Run #11 - Tools of Man
Real world: This run started and ended during Session
#19, 03MAR2003. The runners for this mission were Hound (Angelo),
Piker (Reema), Kuma (Lars), and Ajax (Corey).
The War Stories
|23FEB2059 The crowd at Viva Serge is only half-paying attention
to the trid monitor displaying the news story. Most of the
talk is about upcoming winter vacations to exotic locales.
People are more concerned about pre-vacation tanning sessions
than metahuman violence. Nils sits at the bar alone, obviously
angry about something, his eyes fixed to the news story flashing
across the monitor. His teeth grinding down harder with every
word coming out of the Japanese official's mouth. As the bartender
fills another tall, mocha latte Nils calls out, "Hey,
can we get something else on the trid over here!"
The bartender looks over and notices Nil's empty drink,
"Hey this ain't your living room, you want to watch
something else, then go home." The bartender returns
to his serving duties at the latte machine. However, as
he begins pouring the next drink, suddenly the coffee machine
begins to rumble and spew out coffee uncontrollably. Nils
gets up and walks out of the bar to the sounds of customers
screaming at the bartender for staining their fine clothes.
As he reaches the door, Nils' face relaxes and a small smile
grows across his face. He heads back to his office at Global
Technologies finding it easier to get back to work after
relieving some of his stress.
Nils flips open his cell phone as he sits in a cab. Traffic
is heavier than normal. It appears that some metahuman activists
are out in force today making a fuss about what happened
in San Francisco. As the cab creeps along Nils calls up
Monica. "Hey there omae, what's the drek?" Monica
says as she answers her telephone. Nils notices that she
throws in some street-talk that he's taught her.
"I need some help. You hear about what just went down
in San Francisco?" Nils says.
"Yeah..." Monica's voice trails off as she gives
him a concerned look.
He finishes, "I'm heading to the lodge right now.
Could you wait there for me? I have some questions and may
need some assistance."
"Sure, no problem." And with that they both hang-up.
Of all the people in the lodge, Nils has bonded best with
Monica. Their personalities click, but there may be a little
more there too. As the cab drives through the streets Nils
occasionally scans outside astrally looking for anything
suspicious. Each time he catches sight of a city spirit
sitting on top of the cab. Luckily, each time he sees the
spirit that he summoned.
Things are business as usual at Sixth World Services, nothing
out of the ordinary today. Nils finds Monica in her office.
She's on the phone, but motions for him to sit down. As
she's talking, Nils takes the time to admire the fine features
of her face. Occasionally his glance makes it further down
her body. When she hangs up the phone, Nils begins talking
immediately, "The elf, on the news..." he says
questioningly, "That's me. I was part of the team that
pulled that 'terrorist' job. It was just another job. We
were told...we thought, it was a Yakuza hide-out...we were
Monica's face scrunches up in concern, "What the hell
Nils, you need to be more careful. This isn't the first
time you've been double-crossed. I'd have thought with your
track record you'd be more careful."
Ajax turns his face away, obviously embarrassed, "I
know, I know...I don't think the team is going to make it
through this. Hound is talking about backing out of running
all together. He says he's gotten sick of the work or can't
stomach it. I don't blame him. When stuff like this happens,
it really questions if its worth it. The nuyen's good, but
frag, the money doesn't keep my conscious clear."
"Well at least you still have a conscious." Monica
says. "Look, you've done this long enough. You told
me yourself that you got into it mostly to vent some of
your anger after getting out of prison and pick up some
extra nuyen. You don't owe anyone anything. Get out while
you still can." Monica's voice has a little more concern
in it than just a friend, almost as if she cares for Nils.
"What happened down there anyway?"
Nils slouches down in his chair and begins to tell the
story, "Well, we were all at Moon's having some drinks.
Some guy walks up says he needs a team. He wants to pay
us 20k a piece to wipe out some Yak hide out in San Francisco.
Sounds easy enough. We figure we run down there, frag the
place, come back home, null sheen. We find a sub-driver
to give us a ride down there and Kuma's got some military
connection in the city to get us supplies for the job. By
the way, don't let anyone tell you that a Troll can fit
in a sub. They fit, but it's not pretty."
"Anyway, we get down there and do a little recon.
