Spoiler Alert! This post includes details of the published SRM 05-03 adventure that will be spoiled if you continue reading. You have been warned.
On a blustery spring day in the Windy City 2076, the runners got an early morning call from their fixer, Quantum Princess. She offered a meet with a Ms. Johnson at the swanky Northside Gale Street Inn. The Johnson turned out to be an elven knockout who knew how to use her plunging neckline to keep the guys off balance. Fortunately, Zee, the group’s social adept kept a cool head and negotiated a decent increase above the base pay. The job was to collect the offline node from an abandoned business in the Zone. The business, Valley Rose Pharmaceuticals, was largely destroyed by the neighboring atomic Cermak blast almost 20 years prior. The team otherwise included Martial, an ogre street sam, Gurdek, an ork phys ad, Sechs, a human mage, and three hackmasters: Frostbite, a human combat hacker, Dogfood, a human technomancer, and Delta, an elven technomancer.
While the hackers were digging up data on the VRP complex and Cermak blast, Martial got another call. A jade sparrow icon with a female voice asked for a meet to discuss the job the team was just given. After agreeing, Martial drove the team to the Park Bait Shop at Cricket Hill Park. An ork woman with a hooded cloak informed the runners that VRP was working on developing a vaccine for FAB III, the magic-eating bacteria that was largely responsible for destroying Chi-Town’s bug problem. She wanted the data destroyed and was willing to pay the team the same amount of money.
The team agreed to those terms but there was dissent about which contract they would ultimately renege on.
The ork woman directed the team to Miller’s Pub in old downtown to meet with another contact, Lothan the Wise. He would know more about what threats inhabited the VRP building. She warned that Lothan would be ornery – an understatement to be sure.
Once at the war-torn but once classy pub, the team bumped into Becky99 who Zechs, Martial, and Delta had just worked for a couple weeks earlier. The runners went into the talismonger shop below the taproom named The Wisest Troll. Inside, they found Lothan hulking over several gems and stones on a parchment of strange geometrics. He was obviously annoyed to be disturbed but Zee was gracious and flattering, so the troll explained what he knew. The VRP office building was still intact and now served as the base for an ultra-violent gang known as The Hot Dawgs. The basement was the lair of The Founder, a toxic shaman with intimate knowledge of pharmaceuticals. The Founder also somehow had a beaded necklace (spellcasting focus) that belonged to Lothan. The troll offered to trade magical goods for its return. He concluded by saying that he didn’t expect the team to succeed or necessarily to even survive.
The team piled into Martial’s van and headed deeper into the Zone. Gurdek spotted a pair of jackknifed rust buckets blocking the next intersection. Martial also noticed a lit burn barrel in a nearby alley without anyone warming themselves. Expecting an ambush, he started to flip a uey. Then the shots came.
A gang of 5 zoners tried to disable the vehicle by targeting the tires but Martial’s quick reactions kept the vehicle safe. Then he decided he’d rather fight than flee.
The ogre jumped out the side facing the gangers but none their many bullets pierced his armor. He focused fire on 2 gangers near the end of the block and ended them. The hackers bricked the gun of the rooftop sniper, while Gurdek charged the last 2 near the burn barrel. The fight ended quickly. The only loot was some roughly used Colt M-23 assault rifles.
Twenty minutes later, the runners drove down Racine Avenue approaching 20th. In the distance, they could see the Cermak Blast zone with its leveled buildings and strangely barren center. The radiation sensors flipped to yellow.
Sechs, wanting to scout the VRP building, astrally projected. A maelstrom surrounded the blast site but seemed to end before the far end of the target complex. He slipped into a third floor wall and found a pair of gangers smoking and arguing. In the next room, he found a hellhound who growled and began barking. Sechs cast a manabolt with minimal effect. The hellhound then chomped into Sechs’ astral form.
Back in the Bulldog, the team saw a massive rent open in Sechs’ abdomen. They quickly hooked up the medkit as the mage returned to consciousness. He finished healing the horrible wound magically and explained what happened.
Deciding that speed was of the essence, Martial pulled his van near the ground floor entrance. He and Gurdek ripped the reinforced door from its hinges. The waiting ganger inside cringed and wildly sprayed the doorway. The hapless sod quickly fell to the combined attacks from Martial, Gurdek, Zee, and Jackfrost. The four decided against the stairs leading downward (toxic shaman-ward?) given the upstairs gangers would be flanking them. They snuck up a spiral stairwell and found a long, dark, and ominously quiet hallway.
The last runner to enter the floor was Jackfrost, who was unfortunately the only one able to see through the illusionary walls hiding the Hot Dawgs. As the combat decker’s eyes widened in surprise, a concealed form slashed a matte black combat blade into Jack’s shoulder. Gasping and coughing blood, he knew his lung was collapsed. Before he hit the ground however, a gout of flame shot through the “wall” and covered Zee. She howled in pain as her hair and skin melted to her flaming clothing. Two other gangers entered the opposite end of the hall, but even their heavy pistol rounds could not puncture Martial’s thick ogre hide.
With two members nearly dying, it was a fierce battle to regain the team’s footing. Gurdek turned the tide by literally stomping the hellhound to death. The fully healed Sechs was more than a match for the ganger mage despite the arcane dampening of the tainted locale. Gurdek and Martial ganged up (pun intended) on the Hot Dawgs’ leader, The Hound.
With moderate or worse injuries on nearly every member, the runners retreated. In no shape to face a toxic shaman on his own turf, they returned to report their failure.
Lothan was characteristically charming. “I suppose I should be impressed that you even lived. Well, I’m not. Don’t bother calling looking for more work.”
Picking Up the Pieces
Karma: 2 (survival, defeating the Hot Dawgs)
Reputation: 0 Street Cred (-1 for failing mission, +1 for defeating Hot Dawgs)
Contacts: Lothan the Wise (Loyalty -1 if previously a contact)