Ivan decides to head over to HCB’s after hearing of the torture and its results, but gets a call from Wade on the way, telling him that Wade received a small package for him. Ivan asks to come pick it up, but Wade is in hiding, so he sends Jaro with the package to meet Ivan. Jaro wants to meet at the Slaughtertower, but Ivan wants to avoid that location (as it seems like an attention magnet), so they agree to meet at a nearby convenience store. They meet up, and Jaro delivers the package, assuring Ivan that Wade had it scanned and tested and it doesn’t seem to be a weird trap. She also sends her compliments to UB! on surviving the APDS bursts. Ivan scopes it out, and id’s the wrapping material as died flesh, tied with a small bow of thinly sliced skin. He opens it, and encounters a second skin note. He once again does not tell the rest of the team. He then heads to a Stuffer Shack near the ST to meet HCB, who has dressed and has brought the head in a bag, still wearing the jammer.
Ivan also contacts April, to make good on his promise of exclusive undercity scoops. In exchange for her promises of (his) anonymity, he tells her about the connection between the Turing Army and Olympus Prime. This connection does not actually exist, as far as Ivan knows, but he feels it might be true, and also believes it might hurt the TA’s operations if they are linked to a wanted terrorist organization. April seems thrilled with the story, and gets to work. Ivan is closer to paying off his debt for Yann’s injuries.
UB! scans the body before HCB leaves, and finds some RFID tags spread throughout. HCB heads out as UB! begins digging them out, and then dismembering the corpse. He tries to wash off in a public bathroom sink in HCB’s building, and splashes blood and water all over. He then goes to a corner store and buys trash bags and a mop, but doesn’t have any water in HCB’s shack, so he just ends up smearing the blood around on the floor. He bags up the corpse and then heads out for Tobias’, who has bought him an upgraded fake SIN for traveling to the uppercity. Tobias is working on a sculpture loosely depicting the previous run’s ambush, with plans to sell it to Minkwave. UB! assists in crafting a small flame emitter near the exploding car part of the sculpture. Tobias kicks him a little bit of the profit.
K hears back from Madame Gavral about the next meeting of the Hermetic Order of the Crimson Lands, her magical group. He plans to attend, and then goes to a coffin hotel and crashes. He is still a little weirded out by the torture. Rolph also crashes at a coffin hotel, since K convinced him to flee his Ares den. They have both noticed LS drones making random scans and spotchecks near access points to the uppercity.
Ivan and HCB meet in the Stuffer Shack parking lot, and hop in the car. Ivan tells the car to drive around the undercity while he scouts and hacks the head. He hardwires in so that they can leave the headjammer on. HCB watches him and stays in communication in case he needs to pull the plug. Ivan probes the firewall, and eventually slips thru, although he alerts the system to the intrusion while doing so. However, he is able to sleaze past the system’s scanners and avoid specific detection for now. He searches thru the node index and finds the goon’s call log. He heads over and begins downloading. Unfortunately, he neglected to scan the node for problems first, and comes under attack from some IC. Ivan’s deck (with its new mods, courtesy of Daedelus) lives up to the hype, tho, and he dodges blows left and right while finishing his download. He then flees, after failing to crash the system, which is trying to wipe itself. He jacks out after sleazing away from the IC.
They both notice the head start smoking, the skin blistering, and a terrible smell of burnt circuitry in the car. They rip the jammer off, chuck the head out the window, and then run it over. Ivan analyzes the data, finds a data bomb, and forwards it to Daedelus to try and remove it. Daedelus feeds back the info a short time later: there are some traces of calls relating to the Palisade Gardens, an uppercity high security hotel. It seems like a decent hacker has just recently wiped the goons datatrail/deck tho, so they don’t get much more info.
Ivan relays this info to the team. Tobias and UB! are hanging out in the jacuzzi at Tobias’, and UB! invites Jaro up. She brings two friends, who Tobias won’t allow in. So, UB! joins them in the car, where they drink some of Tobias’ cheaper liqour while cruising the uppercity. UB! has them drop him off at Tobias’, wanting to get some rest pre-run. They take off. Jaro seems nonplussed.
