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Shadow Star
Side Story: Unsettled Accounts I
Mon May 31, 2010 10:54pm
216.170.7.15

NRP: Takes place during Contrapasso.
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The rain beat down a steady rhythm on Shadow Star’s armored frame. If he had been human, the freezing downpour bouncing off his jet-black hair and down his uncovered face would have sent the mercenary scurrying for cover. As a mass-produced reploid meant for Maverick Hunting, his creators didn’t deem it necessary to include such frivolities in his programming. Shadow Star strolled away from the nondescript, average black car Frost Electronics had provided him for this mission, and made his way through the docks while silently thanking that his company creators had deemed waterproofing worth including in his design.
Shadow Star made his way down the grimy, ancient wooden walkway, passing by a burly team of men in rain slickers working on unloading boxes from a rusting vessel. What the boxes contained, where the boat had come from, and the identity of the men were questions Shadow Star didn’t ask. He kept his head down and continued his march along the docks. Poking your nose into business other than your own wasn’t a good idea in this part of the port. That much had been made clear to him during his debriefing...

----Days Earlier-----

He hated working with secretaries.
Secretaries sent the message that either you or the job you were about to receive wasn’t worth the employer’s personal face time. It showed a certain lack of respect in Shadow Star’s eyes. It also meant, in his experience, that you were extraordinarily disposable and the employer could, annoyingly enough, decide it was cheaper to kill you rather than pay you.
Shadow Star hoped that last part wasn’t the case as he made his way to meet up with Ms. Whitestone. Ever since Zenith had disappeared a few weeks ago, Frost had stopped personally communicating missions to Star and instead had them filtered through her secretaries. He wasn’t stupid; he knew that without Zenith, the muscle of their makeshift duo was gone. While he didn’t think he was any slouch in a fight, his ability to take larger missions that involved infiltration and combat were significantly impaired. He still wasn’t entirely sure what happened to Zenith. When the assassin had first dropped off the face of the earth, Shadow Star had assumed that was just her come-and-go nature. However, as time continued to pass, he began wondering if he hadn’t made some mistake. Star hoped that after what the two had been through the assassin would have given him a heads up before deciding to skip town. After all, she was the reason he got dragged into working for Frost in the first place. Chances were low that he’d be able to go back to the Freelance Reploids... at least he wasn’t willing to risk it after making off with a set of Kail the Destroyer’s armor. Trying to be a solo mercenary again also didn’t seem like such a hot prospect, as he was barely scraping by before signing up with the FR. Regardless, Star wasn’t sure whether he should be worried if Zenith had gotten into trouble, or annoyed if Zenith had merely decided to ditch him.
He collected his thoughts as he approached the secretary’s finely crafted woden door to her office. Taking a deep breath, he pushed it open. “Miss Whitestone.” Star said as he gave a half-hearted salute to the stiff-seated secretary. The young woman had short black hair about shoulder-length, a sharp dress and jacket with a tie, and oval, tinted glasses. The office was filled with the clicking sound of the woman typing away. Whitestone’s piercing gaze rose up from her computer.
“Mister Star.” She replied in an equally deadpan voice. “You’re three minutes and twenty-two seconds late.”
“I believe there was an assignment?” Shadow Star tried, knowing this was a losing battle. The woman had an irritating obsession with punctuality and organization.
“At least you seem to handle these in a timely manner.” She sniffed curtly, handing Shadow Star the dossier. “There have been two break-ins to storage facilities containing materials owned by two different shell corporations that act as fronts for Frost Electronics.” She began explaining rapidly as Star glanced through the information. “Nothing was stolen, however what was stored there was either damaged or strewn throughout the facilities. Recently, there are reports of a third break-in of a low-rent storage facility in the Boston port area, owned by another subsidiary; this time it’s Delta Hardware.”
“Huh. Maverick Hunter territory. And you need someone who can’t be tied directly to Frost Electronics to investigate these break-ins?” Star mused. It seemed like a fairly straightforward job.
“Exactly. If questioned on this, you were hired by Delta to investigate this single incident. However, we want you into all three. We believe this is not a coincidence... someone is sending us a message. But more importantly, the ties between Delta, the other corporations, and Frost are not to be leaked by you or this mystery vandalist.”
“You trust me? I’m flattered.” Shadow Star said half-mockingly.
“We trust in your intelligence enough to realize what would happen to you if the information got out.” The secretary retorted, any hint of humor escaping her.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Tsk... Investigating strange vandalism in a bad neighborhood. If it were possible, I’d be nostalgic for my Hunter days. Star mused as he came to the front of the dingy warehouse. Places like this had old-fashioned security. There were no cameras, no laser tripwires, and no computer defense grids. Just a German-made sturdy lock and the promise that if you were stupid enough to steal from them, you’d wake up one day with broken legs, if you were lucky. I guess that makes me the leg-breaker this time around.
The lock on this warehouse was already broken, smashed with the imprint of a fist. Guess that means I’m looking for a reploid, or a cyborg. Also it tells me my culprit isn’t exactly the cautious type to cover his or her tracks... Using his Reploid strength to shove open the giant, metal double-doors, Star stepped inside the warehouse, rainwater dripping onto a ground covered in cardboard, dirt, and debris. He fumbled for a light, but once they hummed on he immediately regretted it.
It was unmistakable. The pattern of the broken boxes was in the shape of a five-point star. “Aw hell. This doesn’t bode well.”

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