Part 8: Update VIII - The Mission MissionUpdate VIII - The Mission Mission
Alright, we're back in Eclipse, and we're in a hurry.
Here's all the discretionary cash I have left. Hire a runner, equip yourself, and get out of here!
And with that, we get 1500 nuyen.
Have you had any luck finding more help?
I'm still working my way up the chains of command. No corp wants to make the first move, in case this turns out to be a trap. It will take time to convince them that they face a true city-wide threat, and I'm not sure how much time we have.
Now, let's chat everybody up.
Are you okay?
I'm... fine. Mostly. I'm worried about my friends, my family, my city. I don't know what's going to happen, but this whole place feels like Mount Diablo in the middle of summer. All it would take is a single spark to set the whole thing up in flames. It just feels like nothing good can come of this, right? I mean, in the best case, the bad guy dies before he does too much more harm. But that's it. No hope of getting rid of Saito, or making a decent life for the metahumans here. I dunno. If we succeed. I want my next job to be something that actually builds people up instead of blowing them apart.
What do you know about the Mission District?
Well, you've been there before. It's actually a pretty cool place, if for no other reason than because the marines typically stay far away. Of course, today that will actually be a bad thing. You'll probably need to enter in around 16th street, where the old BART station used to be. Make your way north from there. Shavarus must be hiding out in the abandoned Armory: that place was literally built as a fortress, and it's the only reason I can think of why they would be meeting in the district. I used to visit the Armory to, ah, take in the sights. It has a... complicated history. Be ready to see some nasty stuff inside.
I met a man named Emperor Norton in Colma.
[Necalli listens intently, never blinking while you describe your strange experiences in the Colma cemetery.]
How utterly fascinating. The original Emperor Norton was a madman, but a madman who was beloved by this city and left a lasting mark on culture around the world. I wonder if this new Norton is seeking to imitate his predecessor, or if some spirit was responsible for both of their missions? Such intervention was not unheard of during the fifth world. We should keep a careful eye on your friend. I sense he has a larger role to play in all of this than we can see yet.
I need help taking down a rogue metahuman named Shavarus.
I believe I can help with that. Don't look shocked: I wouldn't have survived as long as I have without acquiring a vast network of contacts from all walks of life. I'll use my channels to find others who have been wronged by Shavarus. It will take some time, but with luck allies will arrive before you confront Shavarus.
That'll probably come in handy.
The city is doomed!
Whoa, that sounds heavy! You're going to save us, right? Nothing against your skills, but I'm sure you could use some help. I think there are still a couple of runners around who could pitch in. Also, if you've made any friends, you might want to put out a call for assistance. It takes a village to kill a villain, right?
Typically we'd wait until the end of the month to pay out royalties. However, since I didn't pay you an advance to start, and, frankly, there's a good chance you'll be dead by tomorrow, I wanted to pay you now.
And we get a whopping 2500 nuyen. Nice.
In the unlikely event that you make it out of this alive, come look me up. We have a great shot at putting together an entire album.
Sure, why not? There are worse ways to become a revolutionary icon than by becoming a celebrity first. Got to reach people first before you radicalize them.
That sounds fun!
I'm shutting down Antumbra until this all blows over. Our mission is to provide distractions, and I won't want to distract anyone from fighting the threat this city faces. Ganbatte kudasai. We're all counting on you.
Basically, this just means "the upper levels are off limits, everybody is downstairs instead".
What do you think about everything that's been happening recently?
I will not claim a perfect understanding of all events that have transpired, and certainly not the motivations of the individuals who have promulgated this particular strain of violent rebellion. However, the broad strokes are instantly recognizable to any student of history. Any time when a small and powerful minority holds dominion over a large and poor majority, revolution inevitably follows. The degree of suffering may vary, but cannot be avoided. Were I in Shavarus's position, I would undoubtedly have followed a different course. Cloaking oneself in schemes and conspiracies merely complicates operations, and makes it more difficult to spread the message about your aims. And make no mistake: the ultimate purpose will be to convince all metahumans to follow in his path.
What's the word on the street?
General distress. Very few people know the details of Shavarus and his operations, but news of a schism in Emperor Norton's organization are spreading rapidly. Metahumans are rightfully fearful that any violence, regardless of the instigator, will prompt a widespread crackdown even more severe than what they have already experienced. A day of general expulsion may not be too far off.
Well, let's see what happens when we also hit the streets.
If you ever need to visit the Embarcadero again, and want some more assistance, just contact me. I know a lot of guards in that area who will look the other way for a small fee, or watch your back for a larger charge. Can I get you anything?
Any advice for invading the Mission District?
