A Simple Clean Up...

Drug Shuffle
No fatalities!? Wha?

DATE: 12APR2072

A call from Bash revealed that, rather than ask for help earlier, he sent his own guys to steal a shipment of BTLs. They aren’t normally his product, but he was told that these were top quality and would be worth the trouble. Unfortunately, his boys were not up to the task and were jumped by a rival gang, the Blue Meanies. Bash asked Ocho if he could go in and get his stuff back. The only problem is that he could not promise payment until the chips were sold.
Amazingly, this run went quite smoothly, with nary a shot fired. Posing as an intermediary for an interested party, Marcelle met with their BTL guy, an orc named Blade. (Note: I accidentally deleted my info on that encounter, so I don’t remember if that is actually his name… But it is now.) She confirmed that they had had the BTLs, but that they moved them earlier that morning, as they couldn’t sell them themselves. Marcelle bought a few samples, and told her that she would have her people arrange a proper meeting. As she was leaving, Blade got antsy and decided that she should stay put until the meeting. Just in case. Marcelle became to hint that her partners were, in fact, the Mafia. She called up a little of her past (actually with the Mafia) and the orc backed down.
Later, Marcelle returned with the others, all dressed as mafiosi. Blade told them that his buyer changed his mind about coming, instead asking that they meet at his condo.
Upon arrival, they met a well-to-do elf who looked them over and had his driver come around to take them to the BTLs.
A short drive later, they arrived at a storage unit, in which were a couple of armed guards and some nerd counting and sorting. After some small talk, and showing off the goods, the elf came clean. He had contacts in the Mafia and quickly learned that whoever was coming were impostures. But, he was no fool. He knew that Shadowrunners (good ones, anyway) were not to be underestimated. And the BTLs, though valuable, were not worth the fight. In fact, THESE BTLs were so valuable, that he offered ¥100,000 for them to simply walk away with no fuss, no retaliation, and quite probably, future work.
No fools themselves, the runners took the opportunity, realizing that Bash could no more move those BTLs and pay them than the Blue Meanies who offloaded them. Damien offered the elf his card, and the elf introduced himself as Julien Kane.
They gave 40k to Bash, in lieu of the BTLs, which he accepted with resignation. He would barely break even after paying for the damages, but he admitted that, at best, he would have been ripped off trying to sell the damn things.
The other 60k was divided four ways.

REWARDS (each):
Payment: ¥15000
Karma (I am dumb and didn’t write it down. I want to say 4. Correct me if I’m wrong.)

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Extraction complete!
Way to earn those nuyen!

