Circle of Shadows - 2072

Wires Log 15
Search: Kenji...Error: Party member not found.

Frell, man…

Kenji is dead. Maybe Bones, too.

No.

I can not let the emotions take over. I have to remain singularly focused on getting through the events of the past day.

We board our suborbital to Seattle and are attacked, again, by the “horrible jellyfish monsters”, or shedim as the magic-users call them, and Kenji is ripped almost immediately from his seat. There is no time to save him. We have to watch in horror as his body is ripped apart by the extreme pressure and is used as a puppet for one of those vile creatures.

Using my new innate ability to perceive multiple realities, I quickly hack into the suborbital’s computer system and give Durgan the controls. Honestly, I feel better with him at the helm than whatever idiots they have actually flying the thing. Also, I discover that Lone Star will be waiting for us in Seattle. I am not certain if this turn of events is a blessing or not, but the end result will ultimately determine that.

Meanwhile, Kalandra, Spider, and Blondie work together to get the plane’s hull patched as the creatures, for some reason, retreat. Lei Sheng claims he fought them off in the Astral Plane, but I honestly did not see anything to confirm this.

The suborbital crashes in spectacular fashion. We slowly regroup and find ourselves on some tropical island. Everyone in the team is located, except Kenji for obvious reasons, and Bones, who appears to have gone missing…or is dead from the crash.

I quickly do some reconnaissance and determine that not only is Lone Star and DocWagon on their way to aid the survivors (immense trouble for us), but the island itself is a quarantine zone for ghouls! Frell!

Before the team has time to decide what to do, this group of strangers arrives offering refuge somewhere in the jungle. Having to choose between a group of strangers that may or may not kill us, and DocWagon/Lone Star that most assuredly WILL kill us, we decide the former option to be better. We gather our things (and a few other items…) and follow these unusually mannered/garbed individuals.

Eventually, they bring us to a compound where it is revealed that they are doing research on ghouls. Apparently, they are trying to find a cure or domesticate them or something. I really have no interest in their doings as long as their guinea pigs do not try to gnaw on me.

Strangely, they say we were expected and that the German fellow who tried arranging a meeting before has left us a message, again, requesting a rendevous. On top of that, these people (especially the psych profiler), seem to know a great deal more about us than I am comfortable with. However, they have shown no ill-will toward us thus far so I can not be too ungrateful.

They ferry us off the island and back onto the mainland where the psych profiler (Mind’s Eye, as he calls himself), takes us to meet Mr. Gruber. We get there and…another mission.

Great. Back to Seattle we go to retrieve some package and bring it back here. And here I thought we would get time to calm down. No rest for the wicked and resonated, I suppose.

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Ode to Kenji

Come and listen to story about a man named Ken(ji)

A rich Seattle doctor always kept his friends from dead,

Then one day he was running for his life,

It seemed the whole wide world was full of strife.

Shadowrunnin’, on the streets, life of crime.

Well next thing you know ol’ Ken’s a wanted man,

Yakuza said Ken we got a plan

Said Hong Kong is the place you oughta be

So they hopped a flight and flew there quick-a-ly.

China, that is. No plumbing, spiritual armpit.

Well now it is time to say good by to the doc named Ken(ji)

As he was murdered by some horrible ugly monster thing

Flew on up and ripped a big ol’ hole in the plane

Sent Kenji flying out into the air and dyin’ in pain.

Reentry that is. Suffocatin’, Freezin’.

Y’all come back now, y’hear.

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Kalandra’s Thoughts 14

We get back to the warehouse and rest a bit. Spider finds all these tracking devises on all the things that came from the Hotel, the suits that Maria gave us. We do not destroy them we keep them in the pocket of the suits until we needed to do something about it. As I was standing watch early in the morning Lei Shang, Durgan, and Bones left to look into something, found out they went to check out the cave. They came back with some cool things. WTF, our coms got hack! They went down, lost communication, could possibly be an attack coming. I head up to the roof to check things out, nothing. It ended up it was nothing, coms going down and then something placed on them. Wires take care of all of them and protects them some more. Durgan sent a dog to get the bug that we placed on dragon guy. We watched what was going on. They are looking for the 9 stones, wires is going to look into what the 9 stones are. It looks like legend was correct he is the son of a dragon, Daddy just came to save him. I hope that we are not on his bad side. Our tacnet came in we need to pick it up, Spider suggests that we pack up all our gear and we all go to pick it up. With everything that has happened I agree along with everyone else. We head out, after getting the tacnet wires gets a message from Maria to bail. We get a courier to take the tracking devices. Blondie gets us tickets to Seattle, a place to hide out for the night, and fake SINs to board on. We get onto the plane without incident. All our weapons are stored underneath don’t like that. We are coming close to Seattle beginning out descent, and then we will head off to LA for the drug cartels heads of family meeting. WTF was that!!!!

