World Pulse Remix: All the Agents

Bounty

February 5, 2012

Sutekiko receives a call from Donald on Sunday, indicating that he has a job for her. If she’s available, he would like to discuss it with her at the warehouse. She agrees and says she will make her way over.

Upon arrival at the warehouse, Donald explains the situation to Sutekiko. A drug deal on behalf of Gaspard St. Luc, kingpin of Fourside, went sour just the previous day. What was supposed to be a routine trade of $2,000,000 and a shipment of Pern turned into a bloodbath when freelancer William “the Reaper” Toulaine went rogue, killed everyone present, and took the money and the goods, evidently heading for parts unknown. Gaspard St. Luc has put a $250,000 bounty on his head; Donald requests $50,000 for himself, leaving $200,000 for Sutekiko. Gaspard also wants his money back, but the accent is on the assassination. Sutekiko agrees. Donald indicates that he knows of one of Toulaine’s contacts in town, an old Army buddy by the name of Adam Long, and supposes he might know more about his whereabouts. Sutekiko resolves to investigate.

Sutekiko arrives at the apartment to find the door slightly ajar. Calling and hearing no one, she checks around. The apartment is sparse, though she finds a few pistols stashed in out-of-the-way places. She takes one and continues looking. Finally making her way to the study, she finds a scene of carnage. A corpse, presumably Long’s, tortured and butchered by multiple knife-wielding attackers. After searching for a bit, she notes a conspicuously blank legal pad with a torn front page. Lightly shading it with a pencil, she notes the impression on the paper:

#4
Motel No More Heroes
Santa Destroy

Armed with this information, she moves to leave. Just as she does, she hears someone enter the apartment. She sneaks into the front to note the familiar form of the blue-clad figure she confronted on her first job at Club Minch. She sneaks behind him and knocks him out. She decides to pants him before leaving.

She then tries to interview the neighbors to learn about Adam Long, but to no avail. As she leaves, the man has apparently regained consciousness and stumbles into the hall to confront her. He assumes his “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Transformation!” form but Sutekiko quickly knocks him out. She then decides to pants him again before leaving.

She calls Donald, and after speaking with him, decides to go on the road to Santa Destroy. She calls DJ Inazuma to let him know that she’ll be gone a little while, and then goes home to pack.

She then hits the road. She immediately suffers problems while crossing the Dusty Dunes Desert. While driving down the road on her scooter, she feels an impact hit her in the back and feels the fire. She immediately pulls the scooter to the side of the road and rolls in the dirt to put the fire out. She turns and looks to see a female form atop a broom rushing toward her. She grabs her staff and leaps at the broom-riding figure. As she closes the distance, she notes it is a young girl wearing a school outfit and wielding a wand. She has glasses and a lip piercing, and has obviously modified her uniform to be a little more revealing. An obscure crest sits on the breast.

In an instant, it is done. Sutekiko hits the girl once and she plummets to the ground. Sutekiko searches the girl, finding her wand and a purse that is larger on the inside than the outside. She breaks the wand, takes the purse, and grabs the broom. As she drives down the road, she drops it a distance down the road.

The next few days are fairly quiet. Sutekiko drives as far as she can before stopping at a motel for the night.

Wednesday, as she makes her way on a snowy backroad through the Rocky Mountains, she notices a figure plummeting toward her. She leaps off the bike and moves to parry, but the creature — an enormous, cybernetic, patchwork corpse monster with two enormous Tesla towers on its back — pushes the staff aside. In one fluid motion, he rears his fist back in a haymaker as the towers on his back piston and charge with electricity and follows through, knocking Sutekiko back several feet. Sutekiko manages to get a couple of solid hits in before he does it again, leaving Sutekiko on the verge of unconsciousness. When he leaves himself open, however, she slams the staff into the towers on his back, causing them to overload. The creature falls to the ground, apparently dead.

Sutekiko continues on her way, again stopping for the evening at a motel. She manages to make her way to Santa Destroy on Thursday evening. She arrives at the Motel No More Heroes and begins investigating. She finds her way into room 4 with two swift kicks, but finds nothing of note other than clothes in a duffel bag.

Upon exiting the motel, Sutekiko is confronted by an African-American girl with a sort of goth fashion, a katana, and a white Afro. Once she is convinced that Sutekiko hasn’t come to do something stupid regarding Travis Touchdown, she indicates that her name is Shinobu, and that her Master, as she calls Travis, is away. She also notes that Sutekiko would not be worthy to meet him anyway. She also asks if Sutekiko wrote Travis a letter before she leaves.

Alone again, Sutekiko takes a position on the roof to watch for Toulaine’s return.

After a couple of hours, Sutekiko is suddenly attacked by a ragged man with knives. After a grim fight in which she is cut several times, she prevails.

Finally, a man with a graying beard matching the description of William “the Reaper” Toulaine arrives, and cautiously investigates the broken door. Sutekiko leaps from her perch, and immediately enters into combat with Toulaine. The two guns in his hands are supplemented by two robotic arms, also with guns. He opens fire, but she manages to dodge and take him down with her staff. She then drags him into his room, and using one of the abandoned knives from the unknown assailant, cuts off his robotic arms as proof of the kill. She then washes up and finds a place to stay for the night.

Upon awakening the next morning, she recalls she didn’t look for the money. When she drives past the motel, she finds it swarming with police, so she decides to say that she didn’t find it. She then begins to make the long journey home.

She arrives back in Fourside on the following Monday, presenting the trophies to Donald and telling him that she did not find the money. He says he will speak to Gaspard and hopefully get the reward money to her in the next few days. Sutekiko then calls DJ Inazuma and they hang out while she recounts her adventure to him.

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Violation of Treaty

January 29, 2012

Sutekiko awakens to see that she fell asleep and slept through the night. She sees a missed call from DJ Inazuma, and calls him back to apologize and ask about possibly hanging out later in the day. Shortly thereafter, Agent Murach calls her to ask about meeting to discuss the previous night. Sutekiko agrees.

