|Part of Festering Infestation|
|Casualties and losses|
Garry Foreman's been a fiend to several runners, a target of a personal vendetta, but due to his unethical experiments he's been mostly untouchable and difficult to trace. Once evidence surfaced that he began going off the reservation, even for the Black Lodge's standards, a plan was hatched to systematically eliminate his connections and resources. Part of a much, much larger operation, runners were vetted down a pipeline to be the tools of execution at the end of a large logistics campaign.
The Seattle attack dog of the Lodge, Charon gets tasked with meeting the team in one of Loveland's abandoned properties since she has better rapport with most of the runners involved. She offers limited intelligence on Garry Foreman's last hideout that was confirmed in the North-American continent. They've traced him to be in there with a high likelihood, although divination is rarely foolproof. The team's not the most enthused about spotty intel, but Charon notes that they chose to have less intel to give the team the element of surprise. Further recon may have tipped Foreman off that he was about to have company, making their task infinitely harder.
The catch of the job will be that while they are absolutely fine with Foreman biting the dust, his research must be copied and the drives wiped to ensure that only the Lodge has access to it. The information within is too sensitive to be trusted to anyone else, and should anyone try to replicate it, the Lodge must remain a step ahead of such imitators with the original's work. While she's unhappy about delivering the bad news, Charon emphasizes that if the team returns without the data or if someone else gets their hands on it, they will be executed on sight. Their only chance to avoid such a fail condition is to leave now, which none of them do. They're in, for better or worse.
Fortunately, helicopter transportation is offered once gearing up is over. The work must be completed in the next few days, the sooner the better, and the team works fast to prepare for their flight into the PCC. Zenith contacts a risky individual, Krimelin and asks for his help in case one of their team gets exposed to HMHVV in this Infected-filled research facility. Krimelin offers to stop by with basic medical equipment, since he knows a thing or two about pathogen mitigation. Why, nobody should want to ask him. He's scary.
Near the coordinates, the team approaches in stealth and Babylon summons a local Spirit of Man. Unfortunately, due to her Spirit Whisperer trait, an unexpected individual shows up -- Pump King Jack. A bona fide Spirit of Man now, he doesn't seem too concerned about breaking his vow and tries to give Babylon a reassuring figurative pat on the back. He's asked to stay up here and sustain some spells, since he looks towards the entrance and says 'frag that' due to the rancid background count emanating from below.
As the team approaches, they spot not land mines, but ghouls buried in the sand that expose themselves with a slight movement. The sand protects them mostly from sunlight and they appear to get oxygen and nutrients from below ground; a vile protection system of infection and ankle biting; with the buried ghouls and cameras scanning the area, the team very carefully advances towards an entrance, disables its security and descends down a ladder, immediately setting up a ward and planting down duffel bags of gear. Chemical seal is activated and oxygen tanks begin ticking down in their capacity for breathable air.
Despite their advanced protection with spells like Improved Invisibility and Concealment, an integrated optical fiber magesight system spots the intruders magically and almost catches the entire team unaware with a foul spell. Alarms are triggered fast and most of the entire facility converges on them, ghouls with shotguns and security turret riggers included. Stuck between a materialized blood spirit that hemorrhages Zenith, a hallway full of buckshot rain keeping Zenith and Carbon back and a few angry turrets spewing lead, the team slips in a side room by the skin of their teeth and systematically dismantles the security forces as well as the blood spirit.
As they clear the facility to prevent them being snuck up on, they begin breaking or obscuring the magesight optics, while also discovering some signs of horrid experimentation. People attempting to get smuggled past the border from Aztlan had been promised delivery into the PCC and UCAS. Instead, they were taken here, turned into ghouls and grendels and kept in pens like animals. Dozens upon dozens of feral victims are mostly idle in a cage, which the team surrounds with proximity sensor explosives in case the cage is opened.
Additionally, they find three vats meant for more refined experiments. Cargo containers with FAB III nearby, these vats only have one occupant, two of them being empty. The empty ones have names in the system files like Project Geronimo and Project Cu Chulainn, but the one left behind is Project Pandora. A blonde, giant woman with human features aside from her size is unconscious in the vat, and while the files appear to hint towards some sort of genetic modification, they're not conclusive enough for anyone in the team, since they're not well versed in biotechnology jargon.
Deciding to leave this woman for later, they continue exploring and cause a flooding leak of biohazardous waste, finding uninfected captives that they begin rescuing posthaste. After that, they find an elaborate secret entrance to Foreman's room behind a heavy concrete slab, pulling it out to enter a mantrap and confront the fiendish owner of the facility.
Foreman is not taking his security lightly. Hidden behind three reinforced glass barriers, protected by two massive blood spirits and backed up by an automatic laser turret behind the glass, the team is pinned in the mantrap from second one as Foreman begins slinging colossally dangerous spells. Previously, Carbon had almost been flayed from the head to the neck by veins slipping out of the body and fusing into concrete walls or blood boiling within their body. This time, the two powerful physical adepts, Skimmer and Zenith are ready for it and co-operate with Harmonious Defense to shield the team from foul magic.
Skimmer, Carbon and Zenith do their hardest to burn through the bodyguards while Babylon aims near-nuclear level Sunbeams at Foreman through the glass. He attempts to defend against them, but the purifying power of daylight sears his body to the brink of failure. Despite that, the monstrous geneticist lingers on and returns fire, his face charred beyond recognition. It takes a second Sunbeam that almost kills Babylon to finally put him down, only for his augmentations to stabilize his body immediately for later healing. The turret's laser pellets and suppresses the only entrance into the room through the glass while ballistic weapons can't return fire on it. Carbon gets to the barrier and with a sword cracks all three layers with ease. The rigger operating the security drone realizes their boss is as good as dead and jacks out, leaving the turret inert.
