Otters aka Roadkill
The Detective, while wandering around and checking in on the city and their contacts, has collected some intriguing new rumors to follow up on. The Keepers warn of strange animal attacks, with the animals all seen wearing some sort of collar. There is a new, well-resourced, fixer named Peregrine setting up operations Downtown. Food hoarding is becoming obvious and may lead to shortages. Blight gangs are running newly amok without Kong or ARES to restrain them. And there’s a hot new snack on the street- AttakPak! TD tracks some of these snacks down and eats half a bag, as well as doing their best to analyze them- they seem filling but not nutritious, perhaps useful but a little dangerous in these hungry times. They do some astral analysis and notice some dark magic on the half-full bag but fail to get further info.
They head back to the safehouse and link up with everyone else, who is recuperating from the FTD ambush, and they collectively debrief. CG offers to take a deeper astral look at TD post- summoning a new plant spirit, after Dig fails to get any useful info. Everyone patches themselves up as best they can and rests a bit while some calls with more job offers come in on the radio. Howell wants them to investigate some dragon rumors and also do some intel gathering at a gala, Grandmother Biyu wants them to acquire an abandoned bread truck and keep looking into mystery vans/TM kidnapping.
Biyu also asks for contact info for the Skins gang, having heard they took a beating during the FTD ambush. She seems excited about the prospect of them teaming up with the Triad to gain some further status/supply/protection in exchange for help moving product, food, etc through the DDB tunnels, avoiding some of the dangers present on the surface, with an increasingly stressed out populace becoming more and more agitated each day the Blackout drags on. Dig and the team agree and pass along the info, though they start to wonder if they may someday be too deep in the Triad’s pocket.
They finally search the Mage on the Hill’s duffel, and find a collapsed masked ward, which likely fell apart when he died. Inside, amidst various dingy changes of clothes and an empty book, they find another one of the Tarot Queens, and spend some time analyzing it and guessing what it might do. They also realize that they once again have all 4 fours in their possession, and after identifying the common “heart” imagery amongst them, manage to activate the set and change the cards into 4 vials. Otters drinks hers immediately and finds herself feeling very loyal to CG. CG then drinks his and feels very beneficent to himself.
Dig suggests that maybe this is some sort of “love potion” so both Dig and TD hold onto their doses for now, awaiting a better use. They rest, and the Golem bikes away, recharging their tech. The next day, after CG summons a new spirit to replace the ones he lost in the ambush, the spirit analyzes the AttakPak snacks and TD as well, and finds traces of Corruption magic on both. This rings a bell for CG, who remembers discussing a famine spirit with Cass Wandering Horse. The team also gets worried about possible connections to Taco Temple, since they still haven’t quite figured that one out.
With food feeling a bit urgent and the gala not for a few days yet, they decide to tackle the bread truck first. They do some recon passes (Otters in a VTOL and Dig as a bird), and find the truck parked directly behind a private school for mid-level corpo kids. It looks like it had pulled up the loading dock the night of the Blackout and then got abandoned. An incipient go-gang seems to have taken over the school lot for their own use, and the team ID’s them as the newly formed 696 Slayers, who seem to be made up of some riggers and some ex-Maulers.
They also seem to have some prisoners, and based on their human skin flag and their Reaver-style vehicle decorations and home-made weaponry, these guys look pretty dark and fucked up. But the truck seems intact so game on! They make a plan and head over once night falls, hoping some of the gang will be out raiding or whatever. Creep sneaks up while the van parks a ways back, but he spots one of the mystery vans cruising by on a side street, and weirder yet, gets a burst of wireless signal from it. He races back to the van and they give chase, with Dig and Morticia getting airborne to assist.
Through some skillful driving and excellent triangulation, Otters manages to track the van down, catching another wireless burst- however, as the team’s devices all ping back, the other van also notices them. They start blasting at each other while Otters gives chase. The other driver seems quite skilled and almost surely a rigger, but not quite as good as Otters. They manage to critically damage the other van and Creep attempts a boarding action but just misses and crashes to the road, which turns out to be good as the other van slows to a halt and then explodes.
