So we’re in the garage watching sportsing on the trid, when Davian gets a call from Victoria Oxendine – the chica we’ve just been watching doing the lame guns thing. She wants him to help her out with something urgent, and she needs more than just his help, and there’s serious dinero involved. Hey, I love sports! We’re meet her at the New Angeles Clouds stadium – she has a room on the 23rd floor being the team Captain and all. She’s had her playbook stolen and needs it back in time for the Final tonight with the Pasadena Oakers.
Hey, I know where I’ve seen her before – she was spewing noodles over that dude’s brain dribbling at the motel that time! But hey, discretion is the better part of valour no? So, don’t make a big deal of it, we made bank on those brain noodles anyhow. She’s promising more? Go Clouds!
Turns out she was at some charity gig last night, some fundraiser for Cyber Orphans. Twitch’s eye circuits start to mist over at this – whatever. She got planted with some micro-bug in the shape of a little Clouds pin badge. Tried to fry her brain up real bad.
Who’s she suspect? Her second in command is Emilio – maybe he wants promition eh? Could be the Oakers themselves, trying to influence the match. There’s also the Pitsville Jacks, her old team. She jilted them for her shot at the big time and they want payback.
First up, we go to the scene of the crime – the hall where the charity benefit took place. I snoop out the local network and look for anything totally suspicious – nothing jumps out. Okay. Next hit up the cameras and get the feed on Victoria. She’s wearing the badge pretty much all night. Eventually it detaches after she goes to bed, messes with her head then scampers out of the building and out of camera view. Go back in time to when she’s not got the pin – who gives it to her?
There’s a scene of some big hombre giving her a real close hug and she’s got it on after that. Bingo. Who’s this guy? Sam “The Ram” Daniels, late of the Pitsville Jacks.
Ok, leads, cool. Let’s go ask this guy some polite question eh? Only kidding, we’re gonna mess him up real bad.
He lives in a tower block on the periphery, not quite gated community luxury, but the rooms look nice. On the web though – they won’t let us in the front door. Davian talks the front desk guy up all sweet while Twitch sneaks us in the back door. Thirty seconds and a piece of tin foil on a ribbon cable and the Elevator is wide open – just like spoofing ATMs in kindergarten no? Need to hack the damn muzak next time, that crap is bad. Up we go.
We make it to Flat 82B – Sam’s inside and soon so are we. Victoria is pissed. He was her good friend before she left the Jacks. She rounds on him and starts to mess him up before we can get to asking him the questions. I like this lady. Yeah he planted the badge, not for the Jacks though, for some Trimaf goon called Roger Jhong of the Blissful Junkets. Victoria’s heard of them, had some dealings – they paid her to throw a match back in the Jacks days, but she double crossed them, took the money and run.
Jhong turns out to be a Koi hybrid, working out of a warehouse in Chinatown. As the tongs go, he’s not very high up the pecking order. Yeah, they write themselves. He also appears to be in a situation beyond his capabilities to resolve, in an environment he isn’t used to. Never mind, there are myriad opportunities etc.
We head to his warehouse in Trima town, it’s standard sized but the interior is lavishly decorated as some pretentious wannabe trimaf boss headquarters. There’s a little stream with a bridge over it, a cyber-pagoda and lawn, and at one end is a huge fish tank complete with a castle and a waving diver. We only see all this because Dukain climbs onto the roof and sneaks in. Victoria puts on her gravball armour and magna-gloves – the kind they use to launch the metal ball at high speed, like a freaking railgun. We storm the place and take out the wise-guys. Hey, paydirt, and a little bonus – I fill up with packs of miscellaneous white powder. These guys know how to party! We can’t find the playbook though – and we search the whole damn place, the pagoda, the office part, the little table where the guys are playing cards. The only place remaining is the the little treasure chest in the underwater castle. Aw man – someone’s gonna have to swim in there.
We reunite Victoria with her playbook, and she loads it up before kicking Roger Jhong’s face in. We have just enough time to make it to the stadium in time for the game. She gives us free tickets with ringside seating. Pope is gonna be so jealous.
We get seated behind the magna-shield that protects the crowd from the high speed balls. They bring us these weird hot-dogs shaped like clouds. We’re getting comfortable and waiting for the game to start, when Victoria burst in again and tells us that all her subs are sick from eating bad fish, and she’s had one guy snap an ankle – she needs another player!!
Twitch steps up to the plate, and finds some armour that fits. He gets them to black out the helmet so no-one can see who he is – the guy’s got plenty of people he’d rather not see him on global TV. He heads out to the ring with Victoria, and they start to play.
They’re doing pretty well, the crowd’s loving the mystery sub – he makes some good shots and points are scored on either side. But just then, Victoria jumps in and grabs the ball that should have scored the winning goal, and it seems she’s playing in a dream – the rest of the team don’t know how to react to her movements, like her plays are right off.
This isn’t right – maybe we got that playbook back too easily? This could all be part of the plan? Davian and I scan the crowd for trouble, and eventually spot one of the goons from the warehouse sat a few rows back – he pulls out some device and operates it, just as Victoria lines up a shot. The magna-shield drops, and panic grips the crowd. The game shows no sign of stopping, but it would just take one hyper velocity pass gone awry and a whole lot of people would get really hurt. We leap from the box and try to get over and take out the ganger. Victoria moves in a daze and lines up to launch the ball somewhere towards the VIP boxes. Is this all some convoluted assassination plan?
We try to grab the guy and wrestle the device from him, but he’s slippery and evades us. Victoria finishes lining up and launches the ball at some target high up in the crowd. We get the device off the guy, but it all looks too late, and Victoria shakes her head in confusion, as though just waking up
But just then, Dukain leaps out, vaults off one of the opposing team member’s shoulder plates and manages to intercept the shot. There’s a huge clang heard throughout the hushed arena as his magna-glove snags the metal projectile of out the air- his arm snaps back as the speed of the ball pulls him onwards, but three hundred million viewers around the world watch in silence as he swings it back around, drops to the ground in a perfect launch stance and sends the metal ball hurtling towards the goal ring.
We manage to re-establish the protective shield just too late for the winning ball to speed out and crash into the fish ganger as the crowd explodes in applause. The end siren sounds seconds before the emergency alarm kicks in but no-one pays that any notice. The Clouds win the league thanks to the swift recovery moves of the mystery substitute.
Dukain basks in the adoration of the audience, while Victoria honours him with her trademark Boomin’ Guns gesture.