Shadowrun: Seattle 2072

The Hawthone Affair-aftermath or after them

[September 2, 2072, Seattle]

Emerald, Delta and Doc kept on the move, which turned out to be a good thing. Delta drove while Doc tried not to fry himself while hacking just about any source he could find. Meanwhile emerald sat in the back keeping her eyes and ears peeled to any trouble. No problem with that as she picked up a police band notice about some terrorists who coincidentally fit their descriptions! Oh, yeah, and this warning was accompanied by a shoot on sight notice! Kinda put a damper on the after party celebrations they did not have planned, but anyway . . .

Doc continued to fry himself learning about an about to occur hit on some diplomat at the airport. Normally, they might have given a crap, but with the ‘shoot to kill’ out on them, the poor fool was on his own. The President was not scheduled for 8 months, so that could wait. Deciding that life was worth living after all, they headed into the safety of the Red Barrens where they booked a room in Larry’s No-Tell Motel. Meanwhile, Emerald had all her friends use safe lines to report bogus sightings of them all over town, except the Red Barrens.

Safely ensconced at Larry’s they learned through Jayna that good old Detective Connor had put out the hit order on them, made it look like they had killed Hawthorne, and tampered with the crime scene. Wonderful, juts wonderful. They were able to find a money trail to Connor and Colonel Hastings, but what to do with this info?

It was decided to take a chance. They knew that Colonel Angela Morelli was in charge of that cop shop so they contacted her, all the way east in Detroit. She was skeptical, but when sent sufficient evidence, she became more cooperative.

[September 8, 2072, Seattle]

It took some time, but six days later they were ‘cleared,’ as in no longer dead meat. But still . . . Oh, yeah, and somehow Connor had disappeared.

With some free time they used the sub to find those sunken diamonds, a suitcase full in fact. Now how to fence them????

Decisions, decisions and then the comlink sounded and Frosty’s familiar voice could be heard. . . .

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The Hawthone Affair-Final Chapter

[August 31, 2072, Seattle]

Emerald, Doc and Jinx met up in the early morning to decide what to do on this dull, rainy Seattle day. Doc had got a new set of old, hot tires, so the truck was ready to rock and roll, literally. Following the lead given by Elizabeth Hawthorne, they set and order of investigation. First, they’d visit the house in Tacoma to which the gunmen for the club shooting fled. Then they’d check out where the helicopter came from in Puyallup on Mount Rainer. They would save the house on Vachon Island for last.

[August 31, 2072, 10AM, 120 Victoria, Tacoma]

The house was rather non-descript two story job with a garage supposedly owned by a ‘J. Smith.’ No sign of life around. Doc decided on some bug size drone surveillance, but apparently the gardeners around here were very protective of their roses as some lasers took out his pest. The back yard was found to house a mechanical guard dog. ‘Guess they don’t like cats either.’ It was up to Emerald who made herself scarce and approached for a peek inside. Naturally the blinds were down, but she could always make them go up just enough to see what—what!? Rather than nice relaxing furnishings, what would likely have been the living room was effectively an army barracks. Hmmm . . . Another room seemed a command center and another a munitions supply. ‘Well, that’s all we needed to see,’ so they moved on.

[August 31, 2072, Noon, Puyallup Barren, and Mount Rainer]

Through other checkpoints and on to the lovely small town charm of Luvland.

The border men were all my friends
They couldn’t find a dime.
All is well

Mountains and Marianne, Gordon Lightfoot, 1966

Part of Luvland’s charm was the show they put on for tourists. As the Team drove through they were treated to the sight of some Asian chaps taking some Italian chaps out for a stroll, a last stroll. The Italians were given presents, bullets to the back of the head. ‘Remind me to keep my birthday a secret.’

Up the mountain until they neared the coordinates. Reconnoitering, they found a fenced in compound of sorts, one that went right into the side of a cliff. What was once a research facility was now the home of the South-western Survivalists, whose knowledge of geography left something to be desired. In any case, the place was patrolled and guarded such that entry seemed impossible. As they watched they heard some motors approaching. It turned out to be a convoy of TPK vehicles. Emerald momentarily debated hitching a ride to get inside, but then realized there would likely be no way out, no easy way out, no way our alive, so she abandoned the idea. They were able to get a glimpse inside the huge sliding metal doors, however, as the convoy entered. Inside were some other TPK trucks being painted black, and an American flag.

‘OK, so we got a barracks and a playground for lunatics. What next?’

[August 31, 2072, 2PM, Vachion Island

Next turned out to be the piece des resistance. The address on Vachon Island was a lakeside cottage which once belonged to Dr. Caldwell, now owned by ‘R. MacDonald.’ ‘Guess he got the deed signed by Mayor MacCheese.’ From a vantage point overlooking the cottage they observed for a time contemplating how to get a closer look. As they did so a familiar person arrived. Detective Patricia Conner drove up and went to the door. Low and behold, Dr. Caldwell opened it and let her in. ‘Guess we know who’s been sleeping in whose bed, now don’t we?’ Goldilocks aside, it seemed they had learned a great deal just by watching.

And, just as they thought school was out for the day, all hell broke loose. A team of four shadow runners came in by boat and began an assault on the house and those inside. Two of them broke through the front door and began firing. Eventually, Connor and Caldwell fled out a side door along with a soon to be dead security guy. Emerald saw this as her chance. Invisibly, as the Hamburguler, she slipped down the hillside, and entered the house through one of the shot out windows. In the bedroom she rifled the safe and the safe door to find some ‘stuff,’ including 6, er, 4- FOUR bottles of Tempo. While the shooting still ran wild outside she made her way out and back up the hill. Though both Connor and Caldwell were wounded in the shoot out at the OK corral, Connor managed to drag him into her car and get out of dodge.

