Runner Notes - 09 10 16
The summer was quiet for Team Quattro. CB spent most of his time hanging out with Katrina Tospiera, who’d started her own business in the AI field. He’d taken to working with the students, giving them abstract life lessons that aren’t the easiest to follow while tweaking his deck where he could with things like an agent, and trying to cover his ass in meatspace with new armor. Otherwise he kept things pretty close to his vest, and whatever plates he had spinning he kept the others in the dark.
Alganon, meanwhile, covered his ass with fancy new duds, and started working for Leslie Joy when he could. Twice a month he’d have some drunk hoop puking on him while he tossed him out, but the work was good. He got to flex some muscle, work in a novahot club, and shop for ‘ware all at the same time. He went under the knife himself, increasing some of his own ‘ware. And while Leslie tried to upsell him on her own goods and services, she understood.
Benzine spent most his time around the firehouse. He’d work with the kids directly with teaching, and indirectly with the construction of the facility. Mostly, he was interested in improving his cover to cover his bases and keep things secret. So he got a new bike, with a sidecar, and got a new SIN to match his new comm, giving him the shiniest toys he’d owned in his life. Not wanting to lose focus, he’d kept true to his word, and continued donating to the Underground, making him a pseudo celebrity. He’d also done some continued digging into the presence in the van, which continued to make Ember unsettled.
Ember had gone through a dramatic transformation since she’d come back from the fighting ring with them, going from timid and jumpy to excited and outgoing. She’d anticipate when the students were coming and prance around as Dent drove them in.
August 30th 2075
At their local watering hole, The Beer Yard, the TV was blaring a decrepit, bitter old man talking about the 2076 Olympics to be held in Seattle. The hype had reached a fever pitch, but some of the corps were refusing to participate. Some of the pundits, like Will O’Toole, can’t blame them. He believed the nations surrounding Seattle should be contributing, but that was as far as he got before the bar patrons started shouting and throwing beers.
“Shut this drek off,” Benzine said.
“Isn’t there an Urban Brawl match on?” CB asked. And there was.
There had also been some weird rumors around the ‘trix. There was a host with a leaker foundation. People couldn’t stop seeing AR, couldn’t shut it off. They’d believe they weren’t connected, but were still being spammed. There were some conspiracy theories, as there usually are on the matrix, but nothing definitive.
Looking for food, Benzine suggested the place some of the parents had scraped together enough to buy them a gift certificate, a middling Italian restaurant called D’Onofrio’s. CB wasn’t too interested since they specialized in seafood, but then saw they had fishsticks on the kids menu and was sold. Benzine had also invited Ellipse and Dent, but they couldn’t show.
Al in his new suit, the others in their scrubby armored jackets, they walk in. The hostess looked past them to the sharp dressed troll. “Where would you like to sit, sir?”
“Give us your finest table.” And she did. The team orders drinks (Herlg for the trolls, a thick, soupy, super porter that was almost like liquor and a Cascade IPA for CB) and set to the best kind of work: eating good food, drinking good drinks, with your friends. That was until CB saw a portly, middle aged, half asian man walk in the door.
“Ah, look at this, I trust you’re enjoying yourself. That’s an impressive meal for a teacher.” Kosmoe Sumatomo said.
“Hi Mr. Sumatomo, these are my friends. Hoke and, uh, Peabody,” CB said, gesturing at Alganon and Benzine in turn. Sumatomo got a faraway look as he stared through Benzine. “It’s nice to finally meet you Peabody. The stations buzzing with people looking to find the owner of that aura… which makes it so good I ran into you. It’s not really surprising you chose to come for italian instead of, say, mexican.”
He continued with thinly veiled threats, and gave them a bit of a teaser to let them know he was telling the truth. He claimed that Aztechnology was still looking for them after the events at the Gaeatronics facility from last spring. They’d enlisted the help of local KE, and the case had been handed off to the KE shadowrun unit.
“Their task spirits are closing in, and frankly Mr. Peabody, you tend to stand out. I could help keep them off your trail though. Keep you one step ahead. It’ll cost you 75,000 up front, and 3,000 a month after that. Which is a deal, I’d say. None of you seem the type to appreciate corporate life. We know about your robin hood acts, and your extracurriculars, and I don’t know that there’d be much time for that as a wage mage…”
“Listen, you fuck, you come here, run your mouth and make threats? I don’t give a shit who you are-”
“Woah, calm down there, we’re just talking, right?” He looked at CB with that punchable face of his, and CB did his best to calm the troll who looked ready to sling napalm.
“Listen. How about we do that job you were talking about instead of the 75k. You give us whatever information you have, and we call it a deal.”
“I don’t know, with this investigation I’d hate for them to find something else on you…”
Sumatomo stepped away, giving them a minute to talk it over, but CB wasn’t having it.
“I grease that fat fucks palm every week already, and now he’s asking for more? It’s my fucking skin-”
“But it ain’t just you’re fucking skin! It’s ours, and the school’s!”
“Yeah.” He trailed off, and they sat drinking awkwardly until Sumatomo came back.
“Well?” He asked, holding his bag of chicken parm.
“We do this, you give us the info, and we’ll see from there. But listen, we get caught, we’ll keep your name out of it, but only if the school stays out of it.”
