Seattle Side Mission 08: Magnum Delta Theta P.I. (Part 2)

Written by: Marius           Played on: 05 Jan 2013
PREVIOUS: Mission 14 – Magnum Delta Theta P.I. (Part 1) – Part 2
NEXT: Mission 15 – Cover Up – Part 1

The day started like any other, we were all sitting around doing whatever. Bear had just that morning started breakfast by asking me to borrow money. Between a bunch of us we scraped together the 120,000¥ needed for him to purchase new cyberware arms. He called his guy and I looked at my bank balance, now 15,000¥ light.

Bear has been saving for his upgraded arms and looking forward to them for awhile. He finally had all the money and began tracking down the sellers and surgeons to do the custom job. He didn’t have them for this run, but would acquire them a few runs later.

After breakfast, Bear, Cho and I loaded into the van and headed to the neighborhood grocery store. Wheeler had asked Jade for some help working on the one of the bikes, probably because she can lift them without the use of jacks. Chekhov had “some things to do,” he grabbed a datapad saying “I’ll be in my bunk.”

We returned from the grocery run and got a call from Logan Scott.

“Good morning. The families are worried, they think their daughters are still in danger. They want you guys to put a stop to any further kidnappings so they can sleep at night. I have managed to get 15,000¥ together from these parents for you guys to investigate these kidnappings, and put a stop to them.”

After the last run, I had plenty of unused material left over. While the particular instance had been dealt with, the source of the kidnappings was still unaccounted for. I re-purposed the remaining info to put together a side run to investigate the kidnapping attempt on Julia.

“That sounds good Logan, but this is going to require a lot of ground work. We are going to have to spread that entire wad around just to get information. We would love to assist these parents, and put their fear aside, but we have to eat you know.”

“Ok, I will give you 20,000¥ for this. But I can offer you a bonus if you end the operation in a way that will cause their arrest in a very public fashion so that the parents know the matter is resolved, that would cause them to pay up sooner. I’ll give you another 10,000¥ in that instance.”

I do my best to hide my stunned feeling. “That sounds acceptable, Let me confer with my team, please hold briefly.” I mute the audio and video. The team and I exchange high fives. “Ok, Logan. That sounds agreeable.”

We start beating the bushes for information. Cho calls an old street doc we knew in Denver, Doc Tico. We learn nothing. Bear calls Raven, who also seems to know nothing. He gives us a little bit of general information on magic and tells us that blood magicians could be using people for ritual sacrifice. He tells us a particularly powerful mage could, in theory, control six or more spirits at once.

Wheeler pays his LoneStar guy 1,000¥ and we get a bunch of documents related to the investigation. A fat file of dozens of names of victims over the last 3-6 months. Some of them may not be victims of this string of kidnappings, but they are all unsolved kidnappings. He spends the rest of the day pouring over the documentation.

I speak with my buddy John, he knows depressingly little. He does put me in touch with a friend of his named Todd, who he says knows the most about magic of any of his buddies. He says he will have Todd call me. Todd never does.

Cho and Bear perform an information gathering B&E on one of the recent victims homes.

We hear a news article about a kidnapping last night. We immediately pile into the van and head to the bar where the people were last seen. We get the address of a woman killed at an apartment where one of the victims commlinks was found; a woman named Kelly Hammond. Jade recognizes Kelly “Sugerplum” Hammond as a local working girl. There were signs of intercourse and apparent cause of death was strangulation. There are still several DNA tests outstanding. In the file it is noted that EVO is requesting that Kelly’s involvement with their employees be kept out of the news as much as possible.

We head to Kelly’s and Bear checks for an astral trail or signature from any spirits that may have been involved. Bear does find a faded astral signature, leaving the balcony of the apartment. The trail is difficult to follow, though Bear is able. We head east out of Redmond into “Glow City”, an area that has previously been the site of a nuclear incident, the meltdown of a nuclear power facility. The trail dissipates over Beaver Lake. We spot a large pipe on the other side of the lake that can accommodate a troll standing upright.

After much argument we decide to drive to the other side of the lake rather than fly.  We park the van, and approach. I am in my full combat armor. Our matrix signals are weak at best. My satellite uplink is working, but my local signals are down. We see heavy foot traffic heading into this area. We would be surprised if there were not a few bodies in this lake. Bear levitates me over the water, always a scary process over water, and into the pipe. The rest of the team follow closely behind.

We make our way through the pitch black pipes. We do find signs of continued traffic through the pipes. A bear trap slams closed on my leg. I let out a small audible grunt. Bear casts a spell that makes my leg feel 100%. I can’t see in this darkness but I imagine I will not even have a scar. We encounter a broken section of pipe and our commlinks have lost their signal by now.

We come to an area where many pipes come in to a sinkhole area at the start of a cavern opening. Looking down into one of the tunnels, Bear notices a magic ward. The ward looses a spell that causes minimum damage. Moving on, we find a bunch of ghouls guarding a cage full of humans. A number of them have bandaged injuries. One of them we recognize as the guy who tried to rape Julia.

