Helping Hands, Salivating Glands
|Helping Hands, Salivating Glands
|Part of Hail to the Pumpking
Pump King Jack
|Rose of Sharon Howlett
|Casualties and losses
|Ezekyle Burton's kneecaps were busted beyond recognition.
|Several police cars and officers
Jack arranges free therapy for everyone in Sophocles. Also, badass grandmother in crocs.
A very well fed 'mare in Sophocles causes plenty of mental anguish for regular folks that already live in a dystopia. Pump King Jack becomes aware of this and as a result, wants to look towards sustainability instead of burning through the locals.
When the team arrives, some of the party members are wary of Jack's very existence while Babylon nervously tries to smooth the potential tension as one who is more familiar with the free spirit. Jack appears to be accompanied by a young girl, dressed mostly in rags and hiding behind Jack. Babylon sets her foot down and claims that underaged people is going too far even for a shadow spirit, to which Jack takes offense and claims that he's done nothing but save the girl's life. He doesn't go into too much detail, but lets Mary say as much as she wants herself. Having no family to go to and with self-harming thoughts plaguing her, Jack managed to catch her as she jumped off a building.
As Jack scratches his pumpkin stalk, he admits that he's not as good of a people person as he'd want to be and that he can't help Mary with her problems. However, he wants to see that she's given care and has sought potential hires. The job is to track down a potential hire, Ezekyle Burton, a medical student who specialized in developmental psychology and therapy before being flunked and kicked out of the school. Jack's technomancer, dissonant as he may be, collected some small amount of information that the team can start their search with. Babylon agrees, but only under the stipulation that Mary comes with her. Jack's more than alright with this condition as long as the girl herself agrees, which she does.
As the gears start rolling in regards to tracking this missing man down, Matrix searches and astral projections are considered for legwork. Babylon visits the man's home in Redmond, a veritable crime scene with the bathroom covered from ceiling to floor tiles in blood and FAB. Empty meat hooks cling from the living room and the aura of violent crime permeates the entire flat. Baxter later visits the place in person, Shock Jockey assisting him with getting in through the KE crime scene patrols. Baxter hates the fact that the elevator isn't working and slowly climbs the stairs up to go and investigate the place physically. He finds some amount of letters that appear to have been exchanged with the student's aunt, living in Everett. Clearly she's aware of him being troubled, but couldn't say why.
Baxter takes note of all of the letters and exits while the rest of the team starts checking the man's parents' apartment in Downtown Seattle. Every minute they spend increases the danger that the missing med student is in; not only is Knight Errant after him, who knows what he might get into -- it turns out that he was kicked out of the school because he was discovered to be infected with HMHVV III, the Krieger strain that creates ghouls. Upon entering the parents' home that is no longer theirs, Babylon and Baxter notice an astral trail implying that Burton had visited the apartment after turning into a ghoul. He seemed to go back to look at photos of his parents, but little else can be made out. However, Matrix searches manage to discover some things: the names of Burton's parents and the names of both of his aunts. As it's discovered what the aunt's full name is, her address can be traced down.
The team starts driving towards Everett, hoping to get some information about Ezekyle from his aunt, only to discover that her private estate is under siege by Knight Errant that beat the party to the punch. Babylon astrally projects to meet the aunt, an overweight and gray-haired grandma wearing crocs and Adidas who had apparently fortified her land into a Rambo fortress. Mine fields, reinforced window blinders, noise generators and high caliber rifles alongside a massive armory -- this veteran of the Euro wars seemed to have a few screws loose and shot Babylon with a shotgun due to being surprised. It took the black mage some effort to convince the trigger happy aunt that she wasn't being harassed by 'one of them' - whatever that means - and reluctantly the woman agrees to exfil from her home, preparing a self-destruct while going down to the basement into an escape tunnel she'd dug for herself. While Knight Errant finally advances into the building, it goes off with a bang, only putting a bigger target on the aunt's back. However, she doesn't seem particularly bothered, waddling along to see Babylon face to face as the party drives their car to meet up with her down one of the routes. Armed with a shotgun and crocs, Burton's aunt tells them to piss off, being able to take care of herself.
She does, however, mention what she knew of Burton and hopes they find her boy before he gets himself hurt. She mentions that he had attempted to go to Sophocles, but naturally Jack hadn't seen him whatsoever. After that, he'd tried his odds with rumors of a ghoul commune under Ghoul City, but even they rejected him, forcing him to move along as a pariah. Upon following Burton's trail, the team finally catches up in a basement in the Barrens, finding that they weren't fast enough to stop him from getting hurt. Rose of Sharon Howlett had tracked this 'murderous man-eater' down first and was busy torturing him to death, urging him to tell her about where more of his kind are hiding. Although Burton knows of the ghoul commune, he refuses to talk and is about to eat lead with the back of his head as Baxter and Babylon interfere. They try to convince Sharon to stand down, but the woman's far too zealous of her hunt and Entropy's forced to intervene with his gravity spells, shifting Sharon's aim off just enough to make her miss. After that, they quickly attack, disarm and disable Sharon, leaving her in the basement and running off as fast as possible with the kneecapped Burton who can't stand on his own to save his life. While he's heavily injured, the team scatters from the crime scene of gunshots and torture, presumably to avoid getting caught by Sharon as she recovers and chases after a bunch of filthy runners.
Burton's stabilized just enough to get him to Sophocles where Jack offers him plenty of people in need of his talents and the resources to stay safe. Practically, it's everything he wanted, and though he knows it's a deal with a devil, he accepts. Jack's glad to pay for the job and pitches what he can in terms of rewards to the runners. Mary found a new home in the ex-NeoNET commune Babylon's affiliated with and some of the runners refuse the stolen karma -- such as Entropy, whose entire tradition is vehemently opposed to such crimes against humanity.
--- Stolen Karma Options:
- For Entropy: Toughness & Sense of Direction (12 RVP)
- For Baxter: Mentor Spirit: Dark King & Catlike (12 RVP)
- For Babylon: Astral Chameleon & Battle Hardened (12 RVP)
- For Shock Jockey: Codeslinger & Instinctive Hack (12 RVP)
--- Other Rewards if stolen karma is not accepted:
- R4 Hand of Glory (3 RVP)
- Hecate's Blessing x 4 (variation of it called Jack's Pumpkin Juice) (1 RVP, can be taken multiple times)
- Starscreamer Armor (Heavy Security Armor) (10 RVP)
- Radical Reagents x 4 (9 RVP)
- Tainted Radical Reagents x 4 (1 RVP, can be taken several times)
- Blackmail Info (1 RVP, can be taken up to three times)
- Contact: Pump King Jack, 4/1 Halloweener Usurper (4 RVP)
--- Standard Rewards:
- 2,000 Nuyen
- 2 CDP
- 2 Starscreamers Reputation
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
What a fragging mess. This thing with Jack is getting out of hand. The fragger wants a shrink to keep the people he's using as karma batteries mentally stable. Absolute madness. Not to mention that poor girl he had with him - he says he stopped her from killing herself, but I'm not sure how much I believe that. I'm just glad I could get her out of there. That poor ghoul bastard though, he might be a shrink but he didn't deserve that beating, and the others just stood around like idiots and let it happen too. Bleh, I don't feel great about taking that stolen power either - starting to think there's some diminishing returns on all this drek. Gonna have to resolve it soon I think, or else a lot worse stuff is going to happen.