Tighten The Noose
|Tighten The Noose|
Spirit of Beasts
|Casualties and losses|
|Blood Spirit||Watcher Spirit|
In which the runners burn a pair of safehouses belonging to a rogue Black Lodge member.
During the events of They Cry For Vengeance, the runners destroyed a laboratory belonging to Garry Foreman, a blood mage and rogue member of the Black Lodge. Having been burned by his organization, Foreman is now on the run, and the Lodge wants the walls to close in around him - to this end they are systematically dismantling his network of safehouses so that he can be backed into a corner and killed. Having tracked down several of his safehouses in the Metroplex, they have decided to hire runners to deal with the problem for them.
The runners are contacted individually and told to meet at a parking garage in northeastern Puyallup, where they find Charon waiting for them - following the events of Slam in the Back of My Dragula, the vampire was pressed into service by the Lodge and is being used as their intermediary in this endeavor. Charon fills the team in on the deal, telling them that two safehouses have been located, one in Matthews Beach (a condemned penthouse apartment in a AAA zone) and one in Mount Baker (a warehouse in a AA zone) and providing them with a few further details, though she cannot answer all of their questions - she does however promise ample payment for their work.
Heading to Zenith's safehouse to plan, the team decide on hitting both safehouses at once in order to keep things from tightening up at one when they hit the other; not looking to get into an astral fight with a paranoid mage's magical security measures, they decide on physical recon instead, piling into Zenith's new GMC Universe in order to get eyes on both places and plan out their approach. They find that the penthouse has what appears to be some sort of small maelstrom of blood magic on top of it, and that the warehouse is located next to a repair garage servicing KE cruisers. Unfortunately Ice ends up spotted by a decker inside and has their device rebooted, so Rabbit decides to return the favor and make it look like the work of a random script kiddie as the team drive off.
Unfortunately a few hours later as the team are preparing to make their next move an issue strikes - the news has reports of the garage being attacked, causing KE to create a security cordon several blocks wide around it and creating significant complications for the team. Planning out their approach, they decide to have Rabbit and Swerve jump from the former's glider to the top of the penthouse and deal with whatever they encounter there before pulling the fire alarm for the rest of the building and setting the place ablaze. Meanwhile Zenith, backed by Ice on the Matrix and Babylon on the astral, will sneak past the cordon and infiltrate the warehouse using smart corrosives in order to ransack it and burn it down.
Part 1: Rabbit, having obtained a burner SIN with a pilot's license and filed an approved flight plan, obtains a set of tandem parachutes and leaps from her plane with Swerve attached. Using invisibility and little smoke to conceal themselves, they manage to land on the roof unseen and are immediately assaulted by the palpable taint of blood magic. Tracing it to a large tree in the center of the garden, Rabbit immediately begins to assault it with her not-currently-a-weapon-focus-because-of-background-count monowhip, barely resisting the magical assault it counters with and managing to chop it in half. Unfortunately for the two of them, a multi-segmented arm begins to emerge from the stump and move to attack, so the pair of banshees proceed to rip it in half with astral combat, creating a spike in the background mana and causing the bad vibes to increase even further. Looking to get the frag out of here as soon as possible, they make their way into the condemned apartment to look for clues as they splash around kerosene. They manage to find a key but are unable to determine what it goes to, so after setting the place ablaze they rappel down to ground level and make their way to Rabbit's waiting boat in order to submerge in Lake Washington and emerge over in Bellevue.
Part 2: Meanwhile Zenith calls up Ghaz and asks about potential tunnals into the cordoned-off zone. Ghaz tells him that he doesn't have any he's willing to compromise, but provides him with the location of one a few blocks away which can be used as an exfiltration point. Using of all his stealthiness and tools in his B&E kit, he makes his way through the police cordon with Ice hiding his presence on the Matrix and spoofing messages to the command posts in order to create openings for him. With Babylon watching him on the astral he is able to make his way past the watcher spirits present and uses gecko tip gloves to scale the roof of the building and create a small hole in the brick-and-motor facade to the plasteel ceiling below, applying his smart corrosives and slipping inside the building. Inside he finds an oppressively-high background count, as well as more hints of Foreman's depredations (including a vault of ages holding material links from a number of subjects that he's managed to preserve, as well as corpses he's been experimenting on and information that he's been collecting for his mysterious work, and discovering that the place seems to be set up as a death trap with false and welded-shut doors.
