Booze Cruise 2: Explosive Boogaloo
|Booze Cruise 2: Explosive Boogaloo|
|Reckless choices by other Shadowhaven runners...|
The runners responded to a request for help investigating a recent explosion in Tacoma. The Johnson did not immediately identify themselves.
They began to explore the scene of the crime and gather evidence of what had happened. They learned that they had been hired by Knight Errant to help investigate a crime. The old cop on duty had lived in the neighborhood and didn't think the gangers being pinned for it were actually guilty. He offered to pay the runners to help him close the case, with the identity of the true guilty party.
They ultimately discovered that the act of senseless violence that had blown up the side of the apartment complex was an accident, triggered by the reckless behavior of another team of Shadowhaven runners.
The runners had to decide what to do. Pick a scapegoat and frame them? Let KE know that other Shadowhaven runners were involved? They followed their consciences and refused to frame anyone, while protecting fellow runners from KE, at the cost of most of the payment offered. They brought the information to KE that it was a freak accident caused by a rogue air spirit getting access to a tire filled with foam explosives. They made sure the gangers received legal support, with only the one guilty of discharging an illegal weapon being charged for that valid charge. They repaired the broken wall in the man's apartment, and let him know that he was in no danger.
A prior team of runners had been in the area for another job; see report. Legion repaired a punctured tire on his Ares Roadmaster with foam explosive. Aristotle summoned a force 1 air spirit to help inflate the tire. When Legion replaced the tire, Aristotle gave the explosive-filled tire to the air spirit to do with as it wished. They paid no attention to what happened next.
The air spirit bounced the explosive tire down the street. A group of local gangers - a small gang called the Blades - noticed the air spirit bouncing the tire, and decided to shoot the tire for laughs. It exploded violently, leaving a crater and a hole in an adjacent apartment building. The apartment damaged belonged to a Mr. Carter Stevens, who now thought he had been targeted. That prior team of runners heard the explosion but did not stop to investigate.
The runners on this run knew none of this information when the run began!
The runners met up with each other at the scene of the crime. Roadie, who lived locally in Tacoma, had begun investigating the site and discovered rubber bits where you might expect shrapnel. He determined that the damaged building was an apartment building. He observed KE beginning to round up several young gangers to take in for questioning. He had a sense that there were no major gangs in the area; Moth confirmed that there were only very small-time players here, minor drug runners - not gangs that used big explosives. Rainmaker was able to confirm that the rubber fragments were from a tire that likely went on a larger vehicle.
Moth set up the cover identity that the three elf runners were from Elf Tips @ Ten, a small Horizon subsidiary targeting the elf community with twice a day bulletins at 10 am and 10 pm. Her SIN includes a legitimate press pass. Roadie accompanied her as a camera man, with Rainmaker operating a flyspy. She went into the apartment and met first with the front desk worker, Deskman Roger. He was persuaded to share the background that the explosion had happened while he was smoking out back, but he heard a sound like bouncing rubber before it happened. Then a big explosion. He confirmed that the apartment had only been visited by Janitor Bob and Knight Errant so far. The man who owned the apartment, Carter Stevens, was still at work. Janitor Bob was an older troll, who had been around a long time. Short for a troll. When Moth probed for gossip about Carter and any possible threats to him, Deskman Roger revealed that Carter had argued with his girlfriend about gang stuff the night prior. A big shouting match. She was a pretty elf type and in the gang. The Blades. Moth got the Deskman's help to examine Carter's apartment.
The apartment was most notable for the giant hole in the wall. It became clear that Carter worked for an A-level corp in vehicle supplies and modifications of varying legality, in the accounting department. Rainmaker was able to study the paperwork and data chips and work out that Carter was responsible for some petty theft of small items - tires, spoof chips, a coded entry for a morphing license plate. It appeared Carter was skimming items. It looked like maybe the argument had been for him to steal something bigger, but he had refused. Roadie left a drone in place to watch for anyone to return to the apartment.
