• 📅 September 2022 is YE 44.6 in the RP. 1 IC month = 1 OOC month for the rest of the year.

RP: ISC Phoenix [Side Job] - Living out a Fantasy

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The Ultimate Badass
🎖️ Game Master
Sticking 'em up and knocking 'em down
Living out a fantasy
There's a bad man cruising around
In a big black limousine

AC/DC - Big Gun

GM's Note - This was written in December last year, and January this year. It was never finished. I am posting this now because better late than never. It would have taken place either on this year's Yuletide, or last year's.

Either way, it happened.

Francia, Planet Francia

It was another cold day on a backwater planet called Francia. That said, all days on this planet were cold. Very, very cold. Still it did not seem to fase the locals in any way. A bunch of hardy people this lot were. Something was a bit different today as two people walked side by side through streets of Francia City.

Moving by Jensen's bar, a barmaid with red-head and robotic arm was just shovelling the new drop of snow that fell overnight. She raised her head to watch the pair as they walked by. A rather tallish blonde woman in bomber-jacket and man that whole universe knew. The Phoenix Man! himself, Luca Pavone.

"We will be there soon, don't worry." Zeta said to her lover as she walked. It was easy to see that she knew where she was walking. Unlike Luca she was not here for the first time, even though she still did not told him why she dragged him all the way to middle of nowhere.

"It's cold here," he observed as he held out his tongue for snowflakes. He chewed on them experimentally and deduced that these ones had some additives. "Reminds me of home. I still need to take you there one day for revenge."

"Ah don't worry about that. I visited your folks in Ralt quite a few times, while you were busy being dead." Zeta snickered as she took a turn by a large building. They were getting close and she was very anxious to get to their destination.

"I hope they weren't surprised about the exaggeration of my death," Luca sighed, "it's Pavone luck." He kept on walking across the snowy streets of Francia, snow crunching underfoot, breath visible, jacket wide open to the elements as usual. "Where are we going anyway? Skiing?"

"Patience. And no we are not going skiing, unless you want to get eaten by a ferocious monster mammoth." The woman laughed a bit and hit him softly in the shoulder. It was fun to see him on his toes, since for once, it was Zeta who had a plan and goal.

"I hear they taste great with a side of red wine sauce," Luca snickered as he rolled with the playful punch.

"Hokay, here we are." Zeta said as they made another turn and were presented with their destination. As she saw it she aslo punched a button that sent a message to owner of the building. "We are here." It said.

The destination itself did not look like much. It was very Nepleslian though. A quite a large concrete bunker with a sign on its front saying Deidre's Huge Rack of Guns. Zeta smiled and presented with her arm as if it was the grand palace of the Yamataian Empress herself. Without waiting for much she started walking towards the door, waving on Luca to follow her. He nodded, took the lady's hand and stepped in from the cold.

I wonder how big -huge- is, though? Luca wondered as he sauntered across the path.

Luca'd receive his answer in the form of almost every wall across the threshold holding rack upon rack of guns. All different makes, varieties, and models. If the two bothered browsing, they'd even see a set of flamethrowers. But along the far wall was the proprietor of the store, Deidre NicAlasdair, standing in front of a huge Kennewesian Aligator head easily big enough to devour an ID-SOL whole. The fiery redhead had her legs up on the glass and steel counter, polishing a large revolver. A little girl was sitting beside it, along with rather large dog almost the height of a full-grown man at his shoulder.

"Oi!" A girl's voice announced, Deidre looked toward it. "Y'got customers, sissy!" The child said pointing a finger toward Luca and Zeta both. The dog, a Rok'veru Rottwieller issued a loud, rumbly bark in turn before quieting down once more.

Following the finger, Deidre spotted the pair and raised an eyebrow. "Welcome t'me store, what can I do for'ye?"

"Hello there," Zeta said and smiled at the group. Her eyes settled on the dog for a seconds and it was easy to see, that the animal unsettled her a bit. It also made her glad for carrying her SiZi model 30. "It is Zeta Five, I have an order here. I messaged you earlier I believe." Luca glanced at her as a puzzle piece fell into place in his mind. Perhaps this was a Yuletide season gift. The only other question was which one? He seemed to be window shopping the selection of rifles and grenade launchers with a smile.

