Circle of Shadows - 2072

Wires Log 7
Live to hack another day...

Whoa.

It has been a ridiculous day.

That frelling BITCH injected me with Flipside! At least, I can assume it was Dae. She was the only goon unaccounted for in that clusterfrell we called a plan. If I ever see that slutty, no-good, neck-stabbing, Awakened caluminator again, I will PERSONALLY put several bullets into that blonde head of hers!

Flipside was…interesting. It was a strange collaboration of affliction and euphoria, mixed in with some extrasensory visions that were unlike anything I ever encountered before. Is that what the Astral looks like? I am uncertain if that is the case, but if it is, I never want to be Awakened. The things that LIVE on that side are…frightening to say the least.

Well…that aside, we completed our mission. Kaz was removed from the equation, permanently. We met up with the Yaks and they expressed their appreciation for our services. In return, as promised, they arranged for us to leave this drenhole. In addition, they set us up with more work with the suppliers of Flipside.

The catch? The Yaks want us to assist them in taking Flipside down.

We agree, meet up with our handler with the suppliers, and we arrange to leave Seattle for some time. Done and done.

The past few weeks have been an…enlightening experience for me. For pretty much the entirety of my life, I have worked alone. I did not see the need to have ‘teammates’ to watch your back. I always thought they would hinder me in some form or fashion.

But this crew…they seem all right. Yes, we have all suffered bumps and bruises (some more than others, I suppose) and we do not always get along, but we have come out in the end all right. All because we looked out for each other like a team should. Acting in a manner quite the opposite of what I was expecting. When I started this running kick, I did not think it would be a fit with who I am.

But this team…

They made me believe. Not that I would tell any of them that.

It started with the wetwork job with Kenji, Spider, Blondie, and Bones. Normal runner stuff. Not too bad. Then we acquired Kalandra, Durgan, and Lei Sheng to our ranks and we did the infamous DocWagon job. THAT was a true example of a runner team at its best. Culminating into the ultimate betrayal against Kaz and his ridiculous addiction to his own drug, and now seeing that all eight of us have come out on the other side of this long tunnel unscathed shows me that this group may have what it takes to be one of the greats.

Heh. If we all stay alive, maybe this will not be such a bad time after all.

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Bones Entry 6
Rock falls you die?

So first me try and brake wall down with mages head. turns out mage not good for smashing walls. So next me climb out window onto rope and hit hidey button on armor suit. So me and spider gets on the roof and the yakuza guys start rushing into the stairwell to get kaz. Then, Wires says that Kaz is heading towards the bottom of the stairwell with his guys. So me and Spider takes the rope and reppels down to the ground from the roof. Spider shoots some guys and me punch some mores. Then the door explodes and this guy comes out and doesnt sees me but Spider shoots him in the back. Next me try and hit him but he dodge goods. Then a rock squishes him.

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Durgan's Log 6
Durgan's Logs

Oh how I love having a connection, and how I miss my friends when I’m not connected. I’m so glad Wires got that taken care of. In the midst of all that shooting and grenade launching he managed to grab a com and hook me up (and lock out Kaz’s goons). Now that Wires is in VR and all passed out, guess I’ll go get him and hide him behind the bar so he doesn’t get shot u…

WHAT THE FRELL?! THERE’S A SYRINGE IN WIRESNECK!

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Kalandra's Thoughts 6

So we clear our floor and idiots below decide to toss grenade at us, well I hit it back to them, however Le Shang falls thru the floor in the blast, he lands perfectly and is also able to dodge bullets, nice. Well Blondie jumps down to help him. It looks like our team is going into two different directions. Spider, Kenji, and Bones are going up; I, Le Shang and Blondie going down; and Durgan and Wires staying were they are. This isn’t a good idea but we need to get Kaz. We all have communication so it isn’t as bad. More fighting ahead, and kaz no longer has transport as I blew the limo, but Kenji says that Kaz might become possessed, I don’t like the sound of that. At least is we are more into two groups now, but might need to get to 3rd floor and help those two.

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Lei sheng feels American building codes not up to snuff

So the fight is rocking and rolling and the hallway team makes entry…well, after the Ork makes an exit…

So all of a sudden Lei sheng feels that taking cover against a wall sounds like a splendid idea.

Except!

A grenade goes off and the subpar construction gives way. Despite his kung-fu, Lei sheng falls, but lands perfectly. Two bunnies level SMGs and, in an effort to promote multiculturalism, cut loose with full auto narrow bursts in an effort to turn Chinese Ork into Swiss Ork.

However, Lei sheng’s kung fu and gritty experience trigger. Moving with uncanny precision, he dodges even as the thugs attempt to track his erratic moves.

