On my walk I notice a pair of trolls. They both have blue patches on their left arms and ankle sheaths. Gangers of some sort. I don't notice particular police or security presence.
Current news is that the pro-Francophone party is losing power. There are rumors that CATCo rigged the election; they are interested in more open borders than the current party allows.
We get a call. It's Lupus. We're invited to lunch with Lupus and his friends; they'll pick us up at 11:00. Lupus shows up in his rust bucket van. Lupus is wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. In the back are a pair of duffel bags.
Lupus takes us to a small Thai place, the sign has no title, just a lobster holding a wand. We get a table in the corner; Lupus called ahead. He says our gear is in town.
The people we're meeting are from the Democratic Quebecois For Free Para-animals, DQFFP. Jane eyes up Lupus. Lupus is mundane, he has heavily cybered-up arms, some head-ware, and cybereyes.
After a bit two men arrive. One is a tall elf, over two meters tall. He's got short spiked brown hair. He is wearing a worn band T-shirt for Darwin's Bastards and jeans. The other is an average height orc wearing urban-camo and bearing a data-jack. Jane scans them. The elf is mundane without cyberware. The orc just has the data-jack and is also mundane. The men site down.
Lupus introduces the two men as Jean-Paul and Claude. The elf speaks. They want to rescue "a friend." CATCo has a "nature preserve" on the edge of a town outside of Toronto, they use the animals there for para-animal security research. The animal is a Oracle Owl named Kiliwee. The first is about two feet tall. The bird has been caged for four months. The animal is drugged and caged in a para-avian exhibit. We're to take the bird back to the forest and release him. We'll be given coordinates in a Quebec government nature preserve for the release.
There are cameras on the path and in the exhibit. It is open to corporate visitors. There is a small security contingent. Jean-Paul is perfectly happy to have us kill the security. He would like us to free more animals, but the owl is most important. It would be dangerous to free other creatures; for example the thunderhawk would be hostile to anyone who is cybered up.
Jean-Paul offers 5,000¥ and what help they can provide.
The bird is sentient, it has limited control over other birds. He can compel others to flee from him. They can provide a counter-agent, it will work in about a half-hour. It's about an hour and half from point A to B.
They can provide passes for one or two people, short term identification, uniforms, and a delivery van.
We accept the deal. They leave.
I ask Lupus to check on the van. Can we trash them? We head to the hippie house. A quick check reveals that there is a train that stops two blocks away from the preserve. Two crates holding our gear are waiting. We go back to our efficiency apartment. Lupus gives us an email address and an LTG number for the Anglophone house. He'll let us know when he gets answers.
We research Oracle owls. They have the ability to control other birds and to compel people to flee. Patterson's guide says that evidence for the owls sentience is sketchy, but the guide is very conservative about such matters. There are reports that the bird is magically active. There are some people who claim to be friends with or worship Oracle Owls.
We trade some email. The van is ours, we can do with it what we will. The is a GMC Bulldog and is a genuine CATCo vehicle. The counter-agent is an inject; Bert should be able to handle it.
The bird eats mice, I buy some and food for the mice.
We'll get everything tomorrow, late in the day. The visitor passes are for the day after. The delivery credentials are good for two days.
We get everything. The van is black, it has bench seats and a cage large enough for the owl. The medicine specifies that we should apply 35ccs.
Jane suggests that she summon a spirit to watch the entrance. We'll get a sense of when delivery trucks arrive and the security checks on the trucks.
The suburb is Forest Tree Hill. Derek and Jane head in with the visitor's passes. Jane notices two watcher spirits on the gate. Inside there is a courtyard with a restaurant. The two see the sights. To the left there are hell hounds, fire drakes, and cockatrices. There is a Harpy House. The harpies are bipedal with large bat-like wings and fanged faces. To the right is an exhibit of African creatures. There is a zebra that can change its stripes and a wildebeest with some sort of toxin on its horns. Two exhibits are closed, one is for humped horses. At the end is the para-avian exhibit.
The para-avian house has a number of area. There is a thunderhawk. In another is a flock of crows. At the end is an Oracle Owl. The owl is leaning against a tree.
Jane notices lots of wards around the zoo. There appears to be a fire elemental in the restricted area in back.
After poking around for a few hours, Jane and Derek leave.
In the mean time we purchase some boxes and fill them with packing material, dirt, and rocks.
We regroup and talk.
