Seattle Side Mission 10: Recruitment – Part 1

Written by: Bear           Played on: 25 May 2013
PREVIOUS: Mission 19 – Orpahans are People Too – Part 2
NEXT: Side Mission 10 – Recruitment – Part 2

This was a side run requested by Bear’s players. He thought it would be fun to intervene in a corporate “recruitment job” like the one that captured him in his backstory. I also thought it would be fun, but for completely different reasons that I surprised him with.

This run is inspired by the, unfortunately short lived, TV show Awake. It was an excellent series with a great twist on the typical cop drama and I highly recommend it, especially if you like the style of this run.

It’s too bad that Runners don’t have therapists. I’ve been through some incredibly trying times over the last 5 years. From my awakening, moving to Denver, meeting my teammates, my magical initiation, I’ve travelled the world, passed through an Alchera, killed countless men and killed the man who was a captive. I’ve even spoken to a dragon. But nothing could have prepared me for what happened this week. I hardly understand exactly what happened and I can’t fully explain it. Even to those who were there with me…

“But you understand me don’t you?” Bear says to the half-empty bottle of whiskey in his hands.

“Of course I do.”

Bear blinks in disbelief as a hand pats him on the back. It was Marius. The two of them have been back in Seattle for about a week. Bear has spent, and likely will continue to spend, every waking hour, and sleepless night thinking about the events of last week. The memories stick to him like smoke and are just as vivid. They can be clearly seen, but not held, each time Bear recalls them and they shift. But the memories have left an indelible mark on his heart; their rich aroma, smoky and unmistakable, will linger on him while blood still flows in his veins. Those who are gone will never be lost if the ones who remain never forget them. And Bear will never again forget those whom he lives for, would die for and will never stop fighting for.

Bear, Marius, and Chekhov are in the Critical Glitch. They’ve been coming to the bar every night since they got back; Detrius came the first few nights but being in public doesn’t quite suit him. John Eaglefeather, the bars owner and close friend to Marius, has been grateful for our sudden increase in patronage, but knows us and our habits. Drinking this much hooch and going broke on chicken wings is usually a clear sign of a good story. So when the trio arrived at the bar around 8pm he poured us our drinks. A pint of beer for Marius, a large vodka martini shaken and served down with three loose olives for Chekhov and a pint glass filled with nothing but ice and whiskey for Bear.

“Drinks are on the house tonight boys! I’ll even throw in an entire tray of fifty wings.”

“What’s the catch?” asked Marius, after downing half his glass

“No catch. If I had kids, the three of you would’ve put them halfway through college this week alone. If you want to pay me, tell me what happened to bring you in here. I don’t see the usual wounds and haven’t heard any Knight Errant reports of buildings being blown up or helicopters being brought down over a freeway. Well, not recently.” The four share a quick chuckle, take a swig and settle into their seats.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I saw that Alan was calling. His phone calls have been less frequent, more rushed and Alan has seemed more paranoid. When he called me, his reception was bad. But he said he needed my help. He was delayed on a current job and needed me to take some supplies from his place in Denver to an annual meeting of clans in the Rockies. Ghostwalker and the ZDF had forbid us from ever going back to Denver. However, the dragon was dead, and we’d only be swinging by.

The team was forbidden to return to Denver at the end of the last campaign. Alan Palmer is another member of Bear’s tribe that he also met while in Denver.

So we called Pilot in and paid him to fly us to Denver and get us a car to get to the mountains. It was in the mountains that we would bring medicine and other supplies to the Chieftain of the Ute tribe. Getting the supplies and heading out into the mountains was easy enough. Once we get to the trail where are could go no further, Chekhov changed into his bear form to carry the load.

I was by far the only one of us who was comfortable on the daylong hike. Chekhov, even though he was a bear, was light stepping, doing his best to avoid roots and rocks. Marius, I know he was doing his best to keep his brother in good spirits; Detrius was spraying himself with sunscreen and bug spray about every five minutes.

A number of our regular players weren’t available for game this week, which made it a perfect time for this smaller, more intimate run. We were planning on four when a third player also had to drop out just a few days before game. We probably still would have played with just the three, but the wife of Bear’s player expressed an interest in jumping in on a game which turned out to be just about perfect for this session. She’s done some roleplaying before, but was completely new to Shadowrun. For this session I had her start out playing Detrius, Marius’ brother, a character we’d already stated up for a previous session.

That’s when we saw it, as we crested a hill that looked down at the camp. The camp should have been lit by a great fire, with drumming and a fresh kill being prepped and roasted. Well, that was how it smelled at we approached the camp. But as the camp came into view, the scene couldn’t be any more different. What I saw sent flashes of the horrors of my past. The camp was burned and dozens were dead all across the camp.

