Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Water, Water Everywhere
a view from a scrying glass

the bowl has misted over again and the hands give it an angry shake, with some mumbled curses in Russian

The group wakes up in a cave, covered in black, oily slime. Next to them are two more persons in the grip of the dream eaters they encountered before. The rest of the cave is covered in slime, animal and human bones, trash, some old wooden chests and stinking mud. There seems to be no way out except for murky water at one end of the cave. For some reason, Rook is still with them.

The first oder of business is killing the dreameaters. It turns out that they don’t deal well with decapitation. The two men they had captured don’t wake up, though, and one of them simply disappears. Zach rifles through the trash and the chests and finds a cornucopia covered in green slime. He instantly feels sick when he touches it, but the light in the cave gets a tiny bit brighter and there’s a breath of fresh air. Everyone but Fog who touches the horn has that sick feeling.

He decides to clean the horn in the water and the water gets a bit cleaner around it, too, but he gets a nosebleed. Also, it seem sthat the cornucopia can swallow enormous amounts of water. When he takes it out of the water again, it’s empty and they find that someone mad enough to do it, like Nebraska, can stick their arm right inside up to the shoulder.

They decide to try and touch the toxic spirit with the cornucopia since it seems to clean up the cave. Right on cue, the spirit appears and while Zach plunges the horn into the water, it attacks Fog with a wave and tries to drown him. Zach disappears suddenly and the horn falls into the water, but Nebraska dives after it and catches it before it’s gone, gets caught herself by Fog, who gets pulled above water by Rook. She tells him to let go, to get the cornucopia and run. Stanley grabs the horn just in time before Nebraska disappears, too and hands it to Fog. All the time, the spirit does its best to drown them or get them to let go of the horn. And all the time, the cave looks brighter and cleaner.

For a minute, Fog follows Rooks advice and gets away from the spirit. But he gives the horn back to Stanley and then to Jet who both rapidly collapse and disappear. By now, the cave and the water are clean and the spirit is only a shadow of its former self. Fog is now all alone, Rook is gone too. He takes the cornucopia, runs up to the spirit and starts bashing it over the head. The fight doesn’t last long before the spirit dissolves into a puddle of water. Fog has a moment to breathe and to wonder how he will get back, before he too disappears.

the hand touches the surface of the water in the bowl and destroys the image of the empty cave

View
Breakout
a view from a scrying glass

Fog wakes up again strapped to the bed, in a lot of pain and heavily drugged. He loses track of time, but when he’s fully awake for the next time, his ribs hurt much less, so he probably was kept unconscious for quite some time. This time, he’s in a wheelchair and again strapped down,Dr Munroe does not want to risk another escape. The good doctor tells him as much and shows him what happened according to the CCTV cameras: Fog escapes from his room and everything happens like he remembers it, but he never reaches the roof. Instead four attendants tackle him and only stop punching and kicking when he’s unconscious.

Rook is brought in and she’s livid that Fog again involved her. She was this close to getting out of the hospital but that’s now off the table. Fog tries to tell her that everything they imagined is real and that he won’t leave her. All this does is make Rook snap, she jumps Fog. The attendants grab her and she gets a beating much harder that necessary to be to subdue her. After Rook’s been taken away, Dr Munroe warns Fog that everything he does will have consequences for Rook.

The others drive in the rough direction the spell is telling Zach to go and after some time, enter a huge forest that is not normally there. The road takes them to an enormous hospital that none of them have ever seen. They ask for Fog and between them, they can come up with his first name, a description and the first letter of his last name. That’s enough to get them an appointment with Dr Munroe, after two hours of waiting. He tells them that Fog has been at the hospital for the last six year and that he won’t get out in the foreseeable future. They try to tell a convincing lie that would allow them to at least see Fog, but fail miserably.

Zach asks if they can write a Get Well-card and Dr Munroe agrees to deliver it, if Fog’s condition allows it. So Zach goes off to the gift shop and choses a card and a candy bar. Since an attendant is following him around to make sure he doesn’t get lost, he ducks into the restroom to cast an illusion spell on the file that he saw on Dr Munroe’s desk. The first spell fizzes out, the next one works, just not like he wanted it to. The file turns into a pumpkin with an audible pop

This at least does something to lighten the tense mood in the doctor’s office – Stanley had tried to pull his narcoject pistol on Dr Munroe, who spotted the movement and has his finger on the alarm button under his desk. No-one acknowledges that they are at a standoff and the tone stays civil, if a bit frosty. The arrival of the pumpkin is a welcome distraction. Jet picks it up and Dr Munroe is confused enough to take his hand off the button. Both Nebraska and Stanley take the chance to jump him. After a short scuffle, they overpower him and take him hostage. He agrees, after a reluctant pistol whipping by Stanley, to take them to Fog. The attendants who’ve been alerted keep their distance at Dr Munroe’s orders to solve this as peacefully as possible.

