One night, as the team was resting up from their previous trials and tribulations, Corn’s commlink let him know that his Smuggler was giving him a call. Answering the call, the smuggler wanted to know how the help provided during the end of the [[Family Matters pt. 3 | Family Matters]] run worked out. Pleased that everything worked out for the best, the contact let Corn know that he had an opportunity that might pay out quite well, and if he was interested, Corn could come meet him at a club called the Assault Course in Fort Lewis. Letting the rest of the team know the possibility of work, they all got in the team’s vehicle and headed out to the meet. Tazer decided to go into the club with Corn, as Pharaoh sat in the car.
The Assault Course was a bar more to Corn’s style. Patrons were given an AR aspected gun after paying the cover charge (3x rate for people with enhanced reflexes) and the more patrons they ‘killed’ in the AR combat zone, the higher discount on their bar tab would be given. The smuggler was holding some high ground on the second story with a group of gangers, but pulled back to one of the booths with cover to explain the opportunity that presented itself.
“So I have this chance to expand my area, as it were. Just picked up a real foot in the door sort of deal with this group. They need weapons and are paying a premium for them. But, they’re out in California… floating about five miles off the coast of Santa Barbara in fact. I was able to call in a few favors and have a large shipment available to take down to them. The problem I have is none of my people have any contacts in California, and they’re not willing to risk their hoop going into the unknown. So, I’m calling in my favor from you. I need someone to deliver these two crates worth of equipment down and drop them both off. You don’t have to worry about payment, since we’re handling that on the back end. Also, the hand off is scheduled for three weeks from today, so you have some time to plan your route. I can also supply you with a few different vehicles to take down there if necessary, just in case your ride isn’t built for hiding things you don’t want other people to find.”
It was at this point that Corn called up Tazer, since he wasn’t good at negotiation, nor was the team willing to do the job for free, just because Corn owed the smuggler a favor. The negotiations, however, didn’t go all that well. But in the end the smuggler agreed to pay for all reasonable expenses, plus a percentage of the ‘Early delivery bonus’ if the team got the guns there earlier than expected. Accepting the job, the team decided on taking the smuggler’s 18 Wheeler with hidden compartments for the long haul. Since they had to deliver the goods out in the middle of the ocean (And the greater than expected missions involving water), they also decided to try and hunt down a cheap boat they could use. This would also be part of their cover story, in that they were delivering a boat to a private owner from Seattle to Santa Barbara. Finding one for a fairly reduced price, Corn spent some time making sure it was in good working condition while Pharaoh picked up a few odds and ends to add to the boat, as well as taking a VR piloting course so he could learn how to Captain the as of yet unnamed craft. This was easily done in the time it took for the smuggler to make arrangements for the weapons to be delivered and the big rig made available, which took three days.
The pickup address given to them by the fixer was a warehouse in a fairly quiet area of the city. The parking lot held no cars, nor were any people visible on the property. However, as the semi truck pulled up, the front gate opened without anyone making contact or asking why they were there, and the same with the roll up gate once the truck was inside the warehouse proper. No one was available inside, and as the paranoia started to swell, Pharaoh used his radar and found the single individual in the place, hiding in a dark, unlit corner. Still feeling paranoid, Pharaoh then sent out a drone to question the person’s identity. Assuring the team that he was suppose to be there for the delivery, Tazer and Corn got out of the cab as the unknown person started walking forward. As soon as he got a good look at Tazer, he stopped dead in his tracks.
“Am hoping you are really for delivery, and this is not some revenge thing.”
The Russian Mr. Johnson from The World Is Light pt. 3, still wearing his Ushanka stepped into the light proper. The team seemed to rather like the Russian, and suddenly the concern was gone. He let the team know that he was mearly doing this as a favor to the smuggler for some business that he kept close to his chest. Eventually, he stopped for a moment and let the team know that the delivery truck should be here in a few minutes. Good as his word, an Ares delivery van pulled in and stopped next to the semi. Opening the back, the team looked a little aghast at the three, extremely large crates bearing Ares logos and RFID’s filled the van to capacity. Discussing amongst themselves that they are only suppose to be delivering two crates worth of equipment, the Russian gently cleared his throat.
