[August 23, 2072, Personas non Gratis, Seattle]
Emerald had spent a rather relaxing, yet challenging, five weeks. After getting back from San Bernadino, she got her shop up and running again, and the left it in the capable hands of the Brothers Galise while she went on another one of her wilderness retreats. She’d used some contacts to do a rather complex deal, resulting in one form of Focus being swapped for one more suitable to her needs. In anticipation of the end result, she needed to retreat to the woods where she could learn new ways.
She spent three weeks with the Salish-Shidhe in the Snoqualmie Forest. During her stay she studied the art of raising herself and /or other people and objects off the ground. She also improved her ways of influencing others by getting in touch with their minds. Of course, all of this brought her to a heightened state of relaxation, and it took quite an effort to return to the darkness of Seattle.
She’d been back in town about a week. She actually explored options of selling her business and maybe retreating to the wood permanently when . . . . .
[2PM]. . . . . her comlink sounded. A rather shaken Jayna, her blogger contact, pleaded for her help, sending an address in the warehouse district in Everett, amidst the sound of gunfire and rang off. Suddenly Emerald was a Runner again. Leaving the shop she contacted the Team and roared off on her motorcycle, hoping she would get there in time.
[August 23, 2072, Everett, Seattle]
She arrived to see TPK Security had sealed off the area. As she tried to approach and sneak by she was warned off by one of their goons, who claimed they were here hunting some ghouls. Fortunately, the others arrived. Doc quickly learned that the security perimeter included some jamming so he could not contact anyone inside. They were going to have to breach this somehow. Delta was able to go ‘stealth’ and get on the roof of the warehouse where he found a uniformed guard keeping a watch. Delta was able to thermal image someone in the NW corner in the building.
Emerald realized that this must be Jayna’s hideout. She gave Doc access to the sewers by raising the manhole cover. Then she took Jinx and herself up to the roof, where she used her newly learned mental powers to get the guard to ‘take a break at Mr. Cake.’ Looking down through the permanently closed skylight, they saw a pro group performing a sweep that would eventually take them to that NW corner. This group had come in a black van belonging to ’Squeaky Cleaning.’ Hmmmm . . . .
While Doc bluffed his way through the sewers only to find the final latch really locked, those on the roof hatched a plan. Delta snuck down and noisily opened a door, then hid behind it. Emerald created an image of a fleeing Jayna, dark her, brown skin, ducking, darting, out the door and around a corner. The ‘cleaners’ took off in pursuit, shooting the legs out of the water tower in the process, crashing down a wall of a nearby building and sending a flood of water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Delta was able to get through the warehouse to the safe room where he faced the real Jayna pointing a gun in his face. Emerald suggested ‘Persona non gratis’ as a safe word and once he said it, things got calmer. They made their way back into an alley where Emerald convinced the driver of the van to let them take it for a ride.
As they escaped, she told her tale. She was in the process of looking into the night club attack of some months back, when she apparently tripped some switch and they got on to her. They had come here with clear orders to ‘terminate.’ She had made a connection between that attack, the ship the Roger Ravelle, and the importing of that new drug, Tempo. She had also come across a Detective Elizabeth Hawthorne who was somehow involved. This rang a bell. Emerald checked her diary and sure enough, Hawthorne, of Knight Errant, had been the one investigating the warehouse break-ins that they had investigated at the request of Acey Lee back in June. Jayna had also learned that there was a hit about to happen to Ms. Hawthone at an exit ramp of Highway 99 in less than half an hour. Emerald and Jinx fired up their bikes and raced off to stop the hit. Meanwhile, Doc let his fingers do the walking and contacted Hawthorne, informing her of her upcoming demise and suggesting she meet with them instead of dying. She agreed, and set up a meet at Larry’s Bar. Doc and Delta headed over there, dropping Jayna off somewhere along their way.
Undeterred, Emerald and Jinx continued to the site and found another black van from, you guessed it, Squeaky Cleaning lying in wait behind a billboard. Emerald let sleeping dogs lie, but did topple the billboard before heading off to the meet. It was about this time that Emerald finally understood what ‘cleaning’ meant.
[August 23, 2072, 4PM, Larry’s Bar, Downtown, Seattle]
Elizabeth Hawthorne was a 5’6” red haired female, who was unusually forthcoming for an employee of Knight Errant. She admitted that she was working the case and felt she was getting closer to the Roger Revelle-Tempo connection, however . . . . there seemed to be one roadblock. Another detective, Patricia Conner, seemed to get these cases assigned to her. And then, well, they went nowhere fast. In short, Hawthorne was asking Emerald and the Gems for their help. A member of Knight Errant was asking suspected shadow runners for help. Not that those terms were ever used in the delicate negotiations.
Hawthorne explained what she needed-access to Connor’s files. Doc figured this was ‘piece of cake doable’ until Hawthorne explained about the nature of these files. It seems for security reasons, they had gone old school. Sensitive files were NOT keep in data form. Instead they were actually printed on something called paper and then put in something called a vault so that way no simple hack could get at them. In order to get these files, the Team was going to have to actually go in to the central office of Knight Errant in downtown Seattle. No, not a piece of cake, instead a whole loaf of trouble.
Using various contacts they were able to get a rough sketch of the inside of the building and the way to the evidence vault. They also learned of the many layers of security that were in place protecting this valuable area. The building was regularly serviced by Strickland Spotless Cleaners which produced one possible means of entry. The biggest stumbling block appeared to be the need for a retinal scan to get near the vault.
The Team would spend the next days or week working out the details. Delta would monitor the cleaners’ arrival and departure, their route, and maybe even try to get a job with them. Emerald would shadow Detective Connor to see what she was up to, what she was like, and learn her mannerisms just in case. Doc would work on the retinal scan problem. And Jinx, well, Jinx would party. Er, well, OK, she would look into the cleaners’ uniforms-where they got them cleaned, where they were manufactured, because that seemed the best of the possible impersonations they might try. . . . .