Collecting what he can (including a laptop with a contact preparation on it, as well as information from a trid display of some unknown peninsula) and dousing the rest in gas, Zenith climbs through the ceiling and sets the place ablaze. This naturally attracts the attention of the KE patrols nearby, and he is forced to hide while Ice creates a distraction for him - making his way to the exfil point, the decker is able to spoof the cameras and drones en-route until Zenith comes to the edge of the secured zone. Babylon sees a patrol of watcher spirits at the perimeter and prepares to engage in astral combat with them to create an opening for her ally Gomorrah to lift Zenith over the cordon - however one of them spots her before she is able to destroy it, and it summons its conjurer and beast spirit backup. Intimidating the spirit and controlling the conjurer's thoughts, she is able to convince them that this situation is above their paygrade and to go for backup; in the 30 or so seconds that it takes to get it, she manages to scrub her signature and retreat with Gomorrah while Zenith makes his way towards a manhole cover and slips away into the Ork Underground.
Managing to slip away from their respective targets, the team are able to regroup and take stock of things. Zenith has Ice hack into the old laptop that he found, locating information on a "Oravaine Jilligniano - "Subject 03"" who Zenith recognizes as a juvenile elf who is part of Ghaz's community (who Foreman briefly held captive and who was released during the events of Nod Ya Head. Contacting him to express their concern about what's going on, they learn that some strange things have been going on with the boy and tell Ghaz to keep a close eye on him. Using CarnivoreGold, they are able to decipher some of the coded files on the laptop and surmise that Foreman did some genetic trickery-fraggery with the kid and managed to implant some sort of prototype gene sequence into him; the research also makes mention of transferring gene sequences from one metatype to another, as well as projects called "Bulwurk" and "Host" and keywords like "chimeric metatype variants", "latent maturity-progression implantation" and, most disconcertingly, "ambient mana levels".
Returning to Charon to give her the news, as well as the mysterious key, the team receives their payment and the promise to Babylon and Zenith that she will be in contact soon with an update on the matter.
- 30,000 nuyen (may buy ware up to 18 Availability at gear rates)
- 3 karma
- 2 CDP
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Another piece of the puzzle, and another step closer to tightening the noose a little further around Foreman's neck. Much as I hope that the bastard is scared and afraid as we back et again I find myself frustrated with the slow progress, and must remind myself that taking out someone like this and living to tell the tale means playing the long game. Frag if it ain't ever a long one though - I had half hoped we'd run into him on this so that I could have satisfaction of ripping his throat out for what we saw in Asamando. Patience is a virtue I suppose, and good things come to those who wait, but I swear if Charon and her people frag me over on this one again then there's going to be a fragging bloodbath. Knowing what little bit I do about the contents of that laptop I'm not at all happy about copies of that data being made either, even if it's just translations - next time I'll have one of Cecelia's little friends do the hacking work instead of trusting some mercenary script kiddie.
The more I find out about Foreman, the more I think I should have killed him years ago. Even if I didn't know about any of this drek, he can't get away with this drek. Especially if he's going to the extend of kidnapping people like Coffee Kid. Pretty sure he never did anything to anyone, and Ghaz or Samsara ain't gonna be happy that he was in this position.
It's also getting more and more clear that people can't be trusted with this info. Babs and I know the whole thing, but everyone who finds out even a little bit decides that they need to either share the info or hoard it for themselves, and that makes everything we want to do harder. This was meant to make Foreman easier to hit, but I can't trust a lot of the runners we're finding on these jobs not to just side with him if it came down to him or us.