So, once the door to the cellar was hacked open, Damien held aloft via levitation the body of the front door guard disguised as Stayn in order to confuse the people below, or at the very least, to be a bullet shield. Unfortunately, the guards below lobbed a flash bang that knocked Damien right the hell (HELL, get it? Because the DEVIL!) out. Marcelle and Ocho were holding the doors, and were able to duck for cover and once they took out the guards, they slapped a stim patch on Damien and went down stairs. Buzz got the downstairs locks disabled, but was unable to get into the camera system or verify the presence of other security measures.
In a short hallway with two bends on either end leading to doors, they picked one and Ocho cracked the door to peek inside. He was greeted with a bullet that grazed his shoulder before slamming the door again. Taking up a prone position and aiming into the room, Ocho lay in wait while Marcelle opened the door and stayed behind it. The hallway filled with bullets right over Ocho’s head until he returned fire, forcing the heavily armed shooter to dive for cover. Damien took the opportunity to take control of the man’s mind to turn him against the other man Marcelle spotted. At this moment, another man appeared from the other end of the hallway and stabbed Ocho right in the left butt cheek with a katana. As Ocho processed that, more bullets ripped through the hallway, aimed slightly lower, leaving the troll quite battered, but still up. As she kicked the door shut to cut off the stream of lead death, Marcelle’s whip cut through the katana wielder’s armor nicely, leaving him unbalanced long enough for Ocho to bring his big ass gun around and make a mess of the man’s general body area. After a moment, the room went quite, and Damien dispatched his helper with a suicide command. At this point, Buzz informed the team that reinforcements appeared to be en route.
The other room contained Stayn, obviously forced into VR, probably hotsim, by the look of it, hooked directly up to an old console terminal. Marcelle was able to figure out the disconnect command to get him out safely, just as Augustus started taking shots at a vehicle that was racing out of the garage. Buzz sent a drone after it. (We’ll cover what the drone finds later.)
Stayn, coming to, was led up to the van, everyone piled in, and Buzz took them on a fun little off road detour to avoid the incoming drones. Once safe, Stayn revealed that he had found out that Alpha had hidden some data in his headware, and was looking into what it was. He was intercepted by Aztechnology before he could learn anything. But, according to him, they appeared to be surprised and unprepared for what they found. He couldn’t elaborate, but the technomancer seemed to be in over his head. (When a high level mega-corp trained technomancer is out of his league in the Matrix, shit has become Very Real.) Stayn went on to confirm that Alpha is not only an AI, but the oldest still active AI on the Matrix, being active some twenty years ago when he met her, though she had been around even before that. She had successfully hunted down and destroyed her predecessors and likely would have wiped out all newcomers, had she not started to deviate from her core programming. Though they have worked together off and on for nearly two decades, Stayn believes that she is now a threat to all of them. If she has not actively turned against them, she has put them all at great risk, and with his knowledge of her, Stayn at least, is going to become a target to protect her secrecy. He plans to flee Seattle to at least get Aztechnology off his tail and lie low for a while, though he said he plans to contact them again in the near future, once he can be sure it’s safe. In the meantime, Stayn advised everyone to keep a very low profile on the Matrix, and to stay off of it unless necessary. He hinted that Alpha is very dangerous, especially once you start going VR. Hotsimming while she is after you, he implied, is suicide. He specifically mentions that they should keep an ear open for word of any deckers dying mysteriously while jacked in, and definitely should not accept any messages from those deckers post mortem. Of course, they should not contact Alpha, nor accept her calls, nor even accept money from her, no matter how secure it appears.
To add to the fun, Marcelle’s uncle drops the bomb that her and her team were caught on camera during their infiltration, and a bounty has been posted by Aztechnology for any one of them brought alive.
After Stayn directed Buzz to a secure stash, he paid out the promised money in certified credsticks, and promised to find and pay Eight Ball before fucking right off out of town.

In the four days that follow, the group sells of some looted goods and keeps an eye open over their shoulders.

REWARDS:
Payment as promised: ¥10000
Karma:
+2 for surviving
+2 for completing all objectives
+4 for difficulty (Highest opposed dice pool / 6 = 24/6 = 4)
+2 for being underpaid. (The rescue added significantly to the overall job.)
= 10 karma reward.
Loot:
1 katana,
1 Ares Alpha assault rifle with grenade launcher attachment (full magazine, plus 6 flash bang grenades)
1 Ares Predator V heavy pistol (full magazine)
1 Stun baton
1 One suit of full body armor, chem sealed, with helmet. (Sold by Damien on behalf of Marcelle for an impressive sum I don’t recall, but his commission was ¥666 which made him immeasurably happy.)
There was not time to fully loot every corpse, but the haul was good nonetheless.

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Extraction Part 1
Combat takes a lot of time...

Date: 07Apr2072
Time: 2230

A drone search of the arc of Damien’s spirit’s search through Snohomish turned up a suspicious building serving no apparent purpose. A featureless, windowless, one story brick building, about the size of a small house with a three car garage with one guard sitting on a covered entryway sits nowhere near any known farm or utility station on record. Damien sent a watcher spirit to subtly scope the place astrally from a distance and discovered that the entire building was warded both on the physical and astral planes with a very powerful barrier and guarded by two Force 8 Spirits of Fire along with a small pack of hellhounds. So… about as subtle as a neon sign flashing “Attack here!”

