Blood and Ferrocrete (A Shadowrun 3rd edition Game)

Idle Hands

From Samriel’s Mental Journal:
20-08-54 (August 20th, 2054)

With the benevolent mercy of the Lord, I’ve had some time to focus on things besides jobs or research. I can’t even remember the last time I took a vacation; at least, a vacation where I was conscious, and not in the hospital. But God doesn’t give to us things which we cannot handle, and with time to process emotions I think I’m feeling significantly better.

After that… mess… I did indeed take a vacation. I went to Milan with Glitter for a week. She had to work for a couple of hours a day, but that wasn’t a big deal, and we did small, lovely things. We slept in and let ourselves wake naturally. I watched the motes of dust in the air shine in pale rays of evening sunlight. We took walks. We visited museums and galleries. We took in shows. Small things. Normal things. Things I’ve dearly missed. It’s amazing how a little time helps us heal. The sudden wracking sobs subsided. The nightmares got… less terrible, at least. I was healing, gradually. Glitter, somehow, didn’t seem to feel I’d lost my marbles. She seemed concerned for me, and a little sad, but she didn’t withdraw from me. God’s kindness in bringing us together never ceases to amaze me.

About a week into my vacation, the Professor called me and we arranged for transport to Portland for a few days later so that I could tell him in person about what had happened. And get checked over by him to make sure I hadn’t really just cracked. He was… surprisingly close-mouthed. He’s never talked a /lot/ granted, but I wish I knew what was going on inside his head. He said he’d get back to me on it.

Feeling much improved emotionally, I asked the Professor for a favor: the path I’ve chosen for the time being is a dangerous one, and I need to learn to defend myself. Truth be told, it was Glitter’s idea more than mine. I’ve confidence in my bindings, but Glitter worries for me, and so I promised her I would work to improve. Besides, I hate getting winded walking up a flight of stairs. I’ve never been physically imposing, but… Well, at any rate, I requested the Professor arrange for physical and combat training, and he obliged me.

I had to return to Chicago, much as the idea made my skin crawl. Like it or not, that’s where the team was, and I needed to be there should Iceman find any information for us on our latest job for The Mogul. But there I spent most of my time in the Tir Embassy. The Professor had arranged for me to train with the Embassy guardians.

How to describe the ensuing training? I worked from sundown until after sun-up each day. Imagine the common image of military training. I ran. A lot. I marched. A lot. With heavy packs. I was made to do pushups until I threw up. I was shot at. I crawled through mud on my belly like a snake. All that sort of thing. But that was only part of it. Tir Embassy guardians are very good at what they do, as befitting their status, and I was to do personal combat training with them, and me a complete novice. The first six weeks or so mostly involved me getting facial bones broken, cuts, slashes, and minor stab-wounds, at least if you don’t count the internal injuries. I spent enough time in the medical ward that I learned some about treating wounds simply through repetition. I also became very, very good at casting healing spells. After about the first six weeks, since the guards were all going very easy on me, I was able to defend myself a little bit.

A sergeant, Lorner, didn’t like me very much I think. A civilian thing maybe, or maybe he was disgusted with how weak I was, or… I don’t know yet. But he introduced me to the Se’lahan, and drilled me in it extensively, in return for helping him improve his laughable grasp of Sperethiel. It wasn’t a really a matter of personal preferences on my part, as I probably would’ve preferred the rapier. But it was what he thought I was most suited toward, and him being the expert, I trusted his judgement. A Se’lahan, of course, is a chain weapon. It consists of a chain about two meters long. At one end of the chain is a wicked, curved blade, finely-wrought and elegant. At the other end of the chain is a straight, short blade. The weapon’s quite versatile, able to slash, pierce, or entangle the enemy. The blades are fine enough to find the chinks in armor for a skilled user, and they’re manipulated by twisting, swinging, and wrapping-around of the chain. And perhaps most usefully, it’s long enough to keep the enemy from easily getting close. On the other hand, it’s miserable to learn. I can’t even tell you how many times I sliced myself open or smacked myself in the face or almost cut off something important.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about all the training was that it was helping me more than physically. My will was focused on the training, but it left my mind free and open to doing other things. Maybe the Professor knew that would be the case when he set it up for me. And it helped my confidence to deal with new situations. That first month I went to bed every day too bone-weary to think or do anything to sleep. And by the time my body started to get used to the training, I’d stopped having the night-terrors, and I was finally feeling in control again.

After about six weeks of training, I was used to it enough that I had energy for other things. So I read, and learned, about anything that would catch my fancy in the Embassy’s library or without. I learned to use the computers a little bit. And in the early mornings I started to research again, working on magics I thought would be useful. For one, I created a spell that would allow members of a team to communicate telepathically; immensely useful if I’m going to spend much of my time in astral space. And learned the basics of a couple of spells by watching the Embassy doctor. And, deciding I was used to it enough that I wouldn’t be too much of a danger to myself, I asked Greg to put in an order with his talismonger friend, for a Se’lahan weapon ranted, but even that would be immensely expensive considering the price of orichalcum.

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Night of the Living Dead Again

Previously,Samriel had met with a mysterious Alfred Hitchcockian patron, The Mogul, who wants ten original prints of classic films. He is willing to pay the team 25,000 nuyen apiece after delivery and confirmation of the authenticity of the films. The team set up a decker, Iceman, who is currently scouring the Matrix for any hint of who owns the films.

The team is hanging out in the Swanky Hangar Lair, when Samriel gets a call from Iceman. He’s tracked down the owner of one of the films, George Romero’s 1963 classic ‘Night of the Living Dead’. The owner is a Brian Murdock, manager of the Hotel Liberty in downtown Philadelphia, PA. Captain Jack is given negotiation duties. (SIdenote: Captain Jack was loaned to the team as part of the debt he was working off for the Chicago DeLuca Family.

Captain Jack is a social adept and works out a meet for 1900 the following night. The crew loads up in the Monstrosity and hits the I-80 turnpike, steaming for Philadelphia. 12 hours of driving and four pit stops later, they arrive at the Walt Whitman truck stop. They off load the Fox and pile in, heading to the rendevous site, the underground garage of the Hotel Liberty.

BatDwarf pulls in and parks near the wall, perpindicular to the line of cars. Samriel goes astral as Captain Jack gets out to greet Mr. Murdock who’s standing next to his green Honda Elite. Samriel realizes a nearby Bulldog Security Van has an astral ward on it. He pops back in his body and relays this info. Captain Jack readies his flintlock and heads to the meet. Introductions are made, the Captain is presented with a hardcase. Inside is a 16mm movie reel in preservative film and a certificate of authenticity. He snaps a pic with his pocket secretary and sends it to BatDwarf who forwards it to Iceman. Iceman verifies the certificates realism. Captain Jack produces a credstick and Mr. Murdock slots it, grinning. He offers the team use of two rooms for the night and Captain Jack agrees. They shake hands on a deal well done. Mr. Murdock strolls away to the elevator as…

To absolutely no ones surprise, the rear doors of the Bulldog slam open and two grenades fly out. Captain Jack dives behind Murdocks car as the concussion grenades hit the roof lights off the Fox and bounce off the wall respectively. The tough stolen Ares prototype urban combat vehicle completely takes the blast with no damage at all. Two troll hitters in security armor with chest mounted gyro rigged Ingram Valiant light machineguns clamber out and begin tracking. Captain Jack slides around to the hood of Murdocks car and caps off a headshot at Troll 1, grazing his face. Samriel summons Scorch as BatDwarf launches his Guardian mini Hunter Killer VTOL Drone. Troll 2 seems stunned by the response. Troll 1 fires a long burst down the side of the Elite, splattering gel rounds and ruining the finish.

