Reformation Hunt 23
|Reformation Hunt 23|
|Part of The Reformation|
Briana Rasmussen |
The Black Paladin
Purkinje and Tanuki take on entry 23 of The Bounty List, Briana Rasmussen of the Tir Ghosts.
Extensive searches of the matrix revealed almost nothing, which Purkinje expected. There was information on the target from before her time in the Ghosts, but it bore the signs of doctoring, and it was outdated by over 20 years. Purkinje's search did lead her to obscure technical documentation on a prototype stealth aircraft, which Tanuki explained had been specially designed to possess a virtually nonexistent signature. Its only external sensor was a single camera wired into the plane, and all its matrix communications were routed through a host so as not to be broadcast to a specific location and potentially intercepted. Purkinje found the host and analyzed it, finding it to be a high-security military host sculpted to resemble an aircraft hangar belonging to Tir Tairngire. Further searches into the target revealed she had been in an explosion of orichalcum in central Russia in 2061, but the medical report was too vague to be of further use.
With Tanuki driving aimlessly to deter possible traces, Purkinje cracked the host and entered. She found it possessing personnel files and orders along with a small squadron of aircraft. A couple IC were on a regular patrol, but Purkinje was far too stealthy for them to come close to spotting her. She copied the personnel file on Briana Rasmussen, finding her to be the commanding officer and pilot of aircraft #4. The aircraft itself was slaved to a rigger command console that was not in active use, for security purposes. Purkinje cracked the plane and began monitoring its communications, then placed a signal countermeasure script in the RCC to selectively prevent outgoing communications. A trace revealed it to be in eastern Yakut, where there was some confusion over whether the team would deploy to the UCAS.
At this time, she noticed a second hacker enter and place a mark on the plane - a black helmet sticker. Purkinje threaded the effects of nonlethal biofeedback and instantly bricked the decker in a single cyberattack, doubtlessly knocking him unconscious from the shock. When she returned to the aircraft, she noticed the mark was still there for some reason; there was a second decker she had failed to spot. Before she could begin a search, the mark vanished. She intercepted a new radio signal going from the plane to an unknown device icon not too far away from the plane's physical location. She manipulated the Resonance to coax the plane into inviting Tanuki to claim three recognition keys, which he accepted before promptly jumping in. Becoming a multi-billion nuyen stealth aircraft, Tanuki disabled the radio transmitter, flew up to the edge of space, and opened his doors, ejecting the passengers except the pilot, who passed out due to decompression. The passengers' jet pack systems kicked in to save them, but not before they were well out of sight and unconscious. Tanuki then had the plane's GPS calculate a flight plan to Seattle, at which point he disabled it so it couldn't be tracked.
Meanwhile, Purkinje contacted the Ex-Firewatch, who were well loyal to the two of them. They agreed to provide a covert landing spot they could use to hide from the black-armor bounty hunters and any Tir military that might come after them, and Tanuki and Purkinje agreed to give them the aircraft as a token of good will, which was far more than they were expecting in payment. Tanuki executed his flight plan without being spotted crossing international borders or crashing into any airliners that might've been in the area and ended up pinging Firewatch, who directed him to a spot in the Bering Strait. Trusting their judgement, he dove down to land on an underwater, camouflaged platform that the aircraft was taken into.
With Briana Rasmussen alive in stable condition, the two runners had a tough decision to make. Would they turn her in? They questioned her for more information, but she seemed unwilling to talk about much. She indicated the Ghosts had learned about the bounty hunters after a recent failed attempt, but they didn't know about why they were after her. Briana herself had an acute case of orichalcum poisoning, the symptoms of which were unknown to thaumaturgical medical science. Numerous biometric scans were taken of her, but little could be gleaned that was not already known aside from her having a high concentration of it in her bones, heart, and brain, which corresponded with high concentrations of blood. Purkinje called Deimos to read her mind, but magical attempts to look inside her met with explosive results that reflected the energy back at her.
Becoming frustrated, Purkinje thought back to the Shadowhaven guest node, where a mysterious user by the name of Madame had been in opposition to Valois. She asked her infobroker Betz to help get her in contact with Madame. Betz was surprised, explaining Madame was a tech industry figure from the 2060s who died in Crash 2.0. Putting the pieces together, Purkinje determined Madame had become an e-ghost, and she only appeared when Valois was offline due to their being old enemies. The only times Valois was offline, however, were for the few minutes he checked the validity of a bounty's head. Tanuki raised the idea of creating a head forgery. Purkinje asked Briar if he could help out with this, and he turned out to have exactly the perfect person for the job. Using the provided biometric scans and a sample of the metal-heavy blood, he created an excellent forgery. Tanuki waited in the host for Madame to appear while Purkinje took the head to Valois.
The head passed Valois' inspection.
Tanuki was able to establish contact with Madame, who sent the address of a mysterious host in the little time the two had to talk.
Valois paid the bounty, and after the forger's fee was sent, Tanuki and Purkinje split the remainder.
The Ex-Firewatch were very happy with their new aircraft.
Briana Rasmussen was betrayed by the Ghosts, a fact that she expected being in black ops. Purkinje was able to prove it thanks to a new set of orders pulled from the plane's receiver. Rasmussen was ultimately grateful she was kept alive through the ordeal and agreed to join the Ex-Firewatch for the time being.
- 32,000¥ divided between the Forger (12,000¥), Purkinje (10,000¥) and Tanuki (10,000¥)
- 11 karma
- +5 Ex-Firewatch Rep
- 2 CDP
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
I took this one thinking I would be uniquely disposed to deal with the Ghosts. I'll admit I wanted some payback too. In the end, we were more than enough, but murder wasn't the answer. She and I have something in common now, being broken things cast aside by our homeland. I'm going back to my vacation.
I know what runners want to read here: that I'm glad I got to be a plane that is more money than anyone that isn't a corporation got to see, that I got to clown a real villain out of his money, even the small satisfaction that I got to save an innocent (or the closest this world has to one, to be honest). And we got the plane to people who could use it well. Win-win.
Or the fact that after talking to Madam, Valois or whom he works for or represents might well be a horror show, and one we better find out how horrible it is before there's another thing we have to try to save the world from.
And that's all true. I could post something aggrandizing about Purkinje and myself being at the top of our games, that we're the very best at what we do. That's also true, and none of you better fragging forget it.
But I find myself saying that I think to us, the bounties Purkinje and I wanted were supposed to be closure, or help find closure for our pasts. Due to reasons I do not blame the runners for, my quarry is gone, and I got to feel the same helplessness of being seven and knowing that you could do nothing, that you failed someone you loved.
I can only imagine, then, what Purkinje is going through. This was partial closure for the alienation from her from her people, the forces I know didn't accept her but we never talk about, because when you're a Shadowrunner, your scars are like your name, your real one, you carry it around and you maybe trust someone with them someday. I told her this was her bounty and it was and I don't quite know what the price was for her doing the right thing. I don't know (and the stakes were larger, in Purkinje's case it's the agent and mechanism of a state that rejected her and doesn't give two fucks) if I would have done the same, faced with a Triad that was just trapped in the syndicate.
Purkinje might be a better person than me. As strange as that sounds, I'm OK with that. I'm glad she is and can be. I hope she finds her closure somehow.
Enough maudlin musings and me being sad. It's time to go back to work.