Log Title: Fatale
Summary: It's Lottery Fight Night. A challenger is unmasked.
IC Date: February 5, 2381
OOC Date: February 5, 2019
Related Logs: None
galenvioletwinterhanneroyalhollyasenethbellecarnage

 

 

* * *

It's Lottery Fight Night. Normally, tickets to a non-broadcast fight are both expensive and very difficult to procure. In a time of instant access to millions of hours of content, the experience at existing at a live event where no cameras are allowed is the new hottest ticket. Tonight, out of the generosity of his synthetic heart, Carnage has distributed several hundred tickets via lottery. Still, people had to pay for the chance to win, but the 40 creds is insignificant considering the 1000 credits or more a seat would normally cost you. But the fact that the lottery tickets themselves were not easy to come by (Carnage promised a 1 in 20 chance of winning) meant that those tickets were hot tickets in and of themselves. There were strict anti-scalping measures in place because ain't nobody gonna profit off this but Carnage himself.

It's already been a show of legend. The opening acts consisted of junk sleeves essentially being slaughtered for sport, leading into the monster rounds with heavily modified sleeves with colourful personas. The monster rounds were a little less gory and a bit more pro-wrestling, meant to get the crowd riled up and even laugh a little. There's a brief intermission now, and snack and drink vendors from the nearby Barns cycle around with refreshments for sale. The cage is a little rank and needs some hosing out.

Coming up next are the 'beauty rounds,' so said because people fight in sleeves with little to no obvious modifications. First up on that bill is Sparks - a known face around the arena who is known for fighting in his very own birth sleeve. He'll be taking on a mysterious figure who has only appeared in one broadcast fight. The only things known about the competitor are that she is in a female sleeve, and that she's a martial artist. She is fully masked, in black C-TAC-style stealth gear (sans armor) and she has promised to unmask herself when defeated. She has not lost the ten previous matches. She is on the bill as simply 'Fatale.'

* * *

Violet had not had much opportunity to watch the fights. The ones that had paid for the seats would have found it scandalous, but really, you see one sleeve-dead former junkie, or down on his luck Licktowner, or someone stupid enough to think they might actually make it out of the opening fights alive, well, it got boring fast. At any rate, she'd been too busy handling the back end of the fights, harvesting the DHF before the sleeves were trashed, the ones worth salvaging were put on ice for reclamation, and the systems were checked and rechecked for synchronous casting in staggered stages for the fight bill. Once the main better rounds were on offer, she did find time to stand a watch, a critical eye trained on the two competitors preparing the do battle.

* * *

Holly couldn't remember the last time she was at a live match. Probably before she was a teenager. Watching her father's sleeve of the night fighting. Always a heart racing wonder of if he was going win or lose. Be victor or have another dead sleeve. Holly hadn't really been expecting to win the lottery for the ticket to the non-broadcast, but figured that she wasn't doing anything better besides working so why not give it a try? Right now she was working her way through the crowd to get a drink before the next match. Curious to see if Sparks would be able to make Fatale unmask herself.

* * *

Winter doesn't much follow battledrome sports, both because of the cost and perhaps because of Opinions. But, there is certainly a curiosity about watching the monstrous sleeves at work, and how riding inside of one might affect the personality, even if these sleeves are more like costumes than real bodies. So, they entered the lottery, and so, here they are, seated in the stands and watching Carnage's… well… carnage firsthand. They consider the program as the cage gets hosed off and food and drink vendors move past, belting about their wares. Their brows lift slightly at the description of the next match. "'Fatale' huh," they muse. "I hadn't expected so much theater."

* * *

Galen Sparks is as cool, calm and collected as he can be despite his upcoming bout. He's already in the little anti-chamber like a bull ready to be released by the gate, but instead of pawing at the ground and snorting his anger, he has his hands hitched up high on the chainlink fence and he's flirting with some scantily clad patron in the front row. He's dressed in a grey long sleeved shirt with padded elbows, and black Hakaman pants which allow for ease of movement but are tight around the calves and ankles. Thin soled black boots lace up mid-way to his knee and he's armed with a pair of blades at the small of his back with sharp points and a double cutting edge.

