Shadowrun: Frangible Reputation

Hounds from Hell

How long has it been now? Five days? Six? Maybe it’s only been Two. Sometimes a day can feel like a week, and a week like an hour. I need to sleep, but there’s more work. I don’t remember or care why we’re doing this, just that I want to be paid, and data retrieval seems simple enough.

Seems like no one is in a hurry to start. I’d try to sleep, but it’s not even worth the effort. Weapon shopping should give me all the relaxation I need. The rest of the team seems to agree this is a good idea too. Tatanka still has that kid, maybe I should buy him something for it? Like a leash?

Before I realise it I’m out on the road. At least the freezing air will keep me awake; it’d be almost refreshing if it didn’t hurt so much. Concentrate on the road… one mistake in these conditions and it’s over… Wait, what’s that? Techincals. Full of human purists. What a waste of time, hopefully the others are smart enough to just ignore them.

So Patty did not ignore them. He threw his beloved lubricant all over the road and caused an admittedly spectacular accident. At least it was quick and clean. I think I will always admire Patty’s creativity when it comes to destroying things.

Looks like this is the place. Pretty nondescript, just a standard ruined building I’ve come to expect. Guess the front door is as good as any.

It’s amazing how one simple, sleep deprived mistake can nearly kill you. The Hellhounds in the building did not appreciate our entering. Luckily we could escape and seal the building before we where left to be forgotten in this shithole. Roof seems like a better place to start, maybe we can pick the hounds off safely.

The quiet one seems to agree and makes a show of getting up there. No one seems to even notice him. He is real, right? No time for that. Grapplegun lands true as ever and off I go. Wait, who’s that? Fantasy Elf? The fuck is going on? Well he better answer quickly because I’m in no mood to have my time wasted…..

High-class outings

Free time isn’t free. It costs. Even if all you are doing is lying around dreaming of your next job, the total nuyen of your net assets is slowly going down. However you spend your free time, visiting your mother, practicing shooting people in the face, or whining about Johnsons on your favorite shadowboard, you’re interrupted with a notification alert, the elegant icon of Laurent Nazaire sealing the message to your privacy keys only.

“Hoi, mes amis. As requested, I have done all I can to reduce the rather large shadow your crew has left in Seattle of late. However even a miracle-man such as I has limitations; you’ll need to get out of town for at least a month. Your sins are too great for even the best of SINs to bear, aha. The good news is that I have arranged an opportunity to do just that. If you are available, please meet me at the Seattle Yacht Club, 9PM tonight.”

Going Dark

With a sigh Tatanka hunches his shoulders in a quite familiar way and sidles into his new home. Almost half a metre too short for Tatanka to stand straight-backed, the new squatting location is a decrepit shipping container at Patty’s private (and unlisted) boatyard. A proverbial haystack in a baling shed, the container is both a necessity, given Tatanka’s recent infamy, and a blessing, serving as a more secure, stable home when compared to a tepee barely hidden on private property. As Tatanka drops his garbage bag of meagre possessions he sees clearly before him the work that must be done to prepare this new sweat lodge.

Forced underground, Tatanka and his group (perhaps the only runners willing to work with him) have some time to reinvent themselves. Many return to their roots, others retest their limits, and one even disappears completely, never to be seen again. The dark, corrupt streets of Seattle are unforgiving to corporate pariahs. Tatanka himself takes time to develop his wisdom, wits and personality, by stealing into Patty’s property and reading IRA propaganda while watching old western trids. As his grasp of their dire situation grows he considers a new moniker for the streets, ‘Redwood’, though he knows it would not be wise to adopt it until the heat lessens.

Fortunately to that end the party squeezed one extra favour out of their last Johnson, Laurent Nazaire, on top of their agreed payment. Given the difficulty of acquiring Parker Arkson from the Yorijushi building, the high-exposure car chase to get a valuable hermetic tome from a public library, the explosive helicopter ambush at Kobe Terrace, and all culminating in a risky hostage exchange, the shadow running team had accrued a “vaunted” reputation and a need to have it quieted (Tatanka’s popularity amongst youths on the Matrix notwithstanding).

With an enemy like Horizon breathing down his neck, Tatanka knows he will have plenty of time to wait while a sufficient cover up is fabricated. It is while scrounging in a dumpster behind a low-to-nil foot traffic stuffer shack that he receives word of a job. Moreau the fixer has turned grieving and livid Johnson, wanting answers about the death of his daughter, Rebecca, as well as possession of her killer or her killer’s head. Tatanka is on his way to the rendezvous in the ork underground before he even reads the reward for the job.

