The Fin – female human con artist and gambler from India, by way of Russia, posh and elegant
Killroy – male human street samurai, specializes in hand-to-hand combat (and, apparently, machineguns)
Seul-ki – androgynous human from Korea, a laconic expert with swords
Bookie – male elf alcoholic hacker, favors whiskey with a whiskey chaser
Ash – male human car shaman/rigger, speaks in the third person and follows The Spirit of The Road
Monday, March 30, 2076
Taking a page from the playbook of her Russian fixer contact, The Fin started frequenting Ferapont Tea, a tea shop in the Alki neighborhood of the Downtown District as a semi-public contact point. On this day, a dwarf in denim clothes that showed signs of long-term use approached her table. The Fin had noticed him in the tea shop earlier, clearly working up the nerve to approach her table.
“Um,” he started. “I’ve heard that I can hire discrete people through you. You know, for discrete actions.” He was quoting part of the low-key adds The Fin had posted on the Deep Matrix. The ads were paying off – the Pleiades Group was now extremely busy and the ads had only been running for the last 24 hours.
The Fin looked the dwarf over before replying. The dwarf looked to be in his 50s after a hard life. His clothing was in good shape but worn. Now that he was talking with her, he kept his eyes on hers and any faltering in his speech seemed to be from an unfamiliarity with the situation. “I am a point of contact for discrete people able to provide discrete services or perform discrete actions. Please, have a seat Mr. ….?”
The dwarf pulled over a chair sized for him while answering, “My name is…”. He stopped before answering. The Fin could easily read his face – he wanted to give a name, just not his real one in case this came back to bite him. Then he had an inspiration and finished with, “…my name is Johnson. Mr. Johnson.”
The Fin kept a pleasant expression on her face, but only her iron will kept her eyes from rolling. This dwarf had watched too many crime trids. “Tell me what you need, Mr. Johnson.” The dwarf preened, clearly pleased with his choice.
“There’s this mage named Ludovic Arceneaux. Vic’s a hermetic prick that thinks he’s above consequences and it’s time he learned differently. He works for Chaney Paragon Technology, a company specializing in magical enhancements, no questions asked. I represent some…concerned citizens…who want Vic to learn that his corp. can’t protect him.”
“We, er, they want a solid week of assassination attempts, two a day, that fail where the sunovabitch can see them fail and know that he didn’t die because it wasn’t time yet. From April 1st to April 8th, we want him to spend his time wondering when the next attempt will happen and will it be the final time. Blow up his car before he gets in it, put a bullet hole in a chair he’s about to sit in, whatever. Just he needs to know it was an honest attempt on his life that he couldn’t stop and failed on purpose.”
The Fin blinked once the dwarf got all of that out. This was a payback job from people who clearly had been ripped off by a corporate mage. The Fin could feel a fierce grin trying to slip out and only her Kinesics power kept it in check. This job sounded like it could be fun, but she didn’t want to scare away the amateur Johnson. “To clarify, you don’t care what form the attempts take, just that Mr. Arceneaux know that a serious attempt was made on his life and failed due to choice, not inability.”
“Exactly. Oh, and a picture of his face after each attempt, so we know he knew.”
The Fin paused to sip her tea before replying. “Yes, we can arrange for that to happen, including the photographic evidence. Let’s discuss price.”
After negotiating a 40,000¥ fee and waiting for the dwarf to leave the tea shop, The Fin leaned back in her chair and let her fierce grin out to play. The dwarf had nearly walked away when The Fin tried to boost the fee above 40,000¥. The Fin almost realized too late that 40,000¥ was literally all the dwarf’s neighbors had but talked the dwarf back to the table. Street vengeance for the victims of a charlatan corporate mage was too good to pass up, even if her professionalism wouldn’t allow her to leave a single nuyen on the negotiating table.
The Fin called Murdoc for a quick rundown on what kind of mage Ludovic Arceneaux was known to be. Murdoc had heard of him, but mostly self-aggrandizing things. The Fin thanked Murdoc for the information and hung up.
Thinking over who was currently available and subtle enough to perform this kind of job, The Fin texted Killroy, Seul-ki, and…Ash, telling them she had a job for them.
