Circle of Shadows - 2072

Bones Entry 7
Jellyfish Monsters

So me sits in hotels guarding our floor till we leaves and by guarding i mean me, trollie, and wires say he watching cameras. Some of the group gets swimming lessons but me already knows how. Then we get on the ship and gets ready to and it starts stormings bads! Nobody gets da sea sickness but its really bads, o and the captain has really goods soups! So we gets going to the ship, on torpedoes and we starts getting closers and there is lotsa dead bodies. So they start putting the mine on and then i saw jellyfish monsters! they were everywhere!... okay so there was like 3 of them but they moved really fasts. then the peoples on our ship starts saying they were being attackeds so they planted the mine and we ran backs!

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Kalandra's Thoughts 9

So we set off on the boat to sink the ship and come into a storm, everyone is sent below deck (not comfortable at all even sitting) to stay until we reach our destination. We get to where the other ship is and prepare to get in the water and head over, Kenji has his spirit lessen the storm for us to get in. We start to head over me with the bomb, Spider with active torpedo, and Blondie and Bones on dead torpedo. Lei Sheng is a dolphin, Kenji astral, Durgan in the samurai, and wires looking thru my eyes. We are all together in our own way. It isn’t that bad heading over there just long and stormy. When the ship come in view it seems completely dead, did they all head below deck to ride out the storm? Bones tells us that there are Jellyfish spirits that are attacking; well Kenji and Lei Sheng can deal with them. WAIT! WTF that was a dead body swimming past me, I don’t like this. Now Spider can hear and it’s not the com system, let’s get this done and out of here. We get the bomb placed and head back with the assistance of Kenji’s spirit, sounds like the whole ship is under attack. WTF

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Spider Log 8
To sink a ship

So our new boss’s first mission is to sink a freighter filled with a competitor’s product. Our general orders were to keep casualties to minimum and as low as a profile as we can keep. That good for me, it gives me room to thread the needle between Lei’s “pacifistic warrior monk code” and Blondie’s sociopathic “any body count but me”standard op procedure. A little research shows that we really don’t need “make the ship burn up with all hands” (Blondie’s goal) or cripple the ship but not sink for days (Lei’s plan). Analysis shows rescue response is slow ship diagram has vulnerabilities that will flood cargo hold and sink the ship within the hr allow the crew to escape but without the product. We modify one of the drones for aquatic use I get scuba skill-softs no need to play in the pool. Since we are riding early 20th century torpedoes modified into scuba transports, I whip up some explosives and build a war head for one of the torpedoes. Always have a back up plan that’s my moto! Made a rig Lei’s dolphin form, checked out the limpet mine and we are ready to go. We don’t look exactly like pros when Durgan enters the boat with water wings on but it was funny and client isn’t here to see it. Our mages call spirits, I check and prep the torpedoes, Wires and Durgan whine about the lack of nodes. Stormy seas make visibility near zero, navigation down to 18th century dead reckoning oh and a super intelligent porpoise with sonar {need to modify strap to contain water proof comm.} who can’t talk to us. Durgan runs his drone {need to modifiy drone with sonar and navigation package} Rope holds the team together as we navigate under water to the ship other than sound going out for a while the trip is uneventful other than the freighter chumming the waters with bodies, Bones spots a spirit in the asteral but it doesn’t bother us, and I lose sound for a while, We place our mine and get out of doge blow the ship, this has been a cake run…. Comms are back on now, What are they talking about corpses swimming spirits attacking the ship???

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Spider log 7
Wrap up

So we are leaving town, working for the Yakuza under cover with the supernatural-drug dealers, the pay is good and flipside needs to be taken down. Kenji’s friend promises to clear our names, all we have to do is betray the ghost cartel! People (or things) that make awakened drugs I wonder if they have any magic mojo? I know that’s my weak link. Physical threats, unusual skills no problem! Mages that can read intent, spirits throwing fear, possessed trolls {ok that last one my rocket launcher can fix) I don’t have a defense for. .{ I wonder if redact the yakuza deal then set time delay messaging to remind me at future times…} Trust the team we have formed I guess, among the group we have most skill sets covered and we may make it out the other side. Now we have a consensus about sticking to together for survival and profit. My business softs drew up a contract we can all live with but are able to walk away from if it is no longer working. We may even be able to operate as a legitimate merc team… That’s in the future lets see if we survive the next couple of months, I might as well use this time the plane, design plans for my running gear….

