The Plastic Jungle

National bug day: bloodworms and freaking giant wasps

We paid Saïd the cabbie then crawled across the bridge. We keep an eye on the Wushin’s stealth RFID that Jeeves planted on one of the Suits. Straight ahead is a road going to the hills. We pass an old statue representing the old Dubai. The RFID is currentyly located beyond the airport, in an area with a lot of hotels. It’s 10:30pm. Said’s car is wrecked, but he’ll be able to get his backup vehicle in an hour.

Jeeves is about to pass out, we need to get out of here. Saïd offers to hole up in a hotel named “Tulip Creek.” We hear sirens approaching and decide to jaunt real fast. Said has to leave, but he tells us how to get to Tulip Creek and ask for Abdul Moui, who owes us a favor. We climb down the bridge to reach the street level. The Tulip Creek is another Marriott hotel.

We try to blend-in with the local crowd. As we are only half a block from the hotel, a Dubai cop car spots us and approaches. The Jazz in me wants to pull my Assault Rifle and pepper the pigs, but I decide to let Echo’s silver tongue do its work. She decides to make a run for it, as we are near a corner that will get us momentarily off the cop’s sight. We then zigzag between building, hug the wall as the car zips by… Ruin turns Echo invisible. The police car keeps scanning and patrolling the area, we have to evade its vigilance several time on the way to the Hotel.

Ruin spots cameras in the hotel, and a watcher spirit. Jeeves spots two cop drones. We avoid their search pattern. Echo scans newsfeed on the matrix, and sees there is already a video of the whole Dragon incident, including a very good footage of Jeeves shooting SandalGrass multiple times… We reach the hotel lobby. The young clerk gets us Abdul’s number. After a quick talk, we go upstairs to meet him, room 352. The hotel is mid-range, nothing fancy. There are cameras in the corridor. Abdul opens the door, looks around, asks about Saïd then lets us in. He’s Ok to stay in his small hotel room for a few hours. Ruin changes Jeeve’s appearance again, he now looks like a very convincing African man.

Ruins goes to get some food to please Saïd, who’s a little miffed by our extended stay. I feel miserable during the Jazz’s crash. I keep my mind off my misery by doing weapons maintenance (including Echo’s gun, mine actually. The girl does doesn’t have any clue about that kind of stuff, I wonder hoe she’s survived so far…). Säid shows up after an hour, he has his spare car. The RFID signal is still there.

Echo does some research about Bloodworms. They can be located in the UAE peninsula. They live in clusters, have a deadly poisonous bite. Lung said we needed these eggs for Echo’s technomancer training. We call Mossal, our new young local fixer, too look for these things: truth serum (for the Wushin folks), bloodworm eggs for Echo, Lace drug (memory wipe drug), and magical reagents for Ruin. Echo calls the boy. Boy takes 25% finder’s fee, Dubai’s prices are x2

* Gamma Scopolin (truth serum): 1500 for 3 doses : 24h
* Lace drug: 1875 for 1 doses: 4 days.
* Reagents: available everywhere.
* Bloodworm eggs: he gets us the name of a Troll harvester: Dante, near Algazira-al-amra.

Bloodworms are 4-6 feet long…

Saïd takes us to the Stuffer Shack to buy reagents, then to our hotel so we can recover our stuff. Ruin disguises me as John Wayne, I sneak in, sneak out with the stuff and Saïd takes us to the Marriot where the Wushin are staying. On the bridge, the Police has a roadblock. Saïd says his car is stolen, and offers to drop us to avoid trouble. We walk across the bridge on a pedestrian/bike trail and pass the roadbloack without trouble. We then hail a taxi to reach the hotel.

As we check in, Ruin notices Wushin security guys having a coffee in the lobby. Ruin tries to get us a room on the 5th floor, where the Wushin execs are staying. Jeeves sits next to the Wushin sec guys, and listens on the conversation. They talk about what happened at the Chi lodge. We learn that the meet at the club was just a negotiation one, with the actual exchange happening later. They are mostly bragging, typical dude talk. They talk about going to the World next night, to do another meet with a triad, about the coin. They don’t know who exactly the meet will be, now that Grassandal is dead…

We get to our room on the 5th floor, do some research about the World. It’s an artificial archipelago off Dubai’s shore. Tomorrow night there will be a party on the UK island. We discuss our options, when a Chinese coin drops in the middle of the room. Suddenly, there is a magical mist/cloud in the room that Ruin can see in the Astral plan. The coin is a fake, we’re pretty sure that’s the same coin which was on Grassandal’s body and that we had given to Lung. He had thrown it into the river during our meet, and now here it is! We recollect the coin’s story that Battleax had told us. There are four coins, Lung’s looking for the 1st and 4th coin, named Lu (Wealth) and Fu (Happiness). We are also not the only people he asked to look for the coins. All the coins looks exactly the same, it’s hard to tell them appart unless you have them all.

Ruin calls Battleax, who teaches us some info: the coins bind with people after assessing if they are worthy. The coin chooses its owner, it can’t be forced. Under that theory, the coin we have could be real, just not the one Lung wanted, or it rejected him.

