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Postcards from Avalidad Season #1 Episode #4

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubblegum.”

John Nada, They Live

The morning after the fire… Nakatomi is waiting for the lab results for the strange soft drink: Orgone energy was detected among a regular mix of caffeine, sugar, caramel and spices. It’s clearly an energy drink, but since it contains orgone, could it be marketed as an aphrodisiac drug? After some sips, she decides to call James C and ask him out for lunch, but his Personal Assistant tells her Mr C is in a meeting with Mr Houseman.

Arriving at the office, Aziz gets a call from his good old friend Leon MacAarthur. A blond, muscular and extremely well combed Leo greets him in augmented reality. He smiles dumbly, as always, but looks concerned. The actor and businessman now owns a small Rollerclash team, the Mean Machines, and is worried about the recent incidents. Aziz tells him not to be concerned, ZoneSec is already on it. After getting rid of his friend, Aziz drops by Clayton Reed’s office to talk about the previous night’s events. He feels they have to be more proactive in searching for Lance Jones. This is an extremely dangerous individual who seems to have developed psionic powers. Clayton tells him that the spec ops team is working on the case.

And indeed they have been; O’Malley, powered by Nutkicker, spent all night trying to develop a program to detect Jones, based on power surges and facial recognition software. If the data is right, it is possible to pinpoint Lance Jones to an underworld quarter, close to Biddonville. The agents answer Reed’s call in a triumphant mood. Clayton sends them out to do some discreet reconnaissance work. The team prepares a van for a trip to the Underworld, a low-income, run-down, low-tech residential area inhabited by poor workers. Eva decides to look for one of her informants, Willy the Squid, a small time crook that lives in the area. After bribing him, Eva is able to squeeze the information out of the Squid. She shows him a photo of Jones, and Willy confirms he has seen him. The guy stands out in the neighbourhood, he doesn’t look the type, plus there are bodyguards with him. Borges presses the crook to show her the building Jones is hiding in, but the little shit walks out on her.

“Luckily” it seems they have parked the van right across the street from Jones’ building, and weren’t as discreet as they thought they were being; maybe it was the Fresh Body Parts Collectors advertised on the side of the van… Just when Borges gets back to the vehicle, three menacing goons come out of the building and walk towards them. While Borges reaches inside the van to get her faithful Hauser Arms assault rifle and Jana picks up her 9mm, focusing on her psionic powers for tactical leverage, O’Malley decides to pop out of the sunroof and fire up his Remminger sub-machine gun, just like a hero in an action vid. Despite barely knowing how to shoot, he manages to fire a clean burst that knocks down one of the thugs and kills him. O’Malley shouts “die, bastard!” sounding a like an excited teenager. Armed with her Hauser rifle, Borges efficiently dispatches the second with a shot to the head. Jana misses her shot, giving the third guy a chance to run for cover before trying – and failing – to shoot O’Malley.

Meanwhile, Jana’s psionic senses made her aware that a new hidden foe has joined the combat zone, through an open window, some floors above them. She nervously lets the others know. Borges is focused on the third man; although he was under cover, his arm was showing, and now it’s bloody gone! However, the sniper hits her on the leg, as retaliation. Borges moves to the sunroof, preparing to cover Jana and Patrick, while they run towards the building. She is able to hit the sniper in the chest, fatally injuring him.

The coast is now clear. O’Malley frantically climbs to the third floor, ignoring Jana’s warnings to take it easy. Giving up on a lost cause – testosterone fuelled Patrick – she tries to sense the apartment where Jones is: in the middle of the third floor hall, she identifies two shapes. Jane is able to get the attention of impatient O’Malley, and points to the right door. Excited, O’Malley runs and kicks the door. Nothing happens. He then remembers he should shoot the lock (better late then never). The door is now wide open, but Patrick feels a strange tingling in his right leg, followed by a shocking pain. He screams. Calmly and steadily, Jana points her 9mm to a perceived shape inside the room, and hits it four times. Getting closer, she recognises the man lying down on the floor as Lance Jones. O’Malley, still excited, although limping, is mighty impressed.

When Borges finally reaches the third floor everything is under control; the rookies are handcuffing the two wounded and unconscious suspects. She calls for backup to collect the corpses and prisoners. Meanwhile, Gibson raises a pertinent question: Jones can be dangerous if he recovers consciousness. Borges pulls out her 9mm and simply says “a shot to the head will solve that!”. Despite protests and shock from the rookies, Lance Jones is swiftly neutralised, ZoneSec style. Borges is proud of her rookies and, after a trip to the infirmary and a debriefing with a surprised and impressed Clayton Reed, she proclaims it’s a night for celebration. Clayton is quick in updating his boss, letting Aziz know that, against all the odds, the rookies took care of Lance Jones and four accomplices. A relieved Aziz calls Doyle to deliver the news: “Malena is now safe!”. The Blue Parrot owner and the singer decide to celebrate with another live performance. This time without special effects…

Meanwhile, Dr Nakatomi receives a disturbing piece of news: James C, the hunky Rollerclash star, was caught by Pandemonium Inc. security brutally beating up the company’s CEO, and has been detained by ZoneSec. This upsets whatever plans she was starting to have for James. Concerned, she calls Aziz, who promises to take a close look into the matter. Aziz has a one-on-one with James, who admits his guilt, but claims he was just trying to interrogate Houseman to get to the end of the matter behind the Rollerclash deadly accidents.

Later that night, the Blue Parrot is once again filled to the brim. Malena sings, accompanied by Doyle on the piano. The singer attracts a different crowd: tonight the Parrot is full of young people. One group seems particularly excited and, suddenly, there’s is a commotion on their corner of the room. Doyle, who had left the stage some minutes before to greet Aziz and Isabella, quickly jumps up to see what the hell is happening in his bar. A young Asian kid has collapsed on the floor. Nakatomi examines him. He’s gone and it was clearly an overdose. Doyle is beside himself: people don´t normally OD at the Parrot, it’s just not that kind of bar! He pushes the punk’s friends around and they confess he took a new drug: Dark Dancer, the hot fashionable narcotic on the streets of Avalidad. Crowe is called to intervene and, once again, Malena’s performance at the Blue Parrot ends badly and abruptly.

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