Two and a Half Mile High Club

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Two and a Half Mile High Club
Part of Two Steps Ahead
Date2081-12-05
Location
Sky High (over the Midwestern UCAS)
Status Threat Level: Semi-Prime
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven
Aztechnology
Saeder-Krupp
Flyboy
Gh0st
Ice Cube
King Beef
Relay
Zephyr
Extraction Targets
S-K Prime Decker
S-K Prime Mage
S-K Prime Operative
S-K Prime Rigger
Great Form Spirit of Air
Casualties and losses
One point of burned edge from King Beef S-K Prime Decker, S-K Prime Mage x2, S-K Prime Operative x5, S-K Prime Rigger, Great Form Spirit of Air


Summary

In which the runners are hired by Aztechnology to snatch three of Saeder-Krupp’s best and brightest during a mid-air transit.


The Meet

The action movie job begins in an aircraft hanger in Kansas City where the team has assembled. Flyboy and Relay have been hard at work learning to fly the Aztechnology GX-3 with which the team has been provided in order to facilitate successful completion of the job (and which they will pay a significant penalty if it is damaged or destroyed). The two riggers have also paid out-of-pocket to install Electromagnetic Countermeasures on it as part of their plan of attack. Meanwhile, the others are kitting up in their flight equipment – most of the group are wearing Urban Explorer Daedalus wingsuits with equipped parachutes in case things go badly for them, but Ice Cube and King Beef have also chosen to equip themselves with Vulcan Systems Rapid Egress System jetpacks just for added pink mohawk.

The Plan

After an intro sequence montage and final discussions with Mr. Hernandez, the team board their transport and set out – their target, a SKA-008 traveling northeast from Denver to Minneapolis-St. Paul, contains 3 VIPs as well as a full security team from S-K Prime, and they have plotted an intercept course. The team has spent the last 24 hours carefully considering their options and planning a coordinated assault designed to cripple the enemy and take control of the situation as quickly as possible, but they know it will not be easy – S-K Prime are among the best of the best, and they know they’ve got a tough fight ahead of them. At 3pm CST, the team approach the target from above and prepare to engage.

The Run

Flyboy pilots the craft expertly and stealthily, managing to avoid notice of the SKA-008’s sensors as well as the watchful eye of the electronic warfare specialist onboard and stay just outside the range of an active detect life spell thanks to astral spotting from Zephyr (who also determines that the SKA-008 is protected on the astral by a force 10 air spirit using the guard power on it). Confirming with the team that it’s go-time, Gh0st drops into VR and spots out the pilot’s icon, running silently and slaved to a rating 10 host. He switches into attack configuration, and after recklessly hacking three marks onto the icon launches a devastating dataspike with his instinctive hack. The pilot has a strong firewall, but Gh0st’s attack is stronger it and he is hit with overwhelming biofeedback sufficient to instantly kill him, splattering his grey matter all over the inside of the rigger cocoon and forcing the auto-pilot to take over as back at S-K’s Denver HQ the matrix backup springs into action in order to take over remote control.

The ambush successfully launched, surprise and initiative is rolled, and the S-K Prime team springs into action – three of them activate bodyguard BTLs to protect their trio of principals while the door gunners locate targets for their heavy weapons (a missile launcher and a heavy machine gun). The mages start to look for astral threats and ready spells and spirits, while the decker attempts to spot out whoever just deleted the pilot. They are already on the defensive however, and the team isn’t done with them yet. As the S-K door gunners locate the incoming enemy craft and open fire, Ice Cube and King Beef (having hit their combat stimulants and activated their adept powers at go-time) leap from the plane with area jammers active as Flyboy avoids an incoming missile (which is taken out by their craft’s defense system) before closing the distance and deploying his drone swarm. Relay activates the Electronic Countermeasures that they installed, and the combined noise (from which their PAN is white-listed) is sufficient to overwhelm the S-K Prime team’s PAN and knock the craft off of the wireless.

