The Legend of the Mars Bars
|The Legend of the Mars Bars|
|Part of Home is where the heart is |
Part of The Harvesting Begins
|Metagenics Research Consortium (MRC)|
|Casualties and losses|
|1 leader ghoul; 15 feral ghoul|
The runners got into a conversation about Mars bars, and decided to try to find some for Ironclad who was craving them. After chasing a number of leads, they learned of a bunker connected to a building Moth had helped clear for Bruno Pereira and his refugees the prior week.
They explored the bunker - a preserved slice of history - finding a number of relics of interest, and ultimately the Mars bars. They donated all they found to Bruno's group to continue to build up their hideaway.
But they also found a ghoul cult, and a nefarious plot that is going to take a lot more effort to explore...
Bruno Pereira and a group of refugees were fleeing a gang war, involving two factions of the Halloweeners. Previously, Ironclad had helped protect innocents and punished the gang factions for their violence; see report.
And then, Bruno had gotten help from Moth to clear the future site of the hideaway - a nest of buildings hidden in an overgrown park. See report. In the course of clearing the buildings, Moth and her runner companions found a saferoom at the bottom of one of the buildings. They also found a toxic pollution spirit in the shape of a sewage rat.
When Ironclad, Koi, and Moth initially met up, they weren't sure where to begin to search for Mars bars. With some matrix searching, they began to realize that they would need a place that was stocked historically, and not touched since. An underground bunker, either owned by a private citizen like a disaster prepper, or by the military. But where could they find a bunker like that in Seattle? The three most likely locations were Everett, Redmond, or Puyallup. They reasoned that there ought to be financial records of a structure like that - building permits?, purchase history? But the records would be pre-2011 when so much data was lost. Any remaining records would be too rare to find in a public library.
Ironclad reached out to Ruben the Scottish Kid, who had access to a college's libraries and academic professors. Perhaps he could find the related records? Ruben initially struggled and Ironclad badgered him relentlessly, an angry drill sergeant. The boy burst into tears. He eventually produced information about a construction company that did a wide range of construction in the period of interest (from 1935 forward, when the candy bars were first available), including some underground construction. He found information about prior military bunkers that had been opened and re-sold to a current user. But it was unlikely that any place re-sold like that had not already been cleared of its artifacts. They needed a place that was secret. That had not been disturbed.
Moth was concerned by how the boy had been treated, and encouraged Ironclad to apologize and offer the boy a homemade meal to make it up to him. While Ruben did not immediately respond, he eventually admitted that his favorite food was breaded chicken fingers and she made him the best chicken fingers he'd ever eaten.
Moth gave the name of the construction company to her contact, Legal Eagle, to see if the named construction company was involved in any court cases, which might have more information such as locations of specific land plots, or blueprints. Unfortunately, he couldn't add anything of note. She could find the company on the matrix, but the records were of public construction projects - malls and schools. Something like a bunker would have likely been hidden, if possible. She was beginning to contemplate interviewing people at nursing homes in the Everett area to see if they had any family stories about a survivalist in a prior generation with a secret bunker.
Koi started checking with folks on the street in the Barrens to see if any of them had run across a bunker. Ironclad offered to reach out to a Barrens contact of his, Bruno Pereira, to see if he recalled ever seeing a bunker. Bruno replied that he was sleeping over one! That safe room that Moth and her team had found, which had appeared at the time to be a single room, had a weak wall that collapsed when Bruno and his men were exploring it, revealing a tunnel which might lead to exactly the sort of bunker that they were looking for. Bruno was happy for them to come and explore the tunnel. He mentioned an issue with devil rats they could help address, and a need for groceries.
The runners were excited to have learned exactly where to search. Moth knew the way to Bruno's new hideaway. She led the team through the heavily wooded area that concealed it. Once there, they met with Bruno to deliver the groceries and learn more about the tunnel. Among the refugees, a dwarf, Old Billy, recognized Koi from a prior run. He was a cook. They chatted with him as well, and Koi explained that he was there to help Ironclad, a loyal grandson. As they walked towards the building with the safehouse, Koi and Moth overheard conversation among the refugees that any time they ventured away from the hideaway, that they were afraid of being taken. Something was making people disappear. Moth thought it was perhaps related to the Redmond kidnappings she had been researching - in which technomancers specifically were being taken. But it didn't sound limited to technomancers. Curious.