Some basic preparations were made and the team set out at sunset to attack at night. Damien summoned a water spirit to conjure up some rain to deter the fire spirits from manifesting, while Ocho set up as a sniper to take out the hounds and anything/one else that might try to flank as the rest of the team pulled up in a van and started shooting.
In the first ten seconds after Ocho’s first shot, Damien’s water spirit made surprisingly easy work of the two fire spirits despite a harrowing moment in which one of them manifested inside the van. Augustus was knocked out by a spray of automatic fire from the startled guard who later found himself outside the barrier while dodging Marcelle’s attacks and was promptly made to kill himself thanks to the fact that mind control spells are very, very, nasty. Also, Ocho took down the hellhounds. Oh, and the rail mounted machine guns on Buzz’s van blew the door out of the wall.
Auggie was revived with a stim-patch and made his way to the door with a flashbang, and Ocho started heading to the building.
(For the sake of speeding things along, and for dramatic effect, I will describe the next part leading up the next round of fighting.)
Following the flashbang, Augustus moves in, gun ready to spray, while Marcelle slips in behind, silent and unseen. The doorway leads into a short hallway that dead ends at a large locker that appears to be full of rain gear and cleaning supplies.
There are two doors, one on each side of the hall. The door on the right opens to a basic kitchen with a trid monitor on one wall, tuned to the evening news.
The door on the left, however, leads into a large empty room. Across the room, there is a large set of double doors that appears to lead into the garage. Against the back wall, there is a large cellar door into the ground. A quick check reveals that the door is mag-locked. There is a RFID reader on the wall, but the display reads “SEC LOCK – NO ACCESS.”
A quick check of the grid by Buzz reveals it to be private and isolated, similar to the one at the research facility. So the GOD isn’t watching here, at least. Without actually getting on it (which would still draw he attention of any spider or IC, which could still be Very Bad) it’s hard to say if it even connects to the global matrix at all. If it does, it is likely through a single, monitored node again. At this point though, it’s unlikely that cutting that off would do much good, even if you found it.
Given a few seconds of study, Damien determines that the ward is very powerful, indeed. (At least Force 10, by your estimate, maybe stronger.) This is not a problem at this point, as long as you don’t try to go through while perceiving astrally and remember to turn off your foci. You’ll have to recast Marcelle’s armor once you’re both on the other side of the barrier, however. What this does mean, is that you now really hope that the mage who could create this isn’t here. Even if he needed help to perform the ritual, it stills takes a powerful mage to implement this kind of force.
By this point, Ocho has reached the van, and Augustus and Marcelle exit to report their findings. No doubt, alarms are sounding somewhere and reinforcements are on the way. Last chance to bail if you’re cowards who don’t want to get paid…

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Payment Hunting Part 2

Following a few more leads and meeting with Eight Ball for a more in depth discussion of her mission revealed a few key pieces of information regarding what exactly happened and where Stayn may have been taken.

- The timeline of events places Stayn’s abduction just moments after Marcelle and Eight Ball slotted the mysterious data stick into the elevator panel.
-The data stick clearly is important to what happened in the facility, and probably to what is happening now.
-Said data stick appeared empty later that day, yet looking at it again shows that it had been formatted the day AFTER the run.
-The van used to take Stayn went off the grid a few blocks away from the site of the abduction. it appears to not have come back on since. It’s possible that the route could be traced backward, but there’s no guarantees that the trail would even be genuine. It might also be possible to do some good old fashioned decking and individually hack surrounding security cameras to try to piece together the route they went. (Buzz has set about this task, with Ocho coming along in case things get hairy.)
-Whoever has Stayn now, has magical protection enough to quickly eliminate Damien’s Force 6 Spirit.
-Damien can only estimate that the spirit was at or perhaps had gone just past the 15 mile search radius Damien had set for it.
-Just prior to his abduction, Stayn had met with someone at a little known hacker bar near the edge of the downtown area. No one knows who this man is or why they met.
-Alpha’s role in all of this is an unknown. The timing of events screams “set-up,” but it’s not clear why Alpha would betray Stayn. Nor is it clear exactly what role two teams of runners played in it.
-Eight Ball suggested that Alpha’s desire to see Stayn returned is genuine. (And the runners will recall that Alpha mentioned that he had sensitive information she did not want exposed.) If this is the case, then best place to hide someone from a decker who appears to only operate remotely would be a dead zone. Or at least somewhere well shielded.

