Circle of Shadows - 2072

Durgan's Log 4
Durgan's Logs

Wow what a hectic night. First Kaz wants us to ruin some guy’s life then he wants us to kill Yakuza heads. If the guy wasn’t paying us so well I’d be gone in a heartbeat. As it is, ruinng some poor guy’s life just seems wrong but playing Kaz, saying we did, then screwing him over seems like a far better choice. Especially since it seems like the others have been working for the Yak longer than for Kaz. Play them against each other, double cross Kaz, get paid very well, and still get out of town. Sounds good to me… Plus the added benefit of maybe grabbing a chopper! I’m in! Just as long as the Yak is ok with the group adding us couple extra members and don’t decide they want to kill us that is

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Bones' Entry 4
Me so confused!

Me so confused lately. First we go to kaz guy and he say we do good job and he has more work. The job was something about blackmailing some guy. But me not sure if it was okay some peoples thought it was okay but wires and boobie lady wanted to do it. So me decided to stick with Spider’s side since me has known him longest. So wires decides to do the work for it but then everbody got all mads at him for it except boobie lady. Me wasnt sure what to do! Then Lei Sheng talked to wires and wires said he wouldnt do it. Maybe he used chinese smarts or something. Then kaz said the yakuza tried to kill hims! And he wanted us to go kill their boss! Me may be stupid but me not that stupid! If peoples kill yakuza then yazkuza kills them! Me not want to die yet! So everybody tries to think of ways to kill the yakuza boss, but me not think it was possible. Then kenji got a call and it was the yakuza. They wanted us to tell them where kaz man was so they could kill him and then we could go to somewhere else with their help. but the thing that really confused me was…. Kenji changed his name! He said his name is doc now! How me change name?!? Me want to know!

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Wires Submersion 1
Part 2

Wires gazed down into the anomaly.

Calling it an anomaly was both accurate and an insult. Accurate in the sense that no one, yet, truly understood what the wells were, nor the Resonance realms they led to. It was an insult, at least to technomancers, in the sense that the concept of the Resonance realms was the pure embodiment of order and what the Matrix really was beneath the layers of data and information.

The inky black void below him seemed to reach up to him and grip his heart with fear. He hesitated. Considering the possibility that he might have made a mistake, Wires considered leaving, forgetting the whole thing.

A Resonance realm was supposed to be unlike anything a hacker or technomancer could normally experience in the Matrix. It was supposed to feel real…more than real. Wires feared that entering it would reduce him to his pathetic meat body, stripping him of the power he wielded here in this world.

[I suppose that is part of the test, though…no turning back now, I suppose]

He steeled himself.

Without another moment’s hesitation, he dove in. The inky black took him completely.

His eyes opened. The void surrounded him. Stretching on and on to what should have been the horizon, the blackness engulfed everything around him. Somehow, he could see himself. He raised his hands to eye level, letting his fear become reality.

He HAD returned to his meat body.

Not only that, but the calming hum and drone of the Matrix was no longer there. It was almost like a dead-zone WITHIN the Matrix.

Wires spun and turned, trying to find a way out. He immediately regretted his decision to enter the well. He wanted to turn back and forget about this foolish quest of his to discover the true nature of his abilities and the Matrix. He wanted-

[Who are you?]

The voice boomed and echoed through the void. Wires wasn’t sure if the voice was monumental enough to echo through the realm from wherever it originated…or if it WAS the realm.

“I am…I am Benjamin Farraday.”

[Incorrect input. Who are you?]

“I…I am Wires.”

[Why have you come here, technomancer?]

Wires began to feel the creeping itch to be connected the Matrix begin to make its way through his brain. He felt so lost without the connection that it was almost an addiction. He hands began to shake.

“I have come to seek truth and power.”

[Truth about what and power for what purpose?]

“Truth about myself…and power to be greater at what I can do.”

The shaking had worked its way up his arms. He had never been completely disconnected in this manner. Even in dead-zones, there had been independent nodes that he could access. This, however, was different. There was nothing. No nodes. No Matrix.

