Aaron Pavao started a Shadowrun game for members of Sancho Games during the summer of 2000. I play Sid, a would be anarchist, bass guitarist elven hermetic mage. The following is a summary of our adventures, written from Sid's perspective. Sid wouldn't really take the time to write out his little story, but it's more fun to write it from his perspective.
For those reading this page who aren't involved in this game, Sid Dark (born Cylnial Storm, performs under the name Kyle Only) is played by myself, Alan De Smet. Darren "Flinchy" Osgood is played by Michael Zenke. Michael Zenke. Stan "Oldy" Olson is played by Joe Rheaume. "Clobber" is played by Brian De Smet. "Wraith" is played by Benjamin Davenport. Aaron Pavao runs the game.
My name is Sid. At least, that's what I go by these days. My last name, if someone feels the need to attach a last name to me, is Dark. My parents, real pro-elf racists, tried to shackle me with a artsy elven name, Cylnial Storm. Feh. Anyway, I'm an elf genetically. 100% second generation elf. I'm a hermetic mage by chance and professional bass guitarist by inclination. I play for various metal, thrash or ork if possible. Because I'm not willing to sell out, I occasionally have a bit of friction with my bandmates. I've floated through a dozen bands in the last two years alone. I don't have a lot of problems getting into new groups, the scene is very active and I've got a bit of a rep.
Until recently I was working for Iris Firmware, part of Renraku, as a security mage. Absolute sah'rees te'ka. Supporting the heirarchy of money. I needed to get out and stay out, so I helped a shadowrunning team break in in exchange for making sure the records the corp had on me disappeared during the run.
I spent a few months trying to make ends meet playing with a few bands. I could meet the rent, but not much more. In the long run it wasn't going to work. I've got enough skill to get a gig with one of the mega-labels, but thats not for me. So, I started looking for alternate work. Shadowrunning.
I knew a bit about shadowrunners from my work in magical security, but not enough to find work. Fortunately, I knew Oldy.
When I was a kid, my overprotective parents, eager to make their child into the paragon of all that is elven, watched hopefully for any sign that I might be Awakened. Sure enough, I was. Some say the having the touch, being Awakened, is chance, some say genetics, some say you have to be born on lay lines. All I knew is there are alot of elven mages whose parents desperately wanted them to be mages. Anyway...
When I was a young teen, my parents hired a human by the name of Stan Olson to teach me the art of magic. Stan was old when first met him, so I took to calling him Oldy, mostly because it bothered him. I grew to like the guy, and he soon opened up to me. He had retired from "the business" years ago, and was tutoring to stretch his nest egg out a bit. Back in the day, Stan had been a shadowrunner, and he would reminise about his younger days while teaching me.
So, when I wanted to run the shadows myself, I looked up Oldy for some help. It turned out that his nest egg hadn't lasted as long as he had wanted, and he was interested in shadowrunning again. He knew a dwarven rigger by the name of Flinchy who was also looking for work. So we formed a shadowrunning team.
It seems Oldy and Flinchy both know a fixer known as Jack G. It's through Jack that we get our first work as a team. We met Jack at the Pine Cone Restraunt, a greasy spoon catering to truckers. Apparently Jack likes the place. I'll admit that it has an honest atmosphere. Jack turned out to be a tall wiry human guy. His head was bare of hair except for a close cut goatee. He dressed blandly with a khaki vest. We were to meet our Johnson at the Orc with a Gold Tooth bar. The Johnson would have more information.
I wasn't real familiar with the bar, which is strange since it's right on the outskirts of Redmond. I've played gigs at most of the bars in that area. Turns out that it's a sarariman theme bar designed to seem like a ganger hangout but actually quite dull. Full of would be slumming yuppies. Feh. Real ganger bars don't have imported beer.
Anyway, our contact turns out to be an Orc in suit. A good look from astral space reveals that he's got some headware but is otherwise mundane. His aura looks strangely muted, a fact I didn't appreciate at the time but now do. The suit wants us to run against Necronomicorp, a subsidary of Fuchi Electronics. Necronomicorp, hmmm, that is one ballsy name. Necronomicorp is in an business park in Belvue. We're to act as a distraction for another run elsewhere, if possible extracting a target simultaneously. 1,000¥ if we just distract, 20,000¥ if we extract the target. The target will be working late and will be only person there. We're to make the run by 8:00 this morning. We take the job. We head to Flinchy's swank apartment to plan.
Flinchy calls up his decker friend "John." For 2,000¥, John investigates Necronomicorp. The company is three months old. It reported profits almost immediately and was snatched up by Fuchi, netting Fuchi some handsome profits for little investment. It's not clear what Necronomicorp does. The company lists eight employees and isn't covered by Knight Errant. Power usage reveals eight computers and powered security.
In the wee hours of the morning, we park in front of Necronomicorp, close enough to be in Fuchi territory. A Knight Errant cruiser pulls up and the female officer watches us. A quick call to John and we waltz in the front door. We move through the small office and discover that it looks strangely unused. On the second floor I find a human with glasses, seemingly a dull sarariman until I assense him.
