Shadows of Baltimore

The Temple of the Rat

After getting lost in the tunnels, encountering more of the strange augmented rats, the runners finally decided to push forward up the narrow passage. The horrid smell of rotting food, long dead corpses, ammonia assaulted the runners. Smaller brown rats carried pinkies in their mouth away from their nests as the warning call went out. Bullock noticed the sound of many feet moving at once and warned the group to get into position. Suddenly, over a dozen rat-like drones came teaming out of the tunnel toward Bullock and the rest. Gunshots deafened the ears as Bullock stood his ground against the first wave. Elan and Chase took up Bullocks left and right respectively, using their martial training to dodge and parry while cleaning up the drones that fell against the break of Bullock. Muzzle flash briefly lit the tunnel as a voice came out over the speakers of a drone:
““I see you doubt me as the others have Welders, but you have no right to judge me. Don’t you understand Welders? These are not monsters, these are creatures capable of the greatest empathy…except for the weak. To kill without feeling, without passion that is strength! They are perfect! Not you, the Corps, or the Institute will stop can stop Us now!”
“Join Us Welders! Drink the Mother’s milk, as I have!”
At the same moment, a compartment opened on one of the drones to reveal a pistol. It shot Bullock in the hip. One at a time, the rats began to bite and claw the group with one to replace those that had fallen. Bullock, Five and Chase steadfastly head their ground as doubt began to set it. Was this it for these old cheats, bums, smugglers, ex-cops, government test-subjects?
And then…
Some sort of self-preservation code kicked in as the rest of the drones retreated, burrowing into the soft dirt of either side of the tunnel. Elan and Chase attempted to give chase, but backed off as they entered a larger chamber, the source of the stench. The entire floor and ceiling was alive with movement as the rats hurried to move their young when the intruders stepped into the chamber. Half-rat/Half-men and women operated complex systems regulated forms in suspension tanks in various states of transformation. Elan barely recognized Ralph among them. Ironic really, becoming the thing you hate. Aghast, Bullock tossed in a smoke grenade as Toe Knee muttered to himself about his ex-girlfriend’s period panties while the runners attempted to make their escape.

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The Septic Drains Pt. II
The runners battle a pent up spirit.

When the runners regained their footing (after the surge of water tossed them over so handily), they were confronted by the neglected water spirit, which had been sealed in the chamber for years, possibly decades. The sludgy mass attempted unsuccessfully to envelop Bullock and Elan, while Toe Knee Bearfeathers summoned a bear spirit to protect him, and began muttering to himself with a thousand-yard stare glazed across his face.
The spirit proved to be impervious to the runner’s assault, until Elan nicked it with his katana. It turned his attention toward him, then suddenly the roiling mass of muck seemed to have a pause. Within seconds, it simply collapsed into a bath of foul-smelling ooze. Amongst the murk, the runners were able to see a glimmer. A golden rod with a loop at the end. Toe Knee examined it unsuccessfully, and headed back to the Tent City to get some help.
When the runner’s gathered their composure they found the way forward still at an impasse. Bullock dove in one of the drains and discovered a mechanism in the drain had malfunctioned, while Five compiled a sprite to aid in the diagnostic. Bullock dove in the putrid pool full of writhing, blind creatures and managed to fix the mechanism. He was rewarded with large bubbles of air rising to the surface as the second pool began to drain. Five handled the third pool, improvising a Command program. He’s not exactly sure how.
The runners made their way down the previously flooded tunnel ahead. Five became acutely aware of the presence of traffic going to the rats from some abandoned row homes on the surface. The group tried to find their way in the old and convoluted rat tunnels and quickly became lost. At that moment, they reached the entrance to a nesting burrow of augmented devil rats. Welders, who had rejoined the group in their latest excursion, cautioned them that these rats were the samples he needed and the real reason he had suffered their presence for so long. Bullock shot the first rat with his shotgun, much to the dismay of Welders. “I said don’t kill them you idiot!” Meanwhile the rats attacked Chase and Elan with one biting through Chase’s coat and clinging to him with a vice-like grip. Chase and Elan managed to knock over one of the rats long enough for Welders to push it into a carrier. Five managed to disable the third rat, who was currently menacing Chase, with a Blackout program. The rat fell to the ground, convulsing. Welders exclaimed, “You fools finally did something right.”

