Shadowrun: Richmond, Virginia, CAS

Upgrade Wish List
Shiny Toys!!

In order of importance I would like to upgrade
Control Rig from 2 to 3
Skillwires, Chipjack, and Skilljack to 6, currently 4 in a Renraku Tradejack Bundle
Cerebral Booster from 2 to 3
Synaptic Booster from 2 to 3

If possible now or down the line, new augments
Muscle Augmentation 4
Cybereyes and Cyberears maxed out full suite of sensors

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Karma Awards: The Purge

For…

  • …rescuing Galgoo from hunters trying to kill… well… everyone,
  • …surviving a rather nasty highway battle on Interstate 85 outside of Durham, NC,
  • …going to Cuba, rescuing your peeps,… er,… what’s left of them,
  • …getting Marshall Phillip’s Ranger back to him with your payment being some cover by Colt Security Services,
  • …figuring out from available clues who the current villain is,
  • …meeting Malstrite the greater feathered serpent again.

Dana: killing someone with ricocheting bullets under a door and insane disregard for safety (anyone’s safety) fighting on a highway; going into a closed system in Cuba and getting attacked and being “saved” via being dumped… 11 karma
Kane: getting his stuff back; leaving Big Daddy in a cell in Cuba for giving up people; getting really vengeful over Mei; talking to Ernesto in a tobacco field; and finding his loyal friends… 11 karma
Kirah: performing a perfect gymnastic feat of sliding while tossing grenades under a door to great effect, but choosing the absolutely wrong place for cover… 10 karma
Siege: keeping the party from being surprised and killed by a bio-weapon in a Durham suburb, meeting and, through a lack of good judgment, making new friends in the party… 10 karma + “holy crap, what did I get myself into” bonus of 3 karma
Sunder: trying to put together his contacts, both literally and figuratively; holding a conversation on behalf of the party with a dragon… 10 karma
Zee: going into the closed system in Cuba and wisely, though not entirely helpful, jumping out, reviewing data and determining the next course of action for the party (hence the Malstrite meeting),… 11 karma

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Making a Statement

The driver of the black limousine turned cautiously into the front gate of the ORC compound in the Petersburg Barrens. The driver was a nobody. As if any driver could be more than that given Melissa’s untimely death. Alex and Katherine rode in the backseat, in complete silence, the gravity of the times weighing heavily. If there was a place called home for Alex, this place would be it.

Dr. Chamberlain should already be here, after his work in Singapore, Alex thought. It was inevitable that the compound itself would suffer an attack, but the inevitable, no matter how expected, is not necessarily any less painful. I heard about the deaths, but their deaths were not a result of their actions, but rather mine. I am responsible.

Katherine winces and sifts the air through her teeth as the driver made the turn into the compound. There were several bodies, many mutilated beyond recognition. Based on the scraps of bodies, the victims included guards, the homeless, and general staff. The most chilling sight, though, was easy to recognize. Spitfire hung against the wall like a crucifixion, her entrails spilling out of her abdomen and used to hang her.

“That is brutal, and unfortunately familiar,” Katherine whispers. “How would anyone know about that? After all these years?”

“It does make a statement, doesn’t it?” Alex says flatly, his stoicism masterfully hiding the guilt he felt. At least from everyone else, save Katherine.

Two Colt Law Enforcement vehicles were parked haphazardly in the small parking lot. Two Colt Deputies stood nearby, talking with Dr. Chamberlain. Dr. Chamberlain has the look of a man that has been awake way too long, in an expensive, but wrinkled, suit, his tie loosened and collar open. As the limo parked, Dr. Bob excused himself from the deputies and greeted Alex as the driver opened the door to the limo.

“Good trip, Mr. Grummish?,” Dr. Bob asks, hoping the pleasantry might offset some of the pain of their surroundings. It does not.

“Clearly Doctor,” Alex says gesturing to the courtyard, “we have more pressing matters than the weather, yes?”

“Oh my God,” Katherine whispers to herself, “what monster could do such a thing?”

“Indeed,” Alex says curtly, “what monster could?”

“I did not mean you, I just meant…” Katherine’s voice trails off.

“Doctor, have you recalled all of our overseas personnel?” Alex asks in a frightening monotone.

