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!

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.

Image14
(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.

Stealth Mission Log 2: Thoughts in the Flux State

Image24(Youtube Video Embedded below)

An average of height elf walked through the brightly lit streets of the Kreuzbasar. His thoughts were full of recent events. It felt like this day would “never end”, he thought to himself. First Monika, then their betrayal, the mysterious Green Winters, and now the politics of the Flux State. Wherever he looked, he saw eyes watching him. The crazy woman on the corner, trying to preach to someone who offered her a few nuyen. Her gaze darted back and forth from her donator to Stealth. For a minute her eyes fixated on him, then she sheepishly broke eye contact. Just as he rounded the corner, he came face to face with a massive troll, wearing sweatpants and a bulky hoodie, that did nothing to hide his obvious cyberware. The elf just nodded and headed the opposite direction. As he made his way down the new street he could feel even more eyes on him. With delicate hand movements, Stealth yawned loudly. His left and right hand went up quickly, his fingers gently moving through his hair and turning on his control rig. The doberman drone, that had been sticking to the man like a faithful dog, immediately jetted into the nearest alleyway. The move lasted only a few seconds, but Stealth hoped that the yawn was enough to at least conceal his true objective. The doberman ran a parallel course to Stealth as he walked down the main street. Soon enough he came upon a weapons vendor. The bald man was dressed like an old office worker. He wore a knit vest, slacks, and a clean shirt, but the way he held the shotgun within his hands gave away his training and willingness to defend his wares. The elf paused and put his hands into his pockets. His movements got more frantic until he managed to find his credstick in his back pocket, just under the gun he kept concealed under his greasy white shirt.

A slight smile crept on his face, that gave the proprietor of the store a slight shock, but he stood still. Stealth looked into the air thinking while the doberman was looking right at two figures trying to act inconspicuous. One of them was a human. He wore a large coat, wide brimmed hat, and had his face concealed by a data slate. His cybered eyes flitted up every few seconds to regard the Elf pondering his decisions. The other one was a large orc. He was all muscle and not much brains it would seem. He just stood watching. The doberman’s electronic eyes stayed trained on the two as Stealth decided it was best to not buy something today. He moved, while his hunters did not. Apparently, they knew they’d been made. “Where there’s one…”, he thought as he briskly headed down the street, only to disappear down another.

“Damn, Monika. What the hell were you doing out here.” Stealth said, not caring who heard him. The park bench was cold enough that he could feel it through his shirt, but not his cargo pants. It was a nice feeling. It kept his mind racing and his consciousness continually checking his doberman’s sights. If anything came from the left, the right, or behind, it would be able to attack from its shadowy perch. First and foremost there was the conversation that the team had. Could they even be called a team? Glory was cold and emotionless, but not suited to corporate spy work. Her cyber was far too noticeable. The guy in the trench coat was better. Nothing too obvious, except for those glinting orbs. Eiger. That got his blood boiling a bit. At first, her damn anger was bearable, but Stealth couldn’t help but wonder if she could back up her talk without her sniper rifle. Idle thought, but in reality, she was least likely in his opinion. She was angry, loud, and too confident in her training. He chuckled a bit. She was so sure she could save Monika, that she could make the difference, but those words of her’s were evidence of her own issues. She believed that Monika acted as if she were invincible. But, what was Eiger if not overconfident in her own abilities? Paul Amsel was the next to come to mind. Another sound issued forth from his lips. Not a chuckle, this time a full-blown laugh. Eiger was good with a rifle, but not with negotiations. The fixer had shut her down, but also provided the context to Monika’s last word. Feuerschwinge “the Firewing” was a dragon, but not any dragon. A dragon that wasn’t in it for money, or power, but destruction. All she did was kill. The look on the old fixers face proved just how dangerous the wyrm was. A dragon. An in military grade armor. And a secret base. Or was it a lair? The singular thought of running across a dragon’s lair damn near made Stealth hop on the next flight out of the Kreuzbasar. With a heavy sigh, the elf adjusted his stance on the bench, spreading out but not really becoming more comfortable. If he ran, they would find him. If it was a dragon a single piece of treasure would send droves of power hungry runners after him. Right now his best bet was with his “team”. They were all in this together. All of them could probably be ID’d. If they separated, they would all be extinguished like a cigarette but, under the heel of a smoker.

We had accomplished the goal of Green Winters and were now used up. Prime targets to be crushed by a large overwhelming force before they could start a fire. Reminded him of his time at Ares. Do your job and if you get shot in the line of duty, we’ll just replace you with another poor sod, prepared to continue the cycle.

