When you opened your eyes this morning, you could have sworn the sweet scent of credstick stacks and illegal activity was in the air. And what do you know? You were right. Your fixer is on the phone and he’s got some good news.
‘The Johnson wants a reliable, talented, and discreet team of runners for an infiltration job, but I figured I’d give you guys the first shot at it anyway. Har har har’ … You make a mental note to find a fixer who doesn’t think he’s a comedian, but you bite your tongue and listen for the rest of the info. ‘The meet is at 5 p.m. sharp. The place is the Palace of China, down in Tacoma. You need to ask for Dixie. Guess he’s from southern China. Har har har. Let me know how it goes, okay?’
Breaking the connection with a stifled groan, you do a quick SeaSource lookup on the Palace of China.
a hip club done in a medieval Chinese theme … popular with the district’s young and wealthy
Great. You love hanging our in trendy theme nightclubs that serve drinks with names like “Sex on the Beach” and are overflowing with mobs of obnoxious, horny young carpers whose shoes cost more than your car. Who says a criminal can’t rub elbows with the “respectable” set? Time to dress up and go break some laws.
When the runners arrive at the Palace of China, read the following aloud:
You’ve got to give the Palace of China credit. The exterior of the joint is impressive—a huge round building of red-lacquered wood with a green conical roof and dozens of ornate gold dragons intertwining to form a massive arch above the front door. You could swear their eyes are rubies and emeralds – something to keep in mind. Roving spotlights give the Palace a visual pop off the inky backdrop of Puget Sound. The parking lot is jammed full of expensive sports cars. and a long line of well-dressed young sararimen and sarariwomen winds back from the club’s golden doors. You cut to the head of the line and tell the silk-clad doorman you’re looking for Dixie. After a brief exchange of rapid-fire Chinese with someone inside, he motions you through the doors. A young Asian hostess appears and leads you through the crowd of writhing dancers and strobing lights.
After a few moments. you reach a relatively quiet room in the back. The hostess takes your drink orders and disappears, closing the door behind her and leaving you alone with a fit, thirtyish Anglo male dressed in a gray pinstriped business suit. "Good evening … he says. motioning for you to sit down at the room ‘s large oval conference table. "My name isn’t Johnson, but let’s pretend it is. Please. won’t you join me?"
Give the players a chance to be seated, then read the following aloud:
’’I’m looking for a group that can discreetly infiltrate a low security corporate facility here in Seattle. and load this optical chip into a computer system which I will specify." He places the chip on the table with an audible click. but keeps it in front of him "The system is not on the Matrix. so you will need to physically enter the building to load the file. Leave the facility Without being detected. and contact me when you’ve gotten away. There should be no gunplay. and when you leave no one should know you were there. You’ll receive a substantial bonus if you complete the mission without leaving any trace of your presence. I need this accomplished by midnight tonight …
The Johnson leans back In his chair. “Does this sound like your line of work?”
If the players agree to the run, react the following aloud:
Mr. Johnson flashes a small. brief smile. “Welcome aboard.”
He pops open his briefcase. pulls out a bundle of credsticks and a business card. puts them down next to the datachip and slides the whole pile across the table toward you. The facility in question is an electrical substation in eastern Tacoma, owned by Gaeatronics. There are two files on the chip. The first one contains the address and some information about the building. The other is the payload, which needs to be copied into the host’s Load Monitoring subsystem and then executed. Once the task is done, call me at the number on the card and we’ll make arrangements for you to collect the rest of your fee.
“And now. if no one has any further questions …..” After a moment’s pause, he stands up, closes his briefcase and heads for the door “Thank you for your time I look forward to receiving word of your success …”
The power station is located in eastern Tacoma, just off Highway 18. As you navigate through the surrounding area, you see mostly middle-income homes with the occasional above-ground pool, light commercial buildings, and a smattering of trailer parks, with long stretches of open land between them. Definitely not high-class, like some parts of Tacoma, but it’s still a drekload better than the Barrens.
You finally find the place on a curving road that extends along a wooded ridge. It’s a small, windowless, off-white concrete block, no more than a few meters long in either direction. It’s surrounded by a four-meter-high chainlink fence tipped with rusty barbed wire. Clusters of tall weeds twist through and choke the fence, partially obscuring the signs that read “NO TRESPASSING-EXTREMELY HIGH VOLTAGE.” A single Gaeatronics logo. attached by jury-rigged wire, hangs crookedly on the maglocked entry gate. The words ‘“TREE HUGGING HYPOCRITES” are spray painted in black over the logo.
Power lines crisscross above the station and run off into the distance toward mammoth metal structures that, if you squint your eyes, morph into giant skeletons. Transformers fill one side of the fenced-in area, and you can literally feel the electricity in the air. The whole site sits on a foot-thick concrete slab, extending out past the fence by about a meter. The rest of the lot is overgrown with grass and weeds, and littered with scattered garbage-the remnants of teenage high jinks and make-out sessions. Light woods extend off to either side of the building, and an abandoned strip mall sits across the street. The land slopes away behind the concrete box, eventually leveling out in a large, grassy field with a baseball diamond. A Little League game is being waged under the lights. Parents’ cheers and children’s taunts mix with the sounds of the game-the ball slapping into leather and the occasional ping of the aluminum bat sending the ball for a ride. Other than the game, the place seems pretty quiet and deserted. Should be no problem to slip in and out without a scratch and collect the cash. An easy night at the office.
Once the runners are Inside the substation fence, read the following aloud:
Several years· worth of tire tracks on the faded concrete mark a route around the building to the single door at the back. It’s a standard-looking fire door, painted a dull brown and decorated with a faded, chipped rendition of the Gaeatronics logo. Next to the building are a dozen or so tall transformers, all liberally decorated with more “EXTREMELY HIGH VOLTAGE” signs. You can hear them humming, and feel a slight charge in the air as you get closer. They seem to be generating a little heat, as well. Time to get the job done and get out of here.
