Identity Crisis Part 1 – Chasing No One (Shadowrun)

This was the first of a two-part Shadowrun story I told at Phantasm – Gamer’s Equinox back in March (yeah, I’m a little behind).  If you plan to adapt this hook to your group, be sure to consider both parts.

Scene 1 – Meeting with Judge

The runners are contacted by Judge for an escort job. The job includes some travel, for which they will be compensated, but as long as they can keep their mark safe, they will be fairly compensated. If they’d like to hear more, he will meet with them at Matchsticks Downtown for 9PM.

Trendy jazz clubs fill a selective niche in Seattle, which can make for a laid back place to conduct a meeting. The club is busy, but not in the shoulders-rubbing-together way of many nightclubs. The music was smooth and serene and the alcohol, while expensive, is the genuine article. Judge has a table near the back, where he is enjoying a rather large amount of food when the team arrives. Once everyone has assembled, he stops eating and settles into work.

“All right, thanks for coming guys. On paper, this job looks straightforward, but we know that those jobs can be the nasty ones. This particular Mr. Johnson is not one I’ve worked with in the past. With that out of the way, here are the particulars: Mr. Johnson works for Bio-Fine, a medical subsidiary of Horizon Corporation. There is a man in Seattle who appears to have some pretty heavy information on one of Bio-Fine’s competitors and they really want it. They want it badly enough, that they’re springing to pay for you guys to pick him up, get his ass on a plane and safely deliver him to Caracas so they can check if this data is legit. Your only job is to get him there alive. For this protection detail, they’re willing to pay you 12,000¥ apiece, which is substantially above the usual paygrade for work like this. So, what do you think?”

Judge has limited room to negotiate, but will allow for some, due to the suspicious pay level and deceptively easy task.

Once the runners are on board, Judge can divulge more specifics. “OK, so the man you’re looking for is a man named Casey Hubbard. He’s a former employee of Telestrian Industries and is looking for the fastest way out of the Pacific Northwest. You’ll find him holed up in Loveland. He’s gone off the grid to avoid being tracked, so you’ll need to look around for him in Loveland. Grab Hubbard and get him to the Federated Boeing airstrip in Auburn. Mr. Johnson set up a deal with Boeing to charter a private flight out of the city bound for Caracas. Deliver him to the Bio-Fine building in Caracas and you get paid.” The runners are handed a picture of a smiling elven man, surrounded by his wife and children. As per the usual with elves, he is thin, handsome and looks younger than his age (33).

Judge will answer any questions he can, but he doesn’t have any concrete information on Mr. Johnson and doesn’t know anything about the data Hubbard supposedly carries.

Casey Hubbard
Threshold – Matrix (3), Corporate (3)

1 – Casey Hubbard is a nobody within the Telestrian Corporation. A firm believer in the Elven superiority the government of the Tir preaches, he is a man who never strays from the company line.

2 – A family man and father of four, Casey recently vanished. His family is worried about him and Telestrian is doing everything in their power to bring him home

4 – Telestrian fears that Hubbard happened across some information he wasn’t supposed to see and is now hunting Hubbard down not only for the PR angle but to retrieve what Casey might have taken.

5 – The info Casey carries was the result of some black ops work that Telestrian really doesn’t want public.

Scene 2 – Finding Casey

Knowing that Casey is laying low in Loveland narrows the search considerably, however, Loveland is not the most accessible place in the Metroplex. It’s an area of Puyallup that is cut off from the bulk of the plex, where Knight Errant won’t go and the Gianelli family calls most of the shots. The runners will be lucky if they don’t fall prey to a random drive-by shooting or attempted stabbing in order for some desperate local to claim their belongings.

If the runners have any Mafia contacts, they could get put in touch with Donald Carmichael, the local boss for the Gianelli’s in Loveland. He lives like a tiny kingpin amongst the squalor, being a clean-shaven dwarf of broad shoulders and broader ego. He wears a suit and smokes a cigar, so finding him amongst the destitute masses should be straightforward. He will explain (for a fee) that Hubbard is not staying in any of his establishments and for an additional fee, he will show no particular interest in Hubbard. This info will prove helpful, since Gianelli owns a lot of Loveland and eliminates a lot of locations.

If the runners don’t contact the Gianellis, then they are searching the old fashioned way. With virtually no Matrix connectivity here, tracking down Hubbard in the city will involve, bribes, trades or violence to extract the information they require.

Eventually, they will find themselves at the “Fancy Slab”, a burgundy two-story stucco building set in the center of Loveland. The street is busy with foot traffic and biker gangs and the main clientele of the Slab appears to be prostitutes of questionable cleanliness looking to make a quick buck.

