The DV8's

Situation Normal - Pariah

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.

Death of a Salesman - Doc

Though Red’s friend Judge Martin Brown is not a salesman by trade, the sale of the Honorable part of his title to the highest bidder is a type of salesmanship.

Approximately a month after our visit to the rain forests of central Aztlan, I and the group were lounging around the clubhouse: Byk, Zany and Pariah were watching some brainless film for, I swear, like the 300th time; Drake was in the machine shop just throwing around tools and swearing in some guttural language, or so it seemed; Red was experimenting with different shades of hair; Sitra was reading back issues of Post-Modern bride and I was reading the most recent article in JAMA on modern endocrinological research pertaining to the effect of progesterone in dwarven males, being continually interrupted by questions over which shade of white do I like, and after I respond being told that I am wrong. I am glad that Sitra is busy with wedding plans; today is the second anniversary of her death.

When we heard Red talking on the phone, we knew something was up. Unfortunately, Byk decided now was the time to start singing Russian folk music – something about goats on the rooftop – so we couldn’t hear what she was saying. When she said that she had to make an emergency run to the Stuffer Shack for more hair dye, we gave her our requests – the Azteca Metldown Chiccharones for me….

Trollin' for Trouble

Tovarich is a good man. When Sergei ask of him to shelter me, Tovarich did not hesitate before saying yes. Still, to keep someone of my size under his roof is no easy thing, and when he tells me that I could help out this Pariah and his gang I know where it is he comes from. This idea of Tovarich that I work with them was good. I have three towers on my back, and I know hard men when I see them. I see no weakness in this group, but I see that I am needed for what they want to do very much.

I have seen many killers, and this Pariah is the good kind. He kills if he has to, but he does not kill because he wants to. Important difference. Too many of the kind that want to are going around. He tells me war stories all the time when we are cleaning our guns. They are good stories and I am glad that he has survived them all. I think that he would be a good soldier in Vladivostkaya, except that he talks too much.

Die Walkure

Part 1

After the ordeal at the 27th Street Jail in Tacoma, we returned home, we decided that it was time for a drink. I double checked with Sitra to make sure it was okay to hang out with the boys, and she said that she would be fine, and deal with Takashi who was in pretty sore shape. She seemed perturbed that Red wanted to go along as well. I told her we would just be gone for a little bit and would be back soon. She said that with Byk, there is no short trip to a bar.

Anyway, we decided to go to the Lunatic’s Fringe, a dive bar nearby that I had never been to. The neighborhood was atrocious, seeming like post-war Berlin, and we nearly got involved in the middle of a turf battle. Thankfully, for Drake’s maneuvering, we were able to skirt that skirmish and make our way to the establishment.



We’re staring at an ambush. Doc has identified that there are people with cyberware hiding in shipping containers around the perimeter of the parking lot where we are meeting for the drop.

Just on the drive over here, we had to threaten heavy weapon use against a van full of men actively following us; men we had recognized from hiding in the shipping containers at a previous drop attemtp. Even after they veered off from following us, their drones have still tailed us to the site.

While our contact has stated that he has no knowledge of who is following us, Doc’s magic suggests that he is likely lying.

Recognizing all of this, Doc informs our contact that we cannot meet at this location because it is too dangerous for both parties. The contact insists that we go through with the exchange now.

I Believe I can Fly

We double time it to the Clubhouse to keep Takashi in the living. Doc calls Sitra to tell her we are coming in with wounded and to get the med bay prepped. We get Takashi plugged into some binging machines and Sitra says he’ll make it, but will be incapacitated for the next few days. She then goes on to rant that real living fleshy humans are much easier to treat then these (insert some word in Indian that I assume not complimentary, sounds like chew-tan) cyborgs he works with, and that Doc should learn to use the (oops, Indian swear word dropped again) vehicle garage if he wants to keep us living. I guess by the glare that we all get, she must be talking about us. You know, I’m quick like that. Getting the subtle hint that we are not wanted around, I suggest that we should go elsewhere and have a few drinks. The rest of the group, feeling the same chill in the air quickly agrees. Besides Zany is AWOL again tonight, and I really need to figure out what in the world is going on with her. Red, who is almost unable to walk on her own, opts to ‘hang out with the boys,’ rather than get the medical treatment that she needs. It looks like she does not want to be the only other person here to be on the receiving end of Sitra‘s ass-chewing about Doc’s current friends. She sure needs the rest, but I ain’t her father. Besides, she is still dealing with Judge Brown’s death, so maybe this is what she needs. Reno’s and the Banshee are too far away, so we decide to hit the Lunatic’s Fringe, a bar we’ve passed by in the Barrens a few times, and their parking lot is almost always full. We pile up in the van and head into the Barrens.