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Mt. Auburn Cemetery

While camped out at the Tent City, Elan and Five receive a job from the listserv they were referred to Tom Faller through. A fellow runner has come across a file they want decrypted, and handed it to the runners for a 3,000¥ reward if they can break it. Cautious at first, Five decided to have one of his sprites do a little legwork and see what he could find about the file. Elan and Five decided to head to Jack’s Carryout to try the deep fried naga claws. Five ate the greasy claw, then headed to the bathroom to evacuate his bowels and meditate.
The file had an unusual decryption algorithm, using code that Five had only seen used in AI architectures. After a few attempts, his Crack sprite was able to decipher it (being of a creature of the Matrix itself). Five had his Sprite encrypt it using a unique Resonance algorithm and gave it back to the Johnson who asked for it, keeping the actual copy for himself. Once 5’s sprite had finished his tasks and dissipated into the fabric of the matrix, the file became corrupted, leaving the Johnson with no viable way of obtaining the data. Five proceeded to obfuscate the file while he and Elan mulled over its contents: A list of names, each seemingly unrelated. Alan Gregory, Dolores Henderson, Tiffany Sanders, Walter Johnson, Douglass McCarthy. As they dug deeper, they found some had worked for Pixil Corps, a cyberware manufacturer. About half of those on the list had died at varying times, some as recently as in the last few days. They found an obituary for one of the deceased, and decided to pay their respects at his funeral. Before they left, Five and Elan decided to investigate Tony’s, where days before Elan and Holli had put down a DSPC hit squad. Five’s sprite barely managed to get inside Tony’s system unnoticed. There he found that Tony had indeed kept a record of their files on his computer, and rather brazenly at that for someone so paranoid. Also in Tony’s files, the names of those on the list. Odd, was that no previous records or background checks turned up in their files.
Five and Elan arrived at the old overgrown Mt. Auburn cemetery at dusk, as an irritated a group of crows voiced their disapproval. Thus exposed, Elan attempted to get close to a pair of suspicious looking men in suits observing the funeral services from a distance. 5ive noticed that no one had attended the funeral, except the priest and grave-digger, a rather pitiful looking character with a somewhat severe looking case of scoliosis. Elan and 5ive found that the others who had perished on the list had been buried at Mt. Auburn, a common thread. Elan suddenly realized that many of the graves in the older sections of the graveyard had been disturbed, and as he ventured into the brush found himself being ambushed by two ghouls dressed in the fragile remnants of the clothes they were buried in years ago. One of the ghouls dug its claws deep into Elan’s chest. Remembering all the zombie apocalypse movies in the 10’s and 20’s, 5ive flipped his light panel to daylight and managed to distract the ghouls long enough for Elan to whip out his sword and systematically remove limbs and heads. Terrified and wounded, the runners retreated to the Tent City to process everything. Before leaving, a gravestone caught Elan’s eye, marked “Dolores Al-Khartoum Born: — Died: September 5th 1835.” It had been vacant for some time.

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The Septic Drains

The runners decided to take a rest before embarking on the next leg of their journey, to find the source of the activity that 5ive detected beneath the ground. At the Tent City, they were reunited with Holli and Elan. While they brought each other up to speed, Toe-Knee Bearfeathers healed the group of minor cuts and scrapes. Bullock was not able to find relief for his nasty looking rat bite, even with Toe-Knee’s Grandmother’s patented crab poultices. The next day, they tracked down Biz to get an exhaust port for the broken generator at the Tent City. Bullock spent a few hours climbing his way over Biz’s horde of electronics and industrial remnants, but emerged victorious, yet frustrated, from the heap. Biz was not able to help them find a tractor-trailer for the Almag truck they recently acquired despite Bullock’s prodding.
From there they decided to check in with Tom Faller, who was none-too-happy to see the group. After some back and forth, he revealed his hand and conceded the runners had fulfilled their obligations albeit sloppily. He offered them a new task, to flush out the mystery buyer at a police auction occurring the following day. He gave them 5,000¥ to use in bidding to flush out the mystery buyer. He suggested the runners use the “pull list” handed out to hoppers to identify which items the mystery buyer is likely to bid on. Any additional monies they would have to negotiate with Tom after they had secured a meeting with the mystery buyer and he had secured a deal with the so-called “mystery buyer”.
With one job now under their belt and more work on the horizon, the runners decide to descend once more into the tunnels to find Ralph before it’s too late. With night approaching, they made their way to the source of the transmissions directing hordes of rats across the city, an illegal dump beneath the disused section of 95. After sliding down piles of garbage, the runners encountered Old Tom Demanis, who sang his song merrily:
“They all thinks I’m crazy, so crazy I am;
But I’ll still be here when they ain’t what they am!
They’ll all be taken to the Mother
But I’ll be free before the others!”
A lunatic hermit who lives and sleeps among the rats, Old Tom will only speak of the Black Mother’s return and his exile from her den. Dismissing his rantings, the runners made their way to an old sewer line beneath a block of annihilated row-homes. There they found three septic pools that had backed up and flooded the tunnel ahead. The door leading to one of the pools was locked, which after much tinkering, Bullock was able to remove. When he opened the door, it flung open with such force that it nearly pinned him to the wall as water surged forth from the chamber. The runner’s were tossed like ragdolls down the tunnel as a roiling mass of sludge plunged down the tunnel after them.

