The Hell Out of Dodge.   Posted by Enigma.Group: 0
Sonnet
 player, 26 posts
Wed 10 Oct 2018
at 02:37
The Hell Out of Dodge
"Ah." Sonnet nods approvingly and presses a finger against the scanner. He hears a soft click and beep, and the door is opened just enough for him to quickly step inside.

"Mr. Thorogood," he says warmly, extending his hand. "A pleasure to meet in person. That was one hell of an interview.

"I just thought I'd drop in for a quick preliminary chat about your destination options before we start arranging for the paperwork."
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 16 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Wed 10 Oct 2018
at 03:03
The Hell Out of Dodge
A clearly nervous George ushers you inside the surprisingly-nice if slightly sterile flat.  He takes the hand you offer and seems to recover from his own tongue-tiedness after just a brief moment's fumbling.

"And you... You put on a hell of a show.  Mister Enigma assured me I'd get my money's worth and... I dare say he understated quite a bit."

He ushers you to a chair by a table.  Some kind of mass-produced folding plastic and steel consumer staple, but as those go, a surprisingly comfortable one.  The table is quite small, but it appears to be real wood laminate.  Enigma's little safehouse is hardly luxurious, but so far it's outclassing some hotels you've stayed in.

"I must say, you're not the image I had in my head of a shadowrunner," he says with a nervous chuckle. "Nor did the actions of some of your team fit my... preconceived notions.  Give her my regards, if you will... Pax, was it?"

He scratches at his stubble during a brief awkward pause.  "There's a mini-bar with a surprising array of options, if you'd like something?"
Sonnet
 player, 27 posts
Wed 10 Oct 2018
at 20:48
The Hell Out of Dodge
Sonnet answers George's chuckle with a warm one of his own. "Yes, well, not all of us are quite as, ah... rugged as the trids would have it. And I will, thanks. She's a good kid.

"Oh actually sure, something to drink would be great, thank you." He accepts a bottle of juice and settles into the chair, leaning back a little and crossing his legs. "I'm glad you turned to the right fixer for help, Mr. Thorogood--may I call you George? It's not every job you get to walk away from feeling like you actually got some justice done." He takes a deep swig of the juice.

"So. We've got a decent array of options. There are obviously quite a few practical factors we'll need to consider but if you have any hard noes or strong preferences I want to make sure we take them into account. This is your new home we're talking about, after all. And naturally any existing connections are important to know about as well.

"The Pueblo Corporate Council is probably the most straightforward from an immigration standpoint, and while we would want to take some additional steps to secure your continued safety it still seems a promising option. Of course if you would prefer I focus on working through the logistics for Salish, or the CAS, or... Berlin, perhaps? I'm happy to see what can be arranged in a timely manner." He chuckles a little. "Hell, I'm pretty sure I could get you set up in Tir Tairngire if you really wanted, which... you don't."
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 17 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Thu 11 Oct 2018
at 01:54
The Hell Out of Dodge
"Excellent, excellent."  George seems gradually put to ease by your reassuring manner.  Perhaps the glass of bourbon he's sipping is helping as well.

"To tell the truth, Enigma found me.  I simply made a post on Shadowland.  It was ignored for several days before he reached out to me, said it was the kind of thing he could help with.  I feared I was making a deal with the devil.  As bad as things are right now, in some ways it's better than I dared hope."

He mulls the options over carefully.  "The PCC is probably my first choice as well.  I have a little bit of family there, and my documented Ute ancestry means they'll give me a discounted rate on my first 2 residential shares.  From my experience as a journalist, though, there's a bit of a complication.  Operating as a corporation under international laws means the PCC has certain expectations of... transparency.  Many an reporter just like me has used that fact to aid their investigations."

"Nonetheless, anywhere I go I'm hardly going to be out of the reach of Aztechnology.  It's entirely a question of how difficult it is for them to get to me.  And while they might not take too terribly long to find me in the PCC, it might be my best hope for security in several ways - government, money, connections."

"As to the others, I've always wanted to go back to Berlin - haven't been there since the early days.  I'm not the biggest fan of the CAS but there are worse places - it would admittedly be the easiest to adapt to.  The Salish.... it's a nice idea.  But I don't know if the "back-to-nature" lifestyle is really for me."