Friendly fire from Kalandra (THANKS) and a stunbolt leaves Lei sheng alone on the second floor. A stern threat ensures one of the Korean thugs continues to choose a long life over a short one, and Lei sheng moves to the window. Kaz’s ground team! They run toward activity at the far corner so Lei sheng drops one and stuns another while dropping to the ground.

Then the comm and astral awareness confirm that something horrible is happening to Kaz, and he doesn’t seem to mind! Lei sheng shudders at the thought of a Troll bonding into a hybrid spirit possession…

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Time to blow this popcicle stand...but first...

...stealth…silent…her lithe form clad in a skintight body suit, ensorcelled by Sifu Kwan, natural skill…”I am a shadow…” Dae moves through the killing zone poised with purpose. Her thoughts raged on as her body on auto-pilot negotiated through the fire zones, the gaping burning holes in the floor.

“I knew that fraggin’ troll would lose it …but damn just two months…accelerated this time by three times as much as last time. Friggin’ troll. At least I won’t have to fake lust with him again.”

Another troll suddenly pokes her head out of the smoking door frame with an undermount grenade launcher pointed straight at her. Unseen still, Dae cartwheels to the left, executes a perfect handless air wheel over a gaping hole in the floor and lands with sexy grace past the Troll bitch Kalandra, Kalandara, Kuntress, whatever her name is…Dae froze in spot waiting.

The troll Street Sam launched another grenade down the hall into Kaz’s goons scattering goo, brains, fire, and building parts in a horrendous explosion. From Dae’s position she could see the Runner team splitting up, some going out the window, others moving in her direction…I have to be fast and sleak here…she contorts like an acrobat, slides past the troll and into the room dipping into the corner she revives plan B.

A mental command and her commlink cuts the spoof routine and dumps the runners paychecks. She has to resist a cackling laugh there. “Kaz should have listened to his hired Wage Mage…I’m glad I did.” She hunkers down in the corner and waits.

The Runners are scattering, that little scrawny Hacker something definitely up with him…he has mad matrix skills but no real cyberware. Dae gazes toward him adjusting her sight to the higher plane…so much astral resonance here…She forms the mental component and a voiced message of mana ripples outward across the city…”Darling…pack your bags, you and momma are leaving tonight…our work here is done. If you hurry maybe I’ll let you play with Blondie again…”

The matrix hack throws himself on the couch, only the stubby driver left behind to cover him. “Tsk Tsk…” I need to leave them a gift. Something to remember me by. Dae palms a syringe and creeps up to the hacker. Freeze!!

The Dwarf suddenly moves right at her as if he somehow spotted her! He stops then and drags the hacker over near the bar…closer to keep an eye on…maybe? He goes back to watching nothing and listening. Probably working the ‘trix.

She smiles steps in closer and slams the syringe into HackToy’s throat, injects the whole vial. “Enjoy….”

Her body arcs, her mind focuses and mana channels…even as the Dwarf is swinging his gun toward her…

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Wires Log 6
Jam me? Jam THIS!

FRELL! THAT was intense!

I nearly drenned my pants!

Dae calls, the Yaks arrive, dren hits the fan, shooting, spirits, explosions!

I have NO idea what to do! I hole myself up in this corner with Winona ready, but I never fired her before in my life! This is frelling nuts!

Finally, the action dies down SLIGHTLY as I grab one of the goons’ comms. I do what I do best, and suddenly all of Kaz’s crew are jammed and we are not.

That will teach them to keep me disconnected for too long.

After that, I locate Kaz on his own security grid, coordinate our forces to intercept, locate all legitimate cred sticks in the facility (because I found out ours were FAKE), and just masterminded cornering Kaz in his little stairwell for the others to nab.

Not bad for the “squishy”.

Fortunately, Durgan’s been nice enough to look after my meat body and lend me a hand every once in a while with the Matrix work. I think the bonds of techies goes deeper than people realize.

Now…onto other matters. I need to figure out where Dae went. She has to be around here somewh-

USER HAS LOGGED OFF

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Durgan's Log 5
Durgan's Logs

Well it’s been a long couple days… DW was fun in a “holy shit that was close” way. Then Kaz wants us to set up some guy then wants us to hit the Yak then we find out that the group has been working for the Yak the whole time. Kaz hired me but that guy is nuts and the Yakuza seems far more stable and I know they’re better established. So we go through with the deal with the Yak and tell Kaz it’s time to meet so we go to the meet and there’s a chopper waiting for us.

