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Snippet #2470150

located in Digital Shorts, a part of Digital Shorts, one of the many universes on RPG.

Digital Shorts



Characters Present

Character Portrait: Graham Case Character Portrait: Alessa Sikova
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RSI - Tech Support

"Promise you'll be gentle Case, I'm sensitive there," A voice cooed with an edge of a Slavic accent. An exaggerated sigh answered and replied, "Don't make this weird, 'Lessa. Now come on and take a seat." Alessa simply chuckled and took a step off the wall she was leaning against, moving forward and taking a seat on Graham's desk. She then ran her hand through her brunette hair, lifting a tuft up from around her right ear and revealing a port sitting behind the lobe. Graham then produced a cord from the console on his desk. Notably he let her jack herself in.

"So tell me the problem again," Graham asked, fingers a blur as they danced across the holographic keyboard.

"problems," Alessa corrected. If the man was to be rooting around her augs, she wanted to make damn sure he knew what he was looking for. "The vision in my right eye is lagging a split second behind the other, and I think my hearing is dropping."

"Mhm. What about your arm?"

"Apart from not being real, it's fine," she answered above the rhythmic tapping of Graham's fingers. He made no other sound-- but that tapping, and Alessa had to ask, "Dammit Case, you know they have augs so you won't have to do that right? With your money, I'm sure you could afford it," She said, with a subtle edge of venom behind her tone.

"I could, but it's not the same," Graham said, a grin playing at his lips, "Call me old-fashioned."

"You're old-fashioned."

Graham paused his tapping and shook his head, he should have saw that one coming. Ignoring that comment, he continued with what he was doing, pulling up all the information on Alessa's Augs on his console. "The good news it that it's not a hardware problem."

"Slava Bogu, good, I don't have the money to replace them," She said, slipping into a bit of Slavic.

"Maybe you would if you didn't drink it all away?" Graham asked rhetorically. He couldn't see the furrowed brows of the woman sitting in front of him. "I still don't know how in the hell you managed to get so screwed with the interest on your augs. Did you even read the contract?"

"Look, spend a few years without an arm or an eye, see how much you care about the fine print," She replied defensively. But perhaps it wouldn't have hurt to maybe give it a once over after all.

Graham shook his head back and forth, but let the subject drop, using his hands to navigate through the information on the console. "Anyway, it's nothing a defragmentation on the systems in your eye won't fix," he said, pulling up a system image of her AxiSci model eye. "Still, the eye'll go dark for approximately seven minutes... Ready?"

"Do it." She said, closing the lid over her right eye.

"As for your ear-- well you just had your settings turned too low." A settings bar appeared on the screen, and with a flick of Graham's wrist, it was reset to the default settings. "You haven't been playing with them, have you?"

"I was drunk."

"Of course you were." Graham said with a shake of his head, though a light grin playing at the corner of his mouth. "Well, that should do it. How's the ear now?"

Alessa plugged the left ear with a pinky and gave a listen. She could hear the dull footsteps around them, the shutting of doors, muffled voices from other employees, and even the constant whirr of technology nipping at her artificial eardrums. "Good, it doesn't sound like I'm trying to hear everything from under a blanket now."

A chuckle came from Graham as he swiped all the information of the ear off the screen, as if shooing it away, leaving only the information about Alessa's eye "Say while we wait for your eye to defragment, we do some actual work?"

Alessa had already stood and made her way to the corner of the room where the coffee machine sat, the wire behind her ear stretching across the office. She was kind of glad that Graham had upped the length since their last diagnostic. She poured herself a cup and took a drink of the pitch black liquid, before making a face. "Case, has anyone told you your coffee tastes like ass?"

Graham simply sighed as he rubbed his chin with his hand. "Only you 'Lessa, every morning," he said as his hands danced, drawing information out of the company server and throwing it on the wall. "It's my coffee anyway, go to the lunch room if you don't like it."

Alessa only scoffed as she crossed back across the office, coming to a stop behind Graham. "That's a long walk with this thing plugged into my head," She said, leaning over his shoulder to get a better look at the screen.

"Sounds like a personal problem then. Add it to the list?"


The pair then grew silent as Graham worked on bringing the available jobs up on screen and Alessa watched with one eye open. He brought up the first two jobs, both of which Alessa turned down. It wasn't until Graham pulled up the last job that Alessa displayed some interest.

"Next on the list is another MSS job, Dingo and Badger Ramirez. Brothers," Graham began.

"Creative names," Alessa scoffed, blinking her right eye and noting it was still dark.

"Former Snakeheads. They decided to strike out on their own after a delivery to Mars. They've popped in and out of various gangs since, never staying in one place for long," Graham gleaned from the information given.

Alessa chuckled and spoke, "Just trying to find their place in the world. Such is life."