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Tony's E-Z Pawn

Elan waited for the group to leave before he began instructing Holli on how to properly clean a crime scene. His years in Lone Star had prepared him for this to some extent, but he never imagined he would be on the opposite end of one of those investigations years later. He and Holli were able to paint a confusing enough picture for investigators that they would be scratching their heads on this one for some time. Elan barely managed to get on a DSPC bike left at the scene and ride with Holli to Tony’s and collect their I.D’s. They found Tony in the back of the shop, staring at security monitors feverishly. He seemed preoccupied and even more paranoid than before. After briefly mentioning he could have asked for more, he lost his heart for bartering and sent Elan and Holli on their way. Once outside, Elan and Holli began to conduct a good old-fashioned stakeout of Tony’s place.

5 DSPC gangers arrived separately to Tony’s as Elan tried ineffectually to climb up a truck on the opposite side of the street and get a good overhead view, but was approached by the truck owner. He flashed his gun at the trucker and stated “Police business”. Terrified, the trucker ran into the night. He sent Holli to go buy some fried chicken across the street. When Holli returned, they moved into a secluded wooded area as they were startled by the sound of gunshots and saw Tony with a gunshot wound to the chest, stumble from the back of his shop toward his warehouse. Two large gangers pursued him and Elan and Holli intervented. Elan’s first shot alerted the gangers to his presence, but without cover, Holli was able to pick one of them off cleanly from 30 meters away, knocking the ganger on his back. Elan closed the distance between himself and the gang members and delivered the stunned troll a kick to head as the troll attempted to stand, breaking his neck. Holli caught a piece of the other troll as she stepped out from around a corner, and killed her instantly with a shot to the head. Elan, already in the process of trying to punch the ganger was surprised as her lifeless body fell limp upon him. Elan called for 5ive to get into the security system and edit the recording, not wishing to repeat what happened at Biz’s
Inside the store, the DSPC members heard multiple gunshots outside and were convinced the cops had arrived. They gathered hostages inside the store and turned off the lights as the runners came in through the back door. The DSPC members were waiting inside has Elan avoided a shot sent his way, with barely enough time for his eyes to adjust and see the flashes of gunfire. With her elven eyes, Holli was able to quickly identify a DSPC member behind a store counter, and placed a high caliber round in his shoulder, knocking him back into a glass display case. Elan ran at a low crouch as he followed the source of a muzzle flash to a DSPC member hiding behind a clothes rack. Elan made a quick and decisive swing, but the ganger made a fatal parry and fell on Elan’s sword. Holli took care of the third gang member. Nearly dead, Holli and Elan began to interrogate him. Under coercion, the ganger divulged that a hit had been put out on Tony and he wouldn’t live to see the end of the week, despite this little setback. He also suggested that he knew the runners were the same guys that killed MOB and C-Danger at Biz’s place. Holli put a cushion over his head as she executed him right there in the store. Before the left, Holli and Elan tried to locate Tony in the warehouse. With his gun trained on anything poised to move into the doorway. Tony nearly shot Holli and Elan as they move toward the warehouse. After they convinced Tony they were not DSPC, Tony remained suspicious but thanked them for saving his life. He gave Elan back their additional 1,500¥ for the ID’s and seemed to imply that they were even now.
Elan and Holli returned to the Tent City in the middle of the night, and too pumped full of adrenaline they went to the shore to do some target practice before dawn.