Captain Jack jumps on the narrow hood of the Bulldog and points his handcannon at the mage inside ordering him to the floor. Troll 2 tries sneaking down his blindside even as Troll 1 gets shredded by the Saburo LMG mounted on the Guardian. Scorch manifests in his demon dog surrounded by hellfire form and breathes at Troll 2, who uses his enhance reflexes to ditch the machinegun and dive away. The Stepvan takes the brunt of the Flamethrower spell, catching fire and ruining Captain Jack’s intent to steal it. The mage is told to RUN and he and the Security Troll leg it out of the garage as Captain Jack piles into the Fox with the movie case.

The team decides to find a 24 hour facility to ship the movie tonight to The Mogul. A curious fog has rolled in while they were in the meeting though and the streets are eeriely deserted. The Fox rolls on and then slams to a stop because a city bus is blocking the street sideways. Several humaniod figures stumble and moan in the fog around it. BatDwarf quickly flips a bitch and heads back the other way, for a Stuffer Shack they passed.

When they reach the Shack, Captain Jack gets out to mail the movie with his blunderbuss in his fist. A trio of obviously very dead people stagger out of the fog near him and he backs up. More and more of the (the PCs had a hard time saying it) zombies appear until Jack’s nerve breaks and he bails back into the Fox. The team is surrounded by nearly a dozen of the things and BatDwarf goes all Carmaggedeon on them, doing donuts and plowing over bodies in an effort to get back to the truckstop.

Back at the Walt Whitman, he sends a command and the ramp lowers, allowing the crew to load the FOX without getting out. They seal up but before they can roll out, Captain Jack announces he knows whats going on and shoots himself in the head.

The team wakes up in an abandoned storefront, with “I should be in a Mexican jail” drug hangovers. They have all of their gear and the film. Captain Jack isn’t sure they are really in the real world so he shoots himself in the hand. Blood sprays from the gunshot wound as he yelps in pain ‘AYE! WE’RE BACK’ He binds the wound up with torn rags as the other two open the film case. Inside they find a note from the Chrysis Corporation thanking the for being test subjects for the latest iteration of the SegAtari VR game system and three credsticks for 500 nuyen. The team vows revenge and loads up for the long, long drive back to Chicago.

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Shit just got unreal
Fuck Crysis

Well shit, why do corps keep surprising me, Kidnapped and put in a damn computer game. Though at least they got my blunderbuss right. So some crazy VR that was, ended up shooting myself in the hand because I thought I was still asleep. But if they think they can get away with that drek they’ve got another thing coming.
Chrisis Corp, I’ve got my eyes on you.

Oh you think that’s too short do you? Well fine.
We made a trade, paid some guy for some collector, Got jumped by a couple of trolls and a mage and then we were in the game somehow, fragging zombies everywhere. Was when Sam said the drunken idiots were dead that I realized this shit wasnt real. Anyway we woke up when we realized, in some empty shop front or at least we thought we did, Riggerdwarf told us we were still asleep he seemed pretty certain, so I shot myself. On second thoughts I probably should have shot him. Well whatever I was right.

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Revelations

“The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces.” — Revelation 9:7

From Samriel’s Mental Journal:
03-06-54 (June 3rd, 2054)

Dear Lord, Our Father, please give me strength. This last weekend has been trying in the extreme, and I’ve seen things I thought to never see in my life. Give me the strength to continue, and to not let it weigh me down.

My body can’t seem to decide if it’s tired and wants sleep, or if it’s hyped-up with nervous energy. So when I sleep it’s fitfully and only for a few hours at a time. My anxiety level’s been through the roof, but after my meeting with the Professor hopefully it’ll start to come back down. I need a vacation.

Thursday, May 28th,Eleazar-Lazarus set up a meeting with a Johnson. We met in a Renraku garage with a Daniel Simpson. Obviously he was a good corp man, nervous about dealing with Shadowrunners. Maybe he’d seen too many simsense flicks or something but he clearly didn’t know what he was doing since he let us discover his name so easily.

Anyway, the job sounded relatively easy and straightforward: he gave a necklace to his mistress, his wife found out, and he said he bought the necklace for their anniversary. But the mistress had disappeared with the necklace. Find the girl, get the necklace, and deliver it to Simpson before the anniversary in the next couple of days. It wasn’t paying great, only a few grand, but it didn’t seem too bad for the expected difficulty. It just goes to show you: milk runs aren’t always milk runs.

And so we started tracking her down. Seemed she’d skipped town and given her things over to someone, who had cleared out her apartment. Eleazar got a call from Antoinette DeLuca for a date, and he availed himself of her company, announcing he’d get with us another time. So we proceeded without him. Talking to the landlord and a cat-loving troll fellow, we were able to get a lead to a psychic that the mistress (Victoria Delling) saw on a regular basis for years, a Madame Ulisha. And that’s when things started to go to hell.

We called ahead and set up a meeting with Madame Ulisha, and rather than get straight to it I asked for a reading, curious as to whether she was a legitimate psychic or just a sheister. So, astrally perceiving, I asked her to do her thing. And that’s when I saw what she /really/ was. I about drekked myself, and it was all I could do to keep a straight face and keep up polite conversation with the thing I saw: a massive fragging fly creature the size of a full-grown metahuman.

Able to hold it together for a little while at least, after the reading I inquired about Victoria Delling, and Ulisha said that she had a regular appointment, and was troubled, but hadn’t heard anything from her or knew where she was. Apparently Victoria thought she had a stalker, and a few days ago a Patrick Bramba turned up asking questions, so Ulisha didn’t tell him anything, figuring Bramba to be the stalker. I of course explained that we were hired by a party concerned to find her. Anyway, I was able to keep it together long enough to get out of there without raising too much suspicion, I think.

When we got back to the hangar, I finally let the façade drop. I think that was the longest cry I’ve had in years and years. I cried and showered and burned my gloves where I’d touched some of her things. I felt dirty everywhere and she hadn’t even touched me. A monster that wasn’t supposed to exist was having a conversation with me; an inhuman, terribly alien monster. I probably threw up everything I’d eaten for the last two years before I started feeling better.

And then… then came the worst part: having to explain it to other people. I mean, I’ve heard a few rumors over the years, about spirits that are insects, and bad and terrible things driven by inhuman desires, but I’d always thought it was nonsense. I certainly don’t remember anything in catechism about gigantic insect monsters… although Revelations does reference plagues of giant locust, I believe? Anyway, even /I/ was having trouble believing what I’d seen. Greg didn’t seem as skeptical as I would’ve been, which is good, but when even I was doubting my own sanity… well, it was an enormous relief nobody outright called me a liar. So at least I seem to have earned a certain measure of acceptance from the team as knowing what I’m doing. Which is quite a relief in its own way. I don’t know what I’d have done if they’d called me a liar, except to say that what I saw is what I saw.

