The Mane Man
|The Mane Man|
A powerful predator
Alexander-James Brodrick Johnson III
Woodland Park Zoo Security|
In which the runners steal a lion(ine shifter) from the Woodland Park Zoo.
Six months ago, a leonine shifter from Azania with a rare white pelt was captured by poachers and sold to Evo; due to the silver bullet used, it's nature was not discovered until weeks later after it was transferred to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Since then Eveline Powers has been keeping the creature under tight scrutiny in a secure containment area designed to mimic it's natural environment (with glass walls to ensure no Awakened guests can discern it's nature via assessing) while it is studied by Evo researchers.
Meanwhile, Brody J needs a cool gift to impress Cecelia Cross, and thinks the neat white lion in the zoo is perfect. Sadly they won't take any amount of money for it, so he's decided to hire some shadowdudes to acquire it.
The runners are contacted individually by their fixers and told to meet with their prospective employer at E-Vue in Renton. Everyone manages to arrive without issue, with Mara and Zenith bringing doughnuts, and are held up at the door by Vee-Jay (only Kid Beef adheres to proper etiquette, with the rest attempting to bully their way past until they are allowed inside by Tee & Vee). Inside, they find Brody J in the liminal state between sober and high, with Mara (who manages to resist the urge to do coke) and Zenith working together to ensure The Case remains closed for the duration of the meet.
Brody J fills the runners in on the story - there's this really cool lion at the zoo, but they won't sell it to him, so he wants them to acquire it. There's a back and forth between him and the runners as they attempt to discern his intent for it, and if he's actually capable of taking care of it. Brody J seems honestly enthused at the prospect, and seems to have the resources to care for it, but Kid Beef still volunteers his own animal handling skills (working and living as he does at an animal shelter) to help out.
The team is initially offered 20k, but through negotiation the team is able to negotiate up to 24k, possibly to be paid out in drugs, and his assurances that Brodie J will take care of the lion and they accept. Brodie J opens up his briefcase and offers drugs to the runners.
Deciding the first thing to do is plan, the team go to Zenith's safehouse, where the runners spend some time discussing how they want to handle the situation. Mara suggests that the team go to the zoo for surveillance, but Zenith explains that he shouldn't go. Explaining that he had been to the Woodland Park Zoo before (See: The Dodo's Had It's Day), and there's a chance that they'll be able to identify him. So he will call in some contacts to get transport for the lion. The adept calls up Saint Nick to rent a beat-up GMC universe with a large cage in the back for transport.
Meanwhile Mara, Kid Beef and Ice go to the Woodland Park Zoo and make their way around the various exhibits acting as though they are little more than tourists. They eventually make their way to the lion's pen and spotted the creature, an albino lion from Azania. Though it's pen is covered by a glass enclosure, Kid Beef notices that there is a silver band around the lion's leg and notes that it might be there to stop the lion from shifting. Considering that the creature might be a leonine shifter, the team have to reconsider some of their plans. Zenith calls up Argent and gets access to a nearby safehouse from the elven fixer and the team get together to discuss if they're comfortable handing over a sentient creature to Brodie J. Kid Beef claims that since he is a shifter he will be able to take care of himself, and Zenith claims that this is the job they were paid to do, so their morals don't enter into it. Mara is characteristically silent on the matter, though Ice has some issues with it, she eventually agrees to go along with the job so long as they can talk with the lion after.
The team decide to wait until nightfall to go back to the zoo, and in that time Ice delves into the Matrix, finding the hidden data host that the hacker breaks into and tracks down the security files, managing to copy them, but being noticed by the host before jacking out and resetting her deck. Meanwhile Zenith learns Afrikaans by watching trids for four hours, and the team head out to the zoo.
Ice and Kid Beef stay in the van, with Ice jumping back into the host to be ready to cover the team on cameras while Zenith and Mara, disguised as random citizens, go to one of the fenced-off areas around the parking lot. Mara spots several watcher spirits regarding the area, and so the two attempt to be as subtle magically as possible. Zenith calls over the guard and acts like a drunk wage-slave, pointing to Mara, playing the part of the haughty dryad unimpressed with her date, and with a solid lie and a two thousand nuyen bribe, the adept and mage make their way into the zoo with some sort of plausible deniability.
While Zenith and Mara move around the different exhibits, Ice hacks back into the host and puts in a false report that says that they're importing in a new Awakened cow, which Kid Beef happily shifts into and steps into the cage in the back of the van. Using an underground tunnel to get into the zoo, the hacker also gets into the cameras and loop them, while the rest of the team approach the lion enclosure. Able to find their way to the door of the lion's enclosure, Zenith uses a Maglock passkey to open the door and enters, alongside Mara and Kid Beef.
