Shadowrun Saga

Ognan Crane entry 2 - Safety Week (third run)
Completed another job, with a few literal and figurative bumps in the road.

The client was… unnerving, to say the least. Just about the creepiest guy you could imagine with his entourage of flying rats. That drek just wasn’t natural; I don’t know what his deal was but I’m not convinced he wasn’t a mage cloaking himself in illusions. Given my own skill with mindfrags I should have been able to tell, so like I said, unnerving.

We were to pick up a crate using a cover he provided, sit on it for a week and bring it right back discreetly. Might’ve been preparing for an inspection or something along those lines, but as long as the cargo itself doesn’t represent a danger for my team it ain’t my place to pry. It helps that it was gonna be our biggest payday yet(8k up front, 8k on final delivery), but that also implies risks so I negotiated us an extra 8k as hazard pay.

Turns out that was the right move.

Nothing we couldn’t handle, but trouble popped up just about immediately. We picked up a tail between the pick-up location and the storage unit where we had decided to stash the crate for the week. Spotting them might’ve been a stroke of luck, because they were good enough that Frank couldn’t lose them the old fashioned way. We shook them with a bit of arcane trickery courtesy of moi, stashed the cargo, hired Jake to keep an eye on it, and went for a drink.

Kicked back until Jethers was approached while he was off brooding in some dive bar again. Some corporate-looking guy with bodyguards. They wanted him(and/or us) to let him have a peek at the contents of our crate. Normally I’d be all for it, but there were too many variables in play. No idea what was in the crate, what security measures they placed on it, etc. … If somebody wants to know what’s in there that badly, it ain’t to sit on the information and do nothing. They would use that info, and when they did, our first client would know we crossed him.

Jethers apparently went into self-preservation mode. Messaged Frank as a getaway driver. Accepted the job and took the guy’s money, which is definitely gonna come back to bite us in the ass later. Ven can handle a crisis, imagined or not, but he doesn’t see the big picture.

Had to lose another tail on the way back from there, used the same trick. Fool you twice and all that. I think we’ve come up with a good system, but we’re gonna have to introduce some variation to it.

Client #2 wanted us to give him 24 hours with the crate to check it out, gave Ven the commlink code for a “specialist.” No way to correct his mistake directly. Called said specialist to try anyway. Pretty young thing picked up, a redhead, and she wasted no time trying to pluck my heartstrings. She thought she could play me. Well, I was about to play right back but her decker friend fumbled all over my commlink, prompting me to go for a more direct approach.

We had a location, so the crew and I ran the decker down. Seriously fancy driving on Frank’s part, coupled with a push from one of my connections in the astral plane. This kid was green. Called himself Bobby. He said the Triads had hired him. We confiscated his ‘deck and asked Manners to keep him for a while. Can’t have been too unpleasant, right?

Then came the day we were to turn the crate in, right back where we took custody of it in the first place. Well, as we were preparing to leave, Jake alerted us that he’d lost visual on part of the storage unit. We raced over there and caught three Triads sneaking in. Weren’t no fight; Jethers fired a single burst and put two rounds in each of the poor saps, killing them dead. That wasn’t a smartgun either, can’t say I’ve seen the like before. Ven was a good investment.

We got out of there before the owner showed up and went for a stroll to dodge the ensuing trouble. A whole heap of the local mafia showed up, making a show of their intervention. Gotta keep up appearances. So we rolled up again as if nothing had happened and I talked my way in to get the cargo. Their boss gave me some trouble but we came to an understanding. It’d be bad for them if anybody found out they allowed this to happen on their turf after all. He wanted my contact information, I went a step further— he’ll know who to call if he needs a team that knows how to get things done.

Scuffle on the way to make the delivery. Another truck was following us and a couple of drones straight up opened fire on us. Ven took one out and a raccoon spirit tore into the other, but not before Jethers took a full volley square in his chest plate and he hit his head against the van wall behind him, out cold. That’s gonna leave a nasty bruise. Then I brought in a storm spirit who got rid of the truck with surprising efficiency. We finished the delivery without further incident and received payment not too long afterwards.

In conclusion, we have probably made an enemy of the second Johnson but in my opinion it was either him or the original one. And if we’re gonna make an enemy, I’d rather do it without earning a reputation for crossing our clients.

Frank and Ven pull their own weight. That said, we’re lacking in certain departments. I’m going to find us an in-house decker and perhaps another specialist. I’m also going to encourage Frank to expand his skill set, and Ven can certainly be groomed to greatness – just as soon as he’s done mourning his former life.

As for myself, I intend to hone my verbal kung fu and my magic.

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Ognan Crane entry 1 - Meal Interruptus
Of dessert-related frustration and exploding gangers.

19/09/2050
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Dear diary,

Dear diary. I don’t know why I always open with that. I think it’s an ironic gesture, having a giggle over writing like a teenage girl. Ever since Jerry pestered me into keeping a journal last year and went into an hour-long lecture on the entire history of people writing about their daily woes.

He’s leaving my employ. Hasn’t said why yet; maybe tonight’s events were finally too much for him. Manners never really belonged in this world. The underground, that is. My home. He made no effort to hide it, either, but he still made the best of it. I suspect it was actually more of a conscious choice. Either out of hope for a return to his former life, or out of disdain for his new one. I hope he keeps in touch, as he’s someone I feel I can actually trust. Not a lot of those still alive today.

