The War Story
Primary: Kuma (Lars)
Contributing: Piker (Reema), Caliban (Mason), Valkyrie (GM)
It's another Friday at Moon's and the band on stage is pretty
damn crappy. Hound has just returned from a prolonged absence
from Seattle. Piker, Caliban, Kuma, and Val are sitting at a table
with him. Everyone looks at each other and smirks at the music
on stage. Val nods and flips on her white noise generator, significantly
muting the offensive noise and giving the group some privacy.
Hound speaks up, "Well until they finish shoveling drek on
stage, how about you guys tell me about that run where you downed
a Yak hit team? Based on how the Yaks take it, this story may
save my life in the future, so don't skip any details." He smirks
as he pours another glass of synthbeer from a pitcher.
"I'll handle this one, chummers," says Kuma in a somber
tone, "They were my people at one time. This drek shouldn't
have happened this way, it's not how professionals work. Fraggin'
mob war." Kuma sets his synthbeer on the table, still almost
full after a half hour at the bar. At the end of run, the other
runners had seen him burning with anger and betrayal, but now
he seems reserved and perhaps a bit drained.
"The four of us," Kuma indicates the other runs than
Hound with a nod of his head, "and Ajax were hired for a
straight forward corporate sabotage job against a computer company
out in Des Moines. The Johnson had hired Caliban through the net
and Ajax called the rest of us in. Caliban had the B & E skills
that the team was lacking. Chummer worked out all right,"
Kuma says almost cracking a half smile.
"Damned by faint praise," Caliban growls.
"We met the Johnson here on a Friday night. Definitely a
better band than this although I hadn't heard that kind of oldies
in awhile. The Johnson was a complete newbie, fresh over-the-top
armored jack right out of the plastic wrap and everything. I'm
think he was related to the CEO that gave a speech on the news
for Orange Systems. Oh yeah, the company we hit was Orange Systems,
some kind of retail computer company that had a little R&D
on the side," adds Kuma realizing he hadn't mentioned the
company's name. "The Johnson wanted us to totally destroy
the R&D but not the damage anything else or kill any of the
guards or employees. He was willing to pay solid money for what
seemed like a basic job."
Piker smirks as she remembers meeting the Johnson, "I'd
never seen a Johnson dat was so green. He wore a red flower on
his jacket so we can pick 'im out, like it was gonna be hard to
tell him apart from the people at Moon's" She laughs.
Kuma pauses a second as if temporarily lost in some private thought,
and then continues, "After the punk left, we set out for
some recon. I knew the area a little bit, and knew that the local
gang was an anti-meta gang called the Troll Killers. Des Moines
is more of a new business area fixed up from a ghetto, so if the
Killers were around they probably were running protection rackets.
I wanted to cruise on my own, so the others went in Val's van.
I didn't get much from the area other than there were a noticeable
Star presence and groups of Troll Killers every now and then.
The main thing we learned was about the astral protection. It
was different on each of the floors, right?" asks Kuma to
the rest of the table.
Val pipes in, "Yeah, Ajax was sliding Astral and he saw
an Elemental circling the building. He snuck past that one, but
there was an elemental on two of the first two three floors. He
figured he didn't need to push his luck too hard for an initial
recon, so he hopped on back."
"Anyways, we ended up holding off on more recon until Monday
when we could walk the area and building without being hassled.
Even on a run, there's time to kill, eh Caliban," says Kuma
with his first grin of the night. "The weekend's entertainment,
aside from getting into bar fights, was Caliban and Val's bike.
The bike had this wiz security alarm that shocks people, I got
one just like it on my Spyder. It took Caliban three tries to
crack that bike. Almost made 400 nuyen along the way. Don't leave
your night job to be a car thief, omae."
Caliban juts out his jaw and makes a rude gesture.
Val chuckles. "I think that's a residual seizure problem.
Ya know, maybe Captain Two Zaps would be a better street name...at
least you have some of Kuma's nuyen to soothe your wounds."
"Naw, we was double-or-nothin' by then. But you call me
Two-Zaps, I'll start callin' you Nosy." Caliban leers at
the rigger, sticks a pinky up his right nostril, and wiggles it
Piker looks at Kuma and says," It wadn't just a bar fight
like people tink. You see, me an Kuma went to Gargoyle's Roost
where dey had da stage set up for people to get up dere and fight.
Kuma fought an Ork dat I beat on da night before. Ork got a lucky
shot on Kuma, right omae," she nudges Kuma and continues,"
Den when I got up dere, a chromed troll got up dere too tinking
he's hot drek. He got one lucky shot before I downed 'im, dat
"On Monday we set out to learn as much as possible about
our target. Orange Systems occupied the 17th floor of this office
building and there were other offices and businesses over the
other floors. Parking was underground, and the floor ended up
having two patrolling elementals. Overall, the place looked like
light to moderate security, with reliance on key cameras. That's
why we got the ork, eh," Kuma gives a grin towards Caliban,
starting to lighten up a bit.
