and introducing: Six Cylinder
The team continues investigations for the law firm, contacting Sahara Jones to find out why she fed false info about bug hives to ARES. They help her get blackmail dirt to sway votes her Rep’s way, and then learn that she was magically compelled to do so. It traces back to shedim, and also tips them off to a possible BL hangout: the Black Wolf bar. They get Jones some Grey Mana clothes to protect her from future spells and she gives them a Tarot card in thanks.
Prot0 uploads all his info on the Null Sect and the Tan Robes to the Endless Archive, in exchange for info on both groups and some other stuff. However, the Archive comes under attack from the Null (though they don’t seem able to enter, it is now quite dangerous to access), and the Conservatory is crashed, and one of it’s founders killed. In light of this and the situation in Denver, Perri tells Prot0 he needs to find a new host, so he reaches out to Garmonbozia, and they agree in exchange for some tasks. Prot0 also joins Ta Makrinia through Leanna Octave of the Probe, and tells GB that TM would be easy to manipulate as they seek hidden God AI’s.
Next up, they finally find Patricia Loveland, and trade a ton of shedim info for promising help determine who the BL has infiltrated into the local ASPS. Based on her info, it seems like master shedim are gathering in DC much the same as Bug hives: worrying. They learn about the different types of shedim, and also the 3 main shedim locales in town: the Stoked Hearth club, Downtown, and Arlington Cemetery. They are also paying to amass “body stashes” around town. Zenith is hiring for these jobs, so the team warns him about shedim but he seems non-plussed.
Prot0 spits off to deal with Null-destroyed Conservatory, and gives the last doses of the CFD cure to the local Exchange to fight off the CFD-infected faction. It seems like the Exchange may have sicc’ed the Turing Army of some of the hardcases, as new that the TA took out an Exchange safehouse outside Hamburg and killed ThankYou starts circulating. Prot0 begins rebuilding the Conservatory in Garmonbozia, and starts making some interesting contacts there. He continues doing data jobs for the law firm as well, saving up for the run against the Wuxing Frequency factory in Canton.
The team stakes out the Black Wolf, accompanied by a Rogue Lodge member named 6 Cylinder, who seems like kind of a noob but the lawfirm wants the team to test him out. He seems bummed about having killed someone who challenged him in a gunfight earlier in the day. They do some magical observation, but get chased of by a crooked FedPol officer, who insists on a bribe. They then grab Johnny, after he meets with Cass Wandering Horse, and updates him on the Crying Masks situation. He says he’ll reach out to some folks and try to find out more about the Tan Robes for Jonny.
They do a better job infiltrating socially into the Black Wolf with Jonny along, and make contact with the bartender, a neo-Anarchist named Old Crow who is running his own investigation. They agree to share info, and learn that the enclosed side alley has a convergence of leylines and quarter-moon gatherings of BL members. They share lists of known BL members, and Old Crow says he’ll keep an eye out for the ones they’re looking for. They also get a lot of security info about the bar itself.
The team decides to fake an assassination order from 6C’s BL handler, and give the guy to the law firm, hoping he’ll provide some good info on the BL and the Black Wolf if they save his life. They set up a quality fake hit, with fake DocWagon gear, Slab, and everything. They pull it off, but notice Toast lurking nearby- seemingly Mr. Woods is worried about 6C’s wavering loyalty, though he seems to believe that he’s in the fold for now, and rewards him with a book of the secret history of the connections between BL and the Catholic Church.
Since OE has been training to fight spirits with the Catholics at Georgetown, this puts them a bit at odds, as 6C is very curious about their secrets and lies after reading the book, and seems worryingly interested in staying in touch with the BL to gain further knowledge. The law firm tells them to come in for a debrief with Gabriel Ives, the man they saved, when they have a chance. However, they’ve acquired a bunch of Tarot cards – 1 gifted to Prot0 after a Fractal rave with Garmonbozia members (also the Conservatory is finally back online), 2 from Cass Wandering Horse, related to the FBI task force looking into Group X (the team also gets some info), and they hear that there’s one more in possession of a Bright Star member in Anacostia, which will complete their crystal blade set.
They head out, and use their good Neo-A rep and connections with Ratched to get the card from a suave french elf named Midnight, who charms Jonny. Guy finds out about the artifact watch that Ratched inherited from Adelbern also, and tells Prot0 and Jonny, against Ratched’s wishes. Jonny uses his old ID and rep to pull one more expended card projector from the IOND in Denver, commiserating with Darien Black about PPJ. Using his old ID in this way makes him want to do more Jonny Silver stuff again. They head back to the safehouse and assemble the crystal blade set, summoning the Crystal Bloodblade. They all buy swords and Guy pays from some classes to learn to use them. They also mod the boat to have a smuggling compartment, and help STV extract the 2 surviving members of FBI task force 154 after 2 are killed by Group X.
They also call into Neon Ascension again, as one of the hosts got really into Tarot stuff, and is in hiding. They ask for info and provide a contact dropbox. The 2 hosts they talk to are killed shortly thereafter, but they get a buncha Tarot info from the surviving host, and find out that the Headhunters have a Tarot expert in their custody (if he’s still alive) and get another Tarot card hinting at his survival, when 6C gets a contract to recover or kill him from Mr. Woods. They make contact with Rifleman/Bravo Company and give them the tip about the expert, and he says they’ll look for him with 6C’s info and report back.
Aylin realizes the monolith/stone in the corner of 1 card looks suspiciously similar to the chunk of the Cornerstone that they helped Adelbern steal in Boston, and wonders if the other pictures depict other chunks or something else. Based on Fargus Sol also being depicted on the card, Aylin tips off Rifleman that Sol was likely in Boston recently, is now, or will be soon, to give him a lead where to seek the Headhunters. The team trains and experiments with the Bloodblade a bit, but doesn’t manage to figure out how it works, though it seems like a quality sword.
They decide to investigate the Telestrian card in order to potentially leverage some info about the Compensation Army, and end up preventing Alyse Depore from getting assassinated, unfortunately Aster Telestrian gets a bolt through the head from the troll assassin, 6Cyl manages to take out his getaway driver but he escapes. They Debrief Alyse, who seems not too bummed to be free of the abusive Aster, and gives them a little info, as well as another tarot card. She also calls in a chopper ride from Cara Villiers, and tells them that Cara will do them a favor sometime in thanks. Guy tries to make a friend, but Alyse leaves shortly for Seattle (though she seems to like Berto, after riding him around a while in his moto form).
The team then returns to STV and debriefs Schmidt on some tarot updates (she says that STV has successfully scooped up the 2 Task Force 154 survivors and is expanding their tarot knowledge thereby). They get a useful Q&A in with Gabriel Ives, who tells them all he know about the local Black Lodge in thanks for extracting him. They get useful info on a few jobs they’re working, and make some followup plans. Schmidt also wants them to deal with (in whatever fashion) a rival junior partner, so they start looking into him. They pass along the relevant BL info to Old Crow as promised, and he says he’s skipping town cause he’s worried the BL may be close to making him. He gives them another tarot card and tells them to seek out the Arcane 3 if they ever find themselves in Chicago.