The Fin met with Killroy, Seul-ki, Ash, and Bookie (whom she had called in at the last minute) at the Pleiades Office in the Lower Queen Anne’s neighborhood. She explained the job and that Killroy, Seul-ki, and Ash were on for this job at 10,000¥ each. All three were aboard for some honest street justice [even shadowrunners want to be the good guy sometimes]. The Fin paid Bookie 5000¥ to “mess with Vic’s finances sometime during the job” but not until Killroy gave the OK. Bookie agreed and took the easy money.
Tuesday, March 31, 2076
Killroy, Seul-ki, and Ash meet to brainstorm ideas and set a rotating schedule for turns each day. The settled turn order is: Ash, then Seul-ki, then Killroy. They agreed to swap turns if anyone gets injured or needs time due to another job.
The three agree that they should delay attacks at Vic’s home as long as possible as doing so will help them keep track of where Vic is. Killroy offers to get a subdermal tracker for later in the job and Ash and Seul-ki agree it is a good idea.
They also had Bookie hack Vic’s commlink to gain access to Vic’s finances and look for useful information. Vic’s bank account showed that Vic tended to eat out for lunch, something the team could easily make use of. Bookie left a hidden backdoor into Vic’s commlink for later use.
Wednesday, April 1, 2076
Making use of the Grid Guide system’s anti-collision protocols, Ash used his magic to turn his Rover Model 2072 sedan invisible and parked it on the street in front of the Chaney Paragon Technology (CPT) offices shortly before the time Vic tended to go to lunch. After a short wait, Ash spotted Vic and two of his co-workers exit the building and start walking along the sidewalk to a nearby eatery. Ash was lucky and in place along the group’s path.
When the group was beside Ash’s invisible car, Ash rolled down the window, stuck his rifle, Boomstick, out the window, and called out, “Hey, Vic!” as loud as he could. Vic turned to see who was calling his name and saw the shotgun pointing directly at him. Before Vic could react, Ash triggered the gun camera, then tipped the barrel down and shot into the sidewalk, right between Vic’s feet. Ash used his RCC to direct his car to immediately pull away while he stashed the shotgun in its holder above the sun visor.
Vic and his co-workers were shaken and immediately ran back into the corporate office, calling for security.
Killroy and his heavily modified FM HAR, Vera, were atop a three-story building across the street in a camouflaged sniper’s nest, waiting for Vic to “drive” out of the CPT parking garage. Vic had a driver to look important and would be sitting in the back, making it easy for Killroy to see him. Bookie had supplied the make and model of Vic’s car and the plate number. Killroy had thought a BMW 400GT would have been unique enough, but nearly half of CPT seemed to drive the things, so Killroy spent time reading license plates through Vera’s scope.
At 5:13 Vic’s car finally emerged from the parking garage. Killroy’s first shot went through the back window and into the seat beside Vic, shattering a datapad resting there. This caused Vic to look around and notice the bullet hole in the back window. Vic immediately dove to the floor board and stated shouting at the driver. That location placed Vic perfectly for Killroy’s second shot, which was an APDS round right into the car’s driveshaft, centimeters from Vic’s stomach. This crippled the vehicle’s ability to move forward and the driver was just able to get the car around the corner and out of sight before it died.
Killroy checked his image link to verify he had a clear pic of Vic’s panicked face while he packed away Vera, removing the oversized suppressor. He had several shots, one of which was perfect. The picture showed that moment of sheer panic when the second shot pierced the back window, but before Vic realized he had not been hit.
Thursday, April 2, 2076
Killroy, Seul-ki, and Ash met at a local Banana Cabana to discuss the next attacks on Vic [seeing as all the Monkey Burger locations were destroyed – see St. Valentine’s Day Monkey Burger Massacre and BBQ]. Seul-ki’s plan was to burst through a window above Vic on his way to lunch. Killroy realized the falling glass would provide cover for tagging Vic with a subdermal tracker, which would help them track Vic’s whereabouts once Vic decided to rabbit. Ash stated that he had a plan for ambushing Vic on his way home, but needed to track down the right vehicle for it. Ash also stated he was placing an order for a spider drone for an idea he had in Vic’s apartment in a couple of days. The trio then discussed when they might want to start going after Vic at his home and decided Saturday would be a good day to start as Vic would likely be home on his days off.
