Be Careful Who You Bully in Middle School

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Be Careful Who You Bully in Middle School
Date2081-11-19
GMSarcarian
LocationBellevue, Seattle Metroplex
Status Threat Level: Medium
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven Some Poor Fragger Who Upset The Wrong Omae
Flyboy
FRAG
Oathbane
Shamrock
Bryce

Summary

In which the runners are hired by a group of nerds to assassinate the captain of their high school football team before he can win the science fair.

Background

Bryce Howard is an 18-year-old football star going to a fancy preparatory school in Bellevue with a free ride to MIT&T in his future; he’s also an open technomancer with an interest in science who has a rather interesting project entered in the upcoming science fair. Unfortunately for Bryce, he was kind of a jerk back in middle school and picked on the wrong kids – now one of them has been encouraged by their terrible toxic friend group to take revenge by using one of their friends hacked credentials as a Johnson for Microdeck (see: I Think I'm Sick and I Want to Go Home) to hire assassins from ShadowHaven before Bryce can win the science fair and nab up a juicy scholarship (they don’t care about the money, naturally, but winning would look good on their collage applications, so obviously he has to die).

The Meet

The team are contacted two hours in advance and told to meet at Daeger’s Electronics in Bellevue at noon. FRAG just slots his action hero p-fix (today he is playing the part of ZACK! FURY!) and heads out to grab some sweet mirrorshades. Both Flyboy and Shamrock have day jobs however, so this presents something of a complication for them – Flyboy is able to get his work done by 11 and is on-call the rest of the day, but Shamrock has a gardening job in Renton for the landscaping company she works for that’s supposed to take most of her afternoon. Undeterred, she proceeds to nearly kill herself summoning a force 13 plant spirit which attracts attention from the whole meta-racist, magic-phobic neighborhood (luckily none of them feel like messing with a demigod, so they content themselves with disapproving scowls from their windows). Doug the Fir Tree (basically the King of the Ents) proceeds to use his single service doing Shamrock’s job for her while she recuperates in her truck before heading off.

Meanwhile, poor Oathbane has no vehicle and no driver, so she must take public transit from where she lives in Everett; luck is not on her side however and the bus breaks down in the middle of Snohomish. She begins to grow uncomfortable among all the staring due to the fact that she’s a dryad (and is also worried that someone might be able to tell that she’s a technomancer), so she DNI’s the rest of the team for assistance. Flyboy, perhaps not thinking ahead, sends his Gladius to pick her up – when the supercar pulls up out front of the broken down bus and the impossibly-pretty elf gets into it, the poor wageslaves start pelting it with food and debris, so Flyboy peals out under a hail of metaracist slurs.

At Daeger’s Electronics, the team encounter an old anthrodrone sitting in the corner which invites them to join a DNI call; Shamrock shakes its hand in an attempt to cause it bad luck, but is bleeding from her ears and close to passing out because of the over-summoning, so she just can’t quite work her mojo. Flyboy plays face for the meet as an AR cafeteria table materializes around the group while FRAG and gets into a literal matrix arm wrestling match with the decker controlling the drone, trading marks with one another as both silently fail to acknowledge their opponents respective failed sleaze actions. However they do manage to pierce through the noise of the area with their electronic warfare skills and determine that there is more than one speaker behind the drone’s modulated voice.

The team are shown a photo of their target – Bryce Howard – and told they have 48 hours to end his life; Flyboy catches on to the fact that they likely have specific conditions judging by the fact that no one on the team is an actual assassin or combatant, and they confirm that they want it done in a particular fashion, specifically by making it look like Bryce’s science fair project is responsible for his death, for which they will be paid 16,000 nuyen each. Flyboy and Oathbane tag-team the negotiations and manage to up that number to 18k once they learn that Bryce is a technomancer, though there is some obvious reluctance from the latter to target a fellow toaster-fragger.

The Plan

Armed with the name of their target and the abstract that he submitted to the science fair, FRAG searches up his social media info to try to find some contact information for a commlink while the others browse through the abstract; between Shamrock’s botany knowledge, Flyboy’s recent study in Resonance Theory after becoming Reverberant (see: The Sound of Silence), and Oathbane’s intuitive understanding of the Resonance (as well as a quick info-dump from her data sprite), they are able to put together an understanding of what it all means. The experiment, titled “An Examination of the Effects of Virtual Kinetic Phenomenon on Botanical Growth”, is basically what it sounds like – a look at the effects of technomancy on plant life, with citations on studies of emerged plants that intrigue Shamrock to no end. Basically Bryce is using a pair of registered sprites on a commlink to help run an acoustics program he whipped up that has a small but non-negligible effect on stimulating plant growth (something about the combination of music and technomancer bulldrek seems to make the plants vibe with the airwaves).

Everyone is eager to learn a bit more about their target and his experiment in order to devise a way to make it seem like the experiment killed him – their basic framework is to deal with the sprites before creating some kind of feedback loop that will make it look like he data spiked himself to death. FRAG comes back with Bryce’s P2.1 info, including a commlink number which they’re able to scope out on the matrix. Noticing that it’s a Nixdorf (its his social media/schoolwork link, not one used for data storage) with both a poor firewall rating and the Liebesekretar Love Life Management add-on, the team begins to formulate a honeypot.