It's the same aura as the "Ork" Johnson. Rathun We head for the door to discover a small squadron of Knight Errant is watching the show. Out back a Fuchi security van waits for us. They shout through megaphones that they'd like us to hand over the target. There is some confusion over how to proceed. Oldy and Flichy argue up front while I try to stall Fuchi. A Fuchi agent calls up and I have a little conversion. Fuchi claims that the target can't pay us and offers us ten k to give him up. I decline and shoot the phone. Johnson admits he can't pay us. Goronagit wenig ta rathun He does claim to have secret information worth real money, and offers us a copy if we'll get him out. We foolishly agree. I've got to remember that in the future, if the Johnson attempts a renegotionation mid-run, grab what you can and ditch out.
Anyway, Flinchy and Oldy still haven't fled yet, so we're all still in the building when Fuchi's heavily cybered female samuri bursts in the back door and starts pounding on us. While we attempt to flee as this crazy chrome woman pounds on us, a Fuchi Shaman influences me and throws a great deal of lightening around. Seriously roughed up, Oldy, Flinchy, and the Johnson make it to Flinchys car, and I make it to my bike. We flee and meet at Flinchy's apartment.
Something else to remember is to not take people to our actual living places. We got away with it this time, but we might not be so lucky next time.
Anyway, we rest up a bit a Flinchys. Johnson claims that the paperwork in his suitcase is encrypted information stolen from Fuchi. In exchange for our work, he'll give us a copy of the documents and the decryption key. I let my desire to help someone subverting the system get the better of me, and we agree. I stay at Flinchy's, since I'm still seriously hurting from the beating the Fuchi samuri gave me. I should have gone with them... Oldy and Flinchy go on a trip with the Johnson to get the key.
He leads them to Seatac. The most heavily guarded public facility in Seattle. Flinchy has to wait outside, since the Seatac rent-a-cops won't take to kindly to unregistered rigger gear. Like he's going to just hop into a plane and steal it... hmmm... I'll have to remember that idea.
Anyway, the Johnson convinces Oldy that he needes to slip into an employees only section for a moment, and leaves Oldy to "guard to door". Some time passes and it becomes clear that Johnson has fled. Cora téch. Apparently while trying to keep an airport employee from entering the area, Oldy fakes a stroke. I wish I could have seen that. Oldy may be old, but he's sharp.
So that was our first run. Someone more enlightened than myself might note that we were paid in experience and education. I just think we got screwed.
Our last little debacle made it clear that we're not really able to handle a real fight. Flinchy doesn't have the bots for a fight, though he's looking for some nicer stuff. Oldy can blast minds with the best of them, but he's a bit old for knock down drag out fighting. Myself, I'm more of an Obi-wan "this isn't the elf you're looking for" sort. I suggest that we scrap together whatever we can and I summon an elemental. Unfortunately, we can't even scrap together 5,000¥. Given that I've got a rent the summoning library and shell out for summoning materials, this means I can't summon much. I end up with a few services from a category three freeform soil entity. A meek little earth elemental. Better than nothing, I guess.
The group I recently joined, Hideous Lime, has a gig tomorrow. I've got a really good feeling about it.
A few days ago the Screamsheets mentioned our little run against Necronomicorp. Nothing particularly noteworthy, but they got bought out by Ares to "better protect them under Knight Errant." Whatever.
Jack calls up Flinchy, another Johnson has work. The Johnson is an nervous looking white guy. His aura has the expected anxiousness about him, and a strange tinge of sadness. He's got some headware, but nothing noteworthy.
Oh, and the gig last week went awfully. Gill, our lead singer, was trashed out of his mind. He just incoherently shouted at the audience while we played. The next day at practice Gill didn't seem to think there was a problem.
There is an auction coming up for a old analog record from the early twentieth century. Like many snooty examples of conspicious consumption, records degrade each time they are played. This particular record was played only once and is highly valued. It seems that Johnson would like to make an alternative low bid. The record goes up for sale at 20:45 this Thursday.
We take a quick drive by the auction house, The next morning I dress up in my best soulless suit outfit and gave Price House a visit. It's a small privately owned auction house. The building is a huge neo-victorian house with wrought iron fencing. There is a slight sheen between the iron, mono-wire we guess. The windows look rigged for vibration detection. There is a huge sweeping staircase up to the second floor and several plaster statues by the sides. I talk with a female employee about the upcoming auction. Apparently there will be an inspection at 17:00 Thursday. Bidders are free to bring armed security to the inspection and auction, so it sounds like running during the auction will be a bad idea. A quick astral scan reveals an unamused looking hearth spirit. It doesn't look that tough, so I guess it's the "first response" spirit.
A bit of research from John gets us some old blueprints of the building. A bit of spying reveals that a human male shaman shows up that evening, presumably to refresh the spirit defense. It looks like he's the only magical security. We decide to try and put the shaman on ice, freeing us to run without worrying about magical interferance. We consider myself physical masking as the shaman that evening to get it, but it doesn't seem worth the risk.
