Stealth Mission Log 10: Humanis and A Predator

Image21(I do not own Shadowrun, but Stealth is my OC. Video down below)

Stealth found himself in a state of irritation he hadn’t felt since his former employment with Ares. A scowl had formed itself on his face and had no doubt impeded his negotiations with Mr. Beckenbauer, who had remained stoic despite the subject matter that they had discussed. The blonde orc’s eyebrow had raised while listening to the normally calm shadowrunner. In years past even Monika had pointed out that at times he could seem languid, but as she also pointed out that even in this state his eyes were always attentive. They would take in all that they could, while his brain processed it all. That was the reason for his apparent shadow running success. When it came to the metrics of the real world. Guns, machines, people, and situations were something he could understand. But, the world of magic, the mystical space of the astral that a mage had once struggled in great detail to make him understand told was something he just couldn’t. Even the man-made neon world of the matrix was something that he could only grasp thanks to Monika’s carefully worded lectures. These places weren’t the actual world as far as the elf thought. They were just Simulacrum of the real world. A decker could see what they wanted of the matrix. With a program, they could change the landscape of a node to best fit them. A Decker named Tarzan could only see a lush jungle full of monsters that only he could defeat, where another could see the world as some black and white noir trideo. Much like Alice herself. The world of spirits was similar. A Shaman could be speaking to a spirit of fire, but be a much darker creature.

The elf preferred to live pragmatically, in the realm of absolutes. A drone would not function without their parts. A job is a job and nothing more. And hatred. Hatred is part of the human condition. That one raised eyebrow was all the tell that Samuel Beckenbauer needed to show. The fury in always observant eyes. The normally languid man becoming more and more enthralled by their conversation let the orc know that he had struck a chord somewhere deep beneath the icy wall the runner had built to hide his emotions. Stealth mentally kicked himself for letting his soon to be employer see that he had a vested interest in this run. The name that had drawn his ire, the “humanis policlub” was synonymous with pain for metahumans and just as was the penchant the “human” condition had for hate and discrimination so too did it have a particular knack for manipulation. With his team’s pay negotiated Stealth left the politician behind. He could feel the orc smiling behind him, the drone helped to confirm this.

He still felt uncomfortable walking down the sordid streets of the Kiez. The night air full of sordid smells. Many didn’t make him feel any more comfortable. Garbage mixed with an array of food stands was slightly sickening but not as bad as a new smell that he truly couldn’t place. It was disgusting, dirty, and slightly rancid. His nose wrinkled as he fixed the belt of his coat. Two hands with long slender fingers unfastened the belt and pulled it tight about his waist once more. As he did so the shadow running businessman took a deep breath. The exhale was long and seemed to pull his body back into its usual place. Back straight, eyes alert, and possessing of an air that screamed apathy; he returned to wandering the dingy streets of the Flux state.

It didn’t take him long before he smelled something comforting and familiar. Gunpowder. The merchant stood there grinning from ear to ear. His wares were on display for the whole world to see. Only an idiot would rob a gun merchant whose wares were obviously ready to be used. The coat that was now like a second skin to the runner had been purchased at the stand and as he drew ever closer, the Romanian man’s grin got wider. Those cold brown eyes began inspecting the assortment of weapons that were on display. There new stock, no doubt procured during his team’s previous run. It didn’t take long to find something worth purchasing. An Ares Predator. A gloved hand reached out to grab it, not before those same eyes that had spotted the treasure regarded the large arms dealer, whose hands rested on a shotgun. With a nod, the seller signaled his silent approval. The gun was hefted up and inspected. No knicks. No scratches. The weight was right and it shined dully in the light of the dusky sun. It brought him back to his training at Ares and his first security job. Hunting ghouls was something that was often contracted to private security firms as not to divert the attentions of a corp or law enforcement. That day his faith and hatred for the metahuman race was affirmed.

Part 2 Next Time!

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Stealth Mission Log 8: The reality of the Shadows

Stealth and the gang go on their first mission. It’s a clean up operation, that sheds a little light on how well the team works together and how lucky their new decker is.

