A Shadowrun Based on Poison by Stick and Poke

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A Shadowrun Based on Poison by Stick and Poke
Part of Dance Around The Fire That We Once Believed - The Ex-Firewatch Story
Date2080-09-7
GMDrBurst
LocationPittsburgh, PA
Result Shadow Haven completed all objectives, Ares security soundly thwarted.
Factions Involved
Danny Boy
Kay-O
Purkinje
Tanuki
Wolf's Gaze
ex-Firewatch
Ares Internal Resistance
Ares Macrotechnology
Zecorpium Shadowrunner Spirits
Casualties and losses
None Massive property damage, loss of irreplaceable research data None

Summary

The runners were hired by the Ares internal and external resistance opposed to Project Pyro with the objective of destroying ritual samples and noting any that were missing. The samples were held in a highly secure facility in Pittsburgh.

Background

A former Ares employee from Spruce Knot, WV contacted the runners about a job against Ares and their sketchy ritual research.

The Meet

The team met the Johnson in a host made out to look like an American backyard barbecue. The offer was originally 10,000¥ apiece, but Danny Boy talked them up to 11,000¥ and half upfront. As former Ares employee, the Johnson had intimate knowledge of the facility and was able to provide information on both the physical and matrix security.

The Plan

The team decided to finesse the job, relying on legwork to support a series of bluffs to get them into the vault where the ritual samples were stored long enough to dispose of them and get out before anyone could stop them.

The Run

The runners flew to Pittsburgh from the Ancients' airfield in Seattle along with an odd-looking team of runners who seemed very knowledgeable about explosives. They bought some Ares corporate-approved clothes to blend in and received a rack of TNT to use on the safe if it came down to it. Purkinje did matrix legwork upfront by searching for online dossiers so Danny Boy could brush up on his con artistry. She also hacked into Ares' Pittsburgh regional host, bricked an important computer attached to facility, and then edited the security database's personnel files to register the team's SINs as authorized to be on site. In addition, she downloaded a strange file labeled, "PROJECT PYRO: MARKET INTEGRATION PLAN FOR SEATTLE." Delphi was unhappy with her for taking it, but she explained her concern for the world's welfare in the face of insect spirit invasion.

With the legwork out of the way, the team pulled up to the facility in meatspace. Knight Errant patrol officers almost caught them casing the perimeter, but they managed to play it off with Danny Boy's considerable face skills. Once at the gate, Danny Boy took on the persona of a highly displeased Ares Lieutenant General, and his bark was so fierce, no one questioned him for more than a moment. With the documentation seeming to back up his story, there was no room for doubt in the poor Ares security peons' minds.

Posing as a hardware specialist on the way in, Kay-O got to work on the vault door and had it open within seconds despite it having a high-tech anti-tampering mechanism. Purkinje kept the cameras occupied while Kay-O picked a mechanical safe inside that turned out not to have been changed from the default combination. Once inside, she browsed the documents and noted which ones appeared to be missing from the filing system per the contract. She rewired the temperature regulator that was keeping the ritual samples stable so that it wouldn't detect the fire she started, nor the bottles of bleach and turpentine she used to clean up. While it burned, Purkinje looked up the missing samples in the Ares database she had a direct connection to. She managed to snag a file labeled, "PLAN TO TARGET PROTOTYPE TRANSHUMAN EX-FIREWATCH LEADER IN SEATTLE."

Since they managed to avoid setting off any alarms, their way out was relatively unhindered. Tanuki leapt into action, driving the runners through a series of tight alleys like something out of a trid until they were safely out of Pittsburgh and able to rendezvous with the Ancients at the airfield. Ares VTOL craft seemed pursued them once they were aloft, but soon the other runner team was shown as piloting them.The pilots pulled high into the air and ejected then seemed to disappear mysteriously into thin air.

Aftermath

Ultimately, Ares was thoroughly embarrassed and lost millions of nuyen in property damage. The client was pleased, and the runners were paid as per the contract.

Rewards

  • 11,000¥ each, 5 karma each, +3 Rep with ex-Firewatch, +3 rep Ares: Anti-Project Pyro

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Purkinje's Report

Have you ever felt like you were just coasting your whole life, then you suddenly woke up and starting seeing yourself in a whole new way? I've had some close calls and all, but every run I've ever been on has been terrifying - anxiety fuel. This time felt different, somehow. It's hard to say exactly what did it. People were depending on me and I pulled through, but that's happened before. I got away without being detected, but that's happened before too. Something about this time felt like I was skating on a razor's edge, and there were a million moving parts to the plan that could've broken down at any point along the way. We did it, though. Téch, did we do it.