Never wanting to see Ulisha again and praying she was the only local monster outside the Shattergraves, we proceeded with the investigation. We tracked down where Patrick Bramba worked when I didn’t get a call back from him, and went to investigate. Entering we spotted a group of oddly happy gangers sitting in a far-too-fancy vehicle watching us as we entered, which got me immediately suspicious. Gangers aren’t usually so fragging happy, and they don’t usually hang out in luxury sedans. Suspecting something was up, we entered cautiously, and I had Batdwarf monitor their movements via his Condor. There wasn’t a trap inside the office, so I projected and conjured up the demons I’m calling Scorch and Tempest, and watched the stairs. Batdwarf set his drone to guard the elevator. While the others searched the office for anything of potential value.

We did find information of value, and it was also a trap. Sure enough the gangers came up the elevator; Batdwarf mowed three of them down with his drone while I had Tempest knock out and capture the remaining ganger for interrogation. By then, Greg andTeagan had finished with the search, and we tied up the ganger and slapped him into wakefulness. I began interrogating him and he claimed to be working for Manny the Melon, a local alderman, sent to kill Bramba for fragging with his business. But after searching them we’d discovered the gangers to have been armed with APDS ammo, which Teagan told us was rare mil-spec stuff. Probably not something an alderman could get, I figured. We didn’t have long to interrogate the ganger before he attacked though. Apparently he came equipped with finger-blades and cut his bonds. Teagan placed a few dozen needles in his skull for his trouble. And so we returned to base.

Things were getting very strange. I called up Big Tony to try to find out how rare this APDS stuff is, and like I suspected, an alderman probably couldn’t get a hold of it. We were missing something. I hired a decker calling himself Surge to help us figure out where Bramba was: find Bramba and we find the girl, we were hoping, and maybe some answers too. We found him in a stripclub named Superdad’s of all things. People never cease to be revolting. Anyway, I sent Teagan and Greg around the back incase Bramba made a run for it that way, while I talked to the barman. As I was afraid of, the barman signaled Bramba that someone was looking for him, and Bramba made to leave. Teagan and Greg were there, fortunately, and it’s right about that time that Batdwarf reported a luxury sedan approaching at high speed. The sedan turned out not to be armored, though; Batdwarf took out everyone in it without difficulty, and Bramba came with us, where we laid everything out for him.

Around this time I also heard back from Surge about further matters. It seemed that Delling’s things had been turned over to the Universal Brotherhood, along with all her assets, legal rights, and so on. So he went looking around the Universal Brotherhood system, and he discovered that she was there, and the necklace was even recorded as being in their inventory, at the North Side Chapterhouse. But for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what the gangers were doing involved in this. Searching for answers, and because it was bothering me, we went back to Madame Ulisha’s, ready to take on the monster if it came down to it.

Damn good thing we were prepared, too. What we found wasn’t Madame Ulisha, but a pair of dual-natured insectoid monsters that reminded me of ants. Ulisha was dead, and apparently she took out a couple of the ant-monsters before going down, but there were still two alive. I sent Cinder and Scorch after them, and they engaged; the ant-monsters were pretty fragging fast, I’ll tell you. They kept up with Cinder and Scorch well. After the rest of the team moved in, the fight didn’t last very long. The ant-creatures were tough, but it’s hard for anything with flesh to last long against a pair of light machineguns and a ninja assassin. I helped too, of course, as did Greg I’m sure.

So we explored Madame Ulisha’s, looking for answers. Some of the answers turned up in the form of a whole box of recruiting pamphlets for the Universal Brotherhood. As near as we could figure, it all seemed to be heading back to the Universal Brotherhood, who might be well-connected enough to get their hands on APDS ammo. And then of course, we discovered the… nursery, I guess you might call it. Inside I found what might loosely be termed a baby, if monsters have babies. Apparently they do. Some sort of half-human half-fly monstrosity that was without a doubt an abomination before God. Something that should never have existed. And a journal talking about how Ulisha apparently thought the same thing; it shouldn’t exist. Presumably for different reasons though, it being hard to control or some such. As near as we could tell from the journal, Ulisha was pregnant when she was possessed by the fly spirit, and so somehow the child became some sort of half-fly half-human monster. Probably never had a soul to begin with. That’s a blessing in a way, I guess. We also discovered proof in the journal that Ulisha had been recruiting people for the Brotherhood.

Realizing of course that nobody would ever believe us if I tried to tell people about this, we collected some evidence. I took recordings of the whole scene. The infantile monster, the journal, the pamphlets, the ant-creatures of which we found four with various sorts of wounds, and of course Madame Ulisha as well although she looked quite human still. Someone might’ve mistaken the ant-creatures for bizarre cyberware I guess, but I’d seen their auras. I knew the truth. So I made sure to take samples for DNA testing, as well as samples from the ant creatures and their mandibles and such so I could show it’s not cyber. If I weren’t going insane, this is a threat to every nation and every people, so after we got back to the base, I put in calls to the Professor and Glitter. Then even if they didn’t believe me, at least if I died, it might lend some credence to my story.

After talking to the team, we decided to bring Surge in as a full member. We’d need serious Matrix overwatch if we were going to raid the Brotherhood chapterhouse. Bramba was all-in on the whole matter, having seen what we saw and wanting to rescue Victoria Delling. I think the poor bastard fell in love with her from afar, or something similarly dumb and romantic. As I was talking to Surge and laying the whole story out to him, he actually left for a minute to answer his fragging door. Then the line went dead. And so, I suspect, did Surge. Somehow, as near as I could figure, the Universal Brotherhood tracked him down and probably sent some monsters to get him.

As much as I wanted to do this… I think we all came to the decision after that that the Universal Brotherhood was a little too large a group for four Shadowrunners and a Private Dick to take on by ourselves. Especially since all their fragging soldiers appeared to be either monsters or armed with APDS ammunition. So we decided to cut our losses. In disguise, I returned the advance we were given, and apologized to Simpson for us being unable to locate the necklace. He didn’t care anymore; he told his wife all about the affair and he went off to join the Brotherhood. Another convert for the monsters.

As I mentioned earlier though, that wasn’t the end of the story. If I’m not going completely insane, this is a matter of security for everyone who doesn’t want to be eaten by monsters in the darkness. So I set up a meeting with the Professor, over a secure line from the Embassy, and I laid everything that I’d discovered out for him. The whole run, all the details, the video, pieces of the samples we’d taken, the links to the Universal Brotherhood’s Northside chapterhouse, the journal referencing another sort of Insect Queen (presumably ant?), everything needed for him to hopefully verify the veracity of my statements. I even offered to undergo a mindprobe if he thought my memories had been somehow altered or something. He said he’d check it all out and get to the bottom of it. I’ve known the Professor since I was a child; he saved me, quite literally. I should be able to rest easier for it now.

Personally I could care less about the money at this point, but for the team and the danger, I went ahead and asked him if there’d be any sort of reward if he’s able to verify the truth of what we discovered. He said we’d see. And for me at least, that’s enough. The Professor would never steer me wrong.