I try to get a sense of the aura surrounding the music on the record from public recordings, but I can't do it. It's a shame, since if it worked I'd be able to locate the record from astral space. It seems possible, and if something similar comes up I'll have to try again.
Sure enough, shaman boy shows up in the wee hours to resummon his spirits. When he leaves, we follow. He stops at an apartment complex, then it's off to the movies. Oldy and I follow him in. Not quite sure how to deal with him, we both blast him with mana bolts... and the shaman's Docwagon bracelet starts screaming.
If word gets back to auction house before we can run against it, it will be crawling with security. Té. We grab his body and drag him out to Finchy's car. We dump the body in a dumpster in Redmond. I feel a bit bad about killing him, we've got to be less sloppy in the future. It's one thing to geek a corporate rent-a-cop who is shooting back, it's another thing to geek some poor guy trying to watch a movie.
An astral scan of Price House reveals that there are two employees there, a woman in the front office and a man in the back office. We head over to Price House and break in like gang busters. We quickly subdue both, but not before the man hits a panic button. We move fast. Oldy questions the man about the record while I rummage though his mind. It's in the back of the basement. I head downstairs, tripping some sort of pressure plate. As I move through the storage room I start feeling woozy, téch, some sort of knockout gas. I just barely reach the top of the stairs before face planting into the floor as I fall unconcious.
I wake up at Flinchys an hour or so later. Apparently Oldy, who is frighteningly strong for his age, dragged me out. No one got hurt and we have the record. Score!
As we regroup and prepare to deliver the goods, Flinchy's security system starts screaming. Someone has broken into his garage... into his car... where the record is. Te'ka. We race downstairs, barely catching the license plates on the fleeing car.
I previously had a little rule to not take people to our actual living places. Time to generalize. Never take a target to our living place. Things can be tracked as well as people. Assume that anything or anyone is trackable.
John's Answering Machine, who is apparently almost as good as John, does a bit of research for us. The car belongs to mafia don. Word on the don reveals two interesting facts: 1) his currently out of favor, and 2) he recently purchased a Spee-D Pizza franchise in Bellevue. It's our only lead, so off we go.
Sure enough, a group of mafia monkeys are sitting around inside pawing at the record. We kick in the doors and kick a little mook ass. We grab the record.
Coincidentally, we get a call from the Johnson. It seems that the record is needed now. Thirty minutes, and the delivery point is in a AAA rated zone. Te'ka. There is no way we can get into a AAA zone looking like we do. Well, thirty minutes or your run is free I guess, so we grab a Spee-D Pizza van and make a pizza drop off. It seems that Spee-D has special arrangements and we get there just in time to deliver the record.
It turns out that the Johnson wanted the record to play for his dying mother. Typical rich short-sighted selfishness. Does the squatter desert wars veteren dying of the latest "safe" chemical used in the wars get a last wish? Do the BTL heads trapped by a system which punishes them but doesn't help treat them get a last favor by the dealer who caps them for finking? A relatively innocent shaman and bunch of stupid mafia mooks died for this record. Feh.
Meanwhile, it's become clear that we could use a bit more muscle. Flinchy contacted Jack G about our needs, and Jack quickly set us up with a pair of bruisers, Clobber and Wraith. Clobber is a téch strange name for middle aged white human boy who wears expensive suits. He's almost entirely chrome, however, and seems capable of handling himself. Wraith is a awakened, an adept. They seem nice enough.
Oldy and I get alone quite well with the Wraith. Oldy suggests that forming a little mutual benefit society might be in our best interests. We do some. We decide that our group will be exclusive, no one can be in another group, we bind ourselves to only be able to perform rituals with the group, to help each other whenever possible, to maintain our groups secrecy, and limit our membership to members of our shadowrunning tea, and an oath to follow our strictures.
The team also all kicks in for a lower class apartment to crash at after runs. We really shouldn't be using our private apartments for work. It's affectionately named The Squat.
Oldy, Wraith, and myself have been working on finding a spirital guide for our initiations. We found one. Strange bloke, but more on him later. Oldy and I both reach a higher connection to our magical force.
Hideous Lime has had a few more gigs, enough to cover my rent. Gill keeps showing up to gigs trashed. I tried several times to convince him that our art was suffering because of his drinking, he insisted he was okay. Craig, our drummer and an old friend of Gill, says Gill has a bit of stage fright and this is how he deals with it. Feh.
I've started looking for a new band.
Clobber's fixer, some woman I don't know, arranges a meeting with a Ms Johnson at some little bar at 0:30.
The Johnson is looking for a Ms Caileagh Mahan. Johnson gives us a picture of Caileagh, a spritely little blond elf. It seems that Ms Mahan took something implanted from Johnson's company, and they want her back, alive if possible, dead if not. 6,000¥ up front, 10,000¥ for the body, 15,000¥ more if the body is alive. I'm a little leary of the job. If Ms Mahan chose to free herself from the corporate heirarchy, I sure as heck don't have any right to snap the shackles back on her. I hope she just jumped to another corporate slave pit. I don't have any problems taking a slave from one master to another.
