Seattle Mission 20: Operation Aimless Dog – Part 1

Written by: Marius           Played on: 22 Jun 2013
PREVIOUS: Side Mission 11 – When Ghouls Attack
NEXT: Mission 20 – Operation Aimless Dog – Part 2

Visiting Detrius several days after the chaotic events of the weekend is as taxing as it is joyous. Most of the team are suffering from their own severe wounds; feeling at least as bad as the nerdy ork looks. Only Cho seems pretty chipper in spite of everything, suffering only from a bit of a lingering hangover after returning from her weekend away from Seattle.

Cho’s player was out for this run due to work, though she texted the group in character during the event to tell them that Cho was having a great time out of town partying.

The first bit of this log, Detrius’ debriefing with the background info dump, was given to the party after the run, as we had run late finishing the action. The player written portion of the log comes after Detrius explains how and why he was captured with the team explaining how they rescued him.

I the debriefing as an opportunity to refresh them on all the history they’ve gone through on this campaign so far. We’ve been on the Seattle campaign for over two years now, which is a long time to remember all those details! Now seemed like a good idea to start reminding them of some of these details as we’re building up towards the end of the campaign arc.

In spite of his black and blue face, Detrius gives the team all a toothy grin as they enter. “Yo, chummers. You all looking ugly this week.” His laughing turns to gasping coughs pretty quickly as he winces in pain. “Eh, doc says I’ll be out of here in a few days. Still, probably won’t be doing much but sitting in front of the trid for a while. I do appreciate you coming after me though. I promise its worth it, though.”

The ork waits expectantly while the nurse finishes up checking his vitals and then leaves the room. His voice drops low, as though he’s still concerned someone might be listening in this back alley excuse for a clinic. “So… I don’t know if you figured it out or not, but those boys were Ares goons. Let that sink in for a minute, will ya? Ares has us in their sights. And I mean US, not just me. They were holding me, waiting for you to come. They knew you’d come. My brother’s too stupid not to.” Another tooth filled grin splits his face.

“I might have gotten their attention first, though. At least, prompted them to action; I think they’ve been watching and waiting to see what we do. Calculating their moves. Its been a long game. But Ares has been there. They’ve always been there. Near as I can tell, they started all this drek.”

Detrius takes a deep breath and tries to adjust his pillows. Jade and Marius both have to lend him a hand. “Thanks. After you guys got done dealing with General Bezalel, I got to thinking. I don’t know what it was made me realize it, probably that you busted him at an Ares weapons testing demonstration. I mean, that’s not enough of a link just to go on, but it got me thinking.

Referring to events at Joint Base Lewis-McChord where they defeated Wheeler’s former commander during a weapons demonstration.

“Nyx Genetics is where this all goes back to. The disappearances, the cyber work, those damned tattoos, Kaguya Hime, Dr. Strughold, Mercury Express; they were all about the damn company. Even Matthew Sparks, wherever that bastard is, worked for them, trying to part you guys out as work for hire.”

Referring to Marius’ former employer whom the team captured and interrogated.

“And others,” Cho reminds helpfully, a sad little memory creeping into her voice for only the barest of moments.

Referring to Matt and others who have disappeared into the program and have been encountered by the team.

“And others. Parting you out to assholes who ain’t even worth their breath like that gang leader. What was his name? The leader of the Fire… Bikes? Chains? Fucking Fire Crotches?”

“Fire Knives. Manuel Calavera.” Marius answered absently.

Referring to the team’s very first adventure, waking up in Seattle.

“Yeah. You guys should have killed him. I guess someone did, cleaning up loose ends. I wonder if Sparks met the same fate once he fled off to wherever he was going to. Maybe, maybe not.” Detrius breaks into another fit of coughs, grabbing a towel off the side of his bed. I must not have been able to hide concerned look on my face at the flecks of blood that came out on it. “Eh… don’t worry about that. Doc says I’ll stop coughing that up in a week or so. Something about ‘massive internal hemorrhaging bad enough to kill a freakishly huge troll’… err, no offense.” Detrius tries his best at a casual wink in Jade’s direction. She doesn’t seem to notice.

