Out of Balance

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Out of Balance
Part of Two Steps Ahead
LocationChiba, Neo-Tokyo, Japanese Imperial State
Status Threat Level: High
Factions Involved
Amrei Veidt
Black Samurai
Master Morty
Souma Kato
Akane Nakamura
Shiori Minato


In which the runners go to Japan and move around some furniture.


The Japanese Imperial State has authorized the construction of new military weapons, and offered up a contract worth roughly a hundred billion nuyen. Renraku Computer Systems is poised to get the contract, but the weapons of a proprietary Japanese design. Saeder-Krupp desires those plans and has sent a skilled negotiator to try and garner a partnership with Renraku to work on the weapons together. Amrei Veidt has been tasked with ensuring that the negotiations go in S-K's favor.

The Meet

Amrei calls the runners to e-Wasted, the ShadowHaven's matrix bar, and sets up her normal precautions for the meet, ensuring that no one can listen in. She appears in her regular persona: a drake made of liquid gold, and ignores Master Morty's jabs about dropping the generic S-K persona. She explains to the runners that there is a relaxation retreat in Chiba where Renraku Executives will go to meditate and center themselves. She explains that it is a training ground and rest spot for Awakened Renraku employees. The runners are to break into room 314 and change the feng shui in the room. She also makes it very clear that this is a stealth mission and that killing anyone on this job will be grounds for failure.

She tells the runners that they will have until midnight in order to collect their things and make preparations before going to a private airstrip in the north of Downtown. Before rezzing out, Amrei hacks Barracuda's commlink, interested in the up-and-coming runner and the Iceberg Hotel project he's involved in.

The runners gather up their things, get into their cars and drive to the air strip. They are let into S-K's private airstrip and board an obvious S-K plane. The plane takes off and the runners spend the ten hour flight time talking about the consequences of the actions that they each take, and Morty sharing some just... really despicable pieces of media.

The Plan

The runners arrive in Chiba and find a No-Tell Motel in order to set up and begin their legwork. Morty dives into the unusual grid and begins to pull information from the matrix. He discovers that his location is a popular place for many of Renraku's Awakened employees. While there are several there at the moment, three stick out to the Matrix search.

  • Souma Kato: A recently-eighteen children of Renraku employees who died several years ago, leaving him to be raised by Renraku's social services.
  • Akane Nakamura: A Renraku negotiator and diplomat
  • Shiori Minato: A Red Samurai Mage

They discover that Akane is the employee who is assigned to room 314, and that she is scheduled to stay there for the next several days to balance her qi. The team formulate the plan, deciding that with Samsara's massive bounty from Renraku, she should try to be as sneaky as possible. Morty will be providing Matrix overwatch and Barracuda and Black Samurai will be trying a social infiltration to get into the facility after using Alias to procure some Burner Renraku SINs. Secure in their plan, Morty hacks into the relaxation retreat's host and edits the file to give Barracuda's new fake identity.

The Run

The runners pull up to the retreat in a rented genericar, having packed Samsara in the trunk for as much subtlety as the team was capable of. While Morty sleazed into the host and was able to alter the code of the SIN scanners the location was using to check their clients. Inside the retreat, Barracuda and Black Sam try to get past the security checkpoint, but are stopped by a surprisingly astute receptionist who seemed suspicious of the "out of town executive." It was only through a clever ruse where Barracuda suggested that Black Samurai was both his servant and his lover, leading the receptionist to become slightly flustered and allow the adepts through, after being assensed.

Making their way across the garden path to the chamber where they would be relaxing, Samsara climbed and used her ability to run along walls to scale the plascrete wall of the facility and landed silently, using her skills of stealth and ninja-like movements to avoid the armed guards and the security cameras. Morty, subverting the cameras managed to get them looping before his overwatch became dangerously close to convergence and jacked out, resetting his deck and waiting for the rest of the team to let him know when he was needed again. Samsara arrived at unit 314, but found that there was already a woman sitting within the unit meditating. Confounding their luck, Samsara and Morty contact Barracuda and Black Sam to try and get her out of the unit. To this end, Black Samurai wails a wooden sword across Barracuda's eye and temporarily blinds him, acting like the embarrassed servant, he escorts Barracuda to unit 314, finding Akane Nakamura within the unit.

Much to the surprise of the runners, Akane is quite kind, and when presented with the injured Barracuda, offers to escort him to the medical facilities on-site. She also begins to give him a simple lesson in Renraku's Japanese etiquette after being convinced that Barracuda is indeed who he says he is. While the runner and target move away, Samsara dives into the window of the unit and begins to quickly rearrange the furniture and using her Astral sight to watch when the mana within the room shifted and began to ebb and flow differently around the adept. Taking a moment to write a note that claims "Vati sends his regards" to attempt to earn some sort of catharsis from the death of her mentor, Samsara manages to get out of the window, just slightly cracking it with her broad shoulders.

With Morty back in the host to assist the exfil, Samsara manages to get out of the facility, and Black Samurai and Barracuda meet up with their stuff and do their best to exfiltrate, though look a bit awkward, especially as groups of armed guards begin to move towards 314. The guards are too distracted to notice the suspicious behavior of the runners, and the team manages to get out a few minutes before a squad of Red Samurai show up to investigate the facility.

The team head back to their motel, gather up their stuff quickly, make the astounding decision to go souvenir shopping in Chiba, and then get back on the S-K plane to head back to the Seattle Metroplex.


The plane lands and Amrei sends the team the location of their payment, as well as a garage if they wish to purchase or modify vehicles. The runners gather up their payment, and go their separate ways....


