Harmony Craig Bottow
Ivan the Jackle
One Shot Wade
The team decides to burn the wendigo’s body, not being sure how else to halt its regeneration permanently. Since they are still in a wireless dead zone, they are unable to research further for now. The ghoul that K dropped on the fire previously has roasted fairly well by now, and the fire quickly begins to consume the large beast. The cave quickly begins filling with acrid black smoke and the stench of burning fur. HCB records this. Asp heals Lefty’s damage with supplies from his veterinary first aid kit. RH slumps over as his auto-injected drugs wear off, and appears heavily exhausted. Asp warns Ultraboy! that this is the danger of drugs, but UB! doesn’t seem to care what the “old man” says. In the back room, Ivan exits the lynx and examines the stack of boxes that UB! found.
There are six boxes, and as he lifts one from the stack to examine it, he notices a spray painted Olympus Prime logo on the side. He checks the other boxes, and they all bear the same mark. HCB and Ivan open two boxes, and find some leaves, mushroom caps, stems, ores, and such carefully packed inside. They ask K to identify them, and he verifies that they are unprocessed components of magical compounds, although he can’t specifically identify any of them. They intuit that this is probably at least some of Madame Gavral’s missing supply, as they had id’d one of the ghouls as her missing courier. Ivan and HCB begin piling up the boxes outside the cave entrance.
K checks out the area around the entrance, and discovers a few sets of tracks coming from one of the other nearby cave mouths. He assumes these were the ghouls that they just fought, and suggests they investigate, as they may find more supplies, and thus get more money. HCB, Ivan, and Asp initially disagree, although Ivan and HCB come around when Ramose-Hotep volunteers to go in first. Asp ignores them, and orders Lefty back to the car, forgetting that Lefty cannot travel thru the closed smuggler’s tunnel, lacking opposable thumbs to open the door. Asp calls Lefty back, and begins carrying the boxes they did find towards the tunnel, with the assistance of Ultraboy!.
Meanwhile, K astrally projects into the cave mouth, and travels a short ways in before seeing a water spirit ahead. It appears bound to it’s location, and doesn’t follow him back out. He tells the rest of the team, and Asp informs them that he can’t help them in the cave, as water spirits are especially offended by the terrible and unnatural scarring of his astral presence. The team decides to throw in a tear gas grenade, Ivan gives one to K, and he flings it right into the middle of the cave mouth. They hear a small explosion and gas pours out of the entrance. RH enters the cave, travels a short ways using ultrasound vision, and decides he needs to sleep immediately. He lays down, and is soon in a realm of dreams. HCB, after 30 seconds or so of silence, decides to follow RH in. He relies on thermo-graphic vision, and detects a large presence lying in wait-another terrible beast? Upon further inspection, it is only RH. HCB also decides to go to sleep, although he announces this intent over the subvocal mic.
K, hearing this, decides that something is up, and astrally enters the still gas-filled cave (all of the team members have been wearing gas masks/chemical seals). He once again encounters the water spirit. It launches an small orb of water at him as he near the auras of his sleeping companions-they appear to be under some sort of spell. K takes some damage from the orb, but then successfully suggests to the spirit that it leaves them alone. It does, but does not leave its position. K decides to pull out, and returns to his body. He then physically enters the cave to retrieve his still-unconscious teammates. He is struggling to figure out how exactly to wake them up, and decides to take off HCB’s mask to get a better look. HCB awakens in a coughing fit, but manages to overcome the toxins and get his mask back on with minimal injury. He then awakens RH in the same fashion, after trying to nudge him awake doesn’t work.
The three leave the cave, vowing never to tell anyone else what happened within. They tell the rest of the team that they encountered a spirit guard and decided not to go further, since there probably wasn’t anything there anyway. Everyone heads back to the tunnel with the lat of the boxes, and begins traveling thru. Halfway there, their wireless comes back on, much to Ivan’s relief. He begins checking the are with the car’s sensors, while RH opens the door at the opposite end. While holding it open, and looking out, he is slashed in the throat and head repeatedly by a clawed hand emerging from the cover of a nearby bush. He falls unconscious, although his armor prevents any serious damage. The door falls shut as he crumples. Ivan deploys the autocannon, blasts the bush, and calls out “clear” as a spray of blood and viscera covers a few square meters of the magical barrier nearby.