Here are some useful things to consider:
-Is it worth confronting Alpha about her role in all of this? Does it even matter at this moment? Is it safe to contact her at all?
-Once you find Stayn, do you have a plan to extract him? He was taken by a military grade strike team, and is likely guarded at least as well.
-How long do you have? It’s been three days since the run. Alpha seemed certain that Aztechnology would want Stayn alive, but it’s unlikely they need him alive forever.
-No one protects a secret with a highly illegal, dangerous, and still experimental man/machine/magic abomination if they intend to let people see the secret and live. Aztechnology has not moved against the runners involved, but if they sent a military grade strike team after one guy, imagine what they’ll be sending your way…

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Payment hunting
Seriously... The dude has our money.

Date: 05APR2072 – 07APR2072

Deciding that, yes of course the money is worth it, the team sets out to see what could have happened to Stayn.

Inquiries with the gang member watching the door of the building Stayn was in led to a meeting with Bash, the leader of the Stingrays. Unfortunately, Bash appeared to have less information about Stayn’s disappearance than Ocho or Damien, but Ocho’s name carried some weight and earned a promise that the Stingrays would help if they found out anything. Also, maybe a job in the near future. (Note: Bash can now be listed as a contact with Connection 2, Loyalty 1 for Damien and Loyalty 2 for Ocho. Bash won’t deal with people he hasn’t met face to face. His loyalty can be improved through jobs and renting a safehouse from him. His connection will increase as his gang grows in power.)

Security analysis of the building as performed by Buzz via drone and Marcelle via parkour practice revealed that the building was as well guarded as a street gang owned safehouse could expect to be. Not enough to stop the kinds of enemies a guy like Stayn must have, but enough that someone should have seen something if he had been attacked here.

Marcelle was contacted by Eight Ball who had hoped that something had turned up that might lead them to Stayn. She does want to get paid too, after all. She offered her services, though she’ll need some time to replenish her arsenal. (Note: Eight Ball can now be used as a contact with Connection 2, Loyalty 1. Helping her resupply may just up her loyalty rating.)

Later, the entire team was contacted by Alpha, Stayn’s partner, via commlink conference call. She revealed the last location that Stayn had used to contact her, and revealed a little bit about why he may have been captured.
It’s possible that their involvement with the prior runs was discovered and Stayn was captured by Aztechnology. If that’s the case, then this is bad news for the shadowrunners, as they’ll probably be able to link him to them soon enough. (Hell, the guy even has the team’s uniform measurements in his head now.) It’s rare for corporations to retaliate against the shadows directly, so for this to be the case, Stayn was investigating some heavy stuff.
The other possibility is that someone found out about some information that Alpha had secretly stored in Stayn’s headware for safekeeping. This is slightly less bad for the runners, though it is still pretty bad as, it that means they can still lose a payday, and Alpha did hint that she was not one to be denied lightly.
At least she came through with ¥2000 each for now.

