According to experts, Trump’s conduct has potential criminal exposure:At least 12 Republican senators plan to challenge Biden’s Electoral College win on Jan. 6, when Congress is set to officially count the votes. The effort is being led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and includes Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), as well as new Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Separately, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) is pursuing a similar plan.
A federal statute makes it a crime when one “knowingly and willfully … attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by … the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.”
A Georgia statute similarly provides that a “person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the first degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.”
…The hard part for prosecutors would be proving Trump’s state of mind, because the statutes require proof of knowledge and intent. Prosecutors would have to show that Trump knew that Biden fairly won the election, and Trump was asking for Georgia officials to commit election fraud. And it’s not clear prosecutors could make that case.
"Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed," the senators said in a joint statement. “Accordingly, we intend to vote on Jan. 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed."Their plan is not going to succeed in preventing Biden from taking office, as majorities in both the House and the Senate would need to support a challenge against a state’s electoral votes. For an objection to be made, at least one member of both the House and Senate would need to submit it in writing. Then, the House and Senate separately convene to consider the issue. Debate is limited to two hours for each objection. After debate concludes, the House and Senate vote to uphold the objection and throw out the state’s votes. If the majority of the House AND the majority of the Senate does not uphold the objection, the state’s electoral votes are counted as cast.
Enrique Tarrio: "The ProudBoys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th but this time with a twist...We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow. We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams."Rep. Louie Gohmert has more explicitly tried to incite violence, saying the failure of his legal challenge to the election means “you gotta go the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.” (clip)
“OMB leadership’s refusal to fully cooperate impairs our ability to identify opportunities to maximize the relief going out to Americans during the pandemic, and it leaves us in the dark as it relates to Covid-related expenditures and critical gaps,” [Biden transition Exec. Dir. Yohannes] Abraham said.Earlier last week, Biden himself said Trump officials are not cooperating with his team, singling out the Defense Department for obstructing information on crucial national security issues. “Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility,” Biden said. The Defense Dept. finally scheduled meetings with the incoming team this week, after not briefing the transition for weeks.
In other words, although President-elect Joe Biden has already signaled he intends to replace Pack as CEO of the parent agency soon after taking office in January, Pack would maintain a significant degree of control over the networks.The State Department is likely to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism “as an 11th hour effort to create hurdles for the incoming Biden administration.” The label, which requires the approval of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, would undo a major accomplishment of the Obama administration. To take Cuba back off the list, the Biden team would need to conduct a formal review, a process that might take several months.
Such a designation would impose restrictions on US foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports and various financial restrictions. It would also result in penalization against any persons and countries engaging in certain trade activities with Cuba.The Trump administration has been rushing to finalize a myriad of rules before Biden’s inauguration. Since Election Day, the Trump administration has issued about three to four times as many new regulations as it did during other periods of Trump’s presidency. Rules that haven’t been finalized or taken effect can be suspended by an incoming president, which Biden has said he intends to do. By contrast, rules that are finalized can take months, or even years, to undo.
“As a general rule, it takes at least as much process to undo or modify a rule as it does to put the rule in place,” said Jonathan H. Adler, a professor and an administrative law expert at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. “The Trump administration is magnifying that challenge for the Biden administration.”Trump loyalists are urging the president to stymie Biden’s efforts to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham are working to get the agreements submitted to the Senate for ratification, requiring a two-thirds vote, with the goal of failure. While such an outcome wouldn’t prevent Biden from rejoining the accords, Cruz and Graham hope it would make their resurrection more problematic.
A vote against them would signal GOP opposition to the world and, they hope, undermine any unilateral action by Biden to rejoin the agreements. One senior congressional aide told RCP that sending them to die in the Senate “would be the final nail in the coffin.”Further reading: “Biden To Be Saddled With Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral Mess,” Forbes.
The analysts hired by Vance probably have already reviewed various bank and mortgage records obtained from Trump’s company as part of the ongoing grand jury investigation, and they could be called on to testify about their findings should the district attorney eventually bring criminal chargesIn yet another shady business deal connected to Trump, the United States sold the ambassador’s residence in Israel for more than $67 million. The person who bought the residence is none other than Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The property only became available due to Trump's controversial decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem. Furthermore, State Dept. representatives reportedly lied to Congress about the sale, perhaps to hide that Adelson purposefully overbid.
For now, there is no alternative residence for the ambassador, David Friedman, Trump’s former lawyer, who currently uses a suite at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel or rooms at the former Jerusalem Consulate General when he spends nights in Jerusalem… As a result, the United States appears likely to end up leasing the residence it has owned since 1964 from the GOP-affiliated casino mogul.Trump’s businesses have taken in $10.5 million of donor money over the course of his presidency. $8.5 million came from the Trump campaign and related entities that Trump controls directly; $2 million came from other Republican candidates and committees. The biggest beneficiary was Trump’s NYC hotel, taking in $3,039,979 over the four years of his presidency, with $891,003 of that in just the final four months of the campaign.
“It is very strange that we are now paying Sheldon Adelson,” a congressional aide told The Daily Beast. “It is not above board. We have a number of questions. Did they get two independent appraisals? Was it a sweetheart deal? Was Adelson the highest donor? Was there a reason to sell it now?”
The fact Turnberry remains in the red comes in spite of significant tranches of payments it has received from the US government during Mr Trump’s single term in office… the US Secret Service spent nearly £25,000 to accommodate its agents at the resort during business trips by Mr Trump’s son, Eric, an executive vice-president of the family firm. Since Mr Trump’s election, the property has received close to £300,000 from the Secret Service, US State Department, and US Defence DepartmentA Florida state lawmaker is calling for Mar-a-Lago to be penalized - and possibly shut down - for flouting coronavirus restrictions during a New Years Eve party. While Trump and the first lady did not attend, son Don Jr., attorney Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Fox News personality Jeanine Piro were captured on video among the maskless crowd. Guests paid as much as $1,000 for access to the ballroom to be entertained by Vanilla Ice.