“Yes,” Dr. Bob replies. “I took the liberty of recalling any equipment that wasn’t tied up in some country’s litigation. Damned thorough, whoever it is doing this. Almost everything is being held up or taken. Hell, I think they might even have taken all of your wooden pencils.” Dr. Bob referred to Alex’s insistence on using antiquated methods, like Alex’s glasses. “The pencils are probably in your best interest though,” Dr. Bob offers a thin smile. “I hope you don’t mind, but I asked for the Colt officers. With everything in disarray here, it seemed prudent.”

“Deputies, not officers. Indeed. Very good, Doctor.” Alex’s answer drifts off into a heavy sigh. Katherine lightly rests her hand on Alex’s shoulder.

“The lower levels are intact,” Dr. Bob sighs. “Fortunately for some folks, they were able to survive hiding in the medical and surgical levels.”

Grummish turns to Katherine. “Doctor, we are at war. And we’re losing. I do not hold out much hope that our compatriots in Cuba have much good news to report. Get as much of our organization here as we can. Otherwise, who ever our opponent is will just pick off pieces one bit at a time.”

“Very well,” Dr. Bob says, straightening himself. “Won’t that make us easier to kill all at once?”

“Perhaps a risk, but I would rather have us together with a chance, versus separated with none.”

“What now?” Katherine asks.

“We play defense and recover from our injuries as best we can.” Grummish stares off. “I hate playing defense, but I hate losing even more. If they want to make it personal, then they picked the wrong Ork. I invented ‘making it personal’.”

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A New, Cold World

Zee knows a bit about hacking into places she shouldn’t be. She now had some of the best equipment, had learned some of the skills, and now jumped into the deep end of the pool. As she jacked into the local network, she could hear the echoed requests. “See what they got here,” they said. “Turn off the cameras,” they said. Okay, Zee thought, let’s get this done.

Now, Zee has seen the Matrix before. She was well aware of the 1860’s appearance of the CASNET (Confederate American States NET), and the local Richmond icon of the Capital of the Confederacy building. She had seen Richmond in the context the city wished to be known. A place of history and a place of trendy conservatism. She had walked the virtual version of Monument Avenue and the virtual representation of the statues from the real world. She had seen the local icons for Lonestar, Quest Services, Universal Corporation, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. This introduction was the virtual reality world of the Matrix she knew.

This place was not that.

Her avatar appeared in the inky blackness of space, minus the stars. She saw the very dark gray paths of… mist?… hovering in the darkness. The gray paths situated above and below the level plane where she floated led to a central building. The building was simple, like poured concrete suddenly took the shape of a uninspired gray cube with slits for windows. The other end of the gray paths led to various icons of simple letters, like the “I” beside where Zee stood. A short distance away another gray path with one end at the building and the other ended near her with a “C”. Scanning around, she noticed the letters “D”, “O”, “R”, “S”, “T”, and “X”. No, Zee thought, wait,… that’s a pirate’s flag, not an “X”.

The space between her gray path and the “C” was short, but had no path. Zee sensed nothing that would stop her from simply crossing the short space to the “C”… but she had an ominous feeling about leaving the path. Perhaps it was inexperience or just a faint memory from the real world superimposing the idea that a path must exist between two points.

Zee surmised, noting the obvious, that this must represent a closed system. But, what concerned her was the lack of others here. She was all alone… or at least that is what it looked like.

Zee thought to herself, “I think I’d rather be in the real world with my bow…”

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Shattered Dreams

THEN

Kane disabled the wards and silenced the spirits through sheer muscle memory and the force of routine, his attention uncharacteristically lacking and his body bruised and covered in scabs and dried blood. The hangar was dark, all of the cabinets, benches, and vehicles were covered in tarps, and there was a thick layer of dust on everything.

Home Sweet Home he thought bitterly as he threw the switch for the gigantic overhead lights.

With a series of echoing clanks the massive light fixtures came on, one at a time in sequence, scattering the shadows in the hangar.

The tall, lanky elf leaned wearily against a covered workbench, exhaustion and grief momentarily overtaking him, and without preamble a sound escaped him, something between a growl and a sob, before his discipline and willpower reasserted themselves and he took a deep, shuddering breath. A moment later he was the picture of stoicism and control.

