Shadowrun: Angels and SINners

Booty Protection
July 15th, 2060. Abaddon All Hope

The Archology Sector of Downtown L.A. was about as close to fancy as you could get without a corporate barcode branded into your flesh or designer blu blood pumping through your platinum docwagon insured veins. This part of the city was dense with sweat and chrome, synth leather and Real-Cotton socks. An homage to the old Los Angeles, where the filthy rich could, in-theory, rub elbows with the filthy. For the right amount of nuyen or pride, just about any thirst could be quenched there.Club_Abaddon.png

So it came as no surprise when Roxy accepted the contract to “motivate” some jackass to leave a woman alone at her job, that that job would be at a place like Club Abaddon. The place was smack in the middle of Archology central, yet had somehow avoided urban renewal. Its clientele ran the gamut of wage slaves and go-gangers to corporate partners and wives-night-out-gangs slumming it for cheap thrills. The unifying factor was that Club Abaddon was considered “safe”, even the gangs didn’t risk their credibility there. A fact that lent itself well to the seven-year-rise in profitability of a place that had gone bankrupt decade after decade prior to its acquisition by the current proprietor.

Mr. Jimenez had given Roxy the address of the job once she’d accepted it, no name, nothing. So as she pulled up she was pleased that she was “recognized” and waved down by her client; a pretty thai woman wearing a green sarong-like dress. She introduced herself as Lamai. Roxy then requested confirmation and she rattled off her name and Mr. Jimenez’s recommendation. Satisfied, Roxy followed her inside the club.

The entrance was crowded with people, but Lamai maneuvered her way knowingly inside, Roxy in tow. At the front kiosk Lamai indicated with that night’s pass code; Alpine Green, that Roxy was on the House’s list. Presenting her forearm to the robot behind the anti-ballistic screen layered with flyers, Roxy got her stamp to enter the club, glowing electric purple under the blacklight inside.

Classical music in the foyer hallway quickly gave way to Speed Pulse from Low-Orbital Intercept’s latest tracks, while sweat drenched clients dressed in the latest fashion filled the dance floor under sparkling disco-tech globes in the ceiling. Lamai inquired if Roxy wanted a drink, but Roxy was a professional and she just shook her head wordlessly at the inquiry. Lamai continued leading Roxy on to a side corridor and down some stairs into a secure portion of the club. Something seemed off, but Roxy couldn’t put her razor on it until she saw the real wood paneling and door to an office; Lamai wasn’t the client, she was just a gopher. Roxy immediately sized up Lamai, the security measures, closest exits, and how many security personnel were between her and the front door. Just in case.

Entering the office, Roxy was met by a classically beautiful caucasian woman named Annabelle. Annabelle.png She offered Roxy a seat. Roxy took it. Lamai left. This left Annabelle, Roxy, and Annabelle’s body guard in the room to discuss the details. According to her, she was the owner and proprietor of Club Abaddon, and she had, on Mr. Jimenez’s recommendation, hired Roxy on for this job.

The job in question, Annabelle added after Roxy’s professional silence and calm, was to get rid of a man harassing her employees. Photos, details of his stalking and harassment, and motive were given (mental instability is such a blanket term to cover up any number of secret agendas). He fit the bill as a desperate skeevy guy, blond hair, thick glasses, hadn’t shaved lately. He was almost too stereotypical. This smelled off somehow.

Roxy took this information, asked a few targeted questions regarding when and where the incidents took place, and then confirmed that death and specificity of the warning’s origin were off the table, but anything in between was fair game. Roxy then gave Annabelle her burner phone number, indicated she would be in the area, and for her girls to be given the number in case the target made contact. With the 3-block radius given, Roxy guaranteed intercept within 60 seconds. Annabelle gave Roxy a green credit chit that provided free access to the bar and restaurant at Club Abaddon for the evening.

