State of Decay

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State of Decay
Part of Festering Infestation
Date2082-01-06
Location
Redmond, Seattle Metroplex
Status Threat Level: Medium High
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven Insect Spirits
Charon
Frostbite
Kera
Relay
Santesso
Caretaker
Nymph
Soldier
Worker
Insect Shaman
Casualties and losses
Nymph, Soldier, Worker x2
This run was done in 2 parts, with the second escalating it from medium to high threat.


Summary

In which the runners stumble upon and destroy a Tamanous front and a hidden nest of fly spirits.

Background

After the events of Minor Arcana, Introductory Entomology, and New Year, nuYou, Dr. Patricia Windthrope (an initiated insect shaman) has fled to Chicago, where her company is sponsoring a gentrification initiative called the Westside Redevelopment Project with the stated goal of renovating part of the Shattergraves near Ghoultown. This project is a cover for a large nest of fly spirits which she has been growing for months, using the local ghouls as hosts; with her company's connections with Tamanous, she has managed to place a pair of these bugs - a soldier and a nymph - into the employ of one Mr. Warwick, a necromancer in charge of the Seattle branch of Slater Cryogenics (a Tamanous front business which does research on the preservation of tissue samples as well as the storage and recycling of medical waste).

The Slater Cryogenics building hides an organ-legging clinic in the basement which has seen more use since the events of Pull It By The Roots and NuYou? No, you!, when two nearby facilities in Renton were compromised by runners from the Haven. The insect spirits - called Castor and Pollux - managed to convert Warwick by showing him the glory of bug shamanism, and he has managed to create a nest below the building. It has gone unnoticed until now, however Relay and Santesso stumbled upon the during the events of Taking a Bite Out of Crime after tailing Zigzag back to it; now Sarah Snow and her attorney husband are working to secure the release of Mr. Phillips (a ghoul from that run who has been falsely accused of a murder committed by Castor and Pollux to put him in jail and throw him off the trail of the Westside Redevelopment Project back in Chicago), and their only lead is Slater Cryogenics - the dark secret is soon to be uncovered.

The Meet

Sarah Snow (an aspiring fixer with connections to the Haven after she employed runners to help cover-up the murder of her father in Pulling the Thread) has the runners meet with her at Black Tie Affair in Bellevue, where she has a private booth reserved. Everyone is able to arrive and get inside without issue, though there's a bit of awkwardness outside as Charon and Kera run into oneanother for the first time since the former turned the latter (during the events of A Grown Up Fairy Tale, which Santesso was also present for); Frostbite also draws a good amount of stares due to his strange appearance and lack of social graces, however as Relay is a member at the Black Tie Affair he manages to convince the owner (a contact of his) to allow the freak inside.

After converging at their J's booth and engaging a white noise generator, Sarah lays out the details of the job - her husband has a client accused of a murder he didn't commit, and the only trail to the real killers leads to a building in the barrens owned by a company called Slater Cryogenics. Sarah tells the runners she isn't certain, but she's pretty sure that the company has ties to the Tamanous organ-legging syndicate, and that the job will likely be dangerous. She wants evidence which exonerates her husband's client, and if possible she wants proof that Slater Cryogenics is connected to Tamanous as well so that legal action can be taken against them. After sharing some novacoke with her, Charon is able to negotiate Sarah up to a 10 grand starting price, with potential to go higher depending on what they can find. During the course of the meeting, Santesso has a flashback trigger reminding him of his time in Chicago and the events which caused him to lose both his old partner and his foot to an insect spirit - perhaps it's just a coincidence, or perhaps it's a portent of doom considering the events that follow.

The Plan

Heading back to Relay's batcave to plan, the team start to put their heads together and figure out what they're dealing with; while Kera heads to her night job and Charon and Frostbite debate philosophy with a pair of Relay's drones taking notes, Relay and Santesso hit the matrix with their agents and start looking for clues. They pull together a whole bunch of information, and in the process learn that the Slater Cryogenics building used to belong to the nuYou company (and did since before the Crash, being one of their first facilities in the Metroplex) until a few months ago when it was suddenly sold for relatively little money - Charon and Relay are already familiar with nuYou's bug problem (having killed a bugged ghoul together in Introductory Entomology), so this raises some eyebrows from them.

In need of some more intel, Relay and Santesso send out drones to monitor the building overnight, during which time they notice only a few vehicles enter or exit the parking garage; the facility seems to be largely automated. One of the vehicles they spot is familiar however - the two recognize Zigzag's "ambulance" leaving after dropping off a few bodies. At this point various approaches are considered and debated (with the options including "go home and forget about all of this" and "call the Halloweeners to burn the building to the ground") before the team decide they need a bit more information. While Frostbite and Santesso head over for an infiltration, Charon puts her head together with Kera (who projects in while on her lunch break) and Relay regarding the information they've learned in the course of their recent jobs before calling up her fixer Agamemnon and asking for assistance laying the groundwork for a social infiltration of a Tamanous clinic. He rolls well on his checks, and after about 12 hours (during which time the vampires take a nap before going out hunting together) and in exchange for a chip he is able to put together a cover story for her.

