The Crawling Chaos

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The Crawling Chaos
Part of Purkinje's Chal'han (Part 1)
Date2080-12-10
GMPurkinje
LocationTírtelenet
Belligerents
Telestrian Industries Cara'sir Host

Summary

To help Purkinje with her chal'han against her parents, a team of friends is sent into the foundation of the Telestrian Industries local host for Cara'sir to silently copy their personnel files out of the corporate database.

Background

After returning from the resonance realms in the events of Purkinje Submersion Run, Purkinje declared a chal'han on her parents to rend them of their honor. The terms of a chal'han dictate that she act through intermediaries, which in the Sixth World includes hiring shadowrunners. Thus, she scrounged together what funds she could find from light paydata slicing to pay a team of friends to help her out.

The Meet

Meeting in Purkinje's house, the team found her recovering from the massive amount of fading she experienced in The Hard Way. She informed them about the terms of the chal'han in vague details, then showed them the way to Tírtelenet, the national grid of Tír Tairngire. She explained that in order to organize a series of runs against them properly, she needed their personnel files, which were archived in the Telestrian Industries Cara'sir host. She also had intel that the host paradigm was currently locked down for maintenance purposes and had something to do with 20th-century literature or entertainment media. The team had the following objectives: enter the host foundation, locate the archive node, copy the personnel files for Purkinje's mother and father, and exit without leaving a trace. They were also instructed not to read the files once they were copied, as they contained very personal information.

Legwork

Concerned about dying of biofeedback on the inside, the team arranged for medical attention. Reverie bound a task spirit with medical skills and cast rituals to enhance her mental abilities as she lay in her bed. Trash Panda summoned a task spirit with medical skills as well, but she also called in Juhn Slide as an on-call doctor to tend to them. She also called on her fixer Jesse Pop to get her in contact with matrix pirates, who had a cheap bolt hole prepared that could be abandoned if a hacker were traced, with basic supplies for long periods of netrunning and medical attention. The team wired themselves into Spider's deck (except Reverie, who established a remote connection from her bed) and prepared for the hack.

The Plan

From the matrix pirates' den, the team would connect to Tírtelenet via grid backdoors, at which point Spider would crack the host and locate the gateway to the foundation. Once inside, they would figure out the foundation's paradigm and interact with the archive node, then exit through the portal node. Of course, this would be easier said than done.

The Run

Spider had some trouble breaking into the ivory tower in the forest that represented the target host on the Tírtelenet grid, but after resetting, she got in. From there, she managed to locate the gateway faster than the large host's Patrol IC took to sweep for her, and after placing a quick MARK on it, went inside. With her deck running Hitchhiker, she brought the rest of the team with her and woke up in a strange, new world.

The team found themselves riding in a horse-drawn carriage through the countryside as the sun set on the horizon. They had been automagically transformed into humans with period-appropriate clothing. They assessed their clothing and surroundings to determine they were in the early-1900s United States, somewhere on the East Coast. Talking to the carriage driver about the local area, they determined they were in New England. As the carriage driver crossed through a covered bridge, the sun set, and the team saw a valley with a stream and a mountain on one side, with a small village of mostly abandoned, rotting houses with gambrel roofs clustered around a broken-steepled church where the village's only mercantile center could be found. The driver tipped his hat and regretted to inform them they had arrived in Dunwich, Massachusetts.

As the team dismounted the carriage, the church's bell tolled seven times. Sparse candlelight flickered in some of the windows, and a service seemed to be going on in the church. The team decided to visit the church to get oriented, which proved to be a good idea. There was an evening mass in Latin, and the priest gave a brief sermon about sticking together as a community during lean times. Spider noted the priest's importance in the area and tried to interact with him as though he were a node, which caused the entire congregation to immediately turn around and stare at her for several long moments before continuing like nothing had happened. The priest did mention that if they were looking for work they should go to the Whateley farm, where they seemed to have more money than good sense. He mentioned that Wilbur was out of town for a while though, and gave directions to the Jamison farmhouse where they would find a place to stay for the night. They walked outside, and the bell tolled eight times. Trash Panda went back in and took a look around the church, however, and noted there was a door to the belfry. She led Spider and Kani to sneak into it without anyone noticing while Reverie stayed behind to keep up appearances. Inside, Spider tolled the bell, and she felt a connection to a node, but it was empty. The team concluded this was the null node. They decided to exit, and as they did, the bell tolled eight times again. Trash Panda proceeded to have fun with this, entering and exiting the church and finding that the bell would always toll eight times from her perspective when she exited. This moment provided critical insight into the paradigm: time was not one-way.