The team exits the tunnel, and enters the car, heading back to Heliopolis with RH’s cousin’s body in the (refrigerated) trunk. The drive is uneventful, and they once again pass thru a gate guarded by crocodile-headed men. They park, and upon RH’s suggestion, make for the temple of Hathor to receive some sexual healing, get a drink, and sit for a minute. Asp plays with Lefty in the street outside. Lacking money, most of the team settles in at the bar and orders drinks, but K gives the temple a 100 nuyen donation for an hour of one of the acolytes time. UB! decides not to, since Ivan doesn’t. K picks the most standard, unmodified human he can find. He spends the first ten minutes crying inconsolably over the loss of his legs, and then collects himself. He feels much better afterward-he has not been with a woman since then since the accident, and finds it less shameful than he initially feared.
HCB, Ivan, and UB! sit in the bar. Ivan opens a tab, and buys everyone drinks. He looks around for anyone interesting, and failing to find anyone, tells stories to UB! once again. Ivan really enjoys the attention. HCB convinces the bartender to broadcast some Crod Stompaz songs over the system, and holds forth on the undercity music scene. Eventually, K emerges, and they exit the bar to return to Mars City and get paid. Ivan tells Kano (the bartender) that UB! is picking up the tab, which he does, admiring how Ivan got him so good. Ivan receives a call from Wade, telling him that the heist job that he’s been planning with Ut is about ready. Ivan says the team will be back shortly.
Across town at the main temple of Thoth, RH has brought his cousin’s body in for the proper burial rites, and meets up with Thutmose. RH fills Thutmose in on the mission, the ghouls, and the possible involvement of Olympus Prime. Thutmose tells RH that OP has been making inroads in Heliopolis, since some of the schismatics are also against terraforming, as they believe it might destroy or obscure ancient relics and temples left behind by the gods in their flight. Thutmose believes that OP hasn’t been acting openly, but he has heard rumors of them recruiting on the sly, and presumes they are planning something big since they have been stealing and apparently hoarding magical supplies (unless they are selling them to unknown sources for funding, of course). Thutmose says he will investigate further, and that he will probably have some work for RH in the near future-Thutmose fears there may be traitors within Heliopolis.
RH returns to his quarters at the temple of Hathor, changes out of his armor into his everyday ceremonial clothing, and then exits thru the bar, encountering Asp and the rest of the team outside. They tell him they are headed back to city to take on a job from Ivan’s gang. RH says that he is going to stay in Heliopolis, as this is his home. Ivan convinces him to come with, since they will be attacking a heathen financial institution, which is the proper domain of Hathor, and also that the Black Shadows, whose money they will be taking, are totally evil. RH eventually agrees, and goes back to Thutmose to get approval. Thutmose agrees, after RH promises not to give Helipolis a bad name, and also to kick back a good portion of his earnings in the usual tithe. The team loads into the car and departs.
Upon arriving back in Mars City, they contact Madame Gavral and tell her they’ve got the stuff. They request she meet them in the undercity, but she refuses, saying she needs the wards around her shop to protect her from her enemies. They agree to meet her there, after she advances them enough on the payment to disguise the car. Ivan purchases morphin license plates and an ID spoofer from Tamany Clark’s chopshop, and Clark informs him that his oil slick sprayer is ready. Ivan, lacking the money currently, says he will return later. Clark offers to delay payment on the install labor for the mods until then as well. Ivan accepts.
Meanwhile, Asp and K take a cab to Gavral’s, where they discuss the job and wait for the rest of the team to arrive. HCB, UB!, and RH go to Slot, where HCB has Jerl meet them with some less obtrusive clothes for RH. Jerl brings a bondage suit that he wears onstage, and which is both too loose and too short for RH, as he is both tall and thin for a troll. He looks less obviously out of place, but still very odd. Ivan picks them up after his mods are finished, and they head for Gavral’s.