“Da. Is true. Only was to get two crates to pay back favor… but, was already in system. Two is very close to three anyway. Need to pay rent myself, you know?” Laughing about the whole thing, the team opened up the first crate and stood silently for a moment as they looked over what they were to be transporting. Ares’ top of the line assault weapon system, convertible from assault rifle, to carbine, to light machine gun, to sniper rifle; with either an under barrel shotgun or grenade launcher. Each of the twenty total units had all of the convertible parts to make it into anything that someone might need. Corn stood drooling for a few moments over the weapon, until the Russian noticed his desire “It just so happen that I have extra if you want buy. Give you good price on it, since I not pay for any storage or transport yet.” and the twenty units they were transporting quickly became twenty-one. But one of them were going to make the trip back. Corn, grateful for the discount on his latest toy, gave the Russian the contact information for his Arms Dealer, just in case he was looking to offload the other nine quickly. Soon though, the team broke down all the crates and packed up all of the weapons inside the smuggling compartments in the tractor trailer. And soon, they were off on the open road.
The route given to them by Corn’s contact made the trip all the way to the California border effortless. The right words in the right ears at the right time made the checkpoints fly right by. The only stopping point was the border between Tir Tairngire and California Free State. Where the Tir’s guard asked a couple of times if they were sure if they wanted to try their luck. Since its lawless the second they cross the borderline. Assuring the guard they’d be alright, they were waved through. Only to be immediately stopped once they crossed the border by people armed with assault rifles. Demanding to know where they were headed, Pharaoh was notified that someone tried to hack into his commlink (As the Semi was slaved to it) and bounced off of the upgraded Firewall. The guard seemed to receive something over his commlink a few moments afterward, and suddenly most of his bravado evaporated. Getting Tazer’s story of transporting a boat, they just nodded and waved the semi through, before stopping and harassing the next person who looked to pass.
Driving along the roads of CFS was a testimate to the lawlessness of the area. Abandoned wrecks lined sections of the road, reduced to pitted remains from the rain after everything worth even a little money was stripped off and sold for who knows what. After a few hours of driving, Pharaoh noticed that they were being followed by what looked like a half dozen bikers. Undaunted by the biker’s attempted hijacking, with some accurate fire from Corn, magic from Tazer and Pharaoh’s driving, the bikers were tossed aside without even smudging the semi’s paint job. Eventually, the team made it to one of the sections of civilization, pulling into Bakersfield to get some rest for the time being. Refueling the truck and letting Corn sneak off for a short period of time to get a few beers at the local bar.
Heading back out on the road, they left the bastion of civilization and headed out on the final leg of the journey. Finding that the first gangers weren’t satisfied with their fellows being killed, the gang returned with a larger vehicle. An Ares Roadmaster to be specific. What was odd is that the group seemed to be satisfied with hanging back and not harassing the team, as the rigger inside of the Roadmaster tried to quietly hack his way into Pharaoh’s commlink. The team, however, decided to take a direct approach. A hail of bullets cut down most of the bikers and blew out two of the tires from the Roadmaster. Magic made short work of the other bikers, and a exceptionally good number of an Edge boosted Lightning Bolt crashed the Roadmaster and caused a massive amount of damage what was left of the vehicle.
Making it successfully to Santa Barbara, the team found that civilization hadn’t entrenched as deeply as it did in Bakersfield. Damaged and decrepit buildings lined the streets and gangs were prevalent. No one challenged the team, and they made their way to what use to be a marina. Unfortunately, the water was heavily polluted from the massive quake as well as unrestricted dumping. Slowly lowering the boat into the water, Corn noticed something strange and nearly flew out of the boat as he wasn’t fond of water (Due to being so heavily laden with cyberwear he sinks rather than floats). Tazer checked the water astrally and found two toxic water spirits near the boat and starting to manifest. They didn’t, however, stand up to her overcast Stunball, but her dice luck faded at that time and she took some physical damage from drain. Moving through the disgusting slop, Tazer and Pharaoh headed out to the drop point, while Corn stayed back and guarded the truck, as well as making friends with the local gangers after a healthy bribe greased the wheels. The drop off, strangely, went flawlessly. No problems from either party, and the team sped off once the crates were passed over and drove up back to Seattle as fast as they could make the truck go.