* * *

Non-broadcast fight it is. Totally. Absolutely no cameras allowed inside. And by absolutely none, that means there's not many. Now, Hanne doesn't have a camera eye replacement. She's definitely considering getting one now, but she certainly doesn't plan to replace body parts on her own dime. She also knew that smuggling a camera into this place on her person would be basically impossible, and so did her contact, which is why he got one planted six hours beforehand. Specifically, pieces of a camera. Hanne is by no means a tech wizard, but it was easy enough to snap the components into place one she found them. The lens looks like a button on the outside of her purse, which itself is covered in dozens of other little black studs. She herself is watching the bout with fairly professional interest, even commenting to whoever sits next to her about this fighter's poor form or that one's clever tactics.

* * *

"What's in the drink then, darling? Something with bubbles? No? Shame. Cheap beer, is it? I suppose, when in Rome. Which is especially apt considering the gladiatorial spectacle." It's easy to tell the haves from the have-nots even in the lottery bout. Some might even consider it unfair that those who can and regularly do attend the regular non-broadcast bouts would even be here tonight. But here is one, Dante Taylor, aka Royal, is wearing a fine gray suit with asymmetric tailoring, black accents on the shoulder and a white Mandarin collar. He's flanked by no less than three people who look the part of a bodyguard. He's positioned in a seat just above the chutes where the competitors are about to enter from.

The music starts to pump, which signals the end of intermission. Carnage himself strides out into the floor that glistens faintly with watered-down blood. The very obviously synth owner of the Panama Rose pulls down a globe mic on a string. "Gooood evening to the luckiest people in Bay City. Are you having fun, darlings? I bet you are." He flashes too-perfect teeth, face wrinkling, eyebrow-less forehead knotting. "Now we're into the fun part of the evening as poetry in motion takes this arena. You know him, you love him, you buy signed glossies of his glistening pecs. I bring you the blond mountain himself, Galeeeen Spaarks!" He gestures towards the chute to allow the man to make his entrance into the ring with the music of his choice.

* * *

Galen's music starts in a synthetic strings composition and then the beat drops. He bounces out of the chute with his arms pumping in the air to get the cheering up to a deafening level, running from one side of the arena to the other and jumping up on the fence with animalistic yells. The crowd wants glistening pectorals, do they? Well the showman grabs the collar of his shirt with both hands and riiiiips the material open before shrugging it off his shoulders and whipping it over the top of the fence.

* * *

Violet had not moved closer to the chain link that marked the barrier of the arena, in point of fact, as the bout seemed about to begin, she stepped back, lest she inadvertently get tangled somehow into the pre-show, as it were. Her lips twisted into something that was almost wry, as she turned her head, her voice low enough that it only made it as far as one of the techs that was standing beside her, "You know, he'd make more money renting out that sleeve than fighting in a cage." Pecs indeed.

* * *

Winter's eyebrows are really getting a workout tonight. Their expression settles into neutral and then some new antic or spectacle has them shooting high again, less in the manner of 'oooh! ahhh!' and more in the manner of 'seriously?' So it goes as Galen Sparks charges around the cage, leaping and growling and theeeere goes the shirt. There's a choked snicker which Winter covers with their hand, for politeness sake.

* * *

Hanne, meanwhile, apparently-absently readjusts the purse on her knee to aim the lens at Galen's entrance. Her eyebrows lift at the shirt-ripping maneuver. "Oh yeah," she murmurs to her seat-neighbor. "You know how it is. Shirt rips, the fighter suddenly gains superpowers. Gotta figure it's a breakaway shirt, right?"

* * *

"That is a bit of showmanship," says Royal as he sips his cheap beer and watches Galen cavort. The same ladies who were selling refreshments now come around for people to place their bets on the match. Wagers are taken with hard currency, or for the brave, with a thumbscan (brave, because Carnage's machines tend to 'glitch,' and never in the favour of the person placing the wager.

