Christmas had come and gone for the team, and in the early hours of New Years Eve while most of them slept in in preparation for the evening of parties ahead, Pharaoh’s commlink chimed with a video call from someone he hoped to never meet again. Clean Steve, the shadowrunner the team had met during the Eyewitness run was calling at the indecent hour of 8:56 AM; and what’s worse, he was a morning person.
“Hi there! Our mutual friend Mr. Johnson has a job for you, if you’re interested.”
So why are you calling instead of him?
“Oh, you know. He doesn’t like to get out much in the daytime…”
Had to be Shepard, the CEO. Alright, so they wanted to know about the job.
“Not over a commlink. Got somewhere to meet?”
The team didn’t have anywhere they’d want to invite Clean Steve too offhand, so he suggested the Pizzaria that the team had done a favor for Anthony so long ago. Finding this alright, the team pulled themselves out of bed and got themselves ready. Arriving at the scene first, they had time to get in the back and idly discuss what the job could be. Steve showed up a few minutes later and got right down to business.
“Alright. The job in question is an Extraction. Its not going to be easy, and its not going to be simple. Once its done, you’re going to want to get out of town as well. Actually we’re going to make that part of the contract. The upside is that the job pays well. Really well.”
Yeah, how well is pretty well?
“About 85,000 nuyen…”
That’s wasn’t bad money at all.
They were sold.
“Great! Have you heard about the UCAS military taking over the old Renraku Arcology?”
They had heard something about that on the trid of late.
“You have until noon tomorrow to get as many ghouls out of the basement of the arcology as you can.” Deciding that the shocked look on everyone’s face was disbelief, Steve continued. “Since the place was freed from Deus almost 10 years ago, its been left abandoned in the middle of downtown. The basement has become a haven for ghouls. Protected, out of the rain, middle of downtown, and renewable food source in the guise of squatters and the occasional Shadowrunner team, its nearly perfect for them. However, with the military moves in, they’re not going to leave a thousand ghouls alive in the basement. Its going to be a slaughter. What’s worse, is they’re turning it into a media event. Camera crews are going in behind the squads and broadcasting the entire affair. The military has cordoned off the area for three streets in every direction. So that’s going to be your first obstacle. Finding a way inside. Once inside, you’ll have to talk to the ghouls and get them on board with escaping.”
Tazer, wondering if the pay was enough, asked what were they to do with a thousand ghouls.
“Get them clear of the building. Street level is an option, but you’ll likely take casualties until they can at least reach the sewers. There’s the old monorail track that leads to floor three inside the arcology, but you can only have so many going across at a time and eventually someone will look up. There’s another option but its an expensive one. We made contact with some smugglers that have access to shipping barges that the city uses. The arcology has some outflow pipes leading right into Puget Sound in the mid-basement levels. If you can get the ghouls out that way, the barges will know where to take them. Unfortunately, they want 10,000 per barge, and only have access to four barges. Also, they’ll be arriving at 9 AM tomorrow and will only stay until noon.”
It wasn’t a bad option. They decided to take the comm-code for the barges.
“Also,” Steve continued “Mr. Johnson understands that there will likely be some losses here. A thousand ghouls is a rough estimate, so he believes that 800 is a good average. For every 200 ghouls less than that you rescue, he’ll deduct 10,000 nuyen from the pay. If you manage to rescue more than 800, he’ll increase your pay by 10,000 for each 200 more.”
Seemed fair, and that did mean that the team got 180,000 each just for making the attempt.
“Also, just so you know you are the second team we’ll be sending in. The first one went in eight hours ago, but they didn’t ask any questions so they’re most likely ghoul food right now, poor bastards. Oh hey, you have questions? Great!”
The team wondered how they’re going to accomplish this peacefully when they were more than likely to be looked like food that’s delivered itself.
“Well, if you’re not aware. Ghouls that survive the transition with their minds intact have some level of control over the ferals. Sort of like a pack mentality and the intelligent ones get promotions to Alphas. However, we can help you out with some precautions. First off, we can supply you with some fresh corpses. Barter, peace offerings, bait… whatever you want to use them for.”
Grisly, but it sounded good. The team asked for three bodies.
“Second, Mr. Johnson has been working on a chemical pheromone that would act like a boundary marker. Spraying yourselves with it should make you smell awful to any ghoul you come across. Unfortunately, we only have one tank of it available right now and its a bit unstable, so there’s no guarantee on how long it will last.”
This one sounded better, so they asked for the tank.
“Third, we can infect you with a mild strain of the Kreiger virus. This is the virus that causes the ghoul transformation. This strain is more of the chicken pox as opposed to smallpox. But if you do this, they shouldn’t attack you unless provoked. You’ll smell like family.”
Tazer, Pharaoh and Corn weren’t interested in that at all, but Spanky thought it had some merit and asked for four injections of it.
“Finally, we have a compound that is possible to cure an early infection.” Placing a package of eight heart needles on the table gently, he continued “If you happen to get infected, injecting this directly into your heart within the first half hour will either cure you, or kill you. If the former, you’ll be too sick to do anything but feel miserable for a few days, but it might be better than the alternative.”
Taking the case, the team started to work on getting their home packed up and closed down and looking for goods they might need. Clean Steve took the moment to clear his throat.
“If you’re done with the briefing, I happen to know someone who might be able to get you what you want in about a half hour.” Taking him up on his offer, Corn picked up a massive amount of APDS ammo for everyone on the team, as well as new armor. Spanky picked up a suit of chainmail and a new helm shaped as a classic viking helm with LED lights in the horns. Pharaoh spent some time thinking about what drones might be useful, but in the end decided not to pick up anything. Corn suggested the military heavy combat drone, but Steve’s contact couldn’t help him out with military tech at the moment.
