01 - Breakwall - The Caprican Job
FROM ARCADIA WITH LOVE
Breakwall - Episode 01, 'The Caprican Job'. Follow us on Twitter for news and updates.
Abigail Turner as Jonny
Travis Storey as Evan
Madeline Dorrah as Ella
Alexander Doddy as Nick Ballard
Aubrey Poppleton as Gunrunner
Veronica Pierce as Intercall Operator
Dan Boud as the Narrator
Written, Designed and Edited by Damian Szydlo
Script Editing by Jupiter Sanders
Show theme by Doug Maxwell
Music and Sound Effects from Syrinscape & Audioblocks
[The sound of wind whipping through an abandoned district - music slowly fading in to accompany the sounds.]
[Jonny: Is cautious here, her tone is a bit hushed as she’s stepping carefully through a burned out building looking for her target.]
“I’m coming up on the impact now. Looks like you were right. It’s another crate, just like the others. Crashed down through the wall on the forty-third floor. You getting this, Evan?”
[Evan: Breathing a sigh of relief over a communications device, his voice a little excited]
“I’m seeing it! Footage is a bit fuzzy but it looks like it’s still in good shape too! These Caprican crates can take an orbital drop. [Next line is said to someone sitting next to Evan.] What I tell you? 50/50 it’s either a crate or a body? You SO owe me lunch at the Rails.”
Neo-Atlantis was supposed to be different. White walls and flying cars… buildings designed with a new deco architecture that reimagined the strength and splendor of a past age into a new world with all it’s exquisite elegance. Neon light bouncing off of gilded gold sculptures reflected in sleek, tinted glass. If you weren’t here then you were nowhere. Just a part of a decaying world order doomed to slide into the sea that this city-state floated upon.
What it ‘wasn’t’ supposed to be was the same brittle, fire blackened walls you could find in the old world. It wasn’t the abandoned turf of a psychotic gang nor was it the sprawl that surrounded that turf for mile after overpopulated mile. It wasn’t supposed to be Arcadia, a district forsaken by the rest of the city… living exiled away from the altar of progress. Taking what it could to feed it’s starving husk, the sole black mark on a utopian dream.
[The sound of a rope dropping to the ground interrupts the narration.]
“This place looks like it could come down any minute… And that was before this crate tore through it. Doesn’t seem like there’s anyone lurking so that’s a plus. You got my position, yeah?”
“Yeah, we’ve got it. Signal’s… kind of jinxed. This normal, Jonny? I think we’ve got you within about twenty meters.”
[Jonny: Her voice not hushed but a little distracted now as she’s getting to work prepping the crate for pick up. She’s a bit amused at Ella’s presence.]
“Ella. Is that you? Thought you hated it out here in the Zone. Not that there’s alot to love.”
“Wherever this idiot is, I am. Can’t shake me. We’re basically one person.”
“And only one cut of the prize too. I don’t want to hear any guff about it, either. Cuttin’ comms now. I’ll see you when ya get here.”
Ash from fires long swept away clung to the webbing of the reinforced cord as Jonny secured a hook to the lift handle of the sturdy drop crate. A blue light pulsed from under the gilded faux-gold embellishments and shell logo of Caprica Corp.
Caprica was of course the leading high end producer in Atlantian cybernetics and magnetic rail weaponry. It made the sort of goods that most contractors could only imagine having access to. That made for the kind of demand that couldn’t be ignored by those seeking to profit off of such things.
With a reassuring pat of her own cybernetic hand to the surface of the cargo she instinctively wiped the sweat that was forming on her brow away to replace it with a smear of soot. With a curse about the humidity she dropped her long coat on top of the softly glowing crate before making her way to the hole it had left in the side of this derelict building.
Perhaps calling it a hole was underselling it, she supposed. The crate had taken the wall with it as well as sizable portions of the structure for at least three floors above this one. At least the damage allowed for an easier extraction of the crate. Or, that was the plan.
It was late afternoon which only served to highlight the contrast between Arcadia and the rest of Neo-Atlantis from this elevated vantage. The area had once been the prime residential and living district for everyone who wasn’t directly working for Kraken itself. It had been sectioned to house everyone from influential stars and high ranking subsidiary stock holders all the way down to service and D-Class civilians. Arcadia was part of the inside ring of the modular city, anchored directly to ‘the core’ and the towering white wall that rose hundreds of meters above even this highrise. Not high enough though that you couldn’t see the splendor at it’s apex… the arcology atop the obelisk like plateau. It was the throne which Kraken sat upon, the heart of the city which all else bowed low at the foot of.