"And taking him on tonight, we have the mysterious…" Carnage drops his voice, "…military maven known only as Fatale." The music starts. It's much softer, more stealthy, but once the black-clad woman takes centre, uh…pit, and flicks out a pair of short swords, the bass drops. "Will Sparks unmask our mystery woman? Only you will get to see!"

Then, Carnage backs up, gives them both a nod, and then, just before he steps out of the cage, he yells, "FIIIIIIGHT!"

The lithe black-clad woman wastes no time in lunging at Galen, swords fwipping out in high arcs. She's very acrobatic, despite her military clothing, but her fighting style leaves room for holes because it's clearly meant to dazzle as much as be deadly.

* * *

Belle was here, truth be told she'd been here for a while, but with her attire and some of her mods she probably doesn't exactly look like the 'wander in' types. It was something in the way she moved, the 'stance' she held as she leaned nearby and the way her eyes swept the room. The mercenary had been to places like this before, security around this much violence just made sense, but tonight and thanks to the lottery? The raven-haired woman was here by herself and for herself. It was…strange to say the least.

So far? She hadn't so much as touched a drink. But then she wasn't quite able to 'switch off' in such an environment. Those 'ears' atop her head though? They were swiftly deactivated. Too much noise and movement for them to be of any use here!

* * *

Galen pulls the blades out of their sheathes, keeping them tucked along his forearms and his arms spread out to his sides as he circles when Fatale comes into the ring. He doesn't have the same style as the woman, not about to do fancy flips and acrobatics. He steps into one of those vulnerabilities she leaves open, giving her ribs a taste of his knuckles even if that leaves him open to take a slice from one of her swords along a forearm. With a step away, he merely licks the bleeding wound and spits red to the ground before they engage again.

* * *

"You gotta be kidding me," Hanne mutters. She watches 'Fatale' flip and twirl and leave herself open. "Where'd she learn to fight? Middle school gymnastics? Tch. This is just for show. If she wins, it's because he threw the fight." Unless she's hiding something with all that ridiculous jumping and whirling.

* * *

Violet watched the fight, still in its opening round, still seeming content to chatter away with the man standing beside her. She lifted a hand to tuck a strand of hair, black and bone straight tonight, a sharp contrast to the virulent blue of her eyes, behind her ear, "It's going to be one of those night. I can already tell."

* * *

There's an echo of winced reaction to the blow that Galen manages to land on Fatale's ribcage. She shakes it off and rock-steps back, stance low, watchful. But this isn't a real high-stakes fight - this is a show. So she doesn't spend very long watching her opponent before she's flurrying the blades around in a distracting windmill. This time, her vulnerability is a feint, and her blade draws down to slice across his arm again if he takes the bait.

Meanwhile, betting intensifies. Royal motions over one of the women taking bets. He unfolds paper currency (how gauche) and indicates he wants to bet on Galen. "I do appreciate showmanship, and the whole ninja lady warrior thing with a name like Fatale is too on the nose."
"It's not a showmanship competition, my lord," says one of the bodyguards.
"I know that. Naturally. But I like to reward that. Someone getting their skull caved in is the inevitable part of this whole business."

* * *

Hanne's comment? Seems Belle is close enough to hear it. Arms still crossed under her bust, the dark-haired woman leans forward slightly to speak. "It's all for show," she speaks lightly, "Girl's trying to win the crowd over. Probably hired for being flashy. Probably works well enough, till it gets you killed against someone who knows what they're doing…"

* * *

John arrives from the RP Room Lobby.

* * *

Galen backs up at the windmill of blades, but he lunges in at the feint, realizing the ploy too late as he gets cut once again. He winces and whips his arm away, causing a fan of blood to be splattered into the audience. Recovery is quick however, used to such flesh wounds as he is, and he goes in low with his own crisscross of blades to swipe quickly at her thigh to hopefully slow down her flourishing movements.

* * *

Winter cants their head a little as they watch the two fighters down in the pit. Punches and slashes are exchanged, though it still seems like either opponent's match. They turn their head to glance over at Where Royal sits, not far away, with his trio of bodyguards. "You sound like a regular."