The tentative plan is to drive the delivery van into the service entrance and drive to the aviary. Derek will invisibly pick the mag-lock into the service tunnel of the aviary. We'll extract the owl and replace it with a spirit pretending to be the owl. We'll drive out.
Looking at Derek's photos, Bert doesn't think that the cameras are rigged.
We ask our employers a few more questions. The van is stolen, they don't think it will be recognized as stolen (it was stolen from a long distance delivery). They do not believe there are any other oracle owls on premises. Killiwee has black tipped wings.
Brian gets a karma point for suggesting that we attach model rockets to the owl.
We head off. The cage is in a box. Our guns are in another box. We arrive around 4:00pm, an hour before the real delivery truck arrived yesterday. We pull up to the back gate. The guard has a NarcoJet rifle over his shoulder. He notices that we're early. We let him check our badges. He scans the plates. He says he'll call ahead to let them know we're coming. He opens the gates. Derek tries to listen in to his call, but fails. We drive in.
Drek, someone is expecting us. That's no good.
In the back is a parking lot with nice cars, a large medical building, a small unlabeled building, a small building labeled receiving, and a small pasture with several horses with humps.
We had through the parking lot to the back road around the exhibits. We park next to the aviary. Derek, Jane, and myself head in, lightly armed. Bert and Bianca wait in the van.
Inside there is a young elven couple look at the birds. They're dressed up, Jane doesn't think they're magical. We pass by. Derek attempts to open the door. He quickly pops the casing. He begins bypassing the lock, but notices that it is hooked up to a security system. Derek thinks he's worked around the security, he opens the lock.
Beyond is a plain cinder-block hallway. I unpack the cage, Derek opens the owl's door. Jane summons a spirit.
Listening at the door, Derek doesn't hear anything unexpected. I head in with the cage. The owl doesn't seem interested in a mouse. I attempt to carefully grab the owl. Meanwhile, one of the cameras is looking at me. Drek, drek.
Derek breaks into the radio signal and listens in. People are checking in.
I put the owl into the cage, it yields. I close the cage and head out.
Jane orders the spirit to manifest as an oracle owl.
Over the radio, there are people curious about what's going on with the owl.
I take the owl back in and put it on its perch We head out.
Bert puts his techno-spider on the roof and listens using its sensors. He hears one of the carts approaching. The cart parks. Bert bluffs them. One stays, the other heads in to see us.
We head the other way around the building to avoid the approaching security guard. Upon noticing Bianca, the security guard still with the van sticks his head in and questions her presence.
The guard is confused, but Bianca bluffs that she is training.
We arrive, the guard is confused. He is about to radio his friend; I pull a pistol. He yields. Unfortunately the radio is already on. I grab it. I take the guard's NarcoJet. He says it's loaded with the standard (which would be knockout). I hit him with the NarcoJet. I put the unconscious body in the van. We pull off. The other guard arrives and asks for Jermone by the radio. Derek rigs the radio to make a static signal.
Ben gets one karma for making a static noise when I ask him to make static.
We reach the gate. Derek bluffs that we got the wrong package. The guard needs to check, and he's getting static and will need to go by foot.
With the guard gone, Derek pops out and flips the lever. The gate _slowly_ starts to open. Derek heads back to the van. The fire elemental appears and shouts, "Stop!"
I spray the elemental with some bullets. Bianca dives out and attacks with her hands. She tears a chunk of flame out of it. Jane attempts to banish the elemental, weakening it. Bianca continues to tear chunks of the elemental out. The elemental is barely flickering. Derek dives into the van.
Two guards come running toward us. I spray some rounds over the heads of the rest. Bianca continues to attack, the elemental counter attacks and badly burns her. Bert fires at the elemental, the elemental wails and fades out.
The mage is still coming. I open fire on the mage, winging him. Jane blasts the mage with pure pain. Bianca dives into the van, "Go!" Several rounds slam into the back of the van. Bert tears off and heads for a highway.
Over the radio Derek hears talk of pursuit vehicles. Over highway police band there is a description of our vehicle. They're supposed to report us if we're seen.
I search the body. I find some more clips for the NarcoJet. I leave the man his id, credstick, and wallet. Derek tosses the radio out the window.
After a bit we notice a cop car pull onto the highway, then off. Derek hears a report of us over the police band.
Bert cuts from highway to highway to evade pursuit and foil police reports.
About 45 minutes from our destination we stop. Derek takes the wheel. Bert injects the bird. Jane heals Bianca.
We make it to the drop off location. The bird is awake. I open the cage. The bird flies out completely silently and flies off.
Karma 2 points.