The Run

While Shamrock acquires a Nixdorf with Liebesekretar and creates a profile for her fake SIN, Frag and Oathbane hack work together to hack into the commlink – it is not Bryce’s primary data storage device and is not slaved to his living persona as he’s still a baby techno and isn’t One With The Matrix yet, so the two of them are able to place their marks on it and slip inside the homeroom (resembling a high school gym locker room). Locating the folder for his agent (a burly linebacker, busy sweeping the floors of debris/arranging homework files) and finding the file for his Liebesekretar program, they manage to disarm the data bomb and place their marks, editing the match protocols to favor Shamrock’s catfishing profile. With things set in motion, they jack out and set up their social maneuver to gather more intel.

With Flyboy coaching her on what to say to a himbo like Bryce, Shamrock is able to woo the young lad over the matrix without the benefits of her glamor and arrange a date for Friday night. Bryce does his best to secure a spot on the list at Dante’s, but ends up settling for the slightly-more-subdued atmosphere of the Daze as a first date spot. Having slightly recovered from hear near death-by-summoning (but still with a fair amount of bruising and internal bleeding), Shamrock shows up somewhat the worse for were – however in person her dryad charms are in full swing, and she has little trouble in winning Bryce’s affections.

However, things get a bit complicated when Shamrock starts to become genuinely interested in their conversation about Bryce’s project – the Green Man seems to vibe with what he’s saying as well, and she’s convinced that this sort of work could help the environment and doesn’t want it to be in the hands of some corporate drekheads. Quite suddenly, she decides on what is obviously the most logical course of action – uproot her entire life (including a real job with a National SIN under her actual legal identity) and convince Bryce to help fake his death and elope with her to Montreal instead of killing him.

Naturally this plan takes a bit of work to sell to the rest of the team: Oathbane is on board right away, and is even tempted to try to screw over the Johnson(s) by sicking GOD on them; FRAG (or rather ZACK! FURY!) takes a little more convincing, but is satisfied that it’s what a trideo star would do; Flyboy is flat out against screwing over the Johnson(s) and would like to do the job they were paid to do like the professional shadowrunner that he is, but after a bit of cajoling he’s eventually convinced to at least go along with faking Bryce’s death so that everyone can get paid with their reputations intact.

Leading Bryce back to Shamrock’s literal haunted cabin in the woods, the team ambush him with jammers and a tinfoil bag over his head before explaining the situation to him - he is shocked, having no idea who might have hired them to do it, as he’s honestly forgotten about the inciting incident and doesn’t know the identity of the Johnson(s). It takes a lot of work to get Bryce to consider abandoning his golden ticket to a bright future, but the alternative of dying an ignoble death isn’t exactly appealing either, and the prospect of a cute dryad who seems to actually be into him to go with him into this new life makes it a whole lot easier to swallow the idea. Eventually some teamworked social rolls convince him that it’s the best course of action, and everyone works together to devise a way to fake his death.

It doesn’t take a whole lot – Bryce has an apartment in a student housing complex where he lives alone (since he’s a legal adult/rich brat and doesn’t want to live in his parent’s condo) which he takes the team to, showing them the experiment he’s been working on and the full paper from his datachip archive. After packing his things, they turn on the gas and dataspike the experiment commlink before Shamrock causes an accident on it – the resulting spark ignites the gas and destroys the apartment. Calling up a contact with forgery skills, the team whip up a quick and dirty death certificate from the Bellevue Coroner’s Office to present the Johnson(s) with, and Shamrock networks with her fixer to find transport for herself and Bryce to Montreal (Jerry), and representation for shadow work there (Julio).

Aftermath

Calling up the Johnson(s), the team arrange a handoff with their anthrodrone, presenting them with the forged death certificate (claiming they hacked it to provide full verification) as well as an edited version of Bryce’s paper (which both contains a plausible sequence of errors that could have lead to the accident that cause the explosion - serving as cover-your-ass material for the Johnson(s) to avoid suspicion that Bryce was murdered - as well as a series of subtle changes which will make any attempt to draw scientifically significant conclusions from the experiment impossible). Satisfied with the team’s work, everyone is given their promised nuyen, and since they went out of their way to make things more difficult and do a Good Deed they earn themselves a bit of bonus karma to the reward as well.

Rewards

  • 18,000 nuyen
  • 4 karma
  • 2 CDP
  • Optional Contact: Bryce (Connection 1 "Himbo Techno") - offered at Loyalty 3 (Loyalty 5 for Shamrock due to special circumstances)

Shamrock has moved to Montreal, changing out her lifestyle for a new one as well as acquiring a new local fixer and getting a new Day Job while she works on the emigration process of swapping out her UCAS National SIN for one from the Republic of Quebec.

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

FRAG: Way I see it, Bryce really knew what was good for him. Doesn't take much for a wetwork job to go sideways, no matter who's catching the bullet, and a city like this is full of people hungry for security. Never knew why the Js wanted him dead. To many, it wouldn't matter. To me, it almost didn't. It would've been the easiest thing in the world to ice the kid overnight, slot up his sprites and let him burn up with his apartment... Which is why it felt so wrong. Some people will get onto me about professionalism, about runner etiquette, but I only got one thing to say to them: Zack Fury doesn't play by the rules.


Oathbane: Felt somewhat a bit close to home...young person with their future ahead and others planning to control it, in the end, we made the choice... Glad i was able to help my team, even if my support came from a commlink. Anyway time to go buy a car :)