Session 28 — The Art of Legwork …

Cast of Characters

  • Eternal
  • Walker
  • Acorn
  • Ace
  • Tatters

The team did some initial scouting of the NeoNet compound and is a little overwhelmed at the size of it. The physical security on site is pretty tough and they already know that the Astral security has spirits and a projecting mage on site. Previously, they found an old document that had a sewer tunnel leading from building 2a to the bay. Tatters also needs to get into the host and see if there are any other tunnels or blueprints that he is able to find. The team heads back to the safehouse to join up with Acorn and discuss the plans further.

Eternal decided to scout out the sewer tunnel in the bay that was found. He convinced his contact WaveRunner to take him out and drop him off. He swam up to the entrance and found that the entrance to the sewer tunnel was gated off. Testing the grate, he found that it was going to be very tough to get in and that thermite might do the trick. Eternal then set up a monowire buoy line to mark where the sewer grate was for the operation later.

Tatters decided it was time for him to take a run at the host to get some information. Together with Ace, they find a spot near the compound and hack in. He spent some time in the NeoNet host and found some details about underground tunnels that connect the residential buildings with the security and headquarters that make an underground bunker to be used in case of an emergency or natural disaster. After getting that info, he dropped out of that host and jumped into the Cavalier Arms host to find info about the prototype. After some searching, he found a reference to the project file. However, there was a NeoNet spider that was watching him and engaged the intruder. Tatters took a hit, but jumped out of the host and reset his deck before the spider could get a trace on him. Unfortunately, he was also unable to get the data he was looking for.

With the rest of the plan, the team goes and boosts a old car they found in an Oakland parking garage that was most likely abandoned for some time. WaveRunner also pointed out a spiff new Nightrunner boat that the team was looking for. The boosted that and stored them at the safehouse after they were secured. So now the plan is starting to come into fruition and all thats left now is more possible legwork to see what is inside the tunnel and possibly another run at the Cavalier Arms host.

~Calypso

Session 27 — The Return of Havoc …

Cast of Characters

  • Eternal
  • Walker
  • Acorn
  • Ace
  • Tatters

A couple of days have passed since the Big Sur run and Tatter’s facilitating the release of Walker and Ace from jail. Now the team finds out that Acorn has a bounty on her that was put in place by Wuxing. The team meets up at an abandoned warehouse to discuss the bounty and how to proceed with it. The enter into the place and start discussing with Acorn about why Wuxing would want her. It was revealed that her parents were Directors of Magical Research and Acquisitions within the megacorp. It was also revealed that Acorn and Duchess were close as the Raccoon Shaman stood protectively in front of her when it was needed.

Then the flashbangs and smoke grenades came bursting through the windows. Right behind those were heavily armed individuals wearing full body security armor and carrying assault rifles. The assault force swarms the team. Before they could even act, the assault team drops Ace and Tatters. From the rear of the force, comes up the commander who is also wielding a sword. Eternal immediately engages his in a sword fight, but this time is different. The commander feints a strike and the adept falls for it with a parry. The commander ripostes and brings his blade down on the adepts monosword, shattering it. Caught off guard by the destruction of his sword, Eternal looks up as the commander drives his sword deep in his chest, then pulls it out and severs his head. Walker sees the head of Eternal as it rolls to a stop right before him, his eyes looking into his.

Duchess moves between the commander as he walks towards walker and begins to cast a spell. However, one of the other guards aims and fires on the Raccoon mage. The bullets bury deep within her, killing her. The commander smiles and talks to Walker about defending his “pack” this way and forces him to make a decision. But before that, he adds another piece to this puzzle. Two more officers walk into the warehouse with his sister bound up and assault rifle to her head. The guard that killed Duchess also has his weapon pointed at the head of Acorn. Acorn is in tears at the sight of her dead girlfriend laying there in front of her.

The commander prods him for a decision as he points his assault rifle at him. The Wolf shaman smiles and attempts to take them all out with a powerful fireball. The fire erupts around him and he finds himself alone on the Astral plane with Wolf pacing before him. Wolf was disappointed, but still pleased, with the shaman’s actions and welcomed him into the ranks of the initiated.

During the initiation, the rest of the team was actually removed from the encountered and watched the events unfold. Afterwards, the team is reunited with the explanation of Wolf and that he has blessed this warehouse. He erects a powerful manabarrier around the warehouse. They then find themselves back in the warehouse and discussing the bounty on Acorn. Still in shock of what has happened during the initiation, Acorn wrapped up Duchess in a hug and they both kiss. Now the team knows about the love affair between the two. Acorn looks among the others, still shaken and now a little embarrassed and continues to tell her story.

Deciding that there isn’t much that could be done at this moment, the team decides that Acorn will lay low for awhile until a plan presents itself. The starts discussing what to do with their new safe house when Tatters gets a call from LaRue, his Ares contact. She had a job for the team and set up a meet in a half hour. Duchess informs the team that she needed to go back to Baltimore and make plans to meet up with Acorn later for her last night in San Francisco. She meets up with her cab and heads to her hotel room.

They meet up with the human woman, in her late 20’s and wearing a skin tight suit and an Ares Predator on her hip, and they start discussing the job. A rival megacorp has developed a new prototype machine pistol and, naturally, Ares Macrotechnology is interested in this project. So far all they have been able to find out very little details. They have the project file and where the research is being done. The job is to acquire the prototype, all the research notes and then destroy the database. Walker tries to negotiate the terms, but seemed distracted by the events of the day. They agree to her terms and then learns that she wants it done in about 8 days. The team doesn’t have time to waste, so they get to doing their legwork right away.

The prototype is being developed by Cavalier Arms Limited, a subsidiary of NeoNet, at NeoNet’s California Operations Center in Richmond. The team heads that way in the Roadmaster and starts to survey the area. Tatters determines that the host would be extremely difficult for him to access. The compound is surrounded by a 30 ft high wall and covered with sensor suites and drones. All around the surrounding area were more sensors. He sends off his agent to do some research on public utilities and it comes back with stacks of paperwork, but one in particular sticks out. There was a mishandled filing for a sewer to be placed leading from building 2a to the bay. Further research shows that the tunnel has already been build and the entrance in the bay is just below water level. The team decides that this will be their point of entry and further develops their plan.

~Calypso

Eternal Gets Initiated — Side Run

Beware, young adept,” Stephanie tells Eternal. “Beserker expects strength and prowess in his followers. When its time, he will ask one thing of you. To Survive. He will set the arena against you and put you against a worthy opponent. In order to be blessed by him, you will need to use all of your skills, talents and gear to survive. Are you sure you want to proceed?” she asks.

Yes” Eternal says flatly.

Ok then, I will open the gate to his realm.” Stephanie calls upon her spirit allies and a dimensional rift appears. “Step into the gate.

Eternal nods and walks into a forest. The fir and oak trees here grow to sizes that he has not known. The underbrush is full of smaller plants, firs and stone outcroppings. He draws out his monoblade and submachine gun as he surveys the surroundings. As he is taking stock of the area, there is a sound of breaking tree branches, but he is unable to pinpoint where that is.