Time to go to work he told himself as he pulled the tarps from his equipment, dust swirling into the air and drifting into the bright lights.

NOW

He sits in the back compartment of the rigger’s van, uncomfortable and still exhausted, despite having slept fitfully during the trip. He glances around at the group, studying their features one at a time. They are all serious, but with a noticeable excitement and, yes, even levity. There are the inevitable inside jokes and wisecracks among a group of operators who have worked together for some time, however Kane simply doesn’t have it in him to join in. He had hoped to get together with them at some point, to share in the bond that they’d formed during what they’d accomplished together. But not like this.

We saved the fucking world he thinks angrily, It was supposed to be different! He runs his hand through his fine, silvery hair. I got the girl for once, I was living the dream, I fucking deserved it!

Another deep sigh, and he forces himself to focus on the task at hand. Stay on mission Kane he reminds himself Let’s not get yourself geeked before we can put together what the hell Laz was trying to tell me. He gave him a hard time fairly regularly, but they’d been partners for a long time and while he might have been the least-organized and most-paranoid dude he knew, he was loyal. And loyalty is something that can’t be bought, can’t be replaced. It’s truly priceless.

He glances over at Sunder. Annoying, asshole, aggravating, but possibly the best wizard in the world. Well, second best maybe. He smiles slightly. And the absolute best ritual partner he’d ever had. They, the two of them, had performed the lion’s share of the magic which had destroyed the ancient spirit they’d called Bill, and subsequently saved the fucking world. It sounds ridiculously dramatic and over-the-top, but it’s true. At the end of the day, Sunder, too, was a loyal friend.

Dana, “the secretary”. Probably the most dangerous woman on the planet, and without the slightest shred of a conscience, but she was also … a loyal friend.

Kirah and Zee, both newer companions, but very dangerous in their own right, and they’d stayed the course and amply demonstrated their own loyalty, both to the team and the whole world.

Everyone had been hit, to varying degrees, but none had lost what he had. Every time he closed his eyes he saw her. Her lifeless body partially covered by the slabs of concrete which had killed her, and her dark, empty eyes, staring at him in pain and shock. The aircraft, bristling with missiles, circling back around for the killshot. Whoever had come for him had missed, they’d underestimated his skills, but they’d killed his Mei Lung.

They’d managed to find and rescue that scary motherfucker Grummish, along with Katherine and Galgoo earlier, but very shortly afterwards, they had gone their own way. Whatever was going on was pretty widespread, with most of the top-level runners and operators being clipped or going into hiding, but they’d killed his Mei Lung.

When he found whoever was responsible, he was going to fucking murder them. Blood called out to blood, and he was going to bathe in it.

THEN

He opened the dusty screen of his communication array and punched in a number. The visage of Dragon appeared, but her usual smirk was gone. “I wondered if I’d hear from you guys, or if they’d gotten you too.”

“They didn’t get me, no. And they’re really going to wish they had. I need information, Dragon. Sensitive, potentially incendiary shit. I want to know who did this to me. To her.”

“Kane, you know that I’m really, really expensive on a good day. This is a whole other level.”

“How does a million nuyen sound?”

Her eyes widened slightly. “I’ll see what I can find out.” And the connection went dark.

NOW

The plane bounces slightly as its wheels touch down on the weathered and worn tarmac of the Cuban airstrip. Kane grimaces a little and he mutters “Fucking new guy”

Kane reaches into his armored duster’s pocket and pulls out the “gorilla mask”, the shimmering fabric seeming to shift and swirl. Time to go to work.

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An Offer
Bringing the Rigger up to speed, Grummish style

As the group split in two outside of Durham, the small-ish Ork called Grummish walks up and looks the rigger over top to bottom.

“I can help you acquire much better cyberware, if you wish. First, though, I think it prudent to determine if you are indeed worthy of such a gift. I know that some of the group has offered you quite a tidy sum of Nuyen in order to compensate you for your effort. Completely appropriate, of course. However, it remains unclear if you will indeed survive. Frankly, I’m surprised you are not dead already. Good fortune, I suppose.”