[The truth you seek is still beyond your grasp, technomancer. The power, however, is more easily obtainable. The first step is within your grasp. What do you fear?]

“I…I fear many things.”

[What do you fear NOW?]

His whole body was shaking violently, almost convulsing. He dropped to his knees and clutched himself, attempting to quell the semi-seizure.

“I…I fear…I fear being disconnected.”

[Disconnected from WHAT, technomancer?]

“I fear being disconnected from the Matrix.”

[Incorrect input. Disconnected from WHAT?]

As the voice boomed the last, reverberating “what”, Wires body was enveloped in wracking pain. He cried out, his scream echoing to nothing within the emptiness. He collapsed to all fours, barely able to keep himself conscious.

“Disconnected….disconnected from…my home!”

The pain stopped. Wires’ eyes opened. He was no longer in a void and no longer in his meat body. He stood on the edge of a cliff overlooking a vast digital sea. Across the sea, many many miles away appeared to be the outline of an immense city.

[The first step has been taken, technomancer. Across the sea is where your answers lie. May you reach it someday]

[How do I reach it?]

[When you finally understand the true power of being a technomancer, your destination will have been reached. Now, I grant you the first step of power that was promised]

At that, the air seemed to shimmer about Wires, the hyper-reality melding and blending so that the pixels could be perceived as a cocoon of data wrapped itself about his icon. A surge ran through him, igniting his ability to act within the Matrix. The surge grew more and more intense, the cocoon growing brighter until he could no longer perceived the sea or the city.

In a flash, he was back. The data streams flowed around him. The information whizzed to and from nodes. Wires gazed at his icon’s hands. They seemed to move with much more fluidity than they did before.

Wires smiled.

[The first step…]

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Kalandra's Thoughts 4

The mission we had at hand is done, with a lot of heat on us. We meet with Dae and Kaz to turn over the data and get out money. Don’t know what happens in there, watching from the roof of our vehicle ready to assist Blondie, Kenji, and Spider if needed, it nice to know that none of us trust Kaz. The three come out to talk to us about another mission Kaz gave us, he wants dirt on a guy so that Kaz can make him do what he wants, we agree to see what we can do. Kenji, Blondie, and Spider propose something different, double cross Kaz. Now normally I’m ok with that Kaz is a scumbag but it means trusting the governor and lonestar, well from what I hear lonestar isn’t going to just let us killing some of their people go. I would trust them, the governor could turn on is to make himself look good, I vote against using the governor. Now this guy that we are to get the dirt on is squeaky clean, so wires does the work to make up some dirt, which he did a good job doing. I’m not one to enslave someone or cause them to be enslaved and done like the idea but I’ll go with the group. Most everyone is in agreement that we can do it, however, wires lets us know that he would go independently and do it himself. I see this as not smart if we are working together we have to work together and not do something that the group doesn’t want to do, either all in or all out. I tell Wires that if he wants to be in the group he should abide by the group’s decision. I understand that it’s easy money but not everyone has a low moral code. So Le Shang talks to Wires on the side and Wires says he isn’t going to do it, I’m glad he decided to be a part of the group. So we are about to tell Dae and Kaz that we can’t do it when Kaz calls us with a mission he wants done badly and right away. He wants us to kill the head and lieutenant of the Yakuza. Kenji childhood friend is that lieutenant, but he says that the ties are cut, so we plan on how we are going to do it. They are not easy targets and going to require a lot of planning and then killing. Well wouldn’t you know but Kenji’s childhood friend calls and tells him that if we give him a way to get to Kaz he will helps us out. Now isn’t this a turn of events, so we decide that it’s best to work with the Yakuza, best part is we will be getting the money from Kaz! We are going to set-up the whole killing of these two guys, and going to turn over the footage that Wires made, with a delete code on it, and Kaz will be no more. This is a way better plan then before, who would have guessed that it would work out this easy. Now we are meeting with the head or lieutenant of Yakuza to set up the killing scene to turn into Kaz. I only have one reserve me, Durgan, and Le Shang are to wait while the rest of them meet with the Yakuza, since we weren’t in the original group that they hired. Here is what the three of us found out; originally they were hired by the Yakuza to do a job with contact Kaz. The job they do gets them heat and a video of them killing their target, but not the way it happened, there was no way from what they said they did it that it could have been traced to them. I wonder if Kaz did this to make sure they would continue work for him and doing what he wants. After that run the three of us coming in to help out, and we find fill in to make the group a whole unit. I’ll trust my team to make sure that we are all accepted in the role we play. After the set-up killing, we will have 50,000 nuyen and a helicopter, not bad in three days time. Right now I’m going to sit back and watch an action trid and then stand watch to make sure we are still in the clear.