He agreed, pointing out he’s not exactly some anonymous Johnson. But he did give them a caveat: They needed to bring his guy to ID and transport the mcguffin. CB gave him the address for a park across the street from his old apartment.
Meanwhile, the P.O. calls Sully, who shuffles around his lab like a stiff mannequin owing to the fact that he’s so heavily cybered, and starts pulling his strings. He has a job for him, and is willing to pay 6k for it, plus some other things like unis, materials, basically anything he could access as a member of KE. Sully tries to negotiate a small window from the protection fees, saying he’s the one that knows what it looks like.
“But I know what felony’s look like, Sully.” In the end, he caved to Sumatomo. He gets the data pack, and learns about a MCT facility on the U of W campus with the codename Exogen 22. It’s a startup based on researchers from Oxford. They had predicted the spread of CFD, and led the charge after Boston fell. They tried to to the turn the tide, but since then they’ve gone underground. What Sumetomo wants is supposedly some sort of cure for CFD that’s been incubating in a living host. It’s a simple enough task: if he has time, all it is is a warm extraction, and he’d put a sample of the culture in a petri dish. If he doesn’t, they take the whole living host with them.
He makes a call to his ganger buddy, George, to come with him just in case. He rails some novacoke, and the speed on over to the park, conveniently close to his old home.
Team Quattro hears two Harley Scorpions roar up, and two metas step forward. One, a scraggly looking human, the other a ragged Elf in a lab coat moving stiffly. When Benzine assenses them, the former is clearly drugged, and lousy with crabs and other STDs. The latter is cybered to the gills, and full of holes, with a faint hint of excitement poking through all the dead space.
“You Sumetomo’s guys?” Sully said.
“Yeah. What are you, some sort of medic?” CB said.
“You can say that. But I can hold my own.”
“Assumed that,” He responded, pointing to the doc wagon patch. When things don’t go south, he sends George off, and shares the info. They make some calls, Sully calling his girlfriend Alma to find out about the state of U of W. The kids are back at school, and there are some roadblocks around because of it, but little else is gained.
Ben calls Blitz, who’s amped as usual and still asking for a smartgun. He eventually gets Roxy, who’s sounding worse and worse. He tells her Sully says hi, and she remembers him as that stiff moving elf. He warns her about the situation, telling her to watch out for the school since they were being targeted, and asks for information that might help. She says she’ll put the feelers out, but there’s nothing guaranteed since the info is too vague. Benzine tells her not to exert herself, and take care of herself; she asks him to look out for Castle when all is said and done.
The night wears on and the team heads over to the University of Washington campus. With only a vague idea of it being between Northeast Pacific and Northeast Columbia, they stop at a coffee shop. Benzine and Sully head in, with the latter doing some longhaul, and both buying Soykafs. Benzine tips the barista 20 ¥ and asks about any parties, and Sully specifies for the med students. He says Beta Psi Omega is having a party, and it was very noticeable driving in. Sully tips another 20 ¥, and they walk over.
The elf walks up the porch acting like he belongs, clapping a student on the shoulder. “Teddy! Good to see you.”
“Don’t fuckin’ touch me, pledge! Get me a beer!” The orc keeps standing there, talking at his bored looking girlfriend who’s looking at her comm.
“Well Ben? What did you want here?”
“CB wanted some students, so we got him some students. We just need to buy time.” The decker sets to work, digging through the comm codes. As the time passes, Alganon, still wearing his suit, is surrounded by girls. He moves out to the dance floor, and gets to work.
“Whats with all the AK’s?” Sully asked.
“What! Those aren’t AK’s, pledge. They’re raidens! Now drink! What are you doing here anyways?”
“Trying to be cool?” Sully said.
“Awww, be nice to him.”
And the night goes like that. CB finds what he needs on a med student’s comm, and steps back into meatspace, just in time to see Teddy take a swing at Benzine for talking Al up to his girlfriend while playing up the fact that Teddy’s a douche. He tries to grab him, but the drunk orc slips out, with Benzine feigning stumbling and simultaneously casting a massive stunbolt. His nose starts bleeding, eyes slightly bloodshot, but Teddy the douche is dropped. His frat friends think he just drank too much and pay him no mind.
Without wasting anymore time, the decker and mage head back to the van, leaving Al to keep bustin’ moves on the floor and Sully to concoct a distraction should they need anything else. CB hops into hot VR, tries to hack the phone, and fails. While he’s rebooting, the mark steps outside, calling security, and over the noise of Al and his flock of ladies, Sully hears him saying something strange happened, he wasn’t sure if it was a breach, but wanted to follow protocol and let them know.
Shortly after CB is attacked on the matrix. Benzine doesn’t see the duel in meatspace, instead he smells burnt plastic, sees the deck sparking, and his friend seizing. His teeth grind until they start chipping, and his eyes roll back in his head. When he checks, he finds no pulse, and in a slight panic casts a big heal spell in spite of all the drain he’d already endured.
The troll jumps in the driver’s seat, urging Al to get some of the ladies numbers already, because they’ve gotta go.
“This might be above us, chummer. My deck is fragged,” CB said, teeth chattering, holding his hand close, it’s fingers protruding in different directions. “It might be easier to go after Sumetoma directly…”
Benzine just grunts, hops in the driver seat, and hopes he can pick up Al so they can take off before more security arrives.