Fate of a Coward

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Fate of a Coward
Date2081-09-23
GMBurst
LocationEmerald City Casino; Puyallup bar
Status Threat Level: High
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven
Ares ex-Firewatch resistance
Ares pro-bug faction. Ares internal affairs.
Aster
KBC
Rabbit
Waspkeeper
Zephyr
Casualties and losses
Tim Fleming (merged bug infiltrator into the resistance). A six-man Ares IA team.


Summary

The Johnson - a leader in the Ares ex-Firewatch resistance against the internal bug faction - hired the runners to help them figure out who had leaked the names of 100 members of the resistance to Ares corporate. They were being purged in a sudden crack down. There had to be a person who had turned, willingly or unwillingly.

The runners arranged to get the needed information from a member of Ares internal affairs. The 2nd in command who had a secret gambling addiction.

Once they confirmed which member of the resistance was actually now an infiltrating bug, they killed him and the IA team watching over him.

A very detailed summary of the run is available in Waspkeeper's notes; see report.


Background

There are two factions in Ares. A group who support replacing personnel with bugs. And a resistance who fight against the bugs.

The Johnson is a member of the resistance.

The resistance has been seriously compromised. Ares has at least a hundred names. They are cracking down on them in a purge. Killing everyone they can find. See news report. The resistance urgently needs to know who was the leak so they can take appropriate action to escape pursuit, based on what that person knew.

The Johnson was aware that Ares internal affairs was investigating HR platoon 7, fire squad blue. This squad has four members. All four of them are resistance.

Zephyr is a runner on the team with an Ares corporate SIN, who had a history with Ares internal affairs, and was at particular risk on this job if identified.


The Meet

The team - Aster, KBC, Rabbit, Waspkeeper, and Zephyr met with the Johnson in Touristville at the One Star Bar. They heard a KE high alert on the way in - the purge had begun. The Johnson just had time to explain the background when KE burst into the bar, hunting the Johnson.

Aster was taking the lead in the conversation with the Johnson, an effective face, asking all the right questions.

Rabbit engaged KE so the other four could evacuate with the Johnson safely, and palmed the camera data on the way out.

Waspkeeper broke the lock on the back door and led them to her van to drive away. KBC squelched the opfor team's attempt to signal that they had found the Johnson, which would have led to immediate air support. Rabbit proved an impressive combatant, surviving a hail of gunfire, with KBC's firewall support. KBC and Rabbit worked together to stop a teen in the parking lot from uploading video of the five runners fleeing with the Johnson, nuking the camera feed from orbit.

Aster finished the negotiation with the Johnson in the van, securing more nuyen for what was clearly an extremely dangerous assignment.


The Plan

From conversation with the Johnson and some quick matrix searching, the team had a couple leads. Internal affairs was investigating HR platoon 7, fire squad blue. That was the most likely source of the leak. Internal affairs staff would know what happened. Whether fire squad blue was the source of the leak. If so, how they got one of the team members to turn. Which team member was compromised. What had happened to all four of them.

Zephyr helped supply key information from his memory of being a target of Ares internal affairs.

The head of internal affairs, Connie Dixon, proved to be absolutely careful in her social media. Zephyr remembered her as a relentless investigator. Stubborn. Incredibly sharp at counter-con. Not a good target for the runners to try to crack.

However, her second in command, Simone Bader, had several advantages as a target. He was a male elf like Aster so an ideal target for social infiltration. Likewise, KBC and Rabbit discovered on the matrix that he had a gambling addiction. Occasional binges where he would be at the casino for several days.

The team put together a plan to lure him to the casino, gather the information and supplies to steal his identity, and interrogate him. If he had the information, that would get them the answers they needed. If he didn't, his identity and access would get them into Connie's files.


The Run

The team works together to con Bader into coming to the casino. KBC gets into the commlink of the casino's Players Club Director. The team buys a 500 nuyen gift certificate. She attaches the real gift certificate to a message to Bader, masquerading as the Players Club Director. Free money to spend if he comes in the next 48 hours. Aster helps craft the ideal wording of the message. A con. Bader tries to resist, but Aster ultimately convinces him with the offer of a free room at the hotel for the duration of his stay. Rabbit rents the suite for this purpose, which gives the team the information about where Bader will be sleeping, and a key to his room.

Bader arrives. Aster goes in, well-disguised, to befriend him for the duration of his evening of gambling. He studies his mannerisms and voice, and gets his handprint. Rabbit uses her high lifestyle to come into the casino without issues at security, passing as a rich corp kid. She heads up to the room, and gets in place with her monowhip.

Waspkeeper, Zephyr, and KBC remain outside, helping with watching casino security and other threats. Waspkeeper sends in her fly spies to watch. Zephyr summons a spirit to help watch the astral. KBC watches cameras and is right ready to help jam Bader so he can't call for help.

A very drunk Bader takes Aster up to the roof to show him something neat. And they watch as Ares bombs a safehouse in the barrens. The team just has time to get a warning to the Johnson of the location about to be bombed. Bader is clearly well informed of the operation.

