Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Therapy
Frettchen's Therapy Sessions

[Recording Session, Session ID SEA#0002]

Pale blue light flickers and creeps through the inside of a Van. The place could be called comfy, but it’s a hopeless mess of clothes, cables and spare parts at the moment.
‘Goodday, Doc. How are you?’
A tall, lean elf sits cross legged in front of the trideo and the flickering image of a bald man in a worn out tweed jacket.
‘I’m fine, Miss Aidee. Are you ready for today’s session?’, he asks and lifts his notepad with an encouraging smile.
‘Yes, let’s get this over with…’, the woman answers, rolling her amber eyes.
‘Excellent. So, tell me, how is Seattle treating you, have you settled in yet?’
‘It’s not too bad. I miss the good kind of punks, everyone over here is either an asshole or a racist asshole and people keep calling me Ferret because they’re too stupid to make a proper ch-sound… But yeah, I’m happy enough to be alive after the, uh, mess at home.’
The therapist makes notes, silently scribbling and visibly annoying his conversational partner.
‘Very good’, he concludes, but raising a brow. ‘So you have found a new job, yes?’
‘Kind of.’, she dodges.
‘Nothing shady, I hope. That is not a healthy fresh start, Miss Aidee.’
‘Yeah, yeah… I know. It’s what I’m good at, though. I mean, it’s my conscience, Doc, right?’
Her answer turned out to be more defensive than she intended. ‘Sorry, sorry…I’ll behave and stuff.’
‘I’m not here to push you, I am here to give you counsel and good advice, miss Aidee. From what I’ve gathered, you’re good at many more things, why not make a living out of those?’, he suggests.
‘Because those are boring. Can we talk about something else, please?’
‘Of course…’ the doctor flips a page and gives the green-haired elf a stern look. ‘Have you “called” Doc Wagon recently?’
Frettchen seems to struggle a bit. ‘Yes…Maybe?’
The doctor sighs. ‘And there I thought we were making progress. I don’t have to remind you that tapping into emergency frequencies AND disturbing them is illegal. So I just inform you that we have to start over if you want to successfully overcome this issue.’
‘Oh for fuck’s sake…’, she groans. ‘Not this again. I should’ve never have downloaded you…’
‘If you aren’t satisfied, Miss Aidee, you can always call customer service. Until then I must ask: if you would truly think your purchase was a mistake, why do you still consult me?’
She gives the virtual shrink a long, frustrated glare, but then clears her throat. ‘Guess because you are the only one I don’t need to lie to. Feels good to just talk for a change without making shit up.’
‘Do you want to conclude this session?’, he asks politely.
‘Yeah….’
‘Will I see you next session?’
‘We’ll see about that, doc.’, she says, grinning and switching of the trideo.

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The Affairs of Dragons
Christopher's Log

In all my life, I have only ever seen a great dragon once and I intend to keep it that way. Nevertheless, I’m involved in the affairs of dragons now.

Part of this is the fact that I need to come up with enough money to pay for someone to care for Melissa. She cannot be left alone and on bad days, she needs constant looking after. I tried, but this is not something one person alone can do. We’ve talked about moving, but we’ve both lived in Seattle all our lives and we won’t take root anywhere else now. So money’s the rational explanation, but I’m also curious. Morbidly so, probably, but I never could leave a secret alone.

It all started harmless enough. Fiach entroduced me to a friend of his, Rosìn. I told Fiach about my money problems – not something I usually talk about, but that kid knows how to listen. Rosìn said she might have a job for me, at a detective agency. Tyrell Agency, never heard of it. But they needed a magical consultant and I came with a lifetime experience as a forensics expert, so I agreed. Rosìn isn’t quite the little librarian she tries to pass herself off as – her magic is more powerful than mine and I’m reasonably sure that she is also the person behind Tyrell.

The branch of Tyrell here in Seattle (I don’t think there are others, whatever their website says) consists of an alcoholic ex-ex- Knight Errant and ex- Hard Corps Lieutenant, Roger Kowalski, and his partner in more sense than one, Babsie. They’ve been investigating a series of arsons plus murders at talismongers. We did a bit of digging and all the shops were probably selling dragon telesma. That has always been risky, but now it seems to have become deadly. Wanda tells me that similar arsons have happened not only in the rest of the UCAS, but also in Europe. Most talisleggers who ever had something to do with selling dragon body parts have gone to ground.

