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SR5E: Shadowrun: 'I Drank What?'

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Shadowrun:

'I Drank What?'

It was about two, maybe three blocks away from where Touristville stopped and the real Redmond Barrens began.  The Runners had all arrived separetely, making their way to the address on their won terms and maybe it because sun hadn't quite been down too long, or they were just lucky, but they all made it to the building within a few minutes of each other.  Horns were blaring towards Touristville, mingled with the screaming and carrying on from a few blocks away echoed almost clearly in the distance.

Almost every night was like this out on Touristville.  Every well off young kid or wagesalve would hit the strip on the borders of the Barrens to get that extra dose of adventure and excitement pumped back into their lives with the feeling of living on the edge.  Yeah, the edge of the edge where the real drek happened.  The whole strip was more of a Red Light District for gangs and seedy bars and strip joints.  Drugs, prostitution, chips... you name, hell, 'The Strip' had it.  'Regular' patrols by Lone Star kept the tourists relatively safe, some gangs even considered it neutral territory because the businesses all provided protection money so messing up the strip messed up everyone's cash flow.  That wasn't good for business no matter how one looked at it.  Sure, sometimes someone would go missing or there would be an out of control situation like a bar brawl turning into a gang war... but hey, that's why they came to Touristville, right?  To get that real experience?

The building was nothign more than a condemned four story tenement that, from the looks of it, was over a century old.  The architecture was last century, maybe the 80s?  Still it seemed like it would be one of the quint little apartment buildings one might see back on... what was the term?  Oh, yeah, Tee Vee, back in the day.  The whole place was spray painted and tagged in places that didn't even seem logical (how'd they tag the 4th story corner)?  It was riddled with bullets holes, but the brick seemed to still be sturdy.  Several scorch marks laced the front of the place so it was either used as a molotov target practice at one point, or magelings were blowing off steam.  Every window was boarded up and only the tiniest bit of light could be seen through the tight cracks.  The people within obviously were unwelcoming, or living in fear.

Echo arrived first, professionally punctual as usual, and came upon an elven girl sitting on the front steps.  Echo quickly noticed she was taking no steps to hide the Colt L36 strapped to her thigh.  Couldn't blame her, in this neighborhood, bad didn't begin to describe it.  She was pale, even for an elf.  Like girl hadn't ever seen a lick of sunlight and although one might assume albinism, her stark white hair, she was quick to admit, was a dye job.

Jadzia and Red Jenny were not far behind, approaching the building from opposite ends of the street, only to meet at the staircase with a few steps of each other.  It wasn't hard for them to guess why they were all here, so in typical Shadowrunner fashion, silence and head nods were exchanged in greeting.

"Okay," Piper stood up.  "So, uh, hi.  I'm Piper, Piper Frost.  Everyone around here calls me Rime and I uhh, well, I don't do this sort of thing, like, ever.  Bare with me."  She carried herself differently than a typical sprawler.  She was articulate and obviously educated.  And obviously out of place.  "So, um, thanks first of all.  I appreciate it.  So, we managed to scrape enough to pay you guys, but it's not a lot.  The people inside are not gangers or chip heads or addicts... they're just, outcasts.  Good people with nowhere to go in a world that doesn't want them anymore, or doesn't care."

"Anyway," she expressed herself with her hands and communicated clearly.  This girl was definitely not in the Barrens by choice.  She seemed to perky, to excited... too nice.  "So, the tennants and I managed to scrape up, with the three of you, about 900¥ each.  Oh!"  She swiftly reached to the mall of her back and before her hand madeit that far the three women had their hands on sidearms.  She froze like a deer in headlights.  "Woah!  Woahwoahwoah... it's not like that... just... getting..."

She lifted a small plastic card that shimmered to life an ARO that orbited the card announcing an advertisement for Stuffer Shack.  "...and a 40¥ gift card for Stuffer Shack?  This guy, Cooky, who was crushing on me gave it to me as a present, said he stole it from this touristy guy he guy he mugged and wanted me to have it.  Which I guess is sort of romantic, but he was kind of a creeper so I didn't use it..."

Spoiler

It hasn't escaped anyone notice that she has yet to actually tell you what you'll be doing.  Her street cred comes off about as well as an Ivy League chick in Detroit trying to score crack.

This a standard transaction however, so you may still negotiate terms.  A 40¥ gift card to Stuffer Shack though... that's a lot of Doritos...

 

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What am I doing here? Echo asked herself silently. If she's lucky the other two won't just pop her here on the sidewalk.

"Piper," she said trying for 'gentle but firm' but falling too hard on 'firm,' "Lead with the details on the job. What do you need done, where, and when? Then we can talk price."

Echo glanced around then and added, "And while we're at it, do you have someplace we can talk that has walls? Being on the street in the Barrens makes my back itch."

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Jadzia took her time to observe the scene as Echo grilled the clearly less professional Piper. Languidly like a snake that just woke up she moved around Piper, as if scanning the area for threats, or perhaps seemingly bored to those not aware of how her eyes darted to and fro.

She was trained to deal with Mages, yes, but those same skills were very useful when dealing with the mundane as well. Once she believed she had the scene well memorized, she extended her vision into the Astral world to observe her surroundings in the Astral realm. Given that it was considered very rude to assense other people, she had the good manners to only catch glimpses. Just in case something interesting might present itself.