The adept sneaks through the forest, trying to get the drop on his prey, but then curses the woods as he steps on a branch. The snapping sound was enough for his quarry to pinpoint where he was. From his rear right flank, and bursting through the foliage was one of the largest bears he has ever seen. Rearing up on his hind legs, the beast stood close to 18ft high. It lets out a roar that froze Eternal in his steps and charges, but its claws just bounce off of Eternals body armor.

Shaking the effects of the roar off, Eternal makes some space between them and opens fire on the bear with his submachine gun. The burst of bullets seem to just bounce off the fur of the hulking beast. The bear returns the attack with another charge and bite. It attempts to bring its huge teeth down on the skull of Eternal, but he moves at the last moment and takes the hit in the shoulder instead.

Realizing the submachine gun is worthless in this fight, he drops it and sheaths the sword. The supernatural quickness of the adept allows him to bring out the Ares Alpha and let loose a burst. This time the bullets have some effect on the bear as blood is starting to show. The bear, now in a rage, roars in Eternal’s face. ALl the adept could do was drop his Alpha and run. Luckily, he was able to run faster than the Awakened bear.

Once he is able to shake the effects of the bear, Eternal swivels on his heel and digs in for the fight as the bear charges in on him. Still about 20 meters out, he grabs a hi-ex grenade and throws it. The grenade lands just before the bear and explodes, sending debris everywhere. The bear bursts through the dust field, seemingly unfazed by the explosion. Eternal pulls out his Predator and monoblade and lets loose a burst of bullets. The explosive bullets pound into the charging bear and take chucks of flesh with it, but it continues to charge.

Just as the bear leaps for its attack, Eternal side steps the attack and brings the blade down full force on the beast. The monoblade strikes true and cleanly severs the head of the bear. From behind him, Eternal hears the clapping sound of Berserker as he congratulates his pupil.

You have fought true and strong today, Eternal. I am proud to have you as one of my initiates.” Eternal then finds himself back in the Stephanie’s lodge. Bruised a little from the fight, but proud to now be an initiated follower of Berserker.

Jailbreak!

As Tatters leaves the safehouse, he starts heading back to town using the same method he used before to shake anyone who might be trying to follow him. He parks in a parking garage just a little ways from the precinct, and heads into the host, hoping to track down the case files and status of Ace & Walker. He easily hacks into the host for the precinct and locates the case files. However, he forgot to check for any security on the file as he opened it and it causes a databomb to go off. However, his cyberdeck absorbs the damage. He jacks out and pushes the events of the morning with Duchess and Acorn out of his mind. Now with a clear head, he jumps back into the host and locates the investigation file again. He downloads the file and sees the latest update. Both Walker and Acorn are being detained in being moved to interrogation rooms. He brings up the camera feeds for those rooms, waiting for them to be brought in and peruses over the investigation notes.

A blonde human woman walks into the interrogation room with Ace. She stands about 5 and a half feet tall, wearing an armored business suit and an Ares predator on her hip. She begins questioning Ace about Trifecto Studios and the boxing promoter, Kanner Leewee. Ace giver her lip about things, but she brings out a terminal and starts playing the trideo of Ace, Walker, Viking and the boxing promoter discussing setting up a meeting with Jackson Pruitt. The trideo starts to get all staticky and fades in and out as Tatters hacks into the terminal and sends a bunch of noise to it. She closes the terminal and proceeds to as if there is anything he would like to add or is he sticking with his story. He continues to give her lip and she turns and walks out of the room.

She walks into the room with Walker and goes through the motions with him. She knew she didnt have much to make anything stick on these two, but maybe she would get lucky. She started the video for him, when her partner poked his head in. “The other one is ready to talk,” he says to her. Rueben looks at Walker. “Well it looks like he is ready to deal, are you?

Walker leans forward, chains rattling on the table. “No deal is ever fair.” He then just leans back, staying silent.

A few minutes later, a uniformed officer comes into each of the rooms and tells them that they are being released. Not questioning it, the pair leave with the officers, go through the paperwork process and are released from the precinct. Just as they are leaving, they here an exclamation from Lieutenant Rueben. “WHO THE HELL IS CAPT JACK SPARROW AND WHY DID HE RELEASE MY SUSPECTS! I want an APB out and all sensors sweep for facial recognition …. NOW

As the pair walk out of the precinct, Tatters pulls up in the Roadmaster to pick them up. “Sorry about the delay guys. Apparently, you weren’t the highest priority for Duchess or anyone to let me know you got picked up.

Not my first time in a station” Ace says. “Thanks anyhow.

Thank you, Tatters.” Walker responds.

Any good bars in the area, I gotta buy you a drink” Ace says to Tatters.

Yeah, I think I know somewhere not too far. Plus I can fill you guys in on the next problem we have.” Tatters heads towards a good whiskey bar he knows nearby.

Walker turns to Tatters. “How is Duchess?

Well, Duchess is okay, if not preoccupied, apparently. Acorn however, is another story. Corp bounty out on her. A big one.”

Wonderful.” Walker says as he feels a headache coming on.

Had a run in with an idiot with a mullet trying to collect, but Acorn and Duchess did good. We shook them for now.” He passes past the whiskey bar and continues taking random streets as he heads out of the city.

Who the hell has a mullet now a days?” Ace quipps from the backseat.

Walker just ignores that question. “Are they somewhere that is safe?

Calypso stashed them in a safe house she has, they should be good for now.” Tatters responds.

Good. I hope Calypso is trustworthy enough. I suppose this means we’ll be looking for a solution to Acorn’s bounty?” Walker says.

Why is there a bounty anyway?” Ace asks.

Tatters shrugs. “I have no idea what the play is here. Getting rid of the bounty is not going to be as easy as walking out of SFPD.” He turns to Ace, “Wasn’t very descriptive, you should ask her.

Walker looks towards Tatters and continues. “Who set the bounty?

Wuxing,” he says flatly as he rounds the corner and takes the Bay Bridge towards Oakland.

Those are the guys who hired us didn’t they?” Ace asks.

Hard to imagine someone so young being necessary to someone like Wuxing.” Walker says softly as they continue, paying little attention to Ace.

She’s a mage.

So am I. I have yet to have a bounty on my head.

They don’t have any hoooks into you I guess

Good. Let’s try and remove their hooks from her.” Walker sighs. “She is starting to become a problem. Something like this means she owes us answers.

I don’t want to reveal where they are, unless necessary. But I can get everyone together in one spot, or we can convene via comms.” Tatters continues. “But we should all talk on this.

One spot sounds good. She has no choice but to talk then.

Could send her back to her parents in Alaska.” Ace offers from the backseat.

The other two seem to ignore his comments. “I’ll set it up and get in touch with everyone.” Tatters suggested.

Ace slams down his commlink. “Why isn’t my fixer not responding?

If it’s you, he most likely doesn’t want to answer.” Walker says as he looks to Tatters. “Where is this spot you are suggesting?

Let me work it out, find somewhere I can get them safely to.” Tatters responds as the Roadmaster exits off the bridge and the camera fades to black.

