Tug of War
|Tug of War|
|Part of The Life and Times of One Kevin Crimes|
In which the runners are hired to rescue a group of Skraacha orphans.
The run begins in-media-res, with the runners in Ghaz’s underground saloon below the streets of Renton. The Skraacha sheriff looks tired and weary, and explains to the team that there was a power-outage a few days ago, and that when the lights came back on there were a bunch of children missing; they attempted to follow the trail, but it vanished into one of the secondary tunnels. Giving them a datachip containing a map of the sewers around the settlement, Ghaz bids the runners to help, and they of course accept.
Using the info from Ghaz as well as Newt and Samsara’s own knowledge of the tunnels of the OU, the team kit up in their armor and prepare to set out after their quarry. Kid Beef stops at the vendor in the settlement, and there the team find a strange human woman manning the shops; requesting rations for their trip, they receive their supplies and head out.
Making their way down the tunnels, the team come to a catwalk, upon which Newt discovers a scrap of cloth snagged on a jagged bit of metal. Employing her psychometry on it, she witnesses a vision of the missing kids being lead along the tunnels as a group by a child-sized figure speaking in Sperethiel. Relaying this information to the rest of the team, Samsara is able to deduce that the figure was saying “give up already, you don’t all have to die with me”; hearing this, she dashes off down the tunnels, followed shortly thereafter by the others.
While rushing across a catwalk and down a ladder, Newt senses that they’re being watched, catching a figure glimpsing at them from around a corner that darts off before they can get a better look. Continuing onwards, they follow the path that the children took in the vision but come to a partially collapsed area sinking down into a pit; finding themselves without means to cross it, they double back to the tunnel where they saw the figure spying on them.
On the way down the tunnel, Samsara spots a familiar-looking smear of puss on the wall - a method she knows from prior experience is used by Nameless to control the traffic of feral ghouls. While she examines it, Kid Beef spots out an elderly devil rat and consults with it for its wisdom, asking it if it has seen any other big people pass through; locks eyes with him and starts to lead him to the south towards a rat hole in the bedrock. Squeezing through, Samsara gets inside, finding a stash of syringes (still wrapped) and, after giving the rat some of their rations, a piece of bloody cloth. Coming back out, she passes it off to Newt to psychometrize, who witnesses a vision of a flowing stream and the word “Cedar”', however it seems to be quite a bit older than the one they found earlier.
Navigating their way back to the collapsed pit, the team put their tracking knowledge together and manage to pick up a trail from there which leads to the north. En-route, Black Samurai feels himself being watched, chasing after them with Samsara close on his heals; catching up, he sees a cloaked figure wielding a sword and clad in a mask of human skin, and Samsara catches up just as a sword fight is about to break out to recognize him as a very disheveled Nameless. He recognizes her, but says that he hasn’t seen her for a long time, and seems starved and half-crazed; she asks him why he’s here and not in Glow City with his horde of charges, but he says that they were taken away long ago and he’s been wandering since then.
Noticing a familiar-looking sword on Nameless’ back, she and Black Sam ask about it, recognizing it as a Red Samurai katana - he says that he took it from one of many who were hunting him, and says that they may have been looking for Samsara. Newt, curious, psychomitrizes the sword and sees Nameless cleaving through bodies in the dark, and surmises that he’s been down below fighting the feral Infected for some time. Trying to figure out what happened, Samsara continues asking him questions and convinces him to accompany them in their search for the missing kids.
Continuing to make their way north (towards the Cedar river), they find the kids tracks and follow them towards the shore of the river, where they find a bunch of shoes piled up. Doing her thing to the shoes, Newt feels the thoughts of a bunch of the children which seem to be mingling together with one-another, and that they seem determined to head upriver. Following the course of the river, they find an abandoned turbine covered in Cutters graffiti; recognizing it, Black Samurai employs I Know A Guy, recalling an incident with the gang some weeks back and a connection he made with them. Calling them up, he gets the ineffable Mr. Kevin Crimes on the line, who asks him what he wants before telling them it’s none of his business and hanging up.
Marching towards the Cutters encampment, Samsara spreads her hands and indicates that she wants to talk; told to stop where she is, “the boss” (Mr. Crimes) comes out to speak to them personally. She and Black Sam begin aggressive negotiations - Crimes initially tries to threaten violence and then bargain for their release, but they indicate that they’re having none of that drek. He tries to give half of them over as a show of goodwill, and Black Sam threatens to call Warboss and instigate a gang war in response. When Crimes tells them to wait, Sam hangs up on Warboss (earning himself a punch-in-the-face sim file), and Samsara earnestly says they’re just here for the kids and that she’ll talk to the Skraacha about getting what he wants if he gives them back; he considers her proposal, and says he’ll give the kids back, inviting her in to talk.
