“I’m your biggest fan!”
- Monarch and Speed Racer
Early one morning, Speed Racer got word from his mechanic, Cai, that a special client was looking to hire a team for some special work, the kind of special work that Speed Racer had taken on after failing to make it into combat biking. Shadowrunning.
Speed gathered the team and met up with their latest Johnson at Cai’s shop, and Cai hadn’t been kidding when he described the client as special. John Mason II, captain of the Timberwolves Combat Biker team, needed done the kind of work only runners could do. After Monarch and Racer stopped fangasming, Mason provided the details: ¥15,000 to investigate suspicious activity going on at the Timberwolves’ stadium, the Aztechnology Battledome. Mason had noticed blood stains on the arena and signs of damage and disrepair before matches had even started. With some of his team members, including co-captain Go’rak, growing distant, he didn’t feel comfortable bringing the issue to them, the coach, or the police. He apologized that he couldn’t pay more, as professionals in the highly corporate world of Combat Biker are paid more in sponsorships and hardware than actual salaries. If the runners could put a stop to whatever activities they discovered, however, he could afford to pay them up to ¥35,000 as well as provide access to his contacts, sponsors, and the resources they provided.
To sweeten the deal, Mason offered them two sideline VIP tickets as well as regular tickets for the rest of the party to visit their game against the Hogs, the other Seattle Combat Biker team, that Saturday. Racer and Monarch readily agreed on behalf of the team.
“I was just trying to find the bathroom?”
- Red Coat
While Pox and Joker performed some digital legwork, Red Coat, Monarch, and Black Lotus decided to set up some physical recon. Using some mystic invisibility, Lotus got Red Coat past the front gate and into the main concourse where he could start infiltrating and planting cameras around the building. When a stray security patrol spotted him out of the corner of their eye, Red Coat tried to hide in a nearby bathroom, but a guard there was already on his way out. Not one to talk, the brit emptied a narcojet dart into the rent-a-cop’s neck and tossed a pepper-punch laden smoke grenade into the bathroom for good measure, and possibly air freshening.
With the jig up, Red Coat bolted towards the east, where Monarch and Lotus were waiting for him. Lotus had the three of them cloaked in invisibility before the guards had rounded the corner, and they all watched amusedly as the security fumbled for minutes around the hot dog stand looking for where they had disappeared to. The three worked their way up to the skyboxes, picked some locks, and planted a healthy dose of microcameras all throughout the complex to give them full surveillance for the next couple of days.
Pox and Joker retrieved a few suspicious forum posts describing high-stakes betting happening around the arena, using specialized Corp Sec codewords such as “Firefall” and “Icedown” to describe the bets. With this information and the surveillance cameras that survived corporate sec scrutiny, the team was prepared for some live legwork at the Saturday game.
“A wager, you say?”
Speed Racer and Monarch quickly settled into the Timberwolves locker room, eagerly collecting autographs and exchanging pleasantries with the team they idolized. Their sideline seats provided the best view in the house of the bloody, mechanical carnage that ensued. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves were down by a solid 4 points at the half, and the atmosphere in the locker room changed from eager and friendly to tense and focussed as the coach provided a much needed mid-game pep talk. The team jogged back out to the field roused and ready, but Monarch held back to use the restroom, and by use the restroom, he meant dig through the team’s equipment to find anything suspicious. The most damning evidence came in the form of a ¥10,000 certified credstick in Go’rak’s belongings, a value that would seem more suspicious when Joker and Princess finished their recon.
Back on the pitch, Monarch would later ask Speed why he wasn’t helping with the investigation. Speed shushed him – he was trying to watch the game.
While this was happening, Princess and Joker looked for a place they could place a bet on the match, or more importantly place a bet on “Firefall.” Joker instantly spotted a fixer hanging out in the Mezzanine, and the two of them tried to talk up some friendly gambling chatter. The fixer said that if they wanted to place a bet on something more exciting, they’d need to place a nice bet with him on the game as a show of good faith. The two of them placed ¥2,000 down on the Timberwolves at 2:3 odds and the fixer showed them upstairs to the skybox level. They waited there for a few minutes until a vaguely asian woman to made her way over to them and started discussing the details of more exciting wagers. The woman, Mai Yokohama, spent much of their time taking in Princess’s natural charisma, to the point of open flirting and propositioning… until she remembered she was married. Still, she offered them a strong discount on their buy in just because she liked them, reducing it from ¥10,000 to ¥7,000. They were to meet her at the arena at 10PM on Sunday to join in the “fun.”
Joker and Princess pay ¥9,000 in total
Red Coat, Pox, and Black Lotus enjoyed the game from their seats, with Black Lotus more enjoying the homewrecking that ensued from sharing his special “Narcojet Nalgene” with the couple sitting near him.
“A nice place you have here."
With the rest of the party parked outside disguised as construction crew and Lotus following cloaked, the Joker and Princess met Mai at the appointed time. After handing over whatever weapons and recording equipment they brought, they were let into the stadium with a warm welcome. Mai dropped a few more flirtatious lines, asking if Princess had any Elf friends she could meet on another night, and left them with a special commlink for placing bets when the main event started. She encouraged them to mingle with the various well-dressed folk pacing about the concourse. Princess and Joker tried to extract some more of the event details out of a businessman in front of one of Red Coat’s pre-placed cameras for maximum blackmail, and headed down to the now-covered arena when the call time came. Joker placed a few marks on the bidding commlink and traced it back to the host that processed the bets, forwarding the location of the host to Pox.
A few guards approached the makeshift construction crew and instructed them to leave, claiming all work was cancelled for the night. Monarch distracted them long enough for Pox to jam their comms with a signal jammer and mark them up so she could listen in on their communications. That paid off quickly, as one of the first things radioed in was that a watcher spirit had found Black Lotus snooping where he didn’t belong. The construction van packed up, returned to free candy van mode, and parked itself a few more blocks away to avoid detection.