They meet in the park, as usual. Agent Murach explains that the Japanese government has been recruiting psychics since before the release of the PSI Papers. Whereas the United States has primarily made use of mercenary forces in the modern day, the Japanese government attempts to keep a standing army of these conscripts. Agent Murach also asks if she might be interested in taking Hashimoto Masuyo as a guest until her family arrives from Japan; Sutekiko reluctantly agrees, and Agent Murach says he will let her know if that is necessary. Agent Murach then gives Sutekiko a case with $50,000 and the recovered beam staff.

When Sutekiko returns home, she contacts DJ Inazuma and they hang out.

The rest of the week is fairly quiet. Sutekiko manages to work at Kawaii Corner on Monday and Tuesday, meet with Agent Murach to get confirmation for Thursday’s job. She trains at the warehouse in the afternoons, returning Donald’s beam staff to him, and spends Thursday resting. In the afternoon, she meets with Agent Murach and transfers to a hotel room by the waterfront, expecting the boat around midnight or 1 AM.

As time draws nigh, Sutekiko gets outfitted with earbud, microphone, and camera. She also receives a map of the frigate, though Agent Murach warns her that he does not know how extensively this ship may have been modified. As per her instructions, she is to keep things quiet to recover the Flying Dutchman, the mysterious man with a letter “T” on his face. If things go south, a team will be sent in for retrieval.

When the frigate arrives, Sutekiko gets into position. She manages to sneak past all the guards and smugglers on board unnoticed. Not seeing the Flying Dutchman on the bridge, she sneaks down belowdecks, and sees the crew moving crates and loose Persian rugs. As she moves near the cargo hold, she hears a gruff voice ordering men around. She darts through the door and hides behind some crates to get a better look. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the crew, she sees an older man clad in rags. His hair and beard are long and greying, and his rags have the look of an 18th century pirate captain. In fact, his bearing matches, including his accent. He also has a “T” branded into his face. Sutekiko notes that he has a large array of lenses over his left eye, as well as a featureless metal bracer on his left arm and two featureless metal rods strapped to his belt.

Figuring that this is the man, Sutekiko leaps from cover to confront him. He pulls the two rods while two of the crew drop their loads and pull out their pistols. Sutekiko fells the first crewman while the other attacks, his shot going wide. The presumed Flying Dutchman enters into melee with her, his featureless rods appearing as beam katanas. She manages to parry his assault, felling the second crewman as the Dutchman leaps backward. Sutekiko focuses on taking out the crewmen who come to defend the Dutchman until he fires a laser bolt from his beam katana, annihilating her force field and giving her a minor laser burn. She leaps into combat with him, though when she takes him down, she accidentally kills him, though she meant to take him alive. She flings him over her shoulder and runs back up to the deck, easily defeating the smugglers who try to oppose her.

As she arrives on the deck, NATO troops are already securing the boat. She places the Dutchman’s body on the deck, and finds Agent Murach for debriefing and her $150,000 payment. After getting patched up by medics on-site, she goes home to rest.

The next two days, she rests and goes to see some of DJ Inazuma’s shows, hanging out with him afterward.

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Escort

January 23, 2012

The week is fairly uneventful. Monday, Sutekiko receives a call from Donald indicating that the dance will be this Saturday rather than any other time he might have told her. The following day, she receives an email from Agent Murach, indicating that the time of the job at the docks is in flux, and he will inform her of details as they become available. Otherwise, she prepares for the dance and the possible eventuality that she will need to do two jobs in the same night, if Agent Murach’s gig also moves to Saturday. She calls Artie Shelton to see how formal the dance is, and while training during the week, Donald discusses getting some form of concealable weapon so that Sutekiko can be armed just in case. They eventually decide on getting a beam staff, essentially a double-ended beam katana.

On Friday, Sutekiko calls DJ Inazuma to ask if he is having a show on Saturday, and when he says he does, she explains that she has a thing to do, but plans on coming late. He indicates that he is also having a show on Friday, and she says she’ll come. He also asks if she might like to get Chinese food as an early dinner, and she agrees.

Over dinner, Sutekiko and Inazuma have a long conversation. She explains about her job on Saturday, and the two reveal their names and a bit about their backgrounds — Sutekiko, herself actually Sakaki O’Brien, learns that Inazuma is actually Todd Akiyama. Like Sutekiko, he is an only child. Unlike her, both of his parents are Japanese (though his mother’s family has been in America for a few generations), and he developed an early interest in music and computers, leading him to his current job. They also determine that he is five years her elder.

After hitting the club to see Inazuma’s set, they decide to return to Sutekiko’s place to watch anime, the earlier conversation having revealed that Inazuma hasn’t seen very much. Before Inazuma leaves, Sutekiko mentions that she is somewhat nervous about their flirtations, prompting Inazuma to ask her out. She agrees and Inazuma stays over a little bit longer — largely as they start kissing.

Sutekiko awakens at about 5:30 PM, and checks to find a message from Donald earlier in the day, saying that she can come to the warehouse at around 5:00 PM. Sutekiko calls him to apologize for her lateness and explain that she will be over shortly.

After arriving and receiving her beam katana, Sutekiko and Donald make their way to Artie Shelton’s house. Donald introduces Sutekiko (or Sakaki, as she is primarily known among them) to Artie’s mother, and Ms. Shelton drives Artie and Sutekiko to the dance at P.S. 242.

Upon arrival, Artie introduces Sutekiko to his friends Cody, Cesar, Damian, Arthur, and Angie. They chat, and after a bit, Angie mentions the new exchange student from Japan. She draw’s Sutekiko’s attention to a girl standing against the wall, hair in her face, generally out of place and wearing a Gothic Lolita outfit. Angie and Sutekiko decide to go talk to her, and even convince her to meet with the people at her table. However, Sutekiko notices that she is distracted, as she keeps looking at the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl towards the center of the room. Strangely, this girl keeps glancing at the Japanese girl and Sutekiko.

After an awkward exchange of greeting in which they learn the girl’s name is Hashimoto Masuyo, Masuyo excuses herself and slinks back into the crowd. Sutekiko asks about the other girl and learns that she is Danica, one of the more popular girls at school. After the lull following Masuyo’s absence passes, the group continues conversation, but Sutekiko keeps an eye on Masuyo and Danica.