K attends his magic group, but sneaks in invisibly since it is in the uppercity. The other mages don’t seem to mind, and assume it is just the new guy showing off his tricks. They discuss Mars-based magical phenomenon and materials, and scan some new scholarly texts that have been sent up from Earth, as well as some local papers. They apparently have occasional speakers/symposiums, and such. K is totally thrilled to be a part of this, and reveals himself at the end of the meeting, playing off his missing legs and bandage wrapped face as a recent medical problem, prompting the invisibility. He also meets Arlen Thompson, who seems to guide the discussions along with Gavral, although there is not an official hierarchy in the group.
The rest of the team meets (in the meat) or attends via the matrix to start figuring out what’s up with the TA. Daedelus tells Ivan that he will pay the team members a reasonable amount for killing the TA cell if they can find it, plus bonuses for info retrieved about TA’s plans/organization/etc. Daedelus also warns them that it has picked up the presence of a talented hacker that seems to be working with the TA, so the team needs to keep an eye on their data/matrix security. The team checks out the Palisade Gardens, and finds out it is a series of 13 stacked suites, each occupying two floors. The lower floor has a bar, bath, bed, sofas, and a large outdoor wraparound terrace. The upper floor is smaller with two bedrooms. Tobias calls and asks about their onsite security (posing as a possible customer) and finds that they have wireless inhibiting materials in the walls as well as astral barriers to prevent astral intrusions. They also use biometric scanners coded to the renters to only allow authorized parties access to the suites. They have a rooftop restaurant, which is only available to guests.
Ivan and Tobias eventually track the goon’s datatrail to the shuttle he came in on at the spaceport, and note that he arrived 3 days after the bank heist. They follow the trail thru public transit logs to a bus that travelled into the uppercity from the spaceport. One of the stops was the Palisade Gardens, and 7 of the people who arrived on the shuttle disembarked there. They then successfully sneak into the PG system and access the guest log, comparing it to the flight manifest, and determining that the group they are looking for is on the 23rd and 24th floors. UB! really wants to have everyone dress up as gardeners and try to sneak in that way, but is eventually convinced that other methods might be more effective.
HCB calls Daedelus and gets it to put up the money for the room (3000/nite-whoo!), and then calls the PG to see what suites are available. HCB rents the room, and tells them he will check in that evening. The team debates having a party in their room as a distraction, but abandons that plan, and settle on K levitating the Shadowrunner ball down to the appropriate floor. Ivan buys a grapple gun with 900 feet of microwire, as well as gloves for all of the team members except K, as a back-up (with more of Daedelus’ money). They head to the hotel, where HCB gets the biometrics encoded to him (with his fake SIN), and then the concierge takes them up. HCB insists a bellhop carry his small satchel (containing his gun). Everyone else carries their own.
The concierge departs, and the team checks out the suite, assuming it will be about the same as the target area below. Ivan flies his Dragonfly drone down to the target suite to scout it out, and sees 1 guard making the rounds outside on the terrace. The windows are frosted, and the doors are shut. They also bring the elevator back up and time the elevator’s descent rate and figure out when they could set off a shaped charge to try and blow out the door on the 23rd floor, after it leaves their room. HCB holds the door as UB! plants the charge. This will also hopefully prevent reinforcements arriving.
K makes himself invisible, and then descends to within sight of the guard. He suggests to the guard to go inside to urinate, which appears to only be half successful, as the guard begins pissing in a bush. K then reascends and sustains levitate while the team readies for descent. They all equip their gasmasks (not to be confused with their respirators), and unpack/ready their weapons. As UB! and HCB exit the elevator, and it begins its descent, K levitates the group down towards the lower suite. The explosion goes off with no visible effects, except that the pissing guard seems doubly startled when he is shot in the head by HCB. K drops the group down onto the terrace as UB! blows out one of the frosted windows with a high-ex grenade.