"In the end, I am deferring to your professional opinions on this.  What are your thoughts, or the thoughts of your team, so far?"
Sonnet
 player, 33 posts
Fri 12 Oct 2018
at 16:44
The Hell Out of Dodge
"Well naturally I don't want to say anything remotely definite before I have a chance to hear back on some inquiries. But I think it makes sense to think of the Pueblo option as Plan A at this point."

He finishes his juice and nods consideringly. "It's good to know we're on about the same page. Close family, by the way?

"If anything else comes up that we need your input on, we'll be in touch. Otherwise, sit tight and relax, and you can expect to see me when it's time for your move. Again, it's been a pleasure." He starts to rise, then smiles again, affably but with a hint of mirth. "Unless you've been feeling the isolation? I do have an hour or so to spare. And a deck of cards."
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 21 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Sat 13 Oct 2018
at 04:11
The Hell Out of Dodge
George shakes his head.  "I don't really have any close family left."

He stares into his glass for a long moment.  "In a lot of ways, Ludmila was the closest 'family' I had."  Oh dear.  It seems he might be deeper in his cups than you thought.
Sonnet
 player, 35 posts
Sat 13 Oct 2018
at 11:33
The Hell Out of Dodge
Sorrow darkens Sonnet's face. "I'm sorry. Truly. She sounds like a remarkable woman."

He watches George carefully through soft and sympathetic eyes.

"I wish there were more we could have done. I'm glad we got the story out, of course, and I'm 90% sure the shitheel mage  we grabbed is the same one who killed her, so that's... something, I guess. Not fragging much."

This wasn't the plan, but he does have the time, and he's pretty sure he can see what George needs at the moment. "Could you... tell me a little about her?"
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 22 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Tue 16 Oct 2018
at 03:21
The Hell Out of Dodge
"Yep," he says softly, to himself.  "Definitely not what I expected."

George sighs, and rubs his eyes.  "It's alright... pretending to care isn't part of the job."

It doesn't take much of a nudge, just your best genuine sympathetic face (hell, maybe it IS genuine) to get him past this.

"God damn.  I told the fixer I wanted this conducted as ethically as possible... who knew I was hiring actual good people?  You... you don't know just how valuable you are, do you?"  Your eyes flit to the corners of his eyes... surprisingly, you don't spot tears beading there.  Something in George is harder than you estimated.  Some deeply ingrained cynicism, you guess.

"Ludmila was like that.  Believed in something.  Truth, I guess, and that it still mattered.  She was... unbroken by this world.  Until she was."

He sets down the glass with a faint clink that rings in the silence.  "I'm glad you got her killer.  But revenge was never the plan.  Never what she would have wanted.  She wanted the truth to come out.  It was inspiring, really.  Hadn't seen that fire in years - like I was, when I was younger, but... she was more so.  A hundred times more."

"Do you think it'll make a difference?  The story, her story?"
Sonnet
 player, 37 posts
Wed 17 Oct 2018
at 00:02
The Hell Out of Dodge
Sonnet takes a deep breath and slowly lets it out. "Wish I knew. It's a shit enough world that it's hard to say. But... I actually think it might? They were clearly banking heavily on being able to keep this under wraps for longer." He tilts his head in a grim half-shrug. "Bare minimum, I guess we saved the next few rounds of poor slots who would've been... harvested."

Having made the miscalculation of finishing his beverage, he glances at his hands and sighs before continuing. "I know the kind of fire you're talking about, I think. Haven't seen it in... quite a while, myself. But I don't think it's something you forget. Kind of in awe of anyone with open eyes who can keep that kind of faith going.  Makes you want to try to live up to..." He shakes his head, cuts himself off.

"I can't tell you if it was worth it, George. You're the one who made the sacrifice. If you want my distinctly unprofessional opinion, it was probably as good a reason to go all in as you were ever gonna get. I think maybe I'd rather regret doing something like this than regret not doing it.

"I guess we just... hope she was right."
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 24 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Sun 21 Oct 2018
at 02:47
The Hell Out of Dodge
George chuckles under his breath, mirthlessly.

"You're either a world-class liar, or you're more optimistic than me."  He wipes a film of bourbon off his upper lip, and sits up a little straighter.