Val perks up, "Oh yeah, and don't forget, we learned the
floor below was a Dental office, so Ajax got his pearlies cleaned
while he slid Astral and peeked through the floor a little at
Orange Systems. They had an Earth and an Air Elemental. Serious
mojo, but we could deal with that and if kept the magic in check,
probably not even a problem. It did keep Ajax's head down though.
He wasn't able to pin down the R&D room from Astral since
gear and nameplates are generally black boxes, but we had floor
plans thanks to Caliban and the floor wasn't all that big."
Caliban shrugs. "Basic site intel. Knocked together a couple'a
line-loopers for the cameras. No big deal."
Val adopts a pouty face, "Aw, Cali's bashful. Well I'm not
entirely sure how he got the plans, but he did. Floor layouts
and external security. Pretty wiz data. You didn't by any chance
get that info from a Yak did you?" Val smirks, looking at
Caliban with a comically suspicious visage. "With his intel
everything looked like it was going to be smooth sailing, but
"Then our world kicked us in the ass," says Kuma sobering
up quickly as the story drags his thoughts back to the yakuza.
"I get a call from Seattle General early Monday morning saying
that Ajax is in the hospital and he's bad. I'm worried that a
hit team is on its way to my place and so I call the others and
we meet up in a neutral place. Val's no where to be found also.
The three of us need to find out what's going on even though people
may be watching the hospital. It's got to be done. Piker heads
up to see Ajax while we wait in the garage. The hospital blocks
out radio signals, so as soon as she steps into that elevator
all I hear over the transceiver is static. That was some edgy
minutes, let me tell you. Any minute, Caliban and I are expecting
the elevator doors to open and Piker's broken body tossed out
followed by fragging Satan or something. Turns out a trio of asians
attacked Ajax and Val outside of Penumbra last night and warned
them to back off from Orange Systems. After beating the drek out
of them and damn near geeking them, the fraggers even cut off
Ajax's pinkie. It was some serious drek. That smacked of yakuza
to me and that only meant trouble."
Val's expression grows dark as Kuma talks. She interjects, "Trouble
is fragging right. Those assjackers cut my fraggin nose open!
I only regret not being around to return the favor with interest.
Sounds like you fragged 'em up good enough, but nothing substitutes
for twisting the knife yourself when it comes to payback."
Piker speaks up, " When I saw Ajax at da hospital, I almost
didn't reco'nize 'im, he was so fragged up and wrapped up. I kept
having to wake 'im up to tell me was went down wid 'im. I tried
to call Kuma but da nurse told me not to use my phone or it kill
some people in the room or someting. But I got enough from 'im
before he passed out." Piker has a somber look on her face.
"Yakuza hit teams or not, we had gotten hired for a job
and that's how it was going to run. No one intimidates and hurts
our teammates and gets away with it," Kuma says with a chilling
look in his eyes. "With Val and Ajax out, we needed a rigger.
My ride would get noticed too quickly and a troll and ork riding
through the Troll Killers on bikes just wasn't going to work.
Luckily, my fixer got us in touch with an ork rigger with a van
that goes by the name of Frank. He turned out to be a decent back-up
to Val, a reliable pro all the way. While we were trying to get
a hold of a driver, the three of us hid out at my safehouse. Humph,
safehouse," mutters Kuma as he shakes his head.
Val smirks, and says in a mockery of disgust, "Hmmph, well
sounds like Frank is special. I wonder how well he'll patch up
your ungrateful asses."
Piker puts her arm around Val and says," Hey, Frank might
drive and carry a nice ass, but he can't patch us up, and I didn't
see 'im mowing down some baddies wid LMGs. So as far as I know,
you da best and da udder riggers is a bunch of posers."
"We meet Frank Tuesday evening, ready to do the run that
night. I thought the world was laughing at us when Frank drove
up to that Nukit Burger. The chummer had ork power in big flashy
letters on both sides of his van. Yeah, that's exactly what I
need to sneak through Troll Killer land. He ended up having all
the right gear though. A push of the button and the van changed
colors to a simple black van. That's something I need to get for
the Spyder. While we were talking, Caliban kicked his bike and
out dropped a tracking device. We scanned around, but no one was
there so we cruised fast. We should have thought about it a little
more, bad planning. If the yakuza had been tracking us this whole
time, they probably knew we were doing the run and definitely
knew about my safehouse. That's one mistake that almost geeked
"Knew we'd been made," Caliban chips in. "Was
obvious after I found the tracker. 'S why we ditched the wheels
and spent the rest of the day on the run. Goin' back after was
stupid, yeah, but, well..." He shrugs, and cracks his knuckles.
"Anyways, Frank was in and so we set out to finish this
run right. After grabbing some gear, we headed to Orange Systems.