As things calmed down, Doc drove the team away, across the ferry and back to the mainland. Emerald handed over the 6, er, 4- FOUR bottles of Tempo along with the papers, no, the PAPER, the one sheet of paper that was in the safe and the map that she found in the secret compartment in the safe door. The map turned out to be a battle plan for, get this, the battle of Seattle. It showed all the important government sites and how they would be attacked. And one area in particular, one guarded by the Secret Service seemed to be highlighted. Doc concluded that perhaps a hit on the President was part of the plan. It seemed that this group was bent on reuniting the good old USA!

Some things are bigger than any team can handle and this certainly was one of them. They decided to turn the whole thing over to Hawthorne and let her deal with it. She set up a meet at Dr. Bob’s Quick Stitch Clinic.

[August 31, 2072, 6PM, Dr. Bob’s Quick Stitch Clinic, Seattle]

They arrived at Dr. Bob’s Quick Stitch Clinic only to find a rather sad sight. Hawthorne was there alright, sitting, sort of, in her car, quite dead. No sooner did they make this gruesome discovery that they, too, came under fire, from a ridiculous distance away. Doc got the truck under a bridge for cover while Emerald snuck back, got whatever she could out of the car –Hawthorne’s bag, ID, Shield, comlink (erased),- and got semi blown up for her efforts. Not quite Swiss cheese, she got back to the truck, made it less visible, and they took off.

[August 31, 2072, later and safer, Seattle]

Once they were safe and settled down, the Team discussed what to do now, or, if they should/could do anything. As a working plan they decided on a twofold approach. Doc would continue to try to find out when the President was coming to town, while Emerald and Jinx would use the 6, er, 4-FOUR, bottle of Tempo to ‘tempt’ the gangs of Seattle to a meet at which time they would be show the evidence of this potential military threat to their territory, and more importantly, their business.

Till then . . . . .

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The Hawthone Affair-Part Three

[August 28, 2072, 10PM, Knight Errant Facility, Downtown, Seattle]

No matter how good the plan, something always seems to go wrong. In this case it was Delta. Somehow he’d gone out on his own the previous evening, partying till dawn, with some old friend who just happened to be ‘in town for the weekend’ and was ‘feeling like crap’ so he was not available for the sneak.

Undaunted, the other three forged ahead without him.

Dressed as members of the Spotless Cleaning Company, Emerald and Jinx waited near the Knight Errant Facility. Doc hacked the cleaning truck into submission and then intercepted their distress call. He claimed to be the service team and promised prompt arrival and repair. That was the signal for Emerald and Jinx to head in. With the faces of two of the men in the truck, they entered. Once inside, they explained to the main desk that the truck had broken down and they were sent on to start with the light work. The desk sergeant was anxious for them to get up to the fifth floor where a vending machine had exploded. Undaunted they got into the elevator but ‘accidentally’ pushed 3.

On the third floor they found a flurry of activity with all sorts of meetings going on. Ducking into the washroom, emerald went into a stall and emerged as Connor. Her disguise was so good that it momentarily fooled Jinx. Once calmed down, Jinx headed up to 5 to look into the vending machine incident. Emerald waded her way through the crowd to the file area. It was during this time that Doc intercepted a call from the facility to Connor, demanding that she return there immediately! Uh, oh. At least Emerald was somewhat forewarned when the file guy asked her if she’d seen the Colonel yet. Only mildly confused she asked what he might want which temporarily threw him off. She used the copy of the key card to get into the secure file room and into her three drawers where she found and took both files, secreting them away inside her blouse in a large packet she had sewn in there for this very purpose. It hit her that this was one of those rare moments when someone was trying to get a file out of a police station.

She returned to the washroom and covered herself in the cleaning coveralls once more. Up on the fifth floor Jinx was having the unique experience of trying to mop up a royal mess of liquids that had come out of the vending machine. Broke a nail even! Once joined by Emerald, they used the excuse that they needed larger cleaning equipment and that the truck was on its way. They headed down to the main floor, narrowly missing the real Connor who had arrived and was heading to the file room. Doc had ‘fixed’ the truck and it was on its way. As Emerald and Jinx were exiting the building Connor was sounding the alarm since she had just learned that she had already been there!

In the rear alley, Emerald and Jinx were stopped by security for an ID check. Emerald ‘convinced’ the guard that they were who they were. As they cleaning truck arrived, they moved towards it, waving to cover their faces so they guys inside would not see ‘themselves’ outside. They went right past the truck and off into the night.

[August 28, 2072, 11PM, somewhere in Seattle]

Once they met up with Doc, they all had time to peruse the files:

Club 88 Shooting

Several gunmen entered the Club 88 from the elevator after exiting a van in the underground parking lot. They killed several individuals who have conclusively been identified as Yellow Lotus Triad members; then attempted to kill Mr. Chang, a noted Yellow Lotus boss, and several unknown Shadowrunners; who summarily dispatched the gunmen, then fled the scene. Several other gunmen were in the basement; looting a Yellow Lotus storage area; before inexplicably blowing up their own van and fleeing on foot.

KIA gunmen identified as: James Burrows, security officer working for TPK Security. Iselda Rawlings, security mage working for Executive Protectors. Larin Blueblossom, security officer working for TPK Security. Darryl Johnson, security officer working for RET99.

Traffic cameras traced the fleeing gunmen back to a house on the bay at 120 Victoria in Tacoma.

Case Sealed, by orders of Detective-Captain Patricia Conner. Approved by Colonel George Hastings from Knight-Errant Central. Approve by Governor Brackhaven. Order to destroy given by Colonel George Hastings.

Helicopter Assault Case

Three cars destroyed outside the manor at 54th Rosemary. Fifteen casualties; all members of the Yellow Lotus Triad. An elite hit team. The manor itself was burned down afterwards.

