Entering The Gates
|Entering The Gates|
Vip3r is invited to join the Eighty-Eights Triad; she just has to do them one more favor first.
After her release from prison, Vip3r fought for survival on the streets of the Seattle sprawl and took small-time hacking jobs until she attracted the notice of the Eighty-Eights--a high-tech Triad that reveres technomancers. David Yang, the Triad's Grass Sandal, invited her to meet with him over dinner, telling her that he'd learned of her troubles through his network and could make them all go away. They would burn her criminal SIN, and set her up with a fake identity, a place to live, and plenty of hacking work; all she would have to do in exchange is give part of her earnings back to the Eighty-Eights, and occasionally do them some favors.
She was in no position to refuse.
As time passed, and Vip3r earned more nuyen, the friendship and mutual respect between Vip3r and Yang grew a great deal. She proved herself as a capable hacker, completed more work for the Triad and began to take side jobs, and was invited to join ShadowHaven with Yang's wholehearted recommendation behind her. Less than a year later, Vip3r's debt had nearly been paid--and Yang called her into his office for one final favor.
Vip3r arrives at David Yang's office in Puyallup. Yang is normally relaxed and upbeat, so when Vip3r walks in and sees him pacing, clearly on edge about something, she immediately knows something's wrong. He skips right over the pleasantries, telling her that he has a job for her, and upon her success, he will allow her to be initiated into the Triad if she so desires. She's taken aback by the offer, but pulls up a chair, and, unable to turn the request down, asks for additional details.
Yang informs her that yesterday, a team of shadowrunners hit Green Shell, a Puyallup club that he owns, and made off with some assets that he wants recovered. Vip3r asks what the assets are. Yang simply replies, "Prostitutes," then goes on to continue briefing her on the situation. The runners who attacked the club were a four-person team, with two combat-capable individuals as well as magic and Matrix skill. The assets were led out of the club and driven away on a bus, and the club's security team lost sight of them within five minutes, when they drove away in a bus and out through a tunnel that they never emerged on the other side of. He refers Viper to his assistant for additional details, but since there's an initiation ceremony taking place two days from now, it would be most convenient if she could get the job done and the Triad's property returned before then--especially because this loss would be incredibly embarrassing for him.
Vip3r begins her search for information by going to Yang's assistant. She tells Vip3r that while most of the camera footage from the incident was wiped, a roughly 30-second clip remains that shows the runner team in the act. In this footage, their mage begins to visibly glow, as do the club's security guards a moment later, and they stop attacking the other runners--a FLR ork samurai with an axe, and an elf with no visible augmentations wielding a shotgun--as they herd the people they're liberating out through the front door. The guards reported they felt "like they couldn't control their actions," and had little memory of the incident afterward. Unable to provide Vip3r with more information, she gives her a budget of 40,000¥ in order to contract assistance if needed, and lets her have the run of the club's host in order to track down any additional leads.
Green Shell's host looks similar to the club itself as seen from the security footage, though it currently has little traffic. It says that the club is currently closed, though it advertises that they normally have a number of joytoys available; the descriptions they use convey the sense that it seems to be a bunraku parlor. Vip3r finds this fact disconcerting, but presses on with the investigation anyway. The trigger for the alarm appears to have been rerouted to the kitchen's garbage disposal, and nearly all the camera footage from the night of the attack has been wiped. The only other things in this host that seem out of place are a printer-shaped file that's an angry message to the club's owner about how his business is tearing families apart, with a databomb attached--which Vip3r disarms, both in her own curiosity and in service to her boss--and a large order for braised pork belly from a nearby restaurant called Lucky Corner, that seems to be a favorite among Triad members.
Convinced this might also be a lead, Vip3r also cracks into Lucky Corner's host with absolutely no difficulty. Some kind of glitch in its system causes it to immediately recognize her as an administrator, and it presents her with hiring records. Their most recent hire, Irene Yang, started work on the day of the hit and then failed to show up to her next scheduled shift. She also happens to look eerily similar to one of the lost "assets," and the address listed on her record is an Eighty-Eights run safehouse. A quick comm call confirms that she obviously doesn't live there. Vip3r then puts in another call to David Yang, asking if the Triad can get her access to the van that Irene used for the delivery in case any traceable evidence is left behind there, and a short time later, he has it delivered unlocked to her apartment in Bellevue.
The van is a throwback. As such, it doesn't connect to the Matrix, and there's little that Vip3r is able to discern from it aside from a greasy stain and some brightly-colored powder on the floor suggesting the delivered food may have been drugged. On a hunch, she calls Brodie J and sends him an image of it, and he immediately identifies it as zombie dust. Apparently it's super great if you want to get really out of it and let a spirit drive your body around for a while, but since spirits freak Vip3r out and she'd prefer to keep control of her body, she elects to leave it alone unless Brodie J wants a sample. Unfortunately, she's not getting one over on him, as he'd prefer to stick to his own dealer.
With all other possible leads investigated, the only thing Vip3r has left to look into is where the bus could possibly have gone in that tunnel. She's not too keen on checking out a possibly dangerous secret passageway without backup, so she calls in a favor from Black Samurai.