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Durgan's Log 11
Durgan's Logs

Ah what a lovely start to an action packed day. Bones, Lei Sheng, and I decide to go see if we can find out what happened with those silly sewer spirits and that little girl. We get to the docks and there’s a ton of governmental types there… Wait is that the symbol for the Catholic Church mages? We drive a little further to the next set of docks and unload the aquatic Samurai, I should name these new drones since they’ve been so good to us, Bones, and Lei Sheng, then I set the car to drive around for a while as I jump into the Samurai. We go for a swim and while I’m mindlessly piloting I send some quick patrol commands to a couple flies in the car, one to keep an eye on the car and one on those Church types. They seem to be looking for something but right now, it’s not us. We get down to the hole and of course, it’s partially blocked. Bones makes a hole, but not big enough for a Sam, so I stand guard outside while watching the mages up above. There must be something going on inside that cave, cuz the mages are looking our way and starting to come over. So I told Bones to hurry and they came out and high-tailed it outta there. We loaded up and sped off. I don’t think the mages saw us, since they didn’t chase us. On our way back to the warehouse to lay low, they fill me on on what we found, some magic stuff and almost 200k in credsticks! So we get back and fill the rest of the team in on our adventure, and it pops in to Spider’s head that the gear should be check and what does he find? Tiny little tracking devices stitched into our suits! So we pack them up and put them in an envelope, just in case. While Spider was checking everything in sight, I get a message that the amazing little super drone is ready for pick-up, so I jump into Malfurion and go pick it up. I’m almost there when I get dumped. God dumpshock hurts, gotta get a tech upgrade again cuz that sucked! Turns out we got hacked. What good is a Technomancer if he can’t protect us from getting hacked?! As I come to, Wires is fixing the problem and starts working to make sure it won’t happen again. Once he gets done, Blondie gets a call that our TacNet is ready so we talk about who’s gonna go pick it up and all end up going, so we pack up and leave. I throw up a fly to keep and eye on things while I drive. We pick up the TacNet and check it over, no problems. Then Wires gets a message from Maria… “Bail”. Good thing we aren’t there, so I check the fly and Wires looks with me… Lonestar is firebombing the warehouse we were in… Wow! Well then, time to get the hell outta here. Blondie gets us some IDs and passports and we head to the airport. No problems at all as we get on the suborbital to Seattle to pick up our other stuff that Yakuza is keeping safe, then we can drive to LA. So we kick back nice and comfy in 1st class. Ah the joys of having some extra cash… What the hell just hit the plane?

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Spider log 13
Finally a little rest…
I wake up from a decent nights sleep after crawling over every square inch of warehouse for bugs and like (clean as advertised, even digital clocks blinking 12 are right twice a day) I get up in the morning to find some of the team went on an extra curricular ghost busting hunt… I would have gone if invited. {potentially Traumatic data redacted from organic memories Ref. data file# D3546} (Text data: They found a dead girl in the cave starved to death) They came back with 200,000 nuyen a non-functional replica of a gun made from magical metals and some data chips containing a demon summoning spell as we paw through this stuff it occur to me I haven’t check our bodies for bugs and room is only a secure as its contents. Sure enough I find a tracking beacon (high grade milspec) on Wires sewn into the lining of his jacket. {Hrs of tedious work redacted} I checked ALL of our gear, the suits from hotel have same beacons sewn into the lining (Found only because I knew what I was looking for! This isn’t from your local stuffer shack and not planted during a few seconds in-attention) While I’m checking the gear wires discovers he’s been hacked, and so have we through Wire’s access all our comms die for five minutes and we all start to panic then… NOTHING HAPPENS! A timed comm. blackout with no follow up I don’t get it… Wires cleans out the agents and other crap, he claims they are clean now but who knows if it’s true… Durgan has retrieved the bug from the Were-Dragon’s interrogation it didn’t go well for the gang bangers They were looking for the nine stones… before Papa dragon turned them all into paste. ( I hope I’m not next on the list China may not be to healthy for me ever again) The whole thing was kind of of:
  1. These gang members were clearly not first string members there esteemed order
  2. We were told they requested the mage cuffs but they clearly didn’t know what they were questioning
  3. One of them received a call that truly wish I could hear the other side of… It sounded like they thought they were going to LA (maybe after eliminating us???)
  4. One of them said they were being played and clearly they were
  5. Who was pulling the strings? What is the motive of pissing off one extremely powerful and scary dragon ?