Big commotion during dinner, just before Gran’s famous dessert. Boom. Had to check it out, of course, not that Manners would have it any other way. Some of the other guests joined us – Frank and my new protégé, Ven. Made themselves useful, too.

We found the remains of a crotch rocket and what was left of its rider, which wasn’t much – the explosion was clearly point blank, and powerful. This was no grenade or RPG. We got nothing but some colors from that scene. Neighboring gang, the…Blades? Swords? Whatever. Something along those lines, rendered rather nonthreatening by the fact that most of those guys didn’t seem too sharp.

I was ready to write it off as a ganger kerfuffle gone a tad too far and go home for some fraggin’ dessert, but there was more ruckus deeper within their turf. Yak drones were getting agitated, too. Confirmed with Toshi-san, who actually decided to reinstate me. Mixed feelings there.

Well, we found another similar blast site. Nothing more to say there, but we then spotted one of the gangers, the Swords, looking about as nervous as a guy can get and sporting a thick vest. He went to the free clinic – we followed. Intercepted him… Frank sucker punched him pretty good. I managed to calm him down and we started asking questions. And then we heard it – an electronic whine coming from his chest. For a sec I thought the bomb was inside him, I’m not sure why, but Manners tore open the vest to reveal a significant amount of plastic, rigged with a burner commlink and an unbelievably cliché timer. We held him down, and Ven stepped up to fiddle with the damn thing. Turns out he knows his way around a bomb; he got it disarmed and off the ganger right quick. All rather enjoyably dramatic.

Guy talks. Turns out the gangers had a meet, except instead of a job they were each given vague orders and a brand new mandatory dress code, sure to make a bang in the fashion world.

We talked to their leader. Name of.. Stiletto, I think? This one was smarter, and pissed. Well, she hired us to figure this drek out and maybe drag her boys out of deep water in the process. I let the meager payment slip – some beat up, decades old van probably in violation of a dozen street codes – in the name of good neighborly relations.

Bouncer saw nothing but the Johnson in a smart suit who delivered a white noise generator for the meet. In the room, we found that said white noise generator had been modified to release some knockout gas. The theory is that the people who rigged the gangers went in with all the equipment under an invisibility spell or something.

Stiletto put us in contact with her fixer, Donna Dupree, because the Johnsons apparently claimed they were sent by her. Donna(note: hot stuff. mack on later.) didn’t like being name-dropped and gladly cooperated. Got a decker to help us out, too, some guy calling himself Jake in the Box. We gave him the job of deciphering commlink records to find a clue about the Johnsons while we hit up the nearest drekhole junkyard to find one of the gangers who was apparently sent to gather nondescript scrap metal.

Found him, did my thing, talked Frank out of cold cocking this guy too, Ven did his and disarmed the bomb(he’s turning out to be quite reliable). And then a drone swooped in and attacked us. Wasn’t the first one we’d spotted, either.

It was dealt with… quicker than I would have expected, and Frank found us a general direction for the rigger controlling it.

We discovered another of the gangers’ destination was the Yak home base for the area and I wasn’t having none of that, so we went to city hall. Getting inside was no problem(gotta love the look on the goon’s face when he finds out who I am,) and once in I enlisted the help of a hearth spirit to find the poor bastard quick-like. That took us up the elevator to a floor under heavy renovation, apparently soon to be the boss’ quarters. The guard there took some convincing but nobody wants to be responsible for the boss’ room getting bombed.

Found the ganger trying to climb into a ventilation shaft. Manners grabbed him by the legs, we disarmed the bomb, etc. etc. This ganger remembered a little more, confirming my suspicions that it was a mob takeover attempt. I thanked my new spirit sararyman friend for his service and let him be on his way, and we walked the ganger out casually, pretending he was with us when we came in.

Fun fact: everyone wants to believe. You only need to give them an excuse to buy whatever bullshit you’re selling.

Combining some tracking on the rigger, info from Jake in the Box and the gangers, we found a safe house that the culprits were renting from some other gang, complete with a fancy unmarked van parked out front. Small talk with the gangers. Ven and Frank “went for snacks” while Manners and I stayed to stakeout the place.

Biker with a sidecar showed up. Some commotion inside. We intercepted him when he left again… perhaps a little too roughly. Note: be more specific with my requests to spirits in the future. Chummer was knocked unconscious instantly and almost killed, so we didn’t get much out of him.

The van took off, though, without a driver, and we followed it to some house. This was it, the rigger controlling all the bombs and drones had to be here. I called for backup. Ven made like a shadow and got up close and I thought we were being sneaky, but then I guess he emptied his gun into the garage. So we hopped out of the van. Manners and I went around back. Big guy performed a manual override on the wall and we went in.

I… heroically forged ahead and secured the premises. Yeah. We made short work of them and that was that. Frank pulled apart some drones for parts, the Yak showed up to clean up.

With all that over with we talked to Donna again. She paid us and offered to find us work. I guess we did make a pretty good team. We accepted, so we’ll see what comes of it.

Only then did we finally go home to have us that dessert, which turned out to be worth the wait. Where does Gran even GET this stuff?

Now I’m all shook up and I think the stim’s about to give out on me, plus Coy is chiding me about being too slow once fisticuffs broke out and trying to shove an arcane pattern into my head for a spell. So I’m going to sleep on all this.

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