Kitten Caboodle aka Kit
and introducing: ThinkTank
The team takes a look at work offers: a job from Maggie, a job from Sid, and this pile of Tarot cards, including the 4 6’s that they completed with Keg’s contribution and the card they recovered from the Foul One’s swamp tent. They decide to focus on the Tarot first, and spend some time analyzing the 6’s, finding clues that hint to a lost treasure. Doing some research on old terminals that Lycus has collected, and some matrix research on JackPoint and DealerNet, and calling in some favors from Ryder and others, they put together the rough outline. A bee shaman kidnapped a woman in St Louis and came to Chicago just before the lockdown. The woman managed to break free and apparently his car was towed, which seems to contain his treasure, likely a large quantity of royal jelly that the shaman would have used to make the woman a new host for Bee Queen.
There are no further records, but piecing together everything they found out from the cards and the research, they think they know where it wound up, info that noone else likely has had access to. Apparently a bug cult known as Harrow’s Hive is also after the treasure, having put out some feelers about it over the years. The team has a lengthy debate and series of votes about what to do with this info, as well as what to do with the cards themselves, which will likely be useful in some sort of ritual, which may or may not be connected.
They end up deciding to recruit ARES to help retrieve the jelly, and sell it to them, in exchange for ARES agreeing to wipe out Harrow’s Hive. Carol calls Dr. Ellis, who is creepily excited about this prospect. The team worries they may have made a mistake not getting this to Arleesh, but Carol argues that at least ARES will use it to fight bugs, even if their methods are creepy, and anyway it’s too late to change the plan now. Avocado also reaches out to the Ebon Queen, through Dan the Formorian safehouse master, to try to find out about the ritual. She contacts Hotkey in a dream and tells him that it will allow for magical shapeshifting for a limited duration for up to 12 participants, but only to a limited set of appearances.
Another debate ensues, partially because one of the potential appearances is that of Hansu Mitoritsu, the famed prophecist, which Avocado worries could be used to sow dangerous chaos. So, at TT’s suggestion, they sell the set to a group of assassin’s with moral codes who he knows. He compiles a group of 12 to offer the buy in to, without being overly specific, and gets 7 takers. So the team gets 2 decent paydays! They then head out to get the jelly and hope not to get swarmed by bugs til they can make the handoff to ARES.
They find it right where it should be- it seems a quickened, masked illusion spell has kept it concealed all these years as the other cars around it in the impound were stolen, broken up for parts, or wrecked. TT pops the trunk open and they find a massive jar of opalescent jelly. Carol, with his enhanced smell ability, almost succumbs to temptation and eats some, but the rest of the team stop him. They race out of the lot as they hear fluttering wings incoming, and rendezvous with ARES choppers who blast the bugs (and the neighborhood) with FAB III and conventional weaponry.
Ellis emerges in some ill-fitting combat armor, and trades payment for the jelly, once again seemingly disturbingly excited to have it. Carol calls Candice to warn her that Ellis may be trending bug-ward, and Candice tells him not to worry about, as Ellis is “well in hand.” She also hints about something called “Operation Latvian Gambit” but clams up when she realizes that Carol hasn’t been read in yet. The team also decides to do a little good, and gives the Matrix card, with an explanation of it’s use, to Sam, so she can have at least a temporary return of her lost TM powers, and close up any unfinished business in the Resonance. She is very touched and thrilled to be properly reunited with Remo, overcoming her initial suspicions that this is some kind of cruel joke. Ryder and Remo are both also grateful.
The team then decides to accept Sid’s job, for some industrial sabotage, and heads to the Navy Pier, in Union turf, to meet with him and the Johnson. The Johnson turns out to be none other than Wingman, the head of Spire Enterprises, and TT bonds with him over some shared war stories. They accept his job to sabotage a shipping/smuggling competitor who is trying to move in on his turf, by stealing or destroying a shipment of medical supplies from a company that usually uses Spire, but instead went with the competitor this time. The team explains they won’t pollute the lake, not wanting to anger the Sea Dragon, and Wingman says their methods are up to them so long as the shipment doesn’t reach it’s destination.
They head out to start researching. They also formally invite TT into the team, intro him to the safehouses, and also the group norms, which Creature quietly reads in the background, since noone ever actually told xyr that they were a thing before. They drive down to Calumet Harbor to do some initial digging, but after surveilling the place it seems a little tricky to gain access to the Simurgh Freight offices, and with Hotkey having his new Agent loaded up, he’s feeling cocky and just does the whole investigation himself with a slick hack. He gets the boat name, route, and crew manifest (including security), just before a demiGOD shows up and he bails. Kit races away from the area as some sec drones start circling.
Reviewing what they found, they make a plan, and decide to recruit some allies and gear up. Becky 99 reaches out and tells them she heard about the gig (Avo confirms this was her putting 2 and 2 together after getting minimal details from an over-excited Sid, but still…). She wants them to save the four containers and bring them to her, as they contain medical supplies which can be put to good use in Zone communities. Avo checks with the Sea Dragon’s local rep, Mako, about this being ok to do on the water, which Mako seems to view as an approval they definitely needed to get, but does give the go ahead, telling them to send at least one container from the ship to the lake floor as an offering. They also recruit Big Meat and spirit assistance from Ryujin in exchange for one of the containers of medical supplies.
Feeling like they have the beginnings of a plan, they add some tow capability to the sub, and also buy a powered sled with a tow hook and a bunch of diving gear. They arrange for the Desolation Angels to meet them at Goober’s docks to accept their goods, and get some rest before heading out to intercept the ship. Creature is in the VTOL, aiming to alpha strike the enemy sniper, hoping noone else will be on deck due to the gnarly storm that has blown in. Xe gets dropped stealthily basically right on the sniper, and manages to poison them with a paralytic and also uses xyr spider silk gland to pin their hands until it kicks in. Unfortunately, xe comes under attack from a spirit of air, and can’t get the rest of the team aboard, so onto plan B for that.
Kit surfaces the sled and ThinkTank chucks the winch hook up to the deck, allowing Avo to quickly slither up it and hide, as TT follows with Kit on his back. HK, meanwhile, is busily bricking devices left and right in an all-out matrix assault with Kit’s assistance. They manage to cut the sniper’s comms early, and then also take out the rigger just before HK is hit by lightning (twice!) and nearly killed. Kit manages to finish off the decker with their new Monad Cloud abilities, and then sneaks over the crane and starts throwing cargo around. Avo and TT manage to take out the 2 close combat specialists who come to repel boarders without killing either, before Avo is chased off by the spirit, who has also dumped Creature over the side. Avo takes some bad astral damage, and then TT tangles with the spirit to keep it distracted from Kit. TT also gets chucked off the side, but Kit finishes up with the crane and dives into the water, rigging the sub remotely to grab their sinking body, as they can’t swim.
Everyone else manages to link back up and get aboard the various vessels, and with the help of Big Meat, the water spirit, and Creature, TT and Avo all being quite strong, and Kit quite good at rigging, manage to send one spare container to the bottom for the Sea Dragon and capture the other 4. Big Meat takes one back for the merrow as promised, and the water spirit helps them get the other 3 to the Deso Angels, keeping the storm from causing much trouble. Mission accomplished, they get paid by Becky and Sid (after his cut), and boost their rep with them as well as with Wingman. They head back to the safehouses to rest up and get ready for Maggie’s job next.