Pull It By The Roots
|Pull It By The Roots|
|Part of Festering Infestation|
Amelie and Jean-Baptiste
|Casualties and losses|
FInally, the source of the ghoul infestation is revealed: a Tamanous dumping ground for burnt out organ farm victims.
For the last month or so, Renton has been destabilized by the Renton Crusade, an amalgamation of metaracist gangs headed by Carolina Petrovski, a Humanis cell leader. Under the streets, however, the situation's been just as bad. A horde of ghouls has harassed a Skraacha settlement built into an underground parking lot/storage warehouse. After building a set of barricades in the Underground's tunnels to prevent further incursions and receiving Skraacha reinforcements, the settlement's acquired breathing room. Defensive measures only go so far, however. It's time to go on the offensive and (title drop) pull the problem by the roots.
While Skimmer and Samsara are already familiar with the situation, they are happy to encounter some fresh faces like Marionette and Stygian, all of which find their way on site relatively easily. A young elven boy is eagerly serving soykaf and running around barefeet, helping where-ever he can. Upon entering the lone saloon built into the underground favela, titled the 'p-ORK CHOPPERS' the group meet Ghaz drinking a mixture of Hurlg and Jack Daniels whiskey. He pitches a shot glass of the latter for both Samsara and Skimmer as familiar faces and offers the team the following information: Skraacha scouts have moved carefully on the surface and pinpointed a building that connects to The Pit, a location in the OU where the ghoul horde often congregates to feed on corpses that are dumped down a garbage disposal hatch. He can't provide incredible amounts of detail due to increased tensions limiting his scouts' time table topside, but gives them a location, a route and a limited visual feed. While Ghaz is getting close to dry on nuyen, he instead offers some of the merchandise he's been supplying: EX-Explosive rounds of various calibers, while Samsara is offered a ruthenium-polymer cloak to let her be a bit more discreet.
Once the team gets on site, they try to find a discreet location to park at and after some failures succeed. The legwork begins: hacking two local cameras and doing some lockpicking in a back alley, the team obtains enough information to start investigating. Their task is to obtain information about the origin of this ghoul horde, and this is as close to a source as they can get. Whether it's the infection vector is another question entirely.
First off, Marionette displays his know-how in managing to open one lock after another and even manages to steal some encrypted video feeds from cameras with the help of his agent. While doing psychometry reading near the dumpsite, he finds the latest presence to be from roughly nine days ago, giving him an inkling on which day's footage to search. Visions of vivisected, empty and emaciated people being dumped down to be ravenously devoured leaves him shaken but functional. Samsara fails to control herself once the astral background count of the horde's collective hunger and pain overwhelms her in its strength. It manages to reach all the way to the surface, which Stygian notices as well. They try to access the top floor of the building in question, but its handprint scanner maglock proves beyond Marionette's abilities. Stygian summons a spirit not once, but twice to give the room beyond a look. While the first one's too feeble to give much information, the second does enough investigating to let him know that something serious is strapped to the door on the other side and that several crates are protected with mana barriers. Samsara calls in a favor from Ghaz who sends his locksmith to give it a go. This ends up being successful, but it reveals a dangerous situation. Over eighteen kilograms of plastic explosives are secured to the door from the otherside. By using two large magnets, the Skraacha locksmith fooled the door into thinking it's still closed, but disconnected the door and the frame with a bypass on the scanner itself. Pushing either magnet off would trigger the explosives.
Once investigating the cargo upstairs, Stygian takes a quick look and with Skimmer's help locates a logo that he forwards to Amelie and Jean-Baptiste. Amelie is knowledgeable enough and invested in resolving the ghoul issue that she gets to work immediately and recognizes the logo as being that of Tamanous and possibly related to the Seoulpa Rings. Given the contents and the barriers, she puts two and two together and suspects that these are crates of magically and cryogenically preserved organs from a local organ farm of massive proportions. Usually the storage containers are portable with just one hand, no larger than a medium sized handbag. These crates are massive and numbered in the dozens. Prepared to intercept the ones responsible for dumping their burnt out victims into the mouths of feral ghouls, Stygian thanks Amelie and with Skimmer's help hauls two crates back to the car; one for Ghaz as evidence, one for Amelie as a gift.
