Dig and Creature do some bonding by riding each other in various shapeshifted forms, non-sexually. Their animalistic natures seem to fit well together. The team gets some updates from previous members: Kit has managed to link up with some local Brokerage X operatives (Gina and 3 Card, the brains and muscle, respectively, though both have a lot of financial knowledge) and set up insurance for the Shadow Chaps locally. Teams will opt in or out as a group, and will trade paydata/early tips etc to BX in exchange for BX covering a certain amount of medical per runner per run. Aradia reports in that she is keeping busy doing party prep for Spinrad’s arrival- rumor say he has a big business deal or acquisition on the table and needs everything to go real well, but also wants to party outlandishly.
More disturbingly, Aradia says that noone at the Sisterhood of Ariadne has been answering her calls today, as she was supposed to go by later for another ritual lesson but is too busy with party planning. She asks the team to check in on them. Chew Gum also chats with Dig about strange dreams, as he has also started to have them, and they seem to overlap with Dig’s odd dreams a bit more than would seem usual. Creep and Creature take the van out to meet up with Dig and CG, not wanting to share their safehouse location just yet, though Dig seemingly unaware of the implications tells them all that he could easily find them if he tried. After some tension he agrees not to, for now, but Creature promises to let him try once they approve him for full membership.
They all load into van and travel (mostly via GridGuide) up to Snohomish. They notice that Kit has left the drones and RCC in the van for team use, but has removed the Carboxing arm and rigger interface, presumably to set up a new rig for themself. Reaching the SOA clubhouse, they do some external investigation, as something seems to be off and some unusual magical signatures are detectable from outside. They find no life signs inside, but a warded area appears to be the intact (likely their ritual chamber). There are a suspicious number of cars present, including a slightly concealed dirt bike out back. Both the front and back doors appear to have been breached while locked. After using his rotten possum’s Deathly Aura to try to spook out any stragglers, they carefully enter, searching for traps. The only one they initially find is an explosive under the dirtbike’s seat.
From the investigation inside, they determine a few things: one lone attacker entered through the back, and seems to have been a very fast and efficient killer, using a mix of quiet weaponry. A separate team entered through the front and appears to have been more methodical and used some kind of harpoon guns (some Witches are still pinned to walls and furniture, and appear to have been executed if not killed by the initial shot). The lone killer and the group seem to have intersected at the ritual chamber, where the surviving Witches made their last stand- unfortunately the Witches were all killed, and the team accounts for them all, except the top half of one which was cut off completely smoothly and seemingly somehow sealed or cauterized without burning. Her top half is also missing, as are all the assailants. There is also a sizzling cut through the otherwise intact ward around the ritual circle- the team is confused as the ward should either have failed or healed.
However, they also find the top half of a sword inscribed with a strange script, some burnt toxic reagents, and a satchel with an expended device that looks sort of like an explosive but doesn’t seem to have blown up. Creep speculates that some sort of portal or magical effect is likely responsible. Looking around a bit more, Dig uncovers a secret door in the floor, and after disabling some traps, the team heads down the revealed chute and enters a small tunnel. Chew Gum finds an ornate key around Aunt Clara’s neck, and Creature uses it to unlock the door at the end of the tunnel, but is badly electrocuted. Creep manages to knock xyr free, and they tumble into a small office. Searching it, they find a lot more tech than anywhere else in the clubhouse, including a high end commlink, an offline terminal with a digital whiteboard, a journal, some hermetic reagents, 6 alchemical potions, and one Tarot Card.
Creep opens the journal, which bursts into flame. He manages to put it out but is badly burned. Dig drinks one of the potions and feels like he gained some kind of heightened sense but can’t figure out what. They check everything else carefully for traps and then haul it all out of the basement and to the van, with CG concealing them as they exit. CG also has a spirit make a silence sphere, and then snipes the bike out back to set off the explosive trap so that noone will unexpectedly trigger it later- a real civic-minded guy. Recognizing that the journal is in some kind of code, that they aren’t hackers, and that none of them know whatever language is on the blade, they decide to seek help. Dig feels his extra sense going away and manages to focus and figure out it was an astral clairvoyance potion.
First off they head down to Lady Zelda’s Lore Galore store in Puyallup, as usual she talks their ears off but does provide some useful info- as Creep had speculated, the code in the journal looks somewhat similar to the text in the Voynich Manuscript, and Zelda concurs, suggesting it is likely an internal cipher used by the Black Lodge. She warns them about the dangers of messing with this group, and also ID’s the rest of the potions- all detection and mind effecting stuff, so Dig holds onto them. Creep and Creature remember there’s a Vault of Ages in the van so they chuck the potions in to preserve them.
Next they head to Severinus de Cloet’s cart, as she has hinted to Elven royalty ties in her past, to better ID the sword fragment, which Zelda said was Sperethial. Severinus seems a little spooked and drops it after examining, and says this was a blade supposedly crafted by experts in magical weaponry on the Seelie Court for a legendary assassin who later went rogue: Teachdaire, aka The Messenger. Supposedly the blade is able to dispel magic and is exceptional as piercing magical armor. This possibly explains the strange unhealing slice they found in the warded ritual circle at the Sisterhood’s clubhouse. Severinus warns them further about The Messenger, but seems relieved that he may have gotten shoved off into some metaplane- she says that he has killed multiple members of elven and Seelie courts, so hopefully someone will take a chance to get revenge….
