The Dodo's Had It's Day
|The Dodo's Had It's Day|
Dr Timothy Krychek
Dr Zhao Cheng
Babylon, Gerisa, Milliam and Zenith are hired by Mush to steal a pair of live, breeding Dodo's and a clutch of eggs from Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle before EVO can make the announcement that Project Hammond has successfully returned yet another extinct species to the world. The job is successful, but noisy, forcing Mush's boss to postpone her planned social gathering until the "heat" of the operation has returned to a mild simmer.
Juliette Burns is back in Seattle and hosting a social gathering. Every guest is to bring something they own which is unique, and the host intends to stun her guests by presenting the most unique possession of all - living examples of the most famous extinct bird in history.
Mush meets his runners on the docks in the twilight of evening, where he pretends to fish. Some of the runners know him by reputation from his time on the Shadowhaven server as a runner, and Mush in turn knows them. Babylon, however, shares a "mutual friend" and sensei with the fixer, and several innuendo's to this effect pass between the pair. Mush cautions them that although he prefers his runners to do their job subtly and without casualties, he is aware that, without a hacker or a face on the team, this might not be possible. He suggests the team "think outside of the box" but makes it clear he will be more understanding that he otherwise would if the run is less than the exemplar of subtlety he prefers. He empties his "bait box" and hands it to Zenith, explaining that it is in fact an incubator for the eggs, conveniently disguised as a lunch box.
The Runner's make good use of the Zoo's official material to obtain a map with which to plan their run. Their greatest challenge proves to be determining where in the zoo the Dodos and their eggs are likely to be kept, given that none of the non-public buildings have their purpose listed on the matrix site. However, a number of calls are made to a number of useful people, including Cecelia Cross, Hanako Shinoda and Freya. While the later two do not answer their comm's at the late hour in which they are called (early in the morning) Cecilia is at club E-Vue. She confirms that she received an invitation to a seminar presentation at the Zoo for the following week and, after checking the DNI invitation, provides the names of Dr Zhao Cheng, who sent the invite, and Eveline Powers, who was cc'd in. She also mentions a regular at the club who works at the zoo, a desperate loner named Dr Timothy Krychek. Krychek is presently at the club engaged in his usual pass-time of trying to persuade women even more desperate than he is to sleep with him.
While Zenith and Gerisa take care of the legwork, Babylon uses the shapechange spell to turn Milliam into a Panther, and amuses herself and the team by watching the excitable Dumas and panther-Milliam happily playing together and wrecking Zenith's safe-house in the process.
The Runner's send Gamorrah, Babylon's ally spirit, ahead to the club in the Astral where she manages to meet "Tim" just as he is leaving the club and agrees to go home with him. Meanwhile, the others learn his address when Gamorrah overhears Tim provide it to the taxi driver and race in their vehicles to meet them there. Freya calls back at this point, being a few timezones ahead of the runners and now awake, and performs a matrix search on the names the team already have. It turns out that "Tim" is divorced, has gambling debts, and is likely facing disciplinary action from EVO after being arrested the week before.
With Tim passed out on the couch of his condo, the team use their magic and B&E skills to join Gamorrah in his apartment, clone his pass-card for the zoo, capture images for the purpose of impersonating him, then leave without a trace.
Around lunchtime, armed with the data provided by Freya and the forged keycard, the team drive to the zoo. On the way, Hanako Shinoda calls back, but isn't able to provide any more additional information, knowing only about the proposed seminar at the Zoo, and explains that her divination ability does not allow her to simply "forcast" potential complications in something so minor as a Shadowrun. Disguised as Tim, Zenith enters the zoo through a public entrance but bluffs his way past the startled teller. He heads to the building where they have determined Eveline Powers to be present, reasoning that the Head of Zoo security would be based close to the Zoo's most valuable asset.
The others enter the zoo singly one after the other. While Zenith infiltrates the target building, they find reasons to hang around outside -not a difficult prospect in the middle of a zoo. Every second person Zenith meets gleefuly reminds "Tim" that he has his disciplinary meeting today and that he shouldn't be late, giving Zenith something of the impression that Tim is indeed a bit of a dick who is very much disliked by his colleagues. Disaster almost strikes when Zenith very nearly encounter the real Tim on his way to said meeting, but with some quick thinking the awkward encounter is averted...
..for all of two minutes. Just as Zenith gains entry to the restricted lab and identifies the extraction subjects, Tim and a guard walk in through the opposite door. Zenith tries a bluff, pointing to Tim as the imposter and crying out a warning. But the switched-on guard looks from one Tim to the other, and simply shoves the real Tim inside with Zenith, locks them both inside the lab, and calls for back-up.
Outside, Babylon unleashes Milliam, once again transformed into a panther, to spread panic outside. Milliam quickly returns to her humanoid form and joins the others as they rush into the building to rescue Zenith, upon whom the building's security guards and Eveline Powers, a mage, are converging. With judicious use of summoned spirits and chaos world spells, Babylon and Milliam are able to keep building security busy while Gerisa obtains the second keycard needed to unlock the now-sealed lab. Zenith, meanwhile, has placed the eggs into the incubator and stuffs the adult birds into the pockets of his long-coat.