Bader goes back to his room to sleep. Rabbit is waiting, and tags him with a monowhip neural strike that renders him paralyzed. Aster catches him as he falls, and has him watch - paralyzed - as he takes on his exact appearance, his clothes, his face, his mannerisms. Everything. To add to the intimidation, Rabbit also casts fear on him. Zephyr supplies advice from his memory of Ares security procedures, and Waspkeeper chimes in with very specific knowledge of security protocols. They alert the team that he likely has a cyanide tooth capsule, and how to remove it before he can move again. KBC maintains the jam.

Bader was sufficiently intimidated. He cracked under Aster's intimidating questioning and [[Rabbit]'s looming threat. It was fire squad blue. They would not break or turn. They were loyal to the end. Ares brought in a Detroit specialist... Three of them died during the bugification merge. One survived. That one - Tim Fleming - is the mole. He is now an Ares bug. The Ares hive mind has access to everything he knew, and everything he is still learning.

Zephyr realized that an Ares watcher spirit was on the way for a routine check-in that Bader was alive and well. The team drugged him and staged it so that he would accurately look asleep in his bed. Nothing suspicious about his appearance or emotional state. They had to hurry out. Rabbit fixed the camera feed in the room, to hide that anything had happened but the man sleeping peacefully the whole time.

The team called the Johnson so she could take immediate action to burn every location Tim ever knew about, and make sure Tim was taken care of. The Johnson gave them Tim's location and asked for help taking him down.

Tim proved to be at a run-down bar in Puyallup. Sitting at the counter having a drink. There were civilians inside with him. The team made a plan to lure him outside to attack him in the parking lot, away from the civilians. Unaware that he was being guarded by an Ares internal affairs combat team!

Aster went in, using Bader's face and mannerisms. One of Tim's handlers. He told him they had a lead on the Johnson and to come right away to help take her out. Aster and Tim stepped out into the parking lot.

Rabbit, hiding behind a dumpster, leapt out with a devastating monowhip strike and killed the bug. This both destroyed their target and drew all fire away from Aster who was the only other team member visible to the unexpected attackers.

KBC kept up a firewall for the team, adding further protection. When one team member called for aerial support, she tracked the incoming VTOL and got a mark on it for herself and Rabbit.

Zephyr cast a devastating spell on the opfor causing them to have terrible accidents. One man set off his own grenades while trying to attack Rabbit, killing himself. The opfor mage offended the free spirit of Puyallup and was swallowed as the earth opened under his feet.

Aster and Waspkeeper killed their share of opponents, guns blazing.

Rabbit was able to dataspike the incoming VTOL, preventing it from reaching them.

In a very short time, the Internal Affairs team was dead. No witnesses. The job was done.


Aftermath

The Johnson had the information she needed to save as many of the resistance members as she could.

Bug-merged Tim Fleming is destroyed. He won't cause the resistance any more trouble.

Bader woke up in the hotel room eight hours later, knowing he had betrayed internal affairs. He is likely on the run now. He has no information that could hurt the team at this point.


Rewards

23,000 nuyen
4 Karma
+3 Faction Rep with Ex-Firewatch


Game Quotes


Player After Action Reports (AARs)

KBC here! This was my 4th run. I got to work with Rabbit again. She is just amazing! Such a good combatant, and we are an absolute terror working together on the matrix. And it was great to get to work with Aster, Zephyr, and Waspkeeper. Top notch professionals. All very focused on gathering the right information, even under a time constraint. We worked well. Subtle and quiet, for as long as we could be. I wish I'd noticed that Ares support team at the Puyallup bar. I think maybe I should have done a matrix perception as part of scouting the bar. There were no cameras. But I didn't think about looking for weapons. Cyber equipment. Stuff like that tells you if there are threats in the area. A lesson learned. I'm glad we helped the resistance against the bugs. I did make the team pause and just confirm - since we hadn't accepted the job yet due to the interruption - that we wanted to do that, rather than take the 60,000 each to turn the Johnson in. I'm glad we helped the resistance. But decisions like that... They should be conscious ones. A choice. Not an oversight.

Zephyr

This was my first run with the Haven and right up until the end everything was going super smoothly. The other team members KBC, Rabbit, Aster, and Waspkeeper were very professional and masters at their specific crafts, I’d be quite glad to work with any/all of them again. There was quite the firefight outside of that bar in Puyallup but on the bright side I got a recording of what happens when you cross Mother Nature.

Though I do need to keep my eyes peeled for this Johnson again, she seemed to have a link to the Ares databases which could be a starting point to getting my SIN wiped out.

Aster

I’ve run for a decade in Seattle, but most of the time by myself.  I thought having to rely on some other runners I just met would get me real nervous, but these guys were pros.  If all my runs with the Haven are like this first one, I’ll be glad I joined.

I was also worried about potentially running outside my comfort zone; a feeling that only grew worse when we met the Johnson in the dirtiest bar possible in Redmond.  Turns out my concerns were unfounded, as we were able to lure our target to a downtown casino; basically my home turf.  By the time I (and all the alcohol, and Rabbit’s whip) was done with him, he gave us the info we needed with little resistance.  

While the first part went smooth, I think I’ll tell Moira to decline any bug-related runs from now on.  Just talking to that thing gave me the creeps.  I certainly wouldn’t have had a chance against it alone, much less with the tactical team following it around as backup.  But when things got hot, the team was there to watch my back and get us out alive.