Arson team report: Firebomb detonated in basement, with accelerants spread throughout the first floor.
Traffic cams identify top members of Vory, Red Dragon and Octagon Triad and Shotozumi-Gumi Yakuza entering the manor before the attack and leaving afterwards. Dr Caldwell left the manor last with an escort and travelled to a house on Vashon Island. He is believed to have set the fire.

Air traffic control indicates that the helicopter took off and returned to a location in Puyallup (GPS coordinates attached), near Mount Ranier.

Case Sealed, by orders of Detective-Captain Patricia Conner. Approved by Colonel George Hastings from Knight-Errant Central. Approve by Governor Brackhaven. Order to destroy given by Colonel George Hastings.

Unfortunately, reading these accounts and noting that they had not been destroyed raised a few eyebrows. Why hadn’t Connor destroyed them?

One obvious possibility was that she was keeping them to hold over someone. But, what if she was actually ‘good’? Maybe she had not yet destroyed them cause she was keeping them as evidence on other’s wrongdoing? Hmmmm . . . .

This led to some fatigue induced ideas, mostly from emerald and Jinx about somehow getting Connor and Hawthorne together and letting them sort it out, which might mean one shooting the other, or both shooting the other. Hmmm . . . . . It was finally decided to just stick with the original plan and contact Hawthorne and hand over the files. They did so and a meet was arranged at Larry’s Bar in two days time.

[August 30, 2072, 10PM, Larry’s Bar, Downtown Seattle]

The Team arrived early to keep an eye on the place. They saw Hawthorne arrive early and heard her arrange for a private room. Shortly after, however, a cleaning truck arrived, this time the other ‘cleaners’ the ones of the squeaky variety. Uh, oh.

Rather than start a firefight, the booted it around the back just as Hawthorne emerged running for her life. Jinx put down some suppressing fire while the detective made in to Doc’s truck. This should have ended thing except for the gun turret that was ominously looming from the roof of the Squeaky Cleaning truck. Big time UH-OH!

As Doc peeled away Emerald levitated the hood of the cleaning truck so as to obscure their view. One of the ‘cleaners’ got out and shot out one of Doc’s rear tires. Emerald had to redirect her energies to this area of their truck to keep them righted. Meanwhile the ‘cleaners’ got off on good missile which fortunately missed creating some debris and a smokescreen for the Team’s escape.

Once safely away, they handed the files over to Elizabeth Hawthorne. She looked through them, lucky to be alive, but still on the job. As a reward, she then gave the Team the location of a sunken diamond smuggling ship in the Puget Sound. She also asked them to stay on this ‘case’ by investigating two addresses of interest. The first was the house on the bay at 120 Victoria in Tacoma where the hit team had retired to, and the other was the house at Vashon Island which Connor occasionally visited.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but they’ll still be there when the real work is done.

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The Hawthone Affair-Part Two

[August 27, 2072, Seattle]

The Team spent a few days doing their individual tasks.

Doc had easily got the layout of the Knight Errant Facility:

Level 1: Lobby, Front Desk, Drunk Tank, Group Cells, Line up, Patrol Desks, Break Room, Gym, Lockers, Showers, Janitor’s Closet, Public Bathroom

Level 2, 4, 5, 6: Detectives’ Desks, Lieutenant’s Office, Captain’s Office, Break Room, Janitor’s Closet, Bathroom, CSI Lab (Level two is Traffic Detective, Level Four is Gang Control, Level Five is Vice and Level 6 is Robbery/Homicide). Detective Patricia Conner’s office is on level 6, as is Detective Hawthorne’s desk.

Level 3: Secure Area (Evidence Vault, Armory, Secure Cells), Captain’s Office, Conference Areas, Interrogation Rooms, Corporate Representatives’ Offices, Bathroom

Level 7: SWAT Major’s Office, SWAT gym, SWAT Control, SWAT Armory, Ritual Room, Bathroom

Level 8: Major’s Office, Colonel’s Office, Dispatch, Security Air Traffic Control, Drone Control, Internal Security Control, Private Officers’ Bathroom

Roof: Helipad, Anti-air Missiles

Basement: Morgue, Firing Range, Motor Pool, Underground Access

Sub-Basement: Long term cells, Emergency Generator, Power and Water connectors.

All levels could be accessed by a bank of four elevators from the Lobby, and staircases at the North and South of the building. There’s a fire escape on the east and west side of the building. The main entrance is at the south of the building; and there’s a utility entrance at the west side for maintenance personnel. It was this one that would most likely provide their access.The motor pool is accessed via an underground garage entrance a block east of the building. There’s an entrance at the east of the building for checking in prisoners. This entrance also contains a direct elevator from the group cells/drunk tank to the Sub-Basement cells and the motor pool. The Sub-Basement Term Cells can only be accessed by the elevator from the Group Cells; it is impossible to access the generator and power connections from the cells without taking down a well.

The station is commanded by an elf, Colonel Angela Morelli; and her right hand dwarf is Major Kerein Payne. SWAT is commanded by a troll, Josie Smith.

Emerald tailed Detective Conner, not just to know where she goes, but to study and learn her mannerisms so she could better impersonate her when attempting to access the files. She found that Conner spent eight hours a day at the station when not on a case, from 10AM to 6 PM. Currently she was working on the water tower destruction; though she was not spending much time in the field investigating it. She seemed ready to write it off. On one occasion she went to a house at Vashon Island for a few hours. Tracing the house’s ownership records only came up with obvious pseudonyms. Detective Conner spent her off hours frequenting high class nightclubs across the city. She has a luxury condo in a fancy apartment block downtown.

Delta and Jinx kept tabs on the Spotless Cleaning Company which was responsible for cleanup duties around the station. One team of three janitors are present at the stations between 8AM and 6PM. A team of six comes in at 10PM to clean up any major messes and perform maintenance and they stay until 2 or 3AM depending on how much needs to be done. They have many, many uniforms that need to be cleaned frequently, owing to the nature of the work. Jinx was easily able to swipe four of them that fit the team.