“Being on the street in the Barrens makes my back itch." She heard, and her senses returned to the here and now. “Ah yes, agreed. Less ears.”

While her mouth was hidden by the rebreather mask, her eyes squinted in that manner that suggested that she’d be smiling underneath.

Spoiler

As a Complex action, I will memorize the area around us as I move around a bit. The people in it, where they stand, the walls and buildings around us – in case I need to recall a detail later. This requires no check.

Perceiving astrally makes me dual-natured for its duration, and I can sense things that are immediately obvious (auras, astral forms) without needing a check. Just checking noses here. Given the situation, it would be impolite so I won’t roll, but wait with that until we’re in a more secure area.

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Jenny wasn't pleased to see the other two women, both evidently Runners, show up for her job.  She didn't react as such, though, thinking it through in her basic fashion.  Sure, it should be just a kibble run to sort out what was messing up the water supply to this flophouse, but even if it was and the meager nuyen had to be split three ways... Well, she might at least make some useful connections for better work out of it.  The new hunter in the jungle had to take their game as they could catch it.  A lean figure in a fastened dark-red armored longcoat, she leaned against the nearby wall and studied the three other females from over the rims of her shades.

The tigress was not a deep thinker, but she was a keenly attentive stalker.  A leaf crushed against a tree, a footprint in spilled blood - a hunter studied the details and looked for the things that did not fit.  Piper... Did not fit.  Sure, she smelled like someone who had been living the Barrens lifestyle - kibble and rat diet, hadn't bathed recently.  But her manner was uptown, surburban, or out-of-town.  She used deodorant, fresh stuff.  Her body language was neither prey nor predator, but rather that of an excitable young fawn, lots of gestures and expressiveness.  An elf, dyed hair or not, was not your typical Barrens resident.

The woman wearing the rebreather smelled of preserved organics, candlewax, spices.  A talismonger, or a mage, or both.  Given that she was here for a shadow job, both seemed most likely.  The other one, the one who sensibly suggested getting off the street - she smelled expensive.  Decent gear, bathed regularly with good quality soap and shampoo, deodorant and had some manner of enhanced pheramonal augmentation.

Unlike Jadzia, Jenny was always aware of the Astral - it was part of her nature and thus it took no effort or concentration for her to keep track of both worlds.  Piper was not Awakened, nor was the Expensive One, though she showed some level of artificial augmentation common amongst Runners.  As the Rebreather One shifted her senses though, she immediately announced her nature to the weretigress, who straightened from where she was leaning and looked straight at the mage, her gaze intent.

Jadzia, as she swept her gaze across the surroundings, turned to see the form of a large tiger superimposed over the woman in the red coat, it's eyes and Jenny's overlapping perfectly and staring right back at her.  There was no obvious menace in her posture or manner, but there was a predatory alertness that was almost as off-putting.

"I think we should go somewhere private too."  Red Jenny said to Piper, her voice low as she kept her gaze on the spellworm.  "We do not yet know each other's names, and we do not yet know if we have a problem that can be solved."

Spoiler

Heehee.  I dunno if there's a heart-attack roll in this game, but SURPRISE!

 

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"You're back?  That's a new one.  They usually just creep me out."  She turned about and skipped up the steps like she wasn't in the middle of a gang infested, toxic, hell hole of a city block.  "C'mon, we can go inside."  She got to the door and pounded on the thick reinforced steel that was definitely an after market addition that did nothing to raise the property value.

Several locks and bolts clicked and the muted yellow light from the inside stretched it's way out in to the street banishing a small portion of the Barrens' darkness.  A middle-aged, African American man poked his head around and waved Piper and her guests through.  Beyond the door was just as Piper described.  A hallway of doors that led to apartments, four floors of them.  Almost every door they could see was open and the smells of various foods cooking took hold of their senses.  Some sort of meat (they dared not guess what), boiled vegetables of some kind, and others they they couldn't make out.  Everyone in the hallway poked their heads out of their rooms to see why the main door had opened.  It was just as Piper described, these were just ordinary people trapped with no place else to go.

The hallway was lit with nothing more that a strong of white Christmas lights with the multicolored ones wrapped in little designs along the walls that seemed to spruce up the place a bit.  They were living on barely any power, less food and currently no water.  The halls echoed with that awkward sound of arriving in a new home your unfamiliar with and every step seems louder than it is.  Following Piper the ladies made their way down the hall and took a left near the stair case that wound it's way up three more floors.  Of to the right of the stairs was a door that was wide open to a small janitors closet.  Lengthwise across the room a hammock and littered across the floor were a variety of music softs and a matrix games.  The walls were littered with AROs of popular bands and trideo action movies.  Wires spread out all over the ceiling and floor to the rest of the building it seemed, all originating from a wall junction box in her closet.

Everyone still had their heads poked out into the hallway.  "Go back inside everybody!  They're here to help," she said, waving her arms in a motion to back everyone up into their rooms.  "I hope."  She silently mumbled.

She sat on the steps, and faced the ladies.  "There's my room three," she said with a smile, seemingly proud to have her own space, even if it was an old closet.  "So, it breaks down like this... the people here built a well, and well," she smiled.  "See what I did there?"

