The Chagrin Cooking Channel
"Ten mil, ten gauge, fifty cal, it doesn't matter; you'll die just the same. Play nice and your mother might have something left to bury."
Package: Death Squad
SCL: 7 | b | . 8
LAD: Yes – Insured for 1500 C.
Savings: 599 C
Hit Points 23 – Head (10) – Torso (23) – Arms (13) – Legs (13)
Armour Exo-Heavy: PV 8 – Head (15) – Torso (35) – Arms (25) – Legs (28)
Initiative Phases 1 2 4 5
Damage Bonus 3
Dexterity 11 | 11 (Shock Tendons 1)
Advantages & Disadvantages
Vehicle: Light SLA Bike (4)
Good media, 3rd eye 1
Great operative, SLA staff 5
Reliable operative, Jade 2
Effective operative, Karma 2
Contract Killers and Assassins 10
Unarmed Combat: 3
Blade 1H: 4
Demolitions Disposal: 3
Evaluate Opponent: 3
Weapons Maintenance: 2
Drive Motorcycle: 5
SLA Info: 3
Rival Company Knowledge: 2
Conflict Era Lore: 1
Computer Use: 3
FEN 603: 2 Magazines 10mm FMJ (40 rds), 2 empty magazines. (all in storage)
FEN Gunhead SMG: laser targeter, flash suppressor, silencer, stock 2 Magazines 10mm HEAP (80 rds).
SLA 10-10 Bully Boy Shotgun: laser targeter, 2 Magazines 10G Shot (20 rds), 2 Magazines 10G Slug (20 rds). (20 rds shot & 20 rds slug in storage).
Custom Blitzer: laser targeter, detachable stock, 1000m IR capable scope, 18 rds 12.7mm HEAP (32 rds in storage)
2 Blast Grenades
2 Frag Grenades
Kickstart Solo: 4 doses, hypo (in left wrist injector)
Blaze UV: 4 doses, hypo (in right wrist injector)
Kickstart: 4 doses, hypo
Bioblock: Bottle of 10 pills, analgesic
Pain Solver: Bottle of 40 pills, coagulant
MedKit (see drugs section for notable contents)
1 Hypo Injector
2 Subdermal Wrist Hypo Injectors
Blitzer Maintenance Kit
Magholds for equipment
Chippy Lead, Slugger & 4 Slugs
Financial Chip Scanner (registered)
Navamap with maps for sectors: UT2, UT4, UT15, UT67, DT8, DT44, DT445, DT1847, CS1
BodyShell enhanced skeletal reinforcement, full body.
Shock Tendons (1)
Excerpts from Operative recruitment interview 05894-C0235.
NB: Interviewer’s dialogue in italics
Okay, it’s rolling, time to start. Subject is one Mina Klein, human female, nineteen-
It’s Klein. Like twine, or swine. Not like clean.
Apologies, miss Klein. Subject is nineteen years old, graduated from Meny with a major in [pause] heavy combat operations. Could you confirm your identity for the cameras please, miss Klein?
Sure. Hi mom.
Okay, so first thing’s first, miss Klein, can you tell us why you came to work for SLA Industries?
Someone told me the pay was good.
Of course, but perhaps you had more personal reasons for joining? What did your parents do?
I mean, what were their jobs? We have them listed as civilians here, so as you can understand our records are lighter than we’d like.
What does any civvie do? They watched tee-vee and drank, mostly. I don’t remember them real well, don’t care much that I don’t, either.
So there was nothing in your past that drove you towards SLA and Meny?
I didn’t say that. Just that my parents weren’t that big a part of my life, was all.
So what did drive you here, then?
I told you, money. And, I suppose, the guns.
Of course, but you can get money and guns from joining a street gang, and with your parents dead so young, there must have been some other factor that brought you to the company, some higher purpose?
Street gangs are for punks and idiots. And I don’t care what the ads might say, CAF ain’t guns.
Okay, we’ll try something else then. Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
Back here, renewing my contract, I guess.
You don’t have any sort of aspirations, then? No goals to achieve?
I reckon staying alive that long is probably achievement enough, don’t you?
Do you think your work here is likely to kill you, then?
A lot of things are likely to kill you on Mort. At least with SLA’s resources and training I’ll be a bit ahead of the curve.
