Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Radio Shack
Neil's Journal
December 14th 2070, Monday

So. I helped Glitzy pack up her things and we moved to a house she had ‘acquired’ in Snohomish. As soon as I saw it, I felt at home there. It’s not all that big, but more than enough for one or two persons and deep in the woods. I didn’t even know how much I had missed nature until then.
There’s a ton of work to be done and the first thing we did was to fumigate the house, the mattress seemed capable of walking away and I don’t even want to know what was hiding in the woodwork. While the bug bombs did their work, we drove to the warehouse where the Rat’s Nest people would be holding their council of war. Since Growler so elegantly dropped the job of leading into my lap, I would be the one to chair the meeting and I had a serious case of stage fright.

It went fairly well, all things considered. We came up with a good amount of money that will pay the debts we have and will help with rebuilding the nest, but it’s nowhere near enough. So we need money and that’s where the new Radio Shack that was to be opened today came in. Saphira had contact to someone willing to pay a fair amount of money for us to rob the store and what made the offer even more attractive was that we could get a lot of things we would be needing at the Nest.

Splash hacked into the security system, rerouted all the alarms and opened the doors for us. There also was a night-watchman, but he proved even less of a problem than we’d thought. When Splash changed the door codes, he got locked into the security room and since she looped the cameras, he never even noticed anything wrong.

With four trucks and twenty people, we were in and out of there in under half an hour and as far as I know, we never triggered an alarm. But when we left, we could hear sirens coming towards us, so something or someone had tipped Hard Corps off. Before we could panic too much, there was a huge explosion and gunfire, someone was clearly attacking the cops. We took that as our cue to leave quietly and drive, well within speed limits, to the storage facilities we had arranged earlier.

Watching the news, we found out that there had been a well-planned attack on the security forces, with quite a few casualties. So the stuff we stole is way too hot to sell or keep, we’d be asking for trouble. Fortunately, we came to an agreement with the Johnson to sell him the stuff and we’ll be able to buy what we need at a very low price.

We’ve been pawns in the conflict between Knight Errant and Petrovski Security yet again, I guess. Someone wanted to fuck with Knight Errant at least and a robbery directly under their noses definitely doesn’t make them look too good. Anyway, we need to be careful that we don’t get hurt badly by that game.

And speaking of badly hurt: we tried to get our hands on the Hard Corps guns that people stole from the cops back at the Nest. Seven are accounted for, but three are missing and may well have been sold to the Picas. If that turns out to be true, we may have a problem on our hands when we try to retake the Nest.
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I Hate Fridays
Neil's Journal
December 12th 2070, Saturday

So, let’s see. By noon yesterday, I had operated on Growler and stolen and disposed of a body. A few hours later, the police had raided the apartment next to ours. And a few hours after that, the Russian mob kicked down our door.

Rivet’s memory’s still not any better and he absolutely wanted to talk to Jury. I did some checking and the man’s a boxing promoter, Jury Medwedew. I can’t say I was feeling very comfortable about it, but I had too much on my mind to really think about it and so Rivet made the call from the apartment. Believe me, I wince when I think about it.

Basically, we gave the Russian mob the address of our safe house, it wasn’t that hard for them to trace the comlink. There was enough time to get everyone out and on the roof, Rivet took off out of the window and down the street.
Since the Russians didn’t capture him, I was taken hostage and it was made very clear to me that I would die if Rivet didn’t turn up soon. With Glitzy and the others on the lookout for Rivet, there was nothing to do but wait. That I did tied to some pipe in a backroom of the boxing club where the Russians has brought me.

I can’t say that I was treated badly, apart from getting tethered like some animal. I even managed to sleep a bit. But I was terrified. The helplessness was the worst part, just waiting to see if someone would put a gun to my head. I would have fought, but what chance would I have had?

One of the guards, Dimitrij, talked to me, about books if you can believe it, about Schiller and the old Greek authors. I admit I liked him, but I couldn’t forget for one second that he would shoot me without blinking if the order came.