Grummish peers over the top rim of his antiquated glasses. “I apologize for my meandering train of thought. Where was I…”

The very attractive human woman, elegant in her trendy pant suit gently taps the ork’s shoulder. “Alex, I believe you were making an offer.” Katherine’s glacial calm seemed to emanate from her, giving a much needed feeling of peace, which seemed out of place beside the quite aggressive ork.

“Indeed,” Grummish resumed. “If you survive your trip to Cuba with my companions and contribute to the well-being of Dana and Sunder, I believe you will be entitled to some additional compensation.”

“Sadly,” Katherine interrupts, “this is not an offer made from the spirit of generosity.”

“It could be,” Grummish says with a degree of annoyance in his voice. “In any event, if you survive, something I don’t expect to happen… just being honest, then you will need some improvements to put you in a position to serve along side us. I have seen a fair number of associates, all world class runners in their own right, die horrible deaths. That Mortis fellow, for example, an excellent shot, even for an Elf, has been lost. I recall him having part of his metal laced ribs ripped right out of his body. Quite grisly.”

“Though, Alex forgot to mention that Mr. Mortis may have survived. There was no confirmation.”

“Yes, quite right. However, if he is alive, he needed some rib cage replaced, so perhaps still not a great ending. Then there was that Dwarf. Strutter, I believe, who was crushed between the wings of a Greater Western Dragon.”

“Oh, was that the time that Mr. Warpath was bitten in half?”

“No, I do not believe so. Lazarus was sat upon by the dragon during that incident.”

“Ah, and he is still alive.” Katherine pauses, her brow furrowing ever so slightly. “Well, we think he is.”

“I believe you get the point,” Grummish resumes. “Take it from me, someone who has been shot a few times by a Pather Assault Cannon, this job is dangerous. If you make it through, then you deserve a reward that will serve to keep you alive in the future. Bon chance.”

Grummish and Katherine turn to leave, leaving you with your thoughts…

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Fixer Who?

Galgoo, the mastermind behind an underworld empire of reliable sources of people, products, and information, finds herself, for the first time, on the run. Years ago, Galgoo made the evacuation plan with Dana “just in case.” And as things changed, that plan changed. Each change Galgoo made, Galgoo passed along to her “secretary”. Ha, as if! Dana was much more than that!

Galgoo sat quietly beside Dana in the crowded van on route to who knows where. She felt… lost? No. Worse. Useless. Galgoo thought of the events over the past two weeks. Things happened too fast, she thought. I was lucky to make it out alive, leave alone any chance of saving my organization. I was barely able to escape only to be used, apparently, as bait to lure my best shadowrunning assets out into the open where they could be destroyed. And only through sheer good fortune were the attackers foiled.

It started when I received a message from M_Dragon, now, sadly, deceased. M said that Kai, a top decker operative, died as a result of a massive coronary. Yeah, right, like anyone bought that. But why Kai? Why now? I figured Kai just tangled with the wrong folks and got geeked at a result. Happens in our line of work, no matter how good you are. I would have thought nothing more of it, but then I started losing other contacts, one at a time, like stars in the sky just blinking out of existence one at a time. The deckers at the Ork Rights Committee building in the Petersburg Barrens disappeared. Moriarty’s disappearance was more shocking, as was the likely illegal acquisition of Quest by Lonestar. Just more pieces of the warning. Within a day or so, I could see the noose tightening and my time to slip free of it was shortening. It was time to go.

Ugh… alone and cut off from all my resources. Some of them were good friends… well, trustworthy enough in this line of work to call “friends”. I’m now left with only one thought…

Now what?

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Purchased Equipment
A note to Zee

[When you power on your deck for the first time, you are greeted with an electronic sticky note.]

Ms. Zee,

I hope you find the Fairlight Excalibur cyberdeck of great value. It is not often one can afford such a powerful piece of decking equipment! Given the recent, untimely deaths of deckers around the world, people with these skills who work outside of being a wage-slave are quite valuable indeed. Unfortunately, this leaves a bit of a gap in people who specialize in this type of equipment, but never fear! I will work hard to get you what you need, when you need it, even if it isn’t weapons and armor in the real world. Of course, I can continue to fulfill your needs related to your real world equipment. By the by, you’ll have to tell me how that bean bag gun worked for you.

