Saints in the Shadows

Test run with new friends

The group is hired to recover merchandise stolen from another team of troubleshooters.

The comm lights up for the first time at Cloak and Dagger Solutions that I have seen since Cloak ‘took’ a vacation 38 hours ago. The comm displays Bobo, some simian hybrid, and one of Cloaks‘s friends. I answer the comm and Bobo seems confused that it is not Cloak who answered and asks to speak with him. When I explain that he is not here, is seems quite discouraged, but then almost skittishly asks me if I’d like to help him on a job. Since the comm has not received a call in over 72 hours, I agree. It seems unlikely that my absence in this office will be noticed. Besides Bonz will probably take the call and relay anything pertinent. I agree to meet him at Club Vortex on the Gold Coast. I comm a taxi and I am halfway there before I remember that this area his quite secure. For some reason, I thought I remembered that it was fairly run down, and brought my weapons without thinking. I will have to stash them before I enter, I’d not want to cause any problems if I had reason to use them. Luckily, Bobo and his crew arrive in a nondescript economical van, and I am able to store my gear with their equipment in the van. Aside from the simian, he is with another man and woman. After a moment, I am introduced to Nova, a confident bodyguard and Anise, who has no offered or discernible skill set. When told of a 500 credits cover to enter the establishment, Bobo informs the security guards that we are here so see someone named Coal, and they let us enter sans charge, and tell us to proceed to room three.

Once inside, we make it through a throng of people, and and overwhelming aural and sonic bombardment back towards room three. A waitress offers to get us drinks, and while I seldom imbibe, I order a drink in an attempt to better fit in to the club. It is observed that Bobo is the only other one to order a drink, as the other two abstain. We enter room three and see an older man sitting at one end of the table. He is notably armored, something uncommon in this district. He is also flanked by security. Evidently our employer is serious about his protection. He identifies himself as Coal tells is that his employers had a prototype piece of cyberware stolen from their undisclosed faculty approximately 48 hours ago along with the blueprints, research data & technical specifications, by an unidentified team. We are simply offered 100,000 to recover and return the cyberware and 10,000 for each of the other stolen materials. He is very protective of his identity as well as the identity of his employers, even to the point of being restrictive of essential intelligence. Watching the edited security footage, we see 6 men enter the facility and proceed directly towards the labs where the item was stolen from. Of the 6 men, 2 of them run point, serving as a effective and lethal tandem, quickly eliminating several security guards. The rest of the team’s actions define them as a marksman, hacker, technician and psion. While viewing the footage, we are joined be another troubleshooter, a woman named Cindyloowho who we are told, will be accompanying us on the mission. The rest of the footage shows them doing directly to the stolen items, while ignoring everything else. On the way out, they are ambushed by security and one of the point men falls, but the rest of the group escapes, with several having sustained injuries. The fallen thief has been identified as Rufus Santiago, a former CDF who has been off the grid for the last few years.

This theft seems too efficient for any team on their own. While they were almost caught on the way out, but managed to make it into the facility and to their prize without wavering. This could only be accomplished if they knew exactly where it was at, as well as the means to navigate to it. The team also seems to agree that they must have been fed intelligence. There was an insider in this theft. Someone who works here. I ask Coal if there has been any sudden changes in his employees. He says that three people have quit since this incident, stating that they no longer feel safe. However, statistical analysis disagrees with. It is far more likely that this well financed nameless facility will undergo a substantial improvement to security,and when added in to the likelihood that the thieves got what they wanted and are therefore unlikely to return, reduces the chance of another violent crime here in the next 240 days by over 85% Only one of the former employees that quit had had access to the area where the theft happened. Coal agrees to provide us that employee’s personnel data, again heavily edited, shortly and take leave, offering us the room for the rest of the evening. Upon his exit, he provides us 25,000 as an advance to cover expenses, and a business card for Patrick Coalman to contact him.

Bobo comms a friend, a mercenary by the sounds of it, and asks about Santiago. He is told that he knew of Santiago only as a fellow mercenary some time ago, in Nicaragua. He believes that he runs with a crew called the Eye or something similar. A search on in the Deep shows two local groups with “Eye” in their name – the Black Eyes and the Shadow Eyes. The leader of teh Black Eyes has been incarcerated for more than the last 6 months, and one of his former teammates is now some minor local celebrity, so it seems unlikely that it is them. The other team is rumored to have robbed the Chicago Stock Exchange only a few months ago. Reviewing the poor and limited footage of that robbery, we find much similarity between the teams, while some of the members do not match up, the two point men are almost certainly the same. Bobo received the data from Coal. Our primary suspect for the inside man, Charles Francois, lives in Oak Forest. We loaded up in the van and made for Oak Forest.

