Valhalla Can Wait #2

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ImpurestCheese

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Valhalla Can Wait #2

Missed Last Issue? You can catch up Here

‘The Abbey’, Floor 11 Texas Tower, El Paso

“How do I look?” Danni purred as she leaned against the door-frame, a light blue dress hugging her curves, whilst a sapphire pendant graced her neck. “If you like it, take a picture, because you won't see me wear this ever again.” She added as she walked over to the chair Vance was reclining in.

“Don’t need to, this whole place is bugged,” Vance answered smugly, “including the showers.” He added. Rolling her eyes Danni slapped him on the back of the head, before walking over to the window. “You’re ride called; they’ll be here in ten minutes.” He announced as he rubbed the place where he had been hit.

“Who’s supplying the cash for the auction?” Danni asked as Vance walked over to the main bank of computers. “Because between us, we only have about a hundred dollars.”

“US Government, not that I'd trust them with whatever the thing the Gun Smith is selling.” Vance answered. “It’s a masked auction to boot, so it'll be a little harder to ID the other bidders.” He added as he reached under the desk and pulled out a pink carrier bag. Slipping her hand inside, Danni pulled out a silver framed headband with an attached face guard and long sweeping stylized wings, which ran back across her hair. “See those lenses across the eyes; those relay data back here to the Abbey, not to mention they let you see across the majority of the electromagnetic spectrum.

“If only I had one of these for the winter formal three years ago.” Danni stated sarcastically, “Hmm do you know you have an arrow head stuck between you fourth and fifth ribs by the way?”

“I wondered where Siwang put that.” Vance replied in an equally sarcastic voice. “Oh heads up, looks like your ride is here.” He added as he flicked through the camera feeds, until he got the one he wanted the screen showing a battered Casspir APC pull up outside the tower. “You know it’s bad out, if they send a mine protected vehicle to take you on a nine minute journey, to your destination.”

“Well maybe if we take ‘the Chisel’ off the streets things will get better.” Danni suggested, as she grabbed her mask and a purse, before slipping into a pair of high heels. “Wish me luck and keep in contact. This could turn ugly very quickly.”

**

City Hall, DowntownEl Paso

City Hall was remarkably intact, despite sitting in the middle of a war-zone. And while the guards, and hastily erected sentry towers had something to do with it, most of it was down to the reputation of the man running the auction. As she tottered up the steps, Danni mused on her one and only meeting with the man known as Smithy Weston AKA the Gun Smith, and how she had left him bleeding out on the floor. She wasn't proud of that moment, or those that followed, but now wasn't the time to fixate on past events.

“Miss, we need to check your bag.” A guard announced, shocking Danni out of her memories. Nodding she handed him the purse, and watched as the guard swept a scanner over the item. After a single beep, he opened up the bag and removed a handgun and two clips of ammunition. “Weapons are not allowed into the auction room; you can check them here or leave.” The guard explained as he slipped the pistol back into the purse.

“I expect them back once bidding is done.” Danni told him as a second guard joined the second and took the bag. “This is your slip,” the guard told her, as he handed Danni a pink slip of paper, “don’t loose it or your gun becomes Mr Weston’s property.” Danni nodded before slipping the paper into her bra, as she walked towards the full body scanner standing before the door, a trio of guards armed with assault weapons waiting for her.

“Step through and wait on the other side.” The first guard announced. “Any action other then that, will be considered hostile.” Calmly Danni stepped through the scanner and came to a stop on the other side.

“She’s clean, no concealed weaponry.” One of the guards stated. “Head inside and pick up your paddle.” He ordered as the other security agents lowered their weapons. Taking a deep breath Danni continued inside, wordlessly taking in the row of security cameras tracking her every step. She was so focused on the security that she almost bumped into a man dressed in a suit, who was waiting at the end of the corridor.

“Number Four I presume.” The man announced in a classic Texan accent. “Welcome to my auction.”

“Mr Weston?” Danni spluttered as she took in the man’s features, ones that were uncannily similar to the man she had seen executed over a year earlier. “I was expecting…”

“Take your paddle, mingle and have something to eat.” Weston told her, “The auction begins in half an hour.” He added, before flashing her a smile, one that made Danni even more uneasy, than she already was. Walking down the stairs into the main room didn't help, there were seven people already in the room, all wearing masks as well as two more men who looked identical to Weston.

“Tell me you saw that?” Danni whispered as she headed to the buffet table, her eyes fixed on one of the hosts.

“Yep, I saw all three of them.” Vance answered. “Images match the man found dead in Truth and Consequences a while back. Well almost, two of them had scarring constant with plastic surgery.”

”I didn't see that.” Danni stated as she shot one of the Weston's a quick glance

“Zoom filters in the mask caught it, anyway forget about him, and look towards the back of the room.” Vance instructed, just as Danni picked up a salmon sandwich and twisted her head to look over the shoulder. “Okay see those gimbals on the ceiling,” Vance asked, “they are connected to a remote operated .30 calibre machine gun.”

“Yes I can see. The thermal reading gives it away.” Danni announced as the lenses flashed red. “The guards both have a sidearm as well; none of the other occupants, whoever they are, seem to be armed however.”

“Relax, I’m filtering audio and running the voices against Interpol, the FBI and just about every other database on earth.” Vance told her as Danni took a bite out of the sandwich. “As soon as I get something I’ll let you know.” He added as a well built man, dressed in a white suit and wearing a black mask with a fanged mouth guard, walked over.