Ah, so you see this as an opportunity to survive what you perceive as a dangerous world, then, miss Klein? I see your psyche-eval notes indicate a paranoid personality.
Cautious, is all. And sure, yeah, I like to get a leg up on life. What’s wrong with that?
I didn’t say anything was, miss Klein. If anything, it shows a healthy survival instinct.
So, moving on then, what can you tell me you remember especially about your time at Meny?
What about it?
It was free. Shitty, but free. That struck me as odd.
Did it worry you, miss Klein?
I just figured, nothing in life is free, so what was the price for that? I wasn’t, like, suspicious of the chefs or anything, just aware that there would be something down the line to remind us that we owed something for it.
Actually, the food is deducted from your allowance. It says so in the student handbook.
There was a handbook? Guess I must have missed that one.
So your major, then, heavy combat ops. What drew you to that, I wonder?
It’s what I was good at. My Dad might have been a useless piece of shit, but that’s the one thing he taught me before he fucked off into the hereafter; always stick with what you’re good at. I was good at shooting things.
It’s still an uncommon choice for people such as yourself though, -
Girls, you mean?
Human females, yes. Operatives such as yourself tend more towards the medical or mechanical courses, statistically.
Sorry to disappoint you.
We aren’t disappointed, miss Klein, we enjoy diversity in our operatives. We just like to be sure that people are doing the jobs they’re best at.
So you don’t think a woman is good enough to shoot stuff? I could sure as hell kick your arse in a fire-fight, desk jockey.
Please, miss Klein, I meant no offence. I’m just doing my job. Now, may we continue? I was about to say that your test results are all very promising; you seem to have shown a great aptitude for armed combat…
Like I said, I was good at shooting things.
So then -
Look, I’m getting bored of this now. My test results tell you that I’m a natural born combat op; not only am I a good shot and a decent tactician, I’m cool under fire and able to both issue and obey effective orders. I have no qualms with maiming someone in order to capture them, and less with killing them. I’m proficient with every firearm they handed us in instruction, and I even practised my damn swordplay to keep the tutors happy too.
My psyche-eval will show that I’m paranoid, but that’s the evaluation of a cautious man witnessing a cautious woman being evaluated. Either way it means I suit a role of responsibility, and couple that with my high natural intelligence and you have the makings of an effective combat operative.
You’ll be looking at my parents’ deaths, my blasé attitude to violence and my steady nerve as well, all of which endear me to the role of Death Squad ops. Everything about me is screaming to you to put me in a suit of armour and give me a machine gun and set me loose on the enemies of SLA, because I’ve got the talent and the restraint to get the job done without blowing away too many of your consumers.
Can I go now, mister Bryce?
Well, I -
Aw, thanks sweetie. Where do I pick up my badge?
The clatter of wet bike keys on the table announced Mina’s arrival. Late, as per; Roman’s wine glass was already half empty. She dropped herself into the booth, bearing the weight of a minor war world.
“Long day, beautiful?”
Roman was, as always, impeccably dressed. Mina’s leathers had seen better days, and her hair was matted with sweat, and a little blood. Roman did his best not to wrinkle his nose as the vapours of lowtown and sewage-infused rain reached him.
“My Blaze wore off two hours ago in the middle of traffic. Ask me again after two glasses of whatever that shit is.” Roman was already pouring.
“I heard an interesting story about your partner today. Was that true about the midgets?”
“Midgets? Oh, no. Kids.” Mina blurted her words between gulps.
“Kids?” For a brief moment his mask slipped, and Mina grinned.
“Hah, sucker. But yes, it was true about the midgets. Little fucks had gotten a hold of mil-grade hardware and one of them hit her husband with a ricochet. The shivers had to scoop that poor shithead into a bucket. What’s the special tonight? I hear this place does a good synth-steak.”
“Synth? No, dear, the meat here is all real, vat-grown. Don’t give me that look, Karma haven’t been within a mile of the stuff. More wine? How’d that red go today?”
“Sitting here, aren’t I?”
Roman touched his wine to his lips briefly and took a beat.
“Mina, dear, I don’t think we can continue with these little dinners. This just isn’t working out. I’m sorry.”
