Road to Metropolis

First Session
The Runners Meet

Well, as far as first runs go, I can’t say this one is boring. I guess they’re right when they say “careful what you wish for.”

It started with a message from Alexander. He knew I’d been restless and was looking for…work. So I followed his suggestion and went to the soy-caf place at the appropriate time. I wasn’t sure who, or what, to expect…but I sure wasn’t expecting the others who showed up.

First to arrive was…well, actually, I’m not sure, other than human. He or she is Japanese, I think, and goes by Cheshire. Dressed awesomely, like Rude from Final Fantasy; maybe we can talk anime sometime. Next was an elf named Simon, and he’s taller than me, but surprisingly, not by much, and I’m not that tall. The human who showed up after him, Nicholas, was taller yet, easily two meters, and big. He looks like a cop, but from the chatter he was trading with the elf, it sounds like he’s not anymore.

So we were told to deliver a package to Grand Casino Hinckley, north of Metropolis, and not only were we under a time limit, but we were told that there will be people trying to stop us. That meant we were going to have to travel through the Hive. I do not relish running into the Old Man again…but it might be inevitable.

Everyone had what they needed, but we decided as a team that a sniper rifle might not be a bad idea, so we had to stop by my place. I found a set of keys on the counter, to a Morben Industries van. Sweet! Even better, it had compartments to help hide my rifle.

We got on the road and made it through the gate. I was surprised at first that Cheshire wasn’t driving, since s/he seems to have quite the affinity with technology. But Cheshire said the van was…technologically deficient, or something. Simon suggested that Nicholas drive, because he would know the guards at the Wall, and had the best chance of getting us through safely.

We did make it through the Wall without incident. However, once we hit 35 after the northern junction, traffic came to a standstill. That was bad enough, but it got worse when we saw four men in suits get out of a gorgeous Nightsky. We all knew trouble had found us already.

But Simon turned out to be a mage. He hit them with a manaball before I could even get my Predators out of their holsters. Cheshire was doing…something. I think it involved hacking the Nightsky, because I saw – I swear! – a Tachikoma, like from Ghost in the Shell, driving it. It was awesome. (I may have giggled. Not professional. Need to not do that.)

Nicholas saw an opening in the traffic and took the van offroading. We left our first enemies behind, but who knows who – or what – else waits for us before we get to Grand Casino?

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Second Session
Special Delivery

After our brief off-roading adventure, we made it back onto the Interstate. When we reached the border of Waldochia, we were summoned to see the Old Man. They brought us to the main building, the Hive. After walking through its spiraling halls, we came to the room where Old Man Waldoch sat on his throne. Just like the last time I was here, there were eight or nine scantily-clad women sitting on the level just below his feet.

The Old Man, just as spry as he was seven years earlier, had a proposition for us – quite literally. He wanted us to let him take a look inside the package, because he apparently had a suspicion that some unsavory types were trying to make a deal with the head of Grand Casino to take over part of Waldochia lands. In return, he offered us not only cash, but the others their choice of his women – and me a night with him. (I managed not to shudder, but it was close.) We declined, because how would we ever get another job if we double-crossed our very first employers? The Old Man eventually let us leave.

However, when we got onto the road again, it wasn’t long before we saw a biker gang come into view. Cheshire identified them as Tracker Jackers, a Waldochian gang. There looked to be seven or eight of them. Cheshire rigged up something with a crowbar and bungee cords that allowed me to snipe out the back doors of the van without letting the doors open too wide or swing closed. Simon hurled a manaball at them, and I managed one shot before Nicholas lost control of the van, sending it skidding in circles. When he regained control, they were nearly upon us. One had a Molotov cocktail in hand; Simon hit him with magic and broke the bottle, spilling the now-flaming contents all over the biker. One by one, we picked off the others. One daring biker managed to go airborne, landing next to the side of the van, but he died like his companions.

After that, we entered the city of Hinckley. Just inside town, our van mysteriously died, right across the street from a little place called Casa del Vin. A stranger invited us to have a glass of wine with him. Cheshire stayed with the van to fix it, despite the stranger’s invite and then attempt to steal one of Cheshire’s drones. The stranger wanted to offer us a paltry 50 nuyen apiece to allow him to simply scan the package. We refused, and he didn’t push the issue. The van started up again, and we covered the last of the distance to the casino.

Once at the casino, we were escorted down to the basement, where there was a shooting range. Our contact, Omar, was appearing to torment an elf by making the elf walk down the range to hang the fresh target, then unloading his gun into the target while making the elf stand next to it. We delivered the package and got our payment. Nicholas and Simon wanted to hang around the casino proper a bit. Simon offered Cheshire a drink. Turns out Cheshire is underage, and very different when intoxicated…While they drank and saw a show, I got a call from Uncle, letting us know that we had done fairly well – other than letting his delivery van get shot up – and that he possibly had a new job for us.

