Taco Temple Timed Track
|Taco Temple Timed Track|
|Part of Thrilling Tale To The Taco Temple Twisted Titular Tarot Theorizes|
The runners received short notice of a job in the Puyallup area. They arrived with only the clothes and gear they had with them while relaxing in the area, not expecting work. The job was to deliver four large crates of food from a Taco Temple to a dangerous location in Hell's Kitchen. The runners had a tight timeline to cross very hazardous environments, partially in a vehicle and partially on foot.
They reached the delivery point in time, but did not initially find a customer. Instead, they were attacked by a giant monster crocodile, which they eventually killed.
They survived the fight and found the crocodile's handler, who was unconscious from having his leg bitten off by the creature. They stabilized him, and took him to the Deireadh An Tuartheil hospital in Tarislar. He woke on the way and shared a little more information.
The runners were paid for making the delivery timely.
Moth had recently witnessed a massive delivery of a 1,000 nuyen of Taco Temple food to a nearby house in the Bell-Red neighborhood. That delivery was a prank. It seemed like there was a good chance this similarly large order might also be a prank, or shed some light on to who had played the first prank.
The meet was at the Taco Temple in Puyallup. This particular Taco Temple is patronized by a variety of local gangs, and functions as a kind of neutral territory. Rosco - a manager at the Taco Temple - who had a rainbow mohawk, piercings, and a 'Kiss the Cook' apron - let them know that the job was to deliver the four crates of food to an address in Hell's Kitchen. There was a very tight timeline, which began immediately.
Moth negotiated more money for the job.
When it became clear the Johnson had hired four runners none of whom had a vehicle present that would fit the crates, he also agreed to let them take a Taco Temple delivery truck (to be driven by one of their drivers) as far as could be traveled by vehicle. Much of the trip would have to be made on foot because of the unstable lava field and toxic water.
The Johnson had no information about who had placed the order, and was not interested in finding out. He only cared that the deadline was met, and that - if at all possible - the carefully packaged crates of food were delivered undamaged.
The runners studied the map. They needed to find the shortest path in order to make the demanding timeline.
Luckily, the Laesa syndicate routinely quickly smuggled drugs and telesma across that border, and Moth was able to get help from her father King Midas to identify a contact at the border crossing who flagged them through in minutes.
Once they had to travel on foot, they would rely on Scurvy and Good Boy for navigation through the environmental hazards. Each of them would carry a crate. Good Boy could levitate his with the magic fingers spell. Messenger 7 would take point on physical security.
Much of the run was facing jagged lava rock, potential geyser eruptions, and toxic gases. Scurvy and Good Boy together provided tremendous navigational skill. They avoided all the hazards until the very end, when they reached the forest-swamp, and were slowed down by land that had to be cleared, all taking some damage in the process.
At one point, they encountered two gangers on hover bikes. Scurvy and Messenger 7 thought it best to attack, so the runners could use the hover bikes to more quickly transport the crates. Scurvy sprinted towards the gangers. Messenger 7 used magic bolts. Good Boy used stun bolts. Moth rallied the team to move as quickly as they could. One ganger dropped, and Messenger 7 was able to seize control of the hover bike with levitation to keep it from crashing. The other ganger tried to flee, and, when he went down, crashed his bike in an epic explosion.
The runners faced a difficult decision what to do about the unconscious ganger. Leaving him here unconscious was likely dooming him to die, but they could not stop and take him anywhere else, on their tight timeline. Messenger 7 decided a quick death was kindest, and decapitated him. Moth flinched at the violence, but it was done.
The runners now had one hover bike. They were able jury rig the bike so it could be towed with four crates strapped to it, and Moth riding, so Good Boy could release the spell helping her to keep up. They were able to move slightly faster without the weight of the crates, or worrying that the crates might be damaged if they tripped or took an injury.
The next major obstacle was a highly toxic river with an unreliable bridge. Scurvy volunteered to cross first to determine how difficult it was. He managed to get across, but it was a very close call, and he took some injury from the proximity to the heat of the toxic river. The runners realized that the only viable choice for the others and the hover bike was for Messenger 7 to levitate them across, far above the surface of the water. That only cost a few extra minutes to do.
When they finally reached the address, it was a cave.
Moth noticed, with her tracking skills, that an enormous crocodile-like creature had recently passed into the cave. Scurvy with his parazoology confirmed that it was an afanc, or something like that. This was concerning. There were several possibilities. Was this just a trap? Another prank, like on Bell-Red? Was there a customer inside who had been surprised by the monster? What was in the crates? And why have them delivered to this cave? It might be drugs or something else illegal that was to be guarded by a safehouse with a pet monster.
The team agreed to go in, not hiding their presence. Perhaps it was an intelligent creature? Or they would find the customer? Their role was to deliver the food, and they were determined to do so, calling out that they were here with the delivery.
Unfortunately, they received no response until they were at the edge of a large pool of water. They could see an island in the water with a large pedestal or column so high they could not see what was at the top of it, though there was the hint of light. The huge crocodile monster leapt up out of the water and attacked Messenger 7 who was standing closest to the water. Messenger 7 was able to dodge the attack, and drew blood with a first attack with her nodachi sword. Good Boy attempted to bite the creature, armed also with an electrical aura. Scurvy attacked with a full action machine gun fire, while screaming - his phobia of crocodiles very much in play. The creature dove back down into the water. Messenger 7 and Good Boy were able to land intercept blows as it withdrew.