The first crime scene was too fresh to do anything magical there, but the one at the Renton Mall was old enough to enter safely. Babsie went in, with a little help from a spirit of mine, and grabbed some containers I pointed out to her and the glasses of the shopkeeper. The containers were used to store illegal or at the very least questionable reagants: fairy dust and testicles from awakened raccoons. The glasses were a break-through for us, after we got them to a psychometry expert. They got us the description and a picture of the drake responsible for this murder and, we’re fairly sure, the others.

He said to the shopkeeper that he was seeking revenge for Pyridian, a young dragon from Scotland who came to North America with his sibling. It seems he did not find good fortune here. The picture was good enough for me to send a spirit to search for him, while I went on a little hike up in the Cascades foothills to make myself a bit harder to find. Albert didn’t find the drake, but he did find a dying man, another private detective who had followed the drake here from California. He gave me his room number and the code for his safe and Babsie and Kowalski went to get his notes while I waited for Doc Wagon to show up. Mike survived and we got his notes, but only just. There’s a chance that the drake’s people have seen the agency’s car and maybe both Kowalski and Babsie. But so far we’re still alive.

Mike’s notes mention a couple of names for the runners the drake hired and a talismonger import/export firm named Virgin Mana. Wanda has met their people before, coming to her place to recruit talisleggers. I get the impression she was not kind when she discovered this. She also pointed me in the direction of the Cocoon as a place to investigate. It never had a very good reputation, but these days it’s even worse. We’ll see what we can find out there.

It feels quite good to work like this again. Not just as a freak, hired because it needs to be done, with everyone treating me like I’m little better than the criminals I’m hired to find.. Babsie at least is more curious than anything and doesn’t hold much prejudice. A rare thing.

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Ghost Town
Rusty's Vlog

camera activates: Rusty‘s walking through woodland, pine and firs, his steps quiet on the carpet of needles. He comes out of the woods behind an abandoned lumber mill and stops walking for a moment. The camera pans as he takes in his surroundings, listening. But there’s nothing to hear except some jays and he walks on, following the street into town. What’s left of it anyway, a handful of decaying homes, some scrappy cars still parked in the street, a gas station. The towns has been abandoned for years obviously.

Abandoned Lumber Mill

Creepy.

He walks towards the gas station. There’s some police tape, flapping in the breeze, encircling the pump stations and a padlocked manhole cover that probably leads down to the empty gas tank. Rusty turns full circle, looks around, obviously searching for something or someone.

Fuck. Where are you?

He walks closer to the police tape, cranes his neck, but there’s nothing much to see. A dark spot on the tarmac a few meters down the street catches his eye and he walks over, gets down on one knee for a closer look. He gingerly touches it and his fingers rub off some flaky red stuff, dried blood. He stands up again, quickly, and turns once again, like he’s expecting an attack any second.

Fuck it, time to go.

He starts walking down the street back to where he came from. He jumps when he hears the bang of a door, pulls his crossbow and almost fires at the girl running towards him. She looks terrible, covered ins scrapes and bruises, her clothes torn and dirty and she’s sweating and stumbling, barely able to keep herself on her feet. Rusty catches her before she runs into him.

What happened here? Where’s the other girl? Let’s get her and we can get out of here.

She just starts crying, shaking her head and in between sobs, Rusty can understand enough to gather that Red Eye is dead. He picks up Dakota and starts walking.

No sense in hanging around here. You can tell me about it later, let’s get on our way.

A break in the recording. When the camera activates again, Rusty’s driving up a mountain pass. Dakota is uneasily sleeping on the back seat, he checks on her now and again in the rear view mirror.

Shit. What a fuckup. The cops found them, they conjured up a spirit to help them search. The girls tried to run but they didn’t stand a chance. Dakota says Red Eye suddenly turned back, gave her a shove to run on and stood her ground. When one of the cops tried to grab her, she reached for his gun and he shot her. Dakota made it out of town and stumbled into a ravine, almost broke her neck tumbling down the rocks, blacked out on landing. The cops must have left her for dead or maybe they didn’t find her. She clawed her way out of there and only just made it back into town on time. She’s in bad shape, I think she broke a couple of ribs and her shoulder and she’s in pain anyway from going cold turkey. I just hope the border cops don’t take a close look at her. I’ll stop at some gas station before we get there, make her a bit more presentable and then hope for the best.