At first, I was nervous. A lot of the Haven runners have been talking about insect spirits, and it sounded like there was a high chance we'd run into them if things went sideways. The Ares host looked pretty tough, too. Most of my poking around in hosts has been small-time. But hey, the best shadowrunners can do the job without firing a single bullet, right? And I aim to be one of the best, not because I'm prideful but because I owe it to the people who trust me with their lives and nuyen. Anyway, I took time to pray to Delphi for Her favor, and I struck at the host. I got in without raising an alarm and took the time to brick a terminal that was in the facility we wanted to get into. Figured we could pose as tech support and get inside like that, classic con. I was really nervous though, and I had trouble threading my resonance spikes. Danny Boy managed to calm me down, though. He likes to keep things light, and between him and the Oracle, I was able to brick the machine in a few seconds. From there, I broke into the nested host containing the secure files and added fake profiles for the team into the authorized personnel list. Though, uh, not before I found this weird file that had something to do with Ares' insect spirit plans for operating in Seattle. Oracle wasn't happy I took that, but ultimately, she understood.

I struggled to sleep off the fading, thanks to my damn insomnia. We ended up going to sleep early so we could get up at midnight and catch the facility while they were still figuring out what the hell happened during the night shift. I dressed up in this Ares-themed technician outfit so I could pose as a matrix security assessment specialist and support Danny Boy's ruse. He ended up hardly needing my help, but goddamn if we didn't get straight to the safe room where the samples were being held without trouble. Kay-O was also terrifyingly effective. She had that vault open about as fast as I could loop the security camera feeds, except she was working with meat hands. Handled rewiring the safe like a pro, too. I'll admit my knowledge of hardware is... lacking. All I know is when the stuff is wired up right, I can feel it working. She IDed the missing samples before destroying the ones on site, and I was able to pull info about them from the database before wiping my presence in their system and getting the drek out of there.

Speaking of getting the drek out of there, Tanuki. Goddamn. I kept thinking we were gonna crash, but every time we came close to a wall or a corner, he snapped around it like it was the most natural thing in the world. My memory becomes pretty foggy at this point. I was really... freaked out? Hypnotized? I don't know a good word for it in English. It felt like how I always imagined zarien to be, a sudden transcendental awareness that drew my entire focus. I remember being shuffled back into that throwback airplane the Ancients used to get us to Pittsburgh, only now there were Ares VTOLs everywhere. They went down, and there were... things. Something I couldn't quite identify, like spirits of a rare sort. They vanished into thin air up in the atmosphere, no parachutes or anything. I really hope I'm not cursed now.

Y'know, I think I figured out what made it different. Every step of the way, there were people cheering me on, and I wanted to root for them too. They felt like people I could be friends with. Between the camaraderie and the frequent Sperethiel on this trip, it almost felt like home. Like... like there was somewhere I belonged for once. I've strayed from the Mes ti Draesis since my parents kicked me out, but... frag it, I'm in no shape to write more. This isn't a diary, anyway. Purkinje the Many-Branching, signing off.


Kay-O's Report

Okay, this was just fun.

First of all, I'm always game when it comes to kicking some chitinous bug butts. Abdomens, technically, I know. Whatever. So when the opportunity arose to stick some explosives into their throats, I couldn't stop myself from volunteering. Is it still volunteering if you get paid?

My good friend Danny and I met online with some new folks, Tanuki and Purkinje, a rigger and a technomancer, and went to meet the J. A bottle of pixel whisky later, we left with half the money up-front (thanks, Danny!), floorplans, fake Ares IDs, lists of names, security details, and the rest of the intel that a Johnson really should provide if they care about the stuff getting done. Also, we left with a plan of ducktaping a technomancer to a racing bike but in the end decided against that. Shame, would be entertaining.

Thanks to J's connections we hitched a ride to Pittsburgh on an Ancients airplane - the crappiest, oldest plane imaginable - in short, it was amazing, all the turbulence and the fear of dying. With us, four other runners sent by J. to help us out - apparently, they were to create a distraction for us, taking the Firewatch teams out of the Ares HQ and allowing us to work amidst the chaos and hilarity. They also gave us some TNT, total old school, with safety fuses and all. I'm not the biggest fan of blowing stuff up - it lacks the subtlety - but I get the appeal to not look at the explosions while looking cool.