A quick call to John reveals that he's still not available, so we settle for his answering machine again. Ms Mahan has a middle class apartment, apartment numbe 805, a subway card, and a job. Exactly what the job is isn't clear. Her credit history shows that she visits Good Sato's Happy Disco Club frequently, and that four months ago she got a big raise. Ms Mahan is 23.5 years old and graduated from the UW with an undergraduate degree in business administration a year ago. She had a high quality data and headware memory installed from Shiawasi Biotechnology. We decide to split up for preliminary investigation. Flinchy, Oldy, and Wraith are to investigate her apartment while Clobber and myself are to check out Good Sato's.
That evening Clobber and I dress up for clubbing and head over to Good Sato's. Clobber doesn't seem to have much luck, maybe because he's about twenty years out of his league. I hit up the orc bartender looking for Mahan, claiming I met her previously. He knows her, but clearly doesn't want to talk to me. I get a drink, sit down, and poke through his head.
It seems the bartender is a casual friend to Ms Mahan, who is regular customer. He knows that she works for Shiwasa. He last saw her a week and a half ago. At the time she said she wasn't going to be around for a while, possible not ever. She warned him that people may be coming to look for her. She didn't tell him where she was going, partially so he couldn't rat her out if coherced, much like I was doing to him right now. The bartender knew an elven ex-SO of hers by the name of Mike. By conversations with Caileagh, the bartender learned of a guy named "Phillip", a recent friend of Caileagh. It seems that Phillip was saying things that made her think. He knows that about four months ago Caileagh became a big tipper and talking about her life turning around. Apparently she gained an alternate source of incoming. Her new work wasn't hard, and involving carrying something for a while. Around that time she shifted from hard drinking to almost exclusively soft drinks. The bartender doesn't know much about Mike, only that he's rarely around, usually only in Caileagh's presence, and that Mike has a new SO of his own. The bartender correctly thinks I'm looking for her for less than honest reasons and will happily pound me into a an elven paste if I mess with her. I leave.
Clobber and I meet up with the rest of the team early in the morning. Flinchy sent a bot in to check out her apartment. The place was looted, but the door wasn't smashed open. A several day old message on her machine from Mike was waiting. "Caileagh, it's Mike. Don't do it. I don't know about Phillip or Sheovehan-tikea punks. Stay home. Call me".
Sheovehan-tikea is speretiel for "Brotherhood of the blood". It's an elf poser gang, the only thing worse than elf racists are non-elf apologists. Interestingly, today's Screamsheets mention a big gang fight in Renton, which is in the brotherhood's turf.
(Erm, my notes indicate March 17... eh.. oops)
Myself and Wraith cruise Renton looking for Sheovs. I phsy-mask Wraith to look like an elf. At the "Leprechan" bar we run into three Sheovs. They look roughed up. A little questioning, a round of drinks, and a bit of mind probing and we discover that the Sheovs were in a fight at Polly's in Renton with the Razorpunks, a trog gang. They were protecting a special guest whose description matches Caileagh. The trogs captured her, geeked the Sheov's leader, and got away.
The Razorpunks are a Redmond gang, so we go cruising by their main hangout. The rest of the team stall several gang membes trying to enter the bar while I run through a troll ganger's brain. The Razorpunks were hired to grab Caileagh for Humanis Policlub and drop her off at a Belleview warehouse.
We get to the warehouse. A pair of human mundanes with assault rifles are guarding the door. The docks are raised and the walls are concrete, so we can't crash in. I scope the warehouse out astrally. About twenty humans are gathered around a makeshift stage. Caileagh is crucified against the back wall. An awakened man with a vicious looking dual natured sword is on the stage, and he notices me. I flee back to the party, manifest, warn then to "Go! I'll stall him," and return. I return to discover that he has called a fire elemental. I call my earth elemental. The mage with his vicious sword quickly cuts down my elemental while I flee back to me body.
Myself and Oldy magically drop the guards at the doors. The samuri roll out the doors and move to the door. The fire elemental manifests and attacks. Wraith and Clobber take down the fire elemental with gun fire, but take serious wounds. We take the guards inside and the mage while the building burns. Flinchy's car is destroyed in the fight, blowing Flinchy's mental circuits. A trauma patch from a medkit inside the warehouse holds him until DocWagon shows up for him. We grab Caileagh and the sword and flee.
Caileagh is groggy and incoherent. She's been labotomized. Poor thing is just a bag of meat now, and it seemed like she just wanted out of the system. We drop off the vegetable for our pay. It looks like we're going to have a few months down time while the seriously injured samuri heal.
John's been missing for some time, but we hadn't really thought much about it. We never really connected it to the Screamsheet blurb about missing decks from a few months back about. However, today Flinchy's Screamsheet was interrupted by John's Answering Machine (JAM). It seems John's been missing for a while and JAM is worried. I'm slightly worried about software that worries.
