|Part of The Crow of Seattle|
After a series of unexplained disappearances in an ares corporation hub, runners are called in to put a stop to it. After some sleuthing and social manipulation, the runners managed to take the imposter out, stuffing them into the van and driving off, only to discover a far more devious plot.
The group has to investigate about moles in a ARES performance hub, where only limited/full corporate SINNERS are allowed, with only ARES scrip, a location for completing work activities, making purchases from company stores, or taking limited breaks." (It's basically an amazon warehouse with company money, where employees can make all of their purchases, needs,activities, in the area.)
According to Johnson, there have been a string of disappearances, about 50 recently, of Ares employees in this area, blamed on the existence of this mole. According to data, the only connection that links all of these individuals is the arrival of a package at the hub, destined for delivery to the employee's home, though, through whatever set of occurrences, they never seem to receive it, and disappear. In the period of a few weeks, the missing individual is spotted on the matrix, working under a competing corporation, with a the new company's equivalent of the item they last ordered from Ares during their previous employment. All of the orders additionally seem to be single item purchases.
Additionally, due to the sensitive nature of the situation, the runners were warned to be discrete, as any damages would come out of their pay. If the situation goes well, and the runners can get the job done without any detection, Johnson offered specialty equipment, such as full suits of Ares HTR armor, vehicles, weapons, specifically based on the requests of the runners involved.
Entering the Hub, Ice and M3chan1c pointed out a pair of cloaked drones in the area, the rigger going into further detail, noting that the drones appeared to be Ares offshoots of a Renreiku drone initially meant for assisting law enforcement, particularly with its powerful facial recognition sensors and database access, advising the rest of the party to keep their faces covered throughout the mission. Stepping over to the Rigger hub, M3chan1c found himself being shaken down by the security drone at the front door, claiming his burner SIN did not have access, turning about to head out, he was quickly flagged down by the human operator running the location, an obscenely masculine figure riding the line between hired mercenary and biker gang leader. After trying to talk his way inside, M3chan1c's lack of corporate knowledge was exploited, as he discovered the location wasn't exactly a store of any kind, but a hub for sharing information and security data. When pressed further for being an odd-man out, M3chan1c managed to barely squeeze out of the situation by coming up with a quick lie about needing matrix training from the resident Decker, which got him out of hot water with the rigging lead, who also apparently doubled as the area's security chief. With information the spider would be back later after his break, he slipped out to the street again.
Heading over towards the electronics store, Ice got to work filling in their cover story, purchasing a 'needed replacement part' for their deck and dealing with the rather slow drone manning the location with corporate scrip. With their task complete, Ice and M3chan1c met up, filling each other in on their situations. Hearing about the rigger's near-miss in the social sphere, as well as the security access potentially available in the hub, Ice suggested the group go ahead and try again for getting deeper into the hub, calling Johnson for a 'supervisor' to give to the security chief in order to get them past the front gate. After a rather violent altercation on the phone in the other room, the group was let in, allowing the matrix-gifted of the party to step into some of the most luxurious accommodations a decker could ever ask for, snacks, savior nanite auto-injectors, a valkrie module built into the chair, absolute bliss. Jacking into the host, Ice and M3chan1c were dropped into a vietnam-like jungle, surrounded by G.I paraphernalia and a constant loop of fortunate son in the distance.
Being authorized users, the deckers, for once, were marked as registered as authorized users, able to confidently walk the digital streets without fear of convergance, even being able to dodge databombs they were given a list of passwords for. Dropping into the employee registry, Ice quickly got to work cracking into the individual files of the various employees on duty. Going over the list, the group found several files going over the horrifying tests and manipulative actions being performed by the corporation, adjusting their psyche through manipulative subsonic suggestion, drugging their food and drinks, and even arranging for decker attacks to be carried out to humble upstarts within the ranks. Flipping through the files, the group pointed out some inconsistencies, McNamara, a corporate SINner with narcissism working as a humble Clerk, Vercetti, a odd loner of a man with a strangely low amount of information about himself being unbelievably average with questionable loyalty, even with KE inspections finding him to not have any evidence of disloyalty, and even John Moses Knight, the mechanical security operator they met earlier, who apparently got access to his psych eval file, had his pay doubled in response, and still continued to work for Ares.