Everyone just looked at her.

"Wow, tough crowd, hoookay, that well was tapped into the municipal pipes here, but about a month ago a few of us got sick.  Then a few more.  And about a week ago, the water just to smell funky.  It can't be the pipes, so it must be the well.  Thing is... it's in the basement... and it's creepy down there.  Craig, up on two, he think something might be nesting down there so we need you guys to figure out what it could be, blast it to smithereens, so I can fix the well.  And I'll give you 900¥ each for it."  She looked to Echo cautiously, yet inquisitively.  "I do that right?  Job, then money... right?"  She ticked off the steps on her fingers.

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"I take the job.  Money paid when it is done, yes."  Jenny spoke up from where she had moved to one side of the others.  The quiet woman's gaze had not slid far from the mage, but for now rested on Piper as she asked the question, then glanced around the place, pacing to the entrance to Piper's room and peering inside, then back to where they stood.

"Need to know."  she shrugged, a human gesture she found useful.  "What type of sick do people get?  Throwing up?  Shitting?  What is symptoms?"

"Nausea."  Piper confirmed, with a nod at her.  "Just queasiness, some throwing up.  Nothing really bad, but bad enough we don't want people using the water."

"Fine then."  Jenny shrugged again, taking off her green-tinted shades and tucking them into a coat pocket.  "Where is basement?"  She was all business, obviously wanting to be about the work, collect her money and go.  She glanced at the other two, the dim lighting gleaming eerily from her eyes for an instant as she flashed a small smile without showing teeth.  "If you come, then come.  If not, then more nuyen for me."

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"Looks like you got it right that time," Echo replied blandly, giving Jenny a nod.

"Hell, I'm here. May as well take care of it."

Nine hundred wasn't much, but it'd cover the tram fare out here and back. Echo wasn't as sure as Piper that the pipe wasn't the problem...all it would take was a re-organization of water flow to make potable water into sewage outflow, right? But that was way beyond the remit here.

"Secure the basement, let you get access to the well. I'm in."

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Jadzia felt comfortable knowing that the only symptoms so far were throwing up and queasiness. "Wouldn'a be surprised if dere be a Devil Rat down in dere basement, rollin' around in da water. Dey gets up to all kinds a mischief and 'fore ya know people gets sick of da Basura dey be draggin' in. I be comin' along as it sounds like it be fair pay for a fair job."

She was keenly aware of the others' mildly uncomfortable shuffling around each other. "Well den, it be lookin' to be a girls' night out, ey?" She turned around towards the hallway where they came from, both to keep an eye out for any listners-in and to make a bit of headway towards the inevitable stairwell leading to the basement.

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"Beleg!"  She clapped her hands and bounced up from her place on the steps and walked past the ladies.  She motioned for them to follow her.  "Afad-nin.  Uh, I mean, follow me, sorry."  The Sperethiel seems more common to her than English, but she didn't dwell on the ceremony of mixing languages long enough for it become a topic of conversation.

Not far from her little closet, down the hall to the right was a single door that, for the most part seemed pretty unassuming.  It was old, torn to shit and smeared in graffiti, but it seemed like it was solid and sturdy enough.  The series of locks and bolts, plus the bar across it, made them all wonder if they were keeping a herd of ghouls down there to feed the local Shadowrunners to... but hey, Redmond... that'd be par for the course.

After what was almost a comedic bout of unlocking and unbarring of the door Piper open it and stood aside.  They'd all seen this trid before... a sinlge creaky staircase that led down into the pitch blackness.  The light from the hallway, which was already weak to begin with, barely reached far enough down the steps to show the cement floor at the bottom for maybe a couple of feet.  What was beyond was all darkness.

"So, um," Piper chimed of in a quiet whisper.  "I have no idea what's down there.  The well was here before I moved in, so uh... we're kind of on our own."

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Half turned away from the others, Jadzia rummaged around in her messenger bag and took out an old, beat up mask that looked like it had been cut, shot at and burned. A deep breath, then she removed the rebreather from her nose and quickly slid the mask onto her face. The core of it must be modern, as evidenced by the hissing noise as the thing fit on her face, but the outside had that rough look of carved bone. It had clearly seen better days.

As she put it on and its systems connected, there was a faint Augmented Reality Overlay running across the mask that was visible for just a second before a mental command suppressed it. Curved lines in blue, maybe something nautical. Might remind someone of one of those ancient nautical maps when they still found their way using the flayed flesh of trees. Then they were gone. With its lowlight engaged, at least she could see before setting her feet in something nasty.

"May I suggest we be adaptin' our posturin' to the more cramped area beyond? Punchy people up front, bullet hozes next, precision shooters final, and all dat jazz?"

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Without a word Jenny drew a pistol that wouldn't have looked out of place in an Ork's hand from the folds of her lined duster.  A six-shooter, but there was little quaint or Olde Worlde about the Troll-killing handcannon.  Not the most technically-inclined, the hunter liked revolvers simply because they didn't jam, and if you got a misfire due to a dud round you just pulled the trigger again. 