Seul-ki found a second-story massage parlor with floor to ceiling glass windows [a converted dance studio] along Vic’s route back from lunch to the office. Seul-ki paid for the largest room facing the street and extra to have no masseuse at all. This not being the oddest request the receptionist had received, he handed Seul-ki the key without comment [and without calling Knight Errant, something he regretted later].
Once in the room, Seul-ki peered through the sheer curtains at the street. She had a clear view of the sidewalk and street directly below her. She contacted Killroy, concealed in an alley across the street, on her transceiver, telling him she was in place. The plan was for Killroy to act as a spotter, telling Seul-ki when Vic was directly under her. Seul-ki took a ready stance, envisioning slicing and kicking the windows, dropping all the safety glass on Vic and his bodyguards, and waited.
Vic and his four bodyguards made their way down the street from the restaurant. Vic looked more confident than on his walk to the restaurant. The four bodyguards looked professional, keeping people on the sidewalk away from Vic. This was clearly good for Vic’s ego.
Killroy reported to Seul-ki when Vic was steps away. Seul-ki quick-drew her swords and cut twin gashes in the floor to ceiling windows overlooking Vic and his bodyguards. She then kicked the window glass out over the sidewalk, causing the glass to fragment into thousands of “safe” shards and rain down on the group below. She followed the glass down.
The bodyguards heard the noise of the glass fragmenting and raised their arms to cover their faces. As the rain of safety glass fell on them, Killroy made his shot across the busy [and noisy] street, tagging Vic with a pistol-deployed sub-dermal tracker. With all the glass raining down on and around him, Vic never noticed the tracker being inserted.
Seul-ki could feel her cat totem’s approval for dropping on the prey from above and the desire to play with her “food” that went with it. Seul-ki kicked one of the four bodyguards on the way down, knocking him down before she landed herself. Not bothering to get up, the bodyguard drew his Ares Predator V heavy pistol and hit Seul-ki with a grazing shot. In return, Seul-ki sliced him with a fury of blows from her two swords, cutting deep gashes into him from head to toe. The other bodyguards noticed Seul-ki killing one of their companions and one called out, “Target!” All three remaining body guards each drew an Ares Predator V heavy pistol and started bringing them around to shoot Seul-ki.
This is what Killroy had been waiting for. With a grin on his face and his synaptic booster at maximum, Killroy shot the pistols out of the hands of the bodyguards with his modified Ares Crusader, getting off three shots before they could fire their first.
Realizing they were exposed, unarmed, and facing nearly equal odds, the remaining three bodyguards hoisted Vic and retreated into a nearby shop to at least get cover from the sniper. Seul-ki allowed them to escape, fighting back the urge to chase fleeing prey. Instead she sliced the head off the dead bodyguard and brandished it to the crowd holding up their commlinks to record the scene. “Ludovic Arceneaux!” she yelled out, “You’re next!”
Seul-ki then threw down the head and rapidly walked away, the crowd parting to let her. She ducked down a nearby alley and started running, tacking a convoluted path back to where she had stashed her motorcycle. By the time Seul-ki made it to her motorcycle, Doc Wagon caught up to her (tracking her biomonitor) and provided healing for her gunshot wound.
In the meantime, Killroy had left the area on foot via a different route. Due to the suppressor on his heavy pistol and the large amount of noise, no one on the street had noticed his participation in the fight. Still, no reason to wait around for Knight Errant to show up.
After an exhaustive afternoon giving his statement to Knight Errant and arguing with his boss about whether the death benefits for the bodyguard would come out of his budget, Vic finally slumped into the back seat of the car the company had placed at his disposal while his car was replaced.
Halfway home on the I-5, Vic noticed the two bodyguards in the car with him tense up. “What’s wrong,” he asked, using his Mage Voice, a cultivated speech pattern that people tended to obey.
“The garbage truck behind us just deployed its lifter arms and sped up,” Bodyguard 1 replied (Vic hadn’t seen in a point in learning their names). “I think it’s going to…” He was interrupted by a loud scraping sound and the car being shaken. Then there was a crumpling sound to both sides of the car. Bodyguard 2 tried to open the car door, even though they were moving at freeway speeds. The door unlocked, but he could not budge it. “…grab us,” Bodyguard 1 finished rather lamely.
