Part 2: Update II - Delivering Johnson's Package Is Hard.Update II - Delivering Johnson's Package Is Hard.
Alright, voting has been fierce at times, but we have a result. Readers, meet Kaminari Saito - hentai game character, Cubs fan, sabermetrician, feminist, and most of all, a person you don't want to fuck with. And if those words don't make any sense at all, then you need to check out The Closer, my previous LP about an RPG that starts out being about baseball and then just spirals out of control.
Also, shoutouts to thread denizen Dog Kisser for this Shadowrun-appropriate portrait.
Anyway, Kami will be a Physical Adept, and therefore beat the shit out of people.
As far as stats are concerned, we'll be focusing on Strength and Willpower, with a minor in Charisma. And on substats, we're doing Chi Casting, of course, and Melee Weapons. Also, we'll be doing some Quickness so we can get Dodge.
And for Etiquettes, it has to be Academic.
So, let's roll.
Now, you might think we'd start in CalFree, but not so. We actually start in Seattle. The thing about this first part of the CalFree trilogy is that it was previously released in three separate parts - "Antumbra", "Eclipse" and "Corona" - which flow into each other and are combined in the "Antumbra Saga" mod. The "Antumbra" part takes place in Seattle, but it's very short - basically just one run that will probably fit into two updates here. Then, it'll be on to our new locale. But for now, we have a run to, uh, run.
And here we are on the streets of Seattle.
We have 1200 nuyen to our name, a thoroughly below average statblock...
...and some assorted odds and ends for gear, namely a pistol and machete to kill with, the spell Killing Hands, which is useless, since we don't use unarmed combat, and some medical gear. Let's roll.
Looks like somebody wants to talk to us.
Guess we found our Johnson. Kinda strange he's just kinda... here, opposed to meeting at some sort of different location to hash out the run. Oh well, convenience.
In the flesh.
We've got a job to do. It's a delivery run of sorts. Should be even easier than your standard extraction, huh? Club Antumbra is still busy with its opening-night crowd, so this will be your best chance to slip in unnoticed. Or shoot up the joint, if you want. I could care less. Just make sure that this box gets delivered to Kali's office on the third floor.
Mysterious packages. My favorite.
OK, question time. I'll just go and ask the questions I feel like asking whenever these come up.
What's the scene like inside?
I'm keeping my distance. A man like me shouldn't show his face in there. It sounds like quite a party, though. All sorts of trash has been coming in and out. You'll fit right in on the dance floor. If we're lucky, they will have pulled security from the upstairs office to help cover the main floor. It might make things easier for you.
I'll need an advance.
Frag you! What for?
I may need to hire some more runners.
What for? It's the simplest job on the planet! A blind beagle could do it without help! Fine... this is coming out of your final payment, though!
What's in the package?
[Mr. Johnson grunts in frustration.]
I thought you were a professional. Is this your first run? What did I get myself into?
What should I tell the guards if they stop me?
Say it's a case of medical supplies. Or a gift for Kali. Or you could just shoot them in the face before they stop you. You're the runner. Only I need to care about what's in the box. Only you need to care about how you deliver it.
Who do you work for?
I've got it.
Pleasure doing business with you. I'll be here with your payment when you're done.
Alright, Johnson's package has been acquired. Looks like there's a line and some bouncers, but apparently we don't have to worry about that and can just head right in.
We have two main areas to check out here. Let's head to the right first.
I see lots of people to chat up!
[Turm lets out a bellow, clearly enjoying herself. Judging from the bottles littering her table. she has already drunk enough to kill any lesser species.]
What are you doing here?
Eh, trying to make rent. Figured they could use some extra muscle for their grand opening. No luck so far. They just bring down more guns from upstairs.
What do you think of this place?
My pa would call it a target-rich environment. Too bad security's so tight. I don't know who fronted Kali the dough to open this joint, but it's gotta have megacorp backing. You don't find these pros in Everett.
Have you been upstairs yet?
You kidding? I'd get shot on sight. No way a troll like me could pass for talent They sure put on a bright front here, all smiles and dances. but if you start prowling through the offices they'll drop you quicker than Kali's next single.
We could ask if she wants to join us on the run, but I wasn't sure at the time if that fast-tracks us to the next part, so I skipped that for later. First, more people.
Well, Kami does have experience in getting people drunk for the sake of destroying them.
That stuff will put you in an early grave, and I'd love to help.
[His face blanks.]
Huh? Here'sh some nuyen. Gemme somethin good from tha bar. No... not THISH bar. The other onesh better.
And he gives us 100 nuyen. I guess we have ourselves an objective. But first, who else is here?
So, what can a little guy like me do for you?