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The Missing Almag Truck

Forced to think fast, Bullock instructs the group to let the air out of the tires and release the fifth wheel before trying to pull the truck out. Nearly mortally wounded, the runner’s helped Bullock into the driver’s seat. Bullock, the only one in the group capable of driving a truck, went heavy into the clutch as he finally managed to grind through dirt and rock to drive the truck up the loose rock and dirt with the rest of the runners jammed into the cab with him. They left Elan behind to look over the bodies and go pick up their I.D’s from Tony. (More on Elan later…) The runners first attempted to go back to Dr. Gizmo’s Chop Shop and cruise on Biz’s tab. After all, they had saved his life. Biz however, was laying low since his recent stint at the chop shop. Under the threat of violence from a rather large and nasty looking security guard, and an even larger and nastier looking nurse, the runners get back in the truck and head to Tent City when Bullock remembers Henry Earth-Sea spoke of the ‘witch’ when his son had been bit by a rat. After seeing Bullock pale with from blood-loss Henry berates his men for not staying with the runners as he instructs them to carry Bullock to the witch doctor. The witch, a surprisingly pretty young woman, stitched Bullocks wounds and gave him a salve to help promote healing as he rested in her tent.
Meanwhile, the runner’s show Henry the mutated rat they discovered in the tunnels. With a grave face, Henry swallows a lump in his throat as he asks the group to return to the tunnels once more to find out what has been corrupting these creatures. This time, he sends you a large man with a pole and cracked hands that smells vaguely of hand sanitizer. He refuses to shake your hands. 5ive tuned out Henry as he searched for Biz’s location once more using one of his courier sprites, and did some remote tasks for Elan. The sprite was successful in finding Biz’s icon in an industrial neighborhood in Cherry Hill. When Bullock returned rested, they hid the Almag truck under an overpass before they set out to head back to the Old Rockworm Tunnels, just missing Elan and Holli as they returned from their mission. After running into yet more of the mutated rats, the runners had to think fast as they shot around each other while the rats ducked and evaded their every move. 5ive realized that there was a daylight option on the light panel he had been using, and flips it on, causing the rats to weaken in their resolve. Nevertheless, they fought to the last. One of the rats that Bullock had presumed dead chomped down on his left leg, leaving a nasty and infected looking wound. The strange Indian Henry had sent them into the tunnels with managed to use a few spells to stun and slow the rats as Chase fought to keep the group from getting surrounded, bruising his knuckles as he punched bony growths into the brains of the mutated rats. Victorious, this time through they torched the rat nests and pushed on to find Walter.
When the group comes upon Walter, they see him crying by a hastily constructed vigil from Ralph, Walter’s cousin and B.A.R.F brother. He informs the group that Ralph never made it back out of the tunnels following the gas explosion. The runners inform Walter they were probably the last people to see him, and that he was indeed alive when he left before the explosion (after narrowly avoiding getting shot by a sentry gun). After showing Walter the rat, he tears up with grief and tells the group “Fuck the tournament, just get Ralphie back. I’ll give ya everything I own.”
Toe-Knee finally reveals his name, and for some unknown reason keeps correcting them when they nod and say “Hi Tony, I’m -…” He attempts to heal Bullock’s bite wound, but is not entirely successful.
“There are some wounds that do not heal.” He shrugs as rubs his ashy hands together and stands.

