Aching & Festering
|Aching & Festering|
|Part of Festering Infestation|
|Casualties and losses|
Tamanous gets its largest organ farm in Seattle destroyed! Victory... right?
Due to the course of Festering Infestation it's become increasingly clear that Tamanous' operations in Seattle have outgrown their limitations. This temporarily exposed them, but ever since they've gone deeper underground and out of sight. This wasn't enough to avoid attention, as the little slip-up was all it took to attract the wrong kind of attention. Mr. Herenight has been tracking the organ farm for a time, purely for the sake of teaching the crime syndicate a lesson of exposing infected so openly to the rest of society.
Darcy meets all four runners at Jane's funeral. It's a somber moment as the pastor leads the procession, only a few people attending the ceremony. Still, it's more than what most people get these days. After, she meets the runners inside the wooden chapel nearby alongside Ghaz and L'Etranger, both of whom arrived on request. L'Etranger provides information once Darcy explains her intel gathering and that it might've borne fruit regarding the evidence they have. Ghaz knew a thing or two and sent for the Night Throne to send their rat -- the new vampire thrall is more than open about his former affiliations and tells what little information he has. While it's not much, it's a start: an elevator shaft leading up to the ground floor, fourth basement level beneath the Arcology, water and bells. Babylon doesn't really trust the slimy bastard, however, and mind probes him without mercy. Though he doesn't appreciate this, he's not really in any position to resist either.
While Vip3r goes to Zenith's place with the rest of the party and sets herself down comfortably (as much as she can, being harassed by Gomorrah, Babylon's ally spirit) and starts searching as much information about Foreman as possible. Bit by bit, either through the team's contacts or Matrix searches or just personal experience, they get at least some information -- Foreman's a geneticist, often runs under fake names, is a giant of naturally massive proportions and fortunately they get an image of the man. Grisly-looking and menacing, as expected, but this only fuels Babylon's thirst for vengeance further.
Ghaz offers his smuggling route knowledge since Zenith promises to owe him one and they're on good terms already. After the first day of preparations, missives for purchasing chemically sealed armor is sent out, longer term Matrix searches continue and Babylon steps out to take a drive to Everett, to meet with Herenight in person. Finding a ravaged gas station filled with carnage, she meets the man in the manager's back room, asking about what he knows. Surprisingly, Herenight's taken aback by the news and comes clean: he knows Foreman as a fellow member of the Black Lodge. Not only does he know he's a fomoraig, a troll variant of HMHVV, but also an accomplished blood mage. Herenight offers some advice on the powers of a fomoraig as well as what he may be capable of, as well as information he got from interrogating a corrupt UCAS lieutenant that there's a section of the underground tunnels filled with carbon monoxide. He suggests they pack oxygen tanks and bids Babylon farewell, appreciating being kept up to date on their progress.
On the way out, however, his banshee escort waves Babylon goodbye. The mage doesn't take kindly to infected acting all chummy and manifests a tiny ball of Sunbeam in her hand out of temptation. This swiftly gets a dismembered arm whacked at the back of her head as an improvised projectile. Rather than retaliating, she manages to contain herself and leave without incident. The following day, the team scouts out the Arcology mall and finds the elevator shaft -- however, once Vip3r loops security footage to let Skimmer inspect the wall more closely, he finds the stonework to be somewhat recent. The shaft's been walled shut and after Gomorrah confirms it, welded shut as well about a week ago, roughly at time of Jane's murder. They consider setting up an infiltration route here, but consider the public exposure not worth the risk and decide to try the smuggling routes.
Ghaz invites them to a dinghy, banged up white van and drives them down in the underground, going as far as to the edge of Arcology grounds. After that, his smuggling route as a map will do the rest of them the hard lifting. Ladders, tight corridors, locked blast doors and water damaged, moldy tunnels are not the most fun environment to be in, especially since the flow of mana is choked and almost voided in these dead, abandoned tunnels. Eventually, they come across a corner where a static noise plays. The team freezes, tenses up and prepares to clear the corner. Finding a voicebox on the wall, Babylon attempts summoning a spirit to access it in her stead. However, due to the lacking connection to the Astral Plane, she finds it difficult to reach anything. After pushing her luck, something finally answers her call; a fledgling, low force Shadow Spirit of Muse. It obliges her by waddling over and pressing the play button on its oily, ichored limb. The recording booms from the speaker within, telling the team to leave or they'll all perish. This is their last warning, it says.