Acorn and The Duchess … Bond

After Acorn and Duchess leave the scene after Walker and Ace are detained. She kick in the autopilot on the Jeep. “Drek, what happened back there …” she says to to Acorn, who is silent. She grabs her commlink to dial up Eternal or Tatters, but it starts going off. Its a message from Calypso. “Hey dear, theres a neo-reggae band playing here in an hour or so. If your done with that job, you should swing by!” The message had the geo-coordinates for an abandoned warehouse in East San Mateo.

She looks over to Acorn. “Hey, Calypso has the line on a club that is playing some neo-reggae drek that should be pretty hot. I just need to get changed, but you wanna go?

Yeah, that sounds pretty sweet. I’ll just get changed into something more loose can’t party in a hoodie unless its to the sound of lead hitting the floor. Thats what I always say. Anyways, I’ll just get my skates on and some stuff to party and we can roll on down to that club.

Hey emerald eyes, you have a ride? Cause I don’t really have one…

Yeah …” blushing slightly “I have this Jeep now, just need to get the decker to clean it for me. But we can take a cab there for now.

Duchess drops Acorn off so they both can get cleaned up and make plans for meeting up in a little bit.

A couple of hours later, Duchess swings by and picks up Acorn in a cab. “The Jeep needs to be cleaned, so its a cabby night.” She gives the driver directions to a warehouse in East San Mateo overlooking the San Mateo Bridge. From the outside, the soft mello sounds of the reggae music permeate the atmosphere. Gathered around the warehouse are dozens of others that are enjoying the music, dancing. Calypso meets Acorn and Duchess as they get out of the cab. “My Dears!” and gives each a firm hug. “I trust the job went good, yes?” she says in her think Jamaican accent. Duchess pulls Calypso aside and the two of them talk for a couple of minutes, which results in another hug. She waves over to Acorn to follow them into the club.

Acorn stops leaning on the wall and comes over “Yeah, its a shame that ending, but we got a jeep at least” she said pushing open the door. “Been looking forward to this. should be a great time.

Once in the club, the music flooded the senses. Not just hearing, but the rhythmic sensations were felt, seen and even tasted. The smell of deepweed further enhanced the experience as Acorn, Duchess and Calypso were exposed to the Astral plane. There was a deep-seated feeling of euphoria and relaxation that put the trio at ease as they danced to the music. Dancing with Acorn, Duchess felt an … attraction … a sudden … need for the other young mage. She didn’t know her very well, but every time their eyes locked, she felt a pull to her. They started dancing closer and closer as the tempo of the music increased. They locked eyes again and she heard her whisper “Emerald eyes” in her ear. Their eyes remained locked as she moved her face closer to hers. She could feel her breath as she placed her lips on Acorns.

Acorn felt herself blushing as the kiss was planted on her lips. Looking up at the taller girl as she felt a happy little giggle inside her body. She had never really kissed anyone before, being ‘too high class’ back in her home town to wish to date anyone and then not really finding the time for a relationship while on the run. Sure her and Brew Master were close, but she always thought of him like a reliable friend. Acorn shut her eyes embracing the kiss and put her arms around Duchess. As she wanted to embrace her and this moment. Acorn felt flustered over the embrace. She could feel so many things as the booze running threw her clouding her judgement. She decided to let this go where ever it went.. she was the smaller of the pair after all.. She thought, just this once.. I can let go and let someone else lead me… as she shut her eyes enjoying the feelings of the room.

There is a hint of surprise in the embrace as she is having her first kiss. Things were always too busy in Baltimore and Frank would drek bricks at the thought of Duchess having a boyfriend, let alone a girlfriend. She let the feeling wash over her as they embraced. It seemed like hours before their lips broke and she caught a glimpse of Acorn’s eyes. She could see she was feeling the same as her. She could feel their hearts beat together, the sweat in their hands as they gripped each other. Duchess smiled and laughed as she spun her around and danced with her. She caught a glimpse of Calypso as she gave them a knowing look. She went about her dancing, while the two girls danced the night away.

Acorn smiled as she was lead around, happily dancing with her new interest. She was more of a skater than a dancer. but she was fine. She relaxed into the rhythm, feeling the rhythm in the air, the beats in their hearts and the heat on her skin. She felt very happy. She had danced before, but never with someone who thought she was special. She thought to herself how this must look from the outside and how she looked like the younger girl dancing with her senior, but she didn’t mind. It was nice to take off her mask and leave behind the bravado of always trying to be perfect and not caring. She smiled and giggled a little at this thought as she continued to party. When her eye catches Calypso’s, she felt her face going red as she recognized someone she knew seeing her letting go, but she gave a nervous smile. Trying to not let it bother her. She liked Duchess.. It was just strange showing it in front of someone who knew both of them.

As the night turned into morning, the sun starting to rise on the San Francisco Metroplex, the music started to die down and the club began to get empty. Calypso left me a message that she had fun and left already, but Acorn and I were still dancing. Looking into Acorn’s eyes, she whispers in her ear … “ready to leave? I can get the cab to take you home … or you can come home with me ….” She runs her hand along her face and moving a tendril of hair away from her face and tucks it in behind an ear. She lets her hand linger there a bit and couldn’t resist gently stroking behind her cat ear.

Acorn stares into Duchess’s eyes and giggles playfully, her face red as she gazes at her. She replies in a soft nervous voice, more kitten than lion “I… I would like that” the normally bold girl showing her true colors as she let her body talk for her. She was glad for the invite and the attention she was giving her ear.. it felt good.. She was more than happy to accept her invitation, even if in her own little way.

A smile comes across Duchess’s face as she brings up her commlink and requests a cab. It should only be a few minutes, but she couldn’t resist the urge to dance with Acorn more. The music was still playing … or was it?? Looking around the warehouse, most of the people were gone and that included the band. A message on my commlink said that the cab was here. “Oh DREK!” That was 20 minutes ago. Grabbing Acorns hand, she gives her another playful kiss and whispers “Lets get out of here … the cabs waiting.” Just as we get outside, I was able to stop the cab and we climb in. Duchess gives the cabbie her hotel address and they were there in what seemed like seconds.

Once we get up to the room, I gesture over to the couch for Acorn to have a seat. “Have a seat … I got a surprise for you.” She says with a sly smile. The sounds and smells start coming in from the kitchen and I start making breakfast. After about 15 minutes, Duchess comes out with a couple of breakfast burritos. “Here ya go, quite possibly one of the best bfast burritos around and it contains no soy!

Acorn took the time to examine Duchess’s room. She could instantly tell it was a step up from her dirty motel room. She didn’t want to pry too deeply though. She did mostly what she was told, sitting on the sofa her face sorta red. She wasn’t used to this kinda thing after all. She was happy to see Duchess return and the food… it tasted sooo good.. Having spent most the night dancing she was rather hungry and tucked it without a moments hesitation. “Thanks, emerald eyes” she cheered as she was handed the food. She didn’t really mind the soy thing. She liked milk personally she didn’t really know what soy was come to think of it. “hey… erm.. what is soy?” She asked having not really had much experience with shopping and cooking properly since she went on the run from her family. She didn’t mean to ask such a weird question, but while they was having a small food break she thought it would be good to talk some more, away from the noise, even if it was about something mundane. Acorn was still excited though. She felt a flutter inside and appreciated the level of trust Duchess in bringing her back to her home.

