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.

Stealth Mission Log 5: Past Kindness

“Look”, he threw his hands up in mock surrender. “I’m just saying. I’ve seen a lot of drek. People who don’t look out for people, let alone other metas. I’m just happy I’m with decent people for a change.”

The woman’s anger dissipated as she looked down at the person directly next to her. For a few seconds, it looked as if she was about to say something, but stopped herself just before the words got out of her mouth. Eventually, she managed to pull the right words together.

“I’ve seen it too. I grew up out here. Seen the way people look at us. Seen how they treated us. As soon as I was old enough I joined the KSK.

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 terrors 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 jackpoint 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 were 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 and smiled. Her grin was enough was bright enough to make what had just happened 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 in to Wyrm Talk where Dunkelzahn will talk about Anarchy the principles behind the F-State.”

For the second time that grin made it’s 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 it’s 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 dataslate with info on the location of the run and a 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 takeover 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 it’s anarchy. Which will lead to it’s 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 a 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 the right neutral parties.

Stealth Mission Log 4: The Fate of a Decker

Mission 5 thumb

(Youtube link down below)

The melodic ringing of a vidphone was the only thing that could be heard from within the dingy, cluttered apartment. The four people in the room just let it ring. All of their focus was on the graying man in the center of the room. Green Winters. The man who had arranged the Shadowrun that had cost Monika her life and had nearly cost the rest of the team theirs was dead. It wasn’t the fact of the death that had left the veterans in stunned silence, but the method of which he had died. Winters’s body was frozen in an unnatural position. Despite the goggles on his face, the way the man’s facial muscles had contorted were enough. His cheeks permanently concave, while his lips had been drawn into an abnormal position. The right side slightly raised, but the bottom was pulled into a bizarrely lowered position. So much so that Stealth could see his filings amid a sea of yellow enamel. Dietrich stood next to the elven rigger as he too took in the site.

Dietrich took stock of the situation his face a mix of inquisitiveness and outright fear.

“What the hell does this”, was what he asked out loud as much a question to his companions as it was him trying to make sense of the body in front of them. Winter’s blue Hawaiian shirt had been ripped, undoubtedly by the hands that were stock still. The right hand had all of its fingers elongated, but the left was clutching a piece of blue fabric so hard that the nails had dug into flesh, a few blood drops had found their way out of his now pale body.

“Seizure.” Was what glory said to break the silence. She had adopted a slightly different approach from the other runners. The medic had crouched near the body taking in all of the symptoms. The razor girl’s long metallic fingers hovered over the most shocking part of the scene in front of them. His convulsions had been so severe that he had broken his own spine. His gut bulged out long since popping the buttons of his shirt off. It wasn’t a straight break, however. It looked slightly like he had been trying to pull his body to the left, but his spine had moved right. The human woman moved from one obvious injury to another. The still smoking datajack linked to the man’s head. The scent of ozone and burnt plastic slightly hid the smell of the decaying body and pyramid of half eaten take out food.

With her analysis finished the medic got up and turned to face her team. Looking directly into Stealth’s eyes she gave her report with the emotionless tone one would expect from a street samurai with too much cyberware.

“It’s the same way that Monika died. We pulled the datajack out which I think aided in lessening the severity of her seizure.”

Dietrich seemed like he had had enough. One tattooed hand reached into his jacket and pulled out his flask.

“Good to know love, but that still doesn’t answer the question. Something’s fragging deckers and I’d like to know what it is.”

He took a long drink before he continued. “Is it a program. Monika talked about Black Ice like it was the devil itself. His gaze fell upon Stealth as he offered a swig to the rigger. The de facto leader gently waved it off before speaking.

“I’m not a decker, but I know tech. To my knowledge, there is no Black Ice that could cause this. Bleeding, minor spasms and headaches are normal, but that..” His slender hand pointed towards the body and continued. “Whatever it is is bleeding edge….Eiger”, the Elf switched the focus of his speech the former KSK soldier. He spoke with the candor of a drill instructor and, sure enough, the troll’s training betrayed her. Her already stiff posture stiffened. “What’s your opinion on this? Military technology?”

By the time Eiger had realized that she had given Stealth a modicum of respect it had already been too late. A slight sigh or perhaps a grunt of frustration issued from her, but she dutifully reported her opinion.

“There is nothing like this in the KSK or other armies. There was a decker who had programmed a Black Hammer. The results were deadly, but nothing like this. If a group that had the backing of a government I’d expect a few of the other deckers in the Kiez to get hit. But, that’s the military…” Just as she was about to continue Stealth cut in.