Fog, meanwhile, has a chat with Crow. His mentor spirit warns him about Rook, he says it’s not exactly a good idea to get her involved. He also helps Fog to free himself, but will not or cannot open the door. A commotion outside gets Fog’s attention and he spots Zach walking towards Dr Munroe’s office. Zach also spots Fog, but doesn’t want to give it away to the attendant still following him around. The others arrive and get Fog out of the room. The first thing he does is punch Dr Munroe as hard as he can, breaking his nose and almost knocking the man out. The others, especially Jet, are pretty uncomfortable with that and with taking the doctor hostage in general, after all he looks and sounds perfectly like Neil. They recognize that he’s their ticket out of here, though.

Despite Crow’s warning, Fog makes a short detour to get Rook. She’s pissed and it takes some convincing, but in the end she comes along. It’s her best shot at getting out of the hospital, she knows that. They make it out of the building without further problems, apparently no-one wants to risk the life of their boss. Before they get into the car, Rook turns round and with a few well-aimed punches and kicks she takes Dr Munroe down. He may or may not be dead, at least he doesn’t move and no-one takes the time to check.

About half-way through the forest, thick fog starts to fill the car. They stop, but cannot open door or windows and the fog rises quickly until they are swallowed by it.

View
Cuckoo's Nest
a view from a scrying glass

the hand shakes the bowl that has filled with white fog and after a bit, the water turns clear again and shows pictures

The group wakes up at Christopher‘s lodge, but Fog is missing. Christopher is badly hurt, he tells them that Fog attacked him and has run off. Zach tracks Fog’s commlink, he seems to be on his way to the chemical plant. Christopher has already called for an ambulance and Stanley patches him up, after that they leave to look for Fog.

Fog wakes up strapped to a hospital bed. He gets takes to see his phychiatrist, Dr Munroe, who explains that he has been at the hospital for the past six years, suffering from delusions. Apparently he had a setback and again believes that he’s an adept and a scavenger in Glow City, a believe they had worked hard to get rid of. Fog plays along, especially after Dr Munroe tells him that Rook is also a patient an the hospital. The way he tells it, Fog has involved her in his delusions, but she is now cured.

The attendants take Fog back to his room. Since he learned that escape from such an illusion is possibly by dying when the dream eaters caught them earlier, he looks for a good way to die, but first he wants to see Rook. The room is not helpful, but when he gets dinner, Fog simply swallows his spoon. The attendants, according to plan, come in to help him and after a brawl he can make it out of the door. The doors are locked, but hitting the fire alarm helps with that. He makes a run for the common room and gets tackled by several attendants. It’s a close call, but he makes it and gets to Rook.

She isn’t exactly pleased to see him and only asks why he always gets himself into so much trouble. Since it’s clear that she’s not coming, Fog makes his way up on the roof. He hesitates before jumping, but he has no way of telling if this is really an illusion. He takes the chance and has just enough time to regret it before he hits the ground and dies.

Zach has come up with a plan: he is going to use one of the spells he gleaned from Baba Yaga’s spellbooks to locate Fog. Actually he is going borrow Fog’s eyes and then he’s going to track the first unusual or unique thing he seems. They have also figured out that they are in an illusion because Redmond is totally empty of people. Also, they cannot read anything. So they drive to Kiki’s and Zach works his magic. He seems only a white ceiling, but someone with a watch reaches across Fog field of vision to fiddle with the IV and Zach decides to track the watch. He also prepare two more of each spell. The spell tells him the rough direction and they drive off, towards Snohomish.

