Falcon firmly believed that all Johnsons were dorks. But the latest example seemed to take the prize. Well, at least it could be blamed entirely on Marcus, also known as Chameleon, Mage Boy, Daisy Eater, Mr. Pacifist, and partner. Their last fixer had decided to jump in front of a bullet the other day, so the pair had gone through a friend of a friend of Marcus's, so the elf had to be at blame.
The Mr. Johnson in question was a short, overweight human with very little - but very greasy - hair, rumpled suit, and tired, nervous eyes. It was almost pathetically obvious that this was his first time hiring shadowrunners, enough so that even Falcon could tell. If it didn't involve killing, maiming, or explosions, he usually left it up to Marcus.
The almost painfully thin black elf in question was seated next to him in a nearly excruciating, somehow graceful sprawl he managed so well, his black duster so covered with patches, fetishes, and bizarre nick-knacks that he almost managed the impossible feat of fading into the background of the club.
Well, he wasn't a chameleon shaman for nothing. Technically.
"Well, anyway, see, there's this restaurant chain - strictly local, small beans - an' it's been terrorized fer the last few weeks. An' we wanna hire you ta find out who and remove the problem, so to speak." The Johnson trailed off, leading to an uneasy local silence before the runners realized he'd finally stopped speaking.
Marcus deliberately shifted, drawing Johnson's attention to him. "Interesting. Might we have a moment alone?"
"Sure, sure, no problemo!" the human gushed, scrambling to his feet. "I'll just be at the bar a bit."
He trotted off, leaving the pair alone. Falcon shook the last traces of the glazed look from his face. "Never thought he'd shut up," the samurai grumbled.
"No drek. So whatcha think?"
The human made a face. "Either one really pathetic setup, or the loser saw too much trid."
Marcus applauded quietly. "I am impressed. You figured that out all by yourself!"
Falcon gave him his best glare, which the elf ignored with the ease of long practice. "It pays well, and it's too obvious for a set up, so I'm for it. You in?"
He sighed and the cyber spur in his right hand flickered into sight for an instant. "I hate these investigative things. No action. Gimme a good old fashioned target, then I'll be happy."
"And that's why your doc calls ya a psychopath," the shaman crooned. "And he did say we get to take whoever it is out."
Falcon brightened at the thought. "Yeah, I suppose. What the hell, why not?"
"Wonder.... Burger....." Falcon repeated.
"Well." Marcus coughed. "At least you'll feel right at home."
"It's a WonderBurger!" the sammie practically wailed.
"So you've said."
"We're supposed to be protecting a WonderBurger???"
"I'm guessin' it's too late to return the money."
The despondent shadowrunners stood outside one of the local contenders/rip-offs of the national Burger Drac's chain, starting to suspect they had indeed gotten the short end of the deal.
"This sucks," Falcon declared.
"This really sucks."
"I got the point. Come on," Marcus sighed, "sooner we start poking around, sooner we can grab the nuyen and go home."
"This sucks," Falcon sighed again, following the elf.
Chameleon stared at the small collection of security tapes they'd managed to collect from the vandalized - all right, so maybe it did qualify for terrorism, but he didn't want to give WonderBurger that much credit - buildings. His nose flared as he inhaled the scent of grease and unidentifiable soy bits that had settled into his clothes. "You're right," he told an equally dejected and smelly Falcon, "this does suck."
"So, what now?"
"Um." The pair glared at the tapes with the realization that they had to go through them somehow in hopes of finding the terrorist that had destroyed all the buildings.
"No," they said simultaneously.
"I know a decker who shouldn't mind going through it," Chameleon offered.
Falcon made a face at him. "It was your friend that got us in this mess in the first place."
"Well excuse me for getting you some nuyen!"
He sighed. "Well, it's either Lady Luck or we sit through them."
"What??? She's psycho!"
"Look who's talking."
Falcon glared at him, but given the choices, sighed and shrugged. "Fine," he bit off, "go ahead."
"So whatcha get?"
It'd been two days since the pair's fact finding trip, and Falon was foaming at the mouth - more so than usual - for some action.
Marcus mumbled something rude about no class, then placed a datachip on the table. His long, brown fingers tapped a rhythm around it, and the elf savored the borderline anxiety/rage in Falcon's eyes. He knew exactly how far to push his crazy partner cum friend and enjoyed the occasional torment. He even liked to think he might possibly be having a positive effect on the sammie's tempter, but doubted it.
"Well??" Falcon finally demanded.
"It's a datachip."
"Thank you Mr. Obvious!"
"You're one to talk. Anyway, there's this one guy that shows up about ten minutes prior to each explosion."
Falcon leaned back, a combination of smugness and concern crossing his face. "So we got our bomber. That was surprisingly painless."
Marcus sighed and resisted the urge to either hit the human or just whack his own head against the table a few times. "To quote Lady, this is a pattern even a corper could follow, even with his head stuck up his hoop. So why are they spending money to hire us when they could just send out a sec team and take him down without even bothering with hazard pay?"
"WonderBurger has sec teams?"
