The virtual image shuddered, static rolling through the it destroying it near perfect reality for an instant before it solidified once again. It showed a tall man, deeply tanned and slightly overweight. Still he held himself when a powerful bearing, hard face and steely grey eyes banishing any hint of softness his body might hint at. A crisp MetroPolice uniform, faultlessly tailored completed the image of a man used to control and power.
"I'm sure you understand just how much out of the ordinary this situation is, Dr. Morsham but we've run out of options." The holo glanced around the room. "Considering the nature of your…project this case seems well suited." Well suited, that meant high risk. The collective thought went through the room in silence, betrayed only a smirk here and there.
Morsham just nodded, lips pressed in tight line,"I don't know if I share you're opinion, Chief Donovan, perhaps you should tell us what this case entails?"
"Genehackers." Donovan replied, frown deepening, "a ring of them operating out the Sprawl. For awhile from what we dug, very low key The initial investigation was going fine, the ringleaders had bene isolated and we were going for the close when the shit hit the vent. We sent in units to round the heads namely a Mara Kimigure and Anatole Fisher." Blink saw April's face go slack in surprise. Snapping her mouth shut she quickly covered. If Donovan saw he didn't reaction. Perhaps his feed wasn't very good. "Anyway, the two sent after Fisher just disappeared. No call in, no bodies, nothing."
"And the other one?" Dr Lee asked steepling his long skinny fingers over his nose.
"We found them…what was left of them anyway. One was dead in Kimgure's apartment." There was flash in those steely eyes. Cop killers always earned a special place in Metro's heart. "The other officers turned up just two days ago. Some Sprawlbrats dragged him on their motoscoot…looking for some creds I suppose. Guy's lucky he didn't end up in a chopshop."
"He's alive then?" April asked, still a little pale.
Donovan nodded slightly. "if you want to call it that…he's been comatose ever since, complete mental flatline."
"Did anyone manage to find out exactly where the officer was found, other than 'in the Sprawl', sir?" Jennifer spoke up. "That could tell us something…"
Frowning the chief replied, "Good Question, the kids that brought him ghosted once the heat came up…damnedest thing, like people just forget they were there…" Rubbing his chin, he continued, "We've put out a net for any information but the Sprawl's practically a Zero Zone for informants."
Lee smirked, "Maybe if the Metros did more than buzz by to count bodies…"
Blink looked at April. "What's the matter?" she whispered. "You look like a ghost. Sprawl, Genehackers….sounds like my department. Null perspiration for you."
April started at the sound of Blink's voice, then gave a thin little smile. "I'll talk to you about it… a little later."
Circe sat back and watched the captain. Sounds like the brain-dead cop is for me… Wonder what happened to mess him up so bad, she thought. Shouldn't be too tough to bring up 'something'…
Jennifer glanced over at Mar– Circe when we're on the job, she reminded herself. Hopefully, she'll be able to get something out of that officer.
Dr Morsham nodded,"the Purgatory Project is at you disposal Chief Donovan. Shall we continue this in person?"
The holo flickered, static crawling across the chief's face, head seeming to jump and bob rather than nod. "We'll send a transport."
"No. We'll come to you. The location of this facility is need to know." Lee put in, grinning as a angry flush crept into the Metro cops cheeks.
Jennifer quickly tapped a message out on the terminal in front of her, addressed to Lee. Please don't bait him… remember that if he gets pissed, I'm the one who'll likely have to take the heat since I'm the liaison with regular law enforcement…
Lee shot her an apologetic smile. Jennifer noted for the first time that he wasn't really much older than her. Not at all. When she looked away, she caught Morsham looking between them, same tight lipped frown on her face.
He's not my type. Jennifer sent the message to Morsham.
The older woman's cheeks colored. She quickly looked back to the holo.
"Seeing as this involves my field," April spoke up suddenly, clearing her throat. "I'd like to accompany the team on this mission."
Blink snapped her head over to look at April. "What? Are you nuts, April?" she whispered. "After what happened the last time this group went out? I'm sorry." she said. "I don't have the right to tell you what to do."
"Thank you, I know this is irregular." April said quietly, unable to meet anyone's eyes it seemed. Maybe one day I'll be able to explain it to you.
Morsham nodded, "A bit but this is more in you're field than mine." Something implied she knew, or perhaps had deduced more about the missing doctor than she chose to let on.