The sombre (but hardly sober) Patty, the irritable and twitchy Phae, the eerily unaffected Dexter and the empathetically invested Tatanka approach Rebecca’s brownstone (practically opulent by Ork Underground standards). They are stopped at the door by a local ork ganger who refuses them entry given his own personal vendetta in regards to the murder. With quick words and sound minds the team curbs Phae’s lust for blood and make it clear that their participation in this will increase his chance for vengeance. They are allowed inside, somewhat reluctantly.

Unfortunately Rebecca’s home reveals little new information, the Knight Errant crime-scene clean-up crew being far too efficient for the Runners’ liking. With the only leads being Rebbecca’s reputation as a well-liked hermetic mage and some paperwork around her studies, majoring in history (specifically the genealogy of the ork underground), Tatanka suggests a costly compromise.

Tosh Athack, unashamedly corrupt Knight Errant detective, passes on the crime report of Rebecca’s killing for a smaller fee than usual. Apparently an M.O. that copies a killer that Athack himself put down is bad for one’s reputation. Renewed activity from beyond the grave by the “Mayan Cutter” is the only new lead, though the party does note a significant difference about the killings, beyond the less methodical (and more brutal) nature of the killings. The recent targets, including Rebecca, are all orks and trolls, the goblinized metahumans, while the original “Mayan Cutter” had a handful of dwarves and humans to his name, and no recorded troll killings. The copycat is more particular about their targets.

With only one lead left to follow, the Runners begin their journey to the Seattle university where Rebecca was enrolled. However, Phae notices and relays to the party that their convoy is being followed, before slipping back through the traffic to get behind their pursuers. Hatching a hasty plan, the group turns their vehicles down into an underground parking lot. Thinking they have more time, Tatanka leaps from their vehicle to roll behind cover and out of sight. Not only does his roll fall short, but the tailing van follows down the ramp much sooner than expected and, spotting the crouched troll, floors it straight at him.

With too little time to brace himself, Tatanka is knocked out (but otherwise unharmed) by the oncoming van, which is itself almost completely disabled by the impact against his bulk. Celebrating their small victory, a group of loud human gangers step from their vehicle, the colours and symbols of their anti-metahuman ethos proudly displayed. Their joy is short lived, however, when the remaining runners perforate the hateful men, interrogate the lone, brief survivor and set their van aflame. The thug, George Mathers, reveals that they were hired to take down the Runners, but by whom he hoped to take to his grave. His commlink, however, betrays the name Shaun Walker, a name too common for a quick Matrix search to further embellish. Much lubrication and effort is needed to return the sleeping troll to his smuggling compartment.

Our runners, unfazed professionals through and through, proceed to the university, consulting administration for Rebecca’s unused dorm, before falling on more useful information, her key leading professor, Dr. James Rogers. Finding the member of faculty is much easier than extracting information from him, but the bluff quickly turns to truth when it appears Dr. Rogers’ noble aims align with theirs. Though he is still shocked and dismayed about Rebecca’s untimely murder he reveals that he had shared her personal details with another organisation before her death, the Humanis Group, led by the publicly lauded and privately loathed Shaun Walker, outspoken Anti-Metahuman activitst.

With all the clues and leads lining up to form a plausible conclusion, and little else to go on, the party commit to the apprehension or elimination of Shaun Walker. Detective Athack gives away Walker’s most likely location, Greenborne Imports in the Redmond Barrens, though he warns that the Runners have only a few hours to act before Knight Errant fall on the Junkyard Club in force. His reputation depends on the removal of this Mayan Cutter copycat, or whoever gives the kill orders.

In a truly rare instance of planning, stealth and expertise, the party begins their assault on the compound with limited early exposure. Phae cuts a silent and bloody path around the perimeter, backed-up by Patty who makes powder of any other visible guard. Klaus monitors the situation from the air via drone and, through his favourite micro-drone, knocks out the guard dog keeper before he can set the trackers loose.

The plan goes to shit when Tatanka trips an invisible alarm around the outer car-wreck fence of the compound. A combination of sniper fire, stealth assassination, drone assault, concussive magic blast and HE grenade makes neat work of the remaining guards positioned at the compound’s gates and those spilling from the main building. Walker himself, clearly heavily augmented, is little more than a blur of movement and gunfire, pinning many of the party down. By a stroke of luck and wry technology, the party manages to pin down his position, long enough to pelt their quarry with flashbangs and more concussive magic. Barely able to believe it themselves, the party secures their target, alive, and flees the scene as Knight Errant sirens blare in the distance.