Wow. Well, if your quarry knows the territory, he's probably holed up inside the Armory. You can't miss it, it's the huge brick fortress at the corner of 14th and Mission. That place is probably the most defensible spot in the city, and because it's in the middle of a metahuman slum, Saito and the megacorps never bothered occupying it.
You'd better contact your lawyers, because I'm going to sue you for copyright infringement on the new hot chromatic metal star, Revolutionary Hero Kaminari.
What can Dalmin do for you today?
How is the shaman life treating you?
Not too shabbily. Supporting shamans are all the rage these days, so I find I've been able to command a higher premium. Which, in turn, helps fund what I hope will one day be my opulent lifestyle. Until then, though, I need to keep in shape and keep my skills sharp. It helps to keep on warm terms with good old Coyote, and I like to let the elements know that they're appreciated. Nothing's worse than summoning a being of pure fire in the heat of battle, only to have it turn around and burn all your friends. I don't want to make that mistake again!
So, now we need to figure out how to prepare. As for the runner we're taking, Orion and Hailey both want 750 nuyen, while Dalmin wants 1200, which, uh, no. We probably also need to get some gear of some kind.
First, spending some Karma. We get Chi Casting up to 4 so we can equip Stride, which boosts our movement passively, boost Melee Weapons to 3 so we hit better, and boost Dodge to 3 to get hit less. Of course, we also go and buy Stride. Would be pretty dumb if we didn't! Now, we still have about 4000 nuyen left over, which means it's time to splurge on something special.
Cyberware! Now, since you lose Essence for getting chromed up, it's a bit of a balancing act for a PhysAd, but I think that it's definitely possible to get some and still be perfectly fine on the magic side. In fact, my previous PhysAd that I played through the Dragonfall campaign with, Enflamme, ended up with a grand total of 1 Essence. She was chromed to the gills and still an absolute murdering machine. Now, here, we're getting something absolutely great - Ares Dermal Plating. At the cost of 1.5 Essence and 2500 nuyen, it gives us a flat +2 to Armor, meaning Kami now has 8 Armor out of a maximum of 10. Kami is going to be a fucking *tank*, which is good for someone who regularly just storms into enemy fire to slash the shit out of them.
Also, we're going to hire Orion again. He and Kami made a great team last time, and their character philosophies gel more than with Hailey. Let's head out!
So, we basically show up where we left the Mission district the last time, and we're going to go in reverse now.
We quickly run into marines, and Kami shows that that new armor was worth it, taking a grand total of 4 HP in damage from a direct hit from a shotgun blast. Pistol and assault rifle shots just straight ping off of her right now. It's fantastic.
And on our turn, she basically just splats one enemy every round if one is in range like an unflinching machine of death.
Like, just look at this!
Some metahuman gangers ambush us along the way. They, uh, don't fare well.
Same goes for this other group of gangers, though one actually manages to get lucky and score some crits on Kami.
These Tir guys that show up are also kind of tricky, since they manage to stun Kami for a round, but we get out of it without using any more resources.
And that brings us to the Armory.
I know what you're asking. Yes, the historic San Francisco Armory was indeed used as a BDSM focused porn studio. For twelve whole years, in fact.
Not everyone in the Mission is under Shavarus's thumb, you know. Plenty of us remain loyal to Emperor Norton. Shavarus has it all wrong. We metas need to show the breeders that we're better than them, not that we'll stoop to their level. We're building a better society, in Orkland and in Halferville and all around their privileged little city. Heh, it feels good to be launching a raid on this place. And, who knows, we might be able to find some supplies or munitions along the way. All the better to prepare for a hopeless battle, eh?
I mean, I'm not sure how I feel about this "show them we're better than them" thing, I most definitely wouldn't be opposed to fighting dirty in a conflict like this, but whatever, we'll take the help.
I am glad to have your help.
Now, let's go save their sorry skins! Ha, won't that embarrass the corps!
So, this adds somebody with a shotgun and a hellhound to our roster. We're lopsided as fuck, but whatever, who cares.
The next room holds four Tir enemies, and we basically just storm in and attack.
Also, the room holds some supplies for us, which is very welcomed. There's also a jack-in spot we could've used if we had a decker, but meh, I don't think it's that important.
Next up, we see a lot of medical beds that seem to have seen better days, but nothing else here.
And in the next room, ZOMBIES!
Now, the gimmick of this fight is that there are crystals to smash. Every crystal that is not smashed will summon a new ghoul every round.
I figured I was done after cleaning out the last room, but alas, I was wrong. Turns out there were two more crystals in the previous room to smash.