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Wires Submersion 1
Part 1

This is Wires’ first submersion. He gains the Overclocking echo


Wires let himself float through the streams of the Matrix.

[Mmm…]

He always let himself drift through the data streams and information pathways as a method of relaxation. He wasn’t sure why, but ever since he was young, he found comfort in the almost living hum of the virtual world. He felt complacent. He felt safe.

He felt at home.

With a flick of his icon’s wrist, one of his remaining sprites appeared. It was registered, but had only one task remaining in Wires’ service. He let the Matrix-born creature bob and float about his icon as he summoned another sprite with a flick of his other wrist.

[Find me a damaged entropic sprite, or, if you are unable to do that, point me in the direction of where one might be.]

The sprite seemed to consider Wires curiously, gazing at him a moment longer than a sprite normally did when it was processing an ordered task. Finally, it flew off into the data streams, anxious to be finished with its remaining service to the young technomancer.

Wires did not know much about the process of submersion, or the various tasks a technomancer could do to help with the submersion process. What he did know he had learned from the technomantic tribe that took him in years ago. Most of the members of the tribe were just as new as he was, but a small handful were experienced enough to teach about the technomancer’s innate ability to improve him or herself by giving their entire icon, persona, person up to the Resonance. Such was submersion.

The tasks could be any number of difficult accomplishments a technomancer could achieve to assist their submersion process. Among the various choices, Wires distinctly remembered the one about repairing an entropic sprite. Apparently, finding and repairing one through the use of a registered sprite could open the doorway into the fabled Resonance realms that many-a technomancer spoke of in hushed tones.

Wires took on a lounging-like posture, as best as one could lounge while in a vast void of data-made-manifest.

He relished these quiet moments. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy the thrill of running (which has been much more exciting in recent weeks than it ever has been), but every person needed some relaxing R&R (except Spider). Again, he preferred the calming hum of the bytes about him rather than the awkward meat world any day.

Eventually, the sprite returned. It had found something.

Wires followed it, diving headlong into the streams. Like a fish in water, he navigated and “swam” from node to node, using his second nature technomantic feeling to navigate as easily as breathing. Further and deeper did he follow his sprite, finding himself in more and stranger areas of the Matrix. Nodes looked dilapidated, if that was possible for virtual representations of real world objects, and the data streams became rougher.

The sprite finally led him to an isolated node on the fringe of this strangely “ancient” area. Wires found no firewall protecting the node, a rarity, and made his way into it.

If his icon was capable of gasping, it would’ve.

The sprite before him was unlike any he had ever encountered. His sprites compiled as somewhat fantasy-esque versions of what they represented. The higher the rating, the more powerful their appearance was. This, however, was surreal.

The sprite seemed to hold some vaguely quadruped form, but it kept changing and shifting every passing moment. It was as if it couldn’t maintain any semblance of stability or order within itself. The sprite had connected itself to the node, represented in the parameters of the node’s reality as being integrated into a tree via vine-like tendrils, to possibly keep itself from dispersing. Wires wasn’t sure about the true nature of sprites and whether they were living creatures or not, but this one seemed to writhe and convulse in pain.

He approached it slowly, being escorted by the sprite he had called earlier. His icon’s hand reached out, carefully, and touched the entropic sprite. Wires’ intention was to pet it’s back, but he wasn’t sure if he accomplished that aim, considering its constantly morphing physiology.

Wires felt a pang of sadness within himself for the poor digital beast.