The whole situation ended fairly undramatically when Rivet walked in. He had decided to surrender and he had come to an agreement with Jury. I’m not at all sure that we have seen the end of this, but I was let go and Rivet and I walked out of there unharmed.

Glitzy and I have spend the night at her place. Well, at the place she’s been allowed to stay by the original owner. But we’ve lost that as well because we both forgot to clean up my comlink after the Russians had hacked it while I was their hostage. It’s not like they will be turning up here now, but still, so when Glitzy wakes up, we’ll move.
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Organ Failure
Neil's Journal
December 11th 2070, Friday

I said I expected trouble from Whistler when he found out about Glitzy and man, it’s sucks being right. He really has an uncomfortable gift of picking out weak spots in someone and then saying just the right thing to hurt. We had it out, in front of everybody no less, at least until Whistler walked out on me yet again and I’m fairly sure that this would have been the last I would have seen of him if I hadn’t followed him. As it is now, we’ve come to a solution we all can live with fairly well. Whistler wants to live on his own when we have the Nest back – something I thought about as well, if I had seen any way of making that offer without making him think I was throwing him out.


I had asked Growler to come see me at the Cow after breakfast last night. What he did was knock on the door at sunrise and one look at him was enough to tell me that he didn’t have any time to waste. His liver had already been in bad shape, but now it was failing completely and rapidly. Dialysis gave me enough time to get my hands on a nephritic screen. Growler tried to squirm out of it, saying that he was already feeling much better. He agreed to let me operate when I told him bluntly that he was dying and would be dead in a few days without the operation.

It was touch and go for a few minutes, but Growler pulled through and the screen is working well. When he found out that he wouldn’t be able to get drunk any more, Growler gave me hell. He knows that he has been ignoring my advice and my warnings for years, though, and he also knows I didn’t have any choice. Won’t stop him from complaining, I guess, but I can live with that.

The nephritic screen was of course second hand and I acquired it together with its former owner, so I had a body on my hands that needed to disappear. I took Glitzy to see John.


I’ve been meaning to do that anyway. I’ve never been able to tell anyone about him, but I had the feeling that Glitzy would be more accepting than other people and I was right. John is in bad shape, he clearly hadn’t eaten for who knows how long. I have to get my hands on some warm clothes and other stuff to make sure he doesn’t simply freeze to death one night. Glitzy also warned me that she had no problems smelling him and that hunters may have even less of a problem.
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Trolling
Neil's Journal
December 10th 2070, Thursday
After our night at the hotel, Glitzy and me were having breakfast when Saphira called and told Glitzy that Splash had been abducted by a troll bounty hunter. Apparently, there is a reward by Petrovski Security on capturing her, which was news to me. But we all have our secrets and this is not something you just tell people.

Splash had managed to call the Hellhounds as well, but they were too far away, Glitzy and me were much nearer and we did find her comlink, so we could follow her. The troll brought her to a warehouse, with some gangers keeping a look-out in front. We found the back door and snuck into the building. Neither of us would have any chance against a troll in an all-out fight, so a surprise attack was our best bet.

He had Splash in a small office divided off the main room and a scream from her made it clear that he was trying to get information, by means of electric shocks as we later found out. We could reach Splash via comlink and she distracted the troll long enough for Glitzy to sneak behind the door of the office.

I made some noise to lure him out of the door and it worked, but only just. Glitzy attacked him with her stun baton and I used my taser on him, it was enough to drop him. I added a tranq patch because I didn’t want him to wake up too soon. We got Splash out of the restrains and left, but not without scavenging what we can use. It’s not something I’d do normally, but with the Rat’s Nest in the hands of the Picas, we need all the weapons and equipment we can get our hands on. I doubt the troll will be very happy about this when he wakes up and I really hope he never finds out who exactly did this.
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Enough of Ghosts
Neil's Journal
December 10th 2070, Thursday
So I found a teacher or rather Saphira found one for me. Glitzy works for her as a courier and I had already met her once when she taught Blaster how to fight with a knife before the duell with the Spikes.