Additionally, it was suitably intimidating that most street life scurried away from the bore as though they were cockroaches from a flashlight's beam.  That was good - it saved her having to show them why they really shouldn't bother her.

She moved past the mask-wearing mage and peered down into the darkness, her eyes penetrating the gloom.  "Stairs is old.  We go one at a time, moving careful, da?"  She started down the steps, somehow managing to set her feet so lightly that she made no noise, even the creaking stairs seemingly not registering her passage.  Pausing at the bottom, she glanced back at Echo and Jadzia, the dim lighting in the hallways causing her eyes to shine once more with that eerie flash, before turning and peering into the darkness of the basement.

Spoiler

Catlike and Traceless Walk - she's quiet as hell and lightfooted enough she wouldn't even set off vibration sensors or pressure plates.  Scanning the basement with Low-Light eyes.

 

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There was a click-whirr from Echo's right arm, and a mechanism hidden up her sleeve inserted a small pistol into her hand. As her fingers closed around its grip, she saw the HUD on her field of vision update to include ammo count and type, and a reticule appeared to show her where it was pointing. She fitted her helmet over her head, then snapped her goggles down over the eyepieces. A moment later the options for optical overlays added onto her HUD.

She had a heavier gun than this, but the Ares had cheaper ammo. At 900 nuyen, she could come out at a loss if she fired off a mag or two of the expensive stuff. You save your good china for the high quality guests after all.

Moving quietly then, Echo followed Jenny down the stairs, switching her goggles to thermographic mode to scan for heat signatures down below.

Moving as quiet as old stairs let me, scanning with low light vision and thermographics. Regular ammo in Ares, APDS in Savalette.

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Closing up the rear, Jadzia felt a small twang of jealousy at the - obviously nicer - gear that the other two ladies had brought with them. Drawing her Streetline Special from its concealed holster she knew that it was more for the comfort of holding on to something than actually being useful. She promised herself to do some imagination-shopping in the catalog next time it arrived in her account.

Her lowlight vision gave her just enough to go by, as she stepped down the stairs carefully. Even without perceiving Astrally, she was very sensitive to the roiling of forces on the Astral plane, and she'd know if something magical were to come their way.

Spoiler

Moving down the stairs, using Lowlight vision to find my way. Magic Sense adept power in case something magical pops up.

Magic+Perception [Mental] is 10 dice, limit 6 -> 5 successes


# 39
Details:[10d6 (6 2 5 2 2 1 5 6 4 6)]

 

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The stairs, at one point in the last century, had been concrete poured into sturdy metallic framework.  At some point those collapsed, were gutted and wooden were built.  Those probably collapsed a few times too at some point, because these new steps were certainly not the most finely crafted.  With the exception of Jenny, every step made a low, long creek that seemed right out of a horror trid.  This wasn't grandma's basement... this was the basement of a large apartment building.  It was brick and cement and several passages that led off to laundry facilities, a boiler room, electrical and plumbing... the basement was, to say the least, huge.  Then... the door closed and they were all left in the pitch black of the eerie basement.

In the pitch black everyone spun about to face the door (to the best of their memory).  "Relax, relax..." Piper offered in a low whisper, clicking a flashlight on.  Those with low light vision winced slightly.  "...They're locking it up in case something is dangerous down here.  We're fine.  Jerry is by the door waiting to let us out if we need to make a quick exit, but they're worried for their safety, so we had to compromise."  She shined her light down the steps, of which she was already half way down.  "Well, c'mon, lets get this over with... I have no idea where this thing is, I've never been down here..."

From where they were nothing seemed out of the ordinary as Piper's red light scanned the area.  It was cold and filthy and something down here stank.  Stank bad.  A small plague of rats scurried away at the shuffle and noise of the four ladies arriving.  The floor was damp and scattered puddles seemed to dot the hallway that stretched out before them...

...this was going to be a long night.

Spoiler

If you do not have a flashlight you considered to be operating in 'total darkness' (-6).  During movement and exploration, if you have no light source, you are considered to be sharing a flashlight (Piper's if you don't have one of your own).  If combat occurs, you're on your own because one flashlight cannot work for all of you.

Low-Light vision does not function with the flashlight on or in total darkness unless it's a low-light flashlight (Piper's is low light, she's an elf) and even then, you see within the cone of the light (it does not cast a beam that illuminates everything like a lantern for you, sorry).  With a flashlight you considered to be operating in 'partial light' (-1).  If you have low light vision and a low light flashlight... you suffer no penalty, as your vision degrades the penalty by one more step (-1 to 0).

Same applies for Therographic Vision, save that it degrades the penalty by one step, regardless of lighting conditions (-6 to -3 to -1).

Attempting to track by scent down here will result in Jenny feeling nauseous (Nausea Gas p. 410 Core.  Power 11 (+2 power due to her sensitive sense of smell)).

Sort your vision issues and move on.  Where you currently are (base of the steps) there is nothing of interest.  There is no map but I'm sure you've all been in a basement before.  It's cold and it stinks.  There are the laundry facilities and there are the utilities to check out (electrical, pluming, HVAC).  Make a decision and move in that direction and I'll follow up on your situation.