The Run

Frostbite and Santesso (who is rigged into a drone holding his cyberdeck and capable of facilitating a direct connection) approach the Slater Cryogenics building as stealth-fully as possible and manage to infiltrate through the window of an empty office after disabling the motion sensor and popping the maglock. Inside, Santesso jacks into a computer terminal for the building's old wired host and begins searching around for files while avoiding the notice of the IC, finding a secondary node for a hidden set of subsystems in the process. While he does decker things, Frostbite (with Relay's flyspies in tow) sneaks around the building using his chameleon suit managing to stay hidden from the cameras and the few metahuman occupants. With Relay mapping out the building's interior, Frostbite manages to avoid the notice of Warwick, Castor and Pollux and find the basement entrance to the bug nest, which he manages to enter without tripping up the powerful maglock's anti-tamper systems. Meanwhile Santesso disarms a strongly data-bombed file containing a private message for Warwick which implicates Castor and Pollux in the murder he and Relay investigated; after making a copy for himself, he loops the camera outside of the hidden door and allow Frostbite to slip inside unnoticed.

Inside, Frostbite finds a dozen cryogenic chambers which seem to hold metahumans inside them; wiping one off, Santesso takes a snapshot of one of their faces and runs it through MonaLisa, discovering that they've been reported missing from Chicago. Frostbite spots out a strange figure in a mask which matches those of the picture they were shown of Castor and Pollux that Relay and Santesso managed to capture. Something about their movements unnerves him however, and a close look by Relay's through his drone's footage spots a compound occuli behind the mask - he recognizes it immediately from his previous encounters with hybrid-form bug spirits who attempted to conceal their insectile features, and using his magical threats knowledge together with Kera and Santesso's input the group manages to put together that it is likely a caretaker spirit, which would mean that Frostbite is standing in a magical lodge (he couldn't tell because of his astral hazing and lack of assensing ability) full of incubating bug hosts in a state of suspended animation.

Suppressing his immediate, instinctual urge to murder the bug, Frostbite manages to hide himself behind one of the cryogenic chambers and avoid its careful gaze before beating a quick retreat; after pulling some more evidence for Sarah Snow off the host (including information on the Westside Redevelopment Project) and gi-going in a sequence of code which he hopes will shut down the suspension chambers during their next maintenance cycle (and thereby kill the occupants in order to spare them the horror of inhabitation), Santesso covers his retreat by looping cameras and the two exit through the same window they entered through, returning to the team with their findings. At about this time, Agamemnon calls Charon back with her cover story to go meet with Warwick - she is one Sabine Kingston, a handler for a figure called "L'etranger" (a Tamanous associate who went missing after his encounter with Haven runners in Pull It By The Roots) who is looking into his disappearance. Charon thanks the banshee for his help and calls up her forger to make her a burner SIN for Sabine Kingston, which he is able to do in a few hours - just in time for a midnight meeting.

While Charon prepares for the social infiltration by disguising herself and changing her aura, Kera does two things - the first is to call up Zigzag and arrange to drop off the body of the vagrant she and Charon gave the good succ to (this ensures that her contact will be away from the facility at the time of the hit and not caught in any potential crossfire, as the team plan to go loud and destroy the bug nest before it can become even more of a problem, along with taking out Warwick and his weird masked Tamanous ghouls if possible). The second is to call a carcass spirit into a devil rat body and create a rat army for herself. Relay meanwhile sets up in an ambush position, deploying drones to take out their targets once they're drawn out into the open.

Charon (as Sabine Kingston) is able to talk her way inside to meet with Warwick, all with a flyspy hidden in her suit recording their conversation. She tries to get Warwick to spill some secrets on Tamanous operations, getting him to disclose the fact that Slater Cryogenics is a front and that they have ties to nuYou as well. She gets shown around and obtains footage of both the legitimate operations topside and the organleggers clinic down below, during which Relay notices a tightly-sealed refrigerated container locked up with a biometric scanner which seems disturbingly familiar - he recalls seeing a similar one during NuYou? No, you! which was filled with a concentrated acidic solution that vaporizes when exposed to air and eats away at flesh and metal alike. Charon also spots out a hidden door with a ward that leads to the bug nest further down below, but Warwick's masked assistants are tight-lipped on the matter, speaking only in cryptic references (through she hears a distinctly buzzing tone behind their modulated voices).