After a bit of watching, Sutekiko sees Danica and some boy with whom she is dancing slink off. A gate closes off the hallways from the dance, but Danica pulls it open. Masuyo detaches herself from the wall and follows. In her case, the gate appears to be locked, but she focuses on it and it just slides open. Shortly after her, an older Japanese man wearing a suit and bow tie follows through the gate. Her interest piqued, Sutekiko excuses herself and goes to investigate.

She follows the man, seeing him draw a pistol when he thinks he is unobserved, until it appears he is headed to the locker room. There are two entrances inside, and he ponders the first, ignores it, and then moves to one farther up. He unlocks it and steps inside. Sutekiko sneaks into the first door.

She enters the locker room to hear a slight scuffling, and inches forward to see Danica and the boy up against the lockers. Sutekiko also sees the Japanese man enter from the opposite side of the locker room. After watching the scene unfold for a brief moment, Sutekiko hears a faint rattling. The locker next to her unseats itself and flings itself toward Danica, who turns and catches the brunt of the blow with the boy. He instantly falls unconscious.

Danica then shrieks and kicks herself off the lockers, half floating through the air. She zips into another alcove of lockers and Sutekiko hears the sounds of struggle. Sutekiko runs to find Danica, having grown claws and fangs, ripping at Masuyo while Masuyo tries to defend herself. Sutekiko, suspecting that Danica is truly Sally, calls her out, but Danica seems to have no recognition of Sutekiko. Beam staff at the ready, Sutekiko activates it and leaps at Danica. Despite having Danica’s claws rip into her side, Sutekiko manages to get in two swipes of the beam staff before Danica explodes, sending a shower of gore everywhere. Sutekiko looks over at Masuyo, who is hunched on the ground, frightened, but staring pointedly at Danica’s remains. Presuming that Masuyo is responsible and knows what is happening, Sutekiko asks her, when the man rounds the corner. He fires off a shot, and misses, but before Sutekiko can parley, his head explodes without warning. Sutekiko turns her attention to Masuyo and tries to talk her down, but the frightened girl panics and turns her gaze on Sutekiko. Sutekiko feels the pounding pressure start in her skull, but fights it through force of will. Seeing no other option, she flees and stumbles for an emergency exit, hitting the alarm as she passes through.

Sutekiko sneaks through the alleyways to return to the front, relieved that people are filing out. From her hiding place in the alley, she calls Donald to request his appearance, and she watches as students and staff file out. Within a few minutes, police arrive, and Sutekiko slinks further into the alleyway, ditching the beam staff first so that she is not caught with it.

Down a side alley, Sutekiko and Masuyo catch sight of one another. Sutekiko says simply, “No,” and the two part company. Sutekiko then tells Donald her position when he calls back, and waits. When he arrives, she gets into the car and starts into her story. Before long, however, she is interrupted by a phone call.

She ignores the first phone call, but when it rings a second time, she answers to hear Agent Murach. He indicates that a woman matching her description was noted at the school dance, and so he asks if the rogue psychic can be found and retrieved before the police find her. He indicates that they can arrange payment at a later time.

Sutekiko asks Donald to turn the car around, and he says he’ll check on Artie while she looks for Masuyo. She manages to track her through alleyways before finding her in a dead end. Sutekiko manages to talk her down and explains that she doesn’t know what is happening, but that Sutekiko has some people she is going to call to remove Masuyo from the situation, and is she all right with that? Masuyo reluctantly agrees, and Sutekiko calls Murach.

Within a few minutes, Murach arrives and walks into the alley, his hands raised. He explains that the man inside was a Japanese agent, and that Japan has been trying to capture and recruit psychics. He promises Sutekiko, though, that he will try to get a better life than that for Masuyo, and will try to get her family to America. When Masuyo asks Sutekiko’s opinion on these matters, Sutekiko says that she personally is inclined to trust Murach. She also mentions that Masuyo needs medical attention, which seals the deal. Masuyo goes with Murach, and before they leave, Murach says they will discuss this matter later.

Sutekiko then calls Donald to ask for him to pick her up, and she calls Inazuma to let him know that she won’t be coming to his show. He says he may try to catch her later, though, if she’s still up.

Once Donald picks her up, he returns her to the warehouse, and after receiving some treatment, she returns home. She texts Inazuma to let him know she has arrived, and proceeds to take a shower and rest.

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Fight Night

January 16, 2012

The next morning, Sutekiko awakens and starts going through her morning. While checking her email, she finds she has received several responses to her inquiry about contacting Travis Touchdown. Apart from random claims that he has been seen, most people agree that he has not been seen since the 2010 ranking match. She then continues about her morning until it is time to meet Donald Flanagan in the afternoon. Upon her arrival at the warehouse, she meets with Donald to discuss her boxing technique. He says that she is welcome to train here, and he also asks if she would be interested in boxing at one of the underground matches. She says yes, and he says he’ll get in touch with the promoter and see what’s happening.

Sutekiko spends the rest of the afternoon training, meeting up with Frankie the Fist to see if he can give her any tips. The two decide to start training together. Donald also lets her know that the local fight promoter should be available tomorrow afternoon, in case they want to meet.

After going home and going to sleep, Sutekiko awakens in the night. She does not remember the dream she had — only that it was warm and soothing — but a sense of urgency at the end awoke her. She grabs her staff and investigates the apartment before returning to sleep.

The following afternoon she meets Donald Flanagan at a set of apartments near her own to meet with the local fight organizer, Pamela Durnin. Donald explains that Pamela was once an underground boxer herself and has since become a fight promoter. Rumor indicates that she was propelled to fame after she killed a man in the ring, and despite her laid-back style and flip attitude, her signature maneuver is called the “Rage Fist.”

Donald and Sutekiko go upstairs and knock on the door to be greeted by a man in a suit who tells them that Pamela is in her office. The office itself is simply an apartment converted into a sparse office environment. When they go into the back and knock on the door, Pamela tells them to enter.