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(Video down below)

 

Blood stained the white tiling on the office floor. The workplace was a mess. Bullet holes formed a clear picture of the runners that had came before the team. The burn marks dotting the ceiling and scared door frames marked their methods and the fact that their team was there highlighted the effectiveness of these techniques. They had been offered a job to tie up loose ends and after seeing the aftermath of these runners “stealth” operation it was painfully obvious why. The run didn’t just go south it had dug its way China and back. There was no coming back from something like this. The majority of runners were dead, save for a rigger by the name of Thorvald Enstad. He had been captured and no doubt tortured by now. Whatever information he has has been declared damning by his employers and they would rather have him be eliminated than recovered. As stealth’s consciousness slipped into that of his doberman drones he almost smiled. From the position of the little robotic turret he could see something that he hadn’t seen in far too long. The camera zoomed in on the knight errant officer, hiding behind the large desk of the reception area. Helmeted and covered from head to toe in “state of the art” ares body armor he held his shotgun tight to his chest. He looked to his left and was rewarded with the sight and smell of dried blood, probably left from the last knight that had take cover behind this same desk. From the drone’s point of view Stealth could see the telltale signs of nervousness. The human’s chest was rising and falling a mile a minute, the shaking of his hands seemed to try to be keeping up. “Such a shame” the rigger thought to himself.

“All that training gone to waste.”

He felt the treads of the treads of his machine glide across the tiled floor. The rise and fall of the barrel as he took aim and the kick back from the weapon as it fired. It turns out that “high level” of training paid off. Despite the ares operative’s skittishness he had still been on the lookout. He had noticed the drone and through himself from the desk as he heard the telltale sound of a drone drawing nearby. It was just enough to dodge the first shot. But, the second shot nailed him in the shoulder. Through the camera that had become his eyes the shadowrunner could see the man reel back from the shot, but still take aim. The shotgun held as level as his opponent could with his injury and uneasiness. Just as the barrel became level a knife appeared from out of seemingly nowhere followed by a loud german curse. It struck true, burying itself in the fresh would and causing the knight enough pain to illicit an incredibly dangerous response. He stood up, discarding the very cover that had been his only ally in this battle. As soon as his shoulders made their way into full view a loud bang filled the room. In a flash a chunk of body armor was sent hurtling across the room. Blood and lots of it began streaming down from the hole in the agents stomach. Despite this he still stood. A hand frantically trying to dam up the red stream and another lightly grasping his weapon. Bang. The knight errant and his leg were viciously separated. Any doubts the other runners had about Eiger’s sniping ability were silenced.

As the robot wheeled itself into a new position the camera fell upon the corporate security member. His body was painted red, no longer rising and falling a mile a minute, but as still as death itself.

“Frag the knights”, was something that forced itself out of the shadowrunners lips as he continued maneuvering the automaton past the dead body. It was but a whisper, that no one could hear over the sound of Blitz yelling “cover me” as he hastily leapt over a makeshift barrier of chairs the previous group of runners set up as cover. With a stumble and a suppressed chuckle from Dietrich the decker had jacked himself into the corporate system. Any intel he could get would be valuable and the practiced runners couldn’t fault him for his eagerness. He was trying to show his worth to the team to make sure a sniper’s bullet or a well thrown knife didn’t wind up in his back. A good move, but one that soon placed the matrix jockey in hot water.

More knight ares rushed into the room. One almost identical to the previous, but the other was lithe and wore spiritual talismans over her battlegear. Wordlessly Eiger reloaded her weapon, Dietrich summoned lightning that arced around his clasped hands, and Stealth split his consciousness again. The sense of flying filled him as he took over the hovering Strato drone. It sped across the room to try and find cover amongst the overturned tables and chairs. The corporate shaman sniffed the air as she hid near the same desk that her allies had died behind. From the position of the flying machine, Stealth could see her. There was only a few seconds between her actions, but she did look at the body for a few seconds. Her shoulders didn’t rise or fall. She was a professional and from the looks of the other he was prepared as well.Then the Shaman was wreathed in red light. This light shot out from her onto the floor just behind her. Out of the light emerged a smoldering fire. The fire spirit vaguely had human features, but the claws of a beast. It regarded the shadowrunners with contempt as it’s master pointed towards them.

