Love stays behind for a bit to learn some “safe” blood magic from Frosty Jane, while the rest of the team heads to Nyamkopon, the capital of the ghoul nation of Asamando, on a private jet chartered by the Draco Foundation. From there, they will link up with a Lagosian smuggler named Innocent Dobiri, and get flown in, having opted out of the slower (and possibly more dangerous) land and sea routes. They pass through Tir Tairngire and Asamandan customs with no trouble, and link up with Innocent. His plane, though shot full of holes, is meticulously maintained, and he flies them towards Lagos with no trouble, only having to dodge a small amount of AA fire.
Jane has given them a dossier explaining that their 2 tasks here are: to get back on King Adegoke’s good side, and to safely retrieve Barnaby “Wombat” Rudd from the clutches of the Thankyou CFD clone that is currently using him on a team to plan a raid on the final known Gilgamesh Initiative facility (located in Lagos!). TY has likely implanted Rudd with a cranial bomb to ensure compliance, so the team will need to disable that. Also, Jane has made a deal with Alice to pass along the info that the TY clone team extracts, so the plan is that Jane’s team will hit the TY team as they exit the GI facility, kill them all while saving Rudd, and make sure that the data gets to Alice (and doesn’t get transmitted to other TY’s at any point). Rudd is an expert in ancient languages, obscure texts, lore, etc so he will be immensely useful to the cache hunt, and Alice has agreed to give Jane first shot at anything interesting she comes across in her info-brokering for the duration.
Before landing at Lagos, they take a quick detour up to Ife, the capital seat of the Yoruba kingdom, to meet with King Adegoke, and find out how they can appease him for the behavior of the last team Jane sent to Lagos. They make it in time for their audience, and are a bit awed by the massive marble palace, filled with art and artefacts, that the king maintains. He informs that they will perform 2 tasks for him: assassinate a traitor in his ranks, and appease Lagos’ Spirit of the City. They are ushered out to receive detailed info from a subordinate, and get the names of 5 fixers they are to visit in Lagos- they will do a small job or favor for each fixer, thus appeasing the Spirit of the City. And they receive a contact number to let Adegoke’s people know when they will be ready to travel to Cairo to deal with the traitor, at which point he will be sent there via a certain route.
Linking back up with Innocent, they take off, and head SE towards the city. Landing at Muhammed Int’l Airport, Innocent gives them a quick tutorial in local life (basically, always haggle, but it’s easier to pay than fight most of the time), before heading back out. They pay some locals to carry their bags, and bribe some Area Boys, the omnipresent local youth gang, to allow them entry to the city proper. They hire some okadas, and drop some of their extraneous stuff off at their hotel, near the port in Apapa. They then head around the city via okada to visit the 5 different fixers, and discover what tasks they have for them to accomplish. They also call up Ro Tain, who seems to be raiding a Renraku Computer Systems facility as they speak, and request she grab one of the Red Samurai’s proprietary cyberware frying microwave guns, to fry Rudd’s brainbomb. She agrees, in exchange for any data that the team (or Alice) can provide which links the GI to the Ordo Maximus, a Euro-vampire cabal tied into a NeoNET subsid, who are partially responsible for the death of Aemon Burst’s parents. The team runs this by Alice, and they all agree.
Their first stop is at Kayin’s shop in Apapa, where they exchange some ¥ for naira, the local currency, at Kayin’s hawala, before getting down to business. His task for them involves a forger of hawala tokens, a big problem for an international financial network based mostly on trust. They agree, and head up to the 3 Friends bar in Lagos Mainland, to meet the fixer Hippo, and see what he wants. He is, as advertised, possibly the fattest fixer in Lagos, seemingly built-in to a custom table in the corner of the bar. They see another team leaving as they enter, but are quickly able to meet the man. His task for them is to recover a specific corpse from the local Tamanous faction, and return it to him for “proper burial rites.” They get details on the corpse, and head to the Muslim district of Mushin, Gethin chooses to cover up in case their androgony is a problem.
They find Mushin much cleaner and more organized than many of the other districts they’ve travelled through, but lacking some of the chaotic flair as well. Much beautiful tile mosaic-work, and soaring minarets on the mosques make up for the lack of raucous street vendors and easily accessible drugs and alcohol. It also seems a bit safer, as there are a lot more lone civilians out and about, and a local constabulary that looks a bit more organized than the Area Boys elsewhere. They head to a palatial residence at the center of the district, and meet the local strongman, Blessing Ojo, who tells them he is worried about a possible shedim infestation in Surulere to the south, which may be crossing into his district. They agree to look into it, and head west to Ilasa Maja.