“The only difference is choice”, Monika’s voice rang out clear in his minds. The only thing that had been able to stop the elf’s mind from racing at the frantic pace that it had kept since her untimely passing.

“I have a choice.”, He spoke out loud again not caring if someone overheard. His fingertips soon found themselves interlocked in front of his face, chin resting between two pointed thumbs. A small smile turned into a wild grin as he focused on the task at hand. Monika was killed in the matrix, by something in a secret installation, that is involved with a dragon, that would make Lofwyr look like a saint. Green Winters is our target and he’ll tell us what we need and if he doesn’t, there were ways to make him talk. The team was most likely not compromised, even though Dietrich seemed to be more inquisitive than a shaman had any need to be. Magic and the matrix, were two things that he didn’t understand, but if the old shaman was powerful and from the looks of the scars that crisscrossed his face, like a checkerboard, he had seen his fair share of battle. The look he had when Monika died, his shock, his sorrow was something. If it was an act, then he deserved to be a trideo star, not a shadowrunner. “I’ll watch him closely,” Stealth thought. “There’s no better ally than someone who was a master of something you couldn’t grasp, but then again there was no greater enemy either.”

With that out of the way, he stood up and began his trek back to Altug. A spymaster that had to lead him into a game of cloak and daggers. There was no way that he had been lead to that phone booth and overheard that conversation by accident. Monika loved the flux state. The constant melting part of Anarchy was appealing to her, but to so many others it was just a passing thought as they went about their business. It was evident now, that Monika kept the Flux alive and very soon some people would be reaching out to him to keep it that way. The Flux state was her dream. The dream that she accepted an unverified job for and what she put her team in jeopardy for, and what she ultimately died for. For Stealth it was just a place to do business and if it could be saved, then maybe…just maybe he would.

     

                                                        (YouTube video Please enjoy)

Stealth Mission Log 1: Minigun Boogaloo

Image9(Youtube Let’s Play Campaign Log Video is below)

The sound of van doors being slammed and the screeching of tires were the only noises that we made. Dietrich, Glory, and I sat in the back of the van as Eiger drove. She easily avoided the forces of Harfeld manor. A quick right to avoid a spike strip, running an opposing vehicle into a pristine fountain that soon crumbled under the weight of the black armored van careening right through the naked cherub, ensuring that it’d never spit water from its mouth again. Like a B grade trideo, the security forces managed to close a gate directly in our path. Eiger didn’t yell “Hold on” before she laid her troll sized boot down on the pedal. She didn’t need to tell us. Dietrich tightened his seatbelt, I held onto the seat next to me, and Glory across from us did the same. With a bang, the from of our van hit the fence and smashed through it. That sound signaled our escape. Eiger quickly merged onto the highway and blended in as best she could with the myriad of cars traveling towards the flux state. Dietrich seemed to relax a bit, but his face full of tattoos couldn’t mask his sorrow. Across from us Glory just sat. Her pale face just as emotionless as usual, except for a slight frown. Eiger was in the front, eyes on the road and hands at ten and two, only deviating every few minutes to look in the back. Right. At. Me.

Not surprised. The sound of the fence breaking brought me out of my stupor. It probably had the same effect on her. Monika Schaefer was dead and we were set up. There’s no doubt of it in my mind. We were set up. “Out of the frying pan and into the fire”, that’s what Monika would say.

A slight smile crept up on my face. Long enough for two trollish eyes to focus on me, and the shaman to my right to raise an eyebrow. I just put a sweaty hand up just enough to cover my smile and used two fingers to massage my temples, hopefully, that was enough to keep the soldier in the front from reaching for her shotgun. Here are the facts.

One, Monika Schafer died in the matrix. Two, only myself, Glory, and Dietrich were with her. Three, we found a secret lab or base of some sort.

With a sigh, I removed my fingers from my face and ran them down the hard denim of my pants. A few flecks of blood smeared against my hands, but that was the least of my concern. All eyes would point to Eiger. She was the only one missing from our trip into the manor. But, why would she put Monika or her team into that situation? Maybe the KSK knew what was down there. Or maybe we were there to provide a distraction to that orc. A slight shiver ran down my spine as I thought of him.

Slick mottled skin pulled taught around bone. He’s seen action. Maybe in an army. Or maybe security from a corp. I remember when I was with Ares there was this regional advisor who came to “evaluate” our defenses. He was chromed to the gills. Actually, I think he had gill implants. He walked with the cadence of someone beyond human. Every step shored up and body slightly tight like they were a coiled snake ready to strike. He was emotionless, like Glory.