Watch your back. Taking this new path will be fraught with difficulties as it seems the corporate world is taking decker heads!

Yours truly,
Diamond Jack


A few notes about deckers, and, thusly, some suggestions for spending your karma on skills.

There are a series of skills that are important for decking:
Computer, used for searching the Matrix, perception test in the Matrix, and covering one’s electronic tracks.
Cybercombat, used for, well, fighting in the Matrix, but most specifically, causing harm to things in and connected to the Matrix.
Electronic Warfare, use to control wireless connections. Jamming, listening in on wireless datastreams (think phones, but could be anything wireless), and hiding your signature.
Hacking, used for making the Matrix do what it is not intended to do. Breaking through digital defenses.
Hardware, used for upkeep and building of electronic hardware.
Software, used to run and create programs in the Matrix. Also for analyzing unknown programming code.
You will want to allocate some Karma to gain these skills if you don’t already have them.

Luckily, there are skill groups which can reduce the cost:
Cracking skill group includes three skills: Cybercombat, Electronic Warfare, and Hacking.
Electronics skill group includes three skills: Computer, Hardware, and Software.
To learn a skill group at level 1 is 5 karma. If you want the skill group at level 2, you spend 15 karma (not cumulative with level 1).

Bought individually, each skill costs 2 karma if at level 1, 6 karma if at level 2, and 12 karma if at level 3. Note that these are not cumulative. If you have any of these skills already, let me know, and I’ll let you know what the cost to increase is.

Comparing them, to buy a skill group’s skills individually costs somewhat more than just buying the skill group.

There are four Matrix-based attributes. You can think of them like attributes for the real world, e.g.: strength, agility, etc.
Attack, used in attacking and breaking via brute force defenses and harming programs.
Sleaze, used in Matrix “hiding” as well as determining defenses of Matrix programs. Not fast, but quiet intrusions. Kind of like thieving skills for the Matrix.
Data Processing, used for processing datastreams and information. This isn’t necessarily illegal actions, depending on the data you’re processing and “where” you are in the Matrix.
Firewall, used to protect against attacks from harmful programs and users in the Matrix. It’s kind of like your armor in the Matrix.

Your deck has four numbers that you allocate to the four Matrix attributes above. The four numbers are: 9, 8, 7, and 6. Depending on which numbers you assign to which attributes will kind of determine your focus in decking. If you have a 9 in Attack, you would be following in the footsteps of M_Dragon who excelled at attacking things in the Matrix. A 9 in Sleaze might make you more of a sneaky Matrix decker. Keep in mind, you can change them at any time, switching around those four numbers with those four attributes, so your initial pick is what it is now. You cannot change them on the fly in the Matrix, but only in the real world.

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Terrorists Confirmed in TM Tower Attack

Government officials confirmed today that the attack on the T&M Tower in Taiwan was the result of terrorism, though a motive is still unknown at this time. The mercenary company The Cursed operating in hidden bases in Uganda was linked to transmissions to the attacking aircraft. Sources close to the investigation have identified the terrorist group working to suppress the rebels against the oppressive regime.

In fact, the attacks last year that devastated portions of Mexico City appear to also be linked to the Cursed terrorist organization, as well as notable assassinations. The most high profile of these being the assassination of the Mexican Defense Minister last year. Authorities have released a new low resolution image of the believed mastermind behind these attacks, including the attacks to purge the image data. Sources close to the investigation suspect him to be a mage.

[An image shows a grainy image of a male human or elf firing a beam of light from the window of a car.]

An unnamed source confirmed that this individual is being sought by authorities in many nations who have created a joint task force under the United Nations. Several accomplices are also being sought for questioning, though the source indicates that capture may be impossible. This source indicated that the recent bombing of the Federal Courthouse in Richmond, Virginia, CAS may be connected to the terrorists.

The recovery efforts in Mexico City and now in Taipei continue. A spokesperson for Yucatan Insurance Corporation indicated damage in the billions. Yucatan Insurance stocks hit new lows given the large expenses for these recovery efforts without assistance from the Taiwanese government.

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