This isn't taken well by shadowrunners who have faced worse odds. As they contemplate whether to go forward or try another of the three smuggling routes Ghaz knows of, Babylon's subjected to a sudden, overwhelming pang of pain. A ritual spell of pure, sadistic agony wracks her mind and overwhelms her thoughts, causing her to collapse in paralyzing torment. As Zenith and Skimmer step closer, Vip3r's too stunned from the sudden development to do the same. It's at that moment that Zenith notices a tiny rat crawling up Babylon's thigh. Being strapped with -something- he pulls out his weapon and aims at it, meeting it eye to eye before it bites down on Babylon's thigh and explodes. The shockwave hits Babylon the hardest, but Zenith and Skimmer eat a faceful of it as well. All four get ringing ears and minor concussions, but the agonist spell wears off, thankfully for Babylon. She's treated with a medkit for a brief moment as the team immediately turns paranoid over every little hole in the wall. Vip3r and Zenith carefully shimmy the voice box open as another message rings through, telling them they've chosen poorly and none of them will leave here alive.
Turns out, there's a receiver antenna and a commlink connected to a small information drive to store messages. Creative, but the commlink does have a data bombed file that almost catches Vip3r at the last second. Unfortunately, the contents are far from helpful: "Nice try, intruder, but no cigar. You're going to die, you know." AFter this heavy impact, they advance down the route bruised for wear and come across a cross-section, all three paths forward closed by soundproofed blast doors. They contemplate which way to go and end up choosing the left corridor. Zenith notices that it's far too quiet and with Babylon's confirmation realizes there's a silencing area spell on their location. Babylon attempts to disrupt it, but to no avail, so they try to continue forward -- the second the door is opened, they hear the cacophony of the feral ghouls on the other side and summon all of their combined strength to push the door back shut. Babylon calls on all of her spirits to assist hre in this endeavor and with just barely enough force to resist the horde, shove the heavy bulkhead back into its place.
This wasn't fun.
After that, they try the middle way and find it to be a pool -- a diving section, as shown in L'Etranger's memories. This shows they're going in the right place at least. As they dive in and Babylon helps Vip3r keep up due to her lack of swimming skills, Zenith shines his flashlight down to see Abrams lobsters -- one and a half meter long carnivorous sea critters. Vip3r recognizes them, knowing all too well they've got a nature for 'freeding frenzies' -- one which seems to trigger as they hone in on the rat blood coming off Babylon's armor. All of them begin slithering and flapping upwards towards the team, but Babylon's spirit movement helps propel them at inhuman speeds to the exit.
Finally, having cleared this issue, they come across a catwalk down yet another corridor, nearing their objective as they actually spot a security camera. As they try approaching it, Zenith and Skimmer spot rats on the move once again, this time in great numbers. Babylon does her best to conceal them all with illusionist stealth, but Vip3r's lack of meat skills end up not fooling the security camera's sensor arrays. It spots where something's moving and the rats begin honing in on the location. Quick thinking from Vip3r faking her escape back down the corridor, then running forward again and Babylon distracting the rats with loud noise using psychokinesis wastes a good bunch of the rat bombs, them jumping on the catwalk in droves and exploding with a colossal bang. The remainder get disoriented and disabled with a Chaotic World spell, giving the team time to clear the blown catwalk's gap. Finally, Vip3r gets hands on this offline host's devices -- to her, its device rating is laughable and she infiltrates the rusty tetanus-filled cube host with ease. While there are several spiders present, she evades their detection masterfully.
