Act I: The Ship in a Bottle Job


Kvasir chuckled at the old shaman's comment.

"I stand corrected, that is a much better question. Especially if you care to answer it. I suppose that might be something I should already know if I want to get into R&D. Perhaps the curiosity of youth is born of the ignorance of youth."

The AR message concerning karmic awards floated across Kvasir's field of vision.

"Alas. It seems that I will only be able to ignore a few more messages about my intended networking opportunity down by the bar. Nevertheless, I'm too intrigued to tear myself away yet. What brings an important man like you to this little soiree?"

AR updates from the team kept crawling across Kvasir's vision.

Kvasir nonchalantly turned to lean against a railing on the upper deck where he stood. The slight shift gave him a good view of both the elf and the suitcase. He swirled his glass casually and took a sip, trying to hide the fact that his mind was whirring, searching for a way to break into the black hole that the suitcase represented in astral space.

Orson Wodanstag

Orson chuckled again and then shrugged as he shifted his own position to mostly match Kvasir's. There was no doubt that the old man was cagy, and as he sipped his drink his eyes scanned the area with interest. Well, one of them did, anyway. It took Kvasir a moment to realize that one of Orson's eyes must have been an old fashioned glass prosthetic, as it didn't move like the other one.

"Oh, I find it does me good now and then to mingle among the upper classes, simply to see what they think. One cannot rely on the thoughts and memories of others to take stock of the world" he said, chuckling again.

Meanwhile, down below decks, Zahid soon found himself in possession of a single martini glass. That waiter had carefully avoided smudging any of the prints and the 'mancer could see a couple of very good ones on the glass. All he needed was to scan them and then do a search.


After shooting the bolt home and giving the door a rattle to ensure that it was securely locked, Kamal took another look around the room to make sure the waitress hadn't planted any hidden recording devices. He's very protective of his retinal map, and paranoia isn't a disease, it's a way of life. Satisfied rather quickly (he's paranoid, not crazy), he carefully takes his concealing sunglasses off and slips out the protective case that holds his goggles. These he straps on, making sure not to muss his hair, in case he needs to appear upstairs, and finally turns his attention to the martini glass. He pulls the dark blue handkerchief from his suit pocket and uses that to pick the glass up by the rim, turning the glass slowly to find the best prints. As he does, he holds the cloth behind them to provide contrast and starts taking pictures.

Once he has the shots he thinks he needs, Zahid settles back down on the narrow bed, twitching his jacket into place so it doesn't get wrinkled, and his eyes close behind his goggles. It wasn't often that he actually worked with fingerprints, so it was unlikely that any of his old backdoors into those databases would be active...or safe to use...anymore. He sighs softly. The trail would probably lead him to somewhere he would have to hack, and he didn't have time to do it right tonight. Still maybe the streams would lead him to the right data without such efforts...


Kvasir made a momentary study of the old shaman. The thought of Orson being the old One-Eyed Aesir himself manifesting on the mortal plane crossed his mind. Unlikely as it was, he would never be able to disprove the theory. Whoever the old bear was, he didn't seem to be sharing any of his secrets today.

Kvasir caught Vegas's eye on the lower deck, and held up his index finger and mouthed "One minute," as if asking for patience from a colleague. He turned to Orson and offered his hand.

"Alas, it seems my potential employer has spotted me and I must bring this conversation to a close to attend to my business below. Truly a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Orson Wodanstag. I do hope our wyrds wend their way round another again."

After making his farewells with the older shaman, he descended below decks to the nearest restroom, blasting a message to the team as he walked down the stairs.

Heading below deck for a moment to summon some assistance. I can provide cover, panic, concealment or an astral shadow on someone. I can't however, get into that suitcase. Vegas, I think your magic is better than mine when it comes to these things.

Orson gave Kvasir a final chuckle and nodded his head at their parting. He then returned his attention to the party as a whole, letting Kvasir slip below decks. As the shaman started his way toward the back of the boat, he caught site of a couple looking at a bathroom door in anger. One of them was a hulking brute of a man holding up a rather groggy looking woman as he attempted to force his way into the bathroom. He glanced up at Kvasir and barked "this one is occupied!"


Kvasir dismissed the man's bark with a wave of his hand.

"No sweat, chummer. I'm going to hit the head in one of the state rooms. I don't like these public ones with their security cameras; they're for the help."

Kvasir squeezed past the couple and down the hall toward the state rooms. He gave a quick glance back before descending another set of stairs to see if his words had any effect. He blasted another AR message to the team.

Impending sexual assault below decks portside. Trying to isolate problem to a state room. We should probably check VIP status of the apeman in the hallway.


Vegas frowned. Sorry omae, I have no skill with electronics. I'm not going to be any use getting into the case. We need a plan C, or did we pass that already?

When Kvasir suddenly mentioned the staterooms, the man's face lit up like that of a greedy child. He quickly tried to smooth his face, but to the runner it was plain as day. The man had taken the bait hook, line, and sinker.

Meanwhile, out in cyberspace, Zahid was getting results. The erstwhile thief was a man known far and wide as Silver Phoenix, and his status as a pickpocket was legendary. While he made most of his bread and butter as a high dollar pickpocket, he also financed his lavish lifestyle with occasional runs that included a great deal of B&E and thievery work. By all accounts he considered himself a "gentleman thief" and flat out refused to take runs that even hinted at wetwork or physical harm.

While data was still incoming, Zahid at least had a basic personality profile. This was a man with an incredible ego and a desire to be the best there was, but at the same time he abhorred violence in almost any form. He considered it gauche. Plus there was a rumor that he was using at least some of his money to finance a secret family, but such information had come from some of the more gossip heavy parts of the 'trix.


Reasonance watched through his drone eyes as his compatriot hinted towards the better quarters elsewhere - he watched as the drunken predator took his prey elsewhere. At this point, there are more important things going on, but the eyes of the microdrone stayed on the businessman, silently following the couple to a stateroom for recording purposes. The drone's sense faded quickly into the dermis of the technomancer, melding into the pattern of a forearm tattoo.

"Well, it seems as though we can divide and conquer or form like Voltron and tackle one issue. We really need to get a game plan together mates. I can run the security and surveillance systems null sweat. I can try to hack into the case if we think that is going to be best. Let's talk a little once you are all out of earshot. I am pinging through the cameras from the boat and my drones. Cycle through while we figure this out and keep eyes one the briefcase and the elf."

Reasonance quickly tidies up in the bathroom, flushes for effect, and then proceeds to the kitchen area of the ship to establish an alibi.


Kvasir entered a hall way with three stateroom doors. He selected the middle one and scanned in with the maglock key he was given by their employer. Once inside, he pinged a message to the team.

Do we have ID on the burly suit yet? I can summon a Valkyrie to act as chaperone, but I'm guessing a shieldmaiden poking her spear into a VIP's vitals might catch us some flack, even if I tell her to only scare him. Perhaps we need a doorman down here? I'd rather save my mojo for the karmic mission. BTW if you can separate the suit from his case, then I might be able to make it disappear. It's still a theoretical approach, gimme a sec to think.

Kvasir locked the door behind him and pulled a piece of chalk from his pocket to trace a circle and three protective runes on the high gloss hardwood floor. "Elhaz-thurisaz-hagalaz," He began chanting the galdr in a moderate voice as the summoning circle began to faintly glow with a cobalt blue light.

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