Otters aka Roadkill
Tabasco aka Cholula
and guest appearance from: Erika “Scully Beyonce” Knowles
The team continues their investigation at the missing runners’ basecamp. The limited autopsy capacities reveal horrifying and unknown genetic fusion techniques that leave no surgical scars. Knowles takes some samples for later, as the rest of the crew reviews the runner’s logs she was able to retrieve using a provided crypto-key from their erstwhile employer. They decide to continue further in, using the runners’ data on military security ops as a baseline.
They find a huge corpse pile ahead while scouting with the biodrone, and Cholula investigates on foot, and is almost pulled in by another chimera with huge gorilla arms and empty voids where it looks like some cyber-eyes might once have been. They get in a disturbing fight with two of the “gorilla” chimeras, two more “flying squirrel” chimeras, and a hidden sniper, who Otters manages to take out with the van-mounted HMG. Luckily the team mostly avoids damage, though one of the squirrels escapes.
When checking the corpses after, they seem to mesh with what they’d previously see on the autopsies performed at the base camp. The mods are all extreme and seamless, in an unexplainable way. Then they find the sniper’s body, who has been given some large lens eyes, and is wearing what seems to be a WWII-era Russian winter camo uniform, and using era appropriate gear as well. Knowles confirms that the Nazi’s certainly had an interest in the arcane, and there was a major Kaer beneath modern Chernobyl, so it’s possible someone could have stumbled in and been preserved to the modern day, but that doesn’t explain the changes.
They examine the body pile, and find that it is a mix of runner corpses and National Guardsmen, mostly PA with some OH mixed in. There are also a lot of unassigned limbs and other body parts, most of which have some amount of cyberware, badly damaged in the crude and violent removal. Some of these parts could be III Corps but there isn’t enough to be sure. They take more samples for later analysis. The bodies also show signs of predation, as if the various chimeras have been feasting on them, and seem to be rotting at a much decelerated rate- about 1/10 what would be expected, which lines up with the reduced rate of aging Knowles had noticed on the shark-lion corpse, as well as how an elderly Russian sniper could still be alive.
They head further in and the signal degradation is getting bad enough that Otters has to pull the biodrone back in. They spot some mil patrols with the onboard radar and via electronic warfare, using stealth tags the runner team planted to supplement their perception. They manage to sneak within 1/2 km of the fortified base walls and get some looks, and Creep and Dig (in mole form) sneak closer. Creep gets up to the walls, and reports that the security construction the runners had reported on seems to be basically finished- razorwire perimeter, sensor strewn killing ground, then fortified high wall with guard towers and klieg lights.
Dig digs his way down, and finds that the further down he goes the better the mana feels. He rests a bit low down before tunneling back up inside the base, and spots a construction drone. Unfortunately a mole with a data tap in it’s mouth is a strange sight and a guard spots him and starts to give chase. The van is having to constantly maneuver to avoid patrols and is occasionally losing comms with Creep, who is acting as a relay to Dig on the inside, though Dig can’t respond due to his device being too weak to punch through the jammers the base is using.
The van and Creep detect 7 hypersonic, baffled aircraft zip by overhead towards the base, and Creep warns Dig. Dig manages to use the distraction of some ensuing gunfire to escape the guard pursuing him and slip the data tap onto one of the construction drones before fleeing back underground. The van picks up Creep since they lost comms to Dig, and does a circuit around the base, dodging patrols, as they try to figure out what is happening. Otters sends out all the fly-spys on autopilot, hoping some will return with some info. Only one makes it back, but it does gather some useful intel.
The team (except Cholula and The Detective, who remained at the body pile due to Cholula being badly effected as a dual-natured being) all feel a massive explosion that seemingly occurred somewhere underground. The lone surviving drone confirms that a non-descript building next to what looks like the main HQ/comms center has collapsed on itself, so it seems like the explosion took place under there. Creep hears about half as many hypersonic aircraft leave as arrived as gunfire continues. The whole thing took about 11 minutes in total- real pro, whoever it was.
Dig emerges aboveground after waiting a while, somewhere outside the perimeter but not sure where he is. Scared and feeling a bit hopeless he waits a little more until Creep luckily picks him up on sensors again, and Otters scoops him up in the van. They head back to the body pile and manage to track down The Detective and Cholula, who have retreated after Cholula lost it a bit from the spookiness and his reduced abilities, though TD managed to keep him from totally running off. They all return to the runners’ base camp to think about next moves, with Dig pushing for further investigation via data tap and most of the team leaning towards exfiltrating.