The city was a thing of beauty, despite it’s scars. It glistened in the afternoon light, cleansed by storm that had since made way to an endless blue sky. As breathtaking as it might have been, scars or no scars, Jonny knew damn well there was an ugliness beneath the surface that ran deeper than the sea it sat upon. Rising all the way up to the core above.
That ugliness was of course what had brought her here, to this point. To this place above the sprawl; waiting with growing anxiety for her extraction. Jonny was a merc, working for whatever faction that could pay her price in the golden ‘Chips’ that ran the underworld of this city… but this case, this pick up… it wasn’t her first retrieval of the day. This little bonus started out as just a regular job.
* * *
[narrating into a recording device]
“I guess this is as good a place to start as any. The Albatross is a hub. In my line of work that means it’s a safe spot. A place proven mercs can pick up jobs and know they’re gonna get paid. No double crossin’, no guns under the table sort of business allowed. That isn’t to say that things are always that simple but it certainly does help the process.
I say ‘proven’ mercs cause that’s an important distinction to make. For every Jonny there are fifty Evan and Ella’s and for every Evan and Ella there are a hundred skilless street toughs lookin’ to go pro. Kids tryin’ to make it and learn the ropes. Lots of baby turtles trying to make it to the water... only to find the ocean’s alot more treacherous. That’s enough for now, I’ve a man to see. Hopefully about a job.”
In the times before the Arcadian sprawl rebelled against the rest of the city ‘The Albatross’ or whatever it was called before it had that name… was a part of a universal chain of pubs. A designated and familiar venue that could be found in many corners of the district with the express purpose of partaking in all manner of legal vice. Dens of moderated and portioned indulgence.
Of course Arcadia had changed quite a bit since a group of radicals decided to plummet the district into a modern day dark age, at least by Neo-Atlantian standards. It wasn’t big money profitable to try and run a business in Arcadia these days unless you were in the business of Law and Order. That was the sentiment that left many buildings up for grabs for cut-rate cred. Buildings that enterprising individuals like Nick Ballard could use to carve themselves out a living. Just like they used to do in the old world.
[Sound effects as Jonny walks into The Albatross.]
“Hey, well look who it is. Hear you’re washin’ up on shores that ain’t so sunny these days, Jonny. Fortunes do change though… I mean; it can’t rain all the time. Got a message in for ya from MercNet. Gunrunners I think. Pricks still owe us a finder’s fee. That’s of course no business of yours though...”
The last job had been a rough one. She’d tried to pull it off without any blood. People thought of gangs in a very abstract way in Neo-Atlantis. They were either vultures or boogeyman, hunting the streets and picking at the exposed bones of the city. The truth was that sometimes they weren’t drug fueled thrill killers or streetwise opportunists. Sometimes they were just desperate communities that had nowhere else to turn but to violence. Having to pull the trigger on people who wanted to cut your cyberarm off so they could feed their families inevitably left one haunted.
[Jonny nods her head in acknowledgement. ‘It can’t rain all the time’ is familiar code to these two.]
“Can’t rain all the time… I’ll take a Black Barrel Machete. On the rocks, of course.”
“All right. Comin’ up. Should have saw it coming. That sort of tequila isn’t easy to get around here. With how you’re lappin’ it up I’m going to have to take out a job on the stuff, soon.”
[Her voice a bit playful as she’s amused by this.]
“You’re making me sound like an alcoholic. Do you think I have a problem, Nick?
[Amused in response.]
“Maybe just more of an enthusiastic customer, yeah?”
“You fucker! So Gunrunners you say? They’re a bunch of salesman. Dodgy as all hell. Can’t turn down faction work right now though. Revik’s not well.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Revik’s a good ‘bot. Maybe a little fatalistic at times but he’s been around as long as the core has. Gives a damn about Arcadia, about where we came from and where we’re goin’. Why doesn’t he get himself transferred to a new shell or somethin’?”
“I think he wants to die, to be honest. Kills me to say it but it’s true. I think he’s seen too much, Nick. Tired, you know?”
“That’s fair enough.”
[clears throat to break the awkward tone of the conversation.]
“Back to business then. Get a seat, I’ll get your drink and patch you through when you’re ready.”
