In which a conspiracy is uncovered…

By on January 9th, 2015

Olympia was more than capable of handling a car chase.  Even when she was outnumbered.  Even when her team was out gunned.

What she’d never done was try and stay alive during a high speed chase while driving a tow truck.  With people hanging onto the outside.

Luckily, those people were Adriana, Jack (the helpful dwarf from the embassy), and Cayden who returned fire on the embassy vehicles chasing our protagonists allowing Olympia to focus on.  Adriana tried to support the team with a few lightning bolts, but they went wide of the mark and then she was out of her offensive preparations.  Jack proved himself useful once more and after some fancy driving (for a tow truck) and a few more spent rounds, the team disabled or evaded pursuit.

They returned to Tecumseh’s safehouse.  He provided them with the embassy file and made a request:  that they let him go.  The team agreed and the last they saw of him he was driving north out of Boise and into the great empty nothingness of the Salish Sidhe Council.  Octan had revived by this point so he and Sergeant Scott were loaded into available vehicles, the van was hooked up to the tow truck once more, and the team called their coyote to get across the border back into the Tír.

Mercifully, that went off without a hitch.

Back on home soil, they moved quickly toward Ghost forward command where Colonel Bedivere was in command and where Major John Hammond, the officer who ordered the Ghosts to capture Tecumseh, was stationed.  It was far enough from Boise to offer some warning if the Pueblo decided to attack, but not so far to be tactically useless and they could see the artificial light of the pre-fabricated barracks before too long.

Calling ahead provided them access to the grounds.  They were shown to a barracks where rooms were prepared and Octan, still ailing from his recent brain-burning, decided to return to the blissful state of unconsciousness he had so recently enjoyed.  Ghost medics were dispatched to do for him what they could.  The others asked to see the colonel as quickly as possible and were escorted to his command tent.  Passing an array of surveillance and tactical stations, they were led through the tent and into a corridor crated by thin canvas walls.  At the end of that corridor was an actual door set in a frame built into some sort of portable room.

Their escort opened the door and gasped:  Colonel Bedivere, hands grasping his own throat, was being garrotted from behind!  Luckily for him, the team reacted quickly and the assassin ghost wouldn’t have even known who to haunt.  Medics rushed to Bedivere’s side and on the suggestion of the team, Major Hammond was placed under arrest and confined to his quarters.  As the adrenaline drained from their systems, and realizing that not much was going to be accomplished until Bedivere awoke from his ordeal, the team retired with Octan.

The next morning, Bedivere was up and at ’em and requested the teams presence as he interrogated Sgt. Scott.  Scott had little more to tell Bedivere than he had already told the team.  He reiterated Major Hammond’s involvement and the colonel order him also confined to quarters.  Next, Bedivere and the team were to speak with Hammond, but they were surprised to find that he had escaped in the night.  It was beginning to look less likely that Hammond was working alone; a conspiracy was afoot.

Adriana’s commlink rang; it was her brother, Garrett, the family vintner with political aspirations.  Answering it, he had only a few moments to make it clear that the vineyard was under attack and that he and Adrianna’s estranged mother appeared about to be kidnapped.  Adriana stormed back to Bedevire’s office, demanded assistance in getting across the country to her estates, and all other assistance the colonel could provide.

Unfortunately, he could provide little more than a helicopter to transport them and the promise that he would repair Olympias van while the team focused on rescuing Adrianna’s family.

But, That’s Treason!

By on January 5th, 2015

The team needed a place to hide out for a minute, catch their breath, and figure out their next step.  Tecumseh led the team to his safehouse where they trussed up Sgt. Scott, and the first order of business was to figure out who sent him and the rest of the Ghosts into the Pueblo sector of Boise after Tecumseh and, by extension, the team.  After some initial equivocation, Sgt. Scott eventually gave up the ghost.

Scott revealed that his superior was one Major John Hammond, a ranking Ghost currently stationed outside of Boise holding the Pueblo forces at bay.  According to Scott, Hammond ordered them to cross the border and apprehend Tecumseh if possible, kill him if necessary.  Associates of Tecumseh, like his decker buddy, were to be dealt with violently.  Scott was unsure exactly why a kill order had been issued, but on the other hand, it’s his job to follow orders, not to know why he’s following them.  The team gagged the poor sergeant and tied him up leaving him in the bathtub for later.

Octan had not yet woken up yet, so the others let him sleep off the damage caused by the data bomb that destroyed Tecumseh’s copy of the information related to the altercation on the Tír/Salish border.  The team was ready to pack it in and head for home when Tecumseh offered another option:  his decker buddy had a habit of tracking his online movements and storing it in implanted memory.  His drive wouldn’t have a copy of the information he stole, but it would tell the team from whom he stole it.  Lacking a better lead, the team decided to steal themselves a corpse.

