Ello Chummers, Myrad ere.
Consider this, if you wanted to steal from a AAA corporation which continually monitored the matrix for any matrix traffic related to them, how would you do it?
- Dont try it?
- Do everything face-to-face?
- hire a team, but don’t tell them whats going on until 15 minutes before the event?
Yup, you can guess what happened this week to us, can’t you?
< I hope a certain corp doesn’t scan this article or yours truly & co are well and truly drekked. >
Kaze gets a call from the hot chick, Dae. The fixer ‘The Sphinx’ wants a team to perform an extraction. The team is to meet in the stairwell on the 30th floor of the Yojirushi building with all kit ready. That’s it, no other details.
Kaze does his thing and gets us a good price (20K¥/person) and then calls the team: yours truly, Dice, Smoke & Shooter. It appears that Mist was also arranged to provide overwatch.
So, we get to the building, and head up to the 30th floor. I cannot explain it, but everytime I went near the matrix, I had that funny feeling that someone might be watching me.
19:45 and we are all shacked up in the stairwell, just below the roof (Johnson’s orders, I dunno). Looking around its worrying, nobody likes waiting & not knowing whats going on.
But the shipments from the Song of Somalia also came in and thats even more worrying, it looks like we are loading for a drekking warzone!
I had a light machine gun and an Arachne in a gun bag. I saw a couple of suits of military grade armour, and as for Smoke. I started sweating when I saw what he had strapped to his back. A PANTHER!
If we knew what was going on, we could plan better, but we don’t and so everyone is loading for bear and then some.
Its around then we get the call. Our Johnson, Sphinx calls us. The full job is to perform an unwilling extraction. The target is Parker Acson, a Arcano Archaeologist, who is a new hire for the Horizon corporation. At 20:00 there is a welcome session for the new hire’s in Horizons main building next door.
Looks like this new hire is not staying for long, isit?
If this is a triple A’s HQ we had better not stay for too long either, assuming we value our lives.
It also explains the matrix paranoia I was developing, if its Horizon the information corp, there is a chance that they may even be listening in to this transmission!
So, this gives us 15 minutes to: figure out the plan, get over there, snatch the target and beat a hasty retreat. Great, just great.
A quick recon (its great to have control of a blimp floating several hundred meters above the skyline), reveals Horizon’s building has four drone racks (that’s about 20 drones) and four rooftop snipers (with stealth suits but no thermal masking, amateurs!)
So the plan is very quickly hashed together. Good plans take hours to get right, we didn’t have time to plan. Hopefully the big H doesn’t have time to work out a response to us.
Imagine the scene: a spirit carrying Dice and Myself across the 100 meter gap between the buildings. Smoke and Shooter firing grapple lines and flying fox across the gap. Kaze preparing to follow, and Mist on overwatch on the other building. All eyes on the balcony garden in Horizon Towers.
Impressive? Suitable for the Trids? Script writers for Carl Combat Mage hurriedly taking notes?
Drek, the lot of it!
We want to stay alive, so we don’t advertise. Everyone had a Ruthenium suit and Dice had her spirit hide us as well. You couldn’t spot us if we were touting a Panther cannon. Errr… forget what I just said.
The combat lasted all of 10 seconds, which is how is should be. Fast, surgical, quick in, quick out.
There must have been a good 50 people in there, but only a few actual security, light armour and light pistols.
Dice laid down a couple of stun balls which messed up a lot of the corp types, and all the new hires. I clipped a security guard with my Fubuki, but when you are loading stick-n-shock, you only need to clip them. There was something that looked like a dragon, but I think Dice said that it was just an illusion, and it went down to one of Dices stun balls.
There was one security guard who actually seemed to be able to respond in time, but Shooter/Smoke blew him into a bloody pulp with their assault rifles.
One of the corp types just totally ignored the stun ball that Dice dropped. That was a bad move! When everyone else around you goes down, and you just remain standing, you mark yourself as a tuff-nut. So what happens? Smoke whips out the Uber gun and Panthers the guy across the room! And when it only mortally wounds him, someone shoots him again.
Subtly moving around in total camouflage: good.
Panther cannoning senior corps: not good, not subtle, not very cool either.
Anyway in these 10 seconds, Mist has been busy with that lethal sniper rifle of hers and disposed of all the snipers and some of the drones. By the time we grab Parker, and zipline/spirit fly down to the ground, Mist has polished off all the drones and base jumped off the building.
Impressive? Trids? Carl Combat Mage?
Nope, we are still in stealth mode.
So it probably confused the bystanders at the bottom of the building, looking up at the noise & ziplines. Mind you, the confusion spell that Dice whipped up (or was it her spirit?) confused the bystanders even more. So we sneaked off in the riot. Good call Dice.
We hit one of Kaze’s safe houses and lie low for a while. We send a message to the Johnson “Goods acquired, awaiting location for delivery”, but we get no response. Funny? I would have thought that the Johnson would be waiting for our call.
By next morning, the Net is all full of the terrorist attack on Horizon towers and the killing of the VP of magical research! Drek!
This is the most publicity that any of us have had, except for the pictures of Leroy Sanders and his new girl friend (Dice).
But the thing that bothers us is that Mr Johnson is suspiciously silent and we are burning our hands trying to keep hold of a hot potato.