As Roxy was about to leave and begin her sting operation, Annabelle was informed by her muscle that security had ID’d the perpetrator across the street at the GAP Corporation’s street level diner; Banana Re-pancakes. He was clearly staking out the front of Club Abaddon, even using old timey binoculars in a non-subtle way to keep eyes on the club’s entrance. Roxy informed Annabelle that she would take care of it and set about on her plan.

Saddling up to the bar, Roxy had no trouble making space with her razor fingers on full display. The bartender, Mads, filled her request for ice water (no floaters) which Roxy quickly dumped over herself. Her overactive Wired Reflexes had built up quite a bit of heat while she was acting “pro” for the client. She followed that up for an order of bottle water, which Mads gingerly opened for her. She drank it, tipped him 2 nuyen of her own money, and then stepped outside.

Outside Roxy spotted the perpetrator across the street at the diner, guzzling down coffee with the binoculars at the counter beside him. She blended into the street traffic and bummed a few coffin nails from some teens who hadn’t lucked out on fake identification to get them into one of the clubs yet. From there she watched as the perp watched the club.

Suddenly he was up and moving. Paying his bill and hustling out onto the street with a purpose. The guy clearly had no tact. Roxy measured the situation and identified his quarry; one of the girls who worked at Club Abaddon who was leaving work and on her way home. Smelling the worst scenario, Roxy shadowed the man, ensuring she was within distance to make a move if he did something stupid.

He did something stupid. At a crosswalk the man caught up with his target. He removed a Walgreen’s brand taser from his right pocket and pushed it up against the back of the girl. She saw him whisper something into her ear while he punched a number on his cellphone in his other pocket. Then he put his hand on her waist as if they were friendly to one another the girl was frozen in terror. He was in the middle of a crowd, so Roxy was pretty certain he wouldn’t be dumb enough to do anything here, no, he’d try to move her somewhere secluded first.

Sure enough, he started to turn her down the street instead of waiting at the crosswalk. Roxy moved in. Just as she entered his peripheral vision, Roxy was beside the man and she invaded his personal space, mirroring his stance on the girl, Roxy looped her arm around his waist pushed his arm with the taser between their bodies so he couldn’t aim it at her. She then snuggled against him and loudly said, “There you are, lover boy! Get your hands off my man!” In shock the man looked at her and forgot his grip on his target. She fled with confusion and thanks in her eyes and dashed back to her workplace.

Now the man was alone with Roxy, and the same confusion was in his eyes, but instead of thanks, there was fear. Roxy continued to ignore personal boundaries and turned to face the man, dragging her razors just hard enough over his clothing that there was no mistaking what her fingers were tipped with. She began an aggressive onslaught of “affection” that was more designed to inflict bruises and keep him unbalanced than do anything to be enticing, she dialed up the intimidation, “I’ve seen you around here, and I’ve been waiting all week to get my claws in you, loverboy.”

In a panic, the man tried to get his taser free and shot it, but Roxy threw his aim off and it hit an old lady instead. She went down like she was hit with a cattleprod. The crowd made some space, but otherwise kept out of the slightly-unorthodox-drunken-seductions of a couple late at night in the Archology Sector. An old man checked on the woman, then stole her purse and shuffled off as best he could. Yep, everything was on par for the Archology Sector.

Roxy ripped the phone out of loverboy’s jacket pocket and inquired, “Who’d you call, loverboy, we making a deli-thin-you-sandwich tonight to eat up?” He managed to stammer out “I…I…just… called my… car… that’s all.” Roxy smiled, biting his neck aggressively as the Jackrabbit pulled up to the curb, “Good, get in.” God he stank like garlic fries.

Roxy followed the man into his economical transportation vehicle. The autopilot continued to take them where he was planning to take the girl. Roxy made sure he couldn’t touch the wheel by continuing her feigned sexually aggressive assault on him, to really drive home the point. Soft places were touched with her finger razors as not-so-subtle warnings and threats. Satisfied that they were far enough away and he was suitably freaked-the-fuck-out, Roxy sat back in her seat and cut the bullshit, “Where are we going and what were you going to do to her when you got her there?”