Arriving at the morgue, the team made short work of the external security and found their way inside.  The facility was unmanned that late at night, though there was a guard on the premises so they moved quickly into the refrigerated room to look for the decker’s corpse.  Tecumseh identified his colleague and without much fanfare, plugged his commlink into the corpse’s datajack.  Feeding power back into the implanted systems, Tecumseh began to copy the data.

Unfortunately, the morgue guard on his rounds was approaching.  Fortunately, Adriana was more than up to the task of diverting him while Tecumseh finished his work.  They and Cayden met up with Olympia, who was still driving the tow truck they’d pilfered after the helicopter crash, and they tried to ring Octan back at the safehouse.  He didn’t respond so they assumed (correctly) that he was still unconscious.  But, Tecumseh was able to dig through the data and find out where his colleague found the data:  the Tír embassy to the Pueblo Corporate Council located in downtown Boise.

This left the team with two options:  go home or commit treason.  Like any respectable crew:  they opted for treason.

Banking on the fact that Adriana’s legal identity would get them in the door, they figured they could slip away from the embassy staff, find the data, and then waltz across the border with embassy guards.  So, Adriana got prepared for her grand entrance, which basically required her to dump booze all over her self and stagger in supported by Cayden.  Tecumseh and Olympia waited outside with the tow truck in case a getaway was necessary; after all, the Duchess Rukin could always demand that her cousin and friend also be provided escort back to the Tír.

Entering the embassy, Adriana and Cayden were quickly ushered into a lounge located off the lobby.  It had two entrances back into the lobby and a third exit into other areas of the embassy.  From the activity in the lobby, it was clear that the embassy was preparing to exit the building and return to the Tír, assuming the PCC would let them.  In the lounge, it became very clear that the embassy was watching Adriana and Cayden fairly carefully, but there was a moment that distracted the guards and Adriana quickly used an invisibility preparation on Cayden and he slipped out of that third exit and into the rest of the building.

Tecumseh used the information he lifted from his decker buddy to gain access into the embassy systems and directed Cayden toward a specific office.  Creeping invisibly through the hallways, he was treated to the site of embassy staffers moving about in a mild panic as they destroyed information and otherwise scrambled about the back areas of the buildings.  Cayden was doing well until a security spirit caught sight of him on the Astral plane and raised a silent alarm.

Meanwhile, in the lobby, a dwarf by the name of Jack sized the opportunity to try to claim to be a part of the Duchess’s entourage.  The embassy staff didn’t believe him at first, but eventually they escorted him out of the lobby creating the distraction that allowed Cayden to slip away.   They led him into a wing opposite the one in which Cayden was sneaking about and tossed him unceremoniously into a room clearly meant for interrogation.  Not understanding exactly what was going on, but pretty sure that claiming to know the duchess may not have been the best idea he’d ever had, he checked to see if he could slip away.  The door was unlocked — the staff either not considering him a flight risk or forgetting in the activity to secure his position.  He slipped out of the room and crept back to the lobby.

Cayden had found his way to the appropraite office where the information was located.  Tecumseh instructed him to plug a transmitter into the computer.  Cayden did so and Tecumseh used it to gain access to the terminal and began searching for the data.  When he found it, he copied it to his own systems.  This didn’t help Cayden, though, as both the spirit and an additional guard entered the room and cornered him.  Guards also entered the room with Adriana and attempted to take her into custody as well.  Cayden handled both the spirit and the guard almost without breaking a sweat and when he reported that the jig was up, Adriana let rip with a prepared Swarm spell distracting her would-be captors and making her escape.  She exited the back door of the lounge, met up with Cayden, and called Olympia for a pickup at the rear of the lobby.

Jack entered the lobby just in time to see guards fleeing the lounge (and the Swarm).  He quickly (for a dwarf) ran past them, shook off the effects of Adriana’s illusion, and entered the embassy’s back hallways just in time to see Adriana and Cayden fleeing out a rear door.  He followed, helped them handle a few more guards at the rear of the grounds, and earned–if nothing else–a spot on the getaway tow truck.  Picking up the others, Olympia sped around the block and onto a main street just in time to see embassy vehicles pulling out to follow.

Behind Enemy Lines

By on October 8th, 2014

The war between the Tír and the Pueblo Corporate Council (PCC) was simmering in Boise while the country warily went about its business.  If not for the underlying tensions, things almost could have been confused for normal life.  The stalemate seemed indeterminate until something strange occurred along the northern border between the Tír and the Salish Sidhe Council.

According to Salish reports, uniformed members of the Tír Peace Force crossed the border and attacked a small squad of of Salish forces on maneuvers.  The Tír not only denied these allegations, but insisted that the skirmish took place on Tír lands and it was, therefore, the Salish that were in the wrong.  Coincidentally, of course, drone-based and stationary surveillance on both sides of the border was inconclusive.