After mapping everything out and plotting their attack, Charon returns to Warwick and with the power of boosted charisma and edge she manages to convince him to send Castor and Pollux, along with a silent pair of masked ghouls (actually worker spirits), to escort her back to her hidden vehicle in order to bring back a package, as she did not want to risk being seen entering the garage. Luring them to the ambush site, Kera and Relay spring their respective rat and drone swarm on the bug-ghouls - Relay attempts to focus his fire on Pollux, trying to delete her with a sniper rifle, however the worker spirits use protect the principal to guard the nymph spirit with their lives while she and Castor take cover. Charon and Kera's carcass spirit both end up succumbing to the fear power while Castor eats a shot from Relay's sniper drone and manages to survive, covering Pollux's retreat as she turns invisible and runs towards a nearby abandoned building. Charon manages to rally herself after breaking line of sight and finishing Caster off, leading Kera's spirit back towards the Slater Cryogenics building while Relay's drones chase after Pollux using their ultrasound sensors.

While Charon and Kera trash the organlegging clinic and force entry into the nest, the rat swarm and copious use of mana bolt holding off the ghouls that try to stop them, Relay hunts Pollux down in the abandoned building, setting it alight to lure her out and haranguing her with suppressive fire, causing her to leave a trail of blood behind as she attempts to hide in the sewers. Charon smashing blows her way into the nest before puncturing the refrigerated tank and tossing the giant cylinder of corrosive gas inside - as everything within melts (save for the victims inside the sealed tanks, who die painless deaths when Santesso's code causes them to shut down), the vampires make their escape. Spotting the blood trail, they follow Pollux into the sewers and proceed to rip her apart, bonding a bit in the process.

Aftermath

With four dead bugs (Warwick and the caretaker were not among the confirmed casualties, and in fact managed to escape in all the confusion) and a whole lot of information, the team call up Sarah Snow for a handoff. Relay also calls up Isadora Windthrope, who he became acquainted with recently, and shares the intel with her as well given her personal interest in the situation - she thanks him for it and tells him she owes him one, as well as supplementing the team's pay for their trouble in putting a stop to her mother's nefarious bug-fueled schemes. Sarah thanks them as well, as they have gone above and beyond what she asked as well as secured evidence which should be sufficient to exonerate her husband's client. The treat of the fly spirits as well as the connection between nuYou and Tamanous, remain, as does the specter of the Westside Redevelopment Project and Patricia Windthrope's mad plans for it.

Rewards

  • 18,000 nuyen
  • 7 karma
  • 2 CDP
  • +2 Mothers of Metahumans rep
  • +2 Ghoul Liberation League rep
  • Optional Contact: Sarah Snow, C3/L3 Fixer - 5 RVP or 10 CDP
  • Optional Contact: Isadora Windthrope, C3/L3 Reader of the Cards - 5 RVP or 10 CDP
  • For Relay: +1 chip on Isadora for sharing the information on nuYou's bug problem the connection to their activities in Chicago.

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Frostbite AAR: BT002

  • Report_Operation: Planning phase exceeded standard durations, though operation surpassed standard conventions due to antiquity in design and construction. Due to extended organization, 2 members of the team needed to rest for the daytime. Infiltrated building with heavy support from Relay & Santesso - recorded sim-sense files and collected little - though interesting evidence on the operation. Insect-Entities require further research.
  • Report_Runners: Johnson was professional, in-spite utilized recreational substances. Over focused on Recitation: "Fucked Up Aura" Continuation: Bias in this area causes contact to be non-substantial for continued operations.
    • Listing procedure:
      • Charon: Statement: Vampiric entity, superior strength - - - Charismatic, though volatility postulated to be assured. Asset.
      • Kira: Statement: Vampiric entity, - - - empathetic - - - over-obsessed with corpses, admiration to dedication. Asset - worrying.
      • Relay: Statement: Reduced mobility, increased versatility - paradoxically- - wonderful. Asset - Surprisingly.
      • Santesso: Statement: Versatile combination of Rigger & Decker - facilitated entry to facility. Asset.
  • Report_Opinion: Job was planned through multiple iterations, teams was well established. Support to second phase completion.
Charon

Bugs. Really. BUGS. Alright, well. A body clinic turning a buncha ghouls into bug mooks is spooky, but that's not why I decided to go loud and burn it all down. The reason why I burned the place and did as much as I could to fuck their op up is because I'm not going to let a bunch of waspy dickheads push onto my turf. I heard about the ghoul horde in Renton some time ago and was tempted to take part to eliminate that as well. Nope. Too late for that one. See, the thing is that these kinds of things snowball outta control way too quick if you don't nip 'em in the bud. It happened in Chicago, I remember seeing it all over the news. Nobody thought it was a big thing until the whole thing became an Eight-Legged Freaks theme park-- wait, spiders aren't... ugh, anyway. Point is, the guys were dumb enough for me to sneak in and get a look on things, but the real kicker is that one of the fuckers got away. I don't give a shit about the hit on my reputation when comparing it to the fact that I stopped some bugs from turning my walking meal tickets into wasp nests. Trust me, it's a better fate for everyone, especially me.