As Ice dug through the manifest files, trying to draw some connections between the confusion known as the rapidly editing list. As the matrix-minded members of the party kept monitoring matters in the area, Mojo and Louie decided to try and fish for information at the local bar. Upon arriving, the pair were mortified to discover that the bar was entirely automated, the equivalent of a bar tending vending machine sat before them, offering Ares branded alcohol in paper dispenser cups, causing both of the meatspace runners to recoil in horror, immediately leaving the empty building, even forcing M3chan1c into meatspace himself to see such a horror, the rigger joining Mojo in sobbing over the sheer inhumanity of the endeavor, an utter crime against mixologists everywhere.
Stepping over towards one of the break rooms, Mojo Joe managed to spot Samuel, the resident Spider, playing tridgames on his shift. After failing to get through to a fellow gamer, he leaned back, observing their suspect for a moment before spotting a vulnerability, as he began the process of attempting to woo the elusive 'gamer girl' in his lobby. Though, thanks to his own stunningly bright opinion of himself, and some creative bodily noises from the other runners, he managed to completely fail in his attempt, getting banned from the game and causing him to unleash a series of racial and sexist slurs in response. Seeing an opening, the runners called Ice up. The moment the decker stepped in, the catcalls began, the sleazy spider trying to quickly impress the elusive 'real girl' with his cyberdeck. After talking for a moment, he challenged her to a decking battle, whoever reboots the other first wins. After a tense couple seconds, Ice managed to cheap-shot the wannabe decker, rebooting their deck a split second before he had a chance to do the same to her. Nearly avoiding flying into another unthinking rage, Samuel admitted defeat, congratulating his opponent while still refusing to take any accountability for his own loss. Talking for a moment, Ice let him pass on by, giving him a bit to clear his head, as well as give her a better chance to play him.
Stepping out, Joe got to work in the Grocery store, finding ingredients for a quick and dirty Moscow Mule, with his knowledge of mixology, he managed to put together the drink. Making his way over to Customer service, he started a conversation with one of the limited corporate sinners, Enid Walters, passing a drink her way, he managed to get the cross secretary to open up a bit more with some small talk. Apparently, previously, there was an incident in the bathrooms recently, involving strips of bloodied flesh being left behind. Though, before going off to investigate, Joe decided to ask about their McNamara, who was quickly jumped to prime-suspect the moment he was described as 'a humble, kindly man who wants to earn his success fairly, even though he has a doctorate' much to the contrary of his egotism-laced psych eval found in the host earlier. M3chan1c and Joe went to investigate the bathroom, a short ascensing, and some sharp ears alerting them to the presence of an incredibly dangerous spirit lurking in the area, one which Joe recognized, and immediately triggered a panicked retreat from the magically inclined runner. As the pair rushed into the lobby, the runners spotted the lack of a certain secretary, finding no trace of magical influence, it was assumed she must have just gone home as she said earlier.
On the other end, Ice managed to get some information out of Samuel, apparently, Horatio, the manager of the warehouse, was on thin ice with his low performance in the warehouse, especially after his recent divorce, considering the massive list of anti-depressive and anti-psychotic medication on his psych eval, it was considered highly likely that there was something more to this matter.
Joe got to work on checking in on McNamara, starting off some small talk with the guy, after getting a disturbing response to his ascensing. According to McNamara, he was pushed through his schooling due to his father's influence and money, stealing any sort of sense of accomplishment he could have possibly gained from such things. Starting off from the bottom, Abraham decided he would gain his own way in the world. Once again, this completely flew in the face of the psych evaluation, as well as his background. After an intense stare down, Abraham seemed to realize that he had been made and instantly got to removing the fleshy glove that had concealed his demonic hand, as he wound up to strike down the nosy runner, a suppressed shot from M3chan1c's anti-material rifle ripped through the wall, striking a critical shot on the spirit, nearly wiping them from this plane in a single shot, forcing their immediate surrender before they could even land a blow on the runner. As the alarms sounded off in response to the rifle shot, the group poured into M3chanic's Roadmaster, the group blitzing off with the spirit being held at gunpoint.
On the road, the runners called Johnson, suddenly being redirected to an unfamiliar voice, requesting the group head to a different drop point for the living target. Sensing a threat the spirit began to get to work, suggesting the runners let them go in exchange for information about their true purpose in the hub they had been in. The runners argued, both with the spirit and with each other, about what decision to make, with M3chan1c and Ice being rather heavy on the 'get the job done and get paid' end of things, while Mojo desired with every fiber of his being to know this information. Frustrated at the conflict among the runners, and seeing a man driven to find something important to him, M3chan1c called in his favor with Lord Emberrage, as the group pulled off in the middle of Redmond, the Fire lord appeared, calling out the Fae spirit by its nature, standing over the far-weaker spirit and demanding they divulge all of their information, while the visible form of the spirit barely flinched at the astral assault, those looking on the astral would see a different story, the massive fire spirit overwhelming the lesser spirit, even causing them to recoil in horror in response to his might, causing her to finally spill her guts about her entire purpose in the matter in a strange tongue none of the party could understand.
