A New High (Shadowrun)

The runners are contacted by the highest Loyalty underworld contact they have (Mafia/Yakuza/Triad/Vory).  If they don’t know any underworld contacts, their fixer will make that connection for them. The meet location will vary, depending on who the runners are meeting with.

Scene 1 – Paranoia Runs Rampant

Once a meet arrangement has been made, the runners find themselves being pat down, swept and astrally inspected before being allowed to even see Mr. Johnson.  Runners who try to circumvent these measures will be met with deadly force, if they persist on getting in without a search.

Once past the checkpoint, Mr. Johnson apologizes.  “I’m sorry for the heightened security, my friends… recent events have forced me to take some precautions.  A new drug is hitting the streets…normally, when new merchandise arrives we wait and see how it performs and then decide whether to get into the business or crush it.  However, this particular drug has motivated us to act quickly to stop its manufacture.”

“The new drug is a derivative of Guts they’re calling Elev8.  While Guts makes a person fearless, Elev8 also impedes the part of the brain that applies logic and general common sense.  Since this drug hit the streets a week ago, there has been three attempts to overthrow local bosses and five attempts to trigger turf wars with rival syndicates.  We’re not in the business of causing bloodbaths. If this drug continues to circulate, the problem won’t remain behind closed doors for long. I’m willing to pay you 10,000¥ a piece to investigate the manufacture of this drug and put a stop to it.”

Mr. Johnson is one of a few bosses in their organization that survived an assassination attempt by someone who thought they could do better, while under the influence of Elev8.  Rather than risk his position any further, Mr. Johnson wants this drug put to bed.

Mr. Johnson is willing to negotiate to some extent.  Once the runners have agreed to take the job, Mr. Johnson tells them that the man that tried to kill him was gunned down, but another would-be assassin of another boss was taken alive.  He can provide the runners with the location of where the man is being held, in case they’d like to question him. If the runners agree, he’ll give them a personal token they can show when they get to the BNSF Railyard (Burlington North and Santa Fe) train car where the man is being kept.

Matrix:  The Emerald City grid is not likely to be too far away, regardless of where the runners meetup with Mr. Johnson.  The host of the place they meet at will vary, but it is likely to be a low-to-mid range host with moderate defenses overall.

Scene 2 – Catching a Train

The BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Railyard is an old railyard, dating back to before the Awakening.  Much of the modern infrastructure is missing here, reducing the once great rail system to a shuttle service around the metroplex.  The old structures show their age, but everything is serviceable and trains run out of the yard on the regular.

It’s also the domain of the O’Malley family and the service lines hold several train cars that are in need of repair in some way shape or form.  Inside of an insulated refrigerator car is the man who wanted to move up the ranks. The guards outside will tell the runners to move along and that the service yard is off limits, but when they see the Johnson’s calling card, they let the runners pass and tell them to step into the fridge.

Inside is a bloodied man in a stained suit strung up from the ceiling by his wrists.  Upon seeing the runners, he immediately begins taunting them, daring them to take their best shot and bragging how he’s going to be the biggest man in all of Seattle.  Viewing his astral signature, a mage can see that he’s still running high on Elev8. Torture and intimidation don’t work, as the man is truly fearless. The runners can hang around until the drug runs out, cast a spell like Detox or do a Logic+Medicine (2) test to flush the drug out of his system before they can get any genuine answers.

As the drug is removed from his blood stream, the gravity of what he’s done will sink in, as will the pain of his recent “questioning”.  When pressed for where he got the drug, he’s quick to offer up his dealer and her usual haunt.

If the runners engage in torture during this scene, feel free to award them Notoriety at the story’s end.

Matrix:  The BNSF host showcases the glory days of the rail company, focusing on the history as one of the largest rail empires in the old United States.  A pristine version of the railyard spreads out before them, with old diesel orange engines stationed facing outwards towards the various geographical regions they deliver to.  Each train links to another part of the network, where as the storage yard details storage fees and with the correct password, details what is currently being held in the yard.

The iconography here shows users in BNSF coveralls and hardhats, while security appear as old time rail security guards.  IC manifests as humanoid constructs made out of railroad materials and move like jerky, stop-motion movie monsters. That said, they are still effective in curtailing intruding deckers.

