and Glenn Blandly
6Cyl converses a bit more with Fargus Sol about his knowledge of strange magics, and learns some new techniques for modifying spells. The team makes a fish/algae tank with a hidden compartment to hide the Bloodblade in in the van, and make a cool quickdraw sheath for it. Kinnie and 6 Cyl finally make a few grav grenades too, and Kinnie makes arrangements with the Ex-Corp Scientists to get some more (putting them in touch with Fargus Sol to get use from his experimental magic and Tarot knowledge). Jonny gets a reminder that the Maria Mercurial show that he scored a surprise ticket to is happening that night, and takes OE with him as his +1.
Jonny goes early to hang at the parking lot tailgate, and gets roped into performing with some session musicians he knows from around town. The thrill of the crowd overcomes him, and he reveals himself as Jonny Silver, playing his biggest hit “Gun of Chrome, Heart of Gold”. The crowd loves it but the team gets really worried about the exposure. 6C warns Jonny that there’s an update to the contract against him on Hidden Blades, and OE races over with the van and some weapons to try to intervene.
Some Fear the Dark activists, upset about Frumious (the infected sasquatch who just rejoined Shield Wall, the opening act) and his tolerance and unity message, attack the crowd gathered around Jonny by unleashing feral ghouls. OE starts shooting them while the FTD members return fire, and Jonny steers the crowd away. Jonny crowd surfs to the van, grabs the bloodblade, and charges the ferals. He slays them with OE’s help, and the FTD members flee. Jonny finds that the Bloodblade heals his wounds as he does damage with it and is quite excited. He stashed it back in the van and OE takes off with the weapons before the cops show.
Jonny is ushered inside by event security (members of a local gang collective called the Triples), who thank him for saving the crowd and seem excited to meet the legendary rebel rocker in person. He gets a meeting with Maria and Shield Wall, and they chat a bit. He resists the urge to do a guest solo during Shield Wall’s set, but can’t resist during Maria Mercurial’s. He goes out for 1 ballad, and then again during the encore, despite the team’s warnings, and is shot with a white phospohrous arrow, presumably by Toast. He is then shot again with a monofil arrow while flaming. He manages to give the crowd a last thumbs up as he flatlines and is dragged offstage.
Fortunately, they had a mage onsite who revives him, but not before news goes wide of what happened. Prot0 cuts him off the TacNet and wipes his comm, just in case. The ganger security says they can smuggle him out of town if he wants to fake his own death. He looks really bad since so much of his synthskin melted, so they leak pics of his “corpse” and say they’ll deal with the cops. Jonny agrees, and calls Blitz to arrange some travel and surgery. He decides to decamp via ship for EthioMalia to get some surgical reconstruction in a relatively corp-free zone.
He decides not to tell the team or the lawfirm, fully faking his death this time, and the team mourns him, especially OE who enters a deep depression over not making Jonny leave with him. Guy reports it into the law firm, and Madeline says she’ll try to track them down a new face, and has another weird runner with some useful powers to test out in the meantime. Meanwhile, Jonny wakes up in a secret compartment on a ship with a medic he paid to ride with him, and finds that he is taking a lot of damage every day upon waking up- the medic can’t detect a poison so assumes it it magical in nature- a curse from the Bloodblade?
However, 6 Cyl wakes up and finds he is no longer taking damage every morning, so it seems the curse transfers to new bearers when they first heal from it. He warns the others and they debate what to do with the blade. For now, they decide to go train some of the newer teammates in their favorite small unit tactics down near Fredericksburg near the merc encampments. Aylin skips out (already knowing the SUT’s) to visit her dad and catch up. They meet in LA and give each other updates- her dad has embarked on dangerous quests both on the physical plane and in the astral planes, and warns Aylin about the Brotherhood of Flesh. Aylin tells him about her infection, and funds his medical care and next expedition. He gives her the box that caused her mom to become possessed by a blood shade, and she agrees to take care of it in case something happens to him.