She had caught my eye back then, but when we met at some hotel so that she could teach me about magic, I certainly wasn’t in the mood to do anything about that. That’s what I thought at least, it seems my subconscious had other plans. A ghost materialized and well, let’s just say we both confronted our desire for each other much sooner than we normally would have.

Anyway, I’m feeling a bit more at home with my magic now. I called my first ghost on purpose this morning. My grandmother, which may have not been the best choice considering what we had been doing, but I felt safe with her and it worked fairly well.

And Glitzy…I’ve fallen hard for her. I’ve never been someone to fall in love quickly and I’ve avoided even harmless flings in the last years. Maybe that’s why it has hit me so hard, but whatever it is, I don’t care. I just want to be with her and luckily she feels the same.

I expect trouble when Whistler finds out, but the first real trouble came from a direction I had absolutely not foreseen. When we got back to the safehouse, Liz used her shockhand on Glitzy and walked out, simply stepping over her body as if nothing had happened. At first, I didn’t even get what had happened, but when I did, I was angry enough to bite Liz’s head off. It took me some time to help Glitzy, luckily for Liz probably.

When I went to look for Liz, she was standing on the stairs outside, crying hard. I had an idea why she attacked Glitzy, but I wanted to hear it from her anyway. I feel like an idiot for not seeing it, but Liz has been in love with me all that time now. It just didn’t register with me. But even if it had, it would have changed nothing. She is…or was…a friend, but not more. And being in love with me does not entitle her to decide over my private life, as she seems to think it does.

Liz and Glitzy fought it out amongst themselves not long after that and Glitzy won. I really hope that Liz will be smart enough to leave well alone after that.
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After the Storm
Neil's Journal
December 7th 2070 (continued)
We had moved Rivet to the Cow (clinic on wheels, a converted van), the bathhouse was not really the right place for someone in his condition. This morning, he surprised me by waking up, I would have guessed that this would have taken much longer. Unfortunately, he suffers serious memory loss and thinks he has been injured during a regular boxing match. He also believes that we have 2066, so he has currently no memory of anything concerning the Rat’s Nest. I was less delicate than I could have been in telling him, but he’ll have to face the reality soon enough whatever I tell him.

We have suffered our first casualty, one of the Scrappers had been knocked unconscious by the water cannons and no-one found him until morning. He froze to death. He had a wife and three children.

I was on my way to tell his wife when shots were fired, four or five, very quickly. The target were the Hard Corps cops and four of them were lying in the middle of the street, dead or dying. My first thought was who in the Rat’s Nest would be stupid enough to do that? And speaking of stupid: Splash actually ran right towards them, whatever she was trying to do. She went down as well, it looked like she had been hit, but there were no shots. I decided that she had probably come to her senses and was playing dead. She later told me that she had been absolutely certain she had been hit twice and died. I don’t know what happened, she’s perfectly fine, although she seemed a bit dazed from the whole experience.

One of the cops, the lieutenant, was still moving. I couldn’t let him bleed to death, so I ventured out to drag him back to cover. He had been hit badly and was bleeding out. I had crossed about half the distance back to the containers when the rest of the cops came running, guns at the ready and shouting at me to drop the lieutenant and to get on the ground.

I put the lieutenant down and knelt next to him, trying to keep at least one hand on the wound, and shouted at the cops not to shoot. Next thing I knew, six cops were on top of me and all I could do was curl up while they beat the shit out of me. I got at least one good blow to the head because I lost consciousness for a while.

When I came round again, the cops were trying to fight off just about all the dogs of the Rat’s Nest plus a mob of people. I did the best I could for the lieutenant so that he wouldn’t die right there and then and I tried to calm the people down, the last thing we needed were more dead cops. It worked – the cops all were beaten badly and people took their guns, pretty much all their stuff, but they’ll all live. Good enough for me.

The lieutenant was not in great shape, but he realized that I had saved his life. We came to an agreement: the cops would keep silent about what exactly had happened and the people of the Nest would get out before Doc Wagon arrived, which would be in about 15 minutes tops. He tried to negotiate for their weapons, but even if I had been willing to get them back, there was no way anyone would have returned them.

