Thursday, September 21, 2017

Novel Update

So a quick update because I haven't updated often enough.

I've heard back from the Atlas Games and they said I could publish my novel as fanfic with no problem, but they wanted a publication proposal if I was planning to publish for sales so they could work out a licensing deal.  That is not inconsequential.

So I've been putting together the proposal, which forced me to start getting much more specific about my publication plans.  I plan on sending my proposal in on Monday (September 25th) and then we'll see what they say.

In the meantime, this has lifted a huge writer's block off me and I'm pushing forward on the story.  Funny how having permission from the IP owners frees up those creative juices, isn't it?

That's it for now.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


First, let me say that I was very fortunate in that Harvey was mostly a big rain storm that just wouldn't stop.  Houston is occasionally prone to events I call "The Week That It Rained," which are different than actual tropical cyclones.  These are heavy and long lasting rain events where, it rains for a week or more, usually flooding some part of the Houston or another.  For me, Harvey felt like one of those events - it rained a lot and was overcast for a week, but except for two small power outages (one for 30 minutes and one for 2 hours), I wasn't particularly in danger, nor was my property.  The area I live in only received 21 inches (53.3 cm), or about half a year of rain, over the four days Harvey threatened.

Not everyone was that lucky.

One of my friends lives in the (upside) vicinity of the Addicks Reservoir and faced mandatory evacuation Tuesday.  He's now in Austin at his brother-in-laws place with his wife and two kids.  My in-laws' neighborhood became an island, with all roads in flooded at some point.  This happened to several other friends as well, whose homes became islands as the streets flooded in their neighborhoods.  For some this was expected as it is how their neighborhood deals with heavy rains.  For others, this was the first time it ever happened.  Rainfall levels ranged from 30-50 inches (76-127 cm) over the four days of the storm, depending on where in the Houston area they live [I can't find the official map right now].

At this moment, no one I know personally had water in their home, but that may change as some were evacuated and haven't been back to check yet.  I attribute this statistical anomaly to the fact that most of my friends are long term Houston residents and researched what potential flood plain their home might be on before buying.  Most of us are on the 500+ year flood plain, which is as high as regulations require designating.  I suspect that might change in the next couple of years.

You might have seen pictures online showing flooded freeways with Downtown in the background [I can't find the image I've seen now and it's late enough I have to pack it in for work tomorrow].  One of my routes to work goes through that area.  It is clear now and I'm going in to the office tomorrow for the first time since Harvey approached the coast last Friday.  The biggest flooding was on the south-southwest-west sides of town and those parts of those areas will have water for up to two weeks or so as the rivers slowly empty.  Most of the bayous are already way down, with the notable exception of Buffalo Bayou, which is being fed by the release of waters from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs [to avoid complete failure of their retaining walls].

That's it for this week.  I hope to have something more game related for next week.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On the Edge CCG Game Day

This past weekend I held a On the Edge CCG game day at my place.  I supplied all the cards, folks just had to show up ready to learn a new game.  After various scheduling twists and turns I ended up with four people attending (including myself).

The first round was played using pre-built decks.  The decks were:

  • Mad Science! : a deck based on the Gladstein conspiracy supported by a Dog Face contingent, because all mad science should have monkeys involved (in this case, Attack Baboons).  The deck has plenty of Fringe gear and conditions to boost characters.
  • Hermetic Aries : a deck using the Hermetic magic-based conspiracy boosted by Aries gang muscle, because Hermetics have pull but are pretty weak by themselves.
  • Big Government : a deck pulling from the C&I, the DBI, and the CPC.  Pretty strong, but requires an additional Resource or two to get its characters out.
  • Beginners Deck : a deck based on the example deck in the OTE User’s Guide.  The base deck is weak and unable to win, so I tweaked it a bit – it is still the weakest of the four pre-built decks.  This is the deck I used in the teaching round.

The advantage of teaching with themed decks is that they work immediately (barring a bad shuffle).  They show the benefits of having characters and resources that support each other in play and reduce the number of duplicate characters, avoiding the need to discard characters due to uniqueness, which would be frustrating to new players.  I should also note that these decks were all ~40 cards each.

The first game ended with the Big Government deck winning after a slow start.  In hindsight, the slow start may have helped.  By the time the Big Government player was finally able to get characters in play, the other three players had beat each other’s’ conspiracies down.  This left the Big Government conspiracy in a position of strength, able to smackdown or resist the other conspiracies’ attacks.  It was a good game and everyone had fun, even though it ran long.

Once that game finished, I passed out decks and boosters from the Burger Box starter set.  This gave everyone a Standard starter deck, 2 Standard boosters, and 2 boosters each from the Arcana, Cut-Ups, and Shadows expansions.  This gave everyone a pool of 140 cards to build a deck with.  We did not trade between players before the first game, each player building their deck as a solo exercise.  As a result, all four of us had the Aries gang in our deck (they are common cards).  This produced some frustration for all of us during the second game, especially for those of us who were unable to get them in play quickly enough.

After the second game (first one with the self-built decks), we all re-tooled our decks to fix their deficiencies.  One player doubled down on the Aries gang.  Two of us jettisoned the Aries gang entirely and replaced them with different factions, borrowing cards from other players to make it happen.  I added in the Kergillian faction [aliens conspiring to take over the world with implants, ala Triffids] and the other player chose the Throckmorton faction as she had both the Throckmorton Device and Angela Reyes [a conspiracy based on sub-quantum interference in reality from the future by the Device making sure it is made so it can give control of the world to Clyde Throckmorton, currently a humble bug exterminator].  I’ve played using the Kergillians before, but I’ve never seen anyone field the Throckmortons before, so I was interested in seeing how that worked out.  The fourth player dropped the Hermetics from his deck and focused more on non-Hermetic Astral cards as he had few cards that supported the Hermetics specifically.  I should note he was playing with a 60-card deck to the 40-card decks the rest of us were using – it seemed to be no more or less effective than our decks.

The third game was quicker and ended once I was finally able to get my Kergillians in play, especially Fabrissa Melors, whose Surprise ability coupled with a Hostility Channeler allowed me to efficiently pop the heavy hitters and blockers the other players were fielding, exposing their pullers to easy attack.  My late start also meant that the other conspiracies were running on fumes after battering each other early.  I’m beginning to think that not doing anything but bringing out Resources for the first 4-5 turns may be a winning strategy in a 4-player game.

After a dinner break and a few more tweaks to the decks, we played a fourth game.  We were pretty even in Influence and felt we had time until the Throckmorton player brought out Angela Reyes and flipped her to bring out the Throckmorton Device in one turn.  The Throckmorton Device is a Resource that can generate Pull for Influence (victory points).  None of us had anything in our decks to go after resources, so all she had to do each turn was crank the Device for an Influence and wait until the inevitable happened.  Suddenly the table was on a count-down!  We thrashed and flailed, but, long-story-short, we were only able to stop each other from winning before she did.  After that game was over, anti-Resource cards were quietly slipped into the rest of our decks “for next time”.

After the fourth game, we started cleaning up and talking about what folks thought of the game.  Everyone enjoyed playing and we scheduled a repeat in October [I don’t want to have them too often to avoid burnout].  We also noticed that certain cards always showed up in our hands.  The Throckmorton player always seemed to draw Atavism: Ninja early from her deck and Rain of Walrus seemed to always be in my starting hand [I used it in games 2 and 4 to great effect].

I really liked the limited resource environment.  Players had to field what they could, not necessarily what they wanted.  At later events, my shoe boxes of cards will be available to pull from, so certain cards will likely disappear from play because there are better choices and that will be a little sad.  On the other hand, I’m able to play a CCG I really like again for the first time in over 20 years, so I have that going for me.  😊

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Personal Update

Two items of news:

  1. Have not heard back from Atlas Games on getting permission to write in their IP since the initial inquiry.  I'm hoping sending my draft as a writing sample was not a mistake.  I was up front that it was a draft and not a polished piece of work, but I still have a niggling worry about it.
  2. I was in the hospital for arrhythmia three days last week.
That second item is what I'm writing about here.

Tuesday night at 2:30 AM (so really early Wednesday morning) I awoke from a dream with my heart racing and occasionally pounding in my chest.  My wife was just coming to bed and I was wide awake, so I got up and sat on the living room couch, hoping my body would calm down and I could go back to sleep.  I dozed a bit, but at 5:00, my wife came out and asked if I was OK.

I really didn't know.

We talked a bit and tried a few things that are supposed to help fix an irregular heart beat and they didn't work.  At 6:30, we decided to get me to an urgent care facility.

[Note: not all urgent care facilities are open 24 hours a day.  Some only open at 9:00 AM, like the closest one to our house.  They are all over the place where I live, so I checked online with my phone for the next closest one that was affiliated with a hospital and went there.]

