Radek called the runners back to give them the run information. The run was to go into Tehran and retrieve a piece of cloth from under a mosque. The tricky part being that Tehran had been laid to waste by the Great Dragon Aiden forty years ago. Now there was no law or protective organizations in the remains of the city; it had become a refuge for outlaws, evil metas, paranormal critters and worse.
The cloth was black with silver threads running throughout and Radek assured the runners that they would know it when they saw it. The runners ordered some gear from Radek and he delivered it on the Ares TR 52 tilt rotor aircraft that dropped them on the outskirts of Tehran. The pilot told the runners that they had ten hours to get in, get the package and get back to the extraction point or they would have to spend the night in the city and wait until the next day for pick up.
The runners entered the city cautiously, not knowing what could be lurking around. After moving a short distance through the rubble, a human with a rifle popped up. He jumped over a half wall and ran toward the runners while screaming and wildly firing the rifle at them. Brick was the first to respond, he pulled out his Ingram Smartgun loaded with stun rounds and fired a burst into the man. The man dropped the rifle and skidded along the ground unconscious.
Whip noticed an amorphous black cloud and ran toward it brandishing her whip. Kus looked around but couldn’t see the cloud. He yelled to Whip to ask where it was. Whip responded by yelling back the direction and distance while Smokey summoned a spirit.
Wildfire saw the cloud, cast a Stunbolt at it and it disappeared.
Tool walked up to the unconscious man and shot him in the head. A couple of the runners (not Kus) asked Tool why he shot the helpless, unconscious man and he responded that the man was very dangerous and was in fact, their “doom”. They asked him how he knew that since he had never been to Tehran or met the man before, but all Tool would say is that he just knew it. Wildfire was a little concerned because this was not normal behavior for Tool, so he decided to astrally assense him. He studied Tool’s aura with his mage sight and noted that there was something “off” about Tool, but he couldn’t tell exactly what it was. The runners decided to move on, but kept an eye on Tool.
The runners continued on for a time and then noticed when a group of three humanoids started following them to their left, on a parallel course behind some rubble. They chose to ignore them for the moment and continued toward the mosque. A short while later the runners detected the pitter-patter of more feet on their right hand side. When the total of the followers reached more than ten they decided that an ambush was imminent, so they found a small clearing with good cover and waited. They didn’t have to wait a full minute before pale looking humanoids with long, sharp claws and milky eyes climbed over the walls surrounding the runners and rushed them.
Whip ran forward and cut one of the ghouls in half with her monofilament whip focus.
Kus fired two, three round bursts from his Ingram Smartgun, killing two ghouls.
Brick walked a full auto burst from his Smartgun across three ghouls, killing the first, moderately wounding the second and missing the third completely.
Wildfire used his Levitation sustained focus to float up six meters. From the higher vantage point he cast a Stunball, knocking out four ghouls.
Smokey cast a Levitation spell into a sustaining spell focus and also floated up six meters.
Tool fired a single round each from his Savalette Guardian at two of the ghouls, killing the first and missing the second.
The ghouls tried to dogpile on the runners. Three attacked Brick, but instead of wounding Brick, they each suffered wounds from his orkly, martial prowess with hand to hand. Three attacked Tool, who popped out his cyber spurs and leaped into combat with a maniacal gleam in his eye. He killed two of them and gave the third a serious wound. Three jumped Kus, who whipped out a sai to defend himself. He gave each of the ghouls a solid beating and stun wounds as take home presents. Two advanced on Whip, who started a defensive dance with her focus, weaving it in an almost hypnotic pattern. When the two ghouls closed they literally fell to pieces in splashes of gore.
Whip smiled at the two dismembered ghouls and turned her whip on one of the ones on Kus, shredding him.
Kus dropped his sai, drew his no-dachi and skewered one of the ghouls on him.
Brick drew his katana and beheaded one of his ghouls.
Smokey aimed and fired a single round from his Ruger Super Warhawk, killing the last one on Tool.
Wildfire pulled his Savalette Guardian out and fired two semi auto rounds into one of the ghouls on Brick, killing it.
Tool killed a ghoul with his spurs.
Whip killed the last ghoul on Kus while Smokey killed the last one on Brick.
Tool, with a little spittle in the corners of his mouth, walked over executed the four unconscious ghouls by popping each of them in the head.
