Part 13: Update XIII - Tea Cups That Are Flying, On Maps MystifyingUpdate XIII - Tea Cups That Are Flying, On Maps Mystifying
Alright, time to knock out the last run we have available before the elves fuck our shit up - we're going back to San Fran.
Let's let Elorn tag along for variety's sake. Norton still comes along, of course.
Oh hey, I think we know this guy.
Kali has scheduled a meeting of the top corp executives in the old Aztechnology building. Hop on in and I'll drive you over.
Oh no, he got shot! Turns out the imperial marines still aren't all that happy about us doing what we're doing / what we did / what we're going to do / what they *think* we did / our general existence / whatever, so we just need to keep murdering more of them until they eventually shut up, I guess. I mean, maybe there's an alternate solution here, but it's been so effective so far, let's just keep slashing them.
Like that. The welcoming committee is only four guys, not exactly big resistance.
Next group up is four more guys. Again, not exactly major resistance, as them feebly attempting to put a dent in Kami shows.
After dealing with those, hey, look who it is!
Phew, I'm glad to hear it! Kali would have KILLED me if you'd gotten damaged!
[Wait for Hailey to finish scanning the scene.]
And look, you brought the Emperor with you! Hi, Norton!
Our dearest Hailey, we are charmed as always to be in your presence.
[Norton gives a deep and florid bow.]
We wish that this reunion would occur under more auspicious circumstances!
I know! It seems like we never see each other anymore, and when we do get together, it's because people are trying to kill us.
Now that's a real shadowrunner mood.
As you can see, something's gone wrong. Saito and Kali usually stay out of each others' business, but someone just convinced Saito that the two of you are in league with Tir Tairngire. He believes that you're trying to gather all the soldiers and weapons you can up in Redding, then hand them over to Tir as soon as they invade. The "proof" is bogus, of course, but it's really convincing. Someone has doctored surveillance footage of you and Kali, splicing in some Tir faces, to make it seem like you're plotting.
That sounds bad.
Yuuuuuuuuuuup. Kali keeps complete copies of her surveillance records on site in Eclipse. Someone must have jacked in and stolen them to create the fakes. We'll need to recover the originals to prove your innocence. Problem is, Saito isn't going to give you a chance to do that. He knows you were responsible for letting Shavarus escape, so as far as he's concerned, you've already declared war on San Francisco. As of ten minutes ago, Saito's troops placed Eclipse under martial law. Kali's barricaded herself in the top floor, but all the patrons and employees are under arrest. We'll have to fight our way through the marines to clear your name. Let's get moving!
Another group of four marines. Again, they die pretty quick.
No, Hailey. I do not know anyone named Tarne. You do realize that there are millions of elves, right? We don't all come from one single family, or live in a single country, or gather in the same secret club.
Of course I know that, silly! You just resemble each other, that's all. Where do you come from, if you don't mind me asking?
I don't come *from* anywhere, really. Everyone seems convinced that I must have infiltrated California from Tir Tairngire, but I was born and raised here, same as you. California is my home, and the only home I've known.
Well, duh! I knew that from your accent. What city, though?
Ugh... Hailey, we have much more important things to do than play Twenty Questions with each other.
I mean, we could interrupt this, or we could encourage it. We saved the guy's life, least we can do is dick around with him a bit.
Come on, Elorn. I'm curious, too. Where are you from?
Oh, cool! I don't know the Central Valley too well - I've always been a city girl - but now that I'm a real runner, I need to learn more about areas like that. So! What's the most important thing I should know about Redding?
Well... we're an independent place, and proud to be self-reliant. Not that we've had much choice. Sacramento has abandoned us, San Francisco doesn't know that we exist, and Tir Tairngire wants to conquer us. Folks tend to be leery of strangers, especially if they're talking about how some other power can "help us out". That said, we're happy to provide a safe haven for those who need it. If you're running AWAY from some other power, Redding can be an excellent place to lie low for a while. We don't pry, we don't ask questions, we don't judge.
