There Are No Strings On Me
|There Are No Strings On Me|
C-Unit 537 - Hunter|
|Casualties and losses|
|Shy burned edge to Not Yet Dead after being shot in the chest with a sniper rifle.|
|Shy's brush with death has increased the potency of the connection to the Metaplane of Shadow formed during the events of Dernier Saut sur l'Enfer. Subject P-2273 was neutralized via broken legs and fallen debris, but survived and subsequently escaped capture thanks to the use of Hand of God.|
In which the runners are sub-contracted by a bounty hunter to assist with the recovery of an escaped prototype transhuman assassin.
Evo, in their ongoing quest to EVOlve the metahuman form and pursue the further fusion of man and machine, have once again outdone themselves in the creation of Subject P-2273, a full-body-replacement prototype transhuman who has been trained (read: brainwashed) to be their latest and greatest corporate assassin. Naturally they managed to muck up the conditioning process, and Subject P-2273 managed to escape during a field exercise at a toxic waste dump site in the Siberian tundra near the Yakut boarder. Evo sent one of their best agents - one Alexai Belitrov, a former special forces operative - to recover the subject, but Belitrov was overcome by Subject P-2273 and had both his body armor and spec-modded sniper rifle taken. Deciding disposable assets would be better suited to this task, Evo assigned acquisitions expert Irena Tachikov to reach out to outside agents; Tachikov contacted a few freelancers to inform them of the situation, and bounty hunter Bellerophon took up the task. He managed to track Belitrov's last known location and find the rough area where the subject is hiding, however given the toxic vibes and the presence of both fovae and void wasp nests, he has decided to sub-contract some shadowrunner field agents to finish the job.
The runners are each contacted by their fixers and informed that they have an out-of-country bounty hunting gig which comes with both significant risk and the promise of a significant payday - each of them accept the job and are provided with a Matrix address to meet with their prospective employer. Inside the host they find a digital hunting lodge (complete with simsense bar) where Bellerophon waits for them. He explains the context of the job (detailed above) and tells them that he will pay them 40,000 nuyen each to aid in the neutralization/recapture of Subject P-2273 (and that he will pay them double if the subject is taken alive). The team accept the job, opting to arrange their own transportation to Vladivostok (using Hextech's helicopter and Red Rain's VTOL, with the latter arranging a stopover in Hawaii and a route past the Russian authorities via their smuggler contact Northwind) where Bellerophon will transport them the rest of the way.
After acquiring the needed supplies, the team enjoy a relatively-uneventful trip across the Pacific and meet with Bellerophon in Vladivostok where he invites them aboard the Pegasus, his airship base of operations. En-route to the site (several hundred kilometers to the northwest - Hextech and Red Rain remotely pilot their vehicles to follow the airship), he provides them with further details (including topographic maps of the area, photos taken by scouting drones, and anatomical details of Subject P-2273). Tachikov has provided him with the transponder codes for both Belitrov himself and the rifle he was carrying, which are spaced a few kilometers away from one-another; the team elect to first investigate Belitrov's last known location, then bait the subject into an ambush once they have a better lay of the land. The site is a swampy forest turned muggy, boggy toxic waste dump, with thick fog and huge clouds of gas reducing viability significantly and all but necessitating there use of chemsealed suits with radiation protection; Bellerophon also points out the known locations of void wasp nests which he has identified (the creatures being drawn to the area's mana void). He elects to remain on the Pegasus and keep an electronic ear on the Russian air force's radar listening station about 50km away to ensure they don't have any surprises (and so that he doesn't have to go into the toxic mana void).
Hextech and Red Rain fly their vehicles to the site, where the former puts down her drones (Unit 01 and 02) as well as Hunter and Shy while the latter remains in the safety of their VTOL to provide aerial support and reconnaissance. The conditions on the ground could generously be described as poor by a good-natured liar, but the runners grit their teeth and make their way into the swamp towards the transponder signal - en-route, Red Rain is forced to navigate around roving fovae, while the team on the ground tangle with the local toxic spirits. The strongly negative ambient mana levels are a cause of great discomfort for the adepts, while Hextech is vaguely reminded of home as they make their way through the tangle of stunted trees and knee-deep foul water.
Upon arrival at Belitrov's last known location, the group discovers a pile of rotting meat covered in flies, out of which sticks a cyberarm emblazoned with Russian army iconography; that's when they're ambushed by Subject P-2273 using Belitrov's stolen rifle, who has camouflaged themselves on a nearby rocky ridge. Right out of the gate the encounter turns against the team as Shy is shot in the chest and nearly killed on the spot - only her bond with Bishamonten saves her from death, with her mentor spirit forcing her to stay conscious and continue the fight, though her close proximity to the Well of Souls is enough to trigger the latent magical enchantment placed upon her by the former shadow spirit incarnation of Pump King Jack the previous year.