As expected, the Barrens looks like a war zone. We hear the reports of gunfire in the distance, and see some questionable legal activities in the alleys we pass. As we near the Fringe, we see the street ahead blocked by a few dozen dwarves, all wearing a patch of a red-outlined nuclear mushroom cloud. We slow down and look for an alternate route to the bar, when another group enters the intersection. These are mostly orcs and trolls, all wearing black and rusty-brown jackets. This looks like trouble, so Drake takes a sharp right down an alley as the two gangs start a maelstrom. A broken dumpster is halfway down the alley, standing between us and the street beyond. Byk & I double time it out and over the van, and spend the next minute moving the smelliest, heaviest dumpster in all of Seattle. We finally get it out of the alley and the van pulls into the street beyond. We get back in and continue to the Fringe.

Pariah and Zany's Catharsis

Tempers are a little hot in the clubhouse after yesterdays little snafu, so we all collectively agree that perhaps we need to take a break. We’ve been keeping a fairly hectic schedule over the last few months, and it looks like it may have made everyone a little tense and frustrated. Maybe take a vacation from the pressures that come with our line of work is needed, and maybe we all need to get away from that (and each other) to relax, unwind and celebrate the upcoming holiday. No jobs, no work, just a little break. Zany has been pestering me for a month to get out of town and show me a little cabin a few hours up north. I know that Dot would like off her Mother Hen duties and would probably like to have some time with Doc to prepare for their wedding without us dragging him off to get shot at, and I suspect that Red could use time to recover and stay away from any incentive by us to get up and join in the big kids games, so we agree that we’ll all take off a few weeks and meet back here by New Year’s Eve, and perhaps have a little party back at the clubhouse then. They all agree that they will not accept any jobs until after New Years.

There are a few things that I can do while my ass is still stuck in the medical bay. First, give a call to Lt Case Lieutenant Case and tell him that we threw quite a beat down on Casualty Count at the Federated Boeing facility. Our actions stopped them from accomplishing a lucrative paying mission, one that they probably spent a considerable amount of nuyen prepping for. He is quite pleased about that, so I feel bad telling him about Phoenix and Ego’s new allegiances. He confirms that this was what he suspected happened with them, for they went AWOL after a mission a few months ago. He says that he’ll pass that up the ladder, and personally put them up on the Damned’s ‘Asses to Kick’ list ricky tick. Since I’ve been interested in the options of getting back my SIN and potentially legally existing again, I ask him about it. He says that officially, I am KIA with the CFS, so as to sever ties and obligations that would exist if I were known to still be alive. Having Dane exist again could be more trouble for him and me that it would be worth. Sadly, this is kind of what I expected, but at least I know that now.

Next, I call Scratch. I have to find out where the little twerp has disappeared to. The phone rings for what seems to be nearly an hour before he picks up and whispers hello. When I try to ask him where in the hell he has been, he quickly cuts me off and says he’ll call me back shortly. Twenty minutes later, he calls back. After much coaxing, he days that he now works as a ‘personal trainer’ for someone that saw him on the news when we killed Griffin. He doesn’t as much say, as avoids saying that he has more or less become some cougar’s private in-house all-around servant. I’d make fun of him for this, but I’m actually too stunned by visuals of him being a ‘working stiff’ to be able to ridicule him. I mumble a ‘catch you later’ and slowly hang up the phone. That was a new level of strange. Scratch the love slave? Wow, the pay must be good. I hope for his sake it is.

Zany, Doc, Dot and I are sitting around one day when the topic of self defense comes up. Surprisingly, it appears that Dot has not even have a rudimentary training in self defense. Based on the possibility that in our line of work, someone may want to get to us through our friends (like that’s never happened before). Those closest are the most threatened. Zany has been able to fend for herself, and tends to even carry a Predator in her purse. I offer to teach Dot on how to defend herself. Doc seems hesitant, I assume that is due his general distaste in firearms, but we can’t all just mojo our opponents down, most of us need to rely on other, more mundane means. Since Doc can’t teach her to mojo, I can teach her to shoot and fight. She seems eager and wants to start to work on it this evening. Since no one pays much attention to semi-automatic gunfire locally, we all just head outside with a bunch of target dummies. Much to my surprise, she is a spot-on shot. She may be one of the most natural shots that I have seen, probably even better than Scratch was. During the training, it comes up that the man that Byk shot last week as from Azlatan. From out of nowhere, Dot says with a snarl, that it’d be better if the (Indian curse word) had just (another Indian curse word) died. With that she slams down the pistol and storms back into the Clubhouse. I look at Doc who is staring dumbly after her. I give him the ’What in the hell was that?” look. He responds with the “Beats the hell outta me.” shrug and he sighs and heads inside after her. Zany and I wait a bit before going back in, to find them already in their loft.