I checked in to the urgent care facility and they hooked me up to get readings from my heart.  I couldn't see the readouts, but the doctor and the nurses put on faces that outwardly said "You should keep calm as we can fix this," but inwardly said, "Holy Shit this looks serious."  Based on what they saw, my atria were "spazzing out" and firing randomly while my ventricles worked overtime to keep my blood circulating.

They started me on an IV drip and a bit later added another medicine, trying to get my heart back to a sinus rhythm [the "lub-dub" everyone is familiar with] and slow it down.  They also wheeled in a defibrillator and put two large patches on me, one over my heart and one under it on my back, "just in case".  As the saying goes, "Prepare for the worst, hope for the best."

Because of where the defibrillator sat at the foot of my bed/chair/seat thing, I could see my pulse rate readings.  They varied anywhere between 98 and 174, rapidly switching and hitting random numbers in between.  Occasionally, I'd get a solid thump or two in my chest.  I sent some texts to my family to let them know something was up.  My mom called back and we talked, but the nurses asked me to stop talking on the phone as it was negatively impacting my blood pressure and heart rate.

The ER doctor told me that. as I had not responded immediately to the IV drip, they were going to transfer me to the hospital.  Some short time later [I really have no idea how long], they arrived and hooked up a different set of electrodes to me [their equipment was not compatible to the urgent care facility's], asked me the standard set of questions [Any pain? Any shortness of breath? Any allergies? Any alcohol use? Any smoking? - all "no" by the way], and helped me switch over to their trolley.  [That's not the right word, but is how it felt.  I'm 6-foot tall and had to concentrate to keep my flip-flops from falling off.]

The ambulance ride wasn't special but beat walking - the guys did a good job keeping it low key.  I'm glad it was early morning as the A/C was not the strongest and the guy riding in back with me said the interior got way to hot in the afternoons.  When we got to the hospital, they wheeled me up to one room, but not my room.  My room number had been changed while they were coming to pick me up, so their paperwork was dated.  While one of the guys sorted it out with the nurses, the other guy printed out the current reading of my EKG as they rarely got to see someone in that stage - usually it was later when things went critical.  I'm was fine with being an educational experience and did not really think about the unstated part of what he said.

As an aside, I had no chest pain and was breathing fine.  Mostly, the situation was distracting.  My concentration was pretty short-term as every 10-20 seconds my heart would make a big thump or what felt like a gurgle, which is VERY distracting.

They sorted out my correct room number and took me up to the 7th floor, where I had a corner room.  They attached ANOTHER set of contact to me for their machine, which was a small pack that wirelessly transmitted the data to the monitoring station.  So with five contacts per monitoring device, I had 15 of the contact points stuck to me at this point.  They did take the defibrillator patches off, which was a good sign.

Once I was settled in, texts went out to friends and family and I started having visitors.  The docs upped my dosage of the IV drip and gave me shots of another drug through my IV connections.  [Yes, plural, as they stuck me on the back of both hands.  Did I mention I have a thing about needles?  I totally do.]  Most of Wednesday was chatting with friends and family while waiting for my heart to get its act together.  If it didn't, they'd have to a procedure to shock my heart into sinus rhythm.  I'd be unconscious as it would be very painful.  It was scheduled for 1:00 PM on Thursday.

Around 10:00 PM, the last person finally left (my mom) and I got some sleep.  When the nurses came in at 11:30 PM to take my blood pressure again [done every 4 hours], they told me my heart had slipped back into sinus rhythm.  Now they had to get my blood pressure down.  That took another two days before the medicines brought it down far enough the doctor would discharge me.

So after dinner on Friday, I got to leave and come home.  I'm on four medicines and need to make follow-up appointments with my primary doctor and the attending cardiologist.  I'll participate in a sleep study, as sleep apnea can trigger this and my diet now radically reduces the amount of sodium I can have.

Saturday morning it finally hit me how close I came to dying.  Writing this on Sunday is still hard.  I've had to pause several times to de-stress while writing this.  In fact, I'm stopping here for now.  I'll do an edit later - I just needed to get this written so I can think about other things.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Nervous Part of Writing in Someone Else's IP

I've been working on a series of short stories recently.  More correctly, I've resumed writing on a series of short stories.  I wrote the first short story and half the second in 2009 as part of NaNoWriMo that year and set it aside when I got to a point where I didn't know where the plot went next.  It was a good writing experiment, starting with the characters and a setting and seeing where things went as I wrote, but around 32,000 words I lost plot focus and never came back to it.  In the intervening time, I wrote a full sci-fi novel [which needs a revision so it is a story and not a sequence of events] and I started writing this blog, which kept the writing juices flowing.

A friend of mine [who was also a reader on my sci-fi novel] reads a lot of material online that is sold through Amazon Prime Reading.  Last month, he asked when I was going to finish my novel as it was as good if not better than what he was reading there, even without revisions.  That was going to take some time [plus the source files died in a hard drive crash, so I'd have to rebuild it from a PDF], so I showed him the first chapter of my 2009 short story.  He liked it and had to share it with his wife who was curious what had him laughing so much.  Now he's clamoring for chapter 2, so I'm working on that because a series of short stories feels less daunting than a re-write of a full novel.

The tricksey part is that the short stories are set in someone else's IP [not Shadowrun, because I know someone will wonder].  Today I used their online system to ask "Hey, I'd like to do this cool thing that is set in your IP, how can I get this to happen without receiving a Cease and Desist or stripping out the cool background?"  Now I have to wait to see if they respond and if they respond with anything more than "No."  I'm hoping they'll at least ask to see a writing sample as I think I can make a case from that.  The writing is good, but some spots need to be tightened up/built out to smooth some plot points out.  We'll see.  In the mean time, I'm nervous.

The Shadowrun game is still running.  One of the players asked to take a crack at running and put together the current run.  She's piling on a ton of complications and we're pretty sure the Johnson lied to us about a few important things, but we are still a "Go!" for the mission.  I'm not certain how I'm going to write it up as there has been tons of planning, which is boring, but this is one of the toughest nuts we've had to crack.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Session Report – Woodchipper – Job Six: Ludovic’s Hell, Part 5

[This job happened March 21st, May 2nd, May 9th, May 23rd, June 6th, June 20th, June 27th, July 18th, July 25th, August 8th, and August 22nd.  This part covers events related to this run during (in-game) April 7th and 8th (and two weeks beyond), 2076.  This is the final part of this run and the end of the Woodchipper arc.]

PCs Involved
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

Tuesday, 7 April 2076
4:00 PM
Bookie, looking to use some of Vic’s expense account to cover a side project, used the backdoor he put into Vic’s commlink to access it.  He discovered that all of the attached corporate accounts were shut down.  Checking around on the commlink, Bookie realized it was active and so opened the feed so he could listen in.  He immediately started recording the conversation.

Vic was in the middle of an argument with his boss and a HR representative of Chaney Paragon Technology [Vic’s employer].  Vic is in the process of being fired due to misappropriation of funds [all the unexplained charges on his expense account, made by Bookie] and apparently prepping to be extracted to a company in Japan [the one-way ticket to Hiroshima and the funeral wreath sent to Vic’s boss saying “Sorry for your loss”, both also purchased by Bookie in Vic’s name].  The HR rep also brought up that, for someone supposedly being hunted by shadowrunners, he seems suspiciously alive after a dozen “attempts” on his life.  Vic really had no coherent response for any of the accusations other than “It’s not my fault” and “I’m not doing this”.  The conversation ended with Vic being fired and and the HR person advising him to not return to the office – the forms and his personal belongings would be mailed to him.

Laughing to himself, Bookie sent a copy of the conversation to Ash, Killroy, and Seul-ki.  He then opened a new bottle of whiskey and, after a celebratory drink or two, got back to what he’d been doing.

Wednesday, 8 April 2076
5:00 AM
Starting early, Seul-ki used the tracking device to locate Vic.  She was expecting him to either be in Bellevue or back at his apartment in Downtown.  Either area would have an elevated security presence, so she wanted time to plan her pass at Vic.  Instead of either of those places, she located him in the Sea Tac airport.

Seul-ki contacted Bookie and asked him to look through the security cameras and locate Vic.  If Bookie could determine why Vic was there, even better.  Bookie sleazed into the Sea-Tac security host, taking care to stay in the lower security portions of the host to delay being spotted.  He made use of the camera system’s facial recognition software to locate Vic in the JAL VIP Lounge, along with two bodyguards.  Vic was also obviously drunk.  Cross-referencing Vic’s SIN with the ticketing system for JAL, Bookie discovered that Vic had moved the date on the one-way ticket to Hiroshima forward one day and appeared ready to fly out this morning.  Bookie related this information back to Seul-ki and quietly jacked out.  Running hosts made him sweat.  And thirsty.  And, hey, here’s a bottle of good whiskey that isn’t entirely empty!