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Lei sheng thinks Antarctica looking really good about now

Lei sheng was immensely pleased with the harness rig Durgan crafted for him. In previous times, Lei sheng cared little for foci. His opinion changed recently, as he realized his expanded spell arsenal called for more devious combinations than in his youth.

The rig looked simple enough but quite effective for securing his newly-bound Sustaining focus (a necklace) to his body in Dolphin form.

It hd been many years since Lei sheng had taken an aquatic form, and he looked forward to the experience.

Hours later, on board Captain Teng’s boat in the South China Sea during a freak, completely random I’m sure, storm

Lei sheng thought about taking to dolphin form just to spare himself the seasickness gnawing at his guts, but figured a little solidarity with the group was better form.

Time passed, and the group exited the boat into calm waters thanks to Kenji’s water spirit. Lei sheng summoned one as well.

“Haiyang, I command you to watch over and defend myself and my colleagues against all threats.” The spirit had proven exceptionally difficult to conjure, and Lei sheng knew it would be loathe to do much else.

In short order, the team was underwater and approaching the target freighter via rigged torpedo “craft”. Lei sheng MUCH preferred his dolphin form. Although he was cut off from the team comm-wise (although a pre-arranged code of ‘yes’ 1 eek, ‘no’ 2 eeks, ‘run for your lives’ 5 eeks was established), his dolphin form was a physically powerful form well outside the norm for a dolphin. He effortlessly cut through the ocean completely at home. Sonar was so natural down here, and he revelled in the ability to “see” far out toward the freighter.

And what was this? Sharks were congregating all around the freighter…well over a dozen. While Lei sheng knew he could batter even a Great White to death in his current form, this many could be a problem. Lei sheng focused his will and let loose with two well-placed Stunballs. Mana bashed into the primitive brains of the sharks and left them reeling and incapacitated. He prepared to thin out their remaining ranks when the sharks decided relocating was wiser than feeding off…

Chum. ‘Interesting and more interesting’, Lei sheng thought. His refined sonar soon discriminated that the chum was humanoid body parts. With that, Lei sheng accelerated through the water and and shifted to astral perception. He broke the water in a graceful, powerful leap to view the freighter above water.

Lei sheng was quite unprepared for three shedim, all Force 6, gazing down at him. In mid-leap, Lei sheng cut loose with a Stunball that hammered two of the spirits. He hit water and swam away from the team in order to draw their attention to him.

Shadow spirits in Seattle, shedim in Hong Kong. Wonderful.

One of the shedim went astral and pursued Lei sheng into the depths of the Pacific. Three times it struck out with a deadly astral tentacle, but Lei sheng’s grace in this form backed up by his mystical defenses proved too much for the shedim’s clumsy attempts to connect. However, Lei sheng could do nothing about the chilling aura that froze him to the bone. The shedim also proved to be surprisingly resistant to further spells as Lei sheng tried to cope with the horror of what he was facing. Finally, a fourth spell broke through the shedim’s will and it…

fled to a body on the freighter instead of fleeing shattered to its home plane. Lei sheng quickly shifted off astral and headed for Teng’s boat at full speed…

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Wires Log 9
Sometimes I wonder why I even come along...

We get our sabotage mission underway. Pretty standard stuff: go to the docks, get on the boat (pretty poor excuse for a boat…there are NO NODES), head out to the destination, reach the target, etc etc.

We get there and our aquatic team takes to the waters. Lei Sheng becomes a dolphin (how odd), while Bones, Spider, Blondie, and Kalandra take the drivable torpedoes. Durgan tags along in his aquatically modified samurai. Kenji goes astral and watches the mission go down from that standpoint while I stay on the boat and do…nothing really.

I mean, I hop into Kalandra’s eyes for the visual and patch into the demo team’s comms for communication, but that is barely a fraction of what I can do. In the free time I have, I download a programming suite onto my Erika, begin coding several necessary programs, AND I can still play Durgan in a game of Hacker’s Pong.

Suddenly, a new node appears in my range. It is the target boat. They are attempting to leave. I have to chuckle at how terribly ineffective their efforts are. I walk into their system and shut it all down before they even make it a few feet. Amateurs.

Then, things get a little strange. First, I get booted from the ship’s node. Beyond that, nothing unusual happens from what I can SEE, but messages start coming in from the demo team about…dead bodies swimming? Strange jellyfish spirits? Loss of hearing? I am uncertain what is happening but before I get a chance to investigate, the boat starts to move.

