Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Stilettos
Fairy Fay's Log

So we were hiding out at the fertilizer plant until things cooled down a bit – at least that was the plan. After Satellite Day, people were going crazy in Redmond, it was like a war zone. Some scavengers had come over when things really went bad. Like, oh crap we are going to die-bad.

The Eagles of Revenge had been pissing off the Rusted Stilettos for ages and now they had had enough. They came with, I don’t know, a hundred guys and their mutant dogs to kick the Eagles out. We saw them and for a moment we would have had the chance to just slip away, but then Fog spotted his lost partner Rook right in the middle of the Stilettos and he just ran off, to slip her a note. He almost made it and then they saw him. And they saw us. Fuck.

We were up on the roof of the factory and could see them running towards us, the dogs first and then more of those mutants than I ever wanted to see. I took off to see if I could help Fog, he was running towards another building to get away from the dogs trying to tear him to pieces. The others abseiled down to the ground level and piled into the cars. I was cut off from them, my commlink doesn’t work when I’m a dragon. The Stilettos took some pot shots at me, but missed and I met Fog up on the roof of the house he had climbed up. We went down on the other side and had some time to breathe.

Jet was coming towards us on Fog’s bike and we heard shots and barking dogs in the factory. By the time we had reached the factory, Neb had already cleared the scene, driving Christine like hell was after her. She later told me that Zach almost got eaten by one of those dogs. Kiki followed a bit slower, with a dog on her pickup trying to get into the cabin. I divebombed the dog and killed it, poisoned it. That sting freaks me out. Fire breathing’s bad enough but I always worry that one day, I’ll sting one of my guys by accident. Came in handy that time, though, that dog just dropped dead. Two more came out of nowwhere and I burned one, Fog shot the other. Kiki had crashed her car, but it still ran and when we saw that Wily was driving the hell out of the factory in the bus with the others, we didn’t wait around any longer.

I crawled into the cabin with Kiki and curled up in the footwell. Even with the Stilettos left behind, everybody and their mom were shooting at us, just for fun. By the time we arrived at the Rat’s Nest, we all were more or less in bad shape. One of the Eagles was the worst, the dog that kid had fought with had almost chewed his arm off. Zach had been nailed to Christine with a bolt and when I say bolt, I mean something like a fucking whaler’s harpoon. But Neil and his people got us all patched up. Zoé’s finger had been shot off, but Stanley fixed it…al while being high as a kite on Nitro. And then he keeled over.

Fuck, if I never see one of those mutants again it will be too soon. I really thought we were all going to die. And I haven’t made it out of the sanatorium to get killed by a ganger. We all haven’t made it so far just to die like that. I want to see some more of the world and I want to be with Dawn and I want to see the girls be happy and get whatever they want. Don’t know if that will happen, but fuck you, Stilettos, you’re not getting us.

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Comlink Joker
Fog's Audios

Comlink Joker

[Recording…Chip capacity 99%]
[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

(The audio starts with moderately distant gunfire and the sound of heavy breathing, Fog’s voice cuts in, sore from smoke and running)
Drek.
Fffffuck.
Alright, there’s not much time.
I just hope you didn’t pry this from my cold body, but got it by some other means. In any case: listen!
For spirit’s sake, just listen!
I failed you. There’s no excuse for that.
I fucked things up and you paid the price. But I found you and Crow‘s with me.
We’ll fix this, I promise.
But you must keep fighting!
I’m aware how tempting it is…cutting a deal with that asshole pretending to be our guide. Been there myself.
Don’t fall for his bullshit, keep struggling, keep swinging, tell him to fuck off!
It’s not too late. It never is, remember?
He may think he’s got you hooked with power and promises. Show him he messed with the wrong girl.
Rook, you’re not a piece. You’re a player. You’re a Fighter.
I know you’re still in there. Don’t you dare to give up. As long as I breathe I’ll come for you and if I have to take that fucker down on his home plane!
Okay. Time’s up, I guess…
Remember:
I won’t let you down, won’t leave you behind.
You’re not alone.
Don’t worry, I gotcha.