So we left the Nest as quickly as possible. We’ll see what will be left when we get back. For now, we’re in a number of hideouts Saphira has come up with. She has also come up with an attorney, Al Goodmann, who she says is well worth the money he asks. He told me that he thinks he can get our people out of jail by tomorrow since there were a number of … irregularities with the raid, the lack of a warrant not being the least. I hope he can deliver.

Oh, and I almost forgot: a couple of our dogs (Rivet’s pug Mr Wrinkles and my Rott Jasper among them) turned up at Splash’s hiding place and pretty much wrecked it. Don’t ask me how they found her, in fact don’t ask me why they suddenly went all Baskerville on the cops who attacked me. I have no idea what’s going on there. Anyway, I took Jasper and the other dogs with me, Blaster kept one of the strays.
I’ll try to get some sleep for now, while I can.

-——————————————

private entry:

There are some things I’m not going to write about for everyone to read. Here’s one of them:
While I was being beaten by the cops, I didn’t lose consciousness as much as I stepped out of my body. It was a freaking near death experience, complete with white light.

I found myself standing next to the cops and I felt pity for the poor guy they were busy beating, but it was all a bit distant. Maybe I was just distracted by the fact that Mr Snautz, Rivet’s Great Dane, who had been shot during the raid, was talking to me. Rip was also there and he wanted me to come with him, he said he had found a way out (through a window under one of the containers that glowed with a bright light).

I was somewhere between taking it all seriously and “you’ve got to be kidding me”. I mean, I never bought into all that spirit stuff even as a kid and now here I was, talking to a dead dog. In any case, Mr Snautz asked me whether I really wanted to go back. I did – following Rip may have been the easy way out, but I wasn’t willing to leave my friends and the people who depend on me. God (or whoever) knows I’ve been thinking about just leaving the Rat’s Nest often enough, but if there ever was a time for making a graceful exit, it’s long gone now.

So back I went. I have no idea what triggered all that, maybe really just a blow to the head. My whole body hurts when I move, but I’m not all that badly injured, nothing life-threatening in any case. Maybe it was just a way for my subconscious to kick my butt, to get me to acknowledge that I had a lot more responsibilities than just myself. If that was the case, it worked, thank you very much. Next time, how about something a bit more subtle?
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Damage Done
Neil's Journal
December 7th 2070
I felt marginally more friendly towards the world in general after about eight hours of sleep and some food. Rusty told me that he had shown Maggie around the Rat’s Nest and that she’d be working to support herself. We even managed to arrange some sort of day care for Daniel.
Not that this matters now. The Rat’s Nest has taken a hard hit, we’re struggling to survive, just so Ares/Knight Errant can feel good about themselves.

We were woken by the sound of helicopters and, I kid you not, Ride of the Valkyries. A couple of choppers flew over the Rat’s Nest at low altitude and dropped CS gas canisters on us. People panicked and started to run, trying to take cover. I managed to close the door of the clinic before too much of the gas could get in and just to be on the safe side, I put Rivet, who’s still unconscious, under the oxygen tent.

Across the street, the kids from the school were all over the place and I helped Miss Patterson to get them all safely inside. By that time, Knight Errant was already moving in with Citymasters, water cannons and troops in full riot gear. We did not know what hit us. Apart from the Knight Errant troops, there were Hard Corps troops, who moved off into the side streets. And let’s not forget the news reporter and camera team who were there to report on the crackdown on this center of crime.

Not many of our people really fought, but those who did went down hard. I saw one Scrapper take a shot at a helicopter with his crossbow and he got gunned down, at least only with gel ammo, but bad enough. I took him back to the clinic, trying to talk people into surrendering quietly on the way.

It didn’t take long for Knight Errant to kick the door of the clinic down (not that it wasn’t open anyway). I was ordered to take off my white coat, which I did, and to let them move Rivet out, which I did not, I wasn’t about to let those thugs move a comatose patient. My refusal earned me a stun baton to the leg, so that was the end of that. I found myself out in the street where I knelt in the freezing mud along with rest of our people.