View
Grendel
a view from a scrying glass

The group makes their way down towards the shore and enter a small copse of trees. One after the other, they simply sit down and close their eyes, seem to fall asleep. From the treetops, freakishly slender creatures with oily black skin climb down and begin to cover them with cobwebs. After a while, Stanley wakes up, then Nebraska, Jet and then Fog, all fairly distressed and even more when they discover that they have been put in a cocoon. At least they woke up soon enough that the threads are easily broken. The creatures have hidden again, just out of sight. Zach is still asleep and Fog uses Jet’s pocket dragon to get the cobwebs off of him. Zach wakes up screaming and Nebraska, who has been barely keeping it together, runs off deeper into the woods. They catch up with her on a clearing and for the first time, they spot the creatures, hiding behind the trees. Fog makes it clear that the creatures are to leave them alone, on pain of pain and they seem to understand. At least, they let the group go.

They have come up with a plan: Fog will try to talk to Ytong. He thinks that the spirit might be able to find his way back, since he wasn’t born a toxic spirit. To make it extra convincing, they need another one of Baba Yaga’s apples. So they use the mirror to call on her, a call she answers using a bowl filled with water. It takes some negotiations but in the end Baba Yaga agrees to give them an apple and even bring it round in exchange for some of Stanley’s future memories. He allows her to chose whatever she likes, as long as it is not more than one day and one night. As insurance in case they all die, she takes some memories from them all and promises that they will get them back if they should survive the quest. Zach loses the memory of his sister, Nebraska of Eric, Stanley of his best friend and Fog of Kiki.

At the village with the longhouse, they meet a couple of people who are only too glad to tell them about their woes. A monster comes every night and kills anyone unwise enough to leave the house. The group promises to help, after all this is what they came for and the people of the village agree, although they do ask if they are sure.

At dusk, everyone goes inside and the group is left alone to wait. Fog gives the apple to Nebraska and asks her to make sure that Ytong eats it. Zach goes into hysterics because he does not want to put his life into Nebraska’s hands, but there’s no going back. An awful stench announces Ytong’s arrival. Fog actually gets him to listen and Nebraska actually throws the apple right into his mouth. For a moment, he dissolves into sludge, deluging the group. When he takes shape again, he seems if not convinced, then at least willing to give them a chance. He asks what they are going to do about ‘her’, pointing at the spirit formula Fog holds. The group has a ‘oh crap’-moment and Ytong vanishes, he is not going to get into this fight for them.

A thick, white fog rises from the lake quickly coming up to their knees. They climb on top of the longhouse, which now looks as if it has been abandoned for decades, in fact the whole village looks like that. There is no way out for them and all they can do is wait for the fog to rise until it swallows them.

View
Witches and Kings
a view from a scrying glass

After some time, the wolf arrives at the hut and knocks on the door. He seems a bit taken aback when Fog opens the door, but he’s friendly enough. The talk is not as helful as the group would have liked, though. The wolf does what wolves in fairy tales do, that’s why he wants to eat the pigs. It seems that the story keeps repeating itself and the wolf only has very foggy memories of it all. Eventually he wanders off.

So the group decides to make the deal with the witch after all. They follow the pigs’ directions and eventually arrive at a cottage standing on a chicken leg. They knock and the door opens, but no-one is home. Fog insist that they close the door and wait outside. It doesn’t take long for the witch to arrive in a mortar she steers along with a pestle. She looks somewhere between fourty and one hundred years old, with long, bony hands and long white hair. But she’s quite amiable, asks the group into her cottage and she’s interested in making a deal.

When no-one volunteers to be her maid for an indefinite time, she asks them to bring her an apple tree that has been stolen from her by a greedy king. They get directions to the castle and strict orders not to eat the apples. Apparently, they show future and past. The group promises not to touch them and sets out.

The castle is surrounded by a moat and a high wall, but they get in fairly quietly and without major problems. There is one guard, but they can knock him out and put Nebraska‘s re-filling bottle of wine next to him to make it look like he’s drunk on the job. In the garden, Zach steps on a rake, almost knocking himself out. The apple tree is easy to find, the apples glow in the dark, and they dig it up, hide it in a sack. Unfortunately, the tree starts screaming as soon as they try to leave.

They get attacked by huge toads with sharp teeth and divebombed by birds who shoot their metal feathers like arrows. With a desperate scramble, they make it over the wall and through the moat, kill some of the toads and run for it into the woods. Once they are sure no-one is following them, they unwrap the tree. It’s not broken, but two apples have fallen off. Fog and Jet pick them up and suddenly get an almost unresistable urge to eat them. Nebraska kicks Jet so hard he drops his apple, but Fog bites into his and keels over instantly.

