Mars City Shadowrun

Domestic Tranquilizers
Gangs, Gangs, Gangs

Runners:
Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Aemon Burst
Ortega
Ro Tain

Ro links up with the team, using another Evan Parris-provided visa. She picked up some rumors in Seattle that Horizon is looking for them. They all head to a meet with Parris, and catch the tail end of some sort of Tir Prince pep rally in a park, which is rudely interrupted by a driveby. Although it was targeted at some rival gang members in the park, the Prince’s don’t hesitate to obliterate the attacker’s vehicle with a fireball. Parris tells the team that his other errand can wait, and that he wants them to deal with this gang war immediately, as he is sick of it affecting his business. He sends them to a meet with Alexander Horn, a local Crime Corp boss/fixer, who has the intel required. Parris’ driver, who goes by “Johnson”, chaffeurs them around in a lux SUV, but tells them that his job is to get them from place to place and protect the car, not them.

The meeting with Horn is somewhat confusing, as he insists on using corporate lingo and metaphor, exclusively, to describe the situation. Ro manages to piece it together but fumbles the social interaction, and TY and Ortega just can’t keep up, leaving it to Aemon to assure the anxious Horn that they are capable of completing the task at hand. They get the name of 4 gangs, and the likely locations of their 4 leaders: Enyo: leader of an all-female gang called The Shooters, The Duke: leader of an all-ork gang called The Spans, Red Feather: chief of a Native American crime family called the Dog Soldiers, and Stump: leader of the all-dwarf Sons of Gimli.

They head out to meet Stump first, and find a bar converted entirely to dwarf-size (including the awkward-height door). They find out that the hostilities started because Stump and Red Feather’s sister, Smiles Like the Sun, have run off together. This is a problem, as RF is a racial purist, and is refusing to believe that his sister is acting of her own free will- he thinks she has been magically induced or kidnapped. Smiles assures the team this isn’t so, and Aemon confirms via assesning that she isn’t being controlled (although Stump is a decently powerful mage of some sort). The Sons are allied with The Shooters, so they jumped in the fight too, using it as an excuse to hit back at The Spans, who are allied with the Dog Soldiers, and are longtime competitors for the same slice of dockside turf. They get Stump to agree to participate in a challenge fight on RF’s terms, if RF will agree to allow Stump and Smiles to go about their lives if he loses. The team also convinces them to get married soon if Stump wins, to try and tie the warring gangs together.

They head out to the Spans base next, a rundown warehouse called The Duchy. There are some armed orks outside on alert, due to the current situation, but they talk their way in, and cross through a filty hall filled with drug-addled gangers lounging around watching trids and porn. The Duke himself is seated atop a trash-pile throne, with an obviously underage ork girl on his lap (angering Ortega). He speaks coarsely of the Shooters and the Sons, and seems pretty interested in continuing the violence, a prospect that he and the gangers present seem to relish. However, he agrees to stand by the outcome of a challenge fight between the Sons and the DS’, as long as the team can also get him in the ring with Enyo, (who he seems to have personal beef with), to settle their turf dispute. They agree, and leave, somewhat disgusted.

Being nearby, they hit up The Shooters next, in the Meat Rack, the dockside redlight district that they control. The stylish red and black knock-off Actioneer suits that the women wear mark them out pretty easily from the johns and working girls, and they manage to talk their way into a meet with Enyo, who seems to have been expecting them. She seems interested in peace, as this ongoing spat is bad for business (and bad for longterm prospects if that state cracks down), but she can’t afford to not hit back if the Spans attack her girls, or her allies. They convince her to come to the challenge fight, although she talks Ortega into fighting as her champion for some bonus pay, perhaps correctly worried about her chances one-on-one with The Duke, who she seems to despise. Aemon tries to flirt with her but is rebuffed.

They roll out to the urban wilds, to meet Red Feather. Johnson has to park a ways off and leave them to walk up, and they are intercepted by 2 well-camoflagued Dog Soldiers armed with compound bows. They manage to talk their way into a meet, and are escorted deeper in. RF is an elf, but the gang seems mixed between elves and humans. They seem to be pushing for a return to NAN-affiliation, rather than being and Elven nation, from the team can pick up. RF is pretty short with them, and they have to do some fairly intense convincing to get him to hear them out. He eventually agrees that if his sister can be produced unharmed and will allow herself to be examined magically to prove that she is acting of her own free will, he will participate in the challenge fight to settle this, although he says that he plans to kill Stump in the ring. RF also seems to have some magic ability, and although not especially charismatic, has the devotion of his followers, though his sister is also popular.

The night comes, and the team rolls up on the abandoned, collapsed warehouse that is used as a neutral meeting place. Ortega asks Ro to buy him some cram to boost his abilities a bit, remembering how poorly he fared against Jimmy The Chin in Seattle. Ro makes a cocktail of cram, jazz, nitro, and kamikaze, to really power him up, but doesn’t tell him about the bonuses in the inhaler. Aemon coats Ortega’s axe blade in narcoject, and tells him he better connect of the first hit. The rest of the gangs show up: Stump and Smiles on a chopper with 4 more Sons in a van behind, Red Feather and 6 Dogs on bikes and atv’s, Enyo and 6 Shooters in red and white convertibles, and The Duke and 4 Spans on foot. They head in, and after some formal invocations, the Duke agrees to Ortega as Enyo’s champion, and agrees to a blades fight to the death, and the first fight begins.

