An Arms Race
|An Arms Race|
In which the runners are hired to protect a shipment of cyberware on the way from Seattle to Portland.
Mr. Johnson asks the runners to meet him at a punk club in Redmond to discuss the terms of their prospective employment. The team arrives to find a goblin rock show taking place, and are lead through the venue via a series of AROs to the back end of the building where there is a more private area for high-end clientele where shadow community types meet up (a quick assensing check reveals a preponderance of beta and deltaware augments). Delphi purchases mystery drugs (like a true professional) which turns out to be deepweed that she ends up smoking throughout the meet/rest of the run. Mr. J turns out to be a face-swapping adept, which the team rolls with, and fills the team in a bit on the job and tells them that they’re expecting trouble, possibly shadowrunner-tier opposition, and that one of them is likely a technomancer. At the mention of this, the coked-up face immediately demands a 20% bump in pay, and 12 hits on negotiation secures the team their hazard pay.
After hands are shaken and the deal is struck, Mr. J tells the team to meet at a warehouse in Snohomish at 10am the next day. Everyone goes to prepare in their various fashions: Delphi does more drugs before performing a bit of legwork, looking up their employer (Acheri Labs) as well as their opposition (Avalerion Cyberware) on the trix; King Beef gets in the zone to punch some fools; Rigs visits his trusty mechanic for some modifications to his ride; and Roadkill installs run-flat tires on his own vehicle which will come in handy later on during the course of the job.
Since they have two drivers – one with a mostly-legal step-van and one with a roadmaster covered in machine guns – the team decides to employ both in the plan. Roadkill and Delphi will take the bulldog and cross the boarder into the SSC lands (and subsequently into Tír Tairngire) legally (since they’re transporting legal goods and their employer has already taken care of customs paperwork), while Rigs and King Beef will sneak across the boarder into the SSC with the roadmaster and be the heavy weapons backup en-route through the SSC, where they’re the most likely to be ambushed.
En-route to the southern metroplex boarder, Roadkill and Delphi encounter a suspiciously bare stretch of road. The team has split up at this point so Rigs can smuggle his highly-illegal vehicle across the boarder (which he nails with vehicle stealth thanks to rigger bullshit), so King Beef conjures up an air spirit (getting smacked with physical drain on the first try, but managing to pull it off with the second) and commands it to use its movement power on the delivery van, boosting the speed tenfold and allowing them to cover the empty stretch of road in no time at all without giving any potential ambushers the opportunity to launch a surprise attack.
At the boarder, the two run into a bit of trouble – the KE officers find the smuggling compartments in Roadkill’s van full of medical supplies and guns, but the two manage to bluff them about moonlighting as an ambulance which requires the firearms for protection (the lie is made easier by the fact that this is exactly what Roadkill does in his off-hours). Roadkill has licences for everything and his SIN scans just fine, but Delphi’s is flagged for further inspection because of “potential irregularities”; she prepares to offer the pawn a bribe (all while attempting not to look too closely at his potentially bug-like aura), but suddenly the scan comes back all clear and he waves them along. The team becomes suspicious at this, and everyone with augmentations feels theirs start to itch – Rigs, in VR, senses some weirdness with the matrix as well, and he can almost hear the spooky technomancer noises in the distance.
Now in the SSC lands, the team re-unites on the highway and forms their small convoy, keeping several pairs of watchful eyes out for potential dangers in the meat, the matrix and the astral plane. They aren’t quite observant enough though, and soon Roadkill runs over spike strips – however thanks to his new run-flats he is still able to maintain control of the vehicle. Thinking quickly, both he and Rigs pretend as if they’ve been slowed by the trap and come to a stop in order to trick their ambushers into thinking that their vehicles have been disabled and that they’re easy prey.
Combat begins quite suddenly at this point as an RPG is fired at Roadkill’s vehicle, managing to hit it with a glancing blow that the armored delivery van handily soaks. A cyber-troll anchored to a nearby bridge starts burst firing at them as well – Roadkill fires back, but his stick-and-shock is no match for the troll’s armor, so he leaves the heavy fire to the ADPS-equipped Rigs and concentrates on driving. Rigs returns fire with his heavy weaponry from the safety of his tank, while King Beef makes the brave decision to leave the roadmaster and engage the enemy directly, using his spirit’s movement power on himself and lighting up with elemental body before charging directly at the cyber-troll with a haymaker.
The Champ is a bit out of practice, so the two trogs end up taking swings at eachother while Roadkill very slowly accelerates away – however the sustained fire from their kinetically-inclined cyber-terrorist foe ends up sending him into a tailspin, which he barely manages to avert with expenditure of edge. The two vehicles beet a quick retreat, leaving the minotaur behind for his solo slug-fest. King Beef ends up going down for the count, so both reverse and return to rescue him; Rigs makes it there first thanks to rigger bullshit, snatching him out of the road without even slowing down. The cyber-terrorist takes one more shot at Roadkill’s van before it passes out of range, and the third time turns out to be the charm as the high-ex explosion totals the bulldog and causes a roll-over – both Delphi and Roadkill manage to soak enough of the damage to survive without needing to burn edge, but fail their composure tests and spend the next few moments having panic attacks at the near-death experience.
