goodbye to: Keg
guest appearances from: Aylin, Toast, April Halfwoman, Chessick Allens-Whitehill
The team takes some downtime as Aylin gets back to town with Patty C from linking up Arleesh with Mama and the Sea Dragon for some sort of “secret project.” They hire Carol and Keg as local guides and assistants, alongside Kit’s old Evo contact Leonid, a rigger who Kit thought had died in a test pilot crash. Leonid seems to have slipped into the shadows and is in Chicago looking for work for a bit. Fargus Sol has also hired the assassins Toast and April, and the face/hacker Chessick, who was already in Chicago, to round out the team. They decide to run a con on the Black Lodge to get them to bring the 3rd Book of 9 Gates to town, and then ambush them, but also expect a counter-ambush.
They use the artifact they found at the Foul One’s base as a lure, and carefully leak the intel that they possess it and are looking to trade for one of the books, hinting at cult connections. Chessick plays up how they really don’t know what they have and aren’t a real threat to try to minimize response. They get a call back shortly, and Chessick negotiates the trade and sets up a meet spot based on the team’s scouting. He and Leonid then retreat to a nearby bar to provide remote matrix and drone support for the mission. They team has chosen the former GI lab that Ares just raided to minimize any collateral damage or LoneStar interactions during this encounter, and Leonid helps April get in place with a sniper rifle above Spire Enterprises in their building’s unused floors.
Carol, Aylin and Keg are the ground team making the handoff, while Toast provides overwatch from a nearby roof. The Vigilia Evangelica is waiting nearby with the 3rd Book in a chopper with a mobile exorcism ritual set up insde, and Fargus Sol and other Arleesh operatives are also close-ish with the third book to trade back for the toxic artifact. The BL team arrives via invisible levitation, but Toast and April spot them setting up a trap as well and spring their ambush first. Unfortunately, 6Cylinder is present in his new vengeful spirit form, and quickly kills Toast before he is felled by April and Keg. However, he doesn’t disapparate, and Aylin notices he seems to be bound to his gun- she severs the connection with her whip, and he vanishes into the gun. She grabs it.
Meanwhile, in a chaotic gun and spell fight, the team manages to fell the Black Lodgers, with big assistance from an alchemically invisible April and quality drone support from Leonid, who also manages to snatch the Book the BL brought out from the middle of the fight. They finish them off, and strangely find that Toast’s body has vanished, leaving a hint of dragon mana vibe behind… They hightail it over to the Catholics, while Keg and April hop on a bike to swap artifacts with Fargus Sol, who is accompanied by a woman who is quite possibly Arleesh in human form. Avocado joins up to negotiate on behalf of Aylin, and convinces the Catholics to also include 6Cyl’s revolver in the ritual to try to free his spirit also.
The chopper takes off, hearing from Carol (on overwatch) that BL reinforcements, or some other hostile, are en route. April and Keg take out one of the reinforcements on their way back with the Book, and chuck it into the chopper, which starts heading out over the lake to ditch pursuers. Carol and Leonid manage to take out the second pursuer, though Tate’s clinic roof and top floor is badly damaged by a missile aimed at Carol that he has to jump off the building to avoid. In the chopper, the Catholic exorcist leads the ritual while the alchemist tries to stabilize the whole thing, with Patty C’s assistance.
Aylin reaches out and feels a brief moment of connection with 6C before a massive pressure wave blows out all the windows in the chopper and sends them into a spin. The pilot manages to right it and land them, and Aylin notices the revolver has exploded, but finds an intact grip to keep as a memento. Patty C explains that both Aylin and 6C are finally free from Tohu-Wa-Bohu but that, and 6C is fully gone. Aylin will not be able to bond with a regular mentor spirit again, but Mama has offered her patronage, it seems she is the Spirit of the City of Boston, and possible one of (if not the) only surviving Passions from the 4th World. Mama had explained to Patty C that Spirits of the City will likely be an early target for Horror corruption in the 6th World, much as Passions were in the 4th. This explains some of what the Foul One was potentially up to, helping shedim and using her strange artifact. More disturbing things to investigate…
Keg, having been badly wounded yet again on this mission, decides to take off with April, who finds him somewhat useful and very easy to manipulate, by promising him regular sex with a mostly robotic “hot” person and regular doses of Jazz. It seems sort of sad and weird but noone really tries to talk Keg out of it, as he is very gung-ho. The rest of the team rests up and spends some their payday. April also gets Carol a recommendation to join Brokerage X, finally, and he gets assigned an ex-runner using the street named 3Card as his handler there, and finds out about some of the strange investment opportunities they offer. Carol also convinces the team to give the intel they found about Toast to ARES, likely limiting Toast’s future usefulness to Saeder-Krupp significantly.
April, Aylin, and Patty C have also all been recruited into a new magical threat fighting, semi-formal organization called Grey Cell, which is the project that Arleesh has been putting together and recruiting backers for: they are getting various specialists on retainer to be able to respond to magical threats and oddities with more agility and speed as they arise, and these three all seem to have passed their test with this mission’s success and gained an invite, which they accept. Aylin and Patty C agree with the team to keep using Ahabitat when they are in town but to maintain secrecy norms and whatnot about it, and they will likely not be there much, but Patty C offers to try to help keep the Vault of Ages a little stocked up.