Seul-ki accessed the public information about the flight Vic would take in approximately three hours and then called Ash.  This was going to require some assistance to pull off.

7:55 AM
Ash pulled the delivery truck he was remotely driving to the side of the road to wait [physically, Ash was just under five kilometers to the northeast, just inside Tacoma and adjacent to the 518].  The road in question was a block from the perimeter fence to Sea-Tac.  The delivery truck had a padded “bumper” welded to the back of it, the kind used to avoid damaging a loading dock.  An experienced delivery man would have commented on how low the padding went and then shrugged it off as amateurs.

Inside the delivery truck, Seul-ki was attaching banner mounts to the rear frame of a high-speed motorcycle the two had stolen an hour ago.  Seul-ki would initially hold the long banner pole like a lance once she deployed from the truck, but would insert it into the banner mounts once on Sea-Tac property.  An additional package was stored in one of the motorcycle’s saddle bags.  Bookie monitored Vic’s movements inside the airport and the status of the JAL flight Vic was taking.  Finally, Sin had been called in and navigated a FlySpy drone through the airport and into Vic’s vicinity.  [That last would have taken a while to play out, so I just allowed it at the cost of an Edge.  Sin has the skills but it would have killed too much game time for a run his player was only incidentally involved in.]

8:00 AM
Bookie announced over the commlinks that Vic was in motion, heading to the gate for his flight.

8:10 AM
Bookie confirmed Vic was on the flight.  He also reported that Vic’s two bodyguards left him at the gate once he started boarding.

8:30 AM
Bookie announced that the plane was finally backing away from the gate.

8:35 AM
Bookie announced that the plane was taxiing to the end of the runway and was 4th in line to take off.

8:43 AM
Bookie announced that the plane was next to take off.  This launched Ash into action, if not motion.  He gunned the delivery truck’s engine and drove at the Sea-Tac perimeter at high speed.  Once close, he warned Seul-ki to hang on and whipped the truck around into a sliding reversal of direction [bootlegger reverse for players of Car Wars], using the left over momentum to bring the back of the truck right up to the concrete wall surrounding Sea-Tac.  He then backed up the truck until the “bumpers” contacted with the wall, the pressure triggers inside them detonating the over-sized breaching charges also concealed within the “bumpers”.

The breaching charges did their job and blasted a hole through the concrete security wall.  Ash triggered the auto-retract on the delivery trucks back door, exposing Seul-ki on the motorcycle to the newly blasted entrance to the Sea-Tac grounds.  Seul-ki started the motorcycle, revved its engine to the red line, and jumped it out of the truck, through the breach, and across the grounds towards the runway.  Once Ash was certain Seul-ki was out of the truck, he auto-closed the back door and set Grid Guide to drive the truck to Fort Lewis.  He then jumped out and let it go.

Back on the Sea-Tac grounds, Seul-ki stuck the banner pole in the banner mounts and sped towards the JAL flight Vic was on.  The pilot on that flight, alerted by the tower, throttled forward, and started take-off.  In the distance, security vehicles scrambled onto the tarmac by the same alarms, vectored towards Seul-ki, who was now driving the motorcycle parallel to the accelerating jumbo jet.

Inside the jet, Sin had placed his drone in a spot to observe Vic on the plane [Edge was spent to make it happen].  Some of the passengers in the cabin noticed the person on the motorcycle riding next to the plane and started talking about it.  Vic ignored them until Seul-ki unfurled the banner.  Painted on the banner in big block letters was the message:


When someone on the plane asked, “Who’s Vic?” Vic sat bolt upright and looked around.  He pushed another passenger out of the way to see out the window, just in time to see Seul-ki pull a 10 pound kettleball out of the saddlebag and fling it up and over her shoulder…

…and directly into the Number 4 engine intake!

Several things happened at once: 

  • Vic screamed in a high-pitched voice, “They found me!”;
  • Seul-ki peeled away from the jet before it sucked in the banner (and her along with it); and
  • The 10 pound kettleball pounded through the jet engine, shattering the turbine and killing the engine, which spat out blade fragments, smoke, and flames.

The jet was already past the go/no go point and starting to lift off, so the pilot pushed the remaining engines past their capacities for a little extra lift to avoid crashing immediately back to the ground and threw the control stick to the side to lean on engines 1 and 2.  Inside the passenger cabin people were screaming and trying to stay in their seats in the steeply tilting aircraft, none screaming louder or more hysterically than Vic.  Sin captured it on through his FlySpy.

Seul-ki had reversed course, driving the stolen motorcycle as fast as she could, aiming at the breach in the wall.  Behind her, every security vehicle the Metroplex Guard had available pursued her.  Outside the grounds, every Lone Star patrol vehicle in the area was scrambling to get to the west side of the airport to box “the terrorist” in.  [Due to this being an airport, no aerial drones were aloft per Federal Law.]

Seul-ki hit a convenient drainage ditch just right and caught enough air to pass through the breach in the wall [Edge was spent to make the roll and Seul-ki’s player rolled very well].  Seul-ki then called The Fin, asking for immediate passage out of the UCAS and back to Korea, no questions asked and leaving within the next 30 minutes.  When The Fin asked why, Seul-ki replied, “No questions!  Just get it paid for soonest and don’t check the news until it’s done!”  With a sinking feeling, The Fin made quick calls while Seul-ki dodged and avoided the closing Lone Star and Knight Errant patrol cars and drones, slowly heading north towards the docks.  [This is where the last of Seul-ki's Edge was spent.]

Meanwhile, the JAL jumbo jet was heading north-northwest and losing altitude, trailing smoke and flaming engine parts.  The pilot called a priority emergency landing on state highway 509.  Grid Guide [part of the emergency response network] immediately cleared the 509 of all automated traffic.  Those few vehicles being manually driven quickly noticed they were the only vehicles on the rapidly emptying road and followed suit.

As the jet approached the ground, the pilot struggled to level the craft some to avoid dragging the port wing and crashing into any of the buildings or tumbling the plane.  With a heroic effort [the GM used Edge for the NPC and rolled well in front of the players], the pilot was able to slam the plane down on its landing gear near the center of the highway and reversed its engines.  The wings immediately started clipping light poles and signage, either knocking them down or losing parts of the wings in the process, streaming jet fuel behind the craft.

After one overpass inspired hop, the plane came to a stop.  The pilot activated all emergency escape devices and ordered the passengers off the plane immediately.  Wisely, he did not mention the highly likely chance the plane was about to erupt into a huge fireball, preventing further panic and slowing escape even further.  [Sin flew his FlySpy out during the chaos.]  By a miracle, all the passengers were off the plane [and mostly under some cover] when the fuel finally ignited and exploded the plane.  The explosion was spectacular and caught on camera by every local news drone and VTOL in the city.

Before that footage was seen by the majority of the city, The Fin secured passage for Seul-ki out of the country on a cargo ship out in Puget Sound.  The Fin directed Seul-ki to a spot where Sin’s submarine was waiting.  Seul-ki ran the motorcycle into Elliot Bay and swam over to the waiting submarine.  Once she was inside and the sub was sealed up, Sin carefully drove it to the waiting cargo vessel.  On the side of the ship away from the city, Sin surfaced the submarine and Seul-ki hailed for permission to come aboard.  She ran up the side of the ship, rather than wait for them to throw down a line or a ladder.  Three weeks later she disembarked in Korea.

[Note: per the game system, water blocks a lot of signal (creates noise ratings at 1 per centimeter of salt water), so the submarine has an antennae up along the periscope.  Therefore, as long as the antennae tip is above the surface, a rigger can jump into the sub and control it through their RCC.  Sin was doing this.]

At the same time Seul-ki was throwing the kettleball into the jet engine, Ash was rapidly driving his car across Renton on the 169, heading for the border crossing.  He crossed into the Salish-Sidhe minutes before the border was sealed and kept driving away from the Metroplex, a column of black smoke rising in his rearview mirror.  At the next rest stop, he switched over to his Lakota ID and dry-swallowed a dose of Long Haul.  He then kept driving east, following the Spirit of the Road.

Thursday, 9 April 2076
1:00 PM
The Fin was in a back corner of the mostly empty Ferapont Tea in the Alki neighborhood of Downtown, waiting for the dwarf calling himself “Mr. Johnson” to arrive.  The Fin had left the message for the end-of-job contact yesterday afternoon, while the media blitz over the attack on the JAL flight was just getting started.  She had a small wager with herself that the dwarf wouldn’t show, but at 1:00 PM exactly he stepped into the teashop.