That's super-useful information! Thanks, Elorn!
You're welcome. Now please, let's get moving.
There's another group of guys we carve up with relative ease, especially since Hailey's drones literally give us the numbers advantage.
And with those guys dead, we can move on to the next area.
Alright, we've already seen Eclipse a few times, so now it's just time to fight our way through.
I've started making use of Pommel Strike when I have one AP left over with Kami - big AP damage is actually pretty cool since a regular hit usually won't take enemies out, and taking one out of the combat for a round or two means the others can take it out while Kami runs onwards.
Much like last time we fought in a base of ours, we can just ransack the stores and grab some extra stuff. Hey, fine by me. We also grab a program, a grenade and a gun from this floor and mop up the enemies. On to the next floor!
The resistance here is fairly similar. Enemies do fun stuff like cause more damage to their own men than us by throwing grenades.
Past the enemies, we find an old friend. Turns out it's here where we find our co-star for our action movie. Yeah, remember that?
I could use a performer back in Redding.
Say no more! I'll gladly help out. I'll catch the next shuttle out to the Central Valley. I can't wait to work with you!
On the top floor, we again don't face a lot of resistance. I'm not sure whether I just built a shit-wrecker of a character that turns this mission, that seems to be intended to be more of an attrition battle, into a "maybe pop a medkit once and that's about it". And given that we found an advanced medkit on the last floor and a premium one on this floor, that's not exactly a problem.
Now that Saito knows you're here, he'll be sending in the entire army. We'll need to work fast to get the proof we need of your innocence. I'll back you up. For Antumbra!
So, for this next segment, we get Kali as an ally as well. She's an Adept of the unarmed variety. The idea is that an infinite amount of marines is filing in, and we need to find some proof of our innocence in the Matrix with Hailey.
This could be intense, but the problem is that a Hasted Kami just shreds whoever decides to pop up, and if she can't kill it, there's like three other people there. So there's never really a threat here.
So let's cut to Hailey in the Matrix. I remember that I have my own little helpers to summon, which is handy...
...because there's quite a bit of resistance here, including the ever unwelcome Black ICE.
After taking the enemies out, we get to flip four switches, which make platforms appear that we can walk over.
In the next area, we meet our mysterious decker. Literally. He causes us a bit of trouble, but focus firing him and his Black ICE limits the trouble they could've caused, and the rest of the enemies are easy pickings.
And with that done, we get to pick up the surveillance footage we were looking for.
Wait... what's this? An access log... Oh, drek. It looks like the attack came from inside Tir Tairngire territory! Just like I feared, they were trying to turn their enemies against one another. DREK! They're still in the system! Tir's hackers know that the charade is over, and just told their commandos to launch an attack on San Francisco. You've got to get moving now! The corp executives are meeting in the conference suite of the old Aztechnology Pyramid. I'll try and contain the Tir agents inside Ecfipse. Saito is no fool. His soldiers should help your escape. Now leave, quickly!
Basically, what happens now is that Tir units start showing up and the marines we fought before now turn ally. Now we just need to fight our way back to the exit.
If I wanted to properly exit the Matrix, I'd need to go back and fight some more ICE. Alternatively, I could just eat the dumpshock. I know which route I'm taking.
There's actually more marines than Tir troops, so we hardly have to fight on the way out, just run like hell. So we do that. It takes significantly longer than it should because processing the attack animations of like eight marines and two Tir troops takes time.
Now, the first time around, I royally fucked this part up. I just blitzed Kami ahead and left everybody else at the beginning because meh, whatever. I just need to reach the end and maybe take out the group of enemies there, right? Nope. Turns out you actually have to kill everybody to succeed at the objective.
So the second time around, I decide to not be stupid and have the others follow up and make sure I clear rooms out. Kami still blitzes forward, though. She's just too fast to not do that.