[End Audio]

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Suit Up
Fog's Audios

Suit Up

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

Glitzy helped us to find a…business partner.
It’s really scary to have her in business mode. I mean, I don’t talk about that much ‘cause…well, I don’t need to share all personal things here, do I?
Let’s just say during training I’ve had a glance at this woman’s emotional landscape, got an idea of how she ticks and who she is and all that.
Though, when it comes to large scale business she’s the fucking ice queen, I shit you not!
But I digress…we had to choose between a potential buyer in China, where we could be happy if we walk away alive with some pocket money, our local Mafia who’d just gut us alive and take the goods or the Boston Family, who would’ve make a good business partner if we don’t fuck things up.
Seems like an easy choice, but Boston means personal business for Glitzy. Of the unpleasant kind.
We agreed on that anyway.
There’s too much at stake and after all, we’re with her. I’ll take care that she’ll get back alive and well. That’s kinda what I’m around for, anyway, right?

She also told us to suit up so we won’t look like the rag tag band of street scum that we are.
Shit, you have no idea how naked I feel without my suit in these…high class rags. The dirt on my clothes after a trip to the barrens offers more protection than those things and they cost 1k each for spirits’ sake!
On the plus side, we still had the Humvee’s machine gun for sale andScreech made us a good deal.
I also got to knock out two thugs in one swipe with a roundhouse kick who wanted to mug us on my fucking turf.
Guess that’s another tick on my bucket list. Yeah, that’s somewhere between eating a lobster and riding a dragon.
Which…is a weird thing to say if your chummer is a drake…

[End Audio]

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Satellite Day
Neil's Journal

Satellite Day riots

Satellite Day has come and gone and this time, it brought full-out riots. It’s always somewhere between a block party and an opportunity to plunder and go berserk, depending on where you live, but this time people really went full-out. Probably because police were tied up with the factory that burned down and were slow to respond. At the Nest, it was fairly quiet, but then there are much better places to raid that us. But we were still up all night. There was gunfire, even more than usual, and I think a couple of fires got started, but mainly people tried to get into Bellevue to plunder.

Redmond is in a state of emergency, with a curfew and you better have a SIN ready if you want in or out of Touristville.. There are police raids and yesterday, people got arrested and beaten up for so much as breathing in the wrong direction. At least water and electricity have been restored. I went to meet Kowalski because I had a mind to call in one of the favors he owes me, to see if I can find a trace of Miss Patterson. Kowalski did have contacts to the Celavies, but it was the maybe boyfriend of a woman Kowalski once fucked and then cheated upon. That is a train wreck waiting to happen, so I decided to pass.

Kowalski had a run in with some people who either didn’t like his face or wanted to deliver a warning, resulting in broken ribs and a broken jaw. He tried to self-medicate with whiskey, but Babsie and me finally got him to come to the clinic. They have a Doc Wagon contract, so they could have gone to a legit hospital, but Babsie mention the Hollywood Hospital and no. Just no. I want the man to be around a bit longer, if only to be able to call in the favors.

The operation would have gone smoother if Kowalski wasn’t on his way to becoming an alcoholic, but he’ll be okay, no major problems. One day I will haul off and punch him, though, if not for his self-righteousness then for his sexism. He has this giant ‘no homo!’-neon sign every time I touch him and this time, I tried how far I could push and flirted. I went so far and suggested that we could settle his debts in … another way. He squirmed and didn’t even know what to say because shit, if he suggest I’m gay, he probably offends me (like he would be offended) and if he doesn’t he might catch the gay from me. Babsie and me lost it anyway at about that time. It was mean. But it was fucking funny.