Our drive back to Metropolis was uneventful. Once there, Nicholas suggested going to a bar he likes, the Sword’s Edge. The bartender there is Simon’s uncle, and there seems to be some history with Nicholas, SImon, and Simon’s sister, from what I gathered from their conversation. Nicholas keeps accusing Simon of kidnapping, stealing, blowing stuff up, and rape, but Simon denies most – well, some – of it, and his Uncle Joe seems to back up Simon’s side of it.

Cheshire, a bit tipsy again since Joe said drinks were on the house, asked if my uncle could get him some weapons parts. We all went together to visit Uncle in his lovely fortress – er, house. Uncle greeted me with my real name, but no one seemed to notice, or at least, no one commented on it. I think my expression may have tipped Uncle off, because even though he stumbled over it a bit, he did call me Riza after that.

Uncle asked to see Cheshire’s gun to do the upgrades, but Cheshire wanted to do them. Then Uncle offered to sell Cheshire one of his excellent Morben Arms guns, but Cheshire got all uppity. I mean, yeah, Uncle did insult Ares by saying something along the lines of “they crapped out a piece of steel and formed it into a gun shape,” but, well, Uncle’s stuff is so much better, he kinda can get away with it. But in the end, he did sell Cheshire the parts. Nicholas bought some grenades from him, too.

Uncle let us know that he was gathering more information on another run for us; seems someone’s been kidnapped. He’ll be in touch when he has more. Right now, I’m fair jeeked. Time to get some sleep. Well, maybe just one more episode of “Yoroiden Samurai Troopers”…

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Third Session

I got a message regarding the job that Uncle had asked us if we would be willing to take. We were instructed to go to the Horse Trot Ranch, north of the Wall, to meet with a man named Falcone at 1800. I let the others know, but I didn’t hear from Simon. As I was gathering my gear and waiting for Cheshire and Nicholas to pick me up, the doorbell rang. A Morben Industries delivery man had me sign for a package.

I had a bit of time before the others arrived, so I opened the package. Inside was what looked like an archaic deck. It was by far the oddest thing I had received from Uncle, but there had to be more to it than there seemed. There was a slip of paper with instructions on it to press four buttons in a certain sequence. When I did so, I discovered that the deck was actually a disguised rifle. Uncle’s note said something about holograms, but that kind of thing isn’t really my expertise. However, this was going to make it much easier to get a rifle through security checkpoints, for sure.

Once we got to the Horse Trot Ranch, we were escorted to meet Falcone. He informed us that the kidnapped person was one Jonathan Blankley, from Ares R&D. They didn’t know who had taken him, or why, and their security system had been hacked around the time of the kidnapping. Cheshire got permission to review the security footage while Nicholas and I went to search Blankley’s room.

We found a leather-wrapped raven’s feather. I called Uncle, who knows a lot of things, and he said that it’s the “calling card” of a ’runner named Kira. We also found a pair of commlink glasses. Cheshire was able to examine those, and we learned that Kira frequents a bar known as “The Hard Pan.”

So we went there. We discovered it was a bar frequented mostly by Sioux. Being the only one in the group who speaks the language, it fell to me (shudder) to make small talk and glean what info I could from the bartender. Fortunately, a generous tip got us some information about Kira – and the bartender agreed to facilitate a meeting between us and Kira and a nearby airport.

We had two hours before the meeting, so we went straight to the airport to scout it out. We found a gatehouse that had an excellent view of the field and the meeting spot, so I climbed up and got settled in with my new rifle. I had worn my armored coat with thermal dampening, and I made sure the hood was up. Cheshire set a couple of his drones to watch over me as well, in case anyone noticed me and tried to sneak up on me while I was focused on my scope. He also linked our comms so that I could hear their end of business, and they would know if I got into any trouble.

Kira arrived. Nicholas told her to hand over Blankley. She – not surprisingly – refused. Nicholas threatened to beat her up. She seemed amused. So he moved to attack, and two spirits appeared next to her. Suddenly, Nicholas was running away from her. She followed, leaping onto his back and drawing a knife. I saw my shot and took it – and blew her leg clean off at the knee.

She fell off Nicholas, and the other spirit picked her up and began fleeing. Cheshire seemed to be doing…something – he was standing there, kind of staring into space; I’ve seen him do that before when he’s hacking or doing other technomancer-y things.

The spirit not carrying Kira changed course, heading towards me. I learned that you can actually shoot and “kill” spirits with a rifle. Once the spirit was gone, Nicholas stopped running; he went for Cheshire’s car to drive after Kira. The spirit carrying her was really trekking. I was able to get off a couple shots; it looked like I was hurting it.

Then my rifle jammed. It was the work of a few seconds to clear it – not long, but it cost me a shot. Nicholas picked up Cheshire and continued after Kira. I was able to get off one final shot, and the spirit dissipated. Cheshire and Nicholas got to Kira, and Cheshire sent the car back for me while Nicholas tended to Kira’s wounds, keeping her alive.

I climbed down and got in, followed by Cheshire’s drones, and let him drive the car back to where they were. Cheshire said he knew where Kira’s accomplices were – he had searched out their comm signals. So now we need to go after them, but we can’t leave Kira here alone. Which one of us will stay, and who will go?

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