So we follow in our footsteps from the last time we were here, Kami slashing people up and running ahead, the rest eventually following up and mopping up.
It is pretty easy to do something like that when you just burst into a room and kill two guys in a single round.
There are jack-in points on this map that would probably give us some sort of benefit, but that would not be going fast, and nothing is worse than not going fast.
In the end, we make it to the final room with about half the time left, and, well, this group doesn't put up much of a fight either, so we ended up saving the executives (which was actually an optional objective) with plenty time to spare. Saving capitalists isn't exactly on brand, but hey, we can guillotine them when we're not being threatened by elf invasion.
We're alive! See, I told you Kali and her team would pull through!
In this instance, yes.
[The face on the vidscreen fixes you with a cold stare.]
Miracles rarely happen twice. Do not expect another.
[The image disappears, replaced with static.]
Who was that?
Someone from the Tir Tairngire Council of Princes. He was warning us not to resist when they launch their invasion of CalFree.
Totally looking forward to fighting off an invasion that has one of the biggest, baddest motherfucker dragons on their side. That'll go well.
I hope you're okay.
Just shaken up, but we'll survive, thanks to you. We need to finish voting on our resolutions, but I think you can rest assured that we'll be backing your project. I've received word that Kali has arrived on the premises. You should debrief her on the situation.
Alright then. We actually get to march the entire way back...
...so Hailey can have this here.
Do you think I'd look good in a pink mohawk? I kind of want to grow out a pink mohawk now. Anyways, I caught that whole thing on trideo! Everything from the fight on the pier through the cool-looking battle in Eclipse and the race through the Pyramid. It's all in high-def, and I'm gonna add a kickin' soundtrack, too.
Technically, that probably means she missed most of the carving up Kami did, since, y'know, she was like a mile and a half away from the others.
I think I'm gonna call it... 'San Francisco Frenzy'. Or maybe 'Tir Fear'. Or how about 'The Saito Shuffle"? Anyways... what do you think I should do with it?
We have three options - spread it in the Matrix, blackmail Saito and the corps, or sell it to the highest bidder. In our quest for popularity, we'll go with the first one.
Spread it all across the matrix for everyone to see.
Yeah, good thinking! That way everyone will hear about you and your operation, and see that you're the only game in town when it comes to stopping Tir. I think you'll get a lot of recruits out of this. Plus, let's face it, it'll just be hilarious to see the reactions it gets. Oh, I'm also gonna need to record a director's commentary track once we're back in Redding. This just gets more and more fun!
And then Hailey gets another dialogue opportunity!
Emperor, our dear miss. One mustn't forget proper titles, it is the sign of a well-bred young lady!
Heh... I'm pretty sure that's the first time anyone has called me a lady, let alone well-bred. Thanks! So: same question, new title. Do you like being emperor?
Truly, it is not a matter of enjoyment, but rather one of duty. Does the sun like warming the earth? Does the rain enjoy wetting the soil? We rule because we must: it is our nature, not our desire.
Aw, c'mon! You can't be serious ALL the time. Don't you get some pleasure out of it? I mean, there's only one Emperor, and that's you!
Do not misunderstand us: we certainly enjoy the fruits of human kindness as much as any man or woman. It warms our heart to hear our loyal subjects hail us when we promenade on the streets of San Francisco. And we have received many a bowl of nourishing soup on a cold night, in recognition of our excellence as Emperor. Nonetheless, the crown weighs heavily upon our brow. We carry an immense burden, as our responsibility for the California Free State, United Canadian and American States, and Aztlan leaves us no time for simple pleasures. It is what Joseph Heller would call a Catch-22: we have the power to fulfill any desire, yet if we ever tried to use that power, we would prove unworthy of it. So keep this in mind, dear Hailey. We know you may envy us our great station, but be assured that it would bring you little pleasure if you one day found yourself the Empress.
