The team hears of a few jobs: the Patrick Henry Hughes rescue, which Rooster pushes for, some work in Asamando for Nomusa Iblis, and the spirit killing mission for Ehran the Scribe. Nomusa says things are getting worse in Asamando, and Queen Themi Laula is rumored to be very ill and has not been seen in public in some time. Ehran says that, with some assistance from the artifacts, he has concocted a ritual to sever the slaughter spirit from the Dark Realm, limiting its power. He has also leanred its name: Qliphoth aka “The Tree of Death.” John Caruthers warns Rooster that he really needs the PHH job done like last year, & Rooster convinces the team to help, by arranging to sell PHH to Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries, as his weapons knowledge from rival Ares Macrotechnology will likely prove of value to them.
TY also picks up some news on Jackpoint. It seems that Lodestone has likely been killed- a scouting balloon near Karavan was reported as destroyed in an explosion, with only a single male elf as a casualty, the other 4 passengers having been spirited to safety by an air spirit of levitation spell of some sort. Meanwhile, Rooster confirms that a massacre site in the NE UCAS backwoods outside of Montreal was the site of LS’ family compound. Although no bodies were found, the amount of blood and DNA evidence recovered suggests that they were likely all killed. The local cops have specualted on a crime connection, given many of the family members’ extensive rap sheets, but JP and other boards suggests draconic revenge. Rooster assures TY that he has also taken steps to distance himself, and it seems that TY faking his own death has held up (for now).
Distrubingly, there are also a number of JP members either reported as being on the run/in hiding, or out of contact, including Jane, Haze, Baka Dabora, Snopes and possibly others. Reports of some near-miss run-ins with trouble, and people on their tails have surfaced, and paranoia abounds. After losing a number of members in the Bogota debacle recently, and with Fastjack seemingly losing his mind (and currently blocked from the board) JP board members are feeling worried.
The team flies to Detroit, and meets up with some local mob (who luckily fail to recognize Rooster or TY as the guys who fucked over their affiliates in Chicago some months back). They get details on where PHH, do some scouting, and bust him out in a hail of gunfire after their subterfuge fails to get them in the door of his safehouse. He agrees to the “rescue”, grabs his go-bag, and hops in their waiting manacoffin. They ditch a tail via TY’s driving and CI’s grenade lobbing, and swap cars with none the wiser. They flee the walled-in portion of Detroit (“Aresville”) and Rooster bribes his way through the checkpoint, though due to CI and TY failing to pull off their parts sufficiently (or maybe too well, with CI imitating a terrible teenager), the border guard insists that Rooster pepper-spray them first, which he does. They retch, cry, and try to overcome disorientation, and head out into the go-gang turf outside to a private airstrip, where they hand PHH (still en-coffined) to the SK folks waiting, and hop aboard their escape craft: a Steelsky t-bird. Job complete!
Except that Caruthers is pissed to hear that Rooster sold PHH down the line, and tells Rooster that he better lose his number, as he has probably just fucked them both. Rooster gets a bad feeling thst Tobias Cheney might be gunning for him now… But, they got paid, and CI and Rooster both get some cool commemorative Qi focus tattoos. They rest up in Seattle and try to decide where to go next- sounds like somewhere in Africa is likely.