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Road to Nowhere
Nebraska's Log

Our group planned to rape right through fucking NAN! With a van full of True Schok ana fucking big RV, which they said I may drive. They asked us for gear and I said I’d need a Chamaeleon Suit, one of that things that I’ve seen in that simflick “Ninja Nuicance Cyberwarriors”. Flick was lame, cause they cut out all that gutripping and nipplescenes. And I hate when they do that. But they were invisible! SLASH HACK GUTRIPPING (censored-doh)

Still need a mean vibrosword to be invincible. But I had evil masterplan! Going full undercover nobody expects me to carry out revenge rescue masterplan for Dakota an’ Red Eye. Got snatched riding trains with Dakota in fuckin’ screwtown whatever, near Spokane. Dakota an me were Waggonhitchin’ all through country but bad county cops got hands on us, meh they got me but Dakota could have run away, but stopped. Tried ouch-spray into the eyes of dumbass county deputy fucktroll. But dipwit got cybereyes an’ then everything gone sideways.

They needled us an’ then brought to court! Fuckass jury was blind not listening to Nebraska or Dakota, yellin’ an’ accusing and got bitchslapped again until resistance futile. Illegal, said we sinless, we drugaddict was lie! We’ve stolen, we thieves an’ illegal hitchhikin’ an’ we yelled ‘no we not’, but bitchslap an’ gagged after that. Said me an’ Dakota illegal vagabonds and have serve community service and detox in protected facility for own sake. BLAM lawhammered.

Reality different. Needled us badly. Fucked us both an’ worse. Until we no yelling no more. No protest. Just bliss-junkies. Was camp and Dakota and me sure dead if not Red Eye helping. Giving us smuggled herbs, meds, vitamins an’ shit. They’d made us work hard laborwise, sexwise, community fucked. Cause we just Anglo junkie whores, nobody care. Got fucked by at MINI 80yo fart for community service. Needed that for some medical issues I guess. Always hoped he’ll not snuff under me for sure will got beaten up if did.

Whatever. Me free now. Me cyberninja, proto. And got this Rigger-Bad-Ass-Cyber-Leather-Helmet with goggles and suit I’m almost as good as CYBERNINJA. So fuck you NAN! I’m coming over you an’ I’ll fuck you bad this time!

Me no more victim. Nebraska comin’ for revenge. Burnin’ whole fuck’n town down killing everyone in wake.

Okay. That’s plan. Like subtil like I learned, for I’m full proto-runner now. First problem was at bordercrossing. Got that feather in my hair an’ they said I must put away fucking pigeon feather. Man, that’s lame. I deserved to piss on every fuckin’ NAN fragger I see and they didn’t get the joke. Pigeon is like air-rat an’ I’ve fucking Jet when on tempo in pigeon booth. They called it cultral appropthefuck. And I: WHAT? They explained and I understand.

Nebraska is smarter than they know. It’s like snarf someones culture for fun. But they didn’t understand this no fuck’n FUN for me! That’s MISSION! And mission is above pride, so I put feather away. I got right to piss on fuckin’ feather people. EARNED RIGHT BADASS They all liars and rapists an’ pimps an’ an’ an’ false tongues for saying “We nice Eco country” but reality is FUCKIN BAD. If you’re anglo. If you’re girl. If you’re thirteen world is sick ’n shit.

So we were camping in nice place by Honeymoon fuck’n Bay. All part of MASTERPLAN. I’ve been talking to Fog for know he’d understand position. That I wanna help Dakota an’ Red Eye out of sick camp from sicko church, “Lost Souls Reclaiming” fuck you very much which was front and nicesigning for KZ girls rape camp.

ME KILL FUCKERS

Plan this: Fog, Jet, Full-Ninja-Me going in over waterside, swimmingwise which sounds easy. For turning up from water like frogmen and crossbowing all suckers silently, getting out Dakota and Red Eye is a plan that’ll work. Did work in “Ninja Frogmen Commando” gameplay too! Mega SOLID RUNNER PLAN!
People calling me… gotta GO

P.S:: I found this CLIP on archives! That’s so SANE! Totally understand that! What I want! FEATHERS in boxes!