State Rep. Omari Hardy: “My constituents are not snowbirds like @DonaldJTrumpJr & @kimguilfoyle. My constituents live here. This is their home, and they're going to have to deal w/ the consequences of a potential super-spreader party at Mar-a-Lago long after Junior & wife leave here on their private jet.”Are you ready for a Donald J. Trump Airport? According to the Daily Beast, Trump has been asking aides about the process of naming airports after former U.S. presidents.
The final timing of the 2020 census results' release could undermine President Trump's efforts to make an unprecedented change to who is counted in key census numbers before leaving office… If the first census results are not ready until after Trump's term ends on Jan. 20, it would be President-elect Joe Biden, not Trump, who would get control of the numbers, which are ultimately handed off to Congress for certification.
submitted by rovnrev to conspiracy [link] [comments]
N757AF landing at Princess Juliana International Airport St Martin Mar 22, 2014 https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/7791890
VP-BDJ landing at San Juan Luis Munoz Marin Int'l Airport Puerto Rico Mar 09, 2010 https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/6811120
VP-BDJ landing at San Juan Luis Munoz Marin Int'l Airport Puerto Rico Feb 15, 2008 https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/6180436
Trump famously owned a Boeing 727, suspiciously it was registered with a Bermunda registrations VP-BDJ Trump 727 VP-BDJ
Trump then purchased a Boeing 757, this one on US registration N757AF. Which we know has had online tracking blocked before. Trump 757 N575AF
Both aircraft have been spotted in the Caribbean many times by amateur plane spotters. And yes, you may ask, did Trump have properties in the Caribbean? He did, which makes the Trump - Epstein connection even more suspicious. Take a look inside Trump’s Caribbean estate and Donald Trump Joins Raffles Hotels in the Development of Canouan Island
So why would Trump have to travel on Epstein's plane, to Epstein's island? When all along Trump was flying to the Caribbean on a regular basis, landing in Puerto Rico and St Martin just 50 miles from Epstein's island.
That makes 3 locations that Trump and Epstein had properties with in a short trip of each other:
Keep in mind, Epstein and Maxwell are believed to have been recruiting at Trump's Mar-A-Lago property in Palm Beach.
How one Epstein victim was said to be recruited from Mar-a-Lago, and all the other connections between the accused sex trafficker and Trump's Palm Beach resort
So we have 3 properties near each other.
We have statements Epstein and Maxwell used Trump's Mar-A-Lago for sex trafficking.
How many more connections do we need?
Oh, there's more!? There were also the times we know Trump and Epstein did fly together!
And we know Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell flew with Trump on Trump's plane.
“Never be late for someone else’s plane,” Trump says, his facial expression showing a mixture of annoyance and bemusement. The offending party is stuck in Friday rush-house traffic. “C’mon, Jeffrey, where are you?” Trump says. He’s talking about Jeffrey Epstein, another wealthy and well-known man who is traveling with Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the late media baron Robert Maxwell. The couple finally arrives, Epstein wearing an orange sweatshirt and jeans and Maxwell sporting sunglasses and fashionably tight pants. Trump brightens and gently chides them, forgiving their tardiness.Remembering the Time Jeffrey Epstein Rode on Donald Trump’s Plane
Epstein, who was accused with sex-trafficking underage girls, flew from New York to Palm Beach, Florida in 2000 on Trump's plane, according to an unearthed article from a now defunct golf magazine.EXCLUSIVE: 'She was made up to look older, she was uncomfortable.' Jeffrey Epstein took 'young girl' on Donald Trump's plane, possibly sex-trafficking teen across state lines right under the now president's nose, claims journalist
Then there is the time we know Trump flew on Epstein's Gulfstream II, not the Lolita Express but another jet in Epstein's fleet.
Newly unsealed flight logs show that President Donald Trump flew on Jeffrey Epstein's private jet in 1997, along with the billionaire couple Glenn and Eva Dubin.Unsealed flight logs show that Trump was on Epstein's private jet in 1997
Then we have Mark Espstein saying Trump flew on Jeffrey Esptein's planes numerous times.
For the better part of two decades starting in the late 1980s, Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump swam in the same social pool. They were neighbors in Florida. They jetted from LaGuardia to Palm Beach together. They partied at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and dined at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein partied together. Then an oceanfront Palm Beach mansion came between them.
Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein partied together. Then an oceanfront Palm Beach mansion came between them
So why would Trump have to travel on Epstein's plane, to Epstein's island.
When all along Trump was flying to the Caribbean on a regular basis, landing in Puerto Rico and St Martin just 50 miles from Epstein's island.
When all along Trump and Epstein had properties near each other in Manhattan and Palm Beach.
When all along they actually WERE flying together.