Ortega is tripping something fierce, but is inhumanly fast and strong, and manages to strike the first blow, staggering his opponent. The Duke gets a few decent hits in, but it unable to recover from this initial volley and Ortega fells him. However, in a combat rage, he keeps pulverizing the corpse with his axe, angering some of the spectators, until Aemon shoots it out of his hand, and Ro manages to use imitiation military commands to lure him outside. However, even after getting him to run around a bunch, he is still in a frenzy, so Ro and Aemon incapacitate him, while TY tries to make sure no-one inside sees what it happening. Ro leaves, taking Ortega to a nearby street doc. By the time Aemon and TY return, the Duke’s body has been torn apart, apparently by the other Spans, in order to salvage his ’ware, and the 2nd fight has begun. Enyo messages Aemon to praise his trick shot and invites him to meet her later. She also pays Ortega a bit extra.

Meanwhile, Red Feather seems to have the definitive speed advantage, although he is dealing mostly light blows, seemingly unable to fully penetrate Stump’s mystical armor. When Stump finally swings, it is a mighty hit, seriously wounding RF. This goes on for a bit, but Stump prevails in the end as his 2nd swing fells RF, who lies dazed and bleeding on the ground. Although there are some shouts of “finish it!”, Stump looks to Smiles, who nods “no”, and he calls it a win and exits the ring, leaving the Dogs free to collect their grievously wounded chief. Their is a little more ceremony, and everyone goes their seperate ways, the Spans already having declared a new Duke. They apparently wanted to recruit Ortega but he was nowhere to be found….

The team gets paid, and Parris tells them that he has another job lined up in a few days: a reagent hunt in a High Prince’s private preserve.

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Hopping the Fence
Convoyyy! & Midair Gunfights

Runners:
Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Aemon Burst
Ortega

Ro Tain decides to go take care of some business in Seattle, not wanting to do further missions for the Ancients right now as she is piqued by their Elven supremacy. The rest of the team rests up for a few days and hones some skills, before heading to the Crime Mall to meet up with Rook. They’re going to be smuggling some contraband (and Rook) out of Seattle, through Salish=Shidhe territory and over the border into Tir Taingire. The first leg of the trip will use 2 refrigerated trucks (including the repainted Stuffer Shack auto-hauler from last time).

They dicker over pay and then head out. They have an Ancients escort for the initial bit and don’t have any trouble, but are accosted by another go-gang, the 405 Hellhounds on their eponymous highway. They drive them off with dispiriting called shots and assault rifle fire before they do anything other than cosmetic damage. They reach the border-spanning Carnation Farms dairy farm, and bribe their way through without incident, refusing to pay further for some milk that “fell off the truck”.

They reach Rimrock Lake, a smuggler’s in Cascade Ork turf, and find a battered but seemingly functional Ares Dragon cargo chopper waiting for them. They trade the trucks for it with a taciturn ork mechanic named Big Jim, and also rent a refrigerated carge container with emergency chutes and an LMG from him, just to make sure things go smoothly. They load up the chopper and cargo crate, and find out they they’re carrying a bunch of random purloined corporate goods, concealing 9 Aztechnology stinger launchers. Rook tells them that the ban on Azzie tech in the Tir mean that both the launchers and the Stuffer Shack loot will fetch a good price.

They cross the border over the mountains, and spot Mount Hood in the distance, before clouds roll in and obscure their view. They are flying near the chopper’s ceiling to help avoid detection, and are avoiding magical use for the same reason. However, as TY begins to follow the ARO trail towards the LZ, their sensors ping an incoming craft, hiding in the clouds, and their comm systems bursts into static-y life with an elven supremacist screed, delivered in Sperethiel. They also are alerted that the other craft is attempting missile lock.

Rook tells them that it is likely a member of the Great Hunt, a fanatic border patrol that tends to shoot first. TY begins evasive maneuvers while Ortega and Aemon haul open the side cargo door and strap in. Ortega spots the other craft with his thermo, and they are able to tag it with a few rounds before it gets a missile off. However, their chopper is heavily damaged and TY is struggling to maintain control. They manage to send the enemy chopper (a light scout craft) into a tailspin, heavily smoking, as it gets a second missile off, which TY pulls out all the stops to partially avoid, managing to avoid a total catastrophe, but he is unable to right it and they bail in chutes, as Rook blows the explosive bolts holding the cargo on. They try to steer towards the LZ as Ortega finishes off the other chopper, just to make sure.

As they descend further, they are attacked by a small group of light rotodrones mounted with LMG’s, but manage to take them out with no serious damage, and protect the cargo. They come in and mostly stick the landing. TY, already weakened from VR feedback. fares the worst. They meet up with some Tir Peace Force troops with a bunch of off-road technicals, who begin loading the gear. They are introduced to Rook’s father, and wired-up Tir Prince named Evan Parris, who pays them and provides them with visas to the Tir good for 1 month, as well as a promise of more work in a day and a half’s time. They head into Cara’Sir/Portland to get the lay of the land until then.

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Ancient Pawns
5 Jobs For the Price of 1!