He moved back and called his sprite to his side.

[Your final task for me, friend, will be the sacrifice of your code to help repair this being.]

The sprite, surprisingly, positioned itself between Wires and the entropic sprite. It was as if it was more than willing to perform the task asked of it, even though it meant its destruction.

Wires quickly went to work. Disassembling the sprite’s code, discarding the unusable parts, he quickly worked and tailored what he hoped would be the necessary remedy for the entropic sprite’s pain. He approached the quadruped sprite, the necessary code in-hand, and began the repairing process.

Wires, being unsure of himself and what he was doing, took it slow. Inserting small amounts of code and data into the more damaged areas, the sprite seemed to improve more and more. As it improved in health, Wires repaired it with more confidence until finally the task was complete.

It was actually quite beautiful, yet savage in its complete form.

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Wires couldn’t remove his eyes from it as he arched and stretched its beast-like form, seemingly satisfied to be whole again. Its eyes leveled on the technomancer that had done it a service. It knew what the Matrix mage wanted in return. One of its tails wrapped around Wires’ hand gently and he could feel a surge of information pulse through him. Data, code, information, all of it foreign yet familiar to him.

In a flash, all of it was gone. The node, the sprite…none of them were there. Had he been taken somewhere else, or had they gone? Wires wasn’t entirely sure, but the pertinent question on his mind at the moment was what the frell was that down there?

Below him seemed to be the Matrix equivalent of a black hole. A large, gaping hole into nothing that the data seemed to spill into and vanish within.

It was one of the fabled wells into the Resonance realm.

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Lei sheng love America, but time to leave America
or Seattle anyway

Lei sheng was on edge after the meet with the daomu zhe…their kind always served as a grim reminder of the brutal ways life in 2072 can end. It was interesting to him how things sometimes didn’t change no matter where you were in the world. The Seattle Barrens reminded him of the Shang-hai Ba Lun Si.

In short order the team dealt with a biker sent by Kaz and/or Dae to make sure the Stars weren’t tailing the team to the wait. Lei sheng was constantly on the watch for more Star helos (two spirits kept watch on the astral), but as time went by it became clear no pursuit was coming. A little mysterious, but the explanations could be anything from incompetence to interference from another source. In any event, all possibilities were beyond Lei sheng’s control.

The meet with Kaz went without a hitch and Blondie, Spider, and Kenji came out with a proposal for us to find or create incriminating evidence on some wage slave investment broker (with a wife and kids of course). Lei sheng couldn’t help but consider how much turmoil one of his sisters would go through if their husband became embroiled with a guy like Kaz. After discussing it, the team decided to let the offer go. Surprisingly, Wires produced a vid that, suffice to say, was definitely incriminating enough to blackmail the wage slave into Kaz’s employment. Also surprisingly, and thankfully, Wires revealed this to the team and sought permission to go to Kaz independently. The team reacted with varying degrees of consideration, threats, and even apathy. Lei sheng took him aside and counseled him to let the matter go, and Wires surrendered the chip he had created. Although driven by his philosophy to resolve the issue with Wires, Lei sheng wasn’t sure that threatening a Matrix mage was too brilliant. Weak in the body perhaps, but his power over the ‘Trix could have the team eliminated, or warned, with great ease.

More surprises were to follow. Kaz quickly followed up with an offer to eliminate the head of Seattle Yakuza. Shortly thereafter, as the team debated the merits of convoy ambush vs. penthouse assault vs. parking garage mayhem, Kenji’s Yak associates contacted him with offers to reforge ties and turn on Kaz. Interestingly, this was an idea earlier proposed by Spider and backed by Kenji and Blondie to naively attempt to balance the scales with Lone Star by using Kenji’s relationship with the governor of Seattle. Lei sheng was pressed for his decision first and vetoed the idea. When it came to governors and Lone Star, Lei sheng trusted them as much as he trusted Kaz, the Yak, Wuxing Inc., or the Triads…not at all. However, it was becoming clear to Lei sheng that Kaz was becoming unstable and probably going to come out losing to the Seattle Yakuza. Siding with the Yakuza as opposed to figuring out a way to off the Yakuza seemed the safer play…