Taken a little aback by the question, but then starts to blush when she recalls being called emerald eyes. “Well soy is just what all the megas put into food. It makes it cheap and is cheap to manufacture.” She starts to point out the fresh veggies like onions, green peppers, potatoes and some jalapeños, mixed with some sausage. “Most of the time these are made with soy components, but I tend to not like soy, so I don’t really cook with it.” She smiles and continues to eat her burrito. The two sitting on the couch eating.

Makes sense.. thanks… Im not very … used to living alone.” She goes redder thinking about what might happen if there relationship escalates.. “I’m.. not much of a cook… never really made food for me until I ran away from home..” She smiled, finishing her meal and started to blush thinking again “erm… what … erm.. how do we.. … …” she blushes a redder red and looks up to Duchess for guidance as she steps outside her own experiences… and judging her partners too.

I dont know, honestly … I havent really felt this way before …” her face starts to flush red, but she runs her fingers through Acorn’s hair, letting it rest on her cheek. She moves in with a deep, passionate kiss and it seems that time stood still. Their two heartbeats seemed to sync up as she wrapped her up in her embrace. Her hands started to explore the body that she embraced. “I havent done this before, either ….” she gasps as she realizes how far this is escalating.

The camera pans out as the two girls are wrapped in each others embrace and slowly fades to black …

Late in the morning, Duchess and Acorn are asleep when Duchess is awakened by the buzzing of her commlink.
Hello .. oh hey, whats up?
Yeah, I am still in San Francisco. I’m actually going to stay a bit longer than originally planned. Some things went … well its difficult to explain.” She casts a glance over to the girl sleeping on her bed.
I know I said I would only be gone for a few days …
Gah, no .. no …. its not that … fine, I come home the day after tomorrow …
yeah, yeah yeah, love you too
She hangs up the commlink and heads off into the living room …

Acorn slowly rolls onto the floor with a thump. She grumbles to herself holding her head.. Acorn hates mornings… and hates them more after a night of party… She rubs her eyes looking at the unfamiliar room “What.. happened…” she groans dragging herself to her feet and she drowzily inspects the room around her.

Hearing the sounds from the bedroom, Duchess heads that way and sees her waking. “Hey you ..” she says softly. “You … ok?

Acorn rubs her head “yeah… I guess… I kinda fell out of bed…Who was you talking with anyway..?” She replied making a note that her hair probably could do with a brush right around now.

Oh that was Star Flower … she’s my mentor and I work for her at her talismonger shop.” She pauses as she grabs a brush from the nightstand and hands it over. “I was supposed to head back to Baltimore today, but pushing it off for a few days.

Star Flower is a cute name… I wish I had thought of a better handle than Acorn…” replied Autumn a little scornfully like she was sulking for a moment “…Don’t suppose you store any of your old clothes here…? Something that would fit me?” she asked blushing a little as she cursed her lack of foresight.

Umm … yeah … I should have something …” She opens up the door on the closet and pulls out a couple of things. “Here stand up, lets see how this fits …” Then heads back to the dresser and pulls out some other clothes. “You know, I spend enough time in San Francisco, I might as well get an actual apartment here instead of living out of a hotel room …” She pulls out a Forsaken Nexus t-shirt, she got at their concert, that is sorta faded and tosses it to her. “Might be a little big, but its the smallest thing I have.

Th-Thanks..” she says blushing a little at the clothes that was obviously going to be too big for her. She imagined people thinking she was playing dress up. Sometimes being small was such a burden… She shook the thought out of her mind “You have anywhere I can freshen up before breakfast?” she said not wanting to ruin the clothes.

Sure … are you … ok?” she says as she nods towards the bathroom door.

Yeah I think so… Im just happy to not have to wear my clothes from yesterday… I think it would feel pretty terrible considering all the fun we had…” she replied attempting to be as non suggestive as possible while referencing both the party and after party. “I’m not good in the morning.. its hard to think before a wash and my hair needs a good brush too.. I have one of those in my handbag though. Never know where the wind will pick up after all” she smiled “so… once we’re ready do you have any plans for today emerald eyes? I didn’t really have anything planned myself and I could chill with you if you like” she got up and headed towards the bathroom. “You know, once I’m all freshened up again.

She watches the elf as she walks away and into the bathroom, the events of the previous night play through her head. She caught herself biting her lip as she felt the pressure build in her hips again. Pulling herself away as the thoughts escalate … “No plans really. I need to give Tatters a call and see if there’s a way to get Walker out of jail. I talked to Calypso about it a little bit last night, but her plans were a bit …. extreme.” She stopped when she realized that her hands were caressing her wet panties.

Acorn left the door open as she entered the bathroom. She was used to her home where the open bathroom policy was a thing. Awesome to live in a house with only one room where you could tell if the bathroom was in use by a series of obvious clues. Is her hoodie on the bed/floor/sofa is she not visible? She must be in the bathroom, in Acorns case. For her room mate though, it was if his headphones was missing. That dude sure loved his tunes. She washed her face clean of the make up from last night and started to giggle. Rather than washing it off she has more spread her eye shadow she looked like a panda. she giggled to herself and decided to poke her head out. “Hey emerald eyes … Panda face!” she giggled and poked out her tongue before ducking her head back in “Yeah that sounds like a plan we really should save them.. even if its just ace.. walker can be kinda stern..” she complained with the door still open as she continued to clean her face.

The two have another encounter in the bathroom and get cleaned up together. During the shower, the pair make small talk and get cleaned up. The conversation led to discussing their parents, a topic that Duchess gets uncomfortable with. The death of her parents was still a hard thing to discuss. Duchess finishes rinsing the soap off and steps out of the shower without saying another word.

hey… erm.. emerald eyes… thanks” she remarks wrapping herself in a towel and following her out “Once I’m dressed, lets head out for waffles and pancakes, if you like.

Yeah … we can do that. Let me give Tatters a call and have him met us there.” She picks up her commlink and heads into the living room, still wearing panties and a t-shirt. She dials up Tatters …

heh.. This is the much more your style than mine” she said pushing on her shades. “You have any plans?” she said turning on her commlink too

The call goes to voicemail … She hangs up and calls again, then looks over to you with a crooked smile “I can see you checking me out behind those shades!

She shrugged and smiled trying to play it cool. “What can I say, shades make a good commlink and a good way to hide what your REALLY looking at. No matter how amazing it is.” She pulled down her shades and winked. “Gotta get back to playing it cool. can’t have the others knowing I like being cute on occasion. They’ll never let me live it down” she chuckled lightly. “The things we do to be taken seriously” she said with the smile of someone who knew they was talking to someone else who got it. She walked forward, offering a hi-five, thinking it was the right way to act. “so… erm… do we tell them? or should we keep this to ourselves for now?

The call in to Tatters stops abruptly and he send a text to Duchess: “What?” The font and formatting convey utter annoyance.