Bodyguard 1 turned around in his seat and ordered Bodyguard 2 to shoot out the garbage truck's driver as the garbage truck’s lifter arms lifted the car up off the road surface. “Sir,” he said to Vic, “Please climb into the front passenger seat and put you belt on. That should be the safest place for you.”
Vic normally wouldn’t have followed a subordinate’s order, but in this case the meathead was right, so Vic started scrambling. Just as Vic was into the front seat, both bodyguards started firing through the back window, aiming into the driver’s cab of the garbage truck. Initially the highbeams on the truck made it difficult to see into the cab, but once the car had been lifted high enough, Bodyguard 1 called a cease fire – the cab was empty.
The truck was also steering itself to the closest off-ramp, so either Grid Guide was in control or the truck was being remotely controlled. The arms were also still lifting the car up and over the truck. The bodyguards had to scramble to brace themselves to keep from falling out the now shot out back window. Vic was strapped in and safe from falling out, so he was slightly calm…
…until the top of the garbage truck opened so the car could be dumped in!
“Get me out of here!” Vic shrieked. The bodyguards were looking for a way to escape when the lifter arms suddenly released their grip on the car and the car slid right into the back of the garbage truck, tail first. Where the compactor was.
The bodyguards tried to open the doors, but the crushed metal wouldn’t budge. One of them slid out the back window and across the truck of the car. “Sir! Come back this way! We can climb out over the roof before …” A loud noise came from the hydraulic press that made up the back of the Garbage truck as it started up. “…the rigger starts the compressor!”
Vic frantically pounded at the belt release mechanism, trying to get it to release while Bodyguard 1 or 2 tried to pull him out of the front seat regardless of the seat belt. With a “Ping!” the clasp released and Vic was man-handled out the back of the car to the floor of the compactor. Looking up, Vic could see the approaching compactor wall. Written on it in faintly glowing paint were the words “Coming for you, Vic”. Vic let out a terrified scream and passed out.
Back at the Pleiades Office, Ash finished displaying the recordings from the cameras hidden inside the garbage truck to Killroy and Seul-ki. “At this point I turned off the compactor and released the truck to Grid Guide, which had it flagged as a moving violation and steered it to a nearby Knight Errant patrol car.
“Hunh,” replied Killroy. “That was imaginative.”
[The attack happened off-screen as it was an NPC performing the action and I just provided a synopsis to the players. Killroy’s final response is exactly what his player said when I told them. That should have been a warning to me, but I missed it. This is the exact point where the one-upmanship started to kick in.]
Friday, April 3, 2076
Killroy decided to ambush Vic on his way to work as security was likely much tighter in and around the CPT offices. As there were several ways Vic could be driven to work, Killroy asked Seul-ki to help corral Vic. Seul-ki agreed to assist as Killroy had been possibly life-saving help the previous day.
When the tracker started moving, it indicated that Vic was taking city streets to work, avoiding the I-5. Killroy repositioned the GMC Bulldog he had commandeered for this attack and had Seul-ki go find out what vehicle Vic was being moved in. Seul-ki used her motorcycle’s maneuverability to easily intercept the tracker and discovered that Vic was being driven in a late-model Humvee. It would be fast enough to escape what Killroy had planned, so Seul-ki contacted Killroy and recommended she slice the vehicles tires to slow it down for Killroy’s attack. Killroy agreed and OK’d the attack once the Humvee was within three blocks of the ambush site. Seul-ki settled back and shadowed the Humvee on a parallel street, using the tracker to keep near.
As the Humvee crossed the three-block boundary, Seul-ki swept in on her motorcycle to the attack. The driver did not spot her until she made her first attack. Using her lesser sword, she came in on the drivers right blind spot and slashed at the right, rear tire. The tire was solid, so instead of deflating, Seul-ki instead cut a chunk off. The Humvee immediately started bucking slightly whenever the now flat side of the tire came down. Seul-ki compounded the problem by zooming forward and slicing off part of the front right tire. The Humvee was now heavily bucking, making control difficult.