The next day Doc and I are in the rec room, when Dot and Zany come in from out of the bathroom. Really, the bathroom. Zany is looking down at the floor, and doing all she can to not make eye contact with me. When she gets up to me, she simply falls to her knees on the floor. While I’m waiting for the punchline to this event to unfold, Dot says “Pariah, I think Zany has something to tell you.” Drek. If she says twins, I am diving out the window. Serious as a heart attack, no joke. All of a sudden, Zany springs up and shoves a small box into my hand, and says “Whatcha think?” I stare at this little box for moment, trying to figure out what this is. Drawing a blank, so I give up and just open it. In it is a little circular gold band. Ring, kneeling, something else. Drek! Did she just propose to me? Entering super-slo-mo time. Zany continues babbles on, something about getting married on the same day as Doc and Dot. Still super-slo-mo time. I see all three staring at me. Zany is rolling back and forth on her feet, with her hands held together, Dot was smiling and looking amused with herself, and Doc looked like he just got sucker-punched in his teabag, but was trying to hide it. I had more than a few questions and concerns to input at this moment, but the thought-to-speech flow had just had a cardiac arrest. “Wha?” was about all that I mustered out. Zany then shoots a serious mad glare at Dot and says “I told you he wouldn’t like it!” and stomps to the elevator. Exiting super-slo-mo mode now, I see that Dot as fixed we with an equally vicious glare, because I obviously am in the wrong here. I feel like I should walk up and shoot Doc right in the goddamn head here and then look at her with “What? Don’t like surprises either?” Instead, I double-time it down the stairwell, and catch Zany in the garage, just as she is getting on her bike. Three flights of stairs has given me about ten seconds to process what just transpired. More than slightly winded, I tell her that she may have caught me a bit off guard, and not to take my silence badly. Sure, I’ll marry her, but I don’t want to interfere with Doc & Dot’s wedding that they have planned for months now. She seemed to accept that, and suggested some day in February. Drek, another decision here. I mutter something like, “Umm, Sure.” First she was skimming money off me because she felt that I was gong to leave her because she was pregnant. Now she wants to get married? What in the hell am I getting into? I may need to get a restraining order on Dot to keep her away and conspiring with Zany. Behind me, I hear Chips mutter, “Congrats, dude!” I may need many drinks now.

I find that most of my recent troubles are not when I am fighting to save my own skin on the battlefield, but when I am with Doc, Zany and Dot. Here is no exception. I really need to get out of town, and Zany has been hounding me to see this place up north, at some camp that she visited as a kid. Summer camp, I thought only pampered rich kids got to go to camp? Zany-ly enough, she now can’t go. Ok, I’ve had enough of these games, so in front of Doc and Dot, I press her to tell me what she is now skipping around telling me. Backing me for once, Dot tells Zany that if she doesn’t come clean, she’ll tell me herself. About time. Wait? Dot knows? Goddamn those two! Apparently Zany has a friend and she has been paying his medical bills. Or, more accurately, I am. When I inquire to meet this friend that I am supporting, she seems worried, but with Doc and Dot in tow, she agrees to take us to meet him. We arrive at the dirtiest, so-called street clinic that I have ever seen, and I’ve had wounds field dressed by greenhorn privates in a malaria-filled swamps lost in the Amazon with nothing but a sharp stick. This place is worse. There are junkies shooting up in the waiting room, the nurse is redressing a bandage while holding a smoke with about 2 inches of ash. We follow Zany to a room, and on a bed is one of those twits that tried to rob the Stuffer Shack. He looks like he met the business end of a tightly-placed burst of 10mm rounds in the chest. Oh, wait. He did, right after he shot at me with a frakkin’ roomsweeper. She is so full of surprises, I could just cry. In addition to the bullet artwork, his medical assistance seems to be somewhat lacking. His bandages are not white or even red, but rather puss yellow, and the room smells like rotten meat. Doc and Dot are looking to argue with someone about the conditions of the patients, but I’d bet my last nuyen that there ain’t anything near a doctor or administrator here. Zany looks at me with those swelling hopeful eyes, that are reminiscent of a kid asking if he can keep a new pet. Doc gets on the phone and calls Dr Maroni, and several minutes later we are shipping crazyass to the Auburn General Hospital, and I am footing the bill. Shocking, I know. We are met outside by a doctor, who does not appear to be an ER doc, probably a friend of Dr Maroni’s. His shirt has little duckies on it. Cute. He must be a kid doc. He looks at me for a moment to long to not be uncomfortable. He opens his mouth to say something, to me I assume, like “You look familiar, Weren’t you in the news?” To which, I get ready to cut him off and say, “I get that a lot, that must be someone else.” But, he must have decided not to say anything, so I instead also look kinda dumb with my mouth open, but not saying anything. I seem to remember crazyass here in the gurney being more than a little off, so I double the requested funds to have him mentally evaluated. I’d feel bad having to shoot this twit (again) when he comes at me with shock paddles, or a bag of plasma or something, because he is still crazy. I’m sure that would not go over well with Zany, I think that is the only ‘friend’ we didn’t kill. Yet.