How many more connections do we need?
|Popularity||Masters of Funky Action||16-14||There were a record number of tie votes this match, but in the end, just barely, MFA pulled ahead in popularity by a singular vote.|
|Baker Street Rat Pack||Cy Syntheta||“My name is ‘Kira Yoshikage.’ I can’t remember when or how I died… but one thing I can say is I feel certain I will not go to Heaven.” This parapsychological research library has some truly morbid, fascinating stories from which to draw inspiration. Take creative inspiration from paranormal knowledge in the basis and techniques of your strategy!|
|Sharp Lookers||Raymond “Ray” Delwyn Shimizu||“I saw a book, seemingly unpopular, titled ‘The Elephant Who Lost His Nose.’ I thought to myself… Now why in the world would he lose his nose?” You’ve found your way to an absolutely fascinating source of unusual parapsychological knowledge, and as an agent of SKADE and of the Foundation alike, you aren’t going to take this opportunity for granted. Take creative inspiration from paranormal knowledge in the basis and techniques of your strategy!|
https://preview.redd.it/45esqgm958m51.jpg?width=1472&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=236dff49ac0543be19d931a5ca08f4777c542599submitted by SubjectSigma77 to Cyberpunk [link] [comments]
I needed to step out for a while. Most of what happened after the match was a blur. Medical staff left me alone after they found out I only had minor wounds and instead focused on the more grievously injured. I doubted there were many survivors. I really hoped Hank was okay. I had no idea how that man could fight through those injuries. After I got out of the arena, I was hounded by rabid fans riding the high of the carnage. They still cheered me on even after the event, which had forced me to seek isolation outside along the shaded side of the warehouse. I needed time to think. I leaned back and gazed at the bustle of The Second’s Reverse Floor far above. At all of the lights flickering and drifting about. I could see the elevator I took down from here.
Tonight was filled with too many emotions. Both good and bad. The rush of authentic combat was something I haven't experienced in a long time, and never at the stakes I’d just endured. I knew being a Freelancer was dangerous, that’s why my parents spent a fortune on my augs in the first place, but I wondered if every job I’d end up doing would be this dangerous. Christ, this wasn’t even part of my current job, this was just me trying to find a setup! I was beginning to wonder if I was competent enough to be a Freelancer. The convoy heist was tomorrow. I spent all this time and I didn’t have any preparations done. Hell, I came here to find a Valkyrie and I might’ve ended up killing her or permanently damaging her in the process. She was my only lead. I might’ve really fucked this up.
I couldn’t afford to doubt myself though. Not after the money my parents sunk into me. Not after the eight years of arduous training I sunk into myself. Not after I sacrificed almost everything I held dear in life, including my body, so I could pursue this dream. I wanted this so bad, and I finally got it. This is where I wanted to be, so the only way I’d give up is if I went irreparably broke or died.
And with how much tiff I made in that match alone, I doubted it would be because of the former. With how things have been going tonight, however, the latter was seeming increasingly likely.
It felt amazing to be back in the ring again. The nostalgia was overbearing and I had to admit that the raving fans were an ego booster, even if I wasn’t in the mood to interact with them. Everything has felt so liquid and unsure since I stopped fighting here years ago. I was happier back then, it was all so clear. Win the next fight and be with my friends. Now for almost a decade I’ve been pursuing something I wasn’t sure would even work out. God I hoped things would fall into place.
The thrill from this return wasn’t worth it. I wish I could’ve left this part of my life in the past. Seeing what it was now, seeing who someone I once called family has turned into was like a perversion of my memories. It turned what was once bittersweet into heartbreak. I’m pretty sure Uncle G hates me, and now I hate him back. He wouldn’t put me through what he did if he still cared about me.
I let out a frustrated growl and looked down. I could see the drying blood still coating my foot and I remembered the man whose life I took. It was so violent and excessive and unnecessary yet it’s something I did. Something I did confidently. The scariest thing was how little it was bothering me. I’d anticipated having to do this one day. Freelancers are paid killers, and he was only the first of many if this played out right. Still, I thought it’d be harder to cope with. Maybe I was just a sociopathic bitch.
“Nala!” My name drew my attention to the corner I was hiding around. Aubrey peeked over, making sure I was here. Her tired face lit up upon seeing me. “Ah! I saw you hide over here, but I thought you needed some space.” Her face softened. “You seemed really off after the fight. Do you need more time to yourself?”
“Nah,” I shook my head. My thoughts weren’t good and I knew being alone wasn’t the best for me right now. “Some company sounds nice actually,” I told her, shifting my gaze back towards the sky.
“Ah,” she began, sliding up next to me and leaning against the wall too. I could feel her eyes on me. “What happened? I thought you didn’t want to fight?”
“I didn’t,” I confessed with a growl. “But I came here for the Valkyrie, and Big G was only gonna let me see her if I fought. I didn’t expect things to go the way they did though.”
“I was worried something like this would happen,” Aubrey admitted sympathetically. “G has been through a lot since you left. You’re not the only one who…” she stopped herself for a second but still continued. “Everything has worn on him. Nala, he’s not a good man anymore.”
“Yeah, I picked up on that,” I sneered before turning my head back to her. “You hear anything about how the Valkyrie and Hank are doing?”
Surprisingly, Aubrey snickered. “Oh I’m sure Hank’s fine. He’s been through much worse and recovered.” I raised a brow. The man was stabbed in the head and impaled. How much worse can you get? Then I remembered the cyborgs that got popped by the Valkyrie. I guess that’s worse. You can’t recover from that.
“As for the Valkyrie, I’m not sure. How hard did you hit her?”
“Hard,” I grimaced. The magical harpy didn’t give me much choice. “But that first uppercut she took would’ve ruined somebody unaugmented and she still got up from it. Either she has some dermal implants or Valkyries are naturally tougher, but I’m no expert. I’m hoping she pulls through.”
“Why’re you after her anyway? Is it a contract?”
I laughed. “Nah, actually. Can you believe it’s not? I heard she’s after the same target I am, and I need help.”
“So you’re going to ask the person you just kicked the shit out of for help?” she cringed.
“That’s the plan.”
“I hope there’s a plan B.”