Now, they couldn't see it, but it lurked, between them and the island which appeared to be the only place a customer might yet be waiting, though there was no sound to indicate anyone was up there. However Scurvy caught sight of a bit of blood running down the edge of the column. Someone or a group already dead?
Good Boy had the sudden thought that he could harm the creature by jumping into the water with his electricity aura, likely shocking both the creature and himself - and possibly killing himself in the process. Moth managed to yell "Good Boy, stay!", convincing him to stay out of the water.
Scurvy reckoned that the safest way to cross might be to grapple swing from a stalactite, using his grapple hand. He caught hold of the stalactite and began to swing across to the island to investigate, but slipped and fell into the center of the water.
Messenger 7 jumped in to try to engage the crocodile monster.
The monster rose up out of the depths and appeared about to engulf Scurvy whole when Moth used all her reserves (lucky duck maneuver) to warn him to swim out of the path of the jaws. Disaster averted.
The team was able to get safely across the water to the island with the creature unconscious. They brought the four crates of food up to the top of the pillar, where they found one man, dressed all in Taco Temple fan gear, with one leg recently bitten off. He had managed to bind the wound before falling unconscious. Scurvy arrive first, with Moth's medkit, and was able to make sure the man was medically stable, and only unconscious. The man had left the beginning of a note. 'Don't kill the...' The team could not rouse him to interact with him.
However, when they brought the food to the top of the pedestal, their payment from the Johnson automatically triggered. They had done what they were hired to do, and gotten their money.
A brief discussion followed about what to do with the unconscious man and the unconscious crocodile monster. Moth with some effort convinced the others that they needed to save the man. They'd have to transport his unconscious body back across the water and all the toxic environments they had traveled through on the way here, but they could put him on the hover bike (now empty of cargo), and would be under less time pressure. She had a contact at the very nearby Deireadh An Tuartheil hospital in Tarislar, Dr. Isabel Wirth, who worked in the ER, and could make sure the man got any additional care he needed.
The team also decided that they needed to first kill the monster. It had attacked them unprovoked, and shown itself - from the tracks - to be able to leave the cave. It could terrorize the surrounding area and hurt many innocent people. If this man was its trainer or owner, he lacked the ability to control it. It had to be put down.
On the way back, when they were back in the vehicle, almost to the hospital, the man woke up enough to interact. He was very upset. Moth soothed him. When he asked what had happened to the crocodile, Scurvy attempted to lie, but it was pretty clear they had put the creature down. The man seemed irrationally upset - most upset that they hadn't fed the taco delivery food to the creature. He seemed to think this was necessary in some way, according to a card reading. They were able to confirm that he meant a tarot card reading. He provided them with an AR copy of the deck. It was something to do with Aztechnology? This was something the runners could research in the future.
The food was delivered on the incredibly tight timeline. The Johnson was happy; that was all he cared about. The runners got paid.
The customer who ordered the food did in fact feed the crocodile monster, but it was his own leg that the creature ate. The creature is dead. The man will survive, thanks to the runners getting him to the hospital. He may not be entirely sane.
It's unclear why he thought tarot cards could be telling him to feed taco food to a crocodile. The runners will have to investigate that in downtime.
6,500 nuyen (including 1500 from negotiation)
Scurvy may have taken a trophy from the creature's corpse
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Moth here! This was my 31st run. This was a very unusual job. I'm not entirely sure why the Johnson picked the group of us, other than our immediate proximity to his location. We didn't even have a vehicle among us that could hold the four big crates. I can't tell if this is related to the delivery of all that food to my neighbor Ante's house. Was that somehow suggested to a Taco Temple fan by a mysterious card reading? An attack or prank in my neighborhood matters to me. We have known enemies - like NeoNeon - who like pranks. I think my best chance to learn more about these tarot cards is to ask my contact at Aztechnology, Alfred Rockbell. Maybe he can help us figure this out. If I can be subtle enough that he doesn't realize I have anything to do with shadowrunners. He's sweet on me. I think he'll tell me what he can...
What to say about this team? Good Boy is a very good boy. The best boy! Such a good boy! Scurvy is sensible, with keen perception and navigation, but a bit unlucky. Messenger 7 is an extremely capable combatant but disturbingly violent. To her credit, she went along with saving the Taco Temple fan who ordered the food. But it wasn't her first instinct.
Damn near got fragging CHOMPED back there. Suppose I have Moth to thank for me still having a meat leg! Or a soul! Haharr, well, now I've got a trophy tooth from the biggest Afanc I've ever seen. Frag, I may have to reconsider this whole Seattle business, if there are gonna be such scaly beasties about.
Regrettable that my compatriot does not appreciate my tactics. Nevertheless, the team was a joy to work with. Scurvy perhaps could stand to be a little more professional, but it is useful to have a runner by your side who is... bold, to that degree. Ridiculous job, though.