PICK UP YOUR FRAGGING PHONE! Walker and Ace are in trouble” she texts back.

A call just opens between them. “What the frag happened?” he says as Duchess puts him on speakerphone.

They got arrested.” answered Acorn from the background. picking up her bag and opening the door for Duchess.

Yeah, they were arrested coming back into town last night.” Duchess confirms.

Last… night… Were you arrested too?” He sounds extremely groggy and annoyed.

No, Acorn and I were in the same Jeep, but Eternal and Sledge were in the other car.

Nope. didn’t even know who we was. fortunately” Acorn replied.

Duchess … So far every time you’ve been near this team. Someone has been arrested or you know, gunned down in the street charging at a whole lot of cops. What the frag are you doing to this team? Why didn’t you reach out earlier than this fragging morning if they were picked up yesterday?

It was LATE!” She said loudly.

Oh, I forgot. Shadowrunners have bedtimes. Great.” Tatters quipps back.

Not exactly …” she says as she gives a wink to Acorn. “We went to the club with Calypso and then came here. We just got out of the shower when I called.

You want to bust into a police station without a plan during the afternoon?” quipped Acorn having Duchess’s back.

An audible groan. “Great. Our fixer also is okay with waiting on this… Oh you just both… Frag it. Fine, the adult is on the way.” The call drops.

Someone isn’t a morning person” joked Acorn now fully woken up from her own bad wake up. “Guess we’ll be seeing him in a bit.” she chirped.

Duchess puts the commlink away and moves to sweep up Acorn in an embrace. “I am sorry about my attitude earlier …” and gives her a deep passionate kiss. “The death of my parents is still emotional for me“.

Acorn’s face turns red “naww its chill” she replied with a cocky smile. “I didn’t know your situation and you didn’t know mine. Thats what getting to know people is all about. I don’t know anything about anyone but ace. and I wouldn’t really trust him either seems kinda flakey if you know what I mean. But thats cool. I’d rather have them more distance to be honest. Means I can be safer… I don’t like to risk my own life If I can help it. taking things from the shadows is the way I normally run. I guess this’ll be the one and only time i’ll save ace.. he IS a friend but helping him is a pretty big deal you know? Hey you never did answer. we keeping us a secret for now?

Drek … I dont have any pants on …” She goes into the bedroom and finishes getting dressed. “I dont really care if anyone else knows, but if you want to keep it quiet, I am good with that.” She walks out of the bedroom fully dressed in her steampunk outfit and goggles. Gives another kiss on your lips. “You know … I am sure Tatters is running late if you want to ….” she says as she eyes back towards the bedroom.

heh… I’d rather go home quickly and get changed…” she giggles “I look rather silly in your clothes given there like 2 or 3 sizes too big. But hey. don’t worry too much about it. I’m not gonna say anything to the others. Its not my way to talk about my personal life to them, but I won’t deny it if they ask either. thats just the way I handle those guys anyway. None of them have taken an interest in me yet” she shrugs. “Their, loss I guess” she smiles again. “By the way. have I ever said how cool your steampunkish outfits are?, cause there pretty awesome. If I had the money to, i’d buy like custom drone skates in that style and be look BOOM rocket skates!” she pauses for a moment “heh.. sorry that was kinda silly

Duchess giggles with her. “We should go now ….” and glances back at the bedroom and remembers the events that happened earlier this morning. The soft feel of her lips, her supple breasts, her belly button … her … She caught herself blushing as she looked at Acorn. “Yes, lets go have some waffles.

Yeah I’ll be out and back in my hoodie, though my kitty ears are always visable hehe.. you know they sell hoodies with ear for girls like me?” she smiles and enjoys the small talk on the way back to her home and after a quick 5 minutes change she comes back with duchess clothes neatly folded, chucks them into the boot and cheers as they speed off to the dinner

Tatters arrives at the diner a little ahead of the others and grabs a booth towards the back, away from other customers, and with a few quick thoughts shuts off the diner’s camera feeds for the time being.

He accepts some coffee from the waitress and waits watching the door for the matching headache to his hangover to come in.

The cab pulls up and Acorn and Duchess steps out. They walk into the diner and quickly scan around and find Tatters. The pair of teenagers take a seat at the table and start to look at the menu. Taking another glance around, Duchess explains what had happened when the team got back into town. After a quick run down of the Big Sur run …”When we got back into town, the cop car pulled in behind us. Eternal, Sledge and the drekton of explosives stayed on the freeway while we pulled off. They pulled us over and said they were being detained for questioning.” She pauses as the look on his face gets twisted … “from my understanding, they are at the downtown precinct still

We’ll come back to the bit about Eternal and Sledge another time … Okay, we need to figure out why they were picked up, what the cops have on them, and then we can try to find a way to get Walker out. Maybe Ace, although it feels like he probably belongs there anyway. Probably best you two hang back on this, at least until I can find out more. There’s something else we need to talk about, Ms. Suyin.” And Tatters looks pointedly at Acorn.

He pauses in the conversation as the waitress comes by and delivers more coffee.

Duchess is about to talk when he notices the pointed look at Acorn. She glances back and forth between the two for a moment and rest her hand on Acorns leg.

She pulls her shades down a bit “How do you know my last name?” she said in a stern manner. being very sure she hadn’t told anyone

It seems you’re worth quite a bit. With a phone call Duchess and I here could be splitting a nice 20,000¥.” Halfway through the statement, Tatters seems to get a little distracted, looking not quite at either of the girls, but not quite at another patron in the diner either. Then an message appears on Acorn’s commlink showing a Wuxing bounty describing her with her given name and shadowrunner handle.

Duchess put a hand on Acorn and looks around. “Tatters …. what are you talking about.

Don’t do something stupid like look around, but there is someone with a pointed interest in this table across the room.

What the hell is going on!” Duchess kept saying.

Oh.. so.. your not here to collect… I mean taking me to a public place where I don’t want to cause a scene was very cleaver… why did you do it?” she whispered using sub vocals to prevent the other tables hearing

Acorn here popped up on an open bounty board. Which means anyone with a bounty hunting license can cash in on her. And quite a pay day compared to most of the other bounties.

Wait this was my idea to meet to talk about Walker… WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!

Tatters also notices the conversation getting a little louder and switches to subvocal. “The bounty just appeared overnight.

Duchess notices her voice is getting louder and drops to subvocal as well.

Something clicks in Tatters mind. “Hey, you guys had me pull research on that last Johnson. He took a lot of funding from Wuxing…

sigh… so .. whats the plan… do I just go into hiding somewhere? I think thats the correct play.. make them think I’ve ran lay low for a couple months before taking action… I need to find an abandoned wearhouse…” she says mostly to herself.

I can take you with me to Baltimore, but I am sure bounty hunters are there too” Duchess offers.

I told you not to take the truck… Jeeez of course.. Johnson leaked because we screwed him … perfect…” Responds Acorn.

Wait, how is this MY fault?” Duchess says, now on the defensive.