They brought out Whistler, who didn’t resist and seemed fine so far, he was put in line next to me. A short while after that, I saw them bring Maggie, Liz and Rusty, who had been mercilessly beaten. I had no problems diagnosing the broken leg and probably internal bleeding from across the street. The cops told the reporter that they had caught Rusty while he was raping Liz. The screams of pain and fear from the side streets made it clear that they were discovering many more such scenes. The Hard Corps guys were obviously there for the dirty work.

The clinic was dubbed a drug lab for the camera and fire bombed. The same went for the school. Sorry, for the BTL lab. Miss Patterson was arrested by a Copyright Infringement and Patent Violation unit and by arrested I mean dragged from the building by her hair and slammed into the doors of the Black Maria face first.

Nearly all the members of the Scrappers were arrested as well. They also arrested a couple of people picked at random for being rat shamans. I know everybody they picked and none of them have ever shown any signs of being Awakened. One of the people chosen was Whistler. I lost it when they hauled him away. I simply jumped one of the cops and managed to knock him down, but they didn’t have much trouble overpowering me. I think I got hit by a stun baton again, my legs gave out in any case. After that, they had the chance to demonstrate one of their new weapons for the camera, a Pain Inducer. I have never been in such pain in my life and I would rather face a gun than that thing again. I have no idea how long they used it on me, it felt like an eternity, I was screaming and writhing on the ground. When they finally did stop, I was in no condition to get up, let alone fight. Which didn’t keep them from using it on me again.

I think I blacked out a bit after that, purely from exhaustion. The hell of the Pain Inducer is that you just don’t lose consciousness. I’m told that the reporter called it humane. Professional torturers will love it, I’m sure. Anyway, what was left of our people were then getting medical care, provided by Ares. After hours in the freezing cold, we all needed it, but that didn’t make any of us feel better about it.

When night fell, they left, leaving ten of the Hard Corps guys to secure the area. Yeah, right. One of the doctors asked me if he could be of any help. I slapped him, I just couldn’t help myself. We did get some medical supplies, but that’s just a pittance, especially considering the state people are in after the Hard Corps cops worked them over. Almost everybody has been beaten and many of the women were raped. Oh, and they left Rivet on the side walk, I guess they saw no sense in wasting money on him.

We got to work to make at least a few containers habitable again so that we would survive the night. We crammed as many people as possible into the pub, the bath house of the Viets and a few other places. Splash got the recycler to work again, even though it was badly damaged, so we could replicate blankets and clothes from the scrappy stuff Ares left us with.

During the night, the Hard Corps guys actually knocked on the door of the bath house and wanted to come in because they were cold. I told them that if they came in, people would lynch them, machine pistols or not. They backed down and left. Take a guess what they did to keep warm. They set fire to a couple of containers. The fire destroyed a big part of what was left of the Rat’s Nest, but nothing we can do about it now.

At least we survived the night and we can get to work on rebuilding. Saphira outdid herself and managed to get us supplies that will help with keeping our people alive. As much as I cursed it, the Rat’s Nest is my home and it breaks my heart to see it like this. I lost many friends yesterday and I have no idea when, if at all, we are going to see them again. And Whistler. Damn it, that kid who just walked in from the street a couple of years ago. I feel about him just as I imagine I would feel about my own child. Not knowing where he is and what will happen to him hurts. It hurts.
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Sick of It All
Neil's Journal
December 5th 2070
The fight was about as brutal as I thought it would be. We came there expecting some backyard fighting match, but the Spikes had turned it into a free for all-carnival and a lot of money was changing hands.
Blaster and Rivet actually won. Not easily, but they did and I doubt that their two opponents will do much fighting in the near future, or at all, depending on the skill of the shaman who was called in for help. I don’t think it was a good idea to take the Spikes’ cuts, though, that was asking for trouble. We left as soon and as gracefully as possible.

Rivet’s been badly hurt and just about managed to hold himself up until we were a fair distance from the Spikes’ turf. He’s in a coma and will be for a few more days. I cannot say whether there will be any lasting damage, from the head wound in particular, only time will tell.

