Gamemaster’s Note: this log is being written a few months after the actual running of this scenario. As such, it’s a little light on the details, but provides a record of the events of the game better than complete silence would.
Tecumseh–the Koshari boss from Boise–needed some local help in Cara’Sir, and seeing as how our protagonists were the only people he knew in town, he dropped them a line. Seems that the political turmoil leading into the election was opening up some … business opportunities for criminal syndicates and rather than stepping on everyone’s toes (which would lead to the inevitable need to shoot people and dump them in the Willamette River), they suggested a meeting between the Yakuza, the Seattle Mob, and the Koshari.
The Mob and the Yaks were bringing their own muscle, but Tecumseh, fresh from having to purge his own organization of traitors who were trying to kill him, found himself lacking in the bodyguard department. The team agreed to step up and help act as his backup during the meeting. The location was yet to be determined, but all three organizations had suggested two locations, fed their coordinates into a computer program, and the program was scheduled to randomly choose one of the options and transmit it to each syndicate two hours prior to the parlay. The Ancients, an international Elven policlub/gang, had been tapped to provide security for the computer system
When the time came, a warehouse was chosen. It was clearly used for shipping and receiving, having roughly a third of the first floor at the ground level while the remaining portions were raised high enough to allow easy-access to the cargo in a truck. A series of smaller rooms existed on the western wall with a balcony above them, and representatives of the Ancients were on hand to act as hosts. They’d set up a round table and were providing drinks snacks as well.
Muscles from each syndicate arrived first and began to stake out the warehouse and each other. Shortly thereafter, the syndicate bosses arrived and moved into the warehouse quickly flanked by their apes. The team stuck to Tecumseh and paid careful attention to the others, including the fact that Yakuza guards included a free spirit.
The meeting began well, words were spoken, rituals observed, and things were looking up for crime in the Tír. The Yaks would focus on points south, closer to their home-turf in California. The Koshari would focus on providing “entertainment” throughout Boise and to the lonely settlers on the Columbia plateau, and the Mob would deal with the Cascades with the exception of Cara’Sir, which would remain syndicate free, for now, in deference to the Ancients.
But, unbeknownst to the syndicates (and, therefore, the team), the Ancients weren’t interested in simply Cara’Sir, they wanted a Tír free of syndicate influence. Approaching the warehouse location, a team of Ancient bruisers was arriving at the warehouse intending to kidnap the syndicate bosses and then ransom them back to their respective masters in return for a country free of their influence. As plans go, it wasn’t great, but they felt backed into a corner and figured it was better to go out fighting than waiting tables.
They attacked from the north and south and quickly pinned down the Mob representatives. The Yaks reacted faster, relying on their the free spirit to conceal them, and temporarily quit the field. The team ushered Tecumseh out the doors to the east while providing covering fire as they watched the Ancients gun down the Mob representatives and his guards; it was unclear at the time whether this was intentional or simply necessary in the heat of the moment. Regardless, the team exited the warehouse but was quickly caught in an alley and pinned down. Ariel and Cayden pushed their way to the south end of the alley using a dumpster for cover while Olympia deployed the drones from the rear of the van. The drones proved to be very effective, and unexpected, as they made short work of some of the Ancients who were preparing to ambush the team but not before Adriana was seriously injured.
The Yaks, still using the cover of their spirit’s concealment, began to attack as well. They’d pull Ancients into the concealment and then kill them one-by-one using the fear as much as their blades as a weapon. Between the drones and the Yaks, the team was able to exit the alley and keep Tecumseh alive, though without any form of agreement. He left to return to Boise and his base of operations, indicating an expectation of tough times ahead for the Ancients, especially in Seattle.
Before he left, he dropped one more tidbit: that there was something brewing between the Pueblo Corporate Council and the Tír. He wasn’t sure exactly what was going on, but the Koshari were pretty sure that it was likely going to be good for business. Considering their business was vice and crime, that was probably not good for the Tír. Adriana passed the information along to her “uncle” Isaac Bedivere, a friend of her fathers who had cultivated a number of political connections throughout the Tír, who also arranged for Adriana’s medical treatment at what appeared to be a secret government hospital.