 

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Echo fished into a slit in the hip of her armor to where a pouch was hidden under the ruthenium polymer. From within she pulled a flashlight remarkably similar to Piper's. They must shop at the same Stuffer Shack. She held it up by her head, directing the dim beam along her eyeline as she looked around.

"Piper, which way's the laundry room? We'll start that way, clear to the end, then come back and clear the other way."

The elf pointed and waved her light. "That way?"

That's about when Echo noticed that Jenny seemed bereft of visual aid, and didn't get a flashlight of her own out. She stifled a groan.

Typical 'shadowrunner.' Spend all your nuyen on a big fucking gun, completely forget you have to see to hit anything with it.

"Hey. Jenny."

When the dangerously beautiful woman turned to face her, Echo held the flashlight out, the base first. "Here. I'll want it back when we're done with the sweep."

She then reached up to touch the contacts on the side of her goggles with her trodes and selected the ultrasonic sensor built into them, nestled between the two lenses. It charged with a barely-audible, high-pitched 'fweeeeee' and then began pulsing in frequencies only dogs or bats could comfortably hear. Her vision overlay switched over, painting the room in shades of grey. Solid shapes stood out clearly, showing the walls, ceiling, floor, shelves, and obstacles. Surface details were less distinct, and of course anything like text or print was lost completely. It would be enough to fight with, if it came to that. An adjustment laid the thermographic data over it...handy to tell a mannequin from a living body, which might otherwise be tricky if someone held still.

"You take point, Jenny. I don't want to be anywhere in front of you when that hand cannon goes off."

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Jadzia's budget had been sparse, and with her repayments, she had the cheapest of the cheap. Which at this time did not include a proper flashlight, to her current detriment.

Making use of the light produced by Echo's flashlight by proxy of Jenny, and Piper's, she hoped she could find a way to remedy her situation before it would become critical. She could always perceive Astrally, but that lacked detail and would make her stick out on that plane. Using a summoned spirit's elemental aura to produce the barest minimum ligth was possible, but that would cost precious reagents...stalking behind the others she pondered her options.

Spoiler

-6 penalty in darkness, -0 when seeing into the range of the flashlight. If I choose to perceive Astrally, I will be at -2 instead.

 

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Jenny's first instinct when the basement door had slammed shut had not been a healthy one:  she'd almost Shifted at being trapped without warning.  Glowering in the darkness at the elf, she'd fought hard to repress a growl as Piper explained the situation.  She wasn't completely debilitated in pitch darkness, of course - the Astral overlaid everything with it's faint ethereal glow, highlighted by the vibrant life of her companions, the rats and the dim phosphorescence of micro-organisms that enjoyed basement living.  Not unlike some Deckers she'd met.

But this was another lesson.  More thought needed to go into her gear if she was to become successful.  A low-light flashlight such as the one Echo had provided her unasked would be useful for those times when one couldn't rely on regular senses.  The stench down here was... Well, Jenny resolved to breath shallowly and through her mouth, grateful that she wasn't in her four-legged shape right now.  Not that breathing through her mouth was much better - she could taste just as well as she could smell.  Perhaps a breathing mask would also be in order - it rankled her to be cut off from such an essential sense as scent but, right now, she'd happily be a nose-blind monkey.  How the drek did they allow themselves to live like this?  She'd be sick too, living above and drawing water up from a place that smelled like this.

"Thank you for the light." she said tersely, moving to take point as Echo had suggested.  Holding the flashlight up and sweeping it over the floor and walls, she headed with her usual silence in the direction Piper had indicated, her Ruger held low and her Astral eyes likewise scanning for anything larger than a rat.

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They made their down the musty, dank concrete hallway.  The scent, whatever it was, seemingly moist feces and decaying garbage, only got stronger as they made their way through the tight passageway (which only two people abreast could fit into at a time).  This was the life... dank basements, abandoned sewer tunnels, haunted crypts... there wasn't much Shadowrunners weren't asked to do and most days, besides a payday, the best thing you could hope for was a shower and some booze to wash the day away.

[Magic, Astral Senses] The air down here was heavy, moist, but damp... but it was also... something else.  It was saturated with something unnatural and while it had no scent or taste or appearance... it was still there.  That feeling down along the spine that one felt as a ghost passed through the living.  A chill.  A hunch.  Something was down here.

The laundry room wasn't too far from the stairway.  Off to the left there was a thick, brick trabeation that lead into the  laundry room.  It was a room that you entered after going down two small concrete steps designed to keep the rest of the basement from flooding if the washroom flooded.  Unfortunately... it was flooded.  Lumpy, black stagnant water rippled in the laundry room as the washers and dryers were all stacked across the walls and a two by two placing down the middle of the room.  [Perception]  By looks of it it was about knee deep, but nothing within the room seemed out of place aside from the water which had long one stagnant and nasty, possibly polluted if any of the laundry chemicals had been left behind and soaked into it and the reasons for the lumps became obvious... it was filled with hundreds, if no thousands of dead rats!

[Perception]  Down, into the shadows where the light failed to reach they could all see it... where the corridor become onyx and unknown... there they were... like a demonic night's sky... the perfect square of the coridor's darkness was lit up with hundreds, if not thousands of of tiny little red eyes blinking in in random patters from floor to ceiling...