Runners
Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Ro Tain
Ortega

The team decides to meet a Johnson in Cara-Sir (formerly Portland), about some work in the PNW. Sutun, The Pillar of Ankara decides to bow out, worried that his obvious appearance might allow Horizon to easily track him. he says he is going to lay low and check in with his family. Aemon Burst, having never seen Tir Tairngire before, decides to skip the job and check out the Elven nation.

They are put ashore near a nameless dockside bar filled with seamen and longshormen, as well as 2 suited elves who are obviously carrying, and seem to be guarding a slightly older-looking elf in a much better suit, who introduces himself as Mr. Johnson. After Ro greets him in Spetheriel, he replies in fluent Japanese, and TY has to request that they continue in English. The setup is that Mr. J wants them to go wait in Seattle in a barrens safehouse for a few days, after which they will be contacted by an Ancients member about some work. They are to except the job and complete it, and not let anyone know that they were hired to be on hand. They agree, as the pay’s good, but are suspicious.

Doing some research on the names they were given, they find that the elf likely to contact them, Belial, is an up and comer who is gunning for the top seat in the Seattle chapter. Apparently his father, Green Lucifer, built the chapter up some 20 years ago, before getting promoted to West Coast head. The woman he left in charge, Sting, is still running things, but there’s a crew of young guns angling for change. Based on old arrest photos they pull up, they decide that Mr. J is mostly likely Green Lucifer, some years and surgeries later, looking out for his only recently acknowledged son.

They spend a few days honing skills and healing up before they get the call from Belial’s righthand man, Rook, who tells them he has need of some out-of-towners, and that they come recommended by the LA chapter. He says they need to get to a bar in Puyallup by 11:30, and the job will be done by 1:30 or so. They agree, and load out later that evening. They find Belial performing Concrete Dreams cover songs onstage, and an all-elf (and mostly Ancient) clientele. Some other elves in courier gear eye them as they walk in. They hang around for a bit before Belial jumps offstage and gives them the deets: in 10 minutes, at midnight, he will announce them as his proxies in a challenge for the leadership. They will have 1 hour to complete as many of 5 available tasks as possible, and need to get more than the other team to win.

He leaps back onstage to participate in the ritual of challenge- he seems to command the crowds attention in a way that his rival Sting does not, though she has a large old-guard contingent in her corner. She introduces her team (the courielves) as members of the Laesa syndicate, and the two teams head out to begin. They are all given Ancient jackets, at Belial’s insistence, so they won’t be held accountable for tonight’s fun. Ro tells the Laesa team that losers are buying drinks. Vehicles have been provided, and the Laesa team races off on streetbikes as the team loads into an SUV tricked out in Ancients colors. They spend a few precious minutes plotting their course and head out.

FIrst stop: Jimmy The Chin, a former boxer who has more recently been working as an enforcer for the Chicago familias, before branching out on his own as a pimp. He’s been kidnapping girls from around town and hooking them on bliss to keep them from running away. Ortega is especially gung-ho, given the young age of some of the girls. They race to his locations, with TY skillfully avoiding the burning trashpiles, barricades, potholes, etc. that usually make barrens driving such a joy. They find 2 dwarves guarding a loading dock in the infamous Crime Mall, and manage to overpower them and push in through the door. They shoot Jimmy’s brother and Ortega charges Jimmy with an axe, but is ko’d in one expert hit. TY shoots Jimmy, and Ro calls Belial to request a spirit be sent to protect the drugged up girls until someone can pick them up. The spirit also heals Ortega a bit, getting him back on his feet. They take the 2 dwarf heads as trophies.

They next head to a small Humanis chapterhouse, recently established. Not wanting to chance any more trouble, they grenade the pathetic sniper’s nest on the roof, and then blast suppressing fire through the front windows as they lob in more grenades. After waiting a moment and seeing noone emerge, they enter and Ortega grabs some of their robes as trophies (which were happily hung up in a back room and avoided the chunky salsa). They race off to the next job.

They find a group of orks in paramiltary uniforms with ak’s guarding a ruined building that covers an entrance to the Ork Underground. Belial doesn’t have beef with these guys, the Skraacha, in particular, just wants them to stop expanding topside, so the team decides to play it cool. TY and Ro eventually convince the Orks to sell them some of their uniform badges (of which they claim to have plenty more, anyway) in order to avoid violence. The orks mostly seem amused/confused to see 2 humans and an ork wearing Ancients colors.

The teams heads out towards Tacoma, to trash a Spikes bar. They do a suppressive driveby, while grenading the 4 bikes out front into shrapnel. They take only video as a trophy this time, fearing the 4 angry, drunken trolls rushing into the street, who are probably calling their friends. Due to more excellent driving, TY gets them out of Spikes turf problem-free, though they hear the distinctive rev of their choppers nearby a few times too many.

They race to the final job: hijacking a Stuffer Shack delivery autohauler that some idiot routed through Tarislar (the Elven ghetto in the barrens). They catch up, match speed, and TY spins the suv around backwards so Ro and Ortega can grapple over and toss stuff in more easily. They get a box of each type of merchandise carried, and make their escape just as the Laesa team takes control of the truck. Ro sends out a public message listing her favorite drink, as TY blasts Concrete Dream on the stereo.