Roadkill manages to pull together and stabilizes himself and Delphi, who sustained a nasty head wound and royally fragged up her arm in the crash. Rigs puts his mechanical winch to use and drags the totaled wreck away from the enemy before they can finish off the two inside and take the precious ware (which thankfully survived intact, secured in their insulated packaging inside the smuggling compartments). Escaping the kill-zone, the team gets off the highway, catch their breaths, and administers medical treatment to the wounded before plotting the next move.
Rigs removes the machine guns from his roadmaster and stashes them with the wreck of Roadkill’s van while the rest of the team recuperates a bit from their many wounds, and the team spin up a tale of the good Samaritan in the perfectly-legal armored car who came across the unfortunate accident and helped the poor couriers on their way to the boarder so that they could finish their delivery before seeking medical attention. Delphi does a little novacoke, as a treat for surviving the crash with only 1 box from bleeding out, and the chemical assistance helps sell the story to the Tir boarder guards. As luck would have it there are no further incidents with the authorities or rival criminals, and they manage to make it into the elfnostate and drop off the goods at their destination. Everyone but King Beef feels some more matrix weirdness here, possibly related to Acheri Labs’ purported work with electrokinetics to increase the quality of their cyberware integration.
After successfully completing the job, three of the team elect to go under the knife and take their payment in shiny new cyberware, while King Beef procures himself a wolf and has it upgraded instead. Rigs especially feels a strong sense of peace and tranquility after getting more chromed up.
- 24,000 nuyen or 48,000 nuyen in cyberware
- Optional: Cyber-Singularity Seeker and 4k nuyen or 8k in cyberware
- 2 karma
- 2 CDP
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
You know, just once it would be nice to have a job where nobody shoots an RPG in my direction.
Things started off interesting enough, with the cheep deepweed and the face-shifting J – when he mentioned the possibility of a techno working against us I knew we could push for more cash, and it ended up working like a charm. Turns out this facing thing is super easy, you just do a bump of nova in the bathroom beforehand and make demands until you get what you want; I ended up crashing something fierce after, but that’s the price of greatness I suppose.
The job itself was pretty straightforward – just haul the cargo down to Cara’sir and make sure nobody takes it before we make the handoff. I think I sort of freaked out one of the people loading up the goods though. He was a techno and had a really cool-looking aura, with the way his cyberarms had integrated so holistically, so I just sort of made an AR visualization of it and gave him the file figuring he’d enjoy it; it only occurred to me after we left that I basically told him “I know you’re one of them, and here’s proof”.
Getting across the boarder was a bit hairy – I was still smoking the deepweed I picked up the night before, so I couldn’t stop seeing the astral and I was trying not to look high out of my fragging mind while this KE pawn scanned my SIN. The thing came back flagged for further inspection, so I was getting ready to slip them a credstick when Oracle, the asshole, starts nagging me to take a closer look at their aura and see whether or not the cop is a bug. In the end we just got waved right through, though I'm still not sure whether they were a bug. Questions for later I suppose.
The first half of the drive was alright, before we hit the spike strips, then things got all crazy - I thought after initiating I was supposed to be more aware of danger, but it didn’t help at all, the ambush took me totally off-guard even though we were looking out for it. I guess that’s a testament to our opposition’s skills though. The van got tagged with a couple rockets and ended up rolling over, and the big minotaur went down in the fighting - we all got away, but we didn’t end up taking either of them out.
I got fragged up real good in the crash though – my right arm got all messed up, and I had a huge gash in the side of my head (they told me later that I fractured my skull). That Roadkill guy totally saved my life though, absolutely no hard feelings for being at the wheel at the time – if it had been a worse driver we’d probably both have died, plus he patched me up after and gave me some drugs for the pain. I feel pretty bad that his ride ended up totaled, hopefully he has some contacts to get it fixed on the cheep.
Thankfully we managed to get across the boarder into the Tir without too much trouble and made the handoff. I guess it was lucky that we were delivering cyberware to a clinic: the J offered payment in chrome, and I ended up replacing my mangled arm and getting part of my skull swapped out with a computer. I also got my old datajack and visualizer upgraded to alphaware in the bargain, and had a skilljack installed as well. It feels a little strange, but they said I’d get used to it, and I don’t feel particularly less awakened – the astral still looks the same, and the metal hand even gets psychometric impressions. Magic is weird.
Anyway, these case notes are long enough at this point. Time to enjoy the morphine.
Fuck this is my worst showing to date. I know I fucked em up pretty good but the dreksmear of a troll actually managed to down me, pitiful. If I ever manage to figure out who that squad was I'll hunt em down and really show em what I'm made of. At least the team had the sense to come pick me back up, shame their vehicles got blasted in the process. One of em patched me up and we had to make an emergency break-in to hide and do repairs, I wasn't much help with those but it gave me time to simmer and get a little less heated about going down so easy.