The runners decide to finally tackle their vamp problem, and really cement Mama’s Boys goodwill. With 2-Chrome in tow, and not being able to reach Toff, they decide to follow Mayor Meghan Rylan’s plan to try to remove some of the vamp’s ghoul supporters through diplomacy before the raid. They meet up with Cardinal Reginald Grimes, who they had previously sent some technomancers to via Viktor Markwart. Given as the Cardinal is seemingly open-minded, they propose using True Communion to bring some ghouls into the church’s protection, especially as they can “safely” eat CFD infected individuals (and also provide an emergency “cure” portentially).
The Cardinal hears them out, and says that though he can’t support the TC doctrine officially, he supports the plan, and says that he has always defined his task as protecting “ALL of God’s children.” He offers to provide some food and sanctuary at various sites around the city owned by the Church, in exchange for the ghouls doing some security work and resource gathering (as they can venture forth more safely than others, especially at night). He also hopes this will pull supporters from Fear the Dark. He volunteers the combat mage Archangel and the banisher Silke to accompany them and assist on the job.
The Mayor is thrilled to hear this, and has had her aides track down some people who are covertly still in touch with ghoul relatives. The team interviews a few, and locates 2 ghoul settlements. Ro and 2-Chrome do a good job of tag-teaming the hard sell they’re giving the ghouls, and convince most of them to leave, as well as spread the word amongst their scattered fellows. However, a few split off after shouting some infected-supremacist slogans. Toast sneaks after them, and finds what he thinks may be the entrance to the main vamp lair, but it is warded, so he calls in backup before proceeding. The rest of the team stocks up on supplies in the Nub and links up with him.
They blast through the spell barrier, and descend a perilous ladder into an open cavern that looks to be an old overflow reservoir from when the city was raised (or earlier), and has some ornate carvings of vampiric faces around the spouts pouring water in. There are some scree piles around the outside of the underwater lake, and a rubble island with a ramshackle castle atop it. They almost instantly come under attack from some ghouls armed with rifles scattered about, as well as invisible vamps using spellcraft from the castle. Silke disappears into astral to deal with spirits with Archangel backing her up, before he starts trying to keep everyone alive with heal spells.
The rest of the team gets taken down one by one, barely avoiding any actual deaths, but they manage to take out the armed ghouls just before a second wave (ha!) of unarmed ferals swarms up from underwater. A trap! They engage in close quarters combat while still trying to snipe the distant vamps when they manage to spot one. They eventually manage to take the head vamp down, although his regeneration is still working and they’ve lost LOS. Ro, wanting to finish it out, and being the last one standing, empties Senk’s grenade launcher into the castle, reducing it completely, and destroying any evidence they might have used to gain the bounty. However, Silke (terribly wounded) confrims via assensing that the vamps are for real dead.
Archangel is bleeding out from multiple wounds, and looks likely to have been exposed to the ghoul virus if he survives. The rest of the team is stable but unconscious, or near it. They prepare to attempt an escape, hoping to encounter no more foes…. and also hoping the Mayor will honor part of the bounty based solely on their word. They manage to buy off some vampiric pawns by tossing them the Renfield they found at the previous lair raid, and then 2-Chrome is nearly killed by some more FTD ghouls while helping Ro haul everyone else out of the reservoir. Luckily Ro manages to revive Aemon, who takes the ghouls out and heads off to find help. Ro sets some traps and revives Senk before passing out, and Senk judiciously uses their grenade launcher to hold off any potential interlopers.
Aemon manages to find some Mama’s Boys to help haul their wounded back to the Nub’s medical facility. Everyone gets healed up, but it seems likely that Archangel will succumb to the ghoul infection he was exposed to. Luckily the Church has clandestinely endorsed True Communion, so at least he’ll still have a home there? The team heals up and resupplies, talks the Mayor into paying a decent bounty, and participates in New Year’s festivities (aside from 2-Chrome, who goes to her sponsor’s). They put the last bits of planning in place for the hit on Thankyou with Chessick Allens-Whitehill and Alice.
They decide to split into multiple teams, using Ancients riders to get everyone around as needed. Senk will hit TY’s safehouse and the combat drone that defends it. Aemon and Toast will each take out one of the 2 surveillance/comms blimps. Ro and 2-Chrome, along with a hired hacker named “ZeroC00L” will take the battlewagon to meet with TY along with his 2 other combat drones and 2 small surveillance drones. Alice/April will take the killshot and provide cover fire. They pick a time and head out. Toast and Aemon easily handle their targets, and Senk manages to slickly dodge heavy gunfire from their, before blasting it (and the safehouse) with explosives.
The main hit goes a little rougher- Ro is nearly killed by the combat drones, as she takes one out. April takes TY out, but his CFD infection keeps trying to repair his body. 2-Chrome flees into the van, and uses its ram plate to send TY flying before finishing him off with her shock prod and pistol while April finishes off the rest of the drones from a distance with her sniper rifle. April helps load Ro into the newly-installed Valkyrie Module in the wagon, after they agree that ZeroC00L seems behind help from devastating biofeedback encountered while running matrix overwatch. They head south to the rendezvous at Ancients HQ. Toast and Senk swing by the TY meet site on the way to incinerate/explode anything remaining, before they all link up.
Ro gets them paid by the Turing Army, and gets a dead drop contact for future work with them outside of Boston. They start planning the next stage of the mission: getting into the Gilgamesh Initiative facility that TY wanted them to check out, but this time working for Alice. Toast also receives some distressing news: The Messenger has whittled Cecelia Velenthial’s security detail down to only 2, and she is starting to seem a bit desperate. Aemon agrees to help, feeling that going up against the “world’s fastest/deadliest killer” sounds like a worthy activity.