The place we're supposed to hit is a noodle shop. We figure
we go in early morning. Scare out any innocent employees
and then torch the place. Everything's going to plan. We
bust in, scare off the dishwasher, knock around the barmaid.
Kuma gets to setting the explosives to torch the place.
Meanwhile, Piker heads down to the basement, to pop off
a few grenades. Next thing we know, we're getting hammered
by some Mage, and orks are blasting at us. It turns out
the basement is housing a metahuman rights activist cell.
It was all a setup. Those cameras caught us doing everything.
They had to have been set there ahead of time."
"What about all that stuff on the news about a shoot
out on the wharf?" Monica says.
Nils' faces contorts in disgust, "Yeah, that's some
propaganda drek that the Japs are slinging. We were totally
out numbered on the wharf. Somebody tipped those guys off.
We were probably outnumbered four to one, or more! I got
knocked around by some Mage and his elemental in astral
space. We wound up killing a few of those guys, but it looked
like the rest were alive when we ran out of there. We boosted
a truck to get out of there and headed into the city. I
went astral and took on the Mage Thanks to my new little
toy," Nils lifts his new cane up and twirls it in one
hand, "I was able to beat the guy and get him off our
tail. It was a messed up mission."
Monica makes a little smile as Nils continues to play with
his new toy, "Well, it sounds like things worked out.
I was wondering how long it would take you to use that thing."
She motions to the cane.
"Yeah, it came in handy going astral. Makes me a little
more comfortable out there. When you see a spirit or elemental,
sometimes spells just aren't enough, and you can't always
out run those guys." Nils smiles and grips the cane
firmly in his hand.
"Well, what is it you wanted to talk about?"
"Hound is going to talk to Kane about doing full time
work. He has a gun that can fight the Horrors. He's magically
linked to it and he's talking about his path and walking
the path...I don't know." Nils goes silent. Nothing
is said for a few minutes.
"I think I'm getting out too. Ever since those Horrors
showed up, I've wanted to know more about them. In a way,
that other world I've seen is more appealing than this one.
Maybe its simpler there, I don't know what the feeling is,
but I think I need to help. I keep remembering what Gargoyle
said to me the last time I quested. I need to learn more
about these things and help to fight against them. If I
get out though, I'm getting out completely and that's where
I need you." Nils stares at Monica with a serious look.
Monica's face looks serious, and she leans back in her
chair. "What are you getting at?"
"I mean that I want out of Shadowrunning and I want
out of Global Tech. There's no point in me staying there.
I'm just there so my father can save face. I've stayed on
now for a year. If I quit it won't be as bad for him, especially
if I have another option. A small smile appears in the corner
of Nils' mouth. There has to be a place for a Shaman with
my talents...well, my experience, here at Sixth World? Something
legit, that I can say I do when I'm not working for Kane.
Something to keep me in the lifestyle to which I am accustomed.
Think about it, we'd be one of the first lodges to know
about the Horrors and find out more about this other world.
It'll give me a chance to focus more on my magic and contribute
to the lodge. I haven't been to see Gargoyle in a while
and I think its time I focused myself on something."
Monica smiles, obviously pleased, and gets up from her
desk, "Come on. Let's go and find out what the other's
think, particularly Thomas. Ultimately, he'll make the final
decision." With that Nils and Monica stand up and head
out of her office...
--- End Warstory
24FEB2059 In spite of a full waiting room, Thomas sees
the pair immediately. They settle into overstuffed leather
chairs. The smell of the real stuff seems much more complex
and muted than the synth leather that clothes the bones
of most furniture in corporate Seattle and tends to smell
more like leather than seems natural. The desk behind which
Thomas sits is a mixture of mahogany with a dark black finish
and white marble. Where the wood leaves off with an abundance
of French curves, the marble top picks up with rectangular,
chiseled austerity of design. Crystal Gargoyles sit at the
front corners of the desk, emitting a soft glow from luminescent
balls floating in their bellies. Nils is reminded of his
Astral encounter momentarily as he sits down. Thomas immediately
notices the walking stick but says nothing, Nils recalls
a brief explanation he gave Thomas immediately after his
Nils, supported by Monica, explains his intentions.
Thomas listens intently. His piercing gaze often unsettling.