* * *

Nodding her vague agreement to Belle, Hanne shrugs: "Definitely she is. But like you say, it's gonna get her killed. Look at the way Sparks is fighting. Conserving his energy. Watching her for those holes, and she's leaving them constantly. If she doesn't have a little substance underneath that style, she's going to get gutted. So either she's woefully outmatched, she's got a deal, or she's a ringer. It would be great if she's a ringer."

* * *

"Regular enough," says Royal to Winter with a toothy grin. "I've seen both of them fight before. Of the two, he, surprisingly, has more substance. The peacocking is just his brand." He points out Galen. "He's got better form, better control. She's got all the flippy moves that look slick, but is full of holes. But I'm not surprised she's out here for a lottery match. It's the sort of thing that's most impressive for those who don't see these things regularly. Oooh, like that bit…"

'That bit' is an impressive kip-up from Fatale, followed by a series of whirlwind kicks. There are a few suprises, a few feints that look nearly indistinguishable from the actual openings she leaves, which makes things unpredictable. It also means Galen gets tagged a few more times, but there are no attempts at killing blows. In fact, even when she gets her good hits in, she seems to be pulling her punches. Galen gets a particularly good kick in that sends one of her blades careening towards the fence.

It's vaguely in Royal's direction, so he finds himself bear-hugged by the two guards. "Oh get off. That's not actually a chain link fence. There's a bloody energy field!" The bodyguards look sheepish.

The fight goes on for a good twenty minutes, though it likely feels a lot longer to the competitors. Both have been tagged, but Fatale has been tagged more frequently. Her black clothing is bloody and torn in multiple places. One hand is wounded, and she's down a blade. She gets close to Galen, dark eyes flashing. "Let's end this, shall we?" And then she lunges towards him, overextending herself and leaving her torso open. It's the kind of strike that would be devastating if it connects, but it's telegraphed too much.

* * *

Aseneth arrives from the RP Room Lobby.

* * *

"If she's lasted as long as the program claims, the gaps she leaves must be intentional," Winter muses, "or all of her opponents up until now were worse? Or maybe it's to do with the unmasking rather than the killing." So many options, so many angles.

* * *

Blood drips down Galen's bare torso and arms, slicking his fingers and making his grip slippery on the hilts of his weapon. His smile is wide, more a show of teeth like a feral animal rather than a mirthful expression. At the lunge, he lowers his stance and spreads his center of gravity with a widening of his feet. Just as she's about to drive her blade into his shoulder, he rolls it backwards and out of the way, dropping one of his knives so he can grab her wrist on the follow through, twisting his hips and back into her and flinging her with the momentum into the fencing. As she drops to the ground, Galen is on her, Cracking the hilt of his remaining knife down with a sickening crunch on her nose.

* * *

Aseneth is here, not as a contest winner but as eye-candy on the arms of some regular. An accountant, actually. She has a bright smile plastered on her high-end synth-face, but those good with the eyes can see that she's actually relatively bored. She spends more time glancing at the other patrons, viewers, and contest winners then the fight, though she does her best to act interested, with practised ease. "It's a show fight. When you have less paying tickets, you lower the expenses somehow to maintain the profit margins, and it gets the blood going for later." she comments aloud.

* * *

Belle watches the 'climax' of the fight in that telegraphed movement, shaking her head a little. It certainly looks painful enough, but it was probably expected. Was 'Fatale' really even a soldier, or was she simply a stage performer about to go through her 'how-many-eth' sleeve. Still, it had been a 'free' ticket, perhaps this truely did boil down to promotion and little more.

* * *

Crunch

Thanks to microphones strategically placed around the ring, the sound of Fatale's nose breaking is rendered in stereo. She can't get up. She's unarmed. It's Carnage's voice that starts the chanting, "Un-mask her! Un-mask her!" It doesn't take long before the whole crowd is joining in, chanting the words along with the synth.

"Either are possible," says Royal off-hand to Winter before he joins in with the chanting.

* * *

Hanne nods, but she looks a little sad. She'd hoped for something more. So had her boss, she suspects. Still, she's interested in seeing the face under that mask. So's her purse, apparently; one finger slides down and turns the little dial for the zoom-in feature. Probably a nobody, or probably a totally unknown sleeve, but it's what she's here for.