"Or more of an idealist.  But not more so than Ludmila was.  You ever meet someone who... is just filled with such a fire that you don't believe you were ever even capable of such intensity?  You should think them a fool, but you just can't.  Something in them burns so brightly that you start to believe, despite yourself."

He sighs, and slumps back, raising his glass in a toast.  "The whole thing was a terrible idea, that will never work.  But Ludmila would have done it anyway."

A delicate sip, and a thoughtful moment.  "That was the point, I guess.  To give her one last moment of will in the world.  A chance to make some kind of mark on it."
Sonnet
 player, 38 posts
Sun 21 Oct 2018
at 19:00
The Hell Out of Dodge
Sonnet nods mutely, sighing, then gets up and rifles through the bottles for a passable whiskey. He pours himself a tumbler as he sinks back into the chair.

"In that case...cheers. I'd toss everything down the shitter for that, in a fragging heartbeat." He takes a long swig, and chuckles, one side of his mouth curling wryly. "Of course, I have always been a paragon of good life choices. Real role model material. But really, I get it. I do."

He refills and raises his drink. "To the true believers, then. The ones who could shine bright enough to make us forget what we are. And to all the beautiful stupid shit we'd do for them."
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 25 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Mon 22 Oct 2018
at 17:36
The Hell Out of Dodge
George returns the toast, raising his glass high to yours and taking another small sip.

"You know, I never did ask your name?  Or... alias, or whatever you call it."  He seems to have gradually grown more comfortable in your presence - nervousness giving way to gratefulness for the company.

"It sounds to me like you have a story to share, chummer."
Sonnet
 player, 39 posts
Mon 22 Oct 2018
at 19:29
The Hell Out of Dodge
He quirks up an eyebrow, looking momentarily confused.

"My apologies. Sonnet, at your service." He spirals his hand down from his head in a facetiously extravagant salute. "And I have a plethora of stories to share, if you fancy. All entertaining. Many factual. I could keep you diverted indefinitely; I don't get tired of hearing my own voice."

He lets the humorous sparkle drain gently into a soft reluctance. "But the one you're angling for, you've already gotten quite as much as anyone has since I got into the business, and I'm afraid that's not solely for the aesthetic appeal of mystique. I do hate to disappoint you."

This message was last edited by the player at 19:36, Mon 22 Oct 2018.

George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 27 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Mon 22 Oct 2018
at 21:01
The Hell Out of Dodge
"Fair enough, fair enough..." George nods thoughtfully.

"Will you, perhaps, allow me a theory?"  He leans forward and squints a little.  "You've got ties to the Tir.  That much is fairly obvious - and a handle like 'Sonnet' pretty well confirms it.  Not untroubled ones, I can tell from your earlier mention of the place.  Your view of them is on the cynical side."

He sips from his glass, buying himself a moment to connect a few more thoughts.  "Now, I suppose this is more of a reach, but I suspect your true believer has something to do with that.  Some firebrand down in CalFree, perhaps?"
Sonnet
 player, 40 posts
Tue 23 Oct 2018
at 00:08
The Hell Out of Dodge
Sonnet listens with a cocked brow and a slowly broadening smile. When George finishes, he laughs--warmly--and raises his glass in appreciation. He downs it in a swig.

"I like it. Go with that. It wants some spice added, certainly, but it's a fine base." After a pause, he allows, "As you say, southern connections are an obvious inference."
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 28 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Sat 27 Oct 2018
at 06:04
The Hell Out of Dodge
George chuckles, staring into his glass.  "That far off, eh?  I guess my journalistic instincts don't bode well for my survival.  Don't worry, I won't press."

He tips another mini bottle of the bourbon into his glass and leans forward, hunching with his elbow on his knee and his glass at eye level as he meets your eyes.

"Let me propose another toast, then.  To the ones we've lost, may the world one day deserve all they gave to it.  And to all our mistakes - the ones we'll never forget as well as those we'll never regret."

He toasts you solemnly, and sips, his eyes wandering thoughtfully to the floor.  "Me... I did it anyway, but I wish I believed it.  Instead, I'm just afraid.  Afraid I'm going to die for this. Afraid you will too.  I'm worried we're just building a chain, link by link, of people getting themselves killed for the sake of people who are already dead."

