Part 9: Update IX - We're In The Army NowUpdate IX - We're In The Army Now
Alright, time to head into the third and final segment of this mod. Looks like we've just making due in the bumfuck nowhere of CalFree, but it looks like we're about to be thrown into something a lot larger.
So, here we are in the middle of nowhere. There are some vans standing around, and we can loot one of them, which contains one advanced medkit, a flashbang and some Nitro (+2 Strength and Willpower, -2 Charisma and Intelligence, for 5 rounds). However, not much further down the road, we find our past crashing back into us.
It's good to see you again, Emperor Norton.
And you as well! We had feared that our enemies might have slain you before my timely arrival.
What aid do you require?
War is coming, Kami! A confrontation so violent that it will make that incident with Shavarus look like a promenade! Kali has sent me to....
Oh fuck, remember this guy? Alas, we can do pretty much nothing when it comes to spirits.
Norton, do something!
Indeed, that is what the situation demands! Begone, foul spirit, and oppress my loyal subject no further!
[Norton screws his face into an expression even more wildly contorted than usual. Defiant pride rapidly transforms into shock, then anger, then fear.]
It is no use! We thought our power over such beings unmatched, but something binds this being too strongly to our plane!
FOOLISH. AND POINTLESS. DO NOT RESIST DEATH'S EMBRACE. COME, MY EMBERS. FLOCK TO ME.
[The spirit pauses briefly. angling its form slightly away from you. After a moment a nimbus of flame flares out and quickly vanishes.]
MY ALLY REQUIRES ASSISTANCE. THE EMBERS SHALL COMPLETE THE JOB. FAREWELL. FAREWELL. FAREWELL.
Well, thankfully we won't have to deal with that flame spirit. Still, it left some enemies behind for us to fight.
So THIS is what that gypsy woman meant!
[Norton lets out a long, high whistle.]
Bummer! Lazarus! Come here, boys!
So, we have three enemies, and have Kami, Norton and two dogs at our disposal. Bummer has a skill that gives all allies within 3 squares of him +2 movement for 2 rounds. Lazarus can petrify an enemy (causes the enemy to lose all AP) and can cast different fireballs, one AOE and one directly targeted.
Kami does take some damage in the fight, but since Norton can heal, we're never in much danger and dispatch the three spirits.
This brings back memories of our fight in Colma.
We expected no less valor from our Lady of the Mission. Would that all our subjects com ported themselves so well!
You did rather well yourself, Emperor.
We thank you for your kind words. In truth, we detest any sort of violence, but recognize that circumstances sometimes dictate a direct intervention. We pride ourself on identifying worthy allies and then doing our utmost to support them. Now, before that frightful spirit interrupted us, we were about to discuss important matters of state with you. We have traveled this state for many weeks, and have been alarmed to discover that its great borders have been much curtailed. Of course, Pueblo has long held the southern and eastern reaches, but a grave threat now presses down from the north. The elves of Tir Tairngire, who aided Shavarus in his plot against San Francisco, are mobilizing to invade and conquer the state.
California cannot hope to stand against such an assault. The wealth of San Francisco and Los Angeles have been lost, and the so-called leaders in Sacramento cannot even maintain the land they claim to control, let alone defend it from outsiders. The Free State is doomed, Kami, and only our imperial leadership can possibly save it. Kali has recognized this need, and sent envoys to try and locate you. You have demonstrated an ability to prevail against overwhelming odds, and may be able to buy California the time it needs. Will you come to our aid?
So basically: The elves are coming, and we're essentially fucked, please help.
What is Kali doing these days?
Colonel Saito flew into a frenzy after Shavarus escaped, and loosened his grip on San Francisco's society while directing the hunt into the California Free State. Kali took advantage of the opportunity to expand operations, and Antumbra Enterprises has become the largest private landholder in the city. While Sacramento no longer has any control over San Francisco, the fates of the city and state are still bound to one another. Kali sees more clearly than Saito, the governor, or any of the megacorps, and understands that an invasion by Tir would be disastrous to the people and economy of this state. She's doing all she can to convince greater powers to intervene, and in the meantime, she is searching for any opportunity to thwart Tir's ambitions.