Merc and Babylon's crack sprite, loaned from Cecelia Cross teamwork to start emptying the data banks of the offline host as Zenith puts an alchemical preparation of a Sunbeam bullet in a musket and fires it point blank into Foreman's head, decisively putting him out for all eternity. After this, the team evacuates from the rapidly contaminating facility filled with such things as the bubonic plague and VITAS. They break the vat open and get the giant blonde going by the name of Project Pandora out, getting out as quickly as possible to get Carbon treatment for HMHVV exposure.
The discoveries are dire. The woman they rescued appears furious about them taking her away at first, claiming that Foreman was keeping her contained like she's supposed to. When inquired, the blonde woman introducing herself as Pandora elaborates that her body has a symbiotic relationship with Fluorescent Astral Bacteria III and produces it at a constant rate in her gut biome and lymph nodes. As a result, she is practically a walking mana void, completely immune to magical diseases and resistant to magic of all forms at the cost of also being a walking biohazard. The team arranges a Hazmat suit for her to wear and get in touch with the Draco Foundation, giving her to them for proper containment and research into her condition. What Project Cu Chulainn and Project Geronimo were trying to accomplish, it's difficult to say. Something involving Boston?
Foreman's research is brought to Charon who seems visibly relieved, offering the team her condolences for the tough circumstances.
Carbon gets a solid treatment thanks to Pandora's blood being an extremely violent countermeasure to HMHVV; a minor transfusion clears Carbon's body of any traces of the infection, but such a thing will not be available to them in the future. The hope of the team is that eventually Pandora may be key in making a vaccine for HMHVV; time will tell if that line of research bears any fruit or if she's a failed batch.
- 50,000 Nuyen (25 RVP)
- 40 Karma (40 RVP)
- 30 CDP (15 RVP)
- Optional Quality: Perceptive 1 or 2 @ Chargen Cost (5 or 10 RVP if both)
- Optional Quality: Toughness @ Chargen Cost (9 RVP)
- Babylon: R6 Centering Focus @ gear price rates
- Skimmer: R6 Qi Focus @ gear price rates
- This was Skimmer's Initiation Ordeal
Worth noting, runtime was doubled, so the RVP limit was as well.
Player After Action Reports (pAARs)
Jack's back! And this time even he recognizes himself as the spirit of Halloween! I couldn't be happier. Babylon seemed a bit upset by the return, and Zenith had an awfully smug smirk on his face every time he looked at Babylon. Something must be up, but I'm not worried; Halloween is back on track! Anyways, the job was a follow up to some nasty shenanigans by a mad scientist named Foreman, who killed an innocent to mock Babylon and Zenith a ways back. Big mistake, am I right? Well, they been chasing him for awhile now, and of all people Charon pops up with the location, and she's willing to make a deal. Save his research, and we can put down the vile monster once and for all. Seems fair. So we get into this crazy underground laboratory surrounded by ghoul mines, and nearly bite it in the first encounter, cause these ghouls ain't your typical feral. Armed with the latest and with the knowledge to use them, and oh yeah, spells that come flying out the tiny little hidden cameras in the walls. Fun times. We manage to clear the area for the most part, avoiding a cage of 30-40 nasty looking critters that are just looking for their next snack. We find the research, and a giant woman named Pandora; one of three main research projects still left in a tank. Leaving her alone for the moment we continue to clear the facility, rescue some captured folks from captivity, and Carbon blasts a biohazard chute with a rocket, which immediately starts flooding the place with foul, radioactive water. Realizing time is of the essence, the team returns to a massive stone plug that seemed to promise interesting returns, and manage to drag it open, revealing the hidden office of Foreman. Foreman is flanked by nasty old Blood Spirits, and has a gatling laser primed and ready at the hands of his offsite rigger. The fight was short, but telling, with Zenith going down and me nearly going down to the scary super powers of the Blood Spirits. Babylon manages to fry Foreman, while me and Carbon take out the Spirits. I have never been so close to death. Still not ready to admit that I may have been outta my league there, but I got a family to look after; can't keep taking these huge risks. But I am sure they would understand, that to fight the good fight in the Lord's name, sometimes you gotta risk everything. Glad this all worked out, and we were all able to walk away from this one. I can't wait to get home and bask in the love of my family.
Finally. It's done. That monster is dead and that poor girl can rest. I used the money from this job to have flowers sent to her grave - a whole funeral arrangement, every week for the next year. She deserves that much at least.
I need to rest. This whole thing was exhausting, even before Jack showed up in the middle. I'm just glad we got those poor people out of there to safety. That abattoir of his... he deserves to have a hellhole like that be his final resting place. I think I'll keep this armlet of his though, it's as suitable a trophy as any. Maybe wear it as a belt.
I don't know how to feel about giving that research to Charon and the Lodge, but we didn't exactly have much of a choice. From what she showed me... I just hope she does the right thing with it and keeps that white-haired fragger from seeing the worst of it. That woman though... I wasn't going to give her to them. Hopefully the Draco Foundation can at least help her, and put whatever Foreman did to her to good use.
Frag. Those other tanks. I dunno if we've seen the last of this mess.