Vip3r and Black Samurai meet at a Soybucks conveniently located about a block from the tunnel, and the two of them come up with a plan to investigate. Black Sam will ride in Vip3r's Jackrabbit while she drives in, and he'll keep an eye out for any kind of secret entrances in meatspace while she checks for anything unusual in the Matrix. He sees that one of the wall panels is slightly raised, but Vip3r doesn't see a trigger for it in the Matrix, so they park the Jackrabbit at Soybucks and go back in on foot. Black Samurai notices that the panel is slanted inward, and when he pushes on it, it opens easily. The pair sneaks in, following tire tracks on the floor, weapons at the ready in case of conflict. The tunnel leads into an abandoned office building, and after following the path for a couple hundred meters they catch sight of the ork samurai standing guard. While Vip3r takes aim with her Suppressor, loaded with Stick-N-Shock, Black Samurai approaches stealthily and stuns the ork by striking her in the jaw. Vip3r is able to fire off a single shot--the first she's ever fired on a run--before catching sight of a decker in the Matrix, spiking their deck and then forcing them to jack out and eat dump shock. With their opposition dispatched quickly, they plan to take the ork away and interrogate her about where her companions have gone, but there's no need for that; the other two runners who are still standing appear almost immediately, with the mage calling in a spirit to (ineffectively) possess the ork, and the shotgun wielding adept taking aim at Vip3r.
The opposing runners demand that their friend be returned, or they'll kill Vip3r and Black Samurai, but Vip3r calls their bluff, knowing they won't do anything of the sort. The mage asks what they want, and Vip3r tells them truthfully that she's here on behalf of the Eighty Eights, who are very displeased at the loss of their assets and have sent her and her bodyguard to reclaim them. They try to appeal to her morals, pointing out how horrible and fragged up it is that the Triad is enslaving people and splitting up families. Desperate to hide her own unease with it, she doubles down, telling the runners that she was sent in for negotiation, and that if they don't give up the easy way, the Triad soldiers who are surrounding the building will be notified and will move in to kill them and reclaim their assets by force. It's a bluff, of course, but they buy it and tell Vip3r where they're hiding the bus and the people they've freed. On their way to claim both, Black Samurai points out that what Vip3r's taking part in is incredibly fragged up, but helps her finish the job anyway.
Vip3r drives the bus back to Green Shell while in VR, and calls David Yang to tell him that she's completed the task he's given her. He's pleased to have the job done in less than half the time, and tells her that he hopes to see her at the following night's initiation ceremony. Vip3r pays Black Samurai and thanks him for having her back, but is clearly conflicted about what she's taken part in.
She shows up at the ceremony, and greets Yang there, but reluctantly tells him that despite her gratitude for all the Eighty-Eights have done for her, she doesn't have it in her to take their thirty-six oaths. Yang is disappointed, but allows her to go on amicable terms, with the offer of a continued working relationship as an associate if she so desires.
- For Vip3r: 20k nuyen (10 RVP), Focused Concentration 1 for free (4 RVP)
- For Black Samurai: 20k nuyen (10 RVP) Watch The Suit for free (3 RVP) 1 karma (1 RVP)
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
The first day I met Piper, she went from awkwardly standing around at the funeral to helping save my ass in a matter of minutes. Most of the family on my dad's side can frag off, but she stepped in on accident in a way that--well--nobody but Hayato really seemed willing to do. I was happy to repay that kindness.
Yeah, it got pretty dark. As I stood beside that bus, it struck me just how deep the rabbit hole goes--just how much you have to be willing to do or bend yourself or break yourself to get an ounce of loyalty or respect from people in this world. It really, really seemed to crush her. But she gave that out for free on accident to some kid who was pissed enough to hand out haymakers at a funeral. So, I'm going to do the same for now.
She's going to come out the other side. I know she's going to have a soft spot in her heart for the Eighty-Eights for a long damn time...but I hope she can untangle herself from the nastier things they do. All it would have taken for Hayato is one or two people to step in and suggest a different ending. It doesn't take a whole army to make shit change...especially when you can do the things that we can do. After all, she's better than me. I can see it on her face how much this bothered her.
Where do I even start with this?
I could feel it in my bones that something was coming when Yang started hinting at opening up a path to membership for me for real. I didn't really think it was out of the realm of possibility, but I also didn't think it actually would happen, y'know? And I remember thinking about how many doors it would open for me, and how it would give me an avenue to openly be who I am and be celebrated for it, and how it would grant me protection from certain people and groups. I brought it up to Shine when we were discussing how to get Kakei Steve off my hoop, and... I just never considered that something like this might happen.
I can't stop thinking about how this could've been forever for me, and I dragged Akira into the worst part of it. I'm glad he didn't try to stop me, because I didn't have a choice in carrying out this job, but ghost, I hope he doesn't think I was okay with it.
And I'll be honest. I don't know how I feel about the Eighty-Eights anymore. I don't think I'll stop being grateful to them for giving me a hand up, because I'd be dead or back in prison without Yang's help, but going forward is another issue entirely. Though, all things considered, I think this is for the best; I have a choice in future dealings with them, and that agency is something you can't put a price on.