Interestingly, in his "If you're reading this, I'm hosed" message, John mentions that Flinchy is the "only real shadowrunner I know." This, plus the discovery that John has a SIN makes me wonder what John normally does.
Unfortunately, Flinchy and Oldy are gone, so it's up to Clobber, Wraith, and myself to deal with the problem.
JAM sends along a dump of John's last few communications with JAM:
May 14: John is investigating Aztechnology's acquisitions department LTG, which was recently upgraded to Red 5 security. JAM delt with some Lone Star Parking Tickets on his SIN.
May 16: John has a headache from scouting Aztechnology. He asks JAM to order high end Offensive and Infiltration software packages from Jack G. He's been awake for twenty-six hours and plans on staying up longer. He mentions that he is running for a "Phillip."
May 18: John has been testing the new software packages and is confident about his ability to make the Aztec run. JAM notices that John's deck's feedback peak contrls are degraded, John explains that it's because of his huge Sleaze program.
May 22: John's been avoiding JAM and hasn't been to Aztec in four days. His deck's peak controls are dangerously degraded, John claims that it makes the Matrix better. JAM questions the safety of John's decisions, John overrides JAM to agree that he "has no problem."
May 23: John says that the Matrix is no fun anymore, that it's "purple and scary." He isn't jacked in when he contacts JAM, explaining that he "can't find my datajack." JAM relays a message from Minx, "If you're feeling the burn, then it's time to meet me at the Brass Knuckle."
A bit of brainstorming leads us to suspect that John has been addicted to something online, perhaps something related to BTLs. The change in John's attitude appears to have happened on the 18th.
I call up JAM on a text only interface and try to spoof John without much luck. JAM is willing to cursorly believe that someone behaving correctly (and greeting JAM correctly) is John, but refuses to do anything interesting without authentication.
We go to the Brass Knuckle, a bar in Redmond. There is an awakened elf there who watches me. Hopefully unrelated. I mind probe the bartender. He knows who Minx is, she's a female samuri and frequest visitor. She often does business here and often brings geeky guys in. The bartender saw John with her on the 24th, John looked haggard at the time.
When I leave, the elven mage follows me on a wicked nice bike. He holds his distance from me. When I try to approach he rides away, but not before setting a spirital tail on me. I enter and exit a building and seem to lose it, probably a shamanic spirit of some sort.
The rest of the team heads to the bar to stake out the palce. The rest of the party identifies Minx, and her elven friend. The mage who followed me. Té! Clobber uses his enhanced hearing to listen it, it seems that a "Poof" is coming to meet them. Poof is probably another poor decker. Since I arrived later and don't want to be seen by the elf, I wait outside to waylay Poof. I ignore several people who enter the Brass Knuckle who clearly aren't deckers... unfortunately an orc samuri who enters is Poof. Té, téch, téch!
Minx and her crew recognize us as watching them and attack. After a brief fight, we knock out Poof and the elf (whose name turns out to be Scream, probably because he centers by shrieking like a banshee kicked in the nads before casting). We grab the bleeding Minx and take her to an hourly motel for a bit of questioning.
We patch her up, and after a bit of work convince her that he hold all the cards. She knows that the deckers she meets are addicted to something, but she doesn't know what. Deckers with SINs are taken to World House Travel Agency, those without SINs are taken to an old warehouse. We leave Minx tied up and the room paid for the rest of the night.
It's midnight when we leave Minx. We rest for a few hours after the beating we got from Minx and her crew. World House Travel is in a strip mall. At 4:00 we go in. JAM pops the doors and we start searching. It quickly becomes clear that the place is a facade. The back office computer does list some travel arragements to various foriegn countries, cities I've never heard of. One the same days as the travel arragements are fairs for cab rides. All of the rides are 5.37 kilometers, all run by the same cab, all between 16:00 and 17:00. Some quick questioning of JAM reveals that the cabbie is Mack Ho, whose normal hours are 0:00 to 12:00.
JAM arranges a cab ride from Mack for us. We question him without luck. I mind probe and discover that he drops his special fares off at Publishing Northwest, an abandoned company in the barrens. I also discover that he is very afraid of squealing.
We head out to Publishing Northwest about 7:00. It's an old building, from the 1930s if the cornerstone is correct. It's clearly abandoned, but strangely there is no sign of squatters, or litter. We move in and are hit by six vicious cyber dogs. We put the dogs down, but not before suffering some serious bites.
In the back are two ancient giant printing presses. Old ink on metal impress stuff. The start button on the second press is slightly worn, so we give it a push. The press splits open, revealing a captains chair-hospital bed combination with John in the middle. Interestingly, he really looks like the image JAM projects. He's not paranoid enough.
Anyway, John's clearly jacked in. We pull some feed tubes and exacuation tubes, but we're not sure yanking his data jack is a good idea. So we bust his DocWagon braclet and wait for the pros to arrive. They quickly arrive and take John away.