When the runners are about to break Into the substation, read the following aloud:
You hear a quick thud behind you, followed by a crackling roll and some rustling through the weeds on the other side of the fence. A child’s voice calls out “Hey up there! Can I get a little help?”
When the runners get Inside the substation building Itself, read the following aloud:
The inside of the building is just as dull as the outside. A cheap particleboard desk holds a grimy old cyberterminal, and a duct-taped office chair sits in front of it. The rest of the room is occupied by two massive banks of dials, readouts and gauges which don’t make any sense to you at all, All the lights on the panels are green, though, which you assume is a good thing.
Mission accomplished. You’re in the clear now, and it’s time to contact Mr. Johnson and finish settling your accounts. When you call the telecom number he gave you, there are several pops and clicks as the call is rerouted. After a few rings, a familiar voice says, "Go ahead …
Once the runners have given their report, read the following aloud:
There’s a pause on the other end of the phone, and then the Johnson speaks again. “How would you like to earn a bonus tonight? As I believe I mentioned, your operation was part of a larger series of events, all coordinated to take place tonight. The group responsible for another part of the operation has failed miserably, and I need someone more competent to complete the job they left unfinished. It’s a similar operation, though you may need to deal with some additional security as a result of the first team’s botch. I need this job completed before sunup, which doesn’t leave much time. Are you interested?”
If the runners agree to the Council Island run, read the following aloud:
“Excellent. I’m transmitting a file on your target now. Look it over on your way to 4529 S. Alaska St. at 54th, and I’ll fill in any last-minute details when you arrive. Get here as soon as you can. Time is of the essence … Then his voice is replaced by the quiet white noise of a file being transferred to your phone.
Once the runners arrive at the downtown boathouse, read the following aloud:
The address belongs to a large boathouse on the edge of Lake Washington. A faded sign reading “Romaine Marina” is tacked onto a two-story corrugated metal building, letting you know where you are. As you arrive, the front gate is pulled open by a burly human in a suit that screams “corp bodyguard.” A second guard, who could be the first one’s twin, gestures for you to enter the boathouse.
Inside, two more bodyguards stand near a dark blue Mitsubishi Nightsky. They look each of you over as you enter, a quick assessment of your weapons and brawn, then return their eyes to the boathouse entrance. A pair of non-reflective gray motorboats bob gently up and down in the water, ready to head out onto the lake as soon as the garage-style doors in front of them are opened. Mr. Johnson stands on the dock between the boats, speaking quietly into his phone in Japanese while examining some data on his portable computer. When he sees you, he murmurs a good-by, hangs up the phone and closes the computer.
‘Thank you for your punctuality," he says. "We don’t have much time, so I’ll get right to the point. I have the rest of your payment right here." He indicates a row of certified credsticks lined up on a workbench. “You can take it now, or collect it with the rest after finishing this second operation. The rules of engagement for this mission are the same as the last-get in, plant the file, and get out without being detected. The pay is double, 80,000¥ per runner, as long as you aren’t detected, or only 20,000¥ apiece if you are.”
“Your target is a personal computer which is currently located in Bungalow 5 of the Council Island Inn, on the northwestern tip of the island. The owner of the computer should be out of his suite all night, and he shouldn’t have any security beyond the hotel’s own. The person’s identity is of no concern. There are two files on the chip. The first one is the payload, which needs to be copied into the computer’s root directory and then executed. The second file contains the address and some information about the hotel. When finished, call me at the number on the card and we’ll make arrangements for you to collect the rest of your fee. You must complete the mission before sunrise, when the festival ends and the computer’s owner comes back to his room. Are there any questions?”
If the Runners travel by boat:
Thanks to the light breeze blowing across Lake Washington, the water is a little choppy as you move towards Council Island. You see a lot of other boats clustered around the northeastern tip of the island, where the giant bonfire of the Qatuwas Festival lights up the sky, but you have this part of the lake pretty much to yourselves. Other than the bonfire, only scattered lights dot the Council Island coastline. Nothing but a long, flat expanse of black water stretches out to the distant lights of the Sprawl back on the mainland.
As you come within sight of the Council Island Inn docks, you see about half a dozen boats moored for the night, from mini-speedboats to 15-meter sport cruisers. The low silhouettes of the hotel’s outlying bungalows begin to take shape. No guards are visible at the moment. Guess It’s time to pull ashore and start paying the bills.
Off in the darkness on the other side of the hotel, a cluster of blue and red flashing lights speed westward on I-90. Must be where the guards have headed. Seems all too easy.
Once the runners arrive at the Inn, read the following aloud:
The Inn is five stories high, and while its size isn’t impressive to anyone who’s stood at the base of the Renraku Arcology, the architecture is spectacular. The main building is a rectangle constructed with massive logs, each covered with beautiful, detailed carvings in the Salish style. The lightly sloped roof is covered with fresh pine boughs, making the whole building look like a giant version of a centuries-old forest cabin. But you’re willing to bet the wooden beams and fragile roof are built over a reinforced steel infrastructure studded with alarm systems and defense mechanisms. Nothing in the Sprawl looks this pretty for long unless it can protect itself.
In front of the hotel a long, curving driveway leads to the covered main entrance, complete with a massive granite fountain shaped like a rearing grizzly bear. There’s a large swimming pool in back, near the paths leading to the hotel’s private marina, and the parking lot (valet, of course) is across the street, discreetly screened by a line of pine trees. A porch wraps around two sides of the hotel, and quaint little white pebbled paths lead off from the side porch to a half-dozen outlying bungalows. One of them holds your target.
Return to Shadowrun.