"Aye, y'did. An, I suspect ye want y'order now righ'?" Deidre's rough hewn accent positively butchering the Trade language.

"Yes, that would be just splendid," Zeta nodded and kept smiling. She liked the gunsmith already. She just hope it will make Luca happy.

The woman took a small swig from a flask, and in a rather loud, shrill voice screeched 'Gilleh!'. Seconds later, the mechanical *Tika-tak* of a Junker Drone scuttling toward them was heard. The drone in question looked like most of its kind, but between two scuffed metal tendrils it held a pair of dark, nondescript wooden cases. Trilling at its master 'Gillie' stopped in front of Deidre, the woman placing both cases on the counter.

"Now then," Rubbing her hands together with a rather catty smile while looking toward Zeta. "Y'got me money righ'?"

"Indeed I do," Zeta nodded and reached into pocket of her jacket. She took a money-card that had the amount that Deidre and her decided upon before. She simply put the card on the counter and slid it towards the shopkeeper.

Zeta then put her hand on Luca's shoulder and kissed him on his cheek. Her arm waved over the gun-cases. "Merry yuletide, darlin'" she purred and smiled.

He kissed her back on the cheek with a grin. His eyes then looked down at the boxes. "Does this place have a range?" Luca asked, resisting the urge to ask if she was speaking a different language altogether.

"Does Ol'Pyros like titties?" Deidre asked Luca in turn, "'course it does!" The gunsmith snapped the card up, and swiped it after prodding at the console. "Seventeen thousand, nine 'undred an' sixty nine DA. Charged t'yur account." Luca blinked and looked at Zeta incredulously.

"Y'lady friend mus' like y'a lot there, scruffy." Deidre pointed out after scrawling her signature on a receipt. Sliding it, and the card back across the counter.

"Like you wouldn't believe," he replied with a grin to the before picking up the two boxes and passing one of them to Zeta. "Let's give these things a thunderous christening, shall we?"

Deidre slapped a hand over one of the cases, giving Luca a rather critical look. "Ya'll be wantin' t'not use one'a these. This'un in particular, scruffy." Opening the case, and revealing a worn Zen Armaments .45 Calibre handgun. Done in an olive and black two tone with the old Nepleslian Star Empire emblem stamped on the grip. Along it was a hastily written name, 'Jack Miller - NSS Alliance'. Luca's head tilted as he looked at the piece of history.

"She's one'o a kind. Belonged t'Miller 'imself. Sold it t'me a few years ago for booze money." Gesturing to Zeta, she nodded toward the other case. "Show'em."

"Best thing is," Zeta said as she worked to show what was in the second case to Luca. "That Hanako bloody Ketusurui, wanted that gun herself and did not get it." Zeta smiled.

"How much was she putting up?"

"Twenty five-'undred DA." Deidre spat on her own floor at that. Luca scoffed at such a small amount. Perhaps that's what Yamataians thought of practically priceless Nepleslian history.

"A joke really," Zeta nodded and finally flipper the cover of the seconds box. She turned it around and the seconds armament could be seen by Luca. And it was a one hell of a gun. At first glance it looked like a regular HHG, except it was in gun-metal black tone. At a first glance. Second glance showed that one look was not enough to even take the whole gun in. It was a bit bigger. Quite a bit.

Just the cylinder itself showed that the gun took in a larger calibre than a regular HHG gun. It was one of few very special guns. A .460 Deidre Special. On the barrel that was a scripture. 'For Pride and Profit.' The gun sitting on the velvet was not all. Under it were six large crimson rounds.

"Oh. Oh my goodness," Luca's eyes boggled out of his skull as he examined the piece. He picked it up and made a quick check to see if it was loaded before beginning a more thorough inspection.