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The Sewers

Before leaving, the runners decide to take care of a few errands, perhaps take an impromptu shower in a random backyard or restaurant bathroom. Elan decided to brush up on his tae-kwon-do at a local dojo, and Bullock headed up to the auto shop to find an piece for an exhaust port for a generator in the Tent City. Meanwhile, Five went into a deep trance in a unsuccessful attempt to compile a courier sprite to probe the security system of Almag. As they returned from their errands to the sunken in block of Annapolis Rd they were joined by a curious, stern looking man in a very expensive looking coat. He introduced himself as Chase, and he had read an article in the Baltimore City Guide about the B.A.R.F competition and decided to come check it out. Walter once again warned not to stray from the path. He sent the runners on their way armed with large plastic bags, 3 deep sea rods, peanut butter, and bacon.
It was close to dusk as they finally departed. Five was able to detect sentries in the area, but Walter had warned them they would only target the rats. After Ralph shined his floodlight down the main drag of the old sewer line, the runners caught the reflections of many eyes, as a few Devil Rats caught an air of food mixed with man smells and sounds and scurried up the tunnel. Bullock baited his line and cast his line too far back, catching Ralph in the ear. Elan cast his line successfully and caught the interest of a few rats, as Bullock cast his bait with added “Ralph Ear”. The after nearly having their rods ripped from their hands, the runner’s reeled in a pair of Devil Rats and made quick work of them. They dropped them in the bags and continued up the narrow tunnel. As Ralph was crossing an intersection, a turret gun fired up and would have shot Ralph had Elan not intervened, narrowly avoiding getting hit himself. Five was able to turn off the turret and face it away from the group. Unbeknownst to the runner’s, the tunnel was filling with natural gas from a ruptured old gas line.
Five detected another commlink up a side passage that had likely been the one that had tampered with the sentry gun. The runner’s pressed on to find whoever the hacker was that had nearly killed them, and sent Ralph on his way to return the rats they had caught before he gets himself killed. Ralph takes little convincing and takes off, leaving the group a rod and some bait. Shortly thereafter, a huge blast sent a wave of air rushing up the tunnel that nearly knocks the runners off their feet as a large mutant devil rat came tearing toward the group, its hair singed and smoking. Using his fast reflexes, Bullock cast a line just in time. Nothing on earth is able to resist the smell of peanut butter and bacon, even a mutant rat, as it took the bait. Their newfound partner, Chase, was able to run up and punch it hard enough to stun it so they could toss it in a plastic bag as Elan stabbed it with his sword, in a grisly scene. They had to press forward to escape the smoke and fire which was quickly choking the tunnels. Soon, they heard voices arguing coming from down the line and saw daylight. They noticed a group of four D.S.P.C gangers and one acne-ridden hacker standing around a tractor trailer that had collapsed partially into the tunnel. Without hesitation, Bullock took this opportunity to get the drop on the gangers and walked up guns blazing. He took down their leader, as Elan, Five, and Chase stepped in to Bullock’s aid. Five managed to break into the hacker’s commlink and shock him and his friends with a blackout program. One of the gangers, however, was consistently able to evade the runner’s attacks. Bullock dove to the ground and blew off a ganger’s ankle. As her comrades fell, the evasive DSPC member shot Bullock as he lay prone before getting knocked out by Chase and Elan’s attacks. Several of the gangers remained alive, but largely incapable of fleeing as they warned of the repercussions the runners would incur if they killed them. Bullock passed out from his wound as Elan went around finishing off the gangers with his katana. Chase, loosely trained in medicine, was able to stabilize Bullock temporarily but his condition was critical and he remained unconscious. The runners realized that, again, they had little time to make decisions before city or emergency workers arrived to investigate the gas explosion.

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The Rockworm Tunnels

The party gathered their belongings after a night’s rest at the Tent City. After noticing Henry Earth-Sea speaking with police officers late at night, Bullock confronted him about what the police were looking for. Henry reluctantly informed the group that the police were looking for them, and had found shell casings outside the Tent City that were consistent with a triple murder that had taken place the day before. He advised them to head for the tunnels and go “underground”. He sent with the group a pathetic group of Powhatan, his so-called ‘best men’, who the group sent on their way once they were out of Henry’s view. More than happy to oblige, the Powhatan went on their way, eager to spend the rest of the day drinking instead of crawling through dark rat-infested tunnels.
Unfortunately for the group, that is what they would spend their day doing as they descended deep into the dark tunnels bored out by hungry rockworms years ago, now the perfect home for nesting rats. Five, unable to find a wireless node in the tunnel was delegated “torch carrier” and given a light panel, which he actually found quite heavy after just a few minutes. Forced to crawl on their hands and knees, they were ambushed by a group of 5 Devil Rats near one of their nesting burrows. Five suggested they try to reason with the rats as the group dispatched 2 of them, and the others fled into the darkness before they met the fate of their brothers and sisters. Shortly thereafter, a pair of Naga stumbled upon the group as they were hunting the very same rats the group had just encountered. Holli had no doubt in her mind what to do next, she and Bullock blasted them with their shotguns before they could get too close. After inspecting their corpses, the runners decide to take a few souvenirs and explore the tunnels further.
To their surprise, the tunnel emptied out into a caved in block of Annapolis Rd. Smoking and drinking amongst the rubble, a group of Baltimore Area Rat Fishing (B.A.R.F) members were taking part in a fishing tournament. After paying a 20¥ entry fee, the group were given instructions (the rat must be caught on a line, and documented) from Walter (Walt) Wykowski, some poles, and a guide (Ralph Wykowski)
Eager to find some more sources of illumination before entering the tunnels again, the group decided to check out a local shop that had been built into the basement of a nearby collapsed building. Inside, they encountered a shriveled white-eyed old woman surrounded by pickled animals in a cramped room hazy with incense that smelled of formaldehyde and old feet. Elan asked her if she had any flashlights or batteries and she cackled, producing a long shriveled finger with a wick extending from the tip. “Free of charge my boy, free of charge!” She exclaimed as she put the wretched looking candle in Elan’s hand.
Armed with their poles, a new source of illumination, and a guide the group was set to venture once more into the darkness when a scrawny looking researcher with hooded cybereyes came lumbering into the pit carrying two large pet crates. “Oh yea, this is Welders…He’s…gonna come along with us an take some samples.” Welders then shot a look meant to convey his lack of confidence in the party, but in his mind conceded that the extra muscle might come in handy in the dangerous tunnels up ahead.