A second later, he comes round again. The apple showed him the future, like he asked it to, and he saw a lake and a longhouse, form the view of someone who is really pissed at the people in the longhouse. As divinations go, this is unhelpful, but at least they know what to expect.

They bring the tree back to Baba Yaga and Fog tells her that he ate one apple. She takes that in stride, only says that she hopes it was worth it. She even invites them to stay for breakfast, which they accept. Fog asks her if he can have another apple and after some haggling, she accepts a night of lovemaking as payment. The others stay at the hut while Baba Yaga takes Fog with her in the mortar. They have some time to rest, Zach snoops around the hut and finds some spell books he reads.

After a day and a night, Baba Yaga returns with Fog, who look a bit the worse for wear. He did get his apple for his troubles. She already knows that Zach read her books and while she doesn’t curse him outright, she is not pleased. When they ask Baba Yaga about the spirit they are seeking, she tells that they they will probably all die if they go there. On that cheery note, they part company, after she gave them the grout for the pigs. The pigs give them a map for the mountains and the group follows the path.

Fog, after the things the second apple showed him, thinks that they cannot make Ytong see sense. He’s probably too far gone for that. Still, they decide to give him a chance, but if that doesn’t work, they will do their best to kill him. The mountains take two days to cross, then they see a lake in the distance. The landscape is quite beautiful … unless one turns around too quickly. Zach is the first to find out that everything take a little while to find its shape. A tree looks like it’s been slapped together from rough pixels and shaps until it senses someone looking at it, then it gets its normal shape. This is true for the whole landscape.

View
Grimm Times
a view from a scrying glass

Bony, longfingered hands place an earthen bowl on a table and add three drops of ink from a bottle, turning the water black. The hands pass over the bowl and it turns clear again, giving a view of a clearing in the woods

Five people are sleeping in the grass, wearing simple clothes that hint at medieval times. They soon start to stir. Fog is the first and he probably wakes up all the others because he’s wearing a suit of armor and he’s making a racket when he tries and at first fails to get up. They investigate their clothes and pockets and turn up some pretty weird stuff. Stanley has a wand that fires off stars and a small pumpkin when he points it at a tree while shouting Expelliarmus. He also has a small chest containing little birds with long beaks that seem to sleep. Jet has a small dragon. Zach has a pouch that refuses to open. Nebraska has a chest similar to Stanley’s, but hers contains silver beetles. She also carries a basket that contains wine and cake. She says this out loud, everyone stares at her and with an audible poof she suddenly wears a red cape. The basket also contains a huge knife and a compass.

Fog finds that he also now owns a rather pretty hand mirror. When he starts the Mirror, mirror on the wall-spiel, the mirror loudly interrupts and tells him to not even think about it. He’s not that kind of mirror. But still helpful, he tells them that to find the spirit they are looking for, they need to go through the woods and beyond the mountain. Jet climbs a tree and sees that the mountains are in the south. He also spots the roof of a tower. They set off.

The woods are quite beautiful and peaceful and there’s even a kind of path. Things are good until on both sides of the path, beautiful lights appear. Despite Fog’s warning, Zach and Nebraska go to investigate and play with the fairies. The faeries decide that they like Nebraska so much that they want to take her with them and all grab onto her, trying to lift her up. Jet aims his dragon and after a sharp pull on the tail, the dragon breathes fire. It mildy singes Nebraska and sets fire to the faeries.

After a while, they stumble upon a giant footprint that crossed the path. A chicken, to be precise, just one footprint. Both Fog and Stanley insist that they should leave, like RIGHT NOW. The others are confused and assume it’s just a giant bird. Neither Fog nor Stanley say out loud the name of the person they think is responsible for the footprint, but they finally get the group to move on at some speed.

The path winds through the woods and takes them past a well. Zach takes a look inside and nearly gets brained by a golden ball. Nebraska picks up the ball and the group launches into a discussion whether or not they should keep it or indeed interact with anything they see. The majority votes No or at least Not until we’ve agreed on it, but Nebraska doesn’t recognise that decision and takes another look into the well. A huge frog is just climbing out and tries to catch her with his tongue. Maybe he just wants a kiss, but they never are going to find out because Fog beheads the frog. The body turns into that of a young man, a prince probably, but still very dead.