As we head to Francois’ residence, I take stock of my companions. If things get violent, as they always do, I need to know what I am dealing with. Bobo carries a pair of large pistols, that seem far too big for him to effectively manage. No doubt they’ll do some serious damage, but they seem more unwieldy that he’d likely admit. He is nimble, I can see that from the way he moves, but it is probably more flight than fight. Speaking of agile, Cindyloowho moves with the confidence of someone who knows how to survive. I’ve little doubt of her ability to hold her own. Nova carries a sidearm, and says he is a bodyguard. Let’s hope he is good at his job. Anise, I have no idea. She also carries a pistol and hopefully knows the dangerous end. Let’s hope looks are deceiving, she does not yet impress. I gauge their overall threat response capacity at 44.5, with a 3.3 point variance, but that is simply based on observation, not affected by external stimulus.

Arriving in Oak Forest, we quickly identified Francois’ house The back looked heavily secured, so we entered through the front door, courtesy of Cindyloowho. The location and property itself was unimpressive, better than the Boneyard, but nothing to justify the new entertainment center that occupies the majority of the house. It seems that Francois spent some considerable cred recently. We abruptly wake him and confronts him of his actions, and he quickly confesses that he was approached by the group, who paid him considerably for intelligence on the facility. Bobo and Cindyloowho also get him to namedrop his former employer, SmartWare, a relatively new cybernetic company and that the item stolen was a reflex booster. Not only did we just confirm that our suspicions have so far been accurate, we also know who our employer is and what was stolen. He admittedly did now know much about the thieves, beyond that they contacted him for the job and paid him well, it identified the psion as Luis, and that he called the technician ‘friend.’

After quick hack of the local street securecams, we are able to identify various members of the Shadow Eyes in footage at the two times that they would have been in the area. We are able to get the vehicle’s license numbers and Cindyloowho comms Cloak, who must run it by Lex for they quickly tell us that the vehicles have both been reported as stolen from a lot near the former Austin Library in Northside. The first vehicle has been recovered, found at the same lot in fact, but the second one is still missing. Either still being used or perhaps dumped elsewhere. With some hesitancy, we agree that we should head to the irradiated Arlington Heights district, as the recent car thefts originate there. Perhaps we can pick up their trail once we are there. Once there, we find the lot and I look around for spots where the lot could be watched and easily access. While there are a few spots, it proves much easier just to ask the locals. One man, for the cost of a cheap bottle of rum, takes us to the location where he claims recently saw the last stolen car. Sure enough, he points into a garage who’s door is partially opened. The house appears to be at an odd slant, and this is confirmed by the bum who believes that this abode did not look like this yesterday. We split up and I enter in the front with Anise, while Bobo enters the garage and Nova and Cindyloowho secure the back. We enter in tandem, and realize that something has seemingly burrowed underneath the house, as we all tumble into a deep pit. While we are fortunate enough to not sustain any serious injury, others before us were not so fortunate. All the members of the Shadow Eyes we know about, except the technician lie down here with us – two of the bodies appear to have sustained fatal damage from the fall when their stolen car plummeted into the hole, while the other two were killed by something more savage, likely from they pit where they, and now, us landed in. This may not bode well for my new found allies.

Before we proceed, we notice a ruck sack under the car. Opening it up, we see what appears to be the technical specs for the cyberware. We grab the ruck and proceed through the tunnels with caution. Whatever dug out this tunnel here, did not likely worry about if being structurally safe. We don’t know what is above us, and the wrong move could bring an apartment building crashing down upon us. The tunnel widens and narrows seemingly with no discernible intent. It would seem that whatever tunneled in here, unintentionally ended up at their safe house. Several of my allies seem to have night vision, but the remaining ones now are relying on my As we round one bend, we stumble across a smaller cross tunnel, to which rats, as large as Ajacutty pour out, looking for an easy meal. No luck for them, we are well armed and armored. Ballistic armor and high-velocity ammunition end their futile assault. A few of my allies, crawl into the tunnel to discover a rat’s nest and in it, the case containing the blueprints.

A while later, the tunnel opens up into a sub-level, who’s room beyond leads to the surface, and we can hear voices inside it. Before we surprise the occupants, two hybrid-dog gangers, and quickly dispatch them, we overhear one of them say to the other that “Viper said it would would totally do for the Gold Coast.” We leave one breathing and ask him for clarification on his gang’s intentions. It appears that his boss, Viper has himself a tactical nuke he found buried that he intends to use on the Gold Coast. While I have no loyalty to anyone on the Coast, this attack could affect hundreds to thousands of innocent people. Whatever vendetta this Viper has, I will not idly stand by and let him carry out his plans unimpeded. His clubhouse is a few blocks away, so we convince him to escort us there, ideally, we can deal with this Viper quickly.

