[01FEB2061 1000] "It was Tuesday, the 1st of February, 2061.
I was called by a Mr. Johnson, one Roger Wu, for a meet.
I was able to round up Tik-Tok, Suture, and Disco Kid.
We met with him at 1500 in a sterile, unoccupied home in the
Spring Lake neighborhood, near Renton. Roger was a plain-looking
Asian man that clearly had some Anglo branches in his family
tree. His American accent completed the picture.
The mission offer was to find the location of a corporate-sponsored
meet and recover an item and a person. The item is
the primary objective, the person is the second. The
pay would be 40 k¥ and 20 k¥, respectively, 20%
in advance. I made sure that he was confident that
our team was adequate for the mission.
We agreed to the mission and details followed. Apparently,
Wu's employers were watching a Zeta-ImpChem (Z-IC) facility.
The site was attacked, presumably by a chemical subsidiary
of Saeder-Krupp. Surveillance captured an image of
one researcher escaping with a medium-sized high quality
sample case. The researcher, Louis Salvert Bernhart,
was the secondary objective; his case was the primary.
Wu pointed out that Louis should be recovered alive, but
intact was not required. He gave us an advance of
8 k¥ and a datachip with some useful information, primarily,
Lou's personnel profile from Z-IC. We had to move
fast, the meet would probably occur within a few days.
I'll give ya the executive summary. Lou was a fidgety
guy, who only trusted his friends. That made things
easy, since he had only one friend, a bottom rung security
guy with Knight Errant, name of Robert A. Morgan.
He was noted as paranoid and engaging in "unauthorized urban
activity." Looked like Bob was the best place to start.
I tracked down a number and address for Bob from my good
friend, the yellow pages, and called Bob's apt. from an
empty desk at Seattle Central Finances, Knight Errant's
standard financial institution, to see if he was home, but
I got a machine. Tik-Tok, Suture, and I went to check
out Bob's place.
I put on my corporate face and we skated past the lobby
security. I picked out his apt. number from the directory
and we headed up. Cameras and guards weren't oppressive,
but annoyingly in abundance. We stepped out of camera
and eyeshot and I summoned a Hearth Spirit to check out
the room and try to unlock the door. It found no one,
but could not unlock the door. I used Clairvoyance
to look around the room and discovered a few interesting
things. Bob had packed for about a week long trip,
and he was working 1200-2000 at Bliss Homes Apts.
We headed down to a brewery and I stepped aside to call
Bliss Homes. I posed as someone from Knight Errant
personnel and found out that Bob had called in sick and
covered his shifts for the next three days with the help
of his friends. That confirmed Bob's involvement,
but killed the lead for us. We knew too little about
Bob to get useful information in time.
We had Disco Kid working the Matrix. Two people had
checked on Lou's place, the building security guards and
Andrea Kurts, apparently a Company Woman for Z-IC.
DK also reported that the utilities in Lou's place had been
on standby for 4 months, so it looked like Lou lived at
his facility. We all headed over to check out Lou's
Suture reported that there was one Elemental patrolling
around the tower. DK was the only one of us skilled
at bypassing locks, and I was the only one with the magic
to get us into the building. I Levitated DK up to
the roof first, barely getting him past the Elemental.
It was a twenty story flight and I think the first time
DK had done something like that without the benefit of a
rope or airplane. He handled it pretty well.
I followed him and we got into the stairway. I summoned
a Hearth Spirit, cast Invisibility on DK then myself, and
then had the Spirit use its Concealment power on me.
We had not seen patrolling Magicians, so it was a calculated
risk to be virtually impossible to be seen on the physical
plane but a great glowing beacon on the Astral Plane.
We made it in and out of the apt. with little difficulty.
While there, we learned that Lou liked to frequent cyber
cafes. In particular, we found brochures for Matrix
1, Fiberline Java, and Auburn Connections. We snuck
down to the lobby when we were done, I dropped the spells
and dismissed the Spirit, and we nonchalantly sauntered
out the front door.
DK returned to cyberspace and the rest of us hit the streets.
