Part 4: Update IV - All These Years, And The San Francisco Giants Still Haven't Rebuilt.Update IV - All These Years, And The San Francisco Giants Still Haven't Rebuilt.
Well, looks like Seattle isn't all that happening anymore, so let's head out to SF.
And here we are. We get some additional cash, which is always nice. Also, since we've got 5 Karma to throw around, I boost Strength to 4, since hitting stuff was a bit of an issue in the previous fights.
Nothing much going on in this area except this little congregation here. Let's say hi!
Good to see you, too.
Our mutual friends noticed you passing the Golden Gate, and thought that you'd be perfect for a little job coming up. I presume that you are here to work. right? My... business associates have been very supportive of Antumbra Enterprises, and recently decided to extend our brand into CalFree. They've secured a great new building that's already transforming the social scene in this town. Of course, they're businesspeople, and look to us to handle certain issues that the rest of their corporation isn't suited for. Mostly that involves rehabilitating certain figures in the media, but we also help them locate SINless agents for dirtier work. Aztechnology is big in the rest of the world. but they're a very small force here. They're not even technically allowed to exist. They're seeking to skirt the law by hiding behind a shell company. We know it, and they know that we know it, but we can't take any direct action against them without risking reprisal in other territories. That's where you come in. We need you to infiltrate the Pyramid and find detailed data describing their illegal operations here in CalFree. And, frankly, the more of their operation you manage to violently disrupt, the happier you'll make the folks upstairs. Now! Do you have any questions?
Well, that's a lot at once. So I guess we're going to get dragged into a shitshow against the Azzies, which isn't the best corp to be running against, but hey, we still need to get Kali to turn us into a rock star, so let's tag along.
What are you doing here?
I can manage most of Antumbra Enterprises from anywhere. Still, I like to be on site when a new location is getting off the ground. I'm introducing Eclipse to the local movers and shakers, and fine-tuning the entertainment to match the... particular tastes of this city.
What is Eclipse?
Oh, have you not heard about it in Seattle yet? It's our newest vision for a full Antumbra Experience. It has the great music, live shows, and fine dining of our original club, but it adds everything else today's elite need in their lifestyle. The hottest gadgets, cosmetic cybernetic upgrades, personal protection, customized information services, and paid companionship are finally all available in one convenient, indulgent location.
Why is it so quiet here?
Ever since the Imperial Japanese marines landed, the street scene has grown far less lively. Metahumans know that they aren't wanted, so they tend to keep their heads down in quieter neighborhoods. Most of the humans are busy working for the Japanese megacorps down in the financial district. It's been a bit of a challenge when opening Eclipse. Saito's troops aren't too happy with undocumented movements, which puts a damper on nightlife. Fortunately, the salarymen who do make it out have lots of money to spend.
How is business?
Booming! Ever since that site of power was discovered under my first club, Antumbra Enterprises has been growing in ways I never would have expected. I used to just run a tiny simsense division in a vast megacorp; now, I'm in charge of a large portfolio that includes not just entertainment, but some fun corporate espionage as well. I sometimes miss the old days - just me and a microphone, up on the stage, belting my heart out. Still, I'm having a much bigger impact on the world now than I ever could through my music alone.
Sounds fun. Let's roll.
Great! Hop in and let's take you to Eclipse.
And with that, we go and catch a cab.
Oh, Kali, we don't have the best track record with Mr. Johnsons so far. Oh well. I'm sure this one won't end up getting killed by us.
Here's some nuyen I've been authorized to disburse. Before we can head to the pyramid, you'll need to take care of a couple of things. First of all, you'll need a system identification number that's recognized here in CalFree. Since the city came under martial law, Colonel Saito's troops have been checking all SINs, and hauling away anyone who doesn't seem to belong. Eclipse is probably the best place in the city to buy a fake SIN. After that, you'll want to equip yourself for the job. There are many vendors here on the first floor that can supply you with any weapons, spells, or machinery you need. I also recommend hiring another runner to join you. Shadowrunners tend to congregate on the top floor of Eclipse. It might be worth conducting some reconnaissance as well, but don't take too long. The situation at the Pyramid isn't going to get any better. Any questions?
We get 1000 nuyen from this guy. Now, let's ask some questions.
What exactly will I be doing in the Pyramid?
Your objective is to extract data that thoroughly documents the relationship between Aztechnology and Pyramid Operations. You'll probably need to reach the top floor to obtain it; that's where the most sensitive data is typically kept. It might be in the possession of Morgan Tooms, the director of Pyramid Operations. I'm authorized to inform you that my employer will look fondly upon a scene of great carnage. In other words, you may seek to maximize casualties.