The man finally stammered out, realizing his dick wasn’t in imminent danger, “F…f… fucking vampires. They’ve taken over the girls minds. They’re drinking people’s blood and preying on the weak. I’m trying to help them. Please don’t kill me.” He spit out without much of a fight.

“Look around you, pal. Everybody in this fucking town is a fucking vampire.” Roxy spit back without a second thought.

“Oh… Oh god! They got you too. You’ve got to snap out of it. They’ve put a spell on you!”

Curious, Roxy played along, “Yeah they did. You know what the spell is called? It’s called nuyen you dumb motherfucker. You’re just lucky they didn’t pay me enough to kill you.” Roxy traced a blade over her cellphone to call her motorcycle to her location.

“Pull the car over.”

The man disengaged the auto-nav and the car pulled to the side of the road. Roxy turned to fully face the man now, leveling with him.

“Chummer, I really don’t care if they’re vampires. All I know is I got hired to make you leave those girls alone. So as long as you do that, then I get paid and you never see me again. But if you don’t do as you are told, then I get hired again, and that time you are fucking hamburger, pal. Understand?”

“But… they need help. Someone has to help them. Listen, there’s some of us trying to put a stop to this evil in our city. We can offer you more in exchange…” The man scrambled for some sort of edge in the conversation.

Roxy cut him off, “Shut the fuck up. I’m on a contract and I don’t double deal. I’m trying to save your life, so listen; Stay the fuck away from those girls. I get paid. You get to live. It’s that easy.”

The man wasn’t defeated yet, “But, we have to do something. How can you sit there and not care about these creatures? Don’t you understand? If nobody does anything it’ll be just like Bug City all over again. By the time anyone does anything about it, it’ll be too late, and then they’ll level the whole neighborhood to get rid of the infestation! You’ve got to help us stop them!”

Roxy understood the idea of the argument, but the evidence was flimsy as fuck. Would an honest to goodness vampire REALLY set up shop in a new-retro-speed-pulse-goth-club called Club Abaddon? Isn’t that just a LITTLE too on the nose? Even for a nostalgic vampire? She switched tactics.

“I’ll tell you how I can help. You need to change tactics. Whatever plan you had, that failed. If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here, right now, hired by your target to tell you to fuck off. So if you don’t change tactics, that’s game-over-levels-of-stupid. If you really want my help, then you can contact me after this job is done. Until then, my advice, is you are and your buddies come up with a new plan, cause this one is going to get you killed.”

The man finally let defeat sink in.

“Now lean forward.” Roxy waited for the man to comply and then pulled his jacket down and moved his arms still in the sleeves behind the back of his carseat and tied the sleeves together. She then opened the door to get out and reached to press the auto-nav back on. The man finally spoke again.

“Wait, how will I get in touch with you?”

Roxy frowned, “Chummer, if you have to ask, you aren’t ready to get in touch with me. When you know how to do that, then I’ll know you aren’t dumb enough to get us both turned into hamburger.” With that she re-instated the auto-nav and closed the door. As the Jackrabbit rolled off down the street her bike showed up and Roxy climbed aboard, texting a reply to Annabelle’s text message that awaited her on her burner that the job was done.

After a brief stop at Julius Cadabra’s shop to pick the brain of the occultist on the plausibility of vampires in Los Angeles, Roxy returned to Club Abaddon. Lamai indicated she was authorized to pay her for the job. Roxy took the cred chit. Lamai then asked if Roxy had any questions for the client to which Roxy replied, in her best professional guise, “Should I have any questions for her?” Lamai shook her head no and Roxy nodded.

Despite the call of a free real-beef shawarma kebab at the club’s restaurant, Roxy swallowed her pride and kept up her professional guise, practicing what Julius had just told her about vampires and their preference not to shit where they eat. Roxy thus decided not to eat where she shit, or in this case, where she worked, and so settled for a shot of top shelf real-vodka and then she hit the road.