I'm confused. Who exactly is in charge here?
Of course, as Emperor of UCAS and Protector of Aztlan, we are the supreme ruler of these lands. We have delegated responsibility over daily decisions, however, so we may apply our attention more directly to those areas requiring our wisdom. Kali, like many other enlightened residents of San Francisco, pay us our due respect, and we are only too happy to support her in our imperial endeavors.
I guess fighting against an invading imperialist force would be a pretty great feather to have in the cap of a would-be revolutionary hero. Let's do this.
What do you need me to do?
Shadowrunners are often tasked with destroying something. We need you to do the opposite: create a force that can shield our state against the storm that's fast approaching.
That sounds like a noble goal, but not a possible one.
Dear child, we have seen more impossible things accomplished in our lifetime than you could ever imagine. Fear not! The task, while immense, may not be so great as you fear. You will be forming a guerilla force, one that can move lightly, strike quickly, and harry the elves. If we were to field an army, Tir would unleash their magic against us. But by remaining hidden, you will be able to cut their supply lines, disrupt their communications, and distract their attention. In the worst case scenario, if the invasion proceeds, you will help lead the insurgents continuing the struggle against Tir.
Aw yeah, it's time for some motherfucking guerrilla warfare baby!
We do not mean to imply that this will be easy. It is a dangerous task, and will require many resources. Kali will provide you with a foundation: a hideout in Redding, some starting funds, equipment and contacts. From there, you will be responsible for charting the course ofyour group. You must decide who to recruit, what allies to accept, where to acquire additional armaments, how aggressively to act. The mission is difficult, but you have proven your mettle time and again. Can we count on you in this, our hour of greatest need?
Now, we could point out that it's fairly clear that we're not the only one Norton asked for help, but alas, we're too stupid to do that (we'd need 3 Intelligence, but only have 2). So, we just roll with it.
Tell Kali I'll be glad to work by her side.
Excellent! I shall notify her people immediately. She will be delighted to know that you are on our team. Now, come! We have selected a fine base in the nearby city of Redding. It lies close to the border with Tir, and will be a perfect location for the tasks ahead. Excelsior!
Well, here we are in our lair. It... uh, could be looking more impressive. But there's somebody here!
[He notices your approach and lowers his voice.]
The boss is here. I'll call you later.
[Rolling his eyes. the troll closes the commlink.]
Who are you?
The name's Tomas. Tomas Benton. Pleased to meet you.
[Tomas has a firm. confident handshake.]
I'll be helping you manage the influx of new arrivals to your base. Those who can fight, we're training, equipping, and organizing. Those who can't, we're assigning duties as medics, drivers, quartermasters, technicians.
Who were you talking to?
Our good friend Kali.
I shouldn't complain: she's done more than anyone else so far to get our operation up and running. But she's never been here, and I don't think she understands just how crucial the logistics of our supply line are. It doesn't matter how many people you rally to your banner, if you can't equip them, they'll fade away.
How are the preparations going?
It's early days yet. We just have a handful of people here, mostly personal friends of me and Selene. We don't stand a chance against Tir, but it's a pretty solid core to build around. You should start spreading the word about what we're doing here to get more people to come out here and join up with us.
Alright, cool. Let's see what else is going on.
Oh hey, more people!
Who are you?
You can call me Selene, ma'am. I'm pleased to make your acquaintance.
What do you do here?
I'm the quartermaster. I accept all shipments for incoming goods and munitions, keep records of our inventory, approve or deny requests for consumption, and when supplies are running low I contact my superior officer. That would be you, ma'am.
What's your opinion of conditions in the camp?
Well, as you can see, we're just barely getting off the ground. We have enough food to last the week, and the guns that people brought in with themselves. That's about it.
How can I get some more supplies to prepare for this war?
Right now, the major problem I'm seeing is that the resources being dispatched here from the San Francisco Bay Area just aren't arriving. You have a major problem with gangs on the old Interstate Five freeway south of Redding. Waterjackers and worse are picking off convoys before they can reach our perimeter. I have a colleague patrolling the area, a good man named Rick. Please look him up if you're ever in that area. If you work together, you might be able to strengthen that supply chain.
