“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.