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In The Begining..(the past, 3)

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Doc : "OK so lets see what we've got here. We've got the Yak with their slimy little fingers in all the trucking companies around the place. All of which are supplying the Trogz with something. The Trogz are in turn trying to put Nutri-Vat out of commission. There's heavy mojo hitting the fan and teh Star are too useless to find anything ... or being paid not to." Slightly pained paranoid expression crosses his face briefly. 
"And then we've got the orichalcum ninja who fried Qwiki's deck and what sounds like considerably too much matrix protection for a gang HQ. Sounds to me like the sort of protection you'd have for a site run by the Yak, or MCT which-ever way you want to look at it.
So the question now is why would MCT or the Yak want to shut down Nutri-Vat? And why are they building a stake in all the trucking copanies in the area?"

Looking bedragled, unshaven and clutching the cross hanging around his neck, Father Piert speaks... 

Piert: "Doc, I believe the Yaks are smuggling. Why else would they want control over the trucking companies? They supply the Trogz with gear and promise a cut for their gang only, and they get a bunch of heavies all too eager to use their new toys on anyone who gets in their way. It's a nice way of the Yaks distancing themselves from any hits or other suspect activites. It's a win-win situation. Nutri-Vat could have refused to comply as they knew if their professional intergrity was in question, thousands of Nutri-kaf junkies would riot - perhaps there is another reason, but anyway..." "As for the Star, although I am not convinced that they are in on the action, I am beggining to believe that in order to get anything done in this place, you need to do it yourself. God has shown me the power available to the faithful at their time of need.
"I believe he intends for me to use it in the protection of the meek, so I shall do my best to thwart these scum." 

To father Piert: "But zmuggling what? It muzt be zomething in vazt quantitiez to require ze complianz of all of ze local trucking companiez. It zeemz zat votever it voz, it voz being deliverred to ze Trogz HQ and yet zere voz nuzzing levt ven vee got zere. Maybe ze Yakz vere uzing ze Trogz baze as a diztribution point for armamentz." - Smiles. 
"I find it curiouz also zat ze Trog boyz 'ave dropped out of zight." 

Piert: 'Perhaps the Trogz have been terminated now that we and the Star are on to them? Perhaps the Yaks just wanted to corner the trucking industry? If they are smuggling, they must have moved the stuff pretty quick smart. Maybe someone in the area saw something' 

Doc: (To Father Piert) "Maybe it's time to go and scout out the area and find out if anyone did see anything. The area's probably fairly sparsely populated if it's turf war central but someone must have reported the explosions to the Star to have them out there so quickly. Maybe there's some busy-bodies we could corner and strap explosiv - um I mean ask if they saw anything." 
"I seem to remember hearing someone say that the Star found some DNA samples but nothing they could use for a link. Is that because the samples were old or because the people they might have linked to are dead?" 
"And why would the Yaks want to corner the trucking industry in the area, it's hardly a cash cow. More likely they're trying to squeeze some business that uses trucking as their means of supply into the area." 
"I want to know more about these financial links between the local trucking companies." 
(To Qwiki) "Do you think you could salvage enough of your deck to dig up those files again. It's time to have a closer look."

Qwiki looks up at you slowly (so you know straight away the chummer is unslick). While you and Piert converse he has been sorting out a pile of chips, the black ones go into the gutter, the not-so-black ones get checked on a data reader. 

"The Qwikster is ICe meat for now Doc," He drawls "My MPCP and persona chips are dust but the memory, with all those yummyYak files are i/o positive. So's the auxillaries with my progs. Trouble is that makes me a tortoise until i get knew gear. I'm waiting for a call from dt now. That IC was YakQual for sure, SOTA, and it wasn't no gang computer behind the wall, there was ome kind of mini-super there connected to all kinds of strange peripherals. When i hear from dt i'll try and scope the truckies sytes." 

Jimbo's voice, breaks into the ensuing silence, obviously having heard the last part of the conversation, "Truckings about a lot more than transport," he says thoughtfully, sitting down and stuffing two DoNuts into his mouth. 
"Ya get to know who wants what where and how much they're willing to pay to get it there. Ya get ta add your own stuff, or take a bit of theirs (he grins in the i've-never-done-that kind of way) and ya a lot of property that ya can keep busy at all hours without anyone thinking anything is going on."
"Oh yeah and Nutri-Vat isn't selling out cos they can't. It's a franchise not private. As far as i can tell the Japs was comin round to pressure the boss into hiring dodgy drivers. One way he gets fired the other he gets bashed up and pensioned off, i think he was smarter and tougher than he makes out.." 

Hoeke leans forward tentatively, "Some of the boys ses that the Star was rolling down the 'Vard only minutes after we smashed that computer and Qwiki put in the big SOH (save our hoops). They must have been ready _before_ we sent them the info?!" 
"As for asking witnesses, the star were all over that place like ants about an hour ago when i skidded down here, the bodybags had all gone though, and they were taking down some of the tape...." 