With crazyass, or Static as Zany continually corrects me, now getting treatment in a real hospital, Zany finally relents and agrees to take our little trip. We finally pack up the new and impulsively purchased Omnicron and head out north, out of Seattle and into the SSC’s lands to spend a few days somewhere mysterious, and without her co-conspirator, Dot. She keeps assuring me that it is a surprise, and that I will appreciate it. I’m a little skeptical, her recent surprises have been anything but appreciative. Several hours, and several conversations concerning honesty later we are at this rickety old cabin at a crappy closed summer camp on the edge of a large lake. We spend the next few days in complete secluded privacy. Hunting, fishing, camping, … and other things that I’m not getting into detail on. Aside from the jungles and deserts that I was dodging mortar fire when I was back in the Damned, I haven’t any spent time outdoors since I was a teenager and spent a summer at my creepy uncle’s cabin in Whereverville, and all my anxiety just washes away as I fall in love with this area. It’s strange being in a forest and not trying to avoid APMs or enemy snipers. Zany says that this is land is up for sale since the camp is now closed, and if we are interested, perhaps we could invest in this as a mutual Christmas present to each other. Drek, that’s coming up, ain’t it? She believes that with a bit of cash, this could actually turn in to a profitable business venture. Coincidentally, she has brought the necessary paperwork to make our down payment. Clever girl, this one can be. We (read, I) can’t afford the whole place, so we agree to gt a single cabin on a small plot of land,and go from there. She makes the arrangements, and we make some plans to get this are fixed up.

Byk's Catharsis

Пария, которую качают и сообщите мне это, каждый брал праздник. Красный должен был оправиться физически, и остальные нуждались в эмоциональном перерыве. Это – первый раз, когда я имел любое роскошное время, с тех пор как я встретил эту группу, и я действительно не знаю, что сделать с этим. Наблюдение trids стало унылым после немного, и после того, как я выключил игрока, я сидел в тишине, некоторое время пробуя решить, как лучше всего использовать время. Я получил к удивлению, что я сделаю, если группа должна была расформировать. Когда я хватал из моих размышлений, я не могу сопротивляться усмешке, которая распространяется поперек моего лица, когда я вижу trid игрока.

Следующим утром, я призывал Tovarich и попросил, чтобы он получил ahold tridlink адаптера и киберкулака для меня, ничто высокие технологии или воображение, только для развлечения. Я получил звонок позже днем, и к вечеру я имел буровую установку в руке. Я проводил вечер, понимая это, и получение этого настраивало.

Bring em Back Alive

With the new year bringing Doc’s wedding ever closer, we unofficially agree that we should try to take it easy until then. That may have been influenced by Dot reminding us that it would be substantially more than ‘unfortunate’ for any of us in the bridal party to be recovering from senseless injuries during their wedding. Her threat duly noted, we generally avoid the Banshee and the Fringe, where many of our missions are set in motion.

As inevitable as Byk drinking vodka, one of us gets a call from a friend in need. Drake’s lady friend (I can’t call her girlfriend, I only met her once, and Drake is not divulging any information on their status), asks him to have him and friends take a look into a problem that her and her fellow Lonestar cronies are unable and/or unwilling to help with. So we pack in the van to meet a man with a problem at the Banshee.