Marcus hesitated. For once the sammie had a point. He blinked and shook away the thought. "I'm sure they do. Somewhere. Which brings us back to the point. Why us?"
Falcon grinned at him, not a reassuring sight considering the bloodlust in his eyes. "Guess we'll find out."
"Excuse me." Chameleon tapped the short, overweight man (or was it a tall dwarf? Some days it was hard to tell) on the shoulder, ignoring the looks he was getting from the others waiting in line for the bathroom. Falcon would make him do this bit. Well, better than going in guns blazing....
The...person turned around to glare up at the elf. "Yeah?" he mumbled around a wad of gun he was chewing with a slow, almost annoying rhythm.
The shaman flashed him his best professional smile. "Could you please come with us, sir?"
Whatever the elf had been expecting, it wasn't the sudden swift kick in the shin. He hopped back, clutching his leg and rattling off as many curses in as many languages he could muster, at the same time tangling up Falcon, who had moved forward to take out the nut.
The psycho in question tried to fling his coat back dramatically before assuming a heroic pose. "Nothing can keep my from my vengeance!"
The shadowrunners exchanged a look. "Against WonderBuger?" Falcon finally asked.
"Yes, WonderBurger! This pit of depravity and suffering must be destroyed!"
Another look. "WonderBurger," Falcon repeated.
"Do you have any idea what they do to get their burgers?" The man didn't wait for a response. "Hundreds of cows, countless helpless bovines being led to the slaughter even as we speak! And you dare ask WHY???"
"....they use soyburgers," Marcus finally said, led on by instinct of the perverse and dangerous need for the truth. Falcon just stood behind him, staring with his jaw at his knees. "That's where the name comes from. There's no meat involved."
The lunatic hesitated for a moment, eyes flicking around the now empty bathroom in search of a grasp on a reality that had suddenly shifted. Then the manic light returned to his eyes. "LIARS!" he screamed. "Trying to fool me with your foolish and filthy lies! But I won't be tricked, and you shall pay for your trickery!" He spread his hands wide and his head flickered with a shamanic mask that gave him horns.
Chameleon reacted instinctively, his skin appearing scaley with his own mask as he threw up a mana barrier.
"Now," the man ranted, bringing a glowing ball of magic forward, "feel the wrath of Cow!"
"What?!" Chameleon yelped. His mana wall - never a particularly good spell - wavered with the shock. Some of the other spell went through, slamming the elf back against the wall. He shook his head clear and cast one of his better spells, disappearing from sight.
Talon, with his usual grasp of the term subtle, pulled out a Predator and started blasting away. It was only after he clicked on empty that the sammie noticed the bullets had stopped about a foot from the psycho-twip.
When he didn't pull out a rocket launcher, Chameleon began to get worried. By the time the elf worked down his mental weapons list to assault rifle, he was panicking. Ok, so next time no lecture about overkill and innocent bystanders.
"Huh." Falcon's calm syllable of bemusement came seconds before he was lifted in the air by a grip matching the hands of the - Who the hell has COW as a totem?? - shaman.
Now safely behind him, the elf let loose his favorite spell. But the magic skipped past the psycho, bouncing off some sort of shield to slam into Falcon. The sammie blinked, shook his head, then slumped with a faint snore.
DAMN! Ok, so maybe a heavy duty sleep spell wasn't a good idea.
Sudden contact with Falcon broke his train of thought. The pair slid backwards, Falcon twisted oddly around the invisible elf, then sliding away and into the wall.
The crazy shaman looked a lot nastier and a lot stupider from the floor. "Now, foolish mortals, prepare to-"
"Oh, duuude, like, sorry man." The acne-ridden teen in a WonderBurger uniform stared at the short man he'd managed to knock down when opening the door.
"Vile servant of genocidal slitches!" the man screamed.
"Uhh.... you want fries with that?"
Chameleon ignored the exchange, scrabbling for Falcon's gun. His hand finally connected with the warm barrel, which he grabbed tight. Seconds later, he brought the grip down on lunatic's temple. Thankfully, the idiot finally shut up. The elf slumped back against the wall, relieved to finally dispel his magic.
When he had finally reappeared, the teen gave him a vacant grin. "Kewl."
"Are you quite brain damaged?" the shaman demanded, his day's tolerance for idiot having been used up.
"Uh... I'd have to ask my manager."
"You used a gun?" Falcon couldn't believe his ears. His pacifist partner had actually used a gun?
"Well, yeah." Marcus shrugged. "Don't expect it to happen often again."
"But you actually used a gun?"
And I was asleep for it, the sammie thought sourly. Man, the only time he actually shoots someone, and I sleep through it. Figures. "Come on, let's go get something to eat."
"If you say WonderBurger, I'll use that gun again."
"Naaah." Falcon grinned evilly. Payback. "How 'bout Burger Drac's?"
Get me out of here!!!! A.K.A. Home
I want to read more! To get back to the fic archive
Send me all complaints, questions, and (well, if there are any) compliments at Norcumi@backtick.net.
Burger Drac's belongs to DeckerM, used with permission (THANKS!!!!)
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