Tobias hacks the LoneStar database, via antenna, while the others engage in their various business (see last session). He succesfully spoofs the ID of one of the legitimate users after gaining admin access, and manages to find info on a number of employees, a few snitches, and most disturbingly, an interoffice memo regarding “Project PR.” It includes a list of SIN’s, with accompanying intel, on a whole bunch of Mars City runners, including the entire team (except for new members Rooster and Sanja). Harmony Craig Bottow and Rolf Soren Ramis are x-ed out, and Mikko Asparen and Bathcat are checked off. This seems to answer Daedelus‘s question of where missing runner’s are going.
Tobias relays the relevant info on LS to One Shot Wade via ThankYou. T also calls Daedelus and they discuss Project PR and agree to look into if further, as many on the list are associated with the Exchange. The team regathers and he shares this info with them as well. They stock up and head for the crater after Wade tells them he’ll plan an assassination job against LS, and pays them for their work. K follows the car while flying invisibily, everyone else rides inside.
They arrive at a small abandoned settlement near the crater edge (a ways east of their hideout) without any trouble, and rendevouz with Rez and the guides. The guides turn out to be two rough looking and tooled up ghouls, which makes some of the team uncomfortable, especially after they sense Tobias and TY sneaking up on them via enhanced smell. Sanja tries to probe one of their minds to gain access to the crater route and negate their usefulness, but they retreat inside a neaeby building with guns drawn. The team encircles them, but Rooster manages to defuse the situation without any bloodshed after Sanja agrees to pay them the rest up front, as long as the team can disappear Rez. Stocking up the situation, the guides agree to take them into the crater, but no further.
UB! chases down and tackles Rez as he flees towards a car. UB! meets the skin note people nearby and quickly rejoins the team. The ghouls tell the team that the crater can have weird effects on people, although ghouls are not effected as heavily. They seem to usually guide people on crater safaris, letting the rich on Mars hunt the bizaare prey they might find therein. They take the team down a nearby well, through a tunnel, and up into the crater. Before slamming the hatch shut and heading back, they tell them to ‘watch out for the dragons.’ The terrain is barren, dry, and devoid of life as far as the eye can see.
K and Sanja do some scouting to try to find a trail, while TY becomes convinced due to superstition that a brief flash of light he saw will surely guide the way. K, fearing astral projection still, gathers everyone up into a giant flying shadowrunner ball and heads towards the light while Sanja tries to astrally investigate the diamonds. He picks up their trail near the Heliopolis side of the crater’s mana barrier, and with his earth elemental’s help, tracks them towards the interior. The first night, they make camp, but set an inadequate watch, and are attacked by some sort of mutated panther or hillcat. K gets caught in a thick spider-web like substance, but they can’t figure out if that was the cat’s doing, or some other creature (or mage?). They chase the cats off after killing a few. TY smears one of the dead cat’s blood on his face, and then tries unsuccessfully to sleep in his armor. Tobias does the same, with slightly better results (and minus the cat blood). K tethers himself to Sanja’s elemental and sleeps in the air.
The second day passes largely without event, although everyone is severely bruised and fatigued after hours of flying immobilized in the shadowrunner ball. Sanja makes good progress on tracking the diamonds, and locates a vibrant interior, vastly different from the desert wasteland they have been crossing so far. He reports this to the group, and adjusts their heading a bit from TY’s guidance to link up with the diamonds route. They prepare to spend another night in the crater, after crossing over 1000k of terrain airborne in two days.