The team van is badly damaged, but still functional, so they gather what intel they can from the scene (not much) and head back to the bread heist. Otters deploys the mules and creeps the van up into LOS, while Creep sneaks in again. He cuts into the bottom of the truck and confirms that there is A LOT of bread in there, and then guides Otters in to access the manual controls and get it in neutral, while he sets a grenade trap closer to the gangers. Dig summons a massive beast spirit to help push the truck and then flies over the gangers in the schools quad/field to try to distract them.
He finds them doing some gnarly torture under hot lights that they seems to be running off a poorly-maintained school generator, and uses mob mood to amp up their blood frenzy. After quartering two captives with their combo of electric and diesel vehicles (presumably also charged or filled off the gennie), half of them head out, leaving the other half of the gang on foot. It seems like in a Blackout even go-gangs have to make sacrifices.
Creep doubles back to help Otters after she gets halfway through figuring out manual controls and then gives up in frustration, and finishes the job. Otters sneaks back to the van under concealment from CG’s spirit as CG and TD sneak up to the van, CG steering while TD gets on the roof to act as lookout and support. Creep lubes up the initial push zone to help get it rolling and then manages to yank open the fence gate on the back of the lot, but this causes a lot of noise, and the remaining gangers respond.
The first batch of them to arrive set off the grenade trap and are all killed or badly injured, and the rest take cover while taking the occasional pot shot. Between the 2 mules pulling and the spirit pushing, they get it slowly moving, but CG is initially unable to get his spirit to use the movement power effectively, so Otters repositions the van and cuts down the remaining gangers with the turret, while Creep climbs atop the truck and also picks a few off. Unfortunately one of them seemed to be talking to someone on a big whip antennae radio, so they get worried there may be more coming.
They keep pushing as best they can and are struggling a bit until Otters brings the van in behind to help push, and CG finally gets his spirit to add some magical movement. Now they’re cruising- still very slow, but steady. Unfortunately, TD spots and smells a diesel smoke cloud and they hear some loud engine noises approaching. The leader of the gang, who Dig had ID’ed as one “Bloodripper” from his earlier surveillance, appears to have some cruel looking home-made spears he is preparing to throw. Otters fires on them, as does Creep, and they manage to take a few gangers out, crashing their bikes, but Bloodrippers nails Creep with a spear, near killing him.
TD frantically tries to save Creep’s life, managing to help stabilize him, while providing leadership for the team. CG is keeping the truck on the road, and Dig uses an illusion to distract the gangers, though Bloodripper doesn’t fall for it. Otters tags him with some fire from one of the mules, and Bloodripper takes out the van with another spear. Dig tries to catch the other gangers in a big spell, but it flops, and they are feeling pretty desperate. Otters manages to get the van safely stopped but is stuck inside, since CG can’t stop the truck if they want to get it to Biyu. They inevitably leave Otters behind, with her trying to get the mules in to defend herself as the gangers start cutting into the van with large diesel saws.
Dig, needing a hail mary, tells CG to prepare to shout as loud as he can to leave, and flies down as a bird and chucks his “love potion” at Bloodripper, scoring a direct hit. The gangers keep cutting into the van as CG tells them to go home. Amazingly, Bloodripper responds, calling off the goons and they all peel out back towards the school. Dig flies surveillance for a few hours while Otters patches the van up enough to be able to limp home, with the near invisible mules firing off occasional shoots over the heads of anyone who comes close.
CG and TD arrive out front of Biyu’s and CG slams the brakes for the first time, with TD having to grab the spear impaling Creep to keep from flying off the top. They also share the info they gathered about the mystery van. Biyu seems thrilled and says that she can deal with the bread and truck from here, and offers 3 payment options- they choose the highest nuyen value, though that won’t be immediately useful most places, in honor of Creep’s wishes, and then haul Creep back to the safehouse to try to patch him back up. It looks like he’ll have some permanent internal damage from this one. Otters slowly rolls in with the busted van shortly after, and everyone crashes after a long day.
They take the next day off to heal and patch up, and get gala details from Howell. They start planning outfits and who will attend vs who will be in support roles. They also get the latest news updates from Radio Free Detroit- it seems like they’re stuck here for now, with the UCAS declaring martial law and MET2000 locking down all city exits, but the Blackout Blitzes have continued to provide occasional supply drops, and Otters is thrilled to find that the Trading Post is still semi-operational, and gets yet another repair drone. With everything recharged and repaired, they get ready to party.