After introductions are made, Pamela asks Sutekiko a little about her experience and what she’d like to do. At Donald’s request, Pamela decides to switch out Donald’s previous man with Sutekiko as a last-minute substitution. To make everything a bit more lucrative, Pamela wants to play up Sutekiko’s look as a small Asian girl. Sutekiko decides to go with the Japanese school girl thing, and will call Pamela when she decides on a pseudonym to use. The primary benefit lies in trying to downplay Sutekiko’s combat readiness; if they can do that, they stand to make a killing in the betting circuit. Sutekiko agrees with all this, and after finalizing everything, they indicate that they will see each other at the fight this Saturday.

Upon leaving, Donald also tells Sutekiko that any flirtatious glances she may have received relate to the long-standing rumor that Pamela is bisexual. Just for information. Donald also asks if Sutekiko could do another job for him — could she take his nephew to a school dance? He’s an anime nerd who doesn’t have a date yet. She agrees, and Donald says he will introduce the two later in the week. Sutekiko also goes back to the warehouse to train. That evening, she decides on the name “Chiyo ‘Chiyo-chan’ Mihama” and calls Pamela to let her know.

The following day, Sutekiko goes to work at Kawaii Corner and orders her school girl outfit. She also takes the opportunity to work out at the warehouse.

The next day is fairly busy. She awakens in the morning and checks the news to find that Janet Strom’s mutilated and exsanguinated corpse has been found dead outside Sutekiko’s apartment. Sutekiko is fairly certain this is Sally’s work, and makes a mental note to keep an eye on the news for further developments. Sutekiko also receives correspondence from her government contact, Agent Murach, saying that he has a job, and can they meet around 2:00 PM in the park out behind the Dinosaur Museum? Sutekiko agrees.

At 2:00 PM, Sutekiko meets with Agent Murach in the park, who explains that a last minute change requires her to aid in the climax of a ten-month investigation. An illegal uranium smuggling operation is making a delivery in a couple of weeks, sometime around February 4th. While operations are taking place in the city, they need someone to secure the frigate with the radioactive cargo. It should be guarded, but what they really want is the smuggling ring’s leader, the mysterious “Flying Dutchman.” Never reliably seen, the “Flying Dutchman” is said to be identifiable by a tattoo or brand of the letter “T” on his face. The job is worth $200,000 if she secures the ship and captures the Dutchman, $150,000 if she captures the ship and kills the Dutchman, and $100,000 if he flees. Sutekiko says she will ponder this and get back to him within a day.

Later in the day, Sutekiko also speaks to DJ Inazuma, who asks what she is doing that weekend. When she says she is busy, he asks if they can meet for lunch on Saturday, and she agrees. Donald also calls, inquiring if she can meet his nephew tomorrow. She says she’s available, and they agree to meet at her work, Kawaii Corner, in Trenton. Later in the evening, Sutekiko emails Agent Murach and tells him she should be available for the job.

The next day, Sutekiko drives out to Trenton in the evening to meet Donald and his nephew, Artie Shelton. Sutekiko introduces herself by her real name, Sakaki O’Brien, shooting a look to let Donald know to not repeat it to anyone, and she and Artie get to talking. Artie recognizes her from her job at Kawaii Corner, and it turns out the two have a lot of common ground when it comes to anime. After introductions are made and chatting commences, the groups part, and Donald indicates he will see her the following day. Perhaps they’ll meet for dinner and then go to prepare.

On Saturday, Sutekiko gets lunch with DJ Inazuma. DJ Inazuma starts by indicating that he heard the news about the body outside her apartment, and is she okay? She says she is. After discussion, she indicates that she can’t attend his show tonight because she is participating in an underground boxing match. She explains what she knows, and Inazuma indicates that he’s sad that he probably can’t make it, but he’ll see what he can do. She says she’ll inform him of whatever’s happening, and if they don’t meet this evening, they’ll have to gather again soon.

Then, Sutekiko gets her things together — Donald informed her that things sometimes get chaotic, so she might want to bring her gear — and meets Donald for dinner. They return to the warehouse and make their last minute preparations. Then, they go over to Ricky’s Eatery — fights take place in the basement — and Sutekiko changes and gets her hands taped. She also texts Inazuma to let him know where and when to expect her, if he can make it. Then, she waits.

After the two fights before her are complete, she hears Pamela introducing the fight. She announces veteran fighter Mark Flaherty first, then Sutekiko as “Chiyo-chan.” Sutekiko, trying to come across as an enthusiastic but naive Japanese school girl-type, enters the ring. After announcements are over and the referee calls the fight, they commence.

They start by circling before battle is joined. Sutekiko, maintaining her persona as “Chiyo-chan,” tries her best to go for slaps and jabs. In general, she launches several jabs at Mark while he goes for singular, powerful strikes. The fight only lasts around thirty seconds; despite taking several notable hits and almost losing consciousness, Sutekiko knocks out Mark Flaherty. She is announced the winner of the contest to a mixed response from the crowd, though the overall impression is that she gave a good fight. An enthusiastic spectator even shouts, “Show us your goods!” prompting Sutekiko to flash her panties. Pamela slaps her ass before continuing with her narration, when Donald tells Sutekiko that trouble is coming. A suited man surrounded by three red-headed thugs pushes his way through the crowd, yelling that Donald knew his fighter was experienced simply to throw the fight. Donald tells him that he’s just mad because his fighter was beaten by a little girl, and the man responds by siccing his goons on Sutekiko. They draw knives and clubs while Sutekiko grabs her staff and activates it. The three men launch themselves at her, and each is felled in turn. The last drops his club and goes for a gun in his jacket, but Sutekiko fells him before he gets a shot off. Sutekiko and Donald ask if anybody else would like to cause trouble, and with no takers, they return to Sutekiko’s makeshift dressing room to rest.