Host Rating 7

Attack 7, Sleaze 8, Data Processing 10, Firewall 9

Patrol IC is online and running at all times.  When triggered, IC activates in the order: Probe, Killer, Acid, Marker, Catapult, Track, Jammer and Blaster.  Probe and Killer will always get rebooted if bricked, but will otherwise continue down the line. A security decker will log on after 1D6/2 (round up) rounds once an alarm is triggered.

Scene 3 – Rage Contagion

The mobster gave up his dealer, a Chinese woman named Lan Yin and said that she works out of a residential district near the docks.  When the runners arrive, they find the area under a Knight Errant lockdown. Drones circle the area and an AR cordon has been erected over a couple city blocks.  The local toughs, who normally play it low key, got their hands on a sample of Elev8 and they’re exploring all of their delusions of grandeur.

Some are locked into firefights with the police, others are duking it out with each other, others still are exploiting the locals and terrorizing the area.  Navigating the landscape will not be simple, with the police being jumpy and any local being a potential threat.

Lan Yin’s turf is the local pharmacy, where she is selling some less than prescription goods over the counter.  The pharmacy is being overturned by a gang of local goons, looking for another hit. The gangers will fight dirty and to the death.  Lan Yin is in the back room, nursing a gunshot wound and slowly dragging herself to the exit. The first runner through the door will be faced with a pistol shot that narrowly misses from the wounded pharmacist.

Once pacified, Yin tells the runners that her distributor was selling this new product that would make people “feel like God”.  She interpreted that as a new high, not as giving them a God-complex, so she sold a lot of it. With a new resentment for her distributor, she will easily tell them where to find the distribution center.  It’s a fastener warehouse on the northern edge of the neighbourhood.

Scene 4 – Spread the Wealth

The warehouse is a large concrete and metal building with vaulted ceilings and reinforced metal shelves that stretch to the rafters.  Workers are busily moving crates around using forklifts, getting large unmarked containers down from the highest levels and collecting them in the middle of the warehouse floor.

The distributor has been taken over by his clientele.  His dealers (save for Yin) were sampling the merchandise and they’ve decided to cut out the middleman and take over the business.  Some of the crates are filled with dead rivals, while others hold merchandise (not Elev8, but other street narcotics). If the runners make their presence known, the dealer and their crew will try to play it cool as they move towards cover and weapons.  Once they feel they’re in a good position, they will attack.

Other dealers may start filtering in to claim the warehouse as numbers trickle down, so the runners may continue to have new problems arrive.  The distributor is bunkered into a hidden room off of his command center. The command center features extensive computers wired together in a rat’s nest and several dead gangers.  Roof turrets are responsible for the death, controlled from the panic room.

Either the drug distributor himself or the computers can tell the runners about an abandoned pharmaceutical manufacturing building where the Elev8 was being created in.

Matrix:  The system of the distribution center is unsophisticated and has no bells or whistles.  A rudimentary cataloging system tracks the totals for each product (the drugs are not tracked here) and all orders are sorted in a queue for service.  The distributor has some Gen1 hardware he’s rigged up to house his real company data, but it isn’t wirelessly active and will require a hardline into the network.

Host Rating 5

Attack 5, Sleaze 6, Data Processing 8, Firewall 7

Patrol IC is online and running at all times.  When triggered, IC activates in the order: Probe, Killer, Acid, Marker, Catapult, Track, Jammer and Blaster.  Probe and Killer will always get rebooted if bricked, but will otherwise continue down the line. A security decker will log on after 1D6/2 (round up) rounds once an alarm is triggered.

Scene 5 – Cleaning up the Mess

The old pharma business is an old dilapidated structure, whose sign has faded with age, but the proud proclamation that they had been a subsidiary of Fuchi can still be made out.  The interior doesn’t look much better. Gang tags, garbage and a smell of squatters fills the building. Despite the evidence of recent inhabitants, none of the locals appear to be here anymore.  The scurry of rats is the only movement the team is aware of.

Astrally, the building has the normal amount of astral hazing for a squatter’s haunt, but it increases with a feeling of death as they near the building’s center.  They can detect one human life at the building’s heart, who exudes an aura of mild panic.