* * *

Galen, winded but triumphant, lets his fingers relax so his remaining blade drops to the ground with a clatter. Letting the chant build to a crescendo, Sparks takes a knee next to her downed body and reaches beneath her chin to gather up the material. In one grand gesture, he pulls it off her head and lofts the mask above his head in a fist and to the roar of the crowd.

* * *

Aseneth continues to watch the crowd more then the fight. She tries to look excited when the accountant she's with starts cheering, however.

* * *

"Well, here's our answer," Winter supposes as 'Fatale' goes down. Despite themself, they can't help but be interested in what the removal of that mask reveals.

* * *

The roar of the crowd turns to startled gasps, then a wave of whispers. Even through the broken nose and blood and bruises, that face is familiar to everyone. It's a face that has been in the news for generations, and more lately as news has come in from the colonies.

Ariana Longbow. Or, at least someone in one of her cloned sleeves. Ariana Longbow, governor of Three Moon Colony who oversaw the massacre of separatist leaders a few months ago. Ariana Longbow, meth.

The woman who billed herself as Fatale starts to laugh. It's a gleeful, unhinged sound that follows a moment later with her eyes rolling back in her head and foam at her mouth. Purple foam. To those in the know, that's a byproduct of activating an implant that not only kills the sleeve, but corrupts the stack.

* * *

"Fuck!" Violet hit the chain in front of her running, the barrier popping open under the weight of her body. This wasn't the cage after all, only the holding area. She moved with uncanny, inhuman speed, as she bridged the distance beteen where she had been waiting and the cage, the entry portal already opening in front of her. Her team were not fools. Her own gleam of metal appeared in her hand, as she ran, "Get your ass out of my way, Sparks! We need to get her stack out!"

* * *

Hanne's eyes widen, and widen, and she backs away from the edge of the ring. Taking a sharp breath, she looks almost panicked at the sight of that purple foam, not to mention that face. "Mother Mary," she whispers, crossing herself reflexively. She is horrified. She is. She's also maybe just a little thrilled. It's monstrous, of course it is, but if it was really Ariana Longbow in there, then maybe she deserves it. Not that it really will be. It'll be some sap who wanted to make some extra credits dying on stage. Dying on… camera. Because this non-broadcast bout is being beamed out by Hanne, and maybe that was part of the intention all along.

* * *

A Meth? Belle very much doubted it…but one of their sleeves? Possibly. That was interesting in itself. Her arms uncrossed, the woman blinks a little as she watches the unmasking and then lets her hands fall to the side. This had to be a stunt, something to 'shock' folks present and get them whispering. Why else would the fighting have been so 'theatrical' and one-sided?

* * *

Aseneth finally looks interested, her eyes bolting towards the Meth and narrowing as she focuses intently on the laughing, apparently suicidal figure. "Three Moon." she mummers, bitterly. "Quite a show after all." After a moment, she seems to realize that her companion has a horrified look on his face, and masks her emotions once more, plastering a vaugely alarmed look on them. Inside, however, she calmly reflects on how good this will be for the reputation of the one running the fights - assuming the real meths don't have him for breakfast, that is.

* * *

Sparks throws his hands up as his name is called out, backing away from the body with a slow drag of his boots. His attention is on the purple foam coming out of his opponents mouth. Ariana Longbow's mouth. He's so not responsible for that, thank you very much. Judging by his reaction, if this fight was scripted in anyway, it just went off the rails.

* * *

And there go Winter's brows again, up into their hairline. Thy stand to get a better view of what's going on down in the cage, watching as violet fights her way through and tries to do something to save the DHF that might already be corrupted.

* * *

The crowd probably didn't expect to see someone's stack removed violently before chemicals work their way into the DHF and corrupt it beyond recovery, but that's what they're going to get, since Violet gets to the woman before she stops convulsing. Some in the crowd look away or hold their stomach. Sleeve damage is par for the course, but seeing a DHF handled roughly after being poisoned hits a little too close to home.