After another discussion about the wisdom of happily picking up stuff along the way, they move on. A hazel bush is the next stop and at least Nebraska waits until she picks a nut. It opens and inside is a dress. It quickly grows until it’s exactly Nebraska size and, if she’s honest with herself, it’s exactly the kind of dress she has always wanted. She puts it in her basket. Zach picks another nut and gets a stuffed fox. He leaves it in the woods.

It is growing dark and they decide to make camp. No-one is exactly surprised when they arrive at the tower Jet saw earlier at just the right time. It has one door that opens easily and just one window, at the top floor. ‘Rapunzel!’, Zach shouts up to the window and a second later, a long braid drops down. The group has another discussion about how believe causes reality in this world or at least tries to, it’s cut short when the braind winds itself around Zach’s ankle and hoists him up into the air. He gets pulled into the window. The group rushes into the tower and find three intertwining stairs leading up into the dark.

View
Let Your Hair Down
a view from a scrying glass

In the dark, lit only by one torch, the group trudges up the stairs. It seems to take ages, far longer than it should. The edges of the stairs have a slight blue glow, but it disappears above and below in the gloom. Finally, they arrive at the top and open the trap door to the room above.

It’s moonlit, with polished wooden floors, a chair, a table, a rocking chair and a huge wardrobe, decorated with flowers and patterns that may or may not make up a face. Inside the wardrobe, there are only brown fur coats. There is no trace of Zach, but they do find a painting of him on the wall. It looks content at first, but starts to look frightened while they watch. Fog takes it from the wall and Jet sets it on fire with his dragon. When the fireball is gone, so is the picture, but they have Zach back. After a while, he even stops screaming. He tells them that he almost got killed by a Yurei, something he’s been afraid of as a child.

The group is a bit at a loss what to do. They want to help Rapunzel, but what if this isn’t Rapunzel? Or if Rapunzel has lost her mind after being imprisoned for who knows how long? In the end, they make a peace offering: the beautiful dress Nebraska got from her hazelnut. Nebraska holds it out to the wardrobe. Nothing happens. She says that she’s going to go in, but nobody pays attention because the group is bickering again. That only stops when the wardrobe’s door close with an audible click behind her. The walls grow another painting.

After another fireball, Nebraska is back and tells a story of a gingerbread house and a witch who did not take kindly to her roof being eaten. By now, helping Rapunzel is off the table. The plan is to drag her out of the wardrobe by her hair or chop the hair off until nothing is left. The floor starts to get squishy, the walls soft like taffy. The window gets smaller and smaller and it’s getting dark, the torch has burned out. Zach pulls a working electric floor lamp from his bag, the cord trailing into the bag.

The hair tries to grab Fog and he grabs it right back, with the help of Jet and Nebraska. They pull and by now, the trap door is getting smaller and smaller. Panic sets in and everyone but Fog abandones ship. Fog doesn’t let go in time and gets pulled into the wardrobe. Zach notices that Fog’s missing and the group comes back, does the painting trick again and while Zach is forcing open the trapdoor, they hack apart the wardrobe.

When it’s only splinters and pieces, the room goes back to normal and stays that way. After nothing attacks them, the group decides to spent the night. In the morning, they set out again. The trees start to look familiar after a a while and they notice that they’re going in circles. The mirror isn’t much help, so when they hear voices, they walk towards them.

They meet three pigs, standing in front of a brick house badly in need of repair. The pigs say that they would be willing to give them a map, but only when the group goes and gets them mortar from the witch. They need to repair their house before the wolfs comes by again and hope that magical mortar will do the trick. When Fog asks why the wolf is so eager to destroy their house, the pigs get defensive.

Finally, the group agrees, but once they are out of earshot, they decide to ask the wolf for his opinion. The mirror cannot tell them where the wolf lives, but suggests building a straw house. Zach’s bag supplies them with tools and a haystack and after a while, they have constructed a ramshackle straw house and settle down to wait.

