Friends in Dark PlacesMature

Fianna Quinn is a relatively new friend, fresh out of the Consortium Academy of Murderous Arts, where they literally charge an arm and a leg for the privilege of becoming a Fleetkiller. N*ki-Xilat Elite Mercs are trained to cut through soldiers like a plas harvester and open Warships like canned rations. I have the dubious honor of her friendship largely because of her little brother's drug problem and my recovery policy for people who can't handle their shit. I can't abide a junkie, everybody has a habit, nothing wrong with it, but a customer that gets busted or dead because they're bad at drugs is a hostile asset that needs correcting. A detox cocktail, a few days of gentle restraint followed with a moderate beat down and an earnest discussion about not being a fuckhead got Fi her brother back. In return we got a loyal client and a good friend who happens to be primarily composed of murderous joy. A relationship that comes in handy when you need to search and rescue a missing comrade in hostile territory.

To hear Tom tell it later, his fight had been rigged, there were people with data spikers in the audience fucking with his sense receptors. Which left the giant Lith he was fighting, an up and coming ringer apparently quite rightly called The Drop (on account of zir strikes approximating ground zero of an orbital strike) free to pummel Tom into a charismatic metal paste. Then the riftfucking Guard showed up. Fortunately, our plucky little brawler managed to duck out into a back street and flee. Unfortunately, he'd managed to flail his way into permanently damaging their ringer and the Promoters were pretty intent on extracting their losses from his hardware. A fact he didn't become aware of until he came full speed around a corner and into the side of a transpod full of hired goons with his face in their HUDs.

They took him to the Promoters who, with the help of a very talented and tasty engineer, set about taking his bits out and scrapping them. Starting with his sensory regulator, keeps all his enhanced sensory systems from driving him nuts outside of fights and helps him manage pain. Which made all the other things they took out all the more traumatizing. Then, just as they were starting to pry at his memory systems the screaming started. Stopped real quick, then started back up, but harder. In Tom's words "and then the Robot Goddess of the Seas kicked down the door and killed my sexy new Wrench." Tom has a hard time giving up on a crush.

And so it was that half an hour or so after making the call, Fi, in all her fishy-powersuited glory, lugged the broken mass of my friend and crewman into our kinda-secret hideout at Phaa's.

The End

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