"Worlds, we're not on Earth any more," Graham shrugged, "Seems like the brothers have been pulling armed robberies in Hades' Kitchen... Hey... isn't that where--"

She cut him off before he could finish his sentence, answering the question in the process. "Yep, home. Knew those names were familiar, they've been fucking around my home. Never had the balls to rob me personally, but they're pissing off the locals." She then nodded, "It's in familiar territory and I really need the money. I'll take it."

Graham smiled and nodded, and wrote up an acceptance message and sent it to Anna for confirmation. As he did, Alessa finished off her coffee and took a seat back on Graham's desk. "Debt collectors knocking on the door again?" He jokingly asked.

"Shut up and see if my eye's fixed already," she answered.

Hades' Kitchen

After a stop at Jenks' for ammunition, Alessa was on the same route she took home every day. Hades' Kitchen was only a short hop and skip away from the RSI offices, and in a manner of hours, she chimed in through her communicators, "I'm here Case, Hades' Kitchen... Home sweet home, dirt and grime all. Talk to me,"

"Not much to say sadly. They're thugs, they keep things pretty low-key. I can feed you the robbery details, but don't expect much more than moral support from me," he replied.

"So I'm doing this the hard way?"

"Unless one of them pops on the Net and broadcasts his location, yeah. Even if I search through the Net usage from around the area, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. There's a lot of people that use the Net, 'Lessa. The best I can do is monitor the channels until something pops up. I'm sending you the details not, I suggest starting at one of the stores they robbed, see what you can find out."

Alessa sighed, it sounded like that was the best she was gonna get for the time being. "I'll do it, it's better than nothing."

"How's your eye? and hearing?" He asked while he sent the information.

She blinked repeatedly, to make sure that her eye was still in working order, and once satisfied replied. "It's fine, whatever you did did the trick. The ear's fine too."

"Good. Data incoming, check out your tablet. I'll keep tabs on your status here and contact you if anything comes up. Good luck, and good hunting," Graham finished, ceasing contact with his last word.

With that, Alessa dipped into the leather messenger bag she carried on her shoulder and slipped out a rough beaten black tab. Her fingers slid across the foggy scratched surface, summoning it to life. In the corner of the screen a light flashed, and when she pressed it the map of Hades' Kitchen appeared, with a few brightly colored circles indicating the robberies. A frustrated sigh escaped her lips as she flicked through the information. The nearest robbery was a convenience store only a few blocks away. It was a start, at the very least. Killing the screen, she slipped the tablet back into her bag and swapped it out for a rubber band. She pulled her hair back and out of her eyes, tying it up into a bun and wrapping the band around it to keep it's shape. She was on a job now, best to keep it out of the way.

The store wasn't difficult to find, as it was one that Alessa came to on occasion for home items-- if she could call the tiny flat she lived in home. The store owner gave her the robbers' descriptions-- though she already had them in her tablet. Apparently, they were decent sized men, both standing somewhere around six foot, maybe a touch over. Wild brown eyes, even wilder brown hair cut in a strange fashion. One had a short mohawk while the other was cropped close to his head with stars cut into it. Alessa simply frowned to herself. Stupid thugs, they had no notion of subtility. Made her job that much easier in the end though. She bought a pack of cigarettes from the store, and took her exit, popping one into her mouth as she did.

She stood outside the store, tablet in hand and matching information up. Apparently, Dingo was the one with the mohawk, and Badger with the shapes. Along with the funny hair, they both had augs-- but who didn't in this day and age? Dingo had his entire left leg swapped out, while Badger was with only one real arm, as the right was also traded in. Alessa grimaced in thought, why the hell would someone willingly trade in their body parts for fake ones. Taking a drag on the smoke, she killed the power and slipped it back into her bag, walking off in the direction the store keep saw the brothers run after the robbery.

After a few more stops in other stores, she was no closer to finding them than when she started. But she wasn't the one to give up on her target. She'd stay out all day and night, if she needed to. She was finding these thugs. Fortunately, she needn't have to wait that long.

"Good news and bad news," Graham chimed through on her communicator.

Alessa never hesitated in her step, and kept moving forward, taking the cigarette out of her mouth as she spoke, "Yeah?"

"Good news, I found the Ramirez troupe. Bad news? They're right in the middle of an armed robbery."

"That makes it simple, where?" Alessa asked, sticking the cigarette back in her mouth and picking up the pace.

"Kaiser Ministop, I've got them on vid now. I'll remotely lock the doors until you get there," He said, and she could already hear his fingers working at his desktop.

"Don't," she demanded and the fingers stopped. "If you do, they might kill the shop keep in an attempt to escape."

"That's... Heroic," Graham noted with a surprised tone. In fact, he sounded like he didn't even think of the possibility of the store keep getting injured.

