I rose from my bed and wrapped a robe around me as I headed for the kitchen. As the water was heating, my roommate Moth stumbled in. The magician had been asked to meet with a Mr. Johnson at the same time and place. Hardly a coincidence. The call had woken her up, and she had nearly turned it down on principle. I fixed breakfast while Moth slowly administered herself a cup of instant soyakaf.
The meet spot was a well-to-do suit club, deep in the old downtown at the foot of Beacon Hill. Moth and I dressed to blend in as well as possible. Especially with her Amerasian looks, Moth can look the part of her mother's daughter in a severe corporate dark suit. Very zaibatsu. I am a little too tall and broad to be taken for a suit, but easily pass for security. I am, after all.
We taxied downtown to a spot several blocks distant from the club and proceeded on foot.
As we approached the corner walking down Charles Street, I saw Ember, another Mage I work with at the clubs doorway. His suit showed that he had learned importance of the proper clothes while at Fuchi. The cut and colors were that of a well placed saraiman in a Japanese Megacorp. If he were here just to eat, it would get him a good table.
I spotted Zipper across the street. No real trick to that. The good little corpers were giving him plenty of room and plenty of looks. For Zipper, he was dressed fairly respectably. The black jeans were fairly clean and only had a couple of holes. He was wearing a different black jacket than the last time I saw him. This one was of real leather and lacked the patches, pins, studs and chains. Moth and I entered the club before he saw us.
Zipper was a decker I hired on occasion - as recently as last week. He is an excitable fellow, working on the cheap more for the thrill of attacking a system than anything else. I wondered if someone had accessed my files.
We dropped the password to the maitre'd. As he led us toward the rear of the club, Moth started sniffing the air. "Ach, Herr Fixit ist hier," she whispered. She was probably referring to Indiana Jones, a computer tech who dabbled in Shadowrunning. In addition to his electronics skills, Jones skates the Matrix. My fixer assures me that his skill as decker however, doesn't measure up to Zipper's. My professional association with Jones began early in the Pixie mess.
Already waiting in this secure back room were some all too familiar faces and a pair of new ones.
Moth's nose had correctly identified the clean-shaven dwarf Jones, who had actually found a reasonably clean t-shirt, jeans, and denim jacket for the meeting topped off with one of those extra wide-brimmed fedoras that were a fad in the UCAS a few years ago. I was surprised the maitre d' let him in even with the password.
The troll happily sipping a stein of scotch was Lurch. The high collar on his trench coat, combined with the big hat on the table in front of him, allowed him to travel these streets as little notice as a three meter humanoid is able. Across from him was the shamaness Hyss, who was enjoying the undivided attention of Indi. I don't think he even noticed us entering.
Hyss was also wearing a trench coat. It was opened enough to display a skintight, white, body suit. Her black, waist length hair was matched in color by a wide leather belt and knee high boots. She had seated herself so anyone entering the room received a few view of her.
One new addition was a short, black man. I had first picked him as a dwarf, but he is a bit too tall and narrow. His clothing was custom tailored, too casual to be corp. The cut was fashionable, a bit loose though. Jet black with a simple white shirt. His kinked hair had been straightened and moussed into a samurai's forward queue.
The other looked full-blooded Amerind. He held himself parade-straight. Military, unless I miss my guess. Probably chromed. Obviously a warrior for hire now, what these Americans call "Street Samurai." Even though his suit was the height of fashion, he still wore it like a uniform.
Ember was at the bar 'bot, ordering some kind of amber liquid. I made use of the machine as Moth claimed two empty chairs at one side of the long table. Brandy for me and club soda for her. The 'bot was full featured, which I took advantage of by selecting several slim Spanish cigars. I was seated and lighting one when Zipper entered. Only one empty chair left, at the head of the table.