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The Tent City
Tent City

With Biz’s words to you all still buzzing around in your heads, you are sent on your way from Dr. Gizmo’s Chop Shop by two big, sinister looking ‘nurses’ who just came in on their shift in the early morning hours. Shortly thereafter, a message from Tom Faller:

Things are really hot right now, lay low and see what you can find. Here’s a 2000¥ advance. Use it to go to Tom’s and get some fake id’s. Be careful, the place is swimming with DSPC. And, I don’t think I should have to say this but you should ‘change up your look’ a little bit, y’know what I mean? The cops don’t seem too worried about what happened, but they had ballistics out. Just a little friendly advice…

Bullock and Elan headed to Tony’s after getting Tom’s message, handing off the dead ganger’s commlink to Five to decrypt. Before leaving, Elan shaved his head and Bullock turned his jacket inside out to ward off suspicion as they entered Tony’s and headed straight for the back. They took note that most of the overpriced and out of date stock on the shelves didn’t look like it had moved in some time. Stammering, Bullock tried to articulate a story of why they needed to see Tony to the cashier at the jewelry counter. She yelled in Korean into the back room, and out from the curtain came Tony. He gives Bullock and Elan a once over and proceeds into a fast paced round of questions designed to throw Bullock off balance. After some back and forth, he agrees to help the runners for 1500 up front, and 1500 later with 24 hours to process. Bullock and Elan then grabbed some different clothing, paid way too much for it, and then headed to the Tent City to talk with Bebe.
Approaching the Tent City they were mobbed by a group of junkie pickpockets, but Bullock spotted their ruse of distraction and butted one with the stock of his shotgun. Caught by surprise, the junkie fled into the brush with his friends. A great WHOOSH sound followed as the earth trembled, then screams. The junkie who’d attempted to rob Bullock had fallen in a devil rat pit, a devil rat gripping his arm with its teeth. Elan rushed in, nearly decapitating the rat as Bullock spotted another two coming toward them. Elan swung his sword into the spine of another devil rat as Bullock managed to put a slug in one rats eyes as it lunged toward him. Another junkie was in the process of getting maimed by the strangely aggressive and irritated rats, as Elan and Bullock rushed in to put a swift end to the horrid beast’s life narrowly escaping being bit.
A rustling in the brush caught their attention as Henry Earth-Sea emerged from the brush to find his son, Gary writhing in pain. He sent his hawk, Baywind, to dispatch the last of the rats as he berated his son. He had seen everything. After apologizing to the runners, Henry thanked them for saving his son and invited them to his camp to stay the night. Along the way, he pointed out that their generator had failed and they were not able to fix it because of a shortage of parts recently. Some of his people might freeze this winter. He not so subtly enlisted the help of Bullock, who then begrudgingly went out into the scrapyards surrounding the camp to try and find a solution. While he had Elan alone, he prodded him about his heritage, and went on for some time about the problems the Devil Rats have placed on the community. Babies and toddlers have reportedly been stolen from their tents. Grown men, bit in the carotid artery, dead on their cots. The residents of the tent city live in constant fear. Their tunnels have extended to the very edge of the camps, and past excursions into the tunnels to exterminate them have proved hopeless as their numbers only return to previous levels within a very short time. He convinces Elan and Bullock to lead another party into the tunnels the following morning to eliminate the rats once and for all.