He walked directly over to The Fin’s table, attempting to hide the shakes in his knees.  “He knows the airplane crash is a result of what he paid for,” she thought to herself.  “Good.”  When he got to the table, before he could speak, she politely said to him, “Good afternoon, Mr. Johnson.  Thank you for meeting with me.  Please, have a seat.  Would you like some tea?”

“Uh, no.  No thank you,” he replied as he sat down.  “You indicated the work was done,” he asked hesitantly.

“Yes,” The Fin answered cool and politely.  She slid a disposable viewer across the table to the dwarf.  “If you would activate the file on this viewer, you will see the requested proof of completeness.”

The dwarf took the viewer and activated the file, cradling the viewer to himself so only he could see the display.  As the fearful images of Vic’s face started displaying, the dwarf’s face betrayed some satisfaction at Vic’s obvious fear.  As the images continued to scroll past and Vic’s fear deepened turned to terror, the dwarf’s face shifted to an expression of horrified fascination.  When the final images flashed and disappeared, the dwarf covered his mouth with one hand and quietly set the viewer down, his face a mixture of shame and fear at what he had caused.

“Are you satisfied we have completed the job to your satisfaction,” The Fin asked the dwarf with a gentle but firm voice.  The dwarf was clearly a civilian and had not realized what he had unleashed.  In his defense, The Fin had not realized how badly this job was going to spin out of control either and was scheduled to leave Seattle herself within two hours due to the amount of heat the final act of this job had generated.  The dwarf responded to her by nodding and sliding two silver credsticks across the table to her.

After verifying the contents of the credsticks and putting them away, The Fin spoke again.  “Mr. Johnson,” she asked in the same gentle but firm voice.  He looked at her, the fear and shame still in his eyes.  “A bit of free advice: if you ever consider hiring someone from the shadows again, be careful what you ask for and be more specific in what you want.”  The dwarf nodded, slowly at first and then more emphatically.  “I also recommend a strong drink in your near future.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other places to be.”  She then got up and left the dwarf sitting alone at the table.


Starting immediately after the plane crash and continuing over the next several days of intense news coverage, the corporations involved quickly started playing the Blame Game.  JAL blamed Sea-Tac for the incident and filed law suits against the airport management company and the Metroplex.  Sea-Tac claimed it was not their fault as the Metroplex guard allowed a terrorist to get onto the tarmac and attack the plane.  The Metroplex Guard claimed that exterior security was Lone Star’s responsibility and they were to blame for allowing the terrorists access to the exterior wall.  When the target of the attack was identified, Chaney Paragon Technologies was blamed by four corporations for not warning anyone he was the target of terrorists.

Chaney Paragon announced that Ludovic Areceneaux’s employment with them had been terminated the day before the attack on recommendation from Knight Errant, who advised them that the attacks were fake and merely a ploy to cover an illegal attempt to break contract and change employers.  Their PR flak also provided a complete list of events involving Vic, including recordings of Knight Errant representatives downplaying the seriousness of the events.  The media, smelling blood, quickly dug up videos of the listed events, spelling out the link between several recently infamous events.  When the witness statement from the street attack involving a custom assault rifle surfaced, the media tied these attacks to the attacks on the now-defunct Monkey Burger franchises earlier in the year.  JAL, Sea-Tac, the Metroplex Guard, Lone Star, and Chaney Paragon all filed large law suits against Knight Errant for allowing a cell of terrorists to run rampant in the city, questioning their competence.  As more information came to light, there were public calls to cancel Knight Errant’s security contract with the Metroplex.

To counteract all of this seriously damaging press, Knight Errant stripped every spare officer from cities across North America and shipped them to Seattle, massively upping the manpower available in the Metroplex.  Knight Errant then cancelled all leave in the Metroplex and started a massive crackdown on all crime in the city.  Any and every lead was followed, looking for the terrorists.  Anyone even vaguely suspected of criminal activity was arrested and hauled in.

For the next two weeks it was impossible to perform any shadowrunning in the Metroplex without Knight Errant piling all over it and arresting everyone.  The usual bribes were no good as Knight Errant was more concerned with saving its reputation rather than doing any kind of business.  The jails filled up and the court system became clogged to near immobility.  This period became known as The Heat, and every criminal and shadowrunner knew a friend or contact pinched by Knight Errant during this period.

Gradually, the extra Knight Errant personnel were returned to their home posts as crime rates everywhere else rose during The Heat.  The corporate lawsuits were gradually settled in the Corporate Court, with Knight Errant found responsible for three-quarters of the total damages and compensations from the plane attack and Lone Star and the UCAS (as the ultimate backers of the Metroplex Guard) splitting the remaining quarter between them.  Chaney Paragon was excused from paying reparations, but would have to eat the costs from all other events relating to the attacks on Ludovic Areceneaux.  Chaney Paragon considered the corporation to have gotten off lightly.


Knight Errant was never able to locate the “terrorists” who attacked Sea-Tac as those worthies were long gone and laying low far away from Seattle.

End of Run

[That wraps up the Woodchipper arc of runs.  The goal of Woodchipper was to throw as much work at The Fin as I could until she had to start turning jobs down or shuttling work to other fixers.  I got very close to this, but it made it difficult for me as the GM to keep track of things and I started missing meetings that were supposed to happen, and I could not ding the players for missing meetings I forgot about.]

[Additionally, this kind of overlapping series of runs made it difficult to stop so the other GM could take over, so I somewhat arbitrarily cut off the flow of jobs, so it will probably be the last time I run something like this.  Another run like Everybody Needs Somebody [], however is very likely.]

[It will be another two weeks before I post another blog entry due to my birthday and events surrounding that cutting into my writing time.  It will most likely be Monkey Burger 3, the next major run after Woodchipper.  Until then, Later!]

[Links will follow, out of time tonight.]

Friday, May 26, 2017

Session Report – Woodchipper – Job Six: Ludovic’s Hell, Part 4

[This job happened March 21st, May 2nd, May 9th, May 23rd, June 6th, June 20th, June 27th, July 18th, July 25th, August 8th, and August 22nd.  This part covers events related to this run during (in-game) April 7th, 2076.]

[I cheated during this part.  See the after notes.]

PCs Involved
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

Tuesday, April 7, 2076
Killroy spent some time tracking down Vic’s current hiding place, finally locating him on an estate in Bellevue.  Killroy spent another hour scouting the area, trying to avoid drawing the attention of Knight Errant or any of the private security working the area.  Killroy determined that this would be a standard sniper shot but for two things: an armored atmospheric dome covering the entire estate, protecting the grounds from acid rain, and a landscaped 12-m tall berm across the back of the 2-acre lot, blocking all line of sight to the back of the estate.

Stumped, Killroy went back to Downtown and conference-called Ash and Seul-ki to discuss options.  Eventually Bookie was added to the conversation and asked to provide a floorplan of the estate from the Metroplex Records Department.  Bookie traded paydata with his data contact Rick to get the plans and the trio poured over them.

The mansion had a plush saferoom on the second floor in the east wing of the building surrounded by bedrooms with armored walls.  The good news was that most of the back walls were bullet-resistant glass and it was possible to line up a shot through a doorway to target the saferoom walls directly – assuming one could hover seven meters off the ground in the backyard while ground security shot at you.

After some brainstorming, the most viable plan was to high-jack a Knight Errant VTOL gunship, fly it over to the estate, and use its firepower to blow through the dome and then the interior walls of the mansion.  [Yes, THAT was the most plausible and viable plan.]

1:25 PM
Bookie hacked into the flight computers of the three VTOLs Knight Errant had prepped for flight at the Kelsey Creek Rapid Response Station.  In two of them, he placed data bombs set to go off when the pilots attempted to access the flight systems.  In the third one, he copied the remote access codes and passwords and sent them to Ash and Killroy.  Ash entered the access code and password into his RCC and activated a connection with the VTOL.  The signal noise wasn’t too bad and Ash jumped into the VTOL.  He then started running an abbreviated activation and lift-off procedure.

Knight Errant Flight Control immediately noticed the unscheduled activity and dispatched a spider to regain control of the VTOL.  This is what Bookie had been waiting for and Bookie ambushed the spider, bricking the spiders deck and forcing  dump-shock on the spider.  This gave Ash the time he needed to rev the VTOL’s engines and take off, heading towards the estate Vic was hiding in.  The on-duty pilots for the other two VTOLs scrambled into their units, jacked in, and activated the flight systems, triggering the large data bombs Bookie had planted.  Unprepared for this, the pilots were knocked out by the Matrix blasts and dumped back into reality.

