This Is Halloween, Part 2

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This Is Halloween, Part 2
Part of Hail to the Pumpking
Date2083-10-17
GMAsmodeus
LocationSophocles, Redmond
Status Threat Level: Deadly
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven
Pump King Jack
Horizon
Babylon
Swerve
Lumina
Cleaner Cleaner
Horizon Black Ops Team
Hotel California
Casualties and losses
Swerve's clothes Horizon Black Ops

Summary

The Sophocles community council is acting weird, people discover two of them are probably brainwashed by Horizon's psy op division.

Background

After the Starscreamers and Pump-King Jack took over Sophocles and he was subsequently banished, the area had been relatively untouched by outside interests. The Vory's debt-racketing hospital was demolished, other gangs didn't have much interest in toiling with such a dangerous and demonic gang and after the fact the place was so steeped in rancid astral energies that few wanted to have anything to do with it. Seizing the opportunity, locals formed their own Community Council to decide on matters pertaining to Sophocles.

The Meet

The meet happens in the City Hall, a repurposed office building that the Community Council decided to just outright start squatting in for their meetings. When the team arrives, they find Bone Daddy, a local full-body-replacement cyborg with tailored greyware implants looking like human bones. He and two former Starscreamers opened fire and declared the Community Council to be hostages until the runners' job is done. BD explains to the team that recently more and more of the council has started to vote pro-corporate which should be the opposite of the council's purpose: staying independent. He wants them to check the whole council lineup for foul play, or if they're just really feeling that way. One of the council members, Jennifer Ashton, has pull over a lot of the young men in Sophocles and will no doubt accrue a hate mob outside if she's gone for eight hours or longer. Things might get ugly and collateral damage is possible if the team can't solve it in that time, so that's the guaranteed safety limit he offers. Past that, things will get difficult.

The Plan

Swerve and Babylon aim to interrogate every council member while CC and Lumina do security around the building, ensuring no weird people are in there and occasionally hitting the field to investigate leads.

The Run

The investigation starts bit by bit. BD offers crude dossiers on all of the members:

  • Mason Stonehall is a large Fomorian Troll and a Magic 8 Physical Adept who owns a Stonehome-built single family apartment in Sophocles, the only one of its kind. Some suspect he's a drake, he's also wealthy.
  • Eunie Jacques Myria was an Ares SINner approached during her graduation by Shiawase. Apparently they tried poaching her, she refused and as revenge she was framed for corporate espionage, losing her future in Ares. She's now stuck here.
  • Jennifer Ashton is a former fashion supermodel for Horizon. She toured across the world but at some point lost favor and was kicked out of her circles. She now collects e-orbiters to fuel her ego in Sophocles.
  • The Speaker is a former Starscreamers member, her aura tainted by blood magic despite being mundane and her eyes replaced with blood crystals that can assense people.
  • Eustace is a man who has been across Canada and American continents, rolling with various gangs and generally flirts with anyone he finds attractive.
  • Raphael Vidius is a devout Christian who cares about community safety and is vehemently anti-Infected.

Interrogations reveal a few things, as do physical recon missions. Raphael has some kind of Infected monster hidden and sealed away in a chapel near Avondale that is used for its blood. The creature is from the Fifth World, laid dormant and was captured with great pains so its blood could be used in sanctified rituals to target Infected auras across an entire continent like North America. Lumina and CC were sworn to secrecy by discovering this. They lost most of their suspicions towards Raphael as a result. Eunie has two apartments: one in Sophocles, one in Yarrow Point (Bellevue). Upon investigations it was found that the Bellevue apartment is in Runner Avenue where various runners lived or retired. It has trid projectors on each window to make the apartment look like someone lives there, while in truth it's completely empty and unused. There's a secret basement with synthskin masks, Faceless systems, holdouts and briefcases with four names. Eustace has blurry memories for each Tuesday and Wednesday for the previous five weeks. Mason gives almost no information whatsoever, though it seems he just wants to be left alone and also acquired some kind of spirit box ring acting as a prison for a spirit. The ring's locations are unknown. Jennifer turns out to be a black mage and incredibly egotistical and shared spa coupons for everyone when she reached the #1 spot in Redmond's livestreamer subscription counts some weeks ago. Eustace took the offer with Jennifer and later it's shown that Eunie was there as well when Jennifer was mind probed, something that Eunie claimed to have never done. When Eunie's thoughts were skimmed over, this seemed to be a truthful statement.

The city hall had a bizarre radioactive generator providing all of the power. It had a limbless canine creature inside emitting gamma rays that the generator seemed to use to power itself. The team was perturbed by this, but it was reasonably well shielded with a makeshift coating. A bizarre team of four infiltrators broke in and almost euthanized the creature, but the team managed to intercept them. While they wielded powerful laser weapons, Blight grandes, flash packs and claymores, they were inevitably cornered and yelled for a 'code black' on their comms which seemed to trigger a powerful self-destruct in all of them, wrecking most evidence.

Aftermath

Conclusions end up being that Eustace and Eunie were brainwashed by the Horizon spa hotel called Hotel California in north Downtown, but they have no memories of it. Jennifer is considered by the team to most likely be an unwitting accomplice to the psy op instead of directly in on the secret. Bone Daddy is advised not to blow the cover and to instead keep an eye out on them and rely on BD being the tiebreaker vote. BD posts a guard detail on The Speaker at all times to ensure she doesn't get brainwashed as well, since Mason and Raphael are either too strong or too paranoid to be caught by these kinds of operatives.

Other interesting tidbits:

  • Speaker has recurring daily nightmares about a blinding light from the east burning her brains out through her eyesockets.
  • Raphael has an HMHVV-homing ritual bombing setup.
  • Hotel California is still functional, the same one that [Ca1yps0] encountered with [Master Morty] before.
  • Horizon is confirmed to be interested in Sophocles, along with Ares and possibly Shiawase.
  • Jack was disrupted with a drone assassin sniper that self-destructed to wreck all evidence.
  • Sophocles was donated a radioactive generator obviously made by hand. The donator is anonymous but claimed to be a fan.
  • Cleaner Cleaner accepted a tiny pumpkin pie from Pumpkin Jack, gaining +4 Karma (GM paid GMP to provide it)

Rewards (2x Runtime Multiplier, total 40 RVP)

  • 34 Karma (34 RVP)
  • 10,000 Nuyen (5 RVP)
  • 1 Street Cred (1 RVP)
  • 2 CDP

Optional Gear (can buy at half price): AA-16, Onotari Arms Equalizer and Fairlight Caliban

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Lumina: "So Horizon was behind it all, using mind magic to manipulate members of the council? I suppose that explains the mind magic that was attempted on me from those corporate infiltrators. Those men were dangerous, wielding laser weapons that put a lot of strain on me while I was being shot at with them. It's a miracle I survived at all, and thankfully, we were able to stop them before things escalated out of control."