What Moreau and Rebecca’s thug boyfriend do with the incapacitated Shaun Walker is best not left to the imagination, though given his actions the party finishes their run with eased consciences, each one ten thousand Nuyen richer.

Subtle as a grenade at a helicopter

[[NewsNet Special Report – 21:58:15]]
Late-night shoppers were treated to something of a surprise this evening, as a firefight broke out on the side of the Horizon Splendour Building between building security and several as-yet unidentified assailants. Our SkyEye reporter drones can confirm that the assailants breached a balcony on the upper levels of the building via zipline, then proceeded down the walls of the building several minutes later. Why do YOU think they attacked Horizon in such a brazen manner? Click HERE to tell us what you think!

Another view

And there it is, the noise that has taught me to cringe over the last few weeks, and just as I finally managed to fall asleep too. I open the new message on my com-link and my fears are realised. Well, it’s from the big one, so at least it’ll be an interesting read. Well he tried to put in English, at least up until the point it got stuck on emoticon mode…. Oh, a map with a smiley face on one of the buildings, guess that’s a start.

I roll out of bed; a sudden sharp pain pierces my side. A reminder of what these people have put me through in the last week. I guess this is why parents tell kids to stay away from “the wrong crowd”. At least these jobs pay well, so it’s not all bad. Just.

I ride up to the indicated building, noticing a collection of all too familiar vehicles out the front. Looks like everyone is here, how unfortunate. The briefing starts, seems like a simple enough job. Evacuate a mage from the building next door. My kind of work, I don’t even need these other idiots, but at least they’ll make good flak.

After some arguing, we have a “plan”, at least comparatively to what has happened previously. I wonder how long until they fuck it up. We’re going rope across from our building to theirs, take over the security, and I’m going to walk out the front door with the mark. The German easily takes the guard on the balcony down and then it’s my turn. As the rest of my companions are too fat to be held up by the grapple line, I get to swing across with a second rope, hopefully steel reinforced.

Everyone made it across with no deaths, I guess this is what you call progress. The Dwarf seems to be doing his job, and security is ours. Time to do some real work. Slipping into and around the presentation is easy enough. I explain to security that I’ve come for the kid, hope the dwarf can think on his feet. Seems everything went well, even convinced the guard to get the kid’s stuff for me.

Idiots giving a speech and won’t shut up. If this keeps up he won’t make it out of here alive. Finally he’s stopped, but seeing me puts him on edge. Not that I care, I just want to get out of here. I take him to the elevators, but something is happening in the matrix. Looks like we’re losing control of security, so it’s now or never I suppose.

Long elevator ride, wonder what the others are doing. Of course they’re having a gun fight on the side of a mega-corp building, anything else might be considered “professional” or “boring”. Works for me, they’re a distraction anyway. I causally walk out the front door, kid in tow. Nobody questions me, this is too easy. Morons have a crowd now, but Patty does a good job at clearing them away. It’s amazing how someone can be the cause and solution to so many problems. Anyway, looks like we’re off to his boat, which I can only assume is either upside down or a canoe.

Extreme sports

13:01 >Recieve ancient, completely unencrypted message from that big native idiot Bison.
>Apparently one of his equally dim contacts has got him a job and he’s offered me a slice. I guess I made an impression. Clack a few imaginary buttons in the air, make the lights dim a bit and suddenly he’s like a four year old at a magic show.
>I need the money and if he called up the same guys then at least I’ll get lost amongst the memorable faces.
>It is my preference.