Hextech's drones immediately spring into action, the former performing emergency first aid on Shy while the latter identifies the target and lays down suppressive fire in their general direction with its repeating laser. While Hunter fends off the toxic spirits roused by the commotion (and the change in ambient mana levels caused by the surge of violence), Red Rain makes a flyby of Subject P-2273 with her own sniper rifle. The two exchange potshots while the rest of the team regroup - the target proves to be inhumanly fast and resilient as expected, shrugging off everything they can throw at it while moving with blinding speed in ways that would be impossible for a regular metahuman. However, working together they are able to rally themselves and force it to make a tactical retreat.
After getting Shy loaded onto the VTOL and into the Valkyrie module for something approximating proper medical treatment (Hextech gives the autodoc a bit of a boost using diagnostics in order to get her back on her feet quicker), the team decide on their next move, electing not to investigate the signal ostensibly coming from Belitrov's rifle after (correctly) assuming that Subject P-2273 has used the tracking chip to set up another ambush for its pursuers. Using their collective survival skills they attempt to track the cyborg through the swampland, though the going is difficult and they lose track of the trail several times; however they are eventually able to locate them and a running chase/shootout ensues that ends only when the target escapes into the water, with the team reluctant to follow in an environment where their advantages would be neutralized. Instead they search from the air, with Hextech and Red Rain working together to use their sensors to cut through the fog and the static in order to pinpoint where it will likely emerge once its internal air tanks run out.
To the team's collective dismay, this location turns out to be one of the void wasp nests which their employer warned them about - Evo built an emergency bunker here years ago which Belitrov's commlink had information on, and the subject is making its way towards an escape tunnel. Determined to stop it at all costs, the team make a last ditch effort to engage and disable their target, firing rockets from the air to blow the legs out from under them before descending on it with everything they've got: Shy (staying up in the VTOL) takes shots with her rifle (assisted by Hextech's targeting protocols) while Hunter (on the ground) blasts away with his combat shotgun, while Hextech's drones blast away with laser fire and Red Rain unloads her vehicle's ordinance. While the void wasps prove to be a dangerous hazard (especially with several of the team's chemseals having been breached in the fighting), many of their number are immolated in the resulting chaos as the tree containing the nest (and hiding the entrance to the bunker) is set aflame and subsequently blown up.
Subject P-2273 fights back with everything it has, unleashing bullseye bursts from its rifle at the VTOL and blasts from its implanted laser shotgun at the ground combatants, even engaging them in melee combat with its mono-garrote - however the heavy concentrated fire is enough to get through even its formidable defences, and the sustained barrage is enough to force it to flee. Even though its legs have been damaged to the point where it can no longer use its skimmers (or even walk properly, being forced to scuttle along crab-like on all fours), the cyborg remains ambulatory and is able to wretch open the bunker entrance (which has been partially blown off of its hinges by the rockets) to skitter down the shaft. Hextech's drones move to pursue, but their olfactory sensors detect the presence of chemical explosives moments before the charges in the shaft are detonated, collapsing it and filling it with rubble.
The team lick their wounds and spend some time attempting to dig out the access shaft to the bunker - however their numerous injuries, combined with the harsh conditions, the lingering presence of the void wasps, the dwindling fresh air for their suits, and a particularly nasty incoming fovae, force them to retreat as Bellerophon arrives in the Pegasus to retrieve them, telling them that the representative from Evo has contacted him to declare their part in the job complete - the company will handle the retrieval from here. Aboard the airship, they speak with Irena Tachikov on a monitor, who praises their diligence and persistence in attempting to excavate the rubble, though she dithers a bit at the damage to company property. Though the subject was not retrieved, they were neutralized, and Tachikov recognizes the partial success as well as the mitigating circumstances - thus she elects to pay their employer two-hundred thousand nuyen (out of which he pays them each forty-thousand) as well as offer them access to Evo's many fine beta clinics. Happy to be alive, the team accept their payment and return home.
Meanwhile, deep down in the bunker, Subject P-2273's eye lights flicker as it pulls itself free of the rubble - the cyborg's legs are crushed and mangled, however it remains alive as it slowly pulls itself towards the escape tunnel, humming a discordant tune to itself...
у меня были струны Но теперь я свободен На мне нет нити
(1.33x for time): 40k nuyen 10 karma 20 CDP +2 Evo reputation
Optional Contact: Bellerophon (C4/L2 Paracritter Hunter) for 5 RVP or 10 CDP Optional Contact: Irena Tachikov (C6/L2 EVO Acquisitions Expert) for 7 RVP or 14 CDP Optional Gear Rewards: Up to 10 RVP in vehicle/drone parts/cyberware (up to beta) Optional Quality: Rad-tolerant @ chargen price (3 RVP, out of karma)
For Shy: Astral Beacon (Enochian brand now glow with an eerie black-light in her aura, can only be bought off once the brand is removed as a story beat)
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Shy : The following recording has been scrap from Shy's helmet after the run.
Transcription from Charlie Leader, Sergent Hiromi de la Perière, known as "Shy"
A loud grunt can be heard then a shock, someone falled into muddy terrain. A low voice is heard, panicked french can be heard.
-No...Not yet...Can't be.
A slight pause, one can hear robotic voice and the sound of medical care being adminstered.
-No...This is not over, i can't lose yet...Not to him
Data show a slight spike in heart rate who was low so far.
-I'll carry on, in your name...I will claim victory whatever the cost may be.