They haul ass for the finish line at the bar, arriving a full minute ahead of the other crew. After reviewing trophies, Belial is declared the winner, with the team’s 5 trophies besting the Laesa group’s 3 (even though they had the whole truck). Sting gracefully accepts defeat, especially once Belial makes clear that she is still to be respected within the gang. They get paid and spend the night partying with the Ancients (once they give the jackets back).

The next morning, back in the safehouse (to Ro’s disappointment, none of the elves would sleep with her- some sort of racial thing, which pisses her off), and heavily hungover, they receive a call from Rook, telling them there’s some smuggling work if they’re looking for more jobs. They agree, and call Aemon to tell him to get ready to work, as Ro says she’s gonna sit this one out, not having been back in Seattle in a while.

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SUPLEXXXXXXXXXXX
A Dumptruck Full of Matresses

Runners
Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Ro Tain
Ortega
and introducing: Aemon Burst
with a special guest appearance by: Sutun, The Pillar of Ankara

Arriving back in Hamburg, the team gets the lowdown on the latest Jackpoint job from Sem-par and Barnaby “Wombat” Rudd, who have been investigating Ted McNicholson, looking for a weakpoint in his routines and schedule. They give the team his next week of meetings, as well as floorplan to his office and overhead views of his house and estate, and details on his security convoy. The team decides to hire some additional muscle, expecting this to be a combat run, and hire a gunslinger and close combat expert who come recommended by Serge “Castiron” Merkel.

Tobias Cheney also pays them for the GeMiTo job, and tells them that the 3 survivors are now membes in good standing of the Exchange. As a starting gift, he warns them that they have warrants out in the UCAS, seemingly originating in military intelligence, but now widespread to law enforcement agencies around the country. They figure this is fallout from the Istanbul snafu. JP arranges for transports in and out of LA via a plane and a submersible.

They decide to hit TM while he’s convoying home for the night, and set up an ambush. They call Sonora and hire some Ancients to steal them the 3 vehicles they need. It takes a few nights for timing/location/etc to work out, and they end up putting his guards on alert, but they manage to pull it off on their fourth attempt. They ram the lead car with a dumptruck (rigged by TY), destroying both. Sutun leaps from the back, and smashes the window out, soaking the gunfire from inside, and ko-ing 2 of the 3 ork bodyguards (the other retreats). Blanket jamming suddenly shuts down their comms.

Meanwhile, a van that TY is driving gets in range of the tail car (after Aemon confirms via assensing that TM is in the center car), and Ortega and Ro each drop a missile from a stinger onto the center car, also destroying it. The 3rd car pulls up, 2 trolls get out, and TM is loaded in by 2 more trolls, along with his primary bodyguard, who seems to have taken only minor damage. Sutun intercepts this car as it tries to speed away, and gets in a hand-to-hand fight on the hood with the human adept guard. The remaining ork and the 2 trolls on the ground exchange fire with the van team.

Sutun gets seriously injured by the adept, but the adept is killed by focussed bursts from Aemon and Ortega. Ro and Ortega grenade the remaining car, preventing it from reaching the gated community in which TM lives. They then grenade TM and the trolls as they try to haul him free, shredding TM, and ko’ing Sutun. They exchange further fire with the ork and trolls as they tactically retreat, hauling what looks to be TM’s headware with them (apparently realizing that anything more was hopeless). Aemon shoots guns out of 2 of their hands, demoralizing them. The team’s van is fucked, so TY has the switch car drive up to meet them (not ideal, as police drones are en route if not on-site already), and they flee, retrieving the ko’d Sutun.

Due to some skillful driving by TY, they evade pursuit, and reach the smuggler’s sub in the appointed window and make good their escape (for now). They have no idea how Horizon will respond- apparently TM was brought in from Mars after running their shadow ops division there, to head a “special projects” divison dedicated to runner outreach. Apparently there is some dissension in the corp about his methods, as he did not always use the official Horizon consensus models to make some of his decisions. A controversial but powerful figure, so the team awaits news on how the mega will respond to his assassination, hoping that leaving most of his guards alive (though often grievously injured) will send the right message.

They get paid decently, healed up, and Ortega and Ro gain provisional access to Jackpoint. They hear of work in Lagos, Seattle, and Portland/Tir Taingire, and have to decide where to go next- rent is due again in a week.

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GeMiTobias
Saeder-Krupp's Smoothest Fortress

Runners
Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Lafeyette
Ro Tain
Ortega

The team heals up in the underground bolthole they rented from the Capotrenos head, Giada. Thankyou hovers on the edge of death, and takes a full week to recover, even with magical assistance. Ro learns some new skills and languages, impressing everyone with her mental acuity. Lafeyette flies in to join them, to help Tobias Cheney free Content Not Found: null, his oldest friend, from Saeder-Krupp’s clutches. He knows the facility he is in, they just have to get inside. Tobias will provide cover, and is arranging a way out for him and PHH after the extraction. He is paying them partly in nuyen or gear, and partly in an introduction to the Exchange, which he is looking to expand to more parts of the Earth.