I may see a pattern of self-destructive over confidence leading to destruction and chaos (Much like Kaz’s demise bringing down his whole gang in Seattle) Could that be a motive? A demon is just reveling in the chaos and destruction created by flipside cartel?

When Blondie receives notice that our long awaited tac-net has arrived, I’m jumpy enough that I suggest “screw the buddy system let move as a squad taking all of our gear with us so it can’t be tampered with.” And everyone else is tired enough of these surprises that they agree. And we get The biggest surprise Yet, a joint Lonestar/doc wagon hit team!!! We moved before they arrived JUST STUPID DUMB LUCK! (We may be able to use it somehow, It has to appear we were warned… maybe we can case a witch hunt or a corporate purge) Finally after holing up for the night we are riding first class back home, other than the fact I’m only armed with a steak knife, I can relax. I finally can get a little rest… O Frak Kenji!!!!

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Wires Third Submersion

Upon getting settled into their suborbital flight back to Seattle, Wires immediately entered the Matrix. He detested these long flights and used the time to his advantage to improve upon his Matrix skills. Now, after their long adventure in Hong Kong, it was finally time to see that old program again.

He dove into his world, quickly locating the technomancer group he had found to help him with this. They were young, younger than him, but he didn’t mind. He’d rather keep the real technomancer community out of his dealings, considering his past indiscretions with them. With the grouping of young (nearly all of them newly emerged) ‘mancers, Wires assembled a difficult to construct piece of code and dove back into the that serene Resonance realm.

Opening his eyes, he found himself on the same path he started on during his last ordeal. Knowing the way, he quickly located the building that had called him before…the building that he wasn’t allowed to enter on his first trip here. Sure enough, the ever-pulling magnetism of the structure remained. It seemed to resonate into the very data core of Wires’ icon, calling him. The very unnerving and yet natural feeling of it filled Wires with a sort of unease that he normally didn’t feel while in the Matrix.

He slowly approached the building’s front door, his eyes fixated on the handle. He had to know what was behind it. He had to feel it. He had to experience it. He knew the answers to many of his questions were in there and he HAD to have them. Inch by inch, his quivering hand drew closer and closer to the handle, to the gateway that separated him from whatever it was inside.

“Hello again, my pupil,” a voice reverberated with the same soul-shaking reverberation that emanated from the house.

Wires spun on his heels to find the old monk program standing behind him, smiling softly.

“You, again!” Wires stated, both in surprise and frustration, “You are not going to make me spin more plates, are you?”

The monk seemed to chuckle as he strode over to the young technomancer. Head and eyes downcast at the ground, hands behind his back, he circled Wires slowly until they were side-by-side facing outward, away from the door.

“No, no, young one. That step in your training has long since been completed. Now, you have returned to seek what is in there,” the old man made a slight nod over his shoulder.

Wires nodded.

“Come,” the monk stepped off the buildings porch and into the courtyard adjacent. Crouching down into the dirt, he picked up a stick and began to draw something in the soft soil beneath their feet. Wires, curious, slowly approached and gazed over the monk’s shoulder to inspect.

The symbol drawn was not one unfamiliar to Wires: a simple yin and yang. The monk finished his drawing and stood back up, gazing down at his work.

“Are you familiar with the concept of yin yang, my pupil?” the monk asked. Not waiting for an answer he continued, “It represents the seemingly contradictory and polar forces that somehow exist in harmony and even essentially give birth to one another. Balance.”

The monk turned away from the yin yang toward the building.

“Inside is your yin and yang, young one. The two opposing forces that live in harmony with each other. Are you ready?”

Wires paused. The monk’s words held heavy in the air. After what seemed like an eternity, similar to the extended exercise with the plates in his previous visit, Wires nodded, eyes still locked on the building before him.

“Then your time with me has come to its end,” the old monk stated simply. He turned to Wires and smiled, “Young Wires, I permit you access. May our paths cross again someday.”

With that, the monk was gone. Wires stood alone in the courtyard contemplating the nature of his mentor program and of the program’s final words to him. The time had finally come for him to enter.

Without another moment’s hesitation, no longer able to resist the building’s call, he dashed to the door, flung it open, and threw himself inside.

Blackness.

He was surrounded on all sides by a familiar blackness, the same kind that had enveloped him in his first submersion. He examined himself and found that he was back in his icon’s body, no longer restrained by the limitations of his meat form.

[Hello?]