Well… You did increase the reward by a large amount by demanding a car after the job and negotiations was complete. assuming the guy got chewed out by an angry official or was threatened with being fired and gave that information out… he had motive to screw our team over … not that I hold it against you..” Acorn says and the pair of teens are now arguing with each other over subvocal.

Look, you two, first things first. We need to get out of here without what I’m guessing is another bounty hunter getting you.” Tatters interrupts.

Duchess starts to look around “What, you think theres a bounty hunter here?

What the drek Duchess.

Looks back over to Tatters “What ….

Tatters is right.. we should feign that you’ve captured me.. if I pretty to pass out as if you’ve drugged me we could carry me to the car as if your collecting..” Acorn offers.

Tatters unfocuses a bit as he jumps onto the Matrix, then a few seconds later says. “Yep. He’s on to your bounty and just alerted his team.” He then looks a bit startled at Acorn. “That’s… that’s really good.

Duchess goes Astral for a moment … “Drek … he’s Awakened. I cant just make you invisible and he is a pretty powerful mage as well.

Acorn looks over the other two. “Just remember to leave a good tip to make it look like you payed them to do this

I am sorry dear, but we need to make this look convincing” she says subvocally. You see the magical sparks around her hand as she launches a stunbolt, hitting Acorn square in the chest. With the other hand she slaps a tranq patch on her, successfully knocking her unconscious. She looks to Tatters with tears in her eyes.

Tatters has text appear on the other bounty hunter’s commlink, not a message coming in, just text locking his display. “You’re late on this bounty. If you want any tips, I’m sure I could teach you a thing or two.

She’ll be fine, and it’s a good plan. Now play the part of the tough bounty hunting partner while I carry her out.” Tatters binds (leaving some space) Acorn’s wrists with a plastic tie.

Duchess stiffens up and scans the room as Tatters picks up the limp body of Acorn. Just then, the bounty hunter from across the room yells out “HEY, THAT BITCH IS MY BOUNTY!” and goes to pull out his Predator.

I already told you, you’re slow on this one.” His eyes unfocus for a moment and the hunter’s predator begins sparking and smoking, electronics fused together. Tatters let’s his coat fall open to show his own, intact predator.

About the same time, Duchess starts an incantation and the nearby table flings into him, knocking him prone. As the other bounty hunter starts to move. A Raccoon spirit manifests on the table, snarling at him.

There’s just no respect in this line of work anymore.” Tatters shakes his head to no one and doesn’t break stride towards the door.

Duchess is right behind him and puts up a physical barrier to block the door as they pile into Tatter’s car, releasing the spell after they were clear of the area. She sits in the back seat cradling Acorns head.

Good work kid. Where can I take you two to lay low? I’ll go see what can be done about Walker.” pauses for a few moments “And Ace” with a shrug.

I …. I ….. I don’t know ….” She stammers before making a call on her commlink “Calypso … I need help. Acorn and I need a place out of the way to lay low … yeah I know the place … thanks dear.” She hangs up and rattles off an address to a safe house in Richmond.

Tatters takes a roundabout way, checking for tails. Has the roadmaster meet them in a parking garage and ushers Duchess in, moving Acorn over. They finish the drive to the safehouse in the Roadmaster.

Duchess continues to cradle acorn and rubbing her ears as the Roadmaster takes, what seems like, every side street in San Francisco and pulls up to a ranch style house in Richmond. As the Roadmaster shuts down, Acorn begins to stur and wake up. Calypso walks out of the house and hurries to the door of the Roadmaster to help with carrying in Acorn.

Once they get into the house, she lays Acorn down on the couch “rest here for a few” she whispers and kisses her cheek. She turns back around to Calypso”Thank you” she says and gives her a hug. “You might want to split, I don’t want this heat coming down on you too.” Calypso looks at her with a look of disdain. “Like I haven’t had heat on me before, my dear … Let me know if you need anything else. The fridge is stocked and this place is untraceable to any of us.” She turns and leaves, gets back in her Jackrabbit and leaves.

What do we do now, Tatters?” Duchess asks softly.

For now, keep your heads down. I need to deal with the others. I’m not sure what to do about getting the bounty off of Acorn just yet. Getting someone out of trouble with one of the megas is not quite as easy as dealing with the SFPD. They might as well just give me access to their host at this rate… Save everyone a lot of headache.

She looks between Tatters and Acorn and then turns off all of their gear. “I’ll stay here with her. I have a couple of spirits that are watching over us, so we should be good. Comms are turned off, so if you need anything, you’ll need to come back here. If we get into trouble, I will have to shoot out a message real fast … ” She pauses as she looks at Acorn, who is starting to stir more. “What the hell have we stepped into?” She says as Tatters leaves out the door and gets back into the Roadmaster.

Acorn stirs with Duchess’s statement. “I.. dunno.. I was just glad you was with me… I was starting to lose it for a moment when I was told.. ” she whispered “.. very convincing though… I guess you won’t be heading home just yet?” she asked sounding hopeful.

No … I’m not going anywhere” Duchess whispers and gives her a soft kiss. “I found its better to ask for forgiveness than permission. I am staying for awhile” she sensually rubs behind an ear.

A Stop at the Local Dennys — Behind the Curtain

Duane Sharpman was eating lunch at the Dennys in downtown San Francisco. It was a mild afternoon out and the Dog Shaman decided to stop in for a soyburger and fries. He was sitting there enjoying his meal and skimming through local news and social feeds, when a pair of teenage girls came in. They caught his attention because one was dressed like she was straight out of one of those cosplay conventions and the other one … are those … cat ears? Shaking his head, he went back to eating his meal. “What the frag is wrong with the youth today …” he says to himself. The pair of girls were sitting at a table on the other side of the diner with middle aged man in an armored coat. “Hmph … must be one of their dads …

A few minutes later, just after the waitress brings him more coffee, he got an alert from the Bounty Hunters Network. He glanced at the alert to see the new bounty for him to track down and nearly spit out his coffee. Keeping his composure he reads over the bounty notice. He brushes his blonde hair mullet away from his face and settled the trinkets that adorned his chest. The description matches, right down to the cat ears. “Acorn? … well isn’t that cute …” he says as he reads over the post. Wuxing is paying a huge sum of nuyen for this little girl. He takes a few images with his commlink of the individuals with her and shoots out an email to the rest of his team to meet him at the diner for a pickup. He takes a peek into the Astral and is surprised to see that the other girl is a mage as well, but not as powerful as he is. He continues to eat his lunch and keeping an eye on his mark as he waits for his team to arrive.

Before the team could arrive, the feed on his commlink freezes and a message shows up. “You’re late on this bounty. If you want any tips, I’m sure I could teach you a thing or two.

What the frag?” He says to himself. Looking back over to the other table, the young mage threw a pretty powerful spell on the mark, knocking her unconcious. The man goes to bind her up. “Drek!” he says as he realizes that he is losing a pretty good payday.

HEY! That bitch is my bounty!” He screams at them. Now the entire diner is starting to know whats going on. He pulls out his Ares Predator, but once he gets it clear of the holster, it starts to spark and smoke. “Fraggin deckers …” he mumbles.