And, thus it was when her “Uncle” Isaac called Adriana for help.  Weeks before, Adriana had provided him with a tip related to the the increase in hostilities within Boise after Tecumseh Antiman, the Koshari boss, mentioned it to her.  Adriana was beginning to suspect that Isaac was more than simply a politically positioned friend of the family, especially after he pulled strings to provide her medical assistance at what appeared to be a secret hopsital following the criminal parlay.  Her suspicions were correct. Isaac Bedivere was a colonel in the Ghosts and, with Adriana’s information, he had positioned both some of the Ghosts and some members of the Peace Force near enough to Boise to stymie the PCC advances.  This made him, nominally, in charge of the war effort.

Isaac needed accurate information related to the incident with the Salish, regardless of who was at fault, preferably before the Salish joined the PCC in the war.  He hoped that Adriana would be able to contact the source of the original tip and see if she could lean on it for any additional, unofficial details.  It was easy enough to put in a call to Tecumseh who was willing to see what he could figure out from his contacts within the Salish sector of Boise.  It didn’t take but a few hours before Tecumseh called her back, but unfortunately, he was no longer his sardonic self.  Instead, he was well and truly terrified.  He wouldn’t say much over matrix, but he demanded that Adriana come and get him out of Boise and into the Tír.  If she did that, he’d give her the information she wanted.

Contacting Isaac, he was willing to provide funding for a rescue effort, but he was worried about putting Adriana and Olympia in harm’s way.  Sure of themselves, they and the rest of the team set out from Cara’Sir for a smuggler’s tunnel outside of Boise that would take them into the Salish side of the city.  Olympia was aware of the tunnel, and arranged for access from a coyote named Gloria who wanted a few thousand nuyen considering the danger involved in border crossings during war.

Getting into Salish Boise went smoothly, but finding Tecumseh was proving to be problematic.  Seems he was well hidden and was refusing to announce his location.  But, he was willing to meet the team at a nearby, neutral location.  A nearby abandoned warehouse, conveniently located across the street from a Fricken Waffles, would do the job and the team settled in to wait for Tecumseh while he traveled.  He estimated it would take 20-30 minutes for him to arrive.

The wait was uneventful and it wasn’t long before Cayden and Arial could no longer resist the siren’s song of all-day breakfast.  The two of them took orders, and proceeded across the street to acquire waffles.  As luck would have it, Tecumseh arrived shortly after they departed driving a small electric car.  He drove it into the warehouse attempting to remain under cover and agitatedly demanded that they leave immediately for the Tír.  The team stood firm, however, and needed to know what had spooked him.

So, Tecumseh told them that he had hired a friendly decker to find more about the border skirmish.  That decker found the information and Tecumseh met him at an outdoor cafe to exchange nuyen for data.  The decker was agitated, frightened, and soon, Tecumseh learned why:  the Salish border skirmish was the fault of the Tír and the data they had proved not only that the Tír was at fault, but who ordered the troops to engage the Salish!  Just as things were wrapping up, the decker was shot in the back of the head by a sniper.  Tecumseh grabbed the decker’s commlink and ran from the cafe as bullets scattered the crowd around him.  After that, he laid low in a safe house until the team came to get him.

While Tecumseh told his story, Arial and Cayden were exiting the Fricken Waffles.  When they did so, they could hear the sound of a helicopter approaching from the south.  It moved into position over the warehouse’s parking lot and ropes were dropped from it to the ground.  Cayden and Arial retreated behind the restaurant taking cover as four troopers in black military-grade armor descended.  At roughly the same time, a high powered rifle put an anti-vehicular round into the van’s engine block, disabling it instantaneously.

The rest of the team took cover around the van.  Olympia deployed drones (which the opposition’s decker immediately began to mark) while Octan attempted to gain control over the helicopter.  Soon, he and the opposition’s decker were engaged in cybercombat.  Olympia, Adriana, and Cayden, meanwhile, went to work on the troopers with drones, spells, and fists respectively.  But, covering fire from inside the helicopter made exiting cover somewhat difficult.  Regardless, the troopers were taking losses faster than the team even though the team’s wounds were taking a bit of a toll.  Seeing an opportunity to end things decisively, Arial launched a grenade into the helicopter killing everyone inside.  Unfortunately, that included the pilot and with the van disabled, the helicopter seemed the most likely way to get back to the Tír.

Arial and Olympia ran for the ropes as the helicopter began to swing out of control.  Arial shimmied up and into the helicopter but Olympia, not skilled at rope climbs, was forced to drop to the ground as the helicopter’s trajectory shifted toward the parking lot.  Arial rushed to the cockpit and grabbed the control stick but was unable to pull the helicopter out of its crash.  She died in the crash.

One trooper remained, Sergeant Ron Scott, and he quickly surrendered.  Getting a closer look at his uniform, Adriana and Olympia recognized them as Tír Ghost issue.  Tecumseh had been knocked out during the fighting so Octan broke into the decker’s commlink to find the data.  And, find it he did, but he didn’t notice the data bomb that was protecting it.  When he tried to copy the information, the bomb self-destructed seriously injuring Octan and destroying the data.