[August 28, 2072, 2AM, Detective Connor’s Pad, Seattle]

There was one more piece of prep work before they could act, they needed Connor’s face, eye scan and key card. It was up to the very talented Emerald to obtain all three. Now, Doc did help by procuring a face printer and a retinal scan stealer, but Emerald had to perform the late night B&E.

Dressed up and acting as Connor, Emerald broke in to the posh building. OK, so Doc opened the main door, but Emerald waltzed past the security guard. Wait, there was no security guard. OK, so Emerald did get into the elevator and actually push the button for the 39th floor all on her own. Then, after Doc opened the front floor of the condo, Emerald did have to pick an interior lock all by herslef! It was then she realized she was not alone. For reasons known only to the higher powers, Connor had a live in body guard who patrolled her hallways at night. Hmmm . .. . . Resisting the urge to shock him, Emerald made herself invisible and by passed him. This also helped her with the in house security cameras. Boy, talk about paranoia. ‘Ok, let’s talk about paranoia. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you.’

She found and entered Connor’s bedroom and watched the sleeping beauty well, er, sleep. In spite of the many tempting items of interest, Emerald stayed focused on the task at hand. She used the face mask to obtain a print of Connor’s face, then the scanner to get her eye. Naturally, she had to hold the sleeping eyes open to do this. ‘Look deep into my eyes. You are getting sleepy, very sleepy. Hey, Emerald, wake up.’ Once done she looked for Connor’s bag, wallet, whatever, where the key card might be, but did not find it in the bedroom.

Back in the hallway, she checked on the guard who was now conveniently sleeping in the side hallway, leaning against the exit door. Hmmmmm….. … Moving inwards she searched the living room to no avail, then the dining room where the wallet lay. Of course, there just happened to be a security camera watching the table at pretty much the exact spot where the wallet lay. ‘Some people can be very possessive about their food.’ Emerald fashioned an image of the wallet while removing the wallet. No wait, that’s the image, er, no, it’s the wallet, er, well.’ Under table she made a copy of the the key card and then replaced the wallet on the table.

Since the guard looked so peaceful in his slumber, ‘There’s a guy who knows how to earn his money,’ Emerald went out on the balcony and lowered herself calmly to the ground blow.

With these final items, they were ready to set the plan in motion.

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The Hawthone Affair-Part One

[August 23, 2072, Personas non Gratis, Seattle]

Emerald had spent a rather relaxing, yet challenging, five weeks. After getting back from San Bernadino, she got her shop up and running again, and the left it in the capable hands of the Brothers Galise while she went on another one of her wilderness retreats. She’d used some contacts to do a rather complex deal, resulting in one form of Focus being swapped for one more suitable to her needs. In anticipation of the end result, she needed to retreat to the woods where she could learn new ways.

She spent three weeks with the Salish-Shidhe in the Snoqualmie Forest. During her stay she studied the art of raising herself and /or other people and objects off the ground. She also improved her ways of influencing others by getting in touch with their minds. Of course, all of this brought her to a heightened state of relaxation, and it took quite an effort to return to the darkness of Seattle.

She’d been back in town about a week. She actually explored options of selling her business and maybe retreating to the wood permanently when . . . . .

[2PM]

. . . . . her comlink sounded. A rather shaken Jayna, her blogger contact, pleaded for her help, sending an address in the warehouse district in Everett, amidst the sound of gunfire and rang off. Suddenly Emerald was a Runner again. Leaving the shop she contacted the Team and roared off on her motorcycle, hoping she would get there in time.

[August 23, 2072, Everett, Seattle]

She arrived to see TPK Security had sealed off the area. As she tried to approach and sneak by she was warned off by one of their goons, who claimed they were here hunting some ghouls. Fortunately, the others arrived. Doc quickly learned that the security perimeter included some jamming so he could not contact anyone inside. They were going to have to breach this somehow. Delta was able to go ‘stealth’ and get on the roof of the warehouse where he found a uniformed guard keeping a watch. Delta was able to thermal image someone in the NW corner in the building.

Emerald realized that this must be Jayna’s hideout. She gave Doc access to the sewers by raising the manhole cover. Then she took Jinx and herself up to the roof, where she used her newly learned mental powers to get the guard to ‘take a break at Mr. Cake.’ Looking down through the permanently closed skylight, they saw a pro group performing a sweep that would eventually take them to that NW corner. This group had come in a black van belonging to ’Squeaky Cleaning.’ Hmmmm . . . .

While Doc bluffed his way through the sewers only to find the final latch really locked, those on the roof hatched a plan. Delta snuck down and noisily opened a door, then hid behind it. Emerald created an image of a fleeing Jayna, dark her, brown skin, ducking, darting, out the door and around a corner. The ‘cleaners’ took off in pursuit, shooting the legs out of the water tower in the process, crashing down a wall of a nearby building and sending a flood of water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Delta was able to get through the warehouse to the safe room where he faced the real Jayna pointing a gun in his face. Emerald suggested ‘Persona non gratis’ as a safe word and once he said it, things got calmer. They made their way back into an alley where Emerald convinced the driver of the van to let them take it for a ride.

As they escaped, she told her tale. She was in the process of looking into the night club attack of some months back, when she apparently tripped some switch and they got on to her. They had come here with clear orders to ‘terminate.’ She had made a connection between that attack, the ship the Roger Ravelle, and the importing of that new drug, Tempo. She had also come across a Detective Elizabeth Hawthorne who was somehow involved. This rang a bell. Emerald checked her diary and sure enough, Hawthorne, of Knight Errant, had been the one investigating the warehouse break-ins that they had investigated at the request of Acey Lee back in June. Jayna had also learned that there was a hit about to happen to Ms. Hawthone at an exit ramp of Highway 99 in less than half an hour. Emerald and Jinx fired up their bikes and raced off to stop the hit. Meanwhile, Doc let his fingers do the walking and contacted Hawthorne, informing her of her upcoming demise and suggesting she meet with them instead of dying. She agreed, and set up a meet at Larry’s Bar. Doc and Delta headed over there, dropping Jayna off somewhere along their way.