Glitter probably thinks I’m insane. She’s a spirit herself and hasn’t ever heard of insects. A timeless entity who hasn’t ever heard of them… maybe I am insane. I’m so tired after all of this, I don’t even know anymore. I think I need some sleep, and a vacation. Maybe I’ll go back and visit Portland and see the Professor, and spend a week curled up with Glitter, and work on small things like healing some injured poor or writing the thesis that the IOND wanted for my next Initiation to help understand my magical processes more accurately. Not this world-shattering drek. Enough world-shattering drek for the moment. I definitely need a vacation.

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The Long Wait

From Samriel’s mental Journal:
06-05-54 (May 6th, 2054)

Finally, I’m free to start working on things that are actually my forte! I’ve been bored out of my mind with the sitting and the waiting, with nothing better to do than watch trid. I didn’t even have a chip-reader to let me look over my libraries and work on studying. It’s been aggravating in the extreme. Aside from conjuring Watchers and Greg and I putting up some alarm wards, I’ve had almost nothing to keep me occupied since we arrived in Chicago. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was starting to get cabin fever.

Let’s see… back on the 4th we did the job we owed to Antoinette DeLuca. It wasn’t that complex; planning took more time than the entire ‘run actually did. She wanted us to stop or steal a shipment of something valuable coming in for the local Yakuza outfit. It was coming in along the highway in a semi with fairly heavy protection. We spent hours brainstorming, trying to come up with a plan. I suggested a number of ideas: having Grunt roll the escort SUVs, or having Tempest knock out the drivers, or digging a big hole across their path, but once I learned they’d be on major public roads, I ran out of ideas quickly.

It was interesting and unexpected that BatDwarf and Greg, both of whom seem pretty laid-back most of the time as long as money isn’t directly involved, butted heads some. Apparently Greg is a dedicated pacifist, who doesn’t want to kill anyone, even if they’d quite hapilly kill us. And then on the other side of the coin was BatDwarf, who absolutely insisted that we needed to steal the semi that the Yaks were transporting their goods in. I’m not sure why; I guess because he’s a Rigger and they just like having new toys? Anyway, since the best way to actually steal the semi would have been to kill the escorts, BatDwarf and Greg really butted heads and wouldn’t budge an inch. In the end we finally came up with sort of a compromise, at least the best we could manage.

Ultimately the plan we decided on was relatively straightforward. We acquired some satchels of explosives, and we’d drop the explosives on the truck. I’d scout the convoy first to see if they had magical support, to help us determine whether or not we could turn the explosives invisible or to drop them from levitation or if we needed to do it physically. When there was no other traffic around, we would blow the semi’s trailer with its drugs or whatever was inside. This would avoid killing, which made Greg happy. In order to appease the greedy BatDwarf we came up with the compromise that even though we were going to blow up this vehicle, after the run we would use our earnings to purchase another semi that we could use as a mobile base of operations for the team as a whole.

And so that’s what we set out to do. We found the target vehicles, and I proceeded to astrally perceive, but I saw that the vehicle windows were all mirrored. Reporting to the group that I couldn’t tell, and going to have a closer look would be a risk, we decided to proceed with the mundane-methods plan. The explosives were tossed onto the back of the semi’s trailer, and about two seconds later they suddenly exploded. Why they went off so quickly I haven’t the slightest idea, but part of me suspects that maybe the timer or radio detonators that we were given weren’t up to snuff. At any rate, the explosion was gargantuan, and I’m surprised our team on the bridge didn’t get blown up. Bat and I were a long way behind and even inside the vehicle I felt the sheer concussive force in my guts. So in the end I didn’t actually get to do much to contribute, either.

The explosion might’ve been far larger than we’d intended but at least we completed the job. To my surprise, DeLuca wasn’t angry with having caused some collateral damage, or about the fact that it turned out the shipment was shrimp of all things, and not something all that particularly rare or valuable. She even paid us extra for doing it with style.

After the ‘run and getting paid, BatDwarf started researching which semi to buy, and Eleazar started working on getting us some quality fake SINs. I just got mine earlier today, so now maybe I can actually start making some headway in finding a group of like-minded individuals with whom to explore the finer points of the universe’s intricacies. I plan on spending a lot of time out at Little Earth and the Elemental Island, and checking in with Charlotte and Rodney, and Glitter might have some leads as well. I suppose ultimately I need to improve my ability at handling water elementals anyway; they’ve never been my area of expertise. I’ve also got to find a local talismonger and establish good relations, and either rent part of the shop once in a while, or else find myself a reasonable place in which I can perform the conjuring rituals, or I’ll run out of elementals who owe me services before too long.

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AN EXPLOSIVE DEBUT
Laz and Crew: World Renowned Seafood Chefs

Well after an interesting meeting with a capo of the DeLuca family, Antoinette, we were able to move some coke and we got our first run. Antoinette seemed young to hold the position she did, so either she is really dangerous or she has had extensive surgery. In my line of business it is always better to assume the former rather than the latter. If you are cautious, you might not get rich, but you will probably survive another day. And for me that is what it is all about, just surviving. I died once and now twice in order to keep on living, and I will continue to do whatever it takes to survive.

So on to the job offer by Ms. DeLuca. Well it was clear from the outset that this job was going to be different than our standard snatch and grab jobs. We needed to stop a semi full of an unknown cargo from reaching its destination. We really only had two options here, steal the truck and its cargo or destroy it. Bat’s opinion was clear from the go, he wanted the truck. The other big issue we had to deal with was Greg’s unwillingness to remove the yaks acting as escorts. Unfortunately, this created a large dilemma. Because to steal the truck and get away clean, we would have to deal with the yaks and that would likely mean we would need lethal force. This lead to a huge discussion and planning situation. It took the better part of our only day to plan, trying to figure out a way to steal the truck and not kill the Yaks. It wasn’t going well.

I gave it my best diplomatic effort so that we might be able to get on to the real issue at hand, as neither Bat nor Greg was budging an inch. I poured on the old Laz charm, and offered to buy a semi after the run for us to use as a new team mobile platform. I hoped this would placate Bat, and it seemed to work. Now was the issue of how to take the semi out while trying not to kill anyone. Luckily as the shipment was coming in late at night the roads wouldn’t be that busy. Bat finally hatched a plan to attempt to blow up just the trailer and its contents, and we would need to make a quick get away. Big Tony, a specialist in acquiring goods, had been recommended to us by Miss DeLuca. We had him put us in contact with an explosives expert, and we purchased three packs of 10 kilos of explosives. We guessed as to how much we really needed as none of us had experience with demolitions before. We also had Big Tony obtain 2 vehicles for us to use.

Now it was my turn to be really useful, I contacted one of my only reliable contacts, Madame Butterfly. We needed someone to hack the weigh stations so we could get an accurate time frame of the semi’s arrival and we plotted to drop the explosives from an overpass onto the trailer. Seemed simple enough, but you know how that goes if you are in our business. We hoped that Greg could simply lower the packs onto the semi with a levitation spell so that we could get them place properly, however this was only going to be possible if the Yaks didn’t have an astral overwatch going on. If they did it was going to be up to Eva and myself to try and drop them accurately. Erebus and Bat would follow and try to determine if there was an astral overwatch or not. Plan was set, equipment in places, services secured, time to run.

