I Believe I Can Fly

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I Believe I Can Fly
Part of Two Steps Ahead
Date2081-11-15
GMSarcarian
LocationEverett, Seattle Metroplex
Status Threat Level: High
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven
Saeder-Krupp
Federated-Boeing
Evans Doyle
King Beef
Potato
Vichnozeleny
Fed-Bo MP
Fed-Bo HTR
Fed-Bo Rigger
Casualties and losses
5 points of burnt edge, Potato employed Not Yet Dead and was captured Fed-Bo MP x24, Fed-Bo HTR x6, Fed-Bo Rigger x2


Summary

In which the runners steal a jetpack from Fed-Bo’s Paine Field complex on behalf of S-K Prime.

Background

About 3 years ago, S-K subsidiary Vulcan Systems brought the “Hot Drop” Rapid Egress System to market. Several rival aerospace corps were also producing their own jetpack designs, however they ran into various problems during the testing phase. One - Federated-Boeing - produced a super prototype for their proof of concept phase which performed exceptionally well in testing but was unable to be scaled back for profitable large-scale manufacture and distribution. Unwilling to spend the money needed to create a working consumer-grade model, Fed-Bo mothballed the project and stuck it in one of their wind tunnel facilities in Paine Field for perpetual testing, and it became a toy for bored engineers to play with. There it remained until an S-K decker stole the system specs and discovered that an engine component could be reverse-engineered and incorporated into the Mk. 2 Rapid Egress System to increase fuel efficiency. S-K Prime was tasked with obtaining Fed-Bo’s prototype, and they have chosen to contract out the job to the Haven in order to take a measure of the sort of talent that it has to offer.

The Meet

Amrei Veidt has the players meet with her on the matrix at Club Penumbra; everyone arrives promptly and rezz into the Eclipse Room, where a store-bought Lofwyr-like drake persona waits for them. Lacking a proper face, Vichnozeleny steps forward to speak for the group, mostly asking to-the-point questions about the specifics of the job. Frau Schmidt gets right to the point – she wants them to steal a prototype piece of technology from a secure ET facility, for which she will pay them 20k nuyen. She also intimates that she will be evaluating their performance throughout the job (she has already placed a mark on each of their devices without their knowledge for this purpose) with a mind towards potential future employment. Everyone is curious about the target; however, their prospective employer gives no hints until they accept.

Once virtual hands are shaken and the contract is struck, the target is revealed – Fed-Bo’s Paine Field complex, with the target being a jetpack. Everyone is delighted at the prospect of stealing it, however they are dismayed to learn that they must essentially invade a foreign country’s air force base in order to do so. Veidt provides them with a security plan in the legwork dossier that she diligently prepared for them, however she advises that they do their own scouting as well, and tells them that she will make herself available to act as their matrix support for the job (this is both a matter of practical necessity and a way to gauge the use of resources available to them). She gives them no time limit on the job but says that she will expect a progress report if it takes more than a week, and surreptitiously places a mark on each of their devices so that she can monitor their planning.

The Plan

Leaving Penumbra, the team look over the dossier they have been provided and begin the process of formulating a plan. Doyle studies the layout of the air base and starts plotting their ingress while King Beef notices that a sim file was included – a training program for the use of the jetpack (which allows him to spend 2 days studying it in order to take 1 rank in the freefall skill), and begins incorporating it into his training regimen over the next few days. Potato meanwhile gets to work making a whole bunch of bombs – ten pipe bombs and five 5kg ANFO bombs – which will serve as a distraction, planning to plant them some distance away from the wind tunnel which holds the jetpack in order to draw security forces away from their goal.

