After receiving pay and recuperating from the Ghost Ship ordeal, Toff heads off to investigate the dragon leyline, and continue mapping its course and studying its effects on the local manasphere. Ro links back up with April O’Mally, to plan their assassination of the iteration of Thankyou in the QZ. April/Alice warns Ro that they will need to disable TY’s entire drone net in the QZ to avoid any chance of info leaking out anyway, and suggests hitting him before the Gilgamesh Initiative run- although he would be useful inside, he might also become more powerful with knowledge gained there. Ro agrees, and puts Chessick Allens-Whitehill and Jane to work surveilling TY and mapping out his drone net.
April/Alice also tells Ro that TY should have a small armored container (a box or pouch of some sort) on his person, and that A/A will need Ro to secure that item and deliver it to her, as payment for services rendered in helping them deal with this situation. Ro tries to feel out what it might be but A/A isn’t giving away any hints, but says she will destroy it once the job is done. She suggests they keep this particular part of the job just between them. She also seems to have vetted Ro through her info broker contact, Stanley Parable.
Next, Ro confers with Zoh Rothberg, who says she can spare a small contingent of NeoNET soldiers to help a bit, as well as deliver the explosives. They will provide a large shaped charge as well as a few point-and-shoot, non-guided portable launchers. She suggests not using drones/wireless tech at all due to the high risk of hacking from the CFD-infected tenants of the stadium. Ro also starts rounding up potential backup from the Ancients and Hellriders, to at least get some outriders and maybe some spell support.
Aemon, in charge for the moment, takes Toast and Senk vampire-hunting, having gotten the lowdown on some recent activities from some survivors of an attack that they locate in the Mama’s Boys medical facility in the Nub. They follow the route they are told, having promised to retrieve any survivors from the small community. At every branch, they enter smaller side tunnels, and there are less and less lights and other people around. They eventually find a pit full of feral ghouls, and jump in without investigating further. They are quickly swamped by hungry ghouls, and Senk detonates a frag at their feet, shredding the ghouls but also injuring themselves in the process. They find a gate that looks recently welded shut to keep the ghouls in, and cut through.
They wander for a bit, following some distant noises and an astral sense that Aemon occasionally picks up. They eventually enter a large cistern, and find themselves on some suspended walkways above some sort of storage tank. Senk launches a couple more grenades down before taking a look, and is horrified to see that she just shredded about a half dozen survivors from the community they sought, who seem to have been trapped down in the tank. A vampire emerges from the structure at the center of the walkways over the tank, and they get in a brutal fight. Toast is grabbed from behind by a second vamp that they hadn’t noticed, and Aemon is mentally compelled to chuck his rifle into the tank. He jumps after, and Toast throws himself and the vamp he’s grappling, over as well.
Senk tries to keep the top vamp distracted with grenades, while the other 2 finally kill the one in the pit (Aemon makes sure he stays dead with a wood bullet burst to the head). They take some carefully aimed shots and finally take down the top vamp just as Toff finally shows up, having talked to the same survivors when looking for the team. He finds a small vial of some sort of liquid while checking out the lair/nest in the structure, before the team gets in a firefight with some sentient ghouls who show up looking to see what all the commotion was about. Aemon briefly tries to talk to them but quickly gives up, feeling like he’s not getting anywhere. They manage to drop the ghouls, but are all pretty heavily injured. Aemon and Toast prepare to retreat, but Toff has become obsessed with the idea that there is a secret treasure room nearby, and he and Senk go looking, right up until an even more powerful vamp shows up and tells them that they WILL FEAR THE DARK!
They barely manage a retreat, with Senk blasting passages closed behind them and using smoke to block LOS. They finally reach the safety of the Nub, and promptly all pass out from stimpatch abuse. Time to celebrate a mission survived, if not well-done! Senk feels awful about violating her code of honor and seems a bit off. Mama’s Boys members come by to debrief with Aemon, who they’ve taken a shine to, and tell him that there’s been a lot of FTD activity lately, and they will help the team move about in their areas if they keep helping them clear out vamps on occasion. They also say a lot of vamp nests are feeding leftovers to ghouls to boost their numbers, and they ID the vial as “Renfield”, a blood-based drug that the vamps use to reward/addict their most loyal non-infected followers.
