|Part of When You Reach Me|
Isaac the Bodyguard
|Hostile Runner Team|
|Three grunts, street mage, FLR SAM, fire spirit.|
|Casualties and losses|
|One drone||Five Runners.|
A clueless Miss Johnson hires the runners to retrieve a sacred, but mundane, Lakota Medicine Pouches from the offices of a Professor at the University of Washington. The task proves far easier than the runners planned for. Before they can return the item to their employer Zenith receives a call from his daughter: her girlfriend Gabby has been "kidnapped".
Miss Johnson, a clear and evident newcomer to the scene, wants a pair of Medicine Pouches returned to her people where they belong. She has arranged to be out of state delivering a speech on the night of the heist; thereby providing herself with a solid alibi. Meanwhile, Zenith needs a means of keeping his daughter busy for a few days. When his daughter, Harriet, claims to have made plans to spend the next evening with her girlfriend, he's relieved that he won't have to make arrangements for her during his absence.
The Johnson proves to be entirely clueless, prompting suspicion that she couldn't possibly be as niave as she appears. But her blunders and verbal slips come so fast and frequent that it soon becomes clear they truly are dealing with an innocent - especially when Miss Johnson bursts into tears partway through the negotiations. Shine sighs, follows her outside, and briefly coaches her on what is -actually- supposed to happen at a meet. By the time the two women return to the table, Zenith has abandoned his attempts to wrangle more money from the Johnson and agrees to the initial offer of 10K. All the runners appear somewhat sheepish due to a current case of altruism.
The team take a tour of the college campus under the guise of a family unit: daughter, father, step-mom-who's-not-old-enough-to-be-the-biological-mom and, much to the Professor's disgust, grandmother. They take a tour of the campus, lift a pair of commlinks so that Vip3r has handy templates for spoofing the university's nodes, and generally take great pleasure in acting like stereotypically over-privileged 6th world suburbanites.
They retire to Zenith's safe-house, where Vip3r starts her matrix legwork and Shine starts her physical and astral leg-work. Shine notes that the college campus security is laughing pitiable, and causes a disturbance to monitor their response times. Disgusted, she returns to the safe-house and waits for the other shoe to drop. None of them can quite bring themselves to believe that they are about to be paid 10k for what appears to be a simple walk-in, walk-out snatch-and-grab.
The Run is flawless. Several members of the team feel almost dejected that their extensive prep and planning was completely unnecessary.
The Professor takes the medicine pouch. But just as the team are heading out, Zenith takes a personal call. It's from his daughter. She lied to her dad (surprise, surprise) and is at a college party. Zenith takes the news remarkably well until he learns that Harriet's girlfriend, Gabriella Davis, has been snatched from the party. He takes off without a word to Shine and the Professor, who are examining some of the historical artefacts they encounter on the way out of the University's Denny building. Zenith and Vip3r begin a frantic discussion over their DNI while the other two runners watch Zenith's hasty departure, openly puzzled by his sudden burst of speed.
The Meet Part Deux
Zenith gets to the party first. With Harriet's testimony and Vip3r providing remote Matrix support from her car, Zenith is able to identify the man as a security guard he shot in the face with Stick and Shock at a hit two weeks ago - the same hit where, it turns out, he assassinated Harriet's girlfriend's father. Vip3r is able to track the girlfriend and her abductor back to the dead man's home. The Prof (sitting in the passenger seat of Vip3r's car) and Shine riding on her bike alongside are both very much aware that some sort of drama is in progress. Zenith and Vip3r take the gamble of asking for their help, and both react with varying degrees of reluctance until the full story comes out.
The Plan Part Deux
Between Vip3r's hacking skills and the Professor's Astral Recon, the team soon build up a good picture of the dead-man's house and the location and activities of those inside. The girl is sealed in the elevator shaft - most likely the most armoured and defensible part of the house- and the man is pacing up and down by the front door, agitated and concerned. Yet something about his behaviour strikes Shine as off. He's the girl's former bodyguard, in a sense, but why take an abductee back to their home? Shine begins to wonder if the bodyguard isn't simply a concerned adult looking out for a teenaged girl. The group review the security cam footage of the "abduction" and realise that while Gabby and the security guard had a brief argument, it wasn't heated, and the girl wasn't physically coerced.