"Now this," Deidre waved a hand at the revolver. "Only three like 'er in the entire 'verse now. I craft each one by 'and y'know. Durandium forged barrel and frame. Francian Hellwood grip. She's a swingout, double action. Takes me custom .460 Specials." Reaching into a pocket, Deidre slammed one of the bullets on the counter. The thing was a little over two inches in length from tip to cap.

"A damn sight bigger'un the .45 APC of the ol'HHG. She'll put a round through a grown man at anywhere 'tween fifteen'undred to seventeen'undred feet a second. 'nuff force to knock'em on 'is ass and keep'em there. Dead. But like the ol'HHG y'got three flavors as far as type is concerned. Standard Rounds, Hybrids, 'an Mass Driver."

"Oh, yes, the HHG's are like an extension of me - but this one," Luca held it and weighed it in his hands, pulling the cylinder out and counting not eight, but six chambers. "it feels like it's got balls. I could put a tripod on this and call it an artillery piece. Two cartridges missing doesn't feel like I'm at a disadvantage when each one-" he held one of the .460 cartridges aloft in his right hand, "-feels like it can take down one of those Mammoths I keep hearing about in two shots, tops."

Deidre let out a mad sort of cackle at the mentions of her HHG taking down a mammoth. "Oh, Oh, thas' funneh! Y'need sumthin' a'bit bigger for that." Luca chuckled along too, except something in his body language told her that he wasn't joking. He could try if he wanted to.

In response Deidre slammed a large-caliber launcher onto the counter. Followed by what looked like a beercan in size. Except it had a rounded head painted red.

"Y'use this t'kill'em. A sixty-five milimeter grenade. High-Explosive. Custom made. Launcher included. 'call it tha' Midir. Break action, breech loader. Only wey't get through their 'ides. Tried with tha' HHG. Didn' work. So, I made the Midir. When ye' hunt'a four storeh tall mammoth, who's 'ide can take armour-piercing ammunition, 'ain breathes fire. Y'need sumthin' with Umph."

40mm was smaller than 65mm. Perhaps this was indeed meant for hunting larger game. The M'Cel, whilst reliable in hunting down people and the occasional power armour that'd strayed out of formation (a direct hit would hurt most, he found), this larger Midir could be used as an alternative. "I like it. No wonder the Yamataians shiver when they see stuff like this - they wouldn't have the balls to carry one, let alone feel the recoil!"

"Grenade launcher is nice and all, but there is other stuff Luca should here," Zeta mentioned. Her eyes were affixed to the big weapon though. That should have been able to take any animal out there. That should ahve been able to take out small tanks. "Tell him about all those kind of ammo, I got for the 'Special'."

Waving a hand, Deidre sighed. "Recoil t'aint all tha' bad on the launcher. My HHG is the true beast. 'fore I toned'er done she shattered the wrist of an ID-SOL I hired t'test it."

"Must have been one of those watered-down ID-SOLs or he was just making big shoulder and did not know how to shoot properly." Zeta snickered.

"Phaw, me'first version fired an almost three inch long round from cap to tip. Call it tha' Onager." Shrugging, the Kennewessian motioned for them to follow her into the back. "If ye'want to try firin'er I got ballistic gel torsos set up in my range."

Luca nodded and looked at Zeta. "Sure thing," he replied. They were here, they were surrounded by unique and powerful weapons made by a master gunsmith - he figured it'd be insulting if they didn't give them a few shots to let their work shine. "Let's see it in action."

"Before we leave, can you tell me about this here thing?" Zeta asked picking one of the large rifled from a rack. "What is this? Stripper fed?"

"Eh?" Glancing over her shoulder, Deidre saw Zeta holding a mockup of one of her Wulver rifles. "Tha'thing? Call it a Wulver, fires custom thirty-aught six rifle rounds. Rip through body armor like a Cat through panties. Y'fed it through an en-bloc clip through tha' top there. See tha' depression? Stick one in, an' she's ready t'fire. Run out, the clip flies out. Bayonet's popular with'em. Offered in Carbon Steel, or Durandium. Six inch or sixteen inch bayonets."

"I think Mel would love one of these Luca," Zeta said, looking over one of the mock-ups. "Can I test one?"