They do some research and find that the SK building in question is completely smooth-sided, with no visible points of entry, and is located in the middle of a large minefield, ringed by a moat, with good sightlines and heavy surveillance/monitoring. They watch as a helicopter comes and hovers over the building for about 15 minutes and then departs. Unsure what to do, they contact Saul Chronic, who does some digging. Apparently, this facility is a weapons dev and testing spot (not surprising), and usually gets supplies/sends stuff out via chopper. However, they have been out of contact for almost a week (not uncommon, they only send out unimportant communication via wireless to avoid monitoring), and didn’t respond to the most recent shipment chopper at all. Also, they find out that the building morphed into its current form about the same time as the sale of the mellified man, but can’t figure out any connection.

They decide to go full pink mohawk, and blast & shoot their way through the minefield, before blowing open the building using plastic explosives. Hearing that an SK team is also on its way to investigate, they decide to hurry, although they hope to also turn that to their advantage, and maybe avoid getting on the corp’s bad side, if they can make it look like they were doing their work for them.

The manage to pass through the minefiled in a hail of explosions and gunfire, with Tobias helping shoot the mines, targeting via TY’s radar. Ro blows open the side of the building, and essentially destroys the first floor due to explosive overkill. They enter, and are happy to have brought a ladder as they wrecked the elevators and stairs. They find one shredded corpse but can’t get any useful info. They ascend through a few levels of trashed labs and office space, fighting off some horrifying combat mutants equipped with melded in laser pistols and charge packs. Under Ro’s guidance, they use clever tactics to avoid heavy damage, but find some other distrubing-looking experiments.

They find PHH’s office, but it’s also trashed and noone’s there. They clear the rest of the floors and head back down, deciding to check the basement. Distressingly, they find what seems to be a breeding area with some medical vats, as well as a fighting pit and some cages a floor below, down a large but empty elevator shaft. This lower floor is also equipped with a tripbeam that Lafeyette sets off while checking it, triggering a laser grid that injures her and cuts her rops, dropping her about 20 minutes into a recently-hollowed cavern. She breaks most of her bones, and ko’s.

The rest of the team uses this intel to safely bypass the laser maze, and reaches the bottom, finding some bad shit: an insect hive (wasps), a man in a Tobias-like powered armor suit, and a grotesque shaman engaged in some sort of ritual. They nuke the shaman before he even has a chance to respond, and begin grenading the wasps nest, setting it aflame- it seems to be made of all the various soft items available in the floors above: clothes, paper, flesh, etc. This seems to be where all the missing employees ended up….

Unfortunately, the man in the suit, who they quickly id as PHH, isn’t on their side, and is blasting them with laser beams. They manage to hold off the wasp spirits emerging from the nest just long enough to drop him, and then get back out of there before all the oxygen is sucked out. They leave a helmet-cam recording on a burner ‘link inside (as they’re all masked up anyway) for the SK team, to hopefully keep them off their backs.

They fill Tobias in, and he jets in to grab his friend and give him a proper burial. However, locals are gathering, including some militia, who Tobias has held at bay with sniper shots. They hightail it to the arranged spot and meet Giada, who escorts them to the Capotrenos underground safehouse. They lay low and heal for a few days before heading back to Hamburg to rendevouz with the rest of the team and go deal with Ted McNicholson. Lafeyette, in no shape to travel (or regain concsciousness), remains behind.

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The Istanbul Job
Bazaar Brawls

Runners
Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Lafeyette
Ro Tain
Sem-par
Ortega
and introducing Barnaby “Wombat” Rudd

The team decides to finally take up Saul Chronic on the Istanbul artifact hunt job. While he was there researching his mother’s disappearance, a woman named Joanna Krstic contacted him based on his involvement in acquiring some artifacts in the past. She wants him to track down rumors of the impending sale of a mellified man in Istanbul, see if it’s real, and acquire it if so. She arranges transport for the team, and gets them a place to stay and a stipend, with a bonus for acquisition.

They start looking around, and Saul tells them to get in touch with a local contact, Barnaby Rudd, who is skilled at finding secret info. They meet him in the rare book bazaar, and he helps them locate the sight of the transaction. Apparently some Karavanli are coming into town and unloading a major artefact, but he can’t find who the buyers are, though there are reports of some well-armed out of towners wandering the grand bazaar, so TY and Ro go scout it out, while Lafeyette stakes out the sale site. Laf eventually spots some well-concealed mages and a spirit alongside a large crate, apparently waiting for buyers.

TY and Ro spot 2 different groups: a half dozen Kurds, under the leadership of a former Knight Errant subcontractor named Hamid, and a group of 4 cybered-up mercs who appear North Arican or Arabian. They track the cybermercs to a truck waiting nearby with 2 more inside, and based on their larger group approaching the buysite, decide these are the buyers. Rudd finds Hamid’s commcode and tips him off, while Laf trails the buyers after the transaction concludes. A massive gunfight ensues, tearing through the streets of the marketplace.

The end result is that the Kurds take out the cybermercs, seize the artifact, but are then ambushed by the other 2 cybermercs after Ro tips them off too. The Kurds are then set on by bug spirits, who burst forth from an underground cistern. They take the artifact back underground, and the Kurds stage a fighting retreat as bazaar security is closing in. The 2 cybermercs head after the spirits, while Ro calls in backup from Joanna. They chase the artifact through the ancient Roman sewers (Ro having tagged it with a tracking round), and find the cybermercs torn to shreds. The insects escape into the Bosporus through some connecting tunnels, and Joanna tells them to stick around while she sees if she can track down where they went. Lafeyette assenses Krstic’s team, and finds their auras extremely disturbing. The only lead they have so far is that Ro discovers that some ’Ndraghetta mafia were in town, asking after the artifact as well.