What do you think of Antumbra?
It seems promising. Of course, it doesn't have much competition out here in Everett. The beer's cheaper than the downtown clubs, and Kali has booked some impressive talent. The real test will come after the opening fervor dies down. This place needs backing if they want to keep drawing people in.
Have you met Kali?
Oh. I've seen her, but she wouldn't know me. She's always focused on finding the next rising star. It's easy to overlook a little dwarf when you have her stature. From what I've heard, she's perfectly nice for an ambitious narcissist.
What brings you here?
Apart from the fantastic drinks and eye-candy, you mean? I just finished a run, and wanted to relax a bit. It gets tiring to constantly Haste the other runners on my team, and a little misunderstanding with some Halloweeners nearly ended us. Fortunately. I was able to call on a fire elemental to cover our daring last-minute escape. It felt good to be the hero of the hour for a change!
Oh, he's a shaman, eh? I think we have something he can take a look at.
What can you tell me about this box?
[Dalmin turns serious when you hand him the box. His eyes grow unfocused and he seems a little less present than he did a few seconds ago.]
I'd be happy to consult on your run. Let's take a look at it... Oh. Oh, dear.
[His jovial mood has flown away. Dalmin regards you with a growing frown.]
Kami. do you have any idea what's in here?
No. Rather the opposite, in fact... This package is filled with nanites. Unbelievably small machines, and these ones are created to tear things apart. There are enough in there to infect this entire building. If they're designed to replicate, they could take over the whole district.
I take it that's bad?
I'm no expert, but once this thing is opened, they'll swarm through the entire area. Just a couple of nanites are plenty for implanting cyberware. With this many in a box, they must be for an attack. Who would do that, though? There's nothing in here but aspiring trideo stars and DJs. The whole building will be doomed to destruction.
What do you suggest I do?
Kali runs the joint. You could show her the box and see if she knows why any Johnsons would be after her. Of course, backing out of a contract will hurt your rep. You can just do the job and get paid. It's what we usually do. And ifyou're feeling cheeky, I suppose you could always go back to your Johnson and ask him for some more nuyen. Not much is illegal in Seattle, but I'd say a mass nanite-bombing certainly qualifies. This could be a rare opportunity for some prime blackmail.
Well, that sounds quite interesting. We actually can't leave this place to go to talk to our Johnson about his package, but we'll get an opportunity to do so later. To note, we could also hire Dalmin for our run. We'll see later who we pick.
We probably can't do anything with her just yet, so let's keep moving to the other side of the joint.
This must be where the party is. And I see a big guy with a gun, probably guarding where we need to get to. Let's chat him up and see where that gets us.
Hrm, so if we had a Security Etiquette we could just fake authority and bullshit our way past - probably. Still, it doesn't seem like we'd make any progress here.
Instead, we have somebody else to chat with - the bartender!
Well, first of all, let's do what we're here for.
(¥100) A guy over there wants some hurlg.
[The bartender shrugs.]
To each their own. I suppose. Your friend will be missing out on the fun for the rest of the night, though.
Eh, not our problem. Now, since we're not listening to any music from the game in this LP, we need something else. I mean, my vote is for The Baseball Project for baseball-related music, and Vavrek in the thread suggested Johnny Nuclear and the Meltdowns for some Shadowrun-related music, but what's going on in the game?
What kind of music are you listening to these days?
I enjoy all kinds of stuff. I prefer listening to Neo-Jazz like Total Commitment while working on my screenplay. When I want to feel energized, I turn on some loud Deconsecrated or other Thrumming music. Most of my friends enjoy Chromatic metal, especially Transtalker. And at the end of the day, I unwind with Toxic House music like DJ Omphalos or DJ Phizbort.
OK, I think we all know now how hipsters sound like in Shadowrun. Awesome.
Got any advice for me?
[He reflectively polishes the bar for a moment.]
You can't take it with you, y'know? Nuyen, I mean. Supplies and stuff always comes in handy. Money will burn a hole in your pocket, but spare medkits always come in handy.
Well, we are going to want to save up for some chrome eventually, but yeah, right now, medkits will probably be very useful.
If we look at his inventory, he has something of everything. I suppose this is where you're supposed to stock up. Not a lot of exciting stuff here, or rather, what is exciting is expensive, and I still need to hire another runner.
So for now, all we buy is this. It's an objectively worse weapon than what we already have, but we'll at least always keep it in our inventory in case of impromptu pickup games or something. We sell the pistol and also buy two basic medkits just in case. Now that we've got our cyber-gutrot, let's head back to our drunk friend.
(Hurlg) Here you go.
[He downs it in one gulp.]