Unknown to Ash, a second spider was sent to reclaim the pirated VTOL.  Bookie and this spider got into a tagging contest in the Matrix.  Fairly evenly matched, they fought to land a tag on each other and to remove any tags the other landed before it could be exploited.  This took longer than either expected.  Finally, the spider bet heavy on landing a single tag on Bookie and stuck it.  Bookie tried to land enough tags to gain control over the spider’s deck and just barely failed [he was totally out of Edge by this point].  The spider hit Bookie with a Data Spike that bricked Bookie’s Excalibur and abruptly dumped Bookie from the Matrix.  The dump-shock left Bookie unconscious with some blood leaking from his nose, completely unable to warn Ash and Killroy.

Meanwhile, Ash brought the VTOL screaming into proximity with Killroy and hovering behind the target estate.  With the proper access code and password, Killroy used his smart-link to remotely access the VTOL’s weaponry.  [Due to range limitations, Killroy was parked nearby.  With the greater range available to a RCC, Ash was parked half a kilometer away, midway between the estate and the Kelsey Creek Rapid Response Station.]  Killroy switched the machine gun from the gel rounds hopper to the APDS rounds hopper and started blasting a hole in the atmospheric dome covering the estate.  Six seconds later and they were in.  [The dome had a high armor value but low body to represent they needed to be relatively light while providing protection from the weather and random bird strikes.]

Ash swung the VTOL around so Killroy could rake the windows that made up the back wall of the mansion with the machine gun.  The windows were tougher than the dome [easier to support the weight], so Ash placed the VTOL into the optimal place to shoot at the safe room and Killroy started drilling into the mansion with the machine gun.

After another nine seconds, Killroy could see into the safe room through the breach the APDS ammunition had blasted, neatly dividing the safe room area in half with the hail of bullets.  Not wanting to accidentally kill Vic, Killroy took the time to switch back to the gel round hopper for the machine gun.  During this brief pause in fire, a bodyguard hauled Vic from the closed side of the safe room to the side with the door, clearly looking to escape.

Killroy directed Ash to drift left so he could get another shot at Vic through the hallway the safe room door eventually led to.  Ash started to comply when he noticed the internal communications equipment in the VTOL suddenly activate on its own.  A Knight Errant spider had tracked down the stolen VTOL and was checking to see if anyone was in it.  Ash immediately flipped the VTOL on its back, killed the engine, and jumped out of it [to avoid dumpshock].  The VTOL, barely eight meters off the ground, crashed hard into an outdoor grill, releasing gas from the grill and fuel from the VTOL.  A random spark a few seconds later [due to the spider attempting to reactivate the unit to locate it] ignited the mixture with a theatrical fireball and explosion.  The resulting fire started rapidly filling the atmospheric shell with black, acrid smoke.

Killroy quickly drove away from the immediate vicinity, taking time to avoid being tailed.  Ash, much further away from the now smoke-filled dome, was able to be more casual about leaving, taking the time to stop for some fast food to share with Killroy back at the office.


[And this is the first point where I cheated - I hand-waved my characters pass at Vic.  See below for why.]

End of Part 4

[My character, Ash, was supposed to do the next pass on Vic, but in the Real World it was August and my severance package from getting laid off at the end of February was finished paying out and I hadn’t landed a new job yet, despite seriously looking since May.  Unemployment was paying half of what I’d been making and we were looking at needing to sell the house in a couple of months while we still had control and could get a good price for it.  So, yeah, I was feeling depression and I hand-waved Ash’s pass because I really couldn’t think creatively at this point.]

[Luckily for me, in mid-August I received an awesome job offer, working for a company I wanted to work for and for a salary I wanted.  I ended up only being on Unemployment for one month and with some reorganizing of the bills by the very capable Mrs. Bugbears for Breakfast, we made it through August alive.  Barely, but alive.]

The other jobs in this run are:

Aquamatics Schematics
The Mendoza Hit
Yak Money
MoM Defense
Ludovic’s Hell - Part 1
Ludovic’s Hell - Part 2
Ludovic’s Hell - Part 3

Ludovic’s Hell - Part 5

Friday, May 12, 2017

Session Report – Woodchipper – Job Six: Ludovic’s Hell, Part 3

[This job happened March 21st, May 2nd, May 9th, May 23rd, June 6th, June 20th, June 27th, July 18th, July 25th, August 8th, and August 22nd.  This part covers events related to this run on (in-game) April 6th, 2076.]

[As I sat down to write this, I discovered that between April 5th and 6th, only three attempts were made on Vic, not the required four attempts, two each day.  Killroy should have done a second attack on Sunday the 5th.  All things considered, the Johnson wasn’t likely to complain that one of the 14 attacks did not happen – what if he made the Pleiades Group angry at him?  Safer to just pay them and hope to never cross paths with them ever again – those people are crazy dangerous.]

PCs Involved
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

Sunday, April 5, 2076
EDIT: While Seul-ki and Ash were wrapping Vic up in duct tape, they also tagged him with a number of subdermal tracking devices.  They knew Knight Errant would probably scan Vic again, so some were active but others were inactive with timers and placed in a variety of places in Vic’s body.  Places Vic might not want surgically opened for extraction of the tracker.  [I forgot to add this point in my write-up, but it was important for the rest of the run.]

Monday, April 6, 2076
4:05 AM
Vic woke up with a dry mouth, a side-effect of the sedatives he’d taken to get to sleep last night.  He got up and ambled mostly nude into the bathroom to get a drink.  “Funny.  I thought I wore my pajamas to bed,” he thought to himself.  “I must have kicked them off in my sleep.”  He flipped on the light so he could see and squinted at himself in the mirror.  His breath caught in his chest and his eyes opened widely despite the painful amount of light.  He stumbled backwards and fell, letting out a mad wail that bubbled up from the depths of his being.

His body and face were covered in threatening graffiti and dick-drawings, drawn on his flesh with ink!


Two blocks away in his car, Ash came to from running the crawler drone he’d hidden in Vic’s luggage while helping Seul-ki at the safe house [see Part 2].  Once Chaney Paragon Technology security had retrieved Vic from Knight Errant and moved Vic to this corporate safe house, Ash had waited until the all lights went off and activated the drone.

Ash picked this model of drone for its concealability and stealth options.  Once free of Vic’s luggage, it carried the Sharpie marker with it up onto the bed and started drawing on Vic.  Ash had started with drawing on Vic’s face and then methodically covered Vic’s body, spreading the artwork out as he could.  Luckily Vic was taking sleeping pills to sleep and never woke up, even when the drone had to tug on Vic’s pajamas to uncover more area to draw on.  Once Ash felt he was done, he had the crawler drone climb up into a vent in the bathroom and position itself so it could see the mirror over the sink.  Then he waited for Vic to wake up.  After catching video of Vic’s face as he saw the drawings, Ash backed the drone around a bend in the ventilation and parked it there.

The best part was that the drone was carried into the heavily warded apartment inside Vic’s luggage, so Ash didn’t have to breach the wards to pull this off.  Humming a classic Elvis ditty to himself, Ash calmly drove his Rover away from the area, trying to think of a way to top this.

6:35 PM
Seul-ki was sitting in Arashi Ramen eating a bowl of Ramen while observing the Canal Station Condos across the street through a video unit set up across the street behind her.  The restaurant was closed for business so she’d made the ramen herself with things in the kitchen, but it allowed her to observe the unassuming corporate condo Vic was currently stashed in without being seen herself.  Plus, if the ramen shop owners had really meant to keep shadowrunners out, they’d have gotten better locks.

Earlier in the day, Seul-ki had tried a different mix of makeups as a disguise and they had reacted badly with each other, leaving her makeup the color of Tang.  Initially displeased with the effect, she had come to terms with it and decided it was just as good of a disguise as what she had intended to do.  If anyone asked about it, she would tell them this was the desired effect.  Cat was strong with her this night.

The tracker placed Vic in a different third-floor condo from the one Ash had found them in.  Bookie had tracked ownership through a series of shell corporations back to Chaney Paragon Technology, which meant they were still unhappy with Knight Errant’s treatment of Vic the previous day and were still using their own corporate security to protect him.  Good.

Seul-ki’s plan was to sneak into the condo, pin a sheet of parchment with threats on it to the master bedroom door using an ornate dagger, and sneak back out without anyone in the condo the wiser.  The video camera provided a good view of the living room now that the south side of the building was in shadow and the interior lights were on.  The security guards watching the televised urban brawl game would remember to close the heavy curtains soon and block all view into the condo and Seul-ki planned on being gone before then.