They heal up for a few days before being contacted by a bodyguard named Barzhin, who reaches out to Toast through Neutral Ground. As they’ve both taken the contract to protect Mayor Meghan Rylan, they decide to coordinate. Apparently the Mayor’s community in City Hall has come under prolonged siege from a sniper, and Barzhin has been unable to keep casualties down as he’s focussed on protecting the Mayor. Some people have taken their chances braving the streets (and the mobs of infected there), but many of them have been cut down by sniper fire. Barzhin provides a HUD overlay with the shooter’s most recent positions, and the team heads over via underground tunnels. They choose to use an exit inside a nearby building, to avoid exposing themselves without recon.
Disturbingly Aemon, while healing, was visited by a manifestation of the powerful vamp they ran away from in the cistern, and Toff (who has been keeping an eye on him astrally since) spots the vamp lurking in astral space as they emerge into downtown. Given that the vamp seems very powerful, and has what looks like a bound, high-force spirit of man with him, Toff declares astral recon off limits for the time being. The team manages to infiltrate to the first known sniper position (Aemon only sets off a single trap), and thinks they lucked out and found Peregruzka, but it turns out to be a trap: some hapless man in a tattered suit was taped and glued into place with a rifle, and rigged with explosives. Toast and Aemon are injured when they fire on him unsuspectingly and detonate the charge.
The team comes under fire from other positions that Barzhin has marked, and start returning fire, while the vamps spirit of man uses its “accident” power to fuck with them a bit. Every time they get a solid hit on the other “snipers”, they explode. Also Barzhin calls and tells them that there have been a few very recent deaths and missing people inside, and is worried Peregruzka is making an approach. He pulls everyone back to a central conference room, and narrowly avoids a monowire trap in a hallway while scouting the area.The team starts rushing for the building, using some flashbangs as cover to draw off the mobs of infected outside. Peregruzka seems to have set up a previously unused position in City Hall, however, and manages to ko Toast on the approach. Aemon and Senk reach the building and grapple gun up as Toff (having invisibly snuck up himself) distracts the Assassin.
Barzhin rushes to join in as first Toff, and then Aemon are ko’d by Peregruzka’s monofil whip. Senk and Barzhin finally bring him down with a sniper assist from Ro, but the room is totally in flames, so they have to bail quickly (which luckily saves them from Peregruzka’s cranial bomb detonating as well). Ro leaps down 6 stories, almost dying in the process, to save Toast from some approaching infected, and hightails it for City Hall. Once inside, they meet the Mayor, and she provides her thanks. She also calls in a favor, and after a while Damon himself shows up, and casts a powerful ritual healing spell. Toff compliments him on the Leyline, and Damon accepts though without giving much away. Toff is overwhelmed with the power of his aura, and gets a contact up in Salem: a witch named Aleesa. He plans to head there to follow up on the Salem Exposed! file and initiate with the Dragon Church.
Damon takes Ro’s number, in case he needs some runners, expresses an interest in ridding the city of Shedim, and apologizes to the Mayor for not being able to make it by sooner, before jumping out the window onto a waiting motorcycle, which had just pulled up. Aemon, so not the coolest guy in the room, dashes off to a bathroom and changes into his Damon-imitation outfit, until one of the Mayor’s staffers pulls him aside and tells him it’s a major faux-pas, as a serial killer posing as Damon has been targeting people in the city’s clubs (though not any Damon owns…). Aemon changes back, and they escort the Mayor and her surviving entourage back to the Nub, where they seem to be trying to rally people behind her, causing some friction with Mama’s Boys. The Mayor is very subtle and smooth about the whole thing, but some of her aides are less so.
Ro checks in with Chessick and Jane, and gets the update on TY’s movements, and confirms with Zoh that they are on for the Fenway mission next. The team starts gearing up, and securing allies. First up: bringing in a melee/face named Aomame 2-Chrome who comes recommended by the weapons dealer/fixer Ango Tyrell. Aemon tells Mama’s Boys he’ll come back and hunt more vamps soon, and they say his team is welcome to keep using the tunnels as long as they do so.