Over the last few weeks the team recurperated (Clobber and Wraith lost a lot of flesh to the cyberdogs), I sold the sword we grabbed while looking for Ms Mahan. Renee, my talismonger, did me good and got me a chunk of change, a nice summoning library, and a bit of store credit for it. I summoned a pair of elementals to help in future work, a little fire elemental for utility work and a big earth elemental for brawling.
John's been in contact, and he's very appreciative. He's recuperating slowly.
Flinchy and Oldy have returned. Neither has said much about their little trips, but Flinchy's got a nastly little VTOL drone with minigun and an armored van with popup turret. Don't ask, don't tell is cool by me.
Everyone is all healed up and ready for work. Fortunately, work finds us. Wraith is contacted by an old "boss" of his. It seems that a UCAS FBI agent needs a hand. Wraith contacts this Special Agent Magnassen. It seems that a large number of women are receiving single woman pregnancy benefits, but a smaller number of women are receiving single mother benefits. This wouldn't normally be a problem, but many of these cases are resolved with either abortion or adoption. A few cases wouldn't be a problem, but dozens are a problem. More of a problem is that four previous FBI agents have been sent to investigate, and all have disappeared. This fine agent realizes that a better armed and less legally encumbered team may be necessary to solve the case.
We agree to do some preliminary work to see if we really want the job. A bit of JAM assisted research gives us a list of names of possible women involved.
Clobber and myself pose as health officials and question Melissa Coleman. Ms Coleman lives in the lower class part of town. A mind probe reveals that she got pregnant with her old ganger boyfriend. She remembers giving the child up for adoption, but doesn't really remember where the clinic is. It becomes apparent after a few minutes that her memories regarding the event have been altered.
The rest of the team pokes around in Allison Price's apartment, but don't turn up anything. I mind probe while she works at McHughs and discover that she got an abortion that she covered it. Otherwise it looks valid and her memories appear legitiment.
We contact Agent Magnassen and take the case. He gives us the Dossier on Special Agent Abigal Hobart, the last agent on the case. She is a black human, she has a good record with the FBI. She got a masters degree in Forensic Anthropology from the U of Illinois. She has cyber eyes, a data jack, headware memory, a transceiver, and a chip jack. When she last checked in, she was investigating the Sacred Choice Clinic in Redmond. She had a list of 120 mysterious pregnancy termination cases in the Greater Seattle area from Health and Human Services.
After a bit of discussion about how to subtly get into the clinic, I astrally scout it out. The place is empty and trashed. I guess our ideas for physmasking someone as a pregnant woman won't be needed.
We zip over in Flinchy's van and search the place. The place is trashed. A search reveals video chips for the security system, some mostly destroyed handwritten case notes, and a receipt from Descreet Disposal for the disposal of 75 kilograms of something. The back office with the security system has a back aura about it. While there, a Shellsocked ganger watches us, probably nothing.
Back at the Squat we check out the notes and the video tapes. The notes are clearly Ms Hobart's and largely match the information from her dossier. Of note is a reference to "another clinic" on Witzekowski St, but the specific address is missing. Witzekowski is a long street and cruising it doesn't seem like a good idea.
Looking at the tapes, on June 26th, at 14:17 Agent Hobart shows up, talks to the woman at the front desk, flashes her badge and heads back. She heads to the main clinic room and speaks with a blonde white human woman doctor in a lab coat. The doctor attends to patients as they speak. After about twenty minutes Agent Hobart leaves. She returns as 2:53 the next morning, flashes her badge at the male receptionist and goes back. The receptionist immediately leaves. There are no patients in the main room, just a white male wiry elf in a lab coat. The two take and head into the back office. The elf leaves and heads out the front door. Agent Hobart flips through her notes for a bit, then starts rifling through the paperwork on the desk. She sees something interesting and scribbles something in her notebook. At 3:12, a lightening fast flash of movement enters through the front door, leaps through the main clinic, enters the back office, attacks Agent Hobart, and flees out the front door. The entire attack takes less than six seconds. Agent Hobart, badly cut up all over her body, crawls out to the clinic, looks closely at her notes, and expires. At 4:12, men in white lab coats arrive, begin trashing the clinic and shut off the camera.
Wraith is almost certain the cuts on Hobart are from killing hands, implying that the attacker is a highly skilled adept.
It looks like Discreet Disposal is our best lead. We need to know where packages end up. Clobber orders a tracking device from his fixer.
Clobber's tracking device shows up. We pack it in a box. I physmask myself as a fairly generic human and drop off the package for disposal. It turns out that Discreet Disposal is a huge concrete warehouse. The front area is attended by a guy in a grubby jacket. You drop your package on the conveyer belt, it gets measured, you pay, and the conveyer belt whisks it off. at 18:30 we lose the signal from the package.
