.
I don't have time for this. How much?
Five hundred. No less. I've gotta make a living, you know.
Urgh, we've probably done entire minor jobs for less money than that. We really need to learn this decking thing one of these days, bet computers are easier to deal with than people.
But if catching this guy is as important as Eiger claims, an explosive entry is probably too risky. Fine.
(¥500) [You hand over 500 nuyen.]
The code is 2 9 2 ... something. I don't know the last number. That'll get you most of the way, though. Enjoy!
You don't even know the whole thing?
I'm not going near that place. Good luck!
Not sure what she's so worried about when the worst bandit in town is clearly right here.
Still, her costly information does prove to be accurate, and a couple of guesses later we have our way in.
Doubt we'll be getting a warm welcome waltzing into the gang hideout even though we left the door intact, but hopefully we'll at least have the chance to get a little closer to our target before he notices. At least for once it's a small warehouse instead of some multi-store corporate building or another. Maybe for once we'll be done and out quickly.
-- EXTRAS --
Not much here again, a brief exchange with Eiger if going for the bomb approach:
All right, fearless leader. There isn't anything subtle about what we're about to do, and I mean that. They're gonna hear this explosion back in the Kreuzbasar.
That means that when this thing goes off, it's go-time. We need to get to the Engineer before he slips away... if we lose him, we won't find him again.
I'm ready. Do it.
And trying to intimidate the door code out of the informant:
Five hundred. No less. I've gotta make a living, you know.
(Strength 5) I'm going to make your life very painful if you don't tell me that code. Now.
Stop playing, lady. Give me the code.
Welp, so much for that.