19:50 >Got held up running a particularly tough raid.
>Arrived atop one of the taller Seattle buildings. Seems the brief already started. Something about extracting a some corp mage from a big party in a building across the road.
>Runners are bickering about how to get down there, like the don’t know basic math. Probably don’t. Calculated the descent angle and the equipment will do.
>Subtle as a hot sim, runners use drones to knock out the chef or whatever and kill the cams. We get over there to suss out the party.
>We’ve got a pic, but even so it’s like looking for a line of code in the matrix in there. So I switch over and work my way into security.
>Takes a couple of tries but I get admin control and use the interior cams to find our guy.
>Spot him inside and the runners finally hatch a plan.
>I put in a security order about one of their higher ups coming to collect him. Takes a bit of guile but it gets done.
>Phae sneaks in and then saunters, all corp like, to our boy, intercepting him from the stage.
>She runs her line and escorts him to the elevators.
>Admin Sec bot arrives and tries to lock me down. I fire off a few commands, keeping the door open for Phae. She makes it and I disco.
>Back with the nutbags, we’re doing the cliffhanger thing down the side of the building, me leading while strapped to the sweaty indian moron.
>Rifle fire high above, probably security on the roof. Runners do the best, probably cop some fire, I dunno.
>Me and the lug get to the ground, threaten some screaming people, pop the jammer a few more times and hop in the German’s van.
>The others get down, a bit bloody, and we rocket out of there after Phae and the money, to hole up and wait for the Johnson.

A thoughtful gift

Tatanka was unsure how much longer he could tell his tale in the waning light. He would need to extinguish his fire soon, lest the embassy’s roving security find his home in this secluded grove. So he pressed on,

“The man with Italian ancestors who ran the den of lights and sound could not meet us to deliver his final task. The one who spoke for him explained that a group of outlaws had been harming the innocent and taking treasures at a local marketplace. Their own lawmen could not be found, so it fell to us to stop the outlaws for good.

“We went to the place of trade and spoke to the people. Many tusked faces like mine were there and yet they did not follow my words. My friends gathered wisdom and a plan to stop the outlaws, but as they did so the outlaws arrived. My friends told me not to stop them, even as they took treasures from the innocent, but one of the outlaws, the biggest and angriest, spoke to me. He asked me who I served, whose lands I called home, and I told him. He asked for my treasures and I shared only what I could of my prized talismans and medicine. This infuriated the outlaw leader who went for his weapon. But he could not find it, instead seeing my friend of polished leather as she disappeared into the crowd. But my friend is good at being invisible and no amount of violence by the outlaws could make her seen again. As the outlaws got more angry, my small friend cleverly whispered to their ears that the unseen one had been caught and taken to the outlaw village. Cleverer still my friends used metal insects and calling boxes to track the leader back to his village.
“It was here that my friends gave me an important task. To deliver a gift to the house the outlaws lived in. They promised it was a surprise and that it would bring justice to these criminals. Relieved I would not deliver death to these men, I quickly and quietly placed the gift where I was asked and as we left the earth shook with such great force that I can only assume every sheriff and lawman in the city had come to collect them.

“Finally we met the one with Italian ancestors again. For doing so well he revealed to us that all along he had been the Joon-Yah we had been searching for. But before we would take him to the sheriff, he told us his own story, and explained how all that he had done was good, that he fought outlaws and protected the innocent and that the stories of his evil were not truth. What we had seen was true to his story, so we let him go free, telling the sheriff that the evil Joon-Yah she sought did not exist.

“She was not pleased, but Joon-Yah gave us many treasures, and we swelled with the good deeds on our hearts. Now return to your dens, city creatures, and I will tell you more tales tomorrow.”
Tatanka scooped a great handful of earth and doused the fire.

A gun of explosions

Clearly gripping the attention of his collected animal friends, Tatanka continued his tale.
“Down the tunnel and stream we were in a familiar place of water and rock and wood. The pirate’s cove was home to many watering holes so we walked the street, hoping to find any survivors of the Murphy’s massacre. Instead we found a friendly man who offered us very still water. I liked it.
“The man told us that finding Joon-Yah would not be easy but that a friend of his might be able to help. A friend of a friend is also a friend… I think, so we followed the snakewater man’s direction to another grim house of lights and noise. This new man, much less friendly, offered us more wisdom if we helped him with three tasks. Firstly he wished us to protect his caravan of goods from bandits called Halloweeners. We were unsure but agreed.

“Early the following morning we rode out with the caravan and just as expected we were ambushed. The small one had offered me his great automatic rifle and, after many years practicing my accuracy aloft the roof of trains, I fired the bow from the open doors of the little one’s van. The bow roared with fire and the earth shook as a force like the great Ghost Dance itself tore the bandits asunder. Those that survived were unhappy and as one who could touch the spirits tried to distract us I quickly spoke the words to the winds to stop him. Their metal birds did not like this and once again I was winded and tired by their gunfire. As my friends protected me in my exhaustion, the last of the bandits fell. We repaired the caravan and saw it to its destination.

