Lady Rin and Derex headed back to the staging area to pick up more ammunition and anything else the cell thought they might need. They regrouped at a dive bar near the drug-dealer’s hab.
Using the pictures taken from the drug dealer’s video setup, the cell was able to determine that the courier headed deeper into the hive. Following the trail, they came upon a half-empty bag of Idyll (aka Gland) floating in the effluent (yuk) of four anthill habs. It was recovered. A stealthy trip into the alleyway found several gangers bickering over the body of the courier (identified by his clothing, as he had been shot in the face).
Dex and Mallean asked a few friendly questions of Sabina Carlando, the leader of the gang. (Quite good-looking in a hard, tough-grrl way.) She was surly, and the others sneering, but the group got the following information:
1) They don’t know the courier.
2) They don’t know the diseased-looking guy who met up with him.
3) The courier called the sick guy “Gabney” or “Gagme” or something similar.
4) The two men quarrelled, and the sick guy shot the courier in the belly. He interrogated the poor guy, laughed at him, then shot him in the face.
5) He took several packages off the body, then left.
6) The gang had been observing from the fire escape, and was about to come down to check things out, when Giuseppe — a local loser — ran out, looted the body, then ran off. He found something on the corpse that Sick Boy had missed. The gang knows that Giuseppe has been trying to score something big, to try to get out of the underhive.
7) One ganger let slip that Giuseppe was probably headed to ‘the Float.’
8) Questions were asked. The Floating Sub-Markets are grey/black markets where just about anything can be had for a price. Directions were obtained, and a good description of Giuseppe.
Looting the courier’s body (less than 45 minutes dead, it looked and smelled terrible), the cell found a full name and address. “Kensington. 1200 Terraceton Suites.” The corpse also had ID: Goplan Srinivasan. It was starting to show signs of boils and bulging, however, so Weyland dragged the corpse behind a massive dumpster and Blitz tucked an incendiary into its shirt.
The cell headed over to the current Float location, an underground confluence of heat-exchangers. Very hot and sweaty, with a side order of toxic fumes and low-level radiation. The auction was happening on the (aptly-named) Hot Spot. The cell split up to shop and to see if they could find Giuseppe.
Derex was closest to the Hot Spot when Giuseppe jumped out to sell a brick of Idyll. Dex got his attention, and tried to buy the drugs from him (obtaining them with a minimum of fuss). The deal was all but made when a local mob-type showed up. He told Dex that he was taking Giuseppe, the drugs, and the money. Dex took exception to that, and signalled Weyland (who was standing behind the boss). Triple-tap from the combat shotgun, point-blank. Laser sight. (Rolled reeeeaaaally low.) Pulped the guy’s arm, back, and head. He flew past Dex and the fight was on.
The Float crowd screamed and ran. Giuseppe grabbed the money and the drugs and bailed. Mallean pursued. The rest of the cell engaged the bullyboys that the boss had with him. They had chain axes. Did you know you can parry a chain axe with a sword? Ask Lady Rin. Did you know that it really hurts if you whack yourself in the knee with a chainaxe? Ask her opponent. Mallean had a very hard time putting Giuseppe on the ground. Not so with the rest of the gang — they kicked a little ass on the enforcers. Did you know that you get a bonus to attack in hand-to-hand if you double-team an opponent? Now you do.
Afterward, they recovered chain axes and ID for the muscle and for the boss. Eduardo Simion. According to Giuseppe (last name, Orne), Simion was a really big fish in the Float. He also had the Ultimate Holdout Pistol: a bolt derringer. Dex got all foamy about it, and no one had the heart to take it away from him.
Giuseppe was a weaselly, whining, don’t-kill-me kind of guy. He was also very agreeable. Giuseppe overheard Goplan and Gagne’s argument over the destination for the remaining Idyll: Terraceton Suites. Also, it was to be delivered to someone called Kensington. He heard Goplan refer to the killer by the name Gagne. Giuseppe describes the killer as ugly, perhaps even diseased. He was encouraged to take the cell to Terraceton Suites. He had somewhere else to be, a pressing engagement… but a gun in the face made him see the light.
Dex also found a ‘clicker’ for a groundcar on one of the bodyguards. He spent the better part of an hour looking for it before giving up in disgust. Maybe later.