Around that time, one of Ocho’s contacts came through with some information. A couple of his guys saw someone matching Stayn’s descriptions get jumped in an alley downtown just outside of one of Seattle’s lesser known hacker bars. This matched up closely to the last location Alpha had of Stayn, so it looked promising. The gangers had hid behind a dumpster, but the short clip that one of them had the nerve to record (just in case, you know) confirmed that it was indeed Stayn, and that it was an Aztechnology strike team that took him, apparently alive.
A visit to the bar and a fair bribe later, and they had the security footage from the alley. An EMP grenade clipped the actual attack, but the camera was able to see the attackers drop into the alley, and caught the face of one of them as they left. This image was immediately sent to Alpha and posted on Jackpoint for identification. Several Jackpoint members offered to see what they could find out. Alpha seemed… very eager… to identify this individual.

Now, to see what turns up and where to go next…

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Just walk right in.
No really... It's that easy...

Date: 03APR2072
TIme: 0830

The job seemed simple enough. The Johnson, an ex-runner who goes by the handle “Stayn” needed a team to finish the job of infiltrating a top secret underground Aztechnology laboratory that the last team failed. If that should prove impossible, then clean up the loose ends by whatever means necessary.
Stayn revealed that he and his associate had intercepted communications regarding the botched run, and learned that they were requesting additional security and a mage to read the mind of the one surviving runner in custody. They were able to send back a response that listed the new team as the expected reinforcements. Even better, Stayn arranged to have proper uniforms and credentials ready in the morning. So getting in would be easy, at least.
Finishing the job, however, would prove a bit more complicated. Stayn was seeking “something important” in the lower levels. Other than that it was most likely powerfully magic, Stayn had no description of the item, but seemed certain that it would be obvious. If it could be taken, they were to take it, otherwise, get as much info about it as possible. As for cleaning up loose ends, the surviving runner was to be made unable to divulge any information to Aztechnology (through rescue or more…permanent means, if necessary) and that the data stick she was carrying should be returned.
For ¥10000 EACH, it was an easy “yes” from all those contacted.

Time: Evening/night

The team made an initial scouting run of the area. It was in near the docks, apparently under a building of offices and storage that had been converted from a shipping/receiving building for the surrounding warehouses.
Damien determined that, yes, there was something magical present. Something powerful enough to create a noticeable background count even at ground level.
Marcelle gained entrance into the building and located what appeared to be a hidden entrance with no means of opening from this side.
Buzz hacked a cleaning drone to gain a layout of the building, but was unable to find anything about what was below.
Augustus set up a sniper nest in a building across the parking lot.
Ocho ensured that the area was clear of any gang activity that might complicate matters.
Overall, it seemed easy enough.
One point of concern arose, however. The location that the “new security” was expected had been changed to a location across town with no explanation.

Date: 04APR2072
Time: 0700

After arriving at the pickup location of the uniforms, the team found only an old, disused storage room in an alley. Soon after they arrived, a moving truck belonging to “Murray’s Moving Muscle” blocked the entrance and two large trolls got out, unloaded some boxes, then “accidentally” dropped one by the door on their way to a stairwell in the back of the alley. Sure enough, in the box were the promised uniforms, and commlinks. After suiting up, they headed to the location they were expected.

In the parking lot of an office park owned by Aztechnology, a van was waiting for them. As soon as they started getting in, four drones appeared and opened fire. After a brief exchange of return fire, the drones were brought down (one even in good enough condition to be appropriated by Buzz) and only one person was hit, though Augustus seemed to be willing to tough it out until they arrived at their destination to use their medical facility. On the way, the driver told them that the meeting location had been changed because they noticed something off about their communication and suspected interference. The drone attack confirmed that someone (probably whoever hit them over the weekend) had attempted an ambush.

At the facility, Augustus was patched up before making a quick excuse to take a smoke break to go man his prearranged sniper nest.
After orientation, Marcelle and Ocho acted normal to learn the exits and guard rotations, and Buzz started poking around the security system. (He found that the facility was fully shielded and there was a single hard line connection to the external Matrix.)
Damien was shown the prisoner, a woman named Eight Ball. She was untrusting of the mage, and uncooperative, but he convinced her of his mission and arranged for her to escape and help finish the job, with the aid of an invisibility spell.
As soon as Eight Ball and Marcelle (also basically invisible thanks to her camo suit) were headed to the lower levels, Damien sounded the alarm and used his magic to convince the security that the prisoner was heading to an exit on the other end of the facility, while Buzz cut off the communications and started wiping out security systems.

