The team, flush with their payday from Weathernight, decides to focus on making some connections and finding one or more safehouses. After debating for quite a while, they decide to go all in with Smoach and Myrryr, PPI, and call them up. They have a fruitful convo, and trade some info. First off, S&M tell them they got some initial results from the sample from the strange Underground critters the team encountered while stealing the dragon egg. These seem to be Petrophages, rare deep metaplanar beasts that transform their prey to stone before crushing and consuming them with their wide teeth. They prefer magically active targets, which explains why they focused on Chew Gum. S&M ask to send off the sample for further analysis, saying they have some contacts at a privately funded lab who can probably get more data. The team agrees, and Tabasco makes a quiet note to dig further: could this be Toast’s mysterious “ex-corp scientists” lab that he read so much about on the shadowboards?
Carol carefully warns S&M about the forthcoming bug threat, without providing specifics, and okays them to quietly warn their networks to keep an eye out four trouble. S&M seem surprised that based on Carol’s info, a wandering street preacher in the Blight seems to have predicted some portion of what’s coming. The team decides to track him down after finding safehouses. They get a rundown from the PPI’s on safehouses by style and district, and choose two: a climate-controlled garage unit in Windsor out near the airport, and a spot behind the Tin Can blues bar in Hamtramck. They rent the Windsor unit through the limited AI that runs the facility, and drive over to give it a quick once over. Dig plans to set up a ritual circle there.
They head to Hamtramck, and find the pink-bedecked dwarf fixer Zennia expecting them. She orders shots (seems like a hard party-er), and reveals that Myrryr is a pigeon shaman, who keeps some birds on the roof, along with some of Zennia’s. She says with all the sweeps ARES has been conducting and the difficulty of getting into town, there haven’t been a lot of runners needing her services of late, but the team agrees to talk business the next day after resting up. They put in their “build to suit” requests for the space, and for now just rent a double wide trailer in a fenced in lot out back of the bar, where Dig quickly passes out from Long Haul, having looked progressively more and more haggard.
They all luxuriously rest, and wake up the next day (absent Dig who is still passed out). Chew Gum wanders around Hamtramck, making contact with the People of the Book Joint Faith Burial Society, where he has to spend some social cred to get them to trust him as his magic looks pretty creepy at first. Once he explains that he can help with the Grave Binding ritual to allow them to bury their dead intact, instead of following ARES’ cremation requirements, they seem much more enthused, and he makes a few new friends there, as well as getting some further info on the area and the city.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team meets with Zennia over breakfast, a few of them getting rare real eggs from the barkeep, who makes them promise to keep quiet about the chickens he keeps on the roof- for tenants and trusted patrons only. Zennia fills them in on a few open contracts she has, but seems to be trying to stay out of the ARES infighting, perhaps correctly fearing the high lethality incumbent to those runs. They agree to look into her jobs if they get the opportunity, and head up to the Blight to track down the street preacher. Finding a local clinic and making a donation, they get some intel on a recent sighting, and manage to track the guy down near the toxic-smelling Black Creek.
He seems pretty out of it, but after they awkwardly pay him too much money, he shares his “thesis” with Carol (mad scrawlings on a variety of surfaces, in various directions and languages), and also delivers some worrying prophecy, predicting that something lies beneath them which will soon devour them all, and also reciting Hansu Prophecy 9 verbatim. So they aren’t sure how much of his “prophecy” is original, or where he’s getting it from, but eventually they ask one too many questions and he scarpers. Luckily he agreed to provide a piece of hair in case they need to track him down again, after they promise not to do “anything creepy” with it, as Tabasco has confirmed that though the man himself is not magical, there is something magical on or about him….
They head back to Hamtramck, and get a call on the way: Weathernight has another job! She fills them in on a DeeCee fixer who got mixed up in the ARES internal war and apparently fled town, headed for Detroit, just ahead of some assassins who took out her boss as well as the senator she had blackmailed. Weathernight expects this fixer, Sahara Jones, to arrive in town the next day, but doesn’t know via what means or where exactly, and explains that everyone wants her and what she might know: if the team can’t take her alive, they are to make sure she doesn’t survive for someone else to acquire.
The team spends a few hours researching the strange thesis they got from the street preacher, but it seems quite discordant and not overly useful, so they head to bed. Dig finally wakes up the next day, and the team fills him in. They seem very fixated on the thesis still, but Dig decides it’s the ravings of a madman, and that they should focus on the job, and gets the team on track. Chew Gum is still off on his wandering and helping the people adventure, so they proceed without him. After some research into the target and some recent political intrigue in DeeCee (including a threat to rescind the Business Recognition Accords as a power play against ARES’ extraterritoriality), they check the old team files, and find that some former members actually had some run-in’s with Sahara Jones when they were running in DeeCee.
Based on this, and some factional analysis, they determine that she is likely under Otto Hendricks’ sway, willingly or not, and is heading for his protection, which means she will likely be coming in under mafia protection, as they have a rep for safe people-moving (the local Mancino family doesn’t traffic, as a rule). From the docks, the quickest and easiest spot to stash her would be an ARES parazoological facility that Hendricks controls via his R&D department, so the team decides to head over and scope it out. Tabasco, deciding any tiger cage is as a good as another, also brings the rest of his mom’s ashes. He heads in to the public part of the zoo to scatter them, and does so successfully this time, though some excited kids quickly run through and kneel in them to get their faces right up on the plexi window into the enclosure.
Meanwhile, Dig has down a thought recognition spell with the image of Jones, and found 4 hitmen thinking about her in a “closed” nocturnal mammmals wing of the zoo with a good sightline to the parazoological facility dock. Tabasco and Creep prepare to sneak in and take out the hitmen, while Carol hangs back to pilot van and VTOL, and Creature and Dig (now in muscular dolphin form) wait underwater near the docks. They put in a call the CG that things are about to go down, ping their location, and wait for Jones to arrive….
CG rolls up to the parking lot on his bike and sidecar just as everything kicks off- the mafia smuggler boat is approaching the docks, and the kill team is setting up weapons in the closed exhibit. Creep and Tabasco sneak up on the snipers through some employee-access passages, but don’t quite get there in time to stop them taking out most of the mafiosos as they exit the boat. The snipers are prevented from taking out Jones by a large water spirit allied with the mafiosos. CG and Dig send their spirits to start attacking that spirit, while Tabasco and Creep fell 3 of the snipers with non-lethal rounds.
Dig, in dolphin form, keeps trying to sink the mafia boat to prevent escape but repeatedly fails, and it is sunk by some holes shot in it by the snipers. Creature takes out one of the 2 remaining mafiosos in water drake form, and Carol knocks the other one into the water with the VTOL, where Dig savages him with his huge dolphin muscles. Carol convinces Jones to climb into the VTOL over the speaker and zips her out of there, as CG goes over to deal with the sniper’s getaway van that Carol spotted in the parking lot. CG decides to skip the non-lethal option, and uses a terrifying combo if spirit powers and shotgun to befuddle the rigger inside and then silently blow his head off.
Tabasco and Creep exfil under fire as the sniper team wakes back up from stim patches etc, and begins rallying. However, with some slick driving from Carol and all the useful stealth features on the van they manage to get out of there without any further trouble. Creature and Dig leave via water, with Dig turning into a bird a little ways away to link up with the team, and Creature taking public transit back to the safehouse.