The team decides to finally take up Saul Chronic on the Istanbul artifact hunt job. While he was there researching his mother’s disappearance, a woman named Joanna Krstic contacted him based on his involvement in acquiring some artifacts in the past. She wants him to track down rumors of the impending sale of a mellified man in Istanbul, see if it’s real, and acquire it if so. She arranges transport for the team, and gets them a place to stay and a stipend, with a bonus for acquisition.
They start looking around, and Saul tells them to get in touch with a local contact, Barnaby Rudd, who is skilled at finding secret info. They meet him in the rare book bazaar, and he helps them locate the sight of the transaction. Apparently some Karavanli are coming into town and unloading a major artefact, but he can’t find who the buyers are, though there are reports of some well-armed out of towners wandering the grand bazaar, so TY and Ro go scout it out, while Lafeyette stakes out the sale site. Laf eventually spots some well-concealed mages and a spirit alongside a large crate, apparently waiting for buyers.
TY and Ro spot 2 different groups: a half dozen Kurds, under the leadership of a former Knight Errant subcontractor named Hamid, and a group of 4 cybered-up mercs who appear North Arican or Arabian. They track the cybermercs to a truck waiting nearby with 2 more inside, and based on their larger group approaching the buysite, decide these are the buyers. Rudd finds Hamid’s commcode and tips him off, while Laf trails the buyers after the transaction concludes. A massive gunfight ensues, tearing through the streets of the marketplace.
The end result is that the Kurds take out the cybermercs, seize the artifact, but are then ambushed by the other 2 cybermercs after Ro tips them off too. The Kurds are then set on by bug spirits, who burst forth from an underground cistern. They take the artifact back underground, and the Kurds stage a fighting retreat as bazaar security is closing in. The 2 cybermercs head after the spirits, while Ro calls in backup from Joanna. They chase the artifact through the ancient Roman sewers (Ro having tagged it with a tracking round), and find the cybermercs torn to shreds. The insects escape into the Bosporus through some connecting tunnels, and Joanna tells them to stick around while she sees if she can track down where they went. Lafeyette assenses Krstic’s team, and finds their auras extremely disturbing. The only lead they have so far is that Ro discovers that some ’Ndraghetta mafia were in town, asking after the artifact as well.
They do some background digging on Krstic, and find out from Jackpoint members that she is a high-level UCAS spook, and probably running it for someone else. The soldiers auras mesh with some rumors of a UCAS-affiliated special forces squad that some on JP think is composed of shedim. SP and Wombat hack into Krstic’s comm and get some info suggesting that she is working for Apep Consortium. They turn to JP again and find rumors that some high level Apep rep in the DC area may be a master shedim, and start to freak out a little.
Ro also hears from Hamid, who offers them 150% pay to work for him instead- he doesn’t want the insects to get it, and their team seems skilled, so he’d rather not fight them too. He agrees to help them double cross Krstic’s team as well. They agree, and Krstic flies them to GeMiTo, where she has tracked the artifact to a Fiere in Milan. She doesn’t seem aware of their impending betrayal. They scout out the market, and find that some of the underground tunnel system has been closed for the day- suspicious? There is also a Europol magical misuse taskforce shaking down talisleggers in the market- suspicious?
They make contact with Giada, a leader of the techwiz gang called the Capotrenos that runs the subway and arrange transport in for their team, Krstic’s team, and the Kurds, transport out for the Kurds, and a safehouse for themselves post-mission. They head over, and rendevouz with Krstic’s team, again moving with inhuman silence and precision. They find the artifact trade site, and open fire on a large group of orks (apparently fleshforms) and a human mage (wearing a Europol AMMA jacket). They take them out and turn on Krstic’s team as the Kurds help spring the ambush. However, they seem to see it coming and it devolves into a hardfought battle. If they are shedim, they certainly prove their reputation as tough fighters. TY is heavily injured and bleeding out, and one of the Kurds is killed, but they prevail, get paid, and the Kurds leave with the artifact, promsing to keep it secure.
The team tries to stabilize and heal TY, with some success, and check out the AMMA guy- he is bleeding out, and they decide to leave him to die. They hook up with Giada and try to heal TY, who barely pulls through due more to luck than skill. They hole up in the safehouse, and wait for the next job to come along.