Out of nowhere, a table flings into him, knocking him prone. He could only watch as the trio left the diner, but just before they cleared, a large Raccoon beast spirit manifests on the table that is laying on top of him. He is pinned beneath the spirit and table. “Fraggin mages …” he mumbles, just as they leave the diner. He musters up a spell and easily send the spirit back to his plane and tosses the table off him. He rushes to the door and goes to fling it open, but its stuck. A quick peak in Astral reveals why. The bitch mage threw up a barrier to keep him in.

He catches a glimpse of the car as it speeds away and tries to get a few images with his commlink before he does. Before long the barrier drops and his team shows up. Sharpman passes the images he captured over to his decker for analysis. The decker on his team finds that the sensors in the diner have been looped. “Frag, this guys good” he says. “But I am better!” The decker brings up a fairly clear image of the man and young girl. “Just let me run this through my deck and I will find out who these fraggers are.

Excellent” the bounty hunter says to his friend. “That fragger is dead when I get my hands on him … he bricked my Predator …” he says as he lets out a howl.

Session 26 — Lets Play Cops! (part 3) …

Cast of Characters

  • Glynn as Detective Johnson AKA “Hardline”
  • Matt as Detective Shepard
  • Naomi as Detective Smith
  • Kopf as Detective Kravec
  • Josh as Detective Rivera
  • James as Detective Combs

In today’s episode of “Lets Play Cops”, the task force is fresh off a scene on MCT property and headed for a laundromat in Oakland, which was determined to be the scene of the murder. But what will be waiting for the team when they get there?

With a couple of uniformed squad cars parked outside of the laundromat, the task force arrives to start investigating. Both Astral and Matrix are devoid any indication or presence within the building. Drones were sent in and also no reports of anyone around. The team heads in and starts to scour through the abandoned building. Although it once was a laundromat, it is now an illegal gambling den. It appears that someone has ransacked the place and there were scorch marks everywhere. Hardline was able to find a cyberdeck that was buried in the rubble and found some quite useful information. There was a commlink video stored on it that showed the last moments of what had happened here. A woman walked in and started shooting gouts of flame from her fingertips.

Now that they have found the identity of the attacker within the warehouse, they sent out an APB for this person. They found, through facial recognition, that she was 40 year old Melonie Stanton that lived in Los Angeles, PCC. Notification was also sent to PCC as well and the team ends it for the night.

A full day passes without any word and the morning of the next day, they get the call on another body that was found. When they reported to the scene, they also got word on the blue Mercury Comet that was registered to Melonie Stanton. Uniforms currently have her pulled over and awaiting HTR to join. The team was picked up by an SFPD VTOL and flown to the location. As they approached the vehicle, the woman stepped out of the car and taken into custody without incident.

In the interrogation of the suspect, it was found that she had a brother that was killed by shadowrunners. She started interrogating and killing fixers to find out who ordered the hit on her brother and why. She was not able to find any further information. When pressing further, Combs sensed that the Astral presence attempted to cast a spell, which faile. It then separated into two separate entities and tore itself from the suspect, knocking her unconsciuos and barely clinging to life. The almost demonic form seemed to reach out and strike fear into Combs. He screamed in terror and fled the room. Hardline called for threat response with magical support, along with medics.

When the response team arrived, there was only the Astral signature of the entity left in Astral space. The suspect was tended to and will face charges for the serial killings.

So the Crossword Killer was caught! However, was her actions her own or this mysterious Astral entity that seemed to possess her? What havoc could this spirit wreak on the streets of San Francisco, now that its loose? We return now to the regularly scheduled programming, but may return with an all new season of “Lets Play … Something” soon!

Session 25 — Lets Play Cops! (part 2) …

Cast of Characters

  • Glynn as Detective Johnson AKA “Hardline”
  • Matt as Detective Shepard
  • Naomi as Detective Smith
  • Kopf as Detective Kravec
  • Josh as Detective Rivera
  • James as Detective Combs

In today’s episode of “Lets Play Cops”, the task force starts the day off with another body that was found. However, one thing is not like the other in this game and there seems to be another player involved.

Answering the call from Capt Rivers, the team assembles at the site of the most recent victim of the serial killer. However, from the start, something is off about this one. This victim was carved up with the words just as the others were, but the arrangement was off. A new word “PINCH” was also carved into the body and it was missing the weird hand-carved tattoo that the others had as well.

The team goes to investigate the scene and identified the victim as Baylee Rowe, a 28 year old chemist from Los Angeles, PCC. Detective Combs was able to determine that there was an argument that led to the strangulation of this victim. Forensic analysis shows that the killer was much taller than the other victims and the words were carved post mortem. The words on the other victims were carved prior to their deaths.

The team spotted a sketchy individual that was pacing around the perimeter of the scene. Combs sent a couple of uniforms to question the troll, but the shadowrunner had other plans. Hardline was watching his Matrix presence as his weapon systems and wired reflexes came online. He pulled out an Ares Alpha and opened fire on the two uniformed officers, along with innocent bystanders that were in front of him. He then turned the machine gun onto the detectives, Shepard and Kravec, as they were following the uniforms. Shepard is able to dodge out of the way, but Kravec took a full burst and went down.

Panic ensued … The bystanders that were around the scene fled for their lives and the other officers dove behind vehicles and other obstacles. Hardline and Combs fell in line and took cover behind one of the cars. The shadowrunner and the cops exchanged shots, but it was Smith, jumped into her Bumblebee drone that unleashed a full burst on him. It seemed as thought the runner almost opened himself up to the hail of bullets as nearly every round slammed into him. The stick n shock ammo left the assailant unconscious and twitching as the others secured the scene.

After interrogating the shadowrunner, it was found that his name was Caleb Rowe and he was listed as the spouse of the latest victim. However, the team did not believe that he was the Crossword Killer and only a copycat. It seems that he was having an affair with the reporter on the last few scenes and learned of the killer. He wanted to kill his wife and blame it on the serial killer.

The next day, there was another victim found. This time is was found on MCT property. When the team, an some uniform squads, went to the scene, they were met with MCT corporate security response and denied access to the scene. After a warrant was issued to gain access to the scene, MCT allowed the SFPD to investigate the crime, but with MCT investigators as well and limited access to anything else.

The investigation revealed that the victim was actually killed in a laundromat in Oakland that was named Smith and Eastern. Cursory checks show that the location is owned by Richard Smith, Ricky Smith and Smith Rick, which was this latest victim. The team plans on going to investigate the laundromat, now that they are done with this scene. However, Hardline is able to convince one of the MCT investigators to get access to the MCT grid. He hops into VR to try and get some camera footage, which MCT previously denied access to. Unfortunately, the white hat hacker was met with tough host security and he had to abandon the search before he could gain anything … and before the dreaded IC was launched.

So with an increasing bodycount, and now copycats, will the team be able to find the killer before there are more victims? What is the connection with the words that are carved on the bodies? How is the laundromat connected? Stay tuned for the next episode of “Lets Play Cops!” to find out.