Within the blackness surrounding him hummed a distant approaching sound, similar to how one can hear a train coming down a tunnel even when it is some distance away. The sound grew closer and louder with each passing milimoment until an earth-shattering THUMP shook him.

Wires breathed heavily. He blinked.

“Breath…?”

His hands were his own meat body hands again. He blinked several times, but to no avail as the hands remained as they were.

Again, the sound came from a distance and assaulted him with the pounding THUMP, knocking his concentration off once more.

[What is going on?]

The blackness around him seemed to fade away slightly as a view of the suborbital gave way. Not only a view of the suborbital, but the view through HIS eyes. His MEAT eyes.

The sound came again, faster this time, and much louder as the space around him literally shook with the powerful THUMP. Again, his form had changed back into the meat, his growing concern and doubt began to creep.

“What if I was not ready for this?”

Before he could think more on it, the image of the suborbital gave way a bit more, only this time, data streams and nodes seemed to merge with it. The THUMP came again. The blackness pulsed and receded each time. Again the THUMP. The nodes and streams and seas of information meshed more. THUMP.

Wires could feel himself being torn in twain.

THUMP.

Meat body. Suborbital.

THUMP.

Icon. Data streams and nodes.

THUMP.

Meat body. Data streams and nodes.

THUMP.

Icon. Suborbital.

By now, the THUMPing was coming at regular, steady intervals. It was almost as if it was…

[My…heartbeat?”

And suddenly Wires was awake. Not awake in the sense that he had come out of VR, but truly awake. He gazed about himself. His icon’s head and his meat head moved simultaneously and in tandem with each other. Surrounding him was his surroundings on the suborbital, including Bones sitting next to him, and the topography of the Matrix itself, meshed together into a seamless view of both realities. He could feel his complete connection to all these things at once.

He reached out and touched the video screen in front of him, at the same time his icon touched its node. They felt the same, at least to him. He had done it. He had finally unlocked the secrets. He had finally achieved…

“Balance.]

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Exclusive Freelance News Report: Lone Star Continues to Harass Innocent Man!

Lone Star, the once great security corporation from Texas, was seen mere moments ago by an anonymous freelance reporter in Hong Kong, China. Lone Star seemed up to no good as they were found hip-deep in Hong Kong’s warehouse district.

What is Lone Star doing at a Hong Kong warehouse, you may be asking?

Well, continuing with the story of Lone Star’s critical loss of their Seattle contract only a week ago, apparently the security corporation was looking for the individual they view as the one “guilty” for the loss of such a lucrative business arrangement.

Kenji Omeda, self-made man and successful doctor hailing from the Seattle area, was exonerated by the Seattle mayor a week ago of any and all crimes Lone Star was accusing him and his associates of. Additionally, as a show of intolerance against such blatant misuse of their power, the mayor proceeded to terminate Lone Star’s contract in the Seattle area.

Mr. Omeda went on record saying that he was going abroad, his lawsuit against Lone Star pending. Apparently, Lone Star, in typical brute force fashion, didn’t take kindly to Mr. Omeda’s actions and decided to track him down personally to “handle to problem”.

Seen here, Lone Star is attacking a warehouse they suspected Mr. Omeda to be congregating in during his time abroad.

The only other information we received from the anonymous freelance reporter, one “Willy Windham”, was this editorial:

“I, for one, find this show of unnecessary force to be appalling. The very fact that Lone Star, being the pack of bullies that they really are, tracked down this individual and his associates to whatever private location they decided to extricate themselves to shows that Lone Star is unable to accept their own mistakes and, instead, chooses to try and scapegoat innocent men. As it seems to me, Mr. Omeda understood what kind of backlash he was going to face when dealing with such a monstrously petty organization like Lone Star, considering his decision to go abroad in the first place. In my opinion, Lone Star has become inept, incompetent, ineffective, and has shown gross misappropriation of their resources in the recent years.”

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Wires Log 14
Hacked and attacked from all sides!

All right.

So what if Maria practices sex magic? That does NOT mean that she used it to get me to do something against my will when she slept with me. Nor does it mean she used our time together to fuel something greater, magically, later on. Nor does it mean she did something to my mind…

...

I have Kenji and Lei Sheng look me over.

Apparently, I am clean as far as any influence from Maria. Some upsetting leftovers from the Flipside syringe though…Kenji assures me he will begin working on something to counteract that. I am glad he is looking after me.

Our TacNet arrives, finally, and we are about to retrieve it when…our comms get hacked? AGAIN?!

No. I am FINISHED with whoever this is. I do everything in my power to trace the culprits back to their origin but I am too late. The satt they were routing through shuts down and re-scrambles the node before I can get beyond it. FRELL!!