With Sutekiko having bet $500 on herself before the fight, Donald goes to collect and returns with $3,000 dollars. She may have made more, but apparently some audience members saw through her ruse and withdrew their bets before the fight started. Donald also pays her $10,000 for her trouble. After everything has been done, Donald sees to it that she gets home safely. Sutekiko also finds she has a text from Inazuma, who apparently saw her bout; she tries to call, but only gets his voicemail. When she gets home, she falls asleep.

The next day, she awakens with the same start as she has the weird dream-impression of warmth followed by an urgency that awakens her. She finds that it is 2:00 PM, and that she has slept for about 12 hours. She checks her messages, and sees that she has a voicemail from Inazuma at about 4:00 AM the previous night, just saying that he saw her fight. She calls him back and he asks how she’s doing and if she needs anything. He offers to get her soup and come over, and she agrees.

In an hour, Inazuma shows up with soup, and indicates that he saw the end of the fight before hers, and then he saw her fight until she was declared the winner. She explains about the ambush at the end of the show, and indicates that she is feeling all right despite her remaining bruises. They hang out and watch television before he takes his leave to let her rest some more, though they say that they will hang out again soon. Before leaving he does make a comment that she ought to wear the sailor suit again. Exhilarated, Sutekiko settles down to rest in the evening.

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Green-Eyed Monsters

January 11, 2012

On Wednesday, Sutekiko gets an email in response to her advertisement from a “Concerned Spouse.” They agree to meet at Jackie’s Café on Thursday.

The next evening, Sutekiko goes and sees, somewhat out of place, a business woman holding an envelope. After introductions are made, Sutekiko learns that the woman is Janet Strom, and she has a problem. Her husband, Ethan, is a business man, but she has been suspecting that he is having an affair at times he claims to be away on business. Her private investigator has been following him for about half a year, and though he has not obtained any candid shots, it does appear that Ethan has been seeing the same woman for that time.

Janet then hands Sutekiko the envelope, which she opens. It contains photographs — first, a picture of her husband, a slick-looking businessman. Next, there are various photographs of Ethan with a very pretty, buxom, blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman. They are taken in various places around the city, at dinner, entering and exiting cabs, and so forth. Janet indicates that all signs point to Ethan having an affair with this woman, known as “Sally,” but that she wants Sutekiko to make sure. If Sutekiko confirms it, she wants her to assassinate them — $30,000 for Ethan with an extra $10,000 for the woman. At Sutekiko’s request, Janet indicates that Ethan and Sally sometimes go to a set of high-rise apartments together. She also tells Sutekiko that he works as a businessman in Mergers & Acquisitions in the old Monotoli Building.

Armed with this information, Sutekiko returns to her new apartment in Fourside to plan. She decides to go scope out Ethan’s office the following day, on Friday, and tail him.

Around 5:00 PM on Friday, Sutekiko goes to Ethan’s office and waits. When he leaves, he gets into a taxicab, and she follows him. She finds that he goes to the aforementioned apartment building and buzzes himself in. Thinking quickly, she parks her scooter, grabs a box from a nearby trashpile, and goes up to the front. When she hits the buzzer, she indicates that she has a package for Strom. The door clicks open and she enters the lobby. It’s fairly nice, containing a bank of elevators, a uniformed doorman, and a few suited guards. She is instructed to go to the top floor to find Ethan Strom, and she hits the button for the elevator. When it opens, she sees that there is even a uniformed girl acting as the elevator attendant.

Upon going to the top floor, Sutekiko finds that several guards patrol the hallway. The hallway itself is short, having only a couple of doors on the sides an a prominent door at the end of the hallway. Thinking better of the situation without any of her equipment, she tells them that she was given the wrong address — likely as a practical joke by some of the other guys in her deliver service — and makes her way back downstairs.

After leaving the building, she tosses the box and returns to her scooter. She returns home to gather her staff and other objects, and then returns to the apartment complex to stake it out. She calls Janet Strom to make sure that Ethan has not returned home — he hasn’t, and Janet knew he might be home late anyway — and then continues watching. After dark falls, she waits a little longer until 9:00 PM. She then goes into the alley and starts to scamper the building along the fire escape. After reaching the thirtieth floor, she takes a brief rest before continuing. Looking into one of the windows, she finds an apartment with nobody home. After forcing the window open, she climbs inside, gathers herself, and opens the door into the hallway.

The three guards ask who she is, and she indicates she’s only here on a specific job and has no quarrel with them. They raise guns and tell her to drop on the ground, and as she advances, they open fire. They miss, but she responds by swinging her staff at the closest guard’s kneecaps. He collapses with a sickening crunch, and hits his head on the floor as he falls, letting loose a growing pool of scarlet. The second dies similarly, as a strike from her staff shatters his pelvis. The third surrenders, and she lets him go. Before he leaves, she asks for confirmation of Ethan Strom’s room, and the man indicates it is at the end of the hallway. She walks to the door, and knocks. Ethan answers, and after telling her to go away, she smashes it open with her staff.

She is greeted by a posh apartment, rather like a penthouse, with a large, plate-glass window overlooking this portion of the city. A very surprised Ethan Strom is standing wearing an open dress shirt and boxers. Sally is sitting in bed, holding the covers over her chest. A katana hangs on the wall over the bed. Sutekiko demands to know if Ethan is having an affair, and he orders her to leave. When she doesn’t, he goes for the katana. Sutekiko knocks it out of his hand, and when she still won’t leave, he goes for the phone. She unplugs the phone cord, and he goes for his cell phone. She tells him to listen, and kicks him for emphasis — apparently, however, he is just off-balance enough and she plants it just right to send him sprawling across the room and right through the plate glass window. She then looks at Sally, and asks what was the nature of their relationship. Sally seems annoyed, and says they had a good thing going. She then drops the covers, revealing that she is naked, and things shift. Suddenly, her eyes glow red as spiraling, striped horns grow from her head, accompanied by fangs and claws. She leaps at Sutekiko, but Sutekiko gives her a swift jab with the staff, sending her sprawling across the room. Sally responds by screaming, exploding into a cloud of bats and flying out of the window. Sutekiko, stunned by the turn of events, stands idly for a moment before the sound of sirens catches her attention. She descends the fire escape and returns to her scooter. After calling Janet to meet, she returns home to clean herself before going to Jackie’s Café.