Upon arrival, Madame Gavral instructs the them to pull around back, and load in thru the alley entrance. They do so, and Gavral has an employee take over the storefront as she sorts and catalogues the haul. She says it appears to be most of her last shipment, and is very glad to have it. The team informs her of the courier’s fate and the scene at the farm, and she says she has heard some of that just recently from her contacts in Heliopolis. She says it is always a shame to lose a good employee, and that she will need to get some people out to Heliopolis to re-establish regular shipments. Ivan tells her a very crass rendition of their various encounters on the job, playing up the gore and violence. She seems impressed, and offers a little extra money for hazard pay, especially given that they survived an encounter with a wendigo, which she properly id’s for them. The team finds out that Scrounge already collected part of the pay for the job, and didn’t even help out. They get the rest of the money, less the advance, and depart.
Asp and UB! buy subvocal mics and micro-tranceivers to fit in with the rest of the team, and everyone refills their various supplies. They agree to meet up at Wade’s in a day and a half to get the job info for the heist. Asp has posted an ad offering to take in and care for any strays/unwanted pets/etc. that people encounter. He doesn’t get any immediate calls-lots of undercity residents rely on those same animals for free protein and calories. K begins researching some new spells to learn, now that his talismonger is resupplied. Ivan works on repairing the lynx. UB! buys a handheld trideo recorder and shoulder mount, so that he can record his future exploits to show to Ultraman. UB! is also looking for some explosives, but doesn’t have enough money to buy anything powerful right now.
HCB contacts Mikko Asparen and discusses leaving the corp life behind permanently. Mikko masks their call, and warns HCB that the corp won’t let him leave easily, as he has some of their tech and a lot of private knowledge, in his head. HCB ponders faking his own death, but then decides that he has a better idea: he will get arrested for something which will get him sent to the Deimos moon-prison. The corp might extract it’s tech, if they can, but they probably won’t kill him on Lonestar’s jurisdiction. He decides he will take the Mr Johnson from the Azzie drug raid up on his standing job offer to infiltrate the moon, and extract a certain person. The team hasn’t heard from Mr Johnson in a while, but HCB hopes the job is still available. He doesn’t inform the rest of the team yet, although he runs his plan by Remus and April, who both offer him slight encouragement, but don’t seem interested in going along.
The team then meets up at Wade’s the next day, and he and Ut fill them in on the job. Ut tells them that they hacked the hardrive that the team stole from Long Pig’s safe, and that it contained financial data, from which they were able to eventually reconstruct the money laundering set-up that the the Black Shadows use to route their income into respectable financial institutions. Ut tells the team that they had a lot of help hacking from a friend named Daedelus: initially Ut and Wade didn’t believe he was the team’s friend, and assumed it was a trap, but Daedelus knew all the proper watchwords and provided satisfactory proof, so they cut him in on the job.
Ut says: The money laundering operation works like this: the Black Shadows get deposits for their ransoms/extortions/etc. in one-time use secure accounts via matrix transfers. They also sometimes get payment in precious metals, information, and other mediums, but we’ll ignore those for now. They download the money from the matrix to secure credsticks via undercity banks. They then transfer the credsticks to an uppercity bookie, who launders the money through its gambling operation, and then transfers it back to secure credsticks, which are taken by armored truck to a private upper city bank and deposited, along with any non-money payments, in a safety deposit box. This leaves their funds less vulnerable to hacking, and covers their trail pretty well, if angry ex-victims or the cops or whoever go looking for the money.
The plan is to first hit the bookie’s. It’s in an mafia controlled area above the warehouse district, and is probably paying “protection” money, but since it’s not actually mob-ru (they’re more into BTL’s and the like), they probably won’t care too much if it gets hit. So the team needs to take over the bookie’s without alerting any external security or setting off any alarms, and then needs to get one or two guys ready, in uniform, to get on the armored truck with the day’s shipment of credsticks. Obviously, they can’t let the guys on the truck see anything irregular at the bookies, so they need to hit it pretty quietly and quickly-get in and out before anyone notices. They can’t hit the truck when it arrives since the area is too busy and populated-there’s a bunch of pawn shops, drug dens, and the like around. Daedelus is going to hack the wireless security link and any nearby cameras to keep scrutiny away from the bookies for the 10-minute window the team will have to take it over before the truck gets there.