“So, yeah… Nyx Genetics. Its owned by Mercury Express, right? Remember it was off the books and they were funneling money through the company to fund it. Well Mercury Express ain’t no AAA corp itself. Its owned by Ares Corp. The Ares Corp. Ares Macrotechnology, fucking AAA Prime Megacorporation rating, seated member of the Corporate Court, first in line of the Big Ten. Ain’t no way Nyx Genetics is even a whisper in a dreamy exec’s most private wet dreams without someone at corporate knowing it exists. So I started looking into it.”

“I z’ink I see where zee problem caming from,” Chekhov intones in his thick, Russian accent. His accent seems to have gotten worse since the beating he took in the last few days.

This was a rather big reveal for my players, but I did try to hint at this outcome throughout the campaign. As much as possible, I have tried to steep the campaigns, characters and events in Sixth World lore, inventing lore or filling in details only where existing story doesn’t exist or is insufficient. I’ve also told the players that, at any time, they are permitted to use player world knowledge or even Google to research something about the world (with the obvious exception of downloading published modules I might run for them) as in character knowledge. I figure that in the well connected world of 2075, any information the players could learn on the net is something the characters could reasonably find out or might know.

While Nyx Genetics was a made up company, Mercury Express is a canon delivery company in the Shadowrun world. One that, if one of the players had investigated, is actually owned by Ares Macrotechnology. There are a number of other places I’ve tried to seed lore into the runs, both to ground the campaign and educate my players in lore as well as to provide the team with hints at what might be coming. Sometimes it works. A lot of times they never notice.

Obviously, there will be some places the story doesn’t align perfectly, either because of imperfect knowledge on my part, updates to the lore as the series is maintained, or places where the players or story have impacted major events substantially enough to deviate from lore, such as the death of Ghostwalker. Other parts of the plot, characters and events have been made up wholesale with no info online to be found; though, in most cases there wouldn’t be info in the Sixth World on those points either.

“Right. Well I didn’t just jump straight into poking the giant, but yeah. Sorry.” Detrius shrugs. “So I started reviewing the drives we got from Mercury Express, the data files you pulled from Nyx Genetics and even the data we pulled back in Denver. Looking at it from a fresh angle. They’re smart, very few things directly incriminate anything, but you can see the trends if you know what you’re looking for. Ares is there, or at least pulling the strings. Nyx Genetics was set up some twenty years ago on orders from Ares. At least one document I found indicates that this comes from the top. From what I can tell, Damien Knight himself, the frakking President and CEO of Ares Macrotech has been directly monitoring if not ordered most programs at Nyx Genetics, the Marahal Program and those bonds included.”

The drives from Mercury Express were pulled when they attacked the Mercury Express HQ a second time, the Nyx Genetics data from when they infiltrated the facility to confront Dr. Strughold and the data from Denver was obtained when they went back more recently to help the Native American tribes.

Damien Knight should need no introduction to anyone with a passing familiarity with AAA corps in the Shadowrun universe. Besides dragons, CEOs of AAA corps are about as powerful as people in the Sixth World get.

Detrius paused for a moment to let it sink in. Damien Knight, one of the most powerful and well known people in the world, knew about the Marahal Program and may be responsible for green lighting it. “Fucked, no?” The ork tried to laugh again, but it sounded forced.

“So, I started digging deeper. I couldn’t let it go, not with that big of a hunch. So I started trying to get access to some of Ares and Knight Errant servers. Knight Errant is owned by Ares too, right? Yet another feather in the cap. There was something else bothering me there too I had to investigate. I was working slow, though. Trying to do it safely. Baby steps that security might overlook. It worked ok… at first.”

Pausing for another long moment, Detrius tried to look at Marius before averting his eyes down. “I found stuff on mom. They buried it deep and I barely tracked it down, but I was digging hard. Mom and dad, they filed a report with Knight Errant when they learned what Nyx Genetics was up to. She found out her genetics work was being used for the Marahal Program. They tried to do the right thing and expose the truth. But Knight Errant is owned by fucking Ares. Word went up to the top at Knight Errant and then word went up to the top at Ares. Two days later, mom and dad went missing. I couldn’t find any information on the officers they spoke too. Everyone at the top was bought and paid for and everyone at the bottom disappeared too.”

The rest of the group shared an awkward look during the silence. Nothing is left to say.

PREVIOUS: Side Mission 11 – When Ghouls Attack
NEXT: Mission 20 – Operation Aimless Dog – Part 2

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