They next contact Tauren and request some hacking help, but warn him there are probably some traps. He agrees and says he’ll work fast, but will bring in a couple others to help. They all rest for the night, and CG and Dig have another weirdly similar dream. Creep and Creature both get Kit to patch up their armor from the run. The next day it looks like Tauren pulled an all-nighter, and he requests some extra pay for medical expenses- they lost a few files, but recovered most of the data, but it was VERY well-protected. He says that it looks like Clara was the lone user, and appears to have been reporting to a handler ID’ed as “JB” on a number of different areas. One was the use of the Sisterhood to foretell various events, possibilities, etc, and the potential for recruiting various members someday. Another was new connections with some useful shadowrunners. The 3rd was a pressing investigation into a newly acquired photograph of the previously unknown plane of Dis.
There is a lot of back and forth with JB about what this could mean, and it seems like the primary consensus is that this could give them a serious leg up against their opposition in this area. After some digging, the team is able to ID this opposition as the APEP Consortium, newly acquired by MCT, who locally operate out of a magic research facility atop Cougar Mountain in Renton. Clara’s last report is that she is planning to use her Sisterhood to do a large ritual to try to gain more info about Dis, and JB warning her to be careful, as their adversaries are very jealous of their current advantages in this area. JB and Clara never directly confirm that they are Black Lodge, but the sense of superiority and unspoken human supremacy that comes through says enough. The team realizes that they didn’t find the Dis pic anywhere at the clubhouse. Creature also recalls that xe has seen harpoon guns before: the Rift Jumpers who attack the team when they were leaving the OZ hyperplane to go to the Library of Alexandria. So are the Rift Jumpers connected to APEP? Who are they?
They next contact Elijah to get help cracking the code in the journal. They head to his temporary basement office at UW Downtown, and find him with a few full-limb casts on, which he explains away as “Antarctica being interesting this time of year.” They get down to business, and he has a mini-me version of himself (some sort of Homunculus) close the door and fetch coffee. He seems very smart and just mildly condescending if he ever feels like they’re wasting his time. The team trades him a bunch of Dis info in exchange for help with the strange device and the journal. He examines the device and explains that it looks like someone has re-jiggered one of ARES’ “Project: Bottleneck” portal closers to reverse the polarity and use it to open portals instead. He says he thinks they would be imperfect, inaccurate, and very temporary. The tech doesn’t look totally finished, but nonetheless- very interesting! In combo with the burnt toxic reagents they found, he explains that you might be able to control portal size/shape etc a bit.
For the book, he calls in a colleague: Prof. Maggie Magnusson (with the team’s approval). Maggie and Creep chat a bit, having met at the Crypt, and then Creep, Creature, and CG are dismissed as they aren’t really much good at helping with the book and it’s a small office. Dig stays to assist. They don’t make much progress on the book, and Elijah suggests reaching out to some AI contacts of Maggie’s to speed it up, but the team rejects that idea for now. Dig asks for help learning some mind reading spells, which Elijah agrees to, in order to try to find the magical cryptographic key that might crack the journal quicker. The rest of the team decides to look into the Tarot card. Following some clues, they end up at the Numismatic Museum of Seattle, Downtown, and buy tickets.
They find the coin hinted at on the card, and “near” it find a huge glass jar with some trace magic, filled with tens of thousands of rare-ish dimes. The curator claims that is a world record collection of dimes, and seems to be a coin pervert. The team tries to figure out how to heist it, while Creep sneaks into the basement to try to find out who the unlisted donor of this item is. With some miraculous searching, Creep finds out that it was Dunkelzahn himself. They head out for now, planning to possibly return later to steal the thing but not quite sure how to proceed, as they guess it would weigh close to a ton. For now, they link back up with Dig and discuss next steps- it seems they’re waiting on the translation of the book, so CG and Dig reach out to Jaga, the Walking Witch, to suggest a sleepover, to bring the 3 Tzuri Group traditions together and see if their various dreams continue to align, and what that might mean….
The team also gets some new from around town: Romeo has been talking shit about them since they burned him with ARES, probably permanently, and he will not be working with them again. Annie has been doing some quiet damage control though, and she hopes this doesn’t harm the team’s rep too badly. Rahel Juric of Omnistar released the bunraku parlor info about Carl Derrick (UCAS rep), and also the info about Reed/ARES trying to cover it up to blackmail Derrick. This gets the public pissed at both ARES and the UCAS government (for being so in the pockets of the corps), playing into Omnistar’s hands nicely. Reed tries to do a damage control press conference, but is killed by a sniper. ARES tries to blame the whole thing on her and sweep it under the rug, announcing that their longtime political head for Seattle, Karen King, will be taking over their place on the Referendum.
The missing CAS rep has been located- the Blank Verses team managed to find a ship with his corpse aboard a ship docked at the local Proteus aquacology. It looks like the Null assassin Hitsec Burn corrupted or unleashed an AI aboard the vessel, which killed and experimented upon the passengers. The BV didn’t head further into the Proteus facility, as it was outside their job parameters, especially as they already had multiple casualties from the run. The BV spread the word about a mad AI on the loose on the ship, nd possibly in the facility, and a minor panic starts- likely what Hitsec was after primarily- bad press for AI’s.
Gregory Bear-Killer also went after his target: the Horizon rep Thomas Muir. Muir’s bodyguard, Sutun the Pillar of Ankara, managed to hold back a toxic wolf but was killed by acid while wrestling it. Muir himself had a surprise adept awakening and manged to fight off and subdue Bear-Killer, who was arrested and is now detained on McNeil Prison island. Horizon plays up Muir’s “good guy with magic” heroism, which is very popular with the masses, especially given his “awe shucks” vibe at the press conference he insists on concluding after the attack.