We go to sleep, except Ruin who spends the night trying to bind a spirit. The spirit resists and Ruin decides to get a couple hours of sleep. Echo gets some healing in the morning. Battleax refers us to a man called Foual, who has hunted blood worms before. Ruin calls Foual, a young kid. Foual knows where we could find BloodWorm eggs. He wants us to call him after dark. We also call Dante who offers to either get the eggs for us (would cost 5k and two weeks: no go) or give us the location, a smoke grenade and some tips. We agree to that deal and to meet him in Algazira. We rent an ATV to go there, a very nice vehicle. I prepare a cooler with food and drinks for the road, we also jury-rig a harness to transport the fragile Bloodworm eggs. I take the first shift of the drive.

We reach Algazira, a quaint village (about the size of Oregon city back home). We see some militia (part of the Omanese army) there. We find the local “watering hole” and park there. Ruin rests a bit then binds AAA, his spirit of man. We walk into the tavern, there are only 4 customers, including Dante, who looks frazzled and hungover. It’s Dante. We have a drink with him then go to the South-West for an hour, to the caves where the bloodworms live. We wait for nightfall, he gives us smoke grenades, which can quiet them. He also warns us that this place is the turf of the Omani army. He then leaves us in the middle of the desert. There are caves nearby and a nomad camp. We find a resting spot and wait for the night. Ruin fails to invoke a spirit again. He asks us if he can rest for an hour and try again. Ruin feels the Chi is wrong in this place, and that we’ll have to sneak in the case.

Jeeves and I get in, using mostly low-light thanks to several holes in the cave’s ceiling. We finally get to a slimy cave, and get in carefully. We find several worms (4’ long), step over them. In a small room we have to climb over a pile of them (what are they doing?). We finally reach a larger cave with clusters of eggs. I pop a smoke grenade, then wait for the room to fill. We sneak among worms to reach the eggs. Jeeve starts pulling the eggs with his knife, me with my crowbar/chisel. We get the eggs, then suddenly Jeeves freaks out and starts running toward the exit! The fool is about to step on a carpet of deadly poisonous monsters! I put the eggs on the ground, then throw my other smoke grenade ahead of Jeeves, to calm down the worms ahead of him. Three worms spring at him, but he manages to dodge their attacks. He then disappears from my sight. I hear his breath in the commlink for a few seconds, then hear voices from the others. Jeeves made it out, and his two eggs are intact! I take my time to leave the cave, climbing along the walls when it is unsafe to walk on the ground, etc. We gather outside. Jeeves explains that he suffers from claustrophobia. WTF? He is very apologetic about this, but a bit forewarning would have been great. He is pretty much catatonic as we drive off. We make it toward general Hassan to deliver the eggs. We stop for the night in Massafi, a village in the middle of Oman. Before we arrive next morning, Echo makes a call to General Hassan. He tells us to go to Narwa compound. He tells us to rid the building of the bugs there. It seems the place is infested by giant bees, which Ruin believes are toxic spirits. Ruin summons a spirit of earth.

We drive closer to Narwa, then we have to finish hiking (it’s a mountain area). We approach the area on foot, reach stairs carved in the stone wall, then reach a padlocked gate. Jeeves has some industrial lubricant (!) he uses to lube the gate before opening it. It opens silently. We get in the kcompound. First we get in some kind of very large mess hall, empty of all life. Ruin projects his astral body in the other buildings of the compound and finds a giant wasp nest in one of the two floor buildings. We decide to try and burn the bugs. We see a pickup truck and trash dumpster that could include combustible materials. As soon as Ruin opens the bargage dumpster’s lid, a black wasp, as large as a crow, flies out of the container and flies around us. Jeeves tries to shoot the bug with his gun but misses. I open the lid to toss a frag grenade and three more bugs escape before the thing goes boom and kills most bugs inside. Echo and Jeeve attack with their guns, Ruin with his mana bolt. We hear buzzing all around us. A bunch of bugs escape from the dumpster and are intercepted by Ruin’s toxic wave. We decide to take cover. Jeeve and I shoot a couple wasps coming out of the 2-floor building that we had spotted earlier. Echo retreats to the mess hall. I join her while shooting at the bugs. Ruin was as fast as he can to reach us.

We figure out that the wasps have built an underground hive as large as the whole compound. A queen is hidden deep in these tunnels. Ruin uses BBQ and toxic waves to clean the underground network. Echo builds a fire bomb with the pickup truck. Jeeves and I are shooting the beasties to let other people work. We work together and eventually wipe the hive by smoking it out. After that we realize that the place has some weird high technology with almost no noise. The place even has its own host, which thrills Echo. Genearl Narwa finally arrives and is very happy to see we cleared the place and gives us 5000 nuyens. He also provides a mentor (one of his militiamen) for Echo.

Comments

Good stuff, Zig Zag. Lots of things happened this run, and what you report matches most of what Ruin remembers. One minor thing that isn’t accurate is binding spirits – Ruin never managed to bind any spirits during this session. He’s hopeful he’ll have more chances soon.

Next session I wonder if we should return the car to Dubai and also pick up the truth serum from our young fixer before going on to Persia? Those car rental fees are going to stack up, and no reason to cause problems with Echo’s SIN she used for rental if we can avoid it.

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