The team gets another job offer through Artholomew Johnson, though this time he’s just acting as a fixer, rather than hiring direct. After some research, they discover that the Johnson they are to meet is a man named Charles Findlay, an ambitious low-level Ares exec. He wants them to access an old ordnance magazine buried deep underground, below the West End Underplex. After some further research, to determine who they might piss off by raiding the magazine, they are unable to determine who might have once operated it. Findley claims records of it’s existence were lost in Crash 2.0, and as far as they can tell that is the case.
Findley has a distraction planned, to pull any security away from their locale, and also provides cover ID’s, transport, dog drones to carry, and some explosives. He has the whole op carefully planned and seems to mostly just need warm (and reasonably competent) bodies. They gear up, and Ro steers their cargo boat through the busy Thames traffic to the Underplex docks. They bypass security no prob, and follow a mapsoft to the rough location of the magazine entrance. Finding a discount lingerie store now occupying the spot, and no obvious secret doors, Toff uses magical sight to find an open space behind a poured concrete closet wall. They call in a favor from the Exchange and get a monofil chainsaw delivered (via drone), and cut through.
They descend through a cavernous concrete maze, which seems to still be intact. They find the magazine they seek, and Chessick manages to power up the keypad, using a small generator he brought with for just such an occasion. Ortega hulks out and yanks the door open, squealing its protestation on rusty hinges. They enter a large round chamber, with 6 corridors leading to more vault-like doors down radial corridors. They start checking them, and realize they should have brought more flashlights, as it is pitch black down here. They manage to get into the first 3 without trouble, and find a bunch on unlabelled, and seemingly outdated heavy ordnance. Looks like explosives and chemical weapons made for warships, subs, tanks, aircraft and the like.
Trying the 4th door, they find it locked, and decide to use the explosives- the other chambers all having air-locked entrances, they assume any secondary explosions will be contained. Ro stays to trigger the bomb (with no wireless she requires LOS), and the rest of the team mostly closes the large main door. They blow the door, with no secondary problems, and enter. They find some puddles on the floor, which the CSI kits id’s as old, melted plastic biohazard suits. They also find a discarded flamethrower, which Ro says is an Ares model from the 2050/2060’s. Entering the 2nd door, they find what looks to be a dozen sets of metahuman remains, long decomposed, all of whom seem to have been shot in the back of the head, execution style, and then burned. Ro says their biohazard suits are also an Ares make from the same period. In the middle of the otherwise empty chamber sits the box they were told to retrieve.
Ortega and Ro get it up on the dog drones, who haul it back up to the store, where Chessick has looped the security footage to cover their entrance and escape. They head back into the mall, and make for the docks, after Chessick purloins some supplies to try to add some wear and tear to the otherwise very military-looking crate. They spot some Renraku Red Samurai checking everyone at the docks, and quickly backtrack. They decide to take a land exit into the Overplex, and Ro is distraught to discover that the “distraction” apparently involved a bloody shootout at the main train station on the far side of the Underplex, which culminated in the snatching of a Renraku exec.
They reach the overground after blagging their way past some less severe guards, and find an abandoned building to hole up in. They call Findley, and open the case to verify the artifact so he can send someone to collect. He quickly hangs up after seeing what’s inside, and tells them that they are in deep trouble, as in addition to the artifact the crate contains 4 canisters of FAB. They panic a bit, but exmaine the canisters, and see that one seems to have been pierced by a bullet at some point, though it long ago leaked out. So none are actively dispensing at least, though Chessick determines that they are set to vent if the artifact is moved from the crate. The object is itself a large stone Eater Island style head laced with orichalcum.
Ortega calls in a favor from his new friends in Tamanous and finds a nearby crematorium and medical cleaning facility that is willing to do some off books burning for cash. Aemon, Ro and Toff all confer and agree that they should be able to contain and destroy the FAB with an extreme application of fire, so they head out. They get shaken down by a large mob of local gangers, led by a changeling named Webfoot, who seem to have spotted them coming in and decided they were worth a poke. They bribe their way out without a fight, and reach the crematory. They bribe the whimsical French technician on hand, Reinhard Murtas to leave them alone for an hour, and he takes off.
They get ready, and put their plan in motion: Ortega quickly snatches the head out, then Toff blasts the case with flamethrower, then Chessick and Aemon slam the grate shut while Ro kicks the incinerator into gear. It goes off just fine, and after Toff confirms that the FAB was destroyed, they call Findley again, who sends a truck around to pick it up and pay them. He thanks them for their service, and the word on the street is that his acquisition has helped him rise a bit in Ares’ ranks. Toff didn’t like the look of either the FAB or the artifact though- both had a nasty astral vibe about them. Overall, the team is happy to be done with it.
Art calls again, with another offer of work, and tells them this one is likely to get hot: a contested extraction! They accept, and begin gearing up, as Art says there will likely be more than one opponent. Ortega gets ahold of his Tamanous contacts, and arranges to keep his meat allotments in their storage facilities, as well as receive a discount, in exchange for doing some unspecified future favors for them. They give him an invite to The Continental, an international private hotel chain that caters to various “special needs.” He goes, eats, and rejoins the team.
They manage to grab the researcher from the NeoNET team at the British Museum, after a hard fight in which Toff nearly dies. They escape, but are attacked by a Saeder-Krupp team after a spirit of man (which looks suspiciously similar to Rooster) tips them off to each other’s location. They lay low at the researcher’s country cottage for a time, before fighting off some SAS killers working for the Lord Protectorate’s Office/NDM, and sell the researcher on to Tir Republican Corps, his preferred destination. They get paid, and Art tells them to clear out of London for awhile, as it’s gotten a bit hot there.
They head back to the continent, and Ro and Aemon head to Aemon’s family’s current spot to initiate again. Aemon brings Suzuki Jones along to try to impress her, and Chessick tags along to do some international reportage for the All-Seeing Eye. Aemon once again aces his trial, somewhat impressing Suzuki, but Ro fails hers, unable to balance strength and will. Annoyed, she studies to try again in another lunar cycle. The Horizon presence amidst Aemon’s people has become even more pronounced, and he warns them again about buying into it, but they seem pretty stoked. He also meets a Horizon rep named Horst who has “gone native”, adopting the dress and accent of this Romani tribe. He tells Aemon that it has been great research for Horizon into how to effectively reach transient consumers, and tells him once again that he hopes that the team will look favorably on any Horizon-related jobs in the future.
The rest of the team hangs in Hamburg, catching up on gossip as well as chores for the Klabauterbund, as they haven’t been around the safehouse much recently. Ro is a bit worried that Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts knows so much about their hideout, however. SYD seems to be operating at a much higher level than previously (perhaps upgraded or overtaken during her time with Daedelus in the ACHE?). Sem-par and Barnaby “Wombat” Rudd seem much the same as ever, caught up in conspiracies and gossip. They also assure the team that they haven’t had any more unfortunate corp-sec run-in’s, and that the base seems totally safe.
Aemon gets a call from Simon Andrews that SK has some work for them, and they agree to meet up and hear all about it, after some clubbing of course.