Spoiler

Every made their rolls, so I just collectively fed the information into the post.  Obviously, Echo doesn't feel the magic portion of it.  Unless I specifically states your name [Perception, Jadzia], for example, then assume it is a blanket for everyone that roll would apply for.  This was a passive roll, please do not roll your perception and as if you see the rats in the water... yes you see them, that's why I'm telling you about them.  Had you not noticed, I would have just omitted that detail.

I'm always including or omitting details for passive actions.  If you fail the roll and someone else succeeded, it is not assumed you know because you partners do (that's meta gaming).  They can tell you, sure, but in situations like combat, it's not always easy.  Or sometimes, they forget.  Unless it happens IC, it didn't happen and it's generally not assumed to have happened.  This is Shadowrun, information is power and sometimes details get left out.  If you fail, and you saw someone succeeded, please don't ask me if you can now roll again because they told you.  You already failed, you're stuck with word of mouth at that point (you know there is a sniper on the third floor, second window from the left... but you still can't see him).  Exceptions apply, obvs, I cross those bridges as they happen.

Now... you have a basement that hates you to deal with... 900¥ is so not worth this...

 

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"Something is here."  Jenny said, her voice a low throaty contralto that could almost be called a growl as she sensed the paranormal threat.  "Something not natural."

She quickly checked the positions of the others, her gaze finding Jadzia.  If this was a spirit, then the mage would be invaluable.  She glanced at Echo, nodding towards the malevolent constellation of red eyes ahead of them, and moved to one side of the narrow corridor, raising both her gun and the flashlight to probe the darkness ahead as she moved forwards in a slow stalk.

"Elf.  Keep an eye on the flooded room.  Watch our backs." she said to Piper, terse as always, aware that moving towards the entity meant putting whatever might be lurking in that water behind them.

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Echo scowled deeply behind her helmet as she tracked what Jenny was saying. It scanned. She wasn't detecting heat signatures or ultrasound contacts that were consistent with all those eyes...and that implied either an illusion of some kind, or something beyond the touch of mortal tech.

Either way, it was trouble.

She said, "No heat or solid contacts yet."

Then Echo put her lighter gun back in the armslide mechanism and retracted it, and produced the larger Savalette pistol; a real piece of work. It was loaded with ammo designed to punch through body armor, but she hoped it would work as well on magical beasties. From hard experience she knew better than to pull her punches on something like that. It was a lesson you didn't get to learn twice.

Moving to one side a bit to let Jadzia come up alongside her, Echo then followed Jenny into the black.

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The dead rats, red eyes and Jenny’s warning all screamed the unnatural to Jadzia. But she knew many kinds of things that could do this, and not all of them were magical in nature. Had she not remained enclosed within her gas mask, she might have believed it all a hallucinatory effect of the gas, like some Houngan parlor tricks added to the real Mojo.

She clutched the scrimshaw pendant around her neck and called on the forces that resides beyond the grasp of her understanding. “Domwu’Agwu, one of many jaws, dere be good eatin’ here. Water under a skyless dark, I need ya to be vicious for me. I fish da waters you fish, me and my fisherfolk, and we share a meal of our last hunt before we hunt anew.”

With that she took six tiny bone charms the size of a thumbnail, delicately carved from the head of a fish and threw them into the water ahead. “Prey for you, and prey for each of us. And prey for our enemies, so dey may be not begrudge us the death we bring dem.”

At the call for this lesser spirit, aside of the group, part of the water seemed to thicken, roil and coalesce into a vague conical form, like some maelstrom that would exist in a much deeper body of water. At the sides of the whirl, contained within the spirits’ form, were two small schools of high-backed silver-white fish with dead-set eyes and massively sharp teeth jutting from their jaws.

Jadzia strained under the pressure of containing the Spirit of Water. Its instinct was to devour, and while it was generally well disposed towards its summoner, Domwu’Agwu needed to be shown strength and respect at once. Failing to do so meant it might decide to take a nip out of her, or her companions. Not acceptable. Underneath the mask, a drop of sweat rolled down from the effort. “I thank ye, older brother. We hunt together.”

 

Spoiler

Summoning a Force 4 Spirit of Water; investing 6 drams of reagents to set the Limit to 6.

Initiative (in case it matters) is 16 - dice roller was down so rolled it using physical dice.

Summoning check: #41: Details:[11d6 (5 6 6 2 3 2 1 6 1 3 6)]. Drain check: #36: Details:[9d6 (6 6 6 2 4 1 1 6 4)], Spirit resist check: # 20: Details:[4d6 (3 5 6 6)]

2 Net successes (services), 6Stun Drain reduced to 2Stun.

First service I ask of it is to fight for us in the next/coming fight.

Domwu'Agwu (Spirit of Water): Body 4, Agility 5, Reaction 6, Strength 4, Willpower 4, Intuition 4, Logic 4, Charisma 4, Edge 2, Essence 4, Magic 4

Initiative 10+2d6, Astral 8+3d6

Skills: Assensing 4, Astral Combat 4, Exotic Ranged Weapon 4, Perception 4, Unarmed Combat 4

Powers: Astral Form, Materialization, Sapience, Concealment, Confusion, Engulf, Movement, Search

Optional Power (1): Energy Aura (Water)

Weaknesses: Allergy (Fire, Severe)

Special: Spirits of Water move twice as fast when in water.