The lion spots the runners and, luckily for them, the runners spot the lion as well. Zenith approaches, speaking Afrikaans hoping that the lion will understand the language, however there doesn't seem to be much recognition in the eyes of the lion. Zenith offers his hand to the lion in the hopes of getting it to trust him, however he only manages to get his hand in the creature's mouth, though much to his relief, the lion doesn't bite down and sever his gun-hand. While Mara and Zenith distract the lion with head scritches, Kid Beef finds the silver band that's wrapped around his ankle and crushes it. As soon as it is, the lion shifts into a metahuman form, and begins speaking in Zulu, which none of the runners understand. Deciding it is best to move quickly, the team tries to explain to the lion what the plan is and get him into the van, driving out of the zoo and going back to the safehouse while Zenith and Mara stagger out of the zoo past the same guard who let them in before they join up with the rest of the van.
Seemingly clear of the authorities finding them, the team entertain the lion shifter as best they can, including Zenith going out to get real burgers for the lion before going back to the corner of the safehouse to learn Zulu. Mara transforms herself into a cat and plays with the lion while Ice and Kid Beef watch with amusement. Zenith, having successfully learned a complex, culturally deep language by cheating magically, begins to talk with the lion who is named Uyimbube. Zenith does his best to explain that the guy who hired them wants to keep Uyimbube as a pet, and if he's alright with that, though the lion seems mainly lonely, and doesn't object to a life of luxury as Brodie J's pet.
The team agree to hand him over to the Johnson, and load him back into the van, driving back to E-Vue. On the way Zenith and Uyimbube make small talk, though when the lion asks if the other runners on the team were Zenith's mates, he did his best to explain that much like how Uyimbube was taken by poaches and sold to the zoo, Zenith's mate was also taken, and there was a moment of shared sadness between them.
The runners arrive at E-Vue and eventually bribe Vee-Jay to just let the runners in and find Brodie J, bringing him to a private room and showing Uyimbube's lion form to Brodie J, as well as explaining that he only speaks Zulu. The team take their payment, and after enjoying the presence of Brodie J as much as most of the rest of the world (read: none), the team split and go back to their private residences.
Brodie J has a new lion to try and woo Cecelia Cross. Uyimbube knows one of Zenith's darkest secrets and Eveline Powers has a copy of Zenith's aura on file through his use of Astral Percception on his foci inside the enclosure.
- 20k nuyen
- 5 karma
- 2 CDP
- 1 Ebony Credstick
- Optional Contact: Alexander-James Brodrick Johnson III (C4/L2 Lovable Idiot) for 5 RVP or 10 CDP
- Optional Gear Rewards: Drugs up to 18 availability @ half price
- Optional Contact: Vee-Jay (C2/L2 Bouncer) for 3 RVP or 6 CDP
-Zenith, looking at his third naked shifter of the day.
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Frag me, this was a weird one. Heard a fair amount of Brodie J on the Haven before this job, didn't realize just how annoying he was. The team this time was pretty good. Mara was professional, a little haughty for my tastes, but she knew how to go along with a plan. Ice is a decker that did decker things, which is aces in my book. As far as I know we didn't get tagged on any of the cameras, but as far as I know Deus might've come back and possessed Ice's body, but she did her job so I got no complaints. Kid Beef is tricky to place, but seems good enough, I suspect his real value comes in a fight, given his idolization of The King. Glad my role in that job didn't come to light.
So we got the lion and delivered it to Brodie J, and then got paid. That seems like a good enough way to make a buck. I still wanna slug that quad-Mirrorshades wearing fragger, but so long as my pay is in my pocket, nothing to complain about. Hopefully he keeps his word and takes care of Uyimbube...
Apparently shifters don't worry about modesty. So much unexpected nudity. Not a complaint, though. To each their own.
Uyimbube, the lion shifter, was magnificent in animal form. I would have never believed I could be so lucky as to touch such a creature. Truly magestic.
- Ice - Keeping up the tradition of matrix operatives, they ran into some issues getting security info from the zoo's host. Not that I blame them, I don't really understand what they do, it's just a puzzling trend. Once we realized the implications of the break down in our covert approach, though, things had to be rushed a bit. In the end, they were a competent contributor to our task, making sure that we weren't spotted by cameras while we did our work.
- Kid Beef - A very likeable bovine shifter. Probably more useful in a physical confrontation than a heist, but he made himself useful. His bovine form allowing use to get a vehicle in and out of the zoo and his skill with animals coming in handy as well.
- Zenith - My first time working with the assassin. He didn't kill anybody. I would say that attempts to play his cards close to his chest, but that he has much more 'heart' than he wants to let on. For some time he seemed to insist that it didn't matter if the target was an animal or a shifter, as if sapience wouldn't play a factor. In the end, though he bargained fairly stoutly with the Johnson to better Uyimbube's future and they both seemed glad of the outcome. I don't know that he'll ever let his guard down around me, but I can't blame him for that, he seems to have history with Elves.