Otters aka Roadkill
Tabasco aka Cholula
Cholula has been haunting the streets of Motor City, checking out the developing gang scene. Some seem relatively pro-social, some less so. He begins hunting the most thrill-kill gang he can find, the 696 Slayers, further depleting their numbers from the massive hit they already took from the team (unbeknownst to one another). ChewGum stocks up on reagents (Penelope Bean is still getting a supply from…. somewhere?) and does some investigation into the mysterious critter attacks.
Using some intel from the Keepers and other contacts, he manages to find a site of a recent attack, and with a ritual and some tracking and assensing is able to piece together what happened. Some horrifying looking creatures attacked in a group of 3-4, ripping two civilians apart. The creatures seem very hungry but not malicious. And they are indeed wearing some kind of RFID collar. He pegs this as “needs further investigation” and rejoins the crew, meeting up with Cholula just outside Casa Aurelius’ guarded walls.
Inside, Otters and The Detective approach Corinna (the Nadja Fixer, seemingly in from Chicago) and Eugene Trapp, a UCAS marshal, who are discussing dangerous bounties in town. Otters talks about killing a Wendigo and Corinna extracts herself as Otters and TD chat edgily back and forth with Trapp for a bit- he is some kind of canine SURGE, and seems to make note of their scents.
As the party seems to be winding down, and they have other allies present they can ask for more info on other attendees as needed, they head out. Otters and TD wait in the van while Creep and Dig as a mouse sneak up onto the roof through the vents and then let themselves down in a guard blindspot that TD spotted. They get in the van and slip back into the smuggling compartment for now. After they watch a series of guests leave via various, mostly unpowered, conveyances, the staff and guards finally start filtering out.
They see the guard that DIg mind-scanned carrying a hard case big enough to contain the data cube, but he splits off from the rest of the guards and hops into a matte-black, fully tinted van that pulls up just as he’s exiting the building. Otters leaves the parking lot and posts up in a stealthy spot further down the road, and CG and Cholula set up in outside the main gate to the area, having communicated with the team via stealth VTOL.
They get lucky and guessed right as to the black van’s route, and Otters quickly scoops up the 2 outside the gate as Creep and Dig get back out of the smuggling compartment once they’ve cleared security. Otters tries to subtly follow, with the VTOL aloft to triangulate. As they continue, they head into the ruined area of Downtown, which seems like a good spot to lose pursuers. Seeing the van ahead slow, Otters pulls into a side street and sends the VTOL in for a closer look.
They see one of the white vans with the dishes pull up alongside, both side doors slide open, and somethings get passed back and forth. Unfortunately, the white van as usual gives off a brief burst of signal and seems to spot the VTOL in the matrix, and the white and black vans peel off in opposite directions. After a quick debate, Otters guns it and follows the black van.
Not waiting this time, Otters opens fire, damaging the vehicle. She is also gaining on them, and the other driver, while capable, doesn’t seem to match her level of skill. The back door flings open, and a short human inside fires a rocket at the team van, with Otters managing to avoid a direct hit but catching some shrapnel. Otters fires back and blasts the human back into the opposing van.
Dig magically sends his sight over into the other van, and sees a team of 3, plus the guard, with the human on the floor either dying or dead. They look like shadowrunners but not total pros. As he watches, the guard lifts the launcher and fires another shot at the van- direct hit! Massive damage, but Otters keeps them on he road. Creep and Cholula return fire, lighting both the man and van on fire, as CG orders his spirit to cause the man to have an accident.
Dig also spots one of the mystery boxes hooked up to a power cable, seemingly powering the van, and the team decides they better grab it. Creep crawls onto the van roof as Otters maneuvers into position to see the box clearly. Dig uses magic fingers to yank it free of it’s bolts but it’s still hanging by the power cable, which Creep manages to shoot through with impressive aim just as the guard fumbles his launcher reload and detonates the black van.
The wreck crashes and burns hard, and the team van is almost wrecked as well in the shrapnel cloud. The mystery box, though damaged, appears mostly intact, and Dig attempts to analyze it magically but can’t make much sense of it. There doesn’t seem to be anything living inside when CG assenses, so they head back to the safehouse to rest, heal and examine further. While Otters and the repair drones patch up the van and the golem pedals away, recharging it, the team sleeps and recovers.