Once they got some guys on the truck, the team is going to wait until it goes under a certain overpass on it’s route (Ut sends an ARO map to all the members), and the halt the truck and take it over. It’s a Spartan Armored Car, and should have two guards (probably trolls) in back, and 1 or 2 guys upfront. Their cars usually go wireless or in hidden mode to avoid hacking. Daedelus is going to be hacking cameras again, as well as diverting traffic via NavGrid to allow the team to operate unmolested. They need to take over the car with minimal damage, since they’ll need it to get into the bank.
Once they have the truck, they will get the uniforms off the guards and drive to the bank, arriving as close to on schedule as possible to avoid any unnecessary questions. They will park in the secure lot by the bank’s side/business entrance, and two or three guys (however many uniforms they can get) will go in with the shipment, and meet up with the bank manager. The bank will be using MAD and millimeter-wave scanners, so anybody with illegal cyber-mods, or anybody who relies on conventional weaponry, should probably not be in this group. There is also a separate entrance for preferred clients, with biometric scanners, if they can figure a way to get thru that. The team convinces Ut to go with them at this point, so this group will be made up of: Ut, Asp, and RH, since none of them have any cyberware.
Ut then explains that this team will need to temporarily or permanently disable the scanners, so the rest of the team can get in soon after without triggering the alarms. The first group will go down to the basement vault with the manager, and probably two bank guards. They will incapacitate the guards and manager once the vault is open, without setting off any alarms, and will then raid the BS deposit boxes, as well as one box whose contents Daedelus has requested as payment for its assistance (Wade, Ut, Asp, and RH are unaware of Daedelus’ nature-Ivan informs UB!). Meanwhile, the team upstairs will have gained control of the situation, by closing off the exits and pulling the tellers, guards, and any assistant managers away from their stations, which are surely equipped with alarms. The team upstairs could also collect loose credticks and various small valuables from any clients that are present. Daedelus says it can handle jamming wireless signals leaving the bank, but that the alarms also probably have hard-wired components, so it would be best if they didn’t go off at all.
If any alarms are triggered, but no specific information is sent out, the first responders will be a few cars of Lonestar street cops, who will ascertain the nature of the problem and call in backup as needed. They will arrive in about a minute, give or take a few seconds for variables. If somebody actually gets them some info, they will respond with appropriate force initially. If anything really heavy goes down, Daedelus might need to get out of there to cover his tracks, so that he can’t get traced back. Wade tells the team that collateral damage isn’t an issue on any part of this mission, as long as it doesn’t compromise the mission, and that the success of the mission is the most important thing.
The team briefly discusses their plan, and then heads out. RH purchases a cermaic knife from Wade. Asp leaves Lefty and his gear behind. Ivan steals a car, which HCB and UB! drive to the bridge ambush site and park. They remain there. The rest of the team goes to the bookies. Ut, having said he will meet them there, is giving an entrancing perfromance across the street, distracting the nearby pedestrians. RH almost gets sucked in, but pulls himself out of it. He goes around the side of the building after Ivan discovers what looks like a loading door there. They wait while Asp and K go in thru the front. There are two clerks behind thick glass, and two customers in the lobby. K suggests that one clerk go into the back room and open the loading door. He does so, as one of the customers starts hollering about “where’s my money!” “that guy jusy wandered off!” and so forth. Asp tries to talk him down unsuccessfully, and K eventually suggests he quiet down and relax, which he does.
The loading door opens, and RH lobs in a prepared neuro-stun grenade. The surprised looking clerk who opened the door drops, as does one of the guards inside. RH also takes a blast of the gas right in the face, but stays conscious. He runs into the room, ignoring a silenced shot from the guard’s pistol, and knifes the guard in the throat. Ivan enters and finishes him off with his silenced room sweeper. Out front, they hear some popping and thudding from the back room, and the remaining clerk grabs something under the counter and heads for the door, to the protests of the customers. K fries the clerk with a bolt which emerges seemingly from nowhere above his head. The clerk drops the sawed-off shotgun he was holding. Asp paralyzes one of the customers with a nerve strike, and then does the same to the other, who froze up during all this. Ivan tries to hack the camera system he finds in the back room, with no success, and then decides to just take the mono-filament chainsaw to it, and rips the devices up right good.
