Penumbra

The Sixth Job

“Got a job for you.”

“Remember when life was that simple? Fixer’s called up, told us we got a
job, and that was that? Instead… this.” Bach looked at the corpses lying
in a van parked just outside Mort’s garage. He had gotten a text from
Reardon about how he might need to get to the garage and ‘clean some things
up, I’ll owe you later.’ Bach was not excited about the message, especially
considering they had just returned from their trip to a mercenary-filled
encampment. The garage was quiet, now. Just blood dripping down the van
door from the hole in the orc’s neck.

Inside wasn’t much better. There was a van half-open, stacks of Novacoke
spilling out of it and a few more corpses surrounding the area. Wonderful.
Now we’ve got a mob that wants us dead.

“So… is that coke?” Toro asked. Bach looked over at Toro with some
apprehension. Although he had not made a conscious decision to leave Toro
in the dark, he still felt it was the best option. Now, he had no idea what
strange decisions Toro would make.

“Yes,” Bach said and immediately tried to contact Freegrass. Once he knew
the garage was safe, he knew it needed to be cleaned immediately. Toro
nodded and walked up to the van, examining it with an intentional
nonchalance that betrayed the crazy in his eyes. Mort expressed some
concern at the loss of a large amount of money in drugs, but Bach wasn’t
too concerned about it.

In a flash, Toro jumped into the drivers seat and started the car,
screaming “Car, full speed right ahead into the bay!” Bach looked over with
only a mild amount of alarm. As Freegrass’ phone went right to voicemail,
Bach tapped into the van’s automated security and reinforced the security
protocols, just in case Toro managed to override them (doubtful). Then he
went about trying to contact Jacob for a good, reputable cleaner while
watching the scene.

The van lurched forward and launched into overdrive towards the bay, Mort
turning around and shouting “What are you doing?” incredulously. With a
sudden impact and many a package of coke flying into the front of the van,
it stopped dead and said “proximity alert, adjusting speed appropriately.”
Toro scratched his head. “Van, forward! GO!” Nothing happened. Mort knocked
on the window and Bach watched as they had a discussion, though of what he
couldn’t hear.

“Yeah, Bach, what’s up?”

“Jacob, I need a cleaner at the garage quickly. I can’t get a hold of
Freegrass, so you’re the other person I know who might know a guy. Tell him
I’ll pay him on arrival.” Bach cut the call and walked over to the van.

“Toro, the van has security precautions that prevent things like this.”
Toro looked at Bach. “oh.”

“Look, I don’t know what to do with the coke, but driving it into the bay
is a great way to draw a lot of attention to an already problematic
situation. Just get out and stop acting dumb.” Toro muttered under his
breath, but left the van. After some deliberation, they decided to call
Jim, the elf they worked with what seemed like an age ago. Jim had contacts
and might be able to sell the coke easily. While he drove to the garage,
Bach met the cleaners and paid them for their service, plastic wrap soon
covering most of the garage. It was then that Mort called Bach and Toro
down to the submarine pen, namely to show them the submarine sitting in it.
Could this day get any weirder? Jim arrived and, bigger things to do than
wonder what to do with a sub, they all left to figure out this coke
business.

Turns out the assumption that Jim could sell coke was more than accurate.
Within a few hours, Jim set them up with a mob and the coke was off their
hands entirely. Bach felt some relief, not the least of which is because he
got a ping from Freegrass’ phone that indicated he was back online. Without
much delay, Bach headed back to the garage, where Freegrass’ phone seemed
to be located.

Freegrass and Reardon sat in the garage, talking and just sitting around.
Freegrass looked worse for wear; his eye was swollen and he seemed to have
been beaten in several spots on his body. Bach, Mort, Toro, and Jim walked
up to him. “So, you aren’t dead,” said Bach.

“No, man, not yet. Anyway, Johnson’s got a job for you man. Ima go get
high.” Bach tried to get some information out of him about the attack, but
he wasn’t interested in discussing it further. With a shrug, Bach arranged
to meet the Johnson at an artisanal butcher.

It was without any surprise that Bach walked into the butcher shop and saw
the Johnson with an apron on, cutting up meat with an artistry that might
have shocked almost anyone else. Bach felt a certain amount of annoyance at
the Johnson’s apparent ability to fit in anywhere. The Johnson invited the
four of them in and offered them a pound of ground beef. It looked
delicious. Bach declined, and in an instant Toro picked it up and looked as
pleased as punch.