Arriving at the secured elevator, Eight Ball produced a data stick (you know from where) and slotted it into the elevator control. A moment later, a confused woman came over Marcelle’s ‘link asking about Eight Ball and then ended the communication. The door opened, and Marcelle and Eight Ball went to the lower level. The doors opened to show a large underground hydroponics lab growing a single sapling surrounded by all manner of monitoring equipment, and a handful of scientists confused by the opening doors without apparent occupants.
This would have been just fine, were it not for the hulking mass of mostly-cyberized man flanked by two trolls. The cyber-thing looked directly at Marcelle (or, as she would learn, her aura) and sounded the alarms for intruders. The two intruders ducked back into the elevator and Eight Ball slotted the stick into the controls while cursing about “cyberzombies.” The elevator barely made it to the next level before stopping and heading back down. They were able to open a maintenance hatch in the top of the elevator and scrambled up the cable as the cyberzombie entered and began firing through the hatch, hitting both intruders, but not bad enough to take them down. Marcelle made a jump to the next level as the elevator began moving up once more. At this point, Ocho showed up and was able to open the doors on his level and chuck a grenade into the open hatch. It went boom, but the elevator kept moving. Eight Ball scrambled up to Ocho’s level, while Marcelle found herself a level below where she needed to be to make an escape. She ducked into a room as the elevator door opened and a very blood soaked cyberzombie began stalking the corridor. Marcelle was able to stay out of sight long to double back to the stairwell by the elevator Buzz was able to find.

With the confusion caused by Damien’s magic, escaping was actually pretty simple, though they ended up a fair distance from Augustus’ cover fire. They stayed out of sight out of sight until he could come around and pick them up in the van.

Time: Evening

On the way back, they attempted to contact Stayn, but he did not respond. Eight Ball was persuaded (at gunpoint) to hand over the data stick. Buzz slotted the stick and it turned up blank. Even a straight copy of the contents showed nothing. He tossed it back to her, and decided to deal with it later.
Arriving at Stayn’s safehouse, they found him indeed missing. Eight Ball was as genuinely surprised as everyone else (and pissed about not getting paid) so she was sent on her way.

Now to find out what happened and to Stayn and to get paid.

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Prologue

Date: 03APR2072
Time: 0130

Stayn looked through the list again, mentally calling up the files directly to his cybereyes. The pool was getting smaller with each job; it was too risky to hire any team more than once, maybe twice. The ork sighed, barely restraining the cliched gripe about being too old for this drek. All that was left were a few washed up runners, some ex-gang bangers, a handful of smugglers, assorted criminals, and…
“Real funny,” he said aloud. “That can’t be a real handle, can it?”
The response came through his commlink’s earpiece. “It sure is.” She pushed an image over the file.
“A giant blue… is that an ork?”
“Oni, a metavarient of ork, yes.”
“Whatever he is, I’m not paying to haul him out of Okinawa for this. I’m hoping for a bit of subtlety.”
“Your call… boss,”
“Sarcasm doesn’t become you.” He flipped through a few more, marking the ones that fit the next job he needed done. “Track these down and get them my info. I want them here tomorrow. Time is of the essence, so offer them 10,000 nuyen each to show that I’m serious.”
There was a brief pause on the other end. “Done. Their responses will be forwarded to your disposable ’link.”
“Thanks. I’m going to get some shuteye. Let me know if you dig up anything on what happened yesterday.” Without waiting for a reply, he ended the call. He grabbed the bottle from the table in front of him and swallowed the last of the whiskey. With what he just promised to pay, he accepted that it would likely be his last taste of real, actual booze for the foreseeable future.
The last forty-eight hours caught up with each step toward the bed and he was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

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