The creature rushed forward leaving a trail of soot where it’s feet had touched the floor. Dietrich shrunk down further behind his barricade of chairs, Eiger lined up a shot, and Stealth began evasive maneuvers with both drones in unison. The only person who didn’t move was Blitz. The red headed hacker was too into his matrix adventures. So into his battle with digital guards, that he hadn’t reacted to the approach of the apparition at all. It held up one hand of fire and began gathering it’s flaming essence. Soon enough a ball of fire formed causing the temperature within the room to raise a few degrees. With a sickening cry it launched the scorching sphere at the human.

“Damn it”, Blitz yelled as he shifted slightly. The ball of fire just missed his head as it sailed into the chair behind him, melting the heavy plastic. It sizzled and burned, releasing a new foul odor into the air before it worked itself out. Dietrich smiled and Eiger huffed. But Stealth just marveled. It reminded him of the first time Monika had jacked in on a mission, and how much it reminded him of their worst job together.

Stealth Mission Log 6: Wyrm Talk

MISSION 7 THUMB

The slightly dusty curio shop’s room was silent as Green Winters, the brother of the man who bested a dragon told us the chip truth. Feuerschwinge, the dragon that had laid waste to Germany was alive! She wasn’t just alive but actively hunting down those who knew too much. Some decker Hellebore had found some matrix crumbs that pointed in the scaled terror’s direction. A corpsec team responded, killing her. Not before she was able to capture her attacker’s face. A large orc with skin grafts, just like the one we’d met in the basement of Harfeld Manor. But, evidence suggests that since Hellebore found the trail leading back to the beast’s den, she had hired some new matrix security. Clockwork, Hellebore, Monika, and even Green Winters were all eliminated within the trix. “Ghosts” of deckers who had disappeared were appearing to others. Apparently not talking, but they had spooked enough people in the digital world that those who frequented the net knew about the rumors. That was something that struck Stealth hard. Whatever was in the matrix was bleeding edge. Be it a decker or a new IC something that could eliminate so many skilled individuals was as dangerous as the dragon that had set her sights on them. You could hide from a dragon. The man who had survived the attack was a slight testament to that, but could you hide from something that held it’s domain in the matrix? All of our communications could be compromised. Winters was destroyed by his reliance on his web of digital contacts. The elf looked over towards Paul Amsel. He was a skilled Johnson. The graying man was old enough to remember when DVD’s were a thing, so he had to know how to handle things face to face. Hopefully.

The look on his face gave the rigger some hope. Despite the news, he didn’t seem as scared as he was angry. You can’t really blame him. Monika was used. Monika loved the F-State. She believed in this anarchistic state form and that was what killed her. Above all else, she would protect it. Stealth smiled a bit at the thought. She was childish, slightly insane, and obsessed with trideos, but her conviction drove her and made her one of the best deckers he’d ever seen and this piece of drek used that to turn her into bait! Then he got his hoop fried!

Blitz fidgeted nervously next to his new boss and who could blame him? He had gone from a former gang decker, to being hunted, to a shadowrunner, and then wound up being hunted again. But, this time by a dragon. By all rights, he should have been catatonic, but he hadn’t freaked out. He hadn’t immediately run out of their base screaming “I’m out of here”, so maybe the human was sure of himself. As if on cue, the former ganger rose his finger up towards his nose and scratched it slightly. He looked to the left to the right and plunged it not so smoothly into his nose. Or maybe, he was just too much of an idiot to grasp the situation.  

Stealth let out a loud sigh. The team had gone from a Monika to this guy. As odd as it was his mind wandered away from imminent immolation from dragons fire to Monika.