Undeterred, Emerald and Jinx continued to the site and found another black van from, you guessed it, Squeaky Cleaning lying in wait behind a billboard. Emerald let sleeping dogs lie, but did topple the billboard before heading off to the meet. It was about this time that Emerald finally understood what ‘cleaning’ meant.

[August 23, 2072, 4PM, Larry’s Bar, Downtown, Seattle]

Elizabeth Hawthorne was a 5’6” red haired female, who was unusually forthcoming for an employee of Knight Errant. She admitted that she was working the case and felt she was getting closer to the Roger Revelle-Tempo connection, however . . . . there seemed to be one roadblock. Another detective, Patricia Conner, seemed to get these cases assigned to her. And then, well, they went nowhere fast. In short, Hawthorne was asking Emerald and the Gems for their help. A member of Knight Errant was asking suspected shadow runners for help. Not that those terms were ever used in the delicate negotiations.

Hawthorne explained what she needed-access to Connor’s files. Doc figured this was ‘piece of cake doable’ until Hawthorne explained about the nature of these files. It seems for security reasons, they had gone old school. Sensitive files were NOT keep in data form. Instead they were actually printed on something called paper and then put in something called a vault so that way no simple hack could get at them. In order to get these files, the Team was going to have to actually go in to the central office of Knight Errant in downtown Seattle. No, not a piece of cake, instead a whole loaf of trouble.

Using various contacts they were able to get a rough sketch of the inside of the building and the way to the evidence vault. They also learned of the many layers of security that were in place protecting this valuable area. The building was regularly serviced by Strickland Spotless Cleaners which produced one possible means of entry. The biggest stumbling block appeared to be the need for a retinal scan to get near the vault.

The Team would spend the next days or week working out the details. Delta would monitor the cleaners’ arrival and departure, their route, and maybe even try to get a job with them. Emerald would shadow Detective Connor to see what she was up to, what she was like, and learn her mannerisms just in case. Doc would work on the retinal scan problem. And Jinx, well, Jinx would party. Er, well, OK, she would look into the cleaners’ uniforms-where they got them cleaned, where they were manufactured, because that seemed the best of the possible impersonations they might try. . . . .

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Finally Sex in a Tent, er, the Sextant!

[July 8, 2072, 6PM, San Bernadino, CA.]

Thanks to a flight from Crazy Ludwick and Unreasonably Ruthless Ruben, the Team flew across the ever dangerous Mojave Dessert and got to the same destination as Sonora once more.

Yet, even though they had risked life and limb by flying across the Mojave, they were still behind Sonora who had taken a longer way. Hmmm . . . .

Still in an area under the auspices of the Pueblo Corporate Council, a scan of the area revealed that Sonora had been picked up by two black vans. Frosty actually arranged ground transport for them this time, no visits to no ‘Crazy Whomevers,’ by bringing in some motorcycles with the Ancients behind the handlebars. After a thrill ride the Team got to the Cafe House.

[July 8, 2072, 8PM, McCartney’s Irish Pub, San Bernadino, CA.]

A lead brought them here for this was where Sonora’s fixer was rumored to be. The plan was to claim they had a job for Sonora and wanted to hire here services, in hope of bringing her to them. Shortly afterwards, they were met in an ally by a silver haired dwarf female in a limo who agreed to a ‘job meeting’ in two days time. Meanwhile, Doc began to hack her comlink. But they were not alone as they were being tailed by a red sedan supposedly belonging to one Frank Eldrich. The Team split up to give him the shake, and once that had been accomplished, Delta put the tail on him. Coincidentally, it returned to the limo.

[July 8, 2072, 10PM, Safe House, San Bernadino, CA.]

Upon returning to their ‘safe house,’ they found it to be anything but, as there were two black vans sitting ominously outside, and there was splintering around the door jam. Doc and Delta burst in the front to find some Burning Angels with Frosty in their clutches. Emerald and Jinx came round the back. As the gunfight ensued, Emerald found herself outside alone and more nasties were arriving. Disguising herself as their leader she made a beeline towards and past them, screaming to ‘get out of dodge.’ She must had been convincing as they hopped in the van behind her. Using her driving skills, or lack thereof, she slammed her van into theirs and, well, ‘got out of dodge,’ while theirs exploded into the night.

With Frosty now safe, they sent some Ancients to attack the Burning Angels warehouse. And that was when the enigmatic Samriel Lockwood made his reappearance. And, he offered his help. Hmmmmm . . . .

[July 9, 2072, Midnite, The Warehouse of the Burning Angels]
With the place now cleared, thanks to the Ancients, the Team searched. Once again, they had missed Sonora. Once again a large building had a hole in the floor. And, once again, they felt the need to explore. They found themselves in a lake, Deep Lacuna, and there were jet skis there for the taking.

[July 9, 2072, 2 AM, Deep Lacuna] after skiing the lake they finally came to a dock and there they finally caught up with the infamous Sonora. Only she was not their problem as she’d been done in by some fellow who was not holding the Sextant, the holy grail they had been seeking for so very long. He turned out to be Itztli, a blood mage! And he was protected by some sort of force field. Oooops, but the show must go on so they launched an attack suing gas grenades which took down his body guards whom they proceeded to shoot the shit out of just for the hell of it. They probably would have killed Itztli as well, if he didn’t kill them first, only Doc realized his value. A live blood mage is a very valuable commodity indeed. Eventually the Team managed to subdue him take him prisoner, and get their hads on the elusive sextant. Turned out, Sonora was only dreaming, dreaming of the reward she had lost to them, and dreaming of how lucky she was to still be alive thanks to them. So, no harm no foul, they parted as friendly competitors.