Everyone took up their positions as we got the call from Madame Butterfly. Bat pulled out behind them as they passed him headed our way. Erebus did his thing and came back telling us he couldn’t be certain whether they did or didn’t have astral scouts. This was bad, as it gave us just mere moments to decide whether or not to use magic or not. We decided that while it might be a slight bit less effective, it was less risky if Eva and I tossed the packs. Greg gave us the countdown as the truck approached. It was now or never.

Eva and I dropped our first packs and I quickly grabbed and tossed the third pack. We were going to wait until the semi was clear of any other vehicles then blow it. When the blast hit us, I knew something went wrong for sure. Greg knew the plan, surely he hadn’t hit the button yet, but no matter, I was knocked flat and stunned by the force of the explosion. My vision was blurry as I stumbled trying to get to my feet. Then I felt a firm hand pulling me towards our escape. Thankfully, Eva had avoided the worst effects of the blast and she was saving mine and Greg’s hides. She helped us into the Bulldog and took off. What an introduction to learning how to drive. She did wonderfully though and soon we were back at the warehouse. I have to remember to thank her. She could have just as easily capped Greg and myself and made her escape. But it seems we are truly becoming a solid team.

I vaguely remembered hearing the news reports over that satellite radio. The semi and both escort vehicles had been obliterated. Apparently all the Yaks had been killed or were severely injured. And there was something about crispy fried shrimp. Once my head completely cleared, Eva, Bat and Erebus confirmed what I had heard. At least we were alive and apparently not readily identified. Greg was depressed though as he pouted about the dead Yaks.

The next day we met up with Miss DeLuca at the warehouse, and got our final payment. She was both pleased and amused at the results we had accomplished. She really liked hearing that the oyabun would be without his favorite vice for awhile.

It was decided by the team to use some large sums of the cash to get us the mobile base and get Bat his big rig. I went about the business end of things for the team obtaining our needs. One big one, was new identities for everyone. I took on the name Eleazar, Erebus went with a Sperethiel word, Samriel, that meant discomfort. Boy did we have some fun with that. Eva began using the name Tegan. Only Bat, Greg and Scarlet were still undecided what to go with.

Well things didn’t go off without a hitch, but we can’t really complain, how often do you get to become an infamous seafood chef. Seafood chef you ask, oh I forgot to tell you that the unknown cargo turned out to be a shipment of shrimp, and well the explosion left fried shrimp everywhere. Bon Appetit!

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Hookers and Blow

From Samriel’s Mental Journal
01-05-54 (May 1st, 2054)

Arriving in the Chicago sprawl, at long last, we found ourselves some cheap motel rooms to bunk while we work on finding a buyer for our ill-gotten gains. The whole business makes me nervous as hell. We’ve got millions of nuyen worth of stuff just waiting for a sufficiently powerful fireteam to come in and blast us all to hell to take it. I’ve got so much nervous energy that for the life of me I don’t know quite to do with it, although I’m trying hard not to emote it. Last thing the team needs is to start thinking that the cerebral types are getting nervous; that’d be hell on morale and things are plenty tense already.

So, the best way to deal with the anxiety is to drive headlong into the work. Lazarus, Scarlet, and I started hitting every Mafia-owned dive-bar, nightclub, and mob hangout we could find. It took us the ten days since we arrived meeting people, buying drinks, sucking up to low-level associates, and running down leads before we could find anyone, but at long last we received a message from a Mafia sotto capo about a meeting. Scarlet used her internet prowess – actually, scratch that, it’s called the matrix now. Anyway, she used her matrix searching prowess to help us find out that the meeting place was an extremely high-class brothel owned by one of the families of mafiosos. We acquired fine outfits so as to blend in with the high-end clientele, hired a limousine for the evening, and headed off to the brothel. And in the meantime? Eva discovered that we had not stolen a million nuyen worth of novacoke – we had in fact stolen some twenty million worth of purified cocaine, and what we had left was worth some 16.2 million or so.

We met with the sotto capo – a woman, to my surprise – and she and Lazarus worked out a bargain. Scarlet complained a good deal about the price, showing both a lack of professionalism and a lack of team unity in front of the Mafia representative. I spent some time checking out the Astral in the club. Nice place, wards around, and I was only slightly surprised to find a pair of air elementals present with us. It’s possible that the elementals were on loan to her by a proper Magician, but more likely the sotto capo is in fact a Hermetic herself. Why she bothers to veil her aura while having a pair of elementals at hand, I truly don’t know. At any rate, after our discussion, we left in the limo that we’d hired to take us to the posh meeting place.

Returning to the group, we were followed, but pursuit broke off once we left the Sprawl proper. After getting dropped off at a nearby motel, we hiked back to the one at which we were staying, and told the others what we’d worked out. Essentially we only struck a bargain for the first five bricks. We would sell them for four-hundred grand, but in exchange we would agree to sell the rest only to her, and furthermore that we would owe her a Shadowrun. And so it’s up to the group to decide how they wish to proceed.

Personally I need something else to concentrate on, so I’m going to go through our rooms and fashion some alarm-wards over our rooms to alert us to any astral presences entering any of our rooms. I’m also going to see what I can do about convincing the Mafia we’re staying at this other motel room. I think what I’ll do is conjure up some watcher-imps, and place several outside the false location, with orders to watch for any astral intruders, and then run into room 7 of that motel and disperse their energies. This will alert me to their demise. I’ll also place a watcher on each cache of the drugs, in case someone were to sleaze their way past my wards, as double insurance. Then at least we should be alerted if they locate us via the astral.

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TO DIE ANOTHER DAY
Laz's Death and Rebirth

Life was finally taking a turn for the better or so Laz thought. After burying his previous life, he found himself running the shadows. Not so long ago, he had hired fellows just like him, and now he was one of them. Life has a funny way like that.

He had just finished a pretty successful snatch and grab that had netted some cool creds. Best of all, he got to stick it to the Azzies. Nothing felt better than that, even the fact that it was a very clean run. He loved runs that were quick and clean and with nobody the wiser for what had happened until he and his team were long gone. This had been one of those runs.

Two weeks later he got a call from Eva, one of his team from the previous run, asking for a little assistance in another what seemed to be simple snatch and grab. This one wasn’t going to net a lot of cred, but was more of a personal favor. He agreed to help, largely because Eva and her team had proven so professional the last run.

Things started well, the team came up with a solid plan and had some reasonably good intel on the target. The mages, Erebus and Cindy, were going to use some mojo to get Eva up to the balcony of the apartment and with the aid of some of Bat’s drones they were going to make entry and obtain the objectives and get out quick. An elven hottie named Scarlet and I were going to create a distraction if necessary at the entrance to the building. Scarlet was definitely my type, attractive dark-haired elf with violet eyes, but something about her name just didn’t fit. She was new to me, but the rest of the team vouched for her, so I was fine with that. I mean they had showed the professionalism our last time out so I could give them a little leeway, besides as jobs go this one was going to be easy if everyone just stuck to the plan.