The two of us went back inside to pull up a pair of stools at one of the food stalls and catch up some more. Well more Aubrey gushing about my fight. And I didn’t eat. My mind was too conflicted and filled with gory images. Hell, and despite a trip to the bathroom to try to clean up, I know I had some giblets stuck to me somewhere. Food was the last thing I wanted. I could sure use a drink though. And a long shower. But I’d have to wait awhile for that second one.
In the midst of our conversation, somebody tapped my shoulder and a soft voice caught my attention.
“Excuse me, ma’am?” Ma’am? I wasn’t nearly old enough for that shit. I turned, stunned to see the forest green hair and tattoos of the Valkyrie. She seemed off compared to when I’d seen her in the pit. Her hair was no longer flowing and her brown eyes were soft and gentle. Her tattoo like runes were a dull white instead of shining. She still wore the tank from the match, but had on a transparent jacket over it. About every second, a wave of bright color would wash over the piece of clothing, cycling through a selection of hues. Instead of normal leggings, now she wore a set of tight leather pants with combat boots. She also applied black lipstick and eyeliner. A bandage was wrapped around the top of her head, a little red seeping through. I couldn’t believe she was alright let alone up and moving already. What struck me most about her appearance, however, wasn’t the makeover or the fact that she wasn’t glowing. It was that she looked so meek. I noticed she was smaller than me in the fight, but now she just looked so… fragile.
“You’re up,” I forced out through my astonishment.
“Yeah, I heal very quickly,” she stated matter of factly in her quiet tone. “May I take a seat with you?”
“Sure?” I gestured to the empty stool to my left. She smiled politely and hopped onto the seat before getting the vendor’s attention to order. I gave Aubrey a glance and she just shot back a shrug, looking just as lost as I was.
Focusing back onto the Valkyrie, I noticed a small black battery on her back with a bunch of warnings of voltage and acid around the device. It was embedded in the jacket and was what the colored light spread from.
“I like your style,” I tried to break the ice once she finished ordering.
“Thanks! You look really nice yourself,” she returned with a sincere smile. “I love the hair.”
I was blown away. Not only that she was up and walking, but she was not at all what I expected. I must’ve sounded awkward as hell to her as I struggled to really take hold of the situation.
“I’m sorry,” I explained. “I’m just-”
“Surprised to see me kicking?” she interjected. “Yeah, I’m lucky. Even with my healing factor you really gave my noggin a good whollup,” she ended with a giggle. “That’s part of why I’m here, actually. I could tell you were holding back. I wanted to thank you for going easy on me even though I was trying really hard to kill you.” That last part really didn’t sound right in her tiny voice. “It’s not everyday I find somebody who can beat me, but you saw right through my limitations. I need to be more careful for people like you.”
“I wouldn’t say I went easy on you,” I confessed. “It was a struggle to stay ahead of you. But still I wasn’t trying to kill you. You’re…” I trailed off, picking my words carefully.
“I get it,” she assured with a wave of her hand. “I’m a rarity. Half the people in Titan think I’m a precious gem that should be protected. The other half wants to kill me simply for the status of being able to kill a Valkyrie.” She spoke so casually, like that wasn’t a huge deal.
“I meant I didn’t spare you for totally selfless reasons, if I’m being honest,” I explained. “Not that I wanted to kill you in the first place. I was coerced into that fight, and didn’t know what I was getting into.” I shook my head and continued. “Anyway, I need your help.”
“Oh?” she tilted her head in curiosity. “With what?”
“There’s a Daitech convoy moving through the lower floors sometime tomorrow hauling important cargo. A prisoner. I heard you were after it.”
“Oh...” she looked like she was thinking for a second. “Hm, if it was anyone else, I’d tell them I don’t know what they’re talking about. But after seeing you in action, bringing you along might not be a bad idea.” It sounded more like she was thinking out loud to herself. “I’ve been wanting to find more people to hit it with anyways, but I’ve been hesitant to ask anyone.”
“Social anxiety?” Aubrey offered jokingly.
“No,” she turned back to us. “I’m not sure who wants to murder me or not. Like I said, it seems like half the people out here want to end me.”
“Sheesh,” Aubrey cringed. “I know The Second isn’t the safest place, but I don’t think it’s that bad.”
“Not for you maybe,” she sighed. The vendor returned with the Valkyrie’s drink and she took a sip. I noticed his eyes lingering on her with a nervous expression. “It’s quite tiring. Strawberry Thunder had the perfect chance to kill me, however, and didn’t take it. I suppose I can trust you. And you seem quite skilled. I’m sure you’d be useful in pulling this off.”
“Please, call me Plan B if you’re going to call me anything,” I directed. “Strawberry Thunder is an old name I’d prefer to leave behind me. Plan B is my Freelancer alias.”
“Of course. You’re a Freelancer,” the Valkyrie chuckled and shook her head. “I’ve thought about getting into the profession. Call me Syra,” she introduced with a nod. Oh yeah, I remembered Big G calling her that in the match.
“Why’d you go with Plan B as an alias?” I heard Aubrey query.
“Freelancers usually work in teams,” I told her the spiel I’d heard over and over during training. “Whether temporary or permanent. Tackling a contract alone is often suicide. You have to find someone to cover your weaknesses. Most ops are done with stealth and subtlety, but I’ve never been so good at that. I’m good at rushing in and doing damage, so when stealth goes out the window, I’m Plan B.”
“So I can assume information gathering isn’t within your skill set?” Syra teased.
“That’s why I’m here,” I told her. “I heard you might have some information on the target. The fact that you can blow shit up with your mind is just a bonus.”
“You’re in luck, I know some, yes,” Syra established. “What do you know?”