While they prepare their ambushes, having discovered a hidden garage door thanks to Marionette's perceptive investigation and CCTV footage cracking, a van drives up after a few nights and gets attacked as soon as it brakes inside the building. The dapperly dressed driver is immediately neutralized and cuffed with euphoria and plasteel, a strong teamwork effort by Stygian and Skimmer. The back of the van, however, is revealed to have a corpulent, obese monstrosity that barely resembles the human it once was. As Marionette opens the door with bullets, the beast almost takes a swing at him right away. Samsara's quick to follow and punches it square in the face but barely registers in its greasy, thickened skin. As all four of them converge on this hulking abomination, dumping round after round of bullets into it without it even noticing, the monster in return almost turns Samsara into red paste and crushes straight through cement and rebar. Stygian summons a fire spirit of great power to assist, but it only gets torn in half by the abomination's bare hands. With a few final magdumps from Marionette and Skimmer, they bleed it out enough that its body starts slouching; Samsara dropkicks it from above and rips the beast's stitched skin open, causing its corpulent, organ-filled body to explode and cover everything within meters in gore and blood.
Regretting this choice immediately despite wearing chemically sealed armor, Samsara manages to calm down and checks the driver after spotting a few vivisected, organless victims still alive at the back of the van and putting them out of their misery. They message the vampire queen Amelie as well as Zigzag, a 162s paramedic again after trying to interrogate the man and getting next to nowhere with him; upon sending video feed Zigzag confirms his identity to be that of one "L'etranger" - Amelie clarifies that he is a notorious Tamanous figure from Paris that eradicated large swathes of Paris' homeless people squatting in the underground catacombs. He did this by releasing a population of devil rats underground, all of which had been conditioned to enjoy metahuman flesh. Now, he seemed to be working for Tamanous in Seattle and Zigzag, while remotely connected to Tamanous has no idea who his direct superior is. She's far too beneath the chain of command to know, but she does warn the runners that fragging him would put a really big target on the team's backs.
Samsara doesn't seem to care given the man's atrocious actions, but Stygian offers him a way out: sending him to Amelie and Jean-Baptiste in exchange for giving them the information they want, L'etranger infuriatingly agrees with no small degree of smugness. He's clearly used to being too useful to be killed and is fully aware of his apparent untouchability, though this causes Samsara to hit him again. He is clearly tabooed from speaking of the organ farm directly, but he's smart enough to find a work-around and offers them an encrypted data chip that he claims to lead to an unrelated warehouse with a server that serves as a data bank. Stygian calls Amelie to send someone to pick the man up while Samsara begrudgingly goes with this plan and tells Ghaz they have a lead.
Ghaz is mortified by the picked up organs but tells the team that Warboss ordered all of it to be taken away and confiscated to be used as emergency organ implants for Skraacha-aligned back alley clinics. They can't afford to be picky, after all. Ghaz also takes the datachip and will have it analyzed by the few deckers that Skraacha does have in its ranks. Skimmer is quick to accept the EX-Explosive rounds as promised and Samsara is happy to have a cloak that hides her presence. Marionette shares Skimmer's trophy, while Stygian is happy to have contributed to Amelie's growing network of informants, increasing the Night Throne's connections. It's now known that some of the ghouls below were former organ farm victims and now the horde's grown large enough that whoever gets thrown down there is devoured alive, offering no way for it to grow any larger at a steady rate at least. A massive organ farm is also confirmed to exist, but its whereabouts are unknown. Whether Amelie or the Skraacha's Matrix experts find any better leads remains to be seen.
- 8,000 Nuyen
- 9 Karma
- 2 CDP
- 1 Skraacha Faction Rep
- For Skimmer and Marionette: Up to 300 rounds of EX-Explosive Rounds of his choosing (assault rifle, heavy pistol, etc.); cost is 50% of usual due to being given as a gear reward
- For Samsara: Ruthenium Polymer Cloak R4; replaces the 8,000 Nuyen bounty for the run
- For Stygian: Amelie and Jean-Baptiste's Connection Rating is increased by +1. Reduce 5 RVP from the run rewards to compensate.
