How To Play With Dolls
|How To Play With Dolls|
Dr. Isabel Wirth
In which the runners come together to go on a double date (of sorts) and follow up on a loose end.
Shine and Zenith find themselves at their home in Ft. Lewis, having returned from spending the summer in Essen to a Seattle in crisis - the Light the Shadows campaign remains in full swing, and a rapidly-evolving series of events in Downtown has led to an increased presence of KE and the Metroplex Guard around the ACHE, which is emitting some major bad vibes. Meanwhile, Vip3r and Zero are outside the sprawl, attempting to relax at Black Samurai’s cabin in the woods - the samurai is zen about everything, however the two elves are full of anxiety, especially Vip3r (who is concerned about events on the Emerald City grid, especially after the events of The Deepest Dive and her encounter with a shard of Deus, as well as a run-in with a familiar-looking sprite - see The Snake Charmer for more).
The two couples thus find themselves wondering what to do, and are drawn together at Zenith’s safehouse in Purity, which has both a magical lodge and a Faraday cage to protect them from the bad Matrix/magic vibes. Once inside, the mood lightens considerably, and the runners begin to catch up on each other's lives. During the course of the conversation, Vip3r mentions her and Zero’s recent encounter with Kakei Steve (see: Let Snygones be Snygones for more), catching Shine’s attention and bringing the topic around to the Bunraku doll who they found in Steve’s apartment back when they were planning to kill him.
Shine speaks up, telling the team that she’s been out of the game for months and feels the need to get back into things by stretching her legs with some proper hooding - she’d really like to kill Steve as well, but Vip3r shoots that down for practical concerns. Nonetheless Shine is quite insistent that there is a woman who is being held in bondage and needs their help; Zenith sees Oracle communicating with him, showing off the Karma tarot card, while Zero feels Bear poking at her about someone who requires their protection. Vip3r meanwhile feels a tug from 01’s roots poking through the Faraday cage, sensing a discord out in the world which must be corrected.
Thus convinced by their imaginary friends, the runners agree to Shine’s plan to break into Steve’s apartment and get the doll out, then bringing them to Dr. Isabel Wirth to have the personafix chip safely removed from their heads without damaging their brains, and subsequently set up with a place to stay (Dr. Wirth having done this sort of thing for Shine before in Guys and Dolls and Burning Down the Dollhouse). While Shine goes out to find a refrigerator box (with a devil rat inside to add to Zenith’s growing collection), Zenith prepares his GMC universe and Vip3r and Zero attempt to ignore all the bad vibes going on.
Calling up Ghaz for assistance, Zenith pays the Skraacha sheriff a few thousand nooj for the spoof chip codes to put on the side of his van so that they can get through the Ork Underground without being hassled (either by the gang or by Renraku’s drones). Thus, they get into Downtown cleanly, managing to get past the increased security, and thankfully their SINs hold up to scrutiny.
Arriving at Steve’s home (a 26th floor condo in a secure building in a AA zone), Vip3r hops into the host (and subsequently into the industrial host controlling the devices in each apartment) while Zero astrally projects to sleaze her way through the ward, leaving the two physads to guard their unconscious bodies while they do physical recon and get their disguises together. The techno and the mage are able to go unseen, making their way past IC and watcher spirits respectively and managing to acquire an inside-view of Steve’s apartment; between them they confirm that only one person - the woman they encountered previously - is present inside.
Shine and Zenith leave Vip3r and Zero in the van to cover their backs on the Matrix and Astral respectively (the two proceed to not do this and instead spend their time holding hands) while they talk their way past the security guard at the door with a story about an appliance delivery for some other residents of the building, their silver tongues getting them past and into the elevator. Upstairs, they make their way to Steve’s apartment without attracting too much attention to themselves as they do so, and upon knocking are let inside by the doll; once they’re in, the two knock her out and put her under using cryo and Shine’s medical skills, then secure her inside the empty refrigerator box with a rapid infuser attached. With the target secured, they leave the way they came, having a bit more difficulty this time but managing to make a clean escape.
There remains the small matter of getting to Deireadh An Tuartheil hospital in Tarislar; the boarders into Downtown are still being heavily monitored, and transporting an unconscious body out is a huge risk. For a distraction, Shine calls up The Dukes, who arrive in short order in the Commander Dunklezhan while they’re waiting in line - by a startling coincidence, the Dukes unknowingly drive along the path of the Dragon Line going from Puyallup to Downtown, amplifying their already-impressive speed to truly super-metahuman levels as they zoom by at a rate that would outspeed Zenith’s SAAB Gladius, rocket boosting over the van and and giving the runners a hearty “yeehaw” as they lead KE on a chase through the streets, letting them pass by down the I5 and make their way into Tacoma, and from there to Puyallup and Tarislar.
Encountering Cherry Bomb, Duchess, and Voltage en-route to the hospital, the runners acquire themselves an escort of Ancients and proceed directly there, un-harassed by the rest of the gang. Dr. Wirth expertly removes the Bunraku ware and p-fix chip from the young woman and gives her a place to rest, and Shine prepares to dust her hands and head off. Vip3r however hears a shout of alarm and panic’d Japanese coming from the doll’s room, heading inside to find her in the midst of a panic attack; attempting to calm her down, she learns the woman is highly concerned over having been forcibly extracted, worried about debts and the Yakuza coming after her family. Vip3r is highly agitated by this and goes to talk to Shine, the two of them proceeding to have a private conversation in which the latter assures the former that this is nothing unusual, that of course the Yaks would threaten her family to coerce her into the arrangement, and that all they can do is try to better her situation and not worry about “what if’s?”. Still Vip3r is concerned, so Dr. Wirth tells her that she’s going to set the woman up with a halfway house/rehab in Puyallup City where she will be safe for the moment, and do what she can to look into it. With the concerns allayed as best they can for the moment, the two couples head back to Zenith’s safehouse to binge watch “My Parents Are Shadowrunners” and forget about their problems.
- 7 karma
- 14 CDP