“Only that it’s a Daitech convoy going through The Third tomorrow. I don’t know exactly where or when it’s supposed to be moving or anything else for that matter.”
“Well some new things I can tell you is that the convoy begins its journey at 17:00 starting from the Lyndon Rail Yard and is scheduled to arrive at the Lenore Raven Sky Port at 18:20. I’ve already scouted all possible routes and the only one fast enough to line up with that time frame has two points of interest that we could use. A small overpass over the highway, or the construction site of a casino along the side of the highway.
“The overpass I feel is more risky because of the lack of cover and obvious point of attack, but the casino has its own slew of issues to bypass. The most pressing one being the crew stationed there. I doubt they’d let two civilians just stroll onto their site with intentions of starting a firefight with a Corp.”
I blinked, trying to take that all in. “Wow you really did your homework.”
“It pays to be prepared,” she held her head up proudly and smiled before that pride turned into embarrassment. “Although I have no information on the vehicles or numbers we’re dealing with. And I feel we’d be going in woefully under gunned.”
“Maybe I can help out with that last bit,” I offered. I’d already pulled one burned bridge out of the ashes, albeit in a much worse state than when it was left in the fire. What was the harm in dredging another one from its wreckage?
“Aubrey.” The stocky woman looked at me, gulping down some noodles from her bowl. “Where can I find the Street Breed these days?”
The old factory was massive, and very much still functional. I stood across the barren street of the multistory, rectangular structure. Large pyres of smoke shot out from stacks of obelisks lining the roof above. The building was lined with windows emitting dull light and, in the silence of the night, you could hear the hum of multiple air conditioning units that were latched onto the place. The Breed must be doing very well for themselves if this was their base of operations.
I felt bad leaving Aubrey again. Only because I felt like she thought I was never going to return to the Underdown now that my business there was finished. It wasn’t finished. I wasn’t going to let Big G get off scot free. I was going to watch that place burn. It was no place of happiness to me anymore. I’d be back soon.
For now though, Syra had followed my bike in an unassuming grey sedan. Something she said she stole from someone on The First to keep a low profile. She promised they deserved it. The car contrasted greatly from my vibrant, bulky motorcycle and considering what she was, that was for the best. If news of her existence wasn’t well known before, her appearance at a fighting arena would cause Titan to explode with rumors. Blending in was the best idea.
The Valkyrie stood beside me, gazing at the factory as well. Her jacket changed its sheen from its previous see through form to a solid, glossy black, making it look like vinyl. She wore a pair of leather gloves to cover what little runes ran along her hands and zipped up, popping her collar to try to hide the markings on her neck and chest. I suggested she get a scarf to mask herself further. She took it into consideration but we didn’t have time to shop for accessories. Well, at least, not those kinds.
“The people here are trustworthy?” Syra asked, uncertainty in her gentle voice.
“I’m not sure after seeing Big G again,” I admitted. “But we need guns and gear, and these are the only contacts I know that can provide us with both.” I stepped forward waving for her to follow. We reached a reinforced door along the side of the place and I gave it a hardy knock. The metal on metal echoed loudly through the emptiness of the outside.
“Are you certain somebody will be here this late?” Syra’s eyes flicked around.
“They wouldn’t leave their assets unguarded. They’ll have somebody here at night.”
Right on cue, a small slit in the door about eye height slid open to reveal a blue, skeptical gaze from the other side.
“What do you want?” An unfamiliar voice interrogated curtly.
“We’re here to see Pup,” I informed him and the eyes grew more narrow.
“You groupies or something?” He didn’t wait for us to answer. “He ain’t here, he’s at home sleepin.”
“We aren’t groupies,” I growled, annoyed. “I’m an old friend of his. I need to speak with him. It’s important.” The man on the other side sized me up, still unsure.
“Old friend, huh? Give me a sec.” The slit closed and once again we were bathed in silence.
After only a moment the slit reopened and this time the blue eyes were replaced with what looked like two grey plates. There was a gasp from the other side of the door and the slit closed once more before the door swung open.
On the other side was an older man, looking dazed. He wore a leather jacket that covered most of his upper body, but his lower half had grey cargo shorts that showed off primitive, heavy set prosthetic legs that released steam around his joints. His head was adorned with spiky grey hair that extended into a pointy beard. A black bandanna with a circuit design wrapped around his forehead and his eyes were covered with a pair of metal plates. They somehow exaggerated his astounded expression.
“Nala?” He croaked out finally.
“Hey, Rot,” I returned with an awkward smile. “I’m back.”
My world was engulfed in the second hug of the night. A warm embrace that I couldn't help but return. I couldn’t have found someone better right off the bat. Rot was the biggest sweetheart back in the day. A little vulgar and cocky, but at the same time courteous and kind. He was one of mine and Pup’s biggest supporters when we got involved and probably one of the main reasons I was able to get so close to the MC.
After a good few seconds, Rot finally pulled away laughing in embarrassment.
“Sorry,” he apologized, “I just wasn’t expecting you to… well still be alive!”
“Well I’m here,” I announced, still feeling weird. I didn’t think I’d see him again.
“Come in! Come in!” the old biker stepped further in and waved for us to follow. We obliged. “Either of you want a beer?” he called out to me and Syra as he noticed her. He walked around the corner, ducking into another room. “Man I thought this would be a boring shift…” I could hear him murmur to himself as he went.
“Yeah!” I shouted after him.
“None for me, thank you,” Syra told him nervously at the same time I spoke.
To our side sat a young man in similar biker clothes, with short black hair and a septum ring. He eyed us suspiciously without a word. I did my best to ignore him for the small moment we had to deal with his stare, but I saw Syra sneer back at him, challenging him. The man didn’t seem to care.