A bit later I astrally scout the place. I was expecting some defenses, but guess drastically wrong. No wards or minor spirits. But one heck of major free spirit. It seems more curious than antagonistic, so I talk to it for a bit. It appears genuinely hopeful that I'm a "bold shadowrunner." Apparently he doesn't see many, his PR team apparently is very convincing. I claim to be looking for a package I want back and describe the package I dropped off. After a bit of talking, it becomes clear that it's a toxic hearth spirit. Oh my, not how I expected to spend the evening. It seems nice enough and mentions that disposed items are triaged. Recyclables are dumped into the main back room and resold. Toxics are put into it's inner sanctum. He mentions "powerful transmitters" being broken open for their acid specifically, so I guess he has an inkling of my previous actions. "Biodegradables" are sent downstairs where his "guests" are. He also mentions that his guests are generally scared of him and might be scared by me in my astral form. He seems amused by me and agrees to let us into his basement.
Back with the party, Oldy seems pretty certain that the spirit's houseguests are probably ghouls. Oh my. This run is getting less and less fun.
In the early morning, we quickly head over and he opens the door. His physical form is that of a tall pale man with varicose veins wearing a tuxedo and top hat. The door to the basement is multiply deadbolted. The rest of the team goes down while I stay to talk with the spirit. (And to make sure my teammates can get out, I don't trust the toxic spirit that much.) I try to get something to call the spirit out of it (not a name, I'm not that foolish), without luck. It's hard to talk while hearing your teammates engaging in a gunfight with ghouls over ones headset.
After a few minutes the team returns with Agent Hobart's partially eaten head. There are no serious injuries, but Wraith and Oldy got wounded. Given that ghouls can be contagious, this may be a big problem. Both are slightly ill. We leave. I must remember to return and chat with the spirit some more. I don't know much about toxic spirits and this might be an interesting opportunity to find out more.
Back at the squat the hook up to the remaining cyber eye in Agent Hobart's head and suck out an image. "1019". The street address we need. Off we zip.
1019 Witzekowski is a two story residential house in a nicish neighborhood. Several people are looking out the windows on the first and second floors. In like gangbuster we go, the people inside are awake enough to shoot back, but not awake enough to stop us. A quick search reveals that... they're Lone Star. The portable computer there indicates they were staking out a BTL deal across the street. Oops. We flee.
Of course, a cybereye stores the image upside down before feeding it to the brain, which expects its images to be upside down. Error corrected, off we go to 6101. 6101 Witzekowski is half of a run down condo. I astrally project in. The place has a creepy feel. The first and second floors are empty. Passing through the door downstairs I get blasted with serious background energy. I retreat back to the van and we go in.
Downstairs is a dark dwarf wearing a mask. The dwarf knocks out Wraith, Clobber, and my Earth Elemental, and seriously damages Flinchy's VTOL drone before falling. I heal up Wraith, fail to heal Clobber, and we wait for DocWagon and grab Clobber. I guess we've got another long recovery period before our next mission. Just as well, I want to pick up a new spell or two.
In the basement is a full birthing clinic. We grab the computer to search for clues while Flinchy's drone takes detailed photos of the entire place. We scram to the squat to analyse the data.
We hire John to hack the computer we grabbed. It holds research information on the effects of bioware of fetuses. It also has information the measurable effects bioware has on magic, and the detection of magical ability in children. This doesn't sound good. We don't really have any idea what the equipment was. We need a professional opion.
We arrange for the services of a doctor through Jack. We meet the doctor at the Pine Cone. The doctor examines the research and our photos while he enjoys a steak and a Cuban cigar. (The Pine Cone is surprisingly well stocked.) He determines that the equipment appears to be for growing bioware. The research does appear to discuss implanting bioware in fetuses, but such an endevor would be very dangerous. The trick would be to implant partially developed bioware and to have the bioware and the child develop at the same time. We generously cover the doctor's overpriced meal and part ways.
We contact Agent Magnassen. We turn over all of the evidence we've collected, Agent Magnassen turns over and take the case. He gives us the agreed upon 40,000¥ and his business card. We hole up for a while while Clobber's wounds heal.
Jack G calls up. Another shadowrunning team needs an emergency backup. We'll get 15,000 to pull them out. We quickly assemble. The trouble is in Renton, a lower class part of town. We arrive around 1:30am. A modified City Master is parked in front of the target building. As we approach, there is automatic fire, a loud crash, and the City Master explodes. A large form flees into an alley, but it's too far to chase. Flinchy's camera bot, sent to investigate was shot down.
We head inside a newly formed hole in the building's wall. It appears we're too late, two of the runner's are dead. I check astral space and find the form of the team's last member, a fellow by the name of Houdini. The poor guy was astrally projecting from the City Master. Now he's a spirit without a body, a ghost that will fade out forever in a few hours. He explains that the two bodies are Plug and Tinny, his partners. The team was sent to recover two cyberzombies. Houdini now thinks it was some sort of setup. The zombie which killed them had no astral signature at all, which is impossible for creatures held together by magic. I offer to help if I can. Houdini explains that his friend probably has notes in Plug's headware memory. He believes the Johnson was fronting for Ares. I wish Houdini a fruitful last few hours and he flies off to say goodbye.
