The Temptress and The Hunter: Part 5-The Plan
Friday, December 8, 2006

In which The Blades plan a job and leave to carry it out, unaware that Dorm is getting ever closer to Saffron in their midst. Meanwhile in the Jungle someone, or something is watching and plotting. Sorry its been awhile-I've been on holiday.


There was about ten bandits in the room, the ones who had been with Blake the longest or who had simply risen through the ranks of The Blades through skill and capability. Dorm had been called in the morning after learning the horrible truth about the Degen’s, they were going to plan a job.

Apparently Blake wanted the new guy close, to make sure he didn’t make any rookie mistakes. Dorm was still shaken from what he had learned before but he had tried to put it out of his mind and focus on his mission. He was here to track down Saffron and she might be in the room with him right now.

Two of his prime suspects were there with him, Blake’s girl Siph and a girl he had been introduced to the night he had arrived Rachel. Both fitted the height profile and both had been with the gang only a relatively short time. Also from what he had picked up neither talked about their past with anything definite, although that wasn’t particularly unusual given the nature of their profession. It could be either of them, it could be neither of them, he couldn’t make any decisions before he had more evidence but he felt he was making headway.

It was now the third day he had been with The Blades and he knew nearly all of the members by name and face, if little more than that. Most were friendly and happy to talk, despite the brutal reputation of the gang. Dorm suspected that may of them where much like Blake himself, intelligent, congenial and basically decent but quick to anger. Certainly the gang’s behaviour towards one another did not fit with their reputation for needless violence and cruelty.

The people in the room with him now were a perfect cross-section of The Blades. There was the capable Second Ceran, the simpering but (Dorm suspected) tougher-than-she-looked Siph, there was wisecracking Pat, dour Kosuke, the big man Samul, Blake himself, pretty Rachel. There was also a few he had just meet that morning; An older woman with the same dark skin tones as Blake whom the others called Pern and an intense middle aged man by the name of Nevitts who handled the security arrangements on the Hideout. They came from colonies all across the ‘verse and their backgrounds where just as diverse as their origins. Nevitts had been head of a security business until he was accused of murder and fled, Samul had grown up on a farm before running away to ‘pursue a life of adventure.’

Blake rapped a long stick on the table, calling the group to order.

“Alright, listen up people,” he boomed. Everyone straightened and moved over to the table. “Last night I got a wave from Billie Hallow, about a bank in Neren-on-Jade. Some corporate bigshot is moving into town, some high honcho in Blue Sun. He’s picking up a whole lot of cash at the Jade Finance Center, and now as we speak it’s arriving.”

Pat twitched, “Ten why aren’t we tere now, grabbin’ it? Why’d twe wait tis long?”

Blake sighed and glared at Pat, “Because right now it has an escort of about twenty security men. Do you feel like dying today?”

Pat shook his head.

“Didn’t think so. Anyways tonight it will be sitting in the vault in the Finance Center waiting for the Blue Sun man to pick it up.”

Ceran took over, “So we’re going in. Blake, Myself, Siph, Kusoke, Rendell, Jon and Philip will take the bank. There’s medium security there, about three guards contracted straight to the bank so they’re fighting for they’re jobs. We’ll probably have to kill one of them to get the message across that we’re serious, preferably messily, to frighten both the security and any customers. Pat and Rachel you guys will stay outside, keep any passersby from coming in. Then we’ll split off ten percent of the money and you’ll go and meet Billie Hallow, give him his finders fee. Samul, Pern you two will get an escort of another five and meet us just outside town, ready to dissuade any pursuit.”

Rachel nodded, “Sounds good, but where are we meeting Billie? Last I heard his chop-shop got raided and he was out of business.”

Blake grimaced, “Yeah, nasty business that. He was in trouble for a while but he got away with it and he’s staying with some associates of his. He said he’d be in Black’s Tavern, about six. You two make the drop, he takes the cash, we hightail it out of town.”

Rachel spoke up again, tossing her ponytail over one shoulder, “Sorry for being a contrary Wuo duh Ma but how do we know that Billie ain’t setting us up? You know to get on the good side of the feds after they busted his shop?”

Ceran shook her head at the younger girl. “He needs this payoff to get back on his feet. Any reward the feds could offer him wouldn’t be enough to make sure that someone doesn’t slit his throat while he’s sleepin’ for sellin’ his soul to the feds for a bit of cash.”

Nevitts spoke for the first time, his voice low and croaky like someone had not quite cut his throat properly in the past. “How are we going to spend the cash? Won’t that sort of thing be tagged?”