Well, that's a change of pace.
What should I expect in the Pyramid?
As with many megacorp buildings, security will grow tighter the higher you ascend. The ground floor will probably just have a few patrolling guards. As you go higher, you'll encounter more security measures like maglocked doors, computer-assisted turret systems, and even mages.
How is Eclipse doing?
From the looks of it, quite well. San Franciscans haven't had access to entertainment like this in several years. Management must have bribed Saito quite handsomely to avoid the harassment that other clubs have encountered.
What runner should I hire?
I can't say. You'll probably want someone to complement your strengths and weaknesses. Mages and Samurai often go together well, for example. If you aren't a skilled decker, it might be smart to find someone who is. Corp buildings often have local Matrix nodes that can be hacked to bypass certain aspects of security. It isn't mandatory. though, Sometimes brute force is more effective than a soft touch.
I guess we'll have to see what's on offer first.
So, Eclipse will be our hub for a while, and that means it's time for us to walk around and talk to everybody!
Welcome to Necalli Yaotl's House of Magic. What would you like today?
What does your name mean?
Ah, yes. It's a fairly common name in Aztlan, but less so here. It roughly translates as 'Warrior', which seems fitting. I pride myself on being a survivor. I'm proud of my name, but it's been a slight handicap recently. It identifies me as a likely collaborator with Aztechnology, and that megacorp is in a difficult position these days.
How is magic treated in this city?
Fairly positively, I would say. It isn't honored to the degree that you find in NAN or Tir, but the local megacorps clearly understand the economic power of magic, and skilled practitioners are in high demand. That's generally positive, but also means a busy trade in extraction of strategic mages. Outside of the corporate world, magic is generally seen as another form of expression. I've seen some very impressive shows of pyro magic, enormous art sculptures constructed by summoned earth spirits, even a comedian who made use of Haste and Slow to create one of the funniest gags I've ever seen.
Show me your inventory.
So this guy sells our spells, and we're going to need him for our Chi Casting stuff. Neat.
On to the next one!
Shall we exchange goods and currency?
What do you sell here?
Oh, did I not say before? Sorry about that. I get distracted sometimes. I mostly sell parts. Robot parts. people parts... robot-people parts... things like that. Lots of the megacorps around here will toss out perfectly good electronics with their trash. Can you believe that?! I found a Fairlight Excalibur just the other day, and it was perfectly fine, someone had just spilled coffee on it. Unbelievable. Anyways. I find or buy stuff like that, then repair anything that needs fixing, then sell it to shadowrunners who need high-quality gear with no questions asked.
What do you think of Eclipse?
It's a pretty happenin' place, for sure! I remember the store that used to be here. It was a real dive. Cheap rent, but nobody would ever come. When Kali swept into town, she snapped up this property first thing, and has thrown her heart and soul into turning it into something gorgeous. It's like she feels she has something to prove.
Show me your items.
So this guy sells decking and rigging gear - which is useless to us.
Do you have any cyberware available?
He also sells cyberware, which will probably be of use to us at some point, though I don't think we want to pay the premium sum just yet, since money is kinda sparse right now.
And one more.
What quality item would you like today?
Why is that locker open?
Oh! You're Kami, right? Your employer rented that locker for your use. It's occasionally useful to have gear stashed away someplace where the imperial marines won't be able to easily seize it. I'll keep an eye on it and make sure nobody else messes with your stuff.
So, this is where we have our stash. Just like in the main games, we can stash our stuff here, send stuff from missions we don't have the room for there, all that good stuff.
Where do you get your supply from?
A most excellent question! Most retail outlets in our fair city are dependent upon the consortium of Japanese megacorps for supply. That means tight controls over the more exotic goods, and dealing with rampant price-fixing. Personally, I'm a firm believer in a free market. Free of borders, of tariffs, of safety regulations. Live free and kill, that's my motto!
Ah, I see the NRA still has members in this day and age. Heyooo, political humor!
So, to answer your query: I connect with like-minded wholesalers from all over. We've got boats coming in a Pillar Point, at Tomales Bay, even Baker Beach sometimes. We cut out the taxes, and pass the savings on to you!
Do you have any other locations?
Not just yet, I'm afraid. I've been able to operate under Saito's radar so far, and expanding my customer base too recklessly could earn me a visit from his marines. Still, I pride myself in offering quality goods at a reasonable price. A better class of customer means more to me than a second storefront would.
Do you know where I could find a fake SIN?
Yes. I even know where you could find a good one: right here.