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Sidetracked
Tobias' Log

Boss, you asked for a status report on those kid runners. I tracked them, no problem and from what I’ve seen, they’ve kitted themselves out nicely. Well prepared. They’re taking the highway through the NAN and I think that’s probably a wise decision. The UCAS/ SSC border was easy, but that’s not the border I’d worry about if I was them.

Right now they’re sitting at some campground near Spokane and I thought they were done for the night. And maybe they are, but the police scanners are exploding with activity. Someone broke into a rehab center and abducted two girls. The description of at least one of them sounds worryingly like one of their guys.

I nibbled a bit around the edges of that rehab center and believe me, it stinks. I don’t know for sure what they are doing there, but it’s probably not legal to say the least. I’m thinking forced prostitution.

Road blocks are going up all over the place and there’s an BOLO out for a pickup. At least they were smart enough not to use one of their own cars, but the pickup is hot, they need to ditch it and get the hell out of there. Police is looking for armed and dangerous suspects – so far they’ve one used a flashbang and a foam grenade, but the sheriff isn’t taking any chances. I’ll keep you updated as things develop.

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Roots
Fog's Audios

Roots

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

With some time to think about this, it seems strange that the evening started with me fishing at a tranquil lake, drinking a beer and I ended it sitting in an underground Multifuel tank. After running for my life, of course.
Then again, considering the guys I’m running with, it’s not that big a twist.
So, how did it come to this?
One of the more valuable lessons I’ve learned, and I’m thankful for that, is that other people have problems too. Everyone has a past, everyone has baggage.
You can spend months with someone and barely scratch the surface of who they are.
Could be ‘cause you’re too busy surviving, or you wanna keep things professional, or simply ‘cause you assume things.
Nebraska, for example.
Granted, I don’t much care who my people were compared to who they are, but what she told me explained a lot about her and her quirks.
There was a place near the motel we were staying and let’s just say it wasn’t a good place. Some assholes were pulling a stunt pretty similar to the sanatorium back in Seattle.
She’s been through that.
Two of Nebraska’s friends were still held there and she wanted to bail them out, no matter what.
She promised them she’d come back, that she wouldn’t leave them behind.
Sounds familiar, don’t ya think?
Gotta admit, I was disappointed that she tried to push that button and wasn’t just straight forward about it, but it didn’t matter.
She needed my help. I was there. And that’s that.

The B&E itself wasn’t that tough. We found the cabin where Dakota and Redeye, Nebraska’s friends, were held.
We got in and out with the usual problems.
But there was a kicker: while Dakota made little effort to prevent our noble rescue attempt, Redeye fought tooth and nail to stay.
Spirits, I thought it was the Bliss, but she went totally berserk on me. A 5 foot elf girl almost decked me…
Why on earth would she struggle so much to stay in this horrible camp where she’s drugged and abused?
Thing is, as we rode off, she got worse by the minute. None of us could make sense of it while the medkit callously continued to spit out sad numbers.
And that’s were we go full circle.
If you listen, you can understand who people are.
Well, d’uh, right? But it’s not that simple, I guess.
Nebraska and Dakota said something about her never making an attempt to escape but rather help people inside.
She had a garden she loved.
She was a remarkably small elf.
As I had just found out, she’d rather wither away in misery than leave that fucking camp.
Leaving the place she lived made her terribly sick.
All those tiny bits made things fall into place.
And in case you didn’t get it by now… She’s a dryad.
One of the less common metatypes of our colorful human species.
She was tied to her home and those ties were about to snap.
In folklore dryads die when they leave their home, when they lose their roots.
Stories about them did never end well as far as I recall.
So I figured it was time for my own canon.
When I knew what to look for, it was easier to see the astral bond to her home and I could see how it strained, how it got weaker.
I waited for it to snap…and took all the backlash.
The pain was… massive, but nothing I haven’t had before. What made this overwhelming were the emotions riding the wave of agony.
It’s called empathic healing for a reason, you know?
And I understand why this would have killed her.
Apart from the trauma, there was… a craving, a yearning for a place to belong so strong that it hurt. Imagining to lose this bond was painful beyond words, so I’ll just leave it at that.
We were both in bad shape, but we’ll live.
For now.