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Chocolate
Fairy Fay's Log

We did it! We broke into the factory and we stole a ton of chocolate – really a ton. It’s fake chocolate, though, and maybe we’re fucked because of that, but maybe we can sell it anyway. It tastes just like the real thing at least, so that’s good.

Anyway. We planned to disable the lasers on the roof of the factory and then go in quietly, but then Fog came up with the idea to blackmail some of the mercenaries who guard the factory. And he actually pulled it off, two of them, Static and Spider, agreed to help us for a percentage and we decided to frame the other two who are nutjobs anyway. Give them placebos instead of their medication and let them run wild. They also told us that there was a safe in the basement with cocoa beans – that the really valuable stuff, so we had to steal that. Take one of the lasers from the roof and crack the safe with it.

We made it into the factory alright. Kiki helped us by making us invisible and she stayed topside with Jet to load the chocolate onto the Humvee that we planned to steal as well. Fog and I went down into the basement to tackle the safe. Fog because he knows something about engineering and me because I can stand the heat without gear just by turning into a dragon. And I’m agile enough to operate the laser even so. That worked well and we were just ready to go in and see if Static had told the truth when one of the mercenaries came running down the stairs and attacked us. He managed to dodge my fire, but Fog had him down and out cold in no time. We took three crates of beans, even though they looked weird.

Meanwhile, the shit had been hitting the fan big time. Static had shot the main computer and the alarm was up, so we had only ten minutes or so until backup would arrive. The other mercenary was running amok – we had planned for that, but he was a bit more deadly than we had thought. I’m not even sure what happened, but there were some craters in the tarmac, bullet holes everywhere and the Humvee looked a bit worse for wear. Also, the main generator had just exploded and the factory was starting to burn. We all piled into the car and made it out of there just in time. Static had been hit badly and we almost left them behind because Zach said that he suspected that static had been trying to kill us. But in the end, we took them along.

We could hear the helicopter with the backup coming closer and we lost them in the streets with Zach’s help who jammed their sensors. It helped that there was chaos anyway – it was Satellite Day. On some days, satellite parts will rain onto Seattle and that’s always an occasion for wild parties and often looting, especially in Redmond. So the cops had better things to do than look for us and we loaded our chocolate into Kiki’s van and left the Humvee somewhere.

Now we’re lying low at the chemical plant. First, we wanted to sell the chocolate here in Seattle, but Fog called Glitzy and she told us that she had contacts either in China or in Boston. Boston would be better for us since she had the better connections there. But she didn’t sound too pleased to go there. No idea what the story is. She comes from Boston, I think, and so does Neil, so maybe it’s family-wise? But we’ll fly there with her and try and get a good deal for our stuff.

The beans are algae. That’s why the chocolate is fake and that’s why we have to be extra careful selling the stuff. We’ll probably hang onto the beans because when we sell those, the corporation will no longer be able to keep up their scam and I don’t think I want to piss them off even more. For now, they will get insurance money and some press, no biggie. But if people find out their chocolate is fake…

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The Smell of Hot Chocolate
Fog's Audios

The Smell of Hot Chocolate

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

Yes. Fuck yes.
We did it.
And I personally witnessed atiny dragon going nuclear, or probably optical with a laser on a friggin’ safe.
Got a recording of that, for ‘Tube and matrix millions, in case everything else fails.
Of course there were some minor complications but we got out alive of this spectacular mess.
Everyone pulled their weight and did so fucking well.
The Humvee’s gone, sadly. I like simple yet durable tech. It’s nothing for the Barrens; makes you a target, but it was good having that thing around.
Engine burned out after the arm of a Halloweener got caught in the gears. Satellite Day riots provide a good head start ‘cause it keeps the cops busy, but the streets crawled with gangs and looters.
Static ate a lot of shrapnel and we barely managed to stabilize him, but he’ll pull through.
His stunt of nuking first the facility server and then the generator will cost him some serious money off our deal, but otherwise…a fine job.
Of course, as always, there was some barbed hook. Something was off about those seeds and after some research they proved to be a big fucking fraud. I mean, they got the job done, it was real chocolate, indistinguishable from the original, yet still, it wasn’t genuine. Lindt, or rather Shiawase was ripping off everyone.
Good thing is, their insurance will drown them in money, now that their whole factory blew up, so they have little incentive to go after us with full force.
At least if we learn from past mistakes and stop doing something stupid, like trying to do anything with those seeds or blackmail Shiawase…also means we’re back at whatever the chocolate gets us in a good deal, but that’s more than enough, I’d say.
We’re back at the chemical plant right now, about to store our millions in a safe place until we figured out how to sell all that shit…before Nebraska gorges away on our money.