Upon meeting Janet, Janet indicates that she heard the news about her husband. She asks about Sally, and Sutekiko explains precisely what she saw — that Sally became demonic and exploded into bats. She doesn’t know whether Sally might be in danger, but she figured she ought to let her know. Janet, seeming somewhat skeptical, then thanks Sutekiko and leaves a bag behind before she leaves. After drinking her milkshake, Sutekiko takes the $30,000 in the bag and leaves.

Still shaken, Sutekiko decides to call DJ Inazuma. Getting only his voicemail, she looks him up, and sees he is apparently DJing a set at the Breakfast Club in Fourside. She goes, and manages to catch his eye. At one point while she is at the bar, he comes and visits with her briefly before returning to his set. She explains that some crazy stuff happened tonight, and he says he can talk after his set is over, though it might be around 3:00 AM or so. She stays, and when he is done, she explains her night over drinks. He seems just as surprised as she is, though he seems more credulous and makes sure she is okay. As the night wears on, they part company, but say they ought to hang out before too much time passes. Before going to sleep, Sutekiko looks up bat repellent through Google, and finding that there isn’t really any such thing, she goes to sleep.

The next day, she does little, although she contacts Donald Flanagan and asks if she might have the opportunity to practice boxing a little more. He says that should be fine, and that he actually has a boxing match coming up, and would she be interested? She agrees, and they agree to meet Monday.

Sunday, she works at Kawaii Corner. When she has a moment, she also decides to see if she can contact Travis Touchdown. She first puts out a message on SlaySpace seeing if there is any reliable way to contact him, and then she sends a letter addressed to his last location, asking if he has any tips for an up-and-coming assassin.

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Southern Hospitality

January 7, 2012

Jake Starsky, Magnanimous, Sergei Konstantinov, and Sutekiko all receive contact from government liaisons, indicating that there is an emergency hostage situation which requires their immediate attention. They will receive $100,000, but would need to leave immediately and will not have an opportunity to reconsider this job if they refuse. All accept, learning about a hostage situation in Texas, and all move to make their preparations and board planes.

Upon arriving in Texas, all meet Agent Sam Murach, who explains that a group calling itself the Mexican Heritage Front has entered the small town of Freedom, taking the residents hostage. Led by Jose Ramirez — going by his wrestling name Arma Muestran — the group is now trapped in town by the National Guard blockade that has been established outside of town. The United States government wants a team of agents to enter the town and deal with the situation more quietly than a full military action would.

With everybody briefed, the group is transported to Freedom, Texas. Once there, they find it quiet, with only a few people milling about. They decide to go to the bar, and when they find it guarded by Mexican gangsters who start to question them, the gangsters are quickly dispatched by the assembled group, particularly through the use of Jake’s savage hatchet and Sergei’s immense strength. When they enter the bar, they find a group of hostages taken by Mexican gangsters. Again, the gangsters cannot stand before their might. Once violently dispatched, Jake asks the hostages to serve him beer. Then, the others quietly usher them out.

As the group is about to leave to investigate the rest of the town, another group of gangsters enters, along with a child and a small, reptilian creature. While Magnanimous and Sergei kill the gangsters, Jake and Sutekiko go after the thing, recognized to be a chupacabra. After Jake splits it in half, the child runs and Jake runs after him, cutting him down in the street.

With the gangsters killed, the group leaves the bar to follow Jake. Out of one of the buildings comes a muscular man in luchador garb, his clothing bearing the colors of the Mexican flag. An athletic woman with long hair also comes out after him, holding a gun to the head of a small child, indicating that this is only fair. Magnanimous warns them against it before battle is joined. Magnanimous uses his Mag-Harness to disarm the woman, though she seems able to arm herself as quickly as he can disarm her. The others, meanwhile, focus their attacks on the man. After an explosion sounds in the distance, a brief parley causes the battle to be rejoined. After struggling with Sutekiko, the luchador is finally dispatched when Jake swings his axe upwards, messily bisecting him. After the woman has been completely disarmed by Magnanimous, she runs, only to be cut down by Jake. The remaining gangsters almost instantly surrender.

After contacting Sam Murach about the surrender of the gangsters, he asks them to investigate the seismic activity in the area. They go to where they saw the explosion to find a crater leading down into a cave. They consider investigating when three robotic beings — two octopoid, metallic things and a large, bulbous object on a tripod — exit and attack. Magnanimous manages to weaken the two octopoid things by slamming them together, and the rest of the group dispatches them after the bulbous thing begins repairing one of the damaged robots. After the two are dispatched, the bulbous thing is destroyed, only to explode once it is trashed. The wounded party again contacts Sam, returning to base to await the delivery of some medical treatment. After an Instant Revitalizing Device is brought for them and everybody has an opportunity to use it, they return to the crater site. The arrive to find three humanoid figures, apparently made out of some seamless, almost liquid metal. One is gold in color and the other two are silver. The gold one orders everyone to halt and relinquish control of the area, prompting the assassins to engage in combat with them. During the ensuing fight, Sergei focuses on the gold robotic creature while the others primarily focus on the silver one. The battle is long, but the silver robots are finally destroyed, leaving only the gold one. Despite the defeat of Sergei at the hands of the gold robot through the use of several shots from a beam, the group manages to kill the gold robot. Noting that he is still barely alive, he is quickly transported to the Instant Revitalizing Device where he is treated. Once Sam Murach is contacted again, he indicates that the National Guard will engage in cleanup. He also explains, when asked, that he does not know what the robots were — particularly strange since Sergei could not recognize whatever military manufactured the things.

With their job done, the group is paid and is sent back to their respective homes, their job successful.

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Fight Club

December 15, 2011

Sutekiko receives a vague email about meeting some people in Fourside by the waterfront. She sends a similarly vague reply, and prepares herself to go into the city over the weekend.