At the Banshee, we meet Vincent Moore, owner of More Electronics, a business specializing in making existing products better. You know the one with the that catchy “We don’t make it, we make it better” jingle? He is accompanied with an unusual looking woman. Not sure, but there was something strange about her, more than just exotic looks. Anyway, his problem is simple, a helo with five of his employees crashed en route to the SSC, in to the Rat Labyrinth, a area of the Barrens that everyone knows well enough to steer clear of. It’s the one area that even the meanest, and ugliest seem to avoid. Lots of talk about creatures like vampires, and the like. I’m not sure what is true of the rumors, but it’s reputation has earned it a large “Do Not Enter” that even the gangs steer well-enough around, and Lonstar refuses to enter. He sent in a rescue squad of eight for a retrieval three hours after the crash, their last sitrep was that they landed at the downed helo, and were going into investigate. They were never heard from again.

Doc looks like he wants to help Mr Moore, but his marital obligations are looming over head. A trip into the Rat’s Labyrinth is not specifically on his list of things he cannot do before the wedding, but I suspect that number one on that list, being “No not get your fool-ass hurt” would be hard to avoid. But, I can see that he wants to help, Vincent sees that too, and offers a substantial bonus for our assistance. We could net almost 180k per survivor that we return, including those from the rescue attempt. In addition, he will pay over a half-mil for one elf in particular. All the missing people returned could net us over two mil. That could certainly cover their honeymoon to Hawaii that they are planning. We all give him the silent nod of consent, and Doc agrees that we’ll see what we can do for him. We head back to the clubhouse for some much needed TTP.

We make some phone calls and get some intel on Vincent Moore. It turns out the ‘employee’ that is worth the half-mil, is none other than his only son, Anthony. No wonders that he is paying so much for him. Vincent’s wife died in a car accident some years ago, and no one know who his mysterious consort at the meeting at the Banshee was. Just to cover our own end we did a background check into his business and interests. He is quite an aggressive cutthroat business man, feeling no hesitation in eliminating his competition, but he is relatively honest and forthright. He built the business from nothing, and has little to no philanthropic interests. He has been most recently working with Ares in improving their Dual Smartlink Technology.

Drake is racing around like this is a conspiracy nut’s wet dream. Wait, he is a conspiracy nut, so maybe this is a wet dream for him. He starts telling us all about the denizens that populate the area, and what mythological or superstitious tidbit of information that is irrefutable truth. Those of us with less superstitious minds research into the Rat’s Labyrinth but do not come up with anything concrete. It is not a remarkably large area, only 15 by 25 blocks that has been walled off by the rest of Redmond. The wall’s construction seems to be an urban legend as well. Allegedly, in 2049, United flight 647, crashed there, but remarkably, none of the 500+ passengers were hurt. Now here’s the good part – EMT’s were dispatched for rescue,with only half even making it there, the rest having either disappeared, found attacked and emptied at roadsides. When the remaining EMT’s arrived, not a single person was alive at the plane. The entire site was a ruin of slaughtered bodies. Talk of vampire clubs, ghoul parties, werewolf raves now dominate the superstitious and simple-minded. I’m not saying they don’t exist, I just find it hard to believe that the entire district is a self-perpetuating monster zone, complete with zombie-town, ghost picnics, goblin sororities and lycanthrope-only gay bars. It sounds like a cheesy trideo plot. Actually, I think it may be. Regardless, there has to be some substance to this, so Byk & Doc look into getting some equipment that we may need for this expedition. Who knows, maybe Drake is right. I should remember to pack my camera, this could be quite the experience.

We agree that we should not bring in our own vehicle in there. Drake’s been on our asses for recompense for his drones that have been destroyed, and none of us want to foot the bill for a new heli or battle van for him. Drake finally relents and calls a buddy of his at Dragon Flight Charter Services, and gets us a heli rental and a pilot willing to drop us off. He’ll then wait then for us to call, if needed and ETA in fifteen. It’s a long wait, but more affordable than the sum he was charging for a five min ETA for evac. He’ll be here in 3 hours for pick up, so we finish our TTP and load-outs, and soon enough we are on a heli prepping for a hot-drop into the Rat’s Labyrinth. Sure enough, the pilot wasn’t kidding, I don’t even think that the landing gear touched down, before he was back up in the air away from the Labyrinth.