Olympia’s commlink rang while she was unavailable, but luckily Adrianna answered it. Seems Jeff Edwards, the Unicorn shaman from the Tír district in Boise who had provided a safe house for the team in the past, needed some help. Seems there was a new racket in town trying to shake down his business and the businesses of some others in the district. Rather than pay protection money monthly to the criminals, he and his colleagues decided to pay a one-time fee to the team in order to get rid of the racketeers.
Our protagonists headed out for Boise and shortly there after sat down with Jeff. He gave them the names and locations of some others who were paying into the pot for the job and they quizzed him on the specifics of what was going on taking notes related to the people he had seen working the neighborhood. Moving on from Jeff’s talismongering business, the team decided to start looking for disreputable businesses in the area that might provide a haven for the racketeers.
They found their way to the Trog’s Grog, owned and operated by Dominic Mango, and another one of the business owners who was helping to pay their fee. Dominic, once he realized who the team was, became more than willing to help. And, in fact, he was due for a visit from the racketeers within the next few days as they came around to collect. Agreeing to return and help Dominic fend them off, the team briefly interviewed the remaining business persons.
The only thing that seemed to be a common theme was an overabundance of people with Native American heritage or symbols on their clothing. It may have been misdirection, but signs were pointing to problems stemming from the Native districts, but the team did not know–yet–if it would be the Salish or the Pueblo area of the city that had given rise to this specific group of malefactors.
Returning to the Trog’s Grog at the appointed day and time, the team prepared to help Dominic refuse the services of his incoming visitors. Octan prepared himself within the bar’s matrix host while the others hid themselves in the main bar area. Three men arrived to collect from Dominic but when the team revealed itself, in the form of Adrianna’s magics, they were surprised to find themselves not only outnumbered but seriously out gunned.
Watching the outside, Arial became aware that they had called for reinforcements as five more approached the bar armed with SMGs. They took firing stances outside the Grog and fired a full automatic clip into the bar to try and impress and intimidate. It didn’t work out that way. Between a few more Blast spells from Adrianna and Arial attacking them from the flank with stick-n-shock ammo, short work was made of them.
Realizing that the constabulary was unlikely to be able to ignore full-automatic fire for too long, the team grabbed two of the opposition–a female dwarf who appeared to be in charge and a human male–and took off driving randomly around town until they awoke.
The dward, named Ayellen, revealed that she indeed did represent criminal interests from the Salish district of the city. She and her organization were seeking to expand their turf into the Tír and they were starting off small shaking down businesses for some starting-up money. The human, Niv, was largely silent taking his queues from Ayellen who eventually made it fairly clear that she wasn’t willing to say more in front of Niv. Taking the hint, Arial shot the poor guy with another stick-n-shock round sending him to dream land once more.
Ayellen got down to business at that point. Long story less long, she was looking to advance within the ranks of her gang–an offshoot of the Koshari in Boise–and the only way to do that at the moment was to make a vacancy above her. She was willing to pay the team three grand each if they would hop the border over to the Salish district and get rid of her boss, the unlikely named Tecumseh Antiman.
The team used Olympia’s smuggling contacts to track down a captain in the Tír border security forces who was able to get them across in return for a favor owed her by Olympia. She also had some Kamikaze that she sold to Arial who would put it to good use later on. Thus, getting into the Salish was fairly simple, as was tracking down Tecumseh’s address provided by Ayellen.
Tecumseh had set up shop on the fourth floor of a beat up apartment building. The lower floors had been given over to drug dealers, hookers, and other forms of vice but the top floor remained fairly well maintained. An elevator provided the only means of internal access and the fire-escape had been knocked down to try and prevent external visitors. Olypmia flew her flyspy up and into the apartment giving the team the run down on the opposition showing seven individuals present, one of whom was a member of the Tír Constabulary!
Eventually, the constable, Walt Bost, left after receiving some cash from Tecumseh and the team let him go. Observing things for a bit longer, it was clear the group seemed to be settling in for the night. No one knew whether all six lived here–it would have been cramped–or if for some reason Tecumseh was expecting trouble. Deciding on a surprise attack, Octan hacked the building’s matrix host and took control of both the elevator and the camera feed from the same. Arial climbed the outside of the building to gain access to the roof while Olympia prepared to send her combat drones up in the elevator.