I've just realized that that kind of "right here" can have a fairly different connotation depending if it's combined with a crotch-grab or not, and I'm not sure what to do with this information, so I've decided to share it with you.
Any bedroom decker can slap together a fake, Matrix-only identity. That will help if you're dealing with a bored checkpoint guard, but when you have actual corporate security scrutinizing your records, you'll need the real thing. I've gotten really good at supplying my smugglers with everything they need to evade discovery. That includes a SIN appropriated from a real, actual Californian. It will hold up to any scrutiny short of biometric verification. You'll have to pay for it. though: ¥500 for a pair. You might find cheaper SINs elsewhere in Eclipse, but none with higher quality. What do you say?
OK, so we've at least found one source of SINs. We'll need to decide if we want to spring for the top shelf stuff or not later.
[View her inventory.]
So Ame here sells our weapons, outfits and various consumables including medkits, and as such will be one of our best friends just for the medkits alone.
On to the second floor. This seems to be the main party floor, and there's nobody for us to interact with. Up to the top floor, then.
OK, more going on here.
I mean, if you're going to give me that option...
Oh. you! That's really funny! I'll need to remember that for later. Just like a big dragon. RAWR! Hey, do think you'll get your own talk show someday? Hey, do you need to hire a runner? Because I totally want to be a runner!
What are your skills?
I'm really good with computers! Always have been. I love building robots, and poking around the Matrix, and stuff like that. I heard that people sometimes shoot at runners, though. so I've been practicing dodging and running lately. Mostly running. It's fun!
How did you end up in Eclipse?
Shhh... don't tell anyone, but I totally snuck in! Kali's matrix is hella unsecure. I just uploaded my profile into her artist database, and now everyone thinks I'm a star thrumming musician from Denver. If anyone asks, tell them that I'm really good, okay?
What do you know about Colonel Saito?
Blech! Old Keiji No-fun! I dunno. Things were pretty had here before he showed up, and I guess it's good that people aren't shooting each other so much any more. But this town has gotten so BORING! They're always stopping people to check their SINs and harassing them, so my friends don't even want to go out any more. I have some metahuman buddies, and they're scared that he's gonna ship them all off to some place like Yomi Island.
Do you have your own SIN?
Sure do! I'm CalFree born and raised, baby. There aren't many like me around. But, if I go on a run, I'll definitely be using another identity. I don't want to risk my real life if things turn drekky, you know?
Can you help me find a CalFree SIN?
Yeah! I used to make fake SINs for my pals when we were teenagers so we could buy booze and adult simsense. I'll upload two fake identities for you into a bank database, and then they'll propagate to the other systems in the city. If anyone really wants to check, they'll see that there's no history associated with them, so it isn't like super-secure. But it should be totally fine if you just need to pass checkpoints. We'd better not try any more than two. That triggers an audit or something. Better stay under the radar, you know? I can upload two for ¥400. Or, if you're willing to do me a little favor, I'll do it for free!
So, we could pay 400 nuyen, pay 250 nuyen if we have the Shadowrunner Etiquette, or...
What's the favor?
There's an elf who I used to like named Tarne. We broke up a year ago, but I'm worried because I haven't heard from them in over a month. There was some chatter in the Eclipse Matrix node about Tarne, so I came here to try and figure it out. Nobody will tell me anything, but I think they're hiding it from me. If you can find out what happened, I'll give you the SIN for free.
So that's something we get to keep in mind as we keep talking to people here.
Hang on a second.
It's nice to see you again.
What do you think of Eclipse?
It's pretty great! Maybe a little less comfortable than Antumbra, but certainly more impressive, don't you think? It's interesting to see Kali combine work and pleasure so brazenly. How many places are there where you can pick up a prostitute, install a cyberarm, and hire an incredibly handsome and talented shaman, all without leaving the building? By my count there are five such places, but this is the only one outside of Tokyo.
I don't like this guy's smuggery.
What's your impression of San Francisco so far?
Not entirely what I expected, to be honest. You hear all those stories of free love and peace, then show up to discover that love costs ¥800 an hour, and peace is enforced by jackbooted thugs. Still, it's a lovely city, and hopefully will be more hospitable to dwarves like me in the future.
What skills are you offering?
You may be pleased to hear that, since I left Seattle, I've been hard at work improving my talents. In fact, I have recently added healing to my repertoire! My clients have noticed a marked increase in my effectiveness. Of course, they have to pay for the privilege. A dwarf has to eat, right? And, personally, I've developed quite a taste for kaiseki.
What do I need to hire you?