Nils is not accustomed to people that can stare him in the
eye indefinitely. It's a strange sensation, perhaps this
is how the average person feels when dealing with Nils?
Thomas sits motionless, staring at, or perhaps into
Nils as the monologue continues. Nils does not remember
Thomas blinking. When silence graces the room once again,
there is a pause. Nils starts to notice his own breathing
and he feels a twinge of anxiety as he worries that Thomas
is preparing to shut him down, lay him off, or worse, laugh
him out of the office.
"Agreed. I think it's a fine idea. You're too important
to be in the back alleys playing gangster with common thugs.
You're Awakened, Nils, and you're part of our lodge. It's
about damn time you started acting like it. I'm glad you
finally had this epiphany without my intervention. Your
membership might have come into question."
"But that's behind us now. Now you are not just
Awakened, you're also awake."
"I have explained that we have had past associations
with Dr. Kane. In fact, it is very likely that this cover
identity and lifestyle you desire would be readily provided
by him. He has more than one corporate campus with excellent
security, fitness rooms, and even rudimentary libraries."
"Gargoyle sees all. We should strive to be so aware.
We cannot prepare for the coming troubles without knowing
the face of our enemy. This path suits you far better than
the last one."
Thomas' expression becomes grim, "And you'll live
longer. Gargoyle has shown me your death. At the time, I
was confused by the visions. He showed you at various locations,
some with your "team" and some without. In all
of them, you were dying. The only words he gave me were
repeated over and over - This world holds only death for
him in the time of the comet. Now I understand. You may
yet cheat fate by exploiting the remarkable trick you discovered
for transporting yourself to the land of dreams. He also
made some cryptic reference to the Bearer, the Monster,
the Vizier, and the Black Man, but I have not had time to
puzzle over that one. Gargoyle shows me so much and I am
but a simple mortal."
"Last time I talked to David about his affairs,
he mentioned that a new Water Mage had made great progress
in the area of magical polarity. Next time you make your
trip, it might not be quite so crippling to you. Go and
make your arrangements. Throw off the shackles of your wage
slavemaster life. No one will question this choice. You
are a Shaman, after all, it only makes sense to put your
skills to work for you."
Thomas' intercom gives off a pleasant tone, announcing
his next appointment. "Now, I have to wrap up some
things. Let me know if you need anything else from me, but
unless it's important, I've got to get back to putting the
orichalcum on the table." With that he smiles and stands
up, signaling that it is time for the pair to leave.
| Riding down the highway on the Diablo, Hound has removed
his helmet and undone the long braid he usually wears. The
wind whipping through his hair at high speeds gives his body
a feeling of freedom to match the one he feels in his soul
right now. The meeting with Kane had gone very well, and although
the talk with Grandfather wasn't perfect, it was about as
good as could be expected. After all, Hound hadn't really
told him very much, so all the man could do was worry and
express his concern and support. And why exactly was it that
he hadn't explained his path better? Hound pulls over to the
side of the road and lets the engine idle while he ponders
this for a moment. Who was he trying to protect anyway? The
man had raised Daniel from childhood, and had never done anything
but right by him. The least he could do was to treat him now
with the respect that he always deserved. Bringing the bike
back onto the dusty road, he makes a wide turn and heads back
in the direction of the res.
His Grandfather hears him return before he sees him. Stepping
out of the house, he says, "Hello, Daniel. Did you
"Yes. I forgot that you are the wisest man I know,
and that I owe you my life many times over. I forgot to
pay you the respect that you are due. And I forgot to tell
you where I'm going and why."
"I see. Well, come back inside. Your dinner is getting
Hound follows the old man inside, and doesn't ask why there
are already two plates set on the table.
After dinner, they sit by the fireplace. The smell of burning
wood fills the room, and Daniel feels at home, relaxed.
He sinks into a comfortable chair, and begins his tale.
"You know that I have walked many paths, some wiser
than others, and most less wise than more. I have spent
time most recently in pursuit of many goals, and yet not
truly devoted to any of them. If I had one overriding pursuit,
I guess it would have to be that of money, although I only
just realized that. I have sold my mind and my body to others
for nothing more than money and creature comforts, just
as surely as a 100 nuyen whore at Madame Li's. But those
days are over. If nothing else, my last run has shown me
that I can no longer follow that path. Maybe it will help
if I tell you what happened."