The actually run was slick. The three of us moved up to the office
building on foot while Frank cruised the neighborhood. Caliban
disabled the parking garage camera and we stealthed down inside.
We got into the elevator shaft and James Bonded on up using climbing
gear. We had to divert around the elevators that were locked on
the third floor, but with some careful electronics work on Caliban's
part and some damn quiet samurai we got all the way up to the
17th floor, no hitch. The guards there were a fly swat. A couple
bursts from a silenced SMG with gel rounds and Piker smacking
one guards head with a cross strike and we were chrome. I set
some charges backed with gasoline on key components and we slid
out. Back down the way we came, out and into Frank's van. The
charges went off right as we were gliding down the street. I had
thought we had pulled off the cleanest run yet, textbook cool.
And then we got back to the safehouse."
"I think we'll all be paranoid about entering safehouses
or apartments after a run for awhile. Three yakuza hitmen were
waiting in ambush, using invisibility to conceal themselves. They
were in the apartment, ready to end us. The head of the group
was actually my old yakuza enforcement partner, a damn good yakuza
mage named Gunjo. I can remember being on the other side of that
ambush dozens of times -- waiting invisible for some double-crossing
runner or mafia lieutenant knowing that his life was going to
be erased at a pull of the trigger. It was different back then.
Our targets were always in the game or had written their own deaths
by betraying the clan. Shadowrunners were always off limits, it's
just not how the shadows work," Kuma says this last mostly
to himself as if convincing himself will change the past.
Caliban snarls. "Fraggin' gangland scare tactics. Dumb smoothies
figured on dusting shadowrunners to send a message. 'Don't hack
the yak,' or some such drek."
"The drek got tossed into the fan fast. They appear out
of nowhere -- Gunjo, a physad with a katana, and a samurai packing
an SMG. Bursts get pulled at Piker and I while the katana charges
Caliban. Caliban, you got some quick shots off at the beginning,
nailing Gunjo right from the start. I think we would have been
dead if not for that, Gunjo can sling some serious mojo. I move
behind the wet bar and start exchanging fire with everyone. The
samurai goes down first, fragger forgot the first rule of a gunfight:
get cover. Piker charges the mage and Caliban is trying to fend
off Katana. This fight rages on for what seems like forever, I
keep switching back and forth trying to nail the most important
target. Caliban seems to be taking the hits strong and maneuvering
for some shotgun blasts, while Piker is reeling from injuries,
but managing to slowly handle Gunjo. Gunjo is throwing area stun
spells, stunblast, I think it's called in the biz. It's a whirlwind
of drek. We pulled it out though. Gunjo drops after the samurai
and after I moved up to engage Katana, he was a goner. We left
as quickly as we could. I planted the remaining two charges to
null the evidence and put a burst into each of those poor fraggers
faces," Kuma seems a little ashamed or perhaps regretful
after saying that.
"The breeder with the knife was a slippery little boy,"
Caliban adds. "Never would'a thought a blade could match
a shotgun, but I just couldn't manage to put the fragger down."
When dey got da drop on us I tried to get to da mage first, but
before I got to 'im I had two SMG bursts to worry 'bout and a
spell dat da mage sent off. By da time I got to da mage, I was
hurting. Da mage was fast and he tried to drop us wid 'is spells.
It was hard to hit 'im, but at least I got in 'is way so dat 'is
spells didn't hurt Kuma and Caliban as much. Den I finally got
a got shot at 'im and took 'im out."
Val nods, "Having your buddies screw you over always sucks.
I dealt with a lot of that when I got fired from DocWagon. Your
hoop is worth null when their hoop is on the line. Just a fraggin'
hint of inconvenience and bam, Frag you, too bad, so sad. That's
no way to treat your team mates."
"That's not how it should have been. The run was over, there
was no reason for us to be targeted except to save face. It's
my fault, but I'd rather he was dead than Ajax and Val; and that's
how it would have been." Kuma looks up now at the rest of
the team. He had been talking down at the table. "If Gunjo
didn't know I was involved, they would have geeked you instead
of warned you. Once they had done that, they needed to back their
claim up or else every other slitch out there would shrug of the
Yakuza's threats. It's over now. As long as they don't keep this
fueled, I'm walking away and everyone else should too."
"This fragging sucks. I'm going home," says Kuma. He
gets up from the table and heads out.
Val looks concerned, "Hey hardcore, take it easy. If you're
pissed, sit down and drink some beer. Maybe we can go slap around
the band on stage and show them what real music sounds like!"
Piker perks up, "Yeah, lets do it !"
Caliban chuckles. "Eh, why not. Need to find a new squat,
but tomorrow's soon enough for that." He downs his soybeer
and grins, baring his tusks. "Kin I borrow a synthaxe from
Val smiles menacingly as she stands up and looks towards the
stage, "Null sheen Cali, Moon's got a box of toys that he
"I'll skip the jam session, chummers. I've had enough and
need to get out of here. Scan ya later," says Kuma before