Talking of Potatoes, Peter (Kaze decided to call Parker Acson, Peter. I think this is probably a movie reference, Kaze loves to watch old movies), turns out to be a strange looking mage. He is obviously cybered (data jack & cyber eyes) and I spot a comlink in his head (thats a risk), and Dice says that he has cyber in his spine. Wired possible? And its all top of the line delta-grade cyber. I thought that mages didn’t like cyber, and he seems to have combat cyber. Weird!
Another strange thing, Peter seems remarkably calm about being snatched and is quite open to joining another corp. He says that he is glad we snatched him from the big H and doesn’t want to go back there. He even mentions Lawrence Nazire of the Atlantean Foundation by name, as a potential employer.
Rather than stay put and wait for the hit team to catch up with us, we decide to keep moving. We hole up in the Ork Underground till noon.
By noon, there is no word from the Sphinx, so its plan B. “Lets try to sell the goods.” Again, Peter is fine with this, and is sufficiently well behaved that we unlock him (this is very strange).
We end up talking to quite a few people, I won’t bore you with the details. It appears that the Sphinx got taken down by a Horizon hit team about two hours after hit. That explains why we had not heard from him. I might have felt sorry for the guy, but he left us with the hot potato, and I’m more interested in not joining him.
Somewhere along the line Peter mentions that he has a copy of the “Taljun Codex” in his head. Its some kind of pre-history book, sounds boring, but apparently it also has names of all the Ancient Dragons in it. At this point it was clear that our potato has become even hotter.
We met up with Lawrence Nazire. That was a risky meet: we think we were being watched. We met Morrow of the Draco Foundation. We met MacAllister at Underworld 93 and he introduced us to the owner, Perry. Perry was very interested in the codex and also wanted Winter too. (Forgot to mention, we pulled Winter in once we realised we needed all the help we could get. And what is this business with Winter and dragons too?) Kaze’s uncle told use that Lin Yan Chong who is a representative for the Yakuza Dragon Loong, also wanted the potato. Then a lizard man (serious) suddenly appears and introduced himself to us. His name is Simon Andrews, who happens to be a representative for another dragon, Lofwyr (boss of Saeder-Krupp). And this dragon wants to put in the offer for the goods.
The situation is that too many dragons know we have the goods, and whichever way this goes there is going to be several dragons unhappy with us. This makes for a very unhappy group of runners.
We have a chat with Peter on this matter, while driving off from the last meet. Peter is still suspiciously unbothered by this whole matter. He seems to spend a moment in though, but while he is thinking, my alerts go off! Peter’s internal comlink has suddenly squirted off a tiny data packet. I scramble across the matrix after it, but its too small to get a good lock on it. I see it heading downtown in the direction of Corporation Centre. That does it! We have played fair with the Acson guy, but it looks like this guy is not. Kaze stuns him as soon as I mention the packet. We also spot a KE tail. Coincidence? Not sure, but we lose the tail quick.
We decide the next thing to do is to try to find out what the truth is about this guy. I’m about to have in when Winter does hummanah-hummanah of whatever voodoo it is and grabs the guys head. Its quiet for a minute or so, and then he lets go and says ‘interesting’. He then tells us all that he needs to make a call to a dragon.
That’s the fourth dragon today! This is way beyond too drekking much!
A few minute later, we have to make a choice. Winter knows a guy, who knows a dragon, Swartzkoph, who is interested in the goods. That drek head is no longer a person any more. He seemed honest about working with us, but as soon as he pulls a stunt like that he became goods.
According to Winter, this is one of the moderate dragons. Funny that, I don’t think I would put the words ‘moderate’ and ‘dragon’ in the same sentence. At least he didn’t lie to us by using words like ‘friendly’ or ‘tame’. Englishman or not, Winter’s association with a big D is making me nervous. There is certainly something that Winter is not telling us about, but I think that sometimes it might be better NOT knowing on this one.
A quick vote around the team, says we go with the new D. I guess if Winter trusts it, then we can trust it. But I use the ‘trust’ word in the loosest possible way. I happen to like my current state, I.E. alive and not a small blackened outline.
Winter’s contact says to bring the goods to the airbase at Fort Lewis. We bring the goods, drop it off in a mana-coffin. Watch it get loaded onto a plane and fly off, collect our payment and lay very low for the next few days.
A few days later, we pop back and have a chat with Perry, the owner of Underworld 93. We still have the unreleased materials of Kisune, left over from a previous run. Kaze does his magic and gets not only a very good price for it, but also free access to Underworld 93, and that’s a good deal.
Overall, I would have been a lot happier without this mission. Winter said that the guy Parker Acson is actually a Luther Adams, deep cover agent for Horizon who was meant to be snatched and placed in a different organisation. I don’t get it, why do they want a mole in their organisation? Actually who cares: they paid the bills, they can figure out what to do with this mess.
This week I’m much too paranoid, the word is on the street that Myrad was part of the crew that took down a Horizon VP with a Panther Cannon and that’s not good for my rep. It’s even less good for my life expectancy. So I’ve decided to head on down to the Underground. I’ve owe Torrini for the time we were laying low in the Underground, and I can build up some goodwill and ’catch up with my roots’ as Hez puts it.