With just under twenty-five hours and change before the UCAS military moved in, the team split its efforts. Corn contacted his smuggler and tried to find out how much it would cost him to have his people pack up their home and ship it to Denver in a month. Without a massive time pressure, the fee was fairly cheap and Corn happily paid it, believing his loyalty score would keep his contact from selling off the team’s goods. Pharaoh on the other hand called up his fixer and wanted to see if they had a contact with the Ork Underground that might be able to get them inside the Arcology. Promising to get back to him, the fixer was as good as his word and came back to Pharaoh with a place for a meet in Redmond in less than an hour. Tazer tagged along and they were able to negotiate passage into the arcology for 4,000 nuyen to get in, but the Orks were not willing to let them come back out that way, which Pharaoh and Tazer agreed too. Spanky took this time to pull out the weak strain of the Ghoul virus and inject himself, he seemed to be alright, aside from starting to run a light fever. Finding that the results didn’t look to bad, Corn decided to do the same, showing signs of a light fever as well (After spending an Edge point to re-roll a failure). Getting the supplies from Steve, along with four ATV’s loaded up with extra battery packs for extended run time in the arcology, the team armed and armored up and headed underground.
The tunnel from the Ork Underground was rough and unfinished. Before getting too far inside, they found that the Orks had been use to things trying to leave the Arcology as several sentry guns and anti-personnel explosives were pointed further inside. Their guide de-activated the weapons before leaving the team behind. Traveling for a while, the team caught the sent of rotting bodies and found some ghoul corpses that had been perforated by the sentry weapons and left to rot. Speeding by, they eventually found themselves in a large parking garage. They had made they’re way inside, once again.
Gazing around the parking lot, the first thing that caught their eyes was that most of the usable items in the area have long been scavenged. Light fixtures, body panels from cars, even camera mounts were pulled off the wall. The team was able to find that they were on level B4, and without any sort of idea where to go, they drove their ATV’s off to the west. Eventually, they were able to catch sight and sound of some movement at the edge of their low-light vision, so Pharaoh cracked a glo-stick and tossed it at the area. Several ghouls scattered away from the light, but didn’t rush to attack. Deciding it was a decent sign, Pharaoh and Tazer circled the ATVs, while Spanky did his best to sneak up on the ghouls while Corn went out to negotiate.
The spokesghoul was quite intelligent, head of the hunting party who when told about the military coming in, was more than willing to leave and survive another day, but he let the team know that he wasn’t in charge of anything and couldn’t make that decision for the gang. When the team seemed surprised, the ghoul gave them the basic information of the Arcology’s Basement power structure.
1. There were three major ghoul groups down here.
2. The parking levels were controlled by a group that called themselves the Moterheads, and lead by a ghoul named ‘Grinder’.
3. Mid levels were controlled by a group called the Sangre, which were the group these ghouls belonged too. Their leader was a Voodoo Mage called ‘Graveyard’ and they had a non-aggression pact with the Moterheads to share the same feeding grounds.
4. Lower levels were controlled by the largest group of ghouls in the place. They didn’t have a name but they were lead by a ghoul that called himself ‘Postmortum’.
The ghouls gave the team directions to the Moterheads main area, which were two floors further down, and did promise to let others know that there were some people here trying to evacuate the ghouls to safety, but technology had not been kind to the Sangre and they were limited to shouting loudly. The team thanked the hunting party and decided to sever a limb from one of the three corpses and offer it as a gift for the information which was well received. With the directions which seemed to be accurate, the team sped down two levels and found themselves facing a large fortress built out of scavenged materials. Mainly, it looked built out of cars. Facing a gate that had a pair of surprised looking sentries on it, the guards fetched someone apparently higher up the food chain who offered to let them come inside, but as it was Corn who was trying to negotiate entry, the senior guard asked if he would be willing to at least leave some of his weapons behind. Not willing to walk right into a ghoul lair, the team instead wanted to talk to Grinder at the gate itself. The guard was willing to give it a shot and fetched him, which turned out to be a surprise to the group. Grinder appeared to be the first Ghoul they had ever seen with cyberware. Informing Grinder of the impending invasion by the UCAS military, he was more than willing to relocate his people to safety, but there was a problem. The Moterheads were the smallest group of ghouls in the basement, and most of their ability to defend themselves from the other groups were there defenses and structures they had built, which they couldn’t take with to move down to the outflow pipes on B14 to escape. However, Grinder would be willing to move with the team if they could do him a favor. Either one of these would be just fine.
- Graveyard, the leader of the Sangre, needed to die. With her dead, the Sangre would lose most of their cohesion and the Moterheads could concentrate on defending themselves from Postmortum’s cult.
- Down in the deeper levels of the arcology were some drone constructed by Deus, large drones called ‘medusas’ which were the size of full grown tigers that all the ghouls feared. If the team could get a few of those, then neither of the other groups would mess with the Moterheads.
Finding these Ghouls decent enough to work with, they passed along the corpse with the severed limb as a peace offering as well as passage through the Moterheads territory. The gift was well received and Grinder gave the team some locations of functional intercoms on the Moterhead and Sangre territory they could use to contact Grinder once either of the two conditions were met. Both Corn and Pharaoh spent some time looking over the Moterheads scavenged drones and gear in the interest of fostering good will between the group, but most of them needed full replacement parts as well were over ten years old, the ghouls were pretty technically inclined to keep them running this long already.
With directions down to where they could meet some ghouls from the Sangre to barter passage or a meet with Graveyard, the team returned to their ATV’s and headed further down into the basement, which is where we ended for the night.