The whole thing was a sight all too familiar for me; dozens of dead, warriors, women, children. There were a lot of dead, but not all members of the tribe. This act had the distinct stench of a corporate ‘recruitment’ run. After we prepped the bodies for a proper burial, the four of us made camp for the night. After setting up camp, Chekhov, who was beginning to be excited from returning to the wild, became a wolf. Dee barely helped setting up the tent and was out cold the second his head hit the ground. Marius took the first watch and I tried to get some sleep, which felt like it would never come. My heart was pounding my mind racing. I was wide-awake, living and reliving my worst nightmare. All I wanted to do was find the people responsible and make them pay, just like I did the man who had captured me. For a moment, just a flash, there was complete and utter silence. Then, WHAM!

As I awoke, my eyes took a second to adjust to the light. Then I heard a faint, familiar voice warmly, sweetly say, “Good morning.”

My eyes were still blurry with sleep when I felt her warm hands on my face, her gentle lips on my forehead, and her sweet scent fill me. “June?” I muttered.

“Who else would it be?” she responded. Then it all became clear and there she was. She was gorgeous, more beautiful than I had remembered. I jumped out of bed, and scooped her into a huge hug. Her skin was warm and soft, her hair silky and radiant in the morning light.

“I’ve missed you so much, June.”

“Missed me? Since when? Last night?” she replies.

“Last night?” I took a close look in her eyes and she looked different somehow. Had I really forgotten what she looked like? “June this may be a funny question, but…”

“What is it, Ben?”

Ben is, in Bear’s convoluted backstory, his real name. In the Denver arc, he went by Clint McFly while he had amnesia. After regaining some of his memory, he started going by his tribe name, Bear with Mountain Wings or Bear for short, officially adopting the name for the Seattle arc and defining, though rarely using, his real name, Ben Waneta.

“What year is it?”

“Are you feeling ok? OH! You’re serious. It’s 2075, of course.”

But that was this year. The last time I saw June, it was 2070. She’s aged beautifully and I was just as old. Maybe this isn’t a dream… I thought It all feels so real. My arms were all mine, with the symbol of the Broken Arrow tribe on each of my wrists, the sun was warm and June’s cooking smelled so fresh. Was all of that business in Denver and Seattle just a dream?

“Good thing you woke up. The boys need their father and the village needs their chief.”

“Chief? The boys? THE BOYS!” I ran from our hut and saw the village, not our old village. A new one. Larger and in what seemed to be the same place I was when I went to sleep, maybe that was all just a dream. That was when I saw them. They were unmistakably my two boys, Keenai and Koda. They were seven years old when I last remember seeing them, now today it is their 12th birthday; the day of the first hunt. A day I thought I had lost forever. As my boys were feverishly asking me about the hunt, a smiling June approached.

“There are my three favorite men. Boys go get some breakfast. The chief has to meet with his advisors.” And with a kiss she pointed me to the large tent opposite ours. As I stepped inside, I came eye-to-eye with my two main advisors. My old friend and War Advisor, Alan “Dances as Mountains” Palmer and a dead man Nathan “Red Shadow” Marks, my magical advisor. Alan could not have been more different than the last time I saw him. There he was, fresh-faced, truly happy and without mechanical modification. And a man I thought I had killed in my dreams; Nathan. I do my best to hide my hate as concern for the success of the hunt. We exchanged quick words, all the people are doing well and supplies have been sent out without problem. The other chiefs have sent fond wishes to my boys for their first hunt.

For this scene and the others below, I had provided the players with a second, much shorter, character sheet. Detrius’ player, as Bear’s player’s actual wife, obviously played the role of June, his in game wife.  The two boys were NPCs for the run. Marius meanwhile picked up Alan Palmer’s character, which dovetailed nicely with their real life and in game friendship, both characters being ones that Bear trusts absolutely. Chekhov played the role of Nathan Marks.

Nathan was a character that, originally, also showed up in the run where Bear met Alan Palmer. Only, in that timeline, Nathan was the enemy whom, Bear and Alan believe, may have sold out the Broken Arrow tribe. In this timeline, Nathan apparently hadn’t, or if he had he was still around for some reason. Bear’s past memories of him created a distrust and discomfort that I wanted to play off of a bit, so having Chekhov play him, who previously had frustrated and eventually betrayed (at my request) while playing Levi in the Denver campaign, was a great fit for that. The players are all good sports, but I know there’s still a few hard feelings from some and a little distrust for any new characters that player takes on. Generally I try to set things up to minimize that, but sometimes it perfectly okay to meta-game the players a little bit!

I leave and head back to help prepare the boys for the hunt. As I walked through the village, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace wash over me. I knew each member of the tribe by name. This was home. This was where I belonged.

PREVIOUS: Mission 19 – Orpahans are People Too – Part 2
NEXT: Side Mission 10 – Recruitment – Part 2

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