So, the team was awesome. We all spoke Sperethiel which made the trip just amazing - who never heard Danny butchering the language, doesn't know how funny it sounds. Like, Sperethiel but with angry Scottish accent thrown on top of it. Apparently, Purkinje is a native speaker and Tanuki got to learn it because he wanted to, which is just amazing when you think about it. Somebody really giving a damn about "elven culture", wow.

Purkinje dug out some dirt on everybody of note in the Ares HQ so Danny was out reading up on them during the flight which made him a poor companion - but we still managed to drink a couple of beers with the crew. We spent most of the day in Pitt around the Ancients airstrip while working on our Master Plan.

The Master Plan: use P's incredible skills to get us added to the system in the HQ, then use Danny's immaculate BS abilities to get us through the door, then - well, me being me - and then taking advantage of Tanuki's excellent driving to get the hell outta dodge.

And you know what? Went off without a hitch. Like, not even one.

P's just splendid at what she does. A magician in the matrix. She hacked some stuff, bricked some stuff, and put our fake Ares IDs in the system as a scheduled maintenance with a back date. Tanuki and I put ourselves in Ares technician outfits, Danny and Purkinje kept the suits on, we signalled the distraction team, and then, in the middle of whatever 'Black Alarm' they had at the HQ, we just strolled inside, with Lt. General Danny conning, BS'ing and intimidating our way in. I found it hard not to laugh at the poor soldier's face. I found it harder not to gawk at the giant wasp soldiers we've met inside but hey - I wasn't paid to stare, so we just ignored them, and they ignored us.

Sub-basement 10 was just a sight for sore eyes. I mean, outside of all the eggs. But as Danny was being clever and dashing, and P got hold of the cameras around us, I took care of the vault door. Yeah, it had some redundant security on top of security, on top of security - but you know, nothing that can't be handled with a bit of skill and ten seconds. Seriously, people really don't know how to protect their stuff. So, with the vault doors open, I got to the safe with the ritual samples. It had the classic tumbler lock. Boy, it gave me trouble... That is, until I realised nobody bothered to change the default combination. Like, seriously. If you put a safe inside a vault, inside a sub-basement, inside an Ares HQ, behind a 6-meter wall in the middle of the city... Just do me a favour of actually protecting the stuff. So, I opened the safe, rewired the temperature sensor, checked the samples (thanks for reminding me, folks!) and while P was digging through the matrix system in search of the six missing ones, I doused the rest with miniwelder fuel and burnt if all inside the safe, after that covering it all in bleach and turpentine, and closing the safe afterwards. Good luck using those samples now!

I'm kinda sorry for whoever got to open that safe first after we left. That was a really toxic combo.

We got out the same way we got in: cool as a morning breeze. And then we got into a giant raccoon-dog car parked in front of the HQ and just left. Well, it's not like nobody followed us, but... Let me say this: if you ever need somebody who can lose a tail while riding the most distinctive car in the history of cars, that's Tanuki. You wouldn't believe all the crazy-Ivan's he pulled. And then we safely and boringly got to the airstrip without even getting shot at, with four Ares VTOLs blowing up in the background. Distraction team did their job well - P says they were some kind of spirits but I don't really give a damn.

So, that's that! A quick, pleasant trip to Pittsburgh with an excellent company. Not only everybody was on top of their game but we also laughed our asses off during the run. 13/10, would break into Ares HQ with those people again.


Dan's Five Cents

It was a pretty smooth ride, as they say. We got the details from the J-man, jumped over to the Pitt on an angry kite, and set out to get the plan.

P. spent some time getting to know the inns and outs, with some encouragement from yours truly, and when that amazing vegan pacifist baby shark was done we had a nice shiny set of credentials and authorizations to go with our Ares papers.

Talking our way in was easy, the hardest part was not bursting in a giggle when the guards saluted a "general" who just rode in a dog-car. Once inside we hit a bit of a snag by the elevator when a couple of Ares drones - and I mean that literally - flew past us. I'm telling you, I almost done wet meself then. But we played it cool, and they went on about their merry way. Pollinating Knight's wife or something, I don't know. Then I stole the guard's lunch money and Bob's your uncle, we got in.

Kay went to town, and P. dug out some trash from their matrix - got me a little paranoid, I fully expected a squad of marines hitting us up, and I'm not big on that. But they didn't come and we ditched the party same way we got in - too bad the doggie car doesn't have a bark instead of a honk, our rigger should think about it. We've been chased a bit, but that ended without losing a hair off our heads, so soon kids were on the back seat and rubber on the road.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.