After finishing her meal and placing the dishes she’d dirtied in the sink (it would have been very disrespectful to leave a mess), Seul-ki exited the through the kitchen door and relocked it.  She walked around back and crossed Russell Avenue to the sidewalk space under the balcony for the Chaney Paragon Technology condo.  No one was on the small side street and most of the security was in the entrance to the sunken parking lot and on the doors in the adjacent utility entrance for the building.  Between the two secure areas was a gap in the camera coverage just large enough for Seul-ki’s needs.  Standing a few feet back from the wall, Seul-ki leapt up and ran up the side of the wall to the third floor landing.  Seul-ki grabbed a bit of architectural decoration and hung in place, listening to see if she’d been noticed.  She could hear the two security guards cheering one of the Seattle Screamers players and other background noises, but no alarm.  Then she heard a commercial break start on the television and one of the guards getting up to refill drinks.  Perfect.

Once the guard was in the kitchen area, Seul-ki silently swung herself onto the balcony.  Using a tool, she lifted the blocking bar on the sliding door and picked the lock.  She slid the door back just far enough to let herself in.  Seul-ki paused to determine if the guard on the couch had noticed the door opening, but he was on his commlink, apparently checking game stats.  Seul-ki decided to leave the door open to save time leaving [this turned out to be a very good idea] and snuck along behind the couch to the bedroom door.

Just as she was drawing the dagger she was going to pin the note to the door with, the second guard stuck his head out of the kitchen to ask the first guard a question and spotted Seul-ki.  His “What the fuck!?” warned the first guard something was up and a three-way brawl erupted in the living room!

Seul-ki was able to avoid their initial attacks, but it was a near thing as they were very competent.  Having no quarrel with the security guards and starting to get boxed in, Seul-ki slammed the dagger into the bedroom doorframe, yelling aloud, “Vic!  This one’s for you!”  She then ran along the wall over and past the guards and dove through the partially opened sliding glass door.  Once on the balcony [and with initiative again], Seul-ki leapt over the bannister and down to the ground, her light body adept power to avoid taking any damage from the fall.  She then sprinted back across Russell Avenue and around the corner to 20th Avenue.  Literally leaping across 20th to where her motorcycle was parked, she hopped onto it and sped away, completely out of sight from the condo balcony.

Once out of the immediate vicinity, she checked the recorded feed from the camera.  It recorded the entire encounter with the guards and then guards entering the master bedroom.  When they came out with Vic, Vic finally saw the dagger in the door frame and clearly lost his shit.  Satisfied she met the job requirements for this attack, she signaled the camera to stop streaming video and shut down.  This caused the camera and mount to retract into a protective and camouflaged case below the lip of the roof, greatly reducing the odds Knight Errant would find it.

End of Part 3

[So that’s the end of Part 3.  Part 4 will cover the two attempts on April 7th and maybe the final two on the 8th, maybe not.  Depends on how many pages the write up is for the 7th.  I already suffer a bad case of Wall o’ Text and I’d like to keep that under control.]

[Another note in regards to something Vlad Malkav asked in the comments a couple days ago.  One of the reasons the Pleiades Group has a low Public Awareness as a group and as individuals is that they plan their runs to end before any kind of law enforcement or corporate security can respond.  The group spends a good deal of time planning our runs with an emphasis on not being seen until we are on the way out, if then.  Seriously.  For complicated runs we’ll spend 2-3 sessions planning it out and hammering on the plan to look for gaps before our characters will start the run.  Sometimes things go pear-shaped anyways and we have to take measures (see Cleanup on Aisle Sin and the end of Valkyrie Ride for examples), but that’s just life as a shadowrunner.]

The other jobs are:

Aquamatics Schematics
The Mendoza Hit
Yak Money
MoM Defense
Ludovic’s Hell – Part 1
Ludovic’s Hell – Part 2

Ludovic’s Hell – Part 4
Ludovic's Hell – Part 5

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Monster Slaying as Therapy

Mrs. Bugbears for Breakfast and I need some time to de-stress as this week has piled it on and it's only Thursday.  We are slaying monsters in Torchlight II tonight as it is very stress relieving and something we both enjoy playing together.  I do have part of the next installment of Ludovic's Hell written (the morning attempt for 6 April 2076), but not enough to make a full blog entry, even a "normal" one.  Therefore, no post today - my apologies for the delay.  I will write the rest of Part 3 tomorrow night and either post late tomorrow (Friday) or set it to auto-post Saturday morning.

Tangentially, there are two more days of attempts after 6 April and they include some of the more elaborate attempts, so I think each day will be a separate installment, just to avoid a wall of text large enough to give Pink Floyd pause (ask your parents if you don't get the reference).

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Session Report – Woodchipper – Job Six: Ludovic’s Hell, Part 2

[This job happened March 21st, May 2nd, May 9th, May 23rd, June 6th, June 20th, June 27th, July 18th, July 25th, August 8th, and August 22nd.  Things started small at first and fit in among the other jobs, but as things got more…elaborate, scenes started taking up whole adventure sessions.  As a result, I split this run into three four(?) blog posts.  This part covers events related to this run from (in-game) April 4th and April 5th, 2076.]

PCs Involved
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

Saturday, April 4, 2076
8:00 AM
Killroy received a call from Ash, who was responsible for the Saturday morning attack on Vic.  Ash reported that Vic was no longer staying at his condo, he was now housed at the Knight Errant Training Facility in Renton.  Ash added he could detect many, many badges in the area with his magic…and just by looking around.  Killroy told Ash to hold off doing anything for the moment until Killroy could find an angle.  Ash easily agreed to NOT walk into a police training camp to commit a felony.

Killroy contacted Michelle West, a black-market information broker he occasionally used, looking for a bent Knight Errant officer at the training academy who would be on duty today.  It turned out that Michelle knew an officer who was bent enough to let Killroy onto the facility grounds, as long as Killroy looked like someone who belonged there.  The officer was scheduled to work the x-ray machine at the delivery entrance this afternoon.  Killroy could work with that – the Pleiades Group had a selection of delivery uniforms for just such a reason.  After transferring nuyen for the data, Michelle provided Killroy with the password that would get him safely around the security checkpoint (“jabberwocky”).

Killroy contacted Ash and explained his “in” as a delivery driver.  Ash thought it over and said he would have a package of his own for Killroy to deliver by 4:00 PM.  They arranged a meet at that time so Ash could hand over his package to Killroy.

Killroy, responsible for the other attempt on Vic that day, had an idea what he wanted to do, but needed help pulling it off.  He contacted Bookie and asked Bookie to build a shock boobytrap for a door handle.  After discussing specifics, Bookie agreed he could do so and quickly assembled one from spare electronics parts laying around his apartment.  Finishing early, he decided to go hack the Knight Errant Training Facilities host to gain access to a camera watching the door to Vic’s room.  During this run, Bookie learned that Vic always had a rotating set of two minders with him.  The minders opened doors for him and scoped out rooms for threats before Vic entered them, but after watching them for a while, Bookie could tell the KE people thought this effort was pointless, making them a little sloppy.  He shared this information with Killroy when Killroy stopped by to pick up the boobytrap.

4:00 PM
Killroy and Ash met in the parking lot for Renton Mall, just on the border between Downtown and Renton.  Ash handed over a shoe box-sized package wrapped in many layers of tissue paper, telling Killroy that the spider drone Ash had ordered had arrived and was inside with a water reservoir.  Ash asked that the package be hidden in the rooms assigned to Vic, preferably in the bedroom Vic would be sleeping in.  Killroy took the package and said he would do his best.

5:00 PM
Dressed in a Federated Packages delivery uniform, Killroy arrived at the delivery entrance for the Seattle Division Headquarters and Training Grounds of Knight Errant Security, current holders of the Seattle Metroplex police contract.  There were two Knight Errant officers at the security checkpoint.  Killroy set his packages down to sign in [using a pseudonym] and one of the officers picked up the packages to look them over.  Killroy dropped the password Michelle had provided into the conversation.  The officer barely missed a beat in the conversation, but otherwise did not react to the password.  When Killroy was finished signing in, the officer handed the packages back to Killroy and loudly announced, “These are good,” to the other officer.  He then walked Killroy and the packages around the scanning machines to the other side.  In parting, he said, “You stay safe while you’re here.”  Killroy agreed to do so and walked onto the security campus carrying two unscanned packages and a clipboard.

[The guard had a secret bank account that he was paid through.  Killroy would pay Michelle back the bribe money later, assuming things went smoothly.  Penalty fees for making trouble on site were steep, including body-jacking and hanging offenders out for Knight Errant to collect.  Sometimes both.]

Using an AR map of the facilities supplied by Bookie, Killroy made his way to Vic’s room.  At the same time, Ash was monitoring the tracker in Vic and reported to Killroy that Vic appeared to be at the campus cafeteria eating dinner.  Bookie followed Killroy’s progress through Knight Errant’s own security cameras.  By the time Killroy reached Vic’s room, Bookie had the surveillance camera there looped so Killroy could pick the lock without alerting anyone.