 

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From the dim light the spirit rose.  An elemental of water swished through the brackish pool of stagnant, putrid water.  Jadzia had made a miscalculation.  This was not Domwu'Agnu.  No, something else had answered her call.  It's for was black, polluted water and within it's liquid shade swirled the drowned, rotting corpses of rats.  The sound it made was a mix between a zombie's moan and a drowned gurgle as it approached the running team.

Jadzia had control of it for now... but how long could she keep it?

Spoiler

You summoned a spirit from a polluted source.  Not wise.  I mean come on, dude, I literally spelled it out for you guys...

"...the water which had long one stagnant and nasty, possibly polluted if any of the laundry chemicals had been left behind and soaked into it and the reasons for the lumps became obvious... it was filled with hundreds, if not thousands of dead rats!"

 

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Echo sucked a breath in and held it for a heartbeat, then let it out in a hissed, "Are you insane?!"

Her feet stopped immediately and then backpedaled several steps, putting Jadzia between her and the...thing that had just been called into the world.

She was no mage, but Echo had made a layman's study of magic, particularly its darker variants. It helped to feel like she had some kind of a grip on what it could and couldn't do. Even if the list of 'couldn't do' terrifyingly short. She knew enough to have the sense that spirits were pulled 'through' the world when they were summoned, and they took on aspects of what was around them.

And what was around them in that basement was pretty nasty stuff. There was literally no way she was going into the same water that thing was occupying.

"Get rid of it," she said tightly.

Made a Magic Threats test in Discord and got some info from Dave on what was going on.

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The Shaman put her fingers to where her lips would be behind the mask and blinked one of the lowlight lenses of her mask slowly at Echo with one eye. "Shhh, calm." she glanced back at it slowly, then back at Echo. Her voice was gentle, smooth - but under tension like a piano wire. "Show no fear. Give it no reason to find insult." She too was worried by the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a quite darker manifestation of form than she had expected. "I called it not, wanted it not. But it's what came." she gently placed herself between the Spirit and the other runners.

"Sending it back is hard, it wants to stay. Wants to hunt. Best to let it hunt, tire out, go home tired. Trying to send off a creature excited to play - quite likely more dangerous than anything else down here..." she glanced meanwhile at Jenny, who at this point may or may not be the only one paying attention to the corridor ahead. More surprises...would be bad.

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Jenny had frozen in place as the horror had risen from the water, feeling her hackles raising and resisting the urge to attack both the corrupt spirit and the mage who had summoned it.  Once it was plain that Jadzia hadn't planned on raising such a thing, and had it under tenuous control, the weretigress grumbled deep in her chest and focused her attention on the red eyes ahead.

"Send your pet to play." she growled at Jadzia.  "Let spirit fight spirit."

Drekking mages.

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The squeek of a few rats drew their attention away from the wretched spirit.  Jadzia's heart went out to the malformed creature; this was not what she wanted, but for now was deigned to at least repurpose this creature in the hopes her deeds here could purify this place.  It started as two or three rats, running past like the ship they were on was sinking.  The it was seven to ten...

The nervousness crept into all of them as the wall of eyes that consistently remained just outside their range of vision suddenly collapsed in on itself in an avalanche of bodies and tails and high pitched squeeks... hundreds, if not thousands of rats swarmed the hallway like a deluge of vermin caught in a current...

Piper screamed a short, shrill shriek as within a matter of moments everyone was up to their knees in rats... and the 'water' was rising as they crawled, skitterd, climbed and became tangled in hair and clothing.

Spoiler

Physical Init.  To keep it simple (this is not a huge threat), if you have 1D6 add 4.  2d6 add 7, 3d6 add 11 and 4d6 add 14.

So, in Jadzia's case (thank you for having your sheet in your sig), her Init is 7+3D6.  So, 7+11 is 18.

In the event of ties, you're adults, figure it out.

The Rats have an 8... so I think you guys are good to go for now.

How many rats are there?
-It's a swarm.  There are thousands.

Can I [insert inane request here]?
-Does it sound plausible, logical and within your character's wheelhouse to accomplish?  Then do it.  Keep in mind, you're ass deep in rats, so most things requiring fine manipulation, concentration, or complex thought are probably out.  When rats are crawling all over you you're not in a good place to be baking lemon bars, finishing that book you've been working on or swap out your transmission...

 

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There were a lot of things Echo had been trained to deal with in her time doing dirty deeds. Stealth work. Wet work. Blackmail. Extortion. A real 'laundry' list.

A laundry room full of rats attacking her was not on that list. Having a body full of augmentations and some of the best gear you could buy all over your person didn't make being covered in squirmy, squeaking, clawy bitey things any less horrible. It went down deep in the brain to where the monkey lived.

So confronted with this, Echo chose to get the frak outta there. Though she did at least have the presence of mind to get out in a novel directions. A quick signal to her personal network caused the straps of so-called 'gecko tape' incorporated into the undersides of the fingers and bottom palm of her gloves to activate. And then she climbed up the hallway wall, pulling her legs out of the tide of rats until she was nestled up in the crease where ceiling met wall. There she got a better grip with both hands and started slamming her hips and legs against the ceiling, trying to shake as many rats off as she could.