Royal is one of the ones who looks about green around the gills. "Oh good lord, Ariana." He says her name like he knows her, which he might. Or maybe, like so many of them, he just feels he does. She had a good reptuation at one point, seventy-five or so years ago, when she lived on Earth, before needlecasting to take up the governorship of Three Moon. Back then, she was known for her charity work and outreach programs, but like many meths, she grew colder the older she got. Since Three Moon is so far away, the pop culture version of her lived on in the mind of the younger people. That is, until the massacre.

It's Carnage himself who comes over to Galen and pulls him back towards the chute. Staff start wiping him down once they're in the chute, and it may take him a moment to realize they're making sure he didn't get any of the stack-corrupting compound on him. Who knows how deadly it is, after all?

* * *

Aseneth takes a step away from her companion to get a closer look when they rip the stack out. "Hmm." the synth mummers. "I suspect there will be a lot of detectives pouring over this place soon. And if they save the stack, even more work for the unofficial sort." A pause. "Quite a bit of money to do this. Duplicate a stack, cloning. Narrows down the suspects, at least."

* * *

Galen gets pulled back into the chute without so much as a glance or word to Carnage, standing there a bit numbly as the team wipes him down, smearing away blood and sweat with thankfully no trace of the foam on his skin. It takes a moment for the rags and water hitting his skin to come back to his senses, waving away the administrations with irritation. "I'm fine. I'm FINE." For once in his life he turns away turns away from the commotion and spectacle where he normally would feed on it, stalking away to the prep room.

* * *

Winter begins moving out of their row (excuse me, pardon me), squeezing past Royal and his three bodyguards to head into the aisle and make their way down towards the cage. They climb through the hole Violet made, coming to stand next to the physician as she does her gory work. "Towels and a bucket of cleaning solution!" they call to, well, anyone who will listen and follow the orders.

* * *

"Getting hold of one of her clones — or making one — that kind of access is unreal," Hanne murmurs. "I can't imagine it's really Longbow in there, but that's somehow even weirder." She hesitates a moment. Well. She IS a cop, isn't she? She has a badge and everything. A grim smile thins her lips and she barges out of the crowd, shoving her way through to get back to those secured doors leading to wherever they're going to try to take that stack.

* * *

Violet, too old and too indoctrinated to horror to care, worked at her top speed, gloved hands and scalpel blade crunching into the sleeve's spine, nearly separating the head from the body, fingers digging out bone and through gristle before she popped out the stack, dropping it into the container of disinfecting solution that one of the techs runs over on Winter's orders. Her gloves she pulls off, turning them inside out, tossing the possibly contaminated items onto the sand, before she regloves, "I'll do what I can here." She did glance over towards Carnage, "We're going to need an exit." No way was she going to work on this stack here, now with the fightdome full of people who just saw what they saw.

* * *

If it was really her, this was the most extravagant assassination Belle had ever seen. She actually nods her head at Hanne's words and starts to open her mouth to suggest that perhaps someone had been stealing from the stored clones or maybe the real Longbow actually just liked seeing 'herself' in the ring, but the other woman was already running and the former CTAC woman just shakes her head before letting her hand slip down to where her concealed weapon rested at the small of her back reassuringly.

What a night…

* * *

"I doubt that was Ariana's stack," says Royal to Aseneth's comment. He presses a handkerchief to his mouth. "She doesn't like fighting. Especially doesn't like swords. But cloning a meth? Good lord." He swallows what's left of his beer.

His bodyguards nudge him, "Sir, we should be going."

Carnage walks back out into the ring, away from where Violet is dealing with the woman. Staff toss out a series of devices that shimmer to life to block out the crowd's view. From Violet's perspective, there's nothing more than a faint shimmer of energy. But outside, the images within have become fuzzy and indistinct. Carnage tugs the microphone over and clears his throat. "Ladies and gentlemen, the last fight of the evening has been cancelled. All bets for that match will be returned. As for this match…" he motions backwards vaguely. "Despite the…dramatics, Sparks was the winner. All payouts will proceed as normal." That causes some boos and hisses from the crowd. But the suddenly approaching bodyguards and pit fighters in terrifying sleeves does encourage people towards the exit.