Luca's mouth formed an 'o' shape - such a rifle would be a perfect addition for the self-proclaimed huntswoman's arsenal. When she had extended leave, she went big game hunting. "I wonder if she's been hunting here before?" he asked himself quietly as he looked at the Wulver from a distance.

"I 'ave a test model in tha' back. Y'buy one, I include a greasepot and cleaning tool in the buttstock. Little detachable plug in there comes off, out they pop. Good'fer all manner'a things. Huntin' in th'field for extended periods y'name it."

"Mel loves grease and plugs," Zeta made a little inside joke. "And Luca, she would take a recoilless cannon to go hunt around these parts really."

"I wouldn't be surprised if Echelon was her spotter, actually," he observed, smiling quietly at the grease and plugs joke, even though he was thinking of a different member of his team with those predilections.

"Righ', Righ', with all tha' talk of plugs'n grease. Y'want a brothel, go a'cross tha' street. Fer'now ye fire tha' guns." Deidre led them into a cavernous range made of reinforced concrete, steel stalls for individual shoots and both paper and ballistics gel targets.

"If I want to sleep with random strange woman, I will go for a walk on Yamatai," Zeta replied with a grin, following the gunsmith into the range. There Zeta whistles. "Nice place, looks like you could be testing bazooka's here." Luca rubbed the fluff under his chin in appraisal of the area and looked at the stalls and the targets. He was wondering what sort of a pattern to paint on them - smiley faces? Pentagons? Hearts? Maybe he could show off.

In response to Zeta, Deidre pointed to a bazooka on a nearby table. Free of ammunition. "Y'wer sayin'?"

Zeta walked ot he large tube and picked it up. She turned to Luca and grinned. "Luca, you remember like I sad we need a bazooka ages ago?"

"Don' start girlie, I ain't worked tha' kinks out yet. Rockets'r still temperamental. Real pain in tha' ass tryin' t'make a rocket that 'splodes into fletchettes."

"Plan to make some that do good old explosions too?" Zeta asked putting the tube on her shoulder and testing the feel of it. She looked through the sights down range, her finger not even close the trigger mechanism.

Deidre snorted, "Aye, I am."

Luca started putting all of his weapons down on the bench, and put the .460 Deidre Custom down a little off to one side. A Styrling Shot-12 modified to fire 23mm slugs was the standout, with a larger barrel and shortened magazine tube, taking larger, harder hitting slugs rather than shot. Next was a heavily modified GP-1 rifle - numerous, reliable and easy to toy with; it just worked. Then came the M'Cel launcher, Lorath 40mm vs. the Midir's 65mm, his own HHG, and the 'backup weapon' drawn from the front of his pants, an Origin Raygun.

Zeta set the large weapon back down. "Well when you work out the kinks, give me a ring. I will definitely get one of these. Now it is time to shoot guns I believe." Zeta said and moved to Luca. The grin on his face said yes.

"Wha' rounds y'wanna try there, Scruffy?" Deidre asked, nodding toward his new HHG.

"I think you should tell him about what all it fires first." Zeta suggested.

"Y'got three classifications of ammo. Standard chemical propelled slugs. Hybrids, an' mass driver rounds. They follow the ol'HHG color codin'. Tha' chemical ones come in Half-Metal and Full Jacketted. Tha' FMJ's are spitzers like tha' rifle'uns. Then y'get into tha' Hybrids. Standard Red Round, an' what I call a'White round. Made'a lead, brass and steel."

She'd gone to collect several boxes of ammunition, continuing to explain as she did so. "Then y'get into my favorites. The Mass Driver. Custom 'Silver' Round is naught but a solid lead dart with steel. An' my proprietary 'Crimson' Round. A High-Explosive Incendiary round fitted with'e nano-thermite charge." Placing a single bullet of each type on one of the stall tables.

He nodded along as he took in the information. It was a different system to the standard HHG's lineup. He examined each bullet, looking at the markings and imprinting what the gunsmith said. He then nodded to continue. He liked how each 'Crimson' round had a skull and crossbones hand-stamped and embossed on it.