They do some background digging on Krstic, and find out from Jackpoint members that she is a high-level UCAS spook, and probably running it for someone else. The soldiers auras mesh with some rumors of a UCAS-affiliated special forces squad that some on JP think is composed of shedim. SP and Wombat hack into Krstic’s comm and get some info suggesting that she is working for Apep Consortium. They turn to JP again and find rumors that some high level Apep rep in the DC area may be a master shedim, and start to freak out a little.

Ro also hears from Hamid, who offers them 150% pay to work for him instead- he doesn’t want the insects to get it, and their team seems skilled, so he’d rather not fight them too. He agrees to help them double cross Krstic’s team as well. They agree, and Krstic flies them to GeMiTo, where she has tracked the artifact to a Fiere in Milan. She doesn’t seem aware of their impending betrayal. They scout out the market, and find that some of the underground tunnel system has been closed for the day- suspicious? There is also a Europol magical misuse taskforce shaking down talisleggers in the market- suspicious?

They make contact with Giada, a leader of the techwiz gang called the Capotrenos that runs the subway and arrange transport in for their team, Krstic’s team, and the Kurds, transport out for the Kurds, and a safehouse for themselves post-mission. They head over, and rendevouz with Krstic’s team, again moving with inhuman silence and precision. They find the artifact trade site, and open fire on a large group of orks (apparently fleshforms) and a human mage (wearing a Europol AMMA jacket). They take them out and turn on Krstic’s team as the Kurds help spring the ambush. However, they seem to see it coming and it devolves into a hardfought battle. If they are shedim, they certainly prove their reputation as tough fighters. TY is heavily injured and bleeding out, and one of the Kurds is killed, but they prevail, get paid, and the Kurds leave with the artifact, promsing to keep it secure.

The team tries to stabilize and heal TY, with some success, and check out the AMMA guy- he is bleeding out, and they decide to leave him to die. They hook up with Giada and try to heal TY, who barely pulls through due more to luck than skill. They hole up in the safehouse, and wait for the next job to come along.

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Dawkins Groupies
What Happens in the Mojave Stays in the Mojave

Runners
Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Lafeyette
Ramón Ortega
Sem-par
and introducing Ro Tain

The team gets the details on Thom Harrow’s hideaway, deep in the wilds of the Mojave. Jackpoint members have tracked him down and done as much surveillance as possible, including reaching out to the Old Man of the Desert to make sure that their mission won’t be seen as an intrusion. Their will be 4 teams going in on 2 T-birds, approaching on ATV’s and then on foot. They decide to wait for a massive sandstorm to roll in to give them better cover. Luckily, satellite coverage of the area is shit also. The 4 teams are the main team, and 3 support teams (2 riggers and a hacker, 2 adepts and 2 mages, and a 4 person merc team sent by Picador). A runner named Ro Tain will be coordinating the 4 teams from one of the T-birds.

They gear up and roll out, and arrive safely, in the storm. They approach what seems to be a small oasis after the mages scout ahead (1 coming back badly injured). They enter and encounter some barghests, which once defeated are found to have some surveillance gear implanted. So, cover blown, they call in the others and try to find Harrow’s base. They eventually discover a shaft hidden inside a tree trunk, as well as some vent pipes, and blow it open, which also handily vents the poison gas trap in the room at the bottom. They blow through another door and find that facility is pretty well trashed- decks, servers, and consoles destroyed, documents shredded and bruned etc. They push through, finding the top floor abandoned, and descend further. They find Harrow frantically disconnecting medical gear from a grotesquely mutated child. He almost kills Ortega, but him and TY manage to take Harrow out with FA assault rifle fire.

Sempar interfaces with the kid, who is sporting a massively oversized brain, and tries to figure out how to stabilize him, as Harrow seems to have disconnected him from vital supports. The rest of the team finds 2 dead techies in another room, and gets in another firefight with 2 DG operatives who are actively destroying servers. Ortega is nearly killed, and experiences another vision of a spirit telling him that this was his 2nd favor. SP, realizing that the kid doesn’t have long to live, manages to get ahold of The Captain, who agrees to try to pull as much of the dying kid into e-ghost form as possible. The kid seems to be some kind of bizaare bio-enhanced technomancer experiment, but SP gets some useful info: it seems that this branch of the Dawkins Group, under the direction of Ted McNicholson (surprise!), has been tracking and targeting runners, and Jackpoint in specific, due to their complete dislike for following trends. As one of the hardest groups to reach & effect, they are inherently a threat to Horizon’s goals (whatever those may be).

The other hacker finds a bit of data on the trashed servers, proving that they were keeping a close eye on a number of JP members, as well as numerous others around the world, and selectively leveraging info on those runners to others who are tracking them in exchange for various favors and trades. JP decides to keep going after McNicholson, and tells the team they’ll have more work in the near future. But first, Saul Chronic wants them to track down a mellified man in Istanbul.

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The Jackpoint Job
Here They Come to Snuff the Rooster!

