On the Brink
Adventures on Earth (Os's Family)
Adventures on Earth
26 July 2110
After discussing the situation, the group agreed they would travel to Salt Lake City with Os, and Aegis would get involved as a business if it became necessary. Otherwise, they would be there to support Os as comrades.
En route to Salt Lake City, Os decided to contact Toby Kearns, JRI (Jax Retail, Inc.) head of security. Os wanted the latest status. Kearns tried to blow Os off (just another disowned spoiled rich kid), but Os was persistent. Kearns finally explained that he had two men on the case, and they were working with SLCPD. Os somehow stayed calm and demanded to see the case file. Kearns promised to send a copy.
Os then called his youngest sister, Jenna. Unlike Os, Jenna had stayed behind to fight Arelius (Os’s father) and the corrupt JRI practices. She had her own corporation dedicated to the fight against JRI and other corporations.
Os couldn’t help but wonder if Jenna could be behind the disappearance. Arelius had kicked her out and cut her out of the family will, and she had turned bitter.
Jenna seemed both happy and concerned about Arelius.
The group arrived in Salt Lake City without issue. En route to the Jax mansion, Os received the police report. It was heavily redacted, but he was able to determine the agents working the case were Gustav Olson and Luke Hannity. Olson was an old timer, Hannity was a hothead.
The security team and cops had so far determined Arelius’s car—a restored Audi—had been forced off the (private) road by at least two crawlers. The crawlers were HuCorp Z2 or S7 models, five or six years old based off the type of paint used. They were speed-boxers, ugly little things sold cheap and intended for easy modification.
There was blood on the dash that was a 90% match to Arelius. Testing would bump that higher or lower.
Os called Kearns back up and demanded a non-redacted file. He fought through Kearns’s protests and insisted on as complete a file as possible.
A file—still with redactions—arrived as they drove through the Jax estate gates. It included a witness report of seeing a red HuCorp Z2 on the south side of the city earlier in the day with an Asian man driving it.
The reason it stood out was the man was harassing a pretty local woman.
There was more. Gustav and Luke had determined that, Arelius didn’t just like working long nights. He also liked a little fun on the side.
The fun was Hannah Samuels, Special Assistant Communications Director. She was always in the office when Arelius worked odd hours. They often worked out in Arelius’s private gym, where no cameras or monitoring equipment exist.
Os wrestled with whether or not to share this information with Isabel, his mother, and Jenna. He feared it would be devastating to Isabel, so he kept it to himself for the moment.
At the mansion, Os’s friends were shown to rooms. Even for Konrad, the mansion was impressive (in an American Bohemian way).
After cleaning up and settling in, the group discussed what was known. Os expressed his fear Hannah Samuels was behind the kidnapping. More importantly, he shared his history with the Wing Kong Tong, a dangerous organization caught up in human trafficking and drugs.
The sighting of an Asian harassing a local . . . he was very worried the Tong was involved.
The group mulled this over, wondering how and why a Tong would suddenly go after a wealthy corporate executive. How would Hannah have known to reach out to them? How would they have known to reach out to Hannah? And how did Jenna figure into all that?
Theories were suddenly pushed aside when Jenna called Os up to ask him where he was.
Okay, what the hell, Os? You told me to show up here, I showed up. Now wh—HEY! You can’t do that! OW!
Then a disconnect.
Os traced the call and ran for the garage. The others followed.
Os clambered into a restored Bentley; Penny got in behind the wheel. James jumped on back of a restored Ducati. Os warned James that Tagg, Os’s dickhead oldest brother, loved the Ducati . . . that got a wicked smile from James, who gunned it.
Penny followed James as close as she could in the Bentley. As they approached the origin of the call, Os spotted a red HuCorp Z2 traveling beneath the overpass the Bentley and Ducati were on.
James twisted the Ducati across the oncoming lane and jumped it over the rail. He landed a dozen meters behind the Z2, and the pursuit began. Penny got the Bentley off at the next exit and did what she could to catch up to James and the Z2.
James followed the fleeing Z2 off the main strip and into a residential area. The Z2 tried to shake James, but the Ducati was a brilliant instrument with James astride it.
Finally, James gunned the motorcycle and shot past the Z2, then spun it around and accelerated toward the Z2. At the last second, he leapt off the bike and let it slide into the Z2’s driver’s side tire. James used his momentum to launch himself over the Z2, bouncing off its roof and then its back.
The Z2 hit the bike and wiped out, flipping over nearly twice, ending up upside down in a torn-up lawn.
The passenger was dead, but the driver tried to get out. James shot him in the leg.
Penny arrived in time to see James staggering toward the car. James dropped open the trunk. To his relief, Jenna’s lifeless form didn’t fall out. The trunk was empty.
Jack pulled the driver into the Bentley and the Aegis team left the crash site. Konrad asked Penny to drive them out into the desert.
Once outside the city, Penny pulled off the road. Os got out. Jack, James, and Konrad followed, the wounded driver in tow. Threats were exchanged, then James offered to break the driver. Os approved.
James pulled out one of the nerve-fire ampules and injected a full dose into the driver. The driver screamed and finally broke. He gave up the rest of the tong’s location. Os confirmed the address was that of an empty warehouse; ideal for a kidnap.
James put a round into the driver’s head, then the group piled back into the Bentley and headed for the warehouse.
Session Twenty-Nine End
26 July 2110
As Penny drove them toward the warehouse, Konrad inspected the map of the area around it. The warehouse was one of many joined by a few roads. Chain-link fence enclosed the warehouses and the ground surrounding them.