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Love What You Do, Do What You Love

[Recording Session, Session ID SEA#0005]

“Fuckin’ piece of junk!How d’you like that, huh?!”
The camera is oriented towards a grey sky, just some clouds are pierced by pale sunlight, while the curses of an angry woman mix with the sound of a heavy object pounding vigorously into plastic and metal.
“Yeah, get that outta your system, Motherfucker!”
A baseball bat clutters to the ground next to the camera which is now properly adjusted and shows Frettchen, squatting next to the device.
“Please, Doc, tell me you’re still sane, or I gotta put you down, too.”
In the background are various appliances, all smashed beyond repair.
“Good morning, Miss Aidee. Why are you so upset?”, the virtual doctor asks, slightly puzzled.
“Thank fucking God, they didn’t get you.”, Frettchen says with a good deal of relief.
“They?”, replies the program. “Miss Aidee, this behavior is alarming and frankly not matching prior diagnosis…”
“Relax, Doc…”, she cuts him off, sitting down and taking a breath. “Been cybertrolled and now I gotta do some… appliance-related cleaning.”
After a couple of seconds of awkward silence, the shrink clears his throat. “Very well, do you want to talk about this?”
“Nah… But while we’re at it, maybe about something else. So, you remember that job I told you about? ‘Course you do. Turned out it didn’t go as smooth as we thought it did and now Ruckus and I got fired. Maybe we shouldn’t have worn our own gang colors…”, she says, staring at the small harbor’s coastline. “But you know what? It was a shitty gig anyway. Stupid fucktard idiots, caught up in their mindless war for a drug and all that nonsense…”
The doctor nods, takes a few notes. “I think it is for the better that you are no longer involved in these kinds of crime.”
“These kinds? Jeez, your adaptive algorithms are more flexible than I thought… anyway, yeah. All the fun I’d get there, I could get for myself anyway. That’s kinda the thing, though…”, she ponders.
“Please elaborate on that, Miss Aidee…”
“Been thinking about stuff. Stuff from the past.”, the elf explains reluctantly, like carefully opening a barrel of angry snakes. “Pictures and mementos, some vids… Did you know I am married?”
“Sometimes, it is helpful to…”, he starts, but then blinks in shocked disbelief. “Are you fucking serious?!” he then blurts out, resting his face in the palm of his hand.
“Hey, language, Doc! Damn, you got some sick realistic protocols there…”
The doctor throws his notes away and pulls out a new scratchpad. “Please forgive me, Miss Aidee, I just need to process this and, yet again, adjust my modus operandi for an efficient therapy. This may take several minutes.”, he sighs. “And indeed, what I provide is based on advanced tutor-software, tailored to my patients needs. That includes language patterns and advanced socializing if necessary. But I would suggest we try to ignore the technicalities of our relationship for a more efficient dialogue.”
He straightens his tweed jacket, rubs his temples and then the projections looks at Frettchen again. “Please go on…”
“Yeah… So, I met my husband while I was on vacation, visiting the East Coast. That was seventeen years ago, bit more I guess. I had a lot of fun. Plenty of chaos, havoc, brawls and stuff, we let this kid tag along too, gotta spoil the youth, you know?”
Frettchen smiles contently, her gaze still fixed on grey waters in the distance. “Good times. Nostalgia’s poison, that’s what I like to think at least. But those were just… Good times. It felt right to stop every now and then, before resuming to whatever fun I wanted to come up with, because it never FELT like actually stopping. I had the best of BOTH, I had my cake and got to eat it too… And then the Flux State exploded in glorious riot, I had to leave, the crash made us lose each other and I wrecked half of Berlin’s Matrix terminals out of frustration… Point is…”, she hesitates, pondering. “No, wait… remember that list you gave me? Phases of life or some shit?”
After a bit of browsing through her comlink, a list flickers into existence.
1)Eat Everything
2)See Everything
3)Do Everything
4)Fuck Everything
5)Love Everything
6)Fix Everything
7)Earn Everything
8)Relax Everything

“Yeah, I made some adjustments. I don’t even know when 5 is supposed to start and I’m in my fucking fifties… Any advice on that, Doc?”
The doctor’s virtual forehead is wrinkled by a deep, thoughtful frown, as he looks up from his notes.
“My advice would be, if you cannot re-evoke this feeling of balance due to your husband’s unfortunate absence, try to find a surrogate.”
Frettchen raises a brow. “You mean, like…dating?”, she asks with a dash of disgust.
“No. Try to think of something that gave you a similar notion and then commit a pat of your day to that activity. For recuperative purposes, regenerating…creative energies, if you will, or even let what you love to do converge with this tool of balance. I am sure a woman with so many talents can find something worthwhile.”, he suggested.
“Got something specific in mind, you shrewd little bastard?”, she wanted to know, a sly smile sneaking up her face.
“From what I’ve gathered, and excuse my boldness, you enjoyed being a paramedic. Maybe it will take significant time until you overcome your utter hatred towards DocWagon, but that does not mean you have to hold yourself back entirely, Miss Aidee.”
After a long, stone-faced pause, Frettchen gives the projection a white-toothed grin and nods.
“That’s a nice thought…”
“I am glad I could be of assistance, Miss Aidee. Would you like to conclude this session or keep going?”
“Nah, s’okay…i’m done for today. Guess I’ll browse some more pics or write a song or something… Thanks, Doc."