Flinchy brings the group up to speed on cyberzombies, I've never heard of them myself. A cyberzombie is a person who has been completely drained of their essence by cyberware. Normally the soul would decide the body was dead and pass on, but potent magic is used to keep the soul attached. The magic makes the zombie dual natured. The rituals to tie the soul are expensive, dangerous, and must be performed repeatedly.
Flinchy rips Plug's headware memory out. We retreat to the squat and regroup. The memory reveals the following log:
<<<<<ATTACH Plug's memory.txt
Got run from Jack. Mission involved recovery of two cyberzombies for an unknown client. Accept mission at 35,000¥ per recovered zombie, with a 10,000¥ bonus for each live one. Given inof packet, including case history.
Summary of Lovecraft Project - EYES ONLY
Subjects: two volunteers for extensive cybernetic augmentation with thaumaturgical support.
Subject 1: Code name "Howard"
Developed for high-threat implementations. Specifications: CLASSIFIED
Subject 2: Code name "Phillip"
Developed for physical infiltration. Specifications: CLASSIFIED
13 Aug 2059: Project begins.
29 Sep 2059: Surgery successful, testing and training begins.
04 Nov 2059: Matrix security breach, project moved to Seattle facility for secrecy.
16 Dec 2059: Seattle facility attacked, project subjects stolen.
15 Jan 2060: Project subjects overdue for magical maintenance, presumed terminated.
16 Jan 2060: Tracking beacon signal detected and located at Discrete Disposal Co. Project closed. EOF >>>>>
One of Houdini's friends says that we're being hired by Aztechnology to hunt down the zombies. Tinny says that the file on the Lovecraft Project uses encoding algorithms that only Shiawase uses. We will try the disposal company to see if the bodies are there.
No leads at the disposal company. Note to self: never, EVER go back to Discrete Disposal. We're going to call it a night and pick up tomorrow.
Houdini says that cyberzombies need to have some sort of magical ritual performed on them regularly to keep their souls for going away for something. We will see if we can track down any magicians that have the knowledge and the time to do that sort of thing.
Nothing on the mages. We're going to eat, drink, and be thoughtful.
My buddy Tommy just came up with something good. He says that the zombies are at the old Necronomicorp site that was abandoned a few months back. Tinny says it sounds like a set-up, but Tommy would never let me down; he and I go back to middle school, and besides, he still owes me for saving his daughter.
Note to self: kill Tommy. EOF >>>>>
Houdini's ghost shows up at the squat. He knows that the Tommy in question is Tommy Wendt, and that he received 3,000¥ for the information. We sic JAM on the name. We call it a night.
I visit Discrete Dispoal again. Mr. D offers me two two tracking transmitters in question. I promise to try and get him the body (I only indicated we had one target). Mr. D is willing to pay 50,000¥ for the zombie dead.
Jam reports on Mr. Wendt. He's a fairly normal sarariman. We catch him in his parking lot. I fog his mind for a moment and he enters the van. We zip off. A quick mind probe reveals that a Johnson called Thomas out of the blue and offered him 25,000¥ to pass on certain information to his friend Arty McKay (Plug). Thomas suspected he was selling Arty out, but took the job anyway. Sure enough, Arty called up soon looking for clues and Thomas fed him the story. Thomas actually met the Johnson in person, the Johnson looks like... the human/orc cross-dressed who stiffed us months ago! I also discover that he's been sleeping with a woman in upper management and using the opportunity to collect information to sell to Arty.
As revenge for selling his friend out, I tell Mr. Wendt that we're part of Internal Affairs, and that we know of his selling confidential information. I suggest to Mr. Wendt that he not return to work, and that he be out of Seattle in 48 hours. We then dump him in the Barrens.
We contact JAM about the large figure seen in the shots from Flinchy's camerabot before it blew up. JAM identifies the individual as Blake Ng and provides his SIN. He was born and raised in Seattle. He attended the University of Washington and received a bachelor of science in Criminal Sciences. He was a Captain of Shiawase when he was reported deceased on August 13, 2059. His SIN was reactivated January 27, 2060 and was identified as working as a Research Assistant at Necronomicorp.
We decide we really need more permenant online support, so we contact John. John agrees to join the team for a share. John finds nothing on Necronomicorp, they have extremely strong security. He does turn up Ng's address in Renton. While he was poking around the apartment's network, John was attacked by a powerful construct with black ICE level abilities. John retreated and reported this to us.
We head to Ng's address. A quick astral project reveals that both zombies are there, and just like Houdini claimed, neither appears to have any aura. We hire through Jack G a female dwarven explosives expert to plant a bomb on the door. As the dwarf plants the explosives, the zombies open fire through the door, killing her. I order my elementals to manifest in the room and attack, they are quickly gunned down. There is a brief fight, we're left with one of the zombie's bodies, the other escapes. We head the dwarf and drop her off at Mercy 6(?) by Jack's recommendation. We collect our 35,000¥ for the body and drop the rest of the contract.