Blakes grin split his dark face in two with a slash of white teeth. “That’s the beauty of this job, ladies and menfolk. Billie has inside information that this Blue Sun man is involved in more than a few underhanded dealings and wants this money to be invisible. So it’s clean of any federal markings and we can spend it how we want.”

“Plus,” smiled Siph, rubbing Blake’s shoulders, “It means that the Blue Sun man won’t be calling the Feds in a hurry. He don’t want them tracking us down only to have himself pinched in the process.”

Ceran slapped the table, “Are we all clear on the plan?”

There was a chorus of agreement.

“Well bad luck,” said Blake, “I’m gonna go over it one more time then, we can get our gear. I want us mounted up and riding out in a half-hour.”

Twenty minutes later Dorm was striding across the courtyard of the Hideout, rucksack thrown across one shoulder, loading his six-shooter. Some of the others were already there, Ceran, directing others and shouting orders, Jon and Philip lounging either side of the gates. Pat was there too, polishing an already gleaming silver pistol, while behind him another couple of people Dorm didn’t know sat conversing in low tones.

A familiar rough voice called out to him from one side of the gates, “Hey, Rendell!” Dorm turned to see the man who had first contacted to gain entry into the Blades running towards him, a big, scarred man called Nate.

The other man clapped him on the back as he arrived, “Good to see ya made it budd.”

Dorm smiled, “Good to see you to, Nate. Are you comin’ with us then?”

“Yeah, I’m part of Samul and Pern’s rearguard team.” He grinned, “I’ll be covering your sorry arses when the Feds come howlin’ after ya.”

“Yeah, just make sure you don’t shoot us on our way back.”

“I ‘preciate the confidence ya have in me Rendell.”

“Hey Rendell!” Ceran was calling him across.

“Looks like Big Sister wants a word, I’ll let you go Rendell.”

As Nate turned to go and chat with the approaching Rachel, Dorm jogged over to Ceran.

“Can I see your weapons Rendell?”

Dorm handed over his six-shooter and his pistol and Ceran looked over them with a critical eye.

“These are nicely maintained.”

“Can’t have them falling apart on me in the heat of battle, Ceran.

“No. You got extra clips for this?” She held up the pistol.

“Yeah, two.”

“Good. Now you listen to me, Rendell. You don’t try and be a hero just to impress Blake. That’s likely to get us all pinched or killed. I don’t feel much like getting shot today. So you just stick close and listen to what me and Blake say. You got that?”

“Yes, ma’am”

“Don’t call me that.”

Fifteen minutes later they were riding in a long snaking line along the narrow path away from the hideout. The jungle rose like a green wall on either side, the trees stretching towards what blue sky they could see like junkies reaching for a Synth hit. Sounds of birds and small animals skirting away from the group arose from time to time but from Dorms place in what was roughly the middle of the party he saw very little of them. Before him rode Nate, his chunky frame surprisingly at ease on horseback while at Dorm’s back was Samul. He paid very little attention to those two however. He was lost in his own mind working on the Saffron problem.

He’d narrowed it down to six of The Blades, chief among them Rachel and Siph. One girl who had seemed to fit the profile had just been cut out as they left saying goodbye to her brother who was going on the mission. Dorm was reasonably sure that Saffron didn’t have a brother within The Blades. Four others fit her height, bone structure and one even exhibited some of the same mannerisms as Saffron, the indolent shrug of the shoulders, the blank look of faux innocence when accused of something everyone knew she had done. Dorm had almost counted her out for two reasons, the first being that Saffron was too good to not change her mannerisms and that Dorm had heard someone say that this girl had been with The Blades for nearly a year. That had yet to be confirmed so it might mean nothing. Dorm wasn’t sure if having six made his job easier or harder. It certainly meant that he didn’t look sideways at every woman in the camp. Then again it only mean that the surface information was out of the way and he had to work harder to get anything more concrete. This job was a good chance, people often let things slip in pressure situations and if it was either Rachel or Siph it worked then he would have to watch them-.

Something in the trees broke him out of his reverie. He stared at a spot high in one of the trees a moment longer. There it was again. A face, a human face surrounded by blackness.

Then suddenly it disappeared, turned aside, Dorm catching a glimpse of metal as it did. It had a blade or a gun. His heart started beating faster. What if it was Degens again, then they would all die and-.

He took a deep breath, calming himself, surely it was nothing, just a figment of his imagination.

Then his highly sensitive hearing picked up a noise to his left. The unmistakable sound of a stock sliding back, of a round being chambered.

Someone was out there.


Sunday, December 10, 2006 6:54 AM


Yep...he's humped;)

Great stuff here, Stormwind!



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