Vichnozeleny, acting as the team leader and overwatch with her Really Big Gauss Rifle, spends a few days scouting out Paine Field and finding suitable sniper perches nearby from which she can see their target. It’s a fair distance – nearly 1.5km, at the extreme end of her range – but she is able to find a spot on a support column of the route 99 highway to the south of it, from which she surveils the perimeter and starts looking for holes in the patrols. Putting her military knowledge to work, she finds that some of the MPs on the east side like to occasionally stop to shoot the drek for a few minutes, she takes note of the plates on the jeeps most likely to deviate from the route as well as the shift change times and officers in command of each shift.

After a few days they have a fairly comprehensive picture of security, as well as a working plan: Vic will post up near the highway and shoot anything that gets in the team’s way, while Potato cuts her way through the two-layer fencing near the gap in the patrol routes (with their matrix overwatch disabling sensors in her path) and plants explosives. Once she’s ready, Doyle and King Beef will infiltrate the wind tunnel and exfiltrate with the jetpack in the confusion. There are two problems with this though – 1) King Beef is literally incapable of stealth, being an 11ft minotaur with no ranks, and 2) the wind tunnel is nearly a kilometer inside the perimeter of the base, a fair distance to cover over exposed terrain. Potato, rapidly becoming the MVP of the run, steps forward to solve both problems by volunteering the use of her Scorpion, which she doesn’t use and has no issue with sacrificing on the alter of Pink Mohawk. Doyle will drive with KB riding on the rear of the seat (already a comical image), then have an air spirit use its movement power on the bike to make it go as fast as possible – the two will then proceed to ram their way through the checkpoint and anything in their path. Vic groans internally, sensing the coming shenanigans, and Veidt (listening in secretly) begins her own contingency planning.

The Run

At 3am in the middle of the third shift, the team puts their “plan”, such as it is, into action. Posting up in her spot, Vic provides the team with running updates from her position and signals to Potato when she should begin cutting through the fence with her miniwelder. After creating a few dwarf-sized holes, she is able to slip inside while Veidt disables the sensors in her way. Expending all of her edge on her not-great stealth pool, Potato manages to make it to the fuel depot and begins planting her pipe bombs under the Jeeps filling the parking lot. Veidt is busy dealing with drones and cannot get all the cameras, and Potato wants to make sure that this is a success, so she burns edge to smackdown her sneaking roll to avoids notice as she plants them on the cars before making her way to the huge tank of aircraft fuel to begin setting the 5kg ones up for the Big Boom.

Meanwhile, the lazy MP has finally finished conversing with his friend at the guard post and begins making his way south. Unfortunately, he notices the holes in the fence cut by Potato and starts to raise the alarm – Veidt squelches his communications and tells the team that the ingress point has been compromised. Vic confirms with the team that it’s go time before deleting the poor sap from over a kilometer away with her gauss rifle, and Doyle and KB mount up, leaving Doyle’s van just outside the base. Driving towards the entrance at full speed, they smash right through it and proceed towards the wind tunnel at something approaching the speed of sound (thanks movement!) – King Beef, using the power of adept bulldrek and his trog reach, smashing blows his way through the obstructions in their path, with Doyle miraculously managing to pilot the bike around anything that can’t be smashed and retain control of it without crashing… at least until they reach the wind tunnel, when he finally fails his piloting check and skids out as the two of them Kool-Aid Man their way through the wall (luckily he has a pain editor, while King Beef is just a tank and no-sells all the damage).

With the alarms going off, Potato dashes back towards the fence while Vic head-splodes the commanding officers who attempt to rally the troops, causing confusion in the ranks as the on-site HTR rapidly scrambles a VTOL team – when Potato sets off her bombs and causes an explosion that kills close to two dozen MPs, they scramble a second one and hustle to get the first in the air as quickly as possible. Inside the wind tunnel, KB puts his sim-training to use and rapidly dons the jetpack (using extra straps to secure it to his huge frame and attach Doyle to his chest like he’s carrying an infant) before taking off, smashing their way right through the ceiling and managing to initiate a controlled burn to bring them back down to earth outside.