Tobias, UB!, Rolph, and HCB surround the opening. K stays levitating invisible off the edge. Ivan heads over and finishes off the outside guard. He has been keeping his drone in an AR window and has it start circling the terrace to watch for threats. Tobias and UB! both launch gas grenades into the room, which will inhibit other team members lacking thermal vision. HCB dashes in to take cover behind a couch (the layout seems the same as their suite), and receives some fire from two goons, one with a machine pistol and one with an auto-shotgun. Luckily the couch absorbs most of it. HCB fails to hit the nearer goon tho. Rolph also misses him with a Dikote arrow (ouch-mind the nuyen). This guard appears to be on a dodging frenzy. However, UB!’s gas grenade goes off and he falls over choking. The other guard (with the shotgun) manages to whip a mask on in time, however, and fires on HCB again, this time doing some serious damage, as the couch is fairly shredded.
Outside, UB! and Ivan are both hit by powerful shots (seemingly silenced) from unknown locations. Ivan is knocked prone and plays dead. UB! remains upright, but is hurting. Tobias dives back into the cover of a nearby bush while all search for where the shots came from. They guess at two sets of bushes about halfway around the terrace in either direction from them. UB! shreds one batch with a series of high-ex grenades while K fireballs the other, igniting it. Ivan begins scanning for hidden nodes, trying to pinpoint who (or what) shot them. HCB retreats outside to avoid further fire. Tobias and Rolph head indoors and Rolph arrow snipes the shotgun guard thru the couch, pinning him to the wall, while Tobias provides suppressing fire. HCB runs in and covers the bedroom door, while R and T head for the bathroom. K has descended a level outside to try and heal up from overcasting some spells, and fails to do so, temporarily losing his levitation in the process and free-falling, inducing a terrible sense of deja-vu. He recovers eventually and manages to heal himself somewhat on the second attempt.
UB! takes another shot outside and is ko’d, near death. Meanwhile, in matrix, Ivan appears to have attracted some unwanted attention and is attacked by a professorial looking icon in medieval armor with a longsword. He sleazes away, and hotdumps to escape, sustaining some damage. He sits up to see a somewhat burnt looking man dressed in full camo with a large sniper rifle, who seems to have just shot UB!. Ivan takes a shot with his roomsweeper, but fails to hit. The sniper responds by ko’ing Ivan, who only survives due to the extreme will to live he acquired on Deimos. K, after casting increased reflexes and invisibility again, reascends just in time to waste the sniper with a second overcast fireball before he can finish off K’s teammates. K once again takes some major drain, but manages to stabilize both of his injured friends.
Meanwhile, inside, Rolph checks the bathroom with his endoscope, but fails to see anything, and then barely dodges out of the way of some autofire which pierces the wall. Tobias responds by targeting the guard inside (who R now sees perched atop the toilet), killing him. HCB opens the bedroom door, and ventilates the room. It seems empty tho. They all head upstairs-R + T crouch at the top of one set of stairs, while HCB takes the other. Tobias blasts open the righthand bedroom door, and launches in a frag with no obvious response. They are guessing two goons remain-hopefully a hacker plus one more. HCB runs over to the righthand room and checks it out, but it looks empty. He dashes back and tries to kick open the lefthand door as R readies a narcoject arrow, but fails. He takes some shots straight thru the door and is heavily injured. T runs up and takes cover near the right door, looking around the corner with his periscope.
HCB busts the first door in to find an empty room, as T sees two figures enter thru a door between the two bedrooms. He opens fire with little effect on the man with better looking armor. They respond by blasting him thru the wall, but he avoids most of the damage. R runs up, thru the lefthand room, and tags the armored man with a narcoject arrow, sending him to the realm of the unconscious. The last guard opens fire on R, whose armor and cyber absorbs much of the damage. T enters the room and wastes the guard with autofire while he has his back turned.
R grabs the armored man (hoping its the hacker) and the head out. K levitates everyone down to the car as quickly as he can, where they make a rapid attempt to heal Ivan so that they can get in. They succeed (barely) and he regains consciousness, orders the drone back down, and gets everyone in the car. They flee, having heard belated alarms from the hotel. They call Daedelus who arranges to have Ut meet them to exchange the goon for payment. They do so, and after a quick scan, Ut declares the goon to be the hacker they wanted. The team gets 5000 nuyen each, and Ivan’s debt to Daedelus is covered. Another successful run! Two in a row, its unprecedented.
The team splits up to heal and recuperate before looking for more work.