[July 9, 2072, 5 AM, Pacific Ocean] Using the rather large submarine they found at the dock they got out from under and into the safe waters of the Pacific. From there it was merely a matter of letting Sonora off somewhere, and hooking up with Frosty, who took the sextant, and paid them what was coming to them. Doc arranged for a ‘transfer’ for Itztli which netted them one huge shitload of NY!

[July 9, 2072, 6 AM, John Wayne Airport, San Bernadino, CA.]

They watched as Frosty’s flew off. Across the tarmac they caught a glimpse of Samriel Lockwood and then he was gone.

‘Rich and comfy, so why are we doing this?’ Emerald returned to Seattle to ponder her fate.

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Danger in Denver

[July 5, 2072, 11PM, Chicago]

Still after Sonora and the Sextant:

Calling in ‘Wingman’s’ marker the Team boards a Mig 67 for the flight to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Once Emerald, Jynx and Doc get settled, and Frosty shows up, they realize there is a new guy. He intros himself and Delta and claims to be an ‘acquisitions expert.’ ‘Hmm, another thief. Better keep an eye on him.’

“Somewhere east of Denver as I’m flying to Cheyenne
Stuck in this damned old airplane I am,
Ground below is flat as a board, crop circles everywhere.
Cracked my Skull on the overhead and I’m bleeding into my hair.”

—Updated version of “9:53 California Time,” Tyrunn, 2007

[July 6, 2072, Flying ]

The flight only seemed to take forever as it was about 19 hours. ‘We had lunch at MacDonald’s,’ quipped Emerald.

[July 6, 2072, 5PM, Cheyenne]

Now in the Sioux Nation, they rented a car from Crazy Eddie’s Car Rental and headed south.

[July 6, 2072, 10PM, Denver]

The weather was balmy so they finally started to defrost, except of course for Frosty, who clung to her cold demeanor like a baby’s blanket. They made their way into the UCC sector and got rooms at the NQA [No Questions Asked] Hotel. There they checked in with various contacts trying to get a lead on the elusive Sonora. One suggested they visit a Belinda Swiftwing in the Golden Feather Tavern in the Pueblo Council District. Doc tapped in to some facial recog sites and identified Sonora as being in a gunfight.

With new sims at the ready, they got into the PCC and met with Belinda. She admitted meeting Sonora and that she was looking for transport within the PCC. ‘Interesting. A ride within the area she was in? Hmmm. . . . ‘

A visit to the site of the shoot out gave nothing new, except that there were two guys in suits watching the site. These guys were ‘connected,’ and identified as Vito and Luigi.

[July 7, 2072, 2AM, Deer Creek Park, Denver]

A call from Belinda told the Team that Sonora is set to meet with ‘Winding Joe’ at Deer Creek Park, so they headed over there to make the grab. Unfortunately, Sonora was a very popular girl. Many, many bad guys were lying in wait. The sound of a Thunderbird getting ready for takeoff set off a flurry of activity and gunfire. There were those who wanted to get Sonora and those who wanted to help her get away. When the smoke cleared and the bodies were counted, the Team remained intact. However, Sonora’s plane had got off the ground and there was no way to stop it.

Doc did get into the flight plan; she was now headed for San Bernadino, CA.

[July 8, 2072, 6PM, San Bernadino, CA.]

Thanks to a flight from Crazy Ludwick and Unreasonably Ruthless Ruben, the Team flew across the ever dangerous Mojave Dessert and got to the same destination as Sonora once more.

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Snow Job . . . Only a Figure of Speech

[July 4, 2072, 6PM, Grey Line Restaurant, Puget Sound]

A call from their old friend Frosty had brought the Team together at this fine eatery. The term ‘team’ was becoming a bit of a misnomer, for their numbers had been reduced to a mere three. Wren had gone off to Japan on some special mission. So, Emerald, Doc and Jinx met with Jane. She was still on the quest for the sextant and had a line on it in Chicago. The money offered was good, maybe even too good, so they agreed to a cross country flight.

[9PM]

Aboard a private Lear jet, they had time to consult their contacts. Frosty had studied the map they had obtained in Lagos. If she performed a somewhat exhausting ritual, it would give her a fairly exact location of the sextant. A lead on the current thieves suggested them to be a mage named Sonora, and two companions. Emerald’s blogger Jayna came up with their possible locations in Ares and Aztec controlled areas, and offered an alternative of contacting a mob boss with the moniker of Nick the Greek. ‘Can’t be too many of them around.’

[July 5, 2072, 2AM, Chicago]

That toddling town – OK, make it that snow covered town for here in early July they landed in the midst of a raging blizzard! In an SUV they survived a harrowing drive along icy roads along Route 295 to a hotel. The SUV was quickly deemed not suitable for further transport.

[4AM]

A visit to Larry’s Vehicle Rentals gained them three snowmobiles. ‘Wonder how many Larry rents in July?’ From there they headed for the south side, deftly bypassing some gangers who wanted a bribe. ‘Do they think we are in Lagos?’

[9AM Shawn’s Irish Pub, Pugmothon]

Sonora had been there looking for transport out, but Shawn had declined and sent her and her two companions to see the infamous Nick. ‘Oh, boy, more fun in the snowmobiles!’

On the trip to Nick’s they interrupted an attack on some orcs by some human brigade. The orcs were grateful for the help and owed them one.

[11AM Nick’s, Point Calumet]

Nick admitted knowing Sonora, whom he confirmed was looking for transport out of town. Once again, her request had been denied. Nick claimed to have sent her, and her big orc and a weasely human companion to the Lake Calumet smugglers on, sigh, the south side . .. again.

[2PM]

They met with the smugglers in an office building, again too late. They had sent Sonora to the Spires in what is known as The Zone—Union territory protected by The Wall.