Leaning my head back against the inside of the van I caught a glimpse of the raven haired street samurai before I closed my eyes. She was clad in a bulky pair of cargo pants, tucked into to black boots, a gray sports bra, and a too large jacket that she tied about her waist. Her stomach was cybered. Bits of metal dotted the sides of her abdomen, maybe some bone reinforcement. Not sure. But, the more obvious cyber was her to enormous cyber arms. They were bolted to her shoulders, wires running to just above her breasts. It was obvious that they were too big for her. It was old tech too. The older the tech, the less you can slap onto your body. Two cyber arms, the adrenal gland that was listed in the charts that Monika sent me and frag knows what else. With her current disposition, there probably wasn’t much else she could add. Maybe some cyber eyes, but why would someone get such obvious old tech? Frankly, my time with Ares made me question that more than anything else. If she was a mole, they wouldn’t send one with ancient chrome. They’d send someone with the right tools, but less showmanship. Then there was Dietrich.

Yeah, no. Something about him seemed genuine. Maybe it was the tattoos or maybe it was how he locked as Monika died in his arms. I just can’t think that he’d set us up. Which then leads us to what the frag Monika stumbled onto.

She was adamant, with the signs of a severe stroke and half her tongue rolling around on the floor she spoke to me. Feuerschwinge. Was that what she ran into in the matrix? A person? A decker? A new black ice program? I’ve seen Monika hit black ice before, or square up against another decker running black hammer, but that was something different.

When Monika first got her jack, she bought a crap deck from this shady dude out in the Redmond Barrens and she ran into black ice on her first run. She bled from her nose. Then her eyes. When we saw blood coming out of her ears, we nearly pulled her data jack out, but I she said: “don’t jack me out unless I message your com.” As security began to pour in and we started taking more fire than we could return, the doors behind us opened and she removed her jack. Her face was leaking blood and she just smiled.

“Come on! Wyrm talk is on tonight and the only way I’m missing it is if I’m….dead.” That what she said as we ran through the building dodging bullets, just barely able to get the package out. With another screech of the tires, the van skidded to a halt. Eiger got out and motioned us to do the same. I got out last, fully aware that there was a troll watching me closely. Whoever killed Monika doesn’t know what they’re in for. I’m not called Stealth for sneaking into facilities. Monika said that “whether I’m surprising them with a drone or a shot in the dark I could take out anyone”. If any of these runners turn on me. They’ll probably find out too late why Monika called me Stealth.  

Indie Darlings: Renowned Explorers: International Society

Hey, people! I know that it’s been a while and I’ve been busy as of late, but I’m back with an Indie Darling! I present to you a fun little strategy game developed by Abbey Games that not only has a surprising level of depth but, a litany of interesting characters. All with their own unique skills and stats that are integral to exploring the world and becoming renowned explorers.

Renowned-Explorers-International-Society

How do you measure the skill of an adventurer? Is it the physical strength that you can use to dominate your foes and take ancient treasures with force. Maybe you’d rather be devious, lying and stealing your way to greatness. Or perhaps, you’d rather make friends with everyone. Here you can do any or all of those options on your way to glory. In fact, I’d recommend a varied approach, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, let’s get into the adventurers that will form your intrepid band of adventurers.

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The screen above is where the tactical depth of the game starts to take shape. Your perspective team members are broken down into four classes scientist, scout, fighter, and speakers. Up above, we have Dolores Garcia in the captain’s role. Here the team gets a bonus from her being a wrestling star. You will gain status tokens from the money tokens you make. So, in later parts of the game where you can increase the worth of certain tokens, or have to chose one over the other you can work towards a goal. Underneath the captain, there is room for two other members. Despite Dolores being a fighter, she also has a devious mindset. Not only do you need to pay attention to the various ways in which a character excels in, you also have to pay attention to their skills. Dolores is an athlete who already comes with a red skill and the quick thinker perk. She can handle physical challenges, but can she fix a steam engine in order to escape a collapsed cave? Not really. Maybe you might need a scientist to take care of that, or a speaker to make nice with those natives.  Once you think you have a good mix for a team, then you can head out into the world.

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You’ll be spending quite a bit of time here on a screen that resembles a board game. Here you can see a number of tokens you have and the two precious resources you need to continue on adventuring. The exclamation is your resolve. You can use it to revive fallen comrades, but when it reaches zero, your team won’t die. They will just give up their adventure.  Across from that is your supplies icon. You really need to focus on this particular resource, due to the fact that for every space you move without food, you will take negative effects which will make it even harder to hold on to your resolve. The good thing is you can see where you need to go, the tokens you will get to moving to a space, and whether or not you’ll face a specific challenge. The bottom right has an encounter. But, there’s gold and campaign tokens. Doesn’t Dolores get a bonus? Off we go then.