On Saturday, she arrives at the waterfront to find two thugs flanking an older, Irish gentleman. He explains that he is interested in hiring her for some work, but since he does not know her and has heard that she had some problems in the desert, he would like her to prove herself first. He starts by asking to see her right hook, and when she strikes him, he seems very surprised. He invites her to fight one of his best boxers this evening, and she agrees; if she wins, he should have some work for her. She leaves and kills some time in Fourside with DJ Inazuma before going to the warehouse where the man said to meet her.

Upon arriving that evening, the man at the door lets her enter, and she speaks to Donald Flanagan, the older man to whom she spoke earlier. He lets Sutekiko prepare herself, then challenges her to the aforementioned boxing match against Frankie the Fist. When she steps into the ring, Frankie manages to peg her a couple of times and is obviously powerful, but after a solid first hit she is able to run circles around him and knock him out with a series of quick jabs.

Donald, again impressed, sees to it that she gets water and talks to her. First, he explains that the difficulty with the Star Children likely results from the current state of Fourside. In the mid-1990s, Monotoli ruled the city through backroom dealings and mob connections. Then, overnight, he turned a new leaf, giving to the poor and generically supporting the city for the better. Donald and his men used to be his muscle, and as such, were out of a job when he went legit. Even so, they harbored no ill will against him. Persistent rumors suggest that Ness Montague was somehow responsible for his transformation, but the truth of that is unknown. At any rate, after Monotoli finally passed away a few years ago, his protégé Aloysius Minch found a protégé of his own, Gaspard St. Luc, who is now the most powerful man in the city. Everybody has to pay protection to him — including Donald and his men — and that’s likely why the police refused to deal with the Star Children; as they were likely paying protection to Gaspard, the police were instructed not to touch them.

Donald then explains the job he wants Sutekiko to do. A street chemist and drug dealer named Jimmy Timms has apparently been selling hard drugs to minors, which Donald considers very unfortunate. He wants Sutekiko to take him out. He has additionally heard that he still has some loyal gangsters, and that rumor indicates that he has chemically altered himself to become more fearsome. The latter he tends to disbelieve, though he still mentions it for full disclosure. He then offers to reimburse Sutekiko if she wishes to stay in Fourside for the night or get anything to eat, and further instructs her to come by the warehouse if she completes the job tomorrow, or to contact him if she does it on another day. Once completed, he will pay her $10,000. She thanks him and stays around for a little bit, to see how Frankie is doing after he awakens. Then, she bids Donald good night and finds a hotel room for the evening.

The next day, she goes to the tenement buildings where Jimmy Timms resides to scout. After looking around a bit, she just decides to enter and do the job right then. She finds a small, rat-faced man at a front desk, and tries to bow her head and look unassuming. She notes a couple of toughs, likely standing guard. She says she wants to meet Jimmy and get some stuff, but the guy seems reluctant to let her enter with her staff and shield. As she goes to put everything away, she takes him out with the staff and turns on the other thugs in the foyer. Though armed with guns, she manages to take both out untouched, despite the fact that one manages to fire off a round, and start to go upstairs. When she hears people coming down the stairs, she tries the other stairwell to realize that they are coming down both stairs. She fights her way through them, leaving bloodied corpses behind. Those who surrender and give her information are allowed to flee, while the others die horribly. Even those shots that do manage to hit her bounce harmlessly off the field projected by her staff, further projecting the image of an invincible killing machine.

When she finally reaches the top floor, she is greeted by a very heavy chemical smell along with a slight man dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, as well as three more of the guards. After dispatching them, she approaches the man, assuming that he is Jimmy Timms. When he raises his gun against her, she smashes it out of his hand and breaks his arm, jabbing her staff at his throat. Before she can react, however, he glows intensely and brightly, though she manages to shut her eyes at just the right time. In the ensuing struggle, he tries to spit on her, which she easily dodges and the resultant drool burns a hole through the floor, and he produces electricity which she also manages to evade. Tired of trying to parley with him, she sweeps his legs out from under him. He cracks his head on the floor as he falls, dying in the process. Sutekiko sends a text message to Donald to ask if he needs anything from the store — their code regarding this kill — and he replies that he broke a glass. She takes a piece of glassware and sends Donald a picture of Jimmy’s broken arm. After washing up in a bathroom and donning an overcoat, she returns to the warehouse and meets with Donald.

He indicates that he wanted something personal as proof of the kill, but he sent somebody around and confirmed Jimmy’s death. She then takes the opportunity to shower, and receives her $10,000 in a small briefcase. She hangs out a bit, and the two parties agree to talk to each other for future business before she leaves to return home.

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Mandate of Heaven

December 9, 2011

Sutekiko receives a phone call from DJ Inazuma, indicating that there is some sort of rescue mission, and would she be interested in meeting him in Fourside this weekend. She agrees, and when the time comes, they meet in Jackie’s Café. With DJ Inazuma is his neighbor, Amy Sanchez, who was looking for help to find her missing daughter. It turns out that her daughter disappeared, and after hunting around, she learned that her daughter joined some group called the Star Children, apparently living in a commune out in the Dusty Dunes Desert. When she contacted the police, they vaguely brushed her off and refused to do anything. In response, she and a few other parents who have lost children to the commune pooled their money together and decided to hire someone. That someone was Sutekiko.

Sutekiko asked if there are pictures of these children, and Mrs. Sanchez says that she only has pictures of her own children, but can get some of the others. After she leaves, Inazuma explains that pictures probably aren’t necessary, as the teenagers will probably be young, scared, and noncombative — or at least not as combative as the hardcore members of the cult. Additionally, the kids are all aged about 16 to 20, and all told, the group looking for their lost children has $2,000 to contribute. Sutekiko says that she probably won’t take the money, though. Finally, DJ Inazuma explains that the leader is some guy named Leroy Abrams, who claims to be immortal. After some discussion and a brief walk, Sutekiko and DJ Inazuma return to Jackie’s Café. Mrs. Sanchez returns with appropriate pictures. Sutekiko looks over them to memorize them, then decides to go into the desert to take care of the situation. DJ Inazuma tells her to call him when she is finished.