Smokey started casting Sterilize spells over the whole area while the rest of the runners looked around for further trouble. Whip was the first to spot the figure in a dark, tattered cloak moving toward the runners. She called out a warning and ran at the figure, flicking ghoul blood off of her whip. Kuss spotted the figure and fired a full auto burst from his Ingram, to no effect. Wildfire cast a Powerbolt at the figure, also to no effect. Brick pulled out his other Ingram Smartgun loaded with EX explosive rounds and fired a seven round full auto burst into the figure, dissipating it. The runners decided from what they saw that that creature must have been a wraith, and they were glad it was gone.
The runners cleaned up, reloaded their weapons, and continued toward the mosque. After an hour or so of travel they heard some gunfire in the distance, but it didn’t seem to be coming in their direction and they were on a deadline, so they gave it a pass.
It took a total of four hours to reach the mosque. When the runners entered it they felt a great sense of peace and serenity, almost a holy experience. The feeling grew stronger the further into the mosque they went. They looked around, searching for a way down into the basement. Smokey used his mage sight to astrally perceive the mosque. He found an interesting stone in the floor at the back of the mosque. He asked Tool to check it out. Tool lifted the stone easily and pulled out a package in brown paper. He unwrapped it and inside was a sheer black cloth with silver threading throughout. As he touched it a great sense of peace came over him. He shook it out and the runners looked at the symbols inlaid in silver thread. Wildfire looked at it on the astral and could tell that it was a powerful magical artifact. He started thinking about where he had heard of something like this before and he remembered reading about something like this in an article about Dunkelzhan’s will. Dunkelzahn had left the Shroud of Shadows to Aiden the Great Dragon in his will, but he remembered something about Aiden not accepting it.
The runners told Tool to carry it as he seemed a little less homicidally psychotic while holding it than he had been on the run so far. They headed back to their extraction point. On the way they noticed a small dot high up in the air heading toward them. The dot rapidly expanded until it was a Great Western Dragon with a body the size of a Greyhound bus. He circled the runners a few times and then came in for a landing right in front of them.
He introduced himself as Aiden and told the runners that the Shroud did not belong to them and that they needed to put the Shroud back in the mosque. The runners tried various lines of logic to reason with him (such as you didn’t accept the Shroud from Dunkelzahn so it doesn’t belong to you either), but all roads led back to “put the Shroud back in the mosque or I’ll kill you.”
The runners agreed to return the Shroud to the mosque and started backtracking toward the mosque, with Aiden as their close companion. Whip asked Tool for the Shroud and she put it on her back like a cape. Smokey wandered over to her and said that he had an idea. He asked her for the Shroud and then meandered over to the dragon. Smokey held his breath and touched the Shroud to Aiden. Aiden immediately seemed to relax, but didn’t change his mind about the runners putting the Shroud back in the mosque. He seemed to be in a more generous mood though, and offered the runners 10K nuyen in gold for their trouble. They responded that they were being paid 1.4 million nuyen for the job. Aiden counteroffered with 500K nuyen and 1.5 million nuyen worth of gold for their trouble.
Kus asked Aiden if he would give him a magic sword, which caused some of the runners to audibly groan and shake their heads at Kus and his magic sword fetish. The mages had tried to tell him on several occasions that even if he found a magic sword he would not be able to bond it and use it properly because he’s not magically active, but that had never stopped Kus from wanting one. To everyone’s astonishment, Aiden took the request seriously. He stated that he did not own a magic sword, but he did know where one was located and would tell Kus where it was and how to get it. Kus responded that that would be acceptable, with a big, shit-eating grin on his tusky face.
Wildfire thought that if Aiden would be willing to part with a magic sword (if he’d had one) maybe he has an extra power focus kicking around that he didn’t need. Wildfire mentioned that he’d been looking around for a force six power focus and did Aiden know where he could get one. Aiden responded that he had two, would Wildfire prefer a pendant or a ring? Wildfire responded that the pendant would be great. Aiden turned to Smokey and said that he could have the ring then, to which Smokey’s only response was a look of shock on his face.
Whip stated loudly that she would never take payment to betray a Johnson or fail a job. Wildfire agreed that he wouldn’t either, but the fact was that they were failing the job because they didn’t want to be transformed into dragon-poop by Aiden’s powerful digestive magic, not because of any payment he offered. If Aiden wanted to offer them a consolation prize, where’s the harm in that?
Wildfire looked at the other runners; Kus was smiling, Whip looked offended, Tool, Brick and Smokey were looking back and forth, undecided on what to do.
Karma: 1 (for the previous write up)
Official Kill/Knock-Out Stats
Tool 9 (including 5 unconscious, helpless metas – I bet you feel like a big man now)
Brick 4 (including the wraith)