Oh! I wasn't suggesting that I succeed you or anything! I just... I really am glad that we have you around, Emperor. Thanks for being you.
How could I ever be anything else, my dear? Now, onward! Ma'am Kami has much further to go, and we mustn't keep her waiting!
A-hem, Norton. That's Lady Kami. Now, let's chat up Kali.
Norton, what's your opinion on Saito?
That scoundrel! He continues to oppose our sovereignty in this fair city. His resources would do much to support your mission, but we fear they may come at an unbearable price. That man's ambition knows no bounds.
Elorn, you look like you have something to say.
Saito is barely better than the Native Californians. In fact, he might be worse, since he has an entire army backing him. Yeah, he'll happily slaughter Tir elves, but once you let him into the Central Valley, he'll never leave.
Well, what should I tell him?
Now, we can either ask for his full support, request only clandestine support where we don't openly associate, or tell him to fuck off, then tell everybody that we told Saito to fuck off and use that as a recruiting aid. The thing however is that we're pretty shit on supplies, so we can't always go for the popularity boosting option. So here, we'll go with clandestine support.
Saito's been milking this city for years and must have a nice stash by now. We can't be publicly associated with him, but we'll accept his clandestine support.
A clever move. He'll be happy to wield more influence in the area, and it keeps our hands clean while avoiding the stigma of associating with him. We should start seeing some funds and gear from him shortly. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an empire to rebuild. We'll speak later. Safe travels, Kami.
And that's it for this final run before the big finale.
So, let's take stock around base one more time. You'll note we also got some cash from the corps and Saito after that run. Now, Tomas still has the same to say about our situation - we've got a decent situation going, but not, like, supreme or something like that.
Also, this place seems to have turned into a rave.
Selene at least thinks we have decent supplies. Hey, it'll have to do.
Amelia has new gear - most importantly, new armors (we don't have the Karma to get a noticeable upgrade in our weapon).
It looks like you have more gear than before.
Not just more: higher quality, too! I'd like to claim all the credit, but really, it's a result of your own hard work. Your missions have resulted in more supplies flowing into Redding. The big dealers now know that your cell here isn't just a flash in the pan: you're a serious military organization, with the resources to pay for the good stuff. As a result, the other merchants and I can offer a wider selection of useful gear. The really important part, though, is that your entire army is getting equipped at the same time. When Tir finally does invade, you'll be really glad that your grunts are carrying better equipment. Makes it easier for them to stay alive and do more damage!
Karma spending interlude - we have 10 available and blow 9 on Chi Casting 5 and Quickness 4.
Next, Hrafna has better gear too, but we already bought Counterstrike, and that's the only thing new for us anyway. Dorbi and Elorn have nothing new to say.
Horatio has new cyberware in stock. We might have to consider one of these.
Norton has nothing new to say.
What are you working on?
Oh, I'm just upgrading your commlink. It was built on old milspec protocols, but I recently got some new code from People's University that should make it hella hard to decrypt. Of course, if anyone really wants to tap it and has enough hardware.,they'll eventually be able to crack your codes, but this should help prevent random hackers from listening in on your top -secret battle planning strategy sessions. Or learning about what stimsense packs you've been downloading.
What's the current situation in San Francisco?
It's calmed down a bit in the last few months. Frankly, I think people are just exhausted. Saito's been busy cleaning up after the Shavarus mess, and the metahumans have started leaving the city in droves for the East Bay. I'm starting to worry that I'll never see the city like it was when I was growing up. It's so QUIET now, no street life, less diversity with each passing day. I hope that changes, but I don't think it will until someone gets rid of Saito.
Have you heard anything recently about Shavarus?
There was a story going around in the Mission District last month. Supposedly he's grown even more extreme in his views: he now believes that only trolls are strong and reliable enough to usher in his new world. So, instead of all of metahumanity against the humans, he seems to have decided that trolls are destined to wipe everyone else out. So, yeah. Shavarus is being as super-awesome as you would expect.