They find the small changeling district to be a sight for sore eyes after the somewhat staid Mushin- chaotic and densely packed with every odd SURGE mutation they can imagine. They head for a brothel called the 7 Fingered Hand, and meet its proprietor, Madame Iboju, a minimally-SURGED changeling who also acts a s a fixer and semi-official district head. They manage to avoid sampling any of the brothel’s widely varied wares, and get the job described: Iboju wants them to create an intentional shortage in the nearby Amulet Market in Oshodi-Isolo, which many changelings craft wares for. They then will provide Iboju with ample stocks of whatever they make a shortage of so she can dominate the market and even further cement the changeling’s place and necessity.
For the last task, they head far north, up to Ifako-Iyaji, into Daughters of Yemaja turf- the patrons of women, children, and the abused throughout the sprawl. They meet the often-hooding fixer Obi Akinlaja at a temple to Orishako. He explains that he got in some hot water with the Daughters and needs the team to raid a nearby cherubium that they’ve located. This will get him out of his fix, and also be a generally good and moral thing to do. The Daughters want the team to rescue anyone they can from the brothel’s unwilling employees, and make a public example of everyone else- clients, staff, etc. The team excitedly agrees, and begins planning. Gethin hires a danfo bus for the next day, and fills it with rations, stuffed animals, and emergency blankets. Toff decides to sit this one out, and go investigate the Amulet Market to find out what the most controllable commodities there are.
They procure the blankets from a clinic in Mushin with Tamanous ties, where they meet some old Mars survivors: Samson (doing outreach and street work) and Doc Todd (surgery and implants). Todd has connections in Tamanous, and agrees to ask after the corpse they seek for Hippo, and attempt to arrange an exchange for some fresh bodies (or living people) if they can preserve some of the targets at the cherubium enough for Tamanous’ purposes. They decide that about 6 to 1 seems like a fair trade, and decide to try to keep around that many alive/intact during the assault. They do a little recon, including Chem and Gethin posing as employees of a rich man looking to pay a visit (to get the interior layout), pay off the local Area Boys to look the other way, and make a plan of attack. Gethin marks 2 exiting patrons with RFID chips to try to track down later.
Fentin snipes the 2 rooftop lookouts and covers the back, while Toast magically runs up the side of the building and in through a 2nd floor window, and Chem and Gethin breach the front door with grenades, killing the guard in the entry area instantly. They get in a gun battle with the remaining guards, as well as 3 mercs who were there as clients, but manage to take them all out with only minor injuries. Upstairs, Toast captures 2 clients, and finds the place’s boss: a sasabonsam: a rare African ghoul strain, with extended arms and legs. He was eating the organs of a deceased child, who lies in the corner of his room, when the raid started, and seems to have been bust destroying some commlinks since then. Toast also catches a quick glimpse of a ghastly painted clown face in a mirror at the rear of the room, which he initially mistakes for a painting. The face is gone when he does a double take and looks back.
Luckily for him, Toast manages to shrug off the sasabonsam’s initial spell assault, and ko’s him with a skillful shot. Fentin takes out the manager and 1 last guard who try to escape through a bolt-hole in the back of the building. They load all the surviving kids in the van, and send it to Daughters turf. They take the living captives out front where a curious crowd has cautiously gathered. They cut off all 4 of the men’s penises in front of the crowd, and hang some of the corpses from the building exterior. They gather the remaining useful corpses (mainly the merc’s, each with some cyber), the 4 profusely bleeding men, and the sasabonsam, and call up Todd, who says he’ll send a courier named Capstone to pick them up. They try to examine the mirror, but it seems to be protected both by spellcraft and an electrical trap, so they leave it for now.
Capstone and 6 others show up out front, on rollerblades in street leathers (Lagos go-gang!), and pick the 7 most desirable from the options, throwing them over their back in a firemen’s carry before racing off on their skates. The team heads out to some hooting and hollering from the Area Boys, and returns to Akinlaja to report mission accomplished, and make sure all the kids they sent showed up safely- which they did, the driver seemed disinclined to mess with them after watching that attack from a distance. Akinlaja thanks them for their assistance, and declares the task complete. He provides a bit of info about the Daughters, and Gethin gives them some ¥, liking their mission. They also warn Akinlaja about the strange mirror, which he seems cautiously interested in.
They head down to the 3 Friends for stage 2, and call Todd, who confirms that the bodies they provided are satisfactory, and will send along the specific body that they seek. A short while later, Capstone skates up and drops a full bodybag on Hippo’s table. Hippo seems a bit annoyed by the drugged-out courier’s crassness, but gets his guards to clear some people from the area, and opens the bag. He confirms its the right guy, and intact too, before slitting open his guts, digging around for a moment, and extracting a few small latex parcels. He says he will see him buried proper also, of course, but this seems like the main reason he wanted him back after all. He tells the team they’re square, and they agree to work together again as needed. They do a bit of investigation on some of the other jobs, and find that Festac Town in Badagry is the best place to look for info on the forger. They also find out that the Kosofe district is the likeliest spot for the GI lab, and get a reference for a specific location that seems likely to be the spot, based on rumors of heavy security and odd experimental leftovers wandering the area and the swamps nearby.