Qwiki breaks in "If you want the star then wait here for about 20 minutes, Bill and Ben always come in about 8 to get kaf's" 

Salvaging a couple of DoNuts before Jimbo removes them all, "OK so if the Star were so fast out of their burrows they were either waiting for something to go down, perhaps had the place under surveilance, or they were on their way to prevent anyone finding out what was really there." 
Ponders briefly. "Looks like the Yak boys might be trying to infiltrate somebody's supplies by controlling the truckers. Saves all the hassles of attracting attention by hijacking the trucks. We need to find out what is being transported in those trucks." Glowing light globe briefly appears above head. "Do those trucks cross into other sectors, Jimbo?" 

"They sure as hell do!", mumbles Jimbo 

Doc to Qwiki "Got any ideas what the large amount of data coming in and out were? Surveilance equipment? I want to know what all these cash flows were about. Wouldn't be a protection system would it, it's the sort of thing those Tokyo boys get up to. What was the name of the company that did all those deliveries? I think that gives us somewhere to start looking."

Q: "Well whatever it is, the Star didn't get what they wanted. As for me, I dwell more on my deck being sizzled by same virtual soldier who cleans circuits like they’re trash. I don’t have much know-how when it comes to IC and learning the hard way is like pouring Coke on the keyboard! And as for the info, first tell me about this buddy of yours Doc?"

Doc to Qwiki : "This guy's a friend of mine from a little way back. He's a professional when it comes to convincing corps that they don't really need to keep their ultra-secret plans a secret at all. I've helped him out a couple of times, vaults and stuff like that, and seen him in action. Works like a machine. No mistakes. Not so much a decker though, speciallises more in the up close and flash suppressed method. Seems to make a decent living out of it if what he paid me for the few jobs we did is any indication. 
"Seems to know who is willing to pay for interesting info about somebody else. He's been in the game for quite a while I'd suspect."

Qwiki sighs as he finishes the salvage operation and puts what looks like pitifully few chips back in the CDC-100's chip slots. He wanders inside and slaves the CDC's remains to the Shaq's networked turtle-terminal. When he emerges he gives a monologue on the stolen files, "The files show linked cash flow between 3 local and supposedly independant freight companies. The cash flow sourced to a fourth company, ostensibly a machine parts warehouse. The files i did get showed that one of the companies had made deliveries, three, to the Trogz HQ although these were thinly disgiused as pickups instead. That would have been dodgy but ok except for the fact that when the IC went down the warehouse records showed a backdoor to a much bigger system with many very interesting Niponese names in it and large cash transfer records. That's when i sent all i had to the joes at the Star. It was when i tried to grab some of the big systems files that the Ninja appeared supercalerfragalistacally fast and trashed me, I don;t think that link was supposed to be opened. Before he dumped me i saw two intersting things, one there was a lot of data coming in from all those devices the Trogz had connected to their CPU and then just as i was dumped i saw the Ninja start attacking and destroying the Trogz system."

Doc: "OK So might be that the Yaks are setting up a huge smuggling network across sectors. They get a load of stuff from some sod with a legit reason for doing the crossing. Get their dodgey drivers to stop the trucks on the way to the border and add a little of their own special cargo on the way. Make a quick stop on the other side of the border and then off to the delivery. No-one would ever be the wiser. Minimal risk involved to the bad guys. And they could move a shite load of gear. Inspections aren't going to show up anything because it'll be mainly legit stuff." 

Doc, I know people can make lots of creds by smuggling, but a ‘huge’ performance sounds a bit far fetched for my liking. If the Yaks are behind it, I would expect more subtlety and unless I am mistaken that virtuo-ninja looked oriental. My theory, which is mine and mine alone, is that something more sinister and underhand is going on. After all I am presuming that people already smuggle, and that with no offense to the RazBoyz, that they are not those people; so why then, if there is a big race on the smuggling front, have there been on signs? Personally I am guessing at a small operation which is smuggling something specific. That nasty nasty little ninja was trimming up the Trogz gear so I think they might have been some sort of unsubtle diversion (like threatening truck drivers) so that the real damage could be done elsewhere.
Father P., tell me about your flock down at the border region if you have one? Did you hear anything on the streets? Got any contacts? ... Probably nothing as visible as killing, but rather people’s hunches about the Trogz and whether they think that’s all there is to it.

Doc to Qwiki "Yeah I wasn't suggesting that they are doing vast tonnages just small bits on a regular basis. You're probably right that they've set it up for some specific purpose. I'm still at a blank as far as what that major information flow was that the Trogz had going through that mini mainframe." 
Qwiki says he'll check the logs on his surviving memory chips and try to find out what they were using it for..... 

Continue to part 4, Let there be light..


Created: 1 July, 1997 | Updated: 20 February 2000
© 2000 Skabo