After that night with Pariah, Dot and Zany, the thoughts of entering the Renraku Arcology weighed on my mind. No doubt this would be a dangerous undertaking, as several groups had already attempted this endeavor and failed. There would be huge rewards gained. Not only would there possibly some monetary reward, that I could use towards my projects, there was also the reward of possibly saving family members of some of my friends, and the reward of reinvigorating the city of Seattle, putting this nightmare behind us.
Over the next week, I began to do a little research about this topic and also on honing some of my magical skills and adding a couple of spells to my repertoire. Two weeks after our last mission, we were going to regroup and Pariah and I would be presenting our ideas to the group.
We all meet at the Clubhouse; well I and Dot pick up Rook at his new snazzy place. When we arrive there, we unpack some of our bags, and meet in the common area. We begin by questioning Drake about why he had never mentioned his sister before. He said that he really hasn’t had the urge to confide in any of his team members about much of anything – well obviously except for Dot and Zany. His sister had been a researcher for Renraku Computer Systems and resided there as well. She has not been heard of since the day of the shutdown.
Rook seems interested in pursuing this further too, but mostly to pay his new enormous rental fees. We take a vote on whether to undertake this endeavour, and vote unanimously that this is something we want to taken on. Hopefully, we don’t regret this later.
Rook is miraculously able to schedule a meeting with Renraku officials, and schedules it for the afternoon. We have to go back Downtown now to meet them at their temporary headquarters at the Convention Center.
We debate on how well we should dress for this meeting, and decide to just go how we are. We arrive at the “new” Renraku computer systems and are escorted into a meeting room. There are several Mr. Johnson’s there. After we are offered our choice of beverage, one Mr. Johnson, introduces himself as Masaru Shirokawa and he then introduces us to THE Mr. Johnson, Dr Sherman Huang. Rook manages to convince them to pay us for the mission, which is a plus, as long as we are not too greedy. We are to earn 3,000,000 Nuyen if we are able to return the Arcology to Renraku control. Not bad. They say that they are currently in negotiations with the UCAS government, the Corporate Council, to demolish the Arcology, so we are on a timetable and must check in with them every 24 hours. We tell them that it will probably be a couple of days before we get started, and head out.
Rook and Pariah begin chattering about all the equipment we should acquire before heading in and Drake and Red begin their “tech nerd” speak about why electronical equipment is needed. Why do I feel like the odd man out? I tell them I will do some more research and we will all meet again for dinner in a few hours.
In my research, I stumbled upon an article I wanted to follow up on. I discovered that the group of Shadowrunners is named Black Monday, but don’t have any more luck following up on them. I decide to give my Uncle Walter a call and see what he knows of the Renraku request.
He says that if Renraku asks the UCAS to intervene, they certainly will. When I ask him if there is any way to delay the intervention, he gives a quick no response without giving it any thought.
We meet up for dinner for a meal of Tandoori Chicken. We discussed what we did and I tell them about Black Monday. Pariah makes a quick call and finds out they normally hang out at the Lunatic’s Fringe. We discuss the theories of what is behind the closure and about various possible access points. Chips, says something about former President elect Dunkelzahn offering in his will 5,000,000 Nuyen for information on what is behind Room 1835 in the Arcology, if presented to the Draco Foundation. While we are there, we might as well check this out. That wasn’t stipulated in our agreement with Renraku after all.
We then head over to the Lunatic’s Fringe to try and meet up with Black Monday. After a small payoff, the bartender motions that Black Monday is sitting in the corner. There are seven of them. Rook approaches their table, and is quickly greeted by Ego. They say that the arcology is “hell” with security guards and robotic security. They had entered the arcology through the Ork Underground at B4 and recovered the child, Cal, in a medical bay of the 13th floor. Their friend, who they had been searching for was there, though clearly his mind is elsewhere. After his rescue, he has been checked into a local psychiatric hospital, which he offers to give me the information for. They say that he continually repeats the name Dayus.
