Streetwise Hercules

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Streetwise Hercules
Part of Shadow Heroes
Date2081-12-10
GMSarcarian
LocationDowntown, Seattle Metroplex
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven
City Watch
Disassemblers
CAPTAIN FREEFALL
King Beef
Nogitsune
Sp4rks
Cyber-Troll
Ghoul Nurse
Mutaqua
Casualties and losses
Cyber-Troll x2, Mutaqua (used Never Found the Body to survive certain death via regeneration)


Summary

In which the runners are recruited by the City Watch to rescue a reserve member from organleggers – FOR JUSTICE!

The Meet

The JUSTICE SIGNAL is sent out, and our heroes answer its call: CAPTAIN FREEFALL is out on patrol in Puyallup, hopping on the JUSTICE COPTOR (his Dustoff drone) and heading to City Watch HQ as soon as he gets the signal on his JUSTICE PHONE; King Beef is training with his coach/fixer/Horizon talent agent when he receives the news that he’s been tapped as the newest star of Superheroes of Seattle; Nogitsune and Sp4rks meanwhile are somewhat surprised to see that they have been contacted directly by Bold based on their reputations and potential Shadow Heroes in the making. All are excited at the prospect of a grand pink mohawk comic book-style adventure, and make their way to Watch HQ – there they are met by Clemmett and Martha, who just nods as the Captain and his newest batch of recruits hop in the elevator and descend to the Horizon-funded headquarters.

Bold meets with the team when they arrive, explaining that the Watch is currently over-taxed dealing with a) a totally-real-and-not-staged bank robbery, and b) the escape of System Crash from Watchhouse Containment, after the nefarious cybercriminal somehow compromised security of the new JUSTICE COMPUTER (a Horizon AI). Freefall expresses alarm at this, but Bold assures him that all is well in hand, and that his aid is needed elsewhere. Explaining the job, he tells them that a reserve member of the Watch (Archangel, a FLR with distinctive cyber-wings who acts as a Friendly Neighborhood Superhero for the neighborhoods around the ACHE Downtown) has been taken prisoner.

Showing the team clips that the JUSTICE COMPUTER pulled from a Horizon Mini-Zep floating Downtown, the team sees Archangel on patrol before a van pulls up and a pair of cybered-up trolls overpower and force him into it before driving off. The Watch as identified them as members of the Disassemblers, but do not know where they have taken Archangel and need the team to rescue him before he is harvested for his ware (which would no doubt damage the Watch’s reputation, if they cannot keep one of their own from being targeted by common criminals). For their aid, Bold offers the team the Standard Hero-ing Fee of 10 grand each (he already knows to donate Freefall’s to charity), which they accept.

The Plan

Naturally, before the heroics can begin, the team need to pick their superhero names and get suited up with costumes and simrigs (this is, naturally, a non-negotiable part of the job). Captain Freefall already has his name and identity picked out, so he helps the others with theirs while Bold and his comrades go to prioritize staged heroics over stopping the actual supervillain on the loose. King Beef kits up in his FBA, adding flashy accents and dubbing himself BEEF LORD! (exclamation included) Nogitsune dons a fox mask and kimono and calls himself Zenko (“good fox”), while Sp4rks suits up in a jumpsuit and redesigns his matrix persona as CAPTAIN CYBERSPACE (as everyone knows, all superheroes are captains).

After everyone is properly sim-rigged up and equipped with a trio of CU^3s to capture their antics for Horizon, they emerge from Watch HQ to find that night has fallen. Zenko calls up his GMC Armadillo to serve as the team’s heroic transport, while Freefall boards the JUSTICE COPTOR to fly while standing on top in heroic pose. Making their way towards Downtown, Captain Cyberspace hits the matrix to do a bit of digging and find out about Archangel and where the Disassemblers might have taken him. He is able to find the hero has quite a social media presence, but seems to be rather more down-to-earth than most of the Watch (a real-deal “stops muggings, busts drug dealers, saves kittens from trees” type of hero that seems well-respected by the locals). However, despite an outcry of support from those who have seen the videos of his capture taken by bystanders, no one seems to know where he was taken.

En-route, Freefall calls up his contact Carly Reeves, his contact and fellow co-worker at KSAF, to ask her if she has any leads on the case; he rolls an astounding 9 hits on her knowledge rolls, and by an astonishing coincidence it turns out that she is actively investigating a potential lead which may point them in the right direction. She agrees to meet them Downtown, and one star-wipe later the team is converging on her position, with Freefall descending from the sky with his cape billowing in the wind (the jaded reporter just rolls her eyes, knowing it could have been so much more bombastic – thankfully she does not manage to identify him as her mild-mannered co-worker Steve Streamer).