Well that is no good.

I check with the captain and he says he is compensating for the bad weather (did I mention it is stormy? Yes it is stormy). Then Kenji returns to his body saying something about creatures attacking the ship (I still can not see what they are referring to) and several crew members start screaming, jumping overboard, the ship goes in circles.

I have NO idea what I can do to help but, at this point, I just want to leave. Things are FAR too strange for my taste.

I never liked large bodies of open water to begin with and this is not helping.

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Bones Initiation 1
Majick Flows Through Me

Initiation for Centering

As me sitting on plane for long times me gets boreds many times. So after a whiles me get Wires to send me martial arts movies to keeps me not boreds. Most of them not to good and me swear me saw Lei Sheng in one(him and his chinese smarts). Eventually me see one that me likes lots. There is one scene where orc is throwing peoples all over the place, and he is punching and kicking and punchings more. Then one of the peoples he is fightings pulls out a pistol and shoots the orc in the shoulder! But he act like it no hurts at alls and keeps hurting peoples. Me watch this scene overs and overs again and all of suddens me get idea… Wait a minute me not get ideas often this must be goods! So me thinks that if me got hurts in a way that would slow me downs me could flow majick through me where me get hurts. Then the majicks would help me go through the pain and keep smashing peoples good! This is such a good ideas! But now me wonder how long it be till next one…

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Kalandra’s Thoughts 8

The flight was interesting, talking about what to do with loot we find. Some people can be so materialistic thinking about money instead of thinking what’s best for the group. We are going to make 1,000 nuyen a day that should be enough. We get to Hong Kong and go to a pricey hotel, all the way up to the top, the elevator needs a key to get to this floor, makes it easier for protection. We rest for a little bit and are called into Maria’s room. A bomb is sitting on her bed with wet suits around it. We are to blow a shipment of the competing drug. We get all the info we can on the ship that will be carrying the shipment; Durgan and Spider figure out the best way to place and set off the bomb to destroy the ship but cause the least amount of casualties.

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Channel 18 News - 5
Lonestar Sacked!!

Thank you for joining us, Seattle! This is Candace Lacey with a special report from the Public Relations office of Governor Brackhaven…let us go live to our interview with Donald MacIntyre.

“Mr. MacIntyre, thank you for your time this evening. Some pretty momentous news tonight…isn’t it?” Candace smiles into the camera with her hot self.

A balding, middle aged man in a sharp suit standing outside Seattle City Hall smiles at the camera while holding his microphone, “Candace yes you are right, though frankly it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Lonestar has been screwing the pooch for a long long time. Failures during the assassination of several political rivals of the Governor, the tempo epidemic, and the recently embarassing framing or false accusations of murder and mayhem …its just pathetic. Knight Errant has a much better track record and frankly a great relationship with the governor.”

Candace cuts in, “That does appear to be the case. Now that Lonestar is out…and Knight Errant is in what changes do you think will be coming to Seattle?”

Donald nods as he answers, “Well first of all the full exoneration of Governor Brackhaven’s long time family friend, Kenji Omeda, who was wrongly and completely inappropriately accused by Lonestar foolishness of having something to do with drug violence and murders related to the Tempo nightmare. Doctor Omeda and his family are long time servants of the public and formerly of the Mitsuhama Technologies…following the exoneration of Doctor Omeda and his friends we will be phasing out Lone Star’s presence and Knight Errant will be moving into their role.”

Candace smiles, “Well that is a relief I’m sure for Doctor Omeda and his friends…Thank you for this report Donald and give the governor, MY best wishes.”

Donald nods, “Oh I sure will Candace…see you soon.”

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The Watcher on the Threshold
Lei sheng second initiation with ordeal

Mikey…on the chance you want in on this, it is easy enough to add your part. (Wes, until Kenji or Lei sheng can Invoke a spirit to use astral gate, Bones can’t travel with us)

Astral projection offered amazing new shores for Lei sheng to explore. What had once been distant ship smoke on the horizon was now well within reach thanks to his newfound power. With a thought the infinite distance to the metaplanes became finite, and therefore instantly available.

Lei sheng literally crossed the threshold…power and awareness flooded into his very being. And the lore was accurate. As expected, the Watcher awaited him…a being of vast knowledge and a rather selective but undeniable power.

“LEI SHENG,” it boomed, “YOU MAY GO NO FURTHER.”