They said that there were many individuals inside, living and dead, and even the living do not act like it. He mentions that of the seven of them, only three had gone in. Those are not very good odds.
After that dire news, we head back to the Clubhouse. We decide that we may need another day before we go in to fully stock up. Before heading to bed, Pariah and I discuss our options. I suggest the idea that since this may not quite end as well as we hoped, that if either of us shall perish inside, the other will look after the family of the other. After all, there is no such thing as life insurance in this business. We agree with a handshake.
After an additional day of readying ourselves and arranging for escort through the Ork Underground to this tunnel that Black Monday had successfully entered through, we enter the Arcology.
The orks lead us for a distance underground to an area that has been sealed off. They say that they will be closing it up behind us, but to just say the password, “Fuzzbuckets”, when we want to exit. Two orks, Le Grande and Morris volunteer to enter with us and bring us to meet The Reistance on level 8th. We enter, and immediately I begin to see blood smears everywhere, as if numerous people had been dragged through here at various times. I point it out to Pariah who concurs that the blood was not initially shed here, as there are no signs of struggle. Drake begins assembling our comlink to the outside world as there is no other way that we know of to communicate with Mr. Johnson every 24 hours, per his demand.
I switch to astral perception and am nearly inundated with the amount of background count, the emotions are just overwhelming, though appear even worse ahead. Le Grande takes the lead up the ramps of the parking complex. On the approach to B2, suddenly, there is something moving in the air near him, and before we can alert him of it, his is stung. Rook suggests that I check it out, and the wound is much worse than any normal sting would be, as his body temperature skyrockets. I try to medicate the wound, but it does not seem to help. I use my “mojo” powers and just before he dies, it saves him, though still on death’s door. He screams in pain, and Rook runs over and clamps his hand down over his mouth as the sound of metallic footsteps approach.
Rook motions to get into a nearby car, and I escort Le Grande in ahead of me into the back seat. I know that my powers can penetrate the glass, so this is a “safe” spot for me. Soon, four “Hoppers” come bounding down from the upper level. It is only then that I really take note of Drake’s arsenal of drones and robots that he has brought along. His friend Horace is at the forefront. I can see that he is more comfortable with them than with his fellow man. A firefight ensues as the creatures get nearer. As they are hit, pieces of armor fly off the Hoppers. The threat of the “hornets” is still near. Suddenly, we notice that soon after the Hoppers fall, they begin to sizzle and explode. Unfortunately, there happens to be one just outside of the vehicle. I know that I cannot move very fast, especially if I have to help Le Grande out. I see that Horace is in direct threat too, as he/it is almost directly above the fallen Hopper. I concentrate, and create a force shield between the exploding hopper and the rest of us. Almost as soon as that is up, the Hopper explodes, shattering my wall, and causing considerable damage to the car I am in as it begins to smoke. I grab Le Grande and get out, just as it goes up in flames.
Le Grande decides he has had enough for now, and decides it is time for him to head back. Red points out a few more of the hornets, and I decide it was time to unleash an area effect spell and blow several of them to smithereens. We, and Drake’s Army continue up the ramp. As we near the top of a switchback, we see that there is an entryway here out of the garage, that is currently barely open, as a late model SUV was crunched under the doorway as it locked down. We make note of it and then we see another swarm of hornets near a large nest. Just as we are about to take action, there is a whirring sound, as two huge spinning tops come up from behind us. Before I am able to do anything, a blade flies out of one of them, and strikes me in the chest, piercing my armor, but thankfully not my clothing. Suddenly I feel numbness in my chest. Another one comes flying at me and I collapse unable to move my body, but I can see and hear the horror unleashed around me. Grenades explode nearby and I feel another great pain as one of them hits near me, injuring me even more. Pariah yells as a bag full of explodes nearly results in a total annihilation. Next thing I know, I am being dragged. I awaken and rise, and see that Morris is dead, and Rook and Drake have both collapsed, as well as several of his drones.
