You Can Never Go Home

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You Can Never Go Home
Date2081-1-6
GMPurkinje
LocationResonance Realms
Belligerents
Energizer The Lost Souls
Casualties and losses
Energizer suffered moderate biofeedback wounds. 1 dissonant technomancer

Summary

Energizer feels the call of Black Hat and seeks the back door to an MCT host.

Background

Energizer had once worked for Mitsuhama as a matrix security professional. She didn't know the extent of the corp's crimes, simply doing her job until the day a shadowrunner bricked her cyberdeck in spectacular fashion. In the days that followed, she was under severe stress; Mitsuhama was not known for accepting failure. Somewhere in that time, she underwent a SURGE and came out looking like an Energizer, a technicus subspecies in the family Leporidae, but with a strange pink hue. Just like these subspecies, she also emerged. Her powers were strange and new, but she knew the matrix well enough to use them to escape her employer. Since then, she lived on the fringes of society, shadowrunning to survive.

The Meet

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Energizer knew that no matter how far she burrowed into her corner of Seattle and Emerald City, she would never be safe. There were too many things that could go wrong. What if it turned out like in the MCT host all over again? She felt the need to dig deeper, and she found rumors of a resonance undulation - a transient resonance well that flows from one host to the next in mysterious fashion. It only ever seemed to appear in weak, old hosts that no one was using anymore, but by the time everyone figured out where it was, it had always moved somewhere else. She called Jesse Pop for more information. He told her he knew someone who could help her get there before the crowd, but they needed help with something. She was sent to an old, abandoned church building in the Redmond barrens, where she met four technomancers obsessively arranging devices and icons. They explained that there was a resonance veil on the grid here, and it was growing weaker. Their attention was fully captured merely trying to keep it afloat, and they needed her to help look for the cause.

The Run

Energizer didn't understand what these technomancers were doing. Though she was emerged herself, she hadn't studied the flow of the resonance before. Despite that, she could feel a warm sort of hum, a fundamental pitch that strengthened the closer she went to the church building. With some careful observation, she noticed a device icon in the church sounded a little sharp, and after taking a closer look, she found that it had a stray mark that didn't belong to anyone who was supposed to be there. She took two hours to track the mark through the barrens, eventually winding up in a squatters' hovel where a persona that looked like a harvester was doing... something. The harvester had a resonance signature that made Energizer's skin crawl, not unlike the feeling of nails on chalkboard. She returned to the church and entered virtual reality in its safety, then attempted to crash the harvester's persona from the grid. She got a solid blow in, but the harvester noticed her; fortunately, she was too quick for it, and a second assault sent it screaming back to meatspace. She returned to the squatters' den and pulled an unconscious stranger out. When she returned to the church, the technomancers there had confirmed the veil was stable again, and though they didn't recognize this stranger, they determined he was dissonant. A gunshot in an alley later, they told Energizer a contact had felt the undulation rising in an old social media MMO Second Life ripoff that had never taken off and linked her to its icon. The host was easy to crack. It was so old and abandoned, it wasn't even running Patrol IC. A host of dead worlds lay before Energizer, but of most interest was the premium membership nested host, which was also pretty easy to crack. Inside was a lone technomancer who waited on the well with a sense of anticipation. When it arrived, the host began to shake worryingly, and he left. Energizer remained, and as it shook, it tore the fabric of the matrix open, sucking her into the deep resonance.

She found herself in Out Of Band, a stream of pure data that connects all the realms where communion with the paragons is easy and clear. There, she could hear Black Hat speak inside her, though it also felt like an internal monologue. It asked if she remembered where she came from and could find her way back. It told her that there were always back doors to any network, no matter how hard you tried to cover them up. She felt compelled to find one. She blacked out, then awoke in a dark forest. After taking a look around, she picked up a set of semi-humanoid, semi-beastlike footprints leading through the brush. As she followed them, she was ambushed by a hulking thing covered in hair with sharp fangs and claws. One blow, however, and she sent it yelping back where it came from with a massive wound. For some reason, she was incredibly strong and quick here, and the beast's blood didn't bother her.

After a few close calls, Energizer arrived at an occupied cabin. She entered to find an old man, who told her that the forest was full of nasty beasts, but if she kept going, she would arrive in a town with an endlessly tall spire, surrounded by hordes of "lost souls." These "lost souls," as he described them, were people missing pieces of their bodies who had gone mad with grief and wanted to gather as much blood and flesh as possible to make themselves whole again. He gave her something that one of them had dropped: a small book full of illegible text that seemed to change every time she looked at it.

Energizer sneaked out of the forest without encountering any more beasts and laid eyes on the town. In the distance were humanoid figures moaning and screaming about having lost their eyes, arms, or other body parts. She examined the town's roads from afar and devised a plan that should give her a concealed path to the tower, and it almost worked. As she neared the spire at the center of town, a massive trail of blood from a lost soul that had a slit neck stopped her, and her phobia overpowered her. Shaken, she was unable to sneak by it. It lunged at her, gnawing at her arm and sucking her blood out to replace its own. Frightened and in pain, she fled. A complex form boosted her speed, and she was able to make it to the tower ahead of a horde of pursuing undead. She closed the door and barred it just as they reached it. In this place, she found a moment to cover her wound and rest for a while. She began to feel better. Inside of this tower was a library with more books like the one she had been given, only these books contained occasional legible text that would say things like "VIRTUAKINETIC CORTICAL TISSUE" or "RESULTS INCONCLUSIVE." She gathered a few of these books, then noticed a circular seal on the floor with a sun-shaped emblem that strongly resembled MCT's logo. She stepped on it and was transported up into a room with a bare lectern. She placed one of the books on it, and it displayed distorted images of anatomy and surgical procedures. She placed the book she'd been given, and the MCT logo popped up along with a Japanese-language prompt that she realized granted her permission to place a rootkit in the host's code. She did so.

The tower began to shake like something was wrong. After stepping on the seal again, she was teleported back to the cabin in the woods, where she saw a storm brewing around the tower in the distance. Inside, the old man had just finished his soup. He said something about how there wouldn't be any more lost souls coming out of the tower for a while, but he wished they would stop coming altogether. Energizer agreed. He had made a bed for her after her earlier visit in case she returned, and advised her that she ought to get some sleep because the sun would be up soon. She went to sleep and woke up back in the church.

Aftermath

Back in reality, Energizer heard from the technomancers that MCT's local host was glitching strangely, and no one inside could make use of ownership permissions. The glitch lasted a full twelve hours, during which time Mitsuhama Computer Technologies services were disrupted, costing them quite a bit of money. Though she couldn't feel Black Hat as strongly as she did in Out Of Band, Energizer felt she had learned a valuable lesson about how there was always a back door, always a way to hack something. Maybe it wasn't so bad, if you were the one doing the hacking.

Rewards

  • Better On The Net (Sleaze)
  • 4 Karma
  • 10% Submersion Task Discount

Player After Action Report