Before they leave the bar, Ut-Napishtim shows up, and tells them he’ll be around until Rudd is rescued, and delivers the microwave anti-‘ware gun, courtesy of Ro as promised. He flirts heavily with fellow elves Gethin and Toast, and they end up having a drunken threesome, which also provides Gethin the opportunity to steal Ut’s key, gaining her entry into the Society of the Golden Key. Things become a little awkward between Toast (who’s never slept with another man before) and Gethin (who seems squeamish about sleeping with anyone), but they’ll work it out? They plan to go over Toff’s plan for the Amulet Market job the next day, after some much needed rest…
Meanwhile, Chem and Fentin have contacted Jane to ask about what Toast saw at the cherubium, and why it seems like Harlequin might be interfering in the chal’han. Jane informs them that is worse than that- it seems likely that this is a malevolent free spirits, of sorts, that Harlequin created from all the worst parts of himself, and which broke free after Aina Dupree was killed during the closing of the Watergate Rift. It goes by the name Gwynplaine, and hates elves and magic, and loves to fuck with anyone who relies on tech- so it seems like it’s out to get pretty much everyone! Jane says they chased it out of Seattle some time ago, and that it must have resettled here- which is likely what is throwing the Spirit of the City out of wack. They tell her about the mirror, and she confirms that it was likely a mode of communicating with it’s thralls surreptitiously, but that the item itself would likely have some value if they could retrieve it. They relay this to the team the next morning, and everyone is glad they didn’t have to sleep knowing what they now know…
Toff, having some downtime, finally asks a question of his mysterious tarot card. Wanting to know if he made the correct choice of religion, he asks for the truth of Ghostwalker’s origins, once and for all. He has a long and fascinating vision of perfect clarity, and feels that he interpreted it as best he could. Church of the Dragon Reborn have it all wrong- GW is definitely not Dunkelzahn reborn, but is in fact D’s brother, lost since the 4th World, after an epic war with the Therans (Atlanteans) at that time. GW lost a lover at that time, whose spirit he seemingly preserved, and may have retrieved when he closed the Watergate Rift. GW also believes there is a through-line between the Therans and Aztechnology, though Toff doesn’t exactly get proof. Toff also sees many draconic councils and affairs, such as the fallout from and banning of breeding with other races, and the subsequent creation of drakes, and feels that he could possibly ID many of the dragons if he encountered them in their modern form. So Toff feels good about his alliance with Children of the Dragon, and plans to use his new dragon info to leverage further advantage for himself within the church.
The team decides to follow up on Toff’s investigation into the Amulet Market next. They confirm details with Madame Iboju, and get Toff’s recon rundown. Basically, a local syndicated called the Laiya seem to control the bulk of the reagent harvesting trade in town. They have international connections, and are primarily an extended family organization, so harder to leverage against than many of the local gangs. They also have sizable numbers and good connections with many local fixers, so the team decides not to mess with them directly. When they can’t find any easy way to either buy out or destroy the stocks of any one commodity that they have, they decide to try to cut a deal instead.
Asking around amongst their new fixer contacts, they find out that an unusually large number of Laiya hunters have been going missing on hunts north of the lagoon recently. Toff also feels that as the Laiya use divination magic extensively, he can present himself favorably, as he now knows some about their traditions as well as their practices. They arrange a meeting with the Laiya’s leader, an older dwarf named Abiodun, after contacting some of his subordinates in a rowdy portside bar. Impressed by Toff’s careful etiquette, he agrees to make a deal: the Laiya will work with the changeling district locally if the team takes care of whatever is taking out his hunters in the jungle. But, as he warns them, “what the jungle takes, the jungle keeps.”
They do some research on what critters they might encounter, and stock up on antidotes. Luckily, Abiodun agrees to send along one of his men as a guide, and provides Toff with some tokens of some of the dead hunters, through which Toff receives a vision of some sort of ritual sacrifice around a pitted stone altar deep in the rainforest. He warns the team to expect cultists of some sort, and they head out, through Kosofe, which is as far as the roads go. They hoof it from there, and only Toff is attacked by poisonous snakes, due to some quality sneaking, and Chem moving into a tactical leader position in Ro’s absence.
