The Sound of Her Voice

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The Sound of Her Voice
Part of When You Reach Me
Date2082-05-06
Location
Portland, Tir Tairngire
Status Threat Level: Semi-Prime
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven
Amrei Veidt
O'Cathalàin Noble Manor
Zenith O'Cathalàin Guard
Paladin
Countess Eileen O'Cathalàin
A follow-up run to The Spy Who Loved Me


Summary

In which Zenith follows his heart rather than his brain, and pays the price

Background

Zenith found a teddy bear that his daughter had lost eleven years ago when his wife Scarlet was kidnapped after returning from Harriot's sixteenth birthday party. The bear played a song sung by Scarlet, and prompted Zenith to leave his home in the dead of night and hire a smuggler to bring him to Tir Tairngire.

See The Spy Who Loved Me for more details.

Crossing Over

After going to his safehouse in Redmond and gathering up his gear, Zenith drives to Puyallup and into Tarislar to meet up with some Dog Soldiers at Deireadh An Tuarthell. Remembering the times where he came to the Elven hospital, to see the birth of his daughter, or to visit Scarlet for a quick lunch while she was doing her internship. However his nostalgia is interrupted by finding the Dog Soldiers and the van that they brought, Zenith throws his gear in the van and steps in for a long twelve-hour trip through the SSC and Tir borders. After a twelve-hour trip in which he used the new Linguistics power that he attained to learn Sperethiel from watching trids, he arrived in Cara'sir and finds his way to a No-Tell Motel in one of the shadier areas of the city. Offloading his gear and ensuring that he was not able to be contacted by his allies back in Seattle, he calls Amrei Veidt, the S-K spy is already well aware that Zenith has left the Metroplex and arrived in the Tairngire capital. Zenith asks her to handle his Matrix security for the next forty-eight hours while he attempts to get his answers. In return, Amrei desires the latest Telestrian Industries cyberdeck that has apparently been taken into the O'Cathalàin manor and stored either in their personal museum or in a safe in the master bedroom.

The Past and Present Heist

Having taken care of a base and matrix security for the trip, Zenith leaves the motel in disguise and finds a Tir Tairngire tour of noble manors. He recalls his times in the city before, when he was first spending time with Scarlet, going to the O'Cathalàin manor and seeing the disapproval of her parents at the noble elf woman bringing home a human from Seattle. As the tour finally gets to the manor Zenith begins to take in everything, using his Three-Dimensional Memory and Motion Sense powers to scope out the place. He discovers a number of secret passages and the positions of various occupants of the manor, but no major guard movements. Satisfied with having a mental map of the ground floor, he gets out of the area and to one of the shadier elements of Portland. He finds a runner bar and scopes the place out, careful to avoid too many gazes as he orders a drink. He looks around the place and finds another shadowrunner that seems as though he's just there for a drink rather than waiting for a Johnson. Ordering a drink for the new friend he's about to make, Zenith moves over to the booth and offers him the drink, along with a credstick loaded with two thousand nuyen. The runner introduces himself as Banks. Zenith asks if he's ever heard about someone hitting the O'Cathalàin manor, Banks believes that this is a crazy idea, the mansion is guarded by experts on all levels, including a Paladin who is acting as the Countess O'Cathalàin's personal guard. Banks informs Zenith that while the house is technically owned by the residents after the Tir Revolution, the Countess is still in control of it, and while she's staying there for the time being, her husband, Count Bran O'Cathalàin, was out of town handling 'business'.

While Banks wasn't willing to be a part of the heist that Zenith was planning, his street cred spoke for itself however and banks offered the services of the Rinelle ke'Tesraem, the terrorist group behind the Revolution. They want to get into the manor's armory and get a hold of the ancestral weapons and armor within. Zenith agrees to get them in if they will then use that to distract the guards and no kill anyone. Banks finds that acceptable and gives Zenith a commcode for a burner to reach him when he was ready. Zenith thanks him and gets out of the bar, heading back to his motel and sleeping.

The next morning, Zenith heads out and finds a market where he can find goods of a dubious nature, buying some thermal smoke grenades, a paid of diamond-tipped clippers for cutting monowire, and rappelling gloves to handle the monowire. He departs the market and goes on a final walk-about around the manor and finds a free water spirit. Offering up reagents in trade for a favor from the spirit, he asks if the spirit can do something flashy with the lake that's on the corner of the property when sundown comes. Going back to the motel and changing into his gear and getting a duffel bag filled with what he needs, he gets back to the O'Cathalàin Manor and calls Banks to meet up with the Rinelle ke'Tesraem.