Ice Cube successfully freefalls towards the craft and attaches himself to the side with magnetic boots before proceeding to soak heavy machine gun fire, while King Beef employs his jetpack to make a rapid ingress and (after soaking assault rifle fire handily) hit one of the S-K goons with an electric rocket punch that cracks right through his body armor. On the astral, Zephyr deploys his stable of spirits before the enemy conjurer can call up his own – he has his great form earth spirit engage in astral combat with the air spirit protecting the SKA-008, while his great form fire spirit terrifies the conjurer into momentary helpless inaction which is exploited to the team’s great advantage. On the matrix, Gh0st beats out the enemy decker (who isn’t as quick on the draw and is attempting to deal with all the static) and successfully hides while tagging out targets in AR through Flyboy’s drone feed. The remaining door gunner launches another anti-vehicle missile which just barely misses its target, and one of the operatives attempts a called shot to the engine block of the team’s craft, but Flyboy manages to make it a grazing blow that the armor is able to soak without damaging the engine; Relay, using his Barrett, BSB’s right through the poor bastard’s armor and puts a hole in his head as he drops out of the sky down towards the earth below, his parachute automatically deploying as he falls.

Using gel rounds, the S-K Prime operatives attempt to knock Ice Cube off of the craft – the first-geneation ork is just too strong however, and he manages to cling to the side with the aid of his magnetic boots. Clinching the heavy machine gunner, he activates his jetpack and disengages the boots, pulling him away from the craft and handing him a parachute with a grin before dropping him. On-board, the terrified VIPs are surrounded by their bodyguards as the dedicated spellslinger goes for broke, launching a force 14 lightning bolt at King Beef that actually manages to singe the soak tank’s fur. The mage isn’t looking too hot after that amount of drain however, and an electric haymaker from King Beef is enough to atomize him. Zephyr’s earth spirit switches to guarding their craft, he has his air spirit start causing accidents among the remaining S-K Prime operatives as his fire spirit continues bullying the conjurer and keeping him from summoning further backup (though his comrades have already got that part covered). With the conjurer paralyzed with terror from the actual god of hellfire on the astral and the S-K Prime team unable to benefit from their Pi-Tac bonuses or spiritual backup, they are now at a significant disadvantage as back at HQ backup emergency backup is scrambled; on the horizon directly in the flight path, a storm front is gathering as ominous thunderclouds start to form.

Ice Cube and King Beef continue their rampage, felling S-K goons left and right as they’re tossed from the chopper, though the latter is briefly felled by focus-fire as his stun track is filled before his stim-patch is activated by Relay to put him back on his feet. He thanks him by jet-packing back over to the team’s vehicle and bringing Relay (having emerged from his rigger cocoon) back over. Ice Cube dispatches the remaining door gunner before a third missile can be fired, and Gh0st engages in a spike fight with the enemy decker while Zephyr handles the conjurer by deleting him from the astral. The team has gained the upper hand, and even manage to find a few of the contingency measures put in place for this sort of thing (Zephyr sees the S-K Last Chance commlink implanted in one of their targets, and Relay takes direct control of the craft before switching it offline to keep the anti-theft system from blowing it up).

While the runners have the advantage, S-K isn’t giving up their employees without a fight – they deploy spiritual backup which quickly arrives to engage Zephyr’s spirits on the astral as helicopters are scrambled and ground-based missiles prepared to shoot down the enemy craft. Relay and Flyboy, both rocking rating 3 control rigs, mitigate their ability to do this by flying right into the oncoming storm at something approaching the speed of sound (speed 9, the max speed of both rotocrafts). They are both expert pilots and their rigger nonsense manages to compensate for the difficult terrain, but their flight path takes them directly towards the manifesting force 12 great form spirit of air - aka. Ashur, God of Wind and Storms - that has been sent to put a stop to all this shadowrunning nonsense once and for all.

Ice Cube loads up his assault rifle with blight rounds and Zephyr (with his bound great forms are occupied dealing with the lesser spirits sent to stop them) dismisses his summoned air spirt in order to bring out a force 13 water spirit that may have a chance against the demigod that floats before them ready to knock them out of the sky with its storm power. Before it can do that however, King Beef seizes the initiative to activate his jetpack and flies directly at the spirit, burning edge to smackdown a magical punch that disrupts it in a single blow and earning the MVP trophy for the run – he just manages to stay alive as the spirit’s electric aura comes close to filling up his physical track along with his stun one, and rapidly egresses back to the chopper to be put into the Valkyrie module as the damage from the stim patch and the drain from his adept powers finally puts him down for the count.