The tell tale sound of fingers tapping on plastic keys filled a dingy warehouse room. Monika Schafer sat clad in a white t-shirt and camo pants. Her face illuminated by the screen in front of her. An open bag of soy chips to the right of her and an empty soykaf cup next to her. The woman’s eyes were bloodshot. The quickly flitted every few moments trying to give them some type of break. Stealth leaned up against a wall just far enough to avoid the light that the small trideo cast. He was wearing what he wore on most runes, his former Ares gear. All Ares iconography had been removed of course, but it still made him itchy. Not that he couldn’t afford better armor. He and Monika had had a steady stream of runs since the accident. It was the fact that he was so comfortable with it. He didn’t want anything else. The thought was almost enough to make him sick, but if that didn’t do it the smell of those damn incense that Monika burned to “improve the smell”. The place smelled like motor oil, mildew, and possibly devil rat droppings. But, adding cinnamon to the mix hadn’t “improved” drek. It smelled like the world’s worst bakery.  

Monika didn’t talk much about the smell after she’d blew out the flaming sticks, just sat down, jacked into the jack point just under the trideo, gulped down her kaf, and began her work. That was two hours ago. Every now and then she would grab a chip out of the bag or wince a bit. Stealth just tried to relax. It was a basic mission, part of a run that they were going to be a part of next week. That hadn’t stopped the ex-corpsec man from having his drone make rounds around the warehouse though. The way that the group of runners was organizing the op was that they got the info on the location of the target and the other two runners were gathering the supplies and running down contacts. They were new didn’t have much of a street reputation. Couldn’t be trusted. Unlike Monika who was currently seizing. In seconds the Elf was halfway to ripping her datajack out of the jack point, but the decker stopped him. Her hand was trembling slightly, but there was enough strength to it to stop the larger man. Her hazel eyes were marred by their condition. If he had thought her eyes were bloodshot before, that was nothing compared to now. Her face as a whole reflected her eyes, red and flushed. Blood trickled down from her nose and her teeth were clenched hard. Despite her pain, the woman just wiped away the blood and smiled. Her grin was enough was bright enough to make what had just happened to seem like a scraped knee.

“Sorry Stealth”, she spoke her voice harried and her breaths labored. “I hit some Black IC, but I’m almost through.”

He responded to the woman’s words by returning to his position. Just as he began turning the trideo perked up, blaring louder than it was previously “Tune into Wyrm Talk where Dunkelzahn will talk about Anarchy the principles behind the F-State.”

For the second time, that grin made its appearance.

“Gotta get this done quick! Can’t miss wyrm talk and Stealth”, there’s something up with this one. Just like that, her eyes began staring at nothing. The man removed his gun from its holster and redoubled his drone’s rounds.

True to her word Monika got done quick. Within the next ten minutes, she had finished her jaunt into the matrix and passed the rigger A data slate with info on the location of the run and as she put it a “secret agent”. It was the other elf who was a part of this run. He acted as a face, but apparently, he was dirty.

As Stealth perused the information the program, that Monika waited for with baited breath began. She waved over her companion, who’s head was too busy memorizing data to mind. They sat next to each other on the cold damp warehouse floor. Monika enraptured with the “riveting” talk on politics and the climate that Berlin was in. Stealth was busy plotting the demise of their mole. Perhaps, he could take over the elevator and have it unceremoniously drop or just shoot him. His ears would pick up something every once in awhile.

“That is why the Flux state will never last. People have a tendency to act in their best interests. At some point, an individual will irrevocably affect the balance of the delicate nature of its anarchy. Which will lead to its demise.” The great dragon spoke strongly and assuredly, but the person sitting next to him was so into the program that she was yelling at the screen.

“That’s why someone has to protect the F-State. If there’s someone there shielding it, protecting it from misuse, then the state will live on.”

“So, what you want is controlled anarchy”, He couldn’t help but chime in.

She thought long and hard about her answer as a supporter of the new state of Berlin began speaking. After a few seconds, the grin returned for the third time.

“Anarchy helps ensure that no one is in charge of everything. These corporations only have competition from themselves. Governments can’t even touch them. It’s suffocating. But constant shifts bring uneasiness. So someone will try and destroy the state, but if enough neutral parties act as guards against control then the state will flourish.”

“So to ensure chaos, you have to actively combat control.”

“To an extent”, she replied as flowery as ever. If the right parties fought together no corp, not even a dragon could control the Flux State.

Now standing amongst a group of runners, being hunted by a Dragon. Stealth could only hope he had the right neutral parties.