On her way to the exit, Potato is spotted by a rotodrone which hits her with suppressive fire. She hits the dirt, and Veidt manages to hack the drone and use it to engage with another incoming one while the dwarf flees. By this point the first VTOL is in the air and en-route to their position – it arrives rapidly thanks to rigger bulldrek and the goons inside begins spraying Doyle and King Beef with suppressive machine gun fire. The huge minotaur protects the frail (though immune to pain) human and soaks the damage handily, however bad luck leads to the jetpack becoming damaged and imposing a penalty on its operation as one of the fuel lines is ruptured. King Beef attempts to use it to hasten their escape, and a near-disaster results in him burning edge to smackdown the test to shoot them into the air in a parabolic arc towards the exit.

Doyle attempts a called shot on the fuel tank of the VTOL, however the rigger piloting it just manages to dodge – he almost dodges Vic’s shot as well, however she also smacks down the test to ensure a success and a spectacular crash, urging the team to hurry the frag up and make a quick retreat. Over comms, Veidt tosses out one last calibration to the team before telling them that the situation has become untenable and to contact her if they survive before disengaging; now bereft of tech support and unsure of if they’ll even be paid, everyone focuses on survival. That seems unlikely however, as the second HTR VTOL is inbound as the troops from the first one parachute to the ground ready to engage…

Making a clean landing, KB adrenaline boosts himself and hoofs it – literally – towards the checkpoint and Doyle’s van, soaking automatic weapons fire all the way while Doyle shoots at the goons over his shoulder. He tries to use the jetpack to speed them up again, however this time the thruster fails and causes them to scatter… right in the direction he wanted to go. The road rash from the resulting spill-out is nothing to either of them, however as he gets to his feet and continues running the drain from his adept powers threatens to put the King down for the count – out of edge when the next turn comes around, Doyle burns to seize the initiative and slap patch the minotaur before he can collapse and get them both captured or killed. Now actively engaging in a firefight with HTR and having each burnt edge in desperation to make this madcap plan work, the GM awards the team a point of edge for sheer brazenness and marvels that they’re all still alive – they’ll need it if they hope to escape.

Vic continues putting down every target she can catch in her sights as her commlink is hacked by Fed-Bo to trace her position and send a powerful spirit to take her out. As the minotaur continues sprinting and jet-packing his way towards the egress point, Potato makes it to the fence just as the second VTOL arrives at Doyle and KB’s position to lay down suppressing fire. Vic tries and fails to take it out of the air, and as it comes around for a second pass it passes over Potato’s head, so she puts all her throwing skills to the test and chucks her last 5kg bomb directly upwards at it – sadly the rigger manages to dodge this as well, and the bomb comes sailing back down at her. On the next pass, Vic finally manages to beat out the rigger (thankfully avoiding burning edge this time) and takes down her second VTOL of the day, sending burning aircraft parts and parachuting goons raining down over Potato’s position.

Deciding that she’s pushed her luck far enough, the sniper begins to make her rapid escape just as the high-force air spirit is inbound to her position. Potato catches her falling bomb, dropping it to her feet and setting it off just as HTR lands around her in an attempt to take them with her – the explosion knocks everyone down, however the HTR have pain editors and quickly kip-up to point their weapons at the somehow-still-alive Potato. She just flips them off with her cyberarms, so they light her up with ADPS and she declares herself Not Yet Dead, ending up being taken prisoner (see aftermath). Doyle and KB meanwhile are barely alive after soaking so much ADPS – the end is in sight however, and KB sprints his way there as fast as he can with his spirit using movement on him to out-pace the wired-up HTR team while Doyle snipes at them with his rifle, taking down two of them as they make their escape.

As Vic freefalls down her stealth rope and makes her way to her waiting vehicle, she is ambushed by the materializing air spirit – before it can engulf her, she deletes it with her gauss rifle, managing to disperse and make a quick retreat south towards Keeler’s Corners before any more arrive. Doyle meanwhile manages to take out the last of the pursuing HTR as KB crashes through the checkpoint and sprints to his vehicle, passing out in back as the drain hits him hard. Doyle pilots away as fast as he can, managing to lose the drone pursuit with some fancy driving, and makes his way towards Fairmont to the east.