Well, that's not the most pressing problem, though probably something someone should take a look at.
Finally, let's chat with Kali.
(Trivid equipment) I have the supplies for my trideo.
[You show your tri-vid equipment to Kali.]
Great choice! That rig will give you a nice lo-fi, cinema verite look. Very classy.
Reminder: We literally found that equipment in the dump.
And I hear that you've hooked up with some talent right here in Eclipse. All right, then, let's start shooting!
[Start the shoot!]
Alas, there's no interactivity here, just a fade to black.
I hope you're ready to get even more fans than ever before. Once word spreads that a real-life action star is recruiting people to save CalFree, you'll be swarmed with groupies. Enjoy it! Oh, here's an advance for the trideo. I'll handle all licensing and merchandising rights. Once you earn back your advance, we can start talking royalties. As always, it's been a pleasure working with you!
And we get 1500 nuyen. Hey, everything helps.
Will the megacorps help in the fight?
They've already started funneling nuyen, munitions and gear in your direction. It should arrive soon in your base if it hasn't already. As for hands-on assistance... we'll see. Corps don't like the large fixed costs associated with standing armies, which is why they're much more comfortable funding a commando-style outfit like you. With luck we might get some elite squads of mercs, but we'll need to look elsewhere to get boots on the ground.
What do you think of our prospects?
You've really gone above and beyond. Your forces could even give Colonel Saito's troops a run for their money if it ever came to that. I think you should be able to hold on for quite a while after the invasion starts, and even have a decent chance of surviving the first battle.
Now, it'll be time for the final battle next. But before that, we need to prepare, which means voting time!
Once again, I find myself with more stuff to buy than money to buy it with, so I'll delegate responsibility like a real emperor. So, let's take stock.
Current cash on hand: A bit over 10500 nuyen.
Kami's supplies: A gold DocWagon kit, three advanced medkits, and that drug we picked up a while ago.
Supplies gained at the final battle to spread around: Two Ares conc grenades, two Ares explosive grenades, four doggy treats for hellhounds, three advanced medkits, two premium medkits, one force 3 air elemental fetish, one force 3 earth elemental fetish, two gold DocWagon kits.
So we're very much set for regular supplies. The main question is probably going to be one of major purchases. Here are our options:
- Tomas's mercenaries for 4000 nuyen. I don't know exactly what they will do for us, but hey, sounds good. Maybe. 4000 nuyen could buy some other sweet stuff too.
- Armor: Mainly, the choice should be between "8 Armor, +1 Spellcasting and Willpower for 1500 nuyen", "9 Armor and +1 Body for 2750 nuyen" and "8 Armor, +1 Close Combat, Ranged Combat and Dodge for 2750 nuyen". Remember, we have a passive +2 to Armor from cyberware, so the +10 Armor armor is basically pointless compared to the other options.
- Cyberware: This is the big one. Here's the options I think are interesting:
- Body: I'll skip this, because I don't think uninstalling our current chrome for something else is worth it. We should be adding on.
- Head: Only has a datajack, which is completely useless to us.
- Eyes: +6% to hit for 1000 nuyen.
- Arms: +1 Strength and +5 HP for 2500 nuyen. We can get this twice if we want to.
- Legs: +1 Quickness and +8 HP for 2000 nuyen or +1 Quickness and Dodge and +8 HP for 3500 nuyen.
To note, I'm pretty sure our Essence isn't going to be an issue here. We don't have enough money to really tank it, I think, and I can manage with less spell slots, I'm pretty sure I have spares anyway.
Finally, you need to choose three runners for the run. For the sake of simplicity, just pick between the free ones - I don't think anybody wants a paid runner anyway. So, that would be Norton, Dorbi, Elorn, Hailey, and the hellhounds Lazarus and Bummer.
Now, figure something out! The fate of CalFree lies in your hands!