Without the data, without transportation, and without a solid plan, the team boosted a tow truck from a mechanic’s across the street, said farewell to Arial, and woke Tecumseh up to find out the location of his safe house.  He shared it with them and the drove off into the night.

 

Special Delivery

By on October 7th, 2014

Gamemaster’s Note:  This one, like the last few, is a little late. 

Some time had passed for our protagonists and the money was getting a little tight.  Luckily, work came in through some of Olympia’s smuggling contacts.  A local import/export business run by Christine Fennel needed a show of force to help transport live cargo from Cara’Sir to a small town named McDermott in the south of the country on the border with the Pueblo Corporate Council.  The animal would be sedated for the journey, and an animal handler–named Joy–would join the team to be sure that it remained so.  Fennel was reluctant, however, to explain the nature of the animal, but assured the team that it wasn’t “too dangerous.”

Meeting Fennel, Joy, and a rigger named Allison the next morning, the team were surprised to see that the truck carrying the animal was refrigerated.  Using astral projection, Adriana took a peek at the beast and found it to be an over-sized iguana of some sort.   Some basic matrix searching revealed its identity:  an ice drake.  While territorial, they’re not know for being overly aggressive, but they do have fearsome natural weaponry and the ability to project freezing temperatures and were not known to be especially cuddly.

But, the team loaded up and headed south out of the capital on the highways before turning east to cross the Cascades and, eventually, began to traverse the Wildlands of the Columbia plateau once more.

Everything was going smoothly until a bevy of air spirits began to pace the vehicle.  Then, even more oddly, a rather large dust cloud rose on the horizon.  Fearing pursuit, the team prepared for the worst, but remained completely unprepared for the reality:  a centaur.

He ordered them to halt and introduced himself as Whistler.  Joy and Allison admitted that Fennel had had encounters with him in the past.  Seems he had a problem with the trafficking of paranormal animals and demanded that the team return the drake to its natural habitat.  Disinclined to acquiesce to his suggestions, the team pointed out that he was out numbered and likely out matched even if he was Awakened.  Whistler withdrew but not before he promised to take this latest atrocity up with Fennel.

Back on their way to McDermott, the team settled in.  A few kilometers out from their destination, Allison contacted Jake O’Toole, their contact on the PCC side of the border, but was unable to reach him.  Not too concerned–O’Toole was not the most punctual of people–she suggested the team continue onto the transfer point:  an abandoned airfield outside of town.  Lacking a better idea, the team agreed, and soon found themselves pulling into a dusty hangar.

O’Toole remained elusive and they began to debate exactly what to do.  Joy administered an additional half dose of sedative to the drake to make sure it remained calm during the delay and, wanting to take a look around, Cayden climbed onto the roof.  From there, he noticed that the hangar was being watched from a small hill.  Trying to act nonchalant, he contacted the others but the observers noticed him noticing them, rose up, and approached with arms wide.

The team, sans Arial, went out to meet with them and were introduced to Serena Redfeather, her brother Joseph, and a bear shifter who declined to provide a name.  Serena admitted to the team that she had abducted O’Toole and she’d set him free in return for the drake.  No one actually seemed that worried about O’Toole’s safety, but he did know the best ways across the Tír/PCC border.  Octan suggested that Serena set O’Toole free, then they’d turn the drake over to him, and finally she could just capture him (and the drake) again thereafter which seemed satisfactory to the Redfeathers.  So much so, that Joseph was dispatched to bring O’Toole here.  He did so and returned with the fourth member of their team, a mage, but in the mean time, the team decided that this wasn’t exactly honoring the spirit of the team’s agreement with Fennel.

At an impasse, Serena offered an alternative:  50,000¥ and her team just walks away.  Not having that sort of cash, the team contacted Christine Fennel to see if she could provide it.  But, she only had 30,000¥ on hand.  Worse, it seems that Whistler had traveled up to the capital and was currently pounding on Christine’s office  door.  Lacking any other options (and out of time), Fennel transferred the money to Adrianna.

Serena would have none of it.  30,000¥ split four ways was neither enough to repair the damage breaking their contract would do to them nor was it enough for them to cut ties and set up elsewhere.  It seemed that the confrontation could only end in blood and tears, but just then sirens called out into the night.

And, lights went up all along the Tír/PCC border.

And, on the astral plane, spirits rose out of the earth rushing to defend that border.

Adriana and Olympia, having served their obligatory term in the Peace Force, understood that this sort of reaction was reserved for international crises.  Realizing that the situation had changed, Serena had a brief, private conversation with her brother and the shifter before sending a message to Adriana:  “Don’t react; I’m about to shoot my friend.”

And, with that, she executed the mage.

Holstering her weapon, Serena explained that the shifter wasn’t interested in a payout; he could just return to his natural form and spend some time in the Wildlands.  And, 30,000¥ split between her and her brother was more than enough to help them get across the border.  Their employer would just have to understand that international crises trumped their business agreements.  Adriana transferred Serena the money, much to Arial’s chagrin.