Finally, Joker and Princess got to see what all of the talk was about. Their commlink asked them to place their bets on Hellbringer or Stoneforge, and the Hellhound and Barghest were brought into the arena, snarling and writhing at the chains of their handlers, for a bloody brawl. Joker and Princess made a few wise bets on the next few fights, with one of Speed Racer’s drones recording all the action, and recouped their ¥2,000 loss from earlier and change – specifically ¥750 in change.
Now that he knew what they were dealing with, Red Coat scanned his surveillance cameras and noticed the handlers for the animals making frequent foot traffic in the hall leading to the home team locker room. The fire emanating from one of the handler’s hands as he opened the door to howling flames confirmed where the beasts were being kept. With almost all the paracritters held in one location, he knew exactly how to stop the gambling ring.
“Well, I have all of these explosives… It would be a shame not to use them.”
- Red Coat
So once more, with the aid of Black Lotus’s invisibility spells, Red Coat infiltrated the building and made his way for the locker room, 9 kilos of ammonium nitrate strapped to his back. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling Adepts. With the aid of the arena watcher spirit, two of the animal handlers caught Lotus and Red Coat in the hallway just outside the locker room and prepared to engage with their electrically charged stun batons. With the aid of multiple grenades, spells, and a flurry of fully automatic bullets, the adepts were brought to the ground, but not before getting a few solid, electrical shocks on the pair.
The other two animal handlers peeked out of the locker room to see what all of the commotion was about, and prepared for combat. Not inclined to take another telescoping taser to the face, Red Coat hurled the nitrate through the door and started to run. The handlers followed suit, releasing a Hellhound and Barghest from their cages before bolting after them not to pursue, but to save their own lives.
Preparing for evac, Speed Racer drove up to the front gate. When he found security detail waiting for him outside, he simply parked on top of them. Monarch hopped out of the car and prepared to provide support to his allies. As Red Coat, Lotus, and the adepts ran past he unloaded a clip into the barghest pursuing them, blowing its leg off. The hellhound managed to torch Lotus’s fancy suit, as well as Lotus’s skin, before Speed Racer tore the legs off of it as well.
Black Lotus loses one fancy suit
And so, all packed into the van, the party rode off into the night as Red Coat detonated the explosives, ending the fighting ring by ending its paracritters.
“Желаем приятного падение”
- Speed Racer
But they weren’t out of the woods yet. As the candy van pulled onto the freeway, five pissed off combat bikers, led by Go’rak, roared onto the street behind them and gave chase. Monarch managed to blast a few off of their bikes with a hail of knockdown inducing gel rounds, while Pox popped in on the matrix to smash some of the other bikes with a digital hammer. The candy van started to falter under the shotgun fire, losing a tire in the process, but the omnipresent danger of Red Coat’s special, sticky thermite grenades kept the gangers from getting too lucky.
After a nerve wracking 30 seconds of flying lead, finally only Go’rak was left. Enraged, the ork tried to bring the candy van down with a ram of his own bike, and nearly succeeded, but a follow-up ram from Racer’s much larger van sent his already brutalized bike careening off the overpass, breaking in half in a fiery explosion that illuminated Go’rak’s crippling fall to the ground below.
Using his knowledge of the Seattle streets, Racer stealthily pulled the van into a friendly mechanic’s shop. He tipped the mechanic ¥200 and left it there while he summoned his bike to beat the imminent heat from the Knight Errant that would follow such a spectacular car chase.
The party agreed to reconvene at Cai’s shop the next day to talk with Mason and collect their pay, giving their unconscious mage some time to recover from his burn wounds.
What had Pox been doing before showing up to save the candy van? Pox took a cab to the other side of Seattle the moment Joker sent her the physical location of the host. She planted herself in the booth of a fancy, hipster coffee shop and dropped into VR, using her knowledge of data havens to find the criminal host. Inside, dealer programs shuffled thousands of bets in the form of cards back and forth across the smoky, casino interior, passing funds from account to account as directed by users and protocol.
Pox had found a playground.
Summoning her miniature sprite army, Pox tore through the host, marking up files and searching for cash to funnel into Joker and Princess’s account whilst crashing the dealers at the speed of thought. All transaction processing had ground to a halt while the host scrambled to reboot. By the time she was done, the grey, casino smoke had been replaced with her own billowy, black brand, Princess and Joker were ¥10,000 richer, and a glowing, rainbow sign reading “FRAG AZTECH” filled the space for any visiting security spider to enjoy. She jacked out just in time as the host’s IC tried to hit her with a third mark.
Nobody had thought to tell her that Aztech didn’t own nor have any relation to the host she had just trashed, but that hardly mattered.
“You think I want to have to use the Hog’s stadium for my next three games?!”
- John Mason II
The party’s employer was sorely displeased. Technically, they had met the minimum requirements of the mission, but they had caused major structural damage to the stadium, destroyed the home locker room, and triggered a minor police investigation, all of which would take weeks to clear up. Begrudgingly, he paid the party ¥30,000 and asked them to keep their distance from the stadium for the next while.
Except Speed Racer. Seeing Racer’s dedicated passion for the sport and the team at the Saturday game, Mason said that he was pretty sure the damage wasn’t Racer’s fault. He suggested Racer find some new coworkers, and offered Racer access to his personal commcode whenever he needed it.
Speed Racer gains John Mason II as a Loyalty 1, Connection 3 contact
The party gains ¥3,250 per player (after shared repair expenses)
Joker and Princess’s gambling account has ¥19,750 total (¥10,750 in profit)