Before we can make an exit here, Red spots some more hornets and a flier appears from behind, unleashing mini fliers. After we kill the flier and the nearby hornets, we decide we definitely need a respite, and climb under the garage door and make an exit to the outside world, near the I-5. Several UCAS soldiers quickly escort us away from there.
We re-enter the arcology and move to the base floor. Unfortunately, Drake needs to leave his bots behind, as they can’t climb stais, and I for one know I can’t carry them. Even with levitation that would be a challenge.
We enter the base floor, and when Red gets to a security desk nearby, she says that she heard a voice from off in the mall area. We follow the voice and enter the mall. Somewhere up on the third floor, we notice someone running and quickly bound up the stairs. At the top, I see an Orange Julius and my stomach rumbles. I don’t think it would be good after a few months, but you never know. Anyways, there is this guy being chased by another “hopper”.
The group fires upon the “hopper” and it soon is spewing steam. Knowing from our previous encounters that these things soon explode, Rook tries to convince him to come to our side for protection. He takes one look our way and moves the other way. He just stands there unknowing what will happen. I am able to create a barrier between him and it, but I know that it will not hold the blast, like it had failed with that car incident. Just before it explodes, the guy dives to the ground behind the glass railing. It holds its ground and he is saved. Pariah is on him quickly, and unfortunately he doesn’t know much. We decide to take another delay and escort him safely out of the Arcology. Only 99,999 more to go. Pariah is able to destroy another “hopper” with a well placed explosive.
When we return to the main floor, Red spots a little girl with green eyes near the security desk. She rushes over with Pariah close behind and grabs the doll out of her arms. Suddenly, I am covered in wood from the security desk and goo (I don’t want to explain that one) as the doll exploded. Red is staring in shock at her hands which are badly mangled. Everyone has taken some damage. After healing myself first, I rush to everyone’s aid. Red’s hands are badly scarred, but they are better, and Pariah learns the benefits of being more human when the spells work better on him.
We ascend the stairs here and enter the Club Quarter, on the six floor. It looks like this had been a war zone, as there are bodies and debris everywhere from a battle months ago. As I look, I think of the horror that Sitra had gone through years ago when we thought she had perished in a similar massacre. After a couple of hours of exploring the floor, we discover that there are no additional stairs, and must use the elevator. We all fear that the elevators may go haywire based on the amount of mechanical enemies we have faced already here, and led by Rook we ascend the ladders there up to the 8th floor.
Things are pretty peaceful here, compared to how the rest of the place has been. I tell the others to watch over me while I go and check the place out. I project and start investigating the apartments here. They looked like ones that I had grown up in, you know pretty low class, and nothing compared to what I live in now. There were some people living there, locked in their rooms. Looking at them though, they have regressed into cannibalism and decide that maybe it is best to leave them there. I move towards the SouthEast corner where the resistance is supposedly located. I decide not to proceed further, as I am not sure what lies beyond those doors, so I return to my body and rejoin the others, telling them what I have learned.
The group of us make our way to those apartments, and find that the resistance here has been slain. There are also several dead attackers. It is difficult to tell how many if any survivors there had been, as the bodies were here of the killed. Oh, did I mention that Morris’ body disappeared? Anyways, we investigate and find a message scrawled above a closet in a nearby room that needs a little translation. I look at it and shrug, saying “the closest thing I can think of is Braille, and it certainly isn’t that”. The “Tech Nerds” look at it and say 1643 or “The Ende”. Pariah then starts talking about various battles in the English Civil War that year. I ask if we are looking for Roundheads or Cavaliers? I suggest that it has something to do with the mystical number 14, which is what you get if you add them all together. Someone suggests that it is probably the room 1643 on the 16th floor. Duh, I think we were overthinking that one.
On the way up, I hear a noise coming from the 14th floor. It sounds like people are deep in meditation in there, and offer to check it out later.