And, as the team was realizing, so, too, would Fennel’s buyer.  There was no way they were getting a drake across the border now.  As the Redfeathers left and the shifter shucked his clothes before shifting back to his bear form and trundling off, the team began to discuss their own next steps.  Without a clear solution to the problem, the opted to drive back to Cara’Sir (which conveniently took them away from whatever was happening on the border) and return the drake to Fennel.  Hopefully, she had talked her way out of the situation with Whistler.

Unfortunately, the convoy was stopped on the way home by Ghosts traveling with military personnel and vehicles headed back toward the border.  The Ghosts demanded to know what was being carried in the truck and Allison provided paperwork showing that it was empty, the cargo delivered.  Not convinced, they demanded that the trailer be opened for inspection.

Thinking quickly, Adriana had a spirit conceal the drake and they hoped for the best.  Luckily, the Ghosts were unable to pierce the spirit’s veil and were satisfied that the convoy was not carrying anything untoward back to Cara’Sir.

But, the delay had cost them some precious time; the drake was starting to wake up.  Worse:  the team was unable to reach Fennel.  Without any other options, they decided to release it in the upper elevations of the mountains, hoping that the environment would be cool enough that it wouldn’t simply die from exposure.  Olympia tracked the drake with a fly spy as the team tracked down Whistler using his online eco-radical matrix site.  They provided him with the drake’s location; if he was so worried about its welfare, he could deal with it.

That problem solved, the team finished the return trip to back to the capital.  They were stopped at the wall, but Adriana used her position as Duchess to talk their way back into the city.  Turns out the PCC had moved with some speed, and with no small amount of military might, into the Tír sector of Boise annexing it in the name of the Native American Nations.

Satisfied that international politics wasn’t a thing they’d have to deal with, the team parted ways to return home.

 

Parlay

By on October 6th, 2014

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.

Hometown Assault

By on October 5th, 2014

Gamemaster’s Note:  this log is being written six months late.  I got lazy throughout the summer and the game’s log suffered for it.  As such, this post may be a little sketchier than I like with respect to details.

It was back to the Ugly Mug for our merry band as they were once more offered a job connected to the Party of Our Rooters.  Last time, it was the Rooters that had sent them to Boise to try and bring home an informant, but this time it was a more “classic shadowrun” that was in the making.

Mr. Johnson needed the team to break into a local office building and acquire schematics, digital software, and an example of the hardware produced by the schematics.  The office building, owned by an organization named Office Associates, LLC, was currently being rented by Tír Software Services (TSS) who’ve held the lease for a few years.  TSS has strong ties to the government and frequently provides custom software and hardware for government projects.

The software could likely be stolen from any networked computer, but the schematics and resultant hardware would be a little harder to locate.  Fly spy recon on the building revealed that the target goods were located in a cleanroom on the second floor of the building.  The drone also revealed a sophisticated venting system on the roof that was located over the cleanroom.

And, thus, was a plan hatched to sabotage the venting system and intercept the request for service by the building managers.  Then, the team would respond in the guise of the repair crew gaining access to the cleanroom.  Various means by which to sabotage the venting were discussed, but there was some worry that if it was too obviously something dangerous that the building would be tipped off to the assault.  A grenade launched into the duct, for example, seemed too revealing.  In the end, the team decided to settle on something that seemed possible, if a little unlikely, but also rather disgusting and, therefore, more necessary to clean up.

Therefore:  Cayden had to kill himself a pigeon, and he took the corpse up to the roof, pried open the venting systems doing his best to make the damage look “normal,” and dropped the bird corpse into the vent’s fan watching as it was mangled beyond recognition.

The call for a clean-up came in shortly thereafter.  Octan was able to intercept the call and re-route it to the team, who indicated that they’d be there shortly.  Camouflaging the van, the team pulled up and exited wearing nondescript “cleaners” uniforms and entered the building.  The guard in the lobby was guarded, but convinced by their demeanor and dress that they were legit and she handed them off to another member of the building’s security to be taken to the cleanroom.  That guard let them into it and then hovered on the outside.

The cleanroom was a bit of a mess.  Blood had dripped into the room after the venting systems detected the foreign object and shut down the fan so the team began to pretend to clean things up while Octan stole the digital software.  Unfortunately, though, the schematics were not easily located in the cleanroom.  The hardware was relatively easily found, though, so some basic attempts at locating the schematics took place.  Octan looked digitally while others searched the cleanroom systems.  During these efforts, however, an alarm was set off.  Adriana moved to the door to try and stall the guards while the others simply tore the hard drive out of a 3D printer hoping the schematics would be on it.

Unfortunately for the team, Adriana — when pressed to explain their actions — was brutally honest with the guards and admitted that they were there for the purpose of burglary.  Guards take a dim view on such things, and Adriana ended up with a bullet to the gut for her honesty.

Having the hardware and software, and hoping they had the schematics, the team bid a hasty retreat.  Adriana, wounded, summoned a spirit and used it’s Movement powers to exit the building as rapidly as possible.  Ariel took the initiative to create her own exit, leaping through a window and into a decorative water feature on the building’s grounds.  Everyone piled into the van, and Olympia moved to exit the building’s grounds.