“However, a corporation would make use of new matrix defense or a new version of Black Hammer. ”

“A dragon, a scientist, a corp, and a new cyber weapon,” Dietrich said before he drained the rest of his flask. Stealth just sighed.

Stealth Mission Log 3: Addicts in the past

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(Youtube link down below)

The pounding music, blaring lights, and “activities” reminded Stealth of Monika as he walked into the hotel/dance club’s elevator. Attempting to leave the cacophony behind he hastily pressed the first button that he could reach on the patchwork console. With a slight tilt of his head, he noticed that the rest of the elevator was surprisingly unoccupied. Behind him Dietrich, Glory, and even more importantly Eiger with her fist held up to signal the team to stop stood sizing up the lift. There were obvious marks that would suggest that the hostile takeover of the only decent part of DrogenKippe. Bullet holes dotted the closed off section of the elevator enough to see a bit of the shaft. A look up would reveal severe damage. The place where someone would escape in case of emergency was hammered quite rudimentarily into place. Scorch marks that couldn’t be buffed out formed an outline around the hatch. “A grenade, perhaps?”, was what he thought.

“If we have to get the fuck outta here, I’d go with the stairs” Dietrich spoke as he pointed to the carpeted floor below Stealth’s boots. Among the plethora of stains and years of dust was a fresh new blemish. It was a dark brown, the color of oxidized blood.

Dietrich was observant, Stealth had to give him that. In his discomfort, he had hastily rewired the elevator and got on. It wasn’t going to collapse, he could tell that, but the rest of the team couldn’t. Combined with the obvious signs of struggle, they were a tad hesitant. Instead of asking Stealth about the unsafe conditions, he merely stated a question, not to discredit their new leader, but to draw attention to his concerns. The surprising social graces of the tattooed shaman was what was surprising. The elf took immediate action to alleviate his team’s worries.

With the grace of a trained engineer, the shadowrunner pulled out a small tool box from his pocket.Gloved fingers deftly opened the case and gently lifted out a small screwdriver. In seconds it was buried just behind the elevator panel. With a pop, the plate slid out to expose the horrific wiring. It looked far worse than it really was. Despite the veritable rat’s nest of crisscrossed wires, exposed copper, and general clutter it was functional. But, the team didn’t know that. Another tool appeared within his hands. The silver rod issued a small red flame from its tip, that quickly began cutting through wiring. Dietrich looked upon the elf inquisitively, Eiger with a slight disgust that hadn’t left her face since Dante barked at her, and Glory just started. Disarmingly Stealth smiled as the elevator panel slid back into place. The buttons came aglow clearly showing the floors that were available.

“That’s fixed. Now Eiger could you help me with something?” The troll frowned at the question, but she stepped into the elevator slightly ducking down as not to hit her head on the metallic ceiling. “Could you open that”, he requested. The troll just rolled her eyes, while bringing the butt of her shotgun to bear against the already dented metal. Despite her size, the force that was used was perfect. Enough, to knock it upwards, but not enough to cause a disturbance. Behind them, Dietrich and Glory formed a bit of a wall in an attempt to hide what was going on from the club’s patrons and more importantly it’s owners.

After the soldier was done with her work, she regarded her commanding officer. Stealth made eye contact with her and pointed upwards. Her face scrunched up even more severely. Before there was an air of annoyance even anger, but now there was only contempt on her face. But, she again followed orders. She dropped down to one knee and interlocked her fingers to give the elf a boost. Silently her leader climbed up through the now open path to the top of the elevator, flashlight in hand. He shined it this way and that, not really expecting to see anything, but it was more to establish knowledge. After a few seconds, he climbed down and beckoned his team to step in. This time, there was no hesitancy. The now glowing one was pressed and the doors behind the team with a standard bing. Dietrich broke the silence with a question.

“So, what was that check for anyway?” Stealth waited a second before immediately answering. Sure enough, Eiger answered for him. “A standard tactic used to protect corporate installations and military facilities where a rigger will take control of a building’s elevators and other mechanical components. Not standard for gangs running a business out of old factories.”

“First thing I’d install”, was the elf’s comment. Almost immediately he could feel the soldier’s angry eyes bore a hole in the back of his head, but that wasn’t where his mind was. The ork Silkie had brought back memories. Her sunken in eyes reminded him of Monika, back in the day.