“I can and I shall. I hold the key gateless gate. I am beyond you and these lesser realms, Great One.”

The Watcher gazed deeply into Lei sheng. “YOUR FLESH IS WEAK. IT IS IN YOUR NATURE TO LIVE IN FEAR. YOU STINK OF IT.”

“Not so. I live with it, and allow it to serve it’s purpose.”

“And what is this fear you ‘live with’, Lei sheng, as if it were some child to be disciplined?” The Watcher grinned ruthlessly. “You fear a short life…spare me your ‘Chinese wisdom’...as if a few centuries or millenia of the prattlings of MEN added up to more than the spittle that flies of your tongue with speech.”

Lei sheng gawped at the Watcher…this was entirely unexpected.

“What makes you so special…so unique, Lei sheng? Why should your destiny be so much more relevant than the countless billions who preceded you in death?” It smirked. “Yes, so sad about your mother and father and their untimely deaths to heart failure. So sad. But then, that made your sacrifice to the Triads an easier path, no? ‘I swear I am dead to my mother and father’...easy to say when they had already passed on.”

Lei sheng clenched an astral fist, but knew deep down that no power existed to struggle past the Watcher.

“Children die well before their time…some are cut down in the prime of life. The wicked live long, fruitless lives. Perhaps a tragedy, but even a being of my vast insight is incapable of attaching significance to your pathetic existences.”

Lei sheng began to ‘walk’ forward, fully intending to go through the Watcher.

“Ah, so it is brinkmanship you wish to play, eh Lei sheng?” It grew to enormous size. “One more step, and I shall reveal the DAY OF YOUR DEATH TO YOU.”

“Lei sheng gazed up into the Watcher’s eyes. “I do not believe that you are truly aware of that, Watcher. My life is my own. I may end it, or another may. But it is mine to fearfully preserve or recklessly spend. Your words are wasted on me.”

Lei sheng passed through the Watcher, a gateless gate…unpassable to some, open to others. He entered the unique plane of Di Tian Linghun…literally Earth, Heaven, and Soul…the foundation of power for the 39 Oaths of the Triad.

A wizened old man, Chinese in appearance, apparently just concluded a conversation with a rather odd-looking spirit. It seemed to be a conglomeration of animals many of which were embraced by practicers of wu-shu as mentor spirits or models for a fighting style. It strode by Lei sheng and stopped. A quick assensing revealed to Lei sheng its power rivalled his own.

“To whom do you pay homage for the privelege of borrowing my shapes, Lei sheng?”

“No one…it is merely an expression of power and imagination.”

It rounded on Lei sheng immediately, astral claws extended and teeth bared. “Stolen from my kind eons ago, minion of Huang Di. I will have my due, animal.”

Lei sheng narrowed his eyes. “I am no animal. My s…”

“Yes, your soul sets you apart…Drivel repeated over and over changes nothing. You are flesh and blood…I demand that, or your obedience.”

“Never,” Lei sheng spat, and opened his stance in preparation for combat. “By Heavenly Will, I am apart from your kind no matter the similarity.”

POSSIBLE FIGHT ENSUES…HOPEFULLY WITH Lei sheng victorious. EDITING TO FOLLOW

Lei sheng approached and bowed formally to the Keeper of Oaths.

“Another Oath-breaker, eh? Go! What has been forged here can not be broken.”

“Everything can be broken save the Will of Heaven. I come here faithfully to renounce my Triad vows with my honor, life, and spirit intact. I will not be denied.”

The Keeper shook his head. “Your earthly sacrifice means nothing here Lei sheng…you gave what was expected and owed. And as you may suspect, travelling here is quite different from breaking what can not be broken.”

“Then perhaps I will not break it, Keeper.” With that, Lei sheng pounced on the spirit. They grappled briefly, but no blow was struck by Lei sheng. Inexorably, the former Triad embraced the Keeper. In response, the Keeper flailed mightily and howled but to no avail. Its form passed into Lei sheng…seemingly absorbed.

After a short time, the Keeper emerged from Lei sheng’s form greatly diminished. It glared and snarled at him. Lei sheng bowed formally and turned away. Instantly, the Keeper struck on the astral, its power instantly renewed. “Not the first you are to overcome your 39 Oaths Lei sheng, but you did not learn the price for besting me! I deny you, minion of Huang Di, the wisdom of ritual magic. Never shall those secrets be yours!”

Lei sheng strode back to the portal for Earth. “We’ll see, Keeper. We shall see.”

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