Cast of Characters
- With Special Guest, Duchess
The team had wrapped up the prior night by stashing the other runner team’s loot in their bulldog and leave it a few blocks away to return to later. After I provided Duchess with Tatter’s commcode (she could have just used the team to reach him but why not get the full runner experience by reaching out to contacts to get other tasks done), she arranged an immediate meet with him to hack through the commlinks for any useful intel.
Tatters sat listening with a great deal of incredulity that first, a fifteen year old was on the mission and also the johnson, and secondly that the team managed to take down opposition without any fatalities. Somewhat dazed from what I hear, he left promising to get back with any intel he finds by the morning.
Before the team reconvenes in the morning, Tatters sends some relevant comm conversations between the other runners, along with a record of messages left for what looks to be the Johnson when they have a captive to deliver. After spending looking over the messages the team meets up at the club and decide to walk the eight blocks over to the supposed warehouse location.
Eternal breaks off from the group and effectively vanishes into an alley, watching the ruined warehouse from the ground level. The rest of the team finds a rooftop to watch from while Walker goes to astrally reconnoiter and Bowjack sends his flyspy.
Walker scours the warehouse astrally spotting what looks like a tunnel with rubble built up around the entrance protected by a mana barrier across the entrance. When the Flyspy catches up, Bowjack sends it as far as he can before his connection starts to become spotty and leaves the Flyspy watching the tunnel.
The team decides their surprising discretion in terms of weaponry may not be warranted this time, and Eternal leaves to get some heavier hardware while the rest of the team keeps up overwatch. During this time, the Flyspy catches what was certainly the Johnson. The dwarf makes an awkward climb up the tunnel past the Flyspy, but stops before leaving the tunnel itself and seems to check his commlink before returning down below. Without everyone there, the team decides to hold and stick to the plan of heading down in force.
I wouldn’t normally say Runners need to watch more trids, but I think if the team had seen a few Ares Firewatch propaganda trids, they would have just bailed and called in a tip. Instead, they head down the tunnel, which I certainly wish I could have seen. If Duchess wants to run the shadows, she better get used to the dirt. Most of the team ends up slipping on the loose dirt of the steep entrance.
While the rest of the team struggles to get their footing, Eternal continues on ahead, undeterred by his team falling behind. He kept his uncanny ability to remain utterly stealthy, while most of the rest of the team is falling, cursing, and throwing an occasional tantrum over a dress (Duchess is really going to have to learn about run appropriate attire).
As it is, Eternal reaches a chamber up ahead, and notices under at least one of the piles of rubble and dirt in the room is just the slightest movement. As he moves sword ready towards it, two man-sized ants rise out of the rubble and converge on him. Aside from a screaming Duchess, the team keeps its cool and springs into action despite most of them being in the tunnel still (in defense of Duchess: Insect Spirits on her first run, poor girl). Eternal is undeterred by the two converging on him and he and the team make short work of the ants.
While the team tries to take a moment to process what’s going on and how to move forward, they begin to hear the clamberings of a mass of creatures coming from two of the three tunnels leading on. Bringing the bigger hardware proves worthwhile as two grenades (and some tinnitus) later, only one tunnel remains leading into the chamber (and further down into the hive). They leave the third tunnel and set up an ambush as they hear a different kind of shuffling coming closer.
Rounding the corner into view are two horrible mixes of man and ant, hybrid spirits, which the team opens up on. When it’s done: four hybrids are dead, Sledge’s armor has taken some acidic damage, and Viking’s fist is covered in ichor from smashing through one’s head. Hearing silence now, the team heads down further into a bit of a maze of tunnels while Bowjack says he’ll watch their backs from the room with his drones that have curiously not fired a shot yet.
As the team makes their way down, eventually come across the Shaman’s lodge, finding two of the victims in the process of being inhabited. They seem to be writhing in agony in their cocoons against the wall. Walker intuits that they need to disrupt the hive and recognizes that placements of high sugar foods & syrup seems to be marking the boundaries of the lodge. Everyone sets about disrupting the lodge.
The best part of this was Duchess was exploding with excitement to tell me that she summoned a spirit so strong that the whole ground shook throughout the hive. I didn’t really have the heart to tell her that a minor earthquake happened to hit the bay area while they were down there…
Anyway, after freeing two captives, the team starts to make their retreat and head back up. And they ultimately make their escape, although they never tracked down the Shaman responsible for this. Conveniently enough, I know someone in a good position to capitalize on this info.
After that, Duchess paid the team and treated them to a nice dinner. I helped her out with some gifts she wanted to present the team. She gave Walker a wolf pup in thanks for rushing to protect her from the drone the night prior. And for Eternal, a cache of high ex grenades, to replace the ones he left behind in the Shaman’s lodge and through the hive to collapse the tunnels.
At this point, I would be thinking that Aspen is either getting out of touch or was exaggerating his claims that this team was chaotic. Some outliers but otherwise it’s been a professional and competent team. And then I heard what happened next. It seems as though this team is pretty good while they’re on the job, but once they get to their own devices, well, things get a little more extreme.