We return to the elevator shaft and climb to the 18th level. I go ahead and offer to project again and speed towards that room. When I get there, there are eight individuals there, and one can see me. I quickly appear as a ghostly visage and say “We come in Peace.” and return to the group. I tell them what I saw, and we make our way down there. Before we can arrive though, Pariah says that he heard the distinctive sound of clips being loaded and tells us to stand aside. He knocks from aside and beckons to them. After a brief conversation, they permit us entry.
There, there is a rag tag group of individuals. They are all armed, in at least a rudimentary way. The awakened one also has a gun. I wonder if they have never been versed in the magical arts? They are led by Peregrine and tells us a familiar story about what happened. They also mention that Blue eyes are soldiers, White eyes are deckers; otkau? and Green eyes are everyone else as they all look at our eyes. They say that there were roughly 20,000 people that hadn’t been processed. Drake asks about the 243rd floor, and their response didn’t sound good. They tell us that Dayus is the main control system for the Arcology. Can it be turned off? Can the reactor be shut down? Who knows. Anyways, they tell us that the best places to make contact with the outside world are on the helopads on floors 6, 22, 48, and 128. The floors we should avoid are 13 (the medical pen, also known as the 2nd Circle of Hell), floor 72 filled with poison and 71 which is well guarded. I ask about the 14th floor and it is described as zombieland. Oh well, doesn’t sound like the meditation pad after all. They ask about the “hornets” and I receive 12 anti nanite formulations to use.
After bidding them luck, we head up to the 18th floor, which is where the room with the Draco Foundation’s prize is hidden. Walking down the hallway, the numbering system is unusual. When we arrive to what we think is 1835, I offer to check it out and project into a nearby room. The walls prevent me from passing through to 1835 though, do the present of an Awakened Algae. I tell them what I saw, and we stare at the door. Drake then asks Pariah to give him a boost and when he comes back down, he has a key in his hand. A key, in this day and age? Surprisingly, it also fits the lock.
We open the door, and it is a broom closet; literally with a wall of algae. We did around for a little bit and find an ancient LTG connection. The Tech Nerds get to work, and while Red is operating the system, she suddenly collapses and the computer she was using of Pariah’s, is leaking fluids. That doesn’t look good. She also says something about a librarian. Drake asks us for another computer, so he can check it out. He has one in his head, isn’t that enough? I have one, but am not necessarily keen on lending it out after what happened to Pariah’s. After all, it has a lot of memory worth of spells on it.
Wow, time has flown and I am beginning to feel tired. We decide we should call the “boss” and tell them about our progress. Strangely, it only then dawns on me that Sitra / Dot “lived” in the Renraku computer network until we got her out of there. The whole deal with Aztechnology makes me forget. Does she know anything about Dayus? or the librarian? Funny, that sometimes I will tell Dot about something Sitra did and she has to remind me that she knows because she was there too and laughs.
We make our way towards the 22nd floor, where we hope to find easy access to the heliport. As we pass by the 21st floor, there is the distinctive sound of dripping and splashing. Wonder what is going on behind that door?
We arrive at the 22nd floor and soon discover that accessing the heliport won’t be quite as easy as we had hoped. A large room contains a manufacturing facility, where it looks like those hoppers are being made. We look around to discover that there are also humans at work here. I discover that for the most part they are mundane, cybered beings, but there is one cybered being that is Awakened.
Almost as soon as we enter the room, a Hopper leaps off the assembly line and lands just in front of me, clawing at Rook. We fan out and notice as some of the humans are turning their attention to us. After the group dispatches of the Hopper, Drake nearly single handedly throws it down the elevator shaft. Wow, he is sure strong for someone so short. To prevent us from being caught in the cross-fire between the two groups of armed men, I create a barrier blocking some of them from being able to shoot at us, and at the same time, block the assembly process.
Oops, didn’t I mention that one of the men were Awakened? I guess I should have pointed him out to the group and learn my lesson a little late, as a large PowerBall slams into us, knocking Drake to the ground. After we dispatch of the men, with Rook just trying to stun them, I attend to Drake. It is difficult to heal someone so cybered though. What is the ratio of human to machine in him?
