Shadowrunmowtown

Session 5

Zephyr

Liquid had come through after all. Not quite to the extent Jack had liked; zoomed in drone footage of the target and some “friends” offing a corner drug dealer was hardly conclusive when it came to pinning down his present location, but it at least confirmed his involvement with the new gang. Redcap didn’t exactly let Jack forget it in any case; but at least he never had any money riding on things.

Running the plates on the car Kozlowski had been in brought up the name of one Martina Ramirez. Scoping out the individual from street level revealed her to be nothing more than a harmless old lady living in the slums of Frasier. Still, it was the only lead they had so far, and the mind tends to fixate on them “for want of better fare”, as Jack’s old boss had put it, once. Digging through her commlink and her memories (yet another wizzo trick that just somehow seemed creepier than a standard hacking job) turned up that she was at least tangentially related to the case, being the mother of Kozlowski’s new employer, Hector. She also had five other cars registered to her name she wasn’t seemingly using, leading Link to dub Hector’s group the “Six Rides”. Hey, if you’re not going to name your own gang, someone’s eventually going to do it for you. Jack thought about how their own group lacked a name as well, a deficiency they’d have to address before some smartass did.

Redcap’s Knight-Errant connections were not very helpful, so it came down to doing some good ol’ fashioned surveillance. Finding some likely BTL dens, Jack staked out one, while Redcap and Link took another. Boring work, but better than pissing off some highly militant drug-slingers. Just as Jack was beginning to get a feel for the routine rhythm of the place, there was a break in it: some sporty number jet in to pick something up, then left. It wasn’t one of the Six Rides of Martina, but it was a possible lead. Trying to tail it from a distance, Jack kept with it, perhaps fixating on it a little too much as he ran a red light to keep pace. Unfortunately, a friendly neighborhood Knight-Errant was watching, and Jack ended up fifty nuyen and some professional pride short. He got the plate number at least, and had some time to make something less embarrassing up before he checked in with the others.

RedCap

I wasn’t happy to be right, though I suppose it’s better than being wrong. Moving past the fact that our boy was snuggled up with the newest, meanest ganglord on the East Side – and I was trying to – we still didn’t have much to go on. The few bits I managed to wrangle from the old lady’s head at least pointed us in a workable direction. Surveillance has never been my strong suit – all that sitting still without a pint or two to make it bearable – but sometimes its necessary.

We didn’t have time to check in with Zephyr before we had a hit on a smart little ride hitting all the right spots. Link did a nice enough job tailing her back to University, and a better one getting us inside the car park. The firecracker who stepped out of the vehicle was a sign I was probably going to have to handle this part.

The fact that she was awakened set it in stone.

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Session 4

RedCap

She was waiting at my door when I came up from the bar, shoes worth more than most of the cars parked in my neighborhood. She had a good handshake, and if she was loathe to touch the hand of someone as down-caste as I was from her she did a good job of hiding it. Being desparate has a way of smoothing away the sharpest edges.

She was too worried to notice how charming I was, so I let things stay on the straight road. Her brother, a certified ass-kicker from the sound of it, had disappeared. Seemed like this was a bit of a habit for him, since he was as much a chip-head as he was a bad man. More than likely, he was plugged in and strung out somewhere on the East side.

There’s always a but

The deeper I looked into the landscape down Fraser way, the more complicated the story got. Some bigshot Capitan was throwing his weight around, pushing the Nova Purple gang out of long-held territory, and taking all the business that went with it. A man with a nasty BTL habit and a resume full of finely-honed wetwork skills was just too valuable to think he’d go under the radar.

This was going to be messy.

Oh, I almost forgot. This particular Johnson is high enough up the ladder at Ares that anything other than hitting this one out of the park could make life take a left turn down shit alley.

Zephyr

The payoff from the last job was decent enough. As with any business, a good part of the profits goes back into the company; new gas vent systems for his two big guns, and a few hundred rounds of armor piercing ammo to spread around. Jack had just picked up his order when the call came in from Redcap. It looked like it was going to be another contingency job, but money was money.