Runners
Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Serge “Castiron” Merkel
Ramón Ortega
Sem-par

Having received the intel on the GPS location, they arrange transport, using smuggler contacts to drop them off from a low-flying plane, and planning a ride out with a shipping contact of Erika Gwyn’s. After trekking across the shifting, stinking trash island for most of a day, they find a sprawling tent city settlement, labelled as Trashlantis. They see large posses of youth with Ak’s patrolling, seemingly the primary security (aside from the total geographical isolation). They also see evidence of aid shipments: UN and other stencils on crates, tents, etc. The town seems divided up amongst different national groups, almost all of them seemingly climate refugees from island nations and coastal regions. However, the camp seems unified under the security, which seems almost exclusively Carribean.

They eventually find their way to a food stand where they are greeted by a man who introduces himself as Assumpcio, & says that they are expected. He leads them out the back of the cafe shack, into a series of tunnels bored and fused into the heaping plastic mounds of the island. They travel a decent ways, eventually entering into a larger space filled with people workling at terminals and scratch-built ‘decks, while a fused, translucent plastic partition blocks them off from a humming server room. They are greeted by an older male ork, who introduces himself as one of the admin’s of Jackpoint and thanks them for coming.

He tells them that they are being hosted by a group called the Square Circle, a Carribean-based data piracy group. They had begun setting up op’s here as a backup when the new matrix protocols were announced, and were receptive to being one of JP’s hosts, for a time at least, to mutual benefit. To the job at hand: JP’s inner circle has traced the persecution (& death) of members to a backdoor very sneakily established late in Fastjack’s days. It was skillfully planted, seemingly with the aid of some technomancers, but not by Jack. They checked out all the new and recent additions, and a few stood out, a few of whom are relevant to the team. TY checked out, Lodestone seems legitimately dead (and the betrayals outlasted him), and that leaves Rooster.

JP wants them to check into Rooster’s current whereabouts and activities, and either check him off as a suspect, or confirm their suspicions. They track him to LA, where he has been healing up since the Gilgamesh Initiative job in which he lost all of his limbs. They get in with their gear, with the aid of Sonora, and she gives them some intel on Rooster, including a bar he frequents- he seems slow-moving and stiff, but still gregarious as ever, and has been telling many tales of the team’s adventures (although all couched in his usual fairy-tale skin). TY decides to stay in the car, fearing his easy manipulation, while SP sneaks into bar, CI makes the approach, and Ortega provides close support (as Rooster hopefully doesn’t know him).

TY parks nearby, and the team enters, although Ortega is quickly kicked out for possession of a taser. He rejoins TY in the car. SP surveils and begins hacking into Rooster’s comm(s) while CI makes the approach- Rooster is thrilled to see him and regales him with tales and anecdotes, but also connives to get his true purpose out of him, while bringing him to the back room. SP sneaks in alongside them, but bumps Rooster, alerting him, and more importantly, the other man in the room, who SP id’s as the man who has been paying Rooster’s bills: Thom Harrow. Harrow says that he regrets things went like this, as they had hoped to recruit some of the team, and tags CI with a playing card, hard- he seems to share a skillset. SP rushes up to attack with his monofil whip, but misses, and is quickly filled by Harrow’s combat axe. SP goes down, mortally wounded, but once again sees a spirit vision, telling them (in the form of a genie in their ARO game) that they have used their “2nd wish.”

Rooster flees the room, and CI pursues, felling him with a rock, at which time the crowd turns against him. Harrow rushes in and begins hauling Rooster out, while CI delivers a stirring speech to convince the crowd not to kill him- they don’t turn on Harrow, but they chill out. TY and Ortega race around to the front, just in time to see Rooster get sniped from somewhere, seemingly by a gauss rifle, obliterating his head and upper torso completely. Harrow quickly drops the twitching corpse and dives into a waiting car, which speeds off. TY and Ortega decide not to pursue, and TY drives around back to stay out of the line of fire, while CI quickly rifles Rooster’s pockets (after which another shot annihilates what remains of his torso, leaving essentially no flesh components to his body). Ortega dashes through and grabs SP, who seems remarkably stable, given the horrible wound.

They escape, and TY receives a message from Tobias Cheney, saying only “we’re square- T”, confirming his suspicions as to the ID of the mystery shooter. They report in to JP, and SP hacks the various comms that CI pulled off of Rooster while healing up over most of a week. The comms prove that Rooster was the traitor, although he seems to have planted the backdor unwittingly. However, he sold out Lodestone to people (or dragons?) hunting Order of St George members, in order to save himself (Harrow brokered some sort of deal). He also gave dossiers on a number of JP members and other prominent ‘runners, endangering their lives, and getting some killed. This was a massive betrayal, and the various deckers and techno’s loyal to JP have dedicated themselves to erasing all evidence that Rooster ever existed- the best punishment they can imagine for a man obsessed with his image and stories.

He seems to have been delivering all of this to Harrow, who seems to work for the Dawkins Group, a secretive infowar segment of Horizon. Based on work done on the recovered comms and on tracking Harrow, they believe his branch of DG is operating out of a secret facility in the Mojave. JP is planning an assault, and asks the team to join- they agree, especially after they are told that some JP mages are going to make overtures to the spirits there that told them not to work for Horizon (and to stay out of the Mojave).