"Six rounds, six chambers. Y'know tha' rest, Scruffy feel free." He picked up the standard chemical round, the FMJ and flicked the cylinder open as though it was an instinctive motion. He turned around towards the range, slid it into a chamber and pushed the cylinder back into place with a gentle click.

"Might as well start with the basics and work upwards," he said as he pulled the hammer back with his thumb, holding the weapon with both hands and aiming down the sights towards a gelatin torso. Before he fired, he lowered the weapon to adjust the sights to match his HHG, then lifted it back up and took aim again, going for the centre of mass.

"Mind if I squeeze few out too?" Zeta asked pulling out her SiZi model 30. She did not fire the gun in quite some time and she felt sorry for it. Deidre just waved her on.

Luca pulled the trigger. A bright yellow muzzle flash illuminated the Minkan and accompanied the almost deafening roar of the HHG as it fired. The ballistic gel torso making a sickening *Schlock*! sound as it careened backward; wobbling back into place seconds after. But whereas it had been all smooth contours, unmarred before, now there was a modest sized hole in the front, and an even larger wound channel 'inside'.

Luca's arms shot upwards with the recoil, but after reaching head level, he regained control of the powerful firearm. Only a moment later did he feel the pain shooting up his arms, despite Minkan augmented strength - it just wasn't made to deal with this level of violence. He lowered the gun and looked at the wound channel. "He's not getting back up," he concluded, flicking the cylinder open and ejecting the spent cartridge. He put the gun down to give his left bicep a rub. His right arm had the Grapple Stunner to absorb some of the shock.

Zeta meanwhile went to the stand before, where paper target was prepared. She cocked the large revolver and stood sideways. She raised her mechanical arm and felt the hydraulics in it stiffening and getting ready to take the massive recoil. To Zeta, using her organic arm was worse, then just firing like this. The woman aimed where the person drawn on the target had a throat and fired.

The gun blammed, sending a plasma shell through the neck of the paper target burning through and then being put out by the wall behind. Zeta did not have anti-armour shells in the gun after all.

"Funfact there, Scruffy. Tha'ain't even tha' tip o'tha iceberg on recoil. Hybrids are worse. My chemical rounds're the weakest o'tha three in terms'a sheer recoil. Tha jolt you got was one-thousand five'undred thirty two feet a second of pure 'Fuck you'. Hybrids are over seventeen-'undred feet'a second in velocity. More kick."

"Might as well use the most common round I stick in the HHG then," he observed as he picked up a White round and looked at it up and down before putting it into a chamber and closing the cylinder shut again. He aimed for a less-destroyed looking Torso and asked. "So, is the muzzle flash on Hybrids still lethal?" he'd used the trick once or twice to make a revolver behave like a nasal-range shotgun.

"Bigger round bigger flash, Scruffy. So I'd wager so." Deidre answered.

"Well it is not gun you want to use on random schmooks. This thing is for ID-Sol, Abwehrans or cats." Zeta pointed out. "Well you can still use it on the schmooks. Vincent always said that there is no kill like overkill."

"Which is why I'm keeping my other HHG too. That or the Raygun," he motioned to the ODM Raygun, a collector's weapon made for looks whilst remaining surprisingly practical, "can finish them off." He enjoyed firing tracers through that thing to get a 'laser' effect. However, he had a bigger cartridge to fire, braced himself and pulled the trigger.

There was a golden white flash that lit everything in the room up as though it was daylight - a solid, jagged white flash about as long as a forearm exited the barrel shortly after the bullet did. The bullet hit the torso in the abdomen, and it almost threatened to invert the entire ballistic gelatin model with the amount of force put through it, wobbling hard enough to nearly tear itself apart.

Luca's arms flew upwards in opposing reaction, nearly stumbling backwards with the massive recoil. He could liken the experience to being punched by a lengthwise telephone pole in the hands. He let out an expletive over the deafening noise and blinked as he regained his composure. "Why don't I just go shoot me an elephant," he mumbled to himself idly as he looked at the black-finished HHG incredulously.

