We pick up the scene as two ghouls are still standing, in the tunnel, one attacking Tor on top of the van, and one between Whiskey and Faceman. They’re both badly wounded though, and one shot from each of Lightning’s pistols brings them both down.
Things go quiet for a second, but a couple of the team spot some movement underneath the truck on the opposite side of the gap in the collapsed tunnel floor. It scuttles backwards out of sight – Mouse astrally projects to take a look, and it turns out to be a other ghoul, this one perhaps a little smarter than the others as it’s taking cover after watching the others get killed. Mouse keeps an eye on it while Whiskey sets up another rope across the gap with his line thrower.
They start to climb across, Lightning and Whiskey first, then Faceman. Lightning drops to the other side just ahead of Whiskey, who is on the final part of gap where the road drops off at a very sharp angle into the tunnel below. Faceman has just started his trip. Mouse notices that the ghoul under the truck peeks around the back wheels and point at where the rope is anchored. A second later the rope snaps, torn apart by a Powerbolt spell. So, not your average feral ghoul then. Whiskey drops and tries to catch the edge, which he does with some help from Lightning who grabs his shirt. Faceman deftly lands on the edge on the other side.
Using the momentary distraction, the ghoul gets out from under the truck and flees into the darkness of the tunnel. Mouse follows in astral and keeps pace easily, and after a few seconds getting back on solid footing, so do Lightning and Whiskey on foot. Lightning already has a gun out and shoots, hitting the ghoul in the back, while Whiskey quick draws his weapon while sprinting. The ghoul, sensing the game is up, spins around and fires off a desperate Stunball, damaging Whiskey somewhat but Lightning gets away with it because of Edge. One more shot and there’s one less ghoul shaman in the world.
Mouse scouts ahead in astral while the others figure out how to get the other team members across the gap, those that can’t climb well. Peaches says they can jury-rig a bridge with some girders they stashed a little way down the tunnel, but it’ll take up to an hour, and they don’t have that kind of time (the 12 o’clock deadline is only just over 2 hours away). So Whiskey makes a simple cradle which people can sit in and be pulled across with, which is much faster, and they decide to try to get the truck working.
The truck’s former owners have to be removed – one in the passenger seat, one under the front of the truck, both with their flesh badly chewed – but after that macabre job is done the truck won’t start. Lightning isn’t a mechanic but does establish that the electronics are undamaged (including the entertainment system), the power unit just seems to be dead. Peaches takes a look once she’s crossed the gap and gets it going again in short order. The truck was in the process of winching a car out of the gap, but the team decide it’s not worth trying to complete that process, not only because of the time but also that the car has been sitting on top of those radioactive barrels for an unknown amount of time and is probably highly contaminated by now. So they cut the rope and leave.
The truck is a little more exposed (at least for everyone except the 3 people who can fit in the cab), so the rest of the trip is a little more tense. However, it turns out to be uneventful and they emerge via another cargo elevator into a nondescript warehouse building on th UCAS side of the border. Peaches lets them out and takes her leave, still a bit shaken from the ghoul experience but gives them her contact details for the future.
The warehouse district is separated from UCAS section of downtown by a winding road through forested hills. As the team get on the way, they soon hear the sound of rumbling engines behind them. Mouse scouts in astral again, and sees 7 leather-clad bikers, six of which look quite young, and one who looks like a grizzled, middle-aged man with many tattoos and (as Mouse discovers via his aura) a large amount of cyberware. They’re travelling fast and will catch up with the truck in a few minutes. Mouse quickly returns to report, and the team have a quick decision to make. They decide the bikers are probably spoiling for a fight they don’t need, and plan to take the truck off the side of the road and for Mouse to conceal it with an illusion. This goes relatively well as far as they can tell, and in a couple of minutes the bikers roar around the corner. Their insignia suggests something related to scorpions.
They’re shouting at each other as they ride three abreast, and the team manage to catch what they’re saying. Turns out that the six younger ones are on an initiation of some kind and the older guy is observing, and that they need to find someone for something. Most of the bikes go past without looking, but one of them (a youngster) slows and stares at the truck, confused. He calls to the others but they’ve already carried on, having seen nothing, and don’t really listen to him – he looks torn for a second, then hits the throttle again to catch up with everyone else.
After they’ve gone, the team get the truck back on the road and resume their journey. It’s not long before they notice a plume of black smoke coming from up ahead, and they shortly pass a car which has left the road at speed and ploughed into a tree. The road leading up to it is criss-crossed with skid marks, some from the car and some from 2-wheeled vehicles. They check the car but the single occupant, a male wage slave by the looks, is dead. The biker gang is nowhere to be seen – looks like they passed their initiation though. Lightning’s jaw tightens at this, vowing to kill them next time he sees them.
Eventually they reach their destination, 4923 Billington Street, which turns out not to be an office as they assumed, but a plush mansion. After stating their business they get waved through by large men in poorly-fitting suits, and are met by a middle-aged balding man. He says that the sottocapo would like to meet them in person, downstairs in the gun range. When they accept, he leads them there – the range is a reasonable size, kitted out like a small private club. A large fat man is currently pointing a gun down one of the lanes while a skinny, bent-over elf gingerly walks down holding a target over his head. When told to, he stops and turns around, and suddenly the fat man unleashes a fully automatic burst which rips the target to shreds, narrowly missing the elf’s fingers. The fat man (the sottocapo) chuckles to himself as the elf whimpers and probably wets himself, and turns to the team, pulling earplugs out as he walks over with his hand outstretched.
They deliver the document as agreed, within the deadline and without breaking the seal or letting it fall into the wrong hands, so the sottocapo is very pleased, and they are paid immediately. However, he seems to want to talk about another subject too. He has heard that the team came from Seattle, and he happens to have heard about a little ‘mix up’ that happened around Jet Black’s grave, and has seen the mugshots. He’s curious, because he’s a long time Jet Black fan and wants to believe that he’s not dead – and the publicity that Faceman asked Fel to put out to soften the bad press they were getting intrigues him. He says there have been a good number of conspiracy theories, but no-one has been crazy enough to dig up Jet Black to investigate before, and he laughs at the audacity. He wants to know more, and is willing to help them out with their ‘publicity problem’ if he can get in on this story. They agree to talk more, and he offers them his hospitality in the extensive mansion for a while.
Karma award: 4
Mark Longfeather, Koshari chief (loyalty 1, connection 4)
Stalker, Coyote and ex-shadow runner (loyalty 1, connection 2)
Peaches, mechanic and coyote (loyalty 1, connection 2)
Sottocapo Omar Chavez (loyalty 1, connection 4)
Chavez Mafia +1