A Taste of One's Own Medicine

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A Taste of One's Own Medicine
Part of In Remembrance
Date2082-11-11
GMSarcarian
LocationSan Francisco, California Free State
Status Threat Level: Deadly
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven
Mothers of Metahumans
Neo-Anarchists
Knight-Errant
Katherine Tyler
Six of Hearts
Zenith
KE Private Security Forces
KE Matrix Support
KE Astral Support


Summary

In which the runners are hired to give a war profiteer... well, see the title.

Background

William Crocker is an old man now, but he used to be president of a (now-dissolved) San Francisco-based firm which created small batch chemical compounds. When General Saito and the California Protectorate took over the nation back in the 60's, he became a willing collaborator, selling them "medicine" which was used on the local metahuman population, the most vicious of which was a particularly nasty Seven-7 derivative ("Eta-7-nu") which has since been banned by international agreement. Crocker managed to survive the war and continue to profit after, but recently evidence of his crimes has come to light through the efforts of Mothers of Metahumans, along with hints that he had backing from one of the AAA megacorps. While Crocker is now on his deathbed due to terminal cancer, MoM has no intention of letting him go gently into the night, and have obtained a sample of Eta-7-nu to be administered to him; for this task they have hired Misters Smith & Jones, a pair of professional hitmen. Smith & Jones are no fools however - since Crocker has hired KE for personal protection (rightly fearing that someone may attempt to attack him in his final weeks of life), they've decided to reach out to the Haven for sub-contractors, having successfully farmed out work to the outlet before (see: A Tough Nut to Crack).

The Meet

The runners are contacted through their fixers, who arrange a meeting on the Matrix in a rented host. Kate (out getting free lunch on Veteran's Day and barely avoids a conflict with some soldiers over UCAS/CAS relations) and Six (out grocery shopping, a task which takes the chef several hours) receive the calls and manage to log onto the Emerald City Grid without issue, while Zenith (making sure his daughter gets to school safely) gets his comm bugged by his techno kid (who he recently revealed his profession to). Rezzing into the host, Kate's sharp Matrix eyes take notice of a strange file running on Zenith's commlink, however she is unable to make anything of it; the J's, for their part, do not seem to take any notice.

Smith & Jones explain to the team what is required from them - for the price of 20k per head, they will be expected to administer a highly lethal toxin to a bedridden target with private security forces protecting them, as well as retrieve some incriminating files from the target's residence (which Crocker kept as blackmail material and insurance in the event that he was ever brought up on charges by the CalFree government). The hitmen provide the team with the legwork that they've done so far, including a dossier on Crocker, and, after answering a few questions, the runners agree to take the job.

The Plan

Zenith sends the other two runners the location of his safehouse in Redmond, where they meet up with their gear in order to do some planning. He calls Freya for Matrix assistance, asking the hacker to find them some maps and blueprints of the target's home (a manor house on Nob Hill) and pays her a generous retainer to be on hand to help with the break-in. Meanwhile, Six contacts Cascade in order to provide the team with "discrete" transportation for them and their gear (plus Zenith's van) into and out of CalFree via cargo helicopter. After group edge is rolled, Cascade gives them a location to be picked up in Puyallup which seems familiar to Six and which she notices is in Ancients territory, and on a hunch she calls up Ether; the Ancients lieutenant is not amused that an unaffiliated smuggler has somehow learned of the location of the gang's airfield, and thanks Six for the heads up, planning to take care of the problem. Six is able to use all her charms and cred to convince the Ancients to stand down and allow the use of the landing site in exchange for a favor to be repaid the future, and the runners hoof it down to Puyallup just in time to avoid trouble.

Upon arrival in CalFree, the group touch down in a field just outside of Oakland. Cascade arranges to return 72 hours hence, and the trio drive across the bridge and into San Francisco proper to a safehouse which they arranged ahead of time. Smith & Jones have provided them with the location of a dead drop which holds the poison they are to use, and after a bit of reading and gizoogling they manage to put together much of the information in the Background section. Once they've slept for a bit, they head out to recover it; to their surprise, the dead drop turns out to be on the same block as the target's home - the manor encompasses several lots, except for one which has been enclosed with a 40ft fence. Upon closer investigation, they find Neo-Anarchist symbols spray painted on the side, and a small home which seems to have been converted into a compound, which seemingly exists solely due to spite. Finding it guarded, Kate and Six put on some jumpsuits and pretend to be plumbers - they attempt to lie their way past the doorman, however he tells them he knows why they are there and to retrieve their package from the toilet tank upstairs, which they do before leaving.