Kaz’s boys have lost their mind; who the hell asks a rigger to leave his car and his drones behind?! At least Illidan came with us cuz I feel so odd and alone with out at least one of my close friends. Then we get to Kaz’s and his boys tell me no again… Screw that, Illidan comes with and Kaz knows that. And Kaz tells them it’s fine. Then we talk to Kaz and tell him we can get him the blackmail info and he locks in a room. WTF. Guess it’s time to show him what’s what when we break out.

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Blondie Chapter 1-5
Some days it just doesn't pay to chew through the leather straps...

All right, I’m calm now. It’s amazing how the stress of combat can give one clarity of thought. When the effects of tachypsychia set in, seconds seem impossibly long and the time between impetus and action feels like an eternity. So much time to think… but I digress.

We managed to squeak out of the DW job with both our hides and the goods. I have no idea who tipped off the Stars, but we all figured that they weren’t in the mood to talk much. As a result, the body count (and the heat) went up by an order of magnitude.

I called Dae to set up a meet to deliver the goods and pick up the payment, and holy shit was she pissed! First she starts bitching about the heat, then she sends us to some god-forsaken derelict airfield way out on the frickin’ fringe. Good thing we scored those gas masks just in case because that air up there would rot your lungs out in nothing flat. We switched out to Shorty’s slightly-less-noticeable RoadMaster and off we went.

As we approach the meet we discover that we have a tail. Someone on a bike seems to have gotten a bit too close, so we light him up with the spots. I imagine it scared the crap out of him. Turns out that Dae sent him to make sure we didn’t really have a tail. Well, invoking Dae’s name saved his ass and we let him loose.

We finally reach the meeting site and we case the joint with every enhanced sense we have. They’ve got a chopper idling behind a ruined hangar but it looks like everyone else is in what appears to be an old control station. 6 people (at least one of which is a mage), looks like Dae and some muscle. Also, there’s a ‘net jammer somewhere ‘cuz Wires starts to piss and moan about not having any signal… even the coms are out.

Kenji, Spider, and I proceed into the building under the watchful eye of some highly paid thug. Dae greets us rather curtly and takes us to the back room where Kaz is waiting. Kaz is happy as all get out. Seemed a bit loopy to be honest but he paid us the remaining fee and bonus. He said he needed a couple or three days to make arrangements to get us out of town and had an easy job in the meantime. All we have to do is find or create some leverage on this wage slave accountant so Kaz has somewhere to launder his money. We said we’d take it up with the team real quick and let him know in a minute.

We go out to the truck to talk to the crew and we agree to look into it, but some of the guys seem strangely reluctant. We tell Kaz that we’d try to come up with something and we go on our merry way, credsticks in hand. Wires conducts the investigation and finds out that our mark is, indeed clean as a whistle. So, being the enterprising young runner that he is, he manufactures some convincing kiddie porn to take care of the job.

Here’s where it gets strange. Wires gives us the lowdown on the job and the team goes ballistic at the idea of blackmailing someone “clean”. WTF??? Are these the same people I’ve been running with the last week? Wet work? No problem. Blackmail? No way. All based on our collective moral judgment of the target? Killing is fine as long as we think the target is scum? I expect that kinda shit from Kenji, he’s always been the do-gooder type and Lei sheng has been a squirrely fuck from jump. But Spider? Never woulda guessed he was like that. Who are we to judge who deserves what? It seems to me that we’re already being taken to account for our hubris on that score.

Wires considered sending the blackmail to Kaz anyway but Lei sheng talked him out of it. Just as we were getting ready to call Kaz and tell him it was a no-go, Kaz calls us in a state of panic. Apparently the Yaks tried to hit him and failed. Kaz wanted blood in the worst way. He wanted us to hit the fucking Oyabun! He even agreed to give us a chopper, just as long as we got it done. The crew is apparently ok with this. I swear they’re all nuts!

We then spend many hours trying to figure out how we can accomplish the mission AND survive to spend the money. I figured that the only survivable option is to drop the hotel on their heads using a terrible accident or copious amounts of explosives. Once again the team goes all Boy Scout on me and starts pissing about collateral damage. This reduces any operational plan to a survivability factor of absolute zero.

We go round and round with no viable solution in sight. Then Kenji’s phone rings. It’s Kenji’s buddy, the Oyabun’s number 1 lieutenant. As it turns out, we’ve been working for the Yakuza the entire time! They’re the ones that sent us to Kaz in the first place to find out who had turned their flipside trade. Ain’t that some shit?

New plan. We’re going to stage the wipeout of the Yakuza, complete with multiple camera angles and lots of blood and gore, then send it to the news. Then we contact Kaz and tell him the job is done, and let the Yaks know where to find him when we meet for payment. In return, the Yaks get us out of town while they put the fix on the heat in Seattle. Only condition, they want Kaz alive if possible but he must not escape.