Sutekiko rides out into the desert before finally seeing the rickety, expansive buildings of the Star Children’s commune in the distance. With night falling, she hides the bike behind some scrub brush, then stealthily approaches the compound. Before reaching the entrance, she is spotted, by a kid with a flashlight, who tells her to be careful out here and to come in. She enters, coming to a place where she hears music. The music having stopped by her arrival, she enters a room where several people are talking, mostly crowded around a man with crazed eyes holding a guitar. His head is shaved, as are the heads of a few people in the audience, and he looks at her as she enters. After asking her about what brings her here, he starts to sing a song about a rainbow come from across the desert to deliver love when she starts “dancing,” truly looking for an opportunity to slam him with her staff. When she does so, she tries to play it off as an accident, but he doesn’t believe her, calling for help instead. The two girls with shaved heads jump into the fray, one pulling out a beam katana, and after struggling against her and the group of teenagers, two more people enter the room. One, impossibly large and wielding a double chainsaw, rushes in, followed by a female form with distinctly lizard-like scales and spikes. As they surround her, the other kids move out of the way. Despite her valiant fight, the woman with the beam katana and the man with the double chainsaw manage to overpower her, with a swing of the chainsaw being the last thing she sees.

She awakens, in great pain, naked, tied up on the floor of a featureless room. After getting her bearings and noting a high window in the room, as well as the fact that sunlight is entering, she wriggles free of her bonds and ponders what to do next when the door starts to open. The young man who brought her in the previous night enters, and is about to leave in an alarmed fashion when she convinces him to keep quiet. She then explains that she was just coming to help as the families of the teens here are so distraught that they would send someone such as herself to try to save them. Seemingly unaware that his parents were even looking for him, he agrees not to tell her anything and gives her his gun. He then says he will try to return with things for her. After he leaves, she writes a note in mud on the wall indicating that she will return and then slips out the window.

After sneaking through the desert, she finally comes to the road and waits for a car to pass. She flags down the driver, who immediately takes her to the police station in Fourside. The police then transfer her to the hospital, where she is given morphine and treated for her injuries. She calls DJ Inazuma to let him know that things did not go well and that she won’t be taking the money. She then goes to sleep.

After awakening, she rests for a while before noting an older, suited man watching her through her window. He walks away when he sees that she notices him, and she tries to follow. When she loses him, she tells the front desk about the intruder and returns to her room. Police ask her about her encounter in the desert, and then take her to the police station to be processed. Once her testimony is finalized, the suited man reappears, indicating that he is Sam Murach with the United States government. He again asks her about her testimony, and afterwards, asks if she is interested in taking any jobs for the government, as per her typical arrangement. She is initially vague, but afterward says she will consider it. He says he will contact her later. She also asks if her things may be recovered, and he agrees to do so when the Star Children are dealt with. She is then taken home.

Within a few days, her Vespa, staff, and shield are returned, though she never hears about any raid on the compound. When she speaks to DJ Inazuma later, he says that the children were returned, but that he knows little details about whatever happened. In any event, the Star Children are no more.

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Feed Your Head

December 1, 2011

Sutekiko receives an email from her Craigslist advert asking if she would be interested in performing a bodyguard job in nearby Fourside. She replies, indicating that she would be interested. The person responds to reveal that he is DJ Inazuma, and a rivalry with another DJ is getting more intense such that he understands he may be attacked at his own show. He offers $1,000. Sutekiko agrees to meet him on Saturday before the show.

On Saturday, Sutekiko drives her scooter to Fourside and cases the surrounding streets before knocking on the side door of Club Minch, a refurbished warehouse-turned-dance-club. A staff member greets her at the back before DJ Inazuma says that she is supposed to be there, inviting her inside. After getting her a Coke, he explains that his rival, DJ Dukhan, may be trying to take him out, and would she be able to prevent this? She agrees, and decides to look around for vantage points, making note of the bathrooms and suchlike. She decides to mingle in the crowd, but once the place starts to get packed, she’ll move to the catwalk above the dance floor.

People start to filter in without incident, and though she engages in some minor conversations, she mostly keeps an eye on her quarry. Finally, she moves to the catwalk to observe the dance floor and the stage. Things are fairly mundane for a couple of hours, filled with the typical dancing, boozing, and drugging, when she notes a figure clad in blue making a beeline for the stage. Activating her staff, she jumps down to confront him.

When she warns him that she will be forced to take action if he tries anything, he downs a pill, throws out his hand, and shouts, “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Transformation!” He suddenly becomes more muscular and his hair becomes more spiky and lighter in colour. She quickly delivers a blow to his knees, dropping him to the ground. When he makes it apparent that he will not stop, and starts to glow, she strikes him again on the chest, knocking him unconscious.

DJ Inazuma calls the police, and after a few minutes, police and ambulances arrive. Sutekiko is taken away for questioning, but when the police determine that she acted in a manner of self-defense, they let her go and a police officer drives her back to Club Minch. Once there, she finds DJ Inazuma, who asks her to take care of DJ Dukhan for an extra $500. She agrees, and he indicates that DJ Dukhan may be at the Topolla Theater, seeing a Venus show. Sutekiko hops back on her scooter and goes to the Topolla Theater.

The show is letting out as she arrives, and she spots her quarry. She approaches him and warns him against pulling any of this stuff with DJ Inazuma again, but he acts like he doesn’t know to what she is referring, and gets into a taxi with his group. She calls DJ Inazuma, who asks her to take care of things more physically. She follows the taxi, and when it drops DJ Dukhan and a lady friend off at an apartment complex, Sutekiko goes inside. Pulling the woman aside to separate her from DJ Dukhan, she aims a kick at his genitals. Missing, he runs and she gives chase, quickly catching up to slam him in the back with her staff. He falls, and she leaves the scene.

Calling DJ Inazuma, he agrees to meet her at Jackie’s Café with the money. Arriving there, he gives her a messenger bag with $1,500, and gets her a milkshake. She decides to come see his show sometime when she can enjoy it, and he leaves, indicating that the two will keep in touch. Since it is late, she decides to get a hotel room for the night before returning home the next day.

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