Asp ko’s the 2 paralyzed customers by repeatedly punching them in the head. K comes to the back room, while Asp watches the front door. K and RH find the secure boxes by the loading door, and RH rips the arms off one of the guards’ jackets to provide his disguise. K decides not to accompany RH in the truck, since they can’t find a big enough bag or box to hide him in. Ivan stacks all the bodies behind the counter out front. Asp tells him to hide the customer’s bodies too-Ivan executes them, and then hides with K behin the counter once the truck arrives. RH opens the loading door, one of the Spartan guards scans the secure boxes, and RH gets aboard. One of the guards mocks him for being so thin for a troll. There are, as expected, two troll guards and 1 human driver.
Once he’s in, Asp sends a comm message to HCB and UB! that they’re on their way, and phase 1 is complete. Ivan and K head for Ivan’s car, while Asp exits out the front-he signals Ut, whi wishes his audience goodbye, and then disappears in a cloud of smoke, quickly reappering next to Asp at the door, changed out of his performance clothes into his sneaking suit. He tells Asp to head for the car while he fuses the lock on the door. He then joins the team in the car, and they head for the truck ambush site.
RH prepares 2 more neuro-stun grandeas in his pockets, and plans that he will set them off once he feels the truck slowing, near where his ARO indicates the site is. UB! gets out and hides next to the stolen car, while HCB waits in the driver’s seat.
The rest of the team follows the armored car until they see the bridge coming up, and then pull up alongside. K suggests the driver (the windows are only partially tinted) pull over and get out under the overpass. As the truck approaches the overpass, it begins to slow, and RH sets off his grenades in the back. They quickly flash and RH and one of the guards slump unconscious in their seats, the other barely stays awake. He begins pounding on the wall separating the back from the cab, as he can’t see the intercom button in the smoke. The truck has stopped at this point, and the driver seems to be still planning to get out, when he sees UB! running towards him with a grenade launcher and snaps to his senses. He floors it, and peels out. Asp jumps out of Ivan’s cab and runs for the truck.
HCB decides to try to ram the truck with his stolen car, and accelerates a little too rapidly, zipping past the front of the truck and smashing into the pylon behind it. He escapes injury and doesn’t even go flying or anything due to the realtively low-speed impact, but the car is pretty trashed. Ivan cuts in front of the truck with his cab to try and slow it down, by aggressively cutting it off, and hoping it can’t just ram thru him too easily. Behind the truck, Asp sees the back door swing open, and a cloud of smoke pour out. He puts on an impressive burst of speed, and ends with a powerful leap, grabbing onto the rear bumper and beginning to follow suit. UB! attempts to imitate him, but misses by a few feet and falls flat on his face, bruising his body (and also his dignity) in the process. HCB runs after the truck, firing blindly, but does no damage.
The remaining troll guard tries to stomp on Asp’s hands, but seems woozy from the neuro-stun and misses. Asp is able to reach up and throw him off the truck while hauling himself up. The troll rolls and skids down the road, and is shortly unconscious. HCB walks up and executes him, and then begins stripping him of his uniform. From Ivan’s cab, K attempts to blast the driver with magical energies, but misses, and passes out from the mental drain of all his strenuous spellcasting. Ivan deploys the autocannon, and points it at the driver, while Asp, in the back, suggests over the now-visible intercom, that if the driver pulls over they they will let him go. The driver doesn’t believe him until Asp swears on his dead wife, and then he pulls over just short of the end of the overpass’ concealment.
Asp grabs the shotgun off the unconscious troll guard in the back, and heads out to where the driver is standing. UB! is holding him at gun- (grenade-?)point. Asp orders him to strip, and then paralyzes him while he is bent over taking off his uniform pants. It is very difficult to get his pants the rest of the way off, but they manage. Asp then ko’s the paralyzed driver, and tells the rest of the team that he will personally hurt them if they try to kill the driver, since he swore to let him go. Everyone thinks he’s a softie, but they also know he’s tough, so noone seems to wish to fuck with him. They now have two unconscious trolls in the back of the truck (on of whom is supposed to be entering the bank in the first wave), 3 uniforms (two of which are troll sized), and an unconscious mage. Fortunately, the truck is largely undamaged (aside from some denting on the front where it rammed Ivan’s car) and they are still on time, and seemingly unnoticed.
Next up: can they pull off phase 3?