The driver attempted to drive on the sidewalk to bypass some slow cars ahead (and maybe run down Seul-ki on her motorcycle), but timed it so poorly with the bucking caused by the tires that he nearly flipped the Humvee when he hit the curb [he glitched on his piloting check, but not critically]. When the Humvee slammed back down to the ground it demolished a public data terminal. The crowd walking on the sidewalk scattered to avoid getting run over.
At this point, the Humvee passed the side street where Killroy was waiting and Seul-ki peeled off to let Killroy take over. Killroy accelerated the GMC Bulldog around the corner and maneuvered to approach the Humvee from the left. As he pulled abreast of the Humvee, Killroy remote triggered the opening of the side door and deployment of the smart-linked gun platform holding his assault rifle, Vera. Killroy used his smart-link to aim and shoot Vera at the Humvee’s engine compartment with APDS rounds. The shots punctured the Humvee’s armor and damaged the engine, causing the Humvee to lose speed.
As Killroy overshot the Humvee, the driver saw Vera sticking out the side of the Bulldog and recognized her from news stories a couple months ago [see Monkey Business]. Caught mid-block and facing a known criminal with more firepower than he had, the driver decided it was time for a radical maneuver to make an escape. The driver made a hard turn to the right and drove into the side of a bodega, crashing through the exterior wall and deep inside the store. The driver pulled Vic from the Humvee and into the back of the bodega, looking for a fire exit.
Meanwhile, Killroy calmly kept driving down the street and triggered the withdrawal function on the gun platform, pulling Vera back into the vehicle and closing the side door. A couple of random turns and he was free and clear of the area.
[This event made local news.]
On Killroy’s request, Bookie tracked down and hacked into Vic’s commlink. He used Vic’s account to purchase a very expensive coffin and had it over-nighted to Vic’s apartment. Bookie then had a horseshoe floral arrangement (with the banner “Better Luck Next Time”) and a barbershop quartet singing telegram sent to Vic’s boss for delivery Monday morning, using Vic’s company expense account. Bookie wrapped this up by purchasing Vic a first-class, one-way ticket to Hiroshima, Japan, using the expense account, selecting several additional (and very expensive) options for the flight.
In preparation for attacking Vic on his way home from the office, Seul-ki scouted out the street in front of the office by disguising herself as an old Chinese woman and sitting at the bus stop in front of the office. CPT security was vigilant and noticed that the old lady at the bus stop never got on any of the buses that came by, so a couple of guards went out to investigate. Seul-ki stalled for a bit so she could text Ash to come pick her up. Ash [who was conveniently in the area] picked her up and drover her around the block. He then cast Detect Law Enforcement Badge and noticed three badges loitering in the area. He immediately drove another three blocks down and into an alley.
Seul-ki ditched her disguise and got out of the car. She then ran up the side of the six-story building, using window ledges to assist [and a combination of physical adept powers]. Seul-ki then ran along the rooftops, making her way back to the CPT offices. The final building was nine-stories tall with a roof top garden and separated from the 16-story CPT building by a 6-story parking garage. Seul-ki hid herself among the foliage and waited, periodically checking the tracker for Vic’s position.
The sub-dermal tracker in Vic indicated he was heading to the roof. Seul-ki looked around and spotted an Ares Venture VTOL approaching the roof of the building and realized Vic was leaving work by air. Judging the distances by eye, Seul-ki realized that, even as a physical adept, there was no way she could reach the roof of the smooth-sided CPT building. She contemplated using her swords as makeshift ledges by jamming them into the CPT building, but she would need a third sword just to make the roof and then would be out of weapons.
Seul-ki looked around and found a small, decorative, tool shed. Inside she found several well-use trowels. She tucked one into her sash and held two more, one in each hand. She then ran three stories DOWN the side of the building she was on to the roof of the CPT parking garage below her, leaping and rolling to her feet on the garage roof. This triggered alarms on the garage, which Seul-ki ignored as she sprinted across the garage roof to the side of the CPT office building.
