Otters aka Roadkill
Tabasco aka Cholula
The team does some initial recon on the hotel that the scientist they have been tasked with retrieving was last seen at. Otters flies by with the VTOL, and even with all the digital security obviously offline feels like she almost got spotted. However, she gets a good look at the layout and general vibe- fortified but seemingly still a functional hotel, though with much more overt security than usual. Dig does a flyby as a bird and also gets some intel- 3 mana barriers are up, and he is able to tell that someone inside one of them is also thinking about the team’s target: Camden Espinoza. Unfortunately, someone behind the next mana barrier spots him and he gets slapped with a hit of pure mana before fleeing- at least it seems they were aiming to wound rather than kill! The only thing he saw was a flash of golden eyes.
The team rests up and finishes doing repairs from the last run-in with the mystery vans, and heads to the area late the next morning. They park behind a semi-wrecked Taco Temple adjacent to a news building with a large billboard across the street from the hotel. Cholula scales the building and billboard, leaving a camera set up to watch the parking garage entrance while he watches the front. Otters strings up some drone relays to keep comms semi-functional, and The Detective walks up to the front door, unarmed, and successfully both doesn’t get shot (there are some bodies stuck in the razor wire perimeter) and negotiates for a reasonable price for a room with an obsequious concierge.
Told that guests are acceptable so long as they also check weapons and go through security, TD brings in Creep, who hides a glass cutter, a gun, and Dig (in mouse form) in his pockets well enough to dodge the search. They find an unoccupied room a few floors down from TD’s room and cut one of the windows open, and Otters flies ChewGum and herself in, and then sends the VTOL over to perch on the billboard next to Cholula and await extraction. They split up to explore the hotel, with CG holding down their entry point and keeping comms updates going to and from Cholula.
Dig and Creep do some magical investigation with support from Otters, and manage to figure out that the lowest level mana ward seems to be a large MCT contingent, possibly including a family but with a lot of supplies and security. The highest level mana ward is the rooftop bar, where The Detective heads. They see a troll crooner singing his heart out on stage while looking only a little bored, and meet the Madame who oversees the establishment. Deciding to make a little harmless trouble, TD orders a drink for one of the two people making eyes at each other across the room while pretending not to.
And perhaps most importantly, TD tries to do some casual surveillance on the golden-eyed middle-aged man in the corner, who is attended by two similar looking female bodyguards- 1 appears cyber and one an adept, but TD can’t get a read on the guy at all. TD also gets spotted and summoned over, and goes. They have a brief but largely friendly chat, where they realize they’re looking for the same person, but not necessarily on behalf of the same person. The man tries to hire TD and team out from under Brunwyn, but TD refuses, feeling honorbound.
The man takes it fairly well, but says they will then be competitors on this job, though he hopes TD will give him a chance to hire directly in the future. He then gives a sharp whistle and his 2 guards leap up in unison and race to the elevator and stairs. TD, aiming for cool, stays and finishes their drink before making their goodbyes. Meanwhile, Dig, Creep and Otters have looked into the remaining mana ward and see that it encompasses the penthouse level, which has it’s own elevator key and locked off fire stairs.
Doing some careful, and higher level, magical investigation, Dig is able to spot yet another golden-eyed middle-aged man with two guards- this time a large Black troll with a ton of tattoos and a Vietnamese teen who looks to be a mage. Aiming not to attract their attention just yet, they head back to the meeting room and all debrief together. TD gets a feeling they were followed on the way and finds a hidden camera that they destroy, when they double back to check.
Putting their heads together, the best they can come up with is that this seems to be two people both aiming to appear as the SK archetypal Johnson, Hans Brackhaus. Since both SK and others use this ID for true and false flag ops, the team feels a little over their head and is glad to be working for neither, though the strong hints of SK association that Brunwyn gives off don’t make them feel much better. When TD head back to their room to take a bath and get high, they find a note waiting.
The woman they bought the drink for at the bar is requesting assistance. TD grabs Otters and they head to her room. She explains that she (an ARES financial corpo who took some leave not expecting the Blakcout) and her secret lover (the mayor of Toronto) were having an illicit meetup post-Latvian Gambit but are now stuck in the hotel. Worried about how an ARES association will play right now, the Mayor hasn’t yet left his wife as promised and doesn’t want to be seen in public- hence the glances across the bar that TD spotted.
This woman wants them to smuggle her and her lover out of town, in the hopes of beginning their life together. She seems fairly drunk. TD and Otters asks some questions, and get some useful info from her in exchange for agreeing to help. She takes them, wobbily, to a room that she says always has room service being delivered and dishes carefully stacked out front but that noone goes in or out of. Taking a quick magical look, Dig spots two tween teens, a middle-aged woman tending to someone in a homemade bio-bed, and in the bed itself: Camden Espinoza. He looks fried, possibly brain-dead, and has a burnt-out high-end MCT deck next to him. Looks like someone physically pulled the plug.
The team quickly fills Cholula in and rallies back to grab the guy, getting the VTOL in position near his room’s window. Unfortunately, Cholula spots a figure in camo crawling down the outside of the building, just as the team inside spots 2 more cloaked figures at opposing hallway corners. Cholula manages to narcoject the figure outside, and then Otters rams their unconscious form with the VTOL, breaking their gecko grip and sending them plummeting to their death, which alerts the guards below. Cholula fires off a few distraction arrows around the guards to keep them occupied before being forced to flee, retrieving his camera and Otters’ drones on the way.
Inside, Dig has made a huge magic hand and flicks open the room’s barred door. Creep chucks a couple thermal smoke grenades but throws badly and both roll back towards the team so the scene is chaotic. CG sends his spirits after the two cloaked figures, and manages to delay one with various powers while his cat corpse spirit is destroyed by the other. He blasts out the window in the room with his shotgun while Creep covers the family and Dig uses his magic hand to get Camden and his deck into the VTOL while Otters pilots. TD keeps everyone working together while trying to figure out a plan…. maybe now that they have the guy the other team will give up?
Outside, Cholula quickly scans the cam footage he retrieved and spots something interesting: just after everything kicked off, two of the mystery vans stealthily snuck out of the parking garage, driving off in the opposite direction of the fight before quickly turning in opposite directions off the main street….