Kitten Caboodle aka Kit
While the team is busy hiring out tons of runners, a couple new ritualists roll into town. Chew Gum, a Necro Mage affiliated with the Tzuri Group’s Black Magic school, and Dig, a Beast Mage affiliated with Tzuri Group’s Red Magic school, have both found themselves in Seattle after ending or finishing their formal instruction. Dig has been having some prophetic dreams (a blood eclipse, an avalanche, and some underground cities) that have brought him here, while Chew Gum is seeking money, connections, artifacts and power, and heard Seattle was a good spot for all of it.
They link up, and get to know each other a bit. Both are very strange. Dig seems to be a homeless shapeshifter with some rock-skin SURGE qualities, while Chew Gum is a pot-bellied Ogre accompanied by some Necro spirits housed in a mass of rotten plant matter worn as a bandolier and a rotting possum. They get along just fine. Following up on some Tzuri Group leads, they decide to investigate some happenings in the Underground.
They bribe some Skraacha to watch CG’s bike (with sidecar for Possum and DIg, who is in dog form), and head down into the Umbra district from a Night of Rage memorial in a public park, which contains a secret entrance. They send some of their spirits off to search for signs of Green Magic, as they heard a fellow former student went rogue and may be down here. They eventually come across some Rooters members, who CG makes a good impression on, after convincing them that “his dog” isn’t laughing at them. Dig uses a mindlink spell to stay in communication with CG while in animal form.
The Rooters give them a bit of the lay of the land of politics and power struggles in the underground, and tell them the Green Mage they seek is a weirdo healer named Jaga, The Walking Witch. They follow the Rooters directions to bypass the main tourist/developed area, and cut around to the Ork Underground to the north. They pass through some construction zones that look to be SK and EVO sub-arcologies in the process of being built. Reaching the Ork Underground, they encounter Big V’s Monument, and eventually find their way to the Watering Hole, where CG once again overcomes his and Dig’s bizarre appearance by virtue of speaking Or’Zet (and being able to down Hurlg and Big D Hot Sauce with no trouble).
The barkeep uses an alchemical token to summon Jaga, and she walks in a few hours later. They converse, and she reports that she has been having her own versions of Dig’s dreams, seemingly filtered through her Green Magic perspective. They squabble a bit, as their fields usually do, but CG helps keep the peace. They agree to work together on some investigations, but Jaga makes clear that she won’t help them if they’re working against the “true” Underground at any point- take from above, not below and all. She also tells them about some other interesting locations to find (and avoid) down here. This includes the Ghoulberg area (good body disposal, but make sure you don’t get snagged too- helps to make some infected friends) and the toxie Druid cult harvesting the fatberg out in Redmond.
They also notice the barkeep gives her a human sized Hurlg mug, a rare sign of respect to a non-Trog in this establishment. She also seems to have replaced a former cyberarm with an animate plant matter arm, and has a small humanoid plant familiar of some sort that follows her. She seems to be kind of evenly somewhere between CG and Dig’s relative power levels. CG also makes contact via a bar terminal with Sung Yi, and info broker with the Choson Ring, one of the local Seoul’Pa’s, and proves his nationalist credentials sufficiently to get a test job: fuck with the Yak in a meaningful way and they will help him out and give him more work. He agrees.
They leave the bar and continue their investigations. They head to the Dwarf Underground, the ritziest area, to look into rumors of Menehune Dwarfs working some kind of excavation project. Sung Yi already tipped them that the Menehune are likely working on behalf of the Sea Dragon, so they tread carefully, plus they inevitably attract plenty of attention from the guards (Hard Corps mercs) who police the zone’s borders, and who insist on confirming magically that CG isn’t a shedim. They get in, but are under constant surveillance while there. They use their spirits to find the nearest large collection of excavating tools, and confirm that it is somewhere down under the bottom of the central elevator shaft of a new 10-story deep hotel.
The concierge confirms that the Penthouse suite (the lowest level, with a private elevator) has been indefinitely rented, and will not allow them access to any areas without renting a room, which they obviously can’t afford (the concierge has correctly assessed this). Dig checks it out astrally with his Watcher spirit, and finds a massive magical barrier blocking access to the bottom of the shaft, which also is laced with some impressive illusion spells to block sound and visual without being obvious about it. So it seems that whatever the Sea Dragon has the Menehune digging up/out/etc is down there, but will remain secret for now.
They head back to the surface and get a call from someone telling them that since they’ve been poking around, they might as well come have a chat. She invites them to her yacht, and suggests they head there immediately. Not having any better leads, they do, with CG riding atop Dig (in horse form) at an impressive pace through Downtown. This gets them noticed by any magically aware individuals watching, and they don’t do much better with subtlety at the docks, where they startle a man when Dig transforms back to man form, and then use a spirit to trip him into the water, where they watch while he drowns. Luckily for the man, some other boaters rescue him just in time, but CG and Dig are filmed and shamed on social media for standing by and doing nothing (though noone seems to realize they were also the cause).
They head aboard the yacht, and meet Eletheira Windtaker, correctly assessing that she is a Sea Dragon rep herself. She tells them (essentially) to stop poking their noses in, but suggests that the SD will reward them well and maybe share some info if they start working for her. They agree in principle, which seems sufficient for the time, and Eletheria gives them some contact info for some local runners she’s been using for a variety of jobs, who she suggests linking up with. For now, they head north to meet up with the Sisterhood of Ariadne and talk ritual magic, having a few forecastings they wish to attempt.