[3PM]

They made their way around The Wall and into The Zone, an area protected by fluorescent bacteria which eats magic. ‘Wonderful.’ To make matters worse they were set upon by some insect spirit possessed dogs, or was it dogs possessed by insects? Did it matter?

[6PM The Spire]

When they finally got to the Spire they found it being set upon by Nick’s boys. Frosty had been conducting the ritual and reported that the sextant was moving west. The Team ‘borrowed some snowmobiles and took chase, only to learn that Sonora was soon in flight, apparently off to Denver.

Time to call in a marker. Wingman, one of those orcs, owed them one so he arranged for a Mig 67 with an orc pilot to fly them as far as Cheyenne. Only one state away.

Close but no cigar. . . . .

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The Doctor is in . . . Town, that is.

[June 28, 2072, 7PM, Club 88, Seattle]

At the request of Boss Chang through Jinx [formerly known as Shena, Shenanigans, Six Gun, etc.] the Black Jets arrived at the 88th floor of the Excelsior Building in downtown Seattle. It seems their old nemesis, Dr. Caldwell, has left his ship and moved into the Hilton downtown. This concerned Boss Chang so he wants the team to shadow the good doctor and find out what he might be up to. Boss Chang added that Dr Caldwell was being driven around town in a Mercedes and escorted by three body guards.

It seemed a very straight forward shadow job. In her old days Emerald would have taken on something like this by herself, but she was part of a te4am now so she would be a good girl, a good team player. ‘No E’s in team.’ Hmmm . . .

. . . and then the lights went out! It quickly became apparent that they were being Steven Segaled [Under Siege] by pros who were out to kill. They ended up taking refuge, and stock, in the security room where Doc realized that some file invader was downloading data. As Wren sent her air spirit to the rescue, Emerald used the old rolling flashlight trick to draw fire away from herself and allow Jinx to do some shooting. Naturally, the flashlight bit the dust. ‘note to self: but a new flashlight.’ Once the smoke had cleared and the shooting stopped, they had captured a dwarf and blown up the van that brought the baddies here. Boss Chang was just a bit miffed, to say the least.

[June 28, 2072, 9PM, Redmond Barrens]

If they were going to do proper surveillance, they were going to need some good equipment, and the man who sells the best is Crazy Ivan, the Russian. A brief detour here got them what they needed and Emerald picked up a very high quality maglock passkey for future entries.

[June 28, 2072, 11PM, Downtown]

The team took up residence in an empty apartment in the building across from the Hilton. From what they could gather, the Doctor was in and he and his three chums were sleeping. They let sleeping dogs lie . . . . for now.

[June 29, 2072, Morning, Downtown]

With the cross street surveillance working all that was left was bugging the good doctor so they could more easily keep tabs on his whereabouts. Emerald put on her business suit and bumped into Doc Caldwell in the hallway as he and da guys were leaving their room, dropping her purse in the meantime. But, as it turned out, the doc was no gentleman, he left Emerald at the altar to pick up her own stuff and still have the bug with her. Undaunted, Emerald, not invisible, followed them to the hotel restaurant where she waited at the end of the buffet table. By now wren and Jinx had joined the party, playing the role of a young couple in love. As Wren entered she detected a astral form mage guarding the entrance, and likely aware of Emerald’s presence. Still undaunted, the elf played the woman scorned. As Doc Caldwell got to the end of the table with a full tray she cleverly tripped him, planted the bug and headed for and out the door, saying, “He refused to pay me,” to whomever might hear her.

Emerald returned to the apartment where she and Doc kept tabs on Wren and Jinx who followed Doctor Caldwell and his boys in a limo.

[June 29, 2072, touring Seattle]

Wren and Jinx, still playing the young couple in love scenario, followed Caldwell’s Mercedes around Seattle for most of the day. In Auburn he received an astrally active briefcase which contained Tempo, a drug which allows people to perceive astrally. In a Japanese restaurant he met with members of the Yakuza. In the afternoon, he met with some Russians at the Tacoma docks where he was shot at by some female, who was later identified as Jennifer Sundancer, a member of the Black Cats an Amerindian resistance organization. Later in Little Asia, Tacoma, he met with members of the Octagon and Red Triads. In each of the meeting, his message was the same. He showed off his Tempo and invited all to a meeting that evening at a mansion on an island in Lake Samish.

As the day progressed, Wren and Jinx got louder and louder and starting making wild suggestions. They were ready to attack Caldwell and his guys, and these gang leaders, right here and now. Doc wondered what was up with them. ‘Sounds as if they’ve gotten into the limo’s bar or something. Too much sake maybe?’ In an effort to distract them, Emerald began one of her long and winding tails, how this reminded her of an old novel,

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

-The Godfather, Mario Puzo, 1969.

‘In it there are all these godfathers, but there is one main godfather, and he has one rule, in his rather lack of rules existence, he wants nothing to do with drugs. When one of the other godfathers suggested that all the godfathers get into the drug trade he refuses and gets shot for his efforts. So maybe that’s what’s going on here. Caldwell knows that Boss Chang runs BTL, not Tempo, so he’s trying to get all the other gangs in league with him, leaving Chang out in the cold.’ Emerald’s rendition so bored Wren and Jinx that they just about fell asleep in the limo and forgot about trying to shoot it out with Caldwell. ‘Worked.’

Once Caldwell had made his rounds, he returned to his hotel where a phone tap revealed that he was behind the attack on Chang’s place last night and that he also intended to take out O’Malley. It turned out that they were not the only ones keeping tabs on Caldwell, as a blonde in a blue car followed him back and entered her own room full of surveillance equipment.

Caldwell later met with the VP’s of some mercenary companies.