Nuyen, obviously. Also, I'll need you to scrounge up a fake SIN for me to use. Saito's goons are always looking for any excuse to lock up a dwarf like me. I have my own fakes, but we'll need one that establishes me as a local.
OK, so far, we've got a decker/rigger and a shaman we can hire. Anybody else?
What can I do for you?
What were you writing in that notebook?
[A shadow of a smile flickers across his face.]
It is a journal. Do humans not have those where you're from? Since you ask, though, I'm organizing some thoughts on the long-term social impacts of goblinization. I find it helps me to work with ideas on paper before discussing them with the world at large.
"Orion" is an interesting name for an ork.
Thank you. I chose it myself. As you may know. Orion was the hunter in Greek mythology. I consider myself a hunter in many ways. On a very literal level, I pursue my opponents and shoot them until they die. On a more abstract level, though. I aspire to be a hunter of truth, one who finds that which is real in this world, and captures it for others to see.
How is San Francisco treating you these days?
[Orion sighs softly.]
I fear that my kind are faring poorly. In the early years after the Goblinization event, this was one of the only cities on the planet to accept orks and trolls as beings of equal worth to mundane humans. More recently, though, we are increasingly reviled, blamed for any act of violence or natural disaster. Locals have taken to speaking of Orkland in the East Bay, and lately there have even been some serious proposals to forcibly relocate all orks to that city. I have no objection to living there, of course, but the idea of a purge of metahumans is deeply distressing.
Are you interested in joining me for a run?
As long as you are not planning on targeting metahumans. I will gladly join your cause for the standard fee. My one other request is that you secure a fresh California Free State SIN for my use. I fear that my current SIN has been flagged by the security forces, which makes my movement in the city very problematic.
Alright, so this guy seems to tend towards the Street Sam type. Well, let's see what else is going on here, maybe see if we can find something out about this Tarne guy.
No records found.
I guess it wouldn't be THAT easy.
Now that we've taken on the quest, we can talk to this random guy on the second floor.
I'm looking for someone named Tarne.
Try talking to Voire. He's the surly-looking elf over there in the corner.
Can I help you with something?
Are you Voire?
If you're asking that, you must already know the answer.
I'm trying to find someone named Tarne.
Yeah? And what makes you think I'd know anything about that?
We could get this for free with either the Street or Gang Etiquettes, but alas, we have neither of those. So, instead...
(¥50) Some nuyen might jog your memory.
You think you can buy me? ...well, fine. I'm not too proud to take a little something. Last I heard, Tarne connected with some other metahumans from Eclipse. They called themselves "Norton's Army" or something silly like that. That's all I know. You'll need to look into them to see what Tarne is currently doing, if anything.
And, back to the terminal.
[Research Norton's Army.]
No exact matches found. Partial match found: Imperial Army of Norton. Status: Unknown. Objectives: Unknown. Headquarters: Unknown, presumed to be located somewhere in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
Well, that's not a lot. Let's ask around some more.
Looks like The Dave knows.
I'm looking for an elf named Tarne.
[The Dave turns to a nearby terminal and runs a search, muttering as he does so.]
Hm, Tarne... all the records I can find are at least a week old. I can try to broaden the search, but I'll need some extra parameters. Do you have any other information that may be helpful?
Try 'Norton's Army'.
Ah, that did it. It looks like Tarne may have picked up a new alias. I'm seeing some new records for 'Atta' appear at the same time that 'Tarne' disappeared, and 'Atta' is associated with the term Norton. That's all I can find out from my rig here. I think there's a public terminal somewhere around here that you should be able to use to dig up more information.
And right back to the terminal.
Wanted by San Francisco military authorities for suspected sedition. Current whereabouts unknown. Presumed to be in hiding.
That should be all we need.
Tarne went undercover and is on the run from Saito.
Oh! Well, thanks for letting me know. It could be worse: I was half-afraid that I'd need to host a funeral. So many metahumans have been disappearing lately. All right, I'll get to work immediately! They should be in place by the time you leave Eclipse.
Alright, so that's about it for this update, because we now have to answer a question - how does Kami prepare for this run, and who does she take along? This isn't a formal vote, more of that "thread is Kami's conscience" thing I mentioned in the OP. So if there's a general sentiment we should look into getting cyberware, or that we should take one of those three runners in particular (we will be taking one along - not taking one is not an option, because that will be very rough), and should we go with the cheap SINs or spring for the premium ones.
For reference, Hailey will cost 600 nuyen to bring along, Dalmin wants 750, and Orion wants 650.
So, what now?