Stealth Mission Log 10: Humanis and A Predator

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 Next Time!

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Stealth Mission Log 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 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

Image17
(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.