Warp studied the available info and looked around to see if the catwoman were going to be joining them. Where was Sheba, now that he thought of it. She wasn't used to the high tech quite yet. In fact was down right nervous when it came to such things.
"All right. We'll be departing in an hour chief," Morsham said. He nodded and the images faded.
"All right, if we're going into the Sprawl, I have some contacts there. I also need a cyberdeck, and I'll have to get some ICEbreakers and other warez. Everyone goes in loaded for bear, sticks together. Separate means dead, if you don't know what or where you belong. I have a bit of a rep, so I can keep us cohesive in there. I know I'm not the leader, but I know the Sprawl. Any of you have better ideas, speak up now." Blink looked at April, then to the others. "Dr. Morsham, IF we actually go into the Sprawl, these pea-shooters won't mean drek. When I say loaded for bear, I mean it." Blink sighed inwardly. That ought to lose me a few more points… of course, maybe they'll charge it up to hormones, she smiled wryly.
Like none of us has never been to the sprawl before. Wonder if we'll be near my old hideout? Warp looked over the coordinates to see how close they were to his hideout. His set up wasn't very near the precinct station… for obvious reasons.
"You aren't going to get much better than 15mm caseless Blink, unless you are advocating carrying assault rifles." Morsham replied. "Holly, you and Ellce start the preflight check and well get them underway."
Jennifer concentrated on her screen. Hol, please do a lookup of all information related to Mara Kimigure and Anatole Fisher–the usual investigative workup, but make sure you include known friends and associates.
"Already in progress, Photon." Holly said," Should I download directly to you or post it on a BBS?"
"I was thinking about shouting it through a bullhorn from the top of the tallest building in the metroplex, myself, but I suppose you'll have to just download it directly to me."
"It's pleasant to indulge in snappy dialogue again. Much like a custom." Holly said.
Circe looked at Blink. "Dr. Morsham, perhaps Blink is right. There IS a certain mentality that area has, and she may have the right idea. Maybe assault rifles aren't such a bad idea. Knives, our uniforms provide the armor. No one will talk to us if we look like we don't know what we're doing." She turned to Jennifer. "Are you sure you're up to it, Photon?"
"I'm up to it," Jennifer replied. A night's uninterrupted, dreamless (she'd been too exhausted to dream) sleep had done wonders, though she still didn't want to think about it too much. "But I seem to be developing a reputation… a few too many times on the vids with the rest of the Knights, I think, combined with one very distinctive feature. One of the sisters at that orphanage," she glanced over at her brother, "even termed me a 'celebrity.' It may not be a good idea to take me into the Sprawl."
Von Schmiessen got up from his seat where he had been listening intently. "You can never be too well armed when venturing into urban operations. Assault rifles and enhanced armor for those who need it would be ideal. If Blink so desires, I can help to plan our strategy in regards to how the mission should proceed. I always believe in seeking the advice from the best sources."
Coughing quietly, Dr Lee caught everyone's attention. "You might want to cypher cutting back on the heavy ops look…big gats, uni's its all going either vape those you want to chat up or turn them on you. Go looking like trouble…you get trouble." He grinned. "trust me I grew up there…"
"I understood that." Holly sounded pleased.
"Holly, can you please send all available info to me over at my quarters? I'll trans it to a deck so I can keep it with me. Also, can you light the path to the decks you told me about earlier? I'll load it up if you haven't already." Blink headed to the door, then stopped and looked back at April. "Don't forget to armor up, doc. Speak softly, but carry a big gun, too." She headed out the door, toward her quarters. "What the hell has gotten into April?" she mumbled. "Holly, it'd be much easier if I could 'face with you…"
Circe also stood to walk out. "I'd better suit up as well. I'm not crazy about this in general, but we should be prepared." She walked out as well, heading to her quarters.
"I suggest we leave the big guns and heavy armor in the plane until we need them . Carry concealable weapons and armor that looks more like normal clothing." Warp suggested.
Jennifer sighed. "So, speak softly and carry a big stick behind your back is the order of the day, hmm? I'd better go dig up a less conspicuous uniform and a weapon, then… Hol, send that info to the terminal in my room, would you?"
"Certified, glo-girl. I thought the modification to Go-girl made sense,"Holly said.