Return to where it began

Waiting to see the geyser of water appearing above the wall, Zenith and his new allies climb up the wall and snip the monowire on the top in order to get over the wall. The runner leads the terrorist through the trees on the manor's grounds and gets to the side door. With a successful infil without alerting the outside guards, Zenith unlocks the door and allows the squad in. While successfully able to sneak in and arrive at the manor's personal museum, the runner is quickly faced with the decision on how to dispatch a guard that's watching the museum. Using his Salvalette Guardian, Zenith attempts to non-lethally take down the guard, though slower than he might like, and with the Rinelle ke'Tesraem getting involved, drawing the attention of the other occupants of the manor. Using the small window of time to get the group into the armory. While they began to loot and draw the guards through the museum, he used the secret passage that he had discovered previously to sneak around them.

Taking a moment to set up by one of the stairwells, Zenith tosses a thermal smoke grenade into the stairs, and while it doesn't land exactly where he wants it, it does still produce the desired effect, confusing the guards, and letting Zenith use the his Motion Sense power to see where the guards were so that he could sneak around them and up to the second floor. He runs across the hallway and to the master bedroom, breaking open the maglock and getting through the anti-tamper circuits after several attempts. He finally managed to get into the bedroom and began searching around the room. Behind a family portrait of the O'Cathalàin nobles there was a large safe. The frame of the portrait had an alchemical contact prep on it, but thanks to Zenith's powers granted by the Invisible Way, he is able to stop the prep from detonating and is then faced with a locked safe. While he reaches for his sequencer he stops and considers it, it is the kind of lock that if the code is wrong it will trigger an alarm. Taking a risk on his knowledge of the family, he puts Scarlet's birth date into the safe and is rewarded by it opening. He gets the cyberdeck and in addition, finds the engagement ring that he gave Scarlet almost seventeen years ago.

Before he is able to start his exfiltration, he sees an armored individual come in and point a Raiden at him. The two square off and a battle is about to commence before Zenith takes a shot and attempts to intimidate the Paladin. The bodyguard takes off his helmet, and tells Zenith to take off the custom ballistic mask that he wore. The adept agrees, and is rewarded by the appearance of Countess Eileen O'Cathalàin, who begins to castigate Zenith for breaking into her manor and letting a group of terrorists into her home. Zenith demands to know where Scarlet is, and is given the response that he doesn't understand the situation. The runner speaks with Eileen, learning that Scarlet was taking from the manor very quickly after she had been kidnapped by the Count and Countess from Seattle. There were age-old debts that had to be paid and the O'Cathalàin family was drawn into this ancient elven ritual that used deniable soldiers, referred to as "bondservants" to strike at one another. Scarlet had been a piece in this ancient game and her mother hadn't seen her in many years.

After a discussion about what to do about Harriot to protect her from their noble games, Zenith notices a quick flash of a sniper's scope and dives in front of Eileen, the bullets impacting him and tearing apart his armor and most of his liver, instantly knocking him out, and saved only by a savior medkit. Though as the nanomachines did their work, Zenith saw the moments of his life that matter flashing before his eyes. Moments of happiness with his mother and her team, with Scarlet as he shared special moments, with his daughter in all the years he'd raised her, and with Shine more recently. Waking up from his near-death experience, Zenith sees that someone has sent him an AR message that just says "RUN!". Taking the advise of the unknown number, Zenith grabs Eileen and makes his way out of the estate and gets to the stable where a unicorn, a horse that Scarlet had raised since it was a foal was seemingly waiting for Zenith to arrive. The runner gets on the horse with the countess and the two of them run from the manor grounds, only stopping once they reached a clearing well away from the manor.

The Countess and Zenith discuss next steps, and Eileen tells Zenith that there's a runner in Las Vegas named Sidewinder who might be related to the game they're playing, as well as showing him that there is a note in the engagement ring's box that was sent to them a year ago. The note is a message from Scarlet, telling her husband and daughter that she's proud of them and that she loves them. Overrun with emotions, Zenith takes the horse and returns to the exfil point with the Dog Soldiers who he pays an additional 10k to transport the unicorn back with him to Seattle.

Aftermath

Zenith arrives back at Seattle and rides the unicorn back through down, delivering the stolen cyberdeck to Amrei before heading back to his house, getting patched up by Shine and Vip3r while getting a chilly reception from both and a glacial reception from his daughter.

Rewards

  • 15 karma
  • 20 CDP
  • Lucky Quality
  • Scarlet's Engagement Ring
  • Sadness
  • Hole in liver
  • One Unicorn

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Zenith

Fraggin' drek. I knew elf nobles were self-involved, but I didn't know that they played games with people's fraggin' lives. Least of all their own kids. I would say that I wouldn't expect getting answers to be this painful if I hadn't spent that last eleven years searching for them, though this is the first time I've felt my liver explode.

Of course it doesn't end here, I've got more info to follow up on, and leads that seem to involve going even further south than I just did. Though right now, I have to get back home, sleep off this blood loss and organ failure, and try and repair what I've damaged by making this trip.