A few calls are made to contacts. Sarah Snow is called by Zenith. Brodie J is called by Shine. A picture emerges of this bodyguard, Isaac, a decent, dutiful man working for a reprehensible boss who made a lot of enemies in his line of work and let slip a little too much about his business in the presence of his daughter. Isaac hasn't abducted the girl. He's protecting her. And judging by the heat that could be coming down on him, he needs help.
The Prof manifests at the house, scaring Isaac half to death, and explains that help is on the way. She tells Isaac that his principle's girlfriend has a father who runs a security film - and that hhe has sent a team to help defend the house. Issac takes some convincing, but seems relieved when the team appear in the meat and immediately begin fortifying the place. Shine starts smashing tables and nailing the slippery, varnished wood over the stairs to create obstacles, makes caltrops from kitchen knives, and asks the Prof to make smoke bombs and nail bombs from common household items. Zenith approaches the girl, and takes her through how to use the pistol he is about to give her. Then, while Shine, Isaac and Zenith finish turning the house into something approached a prepared defensive position, the Prof and Vip3r lock themselves in different bathrooms and take cover in the bathtubs. While Prof goes Astral and summons an air spirit to act as eyes and ears outside, Vip3r takes over the house's security system. They abandon the first floor altogether. Shine and Isaac take overwatch positions by the top of the stairs where they can see the second floor balcony clearly. Zenith takes up position on the roof.
The Run Part Deux
It's Vip3r who first spots the opposition and resonance spikes their car. Realising the approach is too obvious and that this car is likely a diversion, Zenith spots a second vehicle approaching from the north; running silently and without lights. The Prof sends her spirit to attack the occupants and heads into the Astral to confront the mage she spots within directly. Shine puts some rounds down through the open door of the southern car while three of the runner's within make a sprint for the ground floor entrance. Vip3r coordinates from inside the bathtub and sends the home defence drone to intercept the southern attack group. The assassins gun it down easily, but it does the job of buying the fraction of a second Zenith needs to race across the roof and put a round in the back of one member of the southern group while Shine drops the nail bomb on top of them.
With the Southern group reduced to chunky salsa, the runners turns their attention northward. Unbeknownst to the others, Prof has been riddled with bullets upon manifesting and her summoned spirit is gone. She hurts the opposition mage, badly, but she's forced to retreat, bloodied and bleeding, back into her own meat. She buys the team the time they need, however. Zenith drops a massive troll sprinting towards the house on the North Side with a single, well placed shot, and geeks the opposing mage right before its fire spirit manifests inside the house to rip Isaac apart.
Five seconds into the engagement it's all over. The team give Isaac a nod, and exfiltrate from the scene.
The house is wrecked, five runners are dead, and the team they send after the girl next time won't be so unprepared for trouble. Isaac continues to protect her, and she returns to living with her mother. The naïve Johnson gets her medicine pouches.
20k nuyen to each runner
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
I hate complications, especially on simple jobs. I mean I was planning on robbing the University anyway, but it was painfully easy. HOWEVER, everything falls apart right at the last second because I have some personal drek that gets in the way of my professional drek. Now I try and keep my life fairly private, but this seems to be a matter of it coming back to bite me for not doing a good enough job. Don't get me wrong, Vip3r is good people, she's one that I can trust with my secret. Shine and Professor also seem like they're solid professionals, however the more people who know about my personal life, the less comfortable I am.
We find out what happened and we go to where some other criminals are trying to grab a kid, we decide that we're gonna play the good guys for this run and defend the home so they don't grab the kid they're after, and also they all end up dead. The team packs up, makes sure that the kid's safe and her guardian isn't having second thoughts about protecting her, then we leave cause we're technically trespassing and almost certainly guilty of murder at worst and manslaughter at best.
I don't like killing when I'm not getting paid for it, but it had to be done this time. Frag I need a drink.
Sure is weird to have things go right on a job for once. I mean, until they didn't.
I like Zenith. He's a good teammate and a generally good guy, and I'm glad I was able to help him out when needed and still get paid. I just have this nagging feeling that this isn't gonna be the end of the issue.
Why do I -always- get the runs where there's some follow-up required that doesn't involve pay? First hitting that damn Banruka parlour -twice- and now this? The last thing I need is a rep as a do-gooding hooder. But how am I supposed to walk away from a child in danger? I'm still a medic, no? Still a health care professional. Even if I no longer wear the logo I gave my life too. Tabarnacle! This will not be the end of it. This I know. They will simply send another team. And another. And another. Until the girl is dead.
Merde! I feel another hooding run is very much on the cards. How is a woman supposed to make a dishonest living running the shadows like this?