Stopping at a top end restaurant on the way home, Roxy spent some of her contract money on her very own real-beef shawarma. Once home she ritualistically, by candle-light, consumed said meal, in secret, without her roommate(s) smelling it. Meat juice running down her chin and everything. It was sinful.

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Flames of Retribution
July 13th, 2060. Spells and BTLs

I finally got The Call. The one I was told to leave my old life behind for, and come to this shit-hole city and wait for. Took them frekkin’ long enough.

It’s quite disturbing just how informed this “Senior Jiminez” was about my past, considering all the yen I dropped to try and distance myself from it. And just how did he get this number, anyway?

Those questions would have to wait until we’re on better terms, I suppose. I’ve heard the tales of how this line of work can go. And, speaking of cashflow, this was exactly the opportunity I needed to try and turn my credit balance from a nosedive into… well, perhaps at least a shallower decline.

Introductions to my ‘Runner’ partners were made at a little dive bar called La Cocina, where we were given the details of the requested job. A group of gangers had set up a BTL operation in what’s supposed to be a “nice” neighborhood (as if they even know what such a thing is, around here) and wanted them evicted. Seems straightforward enough.

As for my newfound coworkers… ‘Roxy’ appears to be a razor-girl with back-alley implants and “makes poor decisions” practically tattooed across her forehead, while the supersoldier-turned-freelancer who goes by ‘Ace’ seems almost as out of place in this line of work as a former-medical-student like myself. Nevertheless, they were each offered extra cash by the Fixer for taking a rookie like me along on this job, which silently speaks volumes about the trust he places in each of these mercs. So, I decided to just play the ‘support’ role to the best of my ability while these two professionals show me the ropes.

The squat of these gangers was above a bodega across the street from the Cavalry Cemetery, near the corner of S. Downey and Whittier. Rebuilt plastcrete businesses crammed together like sardines lined the roads, but spotting our destination was a simple enough matter. Recon was performed by Ace, who seems to have a knack for flawlessly blending into the background when he needs. Little useful intel was found, so Roxy and he decided a frontal assault would be our chosen tactic, with Ace acting as sniper support from a neighboring roof.

To kick off the action, Roxy put on her best ‘street girl’ impression in an attempt to distract the door guards, but upon catching sight of two additional armed guards just inside the front lobby, things took a sudden and decidedly dangerous turn in very short order. Roxy lunged into combat without first signaling Ace or myself — we have got to work on better comms for future gigs! Fortunately, a trigger-happy Ace was at the ready to provide support, but it all happened far too quickly for me to much aid from my post-up down on the corner. I hustled as quickly as my short legs would take me, and joined the fray just in time to spin a Nerve-Frayer into the brain of one of Roxy’s assailants, nearly killing the poor stupid soul.

In short order, our little trio had managed to down 3 of the entry guardians, but the fourth had managed to flee and alert the rest of the entire damned building! Ace later told me that he watched the whole thing spiral via his thermal optics, as he was able to see – and fire that rifle of his – through the building’s walls. Handy, that.

During the scuffle, Roxy took a bullet straight to the upper intestines from a lucky ganger’s semi-automatic, and started quickly fading from the fight. Fortunately for me, she kept her wits in place enough to shove me behind cover before more incoming fire could threaten to do the same to me. Thinking quickly, I mustered up the arcane forces necessary to build a Blood Barrier that separated she and I from the oncoming forces long enough for Ace to circle around the rear of the building and take the rest of them by surprise. From our position behind the bodega’s front counter, Roxy and I heard the quick burst fire and a hail of incoming bullets from Ace’s automatic weapon lay into multiple gang members. I took this opportunity to fire another Nerve-Frayer through the barrier at their shaman that’d made an attempt to bring the wall down. Fortunately, his street magic was no match for my university-level incantations, and the Nerve-Frayer connected with enough force to black him out.