The Run

Returning to their safehouse, the team contemplate their options. A direct assault on the property is a losing bargain, as KE has half a dozen personnel on-site and a rapid response team ready to deploy at the push of a panic button. The place has rather strong security, including cameras, turrets, and rigger-controlled drones, and presents a rather difficult puzzle box for them to solve. Zenith decides to cheat a bit and ask his imaginary friend Oracle, performing a divination to ask what time they should infiltrate - the resulting vision shows him a hazy view of the target's bedroom, the full moon visible outside the balcony and the time shown on a grandfather clock (subsequent observation confirms that this is close to when the shift change occurs).

The team decide to infiltrate by climbing over the fence and dropping down onto the balcony, however this requires them to get through the Neo-A compound without drawing attention to themselves; they proceed to concoct a clever ruse involving Zenith pretending to be a city employee and Kate/Six hitting him with his own van, which proves to be entirely unnecessary when the Neo-A leader sees through it and tells them to just be subtle and not bring heat back on them. Coming back later that night with their climbing gear and burglar outfits (having forgone FBA due to the conspicuousness), they manage to make their way up the fence - Kate parkour's down to the balcony with a rope clipped to her for Six and Zenith to zip-line down, and all manage to make it without falling or setting off the sensor array on the balcony. With Freya covering them on the Matrix and subverting all the cameras/drones she can, they head inside.

The trio have both luck and stealthiness in abundance, managing to get into the target's room without waking him or alerting the guards; while Kate takes up position to keep an eye on him (not wanting to do the poisoning until they're ready to leave), Zenith and Six make their way to the door, using a telescoping mirror to watch a drone pass by before carefully making their way into the hall and towards the nearby office. While Six keeps watch outside, Zenith picks the lock and heads inside (both barely avoiding notice by a passing spirit) to find a desk with a (currently off) terminal inside, as well as a safe behind a painting; he turns the terminal on wireless for Freya to pillage for paydata while cracking the safe and taking a few black binders full of financial information.

Thanks to careful diligence and preparation (as well as some well-timed bad rolls to spot them on the part of the OPFOR) the runners remain spotted as they go about their illicit business. Returning to Crocker's bedroom unseen and with the evidence of his crimes in hand, Zenith gives Kate the dubious honor of injecting the toxin into his IV; she does so with gusto, and soon the equipment is beeping as the compound does its grisly job of liquefying Crocker's insides. As he lays dying, the three make their escape with all due haste, just barely managing to avoid being spotted as they burn away the ropes with a catalyst stick and disappear over the fence.

Aftermath

After laying low in their safehouse for a day, the team rendevoux with Cascade to get themselves and the van smuggled back into Seattle; Cascade decides just for fun to land at the Cutters' airfield this time, leading to a short gunfight and chase as the runners make their escape from the angry gangers, but they are relatively unscathed. Contacting Smith & Jones, Zenith arranges a dead drop of the information they acquired; a day later the three are contacted by a representative of Mothers of Metahumans congratulating them on their fine work and extending contact information in the event that their services are required in the future.

Rewards

  • 30,000 nuyen
  • 5 karma
  • 2 CDP
  • Optional Contact: Phil Haskill (C8/L1 MoM Rep) for 8 RVP or 16 CDP
  • Optional Quality: Agile Defender @ chargen price
  • Optional Quality: Catlike @ chargen price
  • +5 San Francisco Shadows rep
  • +3 Mothers of Metahumans rep
  • +1 Black Star rep

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Katherine Tyler

War criminals, am I right? This was a challenge. The majority of the work I've done on the Haven has usually been at one end of a gun or the other. Subtlety is a skill I don't get to use that often. It took me back to my days in the Teams when we had to do our job quietly. "So I started blasting" wasn't really a viable option working for the CAS, but on the Haven it's usually a good backup. Man, criminals get away with anything sometimes. But it felt good to rid the world of someone like the good doctor Crocker. Saito was a mad man, and his legacy is filled with a river of innocent blood, and he and everyone involved needs to be destroyed. This is a good first step.

Six_of_Hearts

It warms my soul to take out a man as evil as the Doctor. His affiliation alone with General Saito was enough to condemn him, but to die by his own merciless creation was pure poetry. I still feel bad for hitting Zenith with his own van, though... I really owe him for that one.