The Big Tomato

Hates

Blue text is quoted directly from ‘Tell It To Them Straight.’

The team settled into their seats around the table in a private dining room at Takuri’s. Three people sat across from them: Charlie Tarrow (aka Ms. Johnson), a woman just starting to lose her natural good looks; Wyrd, a human male, probably a razor; Trey, a young man so new to the shadows he squeaks. Charlie smiled, inviting them all to eat. “Pleasure before business, you know.”

When everyone had eaten their fill (real food, not SushiSoy™!), Charlie turned. “Step outside and watch the door, Trey.” The young man nodded and exited the room.

“Maybe you’ve heard of the group known as the Association Para-Nobilis? The public knows them as proponents of the Elven ideal, but my client has a somewhat different view.”

Charlie tossed Tank an envelope. Inside were old-fashioned photos (the kind very few people know how to sabotage anymore) of Elves who have been murdered; the cause of death was always an archaic weapon—sword, bow, and so on.

“The APN has been killing Elves who don’t believe in their ‘Elven ideal’ concept of skipping through meadows while playing a fragging lute. My client wants them eliminated. He’s offering 20,000 nuyen, plus certain bonuses that I will explain in a moment.”

“The APN headquarters building is near the Renraku Arcology-in its shadow would be more accurate. The target of the run are the six core members of the APN who live at the headquarters. It’ll be tough, but I believe you can do it without bringing the Renraku Reds down on your heads.”

“I spoke of bonuses earlier. The first is for dropping this off.” Charlie held up a sealed envelope. “You are to leave this on the lap of the APN leader, who I like to call Xeric the Mad. This part of the run is worth an extra 2,500 nuyen. The second bonus is for a bit of head-hunting. The APN is composed almost entirely of posers, Elf wannabees who’ve had surgery and/or wear false ear tips to look more like Elves. My client wants the false left ear tip of each APN core member, for a further bonus of 3,000 nuyen per tip . These bonuses bring the combined total for the job to approximately Y40,000 nuyen, which should be more than enough for a night’s work. Actually, my client cares little for the final condition of the APN, as long as they are shut down, the six ear tips are collected, and the envelope delivered. Well, posers?”

The ‘posers’ comment raised eyebrows amongst the team (she was hiring us, right?), but the money was good.

The next day, Tank, Tashiko, and Rayda loaded themselves into Tank’s car and headed downtown to case the APN building, while Bella hunted through city archives for any information on the structure.

Tank parked across the street from the renovated twencen firehouse while Tashiko leaned back in the seat and went astral. The Renraku building loomed in the background, shrouding the APN building in permanent shadow; after the Portland fiasco, he kept a sharp eye out for astral security. His fears seemed unfounded, however, and he noted no magical defenses as he slid into the building. The place was depressingly mundane; he caught a glimpse of one solitary mage who didn’t even notice him. The members’ auras were colored in various shades of fanaticism, and there was a horse in the basement.

“What?” Tank gave Tashiko the fish-eye over coffee at a nearby restaurant.

“You heard me.” Tashiko peered into his cup of really quite awful tea.

“Why would they have a horse—“

“Obviously they’re crazy.”

The building consisted of three levels, with meetings taking place on the ground floor, and living space mostly on the second. The basement was a large empty space (maybe some kind of weapons range), some machinery, and—

“A horse? Really?”

Later that night, the team assembled at Tank’s low-rent safe house to debrief and plan. Bella brought copies of the original building plans. She reported that the old lady at the Hall of Records had been surprisingly helpful, and had tried to set Bella up with her daughter. Bella firmly told certain team members that she had lost the number, so no, they couldn’t “watch.” Edmund determined to go take another look at the building after hours, and the rest of the shadowrunners headed home.

......

Edmund’s report the next afternoon only confirmed what the team already knew. They decided to go in that same night.

The runners entered cautiously through the front door. Bella had picked the lock, and Raven cast her first silence spell. The team eased down the hallway, Tank in the lead. At the first door, he waved Edmund forward. The air spirit went astral and poked his head through the door … and found the mage sitting up in bed, looking right at him! Edmund jerked back out of the door in a panic and motioned frantically for the team to go in, remembering to manifest after no one noticed him. Tank kicked open the door and took a firing position in the doorway, completely preventing any of his smaller team members from advancing. He fired once, striking the woman. Bella and Rayna jockeyed for position behind Tank. Edmund suddenly remembered the plan, and dove into the room. Tank shot at the mage a second time, and Edmund engulfed her. He bent his will to suffocation, only to stop abruptly when she failed to resist. Too late, however … the woman was unconscious and bleeding. Tank finally entered the room to hold a furious argument in pantomime with Edmund. Still, unable to kill an unconscious, unresisting woman in cold blood, the ork slapped her with a tranq patch and stalked out of the room. Mindful of their mission, Bella inspected the mage’s ears. Sure enough, the elf tips were false; Bella popped them off and tucked them in a pocket.

Edmund was now to act as a scout, and he once again abandoned his manifest form and began sticking his head through doors at random. He located a bathroom and a broom closet before coming across a heavily cybered man meditating in a small bedroom. Raven re-cast her silence spell to cover the new battleground, Edmund slipped into the room ready to manifest, and Tank and Rayda kicked down the door. Between the guns and the elemental, their new target went down fast.

Edmund scouted further down the L-shaped hallway. At the end, in a kind of reception area, a small child was sleeping on one of the couches. No one wanted to harm a child, but no one wanted to leave a potential alarm loose behind them. Sotto voce argument – on the other side of the silence spell – ended with Tank readying his lightest tranq patch and sneaking quietly down the hall.

Tank tiptoed up to the child – a girl of six or seven, he guessed, he was pretty bad with human ages – and gently applied the tranq patch to her arm. A slight motion caught his eye.

Tank slowly looked up, over his right shoulder. Inside the glass-enclosed reception booth, which Edmund had neglected to check, sat a man. His eyes were wide, his face pale, and his arm twitched frantically as though he were repeatedly stabbing a button.

Thinking fast, Tank went through the glass, trusting the silence spell to preserve stealth. Seeing him dive through the window galvanized the team; they charged in after him – the lookout had no chance!

After the fracas, Raven dropped the silence spell. The phone on the desk rang once, shockingly loud after the silence. The runners looked at each other.

......

After bumbling around interminably looking for the stairs up, the runners finally located the ladder in the old fire pole shaft, the crotchety elevator Xeric had installed after taking over the building, and the staircase near the front door. Unfortunately for them, the long search had given the APN members time to build a barricade of furniture at the head of the stairs. The runners mounted the stairway under fire from a half-dozen elf posers. The air was thick with cordite and fear. Things were looking grim until Edmund remembered he could cast spells! A lightning bolt crashed into an overturned couch, setting it, and the APN members sheltered behind it, afire. The team took full advantage of the ensuing chaos to mow down the rest of the opposition.

to be continued…

Comments

Eliohan

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.