The middle rooms of the building are shrouded in plastic tarps.  Beyond the tarps are rooms that stink heavily of disinfectant. Flat surfaces have been cleared for working with chemicals and the old scientific equipment discarded with the building has been refurbished and put back to work.  Throughout the workspace, fresh blood has been splattered and the bodies of the workforce lay in still expanding pools of blood. The people here appear to be the local unemployed, put to work in packing pills.

Moving past the rooms of dead workers, they enter what appears to have been the packing area.  The last person left alive in this building is here, pouring gasoline over powder from broken pills.  He is heavily tattooed and wearing an armored vest rigged with explosives. If given the chance to speak, he speaks with a muddled Eastern European accent.  He will talk about the experiment being over and that the runners will never learn anything from the site.

His explosive vest has redundant safeties on it, as there are explosives set up all around the building.  If he hits the detonator, it doesn’t trigger just the vest, but will bring the building down as well. If the signal is jammed, all the explosives lose connection with each other and will detonate independently.  All runners inside the building are buried in rubble as the building comes down on them. If the vest explodes, any runners too close will need to resist damage normally.

Runners outside the explosion can rush into the blast site to rescue teammates, though Knight Errant will arrive very quickly.

End Part 1

Scene 6 – Digging Out

The destruction of the pharmaceutical building will draw a lot of attention, drawing in news drones, police and gawkers alike.  If any of the team were not in the building when it collapsed, they may opt to try and get their teammates out before there are too many onlookers.  Otherwise, the runners find themselves buried in rubble and have to claw their way out or, if badly injured, await rescue.

If the runners are still there when the police arrive, they will be looking at a lot of questions and suspicion.  If they manage to slip away before the police arrive, they may still have drones to contend with, as the media will want to be the ones who break the story and police drones will want to keep track of all suspects.

Runners will need to keep their faces concealed to avoid being captured on camera, unless they’re too badly injured to make their own escape.

(if runners are captured, it may require an extra scene, or a whole extra run to break them out)

Scene 7 – Tracking the Bomber

The man that blew himself up to conceal evidence is dead or in Knight Errant custody, depending on how the runners conducted themselves.  If the runners were able to capture the man’s likeness, they can conduct some legwork to find out who they were dealing with and where he’s been over the past few days.

The man is named Temel Reis and he is a Balkan extremist, who is wanted for several bombings throughout Greece, Turkey and the war-torn Balkans.  His ideology has shifted in recent years, from being strongly anti-Muslim. Originally targeting mosques and Muslim associated enterprises, he had learned that not all Muslims were the enemy, as many Christians were equally, if not more, power-hungry and corrupt.  His focus went from being anti religion to anti-power and he joined several radical anarchist groups in Eastern Europe.

The man in the blast was not Temel Reis, but rather a protege surgically modified to look like him.  Reis has decided to try to take down the corporations, as they are the pinnacle of rampant power and aims to work through like minded pawns.

Either via the Matrix or appropriate contacts, the runners can find evidence of Reis arriving in Seattle via private aircraft and visiting several locations around the city, the former pharmaceutical building included.  The main place Reis frequents is the local branch of Equity; an anarchist activist group. Not known for violence, Equity preaches an experiment in “controlled anarchy”… allowing the people equal say in how business is conducted, rather than advocating for the abolition of all power structures.

Other stops are places for acquiring the ingredients needed for the drug, or explosives.  The main places for the runners to investigate would be the private airstrip and the Equity building.

Scene 8 – Bypassing Customs

The private airstrip that Reis used to get into Seattle is owned by Sofia Volkov, a commercial real estate broker, potential Vory member and wealthy heiress to an Ukranian magnate.  The Bellevue estate is surrounded by a stonework wall and wrought iron fence. The service staff are moving around, doing their daily work, but all seem to be on edge.

If prompted with any force, the staff says that the entire estate has been taken hostage by Reis’ people.  The plane is being guarded, as all the Elev8 manufactured at the now-destroyed facility has been loaded on the plane and ready for distribution.  The runners may take it upon themselves to destroy the plane, or alert Knight Errant, but the staff tells them that Madame Volkov and her family will be put to death if anyone interferes with the plane or its contents.