This is the college kid Julia ran into at the bar in the previous run.

We head down another passage as we cannot circumvent the ghouls without engaging in combat. Bear has to levitate us all across a body of water to continue on this path. We come to another large cavern where there is an altar and many ghouls humming rhythmically. A brown robbed individual is holding a human up into the air. There is much chanting about cleansing their filth and how bad the overworlders are. The ghoul leader gets a cleaver ready and that is when we spring into action.

Bear casts petrify, Chekhov casts a fireball into the crowd of feral ghouls. I take aim at one of the sentient ghouls with my rifle (stick and shock rounds). The fireball bursts dramatically, The lead ghoul shudders but does not petrify. “Intruders!” he shouts. I let loose with two three round bursts of stick and shock rounds, I drop one ghoul. The ghouls let loose with shots of non-suppressed fire. Undoubtedly the ghouls in the other chamber will be headed this way.

Bear casts a stun bolt toward the Mage Ghoul, who had just had one of his own spells dispelled. Cho drops one of the feral ghouls with a pistol. Chekhov’s Earth Spirit manifests itself and engages one of the sentient ghouls in combat. Jade continues to cover our rear. She takes minor fire from the other room. I also feel a little twinge through my armor as rounds hit it’s surface.

The party had taken quite a beating in the little firefight, but so had the Ghoul in charge, who was a few damage points away from death.

Cho drops another ghoul. The leader calls out for his ghouls to stop attacking us. We engage in conversation about his “quest” to protect the surface. I ask him what Meredith Baxter’s crimes were. He tells me that she was blackmailing her baby-daddy’s. I continue asking him about various people, whatever distracts him. Bear and Chekhov cast heal spells upon us all. “You do not know the forces I posses.” I ask him his name. “Ziggy Toecutter”. We continue to talk to him, getting it all on tape. He goes on and on about how he is doing great work, taking the evil from our world. “Glorious work.”

The gist of the operation here was that Ziggy was keeping a large swarm of ghouls, feral and otherwise, in check by feeding them a stream of “undesirables” from the surface. His definition of undesirables, however, was very conservative, including hardened murderers as well as black mailers, drug users and other morally dubious but arguably minimally criminal individuals.

Meredith Baxter was one of several people they investigated who, at the surface, seemed innocent but had more going on when properly investigated. Whether those crimes justified being kidnapped and parted out to a pack of ghouls was another thing…

We agree to leave and keep his work secret. I promise we intend to break. We see a few dozen additional ghouls on our way back out. As we walk out past the cages we recognize other names from the files, as well as many more that were not in any of the reports. People that “will not be missed.” Many have limbs missing and are in poor health. Fever and infection are running rampant through the population.

We have ghouls shadowing us the whole way out. We are never attacked. Once we return to the van we head back home to edit the videos to remove our identifying characteristics. We let the Lone Star contact of Wheelers know about the situation.

Logan agrees that we have done well, after much arguments. We send him the video and he sends us the additional 10,000¥. We head to John’s Bar for celebration.

A few days pass and there is a big announcement from LoneStar. “For the good of the community, based on Knight Errant’s continued and repeated failures to catch the kidnappers,” they sent troops down and discovered a pack of “wild feral ghouls” had been taking people. Their officers “bravely and with great personal risk,” went in and took care of the problem. Unfortunately the victims were already dead. They do assure the public that these ghouls will not bother anyone. Local government is already calling for the reinstatement of LoneStar as the city’s law enforcement contractor.

This was a big boon to Wheeler’s LoneStar contact, his connection and loyalty ratings improved accordingly. It remains to be seen how events play out, but with the right actions it might also come to pass that there is an upset in the current Seattle law enforcement contracts, seeing LoneStar return to the city.

The LoneStar contact was able to send us 15,000¥ for our efforts. Over the coming weeks there are still reported ghoul sightings. There have been no reported kidnappings… Yet. Logan tells us the parents are not convinced that the threat has ended, he is refusing us our bonus. We reach out to Wheeler’s LoneStar guy, but he is less than forthcoming with any information about where that guy could have gone.

Unfortunately, the team was not able to deal with Ziggy Toecutter permanently and he appears to have been missed by the police raid. Ghoul sightings have gone on the rise since the police disrupted the operation as well.

Still, at 30,000¥ this is one of our more profitable runs. Bear was even able to pay back some of the money he borrowed from Chekhov. Wheeler’s LoneStar contact got a sizable promotion as the agent who “single handedly” discovered the source of the kidnappings and was able to get LoneStar a MAJOR feather in it’s cap.

PREVIOUS: Mission 14 – Magnum Delta Theta P.I. (Part 1) – Part 2
NEXT: Mission 15 – Cover Up – Part 1

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