Thash the stuff! Nobody else would gimme nothing!
[A few tears start trickling down his face.]
You're... you're so much nicer than the other serversh. You should getta job here. Tell Branda I said sho.
[Overcome with emotion, or something, he lays his head on the table and begins softly snoring.]
Alright, we either just got ourselves our in, or this was completely pointless. Let's talk to that manager and see if this helps us. But before that...
Want to join me on a run?
Well... I'm already here, aren't I? Don't have anything else going on tonight, and you look like you could use a street samurai by your side. Tell you what: I'll give you a discount. ¥500 for the night.
Well, the other guy would cost the same amount, and while from a party building standpoint it's better to have a shaman than a street sam together with an adept, I like Troll Lady Who Gets Violently Drunk And Fucks People Up more than whatever that shaman is.
(¥500) Here you go.
All right. Just find a way into the office, and I'll meet you inside!
Cool! Also, we really can just hire one of the two. If we try the other one...
Are your services for sale?
I'm actually here celebrating a successful run... but yes, I never turn down an opportunity.
[Turm's voice bellows loudly enough that nearby patrons look over in annoyance. They quickly glance away and pretend not to have noticed the upset troll.]
[Turm taps your chest with a stubby forefinger. While you catch your breath, she calmly explains the situation.]
Kami, if this little pile of drek gets within reach of my arms, I'll stuff his face into his rectum.
[Dalmin audibly gulps, his Adam's apple seemingly attempting to escape his body's fate.]
Thank you most kindly for the offer, Kami, but I must respectfully decline due to extenuating circumstances.
I'll extend your spine! Keep away from me, you freak!
There's evidently some history here, but man, I'm not going to be the one to ask an angry Troll what makes them so angry. Instead, let's chat up that manager now.
Oh, hey, new option.
The... gentleman over there said I should speak with you about employment.
[She looks in the direction you are pointing.]
Oh... right. Thank you for calming him down. He's been very unpleasant to my servers all evening. Unfortunately, I'm fully staffed up at the moment. That is... unless you are interested in helping with sound? One of our engineers failed to show up tonight.
Wiz, I'd love to break into the industry.
[She attempts to suppress a smile.]
You may be disappointed. There isn't much of a career path from tech to talent. Still, it can be a good chance to meet people.
Cool. We've got some spiffy new duds and a job. Let's see if we can leverage this into a way upstairs.
We find a terminal that we could coax some extra information out of if we were a decker, but we also have something to read regardless.
[Check building amenities.]
As the Sprawl's newest club, Antumbra features the latest state-of-the-art comforts for Seattle's finest denizens. Kali's extensive industry contacts ensure that the hottest acts will always appear in Antumbra. Our bars are stocked with the most delicious beverages, including artisinal brands of Taéngelé. Be sure not to miss our dining room, where Seattle's finest chefs prepare meat from real animals!
Real animals? Wow!
[Look at the music schedule.]
[Tonight] Rasputin's Clowns, Brainhammer, DJ Leporid.
[Tomorrow] Horatio and the Boys, Purple Monkey Dishwasher, Timmy's House of Sprinkles.
[Upcoming] Kali, DJ Omphalos, DJ Jaaaaake, The Rat King, Total Commitment.
Purple Monkey Dishwasher, eh?
[Get more information on Kali.]
Once hailed as the next Maria Mercurial, Kali used her money and fame to launch her own music label, quickly becoming one of the most respected players in the industry. As someone who has lived the creative life, Kali has proven unusually adept at recruiting new talent, successfully luring many artists to join her. Antumbra marks the first step in what's certain to be an exciting expansion into live entertainment and real estate.
Marketing talk. Not very informative.
Now that we're working with the club, we have an option to fuck with stuff. Always fuck with stuff.
[Cut the wires.]
[You pretend to busy yourself near the equipment. When nobody seems to be watching, you defly slice through the cables. The sound instantly cuts out, sending a chorus of boos throughout the club.]
Dang, everything broke. Guess we need to go backstage to get equipment.
There's a glitch in the sound system. I'll need to go backstage to fix it.
[She sighs softly, resigned in the knowledge that something always goes wrong on opening night.]
Kali won't be happy with this. Better fix it soon. Here, take these papers over to the door guard. And hurry!
I need to get backstage.
Yeah? Where's your work order?
(Work Order) [Hand him the order.]
[The guard carefully scrutinizes your papers.]
Hm... this all seems in order. Go ahead. But don't go wandering upstairs! The guards up there are real shoot-first, scrape-the-body-off-the-floor-later types.
Well, we'll let that be our problem.
So, with that, we've gained access to the backstage area and will continue our run there. But that'll be for next time.