[June 29, 2072, 7PM, Lake Samish]

The meeting began to take place at a manor house on the lake. Gradually the gang leaders showed up. Naturally, the Team was capturing the show on video. After a brief briefing, some obsidian SUVs arrived followed by some helicopters which blew up the SUVs, demonstrating Caldwell’s military strength. It seemed a good demo as the gangs agreed to get in bed with Caldwell.

Meanwhile, the Team informed Chang of these goings on and discretely leaked the video of the meeting to the media.

‘Let nature take its course.’ . . . . . for now. . . . . .

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Aces from Acey

[June 18, 2072, after Dark, ‘Personas non Gratis,’ Seattle]

Emerald had talked with Acey and agreed to gather The Gem at her place where Acey could explain her situation in detail. The Usual Suspects showed up, sans Ferret. It dawned on Emerald that she hadn’t seen him since . . . well . . . since they had left him in the hotel in Lagos. Oooops.

Acey related her dilemma. On three occasions over the past few weeks a group of Troll Killers had hit one of her spots along the Tacoma/Downtown border. In each case the gang her surprised her guys, driven them off and then torched the place. Nothing was taken that she could tell, her stuff was destroyed, however, and the building was lost. So, knowing gangs as she knew gangs, this was unusual behavior. This did not seem to be a real move on her territory.

Researching the Troll Killers they were found to be a group on the rebound, led by and former marine MP going by the name of T-Ray. Their headquarters were way off in the Redmond Barrens, nowhere near where these hits had taken place.

‘Maybe it’s not you or your stuff. Maybe it’s what was there before you set up shop?’ A check of public records showed that these three buildings had been an air conditioner joint, an off shore shipping place and a computer storage warehouse. No real connection of things of value in that.

It was decided to visit the crimes scenes the next day.

[June 19, 2072, 11AM, docks area Tacoma/Downtown]

Emerald and her Gems spent the morning and early afternoon checking out the first two crime scenes. The surveillance tapes at both showed the same story. A couple of sedans with skinheaded TK’s getting out and shooting up the place. Then a fancy car showed up with a weasel-suited guy and a big cowboy type going inside. When they were ‘done’ the place got torched. About half an hour later Knight Errant showed up, too little, too late. Questioning the locals gained nothing cept Emerald lost some money at the OTB. Facial recognition told a bit more of the story. The cowboy turned out to be one Clarence who was wanted for murder in Atlanta. The other guy remained unknown for now. The one odd thing about each scene was that the perps had blown a hole in the floor both times. Not that these holes seemed to lead anywhere, but . . . something must be down there somewhere? Or they were looking for the correct entrance.

As they were exiting the second scene, Clarence was waiting for them. In his own subtle way he told them to leave this one alone and take a hike. Yeah, like that was gonna work. Doc and Clarence played Mexican standoff, and each went a separate way.

At the third crime scene, via the cameras, once again a hole. One other constant, besides the late arrival of Knight Errant, the lead detective was a red haired female named Elizabeth Hawthorne of Knight Errant. So, what was down there? Sewers. But for what purpose?

[June 19, 2072, 3PM, sewers beneath the docks area Tacoma/Downtown]

Wren used one of his contacts to get the plans to the sewer system in this area. These revealed an older system and an old station, XC72, closed in the 2050’s. This system could be accessed via some storm drains. Emerald, the old seaman, got an inflatable raft to carry them down the river and in they went. Somewhere within they found a relatively new doc, a collapsed wall and a well traveled passage to the old Substation XC72. Wren used his astral ability to enter and see seven happy and well armed orcs just chilling. Rather than play invasion, the Team knocked. The door was opened suspiciously by an orc named Darius. It turned out that this station and a few others like it were being used by the orcs as an air purification system for the orc underground. Maybe the holes were to gain access to this somehow so that whoever could gas the orcs? Seemed plausible. But, where was the gas now?

Acey was informed of what they had learned and was happy with that so paid up. Now the orcs were keen on finding and locating the gas. They hired the Team to do this.

Doc hacked Cowboy’s comlink. He was in a motel in the downtown core. It became a choice. Go and see him, maybe tell him what was going on, and he’d help. Or, head to ‘Glow Town’ and start searching for gas.

‘Going to go to Glow City and light up like the sun
Going to go to glow City and feel some plutonium
Going to glow in glow City and burn cause it’s fun
Going to head to Glow City and really cook my buns.’

-‘Glow Town Blues,’ Dan and Jean, 2064

The old lyrics suggested that the motel would be the safer choice, at least for now.

[June 19, 2072, 6PM, Hotel in Renton]

A brief talk with the Cowboy in a useless attempt to turn him to the Team’s side led to a gunfight at the OK Corral after all. During the shootout it became apparent that Cowboy was not alone. It turned out that he was accompanied by Franklin who was the purveyor of the gas. With Cowboy now ‘ploughing the back 40,’ Franklin’s comlink showed that the gas had been delivered here, but then had been moved to Glow City and the headquarters of the Troll Killers, hidden on the second floor of their apartment complex.

[June 19, 2072, 10PM, Redmond Barrens]

Off to Glow City after all.

‘I got a bright car and they call it a shiney
Glow City, light up the sun.
It’s like it’s highly polished and it reflects my hiney.
Glow City—plutonium’

-‘Glow Town Blues,’ Dan and Jean, 2064

But, rather than invade the place, a more devious, insidious even, plan was hatched. With a trussed up and unconscious Franklin ‘in the bag,’ Emerald and one of Wren’s summoned spirits invisibly snuck into the apartment complex. How each knew where the other was, since both were invisible, was left up to chance. But, they did manage to get to the second floor, dump the body bag and get out of Dodge. Meanwhile Doc arranged that the media and authorities would know about the alleged existence of the dangerous gas. Having set the Troll Killers up for public infamy, Emerald and her Gems were able to watch from a safe distance and Knight Errant showed up, . . . . . half an hour later. . . . .

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