While Moth did a matrix search on Carter to confirm anything else, Rainmaker and Roadie studied nearby businesses to see which had cameras that might have footage of the event. The best angle was from a nearby fishmarket. Moth continued the press story, and talked the fishermarket employees into showing her to their boss to request access to the footage, offering - at Roadie's excellent suggestion - extra publicity for the fishmarket and its sushi restaurant to the elf community. The boss gave them access to the video feed. Roadie's keen perception helped them make sense of what they were seeing. An air spirit bounced a tire along the street. A gang member shot the tire. This produced the explosion. Both the gang members and air spirits seemed entirely shocked by the explosion. Roadie was able to verify that the ganger had not used explosive ammo. He had likely just intended to deflate the tire that the spirit was bouncing as a lark. Had the gang been set up? But who could be sure a gang would shoot a bouncing tire?
Moth's matrix search verified that Carter had a couple low level prosecutions for tax evasion, fraud, and small-time theft. He was clearly shady. But limited his theft to small items. However, he might have made enemies along the way.
They noticed only one KE cop had remained behind after all the others had cleared off.
The runners had some sense of what had happened now, but not why, nor who was responsible.
They had a few leads left - calling Carter, asking about the girl, finding Janitor Bob for questioning - but it seemed like time to make a clearer plan. And that required getting a better understanding also of who had called them and why. Who was their Johnson? No one had made contact yet, though they had come to the spot and been investigating. But perhaps their cover story had been too effective, and someone was still watching for obvious runners? Moth called her fixer (and father) King Midas to verify what he knew about the Johnson. He confirmed that it was from a back channel to KE, and that they occasionally hired runners when a case was perplexing. Roadie's contact Hedge who had some knowledge of KE confirmed they could expect a KE cop to be keeping an eye out for them.
Roadie approached the cop still on the scene alone, with a cup of soy-kaf for the cop, and without the press team premise. The cop quickly confirmed that he was looking for a team of runners. Roadie signalled for the others to join. He explained that he was a beat cop who had worked the streets for years and knew the young gangers who had been taken in since they were kids. He didn't think they were guilty. But he couldn't find any evidence of any better candidate. KE was going to pin this on someone. The runners needed to figure out who, and get that information to him. He would pay them for the identity of the guilty party, and compelling evidence as to why that person or group of people, was responsible. He didn't think it was the gang, but was open to the possibility if that was what the runners found.
The runners agreed to report back after they finished investigating.
Now knowing a mage was involved, Moth called her contact The Steward to see if he could come, astrally perceive the area, and discover the identity of the mage who summoned the spirit. He began to work on it, for the price of 300 nuyen.
In the meantime, the runners called Carter Stevens at work. He was not aware of anyone who would want to target him. He admitted to the argument with his girlfriend Jessica. It was true that she was part of the Blades. It was true that she had asked him to steal a vehicle which was outside his comfort zone, and he had refused. They'd had a big fight. But it was okay. They had worked it out. He thought there was at least one summoner among the Blades. He also knew of one wage-mage in a cubicle beside him at work. He gave them Jessica's contact information. From all Moth could tell, he seemed sincere that he knew nothing more than that.
The runners called Jessica next, who appeared to work as a prostitute. She agreed to meet them. She seemed genuinely worried for Carter. She shared the same information about their fight. She had gone back to the gang pretty upset after the fight. It was possible the others had been sorry to see her crying like that. But they would never blow up a building over it. She admitted her brother was a summoner, which was a little suspicious. Yes, he was a Blade. Yes, he had seen her crying over Carter. But she didn't think Teddy would do it. Again, Moth found her sincere.
Rainmaker realized that they might be able to identify the tire in the explosion by studying the camera footage of it bouncing before it exploded. She was able to confirm that it was either from an Ares Roadmaster or a GMC Phoenix. Moth did a matrix search for pictures of the cars and their tires to help. With that reference, Rainmaker was able to confirm it was an Ares Roadmaster tire. In reviewing the footage, Roadie also consulted with his contact Mint for insight on the cause of the explosion. How much of an expert in demolitions would it take to rig a tire to explode like that. She confirmed it was definitely filled with foam explosive, which would not take much skill at all. The team studied the footage again, combining all their skill in observation to see if anyone was watching the spirit approach with the tire, but there was no one who did not seem utterly shocked by what happened.