“I wouldn't bother with the food.” He purred in Greek accented English. “Finally looks like someone half decent turned up.”

“Half decent? You're making some presumptions Mr…,” She stopped and looked at the marker he was carrying, “Paddle Number Five.” Danni replied, a half smile forming under her mask. “So Mr Five, what’s wrong with the food.”

”It’s been out for an hour.” ‘Mr Five’ replied. “And I presume that while cooked, it may have picked up trace amounts of the other bidders spit and bile on it, from their time over her.”

“And you’re over here why?” Danni asked cheekily. “Surely the food is too filthy for you?” She asked, her words causing a massive grin to spread across ‘Mr Five’s’ face.

“I’m clean in clean situation,” He announced as he came in close, “and filthy in dirty ones. And why I’m here, well predators always target those who stray from the herd.”

“True but you made a mistake. I’m not the prey, I’m the predator and you isolated yourself.” Danni whispered before pushing the man away. “Have fun bidding, if you’re lucky you may just come in second.” She added, before striding away, a massive grin on her face.

“He may well be.” Vance told her. “I've got an ID on him; a one Jase Sallas AKA the Manticore. He’s currently on retainer for the FSB and most likely bidding for them too. He’s is likely one of two bidders who could match us; the other is the woman dressed in ocean blue, she’s an old associate of yours, a Ms Jena Johansson AKA the Black Box.” Vance told her as Danni fixed eyes on the other blonde woman, nervously sipping a glass of champagne.

“She’ll be bidding for herself most likely.” Danni answered. “How about the others?”

“Two international terrorist; Itopa AKA 1 Death from the Sons of Montezuma, and David Rubio AKA the Ibex from the Free Catalan Movement, both are wanted by Interpol.” Vance told her as Danni watched the two men in suits with a skull and goat mask size each other up. “Guy in the gold silk covering is the Weaver; I doubt I need to introduce him or his employer the Dragon Eel to you.”

“No, although I’m surprised he’s here after the promise he made Maya, after she found out he was her father.” Danni whispered as a woman dressed in a forest green dress walked past, her face covered in a porcelain mask, followed by a man walking with a cane, his dress uniform contrasting with the feathered mask he wore.

“The other two are known, but their affiliation is not. The older gentleman is a former Serbian officer known only as Soko AKA the Falcon. The woman is…oh you’re not going to believe this.” He gasped before the line exploded into static, just as Weston emerged from the back room flanked by a pair of guards, the men grunting as they carried in a large crate decorated with radiation warning stickers.

“Bidding will start shortly.” Weston told the assembled criminals and mercenaries. “But of course you’ll want to see if your money is being well spent, as such a demonstration will be held in five minutes, and can be viewed from the balcony.”

“Excuse me Senor Weston.” The Ibex announced as he looked up at the box. “My link to my commanders has been severed, I demand an explanation!!”

“Yes I have doubt they have, and I apologise for that.” Weston announced, his face displaying anything but sorrow at this development, “The weapon you are about to see scrambles local electronics when in close proximity to them when fully charged. I assure you when bidding starts your connection will be re-established. But until then…” He stopped and looked at the other two Weston’s in the room and smiled at then. “…you are all in this alone.”

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#2  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@cbishop, @dngn4774 and @wildvine

Danni gets dressed up for an auction. Too bad she's competing with El Paso's worst. Between Soko, the Weaver and Black Box (to name just a few) does she have a chance to take the 'Chisel' off the streets?

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@impurestcheese: Hey, Imp', I will read this later. I keep buzzing in and out to check the CCC vote, but haven't had time for full story reading today. Smile. :)

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@cbishop: No problem, you'll get there when you get there

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#5  Edited By cbishop

@impurestcheese: Right at the end: “Yes I have doubt they have, and I apologise for that.” I think that's supposed to be “Yes I have no doubt they have, and I apologise for that.” Possibly “Yes I have no doubt that they have, and I apologise for that.”

Cool read, although you have so many players in this, you need one of those scorecards at the beginning, like you would do for your T'bolts stories. :)

Added to my FF Long Box - Authors. :)

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The more players the better. Long stories are awesome. Keep up the good work.

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#7  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@cbishop: Ah cool thanks for that. Score cards are hard for OC pieces...may have to do a guide on a blog some time

@arthurkerr: Thanks for the comment, I'll be sure to tag you for the next one

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@cbishop: Ah cool thanks for that. Score cards are hard for OC pieces...may have to do a guide on a blog some time

@arthurkerr: Thanks for the comment, I'll be sure to tag you for the next one

thanks

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@cbishop: Ah cool thanks for that. Score cards are hard for OC pieces...may have to do a guide on a blog some time

Yeah, I know. If I could only draw headshots of my characters, then I could do a scorecard/ roll call thingie at the beginning of my stories. I've been trying to figure out a way to do something like that. Blog might be the way to go.

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@cbishop: Gonna go for the blog. The majority of the new characters probably won't be seen again after this arc to be honest

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@cbishop: Will get on it once I've dealt with Crucifix Toad IGTA tomorrow

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@cbishop: Nope, pretty sure I'm sticking around for a while

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Cool.

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#16  Edited By ImpurestCheese
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Nice. I like how you give so much detail about her info feed, creating the sense that she is in control. Then, zap, you take it all away. Great effect.

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@wim_garnet: Thanks hopefully I can keep up the standard in the next few issues