"Alrigh' there, Scruffy?" Deidre asked, looking a little smug from his reaction to the weapon's recoil and sheer stopping power. Walking up beside him, the woman nudged him in the ribs, and pointed down range. In the distance there was a smoking hole in the concrete, the round had over-penetrated.

"I've wrestled ID-SOL with stronger punches," he mumbled defiantly as he looked at the hole in the back of the range. "This might be made for them and this one's made for me - but fucked if anyone else could fire 'em without doing a backflip. Imagine a cat trying to fire it."

"Phaw! I fire it one-handed, y'nancy!" Deidre scoffed. Whipping her own HHG from its holster with a cowboy twirl, spinning the barrel until finding the desired round and fired. The gun's deafening roar, equal to Luca's own HHG filled the room momentarily. She'd aimed for the gelatin torso's head, watching as it exploded into fragments and leaving a hole just like his had in the wall.

His eyebrow raised as he opened the cylinder, pushed the spent shell out, and then put six White rounds in whilst looking at a paper target. "Y'know how I get better at not being a nancy?" He snapped the cylinder shut.

"D'aww, don' turn it into a pissin' contest now, Scruffy."

"Practice, that's all," he said solemnly. "If I wanted a 'pissing contest', there's a place on Kyoto in the underbelly some Lorath woman recommended me." He then took aim at the paper target.

Zeta meanwhile finished firing her SiZi. She then reloaded it and put it back in the holster. The gun felt good to her. The Deidre special was really nice gun, but Zeta preferred her SiZi. "So can I try out the Wulver?" The blonde woman stepped in.

"Middle table behind me. Should be a'few en-bloc's layin' there. Bring'em here girlie." Deidre said in response to Zeta before going back to Luca. "Firin' naught but tha' white 'rounds'll get'ya no where, Scruffy. Try out one'a tha' Crimsons."

Deidre would notice the glove on Luca's right arm start to crackle and whirr with electricity as his grip tightened, even though his left hand had its finger on the trigger. He then started firing at the paper target. Six deafening, thunderous reports and flashes at the paper, and he appeared to be retaining control of the weapon, taking about three quarters of a second between each shot. Once the dust had settled, there were two eyes and a mouth on the paper, loosely grouped. Luca then sighed. "Eh, I'll get better, what's this about Crimson?" he said as he picked up the skull-and-bones round.

Zeta went and grabbed the long rifle from the table. She Grabbed the ammo that there as well and brought it to another balistic gel figurine. Looking at the feed system there was no bolt or anything. Zeta took a clip and inserted it into the gun with audible click.

"First it goes boom. Then it incinerates." Deidre deciding to give a short and simple description of the potent little bullet.

"You had me at 'it goes boom'," he said. He pulled the cylinder out of the HHG with care and ejected all of the spent casings. He then placed the mysterious Crimson round inside and snapped it shut. "I'm guessing this won't be spectacular on paper, so jelly it is..." he aimed it towards another unfortunate gelatin target whose neutral expression looked as though it was about to swallow a lump in its throat from worry.

He aimed for the centre of mass and fired. Another incredibly loud bang, followed by an even louder boom with a brighter flash than the vanilla Red round. The gelatin target, for lack of a better word, was redistributed in parts by leaping into the air and scattering flaming pieces of itself around the target area. One of the paper targets had a piece of forehead (or spleen, it was hard to tell) smack into it and catch fire.

"Ouch," was the one liner from Luca, unable to come up with anything clever for something so brutal.

"Use one on a power armour, watch'em bake inside their own suits!" Deidre crowed, then cackled gleefully at her own malicious sort of genius. "The boom breaks the armour, the thermite melts the interior."

Luca just looked at the pistol in his hands and contemplated just how strong it was. Then he grinned. He had a feel for it now. "This is a kickass Yuletide gift," he hummed as he interrupted Zeta lining up a shot to peck her on the cheek and smile at her warmly. Happiness was good company on a chilly Yuletide day and loud booms.

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