Between my display of arcane expertise, and Ace’s fire support from the back door, the remaining gangers appeared eager to surrender and flee. Ace allowed them to run, and I got to work trying to finally see about mending the bullet wound in Roxy’s abdomen. Through incredible effort, and no small amount of good fortune, I managed to knit her muscle and intestines back together somewhat, and carefully expressed the bullet from the wound via my well-trained control over human physiology. Some of the best patching I’d had the misfortune of needing to perform, if I’m to be honest about it.

With Roxy back in a better state, and the gangers on the run, the three of us quickly set about our business in the now-abandoned BTL manufactory.

On the second floor, we found a couple of chipheads in a bad state, and many of the walls had been knocked out in order to make space for the gangers’ machinery. I took the two chipheads to a rideshare out front and sent them off to one of the Hospitaler’s nearby haunts and notified my contact to see what she could do for them, while Ace and Roxy used the plastic explosives we’d brought to rig the building to collapse inward on itself.

Once we were all back on the street, Ace offered to let me have the honors of pressing the detonator, but I insisted Roxy was more deserving, since she’s the one that took a bullet on this job. She accepted the detonator in her clawed hand, and slammed it into her forehead to start the party. With a quick series of explosions, the second floor’s ceiling brought the top floor down, and the innards of the ghetto building collapsed inward on itself in spectacular fashion.

Apparently Ace has this thing about not looking at the explosions he causes? He began walking away before the detonator had even been pressed. To each his own, I suppose.

Job well done, despite the mess. And – a big bonus for me – Roxy forwarded me the 500Y ‘training bonus’ Jiminez was to send her way. A bit nerve-wracking, but all-in-all, not as bad a job as I’d been led to believe they could be.

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Noisy Neighbors
July 12, 2060

Noisy Neighbors

It was a cool day in the city, well cooler than yesterday. Finally got an in with a fixer and was enjoying a bath when I got a call about a runner named Roxy. Fixer said she was on a job and could use some extra iron. I had nothing else going on and could use the yen.

I met Roxy at an apartment complex in East LA. When I saw she was a cybererd up razer girl, I knew things were starting to get interesting. I could hear the gunshots from the street. Apparently, some cutters were shooting up the place. They had no idea who was about to crash their little party.

We snuck up to the 3rd floor, apartment 9mm. I told Roxy to wait for my signal. I was able to ID the cutters through the wall and pulled out my Ingram. I let off a burst of hot death into the room and was able to put some lead into each of em. Then Roxy ran in and started slashing. She made short work of these so-called tough guys and the ones she didn’t gut I blasted with my Ingram.

The people we rescued gave us the box they stole. Looks like they stumbled onto one of the cutters dead drops and caught hell for it. It had a few hundred in cred sticks and a bag of virtu chips. Not really anything to for the cutters to get this bent of the shape over. Roxy and I were of the same mind that there might be something juicy on those chips. Blackmail data maybe no way to tell without going through them all. Roxy said she had a contact that might be able to find out.

My first real gig wasn’t as lucrative as I was hoping but its far more exciting than handyman jobs. After repairs and restocking ammo I might have enough left over for grocery’s this week. Oh well new career in the big city. But, gotta pay your dues before you hit the big time. Hopefully we find something juicy on those chips and get a better payday.

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Family Recipe
July 10, 2060

Family Recipe

Holy drek was it a hot one. The haze over east L.A. gave everything a nicotine yellow hue, and the sun beat down on the pavement like a heat lamp at the corner King Taco.

La Cocina was dead this time of day, but the parking lot was full. Ricky was watching over the cars to make sure local Cutters didn’t sneak a peek inside any parked cars. Kid wasn’t even 20 and was pushing 6’6". I slotted him a 10-spot for his civic service and walked inside.

Drek it was hot!