Rot came back with two cans of Sierra Sunrise. My favorite brand! I couldn’t believe he remembered! He handed both of us a can, Syra looking almost offended. I eagerly opened mine up and took a sip while Syra looked at hers like it was a wounded puppy.
“So I bet you’re wanting to talk to Pup, eh?” Rot asked with a smile. “The boss’ll be thrilled to see you!” I felt a pit grow in my stomach and I took a deep gulp of my drink. I wasn’t so sure. Rot had always been an optimist, but I doubted Pup wouldn’t feel any resentment towards me after I ditched everyone. I know it must’ve hurt him more than anyone else. That was my biggest regret about what I did.
“Yeah, I bet,” I beamed back at him, masking my worry as best as I could.
“Yo, Rot, who’re these bimbos?” the young dude to our side snarled. Rot’s expression did a 180 and slowly adjusted his gaze to the guy with the attitude.
“I get why you’re distrustful, prospect, but this is the boss’s ex old lady, and a good friend of the club. So show some fucking respect.”
“If she’s Pup’s ex then I don’t see why she’s important enough to let her inside when we’re on alert,” the prospect shot back without skipping a beat.
“Hey, Nala’s done more for the Street Breed than you can fuckin imagine! She was practically one of us at one point!”
“Then where’s she been while we’ve been dealing with the Corps and The Pack?” It didn’t hit me until now just how tired they both looked. It helped explain why the prospect was so irritated. Rot’s cheerful attitude hid most of his exhaustion, but he didn’t carry himself the way he had before. He always had a pep to his step, but now he moved sluggishly and had a slight hunch. Of course, that could’ve just been him getting older, but I think there’s more to it.
“That’s a good question actually,” Rot turned back to me. “Though it could do with a little less sass. Where have you been? Does it have to do with that new steel you’re packin? Don’t think I didn’t notice that.”
“I’ve been training,” I told him honestly. “I’m a Freelancer now.”
“You let a Freelancer in here!?” The prospect rose, fury in his eyes. “I don’t care what kind of connection to us she had before, who knows who she could be working for!!”
“Gecko, calm down!” Rot snapped back. “You really don’t understand what’s happening here.”
“I understand you’re too trusting, old man!” And with the flip of a switch, the prospect, Gecko’s face went white. “Oh shit.”
Rot, to his credit, remained neutral towards the younger man’s outburst. Yet as he stepped closer to Gecko, the prospect trembled.
“Look, Rot, I’m just wor-” he was cut off by Rot’s fist barreling into his face. The one swift punch was all that was needed to knock the prospect back in his chair, out like a light.
Rot shook his hand and flexed his fingers like he wasn’t expecting himself to hit Gecko that hard.
“Sorry about that,” Rot apologized. “Normally I wouldn’t resort to something like that so quickly, but it’s been a long few days and I really didn’t feel like dealing with his shit.”
“I’m not going to complain about talking without him,” Syra assured, still staring the unconscious man down.
“Yeah he seemed like an asshole,” I added.
“He’s just on edge,” Rot defended the prospect. “Like I said, it’s been a long few days. Anyway, you’re a Freelancer now! Wow! Given our trade, I’m guessing you’re here on business then?”
“Yeah,” I admitted, still feeling that pit in my stomach. “But I do want to see how Pup is doing.”
“I bet you do,” Rot chuckled. “He’s at home getting some rest, but I don’t think he’ll be upset at me for waking him when he finds out you’re here.” He pulled out a phone before adding. “Then we can talk business.”
Time went by agonizingly slow since Rot made the call to Pup. The old biker didn’t mention why Pup needed to rush over here, but he’d made it clear that it was good news. The three of us sat in a lounge area, Rot standing behind a bar and me sitting on a stool. Syra sat a little ways away tucking herself into the corner of a couch, shifting uncomfortably. She seemed paranoid.
Meanwhile, I was filled with dread. The closer it got to me seeing Pup again, the more scared I got. I loved Pup once. I might still, but I don’t know the person he was now. I used to be closer to him than anyone else I’ve ever known. And then I left. I left when he needed me the most. After Zephos arrested half the Street Breed and his dad, who was the leader of the club, Bison, got a life sentence. Pup had to take the reins and lead the struggling club at only twenty three, and I vanished without a word.
God, he’ll be furious at me. Will he hate me? Does he even want to see me again? I wish Rot told him about me over the phone so I could hear it from Rot instead of seeing it on Pup’s face when he gets here. What would he even think about my new body? Would he be disgusted? I tried to drown my thoughts out in whiskey and conversation with Rot, but it wasn’t working.
“So who’s your friend?” Rot asked in a friendly tone, gesturing toward the Valkyrie.
“That’s Syra,” I told him. “She’s not a Freelancer, but she’s skilled and helping me with my current contract.”
“Like hired help or something?”
“Not really.” That never occurred to me until now. “Hey, Syra?” I grabbed her attention. “Why are you after the convoy anyway?”
“Oh,” she began. “I need to talk to the prisoner.”
“That’s… vague. You’re not gonna kill them are you?” She gave me an earnest laugh, letting her loosen up for just a second.
“No, no. I assure you I won’t harm them. They were subdued while investigating Daitech and I believe they found out information I want.”
“Well okay then, as long as I can safely deliver them after.” I turned back to Rot who’s expression had turned dire.
“Daitech, huh?” His tone was more serious than I ever heard before. “So this involves them,”
“Uh, yeah. Is that a problem?”
“Considering they’re breathing down our necks right now, it seems pretty fuckin suspicious that a Freelancer shows up talking about knocking over a convoy of theirs.” Oh no, not this shit again.