Aftermath

As Potato is dragged away for interrogation, Fed-Bo is in hot pursuit of both teams – they have lost them for the moment, but they know they’ll be found soon (either by Fed-Bo or KE) if they don’t go to ground, so both call up their fixers to find safe houses in the area. Neither fixer is pleased at this news, however they scramble their resources and in exchange for a favor each from Doyle and Vic the team receives a pair of warded safehouses where they can hide out. Vic contacts Veidt before she goes dark, and is told to call back in 24 hours – the S-K Prime team is doing damage control to distance themselves from the Actual Terrorism that took place, scrambling media assets to create a cover story and pin the blame for the runners actions on Ares.

Potato presents a potential complication to all of this however, and her interrogation begins as the team are waiting to hear back from their employer about what to do next. She is told that she’s been fired from her Day Job and branded with a Criminal SIN before being given the chance to confess. Rejecting it, she valiantly holds out against several consecutive mind probes, with the Fed-Bo mage only getting her surface thoughts (which consist mostly of her musing on how awesome that explosion was). This continues for several days of no sleep and regular beatings with her own detached cyberarms, however the dwarf’s willpower holds out and she does not rat out her comrades or S-K, with things fading-to-black with her mocking her captors.

Meanwhile, the team are contacted by Veidt and told to meet her at the Old Everett ferry terminal with the prototype at midnight. They arrive to find a (seemingly) lone figure waiting for them, who proceeds to berate them for their reckless actions – she is also not pleased to see that one of them is missing. Vic, having had enough pink mohawk for several lifetimes, is honest with her when she says she cannot confirm whether or not the demolitions expert was taken alive or not and offers her sincere apologies for things going so loud. Frau Schmidt is a bit endeared to them at this, and admits that the collateral damage will hurt Fed-Bo immensely, while her own contingency plans have ensured that she and S-K will likely not be hauled before the corporate court over the whole mess; sizing up the team individually, she decides that they are likely more useful alive than dead (whether she will regret this decision remains to be seen) and gives them their payment instead of a bullet to the head from her hovering sniper drone.

Rewards

  • 20,000 nuyen
  • 5 karma
  • 2 CDP
  • +3 S-K rep
  • Optional Contact: Amrei Veidt (C6/L1 S-K Prime Operative)
  • Optional Gear Rewards: Any S-K gear of <18 availability @ 2:1 RVP value

(Except for Potato, who will need a rescue run from her fixer to liberate her from Fed-Bo custody!)

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Vichnozeleny: "Vichnozeleny, log two zero two. A complete mess. I babysat rookies. Zero operational awareness, haphazard improvisation, lackluster planning ability, fundamental inability to maintain element of surprise. Everything that I know of conventional warfare went out the window. All I could do was delay their deaths. My security was never an issue; as always, positioning is key to long distance marksmanship. One was taken alive; if she has any guts, by now she will have bashed her own skull open against the walls of her cell. I doubt this is the case. Too many are concerned with their own well-being. I may need to participate in her extraction. Perhaps it is the right thing to do. I can not believe the mission succeeded despite the mistakes made. I was paid, but more importantly I made headway into establishing better contacts. Perhaps this person can get me the information and equipment I require to learn about my past. Finally, I see an opportunity... but it will cost me."

Doyle

Fuck me...What a job to get back into shadows after my hiatus... How many bloody things can go wrong in less then a bloody minute?! Not only we blew up 'bout quarter of a air base...That also makes us terrorists...Well bigger terrorists. This also first time I seen one of us fall in the field. Gotta rescue her arse...Frag me. At least I got bragging rights on goin' against HTR and pulling it alive with successful job. Got a new piece of ware, one step closer to finalizing well...me. Still cannot believe we survived.