It wouldn’t be easy getting in.
James, Konrad, Os, and Penny cooked up what seemed like the best plan. They would split into three. The first team—James and Konrad—would exit the car some distance out and sneak around to what looked like a partial blind spot at the warehouse. Once in place, they would signal and Penny would drive team two—Jack and Os—up to the warehouse gate. Jack would take care of the gate’s security and he and Os would head in to deal with the Wing Kong Tong. Penny would wait outside the gate.
Everything went well for James and Konrad. They sneaked all the way up to the warehouse fence unobserved, and they managed to spot the Wing Kong Tong observers inside the warehouse. James and Konrad signaled they were ready, then cleared the fence and moved into position where Konrad could attack the warehouse’s security systems with his hacking skills and gear.
Penny dropped Jack and Os off at the gate and waited, machine pistol at the ready.
Jack destroyed the gate’s lock and strode in. Os followed.
The warehouse’s entry door opened and several Tong members stepped out. Os calmed Jack down, getting him to fight back the urge to cave in some skulls. When Os tried to speak rationally to the Tong, the ringleader shot Os in the leg. The ringleader taunted that Os was their real target, and they were going to sell his sister into slavery as revenge for what he’d done to the Tong years before. Before Os died, they would kill his father in front of him. Jack was on the edge of losing control.
Os calmed everyone down. He needed not just to rescue Arelius and Jenna but to understand how the Tong had gotten involved.
The Tong took Jack and Os inside the warehouse.
Konrad announced he’d overcome the warehouse’s security systems. He had access to its security cameras. Combined with Os’s video feed, they determined there were only three possible places to hold Os’s father and sister—a room to the left of the door Jack and Os had entered through, a room to the right of the door Jack and Os had entered through, and a freezer.
When James and Konrad were in position at a side entry to the warehouse, they signaled everyone the plan was a go. Os confirmed.
Konrad opened the side door and James sneaked in.
According to the security systems, there were nearly twenty Tong in the building, but only fourteen were visible. That left six for the three potential holding places. Os decided to start with the room to his left.
He signaled a go.
Penny floored it and did a one-eighty with the car. She hopped out, machine pistol at the ready.
Inside, Os distracted the lead Tong, then shot him point blank in the face. Jack roared a challenge at the other Tong. Gunfire boomed inside the warehouse.
James gave his position away and engaged three gunmen. Even after a minor miscalculation, he finished them off quickly.
While Jack grappled with the Tong, Os dashed for the room to the entry door’s left. He found his sister within. She was bound, bruised, and in shock. There were two Tong guarding her. Os finished them, then he freed his sister. He told her to run for the waiting car.
James, Jack, Konrad, and Penny engaged the other Tong in a vicious gunfight. The numbers were a challenge even for James. When Os’s sister cleared the entry door, Penny covered the young woman and got her into the back seat of the car, then Penny returned to the gun battle.
Os burst into the second room and found the last of the missing Tong. He also found his father. Alive, but badly beaten.
Os killed the Tong members, but he was seriously wounded despite his armor. Os freed his father and helped him up. They made their way back to the room where Os’s sister had been held and slammed the door shut. Os signaled to the others to get out.
Konrad ran for the car while Jack covered Konrad’s retreat.
James made his way to the walk-in freezer. He found an oversized, refrigerated metal attaché case inside and helped himself to it. He assumed it was part of the Tong’s payoff. A quick glance inside left him thinking “tailored drugs.” He ran for the exit.
Penny helped Os and his father to the car, then climbed into the driver’s seat. She turned around in time to see the rear window shatter and Os’s sister’s head jerk forward; a stray round had clipped her in the head. Another burst of gunfire and Os’s father slumped with a groan.
Penny returned fire.
Jack and Konrad climbed into the car. James radioed them to go on. He was going to steal the Tong’s car to prevent them from pursuing.
Penny floored it as Os did everything he could to stabilize his father and sister. Penny began driving into Tong gunmen. A moment later, James brought one of the Tong cars to life and floored it as well. He followed in Penny’s wake, driving for more Tong gunmen. A Tong bullet slammed into James’s forehead. James managed to clip the last three Tong gunmen with his stolen car before passing out.
Penny drove back and Jack retrieved James’s body.
Konrad called ahead to the nearest hospital and requested emergency services prepare for their arrival. Os worked with his father’s security team to get the roads cleared for them. He then called the hospital to describe the wounds and what he was doing to treat them while Konrad called the police to report the shootout.
At the hospital, Os was faced with the harsh reality of limited resources. His father and sister were close to death, and only one doctor capable of dealing with such a tenuous situation was available. Os had to choose who to prioritize. He chose his sister.
Meanwhile, James was miraculously stabilized.
Os’s father passed before the doctors could get to him.
Os confronted his oldest brother, Tagg, and accused him of hiring the Tong. There was no strong evidence proving Os’s theory, but there were pieces of evidence that made the inference easy and clear. Tagg refused to address Os’s “wild accusations,” but it was clear Isabel no longer trusted Tagg. The loss of his mother’s trust hurt Tagg, but not enough for him to come clean.
A few days later, with Os’s sister stabilized and James now capable of traveling, Os bid farewell to Isabel and Jenna. He was confident Tagg had been behind the whole kidnapping, a means to merge the family business with a couple rival businesses (something apparently under way before Arelius was even in the ground), but Os doubted Tagg realized just how stupid hiring the Tong had been.
Aegis launched their shuttle into space, heading for Newcastle, and Os wrestled with the sense he would never see Earth again . . .