Now, in essence, this segment presents us with a lot of problems, and we need to figure out which we want to tackle first and how. This is the first of our problems.
Oh hey, we know you!
I've just opened this new store as our first location outside of San Francisco. Amelia's Armaments is a name you can trust: trust my armor to stop a bullet, and trust my bullets to pierce the other lady's armor. What can I get you?
Do you believe these rumors of war?
Honey, war isn't a rumor, it's a certainty. Tir has dropped so much dough into its armaments that it can't afford not to go to war. They're still sore over getting driven back from Redding in 2037, and have spent the past sixteen years plotting how to reclaim that territory. They'll be sweeping in with overwhelming force. Come to think of it, it won't be a war at all. It'll be a slaughter.
Uh, then why are you on *this* side of the border?
Well, the elves don't need any more guns. Like I just said, they already have plenty!
So you think that we're going to lose?
In the short term, absolutely! Look, even if Kali could somehow convince the megacorps and Saito and Sacramento to all join forces together, it would still be no match for a concerted assault from Tir. In reality, all of those players are looking out for their own interests and don't trust the others, so none of them are likely to commit any resources until it's too late. In the long run, though, you may have a chance. Don't forget, Tir successfully invaded before, and guerillas like you managed to drive them back. An insurgency is nasty, brutal, soul-destroying work, but it can get the job done, Resistance lasts for years, though, which will mean enormous profits for me. You see how this works? Tir's fighting for a cause, you're fighting for survival, and I'm collecting the benefit.
Wonderful. Anyway, her assortment of stuff is the same as before, so nothing new for us.
Look, I got fetishes too, but I don't go parading them out in public!
Got any leads on jobs in the area?
Hm... not a job, exactly, but there's a problem that could use your attention. You'll be shocked to learn this, but I'm an ork. Lots of folks in Redding are metas: trogs, dwarves, even a lot of elves, oddly enough. Everyone tends to get along pretty well. We keep our heads down and mind our own business. Now that Tir's threatening to invade, though, the mood is getting ugly. A group of hard-core racists calling themselves Native Californians have started terrorizing local elves: throwing rocks through the windows of their stores, beating them on the streets. Last week they even burned a house to the ground, with three little kids inside. Human scum. If I was you, I'd try to nip their spree before it gets even worse. They'll be turning against us trogs next, and you won't be able to use Redding as a base if we're all fighting each other.
I'll make sure nobody commits violence in Redding without my permission.
Like it or not, you're the law in Redding now. Time to crack some skulls. One of my customers saw what looked like a camp out by Shasta Dam. They might be gathering over there. Please check it out.
Indeed. So this is our second problem to deal with.
Be honest: just how good is your gear?
The best you'll find in town, that's for sure! I mean, I can't compete against the merchants in Pueblo or Tir. The materials in those 'traditional' areas are way more potent. Still, my stuff will hold up just fine against Tir Tairngire's assault, if that's what you're wondering.
She has the same stuff we could get from the last guy, so nothing to buy here either.
You look familiar. Have we met before?
[He takes a closer look at your features.]
Yeah... maybe? You were in Antumbra the night everything went down, weren't you? Back then I was just a nobody running the bar. You might have bought a drink or two from me.
[He shakes his head slightly in bemusement.]
What a strange world we live in, huh? I was just hoping to earn a few extra nuyen to expand my music collection, and just happened to end up on top of an emerging site of power. Who would have thought that we would end up hundreds of miles south, across the border from a nation of homicidal elves?
What kind of 'stuff' do you have?
Anything I can move. That Amelia chick has locked up the market on armaments, and I can't tell a fetish from a totem, so I've been pushing pills, medkits, electronics, whatever I can get my hands on. I've been studying implantation techniques, too, and hope to start a business as a street doc. I'm not ready quite yet, but should be in the near future, so save your nuyen if you're planning to have work done.
So Horatio here replaces The Dave and does everything he did.
We have two more rooms to check out. This one has Norton.
Do you know where I could recruit some more soldiers?
Indeed we do! You may recall that our imperial army-in-exile resides in the cemeteries of Colma. We had to leave them behind during the reconnaissance stage of our mission, but now that this new outpost is established, it would be wise to combine our forces. After you have prepared the base for their arrival, we suggest that you travel to the peninsula and meet with them. We shall contact the officers and instruct them to await your arrival.