"My teammates and I were at our usual gathering on
Friday night, drinking and listening to music at Moon's.
It seemed that things were finally going well for most of
us. I had just successfully undergone the training to rise
in the ranks of my lodge, and before that I had been given
the gift of this marvelous weapon." At that, Hound
takes out the gun, and shows it to his Grandfather. The
reflected firelight flickers along the barrel, and the gun
looks almost alive. "This weapon and I will stand against
a tide of evil, and perhaps we will stem it. But I'll get
to that later."
"So, we were all just sitting there when a man came
up with a job offer. He wanted to pay us a lot of money
to go clear out a den of criminals in San Francisco. It
sounded so reasonable, that none of us really questioned
it much. We just took the advance and headed out. Hopped
onto a sub and the next thing we knew we were in the Free
States, checking out a noodle house that was supposed to
be a Yakuza front. The next morning, before any customers
had arrived, we went in to burn the place down."
"I should have known something was wrong as soon as
I saw the Troll working in the kitchen. The Yakuza are bigots;
they wouldn't use Troll labor, and they wouldn't hire the
Ork we killed in the basement either. True, he was shooting
at us, but Piker was lobbing grenades, so he was probably
justified in his actions. I'm sorry, Grandfather, I shouldn't
be sarcastic with you. I'll just finish the story."
"We ended up burning the place down. There was an
invisible Mage who gave us some trouble, but Ajax handled
him eventually. We just set fire to the restaurant and went
off to meet our ride home. That's when things got bad. When
we got back to the docks where the sub was waiting, there
were two Coast Guard ships and a bunch of troopers headed
up the dock. We tried to hide, but they knew where we were.
I wanted to run, but Kuma opened fire, so I stayed and helped
for a while. After a brief firefight, we took better cover
and then ran away, but not before we had killed some of
them. When they were shooting at us, they kept calling us
criminals. It's funny; we had come to California to fight
criminals, but we turned out to be the real criminals."
"Afterwards, I saw on the news that the 'Yakuza' we
had hit were actually metahuman rights activists. The whole
thing had been a setup by the Japanese Occupation Force.
They were filming the entire time, and they just wanted
to manufacture some meta-on-meta violence for their propaganda
trids Of course, they made it out to be even worse than
it was. Claimed we killed all the Coast Guard troopers and
sank the ships. Hell, for all I know they really did have
them all killed and sink the ships, just for the sake of
realism. I wouldn't put it past them. But it didn't matter.
They hired us to do a job, and I took the money. In the
end, it didn't really even matter that the job was a setup.
I mean, sure, if they had told me up front that the group
was a meta-rights group, I wouldn't have taken the job.
But that's just because it's a cause I believed in. But
in the end, they're criminals too. They kill for their ideals,
and don't often care who gets hurt in the process. They're
criminals; we're criminals. We just kill each other for
money, and the big criminals pay us little criminals to
do it. I didn't come this far in life just to kill for money.
So I told my teammates that I was done. No more 'runs' for
me. But I'm not exactly hanging up my guns."
"You remember I told you about some really nasty spirits
we were fighting, kind of like bugs, but different? Well,
they're from another age, and maybe another world. My companions
and I have been to that other place, mostly in dreams, but
they were also somehow real. Our two worlds are separate,
but connections exist, and these spirits, these Horrors,
are trying to come across. If they succeed, they'll pour
into our world, and destroy everything we know. And fighting
them here is a losing battle. So we're taking the fight
to them, stopping them at the source. I've been working
with a very powerful man who has devoted himself to stopping
these Horrors at any cost. I finally went to him and told
him I was ready to join the cause full time. And that's
why I told you I was going away on a trip, and might not
Hound takes out the gun again, and continues. "This
weapon is more than just a simple gun. It has a mind, and
a personality, and it is designed to combat menaces like
these Horrors. Together, we're going over to the other world,
to try to stop them before they get here. It's likely I
won't come back. The path is incredibly dangerous. But even
if I didn't go, there's no guarantee that I wouldn't be
killed in the next run I took, gunned down by a criminal
protecting himself from another criminal. Hell, we were
even told by this odd guy that he had a vision of all of
us dying in about a dozen places in the city over the next
year. So if I'm going to die anyway, and let's face it,
we're all going to die anyway, I want to do something good
and noble with what life I have left. I want to make a difference.
