So we’re sitting in the Pervy Magpie, which is not the cleanest diner in the Sprawl, but does have a relaxed attitude towards firearms, when Burtha the waitress comes over.
We do not upset Burtha, on account of she is a troll and weighs somewhere north of 280 pounds. We do not even ask how she manages to balance those glasses on her nose. She takes our order, flirts with the Refined European Troll, and gives us a scrap of paper which we open up without touching it any more than we have to, because it might have come from the kitchen. It has a number on it, so we call the number.
It is answered by Frank the Fixer, who is now operating at our level due to his original employers having a bad attitude to their money still “resting” in his account, wherever that is, and also to him turning state’s evidence on them. Frank tells us that he knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy who has a job for us. He gives us the contact details and hangs up, while I am still wondering how a dwarf can wear that much bling and still be able to wave his hands that fast.
Not long after that, we are sitting with a Mr Johnson who gives us sundry items and maps to facilitate breaking and entering at a corporate facility. He wants us to bring him a briefcase, which we will then switch for another briefcase, which we will bring to him. He will then give us details on where to pick up our pay.
We explain to him that this is unnecessarily complex, and we would be happier to bring the case to him and get paid directly, without stops along the way. It looks like he hasn’t done this before, so we also explain that it is customary to offer some money up front as a gesture of good faith. He is not inclined to take our word for this, but after some spirited negotiation with our Elf Lady Face, he offers us his van and a credstick with 5,000 nuyen on it, which is a start. We explain to him in numerous ways that his health could suffer if he fails to pony up the rest of the money once he has the case.
A while later, geared up and ready to dance, we meet up outside the target building and sneak in through the sewers. This is not my favourite approach, you understand, but it has the advantage that Mr Johnson has – he tells us – arranged for there to be no security between us and the exit from the sewers. I cannot help wondering why he needs us, if he can do that, but it’s his money. Correction: It’s our money now.
Our Technomancer manages to hack the cameras and doors, so we stroll in to the target room and find the briefcase, also a black cat with flashing green eyes. This looks remarkably similar to a cat we saw outside the Stuffer Shack last week, but that one did not talk to us, or evaporate into thin air after doing so. For the moment I am inclined to attribute this to some unidentified biowarfare agent in the air conditioning, which is also a handy explanation for the ghoul that leaps on us, only to evaporate itself. We grab the case and run, which is just as well, because at this point our technomancer stumbles into Things Man Was Not Meant To Know in the building net, alarms go off, helidrones with machineguns emerge from the walls, and in general a good night out gets spoiled.
We do manage to get out, though, and the building blows up behind us. I hope that this does not become a habit, or at least that the Pervy Magpie is immune.
It’s raining by the time we reach the abandoned warehouse block where the case switch is to happen. Our Troll Rat Shaman hides out down an alleyway, myself and the Refined European Troll set ourselves up on a rooftop, and the Elf Lady Face and the Technomancer hang out at the crossroads.
The first clue that something is amiss is that our contact arrives dead in a shot-up car. The second clue is a helicopter full of Red Samurai intent on getting the case back. The third is a truck with some sort of giant gun-toting cyborg. Our two street-level chicks are able to persuade the Red Samurai that they are just passing through, but the cyborg opens up on them, dropping both of them and also some Red Samurai who happen to be behind them. Hilarity ensues as the Technomancer and the Rat Shaman completely confuse the cyborg, and myself and the Refined European Troll shoot the Red Samurai, one by one, and then the cyborg’s handlers. While this is going on, the Rat Shaman turns invisible – at least if you do not have thermographic vision augments I myself do – and grabs the second case.
Clockwise from top: Whiskey cake tin representing the cyborg-toting truck; cyborg and handlers; Elf Lady Face and Technomancer (near the crater); Zanshin and Refined European Troll (on rooftop); assorted Red Samurai and crashed car (dice box); summoned rat. The Rat Shaman is invisible at this point.
Battlemat: Wydraz. Figures: eM4.
We loot the truck the cyborg rolled up in, and discover enough medpacks to heal up our wounded. We now have two cases, and more confusion than we like to have about what is going on.
Time to request an explanation from Mr Johnson, or at least the rest of our money.