The runners drove a circuitous route to the Redmond Barrens looking for a good place with a little privacy to question their prisoners. Wildfire took inventory of the equipment that they took off their attackers; 2 Barret Model 121 heavy sniping rifles with a couple of clips of ammunition each, 2 suits of human sized heavy security armor with helmets, an Ares Antioch grenade launcher with 16 high explosive grenades, and a high tech camouflage suit that makes the wearer appear like moss on the astral. Kus quickly snatched the Barret ammo for his sniping rifle while Smokey and Whip, being the only humans on the team, each took a suit of the security armor.
After driving around for an hour the runners found an abandoned warehouse that looked promising. They pulled the truck in and off loaded the prisoners. Tool chained up the two unconscious prisoners in very uncomfortable positions while Wildfire levitated Cortez, still bound to a chair, from the truck. Tool gave Black Streak a bottle of water and a Growlie bar to munch on. Wildfire pulled Smokey out of earshot of the rest of the group and asked him to Mind Probe Black Streak while he distracted him. Smokey wasn’t excited at the prospect but Wildfire convinced him that it was necessary to make sure that Black Streak didn’t voluntarily betray them.
Wildfire walked over to Black Streak and asked him how he came to be a prisoner in that factory. He made sure that Black Streak’s back was to Smokey as he cast the Mind Probe spell. He explained that the sniper, Night Raven, was the leader of the group that grabbed him about two weeks prior. They kept him prisoner and forced him to call Wildfire to lure the runners back to Seattle and into a trap. He apologized for that and explained that they threatened to kill him if he didn’t cooperate. His observation was that Night Raven was the professional behind the plan and the others were just hired guns. Wildfire told him that he understood and was sorry that he ended up in that position.
Wildfire confirmed with Smokey that Black Streak had been telling the truth. He went back to Black Streak and asked him what was next. Black Streak said that he was going to have to move his base of operations and get back in touch with his contacts. Wildfire thanked him for his help and gave him 10K nuyen to help him get reestablished.
Smokey and Wildfire approached Cortez. Wildfire asked Smokey to mind probe him to find out why he ordered the hit on his brother Rapid and if anyone else was involved. Before casting the Mind Probe spell on him, Smokey took a moment to analyze Cortez’s astral aura. He wanted to make sure that Cortez wasn’t under the influence of some Aztecnology spell that would cause his head to explode under probing like that yakuza’s head had. Satisfied that Cortez didn’t have any spells on him, Smokey cast the Mind Probe spell but was only able to read his surface thoughts. Cortez’s mind was swirling, never remaining focused on any one thing for more than a second due to the mage mask. Smokey, his mind also reeling, cancelled the spell and informed Wildfire of the results. Wildfire pulled off the mage mask and asked Smokey to try again.
Smokey recast the Mind Probe spell and again was only able to gain access to Cortez’s surface thoughts. He informed Wildfire of that and explained that Cortez must have an unusually strong will to be able to resist the spell.
Wildfire stood in front of Cortez and asked him, “Why did you have Rapid killed?”
Cortez replied, “Who the hell is Rapid?”
Wildfire growled in frustration as he pulled out his pocket secretary. He punched a few buttons and showed Cortez a picture. Cortez stared at the picture for a moment before recognition dawned on his face.
“So that’s what this is all about? Some dead guy nobody cared about? I thought this was about some other corp trying to get Aztechnology secrets out of me.”
“I cared about him. He was important to me. Now tell me why you ordered him killed.”
“He was on the list.”
“The hit list. The list of people Aztechnology wants dead. Listen kid, every corp has a hit list of people that they want dead. They don’t advertise it, but they put the word out to gather information on the people on the list. When they find one of them they send a team out to whack ‘em. It’s not personal, it’s just biz.”
Wildfire took a few seconds to bring his temper under control before saying, “So that’s what happened to Rapid? He was on Aztech’s list? How did you find him?”
“Yeah he was on the list. I didn’t find him, a guy named Francisco Rodriguez spotted him and tailed him. He found out where he was living and who he was running with and then sold that information to me. Rodriguez heard about a run that Rapid was going on, so I put Sonjay and Karage on it. They set up on the way out after the runners entered the target to make sure that Rapid wouldn’t make it out and everyone would blame it on the target’s security.”
“Why was Rapid on the list in the first place?”
“Listen kid, the corp big wigs don’t feel the need to explain themselves to the lower ranks. They put someone on the list for whatever reason and the lower echelons rush to do their bidding. Maybe this Rapid screwed the wrong guy’s daughter, or stole some data from the corp. I don’t know.”
Wildfire pulled his Savalette Guardian out and meaningfully looked from the gun to Cortez. “I advise you to think harder about why he was on the list.”
Sweat was beading on Cortez’s forehead as he looked up and to the left. Wildfire recognized that as a sign that he was trying to remember so he decided to be generous and give him a minute. When Cortez still hadn’t said anything after a minute, Wildfire pointed his gun at the ceiling and watched as the click of the hammer being thumbed back drew Cortez’s gaze back from the heavens. Wildfire looked him in the eyes and said, “Tempus Fugit.”