But, standing in the exit was a final guard.  He stood unflinching before as the van bore down upon him and seemed to shimmer slightly just before he was run down.  Within moments, he re-materialized in the van itself and calmly requested that the team turn over the goods to him.  While physical sense could not help but perceive this “person,” assensing was unable to detect anything other than team members in the van.  The team, remembering the assassination that took place during Adriana’s investiture, realized that the assassin was likely one of these creatures.

Acting on instinct, Octan scanned the new passenger with his matrix systems and it was revealed to be some sort of sprite though Octan had never before encountered a sprite that had the means to take on some sort of physical form.  The sprite, which eventually introduced itself as Ted, continued to remain calm and didn’t seem to fully understand that his request for the goods was never going to be honored.  The team, meanwhile, grilled him a bit on his identity and what, exactly, he was.

The delay was, apparently, too much for whomever stood behind Ted and was directing his actions, as a second of these “super sprites” appeared in the van.  This one was less personable, less-human and identified itself as Purpose.  Unfortunately, for Ted, Purpose, and their master, the team was reluctant to turn over the goods to the sprites, and seeing that there would be no negotiating toward compromise, the sprites dematerialized and the team returned to the Ugly Mug and Mr. Johnson for their payment.

Bumbling Bad Actors in Boise

By on April 20th, 2014

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.

Working for the Enemy

By on March 23rd, 2014

The job started as many do:  a meet, this time at the Pilgrim Brewery in the Faloma precinct of Cara’Sir.  The team was contacted by Jack’s fixer and told to meet with a Claudia Larochelle who would lead them to Ms. Johnson.  Arriving at the brewery, the team had no trouble doing so and quickly found themselves in a tasting room being offered seats and drinks by a well-dressed female elf.

Ms. Johnson needed the team to plant some evidence on a politicians commlink to make it look as if someone had tampered with it.  The evidence was in the form of fingerprints–using a glove to plant them–as well as epithelial cells to dust on the commlink.  Providing a total of twelve thousand nuyen, with two thousand up front, the team was willing to do the job though when they found out the specifics of the situation, some were a little less interested.

The commlink they were supposed to mess with was owned by Olive Carruthers, the New Ager candidate from Vale in Malheur County.  It was Olive who so strenuously objected to the team’s protection of Ben Gantry as the led him from Boise back to Cara’Sir for the Rooters weeks ago.  By planting the evidence on her commlink, the team would be assisting Ms. Johnson not in discrediting Olive, but rather casting doubt upon some undisclosed scandal in which Ms. Carruthers was about to be implicated.  In other words:  if they did the job, it was likely that they would be assisting the political career of Carruthers rather than scuttling it.

Regardless, the money won out and the team agreed to the job.  Ms. Johnson provided the team with a detailed schedule for Olive’s movements over the next three days; if the job could not be completed by the evening of the third day, then the  team could keep the advance, but they didn’t need to worry about continuing their efforts.  Luckily, upon reviewing the schedule, the team noticed two items on the itinerary for day two that might bear fruit:  an exhibition tennis match against Tír tennis pro, Maria Albert, as well as Olive’s attendance at the Tír Tiarngire Ballet in Malek’thas that same evening.

The team decided to attempt to plant the biometric evidence on Olive’s commlink during the tennis match and, if that failed, to try again at the ballet.  Tickets were purchased for the latter while Octan and Arial investigated the location for the tennis match posing as a couple perhaps interested in joining.

The club was extremely high end and offered a variety of both indoor and some outdoor sports.  Given a tour, Octan and Arial were able to investigate the location fully and set up an appointment for the following day–the same day as Olive’s exhibition–for virtual golf at 9 AM giving them more than enough time to try and tamper with the commlink as Olive’s match was scheduled for 8 AM.

Arriving again the next morning, Octan and Arial were accompanied by Adriana and the brothers Pliskin, the latter two outfitted as servants for Octan and Arial.  The club was infested with paparazzi who largely ignored our protagonists, much to Adriana’s relief, as they waited for both Olive and Maria Albert, though mostly for Maria.  The team relaxed for a bit at the snack bar until the candidate’s arrival.

Olive made the appropriate gestures of interest toward the cameras upon entering, and was quickly treated to the club’s best when she entered.  She chatted with the staff and owners of the club for a bit before Maria arrived.  They greeted each other in the lobby before they moved to locker rooms–Maria has a private room, but Olive insisted that she didn’t need such extravagance and would dream of imposing on the tennis pro.  Instead, Olive was led to the public lockers by a female guard.

Adriana and Arial beat them there and were in the process of changing when the guard and Olive arrived.  The guard analyzed them closely, but considering the difficulty of hiding weapons while changing clothes, was put at ease.  Olive introduced her self to the both of them and then, providing enough room for personal space, began to change for her exhibition.  As she began to slide her commlink into her court-side bag, Adriana used a preparation for Control Thoughts to convince her to leave the device in her locker.  It was successful, and Olive and her guard quickly exited headed toward the tennis courts.

