Looking back, we were so close. Basically, we were done. All I had to do was sweet talk the one acolyte that we were leaving, that the boss man had called us over comms and chewed our ass out. We'd walk right out the front door with the prize and them none the wiser. Then Gaius, poor Gaius, dropped the ball. Literally. Well, it was a mask, but the result was the same.
Let's back up some. Last time I left off with us hiding in the bushes near the front door. One acolyte was dead in the mulch at the front entrance of the residence, and a security bot buzzed in the air above the compound. We kept our heads down, and the thing took a hike after a minute. Bullet dodged.
In our due diligence before the job, we'd tracked down the management company for the property, and showed up at their local office posing as residential outfitting vendors. After some chit chat, we made our way to the topic of guest content security, and found out the exact safe type they used in their properties. Bingo. Gaius picked up a hacking rig for the model number, and we were set for popping the safe.
So, back in the yard, we crept into the entry foyer. The place was bathed in the creepy red hue of emergency lighting. Must've felt like home for the Nightspeakers. Gaius couldn't get into the security camera system without a ton of work, so we took the old fashioned method of walking in the front door with a line of bullshit chambered. Immediately, one of the Nightspeaker creeps is in our face. Guy had a lot of attitude for what should've appeared to him as the locals running the show walking into their rented house. And man, was his voice a trip. A deep, bass-like drone that was almost comical, but in the end was spine-tingling creepy. I can't get it out of my head.
I unloaded the BS on him in that condescending security guard tone. You know that, "Sir, I'm going to need you to stand over there while we do our sweep," power trip crap. Despite his weirdness, he bought it. I guess even the creeps have asshole security guys giving them grief. He wanted someone to stay with him, so I gave Doogie the job. He wouldn't have been any help with the safe anyway. Poor kid's eyes were about to pop out of his head though. I hope he doesn't hold a grudge the next time he's patching me up. While we're on the subject, I hope he doesn't have to patch me up ever again.
Gaius and I went on our sweep and low and behold found the dude's room immediately. Wasn't hard to see which one it was. Who else but the pit fighter was a workbench and melee weapon stand outside his room? He even had one of those old fashioned stone grinders for sharpening his blades. Really old school killing there. There's some part of me that's oddly attracted to it. That scares me. Better not go down that rabbit hole.
Gaius pops the room door with the card reader hack, and we find the inside is even weirder. Odd shrines and the like on the floor and wall. Felt like a cross between serial killer and devil worshipper. Save for the scent of cinnamon. That was out of place.
Forgetting all that, we hop right on to hacking the safe. Gaius gets it open fairly quick, but one of the acolytes comes sauntering down the hall looking for us. Don't these guys know who's in charge here? Our heads up came courtesy of Doogie calling out "ouch you creep". It wasn't until later that we got the whole run down from him. How he tried to examine one of them, got a little fidgety, and creeped out the creep. That's an achievement right there.
And this is where Gaius drops the mask. I'd hit the thermostat and got the air blowing. As we exit the room and I'm in mid explanation about the noisy vent, the mask thuds onto the spotless carpet between Gaius's legs. I might've laughed had I not had a force pike shoved into my chest.
I'd like to credit my rabbit-like reflexes for avoiding a total evisceration by the pike, but it was mostly the armor. Gaius, to his credit, grabbed the force pike, and I shoved Dolly under the acolytes chin and blew his brains into his helmet. Another dead speaker.
No one came rushing down the hall, nor did Doogie cry out in pain as he was force piked to death. It seemed our cover was still intact. I shifted the pouch on my vest to cover the slash, and holstered Dolly. Time for us to try walking out the front door one more time. Gaius recorded some fake chatter, then played it over his radio as we left the hall. It was a good call, as another acolyte was right there giving us the stink eye. I shook my head at the fake comms, and gave him my best annoyed face. It wasn't hard to find the motivation with my aching, bleeding chest. In our authentic security guard manner, we didn't thank them and walked right out of the house. Then right out of Chiba.
We made for the Stardancer, and collapsed once I closed the ramp. There was still that lingering fear of being found out and caught, but I knew in reality we were good. The mask would be out of our hands soon enough. Now it was time to relax, and let Doogie stiitch us up.
We hit the bar as usual. For whatever reason, the Nightspeaker's voice wouldn't go away. I ended up spending more than I intended, and finally I felt the weight off my shoulders. We were getting a nice payout. It was worth it.
Heard through the grapevine that some unsavory characters had their eye on us now. We officially had heat in Rin. The plan was to drop off the mask in Estari anyway. I was a little sick of Rin at this point, so it all worked out in the end.
We get there, take the tug in through the nebula, and drop the mask off no problem. The tug takes us back out, and we're on our way to the jump point when the radar lights up. Some Maelstorm boat is on our six, launching boarding craft, and demanding we stop. That's when things got interesting…