Arriving at 1200 Terraceton Suites (a semi-posh address on the border between mid- and low-hive), the cell was braced by the (heavily-armed) doormen. (Blood and brains on your face will have that effect.) A quick conversation including the words “Simion” and “Kensington” got the door held for them. They were advised to head for the 12th floor.
Mallean had an insight — deliveries come in the rear. The cell headed to the back door, where they found two more (heavily-armed) doormen and a clerk. Pointed questions to the nervous trio gathered this: the Gabney guy had been here, freaked them all out, gone upstairs, and returned in about 30 minutes with a trio of scantily-clad young women. They left. That was about 20 minutes ago. These folks had no idea where Gagme went.
Upstairs in the lift. The door opened on the 12th floor and a waft of scented smoke rolled in. Smelled like lots of drugs. The search was on for Kennsington. To the left, lots of open doors. Dark, people moving, grunting and moaning inside. A rill of blood coming out of one doorway had Mallean switch on the lights. He wished he hadn’t. Pairs and small groups were ‘engaged in activities.’ They all looked totally drugged-out, moving like machines or puppets. They were all making a bit rough — biting, cutting, bruising, etc. No one seemed to be aware that the cell was there. No one stopped what they were doing.
Heading to the right, the cell finally found the grand ballroom, where Very Bad Things were happening. The least-disturbing thing that was going on was people tearing off strips of their own flesh and chewing holes in their cheeks. Much worse was happening. Lots of laughing and giggling, crying and wailing. Still, no one noticed the group. Double doors to the next room, closed.
Master bedroom. A young nobleman tied down to the massive bed, a nearly-nude woman crying on the floor at the foot. Half a dozen empty bricks of Idyll dotted the room. The young man bore a single cut along the base of his abdomen, and his belly was swollen.
Though in direst agony, the young man was not drugged, so when the cell entered, he begged them for aid. He offered anything and everything he could — including the Kensington Family fortunes — for their help. He even offered information.
What Kensington knew:
Liam Kensington was the man to request the Idyll, to pay for its shipment to the world. He wanted it as a means to experience unbridled pleasure. He knows he is a debased man, and though he repents often, he cannot help himself. He is a victim to desire.
Kensington was surprised when a stranger arrived as courier. Not because Kensington recognized him, but because Esthe did. She even called him by his full name. Durante Gagne.
Kensington asked if Gagne would like to remain behind to partake of the Idyll. Gagne demurred, and Kensington was glad (since the man looked pretty sick). However, once the Idyll had made its rounds, and the Badness filled all the gathered guests, Gagne reappeared. He rendered Kensington mystically immobile, and then bound him.
Then, Gagne sat alongside him, humming in time to the harpsichord, until such time as the music became absurd. Kensington tried to reason and then to threaten, but Gagne remained beyond these.
Eventually, Gagne tired of wasting time. He cut Kensington’s gut and stuffed him like a prized fowl with squirming larvae. He then claimed a quartet of drugged girls (Esthe, Katriona, and the Pashook twins, Kensington’s favorite lovers), and led them out.
Minutes after they had gone, Katriona returned and collapsed at the foot of Kensington’s bed weeping and repeating “Where are we going?” No matter how Kensington called for her to help him, she remained unresponsive.
Gag, scream, blort! Kensington exploded into another swarm of the creepy-crawlies. Eisen and Mallean dragged the girl out of the room. Shotguns boomed, big hammers smashed, swords sliced, and so on. The swarm repeatedly attacked Lady Rin, but she was able to Dodge. The cell killed all the bugs without too much trouble. Weyland kicked all the remains into a corner and torched them.
Guiseppe went a little nuts. “What the frack was that? Who the frack are you?” Then he gasped and pointed behind the group. Everyone whipped around to face a new peril, and Guiseppe ran off. Totally fooled all of you. He found the stairs and got a good head start on Dex. Curses, foiled again.
Dex came back and tried to calm the girl, to get her to answer some questions. Katriona kept repeating “Where are we going,” then finally wailed, “But the Imperial Arms is closed! It’s closed! Where are we going?”
Cell Omega-Four-Lambda now has the following: 200-ish drugged-out heretical ecstatics. A dead nobleman burning in a corner. A weeping, shaking young woman. A name: Durante Gagne. Another: the Imperial Arms.