The owner and doorman of the establishment is an ork with enough old, clunky cyberware to make the runners wonder whether there was much flesh left in him. He takes an active disinterest in the runners when asked anything about Casey Hubbard. If forced or convinced to pay attention, he says that he may have someone matching Hubbard’s description staying at the hotel (his active disinterest is a survival mechanism so he doesn’t see too much). They don’t see much in the ways of new clientele, especially elves, so it sticks in his mind. He directs them to a bunk on the upper floor.

The Fancy Slab features sagging walls, awful wallpaper and a stench somewhere between mold and old sex. Half of the berths are powerless and half of those left are in dire need of a cleaning service. The bunk they were pointed to is registered to a Howard Casey… an unimaginative pseudonym for their mark. Casey is paranoid and won’t exactly open the door for the runners without some convincing (or they could hack the old lock and pull him out). Once they have Casey and explain they are there to extract him, he becomes more cooperative.

Casey is a shell of his former self. It is obvious he hasn’t slept much and he appears malnourished, as if he’s barely eaten in days. If asked about what he’s carrying, he tells them he’s not sure, but he thinks it’s some form of prototype, developed by a competitor. As part of his arrangement with Bio-Fine, his Data Lock has been encrypted with a key that Mr. Johnson has the cipher for. He won’t have access to the data he carries until he arrives in Caracas. Attempts to access it are designed to unleash Black IC on the carrier, so Casey is not about to let the runners access it.

With Casey found, the runners start to head for the Boeing airstrip, but a massive hole is blown in the wall of the Fancy Slab from a fired rocket launcher on the outside. Telestrian has tracked down Hubbard’s location and has hired the local Chapter of the Ancients to make sure he doesn’t get out of the building alive. There is one man with a rocket launcher, who is loading a new rocket, while several of the gangers torch the ground floor of the hotel. The Ancients will try to keep the runners pinned down in the hotel, while it burns to the ground.

GMs can use the Organized Crime NPCs from the core book in a pinch for the members of the Ancients. They are more than a go gang, but a powerful biker organization with access to plenty of resources and manpower. If runners are able to escape and capture a member of the Ancients, they can check the biker’s commlink and learn that they were paid by Telestrian to destroy the data.

With Casey recovered safely, the team will need to head for Auburn.

Scene 3 – Telestrian Pursuit

With Casey secured, the runners will want to leave Puyallup and escape the Ancients. Once they have taken enough losses, the bikers will decide it’s no longer worth the trouble and break off pursuit. However, their intervention bought Telestrian the time the required to get a team into Seattle.

The team is subtly trailed as they enter Tacoma and if they act overly paranoid/skittish they will assume they’ve been made and make a move, otherwise they will remain at a cautious distance, switching off between ground and drone surveillance as the team makes their way to the Federated Boeing compound. If the game is running a little short, a car chase can ensue, complete with drone and spirit support.

Upon arriving at Federated Boeing, the team is greeted with skepticism, but directed to the most remote hangar and airstrip on the compound. Outside the hangar is a small private jet, where the pilot is performing pre-flight checks. The fuel cart and baggage car are present nearby and a maintenance crew mills about the hangar. Unfortunately for the runners, these people are all Telestrian employees, save for the pilot who simply likes money too much to pass up a bribe.

As the runners leave the car and head to the plane, the Telestrian team, dressed as Boeing employees, launch their ambush. The team will need to protect Casey, while dealing with being attacked from all sides. The plane has been rigged with explosives they will need to deal with before they can leave the tarmac. Use Professional Rating 5 for the Telestrian soldiers.

If the runners can escape or defeat the Telestrian soldiers and get the plane off the ground, the flight path has already been laid in, taking the most direct route to Caracas while not crossing into Aztlan airspace. The trip takes them out over the Caribbean Sea and will take several hours to arrive. Once over the Caribbean, the plane is locked onto by a rocket and with no countermeasures on board, the missile slams into the side of the fuselage, tearing out a portion of the plane and killing the pilot. The autopilot automatically activates (unless one of the runners overrides it), but it quickly ascertains that the damage to the plane is too significant and informs the runners to brace for impact. If the runners wish to bail out, there are no parachutes, but there are life rafts they can use to break their fall if they choose to jump.

The session ends when the runners hit the water.

>> So, I’m getting paid a solid sum of cred to escort some poor wagemonkey out of Puyallup to South America?  Sounds like a lot of money for a babysitting job.  Who is this guy?
>> Forrester

>> Rumour is, some middle manager out of Portland.  Must have pissed off some influential elf or something.  Make sure your magic is up to snuff and you’ll be fine.
>> Basic

>> Not that simple, omae.  Those “influential elves” have some pretty long arms.  You think you’ll be safe once you’re away from the Tir?
>> Glasgow

~ by 1nsomniac on July 30, 2014.

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