Things started well enough, as Bat got his drones up to the roof just above the balcony and Eva made her ascent. Everything was going according to plan, maybe just a little too well. Should have known something would go wrong. Once Eva and the drone entered the building things began to change rapidly and never for the better. First the house cat suddenly morphed into some giant cheetah, but Bat’s drone and Eva managed that okay. However that was only a harbinger of what was to come. Eva got to the bed and looked under for the bag we needed to recover. But instead of one blue duffel bag, there were two. Oh crap what now, I thought.

Well Eva quickly opened them, the first contained a large number of silver wrapped brick shapes, hell that must be the Vories drug stash, I thought. The second did contain what we were after though. As Eva turned her attention to the safe to get the other items we came for, an argument broke out amongst the team. This is never good, I thought. Scarlet wanted Eva to take the bag of drugs and even worse she wanted Eva to clear out the safe. The safe contained one brick of the drugs and the 10 or so chips as we had been informed. However it also contained an old book, Crime and Punishment, an antique sidearm, a small case, a small black bag and some certified credsticks. I was okay with taking the credsticks in addition to the chips and one brick. But others pushed hard for us to take it all. I knew this meant trouble, but there seemed to be no give in Scarlet or Bat.

So I finally decided to convince them to stick to the items we could likely fence easily. I said leave the novel, pistol and the box which we discovered had an eyeball in it. The bag contained some uncut diamonds, so I agreed we could take them. I wanted badly to leave the drugs behind, but Scarlet and Bat were staunch in their decision. It finally came down to Eva’s decision, as it should have been all along as this was her job after all. Eva caved to the pressure and took the drugs. I didn’t blame her, but I certainly wished she hadn’t. However, if all went well, we would soon be retired and living in the Carribean League or something like that.

Eva and the drone were just getting ready to leave when the Vories pulled up in front of the building. It was time for Scarlet and I to spring into action. I sped my Ferrari 770 Spyder around their car and cut them off. Scarlet, didn’t mis the cue and climbed out, as did I. We erupted into a shouting match. We were both giving it our all, and luckily it was working as it caught the attention of the Vories. In fact one of them walked up and said to me “ Are you going to take that off of her. If I were you I would slap her." Knowing I wouldn’t be able to make that look real, I had to think fast. I mumbled “You can have her!” I wasn’t sure if he heard me or not, but I had to follow through now. So I jumped into the car and took off down the street. This shocked Scarlet, the sheer sincerity in that look was sure to convince the Vories of our authenticity. Scarlet didn’t let this distract her long. Sensing what I was up to she gave chase. Around the block I pulled over and waited for her to catch up. As she climbed in the car, Scarlet slapped me in the face, but I had expected that. All that mattered at this moment was had we done enough.

It had worked, the distraction had given Eva and Bat just enough time to clear out. We were driving like bats out of the NAN as we decided to head for a safe house on Council Island and plan our next move. Things quickly went down hill from there. We tried to contact the joygirl to set up a meet, but she had already been taken. This was not good and we knew it. That was when I finally got to see Scarlet’s true face and finally I understood why she was called Scarlet. It seems she wasn’t an elf at all, but in fact a human with long flowing red hair. While not in the least unattractive, it definitely stunted my interest in her. That was likely a good thing, considering the drek we were in now. It was all over the newsnets. The Vories were tearing the Red Light District apart looking for us. The had hit our usual meeting place, The Shamrock, and our fixer, a guy I knew only as Murphy was on the run. Drek just kept going from bad to worse, slot it. Murphy informed us that the Vories had a 500k reward on our heads. With that kind of money looking for us, two things became abundantly clear. One, we had severely underestimated the value of what we had taken and two, we had to get the frag out of here.

Everybody got what stuff they could recover, which left me in an awkward position. Because my Ferrari would be so noticeable, I had to ditch my prized vehicle and I was going to have to leave behind my greatest assets, all my wonderful contacts that I had made since my rebirth. It was going to be painful, but I am guessing it was for just about everyone else as well. Bat came through on getting us a ride out of the Sprawl, and I negotiated us a price that was more to our taste, but still this wasn’t going to be cheap. A T-Bird pilot, whose name I will leave in the analogs of anonymity, was able to get us across the border and into the NAN lands. It was a rather rough ride that left us all the worse for wear. Finally we stopped at a tourist trap/truck stop and we all climbed out and headed in to get cleaned up. We bought some new clothes and it was at this time I came to see just how attractive Eva really was. You see I don’t normally go for the human girls as they are rarely good enough looking for my tastes, but when I saw Eva walk out of the truck stop in the little buckskin outfit, my jaw nearly hit the floor. What could I say, she was really gorgeous. I intended to remain professional, though I new it wasn’t going to be easy.

A little while later we were hooked up with an old NAN runner who agreed to take us the rest of the way. Things were going okay and Bat was having fun blasting things from the sky while we drove like crazy. Then the old guy’s truck bit the dust and he had to call in help. It was cold as hell and I huddled with Scarlet and Eva for bodyheat. This may have been a mistake, as I could feel the heat building between Eva and I. Next thing you know, a group of ork gangers showed up. Slot it, I thought, we will have to fight for our survival. However turns out, this was the help the old guy had summoned. After some discussion between the ork gang leader and the old guy, they agreed to take us the rest of the way and we hopped on the back of their bikes and we were off. It was a rough ride for some of us who weren’t use to this kind of thing, but finally as night fell, the gang stopped at an old abandoned motel.

They started up a fire, and the boozing began. I took a couple of swigs in order to not insult our hosts, but I knew any more than that and I wouldn’t maintain my faculties. The others appeared to be doing the same. Then the ork leader approached me and challenged me to some kind of duel for the honor of Eva. While I was fairly certain, Eva didn’t need anyone to defend her honor, I also sensed that to turn this down would have been bad for us, so I reluctantly agreed. It was a strange ritual that the leader described, I needed some article of Eva’s clothing to tuck into my belt and then our arms were to be tied together and we would be armed only with knives. Then we would fight, the winner was the one to draw first blood, but it would be even more disgraceful if I lost Eva’s clothing, in this case her socks. I just truly hoped I didn’t die, but as the contest began I slipped back to my old days in college when I was a member of the fencing team. Some of those tactics were bound to be useful here I thought. The ork leader, though, was exceptionally skilled and quickly had both socks and I was in trouble it seemed. But I reached deep, and made a quick low slash after a high feint and managed to recover both socks in one fell swoop, then as he came in for the kill, I countered with quick slash down his forearm. Just like that the fight was over and somehow I was victorious.

The ork leader was impressed and told me his name was Bloodhawk. A strong name for a strong leader I thought and then I went to return Eva’s socks. She was quite wasted or stoned at this point, though I wasn’t sure which. Didn’t really matter, what did matter was she was coming on strong and despite my better judgment I surrendered to her beauty and we went into the motel. After a blissful night in her arms, I couldn’t let her know I had been sober for the whole thing, so I hid the evidence of what we had done. It wasn’t much use though, she knew anyway. I was certain now though I could pull it together and keep things professional, boy was I wrong.