The Honor Duel

During the events of A Blast from the Past, Samsara stole a sword from a Red Samurai trainee. This trainee turned out to be Black Samurai's uncle, who was forced to commit seppuku in order to keep his honor, however much of his family were still punished for his failure. Since entering the Shadows, Black Sam has been attempting to reclaim the family sword that his uncle had stolen from him, and a few months ago found out that it was Samsara who had done that.

Using The Iceberg Hotel as a staging ground, Black Samurai and Samsara square up for combat, with Barracuda, Gord "Twitch" Rodney and Kenneth "Flamesaw" Murphy watching with interest. Samsara strikes the first blow, knocking away some of Black Samurai's magic, before he retaliates with a punishing blow across her chest. The fight continues, with Samsara relying on her Nine Chakras and Nerve Strike techniques, while holding off the effects of damage with her Pain Editor, while Black Samurai unleashes a flurry of blows, including a particularly nasty blow where his blade gets dangerously close to severing Samsara's spine.

The fight is quick but brutal, finishing with Black Samurai stabbing Samsara through the chest before Samsara concedes, beaten. She gives Black Samurai his family sword before passing out and being given to Kenny, who offers both combatants orange slices and Capri Sun pouches before carrying Samsara to his car and driving her home to rest.


  • 18k Nuyen or 36k Nuyen worth of vehicles and vehicle mods (9 RVP)
  • 5 Karma (5 RVP)
  • 2 CDP
  • Optional Contact: Amrei Veidt (6/1 S-K Prime Spy) (6 RVP taken out of Karma or Nuyen.)

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Master Morty

"Ah Amrei, you sly minx; still coming back to the Master to attend to your needs... But I digress. Interesting little jaunt into Japan, to alter the balance of nature within a Renraku Spa for their elite. Found some interesting material for Sweetie on the plane ride over, tried to share it both for some reason most of them though it was horrifying. I don't see it, but whatever. It's educational. had no problems getting the team inside and watching their backs, all in all a rather smooth run, all things considered. I would work with them again, given the opportunity. Now time to upload that "educational material" to Sweetie..."


Y'know, that sparring match wasn't half bad, actually. Feels good to shake off the rust and go toe to toe with someone badass enough to match me blow for blow. Granted, no way in hell I was gonna manage to get through... what was that, IIIa? Ceramics? Frag it, whatever Black Samurai had on his limbs. Our cover worked better with him getting me in the side of the head, anyway. Now I just gotta deal with whatever it is that the S-K spook dropped off for me. "Investment opportunity" sounds suspiciously like a job offer I can't healthily refuse.

... Was nice to get some pointers on corpo etiquette, at least. Cheers to you, Akane; might not have caught me in the act, but I was sincere when I said you were good company on the walk to the infirmary.

Black Samurai

I spent about ten minutes with Barracuda trying to block his blow, then sweep the leg. I think it's from like--one of those SUPER classic old movies. I thought he had an interesting strategy to get us into the facility: pretend like I was his sparring partner AND his--uh--sparring partner.

He could do worse, and I could do better. It's a weird thing. I hardly wanted to kill any of these people. It just seemed--I don't know--easier to just do the job cleanly? I'm honestly perplexed as much as the next person. Though--if I had my way--I would have liked to challenge the mage samurai because--being real--that sounds like an incredible amount of work and I want to see what they looked like. It seemed as much a mar to Hayato's memory as anything to aggress on the very role he wanted to fill...so I was contented by leaving them to their meditation.

Friggin' Renraku.

Also, speaking of friggin', that decker was--just horrendous. Like--not at his job, just in literally every other way. If I had to choose between saving a Renraku middle manager, a vampire, or Master Morty from a burning building, I'd find a bag of marshmallows. I mean--not really--I'd probably save the little dude...but he's gross is what I mean.

And for some reason, Samsara and I keep finding ourselves together. She wanted to apologize about my uncle while continuing to hold his sword ransom. That could not continue. She is truly terrifying in many ways. My body stopped moving right or reacting right after she hit me. She didn't hurt me, but she HURT me. It--I don't know what it was. I'm going back and forth between whether she's harmless or the most dangerous person I know. I wonder what would've happened if she had wanted to be lethal.


Woah, visiting Japan was crazy. I haven't been out of the country in a while, and it was quite the experience even if the place is full of racists who look at me funny for being blonde and having pointy ears - Neo-Tokyo was still beautiful despite it all, even if Chiba is a Renraku fife, and I made sure to take lots of pictures and get souvenirs for the fam. Dealing with Renraku themselves was... well, odd. The place was so peaceful, and it was almost a shame to mess it up - I wouldn't have felt right just smashing everything, so I tried to rearrange it so that the Shinto vibes became all Buddhist-y and I think I pulled it off. I just had to leave a little note from Vati as well, they did him real dirty and they deserve to know he's still got a legacy out there. Hearing about that Kato woman troubled me though - I sent a note to them apologizing for what happened to their parents, but I don't think it will mean much to them.

That fight with Black Sam was something else though. I talked to him about his uncle's sword and we agreed to settle things with a duel like real samurai - Barracuda offered the rooftop of his hotel with the lava fields in the background, it was pretty cool not gonna lie. I don't think I've ever seen anyone so good with a sword, except for Kai - frag he nearly cut my other hand off before putting a hole in my lung, but the pain editor kept me from really feeling it until I passed out from the blood loss. I tried to go for a disabling tactic, and I think I actually managed to disrupt his chakras, but he still managed to overcome it. I went down, but he didn't take me out after - maybe it was just because Kenny was there, but I hope that things between us are cool now. I defenitly want a rematch though.