It seemed simple enough. Another ex-merc disappearing down the BTL rabbit hole. Jack had seen enough of that back in California; people who couldn’t hack it mentally or ones who had just outlived their usefulness found it difficult to cope with reality, and were easy marks for whatever poison-pusher found them first. Figuring he had just found some drug den to waste away in, Jack wanted to get a rundown of all the nearest dealers to where the man had last been seen. But in this case, it seemed like his first instinct was wrong. Or at least partially so.

A new gang had appeared on the north-side, aggressively muscling out the established gang there. It was just the market augmented muscle with a chip habit needed, and after some investigation, Redcap and Link figured it was the safest bet that the target had gotten mixed up in that. Casing the area in question would take a lot of boots on the ground, though; more than they had the the moment. Bereft of any other ideas, Jack had to call in to the one man he knew who could help, a gutter-level rigger going by the handle Liquid Ferret. As usual, it was an unpleasant gouging dealing with him, but at least the client was willing to pick up the fee. After a day’s surveillance, Liquid called back. Hopefully with good news.

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Session 3 (03sep2013)

Zephyr

Jack drove down to the corner diner feeling incredibly ambivalent. That had been the easiest job he’d ever been paid for. A few thousand nuyen just to sit around and be there in case things went bad. He couldn’t complain, but he felt a little guilty taking the money for doing absolutely nothing. Ill-earned cash spent the same as hard-earned cash though, and he needed all the money he could get. He had expenses.

Getting out of his truck, he sat down at the counter and ordered some food. Real vegetables. While the food cooked he thought of some new ways to route some cash over to Elain. Probably should wait until he hit it bigger, though. Getting money through undetected was a chore, so it was best to do it in large chunks than in a stream of multiple transactions. His food arrived, and he dug in. Good stuff, definitely worth the cash. His enjoyment was slightly diminished by a call coming in from Link. He picked it up.

“Uh, Zephyr? Could you get back here to the office? There’s some paperwork you need to-”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Okay, look, I was just trying to do a little codespeak, and- look, just get over here.”

That was Link for you. Wizard with a deck, but rough around the edges on everything else.

Getting back, it looked like there had been a twist in the job. The kidnappers had been bought out, and Mr. Johnson needed them to go from information gathering to extraction. This was more Jack’s speed. They geared up, and piled into Link’s panel van. A pressing issue had cropped up: based on intel Link had uncovered, there wasn’t enough time to get over to the warehouse before the kidnappers left, leaving them with the unsavory proposition of a highspeed chase. Link managed to avert that by hacking the kidnappers’ van and driving it away. A cute trick, but it put them on alert. It was time for Jack to put his skills to use.

Parking in a secluded location nearby, Jack and Redcap left Link in the van to provide support while they did the extraction. The wizzo managed to be pretty decent at sneaking, and the duo managed to get close to the warehouse undetected. Two punks were circling the building on bikes, but there weren’t any other lookouts that Jack could see. He reflected a bit on the capriciousness of life; Link’s trick has been the sort of mischievous bullshit any street hacker would pull, so these gangers looked to be expecting another gang to barge in. The bikes might have worked against a direct assault, but for a trained sniper they were just moving targets. Two shots, two kills. He and Redcap moved in.

Things got a little hairy after that. Redcap got the notion to “knock” on the front door of the place with one of his wizbang spells, and it seemed a useful distraction to Jack. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get into position at the side door in time; the gangers apparently had managed to guess the trick and one burst out of the door with an assault rifle and started spraying. Redcap got hit but was packing good armor. Jack stepped in front of his and let off a burst of fire from his EBR, but the punk was tougher than he looked.

Despite what the media might tell you, even the best wired reflexes in the world aren’t going to let you just up and dodge a bullet. The key to surviving a close-in gun battle was reading the shooter’s intent and having good enough reflexes to react in time. This particular shooter’s aim was too high, trying to spray at the head and shoulders instead of at the center mass. Jack ducked, and kept his shots on mark, trusting in the penetrating power of his rifle. His bet paid off better than the ganger’s.

Two more of the buggers poured out of the door then, waving machine pistols. Jack had about a half a clip left, and no time to swap. Still, he had ten bullets, augmented strength, and the best katana Los Angeles could offer. He grimaced, drawing a bead on one of them and preparing to roll the dice.