[End Audio]

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Date Crash
Fog's Audios

Date Crash

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

Legwork.
I’ve heard there are people who can get it done without minor catastrophes, but I guess those are just urban legends.
Thanks toEla and Zach we’ve had a really good layout of the chocolate factory, intel regarding their security and even names, shifts and all that.
That included the knowledge of fucking lasers on the roof.
My first thought was to just let the chocolate fudge itself and snatch the lasers, as, you know, on the black market, a good old military grade laser goes for 6 sweet digits. Sadly, the generator and all the good stuff was located deep in the guts of that facility, so, no dice.
The fun part, though, was to shadow the security rigger.
We did, we did pretty good. And that’s where professionalism punched out and blind improvisation took the wheel.
That guy, callsign Static, was out on a date with his medic to get some sexual healing, I guess.
With the help of Kiki and Zach, though Zach did his best to make things more complicated, as usual, we took out their driver. Kiki cast an Illusion, I waited in the back of the limousine, concealed.
Spirits, this guy was even more helpless in terms of dating than I could ever be. And that’s saying something.
I think I did him a favor by interrupting this trainwreck with a gun.
We talked business, had a little brawl in between which showed them my fine no-bullshit agenda and talked again.
Both wanted a horrendous sum for their inside work…yeah, that was our plan, get the two security mercenaries who aren’t psychos on our side for money.
Worked, kinda, but 1 million wouldn’t cut it. Static pointed out that there was far more valuable stuff in that building than the chocolate and that were the seeds it was made from.
Makes sense? Yes!
And suddenly, we were scoring 10 instead of one million.
The deal was cut and we could plan accordingly.
We’d hit the place from the roof, get the goods onto the Humvee in that hangar while static and Spider, the medic, would keep the other fellows busy.
Problem was the high security safe in the basement where the seeds were stored.
Solid as fuck and wired to the chin. Jet put it in other words, but that’s the gist of it.
But…and now comes the most awesome thing ever:
There was a military grade laser on the roof.
Combine a fire resistant drake, a guy in a fireproof suit, a steel door and a laser…
Zach subdues the alarm and we all get out of there alive and rich.
Can’t wait to try that…

[End Audio]

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Firefox
Neil's Journal

Zach has been busy building a server and he has invited Ruby, Fynn and me to be his first guests there. I wasn’t too eager to try it out, the Matrix and I just don’t get along as a rule and the most I have to come to expect from VR is a migraine. I asked Zach to let my try it on my own, no sense in spoiling the experience for Ruby and Fynn. To my surprise, I had no problems whatsoever and I enjoyed myself very much. Whatever’s different about a server made by a technomancer. The whole server is spectacular, even Ruby and Fynn were impressed and they are much more VR-savy than me.

We all met Firefox, a sprite Zach constructed or conjured or whatever the right word maybe. She, or maybe rather ze (since ze doesn’t have a preference for being male or female), is amazing. From the way ze behaves there’s no way I could tell ze wasn’t human. Ze is a bit naive sometimes, as is to be expected from a being that’s only a couple of weeks old and has all its (vast) knowledge from books. Firefox learns fast, though, and is intensely curious about everything. We spent quite some time together, Ruby, Firefox and me, and it’s been an experience. To put it mildly. I have no idea what’s going to happen between us – the situation is more than a bit unusual. We’ll see.