The “massacre” goes off without a hitch and the vids pick up the story like the bloodthirsty carrion eaters that they are. I call Dae and tell her that the job is done. She seems a little off her game but she sends us back to the toxic airfield for payment. We show up and we’re told that we have to go to Kaz and are directed to a helicopter. The goons wanted us to leave our weapons but we convinced them that we saw Kaz fully armed all the time and they let us by. Shorty even managed to bring his mechanical mutt (although that made the flight a tight squeeze).

We fly to damn near the other side of town and the flight seems to take forever (especially with that SQUIRRELY motherfucking ork suggesting that I’d be more comfortable in his lap! As if!). As we approach Kaz’s, well, bunker is probably the only apt description, the ‘net goes out and all commo is jammed. This could suck.

As we approach the front doors, some thug comes out and asks us to disarm again. What is with these fuckers all of a sudden? We said “bullshit, call Kaz”. So, they did. While they were calling, some goon was giving us the stink-eye but they eventually got the green light from Kaz that we were cool. All the muscle was fidgeting like they had fire ants in their jocks as we went upstairs to meet Kaz.

We get to the 4th floor of the 4 story building and Dae greets us with what appeared to be a resigned look. As we move towards Kaz’s office I hear what sounds like a helicopter landing on the roof. We enter the inner sanctum and, I swear, Kaz looks like he’s totally blown. He smiles and greets us saying we’re the best team ever! That’s why he didn’t believe his mages when they told him that we tripped their “detect enemy” spells. I’m surprised I didn’t create a vacuum in the room from my asshole clenching shut. Then Kaz give me a bag containing 560,000 nuyen… 70,000 a piece. Then we told him we needed an outside line to get his blackmail file because we stored it offsite just in case we were compromised.

We were then taken to a third floor lounge area and Wires was given a user account to get onto the network. I wasn’t real happy about the floor to ceiling windows on 2 walls but it is what it is. Wires then retrieved the blackmail file and called the cavalry with our coordinates. We waited about 15 minutes in this locked, guarded room when Dae calls us. We never found out what she wanted because that’s when the Yaks hit.

I see the doors blow partly outward for no apparent reason (must have been one of the mages), then Bones punches it and we hear the sickening crunch of bones shattering. Someone must have been behind the door. Then Softy punches a grenade into the hall (damn, I’m glad I gave her the Ares). Spider blows one of the windows out and Shorty sends super mutt up to the roof. Meanwhile, 4 spirits materialize in the room. Before I even have time to crap myself, they fall down. I guess our mages are better than theirs.

Then there’s a tink, tink sound and we notice a willie pete grenade bounce into the room. Shit. Just as soon as it bounces in, out it goes again. Spider shot the fucking thing right back out into the hall! SUCH a useful bastard, at least when he’s unencumbered by fits of righteous conscience. I see some bad guys up the hallway and I lay down some suppression fire, which some poor bastard promptly absorbs with his torso. Out of the corner of my eye I see Bones take a swing at nothing… a nothing which promptly turns into a pasty red smear (damn invisible mages).

So now the shit has well and truly hit the fan and we have to find Kaz and head him off. Note to self: if we survive, use some of this money to buy REAL armor…

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Kenji's World

This shadow business is preposterous at times. After completing the Doc Wagon body snatch and dump we we discover that the Yakuza tried to hit Kaz. This is hardly surprising since he tried to steal their drug trade. What was surprising is that the drug-addled Korean decided to hire us to hit the Oyabun in response. The oyabun… one of the hardest targets in the metroplex. Well, we say sure we’ll give it a go. Rediculous. We can’t come up with a workable plan that doesn’t involve a tactical airstrike and the destruction of 2 blocks of downtown real estate. But then I hear from my omae. The Yakuza want to hire us to flush Kaz. Wisely, we decide to take them up on their offer.

So we gin up the hit on the oyabun, and call Kaz for a meet. They helicopter us in to Kaz’ base and we get a frosty reception. It seems like they are on to us, but instead of putting alot of holes in us at the door they let us in. Then they let us see Kaz. Then they give us an open com to send the execute code to the Yakuza after locking us in a room. This is why I don’t do drugs. It makes you stupid.

Well our treachery has worked so far. We managed to ground his getaway chopper and the Yakuza are attacking in force. We’ve also managed to take out one of their mages and cleared most of our floor. Hopefully I’ll make it up to the roof with this grappeling hook so we can try a 2-way sweep and pick Kaz up in the middle.

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