Over the next three weeks, we’ve managed to not get into much trouble. Doc and Sitra are constantly plotting for their upcoming wedding next month, Drake is generally in the garage, tinkering with something, while Byk and Red tend to keep to themselves, doing whatever it is that they do. Zany has been spending more time out and about, constantly hitting me up for money for ‘stuff.’ Not sure what ‘stuff’ is, but, as normal, she get what she wants. I don’t know how deep she thinks my pockets are, but at the rate she’s spending my money, I’ll have to get back to work sooner than expected. I’ve accumulated over a week of Hope Springs Eternal episodes on the DTR to watch, cause Chips hasn’t been around to watch them. Seriously, usually I cannot start an episode without him magically showing up before the opening credits end, like he knew it was starting. Would it be paranoid to believe he may be spying on when I watch the trideo? Now, the couple of time that I’ve called him, it’s gone right to a message. A bit strange since he tends of answer the phone before the first ring.
Red had got a call a few hours ago and abruptly said that she had to go into town and stop at the Stiffer Shack (read, important personal business), and she’d be back later. Sitra is bombarding Doc with questions of what various color of white needs to be selected for something for the wedding, when I try to help by asking if these are all white, then what is the difference? Mistake, Doc gives me a sympathetic look and she shoots me a glare like I just committed a large blunder. She doesn’t even tell my what faux pas I made, she just stops talking to us and angrily walks away, muttering in Indian. My confusion is interrupted by Red coming in with a serious expression on her face. She says that she needs our help. One of her friends, a judge in Tacoma has asked her for some help concerning the Yakuza. She tells us that he had at one time, taken some money from them in return for some judicial favors favorable to the Yakuza. Eventually, he wanted out of his arrangement, and they objected. When they began pressuring him, Red intervened and killed Toju the cousin of one of the Yakuza bosses, Hanzo Shotozumi. That may or may not have been a good idea, but they backed off either way, until recently. She had just met with the judge, and he had asked for her help with the Cyber Dragons, alluding to the way she had handled it before (read, killing) – he was then led off by a few of them to whereabouts unknown. I offer to help – it’s not like she didn’t help me by flying to Aztalan.
We agree and see what we can find on the Cyber Dragons. I go to the Renton Suites and pester Pookie to see what he knows. As usual, the little weasel was not too helpful, but says that he believes that they are running in Tacoma. Tacoma is also the district where Red’s judge friend works in. Doc calls someone official in Tacoma and learns that the Cyber Dragons are an splinter from the Yakuza and reside in a decommissioned prisoner transfer unit in the slums of Tacoma. It is believed that this group, the Cyber Dragons, has broke off from the Yakuza, a year to a year and a half ago, after the death of Toju, and they now may be in a territorial war against each other. The apparent leader of the Cyber Dragons is Wei Lange. It is suggested that we may want to check the Yakuza and a, make sure that we are not staring a war with them, and b, maybe get some money from them for fighting their enemies. Red makes some calls and tells us that we have a meeting with Hanzo Shotozumi at Rising Sun Industries, an apparent business front for the Yakuza later this evening.
At Red’s suggestion, we made some effort to look presentable to the Yakuza, and head to the meeting in a rented limo. Our resident sociophobe, Drake opts to follow us in one of his trucks, rather than ride with us humanoids. At the building, he also prefers to wait outside with his drones, rather than come in with us. Riggers… We take the elevator to the top floor and are politely ushered in to a room resembling one of them martial arts dojo’s you see on the trideos. The interior of the room is surrounded by people in martial arts uniforms, with an older Asian man at the far end, who introduces himself as Hanzo Shotozumi. At his right is another soldier, this one standing out from the rest of the flunkies. Obscured in his cloak, we see only a glimpse of a yellow mask over his face. His presence alone outweighs the rest of the hardware and soldiers in the room. We tell him that we have issues with the Cyber Dragons, and would like to make sure that our intent to riddle them with bullets will not start a war with them. He assures us that the real Yakuza, would not be bothered by that, reaffirming our belief that the splinter group was not authorized by them. The mere mention of these Cyber Dragons seems to irritate his right hand man, now identified as Takashi , who seems almost unable to contain his rage. This seems quite unusual for a culture bred for civility and self-control. They will not, however, pay us for attacking them, finding them too insignificant to concern themselves with.
We leave and Drake and Red seem concerned that we are being followed. We have some time, so we head to the Banshee rather than the Clubhouse. At Reno’s, Red and Drake are looking out the windows, trying to spot a man on a motorcycle that they believed was following them, while Byk hits the vodka. Chips is not here either, and the bartender says that he hasn’t been seen here in over a week. This is kind of concerning, but at the moment the gang is more worried about this shadow following us. I’m tired and don’t care, so I take the limo home, leaving them to play with this. They show up over an hour later, saying that they were followed by someone, but he was invisible, and so on. None of their rambling makes any sense to me, so I give up on them and head to bed.