There was a flash of light, a hot white arcing of electricity, and both the punks were down. Jack blinked, grateful for his flare compensators. Redcap stepped past him, apparently healed.

He was really going to have to get used to this magic bullshit.

RedCap

No matter how many times it happens, I’m never really prepared for how truly fucking terrible getting shot feels. That was the second thought that entered my mind when I spun down behind the parking barrier, a few pints of the red stuff already covering my hands. The first thought was from deep in the lizard part of my brain, an incantation drilled into us until it became unconscious. The bleeding stopped and I got angry all over again. I heard Zephyr give a shout that he was low on rounds. I hoped I could trust him to pick me up, dust me off, and get me back to town if the feedback from my next trick put me down.

I stood up, probably favoring dramatics over tactics. It’s a bad habit. Nothing else matters but the space two feet inside the doorway, thugs on either side covering behind the walls. I wonder if they feel the hair on their arms stand up just before, or the gentle pull of the ones on their head toward that one, sweet spot. Maybe it’s only me that feels the signs, the raw energy of casting with murderous intent coursing through me like a transformer. I close my eyes and the flash plays red across my lids and white for the rest of the world.

I see smoke curling out of the doorway, and soon the smell of cooked meat is on the air. The shooting stops.

Somehow I’m still standing – must be those morning constitutionals.

From there it was just delivery and handshakes. The money news says we made someone a few cold billion with our blood and sweat, but we’ll settle for a few less zeros.

Se la vie.

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Session 2 (12aug2013)

Link
After I found out what I had to find, it was now just a matter of looking. I started digging, but got nowhere fast. After about 30 minutes it was clear this would take awhile. I turned to redcap and shook my head, I’m gonna need some time. He offered his place above the bar to lay low while I scoured the matrix. I grabbed a drink and went upstairs. A few hours later, the bar closed and the group turned in for the night, except for me. I was still hard at work. Thankfully Redcap grabbed me a Red Taurus energy drink. As the night quickly ran by, I searched everywhere I could. Finally, I found something. Apparently Ijara has been particularly interested in our guy. It was about 9am when I could finally find enough on them to show they were the next guys we needed to look at. I talked with the guys and promptly caught some sleep. Our next move was to get more information on Ijara. We scoured our contacts and I scoured to matrix again for any leads as to their movement or any of their properties that may be a good place to hold the good doctor. After pouring over tax returns and land deeds we found a list of Ijara assets besides some fast food franchises or a few corporate high-rises, a warehouse in Jackson stood out. I’d bet a lot of neuyen that he’s there.

Zephyr
After hanging up on Redcap, Jack made his way over to the Old Shillelagh. Not a bad place to do business, even if he was more used to a briefing room than a bar. Drinks were better. Sitting down with Redcap and Link, he brought himself up to speed on the situation. Just investigation work, not extraction. The payout seemed a little low, but it seemed like Redcap just wanted him around for security, so he couldn’t exactly complain. After accepting, he left them to their business and went out to get a new jacket for the occasion: the armored kind. Normally he shied away from buying runner gear legit, but he needed it quick, and body armor was unlikely to raise many eyebrows in Detroit. After picking up the gear he contacted Redcap again, and found out that their inquiries would likely last the rest of the night. He decided to head back home and get some shut eye.

Rising again early in the morning, he set out shortly after completing his morning routine. The new job, even as scant as it was, had given him some new vigor. He drove back to Redcap’s office to find Link still there, hard at work and developing the eye bags characteristic of deckers on the long haul. After some chitchat with Redcap about what he had uncovered so far, Link popped in with news about Ijara. Redcap went out to talk to a few friends, while Jack leaned back and mused on how useless he was feeling at the moment. Back in Horizon, all the research had already been done by the time he and the rest of the Cyclops were brought in to things. Obviously, the shadowrunning world couldn’t afford such niceties; he’d have to figure out a way to bring more to the table during the fact-finding phase. He could go and have a talk with Liquid Ferret…. he grimaced. No, better save that for a truly desperate time.