“Oh my god, please, Rot,” I groaned, really not wanting to go down this road for a second time tonight. “Big G already mistook me for Corp and tried to kill me. I’m really not in the mood.”
“You’ve been to the Underdown? Why did he think you were Corp?” Rot interrogated accusingly. Oh shit, I fucked up.
“Because,” I sighed in resignation and waved to Syra, who looked up nervously. “I was looking for her.”
“Why’d he think the Corp wanted her?”
The Valkyrie and I locked eyes. She looked doubtful, but I gave her a nod. I could tell she still didn’t like it, but she reached back for the small battery on her back and clicked a button. The black, glossy material faded into its transparent form.
I could see Rot’s brow raise when he caught sight of her runes, astounded.
“Is she legit or are those only tattoos?”
Without the need to coax her, Syra’s eyes began to glow like they did when I was in the pit with her. Her runes illuminated in a color matching her glare while her green hair flowed and sparked with energy.
“H-holy shit…” Rot stammered. Once she decided the biker had his fill, Syra’s light simmered and her hair settled. She reached back to turn her jacket to its dark sheen once more.
“You realize,” Rot struggled, still clearly taken aback, “Almost all of the Valkyries are under Corporate control.”
“I’m not,” Syra took her turn to argue. “I went to Big G to earn some cash for supplies in this heist. Cage fighting sounded like easy money with my abilities. He promised me a fair sum if I just appeared in a surprise match to boost the Underdown’s reputation. He didn’t want me to stick around after that since he knew the Corp would come looking for me.” Her eyes were no longer anxious. Instead her anxiety was replaced with determination. “I can promise you, sir, I don’t serve anyone but myself, and my goals will harm no one but the Corps themselves.”
The look in her eyes would’ve been enough for me. There was something about the Valkyrie that struck me. Looking at her now almost made me think we were back at the Underdown, slugging it out again. I could tell Rot was still reluctant, however, but he relented.
“Fine,” he concluded. “I really want to believe you. So I’ll believe you. I hope I’m not killing this club by doing this.”
“Rot,” I promised, taking his organic hand in my cold, steel one. “I swear this’ll be fine.”
The next few minutes were spent with small talk. The cheerful energy Rot displayed before we mentioned Daitech was gone though. And it only further served the growing worry inside me. Each second that ticked by brought me closer and closer to Pup.
Then the door opened.
“Rot, why is Gecko pa-” his eyes met mine and I could see those beautiful blue orbs light up. He looked so different. So much older. His short, black hair was messy and faded. I could see wiring and neural implants that weren’t there before. He had the new addition of gauges and wiring going down his shallow cheek down from his eye to his chin, telling me he had some sort of optical augment. He had a short, unkempt beard that I’m pretty sure he had because he didn’t find the time to shave. And much like Rot and Gecko, he looked so tired. Dark creases rested below his eyes, and his eyes themselves were those of somebody that had seen too much. Yet he still held himself tall and confidently.
I noticed he wore a messy flannel underneath the same jacket he had years ago. A jacket that had gotten many new additions much like the man who wore it. It was reinforced with armor. I could see the shapes of the plates beneath the old leather. More plates lined the arms and wiring ran down beneath the armpit and up to a small flashlight mounted on his shoulder. My gaze traveled down, seeing worn jeans and black combat boots with a long holster on his side. The wood grip of an old lever action rested within.
He looked ready for action. I wondered if it was because of Daitech or if he was always this armed and armored now.
I don’t know how long we just stared at each other like that, it felt like eons, but in reality it was probably just for a second. Eventually, Pup broke the silence, his wide eyes settling into a more neutral, tired look.
“Nala?” his voice was more gravelly than I remembered. “If I knew you showed up I would’ve cleaned myself up a little.”
Jokes were a good sign right? I could feel my heart pounding.
“Yeah, you look like shit,” I replied with a playful laugh. Fuck! The first thing I tell him after all this time is that he looks awful! But he gave me a small smile. It faded back to an indifferent stare.
“So, what do you want?” His voice was monotone and uncaring. I felt that anxiety creeping through me, causing me to stammer.
“I-I’m a Freelancer,” I told him in a shaky voice, taken aback by his tone.
“We need guns and armor,” Syra interjected for me, looking at me mildly confused. She didn’t understand my situation.
“They’re tipping a Daitech convoy tomorrow,” Rot added. “And don’t worry, I’ve talked to them already, they’re clean.”
“Yeah, what they said,” I finished, embarrassed. Pup stared at no one in particular for a moment, thinking.
“I’m gonna guess you need some higher level gear then,” Pup pondered, pulling a pack of cigarettes from his jacket pocket along with a lighter and lighting one up. When’d he start smoking? “How much money do you two got?”
“Between the two of us,” Syra answered, “we have a fair bit of tiff.”
“Well you’re in luck then,” Pup took a huff of his stick and blew out a puff of smoke. “We got our hands on a fresh shipment of valuable Daitech loot.” He seemed so business. I noticed he didn’t put his eyes on me since the initial shock of seeing me.
“If you’ll follow me,” he began walking towards another door, gesturing for us to come with him. Syra and I both rose, but Rot stayed behind at the bar, looking sympathetic.
We stepped through the door and into a much wider area. Conveyors and machines of all kinds surrounded us, all of which were currently on, filling the air with sounds of manufacturing. Catwalks were sprawled out above, all barren and connecting to various rooms on a second floor. I would’ve been more curious about it all if my mind wasn’t so caught up on Pup. I could see the man in front of me dropping embers from his cig, using the concrete below our feet as an ashtray.