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Twas the day before Doc Wagon
and not a creature was stirring (except 2 Orks)

Bones was feeling restless, and hitting something ALWAYS made him feel better. A challenge to spar directed at Ms. Softy was a waste of breath, so Bones sought out Lei sheng. Something told Bones that he was the only other member of the team capable of going a few rounds bare-handed with him. Maybe because of his Ork blood, or maybe there was more to those dragon burn scars on sheng’s inner forearm than decoration. Dragon tattoos…sure, any pansy dipstick could get those to proclaim his wannabe-badass-status, but brands? Brands?!!?

Lei sheng agreed to the sparring session so long as it was a test of skill, not power. Bones had to concentrate for a few minutes to suppress the amped up magic that powered his reflexes and killing hands. To be honest, this concept of focused control was completely alien to him. In combat, REAL combat, his magic fueled his adrenalin-charged body and turned his hands into weapons capable of pulverizing duracrete. Lei sheng had more subtle tricks to employ in magical combat, and could smash an armored limosine into spare parts with a simple spell. That was simply not the point of this exercise.

Lei sheng and Bones faced each other. Lei sheng bowed, Bones raised his hands into a loose boxing stance. By the door, Durgan’s “dog” watched and recorded, ignored by both opponents. Exploding into action, Lei sheng struck first with a crane sidekick that Bones mostly shrugged off. In that instant, Lei sheng knew a great deal about the limitations of bones’ fighting style sans magic. For one, he was unprepared for dealing with a fighter capable of using his legs for more than head-stomping, groin-punting, or kneeing. Bones retaliated and Lei sheng fended off the flurry of hooks and crosses.

Over the next thirty or so seconds, both fighters clashed several times. In each instance, Lei sheng deflected Bones’ attacks and landed blows that left the Adept’s head spinning.

Abruptly, Lei sheng stepped away from Bones and raised his hand. “Now, unleash your speed Bones,” he instructed. Bones took a deep, centering breath. The magic flowed into his body, and suddenly Lei sheng was moving in slo-mo. While Bones did not necessarily hit with every blow, a testament to Lei sheng’s footwork and training, his kung fu skill was no match for physAd power. Perhaps Lei sheng could have forsaken offense and concentrated solely on defense, but for this combat there was no point to it. Victory, although necessary only for concluding this combat and otherwise meaningless, required the yang of attack.

In six seconds, a solid right cross sent Lei sheng across the room.

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Wires Log 4
An edit here and a nuyen there...

And here we are…on the other side of the mission and better off for it. Now before us the opportunity for a huge pay-off, amongst other things. I am getting ahead of myself, however. Let me start from the beginning…

We complete the DW mission…deliver Kaz the data he wanted and get our pay-off. No big deal. Dae is a little upset about our execution of the plan (specifically the LoneStar heat, but that’s not entirely our fault), but who cares really. She’s easy on the eyes, like Blondie, but not as quick with the words, unlike Blondie.

Surprisingly, to me anyway, Kaz has another job for us before we get extracted to wherever the frell we will be going to lay low. He wants us to find dirt on this supposedly squeaky clean wage slave or CREATE dirt on him so Kaz can bend the poor bastard to his will. Another 20,000 nuyen? Easy money.

But then the others start going on and on about moral dilemmas, double-crossing, and doing what is “right”. Blondie seems to be the only one in the group who is on my side of this debate, but we decide against the double-cross (based on a vote, of all things). However, they still debate about whether we will do the dirt-digging job for Kaz.

I decide to take matters into my own, digital hands.

I spend a good eight hours scouring the streams and playing with the vid software until I finally have what Kaz wants. I consider delivering it personally and requesting the payment, but I decide to see if I can get the team to benefit. I mean, 20,000 is one thing in my pocket, but 20,000 in everyone’s could ALWAYS be useful (and possibly mine if someone bites it).