Emberrage whispered her secrets to M3chan1c, apparently, the Fae was in possession of important information pertaining to Charon, a well-known serial killer known as the Crow of Seattle. Information that would allow the spirit to be freed in order to allow them back on the streets once more, obviously seeming spell doom for many civilians caught in the crossfire of whatever wild rampage the infected ex-runner would go on. Mojo joe was mortified at the proposition, immediately demanding the runners release the spirit and let them escape, prevent the cult from discovering the secrets to bring back the dishonored runner. Ice quickly took the classic runner route, as runners, they had a job to do, a payment to take, and too risky of a lifestyle to draw the ire of powerful enemies who were already hell-bent on summoning a berserk serial killer. M3chan1c played the middle ground, hearing both sides, and forcing them to listen to each other thanks to his bartering chips he held over both.
Ultimately, it was established that no matter what their decision was, the spirit would inevitably be caught, and reveal the information in a way that one group looking to do the same would find it anyways and everything would be for nothing. After a long stint of arguing, the runners finally fought themselves to a standstill, in the utter silence, a pair of unnaturally shaped creatures, taking the forms of uncanny humanoids, filling the party with an unending sense of dread, sending them scattering into the van. Now within the van, and seeing the exact sorts of forces that would be hunting down the party for their failure to deliver, M3chan1c aligned himself with Ice, revealing that he has a family to look out for, and he cannot risk such things coming after them if he makes this kind of decision. Ice tried to once again explain her practical point of contention on the matter, but she was cut off by Mojo Joe, finally realizing he had been beaten out, and requesting to be dropped off. Stopping the vehicle, Joe stepped out, apologizing to the Fae in the back end and healing her before summoning his car, and storming off before M3chan1c could apologize.
Sitting in silence for a moment, M3chan1c thought about his decision, lighting up another cigarette as Ice started to explain he was making the best choice, before the speakers kicked up, the rigger drowning her out as he drove off to the meet.
Stopping at the location, a jet-black General Trailer was sat in an empty lot, with a looming possession homonculous standing, waiting for the runners. As Ice got out of the car, she made a few token attempts to dig information out about the group looking to bring the crow back, but they were all immediately shot down. As the runners hesitated, the spirit reached into the van, gently guiding the Fae out of the vehicle, and leading them into the trailer for a minute, before returning and throwing a handful of cred-sticks at the runner's feet before disappearing once again, leaving Ice firm in her resolve, and M3chan1c questioning if he'd made the right call.
- 30,000 Nuyen in credsticks or 60,000 Nuyen as Gear up to 18 Availability (15 RVP)
- May use this to purchase: Dodge General Trailer, Full Body Armor and Ares drones, weapons and vehicles up to 18 Availability as long as the cost is 60,000 Nuyen or less.
- 2 CDP
- +1 Knight Errant Reputation
- -1 Seelie Court Reputation
For Mojo Joe:
- Indomitable: Mental 3 (12 RVP)
- 3 Karma
- 2 CDP
- +1 Notoriety
- "Why did you make the incel decker hot?"
- "I can't believe the most emotionally intense roleplay I've had in this community is in the fucking Among Us run."
- "Well, he still is a G.I, but an MP.. you could say he's a Gimp."
- "His persona is Ronald Regan riding on a velociraptor, shooting a gun, and holding an american flag"
- "THE SPIRIT FUCKING VENTED!"
- "I DON'T WANT TO DEAL WITH THE SHIT DEMON TODAY!"
- "IS THAT FUCKING MOIST CRITICAL?!"
- "We gotta find this sussy baka asshole and get out of here."
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
M3chan1c: "Honestly, this is the first time I've ever had to rethink my decisions, I really don't know if I made the right call there, sure, I'm a runner, and I know what I'm doing all this shit for in the first place... I can't just go risk her safety just to feel like I did the right thing. But damnit, I can't believe I did that, I've gotta talk to Joe, feels like I sold my damn soul like another fuckin' corpo."
Mojo Joe: "I can't take it... I need to be stronger... I need to figure out what happened... I will find her. And I will save her."
Moral is a vague concept, yeah we did sold her. But what else could we have done, the dice were already casted. Nothing of what we could have done, would have change anything.
"Prudent men always know how to make merit of the acts to which necessity has forced them."