They had supplies to help explore the space that Moth knew was very dark. They had light sources. Gas masks.
They would systematically search any bunker found in the tunnel, looking for the Mars bars. They'd kill any devil-rats they found to make the space safer for Bruno and his people. It sounded nice and simple.
They explored down the tunnel and indeed found the vault doors to a bunker. The doors were sealed tight, but they found a crack in the exterior structural wall that looked like it had been clawed through. Perhaps by devil-rats. No sign of the rats, but this looked like where they were coming from. Moth squeezed through without any trouble. Ironclad managed with impressive gymnastics and some careful removing of key pieces of his armor first. Koi got stuck but managed to squeeze through with Moth's gentle encouragement.
They found themselves in a reception area filled with strange boxes that Ironclad helped identify as ancient computers. The walls had propaganda posters that he identified as being from the second world war, stirring fear of Asian aggression. He figured that the bunker had been originally built for a small military team during world war two, or just prior. But then the bunker had been re-purposed in the late 1980s.
They began to search the rooms. On this level, in addition to the reception area, there was an infirmary and a security area. Moth found a map of the complex in the infirmary. They continued to collect the curious artifacts of the past, sure they had some value. In the security room, Moth found a locked box. She tried to lockpick it, but it jammed. She took out her crowbar and tried to pry it open. At first, it seemed like she wasn't strong enough, but Ironclad hollered at her in drill sergeant mode, and she found a new inner strength and popped it open. Inside, were two extremely ornate antique pistols. They seemed quite valuable.
They continued to descend down through the levels. On the second level, there was a kitchen, mess hall, and game room. Ironclad was pleased to find a game of monopoly. The kitchen had plenty of sign of rats, but no food currently in it. The food was likely in the storage area on the lowest level. They collected more historical artifacts.
They headed down to the lowest level. The energy source room was partially collapsed. A caved in wall. Nothing currently causing any danger. The living quarters has one room for a couple, and then a barracks with room for three more people. All the mattresses were curiously missing. They continued to collect interesting artifacts. At last, they found the storage room. A very thorough search by Moth revealed a crate marked sweets. This crate also needed prying open with a crowbar, under Ironclad's direction. Inside, some sweets were in poor condition. But there were several unopened 30-bar boxes. Mars bars! Also snickers bars and kit kats. The boxes had extensive nutritional and ingredient information for each candy bar. Ironclad was ecstatic. They had found the bars! He held the box reverently.
But there was a hole in the wall opposite the store room!
They investigated. Moth showed them that the tracks here were much bigger. Claws big as a person might have, rather than a devil-rat. They agreed that they needed to investigate.
They followed the tunnel down a long way before coming to the first branch. The most, and most recent, claw marks were along the left branch. They followed that path and came to another set of branching paths. Koi found a rope leading down one of the branches. Moth studied the tracks. From every direction but the branch with the rope, it looked like bodies had been dragged to this central point. And then down the path with the rope. Clearly that was the way to go. They were now sure this was related to the kidnappings. But who or what was behind it?
This led them to a larger opening. There were six makeshift tents around this room, some with the missing mattresses. A fire in the center. As they watched, stealthily, a figure came out of one of the tents. It was a feral ghoul. The runners were just beginning to consider how to deal with these feral ghouls when a loud noise like a beating heart reverberated through the cave. The ghouls reacted to this noise and headed out of this room and up another corridor. Were these ghouls what remained of the people who had been taken?
The runners followed stealthily. The path led to a larger chamber. There were rocks with strange ritualistic carvings. There was a more sentient ghoul conducting some kind of ritual. Fifteen feral ghouls. It sounded like he was about to offer a sacrifice? To something he expected to appear? He continued to murmur and chant.
A mage ghoul? Summoning something? And perhaps one of the kidnapping victims about to be sacrificed? And then a huge toxic nuclear spirit appeared! They had to stop it! Ironclad kicked things off by tossing in a flash-bang grenade. It rolled off course, but ended up catching the chanting ghoul and one of the ghoul groups.