[End Audio]

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Lots and Lots of Sky
Fog's Audios

Lots and Lots of Sky

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

The Audio starts with roughly 10 seconds of pained laughter.

“I mean, just imagine driving the whole distance there…fucking ridiculous.”
Ha…Spirits, we’re SO fucked.
So very, very and royally fucked.
More time, more danger more….fffffuck.
Okay. Yeah, we drive the chocolate, our 1 mill chocolate, all the way up to Boston. We have to cross borders, we have to dodge magic hazards and face even more racism and prejudice than at home while waving fake IDs around and hope for the best.
By “we”, I mean Zoe, Stan, Jet, Nebraska and myself.
Just to prove that we’re capable or some shit.
Capable of hilariously dying, probably. None of us has any experience with this crap. I’m the only one who could remotely pass as a smuggler and I never fucking left Seattle.
My Sioux’s also a bit rusty, but that’s the least of our problems.
This can go wrong so many ways…but there’s no choice. We’re in this now so we might as well pull through as best we can, right?
Cover’s a decent one, the rides are good and we got some bribe money left.
ETA is in 6 or 7 days, if nothing goes wrong, so…we’ll see about that.
We’ll stick to the highway, try to make no fuzz and get through the NAN…sounds reasonable enough.
I just hope I can get everyone through this alive…

[End Audio]

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Hey, Little Sister

camera activates. Rusty‘s sitting on the floor on a mattress, surrounded by crumpled blankets and sleeping bags. He looks like he hasn’t slept for days. The regular beeping of hospital machinery is heard over his voice.

Brigit. She’s…gonna be an ork. She complained about cramps a couple of days ago and she had a fever and everything, it looked serious, so I called Diego to check on her. He took her to the clinic right away and they are doing everything they can to make it easy for her. If this is easy, though, then I don’t want to see hard. Unless they drug her, she’s screaming all the time and her muscles keep seizing up. Sometimes, I watch her and I can see the change as it happens. Neil and Diego say that she’s doing well. No serious problems.

I don’t care if she’s an ork or a troll or whatever, she’s my sister and I love her. But she’s taking it hard. She’s so scared and I can’t really help her. She’s afraid of what people are going to say and about what’s going to happen with her future. And I can’t say that everything will be okay and not lie. Because it won’t be and she knows it. But shit, it’s not like her life is over. It’s probably gonna take some time. I just wish I could do something except sit here.

Ling‘s been keeping us company. I guess we’re finally together now, took us long enough. Yeah, okay, took me long enough, her not so much. No idea what I’d do without her in this – she’s been through all that shit with her brother and Brigit can talk to her, about what’s it like, being an ork. When this is over, I really need to do something special for Ling, she deserves it.

Diego told me that it’s extremely rare for children of two humans to goblinize. His guess: my mother had an affair. That’s… I don’t even know. I should care, probably, but I don’t. No idea if I’m going to talk to Brigit about this. I am curious who it was, though. Who would be crazy enough to fuck with Angus’ wife. That’s suicidal, there’s no other word for it. Maybe one day I’ll ask.

camera deactivates

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Fishing Bowl
Fog's Audios

Fishing Bowl

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

Seattle’s soil may be polluted, disgusting sludge, but it feels good to be on home ground again.
Not that Boston wasn’t nice, but let’s just say it would’ve been bad to stick around much longer.
For all of us.
Rusty got in some trouble but first things first.
We went to the aquarium.
And as always, when we try to do something completely harmless, things just go south till we can see penguins facepalming at us.
Turned out the crabs weren’t that exciting, but that place had selkies. Real selkies.
Like, sentient beings. Put behind glass for their own ‘protection’ and the amusement of some tourist morons who paid 10 Nuyen.