The next day, we agree that we need to move in on the Cyber Dragons quickly, before it is too late help Red’s friend, but we are also concerned on the disappearance of Chips. Not only could he be more than helpful in this mission (we can’t find info on this jail online, and the blueprints are conveniently missing), his is also more or less gone missing. The last time any of us had heard from him was almost two weeks ago. It was a rambling incoherent message about having a new place to crash behind a mattress factory nearby and watching some dudes fighting. We head to the alley that he was slumming in and saw his car there, searching it we found a business card for Mystix Siteseers, in the car’s visor. The address of the fortune teller is up north in Everett.
We head up there and soon find ourselves in a small office-type room, decorated in mystical nick-knack garbage. We meet, Madam Zorra, the proprietor, a older heavy-set woman, of offers to read our fortunes. I take her up on the offer, and she gets all ‘voodooish’ and tells me that I am to be married by the end of the year. Within the next month, huh? That seems unlikely. She also ‘reads’ Doc, who has violence in his future (he’s with us?) Byk, has few friends and would not be making new ones (see Doc’s violence), Drake would be spending less time with computers and more time with human companions (wouldn’t be tough) Red was soon to be losing a close friend, but would gain one in the near future. We ask if she remembers Chips being here. She says that he was here two weeks ago, but doesn’t remember anything significant. Red seems suspicious of her, calling her routine an act, while Doc questions her magics that she has cast upon us. Byk, being Byk, gets mad and tries to push past her to get into a room behind her. She threatens us, which Byk responds to by pulling out his pistol and threatening her. Sigh, well played, Byk. Suddenly, things get weird, Byk suddenly turns his pistol on me and fires point blank. It hurts, but a subtle last-second turn of the barrel turns a would-be fatal shot into a glancing blow impacting on my armor. His eyes seem glazed, and based on Zorra’s profession, I suspect some magical foul play. Rather than return fire at Byk, I draw and shoot Madam Zorra. Red attacks her, and Drake finishes her off with a burst from his sub machine gun.
In the room beyond, is Chips, slaved to a computer. After a few minutes he returns to his normal mostly incoherent state. Apparently, she was using him to create and maintain a matrix node. Magical slavery must have been cheaper than paying him. I guess she didn’t know him well, he’d of probably done the node it for free. We get Chips out of there before Lonestar arrives and get him back to his car. Shortly thereafter, he arrives at the Clubhouse and we explain the situation to him. He agrees to help us and spends some time in the matrix, eventually coming up with the floor plans. He volunteers to run overwatch for us, overriding the jail’s security from the clubhouse from here. We gear up and head to Tacoma.
En route, we hear of a body found in the Barrens, identified as Martin Brown, Red’s judge friend. Drek. So much for being there to rescue him at the stronghold. I check with Red to see what she wants to do now, since we are no longer able to rescue him. Red tells us that now she wants to kill them all, plain and simple. We’re happy to oblige, so we head to the jail to teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget.
We arrive at the jail and Drake drops us off across the street. While unloading from the van, we hear a commotion from in front of the jail door. The van pulls away and we see standing in the midst of four dead Cyber Dragon soldiers, is Takashi, smoke billowing from his silenced pistols. Evidently he also wants to throw a beat down on the Cyber Dragons. Well, the more the merrier. Chips remotely opens the main door and inside is ten or so armed Cyber Dragon soldiers. The games begin.
Both sides open fire at each other. We take some hits, but when the smoke clears, we are standing, they are not. Red’s anger has got the better of her – she is injured, probably ‘Ready-Three’, from her brazen assault. I know that she wants them all to pay, but she needs to take this fight like a professional killer, not some amateur ganger, just standing in the middle of the doorway asking for them to return fire at her. From the back room, emerges Wei Lange. He does not seem troubled that all his soldiers are dead. He offers us a chance to surrender. Right… Suddenly, the meek Wei Lange transforms into a frakkin’ dragon. Seriously, a fire-breathing slotting dragon. He billows flame at us, but we open up all we have at him… to virtually no effect. Maybe a light bleeder or two here, but not what I hope was the result of all of us throwing our cards down against his hand. He again requests we cease our futile actions, and again we ignore him. He torches us again, this time Takashi R-4s. Red decides that she has had enough vengeance for one day as she calls Chips to close the door. I scoop up Takashi as Byk provides cover fire and we CasEvac back into Drake’s van.