Seul-ki leapt onto the side of the CPT building and started running UP the side of the building, aiming for the helipad on the roof, 10 stories away. Fourteen meters up the side her momentum petered out and she jammed one of the trowels into a niche of the building facing. With her Light Body power, this provided enough of a ledge for her land on before starting another sprint up the vertical surface. Another 14.5 m up the side she stuck in a second trowel to land on before drawing the third trowel from her sash and sprinting up again. The third sprint cleared another 15.5 meters of vertical distance before Seul-ki wedged in the third and final trowel. She then ran up the final 6 m to the roof, where the Ares Venture was just coming in to land at the helipad in the center of the building’s roof. Ten stories below, corporate security guards were just beginning to scramble onto the garage roof.
Across the roof from Seul-ki’s position was the enclosed waiting area for the helipad. The walls facing the helipad (and by extension Seul-ki) were floor to ceiling windows. Seul-ki saw Vic and his bodyguard in the waiting area, Vic watching the VTOL land, the bodyguard on his commlink. The bodyguard was clearly being warned by building security to the threat, but he seemed to be having trouble processing what he was being told, until he looked up and across the roof at Seul-ki.
The bodyguard’s training kicked in hand he stepped in front of Vic while drawing a Browning Ultra-Power heavy pistol. Seul-ki drew her lesser sword…and attacked the tail assembly of the landing VTOL. The Venture’s armor deflected the sword blade, but the pilot finally noticed Seul-ki. The pilot yawed the VTOL around it’s z-axis to get a clear look at this looney attacking his aircraft with a sword.
In response, Seul-ki threw her sword into the air intake of the front left thruster engine. The high-grade steel sword was chopped up, but not before thrashing the ceramic turbine blades in the engine and scattering shrapnel through the engine casing, damaging the engine significantly. Thick black smoke and flames started venting out the front left thruster, which rapidly lost power, destabilizing the still hovering aircraft. The pilot kept the VTOL from crashing and/or exploding, but the craft drifted into and through the facing glass wall of the waiting area before setting down partially in the waiting area.
Vic’s bodyguard was attempting to hustle Vic back down into the building while calling for security backup. Seul-ki ran into the waiting area to attack, but her cat totem demanded she play with her prey first. Rather than slicing the bodyguard with her sword, Seul-ki kicked him in the face. The bodyguard responded by shooting Seul-ki at point-blank range, seriously injuring her. Her totem now demanding blood, Seul-ki drew her ancestral sword and cut the bodyguard deep. The bodyguard’s next shot missed entirely, so he resumed hustling Vic away from Seul-ki. Seul-ki reclosed the gap and they attacked each other simultaneously, each dealing a wound that would shortly be mortal. The bodyguard decided Vic was not worth the death benefits the company would pay out and dropped his pistol, raising his hands to surrender.
Vic chose this point to start blustering and gesturing as if to cast a spell at Seul-ki. When no magics materialized, Seul-ki sneered at Vic. She stepped over to the bodyguard and beheaded him, allowing the bodyguard to regain the honor he lost by surrendering [from her perspective]. She then threw the head at Vic, who lost his composure and fled screaming back down into the building.
Seul-ki, bleeding heavily, stumbled back to the far edge of the roof to await either her death or Doc Wagon, whichever arrived first. She watched as the ruined waiting area was slowly consumed by the fire spreading from the downed VTOL, thick black smoke roiling into the fading sky.
Six minutes later, a Doc Wagon VTOL arrived and revived Seul-ki, partially healing her massive gunshot wounds with magic before taking her to the nearest registered hospital for further treatment. The CPT security and fire response personnel avoided looking in that direction while Seul-ki was there.
[Seul-ki made her second to last Death Save and avoided bleeding out before Doc Wagon arrived, but only just.]
End of Part 1
[As I started writing this up, I realized what size of a wall of text this would be if I posted it all at once, so I’m breaking it up into separate posts. I’m not certain how many parts there will be, but I suspect it will be three, maybe four. We’ll find out when I finish writing it up.]
[I ran out of time for a proper edit. I'll do some clean up and the links below this evening.]
The other jobs are:
ZAT SIN Codes
The Mendoza Hit
Ludovic’s Hell – Part 2
Ludovic’s Hell – Part 3
Ludovic’s Hell – Part 4
Ludovic’s Hell – Part 5 (not yet written)