So that was last night. Oh, I’m also now the owner of Rivet’s winnings he got from betting on himself. I guess the clinic will get some new equipment, not to mention Kerry will get a new weapon. Which is something pretty much everybody will appreciate, since she won’t shut up about not having one.

I’ve been leaving Whistler alone for the last few days, but I ad to decide what to do with Maggie and I needed to know what exactly happened when he was captured by the Picas. That was not a conversation I was looking forward to. He told me that Maggie had beaten and tortured him. Beaten, yes. Tortured, as he told it: no. I’ve seen his injuries and no-one did anything like that to him. He wouldn’t talk to me any further and I didn’t want to accuse him of lying just yet, so I went to talk to Maggie.

I’m sorry to say that her version of the events scanned much better with the facts. I probably wouldn’t be much more thankful than Whistler, but she did save his life. She says he already had a gun to his head when she got the Picas to keep him alive, to try and get information from him and of course for banter. She also says that he dissed her in front of the gang and that she beat him with a baseball bat for that. After this, he talked. I can’t say I blame him. Whistler blames himself plenty, though. He finally told me the truth when I confronted him again. He needs to come to terms with that by himself, I cannot help him with that. I can just say that I don’t give a fuck what he told the Picas and that I’m glad he came out of this alive.

Rusty, the Scrapper who guarded Maggie’s container came by to tell me that he was up for another shift and I told him that Growler and I had decided to let Maggie run free if she wants to. He seemed on the verge of saying something and I was already tired of having to drag the truth out of people. When he refused to tell me what had happened, I slammed him into the wall. Not my proudest moment. Rusty did tell me that some of the Scrappers had taken revenge on Maggie for the whole Pica fiasco and that he stopped them. So yeah, I just roughed up the only halfway decent guy who actually did see something wrong with what happened. Go me. I’m sick to death of this whole place. I can’t believe I actually had so much naivety left to believe that she would be left alone.
I need to sleep, I haven’t had more than two hours at a time for days. The Rat’s Nest can go fuck itself for now.
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Hostage to Ice Cream
Neil's Journal
December 4th 2070

I got a call that one of the Picas was standing in front of the gates, asking to speak to someone in charge. That person was me, everybody else was not around. Seems to me I’m doing a lot of this leader crap lately. I should ask for a pay rise. Oh wait, I don’t get payed.

The Pica officially declared war between the Scrappers and the Picas, no surprise there. Then he offered to trade Whistler for Kerry’s automatic weapon, plus Maggie’s stuff or at least the part that belongs to the gang. I told him I had to ask Kerry about the gun, but other than that the trade was fine with me. We agreed to meet an hour later.

Kerry was very much not in favor of giving away her gun and I had to promise to get her a new one as quickly as possible. Ammo was not included in the deal, so she stripped the gun. Rivet and a couple of other orks accompanied me and I have to say if I do have to walk into such a situation, having an ork with a giant crossbow watching my back definitely makes me feel better.

The agreed meeting place was the Iceman, a guy short a few sandwiches of a picnic who sells ice from an armored car. He went postal when we arrived, but that’s normal for him. If you can’t face down a shotgun to buy your ice, then the Iceman is not for you.

Shortly before the Picas arrived, Splash called me and actually asked me to bring her some vanilla icecream back. With sprinkles. WTF? What is it with people and ice cream? Says the guy with the 15 packages of the stuff in his freezer and no idea how they got there.

Anyway, the trade went down without problems, no-one tried to shoot anyone. Whistler had obviously been badly beaten, he was barely able to walk. The Picas had also drugged him, probably to make him easier to control. Rivet picked him up and we drove back to the Rat’s Nest.

Back at the clinic, I got to work on Whistler, neutralizing the heroin he had been injected with. There were a few broken ribs, a broken ulna and if I had to guess, I’d say someone had worked him over with a baseball bat. At least he still had all his organs.

Maggie saw him and called something over, making Whistler freak out completely, I had my hands full calming him down. So I already have a pretty good idea that she was at least involved. For Whistler’s sake, I arranged for Maggie to move into another container down the road, I don’t want her here with him.