I armed us all with copies of a chummy photo of Lou and
Bob. Suture and I worked the staff of the cyber cafes
and Tik-Tok talked to the people that hung out on the nearby
We identified some other candidates, the Vector Cafe and
Brightlight Computers, but after some conversations, it
was pretty clear that Auburn Connections was the best candidate
and Fiberline Java was a second best. Lou had frequented
both, liked the first, disliked the second, but knew both,
and he needed places he knew right now.
[01FEB2061 2300]: We met with DK at the Abyss and discussed
our results. DK made it into Z-IC and found some good
info. He identified the facility security point of
contact (POC) for Z-IC, Alise Gebhart. Lou had apparently
called her and arranged a meet. She had hired a team
for a meet at 1400, 03FEB2061, Thursday, at "a cafe".
Tik-Tok recognized the area in the picture we had been using
as being a fountain close to the area that Auburn Connections
was located in.
This cinched the location, so the next day we cased the
cafes, hotels, and streets in the area, flashing the photo
of Bob and Lou. I finally got a bite when the staff
at some hotels recognized Bob. He had been looking
for a room that overlooked "the river", which would also
overlook Auburn Connections. I convinced the staff
at the Hotel Magnifique to give me a room near the one Bob
looked at and secured their silence, letting them think
he was a criminal and I was a detective.
The plan was simple. Suture was going to be in the
cafe, Tik-Tok would cover the lobby, Disco Kid would be
watching the garage entrance of the hotel in Suture's car,
and I would be in the hotel room using Clairvoyance.
We were not sure what part Bob was playing. Perhaps
they would rendezvous in the hotel, perhaps not. We
couldn't commit to any one location or plan; we just didn't
have enough intelligence to work with. So, we set
up and waited to adapt and overcome.
Bob showed up early, but the hotel staff tipped him off
unintentionally that something was up. He headed outside
to the pay phone. I had DK try to get a line on it.
Bob headed off down the street as Tik-Tok showed up with
his sack lunch. Tik-Tok followed him for a little
bit, but he stopped when Bob spotted him.
I moved towards the cafe as the meet approached, as did
Tik-Tok. Suture was inside and two obvious runners
had shown up, one Awakened human and one big Ork that was
definitely a Sammy with his dermal plating and twin SMGs.
We moved in at a brisk walk, and I grabbed a sandwich to
maintain my cover. A heartbeat before we were ready,
a cab suddenly appears in front of the cyber cafe and Lou
We continued to close in. Lou walked in. Suture
held up a sign that Lou could see, but was hidden from the
pair of runners, it read "It's a trap. Run!"
That was enough to spook Lou, who turned around to walk
out. Without missing a beat, the human, a Mage, dropped
Lou with a Stun Bolt, in spite of defensive aid from myself
and Suture. Playing my part, I started acting like
the concerned citizen and yelled for someone to call an
ambulance and the cops, as I see the Ork's twin SMGs.
I started dashing across the parking lot to "help" my fellow
citizen, Lou. Tik-Tok, reached the corner, and an
Elf with an assault rifle popped up across the street, braced
over a car. He fired a burst across my path and I
ducked back to some cars, acting surprised. The Ork
put away a gun, grabbed Lou, threw him over his shoulder,
and pulled back from the doorway with remarkable speed.
Tik-Tok continued to get into place. Suture missed
the Mage with a narcojet round. The Mage called an
Earth Elemental. I let loose with a Lightning Bolt
at the Ork, worried more about taking out the window and
neon lighting that was compromising targeting and shooting
the Ork. I fried the lights and made a hole in the
window, but the Ork was not fazed.
Suture, faced with a competent combat Mage, a Sammy, and
an Earth Elemental, was in a bad situation. Luck was
with him. He fired off two shots from his narcojet
pistol and the Mage failed to dodge. He dropped like
a sack and the Elemental vanished. The Ork was not
happy and he nailed Suture with a burst, wounding him badly,
but not quite enough to take him down. [can you say
Team Karma Pool?]