Once inside, she starts getting her bearings. First, devices. Camera feeds, organizational files, floor plans. She accesses what she pleases, when she pleases, and even encryption and data bombs don't phase her at this point. She's been pushed around enough on the way here, but the Matrix is her turf. The spiders are unaware of the technomancer infiltrating their system even as she checks the cameras and spots Foreman in the organ farm's overseer's office on the other end of the compound. She leaves the mantraps surrounding the place cracked before letting go, making sure they all have a clear avenue. Unable to resist getting some payback, however, she leaves with a parting gift, Resonance Spiking one of the colossal rust construct personas that are Tamanous spiders with jarring amounts of data destruction. It shears off practically an entire limb of the persona, but it doesn't seem to notice until after she's left the host. High speed, low drag.
Unfortunately, while she's being held up by a spirit and groping a camera, Zenith and Skimmer hear a patrol coming by to investigate the noise. A corpulent abomination, a walking organ farm on legs like the one Samsara encountered in Pull It By The Roots walks alongside an armored Tamanous grunt. The team lays an ambush and they do get a leg up on the duo, but they're elite forces for Tamanous. Skimmer and Zenith unload on the behemoth, but it barely seems to notice hailstorms of bullets sinking into its flaps of skin and fat. The shotgunner behind it opens fire and riddles the corridor with razor sharp flechettes -- unfortunately, he's up against Skimmer and the elven samurai is best at avoiding getting shot. As much as the grunt tries to aim at him, the elf moves like a blur, impossible to catch even with a wide spread. He comes close when the organ tank tries grabbing him into a grapple, but manages to thankfully squeeze by it just as well. His depleted uranium does thank the creature for its efforts, however, and with a combined effort of Babylon's Lightning Bolts, Zenith's bulls-eye bursts and Skimmer's indiscriminate full auto fire, the thing finally falls. Really, the shotgunner's not even close to as difficult. He's blown through by Zenith in a single volley.
The mantraps open for the team as if inviting them in, something that really shouldn't be happening according to Vip3r. As she touches the doors, she sees they've been rebooted since -- just as she does, however, the organ farms lights all go out and chaos ensues within. The team uses this opening to run in and sneak past the welcoming committee, staying against the far wall as much as possible until they're out of earshot range. As they're sprinting down the massive complex, they feel an earth-shattering tremor and look behind them to see a magical explosion of unparalleled strength vaporizing most of their opposition. The only ones still alive are seared and charred organ tanks, two of which are wandering around trying to look for intruders. The actual security personnel are a combination of red-painted wall smears, melted plasteel and ballistic mask fragments. More than happy to not have to worry about that, they climb up to the overseer's office, stacking on the door and preparing for the breach.
The door's kicked in and the team flows into the overseer's office where only a few minutes back they'd seen Foreman conducting some kind of ritual. However, all they see now is a man in his underwear, handcuffed and down on the floor... and Herenight, sitting down and slow clapping his hands with a wide smile. He applauds the team for giving the perfect distraction so organic he couldn't have arranged it better even if he tried. In utter disbelief and rage, Babylon explodes into a rant, shouting out everything he and the Black Lodge stands for. Demanding to see where Foreman is, Herenight scoffs -- of course he tipped him off and told him to leave before the team got there. He's likely at an airport already, leaving the country. This plan had worked perfectly, as internal motivation such as vengeance is the most powerful motivator of all.
The Black Lodge had arranged this run from square one and Herenight was here to not only congratulate them, but also offer them a helping hand in offering them an easier exfil route. Zenith considers with the team whether they should pop a bullet in the vampire's head, but Herenight gently gestures for them to look down -- rats gnawing on all of their boots, grenades embedded inside of their bodies. During their breach and utter disbelief, the perfect distraction to hold them at a figurative gunpoint had been achieved. Herenight suggests the runners act like good little pawns and leave, having done a great service to Seattle. This isn't very satisfying, and as Herenight mist forms out of the complex, the actual overseer begs for the team to let him go. He gives them the necklaces to let the fake restaurant chefs to not question them as they take a cargo elevator to the Arcology mall's loading bays, then stays behind to care for his 'sick daughter' as he claims to.