We then begin to stop the lines of production, hoping to be able so before more Hoppers are completed. Before we are able to complete this though, a side door lifts. Anticipating that something will come through, I place a barrier in front of the opening. It doesn’t hold too long, and another one of them Fliers enters. I try to bring it down, but cannot penetrate its body. Just before it perishes, it unleashes more of its “baby fliers” and Drake drops, his skin charred. I rush to his aid and manage to heal him some, but again the metal in his body restricts my ability to heal him.
Once all of the production lines have been shut down, we look for the door to the Helipad. As the Techies amongst us try to finagle the door open, I decide to autopsy one of the fallen men to see what triggers them. I look overt the body, and it appears that they should not have perished from their noticeable injuries. When Drake says he will be a while trying to open the doors, I get out my tools and begin to dissect the body. When I open him up, he looks more like a robot than a man with his amount of cyberware. I have never been one to embrace the idea of cyberware and much prefer working with real flesh and bone. I am a little confused on what I am seeing, though know that soon I will be able to decipher it all with Dot’s assistance.
Drake and Red manage to open the door and stop us before we exit, pointing to the cannons mounted there. When I look outside, it finally dawns on me that we have had one long day, and must get some rest soon. Perhaps resting with the members of the Resistance will be a helpful way to watch each other’s back. We try our communication hardware and opening the door seems to be enough. While Rook calls the boss, and Pariah calls our matrix aficionado, I call my Boss.
She is a little groggy when she picks up though seems happy I called. She mentions that she and Zany spent the day together ands he learned some new “tricks”. Wonderful. Well, she says she doesn’t know the librarian, but figures it is some kind of black ice in the system. I seems vaguely familiar, but I am sure the Techies will know more. Dayus, yes she kind of remembers some powerful force that inhabited the Renraku Arcology while she was in their network. It demanded her subservience. She tried to hide from him. Between the two of us, we figure out that these humans had several pieces of cyberware / bioware, including Dermal Sheaths, Enhanced Articulation, Internal Comlink, Cyber Eyes with Flare Compensation, Low Light Vision and Optical Magnification, a BTL Injector linking pleasure and pain areas of the brain and a Suicide Injector.
After I finish our conversation with her and the other conversations are completed, we decide to return to meet with the Resistance, of which Pariah leaned that Chips held some regard for Peregrine. We arrive at their room at 1643 and discover it in shambles, riddled with bullet holes. There, among the wreckage is a note we deciphered to indicate that they were in room 304, which is Computers Etc, according to the mall map.
We make our way down to the 3rd floor, where Rook scouts ahead. He dashes back to us, with a swarm of those hornets tailing him closely. Wth a Powerball, I destroy several of them. Rook had apparently been stung, but after using the vaccine and feeling its effects, he seems to improve. I spot the nest, and blast it with another Powerball. The reverberations from the blat though cause the glass on this bed linen store begins to spiderweb, as an alarm sounds.I look around quickly to see that we weren’t the only ones that heard this; there are severn guards quickly approaching. We enter the store where we hope to take up a defensive stand.
Almost as soon as we get in, a female security guard jumps from the level above, immediately next to Pariah and shoots him several time. I try and prevent the other guards from coming on too quickly, by placing a barrier between us and them. After taking several hits, the “Generalissima” is dropped. Afterwards, I drop the barrier, so Pariah can fire a grenade at them.
Befor reinforcements can arrive, we make our way out back through the service doors and to the rear stocking and loading areas. We tale out the cameras and slowly begin to make our way towards room 304. We are flanked in what could be a tragic ending, but we dispatch them before we are caught in the cross-fire.