Things escalated quickly from there. Zoe went all Sad Disney Princess and I gotta admit, it always pains me to see supernatural things suffer. It’s kinda hard to describe. There’s a certain beauty and wonder to awakened things and though selkies have a reputation to mess with longing and desire, they weren’t even in human form. They were just magic seals from a time when things were much easier; and they didn’t deserve to wither away in a fucking fish tank.
Sad story, but there was nothing we could do. I like fixing things, but this wasn’t my league.
I told Glitzy and yeah, well, knowing her and her anarchic tendencies, it was literally a matter of minutes until she bent over some contacts and got her hands on two ghost suits.
Fast forward and we ninja-ed our way into the aquarium, talked the selkies into leaving Boston with us, smuggled three sentient shapeshifters out of fucking Boston Airport after beating up some frat-boys who didn’t know how to behave…and all that without major catastrophes.

The disaster tried to catch up in a completely unrelated way, though.
Rusty had his own little job and some assholes tried to get the best of him.
They awaited us on the airfield, but in a friggin mess featuring a flare gun, a booze-filled Supersoaker and a team of runners who got the attention of a lot of bad Karma.
That was really…weird. Sorry, there’s no other word for it.
I almost pity that poor ork who tried to deck me but instead had to run, after his whole team fell victim to extraordinary bad luck.
Was kinda nice, though, to be on the other end of things for a change.

The selkies have a new home and Zoe still got a crush on one of them. I hope she gets over it. Relationships like those tend to end ugly. Those guys and girls look like us if they want to, but they’re something different. It’s this two worlds thing. It may work out, I’m the last one who doesn’t believe in this crap, but odds are if she keeps it up, she’ll end up in a watery grave.

[End Audio]

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TARFU
Bento's Log

Fuck. This is a fucking nightmare. ‘Grab the data courier’, sounded easy enough. Even easier when we got our first look at the guy, he’s just a kid. If he’s more than eighteen, I’m Dunkelzahn. So we wait until he leaves and Joyce says to grab him on the street. Good plan, unless you get rear ended by a garbage truck. Knocked Yana out and Joyce and me ran after the kid, across a railyard.

I got caught in a switch, almost broke my foot, and could only watch while Joyce tackled the kid. Would have been the end of that if the guys from railroad security hadn’t jumped both of them. The kid gave them the slip and climbed over the fence. He’s got guts, I have to hand him that. Just grabbed onto the razor wire and pulled himself up. That must have hurt like a bitch. Joyce had to talk security into letting us go – it’s not like he could just have pulled a gun. Although I could see his hands twitching from where I was standing.

A bit of searching got us the kid’s SIN and the information that he would be leaving Boston soon on a small plane. Doing anything at Logan was out of the question, so we hired a jet and waited at the airfield out in the sticks in North Dakota where they were supposed to land. NAN territory, but we weren’t planning on hanging around. We were listening in to the tower chatter and for some reason, the kid’s plane had an engine problem and was forced to land on another airfield. Smart move.

Wheels up again for us, arriving in Seattle with a couple of hours to spare. Enough to get a good look at Harvey Airfield, another man and some transportation. We waited until the customs officer left, no sense in getting him in the middle of it. From what the customs declaration said, the people on board the plan were just a couple of corporate drones.

Man, we got fucked. First, Yana fumbled his stun spell and knocked himself out. Then, Joyce went berserk on a girl carrying a fucking water pistol, but before he could do any serious harm, he stopped dead and just stared at the three people accompanying the girl. I don’t know if that was some kind of spell or whatever, but he was out of it. Practically started drooling.

We had one more thing going for us, Stacker behind the hangar. But they had made him already and shot him with a flaregun. He’s in the hospital now, with third degree burns and it would have been worse if they hadn’t had the decency to use a fire extinguisher on him. I could hear a bike engine in the hangar and made one last attempt to get the kid. Which might have worked, but corporate drones my ass. The guy who fought me should have been out of it after two blows, but instead he kept coming at me.

I decided to cut my losses and bailed before anyone could call KE. We were supposed to meet at this safehouse if anything went wrong. Yana’s more or less okay and I know where Stacker is. But Joyce? No idea. I can’t reach him, not on his commlink and not at the ShadowSea drop. He hasn’t turned up here and he hasn’t checked in with our Johnson. I did get a call from someone, asking for a meetup at ShadowSea. Someone from the kid’s group. I suspect they have Joyce.

This is TARFU’d beyond belief. I’m going to see what they want from us and then I’m going to do some really creative reporting for our Johnson.

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