In the morning, they call up Smoach and he agrees to come take a look. Dig says he’s got some tasks for the day, and heads off to Stanli the Candyman’s house/fort. The rest of the team reports into Howell and gets paid for dragon investigating and gala info, sending the data device over his way along with a written report on what they learned. He says he’ll examine it all and get back to them about it, but in the meantime he has a client looking to get some of the gangs in town working together.
Cholula is stoked about this since he wanted to do it anyway. TD bites the bullet and radios up Cehualli, and the AZT agent hints that he works for Armando Salazar, the AZT operative depicted on the Hermit card, He provides two tasks for the team, and offers to pay in info, artifacts, or nuyen as desired. One, they are to track down an ork serial killer named Pygmy who has fled here. Two, if they encounter anything interesting ARES left behind or lost in the move, they are to sell it on to Cehualli. TD agrees, for now.
Down at Stanli’s, Dig in bird form gets a tense introduction to a member of the Reality Hackers, who seems to have fled Seattle after killing a demiGOD. Dig, going against the team’s plan, sells this individual the Damien Knight snuff BTL he’s been working, and mixes up some alchemical drugs to go along with it to really heighten the experience for the topline customers. The RH-er trades him a very fancy attack-focussed deck and gives Dig access to an RH gear mefeed, if he ever gets regular matrix. Stanli also reups DIg on some drugs, stoked about this wild new product the he can now peddle to a local populace with a lot of hate for ARES.
Back at the safehouse, the team readies for Otters’ scheduled meeting with Brunwyn Harridan, though Cholula decides to stay behind to keep an eye on Smoach as he examines the device. Smoach manages to figure out what it is: a horrifying prison for a sprite, who in it’s frantic attempts to escape, generates the electricity the device is pumping out even as it’s code degrades into madness. He’s injured in the attempt to communicate, and suggests they need to free it onto a larger grid in the hope that it can stabilize somewhat there.
They share some beers and sad conversation, sitting together and pondering the darkness of the world. Smoach also reports that FTD seems defeated locally, but that the Shadow spirits are likely still a threat, and he has a next lead on where to look, when the team is ready. On the river south of downtown, the team finds the Austrian ork Baritone waiting for them in a dinghy. They hop aboard and he rows them out to a very sleek modernist houseboat, which CG spots as having impressive aesthetic flourishes, and Otters ID’s as also being very fast and potentially deadly.
They are ushered aboard by a German hobgoblin named Geraldo who seems to have weapons hidden all over his person- Creep is impressed. Brunwyn herself gestures them back into a tastefully appointed state room, and is once again dressed to the 9’s, though more subtly than at the gala. She waves away her guards when they subtly inquire if they should join. Based on the whole vibe and a quick chat via mesh network, they assume this is all an SK opp, so good to be careful, though it may be too late as they are already in the room.
After some banter, they get down to business- Brunwyn wants them to grab up some scientists, data and matrix specialists specifically, off a list of names that she has. She will pay well, she states, in a form of the team’s choosing, and a barely detectable tempestuousness crosses her features when TD dares to negotiate. She quickly recovers her charm however, and agrees to a short timeline for the job for bonus pay. TD, feeling like there isn’t another better option, agrees. They get some intel, and Brunwyn tells them where to meet and by what deadline.
They head back out, likely having just made a deal with a dragon, and link back up with the other teammates at the safehouse, where they see Dig’s impressive new deck, which he flew back clutching in his bird claws while using an illusion to make it look like a fish. They get another call from Howell, who seems to have been investigating along some of the same lines as the team, and reports that he got a lot of good data from the gala, but that specifically he wants to know more about a group calling themselves the “Grid Pirates” who seem to be the ones kidnapping TM’s.
They are also likely behind the mystery power boxes, which Howell names a “SpriteLok” based on recovered data., It seems likely they are selling/renting them around town, including to the gala for the event, though the renters likely don’t know what they are and are smart or desperate enough not to ask. The team reports that there is at least one surviving white van, and Howell says he’ll do more digging but likely have more work for them soon. Some of the worst news: the GP’s must have at least one Dissonant or otherwise corrupted/coerced TM and/or powerful sprite under their control, as they would be required to trap the sprites in the devices as the Faraday cage exterior of the SpriteLok is assembled around them….