“What’s the matter, Roman, not getting your needs met? My scintilating conversational skills not up to scratch for this part of town? Or are the bloodstains ruining your reputation with the guys at the office? Fuck sake, I’m here for the food, the drink and the sex. You think your shitty little fancy-pants admin crap moistens my other lips? If you want someone to blab your little heart to, I’m sure your paycheck stretches to hiring a fucking Vev…” Mina paused and exhaled. "Shit, sorry, yeah, long day. Sonya’s not been off her UV for three days now and it’s been red, blue, red, blue, black, red, fucking constantly. And that shit-eating-grin Ebon is doing my nut in with his please-and-thankyou fucking attitude to doing his gorram job. I swear if he asks for my permission to shoot a fucking perp one more time I’ll shoot him in their place. Shit, he can heal it, I just want to get the point across.
“We were down near the wall today, first responders for a messy one. Some idiot thought it would be smart to jump-start an old Tek-trek bot with some custom software they jumped from a kid that lived up the street. The thing was halfway through the population of the apartment block by the time we got there and it hit its self-destruct under the code-monkey’s face. First time I’ve seen someone have to mop a ceiling.”
Roman’s wine glass had been hovering halfway between his mouth and the table for that whole spiel. He managed, at least, to close his mouth after the first few seconds.
“Mina, dearheart, I think perhaps it’s time you took a little break. From one professional to another, you need to be away from this squad for a while, maybe take a day or two in New Paris for yourself, maybe go see a therapist for a chat, I know a guy, does this ritualistic bullshit, but he gives an amazing massage, I can hook you up…”
The pleading in his voice was sharing its time with pity, but his eyes showed genuine concern at least. Mina keyed her order into the menu screen and took another large gulp of wine before smiling pleasantly back to Roman.
“Thanks, Roman, I appreciate the sentiment, but if you think a shopping trip or a spa day is my idea of relaxing, I reckon you might be right about calling off our next date. Sure, the shit I do isn’t exactly pleasant, but I’m doing it for a reason. That hacker kid lost his face today, but the family of skivvies next door with the four brats and the old lady only had to deal with a busted wall and a bloody carpet because Sonya hit that damn bot so hard its tracks bust off and its sri-mec gave out. And yesterday I put a fifty cal round into the prettiest damn brain-waster girl you ever did lay eyes on, but her exploded melon meant the three Shivers she left with night-terrors and a disability cheque for the rest of their lives got some form of fucking justice. Slayer knows the poor, limbless fuckers deserved it. My therapy sounds a lot like a hammer hitting a full chamber, and my chill-out time involves gun oil and a stiff brush. If I need to get away from it all, I go to the range, not some New Parisian boutique where the mannequins wear more than the employees. I don’t need you to fix my problems. You’re here to get me mildly drunk, well fed and well bed, because those are the things I want from you. You want something else, fine, we keep this strictly business from now on.”
The waiter, who was less tactful about Mina’s rough appearance than Roman had been, delivered her a plate full of meat and swiftly made his exit, while Mina and Roman sat staring at each other, exasperated.
“I’m sorry, Mina. I’ve upset you. Forgive me. Please, eat, and order whatever you like, it’s on me.” He stood and retrieved his jacket, a fine-looking tailored job with custom lining and what appeared to be a bulletproof weave worked into the embroidery.
“I’m going to head to my office and get a headstart on the paperwork for that BPN, and see about getting your sponsor contracts upgraded a bit, and tomorrow we’ll talk about that ancient power armour you’ve been fixing up since you graduated. If you need anything that a humble business op can deliver, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, you of course have my personal line.” Roman smiled, but there was no warmth there anymore, real or programmed. Just the echo of past merriment, and a cold respect.
“You’re a shithead, Roman. But you’re a good shithead. Thanks for trying, at least. I’ll tell Sonya you said hi. And don’t worry, your prise assets aren’t going flaky just yet. I’ll keep an eye on Sonya, and I’ll keep the other one on me. If I need a break, you’ll be the first one to know. You and that masseuse friend of yours, yeah? Take care, man. And thanks for dinner.”
“It’s my pleasure, operative Klein. And you take care, too.”
Twenty seconds later, the growl of Roman’s personal armoured car vibrated the wine glass sitting as empty as his seat, and Mina smiled at something in her head. She waved at the waiter, whose distain had doubled since Roman’s departure.
“Hey, get me another bottle of this grape-juice shit, and seconds on this steak when I’m done. Oh, and whatever your best whisky is, I’ll have a triple. If that shithead isn’t gonna fuck me tonight, I might as well fuck his credit account.”