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First Job

The runners found work at long last. Responding to a job posting, they met at the Blarney Stone, a rank dive bar in Westport. After moments bemused and caustic stares with the bar patrons, they found their “Johnson” in the back. A fat middle aged human named Tom Faller. His job: a.) Find out why Tony’s E-Z Pawn has had a sudden surge in business, and b.) Bring Tom’s loyal, longtime customers back into the fold and have them lose confidence in doing business with Tony. The runners begrudgingly accept, despite Tom’s underwhelming assurance that their payment would have in the form of more work. What choice did they have?
He gave them few leads before he departed. He advised them to seek out a hopper named Bebe in the Tent City, and the dwarf rigger named Biz who operates out of a scrapyard. The runners decided to visit the dwarf first. When they arrived, they noticed a Roto-Drone spying on them high above the yard. Bullock attempted to speak to Biz through a callbox but was rebuked by the dwarf. Shortly thereafter, the compound was besieged by 4 D.S.P.C go-gangers. Their leader, a Troll with a bright red mohawk, disabled Biz’s dogs with an unknown substance hidden inside a popular brand of Drone “treats”, then proceeded to cut through the chain link fence on the perimeter of the compound. Before he entered, he gave the group a word of caution not to get involved.
At that moment, the dwarf rigger tried to escape by straddling the Roto-Drone but slipped and fell several stories into the dirt. It was shortly after this that the group decided to intervene. Bullock approached one of the go-gangers, Spud, and made a not-so-subtle threat by placing his shotgun in Spud’s inner thigh. Before Spud could respond, Elan Blackfeather came running up and cold-clocked the go-ganger with such force that he shattered Spud’s nose. This shook Spud’s resolve considerably.
Noticing that one of the gangers was packing heat, Holli took her sights on the unfortunate sod, but luckily for him, he was dealt only a glancing blow. The gangers, confident the runners would not make the first move were taken by surprise. Bullock made quick work of the gang member Holli had missed with a well placed shotgun slug to the back. Five, the technomancer, reset Biz’s GM-Nissan Doberman’s to their factory defaults as Elan withdrew his pistol and took a shot at MOB, the D.S.P.C lieutenant who had just emerged from Biz’s house. MOB narrowly missed the shot, rolling down a staircase. He had barely the time to stand up again before Holli had his large ugly head in her sights, and fired. There was a reddish/pink mist where the Troll’s head once was, seeing this, the remaining two go-gangers T-Baby and Spud tried to make their escape. T-Baby wasn’t so lucky, he was put down by Bullock swiftly and without mercy as he was trying to roll under the chain link fence. Spud seemingly had made a clean escape.
In an effort to cover their tracks, the runner’s persuaded Biz to help them wipe the security system disk but were hastened by the sound of fast approaching sirens. Bullock attempted to head off the police but wasn’t successful. The group narrowly escaped detection as they left the compound just as the police were arriving, with a badly hurt Biz attempting to stay conscious as he piloted a van loaded with his gear, the two Dobermans, his Roto-Drone, and some very dangerous runners to a chop-shop “Ice-House” to get some much needed medical attention. Once there he thanked the group for saving his ass, and explained that D.S.P.C are just the muscle for a larger operation that has been recruiting hoppers, petty thieves, and junkies to steal for them.
“D.S.P.C are just the muscle, the enforcers. They keep the hoppers and scrappers in check, get them to do all the dirty work. Most of them are SINless, or minors, or both. They keep getting greedier, hitting bigger and bigger targets. Heard last week they knocked off a truck carrying Nickel to a Plating company of some sort here in Westport.”
Also,
“That fat fuck Tony, I never should have worked with him. He used to give me a primo rate, now he’s cut me out. I asked him why? He said stop askin’ I ain’t tellin’. Now I know. Now I know it’s cuz he had his eye on the prize the whole time. But that ain’t even the tip of the iceberg!”
The group suddenly realized that Biz must be some kind of hoarder, because his compound was loaded with strange industrial remnants, junk and scrap.

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