Things have also gotten crazier in Denver: Jane & Ehran the Scribe seem to have barely prevented an allout war between Harlequin and Ghostwalker in downtown, which had been brewing through proxies for some time, since GW’s return- Jane thinks it has to do with Harlequin holding a grudge about the woman killed during the Watergate rift closing, which he seems to blame GW for. TY is so relieved to hear from Jane again that he barely even processes the insanity.

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The Vladivostok Job
A nice, relaxing B&E

Runners
Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Serge “Castiron” Merkel
Ramón Ortega
Sem-par
and introducing Lafeyette

The team heads to Vladivostok to begin their investigation. Atlas tells them that he has briefed a local contact with the intel they need, who should also have some useful gear and skills. She is using the name Jane Counterpoint. They arrive & meet up with JC, who tells them that Atlas can’t be directly connected, as they are getting involved in internal Evo Corporation power stuggles, and his boss wants their part to be kept secret for now. They are to infiltrate an Evo subsid, Presnya Financial Services, and run a program on the server there. Based on the info gained, there may be more work afterwards. Should be a low intensity job though.

They scout the place, and it seems like fairly standard security for a money management firm- tight but not first-class, and certainly beatable. JC secures an exit on the roof, while TY and Ortega wait in a hired car a few blocks away with assault weapons in case things go south. CI distracts the door guards (as well as setting off the door alarms) providing SP with the time to sneak in in their chameleon suit. They infiltrate up to the 2nd floor, stealing and copying keycards on the way. They manage to access the mainframe (which is more secure than they expected based on the physical sec), and sneak past the patrolling spider while running the program. Sadly, they are too distracted covering their tracks to also break the encryption on the program and see what its doing. It finishes running before SP alerts the host to their presence, and they sneak out to the 3rd floor, link up with JC, grapple down, and get picked up by TY and Ortega in the car. CI travels separately to avoid suspicion.

Atlas gets in touch after they send in the data, and tells them that there will be more work in town, as this seems to be only th tip of the iceberg.

They also have seen some news reports that the situation in Denver has been getting totally out of control- increased crime and mayhem as Aztechnology makes their move to get their slice back (as the “Law and Order” faction) during Ghostwalker’s extended absence. Rumors on Jackpoint abound that Jane has been sited there, in the company of an older elf (perhaps Ehran the Scribe), as well as a painted elf apparently being involved somehow.

The 2nd stage of the job finds them tracking down the woman who filed the papers of incorporation for a vending company that Presnya is funneling money too, which is an obvious front. After working through an elaborate ruse involving a 2nd woman of the same name and a false residence, they manage to track the real Vinetta Crosby to an office downtown. JC sneaks in, disguised as maintenance personnel, but fails to con the savvy Crosby and is tased into unconsciousness. Before their new friend can be hauled off by security, TY calls up Crosby (while SP skulks though her files), and arranges to come pick up JC and pay for some info, as Crosby seems not willing to die to protect it.

It seems that an Evo department head was using Presnya and the vending service to launder money out of Evo projects to add funding to her pet project: the Dickens Program. Doing some research, and discussing this with Atlas, reveals that this program is dedicated to invesitgating E-ghosts, a long rumored matrix phenomena, widely thought to be a hoax. However, Atlas tells them that they are very much real (at least since the 2nd Matrix crash, he’s not sure about the rumors preceding that), and that the Dickens program has resulted in some of them being decompiled- a permanent death for those living a solely e-life. He tells them that this is what Nikolai Morozov, his boss, needed to move against his rivals in Evo, and thanks them for their service.

He also tells them that if they wish to make a bit more money, they can go on a kind of virtual bounty hunt, tracking down and warning e-ghosts about the threat that the Dickens Program, and certain Evo factions, may present. They will be paid per signature confirming delivery of the warning. Using SYD’s knowledge, they manage to track down a half dozen e-ghosts living in a tribe in a bizaare, concealed code-cavern. They have had to relocate from their usual digs due to the new matrix protocols, but SemPar easily tracks them down- the team sees a nerdy, eager side to SP that they had not before witnessed. TY is weirded out and stays quiet, and it’s all too much for Ortega, who opts to pray in a corner in the Hamburg hideout, fearing the depths of the matrix almost as much as the bizaare slaughter plane.

SP bonds with the e-ghost tribe, lead by an entity called The Captain. JC manages to offend him, and is focibly ejected, impressing SP even further. They warn the tribe of the troubles, and TY is disturbed by the way in which they e-ghosts seem to view themselves as having transcended humanity, becoming something both different and better, as he is struggling to hold onto his last shred of humanity so hard. The Captain tells them that, through friends on Jackpoint , he has put in a good word for them, and that they should expect some work soon. SP couldn’t be happier, and they return to Hamburg to lay low and rest up.

JC re-introduces herself as Lafeyette, and asks if she can lay low in the hideout for a while, having recently been forced to flee the UCAS due to a bad courier run. TY and CI receive a long alphamumeric code in a private message from Jackpoint admins, and when CI shows Lafeyette, it unlocks a message in her data safe, which turns out to be a GPS coordinate. TY determines that it is a spot out in the middle of nowhere in the ocean, but after digging deeper finds that it is where a large, Texas-sized, floating trash island will be in 2 days time. They start arranging transport, and gearing up to go find out what this is all about.

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