The last one in particular had a bit of a buildup, given that it took me a while to get there. Thankfully, these ghouls don't deal a lot of damage to Kami, so she can just run in and smash the crystal, then take her time carving up everybody.
Once we destroy the last crystal, the door to the next area unlocks.
In that area, we get to deal with some more Tir, but then, our greatest foe yet emerges:
THE BRIDGE! I'm not kidding, by the way. This thing cost me more time than any combat here. Why is it such a problem? Well, it has a security feature.
If you step on specific tiles, you get shoved back and lose 2 HP. You basically have no recourse but trial and error to figure this out. Thankfully, the damage taken is pretty limited, and the steps you need to take aren't that complicated.
And the first one that gets across can disable the system, so everybody else can just run across.
In a quiet moment, Orion has some hard hitting questions for us. Let's get rabbinical in this and just return the question with a question of our own. I read The Shivah, I know how this works.
How about you, Orion? You've killed plenty of metas yourself.
Given the choice, I prefer killing humans, but it hardly matters in the big scheme of things. A hundred years from now, there will be no more humans, and only metas left to kill. We need to get used to it now because it will be the way of the future. I appreciate your insight. Now, the time for conversation is at an end. Let us turn to action!
That's a philosophical way of looking at it.
Pretty soon after this, we're hit with a loading screen, even though we didn't hit any transition point - we were just in the middle of a hallway. Oh well.
I get the feeling we're not going to make friends with whoever is past this bridge.
Looks like we interrupted a conversation in progress.
Of COURSE I do! Do you think your lives have any meaning compared to the thousands, the millions, that will be lost should Saito decide to march north? Are you really so petty, so selfish, as to think that living a few measly more years would be worth dooming your entire nation?
Certainly not, but the waste...
Silence! I see we have visitors. Ah, Kami. I thought I heard a rat scurrying through these tunnels. I've been planning how to best dispose of you for some time now. As soon as our work here is done, perhaps we can retire to the facilities together. I could learn a great deal from your innards. Well, hero? Any valiant last words?
Well, first of all, we can notice something because we're smart.
(Etiquette: Academic) Are you trying to turn water elementals against this city?
Not trying. Succeeding. Mission Creek is the oldest waterway still flowing in the city. It's long been buried and forgotten, but here in this place, near the graves of Mission Dolores and under the extreme agonies and ecstacies of the Armory, it is imbued with a most potent power. From this spot, and with the help of my allies, we will be able to reach a limitless number of water elementals. We merely need describe the contours of the Hetch Hetchy water system to them, and they will gladly wreak havoc upon it. No more water will be unnaturally conveyed to San Francisco ever again. This city will die of thirst, or be abandoned. Regardless, it will serve as an eternal rebuke and warning: those who cross us will lose all they treasure, even the most basic gifts of life itself.
Why are you doing this?
Must you really ask? Are you blind? Have you noticed nothing during your time here in this city? This place is poison. Mankind has proven themselves to be intolerable. We must cleanse the poison, by removing humanity from this wound of a city. Yes, many more will die. So be it. All will learn to respect the metas, and so we will come into our own power, free from fear.
Alas, we could've been comrades in arms, but this is just going too far.
We could have been friends, Shavarus.
I find that hard to believe. Trolls like me have no friends. Only allies and enemies, and I don't think you have the stomach to do what needs to be done. Enough talk! You will witness our triumph, or you will die.
And we have ourselves a fight. Now, here's the gimmick for this fight. There are three enemy classes - there is Shavarus himself, there's two Tir mages, and then there's the rest of the Tir grunts. You can't harm Shavarus if the mages are alive, and you can't harm the mages if the rest of the grunts are alive. So you have to take the enemies out in order.
So we take out the grunts...
...then the mages fall, leaving Shavarus vulnerable. And at that point, he can't put up much of a fight, with focused fire from Kami and Orion taking him out.
Just... stop. I beg of you. Do not kill me.
Don't think you can trick me.
The summoning is in motion. Even as we speak, the elementals are gathering their power to strike. If you kill me now, they will finish their appointed task. Spare me, and I swear to you in the name of all metahumans, I will call them off.
I don't trust you.
Were our roles reversed, I would feel mistrustful as well. I know not how I can prove my fidelity. Simply ask yourself: is the life of one troll, even one you hate, worth the lives of everyone in this city?
So, we need to make a decision. Do we let Shavarus live, believing him when he says he'll stop the summoning? Or do we just kill him? Well, I gave it a think, and I came to the decision that Kami would probably take the chance in letting him live, because you can't really take the gamble that he's not bluffing and causing San Francisco to get deserted, literally. Besides, it's going to come out that he was behind this shit, and that means everybody that has a vested interest in San Francisco will be trying to kill him anyway - both corps and Saito. And if he's bullshitting, he knows damn well we'd be going after him again. So let's let him go and hope for the best.