For now, Ruby is grounded in real life. She suffered some VR damage and I don’t want that to get any worse, so she cannot use anything else than AR for the next month or so. Firefox comes and visits – I have to admit I’d miss hir if that wasn’t possible. It’s not really the same as being on the server with hir, but it’s something. Ze met the others at the house and I think Ela will take hir to meet Wily and that will be an awkward conversation. Firefox wanted to try sex after Zach had created hir and he agreed, cheating on Wily. Not to mention taking advantage of his creation – he may have given Firefox as much freedom as possible, but still, there is an imbalance of power there that makes the whole thing icky to me. Even if Firefox was the one to suggest it and even if ze says that ze doesn’t regret it. I don’t know. It’s none of my business, really, and I won’t get involved.

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Broken
Rusty's Vlog

Camera activates. Rusty’s sitting on his bed and he looks like someone worked him over good. From the way he moves it’s clear that the shiner and the fat lip are not the only injuries he has.
I broke up with Liana. I always thought that if you loved someone, it would make up for anything. Solve all problems, kinda. Yeah. Go ahead, laugh.
We don’t have all that much in common after all. It’s nobody’s fault, we just don’t really fit. When we did stuff together, way too much was only to please each other. She can’t tell me that she didn’t know that. I was feeling more and more like a liar when we were together and I figured it’s better to end it quickly than to draw it out. Still hurt like hell, both of us. She didn’t see it coming.

I don’t know if she put them up to it and I doubt it, but Sam and Kay had…words with me about all that. Not exactly a surprise. I gave Kay at least something to remember me, but in the end they had me. And don’t give me that ‘you lost against two girls’-crap. Sam is a fucking tank and Kay’s not much smaller. Anyway. Ling was ready to haul off and kick them out of their beds that very moment. But I can’t let her clean up my mess all alone, so we paid them a visit together with Eric and made it clear that they don’t mess with the Scrappers. This is something between me and Liana and they have no say in it.

Nebraska will be glad to hear I finally figured it out. She says I’m the most fucked up freak she knows. From Nebraska, that’s something. But all she knows are the real freaks, so I guess I’m just way too normal for her.
He laughs and it turns into a coughing fit that’s clearly painful. Camera deactivates

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Sink the Gustloff
Neil's Journal

I don’t know why Zach (or Fog, but that’s another matter) bothers to pay rent for a container. He has spent the last two month more unconscious than awake. At least this time, he woke up a lot sooner, but for a moment I thought we’d lose him.
Toy brought him in, she had wanted to apologize for kidnapping him the other day and found him unconscious. We couldn’t wake him or find anything wrong, but we quickly figured out that he had somehow logged on to the UV host. At least, this time we were better prepared for what would happen, but in the end all we could do was wait, he had to make his own way out.

From what he has told me, the UV host is still in chaos or maybe even worse that before. It plays out the fall of the Third Reich and Zach found himself stuck on the Wilhelm Gustloff – with the memories of an SS man and no clue that this was not his actual identity. Some of EVO’s pixies were also on board and had personalities that fit into the setting, like a Russian deserter or a Polish resistance fighter. They quickly attracted attention from the Matrix surgeon who probably spotted them for what they were. Zach says he had flashbacks to his real self and to hidden memories of the SS man, without any way of telling what was real. In the end, he refused to do what the surgeon said and fought him, together with the pixies. That was his way out of the host, otherwise he would probably have been stuck there. And wouldn’t MCT like that. A technomancer to play with.

He brought back a small box filled with documents that he stole from the surgeon. This is the best proof that MCT is hiding a rogue AI we will ever get, I guess, but the question is what are we going to do with it. If they can trace it back to us, we will simply disappear. End our lives stuck on the host if they are feeling friendly or just get loaded onto a van and shot in the back of the head. I don’t particularly fancy either of those solutions.

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