Noticing that Nameless seems to have vanished, she attempts to call him now that they’re above ground, and the signal actually goes through - the ghoul picks up, saying that he’s in Glow City with his flock, and has no idea what she’s talking about. Concerned, she follows Crimes inside, asking him to tell her what he knows and what the kids have told him about what happened, but he refuses until she negotiates for territorial concessions from the Skraacha. Presenting her with the Coffee Kid, an elf child who she’s familiar with, who says that something weird has been happening to him and he tried to leave the settlement, but that the other kids followed him; she notices a strange glamor-like quality to him, Crimes tells her that he bit another kid and drank their blood, but doesn’t seem to be Infected. Concerned, she asks him what happened, but he has little else of use to say at the moment.
Showing her to a storeroom that’s been made into a makeshift bunk, Crimes and Samsara are surprised to see that the rest of the kids seem to have vanished; while they look about, outside Black Sam hears Nameless’ voice in his ear telling him the kids are safe in the tunnels below and that it’s time to leave. Relaying this info to Samsara, she demands to know what Crimes can tell her of what happened here if she’s going to bring the Skraacha to the table to negotiate; he says that he wants to keep it close to his chest, but that he might have work for her in the future, and when she gets mad he volunteers that another group came looking for the kids - a bunch of sasquatches who they drove off. Confused, she leaves with Coffee Kid and calls Ghaz.
While waiting for the van to be sent over, the team spots Nameless lurking about. Samsara goes to speak with him, thanking him for his help, and at the same time calls the other Nameless to ask what the heck is going on; once she confirms that their aura looks familiar, he asks her to send a photo, and after a long pause he hangs up without a word. Concerned, she gives him a commlink to contact him at a later date, and as he leaves he gives Kid Beef something wrapped in a pus-covered cloth, telling him that it will serve him well in the future.
Inordinately curious after everything they’ve been through, and at the urging of both her mentor and Black Samurai, Newt approaches to snatch it out of his hands and examine it; however in doing so she manages to cut herself on the edge and get the wound contaminated with some of the pus on the cloth. Thinking quickly, she looks to Black Samurai and tells him to cut off her arm, which he does so without hesitation (later painting a portrait inspired by the experience and sending it to Newt as a get-well gift).
Loading the kids into Ghaz’s van, the team return them to the settlement and decline payment for the job; Samsara tells him and Warboss what happened and arranges for talks with the Crimes and the Cutters to look into the matter further.
Newt meanwhile is given the name of a “doctor” who owes Ghaz several favors, and has access to a cyberarm to replace her lost one; delirious with fever and just glad to be alive and not Infected, she agrees and gets a hookup with Zigzag.
- 10 Karma
- For Black Samurai & Samsara: Up to 6 RVP of Immortal Flower or Karma
- For Kid Beef: 6 Karma and Ares Redline w/ Custom Look, Laser Sight, Power Clip, Personalized Grip and Weapon Personality (8,675 Nuyen at gear price rates)
- For Newt: 162s Graffiti'd Case Modded Rusty Full Cyberarm & augmentations to said arm up to 24,000 Nuyen
- 2 CDP
- 1 Skraacha Reputation
- 1 Cutters Reputation
- Optional Contact: Ghaz
- Optional Contact: Zig-Zag (Newt Only)
Black Samurai: “Yeah well you’d think being covered up head to toe like that you wouldn’t be so fragging ugly, but here we are.”
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
What the frag… I have no idea what happened here… Coffee Kid goes missing and a bunch of the others follow because ‘’’somebody did something to him while I was away and couldn’t protect him!’’’ Aaaaahhh! Goddamnit! I should have been here! Then as if that’s not enough I run into Nameless, who’s all freaked out and half-starved and says he’s been fighting feral Infected for who-knows-how-long and hasn’t seen me in months, and he has a ‘’’red samurai katana’’’ for some reason! But then I called the real one and ‘’’he’s also still in Glow City so like what’s even real?!’’’ I’ve been out of the game for too long, time to get serious and figure out what’s going on here…
Frag though, I really hope that Newt is okay… Black Sam cut off her arm when she told him to so she wouldn’t turn into a ghoul by accident. She seemed really tough, just… yeah, it was a lot. That Kid Beef guy seemed really cool though - kinda looked familiar, but I can’t quite place it.
Kids. Are not. Bargaining chips.
I'd like to have murdered about 50 gangers today, but everything's gone to shit lately and I don't want to make it worse. Newt was a bit of a shitter for the first half of the run, and then--at my urging--tried to assense a blade but fragged up and nearly got infected. I had to take their arm.
I feel--conflicted on that. I'm not the sorta person that's going to tell you a metal arm is a liability, but I know how it frags with your magic at first. On the other hand...don't cut yourself. Obviously.
"We didn't take them but we'll hang on to them as a bargaining chip." Remind me to murder literally every one of them.