Session 24 — Lets Play Cops! (part 1) …

Cast of Characters

  • Glynn as Detective Johnson AKA “Hardline”
  • Matt as Detective Shepard
  • Naomi as Detective Smith
  • Kopf as Detective Kravec
  • Josh as Detective Rivera
  • James as Detective Combs

In today’s episode of “Lets Play Cops”, we follow the San Francisco Police Department’s Task Force that is assigned to the brutal serial killer that is terrorizing the citizens of the Bay Area. Dubbed “The Crossword Killer”, the task force sets out under the leadership of Capt Frank Rivers. There are already 4 victims of that have been found bruised, beaten and strapped naked to area telephone poles. Each one with a strange, hand-carved symbol and words carved into their backs. The words were carved in the fashion of a crossword puzzle, one building on the other.

The task force was assembled in the conference room that is serving as the war room. An AR display shows the 4 victims and details on their cases. The team reviewed the various details and started to formulate theories on patterns. A quick search of the strange symbol revealed that it is an ancient Japanese symbol of POWER, but was not related to any gangs or organized crime syndicates. There also did not seem to be any theme or pattern determined with the words that were carved into each victim. The the 4th victim, which happened earlier that morning, Detective Combs, Johnson and Smith go to the crime scene while Kravec and Shepard head to the spouse of the first victim. The first victim was the only one that had a spouse.

During the investigation at the crime scene, Detective Johnson received permission to access the nearby traffic cameras and found when the body was dropped. All but one of the cameras only show the body rising out of nowhere and floating up to be strapped to the pole. The one camera was able to pierce the spell and shows the blurry image of a blue sedan. Detective Combs used his ability to see the history of items to see that the body was already dead when it was bound up. Then being put into a truck and floating to the pole. Peeking into the Astral realm, he was able to determine the Astral signature of the spellcaster. So based on this information, it was determined that the killer is Awakened and had multiple spells active.

The team met back up at the war room and more investigation into the previous victims were done. They noted on the board the time of death and the time they were strung up, based on camera feeds in each of the areas, and found that Victim 3 was killed and kept for a week before being strung up. This was far different than the other victims. Furthermore, they did some investigation of the victims vehicles and their last known locations. All were able to be determined with the exception of the first and last victims vehicles. They then decided to get a search warrant and investigate the residence of the last victim.

When they got to the one story ranch style house, they started to look around when Detective Johnson received an alert on his cyberdeck that he was under attack through the Matrix. He hopped in VR and easily handled the threat. Agent Smith’s bumblebee drone surveyed the outside of the house and using a variety of sensors, was able to find what looked like a cat on the counter. They team entered, per the terms of the search warrant, and found a dead cat on the counter. The drones went on high overwatch, but was not able to find anything suspicious. Further search of the house determined that the victim was last active there in the last 16ish hours and his GMC Phoenix was found in the garage. Detective Smith and the forensics team went into gather mode and the rest of the team called it a night. However, early the next morning they received a call that there was another victim found.

So after the first day of investigations, the detectives were able to make some headway in determining who the killer is. Now with another body and increasing terror in the city, will they find the killer in time to stop anymore murders? Stay tuned for the next episode of “Lets Play Cops!” to find out.

Session 23 — Escaping the Heart of Darkness …

Cast of Characters

  • Eternal
  • Walker
  • Acorn
  • Ace
  • Duchess
  • Sledge

After a second night’s rest in the woods, the team wakes up with confidence of the general area that the TerraFirst! group is likely making camp based on the pattern of attacks and the tracks Walker has been able to find at each site. As they debate their approach, Duchess decides to try something and throws a mana barrier around her before going into the astral.

Able to cover distance at the speed of thought, and well familiar with the corrupted mana at each of the attack sites, she’s quickly able to spot a few spots of corrupted mana, one that seems to line up with the Johnson’s research station and one closer to the team’s current location. The closer one is also the strongest background count seen yet, as she moves into investigate further, she spots a powerful toxic spirit coming towards and immediately races to her body in the mana barrier.

At the TerraFirst! camp, Melvin Cohen, a former PhD candidate at Berkeley, is alerted by his toxic abomination spirit of the intrusion. And he begins rousing the camp, yelling, “Interlopers come! They wish to stop our great transformation but nothing can stop our work! We will create a Terra that can be free of the poisonous megacorporations and treacherous governments.”

He orders all eight of his cell to lay an ambush on the direct approach from where the spirit saw Duchess retreat and then heads back into his tent to continue planning subsequent attacks while two spirits look over him and the camp.

Duchess readies two spirits, and Ace gets a serious headache failing to summon a spirit, and the team heads in the direction of the suspected camp. As they get close, the woods get very quiet and a couple of the runners hear some faint rustling ahead. Duchess orders one of the raccoon spirits to conceal the party, and without realizing it the team slips right by the ambush.

The team comes up on the campsite and as Eternal takes up a sniper position, Duchess’ manifested raccoon spirit suddenly begins screaming and thrashing next to her, as it is ambushed in the astral by one of the two abomination spirits in the form of a grotesque mockery of a wolf. The other manifests ahead of the team.

The raccoon spirits engage the astral abomination, and the team unleashes a volley of manabolts and the ineffectual swings of a sledgehammer on the manifested toxic spirit. The toxic shaman comes screaming out of his tent as the commotion, calling for his cell to come back while taking up a place in cover.

As Eternal plugs away with his rifle trying to take out the mage, the team continues to fight the spirits, with Duchess’ first raccoon spirit ultimately falling under the savaging. Duchess also feels the other raccoon spirit, still Astral, be ripped away from her as a horrible corrupting feeling comes across her mental link with the spirit. Soon after the other wolf abomination manifests, accompanied by a mutated and distended raccoon spirit, now corrupted by the toxic shaman.

Eternal is able to land a kill shot on the toxic shaman after flushing him out with a flashbang and then turn and blow a huge chunk out of the first wolf abomination mauling Sledge. Despite Walker’s rush to help, Duchess falls from the spirits attacking her but the team is able to ultimately put down the remaining spirits.

The team quickly moves into secure the camp, doing a quick search, before hearing signs that the rest of the cell is returning. The team quickly sets up an ambush position, and with a combination of a high ex courtesy of Eternal and a physical barrier to ricochet the blast around, a third of the returning group is wiped out instantly. Half of the remaining break and run, the other dropping prone, and those that remain are quickly taken out by the runners.

Between notes found at the site and a call with the Johnson, the team ultimately is able to put together that the researcher was doing work for Wuxing to test how various pollutants affect the mana of a natural area. Melvin was in the area planning some environmental protests against the logging operations but the increased toxicity in the astral opened the door for a toxic spirit to reach out to the frustrated environmentalist and corrupt him to a toxic path, which he was ultimately able to convince his group to fall in line with as they saw “results”.

Pay secured, along with the bonus of a jeep thanks to the team grilling the Johnson on what really went down, the team made their way back to the city. However shortly after crossing over the city line, the first vehicle with Duchess, Ace, Walker, and Acorn is pulled over. Eternal and Sledge drive on without incident.

The SFPD takes Walker and Ace in, although not under arrest, to speak with a Lt. Trish Rueben and allows Acorn and Duchess to go on their way.

~Calypso