After spending another long day on the back of these bikes, I was exhausted when we stopped and getting a little saddle sore. But tonight’s entertainment, was to be some crazy bike jousting. You know like those knights of old that rode their horse at each others and slammed long wooden poles together, except now bikes replaced the horses. Well, I knew I was in for it as Bloodhawk approached me. Seemed I was to take part, damn the crazy things I was doing just to keep these orks from ganking us. While we were talking, an incident happened and the bag of coke dumped onto the ground. After an awkward silence, Bloodhawk and I agreed to terms of 1 brick, oh and I still had to do the joust. Well this was going to be bad. I, once again just hoped to come out alive. I got atop the bike and they strapped a piece of metal to my chest. I prayed to any gods that might be out there though I wasn’t really a believer. And then it was on. It was truly a blur as I recall few of the details, but I managed to land a blow and keep the bike upright. Frag, I even managed to pull off a fancy move to stop the bike. Once again I had impressed the gangers, and knew now that we would make it to Chicago.

After the joust, I approached the fire where Eva was smoking some weird pipe. She challenged me to a smoke off, and though I knew it was a stupid idea considering the previous night, I simply couldn’t say no to her. I don’t remember much after that first hit, but I have a feeling I did some things that I would regret if I knew what they were, but one thing I did not regret was waking up next to Eva. The only memories that remained from the previous night were of having blissful sex with this beautiful woman. It was going to be really hard to remain professional with her, but if we could keep it to just sex and no emotional attachments I figure things will be okay. But damn this woman is one of the finest lovers I have ever had, and well there have been many in my life.

Finally the next day we arrived at the outskirts of Chicago. Here is to hoping this is the last time I have to die and begin anew. Having been though this before, I knew what we would be up against and hoped the others would be up to the task of starting over. Life has it funny ways and I have once again managed TO DIE ANOTHER DAY.

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Slot and Run!
Or: My Speedy Move to Chicago

From Erebus’s mental journal:
21-04-54 (21st April, 2054)

Well… drek. Honestly, what can I say about the last few days? It has been insane. After the last Run went off so perfectly, this one has been more slotted than a joygirl with a BTL habit.

It started off on the 17th around 1700. The group of us from the last Run, plus Scarlet, met up at the Shamrock to talk about this job that Eva got from a local joygirl. It sounded pretty straightforward: the joygirl needed her bag of clothes and things from the place of a Vory thug that she didn’t want to see again, mostly because it had some things of sentimental value in there. She couldn’t pay much but knew the combination to a safe that had a brick of novacoke in it. It all sounded simple and straightforward. Don’t all the worst ones sound like that at first though, in the end?

After initial investigation and surveillance, and the joygirl’s intel, we determined that the Vory thugs liked to leave to head out to clubs and party around 2100 and return around 0000 most nights. We knew they were on the top penthouse level of a very nice building, with security by Knight-Errant. So we came up with a relatively simple plan: Invisibly levitate Eva and a drone up to the balcony, cut a hole in the window, enter, take the things from the safe, get the joygirl’s bag, and then levitate Eva and the bag of ill-gotten gains back down the same way they entered. If the Vories came back, Scarlet and Lazarus would run interference by staging a lover’s spat in front of the building.

When I went for an astral scan of the place, I quickly noticed Knight-Errant had set up a couple of watcher spirits around the building to watch for astral intruders. On top of that, the building was covered in ivy to prevent entry, although strangely the roof was clear. Unwilling to risk altering the watchers, I returned to the group and told them what I’d found. After some consideration, we continued with the plan.

The plan itself went off well. We got Eva up to the balcony invisible, a hole was cut in the balcony door/window, and she and the drone entered. They quickly encountered a cheetah – how they encountered a cheetah in an apartment, I have no idea, I couldn’t see it – but were able to knock it out without too much trouble. Things were going excellently, until we found a bag of diamonds, some 41 bricks of novacoke, certified credsticks, a preserved human eyeball, ten chips, an extremely old pistol in perfect condition, and an original first edition of a classical Russian novel. (OOCly I totally forget which novel).

Eva seemed inclined to only take one or two bricks of the novacoke and maybe the chips, and of course the bag of the joygirl’s things. I was glad that she’d learned from Lazarus’s wisdom in the last run. This didn’t please Scarlet though who proceeded to hound Eva over the comsys, or BatDwarf who seemed interested in taking all the loot as well. Lazarus was able to talk them into at least only taking the things that would be reasonably movable; we’d never be able to sell the collector’s items. In the end though we took more than we’d have imagined was there, and I suppose in part I’m at fault for not trying to stop them more. Foolishly, I’d assumed everyone in the group were already consummate professionals; perhaps that estimation was incorrect.

After I removed my auric traces from the scene of the crime, we took off, to a rather interesting rental safehouse place on Council Island. I was greatly impressed by the quality and cleverness of the wards that were set up. There we started figuring out what to do. Once we found out that the joygirl who had hired us had been kidnapped and was being tortured by the Vories, however, and so we quickly came to the conclusion that we needed to get out of Seattle, quickly. Frustratingly, a few of the friends I’d made since coming to Seattle – well, Hannah Minx and Mustang Sally at least – would probably have taken the 500k reward on my head had they connected that it was me, so unfortunately I probably won’t get to talk to them anymore. I feel even worse for Lazarus, since he didn’t lose much in the way of physical goods but had spent an incredible amount of time meeting people, without having been close enough to any that he could trust them in this situation.

I was able to get Glitter to grab some essentials from the farmhouse and bring them to me near the safehouse on Council Island. I had to explain about how the run went bad because some of the other people got greedy, and I need to lay low elsewhere for a while until the Vories calm down and get back to business. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I can come back to Seattle, as I really liked my farm a good deal. I was able to talk Sofia Leadbetter into feeding Noir while I’m away, though I’ll need to call Hue and Farshorn soon and let them know I’m away on biz and it’ll probably be a while before I’m able to return.

At any rate, we arranged for a T-bird pilot to meet with us. Lazarus was able to negotiate him down to “only” five bricks of Novacoke to get us on our way. After buying some touristey crap at a truckstop so that we could wash all the vomit off of ourselves after the crazy ride, things started going a little better. The T-bird pilot gave us his contact information and set us up with a new pilot for the next stage of the journey. Things were going pretty well with the old Amerindian vet, until his vehicle broke down in the middle of the mountains during the snow. Fortunately, he was able to find a go-gang of orks who were headed to Chicago and would let us ride with them. I don’t know what the old Amerindian rigger and the orks worked out, but the next two days were certainly interesting.

The first night after we stopped, I was rather sore, but had expected worse. The orks stopped at a disused motel and set up a bonfire in the parking lot of all things. I had some sort of moonshine that burned my throat, and I think I spent most of the rest of the evening in some sort of stupor because surprisingly, despite my usually perfect memory, I don’t remember that much. I seem to recall conjuring up a fire demon I decided to call Cinder. And I remember having a great conversation with it, which surprised me. And we had some steaks that Cinder cooked. And I remember something about Lazarus with tribal war-paint on him. That’s about it. I woke up the next morning hung over, but we continued.