wish_you_were_here_by_ashtrails-d92xph1.jpg

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Feeding the Troll

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

What have I gotten myself into?
You know, ever since I stopped doing day-by-day business, by which I mean making sure to see the next sunrise, life has become a mess of actual organization and planning in advance.
Considering everything that lies ahead, I gotta start somewhere and that was coming clean with the Gypsies.
This deal bothered me right from the start and it was time to negotiate something more favorable for both parties. There’s no good way of saying this and that’s what I told them, as we sat at that table in the Squatters Mall: the deal’s off, but we may work together in the future.
They agreed, said ‘let’s bury the deal’, translating roughly to ‘you’re fucked’ in Gypsy-speak.
What they failed to realize was that this time they didn’t get the jump on me.
I wasn’t alone, and they didn’t have a hostage so I didn’t have to hold back.
They still had a troll.
Word around the Mall is, Ramrod was a pretty hot boxer once, and Spirits, that’s an understatement if I’ve ever seen one. He shrugged off punches I actually DID deck other trolls with…
And while I was busy breaking Gypsy-arms, poor Stan got to enjoy the beautiful experience of face-tanking a grown-ass troll.
After his three friends were down, I talked some sense into Ramrod.
People sometimes think trolls are idiots. Never make the mistake to confuse “simple” for “stupid”. Trust me on this one.
He understood that those guys were bad company and probably just using him for their own ends. All he wanted was some chocolate. And that’s something I gladly gave him, with a good job perspective on top.
Befriending trolls isn’t that easy, they tend to be loners. But I think we’re on a good way here.
We stripped the Gypsies clean, left them with their vests, boots and a knife, just as etiquette out here demands.
Sometimes, things work out like that.
In not so happy news, Screech’s gone.
Wait, that sounds horrible. I mean, he had a bad relapse. His cancer’s back and he had to sell the joint and his hardware to get treatment and one last vacation with his wife.. Fuck, I never knew he had a wife.
He’s in Tir right now and hopes he gets to see San Francisco while he’s still alive.
Spirits, it hurt seeing the old badger like that. Treatment’s 30k, I can afford it, so fuck the money. He earned himself some more good days and I’ll be damned if I let the Zone get him.
Still, logistics will be a nightmare without him, even with the little black book he gave me.
Speaking of which… Time for some calls.
[End Audio]

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Delivery
Tobias' Log

We have our delivery, believe it or not. The boxes smell a bit horsey, but the chocolate is sealed, so who cares.

Why does it smell horsey? I was hoping you’d ask. I noticed something was wrong when Zoé phoned the contact number, asking if there were any outstanding warrants against them? We checked this and had just picked up the phone to call back with a negative when a warrant did pop up. Resisting arrest, attacking officers of the law, reckless driving, wanted in connection with further crime, BOLO for a truck and an RV with no paint job. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Take a look at this video, if you want to see some nice acrobatics by Fog, taking out the cops with smoke grenades, and also if you want to see him screaming his head off while someone else in a chameleon suit drives them both through a mall on his bike, picking up some bubble tea on the way. I lost the RV soon after that, after the autopilot got deactivated. I don’t know what they did with it. The insurance company is screaming murder, though. But since they’re screaming at fake SINs, I don’t worry too much.

The truck was around a bit longer, hiding from the cops in some woodland or other. I think they had a hacker themselves to throw the cops off their scent, some of the stuff on the police scanner was faked. But it was good enough to last about as long as they needed it to. About that time, a monastery called the police that someone stole a horse trailer with two valuable horses in it. Yes, I did say monastery.

I’m not quite sure how our guys escaped that manhunt. All the bridges over the Hudson were closed down and police were looking for the horse trailer because they’re not dumb. But fact is, said horse trailer arrived here in the early morning, sans horses, avec chocolate. Our runners are in the hotel, but need another flight reservation because at least two of their SINs are burned. And of course we will need new documentation for the chocolate since it’s not exactly hot, but at least slightly warm right now. Not a problem, though, I already arranged matters.

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