Very well. Leave, and stop them.
I... I must admit to feeling surprise. You have shown such tenacity to pursue me here, I did not think that you would give up at the last moment. I am good to my word, and will call off the elementals. Do not mistake this for an act of alliance, however. If we meet again, I swear, I will kill you.
I mean, the feeling is mutual. So, Shavarus casts some sort of spell and runs off...
...and *finally*, we can grab what we've been trying to get all this time.
And with the Azzie paydata secured, it's time to head back to Eclipse and hope like hell we didn't fuck up.
This job ended up being more than I'd bargained for.
It turned out bigger than any of us had thought. I'm wearing two hats today, Kami. First, let me put on my Mr. Johnson hat and congratulate you on a job well done. We pay for results, not for efforts, and your efforts in pursuit of this result were truly extraordinary. Any corp would be lucky to have your services, and I imagine you'll be seeing a lot more work in the future. But I'd also like to speak to you as a San Franciscan. While this city is all about money and power, it's made out ofpeople and dreams. Saito and the corps don't understand that, but they would have found out very quickly if you hadn't managed to interrupt Shavarus when you did. This has always been a city for the free, the wild, the crazy, the ambitious, the creators. That energy still pulses now, even under the heel of Saito's boot. One day, that boot will be removed, and decades' worth of pent-up spirit will pour out. I hope you like creative accolades, because I think you'll receive many once the citizens realize what you've done. So, from the bottom of my heart, and from the bottom of my employer's bank accounts: thank you. We are in your debt.
Well, looks like we didn't fuck up. Now, we get to chat with everybody else and wrap this job up, so let's roll.
Looks like I saved the day again.
And made me even richer than before. I understand that I have you to thank for Eclipse's newfound independence. Saito is incensed by Shavarus's escape. He's marshaled every marine under his command and ordered them to drop everything until they apprehend him. Saito wants to capture Shavarus for a public execution, to demonstrate the price of rebellion. With all of that activity, he is far too busy to worry about my little operation here. That means a freer hand for me to expand Eclipse, and, incidentally, my benefactor's operations. So! What can I do for the woman of the hour?
Let's get some updates.
How are the corps reacting?
They're trying to hide their embarrassment. Combined, Mitsuhama, Renraku, Fuchi and Shiawase control an absolute majority of the planet's wealth and power. Despite that, their crown jewel of a city was nearly destroyed from underneath them. As you might expect, they're busily trying to shift the blame onto one another or to Saito. There will probably be some major turnover on the corporate boards before this all blows over. And, of course, turnover always creates opportunities for the ambitious.
How is my chromatic metal track doing?
It was doing well before. Now that you have a front-page story to attach to it... well, the sky's the limit. You'll need to hire a manager just to handle all the endorsement deals. Stick with me, Kami. and you might become more famous as a musician than a shadowrunner. That is, if that's the life you want.
Now, we can ask for one of three things from Kali. Another song, some cash, or for her to just leave us alone. And I'm definitely on the train to turn Kami into a superstar, so let's continue that collaboration.
How about a song?
You got it! It feels good to perform again. I'm looking forward to sharing this with a friend.
[Shake his hand]
[Unsurprisingly, Orion's grasp is firm and unhesitating.]
And so the time has come to part ways.
Where are you going?
My monograph is complete, backed by primary sources from the recent conflict here in San Francisco. I plan to embark on a grand tour of the Bay Area metahuman communities: Orkland, Halferville, any place where my brothers and sisters are gathering to escape the oppression of their human overseers.
What will you do next?
Witnessing Shavarus's quest has proven most instructive. One cannot simply embark on such an ambitious venture with nothing but passion and powerful allies. No: it will take an entire movement, with not just the fighters and the mages, but fathers and daughters, shopkeepers and scholars, all rising up in unison to overthrow their oppressors.
And that's what we'll be trying to build.
Even so. Knowing you has proven most instructive. I wish you good fortune in your future ventures.
Exhausted, more like. Just the thought of all that activity makes my head spin.
You just can't hang with the *real* runners.
I'm amazed that you survived all of that. Hey, if you ever need a shaman, don't hesitate to give me a buzz. I like runners who know how to stay alive. It greatly increases my own chances of living, and I've discovered that I quite enjoy this life.
Yeah, I think we'll pass on that. We know a better Shaman now.
Any last words?
That sounds morbid, Dalmin.
You're right, it does. Then again, we're in a morbid line of work, are we not? I hope you live to a ripe old age, Kami, and I suggest you develop a healthy paranoia if you want to reach it.