Fortunately he was saved from his thoughts by Redcap’s return. After shaking Link awake, they pooled what they had found. Their employer was looking to be Schumacher’s company, Merril. Good to know, but didn’t get them any closer to finding him. One of Link’s friends helped narrow the field, and after another few hours of tense hacking work for him and incredible boredom for Jack, they found a good lead on a possible place the good doctor could be being held: an Ijara-owned warehouse outside the city. Link started trying to confirm the doctor’s presence remotely, but Jack figured that it might be his time to step in. The jacket might not have been necessary after all.

RedCap

Well, the kid made his money last night. Either the things I needed him to find were locked away tight somewhere on the ‘net, or he’s not very good at this. I’m hoping it’s the former, and we’re going to find out very soon.

While he was busy tap-tapping away, I made a few meets. Nothing earth-shaking (other than the new secretary at Crowley’s office – I’ve stopped giving a shit whether he finds them or makes them) from my favorite barrister or the good detective. Stasch was at least in a decent mood – impressive considering the little tidbit about Merril dropping KE for Lonestar. He’s either more of an optimist than I thought, or he really gives that small of a shit.

This whole job is feeling like an audition for something bigger. Not that the old professor isn’t worth his weight in silver, but why hire runners for a legal job? There’s either something more to this or something bigger coming down the river. I’m not quite ready to go all Johnny Date-Rape in front of my new friends so I can take a looksy at the warehouse Link found, but I don’t know if I have a choice. I might cost us all a lot of money if we turn over the information before we’re sure.

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Session 1 (29jul2013)
Prologue

Scott
The Blare of an alarm clock jarred scott awake. He slowly looked at the time, he was going to be late. Programming Ethics, wasn’t exactly his favorite subject, but he had to at least seem like he was taking school as anything but a joke. He skulked into the classroom and was greeted by the momentary pause of the professor along with the gaze of the students, starved for anything to liven up the dry monotone lecture. He rummaged his bag for his data pad and pulled up a random page to at least look like he was doing something. Thankfully, his teacher was enough of a bleeding heart about other peoples “right to privacy, even in this age of information”, that he never checked on the student’s programs. He spent his time surfing the matrix for any interesting buzz. It seems that lately the topic of choice has been Chicago and talk of reclaiming it. “I really don’t know why anyone would be interested in the scorched earth that was old Chicago, but then again I still don’t understand why people do most things.” After a few hours of drek, he was finally free from his scholastic prison. He made his way home for an hour or two, then it was off to the pub to see what was “on tap” for today.

As he walked into the “Old Shillelagh” he was greeted by the usual sights, sounds and smells. The rustic decor along with the “tacked on” vid screens made for an odd merging of old and new. The smell of the alcohol and fried food was present but not overpowering and the B list local band assaulted his ears with their “unique” version of a popular rock classic. The bar had a few patrons scattered about, some at tables ordering food or settling in at the bar for their dive into a long line of strong drinks. Scott sat next to RedCap, a partner from his last run. After exchanging some nearly awkward small talk, RedCap reached for his commlink. After a moment, he turned to Scott and asked “Know anything about a Dr. Henry Schumacher?” Scott peered deep into his glasses, a quick search turned up a wiki entry, he forwarded what he turned up to RedCap all in a matter of seconds. After a moment RedCap smirked and asked “Want a job? It’ll pay ya 3,000.” Scott just smiled and said, “Well, I’ve got nothing better to do.”

RedCap
The dreams last night were somewhere in the middle; enough to sleep through but too intense to shake. Something about my own blood bubbling out of a stomach wound and up through my fingers that I personally find disconcerting. Suppose I’m strange in that way. Of course none of it was quite mine – it’ll be a bad day if it ever is – but it was mine enough, and the screams were high and panicked.

The rest of the morning could’ve gone by the same description – no calls or visitors, but the soycaf was hot and the shower was, too. Sometimes that’s all a man needs, but not usually. Today it took my dog-eared copy of a Dylan Thomas collection, which immediately backfired when I came upon the half-remembered A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London. Light-hearted fare, that, and probably a bit too close for comfort.

So I went downstairs.

After a bit – God bless the land without clocks – the decker kid from the impound lot job walked in. Colour me embarrassed but I’d forgotten his handle as he walked over. I closed my eyes and saw the confirmation message from the run, plucked it from the air like a floating leaf on the breeze.