Bullets soared past him and Monika’s heads as the ducked around a corner. Monika was lacking her trademark data jack and decker gear, though she had an AK slung over a bare shoulder. Clad in a sleeveless white shirt, camo pants, and black boots. She huffed and puffed as her eyes regarded the man next to her. He wore a standard security guards uniform, the “Ares” symbol slashed so many times, that almost no one could recognize the mega corporation’s symbol. They silently communicated. Monika unshouldered her weapon and readied it, while Stealth reached up to turn his control rig on. A scream issued forth from the hallway they had just come from. The woman went to speak to her companion, but he just held up a single finger to his lips, while the other turned on the control rig. Within seconds he could see everything his slightly damaged drone could. A few armed gangers were stalking their prey, a woman with multiple wounds on her body. Through her blue rags, the drone’s camera could clearly see the defined red spots that were growing larger with every passing second. Despite the dire wounds, she was attempting to crawl away.

“What’s the situation”, Monika damn near screamed in his ear. Unfazed Stealth calmly told her the of the situation and that he was readying to “take the shot”.

“At what”, she screamed. A sudden realization came to her as her face became pale.

“Blue?”

The elf nodded and he attempted to move his drone without drawing their attention of the machine gun wielding enemies.

“Why”, Monika asked adjusting her grip on her own weapon.

“She knows where the meet is. If they capture her, they’ll inform their employers who will at best make our mission more difficult.”

“At worst ruin, the run” Monika asked already knowing the answer. The elf just nodded.

“Cover me”, the shadowrunner yelled as she simultaneously slung her AK over her shoulder and dashed down the hallway, with a grenade in hand. The entire scene played out before the elf’s mechanical companion.

With a fury, Monika threw the explosive while running towards Blue. The gangers took aim, but one yelled to take cover. Two managed to take some form of cover, while two were caught within the full blast. With Blue in tow, Monika made a mad dash back towards Stealth, but she wasn’t as fast as she was without the ninety-five pounds of dead weight. The two who hadn’t been injured in the blast fired frantically at the duo.

Frag repeated itself multiple times in Stealth’s head as he tried to realign another shot. The drone had been heavily damaged. Most of its hull had been exposed and multiple wheels were out of commission. He’d only have one shot. An Ork ganger advanced managing to clip Monika in the leg. She stumbled nearly falling, but the familiar sound of a doberman’s mounted gun spurred her on.

The shot was perfect. The Ork’s head exploded. Stealth could swear he saw a tooth bounce off of the machine’s hull before the remaining ork opened fire. Despite having experienced it dozens of times before, the feedback through his control rig was something Stealth was never prepared for. From the tip of his skull to the bottom of his toes, not a single piece of him didn’t feel a shock. Disoriented and in pain the elf managed to get to his feet, just as his companions rounded the corner. Together the duo carried a half conscious mage down the stairwell. “Nice shot ace” was all she could say through hurried gasps and winces of pain.

Just when the two got to the bottom of the staircase Monika began giving first aid to the bullet-ridden mage. Stealth held his pistol up covering the only route the ganger had.

“I’m hurtin Monika. I need it”, Blue spoke in a harsh whisper. She stopped her bandaging to exchange a look with the former security guard who had lost it at this point. “Frag”, he said aloud, not giving a damn who heard him.

He leveled his gun towards Blue, who Monika immediately got up to protect.

“Calm down”, were the best words that she could come up with at the moment.

“She showed up to the OP high! She’s a junkie Monika! What secrets do you think she can keep? You think she won’t rat you out to that Go Gang you stole from? Or me to Ares? It wouldn’t even take nuyen all it’d take is some product at half price.”

Monika just gave the smile again. Her eyes were twinkling as she slowly walked up to her partner and put one hand on his gun.

“A bullet doesn’t solve an addict’s problems. She needs help, that’s all.”

Zap. A lightning bolt flew past the duo as their eyes followed the trajectory, the found the last ganger, fresh smoke issued forth from the hole in his face. With the smell of ozone still fresh, they helped Blue to her feet and made their escape with renewed vigor.

“See”, Monika said grinning from ear to ear. “Even an addict could be useful. All we need to do is get her some help and she’ll be back to running with the best.

“Us?”

“Of course”, was the response.

The ding of the elevator broke Stealth out of his memory, just as Eiger began to step forward. Stealth walked out in front of her and surveyed the area. His thoughts immediately flooded back to his past, but at least he had a troll this time.

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.