Are you going somewhere?
Indeed I am. Back to Seattle I go! This has been quite an adventure, and the pay is nothing to sneeze at, but oddly enough I find myself missing the rain. And, I never would have thought I'd be saying this, but after spending so much time under the boot of the Imperial Marines, I'm finding our old-fashioned Lone Star police positively friendly.
Well, so long.
[Dalmin embraces you in a brief hug.]
Take care of yourself, Kami. I have a feeling that life is only going to grow more interesting for you.
I'm proud of you!
What will you do now?
I'm going to visit my family. I haven't seen them in a while, and after all that's happened, I think we have a lot to catch up on. Mom and Dad have never really accepted the emergence of metahumans, and I've realized that if we want to make real changes in the city, we'll need to win over the quiet people like them, not just oppose the loud bullies like Saito.
Any more plans for decking?
It's funny you would ask... I just found a node for the Sacramento government. Most matrix security focuses on keeping data from leaving, so I'm going to shove as much data in there as I can. More specifically, I want to upload every detail I can about how Saito and Shavarus came close to destroying San Francisco. With any luck, that will shame the Governor into revoking his invitation, and we can properly rejoin CalFree again.
Have you heard from Tarne?
Yes! Thanks again for your help with that. We had a long chat and... well, I'm not going to travel to Tir Tairngire, you know? But we're staying friends. Everything's fine.
Well, that's good to hear.
Oh, don't worry, Kami. I'm not going too far. This place is my home, and I intend to stay and make it an even better place.
Anybody else here?
You have earned yourself a boon, good ma'am. What would you have of us?
We'll be picking that in a bit, but first, some questions.
What does the Emperor plan next?
Why, to consolidate our empire, of course! We have already dispatched twenty imperial decrees since returning to San Francisco, and have been pleased to note that the local merchants and functionaries have immediately honored them. Most of all, we intend to improve the lives of all our subjects. The naked oppression shown to metahumans is simply disgraceful, and we shall remedy their condition with all tools at our disposal. Fortunately, more and more loyal subjects stand ready to do our bidding every day.
What will you do about Saito?
Saito himself shall be banished. As for his marines, we intend to display our gracious nature. Should any individual renounce their allegiance to Saito and pledge him or herself to the betterment of California, we shall welcome them as one of our own. In time, we shall integrate them with the rest of our people, building a stronger empire for all.
Alright, now, for our boon, we get a choice between cash, a title, or taking nothing and calling him a crazy old man. And since it seems Norton's got quite some clout with San Franciscans, it would probably do our quest to become a revolutionary icon good to be bestowed a title by him.
I wish a title, your majesty.
You well deserve it! Very well. You may kneel.
By the power invested in us by... ourself, we hereby grant Kami the title Lady of the Mission, with all rights and responsibilities thereunto. From this day forth you shall hold responsibility for her people, and shall share in their triumphs. Now rise, Lady Kami! Your subjects await! Fare thee well!
I'm not sure accepting a title of nobility is entirely in character for somebody who walks around with a baseball cap with the anarchist symbol on it, but I think out of all the imperialist systems that exist in this world, Norton's empire is probably one of the most benign out there, and hey, the world of Shadowrun makes strange bedfellows of people.
Now, let's finish this section.
[Saito's already-notorious paranoia increases yet further as he begins to see plots and schemes in every gathering of metahumans. Civil war appears inevitable. The only question remaining is which side will strike first. However, news quietly spreads of a runner whose quick actions and wise decisions helped prevent an even worse fate. By dealing with the devil at the last moment, the runner saved the life of the city and all those living within it. Who was this runner? The orks and dwarves of the city speak warmly of an ally, one who stood by their side even when the odds looked grim, someone who was willing to risk their own safety on behalf of the disenfranchised. In a time when few individuals of any race dared to question Saito, this shadowrunner proved that resistance was not merely possible, but laudable. Word of the runner spreads from San Francisco to CalFree and beyond. The world's most powerful megacorporations and militaries had seemed helpless to prevent a terrorist strike at the heart of their empire, but this runner succeeded where they failed, acting swiftly and decisively. Their fame continued to spread as countless corps and other groups sought them. Fame does not suit one who runs in the shadows, though, and so the shadowrunner ran. and ran, and ran...]
And with this, we finished the second section of three - "Eclipse". You might think this means we're going to be done with this mod soon, but not quite so quick - the third section, "Corona", is definitely the longest, which makes sense for somebody who has been continually improving while creating these sections.
So, next time, we begin the final chapter, and things are going to escalate quite a bit.