The runners could potentially free Sofia and her staff if they’re particularly careful at which point Sofia will handle the situation in Ukraine with a couple of phone calls.  With the grounds back under control, the runners could make themselves a very powerful ally.

If the runners can get to Sofia, she tells them that Reis used her family in Ukraine as leverage to be allowed to land his plane in the city and once on the ground, his personal guard took over her home.  She vows to find out who Reis is working with and have them torn down for his transgressions.

Scene 9 – Equity in Treatment

The Equity building is a nondescript brown brick building that resembles an old community center than the base of operations for an anarchist organization.  Their logo, a group of people on equal footing with fists raised, looms over the door into the lobby. The door itself has a simple black equal sign on the door.

The interior is a modestly decorated lobby with simple AR overlaying the walls, outlining Equity’s mission statement:  the dissolution of monolithic corporations and bringing the world to a state of equal economic footing.

The man behind the counter is more than happy to try and recruit the runners.  He will start with small talk and then slowly introduce the group’s rhetoric into the conversation, talking about the average disparity between senior corporate officials and the those that do the actual work that keeps the corporate machine running.

The moment the runners start asking questions about Equity as a movement, the man’s words become more measured, stating that while they advocate for the equity in pay and rights, they would not advocate the use of violence to obtain their goals.  Why endanger those they aim to help? If asked about Temel Reis, the man says that he has no idea who that is.

Upon being shown the man’s face, the man will admit to recognizing the face, but not the name.  If asked what Reis was after, the man says he doesn’t know and that he met with the senior members of the organization.

While the runners busy themselves at the front desk, the senior members have keyed keywords into the security equipment at the front desk and if not disabled, they overhear the conversation the runners are having after Reis’ name is dropped.  In response to the inquiries, the president of Equity Seattle will attempt to sneak out the back door to avoid the thrashing he’s expecting.

If the runners are prepared for this, they can corner the man easily, otherwise, they may need to chase/follow him so they can talk to him about his meeting with Reis.  Under very little pressure, the man confesses that Reis came to him with a plan to bring the corporations down a peg and just needed some able bodied people to do the work.  Equity’s members tend to be those the corps have trodden on, so many unemployed members jumped at the chance to lash out at the companies that laid them off.

In hearing about the building explosion, the president worried about being implicated in the explosion and made plans to flee the country.  He volunteers that there is a second building where the drug is being made and he hopes they can save those people from a second explosion.

Scene 10 – Evening the Odds

The second building is an open warehouse that Reis’ men have taken over.  There are drones in the air on patrol around the outside of the building (MCT Fly-Spy) watching for anyone taking too great an interest in the building.  The interior has been set up with several rows of tables, covered in old scientific equipment where people are working hard at meeting quota while armed guards patrol the room behind them.

The runners will require a certain amount of finesse here.  The guards won’t hesitate to take hostages or shoot the civilians if they feel cornered.  The civilians will either run for any open doors or duck under the tables once bullets start to fly.

If the runners are already banged up from the explosion or taking out Reis’ plane, feel free to have a civilian lend assistance in the form of a distraction or breaking free from being taken hostage.

Either by interrogating one of the guards or plundering their commlink, the runners learn that Reis and his cohorts have ties to Black Crescent back in Constantinople, which is where the formula for making Elev8 originated.  But for now, the runners have flushed the Elev8 ring out of the city and can get paid by their contact.

>> Great another brain-bender hitting the streets.  Didn’t we just do this with Tempo?
>> Corsair

>> Ugh, that Tempo debacle… anyone know who’s behind this one?  KondOrchid and the Cartels got torn down huge after tempo.  You’d think people would learn…
>> Havik

>> This one isn’t spirit inhabitation at least.  This is just pure chemical imbalance.
>> Hel

>> And you would know this how, exactly?
>> Burn

>> The spirits have told me.  I don’t expect your dull mind to understand.
>> Hel

>> Uh guys, before you guys get banned, I’m curious… if all the big underworld boys want this product off the street, then who’s distributing it?
>> Glasgow

~ by 1nsomniac on July 6, 2018.

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