Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Summary
a short-ish summary

December 2070

The Rat’s Nest is raided by Knight Errant / Hard Corps and partly destroyed, most of the Scrappers are arrested. After a sniper shoots five Hard Corps men the next morning, the Nest is evacuated. While it’s almost empty, the Picas move in.

During the time out of the Nest, the Scrappers are let go again by the police who had nothing much to charge them with. Neil finds out that he is Awakened when he summons a spirit by accident and meets Glitzy, who agrees to teach him. They begin a relationship.

The Nest is retaken from the Picas who no longer exist as a gang after that. A short while later, people get stuck in a UV host modelled after the Warsaw Ghetto and only just manage to escape.

January 2071
Glitzy and Maggie run a con on a businessman. Because Glitzy is too honest for her own good, she afterwards arranges for the man to work as a Johnson. 10k go missing from the Nest’s finances and it seems that someone has managed to program people to give the money away and not remember it afterwards. So far, it’s not known how or who. Rusty starts working as a runner for Glitzy.

February 2071
Roger Kowalski and Babsie open up a detective agency and immediately get in trouble with, presumably, the Yakuza.

March 2071
Babsie works her own first case and meets Fog, Zach, Jet and Stanley. Tempo slowly grows into a problem for the Nest and Neil loses Whistler when he tries to find a way to get rid of the addiction. After a run on the Maria Magdalene Sanatorium, fifty girls take refuge in the Nest. Fog, Zach, Jet, Stanley and Rusty have really pissed off a lot of important people and have a runner team searching for them. One of the girls, Fairy Fay, is a drake and hides out at Glitzy’s for now.

April 2071
The Rat’s Nest find out who stole all that money: Gen Wong, a rat shaman. Cornered, he fights and is killed by Neil. Lao Jia, his rat spirit, frees herself and moves in at the Nest. Zach is brought onto the UV Host and barely survives it. Fog hooks up with a witch, Kiki, and is currently wanted for killing a cop.

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Masterpost
all adventure logs

Adventure Log Timeline – use this to read it all in order

May 2071

April 2071

March 2071

February 2071

January 2071

December 2070

November 2070

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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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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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Lao Jia
Neil's Journal

It seems that the Nest has acquired its own rat spirit. Now that would be something for the media, especially in her, hm, solid form. I’m still not sure how I feel about it and neither is anyone else, including the spirit I think. But Lao, as she calls herself, is here to stay. We not really up to fighting her and in any case I had fought enough that day. I always prefer to arrange myself with people if it can be done at all – in the long run, it usually turns out better for everyone. And I do hope it will work out here as well because if Lao decides that she wants to mess with us, things will get ugly for us.

I don’t think she expected us to let her stay without a fight and I get the feeling that I confuse her. She probably thought that we would try to trap her or attack after all. Ruby, who showed her distrust openly, was much more what Lao expected. In any case, we talked and finally agreed that she would stay, keeping Gen Wong’s home for herself and making the area inside the leylines he manipulated her domain. She is not going to try and harm us and we return the favor. The rats in her domain are not to be harmed either or at least not treated cruelly. She says that she can probably keep them from scavenging inside the containers and in return, we are going to give them something to eat, about as much or maybe even less than the rats would eat and spoil anyway.

She also gave us everything Gen Wong owned. We destroyed most of it, none of it would be useful for us and much was actually harmful. Lao did ask a price: karma. I was prepared to give her that anyway, the tree spirit taught me how valuable it is for them, so that didn’t exactly come as a surprise. But I think it would probably freaked her out if I had offered it just like that, with hindsight I’m glad that she asked for it.

We met yesterday at the Barrel to hash out the details of the agreement. And she offered to give some help with our Tempo problem – she confirmed that a powerful spirit was piggybacking on the addicts and she might be able to tell whom that spirit will possess next. We might be able to do something about that, but that will need some more thought. If she can really do that, I’m already glad she’s around.

I’m curious how well she will deal with our world. She took to eating and drinking quickly and I have my doubts that her opinion that she doesn’t need anything but karma from us will survive introduction to more food. To be perfectly honest, I offered her something to drink on purpose because I think if she grows to be more part of our world, living together will be easier, at least a bit. And how often do I have the chance to see someone eat chocolate for the first time in their life? I couldn’t have let that opportunity pass even if I had wanted to.

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Security Log

Accessing security log. Please enter authorization. Authorization accepted, access granted.
A Matrix conference call, three people in the room. One, a plain Japanese man, sits behind a desk while the other two are standing in front of it. They use avatars: an impossibly slender woman in flashy latex clothes and a samurai in full armor. Even hidden behind the mask, he looks nervous and fidgets. “Sir, we have the situation under control…”

“Under control? Do tell me how a rogue AI, dead scientists, severe damage to our server and illegal…guests are a situation under control?” The Japanese man speaks quietly, but he might as well have shouted and hit the samurai, who squirms while he tries desperately to regroup. “We are dealing with sabotage, sir. The AI we can handle, we’re close to getting it in line again, but we are sure that some of the men who died during the accident had brought outsiders in. In that sense, the problem dealt with itself.” “The intruders are most likely dead”, the woman chimes in. “Even with our resources, we have a hard time dealing with that kind of shock. But we’re investigating the local spots for hackers to see if anyone knows anything. At the very least, it will put the fear of God into those kids.”

The Japanese man doesn’t look all that convinced, but nods. “See to it that nothing like this happens again. And I want prompt updates on everything you do. Please refrain from trying to hide anything from me.” He winks out of existence. The woman and the samurai share a glance and she laughs. “A samurai? Seriously?” Without waiting for an answer, she leaves and the samurai is left alone. “Fuck.” He logs off.