Octan edited the camera feed so that Tecumseh and his cronies thought the Constabulary was coming back and armed for bear. They quickly took up firing positions using a reinforced pool table as cover. One rolled a smoke or gas grenade into the elevator to drive the Constabulary out and it was revealed that it was not a group of low enforcement officers but rather the combat drones, the bad guys realized they were in for a world of hurt. The Lynx opened fire with its light machine gun laying down suppression fire keeping them all pinned down as Arial sneaked in through a balcony door. Fining her way in, she fired a flashbang stunning the opposition as Olympia launched a gas grenade filled with Pepper Punch into the midst of the group putting them all on the ground.
The team restrained all of the opposition but separated Tecumseh from the rest. When he came around, they explained the situation to him: either he could pay them or they could kill him and his friends. To sweeten the deal, the team agreed to tell him who had sent them and set him up and Tecumseh seemed swayed not only by his sincere desire to remain breathing but also by the opportunity for revenge. Tecumseh coughed up some additional nuyen for the team’s coffers and the team released him and his cronies telling them that it was Ayellen that had sent them.
Tecumseh told the team to tell Ayellen that he was dead and to send her back here to solidify her new rank within the Koshari. The team returned to the Tír district and did so, sending Ayellen off toward what was almost certainly her own demise. But, luckily for them, Ayellen was more than happy to pay up the promised cash for their services apparently rendered.
Even better: our protagonists were further enriched by the original promise of cash-y money from the Tír business persons who had brought them to Boise in the first place! Heading home to Cara’Sir richer for their efforts, the team congratulated themselves on a job well done.
The next phase of our team’s investigations led them to meet with members of the Astral Space Preservation Society (ASPS). Setting up a time to meet with Gabrielle Hecht, the lead shaman working with the University researchers, the team took the opportunity to ask her more about what could be causing the magical effect seen during the zombie attacks. While Gabrielle was very interested to hear about the awakened component in the cocaine and concerned with respect to the possibilities of blood magic, her expertise lay in other areas. She suggested the team speak with her colleague, Zhi Peng, a Wujen working with her and the ASPS researchers.
Zhi Peng invited the team to his residence in Naperville-Bolingbrooke (N-B). Upon hearing that they were headed there, Claudia and Douglas immediately announced their intention to remain behind. They parked the van in Westside and remained linked to the team’s comm system aided by the enhanced Matrix connectivity in N-B. Peng’s residence was spacious and warded, giving Foxface a moment of pause, but despite the astral security, Peng was welcoming and quite the conversationalist.
Peng’s exact experience with blood magic was never fully explored, but his insights indicated that the blood magic involved in disrupting the ritual may be the result of a blood spirit or, worse, a free blood spirit. He was not personally aware of any such spirit operating in Chicago, but on the other hand anything’s possible. He cautioned the team to be careful and offered his assistance should they need it.
Left with only a single remaining lead, the team turned to investigate the drug dealers who sold the cocaine to Ben Thompson, one of the unfortunate victims of the most recent zombie attack. They had the location of the drug dealer’s base of operations from the GPS system located in Thompson’s vehicle and, proceeding there, they found an alley way blocked off by felled street lamps. Claudia, unusually enthusiastic about purchasing drugs, and Paul approached the alley. Purchasing the cocaine was quite simple an a quick assensing later, proved it to be the zombie coke.
Paul quickly moved to question the dealers as to their source. And by “question” I mean shoot the crap out of them. Douglas deployed drones to assist and Dru moved to help as well. The dealer and his cronies were quickly dealt with and Paul turned to kick in the door of the building out of which the dealers had emerged. Breaking in, Paul caught a group of gang members descending a stair case and opened fire, pinning them down. A few returned fire, but Paul’s armor was able to handle the brunt of damage. Between he and Dru and the drones, they were able to handle the gang members and a gunpoint interrogation revealed that Smiling Jim was the person they wanted to talk to and he would be in the building a few down.
Cuffing the talkative gang member to a tree, the team moved to find Smiling Jim. Drones deployed into the alley behind the buildings revealed gang members exiting the building and leaving the scene of the gun fight, so the team entered the front of the building. They could hear gang members on the second floor and, with the aid of a flash bang, quickly dispatched them and took Smiling Jim, who appeared to be moving to escape with the rest of his gang, into custody.