The team went to the Jamison farmhouse and were given hospitality. They took a look around, but they didn't find any nodes there. They decided to go to sleep, and they immediately woke up the next morning. Spider and Trash Panda decided to go back to bed, and in doing so, woke up in their beds the previous night, not having yet gone to sleep. Kani went to look for them, but found only a bunch of pillows where their bodies had been tucked away. They returned to the next morning through another set of beds that she mysteriously hadn't noticed before. From there, they decided to go to the Whateley farm, which was nearby. However, they never seemed to get there no matter how long they walked. They turned around and were immediately back in town. Reverie concluded they must need to go where the story leads next, which as she remembered involved following Wilbur Whateley to the nearby town of Arkham. They found the carriage driver from the previous night loading up his cart with produce to take to market in town, and they convinced him to give them a ride.

In Arkham, they found their way to the Miskatonic University Library, where a deformed farmer was getting in an argument with someone behind the desk about checking out a book called "The Necronomicon." The farmer stormed off in a huff. Wondering if this library was the archive, Spider checked all of the books, but she found they were only texts on anthropology, geography, history, archaeology, and other humanities. Reverie, however, engaged the librarian in a conversation about astral rifts, which proved to be relevant, as much of what she knew was mysteriously well connected to the Cthulhu mythos in some way. As she did, the librarian began to talk about controlling strange artifacts and automata. The slave node had been located. Without causing a scene, they exited the library and waited until nightfall for the next one.

After sunset, they returned to the library to find Wilbur Whateley having come back for the Necronomicon, but he was accosted by a guard dog. Reverie cautioned them not to intervene, as Wilbur dies at this point in the story. The team stood by and watched as he was torn apart by a dog, revealing a mess of alien, inhuman guts. Spider dug around in his guts, noting that there were a lot of spleens, kidneys, and other sorts of organs designed to filter out harmful substances and provide immune responses. Rearranging these organs inside of the late Wilbur's body, she realized she could potentially control the host's IC. She elected not to do so, as they weren't supposed to be detected. They hid at this point, and three gentlemen came in to examine the body, at which point it melted, leaving no trace behind. Trash Panda and Spider tried to engage the three men in conversation, but had trouble learning anything useful from them. Spider decided to leave right away, but when no one followed, she tried to reenter, yet couldn't. She headed back for Dunwich and found herself coming out of the covered bridge at night on a carriage she didn't remember mounting, with the church bell tolling seven times. As she retraced her steps, Reverie talked about astral rifts with the three men under Trash Panda's con that they were government investigators. They began to talk about extensive knowledge of distant experiments, businesses, and the people who work in them. They had located the archive node. Spider eventually returned and was able to convince them to talk about Purkinje's parents, at which point she copied each of their personnel files and left with the rest of the team.

They decided not to advance the plot, but return to Dunwich. They found themselves coming out of a covered bridge on a horse-drawn carriage after sunset, and the church bell tolled seven times. From here, they decided to go back through the covered bridge at this point in the timeline, and they found themselves in a stone temple with a clay relief of Cthulhu on the wall and some strange writing. At this point, a stranger walked into the temple. They managed to hide just in time to keep him from seeing them. They watched as he approached the relief and read strange words aloud from it, at which point he vanished in a flash of blinding light. The team realized they had just barely missed the spider. They gathered around the relief and chanted the same words, and Spider managed to overcome the sinister presence lurking behind them well enough that the team woke up back in the real world.

Aftermath

The team returned to Purkinje's home and gave her the files on a datachip. She read them and became very upset with the information she had learned, which concerned her parents' involvement in a war crime in Tír na nÓg, an event that led to their transfer to Telestrian Industries before she was born. She nevertheless thanked the team for their help and payed them what meager funds she could scrounge together from skimming paydata online.

Rewards

  • 4,000¥
  • 10 Karma

Player After Action Reports (AARs)