We arrived at the crash site, and there are two heli’s here. The initial one carrying the tech-nerds, as well as another, larger heli, presumably the rescue team’s heli. Drake looks over the first one and comments that there is hydraulic fluid all over the tail of it, so that explains the emergency landing. Both heli’s are stripped clean, there is nothing left but an empty shell here. We see signs of tracks heading out and to the northwest. 6-10 sets of booted prints, so we follow them on to Elm Street. White noise static is all we hear from our TacComms, so we turn them off. Looks like we are running blind now with no access to the ORACLE. We then see a man ahead of us. Well, to call it a man may be a stretch. It is more of a shambling deadish thing that was probably a man at one time, but not so much now. It is carrying an elven head, that looks like one of the scientists. Drek, there goes the maximum profit now. Red shoulders up her rifle and puts one in his head, dropping him. For the moment, that is. He gets right back up, and starts shambling towards us, growling like a… monster? We hear sounds of movement coming from the alleys and buildings around us. Drek, we just walked into an ambush. We go weapons hot and tear into them. Which is usually quite satisfying and accomplishing, unless they have a tendency to get right back up. Oh yeah, and if they are popping out of the damned woodwork all around us. They are coming at us from all angles, but it appears that they stay down if we can tap them in the head just right. Hunter goes all native on us, and pulls out an axe, charging right past me and into them. Well, I can give you two guesses how well that worked out. Moment’s later, is has been torn into by several of them, and we are having a hard time getting an opening to get him back to us. Things break down a bit here. With Hunter out of formation, they start to overwhelm us, with one of the grubby bastards now all over me. I pop my spurs and knock him down a few times, but the creep just keeps getting up and clawing at me. He manages to catch me in the left thigh with his claws, and I am suddenly feeling a painful throbbing in my leg. Drek, I don’t think he barely broke the skin. Then all the children’s stories about infections pop into my head. Drek, am I infected? No time to check, we are seconds away from getting overwhelmed, we need to regroup. Hunter has managed to get his dance partners down, and pulls a grenade to toss. I call retreat and Red cuts through an alley, followed by Doc. Hunter tosses his grenade at the ones in front, and I cover the rear with a 40mm into another group behind us, knocking them all flat.

Moments later, we exit the alley onto Sycamore Street. It looks a lot like Elm d0es, minus the horde of… whatever we just fought. We see a Stuffer Shack a few blocks down from here that looks somewhat defensible, so we make haste double time into there. The front is smashed open and looted, but we quickly find our way into a small break room in the back. We secure it with a table from the room, and catch our collective breaths. We are in deep here. With the Tac-Comms down, we can’t even radio the heli, and there may be more of them than we have bullets for, especially since they seem to ignore getting shot, one of the tings we tend to be quite good at. I can’t ignore my leg anymore, it is now throbbing and burning and hurts like someone just injected boiling acid into my thigh. Doc takes a look at it and kind of blanches. Not real good bedside manner there, Doc. But, I can see why – it is sickly yellowish and looks more than a bit infected. Drek. I’m sure it’ll take more than a shot of penicillin to clear this up. I’d hate to be in as much pain as Hunter is probably in now, he looks like he has been clawed several times, and more severe than just the scrape that I was tagged with.

We take a few moments and Doc does his best at treating our injuries. He does quite well given the circumstances. My leg feels better, but it is still seeping puss. I may need to get that looked at. We hear the rapport of gun fire off in the distance. Assuming that the dead have not taken to the use of military grade small-arms munitions, we hope that it represents something living nearby. We double time it down another block and see weapon fire coming from a second floor building down upon a small horde of undead accumulating outside. An sudden fiery explosion inside the doorway of that same building knocks several more of them down and lights the structure on fire. Drek, we need to get in there and see who is in there before the building becomes a towering inferno. Drake sends out one of his drones down the street to fire at the group at the doorway, hoping to draw them away from the door. It works, as a few of them stagger away towards the drone. We rush the entrance, dropping the few remaining zeds at the door and quickly beat out the flames before they bring down the entire building upon us. Up a short flight of stairs behind a makeshift barricade are some members of the rescue squad. There are two guards here, almost out of ammo as well as three pilots, two from the rescue chopper and one from the initial bird, who is currently nursing her broken leg. Doc tends to her, while we rearm and armor them. Doc works his mojo on her leg, and after one unnerving crack of a leg resetting later, she stands up as good as new. Unnerving. Helpful, but unnerving.