Jim didn’t have much for the team to go on. He indicated that the drugs they were dealing were coming into town from the Koshari but that another gang member, Manuel Ramos, was the one who handled such things. Ramos had already escaped with others from the gang but Jim was … persuaded … to call him and set up a location to regroup at the remains of a local park. The team let Jim and the other gang member free and proceeded there.
Unbeknownst to them, Jim immediately called Ramos back warning him of the ambush.
The park had seen better days. The remains of a pond, now filled with garbage and at least one rotting hulk of a vehicle, as well as a broken-down building were the center piece of the area. Three hobos seemed to have been living in a lean-to but they had little to offer with respect to the situation. Dru and Claudia quickly noticed gang members approaching from the east and the team quickly took up defensive positions preparing to meet with Ramos. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that Ramos was not among the approaching members. Drones dispatched by Douglas to get a closer look were unfortunately seen by the gang members who quickly drew weapons.
A bit of a standoff began until one of the hobos yelled out, “Look out behind you!” and additional gang members who had approached unseen from the west were revealed. One of them opened fire on the hobos and Foxface, who had taken cover with her rifle, returned that fire. Dru dispatched another with knives as the drones began to strafe the eastern group. Claudia hacked one of the members of that group and convinced him that surrender was the better part of valor, but unfortunately that individual could not convince the others of that fact.
Foxface killed all of those who arrived and opened fire on the hobos and moved to rejoin the rest of the team as they and the drones killed the remaining gang members other than the one who had surrendered. Or so they thought. As they approached the surrender monkey to question him about Ramos, a fireball launched from across the pond incinerated the gang member and wounded Claudia and Douglas’s drone. Dru and Foxface, undamaged by the blast, turned to find the mage. Foxface, identifying his location on the Astral plane, shifted to her natural form and charged across the park. Dru, using Foxface’s trajectory to guide her shots, fired in the general vicinity of where she thought the mage to be. A cry and a grunt indicated that she hit somebody and, moments later, Foxface leaped and attacked someone hidden in the brush.
Unfortunately, between the bullet wound and the magically enhanced attack of an enraged fox shifter, the mage–who turned out to be Ramos himself–was about to die. Douglas, who had dispatched his medical bots to investigate the hobos, retasked them to run across the field to assist Ramos but it was clear they wouldn’t make it in time. Claudia, though, did and was able to stabilize Ramos. They took him into custody and, after collecting the weaponry and bodies of those gang members fit to be sold to Mrs. Lovett in Northside and checking on the hobos (who were fine), the team left the area.
On the way to sell the bodies, Claudia began to investigate Ramos’s commlink. It was going well until she noticed another icon on the node with her which immediately attacked before she could prepare her defenses. Douglas turned over the van to Dru and moved to assist Claudia on the Matrix. Worse: a group of go-gangers pulled up behind the van and indicated that it should pull over.
In the physical world, Dru began to pull the van over as Foxface, pulling open the side door of the vehicle began to fire on the gangers, specifically a large ork who, while standing in the back seat with his upper body through a sun roof, had fired upon the van with an assault rifle of some sort. Dru fired and struck a gang member driving a motorcycle, who through a valiant effort, remained upright and in control of his vehicle. He, however, did decide to drive on and search for easier prey. The other motorcycle driver agreed. Unfortunately for the ork, though, was not so lucky. A few more shots from Foxface and he slumped over the roof of the car bleeding onto the windshield as the sedan sped off into the night. Even better: he left his weapon behind!
Meanwhile, on the Matrix, Douglas successfully struck the other icon with Black IC locking his connection on and keeping him in the node. Revealed as using the icon of an ancient Mesoamerican warrior and left with no option other than to kick Douglas off of the node to release the Black IC lock. While Douglas distracted the warrior, Claudia used her Paladin sprites to defend herself and, later, Douglas which she threaded up a Track program and began to search for the icon’s location eventually finding it in Gary, Indiana. Shortly after doing so, the attacker’s commlink was shut down, dumping him from the Matrix.