Meanwhile, the team has cleared up their jobs list quite a bit with subcontractors, and Kit has decided to retire from day to day running in order to focus on fixing and managing the Shadow Chapters. Aradia also takes her leave, in order to focus on her personal magical development as well as her investigations into Entropy circles and the Shades night club. Both promise to stay in touch with developments from those areas, but won’t be available on the regular for day to day runs. Aradia’s first stop is the Sisterhood of Ariadne, to do a ritual to learn about some of the assassins in town, where she encounters Chew Gum and Dig. They agree to help with the ritual, recognizing Aradia as one of the team they were supposed to seek out, and Aradia offers to connect them with the rest of the team for payment.
For payment to the Sisterhood, Aradia offers the mana plate photo of the door to Dis on the Moon, which Clara and the others eagerly accept. For all their grandmotherly vibes, their ritual chamber is quite nice and put together, and they decide first to focus on the legendary assassin Teachdaire, as the team decides to try to cooperate with the Moonlight Thorns to take him out. The ritual works, and tracks TD to a farm safehouse in Snohomish, but he has some kind of magical protection that cause about half the participants to forget ever having seen him (including the 3 runners). Luckily, Clara and the other team members, who were observing via TacNet, do remember, so not a total bust. But scary! He looked right at them as if aware of the ritual!
They also do some digging into some other assassins, and offer to help John Abernathy (as unpleasant as always) survive against the Wrecking Crew, a thrillkill explosives trio. They recommend a few bodyguards, and he chooses to hire Dynamic Solutions (“for the optics”), which proves useful, as the Executive Protection team does their job, engaging in a massive fire(/explosives) fight with the in disguise Wrecking Crew as they “sealed cracks” on the bridge to Council Island. The JTF and NAN military on either side of the bridge also got pulled in, but luckily due to some good planning from OrkCEO, civilian casualties were minimal and fatalities were limited to combatants. Unfortunately, the bridge was badly damaged and is closed for the time being, but Abernathy survived, ensuring his “leave” vote.
The team checks in with Romeo, who hassles them some more about doing Free Seattle jobs, as the referendum is flying by. They decide to do a twofer, and take Major Brenda Reed’s job with the goal of sabotaging her by feeding the info to Rahel Juric. Tabasco does his best negotiating since they don’t want to risk putting Carol on the call, and gets an OK promise of pay from Reed, to manufacture some blackmail on Carl Derrick, the weak-willed UCAS congressman, by taking advantage of his predilection for Bunraku parlors. Reed gives them his favorite in-town place, his schedule of visits, and his preferred type, and tells them to take it from there, so long as whatever they do is bad enough to give her permanent leverage for getting him “out of it.”
They do some recon, and get a good security head count and idea for the building exterior. Creep pays for a membership (after verifying his age) and does the same inside. Small building, lots of guards. They contact Las Muñecas to tip them to what’s going down and offer an opportunity to rescue the 6 “dolls” kept onsite. LM agrees. Dig uses magic to program the AIMAD, freaking everyone out, and leaving it so that Creep will just have to run the program. Creep buys some gamma-scopolamine, and heads back into the parlor, renting the room directly under the one Derrick always uses for the same amount of time as him.
Once the team observes Derrick arrive, Creep waits 15 minutes, then crawls down the dumbwaiter from his room and up the one into Derrick’s room, making good use of his linked camo skin and suit, and KO’s Derrick without any trouble. He runs the AIMAD on him a few times to make sure it sticks, and then heads back the same way he came, leaving before things get chaotic.
The rest of the plan springs into motion: without Kit present, the gloves are off! So Tabasco KO’s a Yak guard with an injection arrow, and Carol retrieves the arrows and breaks their neck, and then steps back out of the way as Derrick’s driver races towards the back door. Chew Gum causes him to have an accident, slamming into another Yak guard who rushes out back and going flying through the windshield. Tabasco and Creature KO these two as well, and Carol retrieves the arrow again.
Derrick comes running out back, screaming, with Yak on his heels, who start firing as he peels off in his car, abandoning his driver. The Yak try to grab the driver and head back in, but find the back door locked somehow. They send runners to other Yak bars in the same strip, but Chew Gum and Tabasco kill them both, and Carol splashes lube grenades in the alley to add to the chaos. Feeling that they’ve done enough, they exfiltrate, but Tabasco spots 7 stealthed VTOLs taking off from the brothel roof as they leave.
They report into Reed and send her the footage, and she seems satisfied and pays up, though she asks if it wasn’t a bit of overkill, though she doesn’t seem to mind. Not sure what she’s referring to, they check the news and find reports that an organized crime brothel went up in flames, with multiples bodies already recovered inside. Checking in with Las M, they hear that the rescue went well (all 6 dolls recovered and into hiding/recovery in their network), but that a local contractor was a it enthusiastic. They put together that Yoko Aruki was on the job, and is continuing her anti-Yakuza firebug style.
However, this also nicely fulfills Sung Yi’s request, so Chew Gum advances with the Seoul-Pa. They sell the info about Derrick, as well as the fact that Reed was behind it, to Rahel Juric, who also pays up, and then tell Annie that they did this, but don’t tell Romeo. They figure this is a good test of how he responds, in terms of getting a feel for him, and Annie overall approves the strategy. They also get her to negotiate a deal between the Yak and the Skraacha for ACHE smuggling once Shiawase takes over, on behalf of Shiawase Daigou, as the team is so unpopular with the Yak right now that they can’t possibly do it themselves.
They also hear the a Songbirds assassin named Oscen, a poisoner and thrown weapons expert, made a move on Margaret Telestrian (likely for not being a pure enough elf). Luckily, the Moonlight Thorns werewolf Saroosh was onsite, and saved Telestrian, but was killed in the process, though not before he also killed Oscen. Without Saroosh around to help though, what will happen with Teachdaire?!?!