We combine intel with the guards and learn that there are two confirmed killed amongst those needing extraction, one scientist and one guard. The remaining soldiers followed the scientists to the northwest, while these guys holed up with the pilots to wait for their return. From out in the zombie-filled courtyard, we hear someone say, “Da big mon gonna kill yeh.” in an almost intelligible southern drawl. Looking out we see a black man with a straw hat, waving a bloody thigh bone at us, seemingly ignored by the zombies. He backs into darkness and disappears from sight before Byk can get a bead on him. This day just keeps getting better.

We head out and trail the rescue squad and scientists for a few blocks to a long wide overgrown path from the plane crash a decade ago as it tore through the area and crashed up a block or two ahead. Popping from from the undergrowth come undead galore, and we do not take kindly to this and put many bullets in them. We progress slowly, keeping together while keeping the undead at bay. Eventually we make it another block and are at the fusulage end of Flgith 731. Suddenly we find ourselves facing around a dozen dead-ish things that damn near spring out of the ground before a dreadlocked white rasta-man. For real.

In the same marbles-in-the-mouth speech, he states, “Yew all gunna die now.” We try to disagree and open fire at them, Drake and I clear the road at the two in front of him, and Byk unloads into him. A magical shield slows down the salvo, so we sadly do not get the satisfying salsa-creating effect that this usually has, but he does not take kindly and sics his minions on us. They move much faster than expected, and we quickly find ourselves up to our asses in dead, who now have is surrounded in a half-circle and are tearing into us tooth and nail. We are a touch preoccupied fending them off, so we miss the whole ‘rasta-man is casting his mojo shit at us’ tactic. For probably the first time since I’ve know him, I hear Doc swear. The simplicity of his tone, causes me much concern. If it’ wasn’t for Doc, I don’t think I’d have had any idea what no good rasta-man was up to. I look up to see a greenish acrid-smelling wave streaming right at us. Drek. This won’t be good. I glance at Doc, hoping that he has some counter-mojo working here, and see a strange vapor appear around me. Kinda like if you ever watched gasoline burn. If you ever have a chance to have yourself fully saturated in acid, I would recommend avoiding it, it really hurts. I’m not sure, but the vapor-thing seemed to dissipate some off the impact of the immersive death wave. I need to remember to thank Doc. Once my senses return, I see that my GyRoc is are-forured, as is half my gear, but the zombies down and rasta-man is now a puddle where he recently stood. Doc says that the mojo he used for our bath was too much for him to handle, and it killed him. We take out the last zombie, and take a moment to assess our situation.

After a few moments, the acid clears up. Now that we can see and breath again, we see that Hunter is down, and Red is barely standing, again. I avoid making a comment about this career should not have her spending more time on her back than her last profession, she may not find it funny at the moment. Doc and Drake stabilize the crew. Byk’s cannon is also out, as well as many other weapons within the group, including Doc’s engagement ring, which Zany once told me it offers him some magical protection. We gotta get through this, most ricky-tick. We’re hurt, and we’ve lost valuable resources. With these unkillable slags we’ve been fighting and that fact that we still haven’t found the majority of the people, we’re here in a bad way.

We get to the rear of the plane and cautiously enter it. We pass through the luggage storage and it is gutted, as expected. When we get to the seating section of the plane, we see several bodies wearing the security uniforms of the rescue squad. Drek. When we get near it, one of them, a bloodied dwarf, eyes snap open as he weakly draws a pistol. He pauses and breathes a sigh of relief when he sees that we are mostly alive. Around him, are the fallen bodies of two more other security guards. As Doc treats him, he tells us that they were attacked by a dreadlocked black man and a horde of zombies and overrun and left for dead. They took the two remaining scientists and pilot to a nearby school building. We also notice that the lockers are overloaded with jewelry. Red and Drake stuff their pockets full, while Byk empties the armors from the rucksack he was carrying and fills up the remaining jewelry. We head over to the school yard and enter the building.