We arrive at room 304 to find the rebels and it seems their ranks are a little larger. They have barricaded themselves in a storage room and now that we have found them they say they have to be on the move again. We discuss what we have learned and they relay what they know about various levels: level 21 is where hydroponics and aquaculture is practiced; there is security center on room 311; generators are on B20 and B21. What is the purpose of the 14th floor though with all of those zombies? Before we turn in for a few hours of rest, we discuss our strategies and goals. Though most of us agree the 13th floor is the place where we should go next, Rook demands going to 14. We see that he is not going to back down, so decide that we will go there first, as long as we put an end to the evils on 13 afterwards. We manage to convince Peregrine that she should join us, as we need someone better acquainted with the matrix with us.
Room 14 is a large expanse, filled almost shoulder to shoulder with people plugged into datajacks descending from a lowered ceiling. The small of excrement is nearly overwhelming, and several of the victims have died. They are apparently alive and being fed intravenously, but evidently not enough. Peregrine connects through a deck to see what it is these people are plugged into. While she is involved in this, the elevator doors open. We hide among the people standing there and when we hear them leave, we discover that whoever that was has taken one of the people, and not depositing them as we had expected. A few moments later, Peregrine removes her headpiece and says that they are apparently in a maze, keeping their minds active for whatever purpose.
We look for someone who appears to be healthy, and disconnect them. They appear to be dump shocked, but soon they come around. He is a young man; a low level programmer from the 30’s, who worked on the 32nd floor. When I ask him what day he believes it is, he says it is December 20th, which has long passed. He says he was taken into a big empty area and plugged in. When we ask him aboutt he maze, he said that he has been wandering in there recently and didn’t see anyone else there. What is the purpose of this room? Data Storage? Maybe they are being used as a super computer?
We are perplexed, but are anxious to see what we can do about the 13th floor. As we are about to exit, Pariah catches something out of the corner of his eye. There, several rows back is [ [Mrs Tovarich. We unplug her, and she tells a similar tale of what the man did, except she was rounded up in the mall area. We tell her to stay there, with the man, on this floor and hide between the bodies.
Before we enter the 13th floor, Drake sends a spider drone to investigate. Everything looks clear at first, but beyond there are flickering lights. We climb down through the roof of the elevator onto the floor. The entry room looks fairly normal and unguarded. I decide to investigate myself, leaning in the corner of the elevator, and projecting astrally.
One room is filled with the dead, while another has people milling about. The area throbs with emotions of terror and pain. The emotions are almost too difficult to ignore, and overwhelm my senses, making it difficult to sense things in the astral soup.
Guards flank the entryways of all of the doorways. Pariah and Red come up with a plan to dispense of the guards, and we manage to take out a couple before more assailants come through various entryways. Peregrine tries to be too brave for her capabilities and rushes into the fray, and is blasted in a barrage of bullets, falling into a bloody heap.
Before we strike again, I tell the others that Peregrine needs serious attention, but on this level it would be too difficult to accomplish. I tell the others that I will take her to the 14th floor for treatment, and check on the people we had left there. Rook volunteers to accompany me, and before I think, I press the up button, like I was going up to my apartment with Dot. There is a slight hissing sound and then everything goes dark.
When I awaken, there is an unnatural darkness around me and I hear a noise. I call out “Hello, who’s there?” Pariah responds “We’re here”.
I say “Where? I can’t see you”.
He replies: There has been some complications
Complications. What complications??
I don’t know how to put this gently, so I am just going to come out and say it. The good thing is I don’t have to watch over Dot any time soon and the bad thing is they have taken your eyes
I switch to astral vision to find out what I can. Everyone is in the room, with Rook, Peregrine and Drake all in serious pain. Pariah’s aura definitely reflects some serious concerns. I could tell that I wasn’t where I thought I would be. Well, at least we are all alive. I center myself and say, where are we and what must we do to get out of here and what is that huge mechanical thing behind this wall?
Pariah and Red go to check things out in the next room, while Drake stays behind to guard over me. I am not sure how good of a guard he can be in his condition though. Rook is miserable and Peregrine is on death’s door. Hopefully, things improve from here, because I don’t know how much worse it can get.