As they united team begin to flee, they overhear on the security comms that the zoo's HRT is on it's way to the location where the panther was spotted - right outside the very building they are in. Thinking quickly, Milliam orders her actual pet panther, Damas, to enter the park. This spreads even more alarm and panic, and the HRT team is soon split in two - half going after Damas, half heading to the runner's location. Milliam, unwilling to abandon her panther, splits away from the rest of the team and sprints away to save her panther. Meanwhile the other runners flee towards the zoo entrance, leaving a spirit of man behind to maintain the chaos world spell crippling the entire building security team.
The HRT team spot them before they can reach the exit, and pursue on golf carts. When a tranq dart tears through Babylon's coat, Gerisa simply decides enough is enough and decides to force her way through the ten-deep crowd of panicking civilians blocking the exits by running on their shoulders and heads. The 300lb heavily cybered razor-girl leaves a trail of destruction in her wake. Babylon calms the situation by making use of a spell that dopes the entire crowd and several members of park security so that the runners can simply run to meet Gamorrah, who has astrally travelled ahead and is now driving back to the entrance in the runner's car. Meanwhile Milliam and Dumas scale a tree overhanging the fence at the other end of the park and make their own escape, having outrun the pursing HRT golf-cart on foot.
At the zoo's west entrance, the HRT team pursue the runners right into the area affected by the Opium Den spell, and succumb to it's effects themselves. Just as the runners pass a stoned member of the park security team, they hear a confused voice over the guard's comms.
"But we don't even -have- Panthers in this zoo?"
Mush gets his birds and his eggs and promise Milliam they are not intended for the menu. He's not entirely happy about the noise and the mess, and he's certainly not happy about so many wounded civilians, but he pays the runners after commenting that dinner will have to be postponed. Babylon makes a request that she be invited to attend, and is bluntly informed by Mush that she'll be coming as his "plus one".
+2 Rep The Burns' Coven
Mush as a contact 4/1 or value in CDP -or- +1 Loyalty if you already have Mush as a contact.
+1 Public Awareness for Milliam.
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
I apparently just can't go to zoos any more, can't get out of there without some kind of mess.
Anyway, this job was messier than I would have liked, and part of that is on me. We had a good team, Babylon may not always be the most... cautious or even-tempered of runners, but at the very least she's professional, but the plan had holes and we didn't have a lot of brain power between the four of us to fix it. Milliam was energetic, that's for sure, and Gerisa... well I'm not sure what to think of her. Something about her rubs me the wrong way.
Anyway, we grab credentials from a scientist, though we rely on him being a fuck-up rather than just body snatching the guy, so while I'm running around in a disguise to look like him, he's also running around going to some sort of hearing. The infil is pretty smooth, and I find these damn birds, which is great up until the doc I'm impersonating shows up to frag everything up. Luckily we cause enough chaos that I can exfil with the birds and the eggs and get out before bullets start flying. Apparently Babylon threw up a huge spirit and a huge spell and made the whole thing easier for us to get out.
Though things get worse when a crowded zoo gets brought up into a panic. People died, and that's on me. I don't really consider myself a "leader". Not my style and Shadowrunners can't be led. But there were smoother ways of doing this. But it's live and learn, and do better next time kind of thing. I threw some of the blood money back to the families. Hopefully it does some good.
Y'know, people tend to look at me wrong when they see me or work with me. "Oh, Gerisa, you're not all right." "Oh, Gerisa, what's with the attitude?" "Oh, Gerisa, could you be a little bit nicer?" But when it comes down to the wire, I'm always there, I always have people's backs, I punch, maul and break anyone that threatens them and do I get a notion of thanks for it? No. No respect, no acknowledgment. These peons go on about their lives, complaining about every little Jane, Dick and Harry they come across. If anything, they should be grateful. But they're not.
Oh, well. I'll keep 'em safe just like I did this time. I don't care if it's a security guard, a lab entrance or EVO's entire lineup between me and my team. I'm humanity's finest -- I was made to protect and serve, whether my subjects want it or not.
It was rather nice to finally meet with Mush, and to work directly for Ms. Burns for once; I just wish it could have gone a bit smoother. It was a tough prospect, getting some live specimens out of a secure area, and we drew more attention than I'd have liked in the process - the first bit went smoothly, Gomorrah was a great help with obtaining that scientist's keycard and Zenith proved very adapt (heh) at infiltration.
Too bad we forgot to make sure the real guy didn't show up to drag everything up - things got pretty crazy pretty quickly after that, and I had to pull out the big guns for a distraction to keep the wagemage head of security from responding effectively. Even so our distraction nearly caused a riot (in hindsight turning Milliam into a panther *may* not have been the wisest idea), and Gerisa was distressingly eager to exacerbate the matter during our exfiltration.
At least I managed to keep casualties down; hopefully Zenith isn't too upset about that opium den spell. Plus I know what dodo birds look like now (turns out it's a lot sillier than the illustrations), so that's cool.