The room itself was a two-room affair, similar to a hotel suite.  After verifying no one else was in the room, Killroy entered the bedroom and spotted an air conditioning vent.  He pulled the cover from the vent and slid the tissue paper package into it – the package was just small enough to fit while allowing some airflow around it.  After replacing the cover to the air vent, Killroy opened the second package and pulled out Bookie’s shocker trap.

The device was essentially a large capacitor set to discharge all at once.  It was designed to hang on the doorknob with two electrodes lightly resting on either side of the doorknob.  Killroy wrapped conducting tape around the doorknob and then covered up the two resting places for the electrodes with insulating tape.  He opened the door and hung the device on the inside doorknob and activated it, the two electrodes resting on the insulating tape.  When the door was next opened the knob would rotate so the conducting tape encountered electrodes, completing the circuit and triggering the device to discharge through the doorknob and into whoever was holding it on the other side.  The total charge was enough to knock out an orc, but not enough to kill a human.  Probably.

With the door propped open, Killroy quickly wiped down everything he had touched and then left the room.  After carefully closing the door, Killroy planted a mini-camera under the security camera surveilling the door.  This camera would broadcast encrypted video to the Matrix, where it would be routed to the Pleiades Group for recording and later viewing.  Killroy then walked out of the facility, brandishing nothing more than an electronic clipboard.

6:24 PM
The mini camera broadcast Vic and his two minders returning to the room after a long dinner.  The minder in the lead put the key into the lock and turned the handle, triggering the shocker trap.  The electric discharge jolted him, knocking him unconscious and damaging some of his cybernetics.  Vic, expecting to be completely safe in the Division Headquarters of Knight Errant, freaked out and ran away as fast as he could.  The remaining minder called in the emergency and chased after Vic.

Over the next two hours, Knight Errant investigated the door and the device and searched Vic’s rooms.  The knocked-out minder was revived fairly quickly, but taken away by medical personnel “to run some additional tests.”  The device was removed and taken away and the doorknob replaced while Knight Errant personnel made a cursory search of the rooms.  [This part is assumed as there were no cameras inside the rooms to actually see this, but note that the drone package in the air vent was not located/removed.]  Eventually Vic was led back to the room.  He appeared slightly dazed and it is possible a mild sedative had been applied to him.

Sunday, April 5, 2076
2:00 AM
The mini camera broadcast the hallway lights flashing off and on and alarms going off.  Knight Errant personnel ran to the door and [after a short debate on who would actually turn the door knob] opened the door to the room and entered.  These events indicated a panic button was triggered inside the room.  A couple of Knight Errant personnel exited the room and started carefully searching the hallway.  One of them found the mini camera and disabled it.

[Note: The final events above are a retcon on my part.  This is what should have happened, but I was not running at top capacity at this point and slightly dropped the ball as a GM.  I originally had the KE people escorting Vic away and joking at his expense.  In hindsight, they would have taken a second infiltration of their headquarters a lot more seriously and start looking for security breaches.  The next paragraph actually happened during game.]

2:28 AM
Killroy’s commlink rang – it was Ash calling.  Ash reported that he was able to activate the spider drone, exit the vent, wet the tissue paper threats with it, and place them on Vic’s face until Vic woke up from suffocating.  Vic triggered a panic button, but Ash got the necessary picture first and rode the drone through the air vents to the roof.  Ash had to hide the drone in some of the air conditioning machinery as the entire Knight Errant campus was on alert and lit up. His question was whether to leave the drone there or try and escape.  Killroy thought a moment and said, “Leave it there.  Maybe we can use it later.”

7:27 AM
Seul-ki checked in on Vic’s location before planning her attempt on him and discovered that the tracking device no longer registered.  Believing that Vic was still under Knight Errant protection, she contacted Bookie and asked him to crack Knight Errant’s system and locate Vic.  Bookie, still awake from the previous evening’s activities and somewhat hammered, agreed.  Fearless and daring, Bookie sleazed his way all the way into the Knight Errant system like he owned the place. [I rolled abysmally for the KE system ICE and he rolled great.]  Bookie found the Protective Custody file and took a copy before jacking out.

The Protective Custody file was heavily encrypted, but Bookie cracked it in under an hour [he used Edge and rolled crazy well, halving the time needed multiple time with the over-successes].  Inside was a complete set of data for all 24 subjects under active protective custody in the Seattle Metroplex, including the location of their safe house, the number of KE personnel guarding them, and any special precautions and passwords associated with gaining access to the subjects.  Bookie copied out Vic’s file and sent it to Seul-ki.  He then stashed the rest of the data to give him time to sober up before looking for buyers.

Seul-ki [having received the file from Bookie] checked the location of the safe house out.  She found that the building is a small apartment building in the center of a block, accessed through an alley.  It was surrounded by other apartment buildings with similar appearances that block all view of the central building from the street.  If you did not know it was there, you would never locate it or even notice it.  The file indicated there were three teams of two Knight Errant personnel guarding Vic with cameras covering all the useful entrances.  Additionally, several patrol cars were linked to the alarms on the safe house.  This was going to take more resources.

9:52 AM
Seul-ki, Ash, and Killroy met at the Pleiades Group office to talk the situation over.  They eventually settled on a plan using NeuroStun to knock out everyone and then duct tape Vic to a table with a confetti bomb disguised as a real bomb taped to his chest.  They will also hide a crawler drone with a Sharpie pen in the safe house to emerge later and draw threats directly on Vic’s face.  [This part of the plan wasn’t very well thought out.  Clearly KE would move a subject after the safe house was compromised, but it was the best they could come up with on the spot and time was ticking away.]

11:29 AM
Seul-Ki and Ash arrive in the area of the safe house to do the job in Ash’s modified Rover Model 2072.  Killroy is stationed a couple blocks away in a stolen Ford Americar with replaced plates in case back-up was needed.  Across the street from the alley entrance leading to the safe house, Ash and Seul-ki stepped into a donut store.  Ash had Seul-ki buy him two cake donuts and a small bottle of soy milk while he unobtrusively cast Detect Law Enforcement Badge and Detect Security System to check out the approach to the safe house.  He detected no badges, but sensed a security system watching the alley entrance, probably cameras.

After Ash fortified himself with the two cake donuts and bottle of soy milk, he and Seul-ki left the donut shop and took cover in a near-by doorway.  Ash cast improved invisibility on himself and Seul-ki and they made their way across the street to the alley entrance.  [Ash walked, hating every moment as a pedestrian crossing the street, but Seul-ki simply leapt across the street.]  They entered the alley way leading to the safe house without any alarms going off.  The door to the building was unlocked [it was an operating apartment building] and they simply walked in.  Ash took the clunky elevator up to the 3rd floor; Seul-ki took the stairs and easily beat him there.

Opening the stairwell door set off a dog in a nearby apartment, which started shrilly barking, but no other security response happened.  Seul-ki moved down the empty hallway like a shadow.  As she approached the door, Seul-ki noticed the spyhole in the target door darken, indicating someone in the apartment was behind the door looking out.

Seul-ki leapt the remaining distance and kicked the door open, slamming it into the forehead of the person behind the door.  She then threw a NeuroStun IX grenade into the apartment through the partially open door and backed up to the elevator doors, checking the time and listening for the thumps of falling bodies.  She was rapidly rewarded [despite the noisy dog].  Just after the third thump, the elevator dinged and Ash stepped out of the elevator next to Seul-ki.

One the gas became inert [one minute after activation for NeuroStun IX and X], Seul-ki and Ash entered the target apartment.  Ash dropped the two improved invisibility spells and made for the bedroom so he could hide the crawler drone in Vic’s luggage.  He located Vic in there, face down on the floor in the ugliest pajamas Ash had ever seen.  Seul-ki used zip-cuffs to tie up the Knight Errant officers and disarmed them.  She then started disassembling their fire arms on the living room coffee table…until a voice from the hallway said, “Freeze!”  One of the officers from the adjacent stake-out room had arrived and had the drop on Seul-ki with an Enfield AS-7 military-grade shotgun!

The officer ordered Seul-ki to keep her hands where he could see them and turn to face him – Seul-ki only partially complied.  In a fluid motion, Seul-ki turned to face the officer while pulling out the confetti bomb disguised as a real bomb and triggered the very conspicuous timer, which started a three-minute countdown.  This gave the officer pause, and he and Seul-ki discussed whether or not the bomb in Seul-ki’s hand was real or not and what the minimal blast radius for that apparent amount of plastic explosives might be.