We quickly make it to the offices and Doc detects some bad mojo in, ironically, the principals office. We enter the room to see, unsurprisingly, a dreadlocked black man, Mr Bad Mojo. He is surrounded by some mojo field. Just inside the shield are mojo-ish symbols in one unbroken circle. He seems annoyed with us, but offers us a chance to leave. However, he will not let us leave with Vincent Moore’s son. Apparently, Mr Bad Mojo has some vendetta against Mr Moore, and does not want to return his son to his father. Byk, tired of us talking, opens up with his ridiculously over-sized pistol, but the mojo shield stops the salvo cold. Drek. On the table in front of him are a strange assortment of dolls that seem to resemble… us? With an evil grin, he picks up one that looks like Red and one that looks like Chiara. They immediately start undressing. Under normal circumstances, this may have been an appealing fantasy, it seems just wrong. I try to get his attention, as Red and Chiara begin seductively attacking Doc, Byk and Drake, but he seems content to watch this unfold. Seriously, here. After more moments of more discomfort that I care to imagine, I see a shadowy figure form behind him. He has not noticed this, as he continues to inconvenience us. Suddenly, the form materializes and standing behind him is the woman who was with Vincent Moore when he hired us. That mysteriously strange, not really human person. She gives us an impish smile and runs her foot over the unbroken circle, breaking it. With that, she throws us a wink, and just disappears. Mr Bad Mojo suddenly drops his confident swagger and looks more than a little angry as his shield just crumbles around him. We open fire on him, but he does not simply stand there let us kill him. He grabs Byk’s facsimile and suddenly Byk pulls his gun away from him, but is trying to fight it. Mr Bad Mojo is not bleeding, as one would hope, but rather crumbling white powder where he is hit. As fast as we are shooing him, he seems to be regenerating. Drek. On a whim, I grab the dolls on the desk, and Byk swings his pistol back at him. Mr Bad Mojo then pops us with some bad mojo and I feel that I have been hit by a concussion grenade. It topples me over and all gets dark. When I come to, Byk is standing over him, with a wooden chair leg jammed into his chest. When I asked him what happened during my little nap, Byk simply says that he fell onto the chair. Hmm… good enough.

It looks like the blast managed to level most of us, so we take a break before moving on. We search the room and discover a small locked safe concealed as a drawer in the desk. It has a key pad, and 1-2-3 doesn’t open it. Doc says that he scanned around and saw living people downstairs. We follow him and head down into the boiler room. In one larger room are around a dozen people just standing there. They do not respond to us, nor even acknowledge our existence. They do respond to orders. Drake speculates that they may have been his slaves and that they may have had their minds wiped. Beyond that room are a series of cages. In the cages is the pilot, Anthony Moore and the remaining scientist. We collect them all and head back up. Doc says that he saw on the map that there was a radio tower a few blocks away that could transmit the interference that has been blocking our radio access. We collect the two soldiers bodies at the plane and head over to the radio station. Sure enough, on the back end, is a make shift generator that Drake turns off. Pay dirt! We immediately get a signal and call in the pick chopper. Fifteen minutes later, we are airborne, heading to meet Vincent Moore at a hospital. Most of us let the chopper drop us off before we get to the hospital, to not attract too much attention.

Doc returns from the hospital and tells us that Vincent was quite pleased to reunite with his son, but did not seem too happy with the return of Lucas Morris, one of the pilots. Although that strange consort to Vincent Moore was with him, Doc never got the chance to talk to her about her intervention with Mr Bad Mojo. We agree, again, that we will take no more missions until after Doc and Dot’s wedding. Speaking of which, I think that I need to plan a bachelor party for him. Drek…

The Rescuers-Doc

When we reconvened after our brief respite, things were largely back to normal. Though I am not sure when I can fully forgive Byk – especially since he can not see that he was in the wrong – I can at least talk to him again. Soon after our return, Drake received a call from his friend at Lonestar Security that she had a job for us that they didn’t want to handle.

She arranged the meeting for us with our new client in short time, and we traveled to the Banshee to meet the newest “Mr. Johnson”.

This newest Mr. Johnson was unlike some of our other employers, and actually told us his real name, Vincent Moore. Besides him, there was an unusual woman seated next to him. We garnered the following information directly from him: Five of his employees were headed towards Tir Tairngire when their helicopter crashed in a remote area of the Redmond Barrens – an area well known as The Rat’s Labyrinth. This is one of those places that children are told about in scary stories, and where modern horror flicks take place, but no one would dare film. After these five disappeared from the radar screen, eight rescuers also disappeared, for a total of thirteen employees. After some negotiation on my part, we negotiated a fee of 180,000 for every employee returned alive, and 60,000 nuyen for every dead body returned. One particular individual, an elf was worth 600,000 nuyen for his safe return. We were given a data unit containing pictures of the missing and the last known coordinates of the rescue chopper.


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