Moving quickly, Arial and Adriana plugged a different commlink, prepared by Octan with a sprite on it, into the locker’s control port.  The sprite made mincemeat of the lock’s security and the door popped open.  Adriana quickly manhandled the commlink planting the fingerprints and dusted it with the epithelial cells before replacing it in the locker.

They, too, moved to leave the locker room, but Arial wanted one more chance at making the candidate’s acquaintance.  They stopped her briefly in the hallway as she returned to the lockers for her commlink, made some small talk, and then let her go about her day.  Later, when Octan and Arial attended the ballet–tickets had been purchased after all–they contrived to “bump into” Olive once more.  After some additional small talk, Octan and Adriana made a rather large donation to Olive’s campaign hoping to gain influence with her should they need a politician’s help in the future.

Returning to Cara’Sir, they showed Ms. Johnson a recording of the job and she paid the team the remainder of what was owed them.  The job complete, Adriana seriously put out by having assisted Olive’s political future after having to dodge her bullets, attended Olive’s rally at the Tír Museum of Modern Art.  She arrived in full make up and fully prepared to punch Olive in the face, but after creating a bit of a scene, her better nature asserted itself and she gave up on her plan.

The Investiture of Duchess Adriana Rukin

By on

GM’s Note:  It’s about three weeks since I actually ran this scenario so this is going to be both brief and less specific than my usual logs.

The date was February 25, 2075 and the event was the Investiture of Duchess Adriana Rukin.  Her father, having left his title to his eldest child, was killed in a car bomb during the rebellion along with her elder brother.  This left the title to her.  This caused no end of strife between her and her mother, Evonne,  (primarily because Adriana’s human metatype didn’t meet with the normal standards set by the aristocracy).

But regardless of the bad blood within the family, the time had come to invest Adriana formally with the responsibilities of her inheritance upon her twenty-fifth birthday.  The actual investiture was a simple affair between Adriana, officials of the Tír government, and a bevy of lawyers but a few days after that, Evonne had prepared a fête in her daughter’s honor.

Knowing it would anger her mother, Adriana invited the rest of our protagonists to the party as well, though Octan was unavailable.  Upon arrival, and being scanned for weapons and active magical signatures, the herald announced that her grace had arrived along with … friends … and the group moved into the room.

It was filled with a variety of the Tír elite, including two Princes:  Rex and Jake Foster (the sasquatch and an ork respectively).  Both moved quickly to congratulate the new Duchess along and wished her well along with all the requisite photographs.  Adriana and Evonne had there moment as the other guests pretended not to pay attention and then, for much of the rest of the afternoon, proceeded to ignore each other.

Olympia, feeling a bit out of place with her exposed augmentations, oddly found herself entertaining some of the children that had attended.  The kids, rather than being put off by her chrome, were intrigued and curious.  Arial spent her time effectively schmoozing with the elites of the Tír throughout the party making contact with those who might one day be either employers or targets.

More interesting were the brothers Pliskin though not necessarily for their own actions but rather for the interest that Prince Jake Foster took in them.  It’s hard enough as a Prince, harder still as an ork Prince, and Prince Foster thought it advantageous to shake the hands of the only other two orks in the room–at least those not wearing staff uniforms for the rental hall and catering company–and spend a bit of time talking with them.

The afternoon was primary a smooth one.  There was one political altercation between Erik Lombard and Stephen Kurtz, two guests with opposing political points of view and members of the Rooters and Progressives respectively. Raised voices were quickly hushed and the duo spent the rest of the party willingly separated.

That is, until, a cry went out in the room.  As everyone turned to its source, they saw Erik holding a gushing neck wound collapsing into the arms of his companion, Luke Baker.  Adriana rushed to help, but saw that his wound was beyond her ability to heal.  Others attempted first aid but it was not to be and Erik died.  The Constabulary was quickly summoned and everyone was detained for questioning.

In the meantime, the team contacted Octan who was able to hack the building’s systems from offsite and acquire a copy of the various camera feeds for the party.  Once the questioning began, it became clear that the attacker was not Stephen, even though he seemed the logical choice considering their earlier fight.  Instead, the attacker was described as an average human male with no real distinguishing features.  Conflicting witness reports meant that there was no clear picture of who did the deed, but the team hoped they might gain more insight by reviewing the tape.

Unfortunately, the tape raised more questions than it answered.  The assailant was obviously appeared from no where on the video feed behind Erik.  Grabbing a sharp knife from a table, he approached the target, did the deed, and then moved quickly back toward the wall where, while most were staring at Erik, he disappeared again.  Awakened guests, including those in the party, had not seen anything on the Astral plane prior to the attack and the spirits used as magical security reported the same.

