Part one: "Staff Meeting"

Posted 24 Oct 92 18:55:00 GMT

Article: 996 of alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo Newsgroups: alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo Subject: Silk and Steel, Part 1 Date: 24 Oct 92 18:55:00 GMT Lines: 243   Silk and Steel, Part one: "Staff Meeting" Copyright October 1992 by Jay B. Brandt, all rights reserved   -------------------------------------------------------------- Special thanks to Liralen Li and Hubert Bartels, who encouraged me to write and post some of my own stories. This first attempt on my part at writing Cyberpunk tales is dedicated to them. Domo Arigato! --------------------------------------------------------------   -------------------------------------------------------------- Lance and his chummers were out in the Seattle Sprawl, looking for a little fast action. They had a few more hours to kill before the rest of their go-gang was supposed to meet over by the old warehouse on 122nd. Skrag kept insisting that the next bar would be better, that one of the rich bitches that hung out there would be good for a fun time for all three of them. Course, the skirt might not think it was much fun, but that was her problem, neh? Their bikes were hidden back in the alley, with Spinner and Skrag. Lance came back around the corner and into the alley, and motioned for the others to take cover. This time he spotted something promising on his recon.   The girl must be slumming. She stopped at the entrance to the alley, as if she had lost her way. She was about five and a half feet tall, with curly shoulder-length brown hair and a clear, tanned complexion. Maybe 20, 22 years old, tops. Her clothes would have been fine in any salaryman's pick-up bar, but here they just marked her as easy prey. Spinner looked her over hungrily. Her black silk leotard top hugged every gorgeous curve, like it was painted on, and exposed a generous amount of cleavage. She wore a scarlet silk wrap-around miniskirt topped with a four-inch wide matching sash, between which she had wrapped a single length of gold silk cord, and thick as Spinner's thumb. The fringed tassels on the end of the cord were looped over each other, hanging down on one hip. Black silk stockings and loose, ankle-high red boots with two inch heels completed the outfit.   The only thing she seemed to have that resembled a weapon was some sort of walking stick. It was a featureless cylinder, about five feet long and maybe an inch and a half in diameter. Seemed to be made of some sort of dark material, like polycarbon. No room to hide any other weapons, not in that outfit. She looked like money. Silk clothes like those don't come cheap. No purse, and no jewelry to speak of, aside from a couple gold hair clips studded with obviously fake rubies. Maybe she was some salaryman's mistress, or a high-pay call girl. Whatever she is, thought Spinner, she's going to be the nicest piece he's had in months.   A rat scurried across the alley and over one of her feet, and she jumped and poked at it ineffectualy with the staff, like she was scared of touching the rat. Must be why she had the damned pole, to fend off the animal life of the Sprawl. "No prob" thought Spinner. He glanced at his gang members, and gave them the hand signal for 'no guns'. He wanted this one alive and able to please them. Lance put his Aries Predator back into the saddlebag of his bike, and put a chromed set of brass knuckles on each hand. Skrag slung his rifle back over his shoulder, and hauled out a long machete. Spinner took out a set of 'chucks, and stepped out from behind the dumpster, blocking her from going on down the street.   --------------------------------------------------------------   Shadowcat walked out of the club. No action tonight. Not even a nibble. Argus had been right. She should never have come to this part of town this late at night. She wasn't going to find what she was looking for tonight. A few of the human vermin in the alleyways had checked her out, but let her go by unopposed when it appeared she had nothing worth stealing. She didn't even give them a second thought. No, they weren't the kind of men she sought. Not worth her time. She stopped at the corner of the building and looked around, trying to decide which way to go. A large gray rat ran right over one boot, and she jumped a bit and absently pushed away at it with her staff. Where in hell was Argus now, she wondered.   A voice from the alley shattered her thoughts. A scruffy looking young man in bikers leathers with gang tattoos on his face and hands had stepped out in front of her and was blocking her way. Two more lurked in the shadows, with several rats. "Hmmmm" she thought "they're in good company, for a batch of would-be rapists. And ankle deep in garbage without even noticing it. How appropriate."   --------------------------------------------------------------   "Hey little bird, fly over this way." said Spinner as he motioned her towards the alley with the nunchaku. "Heh heh. I got something here for you to perch on." He flipped the chucks out with his right hand, while crudely grabbing for his crotch with the other. The chucks buzzed in a threateningly fast figure eight, and flipped back to a ready position under his right arm. "Cummon girl, we ain't got all night."   --------------------------------------------------------------   She looked at him blankly for a moment, then moved slowly into the darkened alley. "What do you want? I don't have any money."   Spinner chuckled. She couldn't be that dense, could she? He looked at her eyes. Naw, she don't look stoned. "It ain't money we want cutie" he growled. "You're gonna make me an my two pals here real happy, or we're gonna make you real dead, got it! You some kinda joy girl? Well, you give us your best, an we might even let ya walk away when we're done. Howzat." Lance and Skrag moved over to Spinner, blocking any chance of escape from the dead-end alley. They slowly forced her further back, away from the lights of the street.   Her eyes lit up. "Oh! Well, it's been a while since I partied with three big guys like you." She held the staff loosely in her left hand, and ran her right hand seductively down her chest, lingering on one breast, and moving slowly toward the knot on her sash. "One at a time, or do you all want to give me a go at once?"   Spinner laughed. It had a decidedly nasty edge to it. "All at once sweetheart. Take us round the world. Now put down that stick and strip. When you're stripped far enough to do a three-way, we all party." They moved into a loose crescent in front of her, Skrag in the middle, with Lance and Spinner on either side.   --------------------------------------------------------------   She looked at the men, the rats, the garbage. Hell of a place to die, she thought. Well, it isn't going to be me. Not tonight. She unsnapped the wraparound skirt and tossed it in Skrag's face.   --------------------------------------------------------------   Lance and Spinner whistled at what was revealed. She wasn't wearing anything under the skirt other than the garter belt that held up the stockings. Their eyes locked on the sights revealed, they lowered their weapons a bit in anticipation of pleasures to come.   --------------------------------------------------------------   As the men were distracted, she struck. Her staff whipped up, catching Skrag squarely between the legs. As he doubled over clutching his groin, she snapped the staff into a Bo staff combat stance. Spinner lashed out with the chucks, and she blocked them easily with the polycarbon staff. Lance roared and rushed toward her. The staff is pointed at his onrushing form, and a five-inch blade snaps out of the end, transforming it into a spear. Lance grunts in surprise and attempts to twist out of the way, the spearpoint catching him in the hip. As he drops, clutching at the shaft, she gives a twist to her end, releasing the top eight inches of the staff and unsheathing the straight, 30 inch Japanese sword of a practitioner of Ninjitsu. The glittering blade flashes out, severing the cord of Spinner's chucks, and sending one half flying down the alley. Spinner cuts and runs. He's had enough. She hasn't, however. Her right hand darts to her sash and extracts a Shuriken, which sails after Spinner, catching him in the back of the thigh. "A little something to remember me by, 'sweetheart'!" she calls out as he drags himself out of the alley. "Think twice the next time you're tempted to take a girl by force."   --------------------------------------------------------------   Skrag limps behind the dumpster and throws down the machete in disgust. Just our fuckin' luck. The bitch is some sort of Ronin. Spinner's turned tail. I'll even the score with him later. Lance is out of it -- seems to have gone into shock. Well, I'll have the last laugh here. He hauls out the rifle and aims it at the girl from fifteen feet away. "OK bitch, party's over! That trick staff 'n sword ain't gonna help you 'gainst a gun. Drop it! Drop it now or I blow you away."   --------------------------------------------------------------   She turns toward the remaining biker, the sword cocked back level over her shoulder, as if ready to attack. Too far to charge him with the sword. She glances around. One assailant has fled, and the other is bleeding bad, out cold. Must have slipped the point clean through into the big artery in the groin. Sword still on her shoulder, she turns toward the punk with the gun. As she does so, a small red dot appears on his neck. She smiles. There is a quiet jet of air from the pommel of her sword, and the biker folds over the dumpster, grasping at the tranq dart in his neck. A second dart hits home in the wounded man, ensuring he won't wake up soon, and she turns off the laser sight in the hilt of the sword. She pulls the staff/spear from his wound, and carefully wipes the spearpoint off on his shirt before retracting the blade. Sheathing the sword back in the staff, she steps out into the street and looks around. The third one made it all of twenty feet, before the venom on the Shuriken took its toll. She drags him back into the alley, dumping all three bikers in a heap behind the dumpster. Retrieving her throwing star, she wipes it off carefully as well, before replacing it in the glove-soft leather sheath on the inside of her sash with its three sisters.   She looks around, finds her skirt, and puts it back on, then heads to the ten-foot wall at the back of the alley. Another manipulation of the staff, and several projections smoothly fold out from the sides, with a sharp hook at the top that turns it into a scaling ladder. She climbs the wall, and turns back to face the alley. Drawing up the monk's staff, she retracted the ladder rungs, and once again held just a simple black staff. She takes a moment to dance through a kata on top of the wall. The moonlight glints off the blades as the staff displays its versatile nature. A final manipulation, and the staff splits into two shorter sections, two and three feet long. She fastens them both into her sash as the twin swords of a Samurai or a Ninja, draws the long and short blades, and crosses them dramatically over her head.   Everything is still, save for four large rats at various places in the alley, all intently watching her. She laughs, resheaths the swords, and touches the spot in her mind that opens a comm-link with Argus. "Well partner, how did it look? Your little friends down there get a good view of the show? Think our clients will buy the product?"   The lifelike mechanical rat closest to her reared up on its hind legs and made a clumsy attempt at a bow. Argus' voice came through into her inner ear. "Good show Shadowcat. Got it from four angles from my remotes, plus a personal view from the minicams in your hair clips, in both IR and visible light. But I still say if you'd go for a set of Zeiss-Icon eyes, we could make a good haul on the simstim market too. You'd be a knockout!"   She snapped back "We already had that argument. No go! I told you, I draw the line at the cyberlink, head-phone and cellular modem I need to run my cyberdeck and communicate with you. No more implants! I like my body just the way it is."   Argus chuckled, "OK lover, OK. Aki says the Brotherhood will undoubtedly be pleased. We'll show it to them at Virtually There, as soon as I alter the video chips to disguise your identity. Now clear out of there and get jacked in. The clean-up crew's already on the way to pick up the scumbags bikes and other gear for resale. Any need to call in the ghouls for terminals?"   She looked down again. "I don't think so. One of them has a pretty bad gash in the groin, but his buddies should wake up in time to get him help. Assuming, of course, no one offs them while they're tranked. Well, that's their problem. Good karma for them to be the helpless ones for a change. OK, I'm out of here. Meet you at the Chatsubo, on Friday?"   "Will do Shadowcat. See ya there. Argus out."   Shadowcat dances across the rooftops, using the staff as needed, and finally returns to the street near the safe-house she leased earlier for this operation. A quick check of the telltales indicates no one has disturbed the place. Who would want to? It looks like hell outside, and inside's not much better. But it has the basic necessities, including power and a secure access port for the Matrix. She resets the double row of perimeter alarms, and jacks in to join Argus at Virtually There for the negotiations.   -------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------- Text, all characters (especially Aki, Argus and Shadowcat), and the 'Virtually There' chain of simstim/VR clubs, all Copyright October 1992 by Jay B. Brandt, all rights reserved. Please use them only with my permission.   Comments, criticisms, and suggestions are requested. Please send them to me via e-mail at <> --------------------------------------------------------------   Well folks, what do you think? Lets hear some comments.   Shadowcat

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