The rest of the team meets up with Holly Dazzle, a pixie mage, who makes a very split impression on the group. Aylin makes fast friends, and a demo of Holly’s pickpocketing skills pulls OE out of his slump a bit. Kinnie’s a bit more on the fence, and 6Cyl and Guy are pretty put off by Holly’s insistence on total honesty, including their constant use of surface level mind reading. The team insists on only consensual mind-reading, which Holly agrees to, but considers strange given their upbringing in the Fey Realms. But they seem potentially useful, especially once they demo their combat spell abilities. So they train together and head back to town a few days later to continue their investigations.
There, they meet up with a strange elf, Glenn Blandly, who is apparently a corp drone by day and a thrillkill runner by night. He has 2 sapphire daggers and seems stoked to get into it with the team. He also seems really slick and charismatic, so they agree to test both him and Holly out on some future runs and report back to Schmidt. They look into Bryson Church a bit more and make plans to seek him out and try to get the dagger. For now, they decide to look into Arlington and the shedim population there for STV and Patricia Loveland.
They head over and scout it out astrally and with drones, and get some good info- it seems like the Army Thaumaturgical Corps is keeping a large astral barrier up, but that some shedim are allowed in and out, seemingly only to go into the Blood Dust Barrens. The cemetery is also under surveillance by FedPol (likely at the behest of the Black Lodge), and by some scrappy teens (likely bug cult recruits). They spot a bunch of potential entrances around the cemetery for the tunnel system they’ve heard rumored exists below. They positively ID 3 of them, but decide not to go further for the moment, fearing the background count and the unknown.
They also meet up with Ben Maddox who seems ready to rock and roll against his new enemies, the shedim. They report in to Loveland first, who trades info with them, and reports that Prot0 identified the Black Lodge mole in the ASPS here so she can operate a bit more safely now. They hook her and Maddox up and Maddox seems stoked to have a task, protecting her. They then report to the law firm and get the approval to continue digging or move on to other tasks. Schmidt suggests some ways forward if they want to proceed, and suggests that what they saw confirms that the Feds are using the shedim to clear the Barrens of bugs/toxins, and that this suggests they have some kind of protection deal with DoD or the administration.
6Cyl initiates with the Catholics, aiming to gain access to the Vigilia Evangelica’s secrets since he’s cut himself off from the BL. He learns some techniques of mystical control and also tries to convince them to be more accepting of vamps, but him and Aylin both have weird ideas of how to do that, so it doesn’t go well. Radha Ran agrees to an interview with the vampire though, which Aylin is stoked about. Holly makes a better impression on the team through this run, proving their worth (though still being a total weirdo). Jonny’s final single is released, and the team mourns in their own ways.
Aylin talks to the Catholics, and they agree to allow her on campus barring any disturbing discoveries about her, but still seem suspicious of vampires overall. They are also circumspect about the radical nature of the Boston Diocese during Lockdown, seeming a bit more aligned with Rome. Holly prepares an epic turkey feast, funded by Guy, and buys everyone personalized gifts for Black Friday, trying to ingratiate with the team. They do some research and pay for some hacking on Evelyn North and the missing Malcolm West, and figure out that the best time to spot North would be during a lunch meeting the next monday, so they focus on West for now.
Guy upgrades Berto again, and starts teaching him some new abilities. The team does a pretty bad job of checking out West’s known address, and gets spotted by the same cop who they had to bribe before outside of the Black Wolf. They agree to pay him off again, but decide to try to set up a more regular contact relationship, after 6 Cyl suggests either doing that or killing him. STV approves, so they get bribe the cop and get some useful info about West, who apparently had also previously bribed the cop not to report it. After doing some further digging, it looks like West was murdered by thrill kill gangers in the True Roman street gang, who “randomly targeted” him after being inspired to by Derrick Stokes or another of Otto Stevens’ henchmen. His body was then grabbed by a loose shedim, and it seems the shedim did not know what they had (at least initially), as they get surveillance footage of the newly possessed West lurching around with his portal key dangling from a necklace.
Schmidt wants the key, and also wants West, or at least to know where he is and what he knows now, so the team is back on the job. Luckily, they’ve finally paid down their Boston debts so they should be making better money from here on.