From behind, I could see the patches on his back. The sharp stylization of Street Breed labeling the jacket along with the MC’s logo of the side profile of a brown wolf head snarling and an automatic rifle crossing behind it. I couldn’t help but give a little smirk seeing he was still shorter than me. It wasn’t very surprising, not many people were taller than me, but I found it amusing. He was larger than Syra, at least.
We stepped into an office that’d been converted to an armory. Pup unlocked the door and I could see the walls were lined with racks of guns of all shapes and sizes. Some were so large they looked like they were meant to be mounted on vehicles. Along the wall adjacent to the entrance hung a half dozen uniform outfits. They were all dull grey, heavy industrial looking coats padded out with thick steel armor. Matching pants hung beside each and even armored boots sat below every outfit. Gas masks were displayed above every one as well. A rifle that was partially dismantled laid across an old desk with various tools scattered about underneath a lit lamp.
“Shit,” Pup began, looking over the parts of the weapon. “Looks like Roo’s been playing with the goods.” It was clear he was thinking out loud and wasn’t directed to us. “Anyway, this is all our high end equipment courtesy of Daitech. If you’re planning on going stealthy, you might want to get a couple sets of these.”
He pointed towards the armored suits. “These are Daitech Covert Heavy Miner Combat Rigs. They’re meant for combat inside industrial and mining areas. Been seeing a lot of these being moved around for some reason. They’d still be very effective in the city, and would keep you masked. The armor covers most of your body, the masks themselves have tinted visors, and they have a setting to dull your colors so you don’t have to worry about your hair. They’re a thousand tiff per set. As for weapons, take a look around and see if something strikes you.”
He was so straightforward with his selling points, and still refused to look directly at me. With an internal sigh, I instead focused on the selection around me. I liked the .45 I kept on my hip, but no doubt this heist called for something with more kick. Convoy usually meant armored vehicles and lots of guards. I wanted something big, and thankfully size and power wasn’t a hindrance to me anymore. My augmented limbs, enhanced muscles, and reinforced bones meant I was several times stronger than any all organic human.
My eyes settled on a long, boxy rifle. It looked to be a long ranged weapon if the scope told me anything. The rounds it used must’ve been gigantic with its thick clip size and it sported a vertical hand grip for stability. It was also painted a soft, dark blue which I thought looked nice.
I hefted it off the wall and turned to Pup, who for the first time since he walked into the lounge, looked me in the eyes. “How much for this?”
“Ah, the Daitech .50 cal marksman rifle. Semi auto featuring an adjustable zoom scope, vertical grip, and laser sight. That’d run you about fifteen hundred.” I was really happy I got that extra spending cash from the Underdown. “You sure you want that?” Pup asked, still masking any emotions towards me. “Nobody here has the augs to properly use that thing. Think you can handle it?”
“Trust me, it won’t be a problem.”
I sat in the lounge with Pup. I told him I wanted to talk. Syra had already left with a newly purchased AR as well as her armor. She told me she had a safe place to hide out until tomorrow and we made plans to meet up at the east elevator to the Third at noon. Now I stood at the bar with my freshly bought rifle leaning against the counter beside me. A case filled with my armor and a dozen clips for my rifle, running me fifty tiff each rested to my other side. Big G more than paid for the gear for this heist. At least something good came out of the Underdown mess.
“So,” Pup began after pouring us both a shot of whiskey from the other side of the counter. “I don’t think this talk will go how you’d hoped.”
“That’s fine,” I told him, taking the shot and downing it. The burn helped me a little. “I wasn’t hoping for much anyway.” We both stood in silence for a little bit while we tried to articulate our feelings.
“This was a really bad time,” the biker started finally. “For you to show up I mean. Daitech has been on our asses, we’re all worn out and on edge. A Freelancer showing up on our doorstep doesn’t help. The others will likely be pissed once they find out, and it’ll just add to their stress when they find out it was you.”
“I’m sorry,” I gave him. “I didn’t know. I didn’t have anyone else to turn to with this kind of deal.” There was another bout of silence. “That’s not all I’m sorry for. I know I fucked you over and-”
“Save it,” Pup snapped back. I flinched at the response. I think he was harsher than he meant to be, because once he saw my reaction he softened and gave me an apologetic look. “You hurt me a lot. More than I could ever say.” He poured another shot and twirled it in his hand for a moment, searching for the right words. “It’s nice to see you’re okay after so long. I worried about you so much. But, Nala,” he looked into my bright green eyes, “I don’t love you anymore.” I knew that’d be the case, but it still stung to hear those words. I clenched my hand so hard the shot glass in my grasp cracked and I let my gaze drift down to it. “And, frankly, I don’t think you’d love who I am now. I don’t know what’s gone on with you in the past eight years and, honestly, I’m not sure I wanna know.”
“I…” I fished for words. I don’t know what I was expecting. Nothing good. But even knowing that, hearing what he was saying was no less difficult. It felt like all of my nervousness that’d been piled up since I got here exploded in a nauseating wave of depression. It was like my chest wanted to cave in on itself and I couldn’t think of what I wanted to say.
“Got nothing then?” Pup asked, disappointed. I drew a blank, all I could focus on was the emotions washing over me. “Alright,” the biker leader walked around the counter. “I’m going back to bed.”
As he reached the door, however, he turned around. I gave him a side glance as I propped up my forehead with my palm.
“Just because I don’t love you like I did, doesn’t mean I don’t still care about you.” He opened the door but didn’t leave yet. “I know somebody else that’ll want a stake in your op. I’ll give him a call and give you a little more backup. And once all this shit’s blown over…” He paused tentatively. “Come by again. Maybe we could start over as friends... Get some sleep, Nala.”
Then he left.
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