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Cornered
Neil's Journal
We always make jokes about how the Rat’s Nest has a thousand rat shamans and it keeps people away from us. Turns out, just one of them is more than enough to fuck us up.

While Fog was talking to the witch at the Green Nymph, the bounty Glitzy had promised for catching the thief made people about as crazy as we had thought. The Vietnamese brought in Lou Wong, badly beaten – he has bought a mobile soup kitchen a while ago and he didn’t have a really good explanation where the money came from. While we were trying (and failing) to keep the peace, a couple of kids had grabbed Zach. They didn’t really think that one through, he’s just one of the new guys and that was all the reason they needed. I think Rusty almost punched the kid who tried to sell Zach out, at least I could hear him yelling at them even over the noise in the san container before he brought Zach inside, out cold from being tasered.

Fog called at around that time and said that he didn’t think Kiki was involved. We let her look at some photos of the folks at the san station to see if she maybe recognized someone. She did. Me. Apparently I had bought some stuff at the Green Nymph, which was total news to me. But when Fog watched the surveillance she had, he didn’t see me, he saw Gen Wong, Lou Wong’s uncle. Lou had told us that he had gotten the money for his soup kitchen from Gen, but Gen couldn’t remember giving it to him. As far as I could see, both were telling what they thought was true. With the news from Fog, I decided to knock Gen out with a tranq patch because he suddenly was our number one suspect. Worked beautifully, too, until we realized that I hadn’t drugged Gen but one of the Vietnamese.

At that moment, we all got a message from Zach: someone was trying to slip out of the door, not that we could see anyone. Rusty had been put under a spell to step aside, but he was still close enough to try and hit Gen with pepper spray. I called Meredith to help me find Gen – he clearly had learned to evade cameras and without a spirit to help us, we didn’t stand a chance of finding him. Jet and Rusty had both been hit by some kind of acid, the container wall started to melt and a fucking rat spirit popped up in the middle of the san container. It was complete chaos in a matter of seconds.

I was already at the door and got out before people started to panic. Meredith had found Gen and had grabbed him, so I followed as quickly as I could, wading through the mud and the knee high water. Gen had already made his way to the back of the san container. I aimed a bit below Meredith and fired, hoping like hell I’d actually hit something.

I didn’t even see the rat spirit on top of the container before I was splattered with acid. Eating its way quickly through my coat and then through my skin. Didn’t feel much pain, though, not at the time. I was too focused on killing Gen because if he got away, he’d play hell with the Nest. I don’t even know how many shots I fired, but just when he had called two more spirits, I finally killed him. The two spirits disappeared again, but the rat spirit freed itself. I felt Gen leave his body – he was fucking determined, I give him that. Meredith followed him, but the rat spirit was quicker and killed what was left of Gen, doing us all a favor.

I put a last bullet into Gen, just to make sure. Murder, maybe, but to protect the Nest I’d do it again. And now I really felt the pain from the burns, like someone had doused me in gasoline and lit it with a match. The rat spirit had almost finished me – I hadn’t even realized how badly I was hurt until now. I didn’t have any strength left and I fought to stay conscious. I’m not too clear on what happened next, but I think Growler carried me into the Barrel. I know I screamed.
The san station is pretty wrecked after the rat spirit dissolved the ceiling (and Stanley’s containers on top…it seems that we really shouldn’t live above the clinic). Stanley, Liz and Glitzy had their hands full treating the people hurt by the spirit and during the panic. Glitzy patched me up and I think she did a fine job, although my back still feels like someone has skinned me alive. Oh, wait. Someone did.

Ningbo has been put under a permanent spell by Gen, one that stays in effect even after Gen’s dead. Zach noticed him hacking into the san container door to let Gen out and told the Scrappers (through my commlink) to arrest him. They did, but he put up a fight, screaming that the Nest belongs to the rats, not the dogs and that he was done with having me in charge. We’re keeping him unconscious for now, Glitzy says she can do something about the spell. But first we had to take care of the rat spirit and wherever Gen has been holed up. I’m also fairly sure that Ningbo’s not the only sleeper agent Gen has created.
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Rat Shaman
Rusty's Vlog

Camera activates. Rusty’s standing on top of a container and pans over the main street, showing the molten and corroded containers that used to be Stanley’s home and the san station
I don’t know, I think it’s bad luck for our docs to live above the clinic. But at least we know who stole all that money. I’d never believed that Gen Wong was a rat shaman if someone had told me. He really fucked with us. If I never see that huge ass rat spirit again, it will be too soon. It almost killed Neil, but he shot Gen before it could finish the job. Didn’t see it, but Ela told me. Way to many people don’t see past his friendly smile, but if you ask me, there are better people to mess with than Neil. He’s gone to talk to the rat spirit now. Not sure if that’s a good idea, I hope he knows what he’s doing.

He makes his way back to his own container, climbing and jumping over the roofs, using boards and ladders bolted onto the metal.
Toy and a couple of her friends tried to cash in on Zach. I think Toy has mostly been dragged along, she’s not really the leader type. But still, she told people that the Scrappers had business with Zach to get them to leave them alone and that was incredibly dumb. People respect the Scrappers and we don’t pull that kind of shit. Slicer’s furious and he’s not the kind of guy who keeps it to himself. Back when I was his prospect, he busted my ass for stuff that was tame compared to what Toy did. No idea what he’s gonna do. Zach is pissed as well and, man, that guy has a lot of imagination. Remind me never to get on his bad side.

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