Wait, what? And we have been bugged?! All right, I trace THAT signal back to find that…they did it directly from another satt that clocks thousands upon thousands of traffic every second making it impossible to tell who it was…FRELL! FRELLING FRELL DRENHEADS!!

That is IT! I give EVERYONE’S (including my own) comms a once over and reinforce their security tenfold. I am THROUGH having these AMATEURS getting at us! THROUGH!

After we check ourselves and our things and bolster our team’s personal security, we all leave in the Roadmaster to retrieve the TacNet. Along the way, we review the video of our drake friend’s interrogation. Apparently, his daddy showed up and slaughtered everyone. Great. At least we get the TacNet and IT is clean.

Then I get a message from Maria: “Wires. I’m sorry. Bail.”

I try responding with no success. Durgan checks the warehouse with a spyfly and finds some…people there. I go in via the ‘Trix and find…Lone Star, spearheaded by none other than Juicey Lucy.

Time to flex my digital muscles and show the team that I am NOT a liability. At Kenji’s request, I have every major news corp (and even several minor ones) plastered with stories of Lone Star harassing the exonerated Kenji Omeda and his friends.

Hah…I should be a freelance reporter.

Okay, enough distractions. The team gets everything straightened out with our equipment and we get out of Hong Kong on another suborbital, destined for Seattle, and then we shall go to LA.

Finally, we get some time to relax this horribly stressful, yet exciting, life of ours.

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Kalandra's Thoughts 13

Spirits attacking us and to make matters worse there are two of them. Kenji takes care of one but the other seems to be going for the helicopter. It is trying to take it down ok it needs to die. WOW I thought it could hit harder than that, I guess he is out of ammo since he just drop his weapon, that’s good We are able to kill it before it got to the helicopter, go team. Mitch lands and we are out of there. We get to the warehouse and are told that we are not going back to the hotel cuz we have to lay low. Wires is on his way with Jorge, they had to leave the hotel due to the possibility of cops coming in. Blondie after taking to Marie informs us that we are leaving Hong Kong and going to LA. I would love to leave this place and all the Spirit things here. We get all out stuff from the hotel delivered to us and Wires informs us that there were cameras in the ceilings of the hotel but Marie says that Henry’s technomancer took care of them. It does make me think are we going to be the scapegoats for them.

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Durgan's Log 10
Durgan's Log

So we pulled it off. We got the Triad guy out. I’m a little light on some of the details since I was in Malfurion most of the mission. The team flew out as I hightailed it to the outside of the west wall with Kenji safely in the back of the Roadmaster. I sent along Peter, Joe, and Cleveland with the team and also sent Korialstraz in case something went wrong in addition to Malfurion who was gonna be there to be useful. Once I pulled up outside the cesspool of a city, I sent up Quagmire to keep and eye on the car and the bodies safely tucked inside. Jumped into Malfurion and immediately got ready to start shooting but there was already a nausea grenade on the ground making people puke. I got Spider to crack another nausea grenade and put it into Malfurion’s mouth so while the team went in for the old guy, I ran around the building with a gas-spewing grenade and bullets flying outward away from the building. The team gets the guy and I hear something over the comm about him surrendering peacefully. Awesome, that makes things easier. Then all the sudden there’s a giant monkey and some crazy looking minotaur thing. Holy god. What the hell is going on in this crazy place? The team is starting to bring the guy out while the helicopter is coming down when that friggen minotaur starts shooting down at us. Well that thing has never met a troll lol. So it tries to jump on the copter. Stupid giant freak. The girls took care of that thought. Wait did it just disentigrate? Well guess that means it’s not gonna break the copter. Well back into the helicopter and time to go back to driving. I hurtle us back toward the meeting place and get there quick, arguing with Spider the whole way about bugging the old man with that super high tech bug from the hotel and even though I don’t really think it needed to be done but whatever it’s got the scripts for it and a million other things so I program it and hand it to Kenji to slip it on him while giving him a doctorly once-over. We get to the meet and Henry’s team and a bunch of Chinese guys. We turn the old man over to them cuz well, Maria said so and she’s payin the bills and pulls Blondie aside and tells her that plans have changed and that we’re going to LA next and she and Blondie talk for a while renegotiating our contract and such and Maria does give us a nice bonus so we tell her of course since we still haven’t got enough to get this friggen drug of the streets. So she gives us an address of a warehouse for us to lay low for a couple days till it’s time to leave. So yeah hopefully this means at least a tiny big of downtime. Hopefully…

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