After, Ghaz contacts the runners, telling them that a silver-haired man stopped by and left them all packages. He checked them but didn't find anything immediately dangerous. Nuyen and back room sources for equipment, rewards for a job well done, but the money the team gets to hold feels tainted. Wrong. This wasn't what they wanted, but it's all they got. Babylon's unsatisfied, if anything she's more angered than ever. Zenith is, most likely, feeling just as peeved -- and what's worse, Herenight left Babylon a recording, admitting that he and Foreman planned this all along. Even Jane's murder and manipulation was all to exploit her fiery temperament and vindictive urges, given that she wanted to deal with dark forces so badly. Tamanous isn't kidnapping hundreds of innocents on the streets anymore, but the fact of the matter is that the girl Babylon and Zenith had tried to save wasn't avenged.
It should be a celebration.
But it isn't.
- 40,000 Nuyen or 80,000 Nuyen worth of Armor, Vehicles and Foci up to 20 Availability
- 20 Karma.
- -70 Tamanous Reputation
- +10 Black Lodge Reputation
- +5 Skraacha Reputation
- +5 Starscreamers Reputation
- For Babylon: -5 Night Throne Reputation
- Optional Contact: Mr. Herenight, 7/1 Black Lodge Magician (7 RVP)
- 2 CDP
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
"Got a call about a young girl who was used by the darkest of forces to no end. Ghaz asked me to avenge her, and that's just what I set out to do. The Lord walks in mysterious ways, but I will never understand why he allows the sacrifice of an innocent in the name of evil. Not for me to understand I guess. With a bit of teamwork and more luck, we found the way into the place controlled by Tamanous, and I swear it was just like that old nintendo game from way back, Super Mario Brothers. Dodging pits and traps and nasty beasties, it all ends up with the princess being in another castle. Or the bad guy Dr. Foreman in this case. What little satisfaction we could garner from taking down a Tamanous operation was overshadowed by the guilt at not being able to avenge that poor girl's death. Maybe this one isn't over yet, but it still leaves a hollow pit in one's soul for the time being..."
Fucking Foreman. Fucking Herenight. Fucking Tamanous organ farm under the fucking ACHE! FUCK! What a goddamn mess this was - we had him, dead to fucking rights complete with a nice hole in the ground to leave him in, and he slipped away because that fucking bloodsucker interfered, and it's my fucking fault for calling him! Gah, that bastard played me like a goddamn fiddle, told me everything I wanted to hear - I'd be impressed if I wasn't blinded by all-consuming rage! He'll pay for that, but I'll have to be careful given who he works for... Foreman though, that one's more than earned the death that's coming for him. The ritual agony would have been enough to make me kill him slowly, but for what he did to Mary Jane I'm going to drag him into the sun and watch him burn alive.
Gah. Lots of burnt goodwill with the team on this one though. Skimmer seems like he didn't really get all the stuff going on in the background, but he was friends with that Ghaz guy who tipped us off in the first place and seemed happy enough to have put a stop to what was happening there (I think he's taking the whole God thing more seriously now?). Zenith though, I'm going to have to do some explaining to him - he deserves that much at least, and I don't want someone like that thinking I stabbed him in the back by going to Herenight. Vip3r... I don't know what to do about that one. Seems I have a knack for pissing off the toasterfraggers. Maybe I can talk to her, I dunno - not like she won't just see it as the spooky black mage trying to pull her strings further. Whatever. Goddamnit.
As for what was happening down there... the less that's said about that the better. I don't think I'm going to sleep right for months. Those people... there must have been thousands of them, getting... harvested... it makes me shudder to even contemplate the magnitude of such a thing. Worse than any horror that goddamn shadow spirit has inflicted on the world. Better that it all burned - if I ever run into any more of those Tamanous bastards who were responsible for it they'll meet the same fate. My only solace is that Gomorrah didn't have to be subjected to the sights down there; at least she remains innocent in that at least if nothing else.
Fuck, I need a drink.
Well, that was a clusterfrag. We got out alive, and thankfully it wasn't bad enough for me to want to laes myself, but I'm still gonna be having nightmares about being under the fraggin' ACHE again for at least a week. I'm willing to finish fulfilling this favor to Zenith if we ever find out more about Foreman, but I will never trust bloodsuckers, and I will never trust Babylon. I have no respect for anyone who goes behind their team's back to try and frag them over.
But again; at least we got out alive, and at least we got paid.