Cortez mumbled, “Wait, just wait.” With more conviction he stated, “I’m not positive but I think I do remember something about this guy. I remember hearing something about him helping someone escape from the corp. Yeah, that’s it. He helped someone to escape from Aztechnology that the corp wanted, so his name went on the list. That’s all I know about it, honest”
Wildfire looked at Smokey to see if Cortez was telling the truth. Smokey gave him a solemn nod and stepped back. Wildfire ejected the clip of APDS ammo from his gun and racked out the round in the chamber, placing back in the clip. He reached into his coat and pulled out a clip of EX explosive ammo, loading it into the gun. He looked Cortez in his widened eyes as he jacked the first round into the chamber.
Cortez blurted, “You can’t seriously still be pissed about some piece of shit that died over a year ago!”
Wildfire slowly pointed his gun at Cortez’s head and said, “Why don’t you ask Rodriguez, Sonjay and Karage how pissed I was when I caught up with them? You’re going to have that opportunity very shortly.”
“Wait, that was you? I heard about them. I thought that they were just killed during the regular course of biz. They were small time, it was only a matter of time before they crossed the wrong person. I’m not small time like them. I’m a valued member of Aztechnology. The corp will send people to look for me. I have resources; my own and access to corp resources. We can still make a deal. I can offer you a lot of money, just to let me go. You get paid and I will fade away. I’ll move to a different country, a different continent and you’ll never see me again. Do we have a deal?”
“I don’t care about your position with Aztechnology or your money. Rapid was my brother and I loved him very much. Still do. I’ll tell you what, I’ll make a deal with you. If you can bring him back to life right here and now I’ll let you go. Deal? No? Then go to Hell!” As he finished speaking he fired a three round burst into Cortez’s head. Blood and brains splashed everywhere as the explosive bullets did their job. All he could think of was that his brother had died because he had helped Wildfire escape from Aztechnology. If his brother hadn’t taken him in after his escape then he would still be alive today. He didn’t know how to process or cope with that and stood staring as blood slowly dripped to the floor from the headless corpse.
Smokey quickly moved away from Cortez’s lifeless husk and found a place to sit down. He was a little fatigued from the spell and disconcerted from the execution. He was also a little freaked out at the way Wildfire stood there, gun in hand, and just stared at Cortez’s corpse. He looked away and decided to take some time to rest before questioning the unconscious mercenaries.
After an hour Smokey roused himself. He noticed that Wildfire was still staring at the corpse and approached him cautiously. “Hey chummer, you okay omae?”
Wildfire shook himself as if emerging from cold water and said, “What?”
“I said are you okay chummer?”
“No, but it’s nothing that going to fix itself anytime soon.”
“I was hoping to mind probe the other prisoners, but they’re still unconscious. Do you think that you can wake them up for me?”
“Yeah, okay, back to biz.” Wildfire holstered his Guardian and crossed to the first chained up prisoner. He cast an Awaken spell on him then walked away again lost in his own thoughts. Tool stepped forward and started questioning him. At first the thug seemed rather reticent, but that changed when Kus snickered and informed him that he’d better be more helpful than the guy tied to the chair, pointing his thumb in Cortez’s direction. One glance at the headless corpse and he became positively chatty.
Between questioning the mercs, matrix searches and running down contacts for information, the runners figured out that Night Raven was the Chimera operative that whacked the old Don. The runners were seen as a complication that wasn’t going to go away, so they needed to be dealt with. Since it was her hit, Night Raven was tasked with eliminating the runners and would not be welcomed back into Chimera until they were taken care of. She hired some fodder and a group of mercs to help her. Her plan was to lure them into the factory, bottle them up with the mercs and then snipe them one at a time from the catwalk in her stealth suit while they dealt with the fodder and mercs. Apparently her plan did not have a contingency for Smokey locating her in the catwalks with a Detect Enemies spell and Whip’s tender administrations.
The runners also determined that Chimera would likely consider the matter closed, since Night Raven was a dead end, and there was now nothing to tie them to the hit on the Don. With Chimera no longer gunning for them, the runners decided to focus on finishing their business with Rowena.
Tool did some matrix searches on Rowena, the Seattle mob and the mob war with the yakuza. He determined that the mob war was still ongoing with no clear winner yet. Rowena was still in town, but she rarely left the Finnegan mansion.
The runners discussed what to do with the two unconscious prisoners. They all agreed that they shouldn’t let the prisoners go right away because they might tell or sell the information that the runners were back in town, thus warning Rowena. They wanted to keep the element of surprise as long as possible. One or two of the runners thought that it would be most expedient to permanently silence the prisoners, but the rest vetoed that idea by saying that they were only doing the job that they had been contracted for, and were very unlikely to come after the runners since there was no paycheck in it.
Tool called Radek and arranged for some babysitters to watch the prisoners for a couple of days. Tool specified that the prisoners were to be released unharmed when he notified the babysitters. Radek informed them that it would take six hours to set up. In the meantime Wildfire astrally projected and checked out the Finnegan mansion.
He noted that things seemed to be quiet there, with no spirits, watchers or wards in evidence. Wildfire scanned the exterior of the property, noting guard positions and defenses before proceeding into the mansion. He mapped out the mansion, noting where each person was. He recognized Rowena’s aura in the basement, conferring with two other people. Wildfire returned to the warehouse and sketched out the grounds and each level of the mansion for the team.
Once Radek’s babysitters left with the prisoners, the runners drove to a position a few blocks from the Finnegan mansion and started discussing the merits of various plans to get into the mansion and get Rowena.
Karma 1 (for the previous write up)
Official Kill/Knock Out Stats:
Brick, Kus, Whip, Smokey, Tool, Wildfire: 0