So, here's our third problem to deal with.
What's your opinion of our camp so far?
A fine start! Of course, it won't stand a ghost of a chance against an invading Tir army, but what you do have here is valuable: a seed, an egg, a core that has the potential to grow into something astonishing. For now, yes, it is just a camp or a base, but who knows? Perhaps this will grow into a thriving community before you know it!
Finally, here's our command center.
Let's call Kali and see what's shaking down there.
[The screen goes blank for a few moments, then lights up as you are patched directly into Kali's personal vidscreen.]
[Kali's face still retains the youthful vigor and cheerful ambition of her former career as a musician. Only a few faint creases revealthe stresses she feels now as a corporate executive trying to prevent an upcoming war.]
I wanted to personally thank you for choosing to stand beside me. I know it's an unusual request to make of a shadowrunner like yourself, and I won't take your assistance for granted. Now, what can I do for you?
We have quite a few things we can ask Kali. But first, the most important question.
How's my music career going?
It's been wavy! You shot high up the charts when your single first dropped, then got another boost after your face was plastered over every trivid screen from the Shavarus incident. That was a few months ago, though, so sales have definitely dropped way off. We need to get you back in the booth soon! If you don't regularly produce fresh content, your fans will forget all about you. That reminds me: here's your last royalty payment. This will probably be the end of your revenue unless you drop a fresh track to kick sales back into gear.
We get another 700 nuyen, which isn't a lot, but hey, it helps.
We could use some more funding from Mitsuhama.
I agree. I've been working with all the Japanese corps here - not just Mitsuhama, but also Renraku, Shiawase, Fuchi. Yamatetsu. I've convinced them of the urgency of the threat, but they disagree on the best method for stopping it. I want you to come to San Francisco. I think that if they meet you in person, and hear about the work you're doing to stand against the Tir invasion, they'll be prepared to loosen the purse strings and invest in our endeavor.
This is our fourth problem to deal with.
Do you have any leads for other missions?
You should ask around the base if you haven't already. I'm not as familiar with the Central Valley as I am with San Francisco, but I'm sure that there are opportunities out there to strengthen your position.
How is Hailey doing?
Our young lady is growing into the formidable decker! I've given her several infiltration jobs, and she's pulled them off with aplomb. She still loves tinkering with those drones of hers, too. She was asking about you the other day. I think she misses going out into the field for shadowruns. You should look her up when you come to San Francisco, I'm sure she'd love to travel with you again.
Have you heard from Orion lately?
That's the scholar-warrior ork, right? We were never exactly close, as you might expect. The last I heard, he was heading south... something about spreading the word and building a movement, if memory serves.
Is Dalmin still in San Francisco?
No, he headed back for Seattle around the same time you left the city. He complained that our fog just wasn't as good as the kind he could get up north. Strange little guy.
Do you have any contacts I can make use of?
Hailey has been very helpful. I've hired her as my personal decker here in San Francisco. If you're looking for a skilled decker to join your team, I recommend making the trip out here to pick her up.
Now, some quick housekeeping. We've got some Karma left over, and I spend it on increasing our Strength and Close Combat to be able to hit better.
Now, I think it's time for you in the thread to make some decisions again. First of all, what will our first task be? We have the following options:
- Head to San Francisco and convince the megacorps to help us. We could possibly end up recruiting Hailey to our group again here.
- Secure our supply lines on Interstate 5. An army marches on its stomach, after all.
- Go out to Shasta Dam and fuck up some racists, because hey, that's its own reward.
We cannot go and recruit Norton's army yet, because our place isn't good enough yet to house them.
The second question is who should we be taking along? We can bring along the following:
- Norton and his dogs are free for us to take along.
- We also have "generic" runners to take along of all of the common types: Adept (1500 nuyen), Decker (1300 nuyen), Mage (1600 nuyen), Rigger (1700 nuyen), Samurai (1500 nuyen), Shaman (1400 nuyen).
We currently have 2000 nuyen available to us, and I will not be buying any additional gear before the first run.
So, time to make a decision!