In the bedroom, Ash heard the officer’s entrance.  With the crawler drone hidden, Ash drew his Ingram Smartgun X and tried to sneak back into the living room to help Seul-ki.  Ash made it into the living room, but not into position to draw on the Knight Errant officer before the officer heard him.  The officer directed his shotgun towards Ash’s location on the other side of a wall and said, “Hey! Step out here where I can see you!  This Enfield can blow holes through the wall and through you!  Let’s see some hands!”

Ash was four feet from the corner between him and the officer.  If he stepped forward, the officer would know exactly where he was, so Ash simply fell forward, his smart-linked Ingram pointed roughly where the officer would be as he cleared the corner.

The officer reflexively fired when Ash fell into view, but was aiming too high and missed.  Ash triggered a long burst from his Ingram, ignoring his impending meeting with the floor long enough to hit the officer multiple times.  The officer’s armor stopped several of the bullets, but not all of them.  The multiple impacts knocked the officer back several steps to the doorway, blood-spatter speckling the walls.  The officer turned and fled.

Seul-ki quickly set the bomb down on the coffee table and leapt over the now-prone Ash, giving chase to the fleeing officer.  The officer was at the door to the stake out apartment, reaching for the doorknob.  Seul-ki [won initiative and] performed a spin-kick, kicking the officer in the head and bouncing the officer’s head off the door, knocking the officer unconscious and opening the door.  Inside was another officer Seul-ki could hear calling for back up on a radio.  She tossed a NeuroStun IX grenade into this apartment and pulled the door closed.  Within seconds the other officer stopped speaking and Seul-ki heard the thump of him falling to the floor unconscious.

Seul-ki returned to the target apartment where Ash was regaining his feet.  Seul-ki stopped the timer on the confetti bomb and set it aside.  She and Ash hauled Vic out of the bedroom and duct-taped him on his back to the coffee table with three rolls of duct tape.  They next duct-taped the bomb to Vic’s chest, oriented so Vic could see the conspicuous timer if he leaned his head forward.  They then hauled the two unconscious officers in the apartment into sitting positions on the couch so they could see the timer as well and duct-taped them to the couch.

The sound of approaching sirens was getting loud by the time they finished.  Seul-ki opened the sliding door to the minimal patio and looked down to judge the distance to the ground.  She then re-entered the apartment and asked Ash, “How athletic are you?”

“Ash just fortified himself with two cake donuts and some soy milk.  Why?” [Ash always talks in the third person - it's part of his Distinctive Style negative quality.]

“We’re going to have to jump to the ground,” she replied.

“Are you nuts!?  We’re on the third floor!”

Seul-ki cocked her head quizzically.  “Then how were you planning on leaving?”

“Ash thought you had a rope or something or we’d be quiet enough Ash could use the stairs or something.”

“That does pose a problem for you,” she calmly answered while hiding a mini camera on a decorative shelf over the bedroom door.  “I don’t need a rope – I can safely make the jump from here.  Maybe even from the roof.”

“Well Ash can’t.  Let Ash find something.”

Ash started ransacking the apartment and put together an improvised rope using bed sheets and curtains.  Seul-ki set the confetti bomb timer to 20 minutes and activated the countdown.  She and Ash could hear feet tramping up the stairs as Ash tied off his improvised rope to the patio railing and dropped the other end down to the ground.  It was about ten feet short.  “That’ll have to do,” he said.  He swung over the side and started what was really a controlled fall down the “rope”.  Seul-ki gracefully leapt down and across the alley, pausing on a small piece of architectural façade before safely leaping down the rest of the way.  Ash got to the end of his “rope” and dropped the remaining five feet.  Luckily he landed well and did not break or sprain anything [used Edge to make the roll].

Seul-ki and Ash ducked under the rain cover for some machinery in the alley and were not visible when the Knight Errant rescue team poked its head out on the patio and looked down.  Ash asked Seul-ki to watch his body as he jacked into his RCC unit and jumped into his car through the Matrix.  Ash “drove” his car to the alley, causing the KE officers setting up a simple barricade to scatter.  Ash used a controlled skid to back the car up to where he and Seul-ki were waiting and jumped out of the car and back into his body.  He and Seul-ki piled into the Rover and Ash peeled back out of the alley, scattering the KE officers again.  The Knight Errant officers snapped a few shots off at Ash’s vehicle, but all missed and then Ash whipped the car around a corner and was out of their sights.

Seul-ki contacted Killroy and told him they were out of the apartment and the mini camera was in place.  Killroy contacted Bookie and told him to start recording events at the apartment.  Bookie did that, set the feed to stream to the Pleiades Group, and started microwaving some popcorn.

Up in the apartment, the Knight Errant rescue team had finished securing both apartments and noticed the conspicuous timer and bomb duct-taped to Vic’s chest.  They immediately put a call in to the bomb squad.  There was some discussion about moving the officers duct-taped to the couch and it was decided to let the bomb squad make that call in case they were booby-trapped somehow.  [The bomb was made to look real through the expedient of using actual plastic explosives around the confetti bomb, thus testing positive to the portable explosive sniffers the KE rescue team had with them.]

Ten minutes later, Vic started waking up.  The Knight Errant officers tried to keep him calm, but Vic lost his cool when he saw the conspicuous timer attached to the bomb on his chest.  Vic spazzed out, trying to shake the bomb off his chest, freaking the Knight Errant officers who bolted out of the room.  [Except the two taped to the couch, who were stuck there and cringed, hoping Vic didn’t get them killed.]

Bookie got excellent video of Vic going completely bonkers and took a still to meet the terms of the job.

By the time the bomb squad arrived a few minutes later, Vic was sobbing and moaning, but no longer thrashing around.  The bomb squad entered the apartment in their heavy EOD suits and the rest of the officers exited the building and waited downstairs.  Bookie decided to hack one of their commlinks to he could follow the action in both locations.

Up in the apartment, the bomb squad technicians calmed Vic down and started examining the bomb.  Part way through their examination, one of them paused and then wrote a note on a clipboard.  He then showed the note to the other technician, who took a closer look at the bomb after reading the note.  The second technician nodded to the first and then explained to Vic they needed to step away to consult another officer.  Vic started to panic a bit, threatening to have the technicians fired if they did not get this bomb off his chest immediately.  The technicians assured him they would be back to finish disarming the bomb.

Out in the hall, the technicians called the senior officer on the ground and asked what the story was here.  The officer on the ground explained that Vic was a corporate protection gig from what might or might not be a series of assassination attempts.  The technicians explained that the bomb was not real, it was just a confetti bomb with a veneer of plastic explosives wrapped around it.  The confetti bomb would never set off the plastic explosives, so this guy was safe, but he was being a real dick for someone with a supposed bomb on his chest.  Would the officers have a problem if the technicians played a prank on the jerk?  The officer said, “Negative.  Scare the shit out of him.  He’s been a major prick to us for the last 12 hours.  I’ll explain it to corporate.”  [Needless to say, Bookie recorded this entire conversation for later playback.  Or leverage.]

The bomb squad technicians re-entered the apartment and ignored Vic and the bomb, instead checking the Knight Errant officers and the couch for explosives.  Quickly determining there were none, nor any connections to the confetti bomb on Vic’s chest, they cut the officers free and pulled them from the room.  The officers were clearly relieved to be leaving the apartment and the bomb.  Vic was very vocal in his displeasure about being left in the room with the bomb while the grunts were being rescued.  Out in the hallway, by the stairwell, the technicians explained what was actually going on to the officers [who were good with the prank on Vic after his abusive behavior] and sent them downstairs.

The technicians returned to the apartment and started “working” on the bomb.  The conspicuous timer now had less than four minutes on it.  One of the technicians opened the timer and started doing things to its insides.  Suddenly he said, “Oops” and the timer rapidly accelerated.  The other technician said, “Oh no!  It’s going to blow!” and both technicians fled the room at top speed, trying not to laugh and spoil the prank.  Vic, as usual, lost his cool and started screaming incoherently in a high-pitched voice.

Inside the apartment, the conspicuous timer ran down to zero and the confetti bomb went off with a series of pops.  Vic screamed loud enough that Bookie could hear the scream through the commlink down on the ground.  The KE officers started laughing amongst themselves.

Bookie shut down his surveillance so no one could track any signals back to him once Knight Errant got serious about things.

End of Part 2

[So this went strangely and took much more to write up.  I wanted to make it at least through the end of April 5th, but only made it through the morning attempt.  The afternoon attempt will be short as it is all NPC action with Ash and I prefer the actual PCs in the run get the spotlight.  I’d include it here, but I promised to get this posted on Saturday and there is less than two hours left in the day.]

The other jobs are:

Aquamatics Schematics
The Mendoza Hit
Yak Money
MoM Defense
Ludovic’s Hell – Part 1

Ludovic's Hell  Part 3
Ludovic's Hell  Part 4
Ludovic's Hell  Part 5