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This is where you’ll fight. The hexagonal based grid will have certain spaces that offer benefits, but that’s not the most important thing. You see the top red sign that reads “Hostile” that’s the mood. Our team has gone all out physically and now has a bonus to devious abilities. Each encounter will give you benefits based on what type of mood you’ve used. Here we get bonus campaign token for knocking the blocks off of these Scotsman.  Certain abilities can be used to change the moods of not only enemies but teammates. This can cause you enemies to be susceptible to the damage that your team excels in or, the damage that you currently have a buff too. This is probably the most distinct part of the game, calculating what you can do to change either your team or the opponents moods to best win the encounter.

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That’s not all though. Before I talked about athleticism and the perks that you might want on your side. Well in order to gain certain rewards you will have to pass certain challenges. Above a Saxon, the druid has challenged us to pass a test. We have three options. Push the statue of Tyr. pass the trial in the monastery’s basement, or intimidate the man. Since Dolores has a red ability, she might just excel in the physical.

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Wheel, wheel, wheel, turn turn turn please let Dolores not get burned.  With the trial passed, we receive the gift from the druid. Despite having an advantage in this challenge, there is still a chance of getting a skull and failing. This is what makes Renowned Explorers fun game. You could pass a challenge and gain the treasure you need to become the best or fail and need to pull yourself together and attempt to manage your resources adequately. Hopefully, you enjoyed this little spotlight on an indie darling. Renowned Explorers: International Society is available on Steam for twenty dollars.

 

 

Capcom Cup 2016 Rundown/Predictions Match 1: Razer Infiltration VS HuomaoTV Human Bomb

capcom-cup-2016-splash(Image fromshoryuken.com  http://shoryuken.com/2016/11/30/capcom-cup-2016-qualified-competitors-and-bracket-updated/)

It’s finally time ladies and gentlemen! For months the World Warriors of Street Fighter V have been battling it out in tournaments across the globe to gain entry into the second ever Capcom Cup.  There are some legends in the bracket, but also some new faces that have taken to the latest iteration in the Street Fighter Franchise. I’m going to run down, the bracket and give you all my opinions on the first matches. Then I’ll tell you who I believe has the biggest chance of causing an upset and forcing me to tear up my brackets in shame.

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So the first match is against the Razer sponsored Infiltration and Human Bomb, who is sponsored by HuomaoTV. Infiltration is quite possibly the front runner in this tournament. The number one seed has been earned by being incredibly solid, which is how he won EVO 2016, which was the largest Street Fighter V tournament. I feel as though Infiltration has always had a battle plan and has backup plans and more importantly backup characters ready. He will go down as one of the best Akuma players in Street Fighter 4 and will most likely go down in the annuls of Street Fighter V history as one of  the best Nash players. There is something about his decision making with Nash, that just seems to be on another level when Street Fighter V came out. I mean he did manage to win the first Premier Tournament to gain entry into Capcom Cup 2016, with an impressive win over Tokido.

Yeah, you can thank Infiltration for all the online Nash players who have chosen to emulate the “chase me and get frustrated style”. That’s how I feel at least. I’m salty. But, Nash is not the only character Infiltration has in his arsenal. Infiltration won MSF with his Rashid, who is a character that has gained popularity in recent months. We also have to remember that Infiltration is capable of almost anything. I mean he did break out a Hakan in Evo 2013 to beat PR Balrog. The counter pick is certainly possible with Razer’s Infiltration!

Now it’s time to talk about his opponent HumanBomb.I remember him best for his Sakura play in SF4, but his Chun-Li is no joke. Chun-Li, like Nash is a character that is very strong right now. Despite the thirty-second seed Human Bomb lives up to his name, by being incredibly consistent. If you make a mistake, he will capitalize for as much damage as possible. That skill with a character that is well suited to offensive play and defensive play makes him dangerous. He battled one of the world’s best Bonchan, and despite a few problems managed to get the win.

So, who’s going to get the first win in the 2016 Capcom Cup?

 

 

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(Image from 12up.com, http://www.12up.com/posts/3477086-infiltration-battles-from-losers-to-become-sfv-evo-champion)

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Why? Despite not winning everything. He’s still the 2016 SFV EVO champion. I’d love for the number thirty-two seed to destroy the brackets, but I just don’t see Human Bomb beating Infiltration. Infiltration has already proven that is he feels uncomfortable ing the Nash VS Chun-Li match up, he could just switch to his Rashid or whatever character he’s practiced to use against his competition. Are you with me? Tell me in the comments!