AGAIN, they shoot my brilliant work down. I cannot believe this. I did the frelling work! I should go and get paid. I even tell them that there is a good chance I WILL turn the vid into Kaz and get the nuyen.

That does not go over well.

The team erupts into an uproarious tidal wave of warnings and arguments against my possible decision to get EASY MONEY. I do not understand these people sometimes. Lei Shing, surprisingly, tells everyone to let him talk to me for a while. I honestly did not think the Chinese ork could tug my heart strings like he did, but he talked me out of my decision.

Maybe I like these people more than I thought.

Or maybe I am just getting soft.

Well, Kaz eventually calls us again with another job. I laughed when I heard it…the team was really wishing they had stuck with dirt-digging gig, I bet. He wants us to wetwork the head of the Seattle Yakuza and his lieutenant.

Wow.

I have no idea how well this plan will go down, considering the Yakuza head is more safely guarded than the frelling governor, but anything is possible.

Anything.

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The Night After....So it begins...

Slick Willy and Pete Haxxor loved their new gang. First Nations was tip top. Now they were allied with the Komungo and rumor had it that some serious heat was coming down. They had been given heavy weapons, armor, and the street corner to maintain security.

Slick was no rocket scientist and he was a big boy for his age. Seven feet tall the White Knight was like a zip gun in his ham hock fists. His boy Petey they had been friends since birth..running in the same fire hydrants as kids, breaking and stealing ‘links and trid cams for spare parts together.

Belonging to the gang was what it was all about. Family is family. Heavy weapons, nuyen, booze, and this new wack – flipside. No one knows where its coming from but his new family was rolling! Buying up gang talent, recruiting, armin’ something big was definitely in the works.

There was talk that the whole regime was gunna change. Those fatcat Nip Jappo’s always ran the show, but word had it that the underdogs were on the rise!

Petey hung with his homey Slick. His newly visored eyes darting this way and that. He felt bad ass with the new Low-Light mods on his shades. He definitely looks like the trid action star Arnold Friggeneger …totally bad ass. He flicked through the visual modes of his new gang gear. Flick…low-light…flick…magnified roach in the gutter…flick…magnified cleavage on that hot hooka at the corner…flick

The roar and flash of light flickering through Petey’s new goggles tore half of his skull away and plastered his brain and innards all over the corner wall of Mr. Gym’s Stuffer Shack. The second shot fired from the dark and slowly creeping Mercury Comet tore his left arm off at the shoulder. He was dead before his meat hit the ground.

Willy screamed as his face was splattered with his best buds eye goo and brain matter. He spun the LMG and opened full auto at the vehicle that had gone unnoticed creeping up from across the street. Pavement chunks were torn up, the car took several dings and the left driver window shattered from his wild burst.

Then the Yak team inside returned fire. They didn’t have the numbers, the underdogs, or a big LMG stuck in a Trolls hamhocks. The Shotozumi families used what they always used. Loyal, well trained, well equipped soldiers devoted to a victory.

Tonight eight cars quietly made their hits…claiming ten times their number in kills. The war has come. Twelve years since the last one. All over Seattle the first strikes were laid. A violent time has come. Echoing across the underworld…the shadows are filled with reports as the news carries report after report of escalating gang violence across the city.

The streets clear, the gangers move about in groups, heavily armed. Almost over night the entire city feels under siege. Especially in the lawless and contested regions…

Things are getting interesting around here…

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Kenji's World

Well that job could have been much worse. We managed to extract from the facility alright but then the Star just had to interfere. This led to a rough couple of moments, but we managed to avoid their physical dragnet.

Their magical dragnet took a bit more work. We were nearly made by a watcher spirit. but what it got of us before it was destroyed allowed Star magicians to hex my ride. Well magic caused and magic cured, we managed to overcome thier efforts and escape thier cordon.

Blondie contacted the organleggers and we dropped off the body. The greasy little bakemono tried to hold us up for cash. Blondie used her social kung fu and put them in their place. Now all we need to is contact Dae and drop off the data and get paid. Meanwhile I believe I have completed constructing the ritual I intend to use to gain access to the Metaplanes. More on that later…

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