Just needed to get some breathing space, then she'd be able to THINK again and try to figure out how to clear a room of rats when she was out of god-drekking-damn grenades.

Always see your fixers before a run, folks. Even an 'easy' one. What was she, an amateur?

Rats.

Init 22

Action, activate the geckotape gloves and try to scramble up out of rat-range and then do some 'oh god oh god it's rats' shuffling.

I figured Gymnastics would be the skill to use, but I can roll something else if it's more appropriate:

Details:[7d6 (6 4 3 3 3 4 6)]

Okay, gecko gloves allow assisted climbing to be used, so 2 hits is 2 meters straight up. That's about 7ish feet, so the ceiling of a normal height room. It's a Complex action, so the 'shuffle' might have to be flavor text if you rule it requires a separate action. Tis all good.

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“Cazador del’agua”, Jadzia called out to the spirit as she tried with all her might to summon enough of her will to grasp on to what little bit of mana was not corrupted to call on the wind, instead of the water, “strike down de rats without hurtin’ me or my fellow hunters!”. She knew she had control of it, so far, and that it would be eager to hunt. But she felt it was also wise to couch her words carefully either way.

Focusing her will, she called out to the last gusts of the wind that had come in when the door closed, a breath of fresh air. In so doing, she felt her body become lighter and a wisp of clouds emerged from around her feet as she lifted out of the water. It was inconvenient, hanging hunched over in mid-air against the low ceiling, but it beat being covered in crawling, biting rats by miles.

Spoiler

Dice roller history (to keep a nice log): http://orokos.com/roll/m-Jadzia

Levitate Force 3, Casting Recklessly (simple action, but +3 drain code)
Spellcasting roll – (13d6, Threshold 1, limit 6): http://orokos.com/roll/769153#; 5 hits
Drain roll (9d6, 4Stun): http://orokos.com/roll/769154# 3 hits, take 1Stun [Total 3Stun now]
As long as she sustains this, Jadzia has -2 on all Active Rolls.
Her other simple action is to direct the water spirit, which is a simple action on its own.

The polluted water spirit seemed ponderous, laden with dead and bloated rats, but it was swift in the water, and its watery grasp could hold and drown any number of small rats still.

Spoiler

Spirit’s action to attack the swarm of rats. I don’t know if it will have to churn through rats one by one or whether the swarm counts as single conglomerate, so I will just roll a single attack roll and let it land as it may. :)
Its actions in the entire combat fall under the "aid in combat" service I expended, but if I call on it to use any additional powers specifically it would cost a service. I had originally wanted to use its Confusion power, but I don't know yet whether the swarm counts as one creature for that purpose, so IC Jadzia is observing how the spirit's attack pans out before making further decisions on that.

Spirit Initiative: 17
The Spirit was materialized, so it can attack physical targets and has Immunity (Normal Weapons) while in this form.
Spirit attack – Agility+Unarmed (9d6): http://orokos.com/roll/769156# 4 hits
Its Damage Value is 8Stun, AP -4, plus any net successes if it hits (4 Strength, +4 from Energy Aura)
I think the most appropriate damage type from the Energy Aura would be Fatigue, from being battered around and at risk of drowning if you’re a tiny rat…

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Jenny was having problems.  Problems other than a rising tide of rats, that is.  The cellar stank, even compared to most of the Sprawl and especially the Barrens.  And seeing as her sense of smell and taste were so inextricably linked, it didn't help to breathe through her mouth, even shallowly - it just meant she was tasting the damned cellar as well as smelling it.  She was thinking she should have taken the assassination job rather than agree to this... this indignity.  She was also thinking she was going to bathe for a solid day after this job, in some of that strong floral bath oil that normally made her sneeze but right now seemed like a balm.  Stupid two-legs and their stupid squatting over a dirty water supply and this dank, stench-filled cellar filled with bad astral vibes and walls of vermin - and to top it all off, the fragging wiz-lady's drek-polluted elemental was sloshing forward to add it's own unique brand of stank to the whole sordid business.

No, Red Jenny was not in a good mood.  In fact, she was cursing in gutter Russian, her voice taking on a resonant growling timbre that echoed in the gloom of the cellar as the nasty, squirming biting things surged around her legs.  She could feel the insides of her skin itching as fur clamored to sprout, but instead snapped her Ruger back into it's holster.  Whereas Echo had climbed, Jenny practically ran up the hallway wall to just below ceiling level, fingers seeking chinks and gaps in the shoddy masonry to anchor herself.  The Stank-Elemental could clean out the vermin.  There was no way she was going to try and fight a swarm with knives and a six-shooter.

Stupid two-legs.

Spoiler

# 31 Details:[6d6 (4 5 6 6 4 6)]

Can run up to 4 metres straight up the wall with Wall Running.  Once she's clear of the rats, she's latching onto the wall as best she can. 

Making a Str + Gymnastics Climb roll, -3 dice to represent a brick wall.  She's not trying to actually make headway (Wall Running did that), she just wants to latch on.  # 8 Details:[3d6 (6 1 1)] - 1 hit.  Let me know if that's enough, Dave.  Can edit as needed.

 

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