At this point they heard back from The Steward. The aura suggested a runner, to his experienced eye. He was able to track the astral resonances. A group of runners moving together. The summoner who was an elf. A giant. A human. A minotaur.
A runner minotaur in an Ares Roadmaster? Rainmaker was sure that was Legion. But this was a quandry. Runners had told a spirit to take an explosive-filled tire onto a crowded street, leading to an explosion at an apartment building? It was reckless endangerment. Terrible. Roadie was able to get Legion to join the runners in DNI. He told them exactly what had happened. He had patched a tire with foam explosive because it was the only thing he could think of that would patch the tire. This has worked for a short time. When he had a chance to replace the tire in a back alley, the party summoner Aristotle who had summoned an air spirit to help inflate the tire, gave the explosive tire to the air spirit to play with. The air spirit took off with it, bouncing it down the street. The runners did nothing to stop this. Legion recalled hearing the explosion as they drove away.
Legion offered to confess what had happened, and his involvement, to their Johnson, but they explained that it was Knight Errant so that could not be. Roadie asked Legion to slap Aristotle the next time he saw him.
Moth, Roadie, and Rainmaker considered their options. They were unwilling to frame anyone for the crime, even if it meant losing the payment from KE. They agreed to tell their KE contact that it was a freak accident caused by a rogue air spirit getting a hold of a tire filled with foam explosives, and that they could not determine who had summoned the air spirit originally, but it was not under any orders to specifically target Mr. Carter Stevens. The gangers were innocent, beyond one's choice to fire an Ares Alpha on the street at what they thought was a normal tire that would just deflate. They runners contacted Carter and let him know that he was in no danger, and that the gang had not been involved in the freak accident, giving him the same detail as KE. They provided the gangers being held by KE with Mother Komodo's contact information, in case KE still tried to pin anything on them. Moth repaired Carter's wall with her artisan skill, so he could return to his home. The runners also planned to leave notes for their fixers about the reckless choice and harm caused by Aristotle.
KE agreed to pay a small amount of nuyen for the evidence that it was an accident.
The runners shared a toast, back at Moth's house, to celebrate that they had the chance to work with sane people who did not recklessly endanger others.
Only the one ganger was charged, and only for firing the Ares Alpha on the street.
Carter and Jessica were relieved to know that he was not in danger, and that she had not betrayed him. She was relieved to know that her brother had not done something stupid.
A clear conscience
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Moth here. This was my 27th run. This was an interesting one. Quite the mystery! Roadie and Rainmaker were good to work with. Good ideas. Perceptive. Good investigators. People with integrity and conscience. I am rather disappointed in Father Francesco (Legion) to know he was a part of this mayhem that frightened many, and could easily have killed many bystanders, and ruined the lives of those young gangers. I am glad I don't know this Aristotle; he is the one who gave the air spirit the explosive tire to play with, without a care for who was hurt. Overall, I think we did the best we could for everyone involved. Which took some thinking!
All in all, not a bad first run. Did not expect to be working for Knight Errant here. Probably should not have insulted them in my application... Well, it is not like it matters, they took me anyway. Also, Legion, who the hell patches up a tire with explosives?! Do you not keep a spare? Well, I don't keep a spare... but that is beside the point! And who just lets an air spirit loose with an explosive tire?!!? Why did any of this happen??!?!
That was pretty crazy huh? a "rogue" air spirit... which just so happened to be playing with a tire that was filled with explosives... WHICH JUST SO HAPPENED TO BE SHOT BY RANDOM ASS GANGERS TWO BLOCKS AWAY FROM MY HOUSE?!... *deep breath* I can´t help but laugh at how absurd it all was.