After the bullets finish flying we load into the SUV and head for the hospital to get medical care for Hunter. On the way Spencer tries to give him first aid for the gunshot wounds, using some healthy doses of bandage spray to stop the bleeding. Performing some additional first aid Spencer is also able to patch him up additionally somewhat on the way. We give it some further thought along the way and decide it would be best to avoid the hospital and the associated questions about the firefight. Instead we head back to the safe house via a circuitous route to ensure we’re not being followed.
IQ downloads a physician software package that allows his techspider to do surgery on Hunter to remove the bullets. He also gets a dose of ascepaline that dramatically boosts his natural healing ability.
Once back at the safe house Spencer tells the rest of the group that he recognizes the group that attacked us from his FBI work investigating that gang. He proposes that we plant evidence to make it look like the Locos Tambien are trying to move in on the business of the Maple Leaf Syndicate and thus be a threat to them worth taking out. There’s some discussion as to the riskiness of that pursuit and whether it would detract from our current investigation. Carlos also pipes up that likely the gangbangers desire to shoot Spencer and repossess himself.
We decide to do the interview with Gardner, Aleksy’s contact who has connections with the Maple Syndicate, especially considering the two Asian men who were seen with Alex had spoken with Gardner. They were seen outside of a nightclub, briefly talking. We concoct a plan for Hunter and Spencer to pose as investigators hired to find out about a hit scheduled on the two Asians and stop it or to perform the hit, depending on his reactions to our conversation. Because they were found talking to Gardner we’re talking to him. The secretive nature of criminal cells in this area would allow us to show up without knowledge of the Asians’ whereabouts.
We go and visit Gardner at a front business he occupies during the day. Thankfully the store is empty. Gardner is behind the counter. He initially “doesn’t remember” the conversation but with a little prodding from Spencer and Hunter he decides to remember a bit better. He indicated the two Asians were new in town representing a new buyer who’s looking for some high-end electronics – small, genius computers and brainbugs. He doesn’t seem to helpful so Aleksy knocks a few expensive TV’s. We press him for some information quickly as he seems to have made a call of some kind. Alekxy then abruptly puts him into an arm bar and smashes his face into the countertop.
Meanwhile IQ sputters about this being an unacceptable course of action, etc etc.
Hunter asks Carlos to bring the vehicle around so we can drive him away before his help arrives. Just as we stuff him into a vehicle another one roars around the corner. Queue takes off driving while Aleksy rolls down a window and looses a burst from his SMG at the pursuing vehicle. Meanwhile Spencer takes over watching our “guest,” who is now wearing a Faraday-hood, holding an electrolaser on him. Carlos prepares to shoot at the vehicle as well with his pistol. Aleksy aims for a couple seconds and then fires off about fifteen rounds from his SMG, hitting the windshield with four rounds. The first slams into the front passenger’s torso while two more blast the driver and nobody knows where the fourth goes. However it doesn’t matter as the driver loses control of the vehicle (apparently AIs make poor pilots when you need to illegally maneuver rapidly through a city!). Carlos also blasts the car with three rounds, dealing some significant damage to a passenger. The car stops dead as we make our getaway through traffic.
We begin discussing the matter in earnest with Gardner, encouraging him that him helping us will get him out of this situation. Gardner indicates the meet is happening at their main buying center in two days on Monday at 2am in the penthouse of one of the larger dilapidated structures in the area; it’s not far from where we’re staying. Gardner indicates that given his disappearance the meet may not happen at all or, perhaps, they’ll take extra security precautions.
We have this little talk with him while driving back to our safe house where we clean the car with Hunter’s forensics kit while Spencer goes over its electronics.
We demand Gardner call the Asians to set up a different meeting, given that he’s effectively the communications person for the Maple Syndicate. He asks for his wearable VI and Spencer demands he grant access to monitor outbound communications, which he does. Gardner calls the Asians to move the meeting to that night, as their purchases are ready. He and the Asians go back and forth due to the sudden change in plains and the Asians say they’ll think it over and get back to him in about six hours.
We think it over a bit more and realize that with the value of the gear that the Asians are buying and their purported lack of money they probably are not going to purchase the equipment but instead plan to steal it from the Maples. After talking it over with Gardner he’s reasonable and thinks that us and the Maples can come to an understanding regarding the situation and that we can actually help to prevent significant loss to the Syndicate. We produce a sanitized information packet for the Maples (that breaks the minimum amount of confidentiality) that provides strong evidence that the Asians have bad intent with this purchase. We also make it clear that we’re after their buyer.
Gardner’s boss calls back and says they’re willing to deal, that they’re going to do the meet afterwards. However we’re now responsible for security for the meet. We agree to their terms. The Asians call back after six hours as previously stated. After some negotiation they agree to move the meet with a 10% discount provided by the Maples, which Gardner finally agrees to given that they probably have no intention of paying.
The Maples give us access to the meet location two hours in advance. Gardner informs us that the Maples normally have four or five guards present so likely the Asians will bring additional security as well.