The stack has visible damage in the form of honeycomb holes throughout the DHF. The contents need to be moved onto a new Stack ASAP to have any hope of even figuring out who the identity of this person was driving Ariana's sleeve, let alone talk to her in VR or in a new sleeve.

Carnage enters the range of the disruption field and nods his oddly shaped head at Violet. "Through the chute, third locker on the left at the rear. Lock combination six-seven-seven-pound-six-six-eight. That will lead you into a tunnel that will bring you to street level. But you keep me in the loop. The cops are going to be all over my ass looking for that stack any second now."

* * *

"I have a good VR setup at my office," Winter offers, only wincing very slightly at some of a more *schlorping* sounds Violet's hands make as they pull the stack free, "but no spare stacks. We'll need to transfer the DHF on site, first."

* * *

"Probably no lack of fanatics who would destroy their own stack for this." Aseneth agrees in the direction of Royal. "I meant if it was a duplicate of some thief or patsy, which would probably just be a waste of money when fools are a dime a dozen." She nods again. "Cloning a meth. Expensive and illegal." she agrees, again.

* * *

Violet nodded, as she looked up from her work scrubbing the stack, "We're going to need to do an emergency copy transfer, get the gear." She rose to her feet, taking the cleaned stack with her, moving away from Winter as her team rolled in. This was not precisely the sort of thing this sort of equipment was used for, but there had been enough incidents of fights going bad and stacks being damaged that the Rose had invested in the necessary equipment to help them preserve valuable fighters. If there was one thing Carnage did not abide, it was losing potential cash payouts. The team set to work, as Violet looked back to Winter, "You can help if you like, but you're going to end up being high on someone's shit list." She worked as she spoke, transferring the stack into the stasis fluid and plugging it in.

Violet says, "I always keep you in the loop, you know that."

* * *

It's taking some time for Hanne to shove her way through the crowd, but it gives her enough time to think. And it's handy that she doesn't think like a cop: she thinks like a criminal, for reasons that may be obvious. So instead of going for the office door that cops are always allowed into, Hanne's heading around and out back. If someone's going to try to get out with the stack, they're going to do it through the back alley. If they're going to stay there to work on it, then they're not going to expect the cops to come in that way. So. Back door it is, smelly and gross though the place might be. That, or the first unguarded door to the secure areas she can find.

* * *

"Eh," says Winter with a small shrug as they follow along after Violet and her crew. "That's nothing new, and this is *interesting*. Besides, you might need my help, if the DHF can be salvaged." Or, at any rate, Winter is going to force their help onto Violet, whether she wants it or not.

* * *

"Oooh, at least I won. That's some happy news," says Royal as a very harried looking staff member pays him out a rather fat stack of creds. He looks at it, taps it against his hand, then passes it back. "Please be sure this makes it to Sparks with my compliments. He's had a terrible evening. Perhaps a little bit of extra cash will make him feel better." He pats the staffer on the shoulder. He still looks like he's fighting back feeling a bit queasy. He looks to Aseneth. "There are many fascinating possibilities and I shall be looking into the case. But after I've had something to settle my stomach. Excuse me." And with a flutter of a smile, he allows his bodyguards to usher him out the VIP entrance.

The Panama Rose is emptying out of all but the most curious. There's a howl of sirens growing closer that indicates the arrival of the authorities. If Violet and Winter are going to want to do their own investigation on the stack, they're going to need to get it off-site as quickly as possible. Normally the police are slow to respond to anything in the Neon District, but when a meth is involved? All bets are off.
* * *

"Four hands are better than two." Especially when she knew the quality of the hands and the mind behind the two that were not hers. Violet slotted in the empty stack, starting the transfer process as she looked over to Winter, the team working as shields of a sort, as she lead Winter out through the other other backdoor and to eventual escape, holding the package as carefully, as guardedly as she would have a baby on a battlefield. "Don't look down." That, as they get to the tunnel that ran under the street. "You wouldn't like it if you looked down."

* * *