Once there, my allies are debating on how to enter, when a muffled explosion from inside the building buckles both heavily secured doors, followed almost immediately by the rapports small arms fire. While the doors have been heavily damaged, they are still quite secure, and it takes a moment to torque them enough to gain entry. In the hallway beyond, we see the scoring of a grenade, and movement down the end of the hall. It appears that the gangers, known as the [[Fangs Forward] have been attacked by some well armed men, armed and armored in a samurai motif. While I am unsure of what or who they represent, they appear to be inflicting considerable damage on the gangers. A ‘samurai’ soldier lies motionless at the next hallway, so I make my way toward him, dodging fire from the cross hallway, as the gangers have now seemingly improvised some defense at the end of the hallway. The samurai is dead, having sustained fatal wounds from small arms. He is armed with a katana, who’s sheath is built into his armor. At the incessant nagging from Nova, I toss the him the sword, who excitedly picks it up and wields it like a prized birthday present. You have a sword, good for you, kid. The samurai’s side arm is a Gyroc, somewhat uncommon for those outside the military or police and the like, so I scoop up the firearm and his spare clips as we prepare to involve ourselves in this little skirmish.

We press on, through the new few rooms, and pass nothing living. Eventually, we come to a recreational room, with a few gangers pressed against a wall, behind a makeshift barricade. Facing them are a few of the samurai. We move in and dispatch the samurai, but a stray round or two strikes a ganger, killing him. While our intent was not to hurt them, as they may ease our process of finding Viper. They are uncertain if they believe that we are sincere about our lack of hostility against them, but they are too scared to call us on it. We ask for the location of Viper, and they gesture behind them, to the door they were guarding, and bolt for the main entrance. Kids. We move through the door and up the stairs to a long hallway with several doors. With a nose or ear to the air, Nova points to one of the doors at the far end, and we enter through the door.

The remains of a man is lying on an office desk. I’m no medic, but he is beyond saving. If this is Viper, we are not getting anything out of him. A large window is broken inward, suggesting someone or something came in from the second floor. Peering out the window, we see several of the samurai at the bottom of a rope, making their way to several vehicles some ways distant. Two of them are lugging a rucksack to the vehicles. Seeing nothing in the office that looks like a bomb, we quickly agree that the item in the ruck is likely the bomb, and set off in pursuit.

By the time we get down, and to their vehicles, they have sped off in two of them, leaving one remaining. Bobo, Anise & Nova cram into in the cab while me and Cindyloowho jump into the bed. We catch up them and manage to run one of them off the road. It is not the one with the ruck, so we continue after the other truck, quickly catching up to it. As soon as we are close enough, I jump over and into the bed of their truck. The samurai assumes a combat stance, much to my satisfaction. Ignoring the 100kmh speeds the we are traveling at, a calm settles over me as we face each other. He is a challenge as I find ourself unable to gain an advantage against each other. While I am confident that it is only a matter of time before I am the victor, my so-called allies have other plans. I hear the sound of gunfire, as I see shots tear into the cab. Not so surprisingly, the truck suddenly loses control and within a nanosecond, we are careening out of control.

I find myself thrown into the side of the bed as the truck rolls over, throwing out my adversary. When the truck is completely upside down, I find myself falling about a half meter to the ground as the vehicle continues it’s death throes, impacting moments later into the corner of a sturdy building. Miraculously, I stand up, completely unscratched. My allies screech to a halt in the truck, and jump out, looking dumbfounded at my unharmed condition. Dismissing their concerns, we quickly determine that the samurai were not as fortunate as me. They all lie scattered about, both in and out of the vehicle. Thankfully, we locate the ruck and open it, only to discover that the case of the nuke has ruptured. Almost immediately, Nova begins showing signs of radiation sickness, and I fear we may not be far behind. None of us have any skill in this matter, so we secure it up, and anonymously call the local authorities, informing them of the ruptured bomb.

Having yet to find the necessary cyberware, nor the missing thief, we head back to the gangers hq and talk to them. Perhaps they may have a lead for us. We try to convince them of our role in their survival, having fought the samurai here. A bit of cash helps and they tell us that they scooped up the thief and he is being kept in a safe room down the hall. Having purchased him, we make to the room, only to see that it is empty. Nova, while reeling from the effects if his exposure, and yet still refusing to leave, indicates that more than one person left through the window and appears to be traveling on foot. We follow, and quickly catch up with a wounded man, fitting the description of the thief being assisted by one last samurai. He sees us approaching and stops. While not threatening, he clearly is marking the thief as his territory. Instead of fighting, which I want to do, we parley. The samurai says his charge is the return of this man, but allows us the opportunity to talk to him. Since his options seem limited, we manage to convince him to sell us the cyberware. He does not want to, but eventually relents and takes it to a burnt out car near the tunnel entrance. In the trunk is the cyberware and the research data. We scoop them up, allowing the samurai and his charge to leave and make our way out of the zone.

We drop Nova off at a med center to get fixed up and call Coal, who seems impressed at our quick accomplishments. He payed us, and even added a bonus for our efficiency. Now, I can go an pay the rent, which Cloak conveniently forgot to do before he left town. As far as my new friends go, they seemed to do well, even without a great talent at fighting. As a group, we worked together well, and their non-combat skills, such as tracking, driving or etiquette helped in situations where I would have had a significant challenge.

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Smorgie

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