Powell Station took up an entire square block with its main entrance recessed from the main street. A tall wall surrounded the compound. The main building was 8 stories high.
The captain escorted everyone through the main, open gate (guards posted outside). Inside the gate was all paved around the building with plenty of room to walk down each side of it and a small set of stairs that lead up to the double doors in the front. Two guards were posted outside of it.
The walls were plain but retro adorned by unimportant paintings. The hallway was short with only a few rooms on each side. It ended at another set of double doors. It opened in and revealed a set of stairs to the right that curled up to the open second floor. Guards were posted by the door and by the stairs.
With his retainers opening the doors for him along the way, the captain lead the party through a door to the left in the large room and into a fairly sized office. His men posted outside his door which was left open, and a member of their force was inside and stood up to greet the captain.
“See to it that this young lady is tended to at the infirmary,” the captain said to him.
“As you wish, sir.” He headed over to Snowflake and her contact. They exchanged nods, and she departed with the guard.
“I’d offer you a seat if I had time for hospitalities,” the captain said as he beckoned everyone to come in. “However, time is a precious commodity, and there’s a job to do.
“Make no mistake: war is now upon us. Black Horns have made an appearance and the first move. In order for us to counterstrike, we need intel. The Black Horns must have been growing in numbers in secrecy since their extraction in the Turf Wars. We’ve been quietly hunting for them since.
“We believe they’re either hiding in Kings territory in northeast Portland or based out of any number of Lucid Dynamics warehouses in northwest Portland. Wolf Syndicate doesn’t have the resources or political capital to explore either. That’s where you come in.
“Gather what intel you can find on the Black Horns by any means necessary and bring it back to me.”
The party exchanged a couple of blank looks. Snowflake was the first to speak up: “How would we be compensated and how much of that do we get now?”
“I believe you have mistaken this to be a contract of work. The job pays only for the Intel you provide. Nothing sooner than that.” The captain’s body language and tone suggested he’s not budging on this point.
Sensing this, Droneslinger offered a different approach, “I’m not sticking my neck out without knowing what I’ll get in return. What are you paying us?”
“That all depends on what information you can find and whether it holds any merit,” the captain paused before emphasizing the next word. “IF the intel is credible, then you’ll all be handsomely rewarded. I refuse to be caught with our pants down again.”
He rested his elbows on his desk, folded his hands, and looked upon the party. They quietly agreed with each other and nodded to the captain.
“Good. See to your friend and yourselves out. I must now deal with Omar. Good luck.”
Without hesitation, haste, and malice, Snowflake immediately left to the infirmary. Droneslinger and Pipes followed right behind her. Omar was heard yelling at the captain as they left.
Upon entering the infirmary, they found it quite surprising how well kept and clean the room was compared to their past experiences with “doctors” and medicine. Snowflake’s contact laid on the cushioned table across the large room with half of her shirt off exposing the medical tape wrapped around her arm, shoulder, and breast and arm in a sling. The man that tended to her didn’t look like a doctor or nurse but carried himself as if specialized as one. He stepped aside and worked to his counter as if it were a mess, allowing them to approach her.
“It’s not how I imagined we’d meet each other,” she said as Snowflake approached.
“No, it was unexpected for sure,” Snowflake replied calmly.
“What have you been up to?” A rather casual question to everyone that heard her, but as she was saying that, Snowflake received an encrypted message from her: “I was sent to inform you about the Wolf Syndicate.”
This got Snowflake’s attention, and she played along and said aloud, “Taking care of you now it seems.”
The two verbally exchanged a friendly and casual chat, but the encrypted messaging continued, “See what you can do to learn more about them and uncover anything peculiar. Omar is a trusted informant and a candidate for having anything against the Wolf Syndicate.”
“Do you need a ride home,” asked Snowflake aloud
“No,” she grunted as she stood up from the table, “I’ve already arranged a pickup that will be here momentarily. I’m assuming I’m good to go, doc?”
“Keep your arm in the sling and limit the mobility of your shoulder, and you’ll recover just fine,” he replied. “Per the captain, consider this payment for aiding in the conflict.”
She nodded, said her thanks, and left the infirmary with the rest of the party. As they stepped outside, she disappeared from sight.