" In the end, what separates a man from a slave? Money? Power? No. A man chooses; a slave obeys. " – Andrew Ryan , BioShock, 2007“Conscripts make good cannon fodder, but for officers we need volunteers.” – Colonel Hyrum Graff, Ender’s game
We were offered a wet-work, Ending a retired Aztenchnology Magus, out in Sept-Îles, République du Québec. Get, Drop a larger hammer and leave. It Chilled Vertigo Cold. She balked at the job based on the company. I could have forced her hand, but, that is not how I want it to be in the team.
I am not a dictator and the team is not a dictatorship. I am not appointed by some God, King, CEO or outside authority, so It is not up to me to force people, until they themselves are ready. What we do is voluntary, as we take inordinate and disproportionate risks for money. Yes, I could have taken the job, and maybe with a car bomb or a well placed bullet been able to collect, but my odds are not good with out the support of a trusted mage.
I am not worried about her fixation Aztechnology. I’ll tell you why. We will eventually run against Aztechnology, sooner then later. There are things in play that will force that confrontation, hopefully it will be a glancing blow so that she does not loose her ability to focus when it happens. When the time comes, Vertigo, will have a chance to find out that her personal boogieman, is made up metahumans. If we are lucky, she will be remember that people bleed and burn.
I am worried tough, that If we keep turning down run from our fixer, he will eventually stop offering us runs.
But, we were lucky.
We found a different Job.Recover a “magic” artifact from a “ghost train”. Serious stuff, not some tri-flicker in the corner of your eye.
The story is there is a disused lower bay station, that is used as a trid and feelie location. Arriving at intervals, a ghost train will appear accompanied by a electromagnetic disruption, the interference with complex electronics. On that train is a magic thing, allegedly made by a spike magus. Several someones, want it, including some one willing to pay us the recover it.
We did our bit of legwork, and followed up on a few leads.
Ares, as part of their magical community work, has a speaker at Trurrt this week presenting a lecture series the link between fiction, magic and madness. That could be normal except their retinue is about the size and composition of a magical threat hunter company, rather then more modest speaker, press agent, security detail and personal assistant.
MCT was still sniffing about the Oshawa barrens, looking for leads. They were laying out corpscript, for bounty hunters, and scnitches to shake the trees to see if we would fall out. Having a matrix leviathan surface at one of their facilities during a property theft, is enough to make them spend some time to try and figure out what the issue might be all about.
We found a bunch of trid techs that survived a close encounter with the ‘ghost train’, and escaped. They were apparently trying to hide out in the Don River Wilds. We walked in put a narcojet dart into the three targets, and were preparing to leave, when an Ares Heavy Threat response team, complete with APCs arrives.
To be polite, we scatter. Mellie and Dr. Jeep end up one way. Vertigo and I end or another. We loose one of the three subjects. Dr. Jeep looses his hat. Dr. Jeep survives by calling in a favour from an unknown Drone rigger. It was not a disaster, but clearly not a success.
It turns out Mellie, can be influenced through her pride. It did toke some work familiarizing her with pistols, to smooth out some of her feathers. She was upset being sent into the recovery mission with a loaded taser. Mellie, and possibly all Technomancers can see and interface with smartlink. Reminder to pick up a dumb M1911 browning, just in case.
In speaking with the techs we did manage to hold onto, the Magic “artifact” is most likely in the “conductors compartment”. Either the train or the artifact does mess wilt complicated electonics, including Matrix and commlinks. The train was effectively empty when they were on board. The oddest fact of the encounter, was the train “de-materialized” or vanished up from under them once it had left the station.
The were very shaken up, were suffering from dehydration and had heavy metal poisoning, from drinking water from the don.
This was a successful field test of the Drone doc.
Then I dumped them at the local medical center, where they can get checked out, and hopefully reintegrated into their former lives.
Ares, as they have the third witness, knows what we know.
This whole recovery of witnesses, changed how we approach the run. Dr. Jeep was under wards, waiting for Ares to try and cook him with a ritual magic strike though his hat. He has a “ride” for us and after the fun in the don valley, wants to cover the “exfiltration”. He is nervous about being out of his vehicle.
Torque, literally resurfaced from his walk about in the subway and underground talking to the Orc communities that live there. He is not integrated into he team yet, and has not made arrangements to have his calls answered while he was on his walk about. He is ready, and If we are going to go head to head with Ares on this run He will be a critical piece of our side.
Vertigo took time out to ward up Dr. Jeep, and has pulled together her spirits to be ready.
Mellie found Faraday mesh cloth. enough to cover the getaway ride, and make piece for my arms and “body cover” for herself. We also made sure this time she has rounds for her Taser.
I field stripped, cleaned and lubed my Ingram. It is my choice as it is small and sneaky but, still packs the hitting power of burst fire. I put additional rounds in the getaway, and an assault rifle to provide a heavy answer should it be needed.
Theses last few runs have been noisy. Usually, a shadowrun is a covert move paid for by one Mr. Johnson representing a Megacorp or other interested party in a war against each other, with us the Shadowrunners being the deniable assets that the corps call upon to do their dirty work. Recently, we have been loud, and drawn significant attention due to being destructive or flashy. Part of that was the jobs we were given. Mega vandalism. Matrix intrusions.
This New run is very much like that, bringing us into open confrontation with the “deniable assets” or liveried minion of one or more Mega corporations.
So we arrive at the right time, at the right place in the right uniforms, with the right identity piece, with the gear that fits the plan. I add a few mentions of the words “devil rats infestation”, and we get into position. passed the Knight Errant site security.
There is already a “film crew” onsite.
The clock ticks down, and agents of Aztechnology, Ares and another runner crew, that was the film crew all converge.
The Ares folks blocked the tunnel with a train.
Wars and military campaigns are guided by strategy, whereas battles take place on a level of planning and execution known as operational mobility.
This battle reduced to an exercise in attrition, and hurting them more then they were able to hurt us. At the end, We wear all hurt, but, we did hurt them more. Burst fire was the right choice, for this run. Even Mellie, discharged her Taser into a target.
It was as open battle, well as open as it shadowrun tend to be.
We recovered the Objective and anyone who came for us, received more then they gave.