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
"Working for Ghaz again, always the rewarding experience. This time out it's not cash but bullets, and oh yeah these bullets are explosive. Literally. I mean explosive bullets. You get it. And so will I, after investigating a possible lead into why there are so many ghouls running around in the underground. Enter Samsara, kick-puncher extraordinaire, and a new guy, Marionette, who is completely whacked out on conspiracy theories, and good at pretty much everything. Almost too good... Anyway, we head to the location do a bit of skulking, and sleaze are way in care of Marionette's jack-of-all-trades personality. We find the hole which feeds the pit, and Marionette confirms that this is definitely the place. After a brief inspection of the door upstairs by our late joiner Stygian and his ghost, it becomes obvious that we are not opening it without some serious talent. Samsara makes a deal with Ghaz for a proper locksmith, who spends a few hours jiggering with it to finally get it open. Inside is a bunch of cryogenic cases, which after further investigation and networking turn out to be Tamanous goods, i.e. organs for sale to a good home. We decide to set up an ambush for the next shipment and wait for the party to start. After forever of waiting, a van pulls into the building, with a single driver in the front. Stygian easily takes him down, by, well, making him FEEL good... I step in and strap him up, so Stygian can focus on other things, namely a fire spirit looking to fry things up. Meanwhile, Marionette opens the back of the van with a spray of bullets, revealing the cargo; A huge monstrosity of flesh and bad ideas, and a bunch of Tamanous victims all slated for the ghoul fest down below. Naturally, there's a fight, with bullets flying and Samsara bouncing off the walls and the thing with eerie intensity, and fortunately it goes down without much fuss. This time out, the big creep picked the wrong crew to fight with, just saying. Anyhow, we interrogate the chump, make arrangements to trade him for information, and close the case. At least for now. And I've got a whole bunch of shiny new bullets to play with...
Well, that was a job. Things started out normal enough, though that guy Marionette was honestly something else - I've never seen someone with wires like mine, but when I looked at his soul he was glowing brighter than either Skimmer or Stygian. It was pretty inspiring honestly, knowing that if I work hard enough I could maybe get to that point one day and have even more magic than unauged people; plus he knew this cool trick to deal with drug crashes so that he could take accelerator without dealing with the hallucinations, which I definitely need to learn how to do (if only to drink Hurlg without getting so fragged up by it).
Anyway, so Ghaz asks us to go look into this dump site where he's pretty sure bodies are being thrown down into that pit we found. We break into this building and sure enough there's a bloody hole in the ground emanating hunger and violence vibes strong enough to make me lose my shit. It only got worse when we found the organ containers though - the others put it together that they were working for this Tamanous group that cuts people up for spare parts, so I was ready to frag up anyone who showed up, but Ghaz wanted information on where the operation was so we can stop it and make sure they don't keep swelling the ghoul horde. Frag, I don't think I've ever seen anything as messed up as that thing that came out of the van - it was bigger than a troll and just shrugged off my attacks, plus it ate bullets like it was nothing and was so fast that would have smashed me into the ground if it weren't for the drugs and the wires getting me out of the way in time. It was a rough fight, but we finally wore it down and I popped it like a blood balloon before we dealt with that drekhead who drove the van.
I don't think I've ever wanted to kill someone so much, I could feel myself getting more and more angry and whenever he spoke all I could think about was what he did to those poor people; I should have broken a few bones at least, but he knew things that Ghaz needed to know, and Stygian seemed convinced he was too important to kill. We got him to give up some intel, but it was less than I wanted - I would have tossed him into the pit just to wipe the smug look off of his face (and I think Skimmer at least would have been more than okay with that), but Stygian wanted to give him to some Infected or something. All I can hope is that his life gets more unpleasant, somehow - death is too good for some people.
I have to say that I actually wasn't as shocked as I should have been and not as surprised as would have liked. I think I was hoping for this big arcane witchery thing happening that was going to shake things up. What I got was a organ farm run by a someone's perverse pet. At least he turned over when we offered him a deal that he could turncoat on. Amelie is pleased about her new meat puppy and I even slid a crate off as a present for her brother.
The other members of the team seemed pleased with the outcome to one degree or another. I think Samsara was the least pleased, but she's one of those "good eggs" after all. Ghaz got what he wanted and then some. The monstrosity is also dead, which I consider a plus. Most importantly I got paid well.