"Not quite, they die, and there goes a chunk of my paycheck," Alessa said, coming up on the store in question. The streets around it were oddly empty, perhaps due to the fact the people not wanting to get wrapped up in the robbery. There were no sounds other than a ruckus coming from the storefront. It sounded like Graham's intel was solid, and thankfully she was close enough to arrive before they made their exit. "Any suggestions?" Alessa asked as she came to a stop beside the store-- well out of sight of the brothers. She took the cigarette out of her mouth and flicked it into the ground. Even from where she stood, she could hear them shouting their demands at the storekeeper. She then drew her firearm from it's holster from under her coat.

There was a pause before Graham chimed in, "... Not really?" He said, totally unsure. He didn't deal with the criminals, all he did was feed Alessa data and information, she was the soldier, the tactics were up to her. But soon the point was rendered moot, "Dammit, they're leaving."

"Good," She calmly said, entirely at odds with Graham's rushed tone. Afterward, she killed the contact and listened. She pushed herself up against the corner of the store, and patiently waited. The sound of the door being slammed opened was followed by the patter of heavy footfalls in her direction. They continued to do her job for her, it sounded like. She waited until the footsteps were close, then jumped out from the corner, putting her directly in the path of one of the brothers. Surprise lit his face up like a Christmas tree, but was soon replaced by pain as she fired three rounds into his left kneecap. No blood came from the wound, only a mechanical grinding down and a shower of sparks-- Dingo.

Acting quickly, she wrapped her arm around his neck, taking a step back throwing him off balance even further, and fired another shot at the other man, hitting him squarely in the right arm, sparking as the round entered the fake limb-- Badger. A quick glance confirmed what she believed, both Dingo and Badger dropped their guns in the chaos. She kicked Dingo's gun away and then looked up at the other brother. His eyes mirrored his brother's, filled with surprise soon replaced with anger. As he reached for his gun on the ground, she shifted further behind Dingo, obscuring all of her body, leaving only a single eye peering at the man to give him a harder target to hit.

"Going somewhere?" She asked.

"Shoot her! Shoot her, shoot her, shoot her!" The man in her arms yelled as he squirmed. The squirming stopped when she fired another round into his artificial leg, causing another shower of sparks.

"I wouldn't, you'd just hit your dear old brother instead," She said, giving Dingo a little tap to the temple to show how little she was playing. "But that's just me. I only need one of you alive, and I don't much care which one it is," She said darkly.

"I'll kill you!" Badger screamed, but hesitated in reaching for his gun.

"I doubt that," She replied, taking the gun from Dingo's temple and firing toward Badger's gun. That had the intended effect as Badger withdrew his hand.

"The fuck do you want? Is it the cash? Take it and leave us the fuck alone," Dingo said, attempting at some sort of bargain. And if Alessa was a lesser person, she might have considered it. Alas, all of her years in an Earthland military unit had drilled loyalty in her very core, and she wasn't about to betray the RSI or even Decker like that.

Returning the pistol back to Dingo's temple, she spoke, "This will go one of two ways-- either of which is fine by me. I'm either taking the both of you to the MSS... Or just one, I'll let you decide which one." There was a moment of silence between the brothers, and in that moment Alessa confirmed what she had suspected. The Ramirez brother's cared for each other, and they were unwilling to sacrifice the other. In that moment, Alessa finally knew for sure that her plan had worked. She felt the weight against her arm slacken, and watched as Badger's shoulder's hitched.

"Promise you'll take us both in alive?" Badger pleaded.

Internally, Alessa let herself mentally exhale. Externally, she didn't move staying firmly behind Dingo with an iron hard grip. "Wise choice. I won't hurt you-- anymore than I already have anyway-- unless you give me a reason to. Understand? You so much as try to run and bang! The other is dead. You try and get cute, same thing. Am I perfectly clear?" She threatened. They said nothing and only responded by nodding their heads in afirmative. Removing the gun from Dingo for only a moment, she dipped into a pocket and threw a pair of handcuffs at Badger. "Put those on-- Slowly," She demanded.

As he slipped the cuffs on, Alessa loosened the grip on Dingo, but kept the gun pointed at him to slip another pair of cuffs on him. She forced them against the wall of the store, her gun always pointed at one of them as she worked to clean the scene up. She policed the weapons they dropped and allowed the storekeep to collect the dropped bag of cash as she spoke to Graham over her communicator.

"Case, contact the MSS and get me the nearest VTOL." She asked, now standing in front of the Ramirez brothers, pistol at the ready.

"On it. You only needed one, you know?"

"Think of it as a bonus," She replied.

"Well, whatever. It was still damn impressive, watched the whole thing on a corner camera."

She looked up and located the camera Graham was talking about. She then proceeded to flip the bird at the camera, smirking all the while. Alessa then indicated with her gun for the Rameriz brothers to get to their feet. "Come on, up on your feet and Remember what I said," She warned. As they got to their feet, she picked one to stand behind, grabbing his cuffs and pointing the gun at the other while she waited for the VTOL's location.

"Well, that was rude. There's a VTOL waiting at 42nd Apollo. Hurry on home now,"

"Copy that, and Case? Have a cold beer waiting for me."