Friday, May 21st, 2009 - Part 2
After the Icarus exploded, the group goes back to ground level. Custer gets on the radio, trying to locate the mercenary he rescued and find out where he is.
“I’m at the site, looking for the boss,” Custer lands and begins walking around, using his optical imaging systems in his SAMAS to scan the rubble. Emergency personnel and equipment begins to arrive, and shortly a search and rescue operation is underway. “Dammit, this stuff isn’t supposed to happen! There were people in here, all types of people. Who’d want to blow up a building like that?”
“What’ll happen if the boss is dead?” asks Custer.
“Well, we’ll find the money and the company information in his safebox. You’ll get paid, don’t worry.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. I don’t need it. You guy’s ‘ill need it more than me.”
“Well, I’ll let you know once we get things sorted here. If you can help, great.”
Maxwell and Veras are looking through the rubble too, trying to find any survivors, but as it gets later, Veras says they should be on their way to make the rendezvous.
They reach Riverfront Park Center early, in time to check things out. It appears what once was a park near the beach has become a bit of a shanty town. Some almost permanent buildings are interspersed amongst wooden buildings, where several people have taken up residence.
The group see two people leaning against one of the more permanent structures. One stands up and faces the other, and they turn away slightly from the three. They appear to exchange money for a small bag. “Hmm, not so different from Chi-town. Drugs are everywhere,” says Veras.
One of the guys walks away, and the other seems too absorbed in his new purchase to mind anyone or anything.
About half an hour later, a woman wearing a long coat walks by, flanked by two men wearing casual clothes but not appearing casual at all. “Follow me,” she says, just after passing the group, without making eye contact with them at all. Veras shrugs, and follows the three of them, and Maxwell and Custer follow suit.
They approach the building with the druggie, who stands up, looks suddenly sober, and opens a concealed door for the woman. The three walk in, and the doorman winks at Veras and says, “After you.”
Once everyone is inside, he closes the door and takes a seat. The other two men have already seated themselves as well. The room appears to be far more technologically advanced inside then it’s meager outward appearance would suggest. There is a large screen on one wall, several chairs facing it, and a lift going to what is presumably a basement level.
“Thank you for coming, take a seat anywhere you’d like.” Custer moves to the corner of the room, staying in his SAMAS, which crowds the corner. Maxell and Veras take chairs next to each other.
“You might be wondering why we’ve asked you all here. We represent various…interested parties in the city. They are concerned about a growing problem that you might have seen already,” she begins
“There is a severe water shortage in the city. People are literally dying of thirst. The DB’s are faring a little bit better, but not by much. The mayor claimed that he didn’t know why there was a water shortage or rather that he wasn’t withholding water. It’s too late to ask him now, as he died just a few hours ago when the civil government building was destroyed, as I’m sure you know.
“It’s possible that less forgiving groups have already targeted him for the water problem. Word on the street was there was five million out there for his assassination.
“There is a desalinization plant not far from here,” and on the screen appear aerial photographs of an area west of the city, “and we want you to investigate. Find out what is happening to the water supply, and fix it if you can. You’ve come highly recommended for what you do, and we’re prepared to pay you in kind.”
“So, I assume we can’t just walk in, right?” asks Maxwell.
“That’s right. There are bottweilers and borgs at the very least. There is a laser security system to detect intrusion as well. What was once supposed to protect the water supply will hamper our investigation, but won’t make it impossible.”
Everyone seems to make up their mind, and all nod in agreement.
“We’ll need a place to repair our equipment and get new supplies,” adds Maxwell, as if an afterthough.
“Don’t worry, we’ll have anything you’ll need.”