And I'm going to."
With that, Hound relaxes back into the chair. He hadn't
realized how tense his muscles had become during the telling
of the tale, but now that he was done, he felt his body
collapse and his lungs exhale deeply. "So, that's my
story, Grandfather. I'm sorry I didn't tell you before.
You deserve to know the truth."
--- End Warstory
Grandfather looks intently at Hound throughout the telling
of the story. When Hound finishes, Grandfather remains motionless
for a few minutes, seemingly lost in thought. He takes a
deep breath as if to punctuate the end of some internal
"That is a lot to think about, but Wolf and Spider
have hinted at this coming to pass when I asked them about
you. It sounds as if you have found a better path. Your
way was that of the hunter and you strayed down the path
of butcher. When Wolf does that, Man slaughters him, but
perhaps that is because Man does not want competition on
that path. Spider has almost given up on you and Wolf was
starting to have his doubts as well." He stands, collects
the plates from dinner and sets them in the sink.
"Our world is a dark place. Man has crafted tools
that aid his hand and mind, but speed the loss of his Spirit...and
all of this in a time when Spirit has once again awakened.
Such a grim humor, it almost seems the work of Coyote, but
even he has more respect for Man than this. I believe this
world's salvation lies in the restoration of Spirit. The
creatures you describe, your Horrors, seem to be a threat
to this. Man is already enough of a parasite for this world
but if nothing else he has demonstrated the capacity to
be taught to live in harmony with the world. We simply need
to remind how to do so."
"But that is not your path. That is the path of
those whose moccasins have already worn thin on the path
of the Hunter. Such as me." He looks more haggard and
tired than usual, as if giving Daniel a glimpse of his years.
Grandfather perks up and claps his hands once as if
vying for the attention of the room. "You should explore
this new path and follow it where it leads. If that is to
this other time and place you speak of, then so be it. Be
wary. One that possesses a tool for great good can only
be certain of one thing, that he will face much evil."
Grandfather pauses as if to let the message sink in.
Grandfather walks to the front door and opens it, "But
enough talking. You need to move to your new home and prepare
for your journey. I look forward to hearing your tales when
you return. I hope that Wolf and Spider will be able to
guide you in this other place."
Piker invited Angus to dinner at his favorite steak house;
something she has never done before. When Angus arrived
at the restaurant, Piker was already there. She had requested
a private table, away from prying eyes and ears, and placed
a white noise generator to ensure their privacy. She was
dressed nicely, for Piker, and in front of her were two
glasses and a bottle of good scotch, da real stuff. Angus
had a slight look of bewilderment on his face.
Angus took a seat and half jokingly pointed to her black
dress, "Did someone die lass?"
Piker gives him a slight smile and says, "Maybe me,
or maybe I'm just now gonna start livin."
Angus replies, "now I know hell froze over 'cus your
starting to philosophize." They both laugh slightly
and sit in silence for a couple of minutes.
Piker speaks again, " I'm tired of dis life dad.
I kill people and destroy tings, den I get paid, den I spend
DA money to buy more stuff so I can kill people and destroy
more tings. What's DA point?" She looks down at her
glass and grimaces as she swigs down the scotch, realizing
that she can't down this stuff as easily as she does with
beer, then continues, "and I'm really tired of seeing
myself on DA six o'clock news, wheder naked and shot up
on a bike, or wearing a ski mask running trough DA docks."
Angus looks up as though suddenly awoken and said, "So,
it was your team that scorched the Orc underground hide-out."
Piker looks ashamed then pissed, "we were lied to,
again," Piker takes a sip from her drink and continues,
"Some guy came to our table at Moon's and wanted to
hire us to wipe out a Yak hideout in Cali. Kuma jumped at
DA chance to give DA yaks a piece o' his mind, and DA rest
of us hadn't worked in a while and were itching for a job.
So we took DA job."
Piker pauses as the waiter brings their food out, and
then continues after he leaves, "So I spent hours with
my face in my crotch in DA sub dat took us to DA coast.