Rivet asked me if I could supply him with an antidote to Kamikaze. The Hellhounds and the Scrappers had a run-in with the Spikes. Instead of an all-out gang war there will be a duel between two fighters of the Spikes and Rivet and Blaster. He’s hoping that the Kamikaze will give him an extra edge. I also agreed to come with them, for on-site first aid, in exchange for a gun for Kerry.
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Retreat
Neil's Journal

We retreat into one of the houses for cover and to give us some time to deal with Slicer’s injuries. It becomes fairly obvious that the ganger girl we have captured was no run of the mill street brat, she has clearly had some education and her possessions were just a bit too high class, starting with her commlink and ending with her trode net. Her manners are pure street, however. Oh, and she has a terrier-ish mongrel that follows her around, but he keeps his distance after I aimed a kick at him.

We still cannot raise any of the other groups, but things are getting in motion there. Twitch and Splash leave their rooftop and manage to escape the Picas before they can ambush them. Rivet’s and Liz’s group are still holed up in an apartment, with Liz trying to get Gilette stable enough to move him.

Rivet decides to check on the Picas and meets a couple of them downstairs. Here’s a tip: if you spray an ork with gasoline and set him on fire, you better be damn sure that you run faster than a burning ork. The sight of Rivet, stampeding down the street on fire with one of the Picas held by the scruff of the neck is certainly impressive enough to clear the coast for a few minutes. Particularly since he survives surprisingly unscathed.

The group uses their chance to get on their bikes and drive towards the Rat’s Nest, but not without another shoot out. With Picas on both sides of the narrow street, Rivet takes a few of them out by spinning his bike and a few more are taken out by friendly fire. They make it through and head for the Rat’s Nest. Gargle had been hit and passes out on the way, so Rivet drives back and simply scoops him up, without even slowing down.

Twitch and Splash have arrived at our hiding place in the meantime and we decide to make a break for it as well. With Slicer taped securely to the bike (not my favourite method of transporting patients, let me tell you), we drive out into the alley. The Picas have taken a few squatters as hostages and are forcing them to walk towards us, hiding behind the adults. That keeps us from firing at them, but it’s an obstacle for them as well and we manage to get to the main street, if you can call it that. We’re ambushed by the same Picas as Rivet’s group, unfortunately for them Kerry is still in possession of her automatic weapon and makes quick work of them.

Back at the Rat’s Nest, the alarm goes up – there’s a good chance the Picas will come for us. With the clinic’s equipment, it takes a few hours, but Slicer and Gargle will be able to walk out of here tomorrow. Maggie, the ganger girl, is unconscious after coming down from whatever high she was on. I make sure the baby is healthy. Well, as healthy as any baby can be under these circumstances. We’ll deal with her tomorrow, her commlink and her stuff goes to Splash. The terrier actually kept up with us, he’s now outside, snarfing down Jasper’s food. Jasper seems more puzzled than anything else by the yipping ball of fur, so I’m fairly confident that he won’t eat him while I sleep.

December 1st 2070
Weeelll, more than two hours sleep would have been nice. But we don’t do nice here and Splash came by with Maggie’s cracked commlink. The data on it is something the Picas will want back for sure, their complete finances and business transactions. They make a surprising amount of money, dealing with drugs, weapons and apparently bioware as well.
That doesn’t bode well for Whistler. We know that the Picas have at least his bike and I still haven’t been able to reach him, so I tend to believe Maggie who told me that he has been captured.

Not like she was all that eager to talk, but in exchange for her dog, with her diary cracked and with Blaster and Rivet playing very effective bad cops to my good one, she got a lot more talk-active. The last straw was the baby. It’s not the first baby I delivered here, but the one I worry most about. He seems healthy, but I’m sure that Maggie’s drug use will have at least some effect on him later. At least he won’t be sold for spare parts, which is what would have happened to him if Maggie had stayed with the Picas. She had clearly hoped that we would take the baby from her but once she held him, there was no going back for her. Not to mention that the Picas would probably just kill her now that she has been staying with us, however involuntarily.

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