One table with occupants; a suit, gutter rat, Sr. J, and another guy. Based on their seating arrangement, the other guy was with Sr. J. Great, I got to sit between ivory tower and gutter rat.

Sr. J cut to the chase. Get into a Gilberto’s, hack their payroll documents, leave. The only reason I figured I was here was in case the Cutters took objection to such activities. Simple job, shouldn’t be an issue. The suit was likely the decker, but that left the gutter rat the uncertainty… no, she was the decker, the suit was an ex-company man. Got expendable and got expended. Yeah, that puzzle piece fit.

Gutter rat takes the plug-n-play. Her name is N1x. Suit goes by Mr. Mercury… frekkin’ hell. He negotiates for a second job after this delivery boy crap. Alright, he’s not half bad. Confirm rendezvous at some karaoke bar near the target for 2am. I give my pager number and scoot.

Arrive early. Karaoke place is an ork hangout. I hit the corner Quicker Liquor for a twelver as a peace offering and wait for Mr. Mercury to negotiate the social tangle with the bruisers. He does fine. Guess he’s got talent. I move inside, hand over the brews, and tell the front desk guy “If anyone asks we’ve been here all night.” The boys don’t give me any trouble.

We lay out a simple strategy. Mercury enters the target acting like a corporate stooge, once he owns the joint he lets N1x in. I wait down the street on standby in case Cutters smell something is off.

From what I gather, Mr. Mercury rolled in and claimed he was from corporate and there for an audit. He then proceeded to lord over the two employees like a 15th baron telling peasants they aren’t farming good enough. What a magnificent asshole. This basically gives him complete autonomy in the place and he lets N1x in through the side door.

N1x jacks in through the main office with the plug-n-play and straight up ignores the security programs. She’s in and out so fast they barely have time to register her as a threat.

Unfortunately, about 2 minutes in and a delivery truck rolls up to the side entrance that N1x just went in through. I call her burner. Mr. Mercury picks up. I tell him they’ve got company and hang up. It’s frekkin’ go-time.

Delivery truck is unloading what is obviously a body. I zip past 0-60 in about 3 seconds to get their attention. One thug draws an Ares, but too slow to do anything about me. I could have had his hand if I’d wanted it. The other two look like ghouls. Frek! If they get in there, my compadres are screwed.

I circle around to the front and park, hoping I draw attention away from what they are doing. Another ganger is in the taqueria, waiting on his order. Gotta get him out of there. I stalk inside. He eyes me as a threat. Good. I am one. I wing a plastic tray at him to cause a panic and then race out the side door.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mercury gets N1x up to date on the situation and they lay low in the office while the ghouls come in through the side door hauling the corpse. I slingshot out of the restaurant serpentine closing in on the Cutter with the Ares. He curses and draws it again but not before I’m on him. I plant a kick into the side door slamming it shut and rake my razors through this punk. He yells. My heart rate goes up.

A single shot rings out, wide, panicked. Good. He’s never felt real pain before. He’s scared. I drive my blades into his abdomen and push him back toward the other guy who just followed me out. He’s got something in his hands, pointing it at me. Frek, it’s a camera phone!

I had hoped that the ruckus would have drawn the attention of the ghouls, but you can’t trust stupid to do anything right. The first Cutter traded me his gun for his life. Meanwhile, Mr. Mercury and N1x manage to negotiate their way past the ghouls and the employees after switching off the cameras just as I chase the guy with the cellphone down and smash his phone under my heel. We scoot.

Job done I bleed off some heat while they return to the karaoke place. I show up later for a quick debriefing. They give me the skinny on just what the ghouls were up to and it looked like a meat delivery to the freezer room. After learning this I vow never to eat at Gilberto’s again. We agree to rendezvous back at La Cocina with the data in hand and get our payout. Turns out it was a milk run to steal some guacamole recipe. Sr. J says he has another job in about a week and says to keep in touch.

I scoot before I cut N1x for stealing all the free chips.

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