This message was last edited by the player at 06:10, Sat 27 Oct 2018.

Sonnet
 player, 41 posts
Mon 29 Oct 2018
at 15:20
The Hell Out of Dodge
"Well I won't sit here and tell you not to be afraid of the Azzies. Or try to pollyanna your spirits up. We are going to  do our level best to give you the best odds we can; that much I can promise you. This one's more than a payday." He smiles wryly, a glint returning to his eye. "But not too much more, I assure you. There's no need to start fretting over your extraction team. If I'm not around to sing at your eventual funeral it's vanishingly unlikely to have anything to do with you."

Another pour, another sip, another shift towards a sober tone. "I don't know shit about what anything means, George, but I can tell you this much. This part here? Isolated and waiting? This is the worst of it, by light years. I know how rough it is, believe me. Once you're back in motion... well, I highly recommend keeping as occupied as possible. Without poking hornets' nests, if you'd be so kind. But once you're in the thick of things, starting over might not be nearly as bad as you expect. Provided you genuinely want to keep going, of course, but I'm not getting a ready to lie down vibe, not really."
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 29 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Tue 30 Oct 2018
at 00:21
The Hell Out of Dodge
George chuckles at this, a little less bitterly.  "Not so much, no.  Solid advice."

"And you don't need to worry about me stirring up any further trouble.  It's far from my usual ouvre."

He raises his glass to you once more.  "To new beginnings, then."
Sonnet
 player, 42 posts
Tue 30 Oct 2018
at 00:31
The Hell Out of Dodge
"New beginnings." Sonnet grins. "And sunnier days, at least literally."

His brow furrows briefly as he sets down his glass. "Oh by the way, if you don't mind my asking--how did you happen to know Pax's name, out of the lot of us?"
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 31 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Tue 30 Oct 2018
at 00:49
The Hell Out of Dodge
"Oh, she didn't mention?"  The smirk he doesn't completely suppress tells you he's not really surprised.

"She paid me a visit shortly after the job.  We had a nice little chat.  Lovely girl.  Slightly odd."
Sonnet
 player, 43 posts
Tue 30 Oct 2018
at 01:04
The Hell Out of Dodge
Sonnet lets out a laugh that is almost a groan, grimacing in fond despair as his forehead falls against his palm. "Ooof course she did. I probably should've guessed, the way she was right after. I half expect she'll give me grey hairs one of these days." He shakes his head, smiles again. "Fortunate that you turned out to be... you."
George Eustace Thorogood
 NPC, 32 posts
 Seattle Stranger Writer
 Ludmila's friend
Sun 11 Nov 2018
at 06:39
The Hell Out of Dodge
George chuckles - with some genuine mirth this time.  Looks like your visit has been a success.

"Well... at least one of us is glad I'm me right now."  His eyes twinkle as he makes eye contact with yours, your hands falling into the easy rhythm of toast-making.  From there the evening goes a carefully planned margin of off-the-rails, resulting in George having a few drinks too many, and Sonnet much fewer than he seemed to.
Game Master
 GM, 43 posts
Sun 11 Nov 2018
at 06:39
The Hell Out of Dodge
You bid a much-brightened George a good night later that evening - he's almost asleep already as you're leaving.  Good.  He'll need the rest.  You head home and make an early night of it.  Tomorrow the group convenes for planning.

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:40, Sun 11 Nov 2018.

Red
 player, 8 posts
Mon 12 Nov 2018
at 19:17
The Hell Out of Dodge
After a debrief from Sonnet (at least the parts Sonnet felt willing to share) Red comms Enigma  "Boss,  you mentioned a budget for incidentals on this one.  Will they stretch to a decent SIN and a share of PCC Preferred?"
Enigma
 NPC, 10 posts
 Fixer Extraordinaire
Mon 12 Nov 2018
at 21:08
The Hell Out of Dodge
"Certainly."  Enigma's image appears to be typing on a keyboard and peering at a screen.

"With George's discount we could afford two shares for him, which might grant him a certain level of... safety, above and beyond the usual. That and the SIN would nearly exhaust the budget, but it might be a sensible investment if you don't have other significant expenses."

"Of course, if you do, you might be able to get by with the additional cash from buying just one share."