Tik-Tok opened fire on the Ork, but only managed to scratch
him. The Ork had tossed the Mage and Lou toward the
back door of the cafe, then lobbed a concussion grenade
at Suture. He moved out quickly, but was still pretty
dazed by the blast. Suture stumbled out through the
broken store front away from us to take cover. Things
were looking bad all around. The Elf had no target,
but he was keeping me and Tik-Tok from moving into the cafe
proper. DK burst out of an exit door right behind
the Elf and managed to surprise him, firing off a round
from his enormous Super Warhawk pistol. The Elf wasn't
downed, but he did jump back to take cover from DK, putting
him into Tik-Tok's sights. Tik-Tok fired off a round
into him, knocking him back out of cover, like some vicious
game of pinball. DK got off another shot a split second
before the Elf, downing him.
A rigged van with a turreted Assault Rifle backed up to
the cafe rear, and I got into a spot between two cars that
would give me a line-of-sight on the Ork when he came out.
I waited for what seemed like minutes before I saw him.
He tossed his Mage team mate into the van then started to
toss in Lou. That's when I came in with a Levitate
spell and lifted Lou over a fence towards me and set him
down to re-establish a better lock on him.
The rigger and the Ork did not like that. Bullets
rained down on me like a torrential down pour. I took
cover and slipped around the cars and Levitated Lou a little
closer. The Ork went back into the cafe to catch me
with a burst, but I ducked back behind the car, narrowly
escaping the burst. I was pretty much home safe now.
The rigger could not get a bead on me and peeled away.
The Ork would have to make a suicide run to get Lou.
I pulled Lou out of there as the sound of sirens started
to approach. The Ork fled the scene and I pulled my
floating quarry quickly away. Suture managed to Stabilize
the Elf while DK brought Suture's car around and we all
jumped in and drove off.
I Healed Suture slightly while we drove, all of his cyberware
made it difficult. We took Lou to a motel room and
brought him around with a stim patch. He was groggy
and I played on his paranoia to convince him that we were
the team sent by Alise and the other operatives were trying
to intercept him. He was not sure, but gave us the
benefit of the doubt. I kept him off balance, cutting
his calls short to protect against imaginary government
operatives, telling him it would be safer for him if he
did not know what section of Z-IC we were from, the whole
ball of wax, and he ate it up. He called Bob and decided
that he needed to talk to Alise.
I fed him some BS about unsecure phone lines, and he decided
to hold off until we could get him to a safe phone line.
He passed out as the stimulant wore off, which certainly
did not hurt. We had one hour. He had promised
to contact Bob in an hour, and we needed to give him a convincing
conversation with Alise. I sent DK off to set up to
route our impending phone call and do some voice modulation.
No one else apparently had any female contacts, so I called
Miner. She agreed to do it for 1000 ¥. We
met her and I briefed her at the motel and DK by phone.
She chose to meet the team, and I introduced her.
She was all decked out in chrome and black with her hair
pulled back, 100% street. We decided we needed some
good street names for her to give out. I dubbed myself
Flash, Suture I named Doc, and I gave DK the handle Groove.
Miner suggested Tank for Tik-Tok, and he liked it.
Lou woke up in the room with Doc and Tank. Doc delivered
the cover story that Groove and Flash were off handling
security. He made the call and it was routed just
like clockwork. Miner picked up the phone and pulled
off an amazing job of bullshitting Lou. I was thoroughly
impressed. In the end, Lou was convinced, and pretty
soon he had the location of the case, a bank safe deposit,
and the code to access it. We took him along and fetched
the case, then set up an exchange with Roger Wu.
At the exchange I talked to Roger privately and explained
the ruse. He made some dark side comment about "Mr.
Bernhart's future" and "we can't have resistant researchers".
It was too late for changes and we did not know enough.
I didn't think a man like Lou would be important enough
to geek, and I suspected he'd at least make decent collateral
for a prisoner exchange in the corporate wars. That
was guesswork. What I did know is that if I backed
out now, our team was screwed on this run and in the future.
We were too new and too weak to screw over a Johnson because
something he said sounded strange. Without missing
a beat I said to him "Are you asking me to make some decision
regarding Mr. Bernhart?" I think it caught him off
guard, but he quickly said "No." I looked him in the
eye and said "OK then. We're professionals, here are
The exchange occurred, and we left. The money was
divided evenly, minus the 250 ¥ apiece for Miner's cameo,
and we went our separate ways. I am not sure what
happened to Lou, but I hope things work out for him.
As fidgety as he was, I wonder if he would ever allow himself
to enjoy life . . .