Landing in Cape Town, the team unloads their motorcycles from the plane and confirms that their bounty on Neutral Ground has increased again. Toast also determines that the cybersoliders coming after them in Egypt were likely Chimera, given the Russian connection. The team also finds out that Azania is a power base for Universal Omnitech, and hope that their old adversary Thomas Roxborough isn’t also after them. They get the Jackpoint lowdown on the scene in town, and find a secure hotel to stay in, as well as a secure lockup to stash their bikes. Frosty Jane quickly has to leave with the blimp aboard the plane, as The Black Lodge has begun targeting her. Speed Tanaka gets the chopper airborne and will be nearby for extraction. They upgrade it with some further protections and weapons systems.
The team scouts the museum in the 3 realms, and finds that a contingent of Heavenherds with either paracritters or bonded spirits is on patrol on the outside and inside of the building, while work crew finished preparing for the opening gala in three days time. Fentin hacks the architects office and steals the building plans, finding that local sewers were re-routed to make space for a large vault dead center in the museum basement- this seems like the likely target. Exterior security seems primarily drone and device focussed, but with the astral overwatch from the HH’s, the team decide to split up again, and use a distraction up-top while a small team infiltrates from below.
Doing some research, they find that much of the local criminal underworld has power bases in the sewers, as the aboveground area of downtown is heavily patrolled by merc’s paid for by the national government, and occasionally backed by shamans and Lion shapeshifters provided by Mujaji, the “Rain Queen” and great dragon who lairs on nearby Table Mountain, and oversees the city. Chem tries to make contact with the local underworld, but ends up paying to almost get Toast killed in a monofil sewer entrance trap, seemingly set by a local ghoul 162’s affiliate with Fear the Dark ties. They decide to try again, and Fentin and Toff manage to make contact with a man named Elmo Van Antwerpen, a face for the extortionist Numbers Gang.
They make a deal with Elmo to clear the rebuilt sewers under the museum of whatever kind of terrible beast has taken up residence there (maybe a sec measure?), in exchange for access to the area for 2 days in a row. They head in, and get into a major brawl with a pack of fenrir wolves and the mama wolf, which seems to be a CFD-infected fenrir with a cyberwerewolf in it’s brain. They slay them, but Toff and Toast pulse themselves after coming into contact with some fluids while harvesting reagents and noticing the CFD possibility. They report back to Elmo, and get approval to return the next day for the heist, after scouting the site and making the plan. Toff will shape materials out of the way while also sustaining a silent bubble, allowing him to remove the hardened concrete under the vault as Chem chainsaws through the reinforced rebar. Love will be in charge of dealing with the in-vault security, with Chem and Toff as backup, which Toff confirms is 2 more HH’s using clairvoyance.
He also sees that much of the vault is taken up by a large pryamid covered in astrological symbols and runes, reminiscent of the sextant of worlds, and sees that the missing top of the pyramid is kept in a nearby safe. They get Jane to send the sextant, and she warns them of its curse. Meanwhile, Fentin and Toast buy a cheapish sniper rilfe and a semi-intelligent firing platform for it. They hide it in a parking garage with a line of sight to the museum, and plan to use its un-suppressed firing as a cover for their own sniper attacks from a different roof across the street. Gethin also sets up nearby with the last missile, in case a bigger distraction is needed. Feeling ready, Love summons a spirit, and they get to work. Lacking wireless in the sewers, they’ve had to set a timer to agree on a “go” time. Fentin will also hack to try to prevent interior alarms in the vault while the sewer team gains access.
They plan to use non-lethal means where possible, to avoid making new enemies of the HH’s, who they don’t know much about (though apparently they have some beef with Mujaji). Toff gets a bit of an underwhelming result on his shape materials spell, so the sewer team ends up a bit behind schedule in gaining access to the vault, but Fentin completes his hacking in time and disables the seismic alarms, before he and Toast begin sniping exterior guards, quickly ko-ing the 2 they can see. However, the guards bonded spirit companions spot them in their hiding place and come after them- they seem to be using some sort of “eyes of the pack” magical tacnet. As a flaming hound races towards them and a large hawk divebombs them, they dig in, and get the second gun firing at the final exterior guard, as museum employees, techs, and locals on the street scatter. The merc security units can’t be far away….
The team inside gains access to the vault with no alarms, and ko’s the 2 HH guards with great haste. Toff reads one of their minds and gets the combo for the safe while Chem bypasses the biometric maglock and Love’s spirit bars the door. They the pyramidion out of the safe, and find it laced with electrum, a rare alchemical ingredient. After Toff spends some time carefully examining both the pyramid and the capstone, Love and Chem carefully position it atop the pyramid and drop it in place. Sadly, they are a little less than fully careful, and set off a lightning trap, which kills the 2 ko’ed guards, ruining their non-lethal run, and also heavily injures all 3 of them. They manage to make a quick escape with Toff sealing up the top bit of their tunnel with concrete to confuse pursuit for a time. They egress through the sewers and safely get back to NG territory.
Meanwhile, things go sideways for the team aboveground- they manage to take out the animal-form spirits, but they spotted Gethin while they were trying to escape, and the responding merc sec forces home in on them. Gethin responds by shooting down the merc’s chopper with the last smart missile, while more mercs pull up into the area in APC’s. Toast gets spotted by one of the APC’s, and the team gets in a desperate firefight, barely besting the 4 mercs, and heading for their bikes.
Fentin and Gethin manage to sneak off to the fallback point and escape on motorcycle, but Toast gets spotted by a drone on his bike, and gets the bike shot out from under him. He hides in a trash pile in the nearby alley, while the rest of the team meets up at a public park to get in the chopper, and calls in a favor with the Exchange to help Toast. A trash spirit shows up and conceals him while merc and drone patrols search the area. He passes out for awhile, and finally wakes up and manages to sneak back to the hotel and meet up with the team. They confer with Jane briefly, and she tells them that the BL has her on the run for the moment, so they will have to hold onto the Orb and the Sextant for now.
Toff volunteers to stay in the hotel room with the artifacts while the rest of the team heads to a meet with a Saeder-Krupp Johnson using the Hans Brackhaus name, after getting a referral from Simon Andrews. They hope to get some decent-paying work somewhere in the region and get out of Cape Town post haste, while Jane locates the next cache.