We got to DA place and scoped it out. Ajax told us dat dere
was a warded basement, so we figure dat's where DA Yaks
hid. So we waited till DA next day, and hit DA place early
mornin'. We came from DA back and told DA worker inside
to leave, and he left. Den Kuma went in and started sett'in
up DA fireworks. I started down DA basement and started
tossing some grenades, den an Orc tried to shoot me, and
just when I tought I was real wiz, I got whacked by a mage.
I was down for DA rest of DA fight. But we got out of dere
and torched DA place, den we headed to DA docks to meet
Angus looks at Piker and asks, "So, did you kill
all those Coast Guards?"
Piker gets red in the face and tries to control her rage,
"I dunno what DA frag dose Japs on DA vid were talking
about. It's all a bunch of drek! Dere were a couple a dozen
of 'em and two boats with cannons, dere was no way we'd
get out of dat fire fight alive. We downed a couple of 'em
and snagged a truck and got our asses outta dare. Ajax took
care of our magic tail and we met up with DA sub and headed
Piker notices a slight look of relief on Angus' face,
Piker finishes the last bite from her steak, pushes the
plate aside, and puts her arms on the table, "I don't
wanna be like my parents, I've been burned twice by bogus
runs, and I wasn't raised to be a fool," she looks
at Angus and smiles, "I 'm not gonna go back for a
third time, 'cuz next time I'll be face down in a gutta,
and for what? A fist full of Nuyen, what's it done for me
so far, nothing."
Angus seems more curious than normal, but Piker finds
it hard to read his feelings. She continues, "I've
trained a lot and meditated a lot, and I wanna do something
where I don' hate myself at DA end of DA day. After a lot
of tinking, I figure out why I liked Running. It ain't CUs
I wanna hurt tings; of course, when a punk tinks he's real
wiz 'cuz he can shoot a gun, I like explaining to him dat
he's wrong, over and over."
Piker smirks and continues, "Anyway, what I like
about Running is working with my team. I know dem, I trust
dem, and dey saved my ugly ass many times. Dey're not just
my team, dey're my friends. After this last job, Hound won't
Run any more, and it looks like Ajax might do DA same. I
don't wanna lose my friends, and I don't wanna die for no
good reason. I tink dey're gonna go work for a guy that
fights dose life-sucking beasties I told you about, and
if I 'm gonna die, I'd rader go down taking dese beasties
out dan by a stray bullet from a punk in a back of an alley."
Angus looks concerned and asks, "Why do you keep talking
Piker breathes deeply and answers, "I can't give
you any details, but I know for sure dat if I stay in dis
city, I 'm going to die in DA next year. I need to leave
and join my team, maybe I'll live longer than a year and
maybe I'll actually do some good, for a change." She
stops and waits for Angus to respond.
--- End warstory
Angus adopts an expression of endearment, "I understand,
love. I spent most of my life in the shadows, working for
governments. When I stepped back into the light, there was
nothing left for me. I tried Shadowrunning, but the moral
ambiguity was too much for me. Some other former magical
black ops folks hooked up with me and we started the Kamibudo
Lodge. We gave each other purpose." Angus smiles, a
distant look of nostalgia on his face.
With the Lodge completed, we had to start paying the
bills again. This time, we had the resources to run the
shadows on our terms. Most of the people in the lodge
are my friends, not yours. Someday they might be, but for
now, that's not the case. If your team truly are your friends,
then you had damn well better be proactive about it. Friends
are damn rare in this world.
"And they take work too, lass. That grim little
nipper Kuma is sliding down a dark slope. One more wire
in his body and he's gonna need a Rigger to drive him around.
Left to his own devices and he's just gonna turn into one
more dangerous animal in the shadows that needs to be put
down. And the mighty wheels of the megacorps won't pause
as he is crushed underfoot. You're gonna have one less friend
pretty soon unless you take some action."
"Anyway, you take care on your secret mission,
or whatever it is. I'm not gonna pressure you to tell me
more than you're comfortable with, I never have. You're
a spoiled brat for it, but at least no one's gonna tell
you that to your face."
"Before you go, I should tell you more of your
- Hound +5 karma + 2 for war story [0.5/76]
- Ajax +5 karma + 2 for war story [22/62]
- Kuma +5 karma [17.5/58]
- Piker +5 karma + 2 for war story [17/81.5]