She took a seat at a booth, her favorite seat in the house. Weathered tables and long dura-plast benches were eclipsed by a window that had been configured to illuminate the table with a soft blue glow. Rain water surged down the outside of the glass making it feel like some sort of large porthole in this downpour. It’d been raining for days now, she thought... and you could almost feel the frame of the district flexing as titanic waves rocked the Arcadian breakwall. At least that was the case when you were as close to the rim as The Albatross was.
It didn’t take long for her drink to come. With a smile she accepted the Machete from a small tracked drone with an extendable arm Nick used to wait on patrons. It was old tech but it did the job and was as much a part of this place as the windows and the walls. With a deep breath Jonny adjusted her quickly drying cloths and shook out her short blonde hair. Materials that dried quickly were always in fashion here in Neo-Atlantis.
[Calling out to Nick.]
I’m ready. Mostly. Go ahead and put him through.
“Thank you for using intra-call, your leading solution in secure communications.”
“You’re speaking to the Gunrunners. You’re… wait, this is Jonny?”
“You were expecting me to be a he, right?”
“Maybe we just expected you to be taller.”
“If that was a joke, you should know that you aren’t very funny. Are we making a deal or what?”
[Doesn’t miss a beat or betray that he is surprised by her reaction, a salesman through and through.]
“We have a time sensitive offer available for you and I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be a tough grab. I’d have our own people manage it but I’ve got absolutely zero confidence in those assholes to make this ACTUALLY happen, and make it happen right. Long story short is the Authority managed to skim some cargo off some Air-Barge flyin’ Caprican goods. Seems even the cops gotta bite the hand that feeds them occasionally. Problem is it landed in Troka territory. That’s bought us some time cause the Troka hate the Authority… problem is the Troka also hate everyone else so expect resistance.”
“I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the goods we’re dealing with are crates full of rail weaponry?”
“Well we wouldn’t be the Gunrunners if they were filled with medical supplies, would we?”
“No, I suppose not. How many crates and what’s in it for me? I’ve been to Troka. Not only is it in the demilitarized zone but it’s Arcadian wasteland. They kill anyone who isn’t one of their own.”
“Intel says that our men managed to kick four boxes off the back of that barge before getting thrown off of it themselves. As for Chips, we’re willing to pay three for their retrieval.”
“Cheap bastards. If even half of those guns survived the fall you’re going to make three times that. You’re going to have to do better… or you’re going to have to deal with the Troka yourselves. Three is piss all to risk my neck. My price is six.”
[Ponders what Jonny says for a moment before responding in amusement.]
“Fuck me, you know your stuff don’t you? You deal like you’ve been around longer then our sources give you credit for. Let’s do five coin and your word that this contract will be exclusive. No backdoor deals with other factions. You get the crates, you get the fuck out, understand?”
“I’ll cut off a piece for myself if I find opportunity to do so but no side jobs for the competition. Four crates full of Caprica’s finest arms, wherever you want ‘em. The deal is done.”
“The deal is done. Transmitting you the details now. We have beacons on the cases and footage of the drop in case it’s any help. We’re still getting readouts on the cases that tells us that if the Troka have recovered ‘em, they haven’t been able to pry them open yet. I look forward to meeting you for a drink, Ms. Jonny.”
“It’s just Jonny.”
[The call ends, Jonny starts her recording device again.]
[narrating into a recording device]
“Job taken. Alright, thoughts. This is as much for me as it is for you. Sounds like the original job got really messy. I’ll need to get Evan and Ella on that footage. Messy jobs often make for overlooked opportunity. He undersold the threat of the Troka. Dealt with them once before about a year back. Still surprised it didn’t end in blood but I’ll take not having to get ugly with psychotics in no-mans land as a spot of luck. I’m not going to have the same option this time around, I think.
Troka is a prison word. It’s used for inmates too dumb and too violent to fit into the jailhouse mix. They’ve embraced it and stayed to their roots, too. As I understand the history of it; a few years before my own ship crashed into the Breakwall there was a riot on board a large prison vessel transporting violent prisoners to a high security colony. Obviously since I’m telling you this… it never got there and to make matters worse they managed to not only steer it here but get it under the nose of automated defences. That’s the job of a good people-mover like the one that got me and my family here. The authority gunned many of the fuckers down while they were climbing down the inside of the Breakwall… you know, like they do… but the ones that survived have been a pain in the ass ever since. Terrorized their way to pissin’ on a spot in the Zone about a mile wide. That’s more the reason that I KNOW this job went sideways in a bad way. Of all the places to drop this cargo, you wouldn’t voluntarily choose to drop it on the Troka. That’s all for now, I think. We’ve got a job to get done.”