Carley tells the team that for the last few weeks she has been investigating rumors of an organleggers clinic hidden in the foundations of the ACHE, and that an informant has given her a lead on an entrance. According to her intel, a coffee shop on the third floor of the arcology mall houses a secret elevator – unfortunately while she is very B&E capable, the team are hardly dressed for infiltration and will need to find another way inside (she asks that they at least try not to wreck up the place before she can get footage, seeking it for a story exposing the complacency of the Metroplex Guard in allowing this to happen – Freefall says he will send her his own footage, covering the cost of the favor for the intel).

Zenko rolls his smuggler knowledge and determines that the most likely route into the ACHE is through the old tunnels in the Ork Underground that were used to help evacuate prisoners during the Shutdown. Unfortunately none of the team have any Skraacha contacts, but Freefall has a bit of rep with the Yellow Lotus Triad who are just about the next best thing in the smuggling/trafficking world; he calls up his fixer Argent, who has enough syndicate connections and rolled decently enough on his networking roll that he is able to put him into contact with Liao Qing, the Yellow Lotus’ point-man for smuggling through the OU. Freefall is able to parlay his rep with the triad into a favor, and Liao agrees to send a van that will get them through the Skraacha-controlled section of the OU and into the foundation of the ACHE; he asks why they would ever want to go inside a place like that, and Freefall uses his JUSTICE AURA to send along a simsense file which combined with a leadership roll is enough to convince Liao of his conviction, and perhaps moving the smugger to rethink a few of his choices in life.

The Run

After kitting up with radiation-proof cloaks, the team heads to the gentrified part of the OU to find an unmarked van waiting to take them deeper underground and through the old smuggling tunnels into the bowels of the ACHE. BEEF LORD! sits in the driver’s seat while they make their way through Skraacha territory, and ends up spotted by a fanboy who strides up to ask for an autograph (referring to him by his ring name of King Beef, definitively connecting his hero identity to his runner handle), asking him about his outfit and receiving some inspirational words in return. BEEF LORD! spends edge in his leadership roll and mentions that he may be returning to the ring soon, and the excited fan runs off.

The remotely-piloted van makes its way through the OU and into a 20 year old excavated tunnel that ends with a hole that has been blasted into the ACHE’s foundations by enterprising smugglers. Once they can go no further, the team exits their transport and continues on foot with the Dustoff drone hovering behind (as they have a man in potentially critical condition to rescue). Inside the lower levels of the ACHE, Captain Cyberspace contends with the local static while the Awakened team members deal with the palpable aura of lingering suffering from the horrors of the Deus’ experiments and the collective trauma of the residents imposing a negative background count on them.

The team explore the dark, ominous tunnels and get some great shots for a found footage horror trideo in the event that they don’t return from their descent into Hell. Carly, having managed to infiltrate from above, is able to locate the clinic and send one of her own drones to get a bit of footage and map it out prior to their wrecking up the place; she sends along its approximate location and the number of the elevator shaft that the team will need to climb up before making her way out of the line of fire. Navigating their way through the veritable maze of abandoned tunnels (with Captain Cyberspace marking their trail so that they can return without getting lost), the heroes are able to find the proper shaft and begin to make their ascent to the chop shop. Freefall and Zenko brought gecko-tip gloves for the task, but BEEF LORD has a more direct solution in mind – he grabs Captain Cyberspace, fires up his jetpack, and rockets up the elevator-less shaft, alerting everyone above to their arrival in the process.

Everyone rolls for surprise and initiative, and combat begins with BEEF LORD! kicking open the elevator doors to reveal a pair of cyber-troll guards in security armor ready to frag up any wannabe-heroes, as well as a ghoul nurse running down the hallway to inform the boss of what is happening. While BEEF LORD! engages in fist-vs-spurs with the cyber-trolls, Captain Cyberspace activates his EAARS and spots out the clinic’s decker, proceeding to go-big-or-go-home a trio of marks onto him and fry the poor gnawer spider before he can put out a call for backup. Zenko remains stealthily in the shaft to set up his rifle and put down one of the cyber-trolls, while Freefall makes a characteristically-grand entrance by launching himself at the fleeing ghoul; he is intercepted by the other cyber-troll, but manages a counterstrike and uses the force to push himself at his target, scoring a glancing blow that knocks them to the ground before being literally stabbed in the back by cyber-spurs.