Looking deeper into Erik’s profile, they discovered that he was actually running for public office for the Rooters.  His opponent, Maria Kaplan, was a member of the Progressive party, but she was not in attendance at the party.  Mystified, the party had little to go on and, in truth, it was the Constabulary’s problem to deal with.  When released, they went back to their lives.

The Return of Ben Gantry

By on March 2nd, 2014

Octan’s contacts took the team about 110km north into the Wildlands after turning north off route 20.  Passing through the Wildlands of the Columbia Plateau provided the team with a wide, expansive view of what amounted to a near frozen tundra in the late February afternoon.  The drive was uneventful, escorted as they were by burly off road bikes, and after a little over an hour, they were taken to an extremely well camouflaged outpost of some sort.

The outpost was surrounded by small hills carefully constructed to appear natural.  Spread over the small valley created by these hills was a camouflage netting.  Even from nearly a kilometer away, it looked like a natural formation, but as the team approached it became more clear that it was man made.  Between the netting and the landscaping, the outpost would be almost impossible to find.  As they approached, a large gate was opened and the convoy passed through it.  When it was closed, two large bollards were dropped in place to both lock the gate and to help prevent anyone from ramming through it.

The tow truck driver pulled over to an area of the compound clearly set aside for mechanics to work on the vehicles parked within the walls.  The team could see two cars, a pick-up truck, a few more bikes, and a group of ATVs all for the groups disposal.  In addition to the vehicles, there were about twenty different people milling about the area handling a variety of chores.  They took some notice of the convoy, but seemed comfortable with the fact that all was well considering the team was escorted inside.

The tow truck stopped and the driver, Lars, exited and detached the van.  A few mechanics approached, obviously having been warned of the incoming work, and Olympia moved over to them to get started with the repairs.  The mechanics estimated that it would take a few hours to get everything in working order.

Meanwhile, a Native American woman along with two other men approached the team and greeted Octan.  The woman, introduced only as Diane, seemed friendly and invited the team to rest and/or eat depending on their preference.  Octan, still suffering the after effects of his technomancy, opted to sleep while the others, without Olympia, headed to the mess hall.

Therein, they found a few more people who lived here in the compound.  Adrianna grabbed some coffee and sat at the end of the table where an elf and a dwarf were sitting.  They invited her to join them and then also invited the rest of the team to do so as well.  Everyone agreed except for the brothers Pliskin who sat near enough to overhear, but far enough that they didn’t get elf-cooties.

From these two, the team learned that the group was the remains of a militia group that fought with the Rinelle ke’Tesra during the war.  Afterwards, while they did not continue to fight the current government like some of the Rinelle, they also didn’t feel exactly comfortable with the way it all turned out.  Thus, they live out in the Wildlands preparing for the inevitable second rebellion.  Aside from a touch of paranoia and a peppering of conspiracy theories, the group seemed fairly nice.

While the van was being fixed, another group arrived at the compound.  Along with four members of the militia, a centaur entered through the main gate.  Without the centaur, they would have been uninteresting, but with him the whole thing caught Olympia’s eye.  The centaur bowed formally to his escort and then proceeded into the main building, apparently to meet with Diane.

After a few hours, the van was fixed up and Octan awoke from his nap.  Taking the opportunity that his separation from the rest of the team provided him, he quickly broke into Ben Gantry’s commlink with the help of a crack sprite and found the paydata encrypted within it.  Working quickly, he decrypted it and then used a complex form to copy it from Ben’s commlink to his own storage.  Unfortunately, something strange happened in the process; the resonance translated the decrypted file into Esperanto.  Ben, not knowing Esperanto, thought that his decryption had failed.  Regardless, he met briefly with Diane and traded the paydata for 500 nuyen; less than he had hoped, but a fair price considering Diane would still have to “decrypt” the file.

The van fixed, the team thanked Diane and the militia for their hospitality and the repairs and headed back to Cara’Sir.  During the roughly 8 hour drive, the team decided that, while things didn’t exactly go that smoothly for them over the last 24 hours, it wasn’t like things couldn’t have gone worse.  Contact information was exchanged and the decision was made that, should work come their way again, they would accept it as a team.

Arriving back in Cara’Sir, the team had a few hours to kill before sunrise when they could meet Mr. Johnson.  Once a more decent hour was reached, they prepared to meet Mr. Johnson back at the Ugly Mug in the parking lot behind the building.  The hand off went smoothly, and Ben was in no real danger so he wasn’t a problem.  The team returned the money earmarked for Aiden Alexander, the late proprietor of the Cat’s Meow in Boise, earning them some praise from Johnson before getting paid and agreeing to the possibility of future work should he ever need their services again.

Hungry, the team found their way to a Fricken’ Waffles to order breakfast and discuss the disposal of the cyberdeck stolen from the opposition’s decker.  Deciding that the nuyen was more beneficial than the cyberdeck at this time, the team opted to sell it.  Between some of the team’s contacts and Octan’s negotiating skills, they got an excellent deal netting everyone a few more thousand nuyen.