Aftermath

With the final boss defeated and its minions rapidly being dispersed on the astral, Flyboy and Relay fly both rotocrafts at top speed towards Fargo, where an Aztechnology team waits at an airfield to receive them. They go matrix dark as Gh0st jams signals to keep the Last Chance commlink from being activated, and Zephyr ensures they are not followed on the astral by more spirits. With a pair of world-class riggers at the helm and signal masking on both craft, they manage to avoid being detected by meatspace backup or shot out of the sky en-route to their destination as the trio of VIPs are left to briefly contemplate their fates before being rendered unconscious via narcojet. The team are relived that none of their number died, and each of them pat one another on the back for a job well done.

Arriving at the airfield less than an hour after engaging, the team slow-walk exit both crafts as Mr. Hernandez exits a black van, into which the three former S-K employees are ushered by the Aztechnology team. The group spend all the edge they earned from accomplishing their goal to pre-edge assists on negotiation for Flyboy, and the resulting teamwork test scores enough hits that Mr. Hernandez agrees to up their original offer from 40k nuyen to 50k (as they brought back the SKA-008 in addition to the GX-3), including surplus military hardware among the rewards along with the originally-planned access to a deltaware clinic for those who wish to give the Big A a sample of their blood.

Zephyr actually takes them up on this offer, choosing to burn out for deltaware and accept Records on File, so he is flown off to Belize to go under the knife while the rest of the team are given their various rewards (Gh0st gets a new deck, Relay a rating 2 Pi-Tac, King Beef a custom-made set of kitted-out FBA, and Ice Cube starts recouping some of his investment in gear for the job). Flyboy meanwhile receives a special reward, for which he hands over all of his payment as well as a whole bunch of out-of-pocket cash – an Aztechnology GX-2 Aguilar attack helicopter (with the weapons removed and the serial numbers filed off) that was used in the Az-Am war which he uses to fly Ice Cube and himself back to Seattle, and after a debriefing everyone is given their prizes and transported back to the metroplex.

Rewards

  • 50,000 nuyen
  • 8 karma
  • 2 CDP
  • +3 Aztechnology rep
  • Optional Gear Reward: Surplus Aztechnology Military Hardware (weapons, armor, electronics) @ 2:1 RVP value, no availability limit
  • Optional Gear Reward: Augmentations (including deltaware for awakened characters, costing 15 RVP) @ 2:1 RVP value, no availability limit – taking deltaware means getting Records on File (Aztechnology)

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Relay

Three executives have been successfully relocated from an org that implants bombs in the heads of their strike teams, and yet they've landed some place worse, thanks to us.

I have no love for Aztechnology; I figure nobody with half a brain does. That being said, if we've got Haven folks going in, I want to make sure they stay alive. Thanks to a hell of a lot of tinkering, (and dropping just about every Nuyen I made on the mission as well as cannibalizing my old PI-Tac,) I've managed to get the S-K version we snagged back up and running under new management. May it keep our teams safer than it kept theirs.

Flyboy is a damn good rigger and thoroughly prepares for his missions. It keeps people alive, and I have tremendous respect for that. Zephyr is an absolute tour de force. This was my first opportunity to play with KB and Ice Cube. I did not expect them to be of much use on this run, given their melee-centric reputations. I could not have been more wrong. I watched a minotaur punch a storm-air-spirit-thingy out of existence. He has earned the moniker king in my book. Oh, and if it weren't for Gh0st frying their pilot, this would not have gone so smoothly.

It was a good reminder that I can be absolutely deleted, but that's not much different than the runners who actually hold their rifles, is it?

King Beef

Lemme tell ya, this Jetpack was one of the best damn things I'd ever asked for out of a Johnson and gotten. Come in so damn handy all the time, jumping between helicopters? You got it. Stopping you from falling to your death? You betcha. Using that motherfucker to punch a spirit right back to where it came from? You're damn right it can. Also, much as I enjoyed my solo-act these other runners are pretty damn handy especially when I keep getting pecked at by small arms fire. Thanks for patchin' me crew, you know who you are.

Gh0st

That could have gone a lot worse on my side, I was able to get through that pilots firewall through sheer luck. It was so close I had to double check my code because I thought I had been compromised, but it all worked out I do feel a little bad about the pilot but I can only hope it was instant. The others on the team are crazy though, I have never seen a normal human being punch a spirit that big its a miracle he survived. God I'm glad I didn't awaken...

Press

Aztechnology Cuts Heads off SK