“Thanks for coming on such short notice. I have a job for you that, well,
it might not be the safest job, but it should be interesting! There’s a
military ship scheduled for decommission tomorrow and they are giving it a
nice farewell by practicing their explosives on it. We would really like to
get the satellite equipment on the ship, so if you could make it look as
though the satellite had already been collected and then get it before the
ship explodes, that would be pretty great.” The Johnson chopped up some
more beef, and considering the proposition he just recommended, it seemed
as ominous as it possibly could.

“So, you want us to sneak on board a military ship set for demolition? That
sounds reasonable to you?” Bach sounded incredulous. Messing with the
military was generally something to be avoided, not sought after. Toro was
far too interested in meat to consider the gravity of the situation. Mort
might have been otherwise nervous about the job, but the thought of using
his brand new (and timely arrived) submarine lit his eyes with a fervor
Bach could only describe as dangerous. Jim seemed largely noncommittal on
the whole situation.

“I understand this job is pretty dangerous, but I’m willing to pay more for
your hazards. So, you up for it?” Toro accepted another pound of meat from
the Johnson, which was as much an affirmative from the group as any. God
damnit, Toro.
Back at the garage, Mort made himself busy with the
submarine, making sure it would be ready to ride in just a few hours. Jim
expressed an interest in finding some of the naval personnel and seeing if
they knew more about the exact time of destruction and found a bar that was
heavily frequented by the military. Bach went with, hacking into their
system and marking the satellite as already removed, hoping that would be
enough to keep it on the ship.

Bach and Jim strolled into the bar and casually listened to the surrounding
talk. Jim, as was his nature, bought a couple drinks and chatted everyone
up until everyone there thought he was as much a navy man as anyone. Jim
got some decent information regarding the approximate location and time and
figured that was good enough and left. Bach, however, had a separate plan
that he enacted on the cab ride home. He doctored up photos of the military
men with photos he had of their stacks of nova coke, mixed them with a few
well trafficked pornography sites, and then linked several key emails to
known gangs and pornography rings, and then sent the information
anonymously to some scandalous news websites. It was like an art designed
to destabilize and corrupt the military gears and Bach hoped it would slow
down the whole demolition event tomorrow, as many of the personnel were
part of the crews working the event. In short, it was beautiful.

The next morning, Bach woke everyone up an hour early, just to be safe.
Mort got up and chugged an energy drink, Toro rolled over into some of the
half-eaten partially cooked beef he had heated up with a blowtorch in the
garage, and Jim snapped open his eyes and calmly got a cab over to the
garage. After a short amount of preparation, they were away. This is when
Bach found out that submarine rides are not enjoyable.

After some ‘piloting’ by Mort, they arrived at the area and waited
patiently for the ship to show up. A tug boat put it into position and as
the boat slowly left the demolition sight, Toro, Jim, and Bach all popped
open the hatch as the sub surfaced and prepared to get onto the ship. Bach
and Mort were busy monitoring for observational drones and shutting them
down (fortunately the drones were old and used incredibly outdated
programming) and Toro started to ‘lead the way.’

“Absolutely not, I’ll lead the way Toro. I have a map, just stop doing
whatever you are doing.” Toro grumbled something about jackasses that Bach
didn’t quite hear and then Bach loaded up a virtual tour program to show
him how to get to the bridge. Unfortunately, the VI for the program
featured a ridiculously dressed sailor who would walk around corners with
tidbits of information and ask if the audience knew which side was the
‘port’ side and which the ‘starboard’ side. It made Bach feel unnerved
every time he rounded a corner and saw some strange man standing there.
Bach fidgeted and looked about with apprehension, much to the consternation
of Toro and Jim.

They arrived at the bridge and began looking for the satellite equipment,
finding it after a few minutes. This coincided, however, with Mort
detecting a helicopter flying towards their position, probably to get a
better vantage point on the detonation. Toro grabbed the satellite and
looked to Bach and Jim. “All right, time to book it.” Bach started running
back to the sub, but Toro took Bach’s phrase to heart and outran them all,
getting lost in the process. A few phone calls later and Toro was back at
the sub. They departed within a few minutes of the ship exploding. Bach’s
breathing took several minutes to level out.

Back in Seattle, they met the Johnson at a church, where he was apparently
a minister. He brought them a more secluded section of the church and
smiled when they informed him of the good news.

“Excellent, I knew you guys would get it done! Very nice, very nice indeed.”

“Yeah, but there is the hazard associated with the job to consider. We
barely got out with our lives. Perhaps we deserve a little more?” Jim
sounded charismatic and suave and Bach immediately stopped paying
attention. Compensation was not entirely relevant to him.

At least the job was done.

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