“The second task was to deliver food and medicine supplies ourselves by wagon and bicycle through the winding depths of the Underground. The supplies went to children in need and we all felt very proud.

Hunting Jr.

As the sun fades purple in the escaping evening light, passing through the many murky clouds over Seattle, Tatanka the troll approaches the warm campfire just outside his teepee. Crossing his legs on the ground he completes a circle of native seattle creatures, such as evening pigeons, ragged rats and surprisingly large and patient ants, as they too enjoy the inviting glow. Tatanka is certain that they return to his fireside, on the far back lawn of the Sioux embassy, because they enjoy the stories he tells of his escapades in the unforgiving city, for they return even when he takes a few of their number for dinner each night. Even now a collection of mostly plucked pigeon meat rests in a hot trash can lid, dangled over the flames. As Tatanka plucks one of the wholest and prettiest feathers from his evening meal, he rests his staff across his legs and begins to speak to the creatures.

“Many moons passed after The Bison hooked claws with the Ghost Gator. I earned many treasures for my courage, and hid them in my secret place-”

Tatanka practically winks at the freshly turned pile of earth between the rows of ‘memorial cotton’ a few feet from his lodge.

“But to find a safer home, that I might speak to my ancestors in peace, I needed more treasures, more courage. So I answered the voices on the wind, I travelled to a house of feasting where my little plastic friend had a platter of food from my homeland brought to me. As I ate, my friends and I spoke to a Jon-Son in the unreal. This Jon-Son was a deputy who hoped we could make her Sheriff. She pledged many treasures, and her favour, and we accepted. I shared my feast with another deputy, one as big as I. And we were friends.

“We had to find one called Joonyah. He was a criminal, one of ambition and secrecy. We spoke far to our friends for clues and were approached by another free spirit, like The Bison, who wandered the streets, ate from the unwanted, and relieved himself whenever he pleased. Only later would my friends explain that it was deception! He was one who spoke to the people, swearing truth and intrigue. They said he was not to be trusted. His beard hung from strings.

“We also recieved smoke signals. Another faceless speaker, who claimed the deceiver was not to be trusted. Her words were not new thoughts for us but we considered their offers, and their treasures, nonetheless.

“Many tracks and scents pointed to a den of emerald and misery. My fast talking foreign friend was very excited to go. But when we arrived many deputies with flashing lights and dark scowls were wheeling the departed away. The land was thick with violence and restless spirits, and our searches within led us to tunnels underground. We were unsure if we should explore them.”

Specter Crocodile

The_Goblin_King: Update from my nephew. All reports about these guys are accurate. They’ve got no idea what they’re doing and they’re crazy as hell. He led them around in circles in the underground for ages, and when they were starting to cotton on they threatened to kill him unless he took them where they wanted. Whether or not he knew how to get there, he warned them against Ghost Gator’s gateway. No idea where that goes, but those fools got it into their heads it was a shortcut and dragged my nephew down there. They wandered around for another while and the last thing my nephew saw before he booked it was a giant albino gator landing on the troll and trying to bite his head off. They have to be dead.

GhostGatorChaser: It lives! All my years of searching! @The_Goblin_King, message me privately if you want some nuyen for any evidence your nephew might have found.
Undaworlda: Yo I’ve seen ghost gator too y’know? I flushed him when he was the size of my finger!
Hubcapz: Pretty sure I dated a guy who used ghost gator as a nickname. He had a fuckton of piercings down there.

TwoHalfPints: Oh, your runners aint dead. I regularly serve beers to a bunch of dockjockeys from the “ork underground area” who swear sideways they met at least three of those clowns. Apparently the dwarfAR and elf suit squeezed a colleague for whereabouts of Jack Turner, if you can believe it. When they found out where they just moseyed off. And the troll the kid said was mauled by a gator? Barely a scratch on him.

Undaworlda: Yeah, Ghost Gator aint shit.

TwoHalfPints: Alright heads up people there was an explosion just down the road from where I work. Some labourers I know came running past, described your Shadowrunners setting off an alarm at some factory then blowing a wall open, killing a bunch of workers and drones and then snatching a couple of folks and bailing into the night. No idea who they nabbed but these guys really are crazy.

Illuminutty: These Runners work with the Fuzz! Just hit up my source again, barely even had to bribe ’em they were so pissed. Apparently one of their fellow badges just picked up a career maker who was tied up in his boat not far from the factor-


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