They reach an area where there are no animals, and the astral feels wrong, and decide to send Toast ahead to scout. He finds 6 cultists mid-ritual, and manages to avoid getting noticed by them, but comes under attack from a sludge spirit, seemingly formed of pollutants sucked from the soil. It ko’s him after he unleashes a few arrows, but the rest of the team comes running and deals with the spirits just as the cultists approach. The ritual leader stays behind to try to hold the ritual stable, but Toff quickly kills him in astral combat, although this causes a loud cracking sounds to split the air, accompanied by the smell of ozone.
They deal with the cultists, just barely, as Fentin and then Love are both mortally injured by deathbolts. Toff manages to stabilize them all before any team members flatline, and closes the rift that the cultists were opening, although he has a disturbing feeling of something with far too many eyes watching him through the tear in reality. They make it safely back to town, and do some research on what they encountered, as well as Toff using psychometry on a shard of the destroyed shrine. It seems to have been a rough carving of some kind of corrupted dragon, long lost in the jungle. The cultists seems to be members of Logos, who received word of the altar’s presence near Lagos, possibly from Gwynplaine, given the timing of their arrival. So it seems like GP may be intentionally trying to throw of Lagos’ spirit?
Next up, the team starts digging into the hawala forger, on behalf of Kayin. They head for Festac Town after doing some cursory research on the area, and discovering that there are 2 main crews operating there. They find the most popular bar in the area, and S&M scene with a bunch of hackers and slumming rich kids from the islands. Love waits outside to watch for trouble, and Toast is booted after they discover his attempt to bring in his concealed bow. Toff gets quickly distracted by tall human man giving him the eye, and they head upstairs for a quick and silent encounter, which Toff is only slightly dismayed to find that he is expected to pay for.
Meanwhile, Chem and Fentin stay on mission, and find a local decker named Groovetooth, who fills them in on the 2 biggest gangs amongst the dozens in Festac: the Hausa Hacks, and the Onyara. The Hacks mostly come up from the Area Boys, but the Onyara are much stranger: more secretive, and with some significant hired muscle. The rumor is that they technomancers. Without much matrix infrastructure, Groovetooth explains, most Lagosians aren’t as paranoid about TM’s as many elsewhere, but the corps still pay a pretty penny for them, so they have to watch out. Chem and Toff loudly bluff through some conversation about how hard it is to find a good forger and “casually” mention looking for a hawala forger, while Fentin monitors matrix comms in the area.
Fentin notices 2 of the Onyara having a private text-only chat via external commlinks while pretending to be engaged with the personas of the rest of their peers in-matrix. He decides these are the best leads they have, and forwards their images to Toast and Love outside, who tail one of them as they leave shortly thereafter. The Onyara links up with some guards after possibly making Love as a pursuer, but they manage to follow the Onyara group to what looks to be a safehouse. They message the rest of the team with the location, and prepare to see what’s inside…
After scouting the house, they decide to begin their assault, fearing that the people inside (seemingly 4 tmancers and 2 guards) are clearing evidence. Toast accidentally kills a street tough who tries to rough up Toff, and feels bad for breaking his code of honor. Toast breaks in from the upper floor, as the rest of the team breaches through the front. They get in a firefight and slay 2 tmancers, 1 guard, and capture the other guard. They collect some evidence, while Toff and Love head through a secret tunnel that they find in the back of the structure. They encounter Gwynplaine, sadly, who nearly kills Love and marks them both with some sort of magical wound, which shows up in the astral.
GP leaves after taunting them, and they find the remaining 2 tmancers dead and stuffed with Hawala tokens in a structure in south Badagry, and decide that this will be enough of an example to send to future forgers, even though they can’t quite figure out how GP did it. They also find another broken magical mirror. They report their success to Kayin, who seems interested/disturbed by the GP connection and the mirror, but satisfied with their work. They decide to sort out the shedim problem quickly to get done with this fixer business.
Checking in in Mushin, they do some recon and track some body collectors to a shedim camp and body sorting pile in north Surulere. They get in a combo astral and physical fight, while Toff and Love pay some guards in 3 Friends to watch their bodies. They defeat the shedim in Surulere, but come under attack from reinforcements in Mushin. Love and Toff come back to their bodies to find that the bar was also attacked when they were out. They trace the new attackers back to a cop shop in south Mushin, and find that the shedim have taken it over, and masked their presence seemingly with the help of Gwynplaine, based on the presence of another mirror. They get approval from Blessing Ojo, and wipe out the cop shop, gaining his approval of a job complete.
Satisfied at their work for the fixers, and the appeasement of Lagos’ Spirit of the City, King Adegoke finally gives them the info about Thankyou’s team that they need to rescue Barnaby Rudd. They prepare to set up an ambush at the Gilgamesh Initiative facility in north Kosofe.