Link nodded at my greeting. We exchanged half-heard commentary on the value of Sticky Footprints as they bounced through their set, and I was vaguely offended on behalf of Vince and the boys until I remembered young Link probably hadn’t grown up around much good music. He was highborn to be sure, and while I’m the last person allowed to call it a day on that alone, it bore further attention.

As soon as we found a booth my comm chimed in with the dick job on this Schumaker bloke. What with him sitting right there, and my natural delegation skills, I enlisted Link’s help and put him on retainer.

Should be milk money, but I put in a call to Zephyr just in case.

Zephyr

Awakened at 7 AM sharp by an internal alarm, Jack sat up on his cheap cot, which creaked loudly under his cybernetically enhanced bulk. It was still dark, but his optical systems let him see perfectly; quite a mixed blessing, since it let him dwell on the tight, shabby confines of his Highland Park apartment. Grimacing, he decided to distract himself by dropping to the floor and beginning his morning exercise routine: chop shops could give you enhanced muscles but it was up to you to maintain them. A shower and some nutrisoy later, Jack felt good enough to head out. He reminded himself for the millionth time to buy an armored vest as he dressed. Back in Los Angeles, he got to choose to put himself in danger, so the old chameleon suit was enough. Here in Detroit, not so much. He shook his head, trying to not think too much about the life he left behind. Best to try and keep busy. He examined his gear, taking his trusty Ares Predator in a shoulder holster, and his Streetline Special and combat knife in concealed ankle sheathes. He looked over the rest, though there wasn’t much point. It was still in good condition, and hadn’t seen any use since the impound job he’d done a month ago. Still, it gave his peace of mind to make sure everything was in working order, and it gave him something to do. Going over the latest reports on his commlink as he worked, nothing much of interest seemed to be happening in Detroit proper, though there were reports of the reclamation happening in Chicago. He had given the area a wide berth when passing by it on his cross-country exodus, but if things went sour here, it might be a good place for a man of his skills to find work. As a last resort, he thought, not cherishing the thought of running afoul of any bugs. Finishing checking his gear, he stowed it and hid it as best he could, then left, securing the frankly ridiculous amount of locks on his door as he went.

Driving through the city, he hit up a few haunts looking for work. He tried to work as far away from where he lived as possible; even though it didn’t provide much security in today’s wireless world as it could, it was an old habit of his to try and distance his work life and home life as much as he could. Not that there was much of a work life currently. Finding zero leads, Jack decided to grab some lunch. Splurging for some natural food, he grabbed an extra sandwich and decided to drop in on Boris. Guy never did make enough time for himself to eat.

He dropped it just in the nick of time; Boris had finished with a patient and had just finished scrubbing down when Jack walked into his office, tossing the extra sandwich on his desk. “Boris. How’s business?”

“Ah, Ac—wait, it’s Zephyr now, isn’t it?” Boris grinned, picking up the sandwich and unwrapping it as he nodded his thanks. “Business is good, at least where money’s concerned. More trauma cases than cybernetics appointments these days, though. Hard to plan your day around those.”

Jack nodded. “Must be hard on the family.”

Boris shrugged, and took another bite. “They get by. If you care about them, they know it, even if you’re not always around, you know?”

“Heh.” Jack sipped his drink, knowing Boris was probably speaking more for his benefit than anything else. “I know it. Those limbs we got you working out alright?”

“Splendidly. Couldn’t ask for a better supply.” Boris shifted in his seat. “Speaking of which, how’s business on your end? Still running with those two… what was it, Dee and Redcap?”

“Link.” Jack corrected. “We check in from time to time, but things are tough. Ares runs a pretty tight ship.”

“Right, right. Strange thing about running, isn’t it. You go and trust someone with your life, but you can’t even trust them with your name.”

“It’s a strange world, alright.”

Jack and Boris talked for a few more minutes before the “good doctor” was paged. They shook hands, and Jack was on his way.

It was just after dinner time, and Jack was deciding whether to call it for the night when his commlink pinged. A call from Redcap. Maybe it was going to be a good day after all.

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While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

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