While riding the next day I mostly concentrated on holding on and not vomiting, until again we stopped for the evening. We had an awkward moment when some of the bricks of novacoke fell out of the saddlebags; apparently the old rigger hadn’t told them what we were transporting. We decided to share a brick of the stuff with the orks, and they really seemed to take a shine to us after that. I decided to partake of their Deepweed, figuring it would have no real ill effects, but I think I must’ve had some moonshine and other things too, because I honestly still don’t remember much, and what I do seems like it must’ve been a hallucination. I remember something about a gigantic purple platypus and its little children dancing around most of the night, and I seem to recall them flying around too. I remember some automatic gunfire pretty clearly, because I had to hide behind Cinder for protection. I remember going to bed with some beautiful women for a while. Oh! And then I had some great conversations with a guy I later learned was named Rodney and then something about Superman. I also seem to recall a bunch of big guns and a dwarf spewing everywhere. And I must’ve had some kind of dream about jousting medieval knight style.

By the time morning rolled around, I was still somewhat hung-over, but it wasn’t too bad. I got to have a more proper conversation with Brainiac, otherwise known as Rodney, one of the ork go-gangers. Turns out he was a goblinized ork that was a most excellent thaumaturgical student following the Hermetic path. We went through Nebraska but honestly I hardly remember of it, I was so wrapped up in the talk with Rodney the whole time. I think we’ll become good friends. This whole thing might’ve been a massive headache and extremely stressful, but I guess meeting a good guy like Rodney is a silver lining. I’ve never known an ork as intelligent and well-educated, and the more impressive bit is that he taught a lot of the more advanced theory to himself. When I get back into research, I will absolutely offer him a job in my lab, he impressed me so much.

At any rate, late this afternoon we’ve finally arrived in Chicago, our destination. Hopefully we’ll not have too much trouble selling our ill-gotten gains, as we need to set up new lives for ourselves. My carefully chosen moniker is also going to have to go the way of the dodo, and I’ve no idea what I should pick for a new one.

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Anatomy of a Run
The way all Shadowruns SHOULD go

From Erebus’s mental journal:
05-04-54 (5th April, 2054)

It seems that my good faith in Murphy has been rewarded; Charlotte did not steer me wrong. Tonight our job went off rather splendidly, I felt. The danger level was high, but the rewards were far better than the first job and things went well. I wish all Runs went so well.
I received a call from Murphy a few hours after I’d finally passed out with Glitter, offering work. Reluctantly, I pulled myself from the nice warm bed and got showered and dressed. Arriving at the Shamrock, I was able to finally meet Murphy in person. A good sort of fellow I felt – if a little brusque – despite being from NanOg. He introduced the group of us – Greg, Eva, BatDwarf, and I – to an experienced Runner going by the moniker of Lazarus Pariah. He dressed well and had a professional look to him, and a calm, experienced, authoritative manner, so I was quite pleased.

After basic introductions concluded, Murphy told us that he had a Johnson wishing to meet with us at the Eye of the Needle. He was even able to get some halfway decent clothing for the people dressed poorly. Taking two vehicles, we entered the Eye of the Needle, BatDwarf staying in his vehicle for some reason I wasn’t entirely clear on. Riggers like to stick close to their vehicles, I suppose. After Lazarus and I had a nice meal – Eva and Greg abstained, and honestly I only partook because Lazarus seemed confident that he could have the meal included in the contract – the Johnson finally showed. Scruffier-looking than most Johnsons, he at least seemed polite, and he explained the job: to break into an AzTechnology research facility to take a biological sample and the research data from the computer system. He even had a way for us to get in: past some brickwork was some plasteel that he had an agent for that could cause it to weaken so we could work our way inside.

Being that we were breaking into an AzTechnology location, I decided to actually participate some physically, figuring that there would be substantial warding around the area we needed to get to. After the meeting we went to a van outside the entry point to gather some equipment the Johnson had provided, and from there we went on a trek through the sewers. The Johnson had given us a map of the sewers in that area, and it was relatively accurate for a change. Not great, but mostly accurate at least. Along the way we encountered a couple of passed-out dwarves, and we came across a group of bats that I was pretty shocked attacked us. Made me kick myself that I hadn’t used my Calm Pack spell to make them docile before we approached, I’d just never heard of bats attacking metahumans before.

Anyway, we finally arrived at our destination in the sewers, and I called up Slate the Rock Demon and had him break through all the brickwork. While the rest of the team waited for the catalyst to start working, I made preparations for astral travel. Attaching my biomonitor and linking it to my commsys. Then calling up a pair of Watcher imps to act as messengers and my strongest bound demon, I departed my body. Somewhat to my chagrin, I didn’t find any wards, but what I did find were two powerful Fire Elementals. Immediately after entering the facility, they noticed and rushed forward, and so combat ensued!

One of the fire elementals was faster than me, and before I could call forth the energies to defend myself, it struck me a solid blow. Meanwhile, one of the Imps rushed back to the group to let them know I had encountered resistance. I set Scorch on one of the Elementals while I began working to disrupt the other Elemental’s connection to the physical plane in an attempt to banish it. I was doing quite well, but Scorch was finding that direct combat wasn’t much his forte, and took several hits. After I managed to get the Elemental who had attacked me down to a low level of strength, I switched with Scorch and sent him after the newly-Force-One Elemental while I engaged the one Scorch had been having trouble with. Soon enough both of the guardian spirits had been defeated, both myself and Scorch rather worse for the wear. Returning to my body, I was able to get Greg/Cyndi to heal my physical injuries and explained to the group that we needed to be fast in case someone came to investigate the defeated elementals, and we made our way through the disrupted plasteel into the ventilation ducts of the facility.

BatDwarf sent his drone forward along the ducts to examine one end, and reported two grates, including one that had been pushed inward into the ducts, meaning we might’ve had something in the ducts with us. Steeling myself, I once again projected my consciousness, and examined the rest of the ducts and thankfully found them clear. But as I began to examine the facility, it became immediately obvious that something was extremely wrong with the place. There was something markedly wrong with the auras of the people I found, though I wasn’t sure what. These people were either insane and terrified, or hungry and full of rage. The background count was alarmingly high, and there were signs of death all over the place. As if that weren’t strange enough, when exploring the area I even found things that looked like some sort of millipede, except that they were the size of cats!

Returning to my body, I reported what I’d found to warn the team. It was eventually decided that Greg would utilize his Influence spell to cause one of the creatures to sleep, and a drone and Eva would sneak across the room to get into the biohazard vault where our paydata was, while Laz and one of the drones would provide cover-fire if necessary. It went flawlessly, and Eva enormously impressed me that she was able to get past those people without a problem, and Lazarus showed he wasn’t above getting his hands dirty when necessary too.

We exited via the sewers the way we’d come in. I’d never bothered taking off my chem suit, so didn’t have to get dressed again. We made good our escape, went to the boat and delivered the goods, got paid, and left. There was some talk about trying to find extra things to steal, but Lazarus was able to talk everyone into just taking what we need, to improve our professional status. It went beautifully, and ALL Runs should go so well. I’m very impressed with the level of professionalism in the group and think Lazarus will be an excellent addition to the group.

On the down side for the others, from what I gather, they got some skin infections due to wandering around the sewers in knee-deep “water.” Not surprising, really. And they thought I looked ridiculous in the full-on chem suit! Remember, kiddies: don’t play around in human excrement.

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