The “nurse” calls for help from “Doc”, and a moment later the supervillain of the hour reveals himself by smashing blow-ing his way through the nearby wall – “Doc” is in fact “Doktor Death”, a hulking minotaur mutaqua working for Tamanous who is even larger than BEEF LORD! The Big Bad just nods to his minion to finish off Freefall while he handles the rest, and everyone audibly gulps as he approaches. BEEF LORD! is able to just manage to dodge an incoming haymaker, returning one of his own that successfully makes contact, though the infected minotaur shrugs off the electric punch and gloats about how it tickled. Freefall activates his JUSTICE AURA (fey-touched edge-powered leadership) and attempts to talk the evil-doers into submission – the cyber-troll is cowed into inaction by the power of JUSTICE, but the mutaqua just cackles at such foolishness as he shrugs off blows from BEEF LORD! and Zenko.

As the screams of Archangel echo throughout the clinic, Captain Cyberspace is able to successfully trap the ghoul nurses and cut off their avenues of escape. With his opponent no longer willing to fight, Freefall leaps to the aid of his fellow hero, using Noble Sacrifice to take on his pain once he gets within sight. As Zenko shoots off one of Doktor Death’s horns, the baddie grabs BEEF LORD! in a clinch, lifting him up by the neck and preparing to drop him down the elevator shaft; noticing the jetpack, the mutaqua just grins and jumps down into the darkness. Captain Cyberspace is in no mood for this sort of thing, so he burst fires down at the infected menace and actually manages to not hit his comrade with EAARS engaged. Having torn out a sizable chunk of the boss monster’s skull, BEEF LORD! lands another electric punch before using the jetpack to pile drive his enemy into the ground, jetting upwards and saving himself at the last moment just as a spray of blood obscures his faceplate.

Aftermath

With the supervillain “dead” (come on, it was a Disney Villain Death and they Never Saw The Body – he’ll be back for the sequel), BEEF LORD! ascends back to the clinic with his rocket pack to assist with cleanup. Captain Cyberspace is able to pull files conclusively connecting it with Tamanous, which he passes along to KSAF, and while he and Freefall render medical aid to Archangel (successfully saving his partially cut-off cyber-wings from septic infection in the process) the others restrain the unconscious cyber-trolls and coral the ghoul staff before deciding what should be done with them. BEEF LORD! and Zenko are fans of the expedient solution (i.e. murder), while the Captains (Freefall moreso than Cyberspace) are more hesitant (especially on-camera with the kids watching at home).

Archangel awakens concurs with his fellow super-hero, saying that they should be given a chance to learn the error of their ways, though Captain Cyberspace remains a bit torn with the idea of just releasing them to go cause more harm in the world. BEEF LORD! solves the dilemma by calling up his fixer, The Man, who asks him why the frag he’s bothering to do something like this; he just tells him that he has a bunch of bleeding hearts here, and that it could be good for his image. The Man grumbles, but puts his networking skill to use, and with 7 hits is able to use the Inter-Fixer Network (something I decided on the spot probably exists, if only to facilitate the spreading of notoriety among runners) and put the crew in touch with Amelie and Jean-Baptiste to take the ghouls off their hands and give them a new lease on life with the infected cabal. Archangel thanks them for their aid, and returns to his patrol.

Patting eachother on the back for a job-well-done, the team return to Watch HQ and are congratulated by Bold and company for their heroics. Handing over their footage and simsense files, Captain Cyberspace gets the idea to ask for a bonus, seeing as how they went into the ACHE and fought an actual monster. After edging his negotiation roll, he is able to squeeze a bit more cash out of the Watch (“hazard pay in exchange for exceptional footage” – though it’s rather R-rated, Horizon can spin it off into “City Watch After Dark” for the teen and young adult crowd), and everyone leaves satisfied.

Rewards

  • 12,000 nuyen
  • 6 karma
  • 2 CDP
  • +1 City Watch rep
  • +1 Horizon rep
  • +1 Public Awareness (for Captain Freefall and King Beef, as their heroics were connected to their runner identities)
  • Optional Contact: Bold (C2/L2 Superhero) for 3 RVP or 6 CDP (free chip for Captain Freefall)
  • Optional Contact: Carly Reeves (C4/L2 KSAF Reporter) for 5 RVP or 10 CDP
  • Optional Gear Reward: Horizon Fake SINs and Licenses (must be attached to superhero identity)
  • Optional Reward: May join the City Watch as a Reserve Member for 5 RVP or 10 CDP

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Sp4rks

Introducing CAPTAIN CYBERSPACE, the gritty super that comes to the help of citizens both on the matrix and on the field thanks to his High Grade implant system, see as he seamlessly Cover for his partner CAPTAIN FREEFALL as he hack the Deck of the baddies(tm). See Him in action and the rest of the team against a most evil foe menacing the Seattle metroplex in your local Horizon Trid centers !

King Beef Oh man that was a fun ass fight, team had a handle on a lot of it and I got to crack some skulls. Especially when the big bad infected came out, got to smack him around then pile drive him down an elevator shaft. This jetpack lets me do all kinds of crazy moves I couldn't before, totally gonna keep it around.