Their first priority was to drop the mage ghoul. Ironclad and Koi successfully killed him before he could issue a command to the nuclear spirit. Inspired by Moth's encouraging speeches, the two men fired volley after volley of shots at the rapidly approaching feral ghouls. Moth was terrified of being infected. Ironclad and Koi were brave. Undaunted. They held their ground and kept firing. The toxic spirit drifted closer. Was it a threat too? They could recall it had not been given a command by the chanting ghoul. They made the decision to focus fire on the feral ghouls so they could not reach melee range. In his final shots before the ghouls could act again, Koi killed the second to last of the fifteen, and injured the remaining one so badly that it dropped to the ground screeching, unable to advance.
The nuclear spirit fed on the ghoul, absorbing it completely into its spirit body. And - in that moment - it radiated a blinding light, before vanishing completely. Was it gone forever? Likely to return? And where was the captive they had thought was about to be sacrificed from the chanting words. They'd never gotten a good look at a captive.
Luckily, Koi had been watching just precisely right in that moment, and as the others shut their eyes to shield them from the light, he looked past the toxic spirit with his cyber eyes, catching a glimpse of movement in the shadows beyond. That gave him camera footage he could review, and with the benefit of his cyber eyes' vision enhancement and magnification. There was a man in a corpsec uniform who carried off the body of the captive slung over his shoulder, as the spirit moved to blind them. There was a much bigger plot afoot! Koi studied the footage ever so carefully. He caught a flash of a logo. The man worked for Metagenics Research Consortium (MRC). Maybe they had the captives still. This needed more investigation! But it was an important clue.
They returned to Bruno, and gave him the full report. Koi made him an AR map of the area they had explored, and the contact information for Professor Simeon Jones, who has a strong interest in the ancient objects and was the ideal buyer for the objects found. Ironclad gave Bruno the custom pistols, for which he was very grateful, and offered to come by frequently to help out at the hideaway, with medical support and their other needs.
Moth was concerned also about the toxic spirit. Would it come back? Were Bruno's people going to be corrupted by it, down beneath where they were living? She called her expert mage contact, another member of the Laesa Syndicate, The Steward. He was intrigued by the mystery of it. With a 500 nuyen payment, he was willing to astral project to the bunker tunnels and assense the site, with 24 hours of surveillance to see if the spirit returns. At the end of his surveillance, he confirmed that the toxic spirit had not returned. But, there was a mage who moved through the area! The Steward has his astral signature, and would recognize it again. They deduced that this corporate mage had in fact summoned the toxic spirit and had been using it to maintain the ghoul cult. He was part of the kidnapping plot. Part of Metagenics Research Consortium (MRC).
Bruno - who had been quite tight on cash - now had a good pair of vintage weapons and 30,000 nuyen worth of 5th world artifacts - to help support his people. The most immediate threat to his people - the ghouls - had been taken care of.
The mysterious mage had the power to summon the toxic spirit again, but had lost his ghoul cult.
People were still being kidnapped by Metagenics Research Consortium (MRC).
The three runners had their desired Mars bars. Ironclad has the Mars bars, and is looking to deep-fry them. Moth has enough information to try to replicate the flavor combination in recipes.
The three runners were determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, and go after Metagenics Research Consortium (MRC) in the next chapter...
Ruben got a homemade chicken fingers dinner.
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
All this for some dreking candy bars. Rent is coming do soon but frag it's nice too do some charity work again,that place was dark but It really helped me decide something about myself, and what I think it means to be a soilder. Now to put a stop to this double A wanna be corp and their stupid kidnapping plot
Moth here! This was my 40th run! And what an adventure. I couldn't believe Bruno had the answer as to where we could find a bunker, and it was a place I'd just discovered. Why didn't I think of that safe room? Good thing Ironclad called Bruno. I was really impressed by Ironclad and Koi. They are brave and resourceful. They have good ideas. They are generous and charitable. Now, we need to go after Metagenics Research Consortium (MRC). I hope the missing people will all be found by the end of this. And in a better state than when they started.
That was... uh, strange? I went in for the coveted Mars Bars and left a Ghoulslayer... not the worst thing I suppose? Koi and Moth were great, literally could not have done it without them, good eggs